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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.

831 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 831
Reviews: 412
rAvg: 4.17
pDev: 9.59%
Wants: 171
Gots: 182 | FT: 16
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: 831 | Reviews: 412 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of SheepNutz


4.13/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

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

Serving type: bottle

01-31-2005 03:49:53 | More by SheepNutz
Photo of kmpitz2


4.45/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

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

Serving type: bottle

01-30-2005 22:31:31 | More by kmpitz2
Photo of ppoitras


4.85/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

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

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

Serving type: bottle

01-23-2005 23:24:27 | More by ppoitras
Photo of silenius


4.3/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

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

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

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

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

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

Serving type: bottle

12-11-2004 03:16:53 | More by silenius
Photo of mickeymac


4.63/5  rDev +11%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

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

Serving type: bottle

12-06-2004 06:19:36 | More by mickeymac
Photo of Dogbrick


4.5/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

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

Serving type: bottle

11-05-2004 16:56:55 | More by Dogbrick
Photo of winomark


3.85/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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

Serving type: bottle

10-24-2004 13:41:23 | More by winomark
Photo of feloniousmonk


4.08/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Deep dark brown, figgy, plummish, a tawny shade of crimson, not much of a head, slips away if it was there at all...
rip dark fruit in the aroma, raisins and dates, more from the fig and plum, grapes, deep and resonant, complex and pungent...
Full feeling on the palate, big flavor, cocoa maltiness, thick mouthfeel, return of the dark fruits in abundance, great tasting...I like it, though it doesn't impress me too much. Nuttin' wrong with that...
...wait how strong is this?...that strong, really?...it does stick out...maybe I'd like it better if the booze were a bit more quiet...nah, that doesn't sound like me...anyway, good beer all y'all...enjoy...

Serving type: bottle

10-10-2004 09:23:38 | More by feloniousmonk
Photo of Boilermaker88


4.38/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A 2001 vintage in a 750ml capped bottle that was poured into a tulip glass as recommended per the label. Had a dark mahogany color, a modest creamy beige head and lots of fine carbonation seen crawling up the sides of the glass.
A rich, malty aroma dominated the nose. Also present in abundance were notes of dark fruit, scorched caramel, and smoldering peat. Heady alcohol vapors also made their presence known quite readily.
The taste was varied and complex. Up front were flavors of candy sugar and dark fruit, toffee, and grains. Mid-palate yielded a nutty flavor and the tastes of charred wood and peat. Lastly, there was a mild herbal bitterness and the warming parting shot of alcohol that heated up the throat and stomach. The feel was full, rich and creamy with a dry finish.
Wow, kudos to BrewMaster for finding this great brew and for putting the word out. The only downside I had with this beer from a drinkability standpoint was the potent ABV which had me getting loopy by the end of my second glass. A rich, hearty and complex ale that was worth the trip.

Serving type: bottle

10-10-2004 04:14:33 | More by Boilermaker88
Photo of BrewMaster


4.88/5  rDev +17%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

2001 750 ml bottle opened 10/6/04. The beer was capped with an unlabeled gold colored cap, no cork. The back of the bottle has good instructions on cellaring, storage, and serving the beer. The beer pours a rich and dark brownish red color. It looks like a darkly stained piece of antique furniture. A light head develops on pouring and a nice covering of tan lacy bubbles swirls atop the dark brew once the head settles down in 30 seconds or so.

The aroma is roasty with caramel and what seems like a sour scent, though I'm didn't know I could smell sourness. The aroma balances out a bit once the beer has a few minutes to breath fresh air. At first is was a bit off-putting, but once it came together is was a nice smelling brew.

The flavor is exceptional. Lots of caramel, grape molasses, and malt flavors lingers in the mouth. A tangy roastiness is also present. There doesn't seem to be any noticable contribution from hops. A light note of earthiness finishes the flavor. A nice wheat bread and oat flavor coats the mouthfor the aftertaste.

This beer is nothing less than fantastic. I am enjoying an entire bottle myself and loving every sip of it.

