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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: 186 | 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 BretSikkink
4.33/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Dark, but decidedly brown in color. Ruby highlights all around, while the tan head is tinged with some orange. Cap is creamy and tough, doesn't leave any lacing or retain its shape very long but definitely sticks around in the form of a millimeter thick collar.

Somewhat understated aroma of dark fruit, caramel malt, and a hint of molasses.

The flavor profile is bold and aggressive, leading with tons of malt flavor and not backing down on the alcohol one iota.

Particular notes I found were (in order of appearance): roasted grain, figs or caramelized raisins, brown sugar, fusel alcohol, and a whiff of smoke.

Must be a little age on this bottle, since the alcohol manages to convey a sense of latent power in the alcohol arena, but also comes across as a such a smooth pup. The fusel alcohol characters are all there, but the finish barely betrays them, and in the mouth they're combated by so many other great flavors.

This side of a fresh Scotch ale on cask, this is the best mouthfeel I've experienced for style. Chewy and full, without sacrificing the palate to the gods of Sweet. When it was cold, I was a bit afraid of what it could turn into as it warmed and thickened, but when it did it merely opened up and grew more lush. The carbonation is spot-on so that there is a scrubbing action, without compromising the body.

Silky, powerful finish that leaves notes of coffee and peat smoke along with a slightly sweet caramel edge. Unbelievable wee heavy: I still have awesome memories of drinking local, fresh wee heavies in Scotland, but honestly none of them actually tasted this good.

BretSikkink, Sep 22, 2008
Photo of willjschmidt
4.33/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 750ml bottle into a Stone RIS glass.

A: Pours a very dark brown, almost black, color with a reddish undertone. Lots of lacing left behind by the thick tan head.

S: A good dose of sweetness in the form of caramel, some dark figs, along with a bit of alcohol.

T: A very interesting beer. It's slightly sweet with the dominating flavor being caramel with a touch of dark fruits. However, it's nowhere near the amount of dark fruits found in a Belgian Strong Dark. The alcohol is apparent but it's not overpowering as one might expect in a 10% beer.

M: Creamy, smooth, and warming.

D: A great end-of-the-night sipper. I paired it with some dark chocolate and dried apricots for a great match.

willjschmidt, Mar 12, 2008
Photo of PeterIngemi
4.33/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Spilt this with my boy AJ

A- dark brown almost black

S - vanilla, caramel, graham crackers, touch of sweetness

T- delicious, toasty vanilla, toffe, figs & raisins almost reminiscent of fig newton filling.... In a very, very good way. Alcohol is very well hidden.

M- thick and a wee bit heavy

O- one of my favorite beers! Toasty and delicious, almost tastes like a barrel aged beer even though it's not!!! I love it!!!

PeterIngemi, Jan 03, 2012
Photo of BeerNemesis
4.33/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

AleSmith Wee Heavy | 750 ml. | 10.0% ABV | 2011

Brewer: AleSmith Brewing Company
Style: Scotch Ale / Wee Heavy
Glass: snifter

Sludge brown with a rumbling khaki head. Every swish encourages hundreds of tiny bubbles to appear. Delightful.

Deeply roasted malts and thoroughly good chocolate. There's no question that a bit of scotch is hanging in the background.

It's hard to describe the taste as separate from the mouthfeel. Thick, viscous even, is the first thing I think. Then the deep, chocolatey malts kick in. Roasted, lactose-infused, dark, whole-wheat malts. It's a great sipping beer, though the 10% ABV is not that noticeably, besides a nice scotch tinge in the background.

Refer to taste. IT IS THICK. Very nice though. Carbonation could use a slight boost.

Very, very nice collection of flavors. The deep roasted malts are predominant, almost to a fault. Although with a beer this tasty, balance is overrated.

Would I get it again?:
Oh yeah.

Bottled: ?
Served: July 12, 2011

Price = $13.99 at Whole Foods (NYC)

BeerNemesis, Jul 13, 2011
Photo of yelterdow
4.33/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Aged for about two years, this will be served in a Duvel tulip at between fridge and cellar temperature.

Appearance- Fiery caramel red, with a quarter-inch light beige head. The color here is the eye candy, a burnished sunset copper-red. It pours like a big, English Old Ale.

