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: 1,668 | Ratings: 6,720
Photo of umpquabrewer
4.88/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured into a Klokke Roeland snifter.

A- Pours black and opaque with a two finger head that is frothy, soapy and looks like the whipped head of a latte.

S- Coffee, smoke, dark chocolate and hops.

T- Bitter coffee, chocolate and currants.

M- Creamy and slick with a nice carbonation.

D- WOW- Almost too drinkable for a 12% superstar! I'm 2/3 of the way through the bottle with a Vacuvin cork in it thinking hmm...

This is now my favorite stout! (sorry Old Rasp) What can I say? This is a great tasting beer, I just wish it was more available... maybe not, I do have to work. :)

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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 JohnQVegas
3.84/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottle into snifter. Thanks Chris (cquiroga) for the bottle! Served at 50 degrees and up.

Pours pitch black, with a big 2-finger super dense head that absolutely doesn't want to go away, and leaves solid sheets of lacing on the glass as it slowly settles. This is exactly what an Imperial Stout should look like - no more, no less.

Nose is roasty and full of coffee, some hoppy acidity coming through as well. Hints of cocoa and even coconut come out. The hops drag this one down a bit, coming across as acidic in conjunction with the coffee, with almost no citrusy or piny character.

Taste is roasty and packed with coffee up front, some very dry light cocoa and molasses notes underneath, with a leafy, citric hop bitterness staking a claim on your tongue early and exploding right before the finish. This one is dry, and with a lingering roasty bitterness that leaves no doubt as to how much the folks at Alesmith love their hops. Unfortunately for me, I find that hoppy stouts need a big, chocolately body to carry them, and in this case, the huge emphasis on coffee, while not bad, comes off as just a bit dry and overly bitter for me. This is still a well above average stout, mind you - the flavors are full and well developed, the balance is just a bit off for me. That said, this seems like a stout that would be tremendous with a few years on it.

Mouthfeel is slick and creamy, full bodied with a light carbonation. The acidity from the hops feels like it cuts the body a bit, unfortunately - another aspect that would probably improve with enough time to let the hops age gracefully for a year or two. Bitterness lingers for quite a while after the fact.

Drinkability isn't bad, but this is a big, bold monster of a stout. The big, hoppy, roasty bitterness isn't the stuff sessions are made of.

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

I believe I got this in a trade with Yamar18 last summer. Appears to be an '08 vintage. Decided to split this with my buddy, Trevor (lynx1245).

Poured into a couple of pint glasses.

Appearance: Huge, dark brown, creamy, fluffy, head sprouts up from a thick, pitch black, oily, body. Head maintains it's original color and height for a very long time. Straight-up impressive. Beer leaves thick, foamy, rings of lace at each resting point. I've never seen a 12% ABV beer with so much sticky head. Damn.

Smell: Espresso, dark chocolate, roasted malt... let's just call it high-quality mocha. This smells delicious. I'm a coffee head, and this aroma is giving me chills. Again, damn.

Taste: High-grade coffee all the way. Dark chocolate, roasted malt, molasses, and other dark, roasty flavors. A little harsh, but damn good.

Mouthfeel: Creamy as hell. Warm, thick, full, and kinda sugary.

Drinkability: Thick and bold. Really delicious (especially if you're a coffee lover), but not what I'd refer to as complex. I finished this beer before I had even begun to review it (which sucked), proving how addictive it really was. Though it may be a little harsh, it's hard to hold back on this beer. Still, I'm glad I split it. An entire bottle would would be hard to do.

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Photo of DrDogbeer
4.4/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

SHared with a couple of friends. Poured from the bottle into a tulip. Deep black color with a dark tan head. Very dark, seems very thick. Smell is all about the darkness- chocolate, burnt coffee, roasted malt. Just fabulous. Taste is the same- lots of rich chocolate with some bitter coffee and hops to finish it off. Very filling and the flavor lasts for days. Mouthfeel is a big winner here- just like I love my stouts- full bodied, creamy, coating my mouth. Wonderful beer, cant wait to have it again!