Serving type: bottle

10-07-2004 01:05:37 | More by BrewMaster
Photo of meathookjones


4.28/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Reviewed from a 2003 750ml bottle with no dates of any kind on it. This appears a black color till held up to the light and dark cherry highlights could be seen. A fluffy beige head sits atop the dark body that leaves minimal lace as this was consumed. Fruits scents will the aroma along with slight caramel malt sweetness. There is also a slight smoky note I am picking up from time to time. The flavor has a strong molasses taste with malty sweetness and the alcohol is definitely present. There were notes of chocolate and caramel and it ended with a slight alcohol after taste. Body was almost full with a sticky coating mouthfeel. I had no trouble finishing this big bottle and I would have had more if it were available. A very good example of the style that is worth a shot for sure.

Serving type: bottle

09-24-2004 13:51:58 | More by meathookjones
Photo of Wildman


4.43/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This beer poured a very dark blood red amber color and formed a small light tan bubbly head the left trace lace as it subsided. A small amount of carbonation is present. An heavy aroma of malt, molasses, dark cherries and some other fruit. A hint of of the alcohol present is also in the background. The flavor is of malt, molasses and a bit of carmel with some dark fruit aspect. The body is slightly silky and the finish is slightly sweet with a hint of astigency. It's glad to have Alesmith available in Ohio, I just wish they would charge us the same price that California and others pay, but at least we have it.

Serving type: bottle

09-13-2004 02:32:36 | More by Wildman
Photo of CRJMellor


4.47/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours deep maroon with a black core. Big, light tan head that dissipates quickly but leaves some spotty lace.
Aroma is very peaty and earthy with some roasted nuts and a sweet toffee base. Hint of chocolate malt also present.
Flavor has a full-on peat scotch-like hit with some caramel, chocolate malt and some fruity undertones. Tastes like one of those alcoholic X-mas chocolate candies. Delicious.
Mouthfeel is hyper-sweet for the first 1/3 then moves to a roasted and peaty middle and finishing with a touch of hop bittering. Very on to style for me.
Drainkability is great. Beautiful beer and excellent representation of style IMHO.

Serving type: bottle

09-02-2004 19:14:07 | More by CRJMellor
Photo of Gusler


4.5/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The beer disgorges from the 750ml green bottle a limpid deep ruby to almost brown color; the head is gargantuan in size, semi-creamy in texture and a toothsome light tan in color with the residual lace a velvet curtain to drape the glass. Nose is sweet malt, caramel and molasses, fresh and crisp, a pleasant sniff to be sure, start is demonstrative in its sweetness, thick malt presence, and the top is moderate to full in its feel to the palate. Finish has a fairish acidity, the hops relatively benign in their spiciness, the aftertaste droughty and a definite alcohol bitterness forms as the beer warms to the glass and room and it sticks to the palate till the very end. Alesmith has been since I sampled my first beer from them several years ago a favorite and I look forward to their vintages each year and keep a ton in my stash

Serving type: bottle

08-10-2004 15:03:44 | More by Gusler
Photo of BierReise


4.28/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Enjoyed this ale with fellow BA JohnnyDuvel. 750ml Capped Pours a dark brown with a light but dense head. Aroma is a toasty, smoky ,malty sensation with a faint sweetness and lots of caramel notes. The body is smooth and full that sticks to your mouth. The flavor is all about malt yet has a bitterness at the end. Caramel, roasted malt and molasses give this an interesting complexity. Overall another fine offering from Alesmith.

Serving type: bottle

08-07-2004 23:47:22 | More by BierReise
Photo of JohnnyDuvel


4.38/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This brewery continues to amaze me. I would rank Alesmith as my favorite US brewery at this time. This is a very interesting brew, not as malty or sweet as the Belhaven. Nice bite, with a little bitterness mixed in with the malts. Smooth and warming. Somewhere between a scotch ale and a barley wine, IMO, and extremely good! Thanks again, Ron.

Serving type: bottle

08-03-2004 15:25:02 | More by JohnnyDuvel
Photo of Rastacouere

Quebec (Canada)

4.75/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Almost opaque deep brown. Honest light brown head becomes a ring. Big malty aroma, no compromise. You can feel it in your bones that this is a scotch ale, caramel and toffee in abundance. Almost smoky at times. Close to flowery hops. Terrific blending and mutual flavor completion. Just a light alcohol hint in mid-mouth. In mouth, simply put, the beer tastes good. It has everything you wish your scotch ale to have while never being too sweet thanks to a generous (but restrained) hop profile, somehow grassy. Hints of candy, cream, coffee, chocolate. Fantastic creamy mouthfeel, rocking smoothness, this is an easy 5 for texture with so soft carbonation... Awesome, even with just a few months of age. Cheers rodolito!

