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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

1,579 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,579
Reviews: 818
rAvg: 3.92
pDev: 11.48%
Wants: 66
Gots: 157 | 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: 1,579 | Reviews: 818 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Westsidethreat
3.77/5  rDev -3.8%
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
4.6/5  rDev +17.3%
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.

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

Very dark...black with dark tan foamy head, which reduces to about 1/8..stays for a while , then drops to a foamy little film and lasts.
No huge aromas...faint grainy toast....hint of prune.
Taste is complex. Starts with sweet caramel and molasses....some burnt grain, French-Roast coffee. Gets chalky and biscuity in the middle , with a hop bite. Then a little licorice and alcohol...more pronounced with warming.
Heavy mouthfeel...medium carbonation....creamy with warming...slighly cloying sweet/bitter finish.
A pretty good Imp. Stout...not as good as Storm King or Old Rasputin, which are my two favorites...but enjoyable enough to buy now and then for variety.

Photo of BeerRun13
3.98/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours black as can be. I get absolutely no light through a very thin glass. Has a nice thick dark tan head, but lacing is minimal.
Roasted Barley aroma. A bit nutty with a hint of burnt chocolate.
Roasted malt flavors and dark burnt chocolate. Has a very hidden minty cherry taste which is wonderfull.
Full body, creamy and warming.
Very good, but maybe a little strong. I could have a couple of these and would recomend it highly to anyone.

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

I had this from the bottle poured into a chalice.
The color was opaque, jet black. The head was tan and creamy but short lived which is OK for the style.
The nose needs some time. Do not be so quick to judge until you've sat with it for a moment. It expresses itself with coffee, figs, hints of prune and candied almonds.
The mouthfeel is full-full/medium. Notes of toasted coffee, prune, candied almonds, nutmeg and anise come together with a medium dry finish with a soft bitter structure. Nicely done!

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

Pours motor-oil black into my pint glass. Small head that fades quickly.

Aroma is winey, some obvious alcohol, with chocolate and raisin notes.

Flavour is major bitter, unsweetened chocolate or dry cocoa. The wine essences are still there, as are the raisins and alcohol presence.

Mouthfeel is slick, but a little thin. Very hoppy. Dry, sour aftertaste -- like it's evaporating off the tongue.

Not bad, although not really stand-out.

Photo of geexploitation
4.43/5  rDev +13%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

This one pours jet black with a darkish brown, tightly bubbled head and a relatively still body. The aroma is quite nice and inviting, with loads of chocolate and coffee aromas, but also with touches of toffee and butter. The taste is even better, very complex, with bitterness first off, followed by a huge, round, juicy coffee/dark fruits/toffee middle. The finish is full of tingly carbonation and lingering sweetness. This is one helluva good imperial stout. Highly recommended.

Photo of silver0rlead
3.19/5  rDev -18.6%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours an opaque black with a thin tan head that retains well. The aroma has mild notes of chocolate, coffee, roasted malt,alcohol and metal, slightly dissapointing. The flavor starts off with an intense roasted coffe and dark chocolate flavor, followed by fruity esters and some cherry notes, light floral hops, ethanol and some mild metallic flavors. The mouthfeel is full and rich without being overwhelming. Drinkability is average for a RIS. A descent imperial stout but nothing to seek out, like the other weyerbacher offerings i've tried.

Photo of Zorro
3.21/5  rDev -18.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a coal black beer with a minimal head formation.

Smell is clean coffee and chocolate with a bit of English ale fruitiness. Slightly sweet but this really just smells like a regular stout beer.

Taste is not very sweet, a surprise. Flavors of charred coffee dominate this at the beginning. And coffee seems to be about all that is in the taste here, a good coffee flavor without any of the more complex flavors that make RIS different from the lesser Stouts. I taste nothing complex here.

Mouthfeel is OK.

Certainly easy to drink but the complexity that a RIS has is missing. An OK high alcohol stout this is. A Russian Imperial Stout it is not.

12 Oz bottle provided by Thaichile.

Photo of HimerMan
2.43/5  rDev -38%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

12 oz bottle - Great company that produced a very underwhelming beer. This beer pours black with a slight brownish tint to it, and has a pretty big head for an imperial stout. Aroma is a lot of coffee and light alcohol. Alcohol is present in drinking, not overbearing at all - however, there is a taste of peanut shells that could not be washed away from my palate. Overall, the beer is brewed fine, smells and pours great - but doesn't taste as good as its matured state - Heresy. Possibly a great candidate to age in the cellar though. The one thing I can not get passed is the taste of peanut shells - very strange.

Photo of Dicahomebrewing
4.23/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle that has been aging for about a year or so.
Pours Jet black with a great frothy, tan head.

