1. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  2. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

AleSmith Wee Heavy - AleSmith Brewing Company

Not Rated.
AleSmith Wee HeavyAleSmith Wee Heavy

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
93
outstanding

843 Ratings
THE BROS
93
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 843
Reviews: 412
rAvg: 4.17
pDev: 9.59%
Wants: 174
Gots: 183 | FT: 15
Brewed by:
AleSmith Brewing Company visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
Scotch Ale / Wee Heavy |  10.00% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 03-08-2004)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of AleSmith Wee Heavy Alström Bros
Ratings: 843 | Reviews: 412 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Shovelbum
Shovelbum

Massachusetts

4.08/5  rDev -2.2%

750ml.

Pours a thin tan head over a black body with ruby edges. Little lace and head retention. The aroma is of sweet malt and dark berries with a hint of biscuit. Flavor carries on the work of the aroma with a similar complex and sweet malt character with notes of caramel, plumb, cocoa and roast barley. The alcohol is noticeable and contributes a bit of a burn. There is also a mild hop bitterness that comes through toward the end for balance. Medium to full bodied.

Nice malt complexity in the flavor and aroma with a decent hop bittering charge for balance. The alcohol detracts a bit from the flavor and smoothness of the ale, but for the most part this is a complex and enjoyable wee heavy.

12-27-2006 20:51:07 | More by Shovelbum
Photo of goschool
goschool

California

4.5/5  rDev +7.9%

There's no date on the bottle, but I bought it in August 2005.

Appearance: The pour is tad light than I expected. It's brownish-ruby to bronze with fiery highlights that's briefly topped by a creamy tan head. The head lasts a bit longer after the second pour.

Smell: The most delightful aroma is made up caramel malts, toffee, earthy and smoky peat, molasses, and chocolate.

Taste: Wow. Caramel, brown sugar, toffee, chocolate, and molasses come in first. Earthy peat smoked barley comes in towards the middle along with the slightest hint of diacetyl. The beer finishes with warming alcohol, but it's remarkably smooth and it doesn't hinder its dangerous drinkability. In keeping with the style, there's not a hop in sight.

Mouthfeel: The medium body is chewy and slightly sticky.

Drinkability: This proves that California brewers do know how to lay off the hops. It would surely make the lads in the old country proud.

"My heart's in the Highlands, wherever I go". . .
-- Robert Burns

12-26-2006 08:24:01 | More by goschool
Photo of Golden2wenty1
Golden2wenty1

Wisconsin

4.28/5  rDev +2.6%

Shared courtesy of expatsteve after a tasty pot roast dinner.

Pour: deep ruby/mahogany brown, nearly opaque under a couple fingers of khaki foam that stick around for a while

Nose: chai tea, rich spices, molasses malts, vanilla, sugar cookie dough

Taste: rich caramel/molasses malts, aromatic spices, tea leaves, light smoke

Feel: rich but smooth with a hint of brewed tea grit

Drinkability/Overall: A rich and spicy wee heavy full of sweet and roasted malts. Booze held in check for 9.5%. Nothing but solid from Alesmith.

12-12-2006 03:59:42 | More by Golden2wenty1
Photo of dbalsock
dbalsock

Vermont

3.4/5  rDev -18.5%

Appearance: Dark brown with a little head, but a decent amount compared to other wee heavy's i've experienced. There's the slightest lacing on the glass, but not enough to make pretty designs.

Smell: The aroma is very malty and quite nutty at that with a hint of alcohol and piney hops.

Taste: Reminded me a little bit of scotch, except nuttier. It tasted heavily of alcohol and toffee.

Mouthfeel: Thick bodied and smooth on the palate until the sharp bite on the swallow.

Drinkability: I would have this on special occasions, but would only sip a small glass of it. It's a little too intense, even for a wee heavy.

