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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: 6,571
Photo of BMoney575
4.2/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Sampled on 2-15-08
Green bottle vintage.

Pours a completely opaque and light-absorbing black, with a thick tan head that fades away to a thin film. Huge lacing coats the sides of the glass, then leaves thin fingers of bubbles.

Smell is very good, and quite aged. Big aromas of molasses and dark fruits, with a malty coffee right in the middle. I pick up oak and even some chocolate. All of the qualities you look for in a big stout.

Taste is exactly what you'd expect, but maybe a little young. Huge malt with a definite woody character, followed by a sizable coffee flavor and bitterness to balance it out. The alcohol leaves a slick finish, but is very well tamed.

Mouthfeel is nice and thick, bu the carbonation is a bit too much. The bitter finish also seems to thin things out.

Drinkability is very good for such a big beer. The flavors are very pleasant and the alcohol is well managed. Watch out.

Overall, a little less than I was expecting. Maybe I built it up too much in my head, but I think I'm just spoiled. Very good though, and well worth picking up a few.

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Photo of portia99
4.2/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

750ml bottle poured into a Duvel tulip.

A - Pours a dark, dark brown - almost, but not quite black - totally opaque. A one-finger head of mocha foam sits atop for a minute or two, and dies a little to a low, but even cap on the surface. Some thin lacing coats the glass as the beer disappears.

S - I'm hit with a ton of rich coffee aroma on first smell...pretty intense. Very deep and roasty. A little bit of licorice and maybe some bakers chocolate, a just the slightest burnt caramel sweetness.

T - Hmm...Lots of coffee and roasty malts, some burnt woodiness - almost smokey flavors, and surprisingly quite a bit of astringency (which mellows some as the beer warms). I'm also picking up a good amount of dark fruits, dark and milk chocolates and licorice. Not getting much alcohol in the taste, which is a little surprising and scary how smooth this is for a 12% beer. Very good, but the astringency aspect detracts somewhat for me.

M - Very thick and full mouthfeel...not quite syrupy, but full and chewy. Carbonation is low to medium...just right. Very nice!

D - This is a perfect, winter night, sit in front of the fire beer. Can't believe I'm saying this...wish it was snowing outside right now! Meant to be sipped and savored. This is a rare find for me, so one bottle is all I have, but can't imagine having more than one in a sitting. Very good - alcohol is hidden really well, scary well...

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

Bottled: unk

A: black, opaque. Oddly, no foam on pour, but a few seconds later, a sheet of mocha foam, then falls to a really cool surface foam that is really interesting to me - like globs of pain on a canvas that were allowed to slowly run together.
S: coffee, smoke, leather, licorice, some dates. Rich nose here.
T: Coffee, cocoa, leather, umami, licorice, molasses, raisin. I dig it.
M: medium bodied with lower carb and an overall velvety feel, not as dry as I would anticipate.
O: a sincerely good stout with surprising characteristics. Next time I'm in CA, I will need to snatch up a few bottles.

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

Big A** bottle. I have been sitting on for a few months.

a- dark brown/black pour and thick like motor oil! the "glug glug" sound from the bottle to the glass is awesome.

s- coffee, chocolate, prune, dark cherry, fig.

t- same as above, rather robust and extremely complex.

m- chewy, this is a meal in a glass.

d- it will take me all night to drink this bottle. actually, i may have to cork it and finish tomorrow. it is so complex that it needs to be experienced, not downed to get through.

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

Poured from 750mL bottle into a tulip.

Appearance: utterly, completely, entirely black with two thick fingers of frothy light brown foam. There's good head retention and a nice lace on the glass, too. Beauty, eh?

Smell: a combination of rich, roasty malt, with coffee and chocolate notes, and a fruity alcohol character which I tend to love in the style. I think it's strong, balanced and intriguing -- love it!

Taste: whoa, there, Nellie! This is one massively flavored beer. Big alcohol hits me right up front, followed by the light fruitiness, then more alcohol, then finally the roasty malt character. Much less subtle and balanced than the aroma. Still good, but a bit too unbalanced to be great.

Mouthfeel: big body with a nice, well-integrated carbonation yielding a lush, rich and creamy mouthfeel. Wonderful.

