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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 redneckchugger
3.1/5  rDev -20.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

poured into my chimay chalice.
dark dark brown, big tan head, some bubbles from carbonation.
smells of roasted malt
tastes about the same as the smell, but a bit weaker than i expected, some caramel notes, a hint of alcohol, some bitter malt flavor, kinda weak for an imperial stout.
mouthfeel is a bit thin also, i gotta say i was a bit disapointed in this one, its good, but not really imperial in my opinion.

Photo of DarkerTheBetter
3.68/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Old Heathen, how is it that I have not reviewed you yet?

This beer pours a dark black, but is a dark, clear brown as I pour it. I can still see a bit of this bright brown through the edges of my pint. The head is but a dirty pale tan collar.

Smells of raisins and milk chocolate mixed up in a dusty dryness. There's also a tart green apple sourness accompanied by a touch of old coffee.

Tastes similar with an emphasis on a light and watery milk chocolate and coffee that picks up some under-ripe strawberry sourness. This finishes off with a light baking cocoa dryness.

Feels quite light and clean that leaves a bit of film in my mouth. The carbonation seems like its trying to creep out of the beer prematurely.

An easy drinking RIS.

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

Poured at 55 degrees F.

A: A thick dark black color. With a decent brown head that quickly dissipated. Lots of carbonation.

S: Lots of chocolate, espresso, fruit (prunes/raisins) and other roasted grain malts. A great smell, becomes more potent as it warms, very typical of this style.

T: A great mixture of chocolate, prunes/raisins, espresso, with some hints of alcohol, all quite balanced.

M: A rich creamy roasted malt flavoring on the tongue. A tad on the dry side.

D: This is a great Imperial Stout. Good for dessert!

Photo of Chinon01
4/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The appearance is deep brown to black. Nice soapy sloppy head. The taste and aroma I would describe as "breakfasty" (i.e. profound cocoa and roasted coffee). And the mouthfeel was rounder and light and sort of milky (not very "hot" or very inky [for an imperial]).

Photo of Stinkypuss
4.65/5  rDev +18.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A. Poured into a frozen Steelers mug, watching the game. What a great coincidence. Pours chocolate syrup with a dark khaki head.

S. Woody booze dark cherries.

T. Smooth malty and creamy. Sedating. Very well rounded. Toasted malt. Robust coffee in the distance. Sharp bitter hops. There are layers of grandness. 5

M. Coats the palate with a light creme. Enjoyable.

D. I am glad I have 2 more of these!

Photo of currysage1
3.8/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from 12oz. bottle into snifter. Pours a thick one finger cocoa head. Dark black velvet look to it.

Smells of rum soaked pound cake, raisins mixed in, chocolate covered figs. Slightly astringent but pleasantly.

Dark chocolate off the bat, with some dark fruits and root vegetable. Middle has more of a boozy sort of feel to it, and it finishes with a candy like sweetness mixed with a dark roasted grain.

Feel is nice and dense, somewhat chewy, and it matches the look with a velvet smoothness.
Drink is somewhat less, not as complex as I would like. RIS are not exactly easy drinking beers but this is one that I would have one but move on. Recommended but not a staple.

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

Pours a jet black viscous looking color. There is a thin tan head that dissipates immediately.
Smell is somewhat faint for an imperial stout. A faint chocolate malt smell to it with a little bit of plum as well. Some good smoked malts also.
Good taste to this beer. Very strong smoked, roasted malts. Good oaky taste.
Mouthfeel is nice. Very smooth, but slightly thin for an imperial stout.
Drinkability is nice. Very smooth beer and it doesn't have an overbearing strong taste that usually makes it hard to drink a lot of an imperial stout. Not one of the best offerings for its brand, but I could definitely drink a six-pack of these.

Photo of Nesued
3.8/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a pilsner glass from a 12 oz bottle. No freshness date or other such markings to determine production date.

Appearance - Poured a squid ink black (hey, best way of describing the "black" of this pour). A dense tan head formed upon the initial pour that retained until sampling. Opaque with little chance to determine the carbonation density.

Smell - Heavy roasted coffee bean aroma. A yeasty presense as well, but a overwhelming malty nose is what hits me hard.

