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AleSmith Speedway Stout | AleSmith Brewing Company

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AleSmith Speedway StoutAleSmith Speedway Stout

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

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Reviews: 1,616 | Ratings: 6,403
Photo of ncvbc
4.62/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

First thing's first, this beer lives up to all of its hype. Yes, I'm typing on a new keyboard because of it, but damn it was worth it. Poured into a snifter as well as a standard pint glass, the former spilling onto my keyboard and everything around it. Though I only consumed half or so, I can grasp the fact that this was amazing.

The bottle itself is worthy of a good appearance score. It poured a pitch black with hardly any light to show through. Thick, creamy tan head that sits upon the dark stillness. Close to a 5, though not quite.

Smell is heavily of roasted dark coffee. Slight bit of alcohol in the nose which plays well. Also some chocolate malts and dark, roasted malts.

Taste is perfection. Again, heavy on the coffee, roasted malts. Alcohol again is noticeable, though barely so and in a way that compliments the rest of the beer. Nothing overwhelming, just pure balance and excellent flavor.

Mouthfeel is creamy, full, and a little chewy. I had it lingering for hours, along with the smell on the floor and keyboard.

Drinkability also near exceptional. While I would enjoy this one for the duration of drinking it, there is definitely a limit.

This is about as close as I've been to giving perfect 5's all the way through, though the overall might not indicate it. I think this is in my top 5 favorites with ease and a contender for the top spot. I know for a fact that I will be seeking much more of this out in the future.

Big thanks to Phawk for the trade, it was well worth it!

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Photo of Overlord
4.38/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

I'm lucky enough to have this beer readily available at the Irvine Bevmo, and have sampled it on four or five occasions. My impressions:

Incredible aroma of rich malt, a whiff of chocolate, and a huge coffee base. The flavor is explosive and leaps out at you upon the first sip. It is loaded with coffee, with undertones of chocolate...but mostly coffee. The beer is pitch black, and feels like you can chew it.

The only caveat: this is not a beer I would want for every occasion, or even most. A single bomber is more than enough (although it is quite drinkable for its 13% alcohol content). Truly an epic beer.

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Photo of rhoadsrage
4.83/5  rDev +10.5%
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.

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Photo of atigerlife
4.33/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours black with a thin brown head that dissipates rather quickly.

Aroma of coffee and dark roasted malts.

Taste is of coffee and sweet roasted malts. Very nicely balanced. More going on in here but will have to expand with my next bottle.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied, creamy, and a dry aftertaste.

Overall, a very good beer. It is amazing that I didn't detect any of the alcohol....amazing at 12%. Glad I bought several of these...I'm really looking forward to the next one.

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Photo of beersarang
5/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours blacker than night, with a dark tan head that is rocky and leaves syrup and lace on the glass. Dissapates quickly due to the alcohol and likely the coffee acids.

You can smell it when you open it, pour it, and may be overwhelmed if you bring it to your nose. Wow. Coffee, chocolate, burnt grains, sweet alcohol.

A sip brings to the palate an assault of sweet malt with dark roasted barley. Creamy thick with tons and tons of coffee and chocolate intermingling in the finish with a sweet alcohol and slight lingering astringency on the tongue. An exhale brings more sweet alcohol and coffee.

This beer is a masterpiece. When I see it, I buy a case. It is worth every penny.

Alesmith, thank you.

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Photo of SwillBilly
4.32/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from 750ML Champaigne style bottle.

Appearance: Pours pitch black into my pint glass with a thick and merangue like chocolate covered head that lasts forever.

Smell: Big and malty with hints of milk chocolate, coffee, dark fruits, molasses, and a touch of alcohol.

Taste: Starts with an immediate hint of alcohol in the nose as you drink. The 1st taste brings a sweet, chocolatey cafe mocha like flavor followed by a dark fruity sweetness. Loads of malt with a really nice roasty finish with just a hint of bitterness from hops or the coffee. Alcohol is present but not obtrusive. You know its there but the other flavors dominate.

