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

696 Ratings
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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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Ratings: 696 |  Reviews: 280
Photo of puboflyons
3.83/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Sampled on July 9, 2011. It shows a semi-opaque mahogany-brown, ruby red hued tone. Loads of Scottish malts up front with a but of smokiness tickling the nostrils on second whiff.The body is heavier in texture than some but also pretty smooth. The 10% ABV is noticeable more in the taste than in the aroma so it makes me think of an English Strong Ale more than anything else.

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Photo of ktrillionaire
4.12/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours a deep chestnut hue with sturdy tan froth and spotty lace.

S - The aroma is straddling the line between pungent and sublime. Rich suggestions of dark fruit, soy sauce, raisin, hardwood smoke, and molasses are noted; it all melds quite well.

T - Though the label claims otherwise, it seems like the brew is dosed with hardwood smoke in lieu of peat, and it works well. Dark fruit, toffee-caramel, and smoked meats are the mainstay and there is some herbal bitterness on finish. Perhaps the smoke may be a tad heavy.

M - Quite nice; it has a big body and a soft feel.

O - Color me impressed; it is sort of like a Wee Heavy - done Bamberg style - and it is really a successful concoction on all levels. The only knock I really have is that it is a really big beer and very full-flavored, so its drinkability is diminished.

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Photo of ferrari29
3.73/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Beer poured from bottle into a Tulip shaped glass

A - Beer appears a bit oily on the top, drops of beer formed as the last bit was being poured, seems to ball up and roll over the top of the foam; dark body with plenty of visible carbonation; beige or latter colored head; heads holds well on the edges of the glass; leaves behind a moderate amount of lacing

S - Scents of roasted malt and scotch; hints of chocolate and coffee, but mostly scotch and oak; wood; vanilla bean; leather; smoked wood and smells a bit medicine like

T - Strong scotch taste; overwhelms the senses, gets a quick reaction out of me; high ABV taste; smoked wood flavors; sweet syrupy scotch flavors up-front and finishes of with a smokey wood flavor; caramel and vanilla

M - Solid body and slightly effervescent; smokey wood aftertaste that turns into a sweet caramel flavor during retro-olfaction

D - Blending scotch and smoked wood flavor isn't my bag, but the flavor was unique and enjoyable for the tasting; I'd have one and pass on the next one

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Photo of MrVonzipper
4.21/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Black in the glass, but a dark rootbeer color around the edges where light shows through and while poured. Nice thick foamy khaki head with medium retention and lacing.

Full flavored. Nice smokey oak, scotch notes up front. Deep rich sweetness that transitions well throughout the beer. Really well balance and a nice smooth peaty aftertaste.

Thick viscous mouthfeel, yet not too heavy. Medium carbonation that is really nice creamy/foamy.

Overall this beer is very good. One of the best of the style I've had. Great body and full flavor along with ABV.

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

Haven't been wild about the other Sam Imperials that I've tried, but this one was pretty darn good. Exceptionally malty, and not as sweet as many other Wee Heavy's but a good beer nonetheless.

Pours deep chestnut and black, with a bit of white. Head is thin, and slightly off white. Nose is very malty, and that's about it - not a lot of the good wee heavy characteristics.

Taste is exceptionally malty again, but with a bit of oakiness. Biggest concern is the lack of fruitiness and brown sugar, otherwise an enjoyable beer. Body is full, and thick, definitely a positive for the style.

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Photo of aepb1
3.58/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A- black body with an off white head

S- malts and some dark fruits in there too

T- some toasty oak malts and finishes with boozy heat

M- medium body with basically moderate carbonation and significant boozy heat

O- a decent wee heavy and quite available so that's nice

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Photo of IronCitySteve
3.72/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a nice dark reddish brown color with a nice thick off white foam head. There is some moderate lacing.

S: Thick amounts of caramel, bread, oak, toast and smoke. Very abundant scents that are very rich and inviting.

T: Starts off with a thick amount of smokey oak flavors and some peet. In the middle the alcohol becomes slightly noticeable. In addition, there is some nice toast and caramel. On the back end the alcohol becomes slightly more prevalent but the smokey malt and caramel malt are still noticeable.

M: A thick smokey peat taste is left on the palate from this full bodied beer. There is also a slight hot taste on the back of the throat from the alcohol.

