AleSmith Speedway Stout - AleSmith Brewing Company

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AleSmith Speedway StoutAleSmith Speedway Stout

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1,486 Reviews
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Reviews: 1,486
Hads: 5,684
rAvg: 4.36
pDev: 8.94%
Wants: 836
Gots: 1,681 | 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 Ngntjp
3/5  rDev -31.2%

I was expecting a lot more from this one. The nose is yogurt and over-ripened strawberry and maybe a bit of hard boiled egg (?!?!). Taste is where I was the most let down. As an admitted non bourbon barrel-aged stout fan, I was surprised to find so many similar notes of BBA stouts in this. Slight milk chocolate note over vanilla-y yogurt covered raisins and then some alcohol. Note that I do not really enjoy a noticeable alcohol content. Just not enjoying this nearly as much as so many other RISs out there. Glad to have tried it, but not one I would recommend. Sorry Alesmith, maybe I just had much higher hopes. With such a vast number of Russian imperial stouts out there, I would gladly reach for a year-round RIS over this any day. (741 characters)

Photo of Bosoxfan20
3.75/5  rDev -14%
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. (546 characters)

Photo of UnionMade
4/5  rDev -8.3%

Opaque, deep black with a thin topping of beige. Despite the thin head, there's quite a lot of lacing on the glass.

Booze, molasses and coffee dominate the aroma. The coffee is somewhat sharp, way at the top end of the aroma, with the alcohol permeating throughout. A bit of american hop sharpness, but the smell is mainly malt driven with some pretty heavy alcohol overtones.

Very dense in texture and flavor. This one sits on your tongue pretty heavily, like a black brick. Laconic molasses and coffee, with a pronounced boozy bite in the finish. Quite a bit of bittersweet black malt. Some hop bitterness in the finish, but it's mostly alcoholic warmth and a trace of fine-toothed clove esters. Relatively clean, without the bevy of dark fruit esters that you'd commonly find in a stout of this size. The coffee is evident, but blends well with the heavy malt. I like that the coffee isn't screaming through the beer. It's sort of an added statement. Super dense body, with surprisingly vibrant carbonation that keeps it from getting sludgy. I bet I can taste this beer on the back of my tongue hours later. The hops are buried under the malt, but there's really quite a lot of bitterness here. The boozy finish starts to feel really hot after a 12oz glass, and I'd decline a refill in favor of something mellower. This is a well-made fancy bottle that I associate with mid-aughts west coast brewing. I think that the rest of the country has caught up with this style of brewing and offers a fresh new take, but this beer was good in 2005 and continues to be. It just isn't at the top of the heap with so much competition from around the world now. A bit one-dimensional and pretty heavy handed. It seems like criticism, but singularity has a place.

I've certainly had straight imperial stouts with more coffee present, despite the fact that no actual coffee was used in the brewing process. In this beer, the coffee was used judiciously as an accent to an already bold brew. I tend to avoid coffee beers, as they simultaneously make me lethargic and alert. I'm glad to have tried this, but I doubt I'd crave it again. (2,147 characters)

Photo of Tele
4.31/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Bottled 3.27.14
Consumed: 10.18.14

A: 4.75 Pitch black and looks silky pouring into a snifter. The two-finger tan head is dense and lasts about three minutes.

S: 4.25 The aromas are actually a bit subtle for a coffee stout. Of course, there is some dark roasted coffee and dark malt in the forefront, but other aromas are subtler. There’s some vanilla, cinnamon, chocolate, and a tiny bit of blackberry. While very pleasant, it all seems sort of muted.

T: 4.25 Similar story as the nose, but the coffee and chocolate flavors come forward more. The balance between the bitterness of the coffee and roasted malt is very well done and the chocolately sweetness helps to smooth everything out. The coffee flavor is very fresh tasting and not at all harsh, although the finish is rather bitter, but in a nice way for a stout.

M: 4.5 The body is fairly thick, though not as rich as I was expecting based on the pour. The carbonation is just about perfect and the bitter finish is also a bit dry which helps balance out the sweetness you get at first.

