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 artoolemomo
3.85/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Appearance- Pours up an okay amount of head which looks to have good retention. The head is a light beige/khaki while the body is a very dark amber which is a medium to dark amber when held up to the light. Considerable lacing is left behind.

Nose- I may have kept this one too long as the aroma seems rather muted for a Scotch ale. Light notes of caramel, brown sugar, and molasses from the bottle. There was some burnt caramel, even a popcorn note. Slight notes of raisins, maybe prunes. Swirling shows more raisins in conjunction with brown bread. Maybe a slight touch of bubblegum.

Taste- Starts off with some citrus on the front (oranges mostly) that moves into a middle occupied by caramel, raisins, and brown bread. Has many of the standard flavors of a Scotch ale but seems a little bit lighter. Some pine and resin bitterness on the finish which matches up well with the dominant sweetness which manages to be lively without being cloying. Might not have the complexity or presence that a lot of Scotch ales have but I'm still enjoying it so far. A light Scotch ale that has great balance and integration. More of an everyday Scotch ale if you will, maybe even a little sessionable. Solid, good beer in my opinion. Nothing more, nothing less.

Mouthfeel- Medium to heavy bodied with minimal carbonation. Approaches smooth and velvety. Bolsters the flavor profile and hints at the possibility of a really good beer.

Drinkability- Very accessible for a Scotch ale- certainly not in the same class as the Traquair beers but as drinkable. Almost sessionable if the thickness of the beer doesn't get to you. I think this was a little more than standard craft beer six pack price but I think it's worth it. I would probably buy this again.

Overall- Solid, good beer with flashes of being a really, good beer- this is mostly because of the mouthfeel. Definitely worth a try, even if you don't like Scotch ales. You might like this one.

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Photo of vkv822
3.68/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

12oz : tulip

Pours a hazy, muddled burnt-orange brown with a thin foamy off white head.

Big caramel, toffee, breaded malts with a light herbal, floral hop bitterness in the finish.

Medium body, foamy carbonation.

Nothing mind blowing, just a very solid, well brewed Scotch Ale.

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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 constantine_272
4.29/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Cloudy brown. Sticky foam with low retention that left flecks of foam in random configurations, not in rings. Appearance was the worst part of this beer. It's also the least important in my opinion.

S: Sweet smelling. Light roast smell. A little woody smelling.

T: Very unique flavor. The combination of sweetness with the roast flavors give it a bit of a fruity raspberry flavor up front. It finishes with a light chocolate flavor and a hint of vanilla. A home run, almost a grand slam if it weren't for the long aftertaste.

M: Again I wasn't a fan of the aftertaste. It had a tongue coating effect that tastes great, but just didn't finish when it was supposed to. Thicker and chewyier than others, which I like in a darker beer , so it was still good.

O: 'Wow' was the first thing I said after the first taste. The fruity, sweet, toasty flavor was amazing. It's clear this beer was purposefully and expertly crafted. A slightly cleaner finish would have been nice.

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Photo of LiquidAmber
4/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a MacAndrew's thistle glass. Pours a hazy, medium ruddy orange amber. Two finger fine light tan head with great retention and lacing. Aroma of caramel malt, cinnamon, faint hops. Flavor of biscuit malt, light peppery hops, light cinnamon, finishing with the same peppery hops. Somewhat on the dry side and hoppy for a scotch ale, but nicely balanced. Medium body with a pleasant creaminess. I enjoyed this interesting take on a wee heavy with a nod towards a winter warmer. I'll look for this next year.

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Photo of brentk56
3.65/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pours a hazy burnt auburn color with hardly any foam, despite a hard pour; the ringlet leaves a surprising smattering of dots all around

Smell: RIch caramel aromatics; some toast and a vague sense of the hop

Taste: Caramel, up front, but the hops intrude surprisingly, adding an earthy and piney character that balances out the hops, in the middle; the caramel adds a spice cake dimension, as well but, after the swallow, the profile is rather balanced

Mouthfeel: Medium to full body, but somewhat flat

Overall: A very unusual beer and certainly not your typical Wee Heavy; still, reasonably enjoyable; just call it a Winter Warmer and it would be much more understandable

