Wee Heavy Bourbon
Microbrasserie Le Castor

Wee Heavy BourbonWee Heavy Bourbon
Rate It
Beer Geek Stats | Print Shelf Talker
Style:
Scotch Ale / Wee Heavy
ABV:
11%
Score:
88
Avg:
3.94 | pDev: 9.9%
Reviews:
18
Ratings:
75
From:
Microbrasserie Le Castor
 
Quebec, Canada
Avail:
Retired (no longer brewed)
Wants
  6
Gots
  18
SCORE
88
Very Good
Wee Heavy BourbonWee Heavy Bourbon
Notes:
Reviews: 18 | Ratings: 75 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of biegaman
biegaman from Canada (ON)

4.18/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Le Castor Wee Heavy looks none the worse for wear despite spending time in charred bourbon barrels. You won't see your finger on the other side but transparency is different from translucency; the deep Morello cherry complexion may be a bit shadowy but still shows glowing amber highlights. Even its soapy white head made it out intact, lacing and all.

The aroma is a little reserved at first but both the sticky-sweet malt and effects of the bourbon barrels gradually show more and more with warmth. There's a great deal of dried fruit flavour, enough to remind me of a health food bar (though I doubt there's any on the market with this kind of alcohol presence). By and large, caramel and peat still steer the ship.

Le Castor Grande Réserve satisfies both your sweet tooth as well as that part of you that had a long day at work and just wants to unwind. It is strong and satiating but not out of proportion; the creamy caramel, nutty honeycomb and fig/raisin paste flavours of the malt not only stand up to the vanilla, butterscotch and baking spices of the barrel but flatter them.

Despite the use of bourbon, the similarities to Port are irrefutable: there's nuances of fig, apricot, blackberry and raspberry doused in caramel, cinnamon spice, milk chocolate and roasted hazelnut shavings. Of course there's also singed oak splinters and mineral-y, mossy, vegetal peat flavours related to the base beer. It's a real neat - and very chewy - combination.

Le Castor is undoubtedly one of Quebec's finest microbreweries and offerings like the Grande Réserve Wee Heavy Bourbon really underline that point. Bourbon barrels are dangerous when in the wrong hands, but in this case they were used responsibly and ingeniously - scotch meets bourbon and the result is a smooth, drinkable 'thunder and lightning' tandem.

Sep 27, 2016
Photo of DaveBar
DaveBar from Canada (ON)

4.38/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Purchased at Depanneur AS in Montreal for $12.49 for a 660ml bottle. Served at 6deg C in a tulip letting it warm as required

A- Opens well and pours a tiny 1/4" white head that is gone in seconds. Very dark brown colour and unfiltered.

S- Fruity with little bourbon barrel scent. Sweet

T- Bourbon shines though along with sweetness and malt. Very little scotch here as it's been taken over by bourbon. Nice malt and almost no hops to be seen. Very nice well rounded brew.

M- Sticky and syrup like. Very nice

O- Very good brew. I like this one a lot. Has great balance and super sweet which I typically do not like but this one is very good. Wonder why this one is not rated higher. Price is a bit of consideration but this is a fine brew so I did not rate it down in the overall department because of price like I do for other over priced brews.

Food Pairing

This wonderful full brew went well with....... Osso Bucco. The shank with thyme, rosemary, bay leaf on a salt and peppered beef shank and stock just opens up the brew..... and the beef!

Enjoy

Mar 21, 2016
Photo of TBonez477
TBonez477 from Vermont

4.42/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

I have no idea why this beer isn't rated much higher overall. This is extremely comparable to Backwoods Bastard. Aroma is oak, leather, vanilla and brown sugar. Taste follows with a great warmth from the alcohol to carry the sweetness as well as complexity from the barrel aging. Body is smooth and velvety, lower carbonation allows the flavor to carry itself. I thought this was overall an excellent beer and would definitely seek out again.

Dec 14, 2015
Photo of CanadianBacon
CanadianBacon from Canada (QC)

3.78/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

This one almost gets a 3.75 across the board for me, It got a 4 for feel because its smooth and drinkable for an 11 percent beer. All things considered the 12$ price tag per bottle should warrent mid 4s.

