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AleSmith Wee Heavy | AleSmith Brewing Company

455 Reviews
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AleSmith Wee HeavyAleSmith Wee Heavy

Brewed by:
AleSmith Brewing Company
California, United States | website

Style: Scotch Ale / Wee Heavy

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.00%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by Jason on 04-19-2002

User Reviews
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Reviews: 455 | Ratings: 1,151
Photo of colts9016
4.21/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Another Brew from my cellar this beer is 4 yrs old.

The color the beer is jet black the head is off white to a light tan. The head is rocky and has decent retention. The head left some lacing on the glass in a incomplete pattern. Every now and then you see a light tan bubbles traverse from the bottom of the glass. This is just the caliber of what this beer should look like.

A rich roasted malt, with vanilla, coffee, chocolate char, and toast. A subtle yeasty and bready note lurk in the murkiness. The background some caramel and perfume notes dance effortlessly.

A rich roasted malt, caramel, coffee vanilla, bittersweet chocolate, and toast. The yeast, bread, caramel, some perfume, pine and resin.

A rich mouth coating that is chewy.

This is a superb example of a heavy scotch ale. I really enjoy drinking it.

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Photo of GreesyFizeek
4.57/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Blu Wolf Bistro in Rochester, NY.

This one pours a dark ruby brown, with a small head, and basically no lacing.

Smells like rich malty dark fruits, dry cocoa powder, toffee, caramel, and just a hint of tobacco.

This is possibly the best non-BA version of this style that I've ever had. It's so rich and bright with flavor, with concentrated sweet dark fruits, bittersweet caramel, dry cocoa powder, raisin-studded cinnamon bread, tobacco, and toffee. There's just a hint of hop bitterness on the finish. This is absolutely wonderful.

This is medium bodied, pretty rich and surprisingly crisply carbonated.

An absolutely wonderful and stellar rendition of this style which can often be way too sweet. This was perfectly balanced and surprisingly dry.

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Photo of Hallu
4.16/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The smell is amazing in this beer. It smells like a French flan (not the mexican gooey thing), meaning caramel and custard. Very different from most Scotch Ales which tend to smell too similar to a Belgian Trippel or something. The taste is strong : you feel the 10%. Quite winy, dark fruits, and dry. The smell is better than the taste. But that smell is so amazing it's worth buying the beer just for that.

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Photo of JohnnyHopps
4.35/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Appearance – The beer poured a dark murky brown color.

Smell – There was a big sweet malt nose with this beer.

Taste – The initial impression is a dry malty backbone. The taste evolves into butterscotch, drier malts and a caramel sweetness. The aftertaste runs very caramelly. The sweetness is not overpowering, but I might use this as a dessert beer.

Mouthfeel – To go with the caramel, the beer is very sticky. The taste has some staying power.

Overall – This is an outstanding example of the style.

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Photo of alarmclock314
4.04/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

25.4oz bottle, dated 7/1/14, drank on 3/12/16. Pours slightly hazy red with a medium sized off-white head; some lacing on the glass. Smells of caramel, sweet malt, and some dark fruit; very pleasant. The taste is less intense and has lots more dark fruit and some oxidation (paper, sherry); reminded me of a Barleywine. Good amount of dryness in the finish. The age seemed to significantly weaken/change the flavor. Great thick body and below average carbonation. Overall, I'll try to revisit this one again since it seems like a very promising Scotch Ale.

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Photo of Bluegrass49
4.67/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

1 pint 8.4 oz bottle poured into a pint glass.
Pours a clear dark brown color with an off-white 2 finger head. Decent lacing with good retention.
Very fruity malty taste with a subtle hop bitterness (just right).
Great beer, but a little pricey. Would have to reserve this one for special occasions.

