“Wee Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother”
To celebrate American Craft Beer Week 2011, I purchased a four pack of two beers, Dogfish Head Aprihop and Sam Adams Imperial Series Wee Heavy. ACBW could not come at a better time…after several beyond swamped days at work and a potential plumbing crisis at home that turned into a $600 expense instead of much worse, I needed a beer or four or eight.
On the packaging of the Boston Beer is written “Samuel Adams’ Wee Heavy takes its inspiration from traditional Scotch ales, known for their deep full-bodied maltiness. The name originates from the Scottish practice of naming ales from light to heavy. The strongest Scotch ale is a ‘Wee Heavy.’”
The beer pours a deep brown, mahogany color with hints of red, very minimal tan colored head, with slight lacing that lasts throughout. There is an extremely small amount of carbonation; a glass could easily be mistaken for a flat cola. At 10% ABV, this is certainly one of the “heaviest” Sam Adams beers in that department (and packs more kick than a cola!). The aroma has many undertones including whisky, malt, chocolate, and caramel. The taste is even more complex, with those same flavors and more, and what can best be described as a whisky “bite” which one notices as the beer is first tasted and as it’s being swallowed.
As it warms, the Wee Heavy is smoother and even more enjoyable with less bite. This could also be due to my palate being more accustomed to the taste. The next bottle will be consumed at room temperature for comparison. There is a lingering heavy mouthfeel that remained for quite a few minutes after the glass was enjoyed.
Wee Heavy is like a hybrid between a fine Scotch and a top notch porter; put those hands together. As the alcohol content is so high, this is a sipper and not a session beer, but a fine sipper it is. Not just for “the cold and gusty Scottish weather,” Wee Heavy is perfect for all but the hottest months where it might be too, well, heavy.
Four stars for sure!