O: 4.25 Speedway stout goes down as a classic coffee stout and deserves its recognition. The beer is made very well and is complimented by quality coffee flavors that don’t overpower the base beer. There are also some unexpected flavors that take this beer from just another coffee stout to something special. (1,364 characters)

Photo of lordofstarside
4.06/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottled 3/27/14

Pours black with a finger of foam that's receded pretty quickly. No retention or visibility. Lacing is okay, leaves a nice frothy ring around the glass

Smells of dark fruit, cherry, dark chocolate, coffee, and notes of vanilla. Finishes with some alcohol, really fruity

Taste is also pretty fruity. Upfront cherry and raspberry, followed by dark chocolate and some espresso. Alcohol ensues

Feel is pretty thick and creamy. Alcohol is pretty noticeable, sips okay

Overall okay, didn't live up to the hype for me, though. Coffee for the most part was pretty absent, what's up with that (604 characters)

Photo of beerbully
4.5/5  rDev +3.2%

Poured into HF stemware

A-Black as midnight.....3/4 inch toffee colored head, decent retention, thick lacing that slides down the side of the glass (4.25)

S-Chocolate, coffee, anise, (4.25)

T- Lots of dark chocolate out of the gate..........slight anise, coffee, brown sugar, molasses, dark fruits, some booze but not 12% worth, very sweet, booze is more like rum than whiskey.......finish is like dark chocolate covered coffee beans soaked in rum (4.5)

M-Thick full bodied beer, 12% ABV is noticeable but not dominant.....just enough to provide some warmth......lots of flavors, well balanced (4.5)

O-Good full bodied beer to be sippin on a cold, damp afternoon. (4.5) (677 characters)

Photo of BenwayPHD
4.75/5  rDev +8.9%

Pours pitch black with two finger mocha head. The nose is rich with mocha, chocolate, coffee, vanilla, booze, roast malt. Delicious. The flavor is very nice. Big and roasty. Toffee. The coffee seems a bit mellow, could be the age of the bottle. Thick, creamy mouthfeel. Great stout. (287 characters)

Photo of Motleydrunk56
4.31/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

750ml bottle.Pours a very dark brown to black.Very nice smells of chocolate,coffee,and a hint of vanilla.The taste is excellent. This is a very nice stout with a ABV of around 12.0.The taste is chocolate and coffee and I can even taste a hint of licorice in there.This is well worth buying and I would drink this again.Give it a try. (333 characters)

Photo of Sludgeman
4.48/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottled on 4/12/13. Drank on 10/3/14. 1.5 years old. Shared with my son William as we celebrated my 52nd birthday with my family at our home. Poured into a chalice.

Super complex aroma. Agree with the label. Though coffee is added it is in the background to everything else. The warmer it gets the hotter it gets. Drink a bit colder than the suggested temperature. 4.5

A – Pours a blackish brown with a reddish tint. Opaque with a two-finger dense mousey light brown head with a rocky top. I would describe the head as frothy. Decent carbonation. Excellent lacing. 4.75

S – Dark fruit, coffee, roasted malts, licorice, faint dark chocolate, faint alcohol. 4.75

T – Dark chocolate, licorice, some sweetness, molasses, alcohol is very evident but not solventy or hot, chocolate in a bitter sweet finish. 4.25

MF – Smooth and warming, medium-heavy body, semi-dry finish. 4.5 (885 characters)

Photo of dcmchew
4.7/5  rDev +7.8%

Pours pitch black, even in the light, with a two finger mocha head, pretty fast to some floating spots and a sticky lace.
Smells awesome, salty roasted malts, rich dark chocolate, rich coffee bean, rich strong Italian espresso, some vanilla and raisin/plum, dark spices and the faintest warm alcohol (really cool).
Coffee and caramel up front, bit of toffee and some nice dark chocolate, something like a stronger cappuccino. Still sweet for a few seconds with a sprinkle of vanilla, licorice and cinnamon and some juicy plum, dark cherry and fig, subtle. Gets roastier, with rich dark malts, some nut peel and some more robust coffee bean, plus cocoa powder. It's also woody, a weird (nice weird) kind of whisky barrel feel (placebo, maybe?), probably from the greatly handled alcohol and the rich malts. Roast and some mild bitter hops close this up.
But tons of choco-coffee richness gets through to the aftertaste, tempting you to renew the flavors with another sip, and then another, and so on. The beautifully hidden alcohol also helps, but it will hit eventually. Medium body, smooth and easily drinkable.
LE: Gets a bit boozier later on. I guess it's normal, tho.
This deserves to be a classic, especially for the rich flavors and the stealthiness it has. Not a very complex beer, but it excels at what it advertises. Very tasty stuff. (1,343 characters)