Thanks, bobertkuekn, for the opportunity

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Photo of harrymel
3.64/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottled: unk, vintage 2011

A: dark ruddy copper with little head formation and only a target formation of foam. No lace.
S: bread pudding smell with caramelized sugars and some bread and cinnamon. Has a slightly aged smell to it.
T: Sweet with the slightest bitter and sharp edge to it. I've come to find a nice, subtle alcoholic blade in a Wee Heavy goes a long way to help harden the beer. This is no slouch. Some honey notes and rye bread flavors.
M: Medium on heavy with low carb and a semi dry finish. Nothing special, but suited for the style.
O: Decent beer. I would drink again in a heartbeat. Great for the season (or maybe a little colder).

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Photo of Bookseeb
3.68/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance is a dark amber with an off white creamy head and clingy lace. Smell is very light with roasted malt. Taste has the lightly roasted malt with a light hoppy citric twang in the end. Mouthfeel is medium, creamy with good carbonation. Nothing complex, but very enjoyable in these colder months.

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Photo of engisch
3.95/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours brown and cloudy. With an effervescent and lasting tan head. After every sip, tiny bubble replenish the thin head. Makes for nice looking beer aside from the hazy complexion when light hits it. Smells sweet and floral (bit strange/unique for a "Wee Heavy").

Tastes sweet with a nice balancing bitterness. Not typical of most wee heavys, which tend to be more sweet (sometimes sickenly). This is a very unique for the wee heavy category. Very Americanized in terms of hoppyness.

I would definitely drink / recommend this, but don't expect the typical wee heavy.

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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 Ryan011235
3.71/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a snifter on 12/26/10

Pours a deep caramel brown, settling quite dark; ruby highlights adorn the base & sides of the glass. Giving the impression it might be a tad murky, it's too dark to tell. Billowy foam; two fingers worth initially, then dropping to a puffy island & a collar. Impressive swaths of crackly lace.

Ah, smells like it's heavy on the hops (at least for the style); no complaints from me. Mellow floral tones are abundant; earthy pine notions & a hint of citric solvency are cast just underneath. Further down is a maltiness suggesting dark fruit overtones & lightly toasted bread; solid but supportive of the hops.

Ah, tastes nice & hoppy, too. Here, though, the pine is most appreciable, making for reasonable amount of bitterness as well as a fast-acting dryness. Maybe spot of citrus. The initial dryness melds into a malt bill that softens it some, but never outshines. Dark bread, a hint of chocolate, wisps of smoke, toastiness & dark fruit ghost notes.

Closer to medium body than full; a robust feel, though freely moving all the while. Carbonation is moderate; it never seems out of place. The finish is likewise dry, dry, dry. Piney bitterness, smoke & toasted bread linger.

So, Wee Heavy Winter Ale might be highly hopped for the style. What of it? I really like it & would drink my fair share were I able. Worth a shot.

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Photo of Briken
3.83/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Hazy dark walnut with thin tan head, poor retention and no lacing. Light peat, caramel, and roasted malts. Tea and roasted malt with hints of peat and a bitter bite with a linger of sweetness. Slightly robust mouthfeel with light stickiness.

Not bad for a wee heavy with good flavor although a little heavy on roasted malt on the end. Otherwise easy drinking with no regrets on a sixer although I was ready to move on by the end.

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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 ebrauser
3.58/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 3 | smell: 5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Poured from a bottle to a pint glass

Appearance: Deep red-mahogany with particulates floating (the reason for the low score). Loud, crackling, thick tan head.

Aroma: Immediate presence of alcohol is apparent, but pleasantly mixed with figs and apples.

Flavor: Bittersweet middle contains solventy tones before moving to a woody, earthy finish. Lingering bitterness. Warming, but in a manner that is slightly harsh. Fruity beginning comes out when the drink is warmed, but bitter taste still dominates the end.

Mouthfeel: Heavy body, sweet but pleasant texture to sip on.
Probably won't have another unless it is on tap (its always worth a second shot if its on tap)

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Photo of grittybrews
3.78/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured a dark cola brown into a tulip with an inch of light khaki head. Nice malty aroma of toffee and a hint of fig.

