AleSmith Speedway Stout | AleSmith Brewing Company

1,669 Reviews
no score
Send samples
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

For Trade:
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 1,669 | Ratings: 6,725
Photo of Phelps
3.55/5  rDev -18.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle into a schooner pint.

Thick, syrupy and black. This has the consistency and color of melted dark chocolate. A dark, oaky head rises from the depths after the pour completes, getting to about a half finger in height before receding to a thick, scummy top layer.

Rich, sweet aroma. It’s like an incredible mocha with dark chocolate and cream, espresso and vanilla.

The flavor’s a little more astringent and metallic. Heavily burnt roast, super bitter coffee. Some alcohol flavor as well. It’s all a little thin, to be honest, though it does improve as it warms. Like a cup of the blackest, most bitter coffee. Needs sugar.

A bit of redemption in the mouthfeel. The creaminess from the appearance is in full force here. Thick medium-full body, light, prickly carbonation and a touch of silky fizz.

I’ve tried Speedway from the bottle and from the source — the tap at Alesmith — and both experiences were underwhelming. There are far better coffee stouts out there for the price tag.

 1,006 characters

Photo of hawks10
3.55/5  rDev -18.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

750ml bottle - Foiled & Capped - Poured into a snifter...

Pours thick and black with a nice dense, one finger tan head. Some lacing is left behind...

Sweet milk chocolate on top of a nice, but more subtle than expected, roasted coffee aroma. A touch of booze.

Some sweet chocolate with a nice citrusy hop bitterness. Roasted with a bit of coffee, not near as much as expected though. Booze is very prevalent, burns the gums and lingers well into the aftertaste.

Full bodied but drinks a bit thinner than expected. Low carbonation, smooth. Very boozy, lots of burn...bitter, burning aftertaste...

Not a big fan

 615 characters

Photo of Spinaltapped
3.56/5  rDev -18.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

L: Extremely black with a darker khaki head. A good looking stout and a decently thick two finger head. Cant complain.

S: The smell is primarily malt and coffee. There are are also strong notes of caramel, bitter chocolate, toffee, and a pinch of boozey sweetness.

T: Initially, very strong coffee with lingering bitter chocolate. There is some semi-sweet cocoa, but there is a large degree of additional sweetness that comes off as a bit much. It's just not quite what I want from a coffee stout. I want a lot more balance. I want less sweetness especially.

F: Tons of smooth residual sugars to keep the beer silky a day smooth. Almost has a milk stout like smooth, lactose mouthfeel. I only wish the mouthfeel was a bit thicker, it's pretty light, especially for an imperial stout.

 789 characters

Photo of Briken
3.56/5  rDev -18.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Big black beer and moderate brown head with okay retention. Cocoa and light roasty aroma. Big coffee flavor up front belies the aroma and quickly evens out to a chocolate sweetness. A fairly long coffee linger with light herbal notes. There’s a sharp acidic bite with a robust, fuzzy mouthfeel.

A simple yet very rich flavor showcases the flavors available. It’s 12% and there’s no alcohol in the taste and just a gentle warming. A very big beer that’s very easy to drink. The only thing is the coffee used seems to make this one a little too acidic and there really was very little aroma to speak of.

 610 characters

Photo of ONUMello
3.59/5  rDev -17.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottle from Whole Foods, Columbus, OH. No bottling date. Unfortunately they had it in the fridge, not following the suggestion on the bottle to leave at room temp until ready to serve. I warmed to suggested 50-55F.
A: Dark brown, almost black. Strangely almost no head appeared.
S: Smells like a rich coffee/espresso, a hint of cream and sugar. Very nice.
T: Initial attack is pleasant, pure coffee, but then it turns quite bitter, but not in a hoppy way, more of an unpleasant burnt coffee way.
M: Slightly viscous but smooth, despite the 12ABV not much heat. Pleasant carbonation.
O: I do wish I knew its age, though I would guess on the young side so it would probably benefit from a bit of aging as suggested on the bottle. The smell is the best part of this beer. I might try it again to see what aging does, but this particular bottle I'm having a hard time getting past that burnt coffee component.

