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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

1,568 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,568
Reviews: 816
rAvg: 3.92
pDev: 11.48%
Wants: 65
Gots: 150 | 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: 1,568 | Reviews: 816 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of SpeedwayJim
3.5/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Poured from a 12oz. bottle into a Blue Point snifter.

A: Heavy pour yields a 1 finger, coarse, chocolate head that dissipates quickly. Beer is opaque black though not particularly thick. Lacing is densely spotty with moderate stick.

S: Coffee, dark chocolate, licquorice, booze, and roasted malt sourness.

T: Roasted coffee, brownie, dark chocolate bitterness. Slightly tart due to the high carbonation. Boozy at the middle and end. Toasted malt sourness at the finish along with coffee bitterness that lingers on the palate. Sticky on the finish. Coffee lingers on the palate. Greens a little as it warms, showing a subdued hop character.

M: Light to medium bodied. Incredibly thin for a RIS. More carbonated than most in its style and rather coarse in the mouth. Oiliness comes through a bit as it warms but still not up to par. Finish is messy and sticky, lingering around for a good amount of time.

D: Seems more like an imperial coffee stout than the traditional RIS, the one area where this beer really fails is the mouthfeel. Coarse, thin, carbonated, it just doesn't do the style justice. Still though, nice complexity with a booziness that isn't overdone. A pretty beer with a subtle, yet enticing nose. Slightly better than the run-of-the-mill imperial stout.

Photo of berpwillie
3.82/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

pours a solid jet black color with very tanish almost brown head, and barely any lacing. too dark to see any sort of carbonation going on. smells of roasted nuts maybe with some dark chocolate going on too. same goes for the taste. very malty with subtle hoppy hints. wasn't nearly as heavy as i thought by the look of it.

Photo of unclejimbay
4.6/5  rDev +17.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Dark coffee in color, short tan head and short retention, no lace, but reduces to a nice thin rocky cap.
Smells of roasted dark malts, cocoa, a hint of coffee and American hops.
Tastes as it smells, balanced well with citrus hop character. Dominant cocoa and coffee flavors. Big on taste but well balanced.
Medium full body, low/medium carbo.

Very enjoyable impy stout IMHO, full malty body with nice hop support. This is a subtley sweet and chocolate dominant RIS, not too sweet. I have enjoyed this one more than once now, and it's currently a steal @ $1.50 per 12oz bottle @ Broudy's Jax Beach, FL 4/17/10.

I like the taste of this one so much it's almost sessionable if I was in a true RIS mood.

Photo of emmasdad
2.51/5  rDev -36%
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.

Photo of allergictomacros
4.48/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A - Pitch black with an inch of brown foam.

S - Nose is dark fruit, roasty toastiness, grapes and slight caramel, and pervasive coffee.

T - Fruity up front more than anything, moving into a sweet, somewhat tart middle. Aftertaste is bitter with burnt, roasted grains and dark sugars.

M - Slick, oily body with a lowish carbonation. Decent heft and very, very smooth.

D - Ridiculously easy drinking for an imp. stout. So smooth and soft, it just slides down. Dangerous.

Photo of tone77
3.58/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a brown 12 oz. bottle. Has a black color with a small head. Smell is of roasted malts and alcohol, some chocolate. Taste is of roasted malts, a touch of coffee, and some hop bitterness.Feels full bodied in the mouth and overall is a solid beer.

Photo of jcarbaugh
4.35/5  rDev +11%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- Almost jet black, with a very little head that dissipates quickly, leaving a small ring,

S- alcohol, dark roasted scent, chocolate and coffee.

T- mild sweetness and burnt at first, but as it warms, you start notice some nice subtleties: chocolate, coffee, roasted malt, some dark fruit, and a pleasant woodiness.

M- nice and smooth with moderate carbonation.

Notes: I really enjoy this beer. The complexity and subtleties of this beer really engage the drinker. I found myself dissecting every sip. Thoroughly enjoyable!

Photo of oglmcdgl
3.55/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle split with some friends.

A- black with brown egdes. A small flash of mocha colored head that settles to a few spots and a small ring.

S- dark roasted espresso and bakers chocolate. Black strap molasses and a bit of char.

T- bitter cacao nib and burt coffee. A woody character here and there with some touches of booze.

M- medium to light body and about the same on carb.

D- real nice I love a beer with lots of flavor that won't wreck you palate

Photo of Arenbeer
3.43/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

12oz bottle into a Snifter Glass

A- Pours a solid black with a 1 1/2 finger light brown head on top that leaves little to no lacing.

S- Smells of darker roasted malts with a good hint of coffee and or toffee.

T- First sip gives me a strange sour funk taste off the bat but finishes nicely with roasted malts and coffee. Some molasses and a sweeter dark fruit.

M- Medium heavy body with moderate carbonation and a slight dry bitter finish but not bad at all.

Overall this was an interesting IRS. Unfortunately it somewhat tasted like I put rancid milk in my coffee. Has a real strange funk in the flavor that's real hard to get over.


Photo of semibaked
3.22/5  rDev -17.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Poured into a pint glass, thanks to GrueLurks for the bottle.

