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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.

948 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 948
Reviews: 423
rAvg: 4.16
pDev: 9.86%
Wants: 185
Gots: 200 | FT: 14
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: 948 | Reviews: 423 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of jwc215
3.53/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Thanks to PhxHrn and Solomon420 for each sending me a bottle!

750 ml bottle, poured into tulip glass:

Pours hazed brown(a bit too cloudy, but fine as the darkness covers it enough). A nice light brown creamy head tops it off. Rich, then descends to a cover that holds up. Trailing lace sticks.

The smell is bready with dark (slightly tart) fruit (cherry/raisin), then some bitter chocolate. Not much of the expected peat smoke, if at all. Alcohol does show its strength. I liked the subsequent, and following, a bit more than the initial.

The strong alcohol and bitterish sharpness give way (though still show) to a chocolate sweetness, and earthy fruity bitterness. A hint of smoke comes through in the finish.

Creamy, though carbonation showing a bit more than expected when slowly swirled over the tongue. Sharp alcohol pierced the palate.

It's malty, but with big booze and some light bitterness (and hint of tart), with just a hint of smoke in the finish. A big, "different" (though certainly with enough traditional characteristics), interpretation of a Wee Heavy.

Photo of BeerBelcher
3.8/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

This is a BIG beer. Unlike some other 10% ABV that surreptitiously sneak up on you, this one bares its character with the first sip.

Pours sort of muddy-brown, with scant head that quickly fades. Aroma is a touch smokey, peaty, and alcohol ester-y. Unmistakenly Scotch Ale. Flavor is a smokey, butter-scotch-y, slightly sweet, and peaty. Very good. Mouthfeel is odd - simultaneously both sweet and dry.

I know I've had this before - can't believe I haven't rated it. Thanks to SurlySober for bringing it up from Cincinnati.

This isn't a beer for every occasion, but it's good. Enjoyed this out of one of my thistle glasses...just kidding - it was from a tulip.

Photo of damienblack
3.9/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours dark amber, decent head and some sticky lacing. Smells like a boozey, malty blast, like something English and sweet. Plums? Very bready smell, and the taste echoes. Big and filling, doughy, sweet. Far sweeter than expected. Lacking that peaty, smokey sensation. Bring us some figgy pudding, is what this reminds me of. As it warmed, drinkability slowed down as it seemed to open up a lot more, in thickness and gravitas. A definite slow sipper, but not a terrible one. Maybe I need to try this one fresh, as it was an older bottle.

Photo of waltonc
4.4/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2 year old bottle. I can't remember what this tastes like fresh, but don't recall it tasting this good. One of the better 2-year-old beers I've had.

A: Dark red/caramel color with big white head.
S/T: Sweet, malty, bit of chocolate, caramel, toffee. Really complex flavor.
M: Fairly thick body and medium/high carbonation.
D: In spite of ABV, this is plenty drinkable.

Photo of Pencible
4.05/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This poured a translucent dark mahogany with a bit of light tan head. It smelled like dark oak and smoke and raisin and honey wheat, with some roasted cocoa beans. It tasted like charred oak and roasted cocoa and barley, with some honey wheat and molasses. It was thick with silky carbonation, and had a bittersweet aftertaste. Overall this had a great malty flavor and fantastic body. However, the alcohol flavor became quite apparent as the beer warmed, which made it a bit less easy to drink. This wasn't as succulent as the other AleSmith beers I've tried, but it still seemed fitting for the style. I just personally prefer the sweeter malts, rather than the heavier ones like this. This beer was actually reminiscent of Immort Ale, with the huge charred oak flavor, but this was better in every way.

Photo of endincolorado
4.6/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance- Dark chestnut-brown with ruby highlights. One finger of light cream/tan head that recedes slowly. Great sticky lacing all the way down.

Smell- Incredible aromas of rich malt. Light notes of cocoa and hazelnut. Dark fruits; fig. Faint, fruity hops in the background.

Taste- Truly unique, and absolutely delicious. Sticky, roasted malt flavors, accompanied by more hazelnut, toffee and dark, ripe fruit. Slightest bit of alcohol warmth. Really, a wonderful beer all around.

