Red Trolley Ale | Karl Strauss Brewing Company

Red Trolley AleRed Trolley Ale
BA SCORE
3.55/5
554 Ratings
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
Ranking:
#39,137
Reviews:
144
Ratings:
554
pDev:
14.37%
Bros Score:
0
 
 
Wants:
26
Gots:
155
Trade:
0
HISTOGRAM
 
View: Beers | Events
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 554 |  Reviews: 144
Photo of Decko
3.87/5  rDev +9%
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 Gkrohn
3.86/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Photo of lacqueredmouse
3.85/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Having tried a couple of Karl Strauss special release brews in California, I thought I'd check out some of their regular range that are now making their way to Australia. Purchased from Dan Murphy's in Alexandria.

Pours a lovely deep, slightly bronzed red colour, which matches the colour on the label rather nicely. Head forms a solid fine crest of beige, and settles out to a decent persistent ring. Carbonation is fine, and there's some weight behind the body. It's nice.

Nose is quite grainy, with a thin toffee sweetness backing it up. Some leafy-sweet and slightly earthy hops behind it, especially when the beer is swirled, and a marmalade sweet-citrus note. I'm actually liking it more as it goes along, and it makes a pleasant departure from the hopped up red I was expecting.

Taste is similarly less hoppy than expected, with more grainy notes and a light body. But there's subtle complexities here. The grain has a wholesome character to it, digestive biscuits and whole grains, mingling with some marzipan, a little honeyed sweetness and some pleasantly biting ester characters on the back: it might just be the hint of extra booze, but it provides a bit of a cut on the finish which is nice.

Feel is light, but solid enough.

Overall, this is pretty drinkable stuff. Once I got over the lack of hops, and realised that this was a very determined choice, it was clear that this was a pretty well-crafted brew. Though the flavours might be subtle, they're there to be explored. I enjoyed it.

 1,506 characters

Photo of hoptrip619
3.85/5  rDev +8.5%
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 gboley
3.83/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of Antc2382
3.83/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of HopfenUndMalz2015
3.81/5  rDev +7.3%
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 Ironmanbg
3.8/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of Psilo707
3.8/5  rDev +7%
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!

 761 characters

Photo of jeff1973
3.8/5  rDev +7%

Photo of snakeayes11
3.79/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Photo of T100Mark
3.79/5  rDev +6.8%
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.

 645 characters

Photo of brandonmcneely
3.79/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of Billolick
3.78/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On tap in the hotel in S.D., reviewed on the lobby wireless hook up, ah technology...
A - Pours a rich shade of medium mahogony, clear, with an eggshell head, show retentive powers and leaving nice ringed and scattered lacing.
S - malty goodness.
T - This is tasty, malty brew, light on the hops, but some are preent in the rear and the finish, notes of honey, caramel, wafer cookies
M - Smooth , medium bodied, easy and pleasant on the tastebuds.
D - This is not my favorite style, kind of dull, especially after a week of seeking out and consuming SD style 2xIPA hop bombs, this is a pleasant, drinkable brew, nothing more, nothing else.

 644 characters

Photo of readbaron
3.78/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Pours a clear burnt red/orange with plentiful off white head that fades into a tiny ring. No lacing.

Smells strongly of malts - biscuits/cereal, with a ton of caramel sweetness and some faint hops and decent spice (cloves?)

Tastes a lot like it smells - tons of strong malty flavors, lots of sweetness and a bit of hops and spice on the finish. Pleasant aftertaste.

Feel is thin and prickly.

Overall - very good. Not sure it tastes like an ale, but I'm a fan of this one.

 477 characters

Photo of gatornation
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.

 304 characters

Photo of Bammer21
3.77/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Photo of treehugginslug
3.77/5  rDev +6.2%
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 CJNAPS
3.76/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Photo of mkrass
3.75/5  rDev +5.6%

Photo of bpfrush
3.75/5  rDev +5.6%

Photo of LXIXME
3.75/5  rDev +5.6%

Photo of augustgarage
3.75/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a pint glass. The color is a ruddy mixture of crimson and copper, similar to rooibos tea. Minimal head formation/retention. Aromatics are rich but fleeting and are not notably different than the flavors on the palate. The caramelized malts come through with a persistent toasty/nutty presence. This is balanced by a unique flavor that is difficult to identify (candy / dates / figs?) but is quite pleasant. Karl Strauss attributes this quality to the warm fermentation process. While not a malt-heavy beer, the yeast seems to be doing more of the balancing work than the hops. A slightly drying finish that leads you back for another sip.

While not as powerful in comparison to other seasonal red ales (e.g. Santa's Private Reserve Ale brewed by Rogue Ales), Red Trolley Ale deserves praise for its drinkability. It almost seems like in a failed attempt at crafting a winter-warmer Karl Strauss lucked on to something with more universal appeal.

 978 characters

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

Photo of Beernoobie
3.75/5  rDev +5.6%

Red Trolley Ale from Karl Strauss Brewing Company
Beer rating: 3.55 out of 5 with 554 ratings
  • About Us

    Founded in Boston in 1996, BeerAdvocate (BA) is your go-to resource for beer powered by an independent community of enthusiasts and professionals dedicated to supporting and promoting better beer.

    Learn More
  • Our Community

    Comprised of consumers and industry professionals, many of whom started as members of this site, our community is one of the oldest, largest, and most respected beer communities online.
  • Our Events

    Since 2003 we've hosted over 60 world-class beer festivals to bring awareness to independent brewers and educate attendees.
  • Our Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.