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AleSmith Wee Heavy - AleSmith Brewing Company

Not Rated.
AleSmith Wee HeavyAleSmith Wee Heavy

Educational use only; do not reuse.

439 Reviews

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Reviews: 439
Hads: 1,052
Avg: 4.18
pDev: 9.57%
Wants: 198
Gots: 220 | FT: 17
Brewed by:
AleSmith Brewing Company visit their website
California, United States

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

Availability: Winter

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: Jason on 04-19-2002

No notes at this time.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 439 | Hads: 1,052
Photo of spoonhawk
5/5  rDev +19.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

The beer is a dark brown with deep mahogany highlights around the edges when held up to the light. The body this on the lighter side of heavy, but the feel is full and slick.

The smell is a mix of dark fruit, brown sugar, a hint of yeast, and alcohol.

The flavor opens up big with a baseline of dates and figs mixed with caramel. Hints of cocoa come through mid-sip as the alcohol enters the mix, which gives the underlying flavor something of a brandy-like quality. As the alcohol continues to push at the close, the cocoa fades and earthy hops come through.

The lasting flavor mixes dark candied fruit balanced by alcohol and light herbal and spicy hops.

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Photo of drgonzo3705
5/5  rDev +19.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A: Very deep rust color with a small head but still manages to leave some nice lacing.

S: Sweet malt, caramel, dark fruits figs or raisins perhaps.

T: Still decently hoppy (Im pretty sure this is a bottle from the '07-'08 season). A nice wave of caramel and malt wash over your tongue, very appealing.

M: Medium to full bodied with a very nice creaminess to go along with it.

D: Originally I was only going to give this a 4 but after getting farther into the bottle I definitely could put away 2 of these bad boys in a night, even 3 if the mood is right!

Overall I think this is a great example of the style. Yet another great brew from Alesmith! This really makes me want to seek out the Barrel Aged version.

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Photo of Sycodrummer
4.92/5  rDev +17.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Silver Foil adorns the green 750ml capped green bottle. Poured at just above room temperature into a thistle the beer was a dark mohoganny brown with a creamy tan head that retained very well and left considerable lacing. No other outright signs of carbonation, very still.

The nose is very "heavy" loaded with sweet malt aroma and alcohol. Lots of a sweet caramel molasses coming through with brown sugar and slightly smoked woodchip smell.

The taste has a robust malt backbone with no hop character or bitterness (as expected). Pronounced carmel and brown sugar flavors with a sticky, slightly syrupy rum & molasses type flavors. Alcohol flavors are also dominant and very apparent the warmer the beer gets. The taste get a little smokey as the beer warms and this seems to compliment the malt character nicely. The beer almost assumes a slight whiskey flavor as the sample progresses.

A huge dense chewy mouthfeel with rather little carbonation. A very smooth almost creamy beer that molds nicely with the sweetness of the malt.

A very enjoyable winter/cold weather beer. So incredibly smooth and easy to drink. Heavy on the palate but not overly so. Subtle warming character and a nice bready malt base make this one excellent scotch ale.

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Photo of Hopdaemon39
4.91/5  rDev +17.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured from a capped bomber into an Alesmith tulip (picked these up at the brewery when I was there three months ago)- pours a dark brown/charcoal color with 1.5 fingers of beige head, modest retention, and nice even rings of lacing.

Nose is lovely- rich malts, dark, dried fruit notes, some smokiness. The smoke reminds me slightly of peat smoke, not the usual campfire stuff.

Taste is consistent with the nose but more fleshed out. I get some coffee and bitterness up front, followed by a plum/pomegranate flavor, then some floral hop notes and the smokiness to finish.

Mouthfeel is rich, smooth, but not too heavy. Medium full bodied with moderate to full carbonation. I'm no expert with Scotch ales, but I can't really imagine it getting any better than this. I had it on tap at the brewery, but I like it better aged three months out of a bottle. Definitely get more of the smokiness. Paired this with some sheep's cheese and they go very well together- also have a mini bread pudding as well.

Update: I got Basque Sheep's cheese but I think that a stronger sheep's cheese would go better with this.

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Photo of Goban
4.89/5  rDev +17%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A sweet roasted malty nose with a slight nutty undertone. It pours a dark brown with a wee khaki head that quickly dissipates into a fine ring.

A full and sweet foretaste is finished with a slight hoppy ester driven taste that you would hate to lose. Drinkability is astounding and I wish I would have bought more.