Photo of kkleu357
4.41/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.25

From notes on 5/12/14

Deep dark body. Poured with a one inch head. Very sweet cocoa smell. Very sweet chocolate coffee taste. Very good. Would love to try the ba version. (172 characters)

Photo of pat61
4.75/5  rDev +8.9%

Nose: espresso, chocolate, roast malt
Pours heart of darkness black with a thin 1/2" tan tinted foam cap, some lace, has legs.
Palate: light sweetness followed by black espresso coffee that gives way to a hint of chocolate and a hint of dark dried fruit.
Creamy rich full body, medium low carbonation, warming but the alcohol is not as hot as you would expect for 12% abv. (375 characters)

Photo of don1481
4.5/5  rDev +3.2%

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. (432 characters)

Photo of Strix
4.7/5  rDev +7.8%

Almost a year on it, bottled 9/3/13.

Pours pitch black with brown edges. Nice initial head with a couple trails of lace.

Coffee, caramel, toffee, sugar in the nose.

Caramel, coffee, toffee, vanilla flavors, with hints of blueberry/plum. Lingering pine/dark chocolate finish with a twinge of booze.

Creamy lush mouthfeel.

I'm a sucker for these kinds of beers, but this is exceptionally well done. Wouldn't mind being able to get this on a regular basis. (459 characters)

Photo of TWM
3/5  rDev -31.2%

Had on tap while sitting outside on a warm day. Not sure if the weather contributed, but this just didn't come together.

Visual- Nice, very dark, smooth. 2-finger head,

Aroma- Not much to smell; a little coffee, slight burnt edge

Taste- Not much taste- disappointing. Tasted almost like a good stout that was served too cold, but it wasn't too cold. The flavors were coffee and chocolate over the malt, good bitterness, but none of the flavors came through strong enough to satisfy. Felt like I was getting hints of an awesome beer, but not the awesome beer itself.

Feel- smooth but a little watery for a stout.

Overall- didn't live up to its billing. Not a bad beer, but not one that blew me away. (707 characters)

Photo of 57md
3.9/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Appearance is a deep dark brown with a finger of tan head that enjoyed solid retention and left thick lacing behind. The nose has some roast but it is far milder than expectations would dictate. The flavor profile includes a touch of bittersweet and also includes residual coffee notes. The flavor is complex but there is certainly something lacking in the roasted malts compared to other big stouts. The alcohol esters come on strong in the finish and become less than pleasant. (479 characters)

Photo of Jmamay22
4.31/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The stout pours a pitch black with a mocha colored head that is full and creamy. Good lacing too.

The scent is fulling complex with dark fruit, coffee, bakers chocolate and cocoa. The taste is similarly complex with the roasted barley complimenting the sweeter chocolate notes. The coffee plays a good supporting role and puts the beer first. Finishes with some alcohol warmth and semi dry. Fairly well balanced flavor given the complex profile. Mouthfeel is full and rich with a moderate level of carbonation.

All around top notch imperial stout where the coffee adds a pleasant touch. (588 characters)

Photo of larryarms847
4.5/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a snifter, pours jet black with a nicely browned two-finger head.

Coffee, nutty roasted malts, and chocolate pleasantly greet the nostrils.

Wow, I did not expect this to be so strong on the coffee when I picked it up, but damn I'm not complaining, very tasty. Coffee, dark chocolate, and a roasted caramel/nuttiness wash over the tongue and leave it wanting more.

Mouthfeel is soft and delicate with perfect balance.

Overall this instantly became a favorite of mine. Now I'm looking forward to trying the Bourbon BA variant I have next in the lineup. (566 characters)

Photo of Jacobob10
4.57/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottled on 11/1/2013. Bought this beer with the intention of holding onto it for a special occasion. My wife and I closed on our first house today. It's an incredible feeling and an exciting change in our lives for both of us. What better time to crack this monster of a beer and celebrate?

Black as midnight with a huge, thick, tan head. Lacing all over the place. Legs on the glass when you give it a nice swirl.

The aroma is huge. I will try to describe what's going on, but it might be too complex to describe. Tons of coffee, chocolate, caramel, butterscotch, raisin, fig, and port. You could tell me there are hops in this beer, but I wouldn't believe you. Stellar!

