Dismiss Notice
Get 12 monthly issues of BeerAdvocate magazine and save $5 when you select "auto-renew."

Subscribe now →
Dismiss Notice
Join our email list →

And we'll send you the latest updates and offers from BeerAdvocate, because knowing is half the battle.

AleSmith Wee Heavy - AleSmith Brewing Company

Not Rated.
AleSmith Wee HeavyAleSmith Wee Heavy

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
93
outstanding

449 Reviews
THE BROS
93
outstanding

(Read More)
Reviews: 449
Hads: 1,110
Avg: 4.19
pDev: 14.56%
Wants: 209
Gots: 238 | FT: 16
Brewed by:
AleSmith Brewing Company
California, United States | website

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: 449 | Hads: 1,110
Photo of IceAce
3.83/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a deep brown body with flashes of ruby around the edges. Nose is haevy with earthy malt sprinkled with an occasional alcohol ester.

Entry is an eye-opening combo of deeply roasted malt and mouth-pleasing fullness. The full malty goodness continues thru the midtaste while the finish is a decadent mix of malt, piney hop, and alcohol.

This brew just pleads to be served with a slow-cooked brisket.

 408 characters

Photo of RedDiamond
3.32/5  rDev -20.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Initial smells of moldy dog turd with sugar give way to musty barnyard broom closets of soiled dishrags and camphor. There’s also butterscotch, medieval dungeon, and a slightly smoky-swampy scent mixed with industrial alcohol. Ah, Scotland (by way of San Diego)!

Despite this brutal (yet accurate) panoply of smell descriptives, I actually appreciate the aroma of this beer much as I might appreciate the smell of certain common pheromones. The taste however, reaches like a broken limb and is unaccountably dilute. My Wee Heavy achieved perfect cellaring and serving at 50°F (exactly as it recommends on the bottle). But this beer doesn’t taste like a full-bodied ale that has mellowed. It tastes like a stick figure trying to be a body builder. It’s not that the essential flavors don’t exist, they’re just never delivered until whatever flavors might have once achieved identity, are arrested by a blunt alcohol finish.

 933 characters

Photo of ChainGangGuy
4.67/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

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.

 972 characters

Photo of RoyalT
4.12/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance – The head came up big then went down quickly, which is typical of the style. The body is a thick, pond-like dark brown.

Smell – This ale is rich in malts and whisky notes. The malts are huge and very complex, consisting mostly of sugared toast and some dark, roasty, stout-like smells. There is a light peaty smoke here along with some dark, juicy fruits. The prune and tobacco are overpowering.

Taste – Man, does this sweeten up at the taste. The chewing tobacco dominates, and is mixed with some juicy prunes and raisins. This is just raunchy. It is so sweet and full of tobacco it’s amazing. There’s a light hint of the big alcohol but mostly this is like sucking on a leaf of chewing tobacco.

Mouthfeel – This is almost full-bodied with some straightforward, rather harsh sweetness throughout.

Drinkability – I really enjoyed this take on the style, although BJCP might disagree.

 914 characters

Photo of bruachan
4.49/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

750 from hudson's acme

possibly the best aroma i've found in a beer. sweet caramelized malts with a deep rich tastiness. a touch of vinous darkfruitiness

dark garnet with a thin bubbly film. i coaxed a half-finger head out of it with an aggressive pour, but the % killed it off

fairly full-bodied, with a smooth alcoholic finish and a hint of smoke. complex in all facets. smoke and roasted barley in the background, nutty flavors and big caramel up front

this is a great beer. hard to sit down with a couple on your own, but a great example of the style and wonderfully drinkable. after this, and if speedway is what people say it is, i'm buying a t-shirt

 668 characters

Photo of MuddyFeet
3.85/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Very good dessert beer.

Pours a dark brown with ever-so-slight red tinges. Thick foamy head that leaves thick, coating lace.

