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

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Reviews: 468 | Ratings: 1,206
Photo of radioscooter
4.58/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Best non-McEwans Scotch Ale/Wee Heavy I have tried and found.

THIS is what the style should taste like.

Exceptional head, foamy and rich.

Dark, sweet, STRONG rich sipper with some caramel, molasses, vanilla, and just a wee bit too much coffee.

Sweetness is perfect.

Alcohol level makes it vaporize quickly off the tongue - McEwan's leaves a bit more tarry syrup behind, which I like.

They should really bottle this in some smaller bottles with some plaid on the label because this is the best Scotch Ale in America by far, and I think the best one still available period.

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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 endincolorado
4.57/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance- Dark chestnut-brown with ruby highlights. One finger of light cream/tan head that recedes slowly. Great sticky lacing all the way down.

Smell- Incredible aromas of rich malt. Light notes of cocoa and hazelnut. Dark fruits; fig. Faint, fruity hops in the background.

Taste- Truly unique, and absolutely delicious. Sticky, roasted malt flavors, accompanied by more hazelnut, toffee and dark, ripe fruit. Slightest bit of alcohol warmth. Really, a wonderful beer all around.

Mouthfeel- Full body that sticks to the palate. Moderate, but appropriate carbonation.

Drinkability- Alchohol suggests some points off here, but given the incredible flavors swirling around in this brew, I'd have a hard time not downing one after another.

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

Split a 750 mL bottle with a buddy of mine at the Coffee Table Bistro/Lounge in Eagle Rock. Poured into a pretty standard pint glass.

This ale retained its head throughout most of the drinking period, which was pretty impressive. There was an excellent tan head that was about two fingers deep at first. Excellent lacing. Poured sort of a chestnut brown/copper color tinged with amber in the light.

Aroma was a mixture of a rich malty smell, slightly smokey, tinged with yeast. Very well balanced smell, I was pleasantly surprised.

The taste was almost as impressive as the smell. You can taste the creaminess of the malts right away. This brew is 10% abv according to the bottle. Damned if I could taste that much alcohol in there.

All in all, this ale was rich in flavor, full bodied, and not too heavy on the tounge. It's high abv and ease of drinkability makes me kinda wonder about pounding this stuff back. I'd hafta say I (and my buddy as well) was pretty impressed but this brew. Salud!

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

Pecan shell brown with a generous infusion of darkest crimson and edges of burnt orange. The liquid is nowhere near opaque, which makes me wonder about the heaviness of this wee heavy. The small, toasted tan cap is nicely creamy and lasts for quite a while. It also deposits an attractive lace signature on the upper reaches of the glass.

The nose is classic for the style, although it could stand to be more aromatic. I smell lightly roasted malt, brown sugar, dark caramel, cocoa and a drizzle of molasses. Thankfully, the aroma opens up with warming and realizes the potential that I knew was there all along.

Wee Heavy is wonderfully delicious beer. If you like your Scotch ales boldly flavored and malty sweet, with a dizzying array of complementary flavors (all of them good), then you've come to the right place. In fact, when I think of a beer of this style, this is the flavor profile that comes to mind. First off, hops are virtually absent, as it should be for the style. The brewers probably ran out after the latest batch of YuleSmith.

Malt is the undisputed king, with flavors reminiscent of dates (primarily), sticky toffee pudding with dark caramel sauce, dark brown sugar, molasses, sweetened tobacco, tangy peat and lingering tendrils of smoke. As I said, this offering contains every last style element that I can think of and combines them into a sweetly luscious, beautifully blended whole. I'm sorry that I questioned its bona fides when commenting on the less than opaque appearance. There's no shortage of flavor, that's for damn sure.

Alcohol is noted on the palate, although it's as welcome as it is in a fine, aged port. I'd like to think that roughly one year in my cellar was just what this beer needed to allow the various flavors to interdigitate and to allow the alcohol to mellow into the velvet hammer that it is at present. I need to slow down since my brain is beginning to fog over and typing is becoming more difficult.

I don't expect a wee heavy to have an Imperial stout-like mouthfeel, but I do expect it to be somewhat viscous and at least slightly chewy. Mission accomplished. I was happy with the first sip and I'm thrilled now that the bottle is more than half empty. The beer is becoming increasingly silky smooth with warming. Try as I might, I can't find any chinks in the armor.

