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Heresy - Weyerbacher Brewing Co.


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very good

1,703 Ratings
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1703
Reviews: 940
rAvg: 3.96
pDev: 11.62%

Brewed by:
Weyerbacher Brewing Co. visit their website
Pennsylvania, United States

Style | ABV
Russian Imperial Stout |  8.00% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes/Commercial Description:
Old Heathen aged in oak (bourbon) barrels.

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 06-21-2004)
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Ratings: 1,703 | Reviews: 940 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of CASK1


3.79/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Black as night with a dark tan head that fades a bit quickly. Aome coffee and dark chocolate aroma and flavor hides behind a hit of bourbon. Rich, toasty character I expect in a RIS is lost behind the bourbon. Mouthfeel is disappointingly thin and watery.

Serving type: on-tap

12-16-2013 20:43:18 | More by CASK1
Photo of PorterLambic


4.43/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Arrives a tulip full of black with a dark tan hat on. No lace, little retention.
Smell is alcohol soaked dark fruits, roasted malt, and maybe molasses. Nice.
Taste is toasted malt, dark fruit, burnt caramel, whiskey and cocoanut (?). Good balance.
Extremely smooth, rich, full bodied, barely carbonated. A delicious brew that drinks heavier than the 8.2% listed on the board behind the bar. Seriously good.

Serving type: on-tap

07-05-2013 00:30:38 | More by PorterLambic
Photo of champ103


3.5/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On tap at Craftsmen Kitchen & Tap House in Charleston.

A: Pours dark brown, with some red highlights around the edges. A thin, bubbly tan head rises, but recedes to nothing in a second. No lace either.
S: Baker chocolate, light roasted malts, dark fruits and vanilla. A pretty standard Imperial Stout nose.
T: Bakers chocolate, molasses and syrup. Some roasted malt and light coffee. Dark fruits and vanilla sweetness lingers.
M/D: A medium to full body. Low on the carbonation, and a bit thin overall. Something to sip on, and not something I can take a lot of.

Not bad, just pretty standard and by the books. I enjoyed my half pint for what it was, but probably not going to get any more than that.

Serving type: on-tap

06-21-2013 19:35:47 | More by champ103
Photo of 57md


3.88/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Appearance is a dark chocolate brown with a finger of tan, creamy head. The nose is a tad tart - which does not work well with the taste. The flavor is creamy and rich with a subtle, but distinct undertone of bourbon and oak. The finish is slightly boozy, but pleasant nonetheless.

Serving type: on-tap

11-18-2012 01:54:41 | More by 57md
Photo of Darkmagus82


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

Served in a 10 oz chalice glass

Appearance –Served a black brew with a small brown head. The head had a moderate level of retention and once faded gave way to a good level of lacing.

Smell – The aroma of milk chocolate is heavy and delicious and is mixed with an ever so light aroma of bourbon.

Taste – The taste is of a sweeter chocolate up front. There are hints of vanilla and caramel sweetness mixed in with the chocolate. While a bit sweeter at first, it bitters up a bit more toward the middle as coffee flavors begin to pull from the sweeter flavors. Toward the end, the little bit of bourbon in the smell becomes present in the taste as well. Overall the taste transitions from sweet to more bitter to more boozy are really quite smooth and well done. Its quite nice.

Mouthfeel – A good creamy body with a lower level of carbonation. The smoothness and low carbonation allow the brew to sit on the tongue and allow for all the taste transition flavors to really permeate the tongue.

Overall – Very nice. The beer is pretty good for those that both like more bitter or more semi-sweet stouts as it spends time as both. Not the best of either, but if you can’t decide this is one I would suggest.

Serving type: on-tap

04-03-2012 00:30:31 | More by Darkmagus82
Photo of Rifugium


4.14/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

First had: ?
Not sure when/where I first had this, but this review is from a recent tasting at Capone's, Norristown, PA

Have they changed the recipe? Seemed a lot better recently than the last time I had this one. Served in a snifter, a dark black color with a thin but dense mocha head. Aroma of dark chocolate, roasted malts, notes of bourbon and red wine. Taste of dark chocolate and rich caramel, some vanilla, more of the boozy bourbon and wine notes from the aroma, tinges of roasty malts and coffee. Very very silky smooth, nearly full-bodied, and a very enjoyable sipper overall.

