Wreck Alley Imperial Stout
Karl Strauss Brewing Company

Wreck Alley Imperial StoutWreck Alley Imperial Stout
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Style:
Stout - American Imperial
Ranked #2,281
ABV:
9.5%
Score:
88
Ranked #15,115
Avg:
3.92 | pDev: 11.73%
Reviews:
52
Ratings:
266
From:
Karl Strauss Brewing Company
 
California, United States
Avail:
Rotating/Seasonal
Wants
  10
Gots
  58
SCORE
88
Very Good
Wreck Alley Imperial StoutWreck Alley Imperial Stout
Notes:
View: Beers
Reviews: 52 | Ratings: 266 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of Viaduck
Viaduck from California

4.08/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark as a moonless night in the country with a nice very long lasting & spongy looking light tan head. Cocoa, caramel & roasted coffee make up the aroma. Taste is slightly sweet with flavors of the aroma & the addition of roasted malt & some alcohol. Silky smooth feel with some alcohol heat on the tongue. Overall, very enjoyable.

Oct 20, 2018
Photo of Smakawhat
Smakawhat from Maryland

4.21/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured from the bottle into a shaker pint glass boo hiss.

Dark walnut black, with a touch of red. Tan light soapy body making three fingers with a quick dissolve. Leaves a thin puck and bubbly collar.

Aroma is a nice mix of soft coffee, dark roasted malt, but also a surprising touch of anise. Real nice sense of chewy black licorice.

Palate continues the theme. Chewy licorice in the mid palate, with deep roast coffee notes. Mild sense of dark chocolate with faint hints of carob and cocoa. Fairly decent mouthfeel, simple and supportive malt backbone. Rich almost mixing milk and roast with excellent texture and flavors.

Very tasty coffee and cacao stout.

Sep 30, 2018
Photo of josanguapo
josanguapo from Spain

3.06/5  rDev -21.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

FromnZombier. In Teku glass. Watching The Shape of Water. Light body, with chocolate notes and some bitterness. Not bad but low for what I expect from Karl Strauss. Didnt appreciate much coffee

Mar 11, 2018
Photo of TheSixthRing
TheSixthRing from California

3.68/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance - Pours black with cola brown edging and a tan, finger width head. Fair retention, resulting in a mostly barren surface and a a thin ring around the edge of the glass. Small spotting makes up the lacing.

Smell - Nutty aroma, with lesser chocolate, caramel cola sweetness. Not much coffee roast, if any.

Taste - Follows the nose. Nutty and chocolatey with a soda-like caramel undertone. Slight roast notes come through in the back end, but hard to believe coffee was added to this brew. Aftertaste is continues with the chocolate flavor with lesser caramel and a distant roastiness.

Mouthfeel - Full-bodied with moderate, tingly carbonation. Slick, lightly creamy texture with a mostly dry finish.

Overall - A decent, but underwhelming impy. The bottling code was a bit smudged, but looks to read 2727, which I think translates to 9/29/17, so its not so old. The coffee mentioned on the label really does not come through at all. I'll gladly drink the rest, but buying this again is not an intriguing idea.

Jan 07, 2018
Photo of lordofthewiens
lordofthewiens from New Mexico

3.92/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Poured into a non-beer glass, the beer was a very dark brown with a thick dark tan head that lingered well.
Aroma of chocolate (mostly) and coffee. A little underwhelming.
The taste improved on the nose. Cocoa up front, then some sweet chocolate. A little coffee.
Medium-bodied, a little on the thin side.

Mar 27, 2017
Photo of rex_4539
rex_4539 from Greece

4.72/5  rDev +20.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

L: Jet black color, one finger light brown head, minimum carbonation.

S: Amazing sweet aroma, chocolate, cocoa, could smell this all day long!

T: Complex yet balanced taste. Malty aftertaste.

F: Very drinkable and refreshing, even in 35C outside temps. Hides the ABV easily.

O: This is a great imperial stout that I could have any day.

Jul 05, 2016
Photo of sdnicksmith
sdnicksmith from California

4.62/5  rDev +17.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Just finished this great beer. definite cocoa flavors, not chocolaty, but like cocoa powder. And the integration of a local coffee roaster is what won me over to but this one. Bird Rock coffee is a part of San Diego.... This is a new favorite.

Feb 05, 2016
Photo of jjboesen
jjboesen from Maryland

3.66/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Picked up a few bombers of this during my recent trip to San Diego. It is a nice rendition of a RIS. The body is like ink, there is little lacing or carbonation about. There is a subtle whiff of plum and licorice; the palate is tickled with a mild malty sweetness that is supplanted with bits of toffee and toast. The body is way to light to compete with breadier brands, such as Storm King or Old Rasputin. Not even close here. Still, it is not bad for a nice and easy quaff. That said, it was better on draft.

Jan 03, 2016
Photo of Jeffsta1
Jeffsta1 from Washington

3.95/5  rDev +0.8%
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.

Nov 26, 2015
Photo of michiganmatt
michiganmatt from California

4.53/5  rDev +15.6%
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.

Nov 11, 2015
Photo of TBonez477
TBonez477 from Vermont

4.2/5  rDev +7.1%
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.

Aug 27, 2015
Photo of SensorySupernova
SensorySupernova from California

3.83/5  rDev -2.3%
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.

Aug 14, 2015
Photo of Beerswag
Beerswag from California

3.65/5  rDev -6.9%
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.

Jun 01, 2015
Photo of funjack5150
funjack5150 from California

3.39/5  rDev -13.5%
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.

Jan 24, 2015
Photo of MRGonzalo
MRGonzalo from California

3.75/5  rDev -4.3%

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.

Nov 07, 2014
Photo of chinchill
chinchill from South Carolina

3.97/5  rDev +1.3%
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!

Jul 01, 2014
Photo of Rob23
Rob23 from California

3/5  rDev -23.5%
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.

Jun 15, 2014
Photo of jjh19
jjh19 from California

3.95/5  rDev +0.8%
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.

May 05, 2014
Photo of drpimento
drpimento from Wisconsin

4.74/5  rDev +20.9%
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.

Mar 12, 2014
Photo of Furlinator
Furlinator from California

4.01/5  rDev +2.3%
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.

Feb 27, 2014
Photo of denatured_gin
denatured_gin from California

1.36/5  rDev -65.3%
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!

Dec 13, 2013
Photo of cbutova
cbutova from Massachusetts

3.5/5  rDev -10.7%
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.

Nov 05, 2013
Photo of lacqueredmouse
lacqueredmouse from Australia

3.37/5  rDev -14%
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.

Oct 05, 2013
Photo of BucannonXC5
BucannonXC5 from California

4/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Originally reviewed on Aug. 16, 2013 as a 3.75, 4.50, 4.50, 4.50 and 4.50 for a total of 4.46.
Changed ratings only on May 22, 2016 to 4.50, 3.75, 4.00, 4.25 and 4.00 for a total of 4.00.

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.

Aug 17, 2013
Photo of mxchap
mxchap from California

4.04/5  rDev +3.1%
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.

Jun 24, 2013
Wreck Alley Imperial Stout from Karl Strauss Brewing Company
Beer rating: 88 out of 100 with 266 ratings