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:
1,206
Avg:
4.19
pDev:
9.07%
 
 
Wants:
205
Gots:
251
For Trade:
15
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Reviews: 468 | Ratings: 1,206
Photo of gleemonger
4.65/5  rDev +11%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Hazy, dark, amber brown with a moderate tan head that goes away fairly quickly, leaving some nice cotton lacing. Very pretty beer.

Toasted malts, dark fruit, caramel, and a touch of yeast. Sweet but not overly so, makes me want to take a sip ASAP. A touch of alcohol too.

Much like the nose, the taste comes through in about the same order - toasted malts, a kind of raisiny / plum fruit flavor, mixed with some caramel malts. Almost goes the medicinal alcohol route, but stops just short, thank god. I'm really digging the roasted malt, stout character of this that isn't usually there for the style - works really nicely. Even a touch of bitter hops on the back end. Quite a bit going on here.

Thick, heavy, syrupy but not overly so. Good carbonation bite to offset.

While not my favorite Scotch Ale, a very unique and very nice take on the style, and super enjoyable. Well crafted and delicious.

 902 characters

Photo of flagmantho
4.08/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from 750mL bottle into a tulip.

Appearance: rich, dark brown hue, almost completely inscrutable. Head poured two thick fingers of frothy tan foam which subsided, over time, leaving a nice layer of lace on the glass. Nearly perfect.

Smell: big, sweet malt aroma with a big caramel character. Nicely crafted and appropriate to the style.

Taste: sweet malt flavor with a little bit of vegetal hops in the mix. Malt character emphasizes the caramel, with little hints of breadiness coming through the sides. Good, and appropriate to the style.

Mouthfeel: medium bodied with a huge carbonation and massive creaminess. Great for this or any other style! Wonderful.

Overall: quite a good beer. If you like gargantuan malt bombs, this beer is for you.

 755 characters

Photo of rarbring
4.13/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The brew is clear deep chestnut, has a dark tan head that settles slowly leaving good lacing and having good curtains.

Smelling of fudge, butter scotch, dried dates, apricots, Marzipan, almonds and Sherry.

Tasting of sweet brown bread, dark dried fruits, Sherry and almonds.

Medium carbonation, soft and oily, a huge body. A very smooth dryness.

In small portions, mostly after dinner, with a good dessert, why not Crème Brûlée.

 435 characters

Photo of lacqueredmouse
4.13/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle purchased from Ledger's Liquors of Berkeley, CA. Shared with @LaitueGonflable and @tobeerornottobe in Sydney, Australia.

Pours a lovely clear, deep cabernet red, with a frothy, pancake-bubbled head off bone white. Lacing is fine and speckledy, but solid for that. Body is thick and heavy, and leaves streams of fine carbonation when tilted. Looks pretty damn good.

Nose is brusque and deep, without a lot of sweetness, but with a hint of raw booziness and a heady, slightly spicy and intoxicating character. It has some currants and raisins to it, but also a peppery, dusty age to it. It's pretty good stuff.

Taste is also very good. Here, the currants come out a little more, with a fruity, dark sweetness powering the locomotion of the palate as a whole. Notes of pepper, tannic wine and a boozy richness fill it out. Finish is quite dark, but it feels like it's the tannins rather than a true roasted malt character which makes this happen. There's so much going on in here.

Feel is smooth, but constantly peppered by that lightness and astringency.

Overall, this is really good stuff. I know I shouldn't be surprised that AleSmith gives really good stuff, but this is excellent even by their high standards. This is a Wee Heavy in the rich, thick and juicy variety: not the type created by a slight hint of peat. I feel like this is the better.

 1,360 characters

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

Six of us attending a beer tasting that I hosted in my man cave pub gave this beer a score of 24 out of a possible 30 for and an average score of 4.0 It ranked tied for 3rd out of the 12 beers we tasted. The group of six were divided evenly, 3 that favored IPA's and 3 that favored Stouts. This Wee Heavy Scotch Style Ale comes in a 25 oz bottle. May be hard to find.

