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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.
BA SCORE
93
outstanding

881 Ratings
THE BROS
93
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 881
Reviews: 419
rAvg: 4.17
pDev: 9.59%
Wants: 175
Gots: 190 | 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
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Ratings: 881 | Reviews: 419 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of MarineHokie
3.7/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

750 ml bottle

A - Pours deep mahogany, leaving a slim ring of foam around the rim of the tulip glass. Seemed a little bit undercarbonated.

S - Vinious, port like, earthy, & peaty.

T - Sweet dried fruit then smoky oak and malt flattens across the tongue. Drys with an oaky crisp finish.

M - Fairly thin bodied and alcoholic.

D - Just sweet enough to make one enough. Split the 750 with two other folks.

MarineHokie, Feb 17, 2006
Photo of GClarkage
4.53/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

02/13/06- Purchased at Ledger's Liquors in Berkeley, CA.

Presentation- 750ml bottle...from I think a 2005 bottling. Poured into my St. Bernardus chalice.

Appearance- Milk chocolate colored pour headed towards a darker brown as it settles. Good inch plus foamy head with adequate lacing. Good amount of chunky sediment flops into the glass.

Smell- Great scented malt fills the room. Lots of caramel and dark fruits fill the air. Grapes, plums, raisins and dates inplode. Wonderful nose.

Taste- This does not disappoint. Loads of sweet super roasted malt with a caramel/toffee flavor. A tad smoky it seems at times. Grape, not really vinous grape, but more like jolly rancher or candied grape flavor mixes with plums and dates. Alcohol does not seems as high as listed.

Mouthfeel- A bit heavily carbonated, but still goes down easy.

Drinkability- The best Wee Heavy I think I have had to date. Super easy to drink. A pleasure to quaff.

GClarkage, Feb 14, 2006
Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.58/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pecan shell brown with a generous infusion of darkest crimson and edges of burnt orange. The liquid is nowhere near opaque, which makes me wonder about the heaviness of this wee heavy. The small, toasted tan cap is nicely creamy and lasts for quite a while. It also deposits an attractive lace signature on the upper reaches of the glass.

The nose is classic for the style, although it could stand to be more aromatic. I smell lightly roasted malt, brown sugar, dark caramel, cocoa and a drizzle of molasses. Thankfully, the aroma opens up with warming and realizes the potential that I knew was there all along.

Wee Heavy is wonderfully delicious beer. If you like your Scotch ales boldly flavored and malty sweet, with a dizzying array of complementary flavors (all of them good), then you've come to the right place. In fact, when I think of a beer of this style, this is the flavor profile that comes to mind. First off, hops are virtually absent, as it should be for the style. The brewers probably ran out after the latest batch of YuleSmith.

Malt is the undisputed king, with flavors reminiscent of dates (primarily), sticky toffee pudding with dark caramel sauce, dark brown sugar, molasses, sweetened tobacco, tangy peat and lingering tendrils of smoke. As I said, this offering contains every last style element that I can think of and combines them into a sweetly luscious, beautifully blended whole. I'm sorry that I questioned its bona fides when commenting on the less than opaque appearance. There's no shortage of flavor, that's for damn sure.

Alcohol is noted on the palate, although it's as welcome as it is in a fine, aged port. I'd like to think that roughly one year in my cellar was just what this beer needed to allow the various flavors to interdigitate and to allow the alcohol to mellow into the velvet hammer that it is at present. I need to slow down since my brain is beginning to fog over and typing is becoming more difficult.

I don't expect a wee heavy to have an Imperial stout-like mouthfeel, but I do expect it to be somewhat viscous and at least slightly chewy. Mission accomplished. I was happy with the first sip and I'm thrilled now that the bottle is more than half empty. The beer is becoming increasingly silky smooth with warming. Try as I might, I can't find any chinks in the armor.

AleSmith Wee Heavy is great beer. As noted above, it fits with uncanny precision into the Scotch ale/wee heavy blueprint that I carry around in my head. I'm kicking myself for not picking up more when I had the chance. On my next trip to Ohio, I'll be sure to grab a few more bottles of this outstanding ale from one of the best breweries in this, or any, country.

