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Wet Willy Scotch Ale - New England Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Wet Willy Scotch AleWet Willy Scotch Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

300 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 300
Reviews: 156
rAvg: 3.93
pDev: 11.2%
Wants: 50
Gots: 72 | FT: 3
Brewed by:
New England Brewing Co. visit their website
Connecticut, United States

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

Availability: Fall

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 03-01-2008

No notes at this time.
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Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 300 | Reviews: 156 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of steve8robin
3.63/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Glad to find this one at the local beer store. Heard a lot of good things about this brew. Let's give it a go. 2010 350ml bottle...

A: A murky deep ruby / bronze mix with a huge 2 inch off white head that fades at a slow pace. Very good.

S: Get some scents from here with the glass on the table. I take my tulip glass to my nose. I get some bready rye, sugary malt, and hints of booziness upfront. I get some caramel and some apple in the middle. Not much on the backend. Good.

T: I get some breadiness upfront blended with a boozy bite. Some floral caramel with a hint of apple. A little watery on the backend. Decent.

M: Medium bodied with a very nice carbonation. Clean and heavy on the finish. Good.

D: Doesn't fair as well as you would like here. The booze is not very well hidden, so ok here.

All in all, this is definitely a booze heavy brew. This is characteristic of the style, however, it is not very well hidden here. This is good to try if you like to taste the heavy booze flavors in your beer. If you like more balance, maybe not your best choice.

Photo of begforme4484
4.55/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a nice brown with amber hues, minimal off white head that receded quickly. Spotty lacing on the side of the glass.

Some nice scents hit your right away. A profound woody smell with hints of chocolate laced in. It's toasty and smokey, with a touch of vanilla. It's all over the place in a good way, but still malt-centric.

Wow, a smooth vanilla oak flavor on my first sip, very nice. A nice sweet caramel effect in there, with a clean and slightly bitter hop finish. It's smokey, woody, and sweet all rolled into one, with a slight hop finish.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied, smooth, and midly carbonated.

The drinkability is definitely a sipper, although, I can easily see myself consuming more than one.

Photo of Gambrinus1184
4/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served on-tap in a fluted pint glass at Delaney's Tap Room in New Haven, Conn.

A: Muddled, brownish amber color with a deep chilled haze and visible viscosity. A one-finger head of dense, creamy white foam formed and faded around mid-brew.

S: Nice tobacco and roasted malt aroma with whiffs of ethyl alcohol, toffee and hop resins.

T: Big, sticky sweet and powerful malt blend up front, almost like a liquor. Chewy, roasted barley, tobacco and smoked peat blend with a caramel, toffee-like sweetness followed by big doses of drying alcohol and fairly aggressive, bitter herbal hops. Finish is big, sticky sweet and a little boozy.

M: Full-bodied ale with a whole lot of alcohol heat and some very chewy, lush malts to sip on. Hearty and enjoyable.

D: A cold-weather sipper category Scotch ale for sure. The 10% ABV is big, bold and very noticeable. Has the warming sensation of a glass of scotch with the sweetness and bitter touch to endear. A good, high-ABV brew for the malthead looking to stave off the winter months a while longer.

Photo of SiepJones
4.82/5  rDev +22.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a Snifter

A: Pours a deep brown, like a glass of apple cider. There is no clarity through the beer. A half inch of head sits on top of the beer, and once it dissipates it leaves a small ring around the edges of the glass.

S: Lots of scents: Malt, Peat, Toffee, Carmel, Vanilla, Oak.

T: Oak up front with a touch of Peat. Good malt backbone with a hint of vanilla on the finish. That combination gives the taste sweet Carmel/Toffee flavor (scent also).

M: Chewy mouth with just enough carbonation, and a touch of alcohol heat. Very well balanced.

D: As far as flavor/scent/mouth goes this is an excellent, very enjoyable beer, with many characteristics of Scotch. Unfortunately the high ABV is going to keep me from drinking more than two of these. Bummer.

Photo of woosterbill
4.48/5  rDev +14%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Growler of the 2010 vintage into a Duvel tulip.

A: Pours a hazy reddish-brown body topped by a perfect inch of creamy, sticky, dense tan head. Great retention and lacing by any standard - unbelievable for an 11%+ beer (which is where this year's version wound up; last time was the 10% listed on BA). Wow.

