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AleSmith Wee Heavy - AleSmith Brewing Company

Not Rated.
AleSmith Wee HeavyAleSmith Wee Heavy

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

861 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 861
Reviews: 416
rAvg: 4.17
pDev: 9.83%
Wants: 175
Gots: 185 | FT: 15
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:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 03-08-2004)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 861 | Reviews: 416 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of troutfish23
1/5  rDev -76%

troutfish23, Jan 04, 2012
Photo of MattWhoElse187
1.8/5  rDev -56.8%

MattWhoElse187, Sep 11, 2014
Photo of BGsWo22
2/5  rDev -52%

BGsWo22, Mar 23, 2013
Photo of Samaurer23
2/5  rDev -52%

Samaurer23, Jul 29, 2013
Photo of gfreed
2.45/5  rDev -41.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Any 10% 750 that I can drink entirely by myself and *still* walk a straight line afterwards is deficient in some way. The problem with this scotch ale is that it lacks scotch aleness-- it's thin in the aroma and taste; it has no gravitas, no depth, no weight; there is no smokiness; there is no umph. It's the 98-lb weakling that Charles Atlas warned you about. The bottle is pretty but they ought to put more effort into the contents. If you're looking for a decent American scotch ale, go find a Founders Dirty Bastard. Pass.

gfreed, Mar 12, 2011
Photo of mfgreene
2.5/5  rDev -40%

mfgreene, Jul 04, 2012
Photo of mwbrady12
2.5/5  rDev -40%

mwbrady12, Jul 28, 2013
Photo of chippo33
2.5/5  rDev -40%

chippo33, Apr 02, 2013
Photo of Knuckles
2.73/5  rDev -34.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

I like my wee heavies to have a bit of subtlety to them. I don't want to be mugged by the alcohol or gassed by the boozy nose. This beer has all the subtlety of "Natural Born Killers". When I poured it out, I thought I was smelling the red wine my friend had been drinking earlier. Then I stuck my nose in the goblet. Whoops.

Appearance: Easily the best part of the beer. A deep, dark brown with a lovely tan head.

Smell: Umm, so I understand there's a bit of alcohol in this thing because it smells like I could douse a shirt-wrapped stick in it, light it on fire and explore underground Seattle with that sumbitch lighting the way.

Taste: The alcohol really overwhelms everything else in this beer. I don't know what the malts taste like, or if there is any peat or anything else, because all I taste is hooch.

Mouthfeel: Hey, with a beer this high in gravity, it should be nice. It is. Very velvety and smooth.

Drinkability: To be truthful, this was undrinkable for me. Too much alcohol and very little else going on. I've had this beer for over six months, properly stored in my cellar. Thank god I didn't open it when I got it, or it might have killed me. I've got a few more Alesmiths in the cellar, I hope they are a bit more complex than this one.

Knuckles, Aug 12, 2006
Photo of Bonna
2.75/5  rDev -34.1%

Bonna, Jul 05, 2014
Photo of NorCalBeer
2.75/5  rDev -34.1%

NorCalBeer, Oct 21, 2013
Photo of Damian74Shensky
3/5  rDev -28.1%

Damian74Shensky, Dec 07, 2012
Photo of Vylo
3/5  rDev -28.1%

Vylo, Apr 01, 2012
Photo of djaeon
3/5  rDev -28.1%

djaeon, Jan 22, 2012
Photo of ChicagoNick
3/5  rDev -28.1%

ChicagoNick, Jun 21, 2014
Photo of francisweizen
3/5  rDev -28.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I Miss JPS! This one is ruddy brown with some yeast particulates and a small off-white burnt tan head that dies quickly and khaki. Aromas of roasted malts, some coffe, caramel, maybe some chocolate and a fiant whiff of greeny hops. Taste is ok, a bit muddle really, a bit hot and boozy and not very multi-dimensional. Mouthfeel is slick and hot in the mouth, drinkability suffers...Blah, sums it all up...C'mon Alesmith. Brew up that JPS recipe again! Bitches!

francisweizen, Mar 16, 2006
Photo of mmulebarn
3/5  rDev -28.1%

mmulebarn, Jan 05, 2014
Photo of GreatWeisseHope
3.23/5  rDev -22.5%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A; Murky (not to style), dark brown with tan head - good retention.

S: Not a strong caramel component, which is necessary for this style. Low esters, low hops, no diacetyl, and alcohol present (all to style).

T: Caramel notes come across as crystal malts, not kettle caramelisation, hop bitterness bites and lingers (not to style), finish with a bit of roast was rough, the malt notes are overwhelmed by the alcohol.

M: Alcohol warmth dominant, full bodied, moderate carbonation.

D: Rough and strong, just begging for a hangover if you can manage to drink more than one. The bottle I had will probably be the last one I have.

GreatWeisseHope, Dec 30, 2009
Photo of beergorrilla
3.25/5  rDev -22.1%

beergorrilla, Dec 18, 2012
Photo of TexIndy
3.25/5  rDev -22.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Poured from a 750ml capped bottle with no dating info into a tulip. It was a dark reddish brown color. It had a small head that quickly disappeared. Good carb fountain in center but no lacing. The aroma was heavy on the alcohol and dark fruits (raisin or plum). Slight malt in the back. The taste was also heavy on the alcohol. Kinda reminded me of a Belgian Strong Dark Ale. It was missing the smoky, peaty aroma and taste that I love in most wee heavy/scoth ales. Really disappointed in this one. One is enough and half bottle at that. (3.5, RTL, M, N)

TexIndy, Dec 12, 2007
Photo of anteater
3.25/5  rDev -22.1%

anteater, Mar 09, 2013
Photo of ajs4bd
3.25/5  rDev -22.1%

ajs4bd, Jul 10, 2012
Photo of RedDiamond
3.28/5  rDev -21.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Initial smells of moldy dog turd with sugar give way to musty barnyard broom closets of soiled dishrags and camphor. There’s also butterscotch, medieval dungeon, and a slightly smoky-swampy scent mixed with industrial alcohol. Ah, Scotland (by way of San Diego)!

