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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

861 Ratings
THE BROS
93
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 861
Reviews: 416
rAvg: 4.17
pDev: 9.83%
Wants: 175
Gots: 186 | 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: 861 | Reviews: 416 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of eerbayman
3.5/5  rDev -16.1%

eerbayman, Jan 26, 2012
Photo of vinny21bal
3.5/5  rDev -16.1%

vinny21bal, Dec 14, 2013
Photo of Beaver13
3.53/5  rDev -15.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

750 ml bottle. Pours dark brown with a big creamy light tan head that retains well and laces the glass some.

The aroma is sweet smokey peat malts.

The flavor is sweet caramel and toffee malts with a little dark fruit and some smokey peat in the finish. The mouthfeel is medium to full bodied with light carbonation.

Overall, nice scotch ale - a little too sweet.

Beaver13, Oct 07, 2013
Photo of jwc215
3.53/5  rDev -15.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

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

750 ml bottle, poured into tulip glass:

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

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

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

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

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

jwc215, Jul 06, 2009
Photo of diomz88
3.53/5  rDev -15.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

aroma: alcoholic with chocolate and coffee hints with raisins.
appearance: dark brown to black, very dark, minimal head, resides quickly
taste: little sweet, more alcoholic than a beer. light bitterness with chocolate and coffee hints smokey at the end.
palate: med to full bodied, average carbonation, smokey finish.
had high expectations, still a good sipper beer.

diomz88, Jan 01, 2011
Photo of theopholis
3.55/5  rDev -14.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

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

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

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

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

Drinkability - Very well done.

theopholis, Apr 20, 2009
Photo of StephenRich
3.55/5  rDev -14.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

What is a Wee Heavy? Thats a bit of a strange name for a beer style. Its actually just a very old name for beer. It represented an ale of stronger nature originating in Scotland. The Scotch Ales were anywhere between 7 and 10% abv, and hence were a "wee heavy".

This beautiful bottling by AleSmith fits the bill. It is a Scotch Style Ale brewed in California at weighs in at 10% abv as appropriate for the style. I've had a few AleSmith beers before, and they have all impressed me. This would be my first experience with the Wee Heavy, and I was definitely very excited as scotch ales are among my most favorite beers.

Like many of their beers, this Wee Heavy has been decorated with medals and awards since 2004. I was very glad it came in a 750ml bottle, cause this beer was build to share with friends.

I opened the Wee Heavy up around cellar temperature close to 12C (54F) - I was anticipating big thick malt flavors, so I wanted them to all stand at attention rather than be muted by the cold. Poured into wide based tulip this beer brewed a deep nutty brown color lifting a smoothly dense, creamy tan head. The beer showed deep garnet reds when held into the light, but overall it is a softly transparent close to black beer with a maroon shade of brown growing within it.

The nose is classic with malt sweetness, touches of caramely roast, dried cocoa and hints of floral bitter hops. It has big deep aroma but is not terribly bounding or powerful. It glides easily into the air and penetrates your nose. Make no mistake though, there is much flavor here. Its shows an alcoholic warmth and comes back to big malty sweetness and dark fruits.

Letting the Wee Heavy in was like washing your mouth with roasted candy malts. Big and lush malt candies pour over your palate totally engulfing your senses. It really is malt forward. The first rush of malt is the big sweet round flavor of burnt brown sugar and rich butterscotch. It is quite abrupt at first showing a very aggressive malt character. It all comes across your tongue very intently and falls heavily onto your cheeks bringing roast and toffee with it.

The malt flavors here are truly complex and deep. As the beer warms overall character of the beer smooths out and becomes more gentle allowing greater layers of aroma and flavors to emerge. Now warm figs, dates, plums, banana and vanilla open to your taste buds, and yet more warm toffee, and thick sticky caramel flow with pronounced purpose all over your palate. A soft and slightly earthy hop aroma helps balance this beer a touch, but really, it fails. This is a hugely malt focused beer which is dominated by the warm, mellow, sweet, and potent flavors of malted barley. Really, if you are buying a wee heavy, it is exactly what you are looking for.

It even shows flavors of dark bitter bakers chocolate, lightly toasted bread, and smooth dark espresso. It was quite the treat, but certainly not for everyone. Although I could depict alcohol on the palate, it comes across more as an aged port, really just aiding the beers sweet and direct profile. Touches of spice begin to emerge here to, but are overshadowed by toffee and malt.

