Dismiss Notice
Curious about recent updates to the site and app? Check the Announcements forum for updates.
Dismiss Notice
Love Belgian Beer?

Join us Sep 17 in Portland, Maine for Return of the Belgian Beer Fest, featuring hundreds of authentic Belgian beers and Belgian-inspired offerings.

Tickets + more: beeradvocate.com/belgian

AleSmith Wee Heavy | AleSmith Brewing Company

YOUR RATING = None |
BA SCORE
93
outstanding
462 Reviews
AleSmith Wee HeavyAleSmith Wee Heavy
BEER INFO

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

Style: Scotch Ale / Wee Heavy

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.00%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
A classic Scotch Ale. Scotch ales are typically sweet and malty, with a very subdued dose of hops– just enough to provide balance. AleSmith Wee Heavy is a wonderful interpretation of this traditional Scotch style.

Added by Jason on 04-19-2002

BEER STATS
Reviews:
462
Ratings:
1,174
Avg:
4.19
pDev:
14.56%
 
 
Wants:
208
Gots:
254
For Trade:
18
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Reviews: 462 | Ratings: 1,174
Photo of bluejacket74
3.85/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

750 ml bottle. Served in a pint glass, the beer pours dark brown with a half inch tan head. It smells like caramel, peat, toffee and molasses, overall the aroma is very sweet and malty. The beer tastes like caramel, raisins, toffee, figs, burnt coffee and a bit of licorice. Mouthfeel is full, but with a good bit of carbonation that I think is too much for this beer. Drinkability is good, it's smooth and creamy, but as the beer warms the alcohol heat is very noticable in the finish. It's definitely a sipper. Still, I think this is a good wee heavy. I would buy this one again.

 581 characters

Photo of Halcyondays
4.23/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On-tap at the Beachwood BBQ in Seal Beach, CA,

A: Dark brown, with a medium tan, off-white head.

S: Smells of caramel malt, molasses and peat.

T: Big malt notes, some whiskey and bourbon, peaty, went great with BBQ, a great tasting beer.

M: Thick, creamy, smooth, and robust, you know you're drinkin' a beer.

D: A great Wee Heavy, smooth and tasty, robust but easy to drink, I really enjoyed this beer.

 417 characters

Photo of bradford
4.53/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Bought a couple bottles at the BevMo in San Luis Obispo, CA on 8/10/07
Appearance was very dark red with a small white head that remains for the duration of the glass
Smelled very much like a stout but with a slight smokiness that is the all-to farmiliar Scotch ale malts. perhaps some Pete malt?
Tasted fantastic. Tons of malt. More than expected in a brew renound for maltiness. Also lots of alcohol on the tongue which can either work brilliantly for a beer, or be it's ultimate downfall. I like the alcohol in Rochefort 10, but not so much in the Kentucky Breakfast Stout. It works very well for this offering.
Mouthfeel was a winner again. Very thich mouthfeel, that is helped in the throat with the alcohol. This beer feels on the palate like a 10+% abv beer, not the advertised 9.5%.
Drinkability was good on this one. It will be savored though and not drank like a weiss on this warm evening. I am already looking forward to my next glass. Great stuff. Highly reommended.

 984 characters

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

The beer pours a dark brown color with a 1/2" tan head that fades to lacing. The aroma is great. It has a rich, malty scent that boasts of caramel and peated malts. It screams of burnt toffee with a sweet malt scent and a warm elevated abv element. The taste is good. It has a warm, malty flavor that goes down smooth and finishes dry and a bit bitter. There is an earthy element here that compliments the caramel malts. The mouthfeel is fine. It is a full bodied beer with adequate carbonation. This is a good drinking Scotch ale. It's a warmer for sure, but I love the malt character.

 586 characters

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

Fantastic brew. Pours a dark, deep, cola-like bubbling brown.

No real hop taste, the flavor is sweet but not overpowering, and the taste is more complex and rich than one would suspect from this style. Carbonation created a nice two to three inch head, color was a rich chocolately amber.

Quite drinkable, perfect for those who want a nice, complex malt profile.

 365 characters

Photo of CAMRAhardliner
3.76/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I picked this up at Downtown Wines in Boston for $14.20.

Pours dark brown with cherry red hints. The head is smallish but never dissapears and coats the glass in creamy lace. The aroma shows brown sugar, vanilla, mollases and a good amount of booze. The taste is more complex. Fresh bread, licorice, stewed pears dusted in cocoa powder, toasted oak, rum soaked christmas cake, raspberry jam and English hops all pack into the flavor. The mouthfeel is thinner than I expected with a wonderfully textured carbonation. The finish is too boozey.

