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AleSmith Wee Heavy - AleSmith Brewing Company

Not Rated.
AleSmith Wee HeavyAleSmith Wee Heavy

Educational use only; do not reuse.

444 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 444
Hads: 1,068
Avg: 4.18
pDev: 14.59%
Wants: 201
Gots: 228 | FT: 18
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:
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: 444 | Hads: 1,068
Photo of MikeMilanoDesign
4.44/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

great beer. had it at story tavern in burbank, ca.

appearance: super dark, almost pitch black

taste: very full bodied scotch ale. bit on the sweeter side though. hints of berries and
sweat candied fruit. light warmth.

mouthfeel: thick and not to carbonated

overall its great but i think it would be 10x better if it aged for 6 months to a year.

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Photo of BEERchitect
4.49/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

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!

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Photo of KYGunner
4.27/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Deep cognac coloring supported a thin layer of foam the slowly ebbed away so that the ale actually resembled cognac in the snifter.

The scent is deep with dried fruits with prune, grape/raisin, and dates. The back is chocolatey with a slightness of sweet alcohols.

Chocolate hits the palate first and then the raisin and prune flavor carries near the end. The back is soft coffee that stays on the palate without objection. Dotted throughout the taste is vague tea leaves and malt.

The 10 pct ABV is hidden rather nicely in a lower carbonated setting, making this ale a real pleasure to experience.

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Photo of dgilks
4.22/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Dark opaque mahogany with a rich, thick, tan head. Good head retention.

Toasty and nutty. Light fruitiness. Toffee. Quite complex.

Rich and toasty. Lovely hazelnut and toffee notes. Thick dried fruit character. Stunning.

Medium-full body with moderately-low carbonation. Excellent.

A stunning beer. Well balanced and so full of malt.

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Photo of Teleweizen2
3.79/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

A - pours a deep opaque brownish black. A rigorous pour yields a froathy tan foam approximately 3 fingers worth but quickly dissipates to a thin film. Leaves a touch of spotty lacing on the glass.

S - the nose is deep and rich. Toffee, caramel and hints of butterscotch serve as a base. Notes of cherries, raisins, and plums while hints of dusty cocoa powder and wood add complexity.

T - flavors of silky caramel, whole grain toast, and hints of wood and butterscotch. A noticable yet smooth hint of booze in the center along with flavors of chocolate, raisins and cherries. More malty sweetness on the backend. Medium length finish.

M - full bodied. Creamy texture. High carbonation.

O - interesting take on a scotch ale. While it has plenty of rich malt character there are plenty of other flavors which keep it in balance.

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Photo of CommanderOfAwesome
4.17/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I believe a 2013 bottle, but not sure....Alesmith...achem

A: Pours a dark golden slightly reddish color with a 2 finger fluffy kahki colored head. Some noticeable lacing on the glass along with some alcohol legs.

S: Some caramel, toffee, roasted malts prevailing. Some slight dark cherry wafts through the aroma as well.

T: Reminds me of a red cream soda spiked with something. Getting that rich caramel malts, with toffee back drop and some of that cherry I got off the aroma. Creamy and smooth. Getting rich malts with a hint of smokiness. Slighty bready as well.

M: Smooth, full bodied with a slight alcohol burn.

O: A fantastic beer that I highly recommend. Esp if you're a scotch ale fan as I am. This cranks the style up ten fold, creating a fuller bodied experience. The alcohol makes its presence known but isn't an ass about it.

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Photo of srhoadsy
4.02/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served slightly chilled into a snifter.

Pours a sable brown with half an inch of dark tan head that recedes leaving moderate surface layer and moderate lacing.

Aromas of caramelized sugars, dried fruits with a hint of mineral and alcohol in the background.

Flavors follow through the aromas with a touch of bitter coffee.

Medium to heavy bodied with moderate carbonation and a sweet finish and moderate aftertaste.

Overall a very nice beer. My only complaint is that I expect a little more smoky flavor from the style. Would go very nice with some sweet BBQ.