S: Whoa, this beer is an entirely different animal fresh compared to the aged bottles I've had from the last vintage. Yeah, there's the toffee/caramel/toasty/smoky malt, as well as the rich vanilla oakiness, but there's also a huge herbal hop presence. Some alcohol is noticeable, but it's by no means the booze bomb that a beer so big and so fresh might be expected to be. Excellent.

T: Opens with oak, then moves into a richly sweet malt body, and finishes with some bitterness and booziness. Big, bold, balanced, and delicious.

M: Full-bodied and rich with smooth, mouth-filling carbonation. The effervescence does a great job combating the stickiness. Perfect.

D: It's definitely on the big, boozy side of the style, but the bitterness and carbonation make this totally, seriously dangerous. Good thing I had help with the growler, or I would have been walking home from my friends' place.

Notes: What can I say? This is a crazy, unique, and delicious brew. One malt plus one hop plus a ridiculous amount of oak chips make for a stunning experience. I'll be buying as many bottles as I can find and aging them for years to come.


Photo of erosier
4.57/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

L: Pours a nice amber-red color with red hues and a nice off white colored head that laces the glass bit on the way down.
S: Smells of sweet roasted malts, caramel aromas, a hint of smokiness and oak aromas, and a hint of toffee as well.
T: Tastes of sweet roasted malts, nice caramel and toffee flavors round out the sweetness of this beer. Nice smoky wood flavors are mixed in with the rest of the flavors and a faint vanilla flavor at the end rounds it out pretty well.
M: Very smooth, rich, warming, medium bodied, perfect amount of carbonation.
D: Extremely drinkable, didn't even realize this was so high in abv, felt and tasted like it was about half of that. Great flavors mix for a great beer.

Photo of pmlondrigan
4.07/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours reddish amber with a small loose white head. Fades to a ring and than nothing. Aroma is of butterscotch, oak and whisky. Taste is powerful. Lots of caramalized malt notes, toffee, whisky and rye notes, as well as some oak. Very toasty and slightly hot. Pretty nice thick full bodied beer that envelops your whole mouth. This beer fresh is a little hot, I expect it to get better with age.

Photo of Brez07
4.17/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Filled and drank a growler last weekend. 12oz pour in a nonic glass

A: Nice cherry red and brown mix. Not much head with the pour but a quick swirl yields a 1/2 fingers worth. Some spotted lacing

S: Starts with a smokey quality and some oak. There is a sweetness from something, but I can't quite get at it. Not fruity, but fruitlike

T: Smoke and sweet combination. Like scotch, but not as much heat. Traces of caramel, vanilla and oak

M: Medium. Light carbonation, seems appropriate though. Smokey and slightly dry finish

D: I don't drink many scotch ales, but this was delicious. Shocked to see this at 11%. Very smooth, not unlike a good scotch. Split this with a few people who all enjoyed it as much as I did. Glad I was able to try this, now to find bottles

Photo of CHADMC3
4.2/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a hazy copper to brown with walnut hues and a creamy off white head that immediately leaves a sticky lacing clinging to the glass.

The aroma immediately highlights the oak chips. There is some nice sweet malt, likely toffee, but not nearly as sweet as some other examples of the style, which I consider to be a good thing.

The flavor offers tasty oak notes and again sweet malt, and toffee but now a touch of vanilla comes forward as well. As the beer warms the flavor primarily returns to oak and malt, which may even become smoky.

Medium to thick in body with medium carbonation and a drying bite at the finish.

This is a very good Scotch Ale. Plenty of flavor and balance as nothing dominates anything else. The oak is just right as well as the sweet malt.

Photo of jimmy82063
4.3/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Picked up a growler at the brewery. Always like going there, they are good guys. Poured in to a perfect pint glass.

A) - Mild amber color a little surprised at the translucence given the style. Medium head.

S) Very sweet.

T) - Caramel and toffee, what I like about this is that it is not a total malt bomb, you can actually, taste the hops. A little alcohol burn at the end.

M) Lightly carbonated.

D) - This is where it gets scary. Rob told me that this was 11%. This is very easy to drink despite the ABV.

Scotch ales is really not my style, but this one I like. I've had some that are tough to get down but this is certainly not one of those. This should be out in bottle in a couple of weeks. A few will be headed to the cellar. Very enjoyable!

