Old Heathen Imperial Stout - Weyerbacher Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Old Heathen Imperial StoutOld Heathen Imperial Stout

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
88
very good

818 Reviews
THE BROS
96
world-class

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Reviews: 818
Hads: 1,615
rAvg: 3.9
pDev: 7.95%
Wants: 70
Gots: 178 | 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: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 818 | Hads: 1,615
Photo of B-Finnegan
1.21/5  rDev -69%
look: 4.5 | smell: 1 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

I am 90% sure my bottle despite being in date had spoiled, I contacted Weyerbacher about it but received no reply.

Look: Looked good, a rich dark colour nothing off, it looked like a solid stout.

Smell: It had a smell of over ripe bananas and air fix model glue, should have tipped it then.

Taste: Like drinking cleaning fluid it tasted like glue and detox.

Feel: I felt sad that I'd let it pass my lips, like someone had mixed bleach and motor oil.

Overall: Terrible one of the worst beers I've ever had, I would give it a second chance encase it really was just a bad bottle but I'm not going to be doing that any time soon. (634 characters)

Photo of PA-hunter
1.74/5  rDev -55.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 2.25 | taste: 1 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 1.5

Poured 12oz bottle into glass. 8% abv

Appearance- Black and opaque, Large brown head.

Smell- Cocoa, molasses, honey, caramel.

Taste- Has a vinegar sourness that overrules the other notes. The taste was a bit overwhelming to decipher much else.

Mouthfeel- Heavy

Overall- I'm not an expert on the RIS style but I do not think this is how it should be. It tasted like vinegar. This bottle came from a case from a friend who also said it was terrible. No freshness date. This beer may of been bad from the brewery or outdated but my review will still reflect what I tasted. Poor vinegar. (588 characters)

Photo of Mitchster
2.14/5  rDev -45.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 1

Pours completely opaque, not a suggestion of accents when held to bright light. Forms a modest dark tan head with poor retention and minimal lacing. Carbonation is moderate. Aroma is intense with deeply roasted grains, bittersweet chocolate, bitter cocoa powder, vanilla, french roast coffee, and walnuts. As it warms, acetone and sparse fusels become noticeable. Mouthfeel is smooth, with a sterile finish and medium body (surprisingly light for the style). The taste is an muted echo of the aroma, however a few undesirable elements make themselves known. There is a metallic note throughout, lasting into the finish, as well as a pronounced cardboard twang which I sometimes appreciate in amateur homebrew. Odd metallic oxidized tartness. Blech. The finish is roasted, but not malty nor thick. The hops are restrained in their bitterness and flavor.

Not a good imperial stout, and not even a good beer. Thin, lacking in body, poor mouthfeel, and unsettling off-flavors which make it difficult to drink. Down the drain she goes. Pass on this one, it's a stinker. (1,067 characters)

Photo of CommanderOfAwesome
2.36/5  rDev -39.5%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

12 oz bottle poured into a large snifter. Bottled on date: 9.11.12

A: Pours like you'd expect an imperial stout to pour, black. Very little head, no head retention. Overall pretty flat.

S: Not getting much aroma other than coffee. Maybe a weird pine/earthy smell but that's reaching a bit.

T: Smooth/flat. Comparing it to other RIS it comes across extremely thin. I wonder if I got a bad bottle. Syrupy sweet taste.

M: Thin, watery, no carbonation or body to speak of. Very poor for an RIS.

O: I'd like to try this one again, but this is a weak effort. This might be an example of a bad bottle, or a bad beer from a usually stellar brewery. I'll revisit my review if I try another one. (693 characters)

Photo of HimerMan
2.43/5  rDev -37.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

12 oz bottle - Great company that produced a very underwhelming beer. This beer pours black with a slight brownish tint to it, and has a pretty big head for an imperial stout. Aroma is a lot of coffee and light alcohol. Alcohol is present in drinking, not overbearing at all - however, there is a taste of peanut shells that could not be washed away from my palate. Overall, the beer is brewed fine, smells and pours great - but doesn't taste as good as its matured state - Heresy. Possibly a great candidate to age in the cellar though. The one thing I can not get passed is the taste of peanut shells - very strange. (618 characters)

Photo of emmasdad
2.51/5  rDev -35.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

Pours midnight black, with a nice topper of light brown foam. I was really looking forward to this one after trying the Heresy. This one was a huge letdown. A nice nose, with roasted malt, molasses and dark chocolate was inviting, but from the first sip I was not impressed. The roasted malt was there, as well as an almost cloying sweetness. Alcohol was not evident. Maybe I got a bad bottle, but I was not impressed. (418 characters)

Photo of lacqueredmouse
2.53/5  rDev -35.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Bottle purchased from Slowbeer.

