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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

42 Reviews
very good

(Read More)
Reviews: 42
Hads: 210
Avg: 3.85
pDev: 12.47%
Wants: 6
Gots: 38 | 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 (88) | 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
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Reviews: 42 | Hads: 210
Photo of TBonez477
4.2/5  rDev +9.1%
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.

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Photo of SensorySupernova
3.83/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Jet black with just a little bit of tan head.

Smell: Coffee, roast malts. Standard imperial stout stuff.

Taste: Caramely malts and mild roast coffee up front. Just a little sweetness and bitterness at the end.

Mouthfeel: Pretty thick with a low level of carbonation.

Overall: Very standard imperial stout. I can’t complain - I love them.

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Photo of Beerswag
3.65/5  rDev -5.2%
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.

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Photo of funjack5150
3.39/5  rDev -11.9%
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.

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Photo of MRGonzalo
3.75/5  rDev -2.6%

Unexpectedly quickly vanishing head. Nice aroma (and aggresive body) of coffee and seasalt. Much more acidic taste than anticipated, with a dark roasted bean aftertaste.

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Photo of chinchill
3.97/5  rDev +3.1%
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!

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Photo of Rob23
3/5  rDev -22.1%
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.

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Photo of jjh19
3.95/5  rDev +2.6%
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.

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Photo of drpimento
4.74/5  rDev +23.1%
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.

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Photo of Furlinator
4.01/5  rDev +4.2%
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.

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Photo of denatured_gin
1.36/5  rDev -64.7%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

All of the positive reviews I've glanced at over the last few minutes of googling this swill confirm the unfortunate phenomenon I'm seeing everywhere: most folks simply refuse to believe that a sufficiently obscure or cutely named or visually pleasantly labeled 'craft' beer can be truly BAD.

In reality, these are beginning to outnumber the good ones. Most are what I call "mineral beers" in that they are nearly as bland as mineral water. But then there are the "stouts" that rely on the taste of urine steeped overnight in McDonald's dumpster coffee grounds to impart the flavor we associate with the recipe.

Wreck Alley's Imperial Stout takes this approach, but turns its offensiveness to initiated palates well past 11 with what I can only guess to be soy sauce. And not even the good, Japanese soy sauce: I'm talking about that cheap, black Chinese stuff in the packets with one clear side that come with fried rice take out. I couldn't even choke down the whole bottle, and not only because of my soul-crushing disappointment after psyching myself up for the deliciousness that is a true North American "Imperial" stout. It was just too gross. A 24oz King Cobra tall boy would've stood a better chance. Blecchh!

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Photo of cbutova
3.5/5  rDev -9.1%
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.

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Photo of lacqueredmouse
3.37/5  rDev -12.5%
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.

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Photo of BucannonXC5
4.46/5  rDev +15.8%
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.

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Photo of mxchap
4.04/5  rDev +4.9%
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.

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Photo of LesleyLooWho
5/5  rDev +29.9%
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.

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Photo of ArrogantB
4.01/5  rDev +4.2%
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.

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Photo of MadCat
4/5  rDev +3.9%
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.

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Photo of flayedandskinned
3.21/5  rDev -16.6%
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.

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Photo of OBeerMeGreatOne
3.51/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours out pitch black with about an inch of tan head. All this is great, but the head disappears very fast and leaves zero lace behind.

Chocolate, toffee and a hint of brown sugar make up the smell.

Chocolate and dark fruit start off the taste, though they are both pretty light. Vanilla and earth come in a bit in the middle. Chocolate dominates the finish. No booze from what I can taste. Very light bodied and high in carbonation for an imperial anything.

There isn't anything offensive, or not good about this imperial stout. It's just a bit bland and uncreative. It would be a nice, easy introductory beer for anyone new to the style, but not great for someone looking for an interesting stout.

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Photo of dertyd
4.1/5  rDev +6.5%
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!!!:-)

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Photo of CommanderOfAwesome
3.51/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

2012 bottle poured into a snifter

A: Pours black/deep dark brown with nice 2 finger khaki brown head. slight lacing on the glass.

S: Some chocolatey and big coffee notes. Sweetness about it along with a hint of some charcoal.

T: Roasty, coffee notes, and chocolate sweetness. slight vanilla and a bit of alcohol warming effect.

M: On thin side for an imperial stout. Not creamy which I would normally expect. Not as thin as say Drakonic, but closer to that than a thick creamy stout. Carbonation is noticable on the palate and bit harsh. Slight bit of booze after taste.

O: Alright offering, found the mouthfeel to be disappointing and carbonation levels off. Not as pathetic of an offering as drakonic, but not one I will buy multiple of. I'd be curious to try the BA version, should note for the price ~$8 its not a terrible deal.

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Photo of jeffjeff1
4.29/5  rDev +11.4%
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!

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Photo of Zorro
3.96/5  rDev +2.9%
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.

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Photo of portia99
3.96/5  rDev +2.9%
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.

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Wreck Alley Imperial Stout from Karl Strauss Brewing Company
86 out of 100 based on 42 ratings.