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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

977 Ratings
THE BROS
97
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 977
Reviews: 562
rAvg: 4.05
pDev: 11.85%
Wants: 77
Gots: 57 | 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.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 977 | Reviews: 562 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.58/5  rDev +13.1%
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.

Photo of Citadel82
4.3/5  rDev +6.2%
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.

Photo of stjarnflikka
4/5  rDev -1.2%
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.

Photo of BDTyre
4.68/5  rDev +15.6%
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.

Photo of TheLongBeachBum
4.25/5  rDev +4.9%
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.

Photo of allengarvin
4.34/5  rDev +7.2%
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.

Photo of clvand0
3.85/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This beer pours a brown color with a medium off white head that leaves a little lacing on the glass and sticks around for a little while. The aroma was of fruits and sweetness, dark malts, and a little alcohol. The flavor is really sweet. Lots of caramel malts and some dark fruit. Tiny bit of alcohol. Enjoyable, but a little too sweet.

Photo of oracle
3.46/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Overall, I liked this beer, but something I just can't quite put my finger on was lacking.

Beer was deep amber with dense tan head the left moderate lacing.

Taste way typical scotch ale malt, hints of plum. Strong alochol presence. Maybe I was expecting a stronger finish from a wee heavy.

I did like this ale, just not as much as some others I've had in the category

Photo of baiser
4.23/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured a dark brown body with a reddish tint. Creamy tan head and wonderful lacing.

Aroma fruits, caramel, malt sweetness, earthy tones.

Taste of rich toasted caramel, fruit, a mild bitterness in the back. Wonderful scotch ale. Well balanced, full bodied, viscous, creamy and smooth. Gonna be picking up a few more of these for less than 3 bucks each.. what a deal.

Photo of brentk56
4.02/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a auburn colored liquid with a modest off-white head that leaves drabs of lacing

Smell: Dark dried fruits, caramel and butterscotch; and a bit of earthiness

Taste: Starts out with a strong roasted malt tone that provides a backbone for some other developments; after about five seconds the caramel sweetness is overtaken by a deep smokey, peaty bitterness that lasts for a while and then fades as the sweet malts return to the front; after the swallow, as the alcohol warms up your throat, the taste just continues to linger

Mouthfeel: Medium/full bodied with just a tad of carbonation

Drinkability: Very nice; this one's a keeper.

Photo of Rastacouere
3.28/5  rDev -19%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Clear brown rum apperance. Very big beige head tops it nicely. It’s fairly mild on the nostrils, but has pretty much everything I expect from a scotch ale. It’s caramelic, butterscotchey, faintly smokey with traces of berries or melon. Leather notes on the palate, refreshing from a moderately small malt acidity. Slight vegetal oil touch. It’s well done for a beer that is mostly about caramel malt interplays. Just lighter than I expected and the thin-medium body could be fuller, especially with that rather high carbonation. Good

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

Clear dark red beer with a thin off-white head that reduced to a delicate lace after a couple of minutes. Malty sweet aroma with some ripe fruitiness apparent when the beer is agitated. Fruitiness is evident in the flavour, primarily of black cherries. The almost vinous sweetness is nicely balanced by a light hop bitterness. Light alcohol flavour and warming with a bit of a bite on the tongue. Medium/heavy body and medium/light carbonation with a smooth creamy texture.

Brown 500 mL bottle with freshness date on rear label.

Photo of Phyl21ca
3.3/5  rDev -18.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Bottle: Poured a medium brown colored beer with a small head with little retention. Aroma is comprised of strong malts and it seems like you can almost smell the bitterness in this one. Taste is unsurprisingly bitter with a touch of roasted malt. This tasted not so unlike Fullers 1845, which is no bad thing.

Photo of CAMRAhardliner
4.13/5  rDev +2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This beer looks amazing. It pours a glowing dark red with an eggshell colored rocky head that leaves gobs of lace on the glass. The aroma is of fragrant dark fruits, citrus, cumquot (really), some toasty malts and a bit of diacytl. The taste is dominated by peaty smokyness up front. In the middle some candy sweetness, plums and jammyness become apparent. The alcohol builds in the finish but doesnt overwhelm. The smokyness returns. This beer must be brewed with smoked malts. Its an interesting flavor but could have some more substantial, and complex malts, and some more hop flavor too. The mouthfeel is somewhat buttery with uneven carbonation. Overall this is a great Wee Heavy.

Photo of TerryW
2.79/5  rDev -31.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Deep mahogany red coloured beer, substantial off-white head, good lace. A handsome beer.

Grainy, malty nose, but not substantial. Very first swallow is full of sweet caramel, lots of malt. Gently dry, very slightly bitter finish.

Interesting, but overall came off as slightly too sugary to me. Passable, but not something I'd work to track down.

Edit Sept. 29/05 Revisited. Looks good, smells good, but an unpleasantly medicinal taste. I'm coming to think that Belhaven underwhelms me.

