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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.
BA SCORE
93
outstanding

860 Ratings
THE BROS
93
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 860
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: 860 | Reviews: 416 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Sammy
4.13/5  rDev -1%

Beautiful colour, nice brown head, lace. Lovely yeasty and chocolate malt aroma, with booziness. Understated hops, some toastiness, malt and dark fruit including fruit. Goes very well with food. Very nice bitter finish. Wonderful drinakable, thanks Dr. Jay.

Sammy, Jan 15, 2006
Photo of t0rin0
4/5  rDev -4.1%

t0rin0, Aug 12, 2012
Photo of UCLABrewN84
4.4/5  rDev +5.5%

On tap at Beachwood BBQ & Brewing in Long Beach, CA.

Pours a clear dark brown with a foamy dark khaki head that settles to a film on top of the beer. A foamy latticework of lace coats the glass on the drink down. Smell is of toasted malt, burnt brown sugar, caramel, toffee, dark fruits, and alcohol. Taste is much the same with an alcohol kick on the finish. There is a mild amount of bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp and slightly sticky mouthfeel. Overall, this is a very good beer with some awesome aromas and flavors that make it very easy to drink.

UCLABrewN84, Jul 07, 2012
Photo of djrn2
4/5  rDev -4.1%

djrn2, Nov 14, 2011
Photo of Thorpe429
4.1/5  rDev -1.7%

Thanks to multiple traders for sending bottles of this out my way.

Pours a very deep brown with a medium tan head. Several fingers quickly turn into a slight lacey ring. Nose is quite complex with caramel, brown sugar, raisins, brown sugar, miscellaneous dark fruits, and a bit of alcohol. Taste is similar, but not as strog nor as complex. Good solid body wihout much heat. Drinks nicely now; I'm looking forward to pulling out another one in a year or two.

Thorpe429, Oct 01, 2010
Photo of nmann08
4.5/5  rDev +7.9%

nmann08, Jun 04, 2012
Photo of zestar
4/5  rDev -4.1%

zestar, May 05, 2014
Photo of acurtis
3.75/5  rDev -10.1%

acurtis, Feb 10, 2013
Photo of metter98
4.25/5  rDev +1.9%

A: The beer is near black in color (traces of amber are visible near the edges of the glass when it is held up to the light). It poured with a thin off white head that completely faded away.
S: There are aromas of caramel and toffee in the nose along with some hints of smoke.
T: The taste is very similar to the smell and has some additional flavors of brown sugar.
M: It feels medium- to full-bodied and very smooth on the palate with a light amount of carbonation.
O: The beer is very easy to drink for the style because the alcohol is well hidden from the taste.

metter98, May 22, 2011
Photo of brentk56
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

brentk56, Jun 05, 2010
Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.58/5  rDev +9.8%

Pecan shell brown with a generous infusion of darkest crimson and edges of burnt orange. The liquid is nowhere near opaque, which makes me wonder about the heaviness of this wee heavy. The small, toasted tan cap is nicely creamy and lasts for quite a while. It also deposits an attractive lace signature on the upper reaches of the glass.

The nose is classic for the style, although it could stand to be more aromatic. I smell lightly roasted malt, brown sugar, dark caramel, cocoa and a drizzle of molasses. Thankfully, the aroma opens up with warming and realizes the potential that I knew was there all along.

Wee Heavy is wonderfully delicious beer. If you like your Scotch ales boldly flavored and malty sweet, with a dizzying array of complementary flavors (all of them good), then you've come to the right place. In fact, when I think of a beer of this style, this is the flavor profile that comes to mind. First off, hops are virtually absent, as it should be for the style. The brewers probably ran out after the latest batch of YuleSmith.

Malt is the undisputed king, with flavors reminiscent of dates (primarily), sticky toffee pudding with dark caramel sauce, dark brown sugar, molasses, sweetened tobacco, tangy peat and lingering tendrils of smoke. As I said, this offering contains every last style element that I can think of and combines them into a sweetly luscious, beautifully blended whole. I'm sorry that I questioned its bona fides when commenting on the less than opaque appearance. There's no shortage of flavor, that's for damn sure.

Alcohol is noted on the palate, although it's as welcome as it is in a fine, aged port. I'd like to think that roughly one year in my cellar was just what this beer needed to allow the various flavors to interdigitate and to allow the alcohol to mellow into the velvet hammer that it is at present. I need to slow down since my brain is beginning to fog over and typing is becoming more difficult.