AleSmith Wee Heavy is great beer. As noted above, it fits with uncanny precision into the Scotch ale/wee heavy blueprint that I carry around in my head. I'm kicking myself for not picking up more when I had the chance. On my next trip to Ohio, I'll be sure to grab a few more bottles of this outstanding ale from one of the best breweries in this, or any, country.

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Photo of OneDropSoup
4.55/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

Very excited to find this in a trade with raoulduke37. Thanks again, Art!

Poured into a tulip glass with a fizzy sound like cola, but oh so much deeper brown with only tiny ruby highlights. The two-finger cappuccino head fell to a quarter-inch with a lot of action from tiny, fast-rising bubbles forming a honeycomb head. Good-lookin', even with no lacing.

Smell is rich with caramel malt, very sweet & just a little roasty. Toasted marshmellow & other delicious caramelized sugars.

Taste is powerful in so many ways: the booze & the malt are like a one-two punch, so sweet & thick & strong. The alcohol is almost overwhelming, but gives way just before it's too late.

The mouthfeel is creamy & active, & what I find really intriguing is the aftertaste: 4 or 5 seconds after swallowing, this roasty toasty graham crackery goodness rolls in & sits down, with some mild roasted bitterness helping to even out & finish a little dry. Even after that, there's a lingering kind of fruitiness that I really enjoy. I love that this beer continues to work its magic after the sip is done.

I like this a whole lot, the only problem is that alcohol hits a little hard, hindering the drinkability. I aged this a good 6 months, maybe could use even a little more. I'd love to try!

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Photo of VaTechHopHead
4.55/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A - Non-transparent dark brown, huge tan head with ton of lacing down the glass.

S - Big spicy malt aroma, molasses and faint spicy hops. It's a little complex but fantastic smelling.

T - Yeast esters, spicy malts, and a slight dark fruit taste. Nice warming sensation towards the end also.

M/D - Medium to heavy body, nicely carbonated with just the right amount of small carbonation volumes. Semi-dry finish from the hops with just the slightest ethyl alcohol aftertaste.

Would definitely love to have more of this!

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Photo of gford217
4.55/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

750mL bottle poured into a snifter.

This one pours a very dark brownish copper that is almost completely opaque in the glass. The large tan head lingers as a cap throughout leaving sheets of lacing.

The aroma is big and complex and is dominated by the sweet, heavy caramel malts and brown sugar. There also plenty of dark fruits, raisins especially, and a hint of booze.

The taste is just as complex as the aroma. The malts again dominate from start to finish There is a much bigger hop presence than the smell would suggest, some earthy hops and a bit of citrus. Finish is a dark fruit sweetness with the hops and some toffee lingering in the aftertaste.

The mouthfeel is crazy smooth, just silky. Lots of carbonation to accentuate the medium heavy body, keeping it from getting too cloying.

This is one of, if not the best wee heavy I've ever tasted. It's big and complex, yet very drinkable. Another great brew from AleSmith.

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Photo of WaXHeLL
4.55/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap @ Alesmith's Brewing facility. 4oz taster. Tasting notes from 5/1/2009. One of my favorite Alesmith beers.

Appearance: Dark brown appearance -- almost black. White foamy head dissipates quickly.

Smell: Slightly peaty and a little bit smoky. The nose is pretty complex, but is pretty light. A little bit of malt and hop mixed into the nose. Earth tones are definitely present. The nose is very Scotch like in its composition. Definitely wish the nose was stronger, as it is executed very well.

Taste: The taste is strong, but not overpowering. Tastes like a beer melded with a scotch. The peaty, smoky, and earthy flavors are definitely there, but not excessive. The beer is very complex and thick in a good way. The beer ends pretty dry, which adds to its complexity. Very tasty!

Mouthfeel: Heavy but not syrupy. There is a slight bit of carbonation which is executed very well.

Drinkability: Done pretty well, however it does hit you pretty hard. Half way between a sessions beer and a sipping beer.

Overall: Consistently one of my favorites from Alesmith -- Tasty and Complex.