This beer is probably better with age. Its nicely complex and nuanced, but too sweet and boozey for my tastes.

 658 characters

Photo of walshclimb
4.77/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours dark brown with a thin, fine, tan head that leaves a slight lace. Rich smell of malt with strong carmel and nice coffee and chocolate notes. Initially tastes very malty with gentle sweetness and light smoke and chocolate with a hint of licorice. Aftertaste is nicely balanced with a nice hop bitterness and malty flavor that is medium lived and clean. Full bodied mouthfeel with slightly alcoholic finish - less alcoholic than you might expect for a 10% beer. Syruppy, heavy, dense, and smooth. This is a very tasty beer. It stands up well on its own or try it with something rich like beef wellington or a rich chocolate dessert.

 636 characters

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

This one was aged for about a year and 1/2 before drinking. Poured a hazy, muddy brown with an orange tint. Little head, some lacing. The smell is very malty, but the alcohol burn in this one is gone after aging. Despite the fairly low level of carbonation, there is something fairly spritzy on the nose, as well as plentiful dark fruits and a touch of molasses. The taste is very smooth and geentle at the start with no noticeable alcohol but lots of restrained sweet malt, followed by a growing malt explosion that culminates in bursts of chocolate, bitters, spice, rum soaked fruitcake, and a late cocoa finish. Very smootth and creamy, this is eeven a little undercarbonated for me by this point. Quite interesting and delicious and worth drinking. I should have aged it for about 6 months less to optimize the balance of elements and retain a little more spritz. Delicious.

 878 characters

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

Picked this one up not knowing quite what to expect, as this is my first stab at a scotch style ale that I know of. And what a pleasent surprise. Pours a beautiful dark rich amber, and forms to a frothy one finger head that's creamy and smooth. Sweet smells of apple and raisins and a bit of smoke.

Taste is very complex, the apple and raisin that I experienced in the brews smell shine through a smoky caramel backbone. There are also strong hints of cherry. There is some hoppy bitterness towards the finish that quickly smoothes itself out in the end. This is a thick, warm, full bodied beer that sticks to the inside of your mouth for a good while after you swallow. Feels great to take in and going down as well. Very warming.

I definitely plan on trying this beer again, but next time I will be sure to pick up more for cellaring...It seems like it would age quite well and I'm anxious to experience the results! Great brew!

 938 characters

Photo of hoppymeal
3.85/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark cola brown to black in color with reddish hues and a small light tan colored head. Aroma is sweet and smoky, molasses and chocolate with some nice smokiness, not a roastiness as much as smoke alone. First sip shows a rich and fairly full body with flavors of caramel and buttery toffee, rich sugary malts have their way for a good long time on the tongue before a slightly acidic, slightly dry finish that leaves a pleasing smoky aftertaste. There is a hint of a peppery spiciness that helps to balance the richness. A nice enjoyable beer, it feels like it would be a great accompaniment to a nice cigar to cut through the big sweet body and blend with the already smoky flavors.

 692 characters

Photo of mcallister
4.15/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Deep mahagony, red highlights, with a great head of off tan that holds up nicely then fades into sporadic sticky thin lacing around the glass. With good retention overall.

Raisin, mollasses, mission fig, black curran, black berry, smoked peat, caramel malt, and hints of woody earth round out the nicely balanced nose.

This is a damn good beer. Full and rich mouthfeel leaves a layer of sweet malt on your tongue for the minute long or loner finish. Ripe mission fig, black currant, slight anise, malt is of sweet burnt caramel and is a mid palate wonder. A floral slightly earthy hop is introduced to balance and complete the long finish. Hints of peat smokey-ness are subdued but integrated nicely. Raisin, cured meat, and craft round this one out. A great, very easy too sip on beer.

 793 characters

Photo of Phatz
4.7/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I loved this beer so much (though I am happy to have shared it with my friends) I could easily have consumed the bottle by myself. This one I will pay the $20 price tag if I can get my hands on it again.

Appearance: Pours an opaque ruddy crimson brown with a creamy tan head and notable lacing.

Smell: Spectacular aroma of dark malts, caramel, molasses, hints of chocolate, peety smoky Scotch scents, and burnt toffee.

Taste: Suggestions of cocoa, sweet malt, toffee, caramel, and burnt brown sugars start a complex path doth the adventure that is Alesmith Wee Heavy. WOW! Exceptional. I love a good wee heavy and that it is. Ripe fruit and alcohol round out the mouth and it leaves you with a hint of smoke still on the palate. A bit of alcohol compliments the flavors but does not flex to strongly.