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Photo of bigdeuce
4.71/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

I wish AleSmith's prices would go down slightly because I'd drunk them all the time. This is an unbelievably great brew. Pours a two finger, creamy head and an orangish to dark brown color. Scents of pears, peet, apricot, come to the nose. Such a smooth and full bodied wee-heavy. Big alcohol but absolutely undetectable. Chewy and thick mouthfeel. Caramel and mild ripe fruit taste with ample hops to balance out the sweetness.

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Photo of rand
4.07/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

This dark, mahogany-colored beer is now a local classic, given its relatively easy availability and standard-setting flavors. The nose is what you'd expect from a 10% scotch ale; boozy and malty, with distinct notes of burnt sugar and oak, along with cherries and generic ripe fruit. Smells a bit like a cherry liqueur at the edges of the bouquet.

The flavors follow, with the ripe fruit aspects at the front of the sip. A little phenolic, with medicinal cherries and earthy notes of leather and smoke. A little more hoppy and bitter at the back of the sip than expected (or not surprising, given it's Alesmith), with a ton of booze at the close. Really long finish with lingering bitter-sweet residuals.

A definitive example of the style. A lot of brews dubbed 'wee heavy' have maybe half the viscosity of this sludgy brew.

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Photo of Glanzman
4.73/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

750 ml bottle served in a pint glass.

Pours a beautiful ruby brown color with an off-white, 2 finger head. Nice lacing retention.

Smells of dark roasted malts, caramel and toffee.

Taste quite the same with a subtle hop bitterness.

Great beer. Pricey but taste great!

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Photo of BucannonXC5
3.98/5  rDev -5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Type: 8-oz. draft
Glass: Clear snifter glass
From: AleSmith Brewing Tap Room in San Diego, Calif.
Price: $4.25
Purchased: Jan. 9, 2016
Consumed: Jan. 9, 2016
Misc.: N/A

Poured a dark mahogany color with two fingers of khaki tan, fizzy head when I got it. Good spotty lacing on the sides of the glass. Good retention on the top all the way down. (Sight - 4.25)

Smelled boozy scotch caramel, toffee, dark fruits, plum and roasty nuts. (Smell - 3.75)

Tasted roasty malts, caramel, toffee, scotch notes, but not as pronounced as the nose, dark fruits and some dates. (Taste - 4.00)

Medium-to-full body. Creamy texture. Average carbonation. Long, smooth finish. (Feel - 4.25)

This was a very good beer for the style. Would have it again for sure. (Overall - 4.00)

3.98 | 89 | B+

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Photo of scotorum
4.5/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5


Poured from the 25.4 oz. bottle into a Samuel Smith English tulip.

a; Murky dark copper with an inch thick light tan head which receded slowly to thick even surface foam and dense lacing.

s: Caramel malt

t: Sweet caramel malt with full texture. Some bitterness in the background provides balance. Sweetish finish. High ABV phenomenally well covered.

m: Full, great body and carbonation tingle.

o: A top notch Scotch ale, one of the best available. Fine sipper and winter warmer, but excellent anytime.

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Photo of craftbeersweden
4.5/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Pours dark mahogny, dark brown with a two finger, beige head that leaves a lot of lacing.

Nose: A sweet nose of caramel malt, brown sugar, toffee and molasses. Dark fruit, raisin, plum, vanilla, oak and honey.
Taste: Soft, smooth taste of caramel malt, vanilla, candied sugar, honey, molasses, prune, raisin, tobacco and wood. So beatiful!
Mouth: Very smooth, full body with a great texture! Soft, creamy and almoust perfect carbonation! The beer fills my mouth with pleasure and pure happiness! The ABV at 10% is very well hidden and is only there to bring all the flavours to the beer.

This i so fantastic! I have found another favorite beer today. Alesmith (almoust) never dissapoints me despite my high expectations. Wee Heavy is another beer to add to this "must have" list!

Ok. I admit it - I'm a sucker for great Scotch Ale and this IS just that!

