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Red Trolley Ale - Karl Strauss Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Red Trolley AleRed Trolley Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
80
good

381 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 381
Reviews: 119
rAvg: 3.52
pDev: 15.06%
Wants: 13
Gots: 45 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Karl Strauss Brewing Company visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
Irish Red Ale |  5.80% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 01-16-2003)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 381 | Reviews: 119 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of hopdog
2.58/5  rDev -26.7%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Pint on tap inside Disneyland.

Poured a deeper amber color with a small sized off white head. I had this side x side with a pint of their Oktoberfest, and honestly, other than this being a little deeper in color, I would have a hard time telling the difference. Some caramel, toastiness, and some light citrus.

hopdog, Dec 03, 2008
Photo of dippy
3/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Carmel Color with a tan head that had some lacing clinging to the glass.

Tastes like barley. It is a beer that would go with grape nuts or cheerios.

There wasn't much scent to this brew, maybe a little metallic.

Not any carbonation.
Decent beer, but won't go out of my way in the future.

dippy, Oct 28, 2008
Photo of Durge
3.18/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Tried this one on tap at the Fish Market Restaurant in San Diego where it poured nice and cold, a dark brown, thick and hazy color with a fizzy whimpy off-white head that disappears with some minor lacing. The aroma suggests malty brown sugar and grassy wheat. The taste is consistent with the smell. Somewhat thin, with minor sweetness and a pretty forgetable wheat bitterness. Fairly drinkable and well carbonated for a refreshing feel, but not something you really feel compelled to drink many of in my opinion. Not the best of what I have tried from this brewer but not regrettable either.

Durge, Oct 12, 2008
Photo of noknife83
3.6/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A good beer, but nothing to write home about. If it were just a little more hoppy I'd like it a lot more. There is practically no aroma that comes of this beer, which is a big disappointment. It has a decent mouthfeel to it, but a slight bit less malt would be my taste.

noknife83, Oct 06, 2008
Photo of Douglas14
3.1/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Has a deep tawny/copper color with a nice beige head. The aroma is heavily of roasted malt, toffee, and caramel. The taste is of caramel and some dark fruits...like raisins or dates. Pretty sweet...wish it were hoppier. It has a medium body and finishes pretty smooth and sweet.

Douglas14, Aug 26, 2008
Photo of IBUnit63
3.63/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a diluted root beer with no head

Slight malt scent-very mellow

Roasted malt character - rather clean actually with a little faint coffee and cinnamon note

Light for a darker mini-macro with solid malt backbone

Drinks well for chain restaurant offering

IBUnit63, Aug 15, 2008
Photo of barleywinefiend
2.93/5  rDev -16.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Had on tap at an airport bar in LAX. Poured a medium amber color with some red tint. Medium head. Aroma is malty and a touch sweet. A medium bodied amber. Malts are nutty and a touch sweet. Hops are slightly spicy. There is a slightly harsh feel to the taste in this beer. Kind of a typical amber. Drinkable, but typical. Not very complex at all.

barleywinefiend, Jan 19, 2008
Photo of DoubleJ
3.13/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Here's a Karl Strauss offering which you can find in a handful of bars here in Southern Califronia. Let's see...widesh distribution = better than their other offerings, right? So we find out. On to the beer:

It pours a medium amber color into my glass with a small head. The smell is sweet and fruity, almost like candied fruit. There's a trickle of malt in the nose too. Well, so far it's off to a good start. But good starts only last for so long. More sugary fruits in the taste without much balance from the hops, and the malt runs around on the palate. The beer is made to be sweet according to the bottle label, but it's a little cloying in my opinion. Worth a try.

DoubleJ, Jan 17, 2008
Photo of Zorro
3.53/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A strong head forming beer. A clear red colored beer that is nearing the color of brown. Tall tan colored head that you could almost call light brown.

The smell is sweet and decidedly herbal smelling. A little malty and a little woody smelling there isn't much C type hops in the scent.

The taste starts out malty and bready in the mouth with a buttery aftertaste. A little woody and malty this is very much what you are talking about when you say "middle of the road ale." Mild bitterness in the aftertaste but not very bitter certainly easy to drink.

The mouthfeel is OK.

Super easy on the taste buds ale. Nothing is particularly outstanding here this is simply a mild all purpose ale that just wants to be a beer. Pretty much this would work with just about any meal.

Zorro, Nov 03, 2007
Photo of rxdrewthejew
3.35/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a lovely reddish-brown with a frothy tannish head that leaves a small layer of film, and some lacing on the glass.

S: Sweet and syrupy with a hint of roasted malt.

T: Sweet beginning with some bitterness coming out after the initial burst. Fairly mild flavor overall.

MF: Not too heavy, some warming, surprising considering the relatively low alcohol content. Maybe a little too bubbly for this style, but goes down smooth.

