Total Score: 8.95/10
Well looks like I finally got my hands on AleSmith Speedway Stout, and this thing is monolithic at 12% ABV – I mean it’s going to be a BIG (Bearing Immense Gusto) brew. Plus as a coffee stout it has some epic competition in the likes of Founders Breakfast Stout and my recent favourite Omnipollo Selassie Stout… it almost makes you wonder “If I was a brewer would I even want to throw my hat into the coffee stout ring”? It’s like placing your head inside the lions jaw (to borrow another circus metaphor). AleSmith are no slouches though – they know how to brew a BIG one. Time to bring out my “big book of words that describe the colour black” again… obsidian? Yeah we’ve heard that one before!
Poured from a 473ml can into a Duvel tulip.
A: Presents an opaque stygian atramentous [see, I found an even more complicated word to describe obsidian!] body with a pretty decent mocha head that hangs in there like a champ (given the 12% ABV). This doesn’t look as motherf__king ominous as other American Imperial Stouts, but perhaps this is the calm before the shitstorm? 8/10.
S: Nose is quite a bouquet of rich coffee bean, chicory, charred wood, oak, dark fruits (prune/plum), and a touch of brandy… and this next statement feels very Douglas Adams-like but: what a fragrant beer this speedway is. Look it’s a damn epic aroma – there’s no escaping it – it’s a black hole of an aroma: sucking in my olfactory senses into it like a dying star. 10/10.
T: Mmmmm-f__king-tastic! Creamy AF, but we’ll get to that, all of the above: coffee bean, chicory, charred wood, oak, prune, plum, touch of brandy, yes please sir! Plus, PLUS: it doesn’t taste anything near 12% ABV (‘cept for a little warming in the aftertaste). Pure genius AleSmith! [insert a bit more hyperbole here] Now some bad points: finish is slightly more bitter than wanted/warranted, and the coffee character isn’t as prominent as in FBS or Selassie… but damn this: spot hit. 9/10.
M: Heavy bodied, reasonably viscous, not quite Founders body (but nothing I’ve found yet beats Founders body), creamy-super-dense carbonation. 9/10.
D: Was not expecting this to come close to FBS but Speedway really does manage to come close, were it not for that bitter edge and the coffee flavour being less than prominent I might have been able to crown my new favourite coffee stout – but sorry FBS still claims that title by a narrow margin. 8/10.
Food match: I feel like smoking cigars in a totally non-exclusionary club right now.