O: A nice scotch ale. The alcohol was a tad hot, but overall it is a quite flavorful full bodied beer. Worthy of a try.

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Photo of jdhilt
4/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a two finger khaki head that fades very slowly leaving a good lace. Clear dark brown color. Light-medium carbonation and medium-heavy bodied. Dark fruit nose, flavor is dark fruit and hints of caramel, smooth. Higher ABV is hidden. $3.35 for a 12oz bottle from Bert’s Better Beers Hooksett, NH.

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Photo of Bung
4/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz. One of the darker brown pours I've seen in a while from a wee heavy. Just a thin layer of very light tan head.

Aroma, large amount of toffee and peaty barrel like qualities. A little one sided.

Taste has a little more balance with some fruity tones. But mostly dominated by the toffee and smokey peat. The smoke whisky barrel quality is pretty strong in the finish.

Certainly not a light drinker on a warm night. Thick and coating, but just enough carbonation to keep it in check. Really not all that much alcohol presence for the size.

Almost like a barrel aged wee heavy. I like it, but can see how some will not.

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Photo of moosemoose
3.65/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle into pint glass

A: Dark amber with a finger of head that dissipates somewhat quickly. Amazing lacing.

S: Molasses and dark fruits. Burnt malts.

T: Hints of wood and nuts. Cherry and coffee.

M: Thick with good carbonation. A bit of a bitter burn afterwards.

O: Not bad. Not a huge fan of Scotch ales, but it's pretty decent although somewhat expensive.

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Photo of cooncat
4.08/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Purchased as a single for $2.99 from VE in Boardman, OH.

A hard pour at 50deg. F. into a standard shaker pint glass produces what looks like a deep mahogany colored brew, with a healthy sized wheat bread colored head. When backlit, with a light, the color shows up to be garnet. Nearly opaque, but good highlights on the sides of the glass.

The nose is very malty, with lots of caramel roast notes, and just a hint of smoke.

Taste is very rich, malty and with just the right amount of smokiness. I've had a lot of brews which over-do the smoke levels, but this is right on. Its just enough to give it some accent. The 10% abv is noticeable in a bit of a warming on the swallow, but it isn't fusel. Lots of roast caramel, licorice, pumpernickel bread notes in the flavor. Hops are an after thought and not noticed. The smokey peat flavor is just right ... very very smooth.

Mouthfeel is a lucious medium-full ... almost to the level of a good RIS. Very pleasing to roll around on the palate before swallowing.

Overall, this is another impressive "Imperial Series" brew from Jim Koch and the good people at Sam Adams. Their Imperial Hallertau Pilsner, which hasn't been around for a while, was my first SA Imperial brew, and it was mighty fine ... perhaps the most impressive pilsner I've ever quaffed. This Wee Heavy impresses me a lot. If I ever decide to brew a wee heavy myself, I would hope it to come out just like this. Excellent brew, and get some any way you can. Highly recommended, and coming from me, that's high praise indeed.

Na Zdravje!

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Photo of champ103
4.37/5  rDev +17.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Pours a dark reddish/brown color. A two finger beige head forms with good retention. Some sticky lace is left behind.
S: A big malt bomb in the nose. First off the peat malt, light smoke, and wood aromas. Dark fruits, sweet toffee, and chocolate. I love it.
T: Follows the nose with tons of malt. Toasted malts, chocolate, toffee that are great. Plenty of peat, smoke, and wood as well. Dark fruits of cherries and raisins brings everything together. Excellent.
M/D: A full body with lower carbonation. So smooth and velvety. Easy to drink. A great beer to sip on.

I love this. Pretty much everything I want in the style, which is my favorite. Plenty of peat, smoke, malt, and not over the top sweet. Which is a big problem with American version. I don't understand the lower scores here. Something I would highly recommend.

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Photo of Arbitrationer
2.85/5  rDev -23.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Appearance - Pours a dark black with a thick copper head that dissipated quickly (under 2 minutes). Surprisingly a decent lace, though.

Smell - Smells malty, smoky and sweet.

Taste - Strong peaty flavor like scotch. Nutty whiskey flavor. The peat taste overwhelms the beer, not very well balanced, but that's to be expected by reading the bottle. Almost no detectable hops.

Mouthfeel - Feels very carbonated and heavy.

