Samuel Adams Wee Heavy (Imperial Series) | Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams)

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Samuel Adams Wee Heavy (Imperial Series)Samuel Adams Wee Heavy (Imperial Series)

Brewed by:
Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams)
Massachusetts, United States

Style: Scotch Ale / Wee Heavy

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.00%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by Duhast500 on 02-24-2010

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Reviews: 279 | Ratings: 694
Photo of prototypic
3.26/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Wee Heavy pours a very dark, mahogany brown color. Looks very dark for the style. Backlighting reveals some crimson and burgundy highlights. A tan head caps it, and rises to roughly a finger in depth. It recedes fairly quickly. A nice, sticky web of lace clung to the glass.

The nose is way too weak, and is actually below average. It does feature some sweet, caramel and toffee notes. There is a distinct smoky scent, but it isn't very strong. I'm definitely getting some alcohol, but that isn't too surprising given its 10% stature. That's about it. Definitely needs some work here.

The flavor is easily a notch or two above the nose. Initially, it's very sweet and chock full of caramel and toffee. It's very brown sugary. It does have a pretty nice peat smoke flavor. It complements the malty flavors nicely. It's a little bread-like and yeasty. There's a slightly, acidic, maybe even tangy dark fruit flavor. Tastes a little like raisin. Alcohol is definitely there in flavor. It's not quite warm, but it's not far away. Overall, this is pretty good. A little sweet for my taste, but definitely not bad.

Wee Heavy has a body that's on the lighter side of medium. Carbonation is mid-range. It's not quite smooth, but it's okay. A 12 ounce is doable, but this is a sipper due to its size and sweetness. One's enough for me.

To date, I haven't been blown away by and of the Sam Adams Imperial Series. Wee Heavy doesn't change that. Having said that, it's not bad beer. It could easily be improved with a stronger nose and less of a sweet, sugary flavor. Maybe a little less alcohol, too. It holds up pretty well otherwise. Not a bad beer, not a great beer. Fits in well with the rest of the Imperial Series.

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Photo of Sensaray
4.2/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle into boston lager glass

Pours a dark color, but when the light hits it right, I see deep red. Small head

Smoky caramel smell

Sweet dark fruit (kinda raisiny) with toffee and caramel. A tad smoky but just a tad. Nice hop character to it. I thought I'd sense the alcohol more but its nicely masked within the complexities of this flavor. Smooth malt front, spicy hop middle to a lasting malty flavorful finish. Leaves a layer on my tongue almost. Alcohol presents itself as I finish the glass. I taste the highlands.

Heavy to medium mouthfeel. Alcohol at 10.0 was smooth. Very pleasant.

Overall this is great beer. Sweet, but good. I'm going to enjoy the 4 of em.

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Photo of morebeergood
3.73/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to mike d. for hooking me up with a free bottle. Poured into my Sam Adams Double Bock glass. Dark brown, almost black color. Pretty thick white head, and a great amount of lacing. Smell had a mild campfire aroma to it. I liked the flavor a lot actually. It had a thick peaty smoky flavor, along with a smooth dark chocolate flavor also. Reminded me more of a smoked beer than a wee heavy. Maybe SA went a bit overboard with that element. Mouthfeel was on the cloying side due to the sweetness, but it had an overall enjoyable body. For a 10% beer, it went down fairly smoothly. I liked it because it was a smoked scotch ale; a unique take. The bottle recommends some aging, so that would be an interesting path to take if I were to get more of this beer.

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Photo of BeerBoss
4.15/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Served out of a bottle into a glass and allowed to warm slightly to room temp.

A: A nice deep dark caramel/amber color.

S: Noticably prevelent sweetness with the alcoholic content showing its way through.

T: Takes a second to stimulate the senses but a very distinct malty sweetness and a realativly smooth finish.

M: The high alcohol content can be felt but its smooth.

O: I was a little hesitant to try the Sam Adams specialty beers (as I tend to stick to the micros) but this is actually pretty good. A nice beer good for sipping but can sneak up on you very quickly.

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Photo of VncentLIFE
3.83/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance - poured a dark brown color with lighter brown tones. 1 inch head that left a thin ring of foam. Little to no lacing.