O: This beer is almost a nut-brown/mild on steroids. Fairly mild and well balanced flavor, and it has a nice little hop kick. A drinkable beer, but the flavor is pretty basic. Good, not great.

rxdrewthejew, Oct 11, 2007
Photo of Floydster
3.05/5  rDev -13.4%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pint from Chili's Restaraunt in Manhattan Beach

Poured was a golden brown with an inch thick white head

Smell was lots of yeast

Taste was crisp and smooth, full of hops

More like an APA than an amber to me

This brewery's beer all has the same hoppy aftertaste to it, cannot figure it out

Could drink good amount of this brew

Floydster, Sep 15, 2007
Photo of Overlord
3.5/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I'd like this beer more (not that I'd rate it higher, but I'd subjectively like it more) if it wasn't always priced as a premium.

Nice little red ale that's mostly malty sweetness with some fruit tones, no real hops to speak of, and certainly not a complex beer by any means. I find it goes perfectly with bar food and football. Also works well at California Disney.

Best of the Karl Strauss offerings I've had, though I haven't seen the Stout offered anywhere yet.

Overlord, Sep 11, 2007
Photo of ctdfalconer
3.03/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Karl Strauss is a decent organization that I think suffers from trying to please too many people. Being a brewpub, they aim at appealing to beer nuts, but at the same time, they position themselves as a kind of beer-themed family restaurant. This is a tricky balance to acheive, and there is some overlap in those two schemes, but beer-wise, it guides them to aim for the middle. This beer (along with most of their lineup) exemplifies that. The beer is clean and crisp and easy to drink, but largely unremarkable. It has some pleasant malty-toffee notes with a hint of toastyness, but given a decent hoppy zing, it would have been considerably more interesting. I'm not saying they should remake Arrogant Bastard, I'm just saying that I would like this beer more if it had a little hoppy dryness in the finish and just a frisson of hop perfume in the nose. Aiming for accessibility is one thing, and this beer is quite accessible, but even so, when I was in the K.S. in Universal Citywalk, the people at the next table displayed their preconceptions when they picked out the "Endless Summer Light Lager" as their fave, saying of the red, "We don't like those dark beers". The problem is, you can't please everybody. It looks like they are pleasing enough to stay in business, at any rate.

ctdfalconer, Jul 15, 2007
Photo of malcontent
2.73/5  rDev -22.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Clear, bright amber body with a decent finger of head. Retention is OK and the resulting lacing is competent.

Musty, almost mealy aroma. Hints of sweetness peek through occasionally.

Ugh. Flavors are all over the place. Plastic-like aftertaste surfaces after a rather flat malt body.

A tad slick on the finish although the body is thick enough to be passable. Reading other reviews of this beer I'm wondering if my bottle wasn't a bit off. Still, in a beer landscape with a glut of amber ales I'd like to see brewers a) do something more interesting with the style or b) refrain from including it in their roster altogether.

Thanks to HoppyBen for the bottle.

malcontent, Jun 16, 2007
Photo of dojobrewco
4.2/5  rDev +19.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

My recent fascination with Red Ales probably gives this brew more credit than it deserves but overall I thought it was very good. A little too much on the sweet side but finishes nice and smooth. The aroma is perfect for the style and the mouthfeel is very light. I chose this particular brew over the sampler because I had just recenlty brewed my own batch of red Ale and I gotta say the Red Trolley Ale was definately better than mine.

dojobrewco, May 05, 2007
Photo of Sammy
2.98/5  rDev -15.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Local consideration at Pizza Port Solena Beach. Some lace, some yeast noted, and some toasted malt. Not all that bad but this style is fairly commonplace and topped by many. Easy drink and beats a macro, not way out of a place in the incredible California beer landscape.

Sammy, Feb 12, 2007
Photo of IntriqKen
3.3/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

"A full bodied copper-colored ale with rich flavors of tofee, subtle hintsof currants an dates, andan incredibly smooth finish."
Yep...a little too sweet....definately a light roasted flavor to the malts....a very full and smooth mouthfeel with a little bit of citrus hops on the end to leave the palette clean and dry.
Beautiful lacing with lots of tiny bubbles coming up from the bottom the entire time I was drinking this pint.

IntriqKen, Oct 29, 2006
Photo of Billolick
3.8/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On tap in the hotel in S.D., reviewed on the lobby wireless hook up, ah technology...
A - Pours a rich shade of medium mahogony, clear, with an eggshell head, show retentive powers and leaving nice ringed and scattered lacing.
S - malty goodness.
T - This is tasty, malty brew, light on the hops, but some are preent in the rear and the finish, notes of honey, caramel, wafer cookies
M - Smooth , medium bodied, easy and pleasant on the tastebuds.
D - This is not my favorite style, kind of dull, especially after a week of seeking out and consuming SD style 2xIPA hop bombs, this is a pleasant, drinkable brew, nothing more, nothing else.

Billolick, Aug 12, 2006
Photo of JayTheFinn
4.47/5  rDev +27%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Was lucky enough to have this one at the Santa Barbara beer festival.