Photo of Thorpe429
3.62/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Reviewed from notes. Thanks to woosterbill for this--it's been too long, CL needs another release soon!

Pours a dark brown mahogany color with a bit of an off white head. The nose brings forward some pretty nice aromas of caramel, butterscotch, dark fruits, sweet bread, and a bit of booze. The taste brings out similar characteristics, but everything is a tad bit harsh and slightly taken over by alcohol. Good body with decent carbonation, though still a bit hot. I'm anxious to see what some age does to this.

Photo of Ashliana
4.54/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Note: This is a review of a 2-year aged bottle of Wet Willy -- my experience has been that this beer tastes much better with at least a year of age.

I have been looking for a long time for a scotch ale to replace the special place in my beer collection once held by the no-longer-imported McEwan's Scotch Ale... and now I have to say I've found something *better*. It has a depth of sweetness (but not too much), that is superior to McEwan's. The only real area I think where it loses to McEwan's is in the appearance -- could be darker and more opaque. (Of course, this comparison to McEwan's should be read with the caveat that I was a big fan of McEwan's when I was much newer to the world of craft beers and my beer-tasting pallet was far less refined, so perhaps if I had McEwan's now I would not by as positive. Regardless, this beer is an impressive example of scotch ale.)

Appearance - A cloudy brown with light lacing and a small amount of head which dissipates slowly. Could be a deeper brown and perhaps slightly better head retention.

Smell - toffee, caramel, very mild peaty smokey notes; very pleasant to inhale.

Mouthfeel - exceedingly smooth; slightly sticky and coats the tongue; lingers in the back of your throat in a pleasant way.

Taste - Caramel, cofee and toffee are predominant with floral backtaste; very very subtle notes of fruit. Has a very deep flavor profile. For a Scotch ale, it's relatively rich and complex (so not complex like a good gueze). Only negative, which is extremely mild, is that there is a slight "thinness" in the taste at the end of the sip.

Drinkabiliity - excellent; goes down easily; smooth and clean

Serving type: bottle

Note: rated to the style

Photo of kbutler1
4.1/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5


Pours an opaque rust colored red with a 1 finger head that quickly recedes to form a nice collar around the glass.

The first aroma I smell is booze followed by sweet malts and notes like caramel and butterscotch. I have to say once you get past the bourbon (?) notes it really is nice.

Now for the first taste...warm and creamy with a nice butterscotch taste. Not as alcohol harsh as I thought it might be. Pretty smooth tasting. Slight oak flavor. Medium mouthfeel.

Overall, I'd say this is a very tasty beer. A sipper for sure though!

Photo of dougofthefuture
4.12/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I have been looking forward to cracking this one for a while...

A - It took forever to cut through the fancy bottle cap wrapping. At first it poured a light amber scotch ale color. As I was watching this, a large chunk of something came out from the bottom and made the beer significantly more cloudy. Very little head.

S - Plenty of booze, But delicious scents of roasted malt and smokiness are also very obvious. It smells great.

T&M - Heavy is an understatement but I expected this. While it is a bit on the syrupy side, the big flavors match the big sweetness. Plenty of smokey roasty goodness that was apparent in the nose, and a nice BA component turns it into a great sipper. A little bit boring on the boozy finish, but still very good.

D - A sipper through and through, but I am glad to have gotten a chance to try this.

Photo of craytonic
3.53/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

consumed a couple days ago, from notes

Pour is a cloudy ruby-amber. Sticky-sweet bourbon nose, the taste is similar with butterscotch candy, brown sugar, vanilla, toffee and caramel. Body is a little sticky as well. They didn't do too much to cover up the alcohol, as it is certainly present and noticeable.

Photo of hoppymcgee
4.35/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Knifestyles for this bottle! I think this is an '09 vintage. Poured into a Cigar City snifter.

A: Reddish brown with a slick/oily look to it. Not much carbonation here, but works well with the style.

S: Boozy, candied yams, brown sugar, and some butter? They must have made this around Thanksgiving time.

T: Surprisingly not too sweet, nutty, caramelly, and just overall rich.

M: Perfect amount of carbonation, and perfect amount of dryness. By it's looks, I thought this beer would be syrupy, but I was pleasantly surprised.

D: Perfect amount of booze; age really did this beer well.

