Wee Heavy | Belhaven Brewery Company Ltd.

Wee HeavyWee Heavy
1,058 Ratings
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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Ratings: 1,058 |  Reviews: 570
Photo of jettjon
3.88/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I must say that I’m becoming a big fan of the wee heavy/Scotch ale style. This one only pushes me further down the slope toward the old peat bog.

From a 500ml bottle with no freshness date, into a pint glass. A nice dark reddish-brown color with medium carbonation and a fair bit of fine sediment evident. Thick brown-tan head fades fairly quickly to a thin cap and solid ring along with good, scattered sticky lacing. Nose of semi-sweet, bold malt along with a kind of smoky, musty scent. Taste delivers big on the malt, a kind of semi-sweet, toasted malt that I greatly prefer over the sweeter English ales. This sweetness is punctuated by a keen smoky, peat flavor toward the end, culminated in a nice dry bitter finish. This is what a wee heavy is all about, IMO. Mouth is chewy and creamy with no detectable carbonation but a full, smooth feel. Drinkability is excellent overall; this is a great smooth and satisfying brew, though the 6.5% ABV tends to temper the experience to more slow enjoyment rather than chug-a-lug.

Overall: An excellent example of the Scotch ale/wee heavy style in my somewhat limited experience. Heartily recommended.

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Photo of mithrascruor
4.27/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

500 mL bottle poured into a mug.

Appearance: Pours a dark reddish-brown color, clear, with a nice thick off-white cramy head. Laces the glass nicely.

Smell: Heavy, rich aroma of malts and caramel, with the hint of some fruits.

Taste: Very nice smoked malt flavor. Here too there's a bit of fruits, but I can't quite tell what. There's a tiny bit of hop bitterness to balance things out, and the aftertaste is a bit buttery.

Mouthfeel: Rich and creamy; medium- to full-bodied. Very light/subdued carbonation.

Drinkability: It tastes nice and goes down great. Nothing overwhelms so you can have a few of these if you wish.

A very enjoyable Scottish ale. Nice on it's own, and I'm sure it would go well with food too. Definitely a recommended beer, and it's generally not too hard to find either.

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Photo of BuckSpin
4.38/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Presentation: a 500ml bottle into a thistle-esque pint I picked up at Sur La Table.

A deep, rudy port tone, warm, rich amberesque color with a subtle trail of carbonation rising from the glass bottom, there was an audible crispness to the pour. Head was a fat finger worth's of tight, epervescent latte hued foam that echoed the crispness in the pouring with its resounence, lingered for a few minutes but never completely faded while lacing in thick swirls.

Nose was crisp, some esthers, nice biscuity quality. Deep malts, rich caramel, dried yet reconstituted currants or sour cherries, yeast, a deep richness like being way back in some wetlands after it rains...at night. A faint whiff of hardwood is present (oak?). The nose works in balance with the rich hues of its colors....nice compliments.

The rich malts and caramelized sugars take the point as you taste. A slight thickness on the tongue, but not syrupy sweet...nice. An earthy quality, smokiness, its teasing me. I want to drink it quicker to learn more about it, yet I want to reflect as well as allow it to warm and develop. Soft, smooth, sligthly bittersweet, it finishes after a slight bitter peak with a return to than musky, rich carmelized malt start...full circle. The aftertaste is slightly warming, a little chewy, coyly bittersweet, coating the mouth but not filmy at all.

What a liitle tease this beer is! I am really enjoying this "foreplay" for lack of a better term. I am having trouble remembering such a struggle between patience and lust to taste more. While I have not had 100's of them, to me this is a fantastic example of the Wee Heavy genre. This is now in my Top 10 as far as enjoying a well crafted, balanced beer. I highly recommend this to all lookng for a good Wee Heavy. I usually enjoy the highs & lows of a beer as I taste, but this one was so coy in revealing itself I want more, and will make a point to try this again and again and make it one of the few beers I cellar in quantity. Well done Belhaven, and thank you for the wonderfully teasing experience that proves sexiness is not being completely exposed but always leaving a little to the imagination, and leaving one a "wee" bit hungry for more!

