Red Trolley Ale - Karl Strauss Brewing Company

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Red Trolley AleRed Trolley Ale

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131 Reviews
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Reviews: 131
Hads: 476
Avg: 3.47
pDev: 29.11%
Wants: 21
Gots: 102 | 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:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 01-16-2003

No notes at this time.
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Reviews: 131 | Hads: 476
Photo of Sammy
3/5  rDev -13.5%
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.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
2.97/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a crystal clear amber with a 1 inch fizzy beige head that fades to a film on the top of the beer. Random dots of lace drip back down into the remaining beer on the drink down. Smell is of malt, caramel, fruit, and a slight metallic aroma. Taste is malty, fruity, caramel, and there is a slight metallic flavor just like the smell. The carbonation on this beer is fairly high and paired with a somewhat thin body the mouthfeel is not that impressive. Overall, this is a pretty average beer all around. Nothing too horrible but not something I would probably try again.

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Photo of womencantsail
3.11/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A: The pour from bottle to pint glass is a clear, amber color with a fluffy off-white foam.

S: Caramel, sweet malt, and a slight bit of roasted malt. Not all that much going on in the nose.

T: This is a very sweet beer. Too sweet for my taste. The flavor is very caramelly, with a fair amount of malt flavor coming through as well. Little to no hops, unfortunately, as this beer could really use it.

M: The beer doesn't feel too terrible on the tongue. A light-medium body and moderate carbonation.

D: The beer itself is not terrible. It is a bit too sweet for me, but other than that, it's not awful. The flavors that are there aren't bad, it's just not necessarily my cup of tea.

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Photo of mactrail
3.45/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Chestnut brown beer without much head in the pint glass.

Malty with a hint of caramel. Hops are enough to give it a zing. Not a favorite hop for me, it's the hint of the ashtray aftertaste along with what starts as a pleasant bitterness. Each new sip reminds me how sweet this is. Not much mouthfeel except a syrupy touch. Carbonation essentially evaporates as it sits.

Maybe this fills a need in the marketing scheme, since I like most of the other Strauss beers much better than this. But the other choice was Dos Equis at Guadalajara in Old Town, San Diego.

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Photo of chinchill
3.66/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

On tap at the brewpub.

Appearance: fine red-brown color with excellent clarity and a semi-durable beige head that leaves plenty of lacing.

Aroma: appealing mix of caramel and baked brown bread.

Flavor: good but simple flavor. Excellent bitter/sweet balance.

Feel: medium-light body wih crisp, near medium carbonation.

O: well-crafted if not particularly exceptional Irish Red.

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Photo of Billolick
3.78/5  rDev +8.9%
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.

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Photo of DoubleJ
3.15/5  rDev -9.2%
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.

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Photo of Halcyondays
3.45/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

12 oz. bottle at Petco,

A: Pours a dark red with a finger of creamy off-white head, good retention and lacing.

S: Heavy caramel, distinct sugary brewpub red smell.

T: Again heavy on the biscuity crystal malt, sugary, light hopping.

M: Can get to be so sugary it's cloying, smooth, medium-bodied overall.

D: A solid red ale, but the almost over the top malt character stops it from being really drinkable, needs a bit more balance.

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Photo of dcmchew
3.71/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Pours clear amber, small head, that goes quickly to a nice lacing.
Smell of caramel, apple pie, bit of toffee, not bad.
Taste starts with big tasty carameland some toffee, mixed malt mash (a bit biscuity) and a mild nuttiness. Fruitiness also, with a bit of red apple and pear acidity, and a touch of dried figs and raisin. Some woody spices, pinch of vanilla, pinch of butterscotch. Hop presence in the finish, a tiny bit "green", not on the same level with the rest of the brew, but faint enough not to disturb.
Medium body, a bit buttery, medium carbonation. Not as creamy as the usual red ales of Albion, but ok.
More than decent, enjoyable, packs almost enough flavor, but lacks any interesting characteristics.

