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 Phelps
4.44/5  rDev +2.5%
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.

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 ehammond1
4.46/5  rDev +3%
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.

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 largadeer
4.47/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: 2006 vintage, bottle 63 of 254, drank side by side with the '06 barrel-aged Old Numbskull. Dark ruddy brown in color, opaque except for some slight transparency around the edges. A thin tan head forms from a vigorous pour, settling quickly to a ring. This is slightly more carbonated than the barrel-aged Old Numbskull, but it's by no means bubbly.

Smell: Rich and malty with a big oak barrel presence. Nutty, toasty, semi-sweet. Hints of vanilla and figs. This has a cleaner aroma than the barrel-aged Old Numbskull.

Taste & mouthfeel: Chewy toasted malt, tobacco and earth, chocolate and vanilla, huge oak flavor but not overtly bourbony. Malty, but drier than I was expecting. This is a mellow beer to begin with, but barrel aging has smoothed it out even more. No heat whatsoever despite the high ABV, and the low carbonation makes for a silky mouthfeel. Excellent stuff, not quite as outstanding as BA Speedway, but clearly better than BA Old Numbskull.

Photo of FosterJM
4.47/5  rDev +3.2%
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.

Photo of gford217
4.47/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Big thanks to Derek for this 750mL bottle, 2005 vintage #181/222.

Pours a deep, clear copper with a very fleeting, bubbly tan head that dissipated immediately and left no lacing.

The aroma is very good with more bourbon than I was expecting. However, even with the big bourbon presence, there are plenty of signs of the underlying beer with caramel, toffee and lots of dark fruits.

The taste has a huge bourbon sting up front and in the finish. In between there is the sweetness of caramel, toffee, raisins and some brown sugar. The bourbon starts to meld much more smoothly with the flavor as this warms and adds plenty of oak and vanilla from the wood as well.

The mouthfeel is very slick with minimal carbonation. The barrel presence is very evident, both with the boozy burn and the dryness of the finish.

This is a very boozy Scotch ale that will be tasty for those folks who really like a bourbon-heavy taste. Another world class brew from Alesmith.

Photo of corby112
4.47/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to BigFish for sending this to me in one of my first trades.

This review is for the 2006 vintage, bottle 150/254.

Pours a very dark chestnut brown color that's completely opaque with dark ruby/mahogany edges when held to a light source and a thin half finger light beige head that quickly fades into a thin lasting ring.

Amazing complex aroma with lots of smokey roasted chocolate malt, caramel, toffee, roasted coffee bean, licorice, earthy oak, vanilla and a very prominent bourbon presence.

Slightly hot medium body with a nice, silky viscous malt presence with lots of chocolate, roasted coffee bean, burnt toast, caramel and licorice. Very roasty with subtle hops and a huge bourbon presence that is slightly hot and somewhat dominates the flavor. It isn't too overpowering however, allowing the other notes to shine. Slight tannis and a heavy oak and vanilla presence. Absolutely delicious! Highly recommended.

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 Beersnake1
4.5/5  rDev +3.9%

2014 vintage poured into an Alesmith barrel-aged reserve glass.

A: Pours a dark brown with a 1-2 cm head

S: Strong caramel, bourbon

T: Absolutely amazing. Sweet, caramel, strong bourbon, vanilla, dark fruit

M: Amazing. Exactly what I expect from a barrel-aged beer from Alesmith. Full bodied.

Overall: This is best barrel-aged scotch-style ale I have had. Unbelievable flavor.

Photo of MisSigsFan
4.51/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

2009 Vintage from the SD Bottle Share

Photo of drgonzo3705
4.52/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2006 Vintage poured before the BA Blackout release party. Thanks to one of the Cincy guys (Was it Rich?) for cracking this one. From the notes:

A: Pours a deep caramel color on the border of opaque and translucent. Little head on the pour which quickly died to a few splotches and a thin ring around the glass.

S: Big whiff of bourbon hits your nose with a sweet vanilla oakiness blended with the rich peaty toffee malt aroma.

T: Much like the nose, not as big as I thought it would be. Bourbon is very pleasant with the toffee and peat laden maltiness. Rich sweetness but not too much, nicely balanced.

M: Medium body with adequate carbonation. Could have been a bit thicker for my tastes but still very nice slick mouthfeel overall.

D: Damn good. I love the non BA version, and I now love this one too. I would have no problem taking care of a bottle by myself.

