AleSmith Wee Heavy | AleSmith Brewing Company

468 Reviews
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

For Trade:
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Reviews: 468 | Ratings: 1,206
Photo of Boto
4.7/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Draught: I had a sample of this at the brewery. It poured a somewhat mahogany brown color. A decent off-white head. I get the aroma of caramel malt sweetness, with a hint of peat and smokiness. There are similar notes to the taste. A full, rich, complex taste. Lovely.

 268 characters

Photo of barleywinefiend
4.7/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Not a fan of Wee Heavy or Scottish Ales but this was beyond GOOD. Pured a deep amber color with a dirty white head that was very fluffy. The nose was very compex. I could smell caramel, sugar, dried fruit, vanilla and heavy malts. Taste was superb. Complex and better than any Wee Heavy I have ever had. It really matched the nose. Mouthfeel was malty, brown sugar came out and so did the thick caramel and maybe even molasses.

 427 characters

Photo of scottbrew4u
4.69/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Caramel, toffee malty deliciousness! Nice medium to heavy body makes for more of a sipping beer. Layers of complexity to appreciate with each sip. This was a fantastic scotch ale.

 179 characters

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.

 301 characters

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.

 221 characters

Photo of beergeek279
4.67/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Served as a sample from the 750 mL bottle. The color was a dark amber/brown, with a ring of white head. The smell was a slightly smoky, slightly sweet malt. The taste started with a peaty smokiness, and then a very strong vanilla sweetness came into the taste, and finished with just a hint of the alcohol. Mouthfeel was chewy. As for drinkability, I could have quite a few of these.

Well, I'm shocked...a West Coast beer without hoppiness!! Seriously, though, this is amongst the best Wee Heavys that I've had, and hopefully I'll be able to have this one again.

 565 characters

Photo of ChainGangGuy
4.67/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pouring out dark, chestnut brown with a head reminiscent of frothed milk. Alright, this starts off my inaugeral AleSmith experience!

Smell: Stongly sweet caramel malt aroma coupled with a limitless amount of peat and smoke. Touch of oak. Some dark fruits glazed in maple syrup.

Taste: Starts off with a clean maltiness which blends effortlessly with the peat and dark fruit flavors. Again, a bit of oak in the equation. A bit like a nice tawny port. The hops, though present, are restrained and unobtrusive, allowing for the dark, wine-like fruits and sweetness to dominate (though, at no point is this beer overly sweet). A little time and warmth help to coax out some additional flavors of cocoa and toasted vanilla beans. A litte more time brings out some fusel qualities.

Mouthfeel: Medium, and so very smooth.

Drinkability: Quite so. I feel "very good" is an understatement. I think it's an *outstanding* beer, and one I thoroughly recommend.

 972 characters

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.

 367 characters

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

Hazy, dark, amber brown with a moderate tan head that goes away fairly quickly, leaving some nice cotton lacing. Very pretty beer.

Toasted malts, dark fruit, caramel, and a touch of yeast. Sweet but not overly so, makes me want to take a sip ASAP. A touch of alcohol too.

Much like the nose, the taste comes through in about the same order - toasted malts, a kind of raisiny / plum fruit flavor, mixed with some caramel malts. Almost goes the medicinal alcohol route, but stops just short, thank god. I'm really digging the roasted malt, stout character of this that isn't usually there for the style - works really nicely. Even a touch of bitter hops on the back end. Quite a bit going on here.

Thick, heavy, syrupy but not overly so. Good carbonation bite to offset.

While not my favorite Scotch Ale, a very unique and very nice take on the style, and super enjoyable. Well crafted and delicious.

 902 characters

Photo of tonistruth
4.65/5  rDev +11%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- deep mahogany color, 2 fingers of tan froth that holds brilliantly, creamy head and lacing

S- caramel malts, grapes, dried fruit, sweet

T- caramel and smokey malts, grape candy flavor, rich toffee, sweet alcohol

M- medium yet sticky and somewhat hot and coarse

D- great scotch ale, delicious and highly recommended, ages amazingly

 337 characters

Photo of mickeymac
4.64/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

After reviewing an older bottle of Wee Heavy about two years ago, I was surprised to see that the beer was listed under another heading with an abv of 8.5%. The new bottle I recenlty picked up is listed at 9.5%. It hasn't lost any of its taste or other outstanding characteristics. Out of a 750 ml bottle, it an eye-pleasing brown with an off-white head that dimishes quickly leaving no lace. The smell is a real knockout: smoky, malty, and very earthy, with a surprisinly subtle alcohol smell. With the first smell, it was obvious that this was the ideal beer for this cold, rainy night. Although the smell is close to perfection, the taste is not a letdown. Malty but not sweet, the hops are just barely detectable but, happily, they are. This is a dangerously drinkable beer at 9.5%. Seek it out for a cold evening at home.

