AleSmith Wee Heavy | AleSmith Brewing Company

1,214 Ratings
AleSmith Wee HeavyAleSmith Wee Heavy

Brewed by:
AleSmith Brewing Company
California, United States

Style: Scotch Ale / Wee Heavy

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.00%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
A classic Scotch Ale. Scotch ales are typically sweet and malty, with a very subdued dose of hops– just enough to provide balance. AleSmith Wee Heavy is a wonderful interpretation of this traditional Scotch style.

Added by Jason on 04-19-2002

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Reviews: 469 | Ratings: 1,214
Photo of dbl_delta
4.1/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Growler into pint glass. Pours a cloudy reddish-brown, with a light tan head. Initial impression is smoky roasted malts, dark fruits, and caramel, with some earthiness in there too. Mouthfeel is quite thick and sticky. Carbonation is fairly low. Alcohol is evident but not overwhelmingly so. Finish is dry, sweet, and finally a little bitter. Not the best Wee Heavy I've ever had, but pretty tasty!

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Photo of bwood06
4.09/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I picked up a bottle of this to share with a buddy of mine who, like me, is a huge dark beer fan. We wanted something to go along with the Speedway Stout that I also bought so we figured this would be a good option. I've been wanting to try this one for a while now and finally got the chance to do so.

This beer pours a reddish brown hue, almost a light mahogany color that is clear with light carbonation visible. The head is off-white and frothy, dissipating to a very thin lacing that becomes non-existent rather quickly. 3.75/5 The aroma is quite typical of the style with a bit of caramel and dark stone fruit coming out, providing a nice sweet beginning, and then being backed up by peat moss, musty hay, and an earthy hop character. The balance leans more towards the malt with the peat and hay really coming out strongly. 4/5 The flavor, as with the aroma, is heavily balanced in favor of the malt. Caramel and toasted white bread start things off with a grainy/sweet profile that quickly transitions to a rather heavy does of peat moss, musty hay, tobacco, and leather. This is a rather earthy beer that has a good sweet, malty backbone. There is a bit of dark stone fruit that comes through, balancing out this earthiness. An earthy hop comes through at the very end, providing just a small dose of bitterness that lingers only lightly after swallowing. 4.25/5 This is a fairly heavy beer that is full bodied with a moderate carbonation burn on the front end. Thus burn quickly transitions into a wet and coating nature that is just on the wet side of sticky. There is no drying and no lingering dryness. 4/5 This is a very good Wee Heavy, if not the best Wee Heavy that I have had to date. More often than not the peat really takes over this style and drowns out anything else that the beer has going on, but no so with this beer. Very well crafted. 4/5

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Photo of CaptainHate
4.31/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

I love Scotch ales. Picked this up on a North Carolina trip in September but it is readily available here in Ohio. Served at around 50 degrees being stored in a closet in an unheated room. Poured from a bomber into a Dogfish Head tulip. Gorgeous reddish brown color but not much of a head which dissipated quickly. Nice rich boozy sweet smell. Tasted licorice and other interesting flavors operating under the alcohol burn. Feel has the requisite heft for this style. Would gladly have this again and plan to in the future.

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Photo of KensWorld
4.23/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

My rating scores are an average of two vintages: 2014 and 2015. I have to say that the 2014 did not age well. It lost its head retention (typical though) but most importantly it lost its warming smooth toffee character. It did however smell much better then the 2015. If only I had a fresh 2016 pour to compare to.

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Photo of Amguerra305
4.21/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Sits a very dark brown reddish Amber in the glass, opaque in the center and clear around the edges. Smell is heath toffee a touch of caramel and alcohol vapors. Taste follows the smell but there is a hint of vanilla. Sweet on the front end but balanced nicely by just a hint of bitterness. Also a touch of alcohol burn. Feel is a bit heavy. Overall an excellent interpretation of the style with the unique touch of vanilla.

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Photo of REDAMI
4.65/5  rDev +11%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Poured from 750 ml bottle into Chimay goblet.

L-Dark golden brown pour, medium off-white head.

S-Treacle, tobacco, peat, roasted grain.

T-Brown bread, treacle, tobacco, peat, mildly sweet.

F-Coating, moderately carbonated with the alcohol well-hidden.

A top notch scotch ale. Well balanced with proper flavor notes for the style. Warming in all the right ways.

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Photo of LAp
4.2/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pours a deep brown (garnet around the edges) with a half finger mocha head. The nose is bourbon at first (which surprised me, given the lack of barrel aging), but develops as the beer warms to the more anticipated toffee and caramel. The palate opens with deep malt sweetness that takes on a more dominantly toffee note than the caramel-infused nose. These further give way to dark fruits along with the slightest hint of fig. Mouthfeel is appropriately medium-thick, with minimal carbonation.

Overall, very impressed with this beer. A very different take on the style than Wulver, but in a decidedly respectable way. Not quite as impressive as the excellent Gravedigger Billy or Backwards Bastard (the bourbon influence just pairs too well with this style). Nonetheless, this is a meaningful point in the history of the style and an exceptional beer that has no problem standing on its own legs. Truly outstanding.

