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Old Heathen Imperial Stout | Weyerbacher Brewing Co.

very good
829 Reviews
For Trade:
Old Heathen Imperial StoutOld Heathen Imperial Stout

Brewed by:
Weyerbacher Brewing Co.
Pennsylvania, United States | website

Style: Russian Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.00%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
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.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 08-19-2001

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

User Reviews
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Reviews: 829 | Ratings: 1,644
Photo of madelfonatree
4.28/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Look - Nice black body and medium tan head with aggressive pour. Thick bubbled head. No lacing.

Smell - Coffee. Chocolate. Malt. Caramel. Belgian?

Taste - Malt. Chocolate. Caramel. Coffee. Dirty. Alcohol is prominent at the end.

Feel - Creamy and heavy. Carbonation throughout but not a bomb.

Overall - A good imperial stout with little over the top features. Can't really complain with that.

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Photo of Acks
4.24/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Look: Thick, dark and brown, almost black. Creamy with some foam, but little to no head when poured.

Smell: I could spell the aromas as soon as I poured it. Rich and sweet smelling scents of malt and caramel, with hints of coffee and chocolate as well.

Taste: Roasted flavors of caramel and coffee with some traces of fruit. Leaves a nutty aftertaste that resonates on the tongue.

Feel: Thick and creamy, lightly carbonated.

Overall: This is a great stout. The light hints of fruit and coffee balance the flavoring of the roasted caramel nicely.

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Photo of Mikus
3.69/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Solid stout. Thin ring of cocoa head on top of a deep pool of darkness. Aromas of roasted malt, molasses, and a whiff of tobacco. Complex and balanced brew. Weyerbacher didn't start out great for me, but I am enjoying their rich, dark beers.

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Photo of B-Finnegan
1.21/5  rDev -69.1%
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.

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Photo of seedyone
4.44/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Rattle n Hum, NYC. Usual midnight black in appearence, light head but rich coffee/espresso aroma. Full bodied with a truly robust flavor. I'm becoming a big Weyerbacher fan & this only adds fuel to the flame.

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Photo of TheSixthRing
3.84/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Bottling date of 10/27/14

Appearance - Pours thick and black with a cocoa powder colored head that sits a half finger's width before quickly dissipating and leaving a spotty, broken layer of surface suds and a razor thin ring around the edge.

Smell - Has almost an English stout aroma, with lots of earthen character along with mild caramel and dark fruit notes.

Taste - Follows the nose, with earth and caramel character at the forefront and a fair amount of even keeled roastiness throughout while distant notes of raisin give it a subtle fruitiness. Milk chocolate notes and a nutty flavor hit in the finish.

Mouthfeel - Full in body with low to moderate carbonation. Silky texture that turns a bone dry finish.

Overall - It's a good beer, but for me there's not quite enough depth in the darker qualities that make for my kind of imperial stout. All in the same, glad I got to try it.

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Photo of PA-hunter
1.74/5  rDev -55.5%
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.

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Photo of Michael_R_Gurdineer
3.8/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Most Weyerbacher is barrel stored if not aged it seems. It provides a heavy liquor after taste which some may find appealing. I feel that stout goes in one glass and whiskey in the other!

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Photo of utopiajane
3.94/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

beautiful pour. Thick black, pours like oil. Has a sheen to it. Burnt brown. Thick creamy head of mousse like foam. Falls slowly, hugs the glass and leaves lace. Crisp toasty bread. Sugar sweetens the malt scent. Nose is sweet chocolate, caramel, toasty nuts. Soft bread. Drinks with a touch of molasses for an underpinning, sweet malty and deep. Little bit of warmth as it finishes form the alcohol. That molasses is the last thing on the palate with a bit of stickiness.

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Photo of delta490
4.1/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a nice deep black, with no light getting through. The head is dark tan and burns off quickly, leaving only a bit around the rim with no lacing. The aroma comes into its own as it warms, with nice coffee and sweet alcohol notes. The taste is big on dark roasted malt, with some deeper burnt sugars. The body has a little oily quality and just a hint of bite from the alcohol.

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Photo of ordybill
3.25/5  rDev -16.9%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Poured from a 12 OZ bottle into a pint glass.
Aroma- Has a strong malt aroma with a chocolate backdrop.
Appearance- A black colored beer with a tan head
Taste- Has a strong malt flavor that I found mildly satisfying.
Palate- This is a full bodied beer with moderate carbonation.
Overall- Not a favorite of mine, but not a horrible beer

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Photo of mdfb79
4.07/5  rDev +4.1%

From 10/01/14 notes. 12 oz bottle left over from Winter 2013, poured into a snifter.

