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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: 1,687
rAvg: 4.44
pDev: 8.56%
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
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 303 | Hads: 1,687
Photo of docoman
4.5/5  rDev +1.4%

During my San Diego trip mid November this year (craft beer week in SD was incredible) sampled at the Stone Beer Garden liberty station on draft. Great BA stout, pretty much like most BA stouts, but this one didn't disappoint. Would recommend trying if you are fan of BA stouts like myself. (292 characters)

Photo of roger617
4.3/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Bottle poured into snifter.

A: Pours pure black with 1 finger of khaki head that reduces slows and leaves a thin collar throughout the glass. Viscosity seems to be thick, but a little shy of what I was expecting for the ABV.
S: I mainly get coffee, bourbon, and chocolate. Aroma is very pleasant, much improved over the regular Speedway, which was extremely dominant in coffee.
T: As a bourbon fan, this flavor speaks to me quite nicely. The barrel aging has done this beer wonders, as the bourbon flavor is very present and adds a much needed compliment to the strong coffee presence. I also get chocolate and roasted malt.
M: Feel is thick and smooth, carbed well, leaving a slightly dry aftertaste which I attribute to the coffee. Lingering feel is dry with the compliments of coffee and bourbon.
O: This beer is a great barrel aged stout that gets lost in a very popular category. I love how strong the bourbon and chocolate come forward to bring a needed balance to the coffee. (988 characters)

Photo of LisaBarker
4.5/5  rDev +1.4%

Wow, this beer is so thick it could paint walls a nice toasty brown color. It is very complex with many flavors going on. I especially like the dark roast coffee flavors I get with the smooth yet potent bourbon flavor that warms you right up. I couldn't drink more than one in one sitting, it is definitely a sipping beer but quite enjoyable. (345 characters)

Photo of LambicPentameter
4.4/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Opened this bottle as part of a small tasting with friends because there's something about a $40+ bottle of beer that makes it seem anticlimactic to open by yourself. I don't remember seeing if there was a bottling date, but this particular bottle is of the 2014 vintage. Poured into a Belgian-style tulip glass.

Appearance (4.5) - Poured with some vigor, since I know barrel-aged beers have a tendency to lose their ability to generate much head, and I'm rewarded with a finger and a half of dark cocoa colored foam. Several of the smaller bubbles immediately start to expand, giving it a spongy appearance until it dissipates to a film of intermittent foam and ringlet. Some sticky, thin swaths of lace adorn the sides of the glass.

Smell (4.5) - A wonderful collection of aromas, with the roasted malt and bourbon taking the lead, but in a well-blended way that makes them seem like a single aromatic note. I'm a little dismayed at the lack of coffee presence--it's there, but muscled out of the picture by the much more prevalent notes of vanilla, caramel, bourbon and oak. It's honestly hard to distinguish the more bitter roasted malt notes from the coffee notes. That said, I cannot dock it too much, as the smell is still wonderful. Maybe my favorite element of this beer.

Taste (4.25) - As with the smell, the coffee takes a back seat to the barrel characteristics, with sweet booze and really nice notes of caramel and toffee blending with the grain to produce the sensation of kind of a granola bar dipped in bittersweet chocolate and drizzled with a ribbon of caramel. The only negative--and it's hardly one at all--I can say is that I wish it were a bit more overt. It's impressive that AleSmith could make such a big, bold style, with lots of flavors going on, and blend it into a nice, smooth-drinking beer, but I like my BA stouts to be a little more aggressive.

Feel (4.5) - There is a nice full-bodied nature to this, in spite of being (I believe) 100% barrel-aged. The carbonation is moderate to low--just enough to prevent the sweet viscosity of the body from becoming cloying or smothering.

Overall (4.5) - A wonderful beer that I'm glad to have tried, and one that I would recommend to anyone who hasn't had it, price tag be damned. That said, the price is prohibitive for repeat purchases, because if I'm paying that kind of price for a bottle, it needs to be one of the best beers I've ever tasted to warrant a return purchase. And it's a well enough made beer that for some, it could very well be just that. But not for me. As such, I will just tip my cap to AleSmith and say "stout well done". (2,624 characters)

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

Poured from a 750 mL bottle into an Alesmith sample glass. Not sure of the vintage, as the bottled on date is smudged, but I think it's a 2010. Thank you Kevin for this one!

