AleSmith Wee Heavy - Barrel Aged - AleSmith Brewing Company

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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 redsonja
4/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A; nice dark brown with a little head on top

S; roasted malts,caramel and a hint of cherrys

T; roasted malts, bitter chocolate, coffee

M; the roasted malts stay long in your mouth
and a nice alcohol bitter in the aftertaste

O; nice wee heavy nice roasted malts, chocolate and cherrys in the nose. the wood i did not find in the taste or smell.

Photo of wethorseblanket
4.32/5  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 cpmichael
4.05/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2009 Vintage; Bottle 185/972

A: Pours a very dark brown, not quite black, but super dark. No foam. Pour looks flat.

S: Vanilla, malts, bourbon, caramel, hints of oak and smoke.

T: Raisins with smooth bourbon and vanilla, oak, hints of smokiness, but much less than I expected. Pretty sweet.

M/D: pour looked flat, but It had good carbonation, pretty thick-body. Feels great. Bourbon adds a nice sweet element to the base. Solid beer.

Photo of billshmeinke
4.05/5  rDev -6.5%
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.

Photo of AgentZero
4.27/5  rDev -1.4%
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.

Photo of womencantsail
4.14/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottle from the 2009 vintage shared by Tim. Thanks!

A: Not the prettiest looking beer. A turbid brown/amber color with a small off-white head.

S: The wonders of barrel aging are immediately on display. Rich bourbon, vanilla, and maple syrup with just a hint of the peat from the base Wee Heavy. A little big of chocolate along with plenty of caramel. Oh, a lot of bourbon, too.

T: Intense maple syrup flavor right away. Very sweet with caramel, vanilla, and toffee being prominent contributors as well. Although there is a lot of bourbon flavor, it's not overly boozy. Mild peat and smoke flavors, but they're sort of overwhelmed.

M: Medium to full in body with a surprisingly ample amount of carbonation for a beer of this nature.

O: Just fantastic stuff. I'd be happy to drink this any day, though after having the previous release last year, I'd say not the best candidate for aging.

Photo of Sean9689
4.09/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Jason for sharing. 2009 vintage. 750ml bottle poured into wine glass (not sure of the # on the bottle).

A - Pours a mirky/muddy brown, small amount of off-white head, some bubbles here and there on top.

S - Sweet dark fruits, bourbon, oak, caramel, vanilla.

T - Sweet caramels, oak, smooth bourbon note. The bourbon is really nice and smooth, which is nice considering this is a recent release.

M - Medium, light carbonation, smooth and creamy.

D - Really enjoyed this one and was glad to try it. I would still like to try an older vintage, but I hear they're becoming oxidized. Def would try this one again!

Photo of seeswo
4.12/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2009 vintage. Pours with pretty low carbonation, looks an even brown color with a touch of tan head. Looks fine. The smell is big bourbon, vanilla, brown sugar and wood with just a touch of smoked malts. Bourbon, oak and smoked/roasted malt blend nicely. Finishes a bit boozy in flavor (not heat) and with some oak. Seems like it could use some time to round out the finish. Lower carbonation and medium body. Enjoyable BA scotch ale. Not as good as I thought it was going to be, but still quite good.

Photo of mdfb79
4.05/5  rDev -6.5%
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 jale
4.5/5  rDev +3.9%
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.

Photo of TurdFurgison
4.44/5  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.

Photo of glid02
4.47/5  rDev +3.2%
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.

Photo of badboyrsl84
4.02/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Thanks to Chris Farley I got myself a 5 oz taster of the 09 wee heavy.

Smell - vanilla sweet malty Bourbon oak. I love tge smell of all bourbon aged beers. When it sits I get a little more raisen.

Look - no head cocola colored

Taste - very little carbonation. The Bourbon flavor not as big smell. Lots of Stale malt finish. Bourbon sits around a little with a some malt in the aftertaste.

Overall a good beer not the best aged beer.

Photo of Thorpe429
4.37/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Huge thanks to Brad for sharing this bottle; I'd been wanting to try this for quite some time. 2006 vintage. Bottle 246/254. Served in a snifter.

Pours a moderately-dark brown color with a single-finger tan head and a bit of light lacing and a thin collar. Nose brings quite a bit of caramel, barrel character, dark fruits, and some more bourbon. A bit of booze, though it's quite welcome in the state it's in.

Flavor is really quite exceptional with a really nice barrel character. Really smooth and mellow. Beautiful warmth in the finish coming from the alcohol. Slight sweetness comes alongside the dark fruit character. Medium body and quite complex. Good carbonation. I've been waiting quite a long time to try this one, and it certainly was not a disappointment.

