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AleSmith Wee Heavy - Barrel Aged - AleSmith Brewing Company

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

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
96
world-class

311 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 311
Reviews: 108
rAvg: 4.32
pDev: 8.1%
Wants: 295
Gots: 122 | 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: 311 | Reviews: 108 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of glid02
4.47/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle shared by Grant - thanks! From the 2009 release, I failed to record the bottle number.

Pours a slightly hazy golden-brown color with a half-finger tan head. The head recedes into a patchy layer on top leaving solid lacing.

Smells of robust caramel malts with large amounts of vanilla and hints of spicy bourbon. Also present are large amounts of sticky toffee and hints of earthy hops that balance it all.

Tastes very similar to how it smells. Thick caramel malt flavors with large amounts of toffee kick things off. Joining in shortly thereafter are large amounts of vanilla flavors with hints of boozy coconut. Midway through the sip the sweetness from the malts subsides a bit and light earthy hops make an appearance. The hops, vanilla, and caramel malt flavors carry through to a mildly bitter ending.

Mouthfeel is very good. It's got a heavy thickness with smooth carbonation.

Drinkability is also very good. I finished my glass quickly and could easily have a few more.

Overall, if there's one thing I know about AleSmith, besides the fact that they don't make a bad beer, it's that they know their way around a barrel. A very well done beer and one that's well worth a shot.

glid02, Mar 05, 2011
Photo of TurdFurgison
4.43/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750mL bottle from the most recent release (I think), didn't get the bottle number. Graciously shared by jale (thanks a ton Jim!).

This pours a deep brown color, strongly translucent, with a nice tan cap. The aroma is otherworldly, very very inviting. Toasted and roasted malts, very sweet caramel, smoked malt or peat, and very well integrated yet rich bourbon. Wow, I could (and did) spend a lot of time just sniffing the beer. So good.

It tastes just as it smells, so many flavors and all of them coming in strong. The strongest components are sweet malts and bourbon, and the smoke is more of a complement to the other flavors, just adding a little something rather than defining the overall character. Toffee, dark fruits like plums or raisins, a little alcohol heat, cocoa, bourbon, smoke. Everything is there and it all works.

Somewhat heavy body, as befits a drink this flavorful, and decent carbonation even after its time in the barrel. This is a beer that I will always look for from now on. This and the BA Speedway.

TurdFurgison, Mar 12, 2011
Photo of drummermattie02
4.5/5  rDev +4.2%

drummermattie02, Jan 03, 2012
Photo of chippo33
4/5  rDev -7.4%

chippo33, Feb 25, 2014
Photo of BeerFMAndy
4.55/5  rDev +5.3%
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.

BeerFMAndy, Dec 30, 2013
Photo of Axnjxn
4.25/5  rDev -1.6%

Axnjxn, Feb 12, 2014
Photo of bsuedekum
4.5/5  rDev +4.2%

bsuedekum, Aug 20, 2013
Photo of claspada
4.03/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

2009 edition courtesy of Ryan from the most recent release.

Pours a typical darker brown with absolutely no head and little lacing around the glass. This is one of the most still beers I have ever seen, usually not my cup of tea, let's see...

Aromas are really boozy and strong initially but not entirely off-putting. Lots of bourbon, sweet caramel and butterscotch. It hard to get any of the base beer as all the aromas are coming straight from the bourbon barrel here.

The tastes begin with sweet dark, caramelized brown sugars. Then you get waves and waves of buttery bourbon and copious amounts of sweet toffee. As it warms the bourbon continues to become increasingly intense. Bourbon bomb, yes indeed. Not hot or alcoholly in the slightest, just tons of bourbon flavors.

The mouthfeel is velvety smooth and slick. Just like silk across the palate. No carbonation; a sipper to say the least.

Overall despite the huge bourbon and booze on the aroma this is surprisingly drinkable. I mean I almost don't consider this beer anymore because the bourbon completely overpowers the Wee Heavy base. I don't think this style of beer lends itself to barrel-aging as well as barleywines and stouts, but that's my two sense. I am torn on this beer because while it was tasty, I could have easily just poured a glass of bourbon and added a dash of the original Wee Heavy with similar results. Probably not worth the time, effort or cost it took to procure and I do not need to revisit anytime soon.

claspada, Aug 15, 2011
Photo of AgentZero
4.3/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Big ups to Jason for busting this out at the Thai appreciation week tasting.

A - Dark brown beer that's pretty opaque. Tan head, no real stick left on the sides.

S - Great smelling beer with a lot of caramel, vanilla, and nice bourbon. I really don't care for the smell of Scotch Ale, but this pretty good.

T - Well, Scotch Ale, Wee Heavy, whatever it is, this is much better than what I was expecting. Great caramel, bourbon, little butterscotch and some roast. Bourbon is mild and adds flavor, not hot at all.

M - Medium bodied, moderate carbonation, quite smooth.

O - Really like this one a lot. Flavorful, smooth, easy to drink. Shocked, as this is one of my least favorite styles, guess the barrel-aging really paid off in this one.

AgentZero, Apr 09, 2011
Photo of spinrsx
4.23/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750ml Bottle from 2009 - Thanks to pushkinwow

Appearance - Hazy brown colour with a below average size fizzy/frothy off-white coloured head. There is an average amount of carbonation showing and there is some great lacing. The head lasted for only a short while.

