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Old Heathen Imperial Stout - Weyerbacher Brewing Co.

Old Heathen Imperial StoutOld Heathen Imperial Stout

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
88
very good

1,350 Ratings
THE BROS
97
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1350
Reviews: 798
rAvg: 3.93
pDev: 11.45%


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:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 08-19-2001)
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Ratings: 1,350 | Reviews: 798 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of Sammy
Sammy

Ontario (Canada)

3.63/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Rather sourish stout, cushioned by malts to make it more drinkable through a smoother finish. Was OK with food, have had better in this style. Completely dark appearance. Not as roasty fragrant as many other stouts. Burnt roasts, mellow coffee, licorice.

Serving type: bottle

01-30-2005 06:32:27 | More by Sammy
Photo of BuckeyeNation
BuckeyeNation

Iowa

4.1/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Black as pitch with ruby and amber accents at the margins. The explosive golden beige cap very nearly got away from me. It started out as a rich, reverse cascader and is now a soft, puffy, rocky glass filler that I'll need to go through to get to the beer beneath. Lace isn't abundant because the cap isn't sticky enough.

The nose is incredibly black malty and is redolent of equal parts melted dark chocolate and heavily roasted coffee beans. I also pick up a whiff of hoppiness, but it's secondary to the dark malt monsters. This is a tremendous RIS nose that makes up for a slight lack of depth with sheer power.

The flavor profile is also a little short on depth and lacks that seamlessness that I look for in beer of this style. It's still good, but my standards for very good haven't quite been reached. On the palate, it's considerably more espresso-like than it is chocolate-like... and blackstrap molasses and tobacco have now entered the fray. There's also a mild char, but it isn't overdone and works well with rest of the flavors.

Thankfully, the citrusy hoppiness hasn't been drowned by the flood of coffee, chocolate and molasses. It's tiring, though, and is looking for a life preserver. Old Heathen is more bitter than sweet, which is as it should be. Big beer ought to have a big mouthfeel. This one is more than satisfactory, but big it ain't. It's smooth and silky without quite making it to chewy or viscous.

Old Heathen is a good take on the style from the good folks at Weyerbacher. Although it can't compete with the best of this style, it's definitely enjoyable beer. A bottle of the oak-aged version (Heresy) is lurking in my cellar right now and will be finding its way to my pint glass very soon. Thanks once again to blitheringidiot.

Serving type: bottle

07-29-2005 13:40:27 | More by BuckeyeNation
Photo of mikesgroove
mikesgroove

South Carolina

4.15/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

dark as night inky black pour with a nice little tan head of about two inches that fades down into a nice layer of about an inch or so that hangs around for the remainder of the session.

nice aroma, rich cooca and coffee dominate with a nice touch of bitter and roasted malts that take over the profile very nicely. smooth, effortless flavor then wraps itself over the palate. light hints of vanilla mix in with the dark chocolate and rich roasted malts. small touch of alcohol but this fades quickly as it warms and leaves you with a nice touch of sweet vanilla and brown sugar that really compliments the cocoa and lightly hopped finish quite nicely

Serving type: on-tap

05-11-2011 02:17:27 | More by mikesgroove
Photo of brentk56
brentk56

North Carolina

3.86/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a tar black body with a tan head; nice lacing

Smell: Chocolate and coffee tones

Taste: Starts out with a chocolate base that, mid-palate is joined by caramel, coffee and a bit of hops; closes with a slightly harsh, grainy character

Mouthfeel: Medium body with moderate carbonation; a little thin for the style

Overall: Haven't had this one since my original review in 2006 (thanks then to BeerBeing, one of the great BAs from the old days) but this is a much better beer than I remember so I am going to consider this one a re-review

Serving type: bottle

03-11-2014 22:58:13 | More by brentk56
Photo of Phyl21ca
Phyl21ca

Quebec (Canada)

3.73/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle: Poured a thick black color stout with a small dark head with good retention. Aroma consisted of roasted malt and light coffee. Taste is dominated by the roasted malt and isn’t too bitter which I appreciated. Coffee and chocolate are bit too subtle for my liking but were still identifiable. Body is full and texture is real creamy and alcohol is not discernable. Good stuff and way better IMHO then the barrel-aged version.

