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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: 1,645 | Ratings: 6,565
Photo of Thorpe429
4.37/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to azbucfan for this one.

A: Near black with a smallish tan head and decent lacing.

S: Lots of espresso mixed with very dark malt and some hints of dark chocolate.

T: Lots, and I mean lots, of roasted espresso flavors, creating a sensation of dark, tart cherries. This is paired with some mild dark chocolate as well as pale malt sweetness and a hint of bittering hops.

M: Very smooth with a medium-full body and a good amount of carbonation.

D: This is definitely a sipper, but a good one at that. Like my morning espresso, only with a lot more complexity and definitive hints of alcohol. Very delicious.

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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 KeefD
4.08/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Finally getting around to trying this one. I've been looking forward to it for quite sometime, as I love me some coffee beers. Thanks goes out to drgonzo3705 for hooking me up with this bottle. Pours a nice dark brown color, almost completely black in the glass with just a hint of light coming through the edges. A nice two finger, creamed coffee head forms, excellent retention, and surprisingly nice lacing on the glass for the high ABV. Smell has nice chocolate presence but I'm not getting a lot of coffee notes, which is a bit disappointing, but it smells awfully nice, with lots of roastiness, some brown sugar and caramel. Flavor is right on with the nose, loads of chocolate and caramel, very sweet at first, lots of brown sugar encrusted chocolate bars, a touch of vanilla and graham cracker, with a nice hit of darkly roasted coffee beans on the finish. Possibly a bit of dark fruit flavors and raisins show up as it warms. Mouthfeel is thick and chewy, creamy and viscous. Nicely textured. Drinkability is on the higher side for an IS, as I can barely notice the alcohol at 12%. Overall this is a pretty great tasting imperial coffee stout, but it's no Peche Mortel in my book. But I was glad to have had the chance to try it!

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Photo of tedpeer
4.2/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

750 ml into a pint

A - Pours a very dark brown, almost black with a huge mocha head that subsides to an eighth. Nice lacing.

S - Roasted coffee, with some sweetness.

T - Sweet up front then coffee all the way to the finish. Alcohol warmth in the finish

M - Smooth and slick. Lightly carbonated.

D - The alcohol is very well hidden,

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Photo of katan
4.43/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

750 ml bottle into a low-ball

A - Pours an extremely dark black color - very opaque. Head formation is slow, but then builds to a couple mm head with slight lacing. Mocha in color. Appears to have a hair of carbonation to it - bubbling is noticed.

S - A moderately potent nose - dominated by a light chocolate sweetness. Backed up with some smoked barley and coffee notes. I think a small hop background exists, as well as some phenolic hints.

T - Starts off very sweet. Sugary notes from loads of 2-row. Develops a bit of bitterness mid-stream with only the slightest hint of a flavoring hop. Wha-bam, the end after taste is extremely potent hit of burnt/roasted malts and chocolate. The alcohol warmth lingers for quite a while.

M - Thick and creamy. Extremely full of body. Carbonation is moderate, so this baby is all fermentables and sugars. The beer does leave behind a cloying sweetness - tongue coating.

D - Everything about this beer screams drinkability except the ABV. I can't get over how smooth this beer is. The flavors meld well, and my stomach can't even detect anything filling about it. I realize that saying a double stout is drinkable is a misnomer, but this one comes close.

Incredible beer - I'd love to be able to get this back home.

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Photo of chinabeergeek
4.03/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

thanks to akorsak for the trade!

750ml bottle with cap. no date found, but was told it's probably the recent batch. tasted in mid-late march, 2009. poured into tulip.

opaque midnight black. large tan-brown head fades to bubbly, wispy layer. several nice rings of webby lace.

aroma: roasted malts with traces of coffee, cocoa, then a fruity, estery and lightly phenolic bite to teh back, with more roast and a touch of earthy hop. hint of vanilla. all of this is a bit subdued however.

flavor starts with dark caramel, molasses sweetness, with coffee, roasted malt and earthy/grassy hop giving a moderate to bold bitterness, lingering into the finish. hints of vanilla and fruity esters in the sweetness. just a tad on the boozy side, mixing with some slightly hot phenols.

substantial and slightly viscous feel, with some astringency, resins and acidity for texture near the finish. mild to moderate carbonation accentuates the flavors, good and bad.

hmm... good, but not sure if this batch, at this fresh age, is fully deserving of a top 10 spot. oh well.

