Old Heathen Imperial Stout - Weyerbacher Brewing Co.

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Old Heathen Imperial Stout
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very good

1,552 Ratings

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Ratings: 1,552
Reviews: 811
rAvg: 3.92
pDev: 11.48%
Wants: 64
Gots: 141 | 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: 1,552 | Reviews: 811 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of phisig137
4.1/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark black with slight hints of ruby around the edges. Nice head, and good retention, leaves behind some quality lacing as well.

Aroma is quite full. Roasted malts, caramel, raw sugar, toffee, coffee, cocoa, and oddly a hint of bourbon. Very complex and enjoyable. I'd wear this as cologne if they made it.

Flavor again is very complex. Huge amounts of coffee flavor, backed by some roasted grain and a lot of toasted grains. Quite malty and toffee-ish, the finish is only slightly hoppy. Incredibly smooth and balanced, much more so that the oak aged version of the same beer (Heresy). Mouthfeel is creamy and very smooth. Drinkability is good.

Once again, Weyerbacher does not disappoint. Great beer overall, and one that I prefer over the Heresy. Usually I really like oak aged beers, but this Old Heathen shows so much more complexity and flavor than the vanilla bomb (that I love dearly) of Heresy. Cheers to Weyerbacher!

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

12oz. bottle

Pours a used motor-oil black with a small mocha head that fades. No lacing to speak of.

Aroma is slightly sweet and chocked full of roasted malts, cocoa, and espresso.

Slightly sweet upfront with a bold roasted flavor with chocolate and coffee flavors woven in. There is a slight bitter bite, similar to black coffee, before it finishes with a lingering roasted malt and coffee taste.

Medium body, light carbonation.

A solid RIS, through and through. Always a good option when in the mood for this style, and one of the best offerings out of Weyerbacher's standard lineup. Fans of this style will not be disappointed.

Photo of beveritt
3.93/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a standard pint glass. No freshness date on this, but does it really matter in a RIS?

Appearance: Pours nice and black with a thick, creamy head. The head fell to just a think coating of medium brown foam over the brew. I can't see through this and I usually take that as a good sign.

Smell: Has a smell of alcohol, chocolate, and roasted barley.

Taste: Smooth and creamy, with a bitter chocolate finish. A small level of sweetness acts nicely to balance the whole thing out.

Mouthfeel: Carbonated enough to give an initial bite when you take a mouthful, but not too much to drown out the flavors. Nice warming effect.

Drinkability: Well, its ABV precludes it from being a session beer, but I wouldn't mind having a few.

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

Poured out a nice dark black, with tan head that has lacing, but not that long lasting.

Aroma ofg chocolate and coffee, toffee, and rostiness.

Flavor of chocolate and toffee some coffee essence. With a surprising effervescent espresso tingle.

mouthfeel is a little light, carbonated ok.

Overall it is a nice interpretation of style. But could benefit from some body. Enjoy this one

Photo of NJpadreFan
4.88/5  rDev +24.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Weyerbacher- Old Heathen Imperial Stout

Appearance- dark black with a thick brown head. Head held up nicely and laced the glass with a thcik spiderweb.
Smell- darkk roast coffee beans with a blend of cherywood and raisin.
Taste- burnt cherry wood blended with drak roast coffee, dark chocolate and fruit ( cherry, raisin, prune)
Mouthfeel- creamy smooth, with no alcohol detection. Warm and bursting with flavor.

Overall- 1 of the best, if not BEST, stouts I've ever had!! Loved it!!! You could not detect the 8% abv!!! Can't wait til it gets cold so I can drink this more often!!!

Photo of burnstar
3.83/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours black with a medium tan head which leaves little lacing. Dark malt aroma with light chocolate and espresso notes. Dark fruit notes are also present along with a noticable sweetness in the nose. Taste is initially sweet quickly followed by burnt malt and dark fruit. There is some noticable alcohol as well as some hops in the finish which is dry with a hoppy bitter aftertaste. The mouthfeel is very well carbonated with a medium to heavy body. Fairly drinkable. Decent stuff.

I must add that the name "Old Heathan" is absolutely awesome. Very evocative. Additionally, the packaging is sweet.

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

Pours a deep black with a dark tan one finger head that slowly fades to a thin spotty cap, leaving behind a thick webbing of lace. I wasn't expecting to see as much lace as I did, with such a small amount of foam left behind.