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Photo of GarthDanielson
4.03/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured on-tap in downtown San Diego at the Columbia Street brewpub. The beer was poured into a pint glass, presenting with a deep amber-red color and a good, thick white head. There is a spicy-malt nose to the beer. The beer has a good, full-bodied flavor that is well balanced malt and toffee, with fruity undertones. The beer is very full and robust in mouth, with a smooth, malty finish. Very easy to drink.

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Photo of Zorro
3.51/5  rDev +1.2%
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.

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Photo of HopHead84
4/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4


On tap at Karl Strauss

A: Reddish amber with a small beige head.

S: Aromatic toffee and caramel with a firm and insistent bready malt presence. I get some earth and a little prune.

T: Rich caramel malt accompanies baked bread and biscuit. The beer brings raisin to mind and maybe a touch of prune. Bitterness is low.

M: Upper medium body with moderate carbonation.

Overall: A pretty nice Irish Red Ale.

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Photo of lacqueredmouse
3.85/5  rDev +11%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Having tried a couple of Karl Strauss special release brews in California, I thought I'd check out some of their regular range that are now making their way to Australia. Purchased from Dan Murphy's in Alexandria.

Pours a lovely deep, slightly bronzed red colour, which matches the colour on the label rather nicely. Head forms a solid fine crest of beige, and settles out to a decent persistent ring. Carbonation is fine, and there's some weight behind the body. It's nice.

Nose is quite grainy, with a thin toffee sweetness backing it up. Some leafy-sweet and slightly earthy hops behind it, especially when the beer is swirled, and a marmalade sweet-citrus note. I'm actually liking it more as it goes along, and it makes a pleasant departure from the hopped up red I was expecting.

Taste is similarly less hoppy than expected, with more grainy notes and a light body. But there's subtle complexities here. The grain has a wholesome character to it, digestive biscuits and whole grains, mingling with some marzipan, a little honeyed sweetness and some pleasantly biting ester characters on the back: it might just be the hint of extra booze, but it provides a bit of a cut on the finish which is nice.

Feel is light, but solid enough.

Overall, this is pretty drinkable stuff. Once I got over the lack of hops, and realised that this was a very determined choice, it was clear that this was a pretty well-crafted brew. Though the flavours might be subtle, they're there to be explored. I enjoyed it.

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Photo of barleywinefiend
2.9/5  rDev -16.4%
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.

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Photo of Beerandraiderfan
3/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a light red, standard clarity, 1/2" head on it, white in color. Aroma was uneventful.

Taste, a little bit of caramel, toffee, sweet and bready. Not really any bitterness or hops to speak of here. Relatively light on the palate. For a second, I thought I should be giving this beer a higher rating, it doesn't do anything poorly, it is true to style, but its just so run of the mill for me, but I realize that's how I feel about most red ales. Just one of those, don't hate it, don't love it.

Its a beer that has a place in the world, but its not exactly teeming with flavor country either.

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Photo of glid02
3.65/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On-tap at a random bar in Mission Beach, CA.

Pours a slightly hazy dark amber color with a half-finger white head. The head recedes into a thin layer on top leaving light lacing.

Smells of lightly toasted malts with a good dose of caramel malt sweetness. As the beer warms hints of milk chocolate aromas waft out as well.

Tastes similar to how it smells. Grainy caramel malt flavors with hints of toastiness kick things off. Midway through the sip the flavor sweetens a bit, allowing milk chocolate flavors to work their way out. Very mild amounts of leafy hops enter into things before a mildly bitter ending.

Mouthfeel is good. It's got a nice thickness with smooth carbonation.

Drinkability is good. I didn't have any problems finishing my glass and could have another.

Overall I wasn't a huge fan of this beer but it's certainly not a terrible decision if this is your best option. Not worth seeking out but also not worth avoiding.

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Photo of ccrida
3/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearence is rich mahogeny with a small off-white collar leaving very light lace.

Smell isvery sweet malt, carmel, some gingerbread.

Taste is also real sweet and malty, but there is a husky bite too it as well, a touch metallic.

