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Wee Heavy - Belhaven Brewery Company Ltd.

Not Rated.
Wee HeavyWee Heavy

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
91
outstanding

946 Ratings
THE BROS
98
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 946
Reviews: 557
rAvg: 4.07
pDev: 11.79%
Wants: 73
Gots: 50 | 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: 946 | Reviews: 557 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of GnomeKing
3.8/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

'Tho only 6.5% ABV, the alcohol comes through strongly in the smell and taste. This is a hearty brew, one that I can imagine craving in the depth of winter. It's not an easy-going or well-balanced beer--it hits you hard, even sucker-punches you. Still, it's good and has its place. Rich tasting, with a full, slightly creamy mouthfeel, Belhaven Wee Heavy is, indeed, heavy, at least a wee bit. Rock 'em Sock 'em robots, brother. This is a serious beer for serious drinkers. Give it a shot, especially if you're reading this when the outside thermometer is dipping low.

GnomeKing, Sep 16, 2005
Photo of hyuga
3.85/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Beautiful mahogany brew with a perfect-sized tannish head that has excellent staying power.

Big fruity aroma, lots of dried fruit; plum, raisin, and muscat grapes. Big molasses character too. Tiny bit smoky.

Smokier on the palate and not as sweet. A few dark fruits here and there. Some bitterness shows up in the middle, a bit leafy. The aroma suggested a bigger body than this... This is rather light for a Scotch ale. The flavors are very good though. I like the bitterness, but it needs to be chewy.

Very creamy mouthfeel. Great carbonation. Needs more body to round it out though.

This is a bit lacking in body for a Scotch ale. Maybe this could be a session Scotch ale? It's very tasty though. I could enjoy a few more. I think it would be better fresher though. I'll get another bottle at a different store to see if I notice any difference, and I'll re-review it then.

hyuga, Sep 16, 2005
Photo of charlottebeerguy
4.63/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Served out of a 500ml brown bottle into a chalice

This beer pours a beautiful ruby color deep, deep ruby. A 1/2 inch off white head forms and settles.

Smells of sweet malts and caramel, fruits stick out a little.

Taste is semi sweet bitter and fresh a great mouth feel and a very smooth finish. This is a beer I can see myself drinking again for sure. Great lacing on this beer. I can see a line from every sip. A great balance of everything involved.

charlottebeerguy, Aug 30, 2005
Photo of Noxious26
1.43/5  rDev -64.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 1 | feel: 2 | overall: 1

500m bottle served in a pint glass at Bushwakker's.

Dark red ruby colour and clear. Thin off-white head.

Aroma is malty and smoky, but has an off scent. Smells like old stinky army socks.

Extremely smoky flavour. A little malt at the start, then campfire smoke just invades the senses. Even the aftertaste is smoky. Where the hell is the sweetness???

Medium bodied, mildly fizzy and dry.

Ack! This is terrible! Try drinking liquid smoke like you would make sausage with... that's this beer. Overwhelming smoke flavour. I might as well be smoking. One of the worst beers I've ever tried.

Noxious26, Aug 28, 2005
Photo of BEERchitect
4.05/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A pretty good brew. I expect more out of a Scottish Ale. The off-from-clear rust colored pour gives me hope. The aromas of dark fruit, caramel, bread, and yeast jump out at me. Taste the obvious caramels, barley malt, and maple syrup; provides a very sweet base that is never rounded out with English hops. Other flavors of over-ripened fruit: prunes, figs, raisons, dates, nuts, and cherries swirl around in my mouth. Body is full and round. Alcohol (rum-like) is revealed in the finish and aftertaste. The aftertaste is also sweet and cloying; no spices or hops to balance out. Slight smokiness helps, but not enough. Sticks to your teeth a little. A quality beer, but the flavors don't meld together or balance out properly. Has a lot of flavors, but not a lot of complexity.

BEERchitect, Aug 18, 2005
Photo of karst
4.18/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a hazy garnet with quick falling head and lace. Rich sweet toffee caramel malt aroma. Mouthfeel medium light and smooth with carbonation low. Body is a bit thin. The rich malt profile is comprised of caramel malt sweetness, but a bit of dry and bitter roasted barley Hop bitterness is minimal with no hop flavor and it finishes slightly sweet with only roasted unmalted barley for bitterness. Faint peatiness becomes a little more apparent with warming, sweetness is 'just enough' to show off the complex malts.

Scotch Ales traditionally go through a long boil in the kettle for a caramelization of the wort. Compared to Scottish Ales, they are sweeter and fuller-bodied, and of course higher in alcohol, with a much more pronounced malty caramel and roasted malt flavor.

Belhaven Wee Heavy is brewed very close to Scotch ale style. Tasty with alcohol well hidden but a little wanting in body and mouthfeel.

karst, Jul 28, 2005
Photo of DogFood11
4.22/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Really Really enjoyed this fine brew from scotland.