Smell; lots of roasted malts and coffee float out of the glass, but without totally assaulting you like some other imperial stouts. I also get hints of some dark fruits and little bit of some hops.

Taste; as with the aroma, there's roasted malts with a slightly bitter coffee flavor. Some plums and raisins are present as well as some chocolate and molasses. This is a bit more subdued than I was expecting for an Imperial stout, but sometimes it's a good thing to not be bludgeoned by your beer. Mouthfeel was a bit thinner that i would have liked, but the drinkability was very nice.

Photo of SilentSabre
3.48/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured ink black, with a sand coloured head that faded away in a few seconds. Smelled like I thought it would with plenty of unsweetened chocolate and roasted malts. However, what I wasn't expecting, was the slightly fruity, vinous undertone. This was present in the taste, as well. Taste was mostly more of the smell. I really didn't care for the vinous, wine-like character I got from this. It didn't ruin the beer, but I certainly gave it lower marks for this. The mouthfeel was also thinner than I was expecting. This isn't a bad RIS; you could do worse. You could do much, much better, too.

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

Aggressive pour yielded a 2 inch, cocoa colored head which dissipated quickly to a light creamy ring around the glass. The nearly pitch black body seems fairly heavy.

The smell seems somewhat chocolate and coffee like with a very minimal hop profile.

Taste is also of chocolate but coffee is heavier here. I also get some oatmeal out of this and just a modest alcohol "tingle" on the tongue.

Mouthfeel is firm and crisp. Drinkability good.

This is a very nice beer and I am thoroughly enjoying it but it seems to me that it's just barely off the mark. Perhaps this one would do better with some age? High on my list of Imperial Stouts but still needs some tweaking to reach the pinnacle.

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

Pours from the bottle thick, black as night and oily. Produces a 1" thick tight, dense head with great durability. Some spotty lacing noted as glass is consumed. Pleasant, but somewhat restrained aromas of black roasted malts, baker’s cocoa, dark roasted coffee beans, chocolate and dried dark fruits. Mouthfeel is a bit oily, but full, thick and chewy. Flavors, as with the aroma, are enjoyable and well balanced, but slightly tame for a big RIS. Espresso, semi-sweet chocolate, molasses, prune, raisin and roasted malts are apparent. Starts out moderately sweet, but slips into a mild, crisp bitterness in the finish. Alcohol lends a very mild warmth. A well done RIS, but could use a bit more muscle.

Photo of oelergud
4.45/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Opaque black body. Big brown head undulating and silken with large bubbles dispersed. Good retention and lace.
Strong malts and alcoholic scents. Plenty of dark chocolate and some coffee and nougat. Warm and inviting.
This bottle must have gone bad, nothing stout or imperial about the taste. Maybe this is one to try again later in case it really was a bad bottle. Thin, flat and alcoholic with an unpleasant aftertaste of thin citrus.
Drinkability is down the drain.
4.5 4.5 2.5 2 1.5


Traditional brown 12oz glass bottle. Pry-off cap
and a black and blue label showing a wanderer in
Opaque body with a deep ruby at the edges. Dark,
brown, creamy head with small bubbles. Good
retention and decent lace.
Rich roasted chocolate bean, toffee notes and abit
of expresso. Just a touch of alcohol, nutskin
hops, marcipan and nougat.
Great flavor of dark earthy molasses, nougat and
a little alcohol. The hops take over the aftertaste
but carries plenty of malt with it for a great
balance of flavor.
Medium body with some coating. Slightly dry finish.
Great drinkability and very enjoyable.


Photo of Golden2wenty1
4.18/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Couldn't quite sneak into our now infamous Madison Stout Session, as consolation, it gets to be my 400th review. Cheer up, Charlie.

Pour: galactic black hole, no visibility, high viscosity, 1.5" of dark coffee foam that fizzles to a spotty coating.

Nose: rich, roasted coffee, smoky malt, chocolate/vanilla, cherry-booze in the finish with a metallic twinge

Taste: mild lactose malt, coffee bitterness, alcohol burn, black cherry sweet-tart, metallic lingering bitterness along with cherry skins on the tongue. Doesn't quite hold up to the rich fragrance of the nose.

Feel: substantial but not quite chewy - let's call it manageable in the summer heat for the style. Carbonation is tickling and light.

Drinkability/Overall: A nice upper-middle echelon RIS. Falls a little short on the palate after a beautiful nose, but highly drinkable for the style with plenty of complexity. Thanks to expatsteve for lugging some back from PA for me.

