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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no score

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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 prototypic
4.5/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: This is motor oil in a glass. No light gets through at all. Head is mocha colored and about two and a half fingers deep. Retention is absolutely superior and thick waves of lace line the glass. This is a great looking beer.

Smell: Very heavy roasted coffee aroma hits the nose first. It's easily one of the best coffee/espresso aromas I've had the pleasure of smelling in a beer. Very strong and rich. Roasted and chocolate malt aromas blend extremely well with the coffee fragrance. There is a slight hint of a smoky aroma. Alcohol appears to be blended very well as it's just barely noticeable here.

Taste: This really is a remarkable beer. Its balance is truly its strength. The roasted coffee and malt flavors are balanced perfectly. Neither wins out. They collide to create an excellent tasting stout. One that is no doubt unique and incredible. The flavor really develops as it warms. It does feature a slight smoked taste as well as some light dark fruit flavors. Alcohol is extremely well blended and is only barely noticeable. Impressive considering its stature. It's difficult to find anything overtly wrong with its flavor. I'm inches away from awarding a perfect score for flavor. But, I do think it's likely improved with a little barrel aging, if only ever so slightly.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability: It's light to medium bodied. Extremely smooth and creamy. Personally, I'd prefer it to be just a tad thicker. But, it's got a great feel and is extremely drinkable. Given its 12% abv, that's a bit of a small surprise. I certainly want more than the meager 750 ml I have.

Speedway Stout is an incredible beer. There's no doubt about that. I personally believe the barrel aged version has to be damn near perfect. Perhaps I'm a bit reserved in scoring it in that regard. Aging this in bourbon barrels has to be simply amazing. I certainly hope the opportunity to try that version presents itself in the future. (1,932 characters)

Photo of DefenCorps
4.72/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

25.4 oz bottle received via trade with bennetj17. Thanks a bunch! Poured into my Duvel tulip

A: Pitch black with a thick dark brown head. Looks pretty in my glass

S: Intoxicating with chocolate, coffee, cream, all in beautiful balance. There hints of molasses and raisins too.

T: Coffee and chocolate up front with a pleasant roast flavor. The cream and the raisins come through for a little bit.This baby's full-bodied and finishes smooth and semi-sweet.

M: Slick, full-bodied and palate coating.

D: I'd be had pressed to peg this at anything above 6%. At 12%, I have no idea how they hide the alcohol the way they do.

**Edit 9 Feb 2012**
Drinking my one bottle from 2007 that my aunt was kind enough to get me. This is the green champagne bottle.

The nose is simply stunning. Rich, dark fruit character with plums, some raisins, chocolate and faint coffee notes, this has oxidized in a rather stunning fashion. Mild licorice, brown sugar and molasses are present. Very smooth, this reminds me a lot of the 03 BA Speedway. The palate is sublime. Smooth chocolate, raisins, port, red grape juice, and rather surprisingly, a little bit of a coffee character remains. Coupled with the sweetness, it brings to mind a cafe cubano. Rich, decadent and awesome with fudge, caramel. Ridiculously good. 4.5/5/5

**Edit 3rd May 2013**

Drinking my lone bottle of the 2004 vintage that I received from Faro. Thanks, man.

The nose is super mellow. A blend of mild soy, raisins, dark fruit, a little bit of alcohol, moderate sweetness, this smells great. This is clearly aged but not really old. The palate opens with a vinous sweetness, medium full in body, mildly carbonated with a blend of raisins and chocolate, very fruity, mildly soy-like, a touch of caramel, and towards the very end, just a little bit of paper. Medium-full in body, lightly carbonated,this has a long finish with a blend of mild char, chocolate, caramel and a little bit of soy. Very nice.
4.25/4.5/4.5 (1,974 characters)

Photo of Boto
4.58/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750ml bottle: I believe this one dates to 2004: paper label and black foil. This one pours an inky very dark brown. There was a thin tan head that didn't linger. Rich aroma. Mainly Roasted coffee and chocolate, with hints of sweetness and some dark fruits. WOW: is the taste smooth. It is very full bodied, roasty chocolate caramel, definitely some hops to balance it out, but they are masked. Excellent. (404 characters)

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

Got this in a trade and cracked out in Atlanta during a tasting at the Brick Store. Couldn't think of better company to drink it with.

