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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

1,414 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,414
Reviews: 802
rAvg: 3.93
pDev: 11.45%
Wants: 57
Gots: 100 | FT: 5
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: 1,414 | Reviews: 802 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of ZimZamZoom

West Virginia

4.35/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Ah Christmas Day, and though it's not the snowy wintry day I would prefer, I'm still compelled to open an RIS as my first beer of the day. Never had this one before so that's a plus in the "gift to myself" dept.

Poured a 12 oz. bottle into a goblet, through the stream in mid-pour I could see ruby hues in a dark brown base. Once in the glass this is simply black. A thin tan head sits atop, waning to a ring rather quickly.

Aroma of roasted Arabaca beans, bittersweet chocolate, ripe figs and roasted malt. Some alcohol in the nose, but not much, I keep going back to the chocolate. Tastes of ripe dark fruit, some creamy chocolate and some up front bitter hops. I get some dry alcohol, but only momentarily, with a nice creamy smoothness coming through in the end.

Big bodied, nice and creamy smooth, perhaps the ultimate dessert beer. I'd go back to this one for sure. Great RIS from a great brewery.

Serving type: bottle

12-25-2007 18:47:27 | More by ZimZamZoom
Photo of letsgopens


3.23/5  rDev -17.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This imperial pours completely opaque, ink black with a light mocha colored head. The head holds pretty well but fades quickly and leaves a thin ring of lace. Fairly characteristic of the style.

Bitter cocoa and burnt raisins jump out in the nose followed by heavily roasted malts and some light leafy hops. Some vanilla and an earthy smoked character. A bit of milk chocolate and a hint of light coffee arises more as the brew warms.

Not at all mild but a bit ambiguous in flavor. The components seem to meld together in a dim manner not providing much of an individual identity of their own. Mostly just very roasty with a bit of leafy hops. Fairly acidic with with some sweet molasses and somewhat metallic in the middle/finish. Just a hint of cocoa/coffee in there as well. Pungent but very one dimensional (and unfortunately that one dimension is rather average at best for the style).

Heavy, slightly syrupy body with a semidry finish. Not very clean even though the flavor fades relatively quickly. A decent amount of warmth in the finish and thats about it. Not a bad selection but about as middle-of-the-road as you can get for the style.

Serving type: bottle

12-24-2007 17:01:30 | More by letsgopens
Photo of ColForbinBC

New Jersey

3.88/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle, no freshness date

A: An ink black with a caramel colored head. Head rose to a finger, and faded over time.

S: Roasted coffee beans and cocoa powder. Little hint of alcohol warmth. Also get hints of a grainy, oat-like smell.

T: Bitter dark chocolate, toffee, molasses, espresso. The chocolate tends to be more bitter than sweet, which is really appealing to me.

M: Leaves an oil slick on the tongue.

D: Medium body and finish

Overall, the taste is not overbearing, but has enough to satisfy even the stricter souls. This is a nice relaxing stout, very enjoyable.

Serving type: bottle

12-20-2007 01:31:01 | More by ColForbinBC
Photo of drperm


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

This is heavenly -- chocolate, coffee, roasty, medium sweetness, medium body, long finish. Try this in a glass accompanied by some Ben & Jerry’s Dublin Mudslide ice cream. You’d swear that these two things shared ingredients with each other – the pairing is faultless.

Serving type: bottle

12-17-2007 16:57:03 | More by drperm
Photo of JDV


4.08/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Big thanks to LittleBreeze for this lovely bottle! <br> Pours oily, thick black with a big tan creamy head after a violent pour. Notes of Dry cocoa, rich dark roastiness, faint hint of alcohol as it warms, and some nutty, oaty sweetness as well. Very nice. Taste is nicely dark roasted, with drying cocoa powder notes. Again a touch of alcohol that is unobtrusive. Body is a bit more carbonated than expected but subdues after a bit and the beer is still thick and nice. Overall this is a great beer that surpassed my expectations. Thanks so much for this one Ginny!