Appearance - Poured from a 660 ml bottle into a tulip, poured a deep clear amber with very little off white head which faded quick. not much going on in the way of visible carbonation.

Aroma - oak, whiskey, grape sourness, vanilla.

Taste - The flavor profile is oaky with whiskey flavors throughout, Grape, figs, dates, caramel, brown sugar, alcohol, vanilla. Lasting oak taste after you swallow.

Feel - Feel is fairly light bodied without much carbonation almost feels still. the bitterness isnt strong although you get a little out of the oak.

Overall - This is an interesting beer and had potential to go a long way, if the flavors mixed better I may have felt differently. Its still a very good beer but Its missing something considering how expensive it is. Because of that it got a lower rating. Cheers!

Nov 17, 2015
Photo of VbolieuV
VbolieuV from Canada (QC)

4.02/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Nice ruby color with a small head that disappear quickly , almost no carbonation. Nice whiskey smell, there's also vanilla aromas, caramel, dark fruits and black licorice. In the mouth you really taste the dark fruits and black licorice. There's a subtle whiskey taste and it definitely doesn't feel like an 11% beer. I expected more of a bourbon taste from it, but otherwise it's not bad at all.

Nov 11, 2015
Photo of larryi86
larryi86 from Delaware

4.02/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Thanks BlogueDeBieres for this!
660 mL bottle poured into a tulip

A- A deep red/burgundy with a two finger off white head.

S- Bourbon, oak, vanilla, caramel malts, dark fruits, kind of boozy and a little weak for 11% ABV.

T- Dark fruits, cherries and figs, vanilla, bourbon, oak, sweet malts, nicely balanced.

M- Light to medium body, carbonation is very high.

O- Smells like it is going to to be too boozy and would be like drinking bourbon, but taste is much more balanced. Worth try if you get the chance.

Jan 18, 2015
Photo of Jeffo
Jeffo from Netherlands

4.04/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Got this one from Rutager out in BC. Fitting that a brew from QE would end up in BC before landing in ON only to be drunk in The Netherlands.

From a bomber into a snifter

APPEARANCE: Pours a two finger, medium looking, slightly foamy and crackly off-white head with okay retention. Head fades to a full cap and hugs the sides of the glass. A clear dark maroon brown body with lower levels of carbonation evident. A splotchy wisp and ring remain leaving some foamy lacing down the sides of the glass.

SMELL: Oak, bourbon, vanilla and coconut on the nose. Lots of other malty and barrel notes with caramel, toffee, butterscotch and hints of red fruits as well. Bold and candy-like. Enticing for sure.

TASTE: Oak, caramel and toffee sweetness up front, with some bourbon and vanilla flavors through the middle into the swallow. A big and bold finish of bourbon, vanilla, coconut, toffee and butterscotch is sweet and flavorful. Lots of nice flavor but could use a bit of bitterness to balance it just a touch more. Still, that is a minor issue, as all the sweetness is actually really well done and enjoyable.

PALATE: Medium body and medium levels of carbonation. Semi-creamy on the palate, goes down fine and finishes slightly mouth-coating. No burn at all.

OVERALL: This was really nice. The feel could be a touch creamier, but that’s a minor complaint. This is really good all around, and while I might like a touch more bitterness as balance, all the sweet flavors work really well and never become difficult or challenging. A good malt bomb that I would very much enjoy drinking again. Thanks again Rutager! Good stuff.

Nov 09, 2014
Photo of bylerteck
bylerteck from Canada (ON)

3.7/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Bottle from Rapido in Gatineau.

A - Pours a murky amber colour with one finger of off white head that goes fast. Decent carbonation. Spatterings of thick lace, minimal retention.

S - Big bourbon and dark fruit, boozy, sugary. Seemed less interesting to start, but came through with dark cherry and some darker malt character.

T - Less boozy than aroma leads on. Bourbon still definitely there with sugary sweetness and dark fruit. Booze is there but certainly not offensive.

M - Mild carbonation, full body, sweet and slightly bourbony but also very dry.

O/D - This definitely doesn't break any new ground on the barrel aging front, but it is a tasty beer. However, I have to admit this grew on me a lot. It became complex, stayed sweet, less boozy, and stayed interesting. Not a bad shot at the game.