BuckeyeNation, Jan 27, 2006
Photo of Sammy
4.13/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Beautiful colour, nice brown head, lace. Lovely yeasty and chocolate malt aroma, with booziness. Understated hops, some toastiness, malt and dark fruit including fruit. Goes very well with food. Very nice bitter finish. Wonderful drinakable, thanks Dr. Jay.

Sammy, Jan 15, 2006
Photo of DrJay
4.47/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Reddish brown colour topped by a thin, tan head that produced lots of lace throughout. Great aroma with a nice balance, a combination of rich malt and chocolate, dried fruit, and a bit of smoke. Nothing was overpowering. Plenty of caramel and toffee in the flavour made up a rich malt backbone. Notes of figs, yeast and spice throughout. There's a strong, yet balanced, bitterness. Some alcohol warmth was apparent in the finish. Medium-full bodied with low carbonation. Two of us split the 750mL bottle and I could easily have had more. Excellent interplay of flavours and aromas. Another winner from Alesmith that I'll be picking up again.

DrJay, Jan 14, 2006
Photo of Gueuzedude
4/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

2000 Vintage, Sampled January 2006
This beer pours with a thin, yet well defined, tight amber tinged, dark tan colored head. The beer is a deep amber brown color that is opaque when held up to the light. The aroma is still rich and concentrated; notes of smooth aged malt, figs, prunes, hints of date, and some slight sherry. Laying on top of the aroma is a dusty character, which may have been contributed by the cork. The aroma is quite intense and still quite intriguing. The fruitiness seems to be the dominant character at this point.

The taste is lightly sweet up front, and quickly picks up a concentrated fruitiness reminiscent of figs and prunes. The finish has a bit of roast character to it that reminds me of a brown malt. The body has thinned out considerably, but the malt character is still intense and even fruity, which helps to make this beer satisfying. There is a bit of a phenolic note in the finish, which seems to be all that is left of some smokey character.

I would have to say that this beer is past its prime, but certainly not by much. I really like the combination of the aged malt character with the rich fruit notes. They pair well together and make this beer rich and satiating despite the body, which has thinned out over the years.

Gueuzedude, Jan 12, 2006
Photo of Goban
4.9/5  rDev +17.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A sweet roasted malty nose with a slight nutty undertone. It pours a dark brown with a wee khaki head that quickly dissipates into a fine ring.

A full and sweet foretaste is finished with a slight hoppy ester driven taste that you would hate to lose. Drinkability is astounding and I wish I would have bought more.

Yet again AleSmith has impressed me with a fine crafted brew. B-Z!

Goban, Jan 11, 2006
Photo of IceAce
3.85/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a deep brown body with flashes of ruby around the edges. Nose is haevy with earthy malt sprinkled with an occasional alcohol ester.

Entry is an eye-opening combo of deeply roasted malt and mouth-pleasing fullness. The full malty goodness continues thru the midtaste while the finish is a decadent mix of malt, piney hop, and alcohol.

This brew just pleads to be served with a slow-cooked brisket.

IceAce, Jan 03, 2006
Photo of RedDiamond
3.28/5  rDev -21.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Initial smells of moldy dog turd with sugar give way to musty barnyard broom closets of soiled dishrags and camphor. There’s also butterscotch, medieval dungeon, and a slightly smoky-swampy scent mixed with industrial alcohol. Ah, Scotland (by way of San Diego)!

Despite this brutal (yet accurate) panoply of smell descriptives, I actually appreciate the aroma of this beer much as I might appreciate the smell of certain common pheromones. The taste however, reaches like a broken limb and is unaccountably dilute. My Wee Heavy achieved perfect cellaring and serving at 50°F (exactly as it recommends on the bottle). But this beer doesn’t taste like a full-bodied ale that has mellowed. It tastes like a stick figure trying to be a body builder. It’s not that the essential flavors don’t exist, they’re just never delivered until whatever flavors might have once achieved identity, are arrested by a blunt alcohol finish.

RedDiamond, Dec 05, 2005
Photo of ChainGangGuy
4.7/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pouring out dark, chestnut brown with a head reminiscent of frothed milk. Alright, this starts off my inaugeral AleSmith experience!

Smell: Stongly sweet caramel malt aroma coupled with a limitless amount of peat and smoke. Touch of oak. Some dark fruits glazed in maple syrup.

