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 The Halls - Full Sail Brewery & Tasting Room & Pub

Not Rated.
Wreck The HallsWreck The Halls

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

456 Ratings
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 456
Reviews: 267
rAvg: 3.78
pDev: 11.38%
Wants: 13
Gots: 7 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Full Sail Brewery & Tasting Room & Pub visit their website
Oregon, United States

Style | ABV
American IPA |  6.50% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes/Commercial Description:
"This annual favorite is a sublime hybrid of an American style IPA and a winter warmer. The result is a bold brew that celebrates the holidays with an intriguing blend of Centennial hops providing elegant citrus notes balanced by a backdrop of a rich caramel malt body. Dry hopped to amplify the aromas and flavor. Available in 22oz. bottles and draught. ABV 6.5% IBU 68"

(Beer added by: dolem98 on 11-19-2002)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Wreck The Halls Alström Bros
Ratings: 456 | Reviews: 267 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of rowew
4.2/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Presentation: 22 oz bomber - Brewmaster's reserve 2004. This bottle has been properly stored since I purchased it late last year.

Appearance: Red orange with an off-white head.

Smell: Lots of cirtus and pine, but the sweet malt presence is there too. Very appealing.

Taste: Very well balanced - plenty of malt to keep the hops from overpowering, but they are still there and provide a great bitter finish.

Overall impression: Very nice IPA - I wish this was available year round. If I had known how good it was it probably wouldn't have lasted this long in my fridge.

rowew, Jun 28, 2005
Photo of watermelonman
4.33/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This arrived wearing a crisp, solid shade of amber without much head. Lacing is fairly minimal.

The smell is a solid balance of malt and hops, with pine and citrus very noticable but not dominating. The taste is very good, definitely allowing the hops to take center stage but not neglecting its strong malt base. It's easy to drink, the mouthfeel is pleasing, and the overall flavor is great.

This might even be my favorite west coast winter IPA!

watermelonman, May 04, 2005
Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.45/5  rDev +17.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Murky rustic orange with sunflower yellow accents at the margins. While there's very little visible carbonation, the firmly creamy head doesn't seem to need the help. The cap is the color of rich, polished ivory bathed in a softly glowing orange light and eventually deposits shards of lace that stick to the glass with tenaciousness.

The nose is sparklingly bright and easily earns the moniker 'hoptastic'. It's much more orange zesty than grapefruit zesty and there's some tropical fruit juiciness in the mix as well. I can't quite pull the trigger on perfect, so 'merely excellent' will have to do.

Whereas the nose just misses greatness, the flavor just achieves it. The flavor is dominated by a sweet hoppy goodness that keeps the lion's share of bitterness at bay. Ripe oranges still lead the way with accessory flavors of pine sap and, oddly enough, pear syrup. White grapefruit is never very far away when one or more of the 4-Cs are in use, and such is the case here. Another thing that I love about this beer is that it's different enough to make it stand out from the crowd of highly hopped Pacific NW IPAs.

The finish is long, lingering and wonderfully mouthcoating. Bitter tries valiantly, but ultimately in vain, to supercede sweet. That isn't to say that this is an overly sweet IPA, just that it uses its sweetness well. The body approaches medium-full and almost reaches it as the beer warms.

Wreck The Halls isn't a palate wrecker of an IPA, but it is a damn good one. Through a truly masterful choice of hops and a brewing alchemy that only the best brewers possess, the boys at Full Sail have impressed me yet again. I could drink beer like this until the end of my days and not tire of its myriad charms. It's a shame that this particular offering is a seasonal and even more of a shame that I don't have ready access.

BuckeyeNation, Apr 18, 2005
Photo of Beaver13
3.05/5  rDev -19.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

2004 - 22 oz bottle. Pours a hazy copper-orange with a medium sized fine off-white (almost orangey) head that recedes to a thin skimming that leaves some nice lacing. The second pour has a lot of cloudy yeast sediment.

Its aroma is spicy, piney hops and some musty leather. Some fruitiness (orange) comes out as well.

