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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

826 Reviews

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Reviews: 826
Hads: 1,630
Avg: 3.91
pDev: 11.51%
Wants: 75
Gots: 191 | FT: 2
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

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 826 | Hads: 1,630
Photo of schwemjw
3.76/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

A: Dark black with a slight tan mocha head.

S: Dates, plum fig and a little shot of roast to liven things up. Slight cinnamon. Dark italian roast coffee. Bitter and chunks of chocolate.

T: raisins and brown sugar start things off. Dates and figs covered in dark chocolate dominate the middle. Very dark coffee but without the bite finishes this off. a little funky.

M: Very thin actually. finish is light and fruity but hangs with you.

O: A lighter fruitier stout with good flavor throughout. I would have liked a little more complexity and i wish it was bigger but definitely a sessionable stout. /85

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Photo of 57md
3.76/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Pours a deep, dark brown with two big fingers of fluffy tan head. The head lingers for a significant time. The nose has definite roasted malt notes. Roasted malt comes through upfront in the flavor profile, as well. The finish has a strange sweet note that seems definitely out of place.

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Photo of Treyliff
3.64/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

A- pours pitch black in color with a dark tan fizzy two-finger head that reduces to a small film floating on top, leaving no lace. Continues to fizz like a pop

S- dark and roasty malt, slightly smoky from the peat. Dark fruit and a touch of coffee

T- coffe and roasted malt with smoky peat, gives a bit of smoky campfire. Has an almost lactic like sweetness mid-palate that leads to more roasted notes on the finish, with just a touch of hop bitterness, a bit of metallic linger

M- medium body with high-fizzy carbonation leads to a super bubbly mouthfeel and finish. The carbonation is all over the place, would prefer a bit more cream and less fizz

O- This one was interesting, it drank like a milk stout with RIS malty strength. The flavor was actually quite enjoyable, but the mouthfeel seemed a bit thin for the wealth of flavor. The alcohol is hidden brilliantly and drinks as easy as a milk stout

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Photo of Cylinsier
3.93/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

12 oz.

Pours jet black. Coffee-and-cream head is about half an inch thick, retains as a film.

Smells of mild oak, roasted coffee, and hints of caramel and vanilla.

Flavor of cocoa, coffee, buttered toast, caramel, and a bit of vanilla.

Fuller body with a light sting of carbonation on the back of the tongue.

Pretty good stout, I've had better but its up there. Definitely worth trying, good flavor, decent body. Weyerbacher doesn't disappoint.

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Photo of SerialHiker
3.58/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pours a dense, black color…head is mocha colored, full of tiny bubbles, making a lush, fluffy cloud…settles to a thin layer but does liven up with a couple of swirls…(3.75/5)

Smell: Roasted malts, oatmeal and light coffee bitterness hit my nose first…it’s noticeably earthy and has a slight alcohol astringent presence…there is a slight airy citrus quality that I pick up late in the overall aroma…it’s got a nice imperial stout smell, but it’s not unusual or unique by any means…pretty straight forward…(3.5/5)

Taste: Much like the nose…roasted malts, light oatmeal and mild coffee bitterness up front…flavor lingers on my tongue, leaving mostly robust roasted malts to savor…there is a faint dark fruit sweetness happening here, that takes the edge off the typical “imperial” stout flavor…it certainly has a noticeable alcohol astringent notes happening as well…this is a straight forward flavor, with little exotic or substantial going on here...it’s unfortunately pretty basic in flavor, though I am enjoying it…(3.5/5)

Mouthfeel: Light to medium body for this style…there is medium carbonation here as well, fluffing up bringing roasted malts and light coffee bitterness to the palate…I find it to be smoother and lighter than most imperial stouts…roasted malts and oatmeal (more as it warms) linger well into the after taste…(3.5/5)

Overall: While this is a solid brew, it’s not the best thing I’ve had from Weyerbacher…the flavor is very drinkable and it’s lighter body lend itself to being able to drink a couple in one sitting, I have to say overall I was a bit disappointed…for me, imperial stouts should have a chewiness that I can really get a hold of and a bit more depth in flavor, which Old Heathen lacks…while its good, it’s not great and for me isn’t worth the higher price tag that this brew commands…if like me, you find it on a mix-a-six wall, then by all means scoop one up, but I won’t be stocking my fridge or closet full of this one…(3.5/5)

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Photo of Jeffreysan
4.63/5  rDev +18.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

12 ounce bottle poured into a snifter

Appearance: Pours completely black and devoid of all light, like tar, without practically any head or lacing to speak of, just an extremely thin, almost invisible halo of lacing gripping the glass. This beer is gorgeous! Exactly what an Imperial Stout should look like!

