Dismiss Notice
We're celebrating 10 years of BeerAdvocate magazine with $10 print subscriptions for US residents.

Subscribe now!

AleSmith Speedway Stout | AleSmith Brewing Company

Log in or Sign up to start rating.
1,645 Reviews
no score
Send samples
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

For Trade:
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 1,645 | Ratings: 6,568
Photo of boomer31
4.38/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Brought back from AZ about 3 months ago.

A - Pours a full black with only a think line of deep brown around the edges. Tight brown head the leaves quickly but with a swirl returns. Some lacing left on the glass. Pours every bit an Imp Stout

S - Nice roast nose, some burnt sugar and maybe some smoke. Reminds me of a fresh bag of figs, perhaps some leather.

T - Complex roast, more burnt sugar, malt and some sugary sweetness in the back. There is a hop bitterness lingering but not overwhelming. There's also an alcohol spice in the back that really grows on you. Very nie

M - Rich and full bodied, nice low carb.

O - Every bit the great Imp Stout it's made to be. I think the best part of this beer is the back end...sweet, bitter and long. Quite a fantastic brew. Can't imagine the barrel aged version

 810 characters

Photo of HURTemHIZZY
3.71/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a (basically) black tone with a nice deep tan head that took a while to dissipate to the thin ring it remained at until the beer was through. OK lacing. Smell was a bit muted, with notes of coffee and chocolate; I was certainly expecting a bit more.

The taste is not really what I was expecting from a brew that is this highly regarded. Notes of coffee, caramel, and bittersweet chocolate. There is a tiny bit of hop bitterness. Everything was nice and worked well together, but the overall flavor was a bit subdued for an imp stout. No WOW factor imo.

Nice creamy mouthfeel, with a bit of carbonation to keep it alive. This was a nice stout, just not worthy of the hype.

 680 characters

Photo of DrewZ926
4.35/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- black as night, great lacing and a finger of nice mocha head

S- dark malt, dark fruit, very roasty coffee, a hint of smoke

T- coffee beans, raisonettes, bitter chocolate

M- superb, just enough carb, very coating and creamy, not hot at all

O- while i was expecting more of an in your face coffee presence, i'd say i'm quite surprise and pleased with how well balanced this brew is. great flavors and a robust, lingering flavor. high gravity but you would never know. perfectly priced and great for the season especially.

 526 characters

Photo of Zonk
4.56/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours jet black with a light tan head. Really strong coffee aromas on top of roasty malt and cocoa. Rich and creamy mouth feel with a great doese of coffee. Very impressive stout.

 181 characters

Photo of Mustard
4.03/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Presentation: 25oz. dark green bottle; no "bottled on" or "best before" warning on the label; I know this particular bottle dates to the later part of June 2003, however, as I witnessed its packaging in person; purchased for $10 directly from the AleSmith brewery.

Appearance: Poured a viscous, sludgy black with little in the way of head, carbonation or lacing; the 4oz. sampler I had on tap down at Stone's 7th Anniversary showed a beautiful, cascading, cocoa-brown head with lots of lacing and good to very good retention; it is upon the latter experience that I have graded this beer's appearance; bottled version would merit a 2.5.

Nose: Largely of chocolate, coffee and sherry -- and all three pungently so.

Taste: Huge notes of sweet chocolate and dark, plum-like fruits upfront; predominant quality is of a deep, roasty coffee, however; thick, pleasing bitterness in the finish; strongly phenolic; unfortunately, the bottled version's lack of carbonation created a syrupy, liquer-like effect which was off-putting; mouthfeel score is again based on the aforementioned 4oz. sampler which was itself a tad thick for my tastes; bottled version would merit a 1.5.

Notes: Between the prohibitive $9-10 cost, stupor inducing 12% ABV and the above noted carbonation troubles, I will probably never buy this again; that said, the 4oz. tap sampler I had out in San Marcos was downright beautiful and one of the tastiest examples of an Imperial stout I have ever had.

 1,477 characters

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.

 440 characters

Photo of afausser
4.65/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Shared by CrellMoset--thanks Chris!

A: Pours a midnight black which lets no light through but for the chocolatey dark brown two fluffy fingers of head, and the slight mahogany glow around the edge of the glass when the light hits it. Many crisp, extremely fine carbonation bubbles stream to the top of the glass, where the head has by now subsided into a chocolatey latte-like foam. Nice lacing around the edge of the glass, and an uneven foamy ring that looks like a chocolate snowdrift in some places.