The flavor is crisp spicy, fruity (orange) malts leading to a musty reserved hop finish. As the beer warms, a lot more hop bitterness appears. There is a kind of acidic medicinal twang to it. The mouthfeel is thin to medium. The carbonation seems a bit low. The mouthfeel has a kind of sharp harshness (maybe from the acidity/medicnal qualities).

Overall, a mediocre IPA - it is not offensive, but nothing special either. A bit too sweet and fruity for me - the orange kind of pervades throughout. The musty yeast is a bit much as well.

Beaver13, Mar 24, 2005
Photo of gbontrag
4.1/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Now that really smells like a fresh buttermilk scone. No, really, with lemon glaze. Cloudy dusty golden. Off white froth holds on delightfully. Metallic nip on the surface. Then a bit of the sour grapefruit rind - sour to astringent. Hay. Hay, there's great bits of barley candy in here, nice sweetness.

gbontrag, Mar 06, 2005
Photo of rkhaze
4.03/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a hazy copper color with a creamy white head and excellent lacing.
Nice big malt aroma with a citrusy floral hop smell.
Rich, creamy and slightly grainy malt taste with tropical fruit and a citrus, floral and mildly earthy hop finish. Nice lingering bitterness.
Medium bodied with a rich creamy mouthfeel and good carbonation.
Good drinkability. Tasty, solid Pale Ale.

rkhaze, Feb 02, 2005
Photo of CRJMellor
3.6/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours orange and yellow hue with amber thread throughout. Big, faomy bright white head leaves a thick, solid sheen of lace of the glass.
Aroma of pale malts, lighter citrus fruits, spruce and a hint of caramel and breadiness.
Flavor is hyper sweet grapfruit/melon notes. Some bread and herbal hop notes present along with some herbal or grass hints.
Mouthfeel is sweet, sweet. Almost orange juice sweet with some real heral notes. Very light bittering detected on the tongue. Almost a little saltiness as well.
Drinkability is solid. Little bit too sweet without many other notes to balance it out. Interesting take on style.

CRJMellor, Jan 22, 2005
Photo of RedDiamond
4.35/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

**Brewmaster's Reserve 2004** I look forward to the release of Wreck The Halls every season. And though it isn’t clear to me if Full Sail brews the same recipe every year, I know I can always count on a big, ballsy IPA just in time for the holidays.

The Wreck begins with a magnificent aroma of fresh, resinous hops. The smell is piney, arboreal, and sensuous – like an enchanted hop forest. The Wrecked body is an unfiltered translucent garnet with turbulent CO2. A fluffy head of creamy duff stands tall above the rim of the glass and trails large fragmented lace.

This is a bold, northwestern IPA. The hops are immediate and unrelenting with strong citrus bittering and a piney, sprucy aftertaste. The dominant hop flavor is unabashedly lemony, perhaps like a lemon tea. The total effect of the combined hop elements is distinctive and makes for a solid ale-drinking experience.

I drank most of my 22 oz. bomber after a careful pour that retained most of the yeast in the bottle; a process I would recommend for this beer.

RedDiamond, Jan 06, 2005
Photo of oberon
3.75/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Pours a hazy dark orange with a huge blooming head that sits for awhile before coming down leaving huge amount of lace very nice.Whoa hops and more hops in the aroma some spruce and evergreen dominate with an underlying nuttiness oh man I can feel the tongue curl now,piney and citrusy up front but doesnt hit quite as hard as expected as the beer warms medicinal flavors come thru a lightly sweet caramel malt flavor comes thru but is not in balance with the big dose of hops.A hopheads brew here a big Pacific NW IPA true to form.

oberon, Dec 24, 2004
Photo of GClarkage
3.63/5  rDev -4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12/10/04- On tap at the Toronado in San Francisco, CA

Presentation- Poured into a generic pint glass.

Appearance- Pours a dark amber color. Smallish head and sub par lacing.

Smell- A very light smelling IPA. Sensed some hops, but also sensed a bit of spice.

Taste- Odd tasting beer this is. A tad bitter as expected, but not a whole lot of hops. Maybe like a cross between a pale ale and an IPA. There was also some weird taste at the back of my tongue. A very dry taste, but other than that I can't describe it.

Mouthfeel- Carbonation level was very good. Pretty smooth drinking.