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Photo of laituegonflable
3.56/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a slightly dark brown with a distinct red tinge. Head is medium-thin, but gorgeous, dense and foamy. Settles to nice bubbles with some great lacing left behind.

Sweet, roasty and nutty on the nose. Almond, hazelnut, buttery toffee. Hint of sunflower seed and honeyed cereal grain. Would have liked a bit more grounding, or oomph to take it to the next level.

Taste is a bit more substantial. Coffee notes on there, with burnt roast character, dark cherry, blood orange and toffee. Slight spice. Still very much on the sweet side which I'm generally not a fan of, but there's depth of flavour here; it's clearly well made.

Lot of texture. Body is not all there though, so it's a bit sharp at times and ends pretty dry. Not bad.

Not quite kismet with me and this beer; in the right person's glass this could be heaven but it makes me craving more spice or something to balance out that sweetness.

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Photo of Hopdaemon39
4.91/5  rDev +17.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured from a capped bomber into an Alesmith tulip (picked these up at the brewery when I was there three months ago)- pours a dark brown/charcoal color with 1.5 fingers of beige head, modest retention, and nice even rings of lacing.

Nose is lovely- rich malts, dark, dried fruit notes, some smokiness. The smoke reminds me slightly of peat smoke, not the usual campfire stuff.

Taste is consistent with the nose but more fleshed out. I get some coffee and bitterness up front, followed by a plum/pomegranate flavor, then some floral hop notes and the smokiness to finish.

Mouthfeel is rich, smooth, but not too heavy. Medium full bodied with moderate to full carbonation. I'm no expert with Scotch ales, but I can't really imagine it getting any better than this. I had it on tap at the brewery, but I like it better aged three months out of a bottle. Definitely get more of the smokiness. Paired this with some sheep's cheese and they go very well together- also have a mini bread pudding as well.

Update: I got Basque Sheep's cheese but I think that a stronger sheep's cheese would go better with this.

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Photo of DrinkSlurm
4.49/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

POured from 750ml bottle into Ommegang Tulip. Really pumped about this one...
Paid $13.99 at DeCiccos Brewster.
Pours a deep plum color with reuby brown color when held up tp light. Not much head sticks around with this, but a slight rim of fine bubbles hug the glass throughout the drink.
Great dried fruit and sweet malt aromas...nice dose of booze as well.
The taste is just awesome...dried fruity, fig, raison, meets chocolate and sweet malts - but then you add the complexity of the scotch/wee heavy yeast character and you have an awesome brew! Its so easy to drink, especially as it warms and each flavor component really begins to shine. I highly recommend this brew...

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Photo of Zaplt
4.06/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Appearance - Very dark near black ruby color with a dark tan head to about one inch with little retention.

Aroma - Currants, chocolate, floral notes, alcohol bite,

Taste - Lighter body than expected, dark fruity notes of currant, vanilla, caramel, and roasty malts with a wash of spice, clove and floral hoppy notes.

Mouthfeel - Light body with decent amount of carbonation.

Decent big brewski with nice complexity but a bit too strong of an alcohol bite.

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Photo of BrownAleMale
4.28/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

750ML bottle poured into a Gulden Draak tulip glass.

Apperance- Super dark brown with 3 fingers of off white head that slowly dissipates and leaves lots of beautiful sticky multi layered lacing.

Smell- Candied dark fruits, carmel and booze are the top dogs in the nose.

Taste- A huge meld of flavors here that really work well together. In the front and middle of the tounge you get the dark fruit and carmel followed by some nice peat and sweet booze on the finish. There is also a nuttiness that appears through out.

Mouthfeel- Medium in body which works very good with wee heavies in my opinion. A tinge of alcohol warmth in the finish.

Overall- Super super complex. All the best qualities that make a superb wee heavy. It is definitly a sipper at 10% abv but if you can get past the alcohol in the flavor profile you are in for a definite treat!

