Red Trolley Ale | Karl Strauss Brewing Company

BA SCORE
80
good
144 Reviews
THE BROS
-
no score
Send samples
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
Reviews:
144
Ratings:
542
Avg:
3.5
pDev:
14.86%
 
 
Wants:
25
Gots:
145
For Trade:
0
View: Beers | Events
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
firstprev| 76-100 | 101-125 | 126-150  | next → last
Reviews: 144 | Ratings: 542
Photo of jhutch31
4.03/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Tried this beer while watching the Niners Game last Sunday. Poured into a 16 oz pint glass.

Appearance: My favorite quality of this beer was the appearance. Absolutely polished. Poured with a perfect 2 finger head with some lacing left in the glass. Carbonation was perfect and head retention was delightful.

Smell: This beer did not have a lot of aroma as I would think an irish red shouldn't. Hop character is low so you really smell more of the malts that were used than you do the hops.

Taste: The taste was good. Typical irish red flavor. It's my personal preference that I don't like irish reds to be really sweet, but have a slight amount of malt sweetness and focus more on the body and slightly doughy/biscuity character of the malts used. This beer was a little too sweet for me and after a few drinks, I started to enjoy it less and less. However, thats my personal preference and it is still a great beer. You can definately taste the caramel and toffee notes of what I presume to be the victory and munich malts that are used in the grain bill.

Mouthfeel: Mouthfeel was good. Smooth, well balanced and easy drinking.

Overall: I would say this is a good irish red, just not my style. If you are an irish red drinker, I would recommend you try this beer as it's won some very prestigous awards for its example of the style.

 1,341 characters

Photo of hoptrip619
3.85/5  rDev +10%
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 dojobrewco
4.22/5  rDev +20.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

My recent fascination with Red Ales probably gives this brew more credit than it deserves but overall I thought it was very good. A little too much on the sweet side but finishes nice and smooth. The aroma is perfect for the style and the mouthfeel is very light. I chose this particular brew over the sampler because I had just recenlty brewed my own batch of red Ale and I gotta say the Red Trolley Ale was definately better than mine.

 437 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 SundaySour
2.87/5  rDev -18%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Shared with Cavery.

A: A misty reddish-orange beer with a massive cream colored head. Like a nuclear sunset.

S: There's something rotten in Denmark. I smell...dare I say, bile. There are other smells, maybe a bit of burnt caramel. But it's like someone ate something delicious before ralphing all over the place.

T: Fearing the worst after sniffing my way into a panic attack, this beer is surprisingly light. Truly, it is the Miller Light of red ales. I get a light flavor of sourdough bread, but mostly just water. If this were clear and in a Perrier bottle, I'd shrug and chug.

M: Fizzy, but not fizzy enough. Leaves a vague stale bread taste in the mouth.

O: This is like a very hunky man with rippling muscles and a fabulous car turning out to be a big yawn fest. I loved the appearance, but the flavor is nothing to cheer about. It's the kind of beer you wash something down with, not enjoy on it's own.

 916 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

 192 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.

 322 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

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 itfitz
3.73/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

With hints of resin, herbs, caramel, cereal, nuts, and roasty undertones, this easily-consumed beer has lively carbonation which gives it a light, pleasant finish.

When poured, it has a great-looking red hue which doesn't really prepare you for the hoppy overnotes.

Served cold and fresh, Red Trolley Ale works well as a session beer.

 337 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 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 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 WallyBoag
3.95/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Sampled at Disneylnad's California park this was a very attractive looking beer with a darker color and a smallish head. Laced pretty well. Smell was a very enjoyable sweet and tangy blend. Easy to drink. The taste could have used a little bit of improvement. It didn't taste bad, but at the same time there really wasn't too much to remember it buy. If only it tasted as good as it looked and smelled, this would be a truly great beer!

 436 characters

Photo of neeld
2.7/5  rDev -22.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Not impressed. This beer comes on too sweet and malty for my tastes and IMO for the style. Carbonation is also too low.

If I didn't read the label, I might guess this was an Oktoberfest. In fact, if they upped the carbonation 50% it might make a good one. As is, it's flat on both counts.

 289 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 p0wder2
4.45/5  rDev +27.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.75

I have no idea how to review beer yet. I'm still new :-)

The best thing I can say is that this beer is sweet as opposed to being bitter. I've always disliked beer in general, but only because I apparently wasn't drinking the right beer. It wasn't until I had a glass of this, that I decided beer can be awesome!

 312 characters

Photo of Webtelly
4.15/5  rDev +18.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

For those who have been around the block and refined the list of which beers they like, you may recall Killian's Red. Not a chugging beer, and a bit of hangover due to additives. I thought the same might be true for Red Trolley. Not true. Very smooth. I have gone from high alcohol beers for the buzz, to settling on Miller Lite because my genes just seem to like Pilsner beers better. So naturally, I was hesitant to buy a six-pack of bottles of Red Trolley. Some people say it is too sweet and too heavy, but at 5.8% alcohol, it's a hit because it is very satisfying as a sipping beer straight from the bottle. Get it ice cold, and you can make a bottle last as long as 2 cans of light beer. So, I like it, because a Friday evening can justify the extra cost and quality. I say forget all the talk about caramel and chocolate and aftertastes. These really are only a whisp if you sip this beer properly.

 913 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

firstprev| 76-100 | 101-125 | 126-150  | next → last
Red Trolley Ale from Karl Strauss Brewing Company
3.5 out of 5 based on 542 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

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

    Subscribe