This is a beer I've been wanting to try for a while and when http://youtube.com/TheMasterOfHoppets gave it a 99/100 on New Year's Eve I knew I had to have it! Thankfully, Ryan aka http://youtube.com/StumpyJoeJr is able to get this easily since it's made in his hometown of San Diego and he sent me a bottle in a trade. In fact, this beer had only been in the fridge for just over 24 hours before we reviewed it.
3.9AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 16/20
There are so many imperial stouts out there now that generate buzz within the craft beer enthusiasts community it’s sometimes hard to tell which is which. More often than not, I find these beers to be good or very good instead of excellent or outstanding as their reputations would have me believe. That’s the case with AleSmith Speedway Stout - a very good imperial stout for all the right reasons. But nothing about it makes me consider it among the craft beer elite.
I split a 750ml bottle with a friend. Sent to me from StumpyJoeJr in San Diego (Thanks, Ryan!)
Appearance: Pitch black, no red or brown around the edges. Poured into a tulip glass I get a tiny bit of head, but it doesn’t last. Some spotting lacing. Beer appears very thick in the pour alone.
Smell: Not nearly as potent as you’d expect. It smells like a standard American imperial stout with noticeable roasted coffee and red wine-like aroma. Perhaps a touch of chocolate. Next to no sheer booze smell, though.
Taste: The first few sips are really amazing. It’s coffee from start to finish with a touch of baker’s chocolate in the aftertaste. Quite roasty as well, giving it a dry, bitter flavor. Bitterness lingers, but only for a short time which makes it not cloying. I was expecting more chocolate, though, as it’s more of an afterthought (than again, this isn’t a chocolate stout). Pretty tasty overall, but not quite as robust as I’d prefer. Vinous quality is perhaps a little distracting, but easily tolerable.
Mouthfeel: While this beer looked like motor oil in the pour, it was much thinner in the mouth. It didn’t quite coat the mouth the way many imperial stouts of the caliber tend to do.
Drinkability: Alcohol is virtually non-existent in the taste and feel. I can take big swigs at first, but it eventually becomes a total sipper with an intense, dry, bitter mouthfeel. I’ve had other imperial stouts that were more drinker-friendly than this, but I’d say this one is still pretty drinkable for a 12% ABV beer.
Overall, another great imperial stout, but not one I would consider among the best of the best. I’d of course love to try a vintage with a few years on it as I think it would definitely improve with age.