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Photo of corey0212
4.55/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a deep and sexy mahogany color, frothy sand-colored head piles high and fades somewhat slowly, leaves behind a decent amount of lacing. Smell is huge, smokey malts, spicy alcohol, some vanilla and caramel. Velvety caramel taste, dark fruits, lots of raisin, spicy alcohol, almost an oak taste in there, more vanilla...this is decadent. Creamy mouthfeel, enticing warming alcohol, carbonation is incredibly smooth. An excellent beer. This is the kind of beer you'd want to drink in a dark library surrounded by leather and old books....I don't know if that makes sense, and I don't care.

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Photo of marc77
4.54/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Clear deep garnet hue. Beige head slowly recedes into a tight layer. Sparse lace. Rich, buttery malt and nutty, toffeeish sweetness, along with a hint of roasted barley in aroma. Caramelized sugar atop a buttery malt undertone. Very chewy aromawise. Mellow, burnt caramel sweetness lingers on the palate briefly, then widens into a continuation of the aroma-- buttery, nutty and quite rich. Trace fruitiness. Mild hop bitterness offsets malt sweetness sufficiently to prevent cloying residual sweetness. Hint of heaty alcohol. Moderate bodied, smooth, and very quaffable. Finishes w/ a hint of treacle sweetness lingering briefly. Spot on for style and delicious. Rich, deep, yet simple malt character. One of the very best Scotch Ales I've tasted. Thanks for sharing, Murph. I would've hoarded the bottle!

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Photo of flexabull
4.54/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

I have been anxious to try this beer for some time now. I was happy to hear that a local liquor store was now carrying it, along with a few other of the Alesmith beers.

So I grabbed a few bottles, and here we go...

Beer pours a nice tawny brown color with a decent white head.

Aromas are great. Dark fruits, booze, smoke, and a bit of pine.

Beer is HUGE tasting. Very thick and full mouthfeel. Wonderfully coats the mouth and the tongue. Sweet malts, fruity, and with some smokey oak flavors. Finish is bitter, hoppy, and with a warm alcohol finish.

Drinkability is good. This is a very nice sipping Wee Heavy. It's really big, and probably would benefit from some aging. But it's still excellent right now. One of the best Wee Heavy brews I have ever had. The beer formally known as Fat Bastard from Silver City might be just a touch better IMHO since it's a little easier to drink, but this is still top notch.

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Photo of GClarkage
4.54/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

02/13/06- Purchased at Ledger's Liquors in Berkeley, CA.

Presentation- 750ml bottle...from I think a 2005 bottling. Poured into my St. Bernardus chalice.

Appearance- Milk chocolate colored pour headed towards a darker brown as it settles. Good inch plus foamy head with adequate lacing. Good amount of chunky sediment flops into the glass.

Smell- Great scented malt fills the room. Lots of caramel and dark fruits fill the air. Grapes, plums, raisins and dates inplode. Wonderful nose.

Taste- This does not disappoint. Loads of sweet super roasted malt with a caramel/toffee flavor. A tad smoky it seems at times. Grape, not really vinous grape, but more like jolly rancher or candied grape flavor mixes with plums and dates. Alcohol does not seems as high as listed.

Mouthfeel- A bit heavily carbonated, but still goes down easy.

Drinkability- The best Wee Heavy I think I have had to date. Super easy to drink. A pleasure to quaff.

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Photo of NEhophead
4.54/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

25.4 fl oz brown, champagne bottle; wrapped in foil.
Served in a tulip.

Pours a deep burgundy with a slight brilliance in the light. Carbonation-filled, white head that recedes to an almost intact sheet. Intricately spotted lacing with decent strength.

Big malty nose with a lot of carmelized brown sugar, molasses, caramel, and milk chocolate. The brown sugar sweetness is most pronounced; however, no sign of artificial sweetness. Slightly nutty with aged fruity esters: plum, raisin, cherry. The warming alcohol aroma is reminiscent of a port, and is quite interactive with the rich malts and rounded, aged fruit.

