AleSmith Speedway Stout - Kopi Luwak - AleSmith Brewing Company

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AleSmith Speedway Stout - Kopi Luwak
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BA SCORE
96
world-class

75 Reviews
THE BROS
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Reviews: 75
Hads: 499
rAvg: 4.41
pDev: 7.71%
Wants: 408
Gots: 75 | FT: 6
Brewed by:
AleSmith Brewing Company visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
American Double / Imperial Stout |  12.00% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: HopHead84 on 11-11-2009

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Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 75 | Hads: 499
Photo of DefenCorps
4.31/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

After going a year or two without even drinking an Alesmith beer, it's nice to be able to review a few new (to me) ones in the span of a couple of months. Thanks, Shane. Served in my oversized brandy snifter at cellar temperature.

Speedway has always been a beautiful beer in a glass, and this variant is no exception. Pouring black with a dense, dark brown head with excellent retention and very nice lacing, this looks gorgeous. The nose is an intense fruity coffee aroma, that's complex - pungent, mildly acidic (unripe fruit acidity), mildly phenolic (raw tropical fruit phenols), and with a touch of cranberry, this is a very deep coffee character here. The base stout is excellent as well. Roasty, creamy, chocolate, a little bit of an English hop character that pairs quite well with the coffee and some lactose, this is great. Alcohol is well-hidden.

The palate opens with a lot of coffee, fruity, roasty and more rounded than the nose would suggest. Mild in the roast department, most of the flavor is in the form of fruit (dried berries, though I'd be hard pressed to identify them) with minimal bitterness and moderate acidity. A little bit of smoke, a little bit of leather even, this tastes great. Earthy and moderately bitter, the coffee character pairs well with the earthy hops. The mid-palate brings forward the stout characteristics - roast, chocolate, some cream and a little molasses. A little bit of caramel too. The finish is long with a brilliant blend of coffee bitterness and roasted malt character. This is where the coffee *really* lingers. Medium-full in body with a supple, creamy carbonation, this beer is uber-smooth on the palate. Highly recommended. FWIW, this beer is incredibly rich and filling, so I wouldn't recommend doing what I'm doing - drinking it solo at 10 PM. This just might give you a caffeine buzz. (1,848 characters)

Photo of tectactoe
4.3/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Enjoyed the toddy cat poop beer version alongside the regular and barrel-aged versions of Speedway, thanks to Kevin for sharing. The Kopi version pours an extremely deep shade of brown, appearing pitch black when it finally gets to the glass. This one seems just a slight touch lighter than the regular and BA Speedways, with a light tan head that perches itself on the beer and shows the best retention of the three.

To my surprise, the aroma is actually a little more muzzled and quiet than I would like. I was expecting a huge explosion and was just a bit let down. The aromas that I am picking up, however, are full of coffee big-time. And it's an extremely different and almost strange coffee aroma. I've never smelled Kopi Luwak coffee beans for myself, but if they smell anything like this beer, then they are very unique.

There is also a borderline acidic sweetness on the nose, much akin to apple skins or grapes. Not sure if this is a characteristic of the special coffee beans or not. One thing is certain - the aroma on this beer is undeniably unlike anything else out there. I think it would benefit if it were less acrid, but the underlying malt sweetness helps keep things in check.

The taste starts off with an almost harsh, bitter roastiness. I get the feeling that I'm drinking burnt, used coffee grounds, minus the grit and smashed beans. Very roasty and ashy, coming through with that Kopi Luwak uniqueness. The sweetness comes through on the palate as well, with that light apple skin flavor that quickly transitions into a deeper, darker licorice - much more suitable for this style of beer.

There is a nice balance of sweetness to offset the initial surge of bitterness, but in the end, the heavy roast comes back for seconds. The aftertaste is full of bitter and burnt coffee beans with a light ash and charcoal that scrapes the mouth. Some cocoa notes pop out here and there, but are nothing compared to the Kopi coffee flavors. Heavy body, creamy on the palate with the highest amount of carbonation between the three Speedways.

