Monday, 24 December 2012

Beer Advent Calendar Day 24- AleSmith Brewing Company Speedway Stout

Good evening all. After a nice Christmas Eve hanging around in Dartmouth and Bantham, it's now time for the final official 2012 advent calendar post. I'll probably do a post tomorrow compiling all of the beers consumed over the course of Christmas Day, but I consider this to be the true chequered flag review because the bottle came out of a cardboard door that I constructed over a month ago. It's Speedway Stout, an Imperial Stout from AleSmith Brewing Company (California, USA). I had this beer during the summer at The Craft Beer Co. and enjoyed it immensely, so hopefully it'll be as good as I remember! Thanks for coping with the daily posts for another year, and I'll be back tomorrow for the last hurrah. Review after the pics....

Speedway Stout (12.0% ABV) pours a very dark brown colour with a thick brown head that settles to a thin film over the surface of the beer. The aroma is very rich, with slightly astringent coffee, caramelised sugar, cocoa powder, lactose sugar and some dark fruits (particularly blackcurrant) lingering in the background. The coffee is immediately apparent, with that familiar biting quality that it seems to impart when present in large quantities, but the nose soon becomes accustomed to it and allows the other nuances to come through. The sweetness isn't overly intense and coalesces very well with the subtle blackcurrant, whilst the lactose sugar lessens the impact of the other aromas and creates a mocha-like sensation when the roasted aspects of the coffee become more apparent. The taste delivers everything that the aroma promised and more, with coffee, chocolate sauce, yeast extract, caramel, licorice, aniseed, burnt toast, blackcurrant and some booze residing in the background supporting everything. The fruit and coffee come along almost immediately, delivering some tartness along the sides of the mouth that seems to be amplified by the chest-warming power of the alcohol, and once this initial power has subsided there's scope for the darker/burnt flavours to come through in varying degrees. Despite not being barrel-aged, it takes on a bourbon vanilla oak quality midway through drinking, complimenting the darker flavours that are present during the finish. The mouthfeel is on the thick side and the beer is well-carbonated, which helps to offset some of the bitter dimensions during drinking. Overall, this is a great imperial stout with a pleasant amount of coffee, some well-balanced tart flavours and a decent kick of alcohol backing everything up. Not as good as the first time I had it, but still well worth trying if you're a fan of coffee stouts with more Nigel Tufnel-oriented potency.

Until next time....

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