Moderate carbonation and a slightly thin, syrupy mouthfeel. Toasty flavor up front with mild caramel sweetness, vanilla, some roasty coffee, and a slightly spicy hops on the finish.

Not too sweet and quite easy-drinking.

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Photo of Flightoficarus
3.53/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Pours a deep, murky brown, with a two-finger, tan colored head, and has fairly creamy lacing.

S - Smell is of caramel, molasses, nuttiness, a slightly floral character, and a hint of peat.

T - Taste is of caramel, and roasted/nutty malts, with a solid background of balancing nut bitterness and hops (not in the piney APA/IPA sense, you just know they're there). Well balanced.

M - Mouthfeel is on the heavier side of medium, with medium carbonation, and a slick, creamy feel going down.

D - A bit heavy for sessioning, but a couple of these or so would be nice.

Overall - A pretty nice, basic scotch ale. IMO, a tad more sweetness, and tad less carbonation would bump it up from a good beer to a stellar beer though!

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Photo of philbertk
3.52/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

2009 12 oz.Bottle Rich rocky off white head.Clear dark bronze red color.BC sediment dust.No haze.Floral mild hop toasted malty vanilla nutmeg front.Sweet dry rich toasted black cherry malty sweet dark fruit mild toffee body.Dry mild hot hop EtOH clean end.New Amped Brewer.

Hale's Ales, Limited--Wee Heavy Winter Ale--Limited Edition Release--Bottle Conditioned--2010 12 oz. Bottle. 7.20% ABV. 25 IBU's. (3.75 / 5.0) Winter Ale--Roasted. Thin light lace light tan head. Thin pour. Bottle Conditioned haze hint thin amber bronze color. Chocolate hint toasted light hop peat hint front. Mild dry sweet fully fermented thin textured roasted sweet Scottish malt hint mild fruit body. Crisp toasty roasty mild hop end. Sampled 10/15/2010 from 6-Pack purchased for $7.79 @ Fred Meyer--Ballard, Seattle on 10/15/2010.

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Photo of flagmantho
3.7/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Had this on tap in a pint glass at the Hooverville in Seattle.

Appearance: deep brown with a little bit of haze and a thin tan head. Quite nice.

Smell: subtle malt aroma with a fair amount of caramel character.

Taste: big caramel malt with a little nuttiness and quite a satisfying bitterness. Bitter but balanced; there wasn't a whole lot of hop flavor.

Mouthfeel: medium, maybe med-light; relatively low carbonation. It worked for this beer.

Drinkability: pretty drinkable; a nice winter treat.

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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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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 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 dabudah
3.76/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle from Cost Plus "Winter Brews" mix pack.

Appearance: Beautiful deep burgundy but a thin off-white head (did leave some lacing).

Smell: Strong dark malt aroma, slight caramel and toast with a burst of chocolate. No hops to speak of but some alcohol.

Taste: Malty sweet up front with a little alcohol and enough bitterness to strike a balance. Some spiciness as it warms.

Mouthfeel: Ample body for size with a little bit of warmth.

Drinkability: Very nice, wish I had more than one bottle.

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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 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 djeucalyptus
3.65/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

pours a dark raisin color, with glowing garnet and ruby at the edges. Darker and more mahogany in the glass than I was anticipating. A thin tan head quickly faded to a meager collar leaving a bit of sticky lacing.

aroma of caramel malts, sweet and sugary. there's a piney note hidden in there, and a bit more dark fruit, along the lines of figs and raisins. A touch of yeasty bread proverbially rounds it out, although definitely sweet.

Taste follows aroma fairly closely, with the sweetness dominating. Fairly simple roasted malt profile with some ample maple and honey sweetness. There's a strong hop bittering that comes through, giving a rough almost piny finish.

Carbonation is thin but heavy at the same time, pairing with that finishing bitterness to leave a lingering tingling on the tongue, not far from licking a pine tree. Prickly and sticky, vinous and lingering. Not my favorite.

On the whole not bad. A bit more middle of the road than other hales brews, this one doesn't blow me away. Pair that with the overly bitter notes for the style and a slightly offputting mouthfeel and this one just falls a bit short. Not by far, and i'm sure I'll drink a few more before the season passes, but it's just not quite what I'd hoped for. definitely good enough to give it a shot.

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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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