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

Bottle thanks to Brandon Pours a good deep black with a creamy brown head. The head lasts well. The lacing is perfect. Has a wonderful aroma of good alcohol, roast, coofee, chocolate, and some spices. Has a light carbonation. A tewrrific mouthfeel. The flavor is real good. Alcohol is well hidden. The balance is real good. The flavor is wonderful. Not too heavy and very smooth. Has a thick texture. Has a full body. The finish is nothing short of super. A great lasting aftertaste. This is a flat out awesome beer. I would drink this anytime any place.

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

L: Pours a nice black color with a tall and creamy brown colored head that laces the glass really nicely all the way down.
S: Smells of sweet roasted malts, hints of coffee, caramel, chocolate, and sweet alcohol taste at the end.
T: Tastes like the smell which is nice, just with a bit more alcohol up front followed by the sweet malt, coffee, chocolate, and caramel flavors.
M: Very smooth, warming, perfect amount of carbonation.
D: Pretty drinkable considering the gravity of it. I enjoyed it and would recommend it for certain.

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Photo of SpruceFish
4.72/5  rDev +8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A- pitch black dark brown head very little lacing head stated nice though out

S- wow this one is intense 1st off plenty of coffee lots of chocolate then sweet dried fruits (raisins, dried cranberries, and some prunes) then i sensed perhaps a smell bourbony undertone

T- as my friend said it kicks you in the mouth coffee, chocolate, sour dried fruits very interesting in a stout very balanced a nice bitterness at the finish

M- good carbonation thick in the mouth how a stout should be

D- probably the best of any beer is have ever had with an ABV this high i could drink this all day not a hint of booz here at all

what a great beer

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Photo of jamie2dope
4/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

It is nice to see this beer in Massachusetts liquor stores again after a brief absence. This one was bought at Downtown Wine and Spirits. Pour is as expected, completely black with a large tan heading. Smells of dark chocolate, cola and coffee start things off in the nose. Dark coffee is the main flavor in the beginning, followed by the chocolate, and finally ending on a mostly bitter note. Body is perhaps a bit lighter than was expected, but still full and big overall. As for drinkability, one glass is enough for me tonight. I would suggest having this with dessert, or as an after dinner nightcap. Dip a double chunk chocolate chip cookie in this and let me know what you think. Cheers

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Photo of bobsy
4.01/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

I wasn't planning on reviewing any of the beers from last night's tasting, but when something like this crops up I'm willing to make an exception.

Pitch black pour with a large mocha head. Good retention and lace rounds off a classical appearance. The aroma is dominated by coffee grounds and bitter chocolate, mixed in with cherry and vanilla. It also had the kind of dry graininess more prominent in an Irish Dry Stout.

Lovely burned chocolate flavour, with coffee and sour cherries. Chocolate comes through along with caramel, but the coffee is the key player here, and its intensity and drinkability is amongst the highest I've seen. Pretty well-balanced and smooth, with the alcohol well-hidden. Great, full body and moderate carbonation - practically spot on for a stout of this weight.

Yep, its deserving of its rep. Cheers John!

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

I've had this several times, but just now got around to reviewing it. This latest bottle courtesy of TexIndy, thanks for the opportunity.

Pours a solid black with a good sized creamy tan head that has some staying power. Nostrils are filled with scents of coffee in the foreground, with wisps of brown sugar, dark fruits, and caramel. My pallet is filled with tastes of milk chocolate, cherries, other dark fruits, lots of coffee and a touch of alcohol. Mouthfeel is creamy/slightly acridic, carbonation is medium, body is full. Great stout! I don't seem as blown away by this as I have been in the past. Recipe change? My perception? I'd still happily drink it.

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

Purchased online from South Bay Drugs

A- Pretty much black with a great big tan head that slowly dissipates, leaving big chunks of lace in its wake. I really don't like giving fives, but I really can find no faults with the appearance of this beer; it's perfect for an Imperial Stout. Beautiful.

S- Coffee is the first thing that jumps out, but there's a lot more to the smell than just that. Aromas of caramel, bitter cocoa, and molasses are apparent, with just a hint of alcohol. Surprisingly complex and very good.

T- The flavor starts with lots of coffee upfront then segues into a fruity sourness, like tart plums and grapes. The finish is moderately bitter with an acidic, somewhat astringent coffee note. Overall it's kind of strange but extremely flavorful and tasty.

M- Not real thick but very smooth and creamy. The carbonation is ample but it isn't too prickly, which is good.