Taste - The coffee/espresso smell extends into taste as well. The carbonation makes its appearance with a mild bite on the tongue as well. A bit of a bitterness towards the end and little to no alcohol presence. A clean finish with little remaining prior to your next sip.

Mouthfeel - A bit thin in the initial and middle but the finish is worthwhile. A good opening that seems to lose points due to lack of duration when compared to other RISs I've had.

Drinkability - If I had to pick a style, RIS would be my favorate. This offering is above the mean, but not a top RIS. Worth having a few around if you want to compare to others within its class. I have a few aging to see if any change is noticed over time.

Photo of jdubjacket
3.5/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a Stella Artois chalice. Pours a deep brown with not much of a head. Smells like roasted coffee and a little bit of chocolate undertones. Taste is primarily coffee and roasted malts. Not incredibly complex. Moderate carbonation makes this relatively drinkable. Not the best RIS, but a good one nonetheless.

Photo of AltBock
2.98/5  rDev -24%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

12 oz. bottle with a shadowy figure of a medicine man or a mountain man on a mountain looking at the full moon in front of him. It's one of their better labels. There is however still no date on the bottle.

I went ahead and poured this oldie into a Maudite Snifter. When it settled, this RIS is a solid ink black with a 1/2 an inch head of mocha colored foam. This mocha head quickly dissipated into a foamy mocha rings along the edge and few mocha spots of lace here and there.

This RIS smelled like cinnamon candy with a hint of dark roasted malts and a tiny splash of dark chocolate. This has to be the first RIS that I've smelled that smells exactly like bulk cinnamon candy.

No cinnamon in the taste, but the taste was dark and roasted like a good RIS should be. This RIS contained dried dark roasted malts, a hint of black cherry, a touch of espresso, and then it suddenly ends with a hoppy alcohol combo. Imagine subtle floral hops soaked in alcohol. That's what the hoppy/alcohol combo tasted like.

The mouthfeel to this RIS was medium bodied and very carbonated with a slightly roasted aftertaste of dried dark roasted malts, a hint of dark fruits, and a drop of alcohol at the finish.

It's clearly not the most roasted of flavorful RIS out on the market, but it is a decent one. It's one of the few can miss RIS. It's one of those beers you get when you want to start out on that particular style of beer.

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

A : Pours a nice black with a very small tan head and no lacing

S : Mainly roasted malts and chocolate. Hints of coffee

T : Same as the smell. Big roasted malt flavor with chocolate notes. There's hints of coffee and dark fruit in there also.

M : Creamy and smooth

D : Another excellent one from Weyerbacher. I'd take more of it.

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

A: Old Heathen pours almost jet black with ruby edges. Little-to-no head and no lacing to speak of.

S: Aroma of dark chocolate and coffee. A bit of malt sweetness detected as well. True to style, no hops detected in the nose. Alcohol becomes more apparent as it warms.

T: Slightly sweet up front, roasty and dark chocolate thru the middle, and finishes slightly dry and bitter. Maybe a bit of dark fruit as well. Alcohol is mildly warming.

M: Medium mouthfeel and slightly chewy as a stout should be.

D: For a stout of 8% abv, I give the "good" drinkability. I might be able to enjoy two of these in one sitting on a cold fall evening, but no more.

Overall, a pretty good example of the RIS style and one that I enjoy and will have again.

Photo of bkilpatr
3.63/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a pint glass. 07/07/08.

Pours nearly pitch black, with one finger of creamy brown head. The head settled to a thin layer but left no lacing on the glass. Aromas of roasted malt and chocolate.

Taste starts with creamy milk chocolate up front. Finishes with a bunch of roasted malt and bitter dark chocolate. Just a hint of roasted coffee and cherry. Nice balance of sweet up front and bitter on the back end. Almost no hop profile. It tastes good, but it's not as complex as some.

Feel is the area where this beer let me down. It's kinda thin and watery, and a bit over-carbonated. Drinkability is good though for this reason. It's not too thick and it's not sticky, so it's probably one of the more drinkable RIS.

Overall, not a bad RIS. It's a bit on the plain side and not very complex. Probably a good starter as an intro to the RIS style.

