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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

1,544 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,544
Reviews: 810
rAvg: 3.92
pDev: 11.73%
Wants: 64
Gots: 139 | 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: 1,544 | Reviews: 810 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of peterittenhouse
4.1/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Sampled this Stout at a friends house over a card game. Had been drinking "that beer from St.Louis" when my buddy said"Hey, do you want a Weyerbacher?" Well, hell yea!

First sip is creamy, smooth, and velvety with each beautiful sip. I love the roastiness of this brew. Hops are apparent but just right. Sticky and chewy that keeps you coming back for more. Bittersweet chocolate taste that is perfect !

I have often overlooked Weyerbacher products but will search this one out again as the holidays approach.

Photo of Stingray5
4.1/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz pours black with a short lived brown head. Even with a hard pour it disappears in seconds. Chocolate note sin the aroma, with grape, port wine. Medium mouthful with very little carbonation. A bit of a dry, chalky texture.

Taste is bitter and sweet, chocolate malt. Long lasting roastiness in the finish, more bitterness.

A very smooth and warming imperial stout. I don't know what the ABV is, but whatever it is it's hidden well. Almost too well, as I like a little alcohol burn in a brew such as this. Still, it's warming me up nicely, taking the chill out of my bones on a cold rainy night.

Photo of Px2GrafX
4.08/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5


appearance: pours a pitch black with no real shadows or highlights in a pint glass. nice 2 inch tight dark tan head. nice rolling eye candy to the head and pour and a fluffy pancake batter-like light tan topper caps the head. good retention and lacing.

smell: first nose is sweet with dark fruits. raisins and prunes with some alcohol. there's some coffee along with a roased grain note.

taste: initial taste is much different than other imperial stout. astringent with lots of dark fruits. raisins, currants and plums while most other impy stouts are dominated by chocolate and coffee flavors. nice roastiness along with a not-so-nice wet paper flavor. not a ton of bitterness or hop character, but there is an earthy hop note. sweet with some coffee in the finish and aftertaste. finally some chocolate as the brew warms.

mouthfeel: a light-medium body with decent carbonation. a bit lighter than what i expect from an imperial stout. more like a porter or a light english/american stout. rolls around decent, but swallow clunks a bit.

drinkability: very drinkable despite a high abv. light and clean, this tasty brew goes down quite easily, so drinkers beware!

overall: not a bad imperial stout. different flavors that what is expected, which is nice, but mouthfeel suffers a bit. i'm sure i'm supposed to, but i prefer the heresy. however, this is an easy to drink, tasty, nice try of an imperial stout.

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

Pours very dark with just a tiny circle of head in the middle of the glass. Right off I got a whiff of a wine, was thinking merlot but then moved on over to chocolate and malt. Darker than your average stout.

Lingers in the mouth with thick dark coffee and chocolate taste. I feel the alcohol is evident but not too powerful to enjoy it.

Got this in Virginia at Total Wine and Bev on Midlothian.
(Just a suggestion to maybe put where you get yours from for others in your area and reference)

Photo of LordChesterfield
4.47/5  rDev +14%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I must admit that I am slightly biased towards this beer as I consider it to be one of the best I have ever tasted. It's expensive, and It's not very widely distributed, but as a an imperial stout, it really doesn't go bad from age. I did't bother to pour this beer as I with friends at the time but who really cares? It's a stout, it's going to be black with an off-white to beige head. The only way I can describe this complex, heavy yet ultra drinkable beer is that it tastes like oak with very slight vanilla undertones. The alcohol content is not at all apaarent and if you can taste it, it only serves to enhance the flavor. Every seperate flavor component of this beer compliments and suppliments the others so the feeling is truly, like there's a party in your mouth and everyone's invited. Can't wait to get back to jersey so I can drink this again. Recommended.

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

Presentation: 120z brown glass US generic longneck bottle,blue and yellow on black label

Appearance: pitch black in color, small tan-colored head, no lacing

Smell: roasted grain, chocolate, raisins, plums, alcohol

Taste: full body, smooth mouthfeel, coffee, chocolate, roasted malt, raisins, plums, roasted grain, bitter hops

Notes: very complex beer, one of my favorites

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

Pours ridiculously dark, impenetrable. A large but loosely bubbled, mocha colored head topped off the brew. While I was pouring this bad boy I got a whiff of it's scotch-like malt sweetness, hadn't really noticed that in other imperial stouts before. Mouthfeel seemed a bit lite for me.. but given that this beer is so friggin dark, I probably just anticipated it being a bit creamier. Taste seemed balanced for an imperial stout, with an excellent mix of hops, burnt malt sweetness, and warming alcohal. Taste is not overpowering, but ends with an astringent aftertaste.

