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: 1,660 | Ratings: 6,680
Photo of jomo
3.82/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Appearance is black with fine carbonation. The viscosity is reasonably thick, but not as creamy as it used to be. Lacing is surprisingly weak for such a brew.

Smell is malty with coffee notes, but it has a strange acidic character. Perhaps the hops...not sure.

Taste... Coffee, chocolate, malt, sugars, bitterness and that odd acidity.

Mouthfeel is sticky, but creamy. Carbonation is perfectly fine.

Unfortunately, IMO, this beer had declined as Alesmith has grown. Their brewing processes have changed for higher production. The main difference is almost acidic tinge the beer has. Perhaps the hop bitterness...perhaps the fusel alcohols. I don't know. What I do know is that this is a change that happened almost immediately a few years back. They used to brew this beer in low rider, cheese making bins. They used to claim the low fermenting "pressure" produced less fusel alcohols. Perhaps this is the difference. All I know for certain is that it is not a good as it used to be.

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Photo of tigg924
3.83/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Aged two years--Poured into a Two roads tulip

Appearance: black in color, opaque, 1/2 inch head, moderate carbonation

Smell: coffee, rich chocolate, cream, and alcohol

Taste: tastes starts with rich dark and sweet chocolate and quickly changes to black coffee and espresso, light creaminess at the end before a bitter coffee finish

Mouthfeel: roasty bitter with slight sweetness, heavy body, low carbonation

Overall: A big big beer. This one is coffee and alcohol on overdrive. Nice and smooth and it mellows as it gets warmer. I found the alcohol to be a bit overpowering at times. Quality beer, but I do tend to prefer other coffee stouts and beers by Ale Smith more.

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Photo of gregb13
3.83/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

A nice, heavy coffee stout. Extremely strong at 12% - some alcohol but no heat to speak of, a sipper for sure. Not very complex and a bit overbearing on the coffee. Insanely full-bodied and sticky beer. Totally coats the palate, coffee will overwhelm the meek. Pretty solid, but was expecting a bit more honestly, especially at $13 for 25.4 oz. bottle, at least in terms of complexity. It's enjoyable but would hesitate to recommend.

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Photo of Blanco
3.83/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Black with light brown head. Excellent lacing. Head looks almost sea-foamy. Smell is of rich chocolate immediately with coffee in the background, though weaker than I prefer in coffee stouts. Alcohol is present in the nose as well, indicating this is a very strong beer. Bitterness in the taste but still smooth. The chocolate is the first bit you get but the aftertaste is straight coffee. Some minimal grassy (that's the best way I can describe it) notes are also there. Slight charred quality as well with some hints of dark fruits and metal. No taste of the alcohol. Medium bodied, actually thinner than I expected.

Overall, this is decent for an imperial stout, but the coffee was disappointing. I actually wasn't aware of this until someone noted at the counter it was a coffee stout and was excited.'s still pretty well-made the heavy cost is somewhat offset by the fact it's a 750 and not a bomber.

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Photo of oregonduck
3.83/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A solid coffee imperial stout. Not as thick or creamy as other imperial stouts. Bouquet is a bit underwhelming. Taste starts with some sweetness and quickly moves into the coffee flavors. Coffee is at a good level, very present but not too much. Has a long, bitter finish. I liked this better than Yeti Espresso Stout which I thought was just overly bitter from the coffee. Overall Speedway is very good, but for me doesn't enter into the "great" category that I expected from the extremely high scores. Don't think it's worth $13 for a bomber, as top notch barrel aged stouts are right in that same price range.

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Photo of homebrewhawk
3.83/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to MASPuros for this one. 750ml bottle served in a snifter. Poured a deep brown/black with some red highlights. Sparse tan head. Chocolate in the aroma along with a bit of sourness that had me worried. Also thought I detected some cinnamon. Full bodied, rich and smooth. Roasted malt predominates, not as much coffee as I would suspect. Fair amount of hop bitterness to balance the malt. Long dry malt finish. Also some alcohol in the finish. Not a lot of carbonation.

