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

BA SCORE
84
good
696 Ratings
THE BROS
73
okay
Read the review
Samuel Adams Wee Heavy (Imperial Series)Samuel Adams Wee Heavy (Imperial Series)
BEER INFO

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

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

BEER STATS
Ratings:
696
Reviews:
280
Avg:
3.73
pDev:
15.82%
 
 
Wants:
29
Gots:
41
For Trade:
2
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 696 |  Reviews: 280
Photo of Arithmeticus
3.98/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured at basement temp in snifter

A: solid black, ok head, not much carb., very nice lacing
S: malty with molasses
T: true to its advertisement: great, classic imperial series; smoked peat is very strong, dominant over the roasted malt; scotch character subdued

Fantastic beer, and I suspect it ages well. I'll check back after a couple of years

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Photo of SawDog505
3.98/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Poured into a 13 oz tulip glass. Pours a very dark brown, with a two inch light tan head that hangs around awhile, leaving some attractive lacing. Smell is carmel, tobacco, dark fruits, smoke, and some booze. Taste is very smoky threw out, carmel, bread, and hints of chocolate in the middle, and a little warming booze in the finish. Body is really nice, thick but silky smooth. Nice carbonation and very drinkable for it's high ABV. I really enjoyed this beer even with the powerful smokyness.

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Photo of TheCondor
3.97/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I grabbed this just today at the local liquor store while picking up a sweet Chimay snifter. I then brought this beer home, washed the snifter, then poured this brew into said snifter. Side poured vigourously into the snifter from the bottle.

Appearance - Pours a deep, rich mahogany color, not transparent at all, with a weak one finger head that dissipates rather quickly but leaves good lacing on the sides of my new snifter. The packaging and labeling is cool, to say the least, even though this is darker than any other of the style I've ever had.

Smell - Booze. That is the primary scent I get from this brew, which isn't a totally bad thing. It's one of the things I love most about the wee heavy style, the inherent "scotchiness." Caramels, roasted malts, vanilla also make a slight olfactory play as well. As the beer warms the booze really cranks it up.

Taste - Heavy on the sweet roasted malts and scotchy booze here as well. The malts assail the palate up front, and are then finished by a caramel booze kick towards the middle and end.

Mouthfeel - Probably one of the best things about this beer. Big, rich, and creamy are the three words that describe this mouthfeel. Like a milkshake, with a lot of booze. There is a spicy alcohol kick in the finish as well, I love it.

Overall - this is certainly worth a try! I see that the brothersndidnt necessarily like it, but I thought it was a solid beer. Is it the best wee heavy you will ever drink? No. Is it worth buying and trying? Absolutely. I would absolutely drink this again, although I likely wouldn't buy it just because for the money I can get Founders just as easy, which is outstanding. Anyway, a good beer for sure, give it a shot.

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Photo of TheHoppiest
3.97/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into an oversized snifter glass. Polurs a very dark brown/mahogany color, with a 1/4" ivory colored head that reduces to a thin ring around the glass, and wisps in the center.

Has a thick, peaty aroma, heavy with tangy alcohol, mild malt, and, oddly, slight astringency. The smell is almost smokey. Never had an astringent smelling beer before.

A grape-sweet grips first, clenching the tongue. A thicker, almost oily taste, hits mid-tongue, before ending dry and slightly hopped. Mild peat, even moss, with undertones of oak, vanilla, and maple.

Full bodied, with a thick, syrupy feel and a dry finish.

Tastes better than it smells, and smells better than it looks. Decent brew, though a bit heavy for a wee heavy. This is more like a sweeter old ale, but darker. Still, if you're big into SA, then give it a try, for it is certainly one of the better ones I've had from their brewery.

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Photo of brentk56
3.97/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a cola brown color with a modest head that leaves a fair amount of lacing behind

Smell: Burnt brown sugar, raisins and a vague sense of smoky peat

Taste: Sweet, up front, with the burnt brown sugar and raisin flavors dominant; the smoky/briny peat arrives in the middle and lingers in the finish but remains a bit vague; the finish returns to the sweetness

Mouthfeel: Full bodied with moderate carbonation

Overall: While this is not the best Wee Heavy I have come across, it is a very nice example of the style; I would prefer a bit more peat and a bit less sweetness but this is still quite enjoyable

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Photo of philerman
3.97/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a Smithwick's pint glass.