Pours a slightly clear brown colour—certainly clear at the edges at least, with a rather insipid ring of mild brown bubbles. Body obviously has a bit of weight behind it, but it seems very fluid and it doesn't hold carbonation very well. Overall, it looks a bit lacklustre for an Imperial Stout.

Nose is sweet and malty, but with the grainy genericness of malt extract. Slight dusty coffee overtones, but very muted. Really, it smells a lot like malt extract and not much else: it's sweet and heavy, but without depth, complexity or the true roastiness I expect from an RIS.

Taste is probably even worse. Here there's a big but empty and very, very unwholesome sweetness that tastes like water with some liquid malt extract thrown in. There are faint hints of roast, but they come across more as husky grain, with a slight lactic efterklang. Oh god. I'm exceptionally unimpressed.

Feel is slick and relatively thick, but that just adds credence to the flavours. The flavours do not deserve credence.

Wow, what the hell? This is a very unimpressive Imperial Stout. In some senses (say, the lack of complexity) it feels thin and weak, in others (say, the cloying sweetness), it feels excessive and overpowering. This is a very unfortunate brew in my book—bridging the gap between cloying and bland-as-fuck. That was a gap that should never have been bridged. (1,397 characters)

Photo of mullenite
2.57/5  rDev -34.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Glassware - Allagash Tulip

Appearance - Black color with a finger and a half tan head that sunk down quickly and doesn't really leave any lacing. Not very impressive to look at really.

Nose - Lots of chocolate and roasted malt in the nose along with some alcohol. Some roasted malt but mostly alcohol and chocolate.

Taste - Somewhat of an off-flavor on the first sip, and the second... kind of tastes of acetone. The finish is nice with a lot of roasted malt flavor but acetone up front kind of ruins it.

Mouthfeel - Astringent and kind of thin.

Overall - I can't imagine that this beer gains so much from being put in to a bourbon barrel and will have to revisit it down the road but it doesn't have any kind of depth or complexity. I'm sadly disappointed. (762 characters)

Photo of BWH3
2.62/5  rDev -32.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Old Heathen Russian Imperial Stout Weyerbacher Brewery
12 oz bottle in Pint Glass at 50 degrees F

Appearance: Perfect for an imperial stout. Thick chocolate brown-black that pours more viscous than an Irish stout. The head is huge and hangs around like a cappuccino. (4.5)

Smell: The ashy scent of black patent or carafe. A mineral/metallic aroma as well. Hops are subdued. (2.5)

Taste: The chocolate, coffee, and liqueur are simply absent. The flavor is most roasted barely which isn’t the world’s most pleasurable flavor on its own. The bitterness is also a bit off because it comes on immediately rather than helping to cleanse the palate. (2.0)

Mouthfeel: The viscosity of this beer is not up to par with other imperial stouts popular on this site. Don’t get me wrong the body is big compared to most stouts, but it just doesn’t cling to the glass or my palate like the best Imps. (3.5)

Drinkability: Check. I’ve had it once and don’t need to again. Seriously, the Old Heathen is nothing compared to Dark Lord or one of the Stouts from Bell's (3.0) (1,063 characters)

Photo of linnymtu
2.63/5  rDev -32.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Wanted to post a full review because I'm not sure my beer was fresh. I had it out of the bottle, and not sure how long it since it was bottled.

A - Normal stout appearance, dark black with a tan head. I love the look of all stouts, but as far as stouts go, this one was nothing above average.

S - Good smell, about average for a stout. Chocolate, coffee dominate

T - This is obviously where it falls apart for me. Some kind of acidic dominating taste filled my mouth about a half second after drinking and lasted all the way through. Possibly could have been a bad beer? Bottled badly? I'm no expert, but I'm pretty sure it isn't supposed to taste like it did.

M - Also dominated by the acidic overtone, not pleasant.

O - I will have to try it again assuming I got a bad one (779 characters)

Photo of Darkmagus82
2.65/5  rDev -32.1%
look: 3.25 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.75

Poured from bottle into a snifter

Appearance – The beer pours an almost pitch black color with a one finger of brown colored head. The head fades relatively quickly leaving a tiny bit of lace on the sides of the glass.

