AleSmith Speedway Stout - AleSmith Brewing Company

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AleSmith Speedway StoutAleSmith Speedway Stout

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BA SCORE
97
world-class

1,483 Reviews
THE BROS
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Reviews: 1,483
Hads: 5,679
rAvg: 4.36
pDev: 8.94%
Wants: 836
Gots: 1,680 | 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: 5,679
Photo of billab914
4.55/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 750 ml bottle into my Dogfish snifter glass. pours black with a thin tan colored bubbly foam on top. The head settled out and stuck to the sides of the glass but left good lacing on the sides as I drank it.

Not surprisingly coffee is the first thing that hits you in the aroma, but it also gives off some bitter chocolate and roasty flavors. Taste, much like the nose is coffee dominant but is also somewhat balanced out with the chocolate and roasted flavors.

Mouthfeel is on the thicker side and slightly creamy. Carbonation is moderate. It's very drinkable for being 12% abv, I didn't even think it was that high until I checked the bottle for the review. It's a very smooth and easy drinking coffee beer.

Overall one of the best stouts I have had, the coffee flavor is very present but not overdone. It's very surprising that it can be over 12% and have virtually no alcohol bite. It really drinks like it could be a 6% stout. I will be buying this one again as long as Southbay keeps shipping them to me. (1,026 characters)

Photo of yourefragile
4.73/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750 mL bottle, silver foil over cap, split with a friend to celebrate our birthdays. Purchased last May, so let's say it's about a year old.

Dark, near opaque black liquid with a massive, dense coffee colored head. Amazing retention and lacing, very impressive looking beer. Aroma is also also exceptional, heavy on roasted malt, bitter dark chocolate and light coffee notes. One of the first things we noticed was that we didn't notice any alcohol presence whatsoever. Full bodied, extremely creamy, luscious mouthfeel. Body is sweet, chocolately and molasses like, with roasted malt and finishes with a strong, but not overly bitter coffee taste. One of the most impressive stouts I've had, incredibly well balanced (sometimes with coffee stouts I feel like the coffee is a little overdone, as much as I love coffee). (820 characters)

Photo of Mebuzzard
4.38/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I think the Abyss might be darker, but how do you compare dark black with dark black? I would say this falls short of a 5 on appearance only for the head. And while the nice deep tan head is nice and a bit rocky it just doesn't look like a 5. Dunno...I could be crazy.

Coffee up front in the aroma. Not a dark roast...something a bit lighter yet sturdy. A mix of dry chocolate and slight smokey leather. Alcohol. It's kind of all over the place, could probably blend better a tad.

Great taste of that coffee and dry cocao. Slight anise in the sides with a hint of sweetness up front. Feels a bit thin at first, but expands as it warms on the palate. Alcohol seems to cut through the chocolate and directs the taste towards dark fruit and dry feel. This has a good feel to it and is not overly thinned by alcohol. A great DIS, wish I had more. (844 characters)

Photo of smakawhat
4.32/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured out of the bottle into a tulip glass. Out it comes slightly thick from the bottle dark walnut, but also typical dark walnut body. However, there is NO head at all to be made on this beer at all. Nevertheless, though the beer keeps a very large bubbled collar through out drinking. It looks like a pour of potted coffee.

A real good simple quality coffee smell. Hints of milky chocolate comes through, sweet with malty backbone. Hint of heat and roast also.

Taste is big overall. Enormous quality roast coffee with a big thickness and density. Milk chocolate feel, but none of the coffee bitter finish or astringency. Has an enormous coffee sensation more than beer. Incredible roast mellow character but malt character gets lost over time, but keeps the feel of malt chew throughout drinking.

