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AleSmith Speedway Stout - AleSmith Brewing Company

Not Rated.
AleSmith Speedway StoutAleSmith Speedway Stout

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5,349 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 5,349
Reviews: 1,458
rAvg: 4.39
pDev: 8.88%
Wants: 800
Gots: 1,537 | FT: 141
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: 5,349 | Reviews: 1,458 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of pdoran10
4.55/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours out pure black into a pint glass. Bottle split three ways. One finger of brown head that leaves nice lacing.

Smell is crisp dark malt with bitter earthy hop and slight coffee presence.

Taste is dry roasted bitter chocolate with light bitter coffee. I love dry thick stouts with coffee. This beer covers all my bases and then some. Roast and coffee meld well together.

Big substantial and dry with moderate carbonation. Lots of win here. I love me some dry, thick stout!

One glass was not enough.

Photo of BBP
4.38/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- Pours dark black. Extremely thick. Good carbonation and gorgeous lacing. Maintained a decent head for the duration of the drink.

S- Booze and coffee. Little bits of bitterness. Hints of molasses.

T- Leaning to chocolate. Extremely rich malt profile. Reminded me a bit of storm king on steroids. The chocolate was extremely rich. There wasn't as much coffee as I expected out of this. It was definitely there, but it was subtle at the same time. The chocolate came out on top of it. Comparable to espresso chocolates. I'm happy that the coffee they used was quite rich, but it didn't get the focus as much as the chocolate flavors did.

M- Medium full. Extremely creamy. Carbonation was just right. Slightly dry, very sticky finish.

D- Quite drinkable for 12%. I was expecting more coffee from the description but it didn't disappoint. A superb stout and something that I wouldn't pass up.

Photo of Gmann
4.05/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a pitch black color, total darkness. The head is tight and creamy looking and settles into a sparse cap.

The aroma is of a mild chocolate, caramel and coffee. There are some ash notes perhaps some burnt wood. Its a nice aroma just not very strong.

The taste is of a strong roasted malt and expresso roast. There is some caramel sweetness and a sour berry thing. Some bitter chocolate, licorice and vanilla notes finish the flavor profile. A very roast dominated stout.

The feel is well-bodied with semi-soft carbonation which gives the beer a silky feel. Starts off sweet but ends bitter with a subtle sour twang. ABV is well hidden.

A very roasty stout with bitter coffee flavors. Quite substantial. I prefer to see some other flavors equalize the heavy roast so I scored lower but heavy roast fans will love it.

Photo of zoolzoo
1.77/5  rDev -59.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 1 | feel: 3 | overall: 1

Received as a trade extra, thanks to the generous Adamdc. I am unsure of the vintage.

A: Pours "stout black", a weak mocha head develops and diminishes into a bubbly ring around the glass.

S: Strong dark fruit presence, soy sauce, burnt coffee, alcohol. Getting some chocolate, as well.

T: Wow, getting alot of strange tartness out of this one. Dark fruits yah, but also a weird semi-sour cherry thing. I wanna say this is infected, but I have no other sample to compare it to. Coffee presence is weak, chocolate presents itself as an under lying sweetness. Finish is again... a bit fruity!

M/D: Thick enough, carbonation is low which contradicts my infection theory. I don't understand how this beer is so well regarded. I may have a bad bottle, maybe not. As it stands I will never know, I wont be hunting this one down again.

Photo of dbossman
4.58/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A: Black with a fantastic head and lacing--I've never seen a stout this big with this good of lacing and head

S: Lots of roasted coffee and lots of alcohol and booze; a nice chocolate undertone with a wonderful roasted malt backbone; also faint dark fruits

T: So smooth with so much coffee; good god, that is a good coffee stout; roasted and malty; some boozy notes but not too bad

F: So creamy with absolutely perfect mouth feel

D: This is such a great beer--so much coffee and although its a bit boozy at times it is so drinkable

Photo of SpeedwayJim
4.13/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Its been over a year and a half... figured I should finally review my namesake beer. 2010 vintage only because I remember when I bought it. Poured from a foiled and capped 750ml. bottle into a Southampton oversize snifter.

A: Standard pour yields a 1 finger frothy mocha colored head with good retention. Beer is an opaque black though it looks a bit on the thin side. Lacing is stringy and layered with very good cling. Nice legs too. A pretty beer overall though it lacks a certain viscosity.