Mouthfeel is off dry and sharp.

Drinkability is ok if you like a really sweet, malty ale. I'd not have a 2nd if it wasn't the only craft brew in the san diego airport where I have a painful 4 hour layover. I was really hoping for some good IPA!

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Photo of Durge
3.18/5  rDev -8.4%
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.

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Photo of twiggamortis420
3.45/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle from tjensen3618, gracias! Pours a brilliantly clear light copper color with a loud and fizzy cap of light tan foam. Fades rapidly and leaves a hint of lace.

To say the nose is malty would be an understatement. Caramel, toffee and even some chocolate come through big. Buttered popcorn and peanut butter crackers also make an appearance.

Taste is malty sweet and not a whole lot else...caramel being the most prevalent. Some toast and some more of that mild chocolate/peanut butter is there in the background, kind of like mexican mole sauce. This brew is incredibly easy to drink, but not overly interesting...although I cant deny a quick malt bomb fix is nice every now and again.

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Photo of CrazyDavros
3.2/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.5

Pours ruby/copper with a large, lasting head.
Nose shows caramel, bready malt, faint cocoa and a misplaced doughy note.
Better flavours, with strong nutty, bready and caramel notes throughout, followed by a mild bitterness.
Body seems pretty watery. Too much carbonation.

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Photo of Dogbrick
3.53/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Got this on draught at the Uva Cafe in Downtown Disney, after pretty much giving up on finding any decent beer in the Disney parks. Pretty amber color with a medium beige head. Nice malty aroma balanced with a faint whiff of hops. Flavor is nicely balanced sweet malt and hops with a light hoppy finish. Worth seeking out if you are at Disney and are sick of only finding Bud.

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Photo of BMMillsy
3.95/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

Bad a bottle at our hotel in San Diego. Pours a bright deep red, clear, with very small white head. Aroma of cherries, caramel, sweet sugars, plums, some other fruits. Flavor follows with big sweet cherries and fruits, sweet sweet caramel. Body is medium, with low medium carbonation, and extremely smooth going down. Nice sweet finish lingers on the palate. Thought this was a really good beer and went down incredibly easy. On the sweet side for the style but very pleasant.

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Photo of Stevedore
3.08/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12oz bottle. Dated 1774. Too lazy to do the Julian conversion right now. But clearly halfway through the year. Poured into a stemless glass 12/15/14.

A- Dark, slightly hazy, caramel-red body, half finger white head that retains decently well. No lacing. Thin collar persists throughout.

S- This beer is very malty, but in a decent way. Straight up toffee and tapioca, kind of like a hoppy tootsie roll. A bit of earth and floral hop notes. Really not my thing, but certainly there are no off-flavours here.

F- Lots of toffee and tapioca, more of the tapioca here. Mild earthy bitterness on the finish. Not complex or interesting, but again, nothing that is "bad" about it.

M- Medium bodied, crisp and leaves a earthy sting to the palate on the finish. Decent beer, drinkable.

O- Nothing special about this beer; it's constructed well enough but it tastes quite malty and to be honest, it's quite boring.

Final score: 3.08

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Photo of Fatehunter
3.66/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a finger of head on a clear dark colored body.
The aroma is rich with caramel malt notes. Pretty good.
The taste is toffee sweetness with a touch of bitterness to balance it out.
The texture is crisp with moderate carbonation.
It's a nice and malty ale.

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Photo of ADZA
3.42/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a semi see through copper hue which leaves a fast vanishing two finger head and a rim of lacing,the smell is raisins,toffee,caramel and fruit cake very malt orientated which you expect for the style and the mouthfeel is light bodied and a little light for me with tastes of caramel candy,toffee malts,raisin bread,fruit cake and finished with a butterscotch swseetness and overall it doesnt look the greatest but isnt the worst Irish Red out there and if fresher could be something i try again.

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Red Trolley Ale from Karl Strauss Brewing Company
79 out of 100 based on 131 ratings.