AleSmith Speedway Stout - AleSmith Brewing Company

Not Rated.
AleSmith Speedway StoutAleSmith Speedway Stout

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5,629 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 5,629
Reviews: 1,512
rAvg: 4.39
pDev: 8.66%
Wants: 830
Gots: 1,659 | FT: 153
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: 5,629 | Reviews: 1,512
Photo of geexploitation
4.45/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours thick, silky and dark, with a dark tan head that leaves a collar and dusting in spite of the high ABV. Fittingly, it looks a lot like newly poured coffee. The aroma is rather subdued compared to what I had expected given the hype this beer gets. Still, it's a rich aroma of yeasty, creamy coffee notes with hints of dark chocolate and a bit of neutral alcohol. No hop aromas that I can make out.

On the palate the creamy chocolate and coffee notes expand immediately, practically overwhelming the senses. Some bitterness flashes through next, before things settle into a very complex finish that contains dextrine sweetness and coffee bitterness. The finish is powerful and dries out gradually as it lasts and lasts. Mouthfeel is very thick and slick. Drinkability is impacted negatively by the richness of this beer, but the flavors nevertheless hook into you and make you crave another sip, which makes for better-than-average drinkability.

Overall, this is excellent. It's not the most complex beer, which leads me to rank it lower than its BA ranking would dictate, but the flavors it does have are pulled off with panache and with depth. Very satisfying. No doubt a beer for a special occasion, or a beer that makes itself a special occasion.

Photo of Scorpious
4.83/5  rDev +10%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This beer is VERY good, of course I am biased towards the dark beers. It has very good appearance and is VERY drinkable but as with most high alcohol beers it can be cellared and will only get better with age.

Starts with a strong coffee and dark chocolate sensation, then fades to a multitude of toasty, roasty and caramel malt flavors.

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

I drank this out of a little shrimp cocktail bowl at a New Year's Eve bash. It was a pretty decent substitution for a snifter. I came a bit early and there weren't too many people around, so I was able to take notes without looking like the biggest geek on the planet.

Appearance: The pour is black as night with a brown head- one of the darkest heads that I ever did see.

Smell: The aroma is intense. Coffee, a Central American, roasted beyond any logical limits by some Pacific Northwest roaster, meets chocolate and alcohol in the nose.

Taste: The massive flavor profile has dark, city plus roast coffee verging a on short shot of espresso with plenty of crema, semi-sweet chocolate, molasses, bourbon vanilla, and warming alcohol. Fuck me! This one isn't so bad.

Mouthfeel: The oozing full-body is slightly creamy with a bit of carbonation.

Drinkability: It's 12% and it definitely becomes apparent by the halfway point, but you would have to pry it out of my semi-intoxicated hands before I'd give up one drop of the 750 milliliters of brilliance that is Speedway Stout.

Photo of sleazo
4.27/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

I have been meaning to review this one for awhile. I have had Speedway many times since i moved to San Diego. This review comes from my sampling tonight at the Liars Club after the Anvil ESB left me a little flat. The beer arrived in a 10oz fluted glass with minimal head. It was a rich deep dark chocolaty black. The aromas that hit you are of roasted malt, caramel and French roast coffee. These are what hit you when you drink it too, followed by a warmness fromt he high alcohol content. You definitely taste the alcohol here, but you shoudlin an Imperial stout. This thick creamy treat is one that everyone should try given the opportunity, a fine very well crafted beer.

Photo of numenor1
4.83/5  rDev +10%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This is a beautifully crafted stout.

2006 bottling

This pours black with thick towering brown colored head that leaves great lacing. Huge roasty nose, along with deep caramel, molasses, coffee, chocolate and dark fruit esters. Initially starts off a touch sweet with mild, almost milk chocolate. This quickly fleshes into full blown stout glory with deep roasted malts, raspberry syrup, figs, molasses, dark chocolate and more than a touch of hops. Coffee is omnipresent and delicious, but really takes off through the finish, intermixing with hops and bittering the massive malt of this beautifully. Mouthfeel is terrific, very full (though less so than i anticipated) yet with lots of very fine bubbled soft carbonation giving a very creamy impression. Drinkability is very very good considering the weight of this beer (no hint of 12% whatsoever). Quite probably the best american double stout i've had yet.

