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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
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of AleSmith Wee Heavy Alström Bros
Reviews: 439 | Hads: 1,052
Photo of ktrillionaire
3.6/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to someone (probably spycow) for sharing this at Bryna's recital / beer auction.

A - It pours a ruddy mahogany hue, and is capped with a tawny froth that is quite short-lived.

S - The nose is very raisin-y, with some sweet caramel and spicy molasses notes; dried medium and dark fruit is also suggested, maybe even the whole bag of trail mix, nuts and all. Unfortunately, there is a slight cardboard thing with the nose which is holding back my estimation of what is an otherwise nice aroma.

T - The flavor delivers more luxury than the aroma does; where the aroma is interesting, the flavor prefers decadence. The booze is noted, the dark fruit and caramelized sugar is ramped-up, and the general intensity is a degree more. There is a semi-strong note of oxidation that takes away from the rest of the palate, but the brew tastes delicious nonetheless.

M - The feel is just ok; not enhancing nor detracting. Medium-bodied.

O - This did not blow me away, but I certainly enjoyed it.

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Photo of granger10
3.61/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This had the potential, it coulda been a contender. Unfortunately, upon cap poppage I noticed there was little life in it. On the pour, no head whatsoever. A second pour with a different glass got me a minimal head. It had a nice ruby dark color to it but lacked carbonation completely. Looked like a red wine. Aroma was really, really sweet. Toffee, figs, plums, molasses, and alcohol were all that I got. Is this a scotch ale or a dubbel? Taste had much less sweetness but still had notes reminiscent of wine. Figs were most dominant. A chewy body held up a drier malty flavor. Finish was alcohol and a little stinging. It was actually quite enjoyable and had a lot of potential. But where's the smoky flavor, the hops were minimal, and the lack of carbonation was quite upsetting (esp. for the price!). Good beer but a bit of a letdown.

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Photo of jcalabre
3.65/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Originally sampled on 18 July 2002. This baby is a dark reddish brown w/ a tan head. Sweet w/ tastes of carmel & dried fruit greet you. Lots of malty taste on the tongue. But it was a touch too sweet for me. I'm sure many will really enjoy this one, but for me, it was very good, but not great.

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Photo of Bendurgin
3.65/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Tulip. Pours dark brown with a three finger foamy beige head. Nice retention and good sticky lace.

Raisins and chocolate are Most noticeable in the aroma. A little bit of bourbon in the aroma too. Very rich and a sweet and just a little boozey. Grapish flavor with a little bit of bitter cocoa. The taste is somewhat metallic to finish.

Medium body with soft carbonation. A little bit of a tannic finish. Pretty solid flavors here. A little dry and I am not fond of the metallic finsh. Otherwise pretty solid brew.

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Photo of sweetbrew82
3.65/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

750 ML into a snifter/ no freshness date

P: Deep walnut brown with a creamy, light tan head that is mighty thick and frothy. Showed good retention and left some nice lacing on the way down.

A: Roasted malts, tons and tons of brown sugar, creamy caramel, chocolate, and smoke are all easily noted in the nose. But, the amount of booze in the aroma has me a little scared that it will translate onto the palate...

T: ...and, unfortunately, I was correct. More on that later. The thick, robust, roasted, bready caramel malt is definitely the star of the show in this one. But make no mistake, this is no one-trick pony. This is a very full-flavored ale that features tons of brown sugar, dark fruits, sticky toffee, and molasses. All of which meld very well together and form a synergistic cohesion of flavors that sparkle like glass in the sun. Surprisingly, there is a hop presence underneath that tries valiantly to balance this malt-monster out. While all of this is great, that alcohol is definitely marring what could have been a classic. It's very hot, abrasively solventy, and seems to overpower the flavor profile the warmer the beer gets. While I do understand that the style allows for a pronounced alcohol presence, this is definitely overkill!

M: Full-bodied with a rich, slightly creamy, smooth, yet almost oily texture that also features an aggressive amount of carbonation. Suits the beer very nicely.

