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Wee Heavy - Belhaven Brewery Company Ltd.

Not Rated.
Wee HeavyWee Heavy

Educational use only; do not reuse.

989 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 989
Reviews: 565
rAvg: 4.05
pDev: 11.85%
Wants: 78
Gots: 63 | 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.
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Ratings: 989 | Reviews: 565 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Winter
4.03/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A stinging, freezing November rain was coming down the other night. Seemed appropriate to break out a nice Scotch Ale. I found this a couple of weeks ago and tonight seemed like a good night to give it a try.

1.9 ounce bottle with the words "Wee Heavy" in gold lettering. Label also features a rough illustration of the red Scottish Lion on a yellow backdrop.

Pours a clear dark copper with a cream tan head. Nose consists of caramel, raisin/prune, sweet malt and carmalized sugar. The mouthfeel is medium-bodied. Moderalely sweet malty front. Flavors of dark fruit (raisin) and peat soon follow. Although the middle seems to be a little dry, that's not an overall characteristic of this scotch ale. Some hard water flavor appears throughout. Amazingly smooth. Caramel reappears again toward the back. Warming finish as it goes down, but the alcohol is not overly noticeable. Belhaven Wee Heavy is a classic. Definitely a great ale to be consumed slowy and enjoyed.

Photo of kernalklink
3.33/5  rDev -17.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The Belhaven poured an attractive dark red amber with a minimal head and a sweet burning aroma. Very malty with a sticky sweet molasses character which stayed on the tongue. Not even a hint of bitterness is present to stand up to the malt, but the spicy hints do a little in the way of balancing the flavor. Not the biggest fan of this overly malted style but there is surely a time and a place for this brew.

Photo of Bouncingsoul1682
4.17/5  rDev +3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Quiet delicious, haven't had anything bad from Belhaven as of yet. Smokey flavory and a sweetness that comes from the extra amount of barley making it quite distinct and memorable. A good medium between barlery wine and an ale.

Appearance: Brown nutty color

Smell: Nothing notable, somewhat sweet

Taste: Delicious sweet barley and hoppy flavor

Moutfeel: Medium carbonation, not full bodied

Drinkability: Good enough to enjoy as a regular

Photo of doppelmeup
4.28/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 500ml bottle into a pint glass.

Pretty deep ruby red and tan color. RIch head that slowly dissipated, leaving a slight covering on the beer.

Aromas of scotch and smoke, along with some sweet malt and a bit of alcohol.

Flavor is similar to smell. A defnite scotch flavor, layered upon a smoky backdrop. This is what I would expect from a wee-heavy. Slightly peaty. A sweet malt and a bit of alcohol finish the taste.

Mouthfeel is rich and warming. This seems to be stronger than the 6.5% listed. Relatively thick and chewy mouthfeel. Very smooth.

Overall, I think this is an excellent example of a wee-heavy. Highly recommended.

Photo of bort11
3.49/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

500 ml bottle poured into a wide mouth goblet. Mild head that was loud and quickly receded to a minimal ring. Color is a murky brown with slight red tint. A good amount of sediment. Smell is quite bold. Sweet like dried fruit. Taste is very sweet molasses or brown sugar, with caramel notes from the malt. Mouthfeel is thick and almost syrupy. A Wee Heavy is a nice treat for every once in a while

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

500mL bottle into a snifter.

Deep dark ruby red that looks almost like wine with a stone khaki colored thick fizzy head. Good retention, eventually the head settles to a thin cap with a bubbly rim. Sticky lacing.

Strong dark candy like scents. Tiny hints of alcohol present.

Dominant slightly roasted malts with a caramel tinge. Light coffee scents can be detected. Medium bodied with light carbonation. Slightly dry finish with the coffee notes lingering the most.

Not bad at all. More of a malty style, but still complex. A good beer for the sweet beer lovers. Try this one.

Photo of oelergud
4/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Very dark maple syrup color brightening to a beautiful ruby body when held up to the light. Silken tan head that falls quickly and doesn't leave much lace, low carbonation.
Soft almost buttery toffee scent and mild hops. Buttermilk-like, unassuming and inviting.
The taste closely mimic the smell. Again mild toffee maybe caramel and buttermilk. Aftertaste of faint hops but dominated by sweet malts and abit of spice.
Round mouthfeel and a little coating.
Mild and mellow all the way through. An easy-going and a very calm brew.