Despite this brutal (yet accurate) panoply of smell descriptives, I actually appreciate the aroma of this beer much as I might appreciate the smell of certain common pheromones. The taste however, reaches like a broken limb and is unaccountably dilute. My Wee Heavy achieved perfect cellaring and serving at 50°F (exactly as it recommends on the bottle). But this beer doesn’t taste like a full-bodied ale that has mellowed. It tastes like a stick figure trying to be a body builder. It’s not that the essential flavors don’t exist, they’re just never delivered until whatever flavors might have once achieved identity, are arrested by a blunt alcohol finish.

RedDiamond, Dec 05, 2005
Photo of TheLongBeachBum
3.35/5  rDev -19.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A trip to, and a tour of, the Alesmith Brewery, was the second stop on EyeChartBrews recent Bachelor Party ‘Tour de Force’ of San Diego.

I had chance to pick up a mixed case of Alesmith brews whilst here, which included 4 x 750ml bottles of the Wee Heavy. I had committed the cardinal sin of asking for J.P. Gray’s Wee Heavy when ordering my Case. Apparently, “old JP” was Skip Virgilio’s maternal grandfather. According to the AS Website, JPGWH was release in 98, 99, and 2000, but I also have had a bottle dated from 2001 which does not appear on the Site. Interestingly enough, this beer is described as both 8.5% and 9.0% on the Website. Note to Alesmith – update your Website please!!! Anyways, I digress, as brewmaster Skip had himself ‘skipped’ (so to speak) Alesmith, the precursor has now been dropped. Hence, the new name for 2004, simply “Wee Heavy”. This will now be an all year round beer.

Whilst the distinctive Belgium green glass 750ml bottle remains, the bottle design has distinctly changed. Gone is the high quality gold leaf that is on the empty 2001 bottle that I still have adorning my kitchen worktop. The 'Pint on Anvil' logo is now white and purple. The printed bottle has the word “Alesmith” in a small white Arial like font, whilst “Wee Heavy” is in a much larger purple scripted font below. It is finished with the words “Scotch Style Ale” in white wording close to the base. Listed as 9.5% ABV, stronger than past years I note. The presentation is finished with some thick black foil over the simple brass colored crown cap. No cork.

Pours with a beautiful looking cherry wood body, lots of mahogany that sparkles with a ruby hue when backlit. But what happened to the head? Erm, not much carbonation at all. This is a big difference from the original JP version I note. I’m sat waiting for something to happen!?! On the second glass I get a quick “fizz” that releases a thin but solid light brown disc like head, but this almost immediately disappears to reveal a broken covering and a tan colored ring around the edge of the glass. Flat looking.

Molasses and caramel malts in the nose. One dimensional, but nice. As it warms it reveals lots of dark bonfire toffee. The initial taste is of malts, caramel, sweet dark toffee and dark fruits which are all exhibited in the mouth with a moist sponge like Parkin feel. The body is of a solid Ale, but the burning raw sugary sweet aftertaste and warming alcohol bite are a little too much for me. It is malty to start with and aggressive in the back end. It lacks complexity and the gorgeous smoke character that I remember from the 2001 J.P. version I had previously. It feels like all the ingredients are here, but they need time to synchronize and synergize in my opinion. Very raw at the moment.

I dearly love Alesmith beers, but I have to be honest here and say that this was somewhat of a disappointment overall, especially for $10. I hate to mention cost, but like it or not, in the real world, everything has a price. The Abbeye des Rocs Grand Cru that I can purchase locally for $6.99 for the same volume is now my Bench-Mark “premium” drink straight away or cellar beer. If you’re going to compete in the higher priced echelons of the beer market, you better get your shit right and know your competition. That said, this is not a bad beer, far from it, but it is rather more that I expected greater and better things from it. It’s good, but I think this one needs a lot more time to be great to be honest. If I splashed $10 and drank this fresh, then maybe I would be a tad let down. Give it another 24 months, or more, maybe only then will I be happy with my investment. But that's a long time for a return on a high priced beer. Thankfully, I have a few more bottles that are stashed away. But this will have to do much better to even have me consider splashing out another $10/bottle to even contemplate cellaring any more than the few I already have; the Grand Cru and Speedway Stout are much better for the same coin IMVHO.

TheLongBeachBum, Mar 22, 2004
Photo of lifebeer
3.38/5  rDev -18.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

bought this from south bay drugs and liquor. served cold, probably too cold, which one should take into consideration while reading this...

a. poured a murky, lake-mud brown, caramel edges when held to the light, slowly forming head with a short-lived but impressive cascade resulting in a finger of tan foam

b. not too much here, serving temp might have something to do with it, the usual caramel and raisin of a wee heavy, sweet wine scent

t. overwhelming chewy raisin flavor, if concentrate really hard, capped with a scotch ale smokiness

mf. some nice chewy body that finishes closer to watery

d. it was difficult to finish this one, a little to sweet, probably my last one

lifebeer, Dec 24, 2007
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AleSmith Wee Heavy from AleSmith Brewing Company
93 out of 100 based on 861 ratings.