Full-bodied, slick mouthfeel, and flavor that lasts forever. It's drinkable, but it's an absolute beast. Not for the faint of heart. For some reason, I was expecting somewhat of a more mild stout. I was very wrong. An incredible beer by a brewery that (so far, from what I have tried) can do no wrong. An east coast boy giving some love to a west coast brewery? You betcha.

This beer is world class and deserves every accolade it has received. Bold in every sense of the word and not for the faint of heart. Worth seeking out if you are a lover of strong stouts. (1,238 characters)

Photo of Brenden
4.7/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

This has a sort of old school of the new school look; this beer's been around, and it was a big black and viscous behemoth of a beer before stouts had gotten so big. As such, it's still at the top of its game with a big, thick onyx body and a nicely sized tense, thick, rocky and creamy crown of medium brown head that holds up and leaves behind evidence in patching that's pretty strong considering the ABV.
Plenty of wood comes into play both in the nose and on the tongue, and combined with a vanilla-like sweetness that complements and the warming booze that's smooth and not too hot, it's a wonder this isn't barrel-aged. Barrel aging isn't the be-all, end-all of craft beer, but this one incorporates its best aspect: namely, a big, bold depth and complexity of flavors that a spirit in a barrel can bring out with just the right use. It's got so much creamy smoothness and sweetness mingling toffee and smoky caramel flavors into the huge roast underneath. There's a bit of fresh ground and maybe even roasted coffee with some dark chocolate and creamy smooth mild chocolate notes. This is what brewers are striving for with their barreling programs.
Big, rich, thick without weighing down the palate or feeling overly heavy, and massively smooth with so much creaminess it wraps itself on the tongue, this beer has exactly the feel it ought to, with just the perfect carbonation to flow and develop the layers that open up, just the perfect amount of crispness to focus on the smoothness, and a little dryness to cut the sweetness and balance perfectly.
This is an impressive beer, period. Forget the whales; this is a year-round shelf beer. (1,650 characters)

Photo of shangwang
4.35/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

2013 vintage.
Poured jet black, viscous and little head with almost no lacing. Strong smells of vanilla and alcohol. Could tell this is going to be a heavy hitter. Tasted surprisingly sweet like vanilla and milk chocolate, with a little coffee. Guessing the coffee notes have faded most with age. No hiding the ABV - tastes BIG. Medium weight in the mouth; not overly creamy or light, somewhere in between. Finishes with a lingering sweetness on the tongue.
Very enjoyable and potent. I'd love to try some of the other version.s (528 characters)

Photo of trippytbta
4.21/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured into tulip glass

A: pours black, with a small brown head that dissipates into a tiny head

S: coffee

T: strong coffee taste with big dark chocolate. Maybe a little caramel as it warms up

M: slick and smooth. Full bodies but still crisp. Very warm on the finish from the alcohol content. A little dry

Overall: very good imperial stout. One of my favorites now. About to try the barrel aged version. Huge flavor. Great. (430 characters)

Photo of GTJayG
3.67/5  rDev -15.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Just don't find this beer to be all that the reviews here hype it to be. It's a nice stout, but it's not special. Even after some aging in the bottle there's too much of an alcohol forward taste. Not nearly as full of a mouthfeel as one would expect for a beer of this style. (275 characters)

Photo of dar482
4.59/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

It comes deep black with a nice big tan head.

The aroma is lovely with sweet chocolate and big roasted malt. There's some alcohol and coffee.

In the taste, it has a bittersweet chocolate and a chunky milk chocolate. A touch of alcohol, although that falls out with aging. The coffee is medium minus and not obvious as other coffee stouts. In general, there's huge huge molasses, savory umami, and palate covering roasted malt.

The beer drinks decently well for its ABV. It has a full mouthfeel. However, the savory and molasses on the back end interferes with the beer slightly. (583 characters)

Photo of bowzer4birdie
4.4/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is my second bottle of regular Speedway and I think I needed bottle #2 for a more objective review. Bottle #1 put me off primarily because it was too chewy and bitter-tasting to me IMO. So easy to meander up to Wisconsin, though, and snag this for $10.99 a bomber so I owed this WC beer another try and this time I was not disappointed. The rich, deep, and dark chocolate/coffee influence I experienced was outstanding. Definitely thick and chewable to me but that is part of experiencing this beer when you bring it to the table. Toasty and roasty? Absolutely. I would recommend it and support it as a world-class beer which is very reasonably priced (a luxury these days). (679 characters)

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