Wee Heavy | Belhaven Brewery Company Ltd.

1,057 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

For Trade:
View: Beers | Events
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Ratings: 1,057 |  Reviews: 570
Photo of oelergud
4/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Very dark maple syrup color brightening to a beautiful ruby body when held up to the light. Silken tan head that falls quickly and doesn't leave much lace, low carbonation.
Soft almost buttery toffee scent and mild hops. Buttermilk-like, unassuming and inviting.
The taste closely mimic the smell. Again mild toffee maybe caramel and buttermilk. Aftertaste of faint hops but dominated by sweet malts and abit of spice.
Round mouthfeel and a little coating.
Mild and mellow all the way through. An easy-going and a very calm brew.


 546 characters

Photo of rodrot
3.83/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured a pretty dark red color with a 1/4 inch head that lingered in the glass. Aroma was malty, with some hints of dark fruit and smoke in the nose. Taste was malty and fruity with some flavors of plums, raisins, cherry and persimmon meshing nicely with the smoky character of the malt. Mouthfeel was light to medium bodied in the palate. Drinkability was pretty high since I am a fan of smoky flavored Scotch ales. Not a bad beer and being kind of low in alcohol could also be sessionable.

 491 characters

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

This beer has very dark malts that vie for attention ever present hops. Smells of tangy citrusy hop oils. Remarkably crisp and clean for such a thick ale. The malt is heavy without any negative flavors to detract from it. A very good ale from the British Isles. I'm now a believer in scottish brews.

 299 characters

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

Pours an almost still ruby plum with a thin off white head that leaces some decorative lacing. Smells of dark fruits, cherries, dried fruits, and perhaps brandy. Whiffs of diacetyl. Big chewy, malty body with lots of dried fruits and bread. Very rich and sweet. Long finish of molasses. I pick up a little smoke and that diacetyl. Mouthfeel is thick, full, and smooth. Hardly any carbonation. Very flavorfol, and therefore drinkable, but this is a thick, sweet one that takes a bit of time.

 490 characters

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

Penny copper toning with splashes of grenadine when held up to the light. The colour of the cream that rest on its top appears to be rusting. The confines of the glass become doused with a thick lather of suds. Everything about this beer makes it look quite fulfilling.

Scents of toffee-laced malts, light yeast spice, and fireplace smoked peet are a little drowned out by a strong sulfur note. It is a harsh, chalky mineral rich water profile and the peet malt seems the sole survivor.

The peet is soft but still somewhat smothering on the palate. There's a lot of malt and yet it is hardly sweet. The taste of caramel, although somewhat present, never really develops.

A kind of long steeped, loose leaf tea like bitterness works hand in hand with the mineral harsh water. Despite this, the mouthfeel actually turns out exceptionally creamy.

The Belhaven Wee Heavy may be to many the benchmark for Scotch Ales. I've had a few 'new world' reinterpretations (see: Kuhnhenn's A Few Schillings Too Many) that have blown their more traditional ancestors right out of the water. That said, this is a classic example of, and great introduction to, the Wee Heavy style.

 1,170 characters

Photo of jamesclark
4.42/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I was surprised to see this Belhaven offering in a local wine & cheese shop. Will it just be a stronger version of the regular Belhaven, or will it have something extra? Is 6.5% really enough to call it a Wee Heavy? Ok, first the drinking - pondering will come later..

1 pint + 9 fl oz, it doesn't all fit in my glass of choice but I don't mind. It has a nice dark brown color with a little red. There is a thick bubbly head which is shrinking, but it looks like it'll be a while before it's gone.

Now the smell, that's what I call a scottish ale: it smells like food. Fresh bread, maybe. I blame the extra malt they put in, and can ye blame em? Some other smells: raisins, something sour maybe? Some of those smells remind me of strong belgian beers, strangely enough.

It has a rich flavor - roasted malt, a little bitter chocolate, a little sweet. Somewhat later comes the hint of raisins. There is a nice clean finish. What about hops, hmm, maybe a little in the smell, maybe.

Basically, this is just what I want in a Scottish - very malt-heavy, rich, but easy to drink. Thank you, Belhaven Brewery Company, for making this bottle bigger than usual!

