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

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Hale's Wee Heavy Winter AleHale's Wee Heavy Winter Ale
107 Ratings
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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Ratings: 107 |  Reviews: 71
Photo of Flightoficarus
3.53/5  rDev -4.3%
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 -4.6%
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 +0.3%
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 -5.1%
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 -11.9%
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 -15.7%
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 +1.9%
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 -7.3%
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 -6%
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 -1.1%
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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Photo of yemenmocha
3.15/5  rDev -14.6%
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 Jason
4.02/5  rDev +8.9%
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.

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Photo of RedDiamond
3.11/5  rDev -15.7%
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 ccrida
2.86/5  rDev -22.5%
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 markgugs
2.81/5  rDev -23.8%
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 russpowell
3.61/5  rDev -2.2%
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

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Photo of barleywinefiend
3.97/5  rDev +7.6%
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.

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Photo of JohnGalt1
3.03/5  rDev -17.9%
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 dnichols
3.71/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I was served a about 12 ounces in a chilled pint glass from the rotating tap at the Tony Roma bar in Kennewick, Washington.

A: It poured a body of murky mahogany that when back lit was a ruddy cherry color. The pour was gentile and produced a very slight 1/4 finger tan head composed of small bubbles that receded fast to a ring around the collar. There was a decent initial lacing that was evenly distributed but like the head it was gone before I could really appreciate its beauty.

S: There was a light suggary aroma with a faint odor of grass and spices. As the brew settled it produced a smoky aroma. The overall impression was that the aromas were weak and thin, not what I expected from a wee heavy.

T: It had a nice sweet front consisting of molasses, plums and dark bread yeast. There was a slight peat smoke flavor and distinct zesty grassy hops. The sweet malts and zesty hopps were well balanced...more of a Scotch Ale winter warmer than a Wee Heavy.

M: It was medium-bodied with a sweet front and dry and somewhat sour finish and aftertaste. It had medium carbonation that lasted well into the drink. somewhat dry.

D: It was a nicely balanced winter brew...not overly sweet but nice and spicy with a decent ABV.

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Photo of jklinck
3.52/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Thin head that quickly dissapates leaving no lacing down the glass. The initial aroma was that of dried banana chips. Also noticed the banana chip taste, but different than the fresh banana taste of a hefe. Lingering bitterness with with some slight alcohol notes and some sweetness.

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Photo of vurt
3.3/5  rDev -10.6%
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 BuckeyeNation
3.56/5  rDev -3.5%
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.

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Photo of woemad
3.53/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle purchased from Huckleberry's in Spokane a couple of months ago. No freshness date, as is usually the case from Hale's. Stuck this one in the cellar/pantry and promptly forgot about it, so it's not terribly fresh.

Poured a dark mahogany color that takes on a more rubyish tinge when held up to the light. Decent, 2" or so tan head that hung around for a couple of minutes and never did completely dissipate. Lots of spotty lace.

What I detect first in the nose is a caramel sweetness, followed by a mild peat smell that is coupled with a vague dark fruit scent and a kind of tea-like aroma. Good smelling, but it lacks something in the verve department to really grab the attention of the workers at the olfactory.

That mix of interesting tones and missing oomph is present in the taste as well. partway through the sip comes a mild hoppy dryness as well. Mild is a word that seems to enter my mind a lot while drinking this beer. Let this dog off the leash a bit, and I'd suspect it would be a lot more memorable.

Mouthfeel is securely locked into the middle of the road, like most aspects of this beer (and like most Hale's Ales, really). Personally I think it could benefit from a little more body, but I'm really not versed enough in the style to know for sure if it is representative or not.

A decent beer that I wouldn't refuse to drink again, but I'm not sure if I would ever feel the need to seek it out again either. Another beer typical of Hale's Ales, made with their usual blend of quality and conservativness.

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Photo of jletts
4.09/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from bottle into pint glass. Appeared dark, dark mahogany with a yellowish-white head and no lacing.

Smells of sweet caramel malts and dark fruit, with hints of smoke and burbon. Not an overwhelming nose, but complexed.

Tastes of dark smokey malt, sour dark fruits (maybe cherry and plum), earthy, reminds me of a peat bog in the Scottish Highlands (not that I've tasted one, but this is what I'd imagine one tasting like). Ends on a hoppy note as the hops finally show their bitter faces.

The mouthfeel is nice for the style. Substantial and a little viscous.

Drinkability is good, not sure of the ABV but I'd guess around 6.5-7%. This is a good winter warmer and probably my favorite one by Hales. Good stuff.

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Photo of akorsak
3.58/5  rDev -3%
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.

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Hale's Wee Heavy Winter Ale from Hale's Ales Brewery & Pub
Beer rating: 3.69 out of 5 with 107 ratings
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