Pours a thick, inkjet, oily body with a 3 finger milk chocolate colored head that reduces fairly quickly to leave a ring of retention.

Smell is inviting and potent - vanilla bean, heavy dark fruit, bourbon, some mustyness (I'm assuming from the age), milk chocolate, some booze in the background.

First thing to hit the tongue is sweet butterscotch, vanilla, sugar cookie, followed by milk chocolate, bitter roasted coffee, with a super charred, roasty malt aftertaste that sticks around for a while. Thick, rich, heavy body with low carbonation.

Very nice, super tasty, rich, complex, and balanced while hitting all the good flavor points of a barrel aged stout. Highly recommendable! (866 characters)

Photo of jzeilinger
4.5/5  rDev +1.4%

A - Pours pitch black with a minimal head and leaves a thick, coffee colored lacing ring around
the top of the beer.

A - Bourbon, vanilla, dark toffee roast, oak, and caramel.

T - Perfectly balanced layer upon layer of toffee, caramel roast, vanilla, oak, bourbon, and not
overly boozy or over powering. Light smoky char.

M - Full medium body, silky smooth, lip smacking sticky.

O - An amazingly well balanced barrel aged beer. (435 characters)

Photo of JonnyBeers
4.25/5  rDev -4.3%

March 2013 bottle. Still pretty darn hot, and I generally don't mind the bourbon heat. The coffee is still super strong, and the best part of the beer for me. I prefer the base Speedway to be honest. This one doesn't stack up to a fresh Bourbon County, and it pails in comparison to a BC Coffee. Too hot, still. It's very good, but considering how easy it is to get the regular Speedway in my area, I doubt I'll make a huge effort to find this one again when the regular is $12 a 750ml. (486 characters)

Photo of KYGunner
4.25/5  rDev -4.3%

The nose held dark fruit, figs, chocolate, brownie batter, sweet malts and dark cherries. The flavor held true with a bit more brownie batter and strong prune, date and dark fruit. The barrel and bourbon are too subtle. This drinks velvety smooth and coats the mouth well. I'm impressed but found myself asking for more of the barrel. (334 characters)

Photo of draheim
4.65/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750mL (2014) into a snifter. Pours a deep oily black w/ a 1-finger mocha head that settles to a thin film and collar.

Aroma is huge chocolate, smoky charred oak, coffee, roasted malt, bourbon, vanilla, caramel, and more bourbon.

Taste is likewise chock-full of bourbon, caramel, vanilla, coffee, chocolate, molasses, charred wood, and dark bitter roasted malt. Wowee zowee, this beer is full of flavor. Nice warming heat on the finish, like a good whisky.

Mouthfeel is slick and coating, lingering.

Overall an outstanding barrel-aged imperial stout. I wish I could try all my favorites side by side, but this one is blowing me away. Difficult to imagine how it could be much better. (687 characters)

Photo of JohnG190
4.75/5  rDev +7%

2012. Pours pitch black with a lasting mocha head. Lots of coffee, chocolate, and bourbon on the nose. Chocolate and coffee on the front of the tongue with hints of vanilla, bourbon, and oak. Full bodied. Lack of carbonation adds to the creamy mouthfeel. Overall, one of the best coffee stouts I've ever had. (308 characters)

Photo of homebrew311
4.46/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

Pours a massive thick black with oily consistency and no head present. The nose starts with a smack of deep roasty coffee with heavy chocolate, coffee ground, vanilla, dark fruit, and charred oak. The taste is quite sweet up front with healthy doses of chocolate coffee and vanilla. The coffee has a nice earthy and distinct profile, the barrel smooths things out. Mouthfeel is super heavy with mild carbonation. Overall, delicious and big! (440 characters)

Photo of ptykozoon
4.09/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.25

Pours black with brown highlights in the light, no head/lacing.

Smells decadent and strong. Fudge, coffee, raisin, cinammon.

Taste is dark fudge with hints of chocolate and oak.

Mouthfeel is superb, ABV controlled - almost negligible.