Nose- chocolate, coffee with roasted malt and a strong pungent smell.
Taste- Very robust malt character with a lasting dry taste.
Mouthfeel- Smooth with a tingling effect on the sides on the tongue.
A very drinkable beer for 8% alc percentage.

I enjoy this brew overall but its not one of my favorite Imperial Stouts.

Photo of sinstaineddemon
4.82/5  rDev +23%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - wow, i thought the Brooklyn Chocolate was black, this is black, with a finger and a half of dark tan head

S - wow, what an aroma, not just chocolate, but that ambient chocolate aroma like when you walk into a chocolate shop, a second whiff elicits espresso or roasted coffee bean odors very inviting

T - wow (wow, 3 wow's in a row), not as overpowering as i thought, light hints of taste that tantalize, rich coffee and chocolate flavors, very delicious

M - smooth and velvety, easy down easy to sip again, which...

D - ...makes this brew highly drinkable

Photo of Naes
2.91/5  rDev -25.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

This one pours out black with a two finger dark tan head.
The aroma is roasty and not much else.
The flavor is also roasty with a lot of dark fruit tones. There is also a slight roasted coffee flavor with a bit of hops near the finish. Unfortunately, this stout also has the leathery flavor that many imperial stouts have that does not agree with me.
Mouth feel is full flavored with a moderate amount of carbonation.

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

Not quite black but still opaque. Mostly diminishing light brown head. Malt driven, very aromatic nose with hints of anise, molasses, expresso and chocolate. A short, barely distinquishable hint of hop buds and vanilla is present in the nose as well. Belly warming. Medium bodied. Roasty, well melded malt flavor with notes of expresso, anise, soy sauce and chocolate. Somewhat abrasive and bitter on the finish. An enjoyable brew and an above average Imperial Stout. An improved body and feel on the palate would make this beer much better though.

Photo of jaluria
3.53/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Poured a black, opaque color with a tan colored head that remained intact for quite awhile and left behind plenty of lacing. Aromas of nuts, toasted malt, and vanilla with a faint floral scent. The taste followed the scent with a smooth, creamy texture and subtle fruity flavors, especially dates. Semi-sweet flavors with a slightly sour finish. Quite complex, but difficult to drink more than a single bottle in one sitting because it is so rich.

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

Darkest, thickest brewed coffee; dense tan foam cap. Aromas of roasted malt, followed by vapors rum-soaked cherries and figs and mocha. Boozy and sweet cherry flavors emerge immediately; hop earthiness and pine buzz chase them down, leaving a roasted coffee memory in the wake. Alcohol warms the throat all the way to the belly. Bitter vegetable aftertaste -- like cooked greens. Piney hop burps. Taste is complex and interesting, but not yet delicious. Mouthfeel is viscous, but not quite slick; not-quite-full body. Slightly lower drinkability due to "unmelded" flavor character; needs more roastiness and less booziness. Is this what gets barrel-aged and turned into Heresy?

Photo of Metalmonk
4.2/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a foamy tan head with excellent retention. Pitch-black color as all good stouts should be. Creates great strips of lace as the glass empties.

There's an earthy aroma here, kind of airy, where most stouts have that impenetrable coffee/chocolate density. Of course, the chocolate and coffee smells are there, with a sweet caramel tinge too.

Tastes of espresso, chocolate-covered cherries (or cherry-covered coffee beans), even toffee-flavored latte. Alcohols peak through more than most other Imperial Stouts. Frothy, creamy mouthfeel, not too heavy, not too light.

Drinkable for dessert or even breakfast. A totally solid stout all around. My experience so far with Weyerbacher is that they always nail the styles they go after...haven't had them all, but so far sooo good.

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

This is good, almost all the way around. Good smell, taste, feel, and drinkability. I gave the appearance a 4.5 because it's a hell of a good looking beer, with the head looking like the crema from a nice cup of espresso. Hard to beat that as far as looks go. But this isn't a beauty contest.

This is a fairly well balanced beer but there's something not quite right about it. As a reference, I've been drinking the Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout on and off this winter. Against that, it falls short. Still, it's a solid beer that hits the spot more often than it doesn't. It does well smoothly delivering on an 8% ABV, with just a hint coming out in the aftertaste. Plenty of maltiness here.

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

Poured from a 12oz. bottle into a snifter.
No freshness date or batch number.

Much thanks to Jredner for this sample!!!
Pours a very inky black color with a nice one inch thick tan head. No lacing whatsoever. Lots of dark fruit smells, especially prunes and a faint hint of alcohol. Decent taste lots of roasted malts, ends with some dark fruit flavors and some bitterness. The alcohol is hidden quite well in the taste. Mouthfeel is quite thin and a little chalky. Overall a good example of a Russian Imperial Stout. My first brew from Weyerbacher, and I'm anxious to try more. Recommended.