Smell- Fat and sweet, it's a beautiful display of wood and chocolate covered cherries... but more like the liquid that surrounds the cherries. Notes of old leatherbound library books and rum soaked dark fruits abound.

Taste- Not as sweet as the nose would suggest, flavors of smoked bacon descend upon the palate. A big suitcase o' malts, the finish is drying and pleasant. There's a mild alcohol sting that wraps things up.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability- On the thin side, the carbonation lays low (due in part to the high ABV) but allows the flavors to unravel. A real treat, especialy for when the weather gets chilly. Thanks to EPseja for sharing this with me.

yelterdow, Mar 10, 2009
Photo of JohnQVegas
4.33/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle into red wine glass.

Pours a very dark brown, hints of red when held up to the light. Fizzy, thin beige head quickly dissipates into a thin, soapy beige cap. Sticks to the sides of the glass, though no real lacing. A more aggressive pour yields a bigger, fluffier beige head with better lacing.

Nose is rather boozy, with notes of molasses, caramel, brown sugar, apples and pears. A bit toasty.

Taste is toasty, with dark molasses, caramel, and brown sugar all showing through. Notes of more apples and pears as well, with an earthy, alcohol-infused bitterness balancing the back end. Warming, and rich.

Mouthfeel is a bit syrupy, sticky, with a crisp, somewhat coarse carbonation at first that by the end is softer and more restrained.

An interesting beer - reminiscent in some respects to a dark tripel with less yeast influence. Delicious.

JohnQVegas, Feb 18, 2009
Photo of OHLRangers
4.33/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Shared from 750ml bottle with two others. Poured into Guiness pint glass.

Appearance is good, deep color with slight head. Smell is excellent, peaty roasted malts and burnt caramel sweetness. Taste is very good, sweet and malty with a bit of hop bitterness in the background and finish. There is definitely alcohol in there, and you get a nice burn from it in the finish.

Excellent version of a style I really like.

OHLRangers, Jun 15, 2008
Photo of Highbury09
4.35/5  rDev +4.3%

Highbury09, Aug 23, 2014
Photo of rdickey
4.35/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: First, it’s one of the coolest bottles I’ve seen – the Alesmith logo, and the beer name in a really cool font, painted on in purple, all topped off with a foiled top. It pours very, very dark. A pretty direct pour produces a very thin tan head, which dissipates pretty quickly but leaves great lacing.

Smell: Malt sweetness dominates, as you’d expect. Notes of cocoa powder and stone fruits combine nicely, and there’s the slightest hint of smoke. All in all, very… Scottish.

Taste: This is a simply amazing example of the style. The malt continues to carry the day, and the cocoa powder and stone fruits continue to dance. The hops are present but definitely in the backseat, of course. The smoke remains just a hint, but it adds a really nice – and definitely Scottish – feel to it. It almost feels like it should be raining outside.

Mouthfeel: Very full bodied – rich and creamy. It feels almost round in the mouth.

Drinkability: The high ABV, which is extraordinarily well concealed, makes this an obvious sipper. If you like wee heavies, though, you’ll be tempted to drink this far faster than you should. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

I generally consider Skullsplitter to be the best wee heavy, but I think Alesmith could give it a run for its money. I wish I had a Skullsplitter tonight to taste them head to head. Of course, that would probably lead to a skullsplitting morning.

rdickey, Nov 06, 2011
Photo of Tolann
4.35/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I got this bottle in a trade with RichBeer. I seriously need to find something more to send this guy.

A - Ruby colors, but really dark too. Some kinda white head that clings to the glass and tames down to only skim the top.

S - earthy peat smell, big fruits, and malty sweet goodness. Cherries and dark sugar. some smoke and caramel

T - bigger than the smell and all the same. Not a lot of surprises that your nose didn't already tell you. Its all good news. the dark fruits and mega peat is outstanding.

M - the abv is obvious and its big. a little sharp alcohol bite but it doesn't burn your breath. kind of light mouthfeel. Carbonation is kind of replaced or covered by the alcohol feel.

D - Probably good that I shared the bottle, but wish I coulda saved it all for myself. I really enjoy the earthy notes of this style and its a shame that there doesn't seem to be more wee heavys out there.

