AleSmith Wee Heavy | AleSmith Brewing Company

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

Brewed by:
AleSmith Brewing Company
California, United States
alesmith.com

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:
468
Ratings:
1,213
Avg:
4.19
pDev:
9.07%
 
 
Wants:
206
Gots:
249
For Trade:
14
User Reviews
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Reviews: 468 | Ratings: 1,213
Photo of kajerm
4.15/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Very dignified-looking 750. Pours opaque crimson-hued brown with a thick but quickly receding off-white head and thick tracks of cream-colored lacing.

The aroma is heavy on malts, with caramel, toffee, and some molasses; maybe just a little too subtle but it smells like a wee heavy, and it smells good.

The flavor opens malty and stays malty through the finish. The light molasses character is present, as is the caramel. A little bit of breadiness shows up mid-palate and fades fast. The finish is slightly smoky, slightly malty, and slightly alcoholic.

Mouthfeel is silky-smooth, perfect.

I could probably drink the whole 750 myself, and that's pretty damn good for a wee heavy.

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Photo of TheJollyHop
4.1/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Very dark brown with three fingers worth of head. Copious amounts of lacing is left inside the glass.

Fragrance of cherries, raisins and sticky sweet malt as the ale warms, roasted notes pervade.

Tasting this rich, bready, and chewy ale, there were traces of chocolate, coffee, followed up by the slightest hop backbone.

The ABV is cleverly masked, leaving behind a nice warming effect without the booziness. A very drinkable, pleasant representation of a Scottish strong ale.

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Photo of DoktorZee
4.42/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 750ml bottle into a schooner. No obvious best before date.

A - deep, deep black and transmitting no light, small tan head with a little lacing. Lots of obvious carbonation in the glass.

S - very fragrant black licorice and molasses.

T - very light smoke over a huge black licorice foundation. A bit of dark chocolate and dried fruit as well.

M - Very creamy consistency (coats the entire mouth) while also being moderately carbonated. Moderate booziness.

D - very hard to drink a lot of this because even though it's delicious it's so heavy!

Nice beer; definitely a pick me up for a cold winter night!

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Photo of Glanzman
4.73/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

750 ml bottle served in a pint glass.

Pours a beautiful ruby brown color with an off-white, 2 finger head. Nice lacing retention.

Smells of dark roasted malts, caramel and toffee.

Taste quite the same with a subtle hop bitterness.

Great beer. Pricey but taste great!

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Photo of gpcollen1
4.05/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I believe this one is about one year old.

Poured gently into my Smutty Big Beer glass. A bit of head rises and gently fades. A dark brew that shows a bit of a dark red hue when held to the light. Aroma is smokey, roasty, peaty as should be. Taste is lightly sweet with a very strong dark roasted chocolatey presence - almost overboard for the style. This is one fantastic brew but kind of swayed from center of style for me. I do prefer some of the more subtle ones...

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Photo of wyattshotmaker
4.25/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

poured into a tulip,nice brown color with decent lacing and a head that transformed into a small persistent head. rich caramel flavor with a hint of dark fruit.

taste is caramel with very very soft hints chocolate and coffee.a bit of very clean in terms of esters and phenolic compounds. i kinda like a bit of esters in a scotch ale even though they are not part of the traditional style.

mouthfeel is pretty full with moderate carbonation.overall very drinkable,not sure if it's worth the price but it is very good none the less.

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Photo of macster
4.44/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Just a fabulous Scotch Ale. Pours from the bottle a dark ruby brown color. Sports a tight 1/4" beige head which fades to a light wisp. Minimal lacing. Rich, assertive aromas of dark chocolate covered cherries, butterscotch, caramel apples, molasses and smokey charred wood and alcohol fill the nose. Just a fantastic aroma profile! Moutfeel was fairly full, round amd smooth with just the perfect amount of carbonaton. Superb flavors of dark roasted malt, burnt caramel candies, dark chocolate, molasses, licorice and charred wood. The only slight flaw I would mention was the late palate and finish was a tad harsh and boozy with the alcohol pushing its way to the forefront a bit too much. Not well hidden at all. Definitely a great winter fireplace ale after a year or two of ageing.