S: Nose is a sharp espresso bean first and foremost. Chocolate, liquorice, and roasted malt plays around in the background hidden by the coffee and slight booziness. Aromatic and pungent overall but I've smelt better. A bit one-dimensional.

T: Opens milk and dark chocolate sweetness which is quickly complemented by coffee bean bitterness along with a smoothing roasted malt character. Very robust throughout. Coffee tingles in the background towards the middle while a hint of liquorice appears. Coffee powers forward towards the finish, ending with a nice crescendo of spiciness, slight coffee bean tartness, and a touch of dark fruit. Cocoa powder and coffee beans in the finish. Like the aroma, a bit one sided, but that side is done very very well.

M: Medium bodied with low carbonation. This one drinks much better than it looks. Silky and smooth in the mouth with a touch of spiciness going down. Sticky and viscous throughout. Finish is messy with a lingering aftertaste.

D: I've had this beer fresh before and I can say that with a year on it, there's no comparison. The aged version is far better. More balanced and not so intensely coffee forward. I'm not a huge fan of imperial stouts with a heavy coffee persuasion, but this is a very solid offering from alesmith. Definitely worth a try.

Photo of alpineclimber
4.26/5  rDev -3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Trucked this one back from San Francisco. It's been sitting in the cellar staring at me for months so I finally decided to crack it.

Poured into my St. Bernardus chalice, a huge frothy tan head on black brew. The head recedes to leave some nice lacing.

Not much for the nose, chocolate and cola and even that is light.

A nice big gulp reveals a huge stout with that is strongly infused with coffee. Chocolate, all sorts of roasted flavors from the malt and a nice bitterness that seems to come from the coffee.

A really thick mouthfeel, thicker then most stouts that I have tasted lately.

This is a pretty amazing coffee infused stout. It would be great to try all the variations that I presume are brewed using this beer.

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

The first noticeable characteristic is the black color of the beer and the thick creamy head that finishes the pour. The smell is roasted chocolate coffee. For a stout, it is easy to drink without the uncomfortable taste from such a high alcohol content.

Photo of brew3crew
4.16/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A- dark black with maroon around the edges. No head whatsoever
S-roasty and toasty malts- not much else
T-smooth roasted mzlt. Slight bit of chocolate. Some alcohol present throughout
M-medium bodied and really smooth
D-oh so drinkable. This is a great brew

Photo of Urbancaver
4.25/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark dark brown with a decent amount of off-white head. Smells strongly of coffee as expected. A sweet coffee scent othe nose. Lots of malt on the nose. Tastes sweet and coffee heavy. The malt backbone is really sweet and cloying. The coffee is fairly prominent but isnt overpowering. Strong but a solid mouthfeel. Fairly drinkable for beng percent.

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

Poured from a 750ml bottle into a Duck Rabbit snifter...not sure on the vintage, but this bottle has been in my cooler for about a year...

A thin razor thin layer of dark (hot cocoa colored) head formed on top of the body which is black as night. The bubbles dissipated almost instantly, leaving behind no sign of their inhabitance.

The nose has tons of roasted malts, black coffee, cocoa and molasses.

Hmmm...the taste is similar to the nose, but in reverse order. The molasses flavor dominates the palate while the chocolate and coffee do not pop up until well into the aftertaste. The finish is boozy, but not 12% boozy.

Thick, chewy and mildly carbonated with a surprisingly dry finish.

There is a reason why this is a top rated stout. Everything is top notch. I managed to finish the entire bottle, save for the tiny taster I gave my wife. Highly recommended...

Photo of Chaney
4.59/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I got this brew a while back on my first trade from MaxStout. Thanks John!

A: How could anyone possibly say that this brew is anything other than black, black, and even more black? The slight mocha head (maybe 1 finger +?) made it even more worthwhile!

S: Deep, dark coffee (more mild than I would have thought), molasses, and tons of dark fruit. The chocolate additive was quite interesting.

T: Full, full, bodied and them some more! The balance between the coffee, chocolate elements, and the malt was astounding! Some dates in there for balance, and I've gotta say that this was not an out and out "coffee beer" which I appreciated!