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

Pours black with a amber to dark tan massive head that cascades while pouring and then slowly recedes. Twangy like acidic roastiness, chocolate and a little bourbon booziness in the aroma. Taste at room temp is a soft and silky mixture of coffee and chocolate, very nice. There is also some cola flavor in the taste and some acidity in the finish as the roast flavor grows stronger and mixes with a decently dry finish. There is a small peppery bite and alcohol warmth in the finish as well. Body is medium to heavy, not overly syrupy but very rich and smooth feeling. I especially enjoyed the chocolate and roast mix of flavors that worked quite well with the body.

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

Ebony body, and the darkest head I've ever seen. Way beyond the parchment color of many micro stouts, this is BROWN. The smell is nice, and suggestive of the intense amounts of coffee beans they threw into this thing.

The taste is wonderful, and beyond smooth. It is even throughout, packing incredibly rich chocolate maltiness, mocha, and a healthy blast of alcohol at the end. The feel is perfect, and the most outstanding feature of this most outstanding brew. Almost too drinkable, considering it's ABV. Exercise restraint, or you may wind up pantsless in the gutter.

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

A beer I've had many a time and will always enjoy...

Pours a jet black with a nice beautiful mocha head.

Smell is nice and roasted. Roasted barley, coffee, etc. Everything a big boys stout should be. Hint of alcohol and chocolate.

What can be said about the taste that hasn't been already. A nice sweetness to it followed but roasted barley and you guessed it coffee. In my opinion coffee and big stouts go together like bullets and guns. Just meant to pair. Coffee is much more subdued than say Founders breakfast stout, but a great balance with the grain bill.

Mouthfeel is nice and thick with a mild carbonation. Chewy and delicious.

If ever had on tap it's even better. Even had it on nitro a couple times at Naja's but really didn't notice a big difference than just plain co2 dispensed. God bless AleSmith for adding to California's already great line up of amazing beers.

Photo of Backer2004
4.9/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Really f--ing amazing is the only way I can describe it. Held out for 6 months before bringing it to our Homebrewers Christmas party. Without a doubt, one of the best five beers I've ever experienced. tons and tons of fanastic coffee beans are involved in making this brew. Lots of chocolate and rich malts balance out the slight hoppiness. Cannot tell it's high ABV. Worth every bit of the $12.99 I got it for . . . and will get again and again, mainly for special occassions.

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

I've waited a long time to try this beer because I've heard some great things about it. It pours a ominous black with no light penetration through the body that leaves a dark tan head that is frothy but disappears quickly. The aroma is chocolate, malted milk, light coffee, reminds me of the smell when I use to walk by this chocolate factory in Cambridge, MA. The taste is top-notch starts sweet like melted chocolate, then moves to a vanilla rich coffee bean bitterness, airy and light is the feel on the palate low in carbonation. The chocolate/coffee feel is prominate and delicious roasted beans deliciousness abound. This is truely a top 5 stout.

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

This beer makes remember why I like stouts. Rather than inadequately analyzing it, I'll just say this beer has great character. Everything about it is good. The aroma may be the best aspect of it! It smells wonderful. Contrary to what several other raters here have experienced, my bottle poured a thick, rich head.

The high alcohol doesn't come out in the taste, so it sneaks up on you. Plan to share a bottle, not to drink it all on your own. I am not sure how I should characterize the drinkability. On the one hand it is perfectly smooth and balanced. On the other hand, it doesn't take much at all to start you buzzing, so it is definitely to be appreciated in moderation. This is a problem, though, because it tastes so damn good and goes down so smooth it is hard to stop drinking it!

