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AleSmith Speedway Stout - AleSmith Brewing Company

Not Rated.
AleSmith Speedway StoutAleSmith Speedway Stout

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
97
world-class

5,425 Ratings
THE BROS
90
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 5,425
Reviews: 1,473
rAvg: 4.39
pDev: 8.88%
Wants: 798
Gots: 1,574 | FT: 145
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: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 5,425 | Reviews: 1,473
Photo of draheim
4.47/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750mL bottle (no dates or codes, but about 6-8 months old - thanks again sleepyhead) poured into a snifter. Pitch black color with a nice tan head the dissipates to a thin film on the surface. A quick swirl brings a nice caramel head right back up.

Aroma is delicious, rich chocolate, dark roasted malts, caramel, molasses, and a hint of vanilla and booze. Coffee aroma is outstanding.

Taste is just delicious. Coffee and chocolate dominate, ABV completely hidden. Super smooth mouthfeel.

Overall this is among the best coffee stouts - any stouts really - I've ever had. Wish I could get it locally but still really glad I got a chance to try this one.

Photo of jamescain
4.32/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a sniffer.

Appearance: Black with a brown head about a finger thick that clings to the side of the glass and leaves a thin lacing.

Aroma: Lots of dark chocolate, roasted, coffee notes with a subtle burnt marshmallow aroma.

Taste: Chocolate, coffee, roasted notes, with a hint of dark fruit and molasses.

Mouthfeel: Full bodied, but not as thick as I was expecting, with medium carbonation, also a little higher then I was expecting.

Overall: Solid beer, great coffee aroma and flavor.

Photo of chugalug06
4.43/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A - Nice foamy tan head. Lots of beautiful lacing... Brew is thick black color.

S - Lots of huge coffee and chocolate. Big roasty flavors.

T - WOW. No heat! Smooth and milky. Well-rounded coffee/chocolate flavors.

M - Perfect! Great carbonation. Zero bitterness or heat.

O - Awesome brew! Glad I finally got to try this one...

Photo of kungpao
4.17/5  rDev -5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Pours typical to style. Very dark black with a soapy 1 finger head that quickly reduces to nothing.

S- Dark chocolates, roasted malts, a bit of coffee, nothing too out of the ordinary for style. Definitely detectable alcohol on the nose.

T- Tons of chocolate and roasted malts. Faded coffee profile that lingers in the background. Bittering hops match well and balance the brew over all. A wee tad bit sweet for my preference, but no where near cloying. A little bit of heat detectable from the alcohol but nothing out of balance. Very rich, very tasty.

M- Not overly carbonated. Not as silky smooth as I was expecting. Maybe splitting hairs here but possibly a little thin in this department.

O- This is a tremendous RIS. Huge bold flavor is the name of the game with this beer. One of the best non barrel aged stouts I've had, though not as good as FBS in my opinion.

Photo of MarkIntihar
3.77/5  rDev -14.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

2011 vintage. Poured from the bottle into my Kuhnhenn snifter. Thanks to Jeremy for throwing this one in on our trade!

A - Pours fairly thin with almost zero head. Even a vigorous pour can only generate the slightest tan lacing around the outside of the glass. Pitch black in color. I guess thin is a bad word to use, but definitely not as big as say a Bourbon County stout or Dark Lord, which, if I'm not going to get any carbonation, I would greatly prefer.

S - Chocolate, coffee, roasted malts dominate the nose. However, these are followed by a tart cherry smell, which does not quite jive with the rest of the scent. This is the second bottle of Speedway I've had that had this character to it, so I'm assuming (since I don't know any better) that it is an intended flavor. However, it simply does not fit the rest of the beer very well.

T - Taste is very coffee and chocolate forward, with the cherry/tartness characteristic as a much more subtle layer in the background. Finish is bitter dark chocolate and roasted malts, with a dash of coffee to compliment the character. The cherry tartness is still fairly present, but not nearly as much as in the nose. A very nicely balanced beer.

M - In line with the appearance, this one is a bit on the thin side as far as big imperial stouts go. I like them big and chewy, and this one just falls short. Not entirely unpleasant, though there is a bit of an alcohol bite at the very end of it.

O - Overall, a disappointment to me, both times I've had it. I don't quite understand the cherry aspect to it, and it doesn't really seem to work with the rest of the flavor profile. I hope I'm not just experiencing some oxidation in the bottle, and I will definitely try to track this one down on tap at some point, just to see if there's a noticeable difference.

Photo of SkiBum22
4.5/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours opaque deep black with a tiny khaki head, that receeds very quickly.

S - Fresh Coffee, roasted malt, vanilla, carmel and chocolate as it warms.

T - Roasted barley's and malt with a good dose of chocolate, sweet bitter coffee ,some slight char flavor, hints of anise as well, great tasting stout.

