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AleSmith Speedway Stout - AleSmith Brewing Company

Not Rated.
AleSmith Speedway StoutAleSmith Speedway Stout

Educational use only; do not reuse.

1,524 Reviews
no score

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Reviews: 1,524
Hads: 5,859
Avg: 4.37
pDev: 16.93%
Wants: 853
Gots: 1,780 | FT: 157
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: 1,524 | Hads: 5,859
Photo of Ryancthomas7
3.72/5  rDev -14.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

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.

Edit: Had this in a bottle after my horrible experience on tap. MUCH BETTER. Rating has been slightly increased. However, Mega Black House still blows this out of the water.

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Photo of Kudashov
3.73/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On a trip to Marty's I told Dan ~ Le Beer Man ~ that I was on the hunt for Stouts and Doppel Bocks . He gave me a bottle of Speedway Stout and said that it is one of his favs . Marty's is by far my favorite place for beer hunting . Yes some will say that the beers are tad but pricey but that old line " you get what you pay for " holds true . When poured in my Galway seidel mug the head was thin . The brew looks sooo thick . Coffee - espresso - flavor . Has a dark chocolate bitterness to it . On the tongue it is thick for a short while but there is no burn on the finish . Which I though would happen seeing that this is 12 % . I enjoy the warmth that this is giving me as I watch the LSU / Ole Miss football . LSU is killing my parlay right now . This is a good beer , not great . It has put the "red heat " in my cheeks but at $16 a bottle I would rather buy packs of Brooklyn Black Chocolate Founders Breakfast Stout , or my fav as of right now Kentucky Breakfast Stout .

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Photo of mechamifune
3.74/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured out of the 750ml bottle into sifter.

Pours with almost no head to speak of.... some light pleasant lacing but thats it. Beer is close to jet black with almost no hint of carbonation.

Smell is lots of coffee and notes of chocolate.... more muted than, say, FBS, but still very enjoyable.

Taste is coffee upfront, followed by a lingering tartness and almost no sense of hops. Still its a pleasant taste, not world class, but enjoyable.

Mouthfeel is where it really falls flat to me... this is a beer with almost no carbonation.... it still is relatively creamy and thus not totally unpleasant, but it just gets a little difficult to drink after a while. But for a 12% beer, it has a very minimal sense of alcohol, and the taste and flavors are enjoyable enough that I feel I can still rank this as a good beer....but relative to other "big" stouts, this one doesn't really match up.

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Photo of StoneTSR
3.74/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a gorgeous silver foiled 750 ml bottle.

APPEARANCE: Deep, dark black. Pitch black. Not a single ray of light passed through this beer. There was no red tint, no slightly less opaque parts of the glass, it was solid, straight black. On top of the beer rested a nice, thick brown head that dissipated rather quickly, but was very nice before it vanished.

SMELL: Coffee is the dominant aroma, but it is not as strong as it should be for such a big beer.

TASTE: There is a big hop character to this stout, much more so than most. Grapefruit dominates the hop character, but a strong coffee taste is the backbone of the entire stout. Hints of chocolate are apparent along with some subtle lemon. The finish is a combination of coffee and grapefruit hoppy bitterness.

MOUTHFEEL: Very dry with a nice sparkle, but it is thinner than I would have liked.

OVERALL: While this was an excellent stout it does not match up to its counterpart from Paso Robles - the Parabola. I thoroughly enjoyed the Speedway, but it is just doesn't have the feel that the perfect imperial stout would have. Aside from that it was great.

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Photo of Bosoxfan20
3.75/5  rDev -14.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

A beautiful looking stout. Black as can be with a dense, thick head. Aroma of chocolate and dark fruits. Lots of roasted notes as well. Flavor was very heavy on the dark fruits I smelled- dates and black currants. A healthy dose of chocolate. IT really seemed to lack the intense coffee flavor I was hoping for. I am thinking that cellaring for over a year was probably a bad choice as the adjuncts have become somewhat subdued, resulting in a loss of balance. Lots of roasted bitterness.

Overall, pretty good. I suggest drinking fresh.

