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Old Heathen Imperial Stout - Weyerbacher Brewing Co.

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Old Heathen Imperial Stout
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very good

1,549 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,549
Reviews: 811
rAvg: 3.92
pDev: 11.48%
Wants: 64
Gots: 140 | 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:
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 added by: BeerAdvocate on 08-19-2001)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,549 | Reviews: 811 | Display Reviews Only:
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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Photo of droomyster
4.3/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a very dark with an astonishingly brown head that is fizzy at first but quickly settles. Smells of chocolate a roastiness; aromoas are a bit faint. Taste has me shaking my head "yes" over and over: jackpot! There's so much happening on the palate that I hardly know where to start. Initial impression of tingly carbonation on the front of the tongue, then a very big whallop of dark chocolate mousse and sweetened coffee take over. Finish is extremely long and satisfying, going from a cocoa sweetness to a dark chocolate, roasty bitterness. Body is medium-full, could be fuller, but this beer is definitely a winning bet.

Photo of drumrboy22
4/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Received from Yamar18 from the Phish BIF. Poured from 12oz. bottle into a Delirium Noel chalice. Beer was pitch black with a very small, dark brown head that quickly faded away. Very light carbonation and no lacing.

Aroma was roasted malts, burnt wood, coffee, licorice and molasses.

Taste was heavy black coffee, roasted grains and malt.

Short, lightly bitter finish.

A pretty nice sipper. Good balance and flavors. I'd track this down again. Thanks to Yamar18 for the bottle.

Photo of caminiti
3.65/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Interesting, but not necessarily in a good way. Poured as dark as a beer can be, with very little head and not much lacing, smell is faint. Malt, and a bit smoky, not up my alley, tasted a bit smokey as well, maybe coffee in there too. Mouthfeel is thick and creamy. Worth a try to see if it is for you, but I would not drop the money on anything more than a single bottle to try it.

Photo of jpaltan
4.03/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Black as night. head froths up big and thick then settles down into an oily skin on top with minimal lacing. The nose is chocolately with a hint of coffee. slight woody aroma. Taste is cocoa with a pleasant bitterness at the end. real espresso taste throughout as well. somewhat sweet in the finish, then dries out slightly. mouthfeel is viscous and chewy, but still wish it had a bit more creaminess to it. overall, a nice example of an ris.

Photo of DavoleBomb
3.38/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a pint glass.

3.5 A: Used engine-oil with one finger of thick head. Less than average retention, but decent lacing. Looks like you can sink your teeth into this baby.

4.0 S: Dark chocolate and strong coffee. Nose is somewhat weak, but also toasted dark grains and perhaps raisin.

3.0 T: Chocolate and coffee again. It's not that the taste is bad, it's that it barely exists. I don't know how the hell it's possible to make an 8.0% ABV with so little flavor. A bit more raisin and crystal malts.

3.5 M: Medium body, reasonably creamy. Good, but nothing spectacular.

3.5 D: Not bad if your in the mood for an RIS, but this isn't the one I'd choose.

Photo of taylor714914
3.9/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a snifter.

A- This fine imperial stout pours a nice light black color which lets just a bit of light through. It leaves a nice 2 finger head which settles down to a 1 finger head, then lingers to a slight coating from the midway point to the end.

S- Smell was of roasted malts, faint chocolate, and even a bit of french roast coffee. Not as aromatic as I had expected, but good none the less.

T- Great taste in this imperial stout. Creamy chocolate and toasted malts, faint coffee and wood notes, with a nice lingering bitterness on the back of the palate that isn't too strong or overbearing.

M- Mouthfeel is excellent. Perfectly carbonated for this style. Not heavily carbonated, but just enough to be the perfect mouthfeel. Thick, rich, and smoooth. A brew that lingers on my palate for minutes and leaves an oh so good aftertaste.

D- Drinkability is above average. The smoothness combined with the perfect carbonation and excellent flavors make this a brew I could easily drink 3 or 4 of in a night.

Photo of roadhouse
3.5/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a snifter.

Appears an opaque black with a half inch dark tan head that sinks to a skim quickly. Nothing much in the way of lacing.

Aroma is somewhat strange. The first few whiffs smelled a bit like the smoked meat aroma produced by Rauchmalt, but that went away. Now there is a layer of milk chocolate and a bit of banana esters in there as well. Kind of like those chocolate covered frozen bananas.

Taste is pretty chocolaty from the start with a bit of a burnt wood character creeping in midway through. It becomes stronger and eventually changes into more of a black coffee taste in the finish. It's good but something about it seems a bit watery to me, hence the docking of a half point.

Mouthfeel is fair for the style, full, thick and chewy. Carbonation is decent, but could be a little higher I think.

