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: 1,669 | Ratings: 6,728
Photo of Arbitrator
1.5/5  rDev -65.7%
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.

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Photo of crnipeter
1.52/5  rDev -65.2%
look: 2 | smell: 1.25 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

I'm repeatedly surprised how poorly American craft brewers mask alcohol in their high-ABV beers when compared to European brewmasters, and Speedway Stout only confirms the rule.

Apparently thin dark brown body with a short foamy head that instantly dissipates.

Good dosage of coffee and some red wine underlain by roasted malt qualities - chocolate in particular - are completely overwhelmed by fusel alcohol.

This sludge tastes like a week old coffee sediment washed down with cheap vodka + there's unexpected cherry-like tartness fuelling my fears the bottle might be infected, which is not - it's simply a bad beer. Finish is medium dry.

Rather thin for the style and burning hot on the palate.

Sadly even adding loads of advertised coffee couldn't mask the shittiness of the base beer. Can't believe this drainpour found it's way into top 6 on the Ratebeer. (Bottled on 02/14/13, into a snifter.)

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Photo of zoolzoo
1.77/5  rDev -59.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 1 | feel: 3 | overall: 1

Received as a trade extra, thanks to the generous Adamdc. I am unsure of the vintage.

A: Pours "stout black", a weak mocha head develops and diminishes into a bubbly ring around the glass.

S: Strong dark fruit presence, soy sauce, burnt coffee, alcohol. Getting some chocolate, as well.

T: Wow, getting alot of strange tartness out of this one. Dark fruits yah, but also a weird semi-sour cherry thing. I wanna say this is infected, but I have no other sample to compare it to. Coffee presence is weak, chocolate presents itself as an under lying sweetness. Finish is again... a bit fruity!

M/D: Thick enough, carbonation is low which contradicts my infection theory. I don't understand how this beer is so well regarded. I may have a bad bottle, maybe not. As it stands I will never know, I wont be hunting this one down again.

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Photo of Jeffo
1.93/5  rDev -55.8%
look: 4 | smell: 1 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 2

Originally reviewed this a 4.43 back in 2010. We recently had a newer bottle and I felt it was time for a re-review of this one.

From a 75cl into a snifter
Bottled 12 April 2013

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. Still looks good.

SMELL: Roasted notes with band aid and rotten cabbage. Light cream notes but the coffee addition has come out like band aids and vegetables. Pretty rotten.

TASTE: Better than the nose, but still lousy. Cabbage and perfume with some roasted grain and coffee up front. Bolder finish of roasted coffee, sweet cream and lots of band aid and cabbage again. This is also rotten, though not as rotten as I'd expected from the nose.

PALATE: 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. Great mouthfeel for the style; big and mean.

OVERALL: The only saving grace of this is that I didn't have to drink my full share. The drain was in a good mood that day. The feel is still a menace and the look is good, but something went horribly wrong with this batch. Rotten vegetables and band aids all over the place. Nasty. The Kopi was a touch better and BA Kopi was the best, though that's not saying much.

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Photo of cope0021
2.06/5  rDev -52.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 1 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Pours a dark color, but not quite black. Decent carbonation with a full, persistant head.

Strong alcohol smell. Chocolate notes.

Taste is bitter. Verry bitter. Burnt coffee and bitter chocolate. This is too bitter of a stout for me.

Very thin on the tongue.

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Photo of Thickfreakness
2.17/5  rDev -50.3%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2

A- I've never seen an RIS that poured like this! HUGE, fluffy, vibrant, kahki head that hangs on forever and leaves a ton of sticky, spiderweb lacing!!! Pitch black pour into my Bruery tulip! This RIS has legs!

S- Alcohol, bitter black coffee, subtle hints of chocolate and vanilla. Mostly just booze and bitter coffee. Not impressed!

T- Huge notes of alcohol, bitter black coffee, 90% cocoa and some subtle hints of dark cherry, raisins and bitter hops. This is... uhm... I can't believe I'm saying this... this sucks!!!

M- Rediculously thin and whimpy. Nothing but bitter coffee and alcohol!

O- What a waste of $14!!! Bitter, thin, rancid old coffee... no depth, no oily RIS goodness. How is this P.O.S. rated so highly?

