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AleSmith Wee Heavy - Barrel Aged | AleSmith Brewing Company

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AleSmith Wee Heavy - Barrel AgedAleSmith Wee Heavy - Barrel Aged
BA SCORE
4.31/5
Outstanding
434 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:
#689
Reviews:
121
Ratings:
434
pDev:
7.66%
Bros Score:
0
 
 
Wants:
312
Gots:
132
Trade:
12
HISTOGRAM
 
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 434 |  Reviews: 121
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.

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Photo of Gueuzedude
3.8/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

2005 Bottle 80 / 222, Sampled January 2008
This is the barrel aged beer of Alesmith's that I have wanted to try most. As I pop the cap only a touch of gas escapes. A vigorous pour can't do much but summon a thin, very large bubbled, bit of froth that doesn't completely cover the top of the beer. The beer itself is a dark, brownish-amber color and shows an opaque, hazy, dark ruby / deep red color when held up to the light. Aromas of Bourbon are quite apparent as I pour this brew; upon further inspection the Bourbon is still the most noticed part of the aroma. Aromatic notes of vanillin, butterscotch, spicy oak and alcohol, almost a cola like barrel / malt note and a rich, deeply caramelized character that is contributed by both the bourbon barrel char and the malt are all evident in the nose. Underneath these notes is a deep, if subtle, dark, caramelized fruit character that just sort of melts into the buttery oak and vanillin notes. Despite being so Bourbon barrel dominated the aroma is actually quite smooth and seemingly well integrated; it does not come off as boozy in the least.

Very lightly carbonated, but not flat, the beer is fairly sweet up front. This rich, sweetness makes me think of a vanilla infused dark fruit compote made up of raisins, prunes, figs, berries and a light cherry note. Through the middle the beer starts to pick up a bit more of the Bourbon and barrel notes, which, by the time the beer has left my mouth, have become a dominating, spicy mix of warm Bourbon, piquantly spicy oak, a touch of salty peat, lightly phenolic smoke and alcohol. This lingering flavor doesn't quite disappear until one takes another sip and lets the beer rest on the tongue to soak in the concentrated, rich, sweet malt and caramelized notes. Rich caramel malts, flavors of melted brown sugar and dark toffee add to the complexity here. Thick and chewy, the beer rests on the palate with a slightly sticky heft that is just barely offset by the minimal carbonation; the beer has about the same level of carbonation of a draught real ale, which actually sort of works with this beer as much of the chewy, rich malt notes are offset by the spicy oak / bourbon notes. Sometimes with the minimal carbonation it can even seem a bit thin, but ultimately the texture of this beer is just quite nice.

I must admit that I like the regular version of this beer a bit better, but that is typically the case for me. I just think that this one is holding up a bit better than most do as the base beer really is such a malty, monster of a beer (though you lose that with the bourbon barrel character layered on top of it). My biggest complaint is the lack of substantial carbonation, a light-medium level of carbonation would be perfect, though it does still do well with the low level that it does have. I really like how complex & integrated the barrel character is here, somehow, though it is the dominant note, it does not overwhelm my palate, and it is not too hot and one dimensional.

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Photo of yourefragile
4.26/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

750 mL gold foil topped bottle, 2006 vintage, #70/254, poured into a tulip and splith with 321Jeff, thanks to whoever traded us this gem.

Appearance is a murky maroon and brown color. Very still, obviously low carbonation, and a very thin off white head that quickly fades to absolutely nothing and no lacing. Aroma is very rich and port like. Strong notes from the barrel of vanilla and bourbon and occasionally raisins, oak, chocolate, etc also assert themselves. Body is lighter side of medium with fine, soft carbonation with a long lasting slightly dry raisin and bourbon finish. Flavor begins with pleasant bourbon sweetness before the base beer with rich malt, toffee, raisin, etc enters and lingers into the finish. Slightly astringent but very little alcohol presence or burn. A very pleasant sipper, mildly complex and delightfully balanced, however maybe a little past it's prime as its lost the robustness and complexity of the regular Wee Heavy.