Notes: This might just be the first Alesmith offering I've had that didn't blow me away, due to the fact that it is probably way too young. In fact, it suffered the same fate as the bottle of '07 Decadence. Way too hot and boozy! This badboy needs a looong timeout in the cellar to chill out a bit. Besides, the already complex flavor profile will only get deeper as time passes. Right now, it is not on point as far as I'm concerned. In 2 or 3 years, however, this has the potential to reach the summit of my all-time favorites!

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Photo of BeerFMAndy
3.67/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.25

750 ml bottle poured into a tulip.
10% ABV, Bottled on 10/11/13, "Serve in a Goblet at 50-55°"

"Wee heavy's complex malt profile lends itself very well to a host of roasted or grilled meat and vegetable dishes. Robust cheese, salty blues, and nutty farmhouse-style cheeses also pair very well with this beer."

A - Prune-like in color, the beer is almost black in the glass but when held up to the light, hues of purple, mirroring the bottle's printing, poke through the dark copper color. Vigorously poured, the beer has a plump khaki head that slowly diminishes to leave plenty of whispy lace caked on the glass.

S - AleSmith's Wee Heavy has a subdued aroma, completely lacking in hops but soft with malt complexity; faint sweetness suggests caramel and toffee while undercurrents of dark fruit drift through and leave prune and raisin notes smeared on toasted wheat bread.

T - Like the aroma before it, the flavor of AleSmith's Wee Heavy is terribly subdued to the point of being peculiar. Smooth? Sure, but there's little going on, just like the aroma; sweetness resembling caramel and toffee hovers over the dark fruitiness but both attributes seem purposefully suppressed as the finish is clean and without any lingering character.

M - Medium bodied for a higher alcohol, malt-driven beer, Wee Heavy's sugars have been almost completely fermented out leaving a clean profile from start to finish, grazing over the tongue with slickness that finishes with next to no trace of sweetness nor bitterness; only a slightly warming touch of dry alcohol remains.

O - AleSmith has created one of the most interesting and personally conflicting beers in Wee Heavy; on one hand their ability to completely downplay the amount of alcohol this beer contains is quite incredible; it's barely even HINTED at! On the other hand, the subtle nature of the malt profile shows serious promise but, with each sip, I wonder where the flavor's run off to. Deep complexity is one thing but to have next to no stand-out flavor at all is another. I would expect some forward sweetness...at least something; all the characteristics seem to hide in the shadows unfortunately. It leaves me feeling that the only reason I might reach for this beer again would be to down something high in alcohol with little temperament; not a sugar bomb, not super bitter, just...there.

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Photo of MarineHokie
3.68/5  rDev -12%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

750 ml bottle

A - Pours deep mahogany, leaving a slim ring of foam around the rim of the tulip glass. Seemed a little bit undercarbonated.

S - Vinious, port like, earthy, & peaty.

T - Sweet dried fruit then smoky oak and malt flattens across the tongue. Drys with an oaky crisp finish.

M - Fairly thin bodied and alcoholic.

D - Just sweet enough to make one enough. Split the 750 with two other folks.

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Photo of merlin48
3.7/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

750ml bottle was $12.99 at the Dilly Deli in Cincinnati. Pours a clear, dark mahogany body topped with a skimpy beige head that quickly falls into spotty patch lacing. Aroma has a surprising chocolate essence, followed by toffee, dark fruits, and fresh white grapes. A mild note of smoky Scotch whiskey completes the bouquet. Mouthfeel is thick and full, with subdued carbonation. A bit fusel with alcohol as it warms. Taste is more chocolate than any other malty taste. Some scorched coffee notes mix with the bitter chocolate as a wave of dark fruits enters the picture. Becomes vinous and fusel as it warms to room temperature. Lots of rum soaked dark fruits toward the finish. The roasty chocolate and coffee seem out of place here. A bit of a struggle to finish as the big alcohol is anything but subtle. A slight disappointment, given the exceptional character of other Alesmith offerings I've been fortunate to sample.

