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 mdfb79
4.05/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

From 03/19/11 notes. Big thanks to Lunch for sharing this one; thanks Paul. 2009 vintage, bottle 584 of 972.

a - Pours a dark brown color with one inch of white head and light carbonation evident.

s - Smells of light bourbon, oak, caramel, fruits malts. Good, but much less bourbon than I was expecting, especially considering it's relatively fresh.

t - Tastes of caramel, light bourbon, oak, vanilla, and dark fruits. Again I enjoyed it, but not a lot of bourbon.

m - Light to medium body and low carbonation, pretty smooth body. A bit lighter than I expected.

d - Overall I thought this was a good beer but I was expecting a heavier mouthfeel and more bourbon. I got to try 2 oz.'s or so of an 06 vintage a few months ago and really liked it and remembered it having more bourbon than this newer batch. Still a good beer, but not their best BA beer or vintage.

Photo of drewone
4.25/5  rDev -1.6%

Photo of Rochefort10nh
4.5/5  rDev +4.2%

Photo of oriolesfan4
4.25/5  rDev -1.6%

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-

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 Halcyondays
4.43/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

25.4 oz. bottle, 2006 Barrel-Aged Vintage, #224/254, procured in the April 1st, 2008 release, drunk 4/4/08

A: Pours a dark brown, with a small white head, good retention, and great thick lacing.

S: Maple syrup, cognac, vanilla, Madeira wine, peat smoke.

T: Definitely a peaty maltiness, huge brown sugar notes, hint of Islay whisky and vanilla. Good amount of lactic acidity, probably from the barrel aging, also has a really good long lasting aftertaste you get from a good whisky, really tasty stuff.

M: Very smooth, has a softness in its character making it very easy to drink, nice prickly carbonation.

D: I definitely think the Barrel Aging has improved the Wee Heavy from Alesmith, which was already a great beer. It gave it more complexity and in the end made it much more interesting, I'll definitely buy another bottle or 2 at the next release, a beer that certainly grows on you as you drink it.

Photo of orangesol
4/5  rDev -7.4%

Photo of yourefragile
4.22/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

750 mL gold foil topped bottle, 2006 vintage, #70/254, poured into a tulip and splith with 321Jeff, thanks to whoever traded us this gem.

Appearance is a murky maroon and brown color. Very still, obviously low carbonation, and a very thin off white head that quickly fades to absolutely nothing and no lacing. Aroma is very rich and port like. Strong notes from the barrel of vanilla and bourbon and occasionally raisins, oak, chocolate, etc also assert themselves. Body is lighter side of medium with fine, soft carbonation with a long lasting slightly dry raisin and bourbon finish. Flavor begins with pleasant bourbon sweetness before the base beer with rich malt, toffee, raisin, etc enters and lingers into the finish. Slightly astringent but very little alcohol presence or burn. A very pleasant sipper, mildly complex and delightfully balanced, however maybe a little past it's prime as its lost the robustness and complexity of the regular Wee Heavy.

Photo of duceswild
4.5/5  rDev +4.2%

Photo of corby112
4.45/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to BigFish for sending this to me in one of my first trades.

This review is for the 2006 vintage, bottle 150/254.

Pours a very dark chestnut brown color that's completely opaque with dark ruby/mahogany edges when held to a light source and a thin half finger light beige head that quickly fades into a thin lasting ring.

Amazing complex aroma with lots of smokey roasted chocolate malt, caramel, toffee, roasted coffee bean, licorice, earthy oak, vanilla and a very prominent bourbon presence.

Slightly hot medium body with a nice, silky viscous malt presence with lots of chocolate, roasted coffee bean, burnt toast, caramel and licorice. Very roasty with subtle hops and a huge bourbon presence that is slightly hot and somewhat dominates the flavor. It isn't too overpowering however, allowing the other notes to shine. Slight tannis and a heavy oak and vanilla presence. Absolutely delicious! Highly recommended.

Photo of superspak
4.23/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Got in a trade with swingracex. 750 ml bottle into snifter; 2013 vintage, bottled on 2/11/2014. Pours hazy nearly opaque dark brown color with a small foamy khaki head with poor retention, that reduces to a small ring of lace that lingers. Light spotty soapy lacing clings on the glass, with a moderate amount of streaming carbonation retaining a thin cap. Aromas of big caramel, toast, toffee, brown sugar, raisin, prune, fig, date, licorice, light chocolate, vanilla, bourbon, oak, light butterscotch/coconut/leather, and toast/oaky earthiness. Damn nice aromas with great balance and complexity of dark/bready malt, fruity yeast, and bourbon barrel notes; with good strength. A fair amount of noticeable alcohol, but subsides as it reaches room temperatures. Taste of big caramel, toffee, toast, brown sugar, raisin, plum, fig, date, licorice, light chocolate, vanilla, bourbon, oak, light butterscotch/coconut/leather, and toast/oaky earthiness. Light amount of tannic oak bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of caramel, toffee, toast, brown sugar, raisin, plum, licorice, light chocolate, vanilla, bourbon, oak, light butterscotch/coconut/leather and oak earthiness on the finish for a while. Incredible complexity and robustness of dark/bready malt, fruity yeast, and bourbon barrel flavors; with a great malt/barrel balance and zero cloying flavors after the finish. Light carbonation and fairly full bodied; with a very smooth and moderately creamy/slick mouthfeel that is nice. Alcohol is well hidden with only a light warming present after the finish. Overall this is an awesome barrel aged scotch ale style. All around great complexity and balance of dark/bready malt, fruity yeast, and bourbon barrel flavors; and very smooth to sip on for the big ABV. A highly enjoyable offering.