Drinkability- Odd taste, but I likened to it more as I consumed it. I may try it again as my first beer rather than my last.

GClarkage, Dec 11, 2004
Photo of ngandhi
3.7/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

An oxidative caramel nose, viscous liquid Jell-O pour, and paltry thin sheet of head all suggest barleywine. Though the initial taste, fresh out of the fridge, is almost numbingly bitter, both time and warmth bring the beer around full circle to a focus that is wholly on these rich malts, hopped mostly to dry out the finish and bring out the subtle alcohol.

I'm reminded of IPAs like Gordon -- those that do have a freshness of hop character and definite notes of resin and pine, but never take a leap into the tall canopy of complex hop flowers -- American brown ales or barleywines that are even more aggressively than usual.

There's no denying the hop intensity of Wreck the Halls and, though not entirely complicated on taste, it is there on every part of the tongue and in every stage of the drink. The integration is resolute -- we get fresh pine, an herbal bitterness, watered-down chocolate, cheap coffee, some residual sweetness on the midpalate, burnt caramel, maybe even some pine nuts.

This beer is not to be questioned for its depth or inventiveness. And, though the alcohol is entirely controlled, I've never had a 6.5% beer taste this full and rich without being cloyingly sweet (which this is not at all). Because of the heavy hop presence, this feels like a fully attenuated 10% abv barleywine. Maybe there's some sweetness in here that the hops are hiding or maybe this has just matured to a finger's length of perfection. Wreck the Halls is an anomaly for what it can do with what it is.

There is no circus of hops here which, to me, goes against the American tradition of IPA. Apricots and rum-soaked peaches. What there is, however, is prodiguous balance and maturity from a beer big enough to mug me on the street corner that would rather walk me home, keep me safe.

Relax, relax.

ngandhi, Jun 26, 2004
Photo of bditty187
4.13/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2003 Reserve

Hazy, tawny-ruby in hue with flecks of gold, this has an attractive color. A smallish white head of less than a finger in height topped the beer. The head retention was fair; it quickly faded to a soapy cap. There was such minimal subsequent lacing it is pointless to discuss it any further. The nose is very… pleasant? Have I reached the point that a nose as hoppy and juicy as this is merely “pleasant”? Oh, lord! To be fair the malt is much more vocal than most West Coast IPAs, that is nothing to complain about. The hops are, like I said earlier, juicy with citrus notes and kisses of spruce. The malt is talkative, firm, with stale caramel and toffee notes, modestly sweet too. Still, the maltiness is not complex and the potency isn’t that loud, nevertheless the bouquet is inviting. The palate is very well balanced. First and foremost the silence of the alcohol is very noticeable. For an Americanized IPA this is a nice change of pace. As for the hops, they are very tasty. The outright bitterness is above moderate yet it is very flavorful with spruce notes, pine needles, and citrus rinds. It is not as juicy as the nose indicated. That’s fine, it made up for that it is arid finish, which was splendid! The malt is solid and it does a great job of balancing out the hops yet it only imparts a little actual flavor. In the aftertaste I got a pleasant candy-like heat (along with the hoppy flavors). This was a great way to finish the beer. It is a tickle bigger than medium in body. The carbonation is moderate but very appropriate and this helps create a great mouthfeel. Since this has perfect balance on the palate I can’t help but want to quaff this, repeatedly. This is a lovely IPA, it is not too bold but pleasant tasty. I purchased a 22-ounce bottle in Loveland, CO. If I had purchased more I would have not complained!

bditty187, Jun 21, 2004
Photo of francisweizen
3.5/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A cloudy dark reddish/amber colour with a nice big head of white foam. The aromas are very subtle, but hint at caramel malts, and fresh/piney hops. The tastes is quite hoppy up front, but the piney/earthy hops are soon eclipsed by a big load of caramel malts. The mouthfeel is good, but a bit rough around the edges, and the drinkability is good for an IPA. A good stab at the style, but i've had many better IPAS, and better beers from this brewery as well...

francisweizen, Jun 18, 2004
Photo of Morris729
4.45/5  rDev +17.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Reserve 2003
Pours a deep amber copper color with a tall light tan head that leaves spider webs of lace across the glass as it recedes. Nose is citrusy hops and pine oil along with some roasted malt. Medium to full in body with a bit of a sticky mouth feel. Taste begins with some sweet caramel malt followed by juicy citrus fruit. Next come some notes of black tea and a bit of tobacco leading up to a good bite of bitter and acidic hop resins in the finish that remain in the aftertaste. A very enjoyable IPA with enough malt to keep the strong Pacific Northwest hoppyiness in check. Purchased from Liquid Solutions.

