Dismiss Notice
Subscribe to BeerAdvocate magazine and get 12 issues / year of fresh beer content delivered to your door each month.

Already subscribe? to manage your subscription.

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: 1,678
rAvg: 4.44
pDev: 8.56%
Wants: 1,970
Gots: 492 | FT: 62
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: 1,678
Photo of KickInTheChalice
4.18/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From notes.

The full black color, long lasting tan cap, and high viscosity on BA Speedway definitely signals the brewers intention to make a thick, rich, and complex imperial stout.

For me, there is too much bourbon in the aroma and flavor, stifling one of my favorite base beers. The bourbon and oak actually dry out the mouthfeel and pull some of the smoothness out of the flavor. Chocolate, bitter roasted malt, and a little bit of coffee step in behind the bourbon. It is a little bit acrid at the end of each sip. As it warms up a little bit, I get some vanilla, oak, and milky sweet notes. I would suspect that some of the off-putting bitter coffee and malt notes and the acrid mouthfeel come from the old coffee. Since this was a 2009 bottle, the coffee has significantly faded and could have left behind the old coffee taste that I have observed in a number of aged coffee stouts.

BA Speedway is still enjoyable nonetheless, but this bottle does not do justice to how delicious fresh Speedway Stout is. (1,016 characters)

Photo of s1ckboy
4.35/5  rDev -2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2009 bottle

A - Black body, dark brown 3 finger head with tight bubbles.

S - Bourbon, oak, maybe some vanilla.

T - Bourbon, still a lot of coffee, brown sugar, molasses, big chocolate finish.

M - Full. Dry finish. Good amount of carbonation.

Great beer. Not quite as full bodied as the non BA version. Reminded me a lot of BA sexual chocolate but bigger. (359 characters)

Photo of hooliganlife
4.42/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

big thanks to coryking for this, been wanting this for 3+ years

2009 vintage

pour was deep black with some light creamy and cocoa head. fairly thick looking body.

the bourbon barrel aging is very apparent on the nose. big vanilla and oak with some coffee and chocolate.

as with regular speedway, there was a nice chocolate backbone with a light roasted malt. the barrel aging really brought the life out of this. the vanilla was very smooth. added some richness.

a bit viscous and chewy. moderate carbonation. not much alcohol, fairly smooth.

this was delicious, a great example of a great -bal aged stout. (613 characters)

Photo of rowingbrewer
4.15/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer pours a nearly pitch black with a mocha colored head. the smell is hints of boubon and oak with coffee notes mixed in. the taste is very faint bourbon and coffee with a bit of roastiness in the background. the mouthfeel is medium to full bodied with decent carbonation. overall this is a very good beer, but i think it was a little bit of a let down. bourbon county coffee is better and easier to get. (411 characters)

Photo of drowland
4.58/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Sample straight from a growler courtesy Dakine at RBWG 2010... wow, thanks!!!! Wow. Really good stuff, amazing balance. They’re not bowling you over with barrel aging, but it’s there and it’s perfect. This is really good. Black pour with a very small khaki head. Aroma and taste show pleasant BA characteristics - vanilla, coconut, as well as the deliciousness that is Speedway underneath. (395 characters)

Photo of FosterJM
4.17/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

1059th Review on BA
Bottle to Snifter
750 Ml

2009

Thanks to Jim for sharing
Shared at MrHirschybars tasting

App- Appeared just like the base version. An excellent coloring of dark browns and blacks. Very smooth and rich in the glass with a small head about ½”. A couple lines of cling.

Smell- This was much more layered than the base version. More chocolate vs coffee and of course the bourbon brings in a couple different layers of some oak, vanilla and marshmallow fluff.

Taste- I would like to say this is very good but I just don’t think it does justice to the complexity of the original base beer. This seems to ignore the coffee notes and become a bit one sided with more of that bourbon and molasses notes. I think the middle of the beer it does trail off a little with a semi-drop in balance and is strictly a bourbon stout..

Mouth- A good bit of a medium body behind this one with a medium carbonation. Left behind a good amount bourbon, wood, vanilla and sweet.

Drink- Jim. Thanks for breaking this one out. A very good beer but just not up to par with what I think is one of the best stouts out there for the money. I like this I really did. Not bashing at all and rating just below the original in terms of taste and appearance. (1,254 characters)

Photo of orangesol
4.77/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Review #400!! HUGE thanks to Kramer for busting out one of my all time wants for us to try. 2004 Bottle, number 120 / 228.