Aroma: Dark bread, slight roasted coffee beans, and dark chocolate. Maybe a hint of vanilla?

Taste: Lots of roasted malt, followed by dark chocolate and finishing with a subtle hoppy bitterness. Wonderfully balanced. Very earthy. Fantastic stout!

Mouthfeel: Smoooth, like a creamy coffee! The beer has almost no carbonation to speak of, which leaves a smoothness that’s very, very pleasing. Very chewy and wonderful. Even though the beer is at 8% ABV, you can’t find any alcohol in the mouth or taste whatsoever.

Overall: Damn, this is a great stout! Very roasty, very chewy, very tastey! I could drink these all day, though at the 8% ABV, I’d be on the floor! Definitely getting this again. Could become my standard imperial stout.

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Photo of bcsbeer
3.36/5  rDev -14.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.25

Picked up a single at the local ABC.

A: Just what you would expect for the style, very dark with a tan 1 finger head. After a while the head reduced down to a film with no visible lacing at the end.

S: Very metallic. Could not get a lot else.

T: Metallic with muted flavors. Hidden behind the pocket change was the roasted coffee and vanilla. I know there was more in there but I could not find it. It was like trying to recall a dream. Nothing stood out. Somewhat sour in the aftertaste.

MF: Nice and silky, felt good on the tongue. Great carbonation.

O: This was a little thin for RIS , more like a imperial porter. I would say it is above average for the category, but far from the top.

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Photo of Jimmys
3.46/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.25

12 oz bottle into tulip. some sort of coding on the bottom of the bottle I cant make out.

A: really fucking dark. head is a coffee hue, frothy, but not very big. retention is good. lacing not so much.

S: smells of irish whiskey. a little woody as well. am I drinking Heresy!?! once I get past the booze, which is relatively minimal now that it has been in the glass for a few, a slight acrid roast.

T: licorice and sweet sugars. there is an underlying vanilla flavor throughout. dry roast. a little bit of tobacco. not much chocolate or coffee going on here. just a lot of roast. finish is slightly bitter and dry.

M: mild carb on a medium body.

D: lacking a bit in complexity as I mostly find roasty and otherwise one-note. I kind of wish this was Heresy, a much superior brew imo.

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Photo of jgran737
4.19/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Stopped by Weyerbacher and picked up a fresh growler of Old Heathen poured into a snifter.

A: Nice and dark no light penetration. Small half finger tan head.

S: Malt and coffee, but nothing over powering. Maybe a hint of dark chocolate.

T: Follows the nose. Coffee / espresso upfront, rounded out with some chocolate to not make it too bitter.

M: Carbonation is high for a stout which doesn't let it get to syrup-y. I think think this is what differentiates the beer for me from other stouts. Doesn't leave your mouth to full.

O: I think Weyerbacher is really stepping up their game. Heresy and Old Heathen seem to be getting better every time I've tried it and they've redone all their label artwork and have done a fantastic job with it. I think Old Heathen is slowly making its way into my regular squad.

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Photo of BlurryVisi0n
3.66/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Served in a my favorite snifter.

Appearance: Nice dark brown, almost pours that superior black but you see pretty well right through it on the pour rising to maybe a third of an inch coming off a nice natural tan.

Smell: Light coffee/espresso scent with little else to go by. You feel light sweetness to it...makes you think of chocolate.

Taste: Pretty bitter, has coffee properties to it with a strong burst of maltiness. Cocoa touch that feels little sweet but honestly i think it is what makes the bitterness so damn well.

Mouth: Medium to heavy, finish is not as strong nor is it sticky. I like it only because of how heavy the carbonation feels.

