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Old Heathen Imperial Stout - Weyerbacher Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Old Heathen Imperial StoutOld Heathen Imperial Stout

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

1,588 Ratings

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Ratings: 1,588
Reviews: 819
rAvg: 3.92
pDev: 11.48%
Wants: 67
Gots: 166 | 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: 1,588 | Reviews: 819
Photo of kbutler1
3.43/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottle. Poured into a large tulip glass. Pours a dark brown/black color with a nice 2 finger head that quickly settles to form a slight coaster of light tan head. Medium mouthfeel. Dark chocolate, slight coffee, and milk chocolate aroma. A fairly sweet start with some hints of dark fruit along with dark chocolate, roast malt, and a tiny bit of leather. Some lingering bitterness. Overall, not a bad imperial stout but nothing extraordinary as well.

Photo of prdstmnky
3.8/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a pint glass, Old Heathen has a very dark brown body (nearly black). It yielded a 1/2 inch of mocha colored head without much retention or lacing. There is a nice chocolate nose to this, with some coffee and sweeter malts coming through as well. The taste is just like the aromas, just not as defined, somewhat subdued. This stout as a lighter body than i expected, with adequate carbonation. I didn't get much alcohol in this at all, and was a really easy drinker for the style and ABV (I cant really read the dating on the bottle, so maybe it is slightly older and had a few months to cool down)

Photo of WAN2RIDE
3.69/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

12oz. pour into red wine glass. Bottle date 08/13/10.

Appearence is just what I think of when I'm thinking of a good hearty stout thick, somewhat viscous, with a dark tan head. Head was rather thin and dissipated quickly, but with a thicker lower hopped beer this is expected.

Sweet malts and a touch of alcohol on the nose. surprisingly little roast for my expectations.

Taste is quite good and much lighter than I would have expected for an imperial stout. I am not greatly familiar with the style and I have been hesitant to try a few after having Brooklyn BCS and Yakima Twilight as my introduction. This is definitely a much more enjoyable beer for my palette at this point. Taste is of roasted malt, but not bitterly roasted. Light coffee flavoring, but no bitterness. Tastes vaguely like a lightly sweetened iced black coffee. Very enjoyable, but lighter in all aspects than what I had expected. I've had heavier lower abv stouts before.

Mouthfeel was nice. Somewhat syrupy, but in a light way that becomes lighter due to the carbination.

I could definitely have more of these in a sitting than would be recommendable for the alcohol content, without much warming it really sneaks up on ya.

Overall quite enjoyable, but a little less robust than I was expecting for the style. I did like it quite a bit and I'm sure I'll have it again so a revisit to this review may be forthcoming.

Photo of SeasonalBrew
3.95/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Pours a deep midnight black with a rather creamy looking tan head. Retention is decent, too. A thin cap remains throughout the life of the beer.

S: Dark roasted malts with undertones of coffee, caramel and bittersweet chocolate.

T: The roasted malts and coffee lead the way, followed by some sweet caramel malts. The finish is a balance of bittersweet chocolates and dark fruits. It's good, but it falls short somewhere.. something isn't there to blend it all together.

M: A medium and slightly creamy mouthfeel. When I think RIS, I expect something a bit more full-bodied. Something more viscous.

D: Very drinkable, but it suffers from a poor mouthfeel. Overall, not too bad.

Photo of Spider889
4.07/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This is likely one of my favorite Weyerbacher beers thus far.

A very traditional American Stout imo. Very dark, black in color with a small mocha head and average lacing/retention.

Smelled rich and roasty with mild coffee and caramel undertones.

Very malty, roasted grains and a mild toast/char flavor that I love in big stouts. Slightly sweet, nice notes of chocolate and coffee and sweet dark fruit co-mingle here.. There's some decent bitterness on the finish to round things out a bit.

A little hot for only 8%, but in a RIS I wouldn't have it any other way.

Not my favorite RIS but a solid selection and a beer I'd be happy drinking any day.

Photo of codewarrior
3.73/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz into a snifter

This was also part of a mystery stout box from 7ways, and again, many, many thanks.

Disclaimer: This tasting immediately followed a tasting of Founders Breakfast Stout, which is both far, far larger than this beer, and far, far better than this beer. I should probably bump the score up by 20%, but I have some more en route, and will update my rating with the next batch.

L: Black with red around the edges, tan frothy head with good retention.

