Wet Willy Scotch Ale | New England Brewing Co.

very good
157 Reviews
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Wet Willy Scotch AleWet Willy Scotch Ale

Brewed by:
New England Brewing Co.
Connecticut, United States

Style: Scotch Ale / Wee Heavy

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.00%

Availability: Fall

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 03-01-2008

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Reviews: 157 | Ratings: 319
Photo of woosterbill
4.48/5  rDev +14%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Growler of the 2010 vintage into a Duvel tulip.

A: Pours a hazy reddish-brown body topped by a perfect inch of creamy, sticky, dense tan head. Great retention and lacing by any standard - unbelievable for an 11%+ beer (which is where this year's version wound up; last time was the 10% listed on BA). Wow.

S: Whoa, this beer is an entirely different animal fresh compared to the aged bottles I've had from the last vintage. Yeah, there's the toffee/caramel/toasty/smoky malt, as well as the rich vanilla oakiness, but there's also a huge herbal hop presence. Some alcohol is noticeable, but it's by no means the booze bomb that a beer so big and so fresh might be expected to be. Excellent.

T: Opens with oak, then moves into a richly sweet malt body, and finishes with some bitterness and booziness. Big, bold, balanced, and delicious.

M: Full-bodied and rich with smooth, mouth-filling carbonation. The effervescence does a great job combating the stickiness. Perfect.

D: It's definitely on the big, boozy side of the style, but the bitterness and carbonation make this totally, seriously dangerous. Good thing I had help with the growler, or I would have been walking home from my friends' place.

Notes: What can I say? This is a crazy, unique, and delicious brew. One malt plus one hop plus a ridiculous amount of oak chips make for a stunning experience. I'll be buying as many bottles as I can find and aging them for years to come.


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Photo of Reagan1984
2.55/5  rDev -35.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Thanks to Draught2012 for providing this in one of our trades. Excellent trading partner.

Two fingers of off white head that begins to fade immediately. The beer is a touch lighter in color than I had imagined. Still it is a deep amber color with some orange tones.

Aroma is a mix of medicine, alcohol and something trying to be sweet. But it's not sweet. (in the aroma.. We'll come back to this)

Wow, much sweeter than the aroma indicates. Have to be honest, I do not really enjoy this flavor. Ultra sweet. Molasses maybe, honey, and some medicine flavor that matches the aroma. Some heat from the alcohol. Not HOT, but it's there. Finishes quickly.

Thick, syrup like body, very little carbonation.

Not too drinkable in my book. I am surprised by the high scores here to be honest.

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Photo of FosterJM
3.65/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

454th review on BA
bottle to snifter
500 ML

App- A nice mix of orange, red and yellow. A matched 1 1/2 finger head. No real lacing on this one.

Smell- Huge citrus which was suprising and a little caramel with a barleywine esque note to it.

Taste- Very sweet for the style. Very tasty though. A bit light and a little unbalanced. A not of booze is there with a bit of creaminess.

Mouth- Medium bodied and medium carbed. I don't know why its a bit spicy on the finish with some malty, sweetness and a residual creaminess.

Drink- Still a very tasty brew and a welcome extra. Nice sweet turn on the style to make it NEBCO unique. Would like to have again.

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Photo of Boto
3.88/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Draught @ Willimantic Brewery: Served in a snifter. There was no head or lacing with this one. It was a ruby tinged brown color. The aroma was a bit lighter than expected. Some caramel sweetness, and maybe some oak. The taste is very good. Very smooth. Some sweet citrus, dark fruits and some caramel and smokiness.

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Photo of alexgash
4.08/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

500 ml bottle.

Slightly hazy ruby orange-red. Finger of dense, creamy, dirty beige head. Very nice lacing and retention. Very malty sweet nose. Candied fruits, rich caramel, peat malt, whiskey, and some rum.