Mouthfeel: Nice and thick and creamy, perfectly carbonated.

Drinkability: I've been waiting to try Speedway Stout for a long time and I'm not disappointed. A big Double Stout with a coffee infusion. Plenty of big malty fruity sweetness and chocolate with just the right amount of roasted coffee and barley to give it a touch of bitterness. Alcohol definitely plays a roll especially at 12% but its not over the top. A beer to savor and let warm as you drink. Probably better to drink in the winter as opposed to the 95 degree day we had in DC today but I just brewed a coffee stout and wanted to see what I was up against. I think I lost big time !! A great offering from the folks at Alesmith. Definitely seek out and enjoy. Highly recommended.

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Photo of kenito799
3.45/5  rDev -21.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

22oz bomber poured into a chalice.

Many thanks to Tizzod for sharing this special brew with me.

Black black black with tan foamy head.

Aroma is really rich, molasses, caramel, dark roasted coffee, sweet malt.

Flavor carries through with loads of roasted black richness, molasses, caramel, chocolate, coffee...a bit too rich for my taste, it is over the top, too syrupy and alcoholic to have much drinkability. Fun to try once and maybe best beside a fire in the winter, but I would probably go for a Belgian quadrupel in that case.

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Photo of brentk56
4.67/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pours a rich blackstrap molasses color with a modest head that drops to a ringlet and archipelago but leaves splotches of lace around the chalice

Smell: Coffee, molasses, bittersweet chocolate and a touch of citrus hops

Taste: Starts out with a mouthful or rich, sweetened espresso that builds in molasses and chocolate flavors by mid-palate; after the swallow, the hoppy bitterness kicks in and is accompanied by some fruity character

Moutheel: Medium to full body with relatively low carbonation

Drinkability: One of the most wonderful tastes in beerdom

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Photo of Georgiabeer
4.37/5  rDev 0%
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.

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Photo of letsgopens
4.8/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

I want to start off by saying that this may be the greatest beer I've ever had the pleasure of drinking. Any, even mildly, negative comment or questionable word uttered about or even in the general vicinity of this beer should result in immediate blacklisting and exile; and that's for a first offense. Repeat offenses are punishable by death.

This American Double Stout from the fine people at AleSmith pours a deep, thick, near-black with light brown/red highlights and a dense brown head that diminishes into a great lace.

Its aroma is deep and complex with an appetizingly strong black coffee aroma and strong notes of dark malt and a slight bitterness at the tail end. The aroma is amazing, but surprisingly does not do the flavor justice.

The initial earthy coffee and cocoa flavors are robust and all encompassing. Its flavor dominates the palate. There are heavy hints of raw milk and malt in the finish; creamy. Thick and decadent: caramel, chocolate, molasses. A more than formidable albeit delicious challenge in a glass.

The mouthfeel is expectedly thick and silky but with a nice natural carbonation that attempts to keep everything in check, but again this beer can not be suppressed. Judging from many of Speedway's qualities, you may not guess that has a 12% abv.

Simply put, this creation should be regarded as one of the very top beers in the world. I have yet to try Darklord (and I hope to very soon), but I can't imagine it can get much better than this. Seamlessly crafted.

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

Thanks to Talisker for the trade! Poured a completely opaque black with a very frothy tan head that was lasting and left great lacing. The aroma was dominated by coffee and roasted malts. The taste was a great roasty blend of coffee, malts, and a touch of very bitter dark chocolate. The beer was certainly heavy and the alcohol was mostly present, but not overbearing. This is a very special beer that should be sipped and enjoyed for everything that it is.

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Photo of mynie
4.83/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Thanks to Imstillthegman for the trade.

Pours completely, absolutely, utterly opaque with a teeny weeny brown head.

Smells of coffee, brown sugar, and BURNT malt. Offsweet. A little burny, a little bit like red wine. Much more like a Russian Imperial than a double stout.