Serving type: bottle

12-15-2007 02:25:54 | More by JDV
Photo of TheTrevor

New York

3.4/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

This beer poured black with a dark tan single-finger head. It smells mostly of roasted malts with just a slight hint of coffee. The taste has a very strong dark chocolate presence with a slight bit of coffee and caramel and a bit of an alcohol undertone. The mouthfeel is very silky and pleasant. I'd consider this a fairly drinkable Imperial Stout, and I wouldn't be surprised if I ended up grabbing another bottle in the future.

Serving type: bottle

12-06-2007 00:40:47 | More by TheTrevor
Photo of tayner


2.9/5  rDev -26.2%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

poured black with very little head, just a small ring around the edge, perhaps i poured TOO carefully.

Smelled of burnt malt and some strange dark fruit i cannot put my finger on.. someone else said olives.. perhaps... it sort of turned me off before i even tasted it.

It tasted better than it smelled, thank goodness. Pretty smooth, not much complexity. Roasted/burnt malt flavor, slight hop finish, not alot of alcohol burn...

Felt a little thin for an imperial stout, not oily and mouth coating as i was expecting it to be.

Pretty easy to drink, but this did not wow me. If it was local to me I would perhaps drink a few during the winter, but not one i will seek out again.

Serving type: bottle

11-30-2007 18:01:23 | More by tayner
Photo of Jwale73

Rhode Island

4.28/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured into an imperial pint glass with a short, light tan colored head that dissipated quickly into a thin layer of foam. Color was dark brown-black. Thin, consistent lacing throughout the tasting. Strong aromas of malt, coffee and dark chocolate, with a subtle background scent of dark fruit essences. Flavors similar to smell; however addition of caramel or toffee at the finish. Carbonation was almost undetectable with a silky smooth mouthfeel, although overall consistency is a little thin for the style. Non-exist alcohol bite and relatively low ABV makes this a good choice for a session imperial.

Serving type: bottle

11-29-2007 01:17:19 | More by Jwale73
Photo of bigeyedfish


4.28/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle, aged 6 months from a Big Beer pack, poured into a St.Bernadus chalice. No freshness date on bottle.

Pours a jet-black body with a finger of milk-chocolate head that quickly recedes and turns into a really dull brown ring around the outside of the glass.

Smells of hershey kisses, along with hints of cucumbers, pickles and black olives, which is both interesting and a little off-putting. A unique interpretation, at least so far. Some alcohol is present as well, but it's almost hidden.

Really nice chocolate body; hints of chocolate covered cherries come and go on the palate. A lot of alcohol up front, though it quickly gives way to chocolate; nice to see, given there are a lot of stouts that will start chocolatey and finish with alcohol. Some carbonation in the mid-palate, although it's not super-cabonated, like for example, Storm King at the same age. Pleasant finish, dark chocolate and a little coffee. A hint in the beginning of black olives, but not nearly as pronounced as the nose. A great relief.

Really nice mouthfeel. The carbonation that there is almost enhances the flavor, serving as a transitory element, from the alcohol/black olives beginning to the sweet hershey's syrup chocolate/coffee finish. Pretty solid hold on the mouth- a lot of surface area's linger with chocolate- it's not just reserved to the back of the tongue.

I remember having this beer two months or so ago and I was offended by it; there was no definition, and it tasted like a over-powering chocolate bomb. Six months has really helped it; smooth, delicious, refined. It's 8%, so there's only so much drinkability it can have; it's hard, almost impossible to session a RIS not named Sam Smith's Imperial Stout.

Still this beer has a lot going on for it, in all the right ways. The smell is sweet, the taste is pleasant but not powerful; this reminds me a lot of a nice pinot noir, or a balanced, non-tannins bomb merlot. It's probably the cleanest RIS I've ever had. There's not one thing about this beer that can be classified as excessive. A really great, overlooked Russian Imperial Stout.

