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

Log in or Sign up to start rating.
BA SCORE
83
good
71 Reviews
Hale's Wee Heavy Winter AleHale's Wee Heavy Winter Ale
BEER INFO

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

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

BEER STATS
Reviews:
71
Ratings:
106
Avg:
3.67
pDev:
13.62%
 
 
Wants:
2
Gots:
7
For Trade:
0
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Reviews: 71 | Ratings: 106
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

 730 characters

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.

 494 characters

Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.56/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark caramel with generous orange highlights (on the coaster), pristine dark cherry (when backlit). The golden brown sugar colored crown is a quality affair in all ways that matter. Its upper surface is a teeming mass of sticky bubbles that resemble caramelizing sugar. So far, so good.

Unfortunately, the nose is too low on candlepower. I'm willing to wait to see if it makes a comeback with warming, but I'm not optimistic. A hint of toffee and a hint of hops is all that reaches my nose. I'm not even sure if I could identify the correct style if blinded.

While the flavor is an improvement, I'm not jumping out of my chair. For starters, there isn't enough malt for this to be called a Scotch ale/wee heavy. For finishers, there's too much citric hoppiness. I almost never complain about too many hops, but some styles need to stay malt-dominant, just as others need to stay hop-dominant.

The flavor profile consists of dark caramel, liquified dates, sweetened tobacco and grapefruit zest. Sweetness is easily matched by citric bitterness; again, not a classic blueprint for what is supposed to be a wee heavy. If I think of WHWA as a typical Pacific NW winter warmer, it comes together more coherently. If I was in charge at Hale's, I'd change the name.

The mouthfeel is a few notches more full than medium and actually borders on plush as it warms. I have no problem admitting that I was wrong about the malt. The beer firms up and smooths out nicely as it sits. A restrained amount of carbonation is a perfect fit.

This is one instance where I have decided to penalize a beer for failing to live up to the style guidelines. If the brewery would drop the Wee Heavy portion of the name, I would probably have gone with the next highest flavor score. If you like that 'gotta be hoppy' Northwest style of brewing, then I have no trouble at all recommending this Hale's Ales winter seasonal.

 1,908 characters

Photo of NeroFiddled
3.85/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A slightly hazy deep-mahogany body is capped by a short lid of creamy light-tan foam. The head retention is limited and it drops shortly to just a thin collar. Oddly enough, however, it does leave some minor spotty lace about the glass. A gentle aroma of spiced cookies and some background smokiness welcome you to imbibe. The body is medium and works well with its very fine and moderate carbonation to leave it smooth and just-lightly creamy in the mouth. And a gentle mouthfeel is needed as spice (cinnamon, ginger?) immediately hits the tongue in the flavor - a higher level of carbonation would accentuate that spiciness, and it's pretty full as it is. Some moderate caramel follows as it warms across the tongue, backed by an additional touch of alcoholic "spice"; and finally a whisk of whirling bitterness that leads into a dry and spicy finish that's awash in drying alcohol. A really interesting and enjoyable beer that makes a great nightcap or after-dinner drink.

 975 characters

Photo of russpowell
3.61/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a purple hued chestnut with minimal sand colored head. Minimal lacing & head retention

S: Big time cakeyness & some ginger bread spices as this warms

T: Cakeyness, chocolate & a bit of licorice up front. Caramel, brown sugar, some herbal hops & dryness surface as this warms. Finishes dry with much caramel, a little fruittyness & some toffee. Slightly out of style

MF: Chewy with slight carbonation

Drink fairly easy, but the dryness would get off this after a few. Solid Wee-heavy, worth a shot

 506 characters

Photo of Jason
4.02/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Wow, bottle conditioned. Very dark brown with a leaning to garnet, the clarity is fine. Lacing leaves a few rings on the glass. Heavy head of malt in the nose, smells of brown malt and a deep mix of toasted grain and faint caramel. Maltiness starts off bold but then a quick running of hop character comes through, at first your taste buds brace for bitterness but it lands small but balanced. Then a lingering of herbal minty flavor fades to let the malt take over. Slight sugary note, more brown sugar right in the middle of the toasted malt. Faint amount of alcohol shows up but comes off relatively clean, malty finish pulls towards semi-dry.

Solid, very solid. Easy to drink and a bit of a malt bomb, but balanced. Worth the hunt if you can find it.

 755 characters

Photo of feloniousmonk
3.88/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark brown color, fine tan head. Aroma is nutty, soft, creamy, and a little spicey. Very tasty texture, and sweet. Balance is in favor of malt here, with little evidence of hops. A great toffeish flavor comes through in the middle. Very candyish, but still hearty and satisfying. A smooth, delicious, and very welcome antidote to the bitter sting of winter cold.

 362 characters

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.

 515 characters

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...

 930 characters

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.

 503 characters

Photo of barleywinefiend
3.97/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Recently had this on tap at Hale's, Malt and mild spice, with dark cake and raisins in the roof of the mouth. Carbonation washes the tongue. Warm, not all that round (for a scotch style) mouthfeel only a tad bigger than a brit brown. I really like this beer and strongly recommend it.

 284 characters

Photo of akorsak
3.58/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A 12 oz bottle purchased at Liquid Solutions.

A: The ale is a garnet red color that showcases some deeper brown highlights. The head on pour weighs in around 1.5 fingers and retains nicely.

S: The wee heavy has a sweet malty aroma that is heavy on smokiness. The sweetness conjures up caramel and toffee elements.

T: The ale has a very heavy malt character. It is concentrated and sweet, having some alefruit elements that are chewy. I detect raisiny notes, some brown sugar and a distinctive funky yeast. There is a slightly smoky essence holding everything together.