Mouthfeel: Unbelievable smooth and silky.

Drinkability: I love this beer. Next one is going to be paired with a Padron 1926 cigar. MMM. It is a perfect night cap!

Hope this is helpful.
Cheers!

 1,013 characters

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

A 750 mL capped bottle shared with Phatz, weeare138 and Beerbeing.

A: The wee heavy is a thick mess of a beer, pouring a milk chocolate brown with a moderate-sized head.

S: The aroma is a big malty cereal blend with a strong smokey body.

T: The wee heavy is just that, thick and heavy. The malts are sweetly delicious with caramel and toffee notes. They are supported nicely by a strong smokey flavor that reminds of a nice cured bacon or ham. The malts, as the bottle was consumed, became more expressive, showing a sweeter grain element.

M: The big malts and smoke are a well-paired combination. One could almost chew this beer.

D: This is easily one of the best American wee heavies, providing a big punch in a well-packaged bottle.

 750 characters

Photo of brewcrew76
4.6/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

750 ml

A - Pours a deep brown/light black that is a magnificent mahogany when held up to the light. A 2 finger tan head remains as a light skim on top of the beer.

S - Caramel, toffee, spices, molasses and maple syrup.

T - Sweet caramel and toffee, raisins, molasses or maple syrup, slightly nutty, reminds me of the nuttiness I find in Jim Beam.

M - Medium to thick bodied and creamy with very light carbonation. It has a slight syrupy characteristic.

D - One of the best Wee Heavy's I have had. I only notice the alcohol by its warming effect.

M -

 567 characters

Photo of lackenhauser
3.59/5  rDev -14.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Murky, ruddy orange color. Very little carbonation-almsot seems flat. Nice heavy aroma. Quite vinuous and winey. Sharp tang to it-slight alcohol tinge to it. Fruity and slight sourness in the flavor. Some oak and vanilla. Plenty of bitterness. Moderate mouthfeel. Lacks some of sweetness I have seen in other scotch ales. An ok beer overall. Enoyable-better as it warms. Thanks to callenak for the Secret Santa sample.

 418 characters

Photo of scott
3.51/5  rDev -16.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

V.06
Grade "b" molasses, with a root beer float head. Nice lacing.
Aroma was of caramel malt, with a little bite in the back of your nose.
A little too sweet for my liking - too mellow and mouth coating to make me want to ever finish this expensive bottle. But I will. It has to be terrible for drain pour consideration. This offering is so boring, I really don't have much to say about it.

 393 characters

Photo of SilentSabre
3.89/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Part of a recent trade from nflmvp. Many thanks, Steve! This poured approximately the same shade of brown as a chocolate bar and was a bit cloudier than I was expecting. This may be due to the fact that my DBF is down stairs and I roughly grabbed up the bottle and ran it upstairs. Perhaps I disturbed some sediment. I see others who have reviewed this say it's clear. Very thin khaki colour head vanished within seconds, leaving a sand coloured webbing of frost over the surface of the liquid; a notch, at best, better than your average wee heavy.
Smell was quite lovely. Plenty of roasted grains, caramelised sugar, stewed dark fruits, and some smokey, earthy notes such as rich, dark soil and mushrooms. (Very imaginative, aren't I?) Plenty going on here in the smell, to be sure.
Taste wasn't quite as complex as the smell, I felt, though I still enjoyed it. Huge sweetness immediately noticeable. It wasn't offensive, but I certainly couldn't handle much of this with great frequency. One of these a month would be fine. Once you get past the sweetness, the second thing you notice is its weight; very solid, and very full bodied. The taste itself is comprised almost exclusively of sweetmalts with a very faintly noticeable alcohol presence which vanishes as quickly as it became noticeable, and an even more subtle smokey peat, which you'll overlook if you don't know to search for it.
Mouthfeel, as I stated earlier, is very full and heavy. We'll see how I feel after consuming this 750mL. It is quite smooth and very light on the CO2, though.
Overall, I rather enjoyed this. In fact, I think it's better than a handful of real Scottish Wee Heavies I've had. It was still very sweet though, and a 750mL would perhaps be best split between two friends rather than consumed by one person. I am extremely glad that I was able to have such a rare beer for the East Coast. Thanks again nflmvp!

 1,902 characters

Photo of jmz62565
4.03/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a clear blood red mahogony with a large foamy tan head. Very nice lacing and a long lasting head make this beer a good looking brew. The smell is strong with " bisquity" aromas along with alcohol,dark fruit, and sweet malt. The taste is like a barleywine, dark fruit, bready flavors, and sweet malt. This is kind of mellow,but it would be better if I aged this. The m/f is heavy with all flavors mixing well. A very good beer that could be great if cellared properly.