Serving type: bottle

11-27-2007 20:24:29 | More by bigeyedfish
Photo of biegaman

Ontario (Canada)

3.7/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle that has been neglected for some time, perhaps as long as a year and half to two years now. Therefore I'd say this one then can be considered to have some age under its belt. I finally open it one relentlessly rainy evening in November/07.

Opaque black, a balding top with only slight comb over of coca brown trim. A sandy looking hairpiece when swirled, although it doesn't last. While it resist any shine to the light, that black body has some colour swirled in there somewhere and gives it off only at odd, unexpected angles.

The aroma has a very assertive presence of oak. It smells barrel-aged. Light anisette, equal parts faint roast and smoke, as well as a bulky rich chocolate. As if smelling freshly baked brownies near a freshly extinguished fireplace.

The mouthfeel lacks a few things usually found with the RIS style: a rich, velvety texture; the long, lingering aftertaste of flavour or roast; and that hidden little hint of alcohol that slows your pace, but increases your satisfaction. Lower carbonation and low end bitterness have the beer coming out a little flat, which given the age may be overlooked. However, the lack of texture and 'puissance' fails what is an otherwise good flavour profile.

The taste borrows from the aroma, still with barrel presence, espresso and chocolate. Hints of roast and smoke, but only in small, short-lived amounts. What tastes like oak sits heavily on the palate. I think I can taste some hops too, although the only thing that really manages to linger is that of the brewers licorice or anisette that is watered down with the espresso flavour.

I have no qualms with this as an easy drinking RIS on the lower end of the alcohol scale, although I have to admit I expect far more from the style. I wouldn't encourage any substantial aging nor would I highly recommend the beer. Nonetheless, I enjoyed it!

Serving type: bottle

11-22-2007 02:47:02 | More by biegaman
Photo of IntriqKen


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

Pitch black with a hint of dark, chocolate brown if the light hits it right. Head is a quarter to half finger of moderately dark tan, tight bubbles that melt to leave very little. Just a tiny bit of stickiness.

Aroma is incredibly rich with a sweet dark roasted malt scent, dark chocolate, coffee, and dark fruits...mostly raisins. A bit of smoke hides behind all of these lucious aromas.

Taste is surprisingly creamy chocolate almost like milk chocolate, but definitely richer...not dark...but a richer milk chocolate. Some dark fruit mildly in the flavors...a hint of coffee....and some of the roasted malt, but everything remains smooth, sweet, and blended very well. Again, the smokiness comes to the forefront on the end. Nothing overpowers. It all sort of melts together in your mouth.

Aftertaste is cocoa.
A different sort of RIS for sure lacking the usual hop bite at the end found in most American versions. Makes for a wonderful desert beer.

Serving type: bottle

11-17-2007 07:01:24 | More by IntriqKen
Photo of neobassman


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

In the process of sampling and evaluating a number of stouts, this one was recommended to me by my local retailer. I was not disappointed. With Guinness as the de facto standard, I say this one surpasses Guinness on most every factor except appearance and smell where Old Heathen is merely on par. Color is virtually black, carbonation is present but not distracting. I appreciate this beer's fullness of flavor but absence of salty, burnt flavors that I find unpleasant in Guinness. The taste is full, round, and balanced. It reminds me of a quality oatmeal stout, but without the oaty shadow. Mouthfeel is not especially creamy, more like passing a hard candy over one's tongue, though without excessive sweetness. There is a slight tartness to the aftertaste, but nothing unpleasant. I liked this stout and expect to have it again.

Serving type: bottle

11-05-2007 23:46:25 | More by neobassman
Photo of Georgiabeer


3.98/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a dark brown, near black, that had an okay head that faded relatively quickly. No lacing to speak of. The smell had aromas of prunes, figs, soy, and roasted grain. The taste was rich and fruity up front, and then fell off toward the finish and became winier and roastier. Relatively dry. Mouthfeel was medium bodied and pretty creamy. Fairly enjoyable, but eclipsed by many other examples of the style.

