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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

1,589 Ratings

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Ratings: 1,589
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: 1,589 | Reviews: 819
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.

Photo of FickleBeast
3.7/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle poured into a pint glass. Reviewed on my droid.

Pours pitch black with two fingers of brown foam. Aroma is rich coffee, chocolate, and malty sweetness.

Taste isn't as powerful as the aroma would suggest. It is kind of watery, could really use some more sweetness or roasted flavor. Drinkable, but I've had many better RIS.

Photo of schoolboy
3.61/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This is my first taste of Old Heathen, and it comes right on the heals of one of my favorite stouts, Sierra Nevada(and my favorite SN product). At first it has what's wrong with the style, too much flavor, too much booze, etc. This is also why I like SN stout - it is a nice strong brew without beingtoo strong or too wimpy (like the wonderfully tasty Guiness).

Half way through this gets better, and as imperial stouts go, it is wimpy (and that's good). I certainly don't want more than one of these, and I was itching for anover SN stout.

Weyerbacher is usually a first rate company, and this product is no exception.

Photo of GregSVT
3.73/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

12oz bottle into a tall pint glass

A: Pours a deep black with a medium khaki head that barely fades and sticks around the rest of the beer. Great looking stout.

S: The nose is cocoa, vanilla, and roasty coffee.

T: The taste is mostly cocoa and dark fruits with a slight milk chocolate flavor on the finish. A bit subdued compared to the nose but relatively tasty.

M: The feel, while creamy from the awesome head, is a bit light. It almost feels like an Irish Dry Stout.

D: This is a good beer I could drink when I was in the mood for a creamy/roasty beer.

Photo of tsmcneil
4.28/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Remove cap = Very nice initial aroma!

First pour = Beautiful, creamy head!

Held up to the light = Dark black! No light penetration.

First sip = Sharp on the tongue, but excites the entire palate!

Empty glass afterthought = Super pleasing aftertaste. Oral and olfactory senses have definitely had a wonderful workout. Will be looking for this one again!

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

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a Duck Rabbit snifter. A thick and hearty, inch thick, layer of dark caramel colored head formed on top of the black (pretty much solid and opaque) body. The head receded quicker than I though it would due to the bulkiness and was a pretty poor lacer.

The nose has burnt chocolate, dry roasted coffee, black strap molasses and black malts all together in equal strength and proportions.

Hmm...the taste is similar to the nose, but not entirely. You get a lot of roasted malts up front...that give way to the meaty molasses center. The dark malts take over the finish and slowly fade to a light, coffee bitterness.

The mouth feel is lighter than expected...light to medium bodied, with moderate carbonation.

Overall a great offering. Very drinkable due to the awesome blend of flavors and complexity. The 8% ABV is hidden well.

Photo of bsp77
4.05/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Serving glass: Poured from bottle into Snifter.

Appearance: Extremely dark brown with thin tan head and light lacing.

Smell: Sweet molasses, roasted barley, alcohol and chocolate.

Taste: Loads of chocolate and cream with some molasses and roasted barley. Turns just slightly bitter at the end.

Feel: Ridiculously smooth and creamy full body. Low carbonation with a dry and warming finish.

Drinkability: Very nice example of an old school English-style Russian Imperial Stout, as opposed to the ramped up versions most American craft brewers make.

Photo of KAP1356
3.83/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz. bottle into my Weyerbacher tulip glass...

A - Dark and almost completely black but just some light getting through. A nice dark caramel one finger head forms on top with a nicely frothy appearance.

S - Dark chocolates and dark roasted malts take the forefront of the nose. I seem to get some slight hop presence but not enough to make a dent into the roasted malt and chocolate nose. A slight coffee presence is also apparent that adds nicely to the profile.

T - Much like the nose, dark malts and chocolate are the stars. Some coffee notes seem to come througn as well. The hops I noticed in the nose seem to come through a tony bit but again, nothing to live up to everything else that is going on.

M - Slightly more thin that I was expecting, but I still find it quite smooth and very much in the way an RIS should be.

D - At 8% it is quite a drinkable beer. This one really mellows out as it warms a bit and was a very very easy drink.

Very impressed by this one. I love Weyerbacher and I have a great respect for their ability to make great beers. This one just adds to what is already an impressive catologue of beers.

Photo of Onenote81
4.27/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle poured into a goblet. Pours a dark black with just a faint amount of light peeking through the edges. A inch-sized thick mocha head grows on top. Recedes quickly; leaves behind some dark lace. Wonderful sweet scents of milk chocolate, vinous grapes, dark coffee, and some char on the back end.