 906 characters

Photo of Ozzylizard
3.59/5  rDev -17.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

$ 11.99/25.4 oz + $ 4 shipping = $ 0.629/oz from the Craft Shack
Bottled 9/24/15, served at 42 degrees into snifter, allowed to warm to 50 degrees
Aroma weak, roasted malt
Head small (two cm, aggressive pour), light brown, frothy, diminishing to three mm ring and partial thin layer with a few rocks
Lacing excellent – complete rings of tiny bubbles
Body dark brown, opaque
Flavor weak, can’t taste the coffee, just roasted malt; no hops, no alcohol, no diacetyl
Palate full, creamy, soft carbonation

Appearance 4.25, Aroma 3.25, Flavor 3.5, Palate 4, Overall 3.75

 569 characters

Photo of ndekke39
3.6/5  rDev -17.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Tried this one with a group of friends. Pours an opaque black with a tan head. Good head retention. Smells and tastes of dark roasted coffee, chocolate, and cola. Pretty rich, but balanced overall. Hard to taste the alcohol, so watch out. Overall, a good stout - worth trying a copy times!

 289 characters

Photo of jdoolin
3.6/5  rDev -17.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Presentation: 750 mL bottle, poured into tulip glass.

Appearance: Extremely dark brown, with a red tint at the very edges, one finger tan head that didn't last very long.

Aroma: Roasted malt, chocolate, coffee, vanilla and alcohol.

Taste and Mouthfeel: Roasted malts and chocolate up front, but the alcohol kicks in quickly. Too much malt sweetness. Definite, very pleasant coffee in the finish. Moutheel is very creamy and thick. Most excellent. But the alcohol keeps this from being a very drinkable beer.

Notes: It tasted to me like a barleywine mixed with an imperial stout, apparently because of the high alcohol. It makes for a very interesting and delicious beer, but it didn't meet my expectations. At $13 per bottle, I will most likely not be revisiting this.

 780 characters

Photo of TruePerception
3.61/5  rDev -17.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

AleSmith's Speedway Stout, imperial stout brewed with coffee. 12% ABV.

A: Three fingers (!) of chocolate milk brown head. Pure black in the glass. Dark brown in the dimple. Some slight lacing and sheeting.

S: Big char and very dark roasted coffee dominate. A touch of licorice. Smells almost like oil, interestingly enough. The is a burnt oat note in the background. I almost missed it, entirely.

T/MF: Even more char on the palate. Ash, licorice. The coffee is almost completely lost in darker flavors. There is some sweetness on the front of the tongue. A bit dark for my tastes. Could definitely use some sort of barrel aging.

Poured from a 750mL bottle, into a Belgian tulip glass.

 689 characters

Photo of joepais
3.61/5  rDev -17.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to duffmanrob for sending this want along to me in the black booty BIF

Bottle split among friends in snifters produced a small tan head that settled to a thin lace. The head easily could be brought back with a swirl of the glass. The body of the brew was the typical black stout color.

The first thing I noticed was tha lack of coffee aroma coming from the brew seeing the way they pushed it on the lable I expected something a little more robust. It did have a good chocolate smell and when it warmed got to room temp the coffee was a bit more present. On the flavor the sme thing happened I got some great roast but more bitter chocolate than coffee. The mouthfeel was good and thick with ample carbonation.

It drank well for a stout I wasn't really wanting for more. Maybe it was Hype meeting reality that thru me on this one I am glad I tried it but knowing the price point on this brew. Most likely one and done for me, but having said that I would like to see the difference on tap, and being barrel age brings.

 1,028 characters

Photo of Buebie
3.62/5  rDev -17.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Bottle courtasy of stubone.

Poured from a 750ml bottle into an oversized snifter. Neck is wrapped in a silver like tin. No freshness date on the bottle. I've had it in my possesion in the cellar for 3 months.
Served at 45 degrees.