Wow, this beer was certainly different. Definitely tasty, unique, and roasted to hell, big-time. There really is nothing quite like it. But in the end, I think I'd have to go with the regular Speedway as my favorite. The balance on this one is a bit lopsided, but it's still a very delicious beer. In my honest opinion, maybe a touch overrated. (2,406 characters)

Photo of cpetrone84
4/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pour is jet black, thick creamy dark caramel brown head. Nose is dominated by roasted coffee, not burnt, very clean. Lightly cooked caramel and some rich chocolate malt underneath. Taste follows suit with a bitter of the toasty bitter finish but it doesn't linger. Very well balanced coffee centered flavor, bright flavors, a touch of citrus in the finish. Body is creamy and thick, assertive carbonation and a fairly dry finish. Well done coffee beer. (452 characters)

Photo of illidurit
4.73/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at RBSG 08. Totally black color with a very dark mocha head. Dense and sticky foam adorns the glass. Nose is zesty roasted coffee with a complex chocolate/alcohol note. Flavor is deep semisweet chocolate with an incredible roasted zing. Apparently you get what you pay for with the coffee in this beer, because it's beautifully complex and rich, and unlike any coffee or coffee beer I've ever had. Very thick and luxurious on the palate. Warming with a nice medium finish. (479 characters)

Photo of dar482
4.62/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

The beer pours out black with a bit of a coffee brown head.

The aroma follows with roasted malt, chocolate, and then a bit more of coffee coming through than the base beer. There's that chocolate milk shake character of Speedway.

The flavor follows with that milk chocolate, chocolate shake, cocoa powder, and then a blast of coffee. It is not an aggressively roasty or fresh coffee, but more of a mild, but bold coffee still. The coffee is much more prominent here than in the base.

A really enjoyable brew with a wonderful compliment of coffee that adds a enjoyable dimension. (581 characters)

Photo of Rutager
4.26/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Big thanks to mrbubbler for this big want. Consumed after breakfast and followed by tubing in the river while camping last weekend. Perfect morning.

Appearance. Pours a deep dark brown, black in the glass with two fingers of creamy brown head.

Smell. Sweet coffee, dark malts, and a bit of molasses and vanilla.

Taste. Strong (but smooth) sweet coffee, dark malts and molasses, and a bit of vanilla.

Mouthfeel. Medium-full body, low carbonation.

Overall. Great coffee stout. Big, smooth, and very drinkable. (513 characters)

Photo of EgadBananas
4.58/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: black, dark brown head, 2 fingers, lots of lace.

Aroma: light coffee, roast, chocolate, mild dark fruits, toffee.

Taste: intense coffee and chocolate, roasted malts, slight burnt notes, bittersweet finish.

***Taste wise, it's still epic, but its not as aromatic as a fresh speedway. In the end, it's trivial as this is still a phenomenal coffee stout. (367 characters)

Photo of BMMillsy
3.74/5  rDev -15.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Bottle from trade. No bottle date. Big thanks to Richard for this one. Pours pitch black like Speedway should, with a big brown creamy head. Aroma of chocolate and earthy espresso, no super acidic coffee smell, roast. Flavor is some earthy coffee, a bit of metallic flavors, roast, light chocolate. What I do like about this variant is the nutty coffee aftertaste left on the palate. Seems slightly thinner than other Speedway variants, medium carbonation. I am very much not impressed with this. Lacking in flavor and body, a little metallic. Disappointing. Glad to have tried it, of course. (592 characters)

Photo of Florida9
3.92/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Black in color, Forms a tan-gray colored head. Good retention. nice lacing. Aroma is unexciting. Coffee, dark malts, and carbonation. Taste is much better. Dark roasted malts, coffee, slightly acidic coffee, slightly metallic, but little else. Medium bodied, very thin for the style, Moderate bitterness.
A sort of decent beer. Certainly not worth the hype or what this beer seems to be fetching. (398 characters)

Photo of notchucknorris
4.55/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Alesmith

A: Black with a big reddish dark brown head. Nice.

S: Tons of freshly roasted dark roast coffee, dark chocolate and cocoa powder. Full and intense.

T: Big dark roasted coffee, dark chocolate and some roasted malt and a touch of wet earth in the background. The mouthfeel is creamy and super smooth. Tasty tasty stuff. (340 characters)

Photo of srandycarter
4.43/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I like this one. The first impresssion, not much carb. Black as you would expect. The smell is a joy. Choc chip cookies and a hint of soy. Makes you want to pug it. Taste is pretty, but probably not as cool as smell. Good carb, great balance. I am happy I have a few of these to age. (283 characters)

Photo of ehammond1
4.33/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Cask

Night of a Million Zillion Speedways
O'Brien's Pub
San Diego, CA

Dark as night black with brown edges, thin head but the body of this beer is just spectacular. It's thick and oily and leaves the glass absolutely covered in sticky lace. Thick as can be and dark as night. Spectacular.