Tastes, once again, like an RIS. Very big, burnt, and syrupy malt giving way to a middle of solid coffee and dark licorice and and a slightly sweet ending with big nodes of black chocolate. Its hard to throw so much complexity out there and not have one flavor overwhelm the others--this one succeeds.

A wonderful beer, to say the least.

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Photo of lackenhauser
4.36/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I have wanted to try this for ages. Gorgeous black color-huge tan/cocoa head on top that seems to last in some way shape or form forever. Big, deep burnt rainey aroma to it. Huge roasted mouthfeel backed with a definate alcohol bite. Quite grainy. Huge hop bitterness though the roasted bitterness can be found in the backround. Bold body though the alcohol adds a slight harshness that knocks it down for me. Very, very drinkable and extremely enjoyable.

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Photo of kmo1030
4.37/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

pours like used motor oil with very little head despite some effort on my part. black as hell, no light gets through.
it's got a rich chocolate and coffee aroma, with a certain creamy quality that is brings coffee ice cream to mind. beneath that is a somewhat grainy malt richness, with just a bit of anise, and a booziness that has a slightly gin-like character. with warmth it develops a burnt smokiness.
the flavor is much like the aroma with the rich coffee and chocolate. There are hops in this that weren't evident in the aroma... there is a nice earthy dose of hops towards the end. this has got caramel, and soft nutty flavors accompanying the coffee flavors. the flavors meld into a cohesive unit well.
full bodied with a fine, but relatively active carbonation.
good drinkabilty, it goes down alarmingly fast, but it'll knock you on your ass. a finely crafted stout.

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

Appearance - Pours pitch black with a tan head that dissapates somewhat quickly.

Aroma - A big coffee and toffee aroma. I also picked up a bit of the alcohol in the aroma.

Taste - A bit smokey malt taste. Almost a sweet expresso coffee finish with some heat from the alcohol.

Mouth - Quite full bodied with decent carbonation.

Drinkability - This is a big beer and I would recomment drinking with a friend. Definitely a good brew.

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Photo of beveritt
3.85/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Presentation: Poured from a 750 ml green bottle into a small tulip. The label is painted on and gives a description of the beer and brewing process.

Appearance: Pours with a huge head, probably about 2 inches. The head is dark brown and takes awhile to settle. Finally settles into a thin coating of foam. The beer itself is a nearly opaque brown.

Smell: Thick and sweet smelling, like rum raisins and molasses. Tangy bitterness of coffee is also very present.

Taste: Alcohol bite upfront, followed by oily coffee and chocolate flavors and a long, lingering bitter finish.

Mouthfeel: Average level of carbonation. Body is average.

Drinkability: I split this some friends, to celebrate a special occasion. The beer is strong and very flavorful, but more suited to sipping on a cool winters night than a warm April afternoon. Overall, I like it.

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Photo of OutlawJoseyWales
5/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

the best stout i've ever had. thanks to bennetj17 for this wonderful west coast beer!

appearance: black, with a gorgeous 2 finger tan head.

smell: chocolate and roasted coffee as is expected.

taste: rich chocolate, but not too sweet! balanced BEAUTIFULLY with the coffee beans. one sip you will get deep dark luscious chocolate, the next you will get a more roasted coffee flavor. some stouts, one flavor or the other dominates, this double stout, is meshed perfectly.

mouthfeel: thick and chewy, you can really sink your teeth into this one so to speak. a joy to savor each sip.

drinkability: i could finish a whole big bottle of this stuff on my own no qualms. this is very high ABV, but drinks like an 5% oatmeal stout. great dessert beer, or have it anyway you like, just give it your full attention and respect one of the best beers in existence!

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

I had a bottle of this at the Stone Brewery Distro while I was in the area for a conference. I have been lusting after this beer for a while since it is one of the few on the BA Top 100 I hadn't had. Seeing it on the Stone beer list made me very happy.


