Wreck Alley Imperial Stout | Karl Strauss Brewing Company

BA SCORE
86
very good
240 Ratings
Wreck Alley Imperial StoutWreck Alley Imperial Stout
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Karl Strauss Brewing Company
California, United States
karlstrauss.com

Style: American Double / Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.50%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by mactrail on 04-01-2012

BEER STATS
Ratings:
240
Reviews:
48
Avg:
3.87
pDev:
12.4%
 
 
Wants:
10
Gots:
54
For Trade:
0
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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 240 |  Reviews: 48
Photo of denatured_gin
1.36/5  rDev -64.9%
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!

 1,222 characters

Photo of sia478
2.25/5  rDev -41.9%

Photo of Liondiscs
2.5/5  rDev -35.4%

Photo of jmd88
2.64/5  rDev -31.8%
look: 2.75 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.5

Photo of EB1
2.75/5  rDev -28.9%

Photo of yoitsarch
2.75/5  rDev -28.9%

Photo of Rob23
3/5  rDev -22.5%
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.

 404 characters

Photo of thebeeler
3/5  rDev -22.5%

Photo of vma
3/5  rDev -22.5%

Photo of dksl16
3/5  rDev -22.5%

Photo of kmanjohnson
3/5  rDev -22.5%

Photo of beagle75
3.14/5  rDev -18.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Poured from a growler into a shaker pint glass.

A: Opaque black color with no foam head. No lacing remains on the glass.

S: Compelling chocolate syrup is featured. Dark fruit peeks from the edges, as does a volatile spirituous quality.

T: Begins off-dry, with cakey chocolate malt in ample supply at first. Acidity is fairly mild into the middle where dark fruit is subdued before flavors become a bit muddied. The finish drops off quickly, leaving a trace of bitter chocolate to linger. No alcohol is detected.

M: Medium viscosity, watery yet sluggish on the palate, with very low carbonation.

D/O: Drinkable for the style, but flawed. While the smell is nearly laser-focused, the flavors spiral out in unnecessary directions. The texture is inconsistent with the style, making the beer as a whole harder to take seriously. Karl Strauss keeps trying to land a real imperial stout, but they can't seem to get everything right.

 931 characters

Photo of flayedandskinned
3.21/5  rDev -17.1%
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.

 1,095 characters

Photo of OGdirty
3.22/5  rDev -16.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Photo of WestCoastBrew2
3.25/5  rDev -16%

Photo of steve8robin
3.25/5  rDev -16%

Photo of bschinelli
3.25/5  rDev -16%

Photo of retry4z
3.25/5  rDev -16%

Photo of facefox
3.29/5  rDev -15%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Photo of dankenava31
3.31/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.25

Photo of lacqueredmouse
3.37/5  rDev -12.9%
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.

 1,230 characters

Photo of dwagner003
3.38/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3

Photo of funjack5150
3.39/5  rDev -12.4%
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.

 259 characters

Photo of docoman
3.46/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Decent stout, very thin, taste pretty good more chocolate not so much coffee note. Worth a try but there are better options in my opinion.

139 characters

Photo of kojevergas
3.47/5  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.

 3,116 characters

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Wreck Alley Imperial Stout from Karl Strauss Brewing Company
3.87 out of 5 based on 240 ratings.
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