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

368 Ratings
THE BROS
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no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 368
Reviews: 115
rAvg: 4.33
pDev: 7.85%
Wants: 304
Gots: 125 | FT: 12
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: 368 | Reviews: 115
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 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 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 mulder1010
4.07/5  rDev -6%
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.

Photo of Lothore
4.07/5  rDev -6%
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.

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 CrellMoset
4.09/5  rDev -5.5%
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.

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 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 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 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 hopdog
4.15/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

750ml bottle. 2005, bottle # 79/222.

Poured a deep brown color with a small sized off white head. Aromas of vanilla, oak, earthy, bourbon, chocolate, some peat, and caramel. Tastes of bourbon, vanilla, woody, earthy, toffee, nutty, and chocolate. Thanks for bringing this Jason!

Notes from 12/17/07

Photo of FLima
4.15/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Brown almost black color with a thick thin head.
Nice predominant aroma of burnt coconut, dark fruits, vanilla and oak.
Likewise sweet flavor with notes of chocolate, dark fruits, lots of roasted coconut, bourbon, caramels, vanilla, licorice and oak. Smooth and long finish.
Full body with mild carbonation. Alcohol of 10% is harmonic with the beer.
Very good beer with intense flavors and great complexity. Still easy to drink. Curious now to compare this to the regular version.

Photo of ChadQuest
4.17/5  rDev -3.7%
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.

Photo of badbeer
4.2/5  rDev -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!

Photo of spinrsx
4.2/5  rDev -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.

Photo of superspak
4.2/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Got in a trade with swingracex. 750 ml bottle into snifter; 2013 vintage, bottled on 2/11/2014. Pours hazy nearly opaque dark brown color with a small foamy khaki head with poor retention, that reduces to a small ring of lace that lingers. Light spotty soapy lacing clings on the glass, with a moderate amount of streaming carbonation retaining a thin cap. Aromas of big caramel, toast, toffee, brown sugar, raisin, prune, fig, date, licorice, light chocolate, vanilla, bourbon, oak, light butterscotch/coconut/leather, and toast/oaky earthiness. Damn nice aromas with great balance and complexity of dark/bready malt, fruity yeast, and bourbon barrel notes; with good strength. A fair amount of noticeable alcohol, but subsides as it reaches room temperatures. Taste of big caramel, toffee, toast, brown sugar, raisin, plum, fig, date, licorice, light chocolate, vanilla, bourbon, oak, light butterscotch/coconut/leather, and toast/oaky earthiness. Light amount of tannic oak bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of caramel, toffee, toast, brown sugar, raisin, plum, licorice, light chocolate, vanilla, bourbon, oak, light butterscotch/coconut/leather and oak earthiness on the finish for a while. Incredible complexity and robustness of dark/bready malt, fruity yeast, and bourbon barrel flavors; with a great malt/barrel balance and zero cloying flavors after the finish. Light carbonation and fairly full bodied; with a very smooth and moderately creamy/slick mouthfeel that is nice. Alcohol is well hidden with only a light warming present after the finish. Overall this is an awesome barrel aged scotch ale style. All around great complexity and balance of dark/bready malt, fruity yeast, and bourbon barrel flavors; and very smooth to sip on for the big ABV. A highly enjoyable offering.

Photo of cosmicevan
4.2/5  rDev -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.

Photo of levifunk
4.22/5  rDev -2.5%
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.

Photo of mabermud
4.22/5  rDev -2.5%
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.

Photo of Jwale73
4.22/5  rDev -2.5%
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.

Photo of Pehlman
4.22/5  rDev -2.5%
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!

Photo of brystmar
4.24/5  rDev -2.1%
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.

Photo of srandycarter
4.24/5  rDev -2.1%
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.

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.

AleSmith Wee Heavy - Barrel Aged from AleSmith Brewing Company
96 out of 100 based on 368 ratings.