Overall - I was not impressed with this beer. I appreciate what Sam Adams was trying to accomplish and their tribute to the style with a twist, but I simply did not care for the flavor.

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Photo of airheadmtrcycle
3.3/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Dark, heavy looking beer with a finger of khaki head in a pint glass. The head looks like espresso crema, very inviting.

The aroma and taste is peaty with a smokey flavor just like the label says. There is also a spice that probably comes from the high alcohol content. This is no "whoosy" brew. I haven't had lunch and I probably need to have a bite to eat with this brew.

(pause to make a sandwich)

Honestly, this beer just doesn't agree with me. I find it's a little "hot and spicy" on my throat as it goes down. This makes it difficult to write too much more about this effort from Sam Adams. I've three left, so I'll come back after I give it another go, as they say.

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Photo of rKunda
3.33/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

I edited this review on a further sampling. I might have been a little harsher than was deserved and on some subsequent tastings, I've come around a bit.

This is not like any Wee Heavy I've had. It's hard to tell if it's less sweet than some of them are because the very strong smoky flavor somewhat masks the normally carmel like sugars in the Scotch ales. I don't know if I was wasn't partial to this the first time because it wasn't what I was expecting or what.

However, I tasted it after drinking another really decent scotch ale and noticed immediately the differences, especially that smoky flavor. It's a very unique take on Scotch ales and definitely worth a try.

The mouthfeel is a little odd. It has almost a light syrupy like effect, I think from the more mild carbonation combined with the sugars. It's not the best SA I've had, but it's very unique. And it's not the priciest beer in the craft brews section, so if this sticks around, it's not as painful getting a decent Scotch ale in my neck of the woods for a fair price!

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Photo of elgiacomo
3.46/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle, recent release. Served at cellar temperature.

Pours red/brown/copper with a one finger tan head that leaves nice sheets of lacing and holds a small foamy cap.

Aroma is nuts, caramel, toffee, molasses, brown sugar, toast/bread, some cherries/dark fruits, and a bit of peat. Good strength.

Flavor generally follows suit with caramel, toffee, bread/toast, nuts, molasses, some dark fruits, very malty. Rather sweet but that’s par for the course with SA Imperial Series beers. Some warming if not astringent alcohol on the finish which acts to dry out and combat the strong sweetness.

Mouthfeel is medium full, smooth and creamy, low/medium carbonation.

An above-average Wee Heavy, but sweeter than what I would like.

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Photo of AdamBear
3.76/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A-dark brown, almost black with a nice light tan head

S-smells like molasses and dark sugars. fairly medium but a bit boozy

T-comes in with syrupy burnt dark malts. its very thick and sweet taste. the roasted character is strong and seems to last awhile to make up a good after-taste. this beer has a wood over flavor to it. the beer does have a molasses like sweetness that sticks to your mouth.

M-thick medium carbonation with a dry and sweet finish

O-this is a fair representation of the style. it definitely is a little too sweet but the smoked flavor is really good. its fairly easy to drink for the ABV. i'm glad i tried it but i don't need another one.

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Photo of deebo
3.53/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bought in 2011-no date on bottle

A-Color is dark brown/black with red tints, is clear with heavy tan head with some staying power that leaves some lacing as you drink.
S-Toasted/smoked malts, some burnt sugar. Ethanol is detectable.
T-Toasted/smoked malt flavor, with a little bit of hops, alcohol is detectable, but nothing more than would be expected for a 10% brew
M-Medium carbonation and body, some alcohol vapor burn, with a bit of a bitter linger after a few drinks.
D-Good for 10% ABV, could get you in a little trouble, but best for 1 or 2 given the heavy flavor.
O-Nice balance of ingredients-meets the style to a tee, goes good with the venison chop I had along with this one.

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Photo of devinoconnor
3.98/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Really nice, rich dark scottish ale full of character.

Pours a dark, almost black color with a frosty two finger head.

Smell is toasted nuts, some cocoa and slightly sweet.

Taste is strong, yet smooth. Some subtle hops mixed with chocolate undertones. Very complex ale.

Overall, a nice surprise.

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Photo of yemenmocha
4.33/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Big smoky beer!

Pours deep mahogany color with light tan head that is thick at first, then settles to a thin rim layer. Nose is rich with roasty malt, smoky malt, and baked desserts. On the palate the smoked malt is quite a whollop on the palate, dark caramels & toffee, and leads to a roasty dry finish. Aftertaste of toffee & smoky flavors just lingers and lingers. What a savory beer!!