This bad boy is pitch black, off a semi rigerous pour I get a gynormous 3 finger brown head. As it settles it leaves many rings behind, almost looks like the trunk of the tree with growth rings.
Settling finally to a thin brown cap.
Lace is quite tacky and long lasting leaving many lines and a spiderweb like pattern.

Aroma is super chocolaty, with cocoa powder, dense moist sweet chocolate cake like aroma. Its got a nice yeasty chocolate bread aroma, super delicious in the aroma department. Just a hint of alcahol warmth, which is quite humbled for a 12% beer.

This is slick upfront with a heavy cream mouthfeel and greasy like slickness across the toungue. Carbonation all through, with a bit more carbonation then I'd expect with such a heavy thick beer.
Its a bit warm and boozy especially after the swallow, gradually heating up into the linger to an un welcome amount of solvent like lingering flavors.
It starts out sweet though with a bit of a metallic tinge. Lots of cocoa powder like flavor and a touch of somthing aspirin like.
A good amount of grains in there, its quite malty. Alot of hop character left into the swallow and linger with grassy pine hop flavors. I'm kinda glad I didnt age this any longer to get the hop flavors. Although I wish I had to smooth out the hot boozyness.

This is a solid RIS and has alot going for it. Although my dislikes out weigh my likes. I dislike the solvent alcahol and hotness in the mouth, the higher amount of carbonation and the abv was too much to handle this one on my own. We dont need that much alcahol if its going to be so hot.

 1,825 characters

Photo of birchstick
3.62/5  rDev -17.2%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - pours deep black with a one finger chocolatey head - looks fantastic

S - smells of chocolatey malts and a touc of coffee. Pretty faint nose.

T - taste is of cocoa and dark chocolates initially and fades to some lighter roast coffee. Digging deeper, I got a little bit of dark fruit. Ends with a bit of bitter piney hops. Pretty solid stout, but I was hoping for a bit more.

M - luxurious, smooth mouthfeel that goes down nicely

D - this was a pretty good stout. After acquiring this through trading, I don't know if it is worth going after, but I would love to try it again.

 582 characters

Photo of Wadsey
3.62/5  rDev -17.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Speedway Stout, vintage May 2011

Served in one of last two DFH signature glasses left in my possession. The others must have read my reviews of DFH beers and leapt to their deaths. I also lost a fish last week. Coincidence? I'm not so sure. 

A: Pours black with massive brown head that takes a few moments to settle down to surface of beer. No appreciable lacing and so forth. 

S: Roasted malts with molasses and some dark fruits. Hints of licorice, acetone, cocoa nibs, and earth. 

T: Shocking sweetness combines with roasted malt and cocoa nib characteristics to form chocolate syrup, but of a higher quality than Hershey's. I do think the other characteristics I described in smell are manifested in taste, although acetone/alcohol is more subdued. Medium bitterness. Finish is long and roasty. 

M: Medium-heavy body and medium-light carbonation. Fuller mouthfeel that moves from creamy to powdery. A little warming. 

O: Coffee is much more low-key in Speedway Stout than I was expecting and acts as a prop to roast malts more than anything else. Then again, I recently drank some great coffee-forward stouts so maybe my palate is a little too tuned in to coffee for this beer. Reminds me of Yeti, which is another above-average imperial stout. 

Thanks Robo for the beer. I know Speedway Stout is your favorite so it couldn't have been easy to let it go. 

 1,373 characters

Photo of AgentZero
3.63/5  rDev -16.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A - Great looking motor-oil black with a nice tan head that dissipated with some fine lacing up the sides.

S - Coffee, toffee, a roasted smell, and a bit of woody gin offering, but pretty subtle.

T - I'll be honest, I'm slightly dissapointed in this one, out of all the big stouts this one is definately above average, but not meeting the hype, maybe I got a bad bottle. Coffee and roasted malts. Chocolate, with some slight vanilla.

M - Thick and smooth, pretty solid.

D - Don't think it tastes good enough to be more than averagely drinkable at this ABV.