D- Quite good for a stout of this strength. The alcohol is barely noticeable and the smoothness of the body makes it easy to drink. Still, the richness limits the drinkability somewhat. I could still see myself downing a 750 of this before I realized it.

I must say that this is a very, very good beer. Per the South Bay Drugs newsletter, the January batch of Speedway (of which I presume this bottle is a member) had a problem with the yeast, causing the body to be thinner than usual and the taste more acidic. While I can see where that may have been the case here, I still have to give this beer high marks. It was very good and I would love to have a bottle with the "problems" straightened out. Recommended.

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Photo of Grabbin2nd
4.57/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

From Notes: 3/29/09
Alesmith Brewing Co.
Speedway Imperial Stout
12% Abv.
750ml bottle into Allagash Snifter

Appearance= Initial pour into snifter yields a mild 2 finger brown head. Good clinginess on the sides of the glass as the beer goes down.

Smell= Wow, instantly after I pop the cap, coffee, choco awesomeness! The smell almost floats to your nose!

Taste= Really good. Coffee and a fat red fruit of some kind?? Chocolate

Mouthfeel= Awesome Mouthfeel. Thick and delicious.

Drinkability= Abc @ 12% is really not noticeable. Taste is awesome. I could drink this all day. In fact, it was my breakfast. Don't judge me.

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Photo of KI9A
4.32/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Dark with a creamy, inviting head.

S: Two things pop here, chocolate, and coffee. Roasted malts in backround.

T: Again, chocolate, and coffee. Sweet malt/sweet prunes, cherries towards the middle. Bitter dark chocolate espresso & slight hop falvor finishes the quaff.

M: Meduim-heavy body. Not the heaviest stout I have had.

D: This is one that made want to return tot he glass almost as fast as I put it down. But, with the ABV, you just can't do that.

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Photo of hooliganlife
4.37/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks Mike for breaking this out!

A - poured jet black with a nice thick creamy head

S - on the nose was HUGE chocolate flavors, rich and dark. Light roasted malts. chocolate cominated

T - this is where the coffee came in. giant coffee flavor that dominated. almost had an expresso flavor. chocolate flavors were muted actually and the malts were very much in the background

M - great thick mouthfeel with nice carbonation made this nearly perfect

D - awesome stout although i would like to see the coffee a bit muted. i love coffee stouts but this was bold. i want to try this again with some age on it. i believe this was a newer batch with their own roasted coffee.

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Photo of Pencible
4.48/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This poured an opaque black with dark tan head. It smelled like rich roasted coffee beans with some burnt barley malt and bittersweet chocolate. It tasted like rich roasted coffee and tart dark fruits (currant, black cherries, or fresh blueberries came to mind), with a bit of bittersweet chocolate and alcohol. It was quite thick with no carbonation, and had a lasting bitter aftertaste. Overall this had a super clean flavor that was strong but nice to sip. Very nice body too. As with other AleSmith beers, the hops are so juicy and delicious, making this a great beer while fresh. But I could also see this improving with age, becoming richer and maltier. There is a lot of depth and subtlety of flavor that I can't quite express, but this brew is surprisingly delicate for its strength. A delight to drink.

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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 farrago
4.37/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours with a thin, super dark brown head, doesn't take long to all but fully disappear. The lacing is thin as well but persistent. The expected impenetrable black color, no variation at the rims nor from any angle. The nose is grapey and sweet at first, soon run down by coffee grinds, bitter dark chocolate and butterscotch, suggestions of nutmeg and cinnamon stick, even as the individual scents fall off the sheer penetrating punch keeps it active in your nostrils. Full-bodied, not quite nimble but never clumsy, just takes some time to change direction. The coffee aspect is obvious, omnipresent and enduring, colors the rest. The grape, plum, cherry and apple fruit shades more black fruit but not always. A shy glance of grapefruit reminds you there's hops in there and the more you sip it, the more you get semi-bitter graininess. Yes, it can be sour and acidic, but that's kind of the point. Plays to its strengths but not a simple stout by any measure.

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

Shared a 750ml bottle of this with spointon on 5/10, into a pint glass

Pour was dark as hell with a dark tan head of about one inch that held up for a while but ultimately ended up falling down and leaving minimal lacing.