Taste: Starts off with a clean maltiness which blends effortlessly with the peat and dark fruit flavors. Again, a bit of oak in the equation. A bit like a nice tawny port. The hops, though present, are restrained and unobtrusive, allowing for the dark, wine-like fruits and sweetness to dominate (though, at no point is this beer overly sweet). A little time and warmth help to coax out some additional flavors of cocoa and toasted vanilla beans. A litte more time brings out some fusel qualities.

Mouthfeel: Medium, and so very smooth.

Drinkability: Quite so. I feel "very good" is an understatement. I think it's an *outstanding* beer, and one I thoroughly recommend.

ChainGangGuy, Nov 20, 2005
Photo of RoyalT
4.1/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance – The head came up big then went down quickly, which is typical of the style. The body is a thick, pond-like dark brown.

Smell – This ale is rich in malts and whisky notes. The malts are huge and very complex, consisting mostly of sugared toast and some dark, roasty, stout-like smells. There is a light peaty smoke here along with some dark, juicy fruits. The prune and tobacco are overpowering.

Taste – Man, does this sweeten up at the taste. The chewing tobacco dominates, and is mixed with some juicy prunes and raisins. This is just raunchy. It is so sweet and full of tobacco it’s amazing. There’s a light hint of the big alcohol but mostly this is like sucking on a leaf of chewing tobacco.

Mouthfeel – This is almost full-bodied with some straightforward, rather harsh sweetness throughout.

Drinkability – I really enjoyed this take on the style, although BJCP might disagree.

RoyalT, Nov 16, 2005
Photo of bruachan
4.47/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

750 from hudson's acme

possibly the best aroma i've found in a beer. sweet caramelized malts with a deep rich tastiness. a touch of vinous darkfruitiness

dark garnet with a thin bubbly film. i coaxed a half-finger head out of it with an aggressive pour, but the % killed it off

fairly full-bodied, with a smooth alcoholic finish and a hint of smoke. complex in all facets. smoke and roasted barley in the background, nutty flavors and big caramel up front

this is a great beer. hard to sit down with a couple on your own, but a great example of the style and wonderfully drinkable. after this, and if speedway is what people say it is, i'm buying a t-shirt

bruachan, Nov 08, 2005
Photo of MuddyFeet
3.88/5  rDev -7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Very good dessert beer.

Pours a dark brown with ever-so-slight red tinges. Thick foamy head that leaves thick, coating lace.

Nose is roasty and sugary sweet malts.

Flavor is a nice sweet, roasty beer. Some nice overripe plums. Bits of roastiness but it does not linger and is gone with each sip. Which is a nice difference. Some toffee and caramel as well. The alcohol definitely jumps out at you. Cannot miss it as it kind of tingles throughout each taste.

Medium body--thought it would be heavier. The alcohol burn might be a bit too much for some.

A nice slow drinking beer.

MuddyFeet, Oct 12, 2005
Photo of twelvsies
4.18/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Been hearing a lot about this brewery lately, and as their products are finally starting to show up out east I thought I'd pick up a little something. Didn't dissapoint either, very good beer. Appears a real dark russet brown color with some red when put up to the lights, and an average head of foamy bubbles. Smells sweet and complex. Lots of roasty malt characteristics, chocolaty, yet with some real pungent qualities to it that suggest something a bit rougher than your average ale. Taste gets even a bit more complex. Not a hoppy beer by any means, but there's a nice bitterness to balance the assertive sweet maltiness and chocolate tastes, as well as some complex spicing and fruitiness. Also, I think part of the bitterness comes from that traditional smokey flavor which is sort of the signature quality of a good scotch ale, and it's definately quite apparent in this beer. A nice alcohol kick also accents this beer. Medium bodied mouthfeel. This beer would be hard to drink a lot of because of the alcohol primarily, but the complexity keeps things interesting. Definately a unique beer, and I look forward to trying their others.

twelvsies, Oct 03, 2005
Photo of PatandDavid
4.08/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

David and I shared a bottle of this last night at 'Bones. Lovely big green glass bottle, with nice silk screening. Our bottle said the abv was 9.5%. Very deep rich brown, low to non existent head on it. The aroma was my number one rated aspect: rich, peaty style malts. Definite hot alcohol. Actually...the aroma also reminded me of a good German Doppelbock, so again I have to go back and complement the rich maltiness there. Tastewise, this is a sipping brew. It is very hot, not immediately off-putting for me, but there is no denying that one is drinking a high abv brew. The alcohol was not able to be ignored. Balancing that out, there were some tasty notes of chocolate, some toasty malt notes, and low acridity. I did enjoy this one. The bottle recommends storing some away, and I wouldn't mind trying this after the alcohol has mellowed a bit.

