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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.

843 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 843
Reviews: 412
rAvg: 4.17
pDev: 9.59%
Wants: 174
Gots: 182 | 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: 843 | Reviews: 412 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of SolomonGrundy


4.05/5  rDev -2.9%

Pours a dark, almost opaque mahogany. Lots of marshmallowy smooth tannish head and sticky lacing. Robust aromas of figs, black cherries, huge maltiness, a wisp of alcohol..Awesome so far...Flavor is enormous and malty-sweet. Right away flavor of the barrell aging, morphs into some roasty bitterness and finishes off a little bitter, but delicious. This is excellent and heavy beer. Still not as good as McEwans, but a fine replacement. Expensive at $10.49 for pint+9oz. but worth it. Find and drink for "thas is fookin grrayt bee-ah...."

08-28-2010 23:51:24 | More by SolomonGrundy
Photo of StephenRich

Ontario (Canada)

3.55/5  rDev -14.9%

What is a Wee Heavy? Thats a bit of a strange name for a beer style. Its actually just a very old name for beer. It represented an ale of stronger nature originating in Scotland. The Scotch Ales were anywhere between 7 and 10% abv, and hence were a "wee heavy".

This beautiful bottling by AleSmith fits the bill. It is a Scotch Style Ale brewed in California at weighs in at 10% abv as appropriate for the style. I've had a few AleSmith beers before, and they have all impressed me. This would be my first experience with the Wee Heavy, and I was definitely very excited as scotch ales are among my most favorite beers.

Like many of their beers, this Wee Heavy has been decorated with medals and awards since 2004. I was very glad it came in a 750ml bottle, cause this beer was build to share with friends.

I opened the Wee Heavy up around cellar temperature close to 12C (54F) - I was anticipating big thick malt flavors, so I wanted them to all stand at attention rather than be muted by the cold. Poured into wide based tulip this beer brewed a deep nutty brown color lifting a smoothly dense, creamy tan head. The beer showed deep garnet reds when held into the light, but overall it is a softly transparent close to black beer with a maroon shade of brown growing within it.

The nose is classic with malt sweetness, touches of caramely roast, dried cocoa and hints of floral bitter hops. It has big deep aroma but is not terribly bounding or powerful. It glides easily into the air and penetrates your nose. Make no mistake though, there is much flavor here. Its shows an alcoholic warmth and comes back to big malty sweetness and dark fruits.

Letting the Wee Heavy in was like washing your mouth with roasted candy malts. Big and lush malt candies pour over your palate totally engulfing your senses. It really is malt forward. The first rush of malt is the big sweet round flavor of burnt brown sugar and rich butterscotch. It is quite abrupt at first showing a very aggressive malt character. It all comes across your tongue very intently and falls heavily onto your cheeks bringing roast and toffee with it.

The malt flavors here are truly complex and deep. As the beer warms overall character of the beer smooths out and becomes more gentle allowing greater layers of aroma and flavors to emerge. Now warm figs, dates, plums, banana and vanilla open to your taste buds, and yet more warm toffee, and thick sticky caramel flow with pronounced purpose all over your palate. A soft and slightly earthy hop aroma helps balance this beer a touch, but really, it fails. This is a hugely malt focused beer which is dominated by the warm, mellow, sweet, and potent flavors of malted barley. Really, if you are buying a wee heavy, it is exactly what you are looking for.

It even shows flavors of dark bitter bakers chocolate, lightly toasted bread, and smooth dark espresso. It was quite the treat, but certainly not for everyone. Although I could depict alcohol on the palate, it comes across more as an aged port, really just aiding the beers sweet and direct profile. Touches of spice begin to emerge here to, but are overshadowed by toffee and malt.

The mouthfeel was soft and gently carbonated showing big flavors. This is a full bodied beer, and I do wish it was a bit creamier, but overall, especially as it warmed, it became very smooth and gentle. The finish was sweet and malty with a hint of molasses, as every other moment of the beer was. It does fit the Scotch Ale bill pretty perfectly, and I wish I was enjoying a deep chocolate cake at the time with it. That being said, do look for big rich deserts with it or roasted game. Anything too light will be overpowered by this big beer.

I am also willing to bet that it will cellar very well. I'd give it 2 years upright and it should become even deeper with smooth and mellow flavors of deep buttery figs, and rich sticky malt.