 826 characters

Photo of Metalmonk
4.63/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

An incredible looking beer, this pours the deepest burgundy I've ever seen, topped by a rocky three-finger head of creaminess incarnate. Lots of lace, both splotchy and stringy...pretty much a perfect looking beer. If not, I certainly haven't seen another more beautiful. (And the bottle says it's 10% ABV...lucky me!)

Aroma is a fantastic array of smoke (mild), peat, cheesecake and berry fruits, also some cherry pipe tobacco further back, and a dim bit of leather even further back.

Flavor: first comes a big grape / berry sweetness, like real concord grape juice amped up by an exotic berry juice infusion; then several waves of bitter dark chocolate, soil, flavored pipe tobacco, and burnt raisin. That sounds a bit heavy, but it all remains on the delightfully succulent and manageable sweet side. A bit of alcohol flare rides through during and between sips, but the thin yet velvety slick mouthfeel does wonders in taming that, helping the flavors remain in the spotlight. This could've been too thick or sticky, but instead it's just right in its graceful, even gentle delivery.

Easily one of the most delicious beers I've ever had the pleasure to meet. Its bulky ABV and assertive flavors make it one I wouldn't probably want that often, but that's okay. It'll only be that much sweeter to return to. ...Now, short of trading, if I didn't have to book flight to get it, I'd really be in business...sigh...

 1,419 characters

Photo of samie85
4.63/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A-Pours a deep burgundy cola color with two fingers of thick frothy head.

S-Smells of deep, complex notes including chocolate, some spicy bourbon-like fruit notes, vanilla, and a hint of a roasted, smoky character.

T-Rich dark fruit notes and that same smokey, sort of roasted malt character with some bittersweet chocolate with a an earthy bitterness.

M-This one is on the full side of medium-bodied with low carbonation but a very rich, decadent feel with some dryness towards the finish.

D-I can't believe how easy drinking this is... there are no detectable signs of the ABV and it's a very complex beer while maintaining a balance between it's many characteristics.

 674 characters

Photo of philbe311
4.62/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I've longed to pop this one and have decided that tonight is finally the night...

A - A fingers worthy of uber-rich uber-creamy medium to dark khaki colored head that has a good share of big chunky bubbles mixed in... Slight retention gives way to an uneven but inviting lace... The color is a deep warming brown mahogany... Just a little shy of opaque... A subtle murkiness... Some microscopic carbonation bubble can be seen at the top clinging to the sides of the glass and moving at moderate pace...

S - Malt heaven... Dates... Raisins... Brown sugar... Caramel... Toffee... Brownie batter... Slightly buttery... Perfect potency... Warm and inviting... Anything more would be teetering on cloying given the overall sweetness...

T - The palette is not as sweet as nose would lead one to believe... This isn't a bad thing as the additions of peat and smoke that arrive on the palette add a wonderful complexity to this offering... The peat and smoke are first and foremost on the palette... Some subtle chocolate nuance appears as well... The malty sweetness alluded to be the nose is secondary and adds a world of complexity...

M - On the heavier side of medium bodied... A touch of lushness... A tongue full of slightly fizzy but light and enjoyable carbonation...

D - Quite quaffable especially given the 10% ABV... A world class Scotch Ale in ever facet... Stellar balance and complexity... Even and consistent... Slightly sticky...

Can't wait to try the Barrel Aged version...

 1,494 characters

Photo of kels
4.62/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Shared a bottle with bamadog tonight. Been looking forward to cracking this one for awhile now.

Appearance: The beer pours into my pint glass a super dark shade of brown with the slightest hints of gold close to the head. The head starts out at a few fingers and fades slowly to a solidly retained 1/2 finger frothy tan skim. The beer is completely opaque, but an inspection of the bottom of the glass shows some chunks of sediment hanging around.

