Hale's Wee Heavy Winter Ale | Hale's Ales Brewery & Pub

71 Reviews
Hale's Wee Heavy Winter AleHale's Wee Heavy Winter Ale

Brewed by:
Hale's Ales Brewery & Pub
Washington, United States

Style: Scotch Ale / Wee Heavy

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.00%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 04-22-2002

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Reviews: 71 | Ratings: 106
Photo of markgugs
2.81/5  rDev -23.4%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12 oz. bottle, poured into a wide-mouth mug

A: I actually worried that this beer had gone bad (and it is only 1 month old) due to the lack of carbonation/head appearance from the pour. The faintest trace of wispy head remains on the beer's surface, and there is no lacing to speak of. The redeeming quality is a very nice-looking rich amber color.

S: I really wanted to love this beer, but for that to happen, there really needs to be a solid aromatic quality and it simply isn't there. It's "wimpy" and barely registers. A good scotch ale needs to have a solid malted nose, and this does not.

T/M: Fairly innocuous. Nothing about this beer is offensive, but nothing about this beer stands out either. Slight caramel & toffee flavors stand out up front, and a solid roasted bready malt character fills out the rest of the flavor profile. Minor smack of hoppy bitterness to finish. Not bad, not great. On the plus side, a perfectly carbonated mouthfeel lends itself well to the style.

D: Could be high, as its very easy to drink, but the lack of "interesting" factor wrecks that. This is an average beer, plain & simple.

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Photo of ccrida
2.86/5  rDev -22.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

12 oz. bottle poured into a nonic, Hale's Wee Heavy is a pitch dark garnett with a medium sized bone colored head with large bubbles that quickly subsides to thick skim, leaving heavy lace.

Smell is sweet and very fruity, grapes - is this a quad?? It's uncanny how much this smells like the 11% homebrew quad I just bottled last night! Not bad, but not really what I look for in a 6-7% wee heavy.

Taste is also heavy on the esters, malty, sweet caramel. I like 'em sweet, but this one's a bit to one dimesional. Other reviewers have cited 6.8% ABV, in which case I'd say it's fairly well hidden behind the sugar.

Mouthfeel is average, thick but not to heavy - just a wee bit heavy!

Drinkability is a bit low, this wee heavy is just to sugary, and the esters are inappropriate for the style IMHO.

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Photo of JohnGalt1
3.03/5  rDev -17.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12oz picked from the Coop for about $1.55... enjoyed with a coworker... mine from a small weizen glass... I know not the best glass choice, but it was already dirty.

Very short lasting 1/2" head.. no lacing at all... deep brown until the light reveals a nice ruby color.

Aroma is suprisingly leaning toward citrus hops... some brown malts and toffee aromas... yeasty fruitiness is ever present.

Bitterness is too big for a Scotch ale.. so is the hop flavors.. citrus rinds are obvious.. dark caramel malts.. and toasted grains come into play near the end of the palate.. needs more body and malty flavors and plain and simple maltiness... a little watery.

I really don't know what to say about this brew ... does not at all strike me as a Wee Heavy.. a bigger body is definately needed and quite a bit less American hops.. I feel sorta bad writing this.. I normally like Hales brews ... Reminds much more of a winter warmer...

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Photo of TheBungyo
3.03/5  rDev -17.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

This pours like a chunk of dusk. Not quite dark but certainly not light either. Almost zero head and no lacing. Nose is sugary and nothing else. The taste reminds me of a sugary sweet ale sans hops. Really nothing to get excited over. No real complexity to speak of. Mouth is nice and full though, probably the highlight of this beer. I'm glad I opted to buy a single of this rather than a sixer. It doesn't totally suck but then again the thought of having to drink 5 more kind of does.

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Photo of Arbitrator
3.11/5  rDev -15.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Chilled bottle into a glass.

A: Deep ruby/burgundy color with orange highlights when held up to the light. Moderate head that disappears quickly. Active carbonation up the side of the glass. Light lacing throughout the drink.

S: Roasted malts (almost too much, reminding me of that bad Old No. 38 Stout I had recently), toast, with hints of toffee and hops. I don't detect any smokiness or peatiness. I don't see how it's a Wee Heavy. Points off for the wrong style.

T: Dates, figs, a little dark caramel, and a strong presence of grapefruit hoppy bitterness. Nice and balanced flavor, but again, not a Wee Heavy in the slightest. Definitely a good Winter Warmer though; some mild alcohol heat at the end of the swig.

