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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

5,272 Ratings
THE BROS
90
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 5,272
Reviews: 1,446
rAvg: 4.39
pDev: 8.88%
Wants: 790
Gots: 1,486 | FT: 139
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: 5,272 | Reviews: 1,446 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Coji
2.7/5  rDev -38.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

It is quite possible that this beer was, dare i say it, overhyped? I was very excited to try this beer because of the very good things I had heard about it. The mouthfeel was very, very smooth. It was barely carbonated, which no doubt was the contributor to this category. Prior to the mouthfeel, the smell made me even more excited to be engulfed by euphoria. The smell of a legitimate stout, with a very strong coffee scent was very appeasing. The taste however, did not live up to my the olfactory and mouthfeel. It was too strong for my palate which is disheartening for me to say because I do enjoy very dark, flavorful beverages.

The tastes were good at best, but it was far too strong for my expectations. This is why the drinkability category took a hit. Mouthfeel combined with the strength of the drink resulted in a less-than-stellar drinkability. I must say that if I had enjoyed the drinkability, I think it would have been too filling to consume the entire bottle (in one sitting. I know not to waste beer!).

On a positive and commending note, the beer was very complex and well constructed. I am sad to give this review because I think it may have been due to my incorrect and presumptive expectations. I tried the beer a little later at a slightly warmer temperature, but I am afraid my initial thoughts and review still stands.

Photo of cwguy5
4.08/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks marine1975 for sharing this one! Poured from a bomber into an oversized wine glass.

- pitch black with tan head; faded to thin white cap; not much lacing that i could see

- slightly solvent aroma with big dark chocolate, dark roasted coffee

- dark chocolate and coffee true to smell; not boozy, but smooth; not sweet - not dry;

- thick, creamy; bit syrupy without the sweetness; heavy but drinkable for stout

Photo of r0nyn
4.75/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Poured from a bottle into my DFH snifter. Courtesy of BA infi and split with him, NYManc and johnjae.

Pours an inky darkness that refuses to allow any light in. Half inch billowy tan head crops up then dissipates slowly and leaves a ton of sticky stringy lacing. It's literally all over the inside of the glass. Really a beautiful looking stout. Smell is full of malts, vanilla and a freaking lot of coffee. It smells like my morning dark and sweet constitutional from Dunkin' Donuts. Wow.

I've rarely given out 5s for taste, but this beer just deserves it through and through. Roasted coffee is the dominant flavor and it is extremely well done. Not overdone, not underwhelming, but just right. Like drinking a coffee-infused milkshake. Sweet caramel and vanilla malts become evident towards the end, along with the expected bitter coffee aftertaste. Alcohol is masked extremely well, as I can only barely detect the rather massive 12% ABV. That's how good this brew is. Mouthfeel is silky and smooth. Finishes dry with minimal carbonation. Impressive, but it could have been just a touch thicker, and that really would have put it over the top.

Drinkability is out of this world. I love coffee, so this is really rather appealing to me, thanks to the absolutely delicious flavors and nuances. The ABV is hidden behind this amazing taste, making this brew really, really dangerous. Balanced, well-done and luscious. Definitely a top tier beer. Will have to procure a couple of bottles for myself at some point!

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

Poured into a snifter. Courtesy of BA infi, shared with BA r0nyn, and another friend jae.

A: Upon pour it was a bigger head than most Stouts that I have come across, about a half a finger head. There was little to no lacing at all. It was also poured pitch black.

S: First initial sniff is of a strong smell of coffee with a tinge of chocolate mixed in. About the same as other great imperial stout's but more coffee oriented. Malts can also be smelled after multiple whiffs.

T: Huge taste of coffee on initial sip. After-taste is mostly consisted with coffee and malts on the back end of that. To me it was sort of bitter every now and then. As it warmed up the taste of the coffee becomes stronger, and it was a huge plus to me.

M: Very light bodied with a good amount of carbonation, something different from what I am used too.

D: Very drinkable. I would be able to drink this beer very fast, If I had multiple on hand. I would recommend this beer to everyone.