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Photo of BlindPig
3.7/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A- 1/2-3/4" tan head. Dark brown blackish body. Bits of lacing that are there just not covering top.
S- Alcohol, plums, other darker fruits, and some light spice are all there. Is on the sweeter side and maybe a bit of a earthy note.
T- Coffee nots in it with fruits showing too. Alcohol does come through in taste and a light warming (gets quite a bit bigger as it warms). All the fruits start to come through more as it warms also. Light bitterness in taste but mostly all fades away in the aftertaste. The fruits stay in the mouth in the aftertaste.
M- Body is a bit on the thinner side for such a big beer. Probably medium to thin body with low carbonation. Smooth also.
D- It was ok for a glass but I couldn't drink a whole bottle. I just don't think this is my style. It is a sipper though.

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Photo of Alieniloquium
3.73/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

750 mL bottle poured into a CCB snifter. No bottle date. Shame, Alesmith! Reviewed from notes.

Appearance - Deep brown. A bit translucent. Decent retention and lacing.

Smell - Butterscotch and caramel. Everything you'd expect from a scotch ale. But hops? What is that? Way too hoppy.

Taste - Much like the smell. Caramel, toffee, butterscotch. It's all cut by the hop flavor. Strong hoppy flavor in the finish, without being bitter. Too much.

Mouthfeel - Good mouthfeel. The hop bitterness cuts the sweetness. Really nice. Not bitter, but balanced.

Overall - Off-style from the hops. Good, but not what I expected.

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Photo of jscondon
3.73/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

a transparent deep darkend cheerry red beer that pours with an immense 2 inch head which slowly subsides to a few mm. the aroma expelled by this magnificently colored beer is one of cherries and vanilla. i am expecting some malt madness for sure. i was not dissapointed, and while this beer has a great up front flavor it is less rewarding in the finish. there is a nice maltiness to the front of this with a carmelized long boil flavor that i find typical of this style. a slight sweetness hits the tounge initially followed by a kettled flavor (peat smokiness or something of the like). caramel fills the middle very nicely but then the flavor drops out to a metallic taste. this off flavor is then followed by a stong alcohol flavor and some chocolate aftertones.

in all i really liked this beer, but the end really dissapointed me. i can't get past the metallic and strong alcohol flavors before the nice chocolate finish. i will get this one again and see how it ages.

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Photo of Roguer
3.74/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Very dark brown brew, with purple highlights throughout. Solid dark tan head with excellent retention.

Big boozy aroma, dominated by dark fruit - raisins and prunes - with caramel and brown sugar lurking behind. Slightly nutty and grainy.

Flavor follows: it's a big, dark, malty, fruity brew, following in the vein of other Scotch ales. The booze is not particularly well hidden, carrying both flavor and heat, but it's by no means unpleasant nor surprising for a 10% brew. On the sweeter side for a Scotch ale.

Slick, lively brew; medium-full bodied; heat on the second half and on the back end.

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Photo of SportsandJorts
3.74/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Appearance: mahogany tending towards black. Two fingers of a tan head that fade slowly and leave a lacing behind. Red hues through light and noticeable clarity through thinner sections

Smell: super malty and super sweet. Caramel and toffee and brown sugar. Some roasty to smokey malts as well. Lots of peat and earthiness.

Taste: opens up with sweet caramel, toffee and brown sugar. Next comes some roast and smoke mixing with the peat. A hint of alcohol but not much

Mouthfeel: starts of a bit creamy but ends up bitter from earthy hops, peat and smoke. Good thick mouthfeel

Overall: good big beer. Lots of sweetness but too much peat, smoke and roast for me. Also I am not the biggest fan of the bitterness.

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Photo of DogFood11
3.74/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

750 poured into a tulip it forms a tan head that leaves ring like lacing and the head fades to an out ring. Deep copper to brown body with medium carbonation.

This is one of those brews that you can get almost everything thats going to happen from the smell and appearance. Very rich chocolaty, deeply toasted and slightly charred give it some bitterness (although not much) and a bit of a smokehouse backer, add in the sweet side of caramel malts and you have the backbone and it translates to the taste nicely. As it warms it shows off more of the fruity phenols but its still takes some due dilligence to find.

