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Old Heathen Imperial Stout - Weyerbacher Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Old Heathen Imperial StoutOld Heathen Imperial Stout

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

1,469 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,469
Reviews: 808
rAvg: 3.92
pDev: 11.73%
Wants: 63
Gots: 120 | FT: 2
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)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,469 | Reviews: 808 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Brenden
4.33/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

The color is black with a thick foamy head the color of coffee. Lacing is light. The smell is complex, with heavy roasted malt contributing coffee chocolate and some note of fruits. The taste is even more complex. I don't know if something's changed or something was odd about my bottle, but to me a black licorice was absolutely the strongest and even was the flavor left on the sides of the tongue in a strong finish. Strong malts including the coffee and bitter dark chocolates in the smell as well as a mix of toasted grains and various fruits. As for the mouthfeel, pay no heed to anyone who claims this could be thicker. I have never imagined anything could be this thick and anyone who says otherwise may have misread the label or been in some sort of haze. This left itself in syrupy sheets in the glass and I could see the thickness on the glass. This is the fullest-bodied brew I've ever had. It's also one of those special brews that has a high ABV you don't get kicked with but you feel in that very pleasant way. Bottom line: B+ my ass.

Brenden, Mar 31, 2009
Photo of Drew966
4/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Old Heathen Imperial Stout pours an opaque black with a thin tan head that doesn't last very long, from a brown twelve ounce bottle. There is a touch of roast in the aroma. The body could be a bit thicker, but is adequate. There is some roasty malt in the flavor, it's also a bit estery, alcohol is also a bit noticeable. Pretty good, definitely worth a try.

Drew966, Mar 30, 2009
Photo of wiseguy142
2.88/5  rDev -26.5%
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.

wiseguy142, Mar 26, 2009
Photo of yesyouam
4.43/5  rDev +13%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Weyerbacher Old Heathen is a bitch black ale with a mocha colored head that leaves very nice lacing. The aroma is mostly of coffee. It is medium-full bodied and smooth with a light, dry finish. It is well balanced and quite simple. The flavor, like the aroma, is mostly of coffee. There is a touch of sweetness at the finish, like licorice. This is a very drinkable Imperial Stout, sort of along the lines of Victory Storm King.

yesyouam, Mar 26, 2009
Photo of endincolorado
4.1/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance- Black with thick creamy tan head and great lacing.

Smell- Rich cocoa and strong roasty malts. Hop aromas came through a bit, with slight tingle of alcohol. Dark fruits.

Taste- sweet. Much sweeter than expected, well-balanced with dark chocolate, malt, fruity, rich almost milky sweetness. Roasty, milder than expected for the style. No apparent alcohol.

Mouthfeel- Thick, creamy body, low carbonation.

Drinkability- Excellent for the style, in my opinion. Rich and not so powerful as to be unenjoyable after a couple.

endincolorado, Mar 25, 2009
Photo of Oxymoron
3.53/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

As compared to a young heathen? Pours a midnight black color with some ruby red highlights around the edge of the glass. A good pour left a tan colored head but did quickly dissipate and hide to the edge of the glass. No lacing really, but some good viscous/legs that clinged on to the glass.

The nose is limited overall, but some nice smells what you could get. A light malty aroma with some light chocolate and toffee notes. Not much on the astringency side. Mostly a malt nose with a light lactic aroma, more of a milky thing. Some yeast aromas and a hint of earthy/mineral notes as well.

The taste comes out more than the nose. A more malt base with a noticeable chocolate and hint of roast. A bit one dimensional, I would like a bit more depth. Noticeable esters with plums and raisins. A bit much for style but ok. Some noticeable minerally/metallic notes that I usually associate with black strap molasses. There is a bit of a stale note, strange considering the freshness of this. Noticeable yeast notes and alcohol/fusel flavors.

The body is moderate. This is where the beer really falls off. Really would like more depth. There isn't much for carbonation but ok for style. Overall a bit disappointed in this one. I would have liked more complexity overall and some minor brewing notes kind of offset.

Oxymoron, Mar 13, 2009
Photo of ahalloin
3.88/5  rDev -1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I had this beer on cask (be jealous) in the "Casks of March" event at Rustico in Northern VA. This old heathen came along after I finished up Allagash Black. If Black was black in color, this was pitch black. No light, at all passed through this fine beer! The head was very impressive for a cask beer. About two fingers width of light tan/khaki colored bubbles billowed out of the lovely Weyerbacher tulip glass that I got to keep.

The smeel was of sweet chocoloate. Almost too sweet, like bubble gum sweet! There were some roasty qualities and a touch of alcohol in the smell, but not much.

The taste was bubble-gum sweetness and chocolate. The finish was roasty and bitter.

The mouthfeel was extremely smooth. The texture was like milk, but it went down like Kool-Aid on a hot day! Beautiful stuff.

ahalloin, Mar 12, 2009
Photo of Pencible
4.18/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Just had this on cask at Rustico's Glassware Giveaway. It looked amazing, nice opaque black with a surprising amount of dark tan head (in a tulip glass). It smelled like dark chocolate and bananas with some bready yeast and a bit of roasted coffee. It tasted similar, with a great but dry bittersweet malt character. The banana and yeast surprised me, although it wasn't as noticeable in the flavor. Fairly thick and very smooth, with no noticeable alcohol either. This was all too easy to drink, and so very enjoyable. None of the flavors were quite as big as I was expecting, but they were nicely melded together.

