1. Extreme Beer Fest. March 20 & 21, 2015 in Boston, Mass. Join us!
  2. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  3. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

Wreck Alley Imperial Stout - Karl Strauss Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Wreck Alley Imperial StoutWreck Alley Imperial Stout

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
87
very good

162 Ratings
THE BROS
87
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 162
Reviews: 37
rAvg: 3.88
pDev: 13.66%
Wants: 7
Gots: 20 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Karl Strauss Brewing Company visit their website
California, United States

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

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: mactrail on 04-01-2012)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Usefulness | 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 | 51-75  | next › last »
Ratings: 162 | Reviews: 37 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.85/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On tap at The Surly Goat in West Hollywood, CA.

Pours an almost opaque super dark brown with a foamy dark khaki head that settles to a small cap on top of the beer. Foamy swaths of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of dark roasted malt, cinnamon, cocoa, and coffee. Taste is the same with some vanilla and an alcohol kick on the finish. There is a mild roasty bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp and somewhat thin mouthfeel. Overall, this is a good beer with a better taste than smell but it's a bit thin for the style.

UCLABrewN84, Jun 24, 2012
Photo of djrn2
3.75/5  rDev -3.4%

djrn2, Apr 17, 2012
Photo of acurtis
3.75/5  rDev -3.4%

acurtis, May 12, 2012
Photo of brentk56
3.63/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pours a fudge brown color with a modest tan head; spots of lace linger

Smell: Chocolate with hints of caramel, coffee and licorice

Taste: Chocolate, with a fudgy character developing by mid-palate, adding some caramel, coffee and licorice into the mix; there is a subtle hint of heat as well as a plastic flavor that develops in the finish

Mouthfeel: Medium to full body with moderate carbonation

Overall: Very enjoyable; lots of chocolate and a bit of coffee, the finish is a bit all over the map but only a minor distraction

brentk56, Aug 16, 2012
Photo of Texasfan549
3.75/5  rDev -3.4%

Texasfan549, Sep 21, 2013
Photo of kjkinsey
3.75/5  rDev -3.4%

kjkinsey, Sep 21, 2013
Photo of womencantsail
4.1/5  rDev +5.7%
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.

womencantsail, Aug 13, 2012
Photo of SocalKicks
3.75/5  rDev -3.4%

SocalKicks, Apr 27, 2012
Photo of Jason
3.88/5  rDev 0%
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.

Jason, Jul 03, 2012
Photo of mactrail
4.15/5  rDev +7%
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.

mactrail, Jun 22, 2012
Photo of beernads
3.5/5  rDev -9.8%

beernads, Aug 22, 2013
Photo of kojevergas
3.48/5  rDev -10.3%
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.

kojevergas, Jan 05, 2013
Photo of Halcyondays
4/5  rDev +3.1%
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.

Halcyondays, Jul 17, 2012
Photo of lacqueredmouse
3.35/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

22oz bomber purchased from BevMo in Menlo Park, CA. Shared with Rich in Sydney.

Pours a deepish brown, surprisingly supple and with a clarity at the edges. Body is loose and fine and holds some carbonation in a haphazard sort of manner. Head forms a fine ring of muddy brown that doesn't leave much lacing. Looks decent enough though.

Nose is pleasant, if a little generic for an impy stout: plenty of roast, plenty of malty sweetness, with a stretched grainy quality. Slight sweet-savoury toasty character, with a vague coffee sharpness around the back. There's a bit of booze to it, but it's arrested by the roasty character. Pleasant enough.

Taste is similar. Slight toasty roastiness with a pretty generic sweetness that probes through the front to the back and leaves its mark on everything. Finish is vaguely toasty, with a hint of tobacco smoke.

Feel is smooth enough, but containing that vague lightness that somehow permeates.

Overall, this is a pretty lacklustre imperial stout. It's certainly flavoursome—it would be hard not to be while remaining in the style, but I want something more in such a beer. Indeed, I find it hard to believe this even got to 9.5% ABV: beers of this strength are rarely this insipid.

lacqueredmouse, Oct 05, 2013
Photo of Zorro
3.96/5  rDev +2.1%
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.

Zorro, Jan 29, 2013
Photo of chinchill
3.96/5  rDev +2.1%
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!

chinchill, Jul 01, 2014
Photo of dmorgan310
4/5  rDev +3.1%

dmorgan310, Jan 08, 2014
Photo of HopHead84
4.05/5  rDev +4.4%
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.

HopHead84, Apr 16, 2012
Photo of vfgccp
4/5  rDev +3.1%

vfgccp, Feb 12, 2014
Photo of drpimento
4.74/5  rDev +22.2%
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.

drpimento, Mar 12, 2014
Photo of ArrogantB
4/5  rDev +3.1%
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.

ArrogantB, May 06, 2013
Photo of FosterJM
3.98/5  rDev +2.6%
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.

FosterJM, Nov 12, 2012
Photo of BMart
3.5/5  rDev -9.8%

BMart, Jun 07, 2013
Photo of ehammond1
3.73/5  rDev -3.9%
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.

ehammond1, Jun 27, 2012
Photo of cbutova
3.5/5  rDev -9.8%
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.

cbutova, Nov 05, 2013
« first ‹ prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | next › last »
Wreck Alley Imperial Stout from Karl Strauss Brewing Company
87 out of 100 based on 162 ratings.