Serving type: bottle

06-27-2005 15:26:42 | More by Phyl21ca
Photo of BEERchitect
BEERchitect

Kentucky

3.98/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Considered to be one of the godfathers of Imperial Stout, Weyerbacher's Old Heathen remains true to its rich English roots but weaves in an American twist here and there.

The massive stout starts with a rich and creamy pour- its slow separation of beer and foam eludes to its viscous creaminess. Once settled, its onyx-like deep "bark" brown hues are just shy from black but shows a depth of ominous clarity. Its tall column of foam is lightly mocha-stained and long lasting like mousse. Light speckled lace may be hindered because of its bold alcohol beneath.

Bold roasty alcohols portray a confident scent that borrows a slew of earthen character- cocoa, molasses, roasted walnuts, french-press coffee and burnt pine needles all contribute to a rich and roasty scent. There's a burnt dark fruit character that rises as the beer warms and tingles the nose ever so slightly.

Equally as bold are its verbose and roasty flavors- again, its the blend of espresso, bitter chocolate, roasted nuts and overall burnt taste that guide the taste over the tongue en route to finish. All the while, its underlying black-strap molasses sweetness slowly releases until the ale is malty-dry and mildly ashy tasting from that burnt pine-type resiny bitterness. A tinge of roasted currant and aniseed pronounces slightly as the ale warms and gives an extra tart taste to accompany its roasty dry finish.

The ale makes a lot of headway as it travels across the taste buds- creamy and viscous early, the ale fades consistently into a powdery-dry finish with mild roast-derived astringency and spicy bitterness. Certainly warm to close, the ale follows with a slim aftertaste of ash and burnt cinders.

Starting off very rich and creamy, Old Heathen shows its American influences with its somewhat naked dry finish that exposes rougher edges of its roast, along with a certain citrus pith and pine-like bitterness as the ale closes.

Serving type: bottle

12-17-2013 18:47:58 | More by BEERchitect
Photo of metter98
metter98

New York

4/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: The beer is jet black in color. It poured with a thin mocha-colored head that died down rather quickly and left a thin ring of bubbles on the surface around the edge of the glass.
S: There are moderately strong aromas of licorice and roasted malts in the nose. Some notes of chocolate also become noticeable as the beer warms up.
T: The taste has flavors of roasted malts along with hints of bittersweet chocolate. The licorice isn’t apparent in the taste.
M: It feels full-bodied and slightly viscous on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: This beer tastes strong, but the alcohol is well masked from the taste. It is a good beer to sip.

Serving type: bottle

02-07-2012 00:36:10 | More by metter98
Photo of ChainGangGuy
ChainGangGuy

Georgia

4.22/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Note: as of writing this, the bottle was purchased nearly one year ago.

Appearance: Pours a black body with a small brown head.

Smell: Aroma of dark chocolate with notes of vanilla and caramel and only a faint, faint bit of fruitiness and pine lurking beneath the maltiness.

Taste: A tasty, sweet mixture of high-percentage cocoa dark cocolate and crème de menthe, like a liquefied Andes mint. The finish is sweet and roasty, with a nice anise flavor lingering into the aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied. Soft carbonation. Smooth mouthfeel.

Drinkability: A delightful stout fresh and even moreso a year later.

Serving type: bottle

08-06-2007 01:15:23 | More by ChainGangGuy
Photo of oberon
oberon

North Carolina

3.9/5  rDev -0.8%
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.

Serving type: bottle

11-13-2003 23:30:07 | More by oberon
Photo of TMoney2591
TMoney2591

Illinois

4.1/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served in a Walter Payton shaker pint glass.

Thanks to YaKnowBrady for this bottle!