Photo of cjgator3
4.28/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into a pint glass. Pours a dark black color with a tan colored head that sticks around for quite a while and leaves some lacing around the glass. The aroma is dark roasted malts, chocolate and cherries. The taste like the aroma is big on the dark roasted malts with some cherries and a very mild hop bitterness. I am really enjoying Old Heathen, it is very tasty and highly drinkable for an RIS. Overall, Old Heathen is a very nice Imperial Stout that is recommended.

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

RIS is my favorite style. This is a good one but I'll not drink it too often. I immediately can smell the alcohol on this one almost like Kaluah. Pours typical of the style, black with a strong head that leaves nice lacing. Taste is mostly Spanish Coffee--deep and slightly burnt but not bad. I don't get much chocolate on this one. Anyone not familiar with Spanish coffee go out and buy a block of El Pico and brew a pot. This brew, though similar ABV hits differently than others. I get more carbonation and a slightly tangy bite on the back of my throat with this one. Still very good.

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

Gorgeous stout! Pours into the snifter with a nice tan head.

Smelled of pie crust and cacao.

Burnt chocolate with a residual almost cherry creme finish. There is little to no alcohol burn.

Very heavy and substantial.

This is a very fine beer, though it's a bit sweeter than expected.

Photo of Winter
4.4/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours black with some auburn highlights at the bottom. Thick tan head. Aroma consists of dark chocolate, roasted malt, roasted coffee, and some vinous notes. The mouthfeel is full-bodied and silky smooth. Roasted dark malt with a dark vinous fruit flavor upfront. Dry middle. Mildly hopped, but the malt flavor dominates. Some coffee toward the back with some hints of cherry. Alcohol is noticeable in the finish. Very smooth and dangerously drinkable.

Photo of hwwty4
3.45/5  rDev -12%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Thanks Akorsak for the chance of trying this brew.

Poured a 12oz bottle into my Smokestack goblet. This beer pours a jet black with absolutely no head even with a vigorous pour. It left no lacing and really reminded me of an oil slick. The aroma is chocolate, vanilla and cherries. The taste has a surprisingly overwhelming cheery flavor. Vanilla, chocolate and espresso all play second fiddle to the cherries. The mouthfeel is full and astringent at the finish. Its a good beer, I would really like to try it on tap or after its aged awhile.

As a finishing note, this is a good RIS but it seems not nearly as complex as many other examples. While it seems a contradiction in terms (simple RIS) the flavors seem pretty straight forward, which allows some of the beers flaws to come through.

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

Weyerbacher Old Heathen
12oz. brown bottle

A: poured into a straight pint/tumbler. Pours an ridiculously dark brown/ pitch black color with a nice tan head. Low retention and fair lacing.

S:some chocolate, cherries, and coffee in the nose off the bat. rich roasted malts are in there as well.

T: some nice chocolate tones from the roasted malts, along with some serious cherry flavors. light hints of vanilla. extremely well-balanced for 8%. not much of a hop presence, but these are some serious malts. some coffee and toffee are in there as well.

M: nice bold body. mild carbonation. very smooth and crisp, along with a creamy characteristic.

D: for an imperial stout this is phenomenal. I love the cherry tones, but the 8% abv is hidden so well. well-balanced and subtle all at once, with the extreme part of an imperial stout. give this one a try.

Photo of younger35
3.58/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Received this brew from DrSeamus in the Big Black Booty BIF. Drank from my Stone India Pale Ale tulip.

Appearance- Pours a dark blackish brown with a rather frothy tannish burnt one finger head. The head has some holding power leaving a fair amount of lace down the side of my tulip.
Smell- Malty and fairly brash this thing is bursting with dark baker's chocolate and strong roasted French espresso. A bit of a cotton candy sweetness is hiding under the malty goodness along with a bit of light hops. Mostly just chocolate though, lots of it.
Taste- Not as chocolaty as I was expecting from the smell but it's still there. More of a sweet milk chocolate than the bitter chocolate that I perceived in the nose. Also, quite surprisingly, there isn't any coffee either. The hops are fairly more assertive in the taste than in the nose. Lightly citrus with a very mellowed alcohol tinge toward the end. Finishes with a lingering chocolaty malt.
Mouthfeel- Fairly thin and unassertive but also smooth and velvety with light carbonation. Could use a bit more umphhhh.
Drinkability- Overall this is a pretty tasty little brew. Nothing fancy or over-the-top just a nice solid chocolaty stout. Very approachable and easy drinking, I definitely enjoyed this one. Big thanks to DrSeamus!