Aroma was heavy on chocolate and coffee but there was also a pretty prominent dark fruit character of cherries, plums, and berries that was pretty interesting.

Taste had chocolate up front followed by the dark fruit character earlier. Again I tasted cherries and plums. The coffee came in next but it wasn't really too strong like I was hoping it would be. The fruit and coffee flavors linger into the finish.

Mouthfeel was medium bodied and very smooth and creamy. Pretty drinkable for the style.

Overall I was expecting it bit more from this beer so I was slightly let down. It was still a good beer though that I would be more than willing to have again.

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

On tap @ Alesmith's Brewing facility. 4oz taster. Tasting notes from 5/1/2009. This is the newest batch of Speedway that Alesmith has brewed.

Appearance: Pitch black with a dark coffee brown head. Decent amounts of head. Good lacing. This is how a stout should look like, down to the color and appearance of the head.

Smell: The coffee smells come out relatively strong, with a very heavy roasted, slightly burnt smell. Some malts are present also in the nose. There are hints of some other flavors in the nose -- dark chocolates, dark fruits. Nice full nose.

Taste: The heavily roasted flavor of the coffee comes out very well. The beer does not have a burnt taste to it, and the roasted flavor is done very well. Dark malts also come out in the body. There is a slight bitter finish. Overall the beer blends very well in the overall taste, and is very well executed.

Mouthfeel: Definitely very thick and heavy, however there is no syrupy flavor (plus points). Just the right amount of carbonation.

Drinkability: Easy and great to drink -- overall a very tasty beer. Not sure if this can be a sessions beer, but it sure can try.

In the past, I've noticed that some batches of Speedway aren't as good as the other ones. This batch was definitely a plus and was nice, heavy, thick, and tasty.

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Photo of stonequarrywest
4.4/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Anytime I see a speedway and can't stop myself from buying a few...seem to be all over Ohio.

Anyway..poured a beautiful black, black with not much head and a small bit of lacing.
Smells of a great cup of intense coffee/esresso with chocolate and roasted malts.
Tastes of super roasted coffee beans, raisins, figs and a touch of 12% alcohol.
It is very smooth with a nice carbonation and a mouthfeel.
Would love to drink more....But one is a perfect way to start a night.

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Photo of Sean9689
4.02/5  rDev -8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Pours black as night with a tan head into my Dogfish Head shifter. Not too much lacing left behind with small tan bubbles on the top and around the rim.

S - Milk chocolate, coffee/espresso, and a small hint of the 12% ABV but not too much.

T - Chocolate covered coffee beans with some alcohol on the finish. I imagine the alcohol would appear less as this bottle ages but really don't mind it.

M- Medium bodied, rich and thick with some slight carbonation, very nice but I would prefer a fuller bodied.

D- I split this bottle with my neighbor and I doubt I'd be able to finish the entire bomber myself. With a year or more of age, I can imagine this stout will drastically improve.

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Photo of jwinship83
4.25/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

750ml capped bottle that isnt as colorful as the one pictured courtesy of brokenleadedcask at DLD. poured into an over sized snifter. pretty excited about this one. no freshness dating, although the back says "age for 6-24 months."

A- black body with a finger of coffee colored head. the head is full of large bubbles and lasts a long time, leaving large rings of sticky lacing on the sides of my glass.

S- very intense. lots of dark roasted malt. loads of coffee. some darker fruits in here as well. figs, plums, raisins/tobacco, and maybe some cherry. wow lots of coffee. milk and dark chocolate as well.

T- the taste is equally intense. the coffee is out of control. very dark and roasted tasting. the dark fruits i could smell are very diminished in the taste. small amounts of raisins/tobacco and figs. strong chocolate element in here too.

M- this is the worst aspect of this beer. its a huge beer, but the mouthfeel isnt as thick as i would like or expect. good levels of carbonation, and they did a great job of hiding the alcohol. the only way i can tell its in there is the warming sensation as it enters my belly.

D- very easy to finish, and im left wanting more after my bottle is empty. it probably wouldnt be a good idea being as strong as it is. probably my favorite coffee infused beer, and ive tried a bunch. check this one out if you get a chance, i wish i had easy access to it.

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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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AleSmith Speedway Stout from AleSmith Brewing Company
4.37 out of 5 based on 6,720 ratings.
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