A - Pours pitch FN black with slight dark brown foam on top that yields no lacing.

S - Big molasses smell with slight coffee and hops, has an earthy sweetness (if there is such a thing).

T - Molasses, an interesting sourness, coffee and hop bitterness. Interesting combo.

M - Coast the mouth well, pretty thick and chewy. Above average amount of carbonation too.

D - It has some good elements like the sourness and hops, but the molasses it a bit overpowering, nice to try though.

Photo of chickenflea
4/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - The beer pours an opaque black color, with a moderate bubbly tan head.

S - Mild roasted character, along with a coffee and dark fruit, and a bit of ash to the nose.

T - Taste reveals a lightly burnt toffee, ash, roasted notes, black licorice. A very slight note of alcohol seems to come across in the finish, and becomes slightly more prevalent as the beer warms. Aftertaste reveals sour milk taste for a while then an astringent finish. Nonetheless, it adds depth and is pleasing in its character.

M - Oily and medium thick.

D - Overall, an excellent version of the style.

Photo of bluejacket74
3.97/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle. Served in a nonic pint glass, the beer pours dark brown with a small quarter inch tan head. Head retention is low, lacing is decent. The brew smells like molasses, coffee, dark fruit (raisins, plums), chocolate, and surprisingly even a bit of banana. The aroma is very sweet and malty. Taste is similar to the aroma, but the brew also has a bit of a licorice and smoky taste. Mouthfeel/body is medium, it's a bit creamy and has decent carbonation. Drinkability is good, it's smooth and goes down easy. The 8% ABV isn't very noticable at all. I think this is a good overall brew, it's definitely worth a try.

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

Aroma is rich and smoky with an overtone of quality coffee and hints of chocolate and molasses. It pours a dark sepia with a decent, if not too persistent, tan head. Flavor is like a good mocha, mainly good coffee and sweet chocolate with a hint of brown sugar. Texture is tingly and lively with a fairly firm alcohol bite. Definitely recommended.

Photo of cpetrone84
4.05/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A-pours a dark black opaque liquid with one and a half fingers of a mahogony brown colored head that is tight and creamy in appearance. Little to no retention or lacing left on the glass

S-the nose is a little small but brings all the right things. Molasses is faint but right up front. Dark chocolate and just a touch of coffee comes in towards the middle as the sweet dark fruits seem to parlay off of this to create a nice sweet finish that is comprised of rum soaked raisins and a touch of plum

T-the taste follows the nose, not huge but solid. Molasses, dark chocolate, a touch of roasted coffee start off. The roasty flavors increase throughout the drink. Light notes of plum and dark cherry come in with rum soaked raisn in there as well, however more faint than the nose would indicate

M-full bodied and smooth in texture. A lot of carbonation at the back, higher than I would have liked. Quite chewy on the back.

D-this is a very good brew, checks on everything you want to see and fair in size. I love a good RIS and this fits in suit.

Photo of mdwalsh
3.68/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Very little head, what's there is dark tan and disappears fast. The beer is black, maybe some light coming through around the edges.

S: Very mild, but slightly sharper than most RIS. Some woodyness, like a fresh cut oak log, sort of sweet. But way too mild.

T: Again, sweet, too sweet, and an interesting cooked flavor. It's a bit dry and otherwise contains most the typical flavors.

M: a little lightish for a RIS, but smooth and appropriate carbonation.

D: Smooth and approachable, not at all overwhelming.

Photo of adamette
2.77/5  rDev -29.3%
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.

Photo of beerman207
4.42/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Dark, very dark brown with little light coming in along with a good tan head leaving great lace behind

S: Chocolate, coffee, sweet malt

T: Chocolate and malt dominate

M: Very mild carbonation and very creamy

D: Very high - amazing beer as expected from Weyerbacher.

Photo of mothman
3.97/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into bruery snifter.

Pours 1/2 finger of tan head that fades down to a thick ring. Some slight splattered lace. Color is a dark carmel when held to the light, but black otherwise. Not very dark for an ris.

Aroma: Lots of dark dried fruits. Raisin, cherries, molasses, and licorice. Some dark roasted malts with chocolate. A little lighter aroma, but not bad.

Taste: Some roasted malts with tons of dried fruits again. Dark cherries, licorice, and raisins. Some chocolate with very light coffee notes. Decent, but nothing to special for a RIS.

Mouthfeel: Roasted, creamy, and crisp. A decent amount of carbonation in the mouth, but doesn't show in the glass. Medium to full bodied beer. Ends very roasted and dry.

Overall, a decent RIS for the price, but nothing to crazy good. I would drink it again, but nothing I would seek out. Decent drinkability.

Photo of Jmoore50
3.67/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Go this is some black booty BIF, awesome.

The appearance is black with coffee edges. It pours a very bubbly half finger head that gets scared and hides under the covers. It leaves no lacing and it has medium alcoholic legs.

The smell is of coffee, dark fruit, caramel, sugar.