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Photo of Shovelbum
4.09/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750ml.

Pours a thin tan head over a black body with ruby edges. Little lace and head retention. The aroma is of sweet malt and dark berries with a hint of biscuit. Flavor carries on the work of the aroma with a similar complex and sweet malt character with notes of caramel, plumb, cocoa and roast barley. The alcohol is noticeable and contributes a bit of a burn. There is also a mild hop bitterness that comes through toward the end for balance. Medium to full bodied.

Nice malt complexity in the flavor and aroma with a decent hop bittering charge for balance. The alcohol detracts a bit from the flavor and smoothness of the ale, but for the most part this is a complex and enjoyable wee heavy.

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Photo of dogfooddog
3.78/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

nose is a concern, note is vaguely like vinegar, with hints of raisins or other dark-sweet fruits. Not what I would expect from any scottish ale.

taste is much better - sweet glowing sense of old ale (not barleywine), hints of fruit or other typical notes. Lacks the character this style gains from wood-fermentation, though I see such a variant does exist.

this is not my favorite wee heavy, but a very decent example with improves into the bottle and higher temperature. I would really like to try the wood-aged version of this...

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Photo of Tdizzle
4.11/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Purchased at Vendome Fullerton.

A- Poured into a Chimay chalice, this beer pours a slightly opaque, deep dark ruby red with a fizzy tan head that settles to a thick and lumpy layer. The head sticks around for literally the entire hour or so that it took me to consume this, leaving blankets of lacing on the glass. Very nice to look at.

S- Huge notes of sweet, caramely, fruity, and toasted malts with some dark fruits like dates and figs in the background. There is a slight grainy quality to the aroma as well. The alcohol becomes more noticeable as the beer warms.

T- Exactly what the aroma promised. Dark, fruity, and toasted malts take center stage, with a mild tea-like bitter kick at the end. The finish is very clean, leaving almost nothing sticking around on the palate.

M- Thick, creamy, and velvety smooth with very little carbonation.

D- The ABV is 9.5%, but the alcohol is hidden very nicely, making this an easy sipper. My only gripe would be that I got a little bored towards the end of the bottle, simply because I prefer bitter beers over the malty ones, but this is really a delicious beer despite my bias.

A malt lover's dream. Highly recommended.

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Photo of rtaps
4.2/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark brown, with deep red tint. nice tan frothy head and minimal lacing

S- Sweet, fruity, almost and apple juice aroma.

T- similar to the smell, sweet malts, fruity, mild hops balanced well. and very slightly smokey

m- smooth, medium bodied and carbonation.

overall this was a pleasantly nice beer, tastes better than it smelt.

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Photo of pjwilson
4.2/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Deep brown, heavy lacing. Poured into a tulip. 2 inch head holds for several minutes, then receding leaving lacing behing.

S: Brandy, plums, raisins, roasted carmel. Very nice and pleasant to smell. Could be mistaken for a dubbel at this point, not complaining about that.

T: more caramel, Booze, yeast, and raisins.

m: quite light for a beer of this size. Again Beligan like.

O: I have to knock it down a hair, just because it really does seem more like a Belgian Dark Strong or Dubbel than a Scottish ale. A fine beer, nonetheless.

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Photo of cheers2beers
4.17/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Boolshot for tradeing me this fine beverage!

Served into a snifter:

Appearance: This beer pours a super dark brown almost black liquid. The head is ummm...what head? No head to be found other than thin off white ring around the brim of my glass.Minimal laceing to be found.

Smell: Sweet prunish,raisiny, sour and yet sweet tart apples, a hint of smokiness, a strong sweet malt character, mesquite wood, perhaps a little nutty, and even some licorice can be detected in the nose. Not much hops to note but the alcohol seems to linger in with the sweet malty drink.

Taste: The taste is very much like the nose to the "T". Exept the alcohol is much more potent. The sweet maltiness is the majority of this fine brew. Still no hops to jump out at you to say. Much more prevelent smoke and peat character. A cinnamon roll and/or raisin bread seems to play a role as well. This beer seems to be (so far) on my top scotch ale/wee heavy beers list. Very flavorsome!