A: Pours a dark brown...almost a root beer color. About a half finger of head. Not the greatest looking thing.

S: Notes of currant and burnt coffee.

T: Hits fairly heavily (not at all betraying the style name) with some chocolate coming through above everything else.

M: The 10% ABV does not hide itself at all with some lingering bitterness (though some of that is likely due to having burned my mouth pretty badly earlier in the day eating soup too fast).

O: Given all the hoopla over RIS's as of late I wanted something dark and strong and though the style is different this hit the spot for that, but it's probably not something I'd have more than once a month.

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Photo of brewskifan55
3.97/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a snifter

A: Dark brown with a tan, half finger head that dissipates pretty quickly. Some lacing.

S: Malts, smoky peat, leather

T: Intense! Heavy duty malts with a smoky overture. Caramel. Sweet. A dry, chocolate finish. Alcohol slowly invades, dulling the senses.

M: Heavy, creamy. Good carbonation; lots of bubbles playing bagpipes on my tongue.

O: Sip it and be wowed! Would go well with a cigar. Decent with cheddar. A memorable drink.

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Photo of gustogasmic
3.97/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Classic Scotch-ale features. Very good.

Appearance is quintessential scotch ale- very dark, not cloudy. Head disappears quickly. The smell is full molasses and suggests a sweetness. Tastes just the same- molasses overload, and a little sweetness that leads to a good roasty malt taste. The balance is awesome and the booze is all-but-invisible. The mouthfeel is awesome- fat and sticky. Nice warmer @ 10%. It's just what I expected. If you're looking for a readily-vailable Scotch ale with an especially big kick, this is a solid one.

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Photo of StuartCarter
3.96/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: incredibly dark brown with a thin fluffy head that quickly collapses to a thin ring of foam.

Smell: fairly bland. Generically sweet, not a lot of complexity.

Taste: oh wow. Malty, caramel, smokiness, a little booze, lots of fruitiness. Wonderful!

Mouthfeel: prickly carbonation, a lot of richness and thickness.

Overall: a really good beer, nice to drink, but it doesn't really hide its ABV. The booze is there, as is the body - this isn't a bad thing *at all*!

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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 MoreThanWine
3.96/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a 2" pretty mocha brownish head with decent life. The body is dark raw umber brown, almost coffee. The smell is far milder than I was expecting but it does hint at rich malt to follow. The taste is where this really shines - a complex rich smooth malt. My only complaint is it's a little yeasty.

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Photo of Greywulfken
3.95/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: dark brown pour looks black in the glass, brief head thins to a collar

S: slightly smoky malt, brown sugary sweet

T: caramels and brown sugar, mild smoke, maybe a hint of peat on the back-end

M: full, lush, thick

O: being compared to Skullsplitter and Backwoods Bastard is not easy, and this style of beer reminds me of some barleywines, too (of which I've had my share of exceptional beers), but I'd have to say it holds its own. A worthy beer - Sam Adams' Imperial line keeps the brewer in the periphery of the craft beer drinker's eye.

As you'd expect, it warms really well, and by the time I was 2/3 done (about 30 minutes later), I was sure I was drinking a much more elite beer than I was (hey, maybe the abv had something to do with it, too, but who cares?). If the style (scotch ale, old ale, barleywine, strong dark ale) is to your liking, give it a buy.

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Photo of Blueribbon666
3.95/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a dark brown, almost black into dimpled mug with very little head. Smells of raisins, plums, bread and malt. Wow, another BIG flavored, full bodied beer in their Imperial Series, Wee Heavy indeed, velvety thick that coats the tongue with the aforementioned sweet raisin and plums with the alcohol fully evident that warms deep with a smokey peat like finish. Another BIG beer sipper that I liked more than the Dopplebock in the series as I thought it was a little heavy in the mouthfeel for that style it seemed closer to this Wee Heavy, which is a thick, sweet sipper. The Imperial Series is a good 4-pack series for $9.99 that finds its way into more mainstream outlets like grocery stores.

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Photo of cratez
3.95/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle from Siciliano's Specialty Market in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Pours a dark brown hue, basically black, with deep ruby edges, a sliver of cream-coloured froth, and several strands of lacing on the snifter. Good appearance for a high gravity brew.

