AleSmith Wee Heavy | AleSmith Brewing Company

469 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: 469 | Ratings: 1,214
Photo of BucannonXC5
3.98/5  rDev -5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Type: 8-oz. draft
Glass: Clear snifter glass
From: AleSmith Brewing Tap Room in San Diego, Calif.
Price: $4.25
Purchased: Jan. 9, 2016
Consumed: Jan. 9, 2016
Misc.: N/A

Poured a dark mahogany color with two fingers of khaki tan, fizzy head when I got it. Good spotty lacing on the sides of the glass. Good retention on the top all the way down. (Sight - 4.25)

Smelled boozy scotch caramel, toffee, dark fruits, plum and roasty nuts. (Smell - 3.75)

Tasted roasty malts, caramel, toffee, scotch notes, but not as pronounced as the nose, dark fruits and some dates. (Taste - 4.00)

Medium-to-full body. Creamy texture. Average carbonation. Long, smooth finish. (Feel - 4.25)

This was a very good beer for the style. Would have it again for sure. (Overall - 4.00)

3.98 | 89 | B+

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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


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 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 barnzy78
4.37/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

750mL bottle, shared
A - brown pour with a foamy tan head
S - sweet and malty nose with brown sugar, caramel, vanilla, peat, and a hint of chocolate
T - sweet and smooth with nice complexity: brown sugar, molasses, vanilla, caramel, toffee, vanilla, oaky peat, pepper, earthy & leafy hops
M - full body, creamy and smooth, moderate carbonation, finishes with some pepperiness
O - very solid brew. This is a heavy wee heavy with loads of flavor and complexity. Glad to finally try this one!

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Photo of clayrock81
4.03/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Poured a copper brown body with a little bit of tan head that died quick. Toffee and figs hit me first in the aroma, and then I get touches of caramel and roasted malts along with hints of other dark fruits. Thick, slightly sticky heavy bodied beer that is rather easy to drink thanks to the sweet malts and dark fruits working well together as well as hidden ABV. There is a toffee nuttiness and caramel sweetness in this beer that works along with notes of raisins and figs as well as a dry malt base to prevent beer from being too sweet.

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Photo of Mitzvahman72
4.71/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Nicely malt forward with a dark mahogany color, it also contains tastes of dark raisins, malt and toffee. Unfortunately, there isn't much smoke that comes with this beer, although that might be overpowered by the great malts of this beer! If you’re looking for just the right amount of peat smoke for your beer, I recommend Sprecher Brewery’s Piper’s Scotch-style ale and even Belhaven Brewery’s Wee Heavy.

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Photo of NotAlcoholicJustAHobby
4.15/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

L-Almost black with very little light transference through the glass. An aggressive pour leads to a 1 inch fluffy white head recedes to a creamy white film and good lacing.
S-Lots of malt and dark fruits.
T-Much like the smell taste is some smoky malts, alcohol, and hints of dark fruit.
F-Carbonation is light and the mouthfeel is on the higher side of medium.
O-Another good wee heavy. Alcohol presence is still pretty strong and that makes it more of a sipper for me.

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Photo of GuitarIPA
3.55/5  rDev -15.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.25

Some nice qualities - dark brown/black color, foamy head, caramel, vanilla, root beer aroma and taste, mouthfeel is medium to full bodied, but cloyingly sweet.

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Photo of Immortale25
4.49/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a Due South Brewing Co. snifter. Bottleneck says Bottled on 02/11/14...well, even though Alesmith just entered my local market, I got a vintage bottle. Score? I guess we'll see.

A- Pours a mostly opaque black color with a 1/2 inch tan head that retains well before becoming a thin ring around the edge of the glass and some wisps of surface foam. Resilient lacing leaves a broken ring behind.

S- Big roasty quality with some sweetness and booze behind it. Almost smells like a malty barleywine. Notes of honey and vanilla

T- Sweet roasty malt brings to mind brown sugar, honey and maybe a hint of molasses. The slight oxidation presence helps to mellow the booze and sweetness. Somewhat of a peppery finish with a charry aftertaste and some vanilla notes that come out more as it warms.

M- Creamy with medium-low carbonation and a full body.

O- Indeed a score. I'll even go so far as to say this is the best Scotch ale I've ever had. Definitely more like a barleywine as guessed in the aroma but there's still that big malt presence that keeps it within the wee heavy realm. In the end, it's damn tasty, and that's all that matters.

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

Mahogany with copper head that rises quickly and leaves a nice lacing

smells of caramel, butterscotch and prunes

Sweet tasty malt , fruit and candy , hint of alcohol but not bad for 10%

Sticky but not thick

Would like to see this in 12oz bottles/cans

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Photo of Roguer
3.74/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Very dark brown brew, with purple highlights throughout. Solid dark tan head with excellent retention.

Big boozy aroma, dominated by dark fruit - raisins and prunes - with caramel and brown sugar lurking behind. Slightly nutty and grainy.