S: Crisp bitterness, like an export stout, only deeper with muddy, earthy tones in the back.

T: Hits sweet like a quad up front, fading into a traditional caramely stout bitterness. Slight vein of fruitiness throughout. Finish lingers wonderfully. Far more complex than it smells.

F: Thick, but not thick enough.

D: Tasty, and delicious.

To me, this feels, drinks and smells like an export stout. It tastes more akin to a Russian Imperial Stout, but in all other ways it doesn't rank. Were I measuring this as an export stout, I think it would be nearly perfect, as a Russian Imperial Stout ... it's merely good.

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

Notes rom 10/26/2010:

12 oz. bottle at 50* into a snifter.

A: This pours absolute black and thick as crude oil with a half-finger of dark khaki head that is gone quickly. It features zero lace.

S: It smells of sweet dark fruits, bittersweet chocolate, and medium roast coffee.

T: It tastes like bitter chocolate, espresso, plum, licorice, and sweet caramel.

M: It has a rather thin and creamy body for the style.

D: This is a decent-tasting beer but it lacks all the intangibles.

Photo of morimech
4.21/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark black in color with one finger of tan head that quickly settled to a thin cap. Just a little spotty lacing is left on the glass. Rich aroma of chocolate, coffee, dark fruit and a hint of alcohol. The aroma is every bit as good as any other RIS I have sampled. The flavor is not quite as good and that is due to the amount of alcohol that overwhelms the flavor in the finish. Starts off malty with chocolate and a mild roasted note. I get some cherries and plums as well. More bitter than sweet. Has enough of a body for a RIS but stops short of being viscous and creamy. Well done carbonation. Absolutely enjoyable RIS from Weyerbacher. I will have to keep a lookout for this beer in the future.

Photo of Ruination2007
4.3/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had this 1 month old.

A- Coffee colored head, creamy with tight bubbles with several large ones scattered throughout. Head falls to a tight 1 cm thick amount leaving lacing on the glass all the way down. Pitch black, zero sun comes through.
N- Roasty dark malts, chocolate malt and alcohol. After warming a bit, fruity esters become develop. Light grain notes that remind me of caramel 60 malt.
T- Roast barley and coffee malt up front. Familiar chocolate malt and hop backing working together. Noticed brown sugar while swallowing. Toasty biscuit and minor caramel background.
M- Carbonation almost zero. Expected stout feel, viscous.
D- Great stout. It hides its 8% alcohol well but still has the warming feel. Definitely worth a space in the cellar.

Photo of BedetheVenerable
3.05/5  rDev -22.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Presentation: 12oz brown pop top; simple but cool label, no date. This is my first Weyerbacher beer, picked it up in Omaha.

Appearance: Pitch black brew with a nice light tan collar that fades to a thick, chunky ring and a decent film.

Smell: Not overly vibrant, but pleasant. Melted dark chocolate, a touch of nutty character, some light alcohol, and maybe just a ghost of roastiness.

Taste: Flavor isn't bad per se, but it's surprisingly muted. A touch of darker milk chocolate, a wisp of roasted malt, and a touch of boozey alcohol. Would make a middle-of-the-road stout...Imperial Stout? Meh.

Mouthfeel: A bit on the light side.

Drinkability: Medium

Conclusion: No idea how old this might be w/out a date; I've had it myself for about 7 months. Still, this style is generally fine to hold onto, so I don't really know what's going on here. Nothing tastes bad here, but this is definitely one of the lightest-tasting Imperial Stouts I've had to date.

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

Pours a pitch black color with a tan head and good lacing. Smells of licorice, smoke, chocolate, toffee, and coffee. Tastes of chocolate malts, licorice, toffee, and caramel with hints of roasted coffee. Mouthfeel is very smooth with a little carbonation. Drinkability is very good. Overall a very nice beer.

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 dudemuskie
3.8/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Picked up a 12oz bottle at The Andersons, Toledo, Oh!

Appearance- Black, with deep brown highlights on the edges. Practically opaque. Quickly rising, fizzy tan head reminiscent of a coke. No lacing.

Aroma- Big roastiness, raisins, spent medium roast coffee grounds, and light estery fruitiness. Slight brown malt character that intensifies as it warms. Beneath malt is a delicate herbal hop aroma.