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

750ml, pours with a small dark tan head. nose is slightly sweet, very chocolate-like, not really much in the way of roasted or burnt odors here at this point. served 50f.

some alcohol gets through into the taste, at 12% not that surprising. once again, semi-sweet chocolate is the major feature. beyond that, there is a slightly sour bitterness into the aftertaste/finish. maybe I am missing something, but this is not a terribly complex drink. I am surprised by its relatively high ratings.

very pleasant 12% american stout, very nicely balanced taste, worth trying, along with alesmith's other products.

I will note that I believe the size and abv of this beer are too much, combined. I understand this is a 'premium-priced' alesmith product, but some smaller alternative (like a 375ml corked bottle) would be nice if one were to wish to drink this without either dumping half the bottle or being mildly inebriated upon finishing it.

Photo of dhchatfield
4.77/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Oh Boy. Got this one in trade as part of my first package from my hometown trading partner, nlmartin. For his first trade, this was one hell of an "extra". It's been in the cellar about 3 months as I've been waiting for the right moment. After another tedious 12 hour day, with a day off tomorrow, this is it.

Poured into my Duvel tulip at cellar temperature (58ish).

A - Obsidian black. Blacker than black. No glimmer of light passed through when held to the lamp. A cocoa head rose to about 3/4 of an inch before burning off to about an 1/8.

S - Luscious coffee and chocolate, a hint of bourbon it seems, a definate alcohol presence. I smelled this beer more often and longer than any beer I've had the joy to sample to date. Many forces are at work here. Plumped raisins, more chocolate....

T - Heaven in a bottle. My God is this good! Creamy coffee, with a chocolate back and a very strong alcohol tang. I honestly don't have enough descriptives to do this beer justice.

M - Again creamy and full across the tongue and roof of the mouth. A surpising effervescence washes things away before the alcohol blasts the tastebuds. The finish is slightly bitter and very long lasting.

D - Drinkable? Hell yes, but in limited quantities. As much as I seek the buzz from a strong offering such as this one, I have grown wiser throughout the course of my first year enjoying superb beers. I will savor every drop, every molecule, remaining in the bottle, and then sit back and replay the beauty of this beer.

Truly outstanding. Thanks Nate.


Photo of tjthresh
3.94/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured into a snifter. Aromas of fudge brownies, caramel macciato, and Nilla Wafers. Opaque black with a multi toned browna and orange head. Tightly bubbled. Tastes as if Hershey just released a new chocolate bar that has been infused with some strong ass coffee. Roast, smoke, char, and tobacco undertones. Medium body. Oily slick, and prickly. Of all the coffee stout’s I’ve rated over the last few weeks, this is the best. Still not a fan of the coffee.

Photo of Litterbean
4.18/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance - ebony tinged with cherrywood. Head is the color of caramel froth.

Smells primarily of bitter roasted malts, with a lot of that coffee thing they brag about on the label. Very appealing.

A lot of things happen at once when you taste this beer. Your tongue is bombarded by chocolate, coffee, and bitter roasted malt flavors. They mix together with a sweet syrupy aftertaste that makes this so palatable. The back of your throat warms and burns with a nice alcohol spice that is mostly imperceivable but is enough to warrant mention. So subtle and delicious, this beer is very very good. It is heavy as hell though, and you have to sip it, otherwise it's not enjoyable. That's the only knock. But when you pay this much for so little (sorry, 750 ml is too little for this fine brew), who cares? Sip and enjoy.

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

I bought a few of these at the Alesmith brewery several months ago and thought it was time to brake one out. Pours a black color. Big initial tan head that slowly faded but lasted to the end. Nice lacing on the way down. Aroma is light coffee, roasted malt, and a tad bit of alcohol. Flavor is COFFEE and CHOCOLATE. Nice bitterness balance. Slight alcohol warming. Very smooth, full bodied beer. Best beer I’ve ever had.

