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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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681 Ratings

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Ratings: 681
Reviews: 276
rAvg: 3.67
pDev: 16.08%
Wants: 28
Gots: 33 | 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.
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Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 681 | Reviews: 276
Photo of jlindros
4/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a creamy 1 finger head that fades semi slowly, with a bit of lacing, over a very dark chocolate brown color with hints of rosy light coming though.

Nose brings plenty of dark malts, tons of dark crystal, caramel, bit of roast and chocolate, a creamy like essence, light herbal earthy hops, hint of peat smoked malts, a bit of booze, some other bicuity malts, a bit of cocoa and caramelized brown sugar.

Taste starts a bit rich and heavy, creamy malts, plenty of dark malts again, a bit of chocolate and cocoa, hint of roast, some earthy charred malt flavors, a smoked malt with a bit of peat, caramelized brown sugar and caramel, a hint of earthy and light herbal hops, fairly bitter more from the malts at first, but then some bitter hops later, a slight minerality, some boozy flavors and warmth bringing a slight boozy phenolic taste. It finishes with a bit more warming booze, still slightly sweet, some cocoa, and light earthy bitter hops.

Mouth is heavier bodied, some warming booze and decent carbonation.

Overall pretty good, a decent wee heavy, and I'm glad to see a wee heavy that actually is wee heavy, not a measly 6.5% kinda thing, it does get a bit of boozy phenols, and I'm not a huge fan of the herbal hops but that goes with the style, overall pretty good.

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 JamesS
3.23/5  rDev -12%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured a nice thick copper color with a bit of initial decent head and a bit of initial decent lacing. Some nice thick malty scents, with a hint of caramel and a little toffee, but not near as much aroma as one would expect from a thick wee heavy. Decent taste, nice thickness in the malt, some caramel and toffee, just a hint of peat, a bit of nice earthy hops at the end, but overall nothing very upfront; mostly just a thick beer with quite a bit of alcohol heat. It goes down alright, but doesn't hide the 10% ABV at all. I'd drink another if given one, but there are much better Scotch/Scotch-style ales out there that aren't any more expensive.

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

Careful pour yielded a small but dense, creamy colored head that dissipated slowly. The color below is certainly dark, but slightly red in tint against light. Smell isn't very significant, just a subdued earthiness that jives well with the flavor. The taste itself is quintessential of a basic wee heavy—earthy peatiness, a bit of spice, and an overall full-bodied flavor. The mouthfeel is quite thick, between the strong flavors and high alcohol it is exactly what is expected.

Photo of Dubbledown
4.4/5  rDev +19.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a 14.9 nonic. Nice cream colored half-inch head. Color almost black with a ruby hue. Malt and strong peat smell. Big rich, silky mouth feel. Excellent evaporation in the palate, strong aftertaste of peat and caramel. Hints of dried fruits, particularly cherries. Long warm finish. A really superb example of the style and, in my experience, unique at 10 percent alcohol and the peat flavor. Highly recommended. Serving temperature 52 degrees.

Grade A Purchased at Stoney's -- $11.99 per 4-pack

Photo of 619BeerLuvr
3.82/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

at first I could not place the taste, then the scotch ale flavor came through very strong. not as strong as the other SA Imperial Series have been, but a very good, very drinkable beer. got mine (4-pack) for $10.99 at the 'Mo. a complex brew, with lots of malty and barley notes.

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

12oz bottle into a wine glass.

Appearance: Free pour yields a one and a half inch, frothy off-white head that dissipates slowly, leaving a large amount of lacing. Pours a very dark reddish brown. Leaves thin but long-lasting lacing.

Smell: Sugary, sweet, trademark American-made Scotch ale malt (my first thought was, "Yes, that smells right..."). Some cola and mild smoke underneath. Lively effervescence. As it warms, various sweet cookie / pastry aromas emerge. Not too complex, not even that well balanced, but always very enticing, and never faint.

