Samuel Adams Wee Heavy (Imperial Series) - Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams)

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Samuel Adams Wee Heavy (Imperial Series)Samuel Adams Wee Heavy (Imperial Series)

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685 Ratings

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Ratings: 685
Reviews: 276
rAvg: 3.67
pDev: 16.08%
Wants: 29
Gots: 34 | FT: 2
Brewed by:
Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams) visit their website
Massachusetts, United States

Style | ABV
Scotch Ale / Wee Heavy |  10.00% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: Duhast500 on 02-24-2010

No notes at this time.
View: Beers (111) | Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 685 | Reviews: 276
Reviews by ZenAgnostic:
Photo of ZenAgnostic
4.45/5  rDev +21.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

12oz bottle with no apparent date, just a batch, poured into a Duvel tulip.

Appearance - Black body. Light brown head with tons of retention and low stick.

Smell - Bread and coffee. Dark fruit. Thankfully no off or sharp scents. Some noticeable alcohol.

Taste - Slight astringent metallic finish. Other than that, it's extraordinarily smooth.

Mouthfeel - Clean. Slightly acidic. Has an understated effervescence like Westy 12.

Overall Drinkability - Absolutely fantastic. No major flaws. Sum is better than the parts.

More User Reviews:
Photo of BeerAdvocate
3.17/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Review from BeerAdvocate Magazine Issue #48 (Jan 2011):

Extremely dark mahogany color, small-sized head dissolves to an even thinner lacing. Lots of malt sweetness and a peppery alcohol. Syrup-like mouthfeel; the palate is grazed by some gritty crispness. Massive malt sweetness is almost cloying, and the hint of peat smoke nearly pushes it over the edge. Bitterness from the modest hopping can't even break through, yet there's some oily herbal flavor in the middle. Sweetness sticks even when the warming spicy alcohol hits the palate. A decent stab at the style, but the excessive sweetness throws it off balance a bit--still worth a try.

Photo of lordofthewiens
4.25/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

What a nice beer!
In a Sam Adams pint glass the beer was a dark reddish/brown color with a tan head. A bit of thin lace.
Caramel/roasted malt aroma. Sweet, smoky. Lots going on here.
Toffee taste. Smoky/peaty. Warming. Don't taste the alcohol.
This was a full-bodied beer with real depth. The flavors worked well together.
Gotta have more.

Photo of warnerry
3.08/5  rDev -16.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

A - Pours a beautiful clear deep garnet/brown with just over a finger of tan head. Head has good retention before fading to a collar. No real lacing.

S - Big caramel malt sweetness with some smoke and dark fruits.

T - Similar to smell. Very sweet up front, mostly caramel malt. Some smoke and dark fruit in the middle. Starts to dry out on the finish, with a nice earthy spiciness, but the drying is no match for the overall sweetness. Not bad tasting, but way to syrupy sweet.

M - Mouthfeel is unpleasantly syrupy. Detracts from the overall enjoyment significantly.

O - Some good things here, but the intense syrupy taste is just too much. Many better examples of the style out there.

Photo of BuckeyeSlim
3.53/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. bottle poured into a NB snifter.

A - Pours a deep red mahogany into the glass. A one-finger head of dense khaki foam disappears at a moderate rate, leaving a thin film of very tight bubbles across the top. Beer is quite opaque, but shows a clear, deep ruby red when held to a full-spectrum light.

S - Well-toasted malts, rich caramels, brown sugar, and scorched caramels from a creme brulee. Hints of smoke and bacon along with subtle dark dried fruit. As it warms in the glass, the nose really opens up toward a peaty Scotch poured over a warm cube of caramel with almost burnt bacon on a plate somewhere in the room. This went from intriguing to distracting. I like to find myself drawn to spending time with my nose in the glass enjoying how a beer smells, almost having to force myself to drink it, and I liked doing this less the more time I spent with it.

T - Dark caramels, molasses, and hints of chocolate on toasted, almost roasted malts. Really dark, dried cherries and raisins with a touch of vanilla and prunes. The alcohol is well-hidden. Floral and pine hops in the background are just enough to balance the sweetness. If tasting blind, I might find myself settling on a wee-heavy by process of elimination, but there's a bit too much fruit/sugar and not quite enough toasted/smoked malts for the style it claims.

M - Smooth, but not creamy. Just enough carbonation to define the body. Rich, almost velvety without being dense. Moderately short finish, where eventually some chocolate and alcohol linger. Nice construction.

O - I'm very surprised this clocks in at 10% ABV - there's no pop or heat at all that pushes through. Interesting take on the style, as the chocolate notes suggest more of a rich cocoa porter and the fruits suggest more of a Belgium strong ale than the wee-heavy Scotch ale that it is. In the end, the deep, rich caramels and dried, smokey fruits define the glass. This would make a good alternative for an after-dinner drink. It also reminds me of a deep, rich, dark chutney. It made a tasty nitecap, but it's definitely a small-quantity, sipping libation. Recommended to experience, especially if one thinks the best Samuel Adams can do is the Boston Lager the corner tavern recently added beside the Bud taps because everyone's asking for a craft beer these days.