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Photo of BMMillsy
4.47/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Poured from bottle into tulip. Pours dark brown to black with a big creamy beige head. Aroma is candy sugar, scotch, some peat, raisins, chocolate, and figs. Flavor is chocolate forward and sweet, light carbonation, goes down easy. Only a hint of scotch here and it is going very well with my sharp cheddar. Beautiful scotch whiskey finish. Medium heavy mouthfeel. Wow. This is fantastic.

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Photo of ColdWaffles
4.48/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a (regrettably due to a lack of other glassware at my location) Sam Adams signature pint glass from a 750. This is reviewed from notes, it was my first drink New Years Eve night.

Appearance: Deep dark mahogany color with a nice tan head that stayed for most of a glass. A gorgeous looking beer.

Smell: Lots and lots of sweet fruits, mostly the "dark dried" sort, like raisins or dried plums. Nice caramel malts. Scent comes out very well.

Taste: Unsurprisingly similar to what it smells like, with "booze" and molasses included. Raisins, plums and those same malts make up the most of the flavor though. The booziness isn't particularly bad.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with an appropriate level of carbonation. Slightly syrupy.

This was a great purchase in my opinion. Immediately wished I had another bottle.

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Photo of rodlavers
4.25/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Split three ways with my father and brother. Poured from 750ml bottle into a Founders snifter.

About a finger of light mocha head that recedes to a thin but full/creamy layer. Dark chocolate cola brown color. Overall looks a bit heavy.

Smell is malty and slightly hoppy with a balanced sweetness to it, all of which is supported by a nice roasted character in the background.

Taste/mouthfeel compliment eachother very nicely. Overall, more sweetness is present in the taste than in the smell. Malt, light hops and roasted flavors are most prominent. I'd say this is well-carbonated, but no biting aftertaste. It's smooth and rich.

Overall Wee Heavy is an excellent beer for the style and one of my favorites. Definitely recommended. Cheers.

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Photo of dln646
4.2/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Mahogany brown with a stunning looking tan head, heightens three inches and subsequently cascades fairly promptly. Presently at the gazing outset the beer is very nice-looking.

Tidy and medium odorous, however malty nose, brings my thoughts to slightly burned and roasted malts – chocolate malt, caramel malt and various teeny bits of yeast. It is a grand complexity that amuses my nostrils with chocolate, dark caramel, molasses, extremely nuanced smoke aroma and to some extent stony graphite. The depth is remarkable and as with other AleSmith beers I've tasted, this doesn’t make me the least bit dissatisfied.

On the palate the beer is sweet soft with a tight concentration. There's this particular attractive balance between chocolate malt and caramel malt. Very appetizing, it's much more subtle and delicate then over-the-top, even though the body is great. The beer is passing from beginning to end with an parallel flavor intensity and brings very chewy fruit characters alongside a middling carbonation. The finish is well thought-out and marked with bittering hops and that delicate lingering mineral-like tang.

What electrifies me with this beer is the great malt complexity together with the overall well-focused structure, flavor intensity and well thought hopping. It isn't awe-inspiring, but it’s pretty darn good – so far the best I've quaffed in it style (Scotch Ale). Unique and well-made with high drinkability even though it’s overall weight. Merry Christmas! http://quaffable.org/?p=138

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Photo of pjwilson
4.2/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Deep brown, heavy lacing. Poured into a tulip. 2 inch head holds for several minutes, then receding leaving lacing behing.

S: Brandy, plums, raisins, roasted carmel. Very nice and pleasant to smell. Could be mistaken for a dubbel at this point, not complaining about that.

T: more caramel, Booze, yeast, and raisins.

m: quite light for a beer of this size. Again Beligan like.

O: I have to knock it down a hair, just because it really does seem more like a Belgian Dark Strong or Dubbel than a Scottish ale. A fine beer, nonetheless.