Taste: A lot smokier than the smell. The peat-smoked malt is the star here, but it's well-restrained and works with the rest of the beer. Sadly, the malt never really reaches any of those beautiful pastry-like notes from the aroma. It's sweet, cut by great flavors of slight barbecue and smoke, with some unexpected spiciness as well... but not as malty as I want a good wee heavy to be.

This flavor is very good, and exceptionally well balanced (the finish is just dry enough, the smoke is just strong enough, etc). However, the smell promises something that I know I can get even from lesser Scotch ales like Old Chub, then the taste doesn't deliver it. If those deep, powerful malt flavors were balanced in with all the other excellent things going on, this would be a very memorable beer.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied. Very carbonated--a little too much, leaving some mild but unpleasant stings now and then. Great semi-dry finish. Sugary without being chalky or distracting.

Overall: I love the balance, the integration of peat-smoked malt, and maybe even the overall flavor, but I can't get past that I want this beer to have more (and that what I want it to have is so common among beers of this style). I'll probably even buy this again, but I imagine that I'll still think the beer isn't quite reaching its potential.

Photo of jera1350
4/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Deep darkness of a color with a thin, but creamy tan head that delivers some sticky lace.

The nose is pretty light, but what is detected is a blend of smokey peat malt and sticky sweetness with fruit notes.

Big sweetness from the malt, some deep roasted malt, smoked peat and some hot fusel alcohol to round it out. A big beer with some well integrated big flavors.

Full bodied, creamy carbonation and a sticky finish.

A nice, nice beer here. A few months of age would help mellow the alcohol and improve the overall beer in my opinion. Right now though, this is a beer that is right on for the style and a good all around beer.

Photo of Jwale73
3.88/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz. bottle served in my Maudite tulip. Pours slightly darker than cola with a creamy, half inch, khaki-colored head that dissipates in the center and disperses towards the shoulders. Head eventually settles into a thin band and some strands of lacing are evident during the tasting, but no legs. Nose suggests dark fruit and a slightly earthy character, as well as some malty sweetness. Taste is much bolder and robust than suggested by the nose - a smokey/earthy/peaty character intersperses itself in throughout the malty backbone and the dark fruit peaks through towards the front and middle. Mouthfeel is medium-light (but closer to medium), with a lively, almost prickly carbonation that lightly burns the sides of the cheeks and the back of the throat. This is a really nice wee heavy, probably my favorite from the SA Imperial series so far. I'd love to see what a couple years does for this brew.

Photo of stephens101
3.76/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A dark brown core is surrounded by ruby red hues and topped with a prolific tan head that is, in-turn, topped by big bubbles which pop to and fro as the froth slowly settles, leaving a fine sheet of lace that covers then entire glass.

Not a lot going on aroma wise. I'm getting some caramel malts and a little sugar. Creamy mouth-feel with big sweet malts, a faint oakiness, milk chocolate and a slight peaty earthiness. Fresh stream water too? Hmmm. A slight nuttiness works its way in after a bit. Alcohol is well-hidden to the point that I couldn't tell you whether this was 6% or 10% abv.

Nice and sweet without going overboard and dangerously drinkable.

Photo of perrymarcus
3.28/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

12oz bottle served in a snifter.

pours a nice chestnut tone with ruby hightlights, yields a foamy, tan head with decent retention and good lacing. nice presentation.

nose is lead by caramel malts, a discernible smokiness with a touch of peat, and some light woodiness; also a bit of a metallic note in the background.

wow, flavor is extremely assertive, really packs a smoky, malt-forward punch; the metallic element that was a secondary note in the aroma is more pronounced here. the first sip is a bit abrasive, but as the beer warms it definitely improves, with the caramel malt, peat, and woodiness opening up. still, the beer never really finds its way, and in the end winds up as a middle of the road wee heavy. definitely a good dose of booze, primarily in the finish.

mouthfeel is a strong point: medium-bodied and creamy... average carbonation.

overall i think this is an OK brew. (E for effort?) some elements about it are worthwhile while others i could do without, but ultimately it just doesn't rise to challenge some of the better scotch ales/wee heavies out there.