Pencible, Mar 11, 2009
Photo of SeanRedd
4.1/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A dark lake, pinky-size beige head retreats to a whisp of smoke on the water. A light ring of lacing encircles the black ice. Light scent of cocoa, vanilla and white sugar. Sips like a chocolate seltzer that stays friendly and hides a lil tang. Another chocolate cream soda mocha egg drop; at a sessionable RIS pace. Carbonation is rather crisp and the finish is delicate, with a palatable bitter touch at the end. The heathen is tame and inviting; but a gargoyle, sorcerer, or founder leave this one on second string.

SeanRedd, Mar 08, 2009
Photo of JRed
4.15/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Black potion with light coffee colored head. A dessert-like aroma of chocolate cream. Tastes of smooth chocolate, cream, butterscotch, and slight raisin. Its not as thick as it looks, mouthfeel is quite slick and medium-bodied. The alcohol is hidden very well behind flavor and can sneak up on ya.

JRed, Mar 08, 2009
Photo of rwrk42
4.35/5  rDev +11%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pour: Dark as night with a thin tan head
Smell: Roasted grains, coffee, chocolate, and a faint fruit smell.
Taste: Just like it smells. Full of roasty, coffee and chocolate taste. Very smooth, full flavored Stout. Faint hops and robust roasted malt finish.
An absolutely terrific Stout which I highy recommend.

rwrk42, Mar 07, 2009
Photo of KeefD
2.68/5  rDev -31.6%
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.

KeefD, Mar 01, 2009
Photo of iceball585
3.93/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A- Dark black color, non-transparent, thin brown color head that faded quickly to a thin ring

S- Chocolate, vanilla, roasted malts, coffee beans, raisens

T- Dark fruits, espresso, earthy, roasted malts, slightly bitter

M- Medium body, medium carbonation, tart, semi-dry finish, warming of alcohol

D- Worth trying

This beer has an interesting collection of flavors in one. Not quite my favorite but worth buying again.

iceball585, Feb 26, 2009
Photo of goatgoat
4.08/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

An opaque black with hints of bark brown. Coffee foam struggles to create a thin head but gets pulled back into nothing. No lace.

Thick aroma of dark fruits, roasted malts and alcohol. Undercurrents of piney hops.

Big flavor with decent balance. Malts come more forward as the beer warms. Leaves a lasting bitterness with a bit of an alcohol bite.

Decently heavy body with low carbonation.

I poured it pretty cold. Thankfully it took me about an hour to finish. It's an entirely different beer warmed up. A good brew. One of the few RISs that I could crack a couple of in one night.

goatgoat, Feb 24, 2009
Photo of fitzy84
4.15/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 3 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Silky black appearance, slightly oily looking. Thin lacing on the side with no head. Aromas were utterly fantastic. An incredible array of coffee, cocoa, vanilla, alcohol, malt, dark fruit. The taste has a carbonated, milky/creamy flavor. Lacks the specific range of flavors sensed from smell, but does have a dark chocolate, malt taste. Light and way creamy. Makes it a little heavy and, at least for my bottle, made it quite chilled from refrigeration. Overall, great.

fitzy84, Feb 23, 2009
Photo of Beejay
3.85/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Oil Brown, with a nice Mocha head.. sure looks good.

S: A little more subtle... toffee, espresso, perhaps even fruit?

T: sweet, dark and malty. You can taste the alc a bit.. But overall quite pleasing. Not as bruising as some Imperials can get..

M: Good here, not too slick.. It feels a little heavy

D: A runner up. It is not the first imperial I would tell someone to try, but it certainly is worth getting a pack.

Beejay, Feb 18, 2009
Photo of Thomajt
4.33/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Very smooth for a heavy stout; Nice coffee start with a subtle licorice finish. Good for a cold day.

Appearance - Dark, not too thick, with a nice tan head

Smell - Very malty, with sweetness at end

Taste - Nice and full. Begins as strong chocolate/coffee with a subtle licorice finsih

Mouthfeel - Buttery smooth, with a good after taste and texture

Drinkability - Very nice and easy for a stout, but wouldn't want too many at once. (If I'm driving)

Thomajt, Feb 12, 2009
Photo of DIM
3.95/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

a: This was black, no highlights. It poured with a medium sized, short lived, light tan head.

s: Malty aromas of dark cherries and heavily roasted cococa. There some slightly solventy heat as well.

t: Smooth, lightly charred malts that are slightly nutty. A hint of dark fruits and a little heat. More bitter than sweet overall.

m: A bit thin overall with slightly fizzy carbonation.

d: I've been drinking some over-the-top huge stouts lately, so this was a nice change of pace. It just doesn't quite measure up to strong stouts of similar size in the area, like Sorm King or Fat Dog.

