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Old Heathen Imperial Stout - Weyerbacher Brewing Co.

Old Heathen Imperial StoutOld Heathen Imperial Stout

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

1,351 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1351
Reviews: 798
rAvg: 3.93
pDev: 11.45%

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:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 08-19-2001)
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Ratings: 1,351 | Reviews: 798 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of Altrurian

New York

3.76/5  rDev -4.3%
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.

Serving type: bottle

01-14-2013 23:42:30 | More by Altrurian
Photo of Act25

New Jersey

4.44/5  rDev +13%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Let it warm! A slow stout.
Best Stout so far. (since tasting a couple of stouts have out-notched Old H. 'Came back to this on SuperBowl and it both didnt disappoint but was great atop a Dales Pale Ale as a Black & Pale.

Strong so appreciate slowly.
Concur with A bros' review.

Blackest. A Cappacino like head: firm, tall, lasting.
Smell - December wet leaves, long early winter walk.
Taste - Soothing and strong. Coffee, chocolate, bitter, soaring.
Feel - Dreamy kiss. Feathers. Tongue tickler.
Overall Arc - Maybe best stout tried this year.

Bottle avail at Whole Foods nj. Case discount.

(drive carefully, drink slowly!)

Re-tasted and I hold with this high review, must taste against Narwhal, TenFidy, Boris, Old Rasputin, Founders and more because they are all so great and all clustered together around 4.5.

Serving type: bottle

12-26-2012 01:40:22 | More by Act25
Photo of atr2605

New York

4.15/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A-pours black with a tan head with decent retention
S-prunes, coffee, hint of unsweetened cocoa
T-dark dried fruit of front combines with the coffee flavor and finishes with chocolate on the palate
O-I thought it lacked a bit of head retention and body, but the flavors were excellent. I would most certainly drink it again

Serving type: bottle

12-26-2012 01:08:00 | More by atr2605
Photo of cvm4


2.73/5  rDev -30.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

A - Pours black but seems to have a thin body already. The head is one finger and tan. Not much lacing.

S - I'm not getting much more than roasted malts.

T - Mainly roasted malts with coffee and expresso in the background.

M - Thin body (watery) and low carbonation.

O - A poor example of what even a basic RIS should be.

Serving type: bottle

12-23-2012 01:00:04 | More by cvm4
Photo of SolipsismalCat


3.7/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a snifter.

A: Black with two-finger, tan, creamy head that lasted several minutes. Great lacing.

S: Roasted malt. Hints of chocolate and coffee. Mild.

T: Moderate sweetness and moderate bitterness. Roasted malt. Bittersweet and strong coffee flavor. Not my favorite Russian Imperial stout.

M: Medium to full bodied with fizzy carbonation. Smooth and chewy.

O: I feel like I might be giving this a 4.0 rather than a 3.5 overall only because I really like Russian Imperial stouts. The beer looks really good and it has a great mouthfeel, but the smell and taste were a bit of a let down.

Serving type: bottle

12-17-2012 00:57:44 | More by SolipsismalCat
Photo of facundoCNB

New Jersey

3.98/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

from the cellar, 2011 bottle.

a deep brown/black pour with a finger of head and excellent retention. smells of chocolate, roasted grains, coffee. sweet cocoa flavor up front followed up immediately by a mellow coffee, dark roasted grains, a hint of figs. medium body with moderate carbonation, silky smooth and creamy.

not a bad stout at all - weak in comparison to some of the RIS that i've been drinking lately, but considering the low abv for the style, it's pretty solid.

Serving type: bottle

12-14-2012 02:51:05 | More by facundoCNB
Photo of thebrood1987

New Jersey

4.7/5  rDev +19.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Very dark and I get roasted coffee dark malt plum and fruits. It start off very smooth with sweet dark roasted malty a bit of a fruity hop bite and then ending with a long roasty coffee bean taste although they use no coffee so this is all from the excellent use of malts...very impressive.