A - Pours black as night with a nice one finger tall mocha colored head leaving light lace down the glass. Not the prettiest beer but it is stil plenty serviceable.

S - Smells of rich coffee, milk chocolate, vanilla, oak, and warm bourbon. For being seven, going on eight years in the bottle this one has held up beautifully, still plenty of coffee to go around.

T - Starts off with a big dose of fresh brewed coffee slowly giving way to a mix of chocolatey sweetness, vanilla, oak, tobacco, and warm bourbon. Even with all those flavors going on it remains balanced, smooth and easy drinking. Finish has lots of dark roast, lingering on the pallet for some time. A touch of oxidation creeps in as it warms up but it doesn't really affect the taste at all. There is no alcohol to speak of here.

M - Heavy body and flavor with moderate carbonation. Full, smooth, feel with plenty of dark roast, lingering on the pallet for quite awhile after consumption.

O - Damn, this is easily one of the best Barrel Aged stouts I have ever had. The balance of dark flavors from the base beer blend flawlessly with the barrel aging to form one amazing beer. I can not thank you enough Kramer for the chance to try this one. (1,336 characters)

Photo of sholland119
4.55/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Neighborhood, 11/9/11.

A-Pours a dark, opaque brown with a very sparse brown head.

S-Mocha, marshmallow, roast, some booziness.

T-Great complexity. Chocolate, bourbon, marshmallow, raisins, sweet malt, even a hint of honey. Heat nicely subdued.

M-Medium to heavy bodied, booze is well hidden.

O-Delicious. A highlight of SDBW for sure.

HV (354 characters)

Photo of oline73
4.2/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

We opened this up at our epic tasting this past weekend. 2009 bottle poured into a snifter.

Appearance: This one pours almost black with a layer of cocoa colored head. Good retention on this beer.

Smell: Sweet and roasty. Picking up some bourbon with vanilla and maple from the barrel.

Taste: Really smooth bourbon up front with some of the vanilla and maple notes from the smell. I'm picking up the roast and sweetness from the malt. There is a warmth in the finish from the alcohol.

Mouthfeel: Medium body with tingly carbonation. This one is really smooth with a dry finish.

Overall: This bottle was a bit hot, but I'm sure that will smooth out even more with more time. This is a really great BA stout. (712 characters)

Photo of Phyl21ca
3.95/5  rDev -11%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle: Poured a pitch-black color stout with a medium size foamy head with minimal retention. Aroma of dry whisky with notes of dry roasted malt is interesting. Taste is a nice mix between some dry roasted malt notes with some coffee though not as much as in the original version with some dry whisky notes. Body is about average with medium carbonation and alcohol is not too apparent. A bit too dry and astringent for my taste thought still very much enjoyable. (464 characters)

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

Black, oily and viscous with a short khaki bubbly head and spotty lacing.

Big bold nose full of boozy bourbon, chocolate, molasses and coffee.

Huge rich flavor as well. A bit on the hot and boozy side which I like but this is a touch much. Big bourbon, a touch of vanilla, dark chocolate and rich coffee make up the bold flavor.

Mouth is viscous and silky with low carbonation and that alcohol heat.

Overall this is going to be an amazing beer in about 2 years I think. It's pretty great now. But as the alcohol mellows out and all the notes relax and settle, it's going to be phenomenal. (596 characters)

Photo of claspada
4.02/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2009 Bottle sampled at a recent tasting.

Pours a hazy dark brown, nearing black with a small, tan cap. Spotty bits of lacing are left around the glass.

Aromas begin with some nuttiness, espresso and a light bourbon/booze presence. Smells of vanilla, oak, cocoa, caramel, toffee and brown sugar further emerge as it warms.

The tastes begin with light coconut, walnuts, toasted oak and vanilla. I am a little underwhelmed to be honest. Sweet molasses through the middle with some milk chocolate as well, moving into a bourbon barrel finish. A bit too acrid overall for my liking.

Mouthfeel is full bodied with medium/low carbonation. Finish is slick and sweet on the palate but not overly so. Much more carboantion than the BA Wee Heavy I sampled earlier this year from the same '09 release.