 367 characters

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

on tap at the brewery

Pours a deep almost blacked out color with a thin layering of beige head resting on top. Light amount of lacing dots the glass, with a slick of film coating the brew.

Robust, thick scents of roasted malts and chocolate. Hints of nuttiness and booze with peat and leather. Very faint smoke with alcoholic warmth. Tempered sweetness.

Rich and full-flavored right up front with dashes of dark chocolate and roasted malts. Layers of caramel and peat with subtle notes of smoke. Sweet, but not cloying, paired with a substantial boozy warmth. A bit of leather and nuttiness towards the finish.

Full bodied, decent carbonation, creamy and luxurious on the tongue. I savored every drop of my taster - I would easily buy a few bottles of this if it wasn't so pricy here in Philly.

 802 characters

Photo of WillCarrera
4.3/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

750 ml bottle, no bottled-on date, poured into a snifter.

A- Pours dark brown with reddish hues at the edges, produces a finger of creamy head that recedes to a wispy layer, leaves spotty lacing.

S- Aroma of caramel, molasses and fruit as well as smokey, peaty notes.

T- Sweet, slightly boozy flavor, lots of caramel and dark fruit. Also some smoke, peat and oak.

M- Full-bodied, thick, creamy, smooth feel.

O- An awesome wee heavy, very tasty and pretty damn drinkable for such a big beer.

 496 characters

Photo of 51mmz0rz
4.35/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 750mL bottle into Sam Adams tulip pint, no bottle date as far as I can tell.

A: Black body with slight brown highlights. Head is thick and solid, tan colored.

S: Dark roasty malt, slight sweetness, fairly clean.

T: Hits up front with a nice sweetness. Just when I thought it was going to finish too clean, here comes another wave of flavor. Hop and roasty bitterness fade to coffee and chocolate notes, as well as some dark crystal malt. Lingers this way for awhile.

M: Well carbonated, not too much.

O: A really nice beer for the style, but I wouldn't find myself reaching for this over an RIS anytime soon.

 627 characters

Photo of Thehuntmaster
4.62/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750ml bottle 10,0% ABV
Served lightly chilled in an over sized wine glass.
No bottle date.

This is going to be my first beer from AleSmith, so I am really looking forward to it - it also helps that Wee Heavy's are one of my favorite styles of beer!

Appearance: The beer pours a dark mahogany brown, however a back light transforms the colour into a beautiful deep red with bright golden edges. A rough pour yields a large cream coloured head that displays good retention and leaves sticky rings of lacing as it slowly recedes.

Smell: Ah, this smells amazing, it has been far too long since I had a good Wee Heavy. The The initial nose is quite sweet with notes of caramel, butterscotch, brown sugar and a little chocolate. These notes are soon joined by toasted malt, molasses, dark blue gum honey and sweet dark fruits (plums, dates and a touch of raisin). Warming yields a little alcohol, a hint of peated whiskey, an earthy note and a very unexpected touch of pine needles.

Taste: The flavour is not quite as sweet as the nose, but that is probably a good thing as that might make it a little tougher to finish the bottle.
Flavour notes include: Toasted malt, molasses, brown sugar, caramel, honey, dates, a hint of chocolate, an earthy character and the faintest hint of alcohol.
The finish displays a touch of bitterness and is quite dry.

Mouthfeel: Medium-full body and quite chewy, with a medium level of carbonation. Initially the carbonation was not quite smooth enough, however after the first third of the bottle things improve drastically, with the carbonation becoming far smoother, to the point that it is almost creamy.

Overall: This is a fantastic beer, I thoroughly enjoyed it and had no problem finishing the 750. I will certainly buy this one again. I think a barrel-aged version of this must be absolutely fantastic. I hope they release it again soon.

 1,886 characters

Photo of Alieniloquium
3.73/5  rDev -11%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

750 mL bottle poured into a CCB snifter. No bottle date. Shame, Alesmith! Reviewed from notes.