Scorched caramel up front. Becomes fruitier and sweet and caramelier Slight woody, tannic bitterness around the edges. Whiskeyish, peaty notes near the finish. Woody bitterness in the finish with lots of lingering caramel and fruit. Medium-full body, with a softly carbonated feel. Delicious and quite drinkable.

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Photo of JoeyBeerBelly
4.07/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

500ml bottle served in a large beer mug.

L - murky rust color with a thin beige head that just went away in a few minutes.

S - sweet toffee and burnt brown sugar.

T - sweetness upfront with the alcohol making itself known finishing with some light bitterness.

F - medium bodied, mild carbonation with some alcohol warming.

O - good example of the style.

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Photo of sulldaddy
4.54/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

I am sampling a 5 year old 12 oz bottle poured into a snifter at cellar temp. I bought these at the brewery and have had a couple of these over time, this is my last one, im hopeful for good things.
The beer pours a clear mahogany color with minimal beige head that fades very quickly to nothing during the sampling. There is just a little bit of brown sediment on the bottom of my glass.
Very sweet and malty nose with brown sugar, raisins, some vanilla, and still some warm fusol booziness. Even after all these years it still obviously packs some punch.

First sip reveals some brown sugar and caramel with a bit of dark fruit and a bit of vanilla mixed in on the finish. The flavors are generally sweet and actually cover the booze with no hints of the alcohol on the swallow or anywhere else.
Texture is very silky smooth and drinks very easy, with very fine carbonation that is gentle and caresses my palate. Beer goes down with no issues.
This brew is amazingly easy to drink for 10% and I wish I had stashed a few more bottles as they are probably just about perfect right now.

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Photo of Vancer
4.27/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Beer sent courtesy of naproxen in the Naked Beer Geek BIF - thanks again!

Ol' Wetty comes out a semi-hazy mahogany brown into the Maredsous tulip, not much head or lacing - not surprising considering the 10% ass this one contains.

Holy moly, lots of barrel aged bourbon in the aroma, and I likey! And the quaff is all bourbon, malt and a hint of smoked peat. Whoo boy, this is one loaded up power brew - biggest scotch ale I've ever enjoyed. I'm a lucky guy to be able to have sampled this fine brew!

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Photo of srandycarter
4.04/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Cloudy burnt orange, small tan head leaves immediately, some spotty lace.

S - Malt, fruit wood and moss. Booze evident too.

T - Malt and fruit first, slammed by booze flavor and wood/vanilla.

M - Not terribly balance, carbonation a little lower than I like, but each sip is asking for another.

D - At the ABV and the big flavors, not the session beer.

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Photo of flexabull
4.07/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle courtesy of gn0sis, thanks again!

Pours a deep amber/brown color with a good white head.

Aromas are nice. Sweet caramel, oak, and coconuts.

Taste is malty sweet, but not overly so. It's about right for the style. Nice coconut notes, light oak, and boozy sweet. Finish has hints of earthy hops, and a nice alcohol warmth.

Mouthfeel is ok, but it seems a little thin, I'd like beers of this style to be thicker.

Drinkability is good. Very solid example of the style, with more body this would be really good.

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Photo of ngeunit1
4.2/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours a slightly bright cloudy amber-orange color with a finer of off-white head. The heads fairly quickly to a ring with some lacing.

S - Aroma is full of a ton of sweet carmel malt. There is also some nice oak and smokiness mixed in. Some dark fruit aromas with a touch of booze also noticeable.

T - Starts off with some sweet roasted carmel malt, some light fruit, and some smoke/oak flavor. Through the middle more of the dark fruit flavor really comes through with some more smokiness. The finish has a mix of the dark fruit flavor, some oak flavor, the sweet malt, and some booze in the background. These flavors really linger nicely.

M - Medium-full bodied with a moderate amount of subtle carbonation. Really nice and smooth and even crisp. Feels really balanced in the mouth. The finish is just a slightly bit syrupy.