08-20-2010 02:48:01 | More by StephenRich
Photo of Manoftyr

New York

4.47/5  rDev +7.2%

Appearance-Pours a dark chestnut brown with the slightest tinge of ruby red highlights, no real head rises to speak of and the body is too slick to leave any real lacing. Its color is nonetheless quite beautiful.

Aroma-Gently roasted malt, buttery caramel, brown sugar, molasses and finishes off with dark fruit; just straight up malty sweetness and classic Scotch Ale goodness.

Taste-The dark fruit comes through first followed by sticky caramel, dark molasses, toffee and just the slightest hint of sweetened peat on the finish. A sweet, sticky mess of rich malty flavor; just like a Scotch Ale ought to be.

Mouthfeel-Slick and syrupy with a rather low level of carbonation; works fine here.

Drinkability-I'm perfectly happy just sipping this, the bottle is empty and my glass is about two thirds full as I write this; I assume the glass will be empty after not too much longer.

08-16-2010 00:47:03 | More by Manoftyr
Photo of Huhzubendah

District of Columbia

4/5  rDev -4.1%

This beer appears a dark brown color, with a medium-sized, sandy colored head and a fair mount of lacing. The aroma is definitely indicative of a Scotch ale. The beer tastes pretty good, and has a nice sweet malt character. Alesmith Wee Heavy is a pretty straight forward brew. I didn't find a lot of intricacies or intriguing flavors here, just a basic, plain Scotch Ale. There is a noticeable warming alcohol note in the finish, though not overpowering. Despite the lack of complexity, I thought this was a decent beer, and pretty drinkable, especially given the 10% abv. Overall, a good offering, though certainly not my favorite representation of the style.

08-02-2010 16:11:07 | More by Huhzubendah
Photo of BeerImmediately


4.2/5  rDev +0.7%

750ml into large tulip glass, as suggested.

Poured a deep brown with mahogany edges - only seen when held to the light. Faint head, as anticipated with the ABV. Fades to film, with just a hint of lacing.

Aromas start off with sweet fruits - apricots and cherry. Then move along to molasses and a good scotch-whiskey-like alcohol.

For such a strong aroma, this one has a tremendously smooth first pass on the palate - almost Guinness like. Molasses, chocolate milk, and caramel sweetness dominate the flavors up front, with a light hoppy pull in the middle. Tangy, yet thick fruit finish. Little bit sticky in the finish.

Drinkability scores really well here for the style. Inviting aromas, great flavors, and incredibly smooth swallow all make for high marks here! Will most certainly be picking up more for some good aging.

08-02-2010 01:40:58 | More by BeerImmediately
Photo of mdwalsh


4.18/5  rDev +0.2%

Picked up this bottle when I drove back from LA.

A: Pours a very large, maybe four finger head that takes it's time settling, and leaves a lot of lacing on the way down. The beer is opaque, maybe translucent with hints of reddish brown showing through. Can't tell if there's haze or active carbonation, it's too dark.

S: It fills the area pretty well with a malty beery aroma. In depth there are lots of dark, bready, fruity aromas. Not really caramel, much darker, almost like chocolate bread. I'd like some more vanilla.

T: Ah, there it is. I get tastes of baked vanilla and fruits, like apples or something, all in a pastry. Maybe a little more roast than I detected in the aroma. Not terrible sweet, which is both a nice change of pace but also a lack of something I look for in a scotch ale. Perhaps some more caramel and herbalness would be nice.

M: Smooth, not overly heavy but in no way light. Perfect carbonation.

D: Very very good, a good "I don't like beer" beer.

07-31-2010 23:37:01 | More by mdwalsh
Photo of bmwfan1987


4.05/5  rDev -2.9%

A-Very dark, with mahogany hues. Not much lacing, small head sticks around.

S-Dark fruits, Coffee, Milk chocolate and some licorice.

T-Very malty, with very much hidden hops. Its not as appealing as the nose promises.

M-Chewy, full bodied.

D-I would share this with a friend for dessert or with dessert. The 10% abv is hidden well, but the density of the beer makes it super filling.

07-25-2010 19:52:14 | More by bmwfan1987
Photo of billab914


4.43/5  rDev +6.2%

Despite the heat here this evening I felt like opening something big tonight. Poured from a 750ml bomber into my Dogfish snifter. Poured dark brown in color with a big dense tan head filling one inch of the glass. Beautiful looking beer and pour. Very good head retention and lacing as well.