Photo of infi
4.64/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

750 mL bottle, shared with BAs johnjae, NYManc and r0nyn. 10/29 notes.

Poured into a Duvel tulip.

A dark void in the glass: dark, rich, opaque and concentrated. A thin tan head emerged from the pour but quickly melted away in a matter of seconds. Little to no lacing on the glass as well. The aromas was seriously a freshly opened bag of coffee grounds. Those Ryan Brothers' coffee beans declare a mammoth presence onto you once you get your nose into the glass. Especially considering I was holding onto this bottle for about a year, the coffee is still readily there and in a big way. Although this is not as roasted and bold as the Ithaca Eleven, which was actually really overwhelming for me.

Taste was like drinking a cold cup of black, dark-roasted coffee with melted dark chocolate squares thrown in. Definitely world class tasting. The roasted character starts you off then moves into a nice sweet malt and chocolate sweetness and ends on a striking - but not conquering - astringency. It even leaves that familiar sour/tart aftertaste that you get after drinking coffee. And for 12%, the taste didn't have any alcoholic tastes. Too ninja. Every flavored aspect was superbly well-balanced in this stout- a feat that's always a plus for me. /standing ovation.

Mouthfeel was the only thing that surprised me- a bit thin-bodied, with the carbonation being pretty evident like an ale. This is still a total beer, but just one that I'd like to have been a bit more thicker. Drinkability is definitely high, especially if you love coffee like I do. Everything was on-point for this beer, especially for its price. HEHE ;) Speedway is now my favorite coffee-oriented stout.

Photo of josiahschlender
4.73/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I've had this beer sitting around for a year or so, finally got around to opening it up tonight.

Great presentation, I love the hefty 750ml bottle, foil wrapper and silk screened logos. Just as pretty when poured, too! Nearly absolute black, zero light gets through with a big dark brown head that lasts a long time.

Very nice aromas. Lots of coffee, dark chocolate, burnt malts, and a chocolate liqueur note that reminds me of a few Russian imperials I've had.

Flavors confirm for me, this is a world class beer. Great intensity and balance of rich dark chocolate, french roast coffee, blackened malts, a little bit of earthy hops. Just the right amount of bitterness that strikes a better balance than some of the ultra-high IBU impy stouts I've had. Despite the 12% abv, alcohol is expertly hidden; no alcohol heat to be found here. Full body and long finish that leaves the pleasing flavors lingering.

Yet another incredible brew from Alesmith. I wish their beers were not so scarce here in Portland. Superb beer that's worth a try if you can find it. Not cheap by any means, but totally worth the price of admission. I'll be looking for this one again.

Photo of drpimento
4.75/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Jaysus. This is a beer. No dickin around. Poured with a decent tan, foamy, frothy, thick head that lasts a while and good lace. Color is as black as my heart (black) and opaque. Aroma is massive dark, roasted malts and coffee. Body is velvet, full, round, a bit chewy with perfect carbonation. Finish is like flavor, relatively short and also benignly brief in alcohol evidence. Killer. Could be a session if you let it. Dangerously good.

Photo of 321jeff
4.25/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours almost jet black with plenty of mocha head at first that quickly withers away leaving nothing... no lingering bubbles, not really any lacing, just nothing.

Aroma is nice with some roast malt and coffee, nice, but not quite as strong as I was expecting.

In the taste, things start to take a turn in a positive direction... Mostly roast flavors and dark chocolate, some hints of dark fruits coming through as well.

The mouthfeel is just amazing, it enters smooth and goes down smooth. No excessive bitterness and it totally masks the 12% ABV. So smooth it's almost silky, might be the smoothest beer I've ever had. It definitely goes down way too easy, I'll be searching for some more of this one.

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

Appearance -- Pours an incredibly deep brown, jet black in the glass with zero highlights. Two fingers of chocolate brown head.

Smell -- Initial whiff of chocolate-covered espresso beans along with burnt bread crust, raisin, and toffee. Overall, very robust with a nice balance of roasty bitterness and malty sweetness. My interest is piqued.