Nose is roasty and sugary sweet malts.

Flavor is a nice sweet, roasty beer. Some nice overripe plums. Bits of roastiness but it does not linger and is gone with each sip. Which is a nice difference. Some toffee and caramel as well. The alcohol definitely jumps out at you. Cannot miss it as it kind of tingles throughout each taste.

Medium body--thought it would be heavier. The alcohol burn might be a bit too much for some.

A nice slow drinking beer.

 593 characters

Photo of twelvsies
4.17/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Been hearing a lot about this brewery lately, and as their products are finally starting to show up out east I thought I'd pick up a little something. Didn't dissapoint either, very good beer. Appears a real dark russet brown color with some red when put up to the lights, and an average head of foamy bubbles. Smells sweet and complex. Lots of roasty malt characteristics, chocolaty, yet with some real pungent qualities to it that suggest something a bit rougher than your average ale. Taste gets even a bit more complex. Not a hoppy beer by any means, but there's a nice bitterness to balance the assertive sweet maltiness and chocolate tastes, as well as some complex spicing and fruitiness. Also, I think part of the bitterness comes from that traditional smokey flavor which is sort of the signature quality of a good scotch ale, and it's definately quite apparent in this beer. A nice alcohol kick also accents this beer. Medium bodied mouthfeel. This beer would be hard to drink a lot of because of the alcohol primarily, but the complexity keeps things interesting. Definately a unique beer, and I look forward to trying their others.

 1,143 characters

Photo of PatandDavid
4.09/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

David and I shared a bottle of this last night at 'Bones. Lovely big green glass bottle, with nice silk screening. Our bottle said the abv was 9.5%. Very deep rich brown, low to non existent head on it. The aroma was my number one rated aspect: rich, peaty style malts. Definite hot alcohol. Actually...the aroma also reminded me of a good German Doppelbock, so again I have to go back and complement the rich maltiness there. Tastewise, this is a sipping brew. It is very hot, not immediately off-putting for me, but there is no denying that one is drinking a high abv brew. The alcohol was not able to be ignored. Balancing that out, there were some tasty notes of chocolate, some toasty malt notes, and low acridity. I did enjoy this one. The bottle recommends storing some away, and I wouldn't mind trying this after the alcohol has mellowed a bit.

 852 characters

Photo of vladtheimpaler
4.53/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750ml. This is one of the best made beers you will find anywhere!. Pours a deep orange-brown with a nice tan head. massive rich malty aroma that reminds me of a fine German dopplebock of the best quality. Huge toffee and carmel notes. Sensational! Flavrs consist of explosive malts and carmel flavors, once again like a dopple. Very rich and desert like. Full mouth feel. Very drinkable, but it does go right to your head. Yummylicious.

 436 characters

Photo of NeroFiddled
4.25/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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.

 1,120 characters

Photo of brewdlyhooked13
4.05/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance - poured into a wine glass per the label's suggestion, it is a murky brown with soft, dull red highlights. Minimal head, settles at a thin, persistent rim of bubbles.

Aroma - thick malt, chocolate, alcohol with the Scotch Whiskey influence. Goes a little thin after settling, but still good and fragrant.

Taste - whiskey-like malt, sweetness, and alcohol occur in rapid succession. The swallow ushers in a bit of chocolate, a dark fruit component, and the boozy warmth of 9% abv. A palatable wee heavy.

Mouthfeel - has smoothness and comes across a little to the thin side in body. Occasionally vapory from the alcohol, giving it a big beer feel at times. The texture improves noticeably as it warms.

Drinkability - very tasty and very potent. A worthy evening sipper.

Props to drewbage for hauling this across the country for me, it helped kick off my long Memorial Day weekend with elegance and pizazz. 2001 vintage I believe.

 954 characters

Photo of granger10
3.61/5  rDev -13.8%
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.