A. Dirty black, tan head lies low. Opaque. Nothing unusual. Onwards!

S. Holy coffee stout, Batman! A plethora (yes, I know what it means) of roasted, bitter coffee springs up into the nose, along with a big big roast-burnt grain and molasses. It's altogether lush and coherent, despite the rather brash alcohol. Quite nice -- if you like coffee.

T. Mmm, coffee... Speedway is up there with the best coffee stouts I've had, and certainly the most alcoholic. Very deep and hot, think espresso with a shot of dark rum added. Huge coffee and roasted flavors wrap themselves around your tongue with just a hint of hop bitterness. The coffee is the real start here. Exceptionally roasty bitter and finishes dry and long.

M. Thick, with only a little bubbly bite, the alcohol warms your throat as the coffee tingles your taste buds.

Speedway is an excellent coffee-booze treat! Don't drink before bedtime, but if you do, lemme know how it treats you. Highly recommended for the caffeine jitterbug and the stout fiend. (1,150 characters)

Photo of gford217
4.78/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Big thanks to tayner for the opportunity to try this beauty!

750ml bottle poured into a snifter.

A: Wow is this a beautiful looking beer! Pitch black pour with a dense 2 finger dark tan head. The head linger for quite a while and leaves a lot of lacing.

S: Roasted malts with dark chocolate and coffee aromas in support. Also faint dark fruitiness in the background.

T: Initial maltiness gives way to a more dominant roasted coffee flavor with figs and chocolate undertones. Extremely complex yet balanced. By far the best tasting coffee-infused stout I've ever had.

M: Nice creamy mouthfeel that just coats you mouth completely. Leaves a pleasant lingering coffee bitterness.

D: Wonderful, wonderful beer. This would certainly be near the top of my list of stouts or any beers for that matter. (800 characters)

Photo of dill
4.47/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

poured from a bottle into a tulip glass. It poured deep black with no head at all. The initial aroma was mostly coffee and the chocolate came through as it warmed. The flavor was the same with roasted malt also on the tongue. Nice and creamy in the mouth with light carbonation. This is a great beer to relax with at night. (323 characters)

Photo of BeerManDan
4.88/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

When poured, the color was on the verge of black. But, after a short period, a very small amount of dark tan foam popped up in my glass. Also, a small amout of lace stuck to the face of my glass while drinking this stout. The smell of coffee and roasted malts was not really overpowering, but, suttle. The flavor was of chocolate, coffee and roasted malts was fantastic. All the flavors were well balanced and even more as this stout warmed up. In fact, I like it a lot more as it got warmer. More intenise flavor. I love this Stout so much, I didn't share it with anyone else. More please! (590 characters)

Photo of Monsone
4.8/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A - Pours a pitch black and thick like used engine oil. Looks just like you would expect it to.

S - Coffee scnets and chocolate malt. Dark fruit hanging around too.

T - Huge flavor with nice flavors of roasted malt, chocolate and coffee. Complex. Imporves as the the beer warms. More dark fruit hanging around.

M - Silky smooth with a full body.

D - Pretty damn drinkable for an RIS coffee stout. No overwhelming flavors that tire the palate. The alcohol is well hidden.

Overall, one of my favorite Imperial Stouts. Just a great experience. Only thing I have had that is better is Darkness and the Speedway came damn close. (629 characters)

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

jet black with a dark tan head that held amazingly well and left tons of lace. this is what i want my stouts to look like. just a wonderful beer all around. coffee, followed by chocolate and earthy roasty malt in the nose. taste is superbly balanced and has a little hop kick in the finish followed by a nice warmth that ensues post finish. full bodied. insanely drinkable for being as high abv as it is. one of my favorite breweries of all time. beyond good. (459 characters)

Photo of AKBelgianBeast
4.55/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Thanks a million to tayner for sending this one my way.

