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)
696 Ratings
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

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 696 |  Reviews: 280
Photo of perrymarcus
3.28/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

12oz bottle served in a snifter.

pours a nice chestnut tone with ruby hightlights, yields a foamy, tan head with decent retention and good lacing. nice presentation.

nose is lead by caramel malts, a discernible smokiness with a touch of peat, and some light woodiness; also a bit of a metallic note in the background.

wow, flavor is extremely assertive, really packs a smoky, malt-forward punch; the metallic element that was a secondary note in the aroma is more pronounced here. the first sip is a bit abrasive, but as the beer warms it definitely improves, with the caramel malt, peat, and woodiness opening up. still, the beer never really finds its way, and in the end winds up as a middle of the road wee heavy. definitely a good dose of booze, primarily in the finish.

mouthfeel is a strong point: medium-bodied and creamy... average carbonation.

overall i think this is an OK brew. (E for effort?) some elements about it are worthwhile while others i could do without, but ultimately it just doesn't rise to challenge some of the better scotch ales/wee heavies out there.

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Photo of Thanby
3.13/5  rDev -14.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Pours super-dark mahogany with only a tinge of light through the edges. A good bit of tan head settles somewhat quickly into a thin cap with a bit of lacing.

The nose is strong on dark caramel malt and molasses, full of body, hints of black cherry and raisin, and the peat smokiness lies over everything.

The first taste is powerful, the peat dominates the experience bringing the smoke up front. There's sort of a mesquite quality to it, which is unusual but interesting. Very earthy, a bit sweet through the body and has a really meaty texture. Finishes a bit astringent and dry.

Thick and rich body, chewy, lots of potent sweetness that finishes dry and has a very boozy taste through the whole thing. It's not bad and definitely worth trying, but honestly I was expecting something more refined and complex. Some of the flavors are so overpowering that it's hard to discern much beyond them.

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Photo of neophilus
3.62/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a tulip glass. The head is thick and creamy with a light tan color. The foam clings to the sides of the glass and hangs around for a while. The color is dark brown, almost black, and impenetrable to the gaze.

Sweet malt hits the nose right up front, gently offset by a hint of smoke. As it warms the aromas come out more, behind the sweetness the scents of old leather and tobacco emerge.

A rich malty taste greets me but the peat smoke soon kicks in and dominates the back of my mouth. It leaves a mildly astringent feel. The peat smoke balances the malt sweetness but in a way that leaves the taste a little flat. I go back looking for more complex malt tones but the smoke always rears its head, cutting my expedition short. The aftertaste hints at leather and tobacco again and does not leave much smoke behind.

Mouthfeel is thick and viscous - great for sipping slowly. The body of this beer makes its presence known. Small amount of bubbles greet the tongue but quickly die down and let the thick body take over.

Overall I do like this beer, but I was hoping to find more complexity in the malt. The peat smoke is both a blessing and a curse - it gives the beer a distinctive flavor and character but perhaps dulls the richer flavors of the beer. I really do enjoy the smoke as something out of the ordinary but it tends to make this beer more about its smoke flavor than its malt. Maybe if they dial back the smoke just a little bit it will let more complex flavors come through.

Highly enjoyable drinking experience regardless - this is definitely a brew to warm up a bit, pour into a goblet and then sit back and enjoy. The mouthfeel doesn't disappoint and the peat smoke is interesting enough to keep your attention for at least one beer, maybe two.

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Photo of OWSLEY069
3.53/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a deep amber to brown-ish color with a tan head. In the aroma, coffee roast and a small hint of alcohol. In the taste, coffee, alcohol, and a small presence of a dry peet/ earthiness. A smooth and medium bodied mouthfeel, with a dry malt and small alcohol like aftertaste. A bit hot from alcohol, but a nice roast.

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Photo of Brad007
4.08/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a dark red color with a two-finger head into my glass. Beautiful color that couldn't get any better for the style.

Sweet, smoky malt with a hint of raisin upfront. Menacing and full of alcohol heat.

Packs a wallop as it lays down the law with thick, chewy malt. At first, you think you're getting another BBC beer but towards the middle? All-out assault on the taste buds.

So strong, it makes me cough. Lingering warmth fills the stomach, leaving a good amount of raisin in its' wake. Fierce and yet, loyal to the order.

Enough of the semantics here. This is a strong, highly drinkable example of the style. Some people will poo-poo it due to the fact that it came from the hands of Jim Koch. Let them do so, for they cannot appreciate a decent attempt at this style.

You may want to stash it away for 3 months or so and try it again. It will only reveal the true character within.

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Photo of Halcyondays
3.23/5  rDev -12%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12 oz. bottle,

A: Pours a deep mahogany with a firm light tan head, solid retention and lace.

S: Campfire, teriyaki sauce, and brown sugar reduction.

T: Lots of sugar and malt, not really that smoky, but there is a hint of peat on the back end which I liked. Not very balanced though, and there's still a lot of soy and teriyaki sauce.

M: Full-bodied, creaming, cloying at times, robust for sure.

O: Not a terrible effort, but doesn't have the elegance or balance of something like Traquair or Skullsplitter which are malty beers for sure, but remain immensely drinkable, and the sugar does not go over the tops.

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Photo of Gmann
3.61/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a very deep brown color with a tight dense tan colored head that settles into a light cap with a wall of lacing.

The aroma is malty with a hint of a metallic twang and some wet wood. Malty for sure but nothing specific. Rather bleh for the style.

The taste has a nice roasted malt flavor, some burnt toast action. Some light caramel and wet wood round out the flavors. There is a light meatiness and a bit of a copper flavor. There is some restrained fruitiness to the malt that is found in english ales

The feel is moderate with tingly carbontion. Sits sweet and bitter on the palate, finishes sticky with some belly burn from the ABV.

A decent wee heavy but doesn't blow me away. Very solid malt presence and a touch of peat/smoke. Very malt driven needs a bit more earthy flavors to it.

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Photo of prototypic
3.26/5  rDev -11.2%
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 +14.4%
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 +1.6%
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 +13.1%
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 +4.4%
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 -26.4%
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 breweski15
4.2/5  rDev +14.4%
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 -16.9%
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 +5.7%
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 -5.2%
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 +7.9%
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 +6.8%
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 +10.4%
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 -13.6%
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 -7.4%
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 +5.7%
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 +9.8%
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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Samuel Adams Wee Heavy (Imperial Series) from Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams)
Beer rating: 3.67 out of 5 with 696 ratings