AleSmith Speedway Stout - AleSmith Brewing Company

Not Rated.
AleSmith Speedway StoutAleSmith Speedway Stout

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BA SCORE
97
world-class

1,486 Reviews
THE BROS
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no score

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Reviews: 1,486
Hads: 5,684
rAvg: 4.36
pDev: 8.94%
Wants: 836
Gots: 1,682 | 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: 1,486 | Hads: 5,684
Photo of hopsaplenty
3.3/5  rDev -24.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

750ml green (why?) bottle. No date info, but it is silkscreened and came topped with silver foil. Picked-up via trade in November 2005, and has sat in the cellar ever since.

Deep black with mud brown edges. Towering, crackling head of jumbled espresso colored bubbles topped with a fine layer of crema. Pock marks slowly develop as the head drifts down to a pillowy cover. Slow rising carbonation. The aroma is noticeable at a distance, sweetened coffee, chocolate milkshake, smoked caramel, roasted pine cone, and a bit of alcohol. The taste is hot with alcohol and a coffee roastiness is set firmly in the background. Dry pine carries into the finish along with a bit of smokiness. A dry, baker’s chocolate flavor becomes apparent, but is covered by the alcohol. The body feels thin, and the mouthfeel light with fine carbonation. This has a dry, dusty feeling. The alcohol starts to dominate and detract from the overall flavor. I am left wondering where the body went and what happened to the complexity. The bottle indicates that it can be cellared for 6-24 months, and this was only down there for 15 months, so it should have held up better.

Meh. I was expecting more. (1,182 characters)

Photo of brystmar
3.3/5  rDev -24.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Been wanting to try this for awhile, so I was excited to see it offered at Rattle N Hum. The bottle we shared was served far too cold, so I let it warm up before getting critical.

A: pitch black, literally zero head, mild lace. Speedway Stout is purported to be a top-tier imperial stout, and I expected much more in this department.

S: smells *very* hot. Booze, chocolate, booze, and faint traces of coffee. Did I say booze? Zero aromatic complexity. Doesn't make me giddy with every whiff like the other top stouts in this category.

T: first sip was very cold, bland, and disappointing. Waited until it warmed up, then tasted again. Chocolate, roasted malt, sweet malts, mild coffee, and then plenty of booze. Lacks complexity and refinement, and doesn't hide its strength well. Reminds me of countless other mid-level imperial stouts. A decent beer, but wholly unimpressive.

M: its big, silky, smooth body is the only saving grace here. Definitely the best part of this brew.

D: about average for a 12% beer, but well below average in comparison with other top imperial stouts. Strong amount of alcoholic warmth as it goes down. Pretty heavy too, but this is usually not a point of contention for me. I'll be generous with a 3. Glad I shared this bottle.

I opened this bottle with high expectations and was let down every step of the way. This is in sharp contrast to a beer like Dark Lord: I again came in with high expectations, but was absolutely blown away on all fronts. My hopes for Cigar City's Marshal Zhukov were also high recently; that brew proved itself at least satisfactory on every level and excelled in mouthfeel. Can't say anything similar here.

Speedway Stout really let me down. I actually wish the bottle were musty or stale so I could chalk it up to those problems, but that was simply not the case. In two words, it's overhyped and unimpressive.

This is not a bad beer by any stretch, but expecting something special from this beer will leave you disappointed. (1,993 characters)

Photo of bruachan
3.31/5  rDev -24.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

from hudson acme

i bought myself some new beerware to accomodate 750s, and frankly, this thing's too big. it's a 160 oz brandy snifter. that's right...it can accomodate FIVE 750s. anyway, i figured this was an appropriate brew to christen my BIG glass (i call it...the grrrail)

big chocolate aroma out of the bottle (which, now that it is empty, i see is green and not black). pours a reddish brown, but black in the glass. chocolatemilkshake head that sticks to the glass when it sloshes around (looks almost like changing tides in this glass). when i stick my face in the snifter's port (literally; when i sip my hairline is in the cavernous glass. i should wear a hairnet) i get alot of ethanol in my nose, along with the expected black malt aromas and some deep dark fruitiness