Tolann, May 09, 2009
Photo of Phelps
4.35/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Enjoyed during a tasting of Scotch Ales and poured into a small tasting glass.

Pours a deep mahogany with maroon highlights and a tiny, frothy light tan head. Spotty lace dots the glass, but there's not much of it.

In the nose: cola, light grape, prune, caramel, light toast, toffee and coffee. It's almost like buttered toast with jelly.

The flavor is similar, though more complex: cola, port wine, prune, coffee, toast and jam, raisins, dark rum, toffee and caramel. Very toasty and very boozy, but also very good.

Medium-bodied and very smooth with a subtle carbonation. The alcohol is hefty, numbing the tongue and appearing as heat in the nose and flavor.

An obvious standout of the tasting, Wee Heavy is a paragon of the Scotch Ale style. Sweet, complex and incredibly drinkable for such a big beer.

Phelps, Jan 19, 2011
Photo of 51mmz0rz
4.35/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 750mL bottle into Sam Adams tulip pint, no bottle date as far as I can tell.

A: Black body with slight brown highlights. Head is thick and solid, tan colored.

S: Dark roasty malt, slight sweetness, fairly clean.

T: Hits up front with a nice sweetness. Just when I thought it was going to finish too clean, here comes another wave of flavor. Hop and roasty bitterness fade to coffee and chocolate notes, as well as some dark crystal malt. Lingers this way for awhile.

M: Well carbonated, not too much.

O: A really nice beer for the style, but I wouldn't find myself reaching for this over an RIS anytime soon.

51mmz0rz, Jul 21, 2012
Photo of SShelly
4.35/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

From a 2008 bottle freshly purchased from the brewery.

Pours a dark deep brown with ruby highlights, big fluffy offwhite head with >2 min retention, leaves some lace as it drops.

Aroma is deeply malty with some dark fruit and some light chocolate notes.

Flavor follows the aroma pretty close with lots of upfront malt, dark fruit and a bit of chocolate behind it all, very smooth finish, a little alcohol warming as it goes down but incredibly smooth.

medium-heavy body with a fair bit of carbonation, lively in the mouth.

One of the best american examples of the style, will never get tired of drinking this.

SShelly, Dec 10, 2008
Photo of adamette
4.35/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 750 ml large, dark bottle from Ale Smith into my Gulden Draak tuilp glass.

A Ruby red, dark brown cloudy body with a generous head that started to dissapear but then hung on for several minutes anyway. The head is a light brown. Instructions on the side of the bottle encourage the pourer to avoid the yeast which remains in the bottom of the bottle.

S Apricot, possibly pear or "stone fruit" as a friend of mine put it. Malty smell for sure with some alcohol. I really like this smell as I am a fan of malty sweetness like this.

T Malt, sweet up front with Syrupy nectar with a shade of vanilla in there as well adding to the sticky, malty tastes. Very little bitterness at all.

M Full with malt sweetness and alcohol.

D I would certainly look for this beer again but it is a sipper, only one for me per session.

Notes: As time went on it started to hit me how similar this beer is to Gulden Draak (and not just because I used my tulip glass!). Really though, the malty sweetness and nectar syrupy mouthfeel were very reminiscent of that. At $15.99 per 750 ml bottle I believe that it is more expensive than Gulden Draak (at least around here) so I would more likely opt for the latter. This is a great beer none the less and everyone should try it.

adamette, Dec 28, 2008
Photo of GRG1313
4.38/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours dark brown/black with nice white head. Assertive sweet malt/sweet carmel nose with undertones of whiskey. Big bold flavors of malt, carmel and toffee with a back palate of coffee and a big, long lasting carmel/coffee finish. Good with spicy bold flavored dishes and a nice after dinner sipping beer. Big appealing flavors with a nice creamy bourbon/whiskey character. Note, the flavors and complexity are really highlighted in this beer as it warms up. Do not serve cold but perhaps only chilled or cool for most enjoyability and to highlight the best of this brew.

GRG1313, May 17, 2009
Photo of Rzzzzz
4.38/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours dark brown with light head. Aroma of fruits & malt. Taste comes on big and sweet...tofee, molasses, caramel blended nicely with roasted malt, giving way to a nice lingering smokey, bitter hops finish. Mouthfeel is thick and warming. A big, delicious beverage with a good amount of punch. One'll do ya but you'll want more.

