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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

1,498 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,498
Reviews: 810
rAvg: 3.92
pDev: 11.73%
Wants: 63
Gots: 126 | 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:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 08-19-2001)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,498 | Reviews: 810 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of mrbosworth
4.2/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark as night as I pour into the glass. Very little if any head with a medium pour. The aroma is that of coffee and caramel. As it's given a swirl around the glass, it leaves thick translucent swirls around the sides. Very smooth feel in the mouth, somewhat dry heavy in the beginning and tapers in the aftertaste. Very drinkable. Another vote for Weyerbacher from me.

mrbosworth, Jan 20, 2008
Photo of bennetj17
3.43/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Dark black color with thin tan foam, not real viscous/thick looking during the pour. Aroma of roasted/smoky malt, chocolate, dark cherry and wet paper.

Very dry flavor of chocolate and dark fruit with a toasty finish, not very bitter in the finish. The alcohol is not perceived. It's tad bit watery for style but for a change its nice not having to chew through a RIS. Soft carbonation, but enough to get by.

I wasn't too impressed by this beer. Perhaps it was a bit past its peak but I would still expect more flavor and balance from a good RIS. There are too many superior choices out there...

bennetj17, Jan 16, 2008
Photo of Lupe
4.9/5  rDev +25%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Absolutely pitch black with a thin, yet dense, coffee colored creamy head. Head quickly recedes to a thin sheet and leaves some lace.

Big initial cocoa and espresso aroma. This leads the way for dark fruit and raisin. Alcohol is in the nose with a rum-like aroma. Some oak rounds thing out. Very nice.

Robust and has great complexity with flavors of espresso, bitter roasted malt, raisin, dark chocolate, tart plums and cherries. Mild leafy hops, add to the flavor, with the dark roasted malt providing the balancing bitterness. Other than sherry notes, the alcohol is very well hidden - more present in the aroma. Finishes clean with lingering fruit and roasted dryness.

Extremely smooth, creamy, a little thinner than expected. Medium in body. So drinkable. Even with the alcohol I could have a few of these in a sitting.

Top notch Imperial Stout. Rich, complex, very well balanced. No overly roasted bitterness or fusel alcohol flavors, and the hops add a nice complement. Very enjoyable.

Lupe, Jan 14, 2008
Photo of Iceman77
3.88/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours deep black with some mahogany tones picked up by light, not much head to speak of although could have been a product of a gentle pour, leaves a toffee/latte colored surface residue. The initial aroma is of fruit and alcohol, although you can also pick up the sense of malt and coffee. The main flavors are of chocolate and strong coffee, with a faint and welcome aftertaste of roasted malt. The mouthfeel is surprisingly smooth for an imperial, not too bitter. The abv might be the only challenge with having a bunch of these, though could def have a few. I seem to recall liking the Weyerbacher Heresy maybe a tiny bit better, but the fact that they have two top notch imperial stouts is a testament to their quality.

Iceman77, Jan 13, 2008
Photo of jaxon53
3.45/5  rDev -12%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Served at just about cellar temperature, from a twelve ounce brown bottle, into a pint glass. Poured a deep motor oil black that not a single ray of light could pass through. A somewhat vigorous pour yielded about two fingers of thick, bubbly brown head. Head faded pretty quickly into a thin layer of cream atop the beer. Some sticky, spotty lace was left behind in the glass.Nose was chocolatey, with a bit of burnt coffee, some thick roasted malt aromas, and a tiny bit of noticeable hops buried in the background. Taste was chocolate, some more coffee, a ton of sweet roasted malts, a bit of booze, vanilla extract and some toffee. Mouthfeel was a bit thin for my liking. No chewyness that I like from the style. Minimal carbonation, and some noticeable alcohol. Decent drinkability.

jaxon53, Dec 31, 2007
Photo of RblWthACoz
4.53/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours pitch black, tan head. Looks like trouble. Nose is deep coffee. Strong malts. Just a thick and deep fragrance. Hmmm. If only it tastes as good as it has built up to...

