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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

1,590 Ratings

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Ratings: 1,590
Reviews: 820
rAvg: 3.92
pDev: 11.73%
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: 1,590 | Reviews: 820
Photo of Byeast
4.33/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: complete darkness, solid opaque black, the head cascades to a big 3 inches of cocoa/dark tan foam that threatens to overflow and settles to 1/2 inch of rocky goodness.

Smell: very much like Hersheys cocoa powder, bitter chocolate, esspresso, touch of alcohol, molasses and hint of dairy.

Taste: Big body of roasty malts, lots of dark chocolate flavor, sweeter than expected in a great way with tinges of dairy,just a touch of dark fruit flavor, the chocolate flavor never really crosses into that big bitterness you get from a raw darker chocolate but is still dark, just a medium hit of toasted/burnt sugar bitterness and dark fruity fermented twang to nicely balance the massive deep malt. The just a tiny bit unbalanced sweetness and chocolaty flavors of loads of roasted malt are what i get the most. Finish is not too long, very reminiscent of espresso.

Mouthfeel: quite thick, tongue coating, creamy

Drinkability/Notes: A really great imperial stout. Very complex and definitely unique flavor profile. I think that being 8% abv vs. the 9,10% that many IMPY stouts are nowadays in America makes this RIS very drinkable. Its equally as huge in character and depth, but it would seem that they left a bit more extra sugars unfermented to give it a smooth and maybe sweeter quality.

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

-Poured into a tulip glass.

Opened the bottle and poured it into my glass, creating a nice, creamy head. I was a bit disappointed at how quickly it dissipated, but it did leave some nice lacing.

Sticking my nose right into the glass, I was greeted with an inviting, robust aroma. I could smell the hops and hints of fruit, but in no way a "fruity" smelling beer.

There is a fine balance of hoppy bitterness and fruity sweetness. A very enjoyable balance. The taste is robust and full of different notes which begins with a slightly coarse feel and ends smoothly.

It wasn't as thick and creamy on the tongue as I thought it would be when poured, but it did have a thickness to it.

Delicious beer with a great balance between bitter and sweet notes.

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

12 oz bottle, tulip glass

Pours very dark with a light tan frothy head. Thought the head dissipated too quickly, but left some decent lacing.

Aroma of roasted malts and sweetness, possibly from fruit. Picked up some hops in the background.

Bold taste of roasted malts, combined with a fruity sweetness. Some hop bitterness. Surprised by the sweetness of this and that it was well balanced.

Lighter drinking than I thought, but overall decent. Smooth & creamy.

Photo of scottyshades
4.17/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Perhaps my favorite offering from Weyerbacher, although I am a sucker for a good stout
A: Pours a rich, thick, viscous looking black color that produces an evil looking mocha colored head that retains very well and leaves nice lacing along the glass.

S: Surprisingly yeasty for a stout! Nice touch! Fruity sour berries on the nose, along with chocolate, caramel, molasses, a nutty aroma, and some alcohol that is not extremely well hidden.

T: Same as the nose, very sour fruity twangyness to it from the yeast. Chocolate and roasted flavors dominate the flavor profile, along with caramel, molasses, and something that resembles maple syrup.

MF/D: Pretty damn viscous, full in body, slight sour fruity lingering finish

Photo of Gyle41386
3.92/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a pint glass.

Nice black pour. Three fingers of dark tan foam retain pretty well, but not much sticks to the glass.

Aroma is of bittersweet chocolate, espresso, and dark fruits. Hard for me to figure out which element is the dominant one, as each whiff provides a differing opinion.

Flavor starts out malty and fruity sweet, followed by a lightly bitter hop kick, which gives way to a coffee-ish roast. Very interesting flavor profile. The roast isn't anything like a char, which is where most imperial stouts go downhill for me, so that's a bonus. However, something about that initial sweetness just didn't sit right with me at first. It grew on me, though, and this became a very pleasant drinking experience.

Body isn't as big as I'd expect from an imperial stout. It's really smooth, and a very easy drinker, but it's just a little too thin for me to give it anything higher. Carbonation level is higher than I'm used to for the style, but I don't find it to be a bother. Alcohol is completely masked.

