AleSmith Wee Heavy | AleSmith Brewing Company

AleSmith Wee HeavyAleSmith Wee Heavy
Liked This Beer
4.16 w/ 1,229 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

User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,229 |  Reviews: 472
Photo of TexIndy
3.28/5  rDev -21.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Poured from a 750ml capped bottle with no dating info into a tulip. It was a dark reddish brown color. It had a small head that quickly disappeared. Good carb fountain in center but no lacing. The aroma was heavy on the alcohol and dark fruits (raisin or plum). Slight malt in the back. The taste was also heavy on the alcohol. Kinda reminded me of a Belgian Strong Dark Ale. It was missing the smoky, peaty aroma and taste that I love in most wee heavy/scoth ales. Really disappointed in this one. One is enough and half bottle at that. (3.5, RTL, M, N)

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Photo of jayray
3.28/5  rDev -21.2%

Photo of RedDiamond
3.32/5  rDev -20.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Initial smells of moldy dog turd with sugar give way to musty barnyard broom closets of soiled dishrags and camphor. There’s also butterscotch, medieval dungeon, and a slightly smoky-swampy scent mixed with industrial alcohol. Ah, Scotland (by way of San Diego)!

Despite this brutal (yet accurate) panoply of smell descriptives, I actually appreciate the aroma of this beer much as I might appreciate the smell of certain common pheromones. The taste however, reaches like a broken limb and is unaccountably dilute. My Wee Heavy achieved perfect cellaring and serving at 50°F (exactly as it recommends on the bottle). But this beer doesn’t taste like a full-bodied ale that has mellowed. It tastes like a stick figure trying to be a body builder. It’s not that the essential flavors don’t exist, they’re just never delivered until whatever flavors might have once achieved identity, are arrested by a blunt alcohol finish.

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Photo of TheLongBeachBum
3.33/5  rDev -20%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A trip to, and a tour of, the Alesmith Brewery, was the second stop on EyeChartBrews recent Bachelor Party ‘Tour de Force’ of San Diego.

I had chance to pick up a mixed case of Alesmith brews whilst here, which included 4 x 750ml bottles of the Wee Heavy. I had committed the cardinal sin of asking for J.P. Gray’s Wee Heavy when ordering my Case. Apparently, “old JP” was Skip Virgilio’s maternal grandfather. According to the AS Website, JPGWH was release in 98, 99, and 2000, but I also have had a bottle dated from 2001 which does not appear on the Site. Interestingly enough, this beer is described as both 8.5% and 9.0% on the Website. Note to Alesmith – update your Website please!!! Anyways, I digress, as brewmaster Skip had himself ‘skipped’ (so to speak) Alesmith, the precursor has now been dropped. Hence, the new name for 2004, simply “Wee Heavy”. This will now be an all year round beer.

Whilst the distinctive Belgium green glass 750ml bottle remains, the bottle design has distinctly changed. Gone is the high quality gold leaf that is on the empty 2001 bottle that I still have adorning my kitchen worktop. The 'Pint on Anvil' logo is now white and purple. The printed bottle has the word “Alesmith” in a small white Arial like font, whilst “Wee Heavy” is in a much larger purple scripted font below. It is finished with the words “Scotch Style Ale” in white wording close to the base. Listed as 9.5% ABV, stronger than past years I note. The presentation is finished with some thick black foil over the simple brass colored crown cap. No cork.

Pours with a beautiful looking cherry wood body, lots of mahogany that sparkles with a ruby hue when backlit. But what happened to the head? Erm, not much carbonation at all. This is a big difference from the original JP version I note. I’m sat waiting for something to happen!?! On the second glass I get a quick “fizz” that releases a thin but solid light brown disc like head, but this almost immediately disappears to reveal a broken covering and a tan colored ring around the edge of the glass. Flat looking.

Molasses and caramel malts in the nose. One dimensional, but nice. As it warms it reveals lots of dark bonfire toffee. The initial taste is of malts, caramel, sweet dark toffee and dark fruits which are all exhibited in the mouth with a moist sponge like Parkin feel. The body is of a solid Ale, but the burning raw sugary sweet aftertaste and warming alcohol bite are a little too much for me. It is malty to start with and aggressive in the back end. It lacks complexity and the gorgeous smoke character that I remember from the 2001 J.P. version I had previously. It feels like all the ingredients are here, but they need time to synchronize and synergize in my opinion. Very raw at the moment.

I dearly love Alesmith beers, but I have to be honest here and say that this was somewhat of a disappointment overall, especially for $10. I hate to mention cost, but like it or not, in the real world, everything has a price. The Abbeye des Rocs Grand Cru that I can purchase locally for $6.99 for the same volume is now my Bench-Mark “premium” drink straight away or cellar beer. If you’re going to compete in the higher priced echelons of the beer market, you better get your shit right and know your competition. That said, this is not a bad beer, far from it, but it is rather more that I expected greater and better things from it. It’s good, but I think this one needs a lot more time to be great to be honest. If I splashed $10 and drank this fresh, then maybe I would be a tad let down. Give it another 24 months, or more, maybe only then will I be happy with my investment. But that's a long time for a return on a high priced beer. Thankfully, I have a few more bottles that are stashed away. But this will have to do much better to even have me consider splashing out another $10/bottle to even contemplate cellaring any more than the few I already have; the Grand Cru and Speedway Stout are much better for the same coin IMVHO.

