Speedway Stout | AleSmith Brewing Company

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Speedway StoutSpeedway Stout
6,950 Ratings
Speedway StoutSpeedway 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

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 6,950 |  Reviews: 1,725
Photo of far333
4.32/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Looks thick coming out of the bottle, pours dark opaque brown with a finely bubbled light brown head. Arms of lacey foam rise up the sides of the glass.

Aroma is strong and far-reaching, chocolately with coffee bitter and plum, some spiciness, a bit of fresh moist bark.

Flavor is sharp and pungent, bitter and smokey, some charred bark followed by cocoa and coffee, a fine hop backbone, and a spicey fennel freshness that sparkles on the tongue. A coffee bitter lingers. The ABV is barely noticeable, wouldn't guess it packs such a wallop if I didn't already know.

Mouthfeel is smooth and creamy, moderate to low carbonation. Decent drinkability, but a definite sipper. Great beer. Many thanks to nrrd for the bottle.

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Photo of granger10
3.98/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

This rather pricey Alesmith beer pours a thick dank black color with a large cocoa tan head. Head maintains itself well before residing down to a skim layer atop the liquid.

Aroma is somewhat coffeeish but more chocolatey and nutty. A hint of alcohol in there as well.

Flavor is lacking on the coffee for my liking. There's coffee in there but it doesn't really come out like the Founder's Breakfast Stout does. It blends in with dark bitter chocolates and a sweet cookie dough flavor. Finish is bitter but not hoppy and very strong on the alcohol. Too strong personally. I struggled to drink half of this while splitting the other half with a friend.

Mouthfeel is nice and really creamy. Smooth transition of flavors until the end. Do they put oats in this? Good beer but not great imo.

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Photo of lostbearbrew
4.78/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

750ml bottle - so thick it made a glug glug sound pouring out slowly. Apeeared a dark black with very little, if any, light shining through. About a 1/2", dense tan head.

Smell is sensational - sweet toffee and chocolate slightly behind the wafting aroma of coffee and some hops, as well.

First taste to hit my tongue and be deciphered was chocolate, with coffee and caramelly flavors close behind. Rich, dense brew seems to sit on your tongue much like some DIPA's. Almost a velcro on the taste buds effect. Multi-layered treats each time you sip, and as it warmed, it made a nice long evening treat. Alchohol is present, but it is not at all overpowering - just adds to the depth of flavors and mouthfeel.

Tremendous for sipping, and as nice background music was Garcia crooning out "New Speedway Boogie" as the last sips were taken from this monster bottle of a massive and completely satiating stout.

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Photo of DrJay
4.7/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Inky black with no visible highlights and a dark brown head. Beautiful lacing and good retention, though the pour left the head a little thin. Also apparent were "legs" from the higher abv, especially when the beer was swirled. Plenty of different malts in the aroma, balanced roast, coffee, milk chocolate, a bit vinous with light hoppiness and dried fruits. Light hop bitterness peeks through the powerful maltiness, with a good deal of roasted and coffee bitterness, dark chocolate and fruit. Coffee really shines in the dry, roasted finish. Full body, slick and oily, very fine bubbles from the low carbonation. Alcohol only makes itself known in the warmth at the finish. This was a real treat and a world class stout. I'll be looking for more of this one in the future.

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Photo of Viggo
4.5/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours black as hell, small roast coffee brown head forms, great lacing and legs on this one. Smell is floral hops, coffee, slight alcohol, and chocolate. Taste is chocolate coffee roast, hoppy floral middle, sweet malt and a dry bitter finish. Mouthfeel is very slick and oily, very thick, really dry, carbonation is low. I'm indebted to you for this one DrJay.

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Photo of Beervis
4.63/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from the 750ml bottle a dark black with a very attractive thick, lasting tan head. In just the glass, this brew is amazing.

Smell is incredible, chocolate, caramel, and a boatload of coffee. Taste follows right along with chocolate and strong espresso up front, followed by a very creamy coffee taste, almost like a coffee with cream was poured into a strong stout. Full body with amazingly complex flavor notes. Hops are perfectly balanced, and a wonderful alcohol spice finishes it off perfectly. This beer is all about balance, and with every sip, I taste something new. As it warms, it's magical, every sip delving deeper into the already complex.