This is a damn nice beer. I wouldn't call it a top imperial stout, but it's definitely better than my overall score will reflect. Can't wait to open my bottle of Heresy next.

Photo of ianL
4.33/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - really pretty looking dark beer with the small, light-brown head that one expects with a quality stout

S - milk chocolatish, caramels

T - more coffee than chocolate but a really tasty beer

M - lighter than i expected but nothing to complain about...if i were to be picky a heavier feel would make this perfect

D - something i would love to drink on a regular basis...this was my random find for the week and consider myself lucky to have found it

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

2007 vintage

Deep black ale with a white head. Average for the style.

Almost a lager-like aroma. Smells like schwarzbier.

Flavors are much more complex than the aroma. Still plays on the lager thing, interesting and noteworthy. Not too much roasted barley, more black patent than anything.

Lots of sweetness but not sticky of viscous, making for a nice mouthfeel.

Good but in a well made homebrew sort of way. Not a letdown because it's so different. Cheers!

Photo of FloppyDog
4.44/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours a thick jet black with a finger height of thick brown foam of some of the finest bubbles I have ever seen. The head lingers on for the first few minutes after the pour.

The aroma is first of a pleasing alcohol presence followed by light and mellow chocolate and burnt aromas that are nicely balanced without one drastically outweighing the other. I was expecting more intensity from the aroma, but it is still pretty good.

The taste is of burnt malt up front with a light chocolaty-ness after the sip has gone down. Hop bitterness and flavor are present in the middle of the sip, but are subdued relative to the malt character. The mouth feel is super smooth....amazing! Tastes almost like it is a nitrogen imperial stout because it is so smooth.

Drinkability is super high for any style, which is particularly impressive for a high gravity brew such as this. Overall, I am very impressed.

Photo of mikedashg
3.59/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Poured a dark rich black with a big tan head Ito my snifter
S- very light chcolate an coffee. Not too much here.
T- dark chocolate and coffee. Roasted malt. Suprisingly black licorice And sweet cherry
m-moderate carb and kind of creamy
d-not bad. Not great. I've had better.

Photo of tatoodkelt
3.92/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Consumed 8/3/09- from notes.

Got this one courtesy of buddy and fellow BA 46and2, thanks again Dan!

Brown 12oz bottle poured into a pint glass.

A- Almost pitch black with about a finger and a half cocoa colored head that lasted most of the glass. Not much lacing.

S- Roasted chocolate, vanilla and a little licorice.

T- All of the nose plus some dark fruit and little smokey.

M- Medium bodied and smooth.

D- Drinks pretty easy, more than 2 or 3 though would be too much on one sitting.

I was interested to see how this compared to the Heresy, pretty similar except for the oak flavors in that one and this one seems a little less heavy. Both very good!

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

Bottle courtesy of HogtownHarry. Deep black pour, unleashes a creamy mocha head. Not a lot of lacing here, but the head was long lived. Nose is quite roasty/toasty, with coffee beans,black licorice, some vanilla, dark fruit. Tastes of roasted coffee beans, some dark chocolate,black licorice, some smokey fruity notes, leading to pit fruits and hops towards the end. Nice creamy palate, bitter and dark chocolate sweetness balances. A pleasure. Thanks a lot for this one Harry!

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

Poured into a pint glass

A-Dark as night, half inch head good lacing that sticks to my pint glass

S-roasty and chocolate

T-Chocolate and burnt coffee slight black licorice toward the end and then a rush of chocolate and then back to the licorice then chocolate. as I wait for my next taste I taste the chocolate

M-Some mild carbonation, creamy and thick

D-For this style this beer is very drinkable. If you can drink more than 2 or 3 impy's than they are drinkable

Solid beer that is a good representation
I am a fan

Photo of wangbruins
4.5/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A- Black-need-to-change-your-oil-color with a huge tan head that broke down nicely

S- Strong smokey and roasted scents like a liquid campfire, if that makes sense

T- Coffee at first and very earthy with some slight cherry flavors, not as bitter as some RIS

M- I was expecting it to be thick but it was very surprisingly smooth and almost thin (almost)

D- Almost too easy and very enjoyable. I could easily sit around and put down a whole bunch of these

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

This is a very nice Imperial Stout, a tad bit boozy, nice and thick, full bodied and full palated. The beer pours a pitch black color, no light penetrating through. There is a nice creamy brown head that retains fairly well, not much lacing. The nose on the beer is very sweet malt, roasted dark chocolate, sweet florals, sweet nutty flavors. There is a nice cocoa powder aroma too.