D - For 10% abv and a ton a flavor this stays fairly drinkable. There is a lot of flavor going on, but it all stays really nice and balanced. Lots of sweetness, but again, it stays very enjoyable and avoids getting cloying.

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Photo of GbVDave
4/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 500ml bottle into two pint glasses. Thanks to HollyAnn for the assist! Extra special thanks to Ineedabeerhere for this from our latest trade.

2010 Vintage

A: Pours a hazy, bright amber color with a bubbly, off-white head. Retention is ok with nice lace left behind. Carbonation is quite lazy.

S: Smells of caramel malt, apples, mild citrus, and alcohol.

T: Just as above with an emphasis on the alcohol flavor. A touch of white grape in the finish?

M: Sweet and slick with a quickly creeping solvent alcohol quality that tickles the nose and tingles on the tongue.

D: I didn't realise this was packing 10% until I took my first sip and made the realization that this beer is strong, and they made no effort to hide that fact. Good show!

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Photo of philbe311
4.01/5  rDev +2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - A slightly cascading pour yields two fingers worth of rich creamy khaki colored head... Solid retention gives way to a full rich creamy lacing... The color is a light-to-medium brown caramel... There is an ever so slight haziness... Mostly still though some small bubbled carbonation can be created at the top of the glass by gently rocking it back and forth... A bit of lacing clings to the glass...

S - Mostly sweet gooey caramel to start... Some brown sugars... A slight peat component... A very subtle whiff of boozienss...

T - Caramel... Brown sugar... Perhaps some raisins... Lots of bready malts... A hint of peat... A subtle nuttiness...

M - On the fuller side of medium bodied... Perhaps a bit thin... Sleek... Smooth... Sophisticated... Regal... Very light carbonation... A touch of chalkiness... Quite enjoyable...

D - Oh this is good... A bit of a booze bomb that is a definite sipper... The typical Wee Heavy goodness is dialed back a notch while the booze is dialed up... Still very rewarding... I'm quite glad that I opted to pick up a 2nd bottle...

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Photo of hoppymcgee
4.35/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Knifestyles for this bottle! I think this is an '09 vintage. Poured into a Cigar City snifter.

A: Reddish brown with a slick/oily look to it. Not much carbonation here, but works well with the style.

S: Boozy, candied yams, brown sugar, and some butter? They must have made this around Thanksgiving time.

T: Surprisingly not too sweet, nutty, caramelly, and just overall rich.

M: Perfect amount of carbonation, and perfect amount of dryness. By it's looks, I thought this beer would be syrupy, but I was pleasantly surprised.

D: Perfect amount of booze; age really did this beer well.

Overall, by far my favorite of this style.

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Photo of PicoPapa
3.87/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

500mL bottle. Pours a murky as hell light brown. Medium sized head. Lots of lacing. Interesting aromas of booze and caramel apple. Taste is only slightly boozey. Caramel and malt flavors. Nice warming alcohol taste. Almost has a barleywine characteristic to it but maybe I'm crazy. This beer does a nice job of balancing the 10% Abv but not being abusively boozey. Worth picking up.

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Photo of portia99
3.43/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

500ml bottle poured into a Duvel tulip. This has been sitting in my cellar for a few months - not sure why I haven't tried yet, but now is the time.

A - Pours a murky, muddy sorta neutral amber brown color with a short finger of off-white foam that dies fairly quickly and leaves behind some spotty and loose lacing on the glass.

S - Sugary sweet, roasted malts, a bit of alcohol, a hint of citrus. Overall, aromas are pretty low and don't give much of an impression. As it warms, more aromas develop...vanilla pops out a bit and I get more and more barrel impressions.

T - Sweet, a bit boozy. I'm not aware of this hitting a barrel, but has a bit of a bourbony aspect to it. Caramel malt, sweet, fairly bitter for the style with hints of citrus.

M - Medium bodied, but still seems a bit thin for the style. Carbonation is low, really with just a small hint of some life. A bit warm...I get a distinct tingle on the tongue especially after the swallow which seems more a product of alcohol than carbonation.