Pours a dark brown, almost black color, with less than an inch of dark tan head and low to moderate carbonation evident. Roasted malts, sweet chocolate , dark fruits, dark chocolate, and toasted malts. Taste has some vanilla and cream, and more dark than sweet milk chocolate. Full body and low carbonation, super smooth. Great mouthfeel

Overall a very good stout. Wish the taste had more sweet than bitter chocolate but otherwise very good. Bet it would be great barrel aged. Would like to have it again.

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Photo of MDHopster
4/5  rDev +2.3%

Good RIS deep black with brown head of varying color. Excellent aroma of coffee and malt. Smooth with a hint of bitterness. Lingering aftertaste is both sweet and acidic like coffee.

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Photo of Bone53
3.9/5  rDev -0.3%

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.

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Photo of 4thpalehorsemanale
3.25/5  rDev -16.9%

Light as an imperial stout on flavors and after it warms up even the aroma falls off along with the little flavor that was there. Carbonated head and dissipates quickly. Light bodied, honestly light all around, not something I would go back to. Sorry weyerbacher I do like your beers but pass on this one for me.

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Photo of EvoRich
4.65/5  rDev +18.9%

Look: Poured into a snifer. Pitch black, pours with a big bubbly head which fades to just a ring around the edge of the glass.

Smell: Deep roasty notes, with some chocolate, sweet, dark fruits.

Taste: Dark and roasty, dark chocolate flavors, with just the smallest touch of a coffee finish.

Feel: fulled bodied, medium carbonation.

Overall: I don't have much to say about this beer, but it is infact excellent.

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Photo of cjgiant
3.8/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Have this a year after "best by" date, bottled in 2012. Does this RIS age well??

A: black, but poured a little thin to me, meaning a gave it a straight pour at the end to generate some head. That head did come, not in large quantities, but some larger bubbles, not foamy or creamy as if like, but they did sustain in a decent fashion.

S: dark chocolate, little coffe, light smokiness come out with a little warmth. I also get aight banana scent in the background

T/M: the mouthfeel, being a little weak is what first gets me. The tastes are a bit more bitter than the smell, also, with an almost hint-of-lemon bitterness underlying the coffe/smokey taste I get from the beer. The end taste is coffee bitter in nature.

O: expected more from the taste given the smell, but it was fine overall. I think with a better body, I'd put this I a list of must have again, but as is, I won't avoid or seek it.

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Photo of spinrsx
3.9/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

12oz Bottle from Party Source Syracuse NY for $4

Appearance - Dark brown colour with an above average size frothy light brown head. I can't make out the amount of carbonation showing and there is some great lacing. The head lasted for over 5 minutes before it was gone.

Smell - Malts, chocolate, coffee

Taste & Mouth - There is an average amount of carbonation and I can taste malts, chocolate, and light coffee. There is also a faint burnt/charred flavour, some dark fruits, and a nuttiness.

Overall - Tasty and very easy to drink. Kind of a hybrid between a regular and a imperial stout. Enough flavour to keep it interesting and a little something for everyone taste wise.

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Photo of mikeg67
4.19/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

12 oz bottle. Pours black with tall, long lasting, creamy, beige head and nice lacing. Aroma is of roasted malt, toast, cinnamon – apple pie, dark fruit, chocolate and alcohol. Body is full, creamy and smooth. Taste is of roasted malt, chocolate, brown sugar, plums, black current, chocolate, charcoal and herbal hops. Finish is long and dry. Complex, delicious RIS.

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Photo of MattyG85
4.37/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a Surly Darkness chalice.

Appearance: Pours pitch black with a moderate amount of bubbles. Slight finger of tan head that quickly fades into a couple small patches. Leaves some decent lacing.

Smell: A rich, roasty, and sweet dark malt forward aroma with big hints of chocolate and coffee roast. Dark roasted barley malts with big upfront hints of sweet chocolate, cocoa, and coffee beans along with hints of toast, biscuit, caramel, toffee, syrup, vanilla, milk, yeast, and slight smoke. Sweet hints of molasses. Slight anise spice. Dark fruit hints of cherry, raisin, fig, and prune. Light hints of earthy hops. A very solid stout aroma.