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Photo of puck1225
3.91/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

A wee bit on the heavy side, I think. A beautiful beer, with a dark, rich mahogany color. Poured into a pint to give a nice dark beige head but little lacing. Rich sweet smell. The taste is strong and boozy, dark cherries, caramel, toffee. The bomber is best shared!

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Photo of Myotus
4.25/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured at 48°F from a 750ml bottle (bottled 10Oct15) into a thistle. Allowed to warm up to 50°F before reviewing. Consumed on 16Aug16.
SMELL: Strong aromas of caramel and sweet bread intertwine with mild aromas of figs, sweet plums, raisins, sweet cherry, alcohol, and bittersweet molasses along with subtle aromas of tree nuts, bitter black tea, sweet chocolate, and campfire.
4.25 out of 5
TASTE: A strong sugary goodness instantly rushes on to the palate with flavors of caramel and sweet bread. The initial sweetness is intensified as mild flavors of figs, sweet plums, bittersweet molasses, raisins, sweet cherries, and sweet chocolate immediately follow. Some balance is presented as subtle flavors of tree nuts and campfire join in while the flavors of cherry, raisin, fig, and plum grows slightly stronger. A successful balance finally forms when mild flavors of alcohol and subtle flavors of bitter black tea enter as campfire and tree nut flavors grow to mild.
4.25 out of 5.
NOTE: This was a wonderful example of the style. It had a strong, yet balanced sweetness that still allowed the other flavors to shine through. The alcohol perception was personally too high for me. I've had stronger beers that have hid their alcoholic heat better.

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Photo of unclekeith
4.37/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

9 month after bottling in a Teku

L: Murky amber with deep ruby highlights, 1-finger tan head,
S: Malty, sweet caramel, almost boozey
T: Malt dominates - roast, caramel, some dried fruit, a bit of smoke
F: Creamy, full bodied, some heat evident
O: A great beer that I have wanting to try for a long time - worth the wait - will seek out again

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Photo of StArnoldFan
3.88/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Super heavy bourbon on the nose. Almost overwhelming, but a bit muted on the taste which makes it more drinkable. Glad I have someone to share the bottle with and not something I'd come back to regularly, however it's enjoyable at the moment.

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Photo of Ciocanelu
4.4/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Murky brown color with tan head. Aroma has lots of dried dark fruit like raisins and dates. Taste follows with the dried fruits, brown sugar and caramel. Not overly sweet, easy drinking especially for the high ABV. Heavy body with sticky feel and medium carbonation. Really good scotch ale, one of the best I had.

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Photo of Ohiovania
4.49/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Outstanding. A notch above almost every Scotch/ Wee Heavy I've ever had. one of my favorite styles. A very underrated beer in a very underrated style.

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Photo of g00ey
3.39/5  rDev -19.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

L: Pours a beautiful deep mahogany color with a substantial head of tightly packed bubbles.
S: Ripe bananas, although subtle
T: Malty. Slight caramel flavor. Not too sweet. Not a whole lot going on.
F. A bit thin.
O: Was expecting more from this. A good scotch style ale, but nothing exceptional, and, in my opinion, not worth the money. Although It's perhaps as good as Founders Dirty Bastard (significantly cheaper), it's nowhere near as good as Backwoods Bastard.

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Photo of dbrauneis
4.29/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A: Pours an opaque though still clear extremely dark chestnut brown in color (approaching black) with moderate amounts of fine active visible carbonation along the edges of the glass and faint amber + dark crimson red highlights. The beer has a two finger tall foamy dark beige head that fairly quickly reduces to a large patch of thin film covering almost the entire surface of the beer with a thin ring at the edges of the glass. Light to moderate amounts of lacing are observed.

S: Moderate to strong aromas of caramel + toffee malts with a light to moderate aroma of slightly fruity yeast (fig + cherry) and just a hint of almost spicy alcohol.

T: Upfront there are moderate to strong flavors of toasted, roasted, and caramel malts with moderate amounts of caramel, toffee, and brown sugar sweetness. That is followed by light to moderate flavors of dark fruit (fig + cherry) yeast. There is a light flavor of earthy hops which contribute a light amount of bitterness which fades away almost instantly. There is a hint of smokiness and a hint of almost bourbon-like alcohol in the finish but the lingering flavor is caramel/toffee sweetness.

M: Medium to full bodied with light to moderate amounts of carbonation. Smooth, almost creamy.

O: Very easy to drink, hiding the alcohol pretty well, and very enjoyable. Not cloying or overly sweet, just enough hops to balance it out. Nice amounts of complexity.

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Photo of dmgallag
4.67/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

RICH! Heavy sweet malt backbone to this one. Hints of vanilla, coffee, and butterscotch here. All is in a nice balance. This would be a great nightcap. One and done on this guy, but you will enjoy every moment of it.