O - Overall, not bad - but I wouldn't say this really stands out as a must have again. It is pretty well balanced with the malt just winning out in the battle against the hops. A bit of a different impression of the style. I could have this again without a problem, but I wouldn't go out of my way for it.

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Photo of BarrytheBear
4.32/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Thanks to BTPete....a thoughtful extra.

Operation Kitchen Improvement begs for some assistance. Per request, Wet Willy enters the fray.

Wildly hazy and oily pour. Deep caramel with a frothy head that plunges to the depths to be seen no more. Major league sediment.

Smell jumps from the bottle even before the entire cap is peeled away. Soft bourbon and vanilla and a freshly opened sack of brown sugar. Begs to be smelled.

Big brown sugary doughnut wrapped with tempered bourbon. Soft vanilla envelops the sugared pastry. Nice.

Slippery little devil slides around the mouth. Carbonation? Willy don't need no stinkin' carbonation.

Willy wants you to enjoy. Ten percent hidden beautifully.

Edit: Looking back at this, it doesn't seem this beer is barrel aged, but damn if I didn't pick it up. Hmmmm....

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Photo of jegross2
2.57/5  rDev -34.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Reviewing the Wet Willy Scotch Ale from New England Brewing Company out of Massachusetts.
Score: 65

Fall 2011 vintage bottle with code "7283 B-22227" printed on the bottom of the bottle. Served in a Stella Artois chalice and enjoyed on 04/24/12.

Appearance: Pours a dark brownish red color. Translucent. Thin layer of head at pour settles to a pencil thin bubbly ring around the glass. Lots of bubbles and a little sediment floating around. Minimal lacing, poor retention. 3/5

Smell: Brown sugar, bready malt, sweet caramel, and a little vanilla cream soda. Modest amount of fig too. Light boozy heat. 3.75/5

Taste: Lots of bready malt and malty caramel upfront. Lots of carbonation. Brown sugar too. Incredibly sweet, not very balanced in flavor. Has a super sweet vanilla creamy soda finish. Could not finish drinking the beer, it was so malty sweet. Alcohol well-hidden, however. 2/5

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied, too much carbonation. Slick mouthfeel. Very sweet. 2.5/5

Overall: Overly malty sweet beer with too much carbonation. The alcohol is hidden well if you can stomach the maltiness. This is easily the least balanced scotch ale that I have had to date.

Recommendation: Skip this beer.

Pairings: Pistachio nuts.

Cost: $7.99 for a four pack

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Photo of Chico1985
4/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to cbutova for sharing this 2010 vintage..err..bottle.

Pours a super-hazy red/brown, small off-white head. Retains well as mostly a cap leaving some lacing.

Smell is a little hard to describe, reminds me of something I can't pinpoint. Pure wood/oak, buttery sweet malts, freshly cut grass. Strange but very intriguing.

Caramel/butter/toffee malty madness. Aftertaste is, flat out, buttery biscuits on a Thanksgiving table. Buttery popcorn. It does fade some letting more flavors shine...big grassy notes along with some light and dark fruits. Mouthfeel feels a tiny bit thin for 10% but I won't knock it since it uses a single malt. Booze is there but mostly only in a warming way.

This was a strange and interesting take on a Scotch ale. Butter taste will probably be over the top for some but I enjoyed it for the most part.

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Photo of far333
3.36/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Caramel and ruby colored with a beige head that settles out quickly. Very low aroma of caramel and metallic note. Flavors of caramel and toffee, some vanilla, a bit woody, maltiness is offset with firm bitterness. Finishes with some grassy hop notes and mild phenols. Mouthfeel is a tad slick, but finishes tingly, slight warming of the cheeks. Tasty beer, but not too complex, was expecting more.

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Photo of AlCaponeJunior
2.47/5  rDev -37.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Brown and hazy, not a lot of head or lacing.