Smell – The aroma of the beer is quite heavy of a roasted malt and coffee smell mixed with a rather strong aroma of a grainier and spent grain like smell. Mixed with these smells are some sweeter aromas of a caramel and chocolate with a little bit of a char and a hay like smell. The mix of spent grain (husky and musty) and hay really put a bad spin on the aroma, overall producing a rather unpleasant aroma.

Taste – The taste begins with a roasted malt taste with some darker chocolate flavors right from the start. Some sweetness is present upfront with a little bit of vanilla and caramel right from the start. The roasted flavors increase after the initial taste, with the sweeter flavors losing some ground and a good deal of a woody and coffee flavor coming to the tongue. Some flavors of a grainy nature as well as a little bit of an earthy and char taste come to the tongue more toward the end of the taste. With the mainly roasted body and light sweetness, one is left with a somewhat drier and grainy stout flavor to linger on the tongue.

Mouthfeel – The body of the beer is on the slightly thicker and creamier side with a carbonation level that is on the average side. The slightly thicker body was decent for the darker flavors of the brew, although it did not do well for the more grainy flavors. Like the body, the carbonation being on the lower side, was good for the darker flavors, but not so good for the grainy tastes. Overall, just OK.

Overall – The flavors never really meld well in this one; with too much bitter graininess which does not compliment the roasted flavors all that well. Not an imperial I would frequent too often. (1,887 characters)

Photo of KeefD
2.71/5  rDev -30.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

Darkest brown, almost opaque, one finger creamed coffee head, light lacing. Aroma is of fruity esters, alcohol, light chocolate and a little bit of roastiness. Strong alcohol smell comes out as it warms. Too much sweet fruit in the nose for my liking. I like more roasty malts in my stouts. Flavor is more of the grapey fruitiness. Has an almost red wine-like quality. Some roastiness is present but it's buried deep. Also some light chocolate flavors, but not much going on here. Alcohol is very present and not well hidden for 8%. I don't know if this is an older bottle, but at this ABV it should have held up well. Not very impressed by this beer. (651 characters)

Photo of number1bum
2.71/5  rDev -30.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Pours a dark brown color with a fizzy two fingers of tan head. Head settles to a thin lace, leaving a bit of stick but retention overall isn't all that impressive.

Smell is, in a word, odd. It has a cola sort of aroma to it, with a syrupy sweetness and a grainy roasted aroma. I can get a bit of chocolate with much effort, and also an odd fruitiness; not really sure what it is, banana maybe? Weird, and not really what I'm looking for out of an imperial stout.

Taste has more roasted malt character than the smell which holds it together a little better, but it's still pretty strange. I definitely think it's banana I'm smelling/tasting now, which I can't say I expected in an imperial stout. I can't say I really like it either. There are other fruity esters, as well. It's a bit on the grainy side and like the smell it has a cola sort of sweetness. Really lacks robustness and depth of flavor, and the malt profile is just bland and boring.

For an imperial stout, even one on the low end at 8%, this is quite thin. It's less than medium bodied and just feels thin in the mouth. There is almost a complete lack of aftertaste which speaks to how thin it is, as well. Can I have more malt please?

This is another Weyerbacher beer that I find extremely underwhelming. This is just a very strange imperial stout. Has an overall cola sort of quality to it, and the banana qualities are also odd. It's also very thin and needs much more in the way of body. Just lacks robustness overall, and frankly isn't all that good. I'm not a fan, and I won't be coming back for more. (1,575 characters)

Photo of bum732
2.74/5  rDev -29.7%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

S: Fruity with some herbalness, smells like an American porter, touch chalky, some cappucino.

L: Pitch black, light tan head, creamy, dissipates slightly, good lacing.

T: Dark fruity sweet with a light roasty component. Dark caramel and medium bitterness with some coffee candy sweetness in the finish. Touch of ash.

M: Medium mouthfeel, medium carbonation.

I hate imperial stouts like this, not much roast or chocolate. Despite this, i can recognize a good beer designed like this, this beer is not one of them. (516 characters)

Photo of cbutova
2.75/5  rDev -29.5%
look: 2.75 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.75

Not sure I'm a big fan of the new label scheme but this one is better than most of the others. Very surprised I haven't gotten around to this one yet but always nice to review a new stout. Date of 12-13-12.

