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: 695
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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Photo of musicforairports
4.1/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours pretty close to black, but on second glance with some light behind it it's not quite black. Head is nice but doesn't stick around; some nice lacing does though.

Smells like toffee, figs and all sorts of dark fruit and dark malts.

Tastes like the nose, with alcohol surprisingly not present, and lots of robust malt flavors that draw to mind toffee, coffee, and other malt flavors.

A bit creamy on the mouth but none to thick at all to keep this from being crazily drinkable for a 10 percent ABV beer.

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Photo of YouSkeete
4.27/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Dark brown, almost bronze around the edges. No head whatsoever, very very partial lacing.

S: Roasted coffee, caramel, oak and wood, mild fruity sweetness. Hints of dry hops and bourbon as well.

T: Big nice malt character right off the bat. Roasted coffee and espresso beans, dry hopped malts, and a mild scotch bite. Hop character and alcohol is well balanced. Caramel sweetness is just a little tiny bit on the strong side, though it creates a great balance with the rest of the body. Hints of bittersweet dark chocolate and candied fruits follow.

M: Sticky and milky on the palate, full body with moderate carbonation. Oaked scotch and fruity sweet aftertaste.

D: Easy as hell for a 10%abv. A great addition to the Imperial Series.

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

I poured from a 12 ounce bottle into a nonic, reddish/amber color with a medium white head, light lacing. The aroma has sweet malts, hints of smoke. The flavor is sweet toffee, hints of smoke, no alchohol. The body is full, decent carbonation. A very nice beer, dangerously drinkable for a 10% brew.

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Photo of rlee1390
4.23/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A-Dark black, about half a finger of head, some lacing is left behind.

S-Smoked and roasted malts, peat.

T-Starts with the smoky and roasted malts, ends with some bitterness. Well balanced the peat is a wonderful.

M-Heavy, smooth not much carbonation.

D-Extremely drinkable, leaves behind a great after taste. Possibly the best beer Sam Adams brews, haven't had the rest of their Imperial Series but this could be there best offering.

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Photo of carl
3.87/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I sampled this beer in a four-pack from the refrigerated section at a local liquor store. Overall, this is quite a good beer, but I don't think it really exemplifies the style well.

Appearance: Nice but nothing special. Dark beer with a low-to moderate head. The foam is lacy and clings to the glass reasonably well.

Aroma: Here we find the beer's strong suit. The odor is complex with a strong alcohol overtone - reminiscent of whiskey. There is a faint sweet, cheese smell and an overall inviting mix of subtle scents

Taste: Again, there is a faint sweetness, but the overall flavor is roasted-ness and the hop bitterness. The hops are not overpowering, but seem slightly out of place for a style that typically is low hopped and malty. The malt load is apparent but not strong - the beer is balanced toward the hops. There are hints of chocolate and a smokey note.

Mouthfeel: The beer has moderate body, smooth with low carbonation.

Drinkability: Very easy going beer - you don't notice the alcohol and it goes down easily.

I wouldn't put this beer in any other category, but for a wee heavy I found it too tilted toward the hops. A very nice beer once you know what to expect.

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Photo of Nerudamann
3.38/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Sampled at a beer fest (I know I know, I shouldn't review beers at a beer fest, but I took steps to make sure I concentrated and kept my palate fresh) in 3oz size.

Look - dark, but clear. About one and a half finger's worth of khaki-colored foam that dissipates somewhat quickly.

Smell - malty, somewhat chocolaty.

Taste and Mouthfeel - Very can taste the alcohol. Good but strong mix of malts and hops. Syrupy in taste, but the texture is a good balance, but mostly creamy.

Drinkability - it's a bit strong for repeated drinking, and not very complex, but not bad tasting either.

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Photo of nickthegun12
3.91/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

not bad beer....i've tasted better scotch ales!

appearance is dark reddish brown color...with a fading head....and not much lacing to speak of...

smells like a stronger version a sam's regular scotch ale....the smoked peat malt comes out better in this one...

the taste is a little sweet....and has an underlying smoky flavor....not bad...

the feel is a good balance with the not going on the dry side....not too much carbonation...

the drink ability is there surprisingly....has much more drink ability than the other imperial beer by sam....

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Photo of lordofthewiens
4.25/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

What a nice beer!
In a Sam Adams pint glass the beer was a dark reddish/brown color with a tan head. A bit of thin lace.
Caramel/roasted malt aroma. Sweet, smoky. Lots going on here.
Toffee taste. Smoky/peaty. Warming. Don't taste the alcohol.
This was a full-bodied beer with real depth. The flavors worked well together.
Gotta have more.

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Photo of emmasdad
3.61/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Saw this one on the singles shelf today at the Whole Foods, and figured it was cheaper than the four pack so...anyways, it pours a very, very dark brown (nearly black) color, with a big 2 fingers of light brown foam. Aromas of plums, raisins and burnt sugar. On the palate, fairly full bodied and phenolic, with plums, raisins, brown sugar and peat smoke.

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Photo of plfahey
3.8/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

12 oz. bottle poured into a tulip glass.

Appearance-Deep mahogany brown with faint ruby highlights. Nearly opaque but appears relatively clear. Moderate light tan head with some lacing and moderate retention.

Aroma-Rich molasses and brown sugar aromas, with a nice spectrum of dark/dried fruits (raisin, plum, prune), burnt caramel, and some background alcohol notes.

Flavor-Caramelly sugar notes, with some burnt sugar alcohol flavors. Light dark fruit and molasses. Substantial alcohol dries out the finish.

Mouthfeel-Full mouthfeel, slightly chewy. Medium low carbonation. Substantial alcohol warmth. Extremely smooth.

The flavor is a little bit one dimensional, and a bit disappointing after the complex aroma, but this is still a pretty solid beer, and a nice sipper for a cold winter night.

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Samuel Adams Wee Heavy (Imperial Series) from Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams)
3.73 out of 5 based on 695 ratings.
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