500ml bottle or 16.9oz

has some stout characteristics, a coffe taste comes through albeit faint but enough to let you know there is some serious roasted/toasted malt. I think this beer hides the alcohol nicely. Pretty easy drinking beer. Tasted some prune/raisin/grape. Couldn't figure out which one or it could be a mix. This was a nice end of the day brew. Walk in the door crack one of these babies and let it roll.

DogFood11, Jul 23, 2005
Photo of Jacobob10
3.85/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours out very dark brown with a nice head. Good retention and lacing as well. Great aroma. Roasted malts jump out at you first followed by sweet caramel overtones. When tasted, the roasted malts come across as almost coffee-like. Some slight bitterness from the hops can be detected during the finish. Medium to full bodied, this beer was a tough drinker, but it was enjoyable nonetheless.

Jacobob10, Jul 17, 2005
Photo of cerevisiaephilus
4.33/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

I've had a hard time finding this bottle, but luckily a new store here in Bloomington, Sahara Mart, has vastly increased their beer selection. I think they're the only store in town that carries it. Lucky me.

A nice looking beer. A very deep ruby, garnet red when held to the light. Throws off some beautiful burnt orange colors and just barley translucent when sitting on the table out of direct light. A perfectly bright beer with what looks like the appropriate amount of carbonation. A very thin but persistant cap of tan foam hangs on to the top of the beer.

Definately a very nice nose on this beer. Rich and full malt dominates. It's a fairly complex nose that I'm having trouble teasing apart. Maybe a touch of smoke in there?

A very nice tasting beer, but I'm looking for a little something more full flavored from a Wee Heavy. Very nice up front malt flavors, very rich and robust with just a little less sweetness than I'd prefer, but it's still there for sure, definately sweet up front. Unfortunately, this beer finishes just a little dry for my tastes, and maybe a touch smokey. I suppose that's right for the style, don't know if it's from smoked malts or from the yeast, I think it's probably from the yeast because it's not very strong at all, but I would like a bit more sweet malty goodness to hang out under that hint of smoke. Instead, this beer is just a touch too dry and clean in the finish.

Again, apparently a very nice mouth feel in the front end, but by the finish it really seems to have thinned out. Definately just my perception though, I mean, it's the same body through and through!

A very drinkable beer for 6.5% abv. I could have several more half liters!

cerevisiaephilus, Jun 27, 2005
Photo of Vancer
3.93/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pretty good little ‘eavy, here. Nice start, deep and clear amber chestnut brown brew with foamy tan head – good lacing. Aroma of caramel and malts. Chocolate malt balanced well with the hops, not to sweet, not to sour. Rich and chewy, felt a little alcohol presence, thought it would be around 9%, but see it’s only 6.5% A satisflying brew, although a tad harsh as it warms - but this is only nitpicking.

Vancer, Jun 14, 2005
Photo of DrSend
3.58/5  rDev -12%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

My first wee heavy. Pours a nice clear, dark amber with a quickly dissipating head. Smells strongly of roasted malt, and tastes similarly burnt, slightly ashy with a bit of a bitter aftertaste. Very pleasant full, soft mouthfeel that's slightly tangy at the end. Not bad.

DrSend, Apr 26, 2005
Photo of beertastegood
4.28/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a really nice looking dark amber color with a large tan meringue-like head; very rocky and solid. Smells of dark raisins, plums and brown sugar. Aromas indicate a very malty brew. Has a slight smoke flavor, nice and spicy, which permeates throughout the entire sip. Fruity tones, sweet caramel malt and a tangy, bready finish make this a very complex beer. My first heavy scotch ale, and this was a treat indeed. Love the creamy mouthfeel.

beertastegood, Apr 14, 2005
Photo of dungaree
3.8/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours as a dark brown, nice color. Presents a thin head. Smells of roasted malts, hint of caramel. Doesn't seem to give off as much smell as other similar brews.

Tastes of roasted malt flavor, slight hops, and notes of caramel. Finishes with more hoppiness, dryness, and astringency. Very drinkable brew.

dungaree, Apr 04, 2005
Photo of mschofield
3.98/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a deep rich mahogany with red at the edges, topped with a two finger tan head, did not lace well.
Fruity, herb, alcohol aroma, floral, smoky.
Malty taste, toast, bready aftertaste, dark bread, smoky.
Medium bodied, seems very close to a doppelbock to me.

mschofield, Mar 29, 2005
Photo of dauss
4/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: exceptionally clear, very deep and rich copper color. A small light-tan color head forms even with a heavy pour. Low-moderate retention and low lacing.

Smell: Smell is something different. A light roasty malt aroma. Odd smokey peat flavor with some caramel. Alcohol can be picked out fairly easily.