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

Got this in a sampler pack, sat in my fridge for a few weeks, and after a night of drinking heavily with friends, I took this one out, gave a small bit to a friend, and had a few sips myself and stopped there. It seemed a shame to not enjoy this properly for my review of BA.

Because I had this in the bottle, except for the small pour I gave my friend, it's BLACK, but couldn't see if it let light through, but still a good rating. It smelled as any other imperial. Appetizing coffee, roasted malt, alcohol, drink it up.

Mouth was good again. Just like other imperials I've sampled, it makes me want to chew it. Good sign.

Taste was, unusual. Deep roasted malts, sweet fruity hop flavor and the finish was , well, tasted like a dark fudge brownie. That was amazing. Because I love brownies, for a BEER to taste like this so strongly, it made my day.

PLUS, for an imperial, this was reasonably priced and well, it was the flavor just like Brooklyn's double chocolate plus a note I haven't experienced before in a beer, it makes it very very buy-again.

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

Black as pitch with ruby and amber accents at the margins. The explosive golden beige cap very nearly got away from me. It started out as a rich, reverse cascader and is now a soft, puffy, rocky glass filler that I'll need to go through to get to the beer beneath. Lace isn't abundant because the cap isn't sticky enough.

The nose is incredibly black malty and is redolent of equal parts melted dark chocolate and heavily roasted coffee beans. I also pick up a whiff of hoppiness, but it's secondary to the dark malt monsters. This is a tremendous RIS nose that makes up for a slight lack of depth with sheer power.

The flavor profile is also a little short on depth and lacks that seamlessness that I look for in beer of this style. It's still good, but my standards for very good haven't quite been reached. On the palate, it's considerably more espresso-like than it is chocolate-like... and blackstrap molasses and tobacco have now entered the fray. There's also a mild char, but it isn't overdone and works well with rest of the flavors.

Thankfully, the citrusy hoppiness hasn't been drowned by the flood of coffee, chocolate and molasses. It's tiring, though, and is looking for a life preserver. Old Heathen is more bitter than sweet, which is as it should be. Big beer ought to have a big mouthfeel. This one is more than satisfactory, but big it ain't. It's smooth and silky without quite making it to chewy or viscous.

Old Heathen is a good take on the style from the good folks at Weyerbacher. Although it can't compete with the best of this style, it's definitely enjoyable beer. A bottle of the oak-aged version (Heresy) is lurking in my cellar right now and will be finding its way to my pint glass very soon. Thanks once again to blitheringidiot.

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

Purchased in Ithaca, New York and sampled 12-29-04, taken from detailed notes. Pour is of a deep brown with a tight compact brown head. Aroma jumps out of the glass at you and is very vinious. Hint of roastiness are also lurking in the nose. Flavor starts of winey and the transforms itself into a roasty molasses flavor, a lot going on there!. Body is thick, somewhat chalky and drying and carries a long warming finish.

Photo of Phyl21ca
3.73/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle: Poured a thick black color stout with a small dark head with good retention. Aroma consisted of roasted malt and light coffee. Taste is dominated by the roasted malt and isn’t too bitter which I appreciated. Coffee and chocolate are bit too subtle for my liking but were still identifiable. Body is full and texture is real creamy and alcohol is not discernable. Good stuff and way better IMHO then the barrel-aged version.

Photo of board45
3.65/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz. bottle

Old Heathen pours a dark chocolate with a coffee colored head. the smell to this beer is all espresso, and nut. The body is very thin with a lot of carbonation. The body is a lot like a dark dark ale, not much like a stout. in the finish you can taste a little lemon and coffee bean. Lots of malt. Great beer though i was expecting something a bit thicker in body and taste.

Photo of GClarkage
4.63/5  rDev +18.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

06/09/05- Received via trade with Santoslhalper. Still have one left from Connecticutpoet/Steinlifter.

Presentation- 12oz undated bottle, poured into a standard pint glass. (Wish so much I had poured it into a Duvel glass or a snifter). I looked awesome in a pint, but would have looked so much better in a different style glass.

Appearance- Deep dark brown pour with a nice inch dirty chocolate colored head. Excellent lacing.

Smell- Tons of roasted coffee and malt with a nice whiff of alcohol. This smells like much more than 8%.

