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Wee Heavy - Belhaven Brewery Company Ltd.

Not Rated.
Wee HeavyWee Heavy

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
91
outstanding

998 Ratings
THE BROS
97
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 998
Reviews: 567
rAvg: 4.05
pDev: 11.85%
Wants: 84
Gots: 67 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Belhaven Brewery Company Ltd. visit their website
United Kingdom (Scotland)

Style | ABV
Scotch Ale / Wee Heavy |  6.50% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 03-24-1998

No notes at this time.
View: Beers (27) | Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 998 | Reviews: 567
Reviews by LarryMyers:
More User Reviews:
Photo of oberon
3.93/5  rDev -3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured a nice auburn/brown color with creamy head,malty,sweet,alcohol smell to it.Taste was sweet and caramelly with some earthiness coming in at the end.Something to have before goin to bed on a chilly early spring night.The alcohol content will help turn the lights out for bed.

Photo of RoyalT
4.03/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance – Very dark brown body with a foaming head that I controlled at the pour.

Smell – Nice, smoked scotch aroma similar to Bowmore if you’ve ever had it. There’s also a deeply complex malt nose to this one.

Taste – This is like a strong/old ale with a hint of smoky scotch. The malt flavors are very complex. I can pick up the standard toasted-malt flavors, then there’s another more sweetened style. Lastly, there’s a slight hint of bread.

The sweet flavors are oriented towards maple, although there’s some table sugar in there as well. Overall, a very complex and enjoyable flavor.

Mouthfeel – This is a real heavy hitter. Full in the mouth and decently carbonated, this one is all about the malt. No hoppy dryness to speak of.

Drinkability – I don’t think that this style is for everyone, and in fact it’s the first that I’ve tasted. But, if you’re into big, heavy ales and are looking for something a little different than the standard grocery store fare, give this one a try. It’s inexpensive, not too alcoholic (6.5 ABV), and if you like scotch it’s fun to drink.

Update – I first rated this in 2003 so thought I’d do a re-review with an ’04 bottle. It just looks magnificent on an easy pour. It’s definitely “wee heavy” with a big belt of scotch flavor.

Photo of BeerAdvocate
4.35/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Presentation: Impressive wide 500ml brown bottle with raised lettering, "Belhaven est. 1719." Old Scottish Lion on the label, with a big dull gold "Wee Heavy."

Appearance: Dark crimson with an off-white chunky head that retains.

Smell: Earthy dark malt aroma, with wood in the back.

Taste: Rich fruit flavours, like spirit soaked raisins. A note of spicy bitterness is overtaken by a true smoked flavour that permeates the mouth entirely.

Notes: A delicious Scottish Ale with depths of flavour. Indulge and spend the $3+.

Photo of shapudding
4.06/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Great milkshakey, frothy eggshell of a head. Nice cola color with carbination rising up. Very vineous and grapey scents. Taste is dry, but yet it leaves your mouth moist. Nice and malty, bit of chocolate and coffee flavors, -nice flavoring. Carbination is medium, just right. Medium bodied. Slight chardonnay tastes. Maybe a bit more towards apple juice? Tiny bit of molasses, some darkness. Everything is so nicely blended in this one. Good drinkability here too.

Photo of BuckeyeSlim
4/5  rDev -1.2%

Nose of caramels and brown sugar with bits of toffee and butterscotch supported by moderately toasted malts and a touch of ABV. Taste is rich caramels on a foundation of toasted malts that lasts through the finish. Body is a tad on the light side for a wee heavy. Beer is a solid, classic presentation of the style.

Photo of merlin48
4.08/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

500ml bottle pours a clear, garnet mahogany body with a one finger, beige head that quickly drops into some nicely woven lace.

Aroma is malty, in the Scotch tradition, with toffee and molasses up front. A fascinating note of whiskey soaked, wooden barrels is easily picked up in the background.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied, and is awash with prickles of many of the flavors that soon arrive, in full bloom, in the taste.

Taste: Malty caramel and toffee are prominent here. A cloud of smokiness(peat?) envelopes the strong malt essence. Herbal hop bitterness is present, but in a minor role. This is a friendly, easy sipping, Scottish ale that is worthy of sitting down with for a good spell. Consider it that old, Scottish uncle that you always wanted to sit down and chat with for an evening.