Overall: I was drinking this and was saying to myself this is really more of a Russian imperial, and once I looked it up there you go. Very easy to drink...I wouldn't exactly compare this to my favorite imperials stouts but does the job after a long day's work. Salud!

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Photo of MDDMD
3.98/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

A-dark brown black with a nice tan head and some lacing

S-coffee, chocolate, roasted malt, earthy

T-dark roasted malt, coffee, chocolate, earthy hops, molasses

F-medium body with light to moderate carbonation, smooth and creamy

O-a nice RIS with good flavor and body

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Photo of MistahBeah
4.47/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Jet black. No light coming through this one. Coffee colored head was minimal even with a vigorous poue. Little retention. Slight lacing.

Aroma: Roasty. Coffee and barley. A trace of alcohol. Maybe some dark fruits. Possibly raisins or plums.

Taste: Very good. Slightly bitter coffee upfront. Smooths out with dried dark fruits. A little toffee, some chocolate. Lots of levels here. Each sip brings out something new. Alcohol is hidden well at first - more evident as it warms. I've had a lot of RIS's and this one ranks up there with the best of them.

Mouthfeel: Velvety smooth. Sticks around a bit but has a very pleasant aftertaste. A little watery when cold. Dangerously so. As it warms it gains a lot more texture.

Overall: Great. Would gladly pick this up again. I've had better but not too many. If you're a fan of the style or just starting out you could do a lot worse

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Photo of horshamguy
4.54/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.75

Appearance: This is what you think of when a beer is described as "black". Real black, not dark something, not mostly opaque. This is black black. Head is thick, but short lived. I'd call it beige.

Smell: Coffee/espresso notes, some sweet, dark fruit (plums??, raisins??).

Taste: Wow, this is a great one. Complex with coffee, chocolate and fruit goodness. Each sip offers something worth noticing. Alcohol not as noticible as I thought it would be. Watch out, its a strong one at 8.0%.

Mouthfeel: Not as thick and viscous as its appearance would suggest. Almost some tartness in there.

Overall: This is serious stuff. Not for fratboys taking their first steps away from Coors Light. I'll confess my bias in truly loving Weyerbacher's beers, but I don't think that's a bad/wrong thing. They're awesome and Old Heathen is another in their line of excellent beers.

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Photo of BeerForMuscle
4.15/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A - Black beer with a light brown head, formed after the reverse waterfall cascade.

S - Roasted aromas, black coffee, burnt grain, bitter chocolate. A tangy fruity side note, sort of acidic. Hints of dark sweetness, dark maybe burnt sugars.

T - Incredibly flavorful, this beer is assertive, and robust. Plenty of sweet coffee, roasted grain, chocolate and other dark flavors. The presence of tart and tangy fruit flavors compliments the strong stout character. The fruit notes are dark and sweet, well ripened. A touch of smooth alcohol warming the mouth.

M - Very smooth, creamy. Silky, perfectly carbonated, rich feel. Mildyl dry aftertaste for an imperial stout.

O - A great complexity and perfect execution. This stout has a lot to offer.

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Photo of SaisonRichBiere
4.4/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to ThePorterSorter for this one

Poured into a 16 oz mug from a bottle.

Appearance- Standard for the style. A thick, dense espresso brown with a big tan frothy head, that slowly fades to a thin veil. I love how these stouts fill up the glass with a nice head.

Smell- Roasty coffee notes with a milk chocolate covered raisin sweetness. Roasted malts, not much hop presence in the nose at all.

Taste- Light cinnamon coffee flavors start, followed by faint milk sugar sweetness. Dark single-origin chocolate and coffee yields to a creamy, raisin and biscuit chocolate bar finish. Nice flavors all working together, I really didn't expect this much flavor. Alcohol is well hidden behind the flavors.

Mouthfeel- Smooth and slick, and not too thick.

Overall- A great beer. I am not too sure how long this one has been in the bottle, but everything was working very well together in this one. Considering how subtly sweet it is, I wonder if there's some lactose in this one. Creamy, roasty, a bit fruity, great biscuity malts. A great representation of the style. I would love to get this one again, and a draft offering would be great.


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Photo of Sludgeman
3.3/5  rDev -15.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Bottled on/Best by: 15/21N/02712/03:40 - need help interpreting. Poured into a chalice.

