AleSmith Speedway Stout - AleSmith Brewing Company

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AleSmith Speedway StoutAleSmith Speedway Stout

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1,483 Reviews
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Reviews: 1,483
Hads: 5,678
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: 1,483 | Hads: 5,678
Photo of guitarmage
4.78/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: The blackest of the blacks, no light passes through, even at the bottom. The head is a coffee ice cream tan, foamy and inviting. The beer sticks to the glass like a root beer float.

Smell: Not surprisingly huge doses of coffee beans, sweetened up by big maltiness and alcohol, bourbon alcohol, spicy hops in the back, very aromatic.

Taste: Loads of coffee, sweetened with a heavy malt body, warm smooth alcohol, with notes of bourbon in the nose, trails off with peppery hops on the tongue. Coffee, sugar, alcohol. Big.

Mouthfeel: Flawless, creamy, a little sticky, full bodied, lightly carbonated, the foam sticks around and forces you to drink more of the beer.

Drinkability: Spectacular, at 12% ABV this could not be more drinkable. The beer can be sipped like a fine single malt scotch or guzzled down like a creamy shake. The beer is the best of both, and in my opinion you only need one of these 5ths to get a a great buzz from a great beer. (971 characters)

Photo of RidiculedDisplay
4.3/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Finally getting a chance to review this. I guess my only previous reasons have involved availability in Santa Barbara and price tag when elsewhere.

Appearance: Pours with a, appropriately, coffee colored head, which is around a finger thick. Settles into a half-finger. Lacing is definitely present, spotty for hte most part, but in consistent and large patterns. Body is slight less dark than I would expect, with more hints of brown than I'm used to in a stout body.

Smell: Toasted pecans and almonds on the front end, followed by deep espresso or Turkish coffee (read: bold coffee aroma), followed by chocolates. The chocolate profile is more milk-inspired (as in milk chocolate) than I would have expected, with a little semisweet, but the dark chocolate, I would suspect, could be found in here, although I find it hard to distinguish it from the coffee aromas. Some nutmeg and alcohol on the back end. An extremely powerful aroma, which is appropriate for a 12% ABV, I suppose.

Taste: Some woodsiness on the front end, with some milk chocolates dangling in front of a slightly bitter, strong roasted coffee flavor that coats the tongue. Brown sugar and molasses follow, along with alcohol. Upon swallowing, the coffee smacks you in the face with a long, lingering aftertaste that is entirely pleasant. The alcohol is suprisingly well masked in this. Really, a tremendous stout.

Mouthfeel: Fizzy, roasty. Appropriate.

Drinkability: Surprisingly drinkable for such an ABV. I need to take my time with this one. (1,522 characters)

Photo of waldowin
4.78/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured out of a (green?!?) bottle, just a thick, glossy black. Liquid black velvet, with an extremely dense light brown head that sticks around for ages. Opaque sheets of lacing.

Smells of rum, espresso, and plums. Slightly spicy, and very little alcohol noticeable. As it warms, a bit of vanilla rises out.

Tastes of cream, espresso and plums, with an aftertaste of grapefruits, bananas and black licorice. Delightfully complex, and the alcohol just disappears in all the flavor. It's obvious some care went into choosing the coffee and chocolate (I assume there's some dark chocolate somewhere in here?) for this brew.

Mouthfeel is extremely smooth and light at first (I dipped my nose in on the first sip, thinking I was only getting the foam), and just blooms in your mouth into a wonderfully chewy, bubbly flow. As it works its way down your throat, it leaves a very mild warming sensation as it goes.

I know this stuff is 12%, but man, I'd be more than happy to give another bottle ago (assuming I can see well enough to open it). Splitting a 750 with a friend would be a good idea, but trust me, it'll be hard to share.

If you have a friend who has some of this in their possession, it'd be worth the jail time and effort to hide the body, just to have it for yourself.
I'm just sayin'.

Oh that I could find this locally! Thanks to Beerhandy for this! (1,378 characters)

Photo of BeerAmbassador
4.62/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had on draft at the Pizza Port in Ocean Beach. I have had this beer a few times before but it has been a long while and I have never reviewed it. Pours a jet black with a decent tan head. As others have said, decent amount of carbonation for an Imperial Stout. Aromas of coffee, chocolate, molasses and raisins. This beer is huge on the palate, the coffee comes through but so does a serious amount of sweetness and a bit of booze as well. However, the alcohol level, while present (as it should be in a 12% abv beer) is kept in check by the sweetness and intensity of the other flavors present. Overall this is as well balanced as a huge over the top Imperial Stout can be. One of the first "extreme" beers I had when I was really starting to get into craft beer 5 or 6 years ago and it still holds up well. (808 characters)