The aroma has a sweet malty flavor to it with some fig and plum dark fruits coming through. Some caramel, toffee and brown sugar are present as well. Very nice showcase of the maltiness in the nose.

The taste has a big malty and sweet profile up front with some nice dark fruits, caramel and toffee coming through. Closer to the finish the beer shows more of a smoky, roasted, coffee, earthy bitterness to it that I really like. Just a little bit of alcohol coming through in the finish. Excellent tasting Wee Heavy, love the complexity.

The mouthfeel is on the thicker side, with a nice creaminess to it. The carbonation is below average and pretty appropriate for the style and size of the beer. Drinkability is very good, it's an excellent tasting beer overall. Probably the best of the style I've had and another very impressive beer from Alesmith.

07-09-2010 00:23:08 | More by billab914
Photo of maximum12


3.85/5  rDev -7.7%

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.

06-22-2010 01:40:26 | More by maximum12
Photo of impending


4.43/5  rDev +6.2%


750ml into a tulip. Deep mahogany poured a two finger head that settled down to look like a creamy dairy something or another. Fine bubbled lacing.

Malty sweet roasted malts, brandy, scotch, vanilla - it smells thick if that's possible.

Very thick mouthfeel, very.

Taste follows nose. This is absolutely one of the best brews that has the alcohol so far forward. It works because while the alcohol is pronounced it is smooth - the term boozy doesn't apply. Only a few brews have a name which also truly imparts what you are about to experience - this is a wee heavy and its exactly wee heavy !

The taste warms wonderfully !!


06-21-2010 05:51:09 | More by impending
Photo of ckeegan04


4.45/5  rDev +6.7%

A - Chestnut brown with a forthy light brown head. Excellent lacing and head retention.

S - Dark malts, a hint of burnt sugar, molasses and justa hint of smokiness.

T - Very sweet initially with hints of dark brown sugar, molasses and just a touch of smoke. Molasses becomes stronger as the beer warms and all the flavors balance eash other well.

M/D - Full bodied and very heavy mouth feel. Carbonation is just strong enough to keep the beer moving through the mouth.

06-19-2010 18:27:15 | More by ckeegan04
Photo of hardy008


4.22/5  rDev +1.2%

Dark brown with ruby highlights and a 3 finger tan foamy head with very good retention and lacing. The aroma is somewhat lighter than I expected. It has sweet caramel malt, smoke, hops, and cocoa. Hopefully the taste is more robust.

The taste is more robust. Caramel, smoke, cocoa, hops, and dark fruit. Sweet, malty, and just the right amount of hop flavor combines to make this a really nice Wee Heavy.

Smooth, creamy, medium bodied, and properly carbonated. The alcohol is well disguised for 10.00 %. I recommend trying this beer, if you have not already.

06-12-2010 17:58:20 | More by hardy008
Photo of brentk56

North Carolina

4.47/5  rDev +7.2%

Appearance: Pours a cola brown color with a rather modest head that streaks the chalice with viscosity

Smell: Caramel and fig, with hints of peat and alcohol

Taste: Opens with the caramel, with the fig and peat flavors arriving by mid-palate; after the swallow, the complex sweetness melds together to provide a lingering finish

Mouthfeel: Full bodied with low to moderate carbonation; a little warmth in the gullet

Drinkability: I have been cellaring this bottle for three or four years and it is drinking beautifully now; the alcohol that others have noted in their reviews has toned down and the complexity of the sweet flavors has increased

06-05-2010 23:43:37 | More by brentk56
Photo of Buebie


4.3/5  rDev +3.1%

Received from a very generous BA.

2009 bottle, silver tin wrap, green 750 ml. Poured into an oversized snifter, not much head comes forward, but a swirl bring out about an inch of off white froth. Receding to leave a generous cap of retention with minimal legs of lace.
Color appears to be a dark brown, almost black with faint violet hues when held to light.

Aroma is a real treat, pleasing the senses enormously. Very sweet with a ginormous malt bill. burnt sugar, brown sugar, vanilla, dark booze soaked fruit, bready too and a distant roasted grain aroma with an almost chocolate grain aroma mixing in.
some of the aroma borders a quad really.