a fair amount of bitterness from the highly kilned malts, but it could be a much smoother drink. vanilla, rum, raisin. the hop bitterness seems to mesh with the ethanol flavor, so the alcohol appears more prevalent than it really is. in any case, i should be expecting some alcohol to come through (though it's a little strong in the aroma)

coffee doesn't seem to have as much of an impact compared to peché mortel, but i don't drink the stuff so i might be missing some of the nuances that i might pick up otherwise

in conclusion, i'm disappointed. i don't like the bitterness at all, i get too much ethanol aroma and, though complex, the flavors just aren't enjoyable. their wee heavy is much better (1,499 characters)

Photo of tut2528
3.33/5  rDev -23.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Finally! I get the chance of trying this one out. Purchased off the shelf on 12-29-12

A: pour is completely black, and it pours a massive 2-3 fingers worth of frothy dark mocha head formation. the lacing is very nice and the nice bubbly film layer remains once the head dies down

S: alcohol soaked dark fruits, bitter dark chocolate, robust coffee grounds, alcohol burn, slight touch of tobacco. very nicely balanced brew.

T: alcohol, bold coffee, chocolate and more alcohol are pretty much the main players. leather, slight tobacco, and a burnt/smokiness is also present. in all honesty, I get only a slight sweetness....mostly during the burps!

M: for as dark as this beer is. i find it much too light. i find much too light and the alcohol destroys any nice flavors that could be left on the palate, its felt all over the upper gums, cheeks and palate.. i suppose there is a slight bitter dark chocolate but, i really have to pull for it.

O: im utterly shocked. for receiving such high reviews, this brew is extremely underwhelming. its an alcohol bomb....flat.... for being such highly ranked, i expect more out of a beer of this caliber.... its an average AD/IS. nothing special or great about it. I strongly feel this needs to be paired with food, or seriously aged.

.... is this a bad bottle/batch?.... glad i'm at least getting drunk (1,347 characters)

Photo of jeonseh
3.34/5  rDev -23.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Bottle poured into a Kuhnheen Tulip

A - I forgot that high ABV stouts can have a nice head. Has a nice, one finger mocha color head that sits throughout. Color is deep, brown. Clean looking and slightly reflective.

S - Chocolate, light bitter coffee with a slight caramel sweetness. There is a slight almost Marmite / vegetal hint I pick up in the nose as well

T - Slight chocolate and definitely get a kick of the bitter coffee in the middle. There is slight caramel and vanilla sweetness that comes in near the end before you get slammed with a huge alcoholic kick. This by far has the strongest alcoholic kick I've had in a beer in a long time and even seems strong for a 12% ABV.

MF - Nice medium body that is thick and smooth with light carbonation. Finish though is very astringent and boozy as you'd expect given the booze in the flavor

O - I was not impressed by this offering and thought this was an overall let down. It is way too boozy for the ABV which comes on way too strong. (994 characters)

Photo of kscaldef
3.34/5  rDev -23.4%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Purchased about 1 month ago; no bottle date.

Slowly develops a 1-finger dark tan head after pouring. The beer is a very dark brown, near black.

The aroma has some roasty coffee notes, but also a medicinal note and some green wood. It's not particularly appealing, but not off-putting either.

The first sip is an explosion of coffee and chocolate. Unfortunately, it's chased by that same green, medicinal flavor and a bitter woody finish. The mouthfeel is heavy and coating, but a bit chalky. Almost no carbonation.