This one wasn't that great, but I wasn't expecting that much so I'm not let down. It's a solid B class Imperial Stout. I say give it a shot.

Photo of StarlightSeraph
3.5/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a snifter.

Appearance: Poured a dark, deep brown with a two finger medium-brown head. The head dissipated very quickly, before I could take a sip.

Smell: Coffee and roasted malts, with hints of alcohol wisping through. A somewhat bready scent comes through as well.

Taste: Coffee is the dominant flavor, with the alcohol noticeably present in the background. Something of an astringent flavor behind it all, probably from the alcohol. Chocolate malt is present in the aftertaste, and bitter chocolate/coffee lingers for a little bit. Not as full flavored as other imperial stouts - somewhat watery. The alcohol definitely warmed the stomach as it went down.

Mouthfeel: Medium-thickness, and decent carbonation.

Drinkability: Not bad. A sipper, as this one doesn't hide the alcohol has good as many other imperial stouts. I enjoyed this, but I can't say that I'd buy this over any other imperial stout that's out there.

Photo of jawapimp
3.75/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: dark brown. 1/2 inch tan head.

Smell: good roasted malt a hint of chocolate but the espresso is evident.

Taste: Malty, then espresso, finished with a warming alcohol feel.

Mouth feel : Smooth, low carbonation.

Drinkability: Quite drinkable, a couple of beers and I would move to something heavier.

Photo of number1bum
2.73/5  rDev -30.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Pours a dark brown color with a fizzy two fingers of tan head. Head settles to a thin lace, leaving a bit of stick but retention overall isn't all that impressive.

Smell is, in a word, odd. It has a cola sort of aroma to it, with a syrupy sweetness and a grainy roasted aroma. I can get a bit of chocolate with much effort, and also an odd fruitiness; not really sure what it is, banana maybe? Weird, and not really what I'm looking for out of an imperial stout.

Taste has more roasted malt character than the smell which holds it together a little better, but it's still pretty strange. I definitely think it's banana I'm smelling/tasting now, which I can't say I expected in an imperial stout. I can't say I really like it either. There are other fruity esters, as well. It's a bit on the grainy side and like the smell it has a cola sort of sweetness. Really lacks robustness and depth of flavor, and the malt profile is just bland and boring.

For an imperial stout, even one on the low end at 8%, this is quite thin. It's less than medium bodied and just feels thin in the mouth. There is almost a complete lack of aftertaste which speaks to how thin it is, as well. Can I have more malt please?

This is another Weyerbacher beer that I find extremely underwhelming. This is just a very strange imperial stout. Has an overall cola sort of quality to it, and the banana qualities are also odd. It's also very thin and needs much more in the way of body. Just lacks robustness overall, and frankly isn't all that good. I'm not a fan, and I won't be coming back for more.

Photo of RonofPA
4.38/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This has been my favorite new brew this holiday season.

If you like your beer dark you will love the deep expresso tones evident during the pour.

Aroma carried a nice whiff of fresh hops over a malty base.

The power of this beer kicks in with the first taste of deep maltiness conjuring images of dense chocolate cake, not too sweet. No sense of the high alcohol content in the taste.

Medium to full bodied mouthfeel and a nice crisp finish. Very drinkable - would have loved to have followed my first bottle with a second...if I had one!

Overall a well balanced product.

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

Weyerbacher Old Heathen Imperial Stout...

Appearance-a thick viciously black color, tan brown creamy head that disappears quickly, oily swirl.

Smell-fruity notes, chocolate/coffee, alcohol fumes, nutty aroma, very nice.

Taste/Mouthfeel-complex flavor, starts out with a more fruity pear-like taste, sugary near the middle with coffee fumes , aftertaste is smooth with a last alcohol burn before leaving. I also let it sit to warm up and tasted again and maybe got a faint coffee taste as well. Balanced taste.

Drinkability-balanced, flavorful, complex, I'm a fan.

Overall-really nice stout, again from above it's balanced, flavorful, and complex. I really enjoyed it.

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

Pours deep black with a beautiful1/2 inch caramel colored head. Smells of dark fruits, coffee, and chocolate complete the nose. First sip is a blend of coffee and chocolate and neither is overpowering. A strong malt backbone compliments and makes the Imperial Stout very creamy. Tastes stronger than ths 8% ABV would indicate.

Photo of rhinos00
3.9/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz. bottle into a snifter.

A- Dark brown, almost black. Poured half inch tan head.

S- Nice combination of burnt malt, molasses, and chocolate. Booze is very evident.

T- Follows the nose. Wish there was a little more complexity.

M- Thick and viscous. Typical of the style.

D- Very drinkable.

Overall, a nice quality beer to relax on a cold day.