Photo of weeare138
4.59/5  rDev +6.2%
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 Gonzoillini
4.75/5  rDev +10%

Photo of Huhzubendah
4.38/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottle shared by ygtbsm94. Thanks Brad!

Vintage 2006
Bottle 246 / 254

A: Dark chestnut brown hued, with an 1/8" of brown head that leaves some decent lacing on the glass.

S: Aromas of smoke, peat, caramels, and a hint of the aging process, but not in any sort of negative way.

T: What a great beer. It's smoky and malty, with a myriad of flavors blending together very gracefully. This Scotch ale has really mellowed with age, as it's so effortless to consume and enjoy. It's slightly sweet and has hints of liquor, but it's not cloying or hot. Kudos to Alesmith - this is an exceptional beer.

M: Buttery, creamy and smooth on the palate. There is still a healthy level of carbonation present, but this beer has a silky smooth consistency about it.

D: A very enjoyable experience. If you are fortunate enough to happen across this brew, you will most certainly enjoy it.

Photo of afsdan
4.5/5  rDev +4.2%

Photo of Mebuzzard
3.68/5  rDev -14.8%

Photo of BillRoth
4.25/5  rDev -1.6%

Photo of iL0VEbeer
4.5/5  rDev +4.2%

Photo of ppoitras
4.88/5  rDev +13%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

750ml bottle acquired from an SD friend in my time of need. Thanks for the opportunity, Scott. 2004 vintage, #33 of 234, gold foiled cap.

Poured in a Rapscallion glass, poured with a 1/8" tan head over the brownish burgundy brew. Bubbles quickly retreated to the edges, leaving a few bubbles in the center, and a light film elsewhere. Aroma is dark fruits, leathery lightly smoky malts, and soft intensity of rounded edges alcohol. Taste is <wow> super rich maltiness upfront, smoke wisps again floating around, with a dry booziness in the middle that almost takes your breath away with its near evaporation, and closes with a return of the deep malt, warming all the way down, and even leaves the gums a little numb. Mouthfeel is velvet smooth, and retains ample carbonation for a BA brew. Drinkability is high because I want to enjoy this again, but know that I probably won't.

Feels weird to enjoy a brew that people would pay hundreds of dollars for on eBay, since I didn't and couldn't pay that much for it. Just have to bask in my fortunateness and luck.

Photo of billab914
4.25/5  rDev -1.6%

Photo of HopHead84
4/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2006 vintage. Bottle 98/254. Consumed on 9/27/2009 and then again on 10/10/2009 and poured into a snifter. The beer is dark reddish brown with a frothy one finger off white head.

The nose is prominent caramel malt with subtle sugary notes. Bourbon is noticeable but it's dominant or really even very strong. Some oxidation is present, and it becomes increasingly apparent with warming. A touch of smoke is evident, as well as strong alcohol and subtle dark fruit notes.

The taste is caramel with toffee and a moderate sherry-like oxidation. The malt is rich with a low level of lingering hop bitterness. The beer tastes stronger than the listed 9.5%. I detect raisins, dates, and plums. Booze is strong in the sweet finish. The beer is high medium bodied with an upper level of low carbonation and a thick, smooth mouthfeel.

The first bottle I had was stored in a cupboard so the oxidation was quite pronounced, but the second bottle I drank on 10/10 was my own and had been stored at 55 degrees since the release. Oxidation was still a bit too strong to be complimentary. This beer is past its prime. Drink it now if you have it.

Photo of ShanePB
4.5/5  rDev +4.2%

Photo of wethorseblanket
4.33/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Reviewed from notes. Shared by Henry - thanks.

A: Pours a blackish dark brown with a fine light tan head and not much lace.

S: Nose is old wood with traces of smoke, bourbon, and vinous.

T: Big maple notes up front followed closely by boozy bourbon and layers of grainy malt.

M: Creamy, rich and chewy. A little sweet maple syrup.

O: Decadent and a slow sipper. Enjoyed by all.

Photo of Alieniloquium
3.86/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750 mL bottle poured into a snifter. 2012 bottle.

Appearance - Vigorous pour yields a lopsided off white head. Deep brown. Wispy.

Smell - Very fruity. Bourbon is present, but the oak barrel is more prominent. Vanilla secondary, but oak is very nice. Caramel behind all of it.

Taste - Sweet malt and Bourbon behind it. Caramel is very nice here. Oaky in the back end. Slightly buttery but it loses a lot of its Scotch ale character. Bourbon is a nice replacement.

Mouthfeel - Slightly boozy. Well carbonated. Medium body and seems thinner than the regular version.

Overall - Had this next to the regular. Loses some caramel, but gains a nice barrel character.

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