AleSmith Wee Heavy - Barrel Aged | AleSmith Brewing Company

AleSmith Wee Heavy - Barrel AgedAleSmith Wee Heavy - Barrel Aged
BA SCORE
96.3%
Liked This Beer
4.31 w/ 433 Ratings
AleSmith Wee Heavy - Barrel AgedAleSmith Wee Heavy - Barrel Aged
BEER INFO

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

Style: Scotch Ale / Wee Heavy

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.50%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
This was barrel aged and limited to 234 hand numbered bottles from the 2004 batch of Wee Heavy and released in 2005.

Added by scottoale on 04-08-2006

BEER STATS
Ranking:
#674
Reviews:
120
Ratings:
433
Liked:
417
Avg:
4.31/5
pDev:
7.66%
Alströms:
-
 
 
Wants:
314
Gots:
132
Trade:
12
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 433 |  Reviews: 120
Photo of tectactoe
3.81/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Another big thanks to Kevin R for bringing all of the rare AleSmith goodies to our tasting. The BA Wee Heavy pours a deep, depp ruby red and brown-tinted color with translucent edges and a center that's so dark-hued that it's impossible to make out what's on the other side. The head fades quickly, is light tan in color, and leaves no lacing behind.

The first whiff contains a deep, syrupy, dark-fruit sweetness that jumps out and sifts through my nostrils pretty pungently. Huge mounds of bourbon and oak bump from front to back; their inclusion is much too forward to simply be called a "background". Sticky sweet brown sugar and a light cocoa dusting finish things off.

From the aroma alone, this beer could pass as a barrel aged barley wine, because some of the typical barley wine, dark fruit and brown sugar sweet notes are present, and the bourbon and barrel are large enough obliterate any other aromas that would indicate that this beer in indeed a wee heavy or Scotch ale style.

Each sip pounds your senses with a one-two combo of bourbon and booze-soaked oak. Heavy heat from the bourbon, a little more than just "warming", even. The alcohol heat offset it attempted by some syrupy, sweet prune-like fruits that wave throughout the background. Light anise, licorice-y, and some burnt toffee.

It's a clashing of sweet and burn, and to be completely honest, I'm not incredibly fond of either of the two when they're presented in amounts this large. In essence, they balance each other out, yes... but they could both stand to be toned down just a bit. It's pretty damn sweet and it's quite hot and barrel-y. Huge, sticky, and creamy mouth feel with a mild carbonation that works for the stature of the brew.

I feel like if this was done with a lighter wee heavy and less barrel aging time, I would have enjoyed it much more. It's certainly a delicacy; sweet, savory, boozy - a slow sipper and a night cap all the way. But I can't help but feel like it's unnecessarily overdone and it would benefit from curbing some of the intensity just a little bit. Still a very, very solid brew, though.

 2,106 characters

Photo of nlmartin
3.82/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This was the 2009 vintage. The beer was served in a Snifter.

Appearance: The body of the beer is a dirty brown coloration. Very thin whisp of foam at the top quickly resolves.

Smell: Bourbon, vanilla oak very boozy smelling. A dash of maple a whiff of peat earthyness, caramel, a bit more bourbon.

Taste: The flavor delivers a major vanilla, brown sugar, caramel, bit of peat, and a flash of smoke. The bourbon flavors are present and accounted for in the flavor but not over
powering.

Mouthfeel: The body of the beer is a bit thinner than I would have liked. The carbonation is low but not flat. The alcohol is hot to my mouth.

Overall: The beer is very tasty and smells very nice. Normally I dont have a problem with a beer being a bit hot. The beer seems to be not substantial enough to stand up to the barrel. In many ways I think that this beer was diminished by being barrel aged.

 893 characters

Photo of rozelle1406
3.83/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

Photo of watermelonman
3.84/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This poured to a deep and dark brown with minor head, leaving nearly no lace. The smell made up for that, simply intoxicating mix of malt, bourbon, and sugar.

When tasted this one came up a bit short, leaving me wanting the full flavor and body of the usual Wee Heavy. This is not a bad beer, mind you, but the standard Alesmith Wee Heavy does set a high bar. I have always appreciated a booze hot mouthfeel, but this one comes out light. Again, not a bad beer, but I am not sure it is an improvement upon the original. A barrel does not universally lead to better!

 566 characters

Photo of Stevedore
3.84/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

750ml bottle. Poured into a brandy snifter 5/2/2014.

A- Lighter caramel brown body, half finger off-white head, some retention, no lacing.

S- Bourbon. Serious bourbon nose. A bit of distinct toffee malt sweetness, but this is otherwise straight up bourbon. It's interesting but still running a bit hot.

F- More bourbon. I really don't get a lot of sweetness that I can definitively say is from the malt. It's a fairly one-dimensional beer that is heavy on the bourbon sweetness and barrel notes. Certainly not terrible at all, it's in fact quite flavourful.

M- Medium body, lower in carbonation, slick and still a very hot finish.

O- A hard one for me to drink only because I don't enjoy it as much when the bourbon overwhelms everything in the base beer. I can definitely see how some people can really enjoy this, but it's really not for me.

 848 characters

Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.85/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

Bottle pour for New Brew Thursday's 3rd Anniversary event held at Beachwood BBQ & Brewing in Long Beach, CA.

2005 vintage. Bottle # 160/222.

Pours a hazy dark brown with a foamy khaki head that settles to wisps of film on top of the beer. Small dots of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of malt, caramel, toffee, brown sugar, and bourbon. Taste is much the same with a brown sugar flavor on the finish. There is a mild amount of hop bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp and medium bodied mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good beer with a great smell but the taste isn't matching up.