 1,164 characters

Photo of ultralarry2006
4/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 500 ml. bottle. Left a one finger quickly dissipating head, no retention, and no lacing. Body was garnett.

Smell - plums, raisins, slight diacetyl.

Taste - like the smell. Plums, raisins, roasted malt. No real hop presence at all. Just rich, roasted malt.

Mouthfeel - medium to thin bodied, and semi dry.

Drinkability - this is good and is sessionable.

 378 characters

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

The colour is clear dark brown with a tint of red. The head is finger thick, beige and compact. There is no lacing.

The medium strong smell is loaded with roasted sweet malt. There is a crisp metallic bitterness, notes of marzipan, cherry jam and weak coffee.

The taste is strong; the malt is the dominant flavour. Roasted sweet salty notes with lots of dark bread, roasted nuts and almonds, broth, dried fruits (apricots, apples, and cherries). The aftertaste got a noticeable alcoholic flavour. All the malty notes are still there but there is also a mild clean bitterness with some fruity notes.

The carbonation is medium strong with very small bubbles that almost create foam in the mouth.

A worthy representative of this robust style.

 754 characters

Photo of ThirdCoast
4.03/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Serving Type: A 500 ml bottle pored into a glass

A: Nice reddish color with a good head that lasted.

S: Sweet dark fruits. Smokey hints.

T: Dark fruits, Smoke tastes as it finishes.

M: Easy on the mouth, a bit creamy.

D: Goes down easy

Note: I would drink this again, easy to drink.

 300 characters

Photo of llitsua
4.65/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

500mL bottle, poured into pint glass

A- Deep Mahogany, crimson (I hate using that word) when held up
to light, beige thick head with tiny bubbles

S- Smoked barley, straw, somewhat earthy, also some prune or
raisin smell

T- Wow!- this is tough- the simple answer is, “It tastes like a
DAMN good Scotch Ale,” A more dissecting evaluation of the
taste- I get some raisins, peat, barley, a finishes with a
caramel undertone, as these flavors change, there is always
some smoke flavor lingering in the background.

M- Somewhat heavy, carbonation controlled well

D- Despite being a pretty heavy beer, it went down like water- it
was that good.

I will search for this often in the future. Scotch Ales are somewhat of a newer style for me, but this is one of the best beers I’ve ever had.

 821 characters

Photo of MrHurmateeowish
4.07/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

The Innaugural beer of my brand new bottle opener... Quarter-inch thick light tan head with dark brown but still translucent body. Smells malty mostly, like a scotch ale or wee-heavy usually does. Tastes malty and somewhat fruitty... Like many Scotch ales, but not as overwealming like Scotch Silly or even McEwans. Very good. One of the best Scotch ales (if not the best). I’m very very impressed.

 399 characters

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

I think Wee Heavys or Scotch Ales are becoming a favorite of mine.
This one pours a wonderful mahagony color with a tan head that slowly melts to a sticky lacing.
Aromas are an earthy malt, carmels, and forest floor...not pine...just wood...rich and earthy.
Taste is sweet carmel malt, dark fruits such as raisins and prunes and then it finishes to a definate..VERY definate smokey flavor.
This is one very richly complex beer.
Alcohol is not prominate at all. Aftertaste is mostly carmel and lots of smoke.
Mouthfeel is creamy and finishes to a comfortable slight drying...very slight...just enough to keep the sweetness from becoming cloying.
If you like smoke in your malts, this is definately one very superb ale.
If you don't like smokey malt, don't even try this one.

 781 characters

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

I'm trying to branch out a little bit from my love of IPAs. I once loved Scotch Ales, so decided to try a "Wee Heavy."

It poured nicely and left a good sized head, but disappeared as I drank. No lace on the glass, but a rim around the beer.

The smell was very smoky with a slight hint of chocolate. As I sipped I detected a lot of smokiness, which is what I love about Scotch Ales. There was also a bit of bitterness, not from hops, but from what seems like it could be an older beer? No bottling date on the label, but the "winey" aftertaste seemed to suggest that it could be a little old.

Although I enjoyed this, I probably wouldn't buy it again. I'd rather have an O'Dell's 90 Shilling...