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Photo of Halcyondays
4.42/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

25.4 oz. bottle, 2006 Barrel-Aged Vintage, #224/254, procured in the April 1st, 2008 release, drunk 4/4/08

A: Pours a dark brown, with a small white head, good retention, and great thick lacing.

S: Maple syrup, cognac, vanilla, Madeira wine, peat smoke.

T: Definitely a peaty maltiness, huge brown sugar notes, hint of Islay whisky and vanilla. Good amount of lactic acidity, probably from the barrel aging, also has a really good long lasting aftertaste you get from a good whisky, really tasty stuff.

M: Very smooth, has a softness in its character making it very easy to drink, nice prickly carbonation.

D: I definitely think the Barrel Aging has improved the Wee Heavy from Alesmith, which was already a great beer. It gave it more complexity and in the end made it much more interesting, I'll definitely buy another bottle or 2 at the next release, a beer that certainly grows on you as you drink it.

 910 characters

Photo of Stinger80OH
4.75/5  rDev +10.2%

Photo of jbaker67
4.35/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of HopHead84
4/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2006 vintage. Bottle 98/254. Consumed on 9/27/2009 and then again on 10/10/2009 and poured into a snifter. The beer is dark reddish brown with a frothy one finger off white head.

The nose is prominent caramel malt with subtle sugary notes. Bourbon is noticeable but it's dominant or really even very strong. Some oxidation is present, and it becomes increasingly apparent with warming. A touch of smoke is evident, as well as strong alcohol and subtle dark fruit notes.

The taste is caramel with toffee and a moderate sherry-like oxidation. The malt is rich with a low level of lingering hop bitterness. The beer tastes stronger than the listed 9.5%. I detect raisins, dates, and plums. Booze is strong in the sweet finish. The beer is high medium bodied with an upper level of low carbonation and a thick, smooth mouthfeel.

The first bottle I had was stored in a cupboard so the oxidation was quite pronounced, but the second bottle I drank on 10/10 was my own and had been stored at 55 degrees since the release. Oxidation was still a bit too strong to be complimentary. This beer is past its prime. Drink it now if you have it.

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Photo of jschott75
4.5/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of greenspointexas
4.5/5  rDev +4.4%

Photo of weeare138
4.57/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Much thanks to egajdzis for this...
'09 bottle
Appears a murky russet brown with a small, off white head that quickly fades away.
Smell is of caramel, vanilla, bourbon, notes of fruit, and hints of cacao beans.
Taste is of the aromas with a sweet vanilla, creme brûlée blast. Bits of bourbon come through but are restrained.
Mouthfeel is medium-full bodied, with a mild heat lingering.

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Photo of corby112
4.47/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to BigFish for sending this to me in one of my first trades.

This review is for the 2006 vintage, bottle 150/254.

Pours a very dark chestnut brown color that's completely opaque with dark ruby/mahogany edges when held to a light source and a thin half finger light beige head that quickly fades into a thin lasting ring.

Amazing complex aroma with lots of smokey roasted chocolate malt, caramel, toffee, roasted coffee bean, licorice, earthy oak, vanilla and a very prominent bourbon presence.

Slightly hot medium body with a nice, silky viscous malt presence with lots of chocolate, roasted coffee bean, burnt toast, caramel and licorice. Very roasty with subtle hops and a huge bourbon presence that is slightly hot and somewhat dominates the flavor. It isn't too overpowering however, allowing the other notes to shine. Slight tannis and a heavy oak and vanilla presence. Absolutely delicious! Highly recommended.