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Photo of brewbe
4.68/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured into a standard beer glass a deep redish brown with a 2 finger head that subsides to a thin but solid cap for the rest of the test. very pretty.

Smells of lightly roasted malt, and a hint of citrus, maybe orange?

Taste is firm , sweet malt . Not cloying sweetness, not overpowering malt, just a very nicely balanced bittersweet brew. Later in the glass I sense a lightly smokey, nutty flavor.

Mouthfeel is a little oily, but not tacky.

Drinkability is very good, not to sweet, not to heavy, but well represented everywhere.

I've been a fan of the American versions of Scotch ales for some time, but can't believe I haven't tried the real thing 'til now! Shame on me. This is a very good ale to me. At three fifty a bottle I may not drink it every day , but it is worth it for special occations.

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Photo of RBorsato
4.92/5  rDev +21.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Tasted on-tap 01/10/07 at St. Andrews pub in Times Square in NY, NY.

Dark ruby/mahogany color (seems to be darker than the average Wee Heavy) with a low tan head. Nice dark malt and dark fruit aroma and robust flavors without being sweet in any way. Full-medium bodied and smooth with a nice finish.

One of the best Wee Heavy's that I've ever had.

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Photo of belgbeerdrinker
3.6/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

One of the few Wee Heavies I've tried, but enjoyed it overall.

Amber color with decent head that quickly dissipates to light head.

Smells of prunes and perhaps some other fruits.

Taste was smooth, with decent mouthfeel (not full, but filling), and decent carbonation. Actual ABV is a bit deceiving, as it tasted a little heavier, in a good way.

Again, a good drinkable beer.

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Photo of GolgiIPAratus
3.9/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Sampled: 12.17.06

Beer pours a deep dark ruby copper forming little head and leaving little lacing.

The aroma is dense dark sugar. Rich molasses mixing with prunes, dates & figs swell over ultra malty dankness.

The flavor is molasses and caramel over a metallic twang. There’s a roasted malt finish, along with more figs from the nose as well as dark raisin. . The huge flavors are immediately robust, but mellow by the swallow. Little to no bitterness matches the low carbonation. The beer is thick in the mouth, but not too heavy.

Despite the strong flavors up front, the mellowing gives it an easier drinkability. One bottle was fine for me at that particular sitting, however.

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Photo of rkuhnel
4.37/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I had not seen this one before at my local Northcoast Coop here in Eureka, CA so I scooped up a bottle. Cost was $3.25. It poured a dark ruby color and left a light brown head which settled quickly and left moderate lacing. Aroma was malts, and a whole bunch of tantalizing odors I cannot identify, but in total are intriguing. Mouthfeel is somewhat sweet and creamy. Flavors are as exceptional as the nose with chocolate, fruit, coffee,and nuts. A simply delightful brew, easy to drink, and one I will return to even at this price.

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Photo of BBM
4.03/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Te beer poured a beautiful clear dark ruby color with a nice, creamy off-white head. The aroma was of dark fruits, toffee, and a hint of caramel.

The taste mirrored the smell, mostly. A rich dark fruit flavor was apparent at first, followed by toffee, a hint of almond, and a warming alcohol finish (even though it's a fairly low ABV for the style). There's not much of a hop presence, but that's ok here. Mouthfeel was slightly thin, but creamy and smooth. Drinkable as a nightcap on cold winter days. A quality wee heavy.

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Photo of Shovelbum
4.1/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a healthy two finger, creamy head over a clear mahogany body. Head slowly recedes leaving bits of foam in its wake. Aromas of malt abound—currants and dark fruit. Flavor is a mixture of roasted barley, mild caramel malt, and a light sweetness. Slight hop bitterness adds balance, but little flavor. Fairly light mouthfeel per style.