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Photo of mrgnwlkr
2.6/5  rDev -40.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I'm kind of conflicted about whether to post this review at all, especially seeing as it's only my second review. But I'll give my review, and let others decide whether its a valid reflection on the quality of Speedway Stout.

From a bottle purchased at the AleSmith brewery in San Diego.

Very small, light brown, diminishing head. Muddy, very dark brown with ruby on the edges.

Coffee scent with a strong aroma of alcohol/sherry. In addition there's a strong, almost overwhelming, scent of soy sauce/umami.

Very soft carbonation, almost entirely flat. The body is very light, especially for a stout. It has a oily mouthfeel, much like AleSmith's IPA (which I love). Finish is very long and bitter.

Overall, this is a completely different beer than the one I tasted at the brewery tasting room. That beer was extraordinarily well balanced, like everything good about coffee and everything good about beer in a single brew. This bottle was rather strange, with a distinctly different aroma. I'm new at the review thing, but from consulting some resources I wonder if this bottle was a bit autolysed?

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Photo of Coji
2.7/5  rDev -38.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

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

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

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

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Photo of Onenote81
2.71/5  rDev -38%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

Bottle received in a trade with fatboyjim1 in a trade long ago. Thanks, Jim!

Have had this one cellared for about a half a year. Poured into a snifter. Not sure the vintage of this as there is no stamp on the bottle.

Pours a jet black; allows no light to penetrate. Starts off with a huge creamy mocha head on top. Good retention; left some nice lace on the glass. Scents of roasted malts and chocolate. A bit of drying scent in there, not sure what that is specifically.

Decent body on this beer. A tad crisp, but it still retains some creamy smoothness that I like in this style. Alcohol is pretty well hidden in this beer. It's not noticeable in the flavor at all. Doesn't taste "hot." This is a really bland Imp. Stout. Flavors of some mild cocoa, and finishes really charred and burnt. There is no sweet balance in this beer at all. There's some hops there, but this is too roasted and grating. Unbalanced and unpleasant. Sorry, Jim, but this beer fell short for me.

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Photo of HopJ
2.79/5  rDev -36.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

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

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Photo of jsh420
2.83/5  rDev -35.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

bottle from jessethehutt - atleast 4months old

pours jet black with 2 finger tan head that has good retention and left plenty of lacing

smell is coffee chocolate milk and some roasted malts behind all that

taste - wow kind of a big let down - coffee then sour milk - has some roast and chocolate but that sour milk flavor is awful

mouthfeel is watery thin - thinner then nitro guinness!!

drinkability is ok - does not taste 12% abv but on the other hand the flavors are not good

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Photo of dedrinker
2.91/5  rDev -33.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

A very glassy, shiny black color with little head and the thinnest dark brown hue when held to the light. Quite attractive despite the lack of head. Faint aroma of coffee, vanilla, and roasted malts. Flavor and mouth feel are disappointingly thin with a sharp, acidic black coffee bitterness that carries through to the finish. A little oak and rum creep out at the end to try and redeem itself, but I can't sign on to this one. The trouble with some coffee stouts is that they taste like they could really use some cream and sugar. I'm glad I didn't pay money for this, but on the brighter side I think this would be a great beer to braise some skirt steak with.

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Photo of Ngntjp
3/5  rDev -31.4%

I was expecting a lot more from this one. The nose is yogurt and over-ripened strawberry and maybe a bit of hard boiled egg (?!?!). Taste is where I was the most let down. As an admitted non bourbon barrel-aged stout fan, I was surprised to find so many similar notes of BBA stouts in this. Slight milk chocolate note over vanilla-y yogurt covered raisins and then some alcohol. Note that I do not really enjoy a noticeable alcohol content. Just not enjoying this nearly as much as so many other RISs out there. Glad to have tried it, but not one I would recommend. Sorry Alesmith, maybe I just had much higher hopes. With such a vast number of Russian imperial stouts out there, I would gladly reach for a year-round RIS over this any day.

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Photo of TWM
3/5  rDev -31.4%

Had on tap while sitting outside on a warm day. Not sure if the weather contributed, but this just didn't come together.