The taste is very full bodied, thick, and creamy. All the usual suspects are in this Imperial Stout, some roasted cherry chocolate notes, some boozy sweetish malts, some charred roasted grain. There is some hop bite towards the finish, and there is definitely some booziness and a slight throaty coarseness from the alcohol. There is a touch of nutty flavors popping through, but the booziness towards the finish takes over. The mouthfeel is a tad oily with some residual charred cherry flavors too. This is a nice beer for the style.

Photo of PatrickJR
4.02/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into oversized snifter.

A - Opaque black with some light making it's way through on the edges. A quarter to half inch of head rises; mocha colored with just a twinge of purple. Retention is fairly short though a little lace is left behind.

S - Immediately there's a rush of dark fruits; raisins and plums are most evident. There's a good deal of sourness present as well leading into some toffee and butterscotch aromas. Milk chocolate and just a hint of coffee grounds find their place as well.

T - Old Heathen tastes pretty much like it smells. Sour dark fruit (currants, plums, raisins, dates) kick in first followed closely by moderately strong notes of caramel and toffee, though the sweetness is somewhat subdued. Notions of licorice mingle with the fruit flavors. Mid palate the sweetness tapers quite a bit giving way to a good deal of lactic-esque sourness. Sourness quickly turns into bitterness accompanied by roasted flavors like burnt toast and stale coffee peppered with milk chocolate. Bitterness leans towards the burnt side with a touch of alcohol peeking through in the finish. Everything about the taste has improved as it's approached room temperature.

M - Medium to full bodied with a soft carbonation but still enough bubbles to keep it from being a syrupy mess. Extremely smooth.

D - Though nothing has jumped out at me about this beer, Old Heathen has been an enjoyable RIS. My biggest shock is how dramtically the taste improved as it warmed just a few degrees. Quite complex and devoid of overly roasted and burnt flavors that (to me) limit the accessibility of others in the style. Not something I would personally want to throw back all night long, but definitely one of the more enjoyable examples of the style I've had in a while.

Photo of rebel1771
4.03/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours a jet black with a frothy dark tan head.

S: Strong aroma of chocolate and coffee. Very sweet smelling.

T: Bittersweet chocolate at first, that fades to a dry pumpernickel flavor with hints of candied fruit.

D: This brew is a big beer but still very drinkable. Some brews go out of their way to blow you out of the water, this does not. This is a really well done Imperial Stout.

Photo of SLeffler27
4.15/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This snifter glass fills with a rich, black, velvet beer under a thin but dense head closely resembling the color of coffee ice cream. A lacing first coats the glass, then becomes a fine webbing. As the glass empties, one can notice legs upon swirling.

Strong, dark chocolate with black coffee, oak and molasses is carried airborne in fumes of alcohol reminiscent of brandy as is warms.

This stout opens with lush chocolate as it follows the nose adding bitterness and an amazing finish. The complexity of these flavors intensifies as it warms.

This one has a full, creamy body, lots of warming alcohol, both of which are welcoming.

Weyerbacher has produced a welcome addition to a good book or to be shared with a companion while sitting by a fire. I intend to try this with Rocky Road ice cream.

BTW, Tap & Mallet in Rochester, NY (where I tried this gem)is a great place for good beer, and the food is top notch too.

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

Served in a pint glass.

A - Poured black with a huge khaki head that settled to an eighth inch. No real lacing.

S - Roasted smell. Coffee, chocolate and then some sweetness.

T - Slightly bitter roasted coffee/chocolate flavors.

M - Smooth, lightly carbonated medium to thin.

D - Not thick and chewey, but still a good RIS.

