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AleSmith Speedway Stout - AleSmith Brewing Company

Not Rated.
AleSmith Speedway StoutAleSmith Speedway Stout

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
98
world-class

5,042 Ratings
THE BROS
90
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 5,042
Reviews: 1,413
rAvg: 4.39
pDev: 8.88%
Wants: 781
Gots: 1,418 | FT: 140
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:
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 added by: BeerAdvocate on 11-09-2002)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 5,042 | Reviews: 1,413 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of SirSketch
4.22/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Speedway is jet black with one of the creamiest heads I've seen on a beer. The smell is reminiscent of chocolate fondue and fresh coffee, and perhaps a burnt toast quality as well. Light fruit flavors emerge, but fade quickly. Slightly metallic taste. Slick as hell on the tongue. Overall this is a great beer worth tracking down, and only a slight notch behind Dark Lord in my book.

SirSketch, Sep 06, 2009
Photo of jdklks
4.58/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

this beer rivals the abyss (my favorite beer) on both look and smell. nothing shines through this black beauty, not even on the fringe when held to light. a milk chocolate head about a finger deep that graces the surface of what must seem to it an abyss below. the smell is out of this fucking world. huge chocolate presence along with a nice, roasted coffee scent and some sweet dark fruits. incredible.

the flavor is fruity sweet and very hot up front. lots of alcohol all the way through, accompanied by chocolate in the middle. a bitter roasted coffee finish that lingers on the palate with "parasitic tenacity" (Woolf) well after a sip has been taken. very dry throughout. overall, coffee and alcohol are dominant, though after the initial shock other flavors begin to appear, especially that dark fruit sweetness characteristic of so many great imperial stouts. im almost inclined to give this a 5, but the roasted coffee bitterness at the end is perhaps a little too intense.

mouthfeel is extraordinary. thick and chewy, like it should be, and perfectly carbonated. drinkability reflects the 12%, and the ass-kicking my palate is taking.

jdklks, Sep 05, 2009
Photo of stephens101
4.1/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Near impenetrable blackness fills the glass and rests foreboding beneath a thick and bubbly dark tan head. Retention is excellent, and takes a good two to three minutes to retreat into a nice-sized layer above the brew. A thick, sightly broken lace rings the glass. Aroma consists of sweet malts, burnt oak, earthy hops, black licorice, roasted almonds and toffee, all of which are in near perfect harmony. Taste is sweet and a little vinegary up front, but a huge hit of hops, more roasted nuts and coffee swoop in quickly, adding an almost intimidating boldness to the overall taste. Behind all of that is a welcomed layer of alcohol heat mixed in with some dark chocolates. A good amount of carbonation keeps the brew from being too heavy going down. Mouth-feel is medium-to full bodied and isn't as creamy as expected. Not for the faint of heart.

stephens101, Sep 04, 2009
Photo of scootny
4.58/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This is one of the all time most dangerous beverages ever brewed.

The eye is tickled by the huger head, glacier paced retention and plentiful lacing. The opaque blackness beckons from my snifter.

What starts out cold as a coffee bomb warms into a complex multilayered malted work of art. Deep burnt sugars and charcoal.
Coffee of course, leaning toward espresso, and dark chocolate. A dark raisiney fruitiness. A touch of charcoal.

Taste is a nose mirror. A strong cup of perfectly balanced java melds into a supremely crafted dry stout. Dark roasted flavors and an underlying light malt sweetness. More dry bitterness in the finish with a lingering pumpernickel. Again the charcoal remains but stronger here on the tongue.

Feel is finely effervescent and much lighter than something this heavy should be. Still there is enough weight to feel on in your mouth. So creamy that I felt guilty for not giving it a five... So I did.

Drinkability is obscene. There is no hint of alcohol anywhere and the quenching aspect of this brew allows you to take deep draughts from the glass with no knowledge of the strength of the brew.