Flavor follows: it's a big, dark, malty, fruity brew, following in the vein of other Scotch ales. The booze is not particularly well hidden, carrying both flavor and heat, but it's by no means unpleasant nor surprising for a 10% brew. On the sweeter side for a Scotch ale.

Slick, lively brew; medium-full bodied; heat on the second half and on the back end.

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Photo of tillmac62
4.02/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4

BOD 2/11/14. Pours a clear rich mahogany. Normal head volume, lacing and retention.

Outstanding, but of moderate intensity, complex nose of caramel, dark fruit (fig, date, raisin, prune) and molasses with a touch of alcohol.

Light full body with an almost creamy texture. World class carbonation with a nice effervescent burst in the middle and a robust finely bubbled burst in the finish.

The outstanding flavor profile is reasonably intense, complex and well balanced. It doesn't quite cover the alcohol and lacks the robust flavor of the world class Scottish Ales. It begins with a wave of dark fruit - mostly prune, but raisin and fig are evident. Towards the middle tobacco is present as the malts begin to assert themselves. A moderate sweetness constitutes the middle as caramel and molasses. The heavy prune notes are always present, but are somewhat balanced in the middle. The finish is a slow fade of prune and molasses coupled with a bit of an alcohol bite. Dial the alcohol back a point or so and this could challenge for world class. The alcohol tends to overwhelm the rich flavors this ale has and results in the prune flavor dominance noted.

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Photo of fishyakLA
4.47/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Had this beer last night. My favorite restaurant has this nice habit of aging beers. They had cracked a keg of 2011 Wee Heavy. Spread the word; this baby ages very gracefully. Color was not attractive, kind of a muddy brown and even a little grey. Smell provided good warning of interesting things to follow. This beer developed some of the dried fruits of a belgium but still had the higher carbonation of a scotch ale. Rich and not overly boozy. A very different beer from the other Scotch Ale I reviewed from Two Kilts. I wish I had a tasting flight of this brew to compare a current bottle with my 2011 version. At a minimum, it is clear that if you "forget" to drink this beer for a couple of years that your patience will be rewarded, not punished.

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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.

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Photo of UrbanCaveman
4.42/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

25 oz bottle, poured into a snifter at ~45 degrees F.

Appearance: Pours a deep, dark mahogany brown, and forms two fingers of pale tan head with fantastic retention. The head itself leaves almost sheetlike lacing on the glass as it recedes, and the rest of the lacing is appropriately thick as well.

Smell: Thick, heavy toffee and caramel, sweet and bready, rush out of the glass like kilt-clad highlanders in Pictish war paint howling a battle cry as they charge downhill, swords in hand. There's a hint of some raisin in there as well, like the wrinkled old highlander marching behind them, playing the bagpipes, caring not that he's walking into a battlefield unarmed. He's crazy, that raisin. Oh, and you can smell faint leather as well, which makes sense, because baldrics and boots and such. To battle!

Taste: That aforementioned toffee and caramel? It came to fight. Those are the first flavors that greet the tongue, the vanguard of the assault, before the rank and file troops hit as a wall of warm dark bread. Somewhere in the swirling chaos of malty melee, that raisin rings out, like strains of Scotland the Brave played within the roar of battle and the screams of the dying. As the beer moves along, tones of leather and damp, peaty earth appear, fitting for a field of war soaked in sweat and blood. The ABV also makes an appearance towards the finish, a sudden surge of heat as the victors set fire to the homes and lands of the fallen.

Mouthfeel: Thick, creamy, full, rich, and sticky, this latches on to one's teeth and does not let go easily.

Overall: Quite a good wee heavy, with intense malt flavors and just enough earthy bitter, and the mouthfeel and appearance one wants from this style nailed perfectly. The only complaints I have, if one can even call them that, is a relative paucity of dark fruit complexity (I get only raisin from this one), and some unconcealed heat from the ABV. It's still a heck of a wee heavy, and a heck of a beer!

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

Bomber bottled 5/29/14 at 45 degrees into tulip
Aroma of malt
Head large (5 cm, aggressive pour), light brown, fizzy, diminishing to irregular 3-5 mm ring and partial layer with rocks
Lacing poor – rare island and partial ring
Body dark amber/brown, opaque
Flavor sweet, very malty; ends with a slight malt bitterness; no hops, no alcohol, no diacetyl
Palate full, syrupy, soft carbonation

Appearance 4, Aroma 4, Flavor 3.75, Palate 3.75, Overall 4

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Photo of mattcrill
4.38/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Aroma: Big fig, plum, and raisins flood the nose. Just a hint of rum with some cocoa. Clean fermentation character.

Appearance: Ruby red hazy pour with a low tan head. Head retention is good. Appears still in the glass.