Yet again AleSmith has impressed me with a fine crafted brew. B-Z!

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Photo of BillRoth
4.88/5  rDev +16.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I've been drinking Alesmith Wee Heavy over quite a few years, and had forgotten it as I tried so many beers... from so many places.
Earlier this year I was at the Alesmith brewery and was looking to enjoy Speedway and some other seasonal/special release beers. All were very good (very good!) as I would have hoped.
But I was surprised how awesome the Wee Heavy was. It rrally stood apart from the other tastings. So I picked up a bottle and let it cellar for 9 months...probably should have waited longer.
It was an exceptionally good beer. Poured into my old Flanders Street imperial pint glass. It poured deep and dark; rich with malt. The head was rich and creamy and settled at a level finger like a well rounded cask poured pint. The aroma was welcoming...rich in roasted malt sugars, rich fruit, light kelp and peat. Flavor mirrored nose but sparkled with hints of dried fruit, caramel and a touch of plums...??whisky too.
Mouth was rich and well rounded, full bodied and yet light on the tongue. Wonderful!
This is a special beer. I love Wee Heavys, but this is like a luxury sedan compared to very nice standard vehicles.Seek it out. Be patient, wait a year...and enjoy. You'll probably wish you could open a second immediately.

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Photo of BrewMaster
4.85/5  rDev +16%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

2001 750 ml bottle opened 10/6/04. The beer was capped with an unlabeled gold colored cap, no cork. The back of the bottle has good instructions on cellaring, storage, and serving the beer. The beer pours a rich and dark brownish red color. It looks like a darkly stained piece of antique furniture. A light head develops on pouring and a nice covering of tan lacy bubbles swirls atop the dark brew once the head settles down in 30 seconds or so.

The aroma is roasty with caramel and what seems like a sour scent, though I'm didn't know I could smell sourness. The aroma balances out a bit once the beer has a few minutes to breath fresh air. At first is was a bit off-putting, but once it came together is was a nice smelling brew.

The flavor is exceptional. Lots of caramel, grape molasses, and malt flavors lingers in the mouth. A tangy roastiness is also present. There doesn't seem to be any noticable contribution from hops. A light note of earthiness finishes the flavor. A nice wheat bread and oat flavor coats the mouthfor the aftertaste.

This beer is nothing less than fantastic. I am enjoying an entire bottle myself and loving every sip of it.

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Photo of ppoitras
4.82/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

750ml bottle obtained via trade with kmpitz2. Thanks for the opportunity... Capped and foiled.

Poured into an imperial pint glass, formed a wee 1/4" tan head over the dark reddish mahogany brew. Head fades rather quickly to a layer of bubbles, but there wasn't much to begin with, and for the style, that's not particularly shocking, and lacing was good. Aroma is sweet dark malts, with bits of dark fruits and alcohol popping up here and there. Taste is exquisite dark grain sweetness, with a tinge of fruit, and a long warming down the gullet. Mouthfeel and drinkability are stunners for the style. This is one to search out and enjoy, especially after a long day of cleaning up snow.

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Photo of mzwolinski
4.82/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2001 Vintage. Alesmith knows how to make a good first impression. The bottle is *substantial* looking, with an elegant design and foil wrapped top. The beer itself is attractive, too -- deep ruby in color with a mdoerately sized, light tan head. Great lace down the glass. Aroma is smoky, with lots of deep prune-like fruit on a malty sweet base. Quite lovely. The taste is hearty, with a light smokiness, dark fruit (prune, fig) flavors mid-palate, and a moderately bitter hop finish. Formidable in body, and nicely warming. Definitely a terrific beer for winter drinking!

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Photo of 4thmedbn
4.8/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Bottle at cellar temp in a tulip courtesy of Andrewinski1.

A - Just shy of black. The only indication that it's not black comes in the form of the deepest, most rich, dark ruby where the light manages to pierce the void.

S - Really nice notes of chocolate, and dark fruits. Think cherry and vinous character. The nose isn't as big as you might expect form a beer of this ABV, but I always respect when a brewer can be subtle .

T - Again, it's a delicate flavor profile, considering the style. Most examples of the Wee Heavy that I've come across are cloying, and crazily malt dominant. And while I do like some big malt character, again, I respect the restraint. Toffee, caramel, slight bit of vanilla, and definitely some chocolate. A little warming, but it's not hot by any means. This bottle has a year on it, so I can't speak for fresh examples, but it's nice and mellow. Finishes with a lot of toffee, raisins, and figs. It's delicate, but still boozy and rich.