Appearance - Deep brown. A bit translucent. Decent retention and lacing.

Smell - Butterscotch and caramel. Everything you'd expect from a scotch ale. But hops? What is that? Way too hoppy.

Taste - Much like the smell. Caramel, toffee, butterscotch. It's all cut by the hop flavor. Strong hoppy flavor in the finish, without being bitter. Too much.

Mouthfeel - Good mouthfeel. The hop bitterness cuts the sweetness. Really nice. Not bitter, but balanced.

Overall - Off-style from the hops. Good, but not what I expected.

 619 characters

Photo of UCLABrewN84
4.4/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Beachwood BBQ & Brewing in Long Beach, CA.

Pours a clear dark brown with a foamy dark khaki head that settles to a film on top of the beer. A foamy latticework of lace coats the glass on the drink down. Smell is of toasted malt, burnt brown sugar, caramel, toffee, dark fruits, and alcohol. Taste is much the same with an alcohol kick on the finish. There is a mild amount of bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp and slightly sticky mouthfeel. Overall, this is a very good beer with some awesome aromas and flavors that make it very easy to drink.

 626 characters

Photo of Briken
4.08/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Clear dark brown, good tan frothy head and great retention. Peat and light smoke aroma. Smooth chocolate with notes of peat and smoke. Light caramel sweetness with a gentle warming. Velvety smooth feel.

Very subtle but good malt flavor with a good amount of sweetness. There’s a high alcohol content but it is not present in the flavor making this a scary easy drinking beer. There’s a good peat presence in the nose though it is slightly more subdued in the flavor as I would say it should be though I usually like a little bit more.

 539 characters

Photo of Mora2000
4/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Dixonian for sharing this bottle.

The beer pours a brownish color with a tan head. The aroma is heavy on the peat smoke, with some toffee and caramel malt thrown in. The flavor is a bit more complex. I get some nice toffee and dark fruit notes, along with a hint of peat smoke and some light alcohol notes. Medium mouthfeel and medium carbonation. A very nice Scotch ale, glad I got to try this one.

 410 characters

Photo of Greywulfken
4.38/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: pitch brown beer, formed a fat bibbly frothy head that simmered down but a nice layer of bubbles was always there; motes of lace and clingy bubbles

S: caramel malts and toffee, molasses and smoke

T: definitely the best wee heavy I've had - had a lot of barleywine characteristics: there was dark fruit, soft creamy caramel; but also had hint of smoky peat and earthiness

M: wow - not heavy - very drinkable and creamy; wonderfully refreshing with a great aftertaste

O: did I say this was the best wee heavy I've had? Super smooth, very flavorful, avoided being too sweet or chewy. I could drink a lot of this.

 616 characters

Photo of Pahn
4.45/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

750ml bottle into Duvel tulip. Don't know when it was bottled, but it had silver foil over the cap. Can't remember if I bought it this Winter or last.

Appearance: Free pour yields a half inch frothy tan head that dissipates steadily. Pours an almost opaque dark ruby with lots of visible, shadowy sediment. Leaves leggy streaks of lacing after each sip.

Smell: Slight cherry-like dark fruit note, with some underlying cake. Smells a little oxidized. The aromas work, but they're too muted; don't contribute much to the experience.

Halfway through the first glass, the aroma really opens up. The growing booziness seems to uncover a sweet malt complexity that greatly enhances the flavor.

Taste: One of those "sold on the first sip," beers. Big hit of caramel and cake, working beautifully with the creamy feel. Second sip brings out some dark fruit to highlight the caramel and toffee. The finish has a strong boozy heat, and is semi-dry. Can't tell if there's a touch of smoked malt, or if that's expectation plus the dry heat.