Overall this might be the most favorite coffee style stout I have ever had, it's just great. Just solid and great! (918 characters)

Photo of Stinkypuss
4.33/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Alesmith Speedway Stout

Pours a jet black color with a mocha colored head. Aroma of coffee, roasted malts and chocolate. In the taste, premium coffee with a little residual bitterness. Roasted malts are heavy. Mild anise like notes arise, coupled with coffee and roasted malts give it a refined "classic" stout taste but more vivid and lively than most. Full bodied feel, smooth, and very easy to drink despite the big abv. I would like to have a few of these in the cellar. (475 characters)

Photo of DoubleJ
4.63/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

The bottle I'm about to consume has been in my possession for about one year. The price tag is still attached to it: $8.99. I have a long trip ahead with a beer of this volume (750 ml) and strength (12% ABV). On to the beer:

Poured into a Delirium Tremens tulip, this beer is darker than black, the body being very thick, and an initial tan colored head on top, which fades to a lightly tinted cap. Some smoke in the nose, and a strong alcohol note. Molasses and chocolate makes a presence in the aroma as well.

Exceptionally smooth in the mouth, and viscous, but not too viscous. There's a little booze in the body, but not as boozy as the nose. Plenty of roasted coffee with a sweet touch of baker's chocolate. Like coffee liquer. Smoke and peat are mixed in.

Now it's becoming easier to drink. After a few ounces, this beer becomes easier to approach. The flavors meld together better, there's little interruption from the alcohol and coffee...this is becoming a favorite of mine. I can taste fudge brownies in here. Is this exceptional as far as drinkability goes, or merely very good?

Is it healthy to mix a high ABV stout with coffee? If it isn't, I'm in trouble, as it is one of my favorite kinds of beer, and this offering is one of the most accessable. Another world class offering from AleSmith, and the best beer I've had since....well, since I had Pliny the Younger 27 hours ago. (1,397 characters)

Photo of tempest
4.32/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is a very good beer. I don't know if I'll call it one of the best I've ever had (i.e. #12 like on the Best of BA), but its damn good. Pitch black with a tan head for starters. Big chocolate and sweet coffee aromas. Flavor kicks off with chocolate and then slides right into coffee beans and espresso. Ends with a kicks of more dry coffee. Drinkable, but I couldn't take down a 750ml alone. Find a good friend or three and share this great beer. (449 characters)

Photo of Alieniloquium
4.16/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

750 mL bottle poured into a snifter. I've had this bottle a good while. At least a year.

Appearance - Jet black with an ample mocha head. Laces beautifully and retains some surface wisps.

Smell - Coffee with a slightly metallic aroma. Chocolate malts come through just slightly, but coffee is the most dominant aroma.

Taste - Coffee is extremely well blended. Blends with a deep burnt chocolate flavor. Enough sweetness to keep it balanced and not too bitter. Definite alcohol presence. Gives it a bright almost fruity finish with the bite.

Mouthfeel - Sharp alcohol, but otherwise thick, chewy, and delicious. Medium carbonation.

Overall - Solid, easy to get, delicious stout. Better fresh, it should be said. (715 characters)

Photo of Georgiabeer
4.37/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours black with a light tan head that is merely moderate. Lacing is mostly absent. The smell has deep roated malts, coffee, and bitter chocolate aromas as well as atouch of vanilla at the finish along with a deep bitterness. The taste exhibits that same deep bitterness, particularly on the finish. Dark fruit and bitter chocolate are prevalant along with a nice creaminess in the flavor and mouthfeel. A tiny bit of vanilla sweetness rides along with the other flavors, but it is definitely a subtext. Surprisingly drinkable given the high abv. Very, very good, but not the best RIS. I haven't had Dark Lord, but besides that my vote goes to Oskar Blues Ten Fidy. Regardless, Alesmith's version is wonderfull, as are so many of their beers. (742 characters)

Photo of corby112
4.43/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Draft at AleSmith. March, 2013.

Pitch black and opaque with a two finger, frothy beige head that has great retention, only slowly fading into a thick, lasting ring.  The glass is left coated with streaks of soapy lace.  

Robust roasted coffee bean and dark malt aroma.  Very inviting with gourmet roast, dark chocolate, toast, burnt sugar and subtle lactic cream.  Underneath, there is some sweetness with bakers chocolate, caramel and toffee.