Notes: I thought this was a bit of a boozy brew in the smell and taste and sometimes a little harsh around the edges. Porter'ish w/ a tough finish. I absolutely love Alesmith beers. They've set such a high standard that for this brewery this was just ok to me. Still well above average for the style.

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Photo of CAMRAhardliner
3.76/5  rDev -10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I picked this up at Downtown Wines in Boston for $14.20.

Pours dark brown with cherry red hints. The head is smallish but never dissapears and coats the glass in creamy lace. The aroma shows brown sugar, vanilla, mollases and a good amount of booze. The taste is more complex. Fresh bread, licorice, stewed pears dusted in cocoa powder, toasted oak, rum soaked christmas cake, raspberry jam and English hops all pack into the flavor. The mouthfeel is thinner than I expected with a wonderfully textured carbonation. The finish is too boozey.

This beer is probably better with age. Its nicely complex and nuanced, but too sweet and boozey for my tastes.

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3.77/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Black cherry red body shows a high level of carbonation and hosts a deep tan head with large bubble concentration. Nose is very fragrent with strong tones of dark chocolate cherry and malt. Screams for a sweet ride ahead. Lichtly burnt malty goodness enters toe mouth. Very seet as previewed by the nose. Body is long and noticeabley high in alchol. Many characteristics resemble port greatly. Malty feel is doninent throughout and almost syrupy twords the finish. A extremely sweet over the top Scotish style. Mouthfeel is of sweet burnt malt. You couldnt drink much more than one of these 25 oz. 9% alc. bottles.

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Photo of CharlieMurphy
3.77/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Deep dark brown with some light beams in the shallow end. Off white cream head stays low on the border.

S: Like brandy and scotch, whew! Don't know what to think about this as those are the only flavors i get on the nose.

T: Less brandy and even less scotch, but some port, peat, pinot noir, caramel malts, and finally some dark fruits. ->That's drawing a lot out of it, the taste is overall mild.

M: Low carbonation and could actually use a little more of it.

O: Meh, probably won't buy again, but it is really a decent beer.

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Photo of dogfooddog
3.78/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

nose is a concern, note is vaguely like vinegar, with hints of raisins or other dark-sweet fruits. Not what I would expect from any scottish ale.

taste is much better - sweet glowing sense of old ale (not barleywine), hints of fruit or other typical notes. Lacks the character this style gains from wood-fermentation, though I see such a variant does exist.

this is not my favorite wee heavy, but a very decent example with improves into the bottle and higher temperature. I would really like to try the wood-aged version of this...

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Photo of BeerBelcher
3.79/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

This is a BIG beer. Unlike some other 10% ABV that surreptitiously sneak up on you, this one bares its character with the first sip.

Pours sort of muddy-brown, with scant head that quickly fades. Aroma is a touch smokey, peaty, and alcohol ester-y. Unmistakenly Scotch Ale. Flavor is a smokey, butter-scotch-y, slightly sweet, and peaty. Very good. Mouthfeel is odd - simultaneously both sweet and dry.

I know I've had this before - can't believe I haven't rated it. Thanks to SurlySober for bringing it up from Cincinnati.

This isn't a beer for every occasion, but it's good. Enjoyed this out of one of my thistle glasses...just kidding - it was from a tulip.

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Photo of Teleweizen2
3.79/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

A - pours a deep opaque brownish black. A rigorous pour yields a froathy tan foam approximately 3 fingers worth but quickly dissipates to a thin film. Leaves a touch of spotty lacing on the glass.

S - the nose is deep and rich. Toffee, caramel and hints of butterscotch serve as a base. Notes of cherries, raisins, and plums while hints of dusty cocoa powder and wood add complexity.

T - flavors of silky caramel, whole grain toast, and hints of wood and butterscotch. A noticable yet smooth hint of booze in the center along with flavors of chocolate, raisins and cherries. More malty sweetness on the backend. Medium length finish.

M - full bodied. Creamy texture. High carbonation.

O - interesting take on a scotch ale. While it has plenty of rich malt character there are plenty of other flavors which keep it in balance.