Sweet upfront with mild heat, more booze soaked fruits, malty, really malty, buttery brown sugar....GOD this is GOOD...
light notes of vanilla. Swallowing brings a hidden explosion of roasted grain, chocolate and a touch of dark roasted coffee beans.
Lingering with the roasty flavors, buttery caramelized sugars, a touch of warmth. Some hop bitters manage to fight their way through this big flavor rich brew.

Mouthfeel is slick, full and low on carbonation disturbance.

A desirt sipper on roids, this has several flavor profiles shinning through the Big'ness of the beer. Warm, but not hot and pleasing all the while. Really enjoyed this one.

05-25-2010 03:14:37 | More by Buebie
Photo of Derek

British Columbia (Canada)

4.03/5  rDev -3.4%

I was a little taken-aback by the alcohol in this, wondering if it'd be more like a barley wine... but they pulled it off!

A: Deep chestnut with a huge tan head, good retention & lacing.

S: Figs, raisins, roasted nuts, cocao and caramel. Quite nice!

T: Dark raisins, figs, roasted nut, dark toffee, cocoa, burnt caramel, restrained bitterness, hints of wood & smoke, alcohol is extremely well-hidden, but it is warming.

M: Moderately full body with a light residual sweetness; modest carbonation.

D: It's a big one!

05-04-2010 21:36:25 | More by Derek
Photo of bump8628


4.28/5  rDev +2.6%

A big 750ml bottle that made the trek from Southern California to Oklahoma in my girlfriend's luggage...Thanks!

Pours brown with a ruby tint when held to the light and a really creamy, off-white head after a heavy pour into a snifter.

Nice complexity with dark caramelized sugars, toffee, cola, and weak coffee standing out. Very rich with a sweet finish and a creamy mouthfeel helped out by the lower level of carbonation.

An excellent example of style. This one would age beautifully for years, but it's great as it is.

04-30-2010 02:33:52 | More by bump8628
Photo of ILikeGoodCider


4.28/5  rDev +2.6%

Enjoyed on 04/09/2010 from a 750ml bought fresh at Wade's Wines in Agoura Hills, CA. Served chilled. Poured in a large tulip as recommended on the bottle.

A: Pours a ruddy brown color, with a reasonable head that dissipated and laced down to some fine bubbles.

S: Sweet, but right there with it was a lot of earthy fruits and just a hint of estery alcohol.

T & M: Strong, sweet malts, and a fig/raisin tinge. Well done.

D: Definitely a beer to seek out if you enjoy the style. Kinda pricey, but then, everything from AleSmith is. I can't wait to a) taste one aged and b) enjoy a barrel-aged version.

04-10-2010 03:47:57 | More by ILikeGoodCider
Photo of VaTechHopHead

4.55/5  rDev +9.1%

A - Non-transparent dark brown, huge tan head with ton of lacing down the glass.

S - Big spicy malt aroma, molasses and faint spicy hops. It's a little complex but fantastic smelling.

T - Yeast esters, spicy malts, and a slight dark fruit taste. Nice warming sensation towards the end also.

M/D - Medium to heavy body, nicely carbonated with just the right amount of small carbonation volumes. Semi-dry finish from the hops with just the slightest ethyl alcohol aftertaste.

Would definitely love to have more of this!

04-01-2010 23:22:37 | More by VaTechHopHead
Photo of tigg924


4.33/5  rDev +3.8%

Appearance: cloudy, orange/brown in color, 1/2 inch head, high carbonation

Smell: toasted malt, caramel, earth, alcohol--a very malty smell

Taste: caramel, earth, bread, alcohol, and chocolate

Mouthfeel: moderately sweet borderline very sweet with some bittering alcohol tones, medium/heavy body

Drinkability: My first beer from them and wow is this a winner. This is a nice and super complex malt bomb. This is a great beer regardless of style. I like this a lot.

03-15-2010 13:09:57 | More by tigg924
Photo of ibbjamin


3.83/5  rDev -8.2%

Paid $14.99 for a 750ml bottle from Perry's Liquor in Livermore, CA. Poured into a large snifter to review.

Gives a big head; off white and tightly knit with some frothage up top. Dark brown in color with deep ruby coming through when held to a bright light. A nice quarter inch layer of retention and thick trails of lace.

Aroma is sweet and malty yet still well balanced with a touch of earthy hops. Mild fruity notes of plum and raisin and even hints of thick molasses and toffee. Not a very big nose, but intriguing and complex nonetheless.

