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AleSmith Wee Heavy - Barrel Aged - AleSmith Brewing Company

Not Rated.
AleSmith Wee Heavy - Barrel AgedAleSmith Wee Heavy - Barrel Aged

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BA SCORE
96
world-class

353 Ratings
THE BROS
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no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 353
Reviews: 112
rAvg: 4.32
pDev: 8.1%
Wants: 300
Gots: 123 | FT: 11
Brewed by:
AleSmith Brewing Company visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
Scotch Ale / Wee Heavy |  9.50% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: scottoale on 04-08-2006

This was barrel aged and limited to 234 hand numbered bottles from the 2004 batch of Wee Heavy and released in 2005.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 353 | Reviews: 112
Photo of Prost76
4.69/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

Photo of rallison
4.67/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Vintage 2005. Bottle #148/222.

Pours with a minimal head - not quite still but quite low carbonation.

Nose is very balanced and pleasant - bourbon, caramel and vinous fruits play together quite nicely.

The taste is quite nicely balanced at this point (5 years out!) with a heavy emphasis on vinous fruits and mellow bourbon layered beautifully on top of a soft caramel/toffee base. There almost seems to be a presence of juicy dark berries on top of everything, rounding things off nicely. Lovely.

No alcohol heat is left. The carbonation is very low, but works nicely in this case, giving the beer a very pleasant, soft character.

Minimal oxidation.

Excellent beer. At this point, the 2005 vintage is drinking very nicely. Very mellow and very rounded. Now would be a good time to open a bottle (I point this out to the multitudes of you with bottles waiting to be opened). With that said, given the minimal oxidation, it could probably handle another couple of years - but, I don't necessarily see it improving either.

Photo of Beerzebub
4.67/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

From seaoflament in a trade. Thanks!

2005 bottle, #217/222, poured in a big wine glass at 57 F/ 14 C.

The coloring is fully revealed by a complete lack of head. Deep reddish coffee brown fades to a golden brown topaz around the edges, quite attractive, crowned by a very thin ring of tiny bubbles, and basically no lacing. Almost no perceivable carbonation, but the bottle did release a gentle hiss when opened.

Aroma of caramel and bourbon barrel - almost just like a particularly caramelly bourbon with a tobacco aspect, minus most of the alcohol. The malt and the bourbon barrel are fused seamlessly and deliciously, with notes of light roast coffee, raisins, vanilla, and something immediately and surprisingly evocative of yellow curry.

The flavor shouts "I am barleywine!", driven by sweet, sticky, dark caramel. The bourbon barrel certainly makes its presence known, but it is balanced and very well integrated, more restrained in the flavor than it is in the aroma. Coffee, tobacco, raisins, mixed spices, and a bit of chocolate, all steeped in dark bourbony caramel. Good long finish, with the malt eventually giving way to dry, very mildly bitter, spicy wood in the very end.

The apparent lack of carbonation is compensated for by a full, thick, silky maltiness. This is no thirst-quenching quaffer of course, but is a pleasure to drink nonetheless. The deeper I drink of this, the more entangled I become in a web of pleasure it spins about my soul, so that I desire to drink deeply of it endlessly and endlessly.

Photo of 12packpoet
4.67/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Photo of Dogoatus
4.66/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

05/03/2014 - 750ml bottle (2014) into snifter

A - Opaque, solid almost black pour with 1/2" dark tan head with good retention.

S - Most noticeably is the bourbon to start, almost overwhelming. Followed by hints of toffee, caramel, oak/woody, and slight vanilla.

T - Initial heavy bourbon without overpowering heat. Again you find the toffee, caramel, oak/woody with a very small amount of vanilla. The finish is oak/woody with warmth from the alcohol. All facets of flavors come almost perfectly.

M - Little carbonation, pretty heavy and lingered on the palette for a considerable amount of time.

O - Overall this beer is a killer drink. I can't imagine how good this batch will be aged.

Photo of kmcnair
4.66/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle number 216 of 234.

A - Pours a cola like deep brown hue and doesn't foam up at all, the crown is totally absent. A hard pour generates not much more than a few suds that collect on the sides of the glass.

