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AleSmith Speedway Stout - AleSmith Brewing Company

Not Rated.
AleSmith Speedway StoutAleSmith Speedway Stout

Educational use only; do not reuse.

1,547 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 1,547
Hads: 5,976
Avg: 4.37
pDev: 16.93%
Wants: 865
Gots: 1,832 | FT: 154
Brewed by:
AleSmith Brewing Company visit their website
California, United States

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

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 11-09-2002

Jet Black, with an off-white head. Starts with a strong coffee and dark chocolate sensation, then fades to a multitude of toasty, roasty and caramel malt flavors. Clean and crisp, full- bodied. Warmth from the high alcohol content lightens up the feel. You won't fool your taste buds - this beer is HUGE!
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 1,547 | Hads: 5,976
Reviews by jdklks:
Photo of jdklks
4.6/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

this beer rivals the abyss (my favorite beer) on both look and smell. nothing shines through this black beauty, not even on the fringe when held to light. a milk chocolate head about a finger deep that graces the surface of what must seem to it an abyss below. the smell is out of this fucking world. huge chocolate presence along with a nice, roasted coffee scent and some sweet dark fruits. incredible.

the flavor is fruity sweet and very hot up front. lots of alcohol all the way through, accompanied by chocolate in the middle. a bitter roasted coffee finish that lingers on the palate with "parasitic tenacity" (Woolf) well after a sip has been taken. very dry throughout. overall, coffee and alcohol are dominant, though after the initial shock other flavors begin to appear, especially that dark fruit sweetness characteristic of so many great imperial stouts. im almost inclined to give this a 5, but the roasted coffee bitterness at the end is perhaps a little too intense.

mouthfeel is extraordinary. thick and chewy, like it should be, and perfectly carbonated. drinkability reflects the 12%, and the ass-kicking my palate is taking.

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More User Reviews:
Photo of oberon
4.43/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to orfeu I finally get a chance to have this brew,poured into an imperial pint glass a jet black with a very tight formed 1 1/2 finger mocha colored head that leaves globs of lace as it ever so slowly settled.Aromas of bitter chocolate,dark roast coffee a very definitive fruit essence,even a hint of tree bark.Starts out quite dry with big French Roast coffee flavors with notes of earth and wood after awhite a sweeter rummy like flavor comes thru that lingers after the finish.The alcohol creeps but never really rears its head just a nice little burn,wow this is a masterpiece stout its huge and packed with intense flavor,a gem no doubt and probably my new favorite stout of any kind.

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Photo of Phyl21ca
3.85/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle: Poured a pitch-black color stout with a thin dark foamy head. Aroma of roasted malt with some coffee notes though not as dominating as I was expecting from reading all those ratings. Taste is dominated by roasted malt, caramel and coffee with a real creamy texture that I enjoyed. Bitter ending but not as hops explosive as I was expecting from other reviews. Overall, this is a good imperial stout but to me it doesn’t match Bells Expedition or even Storm King; but then again, I’m not the most avid stout drinker out there.

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Photo of metter98
4.35/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: The beer is jet black in color and poured with a quarter finger-high beige head that quickly died down, leaving a thick ring of bubbles around the edge of the glass and wispy patches of bubbles covering the surface. The wispy bubbles eventually faded away, but a thick ring of bubbles consistently remained around the edge of the glass.
S: There are moderately strong aromas of chocolate in the nose.
T: The taste has strong flavors of bittersweet chocolate and coffee beans along with notes of dark roasted malts. A light amount of bitterness is present.
M: It feels medium- to full-bodied and quite smooth on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: This is a stout that is packed with an intense amount of flavors and hides its alcohol relatively well.

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Photo of SayBoom
4.87/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Was drunk in comparison with Mikkeller Beer Geek Vanilla Shake.
A: Black with a small creamy head, some viscosity in the pour.
S: Nose is not heavy on the coffee but many cognac notes. Chocolate, toffee, dry fruits.
T: Dark malt, cocoa, cream, caramel. Some hop bitterness.
F: Heavy weight and so smooth and creamy on the palate. 12% is nowhere to be found.
A very well done chocolate/coffee imperial stout.