Sweet, fruity, malty smelling, with a little toffee.

Taste is so-so. Very malty with some fruits and a tinge of alcohol. A bit of an unpleasant pungent, moldy cellar flavor is somewhat off-putting.

Feel is slick and thin, not what I was expecting for a scotch ale.

Not an especially good beer. They need to tweak this recipe some.

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Photo of jaasen64
4.2/5  rDev +6.9%

Bottle from '09 (cellared by Nikki's, purchased for $6).

A- Pours a clear amber color with a golden hue, a bit on the flat side without any head and not a lot of noticeable carbonation (3.5)

S- Aromas of dark fruits, plums, malts, light caramel, a bit of oxidation, gets better as it warms up (4)

T- Taste of sweet dark malts, plums, lightly syrupy caramel, butterscotch, and a bit of oxidation that blends well with the beer. Again opens up as it warms a bit, fairly tasty for it's age and lives up to the aroma (4.25)

M- A tiny bit light for the style, more carbonation then the appearance would lead you to believe with a little bit of a fizzy presence, fairly drinkable with just a mild boozy presence for 10%, just a very slight hint of syrupiness (4.25)

O- This was a nice beer for being 5 years old, I haven't had it fresh but I imagine it's right around it's peak right now but could maybe hold up for a couple more years. For $6 you can't go wrong, I may go back and pick up a couple more (4.25)

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Photo of angrybabboon
3.77/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Review adapted from notes taken 6/15/12

Appearance: Burnt orange/copper, with some light brown - small, creamy off-white head that fades quickly, leaves some spotty lacing - hazy

Smell: Heavy malts, cooked and grainy - a sweetness that can only be described as dark and grainy - some booze - somewhat whiskey-like, almost smells barrel aged (even though it isn't) - some dark fruit - rich bread crust and overcooked biscuits

Taste: Bread crust and some warming booze - heavier than I anticipated - cooked, caramelized malts, caramel malts, with some dry alcohol - slightly bitter, with a grainy sweetness - dark fruits, and some smoked malt

Mouthfeel: Heavy and full, borderline syrupy, adequate carbonation, nice carbonation, a sipper for sure

Overall: A decent sipper for Scotchtoberfest

This is not a fantastic Scotch Ale, but I certainly wouldn't mind having it again. It really needs to be consumed slowly. Apparently it is 10% ABV, but I wouldn't have been shocked learn it was 15%. Seriously. It's boozy, but in a pleasant way.

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Photo of Gambrinus1184
4/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served on-tap in a fluted pint glass at Delaney's Tap Room in New Haven, Conn.

A: Muddled, brownish amber color with a deep chilled haze and visible viscosity. A one-finger head of dense, creamy white foam formed and faded around mid-brew.

S: Nice tobacco and roasted malt aroma with whiffs of ethyl alcohol, toffee and hop resins.

T: Big, sticky sweet and powerful malt blend up front, almost like a liquor. Chewy, roasted barley, tobacco and smoked peat blend with a caramel, toffee-like sweetness followed by big doses of drying alcohol and fairly aggressive, bitter herbal hops. Finish is big, sticky sweet and a little boozy.

M: Full-bodied ale with a whole lot of alcohol heat and some very chewy, lush malts to sip on. Hearty and enjoyable.

D: A cold-weather sipper category Scotch ale for sure. The 10% ABV is big, bold and very noticeable. Has the warming sensation of a glass of scotch with the sweetness and bitter touch to endear. A good, high-ABV brew for the malthead looking to stave off the winter months a while longer.

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Photo of bonbini26
3.52/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

On tap @ the ginger man 02-07-09

Pours an amber, carbon-less color. the aroma is very boozy. the taste is also very strong in the scotch department. At 1st the beer is almost overwelming but after a few sips it mellows out a little bit. Still very strong for a scotch ale.

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Wet Willy Scotch Ale from New England Brewing Co.
3.93 out of 5 based on 319 ratings.
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