Wee Heavy | Belhaven Brewery Company Ltd.

569 Reviews
Wee HeavyWee Heavy

Brewed by:
Belhaven Brewery Company Ltd.
Scotland, United Kingdom

Style: Scotch Ale / Wee Heavy

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.50%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 03-24-1998

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Reviews: 569 | Ratings: 1,053
Photo of Sammy
4.18/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Hoppy-like Scotch, and full rich taste, like prune and fig and carmel and chestnut brown colour. Good Autumn beer. almost like it was on-tap I think attesting to freshness. Some peatiness.
Two and a half years later, and a new bottle is still great. One of my favourites in this style. Biscuit like medium top full mouthfeel.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.54/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Pours a clear super dark reddish-brown with a foamy khaki head that settles to a partial film on top of the beer. Foamy streaks of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of toasted malt, grain, and caramel covered fruit. Taste is much the same with a roasty flavor on the finish. There is a mild amount of bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good beer but the aromas and flavors are quite mild.

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Photo of Knapp85
3.73/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This poured out as a deep amber color, the head is creamy and thick at first. The head settles and leaves a thin lacing on the glass. The smell of the beer is sweet with some brown sugar and a bit of earthiness to it. The taste is full of caramel notes and some grainy malt flavors. The mouthfeel isn't complex but it still remains interesting. Overall it's not my favorite Wee Heavy but I did find it to be enjoyable. I wouldn't go out of my way to get it again though.

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Photo of metter98
4.02/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A: The beer is clear ruby red in color and has a light amount of carbonation. It poured with a thin off white head that quickly died down leaving a ring of bubbles around the edge of the glass and lacing in the center.
S: There are sweet, nutty aromas of caramel and brown sugar in the nose.
T: Like the smell, the taste is rather sweet and is dominated by flavors of caramel. No traces of bitterness are detectable.
M: It feels medium-bodied and smooth on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation.
D: The beer isn't that difficult to drink because it's neither filling nor sticky despite all of the maltiness and sweetness. I could easily have more than one of these in a sitting.

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Photo of BEERchitect
4.05/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A pretty good brew. I expect more out of a Scottish Ale. The off-from-clear rust colored pour gives me hope. The aromas of dark fruit, caramel, bread, and yeast jump out at me. Taste the obvious caramels, barley malt, and maple syrup; provides a very sweet base that is never rounded out with English hops. Other flavors of over-ripened fruit: prunes, figs, raisons, dates, nuts, and cherries swirl around in my mouth. Body is full and round. Alcohol (rum-like) is revealed in the finish and aftertaste. The aftertaste is also sweet and cloying; no spices or hops to balance out. Slight smokiness helps, but not enough. Sticks to your teeth a little. A quality beer, but the flavors don't meld together or balance out properly. Has a lot of flavors, but not a lot of complexity.

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Photo of biboergosum
3.71/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Grabbed a bottle of this from the lovely selection of Scottish fare at a friend's Burns' Night wee stramash...

Appears a clear dark amber colour, with lots of wispy white head. The smell is bitter and floral, with some caramel malt. The taste is biscuity malt, sweet, balanced with floral hops. Carbonation is average, and the finish is off-dry, with a lingering maltiness. Any extra alcohol is perceptible as a slight warming. This is a very good cure for the bitter cold outside at this time of year, and makes the haggis a little more palatable...

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Photo of brentk56
4.02/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a auburn colored liquid with a modest off-white head that leaves drabs of lacing

Smell: Dark dried fruits, caramel and butterscotch; and a bit of earthiness

Taste: Starts out with a strong roasted malt tone that provides a backbone for some other developments; after about five seconds the caramel sweetness is overtaken by a deep smokey, peaty bitterness that lasts for a while and then fades as the sweet malts return to the front; after the swallow, as the alcohol warms up your throat, the taste just continues to linger

Mouthfeel: Medium/full bodied with just a tad of carbonation

Drinkability: Very nice; this one's a keeper.