A winner in my book. I will be aging a bottle even though it is perfectly balanced now. Just wanna know.

scootny, Aug 30, 2009
Photo of bobjonesSD
4.85/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Ah, old friend. Time to give it a review. Poured from a fresh growler into a Maredsous chalice (slightly random, but a nice glass nonetheless). The pour even from the growler produces a delightful 2cm head on the 30cl of thick black liquid. The head is a lovely espresso cream color that lines the glass as consumed. Aroma begins with pure coffee, but as it warms it moves more towards burnt coffee (in a good way) with roasted malts coming through and I still detect very little in the way of alcohol. The taste leads with sweet black coffee with a malt undertone but not too bitter nor too sweet, perfectly balanced. The finish leaves a nice slightly bitter coffee taste on the palate. This might be the most dangerously easy to drink 12% abv stout I've ever enjoyed.

bobjonesSD, Aug 28, 2009
Photo of photomike
4.53/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours beautifully into my Great Divide tulip. Pure black, this is completely opaque under the thick, explosive tan head. Standing two inches tall, the cap refuses to dissipate. Insane retention and lacing. Absolute perfection, at least visually.

Scent is quite appealing as well. Roasted coffee and sourdough malts are in the forefront, with a vague raisiny fruitiness backing them up. The slightest hint of alcohol pokes through.

At its coldest, this beer is a unidimensional coffee bomb. As it warms, however, the flavors really open up and this beer becomes worthy of every bit of its strong reputation. Malty, roasty and slightly sweet, the coffee continues to dominate the flavor. Cocoa powder and dates layer over a tiny bit of blackberry and just the slightest hint of booze and roasty bitterness. Really tasty.

Mouthfeel is great as well. Slick and smooth with a medium-full body and light carbonation. Chewy finish and the lightest touch of heat from the alcohol.

Good lord. How could this be so drinkable. Great taste, with well hidden alcohol. An incredibly well crafted beer. Complex and delicious.

This is an incredible stout. Well worthy of its reputation.

photomike, Aug 27, 2009
Photo of ndekke39
3.55/5  rDev -19.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Tried this one with a group of friends. Pours an opaque black with a tan head. Good head retention. Smells and tastes of dark roasted coffee, chocolate, and cola. Pretty rich, but balanced overall. Hard to taste the alcohol, so watch out. Overall, a good stout - worth trying a copy times!

ndekke39, Aug 26, 2009
Photo of anchordrinker
4.4/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- Pours totally black with a thin light-brown head.

S- Aromas present include molasses, a hint of booze, coffee grounds and rich roasted malt.

T- Flavor begins with a sustained mellow roasted-cocoa sweetness, which eventually gives way to increasingly acidic coffee and bitter roasted malt flavors.

M- Creamy medium-thick bodied with delicate, fine carbonation.

D- A sipper due to the array of big flavors prevalent but very, very drinkable for its high abv.

anchordrinker, Aug 24, 2009
Photo of erz316
4.33/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

2008 vintage, poured into conical pint glass. 750ml bottle.

A - pours black with a full 2 finger brown head. big bubbly head, retains well. body is jet black save the ever slightest sliver of mahogany getting in through the bottom of the glass. as the head dwindles down the big bubbles becomes glazed over and give the foam a very creamy look. great lacing, really great. I want to give this a five, but I am going to nit pick and say the head could be a darker brown. other than that the lacing makes it look so damn fine, its is hard to resist drinking this beer really quickly.

S - top notes are a a rich roasted maltiness with some noticeable alcohol in the mix; as it warms up even more, the coffee begins to seep into the foreground, bringing a slight spicy or acidic smell. the midground is a light coffee aroma, which blends into the alcohol part of the top notes. the coffee is not that strong; the bottom is slightly spicy with a definite cinnamon note. good all around, but could be more potent.

T - overall taste is a slightly sour intense stout. initial taste is a beautiful blend of sweet roasted malts and an acidic taste from the coffee. slight agitation releases some of the 12% abv, but not nearly as much as one would think. for so much alcohol in this beer it is incredibly smooth, I mean really really velvet smooth. the acidity from the coffee is what I initially decided was a sour taste, but now it is clearly that astringent acidity from the coffee. the malts are huge and delicious in this beer, incredibly so; their sweetness is very variable ranging from the roasted wort kind of flavor, to a almost cloying molasses flavour. the finish: slightly more alcoholic, with a lingering finish on the back of the throat, pretty dry, but it is mixed in with the thick and dark malts that the dryness is subdued. again the malts are huge here, mixing in with the acidity and general flavour of the coffee. the innate sweetness of the malts curbs the acidity from the coffee and makes this utterly heavenly flavour, though the coffee presence is not too strong, it could easily be stronger. the aftertaste is lingering and much more coffee infused. the coffee is so much more noticeable in this part of the drink. underlying sweetness, much more like molasses in this part, from the malts, and a slight acidity from the coffee. this is not doubt a great stout but, I just cant stack it up to the praise it recieves. it has all of the aspects that would be in a world class beer, but it doesn't excel in any of the aspects.