One of the few pleasant memories I have left from my year in NoVa is of drinking some o' these bad boys. I hope it's still as good to me... It pours a decidedly dark and bleak black-brown (almost black) topped by a short finger of sienna foam. The nose comprises roasted malts, cocoa powder, light molasses, and a light kiss of char. Yup, it certainly smells dark. The taste brings in more of the same, with the roast coming off as darker, the molasses darker still, and some coffee coming in to make things as dark as we can. I've had darker, but not many. It's almost too dark... The body is a hefty medium, with a light moderate carbonation and a chewy feel. Overall, a damn fine impy stout, one of the best that's available year-round.

Serving type: bottle

12-13-2011 04:53:21 | More by TMoney2591
Photo of NeroFiddled
NeroFiddled

Pennsylvania

4.38/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The body is an opaque black and reveals only a thin glint of mahogany at the base of the glass. The thin lid of creamy dark tan foam drops quickly to a razor thin surface covering and it leaves little more than spotty lace. The nose offers toasted chocolate; a berry-like yeasty fruitiness; and some alcohol. The body is medium-full, and it's silky smooth in the mouth with a low-level, very fine and natural carbonation from bottle conditioning that gently caresses the tongue. The flavor delivers a dark malt with a bittersweet chocolate character and a soft, roasted edge backed by a bold bitterness and some drying alcohol in the finish. Some floral and grassy hops rest under the surface don't don't really show themselves unless you seek them out.

Serving type: bottle

12-01-2003 03:50:29 | More by NeroFiddled
Photo of feloniousmonk
feloniousmonk

Minnesota

4.2/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Horribly, terribly, thoroughly deep black, with a tall, fluffy, richly roasted tannish mess of foam up on top.
Aroma: stands up on top, proud and tall, big licorice, dark rum, molasses, but a tad cola-ish, creamy, rife with espresso tinges, chocolate dribbles, bitter-yet-sweet, with little fruit appearances, as well.
Taste: highly carbonated from the start, a huge effervescence from the start, largely cola-ish, again, with a significant fruity aspect, ably matched with tastes of cocoa. Big ol' liquory chocolatey milkshake, here, folks.
Full-bodied, nice, medium finish, huge, thick maltiness...all-around, a very nice stout to battle off this horrid mid-December Mid-western weather.
Thank you, Old Heathen, and thanks to you, ManekiNeko!

Serving type: bottle

12-18-2003 08:42:19 | More by feloniousmonk
Photo of TheManiacalOne
TheManiacalOne

Rhode Island

4.65/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Poured from a 12oz. bottle into an imperial pint glass.

A: The beer pours a deep dark blackish brown, with a short brown head that fades quickly and doesn’t leave much lacing.

S: The aroma is of dark chocolate, roasted coffee, caramelized malt, a little bit of hops and a hint of dark fruits.

T: Heavy chocolate and espresso flavor dominates, there is some hops character there that comes through and a touch of fruity sweetness. I found it to be very well-balanced.

M: Very smooth and it’s more crisp than other Russian Imperial Stouts that I’ve had. It has a medium-to-full body and medium carbonation and leaves a little bit of stickiness in the finish.

D: This beer is extremely easy to drink. There’s not hint of the 8.00% ABV and it’s not as filling as other RIS’s. It was one of those beers that I had a hard time keeping in the glass long enough to review. Overall, I think this is an excellent beer. I usually like a bigger kick with this style of beer, but I think any more strength would throw off the balance, so I consider it addition by subtraction.