11-25-2006 05:58:37 | More by dbalsock
Photo of Matthew
Matthew

Connecticut

4.4/5  rDev +5.5%

750 ml bottle, silver foil around the top. Poured into my snifter glass, a caramel/brown color with some reddish tints around the edges. 1/8 inch thick and creamy tannish head covers the top with lots of sticky lacing around the glass.
Warm caramel notes are very prevalent in the nose with touches of spice, hazlenut, ginger like characteristics, and light fruits.
Sweet malt flavors are very forward in this beer, mainly consisting of dark caramel and toffee. The alcohol is pretty perceivable but lends nicely to the rich molasses flavor that is all through out this beer. There are spice characteristics in this beer that remind me of holiday breads. I also find that as the beer warms the more fruity esters show along with a subtle creamy chocolate flavor.
Nice rich, full and chewy mouthfeel in this beer, great level of carbonation that really allows this beer to feel nice and rich over the palate.
A remarkably drinkable wee heavy from alesmith. As you sip on this delcicious beer I'd suggest it improves with a bit of warmth that promotes a great drinkability.

11-25-2006 04:38:29 | More by Matthew
Photo of Sycodrummer
Sycodrummer

Massachusetts

4.93/5  rDev +18.2%

Silver Foil adorns the green 750ml capped green bottle. Poured at just above room temperature into a thistle the beer was a dark mohoganny brown with a creamy tan head that retained very well and left considerable lacing. No other outright signs of carbonation, very still.

The nose is very "heavy" loaded with sweet malt aroma and alcohol. Lots of a sweet caramel molasses coming through with brown sugar and slightly smoked woodchip smell.

The taste has a robust malt backbone with no hop character or bitterness (as expected). Pronounced carmel and brown sugar flavors with a sticky, slightly syrupy rum & molasses type flavors. Alcohol flavors are also dominant and very apparent the warmer the beer gets. The taste get a little smokey as the beer warms and this seems to compliment the malt character nicely. The beer almost assumes a slight whiskey flavor as the sample progresses.

A huge dense chewy mouthfeel with rather little carbonation. A very smooth almost creamy beer that molds nicely with the sweetness of the malt.

A very enjoyable winter/cold weather beer. So incredibly smooth and easy to drink. Heavy on the palate but not overly so. Subtle warming character and a nice bready malt base make this one excellent scotch ale.

11-14-2006 15:42:24 | More by Sycodrummer
Photo of scottoale
scottoale

California

4.22/5  rDev +1.2%

Fresh from the source, another big-brown growler of an AleSmith gem. It pours a beautiful deep, darkish burgundy red with a half inch of a creamy tan head. Nice delicate lacing, trailing behind each sip.

The smell is sweet and of ripe dark fruits...malty and strong in alcohol. Hops don't come into play in the smell here.

The flavor is a thick and chewy, caramel rich toffee roasted malt. Again, dark ripened fruits set the stage with a healthy dose of alcohol, running away with the act. Finishes a bit thick and earthy with a potent kick to be reckoned with.

Not a style that's a crowd pleaser, but a damn good sort of ale that I truly enjoy...even more-so in the barrel aged version.

11-07-2006 09:34:33 | More by scottoale
Photo of neonbrown82
neonbrown82

Nebraska

4.4/5  rDev +5.5%

Once again, AleSmith has managed to impress me. Thanks to dogfooddog for the bottle. This beer pours to a very dark nutty brown with amber hues. Almost opaque. Has a beautiful cascading tan head with excellent retention and decent lacing.

The smell is like butterscotch. Loads of caramel malt with a light peatsmoke aroma. Smells like a strong, formidable brew. Some earthy berry esters also show through. The taste is just as good, and follows along with the nose. The alcohol is fairly well hidden, though it is definitely there.

Very smooth, creamy body. Nice lingering coffee, chocolate, and butterscotch flavor. Quite drinkable despite the strength. I will probably drink this alongside a glass of Scotch after I wrap this review up. Still tastes a bit green, but thankfully dogfooddog was generous enough to send doubles of everything. Cheers.

