Its not often that I’m sipping a brew before noon. Even a breakfast stout feels a little weird if I can still pick up my phone and greet ‘good morning.’ But on this oh-so-special occasion, I have decided to imbibe a bit before the minute and hour hands meet at the 12. The baby is asleep, the wife is out of town, the moment couldn’t be better suited for a brew.
And its Sam Adams Wee Heavy that’s my special treat. It wasn’t until just a few months ago that I discovered the Scotch Ale category of beer. With a Founders Backwoods Bastard in my snifter, I had truly crossed into uncharted territory. It was unique, it was complex, it was just plain good. So for Sam Adams shot at the style, I had this high benchmark in my mind.
It poured dark, not quite stout, but almost, a surprising tone for what I thought a Scotch Ale should be, and it was crowned with a nice top of fluff. The sweet scotchy-caramely goodness was on the nose. I loved sniffing it in again and again, hopeful that the flavor would be equal to the scent. There were hints of a warming alcohol on the nose as well, giving me a yearning for an autumn day where that warming would be just right. There was a dryness too, mixed with a yeast, or perhaps it was even the yeast itself. My sip was a bit of a surprise. Remembering the Founder’s creation, it was hard to climb to that pinnacle of flavors. This version lacked complexity and subtlety, it was more in-your-face flavors of liquor and heavy burnt malt. It was clumsy almost, overdone to prove a point and the finish was dry and too malty. There was a bit of dark fruit, again clothed in the sweetness and malt.
I admit, this Wee Heavy had a big task ahead of it. To prove itself to me as a comparable brew to one of the most interesting beers I had consumed to date. While it was decent it came up a…wee bit short.