Flavor is thick with malts. Strong and firm, it does not waver. Hearty, tar like, so deep, it goes beyond coffee or chocolate and just enters a realm of robust that you don't want to mess with. Coffee hits you in the end after the thick malts have finally calmed down. Feel is thick on liquid with a lower carbonation that you'd expect. Definitely drinkable. Very smooth and very well made. This is one to try. Go get it.

RblWthACoz, Dec 31, 2007
Photo of dedrinker
3.45/5  rDev -12%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

It is black. The head is light brown. The first smells are prunes, coffee, BOOZE. Then, in my snifter glass, it evolves to cocoa and dark berries (black, blue, rasp.). The flavor has less impact than the aroma, and adds roasted malts, coffee, and bitter cola. Body is medium-full with a dry toasty finish that reveals alcohol - more than is good, yet not too much. I liked the aromas best. Would I buy again? Not while Old Rasputin is still around all year.

dedrinker, Dec 31, 2007
Photo of timtim
4.05/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

looked pitch black at first, but when i really took a good look, i noticed some ruby and brownish highlights. it all sat underneath a thick tan head that hung around fairly long and left good lace. nose wasn't super strong like i like in my ris's, but nice nonetheless. sweet and roasty. notes of chocolate, cocoa and very faint coffee. taste was pretty much what the nose suggested. the chocolate came through in the finish as well as some cocoa and maybe some dark fruit as well. mouthfeel was very impressive, as always from the weyerbacher crew. super smooth and creamy. in my opinion, the strongest point for this stout. easy, very unoffensive stout. i'm a huge weyerbacher fan, and i'd gladly have another.

timtim, Dec 31, 2007
3.38/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A very strong pour yeilds a slow growing solid inch and a half dark brownish tan head. Sits atop a thick oil rich black body. Nose is shockingly sweet with fresh dark fruit notes and hints of smokey chocolate. A little loose and scattered as it hits the tongue. Soured fruity notes meets bitter chocolate. Burnt toffee and raw minerals also are there. Lacks the richness and balance of what are big plus in the better Imperial stouts. Alchol is very well hidden. Mouthfeel is a little to sour for the style. Drinkability is hurt by this.

SPLITGRIN, Dec 28, 2007
Photo of ZimZamZoom
4.35/5  rDev +11%
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.

ZimZamZoom, Dec 25, 2007
Photo of letsgopens
3.23/5  rDev -17.6%
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.

letsgopens, Dec 24, 2007
Photo of ColForbinBC
3.88/5  rDev -1%
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.

ColForbinBC, Dec 20, 2007
Photo of drperm
4.38/5  rDev +11.7%
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.

drperm, Dec 17, 2007
Photo of JDV
4.08/5  rDev +4.1%
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!

JDV, Dec 15, 2007
Photo of TheTrevor
3.4/5  rDev -13.3%
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.

TheTrevor, Dec 06, 2007
Photo of tayner
2.9/5  rDev -26%
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.

tayner, Nov 30, 2007
Photo of Jwale73
4.28/5  rDev +9.2%
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.

Jwale73, Nov 29, 2007
Photo of bigeyedfish
4.28/5  rDev +9.2%
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.

bigeyedfish, Nov 27, 2007
Photo of biegaman
3.7/5  rDev -5.6%
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!

biegaman, Nov 22, 2007
Photo of IntriqKen
4.2/5  rDev +7.1%
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.

IntriqKen, Nov 17, 2007
Photo of neobassman
4.22/5  rDev +7.7%
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.

neobassman, Nov 05, 2007
Photo of Georgiabeer
3.98/5  rDev +1.5%
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.

Georgiabeer, Nov 04, 2007
Photo of BWH3
2.58/5  rDev -34.2%
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)

BWH3, Nov 03, 2007
Photo of bboven
4.43/5  rDev +13%
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.

bboven, Oct 31, 2007
Photo of blackie
4.05/5  rDev +3.3%
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

blackie, Oct 29, 2007
Old Heathen Imperial Stout from Weyerbacher Brewing Co.
88 out of 100 based on 1,498 ratings.