Old Heathen Imperial Stout - Weyerbacher Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Old Heathen Imperial StoutOld Heathen Imperial Stout

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

819 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 819
Hads: 1,616
rAvg: 3.9
pDev: 11.28%
Wants: 70
Gots: 178 | 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: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Old Heathen Imperial Stout Alström Bros
Reviews: 819 | Hads: 1,616
Photo of Jimmys
3.46/5  rDev -11.3%
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. (791 characters)

Photo of jgran737
4.19/5  rDev +7.4%
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. (813 characters)

Photo of BlurryVisi0n
3.66/5  rDev -6.2%
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! (929 characters)

Photo of MDDMD
3.98/5  rDev +2.1%
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 (270 characters)

Photo of MistahBeah
4.47/5  rDev +14.6%
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 (894 characters)

Photo of horshamguy
4.54/5  rDev +16.4%
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. (866 characters)

Photo of BeerForMuscle
4.15/5  rDev +6.4%
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. (747 characters)

Photo of SaisonRichBiere
4.4/5  rDev +12.8%
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.

Cheers! (1,150 characters)

Photo of Sludgeman
3.3/5  rDev -15.4%
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. (683 characters)

Photo of AmitC
4.02/5  rDev +3.1%
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. (662 characters)

Photo of yankeepride
3.37/5  rDev -13.6%
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. (603 characters)

Photo of deeznuts420
4.09/5  rDev +4.9%
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. (443 characters)

Photo of cbutova
2.75/5  rDev -29.5%
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. (1,491 characters)

Photo of linnymtu
2.63/5  rDev -32.6%
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 (779 characters)

Photo of neophilus
3.89/5  rDev -0.3%
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. (673 characters)

Photo of ThisWangsChung
3.59/5  rDev -7.9%
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). (1,662 characters)

Photo of BeerFMAndy
4.06/5  rDev +4.1%
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. (1,272 characters)

Photo of JJKBeerLvr
4.77/5  rDev +22.3%
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. (488 characters)

Photo of BurgeoningBrewhead
4.77/5  rDev +22.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Poured from 12oz bottle into nonic pint glass. Dark brown oily pour, yielding a single-finger head even with a very aggressive pour. Smells sweet up front, with roasted undertones. Taste is delicious; coating your whole mouth with sweetness, then the roast-ness comes in and finishes. Leaving some nice lacing as I drink as well. Mouthfeel is creamy and full. A great RIS, a great beer. (386 characters)

Photo of rodlavers
3.62/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Overall, I've had sub-par experience with Weyerbacher. A colleague passed this off to me with high ratings, and I am glad to try to another Imperial Stout, and am curious as to what the brewery does with the style.

Appears black and thick, with a light mocha head. Starts off with a 1-finger head, but that thins out to a slim layer. Some chunky lacing, not much. It's very very black.

Smells of roasted barley and malt, sweet chocolate, black licorice, small hints of coffee, and maybe leather.

Taste, re: smell. dark fruit and tobacco in there as well, along with some hop profile.

Feel is decent, smooth and bitter at the same time, with some carbonation present at the end.

Overall this is just an OK Imperial Stout. I've had much better, and this experience affirms I am not a massive fan of Weyerbacher, no offense. Glad I tried it. Cheers. (853 characters)

Photo of brianjay
3.96/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Very dark, pitch black in fact, body which is topped with a halo of thin head. The aroma is an interesting blend of sweet chocolate with soft notes of roasted coffee but alcohol peaks it's head in your nose and takes over. Taste is spiked by hazelnut and accentuated by an oily mouth-feel. Lingering flavor is balanced roasted nuts and coco. (341 characters)

Photo of thlayli87
3.55/5  rDev -9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Black with thin tan head. No lacing.

S - Very earthy aroma, like freshly turned garden soil.

T - Sweet up front, then roasty malt, with an earthy hop finish.

M - Chewy, full bodied.

O - Well crafted imperial stout. The alcohol packs a punch but is well hidden. (268 characters)

Photo of Damian74Shensky
3.94/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a over sized wine glass.

A- Pours a dark black. The head is tan and very bubbly. It dissipates quickly, thin lacing on glass.

S- Smells very strongly of roasted malts. chocolate, caramel

T- Chocolate malt,coffee, smokey.

M- A heavy beer. Lightly carbonated. Roasted malt finish.

O- Good for the style. Would get again. (355 characters)

Photo of thecheapies
4.04/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

Old Heathen going into a snifter. Old label art. Bottled 08/18/11. Best by 04/18/12.

Pours quite black with a tan head of almost two fingers. Head resting nicely and lacing moderately. Looks purdy good.

Smells roasty and a little milky. Roasty malts, caramel, chocolate malt, light evergreen, fennel, coffee, and hints of pine hops. So mellow and rich with a light sweetness to the nose that you can tell the age has had a magical influence on this one.

Salt caramel, Mocha Java, charred grain, milk, spruce, anise, menthol, and traces of oxidation. Still has a creamy taste, as if the beer skirted across milk sugars. These are all nuances of the caramelized sugars and sweet aged malt base. Light booze works well here, too.

Smooth and thickened. Nice permeating carb that creeps up into the gums of my upper palate. Tongue wants to glaze up in the front and dance a bit in the back.

This beer has held up mightily well, but perhaps peaked mere months ago. I can't remember if I've ever had a fresh taste, but now I want to to compare. A delicious and easy-going imperial stout. (1,085 characters)

Photo of Altrurian
3.77/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Pours pretty thick and gurgling. Dark, three-finger head forms, with some downward cascading, and lasts a good couple of minutes. Nice cling left behind. Opaque body, ruby edges. In sum, noteworthy aesthetic values.

Taste emphasizes the grain notes. Sweetness predominates, but the brew is not reminiscent of fruits. Really what come to mind is the best root beer float you've ever had: earthy and creamy, with the mildest of hoppy finishes. At a manageable 8%, I'm going to call this a session stout, and one to be reckoned with. (531 characters)

Old Heathen Imperial Stout from Weyerbacher Brewing Co.
88 out of 100 based on 819 ratings.