M: Slightly on the thin side, but moderate carbonation.

D: The roasted malts in the smell really bother me, but I'm acknowledging that that's mainly my issue and trying not to take too many points off. I'm also amused that Hale's seems to have mislabeled the beer. It's not bad, but I doubt I'll see this out again.

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Photo of RedDiamond
3.11/5  rDev -15.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

My understanding of this winter seasonal ale is that Hale's first brewed it in 1985. I don't know if they still brew it to the same recipe, but it seems that the twin themes of Scotch ale and winter warmer have converged somehow. The beer is a luscious glowing ember red as a Scotch ale might be. But it's too hopped for the Scotch tradition and doesn't showcase any sweet maltiness.

Wee Heavy's flavor is an appealing mix of cherry-vanilla-cinnamon, but not in great abundance. It only hints at exotica without really going there. Carbonation is sluggish (as we might expect) and lace is widespread.

As with most Hale's ales, the flavor is not problematic but is too timid to stir much enthusiasm. You might say it's too "wee" and not "heavy" enough, making it a fair but routine beer easily overshadowed by Maritime's Jolly Roger brewed just a few blocks away.

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Photo of oberon
3.15/5  rDev -14.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

The first "clunker" I have had from Hale's,poured adeep amber/brown with just a very thin wispy head that was gone in a blink it looked like flat pop really no lace just flatness.A flat lifeless mouthfeel no carbonation to speak of,decent flavors dark fruit like that of dried cherries and raisins intertwined with caramel and brown sugar notes.Damn I am not sure if I got a bad bottle or what but it was flat and lifeless,sure it has decent flavor but to many other things keep this beer down.

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Photo of yemenmocha
3.15/5  rDev -14.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours dark gold to brown, almost iced tea color. Head is thin and does not retain for long.

Nose reminds me of herbs & iced tea, and those hard crusty cinnamon sticks that are sold to go with coffee (biscotti?)

Palate has brown sugar sweetness, alcohol, iced tea bag, some cinnamon, and finish has alcohol warmth.

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Photo of canucklehead
3.16/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

The beer looks brown and big but the taste is a let down with very little big malt for this style. This is billed as the big winter beer but the flavours are too subdued and soft. Pump up the volume and make this a real winter warmer. The winter beer is the chance for the brewer to make a statement.

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Photo of 1whiskey
3.25/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle pured into a standard pint glass.

Pours a molasses brown with some copper hues around the edges. Not too much of a head despite an aggressive pour, but this is still pretty cold, as it's right out of the fridge.

Smells of sweet malty goodness, with molasses accounted for in the nose and not just the eye. Distinguishing peat moss aromatics are welcome, it's been too long since I had a wee heavy.

Taste is typical burnt sugar/caramel taste, as well as some raisan and currant notes. Hop bitterness is a little too forward for the style, IMO, but are not too distracting. This does seem a little on the watery side for the style as well, but this is still rather enjoyable. Finishes with lingering hop resin aftertaste.

Mouthfeel is rather wet and slippery, and the body is a little thin, especially considering the style. Carbonation is adequate. As far as drinkability goes....as I said it seems a little thin. ABV is not listed but there is not the noticable alcohol warming normally assosciated with the style. So I guess that makes it very drinkable....if you want more.

Not my favorite wee heavy but it will do in a pinch.

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Photo of notsoprobeer
3.25/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Very dark reddish brown with a tan head that dissipated fairly quickly, with minimal lacing. If you don't have bright lighting, the color would appear to be dark brown. Aroma is full malts, something sweet (I can't place it), and alcohol. I don't smell the hops. Flavor is mainly caramel malts with flavors of fruit (maybe cherry) and molasses. It has an nice combination of sweetness and a slight bitterness. Body is medium to heavy. The 6.8% ABV is not unsually high for a winter ale, but it left a lingering alcohol taste in the finish that I wasn't crazy about. After it warmed up, the alcohol taste was even more apparent.

I would drink this if someone gave it to me. If you can find it, and if you're looking for something different, you should try this. It has an unusual combination of flavors and a heavy body that I haven't tasted this holiday season. Only the lingering alcohol taste kept me from rating it higher. This isn't a session beer, but who wants to keep drinking the same beer over and over again!?! Give it a try.

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Photo of beertunes
3.25/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured into bubble pint glass. Poured very still, no head, no lacing, minimal carbonation. A deep mahogany color with a slight reddish tinge around the edge. A solidly sweet malt aroma without noticeable spices as would be expected for the style. The flavor follows the aroma closely, with a slight alcohol kick on the finish. Solid body as expected for the style. Nicely drinkable, I think it should have a little more going in the flavor department, but an average example of the style.