Full bodied and slightly viscous with a blast of deeply roasted coffee bean flavor.  Somewhat dry and bitter but pretty smooth and not acrid at all considering how much coffee flavor it has.  Some burnt toast along with gourmet coffee bean followed by oatmeal, strong dark chocolate flavor, fudge, sweeter bakers chocolate, caramel and toffee.  The robust coffee, dark malt and sweeter dessert-like flavors are very well balanced and the high ABV is excellently masked, making this beer deceptively drinkable. (965 characters)

Photo of weeare138
4.52/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to grassrootsvt for sharing this bottle...
Appears a pitch black with a dark tan head that slowly fades out. Plenty rings of lacing are left around the glass.
Smell is roasty, with caramel, coffee, cocoa, and vanilla.
Taste is of the same aromas maybe toned down slightly in a nicely contained mix that is addictive.
Mouthfeel is sweet, full bodied, with coffee bitterness and sugary complexities.
I really enjoyed this. The only problem was that the 12% abv was well noticable, which makes this more of a sipper. (525 characters)

Photo of Lare453
4.53/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

750ml bottle served into a riedel snifter.

A black and opaque with a wonderful looking cocoa powder brown head.

S Dark chocolate, heavy coffee and a light malt

T huge coffee and dark chocolate beginning and middle which fades into a roasted malt and caramel malt finish. The aftertaste is also heavy coffee and lasts a while.

M smooth, rich and a good light carbonation.

O one of the best bers I've ever had bar none. It's rich, smooth, delicious and heavy on the coffee. I bring it back to Florida Fromm any place that I visit. (534 characters)

Photo of johnnnniee
4.03/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I've had this several times, but just now got around to reviewing it. This latest bottle courtesy of TexIndy, thanks for the opportunity.

Pours a solid black with a good sized creamy tan head that has some staying power. Nostrils are filled with scents of coffee in the foreground, with wisps of brown sugar, dark fruits, and caramel. My pallet is filled with tastes of milk chocolate, cherries, other dark fruits, lots of coffee and a touch of alcohol. Mouthfeel is creamy/slightly acridic, carbonation is medium, body is full. Great stout! I don't seem as blown away by this as I have been in the past. Recipe change? My perception? I'd still happily drink it. (663 characters)

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

Cracked open with @LaitueGonflable and @thescotdownunder to celebrate my 800th beer review on BA. Purchased at City Beer Store in San Francisco and carted back in my luggage to Sydney.

Pours with an amazing cascade effect -- the head forms backwards from what I expect, leaving some liquid darkness running down the inside of the glass, while the head forms downwards into the body of the beer. Quite spectacular to watch. It's a deep, heavy and opaque black colour, and the head, once it has formed, is a pleasant mocha brown. Lacing is very decent. Looks every bit the American Imperial Stout. Just wonderful.

Very dark on the nose, with huge roasted notes, but also a very distinct and spicy capsaicin note like freshly crushed chilli. Big oaky and roasted coffee notes as well -- I expect nothing less from the best Impy Stouts. Little coconut or vanilla, as I've had from many other examples, but the spicy notes give this its own edge, and its own unique character. Very, very good indeed.

Very smooth and slick profile on the palate; it's the first thing noticeable. It then delivers big roasted notes, but subtly leavened by good vanilla characters that almost evoke melted ice cream. Quite noticeable oak on the back, and it finishes surprisingly dry; that slight spice aroma gets revived in the dying moments. It's a lovely brew.

Oh yes, oh yes... this is an exceptionally good beer. Rich, full of character, dark and seductive, boisterous and aggressive in places. So much going on and so excitingly craft. I love it to bits. (1,540 characters)

Photo of Zorro
4.38/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Silver foil top so this is the 2005 vintage.

This is a beer I have traded several times but just never got around to trying it myself. Sort of like living in Anaheim California and never going to Disneyland.

As the beer is poured in to the glass this is a jet black colored beer with a short brown head. This is in fact very slightly transparent to light at the very edges but for all practical purposes this is black as coal soot.

Smell is strong coffee liqueur with some fig and prune aromas. The aroma is only what I can describe as super Kahlua. After you warm this with your hands chocolate and pepper aroma fully develop along with some fainter brandy aromas.

