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Heresy - Weyerbacher Brewing Co.

Not Rated.

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

2,004 Ratings
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,004
Reviews: 972
rAvg: 3.93
pDev: 12.21%
Wants: 98
Gots: 251 | FT: 14
Brewed by:
Weyerbacher Brewing Co. visit their website
Pennsylvania, United States

Style | ABV
Russian Imperial Stout |  8.00% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 06-21-2004

Old Heathen aged in oak (whiskey/bourbon) barrels.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 2,004 | Reviews: 972 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of ImperialStoat
2.9/5  rDev -26.2%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Appearance: Black. Frothy off-white head. Decent lacing.

Smell: Alcohol. Roasted malts. Not much. Certainly nothing in the way of bourbon.

Taste: Unremarkable. Roasted malt, some vanilla, alcohol and a wee bit of dark chocolate.

Mouthfeel: Compared to other imperial stouts it's thin, but for an 8-percenter it's hard to complain.

Overall: Extremely generic and I wouldn't buy it again (particularly for European prices) but I don't regret picking one up. It's odd: though this stout is ostensibly -bal aged I've only thought to address that element twice, once in the aroma and once now - needless to say the bourbon factor is minor to the point of being undetectable. DO NOT BUY THIS BEER JUST BECAUSE YOU LIKE GI BCBS OR PARABOLA/KBS/BLAH BLAH. In summation: fine, but unexciting.

Photo of aepb1
3.85/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A- Deep black body with a creamy brown head with some nice lacing

S- Sweet chocolate and vanilla with an oaky bite

T- Sweet chocolate up front, oaky sherry finish it up a little boozy

M- Medium body, moderate carbonation, boozy heat

O- A solid beer, just a little thin and a LOT of heat

Photo of mikereaser
3.48/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

2008 bottle poured into my new belgium globe

A - Pours a pitch black with 3 inches of tan foam that slowly faded.

S - nice strong chocolate aroma as well as some dark fruit, smoke and overall burnt smell

T - A bit of a let down, a bit watery, but i'm picking up chocolate, some chared flavor, vanilla all ending with the chocolate again. The flavor really disappears quickly.

M/D - medium bodied with light carbonation, its very thin and disappears fairly quickly. I'm wondering if this is due to the age of the bottle. I'll have to find a fresher bottle to compare.

Photo of jhughes23
3.7/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

12oz. Bottled poured into DFH Sig Glass

Pours a viscous black that settles nicely in the glass forming a half inch dark grey head that dissipates quickly into a thin lacing layer around the edges only, leaving the rest of the surface wide open and black as black can be.

Smells definitely of chocolate and cherry, almost a chocolatey cherry liquor....this sounds funny but I get a bourbony/whisky smell as well, and yes I know this is not bourbon barrel aged. Maybe its the oak that it's soaked in.

The taste is very complex, maybe overly. The bitterness is that of bitter chocolate with layers of vanilla, cherry and bourbon (again, only way i can explain it), maybe a better description would be a cheap bourbon flavor...but I don't mind it. Roasted malts are there as well but not as heavy as expected, Alcohol flavor is very upfront. The Oak is in the finish but it's not as oaky as you might expect, it seems to bring some different flavor characteristics than it's own oak flavor.

Mouthfeel is where this brew really lacks in my book. Thin and a little more carbonated than I like in a RIS. Lingers for a while but definitely not the silky smooth I expect.

This beer was definitely better on tap at Pinocchio's than it is out of the bottle. Maybe some aging would do it justice but I know the beer I had on draft was no older than the one in bottle.

I'd try it again, especially on tap. But nothing I'm super excited about.

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

Here's one brewer that just cannot be found back home in Illinois. I was happy to discover a shitload of Heresy in my friend's fridge. Split a 12 oz. bottle in Hoboken on May 24th, 2011 in a Dogfish Head tulip glass.

Appearance is a dark-chocolate coloring that is slightly-oily with no head or retention. Decent lacing when I swirl it around.

The aroma is primarily smoky and burnt notes. Chocolate underneath (not sure if it's dark or milk). Oak barrel character is somewhat apparent as well. Overall more subtle than strong.

Heresy's taste includes vanilla, milk chocolate, and roasted qualities on the front and middle portions of the drink. Near the backend a dark chocolate bitterness comes through heavily. Surprisingly, it doesn't lead a long finish.

Has medium body with plenty of carbonation and that rather short finish without any dryness.