Photo of rodrot
3.83/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured a pretty dark red color with a 1/4 inch head that lingered in the glass. Aroma was malty, with some hints of dark fruit and smoke in the nose. Taste was malty and fruity with some flavors of plums, raisins, cherry and persimmon meshing nicely with the smoky character of the malt. Mouthfeel was light to medium bodied in the palate. Drinkability was pretty high since I am a fan of smoky flavored Scotch ales. Not a bad beer and being kind of low in alcohol could also be sessionable.

Photo of LordChesterfield
4/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer has very dark malts that vie for attention ever present hops. Smells of tangy citrusy hop oils. Remarkably crisp and clean for such a thick ale. The malt is heavy without any negative flavors to detract from it. A very good ale from the British Isles. I'm now a believer in scottish brews.

Photo of goochpunch
4.15/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours an almost still ruby plum with a thin off white head that leaces some decorative lacing. Smells of dark fruits, cherries, dried fruits, and perhaps brandy. Whiffs of diacetyl. Big chewy, malty body with lots of dried fruits and bread. Very rich and sweet. Long finish of molasses. I pick up a little smoke and that diacetyl. Mouthfeel is thick, full, and smooth. Hardly any carbonation. Very flavorfol, and therefore drinkable, but this is a thick, sweet one that takes a bit of time.

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

Penny copper toning with splashes of grenadine when held up to the light. The colour of the cream that rest on its top appears to be rusting. The confines of the glass become doused with a thick lather of suds. Everything about this beer makes it look quite fulfilling.

Scents of toffee-laced malts, light yeast spice, and fireplace smoked peet are a little drowned out by a strong sulfur note. It is a harsh, chalky mineral rich water profile and the peet malt seems the sole survivor.

The peet is soft but still somewhat smothering on the palate. There's a lot of malt and yet it is hardly sweet. The taste of caramel, although somewhat present, never really develops.

A kind of long steeped, loose leaf tea like bitterness works hand in hand with the mineral harsh water. Despite this, the mouthfeel actually turns out exceptionally creamy.

The Belhaven Wee Heavy may be to many the benchmark for Scotch Ales. I've had a few 'new world' reinterpretations (see: Kuhnhenn's A Few Schillings Too Many) that have blown their more traditional ancestors right out of the water. That said, this is a classic example of, and great introduction to, the Wee Heavy style.

Photo of jamesclark
4.42/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I was surprised to see this Belhaven offering in a local wine & cheese shop. Will it just be a stronger version of the regular Belhaven, or will it have something extra? Is 6.5% really enough to call it a Wee Heavy? Ok, first the drinking - pondering will come later..

1 pint + 9 fl oz, it doesn't all fit in my glass of choice but I don't mind. It has a nice dark brown color with a little red. There is a thick bubbly head which is shrinking, but it looks like it'll be a while before it's gone.

Now the smell, that's what I call a scottish ale: it smells like food. Fresh bread, maybe. I blame the extra malt they put in, and can ye blame em? Some other smells: raisins, something sour maybe? Some of those smells remind me of strong belgian beers, strangely enough.

It has a rich flavor - roasted malt, a little bitter chocolate, a little sweet. Somewhat later comes the hint of raisins. There is a nice clean finish. What about hops, hmm, maybe a little in the smell, maybe.

Basically, this is just what I want in a Scottish - very malt-heavy, rich, but easy to drink. Thank you, Belhaven Brewery Company, for making this bottle bigger than usual!

Photo of ultralarry2006
4/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 500 ml. bottle. Left a one finger quickly dissipating head, no retention, and no lacing. Body was garnett.

Smell - plums, raisins, slight diacetyl.

Taste - like the smell. Plums, raisins, roasted malt. No real hop presence at all. Just rich, roasted malt.

Mouthfeel - medium to thin bodied, and semi dry.

Drinkability - this is good and is sessionable.

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

The colour is clear dark brown with a tint of red. The head is finger thick, beige and compact. There is no lacing.

The medium strong smell is loaded with roasted sweet malt. There is a crisp metallic bitterness, notes of marzipan, cherry jam and weak coffee.

The taste is strong; the malt is the dominant flavour. Roasted sweet salty notes with lots of dark bread, roasted nuts and almonds, broth, dried fruits (apricots, apples, and cherries). The aftertaste got a noticeable alcoholic flavour. All the malty notes are still there but there is also a mild clean bitterness with some fruity notes.