11-06-2006 07:29:02 | More by neonbrown82
Photo of dogfooddog
dogfooddog

Panama

3.8/5  rDev -8.9%

nose is a concern, note is vaguely like vinegar, with hints of raisins or other dark-sweet fruits. Not what I would expect from any scottish ale.

taste is much better - sweet glowing sense of old ale (not barleywine), hints of fruit or other typical notes. Lacks the character this style gains from wood-fermentation, though I see such a variant does exist.

this is not my favorite wee heavy, but a very decent example with improves into the bottle and higher temperature. I would really like to try the wood-aged version of this...

11-04-2006 02:53:50 | More by dogfooddog
Photo of BlindPig
BlindPig

Pennsylvania

3.7/5  rDev -11.3%

A- 1/2-3/4" tan head. Dark brown blackish body. Bits of lacing that are there just not covering top.
S- Alcohol, plums, other darker fruits, and some light spice are all there. Is on the sweeter side and maybe a bit of a earthy note.
T- Coffee nots in it with fruits showing too. Alcohol does come through in taste and a light warming (gets quite a bit bigger as it warms). All the fruits start to come through more as it warms also. Light bitterness in taste but mostly all fades away in the aftertaste. The fruits stay in the mouth in the aftertaste.
M- Body is a bit on the thinner side for such a big beer. Probably medium to thin body with low carbonation. Smooth also.
D- It was ok for a glass but I couldn't drink a whole bottle. I just don't think this is my style. It is a sipper though.

10-20-2006 02:26:48 | More by BlindPig
Photo of GCBrewingCo
GCBrewingCo

North Carolina

4.22/5  rDev +1.2%

The beer poured into the glass clear medium amber brown with a tannish moderate head which was frothy and long lasting to lace the glass.

The aroma was strongly malty with a nutty presence and a toasty aspect. The caramel in the aroma was strong and pleasant. A bit of chocolate was notable as was a lightly fruity character. Still the emphasis was malt, malt and more malt.

The flavor was malty with a bit of a roast and a bit of smoke. The malt was well rounded and had some chocolate character. The amount of smoke became more intense as the beer warmed, but was never out of style. The malt was toasty and nutty and had a strong caramel presence without being sweet. Some flavors of alcohol were present, but not distracting.

The finish was dry with lasting malt, light roast, and phenolic smoke into the aftertaste. The body was almost full and with a lower than expected carbonation. The warming from alcohol was low after consumption, but was present nonetheless. A very nice wee heavy/strong scotch ale.

750 ml capped bottle.

10-12-2006 22:26:46 | More by GCBrewingCo
Photo of BeerManDan
BeerManDan

California

4.47/5  rDev +7.2%

Wow, what a powerful tasting ale. When poured, it showed a medium hazy brown color with no foam to speak of. The smell of sweet candies and spices filled the nose, with a hint of chocolate.
Same goes for the flavor. Sweet spices, chocolate with a great balance of bitter sweet taste of the palate. Another winner for Alesmith, if you can find their ales. I got mine while in S.D., on vacation.

09-28-2006 01:21:58 | More by BeerManDan
Photo of instrumentality
instrumentality

California

4.22/5  rDev +1.2%

My introduction to this beer was on September 9, 2006 at the Stone 10th Anniversary Festival. I had it on draught and loved it, but I was 8 or 9 tasters deep when I tried it so I don't know how solid my judgment was. Now I will be able to verify.

I used my trusty Stone IRS tulip glass. This beer poured with minimal head but its body was a thick, deep, opaque mahogany, almost black.

The smell was as fantastic as I remembered it. I hate scotch, but this smells like scotch if it wasn't designed to burn all the hairs out of your nose. Mixed with this was a mouth watering burnt caramel smell. I'd have to say this is the best smelling beer I can recall experiencing.

When the liquid first touched my mouth, I felt like I was drinking a dry red wine, but the flavor evolved quickly from this to a very mild, malty scotch (but a heavy ass beer) to a soothing burnt sweetness. The more I drink, the easier this brew becomes to drink, the wine flavor dissipating and leaving the burnt malty goodness behind.