I don't expect a wee heavy to have an Imperial stout-like mouthfeel, but I do expect it to be somewhat viscous and at least slightly chewy. Mission accomplished. I was happy with the first sip and I'm thrilled now that the bottle is more than half empty. The beer is becoming increasingly silky smooth with warming. Try as I might, I can't find any chinks in the armor.

AleSmith Wee Heavy is great beer. As noted above, it fits with uncanny precision into the Scotch ale/wee heavy blueprint that I carry around in my head. I'm kicking myself for not picking up more when I had the chance. On my next trip to Ohio, I'll be sure to grab a few more bottles of this outstanding ale from one of the best breweries in this, or any, country.

BuckeyeNation, Jan 27, 2006
Photo of Phyl21ca
3.93/5  rDev -5.8%

Bottle courtesy of Black95tt: Poured a clear burgundy color ale with a small slightly off-white dirty head with average retention. Aroma of sweat malt with subtle hints at dry fruits. Aroma is mix between some roasted malt with some dry fruits sweetness. Body is a bit thin for my own liking and alcohol shows a little bit. I would have liked a bit more of a smoky/peat aroma to make this truly wonderful but this is a very good beer nonetheless.

Phyl21ca, Aug 16, 2006
Photo of BEERchitect
4.49/5  rDev +7.7%

As really a Barleywine dressed in Scottish Strong Ale clothing- this heavily malted beer extends beyond the realm of anything Scottish and enters the world of cognac, brandy and Scotch whisky but in the most succulent and candied way possible.

Pouring an ominous tawny bronze color, its mysterious haze allows just enough light to pierce that its brilliant depth of colors may be explored. As a slow and deliberate rise of bubbles coat the surface, they are short lived as the slowly creep toward the edge before holding firm through the remainder of the session. With no lace in sight, the ale instead relies on its sugar laden brandy-type legging to adorn the sides of the glass.

Savory, sultry and undeniably masculine, the aromas of black-strap molasses captivates the nose immediately. Its rich and succulent scent is chocked full of chocolate, light coffee, light mesquite, vinous port, rum-soaked cherries, dates, figs, grapes and cashews. Heading into that first sip, its sweet and powerful scents are nearly as intimidating as they are rewarding.

Its incredible sweetness isn't for those that don't have a sweet tooth. Complex in taste- those deep molasses flavors are caramelly, nutty, and woodsy. Venturing past- other complexities keep building. First, there's a rich Belgian chocolate tone that joins with burnt toffee, and then reels in light Kona coffee, rich nutty taste, light campfire and cola. But then the fruity- winy flavors send the complexities into orbit! Rum-like and spicy, notes of dark, dried and pitted fruits offer up cherry, grape, figs and dates that when joined with a particular saltiness- reminds me of teriyaki.

With utmost certainty, the ale is full bodied and with a lush syurpy texture that layers on the mouth without apology. Its masculine strength offers up a warming tartness gives the texture a chewy character with a certain oily viscosity and makes it much more of a savory sipper that a quaffable drinking beer.

I have no problem with this ale being a "mere" Wee Heavy that's scaled up to Barleywine-type proportions. Forget the style. Forget the rules. Forget its origins and inspirations. One sip changes all that and demands that the beer be seen in a special light- one not meant for the mere entusiast.... but for the connoisseur!

BEERchitect, Sep 05, 2013
Photo of mikesgroove
4.1/5  rDev -1.7%

Finally got a chance to try this one last night. Been waiting forever as I knew this would be a beast, but last night I figured what the heck and popped this one open to see what it was like. The pour was very nice with a reach deep, dark, hazelnut brown with just the tiniest bit of light pushing through on the bottom and the sides offering just the slightest peak of reddish tone underneath of it. A gorgeous looking tan head that reached a height of around three inches came across the top and cascaded throughout the glass. This settled after a couple minutes and left behind an very nice pillow of tan foam that lasted well into the night. Great side glass lace as well, really quite the thick looking liquid here for sure.