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Photo of stereosforgeeks
4.25/5  rDev -1.4%

Photo of mattmarka1
4.39/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Photo of kscaldef
3.75/5  rDev -13%

Photo of CheapBeerBuzz
4.25/5  rDev -1.4%

Photo of Axnjxn
4.25/5  rDev -1.4%

Photo of DeadeyeOTDO
4.25/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of DefenCorps
4.39/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Wow wow wow. Thank you so much, Greg, this along with the 06 silk screen BA Speedway was a definite treat this past weekend. This was the 06 release

Gorgeous clear ruby red with red highlights. A thin beige head is present but doesn't stick around too long. The nose is just flat out fabulous. An exceptional combination of oxidation, tobacco, caramel, bourbon, vanilla, oak, charred wood, rum and raisins and sherry. This really is a beer of exceptional depth. The palate doesn't quite live up, though. Opening up with a ton of caramel, cherry there is some toffee, vanilla and bourbon mid palate, and it sticks around until a long and exquisite finish with tobacco, caramel and sherry. Medium in body with mild carbonation, this is extremely smooth and drinkable. Unfortunately, it's going to be a while - if ever - that I get to try this again.

**Edit 16 Sept 2011**

The other night, I split a bottle of the 09 vintage that I received from peteinsd with some friends. Very briefly, this was excellent. Fruity with raisins, port, honey bourbon and vanilla, the balance between the base beer and the barrels is exceptionally done here. Fantastic. 4.5/4.5/4.5/5/4.5

 1,168 characters

Photo of n2185
4.03/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 2 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2009 bottle

A: pours a dark mahogany with barely any trace of khaki head that recedes into a thin ring with no lacing.

S: lots of caramel, vanilla, and bourbon on the nose. There are some light smoky aromas in there as well.

T: similar to the nose, lots of vanilla, caramel, and bourbon. Some slight roasted malt flavors with a light bitterness are mixed in there. Smooth finish with no alcohol burn.

M: medium-thick body with low carbonation, this beer is pretty smooth and creamy, though slighly watery.

O: a good beer, though not extremely complex. Stil, it's quite tasty and still bourbony after nearly 3 years.

 620 characters

Photo of iL0VEbeer
4.5/5  rDev +4.4%

Photo of ppoitras
4.85/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

750ml bottle acquired from an SD friend in my time of need. Thanks for the opportunity, Scott. 2004 vintage, #33 of 234, gold foiled cap.

Poured in a Rapscallion glass, poured with a 1/8" tan head over the brownish burgundy brew. Bubbles quickly retreated to the edges, leaving a few bubbles in the center, and a light film elsewhere. Aroma is dark fruits, leathery lightly smoky malts, and soft intensity of rounded edges alcohol. Taste is <wow> super rich maltiness upfront, smoke wisps again floating around, with a dry booziness in the middle that almost takes your breath away with its near evaporation, and closes with a return of the deep malt, warming all the way down, and even leaves the gums a little numb. Mouthfeel is velvet smooth, and retains ample carbonation for a BA brew. Drinkability is high because I want to enjoy this again, but know that I probably won't.

Feels weird to enjoy a brew that people would pay hundreds of dollars for on eBay, since I didn't and couldn't pay that much for it. Just have to bask in my fortunateness and luck.

 1,073 characters

Photo of Lucnifter
4.25/5  rDev -1.4%

Photo of Jwale73
4.22/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Big thanks to Thirstybird for sharing this brew. 750ml capped and foiled bottle. 2009 vintage, bottle #678/972. Pours a deep mahogany, almost brown, with no head and no lacing. Nose expresses bourbon, light smoke, and a buttery character; all on malty backbone. Taste consistent with nose. Some vinous notes and a light acidity are also revealed, as well as a trace of maple syrup. The buttery character present in the nose also manifests itself in the flavor profile. There's also more of a barrel presence. Mouthfeel is medium-bodied with a still carbonation and a slightly oily texture - this beer could use just a bit of carbonation in my opinion. What a great brew that's both easy drinking and complex. That said, I can't say that the BA version is better than the standard (which I also really enjoy); however, it's quite different although nonetheless enjoyable.

 870 characters

Photo of BGsWo22
3/5  rDev -30.4%

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.

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AleSmith Wee Heavy - Barrel Aged from AleSmith Brewing Company
Beer rating: 4.31 out of 5 with 434 ratings
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