A dessert beer with decent complexity. (278 characters)

Photo of DoubleJ
4.82/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Barrel aged Speedway Stout. With Speedway Stout as awesome as it stands, I just hope this doesn't become like putting spinning rims on a Bentley. On-tap at 38 Degrees, on to the beer:

Black as ink in a glass with no head on the pour. Ok, next aspect. Whew! That is a beauty to smell! The liquor makes its mark first, and not far behind are generous doses of molasses, pleasant booze, coffee, and maple.

The journey continues, and somehow it manages to be better than an already aromatic orgasm. Not only is Barrel Aged Sppedway complex, but flavorful and incredibly smooth at the highest level, aspects which are very difficult to pull off in a single beer. There's a mood elevating licorice and maple towards the start. A little roast breaks into the mold. Warm booze pleasanty compliments the journey while much of it is disguised. It all works together. Adding to the moment is a full bodied figure where the carbonation is not too weak or strong and overall very smooth.

How did AleSmith do it?! Taking an already outstanding beer and making it more succulent and smooth is a difficult feat, but it has been pulled off. Well worth the praise it has earned over the years. (1,179 characters)

Photo of mjpolzin
3.98/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Despite the hefty price tag, I was excited to obtain a bottle of this so I could try what is a very highly rated beer. When I initially tried regular Speedway Stout, I was somewhat underwhelmed when comparing to other coffee stouts. The same is true with the barrel aged version. It was a really good beer but not up to par with some of the better barrel aged coffee stouts out there. At $40 a bottle, this is one that I probably won't seek out again although I was happy to be able to try it.

The beer pours a thick, opaque black with little head. The smell is a sweet mix of bourbon and coffee. My issue with the taste (just as with regular Speedway) is that the coffee seems rather rash and isn't smoothly integrated into the rest of the beer. Maybe with some age this would mellow out. Otherwise, the bourbon taste is very enjoyable and overall the beer has a sweetness that is similar other big stouts. (908 characters)

Photo of HalfFull
4.19/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

2013 release poured into a snifter glass. Pours jet black with a deep mocha cap. Cap doesn't linger long but keeps a surface cap through the glass.

Aroma is barrel forward with bourbon and wood along with some cherry chocolate, vanilla and toffee. Richer chocolate through a fresh top off/cap of foam. Notes of ethanol are present yet more intriguing than insultive in a cognac sense and quite welcome.

Tastes of chocolate liqueur, Sabra in a sense, at least the way it used to be :) Rich yet not too rich and with light chocolate and just a hint of roast. Sweet yet not too sweet. Bready chocolate and spice on the moderately lingering finish. Overall very intriguing and I have a few more. (693 characters)

Photo of timc100
4.77/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Little revisiting in Feb 2015. Damn this is good - much richer than the first time, not sure of thats age or just a better day for the palate.

Great depth of RIS dark fruits, rich coffee in the back ground with the fruits, huge barrel sweetness, vanilla cream, oak and whiskey-caramel. Drinks incredibly smooth, full, and soft.

Outstanding beer, one of the best.


Fresh 2014

Pours as dark as the base - incredibly creamy mocha head for a BA beer. Oak barrel dominates - vanilla, some graham cracker. Dark roasted coffee, roasted malts, some dark fruits from the coffee, bakers cocoa. Flavor is full and finish is long, dry and roasty with a booze kick. Pronounced oaky vanilla in the taste. Do not get much bourbon, just oak barrel and it works very well. As it warms up more sweet barrel nuances come out.

Great stuff. This has been a personal whale for a while (873 characters)

Photo of Lemke10
4.77/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

This pours a pitch black color with a medium brown head. The aroma is ever so boozy mixed with roasted hints of bourbon and vanilla. The texture is thick, smooth, and delicious. This seems to be a lighter, less robust version of the normal Speedway Stout but the flavor are much deeper and more complex. Well worth the extra money if you ever get the chance to buy it. (368 characters)

Photo of aquazr1
4.48/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

750ml bottle served in a tulip. Pours jet black with little head. Nose is bourbon and coffee. Taste is bourbon, coffee and chocolate. A deep, rich stout that is a joy to drink. (176 characters)

Photo of BeerFMAndy
4.7/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

750 ml capped bottle poured into a snifter.
12% ABV, Bottled on 10/30/13

A - Pitch black through and through, Barrel-Aged Speedway Stout generates a mocha head worthy of praise and keeps it's loose form very nicely!

