Wreck Alley Imperial Stout - Karl Strauss Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Wreck Alley Imperial StoutWreck Alley Imperial Stout

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
87
very good

196 Ratings
THE BROS
88
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 196
Reviews: 42
rAvg: 3.9
pDev: 12.82%
Wants: 6
Gots: 32 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Karl Strauss Brewing Company visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
American Double / Imperial Stout |  9.50% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: mactrail on 04-01-2012

No notes at this time.
View: Beers (74) | Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 196 | Reviews: 42
Reviews by Drinkerofales:
Photo of Drinkerofales
3.88/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

In the snifter, no light penetrates this black beer. A huge light mocha head dissipated slowly, and is retained well by the constant bubbling.

Smells of chocolate, coffee, roasted malts. Very traditional.

Taste is almost exactly as the smell, however, I get a strange earthy peat taste that isn't as appealing.

Texture is velvety, with upper medium body feel, very smooth. There is a light carbonation sting on the finish, but it's not detracting.

Something about this flavor doesn't do it for me, all the aspects of the beer are fine, just that one thing(the most important thing) isn't to my liking. It's not bad, but a bit off putting.

DOA

More User Reviews:
Photo of Beerswag
3.65/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Not too much head lingering around. Smells of dark chocolate and coffee. Taste is chocolate, some dried fruit in there, and finishing a little harsh on the palate, with spice and bitterness lingering.

Photo of Jason
3.92/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 brown bomber with no freshness date.

LOOK: Black, opaque, sudsy tan froth, sticky lacing

SMELL: Espresso, chicory, cocoa nibs, molasses, burnt raisins, floral alcohol, black toast, licorice root

TASTE: Smooth, creamy, full bodied, sweet, milky, cocoa, burnt sugar, treacle, coffee, Nutella, soft charcoal, burnt drying finish

A lot of fun drinking this bomber, quickly reminded me how much I like coffee / chocolate-ish stouts and big ones at that.

Photo of ehammond1
3.75/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On Tap

Churchill's Pub & Grille
San Marcos, CA

Very dark brown in color, though clearly not black, with dark ruby highlights near the edges and a thing dark brown head. This leaves regular lines of lace down the glass.

Earthy aroma with ground coffee accompaniment. There's roast and a hint of vanilla as well.

The flavor is similar, with ground coffee flavors dominating, along with a hint of alcohol, roast, a little bit of vanilla, and something, unfortunately, metallic.

Medium bodied with moderate carbonation and a hint of a metallic mouthfeel.

Good enough, though I was hoping for more.

Photo of chinchill
3.97/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On tap at the brewpub.

Appearance: dark brown-black color; opaque with a very durable tan head that leaves attractive lacing.

Aroma: appealing mix of coffee and baked dark bread.

Flavor: mildly sweet despite a strong coffee presence. High quality coffee component.

Feel: medium-full body with soft, light carbonation. A bit syrupy.

O: a very tasty coffee stout. Improved with warming. Reommended!

Photo of dertyd
4.1/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

poured from a 22 oz bomber to a 562 pint glass

A:dark almoast black with red hues looks like an dark iced coffee.verry thin kahaki head that settles to a ring around the glass almoast no lace

S:dark roast coffee,chocolate malts and vanilla

T: just like smell coffe,chocolate and vanilla verry smooth

M:smooth rich,verry wet

O:verry good imperial stout not to much coffee but just enough verry smooth

Live life drink beer!!!:-)

Photo of Rob23
3/5  rDev -23.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I am not going to go overboard with a description.This stout is just OK in my opinion.Most likely will not purchase again.I have had better(Ten Fidy,Stone,Boulevard,Rasputin)and I have had worse(no name to mention)If you do not mind trying new things and have the income to not care then by all means give it a go.Maybe the 2 IPAs I enjoyed before this one ruined the experience for me....but I doubt it.

Photo of flayedandskinned
3.21/5  rDev -17.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

No bottle date

Poured into a Duvel tulip glass.

Appearance: pours a deep, very dark brown with a finger and a half light tan head that recedes disappointingly fast, leaving no lacing behind.

Aroma: Soft milk chocolate, roasted malts, grassy, herbal hops and some background notes of coffee.

Taste: Creamy baker's chocolate up front, with some herbaceous hops intermingling with some rich, caramel laden roasted malts. There is a nice flourish of robust coffee beans and more chocolate in the lingering, off dry finish.

Mouthfeel: Light bodied, a quite bit thin for the style with some soft carbonation.