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Photo of kels
3.98/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Thank you, thank you, thank you bamadog for being such a great friend and BA, and, of course, for sharing your Speedway Stout with me. Poured from the bomber into pint glasses.

Appearance: Dark and thick black with a 1 1/2 finger thick tan head. Really great head retention, filled with bubbles, leaving behind tremendous lacing.

Smell: Mouthwatering smell full of roasted mocha, dry coffee beans, chewy caramel malts and a surprising slight floral hoppiness.

Taste/Mouthfeel: Wow - definitely not what I expected, but that's what's great and sets this stout apart. An overwhelming bright hop presence dominates the palate initially, giving way to a slightly bitter, dry coffee ground presence with some dark, syrupy, chewy malts and fruitiness. A little hint of iron flavor comes through, like what you taste when you bite your lip and it bleeds. Big alcohol in the aftertaste is quite hot and warming.

Drinkability: Not too high, pretty unbalanced and big. I think I'd like it with 3-5 years age on it.

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Photo of callmescraps
3.95/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Been hanging on to this one for awhile. I've been enjoying stouts more recently, but I'm a little nervous since I don't like coffee, and I feel like this may be too coffee-ish for me. Still, I love Alesmith, so wanted to give it a bid.

Appearance - Black. Doesn't seem to have any head, and then it shows up late to the party. An inch or so of tan, soapiness.

Smell - Definitely the dark roast. Some coffee. Also some chocolate and raisins. Maybe a little candied fruit. Cafe au lait? Maybe some molasses.

Taste - Up front it's got the sweet raisin taste. Very nice. But the follow is pure coffee. It's not terribly bitter, and nicely balanced, but I just don't like coffee beers. That's pretty simple. It really is sweet on the lips. That roast coffee just lingers, unfortunately. I can't hate on it because it's nicely balanced, and I think it'd be great if I liked coffee, I just don't, so I can't love it too much either. Definitely balancing the coffee bitterness with sweet fruit tanginess.

Mouthfeel - Nice and creamy. Not too terribly heavy, but a good solid body.

Drinkability - With all the booze and coffee I'm only having the one. That said, it's more drinkable than that combo usually would be.

This is a very nice RIS, and probably excellent if you like that roast coffee bitterness. I don't particularly, and so this isn't the one for me. I'll take Goose Island Bourbon County any day of the week, but that may say as much about me as the beers.

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Photo of hophead247
4.65/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Black and opaque in appearance; moderately thick in viscosity. Head is minimal at first but quickly diminishes to an oily overlay. Bitterness jumps out of the gate first for aroma, along with unsweetened dark chocolate, mocha mousse and cafe o' lait. Coffee and roasted malts are definitely represented in this speed demon. Alcohol is discernable in flavor. Bitter chocolate and espresso flavors dominate. It's like sucking on a handful of greasy, dark roasted espresso beans. Body is oily and dense. Malts seem to favor flavor over viscosity. Definitely has its share of IBUs. Moderate carbonation is probably livelier on the palate than in actuality because of the dactylic touch of alcohol. Finish is warming, bitter and mouth watering. While I served it at about 55 degrees as recommended on the bottle, I liked it better as it got even warmer, say 60-65 degrees. At the higher temp, it seemed to thicken and improve its body.

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Photo of weazal
4.02/5  rDev -8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Immediately noticeable sweetened coffee aroma. There's also toffee and faint chocolate baked in a breadiness. Slight, bright alcohol in the background the lends a welcome contrast.

T: The roast coffee flavor is present and rides through the whole tasting, leaving a espresso-like bitter aftertaste. But surprisingly, that potent flavor is nearly usurped by an exceedingly sour, tangy, and juicy sensation. So much so that the mouth is puckering by the end.