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Photo of SteveB24
3.75/5  rDev -14.2%

Look- color is a black that is almost brown, pours a half finger of brown head.
Aroma- you can smell the beer as soon as you open it. TONS of rich, freshly brewed coffee, molasses in there too.
Taste- Coffee upfront, Followed by molasses and then a wallop of alcohol, quite bitter in the finish.
Feel- Medium body, mild carbonation, isn't creamy but not crisp either, very slightly oily on the tongue.
overall- a nice coffee stout, in my opinion it lacks sweetness and balance, but well worth trying.

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Photo of jjanega08
3.76/5  rDev -14%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A= This is a 2008 bottle sent to me from Thomashardy. Thanks Brady! The pour is a nice blackout black color with a good looking two finger head on it that holds it's retention and has excellent lacing. The heads color is a nice dark tan color. Pretty impressed with the size due to the age of the beer. I figured that after two years some of the carbonation would be lost.

S= Classic RIS smell. A beautiful deep chocolaty sweet aroma coming from it. Really sweet smelling. Not much coffee in it which I assume died with the age. There is a little coffee detectable however. One of the sweetest smelling RISs I've ever had. Beautiful.

T= Not as sweet as the smell led on to believe. The coffee really comes through in the taste. Excellent coffee hits the tongue right away. There is a great deal of dark chocolate taste to it as well. The mid is all chocolate sweetness but not as intense as the smell. The finish is coffee bitterness. Not much heat coming out of it at all for the high alcohol.

M= It hits you nice and thick but then sort of thins out for some reason. It never really gets as thick as I would like it to be. Nice lasting coffee bitterness.

D= Pretty decent and a great way to end a looong couple of days of work. Not the best RIS I've had but still pretty good. I would seek this out again and would for sure pick it up off shelves if it were distributed near by. Worth trying.

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Photo of Rastacouere
3.77/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Blind Tasting, Thanks tiggmtl Pitch black pour with almost no head. Aroma consists of an hazelnuty malt profile with coffee and dark swiss chocolate notes. Very intense grapefruity hops also come into play in here. Palate is dry altogether. Taste is very hoppy, grapefruity although alcohol shows more and more as it warms, then it becomes more on the vinous side. Medium to full bodied, silky, round mouthfeel. Warming for sure, but definitely not close to my expectations. In fact, in the blind tasting, I never came close to guessing this was the speedway. I expected it to burst in my face with coffee flavors and frankly, this doesn't have so much coffee flavors, it's in fact only in my notes regarding the aroma and I insisted far more on the hazelnut. That being said, after the 10th imperial stout, I was sure the last one (11th) would be the speedway, it passed that anonym. It remains very well done though with all the elements you look for in an impy including a big roasty character, but you've got to be in the mood for alcohol and a very long west-coast hoppy aftertaste. My friends, without being chauvinist, this ain't no Péché Mortel. In fact, next time I have the Péché Mortel, I expect to raise its rating some..

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Photo of MarkIntihar
3.77/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

2011 vintage. Poured from the bottle into my Kuhnhenn snifter. Thanks to Jeremy for throwing this one in on our trade!

A - Pours fairly thin with almost zero head. Even a vigorous pour can only generate the slightest tan lacing around the outside of the glass. Pitch black in color. I guess thin is a bad word to use, but definitely not as big as say a Bourbon County stout or Dark Lord, which, if I'm not going to get any carbonation, I would greatly prefer.

S - Chocolate, coffee, roasted malts dominate the nose. However, these are followed by a tart cherry smell, which does not quite jive with the rest of the scent. This is the second bottle of Speedway I've had that had this character to it, so I'm assuming (since I don't know any better) that it is an intended flavor. However, it simply does not fit the rest of the beer very well.

T - Taste is very coffee and chocolate forward, with the cherry/tartness characteristic as a much more subtle layer in the background. Finish is bitter dark chocolate and roasted malts, with a dash of coffee to compliment the character. The cherry tartness is still fairly present, but not nearly as much as in the nose. A very nicely balanced beer.