 702 characters

Photo of Melchizedek
3.85/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a nice rich clear brown with a beautifully-formed beigish head that settles slowly and clings to the sides of the glass.

Nose is great, full of dark fruit and assertive malt tempered by a bit of a vegetable aroma and smoky character. In the mouth, surprisingly light but creamy, with a noticeable but light carbonation. The flavors come out of hiding as the brew warms: plenty of malt backbone, with caramel and chocolate showing themselves, the peaty side of things coming out both in nose and mouth, and just a touch of alcohol presence. There are some subtler spice/fruit flavors, too - vanilla? apple? They blend nicely with the overall taste, but I feel that I could find something new in any given glass of this.

All in all, a nice introduction to the style for me. I'm not sure how to feel about the mouthfeel - on the one hand, the lightness of the brew makes it a good bit more drinkable than it would be otherwise, but then again I think the flavor profile would be served better by a richer texture. Still, I'd certainly come back to this one.

 1,066 characters

Photo of kimcgolf
2.54/5  rDev -37.3%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Poured to a dark brown with hints of ruby, and a thin off-white head with little lacing. Aroma was mostly chocolate and malt. Although I did not think this was a smoke beer, that is by far the most dominant flavor I got from this thin-bodied beer, along with a hint of choclate. Finish was mostly a watery, smoky after-taste. I was looking forward to this, but was quite disappointed.

 384 characters

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

I poured this beer into a pint glass it had a deep reddish brown color. It has a creamy white head which has really good retention and leaves laces around the glass. I detect smells and tastes of toffee, caramel, coffee, mocha, biscuits, and nuts. This beer has a very heavy malt profile, which is typical of the style. This beer has a wonderful body to it. The mouthfeel is amazing and is not too thick. Overall this is a wonderful beer, and I would buy this again many, many times.

 483 characters

Photo of Phatz
4.5/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pours a rich caramel bronze chestnut color that sits nobly in my snifter with a perfectly majestic creamy tan head. The beer leaves heavy sheet of lacing on the side of the glass when gently swirled.

Smell: Caramel malts, figs, dates, a hint of apple and oak are truly sensational.

Taste: This is exactly what I expect from a Scotch Ale. It is sweet thick and lightly boozy with earthy peat flavors caramel malts a splash of prune juice and an ever so light dry hop character hidden in the smoke attribute.

Mouthfeel: Perfect smooth velvet feel with adequate carbonation and ideal finish.

Drinkability: As much as I love this style it is usually cloyingly sweet or prohibitively alcoholic. This one is neither. It is one of the most drinkable of the style.

Hope this is helpful.

 817 characters

Photo of andythejerk
3.63/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Beautifully dark, amberish color with a thick, creamy head that seems to have no plans for going anywhere anytime soon. Smell is subtle and earthy--I expect something dry. Ooh, roasty! And malty. Very, very malty, just like a good scottish boy should. It's very slightly bitter, but rather sweet as well. It's good, easy-going, and has a warm, homey feel.

 355 characters

Photo of TheBungyo
4.03/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Body is brown/amber topped by a thick 1 finger tall head. Nose is syrupy and for some reason initially smelled like a banana split. I could smell choclate, strawberry (faintly) and banana. Taste is slightly rummy, full of dark fruits and caramel. Mouth is medium. Mild in terms of alcohol content (compared to American interpretations of this style anyway) this is a nice sessioner.

 382 characters

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

Tried this several times before but decided to sit down and review it.
Pours a deep brown with a 3 finger head that quickly dissipates. Little floaties-forgot this was bottle conditioned, never stopped me before so here we go.
Smell: Malty, rich, maple-syrupy.
Taste: No up front hop characteristics, can taste the bittering hops at the end of a sip; not very assertive, just there to put some balance in this otherwise sweet brew. Big and malty, very rich and smooth. Aftertaste is like brown sugar on the back of your tongue. The alcohol in this is slightly noticeable, but not so much as to detract from the other flavors. Really quite a nice, warming, beer. At 6.5% you're not going to be slugging these down, but they also don't have to be the only beer of the evening. Quite a nice brew, i will be enjoying this one for years to come.