Serving type: bottle

08-01-2004 20:58:07 | More by Rastacouere
Photo of Crosling


4.05/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4


Mellow aroma but still enjoyable. Hints of smoke, wood, peat, alcohol, molasses, burnt caramel and heavily toasted malts.

The malts provide the beer with a subtle smokiness in the backround and notes of wood, prunes, raisins, toffee, grape, chocolate and caramel. Obviously this beer is more malt accentuated but the hop bitterness is this on the finish.

I like it but it's nothing compared to the others.

Serving type: bottle

06-07-2004 19:27:43 | More by Crosling
Photo of Bighuge


4.05/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Nice clear auburn appearance. Thin light brown head with decent retention. Lacing is spotty. Nice aroma of bourbon barrel, vanilla, oak, peat and thick malt. There's a nice oak/woodiness going on in this one. The alcohol is definitely noticeable. The malts are meaty and just a tad smoky. A littled roasted chocolate malt is noticed. Hops seem to add just a titch of bitterness (and when combined with the alcohol sting leaves a nice lingering dry aftertaste). Body is about medium and the carbonation seems about right. This is definitely a good Wee Heavy, but not Top Tier one IMVHO.

Gotta send out props to the Man, I mean the Dude, I mean the Bum. Thanks guy.

Serving type: bottle

05-18-2004 02:20:32 | More by Bighuge
Photo of jonnylieberman


4.05/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 750 ml bottle into my snifter a dark brown with some deep-copper present if held up to light. The head looked like capacino foam. Decent lacing. It looked like a stout pumped through nitro.

Very vinous smell -- wine like aroma. The alcohol, all 9.5% of it, is present. Raisins are present along with a smokey tang.

Sweet! This is a very sweet tasting beer. All malt, all the way.Smokey on the back of the tongue with a dry finish. The dry, roasted finish nicely compliments the sweet initial taste. Never cloying. Alcohol warmth is present as well. Mild bubblegum flavors are also present.

Mouthfeel is medium thin. Quite light, really.

A very drinkable Scotch ale that avoided ever tasting anything like syrup. Finishing all 25 ounces was not a problem.

Notes: Not the best I've had from AleSmith, but I do plan on aquiring another bottle and letting it age. Also, Might be really great with food.

Serving type: bottle

04-17-2004 05:44:34 | More by jonnylieberman
Photo of WVbeergeek

West Virginia

4.5/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Deep ruby chestnut mahogany tone with a caramel cream head leaves ample sporadic lacing behind, another beer from Alesmith, oh joy! Aroma: Awesome air of peated malts strong alcohol presence but doesn't overwhelm. Excellent malt backbone compromises medium to dark toasted malts to form deep vanilla and oak aging notes along with a strong deep over ripened fruit note, nice. Taste: Smokey malts not too hardcore, great cohesive taste excellent blend well hidden alcohol with fruity smoked edges, mild hop profile and oak barrel aging this beer would go well with a nice cigar. Mouthfeel: Medium to fuller bodey nice even carbonation excitably smooth on the palate. Drinkability: Oh yeah, one of the best Wee Heavys around nice west coast style but kept it some what traditional, I am a fan thanks for the sample beergeek279 and cupbeerman.

Serving type: bottle

04-12-2004 20:26:35 | More by WVbeergeek
Photo of beergeek279


4.7/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Served as a sample from the 750 mL bottle. The color was a dark amber/brown, with a ring of white head. The smell was a slightly smoky, slightly sweet malt. The taste started with a peaty smokiness, and then a very strong vanilla sweetness came into the taste, and finished with just a hint of the alcohol. Mouthfeel was chewy. As for drinkability, I could have quite a few of these.

Well, I'm shocked...a West Coast beer without hoppiness!! Seriously, though, this is amongst the best Wee Heavys that I've had, and hopefully I'll be able to have this one again.

Serving type: bottle

04-12-2004 16:23:49 | More by beergeek279
Photo of TheLongBeachBum


3.35/5  rDev -19.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A trip to, and a tour of, the Alesmith Brewery, was the second stop on EyeChartBrews recent Bachelor Party ‘Tour de Force’ of San Diego.

