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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: 526
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 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 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.

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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 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.

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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 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.

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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.

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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.

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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 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.


 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 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 IntriqKen
3.28/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

"A full bodied copper-colored ale with rich flavors of tofee, subtle hintsof currants an dates, andan incredibly smooth finish."
Yep...a little too sweet....definately a light roasted flavor to the malts....a very full and smooth mouthfeel with a little bit of citrus hops on the end to leave the palette clean and dry.
Beautiful lacing with lots of tiny bubbles coming up from the bottom the entire time I was drinking this pint.

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Photo of sulldaddy
3.27/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

I sampled this brew on draft at kilt lifter bar near Petco Park.
Arrived in a 20 oz pint glass. The beer is a rich mahogany hue with some garnet highlights. No head whatsoever.
Aroma is all malt with caramel, toffee and some grainy malt. I don't get any hops and I find the nose to be just a bit too sweet.
First sip reveals an average body with gentle rolling carboantion. Texture is a bit sticky and leaves some residue on my lips.
Flavor is rich malt toffee and some grain again not really any hop profile.

The beer is very straightforward malty brew and easy to drink. Good when out with friends if you'll not really wanting to think too much about your beer. But could be more interesting with a little more hop balance.

 726 characters

Photo of donniecuffs
3.25/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Poured amber/copper into a 5oz sampling glass, with a finger of white head, and decent carbonation. Smelled overwhelmingly of malt, with some caramel, biscuit, and a tiny hint of chocolate. The taste however was very one-dimensionally geared toward maltiness, from start to finish, with a little bit of caramel sprinkled in. Full-bodied and nicely carbonated, but not a session beer for me.

 390 characters

Photo of EagleTalon
3.24/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours to a moderate beige head and moderate lacing. Color is brilliant red-amber. Aroma is a disappointingly weak caramel malt. Flavors consist of a mild mix of graininess, crystal malts, pale malt and a balancing hop bitterness and weak hop flavor. Mouthfeel is thin and a bit too flat Pepsi-like. Overall it is a decent, predictable drinking experience.

 355 characters

Photo of srandycarter
3.23/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A - Fairly clear brownish red, close to white, small head, leaves to ring fast. Some cling lace.

S - Not much there. Best I get get is earthy, dusty. Very light malt undercurrent.

T - Simple light red. Nice enough.

M - Good carb, light to med body, balance ok.

D- Nice sessionability. Easy enough to drink.

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Photo of Foxtrot
3.21/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from bottle into pint glass.

Poured a nice dark amber hue with a small ivory head and decent lacing.

Not a whole lot going on in the nose. Just faintly picked up some malts with a touch of sweetness. Nothing really pronounced at all with the aroma.

Taste was decent at best. Definitely big on the malts but no hop bitterness to balance it out. I found this particular beer to be slightly too sweet for me. Just a bit much on the caramel and toffee flavors.

The mouthfeel was good. It seemed a little light to me.

Drinkability is certainly good, but the flavor and lack of hop presence makes this beer less desirable.

 630 characters

Photo of CrazyDavros
3.2/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.5

Pours ruby/copper with a large, lasting head.
Nose shows caramel, bready malt, faint cocoa and a misplaced doughy note.
Better flavours, with strong nutty, bready and caramel notes throughout, followed by a mild bitterness.
Body seems pretty watery. Too much carbonation.

 271 characters

Photo of Durge
3.18/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Tried this one on tap at the Fish Market Restaurant in San Diego where it poured nice and cold, a dark brown, thick and hazy color with a fizzy whimpy off-white head that disappears with some minor lacing. The aroma suggests malty brown sugar and grassy wheat. The taste is consistent with the smell. Somewhat thin, with minor sweetness and a pretty forgetable wheat bitterness. Fairly drinkable and well carbonated for a refreshing feel, but not something you really feel compelled to drink many of in my opinion. Not the best of what I have tried from this brewer but not regrettable either.

 593 characters

Photo of GbVDave
3.16/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Served in a pilsner glass at the Top of the Hyatt bar in San Diego.

A: Served a reddish light brown with a thin creamy layer of just off-white head on top. Retention was pretty good with small clusters of lace left behind.

S: Really had to strain to get much aroma out of this. It was pretty cold when first served so it began to release a tiny nose after it warmed. Caramel, toasty bread, lemon-y hops. Meh.

T: See above.

M: Enjoyable. Slick with a definite toasty dryness.

O: Really pretty boring. It's saviors are how it looks and how it feels. Pass.

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Photo of BucBasil
3.15/5  rDev -10%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Poured from the 22oz bomber into a large mug.

A: The beer is a brownish red amber/caramel sort of color - expected out of an Irish Red. Head is 2 fingers offwhite to very light tan and has ok retention.

S: Caramel and toffee notes dominating. Light toasted character with fruity twinges underneath. Buttery note in there as well, which gets in the way a bit.

T: Very much a malt bomb - this seems much more like a doppelbock or something to me. Butterscotch and toffee up front. Toasted bread throughout as well as a touch of brown sugar. Some berry notes hidden way underneath. Not much hop character here. Super sweet and gets a bit cloying at times. On the plus side, very smooth.

This is a good beer in smaller doses, but is very sweet. Not too bad overall, but I don't think I'll pick this one up again.

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Photo of DoubleJ
3.15/5  rDev -10%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Here's a Karl Strauss offering which you can find in a handful of bars here in Southern Califronia. Let's see...widesh distribution = better than their other offerings, right? So we find out. On to the beer:

It pours a medium amber color into my glass with a small head. The smell is sweet and fruity, almost like candied fruit. There's a trickle of malt in the nose too. Well, so far it's off to a good start. But good starts only last for so long. More sugary fruits in the taste without much balance from the hops, and the malt runs around on the palate. The beer is made to be sweet according to the bottle label, but it's a little cloying in my opinion. Worth a try.

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Red Trolley Ale from Karl Strauss Brewing Company
3.5 out of 5 based on 526 ratings.
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