Slightly rich, moderate malt flavors up front: caramel, milk chocolate. The intensely sweet aromatics are all but replaced by a firm, slightly dry nutty character: almond and hazlenut. Traces of plum and raisin that are overtaken by a mild wave of carbonation and a gaseous-like alcohol flavor. The residual sugars return by the aftertaste as well as a faint layer of smoke amidst a mix of dry nuts.

Full bodied; remarkably smooth with a complimentary dryness to keep the malts from consuming the palate. The alcohol presence is young and consequently, slightly gaseous/filmy. A minor criticism that will resolve itself with time.

A more than adequate representation of the style and then some. Full, rounded flavors, texturally balanced, and deceiving at 10% abv. A perfect sipper for a cold, winter night.

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Photo of paco1029384756
4.54/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle thanks to Kegatron.

Pours a deep dark burgundy color with one finger of creamy smooth off white head.

Scent of caramel, tobacco, earth, brown sugar, chocolate, oak, grain, some alcohol, and maple syrup. Nice and robust with great complexity, the alcohol is mild and give a nice subtle heat to back up the richness.

Taste of caramel, tobacco, chocolate, light ash, gummy candy, oak, sweet bourbon, maple syrup, and sharp grain. A very smooth flavor; rich and complex, but not overpowering and smooth with a hint of warming alcohol. Unfortunately, this falls just short of being a 5.

Mouthfeel is medium heavy bodied and smooth with a bite of carbonation.

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Photo of bradford
4.53/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Bought a couple bottles at the BevMo in San Luis Obispo, CA on 8/10/07
Appearance was very dark red with a small white head that remains for the duration of the glass
Smelled very much like a stout but with a slight smokiness that is the all-to farmiliar Scotch ale malts. perhaps some Pete malt?
Tasted fantastic. Tons of malt. More than expected in a brew renound for maltiness. Also lots of alcohol on the tongue which can either work brilliantly for a beer, or be it's ultimate downfall. I like the alcohol in Rochefort 10, but not so much in the Kentucky Breakfast Stout. It works very well for this offering.
Mouthfeel was a winner again. Very thich mouthfeel, that is helped in the throat with the alcohol. This beer feels on the palate like a 10+% abv beer, not the advertised 9.5%.
Drinkability was good on this one. It will be savored though and not drank like a weiss on this warm evening. I am already looking forward to my next glass. Great stuff. Highly reommended.

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Photo of vladtheimpaler
4.53/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750ml. This is one of the best made beers you will find anywhere!. Pours a deep orange-brown with a nice tan head. massive rich malty aroma that reminds me of a fine German dopplebock of the best quality. Huge toffee and carmel notes. Sensational! Flavrs consist of explosive malts and carmel flavors, once again like a dopple. Very rich and desert like. Full mouth feel. Very drinkable, but it does go right to your head. Yummylicious.

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Photo of WVbeergeek
4.52/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Deep ruby chestnut mahogany tone with a caramel cream head leaves ample sporadic lacing behind, another beer from Alesmith, oh joy! Aroma: Awesome air of peated malts strong alcohol presence but doesn't overwhelm. Excellent malt backbone compromises medium to dark toasted malts to form deep vanilla and oak aging notes along with a strong deep over ripened fruit note, nice. Taste: Smokey malts not too hardcore, great cohesive taste excellent blend well hidden alcohol with fruity smoked edges, mild hop profile and oak barrel aging this beer would go well with a nice cigar. Mouthfeel: Medium to fuller bodey nice even carbonation excitably smooth on the palate. Drinkability: Oh yeah, one of the best Wee Heavys around nice west coast style but kept it some what traditional, I am a fan thanks for the sample beergeek279 and cupbeerman.

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Photo of BuckSpin
4.52/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Split a bottle with a relative in town. What a treat to try Alesmith's version of my favorite type of beer. I let the beer warm and took my glass outside to truly savor it undistrurbed by smoke or sound.

Poured a complex, dark, ruddy brown hue - very dark for a Wee Heavy. A mixed head of tan foam adorned the top. Nose was surprising & wonderfully complex. Deep & rich, it just kept going. Peat, burnt coffee, oak, earthy, coffee, malt - I spent minutes just smelling it.

