AleSmith Speedway Stout - Bourbon Barrel Aged - AleSmith Brewing Company

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AleSmith Speedway Stout - Bourbon Barrel AgedAleSmith Speedway Stout - Bourbon Barrel Aged

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BA SCORE
98
world-class

296 Reviews
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Reviews: 296
Hads: 1,646
rAvg: 4.44
pDev: 8.56%
Wants: 1,950
Gots: 467 | FT: 58
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

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Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 296 | Hads: 1,646
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)

Photo of Lunch
4.35/5  rDev -2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served from a 750ml bottle generously shared another BA at the Sexual Chocolate release in North Carolina (Thanks man!) into my Great Divide snifter (02/06/10).

A: Pours an extremely dark and mildly thick motor oil black with a lighter than expected two-finger head with nice retention leaving some sticky lace.

S: Has all the elements of the regular Speedway; coffee and roasted malt with just a faint hint of dark, bitter chocolate, but this clearly enhanced with a wonderful wave of vanilla bourbon.

T: Like the original, coffee is certainly the dominating force with this Imperial Stout and it does so in a very effective way. Seems quite fresh with some espresso-like qualities with a great degree of roasted malt and some hints of chocolate in a dark and bitter form. The barrel aging adds a whole new dimension to this beer with some nice sticky bourbon and layers of vanilla.

M: I found this to be slightly thinner than expected, but had some nice creaminess and moderate carbonation

D: Quite easy to drink especially for a 12% BA Imperial Stout.

In my oppinion this was a nice, but subtle improvement over the its non-BA brother, adding some nice dimension and character to an already stellar brew. Thanks again Mac! (1,232 characters)

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

On tap at Hamilton's, served in a tulip.

Pours black, black, black. Nice light brown head that is about one finger thick.

Smells of bourbon and coffee. The taste starts bitter like a very dark chocolate and espresso beans. Leaves behind an aftertaste of vanilla and caramel. Mouthfeel is perfect for the style as it is thick without being syrupuy or sticky and it is generously carbonated. The beer is very easy to drink, especially for a 12%, not hot like some other RIS's out there. (487 characters)

Photo of punkrkr27
3.76/5  rDev -15.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2006 bottle shared by northernbrews at the Sept. 09 Metro Detroit tasting. Jet black pour with no head. The aroma was chocolate and roast with heavy oxidation and hints of oak, vanilla and bourbon. The flavor is more of the same with a distinct soy sauce like quality. Oily, full body. Sadly this seems to not have aged quite so well. (334 characters)

Photo of kirok1999
4.52/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

More thanks to Mcallister for sharing the bottle.
A dense black in the snifter with wisps of dark lacing around the glass.
Smells sweet and creamy. Lots of dark fruit, raisins, cherries, caramel and oaky bourbon. One of the best smells I've ever had the pleasure to sniff.
Taste is not nearly as sweet as the smell. Lots of coffee pops up that just isn't in the smell. Tons of oak tannins, bourbon, prunes, cherries and dark caramel with chocolate.
Feels dense and lush, very heavy and creamy. A definite sipper; took me quite a long time to finish, maybe because I wanted to savor it. I can understand why this is so sought after. (633 characters)

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

Bottle number 13/235
2006 Vintage
Thanks to BA member McAllister for sharing this bad boy

Pours a deep rich black with a very thin bubbly tan head. Slight lacing on the glass.
Smells of a stellar blend of bourbon, chocolate, and roasted coffee. Tastes of oak bourbon and very rich coffee. Somewhat of a sour tannic taste on the tongue like that you would get from eating the skins of fresh cherries. Very thick mouthful that coats the tongue. Surprisingly drinkable to me on this cold winter day, but definitely a beer meant to savor slowly. (543 characters)

Photo of mcallister
4.88/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Finally cracking a bottle of this. 2006 batch bottle 13 of 235.

Pours a dark viscous black with a unstable mocha head that leaves large sticky bubbles on the edges of my dogfish snifter.

Lovely smelling beer with coffee still at the forefront followed up quickly by a oaky bourbon accent with toasted vanilla, black cherry, chocolate, roasted malts, and some other black fruits and licorice.

Damn this is a beauty. Still plenty of cellar life left as well 5 years or more. Thick coffee and roasted malts, reminds me of a dark chocolate covered coffee bean that may have been soaked in bourbon. Tons of oak tannins on the finish and a nice vanilla middle from the oak as well. Very soft and creamy on the palate. Slight anise, black currant, black cherry and red currant flavors. Some tobacco and mollasses as well. Hints of residual sugars on the finish just an amazing beer. (878 characters)

Photo of juhl31
4.6/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

thanks to city beer's alesmith tasting.

-black, small brown head that sticks around for a good enough time

-chocolate and coffee with a subtle hint of the bourbon

-very good, much better than the regular out of the bottle. the coffee taste comes through a lot more and the bourbon is perfect in quantity. glad i got back for a 2nd pour as well

-nice and thick and sits well on the tongue

-very good, both the barrel and regular were much better on tap as opposed to the bottle. much more balanced, not as sweet (516 characters)

AleSmith Speedway Stout - Bourbon Barrel Aged from AleSmith Brewing Company
98 out of 100 based on 296 ratings.