Wee Heavy - Barrel-Aged
AleSmith Brewing Company

Wee Heavy - Barrel-AgedWee Heavy - Barrel-Aged
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Style:
Scotch Ale / Wee Heavy
Ranked #3
ABV:
9.5%
Score:
95
Ranked #856
Avg:
4.32 | pDev: 7.64%
Reviews:
122
Ratings:
445
From:
AleSmith Brewing Company
 
California, United States
Avail:
Rotating/Seasonal
Wants
  316
Gots
  137
SCORE
95
World-Class
Wee Heavy - Barrel-AgedWee Heavy - Barrel-Aged
Notes:
Reviews: 122 | Ratings: 445 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Reviews by maximum12:
Photo of maximum12
maximum12 from Minnesota

3.92/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

First, thanks to msulinski for seeing this on the tip-top of my wants list last summer & throwing it in - yes, as a bloody extra - to a trade. I've been blessed with some amazing trading partners! Well, I was going to drink this on New Year's, then my birthday...& now it's Tuesday. Sounds good. 750 ML bottle, 2009 vintage, 207/972. Split with my wife, who loves a good wee heavy, especially if they've fornicated with a barrel.

Pour is close to dead flat, with a bit of Weather Center Hurricane in the middle & a few lost bubbles around the edges. Both fade within a few minutes. Arterial blood red, very dark. Nose retains burnt sugar, toffee, barrel, tons of sweet malt. All the smells in the mid-volume range.

Alesmith's Barrel-Aged Wee Heavy might be beginning to get gray around the temples. The barrel presence remains heavy, with a belt-full of vanilla, even after three plus years. Big sweet malts lean into peat bog (& yes, I've tasted water out of one...filtered), with a big pinch of brown sugar. Titch of toffee & oxidation - which I'm not going to knock it for, considering it's antiquity. It is flat, & adds to a heaviness which doesn't do the beer any favors. Half a bomber, as tasty as it is, will fill me up like a turkey leg.

This didn't live up to the legend of the BA Speedway that I'd built up in my mind, but that's my own couch-issue. Really good beer that I'm really happy to have tried.

Jan 09, 2013
More User Reviews:
Photo of Huhzubendah
Huhzubendah from District of Columbia

4.37/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottle shared by ygtbsm94. Thanks Brad!

Vintage 2006
Bottle 246 / 254

A: Dark chestnut brown hued, with an 1/8" of brown head that leaves some decent lacing on the glass.

S: Aromas of smoke, peat, caramels, and a hint of the aging process, but not in any sort of negative way.

T: What a great beer. It's smoky and malty, with a myriad of flavors blending together very gracefully. This Scotch ale has really mellowed with age, as it's so effortless to consume and enjoy. It's slightly sweet and has hints of liquor, but it's not cloying or hot. Kudos to Alesmith - this is an exceptional beer.

M: Buttery, creamy and smooth on the palate. There is still a healthy level of carbonation present, but this beer has a silky smooth consistency about it.

D: A very enjoyable experience. If you are fortunate enough to happen across this brew, you will most certainly enjoy it.

Dec 15, 2010
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BAsbill from California

4.25/5  rDev -1.6%

Oct 24, 2013
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sprucetip from Alaska

4.5/5  rDev +4.2%

Feb 27, 2013
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Hallertau from Wisconsin

4.5/5  rDev +4.2%

Apr 20, 2014
Photo of glid02
glid02 from Georgia

4.47/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle shared by Grant - thanks! From the 2009 release, I failed to record the bottle number.

Pours a slightly hazy golden-brown color with a half-finger tan head. The head recedes into a patchy layer on top leaving solid lacing.

Smells of robust caramel malts with large amounts of vanilla and hints of spicy bourbon. Also present are large amounts of sticky toffee and hints of earthy hops that balance it all.

Tastes very similar to how it smells. Thick caramel malt flavors with large amounts of toffee kick things off. Joining in shortly thereafter are large amounts of vanilla flavors with hints of boozy coconut. Midway through the sip the sweetness from the malts subsides a bit and light earthy hops make an appearance. The hops, vanilla, and caramel malt flavors carry through to a mildly bitter ending.

Mouthfeel is very good. It's got a heavy thickness with smooth carbonation.

Drinkability is also very good. I finished my glass quickly and could easily have a few more.

Overall, if there's one thing I know about AleSmith, besides the fact that they don't make a bad beer, it's that they know their way around a barrel. A very well done beer and one that's well worth a shot.

Mar 05, 2011
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DanGeo from Michigan

4.25/5  rDev -1.6%

Jul 08, 2014
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enelson from Illinois

4/5  rDev -7.4%

Aug 05, 2013
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huddyball from New Hampshire

4.75/5  rDev +10%

Mar 02, 2014
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lonewolfcry from Minnesota

4.25/5  rDev -1.6%

Jan 19, 2014
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Piddmeista from California

4.5/5  rDev +4.2%

Oct 21, 2013
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GJ40 from North Carolina

4/5  rDev -7.4%

Very good aroma and flavor but I thought it was a bit thin and over carbonated. And it's tough to justify the $40 cost.