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Photo of vurt
3.3/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Purchased from John's Marketplace in Portland, OR, at the tail end of a trip to the Oregon Brewers Festival. Served in a nonic pint glass.

A clear, deep brown/amber brew with orange highlights. No indication of yeast sediment in the bottle, even though the label claims this beer is "bottle conditioned." The head is nougat-beige and dissipates quickly, leaving only a ring of small bubbles.

Brown-sugary sweet and very estery, with some earthy hops and a heady whiff of alcohol. Nothing smoky or peaty to back up the "Wee Heavy" name.

Mostly a bready sweetness, like the inside of a glazed buttermilk doughnut. There's a bit of orangey hop flavor in there too, at the finish. Finishes drier than it starts. Not much in the hop department, aside from a tea-like bitterness at the very end. Still doesn't make me believe this is a Wee Heavy, though.

Medium-bodied with excellent carbonation and a hint of alcohol warmth in the finish. A great example of the kind of mouthfeel a good winter warmer should have.

Good mouthfeel, body and balance, with a good flavor that misses the mark that the label sets up for it. Hales Wee Heavy Winter Ale is a fine winter warmer but not much of a "Wee Heavy." Change the name and my numbers would become much more positive.

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Photo of bodybyadam
3.32/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Served at DEC 06 Winter Fest. Poured from tap into 5oz sampler. This was the 06 brew but the 05 brew was there and I’m not quite sure which one was the more fair. This review will be of the younger.
A: A dark brown color translucent beer with no head to note.

S: The nose had some mild notes of possibly Cascade hops, yet no obvious malt notes came out.

T: At first taste a blast of sour apple came within a subtle malt. Maybe a caramel malt. The taste is definitely different. Later there were some phenol characters, and a finish of bubblegum. Yes I cleared my palette.

M: This had a thin to medium feel, that with the diverse flavor turned out a decent beer.

D: I thought this brew to be unique but to be a winter brew was kind of strange. I did prefer the aged one over the younger. The 05 carried many more malt characteristics.

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Photo of masikon
3.37/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours a transparent chestnut with a slight off-white head receding quickly leaving only a collar and a bit of swirling. Nose is strong with astringent qualities causing one to percieve a fairly high ABV, unlisted but perhaps 8ish percent? Taste is malty and sweet with cinnamon and raisins coming to mind, somewhat metallic mouthfeel with a definite pronounced alcoholic tingle. Finish is quite abrupt leaving me to wonder what happened after the swallow, not much to think about once this one goes down the hatch. Overall a fair beer, unremarkable but warming and pleasant on a rainy Washington night.

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Photo of GCBrewingCo
3.38/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The beer poured hazy dark amber brown with a decent head which fell quickly. No hop aroma, but a slight deep malt aroma with slight alcohol. Flavor is winey malt and slight chocolate with an alcohol burn. The finish is dry and bitter on the tongue and then fades into a burnt caramel aftertaste. The mouthfeel is thin.

12 ounce bottle, label says bottle conditioned.

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Photo of mtwentz
3.38/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

this is for a bottle of 09 wee heavy enjoyed christmas 010:

pours decent enough. a deep brown, almost black. after letting it come up a bit in temperature, it leaves a continent of creamy white head in the center with an uneven ring of the same around the walls of the duvel tulip.
smells raisiny, like iced fig nuten (spl?) filling.
the taste and mouthfeel is smooth. semi-rich sweetness blooms into a booziness. the aftertaste comes back with the iced fig thing (running out of adjectives). a buried bitterness.
Warming, but i wish it had aged a little smoother.

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Photo of msubulldog25
3.41/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle to a standard pint.

A: A 1/2 finger creamy ivory head on top of a murky ruby-brown pour. Almost still and with minimal lace, looks wike a typically rich wee heavy.

S: Faint sweet malts, with slight spices and sugariness. A floral perfume that's grassy & herbal.

T: Molasses, caramel & brown sugar with an overcoating of hops. A bit of metallic taste with hop bitterness. Perfumy, but has a decent complexity.

M: Slick, slightly oily, just a touch weak. Has a sticky residue with a medium mouthfeel.

D: Worthy of having again. Nothing spectacular, but has good balance and flavor. Give this one a try...