M - Medium carbonation with a dry finish

O - Great beer that I got lucky to get my hands on being in NYC. Another strong beer from AleSmith.

Photo of StoneTSR
3.74/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a gorgeous silver foiled 750 ml bottle.

APPEARANCE: Deep, dark black. Pitch black. Not a single ray of light passed through this beer. There was no red tint, no slightly less opaque parts of the glass, it was solid, straight black. On top of the beer rested a nice, thick brown head that dissipated rather quickly, but was very nice before it vanished.

SMELL: Coffee is the dominant aroma, but it is not as strong as it should be for such a big beer.

TASTE: There is a big hop character to this stout, much more so than most. Grapefruit dominates the hop character, but a strong coffee taste is the backbone of the entire stout. Hints of chocolate are apparent along with some subtle lemon. The finish is a combination of coffee and grapefruit hoppy bitterness.

MOUTHFEEL: Very dry with a nice sparkle, but it is thinner than I would have liked.

OVERALL: While this was an excellent stout it does not match up to its counterpart from Paso Robles - the Parabola. I thoroughly enjoyed the Speedway, but it is just doesn't have the feel that the perfect imperial stout would have. Aside from that it was great.

Photo of silentjay
4.3/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

murky brown to black with a sizable mocha head that sticks around a while and laces well.

was expecting tons of coffee, but I'm getting dark molasses in excess. tons of brown sugar and caramel as well as some milk chocolate and dark roast coffee behind that. some vanilla and woody hops behind that.

starts with french vanilla coffee, tons of molasses and chocolate. woody hops and a bit of bitterness cut through the roasted malts and molasses sweetness. coffee is not overpowering by any means. its there, but not terribly much more than many other of the style brewed without coffee beans. rich beyond belief.

thick full body with a silky carbonation that tickles the tongue slightly, but overall it feels like heavy cream in the mouth.

easily the best Alesmith beer I've had. I can't even imagine how good this is barrel aged.

Photo of n2185
4.07/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Pours black with two fingers of dark brown head that recedes into a thin brown cap with a little lacing.

S: Roasted malts at first followed by some sweet, creamy chocolate. Big, roasted, robust coffee aromas bring up the finish. Smells quite nice.

T: Roasted malts with semi-sweet chocolate flavors at first. Big, robust coffee flavors follow with a fairly strong bitter, char flavor that lingers a bit. Slight alcohol burn.

M: Thick body with medium carbonation, this beer has quite a bit of carbonation for the style which accents the bitter flavors.

O: Definitely a good coffee stout, though a bit strong on the char/bitter flavors for my tastes. I'd also like it to be a bit creamier. Still, I could drink this on a regular basis.

Photo of zaphodchak
3.8/5  rDev -13.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Half finger orangey head, dark brown body, some lace.

Coffee in the rich, sweetish nose. Some brown sugar?

Coffee in the taste, quite nutty with rather a bit of burn. Slightly piney. Possible prune in here.

Fine mouthfeel, not too carby. Some burn though.

Good imperial stout, could probably stand aging well.

Photo of spdyfire83
4/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12th review on BA
Bomber into snifter
Vintage 2011

From notes – consumed on July 16, 2011 for Matt’s birthday BBQ.

A: Opaque, deep brown with single finger nail head on medium pour.

S: Sweet cocoa with a hint of coffee – no sign of booze.

T: Bitter sweet chocolate up-front with a bold coffee presence in the middle that fades to semi-sweetness on the back. Nice, but a bit boozy/”hot” at the current moment.

M: Full-bodied and thick – coats palate all throughout.

O: Enjoyable beer; however, I have better memories of this from drinking it on-tap at Ale Smith a few years back. This will surely develop in the bottle for many years to come; however, not overly enjoyable when this young.

Photo of GeorgeAldi
4.42/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had a friend send this out to me from the west coast. Finally decided to rate this one after many tastings. Working on the second bottle. Whoops, should have had this one after! Nearly forgot how big this beer was, so much chocolate and coffee with a finish that lingers. Pours so dark, medium sweet chocolate in the nose with tons of fresh coffee. Big powerful robust palate, almost a night finisher.

Photo of morimech
3.85/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours inky black with one finger of tan head that had good retention. The head settles to a thick cap. Large amount of sticky lacing is left down the glass.

Hard to believe this beer is infused with coffee. Almost indisguishable underneath the chocolate and roasted malt qualities. Aroma of chocolate, roasted malt, and an earthy, woodsy smell. Taste follows suit with the coffee finally making an appearance. Bitter chocolate is still the prominent player. Subtle hints of vanilla, smoke, and earthy hops. Alcohol is noticed but is well blended into the flavor.