S: Notes of dark chocolate and dark coffee are immediately apparent, but there's a definite raspberry syrup in the nose as well. There's also fairly dominant toast and smoke notes, and a subtle nutty note. The raspberry note is definitely strongly present, but only noticed at first when agitated. Quite sweet and nice as it warms, and evens out nicely.

T: Very bitter and predominantly full of coffee, smoke, and toast, though these are blended with cream, nuts, roasted malts, and dark chocolate. A little bit of raspberry in the aftertaste, but nothing like was in the nose. Hints of apples and then anise as it warms. The fruit notes come out a bit more as it warms, but they aren't particularly coming across like raspberry as in the nose. The aftertaste is very much coffee, smoke, and hops. Very nicely balanced, and wonderful for how simple it is.

M: Somewhat crisp and very smooth. Not hot in the slightest, and I would never guess the ABV was anywhere near 12%. It seems almost a bit like sparking water to me, and while I would like to knock it for that, I'm thinking of ways it could be improved, and coming up short. I would like for it to be a bit creamier than it is, but this would inhibit the drinkability--it's already extremely smooth--and fewer bubbles would make it fall flat. As it warms, the mouthfeel evens out quite a bit and it's near perfect--as it's warmed I've had to bump it from a 4 to a 4.5 and now to a 5, and by the time it's finished, perfection.

Did someone steal my alcohol? So very highly drinkable. I don't know what I'd guess the ABV on this is--from the taste and lack of heat, I'd probably guess around a 6%--only half of what it is. I don't know how they did it. Pick up as much you can, drink it slowly, and allow it to reach its full potential as it warms!

 2,310 characters

Photo of expatsteve
4.85/5  rDev +11%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Another amazing contribution to a Madison style session from dirtylou. Many thanks.

Appearance: Black with a nice 1/2 inch head that lingers, leaving nice light lacing on the glass. Medium viscosity.

Aroma: Chocolate malts, roasted espresso and a little cream in the finish. Cocoa nibs and some faint raisins in the development.

Taste: This is one phenomenal beer - dark roasted coffee notes that most closely resemble the experience of eating coffee beans fresh from the roaster. Flashes of bitterness overlay chocolate, toffee and a little fruit and brown sugar in the finish. A truly amazing use of coffee - provides smokiness and a little spice. Only a little coffee acidity, which is balanced by thick but not oppressive sweetness. The alcohol is wonderfully masked - not at all noticable in the finish.

Mouthfeel: The mouthfeel is surprisingly smooth as all the bitterness is contained in the coffee. Smooth, velvety with low carbonation.

Drinkability: This is a real pleasure to drink (thanks again, Lou). Not only a great rendition of the style, but also the best rendering of a coffee finish I've ever tasted.

 1,133 characters

Photo of birderbeerer
3.8/5  rDev -13%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Black. Weird head. Lots of big bubbles rather than the usual foamy head.

Smells like dark roast coffee, black licorice, and overripe dark berries.

Taste is a little disappointing. A lot of coffee and thin. As it warms, the licorice and fruit come through more. But something seems off. Just not quite balanced right and too much alcohol without the body to support it. Still good and enjoyable but it's good parts don't add up to be the greatness it could be.

 461 characters

Photo of Rawwie
4.34/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 4.25

Really awesome, smooth, great smelling, grey tasting beer. Only thing that kind of bugged me is the thin mouthfeel. Other then that, really awesome beer. Cheers

 160 characters

Photo of Vierenner
4.38/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A top-shelf imperial stout -- a rich, dark brown head forms with a standard pour. I've found many imperial stouts lacking in carbonation ... not the case here. Perfect.

Interesting the way the coffee bitterness comes forward. Covers a sweetness hidden beneath. Very nice balance.

Some of the imperial stouts seem desert-like with their syrupy overtones. This one has those flavors but they are more subdued.

Overall I think it's a bit more bitter than I like. Dragon's Milk still rules!

 489 characters

Photo of basaywhat
4.44/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle. Pours an opaque jet black color with khaki colored head. Coffee, roasted malt, and sweet chocolate on the nose; follows onto the palate. Full bodied. Finishes with coffee and cocoa

 188 characters

Photo of newk340
4.23/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured in a Duvel tulip and bottle split with hu5om.

A: thick black pour, voluptuous tan 2-finger head that left excellent lacing.

S: a pleasing blend of chocolate and coffee.

T: a blast of coffee that sizzles for a few seconds before fading to a bitter chocolate with the swallow, oddly still leaves a coffee aftertaste with hints of caramel and malts.