It's actually very drinkable, getting through multiple 12 oz'ers would be a piece of cake. The flavors are nice throughout the nose and drink but nothing is particularly dominant or powerful. Unfortunately, that means Heresy isn't too memorable, but it does drink more easily than many other competitors in this style.

Photo of pmarlowe
4.43/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Tulip glass.

Pours jet black with almost three fingers of dark khaki foam. Pretty good retention but minimal lacing. Smell is roasted malt, a bit of toasted oak, bourbon, and cinnamon/cardamon, molasses. Taste is chocolate malt, oak, cola, some bourbon, and coffee on the finish. Nice round mouthfeel, medium-full body; carbonation is on the low end; alcohol is invisible. Overall: wow, this is really tasty. The oak is well integrated and avoids being overpowering. Definitely smooth enough to drink alone or pair with dessert. I could drink this all day.

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

A great BBA Imperial Stout.

O- I have had this several times so I am aware of what to expect. A decent stout with some nice notes of Bourbon Barrel Aging. Perhaps if I had not had several other highly regarded BA Imp Stouts than I would have thought this one a solid choice. It still is, but considering there are still no bars locally that carry it, it's a take home special.

If you are out and see it try it, probably close to the bottle price and worth trying.

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

Review from notes

A: Pours a dark brown, practically black with a small tan head that had decent retention. Not much lacing.

S: Coffee, roasted malts, a good bit of vanilla and some light milk chocolate. No sign of alcohol.

T: Very rich with a nice combination of coffee, chocolate and hints of vanilla. There is a little bit of dark fruit, hard to distinguish which ones, but a slight sweetness from it.

M: Medium bodied and very smooth with low to medium carbonation that lends itself nicely to style.

O: Very nice beer, drinks extremely smooth with no sign of alcohol in it, but even at 8% its a sipper that could easily catch up to you. Probably the best beer I have had from Weyerbacher so far.

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

Reviewed from notes:

appearance: dark brown black with a 1 finger head

smell: bourbon, vanilla, sweet, malts

taste: bourbon, vanilla, sweet, malts

mouthfeel: mild carbonation, full body

overall: very nice bourbon barrel beer that won't kick you when your down. was surprised how good this one was.


Photo of MikeM40
4.5/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a DFH Signature glass. An aggressive pour yields a two finger sized tan head and an ink black body. Smells of bourbon,roast malt,and a slightly fruity scent rise from the glass. Strong roasted flavors with hints for dark fruits and berries and notes of chocolate and bourbon,oak,and hints of vanilla make for a nice complexity. But all the flavors are nicely balanced. Alcohol taste is present but is not overwhelming. This beer has a nice thick,viscous mouthfeel and a rich character. It's a big beer that avoids being over powering...one of my favorites. 

Photo of JTSbeerislife
4.43/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle from the 2010/2011 batch, poured into an English Imperial Pint (nonick)

Pours with a thick ½“ head which reduces to about an 1/8” within a few minutes, some lace, Chocolate black color, you cannot see through it.

Distinct smell, quite rich, with coffee, chocolate, sweet vanilla oak, and yes! (thank you) a faint hint of alcohol, heavy malts, and a touch of that bitter stout hops.

Very delicious flavor, Very Rich, very full bodied, chocolate, coffee, deep intense malt, light to medium wood which gives a sense of vanilla, crisp acidity gives balance to a very full bodied and noticeably (thank you) alcoholic beer, this is a very complex beer. Did I mention that this beer is spot on delicious.

Lingering, very dry, chocolate/wood/vanilla, bitter stout finish. Quite enjoyable.

I am sure there are faults to this beer, but to be honest, at this moment in time, I cannot think of them. IMO this is one of the best Imp Stouts for the money, but I admit there are 100's I have not tried yet. But as a point of reference I have had Founders KBS (draft), Victory Storm King, Samuel Smith's Imperial, etc.

Photo of Kvlterbm
3.9/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

12oz bottle to snifter.

A: Pours a dark brown bordering on black with about a finger and a half of mocha colored head.

S: Milk chocolate, roasted malt, and oak. The bourbon is there in the nose, but it's not aggressive at all. There's a dark fruit sweetness that blends nicely with the chocolate as well.

T: Malt and chocolate up front. There's some oaky vanilla flavor which leads into the bourbon. Again, the bourbon characters are subtle and work well with the beer rather than overpowering it. A bit of a warming feeling from the alcohol lingers with some coffee flavor as well.