Appearance: Extremely dark, opaque body. Fairly substantial dark brown/orange head that lingers much longer than anticipated.

Smell: Lots of chocolate and roasted malt. Some fruity notes. A little hops buried in there. As it warmed up the alcohol definately came out.

Taste: mmmm yummy. Some sweet malt tastes upfront but quickly overwhelmed by the roasted coffee, roasted malt, and chocolate tastes.
A bit of hops at the end along with a reminder of the huge alcohol (especially as it warmed up)

Mouthfeel: Thick meaty goodness. Mmmm yummy. Low carbonation, full bodied, creamy, excellent mouth coating. Basically what you'd expect for an imperial stout.

Drinkability: Well... One 750ml bottle was plenty, especially after the Stone sampling... Not the sort of thing you chug down several of in a night, but who would do that to such a fine beer anyway? Now, if I had several bottles to spread out over a week that would be awesome. Too bad for stupid TSA carry on rules. :(

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Photo of ArrogantB
3.98/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This beer poured a stark black into my snifter. The head was substantial and was a toffee color. The smell was a little roasted coffee. The taste was decent with slight coffee notes and a good roasted character. Not much chocolate going on here. Alcohol was missing in action until after the glass was gone. Decent RIS/Double but I was expecting a lot more from this beer. I'll cellar my other bottle for a couple years and see what happens. Old Numbskull is next!

Update 02/29/2008

Bottle aged for about a year. Smells like super malty grains and coffee. the flavor is strong coffee and molasses, then a heavy maltiness. This is actually pretty delicious and the mouthfeel is nice.

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Photo of bjohnson
4.58/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Had this awhile back and just going through my notes decided to write up the review. Served at cellar temp.

Pours a black as night an thick as oil. Caramel colored one finger head has thick coated retention and fantastic thick lacing. Roasted malt and barley in the nose with a touch of oats that smooth everything out. Big coffee kick with a slight hop twang--leafy hops.

Spicy abv kick noticeable right after the first sip. Big roasted malt flavors and a big coffee bitterness. Coffee beans and unsweetened chocolate flavors dance on the tongue. Bitterness from the coffee lingers on the palate well into the finish, though it's still surprisingly smooth. Coffee notes are held in check by a sweet caramel flavor--excellent balance on all flavors for this brew. With such a high abv, this is one sipping or sharing brew. Easily drinkable even with a slight spicy abv nudge.

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Photo of sloejams
4.8/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I'm finally getting around to reviewing this beer, my favorite stout.

Certain beers get to me sometimes and it becomes almost all I can think about. Usually with me it's an IPA or a Belgian ale, but every once in awhile it's a fine crafted stout. Speedway Stout is one of those beers.

This special beer works best in a snifter I've found (or perhaps a large red wine glass). The snifter allows the beauty of the deep, viscous blackness as it pours along the curve of the glass, leaving a creamy lace. The espresso frothed head is glorious in the small mouth of the snifter.

The aroma is wonderful - rich coffee, sweet malt and an almost vanilla flavor. It takes awhile to get around the complexities but it's very rewarding. The texture is thick and creamy - exactly what I like in a big stout. You can almost chew it.

Tasting it starts with an espresso flavor that gets a bit bitter before rounding out with a sweet malt backbone. There's a bitterness of dark chocolate with a sweetness of vanilla bean and hint of cherry wood. It's difficult to put a finger on all of the flavors, but it's enjoyable to try.

At 12% ABV, this is not for everyday / all day consumption. At that level it is rather remarkable how easily it does go down. The alcohol warmth makes this perfect for a colder night. Living in Los Angeles, I've enjoyed this just as much at bbqs and even for a nice weekend breakfast sipping.