May 06, 2014
Photo of polloenfuego
polloenfuego from Canada (NB)

3.5/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

From a 650 ml bottle to a snifter.
Bottle cellared since spring 2013.

This beer pours a chestnut brown with no head appearing, but a thin ring of foam. The smell is very Bourbon forward and there are also notes of vanilla, malts and some spices. The taste is sweet, Bourbon and oak with a leathery and very warm finish. The carbonation is very low and the feel is medium.

This is the second time I have tried this beer, and it has improved with age, in my opinion, but it still seems too boozy and Bourbon forward. Perhaps it is just my palate, but I did not find much more to this than the Bourbon profile.

Mar 08, 2014
Photo of mtomlins
mtomlins from Canada (ON)

3.99/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 660ml bomber into a stemmed tulip glass.

A: A clear dark brown with a reddish tint (russet); small fizzy head quickly dissipating to a thin bubbly collar and no lacing.

S: It leads with a big malt nose, sweet and caramel. There is a huge bourbon and vanilla nose, very boozy. A touch of dried fruit(rasins and figs) in the background.

T: Massive malts character right from the start, sweet and rich, caramel and bread. It quickly transitions to the overall predominate flavor, heavy bourbon and vanilla with a lot of alcohol. Some dried fruits, but these subtle notes are quickly overrun by the booze.

M: Medium-high body, medium carbonation; thick, warm, full.

O: A heavy, full , flavorful example of the style. Wee Heavy is a wee bit heavy on the bourbon which masks most of the other flavors in the beer. I am very curious to see how a couple years of age on this beer will affect the flavor!

Sep 09, 2013
Photo of MDDMD
MDDMD from Pennsylvania

4.09/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A-brown amber color with a smallish light tan head and a little lacing

S-caramel, malt, bourbon, nutty, vanilla

T-butterscotch, caramel, malt, oak, bourbon, vanilla

F-medium body with light carbonation, smooth and maybe a little hot

O-a nice sipping wee heavy, really benefits from the bourbon but a little hot now, would probably benefit from some aging

Jul 06, 2013
Photo of TheDoctor
TheDoctor from Canada (QC)

3.09/5  rDev -21.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

A:
Pours a lightly cloudy red-amber with a dash of tan head that hardly sticks around before dropping down to a ring around the edge of the glass.

S:
Sour hop notes, alcohol, nuts, vanilla, rust.

T:
Really intense sweetness right off the bat with some definite bourbon flavors throughout.

M:
Slimy, not much carbonation, gradually warms and gets sticky sweet and malty but eventually calms down and leaves a bourbony-boozy afterglow.

O:
Not bad, not good either, though. I personally detest the whole obsession with experimentation with crazy non-beer flavors, so I wasn't expecting to like it. It was better than I had hope but you can really tell it was aged in bourbon (and not in a good way).

May 12, 2013
Photo of korguy123
korguy123 from Canada (ON)

4.13/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Bottle received in a BIF box from a super generous Quebec BA.
Skipped my medication to enjoy it tonight.

Bottle into tulip.

Murky, dark brown pour. Thin ring around glass with no lacing.

Caramel, toffee, strawberries, some maple syrup and a touch of bourbon. It's very subtle smelling.

Caramel, toffee, dark stone fruits, some peanuts with a slight metallic taste. Bourbon is sweet and smooth with a little lightness. Not overly 'bourbony' or 'hot' very simple yet effective.

Light to medium body, low carbonation, sticky on the lips.

Apr 28, 2013
Photo of 4ster
4ster from Canada (ON)

3.99/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Served slightly chilled, warming up to around 18C(64F). Poured into a tulip glass. Can't find a bottled date, but bought on release in Feb 2013.

A: Dark brown, burgundy tints held up to the light. Decent head on pour that quickly dies down to a froth on top and lacing around the edges. Micro-bubbles running up the glass edges.

S: Smells like I'm drinking bourbon...light hint of sweetness and vanilla but overall, the bourbon overpowers everything else.