 839 characters

Photo of BuckSpin
4.52/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Split a bottle with a relative in town. What a treat to try Alesmith's version of my favorite type of beer. I let the beer warm and took my glass outside to truly savor it undistrurbed by smoke or sound.

Poured a complex, dark, ruddy brown hue - very dark for a Wee Heavy. A mixed head of tan foam adorned the top. Nose was surprising & wonderfully complex. Deep & rich, it just kept going. Peat, burnt coffee, oak, earthy, coffee, malt - I spent minutes just smelling it.

Oh, its rich and smooootthhhh. Surprisingly creamy, you might actually think porter for a brief second. Echoes of oak & charcoal warm the tongue & pallete with a complex taste that never quite reveals all its pieces. The biggest surprise was the strong coffee and toffee throatfeel and aftertaste - this is a Wee Heavy? A slight hop peak on the swallow completes the ride, leaving echoes that resonate for a while in the warm afterglow. This is a beer to be slowly enjoyed. I look forward to another quiet evening exploring its compexities again.

 1,025 characters

Photo of ZAP
4.59/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Dark brown color....shows no signs of carbonation....excellent nose....a nice subtle smokiness...also sweet malt...dark fruits....body is full, and sweet..low carbonation fits perfectly...

Taste is outstanding...great blend of peatiness and syruppy like maltiness..a slight hit of heat...actually begins with some cocoa elements before that fades into the background

I've heard mixed reviews on this one but I think it's one of the best Wee Heavy's I've tried....highly drinkable....and big at the same time..very well done...

 532 characters

Photo of OldSock
4.75/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Appearance – Dark brown with deep red highlights. A thin off-white head that falls to a thin coating along with a massive sheet of lacing that paints my glass like whitewash.

Smell – The pungent dark fruits and smokiness cannot conceal the 9.5% abv completely, but they try. There are also chocolate notes in the nose, very nice.

Taste – Strong malts, smoke and dark fruits mingle together. Really no hop presence except for a slight bitterness on the back of the tongue. The alcohol is completely obscured in the taste while the beer is still at cellar temp, but I start to notice its taste and effect as I work down the huge bottle.

Mouthfeel – Delicious smooth-full body, more the mouthfeel of a strong stout than a Scotch Ale. The carbonation is a bit brisk for my preference, but this is less a problem as I am taking my time enjoying this fine beer.

Drinkability – Alesmith Wee Heavy is certainly the best domestic Scotch Ale that I have had, and good enough to be in the same category with the best Scotland has to offer. Glad I saved the big bottle for a night I had nothing else to do, as the abv will probably destroy me, but with this beer its well worth it. I wish I had bought a second bottle when I had the chance to put down for a year…damn.

 1,276 characters

Photo of arizcards
4.42/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Picked up a 750 ml bottle for 12.99 at Papago Brewing back in November.

Pours a black color with garnet tones and a decent head. Smell is wonderful. I do not know how to best describe it other than it is this wonderful sweet medley that hits the pleasure center of my brain. Taste is smooth like the best of cognacs. Hints of smoky figs or prunes lurk beneath. Mouthfeel is very nice, medium bodied and pretty smooth. Overall drinkability is near perfect. The high ABV is well masked! Unfortunately the high price tag will result in an occasional treat for me!

 561 characters

Photo of IrishRedRock
3.82/5  rDev -8.8%
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.

 834 characters

Photo of clvand0
4.25/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Very cool bottle. Pours a brown color with a small head that dies off quickly and doesn't leave much lacing on the glass. The aroma was complex - some raisins, some nuttiness, some malts, a little alcohol. Nice. The flavor was much more smooth than I expected. Extremely malty with a raisin character and the warming alcohol. Mouthfeel could be a little more thick, but it's a great brew.