A huge, overpowering blast of roasted coffee beans and chocolate make up the aroma of this beer. While somewhat simple, it's powerful and incredible. In this case, simple, and strong, is a very good thing.

The roasted malt and freshly roasted coffee beans dominate the flavor of this beer. It's slightly more bitter than the typical Speedway Stout because of the huge roasted coffee element, but everything comes together quite nicely.

Medium to thick bodied with low carbonation.

Another wonderful variation of a truly terrific base beer. (835 characters)

Photo of homebrew311
3.81/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

The appearance on this beast is a thick opaque black with heavy visual weight. Dark tan head forms and leaves plenty of lacing. The nose features huge earthy coffee notes. The Kopi Luwak coffee is forward and stands above everything else. Bitter notes are present on the nose with plenty of cacao. The only issue I have is that the Kopi Luwak coffee actually takes away from a delicious brew. It takes the nose on a bitter earthy ride that just doesn't smell great. The taste is similar to the nose. The earthy character dominates the profile and overshadows a delicious base beer. Mouthfeel is thick and has moderate carbonation. OVerall, I was so excited for this since I really liked the regular Speedway. Given the hype surrounding this, I thought that it would be as good or better. For me, it wasn't even close. Maybe Kopi Luwak coffee just isn't for me, but it seems to make for a bitter and earthy taste that comes off with a bit of astringency. (953 characters)

Photo of Jeffo
3.43/5  rDev -22.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Got this from jbeatty and we drank it beside the regular Speedway and the BA Kopi version.

From a 75cl bottle into a snifter

APPEARANCE: Pours black but clear yielding a two finger, medium looking dark tan head with very good retention. Black body, clear, with no real carbonation evident. Head fades to a wisp that sticks to the sides of the glass. A splotchy wisp remains leaving some bits of lacing down the glass. Same as the regular version.

SMELL: Much better than the regular version. More coffee for sure, with roasted grains, sweet cream and some vanilla in there. No cabbage or band aids, luckily.

TASTE: Better as well. Roasted and burnt coffee, charred grains, with some sweet cream and vanilla at the finish. Bold and lingering finish of burnt coffee beans, roast and sweet cream flavors. A touch of cabbage, but not nearly off-putting like the regular Speedway.

PALATE: Same as the regular. Medium-fully body, heavy on the palate, with medium to lower end carbonation. Heavy and creamy on the palate, goes down smooth and finishes slightly mouth-coating. A slight prickly punch at the back after the swallow. Very good for the style.

OVERALL: This was a big improvement on the regular cabbage Speedway. Nothing outstanding by any means, but decent flavors with more of a coffee presence and a good look and feel to round it out. Something I'm glad I got to try and I could finish a bottle myself if the opportunity was there, but not necessarily something I'd need to drink again. Thanks again jbeatty! (1,527 characters)

Photo of DarthKostrizer
4.5/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at O'Briens night of a million zillion speedways

Look: Pours a a midnight black color and totally opaque with a 1/4 inch tan head that stays around for sometime

Smell: The nose is a tad bit sweeter than the regular version of speedway. The Kopi Luwak really stands out

Taste: Same as the nose the Kopi Luwak has made this version a tad bit sweeter but keeps the same roasted bitterness that the regular version has. Very nice

Mouthfeel: Full body with low carbonation and a creamy feel

Overall: Just an outstanding example how different types of coffee can change the overall beer. Very nice very taste and very drinkable (633 characters)

Photo of KYGunner
4.28/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Jet black in color there was a frothy tight knit head that collared relatively quickly but the froth stayed at the edges.

The scent is dry with pronounced cocoa powder and a nice caramel sweetness.

The taste and feel is very dry with a robust coffee flavor. This coffee has a fresh roasted taste and is very prominent on the palate. The tastes of caramel and chocolate are quite creamy and blend well with the coffee prominence.

12 pct ABV, no way! It's completely hidden in a dry yet creamy feel. (500 characters)

Photo of wagenvolks
4.54/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Hand-bottle split 3 ways. My share washed ashore into a New Belgium goblet. Directed by bgthang.

Kopi Luwak Speedway pours with a deep, puddle-brown body that flashes mahogany tint at its edges. The custard head recedes to a thin wisp of foam, but is easily revived with a quick flick of the wrist. As for the aroma: We need to go deeper.

*BRAAAMP* ... *BRAAAMP* ...