S - Aroma is a lovely boquet of smoked malt, figs, raisins, chocolate, scotch, toasted oak and vanilla. You can really bury your nose into this one, it smells fantastic.

T - And a taste... it just brings it all home. Wow... you put the Scotch strong ale into a Bourbon barrel and everything just falls into place. Sweet dark fruits like figs, raisins, dates and prunes dance with a hint of smokey malt, vanilla bean, bittersweet chocolate, brown sugar, maple and subtle oaky alcoholic bourbon overtones.

M - Soft and wet on the palate, nicely thick, rich and creamy in the body and finishes with a great warmth. Carbonation is almost completely absent.

D - The Bourbon Barrel effect on AleSmith Wee Heavy is a winner. Take something thats already quite good and make it several times better. This is a slow and easy sipper that will warm you up and content you on a quiet night. Well done.

Photo of keags_beer
4.65/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Photo of popery
4.64/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

2012. Pours a dark brown with a small amount of bubbles. The head is beige and dissipates relatively quickly. Nice enough lacing though. Aroma is a well blended mix of bourbon notes and the wonderful flavors of the base beer. There's vanilla, oak, bourbon and a bit of booze mixed into molasses, caramel, fresh dough, toasty malt sugars and all sorts of other warm, friendly flavors. Taste is sweet and warm. It's a lovely beer. I realize that I'm sorta repeating myself here, but the rich malt flavor of the base beer is impeccably blended into the bourbon barrel flavors. Alesmith is one of the very best at barrel aging, and it very much shows in this beer. Feel is smooth and full. Never gets too sticky or boozey. This is just a phenomenal beer. On a sidenote, I don't think it will get any better with age. This beer is drinking wonderfully, right now.

Photo of ScottP
4.63/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of impending
4.63/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A+

750ml into a large wine glass. Pours a deep ruddy walnut, encouraging pour needed for a light mocha color head which subsided quickly, no lacing.

WoW, delicious
how much better can caramel toffee butterscotch vanilla coconut wood bourbon blend than this ?
intoxicating

Appropriately medium heft lifeless silken mouthfeel.

The flavor is what I wrote of the scent, exactly as predicted
flawlessly
aftertaste till tomorrow, the tiniest sips revel the entire flavor intensely
as much a barleywine
an epic iconic flawlessly defined wee heavy
this is the pinnacle
cheers
jd

Photo of Rubenjr
4.63/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

Photo of jpiper
4.62/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2006 42/254 - shared with my wife. Boy does she love these non-hoppy Alesmiths.

Builds just the smallest tan head upon pouring with lace remaining through the session. A muted grayish caramel brown color to the beer.

The nose is malty. Caramel malt, oak, and lots of it. One of the more delicious smelling beers I can remember pouring.

The taste can't be as good, and it isn't quite. But it is delicious. There's some good balancing bitterness to this malty brew, but perhaps a little too much. Someone said peat - I can taste and smell that too. Honey? Definitely oak, toasted malts. Let it site between sips and the bitterness lingers longer than I'd hope. Alcohol very well hidden. The flavors are well mingled.

Minor carbonation barely tickles the tongue and the oak makes it incredibly smooth. Not chewey, but not thin. Just smooth, smooth, smooth.

Drinkability? I could sip on this all night long. Almost wish my wife weren't downing half of this.

Photo of pschul4
4.6/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle from Ehammond1 in a secret streakers BIF. Eric is the fucking man

A- Pours a murky cola brown with a half in tan head tha leaves a lil lacing

S- Bourbon jumps out at your but some caramel and peaty malts are in there as well. Smells wonderful to someone who really liked bourbon

T- Bourbon up front. Dark fruits, caramel and those peaty malts are present in the middle of the taste with bourbon cleaning up the end. So good

M- Low carbonation leads to a very smooth mouthfeel. Very nice

O- Not much more to say, this is delicious and I'm going to enjoy savoring this over the course of the next hour or so

Photo of Bierguy5
4.59/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to mcallister for sharing this gem. 750 ml, 2005 vintage, bottle 176/222. A murky mahogany color, with very little head. Not a huge shock for this beast.