MF/D: a brief sizzle of carbonation with a nice smooth swallow.

 421 characters

Photo of ShrLSU
4.88/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This one pours out a thick black like asphalt on a racetrack :). It has a nice tan ring around the glass and some nice tan bubbles in the center. The nose is chocolaty and malty. There is a coffee hint as well. The taste is nice and complex. There is a very upfront choclatiness with some roasted malt and coffee taste. A nice bit of alcoholic twinge makes this definitely a slow drinker. It's quite creamy and full bodied. I'm amazed at the balance of coffee and chocolate. This might be one of the best stouts ever had. Bravo alesmith! If you have the means, DRINK THIS!

 572 characters

Photo of JoeMayo
4.52/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A- Pours black with a very dark head. The 2-finger head that forms quickly recedes to a thin ring around the rim of the glass and doesn't leave much lacing.

S- The aroma is very sweet for a coffee stout. Milk chocolate, coffee, caramel, and sweet alcohol are all very prevalent. A roasty aroma from the roasted malts and the coffee comes through as well.

T- Again, this is much sweeter than I expected. The sweetness in the nose that I thought was coming from the alcohol must be coming from somewhere else because there is virtually no alcohol taste at all, which is extremely impressive for a 12% abv beer. Coffee and chocolate (unsurprisingly) come through very strong. Stone fruits and a mild smokiness come through as well. The malt is very intense in the aftertaste.

M- Very fine carbonation and exceptionally creamy.

D- This is a dangerous one. No alcohol flavor or burn at all makes this almost too easy to drink. The carbonation also balances the heavyness of the stout.

 983 characters

Photo of don1481
4.5/5  rDev +3%

Bottle poured into glass.

Appearance: Pours a jet black with an off whitr, slightly tan head that slowly dissipates.

Smell: a swirl of vanilla, coffee, and chocolate deliciousness hits the nose. This smells amazing.

Taste: starts off with coffee bitterness, but then a bit of cacao comes charging through. Boozy notes simmer underneath.

Mouthfeel: bitter aftertaste.

Overall: yum. Very yum. Totally going to get more of this.

 432 characters

Photo of Bluerabbitbell
4.5/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

From tap at Bocktown in Robinson. First day of school date with Leah. 12 oz pour. Definitely high alcohol, but of course... It's an imperial. I like this offering because it isn't too sweet. A very warming offering for a cold winter day... Although this is still summer ;-) Anyway, this is a top notch beer for sure

 315 characters

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

750ml bottle served in Darkness tulip.

A: Pours noticeably viscous and near black. Zero light getting through. Cappucino colored head rises up and settles down quickly, leaving a film of multi-sized bubbles.

S: Bold dark fruit. Chocolate and vanilla. Coffee in the background. Hints of sweet cherry.

T: Big doses of chocolate. Waves of bitter chocolate smoothed out with milk chocolate. Dark fruit is present briefly, but not to the same extent as in the aroma. Coffee is understated, but very tasty. This is a coffee stout that will appeal to non-coffee lovers as well.

M: Lovely viscous feel. Silky & smooth. Perfect.

D: Good. I don't find this to be tremendously complex, but it is very interesting. At 12% abv this is clearly a sipper. Something that I can't quite put my finger on, keeps me from wanting multiple servings.

Very nice beer. I really wish Alesmith was available in the Pittsburgh market, as everything I've had from this brewery is world class. Luckily, a short trip to Vintage Estates is all it takes to replenish my Alesmith stash. If you haven't had Speedway be sure to put it on you "to do" list.

 1,128 characters

Photo of scott
3.44/5  rDev -21.3%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

2006-My shop just got this is in today, so it's straight off the boat, and I am looking very forward to my introductory taste of this Alesmith SS.

Pours beautifully, with black as pitch body, and 1/4 inch tan head at the rim. Literally georgeous in a tulip. Art. Very nice under light.

Strong coffee upfront, which I love for my stouts. Chocolate syrup not far behind in the nose. Burnt and almost powerful.

Taste is average, at best. I want to love this beer. It's not simple enough to be perfect, not complex enough to make think another glass will drive me to insanity. Think Black Hole meets LH Milk Stout. Drinkable, yes. Outstanding?! 92 points?! Big beers are my thing, and this just doesn't justify the hoopla, nor the $12.99 tag.

Syrupy, with minimal tang. Not very expressive.
Yet, everytime I look at it, I want another pull. I wish it could deliver.