 844 characters

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

Pours with a dark chestnut color smelling mildly sweet and fruity. The foam disappears quickly though. The taste is quite interesting, sort of peaty leather followed by sweet caramel and licorice, even some apple?. It's a little oily. It gives a full mouthfeel and I like the complexity of various tastes running around the mouth.

 330 characters

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.

 738 characters

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

Attractive 500ml bottle. Clear dark ruby, forming an attractive whipped khaki head with good retention and lacing. Carbonation is mild to moderate. The aroma is very nice...there is a nice touch of bourbon/whisky with tons of sticky amber malts, prunes and raisins. Hops are mellow in quantity and don't offset the gorgeous malt nose like many of it's American brethren. I'm not picking up any fusels, acetones, or isopropyls, a common error in this style when fermented too warm. The caramel is a bit much, but not overly buttery, so it's not terribly offensive. The mouthfeel initially appears thick, but thins out in the mouth nicely. Medium-dense body. The taste begins with sweet amber malt, followed by surprisingly herbaceous hops, a large smoked malt presence, leather and wood towards the end. Lingering chalks, leather, smoke and hops in the finish. Lightly dry. As it warms, the smoke and caramel become much more evident. Mild bitterness.

I've had many beers with twice the malt and hops, but this beer has so much going on that it's difficult to finish the whole bottle...it's so dang rich and the caramel/smoke combo is a bit much for me...instant palette fatigue. Still, it's recommended to try as it's a good representative of the style.

 1,256 characters

Photo of SkeeterHawk
4.57/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a rich dark ruby color with a half-inch of tannish foam at first. The head was still about half its size after at least a minute. There is some pretty thick lacing left on the glass some time after drinking.

Aroma: Sweet and fruity aromatics along with an assertive dark caramel component. I get a bit of fig and plum to add specifics to the fruit flavors. There is a very earthy aroma becoming noticeable as the beer warms a bit.

Taste: The flavor is much fruitier than I expected from the nose. You can get apples and dates in here so much that the aftertaste is like a pie. It is really caramelly sweet with some assertive earthy notes. The alcohol adds a bit of spiciness, and as this beer warms up, it is getting to taste much more like a dessert. The yeast and malt are adding a subtle bready character to the flavor that is adding yet more complexity as it warms. This is a beer to sipped through the transition from cold to warm to really appreciate its complexity. The balance is tipped firmly to the malt the entire time. As the beer warms even further, there is a floral note that is coming out that seems to be a by-product of all of the fruit and caramel this beer has.

Opinion: It has been some time since I have tried this beer, and after this session, I feel that is a shame. This is a really nice beer and one that is wonderfully complex. It is not for the hop-head, but has a wealth of malt complexity to keep the palate in check. This is a nice beer, and one that I will try to drink more often in the future.

 1,555 characters

Photo of nickss
4.08/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a deep ruby brown with a huge 1" head that is slightly off-white in color.

Big thick caramel notes with a healthy dose of malt in the aroma. This beer just smells chewy and dark and viscous.... quite nice. Definitely a touch of chocolate in there as well.

Smoked malt flavour... almost like a tame rauchbier... very interesting. Small caramel flavour, but nearly anything else is overwhelmed by the smokiness of this brew. Would be fantastic with a pulled pork sandwich.

Big chewy mouthfeel that started out much thinner when the brew was cold, but as it warmed, the thickness of the brew manifests itself. Very nice.

Very drinkable, and very nice. Wishing I had grabbed this brew during the winter, but as its rainy and 55 outside right now, I think it works quite nicely.

 791 characters

Wee Heavy from Belhaven Brewery Company Ltd.
4.05 out of 5 based on 1,057 ratings.
  • About Us

    Founded in Boston in 1996, BeerAdvocate (BA) is your go-to resource for beer powered by an independent community of enthusiasts and professionals dedicated to supporting and promoting better beer.

    Learn More
  • Our Community

    Comprised of consumers and industry professionals, many of whom started as members of this site, our community is one of the oldest, largest, and most respected beer communities online.
  • Our Events

    Since 2003 we've hosted over 60 world-class beer festivals to bring awareness to independent brewers and educate attendees.
  • Our Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.