Photo of Billolick
4/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle, w/o freshness/bottling date info.

Pours a rich, dark shade of glowing auburn amber, frothy medium khaki head, stays, then a thicker film, collar, with light sheeting and ample blobs and spots of lace.

Nose of caramel, toffee, smoldering peat.

Maltolicious, flavorful and complex. Waves of caramel, with a dry chocolate layer, and a smoked up/spiced up alcohol infused layer all dancing somehow together. Boozyness keeps this one from reaching upper registers of enjoyment.

Quality sipper/night capper.

Photo of Mora2000
3.88/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer pours a dark brown color with a tan head. The aroma is that of peat smoke, dark fruit and some toffee. The flavor is more complex than the aroma. I get a lot of peat smoke, cherries, grapes, plums, toffee and some alcohol. Medium mouthfeel and medium carbonation. A nicely balanced wee heavy where the alcohol is present, but not overpowering. Very drinkable.

Photo of deebo
3.53/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bought in 2011-no date on bottle

A-Color is dark brown/black with red tints, is clear with heavy tan head with some staying power that leaves some lacing as you drink.
S-Toasted/smoked malts, some burnt sugar. Ethanol is detectable.
T-Toasted/smoked malt flavor, with a little bit of hops, alcohol is detectable, but nothing more than would be expected for a 10% brew
M-Medium carbonation and body, some alcohol vapor burn, with a bit of a bitter linger after a few drinks.
D-Good for 10% ABV, could get you in a little trouble, but best for 1 or 2 given the heavy flavor.
O-Nice balance of ingredients-meets the style to a tee, goes good with the venison chop I had along with this one.

Photo of Ammertime
4.07/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: A very deep, auburn brown. Very effervescent, it foamed up exceptionally and then slowly the tiny bubbles fizzed away.

Smell: Immediately blasted with a noseful of coffee, malt, and a touch of peat. Without seeing the bottle, my nose would have easily mistaken the very fragrant aroma for a stout or a porter.

Taste: Sweet but so dark and malty with bitter accents at the same time. I don't taste an exceptional amount of booze. More complex than the average Scotch ale. A rather dry yet pleasant aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: Very sticky, but not particularly thick, probably due to the ABV and incredible carbonation.

Overall: Interesting, but I could not have pegged this as a Scotch ale/Wee Heavy in a blind taste test. It is really a very dark-tasting beer that comes off as a rather sweet coffee porter. Regardless of the expected style, I was perfectly happy to enjoy a dark beer tonight, but if stouts/porters put you off, then this is not a good choice for you.

Serving type: bottle, poured into a pint glass

Photo of jondeelee
4.2/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Sam Adams' Wee Heavy--the fourth beer in their Imperial Series--opens with a rich, malty nose reminiscent of deep earth and sugar cane fields. Scads of brown sugar are tempered in their sweetness by a rich, loamy undercurrent, and together they bring forth hints of vanilla, fig, port, and wet wood.

On the tongue, the beer begins by showing its smoky underbelly, the result of peat smoked malts, which adds a campfire smoke earthiness to the brew (think Rauchbier, but nowhere near the smokiness). This is balanced by an overly-healthy dose of sugars--brown, with darker fruit esters such as fig and raisin--toast, fresh wheat bread, and vanilla. Later in the mouthful hops make a small appearance, adding citrusy bitterness to the smoky textures. The aftertaste is mainly smoky sugars, and lingers for a long time. Mouthfeel is a silky medium, and carbonation is medium.

Overall, and admitting up front that I'm not terribly familiar with the "wee heavy" style, I think this is great beer, and a fantastic addition to what has so far been a stellar Imperial Series from Sam Adams: an immensely flavorful, daring, finely crafted brew.

Photo of MattyG85
4.23/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from 12 oz. bottle into a Sam Adams Perfect Pint glass.

Appearance: Pours a very dark brown with hints of amber and ruby red. Lots of rising bubbles and a four finger light tan head with good retention. Leaves a good amount of lacing around the glass.

Smell: Big and malty. Roasted caramel malts with hints of dark bread, chocolate, and toffee. Big smell of smoke with a good noticeable whiff of peat. Hints of oak, wood, and a good amount of brown sugar. Also some hints of licorice anise and some subtle hints of dark fruits including raisin and fig. Pretty nice.

Taste: Like the smell leads, roasty malts and smoke. Bready and roasted caramel malts with hints of chocolate and toffee. Lots of smoke with a light beef jerky like hint. Good hint of peat. Also some notes of oak chips and wood. Brown sugar and a hint of licorice. Some subtle notes of dark fig and raisins. Good taste.