Pours a thick impenetrable black with a gorgeous fluffy dark tan head that just sits there like a milkshake. lace sticks quite well as the head reduces while I wait just a bit longer for this to warm. head leaves a little quicker than I would like, I am sad to see it go. The nose is moslty coffee beans with some dark chocolate in it and good maltiness. The taste follows with coffee up front. A nice coffe ride in the beginning, not like breakfast stout that just slaps you in the face with a cold dead coffee fish. Just enough. roasted malt is apparent in the flavor next. roasty and toasty goodness. The hop bitternes comes last. The only part of the taste that I am not an immeadiate fan of is a slight metallic taste in between the middle of the swallow and the hop bitterness on the end. Just a bit of a copper twinge, but defenitely not enough to take much away from the amazing flavor of this wonderful stout. A nice alcohol warmth on the finish, in a good way. The mouthfeel is just a touch thinner than I would like, but still very very good. Drinkability is simply divine for a beer coming in at 12%. This is an incredible beer, and I must give much much respect to the alesmiths. keep on smithing you midevil bastards. I love it! (1,299 characters)

Photo of david131
4.7/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

I have had this bottle for a little over a year now, and I decided to make it a special night by opening it.

A- This is very very black with a monstrous brown head that has enough mass to dimple the top of the liquid and has excellent retention. This looks fantastic.

S- Very rich and chocolaty with coffee to boot. The slightest hint of cinnamon. This seems to blend better together than most other stouts. Absolutely wonderful.

T- Extraordinarily complex with lots of chocolate and coffee. The perfect balance of roastiness and smoothness. I am so glad to have a beer like this without a nutty aspect to it. The 12% alcohol is barely noticeable. Very well done.

M- I cannot believe how smooth this is for a 12% beer. The first time I had this beer, I thought it was a little over-carbonated, but now I realize it keeps things very smooth and highly drinkable and flavorful.

D- What a treat. Way better than I remember it the last time. The alcohol is barely noticeable and is not harsh in any manner. This is smooth and complex. I will be happy to see what this does with some more time on it. (1,101 characters)

Photo of jjayjaye
4.67/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours an opaque deep dark brown color with a thin wispy dark tan head that's gone in flash. Spotty patterns of lacing in it's wake. Not a super impressive pour, but at 12% ABV i guess the bar is lowered. I can't help but compare this to Sexual Chocolate that i recently considered (thanks Joel), but that's a RIS (i don't get it, but I'm a babe in the woods). The smell is right on the bar for a Double Stout. Aggressive rich Ghirardelli-like dark chocolate with a moderately roasted coffee mix, vanilla and a bit of the alcohol. That's complexity and it shouts "standby, this is a rich heavy creamy beer". Lightly carbonated, the mouth feel is full bodied, oily and conditioned with a tang from the alcohol. IMO, the edge of the alcohol is rounded off nicely by the coffee character. Full flavored, the choco-java taste and slick mouth texture leave the door open for the vanilla notes of the alcohol to walk right in. It permeates with the wonderful 'coating' texture of my favorite Double Stouts. A real easy drinker. My first experience was a draft serving from Naja's Place, on the waterfront at Redondo Beach, CA. The 12% is gently warming but otherwise well integrated. Time out... Surgeon General's warning...this will kick your ass. I recommend considering it more from your family room lounge chair than from a pre-dinner bar stool . Highly Recommended. (1,363 characters)

Photo of RomanW70
4.56/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Really excited about this one. Pours jet black with a thick, dark tan head that quickly disappears. Aroma of roasted coffee, chocolate, and alcohol. Taste of coffee, toffee, chocolate, and... coffee. Like everything else from Alesmith, gets better with each sip. Big bitter finish. Velvety mouth feel. Warming finish. I'm seriously considering moving to San Diego for the beer. (377 characters)

Photo of pheggeseth
4.73/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured into my Darkness goblet.

A: pours pretty thick, settles opaque with virtually no head, spotty lacing

S: roasted malt, dry dark coffee beans, light hops, a little alcohol, not as strong as I was expecting

T: coffee, roasted malt, chocolate in the middle, some hops at the end, just really tasty, can't quite put my finger on it

M: incredibly smooth, but rich, not as acidic as I was expecting

D: very drinkable in my opinion, the alcohol was not too present for my tastes, I could have drunk the whole bottle if I let myself (535 characters)

Photo of Tilley4
4.85/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Big shoutout to Overlord for the chance to try this brew via our trade.