S - Charred bourbon oak stave swirls smoky nuances and alcohol heat into the thick, chocolaty aroma complimented by medium roast coffee notes and crumbled honey graham crackers.

T - Rich milk chocolate washes over the tongue with robust presence while toting cocoa and mocha dryness, faint coffee undertones, and a warming vanilla bourbon note that punctuates the finish with lightly charred, smoky oak!

M - Heavy and full-bodied, AleSmith's barrel-aged Speedway Stout pulls no punches in the mouthfeel department. This thick and rich beer delivered the exact body I was expecting; creamy, smooth, and moderately sweet with a finish of warm alcohol that dries the palate out for a sort of balance.

O - After my first three failed attempts at the newly released barrel variants (read: price > quality) of AleSmith here in Wisconsin, I was pretty weary of dropping nearly $40 on this bottle, but I've heard amazing things time and time again, for years no less. Of the four I've experienced, I'm happy to say, this bottle is the closest to being worthy of it's extraordinary dollar demand, though probably more than I'd pay for it again.

Barrel-Aged Speedway Stout is rich with chocolate intricacies but nearly devoid of coffee nuances; perhaps from it's age? It just became available here. Either way, it mimics the others regarding its apparent time in the barrels: short. Not boozy in the least, its robust, full body is demanding of attention but, it screams by like a race car; gone in a flash. Delicious as all hell, this lifts the beer that's aged in the bourbon barrel on a higher pedestal than the barrel its aged in while making both complimentary. Bravo, AleSmith! (1,898 characters)

Photo of Treyliff
4.51/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.5

Sampled Dec-2013, poured into a snifter

A- pours pitch black with a small foamy dark tan head that has decent retention and alcohol legs upon agitation

S- big bourbony barrel notes up front with strong notes of vanilla, sweet caramel, dark chocolate mixed with dark roast coffee and sweet caramel malt

T- sweet and malty caramel malt meshes with big oaky vanilla and bourbon flavors, sweet dark cherry kicks in mid-palate along with melted milk chocolate and caramel, finishing with a hint of coffee with more chocolate and bourbon

M- medium body with low carbonation, slightly syrupy but quite smooth mouthfeel

O- this beer is pure bliss, the layers that the bourbon barrel adds can be savored for hours. Seek this one out. (729 characters)

Photo of Sandbarunner
4.98/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

The difference between a West Coast bourbon barrel and midwest to East coast is generally significant. The Westies get dried out barrels that impart a lot of oak but not a lot of booze.

This is the exception to the rule.

A perfect mix of booze notes and oak are laid into this great stout.

This stout without the BB is good. It is now awesome! (346 characters)

Photo of Stevedore
4.29/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

2012 gold labeled bottle, bottle dated 3/26/2013. Poured into a brandy snifter today, 3/14/2014. so almost a year on this bottle. Thanks Peter!

App- pitch black body, one finger large bubbly mocha head with great retention. Thin splotches of lacing all over. Looks fantastic.

Smell- Oak, sweet bourbon dominate. As it warms, more of the base coffee stout that I know and love come out. Roast, coffee, milk chocolate. Remains a strong and bourbon barrel-forward nose.

Flavour- Barrel-forward. Much more so than I would have imagined. Oak, sweet bourbon, sweet charcoal smoke, vanilla. Really good stuff. Warming up brings out more of the coffee but it's nowhere near as coffee forward as BCBCS fresh. More milk chocolate sweetness, some roast malts. No oxidation.

Mouthfeel- Slick, thick bodied and super creamy. Good carbonation for the style. A nice sweet bourbon mixed in with a bit of bitter coffee makes the finish a delicious one. No heat at all. Just a lot of bourbon flavour but without the ABV.

Overall- A very nice drinking barrel forward beer with a year on it. Highly recommend, though I prefer the Vietnamese version to this one as there is a lot less coffee in the barrel-aged version. Looking forward to trying a fresher version sometime soon, which apparently has more coffee to balance out the bourbon barrel contribution. (1,345 characters)

Photo of magictacosinus
4.2/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Thanks so much to the regular folks at Provisions for pouring this at the Cantillon tasting during SF Beer Week! Poured out of a 750ml bottle into a 6oz tulip glass. 3oz pour, too - about the right size needed for a basic evaluation.

