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Red Trolley Ale | Karl Strauss Brewing Company

YOUR RATING = None |
BA SCORE
80
good
137 Reviews
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Red Trolley AleRed Trolley Ale
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Karl Strauss Brewing Company
California, United States | website

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:
137
Ratings:
514
Avg:
3.49
pDev:
28.94%
 
 
Wants:
24
Gots:
128
For Trade:
0
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Reviews: 137 | Ratings: 514
Photo of ccrida
3/5  rDev -14%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearence is rich mahogeny with a small off-white collar leaving very light lace.

Smell isvery sweet malt, carmel, some gingerbread.

Taste is also real sweet and malty, but there is a husky bite too it as well, a touch metallic.

Mouthfeel is off dry and sharp.

Drinkability is ok if you like a really sweet, malty ale. I'd not have a 2nd if it wasn't the only craft brew in the san diego airport where I have a painful 4 hour layover. I was really hoping for some good IPA!

 482 characters

Photo of rawfish
2.56/5  rDev -26.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Pours dark amber, rusty colored under the light, mild chill haze. One finger high head of tight off white bubbles. Average retention with many solid lines of lacing. Kinda attractive for a session beer.

Caramel malts with a slight bit of dark berries, very dank and musty hop aroma. Little bit on honey and toasted almond on the finish.

Very raw and grainy malt bill, some mixed nuts and caramel in the flavor. Notes of burnt sugar and subtle fall fruits. Hops don't really push back any as they are small and dank, shriveled up with some pine and lettuce leaves. Husky grains and raw bread dough finish off the drink and really accelerates on the finish.

Well carbonated with an average body. Drying that accentuates the awful grainy taste in the finishing malt.

This beer is everywhere in SD but I don't see how it's gotten so popular or how it deserves a gold medal of any kind. Flavorful malt bill and sessionable but an absolute adjunct and raw mess on the finish, you need to keep quaffing this thing to keep the aftertaste out of your mouth. Karl's seasonal offerings and one shots are so much better, I'll pass on this.

 1,132 characters

Photo of Drinkerofales
3.7/5  rDev +6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours clear copper with golden highlights. A medium sized tan head settled quickly to a ring that barely leaves some lacing.

Smells of toasted malts, a note of burnt sugar, musty.

Taste is a big bigger, toasted malts, a hint of chocolate and hint of vanilla sweet on the finish.

Smooth and drinkable, but thin, with a medium dry finish.

It's ok, but needs a little more hop to balance it out.

DOA

 401 characters

Photo of SmashPants
3.35/5  rDev -4%
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 ADZA
3.42/5  rDev -2%
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 dansmcd
3.37/5  rDev -3.4%
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 CrazyDavros
3.2/5  rDev -8.3%
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 OleJohnnieAle
3.88/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had on tap at Kansas City BBQ in San Diego

A: Nice rich amber red color, minimal head that left thin lacing behind.

S: Malts with a biscuit note, nice sweet caramel notes.

T: Nice malts up front with some sweetness coming through from the caramel and toffee.

M: Medium body, minimal carbonation. Well balanced.

O: Nice red, well balanced, nothing too special but a drinkable good showing of a irish red.

 409 characters

Photo of Aiptasia
3.7/5  rDev +6%
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.

 573 characters

Photo of hopfacebrew
3/5  rDev -14%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Picked up a pint at the San Diego airport before flying home. Beer served in a standard pint glass. Pours a pale light clear red with a thin white head. Not much to report in aroma, very average hop and malt aroma. Similar taste: some caramel sweetness with some malty biscuity character, mild hoppiness. Overall, this beer was about as average as you can go. Glad to have tried it, would not drink it again.

 408 characters

Photo of sulldaddy
3.27/5  rDev -6.3%
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 GbVDave
3.16/5  rDev -9.5%
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.

 560 characters

Photo of Beerandraiderfan
3/5  rDev -14%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a light red, standard clarity, 1/2" head on it, white in color. Aroma was uneventful.

Taste, a little bit of caramel, toffee, sweet and bready. Not really any bitterness or hops to speak of here. Relatively light on the palate. For a second, I thought I should be giving this beer a higher rating, it doesn't do anything poorly, it is true to style, but its just so run of the mill for me, but I realize that's how I feel about most red ales. Just one of those, don't hate it, don't love it.