Serving type: bottle

11-04-2007 15:45:26 | More by Georgiabeer
Photo of BWH3


2.58/5  rDev -34.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Old Heathen Russian Imperial Stout Weyerbacher Brewery
12 oz bottle in Pint Glass at 50 degrees F

Appearance: Perfect for an imperial stout. Thick chocolate brown-black that pours more viscous than an Irish stout. The head is huge and hangs around like a cappuccino. (4.5)

Smell: The ashy scent of black patent or carafe. A mineral/metallic aroma as well. Hops are subdued. (2.5)

Taste: The chocolate, coffee, and liqueur are simply absent. The flavor is most roasted barely which isn’t the world’s most pleasurable flavor on its own. The bitterness is also a bit off because it comes on immediately rather than helping to cleanse the palate. (2.0)

Mouthfeel: The viscosity of this beer is not up to par with other imperial stouts popular on this site. Don’t get me wrong the body is big compared to most stouts, but it just doesn’t cling to the glass or my palate like the best Imps. (3.5)

Drinkability: Check. I’ve had it once and don’t need to again. Seriously, the Old Heathen is nothing compared to Dark Lord or one of the Stouts from Bell's (3.0)

Serving type: bottle

11-03-2007 10:48:21 | More by BWH3
Photo of bboven


4.43/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Blacker than black with no head or lacing, per style.

Smells very figgy, also raisiny and roasty with more than a hint of alcohol Very good for the style..

The taste has some licorice right away and a lot of dark chocolate bitterness. The alcohol is there, but provides almost a tart bite that hops would normally leave.

The carbonation is mellow and completely hidden from the eyes. The beer looks flat at this point in the review but one taste... the carbonation is mellow but consistent and the beer stick to your mouth but doesn't coat your tongue like a Belgian would. The flavor definitely stays with you.

The perfect carbonation of this stout makes it very drinkable. The layers of flavor make every sip a true experience. I'll definitely buy this one again.

Serving type: bottle

10-31-2007 03:46:44 | More by bboven
Photo of blackie


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

a: Nice mocha head with a decent ring left behind. The beer is practically black in color.

s: Aromas of creamy roasts and fine bittersweet chocolates. Lightly hopped. Spicy cookies in the background and a touch of smoke.

m: good mouthfeel...exceptionally smooth and creamy in both carbonation and body, and quite full

t: Certainly a "good" beer, in that it's very solid but there's nothing very exciting going on. Milky, creamy roasts dominate the palate. Pretty sweet, but checked enough to where it doesn't really detract. Leans a bit toward the double stout side of things at times. Hops take a backseat, with a moderate-light bitterness in the finish.

d: a sipper for sure, as it should be

Serving type: bottle

10-29-2007 04:06:52 | More by blackie
Photo of LittleBreeze

New York

3.8/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Tasting Party 10/26/2007

Black. Milkshake type chocolate foam

Has the classic smells of an I.S. Chocolate, vanilla, coffee ... deep earthy smell.

Very nice stout. Nice feel in the mouth...at first it seemed to carbonated with a slightly bitter bite.

Drinkability - Good. This one goes down easy

Serving type: bottle

10-29-2007 00:39:07 | More by LittleBreeze
Photo of vikingloki


4.5/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured out of a bottle into pint glass.

Nice dark deep brown apperance, inch or so of foam.

Smells amazing, like dark chocolate, and coffee. Tastes exactly how it smells, nicely balanced beer, milkshake like, as it warms it gets more exoctic with all flavors being released. Not hoppy - just right. Wonderfully drinkable - disguises alcohol, you don't even know it's there, even though it shows it's legs when you swirl the glass. Perfectly decadent, buy it by the case. :)

Serving type: bottle

10-21-2007 19:57:09 | More by vikingloki
Photo of brewdlyhooked13


4.43/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance - pours black, a thin mocha head atop which holds until I accidentally touch it with my schnozz. Then it starts a-bubbling and evaporates quite fast.