The carbonation is medium strong with very small bubbles that almost create foam in the mouth.

A worthy representative of this robust style.

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

Serving Type: A 500 ml bottle pored into a glass

A: Nice reddish color with a good head that lasted.

S: Sweet dark fruits. Smokey hints.

T: Dark fruits, Smoke tastes as it finishes.

M: Easy on the mouth, a bit creamy.

D: Goes down easy

Note: I would drink this again, easy to drink.

Photo of llitsua
4.65/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

500mL bottle, poured into pint glass

A- Deep Mahogany, crimson (I hate using that word) when held up
to light, beige thick head with tiny bubbles

S- Smoked barley, straw, somewhat earthy, also some prune or
raisin smell

T- Wow!- this is tough- the simple answer is, “It tastes like a
DAMN good Scotch Ale,” A more dissecting evaluation of the
taste- I get some raisins, peat, barley, a finishes with a
caramel undertone, as these flavors change, there is always
some smoke flavor lingering in the background.

M- Somewhat heavy, carbonation controlled well

D- Despite being a pretty heavy beer, it went down like water- it
was that good.

I will search for this often in the future. Scotch Ales are somewhat of a newer style for me, but this is one of the best beers I’ve ever had.

Photo of MrHurmateeowish
4.07/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

The Innaugural beer of my brand new bottle opener... Quarter-inch thick light tan head with dark brown but still translucent body. Smells malty mostly, like a scotch ale or wee-heavy usually does. Tastes malty and somewhat fruitty... Like many Scotch ales, but not as overwealming like Scotch Silly or even McEwans. Very good. One of the best Scotch ales (if not the best). I’m very very impressed.

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.

3.93/5  rDev -3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I'm trying to branch out a little bit from my love of IPAs. I once loved Scotch Ales, so decided to try a "Wee Heavy."

It poured nicely and left a good sized head, but disappeared as I drank. No lace on the glass, but a rim around the beer.

The smell was very smoky with a slight hint of chocolate. As I sipped I detected a lot of smokiness, which is what I love about Scotch Ales. There was also a bit of bitterness, not from hops, but from what seems like it could be an older beer? No bottling date on the label, but the "winey" aftertaste seemed to suggest that it could be a little old.

Although I enjoyed this, I probably wouldn't buy it again. I'd rather have an O'Dell's 90 Shilling...

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 kimcgolf
2.54/5  rDev -37.3%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Poured to a dark brown with hints of ruby, and a thin off-white head with little lacing. Aroma was mostly chocolate and malt. Although I did not think this was a smoke beer, that is by far the most dominant flavor I got from this thin-bodied beer, along with a hint of choclate. Finish was mostly a watery, smoky after-taste. I was looking forward to this, but was quite disappointed.

Photo of RobertDwight
4.58/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I poured this beer into a pint glass it had a deep reddish brown color. It has a creamy white head which has really good retention and leaves laces around the glass. I detect smells and tastes of toffee, caramel, coffee, mocha, biscuits, and nuts. This beer has a very heavy malt profile, which is typical of the style. This beer has a wonderful body to it. The mouthfeel is amazing and is not too thick. Overall this is a wonderful beer, and I would buy this again many, many times.

Photo of Phatz
4.5/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pours a rich caramel bronze chestnut color that sits nobly in my snifter with a perfectly majestic creamy tan head. The beer leaves heavy sheet of lacing on the side of the glass when gently swirled.

Smell: Caramel malts, figs, dates, a hint of apple and oak are truly sensational.

Taste: This is exactly what I expect from a Scotch Ale. It is sweet thick and lightly boozy with earthy peat flavors caramel malts a splash of prune juice and an ever so light dry hop character hidden in the smoke attribute.

Mouthfeel: Perfect smooth velvet feel with adequate carbonation and ideal finish.

Drinkability: As much as I love this style it is usually cloyingly sweet or prohibitively alcoholic. This one is neither. It is one of the most drinkable of the style.

Hope this is helpful.

Photo of andythejerk
3.63/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Beautifully dark, amberish color with a thick, creamy head that seems to have no plans for going anywhere anytime soon. Smell is subtle and earthy--I expect something dry. Ooh, roasty! And malty. Very, very malty, just like a good scottish boy should. It's very slightly bitter, but rather sweet as well. It's good, easy-going, and has a warm, homey feel.

Wee Heavy from Belhaven Brewery Company Ltd.
91 out of 100 based on 989 ratings.