Taste -- Caffè macchiato, bitter chocolate, raisin, a touch of red grapeskin tannin mid-palate, toffee sweetness. There's a healthy dose of earthy/herbal hops felt in the back-end. Finish is bitter herb, coffee grounds, grapeskin, and toffee.

Mouthfeel -- Full-bodied, chewy, with mild carbonation. Alcohol can be felt ever so faintly in the finish, but overall incredibly well-hidden.

Drinkability -- This beer is almost too drinkable: very robust flavor profile, coffee is highlighted exceptionally well, alcohol is hidden almost completely, good mouthfeel. While I know I've had stouts I've preferred over this, Speedway Stout is phenomenal. It has earned its accolades. By all means seek this out.

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

Finally experience this fine brew. Pours a black color with a caramel colored head. Has an aroma of coffee and chocolate. Sweet start with coffee spice. Chocolate notes on the finish. A nice big stout with some bold flavor. Aging would help but one good brew.

Photo of hawks10
3.55/5  rDev -19.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

750ml bottle - Foiled & Capped - Poured into a snifter...

Pours thick and black with a nice dense, one finger tan head. Some lacing is left behind...

Sweet milk chocolate on top of a nice, but more subtle than expected, roasted coffee aroma. A touch of booze.

Some sweet chocolate with a nice citrusy hop bitterness. Roasted with a bit of coffee, not near as much as expected though. Booze is very prevalent, burns the gums and lingers well into the aftertaste.

Full bodied but drinks a bit thinner than expected. Low carbonation, smooth. Very boozy, lots of burn...bitter, burning aftertaste...

Not a big fan

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

Tasted in a Spiegelau tulip during a RIS tasting (with plain crackers and water for palate cleansing between tastings).

Pours very dark with light ruby highlights with a frothy, espresso crema like foam.

Light milk chocolate and a mildly roast coffee. Subtle and complex with layers of nutty, toasty notes underlying.

Chocolate with a caramel/toffee sweetness fronting a slightly thin, bitter finish. The body is medium full and incredibly smooth with a long, lingering pleasant, balanced finish.

It's a superbly drinkable classic. It doesn't have the best, most complex flavor, but it does have an amazing body and a great nose and a solid flavor that belies its strength.

Photo of mondegreen
4.68/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

750ml into a Founders Balloon tulip at 50F. Purchased at Belmont Party Supply in Dayton, OH in May 2010.

Pours black as night. No light escapes this beer, holding it in the bright Georgia sun, I see nothing but a dark void. A fluffy tan head rises from the blackness, hanging onto the side of my glass as it slowly receeds back into the abyss.

Nose is spectacular. Rich dark flavors of coffee, chocolate, and hints of dark fruits mingle with a welcoming warm alcohol aroma. The nose shows just how well crafted this brew is.

Taste is no less spectacular. The roasted flavors shine through, with the mellow coffee flavors holding it all together. The 12% is present, but not the centerpiece. Just a lovely stout.

Mouth is full-bodied, perfect for carrying the substantial, complex flavors of this brew.

Drinkability is through the roof for the style. I will enjoy sipping this one for a couple hours, and I hope to pick up another whenever I can. Bravo, Alesmith!

Photo of wvsabbath
4.87/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Serving type - 220z bottle

Appearance - Black as night, lots like motor oil, 1 inch head with some tan traces in it

Smell - Whoa, the coffee is present, the malts, barley and chocolate is strong! Wow im ready to tear into this.

Taste - Amazing, so tasty. The kona coffee mixed with the sugars and malts and the stout beer is insane. Its so strong yet so smooth and tasty. IM not even a coffee drinker but man the kona coffee was great.

Mouthfeel - You get all these amazing flavors mixed in your mouth. The alcohol doesnt burn so you can hold it mouth and enjoy it. You will need to sip it it will overwhelm your mouth.

Drinkabilty - High as the sky! I cant wait to get more! Would be a 5 rating but its just too strong to drink alot of. I havent had enough of this to claim it as my favorite, founders breakfast has that claim, but another bottle or two of this, and ill know its its number one to me. Amazing stout, buy it and enjoy.