Photo of beerthulhu
3.98/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Poured a dark chocolate color, with a moderate size cherry tan head.

S: some rich, dark fruit, chocolate, figs and dark roasted grain. There was a nice bitter hoppiness with light charred smokiness that added some complexity and depth.

T: The flavor was malty with dark chocolate, dark fruit and black coffee beans and dried cherries.

M: thick and viscous with a nice creamy full body feel on the tongue.

D: Had enough complexity and dark fruitiness as well alcohol to keep things interesting throughout the entire drink, which became more smooth and easy as you progressed.

Photo of katan
3.85/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle

A - Very dark - not very thick. Head was slow to form, but once it was there it was well retained. A mocha colored foam formation.

S - Primarily a combination of roasted and smoked flavors on the nose. Perhaps the trifecta is rounded out with some hints of coffee.

T - Starts off light with some acidic notes combined with a hair of bitterness. Out of the gate very balanced. Finishes with an interesting sweeter cocoa flavor. Very chocolatey. Just a hair of phenolic notes became more noticeable on the aftertaste.

M - Thick and creamy - above average body for the RIS experience I have. Carbonation isn't very present. Almost feels like I'm drinking chocolate milk at times.

D - Deceiptively easy to drink. I find that the alcohol is warming but not overpowering. Flavors are smooth enough so that it doesn't wear down the pallet.

Solid RIS. Not quite Black Bear or Ten Fidy, but close.

Photo of hoplover82
3.75/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 2.5

I can never ''love'' a stout that is too chocolaty. And this one is. It's not bad, but I just can't ''love'' it.

Pours black with a thick dark brown sugar creamy but quickly dissapating head.

Strong licerice in the aroma and choclate malts.

As I said, the flavor is too chocolaty, they should call it Imp Chocolate Stout. No balance to this one.

The mouthfeel is smooth and not too dry, which would make it better. It's pretty cloying.

The alcohol is very hidden so it seems drinkable but then you start to feel numb after half a bottle so it turns out, it's not. I could just have one of these (which is not a bad thing).

Photo of JerzDevl2000
4/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Picked this up recently because winter is fast approaching and I'm on a stout kick right now. I wasn't quite sure if this would be a "motor-oil" stout or more of a rich and roasted variety but surprisingly, this turned out to be neither of those. This is pretty smooth and easygoing, which suits me well after the day at work I had yesterday!

It's almost a typical stout pour here - dark, with a hint of ruby at the edges, a creamy tan head, and surprisingly, no lacing to be found down the sides of my glass as I sip this down. The mouthfeel is different than other brands of this type that I've had lately - there is no roasting or toffee to be found here. Instead, this comes across as a sweet stout, with chocolate, lactose, milk, and a hint of espresso all found here. The aroma is isn't very overpowering but the mouthfeel is like a light version of the Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout. It goes down very creamy and smoothy, with a hint of the bitter chocolate in the back and a root-beer like carbonation left in front for the aftertaste.

I can't even taste the alcohol in this and I'm almost shocked this this is listed as 8.00% ABV. While this isn't the best stout I've had, there's no way ya could go wrong drinking this. It would go well with food since there's nothing here to overpower a meal and the alochol doesn't linger on breath like it does with so many other heavy beers. This might be enough to have my crave some Ghiradelli on the side...

Photo of avalon07
4.3/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Poured from a bottle to a pint glass. Had a coal black color and a thick consistency. There was a huge, tan-colored, long-lasting head and excellent lacing.

S: A subtle aroma of coffee, malts and maybe some chocolate.

T: A nicely done taste with roasted malt, coffee, chocolate and a slightly astringent quality.

M: Highly carbonated with a smooth finish. Full-bodied.

D: This is a drinkable beer, though it is as heavy as you might expect.

Photo of PatronWizard
3.95/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Gift from and thank you to Mauerhan. You ole softie!

Pours more of a super dark brown than black. Near black though. Sports a decent yet thin head of off-white bubbles, settling to a film.

Well, she smells good, Captain. Robust coffee. Maybe booze?

Taste sorta fruity. Cherries? A little too much so personally. Fruits are on top of the coffee, camel clutch.

In fact, there's a little too much everything here. For example: a little too fruity, a little too thin, a little too harsh. Yes, I'm fuckin Goldilocks. Let's let it warm.

<Let's it warm.>

A nice coffee flavor emerges to counter the fruits. Definitely tasts better at near room temperature. Still seems just a little thin for a stout, forgiveable.

Would I drink it again? If you're buying, I'll drink 20 of em. Would I seek it out again? Probably not.

Overall: good one shot beer

Old Heathen Imperial Stout from Weyerbacher Brewing Co.
88 out of 100 based on 1,549 ratings.