Dismiss Notice
Save $5 when you subscribe to 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine by selecting auto-renew.

Subscribe now →
Dismiss Notice
Join Our Email List →

And we'll send you the latest updates and offers from BeerAdvocate, because knowing is half the battle.
Dismiss Notice

Pre-order your Respect Beer "Hipster" Hoodie today!

Plus: Free shipping (US only) on orders of $25 or more until 12/18/15. Just select "Free Shipping" at checkout.

Shop now →

Wreck Alley Imperial Stout - Karl Strauss Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Wreck Alley Imperial StoutWreck Alley Imperial Stout

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

44 Reviews
very good

(Read More)
Reviews: 44
Hads: 217
Avg: 3.86
pDev: 27.46%
Wants: 8
Gots: 39 | FT: 1
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 (95) | Events
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Wreck Alley Imperial Stout Alström Bros
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50  | nextlast
Reviews: 44 | Hads: 217
Photo of LesleyLooWho
5/5  rDev +29.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This is still the best beer I've ever tasted. I am actually not sure if it was on nitro-tap, but I wouldn't be surprised with how smooth it was. The aftertaste was like a cool cup of coffee and it wasn't bitter, but velvety smooth and chocolaty - just the way I like 'em.

 271 characters

Photo of drpimento
4.74/5  rDev +22.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Whoa, killer brew. Just shy of perfect, and those imperfections are just niggles. Little bit boozy, but hey, it's an imp stout... Looks, smells, tastes, fabulous. Complex, yet just a great classic beer of its style. Faultless finish. Can't wait to return to the brewpub in San Diego.

 283 characters

Photo of mchegash
4.53/5  rDev +17.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

L: Deep brown, essentially black. A very small layer of medium tan head.

S: Deep cocoa notes, roasted malts as well.

T: Chocolate/cocoa is the main flavor. Rick roasted malts. A very very tiny bit of booziness. Extremely delicious. Has a delicious flavor, without any flaws.

F: Medium body. Medium amount of carbonation. Very very smooth. A superb mouthfeel.

O: This is one of the best imperial stouts I've had. It's very deep and chocolatey, but doesn't progress past that. Imperial stouts get a lot of hype just because they are Imperial Stouts. This beer doesn't try to be what is the norm for this category. Instead, they brewed a safe yet delicious chocolately beer. Very high regards.

 694 characters

Photo of BucannonXC5
4.46/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Type: 22-oz. bomber
Glass: Oversized wine glass
From: VONS in Normal Heights (San Diego), Calif.
Price: $11.49
Purchased: July 20, 2013
Consumed: Aug. 16, 2013
Misc.: N/A

Poured an almost pitch black color with two fingers of bubbly tan head. Average spots of sporadic lacing on the sides of the glass. Good amount of lacing all the way down.

Smelled pretty much black coffee, fudge and dark chocolate. Also cocoa, espresso, toffee and caramel. I’ve never had coffee, but this is it.

Tasted not quite as strong as the smell, but still similar. Got coffee, coffee beans, espresso, dark chocolate, smoky fire, dark chocolate fudge, toffee, cocoa and dark caramel. Very smooth.

Medium body. Surprisingly thinner texture. Average carbonation. Long, smooth finish.

Just a fantastic beer. Everything was just so good. Can’t wait to try it again.

 851 characters

Photo of jeffjeff1
4.29/5  rDev +11.1%
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!

 368 characters

Photo of TBonez477
4.2/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A: Pours opaque black with a two finger tan head that recedes quickly.

S: Aroma is immediately a blend of coffee and milk chocolate fudge. A second whiff reveals a hint of a dark fruit finish, maybe a touch of alcohol sweetness.

T: Yup, there's the mocha flavors. Nice milk chocolate backed by coffee roast from the malts. Second sip reveals the finish which consists of pitted dark fruits providing a sweetness but then a quick dry close.

M: Feel is not the best, it is pretty thick but carbonation is high and small which is not preferable until it supports the clean finish.

O: A very good, straight forward imperial stout. Not quite FIS but very good nonetheless.

 671 characters

Photo of mactrail
4.15/5  rDev +7.5%
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.

 714 characters

Photo of dertyd
4.1/5  rDev +6.2%
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!!!:-)

 434 characters

Photo of womencantsail
4.1/5  rDev +6.2%
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.

 379 characters

Photo of HopHead84
4.05/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4


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.

 580 characters

Photo of rotten77
4.04/5  rDev +4.7%
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!

 722 characters

Photo of mxchap
4.04/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Appearance: Deep, dark brown with a slight reddish hue. Thin head and not much lacing
Aroma: Roasted coffee (medium strength), great balance and diversity of esters, and a hint of sweet chocolate.
Taste: So well balanced. The esters blend so nicely with the coffee and chocolate. This beer is incredibly drinkable.
Feel: Pretty well done. Maybe a tad over-carbonated and dry.
Overall: This beer is not earth-shattering, but it is extremely enjoyable and is a reasonable value. Definitely worth a try IMO.

 504 characters

Photo of Pelican5
4.02/5  rDev +4.1%
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 ~

 543 characters

Photo of ArrogantB
4.01/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On tap at the brewery. Black color, short tan head. Aroma was quite nice, lots of coffee and chocolate. Big coffee in the flavor, chocolate, alcohol, pretty good. My only complaint was the mouthfeel being a little thin. Best beer I had at Karl Strauss.

 252 characters

Photo of Furlinator
4.01/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Pours opaque black with a thin khaki head that quickly disappears completely and leaves very faint spots of lace.

Smell is a delicious balance of sweet chocolate, bitter black coffee and dark malt.

Taste is black coffee, dark chocolate and roasted malt.

Texture is on the heavy side of medium bodied with low carbonation.

A solid imperial stout with strong coffee and cocoa flavors.

 389 characters

Photo of MadCat
4/5  rDev +3.6%
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.

 558 characters

Photo of Halcyondays
4/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 oz. bomber,

A: Pours black with a medium tan head, solid retention and lace.

S: Coffee beans and roasted malts, nice, smells like I expected it to.

T: Real nice sweet mocha coffee flavour with a lot of dark chocolate and caramel.

M: Full-bodied, soft carbonation, creamy.

O: A real nice big Imperial Stout and not overpriced. Quite enjoyable. A solid beer all around.

 375 characters

Photo of chinchill
3.97/5  rDev +2.8%
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!

 405 characters

Photo of FosterJM
3.97/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

1609th Review on BA
Bottle to Snifter

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.

 1,204 characters

Photo of Zorro
3.96/5  rDev +2.6%
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.

 471 characters

Photo of portia99
3.96/5  rDev +2.6%
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.

 1,450 characters

Photo of jjh19
3.95/5  rDev +2.3%
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.

 338 characters

Photo of Jeffsta1
3.95/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Black color, tan head.

Malty, meaty smell. Good.

Flavor of malt, slightly sweet coffee, licorice, chocolate. Mild, really. Nice.

Moderate mouthfeel, slightly rich, wouldn't mind just a hint more weight. Finely carbonated.

Finish is mild, well-integrated, with both bitterness and sweetness.

 294 characters

Photo of Jason
3.92/5  rDev +1.6%
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.

 455 characters

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.


 647 characters

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50  | nextlast
Wreck Alley Imperial Stout from Karl Strauss Brewing Company
86 out of 100 based on 44 ratings.