Photo of arizcards
4.52/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Picked up a 750ml bottle in mid-March from Papago Brewing for $39.99. Bottled

Beer poured a dark brown with a nice off white head that dissipated quickly.

Nose is vanilla and light bourbon, caramel and dark fruit.

Taste is caramel and toffee with vanilla, oak, light bourbon, and dark fruits. Sweet but not cloying. Alcohol is warming which is nice on a cool 50 degree day in the desert.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied and pretty smooth.

Overall this is a delicious well made brew. It was fun to try once but the price tag is way too steep to try again.

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 timc100
4.53/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Fresh 2013 bottle

Pours very dark mahogany with some ruby on the edges, pretty muddy. Nice beige barrel head - creamy tight bubbles coat the glass on the pout, bigger bubbles as it sits.

Fantastic barrel aroma as with all Alesmith BA beers - big bourbon, wet oak, oaky vanilla, some toffee. The barrel does not dominate the base beer - brown sugar, toffee, caramel, some sweet smoke, and dark fruits.

Full bodied and flavored - big drier finish.

Another great product of the Alesmith barrel program

Photo of mcallister
4.54/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2005 bottle 176 of 222

Pours a very acrid uncarbonated lazy shade of dirty russett. Not much of any head...at all.

This smells amazing. Some may say too much in way of bourbon and oak I say bring it on!! Huge vanillan oak with thick bourbon, cream fresh aroma, more charred wood character, milk chocolate, brandy reduced fig, stale malts, roasted malt, hints of peat and smoke with more dark fruits hidden beneath the thick woody aromatics.

Big beer but sightly thin in the middle of the mouthfeel. Long never ending finish that shows loads of residual sugar, brown sugar brandy reduced dried fruits really shine through on the finish with a slight warming alcohol. Much sweeter than anticipated. Bourbon, huge vanilla toasted oak, charred woods, with much more caramel in the mouth to balance and add complexity. Dates, fig, dried fruit, creamy on the finish. Slight prickle as well. Bit roasty with only hints of peat showing through. An absolutely amazing beer that I look hugely forward to enjoying again in the future. Thanks Peter!!!!

Photo of BeerFMAndy
4.56/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

750 ml bottle poured into a snifter.
10% ABV, "serve in a goblet at 50-55°"

A - The only difference between the dark purple-hued mahogany appearance of this beer and the non-barrel-aged one is the fleeting head. The bourbon clearly evaporates the foam quickly but dots of lace remain on the glass just the same.

S - Rich vanilla bean slit open engulfs sweet caramel and toffee notes which are all shrouded by smooth, warming bourbon and soaking wet oak staves. Give this beer a swirl and plenty of warming alcohol greets the nostrils with dark fruit essence in the background.

T - While I find AleSmith's Wee Heavy to be lacking in any forward flavor, the barrel-aged version's bourbon seems to pull the malt complexity from the depths, really introducing a nice blend of caramel and toffee sweetness that was just to distant before. Vanilla tannins and oak compliment the barrel with a kiss of alcohol warmth on the finish.

M - AleSmith's barrel-aging adds nice warming alcohol to Wee Heavy's medium body for a smooth drinking experience that finishes with sweet vanilla and a touch of thinning bourbon to even the playing field.

O - Not always does barrel-aging a beer make it better but it certainly does in the case of AleSmith's Wee Heavy. Good but uninteresting and frankly quite plain, the normal version of this beer features the same alcohol percentage hidden behind distant maltiness while the barrel-aged version features forward alcohol (at the same percentage) that manages to bring out it's underlying maltiness. Caramel, toffee, and dark fruit are more apparent in the face of bourbon barrel-induced vanilla, oak, and, well, bourbon, and all conglomerate for a party in the mouth that's quite extraordinary but not quite worth the $40 price tag. AleSmith's barrel-aged Wee Heavy is a fantastic beer but if I saw it on the shelves again at the same price I wouldn't think twice about passing on it.

Photo of weeare138
4.57/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Much thanks to egajdzis for this...
'09 bottle
Appears a murky russet brown with a small, off white head that quickly fades away.
Smell is of caramel, vanilla, bourbon, notes of fruit, and hints of cacao beans.
Taste is of the aromas with a sweet vanilla, creme brûlée blast. Bits of bourbon come through but are restrained.
Mouthfeel is medium-full bodied, with a mild heat lingering.