Smell is raisin, peaty smokiness, dark fruit (plum, red grape), fire wood, Scotch whisky, seaweed-like earthiness, yeast esters, and sherry. Intriguing aromas.

Taste is raisin, red grape, and dark plum sweetness upfront, toffee and roasted malt mid-palate, very subtle peaty and earthy smokiness transitions to a mild bitterness with some burnt wood on the cough. Rich, satisfying flavours.

Mouthfeel is full side of medium bodied, higher than average carbonation, moderate bitterness precedes a drying finish with a little heat in the throat.

Overall, Samuel Adams Wee Heavy is a balanced and warming sipper with an enticing smokey character. While the palate is a little thin for the style, it also increases the drinkability. I would recommend this beer to anyone who enjoys Highland whiskies and bold, contemplative scotch ales.

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Photo of Thickfreakness
3.94/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Pours like cola into my Great Divide glass. A thin, tan head disappears immediately and leaves just little whisps of lacing around the glass. Nothing much to look at.

S- Smokey, malty sweet, vanilla bean, raisins, dried cherries, and hints of dark chocolate.

T- Smoked peat, chocolate covered caramel bites, toffee, dark raisins, fig jam, freshly scraped vanilla bean, and sweet malts. Damn this is nicely done! Bitter cocoa, sweet dark fruit, caramel and just enough smoke.

M- I love the subtle, smokey notes and the way they hang on the tongue. Nice bitter chocolate melds nicely with the slightly sour/sweet dark fruit... nice caramel/vanilla candy sweetness. Better than I expected.

O- I'm not gonna say this is fantastic... but it's not far off! Subtley smokey, amazing caramel sweetness, nicely cocoa bittered, deep dried fruitiness. So why did it take me this long to try this one? Well done Sam... well done indeed!

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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 philbe311
3.93/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - A fingers worth of slightly dense moderately creamy light tan colored froth... Slight retention gives way to thick collar and mostly full lacing... A medium-to-dark brown color with a slight chilled haze... Some sluggish carbonation can be seen climbing towards to the top of the glass...

S - Malt forward, but still rather subdued... Toffee... Caramel... Peat... Some dark fruits... Slightly muddled, yet very nice... Just wish this one had a little more umph to it... It should be noted that the booze rises to the forefront as this one warms slightly...

T - Dark fruits... Toffee... Caramel... Peat... A hint of smoke... Some very subtle coffee undertones...

M - Ultra dense... Medium to full bodied... Nicely carbonation... Slightly creamy... Slightly velvety... A bit a of chalky burnt texture... A touch of a dry finish... Very nice...

D - A definite sipper of a Wee Heavy... The 10% ABV packs a pretty good punch... Slightly above average with a stellar mouthfeel...

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Photo of WastingFreetime
3.93/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 3 | smell: 5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Reviewed from tasting notes.

A. Very dark opaque brown with reddish highlights, receding foam collar and minimal lacing.

S. Dark fruit, raisins, peaty smoke, soy sauce, toasted whole grain bread, earthy hops in the background.

T. Salty smoked figs and sweet rich plum preserves. Not quite enjoying the saltiness levels on this one. Sweetness can also get overwhelming if you sip this one too fast. As it warms I can taste something quasi-horehound flavored in the mid palate.

M. Hefty swampy thick body with a medium level boozey blast in the finish, can get phlegm-y if you don't take the time to rinse with water from time to time.

Holy hell this is a big beer, but for some reason it doesn't feel quite balanced or assembled quite right. It's probably the salty-sweet overload on this one that holds it back and makes me feel like I need to drink loads of water between each sip. But if you are in the mood for an intensely flavorful sipper to savor slowly across an evening, this could be the one for you and your fine smoking jacket / fez combo to enjoy together by the hearth with the bear skin rug.

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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.

Cheers!

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Photo of oriolesfan4
3.93/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Love me some Sam Adams, had to give this one a try. One of my favorite styles to boot so here it goes.