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Photo of oberon
4.43/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to orfeu I finally get a chance to have this brew,poured into an imperial pint glass a jet black with a very tight formed 1 1/2 finger mocha colored head that leaves globs of lace as it ever so slowly settled.Aromas of bitter chocolate,dark roast coffee a very definitive fruit essence,even a hint of tree bark.Starts out quite dry with big French Roast coffee flavors with notes of earth and wood after awhite a sweeter rummy like flavor comes thru that lingers after the finish.The alcohol creeps but never really rears its head just a nice little burn,wow this is a masterpiece stout its huge and packed with intense flavor,a gem no doubt and probably my new favorite stout of any kind.

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Photo of JFazekas
4.53/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Presentation: Painted 750ml foiled but with a cap

Appearance: Deep black with decent head retention in a tulip glass.

Smell: Very sweet and a syrup smell with a note of roasted nuts. No noticeable hop aroma.

Taste: Deep roasted malt attacks the pallet. The malt mellows out into into a rich balanced flavor, yet there are little hop characteristics. The beer was young still, only aged roughly one year so the alcohol flavor was still very present in the after taste. You think you're finished tasting then another round of aftertaste hits with a delicious dark roasted coffee and nut flavor that is more present as the beer warms.

Overall: A truely great beer. At first taste I wasn't sold but as it warmed up it quickly became a delicious treat. I have another bottle saved that I plan on aging, but I can't wait to see how it turns out. As it is this falls into my top 10 all time beers.
put in my all time top 10.

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Photo of jmalex
4.78/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Split with a friend, 2006 vintage. We'll be splitting another one of these in a year or so. Oh man, I can't wait.

APPEARANCE: Absolutely pitch black with NO light getting through this. An incredibly dark brown head sits atop my Unibroue chalice, but lightens up somewhat as it sits. The head is still one finger large even 5 minutes after pouring. RIDICULOUS lacing. I'm very impressed.

SMELL: Incredibly intense. HUGE flavors of caramel and chocolate and interestingly nutty. Not as coffee-like and no particular hop aromas detected. Alcohol is very present. Very different from many other big stouts I've had.

TASTE: Wow. Chocolate, caramel, some coffee, and the nuttiness is really present. As it crosses the palette, bitterness becomes more apparent, but no hop flavors specifically. The finish starts as alcohol, but then the nutty and caramel flavors return for a 2 stage finish. Wonderful.

MOUTHFEEL: The thickest, chewiest beer I've ever had. The texture of a milkshake. The carbonation is a bit more than you'd find in most big stouts, and to me, that's perfect.

DRINKABILITY: It's so hard to determine drinkability for a beer as big as this. It's huge and you can't have a lot of this, but what I've got is so damn good and so easy to drink. I'm very impressed.

Believe the hype. This beer is that good. I can't wait to taste it in a year.

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Photo of poundboy
4.03/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked this one up from the dwindling selection at The Table and Vine. I had heard great things about this beer but sadly was a bit disappointed. Imperial Stout is one of my favorite styles, and this one, while quite good, lacks the complexity of secondary flavors which the truly great ones, such as Yeti or Rogue have in abundance.

Appearance: Beautiful packaging, Fancy 750 capped bottle with white, black and grey lettering. Poured with a think brownish head. Black, Black, Black. More lees in the bottom of the bottle than I have ever seen on anything, even homebrew. Props.

Smell: Rich coffee and roasted malt with alcohol and slight hop undertones.

Taste: Its got the roasted notes, its got the slight pleasant alcohol burn. Perhaps a bit less hop flavor than I go for. And none of those complex vinous and raisiny complex yeast flavors you often get with the a well brewed malt bomb, which as I mentioned was slightly disapointing

Mouthfeel: thick, tingly

Drinkability: All things are relative I suppose. Not one you have three of while your grilling, but good for the style. For the price I paid for it however, I could have two or three Smuttynose RIS's and be much more satisfied. A very good beer, but a top 10 beer, not to me.

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AleSmith Speedway Stout from AleSmith Brewing Company
97 out of 100 based on 1,616 ratings.