Aug 24, 2014
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Invictus from Pennsylvania

4.5/5  rDev +4.2%

Nov 13, 2013
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CrellMoset from Virginia

4.09/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2006 vintage, bottle 152/254. Thanks to a very generous BA who I likely traded a Southampton beer for quite some time ago - damn my poor record keeping.

Appearance: A dark, muddy, turgid brown, rusty and dirty, this one surges out of the bottle quickly, settling in with a half finger of surging, cola-like head, fading in to a nearly imperceptible collar - only a few small clusters of individual bubbles cling to the rim of the tulip, but even they fade in time with successive sips, all the way down to the point where it's a still muddy pool. There's really not too much to say about the appearance, and BAs here know I'm not a man of few words ... it's just a still, muddy, brown mess (perhaps understandable for a barrel aged beer that's seven years old, but, hey, still not the most attractive thing in the world).

Aroma: Probably this beer's best aspect - I can only imagine what it smelled like four years ago. Rusty penny and old wood dominate this one, with flashes of mossy, smoky, notes, hints of sourness, vanilla, and brown paper bag, wet dog, cardboard oxidation. What a robust and varied aroma profile - this one's all over the place, but not in a messy, out of place way. It's balanced and thoughtful showcasing each of its strengths gracefully, and in doing so showcasing its greatest strengths - even-handedness.

Taste: A total caramel bomb, with hints of cinnamon, vanilla, toffee, and only the faintest kiss of bourbon in what is at this point a relatively dilapidated ([adj.] - having fallen into a state of disrepair or deterioration, as through neglect; broken-down and shabby) beer. This one's definitely past its prime - it's oxidized, slightly metallic, but in a way reminiscent of port, aged leather-bound books, and rich mahogany (Anchorman was on TV earlier). Brown sugar, toffee, and a slew of caramel malts - all well-attenuated - make up the backbone of this wee heavy, but this is all complimented by hints of cinnamon from the barrels along with a string of other, nondescript spicy notes, reminiscent of the base beer. Dark fruits are evident, too - raisins (rum raisin, of course, with the interactions), plums, and dates, with hints of sour cherry and fig, though nothing quite approaching domination in that latter category. Barrel notes are fairly restrained - other than the aforementioned cinnamon, only vanilla and hints of toasted caramel and old wood. A little more garbled and messy than the nose, but still a classy, classy broad.

Mouthfeel: Smooth, incredibly smooth, in fact, with very low carbonation in a slick but still crispy (tasting) body. Obviously typical of a beer that's not only spent a lot of time in a barrel but then another significant chunk of time sitting in a bottle. It works well with the flavor profile - I can only imagine how annoying a slew of carbonation would be with the oxidation and sour notes that are creeping in to this one.

Drinkability: It's hard not to both respect this beer but also be a little disappointed in it all at once. I've half a mind to try and get my hand on a 2009 bottle to see what this one's like at the height of its power (should have tried to do a side-by-side!), because the remnants of a great beer are definitely here. As it stands, this one's a shadow of its former self, but in a way that's demanding of appreciation. Crack 'em if you've got 'em folks.

Feb 04, 2012
Photo of CCutch
CCutch from Minnesota

4.43/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Nov 22, 2015
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nmann08 from Virginia

4.5/5  rDev +4.2%

Aug 31, 2014
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gkoz from Arizona

4.5/5  rDev +4.2%

May 13, 2014
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vbiliyar from Wisconsin

3.75/5  rDev -13.2%

May 26, 2012
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akang from California

4.25/5  rDev -1.6%

Feb 26, 2014
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DustinSWB from Florida

4.5/5  rDev +4.2%

Apr 03, 2014
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schinebd from Massachusetts

3.98/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Jul 18, 2015
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GABrew from Georgia

4.25/5  rDev -1.6%

Feb 27, 2014
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PeprSprYoFace from California

5/5  rDev +15.7%

Nov 21, 2011
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NJB145 from Michigan

4.33/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Feb 06, 2017
Photo of popery
popery from California

4.64/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

2012. Pours a dark brown with a small amount of bubbles. The head is beige and dissipates relatively quickly. Nice enough lacing though. Aroma is a well blended mix of bourbon notes and the wonderful flavors of the base beer. There's vanilla, oak, bourbon and a bit of booze mixed into molasses, caramel, fresh dough, toasty malt sugars and all sorts of other warm, friendly flavors. Taste is sweet and warm. It's a lovely beer. I realize that I'm sorta repeating myself here, but the rich malt flavor of the base beer is impeccably blended into the bourbon barrel flavors. Alesmith is one of the very best at barrel aging, and it very much shows in this beer. Feel is smooth and full. Never gets too sticky or boozey. This is just a phenomenal beer. On a sidenote, I don't think it will get any better with age. This beer is drinking wonderfully, right now.

Jan 20, 2013
Wee Heavy - Barrel-Aged from AleSmith Brewing Company
Beer rating: 95 out of 100 with 445 ratings