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

Served in a wide mouth goblet. Pours a dark black with large tan frothy head that lasts throughout drinking. Moderate yeast sediment. Moderate lacing. No opaqueness.

Smells of dark fruit (raisins, figs), soy. Charred, smoky coffee. Butterscotch/caramel malts. Faint lemon peel.

taste: WOW. Brief initial roasted, charred coffee taste with a smooth creamy, buttery maltiness. Finishes with a hot spicy, alcohol finish. Excellent coffee and almost nutty flavor throughout drinking without tasting overroasted or burnt. Nice earthy tones.

Full- bodied, chewy and creamy. Slight hot alcohol and dry coffee finish. Your mouth will be happy!

I would like to drink more than one of these at a time, but the price is slightly too much for that, as is the alcohol content, but the taste is so good, I might try it.

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

An "Imperial stout brewed with Ryan Bros. coffee beans"... dear lord... this will be good...

Into a tulip glass, an agressive pour yields a whopping dark tan head, massive frothy creamy cloud, bubbly underneath. Comes out thick and dark as motor oil. Color is black, pitch black, one of those few that are a completely opaque darkness, with sploches of ameoba-like lacing sticking to the side of the glass.

Aroma in and of itself is intoxicating. Molasses, roasted and black malts, licorice wrap around bourbon-like alcohol, while the coffee espresso quality adds a little tingle toward the back of the nose, or is that the alcohol, maybe both tinglin the schnoz. Truly, deeply delicious, one of the few (imo) that could stand alone on aroma alone. "Please, sir, may I smell your stout" "Why yes indeed, you rogue." "Yhar."

Note: now about 10 minutes into this beer, the head has finally subsided to a thick (ie not thin) foam. Of course, every time I refill the glass, it explodes to an inch or so yet again.

Now, as I drink this thing, I struggle between wanting to share with my drinkin bro down the street, and wanting to keep it all to myself. A formidable beast, yet remarkably well refined and conceived, like a sasquatch in a tux. And this is where I realize, its 12% ABV. Looks like I should've called the bro. This just may be the most formidable impy stout I've had yet.

Anywho, now that its warmed up a bit, everything is coming out. Indeed, rides the line between big and overwhelming. Black, roasted, toasted malts float around a column of warm alcohol. Coffee seems to be everywhere, providing a good backdrop, backbone as it were, to other characters as big molasses up front, bitter chocolate floating around like a drunken pixie, and brown sugar to round things out. Much is made of the fresh ingredients on the bottle, and it shows up in the beer.

And as if it couldn't possibly get better, the mouth is truly ... f'in sweet Goddamn holy Moses... Barbra Streisnad!!! Ah, ya, really, its really good. Among the thickest, baddest, sludge-like bodies I've seen, almost like a thick creamy malt. And yes, very creamy, smooth, just envelopes the tongue, providing the slightest carbonation to keep it just lively enough. Fantastic.

Simply put, this is a beer that will make me quit my job, order several dozen cases, and sit around with a hand down my pants, sipping myself into oblivion. It wasn't even the most anticipated beer in this trade, and I didn't even realize how high it was rated till just now after I scored it. Now that I have though, well worth all the praise, truly a man among boys in the halls of stout-dom.

Big, huge, monsterous thanks to fitzIPAtrick for this one.

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

This is a very good beer. I don't know if I'll call it one of the best I've ever had (i.e. #12 like on the Best of BA), but its damn good. Pitch black with a tan head for starters. Big chocolate and sweet coffee aromas. Flavor kicks off with chocolate and then slides right into coffee beans and espresso. Ends with a kicks of more dry coffee. Drinkable, but I couldn't take down a 750ml alone. Find a good friend or three and share this great beer.