Smell: Dominant aroma in the nose is the chewy, caramel malt. It is quite sweet and sugary. Balancing it out are some roasted, almost smoky notes, like light oak or peat. Really nice smell that makes me look forward to the taste.

Taste/Mouthfeel: Wow. This beer is just delicious. I'm seriously impressed and this is one of my favorite styles - I don't judge too easily. A really nice blend of flavors is strong without being overwhelming. Sweet, toasted malts retain the caramelly presence from the nose in the taste. They meet a subtly smoky, earthy peat and present, but subdued alcohol heat. The graininess is also slightly present, almost reminiscent of rye beers, but not quite the same thing - just the best explanation I can give. Feel is a little on the lighter side, better described as moderate overall, with light carbonation that doesn't overwhelm the flavors. The aftertaste is sweet and earthy and somewhat nutty, full and rich, and is coupled with a sticky filmy feel.

Drinkability: This is definitely everything I would expect from a wee heavy. The warmth of the alcohol hangs in my chest and is pleasantly present without being too much to bear. The balance of the flavors couples nicely with the mild mouthfeel.

 1,683 characters

Photo of notchucknorris
4.62/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2 year old bottle shared by Beau. Thanks, Beau!

A: Dark mahogany color with a monstrous cream colored head that lasts forever. Impressive.

S: Wow. Huge aromas of freshly baked raisin bread, cinnamon, and fig. The smell is amazing and really in your face. The beer doesn't lose any of its wonderful smell as it warms.

T: A lot of raisin bread/fruitcake taste upfront with some delicate spiciness, a little rum flavor and some brown sugar. The taste is huge and dense- like taking a handful of ripe raisins and taking a bite. There's not much in here that would indicate its high ABV except a slight dryness and warmness on the finish and a bit of a peaty/earthy taste that's left on your tongue. This is a really incredible beer.

 731 characters

Photo of Thehuntmaster
4.62/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750ml bottle 10,0% ABV
Served lightly chilled in an over sized wine glass.
No bottle date.

This is going to be my first beer from AleSmith, so I am really looking forward to it - it also helps that Wee Heavy's are one of my favorite styles of beer!

Appearance: The beer pours a dark mahogany brown, however a back light transforms the colour into a beautiful deep red with bright golden edges. A rough pour yields a large cream coloured head that displays good retention and leaves sticky rings of lacing as it slowly recedes.

Smell: Ah, this smells amazing, it has been far too long since I had a good Wee Heavy. The The initial nose is quite sweet with notes of caramel, butterscotch, brown sugar and a little chocolate. These notes are soon joined by toasted malt, molasses, dark blue gum honey and sweet dark fruits (plums, dates and a touch of raisin). Warming yields a little alcohol, a hint of peated whiskey, an earthy note and a very unexpected touch of pine needles.

Taste: The flavour is not quite as sweet as the nose, but that is probably a good thing as that might make it a little tougher to finish the bottle.
Flavour notes include: Toasted malt, molasses, brown sugar, caramel, honey, dates, a hint of chocolate, an earthy character and the faintest hint of alcohol.
The finish displays a touch of bitterness and is quite dry.

Mouthfeel: Medium-full body and quite chewy, with a medium level of carbonation. Initially the carbonation was not quite smooth enough, however after the first third of the bottle things improve drastically, with the carbonation becoming far smoother, to the point that it is almost creamy.

Overall: This is a fantastic beer, I thoroughly enjoyed it and had no problem finishing the 750. I will certainly buy this one again. I think a barrel-aged version of this must be absolutely fantastic. I hope they release it again soon.

 1,886 characters

Photo of chrisafari
4.61/5  rDev +10%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Pours dark brown and red with a nice tan head. Aroma is dominated by very nice carmel malts, alcohol, roasted nuts and a hint of hops. Flavor is again dominated by the malt, but very enjoyable. There is also a nice kick of alcohol throughout. The flavor finishes with a subtle, but nice, hint of green apples. Wee Heavy is really unlike anything else, nothing has such a nice balance of Carmel malt, hops and alcohol. I will be looking for this again!

 451 characters

Photo of Murchmac
4.6/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Drank out of a bottle from City Beer Store.