Mouthfeel: Slick and oily with a fruity alcoholic film inside my mouth is left after each swallow. A medium body, almost thick with a good amount of carbonation even thou no head was produced.

Drinkability: This is definitely a fine brew in my opinion. A must try if you have not already. I would love to try this again perhaps aged with just one year to compare and to give me an excuse to drink this again.


Cheers2Beers

 1,412 characters

Photo of CaptainHate
4.31/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

I love Scotch ales. Picked this up on a North Carolina trip in September but it is readily available here in Ohio. Served at around 50 degrees being stored in a closet in an unheated room. Poured from a bomber into a Dogfish Head tulip. Gorgeous reddish brown color but not much of a head which dissipated quickly. Nice rich boozy sweet smell. Tasted licorice and other interesting flavors operating under the alcohol burn. Feel has the requisite heft for this style. Would gladly have this again and plan to in the future.

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Photo of regspeir
4.03/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Acquired in a trade, served this in a snifter. Pours dark brown, almost black with a large, thick, coffee-colored, two-finger head which settled only to a half-finger. Nose is is some dark fruit (figs, plums)brown sugar and a heavy dose of scotch or brandy. Taste is sweet- brown sugar, toffee, caramel, dark fruits - a little roasted coffee, peat and a liberal dose of scotch/brandy and accompanying warming. There is a nice bitterness in the end to ameliorate all that sweetness up front. Mouthfeel is fairly heavy with a decent amount of carbonation. Watch out 'cause you certainly aren't aware of the ABV. This is a very nice offering, although Alesmith seems to seldom miss. They certainly didn't with this one.

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Photo of sweetbrew82
3.65/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

750 ML into a snifter/ no freshness date

P: Deep walnut brown with a creamy, light tan head that is mighty thick and frothy. Showed good retention and left some nice lacing on the way down.

A: Roasted malts, tons and tons of brown sugar, creamy caramel, chocolate, and smoke are all easily noted in the nose. But, the amount of booze in the aroma has me a little scared that it will translate onto the palate...

T: ...and, unfortunately, I was correct. More on that later. The thick, robust, roasted, bready caramel malt is definitely the star of the show in this one. But make no mistake, this is no one-trick pony. This is a very full-flavored ale that features tons of brown sugar, dark fruits, sticky toffee, and molasses. All of which meld very well together and form a synergistic cohesion of flavors that sparkle like glass in the sun. Surprisingly, there is a hop presence underneath that tries valiantly to balance this malt-monster out. While all of this is great, that alcohol is definitely marring what could have been a classic. It's very hot, abrasively solventy, and seems to overpower the flavor profile the warmer the beer gets. While I do understand that the style allows for a pronounced alcohol presence, this is definitely overkill!

M: Full-bodied with a rich, slightly creamy, smooth, yet almost oily texture that also features an aggressive amount of carbonation. Suits the beer very nicely.

Notes: This might just be the first Alesmith offering I've had that didn't blow me away, due to the fact that it is probably way too young. In fact, it suffered the same fate as the bottle of '07 Decadence. Way too hot and boozy! This badboy needs a looong timeout in the cellar to chill out a bit. Besides, the already complex flavor profile will only get deeper as time passes. Right now, it is not on point as far as I'm concerned. In 2 or 3 years, however, this has the potential to reach the summit of my all-time favorites!

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Photo of CharlieMurphy
3.77/5  rDev -10%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Deep dark brown with some light beams in the shallow end. Off white cream head stays low on the border.

S: Like brandy and scotch, whew! Don't know what to think about this as those are the only flavors i get on the nose.

T: Less brandy and even less scotch, but some port, peat, pinot noir, caramel malts, and finally some dark fruits. ->That's drawing a lot out of it, the taste is overall mild.

M: Low carbonation and could actually use a little more of it.

O: Meh, probably won't buy again, but it is really a decent beer.

