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Red Trolley Ale - Karl Strauss Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Red Trolley AleRed Trolley Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
79
okay

131 Reviews
THE BROS
-
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 131
Hads: 470
rAvg: 3.47
pDev: 14.7%
Wants: 21
Gots: 98 | 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.
View: Beers (88) | Events
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 131 | Hads: 470
Photo of VWBuggirl
4.23/5  rDev +21.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

At first glance this is a darker beer. It has a deep reddish color to it. The scent is fairly sweet, and you can smell caramel strongly with a hint of chocolate undertones.

It tastes as it smells, with caramel being the first taste and chocolate second. This is definitely a dessert drink for me. (298 characters)

Photo of Trappissed
2.77/5  rDev -20.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

On-tap at some bar:

Way too sweet. Cloying. Thick mouthfeel for the style as well. Nothing really positive to say, other than the fact that I'm probably being too generous with my ratings on this one. Sorry Mister Strauss, you have yet to impress me. (251 characters)

Photo of Brewsmith
3.39/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at the Chili's in Torrance, CA. Aroma has a hint of malt, not much hops in there. Amber red with a small tan beige head. Smooth malt flavor with a slight hint of chocolate in there. Caramely and a little sweet. Easy drinking and dry in the finish. Well made and no real flaws. Could be a little more assertive. (317 characters)

Photo of Roeters
3.03/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A: Poured from bottle in to a pint glass, reddish copper color with a finger and half of off white foam
S: Quite malty, little caramel slight breadiness
T: All malt, no real bitterness present, mostly just sweetness
M: lighter body, little too thin/watery
D: very easy drinking, personally I think it needs more bitterness to offset the malty base of this beer. (362 characters)

Photo of ManuelHerrera
3.44/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I decided to crack one of these brews out of my gifted "Craft Brew 10 Pack" from BevMo and I hoped to god it was decent. And it is!

Appearance - Pours wooden brown with an orange glow in the light. Not too much head on my pour.

Smell- Heavy malt smell, a dark sweet aroma that was a welcome surprise compared to what I was expecting.

Taste - A smooth, burnt carmel taste that gets sweater on the palate with every sip. A bit too sweet at the end though.

Mouthfeel - Lightly carbonated, a bit heavier than I'd hoped, and the sweetness lingers at the finish.

Drinkability- I really didn't know what to expect from this bottle, at worst I dreaded another thin flavorless American brew; but I was surprised by it's thickness. Not too heavy, but I wouldn't have too many of these in a night. (791 characters)

Photo of jjh19
4.24/5  rDev +22.2%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Poured from the bottle a nice, rich red with a little amber-ness and clear. Impressive foamy head. This is what I like a beer to look like.

Smell: I got a slight sweetness in the nose.

Taste: Sweet and malty. Perhaps my favorite thing about this beer is the caramel notes I get later in the taste. There's a lot going on here.

Mouthfeel: Full bodied, this is a rich ale.

Drinkability: As the temperature cools down, I find it's an even better time to enjoy a warming Red Trolley. It just works really well enjoying one or two while watching the Chargers. I tend to drink this beer slower than a lot of other beers, making the most of the malts. This is a beer I've enjoyed over the years, and I think it gets a little bit better each time I have it. Or maybe I appreciate it a little more each time? (818 characters)

Photo of Bricelyn
4.04/5  rDev +16.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a pint glass from a 12 oz bottle. This beer is beautiful, a wonderfull combination of red and amber gold.
The first thing I smell is Tomato soup (call me crazy). The taste is slightly malty with a warm finish that sticks to the pallet. Perfectly carbonated. I would session this beer. Trying to drink all the local San Diego beers and this is one of the best. (372 characters)

Photo of ctdfalconer
3.06/5  rDev -11.8%
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. (1,289 characters)

Photo of Decko
3.87/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Nice deep copper clear colour in the glass. Head disappeared pretty quickly and then no lacing. Good carbonation and slightly sweet and caramel like in the mouth. Very drinkable with a palatable level of sweetness and I found a slight drying finish like iced tea. No strong flavours but I found this to be a good ale that went down very easily and left me wanting another one straight away. I'd buy this one again but will probably buy a couple of other red ales to do a comparison. (482 characters)

