Old Heathen Imperial Stout - Weyerbacher Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Old Heathen Imperial StoutOld Heathen Imperial Stout

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

1,612 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,612
Reviews: 823
rAvg: 3.92
pDev: 11.48%
Wants: 70
Gots: 174 | FT: 1
Brewed by:
Weyerbacher Brewing Co. visit their website
Pennsylvania, United States

Style | ABV
Russian Imperial Stout |  8.00% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 08-19-2001

Rich, velvety and deliciously complex, Old Heathen (8% ABV) is a truly distinctive stout. We use seven types of malt and two varieties of hops to bring forth this big brew. Quite robust and roasty on the palate, Old Heathen Imperial Stout has a wonderfully fruity nose and a moderately dry finish. The taste is highly complex. Perhaps you’ll even discern notes of espresso or chocolate.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,612 | Reviews: 823
Reviews by FuzzyGuy84:
Photo of FuzzyGuy84
4.4/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into a pint glass.

A - Deep tan head. Dark, thick, creamy near-black appearance.

S - Malty & chocolatey. A minor amount of sweetness comes through as well.

T - Chocolate and big malt flavors. Underlying hoppiness rounds out the flavor. Huge and smooth - outstanding.

M - Creamy and heavy. Very smooth in the mouth and on the way down.

D - Just a tremendous stout. Can't reccomend highly enough. I already want more.

More User Reviews:
Photo of Bone53
3.9/5  rDev -0.5%

Poured from a bottlle into a snifter at around 50°F

Appearance (4.25): Great looking stout; Oil black with a two finger light brown head

Smell (4): Roasted malts, molasses, caramel, leather

Taste (4): Mainly roasted and caramel malts and dark fruits. Wish the roasted malts were more prominent. It does taste good, just a little weak for a RIS with little complexity.

Mouthfeel(3.75): Certainly on the lighter side for the style

Overall (3.9): I was expecting more from this offering. Its just above average for me, considering its a RIS, and nothing that stands out to warrant a revisit. Both the taste and mouthfeel are subdued. It seems more like a regular stout, and i would've probably rated it a little higher if it was rated as such. Maybe a good starter RIS, but for someone like myself who regularly indulges in world class stouts, this misses the mark by quite a bit.

Photo of oberon
3.9/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a pitch black with no head to speak of,aroma is softly sweet and I also got a light peppermint aroma (Iam glad Iam not the only one who got that).Taste is lightly chocolaty with an alcolic sweetness to it kinda hard to explain,the alcohol is very prevelant there is a nice earthiness in the finish as well.A real nice complex Imperial Stout here a nice one to savor.The big beers from Weyerbacher are very good I have to say.

Photo of Marty
3.75/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Bought this as part of Weyerbacher's "Big Beers" sampler case. It wasn't outstanding compared to others in its category. Poured very dark... darker than a black steers tuckus on a moonless prairy night. Sweet, malty, smoky, with a tart aftertaste (not my thing). Hops are very subtle but they're there. This is not a bad beer, but it definitely ain't no Storm King.

Photo of RoyalT
4.15/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance – Solid black in color with a nice, very tight, tanned head that showed some good retention.

Smell – What a lovely bouquet! This is indeed “imperial.” The roasted malts form the backbone here, but they are complimented by a plethora of smells. The deep, dark fruits are among the highlights. The big Rainier cherries are especially appealing, as are the tobacco and dates.

The espresso is prominent as well, nicely encouraged by the raw sugars and alcohol. All in all, this has a very complex nose, and I’m sure I haven’t done it justice.

Taste – The espresso from the nose steps it up a bit here, as this is the prominent flavor that I found. The malts of course make up the base, and all the sugar and fruits from the smell find their way to the tongue. I really liked the fine cocoa powder that introduced itself to me here.

Mouthfeel – Impeccably smooth and very bitter. This medium to full-bodied Imperial Stout was a joy to hold in the cheeks.

Drinkability – My wife and I had some good unexpected work-related news to celebrate tonight, and I couldn’t have wandered into a nicer ale. This one will close the evening, as I can't imagine chasing it with anything else. Guten nacht!

Comments – Curses to Jason for sending this to me. I’ll never be able to get the flavors out of my mind and will trade and spend foolishly trying to get another.