Overall: I like this beer a lot, but the huge alcohol kind of detracts from some of its otherwise wonderful qualities.

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Photo of Goblinmunkey7
4.2/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Super dark brown. Almost black, but no, it's the darkest of browns. Head is minimal and what does linger does so as a tiny dark khaki collar. Some carbonation is present. Pours nice and viscous without looking syrupy.

Smell: Leather, dark fruits, baker's chocolate, bitter cocoa, and day old coffee. All the right aromas are there. Deeply roasted, burnt, and a touch of char. Scrape the bottom of the burnt malt barrel. Big coffee notes with a syrupy booziness rounding out the back. Chocolate covered espresso beans.

Thanks to angrybabboon for sharing the bottle.

Taste: Super burnt. Over extracted coffee and the harsh bite of fresh espresso. Loads of bitter chocolate. Roasted malts are crazy huge and push well in to charred territory. Lingering hints of fresh pipe tobacco and licorice. Some minor hints of milk chocolate layered throughout. As it warms some rich fresh-brewed coffee notes pull through, but it reminds me a lot of chocolate covered espresso beans.

Mouthfeel: Moderate body that pushes toward full but never makes it. Carbonation is minimal, but comes through just enough to break up the body. Mildly creamy and super smooth.

Overall: Solid. Loads of flavor and it's all in the right place. Loses a little overall as the malts are a bit heavy on the burnt char lacks any balancing sweetness. Solid and worth finding, drinking, and cellaring.

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

Thanks to wishuwerebeer for sharing. Poured into a snifter, this brew appears black in color with a thin rim around the edge that shows some lighter brown and redness when held to the light. A brown cap of froth is composed of large bubbles. A film of lace forms across the top of the brew once the head has dissolved. A light swirl revives the cap and leaves light patches of lace on the glass.

The smell of this brew is roasty with chocolate malt that is roasty yet sweet smelling all at the same time. Plenty of fresh roasted coffee character fills the nose accenting the roasty quality of the malt and adding a bit if citrus element to it as well that really works with the hops. There is a bit of solvent alcohol comin through the back which is understandable considering the abv.

The taste of this brew is roasty and bitter with the level of roast to the grain. There are citrus hops included in the flavor that mixes with a citrus offer element. The aftertaste includes chocolate that is semisweet. Some residual grainy sweetness is pleasant and keeps the roasted bitter quality to this brew in check.

This is a medium bodied brew with a modest level of carbonation. It is easy drinking and very roasty. The abv is very well incorporated, I could seemingly drink this all night but end up with quite a buzz in no time (either from the coffee or bold abv.)

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

Flows heavily from the bottle a deep dark black with a dark tan head that barely amounts to more than lacing. The scent is mostly milk chocolate and coffee with creamer. A faint whiff of sharp hops and something cedar-like. The flavor is much the same, opening with the cup-a-joe, immediately transitioning into a melted dove bar, then splits off into that cedar or maybe cherry wood taste and prune. Coffee comes back with a vengence to wrap it all up in a neat, bitter bow - accompanied with well managed alco-heat.

I'd had this before and I again vascilate about the aftertaste. Initially I love the caffeinated intensity but it just grows too astringent for my liking, like they dumped too many beans in. Seems unbalanced to me.

The mouthfeel on this hefty beast is probably appropriate, but I do find it a bit too viscous at times, especially given how it makes the bitterness cling to the taste buds. Just a touch too syrupy. Overall, a nice sipper in the heavier end of imperial stouts. Pretty tasty - reminds me a lot of Ten Fidy with a shot of espresso.

Thanks to bbothen for the chance to give this one another go.

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Photo of kegger22
4.2/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours almost black with a generous head. Aroma is out of this world coffee and chocolate mostly. Taste is dominated by strong coffee with vague hints of chocolate. The coffee is in your face, but not unpleasant, like Bell's Expedition Stout is. Feels heavy in the mouth as it is supposed to. As far as drinkability, I put away a bomber and wouldn't have minded another 12 ounces, or so, but that would have been my limit.

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

Poured black with a finger of dark tan head. Aroma dominated by espresso with some mild roasty cocoa notes.