Visual- Nice, very dark, smooth. 2-finger head,

Aroma- Not much to smell; a little coffee, slight burnt edge

Taste- Not much taste- disappointing. Tasted almost like a good stout that was served too cold, but it wasn't too cold. The flavors were coffee and chocolate over the malt, good bitterness, but none of the flavors came through strong enough to satisfy. Felt like I was getting hints of an awesome beer, but not the awesome beer itself.

Feel- smooth but a little watery for a stout.

Overall- didn't live up to its billing. Not a bad beer, but not one that blew me away.

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Photo of SasquatchSmasher
3.12/5  rDev -28.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Enjoyed the beer, but wanted to post an honest review. Good, not great, especially at 12%, which should mean huge flavor. Did not notice coffee; the predominant flavor was metallic, almost salty. Low carbonation leading to small head. Mouthfeel was good but should be at that gravity.

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Photo of Kevin73
3.15/5  rDev -27.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3.5

I felt this stout was a little over rated. The beer pours jet black with a thick'ish tan head that leaves some nice lacing as it goes down. The smell is a little sharp, perhaps some hops character coming through. The body is thin for a stout like this, I expected something more chewy; I love a thick syrupy imperial but this isn't even close. The flavor was not very well balanced, dominated by the unmasked alcohol. Granted 12% is hard to mask, but there is very little sweetness, it's like they didn't even try. Notes of coffee and chocolate are apparent, but not as dominating as I'd like. The vanilla notes are hidden behind what seems to be a bit of unsavory tinny hops on the finish. I only began to notice the vanilla about half way through. While there is a lot going on in this stout, it just didn't seem to come together. Perhaps this would be a good one for the cellar to let it mellow out and come together.

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Photo of tayner
3.18/5  rDev -27.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I have shipped alot of these around so figure it is about time review one.

It looks good, black with a small tan head, nice lacing

Smells of roasted malts, coffee, burnt toast

Taste was of coffee, burnt toast, ash, roasted malts, alcohol and a slight earthy hop flavor.

Was decent mouth feel, not as coating as i would have liked.

I didnt care for this one, the 12% was a little too hot for me, perhaps some cellar time would make this one better.. or maybe because i drank it on the heals of an abyss.

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Photo of capra12
3.18/5  rDev -27.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This was served in a Snifter glass during dessert.
Reviewed with the help of wheatman106, Jimmy and Chrissy

Appearance- The deep dark brown was no surprise with 1 1/2 fingers of head. The head was frothy and the lacing left on the glass was slightly spotty.

Smell- The initial scents that came to mind were dark roast malts, with coffee, and roasted hops. As this brew warmed to room temperature the coffee really cut through the malts and hop.

Taste- The opening of this brew gave me a nice roasted coffee and very very subtle dark malts, but from the middle to end of this brew an extreme hop profile was apparent along with a burnt coffee taste lingered as I passed off my glass to the other tasters. When paired with the dessert and at a warmer temperature, the sweetness mellowed out the dark malts in the opening and helped mellow out the burnt taste of coffee from middle to end and made it quite enjoyable.

Mouth Feel- The full bodiedness of this brew coated my palate initially with coffee and hops but the flavors developed and the strength of the roasted hops and coffee created a lingering coffee hop well after my last sip.

Drinkability- For this style of beer I can see why is is on the top 100 but as far as having another I'll save this bottle for a nice cold winter night.

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Photo of B33R501
3.2/5  rDev -26.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Edit 7/30 I fucking hate inconsistency and if I remember correctly this brewer is the definition of inconsistency, last year I had a Yulesmith summer that was incredible, then I purchased 2 more that were flat, and terrible. Got an $8 32 oz bomber tonite, couldn't wait. Yet somehow the bottle was so much better, how is that possible? This draught stunk, no chocolate, no coffee, all vinous character, very boring. Maybe that's why the keg (according to the beer guy at whole foods) was so cheap? Whatever, what a disappointment. Brewers, here's a clue GET SOME F'ING CONSISTENCY.

Another great beer in a year filled with great beers I really don't know how to rate them anymore I guess I'll have to compare. I bought this on someone's comment, this crushes stone imperial stout. Well, we wouldnt go that far. I'd rate it just a bit below that.

