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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.
BA SCORE
95
world-class

114 Reviews
THE BROS
-
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 114
Hads: 379
rAvg: 4.3
pDev: 4.19%
Wants: 307
Gots: 129 | FT: 15
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
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Reviews: 114 | Hads: 379
Photo of maximum12
3.92/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

First, thanks to msulinski for seeing this on the tip-top of my wants list last summer & throwing it in - yes, as a bloody extra - to a trade. I've been blessed with some amazing trading partners! Well, I was going to drink this on New Year's, then my birthday...& now it's Tuesday. Sounds good. 750 ML bottle, 2009 vintage, 207/972. Split with my wife, who loves a good wee heavy, especially if they've fornicated with a barrel.

Pour is close to dead flat, with a bit of Weather Center Hurricane in the middle & a few lost bubbles around the edges. Both fade within a few minutes. Arterial blood red, very dark. Nose retains burnt sugar, toffee, barrel, tons of sweet malt. All the smells in the mid-volume range.

Alesmith's Barrel-Aged Wee Heavy might be beginning to get gray around the temples. The barrel presence remains heavy, with a belt-full of vanilla, even after three plus years. Big sweet malts lean into peat bog (& yes, I've tasted water out of one...filtered), with a big pinch of brown sugar. Titch of toffee & oxidation - which I'm not going to knock it for, considering it's antiquity. It is flat, & adds to a heaviness which doesn't do the beer any favors. Half a bomber, as tasty as it is, will fill me up like a turkey leg.

This didn't live up to the legend of the BA Speedway that I'd built up in my mind, but that's my own couch-issue. Really good beer that I'm really happy to have tried. (1,419 characters)

Photo of Phyl21ca
3.95/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle (2009 vintage): Poured a clear medium brown color ale with a medium size off-white foamy head with some retention and some lacing. Aroma of sweet malt with light toffee notes and light butterscotch and some wood with a light whiskey finish. Taste is also a good mix between balanced notes of butterscotch and caramel with some notes of wood and whiskey and light residuals sugar notes. I though the body was a bit thin for the style with medium carbonation. (464 characters)

Photo of spinrsx
4.2/5  rDev -2.3%
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. (683 characters)

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

thanks mike! consumed on 8/8.
2009 vintage

a - dark maroon with no head, some bubbles.

s - pretty hot. wee heavy/old ale-ish. booze tickles my nose. woody caramel toffee.

t - big booze. classic wee heavy beneath. caramel, nutmeg, bourbon and some vanilla. maple.

m - extremely smooth. chewy. bourbony. lots of sediment.

o - overall, pretty good, but nothing mind blowing. (376 characters)

Photo of ehammond1
4.46/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle (2009)

(Aged for 2+ years)

Cloudy dark brown with only a small brown head that doesn't leave much in the way of lacing. An excusably average looking beer.

The nose is quite wonderful--this is what barrel-aging beers is all about. Rich, deep aromas of wood and bourbon, vanilla and caramel, earthy dark chocolate, and some cream combine magnificently. A beer transformed.

The flavor is just as magnificent and rich: bold barrel notes, vanilla, earth and wood, some maple sweetness, and mild dark chocolate, with just enough alcohol presence.

Full bodied with low to moderate carbonation, and just a bit oily. Perfect.

A joy. (637 characters)

Photo of brystmar
4.24/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Review #500! Thanks to blatantdream for busting out this surprise.

Brownish pour, notably lacking head of any sort. Decidedly darker than most Scotch ales. Aroma starts off muted with bourbon and malts at center stage but opens up as the brew warms. Rich, complex bouquet of scotch, spices, butter, and toffee at room temperature.

Sweet malts and bourbon dance on my tongue as the beer's other flavors arrive and add exceptional depth. Butterscotch, vanilla, brown sugar, more bourbon, maple, and a touch of smoke make their presence known. Booze complements the flavor profile and soothes my throat as everything descends. Creamy body delivers the goods.

Another great BA beer from AleSmith. With the exception of BA Speedway, I have yet to taste one of their BA brews that isn't outstanding. (796 characters)

Photo of CrellMoset
4.09/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2006 vintage, bottle 152/254. Thanks to a very generous BA who I likely traded a Southampton beer for quite some time ago - damn my poor record keeping.