Drinkability is sublime. This is a thinking man(or woman's) beer. Sip this while dressed comfortbly, curled up with a book of Robert Burns poetry, and be sure to listen to some old Gaelic music.

Photo of Billolick
4.07/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

500 Ml. broad shouldered bottle. Pours darker almond amber, darker khaki head, bits of lace. Nice malty, nutty, caramel infused nose. Rich, malty brew. Notes of plenty of caramel, sweet malts and a subtle smokyness. Sultry and delicious stuff. A solid and quite worthy example of this old school style

Photo of btmo
2.88/5  rDev -28.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

I was a little dissapointed by this beer.

The flavour was ok but it was nothing special. I like the high alcohol content, as I think this helps bring out the flavour, but really, I just didn't think it was warranted in this case.

Colour was good, but the head vanished very quickly.

Worth a try if you are a fan of the style, I suppose, but it just didn't do anything for me. It is certainly drinkable, and is certainly pleasant enough - it just doesn't ring my bells.

Photo of dwvarner77
4.25/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a deep brown with highlights of ruby and bronze with a solid frothy tan head that maintains itself for a while then falls to keep a nice eigth-inch lacing.
Nose is thick, sweet and malty, with caramel and spice.
Taste is also thick, sweet, tons of malt, some dark fruit. Slight hop finish to give balance.
Mouthfeel is full and sweet, with a hint of carbonation at the mid-back of the tongue. Very nice, a solid session brew.

Photo of pat61
4.75/5  rDev +17.3%

Rich malt aromas, fresh baked bread crust,
Brilliant dark chestnut, 2” off-white head with fine bubbles, dissipates to ¼”. Very lacy.
Palate: Rich British malt spice, a dark sugary malt flavor, no roast, whole wheat bread.
Chewy, creamy, medium low soft carbonation.

Photo of jazzyjeff13
4.38/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A 500ml clear glass bottle with a BB of Aug 2011. Appears to have been destined for the North American market.

Poured into a Sam Smith's pint glass. A deep ruby colour with low carbonation. Yields a good head of light-brown foam that lasts for a minute or two before subsiding. Aroma of rich, sweet malt with notes of caramel, toffee, dried fruit and alcohol accompanied by an underlying vinous quality.

Tastes of sweet, fruity malt. Notes of brown sugar, dried fruit, caramel/toffee and faint stewed leaves in the background. A subtle wine-like flavour is discernible. No bitterness on the finish. Mouthfeel is smooth, thick and tingly. The carbonation gives it the perfect sensation on the palate. Sweet aftertaste of malt and fruit.

Very nice - one to be enjoyed slowly. The sweetness resembles a fortified wine but with a distinct grainy character. Complex yet subtle; well worth sampling at your leisure.

Photo of far333
3.91/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Dark copper color with a beige frothy head that lingers long. Very low aroma of light malt and hop. Flavor is rich, thick sweet malt with hints of fig and raisin, also some cocoa and caramel. A bit of an alcoholic finish. No hop flavor to speak of. Lovely thick lace and rings of foam encircle the inside of the glass. Smooth and creamy mouthfeel, perhaps a bit low carbonation. Very enjoyable.

Photo of kpantz
3.68/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Executive Summary: I'm not wowed, but I did enjoy it. I have those "malty" nights, and this is a good one to have on hand on these occasions.

500ml bottle. No Discernable bottling/freshness date.

Appearance: Pours into my snifter a clear reddish copper. Khaki colored head that quickly reduces to a film. No lacing.

Smell: Nutty, toasted malts with a bit of hop aroma skimming across the top. Real chewy aroma.

Taste: Definitely malty, and I even detect a slight fruitiness to it, but it's fleeting. No hop flavor to report, though there is a bit of bitterness that lingers at the end, though even that is overtaken by another flavor coming from the malts near the end of the sip, though I'm having a hard time identifying it. Almost an aftertaste that arrives too soon.

Mouthfeel: Pretty chewy, though not as much so as the aroma hinted. Not too sticky - pretty good for a beer of this flavor profile.