PatandDavid, Sep 17, 2005
Photo of vladtheimpaler
4.53/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750ml. This is one of the best made beers you will find anywhere!. Pours a deep orange-brown with a nice tan head. massive rich malty aroma that reminds me of a fine German dopplebock of the best quality. Huge toffee and carmel notes. Sensational! Flavrs consist of explosive malts and carmel flavors, once again like a dopple. Very rich and desert like. Full mouth feel. Very drinkable, but it does go right to your head. Yummylicious.

vladtheimpaler, Aug 21, 2005
Photo of NeroFiddled
4.22/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

750ml green bottle; purple painted label; simply capped, with silver foil neck wrap. Cellared at 60F for one year; and enjoyed at 50F in a beer-clean Imperial pint glass.

The nose is immediately noticed upon pouring, with rich, deeply caramelized malts and a hint of roastiness. Further investigation once it gets into the glass also reveals some brown sugar, even darker molasses, and dark vinous fruit (raisins, prune, red wine).

It delivers a full head of densely creamy light tan foam over a clear (at least on the first pour) dark chestnut/mahogany body with auburn highlights. The head retention is very good given the alcohol content, and it leaves super wide rings of lace about the pint.

In the mouth, it's surprisingly medium bodied (I was expecting it to be a bit fuller), and smooth.

The flavor is exactly as the nose indicates, with a bit more alcohol - and that's the only drawback to this otherwise perfect wee heavy... the alcohol needs to be more restrained. And that goes to fermentation, not gravity, so there's a fairly big flaw here. Still, I really enjoyed it and I might try it again.

NeroFiddled, Jun 12, 2005
Photo of brewdlyhooked13
4.05/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance - poured into a wine glass per the label's suggestion, it is a murky brown with soft, dull red highlights. Minimal head, settles at a thin, persistent rim of bubbles.

Aroma - thick malt, chocolate, alcohol with the Scotch Whiskey influence. Goes a little thin after settling, but still good and fragrant.

Taste - whiskey-like malt, sweetness, and alcohol occur in rapid succession. The swallow ushers in a bit of chocolate, a dark fruit component, and the boozy warmth of 9% abv. A palatable wee heavy.

Mouthfeel - has smoothness and comes across a little to the thin side in body. Occasionally vapory from the alcohol, giving it a big beer feel at times. The texture improves noticeably as it warms.

Drinkability - very tasty and very potent. A worthy evening sipper.

Props to drewbage for hauling this across the country for me, it helped kick off my long Memorial Day weekend with elegance and pizazz. 2001 vintage I believe.

brewdlyhooked13, Jun 10, 2005
Photo of granger10
3.63/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This had the potential, it coulda been a contender. Unfortunately, upon cap poppage I noticed there was little life in it. On the pour, no head whatsoever. A second pour with a different glass got me a minimal head. It had a nice ruby dark color to it but lacked carbonation completely. Looked like a red wine. Aroma was really, really sweet. Toffee, figs, plums, molasses, and alcohol were all that I got. Is this a scotch ale or a dubbel? Taste had much less sweetness but still had notes reminiscent of wine. Figs were most dominant. A chewy body held up a drier malty flavor. Finish was alcohol and a little stinging. It was actually quite enjoyable and had a lot of potential. But where's the smoky flavor, the hops were minimal, and the lack of carbonation was quite upsetting (esp. for the price!). Good beer but a bit of a letdown.

granger10, Jun 09, 2005
Photo of BuckSpin
4.5/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Split a bottle with a relative in town. What a treat to try Alesmith's version of my favorite type of beer. I let the beer warm and took my glass outside to truly savor it undistrurbed by smoke or sound.

Poured a complex, dark, ruddy brown hue - very dark for a Wee Heavy. A mixed head of tan foam adorned the top. Nose was surprising & wonderfully complex. Deep & rich, it just kept going. Peat, burnt coffee, oak, earthy, coffee, malt - I spent minutes just smelling it.