Overall - Bad first impressions (tastes) can ruin a relationship, don't let that happen with this beer. A decent beer. One that I would be willing to drink again. You should give it a try, albeit this beer is on the low end of my "willing to drink again" scale.

A - Black, opaque, slightly viscous. A thin rocky brown head that quickly disipates. Minimal lacing.

S - Dark roasted malt, some dark fruit, a little alcohol.

T - First taste was burnt bitter, but it smoothed out from there. Coffee and roasted malt. Alcohol and bitterness in the finish.

MF - Smooth, but generally non-descript.

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Photo of AmitC
4.02/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz bottle.

Color is dark brown while pouring. Very neat black inside the glass. Light tan colored head with little shine. Decent retention for an imperial stout. Just about decent lacing. Opaque.

Aroma is a lot subdued. Strength is moderate at its best. Burnt up malts - black and roasted. Not enough hops. Some chocolate.

Taste is very bland as well. No complexity. Roasted malts. No alcohol warmth. No bitterness except for that coming from charred malts which again are only mild. Finish is dry.

Mouth feel is medium bodied and a bit on the lighter side for an imperial. No astringency. Well balanced but drinks a lot like porter. Thin.

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Photo of yankeepride
3.37/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.25

I always like how these imperial stouts pour, with that dark abyss in the glass topped by a ruddy foam. I didn't get a strong impression of the smell of this one, but then again, it was 70 degrees out and my allergies were probably in the way. As for taste, it was a touch watered down for me. For this style, I prefer them to be big and bold. This was very drinkable, but for that, I'd prefer a tamer milk stout with less alcohol. I didn't catch any of that plum rind tartness here, but it did have a slight bit of chocolaty goodness that you'd expect. Overall it was solid, but nothing special for me.

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Photo of deeznuts420
4.09/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

poured into a nonic pint glass. pitch black with two fingers of head that dissipated to a thin film.smells of some faint dark fruit notes but mostly roasted malts with very little hop presence. a fair amount of coffee notes.taste follows the nose well but with a little bit of oxidization. fairly bitter with a fairly long coffee after taste that's pretty dry. good thick mouthfeel that coats the mouth with some slickness. overall a good Ris.

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Photo of cbutova
2.75/5  rDev -29.7%
look: 2.75 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.75

Not sure I'm a big fan of the new label scheme but this one is better than most of the others. Very surprised I haven't gotten around to this one yet but always nice to review a new stout. Date of 12-13-12.

A- A fairly aggressive pour into a small snifter reveals a beer with a pitch black body and a dark, mocha colored foamy cap. The head forms to only about a finger in size with a fizzy, bubbly texture. Retention of the head is decent and a silky ring leaves sparse, spotty lace.

S- A lot of dark fruity notes in the nose to me. Not incredibly strong overall or as roasty as many RIS examples. Some roast grain, cocoa and caramel hints but lacks that depth I look for in this style.

T- Dark fruit forward here for me as well. Raisin and slight cherry feel overall with a very acidic and burnt presence from the roast malts. Cocoa and roast grain come to mind of course but these flavors are not as rich or deep as a lot of the modern styles. Licorice, anise, smoke, molasses and oxidation come to mind here and there. Something thin feeling about it.

MF- The body does not feel as rich and thick as the best examples of RIS. It is not watery and actually has a nice silky consistency with moderate, smooth carbonation. Acidic burnt bitterness in the finish. Nothing from the alcohol.

Not my favorite RIS by any means. The acidic feel and the heavy dried dark fruit presence doesn't result in the smoothest experience by any means. Just feels a bit thin and one dimensional I guess.

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Photo of linnymtu
2.63/5  rDev -32.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Wanted to post a full review because I'm not sure my beer was fresh. I had it out of the bottle, and not sure how long it since it was bottled.

A - Normal stout appearance, dark black with a tan head. I love the look of all stouts, but as far as stouts go, this one was nothing above average.

S - Good smell, about average for a stout. Chocolate, coffee dominate

T - This is obviously where it falls apart for me. Some kind of acidic dominating taste filled my mouth about a half second after drinking and lasted all the way through. Possibly could have been a bad beer? Bottled badly? I'm no expert, but I'm pretty sure it isn't supposed to taste like it did.

