AleSmith Wee Heavy - AleSmith Brewing Company

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AleSmith Wee HeavyAleSmith Wee Heavy

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953 Ratings

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Ratings: 953
Reviews: 424
rAvg: 4.16
pDev: 9.86%
Wants: 185
Gots: 203 | 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: 953 | Reviews: 424 | Display Reviews Only:
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.

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

Bottle courtesy of BrewerB - thanks!! Split w/ a friend, with my portion poured into a 22 oz. snifter.

Appearance: Pours a very dark, cola-colored body, and you can tell its filtered only if you hold it up to the light. Lots of relatively slow, fine-bubbled carbonation crawls up around the sides of the glass, contributing in sort of a bubble nest fashion to a thick, healthy collar of foam. That, some waves and erratic swaths of lace, and a thick, persistent dusting of snow. Good stick, good lacing (though it does get more glittery and runny as this one warms), and a decently-hued body make for a pretty attractive beer.

Aroma: Sweet, dark, toasted notes, strong brown sugar, caramel, rum-soaked, caramelized pears and/or apples (heavier apples, you know, the ones w/ the red skin), a few darker, toasty molasses notes. Pretty pleasant smelling.

Taste: A very well-rounded taste. Roasted malts dominate - molasses, brown sugar, maple syrup, and toast, fairly clean, though with perhaps a hint of earthy dirt in the very last seconds of the finish. The fruity notes aren't far behind, though - both dark fruits (raisins, figs) and light fruits (apple skins, pears, cherries) explode all across the palette. A few spicy notes, as well, Very pleasant.

Mouthfeel: A surprisingly thin body. That is to say, it's not thin, at all, but I would imagine a 9.2% wee heavy to be, well, thicker. There's also a ton of effervescence, both soft and crisp, but it adds to the whole cola-esque feel of this brew - uneven, crisp, and bubbly.

Drinkability: A pretty solid brew, and a big, bold, large wee heavy. The 9.2% is well-hidden and integrated into this one, and though it's a little uneven and too spicy, the array of flavors and aromas here is nice, pretty complex, authentic, and all in all solid. It's no Speedway Stout (which I think I said about the last AleSmith I had that wasn't the Speedway Stout, heh), but it's still pretty tasty.

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

A - Burgundy with a small off white head and minimal lacing

S - Sweet malts, caramel and toffee with a bit of alcohol stinging the nostrils.

T - Somewhat more bitter than expected (a good thing), but still had a residual sweetness. Caramel and roasted malts are present in a healthy dose and a complimentary alcohol burn follows that is appreciated.

M - Medium bodied with a building residue on the palate.

D - I enjoyed this very much for the first few sips. Even on a small pour I thought that a little was enough.

Photo of gory4d
4/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

My bottle says 10% ABV.

Pours an dark reddish-brown with a high white head that goes away quickly but leaves some lacing down the glass. The smell is meaty, like a savory marrow well salted, with some notes of toasted grain and dried fruit. The taste is sweet, starting off with biscuit and moving into pear and prosciutto, finishing with an edge that's salty, bitter, and highly alcoholic. The carbonation is light but present, and the body is full and viscous. It's chewy, but tasty enough that you keep going for another bite (so to speak).

Photo of NEhophead
4.53/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

25.4 fl oz brown, champagne bottle; wrapped in foil.
Served in a tulip.

Pours a deep burgundy with a slight brilliance in the light. Carbonation-filled, white head that recedes to an almost intact sheet. Intricately spotted lacing with decent strength.

Big malty nose with a lot of carmelized brown sugar, molasses, caramel, and milk chocolate. The brown sugar sweetness is most pronounced; however, no sign of artificial sweetness. Slightly nutty with aged fruity esters: plum, raisin, cherry. The warming alcohol aroma is reminiscent of a port, and is quite interactive with the rich malts and rounded, aged fruit.

