AleSmith Wee Heavy | AleSmith Brewing Company

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BA SCORE
93
outstanding
464 Reviews
AleSmith Wee HeavyAleSmith Wee Heavy
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
AleSmith Brewing Company
California, United States | website

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

BEER STATS
Reviews:
464
Ratings:
1,184
Avg:
4.19
pDev:
14.56%
 
 
Wants:
210
Gots:
254
For Trade:
18
User Reviews
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Reviews: 464 | Ratings: 1,184
Photo of DrinkSlurm
4.49/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

POured from 750ml bottle into Ommegang Tulip. Really pumped about this one...
Paid $13.99 at DeCiccos Brewster.
Pours a deep plum color with reuby brown color when held up tp light. Not much head sticks around with this, but a slight rim of fine bubbles hug the glass throughout the drink.
Great dried fruit and sweet malt aromas...nice dose of booze as well.
The taste is just awesome...dried fruity, fig, raison, meets chocolate and sweet malts - but then you add the complexity of the scotch/wee heavy yeast character and you have an awesome brew! Its so easy to drink, especially as it warms and each flavor component really begins to shine. I highly recommend this brew...

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

As really a Barleywine dressed in Scottish Strong Ale clothing- this heavily malted beer extends beyond the realm of anything Scottish and enters the world of cognac, brandy and Scotch whisky but in the most succulent and candied way possible.

Pouring an ominous tawny bronze color, its mysterious haze allows just enough light to pierce that its brilliant depth of colors may be explored. As a slow and deliberate rise of bubbles coat the surface, they are short lived as the slowly creep toward the edge before holding firm through the remainder of the session. With no lace in sight, the ale instead relies on its sugar laden brandy-type legging to adorn the sides of the glass.

Savory, sultry and undeniably masculine, the aromas of black-strap molasses captivates the nose immediately. Its rich and succulent scent is chocked full of chocolate, light coffee, light mesquite, vinous port, rum-soaked cherries, dates, figs, grapes and cashews. Heading into that first sip, its sweet and powerful scents are nearly as intimidating as they are rewarding.

Its incredible sweetness isn't for those that don't have a sweet tooth. Complex in taste- those deep molasses flavors are caramelly, nutty, and woodsy. Venturing past- other complexities keep building. First, there's a rich Belgian chocolate tone that joins with burnt toffee, and then reels in light Kona coffee, rich nutty taste, light campfire and cola. But then the fruity- winy flavors send the complexities into orbit! Rum-like and spicy, notes of dark, dried and pitted fruits offer up cherry, grape, figs and dates that when joined with a particular saltiness- reminds me of teriyaki.

With utmost certainty, the ale is full bodied and with a lush syurpy texture that layers on the mouth without apology. Its masculine strength offers up a warming tartness gives the texture a chewy character with a certain oily viscosity and makes it much more of a savory sipper that a quaffable drinking beer.

I have no problem with this ale being a "mere" Wee Heavy that's scaled up to Barleywine-type proportions. Forget the style. Forget the rules. Forget its origins and inspirations. One sip changes all that and demands that the beer be seen in a special light- one not meant for the mere entusiast.... but for the connoisseur!

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Photo of bruachan
4.49/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

750 from hudson's acme

possibly the best aroma i've found in a beer. sweet caramelized malts with a deep rich tastiness. a touch of vinous darkfruitiness

dark garnet with a thin bubbly film. i coaxed a half-finger head out of it with an aggressive pour, but the % killed it off

fairly full-bodied, with a smooth alcoholic finish and a hint of smoke. complex in all facets. smoke and roasted barley in the background, nutty flavors and big caramel up front

this is a great beer. hard to sit down with a couple on your own, but a great example of the style and wonderfully drinkable. after this, and if speedway is what people say it is, i'm buying a t-shirt

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Photo of Westsidethreat
4.49/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Chocolaty copper with some amber highlights. Fairly clean with just a few bubbles lingering in the glass. The head is nice roasted marshmallow made up of tight, thick bubbles.

S: Bakers chocolate, port, vanilla, raisins, brandy and toffee. Great.

T: Chocolaty and divine. Slight bourbon astringency in the highs with gorgeous rounded butterscotch and vanilla base flavors. Minor coffee, molasses and brown sugar. Finishes with earthy bitter hops and a lingering mocha flavor.

M: Full bodied and creamy.

D: Delicious. Alcohol a bit too apparent.