Smell - Hello seriously roasted malts and alcohol! The smell is very upfront and in your face. Definitely not a bad thing. Every flavor in this beer is there in large quantities.

Taste - A somewhat smokey malt flavor comes out right away. Much more malty flavor than a doppelbock, but that's probably just the style. The alcohol doesn't come through til later in the finish.

Mouthfeel - The lightest body I can imagine for the color. I was deceived by the color once again. The aftertaste is where the alcohol taste is present.

Overall - Definitely a good beer, I like this alot more than the other Scotch Ales I've had.

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Photo of JoeyBeerBelly
2.7/5  rDev -27.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

12oz bottle served in a glass beer mug.

L - dark brown color with a beige head that thinned to a ring leaving a spot or two of lacing.

S - roasted malt with a hint of fusel alcohol in the background.

T - is this a smoked beer? ufaaa!

F - medium bodied with mild carbonation.

O - I was expecting a lot more from Sam Adams.

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Photo of beerguru15
4.2/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

When pouring the beer, the color is a dark brown-red color with a lingering tan head that starts out big and gradually decreases over time.

When smelling the beer, you're aware of the roasted malt flavor with a slight smokey after scent, though not as prevalent as initially expecting.

When tasting the beer, it's quite evident that this is a heartier/bolder beer that has a strong malt and smoke-like flavor that continues to build the more sips that is taken, almost giving a fuller taste at the end

the mouthfeel is very strong, and has a medium to no carbonation feel to it.

Overall this beer would be perfect for a cold day and is quite tasty. I actually like this one a little better than their other Scotch ale, which though is good, this has a little more "umfph" to it which makes it more enjoyable. Only thing I would change would be the overall smoke flavor to make it more prevalent but was happy I seeked out this beer

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Photo of ZeroSignal
3.05/5  rDev -18.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12 oz bottle into a SA Perfect Pint

A- Chestnut brown pour with a half-finger's worth of light beige head. Decent retention and a loose lace.

S - Malty in the nose with a peaty smoke edge to it...similar to some Scotch that I've had.

T&M - Medium to heavier bodied, definitely heavier feeling with a pronounced smokiness. Not as much as one would find in a smoke beer, but there is a peaty, smoky undercurrent throughout the entire drink. Lot's of darker roasted and caramal malts that also lend just a hint of sweetness. The 10% ABV is relatively well hidden, but makes itself known in the finish, which is a little on the sweeter side.

O - Overall a bit different then what I was expecting. I'm not typically a fan of "smoky" traits, but I think in this beer it is appropriately leveraged against the malty, sweet nature. I was glad to have tried it, but I'm not likely to revisit. It's not bad, it's just not going to be worth 10.99 a four pack.

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Photo of BEERMILER12
3.88/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours a ruby red with a fingers worth of mahogany head

S: Malty and smokey, with sort of a metallic twinge to it... Unfortunately, the metallic part is the part that sticks out the most

T: Much better than the smell, but the metallic element is still present. Fairly sweet, but this hides the alcohol well. Only slightly smokey at the end. A malt bomb for sure

M: Very heavy and thick, with medium carbonation

D/O: This would be perfect on a snowy day. A heavy, hearty beer that is a major malt bomb, but there's nothing wrong with that. The only real downfall for this beer is the metallic element that is present in both the smell and taste and the fact that the smoke isn't nearly as present in this beer than in their scotch ale, which was my favorite part of that beer and in the style

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Photo of wolfinthemirror
3.48/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a deep dark red, copper color when held to the light with a fizzy beige head that dissipates quickly... not what i'd expect form a wee heavy.

As soon as I put the beer to my nose I get a lot of boozy scents, alcohol and such. faint hits of tobacco and grape juice, or maybe a cheap franzia wine...Definitely Blushberry.

Mmm this tastes very good. Very malty with a fruity mix. There is like an oakiness, whiskey taste from the alcohol. it seems a little rough but I think it would really smooth out with some age on it.
Nice and complex, a lot better than the smell which isn't too pleasant to me.

Smooth, silky feel. not thick, but medium. lower carbonation.

Overall I think this beer is a decent Wee Heavy, definitely not my favorite but it has potential. After a year or 2 i think this beer might really surprise some people.

