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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

336 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 336
Reviews: 110
rAvg: 4.32
pDev: 8.1%
Wants: 301
Gots: 118 | 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:
This was barrel aged and limited to 234 hand numbered bottles from the 2004 batch of Wee Heavy and released in 2005.

(Beer added by: scottoale on 04-08-2006)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 336 | Reviews: 110 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of BGsWo22
3/5  rDev -30.6%

Photo of brewman1993
3.12/5  rDev -27.8%

Photo of JAXSON
3.2/5  rDev -25.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours a deep burgundy / black with a thin head. Nose is largely burnt sugar, wood, some dark fruits, a smatter of cooked vegetables. Faint chocolate, and salty. Really oxidized flavor, savory and butter oak, weird clinging bitterness. A lot of off savory flavors here. Earthy, muddy, bitter, and astringent.

I don't think this style is really for me but in my opinion this is heavily oxidized and is way past its prime, regardless of my own tastes.

Photo of mwbrady12
3.25/5  rDev -24.8%

Photo of cpetrone84
3.25/5  rDev -24.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Big thanks to Kevin for sharing this one!

A-pours a dark brown color with red edges and a lighter tan head.

S-the nose brings some cooked greens, notes of bourbon, lots of malt body, very sugary with toffee and caramel. Light malt sweetness with notes of oxidation in the back.

T-lots more cooked green vegatables, very sugary, toffee and caramel, diry burnt brown sugar, creamy oak with notes of bourbon. there is some more malt sweetness, hints of dried plums and slightly bitter.

M-full bodied and thick, very viscous but still smooth and creamy. lighter carabonation with an easy finish.

D-this is very sugary and rather thick and creamy. hints of oxidation and nothing subtle to it. seems to be to style but the flavors seem slightly jumbled together but not bad.

Photo of kojevergas
3.49/5  rDev -19.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3.5

10% ABV confirmed. 1 pint 9.4 fl oz brown glass (black glass?) 2012 vintage bottle with fancy gold label and black foil-ed over unbranded pry-off pressure cap acquired at Alesmith and served into an Odell stem-tulip in me friend's gaff in high altitude Fort Collins, Colorado. Reviewed live. Expectations are very high given the brewery and style - "Scotch-style ale aged in bourbon barrels."

Served cold - straight from the fridge - and allowed to warm over the course of consumption. Side-poured with standard vigor as no carbonation issues are anticipated.

A: No bubble show forms as it's poured.

Pours a 1.5 finger wide head of khaki colour. Nice creaminess and thickness. Fairly even consistency. Little albeit even lacing clings to the sides of the glass as the head recedes. Head retention is above average - about 3-4 minutes.

Body colour is a solid opaque dark black. No floating yeast particles/sediment is visible.

It's about what I'd expect for a bourbon barrel wee heavy. It's not unique or special, but I'm optimistic given the brewery.

Sm: Nice bourbon notes - mainly vanilla, with some oak as well. It's not the rich toasty oak I love, but it's passable. Dark malts. Toffee. Caramel.

I'm surprised at its simplicity given the brewery. There just isn't much complexity in the aroma. I'm optimistic the taste will be better.

No hop character or alcohol is detectable.

A pretty standard wee heavy aroma of mild to moderate strength.

T: Dark malts, toffee, caramel, and bourbon notes - vanilla and some oak, but no toasty character. I don't find any roasted barley notes. It's a bit too boozy, even aged.

Decent complexity. Not real subtle, intricate, or nuanced. Depth of flavour is disappointingly average. Average duration and intensity of flavour.

It's balanced, I guess. Certainly not a gestalt build.

A great wee heavy - especially a bourbon barrel aged wee heavy - offers so much more than this. There just isn't enough going on, nor is there enough subtlety.

Mf: Too heavy on the palate. Too thick and full-bodied. It's got too much weight. The presence on the palate is a bit overbearing. Smooth and wet. Could be creamier, and certainly softer. It's imposing, but suits the flavour profile decently well. The texture certainly doesn't feel custom-tailored to the taste.

Not oily, astringent, gushed, hot, boozy, or harsh.

Dr: Something of a sipper. I'm glad I have a friend to help me finish the bottle, as quality as it is. The 10% does hit you. I wouldn't buy this again at its high price point, but it's nice enough. I'd much sooner stick with Backwoods Bastard, or even plain ole Old Chub for my wee heavy fix. This is an unreasonably priced beer from Alesmith that is worth trying once, but won't impress the discerning drinker. The heaviness is its biggest flaws.

I was ready to love this, but it just didn't meet my expectations. I'm glad I only bought one bottle.

B/B-

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3.5/5  rDev -19%

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3.5/5  rDev -19%

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3.5/5  rDev -19%

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3.5/5  rDev -19%

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3.5/5  rDev -19%

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3.5/5  rDev -19%

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3.68/5  rDev -14.8%

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3.75/5  rDev -13.2%

Photo of GRG1313
3.75/5  rDev -13.2%

Photo of Melman
3.75/5  rDev -13.2%

Photo of belgbeerdrinker
3.75/5  rDev -13.2%

Photo of starrdogg
3.75/5  rDev -13.2%

Photo of kscaldef
3.75/5  rDev -13.2%

Photo of Dreadnaught33
3.75/5  rDev -13.2%

Photo of vbiliyar
3.75/5  rDev -13.2%

Photo of tectactoe
3.8/5  rDev -12%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Another big thanks to Kevin R for bringing all of the rare AleSmith goodies to our tasting. The BA Wee Heavy pours a deep, depp ruby red and brown-tinted color with translucent edges and a center that's so dark-hued that it's impossible to make out what's on the other side. The head fades quickly, is light tan in color, and leaves no lacing behind.