Serving type: bottle

06-08-2006 03:49:13 | More by TheManiacalOne
Photo of russpowell
russpowell

Oklahoma

3.85/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Had this bottle back in late July, based on notes:

Poured mahogany with 2 fingers of mocha head. Good head retention & lacing

S: Some roasted malt

T: Chocolate & chewy malt up front. A little iron as this warms. Finishes dry with more chocolate

MF: Medium bodied with low carbonation

Drank easy for the abv, a decent not great IMP Stout

Serving type: bottle

09-10-2007 14:53:50 | More by russpowell
Photo of WesWes
WesWes

New York

4.1/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer pours a deep black color with a thick brown head. The aroma is great. It has an intense black malt scent that is accompanied by chocolate and roasted malts; very nice. The taste is good. It has a rich dark malt feel that goes down easy and finishes dry and slightly bitter. It seems that this and the raspberry imperial stout are really bitter on the finish; maybe too much black malts. The mouthfeel is fine. It is a full bodied beer with good carbonation. This beer drinks well. I like the Weyerbacher lineup very much especially their "big beer" spread. This is a fine imperial stout.

Serving type: bottle

04-09-2004 01:49:57 | More by WesWes
Photo of Mora2000
Mora2000

Texas

4/5  rDev +1.8%
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.

Serving type: bottle

10-18-2010 19:34:26 | More by Mora2000
Photo of zeff80
zeff80

Missouri

4.1/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Poured out an opaque, jet black color with a thick, firm, long-lasting head of tan foam. It left some nice rings of lace.

S - It smelled very roasty with subtle coffee (expresso) notes. There were chocolate smelled and some mild floral notes.

T - Great dark chocolate and roasted caramel malt flavors. It had a bitter hop bite to match to sweet chocolate and caramel taste.

M - It was smooth and crisp with a somewhat dry finish. A medium bodied ale with just a touch of alcohol warmth.

D - This is a very good RIS that is fairly easy drinking with an ABV that isn't over-the-top like many other imperial stouts.

Serving type: bottle

07-16-2009 00:49:58 | More by zeff80
Photo of Gueuzedude
Gueuzedude

Arizona

3.7/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

2005 release, Sampled October 2007
Pours with a one finger thick, light brown colored head that sits atop an opaque, black colored brew. The aroma is quite concentrated with notes of roasted, dried figs, cherries, a touch of sherry, light chocolate notes, smooth espresso roast coffee beans, and a touch of alcohol, which adds some fruit-brandy like notes here that is quite distinct. An aged character has thinned out the malt a bit here, but seems to have smoothed things out quite a bit as well.

This has somewhat of a light body, at least for an Imperial Stout, but it does have some heft to it which provides some palate coating character and body to this brew. The taste has a touch of caramelized, slightly roasted sweetness to it and it is actually fairly fruity tasting as well (raisins, figs, perhaps a hint of cherry, and even some notes of prunes; all of which have been roasted / burnt to one degree or other). Chalky chocolate malt notes and roasted grain flavors (reminiscent of smooth espresso) linger in the finish as does a very slight, hop bitterness. A burnt plum character becomes more prominent as the beer warms up a bit. This is quite smooth tasting & feeling, though it could be a touch too thin.

This has clearly aged in the two years since bottling, perhaps a bit more than expected, but it is still a tasty brew and would even age gracefully for at least another couple of years.

Serving type: bottle

10-06-2007 03:32:53 | More by Gueuzedude
Photo of Knapp85
Knapp85

Pennsylvania

3.58/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This beer is ultra black when pouring it into a glass the look of oil always comes to mind. The few bubbles it had rise to the top and fade shortly after. The lacing wasn't too bad, kind of scattered about. The aroma was pretty strong with deep roasted malts and chocolate. The taste wasn't too bad either resembling similar characteristics of the aromas with the addition of some tasty hops in the finish. The Mouthfeel is thick without a doubt. The only other thought I have is that I would pass this one up if Heresy was right next to it.

Serving type: bottle

04-22-2011 03:43:55 | More by Knapp85
Photo of jwc215
jwc215

Wisconsin

3.85/5  rDev -2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours pitch black with a tall, creamy tan head that slowly descends to a thick, lasting cover. Plenty of lacing sticks to the glass, more in the second half (as the drink progresses.)

The smell is of milk chocolate, roasted espresso and dark fruits.

