AleSmith Speedway Stout | AleSmith Brewing Company

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AleSmith Speedway StoutAleSmith Speedway Stout

Brewed by:
AleSmith Brewing Company
California, United States

Style: American Double / Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 12.00%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
Jet Black, with an off-white head. Starts with a strong coffee and dark chocolate sensation, then fades to a multitude of toasty, roasty and caramel malt flavors. Clean and crisp, full- bodied. Warmth from the high alcohol content lightens up the feel. You won't fool your taste buds - this beer is HUGE!

Added by BeerAdvocate on 11-09-2002

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Reviews: 1,659 | Ratings: 6,678
Photo of stawn
4.23/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Pours like 6000 mile old motor oil. Nice thick dirty head leaves great lacing!

S - Smells of warm alcohol and coffee, some hidden molasses or dark fruit...figs maybe?

T - Very complex.Alcohol and bitter coffee hits the front of the tongue then roasted maltyness on the way down. Then the aftertaste...tastes like Hershey syrup running down your throat. mmm

M - As it warms the alcohol is subdued and the coffee and chocolate come out.

D - Great sweet coffee stout!

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Photo of russwbeck
4.23/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Black pour with a nice brown head. Retention isn't great but it laces nicely.

S: The smell is really sweet, chocolate mostly up front. Coffee though is the dominant smell here.

T: Sweet and roasty chocolate start it off much like the smell. Similarly so, the coffee comes next. It's even bigger than you'd expect. Very dry finish.

MF: A little lighter than I wanted it to be, but the carbonation is on point. No hit of the alcohol.

O: Pretty good beer. Not a lot more than coffee but the 12% is non-existent. It could use perhaps a bit more balance but no complaint here!

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Photo of LordAdmNelson
4.23/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Pours an opaque motor-oil black with a light milk chocolate head. Head fades relatively rapidly, but laces quite well.

S- Strong, I can smell it as soon as I open it. Rich espresso and some hops. Some phenolic/alcohol/sour character.

T- Taste is robust--big fruity flavors with coffee and roasted malt. Grapes and apples mix together with the dark malts to produce a nice flavor. Slightly sour. Coffee and chocolate come through strong. Definitely a big flavor-stout. A little piney hops aftertaste. But still sour. I think this is a bad bottle, but it's apparent that even a bad bottle of Speedway is somewhat good.

M- Prickly from the alcohol, medium bodied vs. other big stouts, slightly dry finish. Kind of menthol-like cooling comes through. Wish it was a little bigger/creamier, but still good.

D- Definitely an intriguing brew, keeps you coming back for more. ABV makes it more of a sipper though. Sour note was off-putting, but kind of reminds me of a mix between Edmund Fitzgerald Porter and Stone IRS. Would like to see this mellow out with some age. Spicy, robust, and tasty. Worth seeking out. I'm obviously torn in this review because I think it was a bad bottle, but it still wasn't that bad of a beer. Weird. I'll have to revisit it.

4, 4.5, 3, 3.5, 3.5


Revisiting this beer was definitely something I had to do. Tremendous appearance, with some golden brown head that stays for the whole beer. Aroma is pretty good still, big roasty malt, chocolate, and some woody/oaky notes. Taste is out of this world with some big roasted malts, chocolate malt, vanilla, oak, and others. Lasting finish. A bit dry on the finish, full and creamy. Delicious. Very happy that I came back to it and sad that I had a bad bottle to begin with.

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Photo of mastergintoki
4.23/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

: Two fingers of a brown head. Black as the night.

S: dark roasted coffe. Molasses amd licorice.

Molasses licorice. The coffe is baely therer. There is some sweetness

Poured from a 750mL bottle,

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Photo of LiquidBread219
4.23/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: The beer is dark brown. Pours with a 1 finger mocha colored head. Average retention but no lacing

S: Interesting nose, but not quite what I was expecting. Mix of roasted malt and creamed coffee. Definitely more roast then coffee. Some bitter chocolate

T: Ah, there is the coffee I was hoping for. Coffee presence is much larger, but still has the accompanying roasted malt and bitter chocolate. Small alcohol presence

M: Medium bodied, bordering on full. Super smooth with light carbonation. Roasted coffee aftertaste

D: A good beer that lived up to my expectations. Nice coffee beer and I wish I had more of it.