Serving type: on-tap

03-28-2012 23:59:42 | More by Rifugium
Photo of DomingoOrtiz


4.8/5  rDev +21.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

One of the best stouts I have ever had. I had not had too much experience with Weyerbacher prior to this. I had it on tap at a place called Pico. They have an amazing selections of beers on draught.
Why must you type in a 250+ length comment to rate a beer?
Do you like beer? I do!

Serving type: on-tap

03-13-2012 18:52:57 | More by DomingoOrtiz
Photo of nmbr0ne


3.95/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into snifter from tap at the BX Beer Depot in Lake Worth, FL.

Appearance: Black body with a almost non-existent, mocha colored head. Not that much lacing.

Smell: Oak, wood, roasted coffee, some vanilla. Decent aroma. Not too boozy either, but alcohol can definitely be recognized.

Taste: Coffee flavors at the front of the sip followed by some bourbon and vanilla. Some hidden chocolate notes as well. Kind of sweet.

Mouthfeel: Thin to medium-bodied. Some carbonation, but not enough. Somewhat smooth though.

Overall: Decent RIS. It's a good brew but I wish there was more of a bite rather than it being sweet. The general aroma and flavors are good though.

Serving type: on-tap

01-23-2012 00:37:40 | More by nmbr0ne
Photo of danedelman


4.72/5  rDev +19.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Tasting one of my 2011 lots from February

A-black as black can be with a tan head that sticks around for just a minute or so.

S-bourbon up front with some vanilla, raisins and a bit of chocolate

T-get thhe bourbon, vanilla, more of a fig or prune flavor with a hint of that chocolate note. Must be from chocolate malt. A little chalkyness to it too and some smoke but very small amounts. This is a perfect brew for in front of the campfire. Some hops are present also. Very flavorful, complex but very smooth with just a slight alcohol burn in your throat. Almost has a chile or peppery to it felt in the throat too.

M-nice medium body and well carbed.

Good beer, I will buy another 2 cases of this this year.

Serving type: on-tap

12-23-2011 22:53:57 | More by danedelman
Photo of oline73


3/5  rDev -24.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

I had this on-tap at Victoria Gastropub. Poured into a 5oz. sample glass.

Appearance: Pours very dark brown with some light coming through at the edges. There is a half finger of tan head that leaves a ring on the edge of the glass.

Smell: Very mild. There is some bourbon and perhaps a hint of vanilla, not picking up much roast.

Taste: Bourbon along with some mildly roasty sweetness. There is a hint of cocoa and a roasty bourbon finish. The flavors seem a bit mild given the style if you ask me.

Mouthfeel: The body is on the thin side with mild carbonation and a very dry finish.

Overall: A bit on the thin side and I would have like bolder flavors. That being said, still pretty smooth and not a bad beer.

Serving type: on-tap

05-20-2011 02:50:53 | More by oline73
Photo of gopens44


3.9/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Darky McDark with a thin foamy head.

S - Pretty straight up RIS thing going on here with a subtle hint of coffee, but more bourbon than most other RIS not named KBS.

T - As the nose would suggest, nifty bit of bourbon taste without being overly hot. Well rounded out oak thing going on with the coffee subtleties.

M - Creamy and full bodied. Little carbonation

O - Nice, but I doubt that the bottle would yield as much fun. Guess I'll have to try one out...

Serving type: on-tap

05-11-2011 03:24:58 | More by gopens44
Photo of liamt07

Ontario (Canada)

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

On tap at Rattle N Hum, Weyerbacher feature night. 12oz into a footed pilsner glass of sorts.

Pours a dark shade or two off of black, almost opaque body with some ruby and mahogany translucence around the edges. No head, but a collar remains. Nose has some chocolate, molasses and light roastiness. Relatively sweet in this respect. Taste has more sweet chocolate, molasses, anise, some maple and caramel comes through siginificantly as it warms. Sweet and medium heavy mouthfeel. Warming alcohol, and some lingering roastiness on the palate. Solid imperial stout.