Definitely one of my favorite Weyerbacher beers I've ever had from them. Its very silky smooth and as the beer warms I get herbal tastes mixing in with the really rich and extremely tasty roastinesss. The body of the beer is a little thin for a russian imperial which is the only downfall but not enough to ever put a beer this tasty down.

The fruitiness plum flavor comes out more as it warms too. The tastes all come together in unison asa top notch quality russian imperial craft beer.

Serving type: bottle

12-13-2012 05:10:49 | More by thebrood1987
Photo of StonedTrippin


4.1/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

wonderful stout, kind of a best of both worlds sort of vibe, with the sweet creamy vibe of a milk stout, and that burnt malt bitterness of a nice coffee forward stout. pours thick and dark, with an inch of tan foam hanging around awhile. the nose is bitter, very dark roast on the grains here, and a hint of dark chocolate and black coffee as well. the flavor starts a little sweet, akin to a left hand milk stout, im pretty sure i can identify lactose sugars here, but the sweetness is short lived and gives way to the bitter malt in a powerful way. the finish is long and complex, with more and more coffee coming into the picture. great feel on this too, smooth like an oatmeal stout, full bodied like the russian imperials should be, and a well disguised alcohol kick that can be felt but not tasted. one of the better stouts ive had this season, and one i look forward to revisiting again soon. the best weyerbacher beer i have had to date.

Serving type: bottle

12-09-2012 19:50:19 | More by StonedTrippin
Photo of SeamusDoyle


3.78/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours nearly black with a bit of ruby. Small tan head. Not much lacing. Aroma is quite nice: rich, dark malts, roasted barley, some chocolate and vanilla, touch of coffee. Some alcohol rises to the nose. Flavor is incredibly smooth; wonderfully creamy mouthfeel. Flavor is roast malt, some chocolate, coffee, and vanilla, a touch of licorice. Some earthy hops and a dry finish.

Serving type: bottle

11-30-2012 03:12:19 | More by SeamusDoyle
Photo of kristiekatk


4.1/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Pours jet black with a thin, coffee-colored head. The aroma is dark and fruity; full of raisins, roasted grains, and chocolate. A very similar taste: espresso, dark chocolate, very earthy and with a fantastic ripe fruit quality. There are some soft, slightly char aspects and some light grassy hops in sweet and roasty finish.

The 8% alc/vol is very masked. It has a silky smooth mouthfeel, low carbonation, but is a little too light-bodied for the Imperial style.

Serving type: bottle

11-29-2012 17:33:48 | More by kristiekatk
Photo of CommanderOfAwesome


2.38/5  rDev -39.4%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

12 oz bottle poured into a large snifter. Bottled on date: 9.11.12

A: Pours like you'd expect an imperial stout to pour, black. Very little head, no head retention. Overall pretty flat.

S: Not getting much aroma other than coffee. Maybe a weird pine/earthy smell but that's reaching a bit.

T: Smooth/flat. Comparing it to other RIS it comes across extremely thin. I wonder if I got a bad bottle. Syrupy sweet taste.

M: Thin, watery, no carbonation or body to speak of. Very poor for an RIS.

O: I'd like to try this one again, but this is a weak effort. This might be an example of a bad bottle, or a bad beer from a usually stellar brewery. I'll revisit my review if I try another one.

Serving type: bottle

11-28-2012 04:17:10 | More by CommanderOfAwesome
Photo of ghengisflan


3.85/5  rDev -2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance - It pours opaque black with little head.

Smell - The roast I smell from this beer is no more or less than a regular stout.

Taste - Again, roast predominates but there is a nice complex range of flavors including chocolate, coffee, and cream.

Mouthfeel - Rich and creamy.

Overall - While it's a good example of a Russian Imperial Stout in my opinion, I have had quite a few that are better.

Serving type: bottle

11-25-2012 02:23:24 | More by ghengisflan
Photo of LBeaux

New York

4.2/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Very, very dark brown, almost black. Head like mocha.

Aroma not pronounced, but faint chocolate/coffee. Can’t detect much if any hop aroma.