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Photo of barnzy78
4.37/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

750mL bottle, shared
A - brown pour with a foamy tan head
S - sweet and malty nose with brown sugar, caramel, vanilla, peat, and a hint of chocolate
T - sweet and smooth with nice complexity: brown sugar, molasses, vanilla, caramel, toffee, vanilla, oaky peat, pepper, earthy & leafy hops
M - full body, creamy and smooth, moderate carbonation, finishes with some pepperiness
O - very solid brew. This is a heavy wee heavy with loads of flavor and complexity. Glad to finally try this one!

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Photo of clayrock81
4.03/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Poured a copper brown body with a little bit of tan head that died quick. Toffee and figs hit me first in the aroma, and then I get touches of caramel and roasted malts along with hints of other dark fruits. Thick, slightly sticky heavy bodied beer that is rather easy to drink thanks to the sweet malts and dark fruits working well together as well as hidden ABV. There is a toffee nuttiness and caramel sweetness in this beer that works along with notes of raisins and figs as well as a dry malt base to prevent beer from being too sweet.

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Photo of Mitzvahman72
4.71/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Nicely malt forward with a dark mahogany color, it also contains tastes of dark raisins, malt and toffee. Unfortunately, there isn't much smoke that comes with this beer, although that might be overpowered by the great malts of this beer! If you’re looking for just the right amount of peat smoke for your beer, I recommend Sprecher Brewery’s Piper’s Scotch-style ale and even Belhaven Brewery’s Wee Heavy.

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Photo of NotAlcoholicJustAHobby
4.15/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

L-Almost black with very little light transference through the glass. An aggressive pour leads to a 1 inch fluffy white head recedes to a creamy white film and good lacing.
S-Lots of malt and dark fruits.
T-Much like the smell taste is some smoky malts, alcohol, and hints of dark fruit.
F-Carbonation is light and the mouthfeel is on the higher side of medium.
O-Another good wee heavy. Alcohol presence is still pretty strong and that makes it more of a sipper for me.

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Photo of GuitarIPA
3.55/5  rDev -15.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.25

Some nice qualities - dark brown/black color, foamy head, caramel, vanilla, root beer aroma and taste, mouthfeel is medium to full bodied, but cloyingly sweet.

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Photo of Immortale25
4.49/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a Due South Brewing Co. snifter. Bottleneck says Bottled on 02/11/14...well, even though Alesmith just entered my local market, I got a vintage bottle. Score? I guess we'll see.

A- Pours a mostly opaque black color with a 1/2 inch tan head that retains well before becoming a thin ring around the edge of the glass and some wisps of surface foam. Resilient lacing leaves a broken ring behind.

S- Big roasty quality with some sweetness and booze behind it. Almost smells like a malty barleywine. Notes of honey and vanilla

T- Sweet roasty malt brings to mind brown sugar, honey and maybe a hint of molasses. The slight oxidation presence helps to mellow the booze and sweetness. Somewhat of a peppery finish with a charry aftertaste and some vanilla notes that come out more as it warms.

M- Creamy with medium-low carbonation and a full body.

O- Indeed a score. I'll even go so far as to say this is the best Scotch ale I've ever had. Definitely more like a barleywine as guessed in the aroma but there's still that big malt presence that keeps it within the wee heavy realm. In the end, it's damn tasty, and that's all that matters.

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Photo of Thirstygoat
4.21/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Mahogany with copper head that rises quickly and leaves a nice lacing

smells of caramel, butterscotch and prunes

Sweet tasty malt , fruit and candy , hint of alcohol but not bad for 10%

Sticky but not thick

Would like to see this in 12oz bottles/cans

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Photo of Roguer
3.74/5  rDev -10.7%
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 tillmac62
4.02/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4

BOD 2/11/14. Pours a clear rich mahogany. Normal head volume, lacing and retention.

Outstanding, but of moderate intensity, complex nose of caramel, dark fruit (fig, date, raisin, prune) and molasses with a touch of alcohol.

Light full body with an almost creamy texture. World class carbonation with a nice effervescent burst in the middle and a robust finely bubbled burst in the finish.