Photo of ExtraStout
4.03/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this on tap in a 12oz. glass. It pours nicely black, with a good head, but it fades quickly. Alcohol hits the nose first quickly followed by lots of coffee. Chocolate, and roasty malts, as you would expect, quite subtle, which i liked, nice balance and slightly too thin mouthfeel, with nice bitterness. This was the last one of the night and it still stood up nicely overall.

Photo of SIRIUS2
3.96/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz. bottle into a standard pint glass.

Pours very dark brown, with a heavy, almost viscous appearance. Decent light brown head of a couple fingers width that dissipates relatively quickly to a heavy ring around the glass. Surprisingly good lacing down the glass.

Aromas are mostly a dark fruit, similar to dates, but mixes with a modest roasty coffee smell. It's a complicated well combined aroma that is singular in nature, rather hard to pick out individual smells. Kinda cool.

On a long pull, the first thing I noticed a rather heavy, full, creamy to slick mouth feel. The flavors are rather full bodies with lots of dark fruit and fig on the front side that slowly yields to a dark bitter chocolate and eventually finishes to a coffee linger. A relatively light carbonation allows for a rather long finish.

This was not the Russian Imperial that I was expecting but it was very tasty! Definitely worth checking out.

Photo of blackearth
4.5/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Purchased from Ray's Liquors in Wauwautosa, WI. Pours an oily pitch black with a khaki tan head. Aroma of bourbon, oak, cream and vanilla. Full bodied and creamy with low to medium carbonation, this beer's flavors followed exactly from the aroma adding a roasted chocolate flavor to the cream, vanilla and bourbon flavors. Very drinkable, not heavy due to that subtle flavors of the bourbon. I need to get some more of this.

Photo of orbitalr0x
3.01/5  rDev -23.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Deep dark onyx pour with a huge tan head that erupts to nearly three fingers with only a semi vigorous pour. Thick and creamy...easily the biggest head I've seen on any imperial stout recently..a bit too big really. No light escapes this one. Bitter chocolate and coffee aromas meld with a mellow roastiness and some burnt grains. Nice..but it doesn't have the punch of most imperials.

First sip is a nice low key mix of chocolate and coffee tones on a roasted, dark malty background. A bit dry on the way down with a hint of herbal hops. Not a bad stout...but this falls short of what I'd consider an imperial stout. Flavors are too subdued and nothing makes it stand out from your normal stout.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied..a bit thin actually with lots of carbonation. The abundant carbonation just doesn't work for me here and detracts from the overall experience. I'm sure I'll give this another shot in the future...but at this point I'd say to avoid this if you're looking for a good imperial stout. There are many better to choose from.

Photo of JasonA
3.67/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a cola with no head. Very dark. No lacing.

Smells roasted ABV. Yummy. Coffee chocolate?

Initial carbonation, roasted malts. Another deep taste I cant place.

Somewhat thin, good carbonation ... maybe a tad too much. Solid finish, pretty full. Some hops.

Very drinkable. Im not sure whats up with no head, maybe I poured it too well? Id like to have some more, though not sure its the big time RIS though.

Photo of BigMarty1980
4.79/5  rDev +22.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

A- Pours out as dark as black coffee. The head is a beautiful rich cream brown.

S- Coffee

T- Taste is of coffee/expresso. Hints of raisin and maybe some figs.

M- Its a great full body.

O- This is by far, at this point, is one of the best Imperial Stoudts I've ever had. Perfect for a cold fall/early winter day. You will not disappointed.

Photo of lordofthewiens
4.05/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A 12oz bottle poured into a pint glass. Black, with a decent coffee-colored head. Mainly a coffee aroma, espresso-like. The taste was a little more on the dark chocolate side, with the coffee lurking in the background. I thought this was a little timid, compared to other imperial stouts. Nevertheless, a very good beer, and eminently drinkable.

Photo of warnerry
4.08/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours a thick, opaque black with a finger of brown head that dissipates rather quickly, leaving a trail of lacing behind.

S - Deep roasted malts along with some chocolate and earthy notes. Nice.

T - Similar to smell with chocolate and roasted malts dominating, and a slight coffee flavor. Some nice earthiness and balancing hops on the finish.