Thick, but less so than many imperials.

Sweet, roasty malt taste, with distinct chocolate and coffee notes finally showing up big time. Very little bitter aftertaste.

Not a big imperial stout guy, but in comparison to most in the style this is lighter and more balanced. Still bold, but not the kick in the teeth an imperial stout can be. Can’t decide if that's a good thing or not. Probably a little less exciting than the best imperials.

Serving type: bottle

11-18-2012 02:32:29 | More by LBeaux
Photo of BeerKangaroo


4.23/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Date says March 1st, 2012 (unsure if its best by or born on date):

In a pint glass:

A: dark black colored body that yields a small mocha colored head with barely any lacing is left.

S: combination between the chocolate and the coffee and is very powerful, and helps to hide the alcohol very well.

T: takes these flavorings and makes them insanely smooth.

M: medium to heavy with an initial sharpness that settles once the beer warms a bit.

O: this is good for its style and good for me.

Serving type: bottle

11-06-2012 14:54:13 | More by BeerKangaroo
Photo of lsummers


4.5/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Dark as night with half finger tan head that dissipates fairly quickly. Smells of roasted chocolate grains with hints of coffee and a dark fruity character.

Taste is quite smooth and hits first with the sweet fruity chocolate which turns midway into the bitter coffee and ends with a touch of bitter sweet roasted hop character on the aftertaste.

Mouthfeel is not as thick as some of the other imperial stouts I've tried. Especially the other weyerbacher stouts. Helps that the beer feels a touch carbonated too. Heavy enough to remind you it's a stout though.

Overall, I definitely would love to have this beer be close by me. This might be a go to imperial stout for me.

Serving type: bottle

11-06-2012 04:57:30 | More by lsummers
Photo of Pinknuggets


4/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From a bottle received in trade into a mug

A: Dark Dark brown but not quite black with almost no head but a thin mocha colored ring around the outside that lasts for a short time, good but not great.

S: Upfront I was surprised by how much I could smell the booze (This dissipated after a few minutes), but there is definitely some coffee with a bit of roast to it. I also detect quite a bit of dark chocolate.

T: lots of that dark chocolate to start but it tastes almost like roasted coco nibs this fades into a malty coffee like flavor, but its not very bitter at all. As i expected the alcohol is basically not present and well hidden for the low abv for an IS especially when compared to how much taste there is .

M: Smooth, oily and very easily drinkable for an IS. Its light for an IS too but the taste is there.

O: Really solid IS nothing that will blow your socks off but it comes in an affordable six pack so if you like the style I recommend it worth a try if not a good late night finisher

Serving type: bottle

11-02-2012 22:41:28 | More by Pinknuggets
Photo of RyanLigeia

North Carolina

3.15/5  rDev -19.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance- Pours jet black, opaque, dark brown cappuccino head. Head doesnt last long and turns to a thin yet lasting film over the beer.

Smell- Chocolate, chocolate malt (like malted milk balls), a sort of vanilla extract-like scent, caramel. My only 2 complaints is that theres a slightly metallic scent underneath it and that I wish the scent was a little stronger.

Taste- Not very...imperial. Chocolate, bitter chocolate, alcohol, slightly more watery and weak than I would have hoped.

Mouthfeel- medium/low carbonation, slight alcohol warmth, a little more watery than it should be, especially for an imperial.

Overall- I graded it as an imperial stout, since thats what it claims to be.
A little too watery and lacking in flavor but its not horrible. I've definitely had worse stouts. Its kind of like an imperial version of a poorly done stout.