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Photo of s1ckboy
4.23/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Fresh bottle, less than 2 months. Agressive pour into snifter. Big 3 finger head, wasn’t expecting that with such high ABV. Taste is typical of big imperial stouts (think founders Imp Stout) with decent amount of coffee. Big chocolatey flavors. This was a bit of a let down seeing as how it was on the top 100 beers, I was expecting a lot more. Very good though.

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Photo of coreyfmcdonald
4.23/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750ml bottle into a snifter

A: Pours pitch black with three fingers of dense light brown foam. Very nice. Retention and lacing are both amazing. An average pour really leads to a ton of of head.

S: Strong roasted malts up front with a ton of dark chocolate and some floral hops.

T: Very strong dark chocolate and burnt malts with roasted malts and a bit of coffee in the background. Fairly straightforward, but quite appealing. Boozy, but not over the top.

M: Quite thick with creamy carbonation.

O: This beer is straightforward, but extremely delicious. Boozy, roasty, burnt, and dark chocolate-y.

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Photo of dblinkhorn
4.23/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a foil-wrapped 750ml capped bottle into a snifter.

Appearance - Pours with a dark tan half-finger head that is very creamy but has a large number of larger soapy bubbles, too. This quickly dissipates to a very thin layer of patchy lace. Good lacing is left sticking to the sides of the glass as you drink it. The beer is opaque black.

Smell - Fresh extremely oily-smelling wet hops. Roasted malt character is definitely there, but it seems like the character isn't quite as dark roasted as some. Some alcohol-like over-ripe dark fruit character, mainly fig and raisin. Notes of milky chocolate are also present with a touch of coffee aroma. Moderate alcohol aroma, but it is not a harsh sensation.

Taste - Super oily bitterness up front from hops and ultra-bitter dark chocolate flavors. Again, and old-ale like alcohol character with raisin and fig fruitiness. Also a more milk-chocolate flavor with some bitter coffee tastes in the middle. Some peppery spiciness is also present, along with notes of molasses, caramel, and brown sugar behind the strongest set of flavors. I am tasting some dry grainy character, as well. The malt character tastes much darker than it smelled here, and definitely seems fully-roasted. The aftertaste has some earthy tones with a background bitterness of dark chocolate and hops, on a background flavor from the malt.

Mouthfeel - Perfect. The carbonation has absolutely no bite and holds its structure throughout the entire taste. This is a very heavy-bodied beer and it is extremely smooth.

Drinkability - Extremely bitterness of chocolate/coffee/oily hops character. Strong and rich (almost filling) malt presence. I probably won't be able to finish this bottle by myself, even though it's very good.

An excellent and powerfully flavored stout from Alesmith. Having this really perks my interest in the oak-aged version of this brew. If you like strong-flavored stouts with a super wet and oily mouthfeel and hops, this is for you. Highly recommended (as a sipper!).

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Photo of SirSketch
4.23/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

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

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Photo of dowen17
4.22/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Pours a pitch black with a nice two finger milk chocolate head. Great retention. Leaves patchy lacing down the glass.

On the nose is rich roasted coffee. Big dark malts. Bittersweet chocolate. The coffee smells very very fresh here.

Taste is very coffee heavy. Roast dark coffee and bitter chocolate. Alcohol is present on the aftertaste.

Big chewy mouthfeel as you would expect from a stout. Good carbonation as well.

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Photo of alleykatking
4.22/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 750ml bottle. Had this one many times and finally going to review it.

A- Pours a dark black color. No light getting through this one. One finger mocha colored head fades rather quickly. No lacing as it just falls back into the glass.