M - Mouthfeel is actually a little thin for the style, but not terribly so.

D - Very smooth with little apparent alcohol.

Photo of Todd
4.47/5  rDev +14%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Presentation: 12oz brown bottle. Nice plain jane blue label. No freshness date.

Appearance: Absolutely pitch black -- pretty evil looking actually -- with a thin tightly carbonated coffee coloured creamy head.

Smell: Big chocolate, espresso, roasted, raisin, dark fruity esters/alcohol, oxidation and a bit of faint banana in the aroma.

Taste: An extremely smooth, thick and robust stout. Loads of complex flavours: coffee/espresso, astringent roasted malts, raisin, sherri, chocolate, earth, tart plum and candied fruits. A bit of oxidation (wet cardboard) can be detected. Bitterness is there, a bit leafy and raw, but it's more to balance and gets hidden in the dark roasted malt abyss. Finish is rather clean with light lingering roasted flavours and touch of dryness.

Notes: A top-notch Imperial Stout. I liked this one a hell of a lot. Very rich and complex to the point that I found myself getting lost. Oh, and extremely warming at 8.2%abv. Definitely a head numb'er.

Photo of bishopdc0
4.15/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Love the name of this beer and it was the label the drew me to it. The name fits the color, very dark, black with a thick head formation. The head is tan with mostly small bubbles. After a few sips the head begins to dissipate.

The nose is sweet malty to start. It took some deeper nose dives to get a good nose but roasted notes became prominent as the beer heated.

The taste is where this beer shines, which is great, it starts roasted with a slight carbonation, the roasted flavor continues as a malty sweetness comes to the front. The malt taste is of dark chocolate silky smooth. The taste finishes with a dry but not bitterness with a slight amount of alcohol.

The mouth is smooth with a noticeable alcohol numb on the tongue. If you let enough time sit between the numb continues to feel on the throat it is very nice makes the next sip seem that much different.

Photo of Doomcifer
3.17/5  rDev -19.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Pours pitch black with a big caramel brown head that goes away pretty quickly. Smell is huge. Chocolate, coffe, sweet malts, cherries, chocolate covered cherries! Alcohol as well can be picked up by the nose. Taste is less eventful than the aroma though. Big alcohol burn for only an 8.0% abv. Lots of roasty coffee flavors, roasty malts, andlike I said alcohol. I was expecting it to way more robust, judging by the aroma it packed but was letdown a bit. Mouthfeel isn't as heavy as a typical Imperial Stout but is still creamy. One of these is good enough for me. It's not a bad brew. It's just that there are so many others that are a lot better.

Photo of Jason
4.22/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Used engine oil black with a nice frothy tan head and cascading effect. Ripe plum and the tartness of nectarine in the fruity nose, roasted grain develops a bit more in the aroma also. Silky smooth with undertones of espresso that bring a range of roasted flavours, hops are a tag-a-long as well as a dark ripe fruitiness. Alcohol is slightly deceiving, all in all a great Imp Stout.

Photo of merlin48
4.45/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours an inky, opaque, dark brown with a minimal, tan head that quickly falls into a film and patches of lace.
Aroma is subdued for the style, but roasted coffee, dark chocolate, and some smoky nuttiness are very noticeable.
Mouthfeel is smooth and satiny, with medium carbonation and a peppery, hop bite.
Taste is enormous, and belies the subdued nose. A walnut nuttiness opens the door to a delicious roasted Kona coffee flavor, backed with a superior, dark chocolate note. Cherry and some plum fruity flavors emerge midway through. Alcohol is hidden away extremely well. Finish tastes like butternut roasted coffee.
One of the best tasting, American imperial stouts around. This makes up in taste what it lacks in aroma. I'm going to stock up on these next time I see them.

