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: 1,052
Photo of endovelico
4.32/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Taken from notes. Poured into mug. Reviewed on 14-04-2014.

Appearance: Gorgeous mahogany colour. Low perceived effervescence. Small head. Little lacing. Slight Haziness. Visible yeast floaties before pour.

Aroma: Medium to medium low strength and muted aroma. Aromatics are reminiscent of pastry, coffee, peat and caramel.

Taste: Medium to medium high intensity. Unsuspectingly complex, following on the nose with an added gorgeous butterscotch like character. No real yeastiness worth a mention. No real hop character.

Palate: Low carbonation. Low bitterness. Finishes dry-ish. Velvety ( even more so as the beer warms up. ) Alcohol well hidden.

Drinkability: Just a great, balanced and inviting brew. Everything you can ask of a 'Wee heavy' without breaking guidelines.

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Photo of MarkoNm
2.19/5  rDev -45.9%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1.75 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.25

Pours a clear, dark red/ruby color and is topped with a relatively small tan colored head.
The aroma is mild - just some malt and perhaps a little fruit and wine aroma.
The taste was a kick in the head - strong and bittery all the way through with the wine-feel to go with (not what I like).
I don't really like this one, too bad.

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Photo of CDAtkinson
4.6/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

A: Poured a coppery amber color with a creamy two finger head, which diminished leaving behind significant amount of lacing from the hop oils.
S: Malty and bready with hints of peat.
T: It begins with a sharp sweetness with resolves to a toasty, smoky, bready taste.
M: Quite smooth and creamy while being remarkably light bodied.
O: This will be a go-to as far as Wee Heavys are concerned. An Excellent beer.

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Photo of Troy_P
4.69/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Had this with a really burger. This is a full bodied, very satisfying beer. Currently, one of my favorites.

Appearance is just what you are looking for in a Scottish Ale. Really nice head. Good lacing with a chilled glass.

This is a solid, filling beer. Taste is complex and nuanced. Really nice finish.

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Photo of crzepilot
4.58/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

The appearance of this beer is what one would think of when drinking a scottish ale a beautfiul reddish brown hue that was brilliantly clear. One can smell the strength of the malt a slight alcohol smell. Taste of sweet smooth buttery and malty with a hint of sweetness towards the end of the sip. Overall a tasty beverage that one can come back to for enjoyment over again. I really enjoy this one for the strong malt flavor that one would expect to find in a wee Heavy but not overly sweet.

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Photo of dacrza1
3.52/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

DATE TASTED: February 20, 2014... GLASSWARE: Victory Nonick... OCCASION: a beer much sought after... APPEARANCE: dark brown body that displays HUGE chunks of sediment--been sitting too long? thick, chunky off-white head offers formidable lacing... AROMA: brilliant buttery, big malt aroma with dampened caramel and candy sugars; somewhat earthy, grainy but difficult to lay a nostril to...PALATE: smooth, thin and mellow--the mouth is refreshed as much as it's engaged; slightly warming as the glass drains...TASTE: sweet and malty; a brown ale's subtlety with fleeting fervor--a bit of barleywine funk at the end; low to no hop impression... OVERALL: the initial shock of floating substance (something I had not dealt with since the "claw" incident in Heavy Seas' Saison art the shore a decade ago) still makes this review tainted; I have little doubt this rates better than I afforded it, but to rate authentically, I cannot be betray the experience itself...I may have to find another distributor to ascertain the true quality of this beer...

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Photo of tillmac62
4.38/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Clear dark amber pour with a deep dark ruby hue. Nice frothy head and lacing that lasts. Nose is of biscuit malt, a slight sweetness and a touch of dark malt. Also present is a touch of what strikes me as EKG hops. Heavy medium bodied with a rich creamy mouthfeel against a slightly below normal carbonation level. The flavor profile is well balanced and complex. It begins with a dark malt sweetness that hints of raisins and plums, progresses to molasses and ends with a biscuit sweetness that floods the palate. The finish is very smooth and ends with a residual sweetness against a slight hop and alcohol tingle with just a hint of smoke. This is the standard against which other Scottish ales much be judged, and it is outstanding.