Overall this was nice but something didn't really work for me. The greatness of the original Speedway is somehow lost here; the big espresso/coffee is masked by the bourbon presence which some may enjoy more, but I think I may prefer the original. I have also read that previous vintages of this release were much better so take that for what it's worth as well. Definitely a great great beer but it didn't meet the hype for me and definitely not the best BA Stout I have had. (1,271 characters)

Photo of ehammond1
4.53/5  rDev +2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On Tap (2009)

Night of a Million Zillion Speedways
O'Brien's Pub
San Diego, CA

(Aged for 2+ years)

Dark as night black with brown edges, thin head but the body of this beer is just spectacular. It's thick and oily and leaves the glass absolutely covered in sticky lace. Thick as can be and dark as night. Spectacular.

Deep, dark aromas of coffee and espresso beans, rich chocolate, and strong but complementary notes of bourbon and vanilla. Less hop presence than in the standard Speedway. Rich, divine, decadent, and slightly better than the standard version of the same beer. Incredible!

Earth and wood flavors from the bourbon stand out initially, with lots of vanilla from the bourbon barrel. The rich coffee, chocolate, and roast are still here as well. It's a lovely balance. There's just a bit of alcohol warmth present, but it's welcome in this beer.

Thick, oily, full mouthfeel.

A terrific version of a fantastic base beer. (940 characters)

Photo of Chriscrundwell12
4.72/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

750 ml bottle sharred with many BA's at this years Darkness Eve Tasting.

2009 bottle.

A- Pours dark black color, really nice appearance, ½ fingers worth of brown head that dissipates to a nice ring around the glass.
S- The aroma is fantastic, really nice notes of roasted coffee, bourbon, vanilla, oak, I cannot wait to try this beer.
T- I was not let down, big coffee flavor, the perfect amount of bourbon comes out, vanilla beans, roasted coffee, chocolate and cocoa, really nice, well balanced brew.
M- Medium/Big mouth feel, well carbonated, creamy, silky smooth drinking, slight roasty aftertaste, alcohol is hidden.
O- I absolutely love this beer, the coffee, bourbon and vanilla are phenomenal in this beer, all the different flavors that come out are well balanced and make this beer an amazing experience. (820 characters)

Photo of BearsOnAcid
3.57/5  rDev -19.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

'09 release

Black pour, small khaki-light brown head.

Dark rich chocolate and bourbon on the nose. Nutty caramel.

Big bourbon soaked chocolate flavor. More caramel and toasted oak. Soft carbonation. All the coffee is gone which is a thing I love most about this beer. The mouthfeel has thinned out a little.

I've had the '06 and the one that was growler only before. I'd say this is the weakest of the three. This one isn't the A+ decadent showstopper that those were. (472 characters)

Photo of Jeffo
3.51/5  rDev -20.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

One of the beers I've always wanted to try. Happy they re-released this one in 2011, and was thrilled to come into a couple bottles. A big thanks to johndoe8 for the trade, and a mamoth thanks to Irishgurl4 for including this bottle in my box. Cheers kids!

From a 750ml into a snifter
Vintage: 2009
Note: Drunk after a 2 year old bottle of the base beer. Comparisons drawn.

APPEARANCE: Pours out thick black and produces a three finger, thick mocha colored head with great retention. Head cascades up from the netherworld. Jet black body with no carbonation evident. Head slowly fades to a good film and clings to the sides of the glass. A swirling wisp and a ring remain until the end leaving lots some dots of lacing down the glass. A beauty of a stout and much like the base beer, though the lacing is not quite as perfect.

SMELL: Nice, balanced nose. Roasted malts, molasses, with both dark and milk chocolate there. Touches of coffee as well, though quite muted now, and even more so than the aged base beer. Barrel is there, with some bourbon, oak and vanilla, but it is quite restrained. Very balanced, but somewhat mute for the style.

TASTE: A little underwhelming up front, with some roasted malts and touches of coffee still. Sweet molasses through the middle with some milk chocolate as well, moving into a bourbon barrel finish. Bourbon, oak and vanilla for sure come out nicely after the swallow, with a touch of booze as well. Bigger and lingering aftertaste of barrel, sweet molasses and some bitter chocolate. Well balanced again, but a little muted up front and much of the coffee flavor of the base beer has disappeared. Even less coffee notes than in the aged base beer. The barrel helps after the swallow, however.

