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

On-tap at Hollingshead's and served in a Chimay goblet, on to the beer:

The beer is really a dark reddish brown, but in the goblet it looks black. Good head on top of it. Aroma is sweet and alcoholic. Interesting change of events in the taste. For the first portion of my sample it tasted like smoked chocolate with a kick of alcohol. But the farther I got along with the beer, it started to taste like red grapes, pixie candy and raisins. The booze was still there, and an afteraste of molasses lingers. Body is medium to medium-heavy.

This is one strong wee heavy, it pushes the boundaries of the style with its raw strength. My one nitpick is it isn't as drinkable as other wee heavy's I've had.

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

Consumed 03/19/08.

Pours a deep caramel brown with a velvety smooth three finger off-white head. Plenty of carbonation in this beer!

Aroma is sweet and a little boozy with dark malt and a hint of earth.

Effervescent and a little parching, this brew almost dances on the tongue. Also a little syrupy, coating the mouth a little.

Flavor is big and malty, as it should be. Biscuity, almost salty. Molasses notes. Reminds me a little of red wine as well, along with the slightest hint of mustiness. Alcohol, while well-concealed, still warms a touch at the end. Lingering ghost of a smoky note on the aftertaste, along with some hoppy bitterness.

Smooth and drinkable, but not deceptive: this beer lets you know with every swallow how alcoholic it is with its heavy, considerable flavor.

Another Alesmith delight.

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

Pours dark brown with light head. Aroma of fruits & malt. Taste comes on big and sweet...tofee, molasses, caramel blended nicely with roasted malt, giving way to a nice lingering smokey, bitter hops finish. Mouthfeel is thick and warming. A big, delicious beverage with a good amount of punch. One'll do ya but you'll want more.

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Photo of Murchmac
4.6/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Drank out of a bottle from City Beer Store.

Poured a beautiful cherry red highlight with a healthy head that dwindles down.

Alcohol smell, dried plums, sweet malts. Great smell.

As someone else said, does not get syrupy. Hops taste right off the bat, sweet malts, smokey aftertaste.

Great mouthfeel, dry finish. Alcohol is deceptive, you feel pretty buzzed after it.

Drop it like it's hot.

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Photo of rhoadsrage
4.58/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

(Served in a dimple mug)

A- This beer has a warm barrel brown body with a matrix of tiny bubbles gliding to the surface. There is a thick tan head that mushrooms above the glass and last for the full beer.

S- This beer has a dark caramel sweetness with a slight prune hint and a soft smoky bourbon hint of alcohol and sweetness at the finish.

T- The taste of sweet malt with a caramel flavor and toasted notes has some cream and smoky hints that increase as the beer warms a bit. The finish has a nice roasted malt bitterness and a soft cola note that supports it. As this beer warms a bit a pleasant faint coffee roasted note and some pine hops come through at the finish. The alcohol taste is a bit like red wine and is a nice compliment to the big malts.

M- The medium-light mouthfeel has a slight slippery texture and not real alcohol until the beer warms quite a bit.

D- This full flavored and roasted malt notes has a great flavor combined with nice smoky qualities and no band-aid flavor. The hops and alcohol balance each other nicely and let the malt do most of the talking until it warms up a bit.

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Photo of willjschmidt
4.32/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 750ml bottle into a Stone RIS glass.

A: Pours a very dark brown, almost black, color with a reddish undertone. Lots of lacing left behind by the thick tan head.

S: A good dose of sweetness in the form of caramel, some dark figs, along with a bit of alcohol.

T: A very interesting beer. It's slightly sweet with the dominating flavor being caramel with a touch of dark fruits. However, it's nowhere near the amount of dark fruits found in a Belgian Strong Dark. The alcohol is apparent but it's not overpowering as one might expect in a 10% beer.

M: Creamy, smooth, and warming.

D: A great end-of-the-night sipper. I paired it with some dark chocolate and dried apricots for a great match.

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Photo of illidurit
4.05/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

Poured into a snifter. Blackish brown color with a huge sticky tan head. Lots of chocolate in the nose, with some peaty raisin. Flavor is really rich and decadent. Huge caramel maltiness, with some sugary boozy dark fruit. Not a lot of alcohol in the taste but it will catch up and hinder the drinkability. Similarly, the thickness and sweetness are a bit much the further you get through a 750 mL bottle.