Photo of AndoBrew
3.8/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

*I really like it would buy again*

Smell is light but nice with dry cocoa and some mild coffee, small amount of booze. Just a mild smell thats all, also has a wiff of that rich strong cheesy smell that I ador in so many big stouts.

Mouth feel is a tad bright and zingy for me and a impy stout, I likes em thick and buttery, but not to bad.

Tastes.. well really good, not a thick big bastard like a Stone ris or a fat dogg, more along the lines of old raspy but less so, and the flavors are more coca and rich cheese than the dry bitter old raspy flavor..

The booze does start to layer on the palet and adds a nice wonderful boozy flavor, i actually happen to like to taste some booze in my booze. this is the kind you wanna taste.

Great easy drinking beer, hard not to drink fast, this is a session beer for me And a great easy going impy stout


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

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle aged 8 months to a steamed glass. Nice dark brown color with a very distinct red hue. Nice carbonation and a foamy dark tan 2 finger head.

The smell is of chocolate malt and espresso with some alcohol.

the taste is thick smooth and creamy coffee, some chocolate and dark fruit notes, a very nice bitter finish.

The mouthfeel is WOW! right on the money. Great big full body and good carbonation.

The drinkability is high I could drink plenty and reach for this any time, A great well balanced taste treat, Prosit un d Zum Wohl! MK

Photo of doppelmeup
4.6/5  rDev +17.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I drank this side by side with some Heresy, to see what effect oak aging would have on the beer. It was an interesting experience, and I preferred the Old Heathen over the Heresy. Here is my review.

Very dark brew with no light shining through. Not a great head, and only minimal lacing. No doubt you were drinking a stout when you looked at this one.

Aromas of coffee, bittersweet cocoa and espresso.

A dark and rich flavored beer. Similar in taste to how it smelled, with espresso dominating the flavor. Very nice tasting stout. The high ABV was very well hidden.

Mouthfeel was rich and thick. Again, no doubt that you were drinking a RIS.

Very drinkable brew, although the high ABV would definitely sneak up on you, so drink carefully.

Photo of trep
3.25/5  rDev -17.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Liquid coal black with a creamy tan head. No visible light passing through, completely opaque.

Smells of light chocolate, roasted malt and some coffee. A little skunk too, surprisingly. Some alcohol as well.

Roasted malt and coffee bitterness with a nice dark chocolate sweetness. Not very imperial taste. Kind of boring. Hmm, on tap this was much better as I recall.

Coating creamy mouthfeel. Somewhat flat.

Pretty easy drinking. I just wish it had more flavor and kept this ease of drinking.

Photo of kirok1999
4.35/5  rDev +11%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance- Thick black, oily, with a nice tan head and moderate lacing.

Smell- Chocolate, coffee, nice roasty malts, raisins, cherries.

Taste- Nice chocolate coffee balance. Hops are present in moderate amounts and balance the brew nicely. Sweet fruit notes come through, raisins and cherries mostly.

Mouthfeel- Mild carbonation, slick and oily.

Drinkability- Very nice brew and a fine example of a impy stout.

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

Sampled from 12 fl oz bottle courtesy of a friend, traded from the USA.

Pitch black color with a brown head.
Sweet chocolate scent with some fresh hints of mint.
Big mouthfeel.
Sweet, a bit raissin, taste.
Sweet and coffee aftertaste.
Low bitterness.

Photo of dreadnatty08
4.72/5  rDev +20.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a gorgeous opaque midnight black color with a creamy coffee dense head. Aromas are chocolaty, fruity, licorice, and alcoholic. A moderately heavy mouthfeel covers the tongue with a thick coating of bitter chocolate, coffee, roasty deliciousness. This is a pretty incredible beer; carbonation is low but dead on. Hops are subdued but provide a bit of citrus backbone while the patent malts pick up the bulk of the bitterness. This is one of the best RIS's I've tried next to Expedition and BCS, amazing.

Photo of jmz62565
4.03/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This pours a jet black with a large chocolate looking head. This is a beautiful beer. The smell has dark fruit aroma,prunes, plums,or raisin, along with coffee and chocolate. The taste is rich and creamy with dark fruit flavors with chocolate and coffee also present. The m/f is lighter than other Imperial stouts,but the flavors are still mixed very well. This is one of the more easy drinking Imperial Stouts with the alcohol only "sneeking up" on you. Cheers.