The aroma was very sweet, with a big malt nose. Lots of earthy smells, grain, some raisin maybe and a touch of spice. Nice bit of caramel as well, with a woody sort of alcohol mixed in. This all translated over to the flavor, which also was very full and really just a very nice example of the style. Loads of sweetness in it, with candied sugar and caramel laced earthy malts making the big splash here. Very big body on this one as well, with really a tremendously smooth feeling to it. Nice carbonation that never really quit, and a long lasting sweet finish that was not overly dry but really left you looking for another sip. The alcohol was up there but was very well hidden, making this very drinkable, considering how strong it was.

Overall, I thought this was really an excellent beer, and one of the better I have had in the style. I am just starting to get around to all the big Alesmith beers and this was top notch. I am really enjoying this one and looking forward to having it again. If you are a fan of the Wee Heavy, this is a must try, well hell it's a must try anyway!

mikesgroove, Apr 04, 2008
Photo of kjkinsey
5/5  rDev +19.9%

kjkinsey, Dec 04, 2011
Photo of ygtbsm94
3.5/5  rDev -16.1%

ygtbsm94, Nov 15, 2011
Photo of spycow
4.25/5  rDev +1.9%

spycow, Mar 11, 2013
Photo of GRG1313
4.38/5  rDev +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 jaydoc
4.25/5  rDev +1.9%

jaydoc, Jun 22, 2014
Photo of ChainGangGuy
4.7/5  rDev +12.7%

Appearance: Pouring out dark, chestnut brown with a head reminiscent of frothed milk. Alright, this starts off my inaugeral AleSmith experience!

Smell: Stongly sweet caramel malt aroma coupled with a limitless amount of peat and smoke. Touch of oak. Some dark fruits glazed in maple syrup.

Taste: Starts off with a clean maltiness which blends effortlessly with the peat and dark fruit flavors. Again, a bit of oak in the equation. A bit like a nice tawny port. The hops, though present, are restrained and unobtrusive, allowing for the dark, wine-like fruits and sweetness to dominate (though, at no point is this beer overly sweet). A little time and warmth help to coax out some additional flavors of cocoa and toasted vanilla beans. A litte more time brings out some fusel qualities.

Mouthfeel: Medium, and so very smooth.

Drinkability: Quite so. I feel "very good" is an understatement. I think it's an *outstanding* beer, and one I thoroughly recommend.

ChainGangGuy, Nov 20, 2005
Photo of Knapp85
4.18/5  rDev +0.2%

This was one of the first Alesmith's I was able to find here in PA. With much excitement I opened the bottle shortly after getting it and split it with a friend. This beer pours out as a very deep reddish brown color. Much darker than I thought it'd be. The head on it was a very light tan color with a pretty decent lacing. The smell of the beer had some really nice earthy aromas mixed with some dark sugary fruit aromas too. The taste was good, it's had a really nice malt backbone to it, it's on the sweeter side but it's subtle not overwhelming. The mouthfeel is very smooth and had a pretty good thickness to it. Overall if I come across it again one day it's worth picking up again, possibly for aging purposes.

Knapp85, Jun 15, 2011
Photo of westcoastbeerlvr
3.75/5  rDev -10.1%

westcoastbeerlvr, Nov 14, 2011
Photo of largadeer
4/5  rDev -4.1%

largadeer, May 17, 2013
Photo of JAHMUR
4/5  rDev -4.1%

JAHMUR, Nov 29, 2011
Photo of NeroFiddled
4.22/5  rDev +1.2%

750ml green bottle; purple painted label; simply capped, with silver foil neck wrap. Cellared at 60F for one year; and enjoyed at 50F in a beer-clean Imperial pint glass.

The nose is immediately noticed upon pouring, with rich, deeply caramelized malts and a hint of roastiness. Further investigation once it gets into the glass also reveals some brown sugar, even darker molasses, and dark vinous fruit (raisins, prune, red wine).

It delivers a full head of densely creamy light tan foam over a clear (at least on the first pour) dark chestnut/mahogany body with auburn highlights. The head retention is very good given the alcohol content, and it leaves super wide rings of lace about the pint.

In the mouth, it's surprisingly medium bodied (I was expecting it to be a bit fuller), and smooth.

The flavor is exactly as the nose indicates, with a bit more alcohol - and that's the only drawback to this otherwise perfect wee heavy... the alcohol needs to be more restrained. And that goes to fermentation, not gravity, so there's a fairly big flaw here. Still, I really enjoyed it and I might try it again.

NeroFiddled, Jun 12, 2005
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AleSmith Wee Heavy from AleSmith Brewing Company
93 out of 100 based on 860 ratings.