The contrast of rich, dark coffee bitterness and sour, juicy tanginess is not a flavor combination I'm used to. Not saying it's bad, just...wow. Different.

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Photo of bort11
4.38/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Huge thanks to sholland119 for this one. Great trader.

750 ml capped bottle, poured into my my brand new Boulevard Smokestack chalice. Inch of dark tan head, thick and solid looking. Pretty quick to recede, leaving a few specks of lacing. Color is velvety black with dark mahogany highlights.

Smell is solid stout character. Mild chocolate character, coffee, and some charred wood. Taste steps up the stout character. Chocolate is bitter though sugars keeps everything mellow. A little alcohol to spice things up.

Mouthfeel is velvety smooth. Slick and goes down smooth. The thing with this is it is solidly a stout. Noting really seems to overpower one character over another.

Blipped "Jesus Built My Hot Rod" covered by Prima Donkey

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Photo of jsapunor
4.4/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a Nonic and it is black as it can be not allowing any sunlight to get through. The head is light brown.
The aroma gives hints of coffee or dark chocolate. I don't smell any hops.
This is a delicious stout! The coffee flavor is strong but smooth without any hint of burnt beans. Some caramel is noted. A hint of alcohol in the finish which is surprising given the 12% ABV. It features a medium mouthfeel that is very creamy. So easy to drink and so good.
Alesmith has produced a great beer and if you are fond of the style you owe it to yourself to try this one.

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Photo of walows
4.32/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

First appearance out of the bottle was a nice dark liquid that it is not as thick as some RISs. Poured into a snifter and this beer has a decent little head, that falls to a nice ring on the sides.
I take a big whiff and i smell those sweet burnt grains, coffee, dark chocolate, and sweet dark fruits! It smells really good!
This beer's taste is excellent. At first is that nice big malty sweetness, then comes the coffee and dark cholate. I nice burnt coffee bitterness lingers followed by an alcohol hotness(which is its only fault).
My favorite part about this beer, it is full bodied, but it has a good amount of carbonation which really makes this beer excellent. It doesn't feel like you are drinking motor oil.
I really thought that is was going to be a mission to drink this whole 750mL bottle, but it is extremely drinkable! Some RISs, one can only drink so much before your pallet gets overwhelmed. However, this beer is full bodied and has HUGE flavors but it very easy to drink and easy on your pallet.
All in all, what a wonderful beer! I will be aging some of these to see how that the alcohol hotness fades away.
Great Beer!!!!

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Photo of bamadog
4.12/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bomber into a couple of pint glasses.

Appearance: Poured black and thick, but not especially viscous like some other double stouts; 1 finger head that was deep tan and had really solid retention - eventually faded to a fairly thick skim that looked chewy; on the swirl, a sticky, oily foam sticks to the side.

Smell: Rich and chocolatey is very dominant and and smacks me in the nose upon opening the bottle, perhaps mocha; a roasty coffee smell is certainly present but wow, the choclate is really what strikes me.

Taste: Does not really match up with the smell at all - I thought the chocolate would be much more present in the taste but it was more subdued. I feel the most apparent presence to the flavor was the alcohol, but it wasn't especially overpowering so just a nice touch (more on that with the mouthfeel as well). There is a nice bitter to it, likely from the amount of coffee used in the brewing process, but also from the hop presence; some type of a mildly chocolate coated deep sweet fruit is in there as well, perhaps a date of prune, but this is only there on certain sips, so it's not overly present. There is also a bit of a metallic mineral in the aftertaste, I can't put my finger on it but Kels says iron, so I'll buy that.

Mouthfeel: A bit of a let down here, I thought it would be thicker than it was but really I found the body to be a little watery and thin; the presence of the alcohol really warms the the mouth, throat and stomach and this is pleasant enough; the mouth dries quickly as well from the alcohol but there's enough left behind to leave the mouth with a thin sticky coating.

Drinkability: Moderate for a heavier beer with a 12% ABV - I'm glad I split the bomber because it would have wrecked me to try to finish it myself. I enjoyed it, but think it might be a littler over-rated in the grand scheme of things. In terms of similar beers, I don't think I would put it quite in the same class as FBS.