Mouthfeel- Full body that sticks to the palate. Moderate, but appropriate carbonation.

Drinkability- Alchohol suggests some points off here, but given the incredible flavors swirling around in this brew, I'd have a hard time not downing one after another.

Photo of baggio
4/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5


A: Deep brown with a decent sized head. Lots of lacing.

S: Malt (lots of it), Cocoa, Caramel, Sugar, Dark bread.

T: Molsasses, Cocoa, Malt, Sugar, Hint of honey, Ripe fruit.

M: This is a very powerfull beer with thick liquid and lots of sweetness.

One bottle of this brew could be shared among 5-6 people easily. It is very demanding but also very rewarding. Almost a bit too much of the malty goodness. Still, it makes a nice sipper!

Photo of HalfFull
4.28/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured into an oversized wine glass, the Wee Heavy pours a deep brown in color with ruby highlights and is somewhat translucent. A rocky inch of tan head sits atop the pour, keeps for much of the glass, and yields spotty lacing.

Dry cocoa on the nose with roasted malts and a bit of brown sugar. Tending towards chocolate and a hint of hops as the head settles down.

Taste follows the nose with lingering cocoa and chocolate on the finish. Just a hint of alcohol on the tongue though well hidden on the nose. Dark sweet cherry and plum notes with some warming. Nicely complex and with a light effervescent carbonation. Rich body initially, which does thin just a bit after sitting for a while. Smooth and solid on the feel and with a solid drinkability, limited somewhat by the sweetness and hefty ABV. I don't pick up any smoke or peat flavors here, but this is a relatively fresh bottle with no aging. 10.0% on this years bottle.

Photo of brdc
4.1/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From notes.
Thanks to a generous BA. Large bottle, poured into a tulip.

Dark brown in color, dark tan head, good retention and lacing.
Rich aroma, heavy on the malts as it is to be expected, sweetish, fruity mostly with dark fruits. Quite nice, and it lasts for a long time, keeps coming out of the glass.
Nearly full bodied and rich, the taste is dominated by sweet malts, but the dark fruits add a somewhat dry note that keeps the sweetness in check. Alcohol is nowhere to be found, but there is a mild roasted character present in the background.
Another good Alesmith.

Photo of becktone
4.75/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

From notes 4-7-09

Done horizontally with Founders Dirty Bastard

Eye: Extremely dark and deep red in color, garnet. The beer appears to be very clear, but with the color such a dark shade of red its really hard to tell. Head retention in this tulip isn't great (seems its hit and miss with this glass). Still it looks better than the Dirty Bastard, when first poured there was a nice sized head, though now its fallen leaving only some thin lacing behind and a thin film over the beer, but thats still better than the Bastard.

Nose: The strong aroma fills the room as this is poured. Alcohol is detectable. Subtle malt aroma that whispers of complexity. Soft warm maltiness with interwoven hinting at dark fruits that fade away as soon as they are pictured in the mind's eye. Smokiness and chocolate aromas come through. Dark fruit aromas are not as prevalent in this brew as in the Dirty Bastard. The aromas weave in and out of each other, one moment somkiness and chocolate are prominent, the next a nice caramel aroma. The caramel aroma in this beer really makes it, always supported by a subtle smokiness. In the end all aspects of this beer come together to create an awesome aroma. This one takes some work to decipher, complex.

Tongue: First thought I had was dark fruit, which was quickly followed by an intense caramelly maltiness supported by roasted and black flavors and some smokiness. Alcohol is present in the flavor. This is just as complex as the aroma, everything weaving in and out of each other. Nice aftertaste on this beer, but it isn't quite as long lasting or strong as the Dirty Bastard, yet it is just of better quality.

Edit: In terms of the taste of the beer itself, Alesmith is much darker and heavier, more complexity in terms of flavor and darker flavors. Much less esters/phenols. The Alesmith is crafted much better than the Founders. After drinking the Alesmith and then going back to the Founders I find quite alot of bubblegum phenols with a much weaker overall flavor profile and much less complex as well. The Founders can stand on its own, sure enough, but the Alesmith can stand up to others. That is all the difference. All in all the flavor is much more subdued in Dirty Bastard than in the Founders. The Founders pales in comparison. Compared to the Alesmith the Founders is more watery and much less flavorful.