Taste- At first sip a taste of dirty sweatsocks reaveled itself (to me that means smoke flavor) I'm still getting into this style. But, as it mellowed, it took on the wonderful coffee and deep dark and a bit sweet roasted malt flavor. Wow, this truly rivals Stone IRS! The first smoky taste threw me off at first, but the last 3/4 of this brew was tremendous.

Mouthfeel- Creamy, warming and lower carbonation. If only I could try this on cask!

Drinkability- I still have one more, so I'll have to check on that smoke flavor again. Otherwise, it's great. Rivals some of the best IRS beers I have had.

Photo of Bierguy5
3.58/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a =n almost complete black color. Just a slight hint of ruby around the edges. Thick foamy tan head, with great retention. As it eventually faded, not much lace left on the glass. Big espresso nose, along with some fruits, dark fruits. Good coffee flavor up front, citrusy hops at the end. Mild bitterness. As it warms, more chocolate flavor comes through. More fuirt flavors as well. Slightly warming from alcohol. Seems too thin, over carbonated. Other than that a decent Imperial Stout.

Photo of brewandbbq
4/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Vintage 99 or 00, picked up early summer of 2000.
Pre- Old Heathen label, Blue with "Imperial stout" moniker.

Aggresive pour revealed a black body and a brown head that struggled to come out of solution.- Dissapated quickly.
Delicious in the nose, rich and full.
Dark chocolate steeped raisins, Kahlua spiked espresso, and vanilla bean in a leather glove. A hint of must and smoke.
Less complex on the pallet and a bit thin.
A blend of caramel and chocolate, with bits of roasted columbian and amaretto.
Alcohol is subdued and hops are undetectable.
Finish is very drying,with a pleasant smooth bitterness and a slick farewell.
This 6 year old Imperial held up well, but not as well as hoped.
Aging has added a hint of vineousity with a slight dusty paper note.

Photo of orbitalr0x
3/5  rDev -23.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Deep dark onyx pour with a huge tan head that erupts to nearly three fingers with only a semi vigorous pour. Thick and creamy...easily the biggest head I've seen on any imperial stout recently..a bit too big really. No light escapes this one. Bitter chocolate and coffee aromas meld with a mellow roastiness and some burnt grains. Nice..but it doesn't have the punch of most imperials.

First sip is a nice low key mix of chocolate and coffee tones on a roasted, dark malty background. A bit dry on the way down with a hint of herbal hops. Not a bad stout...but this falls short of what I'd consider an imperial stout. Flavors are too subdued and nothing makes it stand out from your normal stout.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied..a bit thin actually with lots of carbonation. The abundant carbonation just doesn't work for me here and detracts from the overall experience. I'm sure I'll give this another shot in the future...but at this point I'd say to avoid this if you're looking for a good imperial stout. There are many better to choose from.

Photo of Schwarzbart
4.15/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This stuff poured like used motor oil. Barely any head and little carbonation. I had to smell it to convince myself it wasn't motor oil. The smell quickly made me realize I was not drinking motor oil. The strong burnt malt aroma is the first thing noticed followed by a nice coffee chocolate smell, umm there's some black licorice there also. The taste was just as the aroma indicated. Burnt malts, coffee and chocolate flavors and a little on the sour side maybe due to the alcohol or the hops. Mouthfeel is smooth and a little creamy. Good drinkin but may put you in trouble quickly.

Photo of BrewMan13
4.35/5  rDev +11%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Picked up a sixer a few weeks back.
Pours liek a typical stout: nice and black with a small tan head. My 1st impression was the caramel malts...picked them up big in the nose and the taste. Some toffee notes in the nose and taste and some chocolate hints at the end of the swallow. Not much in the way of roasted or coffee flavors one might expect from such a stout. As you can probably tell, the aroma and flavor were pretty similar.
I do immensely like the flavor but my main complaint though is that its a bit light for an imperial. Very smooth, so I waffled on what to give the mouthfeel. But I had to detract a tad for the relative 'lightness'.
As for drinkability, this is as close as you'll ever come to a sessionable imperial.

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

First off, I gotta say that I'm pretty lucky to have gotten my hands on this sample of Old Heathen. I was gifted a bottle from a friend at work (thanks Derek!) whose Uncle had sent him a sampler package of Weyerbacher's brews. They don't distribute in Texas, unfortunately, although I sure wish they did. I'd love to try some of their other offerings.

Now this is one great Imperial Stout. Old Heathen poured as black as night, with a medium-sized creamy head. I couldn't get a bit of light through this sample no matter how strong a bulb I held it to. Most impressive. The smell was dominated by malts and coffees.

