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AleSmith Speedway Stout - AleSmith Brewing Company

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AleSmith Speedway StoutAleSmith Speedway Stout

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1,500 Reviews
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Reviews: 1,500
Hads: 5,750
rAvg: 4.36
pDev: 8.94%
Wants: 843
Gots: 1,737 | FT: 156
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: 1,500 | Hads: 5,750
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)

Photo of jomo
3.82/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

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

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

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

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

Unfortunately, IMO, this beer had declined as Alesmith has grown. Their brewing processes have changed for higher production. The main difference is almost acidic tinge the beer has. Perhaps the hop bitterness...perhaps the fusel alcohols. I don't know. What I do know is that this is a change that happened almost immediately a few years back. They used to brew this beer in low rider, cheese making bins. They used to claim the low fermenting "pressure" produced less fusel alcohols. Perhaps this is the difference. All I know for certain is that it is not a good as it used to be. (987 characters)

Photo of lochef81
4.29/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Was super excited to get a bottle of this from a recent online order. It pours a jet black hue with a frothy tan head with hood retention and lacing. The nose is a boozy blend of coffee, vanilla, dark roasted fruits, and some woody notes. Mouthfeel is rich and creamy with just the right amount of carbonation. Flavor is big and in your face. Lots of coffee and roasted malts. Not too sweet, not too bitter. Alcohol is definitely present. This was great but I can't help but think how much better it would be with some age on it. Hopefully I can get another at some point and put it aside for a few years. (605 characters)

Photo of ThatOlBoy
3.4/5  rDev -22%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Good little stout, though there's nothing especially unique about it. I've had it both out of the bottle and on tap, and it was pretty consistent between the two. It has great color and smells wonderful. The one knock I have is that it has a little acidic hint on the back end which is a bit unpleasant. (303 characters)

Photo of skipxtracer
4.44/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

An extremely well made imperial stout. Pours deep black with a full brown head dense with tiny bubbles. Espresso aroma. Great coffee and dried fruit taste. Perfect mouthfeel. Paired this with brunch. Free range eggs with ramps, sausage, BBQ sauce, fruit salad. Stout paired perfectly with all of this. So happy I picked this up in San diego (340 characters)

Photo of Kuaff
4.78/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Around cellar temperature in sort of a small pint glass.

It's jet black with a massive three-finger chocolaty-brown, frothy head that lasts very long and leaves some pretty lacing behind. A creamy cap of close-knit mocha foam lingers indefinitely.

The aroma explodes with rich coffee, dark chocolate, vanilla, maple, and raisin notes. There are also hints of cherries and fruity liqueurs, but with almost no booziness at all. Incredible aroma.

A sip initially releases a delicious blend of dark fruit flavors like raisins and prunes, then turning to luscious milk chocolate and vanilla. The outstanding finish reverberates with fantastically roasty, earthy espresso and dark chocolate. Slightly boozy. Damn.

It's full-bodied and thick, but also ridiculously creamy, velvety, and easy to drink.

This is a high-performance imperial stout. (841 characters)

Photo of Seadog20000
4.74/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

APPEARANCE: Pours black but clear yielding a two finger, medium looking dark tan head with very good retention. Black body, clear, with no real carbonation evident. Head fades to a wisp that sticks to the sides of the glass. A splotchy wisp remains leaving some bits of lacing down the glass. Still looks good.

SMELL: Roasted notes with band aid and rotten cabbage. Light cream notes but the coffee addition has come out like band aids and vegetables. Pretty rotten.

TASTE: Better than the nose, but still lousy. Cabbage and perfume with some roasted grain and coffee up front. Bolder finish of roasted coffee, sweet cream and lots of band aid and cabbage again. This is also rotten, though not as rotten as I'd expected from the nose.

PALATE: Medium-fully body, heavy on the palate, with medium to lower end carbonation. Heavy and creamy on the palate, goes down smooth and finishes slightly mouth-coating. A slight prickly punch at the back after the swallow. Great mouthfeel for the style; big and mean.

OVERALL: The only saving grace of this is that I didn't have to drink my full share. The drain was in a good mood that day. The feel is still a menace and the look is good, but something went horribly wrong with this batch. Rotten vegetables and band aids all over the place. Nasty. The Kopi was a touch better and BA Kopi was the best, though that's not saying much. (1,382 characters)

Photo of Jackofallbrews
4.83/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Aroma: Milk chocolate with a malty sweetness. Roasted dark grains and mild fresh coffee aroma. No hop aroma. Minimal esters.