T: Like the nose, very bourbon forward... first taste is bourbon, woody and with vanilla undertones, moves into a roasted caramel sweetness, finishes with more oaky/leather/smoky bourbon with a ever so slight bitterness and nice alcohol afterglow.

M: Nice light-med carbonation, body is well balanced for 11%, only slightly sticky and some alcohol warmth.

O: A nice winter/evening sipper that leaves you appreciating a nice complexity once you get passed the bourbon forwardness of this beer. Overall a well made beer with a nice base to it and while maybe bourbon aging is not everyone's cup of tea it seems to be all the rage these days, not the least here in Quebec. That said I'm not sure which way to go with this one. Too many beers I've tried lately have been aged in Bourbon and it has done nothing for the beer or does not add enough complexity... while this one is a little heavy handed on the bourbon but being that I enjoy a good bourbon/or scotch, I can't really complain though it does diminish from the traditional wee heavy. I think if the brewers just can get the bourbon a little more in check so what seems like a good base can come more forward, this would be a really outstanding beer. Still I'd highly recommend trying it if you like these two styles... I think it is a good effort for a young brewery

Apr 16, 2013
Photo of Phyl21ca
Phyl21ca from Canada (QC)

3.81/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Bottle: Poured a deep amber color ale with a large foamy head with good retention and some lacing. Aroma of bourbon is dominant with some woody notes as well as some residual sugar notes are also perceptible. Taste is also dominated by a huge amount of bourbon with some residual sugar and toffee notes. Vanilla notes and woody notes are also perceptible though somewhat more subtle. Body is quite full with good carbonation and light warming alcohol notes can de detected. This is quite the extreme example of scotch ale with bourbon being really dominant. I enjoyed this but wouldn’t want to drink too much on one session.

Mar 04, 2013
Photo of andrenaline
andrenaline from Canada (ON)

3.98/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

From notes...

A - Pours a slightly hazy amber colour, thin layer of head with little retention and no real lacing.

S - Nose is dominated by sweet bourbon, candied brown sugar, hints of oak and peat and a strong caramel finish.

T - The bourbon dominates the palette, nicely complemented by tart peat and scotch flavours, a boozy heat lingers alongside a sweet caramel and candied brown sugar finish.

M - Medium bodied, smooth and surprisingly wet.

O - A tasty bourbon barrel aged ale whose flavours are nicely complemented by the wee heavy ale base. Dangerously drinkable and a solid and memorable brew.

Feb 17, 2013
Photo of Rutager
Rutager from Canada (BC)

3.73/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Thanks montrealbcr89!!

Appearance. Pours a deep and murky brown with a finger of khaki head.

Smell. Big bourbon, caramel, and woody vanilla. Straightforward, but good.

Taste. Sweet caramel and bourbon with plenty of vanilla, wood, and leather.

Mouthfeel. Full body and a bit sticky with low carbonation.

Overall. A nice big beer with some great bourbon and a nice base that's just a bit on the sweet side for me.

Jan 25, 2013
Photo of jrenihan
jrenihan from Canada (ON)

4/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Papat444 for this bottle. This is a wee heavy aged in bourbon barrels. An interesting choice for a fairly new brewery!

Beer is a very dark brown. A vigorous pour results in a moderately-sized beige head. Head dissipates at a steady pace, leaving some lace.

Lots of oak, vanilla and bourbon in the nose. Caramel and toffee are there as well. The barrel aspect is dominant, although some scotch ale notes can be found. If I had not known what style of beer it was, I would have readily believed it was a barrel-aged barleywine.

Taste follows the nose closely. Lots and lots of barrel. Oak, vanilla and bourbon. All nice flavours. Then we have a bunch of sweet caramel malt and toffee flavours. Boozy and sweet. Like the smell, the barrel really does most of the work, but the base beer is there and they mix well.

Full bodied, moderate carbonation, boozy and a bit sticky.

Overall, a tasty beer but anything but subtle. Perhaps a case of the barrel obscuring the beer, but the result tastes good, so I can't complain. I am generally not a huge scotch ale fan but enjoy this beer, so I count that as a success! I would certainly try the brewery again.

Dec 02, 2012
Wee Heavy Bourbon from Microbrasserie Le Castor
Beer rating: 88 out of 100 with 75 ratings