Overall: A decent imperial stout; I definitely wish the mouthfeel was fuller for 9.5% and I wish the coffee notes were more apparent, but the creamy, overt notes of chocolate are quite nice and help the beer seem richer. Karl Strauss hides the 9.5% extraordinarily well. I've allowed this beer to warm up almost to almost room temperature, and still not a single hint of alcohol which is quite impressive. I'd recommend this to someone who wants to try an easy drinking Imperial Stout.

Photo of docoman
3.46/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Decent stout, very thin, taste pretty good more chocolate not so much coffee note. Worth a try but there are better options in my opinion.

Photo of jeffjeff1
4.29/5  rDev +10%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

I tried this at the Winter Brews Fest in Concord but couldn't really write notes on it then. I got a few bottles of it later and took some notes.

Appearance- black color, thin tan head, decent lacing

Smell- coffee, chocolate

Taste- coffee, chocolate, very nice!

Mouthfeel- full bodied

Drinkability- I thought this was a very good stout. I really enjoyed it a lot!

Photo of funjack5150
3.39/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

I first smelled this stout and I got nothing but chocolate. And then I took my first sip and not a lot of chocolate. Then after that all I got was raisins and dates and dark fruits. To me this stout is ok...... I won't be running out to get more anytime soon.

Photo of Ryanbenjamin
3.58/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A- dark and rich. A rather small head that seemed a little thin

S- beautiful. Rich chocolate with a hint of coffee. Boozy smell toward the end

T- definitely taste the chocolate and coffee. Toasted malts give it a perfect degree of smokiness. Alcohol is very present towards the end; could definitely benefit from an extended vacation in the cellar.

O- excellent. Very good at the brewery for dessert after a big meal. Bought 4 bombers when I left and can't wait to see how they have aged after a year or two.

Photo of Zorro
3.96/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Very dark brown colored beer, it is basically lightproof. No head formation.

Smells sweet and very well charred. Smells of berry, smoke and medicine. Burned chocolate aroma and a faint whiff of coffee. Alcohol is completely hidden a lot like a Milk Stout in flavor.

Starts out sweet with a strong chocolate flavor and an after taste of wheat toast. Slight berry flavor.

Mouthfeel is good.

Overall this is pretty tasty. Heavy on the malt makes it pretty easy to drink.

Photo of Pelican5
4.02/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

22 oz bomber |

A : clear, black a little thin, foamy finger of head, nice lacing/legs

S : roast coffee, vanilla, cream, bitter chocolate, slight anise

T : creamy vanilla coffee, bitter chocolate finish

Overall : a little thin for the style but very tasty. Roasty creamy coffee. No alcohol. A nice coffee forward stout when you dont want something heavy. Light and sweet and for the price... well, a steal for sure. I would drink this for desert when a heavier stout is too much. Has its time and place. Will drink again no doubt.

Cheers ~

Photo of jjh19
3.95/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Black and a nice tannish head. Exactly as I’d expect from an Imperial Stout.

Smell: A good amount of coffee in the nose.

Taste: I got a lot of coffee in the first taste and then some chocolate sweetness came though. Subtle balance.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied that wish was more full bodied.

Drinkability: Smooth and tasty.

Photo of rotten77
4.04/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Had this in a guinness pint glass.
A:This poured out real back the head was dark tan with big bubbles...it looked promising but it didn't stay long...not more than a minute

S: Alot of roasted malts coffee beans coffee beans and more coffee beans...I really cant smell too much else...Not bad in my opinion though

T: taste follows the nose...a little caramel some more chocolate and...a lot of coffee beans...tastes a little bit like someone threw some creamer in her too!!!

M: at some points it can be BIG and CHUNKY but mostly very smooth and easy to drink even with such a high abv.

O: a solid brew...staying between the lines...not much complexity but still good...i would buy this again....just not in the summer!

Photo of cbutova
3.5/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Back in SD, 22oz bomber purchased at a deli in Point Loma. Live review, already have notes for 8 more.

A- Pitch black pour to two small taster glasses. No light makes it through the beer and a small light mocha head forms to a finger. Decent cap retention as it falls to a small creamy white ring. Lacing deposits are spotty on the glass.

S- Coffee off the top, not super dark roast but still the beans nonetheless. Cocoa also comes in rich with some roast grain, nutty, caramel and raisins.

T- Coffee and dark yeasty fruit notes are big here and lead in the flavor. Roast grains and cocoa come next and compliment the aforementioned things. Nutty, toffee, caramel, toasted, apple, malty and some sweetness, like lactose somehow.