 388 characters

Photo of SheepNutz
4.14/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

750mL bottle poured into a snifter. It pours a deep ruby red color that barely lets any light through. There's only a half finger of head, and there's minimal lacing. The smell is huge, with lots and lots of raisins and dates. Some sweet caramel and a hint of alcohol as well. The taste is big too. Very malty flavors and lots more dark fruit going on. A bit of alcohol on the finish. The mouthfeel is just a little light and oily. The drinkability is great for such a big brew though. Thanks to clvand0 for bringing this to the tasting!

 537 characters

Photo of kmpitz2
4.43/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to clvand0 for the chance to try this beer. It poured a dark ruby to rubied brown color with a small head that fell to ring the beer. The nose was complex, with roasted and nutty tones dancing around raisiney tones. Put it all together and you have a fine smelling beer. The flavor was divine as well, complimenting what I smelled fairly accurately. Good roasted notes with sweet dark fruit making a very very good flavor. The feel on this beer could not be improved. It was chewy, thick, smooth just awesome. This is one fine-ass beer. So easy to drink and so tasty. I give it two thumbs way up.

 603 characters

Photo of ppoitras
4.82/5  rDev +15%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

750ml bottle obtained via trade with kmpitz2. Thanks for the opportunity... Capped and foiled.

Poured into an imperial pint glass, formed a wee 1/4" tan head over the dark reddish mahogany brew. Head fades rather quickly to a layer of bubbles, but there wasn't much to begin with, and for the style, that's not particularly shocking, and lacing was good. Aroma is sweet dark malts, with bits of dark fruits and alcohol popping up here and there. Taste is exquisite dark grain sweetness, with a tinge of fruit, and a long warming down the gullet. Mouthfeel and drinkability are stunners for the style. This is one to search out and enjoy, especially after a long day of cleaning up snow.

 689 characters

Photo of silenius
4.29/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Pours a clear dark brown with no red in it to speak of. Light short-lived tan head. Nice, but nothing special.

Smell is better with some caramel, smoke, hint of espresso and some ganja.

Taste is very deep and robust with roasted coffee and caramel and butterscotch. Slightly peaty and scotch whisky-like. Very enjoyable.

Mouthfeel was too light in my opinion nothing special, but nothing wrong. Too thin for my liking.

Very easy to drink. I will look for more even at the high price of $12.99 I think I paid for the 750ml.

 534 characters

Photo of mickeymac
4.64/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

After reviewing an older bottle of Wee Heavy about two years ago, I was surprised to see that the beer was listed under another heading with an abv of 8.5%. The new bottle I recenlty picked up is listed at 9.5%. It hasn't lost any of its taste or other outstanding characteristics. Out of a 750 ml bottle, it an eye-pleasing brown with an off-white head that dimishes quickly leaving no lace. The smell is a real knockout: smoky, malty, and very earthy, with a surprisinly subtle alcohol smell. With the first smell, it was obvious that this was the ideal beer for this cold, rainy night. Although the smell is close to perfection, the taste is not a letdown. Malty but not sweet, the hops are just barely detectable but, happily, they are. This is a dangerously drinkable beer at 9.5%. Seek it out for a cold evening at home.

 826 characters

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

Dark mahogany color with a very thin light tan head that dissipated quickly. The aroma is luxurious malt, smoke, rum and butterscotch. Rich body with full flavors of smoked malt, floral hops, caramel, chocolate and roasted nuts. Amazing. The finish is creamy and smooth, with sweet malt and an alcohol pop. Right up there with any of the best Scotch Ales out there.

 365 characters

Photo of winomark
3.87/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Medium brown hue; looks very viscous. Almost no head. Aromas of sweet alcohol, smoke, and candy. Suprisingly dry palate compared to the nose. Lots of smoke and malt with a long lingering finish. Mouthfeel is extremely flavorful and long. A good beer for a cool evening watching the World Series. Another great brew from Peter and the crew at Alesmith. Definately worth a try.

 375 characters

AleSmith Wee Heavy from AleSmith Brewing Company
93 out of 100 based on 449 ratings.