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Photo of lou50rp
4.72/5  rDev +16.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Color is deep amber, almost brown with good carbonation
Sweet malty smell, very inviting
Sweet malty, with a hint of molasses and a wee bit of bitterness at the end
Mouthfeel is bit heavy with great carbonation
Overall a great brew for a long Scottish winter night

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Photo of TheSixthRing
3.31/5  rDev -18.3%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Appearance - Pours a rustic red copper with an off-white half finger head. Sub-par retention results in a near barren surface, scant a few isolated patches of suds. Virtually no lacing to speak on.

Smell - Caramel, earth and faint smokiness.

Taste - Follows the nose. Moderate notes of caramel and earth to start before a peaty smokiness makes up the bulk of the flavor in the finish. Hops are basically nowhere to be found.

Mouthfeel - Medium bodied with low, near lifeless carbonation.

Overall - With no best by or bottled on date in sight, it's hard to say how old my test subject is, but based on the weak head, complete lack of hop presence and others' reviews, I'd say this one is well past it's prime. A shame; I was looking forward to it. As it is, a fair brew, though I strongly suspect a fresher bottle would result in a much higher rating. Problem is, how do I know if it's fresh without a bottling date?

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Photo of a0lbudman
4.1/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A-dark copper with a tan head that leaves some lace
S-metallic, malt and sweet caramel with a hint of dark fruit
T-sweet caramel, toffee with a raisin fruit with a slight warming in the aftertaste and some bitterness coming into make the balance great
M-creamy medium carbonation and full body
O-outstanding scottish ale I love the balance of this beer

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Photo of JamieDuncan
4.54/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.5

Picked up a bottle of this because I have only had it once and ticked it at 4.5. Wanted to give it a second run to see if it was really that good and do a full review. Outstanding looking beer, great nose, you can pick up the caramel and the malt. Extremely tasty, as a Wee Heavy fan this is a really good one, tasty without to much bitter follow up. The only ding I can give it is that it is only 6.5% which seems a little low for a Wee Heavy. Very enjoyable.

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Photo of CaptJackHarkness
4.85/5  rDev +19.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Aroma is sweet fruity. Pours a deep clear caramel brown with a short dark beige head. The head does not last long at all and there is no lacing on the glass to speak of. The taste, though, is outstanding. A rich dense fruitiness like dates with an alcoholic bite only a bare hint of being hopped. Definitely a sip and savor brew!

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Photo of AgentMunky
3.76/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Poured from a half litre bottle into an absinthe glass.

A: Clear-dark caramel. Light head. Scattered lacing.

S: Malt. Sweet. Hint of caramel here as well. Slightly metallic.

T: Damned if I'm not impressed. Caramelized brown sugar. Heavy body. Interesting hint of fruit. Pleasantly lingering aftertaste.

M: Pleasant enough, though a bit smooth.

O: A damned good beer! Excellent example of the style. Recommended!

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Photo of cjgiant
3.99/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

A: dark amber/red, good sustaining head, dissipating lacing
S: sweet bready raisin, very mild tartness
T/M: malty front, sweet cherry and raisin, bready. Drinkable transition into a little alcohol taste (kind of surprising at "only" 6.5%). Malt lingers in back of mouth.
O: a not-too-strong wee-heavy with some nice maltiness, well balanced.

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Photo of HomrQT
5/5  rDev +23.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I get this on tap regularly at a local pub here in Chicago. It took me a long time to find a brewery that consistently puts out products that I love and Belhaven is that brewery. I recommend their brews to everyone I have conversation to about beer and they deserve the attention.