Drinkability: Very easygoing and quite interesting on the palate. Moderate ABV enables you to go back to the well a couple times.

Photo of WVbeergeek
3.98/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a deep amber brown with a healthy sized tan head forming a collar of lace and with each sip leaves uneven rings of lacing very full. Slightly musty or smokey fruit tones which include pear and plum in there loads of malt sweetness nothing too much great session balance is here. Taste cream covered ripened fruit palate leaving only faint trails of bitterness hops are almost unnoticeable here. Roasted malt very nice not overbearing at all works well with all of the flavors. Mouthfeel slightly sharp carbonation leaves a coating on the tongue medium body almost milky texture. Drinkability not exactly a summer sipper more towards a winter warmer, but I could find myself enjoying this one in a big comfy chair in front of the fireplace.

Photo of OStrungT
3.85/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer pours a clear ruby red color. The head is tan. It fades fast, leaving very few laces.

This beer has a good malty aroma. I detect a nutty aroma. Caramel is present also. It has a slight woody scent to it. The aroma is a little hard to sort out.

This beer tastes sweet. It is malty. Slightly nutty. Caramel flavor is slightly present. There is not much hop flavor.

This beer goes down smooth, leaving a malty sweet aftertaste. This beer is slightly thin. It is carbonated well.

I think this beer would be a good session beer. It is not high in alcohol, so that wouldnt be a problem. Also, the flavor is not overly aggressive. I dont know how much I care for this beer. The flavor is sort of boring. It is worth a try though.

Photo of stereosforgeeks
4.1/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance - A mahogany color with a beige thick head with medium carbonation.

Smell - Major notes of barley. Minor notes of raisins and prunes.

Taste - The barley and some caramel provide the base with the raisins and prunes.

Mouthfeel - Heavy but smooth on the tongue.

Drinkability - Highly drinkable.

Photo of Shovelbum
4.1/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a healthy two finger, creamy head over a clear mahogany body. Head slowly recedes leaving bits of foam in its wake. Aromas of malt abound—currants and dark fruit. Flavor is a mixture of roasted barley, mild caramel malt, and a light sweetness. Slight hop bitterness adds balance, but little flavor. Fairly light mouthfeel per style.

Definitely a lighter wee heavy, but considering Belhaven’s antiquity, this is may be truer to style than many of the heftier wee heavies produced stateside. That being said, the malt complexity seems to suffer a bit at the lower gravity in comparison to some of the higher ABV Scottish and American wee heavies. Style issues aside, this is a tasty, and highly drinkable ale. The hop bitterness provides just enough balance to even out the malt and sweetness.

Photo of rastaman
3.36/5  rDev -17%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Quite OK. Slight caramelly aroma, slight hint of smokiness. Palate is quite sweet, but a balanced sweetness. Malty, raisiny, peaty, caramelly, a bit peppery towards the finish. Probably one of the better Scottish ales i've had (behind Traquair House Ale).

Photo of rhoadsrage
4.03/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

(Served in an American pint glass)

A- This beer has a thick creamy light tan head that looks as thick as frosting. The warm deep brown body was clear with a very gentle carbonation.

S- There was a soft caramel malt note with some slight toasted aromas and a hint of dried fruit in the finish.

T- This beer has nice flavors of dark caramel malt and a note of earthiness. The finish had some notes of prunes and plumes with a soft alcohol note. I noticed more of a smoky note in the malt that was very faint but added a nice balance to the deep malt flavors.

M- This beer has a medium mouthfeel with a creamy texture. No real alcohol heat in the mouthfeel.

D- This beer has nice dark sweet complex malt flavors and there were more, very subtle layers coming through as I drank.

Photo of pwoods
3.95/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

500ml brown bottle, purchased at Party Source, poured into a snifter.

A: Pours a nearly opaque mahogany. Decent frothy tan head with some retention. Pretty decent lacing.

S: Woody, smoking, meaty, peat-y. A bit of rum like alcohol.

T/M: Rich malts. More from the nose, pretty hefty on the smoky/meaty. An adult like sweetness.... like rum and super rich caramel. Body is nearly full with a pleasant smoothness.

D: ABV isn't too extremely high but the hefty body and full flavor makes it somewhat of a sipper. Tasty, nonetheless.