As for drinkability, I think that kinda goes without saying. I drank this bottle without any problem at all, and could have gone on to another, if not for the alcohol. It's more of a sipping beer, and one to savor.

Absolutely incredible!!

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

Dessert in a glass. Pours pitch black, with a dark brown, foamy head. Intense coffee/chocolate aromas along with a hint of alcohol. Very roasty, rich, full and sweet. Amazing after dinner drink. $10/bottle at the brewery is worth every penny. Probably my favourite imp stout.

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Photo of Phyl21ca
3.85/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle: Poured a pitch-black color stout with a thin dark foamy head. Aroma of roasted malt with some coffee notes though not as dominating as I was expecting from reading all those ratings. Taste is dominated by roasted malt, caramel and coffee with a real creamy texture that I enjoyed. Bitter ending but not as hops explosive as I was expecting from other reviews. Overall, this is a good imperial stout but to me it doesn’t match Bells Expedition or even Storm King; but then again, I’m not the most avid stout drinker out there.

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Photo of paterlodie
4.77/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Almost no head coming up on this brew as for a tiny lace with very fine and lasting bubles. Black beercolor.
Nose is sweet caramel in coffee with Chops and malty slightly burnt. Drinking this brew you get a taste of sweetchocolate-coffee, caramellic wit a heavy bitter and burnt aftertaste.
Mouthfeel is very oily and with this taste overwelming and heavy. Drinkability was very good while drinking this 750 sitting dry outside and watching a great thunderstorm at night, perfect combination.

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Photo of HardTarget
4.85/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Bottle Inspection: Green champagne bottle with the label silk screened on and foil topped. Only after we were done did we note the 12% abv. I never would have believed it.

Aroma: Stunning. Rich chocolates, hot chocolate, sweet milk chocolate, dark bitter chocolate. I wish to bathe in this. A fair alcohol waft comes along late in the bottle.

Appearance: Dark tan head of multi-sized bubbles faded to a trace cover and firm collar. Pitch black glass. Very odd head, the collar lasted throughout each pour leaving chunky lace, and even seemed to grow as the beer was agitated with each drink.

Flavor: All the smells with a sharp brace of hops. Alcohol comes out a bit heavy but not bad and not at a 12% level. Bitter coffee is deep in the finish, otherwise it’s just the best rich chocolate stout my lips have ever touched.

Mouthfeel: Velvety, great low level carbonation and thick texture allow you to savor each sip. Finishes dry.

Overall Impression: Just wonderful. Rich, smooth, complex; Winston Marsalis in a bottle. Chocolate hops. Alcohol is there but masterfully hidden. The coffee adds a great layer to a fantastic beer. Crack like addictive, I need to figure out how to get a case.
Weedchugger, I don’t know whether to thank or curse you. Like a taste of heaven only to be cast back to earth.

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Photo of LuckySevens82
4.9/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

750ml Bottle courtesy of kmpitz2.

Pours a very deep black with brownish hues. Head isn't all that impressive, but still a deep brown, one finger head in a 12% abv beer isn't that bad. Lacing isn't bad and collar is pretty impressive. There is a swirling ethereal quality to the slight lacing that sits atop this one.
Smell, wow. Intense cocoa aromas waft out of the glass. Followed closely by espresso coffee. Very slight wine like qualities as well. Definitely able to detect the 12% alcohol, but not nearly as "hot" smelling as I would have thought. Very slight hop aromas complement the other qualities of the smell quite well. This one just screams drink me at this point. So on I press.
Taste is very sweet up front, very much milk chocolaty. As this one sits around for a while, you can taste the naked espresso beans almost perfectly separated from the rest of the flavors. Sweet milk chocolate soon becomes a more bitter bakers or dark chocolate. Very wine like and dry at one point, somewhere near the middle-back of the tongue. Definite fruit flavors are present in this one (figs, cherries, grapes, dates). Balanced out very well in the finish by a pleasant hop character that is not too bitter, but certainly makes itself known. Alcohol is nearly undetectable, which is REALLY impressive for a beer of this stature. Even in the finish there is almost no trace of the 12%.
Mouthfeel is perfect, a little oilier than I usually like my stouts, but it works really well in this one. Carbonation is perfect.
Overall, I probably could give this beer all 5's but I don't think that at 12% alcohol the drinkabilty on this one should be a 5. The flavors are strong, well balanced, and overall excellent, but I know that I couldn't drink this one all night. That being said, this is still one of the best Double Stouts I've ever had. Definitely worth the price and definitely worth seeking out and selling your children for. This is better than Dark Lord by miles. Thanks so much Kevin for going out of your way to let me try this one.