 876 characters

Photo of beerbully
4.5/5  rDev +3%

Poured into HF stemware

A-Black as midnight.....3/4 inch toffee colored head, decent retention, thick lacing that slides down the side of the glass (4.25)

S-Chocolate, coffee, anise, (4.25)

T- Lots of dark chocolate out of the gate..........slight anise, coffee, brown sugar, molasses, dark fruits, some booze but not 12% worth, very sweet, booze is more like rum than whiskey.......finish is like dark chocolate covered coffee beans soaked in rum (4.5)

M-Thick full bodied beer, 12% ABV is noticeable but not dominant.....just enough to provide some warmth......lots of flavors, well balanced (4.5)

O-Good full bodied beer to be sippin on a cold, damp afternoon. (4.5)

 677 characters

Photo of squaremile
4.6/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

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

 342 characters

Photo of lawlerj
4.43/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

750 ml bottle poured into a snifter glass.

A - Inky black with some mahogany hints - dark brown head that dissipates quickly. Does not appear to be strongly carbonated.

S - The aroma is complex - dark chocolate and coffee notes, along with some alcohol as well. Molasses seems to be in the mix as well.

T - Similar to the nose - the coffee notes seem to come through a bit more, and the bitterness is a bit pronounced. The alcohol is well blended and not overpowering.

M - Very smooth - glides right across the tongue.

O - Overall, this is a great Imperial stout - I'd be curious to taste the barrel aged version.

 621 characters

Photo of BZero007
3.37/5  rDev -22.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Picked up a bottle from Vendomere in CA

Poured a extreme black color void of any light. no head formation at all. The aroma nice with a sweet coffee background twirled around. The smell was not very strong but was nice and plesent. The taste was of a well balanced coffee, roasty, dark fruit flavor. Honestly they all seemed to match very well, but the biggest problem was no carbonation. The carbonation in this brew was way to low and hard to find honestly. I felt for this flavor profile it needed just a dash more to tie everything together. I am hoping I had a bad bottle but this was my second bottle both of which were different years. So I am just chacking this up to not my style. Don't get me wrong this a good Stout just not something I will seek out again. If it was sold in m area I would probably pick it up from time to time. The body was great as a medium/thick style but again the lack of carbonation hit this brew hard for me.

 945 characters

Photo of jordanmiller
4.57/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

My first indepth review. Since turning 21, I've been trying many beers of many different varieties.

Appearance: Well, there is no way in hell that anyone who is into beer can't tell this is a stout. With a slightly vigorous pour, it gave off a good two finger, lightly chocolately malted head. I found the appareance very appropriate for a stout of this magnitude (from what I've heard before tasting)

Smell: Instantly, you know you're in for something big. Something pretty complex. The aroma is quite beautiful, but I almost want to give the word "dangerous" to it as well, because it smells almost gorgeously, but with a harsh note of darkness that I can't quite attribute to it.

Taste: Pretty much what I gathered from the nose. It comes in with a very dark, but very inviting taste, it almost clings to your tongue as it wants your whole pallette to just absorb all of the intricate flavors. In the very finish, I honestly just feel a great coffee stout.

Overall: This is a beer to sip lightly on throughout the night. Those harsh hints of chocolate and coffee are fantastic on the tongue, but if you try to take too much of it, you're going to miss what this beer is about. Grab it for a nice evening that you can afford sipping on a larger bottle for over a period of time, or save this for a sharing with friends. Amazing beer,

 1,339 characters

Photo of ColForbin
4.35/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

AleSmith Speedway Stout pours a thick black color with a dark brown head that quickly fades. Aroma is coffee, some sour fruit, hops, and a hint of alcohol. Just a perfect balance of aromas. Taste is outstanding; caramel, smoke, coffee, molasses with a nice warm feeling while it goes down. Hoppy coffee aftertaste, sounds weird, but it works. Maybe a bit too carbonated for my liking, but I'm striving to find a fault with this beer. Very drinkable for its strength, but halfway through the bottle you will be feeling it.

An excellent beer from a brewery that I have overlooked, somehow. I'll have to check out some of their other offerings.

 644 characters

AleSmith Speedway Stout from AleSmith Brewing Company
4.37 out of 5 based on 6,568 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • Extreme Beer Fest® Cometh

    February 3-4, 2017. Boston, Mass. Limited tickets available. Prepare for epicness.

    Learn More
  • Free Trial Subscription

    Reside in the US? Interested in a free 1-month trial subscription to the print edition of BeerAdvocate magazine?

    Yes! Sign Me Up!