Photo of Thanby
3.13/5  rDev -14.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Pours super-dark mahogany with only a tinge of light through the edges. A good bit of tan head settles somewhat quickly into a thin cap with a bit of lacing.

The nose is strong on dark caramel malt and molasses, full of body, hints of black cherry and raisin, and the peat smokiness lies over everything.

The first taste is powerful, the peat dominates the experience bringing the smoke up front. There's sort of a mesquite quality to it, which is unusual but interesting. Very earthy, a bit sweet through the body and has a really meaty texture. Finishes a bit astringent and dry.

Thick and rich body, chewy, lots of potent sweetness that finishes dry and has a very boozy taste through the whole thing. It's not bad and definitely worth trying, but honestly I was expecting something more refined and complex. Some of the flavors are so overpowering that it's hard to discern much beyond them.

Photo of neophilus
3.62/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a tulip glass. The head is thick and creamy with a light tan color. The foam clings to the sides of the glass and hangs around for a while. The color is dark brown, almost black, and impenetrable to the gaze.

Sweet malt hits the nose right up front, gently offset by a hint of smoke. As it warms the aromas come out more, behind the sweetness the scents of old leather and tobacco emerge.

A rich malty taste greets me but the peat smoke soon kicks in and dominates the back of my mouth. It leaves a mildly astringent feel. The peat smoke balances the malt sweetness but in a way that leaves the taste a little flat. I go back looking for more complex malt tones but the smoke always rears its head, cutting my expedition short. The aftertaste hints at leather and tobacco again and does not leave much smoke behind.

Mouthfeel is thick and viscous - great for sipping slowly. The body of this beer makes its presence known. Small amount of bubbles greet the tongue but quickly die down and let the thick body take over.

Overall I do like this beer, but I was hoping to find more complexity in the malt. The peat smoke is both a blessing and a curse - it gives the beer a distinctive flavor and character but perhaps dulls the richer flavors of the beer. I really do enjoy the smoke as something out of the ordinary but it tends to make this beer more about its smoke flavor than its malt. Maybe if they dial back the smoke just a little bit it will let more complex flavors come through.

Highly enjoyable drinking experience regardless - this is definitely a brew to warm up a bit, pour into a goblet and then sit back and enjoy. The mouthfeel doesn't disappoint and the peat smoke is interesting enough to keep your attention for at least one beer, maybe two.

Photo of OWSLEY069
3.53/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a deep amber to brown-ish color with a tan head. In the aroma, coffee roast and a small hint of alcohol. In the taste, coffee, alcohol, and a small presence of a dry peet/ earthiness. A smooth and medium bodied mouthfeel, with a dry malt and small alcohol like aftertaste. A bit hot from alcohol, but a nice roast.

Photo of Brad007
4.08/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a dark red color with a two-finger head into my glass. Beautiful color that couldn't get any better for the style.

Sweet, smoky malt with a hint of raisin upfront. Menacing and full of alcohol heat.

Packs a wallop as it lays down the law with thick, chewy malt. At first, you think you're getting another BBC beer but towards the middle? All-out assault on the taste buds.

So strong, it makes me cough. Lingering warmth fills the stomach, leaving a good amount of raisin in its' wake. Fierce and yet, loyal to the order.

Enough of the semantics here. This is a strong, highly drinkable example of the style. Some people will poo-poo it due to the fact that it came from the hands of Jim Koch. Let them do so, for they cannot appreciate a decent attempt at this style.

You may want to stash it away for 3 months or so and try it again. It will only reveal the true character within.

Photo of Halcyondays
3.23/5  rDev -12%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12 oz. bottle,

A: Pours a deep mahogany with a firm light tan head, solid retention and lace.