MF&D - nearly flawless. the body could be thicker for the double/imperial style, but then they would probably have to sacrifice some of the alcohol, which is one of the most amazing points to this beer: that one could alcoholify the beer so much with out reducing the drinkability is remarkable. the beer is so incredibly smooth that one would never guess that the abv is so high.

erz316, Aug 23, 2009
Photo of fiver29
4.58/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark black with a quick dark tan head. Aroma is coffee and dark roasted malts. Not overpowering. Its got a realy nice balance to the aroma. This is a bold beer. It has lots of flavor with roasted malts and coffee. Follows the nose very well. Very smooth texture with a nice long finish. I wish all beers drank like this one. It goes down way to easily.

fiver29, Aug 21, 2009
Photo of popery
4.7/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

One of the best stouts that I've ever had. Chocolate, roasted malt, light coffee and more blend smoothly and nearly perfectly to create a really incredible beer. It's dark as night with a small mocha cap. The aroma is a bit lighter than the flavor, but it's still excellent. The mouthfeel is smooth and luxurious without ever showing its weight. I'm shocked that this beer is anywhere near 12% abv. It's a real treat. I dearly wish that it was more readily available.

popery, Aug 18, 2009
Photo of aewinte1
4.13/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A- pours pitch black with light brown head. 2" head from vigorous pour
S- Smell is extremely strong of coffee. Smells creamy as well
T- Huge creamy soffee flavor as can be expected from te nose. The coffee flavors fades to a woodey smokey flavor. Huge roasted malt flavor
M- Thick and medium carbonation give this a good mouthfeel. Good, but nothing spectacular worth mentioning about the mouthfeel
D- drinkability is so-so on this one. The flavors are great, but its really a sipper and due to the strength and viscosity, I don't think I would want more than one. One bomber is enough.

aewinte1, Aug 16, 2009
Photo of TheViolator666
4.65/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

750 ml bottle (with a huge cap) poured into pint glass.

A: Very slight creamy brown head. Pours black as all hell. Leaves faint lacing behind.

S: Smell is more present than most stouts. Definitely smells of chocolate and roasted malt.

T: Tastes more and more of coffee as it warms up. This one's hot! HUGE warming alcohol sensation after every sip... some don't like this, but I love it! I would also like to try this one with a few years on it for sure. This one would be ideal for a cold winter's night. I get an almost plum-like sweetness as well as slight chocolate in the aftertaste.

M/D: This one's got a very full body, definitely one of the thicker stouts I've had, but goes down well if you don't mind the boozeyness.

Overall, this is an exceptional stout... as it should be for the price!

TheViolator666, Aug 15, 2009
Photo of ClevoPiwo
4.35/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a snifter, this beer is a great opaque black. The head is brown and about a fingers width, it stays for a while and leaves decent lacing as it dissipates into a nice frothy coating on the top of the beer.

The smell is fantastic. Sweet and roasted malt flavor with notes of coffee and bitter dark chocolate as well as dark fruit. As it warms up there are some sweeter caramel flavors as well as more pronounced coffee notes.

The taste is similar to the smell, only with a big alcohol presence. Nice creamy mouth feel with coffee, dark fruit and roasted malts up front followed by an assault of alcohol leaving a warmth all the way down and a boozy flavor in the aftertaste.

Overall, a fantastic stout, perhaps more appropriate for dead of winter rather than a warm summer night!

ClevoPiwo, Aug 15, 2009
Photo of KCHopHead
4.33/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks GBVDave for the bottle. Poured into my Boulevard Smokestack goblet.

A - Black as night. A vigerous pour gave a thin head with large soapy-like bubbles that dissolved away into skims of tan on the top of the black. Good spotty lacing.

S - Coffee, more coffee. I couldn't get too far past the coffee, but of course there was roasted malt and a hint of vanilla and alcohol.

T/M - I expected a 4.5 or even a 5 rating here but only gave it a 4 for the time being. The coffee was a bit much here and could've used some more carbonation to bring out any other flavors.