Overall, by far my favorite of this style.

Photo of Mora2000
4/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Exiled for sharing this bottle.

The beer pours a hazy orange-brown color with a white head. The aroma is very sweet toffee and not much else. The flavor is toffee and a lot of sugar. The beer is extremely sweet and doesn't have any alcohol or peet character to it like a lot of beers in this style have. Medium mouthfeel and medium carbonation.

Photo of MasterSki
4.22/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I think this was from thorpe429 - thanks! Served in a Pisgah pint glass. Pretty sure it's from 2009.

A - Pours with a half-finger of light tan foam that settles to a thin collar and some haze. Body is a murky orange-brown color that is pretty drab and unappealing. I tried to decant this one carefully, but a huge chunk of yeast just flew out of the bottle - yummy!

S - Green apples, treacle, toffee, light smoked malt, a touch of vinous character. A touch boozy, but not off-base for 10%.

T - Taste is significantly sweeter, with a tiny bit of tart apple initially before bombarding the palate with intense caramel, butterscotch, vanilla, and burnt sugars. There's some oak and tannic character in the finish.

M - Low carbonation, but not style-inappropriate. Pretty viscous, full-bodied, and chewy with a somewhat dry, tannic, residual feel. I don't get much heat, but a slight buzz picks up near the bottom of the glass revealing the high ABV.

D - This is one of those bottles where I kept it in the fridge and occasionally gave it a glance, thinking to myself "When do I actually want a 10% Scotch Ale?" However, this beer was a pleasant surprise, and I finished the bottle fairly quickly. I'd definitely have this one again.

For all those who picked up "barrel/wood" notes - this is aged on oak chips.

Photo of taylorhamrick
3.94/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Received in a trade from woosterbill.

Pours a kind of copper color, looks clear, but the last bit of the bottle drops in a cloud of haze that settles trhough. The head is loose, and maybe maxes at 1cm, dies quickly, but the beer seems well carbonated. The smell has caramel and sweet booze, but I also sense a kind of tea-like smell in there. A little wood and vanilla come to the nose as well. But you can't escape the malty sweetness of the smell. Tastes the same, sweet caramel, with just a little hint of booze. It's kind of like a whiskey and coke or something, but with a lot more on the coke end (though not quite as sweet as straight coca-cola). The wood provides a nice bit of body with a creamy feel and a taste of vanilla. The kind of leafy, tea taste comes in with a little wash in the end. The sweetness is nice, but is held in check by a slight sharpness of booze. A fairly nice tasting scotch ale, though I would like a little more complexity in the beer (well, I guess it does have a little age on it), in the form of maybe some slight smoke, or some roastiness. The carbonation is sharp and biting, not quite what I expected, but it calms down considerably about half-way through (at least at my pace). Overall, the mouthfeel is alright. Overall, an interesting beer, one that I really liked, though I'd like to know what it was like when it was released, to compare to what I had.

Photo of alcstradamus
3.82/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Reviewed from notes

Pours a deep copper with a finger of quickly dying head and no lacing. The aroma is an absolutely enormous blend of sweet caramel maltiness and booze. It actually made my stomach rumble while I was smelling it. Every bit of that 10% shows, but thats OK because the malt profile is big enough for the wee heavy title.

The flavor is also big, but not as huge as the aroma suggested. The alcohol is quite a bit lower than the aroma as well. The malt profile is sweet and earthy. Not quite as rich as I would like....I don't want to use the term "watered down" because that would not be an accurate description, but there does seem to be something missing to really give it that classic wee heavy kick.

The body is in between medium and full. Good enough, but I expect near perfection in my scotch ales. Drinkability is solid. A nice sipper in a social atmosphere, but not complex enough warrant much concentration when drinking alone.

Photo of Lazerlobe
3.81/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Picked up at the BA IST release

A: Flocculent yeast dots this primarily dark red-orange beer. I probably shouldn't have poured the entire bottle in to the glass but at 8$, there was no way I was wasting a drop. Little head formed and quickly receded.

S: Prominent sweet malt profile comes through, with some peat and ethanol permeating the nose. It just smells deeeep. Some light fruits are mixed in too.

T: Wow, what a sweet beer. It blasts off with an almost sweet red wine quality, giving way to mild smoke with drying finish. The malts are robust and linger but I'm not sure if I am enjoying the sweetness.