Serving type: bottle

10-30-2012 01:56:35 | More by RyanLigeia
Photo of jondeelee


4/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Old Heathen opens with a nose heavily malty and full of coffee and full-fat coffee cream, to the extent that it’s difficult to believe no coffee beans went into the making of the brew. Good levels of dark chocolate, tobacco, and ash support the black coffee bean notes, made more palatable by caramel, molasses, and a good sampling of fig and date fruit esters. Brown breads, toast crust, yeasty wheat dough, and spent grains add earthiness, joined by a touch of pine resin from the hops. As a whole, the nose is very nice, geared obviously toward the darker aromas, but these perfectly befitting the Imperial Stout style. A touch more depth and power would have been nice, the somewhat lower 8% ABV resulting in a slightly weaker nose. But the aromas that are present are complex and finely nuanced.

On the tongue, the beer opens with a good hit of coffee bean, tobacco, and ash, joined quickly by coffee cream, caramel, molasses, and a surprisingly strong sampling of dark fruit esters, including fig, date, and prune. Pine resin from the hops adds a good bitter counter, and the earthy black bread, toast crust, and black malt notes help ground everything. Hold the beer long enough on the tongue and the sugars die off, revealing a very ashy, tobacco-and-dark-roast coffee bean base, these latter notes also dominating the aftertaste, with small touches of coffee cream and molasses and fast-fading fruit esters. The ashy notes, however, stick on the tongue for a very long time. Mouthfeel is medium, and carbonation is medium.

Overall, this is a good Imperial Stout, and while it doesn’t have the punch and kick of some of its higher ABV peers, it does offer a good presentation of a lighter form of those flavors. The profile as a whole is perhaps slightly overly skewed toward ash and tobacco, and I personally felt like the brew cried out for a bit of bourbon barrel-aging for extra depth, complexity, and flavor. But for a non-BBL brew—especially for one with a comparatively low ABV—it’s quite nice.

Serving type: bottle

10-13-2012 23:07:56 | More by jondeelee
Photo of mychalg9


3.9/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from 12 oz bottle into DFH Immort Ale glass. Pour is dark black like oil with a small tan/white head. Very appetizing. SMell is licorice, molasses, and faint dark fruit. Taste is more of the same, rich, chocolatey, molasses and a touch of licorice with a tinge of dark fruit. The only problem (if you want to call it a problem) with this beer is that it is a touch too thin. Everything else is spot on. I was pleasantly surprised by this beer and will certainly buy more in the future (ie, this weekend ;)

Serving type: bottle

09-24-2012 02:22:00 | More by mychalg9
Photo of CraftBeerTastic


3.7/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Ba Review #224
Served On: 09/19/2012
Glassware: Duvel Glass
Labeled ABV: 8.0%
Date/ Code: -

This was a mixed case picked up at Brewskies of New Oxford, PA. Around $52.00.

Look: Smooth pour down the middle into a Duvel glass. Head was a dense light brown, slightly over 2-fingers. The beer was a very opaque black color. Zero transparency.

Smell: Sweet notes of molasses and coffee bean and dark chocolate. A slight alcohol booziness was in the background, but worked well with the confectionary character of the aroma.

Taste: Mouth feel was very smooth and velvety. First on the palate was a sweet blend of brown sugar and coffee. The middle had a bitterness that could only be descried as a baking coca. The finish was a mixture of semisweet chocolate and caramelized toffee. The aftertaste was a nice roasted bitterness that lingered for a while.

This was a wonderful Imperial Stout. A little pricey though. Maybe look for a Samuel Smith's Imperial Stout as a cheaper alternative.

Serving type: bottle

09-19-2012 17:22:15 | More by CraftBeerTastic
Photo of lacqueredmouse


2.48/5  rDev -36.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Bottle purchased from Slowbeer.

Pours a slightly clear brown colour—certainly clear at the edges at least, with a rather insipid ring of mild brown bubbles. Body obviously has a bit of weight behind it, but it seems very fluid and it doesn't hold carbonation very well. Overall, it looks a bit lacklustre for an Imperial Stout.

Nose is sweet and malty, but with the grainy genericness of malt extract. Slight dusty coffee overtones, but very muted. Really, it smells a lot like malt extract and not much else: it's sweet and heavy, but without depth, complexity or the true roastiness I expect from an RIS.