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

A: Pours a dark amber/brown color, leans more toward dark brown, but while in the glass it is more brown/black, leaves a decent tan colored head off of the pour, but the head lingers for awhile, great color to this beer

S: Initial smell is smoke, broken down hops, and caramel, but as the beer warms you get those smells plus toffee and vanilla, the warmer it gets the sweeter the smell gets, it is very well blended and smells really good

T: Up front you get a tame smokiness, broken down hop character, and caramel, in the middle you get a bit of everything from the nose, and on the finish there is more vanilla and a little sweeter than the middle, very well balanced and a great taste to it

M: This beer is thick, but not syrupy, more chewy, the light amount of sweetness prevents that, and oily, but it goes with this style of beer very well, great mouthfeel to it

O: Great beer, new to this style but loved this beer, may have to stock up on this and save some for this winter, definitely recommend this beer!

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

A - Pours a dark brown color, some carbonation, a nice foamy head which lasts a long time, well it never really disappeared for me, tons of lacing throught out the drink.

S - Scents of sweet malts, caramel, plums.

T - The taste is great of sweet malts, caramel, and bit of smokyness. Also, a nice warm feeling going down, but the alcohol content is hidden well.

M - Medium body with a slight carbonation.

D - Very drinkable. Another great/tasty brew from AleSmith, would definitely buy again.

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Photo of craftbeersweden
4.5/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Pours dark mahogny, dark brown with a two finger, beige head that leaves a lot of lacing.

Nose: A sweet nose of caramel malt, brown sugar, toffee and molasses. Dark fruit, raisin, plum, vanilla, oak and honey.
Taste: Soft, smooth taste of caramel malt, vanilla, candied sugar, honey, molasses, prune, raisin, tobacco and wood. So beatiful!
Mouth: Very smooth, full body with a great texture! Soft, creamy and almoust perfect carbonation! The beer fills my mouth with pleasure and pure happiness! The ABV at 10% is very well hidden and is only there to bring all the flavours to the beer.

This i so fantastic! I have found another favorite beer today. Alesmith (almoust) never dissapoints me despite my high expectations. Wee Heavy is another beer to add to this "must have" list!

Ok. I admit it - I'm a sucker for great Scotch Ale and this IS just that!

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

Pumpernickel loaf with cranberry stuffing and buttered rum edges. It is a lovely melange of colours with strokes of browns, reds, yellows and all combinations of the bunch. The tone is deep and heavy set but brims with accenting nevertheless. A puffy pillow of head mushrooms up across the top; it appears to have unpacked for a long stay.

It's hard to overstate how good this smells. Also, how many smells there are. It is a spicy, malty, fruity bouquet with hints of peat and smoke, caramel and toffee, molasses and herbal tea. Far and away, this aroma is strongly reminiscent of a plum pudding with prominent features of figs, raisins, brandy, sugar, cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg.

And all those notes translate perfectly into flavour. Once again, the taste of plum pudding (raisins, figs, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, and brandy) is fragrantly spicy, peaty and deliciously fruity. Strong caramelization and plenty of spiced, candied dark fruits have made for a super rich beer. That said, this is not only decadent but incredibly mellow and complex. If this was all I knew of Scotch Ales it would most certainly be my favourite style.

This bottle had probably lived to see its second birthday so I might be inclined to think that is what blended the flavours and mellowed out the alcohol. But having tried a small sample fresh off draught at the brewery, I know the beer's disposition is always this ripe and matured (and deceitful about its potency!). Despite being so tuneful and savory, this has all the ultra-earthy, full-bodied, chewy rich viscosity one could ask for.

I went to great lengths and significant financial costs to show Alesmith the meaning of support, so naturally, I expected them to show me the meaning of tasty, masterfully crafted beer - and they certainly have. This Wee Heavy is far and away the best example of the style I have yet to come across and I'd be only so happy to go to the same means to get another bottle. This really is an astonishing piece of brewing artistry.

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

There's no date on the bottle, but I bought it in August 2005.

Appearance: The pour is tad light than I expected. It's brownish-ruby to bronze with fiery highlights that's briefly topped by a creamy tan head. The head lasts a bit longer after the second pour.

Smell: The most delightful aroma is made up caramel malts, toffee, earthy and smoky peat, molasses, and chocolate.

Taste: Wow. Caramel, brown sugar, toffee, chocolate, and molasses come in first. Earthy peat smoked barley comes in towards the middle along with the slightest hint of diacetyl. The beer finishes with warming alcohol, but it's remarkably smooth and it doesn't hinder its dangerous drinkability. In keeping with the style, there's not a hop in sight.