S- Big time coffee smell. Light baker's chocolate (bitter) in the background. A light roasted malt backbone to this. Alcohol tingles the nose as you sniff. Hint of vanilla with this as well.

T- Chocolate malts come off first in bitter start. This is interesting as I expected the coffee to start this. The coffee kicks it into high gear though and that is all you can taste in a espresso like middle. The alcohol shines for a minute as it transends into a light roasted malt mixed with chocolate again. The ending has more alcohol but it is hidden throughout the beer so well.

M- Heavy mouthfeel. Carbonation is good for the stlye. Very chewy and slick as it cover the palate. Coffee flavors left on the palate and chocolate covered coffee beans make up the aftertaste with a kiss of alcohol. Medium drying on the palate from the alcohol. Flavors are so well blended it's kind of crazy.

D- This is a fantastic beer that really is drinkable. Although, having more than a couple pints of this could be bad news. The high ABV lmits the drinkability on this to be honest.

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Photo of bunnyhustle
4.22/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured into snifter from bottle. Pours black as night and thick as can be. Disappointed in the head, found it to be thin and very bubbly, some retention and lacing but not a ton. Smell is of coffee, chocolate, molasses and a bit of alcohol. Taste is on par. A brilliant mix of coffee, caramel, chocolate, and cream. A warming sensation as it goes down with a little alcohol. Very thick and full bodied, creamy and smooth. Overall a great beer and a slow sipper. Was a great choice to enjoy on Christmas.

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Photo of Aenema
4.22/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance - Pitch black, deep tan head.
Smell - Coffee, cocoa, vanilla, oak. Tremendous aromatic combination.
Taste - Cocoa, coffee, some bitterness towards the end.
Mouthfeel - Silky smooth with low-medium carbonation.
Drinkability - Very enjoyable and although it is a very filling, strong beer, it manages to remain easy to continue drinking. The biggest problem I ran into was a bit more bitterness than I would like on the end of this one.
Overall - A tremendous nose and great drinkability really set this one apart. I'm looking forward to trying this one again.

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Photo of rodemey2
4.22/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

IMO could use a little more body. I prefer stouts of this ABV to be a tad more viscous, i might be alone here. other than that, its pretty much perfect. dried fruit on the nose, and you’d never know they hit 12% on it. paired with some bleu cheese, blissful.

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Photo of afksports
4.22/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The AleSmith Speedway was one of my first goals in a trade and one of the highest rated on my Top100 (from this Summer). When I finally landed a bottle - and then when it hit shelves in NYC - there was tons of excitement. So I opened it with a buddy of mine Alex when he and his girlfriend Maria were visiting.

But it didn't deliver.

Maybe it was frozen at some point. Maybe it was too hot at some point. Maybe it wasn't aged enough. But regardless the taste was off. Extremely tangy, with dark fruits and grapefruit predominating. And water. Chocolate notes and malt notes were there, so was coffee, but it just wasn't that American Double that I've gotten to know and love.

The appearance was great - pitch black. Smell was amazing, coffee, toffee, bitter chocolate, sugar, fruit. Mouthfeel was excellent as well, although it didn't seem properly composed, it's like all those elements were floating in alcohol and water (hence the freezing guess). But since I just don't know, and it's a hard bottle to come by, I have to make this review now and then tag it for later to come back to.

AleSmith Speedway... we will meet again.

UPDATE: Enjoyed a better taken care-of bottle and better aged. Had side by side with the BA version. Yep. It's better. Upgraded taste from 2.5 to 4.0, and Overall from 2.5 to 4.0

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Photo of mschrei
4.22/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Love how this beer looks. Smells and tastes pretty good but doesn't live up to the look. Not a lot of coffee, even though it's billed as such. I'll give them credit for disguising the alcohol however, as it's not that forward for a 12%. Warms up well after coming across thin on first taste. Still feels and tastes creamy after an hour, which is the best thing I can say about it. Enjoyable but was expecting a lot more.