This beer burns the mouth, but I expect no less from a 9.5% ABV brew, and it finishes cleanly with no nagging aftertaste.

I rate drinkability in terms of how easily I can consume a beer. Alesmith's Wee Heavy is a sensory pleasure, but even without the compulsion to savor every sip, its intensity forces me to take it slowly. Again, the more I drink, the easier it gets, but I know I'm going to be wrecked by the end if I don't control myself.

I love this beer. I'm curious to know if it actually improves with age, because I think the alcohol intensity is a big part of what makes it so delicious.

09-26-2006 04:30:13 | More by instrumentality
Photo of MSchae1017
MSchae1017

Georgia

4.4/5  rDev +5.5%

This beer was tasted in a tulip glass from the bottle.

This beer pours a translucent rusty amber with a small fizzy tan head that dissipates quickly leaving no lace. The smell is sweet malty and fruity with hints of lace. The taste reminds me of an old ale with smoked malts. The mouthfeel is thick with some nice carbonation. Overall drinkable and definetly different.

09-23-2006 05:12:07 | More by MSchae1017
Photo of macster
macster

Florida

4.43/5  rDev +6.2%

Just a fabulous Scotch Ale. Pours from the bottle a dark ruby brown color. Sports a tight 1/4" beige head which fades to a light wisp. Minimal lacing. Rich, assertive aromas of dark chocolate covered cherries, butterscotch, caramel apples, molasses and smokey charred wood and alcohol fill the nose. Just a fantastic aroma profile! Moutfeel was fairly full, round amd smooth with just the perfect amount of carbonaton. Superb flavors of dark roasted malt, burnt caramel candies, dark chocolate, molasses, licorice and charred wood. The only slight flaw I would mention was the late palate and finish was a tad harsh and boozy with the alcohol pushing its way to the forefront a bit too much. Not well hidden at all. Definitely a great winter fireplace ale after a year or two of ageing.

09-17-2006 04:44:57 | More by macster
Photo of watermelonman
watermelonman

California

4.33/5  rDev +3.8%

This poured to a dark near-black color with a bit of orange and red. The head is small but leaving some nice lace.

The smell is strong and very good. Plenty of dark malt, some subtle dark fruits, and smoke are all present. The taste is also strong and has a ton of different flavors. It starts off with dark malt and a bit of toffee, and finishes with smoke. Hops and alcohol are both present but do not take over. The mouthfeel is full and drinkability is good.

09-07-2006 07:33:03 | More by watermelonman
Photo of Westsidethreat
Westsidethreat

California

4.47/5  rDev +7.2%

A: Chocolaty copper with some amber highlights. Fairly clean with just a few bubbles lingering in the glass. The head is nice roasted marshmallow made up of tight, thick bubbles.

S: Bakers chocolate, port, vanilla, raisins, brandy and toffee. Great.

T: Chocolaty and divine. Slight bourbon astringency in the highs with gorgeous rounded butterscotch and vanilla base flavors. Minor coffee, molasses and brown sugar. Finishes with earthy bitter hops and a lingering mocha flavor.

M: Full bodied and creamy.

D: Delicious. Alcohol a bit too apparent.

08-27-2006 23:30:38 | More by Westsidethreat
Photo of blackie
blackie

California

4.4/5  rDev +5.5%

appearance: The beer has a good looking ring of carbonation around the glass with a thin bottom-fed layer of carbonation on the surface. The color is a dark ruby-brown.

smell: Booze is quite noticeable at first, reminiscent of bourbon to my nose. Peaty malts and woody notes of sweet cocoa ride this wave of ethanol. A considerable hop presence provides an interesting counterpoint to the malts.

mouthfeel: The carbonation is a smooth high medium, and the body somewhere around medium.

taste: Moderately sweet peaty malts upfront with light notes of milk chocolate. Some hints of boozy raisins and figs. The malt flavors are quite delicious in their subtlety. Light to moderate hop flavor with a light bitterness that lingers into the finish with hints of roast. The ethanol is quite noticeable but is not too much of a factor for me...it seems much less intrusive on the palate than the nose suggested it would be.

drinkability: Tasty, but quite a strong beer with plenty of ethanol at the front, so drinkability is limited.