Mouthfeel: The medium body is chewy and slightly sticky.

Drinkability: This proves that California brewers do know how to lay off the hops. It would surely make the lads in the old country proud.

"My heart's in the Highlands, wherever I go". . .
-- Robert Burns

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Photo of scotorum
4.5/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

ALESMITH WEE HEAVY SCOTCH ALE 12/1/15

Poured from the 25.4 oz. bottle into a Samuel Smith English tulip.

a; Murky dark copper with an inch thick light tan head which receded slowly to thick even surface foam and dense lacing.

s: Caramel malt

t: Sweet caramel malt with full texture. Some bitterness in the background provides balance. Sweetish finish. High ABV phenomenally well covered.

m: Full, great body and carbonation tingle.

o: A top notch Scotch ale, one of the best available. Fine sipper and winter warmer, but excellent anytime.

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

a: This was a clear, ruby red with some yellowish orange around the edges. It pours with a big, sticky, craggy light tan head that lasts.

s: Sweet, peaty, almost floral malts with hints of plums, vanilla, and alcohol. Gentle, superb, and very complex.

t: The malt flavors mirror the smell. Plenty of subtle elements combine to make this a fantastic wee heavy. In addition, there is some hop bitterness at the end and some barely perceptible alcohol.

m: The carbonation is gentle and lush, a nice compliment to the thick texture of this one.

d: Big thanks to the insanely generous abankovich for this treat. This is a great example of the style. Oh, and where the hell is the 9.5% abv? I couldn't find it.

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Photo of Reagan1984
4.5/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I bought this in early Dec '08 and placed it in my cellar. Today was the day.

This pours with a luxurious creamy off white head. The head show amazing retention then suddenly falls and becomes a thin 1/8th in cap of foam. The beer is the color of brown show polish with some mahogany tones when held to the light. Sneaky lacing seems to develop later...

Aroma is slightly fruity and has a hint of alcohol with a touch of molasses.

Wow, this is a smooth wonderful beer. The depth of the malt is the first thing that hits you. To say it's malty sweet would do it no justice. This is what I mean when I describe layers of malt. Some nice spice in the background that envelops the slight alcohol tone that's clearly present. Deep dark caramel and lots of nutty flavors along with a smokey nature. The complexity and depth here is fantastic. Of course the entire time it's smooth as silk.

This is clearly a big beer and the mouth feel is smooth but the body is bold... There is a slight warming sense to this.

I am enjoying this on an August night, but it's making me want to get more for a cold winter night... I can see sipping this in front of a fire. Something tells me I'll get that chance.

Great beer.

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

Dark mahogany color with a very thin light tan head that dissipated quickly. The aroma is luxurious malt, smoke, rum and butterscotch. Rich body with full flavors of smoked malt, floral hops, caramel, chocolate and roasted nuts. Amazing. The finish is creamy and smooth, with sweet malt and an alcohol pop. Right up there with any of the best Scotch Ales out there.

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

I obtained this 750ml brown bottle from Liquid Solutions (Mail Order). There is no packaging/freshness date that I could see. Poured into a pint glass, I produced a 1" head of bone colored foam that had decent retention and left spotty lacing as it dissipated. The beer is a deep reddish brown. Colored like a ruby when held to light. There are tiny, micron sized particles in suspension (I LOVE that)!

Aroma is redily apparent with strong toasted malt. Lot's of chocolate... like a Mocha Latte from Starbucks.

Taste: This stuff is very good! Heavy malt taste. Some smokey taste, some dark chocolate, a tiny bit of toffee... a bit of a bitter finish. Some alcohol warming (my bottle says: 10% abv... BA says 9.5% abv)

Mouthfeel: Nice and thick and creamy. This is a very good example of what I THINK a Scotch Ale/Wee Heavy should be like... although, I believe that my favorite, in this style, would be Founder's Dirty Bastard Ale (as of 1/3/2008).

Drinkability: Thick, creamy, malty, "packs a punch", everything you want in a Wee Heavy... maybe just a step under Founder's Dirty Bastard... still very good. This one will kick your ass if you don't watch it! HIGHLY RECOMMENDED. Try Founder's Dirty Bastard... I'll have to do a side-by-side....

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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 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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AleSmith Wee Heavy from AleSmith Brewing Company
93 out of 100 based on 464 ratings.
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