Flavor- Creamy start with a slightly roasty big brown malt character riding a tingly CO2 blanket. Once the malt pushes through the bite of CO2, a pleasant roasty, chocolate, pruney complexity shines in the middle. Finishes slightly sticky and warm with a chewy, lingering aftertaste. Touch of astringency.

Mouthfeel- Sticky but has a thinner feel than anticipated for an imperial stout. Thinner body than expected as well. Slight warming sensation from alcoholic strength. High, slightly harsh CO2. Chewy finish/aftertaste.

Overall- Not bad. A lighter bodied take on a typically overwhelming style. Booziness slightly evident with warming sensation, but strangely drinkable due to its lighter body. Almost feels like a brown malt porter. Tasty nonetheless and definitely worth a try!

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

Poured from 12oz bottle. Many thanks go out to Lukafer for the bottle!

A- Poured a black color which held red hues on sides of the glass when held to the light. One and a half finger beige head has medium retention. Spotty lacing with some light streaky lacing as well on the glass.

S- Nice roasted malt in the front...big coffee upfront! Chocoalte malts come into play next with a light smokey presence. The middle shows a darker fruit that makes up the overall backbone in the aroma. Light roasted malts come back for a quick second in the ending.

T- Roasted malts in the front with a hint of milk chocolate. Middle has the darker fruits come into play with some more light roasted malts. There is a light alcohol presence in the ending that blends well with a light chocolate overtone.

M- Medium mouthfeel. Carbonation is good for the beer and style. Roasted malts and light chocoalte left on the palate. Roasted malts, light darker fruits, and alcohol in the aftertaste. Alcohol has some medium drying on the palate. Flavors are well put together and clean tasting overall.

D- This was a great tasting beer that I really enjoyed. The ABV is a little much and comes out at times. I would like to see how this one ages and will be looking for another bottle to do just that. Old Heathen is devilishly good for the style!

Photo of Seanibus
3.72/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Very smooth and coffelike. Pours deep black with a short lived head. Aroma is roasted and slightly bitter, like a semisweet chocolate. The flavor is like a deeply roasted coffee, woody and slight flat, with a broad bitterness. Tannic and deep. The mouthfeel is creamy.

Photo of DrDemento456
4.41/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Found a individual for 3.50 (minus the dollar take out price) at D's in Monroeville. Love me some imperial Stouts!

A - Pours nice and viscous. Love that motor oil pour and thickness! Looks like a black waters of death. a nice layer of white foam rests on the top then slowly dies to a ring of lace.

S - Sort of chocolaty with a mild coffee and boozy rum smell, that mixes very well with a malty sweetness.

T - Sort of came off to me as the smoothness of Samuel Smiths imperial but with a slight more ABV booze. Not overbearing boozy in anyway but mostly roasted coffee with slight chocolate. Simple and does the job well.

M - Heavy and thick yet drinkable and enjoyable.

D - Founders will always be my number one cheap imperial stout but I guess every evil genius needs a number two (pun intended) If I couldn't find any Founders you would find this in my fridge. PA props yall!

Photo of captainjferjado
3.73/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Vigorously poured which results in a thick and tight burnt caramel colored head which begins thick and dissipates slowly. Otherwise an opaque black.

A burnt caramel sweetness in the noise. A bit unexpected.

An acrid bitterness with rich dark chocolate. Nails the bitterness with just a little too much smokiness. Ends sweetly. Mildly carbonated, it's nice to begin with the chocolate and smoky bitterness and end with sweetness. Smooth.

Not a session beer, but good.

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

Thanks to hellomisterp for this generous bottle. Poured from the bottle into a half-ounce pilsner glass.

A - black and opaque with two fingers of caramel-colored head, the edges of the beer turning a deep crimson when held to the light.

S - espresso and chocolate dominate; smoke and roasted malt are also prevalent, with an underlying dark-fruit sweetness.

T - again, espresso and chocolate are dominant, with the complimentary sweetness of raisins, figs, plums, and other dark fruits. Finishes a tad dry, with hints of cream and milk.

M - thin and relatively light-bodied; creamy and smooth.

D - though the subdued flavors and the scrawny body are atypical for the style, its elegeance, nuance, and complexity, coupled with its barely-perceptable abv, make this beer extremely drinkable and a real treat -- certainly preferable to some of its aggressive and overbearing contemporaries.

Photo of jera1350
3.38/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours into a tulip a thinner black with a moderately thick dark tan head. A little lacing around the glass.