A- A fairly aggressive pour into a small snifter reveals a beer with a pitch black body and a dark, mocha colored foamy cap. The head forms to only about a finger in size with a fizzy, bubbly texture. Retention of the head is decent and a silky ring leaves sparse, spotty lace.

S- A lot of dark fruity notes in the nose to me. Not incredibly strong overall or as roasty as many RIS examples. Some roast grain, cocoa and caramel hints but lacks that depth I look for in this style.

T- Dark fruit forward here for me as well. Raisin and slight cherry feel overall with a very acidic and burnt presence from the roast malts. Cocoa and roast grain come to mind of course but these flavors are not as rich or deep as a lot of the modern styles. Licorice, anise, smoke, molasses and oxidation come to mind here and there. Something thin feeling about it.

MF- The body does not feel as rich and thick as the best examples of RIS. It is not watery and actually has a nice silky consistency with moderate, smooth carbonation. Acidic burnt bitterness in the finish. Nothing from the alcohol.

Not my favorite RIS by any means. The acidic feel and the heavy dried dark fruit presence doesn't result in the smoothest experience by any means. Just feels a bit thin and one dimensional I guess. (1,491 characters)

Photo of cvm4
2.76/5  rDev -29.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

A - Pours black but seems to have a thin body already. The head is one finger and tan. Not much lacing.

S - I'm not getting much more than roasted malts.

T - Mainly roasted malts with coffee and expresso in the background.

M - Thin body (watery) and low carbonation.

O - A poor example of what even a basic RIS should be. (328 characters)

Photo of adamette
2.77/5  rDev -29%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Live review. Poured from the 12 oz. brown bottle that I bought for $2.16 from Save-On Tobacco & Beverage in Mentor this past Wednesday into my gold rimmed Brewery Ommegang Westvleteren style goblet. No observed "best by" date.

A Actually dark brown head over a completely black body. I have always liked the look of these imposing, ultimately really cool Imperial Stouts. 4.5

S Dark roast malt of course but also a dark fruit smell of dates that I did not find as appealing. As far as beers in this style, the ones that I enjoy are the classic dark roasted malt darkness, not with the inclusion of this dark fruit smell. 2.5

T Sure enough, and disapointingly, the dark fruits (mainly dates) smell carried right over into the taste and the desired classic dark roast malt was not enough to make up for this undesirable taste in the beer. In fact, the dark fruit taste lingered well into the aftertaste. Come to think of it, it is similar to an anise or black licorice taste, something that I have never liked. I used to separate out all of the black jelly beans and give them to my brother Paul. Maybe he would like this beer. 2.5

M Rather basic for the style really. There is certainly a heaviness, a weight about this beer and the aftertaste lingers but it is really a standard feel. 3.0

D Just fine for the style which does not lend itself well to drinkability but the drinkability is driven down by that anise taste that is not to my liking. 3.0

Notes: Weyerbacher is one of my personal favorite breweries (I gave their Merry Monks a 4.9!) but this is not a good example of beers from this great brewery, unless you like that anise taste like my brother Paul. (1,668 characters)

Photo of pezoids
2.81/5  rDev -27.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

This is pretty thin for and Imperial Stout. Poured out a midnight black with a thin tan head. Bitter roasted grains and alcohol in the aroma. Again, the body is thin and bitter with roasted grains and some chocolate. Strong alcohol is in the forefront. There’s some roasted coffee, caramel and cocoa in there. Not bad but lacking for an Imperial Stout. Maybe this is an Imperial Stout Light. (392 characters)

Photo of Jeffo
2.88/5  rDev -26.2%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Got this at De Molen in Bodegraven.

From a bottle into a snifter.

APPEARANCE: Black pour makes a small, medium looking head with relatively lousy retention. Head quickly fades to a splotchy wisp and ring. Jet black body, thicker looking, and no carbonation evident. A slight ring remains until the end but leaves no lacing down the glass. An impressively thick body and lackluster head balances out the score here.

SMELL: Milder nose of roasted malt and musty leather. A note of oats in there, though I don't think this is an oatmeal stout. A light note of cocoa in there, but overall, this is just too mute to be anything worth writing home about.

TASTE: Some roasted notes and sweet caramel malt. Some leather, grapes, and red wine as well. Quite mute up front, but the sweet caramel and wine flavors come alive a little after the swallow. Bold and lingering aftertaste showcases some bitter chocolate as balance, but it is still dominated by sweet caramel and red wine. Very sweet for an imperial stout.