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Photo of Krakistophales
4/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours a very dark brown with a huge 3 finger head that dissipates quickly

S: Lots of toffee, caramel, brown sugar, sweet malts, and overall a creamy sweet smell

T: Just like the nose. Toffee, caramel, brown sugar, sweet malt up front, then you get a bit of a chocolatey, dark fruit bill afterwards. A touch of raisins, and a nice, smooth mix of dark fruit and chocolate in the end.

O: This is probably the scotch ale that will convert me to scotch ales. Would buy again for sure.

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Photo of OldSock
4.75/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Appearance – Dark brown with deep red highlights. A thin off-white head that falls to a thin coating along with a massive sheet of lacing that paints my glass like whitewash.

Smell – The pungent dark fruits and smokiness cannot conceal the 9.5% abv completely, but they try. There are also chocolate notes in the nose, very nice.

Taste – Strong malts, smoke and dark fruits mingle together. Really no hop presence except for a slight bitterness on the back of the tongue. The alcohol is completely obscured in the taste while the beer is still at cellar temp, but I start to notice its taste and effect as I work down the huge bottle.

Mouthfeel – Delicious smooth-full body, more the mouthfeel of a strong stout than a Scotch Ale. The carbonation is a bit brisk for my preference, but this is less a problem as I am taking my time enjoying this fine beer.

Drinkability – Alesmith Wee Heavy is certainly the best domestic Scotch Ale that I have had, and good enough to be in the same category with the best Scotland has to offer. Glad I saved the big bottle for a night I had nothing else to do, as the abv will probably destroy me, but with this beer its well worth it. I wish I had bought a second bottle when I had the chance to put down for a year…damn.

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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.

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Photo of abfraser
4.4/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

750ml purchased in 2007

A: Dark brown chestnut that pours a massive cream colored head. This looks thick, coating the side of the glass

S: Amazing smell. I can smell it 2 feet of the table while I'm writing this. Caramel, toffee, brown sugar, dark fruit

T/M: Toffee, caramel, chocolate. Subtle roasted malt with a little smokiness on the finish. Very rich mouthfeel, clearly full-bodied. This is awesome stuff, a great winter sipper

D: Would drink this all the time in the chillier months if it was readily available.

Top notch stuff. Nothing more to say other than you should absolutely buy it if you can get your hands on it.

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Photo of Tolann
4.35/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I got this bottle in a trade with RichBeer. I seriously need to find something more to send this guy.

A - Ruby colors, but really dark too. Some kinda white head that clings to the glass and tames down to only skim the top.

S - earthy peat smell, big fruits, and malty sweet goodness. Cherries and dark sugar. some smoke and caramel

T - bigger than the smell and all the same. Not a lot of surprises that your nose didn't already tell you. Its all good news. the dark fruits and mega peat is outstanding.

M - the abv is obvious and its big. a little sharp alcohol bite but it doesn't burn your breath. kind of light mouthfeel. Carbonation is kind of replaced or covered by the alcohol feel.

D - Probably good that I shared the bottle, but wish I coulda saved it all for myself. I really enjoy the earthy notes of this style and its a shame that there doesn't seem to be more wee heavys out there.

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Photo of ballewblake
3.91/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Got this out in Cali at Red Carpet Wines. Poured from bottle into a Brunehaut chalice.

Dark brown, maybe black, with a one finger off white head on a normal pour. Reasons to stick with my Duvel glass, smell. I always seem to get way better smells off that glass even though I have a huge glassware connection. Anyway, barely getting some slightly sweet smells, nothing huge, kinda disappointed there, but I'm really thinking its the glassware, will try in another glass when I finish the bottle. Taste is really sweet upfront and then as it washes over my tongue it gets really wet and sweeter at the back as it goes over the bitter areas, weird. Getting some ethanol now, both in the throat and lips, slightly noticeable, but I think as its warming up its really starting to come out. Some really mild bittering hops in the aftertaste. A great balance on this one with malts and hops. Deeper down, getting way better smells, great solid lacing down the glass and head retention is there. Getting the alcohol in the nose, picking up the sweet malts,

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Photo of StephenRich
3.57/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

What is a Wee Heavy? Thats a bit of a strange name for a beer style. Its actually just a very old name for beer. It represented an ale of stronger nature originating in Scotland. The Scotch Ales were anywhere between 7 and 10% abv, and hence were a "wee heavy".