The mouth is creamy and smooth, but goes down a little too easily. Thin aspects noted, but overall a good feel. Great bitter black coffee flavors that finish with a sweet coat of chocolate and cream. Wow! I was really impressed with this beer. I about glugged this down. Quite quaffable for the ABV and darkness. I think this rivals Old Rasputin for an accessible RIS. Nicely done.

Photo of fastsrt
4.11/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

12 ounce bottle in snifter

A: black, creamy tan head.

S: Chocolate, toasty aroma, this smells awsome!

T: Chocolate, small hint of coffee (astringency), some alcohol

M: thin feeling i was hoping for richness because of the nose.

D: it is light smooth and drinkable, good deal, comes in six packs, 8%, but there are many RIS I would choose but is a solid beer. Hersey is a amazing treat if you liked this one give it a try,

Photo of Strawbs
3.12/5  rDev -20.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 4

Had my first couple of these this week. Dark color & lovely aroma. The head quickly disappated. A decent beer, but actually rather thin for a stout and no flavors that truly stood out. Could have just as easily been a Beck's dark if tasted blind. The 8% alcohol was not noticable on the palate. When really thirsty you can drink one quickly, but that's not what I want as the best thing I can say about a beer. Not a bad beer, but a bland beer.

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

Dark, dark brown with a foamy, tan head. Head fades quickly and leaves very little lace. I had this on tap at the brewery and the head was a lot thicker and retained lot better. Maybe my glass wasn't as clean as it should have been.

Burnt toast, dried fruit and chocolate hit the nose. There's a slight alcohol whiff that gives away that this is an Imperial Stout.

The smell carries over in the taste and I am glad of it. The toast is more prevalent as the beer warms up and the bitterness decreases, taking away some of the sense of chocolate with it.

The mouthfeel is that of a better-known stout out of Ireland, perhaps a little thicker and with more heat, but the alcohol is very well masked.

I can suck down quite a few pints of regular (non-imperial) stout and the same goes for this one despite the alcohol level of an imperial.

Photo of oriolesfan4
3.13/5  rDev -20.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Haven't had an imperial stout so gave a new one a try. Pours a get black color, tan head to it.... pretty appealing beer. Nice roasty aroma to this one. Taste is odd to me; for the style there is very little hops, a whole lot of malt, and a huge dose of hot alcohol flavor. I found it a bit thin for the style too, along with a funky sort of aftertaste. Man, I love this style but this one just doesn't cut it for me. I mean it isn't BAD, and it's drinkable.. but it's way too strong and doesn't have enough taste or mouthfeel for my liking.

Photo of illidurit
3.85/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Pours a very dark brown with barely any head; what's there is tan. Light smoke and a lot of dark chocolate in the aroma, and maybe a hint of fruitiness. Slightly acidic coffee flavor with more dark chocolate. Pretty straightforward. Oily palate, medium-full body. Very drinkable.

Photo of TJBurgess
3.87/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4


Big thanks to Stevefinny for this throw-in on a trade!

Poured into a snifter.

A: Dark black thickness and color with one finger of caramel head that was gone quicker than it appeared. 4.0

S: This was my favorite part. Sublte coffee, dark chocolate, roasted malts and some raisen hints. Really nice and powerfull! 4.5

T: And here is where it lost steam...
I was let down by the light overall flavor in comparison to the awesome smells. Coffee and malts are there, but the dark chocolate is missing, and the taste is short lived. 3.5

M/D: Light in the mouth with matching carbonation, and very easy drinking. I definately would like to have had another to see if I missed something the first time or if my judgements were a little harsh since I like the bigger beers. 3.5/4.0

Photo of philbe311
3.53/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - A fingers worth of creamy medium brown foam with a layer of over sized bubbles sitting a top... Minimal retention gives way to a lopsided lacing... Deep dark brown color teetering on black with a little bit of light leaking in through the top...

S - Milk chocolate... Roasted malts... Caramel... A certain earthiness... Slightly woody...

T - Milk chocolate... Peat... Hints of coffee... Some subtle dark fruits... Hints of roasted malt... A very minor hop presence on the finish...

M - Medium bodied... Surprisingly thin... Loaded with biting carbonation...

D - Doesn't live up to my expectations of a Russian Imperial Stout in any category... Reserved and timid across the board... Seems more reminiscent of a Porter or even a Scotch Ale... I hate to knock a brew from the fine folks at Weyerbacher, but this one doesn't pass the test for me...

