Red Trolley Ale
Karl Strauss Brewing Company

Red Trolley AleRed Trolley Ale
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Red Ale - Irish
Ranked #177
Ranked #45,423
3.55 | pDev: 14.65%
Karl Strauss Brewing Company
California, United States
Red Trolley AleRed Trolley Ale
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Reviews: 155 | Ratings: 615 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of Gordono
Gordono from Nevada

3.5/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Crystal clear amber color,
Very little head,
Sweet, malty aroma, cotton candy?
Sweet, dry slightly roasty finish,
Sparkling, light body,
A nice clean, easy drinking amber.

Sep 26, 2020
Photo of klarcbarr3
klarcbarr3 from New Jersey

3.91/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Karl Strauss Red Trolley pours a pleasant reddish brown, as a proper Irish Ale should. It produces a thin half inch head, which does not linger or lace. The nose is a mild sweet smell., which amplifies into a full caramel taste on your first sip. This is a lovely sweet beer, with a comparable mild hippiness rounding out the taste. I find the mouth feel particularly satisfying.. there is texture and body beyond what you might expect from such a mild brew. Overall, I enjoyed this beer, and find it a light and refreshing change from the dark, full bodied , high octane stouts and porters I usually favor. Erin Go Braugh!

Feb 08, 2020
Photo of Jed_Clampett

1.59/5  rDev -55.2%
look: 3 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1 | overall: 1.75

I've brewed this style several times and it's supposed to be a clean ferment. The esters were off the chart strong and I got a fusel headache after drinking it. Hard to give other feedback since those flaws are so overwhelming I couldn't taste much else. This would be a dumper batch of Homebrew.
Karl Strauss, you need better QA, cuz this is damaging your rep... I've had great beers on tap at your facilities so this is pretty deplorable to let something this bad go to packaging...

Feb 08, 2020
Photo of andyinsdca
andyinsdca from California

1.4/5  rDev -60.6%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 1 | feel: 2 | overall: 1

I like this beer. Usually. In the past, I've enjoyed drinking it from the tap at Karl Strauss restaurants here in San Diego as well as from the bottle. But something has changed. Me? The beer? I don't know, but I popped the top on a 12oz bottle (enjoy by date of 3/19/20) and took a swallow and thought "wow, this is almost horrible." So, I dumped it and tried another bottle and had the same reaction, so the rest of the 6-pack was dumped down the drain. I filled in the Contact Us on the KS web page, maybe they'll tell me what's going on.

Dec 27, 2019
Photo of drinker400

4.5/5  rDev +26.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

A very sweet and malty sweet red ale. Has a deft richness that does not overpower a crisp finish in the mouth. Very sessionable. A delicious and identifiable example of what mainstream consumers might call "good beer." Caramel and chocolate flavors dominate the taste and smell.

Nov 12, 2019
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hoptheology from South Dakota

3.92/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle from Donald
Calusa snifter

Gorgeous glowing red body with hints of mahogany. Grey-beige head of 1/2 finger receding to a ring pretty quickly, no lace.

Aromas of old raisin bread, toasted malt, blueberry muffin, prune.

Flavor is much the same - prune, raisin bread, toasted bread, pleasant malty sweetness, berries, slight onion.

Feel is medium-thin, with very mild warming alcohol, moderate carbonation, no stickiness or finish.

Overall an enjoyable and tasty red ale. I'd have it again.

Oct 10, 2019
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patre_tim from Thailand

3.75/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Red with a light haze, and lots of champagne like carbonation. Topped with a finger of off white head.

Smells of deep, toasted malts, red liquorice, and a biscuity, yeasty quality.

The taste follows the nose. Slightly sweet with no outstanding bitterness.

Medium body, medium carbonation.

Got in Redding, Aug 7th, 2018, drinking here the same day. Decent brew, my first by Karl Strauss.

Aug 08, 2018
Photo of timon
timon from California

4.03/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Wow. I'm pleasantly surprised. I took a break from my regular San Diego breweries like Stone, Ale Smith, etc and gave this a try. Very nice smell, almost like a Belgin tripel, on of my favorites, in the sweetness of the smell. Nice brown/red color with a bit of haze. Head....not too good, but that's least important to me. Very good taste for the style. I actually prefer this to a German banana-bread beer or something like NewCastle ale. Will buy again at $10 a sixer (at least here in SD), for sure.