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

The color of malt syrup. This beaut's got a large, 2-fingered head. It decorates the side of the glass like lacy lingerie. You can smell the alcohol, boy. Man, I dig that malty smell! The alcohol vapors carry it around my head; I feel like I have a beer halo! Hops be damned here, this is about roasting the fruits of the earth. Sure it's sweet with malt, but the alcohol cuts the sweetness, and a little hops help to funnel this malty god down with their bittering influence. I'm left with a palate hung with dried grapes, shall I say fresh raisins. I like the spirited maltiness. It's nicely (lightly)carbonated for the style, a wee heavy afterwards--as it should be. There's a smokiness, like a dessert cigar. Earthy beer. Good for a pub session with your friends. Although I'll cut your hand off if you try to take some of the first bottle, but after that we can share. After a couple, I'll sing in public.

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

A full light tan head over clear deep brown liquid. Slight smoky nose with a malty sweet backbone. The smoky/peaty overtones carry thru on the taste along with light phenolic plastic/band aid notes and an adequate hoppiness. Finishes with a little chocolatey touch, drying slightly.

Photo of Sammy
4.18/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Hoppy-like Scotch, and full rich taste, like prune and fig and carmel and chestnut brown colour. Good Autumn beer. almost like it was on-tap I think attesting to freshness. Some peatiness.
Two and a half years later, and a new bottle is still great. One of my favourites in this style. Biscuit like medium top full mouthfeel.

Photo of Gagnonsux
3.88/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance is a deep, dark brown, almost black. Head is medium sized and light brown. This beer seems highly carbonated at first, but the bubbles die down quickly. Aroma is clean, not very strong, but consists of a mild, nutty malt smell. Taste is in the mid-range of nuttiness, maybe just a slight buttery taste. Hops are present mostly for stability. Sweetness finishes a sip nicely. This beer is quite easy to drink down and the 6.5% ABV is never apparent. I ended up giving this beer a very good score, but Belhaven Wee Heavy never quite knocked the ball out of the park.

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

It pours a deep rich caramel brown, with a sticky rocky head that lasts nicely.

Sweet caramel nose with malt and a slightly peaty/smokiness that reminds me of scotch. Sweet caramel and malt flavours, just enough bitterness to keep it in check. Alcoholic warmth, smooth creamy body, and a touch of carbonation.

This is a nice wee heavy.

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

Came in the 500ml bottle...poures an impressive dark copper with crimson highlights.Nice creamy-sticky tan cap that lasts. Lightly carbonated. Aroma is heavenly...sweet mustiness with spicey-woody tones. Mouth feel is slick with a lovely smokey toffee and fruity tastes from the sweet malts and yeasts in a complex blend with the woody, cedar/piney hops.Finish is long and evolved as the complexity drops away to a slow drying....sweet bready after taste.
A very good Scotch ale.

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

There's no such thing as Scotchtoberfest?! You used me Skinner! You used me! Why does Belhaven blitz stores with the Scottish Ale when this is so clearly superior? I like this beer because it works in three stages. The first is the nose, which is chocolatey and smokey like you would expect in a Scotch Ale, then comes the taste, which is suprisingly nutty and malty. Finally, the aftertaste where peat and smoke come back for a final hurrah. Forget about the other Belhaven bews, this is the way to go.

Photo of blitheringidiot
2.98/5  rDev -26.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Imperial 500 mL embossed body & neck labeled bottle with an artsy cool dragon on the front. Also states "Est. 1719."

Dark ruddy, ruby, mahogany yet clear filtered with scant rising bubbles under a khaki sticky slick head ring into me pilsner pint that quickly jumps up after a few swirls, finally leaving a lace coating.

Malty aromas dominate this pungent nose. Molasses and smokey doughy flavors.

Peat moss malts and dark roasted malts meet smoked salmon and hickory chips.

Feel is slightly oily, and heavy. (DUH!) This is a rough drinker to me but Wee Heavy is not a favorite style, yet being objective as possible...

Last swigs: Like the BELHAVEN Ale, not my cup 'o tea, but glad to have tried it. 6.5% sipper. Special thanks to Shapudding for having the tasting where this was offered.

Beer is good. Happy beering.

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

This poured out a dark mahogany color almost brown, with a light tan head that was slow to form but got up to a good size. Rings of lace were left around the glass as this was consumed and tiny bubbles that kept the head fed and alive for a good while. The aroma smelled of dark ripe fruits and a rich maltiness. The taste was similar as sweet dark fruits came first before a more subtle chocolate toffee malt flavor that lingered a bit in the aftertaste. There was a slight bit of hop detected but not much, there was enough their to keep the sweetness balanced nicely. Rich creamy mouthfeel with a medium-full body added greatly to the overall experience. Very drinkable stuff here as the alcohol was not detectable or too high to keep a few of these from going down. Great example of the style that I recommend to all.

Wee Heavy from Belhaven Brewery Company Ltd.
91 out of 100 based on 977 ratings.