Absolute midnight black... Thick, thick, thick with a small tan head...

Aroma of dark bitter chocolate and strong coffee with the faintest aromas of some sweet fruit in the background..

Man, this is heavenly... Loads of chocolate and coffee mixed with a strong booziness that I am in love with.. A bit too strong for the wifey which means more for me... I'm loving it...

Top 5 all time stouts here... Absolutely delicious brew...

Thanks, Overlord!!! (528 characters)

Photo of JDV
3.28/5  rDev -24.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Bottle from Liquid Solutions.
Pours a deep, opaque, black with a short lived tan head. Smell is not what I expected at all. No coffee aromas for me, coming out of the snifter. Rich, sweet dark fig like fruitiness, some ripe banana, alcohol in nose. Mouthfeel is creamy, a bit rich, and still not a hint of coffee... Alcohol however, is very noticeable, and detracts from it for me. After opening up for a while, I get the faintest hint of coffee in the aftertaste, but not like I'd expect from something that mentions coffee in the Description 4 times. Definitely not a bad Imperial Stout, but too alcoholic, not enough coffee or roasty malt flavor, and overall a let down. (673 characters)

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

A: poured a dark black with thin head rising and falling rather quickly of a brownish color. Very little lacing is left on the glass.

S: smells of espresso and roasted malts with a definite anise smell bringing it all together.

T/M: taste is of a mild coffee and chocolate. Subtle hints of black licorice lie on the tongue as the coffee tingle and mild hops bring it together with a dry ending. Perfect mouthfeel and light carbonation makes it oily and heavy on the tongue but with a somewhat clean finish.

D: very nice drinker. great taste and mouthfeel would be great to sip on all night. The coffee isn't too overbearing which allows for more of the flavors to shine. (673 characters)

Photo of joe1510
4/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750ml Bottle

Received this from Taynor a couple months back, thanks Dana! Speedway Stout is black as night when poured into my snifter letting no light pass through whatsoever. A short but dense one finger beige head formed on the pour, quickly falling to a skimming with a thick ring around the glass. Leaves respectable lacing after each tip of the glass.

The aroma hits hard with big doses of roasty malt and anise. I didn't expect so much anise in a coffee stout. There's more creaminess than coffee in this particular bottle and some dark berriness wafts through the more pronounced aromas. All this makes for an inviting stout but I was hoping to get a little more coffee. A mild boozy spiciness brings up the backend creating a bit more depth in the aroma.

Now this is a tasty stout! Roasty malts are quickly followed by mild bittersweet coffee, anise, and a pleasant spicy alcohol that brings some of that peppery berriness. There's still not a great deal of coffee involved but this is a top shelf stout without it. The finish is a perfect combination of bitter coffee, dark berries, and roasty malts creating a bit more bitterness. I love my stouts with a bitter finish and this one brings it.

The mouthfeel is on the heavier side of the spectrum. This is just my picky side but it could use a touch more creaminess. Leaves some residue, without being sticky, that helps the flavor linger.

As big as this stout is the drinkability is up toward the top of the ladder. The lack of creaminess actually helps the drinkability.

This is, without a doubt, an excellent stout! I just don't think it's a World beater! I would like to get my paws on another bottle for more extensive testing but as it stands I feel there's better examples out there. (1,757 characters)

Photo of charlzm
5/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

CO2 Draft pour at Boneyard Bistro in Studio City, CA on 08/11/07.

The glass must have had a black hole in it, as no light escaped from this jet black beer. The minimal tan head was appropriate for a CO2 pour (not on nitro, as I would have preferred). Coffee and a very subtle sour cherry aroma greet the nose. The beer crosses the threshold into the mouth with a luxurious velvety smooth texture.

Coffee! Sour cherries lurk furtively in the huge, agreeable coffee bitterness. Mild astringency and a predictably bitter finish last well into the next day. Even though the flavors are huge, they are in balance and agreeable.