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Photo of jmd88
4.22/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

I had low expectations because I've seen this in stores everywhere, but this really is a good beer. Pours with a light brown head that doesn't fade quickly. Smells and tastes barrel aged, although this version wasn't. Felt very well balanced and didn't have any flavors that overwhelmed.

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Photo of BierReise
4.22/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

After lifting the cap off of this green 750ml bottle, vigorous pouring yielded a dense tan frothy head the width of my pinky finger. This deep ebony brew settled nicely into its stylish looking Alesmith pint glass sporting an etched logo on clear glass. The aroma wafting upwards was of an intense roasted malt, heavy with notes of coffee and alcohol. The texture of this stout is incredibly smooth, possibly the smoothest, creamiest stout I've had. The flavor is deep, dark, and delicious. Coffee, bitter chocolate and a warming alcohol sensation leaves the finish only slightly dry with a hint of bitterness. This is one hell of a big stout. Full of flavor and strong, yet remarkably easy to drink. This stout will not dissapoint. Kick back with some soothing sounds and enjoy the ride. I plan on putting one of these away for next winter to see how it improves.

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Photo of thecheapies
4.22/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Long time want. Speedway Stout. Purchased in March of '12. Refrigerated mostly up to now.

Looks black as dark chocolate with a heavily dark mocha-colored head. High booze percentage did a number on the overall foam retention. However, beautiful greasy brown alcohol legs.

Fruit and coffee notes are bigger than anything, and much bigger than anything, except the roast. Dark roast coffee, dark fruits, mild milk chocolate, booze, hearty roasted malts, wild cherry, and lactic acidity. Smells sweet and roasty in a great way.

Espresso bitterness and flavor with loads of extra fruity sweetness. Very roasty with a smidge of date and black licorice and milkiness. Finishing bitterness in the back of the throat from the black patent malts. Super malty, in that, there are no isolated hops to pick up on. Smooth wave of alcohol, but it doesn't scream huge beer--even though the m'fer is 12%. Truly more of an Imperial Stout than a coffee stout at this point.

Medium-to-thick body and a whisked-up carbonation. The alcohol is well-maintained. Feels pretty darn good, better than a sipper.

One damn tasty stout. Wish I had a fresh bottle to compare it to. Tastes nothing like Founders Breakfast Stout or Terrapin Wake-N-Bake. An excellent imperial on its own.

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Photo of Omnium
4.22/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Served on tap at House of 1000 Beers on 9-29-13

A - Poured out a rich creamy black color, two fingers of tan colored head, thick lacing.
S - Aroma has a lot of dark roasted chocolates, some smoky traits, it seems like there might be some hops in here, and definitely a little boozy.
T - Big bitter dark chocolate, roasted malt, has a really nice hop character throughout the mouth, and there's a really neat flavor of smoked hickory chips that compliment it well.
M - Least favorite part of the beer, very dry, not a whole lot of those good complex flavors in the aftertaste, but for 12% there's not a lot of burn.
O - Great stout with how complex it is, the hops and smokiness really bring this to a new level. Would definitely have again.

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Photo of SomethingClever
4.21/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

750ml bottle poured into snifter

A: pitch black body big fluffy looking head a tan color laces on the glass as the head recedes

S: some coffee, bakers chocolate, licorice, smells a little like cocoa powder and some metallic

T: coffee is huge, lots of chocolate, anise the coffee is actually making the beer have a bitter finish

M: very light carbonation nice oily slick feel on the tongue which turns to a nice fullness

O: Great drinking beer I remember really being taken with this beer I am not as blown away as I was the first time but the beer is good. The coffee is much more pronounced in the taste then in the nose.

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Photo of zdk9
4.21/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- Gorgeous beer. Black and impenetrable. Probably the darkest beer I've ever had. A full finger of beautiful bubbly cocoa head. Very strong tree patterns of lacing.

S- Coffee comes first, then chocolate. Some light chalky-mineralness in the nose which continues in the taste.

T- The coffee is most prominent but there is quite a bit of chocolate, and very bittersweet. Maybe hints of roast, but not really a smoked or burned flavor, just dark toast.