Moderate carbonation and a full, creamy mouthfeel, not overly heavy. Espresso and caramel up front with some molasses, hints of vanilla, and cocoa mixed with coffee bitterness on the tail end.

Drank quite easily for the ABV. Definitely tasty but I didn't feel like it was absolutely outstanding.

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Photo of zhanson88
4.2/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Speedway Stout pours out nearly black and appears completely black in the glass. About 1.5 fingers of dark espresso colored head form that have nice retention and decent lacing. Pretty good looking beer, although I don't think it is going to be an overly viscous beer judging by how it pours out.

Smell: Lots of coffee show through immediately. Also a good amount of roasted malts and chocolate. A bit of alcohol, but remarkably little considering how high in ABV this is.

Taste: I get a lot of roasted malts up front, followed by a great deal of coffee flavor and lesser chocolate. Virtually no alcohol burn which is impressive. Really, this is one of the better balanced coffee stouts I've tried. It finds a nice balance of coffee with the roasted malts and chocolate. Not overly complex, but still extremely pleasing. This was the highlight of the beer for me.

Mouthfeel/Overall: This beer is very creamy with great fine carbonation. A bit surprising, because I find it to be a bit thin overall. I'd say it's a bit over medium bodied, but nothing overly thick. Overall, I think it's a pretty damn solid imperial stout, and one of my favorite coffee infused stouts. I'm glad I have a couple more bottles of this to enjoy.

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

Bottle from City Beer Store in SF, CA
No noticed bottled on date
Poured into a tulip glass

AleSmith's Speedway Stout is, perhaps, the richest imperial stout I've had in memory. While it boasts an intense roast and chocolate character, the obvious ethanol detracts a bit from my total enjoyment of this beer. Still, quite good, and one I would gladly seek out again if it were available.

Pours a 1cm head of very dark tan, fine bubbles. Head recedes within a minute or two to a thin ring around the glass. Ample lacing along sides of tulip glass, complementing the totally opaque, black body. Carbonation streams slowly along sides of the glass.

Aroma is very rich, expressive in roasted character, milk chocolate, dark roast coffee beans, and ethanol.

Taste follows scent closely, offering strong roasted malt flavors, creamy milk chocolate, mild roasted coffee beans, and perhaps a hint of vanilla. Ethanol is noticeable from mid-palate onwards, and is actually rather obvious to me. This detracts somewhat from my enjoyment of the beer, as my goal isnt to necessarily drink ethanol flavor. Still, this packed an immense amount of rich, delicious flavor into each sip and I am impressed by this.

Beer is extremely thick and heavy, perhaps one of the heaviest beers I've drunk. Carbonation is moderate, but still can't truly penetrate this highly viscous brew. Pretty incredible, thick and smooth, somewhat silky, mouthfeel results. Drawback is ethanol burn and heat, felt clearly in the nostrils and the back of the throat. Finish is dry and slightly sticky from small amounts of residual sugars.

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Photo of Preismj
4.19/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

a: pretty thick and black as night. Quarter inch head, nice and tan. Thick bubbles...good retention. heavy lacing on this guy.

s: I'm not getting a whole heck of a lot of coffee. A touch of espresso is on the nose, but I'm also getting cocoa and a touch of nutty malt...almost like a walnut. smells a touch hot. Wish there was a bit more coffee smell here considering they say they use the finest beans in San Diego...would have liked to have gotten a better scent of them...hope it is in the taste instead. To be honest, not getting much smell at all. Thought I was maybe a bit stuffed up but even the wife said she didn't get a lot on a whiff.

t: yeah, WOW...there is the coffee. Dominates the palette. espresso beans/coffee beans way up front...touches of cocoa arise. None of the nut malt is in this any more. I'm getting all big bold taste of San Diego's finest and I'm lovin it. it has a touch of heat to it, a nice warmth that is a good touch...but for the most part this hides the alcohol with the bitterness of the coffee and the sweet of the cocoa

m: Big, bold, thick and chewy. Nice and silky smooth. perfect level of carb to help bring this out on the palette.

o: Very solid stout. I wish the nose was a bit stronger, but man does it hit you with the taste. Coffee is bold and in your face. The coffee is a touch out of balance because of the sheer volume, but that is the point and I respect it and approve. Smooth and a sipper for sure. and after the bottle is gone...yeah, it is 12%, maybe 13%.