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Photo of smcolw
3.64/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Starts off with the classic Sam Adams two-finger head with some staying power. Leaves streaky lace on the glass. The color is deep ruby brown and appears to be clear.

Mild smell of chocolate ice cream. None of the typical elements of a Wee Heavy is present. Some cocoa, that's it.

The flavor is much improved. Good chocolate notes with a heavy alcohol influence. There's some bitterness that is likely from hop rather than black patent malt as there is no coffee flavors. The alcohol is very present, perhaps on the high side. Rich bodied but not quite syrupy.

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Photo of jacobseyb
3.41/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from the bottle into my snifter a deep, very dark ruby black color, clear, with ample dark tan head. Some lacing, the head dissipated slowly and remained relatively strong throughout. Initial smell was malty, biscuity, with some smoke noticable. The aroma that stood out to me was a slight floral note after the other aromas faded. Some alcohol smell as well. Taste is malty, with smoke and some alcohol present. Feels good very smooth, almost creamy, and full bodied. Warming sensation from alcohol present. Oiliness present as well. Overall while I enjoyed the beer it was a less aggressive Wee Heavy than I have had in the past.

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Photo of Zorro
4.08/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Clear deeply brown colored beer with a medium sized light brown head.

Sweet and malty scent with a good smoke note. Smells a little like Rauchbier with a strong band-aid medicine scent. Fairly strong molasses scent. Glutamate scent, it smells a little like meat.

Starts out malty and smokey with a bit of bitterness in the aftertaste. Mildly sweet this is nicely malty and thick in texture. Alcohol can't be tasted at all but you can feel it in your chest. Not a lot of subtle flavors here it is quite straightforward, this is a Wee Heavy and nothing else. This is an excellent example of the beer type Wee Heavy.

Mouthfeel is thick, chocolate milk thick.

Drinkability is outstanding for such a big beer. I have been mostly disappointed by most of the Sam Adams "Imperial Series" beers but this one didn't disappoint.

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Photo of TMoney2591
4.03/5  rDev +8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in a Dogfish Head snifter.

Took me long enough, but I finally found a single bottle o' this 'round here (I'm always wary of the new stuff, no matter how tempting they may appear). It pours a solid ruby-highlighted brown topped by a lovely finger of glowing off-white foam. The nose comprises toffee, light smoke, candi sugar, light roasted malts, honey, and light cocoa. The taste is a bolder expression of these elements, with the smoke really coming forward, edging the toffee with a nice toasted character. Some mild notes of plum, figs, brown sugar, molasses, and black grapes add some variety to the proceedings. It all works nicely, if borderline cacophonous. The body is a hefty medium, with a light moderate carbonation and a feel that borders on the lightly chewy. Overall, a very nice brew, possibly the best of SA's Imperial Series.

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Photo of beerthulhu
3.61/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Pitch black in the glass shows deep ruby highlights when backlighted. A bready medium-dark khaki colored head retains nicely ontop but is minimal in terms of lace coverage. Visible carbonation was medium and moderately paced on the rise.

S: Boozy nose, peat, but mostly booze, dark fruit (dates, prunes) and a caramelized dark roast of medium strength.

T: The flavor is boozy dark fruit and dark crystal malt providing signs of dried raisins and a burnt sweetness. Malty with smoky peat and a dry caramelized roastiness. There is a bit of dry earthy hops that move in, a bit more so then usual. Sweet black licorice with roasted barley come on the close. Overall a wee-heavy that is a bit wee-heavy on alcohol (10%) with a healthy helping of black malt roast and a kettle caramelized body.

M: Surprising this was a fairly light affair on the tongue considering style and the heavy flavor and alcohol. Boozy with a medium body and a warming of alcohol, dark fruit and roast left behind.

D/O: At 10% you probably wont be enjoying to many of these at one time. Smoky roast that is a bit wee-heavy on the alcohol (10%) even per style but thankfully is wee-heavy on flavor making this an enjoyable treat in limited fashion and overall a experience worthy of its imperial standard labeling.

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Samuel Adams Wee Heavy (Imperial Series) from Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams)
3.73 out of 5 based on 696 ratings.
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