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

750ml bottle pours dark very nice head smells of dark chocolate roasted barley and hints of alcohol but the prevailing smell is that of chocolate waiting for head to subside tastes of chocolate with a faint smoked woodiness and finishes smooth with hints of alcohol but leaves a smooth chocolated taste in your mouth feel is right for this style the only thing to say is a tiny bit too thin but that is over looked i could definitely drink a few glasses

i recommend this beer to any one that can obtain it and it is definitely worth for even a trade you cant go wrong with alesmith

Photo of mcallister
4.27/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A great looking stout to say the least. Monster mocha head retains itself incredibly. Upon fading a chunky thick lace engulfs the sides of the glass.

One of those beers that you just don't want to take your nose away from. My buddy commented from accross the room "man that beer smells great". Powerful dark chocolate, and freshly ground coffee. Thick with dark fruity esters. Just an enormous complex smelling stout. Bits of flowery esters float around as well. Nice & roasty.

Big thick full mouth leaves a long lingering finish that tried to outdo our friend the energizer bunny. A thick bitter chocolatey fudge devours the from and mid palate transgressin into resemblances of a Boston Stoker machiato. Huge amounts of coffee is what I'm getting at. Stand out dark fruitiness of plum and black currant as well as others. Alcohol is well hidden but is there.

Not a beer for the faint of hear. Would be difficult for me to drink more than a bomber.

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

A friend brought this back for me from a west coast trip. Pours a hazy very dark brown/black with a dark layer of foam that seems to lighten slightly as it sits there. Head retention is excellent.

Odor is of coffee and malt, and is very strong yet appetizing.

Flavor is also of dark malt ("burned pizza crust") and coffee. Very good. Flavor seems to sweeten slightly as it warms. I'm not in the mood for a stout all the time, but this is a great Imperial Stout to satisfy you when you feel the need for a darker beer.

Photo of neonbrown82
4.4/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This is one of the best Imperial Stouts I've tasted. Rich and silky smooth. Pours to an inky black color with a huge chocolate colored head. Decent lacing. Looks great.

The smell is incredible. Sweet with a nice dry roast. Hints of berries and coffee. A subtle alcohol aroma actually accentuates the other aromas like a spice.

The taste is quite sweet, but it still has the taste of roasted barley. Some nice berry esters. Great coffee finish. The body is thick and incredibly chewey. Definitely a worthwhile stout. I'm glad I was able to try it. Thanks to dogfooddog for this, among other West Coast gems.

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

A 750 mL bottle obtained from Boolshot.

A: The ale is a black oily color. Absolutely nothing cuts through the darkness of the ale. There is a small ring of cappucino colored head in the glass. A pour generates a 1.5 finger sized head.

S: The stout has a deep roasted malty aroma that has a vinous depth. The alcohol is evident but not overpowering. Some hops add a floral florish without detracting from the malts.

T: The stout has a big bold taste. The first flavors to hit the tongue are heavily roasted, almost burnt malts. The intensely roasted flavors border on a very dry chocolate flavor. As the beer warms in the moith, a distinct, intense alcohol flavor emerges that is astringent. Back to the malts, this beer has a fairly subtle acidity that belies the coffee beans. Finally, the stout ends with a sweet flavor that finishes long and brings back hints of the roasted malts and coffee.

M: This big stout has a great deal going on at any one time. The malts and coffee combine nicely and are well-balanced. My only complaint is the alcohol burn.

D: The drinkability is limited by the 12% abv, but there malts are flavorful and the coffee is a great addition. I am very impressed that the ale has such a balanced flavor.

Photo of jaxon53
4.83/5  rDev +10%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Served slightly chilled in a tulip glass. Poured a beautiful shiny solid black. Came with about two fingers of thick, coffee colored creamy head. Good retention with plenty of sticky lace. The nose was of chocolate, tons of roasted coffee. The taste was the same as the smell, oly better. Chocolate, coffee , hints of charred wood and some well hidden alcohol. Twelve percent!? Wow! Very full , complex , thick mouthfeel. Drinkability ranked high because it left me wanting more. Best stout i've had hands down.

AleSmith Speedway Stout from AleSmith Brewing Company
97 out of 100 based on 5,629 ratings.