Flavor: Smoky sweet bread character with a firm peppery bitterness. A hint of maple with earthy hop bitterness. Balance is to the bitterness. Finish is clean and dry. Aftertaste lingers with some raisin-like sweetness.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with medium carbonation. No alcohol, creaminess, or astringency.

Overall impression: A big and bitter Wee Heavy. Nicely done Alesmith!

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Photo of larryarms847
4.25/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours dark ruby brown with a huge two finger head of thick and frothy light khaki foam.

Scotch, toasted malt, dark fruit, subtle vanilla, toffee, and caramel.

The toasted malt stands out much more in flavor as well as the toffee and caramel, vanilla gently emerges in the finish.

Medium-bodied, medium carbonation, semi-chewy, sturdy, solid mouthfeel.

Overall, this definitely sits in my top 5 for this style.

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Photo of samtrillo
4.18/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

This is what a scotch ale/wee heavy is supposed to be. None of that Cistomane crap from my last review. I literally went out and bought this because I poured out Cistomane's smokin Santiago. The appearance, smell, taste and mouthfeel are all top notch and spot on for the style. A lot of charred character in the after taste. Creamy and big mouthfeel you expect from a wee heavy. Great beer to cover up the shame that was Cisttomanes or whatever they called.

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Photo of Franziskaner
3.96/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Deep brown with a red tint that is revealed when held up to light. A fingernail of beige head covers the rim and perhaps a third of the top. Aroma is of toffee and caramel. The flavor is toffee and caramelized malt. I get that subtle smokey note as it warms. I could occasionally taste the alcohol. The mouth is chewy,sticky, and viscous.

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Photo of dcmchew
4.18/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pours really dark copper with a small bubbly tan head, quick to a thick lacing.
Smells accordingly, with sweet caramelised malts, mild toast, walnut, peanut, raisin, light dark cherry, faint herbal hop, spices, alcohol.
Sweet caramel and spices right at the start, backed by nice dried dark fruit (date, fig, raisin) and some "pulpy" dark cherry. Bits of baking chocolate, pepper, brown sugar, cookie dough. Not too earthy, but there's a really nice sweet nut flavor, sugared toast too. Warm booze in the finish.
Aftertaste has nice dried fig and date, some cocoa powder and nut peel, light toasted malts. Medium body and carbonation. Just sweet enough, and the alcohol is hidden enough, tho it tends to pile up.
Great stuff, perfectly in-style, and then some. Big surprise.

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

Look: Dark brown, light tan head, leaves good lacing

Smell: Caramel, fruit, and some spice

Taste: Some roasted malt and smokiness up front, bready malt and fruit

Mouthfeel: Full body, light carbonation

Overall: A very good Wee Heavy, would gladly get more if I'm in the mood for a Wee Heavy

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Photo of spoonhawk
5/5  rDev +19.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

The beer is a dark brown with deep mahogany highlights around the edges when held up to the light. The body this on the lighter side of heavy, but the feel is full and slick.

The smell is a mix of dark fruit, brown sugar, a hint of yeast, and alcohol.

The flavor opens up big with a baseline of dates and figs mixed with caramel. Hints of cocoa come through mid-sip as the alcohol enters the mix, which gives the underlying flavor something of a brandy-like quality. As the alcohol continues to push at the close, the cocoa fades and earthy hops come through.

The lasting flavor mixes dark candied fruit balanced by alcohol and light herbal and spicy hops.

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Photo of ogasnor
4.74/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Poured from a bottle into a nonic pint glass.

A - Dark brown, with a hint of redness to it. Held up to the light, it is hazy and cloudy with what light manages to get through. Pours with a generous two fingers head, which falls away to non-existence. There is not so much lacing as this beer sticks to the side of the glass forming legs.

S - Dark fruit: Caramel and toffee, dried cherry, figs, dates, and raisins, swimming in a dark, sugary alcohol aroma. Smells reminiscent of black rum, rich with molasses, smoke and the bitterness of burnt sugar.

T - It is as if a caramel and toffee malt bomb went off in my mouth. Tastes the same as it smells, molasses, rum and the full spread of dark fruits. The finish is a little bitter, like earthy smoke and burnt sugar dancing with dark cherries.

M - The near lack of carbonation makes this a very thick beer; combined with all the sweetness, you might think it would be syrupy or cloying. But it isn't, mostly because there is just enough alcohol to overcome the sweetness, and leave just a bit of warmth.

O - This is, without a doubt, a big beer. There is so much going on that it could have been a jumbled, incoherent mess, but instead, the flavors work with each other, and then give way to the next set of tastes. If I didn't know this was a Wee Heavy, I could believe it was a Quadrupel, or perhaps a Barleywine.

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Photo of chinchill
3.93/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

A portion of the large bottle served in a Belgian snifter.

Pours with a dark, hazy, red-brown body. A bit of sediment in the bottle was added in the pour and soon settled to the bottom of the glass.

Excellent sweet aroma and flavor. Faint dark fruits and compatible alcohol esters. Smooth body with low carbonation.

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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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