Photo of MrNuggets
4.62/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Black body with a small brown head. Powerful aroma of coffee, alcohol with a hint of underlying sweetness. Taste was unexpected. Heavy dark fruit blended very well with the coffee flavor. I was looking to be over powered by coffee, this was not the case at all. Coco finish with that alcohol warmth you need in an imperial stout. (329 characters)

Photo of HimerMan
4.75/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Absolutely delicious. This, to me, is an Imperial Cream Stout (and more speciffically, a burnt coffee, chocolate and cream stout with a nice/appropiate alcohol kick). Poured black as night with dark brown head. Mouthful is not for the faint of stout, especially due to its high alcohol content. Highly suggest having with cheesecake or after diner to relax. (357 characters)

Photo of BradBLR
4.53/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Very Dark Brown bordering on black. Can not see through it even holding it up to the sun. Very brown head that lasted the entire beer with very thick lacing.

Smell: A chocolaty coffee smell with hints of sweetness and fruit. Possible faint licorice smell as well.

Taste: Very strong chocolate coffee smell balanced with toasted malt and hints of sweetness. Very smooth and tasty.

Mouthfeel: Very thick and creamy. Very smooth, CO2 was perfect for an imperial stout.

Drinkability: Very goods beer that I would buy again and the best imperial stout I have every had. (589 characters)

Photo of rwf08
4.43/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into Duvel glass at around 55F. No idea on the vintage, it has the label printed on the bottle.

A: Pitch black with a light mocha head on the top. Looks like a large cup of fresh espresso. No lacing to be found.

S: Dark roasty smells. Dark bitter chocolate, some coffee smell.

T: Light molasses followed by dark chocolate, coffee, and some hops. Yeah, lots of chocolate flavors, faint faint alcohol in background.

M: Chewy and viscous. Tongue coating full bodied brew. Very satisfying a filling.

D: I could sip on this all night long. The 12% ABV isn't noticeable but the full body just fills me up so fast. One of my favorite stouts ever.

I do not get as much coffee in this as I would have expected. When I see coffee on the label I am wanted it to be up front and powerful. That does not go against this beer at all. I do appreciate the hints of coffee in there and the roastiness is adds.

Overall this is an exceptional stout. Great body, good smooth chocolately flavors, roasty and comforting. Just wish I had another. (1,040 characters)

Photo of Manoftyr
4.43/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance-Pours an extremely dark but not 'quite' black chocolate brown, a fluffy milk-chocolate head rises up and slowly recedes back down to a thick film. Leaves good lacing.

Aroma-Chocolate and dark roasted malts upfront, mellow coffee in the background as well as the faintest hint of vanilla, some booze but only a touch.

Taste-Chocolate up front first much like the aroma mingling with roasted malt, the coffee cuts in mid palette with an acidic character alongside some slight bittering hoppiness to bring balance. Finishes dry-ish with notes of roast and black coffee.

Mouthfeel-Luscious and drippingly thick with low-end levels of carbonation; perfect.

Overall-An excellent stout and more than deserving of its status as among the best. (750 characters)

Photo of BostonBrewins
4.34/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A - A syrupy pitch black obsidian brew with a big frothy brown head. Great head retention and good legs too. An indication of things to come with this one?

S - Notes of cocoa, coffee, vanilla, and chocolate cake batter. Some fusel alchohol too. Fragrant but a bit muted.

T - Flavorful but nothing is overpowering. Everything is in balance and there is a roundness, a smoothness to it all. The coffee notes certainly do come through but they blend well with notes of chocolate, vanilla, and a bit of licorice. The vanilla balances the coffees biterness perfectly. Slightly roasty but not astringent. Some warming booziness.

M - Body is slightly less than full. Fairly low carbonation level keeps things smooth. Very nice.

O - It's not bold, but it's not intended to be. A smooth, balanced, flavorful brew. Superb. (817 characters)

Photo of DosBeerigos
4.08/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

C: Pitch black hard to tell how clear it is, but nice chocolate head
H: Black
N: At cold temp. nose is not there at all, warms to a coffee, roasty malt, slight boozie

The attack of the Speedway Stout is light on chocolate and heavy on coffee, it doesn't seem overly complex. Though pretty straight forward, the body feel of the beer is dead on, it is smooth and creamy. The carbonation is spot-on for a stout, and helps with the consistency of the body. I was impressed with this beer because of the hype it gets online, well it followed through just fine. Dare I say that it almost taste like chocolate milk (if you add a lot of chocolate syrup to your cup)???? I heard the availability of this beer is insane in San Diego, like you can go to 711 and pick up a bottle. If thats the case, I am thinking about relocating! (821 characters)

Photo of srhoadsy
4.12/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured slightly chilled into a pint glass.