Holy crap, that's a sludgy looking beer. Very, very viscous, with a blackened appearance with a mahogany tinted head that rises above in a creamy, decadent manner about a finger's worth, only to die down and fizzle into a modest ring with some superb bubbles laying at the top for quite some time. Looks a lot like other bourbon barrel aged imperial stouts that I've seen in the past, but it's definitely far more on the syrupy, fortified wine looking variety rather than the standard appearance that others (somehow) retain. A memorable first encounter, that's for sure!

Smells pretty good - almost in the same vein (if not *exactly* in the same vein) as Dark Horse's BBPT5. Big dark fruit notes, ranging from raisins to prunes to blackcurrant (with a little bit of dark cherry pits, maybe kirsch) thrown in, sprawled underneath huge notes of bourbon, imparting burnt toffee, butterscotch, brown sugar, and cinnamon. Peppery at the finish, with some roasted chocolate and coffee notes, but surprisingly subdued - perhaps the most subdued Speedway is at compared to the regular release and all of its coffee specific variants. Contains a brief port-like sweetness, but otherwise quite restrained and bountiful when it comes to the plethora of fruit, bourbon sugary notes, and roasted, bitter nuances at the back. Awesome stuff!

This is where beer makes its mark, and while it's quite solid and memorable for what it strives to do, especially in delivering the dark fruits and sugary bourbon goodness to the mix. Big notes of dark cherries, raisins, prunes (port comes to mind, once again), with a red wine grape sweetness that surprisingly comes through - perhaps the oak tannins are fooling my taste buds? Still, the fruits are awash with big bourbon flavors, ranging from vanilla to brown sugar, from burnt toffee to caramel. Molasses are huge at the middle, and the end continues some strong leathery and tobacco notes from the oak. Sweet, but finishes far more on the roasted side, imparting the ground espresso and chocolate that regular Speedway usually puts me head over heels. Syrupy, though, and could use more carbonation, as well as more balanced from the roasted conditions of the base beer. The bourbon isn't particularly overpowering, however, and it tastes a little duller as this warms up. Definitely complex, but loses a lot of gas, somehow. Definitely delicious in many respects.

For how difficult this is to obtain, however, it's definitely not the most recommended priority to chase after in the category of bourbon barrel aged imperial stouts. Parabola and KBS are far easier to find, and impart a lot more of the roasted notes that I prefer in these types of beers as they help cut down the bourbon sweetness substantially well. Somehow, this is lacking here, and I really did expect a lot more given the phenomenal base beer that Speedway is. Worth trying, but don't necessarily break your back trying to get one. (3,174 characters)

Photo of Belchmaster
5/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Had this on tap at the AleSmith brewery - they had multiple variations (Vietnamese Coffee, etc.) and I have had this in the bottle and I can say without a doubt this is one of the two best beers on the planet - and that is a guarantee my friend.
The other best beer in the world would be Parabola by Firestone Walker.
This beer is pure flippin Bliss from start to finish. It is thick, rich, complex, smells fantastic, tastes fantastic, pours fantastic, smooth and just nothing at all bad that can be said about it at all...and I mean absolutely nothing!!!
Unfortunately for all of us, it is in extremely limited supply. Finding a bottle will be difficult. I would suggest doing whatever you can to get one (yes even if it costs $100...it is seriously worth it) If you do find one, I'm not sure you want to share even a drop of it...yeah it's that good. On the other hand, other people have got to experience this so you almost need close friends to taste it so you can forever brag about you giving them a sip of it....but really it's tough because you want to drink it all yourself.
I leave the decision up to you.
I drank every drop of mine...and told my buddies where they could get it that day...it was gone the next day...too bad for them!!! (1,246 characters)

Photo of gueuzedreg
4.24/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

2006 750ml #77/235. Another one bites the dust.

A- Jet black. No carbonation. The bottle cap wanted to come right off. No lacing.

S- Burnt wood, burnt toffee, dark chocolate; bourbon is muted melded in the back.

T- It tastes oxidized a bit. The bourbon is so mellowed out, and I think the lack of carbonation may have been from a slight air pathway in the bottle cap.

M- Very smooth, but no carbonation hurts this. Probably tastes like a new bottle where the lid has been off for a year in the fridge.

O- I was hoping for an epic experience with this rare bottle, instead I got a flat BA stout. I have had the '12, and I know how good this can be. (657 characters)

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