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AleSmith Speedway Stout - Bourbon Barrel Aged - AleSmith Brewing Company

Not Rated.
AleSmith Speedway Stout - Bourbon Barrel AgedAleSmith Speedway Stout - Bourbon Barrel Aged

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
98
world-class

303 Reviews
THE BROS
-
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 303
Hads: 1,686
rAvg: 4.44
pDev: 3.6%
Wants: 1,974
Gots: 493 | FT: 61
Brewed by:
AleSmith Brewing Company visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
American Double / Imperial Stout |  12.00% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: beerguy101 on 01-01-2004

No notes at this time.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 303 | Hads: 1,686
Photo of squaremile
5/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

2008 version poured at the April Portland BA Tasting at BeerMongers thanks to Luke.

Seriously, this was the best imperial stout I've ever had. The mouthfeel was the real high point, and I wish there was a way to rate it a 6. This beer is milk smooth. Unbelievable. The bourbon was present but not overwhelming, the coffee was still available if you really taste closely, and the vanilla flavors from the barrel were perfect. A one shot that won't be found again. Epic. (469 characters)

Photo of DefenCorps
4.55/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

There's nothing quite like waking up to a phone call where the person goes "Hey, I was just at Alesmith and they had growlers of BA Speedway and I figured you'd want one". Thank you, Shane. I split this with a few friends on Sunday, but given that the past couple of days have cemented that I will actually be graduating this summer, I feel like I've earned a healthy 16oz pour as a nightcap.

Jet black with a dense dark brown head with great retention and lacing, this beer looks great. The nose is intense. I get a big chocolate character with licorice, a surprising amount of coffee and of course, the big barrel character with bourbon, vanilla and some coconut. The second pour a couple of days later has picked up some great oxidation as well, lending a light fruitiness to the beer. The palate opens with a big, wet barrel character with a big hit of bourbon and vanilla, warming and quite intense coupled with some oak. Chocolate, chocolate wafer, a delicate creaminess, and some licorice are all noticeable. Like the BA Decadence (Imperial Porter), this does exhibit a character that Alesmith has found to coax out of their barrel aged beers, a decadent chocolate milk character. The balance of flavors is exquisite. Full in body, this beer is particularly smooth with a soft, lush carbonation and a ridiculous finish with a blend of dark chocolate, bourbon, vanilla and a slight oak tannin character, as well as a little bitterness. Quite an exceptional beer.

Letting the beer sit in the growler for a few days brings out more fruity oxidation in this beer, really reminding me in some ways of the 03 BA Speedway, but it doesn't match up in the richness or breathtaking beauty that that beer is. All told, though, this is an exceptional beer, one that I feel lucky to have had a chance to try. (1,804 characters)

Photo of Kaiser81
4.65/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Had a sampler while I filled a growler in Alesmith's tasting room. I believe this is the '08 version

A - Pours a vicious and viscous pitch black with a finger width of mocha head...it dissipates fairly quickly and leaves a decent amount of lacing on the glass for a BA stout.

S - lots of bourbon up front. It's also maybe just a tad bit briney. There are chocolate notes that come through, though they are faint. The coffee is faint.

T - Speedway on crack, in an awesome way! I get lots of toffee and roast mixed in with some bourbon and coffee. The bourbon lingers perfectly.

M - Heavy body with mild carbonation. Really can't get much better. There's a slight coffee aftertaste.

D - Too good. I could drink way too much of it.

I'm so lucky to have had this 2 miles from my house. Cost me a lot to help out a couple of friends, but it was well worth it as a it's a special treat to be able to try this beer. (914 characters)

Photo of Mauerhan
4.82/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Headed down to Alesmith first thing I could to grab a growler of this beast.

Pours thick and a black that looks like you took used motor oil and tossed in some extra black. Not a ton of head but what does show up is thick and creamy. A chocolate brown hue, some lacing.

Smell is pretty intense. I instantly get a whiff of the barrel on there but with further investigation I get more of the roasted malt and chocolate profile perking up. Roasted sweetness. Smells great.

Taste follows directly behind smell but it is kicked up a notch. It is so surprising to me how well balanced this is. The majority of barrel aged stouts that I have had in my experience have been hot messes at the start but the growler of speedway is near perfection. Vanilla notes play well with others of cocoa and a big malt backbone.