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Photo of froghop
3.42/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

pours a dark copper with a small tan head, heavy carbonation, and some lacing.

smell is of toffee, butterscotch, malt.

taste is smooth and creamy, sweet malts, toffee, some roasted nuts in the back, few hops, and a spice or two.

overall a surprisingly good brew from hales, normally i feel their beer is drinkable but nothing that great, this one is well above their usual brews.

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Photo of ElGordo
3.45/5  rDev -6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark brown color with orange highlights, topped by an off-white head that quickly recedes to a small halo. Nose of sweet dark malt, brown sugar, and a hint of smokiness. Palate is again sweet up front, with dark malt lending a deep brown sugary sweetness, along with some dark fruit. No discernible hop presence. A light alcohol warming sensation emerges on the finish. Body is a bit creamy, but leaves me wishing it were a littler thicker. Not a particularly interesting beer, but certainly passable.

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Photo of Cwrw
3.45/5  rDev -6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

The Wee Heavy from Hale's poured a nice tawny chestnut red, with light purple hues. The beer appears quite clear. The head is dirty white, beige, and left thick screens of lace. The aroma is creamy malt with hints of vanilla and some solvent and spice notes. The aroma is not quite as sweet as I was expecting, and there seems a point where it just stops giving off any complexity. It is by no means an unpleasant smell though: soap and fresh grass, caramel, a dash of hops, candied apple, brown bread, definite apple peel, and a peculiar aroma I cannot describe, similar to soap, but with some astringency. Strong hints of dark roasted malt in the mouth, leaving a dry burnt toast feeling. Hints of brown sugar, butterscotch, and sweet fruits with a touch of metal. The hopping is hard to find in the finish, but it does come in the long run, leaving some dusty pollin bitterness, but only just. The beginning and middle is quite sweet, but the aftertaste is actually extremely dry, leaving the edges of your mouth without saliva. Grainy and medium-bodied, with fairly low carbonation.
I do not find it overly drinkable due to the dryness that just does not quite suit the style. This is definitely a beer I would drink again though. I just found it was not quite as sweet or full as I thought it might be.

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Photo of ecoboy
3.46/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Mahogany in hue, great lacing.

Malt and mild spice, with dark cake and raisins in the roof of the mouth. Caronation washes the tongue. Warm, not all that round (for a scotch style) mouthfeel only a tad bigger taht a British Brown. Nice use of restraint for the American Northwest.

Fairly average for a "wee heavy" which might offer more nuances and fuller presence.

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Photo of SurlyDuff
3.47/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A fairly pedestrian brew. I look for a good malt-forward, peaty, earthy and full bodied brew when i crack open a scotch ale, but this was a bit light in the mouthfeel, and more than a bit underwhelming. It was more of a spiced winterwarmer than anything, which is fine, but it was also pretty boring for a winter warmer as well. Not to mention the low abv. Both wee heavy's and winter warmers generally have higher abvs, this ones really on the low abv end.

Overall, I could skip this beer, and don't really recommend if there's other wee heavy or winter warmer options.

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Photo of bifrost17
3.47/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. bottle poured into a Reuben's Brews snifter/tulip

A: Pretty nice looking dark orange verging on brown. Caramel toffy looking. Some spotty lacing on the glass. Thin head.

S: Not too much going on in the nose, malty, winter spices, a little booze, and breadiness.

T: Tastes pretty solid, kind of exactly how it smells, malty, cinnamon, kind of boozy, slight hop bitterness. There's also a really nice chocolate note in the finish, which leaves me wondering if they used a little bit of chocolate malt in the mash.

M: Mouthfeel is very good for the style, full, creamy, light carbonation.

O: Overall I'm not over, or underwhelmed with this beer. Definitely an interesting take on the winter ale style. Hales pretty much hit the mark with a big warming malt bomb for the winter season. I'd say it's worth trying if you happen to see it, but definitely not worth going out of your way to find.

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Photo of jdense
3.5/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. bottle from John's Marketplace PDX poured into Delirium Tremens tulip 12.26.09.

Deep brown body. One finger tan head, quick dissipation with above average lacing. Nose is complex malts, but not too sweet. The taste is not as sweet as I would expect for the style, a bit of chocolate, some piney hops. Pretty active carbonated mouthfeel, but a little thin. Not the best drinkability,but it is a wee heavy after all. Not my favorite for this style, but a decent enough holiday brew.

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Hale's Wee Heavy Winter Ale from Hale's Ales Brewery & Pub
3.67 out of 5 based on 106 ratings.
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