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Photo of deford
4.19/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a bottle dated 07/30/13 into an Alesmith Snifter...Proper glassware!

L- Oh so deep and dark! Fudge colored with a small 1/2 in orange/brown head that stays for a bit leaving a nice ring. The head is really beautiful...leaves a bit of lacing as it fades.

S- Chocolate, fudge, slight coffee, vanilla...maybe some darks fruits.

T- Surprisingly the coffee is still here! Cocoa, vanilla, raisins...kind of a roasty/malty thing if that makes sense.

F- Very rich and creamy...coats your mouth...almost chewy.

O- Well balanced though a bit hot. Very chocolaty like Grandma's homemade fudge. Surprised I don't do this more often. Highly recommended!

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Photo of shippos
4.19/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Courtesy of my secret santa Gueuzedude, thanks santa for an awesome beer.

can't get any black that this with a nice small lacy frothed topped head. rich roasted chocolaty aroma bit of molassesy sugar and a bitter hoppy coffee aroma that blends nicely with the chocolate malt. taste lite freshly ground coffee with an upfront roasted chocolate taste. body seems a little weak and a bit thin for a stout of this caliber. coffee seems to thin out the body and finishes with a dry fresh brewed coffee mixed with a bit of alcohol.
I you can get it don't pass it up, fantastic.

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Photo of biboergosum
4.18/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

750ml bottle. There are 19 different versions of this beer, by dint of wood, fruit, and spice? Fuuuck. Anyways, thanks be to doktorzee for 'importing' this for me from SoCal a little ways back.

This beer pours a typically opaque black, with the same subtle, understated basal dark cola highlights, and three ebullient fingers of puffy, bubbly, thickly foamy milk chocolate head, which leaves rather prominent Tim Burton-inspired honeycombed lace around the glass as it evenly subsides.

It smells of a soft milk chocolate sweetness, further dense mountain holiday fudge, thin, somewhat plain morning office coffee, middling dark roasted salted caramel malt, a hint of wayward smoke, fleshy, watery orchard fruit, mild anise spice, and a bursting at the seams booziness. The taste is weirdly acerbic cocoa powder, well toasted Americano coffee, all with a certain lack of smoke or wood - things so prevalent elsewhere in the realm, instead bolstered by a restrained lactic quality, some softly oily nutty notes, more earthy licorice, and an amusing tussle amongst the sassy hops and alcohol for the title of 'innocuous in the least obvious way'.

The carbonation is quite on the low and unobtrusive side, the body heavy with a niggly medium twinge, and crazily smooth and creamy, with a sense of god-like pandering. It finishes off-dry, in the most pithy way, as the chocolate, coffee, and regrouped black fruit hold great sway, in the face of a swelling alcohol and hop (why are they so easily coupled here?) edginess.

A solid example of things possible with a stout when the American sensibility takes a firm hold - duly tasty additives without overt responsibility. An offering more or less worthy of its heady reputation, especially its ability to rein in the 12% ABV elephant in the room.

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Photo of trygger87
4.18/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Picked up a 750 ml bottle in SF CA. Beer pours a wonderful tar black with very little head that goes away very quickly.Smell is of an alcohol spiked black coffee, not getting much else just coffee and booze. Taste is coffee up front, then i get this sherry taste followed up by a nice malt character. Mouth feel is silky and smooth, i love it. Drinkability is great, dont taste any offensive alcohol tones. Very smooth for a 12 percent, i love this beer.
Over all a very very solid brew that i would happily pick up again.

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Photo of wedge
4.18/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Black under a dense, creamy tan head that fills the glass to the rim and leaves some messy lacing in its wake. Smells of syrupy chocolate, coffee and cream, vinous fruit, oats, berries, caramel, and nuts. Not as coffee-forward as I remember, but this probably isn't the freshest bottle. Lots of chocolate in the flavor too, with fruity coffee bean, leather, molasses, and a touch of smoke, drying out with a little black malt lingering into the finish. Thick, creamy, and velvety smooth in the mouth. I'm going to have to get a fresh bottle to get the full coffee experience. Good with a little age on it too, though.

