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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

5,258 Ratings
THE BROS
90
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 5,258
Reviews: 1,444
rAvg: 4.39
pDev: 8.88%
Wants: 786
Gots: 1,484 | 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: 5,258 | Reviews: 1,444 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of WeimtimeBier
4.33/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Pitch black with a finger thick mocha head that remained strong all the way down the snifter glass.

S- strong molassess that was not too sweet like most imperial stout. Very strong coffee and mocha notes.

T- Thick coffee bean taste with some molassess. light alcohol sweetness that was not overpowering. Not as sweet as expected which i realy liked. THis brought out the coffee flavors better.

M- moderate to heavy body and very creamy with a smooth carbonation.

D- Very drinkable due to a well rounded taste and a light alcohol presence. For being 12% this beer was incredible.

Photo of Luk13
4.68/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle via trade with Blankboy. This beer is huge. Jet black pour with brown head. Aroma is super rich, coffee with also lots of licorice, molasses and also something vanilla about it too. Taste is just awesome rich coffee flavors, with some vanilla smoothness great bitter/sweet mix. Palate is perfectly creamy with just enough carbonation, one of the best I've had.

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

A- Motor oil black with a thin, tan head with some maroon tints to it.

S- Deep roasted character with notes of coffee.

T- Dark fruits lend a little sweetness upfront, some roasted character and coffee come in and an intense bitter, dark chocolate flavor comes in last; create in bitter finish.

M- Medium silky body with a medium carbonation.

D- A solid stout for sure; hides the abv amazingly well, and drinks pretty easily for such a big beer.

Photo of glazeman
3.85/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

2009 Vintage poured from a 750 ml bottle into a snifter. Split with airohead2001, big thanks!

A: opaque black with some brown on the edges when held up to a light. Nice one finger cappuccino colored head. Good head retention with a nice swirl of bubbles and a crown that both last for the duration of the drink. Nice lacing as well.

S: Quite a nice smelling beer, although on the sweeter side as far as smell and not quite as complex as I had hoped. The coffee is there, but is hidden pretty well behind the sugary sweetness. Smells a lot like CBS. Some alcohol on the nose.

T: This is a lot sweeter than I was expecting up front. Almost like slightly sour maple syrup. Then at the finish I get lots of coffee, toast, and some bitterness.

M: A bit thin for my liking. Not nearly as thick or chewy as a lot of other top stouts, but it does have a nice level of carbonation.

D: Overall a pretty good beer. I think the drinkability is quite high for the ABV. Glad I have another bottle of this to age for awhile, I think this one will get a lot better over time as the sweetness mellows out. Kind of like 2010 Dark Lord, I think the potential is there, but currently somewhat lacking.

Photo of airohead2001
3.83/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured into a snifter from a 750ml bottle. Split with glazeman.

A - Beautiful looking stout. Pitch black with a nice tan one finger head that eventually fades to thick bubbles around the edge. Great lacing that coats the rims of my snifter for the remainder of the drink.

S - Pretty good - bitter coffee, alcohol, some light malts, and some dark fruits.

T - This one is pretty interesting. When it was cold out of the bottle, it was really sweet up front with some harsh bitter roasts at the end. Closer to room temperature, things are a bit more complex, but not necessarily more tasty - after some warming, this one has bitter roasts through out with an interesting sweet and sour taste in the beginning. There is also some nuttiness in the finish.

M - Average mouthfeel. Not too thin, but I would have definitely liked it to be a bit thicker and chewier.

D - Very drinkable. A tasty stout indeed and very well balanced. The high ABV is well hidden.

Photo of BS68280
4/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Yet another top notch beer from my trip to San Diego. I am really thinking I would spend too much money if I lived out here. I have no idea how to tell what year this one is (I would assume the newest). Poured into Lost Abbey stem glass.

A: Black. I started to think it was flat because there was absolutely no head, then all of a sudden, about a finger or two of tan head popped up. Sticks around for a while on the edges and leaves some good lacing.