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Photo of Thorpe429
4.37/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to azbucfan for this one.

A: Near black with a smallish tan head and decent lacing.

S: Lots of espresso mixed with very dark malt and some hints of dark chocolate.

T: Lots, and I mean lots, of roasted espresso flavors, creating a sensation of dark, tart cherries. This is paired with some mild dark chocolate as well as pale malt sweetness and a hint of bittering hops.

M: Very smooth with a medium-full body and a good amount of carbonation.

D: This is definitely a sipper, but a good one at that. Like my morning espresso, only with a lot more complexity and definitive hints of alcohol. Very delicious.

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Photo of dleigh
3.33/5  rDev -23.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Not bad, but I didn't think this was anything special. Maybe it was just me?

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Photo of womencantsail
4.38/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: The pour is viscous and black with a thin layer of mocha colored foam.

S: The nose is full of rich dark chocolate, coffee, roasted malt, and alcohol.

T: While the nose wasn't quite as good as I remember it being, the flavor is still top notch. Great coffee and roasted malt flavor with bitter dark chocolate on the finish.

M: The body is incredibly full with low carbonation which leads to a nice creamy feel on the tongue.

D: Even with the boozy nose, this is still one of my absolutely favorite stouts. Great fresh or with age, and this bottle was no exception.

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Photo of ER527
4.6/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

My only gripe is the taste doesn't follow the smell

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Photo of brentk56
4.67/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pours a rich blackstrap molasses color with a modest head that drops to a ringlet and archipelago but leaves splotches of lace around the chalice

Smell: Coffee, molasses, bittersweet chocolate and a touch of citrus hops

Taste: Starts out with a mouthful or rich, sweetened espresso that builds in molasses and chocolate flavors by mid-palate; after the swallow, the hoppy bitterness kicks in and is accompanied by some fruity character

Moutheel: Medium to full body with relatively low carbonation

Drinkability: One of the most wonderful tastes in beerdom

 571 characters

Photo of Mike_Aguirre
5/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Looks black, no light goes through. Head foam is consistent and wide. Taste is amazing and complex, coffee, chocolate, sherry, dark fruits, no acidity. Incredible Imperial Stout to enjoy, it´s a shame it´s hard to get in Mexico.

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Photo of Knapp85
4.03/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The mighty Speedway Stout, managed to finally get a bottle from my local shop in Bethlehem. I knew that it's said to be better with age but I was very excited to try it and didn't bother waiting more than a week or two to open it up. The pour was pitch black and gave off a nice brown colored head on it. The smell was deeply roasted and had elements of coffee and chocolate. The flavor of the beer seemed to me like it was lacking something. The flavors were pretty good but not something that I was expecting. I guess I was missing the WOW factor of it all. The flavors were the same as what was picked up on the nose with a subtle hoppiness to it. The mouthfeel was pretty good, not overly thick but still had enough body to keep it intact with the style. Overall I wasn't extremely impressed with this, I've picked up another bottle since and I plan on aging it for a while. I plan on revising this review when that time comes.

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Photo of SitkaSteve
4.4/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Treated as an American Double/Imperial Stout, I poured this into a snifter.
The appearance was a dark brown close to black color with a slim finger's worth of a mocha head. A mild touch of stringy lacing slides into the beer.
The smell has rich dark chocolate along with sweet milk chocolate combining into subtle roasty coffee. Light smoke and black licorice fulfills the balance of its aroma.
The taste plays upon the sweet and the roast passing off to the smoke and sweetness of the black licorice. A mild sweet to roasty aftertaste runs into the finish.
The mouthfeel was about medium bodied with a great sipping quality about it. Minimal stickiness allows a subtle harshness from the carbonation to mildly hit my tongue. Feels really nice.
Overall, hot damn, what a mighty fine American Double/Imperial Stout. So glad I have another bottle to pull out this winter.

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Photo of Cannibalgasm
4.44/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 22oz. bottle.