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Photo of onehate02
4.75/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from 750 ml bomber into an Old Guardian Chalice.

A: A deliciously appetizing pitch black coffee malt. Insane lacing through the entire beer. And a full finger of foamy chocolate head.

S: Straight up coffee beans, molasses, and thick roast malts. Very enticing!

T: An unprecented coffee bean and chocolate blend pillage the taste buds, as a smooth and long lasting after taste lingers of mollasses, sour cherries, chocolate malts and bitterness. Very little traces of alcohol linger to keep the mouth warm for the next gulp.

M: Thick and bitter on the tongue, soothing to the palate. Great carbonation.

D: Very smooth and drinkable, especially if you love coffee stouts.

Every AleSmith seizes to amaze me!

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Photo of schroederm
4.18/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

In a tulip:

One and a half fingers of chocolaty head form over a dark brown body and settle quickly into a thin blanket. Sheets of lacing are left on the glass. Substantial alcohol in the nose, with some coffee, dark chocolate, and umami. An absolutely wonderful maltiness persists from the moment it touches the tongue all the way through to the aftertaste. Umami flavors complement bourbon, dark fruit, and vanilla. The bitter is entirely coffee based and balances the beer quite well. Unfortunately, I found the body to be a little thin. Good balance of carbonation, however. It's high ABV reduces drinkability, but excellent maltiness makes this brew highly desirable. Mouthfeel thinness actually helps drinkability along as well.

Overall: This is a fantastic beer, but I believe it may be a bit overrated. The Goose Island remains my favorite in the style to date.. but don't get me wrong, this is an amazing brew and a standard among the Best of BA.

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Photo of Nick3
4.32/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Beer poured in into a Duvel tulip glass. A dark black brew with a chocolate brown head that dies a quick death. Roasted malt aroma with coffee and some chocolate. Taste like it smells and its darn good. Very, very well balanced and the alcohol is well hidden. Finish has a nice roasty bitterness that isn't too sharp. Nicely done brew. Drank this one when I bought it but I've got two others aging. Will revisit in 2 years.

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Photo of HeyItsChili
4.1/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

A - Pours dark brown which olive hued chocolate syrup highlights. Little brown head that quickly dissipates.

S - Chocolatey, dark coffee, little bit of soy sauce.

T - Really robust coffee, chocolate syrup, cocoa powder.

M - Velvety, low carbonation, medium bodied. My description cannot accurately capture it, but the mouthfeel on this one is pretty close to perfect.

Thanks to Scott from the CBX for tossing this one my way.

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

Thanks stoutsnipas for this bottle, 2006 is the presumed bottling date, aged in a cellar and had with a barrel aged version for comparison.
Aged as suggested in the bottle.

Poured into a snifter, pitch black except for a very slight reddish edge. Fluffy, long lasting, lace producing tan head completes a very nice appearance.
The aging tamed the obvious coffee notes that usually overwhelm the fresh beer. Coffee is still there, but now is just a part of the well balanced combination of roasted malts, bittersweet chocolate, alcohol, molasses.
Full bodied and creamy, with the expected coffee flavor now playing a role in the same cobination of roasted malts, baker's chocolate, molasses, some alcohol heat (minimal).
Sweetness from the malt is well balanced with roasty bitterness, minimal alcohol heat and what is perceived as a mild grassy hoppy bite.
This is a major improvement over the fresh version, well deserving of the aging suggested on the bottle. The alcohol is impressively hidden (I thought around 10 while drinking), and IMHO the best version as compared to the barrel aged. I finally get what the hype is all about, but it definitely needs aging.

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Photo of alovesupreme
4/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a Portsmouth snifter this beer had an off white head that sat on top of a black body which allowed light to penetrate the corners.
Smells of anise, chocolate, and coffee with some alcohol.
An astringent beer with an unidentifiable flavor. Coffee and chocolate are obvious with a lingering bitterness, and noticeable alcohol.
A good body but no where near where I like my RIS.
A good beer, but I do not think it is worthy of its rating.