Photo of JMS1512
3.97/5  rDev -2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Sight- Deep, deep brown body. Red highlights. Pours a beige head that reduces to a small floating island the size of a poker chip. Lacing hangs dainty on one side, thick and bandy on the other side of the glass. Is my glass not “beer clean?”

Smell- Subtle toasted caramel, sugar, roasted malt. Hops are not noticeable.

Taste- Mimics the initial aroma quite closely. Great caramel-ly malt, a bit of… butter? Again, hops are Spartan. It has that stereotypical Scotch Ale taste, one I enjoy. At 6.5%, no feeling of alcohol- much appreciated, though I have sought out boozier brews.

Mouthfeel- Gently coats my tongue, a bit oily. Maybe a Medium-minus? Tiny bubbles ceaselessly rise to the surface.

Overall- A nice offering by Belhaven, one I like as much as their regular Scottish Ale.

Photo of DagFishHead
4.26/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Deep ruby-bronze pour with a lush, frothy tan head that leaves creamy lace on everything it touches. Pretty.
Smell: Warm, carmelly, and toasty mega-malt. Earthy, a little musty (in a nice way), peat/whiskey notes.
Taste: Sweet creamy malt start, middle is medium bitter, finishes with a lingering semi-dry malt sweetness and peat/earth bitterness. ABV hangs way back waiting to ambush you later.
Mouthfeel: Slightly thin, but not totally distracting. Light, tight carbonation is supportive and appropriate.
Drinkability: I usually find this style overwhelming in sweetness and alcohol. This is quite drinkable... at least until the inevitable ambush.

Photo of Melchizedek
3.85/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a nice rich clear brown with a beautifully-formed beigish head that settles slowly and clings to the sides of the glass.

Nose is great, full of dark fruit and assertive malt tempered by a bit of a vegetable aroma and smoky character. In the mouth, surprisingly light but creamy, with a noticeable but light carbonation. The flavors come out of hiding as the brew warms: plenty of malt backbone, with caramel and chocolate showing themselves, the peaty side of things coming out both in nose and mouth, and just a touch of alcohol presence. There are some subtler spice/fruit flavors, too - vanilla? apple? They blend nicely with the overall taste, but I feel that I could find something new in any given glass of this.

All in all, a nice introduction to the style for me. I'm not sure how to feel about the mouthfeel - on the one hand, the lightness of the brew makes it a good bit more drinkable than it would be otherwise, but then again I think the flavor profile would be served better by a richer texture. Still, I'd certainly come back to this one.

Photo of WonderfulSam
3.56/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer poured an attractive deep caramel or cola brown color with two fingers of coarse offwhite head, most of which dissipated relatively quickly. A small thin head persisted throughout the course of my drinking this beer, and left a single sudsy ring at every healthy “sip” that I took.

The smell was notably malty and fruity. The taste was a bit more complex, though it more or less tasted how it smelled (malty and fruity), with the addition of subtle earthy and smoky undertones that opened up in the aftertaste. Despite the overwhelming presence of malt on the palate, this beer generally did not result in a sour aftertaste that I find with so many other highly malted beers.

Great mouthfeel with moderate carbonation and a slightly syrupy, but well-balanced texture. Overall it was a very pleasant, highly enjoyable and rather easy-to-drink beer!

Photo of IntriqKen
4.2/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I think Wee Heavys or Scotch Ales are becoming a favorite of mine.
This one pours a wonderful mahagony color with a tan head that slowly melts to a sticky lacing.
Aromas are an earthy malt, carmels, and forest floor...not pine...just wood...rich and earthy.
Taste is sweet carmel malt, dark fruits such as raisins and prunes and then it finishes to a definate..VERY definate smokey flavor.
This is one very richly complex beer.
Alcohol is not prominate at all. Aftertaste is mostly carmel and lots of smoke.
Mouthfeel is creamy and finishes to a comfortable slight drying...very slight...just enough to keep the sweetness from becoming cloying.
If you like smoke in your malts, this is definately one very superb ale.
If you don't like smokey malt, don't even try this one.

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Wee Heavy from Belhaven Brewery Company Ltd.
91 out of 100 based on 998 ratings.