The mouthfeel was soft and gently carbonated showing big flavors. This is a full bodied beer, and I do wish it was a bit creamier, but overall, especially as it warmed, it became very smooth and gentle. The finish was sweet and malty with a hint of molasses, as every other moment of the beer was. It does fit the Scotch Ale bill pretty perfectly, and I wish I was enjoying a deep chocolate cake at the time with it. That being said, do look for big rich deserts with it or roasted game. Anything too light will be overpowered by this big beer.

I am also willing to bet that it will cellar very well. I'd give it 2 years upright and it should become even deeper with smooth and mellow flavors of deep buttery figs, and rich sticky malt.

StephenRich, Aug 20, 2010
Photo of laituegonflable
3.55/5  rDev -14.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a slightly dark brown with a distinct red tinge. Head is medium-thin, but gorgeous, dense and foamy. Settles to nice bubbles with some great lacing left behind.

Sweet, roasty and nutty on the nose. Almond, hazelnut, buttery toffee. Hint of sunflower seed and honeyed cereal grain. Would have liked a bit more grounding, or oomph to take it to the next level.

Taste is a bit more substantial. Coffee notes on there, with burnt roast character, dark cherry, blood orange and toffee. Slight spice. Still very much on the sweet side which I'm generally not a fan of, but there's depth of flavour here; it's clearly well made.

Lot of texture. Body is not all there though, so it's a bit sharp at times and ends pretty dry. Not bad.

Not quite kismet with me and this beer; in the right person's glass this could be heaven but it makes me craving more spice or something to balance out that sweetness.

laituegonflable, Mar 21, 2013
Photo of wisrarebeer
3.55/5  rDev -14.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

750ml bottle.

A: pours an incredibly deep, dark copper color, nice frothy head that dissipated to a thin veil
S: medium nose, slightly disconcerting sour plum nose, oxidized?
T: well-balanced deep roasted malt and nice hop finish, might be turning as some sourness is evident in finish, EtOH is very warming in finish
M: very smooth beer
O: I don't know if this is a beer that's slightly turning (I've had it for 2 years) or is how it's supposed to be

wisrarebeer, Nov 12, 2011
Photo of lackenhauser
3.58/5  rDev -14.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Murky, ruddy orange color. Very little carbonation-almsot seems flat. Nice heavy aroma. Quite vinuous and winey. Sharp tang to it-slight alcohol tinge to it. Fruity and slight sourness in the flavor. Some oak and vanilla. Plenty of bitterness. Moderate mouthfeel. Lacks some of sweetness I have seen in other scotch ales. An ok beer overall. Enoyable-better as it warms. Thanks to callenak for the Secret Santa sample.

lackenhauser, Feb 11, 2007
Photo of DarthKostrizer
3.63/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Look: Pours a coca cola brown color with no head at all. When I swirled the beer there was maybe a 1/8 head but I was not at all impressed with the look of the beer

Smell: Upfront the beer carries a rubbing alcohol or nail polish burn and that is backed up by some dark fruits

Taste: Upfront are some figs and raisins that are backed up by a slight chocolate note and finishes with a bit of alcohol this was the best part of the beer

Mouthfeel: Full body and feels thick with very little carbonation

Overall: I had high hopes for this beer because I typically love Alesmith products but this one for me missed the mark

DarthKostrizer, Nov 22, 2011
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.

jcalabre, Jun 12, 2003
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 ktrillionaire
3.63/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to someone (probably spycow) for sharing this at Bryna's recital / beer auction.

A - It pours a ruddy mahogany hue, and is capped with a tawny froth that is quite short-lived.

S - The nose is very raisin-y, with some sweet caramel and spicy molasses notes; dried medium and dark fruit is also suggested, maybe even the whole bag of trail mix, nuts and all. Unfortunately, there is a slight cardboard thing with the nose which is holding back my estimation of what is an otherwise nice aroma.

T - The flavor delivers more luxury than the aroma does; where the aroma is interesting, the flavor prefers decadence. The booze is noted, the dark fruit and caramelized sugar is ramped-up, and the general intensity is a degree more. There is a semi-strong note of oxidation that takes away from the rest of the palate, but the brew tastes delicious nonetheless.

M - The feel is just ok; not enhancing nor detracting. Medium-bodied.