Pours an extremely dark brown bordering on black. An inch of brown foamy head that recedes and clings to glass.

Rich aromas of coffee, dried fruits and chocolate.

Flavors follow through from the aroma with a touch of dark coffee bitternes.

Mouthfeel is expectedly rich and creamy with mild carbonation. Some alcohol presence but not overpowering.

Overall an excellent example of the style. Would love to try some of the other versions. (483 characters)

Photo of slayer3604
4.26/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Incredably dark with a massive nesquick colored head, and some burnt bubbles on top. smells like strait up caramel mocha and tastes like the second runnings of coffe rinds! would have liked less coffe in this mother, but who am i to judge, i cant make beer like this! (267 characters)

Photo of biggied
4.82/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A-purs dark black as night with a slight tan head

S- chocolate coffee toffee heaven

T- great a little alcohol burn but almost just the right amount

M- nice! But a little -OH on the end

D- great would be better with out the -OH on the end but well hidden. One of my go tos and it's perfect with vanillia ice cream. (318 characters)

Photo of Preismj
4.19/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

a: pretty thick and black as night. Quarter inch head, nice and tan. Thick bubbles...good retention. heavy lacing on this guy.

s: I'm not getting a whole heck of a lot of coffee. A touch of espresso is on the nose, but I'm also getting cocoa and a touch of nutty malt...almost like a walnut. smells a touch hot. Wish there was a bit more coffee smell here considering they say they use the finest beans in San Diego...would have liked to have gotten a better scent of them...hope it is in the taste instead. To be honest, not getting much smell at all. Thought I was maybe a bit stuffed up but even the wife said she didn't get a lot on a whiff.

t: yeah, WOW...there is the coffee. Dominates the palette. espresso beans/coffee beans way up front...touches of cocoa arise. None of the nut malt is in this any more. I'm getting all big bold taste of San Diego's finest and I'm lovin it. it has a touch of heat to it, a nice warmth that is a good touch...but for the most part this hides the alcohol with the bitterness of the coffee and the sweet of the cocoa

m: Big, bold, thick and chewy. Nice and silky smooth. perfect level of carb to help bring this out on the palette.

o: Very solid stout. I wish the nose was a bit stronger, but man does it hit you with the taste. Coffee is bold and in your face. The coffee is a touch out of balance because of the sheer volume, but that is the point and I respect it and approve. Smooth and a sipper for sure. and after the bottle is gone...yeah, it is 12%, maybe 13%. (1,513 characters)

Photo of wknight167
4.08/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Apearance - Pours jet black with a 2 finger light brown head that sticks around quite a while.

Nose- Just a hint of booze, but mainly coffee, vanilla, roast malt and milk chocolate.

Palate- Warming coffee, sweet vanilla and chocolate. Sweetness is very well balanced with the roast grains with the grains just winning out. Alcohol is very well hidden.

Mouthfeel- Full bodied, Med carb. I would not have guessed the alcohol percentage.

Drinkability- I would be happy to come home to a fridge full of these. (509 characters)

Photo of Cheesemoose
4.43/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Included as an extra from a very generous BA named kirok1999.

Pours a very murky black near oil like consistency. Not often do you find one so dark and with such a strong head. Mocha latte head rises up with a good three fingers. Slowly seeps down with a solid film. Lacing is near perfection. What a beautiful imperial stout.

Coffee is muted. Was wanting more bit perhaps it has aged a bit. Coffee notes are backed by a very impressive and solid imperial stout base. Fruity and dark with a very rich dark chocolate and roasted character. Lovely and not overpowering at all. Very approachable.

Stared off with a rich and smooth base. Fruit and chocolate notes dominate the profile. Coffee is well played and serve a supporting role which is nice and enjoyable. Deep dark and smooth. Fruity nature is dominate throughout. Hops are mildly present in the finish.

Mouthfeel is silky and milky. Mildly resonate though slides down so very easily. Incredible for the abv.

Wow what a great beer. Incredible to say the least, I love this beer. Beyond impressed this is a stand alone in a world of super overdone and repitive styles. A star shines bright. (1,154 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 jakon
4.73/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750ml bottle purchased for $10.70 on 6-1-7 at John's Marketplace in Portland.