M - In line with the appearance, this one is a bit on the thin side as far as big imperial stouts go. I like them big and chewy, and this one just falls short. Not entirely unpleasant, though there is a bit of an alcohol bite at the very end of it.

O - Overall, a disappointment to me, both times I've had it. I don't quite understand the cherry aspect to it, and it doesn't really seem to work with the rest of the flavor profile. I hope I'm not just experiencing some oxidation in the bottle, and I will definitely try to track this one down on tap at some point, just to see if there's a noticeable difference.

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Photo of Smurf2055
3.79/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Pours black with a medium tan four finger head.

Smell is light coffee, roasty, chocolate, right amount of sweetness.

Taste is chocolate, coffee, roasty, grainy, creamy. A lot like Founders Breakfast Stout, but more balanced.

Very well carbonated, bit of a chalky mouthfeel, but easy enough to drink. Cool that I got to try it.

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Photo of Brabander
3.79/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

I got this beer at the Zeebra Extreme Beerfestival in Holland on may 4th 2013. Zeebra was held for the first time with lots of very very very great beers like this one. As a matter of fact the BA version of this beer was also there....

This one was poured in a Zeebra glass, a small tasting glass. I did not really know what to expect from this beer but the expectation were higher than the taste i got.

No head and no carbonation. Just a normal Imperial stout where i made the remark that this is good one for the beginners in this style. Not bad but i have had way better ones....

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Photo of Sandbarunner
3.79/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Great Stout! When I was out west I drank a few too many of them. Hell, you can get them at the San diego airport!

Nice mouth feel, just enough bubbles to keep it from being syrup like. This one was bourbon barreled. If you can find it; drink it!!!

Had it on draft as well at a local Yacht Club in San Diego. Makes me wonder what it would taste like on Nitro. I preferred the bottle serve. The draft I had was too cold. Preferred to take out of the fridge and let sit for about an hour and a half then open. Here in SC I can serve at the right temp. Unfortunatley, I can't buy it in SC.


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Photo of nkersten
3.8/5  rDev -13%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle generously shared at the most recent Chicago BA gathering. Poured into taster glass, pitch black with a tiny tan head that settles to a collar. Smells of heavily roasted malts, spicy hops, coffee, sugary sweetness, some alcohol. Taste is bitter and hoppy up front, burnt malts, a bit of coffee in the finish. Mouthfeel is heavy body with a medium carbonation. Very drinkable and hoppy, but the taste could have used a bit more sweetness to balance out some of the bitterness.

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Photo of zaphodchak
3.8/5  rDev -13%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Half finger orangey head, dark brown body, some lace.

Coffee in the rich, sweetish nose. Some brown sugar?

Coffee in the taste, quite nutty with rather a bit of burn. Slightly piney. Possible prune in here.

Fine mouthfeel, not too carby. Some burn though.

Good imperial stout, could probably stand aging well.

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Photo of birderbeerer
3.8/5  rDev -13%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Black. Weird head. Lots of big bubbles rather than the usual foamy head.

Smells like dark roast coffee, black licorice, and overripe dark berries.

Taste is a little disappointing. A lot of coffee and thin. As it warms, the licorice and fruit come through more. But something seems off. Just not quite balanced right and too much alcohol without the body to support it. Still good and enjoyable but it's good parts don't add up to be the greatness it could be.

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Photo of MuddyFeet
3.8/5  rDev -13%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bought this about 5 months ago and had it downstairs since then before deciding to crack it open tonight. Pours the color of liquid dark chocolate. Thick and frothy head that just cakes the glass in lace. All layered up to the top and never quite going away. Nose is Nestle cocoa powder and very toasted malts.

Flavor is a little out of whack with the alcohol kind of dominant and very much in the forefront. Some choclate and burnt biscuit tones. Hop bitterness is at a level where it balances off the burnt grains but the alcohol rises above it all. Little bits of vanilla but like the vanilla in cheap vanilla ice cream and not the type with actual vanilla beans. Not particularly heavy, oddly enough. Medium body and the alcohol lightens it all up a bit with a noce burn form the heat. Nice enough but not sure I would pick this up again.