M: Very thick, creamy, with pretty good carbonation, ABV not detected. Honestly, I could not give a person a better example of this style in terms of mouthfeel.

D: I've had this one on my shelf for months and have been staring at it for quite a while. Finally, after I've tried it, I'm totally impressed!

Photo of jarryd
4.74/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Easily one of the best stouts i've ever had.

A Black beer with a short tan/brown head less than a quarter inch.

Definitely used roasted barley and maybe even a high crystal malt for this brew. A definite coffee flavor as well as chocolate which hides the alcohol very well. This is truly an awesome brew by yet another awesome San Diego brewery.

Photo of BucBasil
4.48/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Poured from the tap into a tulip glass at Blue Palms Brewhouse in Hollywood CA.

A: The beer is a pure black void, not much else to be said. Head is about 1.5 fingers and has ok retention and is dark tan. Great looking beer.

S: Heavy on the roasted malt, as expected. Very much dominated by espresso and some dark chocolate. There is a slight hint of wood in there as well as a touch of vanilla and some slight spiciness, but mostly it is roasted malt and coffee. Very nice.

T: Roasted coffee dominates, as well as a slightly burnt character and some woodiness. Nice mocha-like character with very dark bittersweet/baker's chocolate and coffee. A touch of creaminess in the middle, but finishes very strong with roasted notes.

Overall an excellent beer, and I feel great that I had the luck to run into this on tap. Definitely lives up to the hype. Definitely recommended. Cannot disappoint.

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

appearance: dark brown/black, short tan head.

smell: notes of coffee, roasted malts, and sublte chocolate aromas

taste: lots of coffee flavor, some subtle chocolate, a little spice/anise?

mouthfeel: full bodied as expected.

I enjoyed this brew at a Rare Stout night tasting, thanks to CampusCrew and the other generous BAs. This was not a true standout like the Bourbon County and Hunpahus was, but it is an impressively made imperial stout indeed.

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

appearance: deep dark black, nearly ebony, loaded head

smell: loaded coffee, and sublte chocolate aromas

taste: lots of coffee, subtle chocolate, a little anise

mouthfeel: full bodied stout

drinkability: we had a rare sout party is this was one of the selectons. This was good but not memorable caompred to what we had, would drink again though

Photo of KickInTheChalice
4.38/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 750 mL bottle into a pint glass. 2010 vintage.

Appearance: In the glass this has a nearly black color with dark walnut edges. A nice creamy brown head rests on top. A big, frothy monster, the head lingers around but does not deliver any lace.

Smell: Tons of coffee, dark roasted malt, a little lactose, and pure dark chocolate all coexist in the aroma.

Taste: Roasted malt turn to a coffee flavor. Very quickly my mouth becomes overwhelmed with the quality and depth of the flavors. Roasted coffee becomes smooth creamy dark chocolate and espresso. These flavors leave just enough room for a bit of spicy hops to sneak through at the end. The finish is a roasty bitterness with some dark chocolate.

Mouthfeel: There is no doubt this is a full-bodied imperial stout. Extraordinarily creamy, with medium carbonation.

Drinkability: This is a smooth, dark chocolate and roast coffee treat.

Photo of jlindros
4.4/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Had as part of the mini Whale Stout tasting back in mid December. '09 vintage.

Big fluffy dark head fades slowly with some lacing over a pitch black no light escaping beer.

Nose is loaded with coffee, chocolate, caramel, heavy and rich, lots of dark chocolate, a little vanilla, a bit of a bitter earthy hop, light oatmeal, pure dark malts and a slight velvety like aroma.

Taste is creamy luscious dark malts, lots of roast and coffee, black patent malts, chewy oats, dark earthy bitter baker's chocolate, vanilla, caramel, very complex. Some earthy hop bitterness and even bitterness from the scorched malts, light chocolate milk. The sweetness fades to a light dry feel on the finish, mouth coating, with a long bitter coffee roast and chocolate and light tingly booze.

Mouth is thick and creamy, velvety, decent carbonation.

The drink is decent, it def drinks smoother than 12% as all the heavy malts, sweetness, and bitterness as well as complex flavors balance out pretty well, although there is a slight sticky mouth coating on the finish but a beer this big you can't blame it.

Photo of DaveHS
4.85/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A-Deep mocha brown/black with a thin ring of cappuccino colored head and moderate, sticky lacing.