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

Big thanks to mlaroche for providing yet another one of my wants.

Pours dark dark brown/black color, no light being able to penetrate, good amount of tan colored head, fades slowly

Smell is a nice mixture of roasted malt, chocolate, hints of coffee and a slight bourbon aspect.

Taste starts out great with a strong coffee and roasted malt kick, slight alcohol presence but overall it is very well hidden, one thing though is I think the mouthfeel is a bit thin compared to others and could be more viscous.

I think I'm going to age the other bottle for awhile, I'm sure this beer will age with the best of them.

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Photo of ne0m00re
4.18/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

08/19/10- Had this one out of a 750 mL bottle.
A: Black with a slow developing, nice caramel head.
S: Caramel, mocha, bananas, espresso, nice dark chocolate and molasses... very good.
T: Espresso and dark chocolate, bourbon vanilla character that is mild, roasted charred flavor and a strange cannabis green finish lingers.
M: Sticky, but with a nice cleansing frothiness.
D: Very good.

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

750mL bottle 2009 from John's Marketplace (Portland). Pours Jet black with about 3 finger mocha bubbly head. Great lacing and the head lingers long into the pour. Aroma hits the nose with deep dark roasted molasses, with chocolate and coffee coming through strong as well. Touch of earthiness and dark fruit (raisin). As it warms, much more deep dark chocolate comes out. Very full-bodied, only a touch of sweetness. Then, a pleasantly bitter coffee comes bursting through. This fantastic espresso mocha finish stays long on the tongue and makes me want more. Very drinkable imperial stout.

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

Appearance: Poured into a pint glass with 3cm dark tan creamy head. The beer is black in color, no light can pass through this stuff! Good head retention, stayed until almost finished with the glass, and nice thick lacing down the glass.

Smell: Very roasty like a roasted marshmallow, very sweet up front with a slight bitterness at the end.

Taste: A lot of roasty malts up front. Followed by a stronger bitter flavor than expected, like a dark chocolate or coffee bitterness. Almost no taste of alcohol. Leaves my mouth with a nice subtle bitter taste.

Mouthfeel: Thick and creamy bodied, little carbonation, small hop bite. Nice balance of creamy texture and bitter bite.

Overall: The taste was not bad, could barley notice any alcohol considering the ABV. I couldn't detect any fruity taste which I do enjoy in imperial stouts... so that was slightly disappointing. Otherwise I really enjoyed the mouthfeel and appearance.

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Photo of SethB2
4.18/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bottle into a tulip glass.

Pours a coffee color with a huge deep tan head that last several minutes before settling, leaving a web like lacing in it's aftermath. Smells of sweet malty fruit and some coffee. Something else a little bitter in there too, but I can't put my finger on it. Maybe some hops. Tastes is of strong, bitter malts, coffee and some hops. High alcohol content is well hidden, but you know it's there. It's a warming beer, for sure. Mouthfeel is the very definition of full and thick. It has a nice aftertaste too, something that I don't normally associate with Stouts. Drinkability is somewhat hindered by the high alcohol content and the fact that is is such a dominating, stong flavor. More that one at a time might leave your pallet in shambles.

Very nice beer. Many thanks to westsidethreat.

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

Served from the bottle to a pub glass at room temperature.

Appearance: By Bachus himself this beer is pretty sitting in a glass. The beer pours a straight black darkness. The head was brilliant towering roasty foamy coffee godhead. The lacing plastered itself to the sides of the glass.

Smell: Massive amounts of coffee, floral maltyness, great fruity smells abound I am not sure if it is dates or raisins but it smells great. The alcohol is present in the smell but is in no way over powering or offensive.

Taste: A mound of coffee goodness with well balanced malty chocolate tones. There is fruityness at the party but I am not sure what it is.

Mouthfeel/ Drinkability: This is a very, very drinkable and delicious beer. Carbonation is minimal. The beer is full bodied and full flavored. The alcohol is not overpowering to smell or taste. This truly is a great and drinkable stout.

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AleSmith Speedway Stout from AleSmith Brewing Company
4.37 out of 5 based on 6,571 ratings.
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