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Photo of colts9016
4.21/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Another Brew from my cellar this beer is 4 yrs old.

The color the beer is jet black the head is off white to a light tan. The head is rocky and has decent retention. The head left some lacing on the glass in a incomplete pattern. Every now and then you see a light tan bubbles traverse from the bottom of the glass. This is just the caliber of what this beer should look like.

A rich roasted malt, with vanilla, coffee, chocolate char, and toast. A subtle yeasty and bready note lurk in the murkiness. The background some caramel and perfume notes dance effortlessly.

A rich roasted malt, caramel, coffee vanilla, bittersweet chocolate, and toast. The yeast, bread, caramel, some perfume, pine and resin.

A rich mouth coating that is chewy.

This is a superb example of a heavy scotch ale. I really enjoy drinking it.

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Photo of GreesyFizeek
4.57/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Blu Wolf Bistro in Rochester, NY.

This one pours a dark ruby brown, with a small head, and basically no lacing.

Smells like rich malty dark fruits, dry cocoa powder, toffee, caramel, and just a hint of tobacco.

This is possibly the best non-BA version of this style that I've ever had. It's so rich and bright with flavor, with concentrated sweet dark fruits, bittersweet caramel, dry cocoa powder, raisin-studded cinnamon bread, tobacco, and toffee. There's just a hint of hop bitterness on the finish. This is absolutely wonderful.

This is medium bodied, pretty rich and surprisingly crisply carbonated.

An absolutely wonderful and stellar rendition of this style which can often be way too sweet. This was perfectly balanced and surprisingly dry.

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Photo of Hallu
4.16/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The smell is amazing in this beer. It smells like a French flan (not the mexican gooey thing), meaning caramel and custard. Very different from most Scotch Ales which tend to smell too similar to a Belgian Trippel or something. The taste is strong : you feel the 10%. Quite winy, dark fruits, and dry. The smell is better than the taste. But that smell is so amazing it's worth buying the beer just for that.

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Photo of JohnnyHopps
4.35/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Appearance – The beer poured a dark murky brown color.

Smell – There was a big sweet malt nose with this beer.

Taste – The initial impression is a dry malty backbone. The taste evolves into butterscotch, drier malts and a caramel sweetness. The aftertaste runs very caramelly. The sweetness is not overpowering, but I might use this as a dessert beer.

Mouthfeel – To go with the caramel, the beer is very sticky. The taste has some staying power.

Overall – This is an outstanding example of the style.

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Photo of alarmclock314
4.04/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

25.4oz bottle, dated 7/1/14, drank on 3/12/16. Pours slightly hazy red with a medium sized off-white head; some lacing on the glass. Smells of caramel, sweet malt, and some dark fruit; very pleasant. The taste is less intense and has lots more dark fruit and some oxidation (paper, sherry); reminded me of a Barleywine. Good amount of dryness in the finish. The age seemed to significantly weaken/change the flavor. Great thick body and below average carbonation. Overall, I'll try to revisit this one again since it seems like a very promising Scotch Ale.

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Photo of Bluegrass49
4.67/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

1 pint 8.4 oz bottle poured into a pint glass.
Pours a clear dark brown color with an off-white 2 finger head. Decent lacing with good retention.
Very fruity malty taste with a subtle hop bitterness (just right).
Great beer, but a little pricey. Would have to reserve this one for special occasions.

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Photo of bigdeuce
4.71/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

I wish AleSmith's prices would go down slightly because I'd drunk them all the time. This is an unbelievably great brew. Pours a two finger, creamy head and an orangish to dark brown color. Scents of pears, peet, apricot, come to the nose. Such a smooth and full bodied wee-heavy. Big alcohol but absolutely undetectable. Chewy and thick mouthfeel. Caramel and mild ripe fruit taste with ample hops to balance out the sweetness.

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Photo of rand
4.07/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

This dark, mahogany-colored beer is now a local classic, given its relatively easy availability and standard-setting flavors. The nose is what you'd expect from a 10% scotch ale; boozy and malty, with distinct notes of burnt sugar and oak, along with cherries and generic ripe fruit. Smells a bit like a cherry liqueur at the edges of the bouquet.

The flavors follow, with the ripe fruit aspects at the front of the sip. A little phenolic, with medicinal cherries and earthy notes of leather and smoke. A little more hoppy and bitter at the back of the sip than expected (or not surprising, given it's Alesmith), with a ton of booze at the close. Really long finish with lingering bitter-sweet residuals.

A definitive example of the style. A lot of brews dubbed 'wee heavy' have maybe half the viscosity of this sludgy brew.

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Photo of Glanzman
4.73/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

750 ml bottle served in a pint glass.

Pours a beautiful ruby brown color with an off-white, 2 finger head. Nice lacing retention.

Smells of dark roasted malts, caramel and toffee.

Taste quite the same with a subtle hop bitterness.

Great beer. Pricey but taste great!

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AleSmith Wee Heavy from AleSmith Brewing Company
4.19 out of 5 based on 1,214 ratings.
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