Friday, February 10

Beer Review: Samuel Adams Wee Heavy (Imperial Series)


"Samuel Adams Wee Heavy was inspired by both traditional Scotch ales and Scotch whiskies, for a combination of deep roasted flavor and earthy smoke character. Traditional Scottish ales vary in intensity with the strong ales known as Scotch Ale or “Wee Heavy”. To create our own version of the style we added peat smoked malt to bring the unique flavor of Scotland to this complex and satisfying brew.

Scottish brewers have been renowned for their strong Scotch Ales for centuries. Their characteristic taste comes from the large amount of highly roasted malts to flavor and sweeten the beer rather than using brewing sugars or crystal malt. Barley is a signature ingredient of Scotland as used in their whiskies and its character comes through in their beers. By contrast, hops cannot survive the short Scottish growing season and are thus only used in limited amounts for these beers.

To achieve the dark and slightly sweet flavor for this brew, we use a variety of malts including a peat smoked malt only found in Scotland that is the signature ingredient of their scotch whiskies. Although this malt may not be used in classic Scottish ales, it imparts the aroma and flavor of the region that we wanted to bring to this brew. To achieve that flavor, the malt is smoked over peat giving it an earthy and smoky character that adds a layer of complexity to the beer. This is the same malt that we use in our Samuel Adams Scotch Ale, here in the Wee Heavy, it adds depth and complexity to the intense malt flavors.

These malt flavors are developed as the beer goes through a long cold aging, different from most ales. With a low hop bitterness the resulting beer is a big, complex, and warming. The beer will also develop with age as the flavors deepen and soften.

Flavor: Intense and full bodied with a deep roasted flavor, subtle sweetness, and earthy smokiness from the peat smoked malt.

Color: Deep reddish-walnut, 50 SRM

Original Gravity: 24.5° Plato

Alcohol by Vol/Wt: 10.0%ABV – 7.7%ABW

Calories/12 oz.: 348
IBUs: 30

Malt Variety: Two-row Harrington, Metcalfe, and Copeland pale malts, Caramel 60, Roasted malt, Peated malt

Hop Variety: Zeus Hops

Yeast Strain: Samuel Adams ale yeast

Availability: Year round

First Brewed: 2011"


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Appearance: (3.5)
- Super dark filtered rootbeer brown brew.. subtle finger of light tan head which has quickly fizzed down to a medium ring, and a thin island over the brew.

Smell: (3.0)
- Nice roasty caramel, earthy, woody and chocolatey grainy malt.. bit of strong alcohol aromas, a little like rubbing alcohol. Overall smells like a Wee Heavy blended with a little stout or porter.

Taste: (3.5)
- Smokey caramel, smokey chocolate, and overall quite smokey in the flavor. The smoked malt doesn't quite show like this in the aroma. Sweet esters, little fig, and some alcohol. Not too bad but seems to be outside of what I feel the style is.

Mouth Feel: (3.0)
- Medium bodied, bit syrupy, slightly dry, regular ale yeast-like carbonation. Bit cloying as well.. not too bad.

Overall: (3.0)
- Can't say this is really that great of a beer, but it is a nice strengthy offering from Samuel Adams. I was hoping it would turn out better than my opinion of their other beers.. but it really hasn't. It seems to be unique for sure, but doesn't touch what I think the style should be. Wouldn't really buy this again I think.

3.25/5 rDev -13.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3
(BeerAdvocate.com Rating Scale)

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