S: Roasted coffee, roasted malts, vanilla and a little caramel. A little bit of booze.

T: Lots of roasted coffee, a toasty burnt malt taste, bitter hints of chocolate, touch of vanilla and only the faintest touch of dark fruits.

M: Pretty full bodied, not crazy thick by any means. Sticky.

D: Hides the 12% very well. I could sip on this for a long time.

Don't know if I like this of FBS better but they are both great beers.

Photo of nerdrocker101
4.68/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Bottle thanks to checkii, which I believe to be an 07'

Pours a rich black with a thin, lightly browned head.

Smells of chocolate and coffee.

The coffee notes are muted due to the aging. But there are huge flavors of molasses, chocolate, and light notes of espresso. Much like a chocolate covered espresso bean.

Thick, almost chewy. Certainly lingers on the palate. The alcohol is pretty well masked.

Photo of Chico1985
4.9/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Much thanks to cbutova for breaking this bad boy out. Split between 5 people I believe. It was about 9 months old.

Pours inky black with a super creamy, bubbly tan head. Retains very well and leaves great lacing. Mouth is watering.

Strong, excellent coffee in the scent. Booze and vanilla give it a bourbon vibe. A little bit of dark fruit.

The coffee is strong, rich and dark tasting ala Peche Mortel, this reminds me of that quite a bit. Chocolate covered raisins and vanilla. A little bit of grassy hops. More sweet than roasty in my opinion but overall a good balance of both. Aftertaste is amazing, booze is well-hidden.

Mouthfeel is extremely creamy and have a nice thickness. Just like everything else about this beer, pretty much perfect for the style.

I couldn't drink this all day, but damn drinkable for 12%, and oh so tasty. Probably the best coffee stout I have had so far. I vow to get a few of these bottles.

** 10/11/11 - more notes **

After having this twice, but with small pours (~5 oz) on both occasions, I'm finally sitting down with a fresh 750ml solo. Definitely a bit boozier than I remember, but I believe both of the other times I had it it was aged 9+ months. Huge coffee beans and chocolate fudge, big dark fruit, some vanilla and some hop bitterness there too. The 12% makes itself known but it's not overly hot and this beer definitely improves with warmth. Maybe not my favorite coffee stout but certainly top 5. Great fresh but maybe a bit better with a little bit of age on it, the coffee sticks around but the alcohol is tamed.

Photo of trygger87
4.18/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Picked up a 750 ml bottle in SF CA. Beer pours a wonderful tar black with very little head that goes away very quickly.Smell is of an alcohol spiked black coffee, not getting much else just coffee and booze. Taste is coffee up front, then i get this sherry taste followed up by a nice malt character. Mouth feel is silky and smooth, i love it. Drinkability is great, dont taste any offensive alcohol tones. Very smooth for a 12 percent, i love this beer.
Over all a very very solid brew that i would happily pick up again.

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

A: poured a dark as night black that looked like oil as it came out of the bottle that had a finger of brown head and left good sticky lacing on the glass.

S: nice roasted malts and coffee aromas with some smokey, chocolate, and slight hop accents coming through the roastiness. There also seems to be dark fruits and booze notes as well.

T: coffee chocolate and roasted malts dominate the palate with a mild hop bitterness that also had dark fruit, caramel, and booze accents; tasty complex flavors.

M: full body with a good amount of carbonation that had a creamy coffee slight bitter and roasty finish.

D: very delicious and complex brew that was pretty damn drinkable for a stout. I've tasted this beer plenty of times but have a new appreciating for it.

Photo of Daktyls
4.28/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I got this one after talking to a very nice young lady at the liquor store who mentioned that she had a few tucked away in the back. Thank you very much for that fellow BAer.

A: This brew poured a nice dark brown, almost black with the very little head developing after the pour finished. The head is a very fine lacing that sits patiently on top ever so slightly creeping up the side of the glass.