O - This did not blow me away, but I certainly enjoyed it.

ktrillionaire, Jun 04, 2011
Photo of Bendurgin
3.63/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Tulip. Pours dark brown with a three finger foamy beige head. Nice retention and good sticky lace.

Raisins and chocolate are Most noticeable in the aroma. A little bit of bourbon in the aroma too. Very rich and a sweet and just a little boozey. Grapish flavor with a little bit of bitter cocoa. The taste is somewhat metallic to finish.

Medium body with soft carbonation. A little bit of a tannic finish. Pretty solid flavors here. A little dry and I am not fond of the metallic finsh. Otherwise pretty solid brew.

Bendurgin, Jun 16, 2011
Photo of sweetbrew82
3.63/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

750 ML into a snifter/ no freshness date

P: Deep walnut brown with a creamy, light tan head that is mighty thick and frothy. Showed good retention and left some nice lacing on the way down.

A: Roasted malts, tons and tons of brown sugar, creamy caramel, chocolate, and smoke are all easily noted in the nose. But, the amount of booze in the aroma has me a little scared that it will translate onto the palate...

T: ...and, unfortunately, I was correct. More on that later. The thick, robust, roasted, bready caramel malt is definitely the star of the show in this one. But make no mistake, this is no one-trick pony. This is a very full-flavored ale that features tons of brown sugar, dark fruits, sticky toffee, and molasses. All of which meld very well together and form a synergistic cohesion of flavors that sparkle like glass in the sun. Surprisingly, there is a hop presence underneath that tries valiantly to balance this malt-monster out. While all of this is great, that alcohol is definitely marring what could have been a classic. It's very hot, abrasively solventy, and seems to overpower the flavor profile the warmer the beer gets. While I do understand that the style allows for a pronounced alcohol presence, this is definitely overkill!

M: Full-bodied with a rich, slightly creamy, smooth, yet almost oily texture that also features an aggressive amount of carbonation. Suits the beer very nicely.

Notes: This might just be the first Alesmith offering I've had that didn't blow me away, due to the fact that it is probably way too young. In fact, it suffered the same fate as the bottle of '07 Decadence. Way too hot and boozy! This badboy needs a looong timeout in the cellar to chill out a bit. Besides, the already complex flavor profile will only get deeper as time passes. Right now, it is not on point as far as I'm concerned. In 2 or 3 years, however, this has the potential to reach the summit of my all-time favorites!

sweetbrew82, Jul 06, 2009
Photo of BeerFMAndy
3.65/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.25

750 ml bottle poured into a tulip.
10% ABV, Bottled on 10/11/13, "Serve in a Goblet at 50-55°"

"Wee heavy's complex malt profile lends itself very well to a host of roasted or grilled meat and vegetable dishes. Robust cheese, salty blues, and nutty farmhouse-style cheeses also pair very well with this beer."

A - Prune-like in color, the beer is almost black in the glass but when held up to the light, hues of purple, mirroring the bottle's printing, poke through the dark copper color. Vigorously poured, the beer has a plump khaki head that slowly diminishes to leave plenty of whispy lace caked on the glass.

S - AleSmith's Wee Heavy has a subdued aroma, completely lacking in hops but soft with malt complexity; faint sweetness suggests caramel and toffee while undercurrents of dark fruit drift through and leave prune and raisin notes smeared on toasted wheat bread.

T - Like the aroma before it, the flavor of AleSmith's Wee Heavy is terribly subdued to the point of being peculiar. Smooth? Sure, but there's little going on, just like the aroma; sweetness resembling caramel and toffee hovers over the dark fruitiness but both attributes seem purposefully suppressed as the finish is clean and without any lingering character.

M - Medium bodied for a higher alcohol, malt-driven beer, Wee Heavy's sugars have been almost completely fermented out leaving a clean profile from start to finish, grazing over the tongue with slickness that finishes with next to no trace of sweetness nor bitterness; only a slightly warming touch of dry alcohol remains.

O - AleSmith has created one of the most interesting and personally conflicting beers in Wee Heavy; on one hand their ability to completely downplay the amount of alcohol this beer contains is quite incredible; it's barely even HINTED at! On the other hand, the subtle nature of the malt profile shows serious promise but, with each sip, I wonder where the flavor's run off to. Deep complexity is one thing but to have next to no stand-out flavor at all is another. I would expect some forward sweetness...at least something; all the characteristics seem to hide in the shadows unfortunately. It leaves me feeling that the only reason I might reach for this beer again would be to down something high in alcohol with little temperament; not a sugar bomb, not super bitter, just...there.