The first mouthfull reminds me quite a bit of an imperial stout; dark chocolate and expresso with roasted malts.

The mouthfeel differs from that of a stout though as it is not quite full bodied and not nearly as thick and viscous. Still relatively thick and goes down nice and creamy. Lively carbonation and nice drinkabilty.

This is one style of beer that varies greatly from beer to beer. I thought this to be a more mild Imperial Stout than some of the other's I've tried in its style.

03-02-2010 03:44:19 | More by ibbjamin
Photo of mdagnew

United Kingdom (Northern Ireland)

3.95/5  rDev -5.3%

750ml bottle bought online from Beermerchants.com..

Poured a deep dark russet brown colour... creamy mocha head poured small and quite fizzy then faded fairly quickly to patchy wispy covering with thicker edging... some light strands of lacing...

Aroma - Lots of rich treacle sweetness mixed with dark fruits (dates, prunes, fig and raisins), toated bready (mainly fruit loaf) malts, vanilla, nutmeg spiciness, sweet toasted nuttiness, dark chocolate and liquorice, faint trace of smoke, some of the 10% alcohol just noticeable..

Taste... Molasses, alcohol soaked fruits (figs, prunes, date, some raisins also), some light smokiness comes through after the sweetness, fresh vanilla, toasted bready malts, malt loaf, marsala notes, quite a lot of spiciness - pepper and nutmeg, some light medicinal notes, faint anise...

Feel - Too much carbonation which makes it quite sharp on the tongue - this fades a touch as the beer warms up... medium / full bodied... Drinkability is pretty decent even for a beer of 10%..

Overall - A decent enough brew but could probably do with some aging to mellow things out... certainly recommended though...

02-18-2010 10:39:20 | More by mdagnew
Photo of coldmeat23


4.25/5  rDev +1.9%

TEMP: Cellared @ approx 55 degrees

This liquid is a very dark amber/brown color. It has a decent head, which is about one finger thick, that is the color of espresso foam. This recedes to a foamy surface covering of varying thickness. The lacing is fairly full and quite sticky.

The nose is full of roasted malt notes. It has a very nice level of caramel and brown sugar sweetness. Hints of butterey (english) toffee. Light touches of dark fruits are underneath. I'm getting traces of toasted coconut also, which is unexpected, but seems to work really well. Light notes of earthy nuttiness.

The roasted malt notes dominate the flavor. They are offset by a good amount of caramel presence. Minor hints of brown sugar are noted. It has a good deal of tobacco mixed in with the nuttiness, with a touch of leather. Light hint of dark coffee, with a touch of cream and sugar. Mild vanilla notes. It has an almost bourbon-like element to it, flavorwise, which really makes me want the B.A. version of this one, even more.

This is full-bodied and has a low-to-medium level of carbonation. I'd like to see the carbonation level 'tweaked' to get some creaminess into it. (But that's just personal opinion.)

This is very tasty and easy-to-drink. The 10.0%abv, while well disguised, is not subtle at all with it's effects though. I'm barely to the halfway point of this 750ml and am already starting to feel it(!).
Another great brew from Alesmith.

01-25-2010 20:33:56 | More by coldmeat23
Photo of wyattshotmaker


4.28/5  rDev +2.6%

poured into a tulip,nice brown color with decent lacing and a head that transformed into a small persistent head. rich caramel flavor with a hint of dark fruit.

taste is caramel with very very soft hints chocolate and coffee.a bit of very clean in terms of esters and phenolic compounds. i kinda like a bit of esters in a scotch ale even though they are not part of the traditional style.

mouthfeel is pretty full with moderate carbonation.overall very drinkable,not sure if it's worth the price but it is very good none the less.

01-18-2010 03:14:20 | More by wyattshotmaker
Photo of Lothore


4.13/5  rDev -1%

A- Pours a deep ruddy brown hue with a gigantic, chunky head.

S- Sweet, grape, vinous notes, hints of brown sugar

T- Dark fruit, slight coffee notes, hints of grape.

M- Thick with medium carbonation.

D- Extremely drinkable. I liked this one more than the BA version even though it was more tame.

12-31-2009 04:27:47 | More by Lothore
Photo of GreatWeisseHope


3.23/5  rDev -22.5%

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.

12-30-2009 20:05:42 | More by GreatWeisseHope
AleSmith Wee Heavy from AleSmith Brewing Company
93 out of 100 based on 843 ratings.