Photo of Vancer
4.7/5  rDev +19.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

What a hammer! Great, great RIS ! Impressive!

Poured an opaque black molasses, topped by a tanny head. Yum. Then, a bouquet of aromas; anise, raisons and malts.

But the taste, wow; a glass of sour mash bourbon brandy! Big sour green apple finish. One big RIS, I see now that this batch is loaded up at 10% - no wonder my face was flush at the end.

Mouth was tangy, sharp, and crisp. This one certainly move up to the top of RIS’s in my book. I will look forward to the next one, two or six-pack. A definite sipper for an evening of pure drinking pleasure.

BeerBeing is killing me with these great samples! Weyerbacher is one hellava brewery.

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

Pours a pitch black with a 1/2" coffee colored head that hangs around for a while and then recedes to a halo around the heathen.
Smell is of chocolate and some fruits. Plum maybe. A small whiff of coffee, but not as much as expected, given the style.
Taste starts off with chocolate. Chocolate covered cherries. Hint of the forementioned fruit in the middle. With a nice coffee finish and aftertaste. Ahhh there's the coffee. Good lasting aftertaste. Alcohol is noticable, but not that much.
Mouthfeel is rather thin for the style. More medium bodied and I expect Imperial Stouts to be very full-bodied and chewy. This doesn't detract from the beer that much.
Drinkability is good. It's tasty and the light mouthfeel might actually make it more drinkable.
Overall a good imperial stout. Not world class, but good.
This is my first Weyerbacher beer since they've started distributing in NC and this has motivated me to try some others.

Photo of yelterdow
3.73/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Cellared in the DBF for a full year... the last thing I'd have predicted is sampling this on a hot, fat, disgustingly humid night in mid June.

Served at between fridge and cellar temperature in an imperial pint glass.

Appearance- Pours a nice, oily black with ruby port highlights... such a sweet color. The bubbles fizz loudly compared to other RIS and the crown drops a bit quicker... leaving a thin mat and not much of a head. I am surprised that there is absolutely no lacing whatsoever on this beer.

Smell- Rich, full notes of iced coffee lead the way, deferring later to aromas of chocolate covered cherries and roasted malt. As I find my nose buried deep in the glass, eyes closed, all comparisons to beer are erased... this smells like a nice strong iced coffee with milk and sugar. Beautiful.

Taste- Dark roasted coffee and chocolate malt seem to be the top players here, creating a full house of deep flavors. Bordering on overwhelming, the rich maltiness and coffee eventually concede to a soft, yet wickedly latent bitterness that finishes a bit too heavyhanded for the overall beer's weight.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability- As smooth and light as a schwarzbier at first, this beer grows just enough in the mouth to present some viscousness. The carbonation takes a back seat to the silky feel over the tongue, and the swallow is very mellow. For the style, it has its moments... glad to have tried it, although it won't be finding its way back in the fridge.

Photo of Westsidethreat
3.78/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A: Pitch black and mysterious. Dark beige head has reduced to a wisp with just a small ring around the glass.

S: Roasted marshmallow, cocoa powder, bit of vanilla latte and black patent.

T: Slight sour milk, bit of cola, coffee and a minor touch of caramel. Aftertaste is cloying chocolate milk.

M: Bit thin for the style and carbonation is prickly.

D: Not bad. Not great. Smooth and certainly drinkable.

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

Poured from a 12oz. bottle into an imperial pint glass.

A: The beer pours a deep dark blackish brown, with a short brown head that fades quickly and doesn’t leave much lacing.

S: The aroma is of dark chocolate, roasted coffee, caramelized malt, a little bit of hops and a hint of dark fruits.

T: Heavy chocolate and espresso flavor dominates, there is some hops character there that comes through and a touch of fruity sweetness. I found it to be very well-balanced.

M: Very smooth and it’s more crisp than other Russian Imperial Stouts that I’ve had. It has a medium-to-full body and medium carbonation and leaves a little bit of stickiness in the finish.

D: This beer is extremely easy to drink. There’s not hint of the 8.00% ABV and it’s not as filling as other RIS’s. It was one of those beers that I had a hard time keeping in the glass long enough to review. Overall, I think this is an excellent beer. I usually like a bigger kick with this style of beer, but I think any more strength would throw off the balance, so I consider it addition by subtraction.

Old Heathen Imperial Stout from Weyerbacher Brewing Co.
88 out of 100 based on 1,552 ratings.