We join our main character, a dark roasted coffee bean, as he delves deeper and deeper into his subconscious dream states--all of which exist in bags of freshly-ground coffee. In a Cuban coffee shop. On the slopes of a coffee plantation in Guatemala. Chasing him are agents hired by Swiss Miss and Count Chocula.

The dreaming coffee bean escapes narrowly and makes his way to a garage in Austin, Texas. Taking a sip of Kopi Luwak Speedway Stout, the kick of sudden flavor snaps the bean out of his dream-scape and back into reality. He is now a beer geek; his totem, a New Belgium goblet. Is he still dreaming?

*BRAAAMP* ...

Deep flavors of roast chocolate grains, mocha coffee, and a dry, earthy finish wash over him with each sip. The medium body is a little thin, but the carbonation from the hand-bottle has held up nicely. No, he is awake, and drinking a true dream of a beer. Or is he? The garage begins to crumble.

*BRAAAMP* (1,305 characters)

Photo of portia99
4.42/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

750ml bottle poured into a Sierra Nevada 30th Anniversary glass.

A - Pours with a pitch black color and a frothy head of coffee milkshake consistency and appearance, 3 fingers tall. Lots of frothy, webby lacing is left on the glass after the head finally fades away after several minutes.

S - Coffee, mocha, dark chocolate. Very creamy, cocoa powder, a bit of astringency and some cherry-like fruitiness.

T - Super chocolately, cocoa powder, and tons of coffee flavor. Lite berry flavor comes on towards the swallow and lingers a bit. There is a bit of a drying feeling on each sip...sorta makes me think of licking cocoa powder off the back of a spoon...get a great cocoa flavor, but has that powdery feel on the tongue...just a bit.

M - Super smooth, creamy, a bit frothy with a light astringency. Thick coffee bitterness, heavy roasty qualities. Body is thick, smooth and super creamy.

O - Very enjoyable imperial stout...haven't had a bad variation of Speedway yet, and this one doesn't disappoint either. More of a chocolately charcter overall than I was expecting...figured the coffee would stand out more so. Feel is outstanding with a big creamy and frothy texture. Very enjoyable - another one to seek out for a second tasting. (1,241 characters)

Photo of rye726
4.4/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Oh just had to get the tick on this one. Thanks buddy!

Pours a nice dark chocolate color. Thin head, but to be expected from a hand bottle.

Nose has note of coffee, roasty malts, hops, cocoa and dark pitted fruits.

Taste is quite nice. Not sure it's any better than the regular Speedway.

Nice full body, carbonation a bit low, but again note the hand bottle.

Always a great stout. Too bad they skip us on the way to the eas coast. (435 characters)

Photo of jegross2
4.98/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Reviewing the Kopi Luwak Speedway Stout from AleSmith Brewing Company out of San Diego, California.

Score: 99

January 2013 vintage bottle served in a Perennial and enjoyed during the All-Star Game on 07/16/13.

Appearance: Pours an inky black color with two fingers of dark khaki head that settles to a thin layer atop the glass. This beer has the best lacing and craziest cling/retention of any stout I have ever seen. A thick layer of frothy head sticks to the side of the glass for well beyond two minutes (at which point I stopped counting). This is a truly gorgeous stout. 5/5

Smell: Tons of delicious-smelling roasted coffee notes upfront. Then milk chocolate, molasses, and cocoa. Hint of vanilla a la Stone's Vanilla Porter too. There's also a faint whiff of dark fruit detectable when it gets on the warmer side. 5/5

Taste: Super smooth coffee and roastiness. Absolutely no acidity in tandem with the bitterness. Minimal bitterness off the coffee flavor, which is to be expected from the use of Kopi coffee. Milk chocolate, bakers chocolate and a faint dark fruit character a la Kuhnhenn American Imperial Stout or the original batch of De Struise Black Albert. No vanilla. Finishes with a mildly bitter, raw dark chocolate flavor and a faint hint of coffee. Truly delectable; quite balanced. 5/5

Mouthfeel: Medium-plus bodied, spot on carbonation. Super creamy, slightly dry on the finish. The bitterness quality is really excellent here -- it is not acidic at all, and very smooth and lingering. It pairs perfectly with the chocolate notes on the palate. 4.75/5

Overall: This beer is beyond ridiculous. It is the best non-barrel aged coffee stout that I have had to date, and easily one of the best stouts I have ever had (and I drink quite a lot of stouts). Smooth, flavorful and perfectly balanced, there is little more you could ask for here. This beer is infinitely better than its barrel aged counterpart, and it is arguably AleSmith's best beer (the Vietnamese coffee version is almost as good, and I have not had the vanilla coconut version yet). I sincerely hope that AleSmith bottles this again. If so, I will be buying by the case next time around.