I have had some big, chewy stouts before, unfortunately this is not one of them. A little thin blooded but has a soft carbonation that I enjoyed.

I wish the coffee came out more in this stout as that is an element I enjoy in my beers. Could use a bigger body as well considering the level of ABV. Not in the elite category of Imprial Stouts.

Photo of jmarsh123
4.47/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours an opaque black with a luscious coffee head into a snifter. Dissolves into a thin layer shortly after the aggressive pour.

Aroma is strong of coffee with some roasted malts, oak and a little earthiness.

Coffee plays the leading role in the flavor. The initial palate hit is of strong bitter coffee rounding into an earthy hop bitterness. Presence of oak and a slight bit of vanilla I also detect.

Mouthfeel is good and creamy. This is a coffee stout no doubt about it. Not even remotely close to too sweet. Low carbonation levels and it got better as it warmed.

I don't like a whole lot of AleSmith brews with the exception of this. Always glad when a bottle of Speedway comes my way as it's way way too drinkable for a 12% big stout. It tastes better than the coffee I have every morning, but would probably get me fired from work if I make it my normal go to beverage.

Photo of ChugginOil
4.08/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This beast pours a mad thick pitch black. Mocha head sits at less than an inch. Sticky lacing leaves little bubbles around the glass. The nose is chocolatey and roasty. There is a bit of coffee involved but at the nose I am almost convinced that I had held onto this beer for longer than I should have. Nontheless, the massive chocolate and roasty offerings create a nice aroma. The taste is straight Willy Wonka. Chocolate infused with some toffee and deeply roasted malt. Great stuff going on here but the moutjfeel is the kicker. Oily, viscious and bold, Speedway Stout packs a candied, sticky punch that lathers the palate. Overall, this was a trade worthy of making as I do not have access to Alesmith brews and the flavors are robust and beastly. But, now
im ready to try this stout fresh. Love it.

Photo of biegaman
4.18/5  rDev -4.8%
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!

Photo of augustgarage
4.43/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Handpump cask pour @ Blue Palms Brewhouse - served in a snifter.

Inky bistre liquid with a markedly dense half finger of tan cream fed by the slowest moving tan flecks of bubbles, which struggle to the surface like polar jets ejected from a Herbig-Haro object across vast expanses of a galaxy. Perpetual retention, fine even lacing.

Coffee, licorice, chocolate, and rich roast barley in the nose. Smooth and gentle aroma.

Toasted biscuits dredged in molasses, coffee, and cocoa - immense depth of flavors and remarkable balance. Brown sugary, maple, cookie dough, and a faint smokiness come out in the loamy finish. Very faint dark fruit and low bitterness throughout vie for subconcious.

Chewy, velvety, full-bodied, with perfect soft carbonation and a light kick of alcohol (like spiked coffee). Perfection.

One of the best examples of the style from the bottle is a revelation from a properly kept cask. Quite a treat - don't miss it in this modality if you ever have the opportunity.

Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.97/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours an opaque black with a small 1/2 inch puffy dark khaki head that fades to an oily cap. Random spots and small streaks of lace line the glass on the drink down. A gross slug of yeast or something plopped into my glass at the end of the pour from the bottle. Ew. Smell is of dark roasted malt, roasted coffee beans, slight chocolate, and a noticeable alcohol sting. Taste is of dark roasted malt, rich roasted coffee, and bitter chocolate. There is a nice roasty bitterness that sticks to the palate after each sip. A low level of carbonation makes for a smooth and thick mouthfeel. Overall, this is a good stout with some nice roasted coffee aromas and flavors.

Photo of FUNKPhD
4.35/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Fortunate enough to get one in TX.

Starts with a black, opaque pour, with a nice, fluffy, dark khaki head. The head doesn't stick around for very long, but this already looks like a tasty beverage. Produces excellent lacing. The instant aroma is of chocolate and roasted coffee. With the first sip, it makes sense why there's praise around this beer. Vanilla, then coffee, followed by malts and hops, with a lingering, slight burning of booze. Silky smooth, with a nice, very slight hoppy tongue tingling bitterness; as full bodied as the appearance leaves you to believe.

Wasn't sure if there was a hope around it or not, but after sipping it, this definitely sets the standard for stouts.

Photo of kayalla
4.17/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Enjoyed this next to the barrel aged version last night with a friend. I have probably had this 50 times now but just getting to rating it!

Black pour into a snifter with a small creamy head. Aroma is bursting with freshly ground high quality coffee beans, vanilla and dry chocolate. You can tell this is pretty malt heavy from the aroma. Flavor is a lot of that roasted fresh coffee beans, unsweetened chocolate, light bitterness and hops. Really creamy and smooth, I love the mouthfeel on this! For being available here this is stellar and honestly something I drink a lot of. Next to the barrel aged version this is fairly strong on the coffee and definitely a bit lighter though still super full bodied. Great beer.

