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AleSmith Speedway Stout | AleSmith Brewing Company

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BA SCORE
97
world-class
1,590 Reviews
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BEER STATS
Reviews:
1,590
Ratings:
6,307
Avg:
4.37
pDev:
17.16%
 
 
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AleSmith Speedway StoutAleSmith Speedway Stout
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
AleSmith Brewing Company
California, United States | website

Style: American Double / Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 12.00%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
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!

Added by BeerAdvocate on 11-09-2002

User Reviews
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Reviews: 1,590 | Ratings: 6,307
Photo of deepsouth
4.62/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

this beer poured a black color with a tan head and some rocky bubbles. a good looking beer.

the smell is of coffee, molasess, sweet malt, roastiness, espresso coffe beans... complex as hell.

the taste is divine and complex and consistent with the smell. indescribably balanced. alcohol present. damn near perfect.

the mouthfeel is full and velvety. it doesn't get better than this.

the drinkability of this beer is off the charts. perfect.

thanks to barefootbrewer for sharing this with me.

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Photo of natasharai
4.18/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Poured into a pint glass with 3cm dark tan creamy head. The beer is black in color, no light can pass through this stuff! Good head retention, stayed until almost finished with the glass, and nice thick lacing down the glass.

Smell: Very roasty like a roasted marshmallow, very sweet up front with a slight bitterness at the end.

Taste: A lot of roasty malts up front. Followed by a stronger bitter flavor than expected, like a dark chocolate or coffee bitterness. Almost no taste of alcohol. Leaves my mouth with a nice subtle bitter taste.

Mouthfeel: Thick and creamy bodied, little carbonation, small hop bite. Nice balance of creamy texture and bitter bite.

Overall: The taste was not bad, could barley notice any alcohol considering the ABV. I couldn't detect any fruity taste which I do enjoy in imperial stouts... so that was slightly disappointing. Otherwise I really enjoyed the mouthfeel and appearance.

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Photo of Estarrio
4.08/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured a black chocolate thick mysterious color with a coffee ground colored head. The head gave way to thick, intricate and full lacings.

Big malt aroma with some floral and hoppy suggestions.

Thick, and foamy consistency...this is a big beer!

Sweet malt base flavor mixes with a complex grouping of coffee, roasted malts, caramel, chocolate molasses and hops. The sweetness and warmth suggest the presence of the high alcohol percentage but the alcohol taste is lost amidst the other flavors. I found the sweetness to linger slightly too much in the aftertaste, but aside from that the flavors are excellent.

I'm looking forward to aging a few of these before I review again.

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Photo of Hophazzard
4.66/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This beer is amazing. To me, it's almost the perfect stout. Incredibly balanced, alcohol is well hidden. Chocolate and coffee are not overpowering. Awesome.

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Photo of garbercury
3.69/5  rDev -15.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Although I was told to hold out and wait until winter to drink this celebrated beer, I could not contain myself and cracked open the 750ml bottle. Thank you Vintage Wine and Beer for access to this relatively rare beer.

A--Black as tar, I mean really, really, black. You can see how thick this beer is. The head, though minimal has a deep orange hue that is pretty cool

S--To me this was excellent. You can really smell the roasted malt, coffee, and sweet tones of chocolate and even vanilla. The aroma was extremely appealling.

T--Very intense. I have heard that this beer really masks the alcohol and that is just not true. I found it to be overbearing. Deep roasted malt flavor and you can definitely get the hints of coffee and chocolate.

M--You can practically chew this one. The mouthfeel is very distinct and heavy.

D--Now maybe it was drinking it at the wrong time but can you say way overrated? I expected to have an epiphany drinking this stout and was quite frankly, disappointed. I wonder a bit if people are simply rating this beer on expectation more than what it really is. I would take a Guinness Stout or Shakespeare Stout over this any day. Certainly worth a try and not bad, but you must be crazy if you are going to tell me this is one of the top 10 beers in the world. It being ahead of some of the beers on top 100 only makes you understand how George Bush got to be President, people are crazy!

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Photo of ChanChan
4.73/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

From notes:
I had this on tap at the Blue Palms Brewhouse in Hollywood Califas!!

Appearance: Black as any stout. The head is mocha colored and sticks around for a good while

Aroma: Coffee, some bakers chocolate, I also detect a little hop as well. The aroma in this stout is not as pronounced as many of the big RIS’

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied and almost creamy. Great mouth-feel

Taste: This beer has a rich premium coffee taste there are some malts in it as well. The coffee does wonders in hiding the heat in the alcohol

Drinkability: This is by far the most drinkable RIS that I have ever had. This beer has an ABV of 12% yet I feel like I can easily quaff this goblet down!