Oh, its rich and smooootthhhh. Surprisingly creamy, you might actually think porter for a brief second. Echoes of oak & charcoal warm the tongue & pallete with a complex taste that never quite reveals all its pieces. The biggest surprise was the strong coffee and toffee throatfeel and aftertaste - this is a Wee Heavy? A slight hop peak on the swallow completes the ride, leaving echoes that resonate for a while in the warm afterglow. This is a beer to be slowly enjoyed. I look forward to another quiet evening exploring its compexities again.

BuckSpin, May 28, 2005
Photo of ZAP
4.58/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Dark brown color....shows no signs of carbonation....excellent nose....a nice subtle smokiness...also sweet malt...dark fruits....body is full, and sweet..low carbonation fits perfectly...

Taste is outstanding...great blend of peatiness and syruppy like maltiness..a slight hit of heat...actually begins with some cocoa elements before that fades into the background

I've heard mixed reviews on this one but I think it's one of the best Wee Heavy's I've tried....highly drinkable....and big at the same time..very well done...

ZAP, May 28, 2005
Photo of OldSock
4.78/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Appearance – Dark brown with deep red highlights. A thin off-white head that falls to a thin coating along with a massive sheet of lacing that paints my glass like whitewash.

Smell – The pungent dark fruits and smokiness cannot conceal the 9.5% abv completely, but they try. There are also chocolate notes in the nose, very nice.

Taste – Strong malts, smoke and dark fruits mingle together. Really no hop presence except for a slight bitterness on the back of the tongue. The alcohol is completely obscured in the taste while the beer is still at cellar temp, but I start to notice its taste and effect as I work down the huge bottle.

Mouthfeel – Delicious smooth-full body, more the mouthfeel of a strong stout than a Scotch Ale. The carbonation is a bit brisk for my preference, but this is less a problem as I am taking my time enjoying this fine beer.

Drinkability – Alesmith Wee Heavy is certainly the best domestic Scotch Ale that I have had, and good enough to be in the same category with the best Scotland has to offer. Glad I saved the big bottle for a night I had nothing else to do, as the abv will probably destroy me, but with this beer its well worth it. I wish I had bought a second bottle when I had the chance to put down for a year…damn.

OldSock, May 13, 2005
Photo of arizcards
4.53/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Picked up a 750 ml bottle for 12.99 at Papago Brewing back in November.

Pours a black color with garnet tones and a decent head. Smell is wonderful. I do not know how to best describe it other than it is this wonderful sweet medley that hits the pleasure center of my brain. Taste is smooth like the best of cognacs. Hints of smoky figs or prunes lurk beneath. Mouthfeel is perfect as this beer is smooth as silk. Overall drinkability is near perfect. The high ABV is well masked! Unfoprtunately the high price tag will result in annual treat for me!

arizcards, Mar 13, 2005
Photo of IrishRedRock
3.85/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Beautiful bottle, as seen in the picture. Popped the cap off to hear no hiss of escaping carbonation. Poured some into a snifter, same result. Uterrly, lifelessly flat. Like red wine. Thankfully, it doesn't need any carbonation to taste nice. Aroma is limited, as you might guess, from not having any head atop, but traces of nutmeg, spice, chocolate and malt vinegar are evident in the nose.

Mouthfeel is flat and without carbonation, but "smooth" (no carbonation). Dark fruits are the most prominent flavor to balance the thick chewy malt and the touch of alcohol. Hoppy burps taste like cherries and plums. One I would gladly drink again, especially if the bottle had the carbonation I think it's supposed to have. Maybe AleSmith had some QC problems with this? I dont know. I'll give it a go again, if I should come across it.

IrishRedRock, Feb 07, 2005
Photo of clvand0
4.22/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Very cool bottle. Pours a brown color with a small head that dies off quickly and doesn't leave much lacing on the glass. The aroma was complex - some raisins, some nuttiness, some malts, a little alcohol. Nice. The flavor was much more smooth than I expected. Extremely malty with a raisin character and the warming alcohol. Mouthfeel could be a little more thick, but it's a great brew.

clvand0, Feb 01, 2005
AleSmith Wee Heavy from AleSmith Brewing Company
93 out of 100 based on 881 ratings.