The taste was incredibly complex. My initial impressions were of dark chocolate and espresso. After the beer warmed a bit and had time to breathe, other flavors became apparent. Almonds and toffee came to light, maybe a slight bit of brown sugar. Absolutely tremendous. This was a strong beer at 8% ABV, but you could hardly taste the alcohol. It left me with a satisfying warmth as it settled over me.

The head never left on this sample. Great mouthfeel, thick and creamy without being cloying. Very, very drinkable. I could easily make this a mainstay of my lineup if only Weyerbacher would distribute into Texas. Highly recommended.

Photo of mjc410
2.95/5  rDev -24.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Presentation: 12 oz bottle

Appearance: Poured into my snifter, a coffee-tan head about a 1/2" high across the widest part of the bowl, sitting on some pitch black liquid.

Smell: Chocolate, fruity smells, coffee. And, of course, some up front alcohol.

Taste: The smell shows up in the taste. But it gets bowled over by alcohol. I think this beer needs time to develop, with some aging.

Mouth: Wow, really nice, thick, and chewy.

Drinkability: Not easy. The alcohol is just too potent.

Try Heresy, the oak-aged version of this. It's amazing, much easier on ya.

Photo of maek228
4.18/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Black as the ace of spades. Wonderfully black, a thick engine fuel black. Thick finger and a half head. Amazingly this hed a maroon hue to it. On top of this, the foam clings to the glass as it goes down. This beer has got the stout look down. A king amongst men, truly.

Smell: Like expresso with dark chocolate melted in it. European coffee with a sweet malty smell too it. Some hints of burnt and roasted malts, and a lil sniffy of the hops.

Taste: Strong ballsy expresso is upfront flavor with a dark chocolate coating. Has some burnt characteristics too it. As this fades the hops come in and there is some plumish fruit flavor that nips the palate.

Mouthfeel: This is what a Imperial Stout should be...thick and murky.

Drinkability: This is 8%? Tough to tell. Tastes about as strong as a Guinness Extra Stout

CONCLUSION: One of the best I've had so far. This one is right up my alley. A strong imperial stout that gets the job done. Firreal

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

Poured a deep black color with nice head that quickly faded. The smell is of things dark, chocolate, coffee, toasted malt. This first taste is extremely enjoyable and makes me want more. The alcohol is well hidden. Leaves a nice taste in the mouth. This is one beer I really liked. Thanks to BA mtanji for the gift.

Photo of Truh
3.53/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Posted some writs with this one on 11/13/2004. 12-oz. bottle poured in a NERAX imperial pint glass.

One-plus inch of frothing head at start with lace like the teeth of a shark. Oozing, oil black hue that is indecipherable. Roasted oat, black strap molasses, dark brown sugar, and pine essence on nose with a cloying heat. Chewy oak and soy on taste, with an accompanying woody texture and chummy black tea. Overall a pleasant experience, but the soy astringency grates a bit.

Photo of carln26
3.7/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This beer pours a dark inky black with a thick, dense tan colored head that clumps after a few minutes and develops into a clingy lace. The nose has a lot of black licorice, chocolate, and roast malt. A bit of cherry on the finish. The taste has chocolate covered cherries and just a hint of espresso. This beer wants to develop a chemical flavor, almost burnt plastic on the finish, but I don’t want to scare you. It never goes all of the way there, just close. It has a nice silky smooth mouth feel, but is a little boozy to drink much.

Photo of Fish113d
4/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pouring into a goblet, it pours a black color leaving a tannish head with red tints about 1 finger thick that dissipates rather quickly to some nice edge lacing and a slight layer that lays on top of the brew. Vanilla tones quickly hit my brain along with either plums or grapes or even berries (some type of fruit!). Brown roasted malts also come out on aroma as well, and even a very little bit of bitter hops pop through w/ some alcohol burn. Taking the first sip, I taste mostly sour-bitter plums or even some bitter cherries (unripe). It also has a slight roasty flavor in which the finish leaves a slight almond taste in my mouth. It isn't as sweet as I expected at first, the vanilla flavor/feel is very aparent, and the alcohol burn makes my lips a little numb even! This is a very full-bodied Stout which warms the belly quite nicely; nice winter brew. The carbonation is light, and the beer is pretty creamy and enjoyable overall. Not he BEST Imperial Stout I have ever had, but I really enjoyed this one.

Old Heathen Imperial Stout from Weyerbacher Brewing Co.
88 out of 100 based on 1,544 ratings.