Its a beer that has a place in the world, but its not exactly teeming with flavor country either.

 599 characters

Photo of HopHead84
4/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12/23/2011

On tap at Karl Strauss

A: Reddish amber with a small beige head.

S: Aromatic toffee and caramel with a firm and insistent bready malt presence. I get some earth and a little prune.

T: Rich caramel malt accompanies baked bread and biscuit. The beer brings raisin to mind and maybe a touch of prune. Bitterness is low.

M: Upper medium body with moderate carbonation.

Overall: A pretty nice Irish Red Ale.

 420 characters

Photo of BrewerB
4.03/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pouring into a small Firestone Walker nonic pint glass. Clear copper body with a large off-white foam that collapsed down thin. Excellent retention.

Sweet caramel maltiness, wintergreen mint. Milk chocolate. Orange marmalade.

Medium-toasted malts up front. Earthy/herbal. Touch of caramel sweetness. Medium bitter. Finishing medium malty sweet.

Medium-light in body with a soft carbonation.

Easy-drinking beer with a malt-focused flavor. Light caramel sweetness and hints of mint and chocolate.

 502 characters

Photo of rinhaak
3/5  rDev -14%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

On tap at LAX.

Pours a slightly pale red copper. A good-sized head that left behind a mild lace.

Not a very interesting nose, with aromas of mild rust, copper, and bubblegum.

Very light in body, though a tad syrupy.

Mild flavors, the beer has a fruity character with a hints of the rustiness I expect in an Irish Red. No finish to speak of, nearly no bitterness, it's pretty simple and one-dimensional.

Overall, I was quite disappointed. I've had both their Tower 10 IPA and Full Suit Brown, and was very impressed with both. This really wasn't up to that standard and was really rather ordinary. Not worth having.

 620 characters

Photo of StArnoldFest2010
3.73/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

P: Medium carbonation and dime head that dissapers quickly. Amber color
N: Roasted malt & barley with light yeast smell
T: This is what a red ale should taste like. Caramel malt and barley blended with nutty & slightly sweet aftertaste
M: Surprisingly thin compared to the taste. From the taste, you'd expect a medium thick palate coating residual effect, but it goes down pretty easy. Price wise, if I saw 22oz bottles for $3.99 or 12oz 6 packs for $8.49, I'd pick some up from time to time.

 492 characters

Photo of UCLABrewN84
2.97/5  rDev -14.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a crystal clear amber with a 1 inch fizzy beige head that fades to a film on the top of the beer. Random dots of lace drip back down into the remaining beer on the drink down. Smell is of malt, caramel, fruit, and a slight metallic aroma. Taste is malty, fruity, caramel, and there is a slight metallic flavor just like the smell. The carbonation on this beer is fairly high and paired with a somewhat thin body the mouthfeel is not that impressive. Overall, this is a pretty average beer all around. Nothing too horrible but not something I would probably try again.

 573 characters

Photo of DM1293
4/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Award winning huh? I'll put that to the test.

Bottle, clear cup.

Appearance - ...its a light red coloration. Interesting, seeing as the other reds I've tried have been a darker shade of red. The head foams up a little but dissipates after a couple minutes.

Smell - Light, unimposing; caramelly sweet notes. Gives way just enough for a bit of maltiness to shine through.

Taste - Interesting. It tastes like a red, no doubt. A slightly sweet, malty taste. Nothing too imposing, not too sweet or bitter (and what it is doesn't go over the top), not too bold or weak. I can see why its got an award on it. Its very well-balanced, doing everything it should but being exactly what a basic red ale should be. I could almost call this a benchmark for what a red should be.

Mouthfeel - Bold but dissipates quick. A light thickness that dissipates fast.

Overall - ...Pretty much iconic of what a red should be while making nothing too stand-out. Karl Strauss, I may have been unimpressed by your wheat (circumstances may have caused that), but your red is nothing to scoff at in my opinion. A great drink with the right meal.