4.08/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

From bottle to pint glass. No code or date.

A: The long lasting frothy/creamy head starts out rocky but quickly evens out. Dark brown, about 3 fingers. The body is either black or the darkest brown ever. Thin ruby edges line the glass. Lacing is spare.

S & T: Despite what would seem to be a complex bill of malts (7 different), the nose is fairly standard for an RIS, albeit forceful. Heavy levels of chocolate and espresso. Lesser levels of molasses. Lightly roasted. Piney hops and a light leathery yeast. Although the nose isn't groundbreaking by any means, the aroma is quite good and in harmony.

M: Medium full body with a creamy texture. Fine carbonation and a semi dry, moderately bitter finish. Could have been a little fuller, but other than that, the mouthfeel is exactly what it should be.

D: Old Heathen is a solid RIS and fixture in Weyerbacher's lineup. Very palatable. Very drinkable. I actually prefer it to the Kentucky Bourbon barrel aged "Heresy. "

Photo of u2carew
3.85/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz longneck.
A) Pours with a half of a finger thick head that is brown in color. The body of this brew is opaque; as dark as oil when poured. Lacing is thin and sticky.
S) Bread. Coffee. Roasted malts. Subtle spice tones - cinnamon, brown sugar.
T) Sweet up front with some light alcohol. Then moves to a roasted grain and coffee taste. Finishes with a slight hop bite along with sweet malt. Some medicinal and metallic undertones.
M) Full body. Fizzy with some dryness. Overall the body is a little bit closer to a porter than a stout, but definitely has some girth to it.
D) A fairly delicious brew. I'd have another.

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

A- Dark with barely a head. It looks full bodied.

S- Lots of roast. Licorice, leather and dark fruits abound.

T- I think this might be my least favorite part of this beer, sadly. Its good but it just isnt special in anyway. Nothing sets it apart from the average RIS.

I feel bad saying this because barrel aging is not always better but, in the case of Old Heathen vs. Heresy, barrel aging wins out.

Photo of cdbooth219
4.22/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle poured into pint glass

A: Pours a jet black color with half a finger of dark tan head that dissipates leaving a bit of lacing on the glass

S: Smells of chocolate and licorice, with some notes of coffee and vanilla as well

T: Licorice and chocolate are the first thing i sense, followed by coffee. Theres a little bit of vanilla throughout the taste as well. Also a bit of oak wood tartness to it, as well as some prune and raisin notes. The finish is of black coffee and quite bitter.

M: Light for an RIS, but still rather full bodied. Not overly carbonated, it has a pleasant mouthfeel to it. No real alcohol presence.

D: Very drinkable for the 8% abv, and quite complex and flavorful, I could definitely drink a few of these in one sitting

Overall, this is a very good RIS. I really enjoy the complexity and flavorfullness of it, as well as the fact that it is quite drinkable. Another great Weyerbacher offering.

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

12oz bottle into a Stella Artois glass on the late late. I've had this numerous times but never on draft.

Shoe polish black in the glass while it had some brownish shades when pouring out the bottle. Seeing some brown spots on the edges as well. Heathen is not the thickest looking RIS and it's certainly not the darkest, but it's black as hell with a tannish 1/2 inch of semi frothy head leaving weak lace.

The last bottle of this I had smelled like a medium sized creme brulee which is nasty to me, but I don't get it here, Im thinking there is some variation between bottles. This smells the part with chocolate syrup and black coffee, mixed in vanilla bean and a dosing of semi piney hops. OH is not terribly overdone in scent but it is on par with other RIS.

Getting a little bit of tootsie rolls up front with sweet caramel working with some baker's chocolate. The coffee is roasted and a bit acrid, but there is a nice vanilla taste that goes with it, kind of like coffee cream. Im guessing this is fresh based on the earthy and piney hops that come in at the end. A bit of a smoke to this but I could be thinking that.

The feel is a small step above medium. When I think RIS, I think big and viscous. When I think Weyerbacher I just think big, OH is not in that realm. This is lighter bodied than expected but it does the trick. A bit of a burnt taste towards the end and no sign of the ABV.

This is a very drinkable RIS coming from a great brewery, Im just surprised that this is only 8%, I was thinking it would be at least 10 plus. This is one that you can either sip on a take a bigger plunge, it's your choice, depending on your mood. This went great with and on some chocolate brownie ice cream, sweet jesus.

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.

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Old Heathen Imperial Stout from Weyerbacher Brewing Co.
88 out of 100 based on 1,589 ratings.