Black, big chocolate head, no carbonation issues at all. Actually, the carbonation and mouthfeel are just about perfect. Reviewers note, I had 2 Yulesmith Summer bottles last year that were completely flat.

Chocolate coffee aroma, big coffee chocolate vanilla cream and sugar tastes. Notes of dark fruits, really sweet at times with a big dry bitter finish. This beer just sizzles on the tongue, no hint of alcohol at all, very drinkable I went thru this bomber like nobody's business. And then I stood up, wow this was fantastic.

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Photo of PhxHorn
3.23/5  rDev -26.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Pours almost black, with very little head. Smells of intensely of coffee and dark chocolate. Tastes the same, except very sweet. Actually, too sweet and too much coffee for me; quite lopsided. Needs more bitter flavor to balance out the sweetness. Took me quite awhile to finish the glass. This is a very rich, sweet and coffee-tasting beer, more than I care for. I'm sure it's just the beer for someone who love coffee, but it's just not the right one for me.

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Photo of merryjoulton
3.23/5  rDev -26.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Poured a deep thick black with a nice dark tan head that dissipated quickly. Smells of chocolate, coffee, roasted malts and caramel. The smell got me really excited to taste because it smelled very complex and thick. Taste was a letdown, very bogged down by the coffee beans. Tastes like an over extracted coffee. Very sour and acidic. Mouthfeel is not as thick as I expect from a stout this big. Drinkability is low because of the acidity.

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Photo of Ducksnbucks
3.25/5  rDev -25.6%

Started sober, choked down my first 12oz, sipped the next 5... Then finally enjoyed the last 5 with a decent buzz. Lots of roasted malt, alcohol, and coffee after taste. From here on out i'll spend a couple more bucks and get a BA narwhal, or few less and get a drakonic.

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Photo of polloenfuego
3.26/5  rDev -25.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I am going to preface this review by saying that I am not convinced this was an entirely healthy bottle of Speedway Stout.

While this beer looked okay, it poured nice and had a nice off white head that gave way to nice lacing, this is where the high points ended for this experience.

Smell wise, there was coffee and anise...very strong anise. This was almost overpowering. The taste was also very heavy on anise or licorice. Roast and coffee were also prominent but the anise was very front and center.

From a mouth feel perspective the beer had a medium feel and a moderate to low amount of carbonation.

Overall, not what I expected or wanted. That is why I am concerned that this was not a healthy bottle. I just did not experience the smells, flavors and feel that most other reviewers have shared. I would like to believe this was one bad experience. I will try again and rereview.

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Photo of jasonjlewis
3.27/5  rDev -25.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

pours a mediocre head with some decent retnetion and a very full dark brown color.

Smell is of chocolate, raisin, grape, and toffee with some coffee notes.

Taste starts off sweet and chocolatey with a little bit of raisin undertone. It finishes with a coffee bitterness and a dry assertiveness from the alcohol, which is not too bad, but a little aggressive. Seems to be a little vanilla on the swallow as well. A nicely complex beer that could use some thicker malts and sweetness over the astringency of the alcohol.

The mouthfeel is slightly astringent on the finish and the malts don't cling to the mouth like I would like them to.

Overall this beer is too boozy even when cold. I could drink it as a nice night cap, but only a glassfull at that.

I think age would make this a much better beer.

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Photo of JDV
3.28/5  rDev -24.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Bottle from Liquid Solutions.
Pours a deep, opaque, black with a short lived tan head. Smell is not what I expected at all. No coffee aromas for me, coming out of the snifter. Rich, sweet dark fig like fruitiness, some ripe banana, alcohol in nose. Mouthfeel is creamy, a bit rich, and still not a hint of coffee... Alcohol however, is very noticeable, and detracts from it for me. After opening up for a while, I get the faintest hint of coffee in the aftertaste, but not like I'd expect from something that mentions coffee in the Description 4 times. Definitely not a bad Imperial Stout, but too alcoholic, not enough coffee or roasty malt flavor, and overall a let down.

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AleSmith Speedway Stout from AleSmith Brewing Company
4.37 out of 5 based on 6,728 ratings.
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