Overall, this is a bit of an enigma to me, though. It's better than the sum of its parts and I keep being pulled back for another sip. (653 characters)

Photo of HiAIPA
3.35/5  rDev -23.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured from b/w/grey silkscreened 750ml bottle. This black stout had a medium body and poured with minimal head. Robust aromas of bread, coffee, tar and roasted caramel malts were prominent. The coffee and roasted flavors were good, but there was this acidic high note kinda like a lactose or sweet stout thing that detracted from this. This should be a heavy thick brooding stout, and the sweet thing wasn't ideal. (415 characters)

Photo of nas5755
3.36/5  rDev -22.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A black beer with a massive tan head some lacing is left on the glass, with a little retention. The nose has coffee, light chocolate notes and deeply roasted dark coffee bitterness. The taste follows the nose, heavy with dark roasted coffee and the astringent bitterness that comes from too much roasting, chocolate and roasted malt flavors. Too much roast when fresh. A very smooth and creamy stout with a great mouth-feel, but it was hard to appreciate because of the bitterness. A very good stout that should be aged, even with all the coffee notes. The astringent bitterness is just to harsh to truly enjoy. I have this beer with a little over a year and the astringency had faded considerably. (698 characters)

Photo of BZero007
3.37/5  rDev -22.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Picked up a bottle from Vendomere in CA

Poured a extreme black color void of any light. no head formation at all. The aroma nice with a sweet coffee background twirled around. The smell was not very strong but was nice and plesent. The taste was of a well balanced coffee, roasty, dark fruit flavor. Honestly they all seemed to match very well, but the biggest problem was no carbonation. The carbonation in this brew was way to low and hard to find honestly. I felt for this flavor profile it needed just a dash more to tie everything together. I am hoping I had a bad bottle but this was my second bottle both of which were different years. So I am just chacking this up to not my style. Don't get me wrong this a good Stout just not something I will seek out again. If it was sold in m area I would probably pick it up from time to time. The body was great as a medium/thick style but again the lack of carbonation hit this brew hard for me. (945 characters)

Photo of BigPapa
3.37/5  rDev -22.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Not a bad beer overall, seems a bit over rated. I would agree with beer bros rating on it more so. Doesnt have the strong coffee taste I expected and is a little more bitter than I would like. A little surprised on the lack of head with the poor as well. (254 characters)

Photo of jwolfie70
3.4/5  rDev -22%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Pours a jet black, with a small tan head. The smell is dominated by coffee, with a burnt malt presence as well. The taste is also almost all coffee. At times it feels like some subletlies in flavor tried to come through, but overall the coffee dominated. This was not a bad RIS, but overall I was less impressed with the beer than I thought I was going to be. (359 characters)

Photo of Ryancthomas7
3.4/5  rDev -22%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Served on draft.
L - Pitch black with minimal head.
S - Coffee, but not as much as one would expect.
T - BOOZE! Extremely boozy for the abv. Not much coffee going on for me. Completely overpowered by alcohol.
F - Like I want to spit this out, but the high ratings are making me keep it in my mouth.
O - Super disappointed given the extremely high ratings for this beer. I have another tucked away in the fridge that I will need to open soon to see if the bottle is different than draft. Mega Black House by Modern Times absolutely blows this beer out of the water in my opinion. No contest. (594 characters)

Photo of ThatOlBoy
3.4/5  rDev -22%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Good little stout, though there's nothing especially unique about it. I've had it both out of the bottle and on tap, and it was pretty consistent between the two. It has great color and smells wonderful. The one knock I have is that it has a little acidic hint on the back end which is a bit unpleasant. (303 characters)

Photo of GregSVT
3.42/5  rDev -21.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

750ml bottle into a snifter - 2009 Vintage

A: Pours a deep black with ruby tinges on the side and a small dark tan head that fades quickly and leaves some lacing on the glass. I poured this pretty vigorously and it barely produced a small head...I'd like to see more than that otherwise great.

S: The nose is amazing. Roasted malt leads to a coffee aroma with vanilla and cocoa in the background. I literally said "oh my god" when I took my first whiff.

T: The taste is much different from the nose. It starts slightly sour with a lot of dark fruit and that leads to a vanilla and coffee flavor. Not as impressive as the nose led on but not bad either.

M: The feel is pretty thick and oily. Not a whole lot of carbonation which isn't a bad thing for an Impy Stout.

D: I'd like to try this again before I give my final verdict. Perhaps I'll get the new 2010 vintage and have it fresh.