 561 characters

Photo of champ103
3.64/5  rDev -16.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A: Pours an opaque black color. No light gets through. At first a tan head is slow to rise. Though eventually becomes towering. Rings of sticky lace are left behind.
S: Roasted malt and big coffee aromas. Acrid, slightly bitter, and metallic even. Chocolate and sweetness lingers.
T: Follows the nose. Big roasted malt flavors. Though the coffee overpowers everything. Which would not be so bad. Though it is very acrid, bitter and metallic like the nose.
M/D: A medium to full body. Good carbonation as well. This is a huge beer. The alcohol does show, but not a much as one would think. Still the acrid character makes this a slow sipper.

Tone down the acrid coffee character, and make it more balanced and this is a winner. As is, not something I am coming back to if I see it again. To many other great coffee stouts I would grab before this. First in line would be Founders Breakfast stout.

 896 characters

Photo of TheDM
3.64/5  rDev -16.7%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This brew pours a dark brown head of large quickly disappearing bubbles and an uncarbonated black as night colored body. It has a very strong coffee alcohol aroma and a very strong alcohol flavor. This brew is one that should at least be on everyone's list of beers to try.

 273 characters

Photo of bargerking
3.65/5  rDev -16.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured at 50-55 degrees into pint sized tulip. 09 Bottle.

A Pitch black. Decent darker tan head with good retention with a few swirls. Bubbles form like pancake batter on a griddle after swirling. Thick viscosity.

S Roasted malts. Strong oak characteristics dominate. Hints of bitter chocolates. Theres more going on here but I can't pull it out...

T/M Wow! Really thin. Was not expecting this. Almost disappointing. Mouthfeel is a little chocolate/creamy. Complexity is not as deminsional as its smell. Kind of boozey with an odd burn. Dark chocolate shines through on the finish. Aftertaste is sticky and not all that great. Actually im not liking it at all.

D Everything was great until I actually drank the beer. Taste was average with nothing that stood out. Decent beer for sure but I was expecting more out of this. Maybe I will put this down for a year or two next time I get it.

 892 characters

Photo of Kadonny
3.65/5  rDev -16.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 750ml foil topped bottle into a snifter glass. This one was ages maybe 2 years.

A: A jet black with a 2 finger medium brown head. Minimal glass lacing.

S: Dark roastiness and coffee with dark chocolate and dark fruit smells. Sweetness is picked up along with some alcohol.

T: The roasted malt flavor starts off. As the beer warms, more of the coffee flavors come through with a decent amount of milk chocolate moreso than the dark chocolate. Funny because I smelled the darker choc but it is sweeter on the flavor. The fruits are prunes and some cherry with some soy sauce flavor. Not as much coffee as I thought, but as I said this was aged probably close to 2 years so that could affect it. The huge caramel sweetness turns sugary at finish and lingers. No hops detected at all.

M: Full, coating, sweet and cloying after awhile.

O: A sweeter stout for sure that got sweeter on warming and I honestly found it a struggle to finish the bottle. This is highly rated but I just didn't get it personally.

I love a good Impy Stout, but this one missed the mark for me. It seemed a bit too cloying sweet with no balance of hops to keep the sweetness down. A well crafted beer for sure, just not my type of Impy Stout that I really enjoy.

 1,253 characters

Photo of jooler
3.66/5  rDev -16.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Eggshell thickness. Not really a smell to it. Initial thoughts are that it is pretty damn smooth for a stout at 12%. A hell of a lot smoother than modern times monsters park. Aside from that, it sort of has a lager taste to it. There is a faint hint of chocolate with coffee up front

 283 characters

Photo of bishopdc0
3.67/5  rDev -16%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Shared a bottle with my wife. She had brought this home on a work trip to Portland, OR.

This is a 2011

The beer is black with a thick tan head. As I drink from my goblet it leaves nice lacing despite the high abv.

the nose is subtle coffee is there but just as much as the alcohol. I was a little durprised given the age, I expect a lack of coffee but the alcohol I did not expect. Overall not bad but certainly nothing to write a beer review about.