The taste is a earth, bitter coffee, chocolate. It is a bit thin which kills a lot of the overall experience. It is a bit sour, just a tiny percentage of it is just gives me a lactose sourness that reminds me of Black Albert. After notes are of dark malts.

The mouthfeel is thin, and over carbonated. Astringent, but not distracting. It is a good stout, nothing really Imperial about this other than the ABV.

Photo of kegger22
3.88/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Weyerbacher Old Heathen Imperial Stout dark brown color with a half inch, light brown head that faded to a collar.

The aroma was sweet and lightly chocolate.

In the taste, bitterness stands out, like semi sweet chocolate. Roasted malt contributed to the bitter taste. As Old Heathen warms, I get an additional roasted coffee aroma and taste.

The mouth feel was full bodied with ample carbonation.

Drinkability was good with a decent flavor and a respectable, for a RIS, 8.00 ABV.

Not one of my favorite RIS, only so-so. With all the competition in the style, this would have to be in the bargain bin to sample again.

Photo of Goldfish19
4/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

~ 12 oz bottle

Appearance: Black as night with a small brown head that quickly fades away.

Smell: Dark fruits and roasted malts.

Taste: A little sour. Roasted malts dominate up front, and it is followed up by dark fruits, coffee, and chocolate.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied.

Drinkability: At 8% ABV, it went down very smooth.

Overall, this is a solid RIS. I would definitely have this again. ~

Serving type: bottle

Photo of rawthar
3.88/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bottle into my Brooklyn goblet.

A- As dark as to be expected from a RIS, but more of a deep dark brown than a pure black. The head is particularly dark brown, a finger's worth that dissipates to film very quickly.

S- Some sweet malty notes and a bit of booze, very similar in characteristic to Weyerbacher's bourbon barrel beers like Blasphemy (In fact, Weyerbacher's Heresy is a bourbon barrel aged version of Old Heathen). No trace of the hops that usually accompany the Imperials.

M- I'm doing mouthfeel before taste because the tingling sensation this beer gives my lips and tongue at first sip dominates over the flavor. Thick and carbonated, this is a satisfying beer.

T- I picked up a hint of roast coffee flavor that wasn't present in the aroma. The alcohol is smoother in the mouth than in the nose, and I think there's a little bit of sweet fruit, maybe raisin, sneaking in with it in the back of the throat. Let it linger on your tongue to find those hidden hop traces. Some of my bigger gulps went down with slight suggestions of chocolate. The complexities of flavor are there, but very subtle...you really have to savor the drink to find them.

D- As much discipline as I exert on a Wednesday night to savor the subtleties of this one, a part of me feels like I could slam it back without too much regret (considering I've got five more behind it). Its drinkability benefits from the lack of a lingering aftertaste.

Overall, a very nice RIS, better gulped than sipped.

Photo of jstilwell
4.13/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

THis beer gets a few extra points for being somewhat unique. Been drinking a lot of RIS lately, this one is easy to pick out. I seem to keep coming back to it. Pretty standard looking pour, real dark, not among the blackest as there is a brownish tint. Delicious looking milk chocolate/off white head disappears quickly, lacing remains. The nose on this is potent, the alcohol comes through but is blended with a cocoa/fruity/malty/spicy sweetness. Taste follows the nose. I understand this is a combo of 7 different malts and it produces a identifiable unique taste. I like this a lot, and would consider it a RIS Light. IT is somewhat sessionable if that term can be applied to this style. I will surely grab more of these.

Photo of jzeilinger
3.88/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours black and viscous like motor oil, no light is going through this beer. Has a very light, coffee colored head that dies down to a mild lacing across the top. Sticks to the side of the glass.

Smells of roasted malt, coffee, chocolate/cocoa, with mild traces of cream.

Taste is similar to the aroma: coffee, and roasted malt. There's also a little smokiness in the flavor that I didn't pick up in the smell. There's also a mildly bitter chocolate flavor underneath. Finishes with a bitter chocolate, roasted malt, and coffee flavor.

Mouthfeel has mild carbonation on the tongue, but overall, pretty smooth. Medium body and the alcohol is pretty well hidden. This isn't exactly robust which is what I've come to expect from Imperial Stouts, that being said, this falls a little short of that. However, it's still well brewed and an enjoyable sipper in a tulip glass while sitting at the computer, very drinkable.

Photo of JohnGalt1
3.6/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Diving into the cellar because I'm still broke.. Been eying this 12oz for a while.. Got this a very long while ago from Vintage Cellars.. Poured into my Delrium goblet.

1 finger dark tan head.. went away quickly.. only spotty lace as the glass goes away..

Nose is comprised of only medium dark malts .. quite a bit of English fruitiness reminds me of sour cherries..

Flavor begins with a bang of coffee and bittersweet chocolate.. again, the sour cherries are pretty prevalent that combines with some slight acidic elements from the dark malts.. lingering cocoa.. descent body for the style.. carbonation seems spot-on..

Not sure what to think of this one.... The fruitiness reminds me of English Olde Ales.. It isn't infected, just maybe I let this one sit for too long.


Old Heathen Imperial Stout from Weyerbacher Brewing Co.
88 out of 100 based on 1,568 ratings.