I can't even imagine what the smell and taste would be on the barrel aged version...must be out of this world. (1,002 characters)

Photo of scott
3.44/5  rDev -21.1%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

2006-My shop just got this is in today, so it's straight off the boat, and I am looking very forward to my introductory taste of this Alesmith SS.

Pours beautifully, with black as pitch body, and 1/4 inch tan head at the rim. Literally georgeous in a tulip. Art. Very nice under light.

Strong coffee upfront, which I love for my stouts. Chocolate syrup not far behind in the nose. Burnt and almost powerful.

Taste is average, at best. I want to love this beer. It's not simple enough to be perfect, not complex enough to make think another glass will drive me to insanity. Think Black Hole meets LH Milk Stout. Drinkable, yes. Outstanding?! 92 points?! Big beers are my thing, and this just doesn't justify the hoopla, nor the $12.99 tag.

Syrupy, with minimal tang. Not very expressive.
Yet, everytime I look at it, I want another pull. I wish it could deliver. (876 characters)

Photo of kenito799
3.45/5  rDev -20.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

22oz bomber poured into a chalice.

Many thanks to Tizzod for sharing this special brew with me.

Black black black with tan foamy head.

Aroma is really rich, molasses, caramel, dark roasted coffee, sweet malt.

Flavor carries through with loads of roasted black richness, molasses, caramel, chocolate, coffee...a bit too rich for my taste, it is over the top, too syrupy and alcoholic to have much drinkability. Fun to try once and maybe best beside a fire in the winter, but I would probably go for a Belgian quadrupel in that case. (543 characters)

Photo of JBogan
3.45/5  rDev -20.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a very dark brown, which if you're not really paying attention might appear black. It is topped with a one finger darkish tan head which leaves minimal lacing.

Smells of the very familiar coffee and some tobacco.

Tastes, not surprisingly of coffee along with what seems like cola. Possibly a nut in there somewhere too, but maybe I'm grasping at straws. Basically it tastes like someone took a Coke and a coffee and poured them together. No real sign of alcohol taste, but there is a warming after you get through some of this beer.

Mouthfeel was not as velvety as some others in it's class. Somewhat thin too as it goes down.

I know a lot of folks like this brew, but it really didn't tickle my fancy. It's one and done for me. (739 characters)

Photo of CoolJosh
3.45/5  rDev -20.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Ya know with all the hype around this beer, I figured why not give it a shot. Only problem, I didn't have one. Answer, host a tasting with a friend whose cellar reaches back a little further then mine. Thanks treyrab!!

The appearance really throws me off, doesn't look like an imperial stout. Not quite black, with some mahogany accents around the edges. No head head at all.

In the nose, I found mostly very ripe darker fruits, and a little bit of smoke. Sweet darker chocolate is present but this portion of the beer is really lacking, as it comes off a bit airy.

In the mouth, the flavors aren't too difficult to decipher. Some chocolate and caramel at the beginning of the sip, leading into some riper dark fruits (my guess would be red cherries). Alcohol is present, and not very pleasing. There's a slight amount of smoothed out coffee on the end.

I guess I expected a bit more for a beer so highly regarded. (918 characters)

Photo of jpmclaug
3.48/5  rDev -20.2%
look: 2 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Poured from the bottle into my Founders snifter

A - Black as can be but where is the head? There are a few bubbles here and there but not really any head to speak of even when swirling it.

S - Dark malts provide tons of mollasses roast and chocolate notes but I am picking up a lot of vanilla and coffee. Smells like it'll be kinda syrupy and sweet

T - Nice coffee flavor mingles with some roast and dark chocolate notes. Not picking up on the booze at all. The coffee notes definitely compliment rather than dominate.