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Photo of Jetulio
4.46/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

330 ml bottle poured into a Pint glass
Appearance... amber/dark brown beer with a foamy head colour white of 2 fingers
Aroma... grass, wet ground, malt . Fresh and strong smell with a sweet touch of roasted malty aroma, a very nice aroma indeed without alcohol notes in my nose
Taste... burnt sugar, caramel, roasted malt, bitterness appears to complete a well balanced beer in mouth,
Mouthfeel... medium/full body and medium/soft carbonation
Overall... a very nice Scotch ale, bitterness is present in a light style but his strength comes from malt . To repeat.

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Photo of AmishLightning
4.67/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

This is the second time that I had this beer. It was just as good as the first time except I had it less chilled this time. It was quite a bit more bitter due to the temperature difference, but that didn't ruin the experience at all.

A-This is a fantastic looking beer. The dark red color and the smooth lacing made it feel like I was drinking the Audrey Hepburn of beers. Sleek, sassy, and sophisticated made this beer give off more of a wine feel.

S-Roasted malt sweetness with a dried fruity smell come alive to the nose. Small amounts of hops add a diversity to complete the complexity bill that many people desire.

T-The roasted malt gives a sweet caramel taste. Paired along with the fruits (maybe plum, or apricot, or black/blue berries) gives the beer an amazing finish. The hops are present, but not as noticeable as some may appreciate. However, the bitterness that is there is at a perfect amount for my preference. Favorite taste to a beer that I have come across to date.

M-Medium body with medium carbonation. Possibly a bit syrupy, but I have always loved a thicker beer. Feels perfect to drink at just the right feel.

O-So far in my new adventures into the world of beers this is my favorite. I won't give it a perfect score because I hope to find beers that will continue to amaze me. However, this beer has it all. THe sexy red color, sweet smell, complex taste, and moderate body make this beer the best combination I have experienced. Beer drinkers of all backgrounds can appreciate this gem. I know I will be appreciating more of it in the future.

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Photo of RonaldTheriot
3.95/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Belhaven Wee Heavy has a thick, creamy, cream-colored head, a clear, copper appearance, with some streaming bubbles and a bit of lacing left on the glass. The aroma is of dark bread crust, brown sugar, and barley grain. Taste is of very sweet caramel, burnt brown sugar, molasses, dark bread crust, and a touch of bitterness. Some alcohol shines through, but not much. Mouthfeel is heavy medium and slick, and Belhaven Wee Heavy finishes mostly dry, sweet, rich, and fairly drinkable. Overall, this is a good and interesting beer. You should check it out.


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Photo of bgkeeley
4.93/5  rDev +21.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

This beer is a seventy degree and sunny day, in the middle of spring, in the countryside.

The beer pours a beautiful reddish color is well laced and forms a nice fairly dense head.

The nose is incredible, honey, plum leather, barnyard, hay, sweet clover mingle flawlessly.

The beer has a pleasant med to med/heavy carbonation that aides the thicker nature of the beer. The resulting mouth feel is just about perfection.

Caramel plum and sweet clover and barnyard still stand out, the sugars carry the beer and give it as strong backbone allowing the symphony of tastes move across the tongue. The hops are there and round out the finish pleasantly without overwhelming the beer of the finish, but they are soft and muted.

This beer is perfect for what it is. The only word of caution is that this beer is in a clear bottle, so avoid storing it or buying it when stored in sunlight.

This is a great beer. If you want just a ton of hops this beer is not for you.

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Photo of Steamer
4.55/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

appearance: a reddish amber color with a light beige, one fingered head with decent staying power. Smell: Not much aroma, a hint of barley. Taste: Outstanding balance! A The barley malts dominate but there is a mild sweet and sour tartness that is nt unlike a lambic. Not at all what I was expecting. Makes you want to gulp it down immediately. Mouthfeel: Medium with light carbonation. Overall: Probably the best Scottish ale I've ever had; so well blended you have to force yourself to just sit back, sip and enjoy. Even though I rated the smell relatively low, I have to give this one high marks overall. A must try!

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Photo of BenLikesBeer
4.06/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Well, color me shocked, really - this beer is wonderful. And that surprise is of course, I admit, due to ignorance; after attempting to study a collection of British Isle beers and being consistently underwhelmed, I dismissed this one in the same line. It'd be harmless, but vaguely metallic, light bodied, and somewhat boring.