Morris729, Feb 28, 2004
Photo of ZAP
4.18/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Simply put..one of the best non-hoppy IPA's made...I've enjoyed two of these bombers on seperate occasions now and find this to be close ot a perfect regular IPA..

Pours an impressive bronze color...1/8 inch of white head...Nose is sweet maltiness (caramel) combined with a floral hoppiness...

Definitely a balanced IPA with the sweet (bready more than caramel now on the taste) maltiness and floral/citrus hoppiness complimenting each other well...a citrus hop taste on the finish...inititially more floral notes which combine with the malt profile nicely...

Body and mouthfeel is about perfect..medium..firm...

Drinkability scores high...a real tasty, easy drinking IPA with much more character than others similar to this like Goose Island and Harpoon...

Not a hop-head's dream IPA but a dandy none-the-less

ZAP, Feb 01, 2004
Photo of BierReise
3.4/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark clear gold with a thick head and good retention. Has a strong hop aroma with a nutty malt in the background. Body is a bit thin for the style. Flavor reminds me of SN Celebration Ale yet not as good. Blend of hops and grains with a slight metallic finish. Overall ok but nothing outstanding.

BierReise, Jan 09, 2004
Photo of PhantomVodoo
4/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2003 Reserve.
Tan head sits atop a nice looking coppery red beer.
Aroma of piney hops and toasty malt.

Taste shows a hefty, piney, resinous hop flavor. Decent toasty, caramel, toffee malt backbone attempts to balance, but falls a touch short. Hop resins cling to the palate at finish. A bit of an English feel to this one.

Good mouthfeel and drinkability.

Overall, a good IPA, yet disappointing at the same time as I was expecting much more from this beer.

PhantomVodoo, Jan 04, 2004
Photo of RoyalT
4.1/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance – Orangish-brown in color, more brown than orange, with a decent head. It also has some sediment floating around even though the bottle has been sitting upright in my fridge for at least two weeks.

Smell – The nice, easy combination of pine and citrus hops is balanced well with some lightly-toasted malt. The malt actually is very noticeable.

Taste – This is the first time that I have ever had an IPA that is heavy on the piney flavor and so well balanced with malt. It is a very interesting combination indeed. This one is Even Steven, 50/50, hop and malt, and tastes great.

Mouthfeel – Medium-bodied and kind of dry with a slightly sweet caramel malt finish.

Drinkability – This was a very unique offering by Full Sail. I personally enjoyed it but others may find the malt a little too much (or unexpected) from an IPA.

Update – I grabbed this ’05 vintage on the day it was released to the stores, and man of man does this have a hop bite. The aroma is straight pine resin stank, and it carried it’s way through the taste like Godzilla stomping out Tokyo. Forget the balance from 2003, this is a hop bomb.

RoyalT, Nov 30, 2003
Photo of Elemental
4.3/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Nice deep copper color with a light head. The aroma is hoppy fruity and slightly spicy. The taste is a wonderful balace of maltiness and bitterness. Its Nice a bitter with a hint of spiciness to round out the beer. Its slightly nutty but very full bodied. A great beer for the for the holiday season.

Elemental, Nov 15, 2003
Photo of beerguy101
4.22/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Deep copper color. Medium head. Aroma is juicy hops and some malt. A full-bodied IPA. Malts are slightly sweet and a touch nutty. But it's the big juicy NW hops that dominate this beer. Hops are grapefruity and juicy, without being too bitter. Very well balanced. Nice and smooth. This stuff beats their regular IPA to death. An excellent example of a Pacific NW IPA. Mouthfeel is full and round. Finish is clean and dry. Aftertaste is slightly bitter.