Definitely a lighter wee heavy, but considering Belhaven’s antiquity, this is may be truer to style than many of the heftier wee heavies produced stateside. That being said, the malt complexity seems to suffer a bit at the lower gravity in comparison to some of the higher ABV Scottish and American wee heavies. Style issues aside, this is a tasty, and highly drinkable ale. The hop bitterness provides just enough balance to even out the malt and sweetness.

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Photo of shamus
3.97/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A new one at my local LCBO. Smells strongly of quality malt. A stronger alcohol content than I am used to. The after taste is very similar to a single malt scotch. If you lean towards malt rather than hops then you will probably enjoy this Scotch Ale. It's not my preferred type but for the style I believe this is a nice one. I would definitely drink this again. Goes great with curry and other spicy dishes.

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Photo of kpantz
3.68/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Executive Summary: I'm not wowed, but I did enjoy it. I have those "malty" nights, and this is a good one to have on hand on these occasions.

500ml bottle. No Discernable bottling/freshness date.

Appearance: Pours into my snifter a clear reddish copper. Khaki colored head that quickly reduces to a film. No lacing.

Smell: Nutty, toasted malts with a bit of hop aroma skimming across the top. Real chewy aroma.

Taste: Definitely malty, and I even detect a slight fruitiness to it, but it's fleeting. No hop flavor to report, though there is a bit of bitterness that lingers at the end, though even that is overtaken by another flavor coming from the malts near the end of the sip, though I'm having a hard time identifying it. Almost an aftertaste that arrives too soon.

Mouthfeel: Pretty chewy, though not as much so as the aroma hinted. Not too sticky - pretty good for a beer of this flavor profile.

Drinkability: Very easygoing and quite interesting on the palate. Moderate ABV enables you to go back to the well a couple times.

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Photo of jarmby1711
4.08/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

The most disappointing thing about the 500ml bottle I had ,was that I had to share it
It was dark ruby and smelt of sweetness but with a cutting edge to it.
The flavours was liquid toffee , with the sweetness trimmed and modified by the alcohol.
It was smooth and thick in the mouth.
This was a lovely ale , reeking of malts and has a lot of complexity
A great nightcap or perhaps a few pints before bed

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Photo of NeroFiddled
4.2/5  rDev +3.4%
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 allergictomacros
3.87/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Clear, very dark red. Head is decent, but unspectacular.

S - Big, fruity aromas. Very sweet smelling with some roast and floral notes.

T - A little too cold (my fault). Rich, full, malty flavour. Hops are very mild. Notes of raisins and prunes, and some mild coffee.

M - Creamy and full.

D - Pretty good. A little on the heavy side.

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Photo of eberkman
3.83/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

550 ml bottle.

Poured a deep, ruby copper into a pint glass with a nice, firm, frothy tan head. Sweet, malty aroma -- not much bitterness in the nose. Very malty taste too, with a tiny trace of bitterness in the finish. A slight warming effect on the way down as well. Some chocolate and a lot of caramel and candied dark fruits.

Pretty full-bodied -- felt almost chewy in my mouth. Fairly drinkable -- goes down verrrry easy. But a little too sweet for me to consider it as a session beer.

I'm definitely glad I tried this one -- quite enjoyable even if the style doesn't become a staple for me.

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Photo of funkengruven
4.25/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This wonderful brew poured a nice deep red with a thin head that stays on the top of the glass, lots of lacing. Smell is sweet and bold, not bad at all, lots of malt in the nose there. Flavor is also very bold and sweet, quite enjoyable, and pretty smooth in the finish.

Not too much to say about this one except that it is tasty, smooth and quite nice. Definitely worth a try.

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Photo of tatterdash
4.38/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Winter promotion at the LCBO, delayed from Fall, so it's been a while since I've wanted to try this. Here goes...