12 percent is nearly impossible to pinpoint. Creamy mouth feel that just keeps dancing around my taste buds screaming for me to have more.

Overall this is an incredibly well made beer and one that truly lends itself to the barrel aging process. My only qualm is that it is not readily available. (1,113 characters)

Photo of bobjonesSD
4.67/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a growler into wine glasses - split four ways over the course of the evening. The aroma was terrific - lightly bourbon-y with some coffee and toasted chocolate as well - very different from regular speedway. Taste is great as well - not overdone on the barrel-aging as some recent stouts have seemd to me. Love the mouthfeel - very thick and oily. Nice and easy to drink as well.

Went nicely with the brownie cakes made from the leftover regular speedway growler and drizzled with speedway caramel sauce. (518 characters)

Photo of John_M
4.67/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Generously shared by Dyan yesterday.

BA Speedway pours an impressive blackish brown color with great head retention and plenty of sticky lacing. The beer looks impressive, but then I took the first sniff. Mama mia!!! The nose on this bad boy is just stunning, with coffee, malt balls, chocolate milkshake and vanilla. This beer smells wonderful and imparts one of the most impressive aroma profiles I've ever come across. The flavor profile generally replicates the nose, but is not quite as intense and complex. The chocolate milkshake and coffee take center stage on the palate, and the stout is pretty sweet. Yet that sweetness never seems over the top or cloying. Mouthfeel is outrageous in this one; this beer is so soft, plush, creamy and smooth. The finish seems to last forever. Alcohol is noticeable, but it in no way detracts from the drinkability in this fine beer.

Easily one of the best stouts I've ever encountered. It doesn't have the complexity of the Abyss, but scores very high in the decadence category. So rich and fine.... this is delicious stuff.

Dyan opened a bottle of the regular Speedway to compare the two.... while regular speedway is delicious, the BA version is just in a completely different league. Wow!

Thanks Dyan! (1,253 characters)

Photo of GbVDave
4.13/5  rDev -7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 64oz growler into some red wine glasses. Growler supplied and generously shared by Masterski with me, Joe1510, and three of Masterskis' friends. Thanks Alex!

A: Pours coal black with a thin and creamy dark khaki colored head. Retention was fleeting but when this was swirled, it showed off some pretty legs.

S: I was surprised by how restrained the bourbon aroma was. It, by all means, is there but slightly in the background. Heavily roasted malt, espresso, and dark fruit.

T: See above. Barrel flavor comes on strong during the late middle and on through the finish. Bourbon was more pronounced here than in the aroma. Again, loads of coffee, blackened malt, and raisins.

M: I found this to be a little on the thin side for such a big stout. Don't gete me wrong, it's still huge, but a little less full and coating than I expected. Maybe that helped the drinkability score? Finishes tannic, dry, and ashy.

D: Pretty excellent. I felt that this is more drinkable than regular Speedway which I find to be pretty hot and bitter, as of late. Actually this drank like a 6-7% stout. How do they hide that? (1,120 characters)

Photo of bmanning
4.57/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks Grant for providing this at a tasting last year, and thanks Thorpe429 for this 2007 bottle we sampled at a tasting recently.
A: Pitch black with quickly receding tan head that provides good lacing.

S: Heavy on the bourbon and oak with dark chocolate, vanilla, cherry cola, and strong espresso. Very decadent and can't wait to dig in.

T: Surprisingly, the dark fruit is the most dominant flavor, with lots of cherry and plum. The coffee is still present, and bourbon, vanilla, oak, and chocolate is there in full force too. The coffee has provided a nice bitterness that balances out the sweet caramel and toffee flavors.

M: Definitely on the thin side for a barrel aged stout, with very little carbonation and an oaky dry finish.

D: Although definitely a sipping beer, it is so decadent and complex and goes down so smooth.

Overall this is a fantastic bourbon barrel stout and the coffee, chocolate, and cherry flavors make it one of the best. (955 characters)

Photo of OlieIPA
4.91/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I was fortunate enough to take a half-day on Thursday and get down to Alesmith to try and purchase a growler of this wonderful stuff. Can life get better? I submit that it cannot.

A: Poured motor-oil thick and black into my Bruery tulip glass. What was disappointing was the lack of head and lacing, but I can contribute some of that to the growler. A few quick swirls develop a head, but the retention was mild at best.