DIM, Feb 12, 2009
Photo of Hokies
4.65/5  rDev +18.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours a jet black color with a nice tan head that sticks around for a while and a decent sticky lace on the glass. The beer is an opaque black color with some red hues highlighting the edges.

The aroma is filled with coffee and dark chocolate and a tremendous espresso note.

The taste is not as heavy as most RIS as the the dark chocolate does not make a presence till the end. It starts with the espresso taste but then their is also a light taste of some dark fruits, could be raisins or figs.

I am not a big fan of Russian Imperial Stouts but this one is tremendous. I like the creaminess to it and the more dominant taste of espresso. This is a dangerous brew as you can not taste the alcohol one bit.

Hokies, Feb 09, 2009
Photo of tittymcj
4.08/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours out a very deep, dark brown, with a little bit of translucency when held to light, but not much. Very thin lacing and head.

Smells like a lot of alcohol, but mixes well with warm malt tones. Some coffee in there as well.

Tastes very strongly of bitter chocolate and some coffee. Actually a little bit of water taste as well, which I found very strange.

Mouthfeel is a little watery, but overall pretty deep and smooth. Some alcohol hotness at the end until the next sip.

Great stout for drinkability. Not too thick or heavy, very tasty.

tittymcj, Feb 07, 2009
Photo of sprucetip
4.33/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

From notes. On tap at Novare Res in Portland, Me, during their stoutfest.

Black with hint of highlights. 1 finger brown head goes away eventually.

Chocolate, molasses, sweet malty, roasted grain. Balanced, not overwhelming. Has legs.

roasty, chocolate, light molasses, solid malty base, smooth. Clean finish. Nice.

Pleasantly mild carbonation and fiz. Alc heat comes on with thick coating texture. Medium/full body.

Very easy drinker at 8%. Recommended.

sprucetip, Feb 04, 2009
Photo of BigIrishman
4.35/5  rDev +11%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured unto a Weyerbacher Cuvee glass

Appearance: Thick engine oil with a nice brownish 1 finger head that leaves plenty of lace.

Smell: Loads of malt in here, along with plenty of chocolate and espresso.

Taste: Very nice, a lot of espresso and some fruity background flavors. Chocolate and malt come in right after the espresso leaves, very nice.

Mouthfeel: Medium body.

Drinkability: This may or may not obliterate your palate upon drinking it, it's full bodied in every sense of the term. Maybe 2-3 of these but that's it.

Notes: A huge RIS by a brewery that banks on it's mastery of big brews. Very nice and enjoyable.

BigIrishman, Feb 02, 2009
Photo of mnj21655
4.13/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle with no freshness date poured into a Duvel tulip. This bottle has probably been in my cellar for easily over a year and it has fared quite well.

Pours black as night with a bit over a finger of brown head that exhibits fairly good retention. Aroma is rich and complex with lots of roasted grains, some malty sweetness, dark fruit esters, and a subtle alcohol presence. Taste is pretty good. Initially the flavors seem much more subdued than the aromas. Upfront there is a strong malty sweetness which segues into some indistinct dark fruit esters. Towards the finish there is a bit of alcohol presence that is soon overshadowed by a lingering roastyness. Bitterness is moderate at best but this beer (overall) doesn't seem overly sweet, its actually fairly well balanced. Overall this brew has mellowed a bit with some more vinous characters emerging due to its age. Mouthfeel is pretty good, only medium bodied (again due to aging), low-moderately carbonated, with some alcohol warming. Drinkability is pretty good. I'd say that this brew ages pretty darn well.

mnj21655, Jan 31, 2009
Photo of Strix
4.13/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Near black, minimal head.

Smells dark, vague chocolate and roastiness. Faint for me.

Taste was quite nice. Vague chocolate notes, roasted malt, and even dark fruits. Sort of a blend of flavors, hard to pick them out, but very pleasant.

Mouthfeel very smooth.

This was nice. Those who like a big hop element in their RISs may find it lacking, but I liked it.

Strix, Jan 29, 2009
Photo of roopy40
4.33/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 oz. bottle poured into an oversized wine glass

A - Can you say Exxon Valdez? Literally as black as crude oil. The head was two fingers, foamy and didn't dissipate for at least 5 to 7 minutes. Lace is like you drove through a massive mud puddle and it started raining. As you watch the mud slowly run down your window, it leaves a dark brown film.
S - Caramel notes, some butterscotch, almost smells like mince pie.
T - Velvet smooth chocolate flavor, chocolate covered raisins and perhaps a taste of Cadbury Caramello.
M - Slick (again crude oil), smooth, lingering chocolate buzz left in the aftertaste.
D - Absolutely. I could sit down with some organic chocolate truffles and make this into one hell of a finish to a good meal for dessert.

Overall, I am very impressed with this RIS. I enjoyed the heck out of the Heresy, so I'm not astonished that I love this as well. A definite try for any stout lover.

roopy40, Jan 29, 2009
Old Heathen Imperial Stout from Weyerbacher Brewing Co.
88 out of 100 based on 1,469 ratings.