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Photo of ejquin
4.52/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This beer has long been a favorite of mine and I'm just getting around to reviewing it.

App: Black with a thick brown sticky head

Smell: One of the most unique and delicious smells of any stout I've had. Heavy coffee with some hop spice. Chocolate, alcohol, and sweet anise type smells. Some malt in there as well.

Taste: Heavy on the coffee upfront with a dry finish. Some hop bitterness lingers in the aftertaste with a slight alcohol sting. The alcohol is not too harsh, but the beer is very warming going down. There's a hefty dose of bittersweet chocolate as well.

Mouth: Thick and slippery. Very low carbonation which I love in a double stout of this magnitude.

Drink: Good for a 12%er.

Overall: As stated before this has been a favorite stout of mine for a while. A beautifully executed double stout.

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Photo of axisjones
4.7/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at The Liar's Club in San Diego.

Pours as black as the flipside of a colon with a toasty brown head. Is it motor oil? Beer? Light lacing dissipates with the head.

Rich coffee aroma with chocolate, toffee, and malt in the nose. A rich inviting smell.

I am a man who can appreciate a black cup of coffee, and this beer takes the concept of coffee in beers and speeds down the track. Super rich espresso flavors with a roasted flavor and bitterness from both hops, roasted malts, and coffee. Toss in some alcohol and you have a very unique, warming beer.

I could drink this all night long. For a beer this big and with such a high ABV, it is smooth and easy going down.

A much hyped beer that manages to live up to the gossip. Rich and unique, Speedway Stout should be experienced by every beer drinker. I need to find some more... soon.

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Photo of ZAP
4.97/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

top notch Imperial Stout here...one of my favorites...

Pours lout of the bottle like crude oil...very black with a small tan head...coffee, burnt malt and dark cocoa on the nose..also some caramel and vanilla really blend in nicely....mouthfeel is creamy, full bodied...

This is my idea of how an Imperial Stout should taste...very balanced...very good dark cocoa and coffee flavors...molasses with a hint of vanilla....sweet but a very nice juicy hoppiness balances nicely..a leafy, tobacco/canibus like hop finish..

Great beer here...ABV is very hidden...tasty, big and balanced....Much better than Storm King...easier drinking than Expedition while almost as flavorful....more balanced than Rogue and Stones efforts..

Top notch...I'm not a big fan of coffee or coffee beers but this one is great...almost a bourbon like feel to it....

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Photo of walleye
4.5/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

sitting at my favortie brewery(kuhnhenns) with I know you won't like this but ratebeerians, wohlfs, scroff, styles, llgrgg, flemdawg and eyedrinkale. thanks go to eyedrinkale for bringing this in. poured black with brown head. aroma licorice, coffee, dark chocolate, roasted malts, dark cherries alcohol.. flavor coffee, malts, plums, raisins. this was good, with just a touch of alcohol. good beer.

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Photo of beercollector
4.08/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

This beer was a dark black with a frothy head that quickly diminished. It had some lacing but did not stay. The first hit to my nose was molasses. There was no hop odor.

It tasted warm and roasty. Moderately sweet a slight bitterness and the toasted coffee flavor. It has a creamy mouthfeel and very soft carbonation.

I like this beer but not as much as other stouts in my collection. I got two bottles so I'll put one down and try it in a year or so. I think this may mellow and blend together to be a bit richer. As this beer warmed up to room temp. It got fuller and richer. The bottle was not refrigerated. I took it form the cellar and poured. Digital temp is 71 degrees. I'll have to try a bottle at the 55 degrees they recommend.