Slightly rich, moderate malt flavors up front: caramel, milk chocolate. The intensely sweet aromatics are all but replaced by a firm, slightly dry nutty character: almond and hazlenut. Traces of plum and raisin that are overtaken by a mild wave of carbonation and a gaseous-like alcohol flavor. The residual sugars return by the aftertaste as well as a faint layer of smoke amidst a mix of dry nuts.

Full bodied; remarkably smooth with a complimentary dryness to keep the malts from consuming the palate. The alcohol presence is young and consequently, slightly gaseous/filmy. A minor criticism that will resolve itself with time.

A more than adequate representation of the style and then some. Full, rounded flavors, texturally balanced, and deceiving at 10% abv. A perfect sipper for a cold, winter night.

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

This is actually a year old vintage. Pours a mostly clear dark brown color with a definite red hue. Some sediment in the bottle made it to the party but mostly kept in the bottle. A very thick, fluffy head with some good staying power and lacing through the entire tasting.

The nose is rich in malt and complexity. Big kettle caramel notes with a hint of roast. A light meaty aroma as well. There is a very clean yeast aroma with some lighter plums and fig notes. Very clean with great legs and appeal.

The taste is similar. To start there is a great malt presence that lingers through the whole taste. The kettle caramel is there but just a tad lighter than the nose indicated. Some more sugary notes with a light honey and molasses thing on the backend. A nice creamy taste and very clean malt taste but a hint of a chalkiness on the backend. The yeast is noticeable but very clean. Some alcohol but blends very nicely with that malt for a great finish.

The body is closer to moderate than full. Some residuals really leave this boarder line though. Carbonation is light but leaves a creamy feel. Overall a fantastic beer. Some minor off notes but one of the best Wee Heavy's I have ever had.

Photo of brianh78
4.18/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from the bottle into a tulip glass

Appearance: 3-finger head which dissipated very quickly, reddish dark brown and cloudy

Smell: stone fruits, very malty sweetness, slight vanilla

Taste: malty sweet, syrupy, slight vanilla, and slightly earthy

Mouthfeel: thick and syrupy

Drinkability: filling and sweet, I could only drink one

Despite the sweetness of this beer, I thought it to be a great scotch ale. Due to the decently high alcohol content and filling nature of the beer, I would only be able to drink one in a sitting.

Photo of Jwale73
4/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

400th Review. 750 ml bottle with silver foil (2007 vintage?); 10% abv according to the label. Served in my DT tulip. Poured the color of cola with a half inch tan-colored cap composed of copious ringlets; zero light penetration. Head quickly dissipated leaving swirls of foam bubbles and a band around the glass. Very little lacing present during the tasting. Nose was malty sweet. Caramel, molasses, dak fruit, roasty, boozy with a suggestion of hops detectable in the background. Taste consistent with nose; complexity of scents translates into the flavor profile. Mouthfeel is medium-bodied with a consistent effervescence throughout the quaff and a light alcohol burn and hops bittering detectable towards the finish. Definitely a big beer that lets you know it. Enjoyed sipping this over the course of an hour.

Photo of drgonzo3705
5/5  rDev +20.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A: Very deep rust color with a small head but still manages to leave some nice lacing.

S: Sweet malt, caramel, dark fruits figs or raisins perhaps.

T: Still decently hoppy (Im pretty sure this is a bottle from the '07-'08 season). A nice wave of caramel and malt wash over your tongue, very appealing.

M: Medium to full bodied with a very nice creaminess to go along with it.

D: Originally I was only going to give this a 4 but after getting farther into the bottle I definitely could put away 2 of these bad boys in a night, even 3 if the mood is right!

Overall I think this is a great example of the style. Yet another great brew from Alesmith! This really makes me want to seek out the Barrel Aged version.

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

750 ml bottle, shared side by side with the Barrel Aged version. Grub contributed the straight version, part of return of the DrJay epic weekend tasting.