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Photo of Phyl21ca
3.3/5  rDev -18.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Bottle: Poured a medium brown colored beer with a small head with little retention. Aroma is comprised of strong malts and it seems like you can almost smell the bitterness in this one. Taste is unsurprisingly bitter with a touch of roasted malt. This tasted not so unlike Fullers 1845, which is no bad thing.

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Photo of zeff80
3.95/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Pours out a burgandy color with a 2-finger head. Leaves some lacing.

S - It smelled very nutty.

T - A nice blend of nut and malt flavor, it also had a sweet component to it.

M - Very soft and smooth. Medium-bodied.

D - I really enjoyed this. I was quite impressed with my first Wee Heavy.

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Photo of superspak
4.2/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

500 ml bottle into snifter, bottled on 4/25/2013. Pours fairly crystal clear deep reddish brown color with a 2 finger dense light khaki head with good retention, that reduces to a small cap that lingers. Nice spotty soapy lacing clings on the glass. Aromas of big caramel, toast, toffee, raisin, plum, brown bread, brown sugar, herbal, light smoke, and yeast earthiness. Damn nice aromas with good balance and complexity of dark/bready malt and fruity/earthy yeast ester notes; with good strength. Taste of big caramel, toast, toffee, raisin, plum, biscuit, brown sugar, brown bread, herbal, light smoke, and yeast earthiness. Slight earthy bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of caramel, toast, toffee, brown sugar, brown bread, raisin, plum, herbal, light smoke, and yeast earthiness on the finish for a good bit. Fantastic balance and complexity of dark/bready malt and fruity/earthy yeast ester flavors; with great robustness and zero cloying sweetness after the finish. Low-medium carbonation and medium body; with a very smooth and lightly slick/bready mouthfeel that is nice. Alcohol is well hidden with only a slight warming present after the finish. Overall this is an awesome scotch ale. All around great complexity and balance of dark/bready malt and fruity/earthy yeast ester flavors; and very smooth to sip on. A highly enjoyable offering.

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Photo of oberon
3.93/5  rDev -3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured a nice auburn/brown color with creamy head,malty,sweet,alcohol smell to it.Taste was sweet and caramelly with some earthiness coming in at the end.Something to have before goin to bed on a chilly early spring night.The alcohol content will help turn the lights out for bed.

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Photo of NeroFiddled
4.2/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A beautiful clear dark mahogany body is capped by a thin lid of creamy bone-white foam. The head slowly drops to a creamy collar and whispy surface covering, leaving some nice streaks and smears of lace behind. In the nose it's malty with a bit of yeasty fruitiness and a suggestion of alcohol. In the mouth its full bodied and smooth. Dark fruit and scorched brown sugar mingle in the flavor, backed by some mild leafy and grassy hops, and thinned by a light touch of alcohol. It's solid bitterness brings it to a halt in the finish, and the malt and yeasty fruitiness fade quickly. Very nicely done! Quite drinkable.

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Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.91/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

500ml bottle - $3.99 at Olde Crabapple Bottle Shoppe in Alpharetta, Georgia.

Appearance: Pours out a clear, deep garnet-hued body with a frothy, full-sized layering of light beige suds. Filmy lace on the way drop.

Smell: A decidedly sweet scent of purposefully cooked sugars, toasted and bready-scented malts wrapped up in notes of fruit juices dosed with a bit of herb.

Taste: Well caramelized sugars with a slight taste of English toffee atop toasted bread slices and biscuit tops. Splash of mid-range price point grape juice garnished with a single maraschino cherry. A touch of grain amidst the round sweetness throughout. Very light, low herbal effect before a trace of bitterness. Sweet, fruity finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-plus body. Medium carbonation. Some very slight stickiness to the mouthfeel.

Overall: It's a good, not perfect, but an easily approachable scotch ale, which hit the spot after some rather atrocious, embarrassing examples like the Wet Willy and BridgePort Highland Ambush I'd had recently.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.58/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Ruddy dark bronze with orange peel accents. With sunlight behind the glass, the jewel tones are accentuated and sparkle with an unearthly iridescence. This is beautiful beer! The fawn colored cap is impressively creamy and continues to look great as it melts, leaving chunky shards of lace all over the upper reaches of the glass.