Smell - Malts, dark fruits, butterscotch/caramel, chocolate

Taste & Mouth - There is a below average amount of carbonation and I can taste malts mixed with some caramel/butterscotch. There is also a bit of a dark fruit taste and a slight woodiness with hints of chocolate. It ends with a malty dark fruit aftertaste.

Overall - Very smooth and extremely easy to drink. The best beer I've had from Alesmith hands down.

spinrsx, Sep 14, 2012
Photo of DefenCorps
4.35/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Wow wow wow. Thank you so much, Greg, this along with the 06 silk screen BA Speedway was a definite treat this past weekend. This was the 06 release

Gorgeous clear ruby red with red highlights. A thin beige head is present but doesn't stick around too long. The nose is just flat out fabulous. An exceptional combination of oxidation, tobacco, caramel, bourbon, vanilla, oak, charred wood, rum and raisins and sherry. This really is a beer of exceptional depth. The palate doesn't quite live up, though. Opening up with a ton of caramel, cherry there is some toffee, vanilla and bourbon mid palate, and it sticks around until a long and exquisite finish with tobacco, caramel and sherry. Medium in body with mild carbonation, this is extremely smooth and drinkable. Unfortunately, it's going to be a while - if ever - that I get to try this again.

**Edit 16 Sept 2011**

The other night, I split a bottle of the 09 vintage that I received from peteinsd with some friends. Very briefly, this was excellent. Fruity with raisins, port, honey bourbon and vanilla, the balance between the base beer and the barrels is exceptionally done here. Fantastic. 4.5/4.5/4.5/5/4.5

DefenCorps, Oct 13, 2009
Photo of KevinGordon
4.5/5  rDev +4.2%

KevinGordon, Aug 25, 2014
Photo of champ103
3.5/5  rDev -19%

champ103, Nov 14, 2011
Photo of ZEB89
4.5/5  rDev +4.2%

ZEB89, Jul 07, 2014
Photo of Gobzilla
4.25/5  rDev -1.6%

Gobzilla, May 26, 2014
Photo of gford217
4.47/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Big thanks to Derek for this 750mL bottle, 2005 vintage #181/222.

Pours a deep, clear copper with a very fleeting, bubbly tan head that dissipated immediately and left no lacing.

The aroma is very good with more bourbon than I was expecting. However, even with the big bourbon presence, there are plenty of signs of the underlying beer with caramel, toffee and lots of dark fruits.

The taste has a huge bourbon sting up front and in the finish. In between there is the sweetness of caramel, toffee, raisins and some brown sugar. The bourbon starts to meld much more smoothly with the flavor as this warms and adds plenty of oak and vanilla from the wood as well.

The mouthfeel is very slick with minimal carbonation. The barrel presence is very evident, both with the boozy burn and the dryness of the finish.

This is a very boozy Scotch ale that will be tasty for those folks who really like a bourbon-heavy taste. Another world class brew from Alesmith.

gford217, May 20, 2009
Photo of eawolff99
4.5/5  rDev +4.2%

eawolff99, Oct 12, 2013
Photo of kscaldef
3/5  rDev -30.6%

kscaldef, Nov 27, 2011
Photo of aasher
3.5/5  rDev -19%

aasher, Mar 04, 2013
Photo of enelson
4/5  rDev -7.4%

enelson, Aug 05, 2013
Photo of Jwale73
4.2/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Big thanks to Thirstybird for sharing this brew. 750ml capped and foiled bottle. 2009 vintage, bottle #678/972. Pours a deep mahogany, almost brown, with no head and no lacing. Nose expresses bourbon, light smoke, and a buttery character; all on malty backbone. Taste consistent with nose. Some vinous notes and a light acidity are also revealed, as well as a trace of maple syrup. The buttery character present in the nose also manifests itself in the flavor profile. There's also more of a barrel presence. Mouthfeel is medium-bodied with a still carbonation and a slightly oily texture - this beer could use just a bit of carbonation in my opinion. What a great brew that's both easy drinking and complex. That said, I can't say that the BA version is better than the standard (which I also really enjoy); however, it's quite different although nonetheless enjoyable.

Jwale73, Sep 13, 2011
Photo of popery
4.65/5  rDev +7.6%
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.

popery, Jan 20, 2013
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.

tectactoe, Jul 16, 2013
Photo of BGsWo22
3/5  rDev -30.6%

BGsWo22, Mar 16, 2014
Photo of ArrogantB
4/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2006 vintage released in 08, bottle 253/254. The first thing I thought when I smelled the open bottle was bourbon. The beer pours a nice brown color and I am pretty sure it looks like the regular wee heavy but I've only had that once. The aromas from the glass seem to be mostly vanilla and bourbon. The taste is pretty good, licorice, vanilla, nutty,fruits different than I remember the regular version but a hint of smoke and peat which I couldn't detect in the regular version. The alcohol is definitely present in this beer. This is a good beer but really only a twist to a beer that was already good to start with. I would definitely purchase this again if I ever had a chance. Damn you Alesmith!!!

ArrogantB, Jul 26, 2008
AleSmith Wee Heavy - Barrel Aged from AleSmith Brewing Company
96 out of 100 based on 311 ratings.