The taste is much better than the nose. This beer was pulled from the cellar(aka basement), aprox 55 degrees, This is a perfect temp. It starts ever so slightly sweet but quicky as the name indicate becomes a mix of roast, chocolate and coffee. Unlike many in this category, well known stouts, it is less sweet and finishes dry with a lingering roastyness.

Despite the alcohol on the nose the beer is very drinkable, dangerously so. Overall if this was a beer in 4 or 6 packs at a resonable price it would be a go to, however to compare it to say old rasputin or better yet FBS, I would likly chooose those for price and taste reasons. A great beer but not outstanding

 1,124 characters

Photo of GTJayG
3.67/5  rDev -16%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Just don't find this beer to be all that the reviews here hype it to be. It's a nice stout, but it's not special. Even after some aging in the bottle there's too much of an alcohol forward taste. Not nearly as full of a mouthfeel as one would expect for a beer of this style.

 275 characters

Photo of Mar02x
3.68/5  rDev -15.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

I bought this beer at Borefst 2011, so its aged for certainly a half year now. Because I cracked it on new years eve!

A - A pitch dark brown beer, that looks pretty fluid. There is not much of a head being formed, only some very thin bubbles in a ring shape.

S - There wasn't a strong smell of coffee, chocolate and some wood, but it was there.

T - At first there is a strong coffee taste mixed with dark chocolate and than come other flavors like laurel, some black candy and hop bitterness.

M - A very soft carbonation, an almost dead beer with a coffee bitter finish. This beer does coat my mouth with a nice chocolate coffee mix though.

O - I expected a lot more from this beer. I had some pretty intense stouts lately of which I thought that they were in the same category. Unfortunately this beer doesn't even come close. I wouldn't call this an imperial stout or an American double, this is more like a good stout, nothing more.

 942 characters

Photo of wiltznucs
3.68/5  rDev -15.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Served in a CCB snifter. Smell is typical of a stout with malty goodness. Pours an inky black with no head. I don't pick up any coffee notes and a bit thin for my liking. A bad bottle perhaps? Overall, pretty good but better stouts can be had. If free forming I'd give it a 3.75. Overall quite nice...

 301 characters

Photo of biglite351
3.68/5  rDev -15.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - pours black with large thick brown head that lasts and leaves thick lacing. Almost a true foam.

S - rich deep scent. Solid chocolate and coffee.

T - complex with chocolate, coffee and malt. Mild alcohol taste with a tinge of bitterness in the after taste, but not too much.

M - solid coating tingling on front sides of the tongue. After a glass you can feel the alcohol burn in tour throat.

D - I would have one of these, it is a large bottle and high ABV, from time to time, but not every week.

 503 characters

Photo of garbercury
3.69/5  rDev -15.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Although I was told to hold out and wait until winter to drink this celebrated beer, I could not contain myself and cracked open the 750ml bottle. Thank you Vintage Wine and Beer for access to this relatively rare beer.

A--Black as tar, I mean really, really, black. You can see how thick this beer is. The head, though minimal has a deep orange hue that is pretty cool

S--To me this was excellent. You can really smell the roasted malt, coffee, and sweet tones of chocolate and even vanilla. The aroma was extremely appealling.

T--Very intense. I have heard that this beer really masks the alcohol and that is just not true. I found it to be overbearing. Deep roasted malt flavor and you can definitely get the hints of coffee and chocolate.

M--You can practically chew this one. The mouthfeel is very distinct and heavy.

D--Now maybe it was drinking it at the wrong time but can you say way overrated? I expected to have an epiphany drinking this stout and was quite frankly, disappointed. I wonder a bit if people are simply rating this beer on expectation more than what it really is. I would take a Guinness Stout or Shakespeare Stout over this any day. Certainly worth a try and not bad, but you must be crazy if you are going to tell me this is one of the top 10 beers in the world. It being ahead of some of the beers on top 100 only makes you understand how George Bush got to be President, people are crazy!

 1,436 characters

AleSmith Speedway Stout from AleSmith Brewing Company
4.37 out of 5 based on 6,725 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.