Overall: This is a definite go to IRS, the drinkability will make you forget that it is a huge stout. Easily one of my favorite beers of all!!

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Photo of trippytbta
4.21/5  rDev -3.7%
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.

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Photo of Beers-es
4.54/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

From a 22 oz bomber into a snifter, pours black with a finger of dense tan head whose top is dotted by frothy, larger bubbles. Head dissipates but never leaves completely. Lacing is moderate but lasting. Holding this beer to the light reveals a deep, rich ruby-brown along the edges--the middle is still impenetrable. Beautiful stuff.

Smells are initially dark fruits--raisins and black cherries--with coffee and chocolate mixing in. After warming a bit, roasty malts and caramel toffee appear as well.

Taste is roasty, dark fruit with evolving layers of complexity. Sweetness is balanced well by the bitter roasty flavors. Feel is dang near perfect. Rich and full without being overly viscous. The carbonation comes in just when you want to liven things up.

This is an outstanding Imperial Stout, worthy of its world-class rating.

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Photo of tattooedtolley
4.82/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: thick black pour, very dark tan/light brown head.

Smell: Coffee, hints of chocolate, a bit of a dark/slightly fruity smell, a little alcohol too.

Taste: Big roasted malt flavor with perfect coffee notes. The alcohol is apparent but not overpowering the taste. Eventhough they dont stand out too much, the hops are taming what could be a very sweet beer, which is appreciated.

Mouthfeel: Thick in body, very smooth however, silky.

Drinkability: This beer was perfect served at cellar temp and eventhough I enjoyed this beer over a couple hours, it never became too warm even with the fireplace going. A delicious stout and inspite of the alcohol, very drinkable.

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Photo of HURTemHIZZY
3.71/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a (basically) black tone with a nice deep tan head that took a while to dissipate to the thin ring it remained at until the beer was through. OK lacing. Smell was a bit muted, with notes of coffee and chocolate; I was certainly expecting a bit more.

The taste is not really what I was expecting from a brew that is this highly regarded. Notes of coffee, caramel, and bittersweet chocolate. There is a tiny bit of hop bitterness. Everything was nice and worked well together, but the overall flavor was a bit subdued for an imp stout. No WOW factor imo.

Nice creamy mouthfeel, with a bit of carbonation to keep it alive. This was a nice stout, just not worthy of the hype.

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Photo of boomer31
4.38/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Brought back from AZ about 3 months ago.

A - Pours a full black with only a think line of deep brown around the edges. Tight brown head the leaves quickly but with a swirl returns. Some lacing left on the glass. Pours every bit an Imp Stout

S - Nice roast nose, some burnt sugar and maybe some smoke. Reminds me of a fresh bag of figs, perhaps some leather.

T - Complex roast, more burnt sugar, malt and some sugary sweetness in the back. There is a hop bitterness lingering but not overwhelming. There's also an alcohol spice in the back that really grows on you. Very nie

M - Rich and full bodied, nice low carb.

O - Every bit the great Imp Stout it's made to be. I think the best part of this beer is the back end...sweet, bitter and long. Quite a fantastic brew. Can't imagine the barrel aged version

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Photo of Trevor11
4.5/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Decent stout. very strong coffee notes at end. prominent alcohol presence at 12%. Not as good as some of the other stouts that I have had. I still need to try its variants. Maybe the barrel aging would round out some of its flavor profiles.

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Photo of Mustard
4.03/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Presentation: 25oz. dark green bottle; no "bottled on" or "best before" warning on the label; I know this particular bottle dates to the later part of June 2003, however, as I witnessed its packaging in person; purchased for $10 directly from the AleSmith brewery.

Appearance: Poured a viscous, sludgy black with little in the way of head, carbonation or lacing; the 4oz. sampler I had on tap down at Stone's 7th Anniversary showed a beautiful, cascading, cocoa-brown head with lots of lacing and good to very good retention; it is upon the latter experience that I have graded this beer's appearance; bottled version would merit a 2.5.

Nose: Largely of chocolate, coffee and sherry -- and all three pungently so.

