Dismiss Notice
Save $5 when you subscribe to 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine by selecting auto-renew.

Subscribe now →
Dismiss Notice
Join Our Email List →

And we'll send you the latest updates and offers from BeerAdvocate, because knowing is half the battle.
Dismiss Notice

Pre-order your Respect Beer "Hipster" Hoodie today!

Plus: Free shipping (US only) on orders of $25 or more until 12/18/15. Just select "Free Shipping" at checkout.

Shop now →

AleSmith Wee Heavy - Barrel Aged - AleSmith Brewing Company

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

Educational use only; do not reuse.

115 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 115
Hads: 394
Avg: 4.3
pDev: 14.65%
Wants: 310
Gots: 129 | FT: 14
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: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 115 | Hads: 394
Photo of scottoale
4.85/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

From the limited special offering of 234 bottles of J.P.Gray's Wee Heavy scotch style ale, this comes in a 750ml. green glass champagne bottle with silkscreened label (also numbered) and a gold foil on the cap/neck. This is #196 and it pours a beautiful deep, darkish burgundy red with a half inch of a creamy tan head. Nice delicate lacing, trailing behind each sip.

Oak,smoke, cherries and alcohol send your sense of smell into delerium...is this beer, an ultra fine-wine or a liqueur ? It smells insane ! Gotta taste it.

The flavor is almost too complex for a mortal human like myself to describe accurately. Starts off like a cherry flavored tequila with oak making it's presence in a most mellowing manner. It loads the palate with sweet fruity flavors to the sky, the alcohol then runs away with it to the point where you wonder "what the hell am I drinking ?" It's a bit sweet yet balanced, then turbo-charged with a potency that brings to mind, a fine cognac indeed...but this is beer ?

The mouthfeel is velvety-smooth, round and filling. The warming down the gullet is incredible. The oak does amazing things to the ageing of a beer of this caliber, while it is delicious and only young at this stage, proper ageing of this wonderful creation will probably go down in history books. Luckily, I'm cellaring my last three bottles, as I'm sure these will age like no other...can hardly wait !

This is an ale of around 10%ABV, while easy to drink by a veteran of very strong ales...you best respect and sip this one, no kidding !!!

A hearty cheers to AleSmith for a one-of-a-kind ale of distinction...wish the best to the fortunate few that get to savor this one.

 1,684 characters

Photo of OStrungT
4.4/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottle #206 out of 234

This beer pours a very dark brown. It has a very small head. It is light tan. It fades slowly, leaving many thick laces.

This beer has a rather pleasent scotch aroma. I can smell some figs, and a dark fruit aroma as well. Plumbs and raisins. It also has a slight oak wood aroma. The alcohol is apparent in the aroma.

This beer has a flavor like a very mild scotch. It is quite sweet. Almost barley wine sweetness. It has a woody flavor. Some dark fruit flavor is present as well. The alcohol is present in the flavor also.

This beer is surprisingly smooth. It is quite low in carbonation. It leaves a mild scotch like aftertaste. It is well balanced.

I dont know how great of a session beer this would be. It is surprisingly smooth, but it is a little high in alcohol.

I think this beer is great. I am very happy to have had the chance to try this once in a lifetime beer.

 913 characters

Photo of Jredner
4.32/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Aroma is dominated by bourbon, but I can detect ample caramel malt, dark fruits, toasted toffee and mild notes of licorice. Body is dark brown, not muddy, and holds a diminishing, frothy tan head. Holds flavors of raisin, stewed prunes, licorice, oak, caramel, vanilla, bourbon and a massive and sustained malt backbone that can more than stand up to the many different flavor components. It’s a joy to drink and feels very nice on the mouth. It only has the faintest suggestion of smoked malt in the finish.

 509 characters

Photo of mulder1010
4.07/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

750 ML poured into a Bruery Tulip 865/972

Thanks to Paytoplay for the bottle

A-- Poured a deep, dark ruby brown color. Very little head with this and not a lot of carbonation. No lacing and some visible ABV to this as quite syrupy.

S-- Insane! Buttered vanilla, buttered Toffee and bourbon. Just a very warming smell. Bourbon was pretty reserved though. Still best aspect of this was the nose.

T-- Really buttery taste to this. Thick vanilla toffee taste.

M-- Barrel really disappeared in the mouth. Really more about toffee and vanilla. Was a little sweet and syrupy. Very little carbonation and some noticeable alcohol to this.

O-- Might be at its peak. Very well done for the style but seems to get forgotten because it is a Wee Heavy and not a Stout. Look and nose were excellent but the mouth dropped off a lot.

 827 characters

Photo of brew3crew
4.82/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Thanks to the random guy at jackie o's for the pour!

A-carmel brown with no head whatsoever

S-very well melded bourbon and carmel. Very inviting

T-follows the nose. Vanilla bourbon and awesome. Simply splendid

M-medium body and oh so smooth

O-wow. Unexpected treat. Almost perfect

 285 characters

Photo of billshmeinke
4.05/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

My 400th review. Poured into a Duvel tulip. 2009 vintage. #848/972

Pours a deep dark brown hue. So dark it's impenetrable to light. Some mahogany hues at the very outer edges. Almost no head. Just bubbles at first, but with some swirling the bubbles turn into whispy foam on top.