Feel and Drinkability: Finish is semi-dry on this beer, the malt giving it a sweet finish while the roasted and smokiness help out the dryness. Body is medium and again I feel with this one there is too much carbonation, it isn't as sharp or prickley as the Dirty Bastard but I just feel that there's too much. It takes away from the mouthfeel. This is an awesome beer. Definitely one I'll pick up again, though the price of it, $12.99/750ml, is higher than a sixer of Dirty Bastard Its worth it. Though in the long run I'll prolly go with the Dirty Bastard over this one, because for me its easier to get my hands on and is cheaper.

Edit: After going back to the Founders it is clear as to which beer is of higher quality and just better overall. The price is definitely worth it. When in the mood for a good scotch ale I'd go for the Alesmith every time.

Photo of GRG1313
4.38/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

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.

Photo of stumac
4.1/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

When will YOU jump the shark???

this brew pours up a dark amber color with a beautiful tan head. great retentive lacing. "The towels are kinda scratchy!" the nose is hardcore toffee, raisins, caramel, dark fruits, plum, very complex. the taste is brandy, plums, caramel, lots of fruits, not as much malts, no hops. medium to full bodied, low carbo. A huge Wee Heavy....

Photo of WaXHeLL
4.6/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap @ Alesmith's Brewing facility. 4oz taster. Tasting notes from 5/1/2009. One of my favorite Alesmith beers.

Appearance: Dark brown appearance -- almost black. White foamy head dissipates quickly.

Smell: Slightly peaty and a little bit smoky. The nose is pretty complex, but is pretty light. A little bit of malt and hop mixed into the nose. Earth tones are definitely present. The nose is very Scotch like in its composition. Definitely wish the nose was stronger, as it is executed very well.

Taste: The taste is strong, but not overpowering. Tastes like a beer melded with a scotch. The peaty, smoky, and earthy flavors are definitely there, but not excessive. The beer is very complex and thick in a good way. The beer ends pretty dry, which adds to its complexity. Very tasty!

Mouthfeel: Heavy but not syrupy. There is a slight bit of carbonation which is executed very well.

Drinkability: Done pretty well, however it does hit you pretty hard. Half way between a sessions beer and a sipping beer.

Overall: Consistently one of my favorites from Alesmith -- Tasty and Complex.

Photo of whoneeds8
4.4/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a tulip glass black with a tan head. Smell is very sweet, lots of malted scents. Taste is very sweet. Suprisingly sweet. The apperence makes me think this is going to be a thick heavy beer, but it's really not. Very light mouthfeel, with a little hint of high alcohol. Carbonation is perfect. I really wish this were available in Texas.

Photo of Tolann
4.35/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I got this bottle in a trade with RichBeer. I seriously need to find something more to send this guy.

A - Ruby colors, but really dark too. Some kinda white head that clings to the glass and tames down to only skim the top.

S - earthy peat smell, big fruits, and malty sweet goodness. Cherries and dark sugar. some smoke and caramel

T - bigger than the smell and all the same. Not a lot of surprises that your nose didn't already tell you. Its all good news. the dark fruits and mega peat is outstanding.

M - the abv is obvious and its big. a little sharp alcohol bite but it doesn't burn your breath. kind of light mouthfeel. Carbonation is kind of replaced or covered by the alcohol feel.

D - Probably good that I shared the bottle, but wish I coulda saved it all for myself. I really enjoy the earthy notes of this style and its a shame that there doesn't seem to be more wee heavys out there.

Photo of Beerzebub
4.38/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Fresh bottle, poured in a big wine glass at 53 F/ 12 C.

Deep dark red-brown color. Thick beige/tannish head that subsides to a thin dense blanket. Mottled loops of lace like old-timey handwriting.

Aroma of chewy sweet brown bready malt, with some black tea, honey, and fruitiness vaguely like apples and berries.