PALATE: Medium body and higher levels of carbonation for the style. Light on the palate, unfortunately, though still creamy and oily, goes down fine and finishes rather mouth-coating. Some heat lingers. The barrel has thinned and lightened up the feel somewhat.

OVERALL: This is a good beer, but nothing more than that. Unfortunately the barrel aging has muted the coffee flavors and lightened up the feel, making this more of generic barrel aged stout as opposed to a BA Speedway. Furthermore, the barrel flavors aren’t even that impressive in themselves, so it’s not even an exciting generic barrel aged stout. The regular Speedway is a fantastic brew, but the time in the barrel has muted all that made it special. A shame really. If you love Speedway, just stick to the base beer, but if you love bourbon barrel stouts, pick something that showcases the barrel flavors better. Anyways, while this was a bit of a letdown, I was thrilled with the chance to try it out. Thanks again for the trades johbdoe8 and Irishgurl4. (2,773 characters)

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

2009 bottle, thanks James. Pours a viscous black "nighter than night" with a mocha head. Nose is more coffee forward than I expected, still a very pleasant montage of fresh coffee beans, baker's chocolate, pleasantly sweet vanilla. Barrel is subdued but woven in nicely. Really good contrast between bitter elements (coffee beans, baker's chocolate), sweet elements (vanilla, coconut), and a pleasant complexity from the barrel. Luscious and thick in the mouth. Flavors open with very dark chocolate, vanilla, coffee beans parading high in the profile, segueing into that rich bourbon barrel, coconut, and a really nice creamy, hot finish. Mouthfeel is perfectly thick and creamy, foamed latte and crushed velvet. Beautiful beer! (729 characters)

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

A friend brought this over to our place as part of an epic tasting on Saturday. Thanks Jason! Following review based on notes taken at that time.

4oz. sample poured into a snifter.

Appearance: An impressive head quickly recedes to a thin, brown halo. A pitch black body shows off a crimson-brown horizon when held to light. Thick walls of lace trail the beer as it descends the glass.

Smell: Coconut, powdered chocolate, and light booze come through from the start. With time, earth and oak emerge, followed by espresso. Intriguing.

Taste: Tremendously smooth. Vanilla-chocolate swirl, coffee, molasses, and coconut all meld beautifully! The bourbon also adds a light boozy kick to the conclusion of each sip. Creamy and harmonious - damn near a 5.0.

Mouthfeel: Gently carbonated, viscous, and semi-dry with just a touch of heat. Full-bodied, thick, and creamy. I couldn't ask for anything more.

Overall: Fantastically smooth, complex, and flavorful. The bourbon barrel accents the already exceptional base beer, rather than covering it up. One of the three or four best imperial stouts I've ever had, hands down. (1,119 characters)

Photo of doopiedoopiedoo
3.92/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Jeffo strikes again with a killer theme for Tuesdaynight beers at my crib. Had this thing on my wants ever since I tried the regular Speedway Stout which became an instant favorite. I can hardly contain myself.

A hord pour into my snifter revealed a thick black beer with a fluffy three finger head that leaves some nice lacing.

On the nose this is a winner. A nice balance between the regular Speedway Stout and the barrel. Everything is there but nothing is dominating. Hints of soy, sweetness and some vanilla of the bourbon. Very nice.

Flavors a solid but a bit of a let down after the nose. Where the nose promised a perfect balance between base beer and the barrel the bourbon barrel takes over quite a bit. It's quite good but not as special as you'd think of such a hyped up beer. There is a clash between the sweetnes and the bitterness I don't care for.

It has a light creamy, silky mouthfeel. Not as thick as I expected after the pour. A decent amount of carbonation.

Drinking this beer was great experience. I was really excited to try this and now I know. I don't think I'd go through a lot of trouble to aquire this but won't say no when offered. It's almost a love/ hate between me and this beer. Jeffo nailed it again for beer theme night and now I have to see how I can out do him for the next Tuesday... (1,326 characters)

Photo of mothman
4.77/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to kbutler1 for sharing this bottle.

2009 vintage.

Pours a half finger of tan head. Color is black.

Aroma: Very fresh coffee. It is spot on goodness. Warming bourbon with nice oak and vanilla. Rich, creamy chocolate. Very little roast. Amazing.