S: Sweet bourbon and caramel off the bat with hints of sticky molasses, vanilla, cocoa and coffee towards the backend. The barrel is strong, but enhances all the other smells instead of overpowering them.

T: The first sip (impression) is a combination of complex flavors that almost makes my palate quiver. Coffee, vanilla, wood, and caramel seem to be the first wave of flavors I pick up. Tons of molasses, bitter-burnt chocolate, and residual sugar are next in line and make up most of the middle. The coffee, which seems subdued for most of the sip, seems to really come through towards the finish.

M: Creamy, full-bodied, and quite sticky at times. The finish is slightly dry, which may be due to the high attenuation this beer experienced and/or coffee.

D: Extremely drinkable; no alcohol bite at all and flavor profile is among the best I've ever tried.

Overall: Vastly different/better than the bottled version I tried a few years back. The complexities that the barrel imparted on this year's Speedway were amazing, to say the least. I can't think of another beer that used the barrel aging process as well as this. I must try. Cheers! (1,575 characters)

Photo of Thorpe429
4.5/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2007 Vintage. Bottle 358/447. Shared with bmanning, Amyliz4, and heatherh at a recent tasting. Big thanks to nflmvp for this one!

A: Pours a very dark brown with a powerful mocha head. Very nice lacing as it makes its way down. Great appearance on such a strong brew.

S: Massive bourbon nose in the initial whiff, followed by sweetened dark fruits, roasted malt, and a hint of wood.

T: Big bourbon again. A bit of roasted malt, and a beautiful yet quaint dark, tart cherry flavor. A bit of sweetened dark fruits. Hints of oak and a very nice espresso bitterness. Very complex all around. I love regular Speedway, and this one blows it away.

M: Nice and creamy with an alcohol bite that is wonderfully in proportion to the rest of the flavors in the beer.

D: Supreme. One of the best stouts I've had in a long, long time. Again, big thanks to Steve for sending this one out my way. (885 characters)

Photo of Deuane
4.89/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

My most anticipated beer of the 2009 PSU Graduation Celebration. Big thanks to Dyan for a chance at this one. Without question one of my most wanted beers.

2007 Vintage bottle 412 of 447.

A-Deep black/brown with a never reducing thin tan head that left a surprising amount of streaky lace.

S-Musty oak and bourbon notes reside underneath decadent dark chocolate, rich, fresh tilled earth and espresso bitterness. Extremely rich and complex.

T-Rich, dark chocolate with lighter accenting bourbon notes in support. Dark, sour cherries, espresso and oak reside in the drying finish. Immensely complex and Oh! so tasty!

M-Medium bodied, amazingly smooth with long lingering flavours and a bitter kick accompanying the oak dryness.

D-Really--is this a question? I love regular Speedway and this is that taken to another level--BIG TIME! Simply an outstanding barrel aged brew. I wish it wasn't so damn rare and limited. I would be happy to drink this anytime. (960 characters)

Photo of vacax
4.36/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The growler pours gosh danged dark with around a finger of dark mocha head. Not much retention or lacing, goes down to zero bubbles pretty quickly. Slight coating effect from the alcohol, but no legs or church windows. The aroma is plums, bourbon, brown sugar, black treacle, coconut, coffee, and oak. The barrel presence is quite real and stronger than the bottles I have tasted from time to time, as this growler would be fresher out of the oak. The flavor has cocoa, oak, bourbon, raisin, and even some olive and spiciness to it. Roasted coffee and cookielike malts on the finish. The body is medium to full with some nice oily thickness to it, but still a bit thinner I would expect. Quite a nice beer, somewhat boozy, though I like some nice bourbon flavors. I will have a couple glasses. (793 characters)

Photo of BarrytheBear
4.82/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

growler split three ways with friends

sweet bourbon and deep rich malt on the sniffer

bourbon and coffee meld wonderfully...coffee up front and bourbon in the rear...so many avenues to explore here, but I'll let it go. Wave after wave of dark chocolate as this beer warms. Wood from the barrel is increasingly evident. Just thoroughly enjoyable.

Body is slightly oily, lightly carbonated, and a bit thin for the heft of this beauty.