Photo of mulder1010
4.85/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

750 ML poured into a globe glass

A-- Poured black with touches of black oil. Not syrupy at all. Dark mocha colored head that was one finger in height, that settled to just above film. Great head retention to this and even better when swirled. Some lines of lacing and some foam lacing. Very nice looking beer.

S-- Coco powder, coffee, baking chocolate, and hints of black pepper. Coffee and coco take over with the beer getting more air and the beer gets a stronger smell with more oxygen. No hint of the ABV in the smell.

T-- Coffee, coffee, roasted malts and chocolate. Much thinner than I thought it would be but that is in a good way. Very smooth velvety taste to this.

M-- Thick and rich but has a smoothness and softness to this that is very different. Very little carbonation and a lot of coffee to this but not over coffee bitterness. Finishes dry due to the coco and baking chocolate but but little hint of bitter chocolate. Great feel to this and very big and bold but does not wreck a plate.

D-- Amazing. Plain and simple. ABV is more than well hidden in this. Scary drinkability as this is way easy to go through. One of the best Imperial Stouts I have had. This is big but it is well reserved and extremely well made.

Photo of kingcrowing
4.53/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750ml poured into a weiß glass.

Pours a pitch black oily color with a huge fluffy thick dark brown head it's awesome. Nose is chocolate, smoke and bitter coffee, it's very rich and nice.

Taste is fairly roasty, chocolate and rxh complex tasty malt. It's super rich and tasty and just gets better Jen it warms. Easily one if the best stouts I've had, it's really good.

Photo of biggred1
4.25/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Ebony, coffee colored with a dense, creamy mocha head that lasts forever and has larger bubbles on top and leaves sheets of lace on the glass. Chocolate, cocoa powder, anise, raisin and fresh roasted coffee make up the aroma. Roasty coffee and molten fudge with a charred bitterness and well hidden alcohol. This is a truly great stout. Full bodied and creamy with smooth, mild carbonation. Alesmith SS really lives up to it's own hype.

Photo of Spica66
4.06/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Received this one from BigTomZ. Thanks, Tom!

750ml black glass champagne bottle with all silver/grey printed-on graphics and a silver foil on the top. Very sharp appearance to this bottle.

Poured into tulip

A: Black as night. Excellent head formation and retention. This is exactly how a stout should look in the glass.

S: Even when pouring, chocolate aromas were wafting up from the glasses. The labeling talks about the pounds and pounds of coffee used the beer, but neither Fr. Ian nor I smelled anything special about the coffee notes and they were hard to find under the bitter chocolate smell.

T: Very dark roast taste. Coffee and dark chocolate notes as one would expect from a beer this dark. The 12% does not show up until well down the esophagus.

M: Way too thin for this big of a beer. I was really surprised by how light it was and the lack of creaminess or roundness in the mouth.

D: This is easily one of the easiest to drink high-ABV stouts I have ever had.

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

Poured out of the 750ml bottle into sifter.

Pours with almost no head to speak of.... some light pleasant lacing but thats it. Beer is close to jet black with almost no hint of carbonation.

Smell is lots of coffee and notes of chocolate.... more muted than, say, FBS, but still very enjoyable.

Taste is coffee upfront, followed by a lingering tartness and almost no sense of hops. Still its a pleasant taste, not world class, but enjoyable.

Mouthfeel is where it really falls flat to me... this is a beer with almost no carbonation.... it still is relatively creamy and thus not totally unpleasant, but it just gets a little difficult to drink after a while. But for a 12% beer, it has a very minimal sense of alcohol, and the taste and flavors are enjoyable enough that I feel I can still rank this as a good beer....but relative to other "big" stouts, this one doesn't really match up.

Photo of HopJ
2.79/5  rDev -36.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

This was a real let down for me. I will look to taste again in case my taste buds were just crazy this night. The smell was heavily weighted towards chocolate. Leaning toward bitter chocolate. But for me it was distractingly so. The aromas were powerful but it would depend on how the flavors worked with it. Really no head on this. My first sip confirms that this is totally flat. With its heavy mouthfeel and dominating chocolate flavors, I needed some carbonation. With no carbonation, this got old fast for me.