PALATE: Medium body and medium-high levels of carbonation. Creamy enough on the palate, but not overly smooth. Goes down fine and finishes slightly mouth-coating. Fine here.

OVERALL: Nothing wrong or offensive about this beer, but nothing worth writing home about either. If you like your imperial stouts on the sweeter side, then this might just do it for you. Though I enjoy a little more bitterness, the main criticism is that the nose is too mute and the initial flavor is lacking. After the swallow it comes to life a little, but needs more upfront. One worth checking out if you see, but I won't need to go back. (1,635 characters)

Photo of tayner
2.89/5  rDev -25.9%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

poured black with very little head, just a small ring around the edge, perhaps i poured TOO carefully.

Smelled of burnt malt and some strange dark fruit i cannot put my finger on.. someone else said olives.. perhaps... it sort of turned me off before i even tasted it.

It tasted better than it smelled, thank goodness. Pretty smooth, not much complexity. Roasted/burnt malt flavor, slight hop finish, not alot of alcohol burn...

Felt a little thin for an imperial stout, not oily and mouth coating as i was expecting it to be.

Pretty easy to drink, but this did not wow me. If it was local to me I would perhaps drink a few during the winter, but not one i will seek out again. (684 characters)

Photo of bruachan
2.89/5  rDev -25.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

i don't even remember where i picked this up. 8%? does that qualify as a RIS?

the head couldn't have fizzled more quickly. it faded faster than crystal clear pepsi. so...i'm left with a pint glass full of ink

warm smelling, and roasty. oaky vanilla, too. nice but a little weak

it's got a sharpness to it, despite the low % (not an ethanol sharpness, just something up front that goes POP). it's very winey up front, and actually does not boast much of a RIS character in the flavor...soy sauce, mildly roasted finish. it's thin and fizzy, too (552 characters)

Photo of treehugger02010
2.89/5  rDev -25.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 2.5

I don't know if my palet isn't "expanded" enough, but I really didn't like this beer. It felt really good in my mouth, and the smell was rather aromatic. I don't know what was in this beer, but I think I'm going to try it a couple more times and then make a better judgement. If anyone knows what would be a good "beginning" beer for me to try if I was going to find out more about Old Heathen. Don't drink and review. (418 characters)

Photo of WaltTrombone
2.9/5  rDev -25.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

This poured totally black, coal mine at midnight black, with a dark tan head that faded fast. Aroma was dark chocolate and espresso. The taste also had the dark chocolate and espresso, along with prue, cardboard, leather, grapefruit, lemon peel, and warming alcohol.

The mouthfeel was not what I would expect from an Imperial Stout, it was thin, a little oily, not thick and creamy. It had a really fizzy carbonation that I disliked a lot.

The finish was grapefruit and espresso. All the flavors tended towards bitter and tart, no sweetness, and, for all the different flavors, didn't seem very complex. I recently had a Stone Imperial Stout, and if I had had the Old Heathen after that, it definitely would have scored lower. No comparison... (749 characters)

Photo of wiseguy142
2.91/5  rDev -25.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Just got done with an exam- felt like something strong and dark. Pours black but brown around the edges with a creamy, thick, foamy tan head.

Aroma isn't particularly striking. A confused mix of slightly harsh hops and some roasted malt, alcohol, and light coffee and must. The aromas don't blend together in any pleasurably subtle way and there's no one aroma that would otherwise compensate for that.

Taste follows up on the aroma. Very stale tasting, both the malt and the coffee flavors, with a sickly hop flavor. Almost like they didn't use quality ingredients or something, which I find hard to believe since most of Weyerbacher's beers are quite good.

Very soft and cushiony mouthfeel with low carbonation. This beer needs some rehabilitating to make it anything special. (784 characters)

Photo of Naes
2.91/5  rDev -25.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

This one pours out black with a two finger dark tan head.
The aroma is roasty and not much else.
The flavor is also roasty with a lot of dark fruit tones. There is also a slight roasted coffee flavor with a bit of hops near the finish. Unfortunately, this stout also has the leathery flavor that many imperial stouts have that does not agree with me.
Mouth feel is full flavored with a moderate amount of carbonation. (420 characters)

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Old Heathen Imperial Stout from Weyerbacher Brewing Co.
88 out of 100 based on 818 ratings.