S: There is definitely a very upfront coffee smell apparent right off the start. The coffee smell transitions into a light molasses smell with roasted malts and dark chocolates.

T: The coffee taste is very much present here with a very strong coffee flavor, similar to a mocha coffee or a light chocolate espresso. Finishes with a roasted maltiness and a light amount of licorice.

M: Has a similar consistency to a melted Wendy's Frosty. Very creamy feeling on the tongue with an almost undetectable amount of alcohol. Finishes with an ever so very slight hint of alcohol gently warming the back of the throat.

D: Very, very drinkable. For the high ABV in this brew, almost dangerously drinkable. I will definitely be finishing the bottle. I will make it a point to go back and try and get another one of these.

Photo of kfsv034
4/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Shared this bottle with evan007

A - pours a deep brown almost opaque color zero light escapes this bad boy with a thick tan head that leaves a thin cover

S - chocolate, coffee, licorice

T - taste follows the noise coffee is alittle more prodominent

M - medium bodied

D - drinkablity is good at 12% this bad boy is pretty easy to drink

Photo of Arbitrator
1.45/5  rDev -67%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 1 | feel: 3 | overall: 1

Chilled bottle into a glass. Purchased in early 2009 at K&L. I purposely aged it (admittedly at room temp) to tone down the coffee flavor, as I'm not a huge fan of coffee stouts.

A: Pours a pitch black body with a finger or so of mocha colored head. It retains poorly, retreating into a thin collar with no lacing in a matter of seconds.

S: Chocolate, prunes, cherries, some coffee. I expected more coffee since I'm told this is a coffee-brewed imperial stout, but aging apparently did the job. However, I'm not a fan of the dark fruit presence, which is too strong for my preference. I really can't get over the feeling that this is infected.

T: Definitely dark-fruit dominated here. Again, I'd put money on it being infected if I hadn't picked up similar flavors (though not as strong) in 07 BA Speedway, and if the head hadn't been so weak. Tart dark plums and cherries drive the taste, with a secondary chocolate component. The coffee is noticeable, but I'd argue it has mostly faded out -- which is fine. My complaint is that the beer tastes far fruitier and more tart than a coffee stout should be. Overall, an interesting flavor for the style, but nothing I'm thrilled to revisit.

M: Chewy, semi-dry for the style. A tart flavor and aftertaste that, again, suggests infection. However, the carbonation is low, which contradicts that. Who knows.

D: $12 for this thing? Really? This is a generally agreed-upon example of a good imperial stout? I don't get it. It's disappointing and sad, at best.

I contacted the brewery and sent them my tasting notes, asking if they thought I got an infected bottle. They ignored me. *shrug* The review stands.

EDIT: They got back to me after some pestering. They did have a bad batch around the time I bought it, but they told me no bottles made it to my area. I suspect K&L transported it internally between their stores, and that's how I came into this one. Since they are insistent that the beer is fine, I'm leaving my review.

Photo of zoso1967
4.68/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours black as a starless night with a thickness that is evident in the pour. It is capped with a fluffy mocha head that slowly melts into the viscous black liquid. The aroma is full of roasted coffee and the darkest coca, as well as a dark malty sweetness and a hint of licorice. The flavor is wonderful. Roasted coffee, dark chocolate, roasted malt, burnt marshmallow sweetness, licorice, molassas and a touch of chalkiness. All the flavors are well incorporated and the alcohol is well hidden, though it warms nicely as it settles in my stomach. Also, as this beer warms I realize just how bitter it is. Strangely, this bitterness is not overwhelming and works with, and not against the roastyness. The mouthfeel is also wondrous and is full, chewy and smooth. The finish is both sticky and slick at the same time, but just right for style. Very drinkable and just delicious. So far Alesmith is 2-2 and I will definitely be picking some of this up for friends to sample.