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Photo of BeerBuilder
4.82/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

After many opportunities I have finally had one which really stood out to be worthy of review #500

This one pours to a deep brown with a creamy light-brown head. It leaves a bit of lacing when sipped down. The aroma is heavenly; deep roasted malts and fresh black coffee. The flavor is very roasty, with expresso-like flavors throughout. It finishes with a roasted malt bitterness. It is silky and creamy in the mouthfeel....very easy drinking for its strength. Beer and coffee....the perfect combo!

I have to thank the person who has been most anticipating what #500 would be for sharing this with me...Thank you fantome.

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Photo of IceAce
4.32/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Black as a moonless night, with a nose of English Toffee and alcoholic esters, this brew lets you know before you even take a sip that it's the real deal.

Carbonation caresses the top of the tongue as the first of many layers of chocolate, roasted malt, and toffee pile upon themselves with layer after layer of flavor through the midtaste.The finish is extraordinarily dry, leaving the tongue glued to the roof of the mouth as the elevated alcohol warms the esophagus.

Forget the fod, pair this with a roaring fireand a classic movie instead.!

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Photo of Dukeofearl
4.65/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Split a 750 ml bottle with a couple of friends.

Pours a dark, thick, oily (seriously, motor-oil like) into pint glasses, with a brown, and I mean BROWN head that is moderate in size, and quickly collapses to brown oil spill cap over the beer. There is no way to see through this beer- not with sunlight, flourescent, flashlight, or even cell-phone glow (he-he-he). A gorgeous stout that tells other stouts what they should look like.

Aroma is rich, powerful, and oh so good. I am a big coffee-espresso fan, and this brings out the bitter aromatics of a fine expresso, with a dark bitter chocolate overlay.

Flavor follows through from the aroma. If I didn't know better, I could convince myself I was drinking coffee, not beer (ok, not really, but you get the idea). And yes, there is a strong alcohol presence sitting behind it all.

Mouthfeel is also wonderful- rich and creamy and just lingers oh so well.

Where this beer really falls down for me (in terms of scoring, but only slightly so) is in drinkability. We split the 750, so that was 250 ml each. I think that's more than enough of this beer. It's incredible, and I love it, but it should be in small quantities to be best appreciated. Much like you don't get a huge mug of espresso, I don't want to drink this as anything more than a small nightcap at the end of a day.

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Photo of cokes
4.5/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Black, interwoven with purple tar, crowned with a scattered tan patchwork.
Fills the room with molasses draped espresso, garnered with toffee, vanilla beans, black cherries, seared cedar, bourbon, and walnuts.
Begin the beguine. Full-bore, acrid jittery espresso roast. The beans here are not so much full of simple char as layered nuance. Vanilla bean, roots, smoked chocolate, and burnt maple. This is the real deal, as far as coffee is concerned. Below is an imperial stout worth its salt, ripe with prunes, currants, molasses, liquorice, toffee, burnt malts, and an eventually swelling red grape vinousness. Booze enters through bourbon clues, all full of toasted oak, hazelnuts, and vanilla-cedar-caramel, and it almost presents as barrel aged even when it is not. Wafts of burn barrels full of newspaper precede a blackened grass-filled hop closure. Coffee lingers, full of ash, char, chocolate, and roast nuts.
It rests just shy of full bodied, with an oozing, sluggish carbonation.
For java nuts, this is euphoric; a coffee stout to the nth power. And, thus, vies with my girlfriend (and several previous versions of such) as the prettiest thing I'd ever hope to wake up with. On the opposite end of the day, it works just as well. Sultry, silky, and gratifying.

Big props to kmpitz2 for the bottle.

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Photo of ppoitras
4.68/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

750ml bottle obtained via trade with oggg. Thanks for the opportunity... Capped and foiled.

Poured into an imperial pint glass, formed a 1/2" of dark brown head over the totally dark brown/black brew. Head holds steady for most of the drinking experience, and exhibits excellent foamy lacing. Aroma is dark malts, coffee, and alcohol. Taste is creamy coffee with dark fruit tinges and the slightest alcohol notes. Funny, the booze is hidden over the tongue, because my chapped lips are stinging, and my throat is warm as all get out, so I know it's in there... For the style, mouthfeel and drinkability are great. Smoothness and not over the top alcohol presence (at least perceived), make this one a great one.