Mouthfeel: Has a fairly heavy and thick feeling body. Carbonation is moderate. Creamy, chewy, and slightly syrupy. A little booze heat is felt but not too much.

Overall: A very solid Wee Heavy. Nice malts and the smoked peat elements are very good.

Photo of far333
3.65/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Dark mahogany brown and opaque with a low light brown head. Aroma of dark malt, some fruity esters and subtle peated malt.

Rich flavors of dark malt, hints of root beer, smoke and leather, subtle peat smoked malt, mild bitterness. Moderate mouthfeel, a bit watery, slight warming from the ABV, could use more body. Tasty overall, but lacking a bit i complexity and body.

Photo of StevenBilodeau
3.36/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Ok, so I had this one right out of the bottle... and it was rich, roast and the taste and smell of alcohol was pretty strong.

I like strong, but this was a little much... lacking in taste or 'good flavor' balance with the abv...

I like the roast, I like the burnt flavor...

but it's a little much.

I will drink this one again, but it won't be my first choice.

Photo of ThreeDimesDown
3.82/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a deep espresso-color with a thin beige head that dissipates to a ring. Minimal lacing.

Aromas of dark fruit, roasted malts, smoked peat (as advertised), and molasses sweetness.

Taste follows suit with flavors of currants, dried cranberries, black cherries, roasted malts, a hint of dark chocolate and an even fainter hint of pine hops at the finish.

Full mouthfeel, sticky, almost syrupy. Tiny bubble carbonation creates a nice balance. Alcohol warmth is present.

Photo of WVbeergeek
3.7/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

The whole imperial series lacks finesse but while this one is the type of bruisin' ale that is going to hit you with the alcohol and peated malts that you should expect in a Wee Heavy, in this case think the heat of a single malt with the peated malt roasted dark caramel notes found in this beer. Pours nicely into an Allagash chalice, deep ruby brown almost black if your sitting in the shade, you really have to hold this one toward the light. Flavor, first off the booze really coats the sides of my cheeks and the backend of the palate, when I'm able to cope with the booze level I come up with dark roasted malts almost coffee astringency, dark roasted peat smoked malts with hints of dark chocolate. Complex for sure even a bit of sherry tartness, full bodied a bit of heat cinges your nose hairs, but overall a complex beer to share with good friends. I'm going to hold on to a couple of these beers and wait for the pearl to form.

Photo of chinchill
3.49/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

12oz. bottle

Pour is clear but very dark brown. The tan head has rather weak retention.

Rich and strong flavor despite a nose that is only moderately strong. Some peat and char with a touch of smoke. Dark roasted malts with alcohol esters and a touch of spicy hops.
High ABV is partially hidden but fully evident on the tongue.

Feel: very full, near syrupy body with low carbonation.

O: Certainly competent but not outstanding wee heavy, but then I am not a fan of peat smoked malts as featured in this ale.

(revisited and tweaked in May 2014)

Photo of Brenden
3.55/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This Scotch ale is a dark brown-red, deep violet hues shining in the translucent body. The head is a creamy tan cap about 1/4 of a finger at its peak that leaves a foam and some spotting on the glass.
This one smells sweet, lots of caramel and nut with a touch of peat smoke and a little bit of black pepper.
Dark fruits, caramel, toffee, and brown sugar start up front and make this a very sweet beer as they never back down. There's lots of malt here, and the smokiness comes into the middle but I'd like more heft. A bit of herb and grass flash a ghost of bitterness but can't quite cut the malts.
The body is full and even thick even as a heavy carbonation tries to cut it. It leans cloying, but the crispness helps some and it isn't too syrupy.

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

12oz bottle poured into a snifter.

A: Pours a real dark copper ruby with a 1 finger dense slightly tanned head. The head sticks around for a few minutes leaving a thin covering and some lacing on the sides. Light only gets through the edges of this beer.

S: Carmely sweetness blends with dark fruits and roasted malts. Smells like a full bodied brew. Can get a hint of alcohol at the end as a whisky scotch like aroma.

T: Dark fruits come to the forefront of this beer. Reminds me of a doppelbock. Loads of malts and a strong booze presence. Lingers with a roasty malt.

M: Medium to full bodied with low carbonation. A little hot with some bite from the alcohol. Is just a touch sticky from the carmely malts.

Overall this is a pretty bold beer by Sam Adams. Takes the style by the horns and really amps up from their usual selection.

Photo of carl
3.87/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I sampled this beer in a four-pack from the refrigerated section at a local liquor store. Overall, this is quite a good beer, but I don't think it really exemplifies the style well.

Appearance: Nice but nothing special. Dark beer with a low-to moderate head. The foam is lacy and clings to the glass reasonably well.