BeerFMAndy, Dec 29, 2013
Photo of merlin48
3.68/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

750ml bottle was $12.99 at the Dilly Deli in Cincinnati. Pours a clear, dark mahogany body topped with a skimpy beige head that quickly falls into spotty patch lacing. Aroma has a surprising chocolate essence, followed by toffee, dark fruits, and fresh white grapes. A mild note of smoky Scotch whiskey completes the bouquet. Mouthfeel is thick and full, with subdued carbonation. A bit fusel with alcohol as it warms. Taste is more chocolate than any other malty taste. Some scorched coffee notes mix with the bitter chocolate as a wave of dark fruits enters the picture. Becomes vinous and fusel as it warms to room temperature. Lots of rum soaked dark fruits toward the finish. The roasty chocolate and coffee seem out of place here. A bit of a struggle to finish as the big alcohol is anything but subtle. A slight disappointment, given the exceptional character of other Alesmith offerings I've been fortunate to sample.

merlin48, Jun 19, 2006
Photo of jscondon
3.7/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

a transparent deep darkend cheerry red beer that pours with an immense 2 inch head which slowly subsides to a few mm. the aroma expelled by this magnificently colored beer is one of cherries and vanilla. i am expecting some malt madness for sure. i was not dissapointed, and while this beer has a great up front flavor it is less rewarding in the finish. there is a nice maltiness to the front of this with a carmelized long boil flavor that i find typical of this style. a slight sweetness hits the tounge initially followed by a kettled flavor (peat smokiness or something of the like). caramel fills the middle very nicely but then the flavor drops out to a metallic taste. this off flavor is then followed by a stong alcohol flavor and some chocolate aftertones.

in all i really liked this beer, but the end really dissapointed me. i can't get past the metallic and strong alcohol flavors before the nice chocolate finish. i will get this one again and see how it ages.

jscondon, Mar 05, 2008
Photo of BlindPig
3.7/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 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.

BlindPig, Oct 20, 2006
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 Alieniloquium
3.73/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

750 mL bottle poured into a CCB snifter. No bottle date. Shame, Alesmith! Reviewed from notes.

Appearance - Deep brown. A bit translucent. Decent retention and lacing.

Smell - Butterscotch and caramel. Everything you'd expect from a scotch ale. But hops? What is that? Way too hoppy.

Taste - Much like the smell. Caramel, toffee, butterscotch. It's all cut by the hop flavor. Strong hoppy flavor in the finish, without being bitter. Too much.

Mouthfeel - Good mouthfeel. The hop bitterness cuts the sweetness. Really nice. Not bitter, but balanced.

Overall - Off-style from the hops. Good, but not what I expected.

Alieniloquium, Jul 15, 2012
Photo of SPLITGRIN
3.73/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

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.

SPLITGRIN, Aug 13, 2006
Photo of CharlieMurphy
3.73/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Deep dark brown with some light beams in the shallow end. Off white cream head stays low on the border.

S: Like brandy and scotch, whew! Don't know what to think about this as those are the only flavors i get on the nose.

T: Less brandy and even less scotch, but some port, peat, pinot noir, caramel malts, and finally some dark fruits. ->That's drawing a lot out of it, the taste is overall mild.

M: Low carbonation and could actually use a little more of it.

O: Meh, probably won't buy again, but it is really a decent beer.

CharlieMurphy, Jan 14, 2012
Photo of SportsandJorts
3.74/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Appearance: mahogany tending towards black. Two fingers of a tan head that fade slowly and leave a lacing behind. Red hues through light and noticeable clarity through thinner sections

Smell: super malty and super sweet. Caramel and toffee and brown sugar. Some roasty to smokey malts as well. Lots of peat and earthiness.

Taste: opens up with sweet caramel, toffee and brown sugar. Next comes some roast and smoke mixing with the peat. A hint of alcohol but not much

Mouthfeel: starts of a bit creamy but ends up bitter from earthy hops, peat and smoke. Good thick mouthfeel

Overall: good big beer. Lots of sweetness but too much peat, smoke and roast for me. Also I am not the biggest fan of the bitterness.

SportsandJorts, Mar 08, 2014
AleSmith Wee Heavy from AleSmith Brewing Company
93 out of 100 based on 861 ratings.