This beautiful bottling by AleSmith fits the bill. It is a Scotch Style Ale brewed in California at weighs in at 10% abv as appropriate for the style. I've had a few AleSmith beers before, and they have all impressed me. This would be my first experience with the Wee Heavy, and I was definitely very excited as scotch ales are among my most favorite beers.

Like many of their beers, this Wee Heavy has been decorated with medals and awards since 2004. I was very glad it came in a 750ml bottle, cause this beer was build to share with friends.

I opened the Wee Heavy up around cellar temperature close to 12C (54F) - I was anticipating big thick malt flavors, so I wanted them to all stand at attention rather than be muted by the cold. Poured into wide based tulip this beer brewed a deep nutty brown color lifting a smoothly dense, creamy tan head. The beer showed deep garnet reds when held into the light, but overall it is a softly transparent close to black beer with a maroon shade of brown growing within it.

The nose is classic with malt sweetness, touches of caramely roast, dried cocoa and hints of floral bitter hops. It has big deep aroma but is not terribly bounding or powerful. It glides easily into the air and penetrates your nose. Make no mistake though, there is much flavor here. Its shows an alcoholic warmth and comes back to big malty sweetness and dark fruits.

Letting the Wee Heavy in was like washing your mouth with roasted candy malts. Big and lush malt candies pour over your palate totally engulfing your senses. It really is malt forward. The first rush of malt is the big sweet round flavor of burnt brown sugar and rich butterscotch. It is quite abrupt at first showing a very aggressive malt character. It all comes across your tongue very intently and falls heavily onto your cheeks bringing roast and toffee with it.

The malt flavors here are truly complex and deep. As the beer warms overall character of the beer smooths out and becomes more gentle allowing greater layers of aroma and flavors to emerge. Now warm figs, dates, plums, banana and vanilla open to your taste buds, and yet more warm toffee, and thick sticky caramel flow with pronounced purpose all over your palate. A soft and slightly earthy hop aroma helps balance this beer a touch, but really, it fails. This is a hugely malt focused beer which is dominated by the warm, mellow, sweet, and potent flavors of malted barley. Really, if you are buying a wee heavy, it is exactly what you are looking for.

It even shows flavors of dark bitter bakers chocolate, lightly toasted bread, and smooth dark espresso. It was quite the treat, but certainly not for everyone. Although I could depict alcohol on the palate, it comes across more as an aged port, really just aiding the beers sweet and direct profile. Touches of spice begin to emerge here to, but are overshadowed by toffee and malt.

The mouthfeel was soft and gently carbonated showing big flavors. This is a full bodied beer, and I do wish it was a bit creamier, but overall, especially as it warmed, it became very smooth and gentle. The finish was sweet and malty with a hint of molasses, as every other moment of the beer was. It does fit the Scotch Ale bill pretty perfectly, and I wish I was enjoying a deep chocolate cake at the time with it. That being said, do look for big rich deserts with it or roasted game. Anything too light will be overpowered by this big beer.

I am also willing to bet that it will cellar very well. I'd give it 2 years upright and it should become even deeper with smooth and mellow flavors of deep buttery figs, and rich sticky malt.

 3,900 characters

Photo of jeffjfindley
4.05/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Black body with mahogany feet. Ample head with fine retention. Smell is of massive malt, and a bit leathery. Taste is explosive, if not complex. Sweet malt, and alcohol dominate, with a dark chocolate acidity on the finish, and a bit more hops than I expected. Mouthfeel is rich and airy, downright poofy actually. Predictably viscuous, sticky head.

This is a huge beer, and a pleasure to drink. The lack of complexity makes the 22 oz. bottle a bit laborious, but the balance is astounding.

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AleSmith Wee Heavy from AleSmith Brewing Company
4.19 out of 5 based on 1,213 ratings.
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