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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 Dmann
3.53/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This is a decent offering from Karl Strauss and will definantly appeal to the MaltHeads out there. The beer poures a deep amber/red color with a nice frothy white head that left nice lace down my glass. The smell was interesting and made up of a very light doppelbock type scent. The taste was nothing as intriguing as the scent, but quite plesent. The beer had a nice malt flavor to it and was quite sweet with a definant caramel aftertaste. Like I said, lovers of malt will go for this beer but the taste is a little too one dimentonal for me.

 545 characters

Photo of Dogbrick
3.53/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Got this on draught at the Uva Cafe in Downtown Disney, after pretty much giving up on finding any decent beer in the Disney parks. Pretty amber color with a medium beige head. Nice malty aroma balanced with a faint whiff of hops. Flavor is nicely balanced sweet malt and hops with a light hoppy finish. Worth seeking out if you are at Disney and are sick of only finding Bud.

 376 characters

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

A - Pours a crystal clear amber with a thin tan head. Looks like this is going to refreshing. Head fades after a few minutes leaving behind a moderate dosing of lace.

S - The nose is mild overall. Caramel is mostly what comes through. Some raw bread dough quickly follows. Alcohol is barely noticeable at the end.

T - The flavor doesn't quite follow the aroma which is somewhat of a relief. Starts out with some sweet bread followed by a cracker flavor. Caramel comes and goes throughout but stays mild overall. Alcohol is very hard to pick up.

M - Light bodied with just enough carbonation to pull it through. Finish is sweet and doesn't hang on for very long. Very smooth.

D - Drinkability is good. The smoothness really helps out alot. This one comes across as a run of the mill amber for the most part. Not bad but not too remarkable either.

 850 characters

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 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.

 224 characters

Photo of granger10
3.58/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Medium amber red color with a medium white head and moderate lacing. Not much aroma here. A bit of fruityness and caramel. Taste is quite sweet but I like it. Lots of toffee with a caramelized strawberry flavor on top. Not much in the hop dept. A bit of a creamy body. Slight sour notes from the yeast. Finish is a bit sticky and this could definitely be cloying after a few. I only had one and it went fast but I am satisfied and want some more hops.

 451 characters

Photo of Nugganooch
3.58/5  rDev +2.3%
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 AlCaponeJunior
3.58/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On tap in the San Diego airport at 6:45 am.

Red and clear with a nice head and decent lacing.

Caramel and bready malts dominate both the aroma and taste. There's a hint of hops, but not much. Still, it's quite tasty on tap, and damn fine early in the morning before a long flight.

Relatively light bodied, ample carbonation, leaving a nice sweet malty aftertaste.

Truly a pleasant and likeable offering. I'd be happy to try more from this brewery.

 454 characters

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.

 753 characters

Photo of IBUnit63
3.62/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a diluted root beer with no head

Slight malt scent-very mellow

Roasted malt character - rather clean actually with a little faint coffee and cinnamon note

Light for a darker mini-macro with solid malt backbone

Drinks well for chain restaurant offering

 261 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.

 361 characters

Photo of glid02
3.65/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On-tap at a random bar in Mission Beach, CA.

Pours a slightly hazy dark amber color with a half-finger white head. The head recedes into a thin layer on top leaving light lacing.

Smells of lightly toasted malts with a good dose of caramel malt sweetness. As the beer warms hints of milk chocolate aromas waft out as well.

Tastes similar to how it smells. Grainy caramel malt flavors with hints of toastiness kick things off. Midway through the sip the flavor sweetens a bit, allowing milk chocolate flavors to work their way out. Very mild amounts of leafy hops enter into things before a mildly bitter ending.

Mouthfeel is good. It's got a nice thickness with smooth carbonation.

Drinkability is good. I didn't have any problems finishing my glass and could have another.

Overall I wasn't a huge fan of this beer but it's certainly not a terrible decision if this is your best option. Not worth seeking out but also not worth avoiding.

 942 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 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 ehammond1
3.68/5  rDev +5.1%
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 TheQuietMan22
3.69/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

I tried this last week at the Dodgers game and wanted to try it in a real glass (not a plastic cup). I didn't trust my taste buds or nose at the stadium; it was a lot more chocolately than your average amber.

Appearance: Poured a clear, beautiful deep copper with a tint of orange. A half finger of head developed on my first glass due to drinker's error, but my second glass produced a finger and a half of tan foam that reduced to a spotted lacing and ring around the edge.

Smell: My first impression was of chocolate. Maybe my review at the stadium wasn't so bad after all. It's a little surprising from an amber. There is also a very deep and rich caramel aroma. Reminds me of a caramel filled piece of chocolate from a heart shaped box. As it warms a scent of plumbs and bread dough enters.

Taste: The chocolate is subdued and overtaken by hops, which are well-balanced with the malts. There is a plumb quality that blends perfectly with the caramel notes. There is a slight citrus flavor of sour grapefruit, but it is very subtle.

Drinkability: This is a very drinkable brew, even at a baseball game in a plastic cup.

 1,127 characters

Photo of joshstillskates
3.69/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

This beer is very drinkable, not very bitter, but not too weak. To me, it actually has a very distinct malty flavor and leaves behind a sweet aftertaste. I randomly selected this brew and honestly, I wasn't the least disappointed. My only criticism is, I could use a bit more carbonation. All in all, will drink again.

 318 characters

Photo of Drinkerofales
3.7/5  rDev +5.7%
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.


 401 characters

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.

 573 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 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.

 378 characters

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

Pours a slightly hazed amber color with a decent head.

Smells malty, bready, tea like, and a little caramel too.

Taste is clean and crisp. Mostly malts up front, caramel sweetness, crisp nutty breads, and some brewed tea. Finish has that crispness, with some mineral like hops.

Mouthfeel is ok, a touch thin, with decent carbonation.

Drinkability is pretty good. This is a pretty solid amber ale. Definitely malt forward, but that's certainly not a bad thing. After this one, I think I'll have another...

 508 characters

Photo of jpa01
3.72/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: It's a dark red and amber looking beer, thinly foamed at the top.

Smell: It has a pleasant grainy, toffe-like aroma.

Taste: It has a malty, caramel taste with a mild bit of sweetness and fruitiness.

Mouthfeel: It feels like a medium-bodied beer, having moderate carbonation.

Drinkability: It seems sightly watered down, but is fairly smooth and easy to drink with or without food.

Overall: I'd say it's a solid red ale.

 437 characters

Photo of StArnoldFest2010
3.73/5  rDev +6.6%
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

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