Photo of HURTemHIZZY
3.71/5  rDev -15.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a (basically) black tone with a nice deep tan head that took a while to dissipate to the thin ring it remained at until the beer was through. OK lacing. Smell was a bit muted, with notes of coffee and chocolate; I was certainly expecting a bit more.

The taste is not really what I was expecting from a brew that is this highly regarded. Notes of coffee, caramel, and bittersweet chocolate. There is a tiny bit of hop bitterness. Everything was nice and worked well together, but the overall flavor was a bit subdued for an imp stout. No WOW factor imo.

Nice creamy mouthfeel, with a bit of carbonation to keep it alive. This was a nice stout, just not worthy of the hype.

Photo of billshmeinke
4.57/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Had this on tap at Blue Palms. Served in a snifter.

Half a finger creamy beige head. Ptich black body. dies down to a ring of foam around the edge. Oilly legs pull any lacing back into the brew.

Rich nose of coffee and bittersweet chocolate cake. A hint of dark cherries, and a whiff of alcohol. Really rich and decadent smelling.

Taste follows smell almost exactly except more of the dark cherries come through than in the nose. The coffee flavor is also really rich and complex.

Mouthfeel is fairly thick with lower carbonation. Really smooth. A real treat.

The coffee presence is much more complex and delicious in the fresh on tap version of this beer compared to the bottle (which is one of my favorite beers anyway). Too drinkable. Is this alcohol? Just the slightest warmth in the belly

Photo of Brent
3.9/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Lots of coffee and unsweetened chocolate in the malt, with a rather unusual lactic tartness lurking in the background, somehow related to the lactose sugar notes in the beer. Mouthfeel seemed a little thin for the style, with a little wateryness. The substantial alcohol content was well integrated into the flavor. Where sometimes the inclinatin is to rate a well-regarded beer high, here I found my self a bit letdown. A very nice beer, no question, but not outstanding in the class.

Photo of scottyshades
4.68/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Thanks to mrmiles!
A: Pours a viscous looking pitch black color. The head is massive and chocolate color, retention is excellent.

S: Coffee, chocolate, raisin, fig, slight lactose, roasted and toasted malts. Hops are also apparent. Awesome.

T: Tastes better than it smells...big bittersweet chocolate, caramel, toffee, coffee, raisin, fig, and just awesomeness. Really one of the best stouts I've tried. Alcohol is completely masked, and only adds body and a little warming feeling.

MF/D: Very viscous, but I have seen thicker. Smooth and creamy mouthfeel from the lactose. Carbonation is right on the money. Amazingly drinkable for 12%

Notes: This is absolutely deserving of the rating. I got too excited to try this, so I'll be ISO for another one to cellar. Thanks Miles, this made my interest in stouts come alive again!

Photo of AdamGarcia
4.23/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

750ml bottle served in Darkness tulip.

A: Pours noticeably viscous and near black. Zero light getting through. Cappucino colored head rises up and settles down quickly, leaving a film of multi-sized bubbles.

S: Bold dark fruit. Chocolate and vanilla. Coffee in the background. Hints of sweet cherry.

T: Big doses of chocolate. Waves of bitter chocolate smoothed out with milk chocolate. Dark fruit is present briefly, but not to the same extent as in the aroma. Coffee is understated, but very tasty. This is a coffee stout that will appeal to non-coffee lovers as well.

M: Lovely viscous feel. Silky & smooth. Perfect.

D: Good. I don't find this to be tremendously complex, but it is very interesting. At 12% abv this is clearly a sipper. Something that I can't quite put my finger on, keeps me from wanting multiple servings.

Very nice beer. I really wish Alesmith was available in the Pittsburgh market, as everything I've had from this brewery is world class. Luckily, a short trip to Vintage Estates is all it takes to replenish my Alesmith stash. If you haven't had Speedway be sure to put it on you "to do" list.

AleSmith Speedway Stout from AleSmith Brewing Company
97 out of 100 based on 5,272 ratings.