 677 characters

Photo of Alieniloquium
3.87/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750 mL bottle poured into a snifter. 2012 bottle.

Appearance - Vigorous pour yields a lopsided off white head. Deep brown. Wispy.

Smell - Very fruity. Bourbon is present, but the oak barrel is more prominent. Vanilla secondary, but oak is very nice. Caramel behind all of it.

Taste - Sweet malt and Bourbon behind it. Caramel is very nice here. Oaky in the back end. Slightly buttery but it loses a lot of its Scotch ale character. Bourbon is a nice replacement.

Mouthfeel - Slightly boozy. Well carbonated. Medium body and seems thinner than the regular version.

Overall - Had this next to the regular. Loses some caramel, but gains a nice barrel character.

 663 characters

Photo of bamadog
3.92/5  rDev -9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Review is from notes taken on 10/13/2009. Thanks to Pwoods for his generosity in sharing something like this. I've never seen this one and may never see it again, so it's pretty special. Pour is from the bottle to a snifter.

Appearance: Pour is a very deep brown, bordering on black; body seems nearly opaque and shows the occasional bubble or two popping on the surface; no head to speak of; oily and spotty residue clings thickly to the sides; some sediment lingering on the bottom of the glass.

Smell: Deep, toasty and carmalized maltiness; definite presence of alcoholic vapor; slight woodiness and a bit of a sweet vannilla presence as well.

Taste: Strong presence of stringent alcohol and a hefty dose of wood; malts are much more subdued in the mouth.

Mouthfeel: The body seems a little thinner to me than Alesmith's standard Wee Heavy; still oily and slick and provides plenty of stick throughout the mouth.

Drinkability: ABV is burny and kind of high - definitely a sipper; the maltiness doesn't seem especially well blended with the woodiness and the alcohol, but still pretty solid. I think I actually prefer the regular Wee Heavy from them.

 1,157 characters

Photo of maximum12
3.92/5  rDev -9%
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.

 1,419 characters

Photo of MasterSki
3.92/5  rDev -9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Big thanks to HopHead84 for this treat - '06 vintage. Served in a goblet.

A - Poured with a faint dime-sized wisp of foam that dissipated pretty quickly. Semi-sold ring around the fringes with nice legs.Transparent dark mahogany color that glows when held to the light.

S - Intense caramel, dark fruits, vanilla and butterscotch, light sherry-like oxidation that works well within the flavor profile. The smell is very boozy, and I suspect the barrel-aging added a few percent above the regular 9.5%.

T - The taste is much smoother, and while it's much more drinkable than I suspected from the smell it smooths out some of the richness and complexity in the aroma. Lots of toffee, tannic finish. I think this might be past its prime.

M - Medium sticky body, low carbonation, mouth-coating film. It's style appropriate, but nothing special.

D - One glass was enough - glad I got to try it, and I'd be interested in trying a new batch, but this seems to be on the decline.

 975 characters

Photo of Phyl21ca
3.95/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle (2009 vintage): Poured a clear medium brown color ale with a medium size off-white foamy head with some retention and some lacing. Aroma of sweet malt with light toffee notes and light butterscotch and some wood with a light whiskey finish. Taste is also a good mix between balanced notes of butterscotch and caramel with some notes of wood and whiskey and light residuals sugar notes. I though the body was a bit thin for the style with medium carbonation.

 464 characters

Photo of schinebd
3.98/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Photo of Jeffo
3.98/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 2 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Doops broke these out on a rainy Tuesday evening. Thanks to The Man for forgetting these at his house and never asking about them again about a year ago.

From a 750 into a snifter
Vintage: 2009
FG: 1.022
Note: Drunk the ’09 and ’05 back to back.

APPEARANCE: Pours out flat. Some bubbly stuff, but basically flat. Hazy maroon red with no carbonation evident. Ends flat with no ring or lacing. Oddly enough the ’05 had a small hint of carbonation in there somewhere.

SMELL: Still piles of bourbon on this one. Oak, caramel, toffee, vanilla and butterscotch round off a very barrel heavy, sweet malt nose. The ’05 was identical.

TASTE: Oak, bourbon, red fruits and caramel sweetness up front. More sweet candy and booze at the swallow with a bold and lingering finish of caramel and toffee sweetness, bourbon, oak, vanilla and alcohol. No oxidization here, and the ’05, luckily followed suit.

PALATE: Fuller body, silky and slick, with no carbonation. Goes down slick with a bit of a scratch at the swallow and finishes mouth-coating.

OVERALL: Good stuff all around. Both of these have held up nicely, and while I’d prefer to see at least some carbonation in there, the lack thereof isn’t really an issue. Lots of sweet malt character and a bold, enjoyable barrel component to go along with it. Really glad to have tried these oldies. Thanks again, gents!

 1,377 characters

Photo of CavemanRamblin
4/5  rDev -7.2%

Photo of warnerry
4/5  rDev -7.2%

Photo of fo1ksguitar
4/5  rDev -7.2%

Photo of fthegiants
4/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of Tyrus
4/5  rDev -7.2%

Photo of Sisky
4/5  rDev -7.2%

Photo of GRG1313
4/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of EliotRosewater
4/5  rDev -7.2%

Photo of mdillon86
4/5  rDev -7.2%

Photo of enelson
4/5  rDev -7.2%

Photo of CEDAMA
4/5  rDev -7.2%

Photo of 1424IpA
4/5  rDev -7.2%

AleSmith Wee Heavy - Barrel Aged from AleSmith Brewing Company
Beer rating: 96.3% out of 100 with 433 ratings
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