Rzzzzz, Mar 19, 2008
Photo of vandemonian
4.38/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

AleSmith Wee Heavy is super smooth and drinkable. Delicious, but not especially complex.

A: Dark red/brown colour and a 3 mm head that fades to poor lacing. 4

S: Big malty smell with some burned sugar aromas. Some alcohol noticable too. 4

T: Smooth and malty up front. So smooth, creamy and mild. A slight alcohol and caramelised kick in the tail. 4.5

M: Silky with low carbonation, as it should be. 4.5

O: Super smooth Wee Heavy. 4.5

vandemonian, Aug 13, 2011
Photo of Boilermaker88
4.38/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A 2001 vintage in a 750ml capped bottle that was poured into a tulip glass as recommended per the label. Had a dark mahogany color, a modest creamy beige head and lots of fine carbonation seen crawling up the sides of the glass.
A rich, malty aroma dominated the nose. Also present in abundance were notes of dark fruit, scorched caramel, and smoldering peat. Heady alcohol vapors also made their presence known quite readily.
The taste was varied and complex. Up front were flavors of candy sugar and dark fruit, toffee, and grains. Mid-palate yielded a nutty flavor and the tastes of charred wood and peat. Lastly, there was a mild herbal bitterness and the warming parting shot of alcohol that heated up the throat and stomach. The feel was full, rich and creamy with a dry finish.
Wow, kudos to BrewMaster for finding this great brew and for putting the word out. The only downside I had with this beer from a drinkability standpoint was the potent ABV which had me getting loopy by the end of my second glass. A rich, hearty and complex ale that was worth the trip.

Boilermaker88, Oct 10, 2004
Photo of twiggamortis420
4.38/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750 mL bottle courtesy of fthomasl. Pours black with a thick froth of tan head. Really nice retention and lacing.

Nose is peaty chocolate and tons of dark fruit - raspberries and plums.

Its like a raisin-cordial-chocolate-cherry that is dipped in spiced rum. Yea...just like that. Still plenty of booze, even though the bottle is more than a year old. An interesting take on the style, not a whole lot of smoke or peat on the flavor. Id like to see more, but it is quite delicious as is. I love the creamy mouthfeel the beer presents, I find myself 'mmmm'-ing to myself more and more as it warms despite the lack of smokiness I love so much in a wee heavy. The alcohol is sooo smooth and gentle! The best way I can describe this would be a blend of Old Chub and Belhaven Wee Heavy with more alcohol and complexity. Very nicely done AleSmith!

twiggamortis420, Nov 12, 2011
Photo of kmo1030
4.38/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

dark orangey reddish brown, with a slightly thin head.
the smell is sweet and malty with rich caramel, a little chocolate, molasses and fruit. the fruit is mostly a dark raisin aroma.
the taste is a lot less sweet than expected with a dry caramel character with molasses rolling in behind. the peat and hops dry things up at the finish, only to be followed by a sweet fried taste, like a glazed donut or, if you've ever had them, fried coconut shrimp. this actually works as a flavor in this beer despite how it sounds. the raisin in apparent thorughout as well as a black licorice that fades in and out. i also pick up vanilla imbedded somewhere in there. there is a moderate dose of alcohol and heat in there, that seems a little unecessary, but does not detract.
it's really quite dry and surprisingly, relatively medium bodied, which lends excellently to it's good drinkability. i expected a little cloying sweetness, but none was to be found. a damn good wee heavy, and from california no less.

kmo1030, Jul 14, 2006
Photo of greenbeaner
4.38/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Picked this one up not knowing quite what to expect, as this is my first stab at a scotch style ale that I know of. And what a pleasent surprise. Pours a beautiful dark rich amber, and forms to a frothy one finger head that's creamy and smooth. Sweet smells of apple and raisins and a bit of smoke.

Taste is very complex, the apple and raisin that I experienced in the brews smell shine through a smoky caramel backbone. There are also strong hints of cherry. There is some hoppy bitterness towards the finish that quickly smoothes itself out in the end. This is a thick, warm, full bodied beer that sticks to the inside of your mouth for a good while after you swallow. Feels great to take in and going down as well. Very warming.