Apr 19, 2018
Photo of BeerStud187
BeerStud187 from California

3.75/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Look, ambers suck and we all know that, but this is decent for the style. It’s highly malty, not very bitter or hoppy. Not interesting at all for an established drinker, but could possibly be a first step gateway for some college kid weening himself off bud light. It’s a fine attempt at a terrible style.

Apr 12, 2018
Photo of elNopalero
elNopalero from California

3.88/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

This pours a malty caramel. It has a spattering of sticky hop character and a smooth caramel malt backing. Doesn't do much for me but others enjoyed it.

Jan 25, 2018
Photo of Beginner2
Beginner2 from Illinois

3.71/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Curious that I found this copy in Melbourne and I've been to San Diego five times in ten years. Anyway.... It is always a pleasure to have a first beer from an established brewer (meaning, they started in the previous century.)

Red Trolley starts undistinguished (more brown than red and no head). But, it Smells like mostly malt and is consistent with its style. Also, I give it higher points for being more balanced than 80%+ of the beers that come from that region. And it sits in the mouth nicely, too. Overall, I want this again.... in San Diego.

Jan 20, 2018
Photo of WesMantooth
WesMantooth from Ohio

4.14/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

It is a mainly transparent amber red. It produced a tan head that had a very short life.

It smells like toasted bread, toffee, and dark fruit.

There is a lot of bready malt, tangy/sour red grapes or plums, some caramel, and a touch of floral/earthy hops.

Body has a little heft for the style and the ABV level, but it is smooth. Decent amount of carbonation.

Maybe not a textbook Irish Red, but pretty close, and an outstanding beer. I know this isn't a popular style, but I'm surprised by the ratings.

Mar 18, 2017
Photo of WoodBrew
WoodBrew from Ohio

3.4/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Trying this at Law Quinta resort. The beer poured a clear amber with thin white head that is not leaving any lace. The scent was standard amber...nothing exotic. The taste was nicely balanced and easy to drink. The mouthfeel was lighter in body with good carbonation. Overall it's a decent beer.

Mar 06, 2017
Photo of gatornation
gatornation from Minnesota

3.77/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pours a beautiful slight hazed copper red color with a fresh khaki collar. Smell of hops and sweet caramel malts. Taste of nuts and toffee some pine hops and caramel malts. mouth feel was sweet in a good way for the red ale it was offset with hops nuts bread and malts. Very fresh on tap and very tasty.

Feb 04, 2017
Photo of Red5StandingBy
Red5StandingBy from Maryland

3.42/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from bottle without freshness date into standard pint glass.

L: Beautiful rich red amber color. Off-white finger head that dissipates after a minute or so.

S: Lots of rich caramel and toffee with a small nutty scent at the end. Little to no hops.

T: Initially a caramel more subtle than that of the smell, leads into an almost sour fruitiness, finishing with just a hint of bitterness. Not very complex, yet tasty.

F: Medium-low body and easy on the tongue. Low carbonation doesn't make this beer very crisp.

O: I would enjoy trying this on draught, I think the bottle I tasted from was lacking the necessary carbonation to wake up some extra flavors from this beer. I have liked the previous Karl Strauss beers that I have tried so I am willing to give them the benefit of the doubt on this one.

Nov 22, 2016
Photo of Webtelly
Webtelly from California

4.15/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

For those who have been around the block and refined the list of which beers they like, you may recall Killian's Red. Not a chugging beer, and a bit of hangover due to additives. I thought the same might be true for Red Trolley. Not true. Very smooth. I have gone from high alcohol beers for the buzz, to settling on Miller Lite because my genes just seem to like Pilsner beers better. So naturally, I was hesitant to buy a six-pack of bottles of Red Trolley. Some people say it is too sweet and too heavy, but at 5.8% alcohol, it's a hit because it is very satisfying as a sipping beer straight from the bottle. Get it ice cold, and you can make a bottle last as long as 2 cans of light beer. So, I like it, because a Friday evening can justify the extra cost and quality. I say forget all the talk about caramel and chocolate and aftertastes. These really are only a whisp if you sip this beer properly.

Nov 05, 2016
Photo of mbrando33
mbrando33 from California

3.41/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.5

This one pops with a quick hit of caramel and nuts with an almost chocolate after taste. The feel is quite thick for a red and almost reminded me of a pumpkin ale in that regard. It's a little on the sweet side for my taste (I'd almost call it a dessert beer), but I can certainly appreciate why others enjoy it so much.