Appearance: Poured into a snifter glass (as suggested by the bottle), at 50 degrees F. Pitch black! Huge fine head that is nearly auburn in color. Head is persistent.

Flavor: A burst of expensive dark chocolate up front with a slow fade to a professional coffee shop Mocha, with coffee and chocolate finish. There is a slight roast bitterness, but this is balanced much more to the sweet side without being cloying. Alcohol is mild and not distracting. Mouthfeel is incredibly creamy and smooth.

Overall: This beer has wonderful balance and drinkability despite its high alcohol content. The coffee is mellow and not the star of this beer, but does add complexity to the beer. The mouthfeel on this is without peer. (843 characters)

Photo of MakeMineADoubleJack
4.73/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Poured this into a snifter after taking it out of the fridge and letting it sit on my counter for an hour. I've made mistakes in the past having a straight cold-from-the-fridge glass first. Never again. This approach was perfect.

The pour is near-black; gorgeous khaki-colored head that dissipates, but never leaves completely. Best lacing I've seen with a stout.

Taste is damn near perfect, and it feels like smooth velvet on the tongue. The coffee is so well-balanced that it beats Founders Breakfast Stout, in my opinion. Bravo!

I'm glad this bomber is all for me. I'm going to enjoy it as it continues to warm and open. (626 characters)

Photo of ThisWangsChung
4.44/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

750ml bottle into a wine glass...and later drank straight from the bottle (it makes sense in context...)

A: Pours a pitch black color. The head is about a finger high, with a khaki shade. For 12%, the retention is pretty nice, and the texture is quite soft. No lacing is left on the glass, but there are some alcohol legs.

S: Wow, the nose is chocolaty, roasty, and even a bit leathery all at the same time. Many imperial stouts have this kind of nose, but this one has superior integration than most. It's actually mildly alcoholic - hey, it's 12%, who cares? It's not as if it's oppressively boozy on the nose. I forgot to mention the coffee! It's nice and subtle, but not overdone.

T: It opens up with a lot of coffee and chocolate, with the coffee becoming slightly bolder near the midtaste. The finish is insanely well attenuated - it's dry, yet fruity and faintly tart. There's just enough alcohol presence to help nuance the flavors without coming across too harshly. Otherwise, I'm having trouble telling this is 12%. Every flavor is well balanced without compromising the bigness of the brew - ergo, I'm enjoying the hell out of this.

M: It has the creaminess I like in an imperial stout...and yet, it's so dry. Dry, dry, dry - and even better, the alcohol is well concealed on the palate. It's not relying on the carbonation to cut through the full body and mild sweetness (it's a bit timid in terms of carbonation, actually...) This one is ridiculously dangerous.

O: Apart from giving family members a few sips (and almost all of them despised it :(), I basically drank this whole bottle solo. And I had little trouble doing such a thing. Not only is this beer big and extreme, it's also nuanced and even delicate all at the same time. It's a fantastic imperial stout - I really wish this beer was readily available in my distribution area, because I would buy the hell out of it, even at $10 a bottle! (1,918 characters)

Photo of Dave1999
4.01/5  rDev -8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured pitch black with a big foamy brown head.

Smell is roasted malts, coffee, milk chocolate and a little alcohol.

The taste is chocolate, bitter coffee, milk and a fair bit of alcohol.

The mouthfeel medium bodied, a little creamy with medium carbonation.

Overall a very good beer, I was expecting a bit more but it was decent enough. I would've like a bit more flavor and a heavier mouthfeel. (399 characters)

Photo of larryi86
4.6/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750 ml bottle, dated 1/27/14, poured into a teku

A- Black with a three finger dense mocha head.

S- Roasted coffee, rich chocolate, caramel malts, some vanilla.

T- Coffee, rich milk chocolate, some dark fruits and vanilla, roasted malts, some caramel.

M- Smooth, creamy, medium body.

O- A great coffee stout, very well balanced and alcohol well hidden. If you like big coffee stout this is a must try. Definitely will pick this again when I get a chance. (458 characters)

AleSmith Speedway Stout from AleSmith Brewing Company
97 out of 100 based on 1,500 ratings.