The nose is richly malty and is bursting with personality and complexity. It's sweet and spicy with notes of dark butterscotch, bruised dark fruit and peat smoke. A classic nose and one of the best that I've run across.

A few sips are all it takes to tell me that this is outstanding beer. There's so much complexity that I can't hope to describe the flavor profile accurately. In short, my description of the nose applies on the palate as well. All elements are combined with the utmost precision, like an intricate Swiss watch. Calling this beer delicious seems inadequate somehow. Great is more like it.

Peat becomes more apparent with warming, something that, as a lover of Scotch whisky, is a definite plus. It's amazing how the level of malty sweetness is absolutely perfect; it doesn't cross the line into cloying and doesn't negatively impact drinkability. My only minor complaint is that the mouthfeel could be more substantial. There's nothing at all wrong with being on the lighter end of the wee heavy spectrum, but I'd like a little more chewiness to go along with the outstanding flavor.

Belhaven Wee Heavy is a true classic. I'd even go so far as to call it a standard bearer for the style. If you have any interest whatsoever in Scotch Ales, start here.

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Photo of russpowell
4/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a brown/chestnut with 3 fingers of sand colored head. Above average lacing & head retention

S: Loads of caramel malt

T: Toasted malt, breadyness, caramel & a touch of smokeyness up front. Dryness, plummy notes, raisins, a bit of brown sugar & leafy hop notes as this warms. Finishes dry with hints of cinnamon, jammy fruit, raisins, & a little too much leafy hops

MF: Medium bodied with low carbonation & kind of wimpy in body when compared to it's American imitators, but a big brute compared to most 70 or 80 shilling ales

Drinks pretty easy; could drink a few of these before developing wanderlust

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Photo of womencantsail
3.26/5  rDev -19.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: The beer pours amber/mahogany in color with a small off-white head.

S: Mild butter and skunk to the nose. Sweet malt is the primary aroma with nice toasty notes and plenty of bread and toffee. A slight peatiness and a hint of soap.

T: Sweet toffee and caramel with toast and a light roasted malt flavor. Mild hoppiness and peat, but fairly sweet overall. A hint of grass is present in the background.

M: Medium in body with a smooth, medium carbonation.

O: Okay, but I prefer a lot of the American interpretations of the style more.

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Photo of Gagnonsux
3.88/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance is a deep, dark brown, almost black. Head is medium sized and light brown. This beer seems highly carbonated at first, but the bubbles die down quickly. Aroma is clean, not very strong, but consists of a mild, nutty malt smell. Taste is in the mid-range of nuttiness, maybe just a slight buttery taste. Hops are present mostly for stability. Sweetness finishes a sip nicely. This beer is quite easy to drink down and the 6.5% ABV is never apparent. I ended up giving this beer a very good score, but Belhaven Wee Heavy never quite knocked the ball out of the park.

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Photo of TMoney2591
4.05/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Served in a shaker pint glass at The Firkin.

Been meaning to try some o' Belhaven's stuff, so I figured this night at the Firkin would be as good a night as any to do just that. This stuff pours a deep sunset tawn topped by a short-ish finger of dark cream foam. The nose comprises toffee, caramel, light walnut, dank cocoa, and a touch of maple syrup. The taste brings in more of the same, with a bit of cola-esque sweetness thrown in for good measure. Still, things keep their Scottish identities (if you catch my drift), particularly with a light, vague woodiness pervading the background. The body is a lithe medium, with a nice nitrogenation and a subsequently silky feel. Overall, a very solid wee heavy, one I wouldn't mind having several of at some random pub on the outskirts of Edinburgh (or any other Scottish town, really).