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Photo of PatandDavid
3.8/5  rDev -13%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

David and I shared a bottle of the 2006 version at Redbones. My review is all over the map, I think one of the reasons as this one would most likely benefit with some ageing (it's actually recommended to do so on the bottle). Initial impression after the bottle was opened was that it was a boozy monster with a syupy mouthfeel. I was actually a little nervous and thought, I hope some of our fellow bar patrons can help us finish the bottle if we aren't able to. Well, guess what, we had no problems finiishing the bottle, so let's see what we had. Poured into tulip glasses, it had a nice coal black color with mahogany highlights in the light. I loved the deep rich coffee crema head, but it dissipated and only left me with some small skim coat on the sides. The aroma was initially boozy, but as we became accostomed to it, the coffee came to the fore, and some depth was provided by some stone fruit notes as well. Mouthfeel was initially syrupy, however as we made our way through the bottle, it became rougher, with fine prominent carbonation. Tastewise, there's a ton of coffee, milk chocolate, roasted notes from both. I enjoyed it, and it did become easier to drink as we made our way through the bottle. Actually did not feel intoxicated at the end, but that's where a big meal, and tons of water help out. Would love to try again in six months.

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Photo of Dave2010
3.8/5  rDev -13%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

This is a good beer, there are chocolate and coffee flavors, but I felt the sourness was a more than a normal imperial stout. I could almost feel something of an apple taste due to the sweetness and sourness. Don't get me wrong, this isn't bad, just unique and not expected. I didn't notice a strong smell, but the flavors and complexity make up for it. Priced very well, and well worth a try.

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Photo of claaark13
3.81/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

As quickly as this flies off the shelf, it has to be the most recent batch. Poured at cellar temp into a Bruery tulip.

A - Pours nearly black with a thick and creamy dark tan head.

S - Lots of smooth coffee blended with cocoa. Sweet dark malts show up with some searching. Malty coffee.

T - Coffee, light roast, dark malts, then coffee again on the finish. Dry bitterness from the coffee is offset with mild sweetness. The finish is a perfect balance and is actually the highlight of this for me. Some chocolate notes are evident throughout and become very nice after a few sips. The middle flavor (or lack-there-of) is what holds this down. There isn't too much holding the great start and finish together other than dark malts.

M - On the lighter side....

O - The mouthfeel and the middle-flavor hold this down. If the start/finish weren't so good, score goes way down. If the middle were better, score goes up. If they could put this in a barrel for only about 6 months or so, I think it could pick up enough middle flavor to become a fantastic beer.

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Photo of airohead2001
3.81/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured into a snifter from a 750ml bottle. Split with glazeman.

A - Beautiful looking stout. Pitch black with a nice tan one finger head that eventually fades to thick bubbles around the edge. Great lacing that coats the rims of my snifter for the remainder of the drink.

S - Pretty good - bitter coffee, alcohol, some light malts, and some dark fruits.

T - This one is pretty interesting. When it was cold out of the bottle, it was really sweet up front with some harsh bitter roasts at the end. Closer to room temperature, things are a bit more complex, but not necessarily more tasty - after some warming, this one has bitter roasts through out with an interesting sweet and sour taste in the beginning. There is also some nuttiness in the finish.

M - Average mouthfeel. Not too thin, but I would have definitely liked it to be a bit thicker and chewier.

D - Very drinkable. A tasty stout indeed and very well balanced. The high ABV is well hidden.