Pours a lightly hazed dark reddish brown, huge and thick tan head forms, very sticky, leaves a ton of lacing on the glass, and settles to a medium ring, great retention. Smell is nice, sweet, brown sugar, iron, lots of fruit, strawberries and raisins, vanilla, touch of roast, quite bready, some caramel, nice. Taste is similar, toffee and iron up front, bread, some brown sugar, yeast, strawberries and melons, alcohol, raisins, very malty. Mouthfeel is medium bodied with low to medium carbonation, very smooth. Nicely made wee heavy, not as full bodied as I would like, but quite nice. Thanks Russ!

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

Poured from a 750 ml large, dark bottle from Ale Smith into my Gulden Draak tuilp glass.

A Ruby red, dark brown cloudy body with a generous head that started to dissapear but then hung on for several minutes anyway. The head is a light brown. Instructions on the side of the bottle encourage the pourer to avoid the yeast which remains in the bottom of the bottle.

S Apricot, possibly pear or "stone fruit" as a friend of mine put it. Malty smell for sure with some alcohol. I really like this smell as I am a fan of malty sweetness like this.

T Malt, sweet up front with Syrupy nectar with a shade of vanilla in there as well adding to the sticky, malty tastes. Very little bitterness at all.

M Full with malt sweetness and alcohol.

D I would certainly look for this beer again but it is a sipper, only one for me per session.

Notes: As time went on it started to hit me how similar this beer is to Gulden Draak (and not just because I used my tulip glass!). Really though, the malty sweetness and nectar syrupy mouthfeel were very reminiscent of that. At $15.99 per 750 ml bottle I believe that it is more expensive than Gulden Draak (at least around here) so I would more likely opt for the latter. This is a great beer none the less and everyone should try it.

Photo of sprucetip
3.93/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

bottle into tulip.

Deep amber with reddish highlights. Clear with thick off whilte head. Good retention then leaves a ring around the edge. Short lived, spotty lacing. Very attractive.

Booze is most prominent, malt, cararmel, slightly peaty and a bit of malty sweetness. Nicely blended with exception of prominent booze.

Boozy, caramel, malty sweetness and a wee bit smoky. Largely balanced, but the booze is most notable. Clean, slightly dry finish.

Perfectly restrained carbonation, thick, full, pleasant texture. Dry, but not overly so, finish. Strong alc warming.

Full bodied, assertive and bold. A savoring, sharing sipper. Really tasty, but no attempt to hide the booze. Would be interested to see what happened to it after a couple of years in the cellar. My brother found the booze overwhelming and left me the chore of draining the majority of the bottle. I enjoyed it, was up to the task, but it took a while.

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

A- Pours a reddish-brown color with a thick light tan head. The head recedes very slowly and leaves nice lacing down the glass.

S- Very malty and sweet on the nose. Hints of caramel, dark fruits, and raisins come through.

T- Matches the nose with even more malt than anticipated. The malt is very toasty and pleasant, but backed by a nice caramel-like sweetness. A slight alcohol sweetness is noted as well. Dark notes of raisin linger in the background.

M- Fine carbonation with a nice, almost sticky, body.

D- The alcohol is well hidden and the little that is noted integrates well into the beer. Overall, although somewhat eccentric, this is a really good example of the style.

Photo of grub
4.13/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2008 Biergotter Tasting, Day 3: Barleywines and Others. i threw this one in to compare with the barrel-aged version that Viggo brought.

750ml bottle topped with silver foil. sampled nov 29/08.

pours deep red-brown, showing great garnet highlights when held to the light. a big yellowish-tan head forms, falling quickly and leaving lots of lace.

aroma is good. light alcohol. big malty base. wheat bread, biscuit, cracker. caramel and toffee. earthy. some dark fruit too - date, fig, raisin.

taste is good. medium-low bitterness level. light alcohol. big malty base again. caramel and toffee. biscuit, whole wheat bread. toasty too. bit of dark chocolate. dark fruit.

mouthfeel is good. medium carbonation level. just over medium body.

drinkability is good. balanced and very nice. great malty depth.