 1,122 characters

Photo of ehammond1
3.68/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On Tap

Karl Strauss Brewing Company
Carlsbad, CA

Dark red and amber with a thin khaki colored head. Lines of lacing left down the glass.

Very bready aroma with some significant caramel sweetness as well. Simple, pleasant enough, and very bready.

This tastes like toasted bread with a bit of caramel and toffee sweetness. Moderate bitterness. Simple, though very drinkable.

Medium bodied with ample carbonation.

An extremely bready red ale, and flavorful enough per the style.

 481 characters

Photo of Nugganooch
3.58/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Freebie from the In-Laws house figure why not give er a review.

Notes from 09/12/11
12oz to pint glass

A: Red Trolley pours a deep hazy amber color with a thin one finger sandy colored head. No stay power. No lace really.

S: Smells malty sweet with toffee notes and a slight orange tartness to it.

T: Tastes of warm toasty sweet toffee and caramel notes. A bit more classic to the style. Still some slight hop bitterness. Orange and pine in there. Dash of alcohol. Sweet dry finish.

M: Light-med. body with a dry finish. Nice carbonation levels. Keeps the chewy caramel malts at bay.

D: I found myself enjoying this brew after having at so many restaurants and parties/events etc. I would say this brew has mass appeal and would be a good "gateway" craft recommendation.

You get a caramel flav distinct to the style with a lighter less-filling body and actual decent hop bitterness.

 892 characters

Photo of BucannonXC5
3.11/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from a tap into a 20-oz. pilsner glass at the San Diego Tap Room in the airport. Color was reddish brown. Had about ¾-inches of head. Slight lacing in the beginning, but more throughout.

Smelled malty with hints of caramel, but nothing too special.

Good first taste. Malty, red, somewhat nutty. Aftertaste was a bit more bitter.

It never really got better or even stayed as good as it started. Tastes wore out. Average carbonation.

Taste got old quicker than I hoped, but will give the benefit of the doubt for 24 ounces and the plastic cup. Mid-to-high carbonation.

I’m sure this would have been much better out of a pint glass or bottle, but sometimes you have to go with what you have. Will give it another try and check the ratings then.

 757 characters

Photo of Bendurgin
3.95/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle from Randy. Thanks! Poured into a pint glass. Pours a clear dark amber with a biege head with a finger of bubbly head. A little bit of soapy lace.

Very malty on the aroma. Brown sugar comes to mind with a little bit of toffee and rich dark fruit. Smells pretty good. This is a malt bomb. Huge grainy malts on the pallet with a little bit of brown sugar and a bit of a caramel flavor. Ends with a little bit of a bitter flavor.

Medium to full body but the carbonation is a little bit coarse. Pretty good brew here. Malt bombs like this don't tend to be my thing but I'm really enjoying this one.

 603 characters

Photo of kflorence
3.33/5  rDev -4.6%
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 Klym
2.74/5  rDev -21.5%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured into a Stone nonic.

A: Pours a dark amber with a plentiful white head that leaves porous but otherwise killer lacing. Not bad lookin'.

S: Malt bomb with grain and wheat notes. Smells like a mediocre lager.

T: The nose. Grain, malts, wheat, mediocrity.

M: Despite the head there's very little carbonation in the body. Pretty watery. Not pleasant but I've had worse.

O: Karl Strauss somehow has the place in my mind of a brewery that makes macro beers but holds the self-image of a microbrewery. They've been digging me out of this perception with some beers, such as Parrot In a Palm Tree which was actually a very superior brew, or their most recent anniversary stout which had some flare. With their classic selections like Red Trolley Ale, though, there's just not much room for anything other than boredom and disappointment. I'm not sure I've ever had an Irisih Red Ale so I can't make much of an in-style comparison but I can tell you I'd probably take some generic lagers over this. Unless you're new to craft beer and want to make baby steps from coors light, I'd avoid this.

As a final note, I hope the people at Karl Strauss keep taking risks as they have been trying to recently. They've been creative before, they just have to keep trying. I look forward to future efforts from them but I won't bother trying their classic selection anymore.

 1,369 characters

Red Trolley Ale from Karl Strauss Brewing Company
80 out of 100 based on 137 ratings.
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