D - I went ahead and horded the entire bottle to myself and was a nice sipper throughout the night.

I will warn you that it will keep you awake.

KCHopHead, Aug 12, 2009
Photo of WakeandBake
4.25/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A dark black pour with a lasting tan rocky head , sticky jagged lacing left all down the glass . Aroma of coffee , coco, caramel,and earthy hops. Flavor is of coffee , sweet and dark chocolate , dark roasted malt , nice level of bitterness ,creamy mouthfeel , full body , medium carbonation . Nice warmiong effect ,with the alcohol flavor well hidden . Nice long sweet finish . Very drinkable , lucky to get to try this .

WakeandBake, Aug 10, 2009
Photo of jdflyer06
4.13/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 22 oz bottle into a snifter

A: Rich and black. From an aggressive pour, a frothy head emerges with a solid base. The head dissipates quickly, leaving a few bubbles on the surface.

S: Light coffee, not so rich but still noticeable, dark fruit, chocolate and a hint of something else, almost like cinnamon. Not as complex as I'm used to for the style but I think I like that the coffee is less aggressive than I'm used to. Overall, the nose is very faint.

M: Light and frothy, finishing clean. The carbonation bubbles up quickly and then disappears but overall very pleasant. Smooth, very smooth. Just above Guinness like wateriness.

T: Bitter chocolate and light coffee flavors dominate. Nice roasted maltiness and some hop bitterness. The alcohol is well hidden and is very well done. Some dark fruit as it warms but not all the way there yet.

D: I could drink this all day. I was expecting this to be a bit more rich, but I don't think it takes away from the overall quality of this brew. Not very complex, but this is a young bottle and may take time to realize its potential.

jdflyer06, Aug 09, 2009
Photo of glid02
4.53/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Had on-tap at Hollingshead in CA.

Pours black with a one-finger brown head. The head recedes into a thin layer on top leaving solid lacing.

Smells of roasted malts, creamy dark chocolate, and fresh coffee. The coffee was a bit less intense than I remembered from the bottle.

Tastes great. Smooth roasted malt flavors up front are joined quickly by understated unsweetened chocolate and coffee flavors. The sip ends with a small amount of hop flavor that quickly becomes more evident with a crisp bitter ending.

Mouthfeel is great. It's got a very creamy thickness with just the right level of carbonation.

Drinkability is very good. I finished my glass quickly and could easily have a few more.

Overall the main difference in the tap version is the strongness of the coffee flavors. The hops may have been a bit more biting as well. Anyhoo, either version is recommended.

glid02, Jul 31, 2009
Photo of nomomentwasted
4.43/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had this out of a 750ml Bottle with tahlstro. Many thanks as always. Poured into a pint glass.

Appearance: What a beer. Pours like motor oil. Thick. Heavy. Crazy. Head retention is nuts, lasting several minutes and lacing in clumpy waves down the glass. Black and lets nearly zero light through with a tan-brown head that just doesn't go away. Whew, monster stout for sure.

Smell: Not as insane as I was thinking, but very strong coffee notes with chocolate, roasted malt, and more dark cocoa on the back end. Nothing too overwhelming, just dark and toasty.

Taste: A more powerful version of the smell that is never too bitter, just right. A little like the Stone 12th Anniversary, but on steroids with much more coffee. Coffee, dark chocolate, slight sugars left too which would probably age away over time, and a slightly acidic bitter chocolate/coffee finish. Very, very satisfying.

Mouthfeel: Thick and yet not syrupy. Carbonated but not overly so. Not watery but rather solidly flavorful and with a slightly bitter finish. Spot-on.

Drinkability: An excellent 12% drinker. I drank this faster than some IPAs, definitely a fantastic imperial stout you can't help but just want to drink more of. From learned BAs to novices, this beer really does have something to offer to everyone, and an absolutely fantastic beer for any occasion.

nomomentwasted, Jul 30, 2009
Photo of nrbw23
4.55/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A- Pours a black with a great big tan head that has pretty good retention. Head leaves a great amount of lacing.

S- Smells of coffee, which is the first thing that jumps out, but there's a lot more to the smell than just that. I could also pick up caramel, bitter cocoa, and molasses. Just a hint of alcohol in here.