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

From a 2008 bottle freshly purchased from the brewery.

Pours a dark deep brown with ruby highlights, big fluffy offwhite head with >2 min retention, leaves some lace as it drops.

Aroma is deeply malty with some dark fruit and some light chocolate notes.

Flavor follows the aroma pretty close with lots of upfront malt, dark fruit and a bit of chocolate behind it all, very smooth finish, a little alcohol warming as it goes down but incredibly smooth.

medium-heavy body with a fair bit of carbonation, lively in the mouth.

One of the best american examples of the style, will never get tired of drinking this.

Photo of tpd975
3.88/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to Gillard for this one.

A: Pours a wonderful nutty brown cloudy hue with a small head. Very little retention and no lace.

S: Wonderful malty aromas backed by nutty toffee and sweet caramel. A touch of alcohol stings the nose.

T: Big caramel sweetness up front. Light nutty flavors with hints of dark fruit. Nice toasted malt, chocolate, and a touch of alcohol round things out.

M: Medium in body, smooth, rather sippable.

D: Very good, one of the best in the style.

Photo of magictrokini
4.05/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours dark mahogany with a thick tan head. Nutty, smoky aroma with smoe caramel. The taste is phenomenal. Toasty malts and buttescotch with a hint of bittersweet chocolate. Finish is creamy and sweet. One of the first Scotch Ales Iv'e had and easily one of the best. Just an awesome beer.

Photo of tmoneyba
4.13/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle at The Local, SD, CA.

Poured clear amber hue with a large frothy white head that mostly lasted with good lacing. Heavy aroma of citrus hops and tart fruit. Medium to full body with soft carbonation. Well balanced flavor of malt, hops and fruit with a medium bittersweet finish of moderate duration.

This is a solid drinkable brew.

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

A - pours cloudy brown with a small brownish head.

S - barrel aged scotch overtone. Brown sugar, and some fruity hints. Smells great, very complex.

T - right along with the smell, a scotch over tone with wood/earthy notes. A brownsugar like sweetness. The 10% is completely hidden.

M - Medium carbonation, medium body. slight alcohol warming. The palate is cleansed thoroughly.

D - Easy sipper here, the scotch taste is not overbearing. The woody tones keep it interesting and the 10% is very well hidden.

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

Pours a murky brown with big ruby hues in the light. A thin tan head forms and lingers with decent retention leaving a soft collar around the glass.

The aroma is quite nice. A big malty nose with notes of caramel, cereal, grain, raisin, and booze.

The taste is pretty good. Big and malty on the tongue as well. Sweet caramel, and booze soaked grain are big players. Raisins are also on the tongue. Really tasty overall.

Mouthfeel is pushing full bodied, and is nicely carbonated with a gentle fine bubble that leaves a cleansing tingle on the way down.

Drinkability is high. It's tasty, a little boozey, thick and malty. How could you not like it?

Photo of davexisxrabid
4.55/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Split a 750 mL bottle with a buddy of mine at the Coffee Table Bistro/Lounge in Eagle Rock. Poured into a pretty standard pint glass.

This ale retained its head throughout most of the drinking period, which was pretty impressive. There was an excellent tan head that was about two fingers deep at first. Excellent lacing. Poured sort of a chestnut brown/copper color tinged with amber in the light.

Aroma was a mixture of a rich malty smell, slightly smokey, tinged with yeast. Very well balanced smell, I was pleasantly surprised.

The taste was almost as impressive as the smell. You can taste the creaminess of the malts right away. This brew is 10% abv according to the bottle. Damned if I could taste that much alcohol in there.

All in all, this ale was rich in flavor, full bodied, and not too heavy on the tounge. It's high abv and ease of drinkability makes me kinda wonder about pounding this stuff back. I'd hafta say I (and my buddy as well) was pretty impressed but this brew. Salud!

AleSmith Wee Heavy from AleSmith Brewing Company
93 out of 100 based on 953 ratings.