Taste: Has the consistancy much like an old ale. Very low carbonation, sweet malty and peaty smokiness are in good balance. Lots of complex malt going on here, alcohol lightly detected. Not much perceivable hop flavor or bitterness, but does has a slightly acrid and astringent finish.

Mouthfeel: Very thick and full bodied. Slightly thins, but that is because of the alcohol.

Notes: Its a good strong scotch ale. I wish the astringency wasn't there. Has a lot of sweetness and maltiness.

dauss, Mar 26, 2005
Photo of Litterbean
4.7/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

One of my favorite beers, fo' shizzle!

It appears nearly brown with red highlights. A nice marshmallow-esque head forms and sticks around a while.

Bready bakery smell. Nothing but malts here.

The taste is more malty than I even remember. It's like toasted bread, with hints of smoky sweetness. Very little bitterness, but some can be detected towards the end of your sip. Goes down smooth and you can taste the smoky flavors for a while afterwards.

I love this beer. It is easy for me to put down 3 pints like they were nothing. Highly recommended.

Litterbean, Mar 25, 2005
Photo of steinlifter
4.22/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

This poured a deep reddish brown and clear, nice head that had some retention, and left lacing all the way through, aroma of toffee, was fairly complex with slick toffee flavor, well balanced hops and toasty malt,tilting more toward the malty, mouthfeel was creamy with a slight chewiness, then smooth on the finish, drinkability is exceptional, very good ale that I will have again.

steinlifter, Mar 05, 2005
Photo of lackenhauser
3.8/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Nice deep amber color with a slight trace of head. Low aroma-almost a "damp" smell to it. Nice full malty flavor. Very noticeable caramel and buttery toffee flavor. Low hop bitterness to it. A slight smokiness. Theres an undefineable flavor to this brew that I have seem to find in almost all the Scottish beers I have. Its almost a combination earthy/bread-like flavor. Either a yeast byproduct or something-really takes me back to when I lived there. Nice full body to it. A very drinkable brew-quite enjoyable.

lackenhauser, Jan 14, 2005
Photo of kegerator
4.85/5  rDev +19.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours out a deep, deep brown almost mahogany/black when held to the light with a nice 1/2 inch creamy white head. beautiful to look at.
Smell was of malt, caramel, and alcohol was noteable but all of the aromas were very background, nothing major up front so it seemed very mild.
Taste was sweet and caramel up front then a warm plum flavor comes through. The sweetness was there but not overly sweet and the plum flavor came through perfectly and a lsight warming of alcohol as you swallow. Very nice indeed. The alcohol became a little more apparent as this one warmed but still maintained itsefl very well.
Mouthfell was very smooth and delicate, nothing chewy or thick. A little on the thinner side but still very nice. Very drinkable beer.
I thouroughly enjoyed this one and would definitely buy it again. For only 2.99 you can't really beat it.

kegerator, Jan 03, 2005
Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.58/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Ruddy dark bronze with orange peel accents. With sunlight behind the glass, the jewel tones are accentuated and sparkle with an unearthly iridescence. This is beautiful beer! The fawn colored cap is impressively creamy and continues to look great as it melts, leaving chunky shards of lace all over the upper reaches of the glass.

The nose is richly malty and is bursting with personality and complexity. It's sweet and spicy with notes of dark butterscotch, bruised dark fruit and peat smoke. A classic nose and one of the best that I've run across.

A few sips are all it takes to tell me that this is outstanding beer. There's so much complexity that I can't hope to describe the flavor profile accurately. In short, my description of the nose applies on the palate as well. All elements are combined with the utmost precision, like an intricate Swiss watch. Calling this beer delicious seems inadequate somehow. Great is more like it.

Peat becomes more apparent with warming, something that, as a lover of Scotch whisky, is a definite plus. It's amazing how the level of malty sweetness is absolutely perfect; it doesn't cross the line into cloying and doesn't negatively impact drinkability. My only minor complaint is that the mouthfeel could be more substantial. There's nothing at all wrong with being on the lighter end of the wee heavy spectrum, but I'd like a little more chewiness to go along with the outstanding flavor.

Belhaven Wee Heavy is a true classic. I'd even go so far as to call it a standard bearer for the style. If you have any interest whatsoever in Scotch Ales, start here.

BuckeyeNation, Dec 28, 2004
Photo of Citadel82
4.33/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This is a great beer, pours a dark reddish brown with a generous off-white head that does not really last but sttles to a thin layer with minimal lacing.

Smell of molasses and burnt carmel, smoky. Malt and toffee and a hint of fruit ...dates?

Taste is coffee with chicory, malt, charcoal. Very Rich!

Mouthfeel is thick with lots of carbonation.

Very drinkable brew. Among the best.

Citadel82, Dec 23, 2004
Photo of stjarnflikka
4/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark, reddish beer thats slighly hazy. There is a thick brown foam and just a light carbonation.