Wonderful aroma going on here. Bourbon, oak, vanilla, a hint of smoke, and a good amount of caramel malt. Some alcohol is noticable as well, but not overly burning. I took about 5 minutes to do nothing but smell this beauty.

Good amount of sweetness up front. Bursting with malt and booze up front. Heavey amount of caramel, with minimal fruit. Great bourbon, woody oak and vanilla notes. Long lingering warming finish.

Good body, low carbonation. Lots of complex flavors and aromas working here. Very enjoyable.

Photo of hoppymeal
4.59/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

05 Vintage, #184 of 222. Pours still, just a few bubbles hanging around the edge of the glass, regardless of how vigorously I pour. Brown and ruddy in color, a decent haze of sediment. Aroma is outstanding bourbon barrel characteristics, sweet vanilla, great woody notes, big and bourbony alcohol, some aged, worn leather, salty grilled meat and dark rich fruity maltiness all combine in the complex aroma. Taste follows with some nice oaky woodiness, strong, sweet vanilla, only hints of the malty wee heavy style that lay beneath. Good alcohol bite and a dry oakiness wind up the taste. Slightly slick feel on top of the tongue, some peppery alcohol before a warming alcohol breaks into the party and thins things out. Somehat drying in the finish. Outstanding beer, alesmith is doing the barrel ageing very well. Would love to see some barrel aged blends some day from this brewery.

Photo of weeare138
4.57/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Much thanks to egajdzis for this...
'09 bottle
Appears a murky russet brown with a small, off white head that quickly fades away.
Smell is of caramel, vanilla, bourbon, notes of fruit, and hints of cacao beans.
Taste is of the aromas with a sweet vanilla, creme brûlée blast. Bits of bourbon come through but are restrained.
Mouthfeel is medium-full bodied, with a mild heat lingering.

Photo of BeerFMAndy
4.56/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

750 ml bottle poured into a snifter.
10% ABV, "serve in a goblet at 50-55°"

A - The only difference between the dark purple-hued mahogany appearance of this beer and the non-barrel-aged one is the fleeting head. The bourbon clearly evaporates the foam quickly but dots of lace remain on the glass just the same.

S - Rich vanilla bean slit open engulfs sweet caramel and toffee notes which are all shrouded by smooth, warming bourbon and soaking wet oak staves. Give this beer a swirl and plenty of warming alcohol greets the nostrils with dark fruit essence in the background.

T - While I find AleSmith's Wee Heavy to be lacking in any forward flavor, the barrel-aged version's bourbon seems to pull the malt complexity from the depths, really introducing a nice blend of caramel and toffee sweetness that was just to distant before. Vanilla tannins and oak compliment the barrel with a kiss of alcohol warmth on the finish.

M - AleSmith's barrel-aging adds nice warming alcohol to Wee Heavy's medium body for a smooth drinking experience that finishes with sweet vanilla and a touch of thinning bourbon to even the playing field.

O - Not always does barrel-aging a beer make it better but it certainly does in the case of AleSmith's Wee Heavy. Good but uninteresting and frankly quite plain, the normal version of this beer features the same alcohol percentage hidden behind distant maltiness while the barrel-aged version features forward alcohol (at the same percentage) that manages to bring out it's underlying maltiness. Caramel, toffee, and dark fruit are more apparent in the face of bourbon barrel-induced vanilla, oak, and, well, bourbon, and all conglomerate for a party in the mouth that's quite extraordinary but not quite worth the $40 price tag. AleSmith's barrel-aged Wee Heavy is a fantastic beer but if I saw it on the shelves again at the same price I wouldn't think twice about passing on it.

Photo of mcallister
4.54/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2005 bottle 176 of 222

Pours a very acrid uncarbonated lazy shade of dirty russett. Not much of any head...at all.

This smells amazing. Some may say too much in way of bourbon and oak I say bring it on!! Huge vanillan oak with thick bourbon, cream fresh aroma, more charred wood character, milk chocolate, brandy reduced fig, stale malts, roasted malt, hints of peat and smoke with more dark fruits hidden beneath the thick woody aromatics.