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Photo of Bouleboubier
3.96/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Not what I expected, considering how their Scotch Ale turned out. The Wee Heavy has pretty much the same smoky character as the Scotch Ale only it delivers in balance of malt flavor and body (thank you).

Mildly striking appearance - awesome deep ruby color, clean, with a tight khaki head, creamy, but with some bigger bubbles that seem out of place and are slow to disappear. The composition of the head is strange but attractive - swells a good inch up on the pour, retains long, settling into a steadfast blanket. Wheat seems like it was used, but just how much?

Herbal, malty, and softly medicinal is the aroma. I could swear I was getting some caramelized pear and/or chocolate cherry cordial (mostly chocolate). Not much, if any, smoky qualities. A refined and complex scent, but not terribly bold - had to strain to attain.

Sure as heck smoky in the taste but, unlike their Scotch Ale, this has the malt foundation and adequate body to balance. The "flavor" of alcohol is present, but the burn is near non-existent, only a real subtle mellow warming. Taste points: smoked, burlap-ed malt liqueur, liqueur warmth.

There's ample carb and it washes and hums through, but the quite silky smooth, actually quite creamy body keeps the fizz in check. A pleasure on the palate. Booze is damn near eliminated/assimilated from/into the texture.

Kind of astonished how good this was, how much I enjoyed it. Authentic? No... But fine all the same. Of the smoky domestic wee heavies I've sampled, this could possibly be the best. And what's strange is that, if you close your eyes, taste blind, you could almost mistake it for a Russian Imperial Stout. Of course, the nature of the peat-smoked malt versus more of a roasted malt in an RIS gives it away - its malt characteristics are quintessentially of a caramelly Scotch Ale. For what it offers, well done.

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Photo of CJfromPhilly
3.92/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours from the 12 oz. bottle a cola-like dark brown with an off-white one finger head that leaves lacing as it settles into a modest collar. Hard to gauge the carbonation level of a beer to dark to see through. Aroma is of sweet, smoky malt...hints of caramel, toffee, and the smoked peat described on the label. The aroma of alcohol is also present, the way it would be in a single malt scotch. 1st sip brings everything promised on the nose...caramel, toffee, smoky peat, and alcohol. There is a silky smoothness on the tongue, with a solid mouthfeel. Light hints of the smoke & alcohol linger on an otherwise clean finish. Drinkability is quite good for a beer with such a big abv wallop, but these are obviously sippers, not chuggers. Overall, another very good offering from Boston Beer Company, an increasingly underappreciated brewery IMHO, although I can't understand why!

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Photo of DoctorDog
4.05/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Presentation: 12 oz bottle into a snifter. "Bottled 10/27/09" printed lightly on the neck of the bottle.

A- Pours a murky dark brown/mahogany. Pours with ~1/2 finger of head, which is quickly faded into a tiny islands of bubbles.

S- Caramel-sweet maltiness, with smoky, scotch whiskey-tinged, boozy notes.

T- Roasty, smoky, and sweet, with the expected scotch bent. Bitterness is fairly low. Finishes with a fairly solid alcohol note that serves well to offset the sweetness.

M- Moderate to slightly light carbonation with a medium-full feel. A bit of alcohol warming. Quite good.

O- Good. Rich and flavorful with a nice feel. Quite enjoyable.

Future outlook: Best Sam Adams product I've had in some time...probably time to try out some of their other imperial line that I've passed on for awhile...

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Photo of BeerAdvocate
3.17/5  rDev -15%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Review from BeerAdvocate Magazine Issue #48 (Jan 2011):

Extremely dark mahogany color, small-sized head dissolves to an even thinner lacing. Lots of malt sweetness and a peppery alcohol. Syrup-like mouthfeel; the palate is grazed by some gritty crispness. Massive malt sweetness is almost cloying, and the hint of peat smoke nearly pushes it over the edge. Bitterness from the modest hopping can't even break through, yet there's some oily herbal flavor in the middle. Sweetness sticks even when the warming spicy alcohol hits the palate. A decent stab at the style, but the excessive sweetness throws it off balance a bit--still worth a try.