750ml bottle split, courtesy of dirtylou, during my second stay in Madison. While this is rated as my favorite Scotch Ale/Wee Heavy at the moment, I don't really think that to be true. However, I can't really think of any parameters to subtract from to bring it down to what I believe to be the correct score in relation to to my favorite wee heavies.

11-12-07: Bottle aged for a bit over a year, no idea what vintage. Silver foil and purple screenprinting. Very creamy looking head with great retention over a superbly raisin colored beer. Exceptionally thick, smooth mouthfeel. Aroma and flavor seem to have held up, has taken on a bit of a Euro lager sulfur type hint. A little smoky, a little sweet, quite good.

08-17-2006 23:57:24 | More by blackie
Photo of dirtylou
dirtylou

Washington

3.8/5  rDev -8.9%

750ml bottle split with blackie, obtained in a trade with Solomon420

appearance: poured into a chalice, dark plum-garnet-mahogany body, light beige/khaki head with only slight lacing

smell: nice wee heavy aromas...raisin, sweet malt, milk chocolate tones, light booze, caramel, booze covered cherry, fig

taste: This is a very nice scotch, but the alcohol is a bit hot which makes this one quite obviously inferior to the Lake Louie's in my eyes...booze is way too hot for me but if you can get beyond that you have a nice smooth scotch...milk chocolate covered raisin, booze covered cherry, plum and other dark fruit, roasted grain, sugar sweet malt

mouthfeel: nice smooth body with a big alcohol follow through

drinkability: judged to the highest standard, its a little underwhelming

08-17-2006 23:35:46 | More by dirtylou
Photo of Phyl21ca
Phyl21ca

Quebec (Canada)

3.93/5  rDev -5.8%

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

08-16-2006 13:41:38 | More by Phyl21ca
Photo of SPLITGRIN
SPLITGRIN

Kentucky

3.73/5  rDev -10.6%

Black cherry red body shows a high level of carbonation and hosts a deep tan head with large bubble concentration. Nose is very fragrent with strong tones of dark chocolate cherry and malt. Screams for a sweet ride ahead. Lichtly burnt malty goodness enters toe mouth. Very seet as previewed by the nose. Body is long and noticeabley high in alchol. Many characteristics resemble port greatly. Malty feel is doninent throughout and almost syrupy twords the finish. A extremely sweet over the top Scotish style. Mouthfeel is of sweet burnt malt. You couldnt drink much more than one of these 25 oz. 9% alc. bottles.

08-13-2006 21:53:22 | More by SPLITGRIN
Photo of Knuckles
Knuckles

Washington

2.73/5  rDev -34.5%

I like my wee heavies to have a bit of subtlety to them. I don't want to be mugged by the alcohol or gassed by the boozy nose. This beer has all the subtlety of "Natural Born Killers". When I poured it out, I thought I was smelling the red wine my friend had been drinking earlier. Then I stuck my nose in the goblet. Whoops.

Appearance: Easily the best part of the beer. A deep, dark brown with a lovely tan head.

Smell: Umm, so I understand there's a bit of alcohol in this thing because it smells like I could douse a shirt-wrapped stick in it, light it on fire and explore underground Seattle with that sumbitch lighting the way.

Taste: The alcohol really overwhelms everything else in this beer. I don't know what the malts taste like, or if there is any peat or anything else, because all I taste is hooch.

Mouthfeel: Hey, with a beer this high in gravity, it should be nice. It is. Very velvety and smooth.