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Photo of deebo
3.84/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Picked up a growler of this in WI.
A-poured cold into an oversized snifter. This is black with garnet highlights. A weak dark beige head that is very weak.
S-first aromas that come out are rich, malty and sweet. Dark cocoa, vanilla, roasted coffee beans. Some alcohol presence.
T-big stout taste. Big rich malts with a heavy roasted dark malt character. Finishes slightly sweet and fairly dry with a bit of acridness.
M-fairly smooth with high carbonation and a warming finish.
O-a big stout. But lacks the complexity of flavors and big body of many of the RIS. Dominated with notes of dark roasted malt and tastes of cocoa powder, Slightly burnt coffee. Alcohol is noticeable but not dominant. A good sipper.

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Photo of swizzlenuts
3.84/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A:Black with a tan head about cm in height. Good retention.

S: Fruity molassesy smell that is quite fruity. Not exactly what I'd expect for a Imperial Stout

T: Dark chocolates, roasted malts, and a coffee bitterness at the end. Fusel alcohol at th eend, which is expected. God but not bang in the flavours.

M: Thick as fuck! Almost perfect.

D: Decently drinkable.

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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 whoneeds8
3.85/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Big thanks to Mauerhan for the bottle.

Pours out Jet Black with very little tan head. Leaves nice lacing for such lack of head.

Smells like roasted coffee. If you've ever roasted your own coffee, it's like that only very faint.

Taste is complex between roasted malts over powered by coffee. I was scepticle reading the label about their use of coffee because I hate "cold" coffee drinks. There's a reason why coffee is served hot, because it tastes bad cold. LOL. But this coffee flavor doesn't taste anything like cold coffee. I'm very suprised.

Overall: I'm not a stout fan. This is a very drinkable stout, however I would have to have a special reason to drink it again. Much like my reason to drink it tonight, the Cowboys on Monday Night Football.

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Photo of beveritt
3.85/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Presentation: Poured from a 750 ml green bottle into a small tulip. The label is painted on and gives a description of the beer and brewing process.

Appearance: Pours with a huge head, probably about 2 inches. The head is dark brown and takes awhile to settle. Finally settles into a thin coating of foam. The beer itself is a nearly opaque brown.

Smell: Thick and sweet smelling, like rum raisins and molasses. Tangy bitterness of coffee is also very present.

Taste: Alcohol bite upfront, followed by oily coffee and chocolate flavors and a long, lingering bitter finish.

Mouthfeel: Average level of carbonation. Body is average.

Drinkability: I split this some friends, to celebrate a special occasion. The beer is strong and very flavorful, but more suited to sipping on a cool winters night than a warm April afternoon. Overall, I like it.

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Photo of morimech
3.85/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours inky black with one finger of tan head that had good retention. The head settles to a thick cap. Large amount of sticky lacing is left down the glass.

Hard to believe this beer is infused with coffee. Almost indisguishable underneath the chocolate and roasted malt qualities. Aroma of chocolate, roasted malt, and an earthy, woodsy smell. Taste follows suit with the coffee finally making an appearance. Bitter chocolate is still the prominent player. Subtle hints of vanilla, smoke, and earthy hops. Alcohol is noticed but is well blended into the flavor.

I have had some big, chewy stouts before, unfortunately this is not one of them. A little thin blooded but has a soft carbonation that I enjoyed.

I wish the coffee came out more in this stout as that is an element I enjoy in my beers. Could use a bigger body as well considering the level of ABV. Not in the elite category of Imprial Stouts.

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Photo of Phyl21ca
3.85/5  rDev -11.9%
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 HuskyinPDX
3.85/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

25.4 oz bottle poured into my Duvel Tulip glass.

Appearance - Motor oil black with a tan head that forms only on the edges.

Smell - Strong coffee scents, some chocolate.

Taste - Smooth coffee and chocolate.

Drinkability - Low carbonation. Not as sweet as many stouts, which is a good thing.

Overall - Dropped the bottle and it started to leak, so I cracked it open. I enjoyed it.