Oh, its rich and smooootthhhh. Surprisingly creamy, you might actually think porter for a brief second. Echoes of oak & charcoal warm the tongue & pallete with a complex taste that never quite reveals all its pieces. The biggest surprise was the strong coffee and toffee throatfeel and aftertaste - this is a Wee Heavy? A slight hop peak on the swallow completes the ride, leaving echoes that resonate for a while in the warm afterglow. This is a beer to be slowly enjoyed. I look forward to another quiet evening exploring its compexities again.

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Photo of jwolfie70
4.52/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer is a malt bomb, but does not cross the line into a cloying syrup. It pours a deep amber red, with a little head. It smells of molasses, caramel and biscuity malt. The taste is more of the smell. A great beer (and one of my favorites), but expect a malt-bomb.

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Photo of donkeyrunner
4.52/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A birthday gift from Mr. Stafford

Pours a muddy brown color but sits a dark russet in my glass. Towering, sandy beige head sits above the liquid like a pompous crown. Good retention and several layers of scraggly lacing.

Aroma is a smoky peat, fig, prune and new shirt smell. A nicely starched button down to be exact.

Tastewise, the toffee and caramel malt notes are complemented by dark bread and figs. Plenty of peat that complements the other flavors rather than detract from them. Long smoky and wet log finish. Body isn't slacking by any means but could be bigger given the abv.

Alesmith Wee Heavy is so much more complex and expansive than even most of the fine malted milk ball malt bombs of the style...which I love. Takes the style to a new level for me.

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Photo of Oxymoron
4.52/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This is actually a year old vintage. Pours a mostly clear dark brown color with a definite red hue. Some sediment in the bottle made it to the party but mostly kept in the bottle. A very thick, fluffy head with some good staying power and lacing through the entire tasting.

The nose is rich in malt and complexity. Big kettle caramel notes with a hint of roast. A light meaty aroma as well. There is a very clean yeast aroma with some lighter plums and fig notes. Very clean with great legs and appeal.

The taste is similar. To start there is a great malt presence that lingers through the whole taste. The kettle caramel is there but just a tad lighter than the nose indicated. Some more sugary notes with a light honey and molasses thing on the backend. A nice creamy taste and very clean malt taste but a hint of a chalkiness on the backend. The yeast is noticeable but very clean. Some alcohol but blends very nicely with that malt for a great finish.

The body is closer to moderate than full. Some residuals really leave this boarder line though. Carbonation is light but leaves a creamy feel. Overall a fantastic beer. Some minor off notes but one of the best Wee Heavy's I have ever had.

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Photo of mikeale
4.5/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I picked this up before the Extreme Beer Fest at the Wine Gallery.

A: Beautiful mahogany (I held a flashlight to the glass and it was ruby) tan head/ small tight bubbles.

S: Malty / fruits/ very nice nose.

T: Malty / cherry / alcohol / faint smokiness

M: Creamy smooth / warming alcohol / lasting finish

D: 9.5 % would be the only limiting factor for drinkability on a cold night. My wife and I split this and as the beer warmed the flavors came out much more enjoyable. LET THIS BEER WARM UP!

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Photo of Gusler
4.5/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The beer disgorges from the 750ml green bottle a limpid deep ruby to almost brown color; the head is gargantuan in size, semi-creamy in texture and a toothsome light tan in color with the residual lace a velvet curtain to drape the glass. Nose is sweet malt, caramel and molasses, fresh and crisp, a pleasant sniff to be sure, start is demonstrative in its sweetness, thick malt presence, and the top is moderate to full in its feel to the palate. Finish has a fairish acidity, the hops relatively benign in their spiciness, the aftertaste droughty and a definite alcohol bitterness forms as the beer warms to the glass and room and it sticks to the palate till the very end. Alesmith has been since I sampled my first beer from them several years ago a favorite and I look forward to their vintages each year and keep a ton in my stash

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Photo of jcnd9803
4.5/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to trappistlover for sending!

A: Dark ruby-colored with a cream head that leaves just the right amount of lacing.

S: Pretty complex. Sweet caramel and malt initially and then some fruity notes come in.

T: Sweet malt and caramel. It also has some hard fruit candy taste. No bitterness to be found.

M: Medium body with a somewhat syrupy texture.

D: Just a well done beer that is dangerously easy to drink.

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