Serving type: on-tap

04-23-2011 17:23:41 | More by liamt07
Photo of DoubleSimcoe

New York

4.2/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Heresy on tap at Shorty's in Hell's Kitchen, NYC.

Appearance: Served in a 16-oz pint and filled to the brim, Heresy comes with barely a line of mocha-colored head crowned with some serious bubbles. Good retention and lacing, head lingers for a while. Color is a super-deep black with mahogany overtones. I like the full pint (a good deal), but a snifter would have been more appropriate.

Smell: Lots of wood, vanilla at the end along with bourbon and booze. Milk chocolate, sugar, dairy.

Taste: More oaky wood, some mild chocolate, lots of vanilla. Dry bitterness at the end. Coconut sweetness. Bourbon, prickly booze. Perhaps thinner than the bottled version, but much more drinkable, smooth and rounded.

Mouthfeel: A bit underwhelming, but good nonetheless. Very smooth and creamy, with wood all over the lips and an oaky finish. Sticky sweet, a lil' bitterness at the end.

Overall: Very drinkable for such a good beer, and a pleasure on tap. I wish this brew were a bit bigger, with the flavors more pronounced and the body a bit more robust, but at 8%, it is unimpeachable. The bottle is probably stronger overall, but the tap is fresh and woodsy and delicious. It grew on me. The first pint was a tad disappointing, with later servings being round and fulfilling.

Serving type: on-tap

03-28-2011 02:01:23 | More by DoubleSimcoe
Photo of Gambrinus1184


3.95/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Served on-tap at MiKro Beer Bar in Hamden, Conn.

A: Black with amber-brown highlights shone through the glass held to the light. A creamy, dense cap of tan foam leaves decent, soapy lacing on the glass .

S: Robust, charred malts and bittersweet, dark chocolate combine with an assertive, herbal and earthy hop aroma. Hints of anise and coal mix in the nose.

T: Burnt black malt and a spicy, herbal malt flavor resonate through a creamy, yet bitter American hop profile. Candied fruits lend flavors of plum and raisin to the bittersweet chocolate and charcoal flavors of the brew before it washes down herbal, bitter and sticky sweet.

M: Full-bodied, robust RIS with a slightly creamy mouthfeel that could stand for a bit more drying balance in the finish.

D: A nice RIS from Weyerbacher with their trademark attention to hops and higher ABV, 8% in the case of Heresy. It's got a lot of potential for doctored spin-offs, like bourbon and oak aged versions. As it stands, not a bad choice if Old Rasputin isn't available.

Serving type: on-tap

03-20-2011 21:24:11 | More by Gambrinus1184
Photo of PDXHops

South Carolina

2.3/5  rDev -41.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

On tap in a shaker pint. Black body with a modest but dense creamy tan head. Decent sticky lacing.

Smells of boozy sweet oak, cocoa and vanilla. Lacking in the roasted department. The bourbon flavor is quite strong, and doesn't really go well together with plentiful tangy raisin and sweet rich fig. A little chocolate in the swallow. Really boozy, even at a manageable 8% ABV. Again, quite lacking in roasted malt character, with a touch showing up only in the aftertaste. A good deal thinner than anticipated.

Overall impression: Forgettable, could use a few tweaks. Not recommended.

Serving type: on-tap

09-02-2010 19:59:27 | More by PDXHops
Photo of Naugros

New Jersey

4.35/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had at the Weyerbacher brewery at the sampling bar.

Almost pitch black with a full, tan head. This was in a plastic sample cup, so I can't speak to the lacing.

This smells of coffee, chocolate and bourbon.

The taste follows the smell, but upon the first sip you understand how talented Weyerbacher's brew masters are. The balance between the flavors is amazing. The toasty malts, the chocolate and coffee notes and the bourbon extracted from the barrel all play well together in the sand box of your tongue. Amazingly executed!

Smooth and silky as a stout should be with a medium body. There is no bitterness that can be associated with some imperial stouts.