M: The mouthfeel is heavy on the sweet malts, nicely supporting a smoky element.

D: The ale has a nice flavor but seems to come up short with the smokiness. The malts are sweet and could easily handle the added smoke.

 801 characters

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.

 488 characters

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.

 1,123 characters

Photo of Bighuge
4.59/5  rDev +25.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This beer pours a nice clear garnet tone. A small brown head becomes a rimming in seconds. This brew smells rich, thick and malty. A bit of yeast and alcohol on the nose as well. I love the blend of alcohol and bready yeast tones in this Scotch. They blend very nicely with the thick sweet malt tones. And the hops add just the right amount of balance and also a perceived dryness. I really like this beer.

 406 characters

Photo of Gusler
3.92/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The beer pours a deep copper to almost mahogany, the head modest in size and the texture frothy, with a decent covering of lace upon the glass. The aroma sweet malt, caramel, light hints of cinnamon, quite a nice nose, with the start sweet and malt laden, top is middling in its feel to the palate. Finish has a pleasant hop spicy bite and the carbonation moderate with a very dry lingering aftertaste.

 402 characters

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.

 802 characters

Photo of ZAP
4.24/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a deep brownish orange...nose is great...Has some doppelbock like scents of sweet malt...also...dark fruits...big time plum smell.....also blackberry's and blueberrys....

Mouthfeel is about medium...certainly not overthick....sweet, slick feel as you drink like a doppel...

Taste is very good...sweet malt flavor...doesn't taste like a doppel but it has a great malt load...I guess more of a Scottish Ale taste, but I don't get much smokiness of peat...a bit of a try finish which is nice because this could be a little too sweet without it...

I love the nose on this beer, and overall it is a pretty tasty winter beer..

 635 characters

Photo of tavernjef
3.95/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Color is ruby brownish with no head, just some small bubbles that dissolved fast and has no real lacing effect. Faint, sweetly spiced malt aroma. Taste is subtle, kinda tangy with a slightly nutty but mostly malty sweet flavor. Feel is light bodied and on the oily/silky side with a good sweet tang on the tongue. Smooth easy drinker with a good sweet tang taste and feel. Not sure where the "wee heavy" comes from?

 415 characters

Photo of RoyalT
4.03/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance – Thick brown with a reddish hue. The head was decent and left a little lacing.

Smell – Light smoke character with a faint malt base. There’s not much to smell here.

Taste – The taste though is pretty good. The peat smoke flavor is clean and crisp, and there are just enough hops to balance things out. I can also pick up a small sugary sweetness.

Mouthfeel – Medium-bodied and somewhat dry. This one feels good and clean in the mouth.

Drinkability – This is an excellent winter session ale. It went down without a hitch and fit the style nicely. Great effort by this local brewery.

 611 characters

Photo of cokes
4.42/5  rDev +20.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Shadowy copper with a thin tan head.
Aroma is full of caramel malt richness along with faint tropical fruit whispers. Light touches of smoke and perfumed hops as well.
Taste begins big and malty. Scorched toffee and bread notes dominate throughout. Peat smoke is fairly quiet, but makes it's presence felt underneath the malts. As it warms, spices seem to materialize. Touches of thyme, orange peel and ginger. Nice! I am having a hard time deciding if this is actually spiced or not. Hops enter and mix in a heavily perfumed, floral hues which grow increasingly bitter. Smoke is noticed once again after the swallow.
Smooth drinking. If I was looking for a reason to knock this, I'd say it was a hair on the thin side, and could actually use a bit more heft from the malts. But that's being overly picky. This is lovely stuff.
Great winter brew. I'd stock up if it was available here.

Many thanks to Bighuge for this.

 925 characters

Photo of Reidrover
4.32/5  rDev +17.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

bought in the 12 oz brown "stubbie" Bottle conditioned.
after a fairly vigourous pour i got a half inch off white head..but didn't last though a great lace was left all down my glass.The beer is a deep dark ruby red when held up to the light.
I loved the aroma in this brew..can smell all sorts of dark roasted malt accents..alcohol too is smellable( is that a word?)BUt theres a nice strong fruity aroma too sweet fruits like blackberry, cherries etc.
Lovelly tatseing brew at near room temperatures many different tastes come to light after a few deep sips..the sweetness of the roasted malts is first to appear..after a nice balanced hop bitterness ..in between cocoa, dark esspreso, blackberry, raisins..all come to mind..very well done.
Feels remarkably smooth over the palate.
Quite a drinkable "wee heavy" very well done.te but the taste buds are tingling!

 868 characters

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.

 300 characters

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.

 865 characters

Photo of garymuchow
4.1/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Aroma starts off as a rich and pretty straight malt with slight roast and even less smokey scents, but as it warms it begins to take on some character, including a fruity (plum) quality that is quite appealing. Deep red amber, with a mahogany hue. Thin tan head that settles more, but remains paper thin and leaves some lacing. Clear. Nice rich malt flavor without becoming cloyingly sweet. Flavor remains consistent strart through the finish. That moves to a medium long lasting conclusion on the tongue with a slightly dry quality. Full yet soft carbonation feel. Medium body (probably not as heavy as it should be). Also, no alcohol noticable in flavor. Highly drinkable Wee Heavy. Enjoyable, somewhat hearty winter ale.

 723 characters

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Hale's Wee Heavy Winter Ale from Hale's Ales Brewery & Pub
83 out of 100 based on 71 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • Return of the Belgian Beer Fest

    BeerAdvocate Brings its All-Belgian Fest to Portland, Maine on September 17, 2016. Tickets are on sale now.

    Learn More
  • Get the Mag

    Become a BeerAdvocate magazine print subscriber today.

    Subscribe