Aroma: Here we find the beer's strong suit. The odor is complex with a strong alcohol overtone - reminiscent of whiskey. There is a faint sweet, cheese smell and an overall inviting mix of subtle scents

Taste: Again, there is a faint sweetness, but the overall flavor is roasted-ness and the hop bitterness. The hops are not overpowering, but seem slightly out of place for a style that typically is low hopped and malty. The malt load is apparent but not strong - the beer is balanced toward the hops. There are hints of chocolate and a smokey note.

Mouthfeel: The beer has moderate body, smooth with low carbonation.

Drinkability: Very easy going beer - you don't notice the alcohol and it goes down easily.

I wouldn't put this beer in any other category, but for a wee heavy I found it too tilted toward the hops. A very nice beer once you know what to expect.

Photo of nickthegun12
3.91/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

not bad beer....i've tasted better scotch ales!

appearance is dark reddish brown color...with a fading head....and not much lacing to speak of...

smells like a stronger version a sam's regular scotch ale....the smoked peat malt comes out better in this one...

the taste is a little sweet....and has an underlying smoky flavor....not bad...

the feel is a good balance with the not going on the dry side....not too much carbonation...

the drink ability is there surprisingly....has much more drink ability than the other imperial beer by sam....

Photo of mdaschaf
3.5/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to Shane for this one.

A: Pours a very dark brown, practically black color, with slight ruby colored highlights when held up to the light. Small tan colored head with minimal retention and spotty lacing.

S: The aroma is a combination of dark fruit, slight smoke, alcohol, caramel, and roasted malt.

T: A little bit of alcohol in this one with some dark fruit, roasted malt, and burnt caramel/sugar. The finish has a smoky flavor to it and a slight metallic flavor.

M: Surprisingly light, but a bit heavy on alcohol. Moderate carbonation.

O: Not bad, but not something I would probably reach for again. An interesting take on the style with the smokiness, for which I give it some props.

Photo of MrVonzipper
4.21/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Black in the glass, but a dark rootbeer color around the edges where light shows through and while poured. Nice thick foamy khaki head with medium retention and lacing.

Full flavored. Nice smokey oak, scotch notes up front. Deep rich sweetness that transitions well throughout the beer. Really well balance and a nice smooth peaty aftertaste.

Thick viscous mouthfeel, yet not too heavy. Medium carbonation that is really nice creamy/foamy.

Overall this beer is very good. One of the best of the style I've had. Great body and full flavor along with ABV.

Photo of Metalmonk
4.01/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Feels like about 6 years since I've had this style. Maybe not that long, but I was due. And it looks a beaut. Blacker than probably any other beer I've had calling itself a wee heavy, the head is a washed-out tan, or dirtied white, and it doesn't last long but my oh my, the color is promising.

Plum, fig, raisin, cherry pipe tobacco and alcohol mingle in the nose. Probably a smidgen tame, for the bigness of the beer, and then with warming probably a smidgen alcohol-dominant.

Delicious. And I think what makes it delicious is not entirely a taste thing, but a feel thing. So smooth and creamy and round without any heaviness or stickiness. And it's an appropriate textural delivery for the huge fruits here (again, fig, plum and raisin dominant); smoky cherry continues to remind of pipe tobacco; a more general/generic smoke flavor nicely sneaks in with warming; and there's a milky chocolate essence entering into the flavor that I didn't detect in the smell. The only thing that keeps this from an even higher taste rating is the alcohol, which threatens to overwhelm everything else. It never totally does, but teeters a little too close.

Quite the treat, this has a burly attitude and is a definite slow sipper, but it never quite veers out of control. Well-made, well-played. Well worth a try.

Photo of Sammy
3.78/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Very decent representation. Dark chocolate body, with a little attractive lace and head. Toffee, nutty, mildly smokey aroma. Above average mouthfeel, good drinkability for the style and a 10%. Barleywine complexity, brown sugar, and aging of a few seasons helped.

Photo of haddon
3.08/5  rDev -16.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

pours a deep mahogany, almost black with a creamy head that hangs around quite awhile. quite a bit of carbonation bubbles released on the pour. lots of lacing down the nonic.

smells are a little muted: malty notes with butterscotch, moss & earth smells, cola & brown sugar.

wow, this really is the tale of two tastes: it starts poorly with really off-putting flavors of metallic & band-aid. I seriously would consider drain pouring but it makes a comeback on the back end... dark fruits, roasted malts, bitter hops and a boozy bomb on the aftertaste (10% abv is really noticeable). if not for the amazing comeback on the end, I would give this beer an F!

feel is probably best part of beer: medium to full body with creamy and smooth finish

this beer really is an enigma! the front-end taste is really too much to overcome. too bad, because the aftertaste is pretty darn good but I wouldn't drink again.

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Samuel Adams Wee Heavy (Imperial Series) from Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams)
83 out of 100 based on 685 ratings.