This is probably my favorite double stout right now, and is definitely on the short list of my favorite overall beers. Pours a viscous opaque black, with a controllable dark tan head. I pour mine so that it stands slightly above the brim of my glass. As the foam makes a hasty exit, it leaves substantial lacing draped around the inside of the snifter. The aroma is of toasted malts, coffee and chocolate. The taste is very rich. Big time roasted coffee character accompanied by a wide range of chocolate notes and a faint hop bitterness. The alcohol seems to have been defeated by these stronger flavors, but reminds you of its own strength once it sets up shop in your stomach. This is the perfect beer for a cold/rainy fall/winter night. (820 characters)

Photo of laintringulis
4.75/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Served in a wide mouth goblet. Pours a dark black with large tan frothy head that lasts throughout drinking. Moderate yeast sediment. Moderate lacing. No opaqueness.

Smells of dark fruit (raisins, figs), soy. Charred, smoky coffee. Butterscotch/caramel malts. Faint lemon peel.

taste: WOW. Brief initial roasted, charred coffee taste with a smooth creamy, buttery maltiness. Finishes with a hot spicy, alcohol finish. Excellent coffee and almost nutty flavor throughout drinking without tasting overroasted or burnt. Nice earthy tones.

Full- bodied, chewy and creamy. Slight hot alcohol and dry coffee finish. Your mouth will be happy!

I would like to drink more than one of these at a time, but the price is slightly too much for that, as is the alcohol content, but the taste is so good, I might try it. (817 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 sharkboy
4.65/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a wine glass

A - Black as twilight, with a thin lacing of medium brown around the sides, unlike the prominent head of creamier stouts like Guinness.

S - Mysterious, alcohol is surprisingly absent, coffee is present but toned down, traces of dark fruit and milk chocolate.

T - Like the smell, the coffee and chocolate is present but not overpowering; not like syrupy Starbucks, but a IHOP roast. Alcohol is craftily scaled back for a strong stout, and hints of Pinot Noir are present.

M - Thinner than most Imperial Stouts, but not watery. Little to no alcohol burn while sitting in mouth or after swallowing. Big flavor, but a pleasant aftertaste.

O - Very drinkable for a Imperial Stout, carries the characteristics of its style, but slightly of the beaten path. Not a revelation, but elegantly crafted and tasty. (831 characters)

Photo of ElSid
4.49/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The Beers of California


Freshness Date: None

A: Stout opaque blackness with a khaki head

S: Steamed cream and espresso combined with rum and chocolate flakes topped with a raisin sweetness.

T: Reminiscent of a Coffee Bean mocha with notes of espresso and milk chocolate smoothness. Raisin and plumy dark fruit sweetness along with some warming alcohol. A top layer of herbal bitterness which, along with the rum notes, does a great job of contrasting the chocolate and espresso characteristics of the brew.

M: Oh so smooth and full. The mouthfeel really adds to the palate with its smoothness and the fullness is appropriate given the strength of this beer.

O: Up there with the other great American stouts. I really think the Ryans Bros. coffee beans bring complex notes to the palate while also adding a fullness to the brew. A wonderful, accessible California stout that is a must try for the coffee heads out there. (930 characters)

Photo of hillvt4me
4.38/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Bottle date 11/22/13; coffee version poured into a tulip glass.

A - Pitch black with amber undertone; frothy mocha head. Nice lace left around the glass throughout.

S - Dark chocolate, coffee, toffee and roasted malts.

T - Dark chocolate, coffee, dried cherries, milky-malt flavor and bourbon. The 12% ABV is well hidden. Really solid!

M - Thick milky texture and well balanced.

O - This is an excellent stout. I look forward to some of the other variants! (462 characters)

Photo of hayesez
4.01/5  rDev -8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to Kaiser81 for shipping this one out. Shared with two other BAs at our recent gathering; poured into my Bruery tulip.

Deep dark brown - nearly black. No light escapes this bad boy, and there is just a small area around the top that is not opaque. A thick soft four finger dark tan head rises quickly and very slowly diminishes to one finger, leaving copious amounts of sticky lace.

Strong smell of chocolate. Although this is brewed with large amounts of coffee, the java smell is definitely secondary to the chocolate. Also a reasonable sniff of black licorice as well. So far so good!

The chocolate is still the preeminent portion of this beer. Still coffee in there, which supports the flavor very well, but the dark, chocolate base is still the centerpiece of this flavor profile. The roasted malt and sweet / bitter chocolate definitely linger around long after the drink is gone. I've heard several say that this is a fairly hot beer, but I found it to be quite the opposite. For such a reasonably high ABV, I was expecting something in the drink... Thick and moderately carbonated. Not quite as creamy and smooth as I would prefer, but still a beer that drinks very well.

Overall, I am impressed with the Speedway stout. Not quite as intense as it was a few years ago, but definitely still a very good beer. Thanks Ryan!

Reviewed on May 12th, 2010 (1,367 characters)

AleSmith Speedway Stout from AleSmith Brewing Company
97 out of 100 based on 1,483 ratings.