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

366 Ratings
THE BROS
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no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 366
Reviews: 114
rAvg: 4.33
pDev: 7.85%
Wants: 303
Gots: 126 | 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: 366 | Reviews: 114
Photo of hoppymeal
4.59/5  rDev +6%
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 ChainGangGuy
4.35/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2005 Vintage - Bottle #112 (of 222).

Appearance: Pours a dark reddish-brown body with a small, tight, off-white head.

Smell: Ah, the expressive aroma of oh-so delicious bourbon with its notes of vanilla, oak, and brown sugar. Plus, there's also nuts, fruit (even raspberry), spice, and a truck load of malt.

Taste: Rich, creamy, candylike maltiness with literally tons of toothsome sweetness. Slight praline taste. As much punchy bourbon flavor possible without becoming unpleasant and excessive. Quite fruity, with flavors of the typical dark fruits plus, maybe, those raspberries from the aroma. Smokey peat component. Dash of spice. Warming, drying, vanilla finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-plus body. Medium carbonation. Smooth, creamy mouthfeel.

Drinkability: Very tasty bourbony boost to what was already an excellent beer. Happiness really is a choice.

Photo of mikesgroove
4.94/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Wow, what can I say about this one. Bottle #205/234 from the 2006 edition. Needless to say I am absolutely thrilled to be getting to open this one. I wish I had someone to share it with, unfortunately this one is going to have to be handled on my own, well fortunately for me anyway J I had this sitting in the fridge for a good little bit until I decided to open it up on a whim last night. I let it warm up to around cellar temp before I decided to unwrap the gold foil and pop the cap open on this one, letting loose all the mayhem that ensued. The glass of choice for this one would of course be my brand new and now personal favorite 22oz Terrapin snifter, which I am finding myself use for just about everything now.

Appearance - The pour was nice with a very opaque, deep, dark, mahogany brown color coming out of the bottle. Nothing really spectacular as far as the head goes, with really only the slightest crown of tan coming over the top for a few fleeting moments before vanishing almost as quickly as it came into a thin line around the rim. No side glass lace either as this one was looking more like a motionless abyss.

Smell - The aroma was breathtaking. The rich smell of Bourbon was almost overwhelming at first. I had to really let it breath before I could take in just how good this one actually was. Really full aroma, one of the most complex I have ever come across. The barrel aging has transformed this beer into something that is nowhere close to the way it once was. Huge bourbon smells now mixing with a nice oak like aroma, hints of vanilla and earthy tones, the malt from the original gone. Just breathtaking the transformation that took place on this one.

Taste - The flavor was just a beautiful continuation of the aroma. It started out with a huge rush of bourbon, a touch hot, but endlessly complex. Letting it warm brought out gorgeous notes of vanilla, some dark fruit, perhaps raisins, and a good touch of what almost seemed like peppery spices as well. Really just fantastic. Nice oak flavor, barrel aging really doing a job here now. The old Wee Heavy is long gone, now being replaced by this masterful barrel aged beer. I was enormously impressed here and to be honest have to score it perfectly just based on the transformation.

Mouthfeel - It may have been low on carbonation, but the feel of this one did not suffer at all. It was almost like a perfectly aged old ale by now. This was really just so silky smooth, a full feel on the tongue that just lingered on forever. I don't think it could have gotten much better then this.

Drinkability - What is there really to say that I haven't already. I sipped on this one in my glass for a few hours I think. Never really getting tired of it, and I actually was a touch sullen when the last drop eroded away. It was just the perfect nightcap. There was no way though that it was only 9%, way underrated here. This was easily north of 12% and you could feel it, this one really started to put a hurting on me after a little while, but still, it was tremendously good and really in a class of its own.

Overall I thought this was easily one of the best beers I have ever had. The only thing it lacked was a little bit better initial presentation, but aside from that, it was just sublime. I could have had a dozen bottles and would open one every night. I just think it was amazing the transformation this one undertook. Some Barrel agings just do not go over well, this one on the other hand just went perfectly. I could not have envisioned it being any better. Just perfect I would love to have it again, and can only imagine what the Speedway must be like, if I can ever manager to get a hold of a bottle of that one!

Photo of Floydster
4.05/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

750 ml bottle purchased at the Alesmith brewery several months ago for twenty dollars, 2005 bottle numbered 95 out of 225 I believe but the writing was a bit scratched off so I could be wrong, split amongst my girlfriend's family at her graduation party yesterday, poured into an oversized wine glass

A-Deep brown with some reddish highlights, quite a bit of floaties, absolutely no head, flatter than a board, no lacing or anything

S-Lots of bourbon and oak, whiskey was the dominant aroma by far though, cognac, sweet chocolate, vanilla, pulms, brown sugar, burned malts, fair amount of toffee, caramel, and cake

T-Once I got over the characteristics of the barrel this sat in, malt jumped out at me, sweeter than the regular version with lots of vanilla and caramel, was not as roasty as the standard Wee Heavy, started off with a big boozy whiskey flavor, faded into the malt just mnetioned, then the finish was super spicy with more booze and a burning sensation on the tongue, a little sweet and strong for my palate but a nice flavor overall

M-Spicy, boozy, sweet, and hot mouthfeel, thin to medium body, barrel aging on this just killed all the original carbonation, taste lingered for a long time and got more intense as it warmed

D-Could not drink much more than eight to ten ounces, super heavy on the stomach, alcohol is definitely not hidden, smooth though, and it seems like the ABV would be mucyh higher with the way it tastes

After I was done explaining to various people that this was actually beer and not oaked whiskey like they were all claiming, I was able to do my review, I expected more from this brew but it was still good, bourbon and wood character seemed to just take over the original brew, certainly the strongest tasting scotch ale I have tried next to the Berksire for Julio's, might pay the money for another bottle in the future but I am in no hurry to do so, definitely worth trying if you get the chance though

Photo of Halcyondays
4.42/5  rDev +2.1%
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 jwolfie70
4.11/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

This beer tastes completely different than the non-barrel aged version. This beer poured a dark brown with little to no head (and by the end of the bottle, no carbonation). Taste and smell had a lot of vanilla, bourbon, caramel, and prunes/figs. As it warmed the beer took on more and more of prune flavors and was completely flat by the time we finished. A great sipping beer, but you will be hard pressed to finish a bottle by yourself.

Photo of Gueuzedude
3.8/5  rDev -12.2%
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 kleffman
4.52/5  rDev +4.4%
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 Overlord
4.12/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Opened up one of these puppies today. Poured a dark brown with little to no head.

Big flavor/smell. The "wee heavy" base is almost entirely eclipsed by the flavors added by the aging process. Vanilla, huge, huge bourbon and caramel, and prunes/figs really round out this brew. Almost no head, and by the end of the bottle no carbonation either. Gigantic flavor: one of the strongest tasting beers I've ever enjoyed. Not the most drinkable of beers, I must admit, but a rare treat. A bit too much bourbon, though, it is a bourbon bomb.

**I'm sorry, but there is no way this beer is only 10%ish alcohol. It's three ... maybe four percentage points above that, at least.

Photo of ppoitras
4.85/5  rDev +12%
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 Jredner
4.32/5  rDev -0.2%
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.

Photo of OStrungT
4.4/5  rDev +1.6%
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.

Photo of kmcnair
4.66/5  rDev +7.6%
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 scottoale
4.85/5  rDev +12%
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.

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AleSmith Wee Heavy - Barrel Aged from AleSmith Brewing Company
96 out of 100 based on 366 ratings.