M: Pretty low carbonation, which is definitely not a problem for the style. The body's a little thinner than I'd prefer, though. A nice, smooth mouthfeel to the beer.

Overall, a pretty solid beer. I have to say I prefer Weyerbacher's Insanity when it comes to bourbon barrel beers, but this one is definitely enjoyable.

Photo of bpw28
3.9/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Three finger Dark Mocha Colored Head, Black (about a 39-40 SRM), Very Nice Lacing.

Nose: Whisky, Whiskey, Whiskey, Dark Fruits, Chocolate, Caramel.

Taste: Chocolate, Oaky, Smoky, Boozy, Dark Fruits, A little spicy, Smooth but nice fullness, Surpisingly strong carb, Coffee Bitter.

Final Thoughts: Pretty nice beer. It isn't the best imperial, but its an imperial with a oaky hook so its something a little off the path of the standard.

Food Pairing: Fruits, Chocolate, Roasted Meats, Smoked Ham, Blackened Fish, Ribs (very nice rib beer!), Smoky Cheese, Creamy Cheeses

Photo of JoshVandy
3.5/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Big thanks to Rich (rhong187) for including this extra in a recent trade.
355mL bottle into a Founders snifter.

A- Pours a very dark brown color with a pretty generous 3 finger tan colored head that recedes into a fine rim. Decent lacing.

S- Chocolate and malt comes through nicely, with some vanilla, oak, and very subtle bourbon notes. The subtleness of the bourbon works well here, complimenting the beer, rather than overpowering it.

T- Tastes like it smells. Strong chocolate and toasted malt flavor, with nice vanilla and oak undertones. The subtle bourbon makes it way to the palate in the finish, with a slight warming sensation.

M- Interesting. A little over-carbonated and thin in the mouth, but it does have a very creamy feel to it.

O- I was decently impressed with this beer. The bourbon characteristics are the most interesting part here, being very subtle and letting the rest of the beer shine through nicely. A decent brew.

Photo of n2185
4.18/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

A: Pours black with an impressive 4 fingers of tan head that recedes into a thin layer with a little lacing.

S: Roasted malts with sweet, creamy chocolate up front followed by notes of vanilla, oak, and bourbon. The bourbon is subtle, but it allows for the aromas of the stout to shine through. Very nice.

T: Similar to the aroma, there are roasted malts with slightly bitter coffee and sweet chocolate notes at first. Then come vanilla, oak, and bourbon flavors that compliment instead of dominating. There is also a toffee flavor in there as well and a slight alcohol burn on the finish.

M: Medium body and carbonation, this beer doesn't feel much like a stout. It's a bit watery where it should be thick and creamy.

O: Overall, a good bourbon barrel stout and the best deal out there for the style. It's not at the top of the category, but I enjoyed this beer far more than I've enjoyed several other bbal stouts that cost $15-20+ per bottle. It's one of the rare bbal stouts that manages to still taste like a stout while incorporating the bourbon flavors. The bourbon could be a bit stronger, but I'd rather have it a bit too subtle than overwhelming like it is in many versions of the style. Its only real failing is the body.

Photo of oline73
3/5  rDev -23.7%
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.

Photo of bum732
3.45/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

S: Moderately strong bourbon, oak, some sweet chocolate, vanilla, some alcohol.

L: Dark thick black, very tight tan creamy head with pretty good retention and great lacing.

T: Rich toffee malt up front followed quickly by a light roasty, bourbon note. Low earthy bitterness leads to more sweetness with a touch of tannin dryness. Finishes semi-dry with a slighty ashy note.

M: Medium bodied, slighty thin in the finish with some tannins. Low carbonation.

Not bad, actually gets worst as it warms, believe it or not. Thin mouthfeel for style, slightly tannic and alcohol a little warm are its flaws.

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

12 ounce bottle into snifter. Pours opaque black color with a 1 finger dense tan head with great retention. Reduces to a thin lacing cap that lasts for the rest of the glass. Aromas of strong bourbon, oak, dark chocolate, vanilla, and roasted malt. Taste of dark chocolate, caramel, oak, bourbon, and roasted malt with a touch of coffee. Tons of roasted flavor with bourbon on the front that leads to a decent amount of bitterness on the finish that lingers for a bit with chocolate and roasted flavors. Very smooth mouthfeel with medium carbonation and medium-full body. No alcohol noticed on the taste, but a slight warming on the finish. Overall, a very enjoyable Imperial Stout, great in all aspects.