Appearance: A dark, muddy, turgid brown, rusty and dirty, this one surges out of the bottle quickly, settling in with a half finger of surging, cola-like head, fading in to a nearly imperceptible collar - only a few small clusters of individual bubbles cling to the rim of the tulip, but even they fade in time with successive sips, all the way down to the point where it's a still muddy pool. There's really not too much to say about the appearance, and BAs here know I'm not a man of few words ... it's just a still, muddy, brown mess (perhaps understandable for a barrel aged beer that's seven years old, but, hey, still not the most attractive thing in the world).

Aroma: Probably this beer's best aspect - I can only imagine what it smelled like four years ago. Rusty penny and old wood dominate this one, with flashes of mossy, smoky, notes, hints of sourness, vanilla, and brown paper bag, wet dog, cardboard oxidation. What a robust and varied aroma profile - this one's all over the place, but not in a messy, out of place way. It's balanced and thoughtful showcasing each of its strengths gracefully, and in doing so showcasing its greatest strengths - even-handedness.

Taste: A total caramel bomb, with hints of cinnamon, vanilla, toffee, and only the faintest kiss of bourbon in what is at this point a relatively dilapidated ([adj.] - having fallen into a state of disrepair or deterioration, as through neglect; broken-down and shabby) beer. This one's definitely past its prime - it's oxidized, slightly metallic, but in a way reminiscent of port, aged leather-bound books, and rich mahogany (Anchorman was on TV earlier). Brown sugar, toffee, and a slew of caramel malts - all well-attenuated - make up the backbone of this wee heavy, but this is all complimented by hints of cinnamon from the barrels along with a string of other, nondescript spicy notes, reminiscent of the base beer. Dark fruits are evident, too - raisins (rum raisin, of course, with the interactions), plums, and dates, with hints of sour cherry and fig, though nothing quite approaching domination in that latter category. Barrel notes are fairly restrained - other than the aforementioned cinnamon, only vanilla and hints of toasted caramel and old wood. A little more garbled and messy than the nose, but still a classy, classy broad.

Mouthfeel: Smooth, incredibly smooth, in fact, with very low carbonation in a slick but still crispy (tasting) body. Obviously typical of a beer that's not only spent a lot of time in a barrel but then another significant chunk of time sitting in a bottle. It works well with the flavor profile - I can only imagine how annoying a slew of carbonation would be with the oxidation and sour notes that are creeping in to this one.

Drinkability: It's hard not to both respect this beer but also be a little disappointed in it all at once. I've half a mind to try and get my hand on a 2009 bottle to see what this one's like at the height of its power (should have tried to do a side-by-side!), because the remnants of a great beer are definitely here. As it stands, this one's a shadow of its former self, but in a way that's demanding of appreciation. Crack 'em if you've got 'em folks. (3,370 characters)

Photo of FosterJM
4.47/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

1071st Review on BA
Bottle to Snifter
750 ml

2009 Vintage

Thanks to ???? for sharing
Thanks to MrHirschybars for the tasting.

App- A good mix of browns and ambers with a little bit of crimson thrown in. A deep beer with a nice capped ½ finger of head that fell quickly to leave a couple dots of cling.

Smell- Besides the actual Creme Brulee beer from ST, this smelled a shit ton like bruleed sugar. A little burnt a little sweet and a little creamy. Had notes of toffee, butterscotch and vanilla.

Taste- A very layered beer with tons packed in. The sweetness of the sugar comes in 1st and then moves to the bourbon and a little bit of smokey damp malts. Brown sugar, vanilla and some cocoa. Not overly harsh or boozy. Very well done.

Mouth- Medium bodied with a good dose of medium amounts of carbonation. Leaves residual bourbon and smooth vanilla and burnt sugar.

Drink- This was my last beer of the night and I was blown away by everything there. This was definitely in the top 5 of the night. A simple amazing beer with layers upon layers of flavors. (1,063 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 Phelps
4.44/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle number 565 of 972; vintage 2009, released 2011. Poured into a snifter and tasted against regular Wee Heavy, which is already one of my favorite scotch ales.

Deep maroon, dark yet fairly clear. There’s not much head to speak of, and it disappears to become a very thin ring within a few seconds.

Buttery nose. Tons of toffee, butterscotch, caramel, burnt sugar, some dark fruits. Also included: earthy hops, bright figs, cola, alcohol. Like a blend of brandy and red wine.

The flavor is So. Damn. Smooth. Bourbon, brandy, vanilla and new oak along with touches of toffee and sticky alcohol. The heavy whiskey flavor is semi-harsh, but met with brown sugar, a touch of maple and butter. The blend is incredible.