Taste is sweeter than expected with a good strong coffee bite from the very start. Strong chocolate flavors are the equal of the coffee here and are not overwhelmed. Despite the power of this beer it stays completely away from harshness. The more subtle flavors here hide in the after taste in the shadow of the coffee and chocolate. Vanilla and walnuts are the major sub flavors here. I tried to find the "Licorice" flavor in this one and it just isn't there for me.

Mouthfeel is not as full as I would have expected for such a big beer.

Drinkability is very good but this isn't any easy to chug lager on a hot day. This is like Turkish coffee, strong and powerful and best consumed in small cups. Definitely a beer to share with someone, a great substitute for after dinner coffee. (1,467 characters)

Photo of HopHead84
4.37/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On tap at Alesmith.

A: Near black in the snifter with dark brown showing at the edges. Light brown head with good retention and lacing.

S: Big coffee notes with a moderate roasted quality and a decided nuttiness. Dark chocolate is potent. Intensely aromatic.

T: Coffee, chocolate, and a dry roasted quality. There's a touch of dark fruit in there. The chocolate complements the coffee nicely. A subtle nuttiness is detectable. Alcohol flavor is noticeable in the roasted coffee rich dark chocolate finish. Bitterness is at a lower moderate level.

M: Full in body and lower moderate in carbonation. Mouthfeel is silky and sticky. There's a slight astringency.

Overall: A great beer but a potent one. A small sample is all I ever need. The quality of this beer is more readily apparent when it's not apposed alongside the Kopi Luwak version. (844 characters)

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

Poured a deep, deep brown with a small brown head. Nose was roasted, coffee and a slight chocolate hint. Taste followed the nose well. Lots of roastiness, chocolate and coffee beans with a the 12%ABV hiding pretty good. Mouthfeel was roasty and cocoa hiding but evident, coffee and creaminess mmm. (297 characters)

Photo of John_M
4.42/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The tap version of this excellent beer has started to show up in the SEPA area, which is a pleasure to see.

The beer pours a blackish brown color with good head retention and lacing. The nose is attractive, as I get considerable coffee, vanilla, light leather and chocolate. The flavor profile replicates the nose in this excellent beer, with the vanilla, coffee and chocolate flavors dominating. The is moderately sweet, but with a hint of coffee grounds and light bitterness in the finish (that helps to balance the sweetness). Mouthfeel is medium bodied to full, with a long, slightly gritty finish.

I think I prefer the bottled version, but regardless, this is still a delicious beer. (691 characters)

Photo of GarthDanielson
4.27/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured on-tap at the San Diego Brewing Co brewpub. They had it on for a guest tap while we were visiting. The beer poured jet black, with a thin, tan head. There was a milk chocolate nose, with hints of bitter toffee. The beer has flavors of coffee, nut, and chocolate, with bitter coffee undertones. The beer carries creamy flavors on a dry body, very well blended and balanced. The aftertaste is a blend of bitter and molasses, with a crisp finish. The beer has lingering tastes of sweet toffee. Very easy and smooth to drink. (528 characters)

Photo of biegaman
4.18/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Despite a total lack of 'hiss' upon prying the cap and a remarkably lifeless looking pour, a bounteous and deep brown head blossomed in the time it took me to inspect the label. Though not all of it held up, a good chunk of it remains splattered across the glass. The black liquid beneath it looks as solid as marble and could not possibly be any darker.

The aroma showcases enough coffee that I can already feel my right eye starting to twitch and my left foot starting to tap at hummingbird speed. There's enough alcohol that my blood feels to be thinning out just through contact with the fumes. Mind you, it all comes across as incredibly delicious and overwhelmingly decadent. Gentlemen, start you engines!

Blindfolded, I might guess that I was fed some kind of 95% dark cocoa chocolate-infused coffee. There isn't much roasted grain but rather an astringent, oily coffee flavour as well as a sooty, bitter cocoa taste. It's actually a bit thin-bodied, albeit immensely flavourful. It possesses hints of vanilla and splintering wood spice normally found in barrel-aged offerings.