Photo of Bierguy5
4.59/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to mcallister for sharing this gem. 750 ml, 2005 vintage, bottle 176/222. A murky mahogany color, with very little head. Not a huge shock for this beast.

Wonderful aroma going on here. Bourbon, oak, vanilla, a hint of smoke, and a good amount of caramel malt. Some alcohol is noticable as well, but not overly burning. I took about 5 minutes to do nothing but smell this beauty.

Good amount of sweetness up front. Bursting with malt and booze up front. Heavey amount of caramel, with minimal fruit. Great bourbon, woody oak and vanilla notes. Long lingering warming finish.

Good body, low carbonation. Lots of complex flavors and aromas working here. Very enjoyable.

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 pschul4
4.6/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle from Ehammond1 in a secret streakers BIF. Eric is the fucking man

A- Pours a murky cola brown with a half in tan head tha leaves a lil lacing

S- Bourbon jumps out at your but some caramel and peaty malts are in there as well. Smells wonderful to someone who really liked bourbon

T- Bourbon up front. Dark fruits, caramel and those peaty malts are present in the middle of the taste with bourbon cleaning up the end. So good

M- Low carbonation leads to a very smooth mouthfeel. Very nice

O- Not much more to say, this is delicious and I'm going to enjoy savoring this over the course of the next hour or so

Photo of jpiper
4.62/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2006 42/254 - shared with my wife. Boy does she love these non-hoppy Alesmiths.

Builds just the smallest tan head upon pouring with lace remaining through the session. A muted grayish caramel brown color to the beer.

The nose is malty. Caramel malt, oak, and lots of it. One of the more delicious smelling beers I can remember pouring.

The taste can't be as good, and it isn't quite. But it is delicious. There's some good balancing bitterness to this malty brew, but perhaps a little too much. Someone said peat - I can taste and smell that too. Honey? Definitely oak, toasted malts. Let it site between sips and the bitterness lingers longer than I'd hope. Alcohol very well hidden. The flavors are well mingled.

Minor carbonation barely tickles the tongue and the oak makes it incredibly smooth. Not chewey, but not thin. Just smooth, smooth, smooth.

Drinkability? I could sip on this all night long. Almost wish my wife weren't downing half of this.

Photo of impending
4.63/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A+

750ml into a large wine glass. Pours a deep ruddy walnut, encouraging pour needed for a light mocha color head which subsided quickly, no lacing.

WoW, delicious
how much better can caramel toffee butterscotch vanilla coconut wood bourbon blend than this ?
intoxicating

Appropriately medium heft lifeless silken mouthfeel.

The flavor is what I wrote of the scent, exactly as predicted
flawlessly
aftertaste till tomorrow, the tiniest sips revel the entire flavor intensely
as much a barleywine
an epic iconic flawlessly defined wee heavy
this is the pinnacle
cheers
jd

Photo of popery
4.64/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

2012. Pours a dark brown with a small amount of bubbles. The head is beige and dissipates relatively quickly. Nice enough lacing though. Aroma is a well blended mix of bourbon notes and the wonderful flavors of the base beer. There's vanilla, oak, bourbon and a bit of booze mixed into molasses, caramel, fresh dough, toasty malt sugars and all sorts of other warm, friendly flavors. Taste is sweet and warm. It's a lovely beer. I realize that I'm sorta repeating myself here, but the rich malt flavor of the base beer is impeccably blended into the bourbon barrel flavors. Alesmith is one of the very best at barrel aging, and it very much shows in this beer. Feel is smooth and full. Never gets too sticky or boozey. This is just a phenomenal beer. On a sidenote, I don't think it will get any better with age. This beer is drinking wonderfully, right now.

Photo of Dogoatus
4.66/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

05/03/2014 - 750ml bottle (2014) into snifter

A - Opaque, solid almost black pour with 1/2" dark tan head with good retention.

S - Most noticeably is the bourbon to start, almost overwhelming. Followed by hints of toffee, caramel, oak/woody, and slight vanilla.

T - Initial heavy bourbon without overpowering heat. Again you find the toffee, caramel, oak/woody with a very small amount of vanilla. The finish is oak/woody with warmth from the alcohol. All facets of flavors come almost perfectly.

M - Little carbonation, pretty heavy and lingered on the palette for a considerable amount of time.

O - Overall this beer is a killer drink. I can't imagine how good this batch will be aged.

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