M: Carbonation is present but faint. For the ABV, this is a fairly light beer, lacking some of the viscosity I've had in other Scotch ales.

D: I'm OK with just this one.

Photo of jgasparine
3.84/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A- Poured from the glass with no head. Just a collar and a little diffuse haze layer. No real lacing. The body is a turbid- heavily sedimented orange-amber color, with little chunks of presumed yeast floating in it. No visible carbonation.

S- The aroma is definitely malt-forward; comprised of pale and stewed malts. Intense fruity esters on the nose that are simultaneously vinous, citrus and reminiscent of light fruits. Definite booziness on the nose. Like a glass of rum-soaked fruit. As the beer warmed, some madiera notes emerged as well.

T- HOLY F**K!! This beer is huge! The pale and stewed malts are right up front, and so concentrated that it's bordering on cloying sweetness. The fruity esters in there are akin to light fruits- even banana, which I typically wouldn't associate with Scotch ale (I normally expect dark fruit). The finish is an echo of fruity ester kissed with oak and booze. As the beer warmed, some madiera notes emerged as well. Not to style, but still tastes good.

M- A thick chewy mess textured with yeast and unattenuated sugar. A delicate carbonation. Some mild heat from the booze. Superb mouthfeel.

D- The alcohol is well hidden... but I could anticipate the fruity esters becoming overpowering past one bottle.

Photo of JohnGalt1
3.67/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12oz provided by Buckeyeboy... Thanks Jeremy for this new to me brew.

Pours fairly clear dark brown... nice highlites but no real head or lacing..

Nose is pretty traditional Wee Heavy.. very malty with some dark fruits....

Malty without verging on cloying... some caramel malts play well... dark toast.. figgy.... background peat smoke adds a layer of complexity that I don't really jive with but appreciate nonetheless... barrel essence too that seems too much and sorta distracts from the base beer.

I had a hard time with this one.... Lately I've not been in to Wee Heavies.. and even more not into barrel aged versions... this is pretty good but needs more nuance to make it into my big league.


Thanks again Jeremy.... I wish I could appreciate this one more.

Photo of jamie2dope
4.09/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I grabbed two bottles of this yesterday at the Barrel Aged Imperial Stout Trooper release at the brewery. Color is lighter than expected, ruby red with about one finger of white heading. Lots of yeast can be seen floating around as well. The nose is immediately noticeable, with big blasts of caramel, vanilla, and dark stone fruit. More of the same from the taste, with more of an essence of scotch and peat flavors coming through. All of these flavors are very bright, and in the forefront, with a bit of smoke in the aftertaste. Body is moderate to heavy. Alcohol presence is definitely there, but does not hinder the drinking experience at all, it actually adds some complexity. Although a sipper, this one is immensely drinkable and damn tasty also. The label reads, "Inspired by the mist-shrouded shores of Loch-Adam, we offer this hand-crafted Scotch Ale to you, our friends." All I can say is thanks right back for an awesome brew.

Photo of younger35
3.97/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Just received this brew from the ever generous naproxen. Scotch ales can be hit or miss but a good one is, well, good. Lovely packaging as well. Drank from my Surly nonic pint glass.

Appearance- Pours a murky dark orange with a decent enough off-white head that sits about a half finger tall. A thin cap and collar remains but unfortunately not any lacing.
Smell- Has a sort of rich sweet smell that is hella malty and somewhere between burnt sugars and butterscotch. A touch of smoke along with some dark fruits consisting of dates and/or raisins. A touch of bourbon oak and a deep woody aspect. Some vanilla creeps in as well but all in all, nice nose.
Taste- Starts with a touch of caramel but the beer isn't sweet at all. A bit of earthy peated malt and rich doughy malt make up a majority of the beer. Light oak that is very lightly woody as well, lending a bit of vanilla and bourbon. The finish is smooth and lightly toasted.
Mouthfeel- Smooth and creamy with not a lot of carbonation. Almost has a cask like feel to it.
Drinkability- Not bad, not bad at all. It's definitely a bit more complex than most Scotch Ales and the oak is a welcome addition. I think I'd really like to try more from New England Brewing but just haven't had the opportunity. Thanks much Aliza!

Wet Willy Scotch Ale from New England Brewing Co.
88 out of 100 based on 300 ratings.