beerguy101, Aug 16, 2003
Photo of tavernjef
4.6/5  rDev +21.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Color is a hazy pale orangy light brown of peach skin, one finger high head thats yellowy cream colored, tight frothy spongy foam, settles slowly to a nice skim and ring with lace in oily spots and strings. Smell is lightly peachy, dry sense of pinewood, slightly juicy and oily green of all kinds of hops with a very slight caramel malt backing. Taste hits of hoppy bittering dryness immediately, pineyness, bright, green, and fresh, a touch of peachyness, nice and clean, smooth in places where the balancing of caramel malts in the background are barely detectable. Excellent bittering dryness into and through to the finish. Feel is medium body, solid bittering middle and smooths, thins into a drying tingly, slight piney finish that lingers with good quaility. One excellent IPA.

Thanks to weefisheads for the bottle.

tavernjef, Jul 01, 2003
Photo of kbub6f
4.22/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

"Reserve 2002", bought online, ground shipping (unrefrigerated), a couple of weeks in my fridge, reviewed 45F-75F.

The medium-large head is creamy-dense and vanilla-ice-cream-colored, leaving thick, sticky lacing. Nice. The beer is a coppery brownish-orange and is almost clear.

Tons of hops dominate the nose: some grapefruit, a little tobacco. But there's also some creamy caramel in there. The sweetish caramel shows up in the hoppy front and turns creamy, malty and sweeter (but not too sweet) in the middle. The hops remain strong throughout, but take a solo in the finish, shouldering out any competing tastes. The aftertaste is bitter-fresh, with some nice fresh grains making an appearance. This is an excellent, deep beer. The hops are over-the-top, but the malt holds its own, especially in the middle, especially at temperature.

kbub6f, May 05, 2003
Photo of NeroFiddled
4.2/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Wow! What a festive beer! Rich, malty and hoppy with just enough alcohol... ... ...perfect for enjoying during the holiday shopping season!!!!
It pours a hazy copper with crimson highlights and a short but creamy ivory head that holds fairly well at the offset, but drops to a thin collar and lacy surface covering once things get started. The nose expresses bright piney and gently citrusy hops (orange, grapefruit) over a sweety caramelish (and lightly maple syrupy) malt. The full body is accentuated by its very fine and natural carbonation from bottle conditioning, leaving it creamy and smooth across the palate. Its rich, sweetish toasted caramel malt is dripping with piney/spruce-like/grapefruity hops. Well balanced with a firm bitterness that never oversteps it bounds. It finishes clean and dry - surprisingly refreshing for a beer of its size! Very nice and well worth searching out.

NeroFiddled, Apr 30, 2003
Photo of marc77
4.25/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Slightly hazy copper hue. Topped by a bumpy, pitted off white head with decent retention. Frothy lace remains. Juicy, classic northwest dry hopped nose consisting of a pine and ripe tangerine combination. Subdued light caramel malt presence given depth by lightly toasted grain. Bready sweetness at first yields to assertive, but clean, rounded hop bitterness. Sappy, resinous, yet integrated hop flavor mirrors that in the aroma, albeit with comparatively diminished pine notes. Mellow, dry biscuit emerges mid palate and complements the citrus lending a suggestion of bittersweet marmalade. Medium bodied, with an agreeably smooth mouthfeel partially from the well calculated attenuation. Finishes with lingering clean hop bitterness with a brief resurgent snap of sweetness. Although assertively hopped, Wreck the Halls possesses a sturdy malt foundation and is thus very well balanced. Fresh, crisp and quaffable. Could be a new classic.

marc77, Mar 30, 2003
Photo of Gusler
4.28/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer pours a burnished copper color, the head masterful in size, spumous in texture, the color a winsome light tan, as the head evanesces, the lace left behind a fine covering upon the glass. The aroma of hops quite evident, sweet malt and a bit of citrus twang also noted, a real sniffable beer, with the start sweet and thickly malt, the top full in its feel to the palate. Finish has a perky acidic bite, the hops bountiful and spicy, quite dry aftertaste that is also long lasting. A quite decent drinking IPA, not overwhelming, just about right in my humble opinion.

Gusler, Mar 25, 2003
Wreck The Halls from Full Sail Brewery & Tasting Room & Pub
85 out of 100 based on 456 ratings.