M - heavy body. no carbonation. I think I got a bad bottle. Kind of a bummer because I think this beer could be much better with some carbonation

D - Despite the lack of carbonation this is still a pretty good beer. I think I will have to try another bottle and see if it is carbonated. I really like the coffee flavors and the vanilla notes. (866 characters)

Photo of tyanow
3.51/5  rDev -19.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

I want to try this on tap before I make a final decision, but twice the bottles have been good, not great as all of the reviews suggested. The coffee flavors were not available even after warming up. The chocolate that I keep reading about was so subtle that I could barely detect them. First time I had it it was too cold, and so I tried it again at a different place on a different day and it was a totally different beer. I look forward to finding it on tap somewhere - the suspense is killing me. (500 characters)

Photo of jrallen34
3.52/5  rDev -19.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

I drank this from the bottle into a chalice while doing a tasting with dark lord, peche mortel, old rasputin 12, and dfh world wide stout. This one finished in the middle of this group overall. Ok, overall but wouldn't crush it all day or probably get it again.

It pours very very dark black, no light through at all, dark tan head. Good lacing and lots of carbonation.

Aroma is very strong of alcohol and burnt wood.

Taste is light, especially compared to how strong the aroma is. Doesn't really taste like much but coffee, but its light coffee, nothing really sticks out. Mouthfel is bad, almost a watery stout. Drinks like a lager. (640 characters)

Photo of wisrarebeer
3.53/5  rDev -19%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: jet black, opaque
S: good, but needed more roasted malt
T: very tasty, good roasted malt and coffee undertones, but too cloying, could age for a few (5+) years, before it mellows a bit and becomes balanced, as I drink it today it's too sweet, needed more hops
M: good, but needs more hops to take it to the next level, too sweet, and lacquerish
D: needs more hops to make it more drinkable (393 characters)

Photo of jwchestnut
3.55/5  rDev -18.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.5

So perhaps its unfair for me to review as I have yet to have a coffee stout that I really enjoyed, but I have heard such rave reviews about this one and thought it was worth a try and it would maybe be a game changer for me. It poured beautifully. Totally black with a huge dark khaki head that held up for quite a while. The nose was dark sweet malts, some cocoa, gas station coffee, milk chocolate, no hints of alcohol. The taste was sweetened dark chocolate, maybe some charred/smoky marshmallow, but it was dominant coffee flavor that turned me off. Admittedly it grew on me as the beer warmed but I still found it to be too one noted and too much like cold gas station coffee for me. No traces of the 12% alcohol. All that said, it felt fantastic going down - rich, smooth and thick without being cloying. I really wanted to love this beer as it is clearly well crafted and highly regarded, but the single noted coffee flavor was too much for me to get past and really enjoy. (980 characters)

Photo of Phelps
3.55/5  rDev -18.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle into a schooner pint.

Thick, syrupy and black. This has the consistency and color of melted dark chocolate. A dark, oaky head rises from the depths after the pour completes, getting to about a half finger in height before receding to a thick, scummy top layer.

Rich, sweet aroma. It’s like an incredible mocha with dark chocolate and cream, espresso and vanilla.

The flavor’s a little more astringent and metallic. Heavily burnt roast, super bitter coffee. Some alcohol flavor as well. It’s all a little thin, to be honest, though it does improve as it warms. Like a cup of the blackest, most bitter coffee. Needs sugar.

A bit of redemption in the mouthfeel. The creaminess from the appearance is in full force here. Thick medium-full body, light, prickly carbonation and a touch of silky fizz.

I’ve tried Speedway from the bottle and from the source — the tap at Alesmith — and both experiences were underwhelming. There are far better coffee stouts out there for the price tag. (1,006 characters)

Photo of hawks10
3.55/5  rDev -18.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

750ml bottle - Foiled & Capped - Poured into a snifter...

Pours thick and black with a nice dense, one finger tan head. Some lacing is left behind...

Sweet milk chocolate on top of a nice, but more subtle than expected, roasted coffee aroma. A touch of booze.

Some sweet chocolate with a nice citrusy hop bitterness. Roasted with a bit of coffee, not near as much as expected though. Booze is very prevalent, burns the gums and lingers well into the aftertaste.

Full bodied but drinks a bit thinner than expected. Low carbonation, smooth. Very boozy, lots of burn...bitter, burning aftertaste...

Not a big fan (615 characters)

AleSmith Speedway Stout from AleSmith Brewing Company
97 out of 100 based on 1,486 ratings.