MF- Moderately thick bodied with a somewhat silky texture but not as thick as most great Imperials. Carbonation on the medium high side which helps support the dark big flavors. Finishes roasty bitter.

Enjoyable big stout with a hefty yeast and coffee forward profile complimented by cocoa and roast grains. Body could be a bit bigger but overall it's enjoyable.

Photo of womencantsail
4.1/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The pour is black in color with a tan head. Nice roasted malt, a hint of cocoa, and some good coffee aromas. A hint of vanilla, some burnt sugar and licorice, as well as some molasses. The flavor is a touch sweet with nice licorice, sugar, and molasses notes. Plenty of coffee and roast, good chocolate flavors, and some toffee as it warms. Really nice body to this beer as well.

Photo of portia99
3.96/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

22oz bottle poured into a Brooklyn snifter.

A - Pours a touch thin in appearance, but of a near black color with deep brown touches around the edges. A small and somewhat fizzy off white head dies quickly and leaves only a thin collar.

S - Lots of chocolate up front with some licorice to spice things up. Black coffee, brown sugar, traces of vanilla. Nice and roasty with some mild sweetness...gives a really smooth and creamy impression.

T - Lots of roast up front, quite black coffee-ish. A fair amount of alcohol presence is noticable. Chocolate, cocoa, some vanilla...almost has a bit of a bourbony flavor to it with the booze and the vanilla even though this wasn't barrelled. A little bit of brown sugary sweetness really smoothes this out towards the finish. Faint citrusy/fruity hops noticeable more into the aftertaste.

M - Body is a touch thin for the style and falls short of medium bodied overall. Carbonation is mid-level and lively. A bit boozy but smoothes out nicely on the finish with the mix of milky chocolate and creamy vanilla sweetness. Wish there was a bit more body to this...would really add something to this.

O - This was a pleasant surprise. I've had mixed experiences with Karl Strauss beers...this one falls on the positive side of the spectrum. Fairly complex, nicely blended and integrated flavors. Super smooth overall...starts a bit boozy but evens out and ends silky and creamy on the finish. Quite enjoyable.

Photo of FosterJM
3.97/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

1609th Review on BA
Bottle to Snifter
22oz

Purchased from Holiday Wine Cellar, Escondido, CA

App- It was a dark brown pour with a semi dark center and then just a little bit of a mocha looking 1/2" head formed. It faded quickly and left only a couple dots of cling down the side. Wasnt the deepest color for an RIS, but looked okay.

Smell- It was a nice stout. Good aromatics of a little bit of everything you would expect from a full bodied stout. A good thick malt aroma, paired with some vanilla and chocolate. It was a bit lush on the nose and you did get a bit of the booze.

Taste- On the first sip this is a bit of a dark chocolate and a touch of anise to me. Not sure it was intended but does have a lot of vanilla and some dark roast coffee behind it. It was fairly smooth and a bit creamy and at other times a bit grainy.

Mouth- A fuller medium body with a medium carbonation level. The residual flavors are of dark chocolate and some roasted malts.

Drink- I think since I was too excited for this one, I did overpay a little bit. Its good but not for the price I paid in SD. Ive seen it a bit cheaper in the Inland Empire of CA, and would probably grab another one if I were inclined to.

Photo of beagle75
3.14/5  rDev -19.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Poured from a growler into a shaker pint glass.

A: Opaque black color with no foam head. No lacing remains on the glass.

S: Compelling chocolate syrup is featured. Dark fruit peeks from the edges, as does a volatile spirituous quality.

T: Begins off-dry, with cakey chocolate malt in ample supply at first. Acidity is fairly mild into the middle where dark fruit is subdued before flavors become a bit muddied. The finish drops off quickly, leaving a trace of bitter chocolate to linger. No alcohol is detected.

M: Medium viscosity, watery yet sluggish on the palate, with very low carbonation.

D/O: Drinkable for the style, but flawed. While the smell is nearly laser-focused, the flavors spiral out in unnecessary directions. The texture is inconsistent with the style, making the beer as a whole harder to take seriously. Karl Strauss keeps trying to land a real imperial stout, but they can't seem to get everything right.

Photo of kojevergas
3.47/5  rDev -11%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

1 pint 6 fl oz brown glass bottle with standard pressure cap acquired at a SoCal beer store for $6.99 and served into a New Belgium stem-goblet in me gaff in low altitude Los Feliz, Los Angeles, California. Reviewed live. Expectations are average; I've never been big on this brewery but I do like well executed versions of the style.

