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Wee Heavy - Belhaven Brewery Company Ltd.

Not Rated.
Wee HeavyWee Heavy

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

904 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 904
Reviews: 551
rAvg: 4.07
pDev: 11.79%
Wants: 66
Gots: 38 | 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:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 03-24-1998)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 904 | Reviews: 551 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by stevenseg:
Photo of stevenseg
3.8/5  rDev -6.6%

It's Christmas Eve 2010, my car is in the the shop until the 27th, and I am stuck in a freezing house with nothing but some Christmas music and a bottle of Belhaven's Wee Heavy to keep my company. This time of year I get into holiday ales. High malt, low hops, maybe some spices, and hopefully a ton of alcohol. Most holiday ales have an amber or preferably a Scottish ale base because of the inherent malty sweetness of the styles. In fact, I have a 5 gallon batch of holiday ale fermenting right now, due to be racked to secondary in a few days...another thing to keep me busy.

I knew it was going to be a long isolated holiday weekend, which is why I picked up the Wee Heavy (among others to be reviewed later). Wee Heavy is usually an ironic misnomer to describe Scottish ales that have a relatively high alcohol percentage. Belhaven's Wee Heavy comes in at 6.5% ABV, so its name is less ironic than indicative. I am expecting a lighter bodied brew with a sweet front, sweet middle, and sweet finish with explosive malt the entire way. Any notable hop flavors will kill it for me...at least with this style.

With a moderate pour, only a thin head formed, and it appears to be dissipating pretty quickly. The color is a deep transparent amber, and the body appears heavy enough for the style...not syrupy, but not thin.

I get a strong grape juice note upon sniffage. I also get a hint of metal, which is often found in mass produced lagers from Europe (Newcastle, Heineken, Carlsberg). That's not a good thing for me, but the sweet aroma is the saving grace that makes me want to take a sip.

Thankfully I am pleasantly surprised by the burst of flavor on first taste. I got a full rush of that maltiness, almost NO hops, but a huge earthy flavor at the tail end of the drink. That's a pleasant surprise indicating the malt sugars were fermented very thoroughly. I do get a little irritating twinge of tin, usually imparted by hard water or the metal fermenters used. I blame the water in the region as many beers from Northwestern Europe have that hint of metal.

This beer would benefit from being a little thicker. Heavier body would come from adding malt or other sugars like candy to increase the gravity, and subsequently the alcohol. For a Scottish ale, Belhaven's Wee Heavy has great characteristics, but if I were the Brewmaster I wouldn't feel comfortable with the Wee Heavy label. Carbonation is sufficient, and being brewed in Scotland, the carbonation profile is on the low end...just how I like it. More carbonation = more gassy, less flavor, cheap feel.

At $3.99 a pint, I wish I would have picked up a few more. Wee Heavy is not a session beer, but I could definitely put down more than one. I am not going to indulge in it, but it is definitely high quality for the area.

stevenseg, Dec 24, 2010
More User Reviews:
Photo of oberon
3.93/5  rDev -3.4%

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.

oberon, Apr 19, 2003
Photo of RoyalT
4.03/5  rDev -1%

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.

RoyalT, Nov 03, 2003
Photo of mveatch
4.5/5  rDev +10.6%

mveatch, Jan 09, 2013
Photo of Shakerman
5/5  rDev +22.9%

Shakerman, Mar 11, 2012
Photo of BeerAdvocate
4.38/5  rDev +7.6%

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+.

BeerAdvocate, Mar 24, 1998
Photo of shapudding
4.05/5  rDev -0.5%

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.

shapudding, Sep 04, 2004
Photo of merlin48
4.08/5  rDev +0.2%

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.

merlin48, May 27, 2004
Photo of Billolick
4.08/5  rDev +0.2%

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

Billolick, Oct 03, 2009
Photo of kaneel
4/5  rDev -1.7%

kaneel, Aug 06, 2012
Photo of esanchlsu
4.5/5  rDev +10.6%

esanchlsu, Jul 28, 2014
Photo of westcott
4/5  rDev -1.7%

westcott, Jul 28, 2013
Photo of brainiacd1spam
4.75/5  rDev +16.7%

brainiacd1spam, Aug 02, 2012
Photo of btmo
2.88/5  rDev -29.2%

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.

btmo, Oct 23, 2006
Photo of gingersnaps725
4.75/5  rDev +16.7%

gingersnaps725, Jan 15, 2014
Photo of dwvarner77
4.22/5  rDev +3.7%

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.

dwvarner77, Oct 05, 2005
Photo of jazzyjeff13
4.4/5  rDev +8.1%

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.

jazzyjeff13, Jul 19, 2011
Photo of chickenm
3/5  rDev -26.3%

chickenm, Nov 21, 2011
Photo of far333
3.98/5  rDev -2.2%

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.

far333, Jul 06, 2003
Photo of kpantz
3.68/5  rDev -9.6%

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.

kpantz, Jan 06, 2007
Photo of mjh0527
3.75/5  rDev -7.9%

mjh0527, Jun 24, 2013
Photo of williamjbauer
4/5  rDev -1.7%

williamjbauer, Jan 26, 2014
Photo of WVbeergeek
3.98/5  rDev -2.2%

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.

WVbeergeek, Jul 22, 2003
Photo of valkyre65
4.5/5  rDev +10.6%

valkyre65, Dec 08, 2011
Photo of OStrungT
3.88/5  rDev -4.7%

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.

OStrungT, Feb 01, 2006
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Wee Heavy from Belhaven Brewery Company Ltd.
91 out of 100 based on 904 ratings.