Photo of blackearth
4.5/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Purchased from Ray's Liquors in Wauwautosa, WI. Pours an oily pitch black with a khaki tan head. Aroma of bourbon, oak, cream and vanilla. Full bodied and creamy with low to medium carbonation, this beer's flavors followed exactly from the aroma adding a roasted chocolate flavor to the cream, vanilla and bourbon flavors. Very drinkable, not heavy due to that subtle flavors of the bourbon. I need to get some more of this.

Photo of zeff80
4.1/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Poured out an opaque, jet black color with a thick, firm, long-lasting head of tan foam. It left some nice rings of lace.

S - It smelled very roasty with subtle coffee (expresso) notes. There were chocolate smelled and some mild floral notes.

T - Great dark chocolate and roasted caramel malt flavors. It had a bitter hop bite to match to sweet chocolate and caramel taste.

M - It was smooth and crisp with a somewhat dry finish. A medium bodied ale with just a touch of alcohol warmth.

D - This is a very good RIS that is fairly easy drinking with an ABV that isn't over-the-top like many other imperial stouts.

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

Pours black with a dark tan head that is rich with microbubbles and attractive lacing. Aroma of caramel malts, bubble gum, and a slight hops spiciness. Taste displays a smooth balance between roasted malts and a bubblegum sweetness. Dark malt finish with some residual dark fruit. Medium-full body and medium carbonation. Quite a good Imperial Stout in my opinion, nice combination of roast and sweet.

Photo of drinkHoppy
3.61/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a pint glass.

Old heathen is a fun beer to pour. It is jet black with a dark tan, creamy head which takes up every bit of glass the beer does not. Don't pour too fast, this will foam over. It does not drink nearly as thick as it looks, and is quite easy to forget this beer is 8%. The smell is pretty pronounced, kind of roasted and chocolaty. A bit of carbonation is noticeable and helps the beer to go fast. This is easy to drink for the style and the alcohol percentage, but the mouthfeel is the only reason I don't buy this beer more often. The taste really lingers and laces your mouth. I find myself taking my next sip just to remove the taste that is left from the previous one.

When people tell me Guinness is the best beer, of course I know they are ignorant to how many types of beers there are, I recommend them to Old Heathen. I am aware that they are very different, but, Old Heathen is a great beer, and i am positive others will like it more than I do.

Photo of colts9016
3.84/5  rDev -2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Got this bottle from a BIF, thank you.

Poured into a pint glass at 51 degree.

Appearance: A dark Tan foamy creamy one finger head that has some retention. The body of the beer is jet black. The clarity of the beer is opaque. There is some carbonation bubble on the side of the glass.

Nose: A rich dark roasted malt, espresso, a molasses like sweetness, dark chocolate, a little bit of wood, citrus, and floral. There is a slight hint of phenols in the background of the beer.

Taste: A very dark roasted malt, espresso, milk chocolate, a touch of molasses, a little wood, cirus, and some floral. There is a nice earthy flavor that grounds this beer. Like in the nose, there is some phenols.

Overall: The mouth feel of the beer is a little flat with some creaminess. The body of the beer is medium full and the finish is medium. This RIS, isnt chewy and full body up in your face like a great RIS. It does hold the characters of a good RIS, so, it isnt too bad. I enjoyed drinking it.

Photo of philipquarles
3.45/5  rDev -12%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle. Pours an extremely dark brown with a medium light brown head. Smells of light cocoa and darkly roasted malt. No blatant coffee aromas, surprisingly. The taste is dark, slightly bitter roasted malt with some milk chocolate. Mostly sweet. The body is on the lighter side for an imperial stout. A mediocre RIS, really.

Photo of Yimosan
4.33/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12oz Brown bottle onto a glass dimpled mug.

A: Jet black with a thick and creamy 2 finger brown head. The head thinned out fairly quick forming a brown bubbly ring around the edge.

S: Chocolate, roasted malt, raisins, and fig.

T: Chocolate definitely comes through first, then sweet roasted malt and I also tasted Fig Newton cookies somewhere in there. As the beer warms, the flavor becomes more integrated, like combining all the components I mentioned above into a blender...simply delicious.

M: Smooth and creamy like a cup of hot cocoa.

D: A very good Russian stout that goes down extremely well.


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Old Heathen Imperial Stout from Weyerbacher Brewing Co.
88 out of 100 based on 1,590 ratings.