The outstanding flavor profile is reasonably intense, complex and well balanced. It doesn't quite cover the alcohol and lacks the robust flavor of the world class Scottish Ales. It begins with a wave of dark fruit - mostly prune, but raisin and fig are evident. Towards the middle tobacco is present as the malts begin to assert themselves. A moderate sweetness constitutes the middle as caramel and molasses. The heavy prune notes are always present, but are somewhat balanced in the middle. The finish is a slow fade of prune and molasses coupled with a bit of an alcohol bite. Dial the alcohol back a point or so and this could challenge for world class. The alcohol tends to overwhelm the rich flavors this ale has and results in the prune flavor dominance noted.

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Photo of fishyakLA
4.47/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Had this beer last night. My favorite restaurant has this nice habit of aging beers. They had cracked a keg of 2011 Wee Heavy. Spread the word; this baby ages very gracefully. Color was not attractive, kind of a muddy brown and even a little grey. Smell provided good warning of interesting things to follow. This beer developed some of the dried fruits of a belgium but still had the higher carbonation of a scotch ale. Rich and not overly boozy. A very different beer from the other Scotch Ale I reviewed from Two Kilts. I wish I had a tasting flight of this brew to compare a current bottle with my 2011 version. At a minimum, it is clear that if you "forget" to drink this beer for a couple of years that your patience will be rewarded, not punished.

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Photo of scottbrew4u
4.69/5  rDev +11.9%
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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Photo of UrbanCaveman
4.42/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

25 oz bottle, poured into a snifter at ~45 degrees F.

Appearance: Pours a deep, dark mahogany brown, and forms two fingers of pale tan head with fantastic retention. The head itself leaves almost sheetlike lacing on the glass as it recedes, and the rest of the lacing is appropriately thick as well.

Smell: Thick, heavy toffee and caramel, sweet and bready, rush out of the glass like kilt-clad highlanders in Pictish war paint howling a battle cry as they charge downhill, swords in hand. There's a hint of some raisin in there as well, like the wrinkled old highlander marching behind them, playing the bagpipes, caring not that he's walking into a battlefield unarmed. He's crazy, that raisin. Oh, and you can smell faint leather as well, which makes sense, because baldrics and boots and such. To battle!

Taste: That aforementioned toffee and caramel? It came to fight. Those are the first flavors that greet the tongue, the vanguard of the assault, before the rank and file troops hit as a wall of warm dark bread. Somewhere in the swirling chaos of malty melee, that raisin rings out, like strains of Scotland the Brave played within the roar of battle and the screams of the dying. As the beer moves along, tones of leather and damp, peaty earth appear, fitting for a field of war soaked in sweat and blood. The ABV also makes an appearance towards the finish, a sudden surge of heat as the victors set fire to the homes and lands of the fallen.

Mouthfeel: Thick, creamy, full, rich, and sticky, this latches on to one's teeth and does not let go easily.

Overall: Quite a good wee heavy, with intense malt flavors and just enough earthy bitter, and the mouthfeel and appearance one wants from this style nailed perfectly. The only complaints I have, if one can even call them that, is a relative paucity of dark fruit complexity (I get only raisin from this one), and some unconcealed heat from the ABV. It's still a heck of a wee heavy, and a heck of a beer!

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Photo of Ozzylizard
3.88/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Bomber bottled 5/29/14 at 45 degrees into tulip
Aroma of malt
Head large (5 cm, aggressive pour), light brown, fizzy, diminishing to irregular 3-5 mm ring and partial layer with rocks
Lacing poor – rare island and partial ring
Body dark amber/brown, opaque
Flavor sweet, very malty; ends with a slight malt bitterness; no hops, no alcohol, no diacetyl
Palate full, syrupy, soft carbonation

Appearance 4, Aroma 4, Flavor 3.75, Palate 3.75, Overall 4

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AleSmith Wee Heavy from AleSmith Brewing Company
93 out of 100 based on 455 ratings.