Photo of hoptualBrew
4.35/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750ml split with friends to celebrate my birthday - poured into my goblet.

Pours opaque deep black with a tiny khaki head, receeds in a blink of an eye. At 12% I expect to find some sexy legs & they were absolutely there.

Nose is strong dark and milk sweet chocolates along with fresh roasted coffee & a solid presence of the booze.

Up front a little bittering bite hits and transitions to a silky smooth chocolate and coffee sweet. There is a nice punch in back from the alcohol. It wasn't hot though, just enough to be recognized.

Silky smooth, well carbonated & moderately thick body (8/10) do the flavors justice. Thank you.

Overall, it was an impressive Imperial Stout, but not north trading again for when the Yeti & Southern Tiers' Blackwater series are available near me. Definitely worth checking out once though.

Photo of brystmar
3.3/5  rDev -24.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Been wanting to try this for awhile, so I was excited to see it offered at Rattle N Hum. The bottle we shared was served far too cold, so I let it warm up before getting critical.

A: pitch black, literally zero head, mild lace. Speedway Stout is purported to be a top-tier imperial stout, and I expected much more in this department.

S: smells *very* hot. Booze, chocolate, booze, and faint traces of coffee. Did I say booze? Zero aromatic complexity. Doesn't make me giddy with every whiff like the other top stouts in this category.

T: first sip was very cold, bland, and disappointing. Waited until it warmed up, then tasted again. Chocolate, roasted malt, sweet malts, mild coffee, and then plenty of booze. Lacks complexity and refinement, and doesn't hide its strength well. Reminds me of countless other mid-level imperial stouts. A decent beer, but wholly unimpressive.

M: its big, silky, smooth body is the only saving grace here. Definitely the best part of this brew.

D: about average for a 12% beer, but well below average in comparison with other top imperial stouts. Strong amount of alcoholic warmth as it goes down. Pretty heavy too, but this is usually not a point of contention for me. I'll be generous with a 3. Glad I shared this bottle.

I opened this bottle with high expectations and was let down every step of the way. This is in sharp contrast to a beer like Dark Lord: I again came in with high expectations, but was absolutely blown away on all fronts. My hopes for Cigar City's Marshal Zhukov were also high recently; that brew proved itself at least satisfactory on every level and excelled in mouthfeel. Can't say anything similar here.

Speedway Stout really let me down. I actually wish the bottle were musty or stale so I could chalk it up to those problems, but that was simply not the case. In two words, it's overhyped and unimpressive.

This is not a bad beer by any stretch, but expecting something special from this beer will leave you disappointed.

Photo of Stinkypuss
4.33/5  rDev -1.4%
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.

Photo of Nashvillain
4.37/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Kyle for bringing this to the Beern3rd tasting.

Pours an almost opaque black into the glass, an aggressive dark tan head storming on top. The outer edge of the beer is a deep, dark brown, but the body lets no light through.

The smell is phenomenal. Hands down my favorite aspect of the beer, this thing presents with huge dark chocolate, milky vanilla, and tons of coffee. Truly this is what stout smells like.

Taste doesn't quite follow through on the smell, not bad, just not as balanced. There was little to no booze in the smell but it somehow creeps into the taste mid-palate. The alcohol on this one isn't just warming, it has a spicy flavor. Chocolate from the nose and faint coffee round out the sip. Mouthfeel is solid but not too thick, a happy medium, though the taste and smell would indicate slightly more body.

Great beer, worthy of it's fame and high regards.

Photo of mdvatab
4.33/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 750ml bottle into a Bordeaux wine glass.

Aroma: Fruity grape, vanilla, powered hot cocoa mix, dark roasted malt, and, finally, prominent coffee notes come through a while after being poured.

Appearance: Thick, dense, frothy dark tan head looks like a chocolate milkshake. Pitch black opaque body. Thin foam clings to the inside of the glass.

Flavor: Bold coffee-like bitterness. Nice, round deep dark chocolate combined w/ RICH fudge brownie sweetness. Vinous alcohol is fairly well cloaked behind the malt bill. Very subtle coffee note in the flavor. (Less than I'd hoped for, actually.) Prominent hoppy, peppery bitterness comes through at the end and lingers.

Mouthfeel: Medium-low carbonation, medium-high silky viscosity, with some warmth from the alcohol.

Overall: Overall, this one was really enjoyable. I can see why there's so much buzz about it. One minor issue that I had was the bitterness at the end, which was a bit more than I'd prefer. I'm going to lay my other bottle down and see how it tastes in another year or so...

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AleSmith Speedway Stout from AleSmith Brewing Company
97 out of 100 based on 5,425 ratings.