M - Full mouthfeel, very smooth. Very low carbonation level. Once again, a big beer that shows a lot of artistry in its execution. This beer isn't chewy, seems fairly well attenuated, without seeming lean.

O - Really impressed with this beer. Love a beer that can be subtle and big at the same time. Reminds me of Kate the Great from Portsmouth Brewery in that way. Lots of delicate, fruity, malty notes. Boozy, without being cloying or requiring a fork and knife to aid in ingesting it. Really top notch stuff.

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Photo of walshclimb
4.77/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours dark brown with a thin, fine, tan head that leaves a slight lace. Rich smell of malt with strong carmel and nice coffee and chocolate notes. Initially tastes very malty with gentle sweetness and light smoke and chocolate with a hint of licorice. Aftertaste is nicely balanced with a nice hop bitterness and malty flavor that is medium lived and clean. Full bodied mouthfeel with slightly alcoholic finish - less alcoholic than you might expect for a 10% beer. Syruppy, heavy, dense, and smooth. This is a very tasty beer. It stands up well on its own or try it with something rich like beef wellington or a rich chocolate dessert.

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Photo of MighHighBrewer
4.77/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

750ml bottled in June 2013 poured into a tulip.

A: Chocolate brown color bordering on black. Carbonation is not evident immediately upon pouring, but makes itself known within 30 seconds with a brilliant pillowy 1/4-inch head. Lacing is average.

S: Toffee, smoke, biscuit malt, and caramel. Very malt-forward nose with almost no hoppy notes present.

T: A very complex, yet well-balanced beer. Caramel and toffee sweetness are at the forefront with smoke and stone fruit in the background. I was surprised at the hoppiness of the beer. It's definitely not a Pale Ale, but they managed to get just enough earthy hops in there to balance out the sweet notes of the beer. Exceptionally balanced.

M: Amazing. It's definitely a heavy beer without being syrupy. It's an easy-drinking 10-percenter.

O: I'm a big fan of this beer. It's probably AleSmith's most balanced offering. It's malty and sweet without being cloyingly so. It's a high ABV beer without being syrupy. The taste profile is really complex, yet everything works in harmony. This is one seriously underrated beer. Highly recommended.

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Photo of pat61
4.75/5  rDev +13.6%

Nose: Not big, fresh baked dark bread crust, plum, raisins and dark sugar.
Very dark but brilliant ruby tinged chestnut under a 2" very finely bubbled foam cap that descends to a thick, clingy film. Rouses easy, lacy and has legs.
Palate: A surprisingly interesting, subtle and balanced flavor profile for a beer so big and bold. Begins with rich malt with dark caramel to toffee, a suggestion of dark fruit such as plums and raisins and a light hop finish. Faint smoke.
Chewy, exceptionally creamy. medium low carbonation but very soft with a very fine bead. Some warming but not a lot for such a big beer.

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Photo of OldSock
4.75/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Appearance – Dark brown with deep red highlights. A thin off-white head that falls to a thin coating along with a massive sheet of lacing that paints my glass like whitewash.

Smell – The pungent dark fruits and smokiness cannot conceal the 9.5% abv completely, but they try. There are also chocolate notes in the nose, very nice.

Taste – Strong malts, smoke and dark fruits mingle together. Really no hop presence except for a slight bitterness on the back of the tongue. The alcohol is completely obscured in the taste while the beer is still at cellar temp, but I start to notice its taste and effect as I work down the huge bottle.

Mouthfeel – Delicious smooth-full body, more the mouthfeel of a strong stout than a Scotch Ale. The carbonation is a bit brisk for my preference, but this is less a problem as I am taking my time enjoying this fine beer.

Drinkability – Alesmith Wee Heavy is certainly the best domestic Scotch Ale that I have had, and good enough to be in the same category with the best Scotland has to offer. Glad I saved the big bottle for a night I had nothing else to do, as the abv will probably destroy me, but with this beer its well worth it. I wish I had bought a second bottle when I had the chance to put down for a year…damn.

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Photo of ogasnor
4.74/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Poured from a bottle into a nonic pint glass.

A - Dark brown, with a hint of redness to it. Held up to the light, it is hazy and cloudy with what light manages to get through. Pours with a generous two fingers head, which falls away to non-existence. There is not so much lacing as this beer sticks to the side of the glass forming legs.