S: Campfire, teriyaki sauce, and brown sugar reduction.

T: Lots of sugar and malt, not really that smoky, but there is a hint of peat on the back end which I liked. Not very balanced though, and there's still a lot of soy and teriyaki sauce.

M: Full-bodied, creaming, cloying at times, robust for sure.

O: Not a terrible effort, but doesn't have the elegance or balance of something like Traquair or Skullsplitter which are malty beers for sure, but remain immensely drinkable, and the sugar does not go over the tops.

Photo of Gmann
3.61/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a very deep brown color with a tight dense tan colored head that settles into a light cap with a wall of lacing.

The aroma is malty with a hint of a metallic twang and some wet wood. Malty for sure but nothing specific. Rather bleh for the style.

The taste has a nice roasted malt flavor, some burnt toast action. Some light caramel and wet wood round out the flavors. There is a light meatiness and a bit of a copper flavor. There is some restrained fruitiness to the malt that is found in english ales

The feel is moderate with tingly carbontion. Sits sweet and bitter on the palate, finishes sticky with some belly burn from the ABV.

A decent wee heavy but doesn't blow me away. Very solid malt presence and a touch of peat/smoke. Very malt driven needs a bit more earthy flavors to it.

Photo of prototypic
3.26/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Wee Heavy pours a very dark, mahogany brown color. Looks very dark for the style. Backlighting reveals some crimson and burgundy highlights. A tan head caps it, and rises to roughly a finger in depth. It recedes fairly quickly. A nice, sticky web of lace clung to the glass.

The nose is way too weak, and is actually below average. It does feature some sweet, caramel and toffee notes. There is a distinct smoky scent, but it isn't very strong. I'm definitely getting some alcohol, but that isn't too surprising given its 10% stature. That's about it. Definitely needs some work here.

The flavor is easily a notch or two above the nose. Initially, it's very sweet and chock full of caramel and toffee. It's very brown sugary. It does have a pretty nice peat smoke flavor. It complements the malty flavors nicely. It's a little bread-like and yeasty. There's a slightly, acidic, maybe even tangy dark fruit flavor. Tastes a little like raisin. Alcohol is definitely there in flavor. It's not quite warm, but it's not far away. Overall, this is pretty good. A little sweet for my taste, but definitely not bad.

Wee Heavy has a body that's on the lighter side of medium. Carbonation is mid-range. It's not quite smooth, but it's okay. A 12 ounce is doable, but this is a sipper due to its size and sweetness. One's enough for me.

To date, I haven't been blown away by and of the Sam Adams Imperial Series. Wee Heavy doesn't change that. Having said that, it's not bad beer. It could easily be improved with a stronger nose and less of a sweet, sugary flavor. Maybe a little less alcohol, too. It holds up pretty well otherwise. Not a bad beer, not a great beer. Fits in well with the rest of the Imperial Series.

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

12 oz bottle into boston lager glass

Pours a dark color, but when the light hits it right, I see deep red. Small head

Smoky caramel smell

Sweet dark fruit (kinda raisiny) with toffee and caramel. A tad smoky but just a tad. Nice hop character to it. I thought I'd sense the alcohol more but its nicely masked within the complexities of this flavor. Smooth malt front, spicy hop middle to a lasting malty flavorful finish. Leaves a layer on my tongue almost. Alcohol presents itself as I finish the glass. I taste the highlands.

Heavy to medium mouthfeel. Alcohol at 10.0 was smooth. Very pleasant.

Overall this is great beer. Sweet, but good. I'm going to enjoy the 4 of em.