Photo of noknife83
3.52/5  rDev +1.4%
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. (270 characters)

Photo of Tonedef
3.74/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Appearance is red as expected the smell has a nice malty sweetness to it a little toffee and a sugary smell...taste is the same..
Malty and smooth, no surprise going on in this beer it is what it is..a solid red ale that on occasion I'm in the mood for and enjoy when I want something other then a hop bomb.. (308 characters)

Photo of Armand
3.4/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A: Good reddish color. Some carbination.
S: A little too dampness. May have been from the glass that it was served it. Glass was too chilled, but that flavor came out in the end.
T: Too flat. Tart, and mild.
M: Light bodied beer.
O: Karl used to be on my top favorite beers, but have gone on to bolder beers. I won't knock 'em down for what they do. It's just my opinion, but I hope they continue to make different ones for us to try. (434 characters)

Photo of Curtis
3.12/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Poured a beautiful clear reddish copper. Ungortunately, no head to speak of. No lacing, none, zilch. Aroma is malty, no hops. Mouthfeel is ok. Taste is seeet, malty, no hops, not bitter in the least. Little aftertaste. The whole thing is kind of bland. Other than the great color, this beer has little going for it. (315 characters)

Photo of jj139
3.63/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

A - Very nice rusty/amber color with an off white, one finger head. Medium lacing

S - Very appealing nose of toasty malt, caramel, and hints of dried fruit.

T - Malt and caramel dominate with a hint of sweetness.

M - Medium body with a nice malty, smooth finish.

O - While I do love my IPAs I found this to be a nice change of pace brew. Very easy to drink. (361 characters)

Photo of treehugginslug
3.77/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

FIRST REVIEW

A - Nice amber color

S - Smell was very attractive. Nice malted caramel, Really liked the smell.

T - Taste was similar to smell, not much on hops.

M - Mouth was very weak. Not a lot of carbonation and flavor had too much caramel, but there was something I really liked about it. Similar to a stout.

D - Drinkability is high.

Whould I buy it again: Yes
Would I recommend it to a friend: Yes
Would I drink it if I was offered at a party: Absolutely
Overall: Very Good

SECOND REVIEW

A - Nice amber color

S - Smell is nice, but similar to package malt extract.

T - Taste was way too sweet. Not enough hops to balance out the malt. Thought there was a little too much acidic taste to it.

M - Weak, not a lot of carbonation.

D - This time I had a 22 oz. and couldn't drink anyomore.

Whould I buy it again: No
Would I recommend it to a friend: Yes, but just to try.
Would I drink it if I was offered at a party: Maybe
Overall: Fair, but not going to be added to my rotation. (995 characters)

Photo of jhutch31
4.03/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Tried this beer while watching the Niners Game last Sunday. Poured into a 16 oz pint glass.

Appearance: My favorite quality of this beer was the appearance. Absolutely polished. Poured with a perfect 2 finger head with some lacing left in the glass. Carbonation was perfect and head retention was delightful.

Smell: This beer did not have a lot of aroma as I would think an irish red shouldn't. Hop character is low so you really smell more of the malts that were used than you do the hops.

Taste: The taste was good. Typical irish red flavor. It's my personal preference that I don't like irish reds to be really sweet, but have a slight amount of malt sweetness and focus more on the body and slightly doughy/biscuity character of the malts used. This beer was a little too sweet for me and after a few drinks, I started to enjoy it less and less. However, thats my personal preference and it is still a great beer. You can definately taste the caramel and toffee notes of what I presume to be the victory and munich malts that are used in the grain bill.

Mouthfeel: Mouthfeel was good. Smooth, well balanced and easy drinking.

Overall: I would say this is a good irish red, just not my style. If you are an irish red drinker, I would recommend you try this beer as it's won some very prestigous awards for its example of the style. (1,341 characters)

Photo of hoptrip619
3.85/5  rDev +11%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I first started drinking Red Trolley in college and at the time viewed it as a solid alternative to the MGD's and Coors Lights. Today it's not one of my favorites but it was definitely a solid gateway beer into more interesting craft styles. I saw over the weekend that it won a gold at GABF and then heard it also took at gold at the WBC earlier this year- for that, I figured it was time to give it another try and write a review.

