AleSmith Wee Heavy - Barrel Aged - AleSmith Brewing Company
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Ratings: 248 | Reviews: 103 | Show All Ratings:
Reviews by CrellMoset:
4.08/5 rDev -5.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4
2006 vintage, bottle 152/254. Thanks to a very generous BA who I likely traded a Southampton beer for quite some time ago - damn my poor record keeping.
Appearance: A dark, muddy, turgid brown, rusty and dirty, this one surges out of the bottle quickly, settling in with a half finger of surging, cola-like head, fading in to a nearly imperceptible collar - only a few small clusters of individual bubbles cling to the rim of the tulip, but even they fade in time with successive sips, all the way down to the point where it's a still muddy pool. There's really not too much to say about the appearance, and BAs here know I'm not a man of few words ... it's just a still, muddy, brown mess (perhaps understandable for a barrel aged beer that's seven years old, but, hey, still not the most attractive thing in the world).
Aroma: Probably this beer's best aspect - I can only imagine what it smelled like four years ago. Rusty penny and old wood dominate this one, with flashes of mossy, smoky, notes, hints of sourness, vanilla, and brown paper bag, wet dog, cardboard oxidation. What a robust and varied aroma profile - this one's all over the place, but not in a messy, out of place way. It's balanced and thoughtful showcasing each of its strengths gracefully, and in doing so showcasing its greatest strengths - even-handedness.
Taste: A total caramel bomb, with hints of cinnamon, vanilla, toffee, and only the faintest kiss of bourbon in what is at this point a relatively dilapidated ([adj.] - having fallen into a state of disrepair or deterioration, as through neglect; broken-down and shabby) beer. This one's definitely past its prime - it's oxidized, slightly metallic, but in a way reminiscent of port, aged leather-bound books, and rich mahogany (Anchorman was on TV earlier). Brown sugar, toffee, and a slew of caramel malts - all well-attenuated - make up the backbone of this wee heavy, but this is all complimented by hints of cinnamon from the barrels along with a string of other, nondescript spicy notes, reminiscent of the base beer. Dark fruits are evident, too - raisins (rum raisin, of course, with the interactions), plums, and dates, with hints of sour cherry and fig, though nothing quite approaching domination in that latter category. Barrel notes are fairly restrained - other than the aforementioned cinnamon, only vanilla and hints of toasted caramel and old wood. A little more garbled and messy than the nose, but still a classy, classy broad.
Mouthfeel: Smooth, incredibly smooth, in fact, with very low carbonation in a slick but still crispy (tasting) body. Obviously typical of a beer that's not only spent a lot of time in a barrel but then another significant chunk of time sitting in a bottle. It works well with the flavor profile - I can only imagine how annoying a slew of carbonation would be with the oxidation and sour notes that are creeping in to this one.
Drinkability: It's hard not to both respect this beer but also be a little disappointed in it all at once. I've half a mind to try and get my hand on a 2009 bottle to see what this one's like at the height of its power (should have tried to do a side-by-side!), because the remnants of a great beer are definitely here. As it stands, this one's a shadow of its former self, but in a way that's demanding of appreciation. Crack 'em if you've got 'em folks.
Serving type: bottle
02-04-2012 02:15:05 | More by CrellMoset
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AleSmith Wee Heavy - Barrel Aged from AleSmith Brewing Company
96 out of 100 based on 248 ratings.