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

a transparent deep darkend cheerry red beer that pours with an immense 2 inch head which slowly subsides to a few mm. the aroma expelled by this magnificently colored beer is one of cherries and vanilla. i am expecting some malt madness for sure. i was not dissapointed, and while this beer has a great up front flavor it is less rewarding in the finish. there is a nice maltiness to the front of this with a carmelized long boil flavor that i find typical of this style. a slight sweetness hits the tounge initially followed by a kettled flavor (peat smokiness or something of the like). caramel fills the middle very nicely but then the flavor drops out to a metallic taste. this off flavor is then followed by a stong alcohol flavor and some chocolate aftertones.

in all i really liked this beer, but the end really dissapointed me. i can't get past the metallic and strong alcohol flavors before the nice chocolate finish. i will get this one again and see how it ages.

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Photo of jtneal111
4.35/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a deep brown, with a thick, creamy, quickly receding head.

Aroma is very malty, with caramel notes, quite nice.

Tastes very malty, with a well balanced sweetness.

Mouthfeel is just right, smooth and heavy, but not too heavy.

As for drinkability, well, I finished the entire 750 by myself with no troubles. This is a very good beer.

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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 dsigmon
4.11/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: pours deep amber with large frothy head into my tulip.head stays for a while then falls leaving very little lacing.

S: not very strong but subtle notes of molasses and caramel.

T/M: taste is sweet smoky molasses and caramel. Light biscuity flavor with some raison cleans up.

D: very smooth and easy to drink. A little warm so you have to take it slow.

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

Pours out of the silver foiled champagne bottle a very deep amber color. The tan head floats atop the brew and hangs on as it slowly diminishes. The smell is awesome. A sweet and smoky aroma attacks the nose. There is a strong scent of caramel and fresh pumpkin noticeable. There is also some berry-like esters right when the sniff starts. The taste is also amazing. A big malty sweetness hits the tongue and swallows the taste buds. A slight alcohol taste is apparent, but not overwhelming and warms the throat as it descends. A roasted flavor complements the caramel taste first noticed in the smell. The aftertaste is full of smoky bitterness that I find rather pleasant. AleSmith Wee Heavy is thick and syrupy with just enough carbonation to tickle the tongue. A very drinkable beer that I really enjoyed. I think I might drink another glass for dessert!

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

Pours a slightly cloudy (chill haze?) Ruby Red/dark brown color with decent white head that goes fast and doesnt leave any tremendous lace but there is some there. The nose is very much dark fruit and some malt sugar. Taste follows the nose, malty as hell early, but dark fruits and spice come out. Not a ton of scotch ale flavors here, but they are present. I think they are just overshadowed by the abv. As it warms they come out more, but so do the malts. Kind of chocolatey almost malt flavor. maybe roasted. Sugary finish with a little nice hop bite. This is a heavy-ass wee heavy. Mouthfeel is very good. On the thin side, which I like in this particular style, however you can defenitely feel this beer in your mouth. Drinkability is good for a beer of this strength, but i have had better, albeit few. A great beer, and defenitely one that will improve with age IMO. Good work alesmith.

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Photo of irishevans
4.27/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

pours a dark ruby/amber color with a thin mother of peral head. smells of smoke and malty goodness, a very inviting wee-heavy nose. roasted notes throughout the taste with some wooden and smokey flavors toward the middle and on to the end, maybe some coffee tones as well, there is a flavor along those lines that i can't quite place. the mouth-feel is a malty bagining with a crisp "velvety" finish no liquor neck twist burn on the end as i notice with something like a McEwans. drinks pretty damn easy for 10% but not to the point that i'd call it a chugger. an awesome wee-heavy overall.

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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 tempest
4.12/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a red wine glass from the big green bottle. My first impressions are that this is the second best Scotch ale I've ever had, after Silver City's Fat Bastard. I found this wee heavy/scotch relatively hoppy, but pleasantly so in a way that balanced the heavy malt and left a nice, grassy bitterness. The malt was a big caramel, with smoke, and the hops I mentioned. Definitely worth a try for something new in the style.