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Photo of SilentSabre
3.82/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Received this in a trade with Enola back over the Summer. 750mL bottle with silver foil around the top. Label looks similar to the one in the photgraph here, only it's black and white. Poured extremely dark; black crude oil body with only a sliver of dark reddish light around the edges when held up to the lamp on my computer desk.
This simply smells rich. Old coffee, damp, black earth, dark roasted cereals, and perhaps, some mushrooms. A splendid combination of aromas. Taste, I'm afraid to say, while certainly good, wasn't what I thought it would be. This is yet again another example of a really good beer not being the "Ale of the Gods" all the hype and excitement would suggest one prepare for. I don't want anyone to get the wrong idea. This is a great stout and I wish I had 3 or 4 more downstairs to enjoy in the winter to come. However, the way folks go crazy over this thing simply doesn't match its performance, IMO.
Many of the profiles present in the smell were present in the flavour, as well, especially the coffee and burnt cereal grains. Again, this is a *good* stout, but certainly not what others would have one believe. Honestly, in the way of stouts, I'd take a Weyerbacher Heresy over this.
Mouthfeel in this one is very nice, but could be a bit more oil-like. *Almost* where it needs to be in a stout like this for my tastes.
While the 12%abv is terrifically well concealed with alcohol difficult to detect, the flavours are still very rich indeed warranting a 3,5 at best for drinkability.
Overall, a nice stout with wonderful aromas and a delightful combination of flavour profiles married to a heavy, but smooth mouthfeel. It does not, however, hold up to the near fanaticism one sees so regularly on this site.

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Photo of jomo
3.82/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Appearance is black with fine carbonation. The viscosity is reasonably thick, but not as creamy as it used to be. Lacing is surprisingly weak for such a brew.

Smell is malty with coffee notes, but it has a strange acidic character. Perhaps the hops...not sure.

Taste... Coffee, chocolate, malt, sugars, bitterness and that odd acidity.

Mouthfeel is sticky, but creamy. Carbonation is perfectly fine.

Unfortunately, IMO, this beer had declined as Alesmith has grown. Their brewing processes have changed for higher production. The main difference is almost acidic tinge the beer has. Perhaps the hop bitterness...perhaps the fusel alcohols. I don't know. What I do know is that this is a change that happened almost immediately a few years back. They used to brew this beer in low rider, cheese making bins. They used to claim the low fermenting "pressure" produced less fusel alcohols. Perhaps this is the difference. All I know for certain is that it is not a good as it used to be.

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Photo of tigg924
3.83/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Aged two years--Poured into a Two roads tulip

Appearance: black in color, opaque, 1/2 inch head, moderate carbonation

Smell: coffee, rich chocolate, cream, and alcohol

Taste: tastes starts with rich dark and sweet chocolate and quickly changes to black coffee and espresso, light creaminess at the end before a bitter coffee finish

Mouthfeel: roasty bitter with slight sweetness, heavy body, low carbonation

Overall: A big big beer. This one is coffee and alcohol on overdrive. Nice and smooth and it mellows as it gets warmer. I found the alcohol to be a bit overpowering at times. Quality beer, but I do tend to prefer other coffee stouts and beers by Ale Smith more.

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Photo of gregb13
3.83/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

A nice, heavy coffee stout. Extremely strong at 12% - some alcohol but no heat to speak of, a sipper for sure. Not very complex and a bit overbearing on the coffee. Insanely full-bodied and sticky beer. Totally coats the palate, coffee will overwhelm the meek. Pretty solid, but was expecting a bit more honestly, especially at $13 for 25.4 oz. bottle, at least in terms of complexity. It's enjoyable but would hesitate to recommend.

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Photo of Blanco
3.83/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Black with light brown head. Excellent lacing. Head looks almost sea-foamy. Smell is of rich chocolate immediately with coffee in the background, though weaker than I prefer in coffee stouts. Alcohol is present in the nose as well, indicating this is a very strong beer. Bitterness in the taste but still smooth. The chocolate is the first bit you get but the aftertaste is straight coffee. Some minimal grassy (that's the best way I can describe it) notes are also there. Slight charred quality as well with some hints of dark fruits and metal. No taste of the alcohol. Medium bodied, actually thinner than I expected.

Overall, this is decent for an imperial stout, but the coffee was disappointing. I actually wasn't aware of this until someone noted at the counter it was a coffee stout and was excited. But...it's still pretty well-made the heavy cost is somewhat offset by the fact it's a 750 and not a bomber.

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AleSmith Speedway Stout from AleSmith Brewing Company
97 out of 100 based on 1,524 ratings.