Wet Willy Scotch Ale

Wet Willy Scotch Ale
1 500ml bottle, $6.99++, 10% ABV

Purchased at M&R Liquors, Avon

I was once a kid. I had the very good fortune of growing up in a working-class neighborhood with a billion kids my age. Very few in the ‘hood had Ataris or Commodore 64’s, so we all basically grew up playing outside.

Tackle football, Smear the Queer (that was an ok thing then), Capture the Flag, Jail Break, street hockey, bicycle tag (probably the most dangerous game in the world), entire days at the local pool, adventures down urban creeks… All the things the “kids these days” are missing out on. It breaks my heart – really and truly.

I was also a Boy Scout. So between weekend camping trips (every month for 4 years or so) and the neighborhood shenanigans, I became quite familiar with the horrible group of horrible things horrible boys did to each other: wedgies, Atomic wedgies, Atomic sit-ups, Indian burns, titty twisters, red necks, noogies, rat-tails, 6-inches… and, of course, wet willies.

Everyone hated receiving all of them – for the record, titty twisters (aka purple-nurples aka nipple cripples, still send me running and screaming at warp speed – but as gross as they are, wet willies are probably the most benign. But man, are they gross.

(For the uninitiated, a wet willy is simply inserting one’s spit-soaked finger into an the ear of an unaware victim. The applicator’s aim is a long duration and extra sliminess. Good times.)

Ok, so that visual isn’t, perhaps, the most enticing when sipping a syrupy, sweet and malty wee heavy scotch ale from New England Brewing Company. Sorry about that, but hey, I didn’t name the thing. (The label features a stereotypical Scottish guy in a tartan in a rain hat. He would be Willy and we can assume he’s wet.)

If interested, here’s the wiki list of these types of “pranks.” I only show you this to prove once and for all that the Japanese are a different sort (see “kancho”).

Scotch Ales are strong ales, also known as “Wee Heavy.” Scotch Ales traditionally go through a long boil in the kettle for a caramelization of the wort. This produces a deep copper colored brew. Compared to Scottish Ales, they’ll be sweeter and fuller-bodied, and of course higher in alcohol, with a much more pronounced malty caramel and roasted malt flavor.


Inpsired by the mist shrouded shores of Loch Adam, we offer this hand-crafted Scotch ale to you, our friends.

gif-of-the-night-delonte-west-gives-gordon-haywar-1-23673-1334669549-19_bigAlthough that blurb appears on the bottle, someone needs to give Rob and Matt and everyone else at NEBCO (except those volunteer canners, who are saints) an atomic wet willy for not having updated their website in 9 years. It’s apparently they don’t care, which I guess is kind of cool in an uncool sort of way.

Since NEBCO brews a bunch of their stuff once or twice a year, and randomly takes years off here and there, and doesn’t date their batches, it’s always sort of dicey reviewing this stuff. I have no idea when my Wet Willy was brewed.

If you read reviews, it seems that some years are better than others. That’s what we get with craft beers anyway – slightly different tastes to different years. It’s not just the aging either, it’s a tiny recipe tweak here, an over-measure of malt there…

I liked the Wet Willy but I didn’t love it like I do with most NEBCO beers. I used to really love Scotch Ales, but as I age, I find their sweetness and alcohol burn less and less appealing. I remember loving McEwan’s syrupy sweet version – and I don’t think I could finish a bottle of it these days.

The Wet Willy isn’t nearly as sweet or as syrupy as McEwan’s, thank goodness. But there was something a little disappointing about my bottle. (Keep in mind, “disappointing” NEBCO beers are still better than most other beers.) It was “wee heavy” enough, even at 10%. It wasn’t “Scotch Ale” enough, despite my just complaining about other Scotch ales.

(I have had some wondrous Scotch ales over the years.)

The malts were there, as was the sweetness. But it was thin and weak-bodied and that’s just not what I was expecting.


Overall Rating: B
Rating vs. Similar style: C

Beer Advocate’s Reviews of Wet Willy
New England Brewing Company
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