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Photo of Floydster
3.81/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Glass at Beachwood BBQ in Seal Beach for six dollars this afternoon, wanted to try this as soon as possible before cracking my barrel aged version in the next couple weeks

This was only the second scotch ale or wee heavy style beer, so I do not have much to base the taste off of other than its overall characteristics as a beer

Poured into glassware that looked a flower vase with a deep brown color with burgundy accents throughout, resembled chocolate syrup, 3/4 inch creamy light tan head that stuck around for quite some time, good lacing as well

Smell was a bit overwhelming because of all the different things going on, lots of chocolate, some molasses, toffee, caramel, vanilla, other sweet malts, and a faint hoppy aroma

Taste was very good with malt that attacks the taste buds, I got maple syrup, figs, and dark fruit at the beginning, particularly plums and raisins, lots of brown sugar and a little cinammon, when the beer warmed it got even sweeter but surprisingly easier to drink because it was not as carbonated, miniscule hop profile provides some balance but all the different tastes are subtle enough that the beer is not overpowering with any one quality, got chocolate flavors told the end along with other candy-like sweetness, overall this was a great tasting sipper

Very nice thick body but too much carbonation, would have went down a lot smoother if it was not so cold and there were less bubbles, taste lasted a long time, good mouthfeel

I could drink another one of these maybe, it is heavy on the stomach and too sweet at times, not a session beer in any sense, the ABV is high enough to knock somebody on their backside as well

Cannot wait to try the BA version now, not Alesmith's best but still damn good, would definitely have again, next time out of a bottle to see the difference from the draft version, highly recommended even though it is an expensive beer

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Photo of lifebeer
3.36/5  rDev -19.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

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

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

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

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

mf. some nice chewy body that finishes closer to watery

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

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

Pours a translucent dark brown color with a thin fizzy light tan head that's gone in a flash leaving little lacing. The smell is very nice; a rich molasses caramel and a bit of the alcohol. This one is marked 10% ABV. A real sipper, there is a bright tang from the alcohol while a light sparkle of carbonation lends a creaminess to the mouth feel. Full flavored, with a unique blend of cocoa, caramel, molasses and toffee. It finishes with small mocha-toffee aftertaste that is ever so lightly smoked. That is really well done. Definitely a winter warmer with a whole bunch to consider. Highly recommended.

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Photo of Metalmonk
4.63/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

An incredible looking beer, this pours the deepest burgundy I've ever seen, topped by a rocky three-finger head of creaminess incarnate. Lots of lace, both splotchy and stringy...pretty much a perfect looking beer. If not, I certainly haven't seen another more beautiful. (And the bottle says it's 10% ABV...lucky me!)

Aroma is a fantastic array of smoke (mild), peat, cheesecake and berry fruits, also some cherry pipe tobacco further back, and a dim bit of leather even further back.

Flavor: first comes a big grape / berry sweetness, like real concord grape juice amped up by an exotic berry juice infusion; then several waves of bitter dark chocolate, soil, flavored pipe tobacco, and burnt raisin. That sounds a bit heavy, but it all remains on the delightfully succulent and manageable sweet side. A bit of alcohol flare rides through during and between sips, but the thin yet velvety slick mouthfeel does wonders in taming that, helping the flavors remain in the spotlight. This could've been too thick or sticky, but instead it's just right in its graceful, even gentle delivery.

Easily one of the most delicious beers I've ever had the pleasure to meet. Its bulky ABV and assertive flavors make it one I wouldn't probably want that often, but that's okay. It'll only be that much sweeter to return to. ...Now, short of trading, if I didn't have to book flight to get it, I'd really be in business...sigh...

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Photo of TexIndy
3.28/5  rDev -21.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

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

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

Poured from a 750ml bottle into two tulip glasses. Thanks to HeatherAnn for the assist and the hook up!

A: Pours a deep dark brown with a slight reddish tint when held to the light. Tiny 1/4 finger head.

S: Aromas of chocolate and spicy peat smoke.

T: Spicy, smoke kissed plums and figs. Burnt brown sugar or molassas. Light alcohol burn rears its' head as it warms.

M: Starts smooth and finishes quite prickly.

D: Very good, although the alcohol heat becomes slightly intrusive as we made our way through the bottle.

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Photo of ArrogantB
4.24/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

As a preface, I am not very familiar with “scotch style” ales, whatever that actually means. This had a very amazing chocolate and malty smell that only got better as the bottle got lower. The taste was malty and good but not alcoholic despite the high ABV. My friend said he tasted peat and smoke but I tasted no such thing and I feel cheated. This was still a pretty good beer. Damn you Alesmith!!!

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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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