Big malty flavor, like dark bread crust, caramel, honey, plum, apple, and light solvent. Fairly sweet, but smooth light roastiness and some moderately bitter, grassy, tealike, herbal hops come in for some balance. Fruit, tea, and mild solvent linger for a tasty, long, fairly dry finish.

Very smooth, with fine cushy carbonation, and some viscosity, bordering on silky. Highly drinkable, I don't find this to be a sipper.

Great stuff, and I look forward to trying the barrel aged version.

Photo of jwinship83
3.95/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

thanks to brokenleadedcask for this one at DLD. 750ml bottle with 10% abv on it.

A- this one pours a very deep, dark, murky brown with a small cream colored head. the head lasts for a while, and then becomes a crown of large foamy bubbles. small rings of lacing left on the sides of my snifter.

S- very subtle and earthy. lots of peat and a slight smokiness to this one. caramel and toffee malts with a moderate sugary sweetness. a slight bit of alcohol comes through in the end.

T- much the way it smells, but alot stronger. the smokiness is bumped up, and the peat comes through strongly. caramel and toffee like malts, brown sugar, and some dark fruits come out as it warms. plums and figs.

M- light bodied and smooth. a nice low level of carbonation, and a moderate warming sensation from the alcohol.

D- one of the better wee heavys ive had in recent memory. one bottle is too much for me, but would love to split one again some time soon. glad i got to try this one from such a far away brewery

Photo of theopholis
3.55/5  rDev -14.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Appearence - Body had a deep burgundy/mahogany color. The head was a creamy, tan head that settled into a thin ring. Good retention, nice Belgian lacing. Continually but slowly effervesced through-out

Smell - Lots caramel malt and toffee presence up front. Had a nice but sudued aroma of dark fruits, especially red plumb in the back ground. some earthy tones.

Taste - Sweet and malty overall with hints of dark fruits, especially plum. Finishes with mild earthy bitterness. Nice complexity as it warms.

Mouthfeel - Nice full body with good CO2. The weird thing is, it was very soft. Not really to style, but it works nicely with this beer.

Drinkability - Very well done.

Photo of ffejherb
4.47/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750ml bottle into tulip glass on 4/15/09. Thanks to FooFaa for sharing!

A - Poured a deep burgundy-tinted mahogany coloration with half a finger of creamy tan head that settled into a thin ring of retention and left some attractive lacing. Carbonation bubbles and some gritty particulates were suspended throughout.

S - Boozy nose with a thick caramel malt and toffee presence paired with oak and woody notes. A sweet vanilla aspect persists throughout. Hop character is muted, with perhaps a tinge of earthy hops in the back.

T - Sweet and malty overall with hints of vanilla, smoke and wood. A warm alcohol presence emerges in the backend. Finishes with mild earthy bitter notes.

M - Full bodied with a smooth yet syrupy texture and soft carbonation. Finishes with a slightly dry, earthy bitterness and bit of alcohol warmth on the palate.

D - Fantastic Wee Heavy and another offering from AleSmith that does not disappoint. This is undoubtedly one of the best of the style I've had. Complex yet sweet and malty to the core.

Photo of DarkerTheBetter
3.93/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Looks great in my pint glass as its a cola color with plumb highlights. The frothy tan film of a head stuck around for a while.

Smells of sweet, dry caramel, celery and strawberries with a dry woody, birch bark edge to it.

Tastes of thick and chewy caramel and sticky barley with a touch of dry leaves and a nip of coffee to round things off.

Feels down-right huge and sluggish with a faint breeze of carbonation.

A tasty sipper, without question, but the bottle for me-self may have been a bad idea.

Photo of xhcadamx
4.22/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - dark mahogany with a light tan head. The head settles to a ring around the edges of the beer and leaves little notes of lacing.

S - Alcohol and sweet malt

T - this Wee Heavy has it all. Dates, toffee, brown sugar, molasses, and a bit of smoke. Very little hops but perfect for the style.

M - Thick and chewy

D - The alcohol is present but doesn't have the 10% burn I would expect. very tasty for cold nights.

Photo of connecticutpoet
4.28/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Low, thin head atop a clear brown body. Expected for the style, and not surprised that AleSmith got it.