Big beer but sightly thin in the middle of the mouthfeel. Long never ending finish that shows loads of residual sugar, brown sugar brandy reduced dried fruits really shine through on the finish with a slight warming alcohol. Much sweeter than anticipated. Bourbon, huge vanilla toasted oak, charred woods, with much more caramel in the mouth to balance and add complexity. Dates, fig, dried fruit, creamy on the finish. Slight prickle as well. Bit roasty with only hints of peat showing through. An absolutely amazing beer that I look hugely forward to enjoying again in the future. Thanks Peter!!!!

Photo of timc100
4.53/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Fresh 2013 bottle

Pours very dark mahogany with some ruby on the edges, pretty muddy. Nice beige barrel head - creamy tight bubbles coat the glass on the pout, bigger bubbles as it sits.

Fantastic barrel aroma as with all Alesmith BA beers - big bourbon, wet oak, oaky vanilla, some toffee. The barrel does not dominate the base beer - brown sugar, toffee, caramel, some sweet smoke, and dark fruits.

Full bodied and flavored - big drier finish.

Another great product of the Alesmith barrel program

Photo of drgonzo3705
4.52/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2006 Vintage poured before the BA Blackout release party. Thanks to one of the Cincy guys (Was it Rich?) for cracking this one. From the notes:

A: Pours a deep caramel color on the border of opaque and translucent. Little head on the pour which quickly died to a few splotches and a thin ring around the glass.

S: Big whiff of bourbon hits your nose with a sweet vanilla oakiness blended with the rich peaty toffee malt aroma.

T: Much like the nose, not as big as I thought it would be. Bourbon is very pleasant with the toffee and peat laden maltiness. Rich sweetness but not too much, nicely balanced.

M: Medium body with adequate carbonation. Could have been a bit thicker for my tastes but still very nice slick mouthfeel overall.

D: Damn good. I love the non BA version, and I now love this one too. I would have no problem taking care of a bottle by myself.

Photo of arizcards
4.52/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Picked up a 750ml bottle in mid-March from Papago Brewing for $39.99. Bottled

Beer poured a dark brown with a nice off white head that dissipated quickly.

Nose is vanilla and light bourbon, caramel and dark fruit.

Taste is caramel and toffee with vanilla, oak, light bourbon, and dark fruits. Sweet but not cloying. Alcohol is warming which is nice on a cool 50 degree day in the desert.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied and pretty smooth.

Overall this is a delicious well made brew. It was fun to try once but the price tag is way too steep to try again.

Photo of kleffman
4.52/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Hand numbered bottle #161 split with a friend, and poured into the Alesmith tulip glass they sold a couple years ago.

Immediately upon opening the barrel and bourbon aromas attacked me. Poured a dark reddish brown with just a bit of head. Small bubbles rise to the surface just fast enough to hold this thin head. When swirled in the glass I could create an amazing pillow on top and unleash the aromas of bourbon, vanilla, oak, and alcohol.

Where did the Wee Heavy go? Totally a different beer, just like the Barrel Aged Decadence was. Incredible flavors of dark fruits, maybe overripe grapes. Vanilla, bourbon, caramel, raisin. Extremely complex. Let it sit on your tongue and it evolves into different things never before experienced in a beer.

Actually quite a nice mouthfeel. Unlike the previous reviewer this had some carbonation that tingled the mouth a little. Not high carbonation, but just enough to unleash it's aromas.

This is drinkable in the sense that I could keep sipping this all night long. It's really a finely crafted masterpiece. As mentioned below, this is second only to the Decadence old ale that was barrel aged. Glad I waited in line for this gem.

Photo of MisSigsFan
4.51/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

2009 Vintage from the SD Bottle Share

Photo of ionlion
4.5/5  rDev +4.2%

Photo of bpfrush
4.5/5  rDev +4.2%

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AleSmith Wee Heavy - Barrel Aged from AleSmith Brewing Company
96 out of 100 based on 353 ratings.