Aroma - good roasted grain presence, a solid roasted coffee influence, too. Edges of alcohol creep in with a long sniff. Solid, not overly complex, and good.

Taste - a nice mouthful of richly roasted grains, espresso, and a slight sour sweetness. The swallow has some burnt notes to the grain profile, but doesn't go overboard. The aftertaste is a mellow treat of fresh coffee and dark chocolate, an undercurrent of alcohol warmth fusing the flavors together. Very tasty I.S.

Mouthfeel - mouth-filling smoothness, velvety feel, subdued carbonation. Right on.

Drinkability - on the low end for abv, putting them on the high end for a few more. A great solid I.S.

Serving type: bottle

10-20-2007 04:51:20 | More by brewdlyhooked13
Photo of brewshakes

North Carolina

3.55/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Tried this beer last night while watching the Yanks-Indians. I picked it up in a mix six pack yesterday at Total Wine and tried it after a Peg Leg Imperial Stout. It poured a nice dark brown color with a dark foamy head. Not much lacing. Had a nose of roasted coffee. Had a nice taste and a little more bite to it than the Peg Leg. Had a good feel in the mouth and was pretty smooth.

Serving type: bottle

10-09-2007 16:36:07 | More by brewshakes
Photo of Gueuzedude


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 JamesS


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

Poured nicely, thick and dark with a nice head of foam, just like a stout should. Good smell, loamy with a chocolate/coffee hint, but the high level of alcohol detracts a bit from the scent. It has a nice feel going down, but not as smooth as most stouts I've had. Very deep flavor, malty and rich with a bit of a coffee overtone. I like that it has a high ABV, but even for an imperial the alcohol takes away slightly from the overall taste. Even though it's not high on my list of stouts, it's worth a try.

EDIT: I've had several more of these in the past year and it gets nothing but better. Wonderful smoky, coffee flavors, smoother going down. Better all around than the first 1/4 case.

Serving type: bottle

09-18-2007 20:24:41 | More by JamesS
Photo of objectivemonkey


3.98/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Into a chalice glass, pours pitch black, very fizzy, a thick two inch dark tan head eventually settling to a quarter inch or so... a little less fizzy and more smooth and this gets a perfect score. Molasses and a boozy, rummy alcohol are most present in the nose, toasty, roasted malts, roasted coffee, dark fruits like plum, maybe some tobacco, and maybe some Dr. Pepper? It'd explain the massive carbonation!

The taste is similarly good, full of roasted goodness, plum, roasted and black strap malts, molasses, espresso, and a warm rum through the middle. Unfortunately, that carbonation I've been talking about is very distracting in the mouth, and hampers the onslaught of flavors. Fortunately, after some warming, that carbonation also tones down, and am able to enjoy it better. Overall, a pretty good impy stout, not my fav, but glad I had it for sure.

Serving type: bottle

09-14-2007 02:14:15 | More by objectivemonkey
Photo of barleywinebrewer

New Hampshire

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

another solid RIS from another great brewery.

A - pitch black color, small dark tan head
S - Sweet dark malts, roasted grains & cocoa
T - similar to the aroma but with a modest hop bite and a bit of ABV making itself known.
M - Medium to full body, nicely carbonated, smooth and balanced.
D - A nice solid RIS. I could drink a couple over an evening and be happy.

Not over the top, not underwhelming. A nice RIS. If it was in my marketplace I'd pick some up for the winter season.

Serving type: bottle

09-11-2007 13:07:57 | More by barleywinebrewer
Photo of russpowell


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
Old Heathen Imperial Stout from Weyerbacher Brewing Co.
88 out of 100 based on 1,414 ratings.