Photo of Huhzubendah
4.37/5  rDev +0.9%
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 drabmuh
4.27/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle shared by Brad at a recent tasting, 2006 vintge. About 250 of these were bottled, I'm super honored to get a pour of this. Beer is dark brown and pretty hazy with a thin off white / tan head of small and medium bubbles. Agitation coaxes a decent head out of the beer but it does not have good staying power, minimal lacing.

Aroma is very bourbon filled. It's sweet and has some herbal spice to it but mostly liquor. Smells awesome honestly, exactly what I hoped it would smell like.

Beer is medium bodied and really creamy. There is minimal peat in the mid-palate and rounds out nicely to finish the beer. The lead off is a little sweet and very bourbon-y. It is not very hot, just a nice beer all around. The flavors walk that line between tasting like liquor and being liquor. I would have more of this if that were possible. As it is now I'll just have to lean on my memory.

Photo of cpetrone84
3.26/5  rDev -24.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Big thanks to Kevin for sharing this one!

A-pours a dark brown color with red edges and a lighter tan head.

S-the nose brings some cooked greens, notes of bourbon, lots of malt body, very sugary with toffee and caramel. Light malt sweetness with notes of oxidation in the back.

T-lots more cooked green vegatables, very sugary, toffee and caramel, diry burnt brown sugar, creamy oak with notes of bourbon. there is some more malt sweetness, hints of dried plums and slightly bitter.

M-full bodied and thick, very viscous but still smooth and creamy. lighter carabonation with an easy finish.

D-this is very sugary and rather thick and creamy. hints of oxidation and nothing subtle to it. seems to be to style but the flavors seem slightly jumbled together but not bad.

Photo of JAXSON
3.23/5  rDev -25.4%
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.

Photo of rallison
4.67/5  rDev +7.9%
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.

Photo of rye726
4.77/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Vintage '06. Thanks Mike!

Pours a hazy, woody mahogany with a silky tan head.

Nose has whiskey, dark pitted fruits, oak, vanilla, cocoa, raisins, figs, caramel and toffee.

Very well balanced flavor profile. The barrel aging is subtle yet compiments the beer perfectly.

Creamy body has a delicate carbonation. Very nice.

Photo of tarface23
4.79/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The father of an AleSmith brewer brought a bottle of 2004 on the Quaff Campout. You know, the ones in the old green bottles.

We tasted it amongst barrel aged Numbskulls and Decadence of various vintages, but angels sang when we tasted this one. Creamy, rich malt with a little sherry oxidation note. Everything came together so smoothly.

I wish I had the patience to save some beers a few years...

Photo of nickd717
4.35/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750ml bottle via trade, huge thanks to KRAMER17801, who is extremely generous. 2006 vintage.

Pours dark brown, fairly clear, with a small tan head and good lacing.

Great aroma. You can tell this one has some age. Sweet caramel malt and sherry, light peaty smokiness, wood, and old leather. Smells pretty awesome, even if those flavors might sound unappetizing to some.

Flavor is lots of caramel malt along with some toffee notes. Sweet nuttiness, peat, wood, vanilla, and sherry oxidation flavors make this a really interesting and complex beer.

Medium-full bodied and very smooth. Low carbonation, and a little alcohol warming. Long finish.

What an awesome beer. If this wasn't so rare, I'd definitely seek it out again. Easy to drink for what it is.

Photo of waltonc
4/5  rDev -7.6%
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.

Photo of yourefragile
4.26/5  rDev -1.6%
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 alcstradamus
4.02/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

2006 vintage

Pours a deep brown color with a half finger of head. At first it looked fairly still, but eventually those bubbles rose up and I breathed a sigh of relief.

The smell is a heavy dose of sweet malts, dark fruit, and barrel complexities. The two most dominating scents seemed to be raisin and toffee. There is some dark bread, vanilla, traces of oak, caramel, and noticeable alcohol. Deeply complex and inviting, this one was a beauty to shove my nostrils into.

The taste is pretty sweet, maybe even more than expected. But it is not cloying in any way. Lots of toffee was picked up from the barrels and not really much alcohol burn. Notes of Coca Cola Classic, vanilla, and prune juice help round out a unique flavor profile that is hard to decipher.

The mouthfeel is the weakest part of this beer. I expect a wee heavy to be full bodied and rich. This is medium bodied and lacks sufficient carbonation giving it a somewhat watery nature. I would never even guess it was a wee heavy if I didn't already know, it comes off as more of a barrel aged English barleywine. I'm sure the time spent in the barrels contributed to the thinning of it.

Drinkability is solid for a beer of this ABV. This could be a world class beer if there was either more body or a better level of carbonation. But as it is, that glaring weakness has a negative effect on the taste and overall enjoyment. Nonetheless, this is still a fine beer and one I'm glad I had the privilege to consume.

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