I definitely plan on trying this beer again, but next time I will be sure to pick up more for cellaring...It seems like it would age quite well and I'm anxious to experience the results! Great brew!

greenbeaner, Mar 26, 2007
Photo of objectivemonkey
4.38/5  rDev +5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Aged approximately 9 months, proper cellaring. The bottle is dark, of minimal ornament, a silver foil collar on top, and a good description of the beer and its aging qualities.

Into an imperial pint glass, pours a dark brown that shines ruby through a light, a generous 1" head of off-white foam settles to a quarter inch, and leaves bubbles around the glass.

The aroma gives off sweet, malty notes of brown and caramelized sugars, a faint smoky malt, fruits, the thick dark skinned kind. A slight spice and some alcohol warmth, its quite nice.

The taste is extraordinary, a wee heavy that is at once full and medium, flavorful and yet subtle, dry, and complex. It begins with some good carbonation and the brown sugars, sweet, ripened fruits, leading to dry grains, a faint herbal hop, an effervescent smokiness reminiscent of tobacco that permeates all. There isn't much peat, but the fruits are what make it interesting. The body is silky smooth, but dries at the ending, sometimes more than others.

I can't say I like the drying quality too much, and wish it were a bit thicker, but for the most part, its a well crafted, tasty ass wee heavy. I'll get some more some day for sure, then have some fresh and some aged 2 years, as noted by the brewer's notes.

objectivemonkey, Jun 28, 2008
Photo of beeritron
4.38/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours out of the silver foiled champagne bottle a very deep amber color. The tan head floats atop the brew and hangs on as it slowly diminishes. The smell is awesome. A sweet and smoky aroma attacks the nose. There is a strong scent of caramel and fresh pumpkin noticeable. There is also some berry-like esters right when the sniff starts. The taste is also amazing. A big malty sweetness hits the tongue and swallows the taste buds. A slight alcohol taste is apparent, but not overwhelming and warms the throat as it descends. A roasted flavor complements the caramel taste first noticed in the smell. The aftertaste is full of smoky bitterness that I find rather pleasant. AleSmith Wee Heavy is thick and syrupy with just enough carbonation to tickle the tongue. A very drinkable beer that I really enjoyed. I think I might drink another glass for dessert!

beeritron, Jan 25, 2008
Photo of Beerzebub
4.38/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Fresh bottle, poured in a big wine glass at 53 F/ 12 C.

Deep dark red-brown color. Thick beige/tannish head that subsides to a thin dense blanket. Mottled loops of lace like old-timey handwriting.

Aroma of chewy sweet brown bready malt, with some black tea, honey, and fruitiness vaguely like apples and berries.

Big malty flavor, like dark bread crust, caramel, honey, plum, apple, and light solvent. Fairly sweet, but smooth light roastiness and some moderately bitter, grassy, tealike, herbal hops come in for some balance. Fruit, tea, and mild solvent linger for a tasty, long, fairly dry finish.

Very smooth, with fine cushy carbonation, and some viscosity, bordering on silky. Highly drinkable, I don't find this to be a sipper.

Great stuff, and I look forward to trying the barrel aged version.

Beerzebub, Apr 30, 2009
Photo of HopHead84
4.38/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4


On tap at Alesmith.

A: Deep brown with a wicked crimson tinge. The beige head is creamy and leaves scattered lacing.

S: Malt is rich and at the forefront. Notes of baked bread, caramel, a little toffee, plum, fig, date, and prune. Earthy and smoky notes waft from the glass with each swirl. Complex and quite aromatic.

T: Moderately sweet with a low level of bitterness. Malt is rich with a very faint roasted presence. Bready, smoky, and earthy, with restrained alcohol flavor and notes of caramel and prune. Finish exhibits warming.

M: Upper medium body with an upper low level of carbonation. Mouthfeel is smooth and silky with notable warming and a stickiness on the palate.

Overall: An excellent Strong Scotch Ale.

HopHead84, Feb 05, 2011
AleSmith Wee Heavy from AleSmith Brewing Company
93 out of 100 based on 861 ratings.