My first few times having Speedway Stout I was hung up on the beer's apparent strength, a decidedly 'hot' characteristic that can be almost inevitable when dealing with alcohol in the 12% range. That quality never seems to fade entirely, although even limited aging will smooth it out. I don't recommend excessive aging, however, as the beer doesn't have the breadth of malt that do many other stouts in its category.

Short of traveling to Ethiopia, seeing a lady handpick the beans, roast them in a pan in front of your eyes, ground them by mortar and pestle and then have you drink them from a traditional clay and straw pot, Alesmith Speedway Stout is probably the most unique and decadent coffee consumption experience you're bound to have. Although acquiring a bottle can be a hassle, whatever the price, it's still cheaper than a plane ticket to Africa! (1,951 characters)

Photo of rhoadsrage
4.83/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

(Served in tulip glass)

A- This beer pours an inky jet black opaque body that floats a thick creamy head of deep tan. The head last and last sticking to the sides with each sip and slowly sliding down the glass. This beer is to dense for any signs of carbonation even at the base of the glass.

S- This beer has strong aromas of roasted coffee beans and dark roasted black malt that is rich and fresh. There are nice chocolate malt and black roasted malt notes in the background with a note of cream and cola.

T- This beer has a dark black earthy malt flavor with a deep roasted coffee flavor that has a hint of chalk taste to it. The coffee has some good depth like a Sumatra blend or Cafe Verona roast. There are notes of chocolate malt and chocolate hints in the coffee that have notes or lighter roasted malt flavors. There are some notes of prunes and white raisins along with some lighter fruit notes. The finish is a nice iced coffee bitterness and flavor. At the beginning of the bottle there are some fusel alcohol notes but they taste more like bourbon notes as the beer warms.

M- This beer has a medium-full mouthfeel with a warm alcohol finish that cleans the thick complex malt flavors from the palate.

D- This is a serious stout,and a seriously exceptional stout. The malt and coffee flavors are fresh and well balanced with many layers of flavor that I couldn't capture in my review. The alcohol content was nice and played an important part of the finish. I didn't taste any oxidized coffee notes like old coffee grounds or stale coffee which is a big turn off in coffee beers. After a sip the beer just begged me to take another sip. (1,667 characters)

Photo of jdhilt
4.65/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a one finger, light brown head that slowly fades to a ring leaving a good lace. Solid black color. Light carbonation and heavy bodied. Roasted coffee nose. Starts as a sweet malt and roasted coffee, smooth, finishes with a smokey caramel flavor; the high ABV is not noticeable. Excellent Imperial stout. Serious yeast in bottom of glass. $12.85 for a 750ml bottle from Colonial Spirits Acton, Ma. (402 characters)

Photo of akorsak
4.28/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A 750 mL bottle obtained from Boolshot.

A: The ale is a black oily color. Absolutely nothing cuts through the darkness of the ale. There is a small ring of cappucino colored head in the glass. A pour generates a 1.5 finger sized head.

S: The stout has a deep roasted malty aroma that has a vinous depth. The alcohol is evident but not overpowering. Some hops add a floral florish without detracting from the malts.

T: The stout has a big bold taste. The first flavors to hit the tongue are heavily roasted, almost burnt malts. The intensely roasted flavors border on a very dry chocolate flavor. As the beer warms in the moith, a distinct, intense alcohol flavor emerges that is astringent. Back to the malts, this beer has a fairly subtle acidity that belies the coffee beans. Finally, the stout ends with a sweet flavor that finishes long and brings back hints of the roasted malts and coffee.

M: This big stout has a great deal going on at any one time. The malts and coffee combine nicely and are well-balanced. My only complaint is the alcohol burn.

D: The drinkability is limited by the 12% abv, but there malts are flavorful and the coffee is a great addition. I am very impressed that the ale has such a balanced flavor. (1,233 characters)

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

A - Pours a nice black color, nice carbonation, nice brown/tan frothy head, tons of lacing afterwards.

S - Scents of roasted malts, and coffee/chocolate.

T - The taste is kinda sweet, malty, with some nice coffee/chocolate taste, kinda dry finish.

M - Medium, a nice complex brew.

D - Very drinkable for a big brew (12% ABV). Highly recommended. (357 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)

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