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Photo of Floydster
3.81/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Glass at Beachwood BBQ in Seal Beach for six dollars this afternoon, wanted to try this as soon as possible before cracking my barrel aged version in the next couple weeks

This was only the second scotch ale or wee heavy style beer, so I do not have much to base the taste off of other than its overall characteristics as a beer

Poured into glassware that looked a flower vase with a deep brown color with burgundy accents throughout, resembled chocolate syrup, 3/4 inch creamy light tan head that stuck around for quite some time, good lacing as well

Smell was a bit overwhelming because of all the different things going on, lots of chocolate, some molasses, toffee, caramel, vanilla, other sweet malts, and a faint hoppy aroma

Taste was very good with malt that attacks the taste buds, I got maple syrup, figs, and dark fruit at the beginning, particularly plums and raisins, lots of brown sugar and a little cinammon, when the beer warmed it got even sweeter but surprisingly easier to drink because it was not as carbonated, miniscule hop profile provides some balance but all the different tastes are subtle enough that the beer is not overpowering with any one quality, got chocolate flavors told the end along with other candy-like sweetness, overall this was a great tasting sipper

Very nice thick body but too much carbonation, would have went down a lot smoother if it was not so cold and there were less bubbles, taste lasted a long time, good mouthfeel

I could drink another one of these maybe, it is heavy on the stomach and too sweet at times, not a session beer in any sense, the ABV is high enough to knock somebody on their backside as well

Cannot wait to try the BA version now, not Alesmith's best but still damn good, would definitely have again, next time out of a bottle to see the difference from the draft version, highly recommended even though it is an expensive beer

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Photo of avaulteriam
3.82/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This one was pretty big. Smell was initially strong of tootsie rolls and dark chocolate. Eventually, dark fruits came out. The taste was different, almost no hop character, other than the what is supposed to be there. Smokey and silky. Nice body, though somewhat one dimensional. Could have used some more chocolate character perhaps?

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Photo of IrishRedRock
3.82/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Beautiful bottle, as seen in the picture. Popped the cap off to hear no hiss of escaping carbonation. Poured some into a snifter, same result. Uterrly, lifelessly flat. Like red wine. Thankfully, it doesn't need any carbonation to taste nice. Aroma is limited, as you might guess, from not having any head atop, but traces of nutmeg, spice, chocolate and malt vinegar are evident in the nose.

Mouthfeel is flat and without carbonation, but "smooth" (no carbonation). Dark fruits are the most prominent flavor to balance the thick chewy malt and the touch of alcohol. Hoppy burps taste like cherries and plums. One I would gladly drink again, especially if the bottle had the carbonation I think it's supposed to have. Maybe AleSmith had some QC problems with this? I dont know. I'll give it a go again, if I should come across it.

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Photo of beergoot
3.83/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Deep hued, garnet colored body with a thin yet persistent, creamy, off-white head. Caramel, raisin, and booze scents. Heavy, syrupy flavors; raisin, anise, licorice, booze, caramel and burnt sugar; bitter. Dense, full-bodied mouthfeel; lots of residual sugars.

Big and bold, tempered by an even-keeled smoothness and respectable complexity. Rather tame in the looks and smell departments, and the feel has a somewhat weak, watery aspect, but taste-wise, a lot is offered. Worth checking out...

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Photo of maximum12
3.83/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to bring for sending this impressive, hefty-looking Alesmith bomber in a fall '09 trade. Devoured on vacation, split with my mother & wife, June '10.

Emerges like a dark & stormy night, turbid red. Fairly standard for a wee heavy, peat, scotchy malts are in the house.

This is a good Wee Heavy. Hand hard on the scales of the sweet malts, with a baseboard of smokiness & peat holding it up & restraining it from going hard-candy, like a fire on the upland Moors. Toffee, wee bit o' caramel pop out of the mix. Very easy to drink for the style, almost light on its feet. Seven-eight ounces of this stuff just doesn't last very long.

Very good beer, & spot-on example of the style. I've been consistently impressed with Alesmith, & this one's no exception.

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