Taste: Warming bourbon, just perfect. Oak and vanilla. Chocolate and cocoa. The coffee is perfect and it doesn't bring a lot of roast to the beer. This is spot on. A bit of dark fruits in the background.

Mouthfeel: Smooth, creamy, and warming. Medium bodied with a medium amount of carbonation. A little thinner than I expected. Ends with just a touch of roast.

Overall, this was an amazing beer. Much better than the 08 growler I had, which lacked the huge coffee flavors. This beer was a real treat. (759 characters)

Photo of SpeedwayJim
4.17/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2007 vintage. 3oz. Pour from a 750ml foiled and capped bottle into a TJs snifter. Thanks to capra12 for this one. Had at a tasting 9/4/11.

Pours a thin light mocha head with poor retention. Beer is an opaque black. Lacing is spotty and sparse with poor stick. Great legs though.

Nose is chocolate, vanilla, espresso beans, and a light overtone of booziness. Some molasses also. Great complexity and very aromatic.

Opens chocolate and sweet molasses. Brownie and cocoa in the middle with a touch of booziness towards the middle, end. End is more molasses and big vanilla sweetness. Finish is sweet booze and aftertaste is chocolate and sweet espresso. Very appropriate for the style with exceptionally robust flavors and surprisingly drinkable.

Medium bodied with moderate carbonation. Smooth and oily in the mouth with some heat going down. Finish is hot with a lingering aftertaste. Pretty standard for a bear with big barrel characteristics except for the lighter body that really aids the integration of flavors.

I’m a big fan of Speedway stout but I’m surprised at what barrel aging has done for this beer. A completely different flavor profile very different from the coffee-dominant base beer emerges here. Silky smooth, complex, and just very good overall. Definitely worth seeking out. (1,307 characters)

Photo of kayalla
4.47/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Drank this with a friend next to the regular version last night. This is from the 2009 batch released earlier this year.

This poured black into a snifter with not much of a head. Aroma is a really nice bourbon, oak, spice, dark chocolate, and some rich coffee beans. More vanilla than in the regular. Awesome aroma. Flavor is not as boozy as I thought it would be. Really smooth medley of bourbon, oak, vanilla, spice, and dark chocolate. Really great flavor on this, it has deeper flavors and more complex than the regular Speedway. Thick and rich body. I enjoyed this a lot more than Parabola, KBS. Not the best barrel aged imperial stout I have had recently but still worth seeking out. (691 characters)

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

750mL bottle 2009 batch (2011 release) poured into snifter, reviewed on 8/27/11.

A: Pours black with a thin brown head that leaves a bit of lacing around glass.

S: Roasted malt and chocoate with a mellowed bourbon barrel character from the 2 years this spent in barrels, alcohol, bourbon and oak.

T: Super smooth with oak notes from the bourbon barrel, chocolate, some faint coffee notes and a mellow bourbon flavor as well.

M: Really smooth and creamy full body with low-moderate carbonation and sweet finish.

O: Great example of a barrel aged imperial stout, extremely smooth and full of flavor. Quite drinkable for a beer of this size. (643 characters)

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

A: Pours a thick pitch black with a rocky nut brown head and sticky lacing all around. Beautiful. 4.5

S: Very nice! Minimal bourbon notes, but definitely noticeable, in fact the other aromas seem to be muted perhaps due to age, or simply due to being overwhelmed by the barrel aging. There is some wooded essence to it as well now that I mention barrels. 3.5

T&M: This is amazing. Combination of bourbon, barrel/wood, coffee, chocolate, alcohol. Smooth, great creamy mouthfeel. Carbonation is perfect. Finish is nice and clean. 4.5 / 4.5

O: This is fantastic! Great mouthfeel, taste. Was hoping for more in the aroma but this is a world class BA RIS. 4.5 (657 characters)

Photo of pdeepak
4.87/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Cracked in honor of Irene last night. Poured into a large tripel karmeliet tulip.

This beer is regular speedway on crack. The tan/mocha head dissipates quickly but does come back on with light agitation. The color is inviting and begs to be savored slowly.

I could get lost in the smell of this beer but eventually had to drink it and was lost in the roasty coffee notes with hints of vanilla surrounded by the barrel treatment of this beer. The mouthfeel is the only part of this experience that let me down as it was a little too thin for my liking.

want more! (565 characters)

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