I thought Old Heathen was my favorite Weyerbacher beer, but this stuff is incredible. I bought a bunch while there and plan to cellar four bottles. They should age nicely and I can't wait to try the last one four years from now.

From reading older reviews (especially those of the brothers), I'm guessing Weyerbacher has improved the recipe through the years to create a better balance and better body.

Serving type: on-tap

05-30-2010 20:18:49 | More by Naugros
Photo of Bouleboubier


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

Deep, dark brown with a thin, coffee-colored canopy of sud.

Getting close, the smell of smooth bourbon hits you first, followed by a touch of bitter, chocolately roast.

Surprisingly well-balanced flavor. Had this from a bottle (or was it at the brewery?) long ago and was a little turned off by the bourbon stranglehold. That's all been taken care of, I see. Like the aroma, the taste of bourbon is smooth and blends oh so nicely with the bitter, slightly acidic roast and choco-hints.

Really darn smooth feel, as well. The alcohol, even at 8%, doesn't factor all that much into the overall taste and, therefore, this is dangerously drinkable. 2 or 3 and you're solid.

Serving type: on-tap

05-14-2010 03:01:27 | More by Bouleboubier
Photo of CHickman

New York

3.98/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Pours opaque black with a creamy 1/4 inch tan head that fades quickly. Decent lacing.

Smells of burnt sugar, charcoal, burnt wood, caramel, grains, red wine, coffee and alcohol.

Tastes of coffee, burnt malt, chocolate, caramel, fire burnt wood, bourbon, light hops, citrus and faint vanilla. Very tasty, and a real sipper that is similar to a cordial or bourbon, where the alcohol peeks through but is not offensive. Very tasty indeed, as the oak aging is evident in a good way.

Mouthfeel is smooth and creamy, with a malty and smoky dry finish that has basically no carbonation.

Really complex and a unique beer that goes down smooth like a great after dinner drink. Not one to pound all night, but a definite beer to seek out and savor.

Serving type: on-tap

05-06-2010 04:09:02 | More by CHickman
Photo of ToasterChef


4.5/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Reviewed from my notes. Served in a small goblet at the Lion's Pride. The beer has a very dark brown color. The foamy head is also brown, and it leaves some patchy lacing as it recedes. This beer is very opaque; no light whatsoever can get through. It looks like a good RIS should look. Most of the aroma is made up of a tasty, warm bourbon smell. I can also make out toasted malts and some oakiness, which was probably infused in the barrel aging process. This is what I think a bourbon barrel aged stout should smell like. The taste is immediately sweet, with a bit of crystal sugar that I can pick up as soon as the beer touches my tongue. This sweetness is quickly overpowered by all of the other flavors this beer has. I can taste smooth chocolate, toasted malts, and a good bourbon character. The sweetness is detectable again in the aftertaste, but also present is dark chocolate bitterness and bourbon. This is a very tasty stout. The beer is sticky and sweet, but not exceptionally full-bodied. There is a low level of carbonation. The bourbon gives each sip a slight burn, but it isn't that bad at all. I find the balance of sweetness and ABV to be quite good. In fact, for such a strong flavored beer, this is quite drinkable. My one glass goes down very well. I don't think I would have more than one or two servings of this beer in an evening because it is fairly intense; it's worth savoring. I want to seek out and pick up a few bottles of this to have on hand.

Serving type: on-tap

04-27-2010 14:49:26 | More by ToasterChef
Photo of metter98

New York

4.13/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: It is very dark black and came with a thick head that quickly settled down into a thin layer of tan bubbles on the surface.
S: There are light aromas of malt, hops, and alcohol.
T: The initial flavor is very rich and malty while there is a little dryness from the hops in the finish. Overall, the malt and hop flavors are very well balanced.
M: It feels medium-bodied on the palate and slightly creamy.
D: For an imperial stout, it's relatively easy to drink. Any traces of alcohol are very well hidden.

Serving type: on-tap

04-16-2010 18:32:45 | More by metter98
Photo of woosterbill


3.98/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

On-tap at Prime 16 into the appropriate Weyerbacher tulip. Cheers to proper glassware!