Like the aroma, though the chocolate and dark fruits stand out over the coffee. There is a balancing bitterness to it. Some acidity is there, but not too much. There is an unfortunate cardboard taste that brings it down some. Alcohol peeks through, especially in the finish, though it is not too harsh.

It is medium to full bodied, rich, creamy, rather velvety. There is just a touch of alcohol sharpness that lingers.

A nice RIS.

Serving type: bottle

04-08-2007 17:02:55 | More by jwc215
Photo of RblWthACoz
RblWthACoz

Pennsylvania

4.53/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours pitch black, tan head. Looks like trouble. Nose is deep coffee. Strong malts. Just a thick and deep fragrance. Hmmm. If only it tastes as good as it has built up to...

Flavor is thick with malts. Strong and firm, it does not waver. Hearty, tar like, so deep, it goes beyond coffee or chocolate and just enters a realm of robust that you don't want to mess with. Coffee hits you in the end after the thick malts have finally calmed down. Feel is thick on liquid with a lower carbonation that you'd expect. Definitely drinkable. Very smooth and very well made. This is one to try. Go get it.

Serving type: bottle

12-31-2007 17:34:30 | More by RblWthACoz
Photo of WVbeergeek
WVbeergeek

Ohio

4.05/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance is completely opaque with a very thin tan moccha head. One monster of darkness this beer looks great and very appetizing. Aroma is slighlty smokey with layers of plum, raisins, and mild hints of deep toasted malts, very nice imperial going on here. Creamy smooth milky goodness, what an amazing beer the flavor brings those hints of plum and other fruits and they coexist very nicely with the mild toasted malt profile. Everything is done right here in the flavor category. Fuller bodied creamy texture, awesome fullness to it. Is actually a great easy drinking beer for the style that masks the high abv quite nicely.

Serving type: bottle

05-09-2003 12:50:10 | More by WVbeergeek
Photo of Gavage
Gavage

New Jersey

3.78/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a black color with a light brown thin head. The head receded to the rim of the glass rather quickly. The aroma is of roasted malts, coffee, and alcohol. The flavor followed the sniff test, with tons of roasted malts and coffee, but chocolate and licorice flavors were also strong. Very full bodied imperial stout, and the alcohol is quite noticeable. The carbonation is very mild, making this a bit syrupy on the tongue. There is a slight dryness in the aftertaste. This is one to sip on a cold evening if you want to feel some warmth.

Serving type: bottle

11-09-2003 01:15:17 | More by Gavage
Photo of smcolw
smcolw

Massachusetts

3.6/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pour black without light being able to penetrate the glass. Nice beige head, although it has a short life. Good lace

Classic stout aromas--black patent malt, slight alcohol, low hop.

High alcohol warmth. Dark malt flavors upfront. Not overly complex. Relatively thin body but I think this comes from the higher alcohol content. Reasonable body and carbonation.

This is a potent brew, although it seems more alcoholic than the abv would suggest. That leads me to believe that this beer is underflavored. It's good but, IMHO, not as good as some of the other reviews suggest.

Serving type: bottle

08-12-2007 22:54:47 | More by smcolw
Photo of barleywinefiend
barleywinefiend

Washington

4.33/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured black with a mocha brown slightly red-tinged fine frothy Ovaltine head. Nose is cocoa powder, Hershey bars, soy, burnt espresso bean and caramel. Burnt flavors flash on first sip, touch of sweet cocoa, coffee, stewed fruits or hint of raisins. Burnt edges return, it gets all dusty and dry, finishes with a mild but enduring toasty bitterness. The alcohol is only noticable over time; a warming tingle suffuses your mouth after a bit. Then it suffuses your head. The mouthfeel is good, plenty of fuzzy carbonation in a medium to full body. It ain't thick or oily though. Smooth and smoother, but not docile. Mighty fine.

Serving type: bottle

02-18-2008 02:08:37 | More by barleywinefiend
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Old Heathen Imperial Stout from Weyerbacher Brewing Co.
88 out of 100 based on 1,350 ratings.