Sep 30, 2016
Photo of Lingenbrau
Lingenbrau from Oregon

3.95/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Beautiful clear deep amber red color, with a nice khaki head. Faint smell of sweet caramel, fig and raisins. Tastes similar with a bit of a tang to it, and toasted bread. Pretty rich feel for 5.8%, but appropriate with a medium carbonation. Overall, still a great red ale that stood up to the test of time thus far. Cheers!

Aug 19, 2016
Photo of dtumminelliob
dtumminelliob from Massachusetts

3.57/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

A nice looking beer, though you can that it's fizzy. This comes through in the mouthfeel and taste, unfortunately. Beyond that, the flavor is pretty bland. The malt backbone doesn't really offer too much past the nice color.

May 13, 2016
Photo of Motleydrunk56
Motleydrunk56 from California

3.88/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

12 oz bottle poured into a Anchor steam glass.Smell is a light maybe sour cherry smell.Taste is a sour cherry mixed with maybe Caramel flavor.Not a lot of bang for the buck with this one.It`s not bad just nothing that really stands out that makes you want to buy it again.I`m not sorry I tried it but probably would not buy again.

Mar 29, 2016
Photo of rodbeermunch
rodbeermunch from Nevada

3.02/5  rDev -14.9%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Average clarity, minimal red color appearance, almost a full inch of white head on the top. Aroma was really bland, nothingness.

Taste dropped all the usual red descriptors: toffee, wet wood, caramel. Run of the mill, average red ale with no off flavors, but does nothing well either.

Jan 19, 2016
Photo of Smakawhat
Smakawhat from Maryland

4/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from the bottle into a Spiegelau stout glass, hey it's all good.

Deep red rust and orange color, fairly clear with a dusty unfiltered like presence. Head is light tan and two fingers, settling to an almost fluffy top and small Puck and collar.

Aroma is mild caramel and interesting fruity esters. Hints of soft orange and grapefruit, tangy a bit.

Palate is interesting twinge. Soft caramel but more tangy almost sour fruit than sweetness. Soft bodied and orange tangy and juiced not quite sour or off putting. mild caramel sweetness just a nice touch which accents the fruit quality really nicely.

It's a bit different from Irish Reds I have had but a real good solid brew

Dec 25, 2015
Photo of CanyonCitySteve
CanyonCitySteve from California

3.3/5  rDev -7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Nice beer, but too thick and sweet for my tastebuds. Tastes a couple 12 of bottles from local grocery. Nice to see they're getting some good distribution in So Cal but this ones not foe me

Dec 13, 2015
Photo of Mitzvahman72
Mitzvahman72 from California

5/5  rDev +40.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A benchmark for Red Ales! Malt forward with a dark mahogany amber color, it boasts a nice balancing act of mid-bright, bready malts with some dark fruits and candi sugar to compliment it. Subtle caramels abound! Slightly bright, malty biscuit notes rounds out the aroma and aftertaste with a nicely balanced mouthfeel and carbonation.

There is a big reason why this beer wins a lot of awards: This is a beer that's true to it's style and does a great job at it! Those who don't like this beer are either in the wrong category (This isn't the super duper hoppy undrinkable choking-down bitter beer corner!! Lol!) or those who like an ID crisis with their beer.

Oct 14, 2015
Photo of telecaster
telecaster from California

2.26/5  rDev -36.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 1

I went to all the trouble to sign into this silly website just so I can write this review about KARL KARL KARL KARL Strauss beer. (yes the word KARL is written all over the bottle like someone really has an ego problem)

This beer is miller high life with red dye added. I know this to be true because I have broken out in a rash every time I have open a bottle and taken my 3 sips. My ears turn red and burn. Major allergic reaction to this awful beer. I was really upset because I bought a case at costco when there wasnt anything else to buy. All they have in late sept are these awful Holiday beers that i hate buying because usually one beer is good mixed with 3 beers you don't want. I have fallen for that nonsense before.

Seriously. Miller high life crap beer. most expensive beer in the store and i wish I could return it. Complete garbage. not believing this is some micro brew from san diego. more marketing garbage from some major producer like Bud or miller disguised as a micro beer. crap ...don't buy this garbage.

Oct 01, 2015
Red Trolley Ale from Karl Strauss Brewing Company
Beer rating: 81 out of 100 with 615 ratings