Taste: Huge notes of sweet chocolate and dark, plum-like fruits upfront; predominant quality is of a deep, roasty coffee, however; thick, pleasing bitterness in the finish; strongly phenolic; unfortunately, the bottled version's lack of carbonation created a syrupy, liquer-like effect which was off-putting; mouthfeel score is again based on the aforementioned 4oz. sampler which was itself a tad thick for my tastes; bottled version would merit a 1.5.

Notes: Between the prohibitive $9-10 cost, stupor inducing 12% ABV and the above noted carbonation troubles, I will probably never buy this again; that said, the 4oz. tap sampler I had out in San Marcos was downright beautiful and one of the tastiest examples of an Imperial stout I have ever had.

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Photo of merryjoulton
3.23/5  rDev -26.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Poured a deep thick black with a nice dark tan head that dissipated quickly. Smells of chocolate, coffee, roasted malts and caramel. The smell got me really excited to taste because it smelled very complex and thick. Taste was a letdown, very bogged down by the coffee beans. Tastes like an over extracted coffee. Very sour and acidic. Mouthfeel is not as thick as I expect from a stout this big. Drinkability is low because of the acidity.

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Photo of afausser
4.65/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Shared by CrellMoset--thanks Chris!

A: Pours a midnight black which lets no light through but for the chocolatey dark brown two fluffy fingers of head, and the slight mahogany glow around the edge of the glass when the light hits it. Many crisp, extremely fine carbonation bubbles stream to the top of the glass, where the head has by now subsided into a chocolatey latte-like foam. Nice lacing around the edge of the glass, and an uneven foamy ring that looks like a chocolate snowdrift in some places.

S: Notes of dark chocolate and dark coffee are immediately apparent, but there's a definite raspberry syrup in the nose as well. There's also fairly dominant toast and smoke notes, and a subtle nutty note. The raspberry note is definitely strongly present, but only noticed at first when agitated. Quite sweet and nice as it warms, and evens out nicely.

T: Very bitter and predominantly full of coffee, smoke, and toast, though these are blended with cream, nuts, roasted malts, and dark chocolate. A little bit of raspberry in the aftertaste, but nothing like was in the nose. Hints of apples and then anise as it warms. The fruit notes come out a bit more as it warms, but they aren't particularly coming across like raspberry as in the nose. The aftertaste is very much coffee, smoke, and hops. Very nicely balanced, and wonderful for how simple it is.

M: Somewhat crisp and very smooth. Not hot in the slightest, and I would never guess the ABV was anywhere near 12%. It seems almost a bit like sparking water to me, and while I would like to knock it for that, I'm thinking of ways it could be improved, and coming up short. I would like for it to be a bit creamier than it is, but this would inhibit the drinkability--it's already extremely smooth--and fewer bubbles would make it fall flat. As it warms, the mouthfeel evens out quite a bit and it's near perfect--as it's warmed I've had to bump it from a 4 to a 4.5 and now to a 5, and by the time it's finished, perfection.

Did someone steal my alcohol? So very highly drinkable. I don't know what I'd guess the ABV on this is--from the taste and lack of heat, I'd probably guess around a 6%--only half of what it is. I don't know how they did it. Pick up as much you can, drink it slowly, and allow it to reach its full potential as it warms!

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Photo of expatsteve
4.85/5  rDev +11%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Another amazing contribution to a Madison style session from dirtylou. Many thanks.

Appearance: Black with a nice 1/2 inch head that lingers, leaving nice light lacing on the glass. Medium viscosity.

Aroma: Chocolate malts, roasted espresso and a little cream in the finish. Cocoa nibs and some faint raisins in the development.

Taste: This is one phenomenal beer - dark roasted coffee notes that most closely resemble the experience of eating coffee beans fresh from the roaster. Flashes of bitterness overlay chocolate, toffee and a little fruit and brown sugar in the finish. A truly amazing use of coffee - provides smokiness and a little spice. Only a little coffee acidity, which is balanced by thick but not oppressive sweetness. The alcohol is wonderfully masked - not at all noticable in the finish.

Mouthfeel: The mouthfeel is surprisingly smooth as all the bitterness is contained in the coffee. Smooth, velvety with low carbonation.

Drinkability: This is a real pleasure to drink (thanks again, Lou). Not only a great rendition of the style, but also the best rendering of a coffee finish I've ever tasted.