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Photo of lifebeer
3.36/5  rDev -19.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

bought this from south bay drugs and liquor. served cold, probably too cold, which one should take into consideration while reading this...

a. poured a murky, lake-mud brown, caramel edges when held to the light, slowly forming head with a short-lived but impressive cascade resulting in a finger of tan foam

b. not too much here, serving temp might have something to do with it, the usual caramel and raisin of a wee heavy, sweet wine scent

t. overwhelming chewy raisin flavor, if concentrate really hard, capped with a scotch ale smokiness

mf. some nice chewy body that finishes closer to watery

d. it was difficult to finish this one, a little to sweet, probably my last one

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Photo of dbalsock
3.38/5  rDev -18.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Dark brown with a little head, but a decent amount compared to other wee heavy's i've experienced. There's the slightest lacing on the glass, but not enough to make pretty designs.

Smell: The aroma is very malty and quite nutty at that with a hint of alcohol and piney hops.

Taste: Reminded me a little bit of scotch, except nuttier. It tasted heavily of alcohol and toffee.

Mouthfeel: Thick bodied and smooth on the palate until the sharp bite on the swallow.

Drinkability: I would have this on special occasions, but would only sip a small glass of it. It's a little too intense, even for a wee heavy.

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Photo of g00ey
3.39/5  rDev -18.5%
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 Kelbow86
3.4/5  rDev -18.3%

Photo of Dope
3.43/5  rDev -17.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A: Pours a clear, very dark brown with a bit of red in there. Big and dense light brown head. Fades slowly, leaving really nice solid lacework behind.

S: Toffee, molasses and some peat with hints of smoke. Decent caramel in there as well.

T: Loaded with smoke and peat up front. Toffee, caramel and molasses abound especially in the middle. Some dark fruits fill in the middle as well, fig, grape and maybe raisin? A touch of nuttiness too. Finishes with lots of peat and toffee. Fairly boozy. I get a fair amount of of odd sawdust and leather in there too. Hard to describe.

M: Heavy, thick, boozy.

O: Definitely a very strong, boozy and complex scotch ale. The weird leathery/dusty/woody aspect really detracted I thought. It almost tastes oxidized in a way but this is super fresh (just came into the store last week). Fairly smoky and peaty too which I generally don't like too much. I was kind of torn on the scoring as I didn't like some of the flavors but it also has a lot of good flavors as well as the complexity and balance. The smoke and peat seems in-line with the style so it's hard to take away points for that either. Tough one to score. I did not enjoy this one at all, however.

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Photo of atigerlife
3.44/5  rDev -17.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a darker brown with some lighter highlights. Almost no head. Opaque.

Aroma of roasted malts, some fruitiness that I couldn't quite figure out. Somewhat winey.

Taste of malts, alcohol...sort of reminded me of port/bourbon.

Med-heavy body, creamy and cleansing.

Overall, this was interesting. Worth a try. I couldn't drink too much, but I found it to be a nice curiosity. Something tells me I would enjoy it more if it was aged for a while. At this point in its life, it wasn't overally impressive.

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Photo of aasher
3.45/5  rDev -17.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This beer pours a rich and smooth medium bodied dark brown, borderline black, in color with a one finger cream colored head. It smells of sweet caramel malts, cream, nuts, and a red wine sweetness. It tastes of candied sugar, super sweet caramel and dark malts, and cream. It also has a strange and faint red wine like aftertaste. I would rate this so much higher if not for the sweetness. God damn it's sweet. This one drinks far too light for what it should. It is creamy, like the Speedway, but in an overly thin manner. What the deuce! Overall I'd describe this as a sweet and flavorful malt bomb. Compared to Big Sound from Cigar City, this one needs work, and less sugar. Long live Big Sound!

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Photo of nassaubeercop
3.49/5  rDev -16.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

A- Pours black, coppery red when held to the light, very thin tan foamy head. head quickly fades very little to no lacing.

S- Roasted malt, bourbon a little lactose.

T-Bourbon, malt a little sweet on the palate. Nice flavor but a little light, not as bold as some other example of the style. A little alcohol.

M- Light carbonation, a little thin and watery. Slight alcohol burn. Not much aftertaste.

O- I like this beer but it is not the best example of the style I have tasted. Good smell and flavor but not as bold as I would like. Very drinkable despite the high alcohol content.

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Photo of pjkelley82
3.5/5  rDev -15.9%

Photo of jsanford
3.5/5  rDev -15.9%

Photo of tclapper
3.5/5  rDev -15.9%

Photo of Zaphog
3.5/5  rDev -15.9%

Photo of masterofsparks
3.5/5  rDev -15.9%

Photo of bnelson997
3.5/5  rDev -15.9%

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3.5/5  rDev -15.9%

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3.5/5  rDev -15.9%

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3.5/5  rDev -15.9%

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3.5/5  rDev -15.9%

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3.5/5  rDev -15.9%

Photo of Raziel313
3.5/5  rDev -15.9%

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3.5/5  rDev -15.9%

AleSmith Wee Heavy from AleSmith Brewing Company
Beer rating: 92.2% out of 100 with 1,229 ratings
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