A: Pours completely opaque black allowing absolutely no light to penetrate it's darkness. Resembles used motor oil like a great stout should. Head is two inches of magnificent foamy mocha color that retains for an insanely long time and leaves behind lots of beautiful lacing. This is a great looking beer.

S: Aromas of chocolate, coffee, dark roasted malts, and caramel make themselves know immediately. Then you get some notes of dark fruits, toffee, raisins, cinnamon, tobacco, some noticeable alcohol, and a subtle earthy wood like scent. While the aromas aren't bombastic they are very pleasant, complex, and inviting and it opens up as it warms.

T: Wow. That was a great initial taste. Dark chocolate, roasted coffee, and caramel up front, then roasted malts, sweet bread, dark fruit, raisins, molasses, and toffee flavors appear in the middle. Finishes with flavors of oak, tobacco, some subtle earthy hops and a pleasant alcohol note. They really nailed it with this one. Like the nose it opens up with warmth.

M: Full bodied with a medium amount of carbonation. Slick, smooth, creamy, thick feel with a nice alcohol warmth and oily after feel . A very pleasant and drinkable sipper.

O: An absolutely phenomenal brew. AleSmith has definitely been impressing me. This is a very complex yet well balanced stout, the flavor profile is fantastic. A great sipper that gets better with every sip. I will be buying some more to enjoy and a few to set aside for a couple years. I would recommend those of you with access to do the same. I can't wait to see what a couple years of growth does to this brew.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
5/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Obsidian. Other than a mere sliver of pecan shell brown along the bottom edge of the glass, this beer is a complete black hole. The coffee-with-cream colored head looks nearly as thick and as meaty as the liquid on which it sits. Its moonscape surface contains multiple bubbles of various sizes that create pits and craters as they burst. Lace is in relatively short supply, but then I wasn't expecting much given the ABV.

The aroma was amazing as I poured and is no less amazing now that I'm concentrating on it for real. The three major components are ridicously roasted black malt, bittersweet chocolate and espresso. I can pick up the slightest hint of alcohol, though it's more than welcome in a beer as big as this one is.

AleSmith Speedway Stout is better than expected... and I expected no less than greatness. This is one of the hugest, most full-flavored, most mouthfilling ales of any style that I've ever had the pleasure to drink. Words fail me when attempting to describe the sheer massiveness of the malt backbone. Each sip explodes with the force of a daisy cutter, sending great gouts of melted, coffee bean-flecked chocolate fudge up, down and sideways until my mouth seems unable to contain it all.

SS tastes blacker, meaner, more menacing than most other American double stouts that I've run across. It's more along the lines of an RIS in that regard. It's as sweet and as chocolatey as any other ADS, but it's also impressively bitter and has a huge blackstrap molasses vibe goin' on. In fact, the flavor profile contains the entire gamut of stout flavors and still manages to combine them into a beautiful, seamless whole.

I don't like coffee and I'm not usually a fan of coffee-dominant beer. I had a few qualms about this one when I read the back label and found out that 'pounds and pounds of coffee beans' were added during the brewing. Surprisingly, the flavor isn't overwhelmingly java-like. The finish is freakishly long and leaves the mouth and tongue coated with a 'bitter hop cones (mixed with fire-roasted black malt)' layer of scum that one doesn't usually find outside the biggest IPAs/DIPAs.

That brings us to mouthfeel. Simply put, this beer has one of the three biggest mouthfeels in all of beerdom. It's easily the equal of Dark Lord (I'm leaving the third spot open because nothing else comes readily to mind). If you've ever drunk eggnog or heavy cream, you'll have some idea of what it feels like. It's velvety smooth and impossibly creamy. In other words, it's mouth candy for those of us whose attach more importance to mouthfeel than to anything other than flavor.

I've just realized that I haven't even commented on the ABV or the noticeable alchohol yet. That's because this is one of the most well-masked high alcohol beers in existence. Whether that has more to do with its age (an estimated 1 year) or to its brewer's skill, I couldn't say. As noted in the nose, the alcohol is an integral part of the whole and is a more than welcome contributor. Completely burying the beast just wouldn't be right; a little controlled snarl is just what this beer needs.