M - Also dominated by the acidic overtone, not pleasant.

O - I will have to try it again assuming I got a bad one

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Photo of neophilus
3.89/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

It's dark. It's got a tan head that sticks around. Looks fine.

Rich complex roasted malt aroma, layers of tangy grain-forward dark bread malt mingled with some sweeter light maltiness on top of alcohol heat. Spicy from the grain, subdued hop aroma follows it up.

Dark roasted smooth grain flavor dominates the taste. Acrid bitterness takes a heavy hand with the aftertaste leaving an ash-like flatness of flavor behind. Some hint of the spicy grain lingers with a bit of alcohol heat.

Full bodied yet smooth, washes down easily. Alcohol shows up a bit much and the acrid bitterness of the roast grain lands a little hard, but otherwise easy drinking and assertive stout.

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Photo of ThisWangsChung
3.59/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle poured into a Duvel tulip.

A: Pours a nicely dark brown-to-borderline pitch black color. The head is a three finger khaki shade. While the retention is good, it doesn't leave much lacing on the glass.

S: This beer offers up a mix of sweetness (chocolate, molasses, brown sugar, dark fruits) and savoriness (soy, faint oxidation, maybe even a musty presence?) to pervades my nose. After a bit, its roasty character will pop up like weeds. Nice complexity to be found here, even if not every note works perfectly.

T: If the aroma dictated a slightly sweet, chocolaty stout, then the flavor profile dictates a roasty, licorice-forward one. Licorice opens up the palate before it fades into a faintly roasted coffee expression in the midtaste/finish. A distant aftertaste of char and umami qualities alongside an appearance of chocolate, smoke, and prunes after many sips give it an overall depth that is very good, but not elite. I'm not a huge fan of how this one finishes in general, but everything up to that point is rock solid.

M: I'd say it's a bit too thin and devoid of creaminess on the onset. The texture will eventually froth up giving a good counteraction to the roasted malts. This one really needs a drier finish to allow the savory/roasted qualities to shine through more vividly.

O: Likable, but at the same time, a bit aimless and meandering in its complexity. It comes across undecided whether it wants to be big, roasty, and dry or sweet, fruity, and chocolaty, and ergo doesn't really do either facet fabulously. This is a good off-the-shelf RIS that has the misfortune of competing with MANY great ones (such as Old Rasputin).

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Photo of BeerFMAndy
4.06/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle poured into a snifter.
8.0% ABV, no date.

A - Old Heathen pours like old motor oil and is just as black in the glass. Slivers of amber brown shine through the edges and a low, mildly retained mocha head caps this beer.

S - Slick bitter chocolate and gritty cocoa really contribute a dark presence to this aroma. Molasses, dirt, and the aroma of a cigar lounge leather chair as well as old books follow, adding to the "dark" character of Old Heathen while herbal notes of earthy hops have a kick at the end.

T - Thick and rich roasted malt coat the tongue and impart coffee, bittersweet chocolate, and molasses with a dirt-like finish and balanced earthy hops.

M - Smooth but thick and viscous, Old Heathen is as full-bodied as they come with a light surprisingly lighter bitter finish than I expected for the roasted malt presence. The beer is fairly gritty though; a little rough around the edges.

O - The wind is howling outside as snow whirls around; the perfect time to enjoy a beer such as this. Very dark and roasted, Old Heathen is a malty beast with smoky notes and burnt coffee for an aggressive grittiness and bitter finish. Maybe not the greatest Russian imperial out there, but far more drinkable in terms of alcohol than quite a bit of them.

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Photo of JJKBeerLvr
4.77/5  rDev +22%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Poured from a bottle into pint glass.

Appearance: Very dark with nice brown head.

Smell: Pleasant, and can smell both the hops and roasted malts.

Taste: Excellent taste. There is both a strong hop and malt flavor, but it is not too bitter, nor too sweet. The balance between them is great.

This is one of the best imperial stouts I've tasted. You will enjoy it if you like a bold stout. It is complex, and every time I drink it, I get something new. Definitely a beer to drink again.

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Old Heathen Imperial Stout from Weyerbacher Brewing Co.
88 out of 100 based on 826 ratings.