Cost: $18 for a 750 ml bottle. (2,207 characters)

Photo of SpeedwayJim
4.83/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Huge thanks to Mike for this one. 750ml capped bottle into a Founders snifter. Shared with schen9303.

Pours a massive, frothy 3 finger mocha colored head with good retention. Beer is pitch black. Lacing is thick, web-like and layered with excellent stick. Quite the looker!

Nose is unmistakable kopi. Chocolate, fudge, cocoa powder, light sweetness and copious amounts of coffee. A nice creaminess from lactose and vanilla round out the experience. Excellent.

Opens chocolate, cocoa, fudge, and coffee. Some molasses, leather and a light smoked malt in the middle. Dark chocolate and coffee dominate the experience. End is sweet and sticky black strap molasses and more coffee. Aftertaste is the same. Straight, to the point, and very very good.

Full bodied with low carbonation. Oily, slick, and rich in the mouth and goes down boozy, sweet, and sticky. Finishes messy with a lingering aftertaste that coats the mouth. Spot on.

This beer is proof that not every beer needs to be barrel aged or super-duper limited to be good. Alesmith knocks it out of the park with this one and I really hope they choose to remake this one in the future. This is actually better than the barrel-aged version of the same beer. Simply out-of-this-world (1,243 characters)

Photo of inlimbo77
4.35/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

750ml, 2013
The Lost Abbey

A: Pours a deep dark color black. Pitch black as night. Motor oil. Medium tan color head. Sticky lacing. Seems nicely carbed. I like what I see.

S: Huge bitter roast coffee. Dark chocolate hints. Vanilla. Some creamy notes.

T: Big rich dark roast coffee and chocolate up front. It's a mouth coater. Really creamy. I do get hints of vanilla in there even without barrel aging. Finish is long and inviting.

M: Full bodied. Thick and creamy. (469 characters)

Photo of jvillefan
4.62/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

A: Jet black body with a one finger mocha head that lasts for a while.

S: An amazing coffee dominate aroma with dark roast malts.

T: Coffe is definitely dominate here. There are chocolate, toffee, and dark malt flavors throughout the entire beer.

M: Excellent carbonation and very heavy and smooth body.

O: Amazing stout. Get it if you can. (344 characters)

Photo of pmarlowe
4.17/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at AleSmith tasting room during 2012 CBC/WBC week.

A: Pours an impenetrable brown, with a darkish film of brown head which recedes to a ring and some swirls layered on the surface of the beer. Less frothy than regular Speedway, with only so-so retention but some nice lattice of lacing.

S: Huge earthy and roasty coffee notes. Like regular Speedway but on steroids; the nose on regular is faint in comparison.

T: Very strong, dark roast coffee, with a modest espresso-like char, a bit of fruit, some dry, woody notes, and a little bright acidity which lends some structure. Exquisitely long coffee finish.

M: Full bodied and medium-light carbonation. A little sticky on the mouth. Pleasantly warming, and with alcohol completely hidden under the big coffee flavors.

O: Basically an amped up, coffee-forward version of the regular Speedway, bordering on drinking straight up coffee. Strong, but not particularly rich or sweet, which is what I think I liked about the Vietnamese. Overall, it's pretty good, but lacks the nuance and drinkability of the standard version. (1,080 characters)

Photo of Phelps
4.54/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Growler into a tulip.

Space-black, with a thin, cocoa-colored head that becomes a long-lasting ring.

The nose: Perfectly roasted coffee, smooth oats, toasted walnut. Mocha, vanilla, touch of milk chocolate. For a coffee stout, perfect.

Smooth coffee up front in the flavor, with the same blend of espresso, mocha and toasted nuts. Incredibly well-blended, impossible to separate the flavors. A touch of chocolate sweetness at the swallow.

Regular Speedway has always seemed like poor-quality coffee to me. The bean apparently makes all the difference, because this is so much better than the regular Speedway. The coffee is so pronounced. It's a completely different beer. (677 characters)

AleSmith Speedway Stout - Kopi Luwak from AleSmith Brewing Company
96 out of 100 based on 75 ratings.