Served straight from the refrigerator and allowed to warm over the course of consumption. Side-poured with standard vigor as no carbonation issues are anticipated.

Not paired with food; consumed on a full stomach (lentils).

A: Pours a one finger khaki colour head of nice cream and thickness, and above average retention (~2.5 minutes) for the high ABV. Body colour is a very dark brown-black; not quite a jet black. Nontransparent and opaque. No yeast particles are visible. No bubble show. Generally appealing and typical for the style, but it lacks the rich tan colour or jet black body of a great example of the style.

Sm: Chocolate malt, some light roast, pleasant coffee/java notes, cream, milk, and cacao. The coffee is very enjoyable and fresh; it doesn't come off cold-pressed or stale. A well balanced, inviting aroma. No yeast character or alcohol is detectable.

T: Love the cream. A splash of pleasant coffee with hints of roasted java in the body. Light chocolate malt fuses well with the other assorted dark malts, but sadly it lacks sufficient roasted barley character to really give it presence. I get a bit of toffee on the climax when I look for it. Maybe a fleeting creeping hint of creme brulee/muted vanilla just after the climax, but it's buried. Sweetness is near ideal, but goes a bit overboard as you near the finish. Not a horribly complex imperial stout, but decently balanced until the third act. No yeast or alcohol comes through, which is favorable here. A bit of bitterness in the third act; maybe some floral hop notes coming through in addition to the coffee. I get more cacao as it warms, but the chocolate itself is clearly malt-derived rather than evocative of actual chocolate. The creaminess is its best attribute, and one I'd like to see in more imperial stouts - though it does hold it back from attaining a rich malty roasty backbone. Overall, it's surpassed my expectations.

Mf: Delightfully creamy. Smooth and wet throughout. Good if overdone carbonation. Adequate thickness and body. Pretty good palate presence.

Dr: Admittedly, I doubted Karl Strauss but they delivered a very drinkable imperial stout at a decent price. The ABV is well hidden. I like the direction they took this, but it does need more complexity and subtlety to really shine. In the world of imperial stouts, you have to bring more to the table than this to stand out. As a result, I won't be having this again - but I will be giving Karl Strauss more attention when I see their products on shelves. Maybe they're not as forgettable as I thought after all.

High B-

A goblet was actually an inferior choice for this beer. I'd recommend a snifter or even highball.

An okay choice for aging. I imagine the coffee will fade, but the cream should remain.

Photo of MadCat
4/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Very dark brown, almost opaque. Short coffee colored head. Not as crazy dark as most Imperial stouts

Smell: Coffee, chocolate, roasted malts

Taste: More coffee, chocolate, and roasted malts. Starts off a little sweet, but has a nice roasty malt finish

Mouthfeel: Thicker than it looks, definitely full bodied, reasonable carbonation

Overall: A worthy stout. Nothing to write home about, but nothing to sneeze at. If you want a stout, and are at Karl Strauss, you can't go wrong. Also, you would never notice it is 9.5% abv until you stand up.

Photo of mactrail
4.15/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Rich and warming big stout. Aroma of chocolate and the percolator. Great taste of dark roasted coffee beans. Served in a chilled pint glass, which turns out to be ideal for the un-chilled beer. Nice foam and lacing, but the creamy mouthfeel is outstanding.

This is a powerful, but less syrupy variety of RIS. It has the grainy, dark roast flavor of a good stout, but a velvety mouthfeel to accommodate the higher alcohol. A touch of vanilla.

I'm really pleased to taste a big stout in this restrained and highly drinkable style. I have been impressed that Karl Strauss does such a good job with their cask beers. I think more craft beer enthusiasts should put them on the list of places to visit once in a while.

Photo of HopHead84
4.05/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

4/13/2012

Cask at Real Ale.

A: Brown that borders on black with a crimson tinge at the bottom.

S: Bold coffee presence with nuts and earth. Cocoa accompanies a tame roasted presence. Very nice nose.

T: Roasted grains and a firm coffee presence that's earthy and nutty. The roasted profile is smooth and not at all acrid or harsh. Lots of dark chocolate and a mild bitterness. Alcohol is faint.

M: Full body with a silky, sticky, chewy mouthfeel.

Overall: A very nice coffee imperial stout. Highly drinkable. I think I'll pick up a bomber of this. This was very good on cask.

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Wreck Alley Imperial Stout from Karl Strauss Brewing Company
87 out of 100 based on 196 ratings.