I had chance to pick up a mixed case of Alesmith brews whilst here, which included 4 x 750ml bottles of the Wee Heavy. I had committed the cardinal sin of asking for J.P. Gray’s Wee Heavy when ordering my Case. Apparently, “old JP” was Skip Virgilio’s maternal grandfather. According to the AS Website, JPGWH was release in 98, 99, and 2000, but I also have had a bottle dated from 2001 which does not appear on the Site. Interestingly enough, this beer is described as both 8.5% and 9.0% on the Website. Note to Alesmith – update your Website please!!! Anyways, I digress, as brewmaster Skip had himself ‘skipped’ (so to speak) Alesmith, the precursor has now been dropped. Hence, the new name for 2004, simply “Wee Heavy”. This will now be an all year round beer.

Whilst the distinctive Belgium green glass 750ml bottle remains, the bottle design has distinctly changed. Gone is the high quality gold leaf that is on the empty 2001 bottle that I still have adorning my kitchen worktop. The 'Pint on Anvil' logo is now white and purple. The printed bottle has the word “Alesmith” in a small white Arial like font, whilst “Wee Heavy” is in a much larger purple scripted font below. It is finished with the words “Scotch Style Ale” in white wording close to the base. Listed as 9.5% ABV, stronger than past years I note. The presentation is finished with some thick black foil over the simple brass colored crown cap. No cork.

Pours with a beautiful looking cherry wood body, lots of mahogany that sparkles with a ruby hue when backlit. But what happened to the head? Erm, not much carbonation at all. This is a big difference from the original JP version I note. I’m sat waiting for something to happen!?! On the second glass I get a quick “fizz” that releases a thin but solid light brown disc like head, but this almost immediately disappears to reveal a broken covering and a tan colored ring around the edge of the glass. Flat looking.

Molasses and caramel malts in the nose. One dimensional, but nice. As it warms it reveals lots of dark bonfire toffee. The initial taste is of malts, caramel, sweet dark toffee and dark fruits which are all exhibited in the mouth with a moist sponge like Parkin feel. The body is of a solid Ale, but the burning raw sugary sweet aftertaste and warming alcohol bite are a little too much for me. It is malty to start with and aggressive in the back end. It lacks complexity and the gorgeous smoke character that I remember from the 2001 J.P. version I had previously. It feels like all the ingredients are here, but they need time to synchronize and synergize in my opinion. Very raw at the moment.

I dearly love Alesmith beers, but I have to be honest here and say that this was somewhat of a disappointment overall, especially for $10. I hate to mention cost, but like it or not, in the real world, everything has a price. The Abbeye des Rocs Grand Cru that I can purchase locally for $6.99 for the same volume is now my Bench-Mark “premium” drink straight away or cellar beer. If you’re going to compete in the higher priced echelons of the beer market, you better get your shit right and know your competition. That said, this is not a bad beer, far from it, but it is rather more that I expected greater and better things from it. It’s good, but I think this one needs a lot more time to be great to be honest. If I splashed $10 and drank this fresh, then maybe I would be a tad let down. Give it another 24 months, or more, maybe only then will I be happy with my investment. But that's a long time for a return on a high priced beer. Thankfully, I have a few more bottles that are stashed away. But this will have to do much better to even have me consider splashing out another $10/bottle to even contemplate cellaring any more than the few I already have; the Grand Cru and Speedway Stout are much better for the same coin IMVHO.

Serving type: bottle

03-22-2004 06:41:42 | More by TheLongBeachBum
Photo of Boto


4.72/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Draught: I had a sample of this at the brewery. It poured a somewhat mahogany brown color. A decent off-white head. I get the aroma of caramel malt sweetness, with a hint of peat and smokiness. There are similar notes to the taste. A full, rich, complex taste. Lovely.

Serving type: on-tap

02-18-2004 03:07:24 | More by Boto
Photo of jcalabre


3.63/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Originally sampled on 18 July 2002. This baby is a dark reddish brown w/ a tan head. Sweet w/ tastes of carmel & dried fruit greet you. Lots of malty taste on the tongue. But it was a touch too sweet for me. I'm sure many will really enjoy this one, but for me, it was very good, but not great.

Serving type: bottle

06-12-2003 20:23:56 | More by jcalabre
AleSmith Wee Heavy from AleSmith Brewing Company
93 out of 100 based on 831 ratings.