Not a huge nose, but it consists of some rich roasted malt with a hint of smoke, some molasses and chocolate.

Decent complexity and matches up quite well with the nose. Their is a rather large presence of alcohol going on though. Even for an 8% beer, it's quite noticeable. Toasty aftertaste.

Quite thin and flat feeling for the style. I don't even know if I would call this full bodied.

Have to say that this is a bit of a disappointment for a RIS. Not terrible by any means, just really average in several areas. I wouldn't have this again.

Photo of biglite351
4.04/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A - black as tar with a brown head that leaves don lacing.

S - some malts and dark chocolate. Maybe some raisin.

T - very deep. Malts, dark chocolate, fruit, goodness in a glass.

M - a lot of coating but just a slight tingle on sides of tongue.

D - I will get this very often.

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

Poured into a pint glass.

A- Pours out of the bottle very dark, almost black with light brown hue throughout. Very dense carbonated, tan and beige head forms at the top. Almost no light gets through this beer.

S- Intense malt aroma. Expresso and coffee tie in together nicely. Small hints of chocolate, I actually get a fruity hint as I pull my nose away as well.

T- The flavor pendulum swings through your mouth with this stout. You get the malty flavor right away. Then after a swallow or gulp, you get the transition in the mouth to expresso. Hint of cream and milk with sugar. At the very end I taste a burnt, smoky charcoal flavor that tantalizes my taste buds.

M- Nicy creamy mouthfeel in the beginning, slightly drying towards the back end. My biggest complaint with this beer though is that it seems to be way too light bodied for a stout. It almost feels like I'm drinking a light beer that stole a stouts looks and flavor.

D- I love this beer, when I first tried it at Weyerbacher on a saturday afternoon I knew I could drink several of these. Made a variety case comprised of four different beers, I picked more of this than any other in the case. The 8% is nearly undetectable. Though it doesnt feel like a stout should to me at least, it sure goes down easy.

Notes: Definitely one of the more complex tasting stouts I've tried.

Photo of BeerAndBourbon
3.65/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A. Pours a dark black with ruby brown where the light shines through around the edges. Pours with a two finger creamy tan small bubble head that dissipates over a few minutes leaving bits of residual lacing.

S. Dark coffee or espresso with a bit of fruity ester, maybe banana. Cocoa comes out as it warms.

T. Strong dark coffee (not acidic enough to be espresso) with a balancing bitterness on the tail end. As it warms it opens up more with some brown sugar and raisin coming out in the middle.

M. On the thin side of medium - not nearly as thick as I want a brew this dark and flavorful to be. A fairly high level of small bubble carbonation, which isn't offensive, but is a bit too much for me.

D. It hides the 8% well. While it's not super complex right now, I've had some aged bottles that have really blown me away; I'll let the other six pack age for a bit.

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

Pours an extremely dark brown/black with a fingers worth of tan head that quickly dissipates. Smells a touch smoky with a lot of coffee and some roasted malts. I taste slight coffee, not nearly as much as the nose, some brown sugar with a nice hop finish. Kinda surprised at how strong the finish is, really didn't expect it. It's not over powering but it compliments the sweetness in the middle. Body is kind of light but I don't mind, this is a really good beer. I can't wait until I go to Ohio again so I can get a sixer of this, good stuff!

Photo of ChadQuest
3.54/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Body is black but i can see some browning around the edges, nothing really sticking to the edges of the glass when swirled. looks thin-ish for the style.
Aroma: toffee and molasses, something rather estery and bright which was interesting, and coca cola.
Taste has a even more noticable coca-cola character in it, but mostly on the finish. There is some roast, like a light buttery coffee,and some cane sweetness.
i'm not a fan of the mouthfeel,for me it's too thin for the RIS name. there is carbination in here though.

Photo of jmerloni
3.71/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pretty damn black. Jet black, really. How an imperial stout should really look. Creamy looking and a tan frothy head.

S - Toffee, dark fruits, not very much malt detectable.

T - Toffee, chocolate, plum, raisin, grapes, brown sugar.

M - Thick and creamy. Nice. A bit too much carbonation maybe?

D - Pretty drinkable. A bit of a taste bud blaster. Might get it again if it weren't the case that Weyerbacher brews about 10 other imperial stouts.

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Old Heathen Imperial Stout from Weyerbacher Brewing Co.
88 out of 100 based on 1,588 ratings.