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Photo of WVbeergeek
3.98/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a deep amber brown with a healthy sized tan head forming a collar of lace and with each sip leaves uneven rings of lacing very full. Slightly musty or smokey fruit tones which include pear and plum in there loads of malt sweetness nothing too much great session balance is here. Taste cream covered ripened fruit palate leaving only faint trails of bitterness hops are almost unnoticeable here. Roasted malt very nice not overbearing at all works well with all of the flavors. Mouthfeel slightly sharp carbonation leaves a coating on the tongue medium body almost milky texture. Drinkability not exactly a summer sipper more towards a winter warmer, but I could find myself enjoying this one in a big comfy chair in front of the fireplace.

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Photo of smakawhat
4.41/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from the clear bottle into a medium sized snifter glass.

A deep caramel red, almost ruby colored in appearance with some good clarity. Head is barely one finger and fleeting tan in color, leaving a whispy swirling top and creamy collar.

Straight forward aroma. Hints of toffee and thick caramel, but with a good amount of herbal and spice notes to match. Clove, sweet brown sugar and a bit of honey as well round out nicely, almost tea aromatic to an extent. More importantly we have dodged the skunk monster.

Palate hits nicely, and takes it down perfectly without sacrificing flavor. Thick liquid toffee in the glass, creamy but light bodied caramel coating everywhere in the palate. Washing light almost crisp bitter like quality, but with real coating feel.

Overall a great benchmark easy drinking wee heavy that doesn't go for the throat. Could drink lots of this

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Photo of Billolick
4.07/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

500 Ml. broad shouldered bottle. Pours darker almond amber, darker khaki head, bits of lace. Nice malty, nutty, caramel infused nose. Rich, malty brew. Notes of plenty of caramel, sweet malts and a subtle smokyness. Sultry and delicious stuff. A solid and quite worthy example of this old school style

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Photo of jwc215
4.53/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured a dark, deep brown with a thick off-white head that is well-retained.
It had hints of aromas of nuts and fruits with some caramel and a touch of alcohol.
The taste was complex and rich. It had flavors of caramel, toasted almonds with a fruits. It was the perfect maltiness for this style. The was an alcohol finish that was comforting, especially for cool or damp weather.
The mouthfeel was creamy and oily. The complex flavors give it a good mouthfeel, but there was a very slight metalic aftertaste.
It was very good for sipping. Not a session brew, it was very good for sipping. A friend of mine and I each had one and sipped it for over an hour and enjoyed every sip of it. I highly recommend this rich, complex Scotch ale.

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Photo of feloniousmonk
4.3/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Color is a dark garnet, head is full, frothy, cream-colored. Aroma: a potent blend of fruits and spices. And is that a hint of juniper I detect? I'm getting cherries, grapes, an explosion of flavor floods the palate. Full carbonation, moderate hoppiness, with a dissappointingly thin texture. Reminds me of a milder version of an old favorite, Young's Old Nick.
Mellow, mild, and flavorful. And extra points for the cool lion on the label.

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Photo of drabmuh
3.53/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Clear bottles, really? WTF? Weak and dumb. Get your shit together NOW! I won't buy another British beer in a clear bottle. This is why Americans think British beer sucks btw.

Beer served in an imperial pint glass. Beer is brown and mostly clear. Forms an offwhite head of medium and small bubbles that falls away quickly and doesn't leave any lacing on the glass. Carbonation is moderate to low. Looks fine.

Aroma is mildly malty.

Beer is malty, big bodied, a little sulfur. It has a bitterness to the whole thing. Its OK, drink is fine. no carb in mouth. I think I want to find this on cask.

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Photo of LiquidAmber
4.15/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Review from 5/2010 notes. Poured into a Gulden Draak tulip. Pours a nice dark red amber. Slight off-white head with slight lacing. Caramel malt with a touch of roasted malt aroma. Nice, strong caramel malt and dark fruit, malty middle, a bit of molasses in the finish. Medium bodied with good carbonation. A very nice wee heavy.

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Wee Heavy from Belhaven Brewery Company Ltd.
4.05 out of 5 based on 1,053 ratings.
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