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.

Appearance:

  • Colour^ = Amber to brown
  • Clarity = Clear

Key Aromas & Flavours:

Aroma
  • Malt = High; bread, toast, caramel and toffee; additional secondary aromas of caramelized sugar, toasted breadcrumbs, ladyfingers, digestive biscuits and butterscotch possible
  • Hops = None to very low; earthy, floral, orange-citrus or spicy, if present
  • Yeast = Low to moderate; dark or dried fruit
  • Other = Low to moderate alcohol; faint hint of roast optional
Flavour
  • Malt = High; bread, toast, caramel and toffee; additional secondary aromas of caramelized sugar, toasted breadcrumbs, ladyfingers, digestive biscuits and butterscotch possible
  • Hops = None to moderate; earthy, floral, orange-citrus or spicy, if present
  • Yeast = Low to moderate; plums, raisins or dried fruit
  • Perceived Bitterness^ = Low
  • Other = Low to moderate alcohol; a hint of grainy roast
  • Balance = Towards the malt, balanced by alcohol
Aftertaste/Finish

The palate is full and sweet, but the finish is sweet to medium-dry with a hint of grainy roast

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 ale malt; may use crystal/caramel malt or darker grains for colour adjustment
  • Hops = English hops
  • Yeast = British ale yeast

Historical Development:

Has its roots in the strong pale ales of the 1700s and 1800s. 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 (Version 5.0)
All other information is sourced from the BJCP 2021 Style Guidelines.


Discovering Beer is not affiliated with or endorsed by the Cicerone® Certification Program.


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