Smells of vanilla oak, ripe dark fruits, vinous notes as well. Also, some booze on the nose. The nose is surprisingly and disappointingly mellow.

Tastes of dark fruits, oak, light tannins, dusty cocoa, port wine, chocolate fudge, some bourbon and booze as well as suggestions of vanilla via the oak.

Almost no carbonation. Pretty full bodied. Mellow and well integrated. Warming booze on the tongue.

A sipper, as the booze is pretty noticeable. Surprisingly mellow at the same time. The extremely low carbonation also works really well in this.

 829 characters

Photo of rand
4.31/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

From 750 mL bottle to Mikasa tulip glass

A: Deep, murky brown in color, a gentle pour yields a fluffy 2-inch head the dissipates surprisingly quickly, leaving scant lacing.

S: The bourbon notes are at the front of the bouquet, yielding a distinct butterscotch bent. These are pleasantly surrounded by notes of toffee, honeyed multi-grain bread, dried fruits and boozy warmth. Big and bold but singular and pleasant.

T/M: More complex than the nose, the flavors start again with the bold bourbon notes, but these are more candied and buttery than burning. A rich, smooth, almost milky complexion supports the satisfyingly sweet aspects, which are nicely contained by drying wood and alcohol warmth. The flavor profile is big, but never splashy or discordant, and as malty as this is (typical of the style) it's never treacly. Finishes long and sweet, with subtle residue coating the palate.

The beer equivalent of comfort food. It's rich, velvety texture and satisfyingly sweet undertones are nice way to relax with a beer before bed.

 1,038 characters

Photo of rallison
4.67/5  rDev +8.6%
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.

 1,026 characters

Photo of mabermud
4.22/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

2009 Bottle

Watered down brown and pink body.
Sweet smell. Vanilla, oak, caramel...
Primarily caramel, bourbon, and vanilla taste.
Short finish. Dry. Very smooth.

Overall - Classy. I think this was past it's prime.

 220 characters

Photo of watermelonman
3.84/5  rDev -10.7%
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!

 566 characters

Photo of JAXSON
3.23/5  rDev -24.9%
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.

 450 characters

Photo of hoppymeal
4.59/5  rDev +6.7%
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.

 885 characters

Photo of ChadQuest
4.17/5  rDev -3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had at the Alewatcher/Oreo Extravaganza.
Was rather hazy much like the other Alesmith BA beers tasted, the color was like the outside of an almond is the best way i can describe it, it was that shade of brown.
The aroma and flavors had elements of spices incorperated with nuts and toffee that were cut into by alcohol, take all those and let them meld and bottle it. The heat was my personal favorite aspect of this bottle as it was enough to be noticibly warming physically, something you felt in the back of your throat after a sip. not hot like a bourbon but warming, and enought to cut and meld all the flavors together, i personally really like that heat, especially when it is this smooth.
The mouthfeel was full bodied and allowed for the pour to be savored for a good amount of time, robustly compacted.
Really good beer, i like what the barrels did.

 860 characters

Photo of waltonc
4/5  rDev -7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to urwatuh8 for a great trade involving this brew. Pours a maroon/brown/coke color with tan head. Pretty significant carbonation for a BA brew, is this force carbed? Smell is sweet, bourbony, tangy, slightly sour, shriveled raisins and plums and any other fruit that people dry up. You can definitely tell this is oxidizing. It's a 2006 bottle, so I guess I shouldn't be surprised. Flavor: more of the above. This is a sweet beverage. Some brown sugar, chocolate, and toffee also present themselves. Body is medium/thick with light/medium carbonation. Tasty brew, but I doubt I'll go out of my way to acquire another bottle of this in the future. Nice to have tried it though.

 683 characters

Photo of Lothore
4.07/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2004 vintage 164/234

A- Pours a deep ruddy brown hue with a very small fizzy head.

S- LOTS of deep bourbon notes with dark fruit sneaking its way through.

T- The most bourbon i've ever tasted in a beer all the way through, earthy tones, undertones of dark fruit.

M- Thick with low carbonation.

D- A huge, bourbony beer that has held up well these years.

 358 characters

Photo of pschul4
4.6/5  rDev +7%
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

 617 characters

Photo of Beersnake1
4.5/5  rDev +4.7%

2014 vintage poured into an Alesmith barrel-aged reserve glass.

A: Pours a dark brown with a 1-2 cm head

S: Strong caramel, bourbon

T: Absolutely amazing. Sweet, caramel, strong bourbon, vanilla, dark fruit

M: Amazing. Exactly what I expect from a barrel-aged beer from Alesmith. Full bodied.

Overall: This is best barrel-aged scotch-style ale I have had. Unbelievable flavor.

 389 characters

Photo of badbeer
4.2/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2005 Bottle:

Very dark amber color with an off-white head. Head quickly disappeared and left very little retention. Smell is boozy, caramel, toffee, and butterscotch. Taste has caramel, butterscotch, bourbon, smoke, dark fruits, and vanilla. Carbonation was light, body was medium. A very nice barrel aged beer. I'd love to drink this more regularly, but obviously it isn't possible. Thanks to doubleo for the bottle!