Aroma was strong, rich dark malts. Slightly sweet, with only the faintest hint of roastiness.

Taste - this was a malt bomb with an incredible punch. Rich, deep and strong. Wow. Caramel and toffee notes, a little sweetness, but mostly pure malt heaven. Alcohol was hardly noticeable.

Mouthfeel is deep, chewy, and full. Excellent.

Drinkability - only reason I didn't give it any higher was the strength. It was so full of flavor, and had such a kick, that I was barely able to finish the bottle. It was almost too much. This would be a great one to split with a friend.

Photo of biegaman
4.5/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pumpernickel loaf with cranberry stuffing and buttered rum edges. It is a lovely melange of colours with strokes of browns, reds, yellows and all combinations of the bunch. The tone is deep and heavy set but brims with accenting nevertheless. A puffy pillow of head mushrooms up across the top; it appears to have unpacked for a long stay.

It's hard to overstate how good this smells. Also, how many smells there are. It is a spicy, malty, fruity bouquet with hints of peat and smoke, caramel and toffee, molasses and herbal tea. Far and away, this aroma is strongly reminiscent of a plum pudding with prominent features of figs, raisins, brandy, sugar, cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg.

And all those notes translate perfectly into flavour. Once again, the taste of plum pudding (raisins, figs, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, and brandy) is fragrantly spicy, peaty and deliciously fruity. Strong caramelization and plenty of spiced, candied dark fruits have made for a super rich beer. That said, this is not only decadent but incredibly mellow and complex. If this was all I knew of Scotch Ales it would most certainly be my favourite style.

This bottle had probably lived to see its second birthday so I might be inclined to think that is what blended the flavours and mellowed out the alcohol. But having tried a small sample fresh off draught at the brewery, I know the beer's disposition is always this ripe and matured (and deceitful about its potency!). Despite being so tuneful and savory, this has all the ultra-earthy, full-bodied, chewy rich viscosity one could ask for.

I went to great lengths and significant financial costs to show Alesmith the meaning of support, so naturally, I expected them to show me the meaning of tasty, masterfully crafted beer - and they certainly have. This Wee Heavy is far and away the best example of the style I have yet to come across and I'd be only so happy to go to the same means to get another bottle. This really is an astonishing piece of brewing artistry.

Photo of yelterdow
4.33/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Aged for about two years, this will be served in a Duvel tulip at between fridge and cellar temperature.

Appearance- Fiery caramel red, with a quarter-inch light beige head. The color here is the eye candy, a burnished sunset copper-red. It pours like a big, English Old Ale.

Smell- Fat and sweet, it's a beautiful display of wood and chocolate covered cherries... but more like the liquid that surrounds the cherries. Notes of old leatherbound library books and rum soaked dark fruits abound.

Taste- Not as sweet as the nose would suggest, flavors of smoked bacon descend upon the palate. A big suitcase o' malts, the finish is drying and pleasant. There's a mild alcohol sting that wraps things up.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability- On the thin side, the carbonation lays low (due in part to the high ABV) but allows the flavors to unravel. A real treat, especialy for when the weather gets chilly. Thanks to EPseja for sharing this with me.

Photo of JohnQVegas
4.33/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle into red wine glass.

Pours a very dark brown, hints of red when held up to the light. Fizzy, thin beige head quickly dissipates into a thin, soapy beige cap. Sticks to the sides of the glass, though no real lacing. A more aggressive pour yields a bigger, fluffier beige head with better lacing.

Nose is rather boozy, with notes of molasses, caramel, brown sugar, apples and pears. A bit toasty.

Taste is toasty, with dark molasses, caramel, and brown sugar all showing through. Notes of more apples and pears as well, with an earthy, alcohol-infused bitterness balancing the back end. Warming, and rich.

Mouthfeel is a bit syrupy, sticky, with a crisp, somewhat coarse carbonation at first that by the end is softer and more restrained.

An interesting beer - reminiscent in some respects to a dark tripel with less yeast influence. Delicious.

AleSmith Wee Heavy from AleSmith Brewing Company
93 out of 100 based on 948 ratings.