Photo of 9InchNails
4.22/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I can pretty much say that's pitch black. Nice brown head, looks very creamy as well as the body.

Very strong vanilla and cherry I'm thinking from the oak. Chocalate and roasted caramel is also present. Nice smell.

Wow! What a great taste! Cherry flavor I'm thinking from the oak, smoke, chocalate, caramel, some coffee flavor, really sweet but a little bitter from the roastiness. The alcohol is hidden well.

Really creamy, medium body, feels a little dry at the end, no alcohol warmth. Feels nice.

This is a sipper for sure. The taste of alcohol is hidden well but sneaks up on you. I'm used to big time alcohol warmth with Imperial Stouts, especially, barrel aged stouts but not that issue here. Very smooth and creamy feel.

Photo of fastpass17
3.38/5  rDev -14%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz Brown Bottle. Bottled on 1/20/2011.

A: Rich dark red color not quiet black. A decent one finger head that lasts. The carbonation is strong and firm.

S: Dark chocolate comes right to the nose first. Cherries, and port mix with vanilla, and marshmallow mid way through. This finishes up with a layer of crisp roasted barley backbone.

T: This begins with a roasted coffee and burnt sugar flavor. Cream, vanilla and spice come up mid drink. Finishes off very crisply with a touch of the oak character coming up nicely. There is also a black strap molasses character that intermingles towards the finish.

M,O: For a Russian imperial stout it is not very oily which is pleasant, there is also no overwhelming alcohol presence. Very drinkable for the style. The oak seems to smooth this beer out very nicely.

Photo of gopens44
3.9/5  rDev -0.8%
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...

Photo of CuriousMonk
3/5  rDev -23.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from 12oz bottle into a snifter glass. Pours jet black with a small fading thin head. Decent, but not great, looking beer. Aroma is chocolate, roast, and caramel. The oak and bourbon from the barrel-aging are just barely noticeable. Flavor is typical imperial stout notes of chocolate, coffee, roast, and caramel. Very subtle oak and bourbon, along with maybe a touch of vanilla. Balanced and tasty. Somewhat thin on the palate for the style. I’d like a little more to it. Smooth mouthfeel though, but a disappointment overall.

Photo of tkepx182
1.88/5  rDev -52.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1.5

This beer is a heavy imperial stout beer that has been aged in Oak barrels. It is in these barrels that the beer develops a harsh taste to the beer. I personally, do not like the taste of this beer despite the fact that I really like imperial stouts. I was disappointed and expected more.

Photo of birchstick
4.5/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to DrRock for sending this awesome extra my way!

Chilled in the fridge for an hour, served pretty warm in a Bell's tulip

A - pours a nice black color with a solid one and a half finger cocoa colored head that has really nice retention

S - nice burnt malt with loads of chocolate and molasses. The oak is there as well but is overshadowed by a nice vanilla bourbon aroma.

T - starts off with rich chocolate malts on the front. This fades to a bit of coffee / burnt malt wrapped up with some sweet charred oak. Lots of vanilla and molasses bourbon on the exhale. Very rich, boozy, and delicious. Reminds me of KBS but with less bourbon heat and more vanilla / molasses. Awesome stuff!

M - luxuriously smooth with a nice body.

D - When I first read the label, I only thought this was aged in oak barrels, not bourbon barrels and was pleasantly surprised when I started drinking this. This was a really good bourbon barrel aged RIS. I wasn't the biggest fan of Old Heathen, but the barrel aging took the stout to another level. Nice chocolate and sweet molasses puts this one near the top of the BAL RISs for me, especially at only 8%.

Photo of quine
3.75/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Pours an opaque black with a huge brown head. Retention and lacing are both excellent.

S: Smells like coffee and chocolate, roasted malts and oak. A definite sweetness can also be detected.

T: Tastes similar to what I would have expected, that is, Old Heathen aged in oak bourbon barrels. It has chocolate and coffee, a dark fruity sweetness, along with some oak, vanilla, and bourbon. A definite booziness is there also, which was not as present in Old Heathen. Unfortunately, it's almost a little too sweet. I think I would like it a lot more if the flavor balance were different.

M: Tingly from the carbonation and booze. A bit thin, and a bit dry.

D: A little too sweet and a little boozy, but otherwise, pretty drinkable. However, I do prefer Weyerbacher's normal imperial stout (Old Heathen) to this.

Heresy from Weyerbacher Brewing Co.
88 out of 100 based on 2,004 ratings.