Belhaven Wee Heavy Ale: 6.5% abv
We have visited Belhaven before. A Scottish company which is known for their standard Belhaven Scottish Ale. It is easy for you to remember Belhaven if you’ve smelled it in the past. There’s a distinctive reason. It smells quite prominently of marijuana. That isn’t a joke, not an exaggeration, and we only know because we live all around the people that smoke it. Well, do you think it was a fluke, or maybe we had a skunked batch? No, people, no.
Let me just start on the nose for this one. Marijuana. Like, you felt like you were getting high just smelling it marijuana. Let me explain before I continue though. What we noticed before, and noticed in this review as well is that there is a prominent, strong note of marijuana as soon as the bottle is opened, but if you give it 5 to 10 minutes, then you will start to notice that it fades away. There is no mistake about it. So is there really anything else to be smelled in this beer? Absolutely. Here’s the list, and it is a large one.
There is maltiness to this beer, with unmistakeable raison, caramel, molasses, wheat, semi-sweet chocolate, cocoa and cream in the darker notes, with fruity notes including apple, raspberry, kiwi, and some light lemon citrus notes as well. To top it off, we have a unique brown tea smell we extracted as well. So don’t let the initial smell put you off, because there is a lot more to it. Unfortunately, that stands more for the smell than anything else.
The arrival to the ale is noticeably nutty in character, with molasses/brown sugar, and chocolate to it. It leads into a dark and mellow body, holding the molasses character but continuing with chocolate, hazelnut, nutella, raisons, wheat and nutmeg. Finally, we get to the finish. Only to find it isn’t there. It is short with little flavor, but what little flavor we picked out was of the same sweetness of molasses we had before, with some slight nuttiness and chocolate, and even some ripe banana left over.
Overall, we were really excited when this beer started to open up, but in the end, it provided some disappointment the more we dug into it. It certainly is unique, and it provides decent complexity, but with a lack of overall balance and an almost lacking flatness to it, we weren’t blown away.