Photo of Billolick
4.2/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle, with no dating. Pours BLACK, very dark tan head. Coffee and cocoa in the nose. Nice thick and heavy mouthfeel. Burnt fruit, chocolate, black malt. Alcohol obvious but nicely in the background. Hint of vanilla and fruit in a nice long and smooth finish. High quality brew. Nice warming sipper

Photo of warriorsoul
4.52/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Another day...another beer from Weyerbacher.
Pours a cloudy dark brown w/ no light passing through this baby.
Almost a half finger of milk chocolate head.
I am reminded of the aroma from a hot chocolate w/ a shot or two of Bailey's Irish cream...unbelievable!
The taste is simply perfect...one heck of a representation for its style. I'm glad to see the hops take a back seat to the malts.
Full bodied coffee flavor w/ just a hint of alcohol...it is a very drinkable brew and is just one more reason to keep my eye on Weyerbacher.

Photo of tigg924
3.05/5  rDev -22.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Appearance: black, small head

Smell:burnt malt, coffee, alcohol

Taste: burnt malt, coffee, alcohol

Mouthfeel: a little creamy, heavy body, bitter and biting--slightly sweet finish

Drinkability: I do not see this as being overly complex for a RIS. It is very one or two dimensional. I think there are better offerings for the style and will not get this again.

Photo of Mora2000
4/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to hophead101 for sending me this beer.

The beer pours pitch black with a cream-colored head. The aroma is a mix of chocolate, roasted malt, licorice and some soy sauce. The flavor is heavy on the chocolate and roasted malt, along with some smoke.

Medium to thick mouthfeel and low to medium carbonation.

Photo of Byeast
4.33/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: complete darkness, solid opaque black, the head cascades to a big 3 inches of cocoa/dark tan foam that threatens to overflow and settles to 1/2 inch of rocky goodness.

Smell: very much like Hersheys cocoa powder, bitter chocolate, esspresso, touch of alcohol, molasses and hint of dairy.

Taste: Big body of roasty malts, lots of dark chocolate flavor, sweeter than expected in a great way with tinges of dairy,just a touch of dark fruit flavor, the chocolate flavor never really crosses into that big bitterness you get from a raw darker chocolate but is still dark, just a medium hit of toasted/burnt sugar bitterness and dark fruity fermented twang to nicely balance the massive deep malt. The just a tiny bit unbalanced sweetness and chocolaty flavors of loads of roasted malt are what i get the most. Finish is not too long, very reminiscent of espresso.

Mouthfeel: quite thick, tongue coating, creamy

Drinkability/Notes: A really great imperial stout. Very complex and definitely unique flavor profile. I think that being 8% abv vs. the 9,10% that many IMPY stouts are nowadays in America makes this RIS very drinkable. Its equally as huge in character and depth, but it would seem that they left a bit more extra sugars unfermented to give it a smooth and maybe sweeter quality.

Photo of jakester
3.88/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is from a sampler case I bought at The Beer Mart in Reading, Pa. I drank it in a pilsner glass at 50 degrees F.

Pours an opaque black with brown around the edges. With a regular pour, I got a two finger head of tight tan foam. Head falls to big islands and a nice ring around the glass, with very good lacing.

Aroma is chocolate covered cherries, vanilla, slightly burnt caramel; fruity, but not overly so, and just a waft of alcohol late. The aroma is lighter than I expected.

Flavor is sweet and rich chocolate, roasted malt, vanilla, with fruits like cherries and currants. There is also a strong hop bitterness that comes out after you swallow, along with a warming feeling from alcohol. Aftertaste is long, bitter, yummy, and warm.

Mouthfeel is smooth and creamy, with fairly soft carbonation. Very full bodied. Finish is slightly solventy from alcohol, but acceptable for the style.

This is a good RIS. I've certainly had better, but this is good. It's big, malty, rich, dark, sweet, smooth, and has plenty of alcohol. Recommended.

Photo of bsp77
4.05/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Serving glass: Poured from bottle into Snifter.

Appearance: Extremely dark brown with thin tan head and light lacing.

Smell: Sweet molasses, roasted barley, alcohol and chocolate.

Taste: Loads of chocolate and cream with some molasses and roasted barley. Turns just slightly bitter at the end.

Feel: Ridiculously smooth and creamy full body. Low carbonation with a dry and warming finish.

Drinkability: Very nice example of an old school English-style Russian Imperial Stout, as opposed to the ramped up versions most American craft brewers make.

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Old Heathen Imperial Stout from Weyerbacher Brewing Co.
88 out of 100 based on 1,612 ratings.