Smell is clearly sweet and malty, really malty. There are traces of citrus and alcohol in there as well.

Taste is malty and bitter, very rich and complex. There are clear traces of milk-chocolate, a small fruityness and some yeasty traces.

A very good beer, a very bitter beer. Top-notch in its class, sadly not my favourite style.

stjarnflikka, Dec 01, 2004
Photo of BDTyre
4.72/5  rDev +16%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

One of my favourite beers to date. I'm big on the "heavy" beers and Wee Heavy is certainly that. Not for the uninitiated. Ranks high above McEwan's Scotch Ale in my opinion; too bad my liquor board has decided to stop stocking it (I have one bottle left).

Pours a deep copper colour, and in my nonic glass, gives a good two fingers of slightly off-white head that dissipates reasonably quick but leaves a good lace.

Smell...malty. I don't drink Scotch and probably never will, but this smell makes me think Scotch. It also reminds me of my younger days when my father brewed his own beer...the smell of malts and hops cooking in the kitchen. Molasses comes to mind; molasses and malts. Hard to describe.

The taste follows from the smell. Very malty, a bit "wee heavy." Much more complex than McEwans. Taste wise, probably a winter beer, but I'd drink it year round.

Good mouthfeel. Thick, but not too thick. Maybe a bit on the heavy side if you're tasting it for the first time. I could easily drink two or three or four of these.

As I said before, one of my favourites. I may have to special order a case.

BDTyre, Dec 01, 2004
Photo of TheLongBeachBum
4.28/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Presentation: 500ml sturdy brown glass bottle that has raised quadra-placed embossed lettering on the bottles shoulder “Belhaven Est. 1719”. Neck label is a dark red with a gold border, as indeed is the main label. Labeled as Belhaven Wee Heavy, which would normally equate to a 90/- [Shilling] Ale.

Appearance: Supremely clear yet well-carbonated dark woody chestnut body filled with streamers. Creamy off-white head looks great in my small snifter. Good levels of carbonation and

Nose: Smoked, toasted malts. Dark fruits. Light whiff of plums and some damp woody character mixed with freshly turned soil.

Taste: Dark fruits and malts which are smoky in nature. Peat laden center has an earthy feel and negligible bitterness. Not that sweet but the sugars are there and detectable. Toasted malts in the finish, some fresh whole meal bread dough as the beer swallows. Lingering malty feel throughout. Tasty brew.

Mouthfeel: Very smooth conditioning throughout helps this Wee Heavy immensely. A real velvety feel on the tongue mixed with solid dark fruits and malts. Bold for only a 6.5% Wee Heavy. No warming effect though.

Drinkability: Easily sipped, it’s quite a good general drinking brew as well; perfectly smooth mouthfeel really makes this one hard to put down at times.

Overall: I have been extremely lucky to sample a full range of Scottish Ales on Cask from several Scottish Breweries. Most notably the 60/-, 70/-, 80/- and 90/- Ales from the former Maclay’s, Belhaven and even Caledonian Breweries. Sadly, it seems to be a thing of the past now with the 60/- and 90/- being readily dropped in Cask format. I guess that the higher gravity ‘Wee Heavy’ is the bottled remnants of Belhaven’s 90/-. Surprisingly this does live up to its older Cask counterpart from memory though it is not as ‘complex’ as I recall. I find it terribly sad that there are no more Scottish Breweries that offer the full range of Scottish Ales on Cask anymore. OK, call me a sentimentalist, but I guess the bottled remnants of this “90/-” are better than nothing, as damn good as it is.

A superb brew that really does need to be re-borne on Cask sooner rather than later, even if it was just once a year for Xmas, now there’s an idea! With the loss of Maclay’s, and as Scotland’s Oldest surviving independent Brewery, Belhaven have a duty to do so I feel.

Worth the minimal investment [$2.99] in the Bottle – well worth the trouble on Cask.

TheLongBeachBum, Nov 28, 2004
Photo of allengarvin
4.35/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Pint bottle, in English nonik glass.

Appearance: Deep reddish mahogany. Slight head, little lacing.

Aroma: Toasty, biscuit-like malt aroma. Little bit of smoke, too.

Flavor/Body: Very malty, earthy caramel flavors. Sweetness is balanced by a combination of low bitterness and restrained peaty smokiness. Alcohol taste is lightly present. Finish is smoky. Low carbonation and medium body give a smaller mouthfeel than some examples of the style.

A very fine beer, peaty but not overwhelmingly so. Nicely balanced but with vivid, bold flavors. Is this beer sold in Scotland? None of the Belhaven's I've tried there had a significant element of smoke.

allengarvin, Nov 16, 2004
Wee Heavy from Belhaven Brewery Company Ltd.
91 out of 100 based on 946 ratings.