Taste is probably even worse. Here there's a big but empty and very, very unwholesome sweetness that tastes like water with some liquid malt extract thrown in. There are faint hints of roast, but they come across more as husky grain, with a slight lactic efterklang. Oh god. I'm exceptionally unimpressed.

Feel is slick and relatively thick, but that just adds credence to the flavours. The flavours do not deserve credence.

Wow, what the hell? This is a very unimpressive Imperial Stout. In some senses (say, the lack of complexity) it feels thin and weak, in others (say, the cloying sweetness), it feels excessive and overpowering. This is a very unfortunate brew in my book—bridging the gap between cloying and bland-as-fuck. That was a gap that should never have been bridged.

Serving type: bottle

09-08-2012 08:22:11 | More by lacqueredmouse
Photo of tut2528


3.68/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Thanks sleuthdog for throwing this extra in!

A: pour is completely engine oil black, creates a small ½ fingers worth of tan colored head on an aggressive pour that dissipates quickly. High viscosity as it comes out of the bottle and sticks to the sides of the glass.

S: sweet alcohol soaked figs and dark fruits are the first thing that I notice. Big chocolate notes, vanilla, some light coffee, and molasses. Everything is very nicely balanced

T: more pronounced coffee in the taste and the dark fruits have toned down compared to the nose of this brew. I also pick up on a faint tart cherriness. A slight bitter dark chocolate is present and there is a very slight creamy finish to this.

M: full bodied, doesn’t leave much flavor on the palate other than a slight bitter chocolate.

O: a very decent RIS. It’s not overly complex, but its not simplistic either. I wish the sweet dark fruits would come out more like in the nose because this beer would be absolutely fantastic if they did. the alcohol is very well hidden in the taste in this one. Overall, a nice offering by Weyerbacher and I would probably try this one out again.

Serving type: bottle

08-21-2012 05:41:30 | More by tut2528
Photo of tdm168

North Carolina

3.8/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - pitch black with a soft cap of dense, dark brown head that has decent retention

S - oddly there isn't much of a nose here; some roasted malts, faint chocolate, a hint of coffee

T - chocolate, roasted malt, faint coffee, mildly bitter

M - full bodied, smooth, well carbonated

This is a decent, well flavored beer. It's not as viscous or boozy as many in the RIS category are. It also has a pretty decent drinkability. Its worth checking out.

Serving type: bottle

08-18-2012 23:29:43 | More by tdm168
Photo of Huhzubendah

District of Columbia

3.1/5  rDev -21.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

The beer is dark brown with a spotty beige head. The aroma brings peanut butter, roast. Wow, I am oddly taken aback a bit by the roasted peanut scent. The flavor is roasted circus peanuts. Mediocre. Call it a peanut beer if that's what you were aiming for. Medium bodied. Eh...no thank you.

Serving type: bottle

08-15-2012 03:19:55 | More by Huhzubendah
Photo of mscudder


3.8/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Fresh bottle. Poured into a globe.

A - Deep black with a tan, chocolate head. Dissipates rather quickly leaving a fair amount of retention.

S - Lots of roasted malts with nuts. Behind are the more traditional notes of a RIS: cocoa, coffee, booze and a bit of earthy notes. Personally not my favorite scent for the style, but not a complete miss.

T - Hits first with some big chocolate and follows with some more acidic/bitter notes. These come from coffee and chocolate, yet there is that nut presence through. With time the beer warms and yields some dark fruits, mostly cherry. This gives the beer some complexity, but again I have had better.

M - A full bodied beer with the standard near non-existent carbonation. I believe I would define this as quite rich with a nice balance.

O - This does not stand out as "superb" in a style that has been define for adversity and wealth of flavor. Being one of my favorite styles I have had my fair variety and I can say this is a fair deal for 6 bottles at around $12, but I would prefer many others.

Serving type: bottle

08-01-2012 07:05:45 | More by mscudder
Old Heathen Imperial Stout from Weyerbacher Brewing Co.
88 out of 100 based on 1,351 ratings.