AleSmith Speedway Stout deserves every accolade ever thrown its way. I'd love to scratch off the 2nd place ribbon shown on the rear label since this behemoth takes a back seat to no stout. No how, no way. This is a truly special beer brewed by a truly special brewery and is not to be missed.

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Photo of ChainGangGuy
4.37/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a dark brown, near black body with, well, no real head to speak of. Rather Kahlua-like in appearance.

Smell: Heavily roasted dark malts with notes of espresso, dark chocolate, molasses, and chocolate cake (topped with a cherry). Keyword: Lovely.

Taste: Dark, roasty maltiness with full flavors of dark chocolate, birthday cake coated in blackstrap molasses, and (even moreso) robust coffee. Slightly obscured fruitiness. Roasty, earthy bitterness. A flickering of sweet dark caramel in amongst the heavier flavors. A distinct, warming touch of alcohol heat. Long, lingering coffee finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-full body. Medium carbonation. Relatively creamy mouthfeel.

Drinkability: A very rich, complex stout, and yet another fantastic release from AleSmith.

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Photo of don1481
4.5/5  rDev +3%

Bottle poured into glass.

Appearance: Pours a jet black with an off whitr, slightly tan head that slowly dissipates.

Smell: a swirl of vanilla, coffee, and chocolate deliciousness hits the nose. This smells amazing.

Taste: starts off with coffee bitterness, but then a bit of cacao comes charging through. Boozy notes simmer underneath.

Mouthfeel: bitter aftertaste.

Overall: yum. Very yum. Totally going to get more of this.

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Photo of RoyalT
4.47/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance – This thick, dark liquid was basic black with a modest head on a lame pour that showed great persistence. The ale itself though it so dark and formidable-looking.

Smell – The big black coffee takes charge of the nose. The dark fruits are here but very light. There’s a rough, boozy character that I remember from the bottled version that smells maybe like wood or barrel-aging, although this is not the barrel-aged sample.

Taste – The roasty malts come out more at the taste. The coffee is now more in the background of the flavor profile. Everything else from the nose makes its way to the tongue with a little added chocolate to boot.

Mouthfeel – This is nearly full-bodied with some roasty bitterness throughout.

Drinkability – I’ll have to say, two nights of solid IPA drinking at O’Brien’s and this was one of the highlights for me. It’s not a rare beer in SoCal by any means, but boy is this tasty on-tap.

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Photo of cam477
5/5  rDev +14.4%

Photo of DaPeculierDane
4.94/5  rDev +13%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

There’s a running theme with Speedway Stout and my attempts to review it. I open a bottle with the full intent on writing a review. Half way through that bottle, I am overcome by the amazing wonderment that is Speedway. Soon after a desperate craving to drink more and more Speedway develops and doesn’t subside until I have filled my gullet with every stout and coffee beer in my house. By the time I recover, I have usually forgotten half of what I had intended to write about the beer. Still, all themes change and alas, it is time for me to finally review Speedway Stout.

This particular bottle was a touch over 3 years old, well cellared, and was given to me in San Francisco some time ago. Compared to younger vintages, I found that the aging mellowed the body, dramatically reduced the coffee flavor, and brought out more dark fruit character.

Appearance: Jet black with a thick head the color of antique, old growth Douglas Fir. Head retreats rapidly to a skim. Ample carbonation.

Aroma: Espresso beans, 85% cocoa chocolate bars, fermented cherries, blackberry, date, and plum and molasses.

Taste: Cocoa and dark roasted coffee beans. Lots of dark fruit alcohol. Toast and a touch of molasses.

Mouthfeel: Thick, chewy, full bodied. Alcohol does not overwhelm lending only a pleasing warmth throughout. Balanced coffee acidity, chocolate bitterness, and fruity/alcohol sweetness.

Drinkability: Flawless. As I said, Speedway turns me into a fiend for more every time I let it touch my lips.

I love this. Again, the big difference I see with aging is that the coffee aroma and flavor are really reduced. The beer as a whole seems better balanced, more mellow, and drinkable.