Medium-full, creamy body, smooth as velvet. Not much carbonation to speak of, but it’s alive nonetheless. Alcohol is big and numbs the tongue. It also comes through the nose just a bit.

If I had to choose something bad to say about BA Wee Heavy, I’d say the barrels take over the base beer just a bit too much. But hot damn, this is a tasty brew. Sweet, oaky, bourbony, and incredibly smooth. (1,122 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 pmarlowe
4.31/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2012 vintage. On tap at the tasting room during the 2013 BA Grand Cru release.

A: Pours a deep black with a ring of tan head. No lacing, pretty extensive retention.

S: Light to moderate bourbon, dark toasted oak, and a touch of vanilla, very dark fruit (blackcurrant, dark grape), and lots of rich caramel.

T: Tasty oak and malt, fruit is pretty faint under the barrel notes, sweet toffee. The light sweetness really enhances the flavor.

M: Medium-full body and very light carbonation. Super smooth and a little sticky. Alcohol is very well hidden.

O: Very well balanced and tasty, although the base beer does not show through very much in the flavor. That being said, this is nowhere near the bourbon bomb that the last vintage was. (738 characters)

Photo of n2185
4.03/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 2 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2009 bottle

A: pours a dark mahogany with barely any trace of khaki head that recedes into a thin ring with no lacing.

S: lots of caramel, vanilla, and bourbon on the nose. There are some light smoky aromas in there as well.

T: similar to the nose, lots of vanilla, caramel, and bourbon. Some slight roasted malt flavors with a light bitterness are mixed in there. Smooth finish with no alcohol burn.

M: medium-thick body with low carbonation, this beer is pretty smooth and creamy, though slighly watery.

O: a good beer, though not extremely complex. Stil, it's quite tasty and still bourbony after nearly 3 years. (620 characters)

Photo of Jwale73
4.22/5  rDev -1.9%
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. (870 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 Urbancaver
4.3/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle shared at Jackie os. Thanks!
2009 vintage

Pours a gorgeous yellowed brown. Brown with a nice tint. Not really any head. Smells bourbon heavy and a bit boozy. Really nice nose. Tastes boozy and malty. The bourbon is fairly subtle on the tongue compared to the nose. Smooth and rich. Quite good (300 characters)

Photo of claspada
4.03/5  rDev -6.3%
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. (1,495 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 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)

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 srandycarter
4.24/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

2009 Vintage

A - Mahogany, near ebony brown, not much head, mostly a ring, lots of cascading bubbles when tilting the glass.

S - Vanilla, wood, booze and sweet malt barely coming through it.

T - Taste pretty much emulates smell. Almost perfectly. Would have scored higher if carb was more.

M - Good balance considering the big flavors, just wish a little more carbonation.

D - For being so big, it is pretty drinkable!

Tried again 12.29.14 and more carbed. Tasty and changed ratings to reflect new value. (511 characters)

Photo of BOLTZ7555
4.97/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Bottle 96/222 of the 2005 batch sampled courtesy of Sparky27 @ Hellbilly’s Hellraiser 3.0...THANKS ERIC!!! This one has to take the top honors of the night (and Rodenbach Alexander, Southampton RIS, and Toronado 20th were in the Hiz-Ous)...rusty penny/maple syrup pour with a razor-thin caramel head. Aroma has strong barrel-notes; oak, bourbon, toffee, and molasses. Flavor is sweet malt, candied sugar, dark fruit, brown sugar, and freshly spliced vanilla bean. Quite thick and sticky...WOW!!! (497 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 Pehlman
4.22/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Big thanks to my best pal, OlieIPA for opening this gem on his 25th birthday!

Pours a thick black body with a light golden copper head. Good foamy lacing clings to the side of the glass.

The nose is thick with vanilla, oak, sugar, and alcohol. I feel like I could take a big bite out of it.

The malt hits first and slowly fades into a flurry of sweet, soft vanilla. Light hints of fruit and some complexity along with a touch of spice.

The mouth-feel is perfect. Soft yet structured.

I've been waiting for this beer for a long time and it sure doesn't
dissapoint. The barrel may be a little overwhelming here but it's still a delicious beer that I am lucky to try.

Thanks Olie! And happy birthday, dude! (715 characters)

Photo of nlmartin
3.82/5  rDev -11.2%
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. (893 characters)

AleSmith Wee Heavy - Barrel Aged from AleSmith Brewing Company
95 out of 100 based on 114 ratings.