Photo of russellaaron69
4.85/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a nice pitch black w/ two fingers of light brown head. Minimal carbonation. Very good lacing. Every sip left behind some clinging to the glass. Smell is that of roasted malt and coffee. Taste was exceptional. Coffee and malt shine through up front with a vary nice chocolate sweetness bring up the rear. This beer feel very full in the mouth...so full i found myself actually chewing after a couple larger sips. Drinkability is superb also. Hides its alcohol very well. Thank you AleSmith for such a wonderful beer. Cheers.

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

I forget which awesome BA sent this my way, but a million thanks are owed. I popped this one open with my dad one afternoon.

Pours black with a dark tan head. Looks like motor oil.

Smells of strong coffee and dark chocolate. If I could climb in there and take a nap I would. One of the best smelling beers I've encountered.

This is a great tasting brew with good balance between sweet chocolate and coffee and appropriate bitterness from both. Sweet finish.

Creamy in the mouth. Great feeling with light carbonation.

This is a great brew that proves, along with a few notable others, that you don't need to put your beer in a barrel to be awesome.

Photo of squaremile
4.6/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Had on tap at the AleSmith taproom in San Diego. Pours a smooth dark black with a brown head that stays for half of the pour. Smell is wonderful: coffee, cocoa, and hints of vanilla. Taste is more of the same and very well blended. The bottle can be a bit over coffeed, but this is not. Great smooth mouthfeel, no harshness at all. Beautiful.

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

Split a bottle three ways with two good friends on my birthday...

Pitch black with a huge dark tan head. Excellent retention and lacing to boot. A picture perfect stout just lovely.

Coffee, roasted malts, and molasses primarily in the nose.

Taste is roasted malts, molasses, and of course coffee. Very solid coffee flavor at that. Got some chocolate in there as well. Works well with the other flavors. This IS is not sweet at all. There's a very obvious bitterness from the hops and coffee and perhaps malt that lingers through the finish.

Thick creamy mouthfeel. Very nice.
No alcohol anywhere to be seen. Definitely a sipper stout and would like to get another bottle in the future.   
All three of us agreed it was a very good beer.

Photo of trbergman
4.03/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 750mL bottle into a tulip.

A - Pours jet black with three fingers of dense cinnamon-colored foam. The head reduces to about half a finger but leaves behind solid rings of lace.

S - Earthy coffee/burnt/anise aroma with dark fruits. Some chocolate and nuts come through as the head falls. Rather light on the nose.

T - More of a rich espresso flavor than drip coffee. Low and earthy with chocolate, dark fruit, and mineral notes. Roasty bitterness lasts from the middle through a lengthy finish. Hops contribute a somewhat leafy flavor and a gentle bitterness. No sign of the 12% abv. Tasty and enjoyable, but I've had better coffee/imperial stouts.

M - Slick and viscous, with a rich, full body. Very nice.

D - Maybe it's just suffering by comparison to my recent bottle of Bourbon County Coffee, but I'm a little disappointed in Speedway. It's good, but I'm not sure it's worthy of the hype. I'd definitely have it again, but in the future I'll know not to expect to be wowed.

Photo of theghost3
4.53/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Pours a deep brown, almost black with a 1-finger cafe au lait head. Medium lacing.

Smell is very strong of quality, black coffee with dark chocolate and some slight dark fruit; delicious. The taste is overwhelmingly rich coffee, but there are some dark cocoa flavors and even a hint of herbal hops. Lots of coffee in the aftertaste. Mouthfeel is perfectly carbonated--small, intense bubbles. It's surprisingly not full-bodied; somewhere between medium and full-bodied. Smooth, not oily.

This is so smooth and delicious that I can look past the high ABV, which is apparent. Share it with another beer lover, and you'll both be happy.

Photo of Duhast500
4.88/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured from the bottle into a stemmed glass.

The color is a dark black with about two to three fingers of head and a ton of lacing left on the glass.

