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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
96
world-class

345 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 345
Reviews: 111
rAvg: 4.32
pDev: 8.1%
Wants: 303
Gots: 121 | 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: 345 | Reviews: 111 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of bennetj17
4/5  rDev -7.4%

Photo of Alpar
4/5  rDev -7.4%

Photo of badboyrsl84
4.02/5  rDev -6.9%
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 alcstradamus
4.02/5  rDev -6.9%
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.

Photo of n2185
4.03/5  rDev -6.7%
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.

Photo of claspada
4.03/5  rDev -6.7%
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.

Photo of harryhops
4.04/5  rDev -6.5%

Photo of mdfb79
4.05/5  rDev -6.3%
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 Floydster
4.05/5  rDev -6.3%
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 -6.3%
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 jvillefan
4.05/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Photo of cpmichael
4.05/5  rDev -6.3%
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 -5.8%
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 -5.8%
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 -5.3%
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 -5.3%
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 -4.9%
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 -4.6%
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 -4.6%
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 -4.2%
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 -3.9%
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 ChadQuest
4.17/5  rDev -3.5%
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 -2.8%
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 -2.8%
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 McNazz
4.2/5  rDev -2.8%

AleSmith Wee Heavy - Barrel Aged from AleSmith Brewing Company
96 out of 100 based on 345 ratings.