Photo of tastybeer
3.58/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Great looking. Can't see through this at all. Nice froathy tan brown head that leaves nice sheets of lace. Everytime I smell the aroma shifts from extreme espresso and roasty malts to extreme fruits like currant, plum, cherry, and chocolate covered rasberries. Taste is loaded with the same things and comes through in waves. Every now and then alcohol comes through, both in taste and smell. This one is intense. That's usually a good thing for me and imperial stouts however the intensity comes through largely in the fruitiness. Mouthfeel is pretty decent but I'd like this to be a little thicker. I usually have no problem sucking down imperial stouts but the fruit here is a bit to intense for my taste.

A good suprisingly complex imperial stout.

Photo of psugrad98
4.09/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Dark black in color. Slightly think with creamy lasting head and lace.

Slight aroma of dark malt and toasted bread.

Rich and full flavored with nice balance of sweet dark roasted malt and hops. Reminiscent of dark toasted bread, pleasent slight burnt flavor, balanced by sweet licorice notes and perfectly balanced hops.

Photo of wedge
3.6/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Opaque black with a modest deep tan head. Huge, rich aroma of sweet dark chocolate overall with just a hint of fruit. Roasted chocolatey malts with fruity undertones - similar to the smell but more bitter (although the bitterness is low overall). A slight burnt nutty flavor lingers after each sip, especially as it warms. The body is thin for the style - medium I suppose, but it doesn't really satisfy the need for the full, chewy brew an Imperial Stout should be.

A little thin overall, a little too sweet, and not quite enough in the bitter department...but its not all that bad. I just wouldn't recommend it if you're looking for a real RIS.

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

Dark black opaque beer with a small dark brown head. The head dissipated rather quickly but there is a nice ring of dark brown left around the top.

Aroma is dark chocolate, espresso, banana, heavily roasted chocolate malt.

The taste certainly has that heavily roasted malt flavor, but it's not as strongly flavored as many imperial stouts. The chocolate and coffee flavors are not as strong as expected. Banana flavor is one of the strongest flavors on my palate. Some molasses. Dry finish.

A lot lighter body than I expected. It's not as heavy as most imperial stouts.

This is tasty but lighter both in flavor and body than most imperial stouts. It's hard for me to believe that this is 8%. I would consider this more along the lines of what are being called "imperial porters" than an imperial stout. Some might argue that quality makes it more drinkable than the average imperial stout.

Photo of Phatz
4.71/5  rDev +20.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Served in my pint glass at nearly room temperature.
What a fantastic beer!!!

Appearance: This beer pours a fantastic motor oil black with a slight red hue to it. Sit in the glass completely opaque and very proud. Tight and creamy two finger head (chocolaty brown) rises from within and sits nobly on top of this black brew. The head is creamy and delicious. The magnificent lacing lasts through the entire duration of the beer. The appearance of this beer is as close to perfect as you can get!

Smell: Bitter sweet chocolate with no question. WOW! The dark chocolate leads into dark fruits and gentle roasted malts. The aroma seems smooth and calming. It makes you sit back, relax, and salivate.

Taste: What a magnificent taste it is. Dark chocolate, dark roasted malts, definitely hints of molasses and subtle suggestions toward espresso (particularly in the aftertaste). There is also black licorice and little bit of cooked currants. Then more coco and a subtle gentle little bit of tart fruit like raspberries. There is NO hoppy bitterness at all! It has just enough just tart to balance out the sweet. The aftertaste is perfect, slightly sweet, slightly tart, barely dry, just hanging there BEGGING you to take another sip! MMMM UUUAAAGGHH!! I'm sure there is something sinful in a thing this delicious!

Mouthfeel: Smooth and velvety! Creamy-licious! For a Russian Imperial Stout it is not terribly heavy or extremely thick (but sooo smooth) and I think that adds to the perfect drinkability factor.

Drinkability: This beer tastes so good and feels great in your mouth the moment you swallow, the mouth just CRAVES for more! I always try to make a beer last through my entire review, but ... ooops ... its gone already and I am CRAVING another! It sits light in the stomach (for a RIS), and I could certainly put down a number of these. This beer is an amazing experience and I HIGHLY recommend it!

Note: remember to let your RISs warm up before drinking them. I drink usually between 60-65 degrees minimum. And that is to start. Do so and you will get more out of it (IMO).

Hope this is helpful.

Photo of FLAbeergutinMASS
4.13/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Was left behind by a buddy who didn't like the "smoked" taste. I didn't find this beer to be smoky at all; in fact I found it well balanced. I thought of this beer as a very nutty porter, or brown ale (in taste). I also found it to have a nice dose of hops in its finish.

The thing that impressed me the most was the slightly tannic head that followed me wherever I went. If you walked across the room the head would follow. A beautiful thing.

Over all a good beer, particularly because it was free!

Old Heathen Imperial Stout from Weyerbacher Brewing Co.
88 out of 100 based on 1,579 ratings.