Drinkability: To be truthful, this was undrinkable for me. Too much alcohol and very little else going on. I've had this beer for over six months, properly stored in my cellar. Thank god I didn't open it when I got it, or it might have killed me. I've got a few more Alesmiths in the cellar, I hope they are a bit more complex than this one.

08-12-2006 20:36:20 | More by Knuckles
Photo of DogFood11
DogFood11

California

3.75/5  rDev -10.1%

750 poured into a tulip it forms a tan head that leaves ring like lacing and the head fades to an out ring. Deep copper to brown body with medium carbonation.

This is one of those brews that you can get almost everything thats going to happen from the smell and appearance. Very rich chocolaty, deeply toasted and slightly charred give it some bitterness (although not much) and a bit of a smokehouse backer, add in the sweet side of caramel malts and you have the backbone and it translates to the taste nicely. As it warms it shows off more of the fruity phenols but its still takes some due dilligence to find.

Notes: I thought this was a bit of a boozy brew in the smell and taste and sometimes a little harsh around the edges. Porter'ish w/ a tough finish. I absolutely love Alesmith beers. They've set such a high standard that for this brewery this was just ok to me. Still well above average for the style.

08-10-2006 04:11:05 | More by DogFood11
Photo of goodbyeohio
goodbyeohio

Oregon

4.45/5  rDev +6.7%

750ml silkscreened, newer release.

pours a lot lighter than i'm used to for scotch ales.. brown tinged and clear. cascades in the glass though, and leaves a crusty, sparkly palmolive head.. cakes up nice on the edges too leaving some chunkiness. the beer itself is see through and slightly murky, blood red with burnt sienna highlights.

smells really malty and burnt, in a sweet way. not overly so. not much in the way of peppery spice.. some caramelized sugars and a little bit of dank bud-like earthy green freshness. deeper inhalations breed drool, the complex layers of toffee malt and delicately placed spiciness. aroma's got just enough of a milk chocolate hint too. really excellent.

amazing flavors.. if you're not holding on, sitting down.. if you expect the taste to match the color and visual thickness, well, you'll find yourself in a world of confusion as the blast of taste bowls your ass over. first is a nice pre-coat of hop oils and woozy, boozy alcohol. not too much though, but enough to wake you up and dilate your pupils. the beer expands to include some woody flavors and a hint of licorice.. it's all about the payoff here.. the big finish. it's got a hint of charred sugar crystal, some vanilla, and the basest tart vinous quality.. quite similar to actual grape juice. perfectly balanced yet huge. much silkier and more substantial than it looks.. which is nice for sipping. carbonation is healthy and not overdone.

drinkability? i love this kind of beer, but i think some people might have an issue doing anything than quietly, softly sipping it.. but who cares? this beer is meant to be savored in small sips. a big sip might cause a flavor-induced embellism or double stroke.. something bad of that sort.

08-10-2006 00:55:52 | More by goodbyeohio
Photo of kmo1030
kmo1030

Massachusetts

4.38/5  rDev +5%

dark orangey reddish brown, with a slightly thin head.
the smell is sweet and malty with rich caramel, a little chocolate, molasses and fruit. the fruit is mostly a dark raisin aroma.
the taste is a lot less sweet than expected with a dry caramel character with molasses rolling in behind. the peat and hops dry things up at the finish, only to be followed by a sweet fried taste, like a glazed donut or, if you've ever had them, fried coconut shrimp. this actually works as a flavor in this beer despite how it sounds. the raisin in apparent thorughout as well as a black licorice that fades in and out. i also pick up vanilla imbedded somewhere in there. there is a moderate dose of alcohol and heat in there, that seems a little unecessary, but does not detract.
it's really quite dry and surprisingly, relatively medium bodied, which lends excellently to it's good drinkability. i expected a little cloying sweetness, but none was to be found. a damn good wee heavy, and from california no less.

07-14-2006 20:37:37 | More by kmo1030
AleSmith Wee Heavy from AleSmith Brewing Company
93 out of 100 based on 843 ratings.