S - Dark fruit: Caramel and toffee, dried cherry, figs, dates, and raisins, swimming in a dark, sugary alcohol aroma. Smells reminiscent of black rum, rich with molasses, smoke and the bitterness of burnt sugar.

T - It is as if a caramel and toffee malt bomb went off in my mouth. Tastes the same as it smells, molasses, rum and the full spread of dark fruits. The finish is a little bitter, like earthy smoke and burnt sugar dancing with dark cherries.

M - The near lack of carbonation makes this a very thick beer; combined with all the sweetness, you might think it would be syrupy or cloying. But it isn't, mostly because there is just enough alcohol to overcome the sweetness, and leave just a bit of warmth.

O - This is, without a doubt, a big beer. There is so much going on that it could have been a jumbled, incoherent mess, but instead, the flavors work with each other, and then give way to the next set of tastes. If I didn't know this was a Wee Heavy, I could believe it was a Quadrupel, or perhaps a Barleywine.

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Photo of gkatsoris
4.74/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Dark oaky in color. Very thin whispy head that faded straight away.

S: Wood. Vanilla. Oak. Malt and bread. Buttery. Toffee. Butterscotch. Chocolate chip cookie dough.

T: Vanilla wood. Vanilla oak. Alcoholy. Doughy. Grass. Buttered bread. Malts and malts. Cookie dough. Vanilla brownie.

M: A little thin, although it leaves a slight coat on the tongue. Not foamy at all. Super balanced.

O: Best Wee Heavy yet.

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Photo of Rastacouere
4.72/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Almost opaque deep brown. Honest light brown head becomes a ring. Big malty aroma, no compromise. You can feel it in your bones that this is a scotch ale, caramel and toffee in abundance. Almost smoky at times. Close to flowery hops. Terrific blending and mutual flavor completion. Just a light alcohol hint in mid-mouth. In mouth, simply put, the beer tastes good. It has everything you wish your scotch ale to have while never being too sweet thanks to a generous (but restrained) hop profile, somehow grassy. Hints of candy, cream, coffee, chocolate. Fantastic creamy mouthfeel, rocking smoothness, this is an easy 5 for texture with so soft carbonation... Awesome, even with just a few months of age. Cheers rodolito!

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Photo of weeare138
4.72/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Appears a dark, dense mahogany with a beige head that fades into a small cap and bubbly collar. Spotty lacing is left around the glass.
Smell is of dark chocolate, caramel, vanilla, light smoke, banana flambe, and rum cake.
Taste is of the same aromas with a standout of cocoa.
Mouthfeel is medium bodied, warming, & laden with caramel, vanilla, toffee, and a light smokiness running along the palate.

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Photo of stewart124
4.72/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

750ml bottle from 2009

Poured into pint glasses this was almost like molasses. Rich brown color with ruby red hues and a centimeter of tan head.

Nose is slightly smokey with lots of currants and bread.

Taste is chewy with a very rich caramel character. More light chocolate malts that has just the slightest amount of smoke. Full bodied with a bold punch from the malt bill. Just a great malt character in general. Toasted bread comes through and fades a bit. The raisins and prunes really linger and there is a nice residual sweetness left.

Very nice for a nightcap. Great to just sip on. Some alcohol is present but it doesn't take away from the overall experience.

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Photo of becktone
4.72/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

From notes 4-7-09

Done horizontally with Founders Dirty Bastard

Eye: Extremely dark and deep red in color, garnet. The beer appears to be very clear, but with the color such a dark shade of red its really hard to tell. Head retention in this tulip isn't great (seems its hit and miss with this glass). Still it looks better than the Dirty Bastard, when first poured there was a nice sized head, though now its fallen leaving only some thin lacing behind and a thin film over the beer, but thats still better than the Bastard.

Nose: The strong aroma fills the room as this is poured. Alcohol is detectable. Subtle malt aroma that whispers of complexity. Soft warm maltiness with interwoven hinting at dark fruits that fade away as soon as they are pictured in the mind's eye. Smokiness and chocolate aromas come through. Dark fruit aromas are not as prevalent in this brew as in the Dirty Bastard. The aromas weave in and out of each other, one moment somkiness and chocolate are prominent, the next a nice caramel aroma. The caramel aroma in this beer really makes it, always supported by a subtle smokiness. In the end all aspects of this beer come together to create an awesome aroma. This one takes some work to decipher, complex.