Love the balance here. There's a strong hop bitterness working with the heat and low (for a thick, 10% ABV beer) final gravity to keep the beer from even approaching "too rich" or "too sweet". Raisiny sherry-like oxidation note becomes prominent in each sip, but works beautifully with the dark fruit and caramel (the latter always the most prominent).

My only complaint is that the beer is maybe too straightforward. It's so finely balanced and delicious that I don't mind the relative simplicity.

Mouthfeel: Light side of full bodied. Very creamy. Low but adequate carbonation. Dryish finish that contributes monumentally to drinkability.

Overall: The 5 I'm giving here harkens back to the old "Drinkability" category to some degree. Unbelievable for such a thick, caramely, boozy beer as this to go down so easily. The levels of bitterness, sweetness, heat, etc are just perfect. Great vehicle for bold malt flavor, which is my favorite thing to find in a beer.

In my last review of an Alesmith beer--2010 Decadence, the last Alesmith beer I've had before this one--I mentioned that the beer fell short, particularly in regards to the potential of the brewers. Alesmith Wee Heavy is the kind of beer I'm talking about there; only a world class brewer could make a beer like this.

 2,323 characters

Photo of Duff27
4.42/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Collar left after initial short light tan head. Leaves a lot of lacing for a wee heavy.

Deep caramel/toffee aromas.

Rich rich rich, daddy likey. Caramels, toffee, slight dark fruit (prunes/raisins). 10% huh? Welp alright then.

So smooth, adequate carbonation. Medium mouthfeel.

This was awesome. Malt bomb to perfection. Perhaps the beat wee heavy I've ever had. Thanks again egrace84!

 389 characters

Photo of 4thmedbn
4.8/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Bottle at cellar temp in a tulip courtesy of Andrewinski1.

A - Just shy of black. The only indication that it's not black comes in the form of the deepest, most rich, dark ruby where the light manages to pierce the void.

S - Really nice notes of chocolate, and dark fruits. Think cherry and vinous character. The nose isn't as big as you might expect form a beer of this ABV, but I always respect when a brewer can be subtle .

T - Again, it's a delicate flavor profile, considering the style. Most examples of the Wee Heavy that I've come across are cloying, and crazily malt dominant. And while I do like some big malt character, again, I respect the restraint. Toffee, caramel, slight bit of vanilla, and definitely some chocolate. A little warming, but it's not hot by any means. This bottle has a year on it, so I can't speak for fresh examples, but it's nice and mellow. Finishes with a lot of toffee, raisins, and figs. It's delicate, but still boozy and rich.

M - Full mouthfeel, very smooth. Very low carbonation level. Once again, a big beer that shows a lot of artistry in its execution. This beer isn't chewy, seems fairly well attenuated, without seeming lean.

O - Really impressed with this beer. Love a beer that can be subtle and big at the same time. Reminds me of Kate the Great from Portsmouth Brewery in that way. Lots of delicate, fruity, malty notes. Boozy, without being cloying or requiring a fork and knife to aid in ingesting it. Really top notch stuff.

 1,483 characters

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

Served from a 2010 vintage 750ml bottle dark green to block UV damage.

A - Mostly opaque dark garnet-brownish with 1 finger ecru head with decent retention and better lacing along the whole glass. Head is fluffy and sticky.

S - Caramel, toasted oats and malt, and dark fruits on first sniff. Following notes of bubblegum, maple syrup, cherry. A fair touch of booze and a bit more than my liking, but the rest of the bouquet makes up for this flaw.

T - Sweet dark fruits at the start with toasty malt and just a touch of smoke. Alcohol is present from the very beginning though not overpowering. One of the strongest EtOh flavors I felt was balanced well and enjoyable in this expectantly boozy style. Caramel and sweet finish and booze even at the end, very little bitterness if at all.

M - Medium body, moderate carbonation. Silky smooth with creamy finish.

O - I love a good Scotch Ale and this is my first attempt at a Wee Heavy and it was a uber enjoyable experience. GO ALESMITH you rock!

 998 characters

Photo of gkatsoris
4.74/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Dark oaky in color. Very thin whispy head that faded straight away.