A - Slightly reddish brown body.
S - Light roasty malt scent.
T - Perfect hop/malt balance. Starts with a little sharpness that smooths out quickly into rich malts. It has a slightly sweet flavor that I just love.
M - Full mouthfeel. It rolls around the tongue hitting all the right tastebuds.
D - Completely and absolutely drinkable. To me, this is a session beer of dream-like proportions.

JayTheFinn, Jul 23, 2006
Photo of mithrascruor
2.25/5  rDev -36.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12 oz. bottle poured into a mug.

Appearance: Pours a clear, somewhat dark red color. Head has a nice light reddish-tan hue, and is fairly creamy/foamy, and about 1/2 in.

Smell: Mostly notice a lot of roasted malts. Fairly sweet with a bit of caramel, and maybe a hint of hops beneath.

Taste: Very (i.e. too) sweet. Lots of caramel and malts, but then it has this flavor of hops and some grains beneath. Seems very skewed, but I can't tell in which direction or how. It's like pouring sugar in a very hoppy beer. Hideous.

Mouthfeel: Fairly light-bodied and smooth, very little carbonation. On occasion has as a somewhat cold and clammy feel, even if it's not too cold.

Drinkability: As long as you can handle the odd flavor, it's quite a drinkable beer. Otherwise, ... ugh. Alcohol, though at 5.6%, is not very noticable.

While it looks nice, after drinking it for just a short while you realize that it's no good. The taste is the main problem -- there's a horribly sweet taste and a somewhat bitter taste all at once, and it turns out less than good. In fact, it tastes quite bad. I might be willing to try this on tap (there's a Karl Strauss across from my office), but I certainly won't get this again at the store.

mithrascruor, Jul 06, 2006
Photo of granger10
3.63/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Medium amber red color with a medium white head and moderate lacing. Not much aroma here. A bit of fruityness and caramel. Taste is quite sweet but I like it. Lots of toffee with a caramelized strawberry flavor on top. Not much in the hop dept. A bit of a creamy body. Slight sour notes from the yeast. Finish is a bit sticky and this could definitely be cloying after a few. I only had one and it went fast but I am satisfied and want some more hops.

granger10, Jun 22, 2006
Photo of scottoale
2.9/5  rDev -17.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Had a pint at Chili's with brunch. No head whatsoever and next to no lacing as I drank. Red-mahogany in color and very little carbonation.

Smell is of sweet sugary malts with maybe a hint of hops, it's kinda hard to smell through the malt sweetness. Tastes much like it smells with a faint hop trying, but failing to balance the sweetness. Couldn't detect the alcohol as the roast-sweet malt flavor dominates this brew. Fairly light body, sweet kind of slick mouthfeel.

One was plenty...not impressed.

scottoale, Mar 19, 2006
Photo of Tupperwolf
1.7/5  rDev -51.7%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 3 | overall: 1.5

Red, dark-brown 22oz Brewer's Pint of Red Trolley Ale on draft; Almost no head, left a few tiny dabs of lacing.

Saccharine, brown-sugar, sugar, sweet-n-low.. this thing defied the boundaries of sweetness. Like sniffing a bowl of sugar.

Sickly, sickly, disgustingly sweet. I could only drink 1/4 of a glass. It got worse as it warmed up. No hop balance, no toasty flavors, nothing - just heavy, mouth-filling, gut-churning sweetness. I hated every second of my 1/4 pint.

Yuck.

Tupperwolf, Jan 09, 2006
Photo of SteveO1231
3.33/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This one was ok.

Got one on tap, served too cold.

Looked pretty good.
Poured a deep red color, no head, moderate carbonation.

This one was rather smooth but uneventfull on the old palate. Nothing to rave about here. If your at a Karl Strauss resteraunt check it out. One of Karl's better beers.

Drinkable, pretty smooth, a little too sweet.

Cheers!

SteveO1231, Oct 09, 2005
Photo of swid
3.53/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Red Trolley Ale pours a slighly opaque and a dead-on amber color into my pilsner glass. A 1/8", white head forms and disappears nearly instantly. Low carbonation. No lacing. The aroma is quite malty, with a noticeable caramel smell present. A faint floral aroma is also present.

Tastewise, this beer can best be described as "Fat Tire, but sweeter and not as biscuity". Red Trolley Ale shares a base malty sweetness with the other two Karl Strauss beers I've tried; a noticeable caramel flavor is apparent, along with a faint biscuit flavor, and only a trace of bitterness. The syrupy mouthfeel apparently is another KS hallmark; it works pretty well here. Red Trolley goes down with a sweet caramel flavor, and finishes with a pleasant, slightly bitter aftertaste.

Overall, this is a decent, if mostly average, amber ale. If I lived near the San Diego area, I'd probably drink this every once in a while. Finally...thanks, Mom, for bringing back a mixed six-pack from California for your favorite beer geek! :-)

swid, Jul 22, 2005
Red Trolley Ale from Karl Strauss Brewing Company
80 out of 100 based on 381 ratings.