Tongue: First thought I had was dark fruit, which was quickly followed by an intense caramelly maltiness supported by roasted and black flavors and some smokiness. Alcohol is present in the flavor. This is just as complex as the aroma, everything weaving in and out of each other. Nice aftertaste on this beer, but it isn't quite as long lasting or strong as the Dirty Bastard, yet it is just of better quality.

Edit: In terms of the taste of the beer itself, Alesmith is much darker and heavier, more complexity in terms of flavor and darker flavors. Much less esters/phenols. The Alesmith is crafted much better than the Founders. After drinking the Alesmith and then going back to the Founders I find quite alot of bubblegum phenols with a much weaker overall flavor profile and much less complex as well. The Founders can stand on its own, sure enough, but the Alesmith can stand up to others. That is all the difference. All in all the flavor is much more subdued in Dirty Bastard than in the Founders. The Founders pales in comparison. Compared to the Alesmith the Founders is more watery and much less flavorful.

Feel and Drinkability: Finish is semi-dry on this beer, the malt giving it a sweet finish while the roasted and smokiness help out the dryness. Body is medium and again I feel with this one there is too much carbonation, it isn't as sharp or prickley as the Dirty Bastard but I just feel that there's too much. It takes away from the mouthfeel. This is an awesome beer. Definitely one I'll pick up again, though the price of it, $12.99/750ml, is higher than a sixer of Dirty Bastard Its worth it. Though in the long run I'll prolly go with the Dirty Bastard over this one, because for me its easier to get my hands on and is cheaper.

Edit: After going back to the Founders it is clear as to which beer is of higher quality and just better overall. The price is definitely worth it. When in the mood for a good scotch ale I'd go for the Alesmith every time.

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Photo of BuckeyeSlim
4.7/5  rDev +12.4%

One of the most enjoyable wee heavies I've had in awhile. Nose is soft, but reveals a rather complex union of bready biscuit malt, rich medium-dark caramels, and hints of a leathery peat. The taste is more of the same, as fully toasted malts finish with dark caramels balanced by just enough hops to eliminate any cloying but also not make it bitter. It also softens up a bit as it warms in the glass, adding touches of toffee and lighter caramels. This is one fine beer.

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Photo of Phatz
4.7/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I loved this beer so much (though I am happy to have shared it with my friends) I could easily have consumed the bottle by myself. This one I will pay the $20 price tag if I can get my hands on it again.

Appearance: Pours an opaque ruddy crimson brown with a creamy tan head and notable lacing.

Smell: Spectacular aroma of dark malts, caramel, molasses, hints of chocolate, peety smoky Scotch scents, and burnt toffee.

Taste: Suggestions of cocoa, sweet malt, toffee, caramel, and burnt brown sugars start a complex path doth the adventure that is Alesmith Wee Heavy. WOW! Exceptional. I love a good wee heavy and that it is. Ripe fruit and alcohol round out the mouth and it leaves you with a hint of smoke still on the palate. A bit of alcohol compliments the flavors but does not flex to strongly.

Mouthfeel: Unbelievable smooth and silky.

Drinkability: I love this beer. Next one is going to be paired with a Padron 1926 cigar. MMM. It is a perfect night cap!

Hope this is helpful.

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Photo of Boto
4.7/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Draught: I had a sample of this at the brewery. It poured a somewhat mahogany brown color. A decent off-white head. I get the aroma of caramel malt sweetness, with a hint of peat and smokiness. There are similar notes to the taste. A full, rich, complex taste. Lovely.

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Photo of barleywinefiend
4.7/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Not a fan of Wee Heavy or Scottish Ales but this was beyond GOOD. Pured a deep amber color with a dirty white head that was very fluffy. The nose was very compex. I could smell caramel, sugar, dried fruit, vanilla and heavy malts. Taste was superb. Complex and better than any Wee Heavy I have ever had. It really matched the nose. Mouthfeel was malty, brown sugar came out and so did the thick caramel and maybe even molasses.

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Photo of scottbrew4u
4.69/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Caramel, toffee malty deliciousness! Nice medium to heavy body makes for more of a sipping beer. Layers of complexity to appreciate with each sip. This was a fantastic scotch ale.

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AleSmith Wee Heavy from AleSmith Brewing Company
93 out of 100 based on 439 ratings.