The first whiff contains a deep, syrupy, dark-fruit sweetness that jumps out and sifts through my nostrils pretty pungently. Huge mounds of bourbon and oak bump from front to back; their inclusion is much too forward to simply be called a "background". Sticky sweet brown sugar and a light cocoa dusting finish things off.

From the aroma alone, this beer could pass as a barrel aged barley wine, because some of the typical barley wine, dark fruit and brown sugar sweet notes are present, and the bourbon and barrel are large enough obliterate any other aromas that would indicate that this beer in indeed a wee heavy or Scotch ale style.

Each sip pounds your senses with a one-two combo of bourbon and booze-soaked oak. Heavy heat from the bourbon, a little more than just "warming", even. The alcohol heat offset it attempted by some syrupy, sweet prune-like fruits that wave throughout the background. Light anise, licorice-y, and some burnt toffee.

It's a clashing of sweet and burn, and to be completely honest, I'm not incredibly fond of either of the two when they're presented in amounts this large. In essence, they balance each other out, yes... but they could both stand to be toned down just a bit. It's pretty damn sweet and it's quite hot and barrel-y. Huge, sticky, and creamy mouth feel with a mild carbonation that works for the stature of the brew.

I feel like if this was done with a lighter wee heavy and less barrel aging time, I would have enjoyed it much more. It's certainly a delicacy; sweet, savory, boozy - a slow sipper and a night cap all the way. But I can't help but feel like it's unnecessarily overdone and it would benefit from curbing some of the intensity just a little bit. Still a very, very solid brew, though.

Photo of watermelonman
3.8/5  rDev -12%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This poured to a deep and dark brown with minor head, leaving nearly no lace. The smell made up for that, simply intoxicating mix of malt, bourbon, and sugar.

When tasted this one came up a bit short, leaving me wanting the full flavor and body of the usual Wee Heavy. This is not a bad beer, mind you, but the standard Alesmith Wee Heavy does set a high bar. I have always appreciated a booze hot mouthfeel, but this one comes out light. Again, not a bad beer, but I am not sure it is an improvement upon the original. A barrel does not universally lead to better!

Photo of Gueuzedude
3.8/5  rDev -12%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

2005 Bottle 80 / 222, Sampled January 2008
This is the barrel aged beer of Alesmith's that I have wanted to try most. As I pop the cap only a touch of gas escapes. A vigorous pour can't do much but summon a thin, very large bubbled, bit of froth that doesn't completely cover the top of the beer. The beer itself is a dark, brownish-amber color and shows an opaque, hazy, dark ruby / deep red color when held up to the light. Aromas of Bourbon are quite apparent as I pour this brew; upon further inspection the Bourbon is still the most noticed part of the aroma. Aromatic notes of vanillin, butterscotch, spicy oak and alcohol, almost a cola like barrel / malt note and a rich, deeply caramelized character that is contributed by both the bourbon barrel char and the malt are all evident in the nose. Underneath these notes is a deep, if subtle, dark, caramelized fruit character that just sort of melts into the buttery oak and vanillin notes. Despite being so Bourbon barrel dominated the aroma is actually quite smooth and seemingly well integrated; it does not come off as boozy in the least.

Very lightly carbonated, but not flat, the beer is fairly sweet up front. This rich, sweetness makes me think of a vanilla infused dark fruit compote made up of raisins, prunes, figs, berries and a light cherry note. Through the middle the beer starts to pick up a bit more of the Bourbon and barrel notes, which, by the time the beer has left my mouth, have become a dominating, spicy mix of warm Bourbon, piquantly spicy oak, a touch of salty peat, lightly phenolic smoke and alcohol. This lingering flavor doesn't quite disappear until one takes another sip and lets the beer rest on the tongue to soak in the concentrated, rich, sweet malt and caramelized notes. Rich caramel malts, flavors of melted brown sugar and dark toffee add to the complexity here. Thick and chewy, the beer rests on the palate with a slightly sticky heft that is just barely offset by the minimal carbonation; the beer has about the same level of carbonation of a draught real ale, which actually sort of works with this beer as much of the chewy, rich malt notes are offset by the spicy oak / bourbon notes. Sometimes with the minimal carbonation it can even seem a bit thin, but ultimately the texture of this beer is just quite nice.

I must admit that I like the regular version of this beer a bit better, but that is typically the case for me. I just think that this one is holding up a bit better than most do as the base beer really is such a malty, monster of a beer (though you lose that with the bourbon barrel character layered on top of it). My biggest complaint is the lack of substantial carbonation, a light-medium level of carbonation would be perfect, though it does still do well with the low level that it does have. I really like how complex & integrated the barrel character is here, somehow, though it is the dominant note, it does not overwhelm my palate, and it is not too hot and one dimensional.

Photo of nlmartin
3.83/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This was the 2009 vintage. The beer was served in a Snifter.

Appearance: The body of the beer is a dirty brown coloration. Very thin whisp of foam at the top quickly resolves.

Smell: Bourbon, vanilla oak very boozy smelling. A dash of maple a whiff of peat earthyness, caramel, a bit more bourbon.

Taste: The flavor delivers a major vanilla, brown sugar, caramel, bit of peat, and a flash of smoke. The bourbon flavors are present and accounted for in the flavor but not over
powering.

Mouthfeel: The body of the beer is a bit thinner than I would have liked. The carbonation is low but not flat. The alcohol is hot to my mouth.

Overall: The beer is very tasty and smells very nice. Normally I dont have a problem with a beer being a bit hot. The beer seems to be not substantial enough to stand up to the barrel. In many ways I think that this beer was diminished by being barrel aged.

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AleSmith Wee Heavy - Barrel Aged from AleSmith Brewing Company
96 out of 100 based on 336 ratings.