Wee Heavy

Includes styles: Scotch Ale

Recipes:
4,168
BJCP 2021:
17C
Era:
Traditional
Origin:
🇬🇧 Great Britain
Fermentation:
Top
Color:
Amber
Strength:
High
Taste:
Malty

Profile

Wee Heavy, also commonly referred to as Scottish Strong Ale, is a rich and powerful beer style with a storied history that hails from Scotland. Traditional brewing techniques and ingredients define its heritage, distinguished by the Scots’ use of local malts and a long boiling process which lends this beer its deep malt complexity and caramelization. A Wee Heavy showcases a dense concentration of flavors, reflecting the climate and historical preference for hearty, warming brews suited to colder northern latitudes.

A Wee Heavy pours deep copper to dark brown in color, often accompanied by ruby highlights. Its appearance is notable for clarity with a good level of head retention that typically presents itself as off-white to tan foam. The aroma is a melange of rich maltiness featuring bold caramel accents; breadcrust nuances may surface as well. Roasted or burnt tones are typically absent in this style. It may exhibit low to moderate esters typically reminiscent of dried fruits like raisins or plums. Hops play a supporting role at best, adding balance without contributing much to the aroma profile. Upon tasting, the decadent malt character takes center stage with pronounced caramelized sugar notes complimented by an array of toasty elements and possible hints of chocolate or light roasted grain – though never reaching the intensity found in roasted stouts or porters. The sweetness should be prominent but not cloying or overly heavy thanks to some attenuation that keeps this full-bodied brew drinkable. Hop bitterness is low to medium-low; just enough presence is there for balance against the robust malt bill yet allowing for minimal hop flavor expression.

Despite its richness and higher alcohol content than other Scottish Ale varietals (the "wee" prefix ironically denotes something quite substantial), it retains smoothness without harshness or significant alcohol warmth, which differentiates it from barley wines or other high-gravity British ales.

Specifications

Alcohol

Specification
6.5 – 10.0 %

In Database
5.5 < 7.8 < 10.7 %

Bitterness

Specification
17 – 35 IBU

In Database
14 < 26 < 41 IBU

Color

Specification
28 – 49 EBC
14 – 25 SRM

In Database
23 < 39 < 54 EBC
12 < 20 < 27 SRM

Original Extract

Specification
16.9 – 29.8 °P
1.070 – 1.130 OG

In Database
14.0 < 19.4 < 26.0 °P
1.057 < 1.081 < 1.111 OG

Final Gravity

Specification
4.6 – 10.0 °P
1.018 – 1.040 FG

In Database
2.6 < 5.4 < 8.0 °P
1.010 < 1.021 < 1.032 FG

Popularity Over Time

Most Used Yeasts

Most Used Hops

Dosage of Hops

Hop Pairings

Brewing Recipes