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Photo of ffejherb
4.15/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750ml bottle into goblet on 3/8/09. Thanks to sholland119 for sharing.

A - Poured pitch black with sparse carbonation and a creamy, burnt mocha head that settled to about a quarter inch of retention and left thick lacing around the glass.

S - Complex and inviting aroma featuring roasted malt, toasted oats, hints of chocolate and coffee, mixed nuts, cocoa, milky notes and a hint of alcohol heat.

T - Roasted coffee and nuts with some sweet milky and bitter chocolate notes. Very roasty flavor overall with a bit of an astringent character. Finish is quite bitter with an abundant earthy hop presence.

M - Medium to full bodied with a rich, creamy texture that was almost chewy. Warm mouthfeel overall. Finish is quite earthy and bitter on the palate.

D - Very good imperial stout that was heavy on the roast but not so much the chocolate or oatmeal as the aroma suggested. It was a bit astringent, but still extremely drinkable for a 12% brew.

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Photo of yourefragile
4.73/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750 mL bottle, silver foil over cap, split with a friend to celebrate our birthdays. Purchased last May, so let's say it's about a year old.

Dark, near opaque black liquid with a massive, dense coffee colored head. Amazing retention and lacing, very impressive looking beer. Aroma is also also exceptional, heavy on roasted malt, bitter dark chocolate and light coffee notes. One of the first things we noticed was that we didn't notice any alcohol presence whatsoever. Full bodied, extremely creamy, luscious mouthfeel. Body is sweet, chocolately and molasses like, with roasted malt and finishes with a strong, but not overly bitter coffee taste. One of the most impressive stouts I've had, incredibly well balanced (sometimes with coffee stouts I feel like the coffee is a little overdone, as much as I love coffee).

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Photo of seaoflament
4.25/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This review is from a bottle I purchased at SouthBay Drugs and Liquor back in the Spring of 2007. Opened this one at La Bella Pizza tonight with Joey and Danny.

Dark and dense color with a small head, some lacing on the glass.

Chocolate, coffee with milk, vanilla, raisins, and black cherry dominate the nose. Some roastiness comes through as it opens up.

Wow, chocolate milkshake all the way! Espresso finish. A bit woodsy, dry roasted barley in the finish. There's also a touch of alcohol in the back but it's very well reserved. Two years has really blended the flavors well. Very low oxidation level.
Bitter chocolate and roasted bitterness that lasts long in the aftertaste.

Super smooth on the palate, well carbonated after 2 years, not syrupy or thick.

I would definitely age some more of this if I wanted a smoother, more chocolate forward Speedway.

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Photo of JBogan
3.45/5  rDev -21.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a very dark brown, which if you're not really paying attention might appear black. It is topped with a one finger darkish tan head which leaves minimal lacing.

Smells of the very familiar coffee and some tobacco.

Tastes, not surprisingly of coffee along with what seems like cola. Possibly a nut in there somewhere too, but maybe I'm grasping at straws. Basically it tastes like someone took a Coke and a coffee and poured them together. No real sign of alcohol taste, but there is a warming after you get through some of this beer.

Mouthfeel was not as velvety as some others in it's class. Somewhat thin too as it goes down.

I know a lot of folks like this brew, but it really didn't tickle my fancy. It's one and done for me.

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

Pours a super dark black. Nice tan head formed at the top that dissapated and left a nice sticky lacing on the glass.

Smells super toasty malts and coffee. Lots of coffee. Slightly sweet too.

Tastes wonderful. Lots of coffee and extra toasted malts. Almost some charred tasting malts. Semi tobacco taste too.

Mouthfeel is perfect. It is surprisingly not that thick and goes down smooth.

A very tasty brew. I am glad I have easy access to this brew. I will drink this alot of times as long as I have access to it. I feel I could session this brew too because it us not too heavy. But watch out the ABV will hit you because you don't really realize your drinking a 12% ABV brew.

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AleSmith Speedway Stout from AleSmith Brewing Company
4.37 out of 5 based on 6,565 ratings.
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