Photo of morebeergood
3.73/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to mike d. for hooking me up with a free bottle. Poured into my Sam Adams Double Bock glass. Dark brown, almost black color. Pretty thick white head, and a great amount of lacing. Smell had a mild campfire aroma to it. I liked the flavor a lot actually. It had a thick peaty smoky flavor, along with a smooth dark chocolate flavor also. Reminded me more of a smoked beer than a wee heavy. Maybe SA went a bit overboard with that element. Mouthfeel was on the cloying side due to the sweetness, but it had an overall enjoyable body. For a 10% beer, it went down fairly smoothly. I liked it because it was a smoked scotch ale; a unique take. The bottle recommends some aging, so that would be an interesting path to take if I were to get more of this beer.

Photo of BeerBoss
4.15/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Served out of a bottle into a glass and allowed to warm slightly to room temp.

A: A nice deep dark caramel/amber color.

S: Noticably prevelent sweetness with the alcoholic content showing its way through.

T: Takes a second to stimulate the senses but a very distinct malty sweetness and a realativly smooth finish.

M: The high alcohol content can be felt but its smooth.

O: I was a little hesitant to try the Sam Adams specialty beers (as I tend to stick to the micros) but this is actually pretty good. A nice beer good for sipping but can sneak up on you very quickly.

Photo of VncentLIFE
3.83/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance - poured a dark brown color with lighter brown tones. 1 inch head that left a thin ring of foam. Little to no lacing.

Smell - Hello seriously roasted malts and alcohol! The smell is very upfront and in your face. Definitely not a bad thing. Every flavor in this beer is there in large quantities.

Taste - A somewhat smokey malt flavor comes out right away. Much more malty flavor than a doppelbock, but that's probably just the style. The alcohol doesn't come through til later in the finish.

Mouthfeel - The lightest body I can imagine for the color. I was deceived by the color once again. The aftertaste is where the alcohol taste is present.

Overall - Definitely a good beer, I like this alot more than the other Scotch Ales I've had.

Photo of JoeyBeerBelly
2.7/5  rDev -26.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

12oz bottle served in a glass beer mug.

L - dark brown color with a beige head that thinned to a ring leaving a spot or two of lacing.

S - roasted malt with a hint of fusel alcohol in the background.

T - is this a smoked beer? ufaaa!

F - medium bodied with mild carbonation.

O - I was expecting a lot more from Sam Adams.

Photo of beerguru15
4.2/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

When pouring the beer, the color is a dark brown-red color with a lingering tan head that starts out big and gradually decreases over time.

When smelling the beer, you're aware of the roasted malt flavor with a slight smokey after scent, though not as prevalent as initially expecting.

When tasting the beer, it's quite evident that this is a heartier/bolder beer that has a strong malt and smoke-like flavor that continues to build the more sips that is taken, almost giving a fuller taste at the end

the mouthfeel is very strong, and has a medium to no carbonation feel to it.

Overall this beer would be perfect for a cold day and is quite tasty. I actually like this one a little better than their other Scotch ale, which though is good, this has a little more "umfph" to it which makes it more enjoyable. Only thing I would change would be the overall smoke flavor to make it more prevalent but was happy I seeked out this beer

Photo of ZeroSignal
3.05/5  rDev -16.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12 oz bottle into a SA Perfect Pint

A- Chestnut brown pour with a half-finger's worth of light beige head. Decent retention and a loose lace.

S - Malty in the nose with a peaty smoke edge to it...similar to some Scotch that I've had.

T&M - Medium to heavier bodied, definitely heavier feeling with a pronounced smokiness. Not as much as one would find in a smoke beer, but there is a peaty, smoky undercurrent throughout the entire drink. Lot's of darker roasted and caramal malts that also lend just a hint of sweetness. The 10% ABV is relatively well hidden, but makes itself known in the finish, which is a little on the sweeter side.

O - Overall a bit different then what I was expecting. I'm not typically a fan of "smoky" traits, but I think in this beer it is appropriately leveraged against the malty, sweet nature. I was glad to have tried it, but I'm not likely to revisit. It's not bad, it's just not going to be worth 10.99 a four pack.

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Samuel Adams Wee Heavy (Imperial Series) from Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams)
83 out of 100 based on 681 ratings.