Alcohol content is well hidden in this incredibly crafted, highly enjoyable stout. A real treat. (534 characters)

Photo of NittanyBeerFan
4.85/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Thanks to Trey for bringing this gem to our tasting. Bottle 60/196 from 2003, this was a highlight of the tasting. Number 12 on day 2 and number 21 overall. Poured into a snifter.

Pours pitch black and extremely viscous. There is no head at all, nor is there any hint of carbonation. I guess that years in bourbon barrels will do that to ya. Upon swirling, nice legs form on the sides of my glass. This is one classy-looking beer.

The nose is phenomenal, as AleSmith shows of their ability to do barrel aging better than, in my estimation, any brewery out there. Coffee, chocolate, caramel, toffee, vanilla, and bourbon all come through in the nose, completely masking any alcohol aroma that may be present. Additionally, the bourbon and oakey vanilla are more highlighting factors than they are focal points. This is how I like my barrel-aged beers to smell.

On the palate, the complexity begins to grow and expand. Added to the nice balance of chocolate, vanilla, toffee, and bourbon are dark fruity flavors of dates and prunes. There is also a nice nutty syrup twinge that comes through towards the finish. The finish is full of well-balanced mellow bourbon and vanilla. Dark chocolate lingers on the palate afterwards.

Smooth and almost creamy, this beer is a case study is how a barrel aged beer should be created. The fact that there is no carbonation works extremely well, and the consistency is not syrupy either. The body is great, and the drinking experience phenomenal. (1,484 characters)

Photo of callmemickey
4.67/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2006 Vintage (Bottle #85/233)

A: Dark brown-black body with a slight khaki head. Settled to a spotty skim quickly. Not much in the way of lace.

S: Lovely... Bourbon, oak, vanilla, espresso, caramel, general roasty goodness.

T: The bourbon here is sublime... all the flavor without much of the burn. Earthy oak and vanilla are present along with profound coffee and espresso flavors. Nice caramel underbelly with perhaps a little brown sugar.

M: Moderate-heavy bodied. Oily, smooth and lightly carbonated. Nice finish that lingers for a few seconds without any burning sensation from the bourbon.

D: Truly top notch. I think this vintage is just about at its peak. It was sublimely delicate and complex. Would easily seek out another bottle if anyone is trading! (766 characters)

Photo of ChrisPro
4.5/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2006 vintage 750mL bottle thanks to callmemickey at Rosso e Marrone release.

Pours very dark brown with slightest hints of ruby in the light, little tan head that faded instantly. Aroma was slight bourbon with some coffee still poking its way through. Tasted almost like a mocha with a few shots of bourbon in it. This was incredible oak/rye/molasses flavor in a beer WITHOUT the kick in the back of the throat. This is insanely drinkable for 12% and age has been nice to this beer and it was a fantastic chance to try one. Thanks, Ryan. (539 characters)

Photo of femALEist
4.2/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this on tap at the City Beer Store Alesmith event during SF Beer week.
The Bourbon Barrel Aged Speedway Stout is 12.5%, just a .5% more than their regular Speedway Stout. It poured an eclipse black with some light cream. It smelled like bourbon, malt, espresso, but not too overwhelmingly bourbon. It tasted like toasted malts, bourbon, but no burn. It was incredibly smooth for 12.5% and seemed more like it was created using Irish whiskey barrels perhaps? You don't get much vanilla or coconut flavors out of it- just a hint. Seems reminiscent of the Deschuttes XXI. Overall, pretty tasty. (595 characters)

Photo of Georgiabeer
4.97/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

2007 edition, bottle #280 of 447. Shared by Grant with some of the usual suspects- thanks very much for the opportunity, Grant! This is an exquisite beer. The barrel aging rounds out the flavors, adds a touch of creaminess, and some nice counterbalancing flavors as well as some nice drying notes from the wood. Pours a very dark brown with a relatively thin swirly head. Amazing nose, with wonderful Bourbon notes that complement the stout rather than overwhelming it. Sweet and creamy with deep notes of roastiness and nicely merged coffee and bourbon. The taste showcases a perfect marriage of drying woody notes, a touch of coconut, sweet rich bourbon finish, and nice creamy roastiness. Super creamy in the mouth and just ridiculously easy to suck down, especially given the very high abv. A very nice example of where barrel aging enhances rather than overwhelms a beer. Superb. (884 characters)

Photo of PeprSprYoFace
4.79/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Churchill's Renaissance.