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Photo of WVbeergeek
3.7/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

The whole imperial series lacks finesse but while this one is the type of bruisin' ale that is going to hit you with the alcohol and peated malts that you should expect in a Wee Heavy, in this case think the heat of a single malt with the peated malt roasted dark caramel notes found in this beer. Pours nicely into an Allagash chalice, deep ruby brown almost black if your sitting in the shade, you really have to hold this one toward the light. Flavor, first off the booze really coats the sides of my cheeks and the backend of the palate, when I'm able to cope with the booze level I come up with dark roasted malts almost coffee astringency, dark roasted peat smoked malts with hints of dark chocolate. Complex for sure even a bit of sherry tartness, full bodied a bit of heat cinges your nose hairs, but overall a complex beer to share with good friends. I'm going to hold on to a couple of these beers and wait for the pearl to form.

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Photo of pzrhsau
3.4/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Nice burgundy color with a slight head that doesn't last very long.
S: Nice fruity leathery burnt malt scotch flavor with a great undertone of alcohol.
T: Slightly smokey but not overly smokey. Not too overpowering considering the alcohol content. Has a little feeling of a scotch to it.
D/O: Very strong but doesn't overpower. I feel like they didn't do enough for the style. I could have used it having more smoke. Still a very good strong beer.

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Photo of Rschis16
3.88/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A deep red almost black color with a head that doesn't show up until the end of the pour, but remains there thinly for a while afterwards. Smells of some strong sweet malts and booze and generally tastes similar. Reminiscent of my dad's scotch collection in fact. It's boozy and sweet, like a much less strong peaty highlands scotch. I bet it would age well also. Very complex with some sweet malts that complement the alcohol and scotch-like mouthfeel. Booziness threatens to overwhelm the taste buds (and does so when I taste scotch) but this manages to fit fairly well in beer form. I think this is the strongest scotch ale I've tried and I like the idea of the higher ABV mimicking the scotch mouthfeel rather than only the taste. Good beer, glad I tried it.

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Photo of AnPiobaire
4.03/5  rDev +8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I have to say that I have always been a fan of Sam Adams brews I do not pray at the altar of Sam Adams. I tried this particular brew on the reccomendation of a fellow craft brew fan.

As I first poured the SA Wee Heavy it had a very rich deep dark reddish brown hue. It poured with a thin cream colored head that quickly dissipated. My initial nosing struck me that it did not smell very far off from several scotch whiskies I have nosed. The maltiness comes through with a subtle smokiness that became more evident as the brew warmed slightly. The initial taste is the sweetness of malt, but not overly sweet. Wee Heavy is surpisingly easy to knock back given it's higher ABV, and I could be in for some trouble. It was very nice and almost chewy on the palate and the higher alcohol content did not translate into that "boozyiness" that can sometimes get in the way of the other flavors. Overall this is a very nice brew that will never dissapoint.

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Photo of csiewert
3.7/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This beer pours a thick brown color with a finger of tan head that leaves a little lacing on it's way down. The aroma is complex, with hints of roasted barley, peat and smokey fruit. The taste starts with some hints of figs and smoked peat, then finishes with a caramelly roasted barley sweetness. The mouthfeel starts a little harsh with overcarbonation, but finishes with a velvety feel. Overall a good scotch ale.

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Photo of StaveHooks
3.94/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - A deep dark brown with garnet highlights. A 1.5 tan head sinks into a thin cap. Delicate lacing towards the bottom.

S - Old lacquered church pews. Dark fruit-figs and prunes sit underneath a smokey peat and alcohol soaked wood.

T - Sour and smoked wood, slightly salty, roasted nutty malt, boozy dark fruit, alcohol invades the entire mouth. Finishes tangy with a woody alcohol-type dryness.

M - Full bodied, viscous, smooth carbonation, alcohol is bold and heavy even for this style.

This beer has great character and deep flavors. The alcohol was screaming through this beer. It had nice low level bitterness. There was no hiding it. It actually develops levels of flavors but was on the verge of taking them over.

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Photo of woosterbill
3.93/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle courtesy of vonschplieffen into a Duvel tulip.

A: An unhurried pour results in nearly an inch of fine, pillowy tan foam atop the dark brown, practically black body. Pretty good retention and tight, patchy lace. Attractive, but not quite stunning.