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Photo of NoLiberty
3.85/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours from a nicely designed bottle/label into my glass a dark black color. Low lacing and small but persistent toffee colored head. It's thick and rich. The aroma is big roasty, malty, toasted coffee, bitter caramel, molasses and licorice. The taste is big, rich, sweet, nutty, brown, toasty, burnt, bitter, coffee, espresso with chocolate late in the story followed by late dryness and an aftertaste of all that lingers on for a long time. Mouthfeel is nice and round, full, good small bubbled carbonation and pretty thick. Pretty drinkable too for a 12%er.

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Photo of MPLS
3.86/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

2009 Vintage that I received in a trade at DLD, October is my birthday month so the cellar will start looking lonelier everyday.

A: Poured into my 20oz Imperial glass, my first instinct was to make sure all the lights were on in the room because this brew is wickedly dark. Back alley darkness with a nice caramel head that retained itself rather well for 12%ABV

S: Hmmm...sniff, sniff, sniiif. Sweet chocolate, cocoa, coffee.

T: Excessively sweet soy sauce overload. This big beer crosses the sweet line and is too cloying for me. There are worthy flavors in its profile. This one could see some benefits to aging.

M: I am all about the viscosity of syrup, big n thick, milkshake like. A+

D: Saccharine overload, I'd love to try a different vintage or batch, might change my mind.

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Photo of vkv822
3.86/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

750ml : tulip snifter
from notes

Black body, creamy, dense brown head.

Earthy coffee, lightly roast malt.

More roasty malt blends into earthy coffee. Light cocoa notes.

Medium body. Fair amount of viscosity. Low-medium carbonation.

Big flavors as expected for the style. Coffee blends well with roasty malt and compliments cocoa notes.

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Photo of rudzud
3.86/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Shared with bpk59. 2012 vintage?

A - Poured into a Kate the Great tulip a nice dark brown almost black hue with a great two finger mocha head that leaves nice side lacing.

S - Aromas of chocolate, older coffee, alcohol is hidden nicely.

T - Taste is fair amount of dark fruits, kind of over power the coffee and chocolate. Definitely tastes older slightly old.

M - Mouthfeel is nice smoother carbonation. Not much alcohol.

O - Overall this was a bit too dark fruit for my liking. Ah, very unfortunate.

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Photo of hopsbreath
3.87/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Saw this at a Whole Foods in Portland and had to pick it up. Poured out of a 750 mL bottle into two over sized red wine glasses, I shared this with my wife. I gave the appearance a 5 because I cannot imagine an impy stout looking any better. There was half a glass full of thick cappuccino colored fluffy head that barely receded. The liquid itself was the typical double stout impervious black. Smell was fairly unassuming and muted. There was some dark chocolate and coffee in the nose but nothing really spectacular. Taste was good. Lots of cold coffee with dark chocolate it was a treat, and better than the smell suggested. Mouthfeel was very nice. Very creamy with minimal carbonation, maybe a little chalky. After half a 750 I had enough. I started to tasted the alcohol a little more at the end.

Overall this was a fine example of an impy stout and I would not think of aging it due to the muted smell and good creamy mouth. Try it young and it will not disappoint.

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Photo of Jesse13713
3.87/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance - A very dark stout. Pitch black liquid with a frothy brown head. Not a large head on this at all; less than half an inch. Looks very chocolaty.

Smell - Strong oats presence and extremely noticeable alcohol in the scent. Slight chocolate in the nose. The coffee is present but not overpowering.

Taste - Definitely a slight bourbon burn. The bourbon is accompanied with chocolate and coffee heavily. As with the smell, oats are a huge part of the taste as well.

Mouthfeel / Drinkability - An exceptionally smooth snout. Silk-like and enjoyable to sip. The vanilla-bourbon makes itself present without being overpowering. Well balanced and quite simple. The 12% is hidden quite well.

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Photo of blankenhoney
3.87/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Fresh bottle from 11.19.14, enjoyed from a snifter

A: Deep, dark brown with an eggshell/khaki head. Looks pretty inviting.

S: Smells like raspberries covered with dark chocolate. Intense aromas of rich chocolate and dark berries, and only mild notes of sweet, creamy coffee.