T- The flavor starts with lots of coffee upfront then followed up by quite a bit of roasted malts and chocolate.

M- Gonna go with medium in body. I didn't think this was really thick at all but very smooth.
Right on with the carbonation though.

D- Quite good for a stout of this strength. The alcohol is barely noticeable. Easy to drink and highly recommended.

nrbw23, Jul 28, 2009
Photo of Biggness
4.7/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

This beer pours very dark with a two fingered head and tons of lacing. The smell is nice of chocolate coffee and nutty malts. The flavor is big and in your face a wonderful chocolate and coffee flavor with wonderful malt flavors. Nicely drinkable but couldn't all night it and a very nice and smooth mouthfeel

Biggness, Jul 25, 2009
Photo of supercolter
4.5/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Appearance is very good, dark dark dark, no transparency. Little head or lacing.
Smell is decent, a bit lighter than expected, some coffee comes through and toffee with a hint of alcohol.
Taste- here we go, heavy coffee with a touch of sweet malt, some dark fruits as well.
Mouthfeel was great, nice and creamy.
Drinkability for an RIS was out of this world.

supercolter, Jul 24, 2009
Photo of VaTechHopHead
4.65/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Dark brown/black, non-transparent, thick dark brown head, and lots of lacing down the side of the glass. There is some sediment at the bottom but you can't see it when the glass is full.

S - Lots of heavy roasted malts, coffee, and a slight sweetness like molasses and malts.

T - Tons of roasted malts up front, pretty apparent coffee flavor, and lots of sweet dark sugars. It finishes with a mix of slight tartness and a modest alcohol burn/flavor.

M/D - Thick and heavy body, surprising amount of carbonation, but still creamy and velvety on the palate. High alcohol content so it's definitely a sipper.

One of the best Imperial Stouts I've ever had, although I don't mind the coffee flavors like some people do. Lots of flavors, not too sweet from the malts...definitely a special occasion beer!

VaTechHopHead, Jul 23, 2009
Photo of ricke
4.33/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to brewdan for this one.

A: Pitch black, decent viscosity and a medium sized pale brown head that settles rather slowly actually and leaves espresso-like lacings.

S: The smell is amazing. Rich, powerful and very balanced. Big coffee notes of espresso and freshly ground hard roasted coffee beans. Hints of soy sauce, salt licorice and dark fruits. Delightful notes of dark chocolate. Just a hint of tannins and slightly acidic roasty aromas. This is really impressive.

T: The taste is dominated through and trough by rich coffee flavors. Freshly ground coffee beans and espresso blend with wonderful flavors of dark chocolate and some nutty aromas. Notes of dark fruits. The sweetness is restrained in favor of bitter roasted flavors. The malty backbone is present, but hard to detect beneath all the coffee flavors. In the middle, the roasted character is accentuated further towards a taste of almost burnt coffee and malts. At this point, the beer actually gets a little too much and doesn't manage to keep everything together. But this is just a minor slip, and hardly of importance for the overall impression. Further, i notice a nice hop flavor that works really well with the coffee character. Notes of wood and fresh earth. The finish has a real coffee- and hop bitterness to it with notes of soy sauce, salt licorice and vanilla. Long lasting coffee notes lingers in the mouth. The alcohol is almost completely absent except for a pleasant warming sensation. This is just oh so tasty.

M: Very smooth but it still manages to leave a nice sticky sensation in the mouth. The body is not as big as I had expected, but I think this suits the beer well.

D: This is just a fantastic beer. Great flavors, big complexity and very balanced. It's really nice to come by a beer that manages to hold such bold and rich flavors together as this one does. And as this wasn't enough, it's really really easy to drink, I went through a bottle way to quickly.

ricke, Jul 22, 2009
Photo of tyanow
3.53/5  rDev -19.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

I want to try this on tap before I make a final decision, but twice the bottles have been good, not great as all of the reviews suggested. The coffee flavors were not available even after warming up. The chocolate that I keep reading about was so subtle that I could barely detect them. First time I had it it was too cold, and so I tried it again at a different place on a different day and it was a totally different beer. I look forward to finding it on tap somewhere - the suspense is killing me.

tyanow, Jul 20, 2009
AleSmith Speedway Stout from AleSmith Brewing Company
98 out of 100 based on 5,042 ratings.