Wee Heavy

Glassware: Snifter
  • Scotland
  • Ale
  • ABV = 6.5 – 10.0% (Elevated to high)^
  • IBU = 17-35
  • SRM = 14-25
A strong, richly malty and caramelly-sweet Scottish ale with a full body. Dessert-like.

Appearance:

  • Colour^ = Amber to brown
  • Clarity = Clear

Key Aromas & Flavours:

Aroma
  • Malt = High; richly malty with significant caramel
  • Yeast = Low to moderate; fruity
  • Hops = None to very low; earthy or floral, if present
  • Other = Low to moderate alcohol; low level of roasted grains may be present (sometimes perceived as a faint smoke character)
Flavour
  • Malt = High; richly malty with significant caramel, nutty character possible
  • Yeast = Low to moderate; plums, raisins or dried fruit
  • Hops = Low to moderate; earthy or floral
  • Perceived Bitterness^ = Low
  • Other = Low to moderate alcohol; low level of roasted grains may be present (sometimes perceived as a faint smoke character)
  • Balance = Towards the malt
Aftertaste/Finish

The palate is full and sweet, but the finish may be sweet to medium-dry. Roasted grain/faint smoke and nutty character may last into the finish.

Mouthfeel:

  • Body = Full; a thick, chewy viscosity is possible
  • Carbonation = Medium
  • Alcohol warmth = A smooth alcohol warmth is usually present; helps balance malt sweetness

Characteristic Ingredients/Processes:

  • Malt = Pale malt; may use some crystal/caramel malt for colour adjustment
  • Yeast = British ale yeast
  • Hops = English hops
  • Other = Roasted (unmalted) barley for colour adjustment

Historical Development:

Has its roots in the strong pale ales of the 1700s and 1800s. A premium product, often produced for export. Also known as “strong Scotch ale.” The term “wee heavy” means “small strong” and traces to the beer that made the term famous, Fowler’s Wee Heavy.


Commercial Examples:

Belhaven Wee Heavy, McEwan’s Scotch Ale, Orkney Skull Splitter


^Sourced from the Cicerone Certification Program’s International Certified Beer Server Syllabus.
All other information is sourced from the BJCP 2015 Style Guidelines.


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