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Photo of DanGeo
4/5  rDev -8.5%

Photo of tjk135
4.55/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of tectactoe
4.71/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Opened at a tasting alongside the BA and Kopi versions. Pours a deep, dark black color; very dark brown tints the edges when held close to a light. The cap forms - creamy, small, fine, and a shade just lighter than tan. Initially, Speedway doesn't look quite as oily thick as I was expecting it to be, but that's not necessarily a bad thing.

The aroma is very smooth on the nostrils, flowing with a river of roasted coffee beans - more on the sweet, creamy, and milky side of things, with a nice roasted quality acting as the strong backbone. Chocolates bounce in and out, never really pushing the coffee aromas to the side, rather blending with them softly in a "mocha java" kind of way. For one of the first times ever, I'm picking up a big marshmallow flavor - creamy, and toasty, a slight touch of char even, but I'm definitely getting marshmallow, and it's absolutely wonderful.

Just from the aroma, my palate is already expecting a big-time roasted coffee flavor, and that's exactly what Speedway delivers. Coffee beans attack the palate, slightly oily and definitely roasted - almost to the point of being charred or burnt. What I love about this is that the coffee flavor in Speedway is so unique - so definitively roasted, bitter, and sweet all at the same time, with an incredibly distinct pungency to it - it's amazing.

There is a good amount of cocoa in the taste, much more than on the nose, and it introduces a deep fudge flavor that plays with the fine line between bitter and sweet so well. And hot damn - that fuckin' marshmallow - I can actually taste it. Now, I don't know what exactly would produce that marshmallow taste/aroma, but it's definitely there. 100%. I thought maybe my nose was tricking me, but my mouth is saying the same thing. Lightly creamy on the finish with some bittersweet fudge and fading coffee. Heavy, oily body, silky and smooth with pretty moderate carbonation.

This is a fantastic stout. Despite being comprised of the tastes found in many stouts - chocolate, coffee, roasted malts, etc. - the raw flavors are unique and definitely set Speedway apart from the rest. Not to mention that incredible toasted marshmallow flavor I was picking up. Are you serious?! Call me crazy, but between this beer, the barrel-aged version, and the Kopi coffee variant, this one was tops for me. Hey - if it ain't broke, don't fix it.

 2,367 characters

Photo of ricke
4.37/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to brewdan for this one.

A: Pitch black, decent viscosity and a medium sized pale brown head that settles rather slowly actually and leaves espresso-like lacings.

S: The smell is amazing. Rich, powerful and very balanced. Big coffee notes of espresso and freshly ground hard roasted coffee beans. Hints of soy sauce, salt licorice and dark fruits. Delightful notes of dark chocolate. Just a hint of tannins and slightly acidic roasty aromas. This is really impressive.

T: The taste is dominated through and trough by rich coffee flavors. Freshly ground coffee beans and espresso blend with wonderful flavors of dark chocolate and some nutty aromas. Notes of dark fruits. The sweetness is restrained in favor of bitter roasted flavors. The malty backbone is present, but hard to detect beneath all the coffee flavors. In the middle, the roasted character is accentuated further towards a taste of almost burnt coffee and malts. At this point, the beer actually gets a little too much and doesn't manage to keep everything together. But this is just a minor slip, and hardly of importance for the overall impression. Further, i notice a nice hop flavor that works really well with the coffee character. Notes of wood and fresh earth. The finish has a real coffee- and hop bitterness to it with notes of soy sauce, salt licorice and vanilla. Long lasting coffee notes lingers in the mouth. The alcohol is almost completely absent except for a pleasant warming sensation. This is just oh so tasty.

M: Very smooth but it still manages to leave a nice sticky sensation in the mouth. The body is not as big as I had expected, but I think this suits the beer well.

D: This is just a fantastic beer. Great flavors, big complexity and very balanced. It's really nice to come by a beer that manages to hold such bold and rich flavors together as this one does. And as this wasn't enough, it's really really easy to drink, I went through a bottle way to quickly.

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Photo of t2grogan
4.5/5  rDev +3%

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AleSmith Speedway Stout from AleSmith Brewing Company
97 out of 100 based on 1,547 ratings.