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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

1,570 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,570
Reviews: 817
rAvg: 3.92
pDev: 11.48%
Wants: 66
Gots: 150 | 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: 1,570 | Reviews: 817 | Display Reviews Only:
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!

Photo of ghostwalker
4.44/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Midnight brown-black appearance. Thick chocolate milk colored head, 1-2 fingers.

Nose is rich coffee, pungent and bitter. Chocolate makes an appearance also. This stuff smells incredible! I never seems to get as much as others do on the nose, too many years as a smoker, but this does the trick.

Flavor is heavy and very rich with coffee, chocolate, dark fruit, (prunes or plums, maybe). Bitterness, (both hops and bitter coffee), makes an appearance on the finish as well as a final alcohol flourish. Great stuff.

Mouthfeel is oily and thick, moderately chewy. Kind of a lot of carbonation for an Imperial Stout, but it's not a problem.

Drinkability is pretty good for an Imperial Stout. Serving was a 12 oz bottle and it was not enough. I could easily have gone for a bomber, maybe even two over the course of an evening.

Photo of akajimmyd
3.52/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance – Poured into a snifter. Black with hints of red. Large dark brown head. Minimal retention, low lacing.

Smell – Roasty malt smell. Mild bitter and chocolate hints.

Taste – Bitter start, hints of dark fruit. Very smoky. Finishes with a little booze.

Mouthfeel – A little thin for the style and ABV.

Drinkability/notes – A warmer for sure, but a little bit of a let down for the style. I think my expectations were a little high because Weyerbacher has the reputation of being a big beer brewery. Don’t get me wrong its still worth a shot. A nice winter nightcap.

Photo of EStreet20
4.42/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Pitch black with a coffee colored tan head sitting atop the dark beer. Laces the glass well.

S - A fruity smell, some dark fruits like plums or a tiny bit of dark grapes. A coffee aroma as well with some alcohol and a roasted grain/oat smell. Very nice.

T - Lots of coffee flavor up front along with a roasted flavor. A fruity kick comes along and some bitterness finishes up.

M - Very good. That nice smooth feeling you like in a stout with some nice warming from the alcohol.

D - Can't put this one down. The unique flavors, as well as the smell leave me holding this one in the hand alternatiing between swirling around and catching a whiff or taking a sip. Very well done.

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

I don't think I have met an Imperial Stout that I didn't like, and, this one is no exception. Poured from bottle with no freshness date. Comes out like old motor oil, thick and brownish black. There is a nice light brown head, about 1 inch thick, that leaves nice thick lace around the glass. The aroma is bitter chocolate with a hint of alcohol, mixed in with the coffee smell.

The taste is very good, thick and chewy. There are tones of burnt malts that bring out a nice bitterness. There is a slight hint of warming alcohol in there as well. Overall, a very good stout.

Photo of outdoorbrewer
3.86/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from the bottle this beer produces a lucious creamy light brown head fully lasting and lacing the glass with mouthfull calibrations. It appears murky, dense and black. Initially the roasted malts and grains bring out a sweet toffee chocolate fragrance that's very appealing indeed. It does seem to have a hop presence.

Yes, the flavor is sweet as it lingers on the lips and hops create some bitterness. Roasted grains in a slight acidic finish lingers in a long duration time as the glass empties.

This beer presents a med/full body- softly carbonated - chalky and alcoholic and still being creamy textured.

Hey I like it - I bought a case!

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

No date to be found on the bottle. This poured with an inch of lingering foam. Not the darkest stout I've seen, it has an aroma of coffee and chocolate. Well blended.

The taste is quite modest compared to most other big stouts. Roasted malt and coffee flavors dominate, with a moderate chocolate character and some vinous fruit flavors. Mouthfeel is very light for the style, but creamy. Drinkability is good, but mainly due to the understated nature of this beer. Imagine some of the over the top stouts in this world, but with less concentration. This would make a great introduction to big stouts, but would not satisfy one who seeks an aggressive stout.

Photo of truthbrew
3.36/5  rDev -14.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

Beer poured black with impressive tan fluffy head. Head lasted for most of the drinking experience, not something I have seen much in a RIS (possibly because of it's lower strength).

Nice roasty coffee and chocolate aroma, much more like a Dry Stout on steriods than a Imperial though.

I felt the same on the taste, there is some mild fruity complexity, but much more like a malty dry stout than a chewy russian. The malt is somewhat there, not real viscous though. Alcohol does show through a bit, which is a bit warming and borderline harsh.

A good, drinkable beer but not in the same class as other true RIS's.

Photo of kmo1030
3.83/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

rich dark brown with a thick tan head. the smell is a little underwhelming, good but not adequate especially given i put this in a snifter, a grainy roasted coffee aroma dominates with chocolate in the background. very mild dark fruity undertones of raisin and sweet plum. the provides no surprises when judged from the aroma. roasted coffee and cocoa, dark fruit. some bitterness at the finish. light medium body and fairly mild carbonation. not exactly what i was expecting. drinkability is good, nothing about this is difficult to drink. i could drink several. A respectable stout to be sure but i'm not sure how imperial it is.

Photo of riversider76
3.75/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours black with a tan head. Sweet roasted aroma,was very inviting. Mouth feel is light and smooth. This beer has a bitter sweet taste that I found intresting. I don'y usually go for a beer with a bitter edge,but this was balanced out by the sweetness. Good stuff !

Old Heathen Imperial Stout from Weyerbacher Brewing Co.
88 out of 100 based on 1,570 ratings.