Appearance is jet black. Thin head dissapated fast. Left a ring. No lacing.

Aroma is tons of dark fruits, caramel, toasted sugars. Very complex. Some bourbon in the nose.

Tastes exactly as it smells with a good bourbon flavor that doesn't take over and let's the other flavors play as well.

Mouthfeel is heavy with nice carb.

Overall a damn fine beer that I am glad shows up every once in a while. (437 characters)

Photo of johnnnniee
4.44/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I shared my last bottle of this with a friend. 2006 Vintage.

Pours a solid black with a stingy tan head that dissipates quickly to a cap on top. Smells of coffee, vanilla, chocolate, dark fruits and prunes, with and oaky alcohol edge. The taste is filled with rich coffee and chocolates sprinkled with and oaky plum sweetness and a touch of alcohol. Hints of coconut and vanilla show up to the party but hide in the kitchen. Fairly thick body with a full creamy almost acridic mouthfeel and light carbonation. I am sad to say that I have enjoyed my last bottle of this fine brew. Intensely complex and damn tasty, I wish this was more available. (646 characters)

Photo of tpd975
4.05/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Big thanks to jdubfl for cracking open his bottle, lets me save mine for a later date.

2007 Vintage

A: Pours a deep dark black hue with a small tan head. No retention or lace.

S: aromas of bold dark fruit, mild notes of chocolate with a touch of oak.

T: Raisin, Raisin, and more raisin. This one is dripping with dark fruit flavors. It is supported by a bit of chocolate and coffee as well. The barrel is very very mild. Very light oak, no vanilla or booze to speak of.

M: On the fuller side of medium, nicely carbonated.

D: Good, wish it had a bit more roast and a bit more barrel though to be honest. (608 characters)

Photo of bret27
4.72/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Unsure of vintage.

S: Roasty and coffee predominantly. Also chocolate. A little booze and toffee malty sweetness around as well.

A: Jet black w/brn thick head.

T: Vanilla and wood dominate this one. Coffee along w/the delcious maltiness and roastiness. Vanilla and wood dominate this one., chocolate, toffee notes. A little boozy presence but the etoh is well hidden for sure.

M/D: Thick and velvety sublime mouthfeel. Drinkability is definitely impressive for ABV.

Overall: Bal-aging thins the body just a bit, and really balances out the coffee roast of regular speedway. I have to say that side by side I like this a bit better. (638 characters)

Photo of stricklandia
4.38/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had this as part of the Linkery's "Wood week," their fifth anniversary (wood) celebration. Tonight, they had a barrel-aged beer night, which included eight different barrel-aged beers. This one was by far our favorite of the five that we tried (with Firestone 12th Anniversary Ale a close second). To me, this came across as the best a stout can offer: full-bodied with all the flavors you would expect, but not too sweet or too strong or too heavy on the chocolate or coffee notes. A perfect balance, just right! (513 characters)

Photo of mdfb79
4.67/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

From 2/6/10 notes, this was from a 2006 750ML bottle that nimbleprop shared at SC Day. We sampled an 08 Speedway followed by this.

a - Pours a dark black with about a finger of brownish head. Poured a darker color than the 08 Speedway.

s - I thought it smelled similiar to the 08 Speedway, which was mostly coffee and bourbon. Also smelled a little chocolate and some roasted malts.

t - Tastes like coffe and was a lot sweeter than I was expecting. Also has a vanilla bourbon taste to it. Very smooth.

m - Full bodied, this was very smooth and easy to drink.

d - Overall I really liked this stout. I liked the 08 Speedway, but thought this was a lot better. Very smooth for 12% ABV and I'd love to try this again sometime. (727 characters)

Photo of PretzelCity
4.5/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap @ Hamilton's. Deep dark black ale with a creamy two inch tan head that slowly recedes to lacing. Good looking stout. Smells of toasty malty bourbon with hints of coffee. Taste is sweeter than expected, malty, chocolate, coffee and bourbon. Smooth and rich with some alcohol burn in the finish, especially as it warms up. Delicious, complex, well rounded beer. Easy to drink with a nice full bodied mouthfeel. I only wish this one was more readily available. (464 characters)

AleSmith Speedway Stout - Bourbon Barrel Aged from AleSmith Brewing Company
98 out of 100 based on 303 ratings.