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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 DrewZ926
4.35/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- black as night, great lacing and a finger of nice mocha head

S- dark malt, dark fruit, very roasty coffee, a hint of smoke

T- coffee beans, raisonettes, bitter chocolate

M- superb, just enough carb, very coating and creamy, not hot at all

O- while i was expecting more of an in your face coffee presence, i'd say i'm quite surprise and pleased with how well balanced this brew is. great flavors and a robust, lingering flavor. high gravity but you would never know. perfectly priced and great for the season especially.

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Photo of newk340
4.23/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured in a Duvel tulip and bottle split with hu5om.

A: thick black pour, voluptuous tan 2-finger head that left excellent lacing.

S: a pleasing blend of chocolate and coffee.

T: a blast of coffee that sizzles for a few seconds before fading to a bitter chocolate with the swallow, oddly still leaves a coffee aftertaste with hints of caramel and malts.

MF/D: a brief sizzle of carbonation with a nice smooth swallow.

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Photo of ShrLSU
4.88/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This one pours out a thick black like asphalt on a racetrack :). It has a nice tan ring around the glass and some nice tan bubbles in the center. The nose is chocolaty and malty. There is a coffee hint as well. The taste is nice and complex. There is a very upfront choclatiness with some roasted malt and coffee taste. A nice bit of alcoholic twinge makes this definitely a slow drinker. It's quite creamy and full bodied. I'm amazed at the balance of coffee and chocolate. This might be one of the best stouts ever had. Bravo alesmith! If you have the means, DRINK THIS!

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Photo of JoeMayo
4.52/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A- Pours black with a very dark head. The 2-finger head that forms quickly recedes to a thin ring around the rim of the glass and doesn't leave much lacing.

S- The aroma is very sweet for a coffee stout. Milk chocolate, coffee, caramel, and sweet alcohol are all very prevalent. A roasty aroma from the roasted malts and the coffee comes through as well.

T- Again, this is much sweeter than I expected. The sweetness in the nose that I thought was coming from the alcohol must be coming from somewhere else because there is virtually no alcohol taste at all, which is extremely impressive for a 12% abv beer. Coffee and chocolate (unsurprisingly) come through very strong. Stone fruits and a mild smokiness come through as well. The malt is very intense in the aftertaste.

M- Very fine carbonation and exceptionally creamy.

D- This is a dangerous one. No alcohol flavor or burn at all makes this almost too easy to drink. The carbonation also balances the heavyness of the stout.

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

A top-shelf imperial stout -- a rich, dark brown head forms with a standard pour. I've found many imperial stouts lacking in carbonation ... not the case here. Perfect.

Interesting the way the coffee bitterness comes forward. Covers a sweetness hidden beneath. Very nice balance.

Some of the imperial stouts seem desert-like with their syrupy overtones. This one has those flavors but they are more subdued.

Overall I think it's a bit more bitter than I like. Dragon's Milk still rules!

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Photo of scott
3.44/5  rDev -21.3%
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.

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Photo of khmel
4.49/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

A: Pitch black, opaque. Thin, tan head. Dissipates quickly to a ring. Mild lacing.

S: Coffee noticeable, bourbon hint in the nose. Chocolate and oakey notes.

T: Dark malt, dark cocoa, cream, slightly smokey notes. Amazing!

M: Creamy, rich, smooth. Very low carbonation. Really great.

O: An excellent imperial stout! True to its style and very well executed. A must repeat!

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Photo of AdamGarcia
4.23/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

750ml bottle served in Darkness tulip.

A: Pours noticeably viscous and near black. Zero light getting through. Cappucino colored head rises up and settles down quickly, leaving a film of multi-sized bubbles.

S: Bold dark fruit. Chocolate and vanilla. Coffee in the background. Hints of sweet cherry.

T: Big doses of chocolate. Waves of bitter chocolate smoothed out with milk chocolate. Dark fruit is present briefly, but not to the same extent as in the aroma. Coffee is understated, but very tasty. This is a coffee stout that will appeal to non-coffee lovers as well.

M: Lovely viscous feel. Silky & smooth. Perfect.

D: Good. I don't find this to be tremendously complex, but it is very interesting. At 12% abv this is clearly a sipper. Something that I can't quite put my finger on, keeps me from wanting multiple servings.

Very nice beer. I really wish Alesmith was available in the Pittsburgh market, as everything I've had from this brewery is world class. Luckily, a short trip to Vintage Estates is all it takes to replenish my Alesmith stash. If you haven't had Speedway be sure to put it on you "to do" list.

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AleSmith Speedway Stout from AleSmith Brewing Company
97 out of 100 based on 1,590 ratings.