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Red Trolley Ale | Karl Strauss Brewing Company

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Red Trolley AleRed Trolley Ale

Brewed by:
Karl Strauss Brewing Company
California, United States

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

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Reviews: 139 | Ratings: 525
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.

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Photo of Lingenbrau
3.95/5  rDev +12.9%
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!

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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 Motleydrunk56
3.88/5  rDev +10.9%
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.

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Photo of rodbeermunch
3.02/5  rDev -13.7%
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.

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Photo of smakawhat
4/5  rDev +14.3%
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

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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

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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.

 660 characters

Photo of telecaster
2.26/5  rDev -35.4%
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.

 1,044 characters

Photo of SensorySupernova
4.35/5  rDev +24.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Clear amber with an off-white head.

Smell: Caramel, a bit fruity.

Taste: Moderately sweet caramel malt up front. Has a strong dark fruity hop aroma - like grapes or plumbs. Not very bitter. Leaves a clean hoppy aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: Medium thickness, well carbonated.

Overall: I really like this. It’s not over the top, but plenty flavorful in an easy to appreciate kind of way. I imagine this would be a good choice to introduce someone to beer.

 465 characters

Photo of RyanTheLion76
5/5  rDev +42.9%
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 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 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 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.

 337 characters

Photo of Jfn
4.69/5  rDev +34%
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 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 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.

 482 characters

Photo of HopfenUndMalz2015
3.81/5  rDev +8.9%
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

Photo of Stevedore
3.08/5  rDev -12%
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

 927 characters

Photo of chinchill
3.66/5  rDev +4.6%
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.

 385 characters

Photo of dcmchew
3.71/5  rDev +6%
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.

 716 characters

Photo of Fatehunter
3.66/5  rDev +4.6%
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.

 259 characters

Photo of T100Mark
3.79/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

A 12 ounce bottle poured into a shaker pint glass.

Appearance - Nice copper color. Amazing clarity. Big tan hear that fades quickly. Minimal stickage. A fine looking brew.

Smell - Faint malt nose. Sweet. Slight hint of burnt toast. Not overwhelming.

Taste - Malty. Sweet. Slight hint of burnt toast. Walnuts? The hops are almost nonexistent.

Mouth - Syrupy.

Overall - A malty, sweet, smooth amber ale with just a touch of nuttiness. Simple and honest. I appreciate the fact that this beer is a a true amber ale (so many California amber ales are loaded with hops). Your Coors Light chugging buddies might be able to appreciate this beer.

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Photo of Franziskaner
3.57/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Deep amber to reddish in color. A light bit of white foam covers a small bit of the top of the beer. Light aroma of caramel and amber malt. There's a taste of amber malt with very little play from the hops. There's not much in the fade. The body is a bit light for my taste.

 274 characters

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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Red Trolley Ale from Karl Strauss Brewing Company
3.5 out of 5 based on 525 ratings.
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