Yesterday was the release of Alesmith's highly anticipated Barrel Aged version of Speedway Stout. Originally, it sounded like it would be easy enough to pick up a bottle. But as more and more people became interested, it quickly became apparent that the beer was going to be tougher to get than I had originally thought. The brewery originally said that there was going to be a 4 bottle limit per person, but a few days before the release, they bumped it down to 2 per person. After over 500 people showed up at the brewery for the release, the bottle limit became 1 per person. I was moving all day and was hoping that there would still be a few bottles left in the afternoon. Quickly, it became apparent that I had no shot at a bottle. However, the brewery had it on tap throughout the day, so I decided to drop by and hope that some was left. It was my only shot and, at #25 on the Top 100 list, I didn't want to miss this one. Fortunately for me, there was still some on tap when I got to the brewery.
Barrel Aged Speedway Stout pours a pitch black color with a slightly reddish dark brown head and good retention. The beer smelled of freshly ground coffee, raisin and dark chocolate along with a touch of bourbon. Since this beer has been aging in bourbon barrels since 2009, I expected it to smell pretty hot, but it was surprisingly restrained.
The taste certainly didn't disappoint. I picked up a lot of dark chocolate and cocoa flavor right away along with some coffee, fudge, plum and black currant. The only hint of bourbon was a slight drying on the finish and a bit of a peat taste that lingered. Overall, a fantastic beer and while I'm bummed I didn't get a bottle, I feel fortunate to have gotten to try it.
Final Grade: A
Top 100 Beers Tasted 21