M- This is 12%!? Seriously, I would think it's around 8 or 9 tops. The roastiness and minerally flavors really stick to my tongue, but also the coffee.

D- Delicious. I wish I could get this on a more regular basis.

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Photo of LambicPentameter
4.21/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Enjoyed out of a dark brown 750 mL bottle with no dating that I can find. It seems to have rubbed off in the trip it had to take from the Pacific NW to arrive at my doorstep. No matter, as the style should allow it to hold up well, even if it's a little older. Poured into a standard 16 oz tumbler.

Appearance - The body of this beer is where light goes to die. It's hard to tell if it's straight-up black or a brown so dark that it might as well be black. It seems slightly to my eyes as if it's the former rather than the latter. Atop the body sits a generous, creamy khaki head. Dissipates over about 2-3 minutes, leaving sparse lacing, but really nothing to speak of.

Smell - Knowing this is a coffee stout, I expected the aroma to be a little more fresh-ground espresso. Don't get me wrong, that distinctive strong coffee ground characteristic is there, but it's on a pretty level playing feel with the charred notes of roasted malt and the bittersweetness of cocoa nibs and raw cacao. I know that coffee is included in the drink, but I think semisweet chocolate is the more present element, at least in the smell.

Taste - Here, the coffee element becomes more dominant, with notes of a nice French roast percolating in amongst the bittersweet chocolate and charred malts. There is a a sweetness that blends nicely with the roasty bitter elements from the coffee and chocolate. There also seems to be a spiciness to it, as if it had chiles added or something. The esters from the huge ABV are noticeable, but don't overwhelm--this one is all roasted goodness and faint sweetness, like burnt caramel or overcooked molasses. Quite pleasant.

Mouthfeel - Heavy, in a good way, rich and decadent. Quite chewy, like you'd expect from a huge Imperial Stout like this one, reminiscent of a mocha latte. Carbonation is on the light side of medium, but more than I would have expected. Lingering and slight bitterness, but the finish is mostly dry.

Overall, a stellar beer. It's hard to compare to some of my other favorite coffee-based stouts because none of those even come close to the ABV on this one. That being said, this is quite an impressive imperial stout, coffee or no. The only thing I would change is to make the coffee a bit more pronounced. Given that I don't know the bottling date, I suppose it's possible that the coffee forwardness has simply faded a bit. Still makes for a delicious beer that I would gladly drink again (or share with friends).

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Photo of jeffmonarch
4.21/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

750 ml bottle in a snifter.

A - Is this beer or a thin mollasis? Damn is it dark. It has a medium brown head that disappears quickly.

S - Three things. Coffee, chocolate and alcohol.

T - Wow, you taste the sweeter chocolate while in your mouth and then the finish hits the back of your palate and the coffee flavor hits you really hard. After the finish you get a slight warming sensation in your throat from the alcohol, very light but there.

M - This disappointed me. I don't get much while in my mouth. It has a slight flavor then the knockout is the finish. I wish it had more initially.

D - I like it a lot. Stouts are my favorite and this is a great one. My only complaint is the initial flavor is weak. Don't get me wrong, it kicks your a$@ after that.

Great beer!

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Photo of KFBR392
4.21/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Appearance: PItch black. Dark brown head which was more prominent then I expected. About half finger worth of head throughout drinking. Really exceptional.

Smell: Subdued but very pleasant. A sweet maltness in the aroma.

Taste: Again the sweet malt flavors come into play. The coffee presence that was advertised was much less prominent then I would have hoped. It was barely detectable in the undertones but could be found. A very easy drinker for being such a high ABV.

Mouthfeel: Smooth. Thick palette coverage makes this a memorable brew. Heavy but again such an easy drinker.

Overall: This brew had some high expectations going in. I was amped to find a few bottles of this at a local liquor store and they were certainly a treat.

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AleSmith Speedway Stout from AleSmith Brewing Company
4.37 out of 5 based on 6,678 ratings.
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