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Photo of TheBrewo
4.11/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

We pour a brew of the deepest maroon coloring that appears from the darkness only when held directly to light. It holds a two and a half finger head of cakey, creamy light brown bubbles. Retention is great, leaving sheets and cloudy puffs of lacing down the sides of the glass. The foam never really disappears, with a thick ring left for the remainder of the tasting. There is a light haze to it, especially is some of the yeast from the bottle escapes at the end. Carbonation appears moderate. The nose gives strong caramel and lighter coffee malts. These come with brewer’s yeast and a strong metallic bite. Ethanol fumes waft high off the surface for a nice burn. There are also hints of vanilla rawness, syrupy raisins, milky lactics, buttery diacetyls, and warm woodiness. Our first impression is that the flavoring is nice, with big booziness on the back. As we sip, the flavoring opens with sweet caramel malts, heavy roast, and biting metallics. The booze is apparent right from the start, giving both sweetness and fiery pucker. The malts are sugary sweet, roasty, and buttery, with toffee sweetness and molasses bite and stick. The peak comes with enhanced sweetness of white sugar, deeper caramel malts, light smoke, bitterness of alcohol, and more warmth of melted butter smoothness. We finish with fusel booze and black pepper, more of those relentless caramel sugars, syrupy fig, fermented plums, and more warmth of light woodiness. The aftertaste breathes of metallics, yeast, dark cherries, big alcohols, caramel sugars, sea salt, and black pepper. The body is thick and full, while the carbonation is lighter to medium. There is silky smooth sip, with great froth, slurp, cream, and glug. The mouth is coated with a bubbly sheet of foam, leaving it wet and satiated. There is a bit of astringency on the back, with the booze drying you out. The abv is big, warming, and catches up with you, but the beer sips away nicely.

Overall, what we enjoyed most about this beer was the appearance. Honestly, everything about this beer was strong, but the look was exceptional. The coloring was drop dead gorgeous, and the head retained beautifully, contributing in full to the excellence of the mouthfeel. The aroma and taste were nearly as exciting, with a clean, well-blended style. This is fantastic for the style, and certainly the standard to be compared against.

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Photo of smakawhat
3.95/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from the bottle into a good wee heavy glass, and also a tulip suggested by the brewery.

A real interesting small pour produces little head off the tulip, aggression brings a caramel light fluffy head while drinking. Falls very fast with a lot of snapping sounding carbonation, and leave a pencil thin collar. While consuming the ring of glass gets coated in lots of spider like lacing all the way down. Body color is a deep dark brownish red, with some honey brown chestnut hues along the edges..

Nose is subtle, toffee like malts which are tiny, but a big sense of sweet concord grape juice. Hints of cherries and nutmeg. Pretty unique and interesting, but no strong alcohol, and clean and airy.

Palate hits at first with a tight fizz and a hint of carbon dioxide. Mid palate opens with a light caramel, but this feels and tastes more like a Belgian quad character. Hints of Flanders like cherries, and a very faint charing on the finish. Some small chocolate hiding in the background and cherry coke like sensibility.

Overall this is real interesting, but it seems like the toffee sense on this is downplayed. I normally like a good sense of that, and this reminds me more of a quad which doesn't always grab me when I want a Wee Heavy. It's got a great flavor profile, but it's not what I look for in this style, and they all seem like they are trying to play nice together but have a hard time fitting well with each other nicely. Regardless, it's a very well crafted beer.

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Photo of DocJitsu
4.47/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a very dark amber with a light taupe head, perpetually fed by carbonation bubbles from the bottom. Chocolate fudge nose, some cinnamon, with a lot of alcohol invading the olfactory. Aroma is reminiscent of FW Double DBA. Viscous mouthfeel that ads to the richness of the beer. There's certainly an Oktoberfest on steroids with this one. Spicy, chocolaty, fudgy, creamy, smooth. Not much to dislike.

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Photo of pmarlowe
4.12/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Growler to tulip glass.

A: Pours a clear, light brown with a few cm of bright beige head, largish bubbles. Very good retention and some lattice lacing and swirls.