Taste: Like the taste, a nicely sweet and roasty dark malt driven taste with big notes of chocolate and coffee. Dark roasted barley malts with a upfront taste of sweet cocoa and dark chocolate, coffee beans, toasted bread, biscuit, caramel, toffee, milk, and yeast. Sweet taste of vanilla, syrup, and molasses. Subtle notes of anise licorice spice. Solid dark fruit undertones with notes of cherry, plum, prune, and fig. Hops are pretty light. A really good imperial stout taste.

Mouthfeel: Medium to full bodied with a fairly high level of carbonation. Very creamy and silky. Somewhat syrupy. A little alcohol heat is noticeable but its not overly hot.

Overall: A very good imperial stout. A little sweeter tasting and lighter feeling than typical for the style but it still delivers the big roasty taste very well with some nice dark fruit notes.

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Photo of BlackBeerd
3.58/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

From bottle, poured into nonic glass. It's an Imperial Stout in color, no doubt about it, pitch opaque black. The head is perhaps a bit darker than most in its, though not much so. However, the head doesn't stick around as long as similar beers like Old Rasputin, and there's almost no lacing.

The aroma is par for course when it comes to imperial stouts, nothing particularly stands out, but it's in no way bad either.

Following the precedent of the smell, the taste is good but not too complex- the taste hits you without taking too long. The taste is bold and flavorful as you'd expect an Imperial to be, so there's not much to complain about.

Mouthfeel follows the general theme thus far, leaving a nice warm taste in your mouth that lingers.

Overall it seems like a good beer for those who want to try out Imperial Stouts, by definition an Imperial is a good a lot bolder than a normal stout, and Old Heathen is a good baseline. Still, it lacks the complexity and attention to detail you'd expect from a true world-class offering.

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Photo of dbl_delta
3.73/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Bottle dated 12/18/14 -08/18/15 (the bottling and "best by" dates, I'd surmise) into a pint glass. Jet black, opaque, with a thin tan head. Fairly strong roasted/burnt malt up front, unsweetened chocolate, and finishes with plums or raisins. Thick and chewy. No alcohol burn. Noticeable but not dominant bitterness. OK, but not my favorite imperial stout by a long shot.

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Photo of fscottkey
3.31/5  rDev -15.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

A: All black with no trace of light penetration. Fluffy/uneven 1 finger tan head. The head gives away pretty quickly.

S: faint scents of coffee, booze, oak.

T: Charred wood up front, boozy middle and a dry finish. There are also hints of cocoa nibs and bitter coffee

M: Light carbonation and light feeling on the tongue. Smooth and coating feel.

O: This is a decent beer. I am having trouble box it into one category of taste. It doesn't present with a single strong forward element. So hooray for balance - but it leaves it a bit unspectacular.

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Photo of Roguer
3.88/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

Minor, 1/2 finger head despite a strong pour. Head is dark brown and quickly fades to a thin oily sheen; brew is solid black.

Aroma hits with vanilla, chocolate, coconut, nuts, tons of roasted barley, and a character not unlike a BA stout - cream and booze.

Shockingly sweet, with tons of dark fruit, and a big dark hit of coffee and cacao coming in on the back-end. Roast barley throughout, but more subtle on the front. Coffee moves forward as it warms.

Definitely thin for the style, but with a long, lingering, satisfying finish. No sting, but lively.

This is a solid beer, although a little sweeter than I was expecting for a stout. The strong coffee and chocolate finish is definitely very pleasant. Worth checking out.

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Photo of smakawhat
3.36/5  rDev -14.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from the bottle into a snifter glass. Why has this one Weyerbacher always escaped me till now? Never seemed to have found it till now.

Dark black walnut body, but comes out of the bottle more mahogany brown. Leaves a bit of leg and slick top, but not too filmy looking, with a finger of cocoa coffee brown head. Very bubbled collar and thin puck, but manages to always stick around as head disappears a little quickly.

Real fruity nose. Hints of blueberry, soft roasted malts, a little charring, a faint hint of warmth but not overly boozy. Hints at a large beer. Quite an impressive nose actually for a regular imperial stout.

Funny aftertaste. Very odd. First sip seems quite palate full, bringing some of the hinting fruit, then the finish is very wet and thin with little to distinguish. Slightly acrid finish but with not much sourness luckily. Fruit feeling hints of raspberry, blueberry, and watery juice, almost as if it's a fruit infused stout. Strange taste of peanut butter in here as it warms.

It's ironically not that bad, but it's nothing like I expected, or unfortunately reminding me anything of a regular imperial stout.

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Old Heathen Imperial Stout from Weyerbacher Brewing Co.
88 out of 100 based on 829 ratings.