The best example of an imperial stout I have ever had. (682 characters)

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

I have had this beer many times. Finally getting around to a review...this from an on-tap offering in a snifter glass at the new Liar's Club, Alpine, CA.

A-Black. Like 10W-40, very viscous with a thick dark tan head. Leaves significant lacing.

S-Coffee and dark chocolate with background notes of molasses and dark fruits.

T-Big, rich roasted malts with chocolate and coffee. This is a very complex brew and simply gets better while it warms. Certain flavours pop out at different times...simply wonderful.

M-Smooth and full bodied. This is a delicious brew to sit and enjoy.

D-One of my favorite coffee infused American double stouts. The only holding back a 5 is the 12% ABV...I could never drink as much as I would like! I always jump at the chance to grab a glass of Speedway....well done by Peter and the AleSmith crew! (830 characters)

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

Pours pitch black like motor oil with no head really. Just a thin layer of dark tan on the top. Nose is very complex. Molasses, toffee, chocolate, malts, and tar. Flavor is smooth and robust and consistent. Slightly noticeable alcohol. Thick is the name of the game. Molasses and noticeable malts. Very smooth liquid feel. Low carbonation, but it's all good. Very nice. Vedy, vedy nice. (386 characters)

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

2004 vintage thanks to hopasaurasrex!

A - like motor oil, thick viscous black brew with a large dark tan head.

S - deep dark chocolate, arabica coffee, cocao, molasses and dark fruits.

T - rich dark malts, chocolate, coffee notes swirl in a warming vinous blend of wonderfully aged stout!

M - full bodied, nicely carbonated, vinous, smooth, warming

D - this bottle was shared amongst friends and it found a great home! a slow sipper but what a nicely aged stout to savor!

a bit pricey in these parts for me to build a big cellar of but darn was that tasty! (562 characters)

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

A beastly 4 inch head erupts to the top of the glass. Huge rocky carmel colored foamy bubbles slowly receed. Body is absolutely onyx black. Nose is vibrant, as you can smell it as soon as you open the bottle. Massive spicey coffee tones and sweet maltiness is evident. Enters the mouth with an array of flavors, initially thick rich alchol laced coco. Zesty spiced coffee swells all over the tongue. Mineral based hop bitterness finishes out the well rounded palate. This beer is very big and super thick on the mouth. Hop and coffee bitterness hangs on to the back of the tongue. Noticeable alchol is a consistant factor throughout the flavor profile. Drinkability, well you can feel good about sharing the bottle with a friend. (729 characters)

Photo of BMoney575
4.2/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Sampled on 2-15-08
Green bottle vintage.

Pours a completely opaque and light-absorbing black, with a thick tan head that fades away to a thin film. Huge lacing coats the sides of the glass, then leaves thin fingers of bubbles.

Smell is very good, and quite aged. Big aromas of molasses and dark fruits, with a malty coffee right in the middle. I pick up oak and even some chocolate. All of the qualities you look for in a big stout.

Taste is exactly what you'd expect, but maybe a little young. Huge malt with a definite woody character, followed by a sizable coffee flavor and bitterness to balance it out. The alcohol leaves a slick finish, but is very well tamed.

Mouthfeel is nice and thick, bu the carbonation is a bit too much. The bitter finish also seems to thin things out.

Drinkability is very good for such a big beer. The flavors are very pleasant and the alcohol is well managed. Watch out.

Overall, a little less than I was expecting. Maybe I built it up too much in my head, but I think I'm just spoiled. Very good though, and well worth picking up a few. (1,076 characters)

Photo of iconoklaztor
4.72/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Note: 2006 Vintage

This beer smells fantastic! Holy Hell!! As soon as I smell this black, holy shit of a beer I knew what it was going to taste like. Chocolate malts! The beer is very reminiscent of another very popular beer. *cough* stone *cough*

The mouthfeel is creamy and complex. I have a feeling this brew will produce a nice warm buzz. The drinkability of this SS is that of a creamy, warm cocoa.

Overall, this brew is a beautiful example what an Imperial Stout should be. I WOULD LOVE to drink it often. Its just a beautiful beer.
---
2011

Recent bottles have been very acidic and harsh tasting. Not nearly as nice as the 06 vintage. (646 characters)

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