S-Cold coffee, pretzels, baking chocolate, condensed milk sweetness.

T/M-Very rich and roasty coffee flavor, kept in check by subtle chocolate sweetness. Soft, lush, mouth coating. Full bodied. Alcohol is hidden well, but still provides a pleasant thinness on the back end.

D-One of the best uses of coffee beans in an imperial stout. Top notch.

Photo of rowingbrewer
4.82/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

had this beer at a recent dark beer tasting. this beer pours black with a decent amount of head that dissipated fairly quickly. the smell is coffee up front and toasted malts and a little alcohol as well. the flavor follows the smell fairly closely with a wonderful ccoffee flavor and the alcohol is a little more apparent in the flavor than the smell. good carbonation and very drinkable at 12%

Photo of JoeOfParma
5/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I am a Clevelander, and an unabashed Great Lakes Brewing Company fanboy. Their year-round selection and varying seasonal brews are enough to satisfy my love of beer. We don't have a tremendous number of retailers with a big microbrew selection, so I am lucky that I can stop at any supermarket in the area, buy a sixer of Great Lakes, and enjoy a good craft brew.

All that said, the AleSmith Speedway Stout is the second beer experience I have ever had that has given the lie to my delusion that GLBC can be the sole provider of my craft beer. (The first was Stone Double Bastard Ale.)

Speedway Stout tastes better than the best coffee or espresso I have ever had. This beer's refinement is absolutely immediate: it doesn't require any kind of contemplation, its lovely, balanced bitterness comes so naturally that it hardly tastes like the result of brewing science: it FEELS like coffee, like the synthesis of pure water and the most sublime flavor that nature has to offer.

It is bittersweet, deep, nuanced, and drinkable. I cannot come up with a single flaw, and I am a profoundly pessimistic individual. This brew is truly one of the most outstanding craft brew offerings I've ever had the pleasure of experiencing.

Photo of angelmonster
4.15/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a one finger dark brown head, body is pitch black with no light penetrating. Head retention is good and lacing is above average.

Smell is of roasted espresso beans and smoky burnt malts. Sweet chocolate syrup is also in there mixed with alcohol. Thats pretty much what dominates the aroma completely.

Taste is heavy on roasted coffee beans and burnt malts. There is also an aftertaste of bitter coffee grounds, it's almost like sipping on a double shot of espresso. Hops could also add to that bitterness I'm tasting. Alcohol is definitely present at 12% but not overpowering.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied, nice and syrupy. Carbonation levels are good, well carbonated for such a big, strong beer. Head contributed some creaminess to the body, just not enough to give it a 5

Drinkability is very good. Would have given it a 5 but at 12 percent, it packs a punch. I love Coffee Stouts and it definitely delivers tons of coffee flavor. Drank the whole 750 ml bottle and could have had another but with the alcohol content it would have knocked me on my ass.

Photo of HopHead84
4.37/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On tap at Alesmith.

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

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

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

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

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

Photo of HopMasterFlex
4.65/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This beer sets the bar for all stouts in my mind. It is special and gets better everytime i drink it. If you have had it only once drink it again and i guarantee you will have a new experience with it.

Smell is coffee and chocolate with undertones of caramel and vanilla. It smells so good it is hard to wait for it to warm to the drinking temp. It pours black as a can be and looks extremely viscous and full bodied. perfect head every time.

Taste is second to none for a year round release. Coffee, dark chocolate, toasted malts, caramel, with a little bitter taste to it at the end. A little warmth is present due to its 12% abv and I love it. Can't say enough.

Overall i use this beer to compare not only stouts but all beers. the quality is outstanding and is consistent year round. Hands down top 5 year round release for me.

Photo of dragonWhale
4.38/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The big bad Speedway. Meet thy doom.
Your demise shall come by these hands.

Big and black, with a furry brown topping. Big coffee with chocolate and some burnt caramel. Alcohol mostly disguised as pleasure. The flavor is very similar, very smooth chocolate nestling over top of the coffee. Rich but not super thick, thinned out a bit by the coffee perhaps..
An excellent beer, and it had been awhile. Thanks, guys..

AleSmith Speedway Stout from AleSmith Brewing Company
97 out of 100 based on 5,349 ratings.