Photo of tpd975
3.25/5  rDev -17.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Thanks to fishingnet for this one.

A: An ink black with an average sized caramel colored head with average retention.

S: Light smoke detected along with roasted coffee and chocolate.

T: Nice roasted malt flavors with hints of coffee, chocolate, and a blast of hops for bitterness. The flavor overall is light.

M: Medium in body with ample carbonation.

D: Not bad, like the hops but could go for a bit more flavor.

Overall: It's a nice sessionable stout.

Photo of Proteus93
4.08/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Inky black pour, topped with a somewhat short light tan head, both aspects being standard to the style. Rather uneventful.

S: Dark chocolate, a raisin scent - as in when the two are combined into a nice bar together. Dark roasted, slightly burnt malts.

T: A little on the lighter side, as far as the RIS style goes - both in flavour and body. It's still quite tasty... an interesting tartness that I usually don't find in others. Slightly old coffee, chocolate flavours, roasted malt, with a touch of bitterness and alcohol flavour (though not so much warmth?) at the end. Just of dash of fizz to the body for expressiveness.

D: A decent finish to the night, and alcohol is quite well hidden - as mentioned, to the point of not really feeling warm on the finish. Worth picking up, though.

Photo of maximum12
4.03/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Thanks to MrBURTON55 for the Old Heathen. Nothing like a sixer of RIS delivered before work in the morning to start the day off right.

Pours pitch, light-sucking black, with a very thin head that vanishes faster than GWB's campaign promises. There is, however, an interesting snap-crackle-pop coming up from the beer.

Tastes really good. Complex. Lots of stuff going on. I read a lot of reviews & figure people are imagining a lot of the stuff they 'taste', but this one actually has some complexity. I get a strong whiff of chocolate, a bit of coffee, & a tart shoulder of hops. Good. Very good. Very distinct from most of the Russian Imperials I've tasted.

Drinkable? Kind of. Much like Weyerbacher's Double Simcoe, I feel torn. I like it, lots. But I don't think I could put down more than one. It's a bit heavier than I like my RIS. That's the only negative here.

I'm impressed with Weyerbacher & very happy to have four more untasted varieties downstairs. This doesn't quite reach the 'need to have those in the fridge' quality of the Double Sim, but it's a very good beer.

Photo of Bubba83
4.65/5  rDev +18.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served at 50 degrees, poured it into a Snifter. Thanks go to Kegatron for trading this gem to me.

Initial impressions by sight are good. A larger head than most have reported after a somewhat vigorous pour. Leaves maybe 2 finger widths of head that is light coffee colored. The liquid itself is pure blackness, like staring into an abyss. Not much lacing though and dissipates fairly quick.

Terrific aromas stand out immediately. Hints of smoke, chocolate, espresso, and a twinge of alcohol and sting.

Tastes a lot like it smells. First we get some mild sweet dark fruits followed quickly by caramel and then into the deep dark chocolate and coffee bitterness. There is some tartness here that adds just the right amount of character to work all these flavors in together. So complex I could attempt analyzing it for hours. Overall just exactly the flavors I've been searching for in an Imperial Stout.

Feels good, slightly oily but not overly heavy. Still has a decent amount of carbonation despite the oilyness.

Drinks well too, this beer has reminded me Impy Stouts don't need 10+% ABV to be masterpieces. There is no burn at all on the swallow and I was left wanting more. The perfect beer to sip while reading a book in a cold mansion next to a cozy fire. The best Imperial Stout I've had so far.

Photo of ph2001
3.88/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle in pint glass

pours somewhat thickly with not much head.
black in color with no light able to get through. smells of cinnamon.

a sweet flavor with heavy chocolate tones. lighter flavors of fruit and cinnamon. a little thick, but smooth and very drinkable for the style.

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