A: Black with a 1/4" brown head; not much to retain (which means more to drink, so I'm not complaining), and very nice lacing.

S: Bourbon, oak, toffee, vanilla, and coffee. Complex and enjoyable.

T: Starts out with roasted malt, then quickly transitions to bourbon, vanilla, and oak. Butterscotch/toffee and oak on the finish. Really complex and really good.

M: Slick, sticky, medium-to-full body with a generous dose of carbonation that starts sharp and becomes soft. Not bad, but nothing special.

D: Drinks a bit hotter than it actually is, and gets a bit cloying with the bourbon, vanilla, and toffee flavors. I really can't believe this is only 8%, but it's tasty enough that I don't really mind.

Notes: Far more complex than Old Heathen, and definitely a fine example of a barrel aged stout. There are better examples, to be sure, but it's hard to find one that's both better and as available. Good stuff.


Serving type: on-tap

03-22-2010 03:25:34 | More by woosterbill
Photo of jzeilinger


4.13/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a motor oil black with no light getting through. Nice one finger tan head. It's impossible to tell if there's any carbonation because it's so dark, but there are bubbles sticking to the sides of the glass midway down.

Aroma is dark roasted malt with a hint of caramel. If this beer has any weakness, it's the nose. For an Imperial Stout, I was expecting a much bolder aroma. Heresy lost some points here, unfortunately.

Taste is strong bourbon presence around half way through that sticks around for the remainder of the sip. Dark roasted malts eventually give way to a slightly coffee-like aftertaste. Vanilla, caramel, bittersweet chocolate, cocoa, and traces of plum and figs. Starts out sweet and migrates to a strong bourbon finish that warms the throat and as it goes down, warms the stomach as well. The hops do surface for a brief moment at the very end.

Mouthfeel is medium body, but again, not the typical Russian Imperial Stout character. Texture is very smooth on the tongue and finishes dry and sticky. Very drinkable for a Russian Imperial.

Had a small sample of this at the Weyerbacher Brewery and it didn't really appeal to me. Had a full glass tonight and now have a greater appreciation for it once my taste buds started to settle in. A very noteworthy beer, worth checking out.

Serving type: on-tap

03-03-2010 05:01:20 | More by jzeilinger
Photo of david18

New York

3.95/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

I had this on draft at the Amsterdam Ale House on New York's Upper West Side.

A very good example of the style, less hoppy and a little less strong than an American Imperial Stout. Great dark color, very good roasty flavor and aroma. I would like to drink this one late at night if I can find it in bottles.

Serving type: on-tap

02-22-2010 22:31:07 | More by david18
Photo of DmanGTR

New York

4.45/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Review from notes (9/22/09)

A - extremely dark brown with a lasting tan head. Excellent lacing and retention. Beautiful. 4.5

S - creamy chocolate, blackberries, caramel and rich bourbon. Hmm.. I didn't think this was bourbon barrel aged but I could be wrong. Smells great though. 4.5

T - intense roastiness and a hint of toffee. Bourbon is apparent in the finish. Excellent! 4.5

M - rich and creamy, warming finish but not sticky at all. Light and smooth carbonation. 4.0

D - wow. give me another. stat. 4.5

Serving type: on-tap

02-10-2010 14:57:59 | More by DmanGTR
Photo of apbarwood


4.65/5  rDev +17.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Dark as night with a creamy, tan head. Pretty minimal retention but a decent amount of lacing. Aromas of sweet chocolate with a hint of darkness to it and a subtle roasted backbone. Beautiful complexity in the flavor with chocolate, caramel, toffee, and molasses notes all interwoven and countered by a dark cherry fruit quality. The alcohol comes through perhaps a bit too much but it finishes smooth. A phenomenal representation of the RIS style and certainly up there with the best of them. It actually drank a lot like Old Rasputin in my estimation. Highly recommended. A must try for RIS fans.

Serving type: on-tap

11-08-2009 18:11:44 | More by apbarwood
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Heresy from Weyerbacher Brewing Co.
89 out of 100 based on 1,703 ratings.