S: Delicious dark fruit (cherry, plum), spiced rum, dark molasses, and caramel malts.

T: Dark, fleshy fruit, fruity esters, very earthy, some dry molasses, and toasty malt. Finishes fairly dry. Excellent balance here: big, rich flavors but not overly so like you get in Wee Heavys.

M: Quite creamy like milk chocolate, medium-full body and medium-light carbonation. Sticky sticky.

O: Complex, a bit too big to be drinkable, but tasty in small doses. Very enjoyable.

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Photo of TwelveOunces
4.47/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750 poured into a snifter

A- Pours hazy dark brown but turns pitch black in the glass. A nice one finger of a off khaki colored head. Good retention and slight alcohol legs.

S- Dark fruits, raisins figs, spicy plums. Some roasty and caramel malts> Slight heat but really brings this to life.

T- Big roasted dark fruits hit the palate. There is a ton of rum soaked raisin, plums and spiced figs, Somewhat reminiscent to a quad. A roasted caramel flavor is throughout the entire beer which really rounds it out. I can almost taste the alcohol but the heat really brings this beer to life. The flavors are strong and intense. Well balanced and lively.

M- Thick and syrupy but balanced quite well by the alcohol presence. Aftertaste isn't too dry. Leaves a slight roasted flavor.

O- One of the best Wee Heavy's out there. Would kill to try the barrel aged version.

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Photo of Dope
3.43/5  rDev -17.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A: Pours a clear, very dark brown with a bit of red in there. Big and dense light brown head. Fades slowly, leaving really nice solid lacework behind.

S: Toffee, molasses and some peat with hints of smoke. Decent caramel in there as well.

T: Loaded with smoke and peat up front. Toffee, caramel and molasses abound especially in the middle. Some dark fruits fill in the middle as well, fig, grape and maybe raisin? A touch of nuttiness too. Finishes with lots of peat and toffee. Fairly boozy. I get a fair amount of of odd sawdust and leather in there too. Hard to describe.

M: Heavy, thick, boozy.

O: Definitely a very strong, boozy and complex scotch ale. The weird leathery/dusty/woody aspect really detracted I thought. It almost tastes oxidized in a way but this is super fresh (just came into the store last week). Fairly smoky and peaty too which I generally don't like too much. I was kind of torn on the scoring as I didn't like some of the flavors but it also has a lot of good flavors as well as the complexity and balance. The smoke and peat seems in-line with the style so it's hard to take away points for that either. Tough one to score. I did not enjoy this one at all, however.

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Photo of rinhaak
4.25/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22 oz. bottle poured into a brandy snifter.

Pouring a pretty deep black with a fine foamy head, the beer has aromas of black licorice, sweet plums, dark rum, and ice cream. Very warm and boozy in the mouth, it drinks more like a digestive. There are flavors of dark plum, dark roasted (but never burnt) malts, and dark rum.

A lovely beer to end the day with, AleSmith Wee Heavy is also great beer for the colder months.

Highly recommended.

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Photo of gleemonger
4.65/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Hazy, dark, amber brown with a moderate tan head that goes away fairly quickly, leaving some nice cotton lacing. Very pretty beer.

Toasted malts, dark fruit, caramel, and a touch of yeast. Sweet but not overly so, makes me want to take a sip ASAP. A touch of alcohol too.

Much like the nose, the taste comes through in about the same order - toasted malts, a kind of raisiny / plum fruit flavor, mixed with some caramel malts. Almost goes the medicinal alcohol route, but stops just short, thank god. I'm really digging the roasted malt, stout character of this that isn't usually there for the style - works really nicely. Even a touch of bitter hops on the back end. Quite a bit going on here.

Thick, heavy, syrupy but not overly so. Good carbonation bite to offset.

While not my favorite Scotch Ale, a very unique and very nice take on the style, and super enjoyable. Well crafted and delicious.

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AleSmith Wee Heavy from AleSmith Brewing Company
93 out of 100 based on 444 ratings.