The smell of this beer is pretty chocolaty and has some nice dark licorice tones that brings it into a great level of coffee flavored beers.

smell of chocolate. Although this is brewed with large amounts of coffee, the java smell is definitely secondary to the chocolate. Also a reasonable sniff of black licorice as well. So far so good!

The taste is really deep chocolate flavor with coffee flavor and has a nice dark licorice flavor. Some nice heat in the flavor that is really nice with a good kick.

The feel is a good hard stout with a burning flavor that goes into a good amount of even feel and it smooth once past the hard flavor of this beer.

I like this beer and want more of it before the next batch is brewed.

Photo of KAP1356
4.35/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 750ml bottle into my Weyerbacher tulip glass...

A - Very dark with a gorgeos roughly two finger head. The head is a deep rich espresso color that floats nicely atop the almost completely black beer.

S - Chocolatey dark roasted malts up front. Surprisingly not as much alcohol asI expected. The coffee is picked up right at the end of the whiff. Seems like it is perfectly balanced so far.

T - Dark rich roasted malts and a bittersweet chocolate perfectly mixed with a coffee taste that just lingers on the back of the palate. When I first sipped this one, the coffee was so strong, but now that I let it warm, it is almost perfectly balanced. The alcohol is much more present here than it is in the smell, but is still not as strong as I would've expected for 12%

M - Creamy and rich. Very smooth on the tongue. Could be a bit thicker for my taste though, especially for such an intense stout.

D - I'm not getting overwhelmed by the alcohol as much as I though and am actually enjoying the entire bottle quite a bit. This could however easily be split between two if not three people.

Overall a really great and tasty coffee stout. Very well balanced and I will definitely enjoy my other bottle again after a year or so of aging.

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

Picked this one up a few months ago. Poured a gorgeous engine oil black with a thick 2 inch, frothy, espresso colored head. Strong coffee smell with very sweet chocolate notes and roasted nuts. WOW! This tastes sooo good! Very well balanced...the coffee, chocolate and booze align almost perfectly. Can't imagine what the other two I have will taste like after years of cellaring. With initial sip, the booze is not present, but the warming sensation follows soon after. Nice dark chocolate aftertaste left on the palate. This is a wonderful imperial stout that is meant to be savored...not chugged.

Photo of rwf08
4.45/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into Duvel glass at around 55F. No idea on the vintage, it has the label printed on the bottle.

A: Pitch black with a light mocha head on the top. Looks like a large cup of fresh espresso. No lacing to be found.

S: Dark roasty smells. Dark bitter chocolate, some coffee smell.

T: Light molasses followed by dark chocolate, coffee, and some hops. Yeah, lots of chocolate flavors, faint faint alcohol in background.

M: Chewy and viscous. Tongue coating full bodied brew. Very satisfying a filling.

D: I could sip on this all night long. The 12% ABV isn't noticeable but the full body just fills me up so fast. One of my favorite stouts ever.

I do not get as much coffee in this as I would have expected. When I see coffee on the label I am wanted it to be up front and powerful. That does not go against this beer at all. I do appreciate the hints of coffee in there and the roastiness is adds.

Overall this is an exceptional stout. Great body, good smooth chocolately flavors, roasty and comforting. Just wish I had another.

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

A: At fridge temp = nothing really stands out, warms to coffee, and subtle roasted malt aroma
A: Pours black w/ a thin cocoa/tan colored head, no lacing.
F: I really, really, love the fact that I get chocolate milk upfront when drinking this beer and has a creamy espresso finish.
M: Creamy and smooth with light carbonation
O: I believe that Speedway Stout is a great breakfast /brunch/dessert stout. Delicate in aroma, smooth in taste and mouthfeel, and at 12% abv, it can creep on you if not careful. Be sure and share with friends. Good for any occasion.

AleSmith Speedway Stout from AleSmith Brewing Company
97 out of 100 based on 5,258 ratings.