Pours a dark, almost blood-like color, nice little head to it. Aroma is of figs or dark fruit. Taste is medium to heavy bodied, nice creamy mouthfeel. This beer is 10% ABV and the alcohol can definitely be detected. The dark fruit really comes through, doesn't really strike me as a 'wee heavy' though. There isn't the usual smokiness in it, I would relate it to more of a Belgian or strong ale almost. A little bit of a rough finish, but for the most part a nice beer to sip and savor. Not my favorite Sam Adams by any means and they missed the style a little bit, but glad I gave it a try.

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Photo of kylehay2004
3.93/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: 3 finger thick mail chocolate head. black with redhues and light getting through. Tons of lace.

S: roasted malt with wine like, cinnamon and brown sugar notes.

T: roasted malt and some chocolate up front with a dark fruit/prune/apricot finish and lingering alcohol taste.

M: thick bodied with moderate to high carbonation.

Overall: I find myself buying a lot of imperials but I actually dont care for them. This is a very nice looking beer, the aroma is on but the alcohol is high, even for an imperial for my tastes. I have had plenty of imperials that are able to mask the alcohol content better than this one.

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Photo of JamesMN
3.92/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Hard to find any date on this one, which is odd for a Samuel Adams product.

Appearance: Dark murky brown with a thin tan head that's left some lacing. Not the prettiest of beers.

Aroma: Raisin, caramel, brown sugar, and liqueur. Robust with dark fruits.

Taste: First sip reveals a malt punch to the palate full of hearty caramelized fruit flavors. The first half continues this trend without getting too sweet and then the hops come out lending moderate bitterness which works well to complement the malt character. The flavor is pretty deep but not overly complex. Finish is smooth with an immediate nail polish remover tinge from the 10% ABV but it's quickly covered up by the signature smoked flavor of peat malt. The flavor goes on for a while in the aftertaste with dark malt contributing hazelnut coffee and toffee to the experience. Decently impressed with this one.

Mouthfeel: Full to almost thick in body with a syrupy nature about it. Good carbonation that keeps things from getting too heavy and an ease of drinkability.

Final Thoughts: I'd heard good things about the Sam Adams Imperial series and it seems I heard right. There's a lot to like about this beer. Well done. Would I drink it again? Yes.

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Photo of bamadog
3.92/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Always happy to pick up a new bottle of Sam Adams. Review is from notes taken on 5/10/2011 and poured from the bottle to a pint glass.

Appearance: Pour is a deep and dark cola brown with some rich, dark ruby highlights when held up to the lamp; starts with a short 1/2 finger tan head that fades immediately to nothing other than a scant, thin and uneven skim on the surface; only two small spots of lacing are left behind.

Smell: Quite nice and robust -- lots of big maltiness with aspects of caramel, and I'd swear a touch of butterscotch; bit of a wet, mulchy and bready scent to it; very slight touch of alcohol to it, but it's pretty well masked in the nose for something that clocks in at 10%.

Taste: It's good, and I like it -- I see it doesn't get a whole lot of love, and I can kind of see why due to the name associated with it and the sweetness, which is a tad much, but overall, I think it's a pretty solid interpretation of the style. Lots of big and sweet malts up front that match the nose to a "T," and the hearty, wheaty and mulchy breadiness; alcohol comes through clearly in the mouth, but I feel it blends pretty well with the sweetness and earthy malty overtones; bit of a cola-like sweetness lingers in the aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: Body is of medium weight, and comes with a thick and sticky coating all over the mouth, and I feel it's even creeping down the back of the throat; carbonation is present, but soft, kind of like a cola that's been sitting out for a little while; alcohol is warming to the belly and the gums are left a little tingly.

Overall: I like it, but the sweetness becomes a bit much and the alcohol would definitely limit too much in any one sitting, and I probably wouldn't put one away to age due to the already massive sweetness.

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

A - Pours a dark ruby red colour, finger of head with some retention and sporadic lacing.

S - Complex and unique. The scent off the top is reminiscent of soya sauce, but then nutty malts, chocolate, peat, smoke toffee, leather and caramel come through.

T - Intensely flavoured ale, caramel dominates alongside some cocoa, peat flavours are present, some burnt toast and leather also come through. ABV heat is subdued and the sweetness complements the flavour.

M - Medium bodied, but comes across a tad syropy. Finish is surprisingly wet.

O - A tasty wee heavy and not for the faint of heart. This is a bold beer and should be respected as such. Definitely worth a try.

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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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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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