Dismiss Notice
We're celebrating 10 years of BeerAdvocate magazine with $10 print subscriptions for US residents.

Subscribe now!

Red Trolley Ale | Karl Strauss Brewing Company

Log in or Sign up to start rating.
BA SCORE
80
good
141 Reviews
THE BROS
-
no score
Send samples
Red Trolley AleRed Trolley Ale
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Karl Strauss Brewing Company
California, United States
karlstrauss.com

Style: Irish Red Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.80%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 01-16-2003

BEER STATS
Reviews:
141
Ratings:
530
Avg:
3.5
pDev:
28.86%
 
 
Wants:
24
Gots:
137
For Trade:
0
View: Beers | Events
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 141 | Ratings: 530
Photo of CanyonCitySteve
3.3/5  rDev -5.7%
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

 192 characters

Photo of SteveO1231
3.32/5  rDev -5.1%
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!

 364 characters

Photo of beerguy101
3.32/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Medium amber color. 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. Mouthfeel is full. Finish is harsh. Aftertaste is slightly bitter.

 323 characters

Photo of oggg
3.32/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Part of a 6 beer sampler

Seemingly yet another amber ale. Same amber color. Minimal head due to sample size. Nice spicy and fruity aroma, quite surprising. Taste was mostly hop bitterness with some spiciness and generic fruit. Not too impressive. Low on malt character. Medium body. Tasted against the Del Marzen lager, you can clearly tell this is an ale that isn't perfectly clean, but has some character to it.

---
2/3/05 at Outback
I'll stick with my previous rating. This beer has a good amount of biscuity malt, so this is a big big step up from macroswill. Hop bite is mild, and there's a decent amount of fruitiness between the hops and esters -- sweet raisins....

 680 characters

Photo of kflorence
3.33/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Imported from my ratebeer.com profile - JUN 14, 2007

While it doesn’t blow me away, it is highly drinkable, has a great red-like amber color and smells of toasty hops with a tiny hint of vanilla/caramel. I think it’s one of the better Strauss beers, but it’s not exceptional.

 281 characters

Photo of SmashPants
3.35/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottle: decent 355mL brown bottle. Nicely styled label - kind of old-school cute.

Appearance: quite a nice dark mahogany colour. Unfortunately the head never really comes to more than a half-finger, and dissolves to a thin film with no lacing.

Aroma: a fair amount of sweetness from caramel and toffee malts - not a lot of hops coming through.

Taste: the caramel and toffee malts are accompanied by some nut flavours, and a pinch of berries or underripe fruits. An odd - and to be honest, quite awkward - doughy quality on the undertone does nothing for this ale.

Aftertaste: fortunately the awkwardness disappears, to be replaced solely by the lovely caramel and fruits flavours.

Mouth feel: medium body, and a fairly low carbonation. I would say it is quite sessional other than that awful doughy quality that makes you almost have to pinch your nose if you want to down it.

Overall: really not a brilliant beer. If you want a good caramel-malt-and-nut-based beer, try James Squire's Amber Ale. Much better built, and cheaper by the case.

 1,046 characters

Photo of RunDWP
3.36/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

I salute the San Diego airport, which of all the airports I've been to in America, has the best selection in the terminals. For instance, before catching a flight in SAN yesterday, I had a couple pints of Red Trolley Ale. Nice reddish brown color with a thin white head and some decent lace work on the glass. Not much in the aroma department, but maybe mine was a little too cold to generate much aroma. Slight caramel malt aroma. Nice rich combination of caramel malt with a little roastiness, maybe a little nuttiness, and a slight grassy hops finish. Doesn't blow me away, but nice blend of flavors for a solid ale. A little high in the carbonation, which I've noticed in other Karl Stauss brews. Nice, smooth, mellow finish and a very solid session beer.

 759 characters

Photo of dansmcd
3.37/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A - Nice clear caramel ruby red tone without a head, just a ring with some very short lived lacing.

S - Fruity and sweet, toffee and a hint of booze, quite a British aroma.

T - Raspberry, toffee, grainy malts. Mild and tasty.

M - Moderately carbonated, dry and light in body.

O - Not a bad beer this one. Nice accompaniment to a winter meal.

 345 characters

Photo of Brewsmith
3.39/5  rDev -3.1%
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 Armand
3.4/5  rDev -2.9%
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 rxdrewthejew
3.4/5  rDev -2.9%
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.

 631 characters

Photo of mbrando33
3.41/5  rDev -2.6%
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.

 322 characters

Photo of HawkFalco
3.41/5  rDev -2.6%
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 ADZA
3.42/5  rDev -2.3%
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.

 500 characters

Photo of Red5StandingBy
3.42/5  rDev -2.3%
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.

 817 characters

Photo of notchucknorris
3.43/5  rDev -2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: More of an amber color than red with a tan head that holds up pretty well.

S: Some caramel malts and a slight hint of faded hops.

T: Similar to the smell. A little caramel malt sweetness followed by a faded hop flavor. As the beer warms, the malts stand out a bit more and take on a more bready character. It's one of the better Karl Strauss beers I've had, but still not great.

 383 characters

Photo of ManuelHerrera
3.44/5  rDev -1.7%
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 twiggamortis420
3.45/5  rDev -1.4%
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.

 697 characters

Photo of mactrail
3.45/5  rDev -1.4%
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.

 562 characters

Photo of Halcyondays
3.45/5  rDev -1.4%
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.

 435 characters

Photo of Overlord
3.48/5  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.

 467 characters

Photo of BigBry
3.49/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Draft pint, while in California, another local offering.
Pours clear amber with a beige head, foam quickly faded to a film, thin lace lines.
Smell is malt, caramel, some fruitiness.
Taste has a good malt base, some fruit like in the smell.
Higher than expected carbonation, thin body.
Overall, a pretty average beer. Nothing too terrible, but nothing memorable either.

 371 characters

Photo of MadCat
3.5/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Review from notes.

Appearance: Beautiful amber red color, very clear, good white head

Smell: Caramel and fruit on the nose

Taste: Caramel, fruit, biscuity malts Good flavor for the style

Mouthfeel: Light to medium body, good carbonation

Overall: A good example of the style, and good mainstay at Karl Strauss, but not the most exciting beer. Still, no complaints

 367 characters

Photo of Zorro
3.51/5  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.

 774 characters

Photo of noknife83
3.52/5  rDev +0.6%
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

Red Trolley Ale from Karl Strauss Brewing Company
3.5 out of 5 based on 530 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • Extreme Beer Fest® Cometh

    February 3-4, 2017. Boston, Mass. Limited tickets available. Prepare for epicness.

    Learn More
  • 10 Years of BeerAdvocate Magazine

    We're celebrating 10 years of BA mag with $10 print subscriptions for US residents!

    Subscribe