S: The peat smoke really dominates here, delivering woody, boozy, and medicinal overtones. The underlying malt can be sensed, but doesn't provide the aroma with as much heft as I'd expect for such a big beer.

T: Starts out with some sweet candied malts, followed by some chocolate roastiness and a big wave of smoke. There's lots of really tasty stuff going on, but unfortunately the aftertaste dies off into nothing but spicy, astringent alcohol. Harsh, but worth it for the front end.

M: Soft full body with matching carbonation. Voluptuous.

D: While the booziness is a bit overbearing, the flavors are spot on for the style and provide a great balance of malt sweetness and smoky dryness.

Notes: What do you know, another good but not quite great beer from Sam. I'm continually impressed by BBC's ability to create consistently solid beers in such a huge array of styles, but here again I'm not tempted to buy more. Definitely worth a shot for anyone who likes a big Wee Heavy.


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Photo of sentomaster
3.46/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Appearance- Immediately turned off by the dark brown, almost black poor. as I feared from the description on the bottle of 'loads of roasted malts', it maybe too much.

Nose- big hit of sherry alcohol- and an intriguing bit of something mistook for a light earthy fruitiness, I realize it is instead a light earthy peat aroma. I was really hoping for some light fruits so it's a bit of a bummer, but the a peat is very nice in the nose. Slight agitation really brings out the smoky, earthy, peat.

T/M/D - sweetly roasted mall hit your tongue first. They provide a nice backbone for the peat you can feel waiting underneath. the two flavors really dance on the front of your tongue as it warms. the peaty flavors really grab the spotlight as it moves to the back of the palate. Alcohol briefly warms and it finishes with tons of peat smoke; like peat hung over charred campfire wood. There is a nice touch of herbal tea like hops. The roastiness pretty much subside by the end and the herbal quality lingers.

Medium body with a light, fine carbonation that packs tiny little bubbles. Very drinkable for 10 percent, but I think I'm fine with one considering all that smoke and peat. The peat is interesting and well done, but a bit much at the same time.

A nice brew. I find myself almost utterly lost now when grading American wee heavy. I'm not much for 'grading to style' - if a beer is good its good - but when American breweries say wee heavy and scotch ale I expect Traquair, Bellhaven, Orkney; yet they never come too close to those brews which I love. I think I've given up on finding an American equivalent...

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Photo of chiccabeer
3.51/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured the bottle into a glass. A decent amount of foam was formed. The beer has a dark amber look to it. The smell is malty and sweet. This beer has many layers of flavor. The first to hit the tongue is malt, with a rich almost chocolate flavor. The finish leaves with a lasting enjoyable flavor. Would be good as an after dinner drink. Cheers.

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Photo of bgjohnston
4.1/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I am always on the lookout for a good Scotch ale.

Pours very dark with a medium tan head. Not too foamy, but settles about right. Clear dark coffee color, with reasonable carbonation.

Smell hints at dark candied fruits and promises a robust malty base. Taste delivers, and then midway through savoring the first sip, there is a very pronounced smoky peat flavor that just shows up out of nowhere (at least for me, didn't smell it coming). Very nice. This stuff is not nearly clean enough to make good Scotch whiskey out of, but it definitely gives a nod in that direction.

Mouth feel is not particularly thick or heavy, also a surprise, given the strength and color of this brew, and I have to bump it upward for the ease with which it went down.

Good stuff, and should be readily obtainable if it remains a regular part of the series.

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Photo of OldRaysputin
3.75/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a dark chocolaty brown with a head that settles after only about 15 seconds.

S: Getting the smokiness from the peat and roasted malts. Dark fruits. Dark Chocolate and coffee.

T: getting that nice smokiness you would expect from a scotch yet its very subtle at the same time. Not too strong on the alcohol. Sweet and rich.

M/D: Soft, even creamy, on the palate. Nice mouthfeel. minimal carbonation. Overall a good brew. I would be interested to try this side by side Sam Adams Scotch Ale.

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Samuel Adams Wee Heavy (Imperial Series) from Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams)
3.73 out of 5 based on 694 ratings.
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