Poured a beautiful cherry red highlight with a healthy head that dwindles down.

Alcohol smell, dried plums, sweet malts. Great smell.

As someone else said, does not get syrupy. Hops taste right off the bat, sweet malts, smokey aftertaste.

Great mouthfeel, dry finish. Alcohol is deceptive, you feel pretty buzzed after it.

Drop it like it's hot.

 395 characters

Photo of smellsofstout
4.6/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

so frickin good.
average, rocky, light brown dimishing head. excellent lacing, brownish black color at pour.
aroma is awesome consisting of toasted malts carrying tones of toffee, molasses, cookies, brown sugar.
alcohol notes are very light taste does not disappoint. very accurate to the aroma butterscotch brown sugar.

bottom line if i ever get the chance to have this beer barrel aged i might lose my mind.

 414 characters

Photo of brewcrew76
4.6/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

750 ml

A - Pours a deep brown/light black that is a magnificent mahogany when held up to the light. A 2 finger tan head remains as a light skim on top of the beer.

S - Caramel, toffee, spices, molasses and maple syrup.

T - Sweet caramel and toffee, raisins, molasses or maple syrup, slightly nutty, reminds me of the nuttiness I find in Jim Beam.

M - Medium to thick bodied and creamy with very light carbonation. It has a slight syrupy characteristic.

D - One of the best Wee Heavy's I have had. I only notice the alcohol by its warming effect.

M -

 567 characters

Photo of rye726
4.6/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours a rich coffee color with a nice tan head.

Nose has rich roasted malts, chocolate, ripe pitted fruits, molasses, very subtle hops and peppery alcohol.

Taste has dark plums, figs, toffee, cocoa, smoked malts, cloves and herbs.

Medium to full body is well carbonated. Great example of the style from Alesmith. Tasty stuff.

 330 characters

Photo of ZAP
4.59/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Dark brown color....shows no signs of carbonation....excellent nose....a nice subtle smokiness...also sweet malt...dark fruits....body is full, and sweet..low carbonation fits perfectly...

Taste is outstanding...great blend of peatiness and syruppy like maltiness..a slight hit of heat...actually begins with some cocoa elements before that fades into the background

I've heard mixed reviews on this one but I think it's one of the best Wee Heavy's I've tried....highly drinkable....and big at the same time..very well done...

 532 characters

Photo of rhoadsrage
4.58/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

(Served in a dimple mug)

A- This beer has a warm barrel brown body with a matrix of tiny bubbles gliding to the surface. There is a thick tan head that mushrooms above the glass and last for the full beer.

S- This beer has a dark caramel sweetness with a slight prune hint and a soft smoky bourbon hint of alcohol and sweetness at the finish.

T- The taste of sweet malt with a caramel flavor and toasted notes has some cream and smoky hints that increase as the beer warms a bit. The finish has a nice roasted malt bitterness and a soft cola note that supports it. As this beer warms a bit a pleasant faint coffee roasted note and some pine hops come through at the finish. The alcohol taste is a bit like red wine and is a nice compliment to the big malts.

M- The medium-light mouthfeel has a slight slippery texture and not real alcohol until the beer warms quite a bit.

D- This full flavored and roasted malt notes has a great flavor combined with nice smoky qualities and no band-aid flavor. The hops and alcohol balance each other nicely and let the malt do most of the talking until it warms up a bit.

 1,116 characters

Photo of Murph
4.58/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a deep ruby/garnet/light brown with a thick tan head that sinks to a clingy film and laces the glass very well. Huge caramel maltiness all over the nose with nice toffee/butterscotch qualities and huge sweet malty aroma. Big, sweet caramel maltiness opens up on the tongue with hints of piney/citrusy hops that are barely noticeable. The hops add little flavor but balance the brew nicely. There is also a nice toffee smoothness with just the slightest smokey maltiness in the finish. The brow flows smoothly across the tongue with a full budied mouthfeel that is not sticky in its sweetness. A massively drinkable brew, especially considering the huge maltiness. If only these excellent brews from Alesmith were available on the East Coast.
A huge thanks to thelongbeachbum for this excellent beer.

 806 characters

AleSmith Wee Heavy from AleSmith Brewing Company
4.19 out of 5 based on 1,206 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

    No fake news here. Get real beer content delivered to your doorstep every month.