 473 characters

Photo of weeare138
4.72/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Appears a dark, dense mahogany with a beige head that fades into a small cap and bubbly collar. Spotty lacing is left around the glass.
Smell is of dark chocolate, caramel, vanilla, light smoke, banana flambe, and rum cake.
Taste is of the same aromas with a standout of cocoa.
Mouthfeel is medium bodied, warming, & laden with caramel, vanilla, toffee, and a light smokiness running along the palate.

 404 characters

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.

 704 characters

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

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

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

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

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

Mouthfeel: The medium body is chewy and slightly sticky.

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

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

 1,009 characters

Photo of Golden2wenty1
4.3/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Shared courtesy of expatsteve after a tasty pot roast dinner.

Pour: deep ruby/mahogany brown, nearly opaque under a couple fingers of khaki foam that stick around for a while

Nose: chai tea, rich spices, molasses malts, vanilla, sugar cookie dough

Taste: rich caramel/molasses malts, aromatic spices, tea leaves, light smoke

Feel: rich but smooth with a hint of brewed tea grit

Drinkability/Overall: A rich and spicy wee heavy full of sweet and roasted malts. Booze held in check for 9.5%. Nothing but solid from Alesmith.

 537 characters

Photo of dbalsock
3.38/5  rDev -19.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Dark brown with a little head, but a decent amount compared to other wee heavy's i've experienced. There's the slightest lacing on the glass, but not enough to make pretty designs.

Smell: The aroma is very malty and quite nutty at that with a hint of alcohol and piney hops.

Taste: Reminded me a little bit of scotch, except nuttier. It tasted heavily of alcohol and toffee.

Mouthfeel: Thick bodied and smooth on the palate until the sharp bite on the swallow.

Drinkability: I would have this on special occasions, but would only sip a small glass of it. It's a little too intense, even for a wee heavy.

 627 characters

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

750 ml bottle, silver foil around the top. Poured into my snifter glass, a caramel/brown color with some reddish tints around the edges. 1/8 inch thick and creamy tannish head covers the top with lots of sticky lacing around the glass.
Warm caramel notes are very prevalent in the nose with touches of spice, hazlenut, ginger like characteristics, and light fruits.
Sweet malt flavors are very forward in this beer, mainly consisting of dark caramel and toffee. The alcohol is pretty perceivable but lends nicely to the rich molasses flavor that is all through out this beer. There are spice characteristics in this beer that remind me of holiday breads. I also find that as the beer warms the more fruity esters show along with a subtle creamy chocolate flavor.
Nice rich, full and chewy mouthfeel in this beer, great level of carbonation that really allows this beer to feel nice and rich over the palate.
A remarkably drinkable wee heavy from alesmith. As you sip on this delcicious beer I'd suggest it improves with a bit of warmth that promotes a great drinkability.

 1,078 characters

Photo of Sycodrummer
4.92/5  rDev +17.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Silver Foil adorns the green 750ml capped green bottle. Poured at just above room temperature into a thistle the beer was a dark mohoganny brown with a creamy tan head that retained very well and left considerable lacing. No other outright signs of carbonation, very still.

The nose is very "heavy" loaded with sweet malt aroma and alcohol. Lots of a sweet caramel molasses coming through with brown sugar and slightly smoked woodchip smell.

The taste has a robust malt backbone with no hop character or bitterness (as expected). Pronounced carmel and brown sugar flavors with a sticky, slightly syrupy rum & molasses type flavors. Alcohol flavors are also dominant and very apparent the warmer the beer gets. The taste get a little smokey as the beer warms and this seems to compliment the malt character nicely. The beer almost assumes a slight whiskey flavor as the sample progresses.

A huge dense chewy mouthfeel with rather little carbonation. A very smooth almost creamy beer that molds nicely with the sweetness of the malt.

A very enjoyable winter/cold weather beer. So incredibly smooth and easy to drink. Heavy on the palate but not overly so. Subtle warming character and a nice bready malt base make this one excellent scotch ale.

 1,254 characters

AleSmith Wee Heavy from AleSmith Brewing Company
93 out of 100 based on 462 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.
  • Return of the Belgian Beer Fest

    BeerAdvocate Brings its All-Belgian Fest to Portland, Maine on September 17, 2016. Tickets are on sale now.

    Learn More
  • Get the Mag

    Become a BeerAdvocate magazine print subscriber today.

    Subscribe