Ach! pours a bonnie (ok, I'll stop with the Scottishness) dark coppery red with a foamy off-white head that dissipates rather quickly but never completely goes away. Aroma of syrupy, raisiny malt and a bit of white grapes. Taste was a very creamy and very malt heavy, which is appropriate for the style. Some nutty and grapey notes as well, and deep in the finish there are some faint hops. The mouthfeel was quite thick and creamy, and the high ABV was well hidden. This is very pleasant and tasty Scotch Ale, and I can't wait to have another.

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Photo of zeff80
3.95/5  rDev -2.7%
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 Winter
4.03/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A stinging, freezing November rain was coming down the other night. Seemed appropriate to break out a nice Scotch Ale. I found this a couple of weeks ago and tonight seemed like a good night to give it a try.

1.9 ounce bottle with the words "Wee Heavy" in gold lettering. Label also features a rough illustration of the red Scottish Lion on a yellow backdrop.

Pours a clear dark copper with a cream tan head. Nose consists of caramel, raisin/prune, sweet malt and carmalized sugar. The mouthfeel is medium-bodied. Moderalely sweet malty front. Flavors of dark fruit (raisin) and peat soon follow. Although the middle seems to be a little dry, that's not an overall characteristic of this scotch ale. Some hard water flavor appears throughout. Amazingly smooth. Caramel reappears again toward the back. Warming finish as it goes down, but the alcohol is not overly noticeable. Belhaven Wee Heavy is a classic. Definitely a great ale to be consumed slowy and enjoyed.

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Photo of kernalklink
3.33/5  rDev -18%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The Belhaven poured an attractive dark red amber with a minimal head and a sweet burning aroma. Very malty with a sticky sweet molasses character which stayed on the tongue. Not even a hint of bitterness is present to stand up to the malt, but the spicy hints do a little in the way of balancing the flavor. Not the biggest fan of this overly malted style but there is surely a time and a place for this brew.

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Photo of Bouncingsoul1682
4.17/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Quiet delicious, haven't had anything bad from Belhaven as of yet. Smokey flavory and a sweetness that comes from the extra amount of barley making it quite distinct and memorable. A good medium between barlery wine and an ale.

Appearance: Brown nutty color

Smell: Nothing notable, somewhat sweet

Taste: Delicious sweet barley and hoppy flavor

Moutfeel: Medium carbonation, not full bodied

Drinkability: Good enough to enjoy as a regular

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Photo of doppelmeup
4.28/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 500ml bottle into a pint glass.

Pretty deep ruby red and tan color. RIch head that slowly dissipated, leaving a slight covering on the beer.

Aromas of scotch and smoke, along with some sweet malt and a bit of alcohol.

Flavor is similar to smell. A defnite scotch flavor, layered upon a smoky backdrop. This is what I would expect from a wee-heavy. Slightly peaty. A sweet malt and a bit of alcohol finish the taste.

Mouthfeel is rich and warming. This seems to be stronger than the 6.5% listed. Relatively thick and chewy mouthfeel. Very smooth.

Overall, I think this is an excellent example of a wee-heavy. Highly recommended.

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Photo of bort11
3.49/5  rDev -14%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

500 ml bottle poured into a wide mouth goblet. Mild head that was loud and quickly receded to a minimal ring. Color is a murky brown with slight red tint. A good amount of sediment. Smell is quite bold. Sweet like dried fruit. Taste is very sweet molasses or brown sugar, with caramel notes from the malt. Mouthfeel is thick and almost syrupy. A Wee Heavy is a nice treat for every once in a while

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Photo of btmo
2.88/5  rDev -29.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

I was a little dissapointed by this beer.

The flavour was ok but it was nothing special. I like the high alcohol content, as I think this helps bring out the flavour, but really, I just didn't think it was warranted in this case.

Colour was good, but the head vanished very quickly.

Worth a try if you are a fan of the style, I suppose, but it just didn't do anything for me. It is certainly drinkable, and is certainly pleasant enough - it just doesn't ring my bells.

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Wee Heavy from Belhaven Brewery Company Ltd.
Beer rating: 4.06 out of 5 with 1,058 ratings
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