S: Wood. Vanilla. Oak. Malt and bread. Buttery. Toffee. Butterscotch. Chocolate chip cookie dough.

T: Vanilla wood. Vanilla oak. Alcoholy. Doughy. Grass. Buttered bread. Malts and malts. Cookie dough. Vanilla brownie.

M: A little thin, although it leaves a slight coat on the tongue. Not foamy at all. Super balanced.

O: Best Wee Heavy yet.

 415 characters

Photo of divineaudio
3.87/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

bomber into a snifter.

a - pours deep garnet in color, almost opaque. gave me a thin cap of light brown head and a few small spots of lacing.

s - carmel, prunes, vinous fruits, faint alcohol presence.

t - rich carmel malt character with vinous fruity notes. cherry, raisin. very little hop character. finishes with a lingering, boozy sweetness.

m - full bodied, chewy and slick. very little carbonation.

o - good but not great. i can think of a few other examples of the style that i would choose over this. worth trying for sure but $13 is a bit much for this to be a regular purchase.

 591 characters

Photo of brureview
4.37/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Served in a Micasa tulip. This beer is best with a meal- vegetables, chicken, fish, or a lighter meat such as lamb, and enjoyed with friends. An excellent quiet winter night beer.

There is very little head. The color is a dark black plum, which is dominant in the smell. The finish is a bourbon chocolate- which is more pronounced as the beer gets warmer. The mouthfeel is slightly malty.

After drinking the first pour, the beer is better appreciated in 2-3 ounces at a time when its true character stands out.

I will buy another bottle and age it for 6- 12 months. Highly recommended.

Cons: in the Boston area it's pricey and difficult to find. I could only find it at Martys( $17) and Ball square wines( $?) in Somerville.

 728 characters

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

25.4oz bottle, Boulevard tulip, no freshness date, but I have had this since January 2011.

A mite lighter than I would have expected, but beautiful transparent tawny auburn hues are what I behold when I raise the glass. There is a spare ring of furry tan foam.

Red cherry alcohol, port, brown malt, slight toast, herbal, with a pleasant booze edge.

Sweet caramel, cherry and dark fruit. Beautiful depth of sweet caramelized flavors. A little smokey drying in the finish, maybe cherry wood. Sticky tawny port with the same delicious, not overly powerful alcohol burn. Alcohol bitterness.

Appropriately soft and full mouthfeel.

Seems like a prime example of the big, caramel-y, robustly alcoholic Scotch ale that American craft breweries like to make. The smoke is fleeting. I'd like to have a true peaty character.

 823 characters

Photo of CuriousMonk
3.9/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from 750ml bottle into tulip glass. Pours a deep mahogany color along with a thick medium head that lasts throughout. Deep caramelly malty flavor with just a hint of smoke in the finish. The aroma is sweet and voluptuous, reflecting the flavor with malt familiar with the Scottish style, hop and yeast characteristics. Mouthfeel Lush, full, rounded, almost chewy mouthfeel. A good wee heavy style that I rarely drink.

 424 characters

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

One tasting beverage.

A: One and half fingered creamy khaki colored head that exhibited great retention forms atop this transparent dark brown bodied brew. When the head finally settles a thin foam remains atop the brew throughout the tasting and leaves behind a good amount of lacing.

S: Loads of sweet malts, caramel and dark fruits. A little more subtle than expected scotch profile. Hid the high ABV very well.

T: Follows the scent very closely. As the beer warms however the scotch flavors intensify along with a great nutty undertone.

M: Medium bodied, perfect amount of carbonation that allowed the beer to remain creamy yet crisp. Very easy to drink.

O: Was very impressed with this Wee Heavy. Semi new to the style, but I liked it more than Founders' offerings. Can't wait to get a BA version.

 808 characters

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.

 540 characters

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

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

    No fake news here. Get real beer content delivered to your doorstep every month.

    Subscribe