But man was I wrong (sorry Belhaven!)

When the first word you utter is a surprised "Wow!" (paired with the stereotypical holding of the glass away from you as you look on in disbelief) you know you have a keeper. Like an English Barley wine stripped of much of its alcohol and hop bite, Wee Heavy is deceptively friendly and, pardon the vernacular, tasty.

The color - a ruby amber - is truly gorgeous, with perfect clarity and a bubbly creamy head that unfortunately dissipated a bit quicker than I would have liked (the glass was clean I swear!)

The aroma is delightfully unique, with a great caramelly-biscuit thing going on, while something truly unique hides in the background. Cola, maybe? Ice tea? It kept me guessing. It's a fun thing to experience.

There's almost no hops here, and only the faintest touch of bitterness in its finish. Medium-to-heavy body with a nearly syrup-like quality, the beer is deceptively light - "clocking in" at a mere 6.5%, when I would have readily accepted something a few percentages higher. But it's genuinely delicious, a pleasing beer that doesn't try to do anything extraordinary or gimmicky and rises as one of the greats because of it. Do not relegate it to something second tier or boring; this must be experienced.

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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 Hoppsbabo
4.15/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A: Mine is in a clear bottle and the beer looks a lot darker in the glass than in the bottle. It's a clean dark ruby with a creamy, intricate, small beige head.

S: Fruity esters and a metallic maltiness.

T: Doesn't taste metallic. There's a fair bit of porter-like smokey malt and plenty of rich caramel sweetness. The fruit is less prominent and it's like a dark plummy flavour which is not easy to pin down.

M: Very smooth and silky. Quite sticky. Fizzy enough but in a soft way and balanced.

O: My first wee heavy and what a surprise. It's more akin to a Belgian dark ale than anything I've ever had in England. Tastes to me exactly like Leffe Brune with a bit of porter smokiness.

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Photo of Huffs
4.51/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a pint glass, has a great head, thich and creamy with a tan color. Beer was red / amber in color and clear. Aroma was light, sweet and malty. Taste had caramel notes with hints of vanilla and cream. Mouthfeel was creamy and clean. Aftertaste was malty to start with a hop finish. I have not had a beer from the UK in a while, am reminded why I was great fan when I first got into the beer scene 30 years ago.

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Photo of pkalix
4.86/5  rDev +20%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

pours very dark but with a ruby appearance throughout; very little foam.
smell is exteremely unique to me. SKUNK! but not the green bottle skunk you usually get from one of those canadian beers, but an actual skunk kind of aroma- pleasant, ya know? (i know, i'm a little strange, but not all skunk odor is bad....).
the taste resembles the aroma but there is some awesome malts in there and the bitterness balances out at the end. i'm assuming that skunk odor came from the hops but it's still present and available on the palate. there's almost a 'carbonation' feel to the sides of the tongue which i cant determine if is the bitterness or a reaction.
as the name implies, it is a bit heavy but not thick and dark like the stouts but more like a dark newcastle (a lame comparison, indeed, as i abhor newcastle, but one i think conveys the description adequately to the masses). i suppose it may be difficult to ascertain my response to this brew with my descriptions of skunk, etc, but i absolutely love the beer. at 6.5%, it's a nice area of power and still gives a hearty BEER flavor that is appreciable and defined. it's not too fruit-y (like a lot of the stronger ones ive been drinking recently), and it's not too heavy or dark and bitter. i place this one high on my list of favorites as it's not overly rich. the feeling of the beer in my mouth is satisfying and full and while not extraordinary in looks (head, color, etc) it is just a perfect, humble brew. defeinitely a brew you should experience.... may be a straight 5 across the board, in my opinion, but i dont want to abuse the ratings. and unlike many of my higher rated brews, THIS ONE is one i can drink over and over and over....

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Wee Heavy from Belhaven Brewery Company Ltd.
4.05 out of 5 based on 1,052 ratings.
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