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Photo of wyllder
5/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5


I haven't written a review in a while, but for this I'll make an exception.

Speedway pours the expected opaque deep chocolate brown, bordering on black. A caramel colored head forms but dissipates rather quick. As you go, it leaves quite a bit of sticky lacing on the sides of your glass.

The smell is top-notch. Notes of roasted chocolate, caramel, coffee and molasses are all here.

Taste is bliss. Smoothly comingled flavors of chocolate, roasted malts and coffee play out on the palate. Only slightly hoppy, with plenty of malt to smooth things out, this comes in somewhere between a Russian Imperial and an American Double stout: a really tasty place.

Mouthfeel is perfect. Smooth, not resinous or viscous but just thick enough to warn you of its potency. The alcohol is there, but never overwhelms as it provides a nice warming tone going down.

Drinkability. Send me more, much more. Keep it coming. Thank heaven I had two friends help me with the bottle or I might not have remembered much of the evening.

Having tried their IPA and Yulesmith previously, Speedway has put Alesmith firmly on the top of my favorite brewers list. A trip to San Diego is in order.

UPDATE: Had a second bottle of this about 6 months after the first. Every bit as good as the first. And, after some consideration, I've decided to get it over with and make it the first beer I 5-out. I love this stuff.


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Photo of merlin48
4.6/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Shared a bomber of this nice impy stout with mtnlover over the weekend. Pours a dark and opaque body, with a longlasting, one finger light brown head. Garnet fringes lurk around the edges of the glass and sheet lacing gives way to attractive patch lace as the contents are drained.
Aroma has cocoa, medium chocolate, and roasted coffee beans in the background.
Mouthfeel is robust and full bodied. Good carbonation and a zing of hops on the tongue.
Taste is nicely complex, with chalky cocoa, milk chocolate, and chewy roasted coffee beans for bitterness. Some alcohol warming is noted. Bitter, burnt roasted coffee notes at the finish.
Complex, and very well put together. Hard to believe this is 12% abv, as a pleasant warming sensation was the only clue. Definitely, a world class Imperial Stout here.

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Photo of mntlover
4.65/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours a dark deep black have to hold to the light to get dark red highlights around the edges. Has a nice chocolate colored head that leaves some lace.
Aroma is lots of roasted flavors chocolate, coco, and moca coffee aromas mix with together for wonderful experience.
Taste is nice chocolate roasted malts nice and smooth coffee flavors come to the surface and mix with the roasted chocolate to add a touch of bitterness that is aided by some light herbal/floral hop mixture. It is nice change from the west coast variety this time. I was expecting big coffee flavors from this one after reading the label about the special coffee beans used but it was more smooth sweet chocolate first then some coffee flavors and light bitterness after. Very tastey. Some
Mouthfeel is big full smooth and dreamy very nice feel.
Drinkability is great 12% you have to be kidding me nothing more then a warming feeling is ever noticed a very fine Impy Stout, many thanks to merlin48 for sharing this one with me.

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Photo of Sixpoint
4.27/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Special thanks to my friend Mike for bringing this bottle back fresh from San Diego. Thanks, Mike.

I was a little disappointed in the appearance for a lack of a good head. Of course, it is not necessary, nor is it expected for an Imperial Stout to have much of a head at all... and sometimes, people prefer their imperials without a head. It's just that mine had absolutely no head on it at all, and I usually like at least a trace of carbonation.

The aroma was nice. A pretty neutral aroma considering the strength of the beer, with no fusel alcohols or crazy esters from the yeast. The mark of a well-crafted imperial...

The taste... I was pretty damn impressed. A perfect balance, the perfect amount of black patent malt and roasted barley, and a nice accomplishment with the addition of coffee beans.

I gave a 5.0? I hardly ever give 5.0s, as they should be rare. But let's face it... this beer had one of the most interesting mouthfeels I've ever tasted. It was silky and smooth like an oatmeal stout, yet full-bodied like an imperial. And the coffee beans must have given it a subtle complexity my palate could understand but my writing cannot articulate.

I will definitely recommend this beer to any imperial lover.

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Speedway Stout from AleSmith Brewing Company
Beer rating: 4.38 out of 5 with 6,950 ratings