Wee Heavy | Belhaven Brewery Company Ltd.

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Wee HeavyWee Heavy
1,069 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: 1,069 |  Reviews: 571
Photo of carlos
3.92/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I warn readers that this is my first review and that I'm feeling totally optimistic - I've never been especially fond of Scotch Ales, but this Belhaven Wee Heavy has definitely won me over. /// I'm drinking a pint bottle from a Guinness pint glass.

The pour created an even 1-1/4 head with lots of sparkle around the edge of the glass - I didn't get the entire bottle emptied at first - then the outer ring subsided, leaving a creamy knoll. Two sips, and I emptied the rest of the bottle.

Appearance: Rich ruddy color with slight haze, light maze colored head. Thick pour.

Smell: Pointed honey-carmel malt aroma, feight hop backround.

Taste/Mouthfeel: Rich, even, clover-round beginning that evenly coats mouth as carbonation electrifies the top of tounge, with earthy Islay(peaty/iodine) finish.

Drinkability: Would have another over fish and chips with friends (and a decent cigar) - for sure.

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Photo of scottoale
3.43/5  rDev -15.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

This one pours from a 500ml. brown bottle, into my 13.5oz. taster tulip, a dark mahogany with a finger of fluffy beige head. With good carbonation the head holds steady for some time, then eventually settles to an 1/8" and leaves some dabs of lace clinging.

The smell is sweet, toasty and nutty with some grassy hop notes in the background. A wee bit of alcohol creeps in as the brew warms up.

Taste is sweet of toasty, nutty malt and a hint of smoke and chocolate on the tongue that quickly turns astringently bitter by the hops. Fairly tasty and well balanced for the most part with a medium to heavy body that fits the style about right.

The drinkability is alright, but there are other Wee Heavy's out there that I'd prefer...still worth a try for the style.

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Photo of AndoBrew
2.96/5  rDev -27.1%
look: 2 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

*did not like would not buy*

app: ugly. dirty water!

smell: yummy! nice chewy malts .. some butter (I love butter!) small small amount of floral hops. real nice and thick smelling though.

taste: so odd in contrast to the smell.. toasted malts, strange.. to sweet. I wish with this butter richness that it had more toast to support it. oh well.

mf: dont care.. to sweet and lite.

drinkable?? kinda. not for me.. maybe a new new castle for some though.

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

Dark red. Head goes away fast, but returns with a swirl. Bits of lace.

Smells like malt: straight up malt (i.e., Grape Nuts), toast, honey, toffee, nuts. Some mango and prune.

Tastes malty - toast, honey, nuts, some well balanced toffeelike sweetness. Some tropical and dark fruit. A glimpse of herbacious hops in the background, quietly doing their job. Alcohol, but barely noticeable. Dry finish, Grape Nuts maltiness with a bare hint of tealike astringency.

Smooth medium bodied mouthfeel. Quite drinkable.

Tasty and well balanced. Good stuff.

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Photo of wspscott
4.35/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

500ml bottle in a pint glass

Pours a very dark brown with a nice creamy head. The head disappears quickly leaving a very thin lace on the glass.

The malts come though in the smell but are a little muted.

You taste a hint of smoke among the heavy malts. From what I have read, the Scottish do not smoke their grains for beer but, it sure tastes like it.

The mouthfeel is creamy and rich but not thick.

I don't know how this compares to other Wee Heavies but, I like this one a lot. This is a great alternative to a stout or porter, just different enough to be fun to drink and not overly alcoholic (6.5%). I have had this before and will have it again.

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Photo of beeroclock
2.98/5  rDev -26.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

I poured this from the bottle into a pint glass, poured a deep brownish red, in the light you could see the reds come out. Decent off white head that lasted some time. Smelled sweet with some alcohol tones. Tasted of raisins and sugars that stayed with the aftertaste. Very heavy drink. I have never been a huge scottish ale fan and this one is not any different in that fact, however it is much better than some of the others out there. The heaviness wouldn't allow for many of these in one sitting.

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Photo of sethmeister
4.2/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

500ml bottle into pint glass (time to buy a thistle!)

Pours clear mahogany brown with a silky creamy light tan head. Some webby lacing evident.

Scent is a toasted malt sweetness, peat smoke and raisins, possibly figs.

Taste is rich with the perfect level of sweetness. Raisins, dark fruits and a nice toasted malt flavor with a slightly sour (yeasty) smoky peat finish.

Mouthfeel is a velvety medium.

Drinkability is very good.

This is absolutely a delicious beer. Subtle, well balanced, and easy to drink but with a decent amount of complexity to dig into. Probably my favorite Wee Heavy. At $2.95 I need to stock up!

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

Appearance - A mahogany color with a beige thick head with medium carbonation.

Smell - Major notes of barley. Minor notes of raisins and prunes.

Taste - The barley and some caramel provide the base with the raisins and prunes.

Mouthfeel - Heavy but smooth on the tongue.

Drinkability - Highly drinkable.

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Photo of MrMcGibblets
3.23/5  rDev -20.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

poured a deep mahogany reddish brown, decent lacing on the head, aroma was of dark stone fruits, a tinge of smoke, burnt caramel, some light floral notes, tasted a lot of malt up front, a slight whisky taste almost, flavors in the bouqet present in the initial taste, just barely enough hops to give it some balance on the back end, slightly sweet aftertaste on the finish, mouthfeel was medium/full with warming alcohol present and noticeable, drinkability suffers for me due to the style of this beer, i am sure this would be rated much higher were my palate geared to a wee heavy, just doesn't have the balance, big hops, bright flavors i tend to favor, this could have been worsened buy the fact that i gorged on greasy pizza earlier and should have had an ipa instead. this beer would have been much better with a maduro cigar, minimally seasoned beef stew, smoked meats, or even dark dessert. again, the pizza beforehand killed this beer for me, though.

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Photo of McLeod
4.5/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from the 500mL bottle into a coca-cola glass (shaped like a squished down Weizen glass).

A. Dark amber translucent color with a thick 1in. fine-bubbled caramel head. Looks so appealing!

S. Malty, roasty smell with fruity almost pumpkin 'aftersmell'. Kind of floral.

T. Perfect balance of sweet and roasty malts with a slight hoppy bite to balance. Nice alcoholic warmth but not overdone. Slight nutty taste follows with an almost floral breath.

M. Very smooth and pretty creamy due to perfect carb. not too thin and not too big or syrupy. Excellent balance for its higher-medium body.

D. I can drink this all day. It has the perfect balance of alcohol and sweetness, of body, and of bitterness. I wish i had more!

I drank this beer the last (hopefully) day of a cold, so I couldn't smell as well as normal, but hopefully I got it right. The thing only cost 3.50, well worth every penny. I was actually quite surprised how great it was!

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Photo of dstc
4/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark reddish brown color with nice caramel head the leaves a thin lace behind.

Smells nice. Rich and sweet maybe.

Tastes very nice. Better the warmer it gets. Roasty, malty and maybe caramel with a slight bitter aftertaste.

Mouthfeel is full and creamy with a nice balance of carbonation.

I like this beer. Have tried it a few times and am finally reviewing. Will definitely go back for more.

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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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Wee Heavy from Belhaven Brewery Company Ltd.
Beer rating: 4.06 out of 5 with 1,069 ratings