A: Dark copper/rust with good clarity and decent head

S: Big caramel, burnt sugar, and toffee malt aroma with undertones of dark fruity esters.

T: Chewy caramel malts flavors with a very sweet fruity character. Minimal and I mean MINIMAL hop character - no noticeable off flavors.

M: Medium-full on body, lots of residual sugars that boarder on cloying. Still, very drinkable.

D: Red Trolley is and always has been what it is. A malty red ale with lots of flavor. While I prefer a dryer and hoppier beer, RT is solid for the style and definitely a favorite for those that don't like bitter beers. ( i.e most broads.) (1,058 characters)

Photo of dojobrewco
4.22/5  rDev +21.6%
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. (437 characters)

Photo of SundaySour
2.87/5  rDev -17.3%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Shared with Cavery.

A: A misty reddish-orange beer with a massive cream colored head. Like a nuclear sunset.

S: There's something rotten in Denmark. I smell...dare I say, bile. There are other smells, maybe a bit of burnt caramel. But it's like someone ate something delicious before ralphing all over the place.

T: Fearing the worst after sniffing my way into a panic attack, this beer is surprisingly light. Truly, it is the Miller Light of red ales. I get a light flavor of sourdough bread, but mostly just water. If this were clear and in a Perrier bottle, I'd shrug and chug.

M: Fizzy, but not fizzy enough. Leaves a vague stale bread taste in the mouth.

O: This is like a very hunky man with rippling muscles and a fabulous car turning out to be a big yawn fest. I loved the appearance, but the flavor is nothing to cheer about. It's the kind of beer you wash something down with, not enjoy on it's own. (916 characters)

Photo of StArnoldFest2010
3.73/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

P: Medium carbonation and dime head that dissapers quickly. Amber color
N: Roasted malt & barley with light yeast smell
T: This is what a red ale should taste like. Caramel malt and barley blended with nutty & slightly sweet aftertaste
M: Surprisingly thin compared to the taste. From the taste, you'd expect a medium thick palate coating residual effect, but it goes down pretty easy. Price wise, if I saw 22oz bottles for $3.99 or 12oz 6 packs for $8.49, I'd pick some up from time to time. (492 characters)

Photo of itfitz
3.73/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

With hints of resin, herbs, caramel, cereal, nuts, and roasty undertones, this easily-consumed beer has lively carbonation which gives it a light, pleasant finish.

When poured, it has a great-looking red hue which doesn't really prepare you for the hoppy overnotes.

Served cold and fresh, Red Trolley Ale works well as a session beer. (337 characters)

Photo of HawkFalco
3.41/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Served cold from the fridge into a stemless glass. Poured a cloudy, caramel color; tiny cream-colored head disappeared fast.

Smell: Nice yeasty bread

Tastes: Very balanced sweet and bitter, yeasty. Smooth. Nice level of carbonation. Not complex or challenging. An unobtrusive easy choice for a refreshing cold one.

Feels: smooth, not much body, watery.

While this beer is not complex I like the balanced flavors because I don’t much care for forward hop bitterness. Very easy to drink. Pretty color in the glass. This could be a pleasing introduction to craft beer for your friends still stuck drinking the mass produced American lagers. (646 characters)

Photo of RyanTheLion76
5/5  rDev +44.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

L: VERY red, almost mahogany in color. Almost similar to an amber ale.
S: Loads of caramel, toffee, nuts, and a hint of wood (not an off-note)
T: Practically no hops to this. All malt. Again, lots of caramel, nuts, and toffee with a hint of wood.
F: Pretty thick for a beer of this strength. Decent carbonation, too. More than I'd expect from a malt-forward ale.
O: My favorite beer of it's style and my favorite Karl Strauss beer at that. Very flavorful Irish Red. (465 characters)

Photo of Jfn
4.69/5  rDev +35.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

I tried this beer while in San Diego during a business trip and really enjoyed it. A smooth, quality beer in which I enjoyed numerous times both on draft and bottle. I just wish you it was sold in Alabama! (205 characters)

Photo of HopfenUndMalz2015
3.81/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Good solid Irish Red Ale. Nothing in this beer is going to blow your mind, but, sometimes a nice carmel and malty Red Ale is perfect with dinner at the brewery. (160 characters)

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