 418 characters

Photo of Sarlacc83
4.3/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Courtesy of Shane. Many thanks. Reviewed from notes.

A: Very dark mahogany that swallows the light and makes this seem still and serene. Fluffy, bubbly head fades to a drifting pond. Good legs.

N: Wow. Caramel and vanilla, oak and coconut hit me from a few feet away. Bourbon soaked cherries. Some brown sugar and clover. Coriander.

T: Smoked sweetness and tons of toffee. Lots of it. Bitterness seems nonexistent, but this never risks becoming cloying.

M: Lots of alcohol. Stick and medium bodied.

O: This is one of my favorite beers, because this is always what I hope a BA Barleywine is going to taste like, even though it's not one. Gotta hand it to Alesmith, they do barrel aging right.

 697 characters

Photo of PeterIngemi
4.77/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

drinking bottle #517/972 of the 2009 vintage released in 2011

A- dark dark brown, almost black, very minimal head

S- amazing oak, dark fruit, burbon, caramel, toffe, very complex, molasses... Smells amazing

T- very smooth up front going into an incredible blend of burbon, caramel, vanilla, toffe, and tons of barrel character, finishes with a touch of alcohol and dark fruit.

M- very low carbonation, medium mouthfeel, very very smooth, I love the low carbonation in this beer.

O- incredible, I am so fortunate to be able to be drinking this. Amazing.... I don't know what else to say... So much barrel character! So derrricious!

 635 characters

Photo of kels
4.37/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I was really excited to get to try this when pwoods opened it up at a recent tasting. The regular Alesmith Wee Heavy is one of my all-time favorites, and this one proved to be just as excellent. Not one you see everyday...

Pours into the snifter a honey-highlighted shade of medium brown. There are light glimmers of red throughout that catch the light despite the haziness of the liquid. Lots of viscosity is apparent in the look of the beer, as the alcohol separates out a little in suspension in the syrupy brew.

The first word that comes to mind when smelling the beer is "perfumey." It has an almost delicate aroma that makes me think of perfume. There are sweet, dark fruits in the scent, along with the earthy presence of the oak and the bourbon. Slightly sweet from the malts and a little bit of roast, possibly a combination of the barrels and the malts.

From the first sip to the last this beer is exceptionally caramelly, rich and not-too-sweet. The barrel-aging complements the earthy quality of the style. It adds an additional dimension that breaks up the heaviness. It is strangely tart and bright in the taste, which is probably due in part to the moderate amount of carbonation in the beer. The carbonation also keeps the stickiness from weighing down the beer, and it finishes nearly clean. This beer almost reminds me more of a wine in the way it drinks. A very highly alcoholic wine.

 1,408 characters

Photo of Beerzebub
4.67/5  rDev +8.6%
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.

 1,529 characters

Photo of jale
4.5/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Shared this bottle with an awesome friend(turdfergison).

A: Pours a dark brown with tan head.

S: Bourbon, roasted malt, caramel and some smoke.

T: Sweet roasted malt up front. Nice mild bourbon flavor that is not overdone. Alcohol is well hidden. Just a hint of chocolate in the finish.

M: Medium-heavy body with good carbonation.

D: The fact this is not a RIS really adds to its drinkability. I could drink many more of these.

 432 characters

Photo of OlieIPA
4.39/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Poured and shared with my good friend Pehlman on my 25th birthday! A perfect beer for the occassion...now onto the review!

A: Poured into a very large tulip glass, the body displayed a dark brown hue that only got darker as the beer filled the glass. Shortly after, a light cream colored head developed momentarily. Soon it vanished to the outer edges of the glassware.

S: Tons of vanilla and oak that overpowers the original aroma this beer typically exhibits. The sweet malt comes through faintly as the beer warms up, but again, the barrel characteristics reign supreme with the nose.

T: Sweet bourbon, brown sugar, oak and vanilla create an extremely soft, delecate, and complex flavor profile. They do a wonderful job of "melding" together, but my only complaint is the how much the barrel characteristics mask the original flavors.

M: Full, creamy...with a touch of carbonation; surperb!

O: An extremely well crafted brew, but like I mentioned a million times...I wish there were more traces of the original beer. A must try! Cheers!

 1,045 characters

Photo of levifunk
4.22/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2009 Vintage.

Had this fresh and then brought it to Alewatcher's Bday.

Fresh it was a bit of a let down as it was sooo boozy. Then a few months later having it again, the booze had subsided enough that it was quite enjoyable. Definitely going to let my other bottle site for a few years.

a - carbonation is on the lower side, but not out of range.
s/t - bourbon dominates....even with booze subsided. Oak, vanilla, and toffee. Caramel and general scotch ale flavor is all thats picked up from the base beer...which ironically i've never had!
m - medium-heavy body. carbonation keeps it from being too cloyingly thick.

 620 characters

AleSmith Wee Heavy - Barrel Aged from AleSmith Brewing Company
95 out of 100 based on 115 ratings.