T: More rich, rich chocolate, dark berries, chocolate fudge, and a bit of roasted coffee beans. Kind of a chocolate bomb, with some very faint espresso roastiness and bitterness on the finish.

M: Thicker than medium-bodied, nice and creamy

O: I don't know. I see a label saying imperial stout with coffee, and I'm hoping for a lot more coffee flavor and aroma than I found here. Speedway is a chocolate bomb, but a very well done chocolate bomb at that. Rich and luscious, but too sweet and chocolatey for me.

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Photo of NEhophead
3.87/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

25.4 fl oz brown bottle served in a chalice.

Pours a syrupy maple-onyx in color beneath a somewhat short-lived, dark coffee colored head. A bit of thin and dimpled lacing, but nothing too impressive.

Dark chocolate, light mocha, and fresh roasted coffee aromas. Notes of slick bourbon that cut the rich roasted qualities; sharp acidic alcohol.

Chewy, roasted dark chocolate that is made even rougher/bitter by the aggressive, freshly brewed espresso flavor. The alcohol character isn't over-the-top, but its whiskey-like quality is noticeable throughout within each flavor aspect. Slightly acidic leading up to a rustic, floral bitterness. Notes of whiskey, aged vinous fruit, and espresso fill the aftertaste.

Full bodied is almost an understatement. Smooth at times, but mostly slick on account of the ever-present alcohol character.

A pretty complex Imperial Stout; however, the whiskey component detracts from what I assume was the brewer's original intent, to highlight the coffee component. Ballsy flavors, but this could definitely benefit from a few years of rest.

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Photo of swhite11
3.87/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

[A] - Pitch black with an extremely tan 1 1/2 finger creamy head. Retains and laces well.

[A] - Ungodly amount of coffee and chocolate. Slight breadiness with a moderate amount of alcohol.

[T] - Bounds of coffee and chocolate upfront. Ample roasted malt and hop bitterness. Roasted malt acidity dominates the finish - numbs the palate.

[M] - Very creamy/silky upfront. Dries quickly due to the alcohol and roasted malt acidity.

[D] - 12% is hidden well. The beer was consumed at a very young age yet it is very palatable. Carbonation is med-low. Acidity is a bit distracting.

[O] - A big, slightly acidic RIS with dominant notes of coffee and chocolate.

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Photo of oggg
3.87/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Gift from a friend, sourced from Wallys. 750ml

I removed the capsule and popped the cap. I got an old man's sigh, suggesting low carbonation. I poured aggressively and got just a token show of bubbles. I saved half in the fridge with a vacu-vin cork and mini-vacuum, but the next day the bubbles were almost entirely gone.

This stout is really really black and opaque. Intimidating. Maybe a ring of dark brown when you shine a light on it. Again, little to no head.

The nose is basically a raspberry dark chocolate truffle.
On the tongue, this is a heavy syrup-like concoction that starts off oily, hits you with a heavy (not bright) raspberry liqueur flavor. I struggle to get past it, and there's some thick dark chocolate. Really heavy. Like drinking bittersweet chocolate. Coffee is there but it's in the shadow of the chocolate. I kinda wish this was more burnt. Alcohol is there, though I didn't think it was 12%! The finish is surprisingly not that cloying.

Overall: I don't really like fruit liqueur infused chocolate because of the fruit part, but if you like that sort of thing, this is right up your alley.

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Photo of greenbeaner
3.88/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Well, I have to say I'm a bit disappointed with this one.. It's definitely a good, better than average beer, but nothing really stood out one way or the here it goes...Appearence is a thick almost black with a huuuuge head...three fingers tan and creamy. Smell is fairly thin for as thick as the beer appears coffee, vanilla, molasses. Tastes of roasted malt with coffee notes and a hoppy finish. Mouthfeel is thick and creamy, which sets the beer apart a bit..otherwise this beer, while being a high quality stout just doesn't seem to have any one quality that stands out more than any other.

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AleSmith Speedway Stout from AleSmith Brewing Company
4.37 out of 5 based on 6,680 ratings.
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