Red Trolley Ale | Karl Strauss Brewing Company

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80
good
144 Reviews
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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:
144
Ratings:
542
Avg:
3.5
pDev:
14.86%
 
 
Wants:
25
Gots:
145
For Trade:
0
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User Reviews
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Reviews: 144 | Ratings: 542
Photo of dutesanch
4.29/5  rDev +22.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Super smooth and refreshing malt forward with a slightly sweet finish. A great tasting beer for any occasion that I feel even novice drinkers would enjoy. Good from the bottles but I enjoy these the most from my Sam Adams perfect pint glasses.

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Photo of Psilo707
3.8/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

I was excited to review Red Trolley officially since it has been one of my favorite and most consistent San Diego brews since I have moved here.

It pours a deep crimson color into the mug and leaves an intricate lacing along the sides as it dissipates down. The scent is one of cocoa and butter, and doesn't let up on the nose even minutes after taking a whiff. The taste is extremely chocolately for a red ale and the aftertaste of piney nuts and almonds shines through.

Mouthfeel is creamy but the prolonged taste when sitting in the mouth leaves a bit to be desired. Drinkability is high and is possibly one of the highest ratings of any Red Ale i've ever had.

Overall, Red Trolley is a fine example of what the microbreweries of San Diego have to offer!

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Photo of Mitzvahman72
5/5  rDev +42.9%
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.

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Photo of coolandy007
4.92/5  rDev +40.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

This is an interesting example of Irish Red because there are hidden notes of citrus from American hop that actually work quite well for the style. Pours a gorgeous amber with small head and is strong on the caramel and malt flavors. Barely noticeable hops on the nose, instead heavy malt sweetness, caramel and tiny hints of dark fruit.

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Photo of Jemonster
3.72/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Caramel red color with large bubble carbonation. No head.

S: Root beer barrel candy, malt, and butter.

T: Root beer candy and malt dominate. There is some vanilla also. Almost too sweet.

M: A little too carbonated for me. The sweetness makes it almost slimy.

D: Not bad overall, I like it and it goes well with food. A not too challenging, smooth, and easy drinking beer.

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Photo of Aiptasia
3.7/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This beer is getting panned a lot as a "meh" beer, but when I was at a convention last week at the SD convention center, it was a welcome alternative to BMC beers. I didn't pour it into glass, but it appeared to be clean inside of the bottle with a nice neck head. It smelled of citrus hops, biscuit malt and nuttiness. Similar taste, with a great malt nutty backbone and finished dry. Average carbonation and drinkability, makes a great summer beer when you're looking for just a little depth in your beer.

Overall, it's a solid beer. It's inexpensive and worth drinking.

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Photo of swid
3.52/5  rDev +0.6%
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! :-)

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Photo of NickRivers
3.61/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A&S - Pours a clear red with two fingers of dirty white, foamy head. Very sweet and bready on the nose with lots of caramel and spices but no hop presence.

T&M - Light and crisp caramel turns to a thick sticky bready alcohol flavor with a small hop bite, maybe even a nibble of hops, nothing too big. Mouthfeel is nice and pleasant, very well balanced beer.

O - Overall an excellent beer, most Brewery/Restaurants beers can't compare to this.

Nice beer with a lot of malt flavor, something you don't see to much in California flagships. Not much to say on this one, its nice and drinkable but nothing stands out. For those who love that heavy, bready, alcohol flavor, go out and pick it up. Can't wait to try KS' other brews. Stay thirsty my friends.

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Photo of surfer4life
3.56/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a Pint glass from a 12oz bottle

A - Holds true to the red/amber color, perfect hue with a small 1/4 inch head that recedes to small film in a few minutes.

S - Smells of hops, cherry and strawberry candy. Perhaps a bit of syrup smell that make the beer almost smell like a soda.

T - Very sweet, but not syrup like the smell would incline. Hops can be detected although not to strong. Raisins, caramel and some hints of cinnamon and nutmeg. Tasty.

M - Medium carbonation, seems to go dull very quickly though, so all the good taste is in the front.

D - I think I could drink this for a session beer. It certainly beats the bud/coors/miller available at the corner store.

 689 characters

Photo of VWBuggirl
4.23/5  rDev +20.9%
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.

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Photo of Trappissed
2.77/5  rDev -20.9%
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 -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.

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Photo of Roeters
3.03/5  rDev -13.4%
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.

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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.

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Photo of jjh19
4.24/5  rDev +21.1%
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?

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Photo of dtumminelliob
3.57/5  rDev +2%
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.

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Photo of Bricelyn
4.04/5  rDev +15.4%
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.

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Photo of Decko
3.87/5  rDev +10.6%
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.

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Photo of Tonedef
3.74/5  rDev +6.9%
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..

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Photo of ctdfalconer
3.06/5  rDev -12.6%
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.

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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.

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Photo of Curtis
3.12/5  rDev -10.9%
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.

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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.

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Photo of jj139
3.63/5  rDev +3.7%
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.

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Photo of treehugginslug
3.77/5  rDev +7.7%
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.

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Red Trolley Ale from Karl Strauss Brewing Company
3.5 out of 5 based on 542 ratings.
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