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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 TheSupremeAJ


4.13/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

From the Weyerbacher brewery in Easton, PA - Pours jet black with a hazy brown head. Medium layer. Aroma is sweet bourbon alcohol. The taste is a lot more chocolaty and bourbon forward than i remember from the bottle. The keg this was poured from was released in February so this is about 2 months old. Mouthfeel is not as luxuriousness or smooth as I prefer- it's a little over-carbonated for an impy stout. Overall this is very good and well-formed... this is much better in the growler (2012) than I recall in the bottle (2011) but it may just be a difference in batches.

2014 Version - VIA Tap @ Weyerbacher Tasting Room

Very good and a bit cleaner than I recall in years prior. Hop aroma was a little more floral than I recall and overall my favorite offering when I visited the brewery.

Serving type: growler

02-17-2014 22:32:41 | More by TheSupremeAJ
Photo of BeastLU


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

Serving - Growler, drank within an hour of being filled.

A - Black. Brown substaintail head on an aggresive pour. Head sticks around for at least half the beer.

S - Aggresive boozy smell. Sweet malts manange to come out. Defenatly an agressive beer.

T -Tastes like a huge abv stout.Not one of those that gets praise for masking the alcohol taste. But this isnt a problem. In your face big boy stout.

M - The mouthfeel unfourtnatly cant hold a candle to the smell or the taste of the booziness. you will hate this beer if your a fan of smooth tasting big abv stouts. Its rough and tumble.

O - Good Aggresive stout. Not an every day beer. I'll drink it many more times but its certianly not an old stand by...

Serving type: growler

12-25-2012 00:37:04 | More by BeastLU
Photo of zaphodchak


4.28/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pour from growler into tulip for nice creamy (orangish) two-finger head. Completely opaque black body. Elegant. Libreral lacing.

Nose is heavy liquorice with dark cocoa.

Taste follows the nose, liquorice and cocoa and some malt, smooth and rich, slightly bitter, faint lingering banana aftertaste.

Mouthfeel is smooth and creamy with carbonation sufficient to balance the heavy stout body.

Drinkability is good for such a heavy, flavorful stout, but for those averse to liquorice, might just be one to sip.

Serving type: growler

03-04-2011 03:47:00 | More by zaphodchak
Photo of wingman14


2.95/5  rDev -25.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Pours jet black with a dark tan head that stays for a bit. The smell is very sweet with a strong dose of hard liquor. The taste is very similar, sweet up front, alcohol going down that over powers the beer. This one isn't very high in ABV (for an Imperial), yet the flavor reveals so much in the taste, probably because they are aged in bourbon barrels. The mouthfeel is ok, it was hard to get past the flavor. I don't like that I bought this in a growler, the description was deceiving, I can't see having more than one of these. Check it out if you really like the Imperials.

Serving type: growler

03-24-2007 02:36:47 | More by wingman14
Photo of nodder

New York

4.31/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A- Dark brown/black with a thin light brown head. Some light lacing and alcohol legs remain.

S- Dark malts, bourbon, coffee. Maybe some chocolate. Slight alcohol smell.

T- Much like the smell with a great balance of bourbon/coffee flavors.

M- Smooth with a medium mouthfeel, Can hardly detect the 8% ABV.

O- I really loved this beer. Im surprised it isn't rated higher.

Serving type: bottle

04-14-2014 00:25:10 | More by nodder
Photo of emyers


3.58/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. bottle poured into a Founders snifter.

Appearance: Pours black with a 1-finger medium brown head.

Smell: Cocoa powder and roasted malt dominate, followed by bourbon and oak. The bourbon seems fairly muted. Pleasant, but pretty unspectacular as far as barrel-aged imperial stouts go.

Taste: Same complaint as the smell - the flavor profile is good enough, with a solid roasted malt/dark chocolate base along with some bourbon - but there just isn't a whole lot of depth. Maybe I've been drinking too much Bourbon County lately, but this almost seems like "BBA Imperial Stout Lite." Luckily I like BBA imperial stouts enough that it's still very enjoyable.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied, medium carbonation level.

Overall: Decent but very underwhelming for the style.

Serving type: bottle

04-13-2014 04:03:47 | More by emyers
Photo of fscottkey

New York

3.51/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Dark black pour covered with a 2 finger tan cap. The head slowly recedes leaving no lacing.

S: Very boozy smell. The Whiskey is evident right away. There are other tones of coffee and chocolate - but the Whiskey is the dominant characteristic.

T: Follows the nose. The whiskey is throughout even in the after taste. But there are hints of dark malts and char. After warming and as the glass progresses the boozy flavor really dominates and hides the other subtle flavors (I consider that a negative).

M: Meaty and delicious. This reminds me of Ten Fidy - with the full body that coats the tongue. Very smooth and pleasurable.

O: I am not a huge fan of whiskey - so that being said a lot of whiskey up front is not great. However, the other tones play really well and accent the whiskey flavor. Also the mouth feel is lush and sexy and I like it.

Serving type: bottle

04-13-2014 01:28:40 | More by fscottkey
Photo of micromaniac129


3.54/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Pours a deep brown black with a fizzy soda like head.

The aroma from the bottle smells good with roasted malts milk chocolate, oak and vanilla tannins. Bourbon barrels are light and reside mostly in background.
In the glass flavors like soggy cardboard are quite pronounced.

Drinks with a lot of roasted malt flair and warming alcohol. Coffee with cream and chocolate milk are tasted also.
Drinks thin and gritty on the palate
I feel this was a let down, I was expecting better.

Serving type: bottle

04-12-2014 10:25:27 | More by micromaniac129
Photo of martyl1000


4.08/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4

This is after my 3rd bottle of Heresy over a period of two weeks at home in a quiet environment. It's a beautiful pour into a snifter. Mostly opaque black, topped with a inch of khaki head. Almost no lacing to speak of, as if it were much higher abv.

The aroma is a serious flaw. I can't pinpoint the problem, but the barrel aging and the burnt coffee are not working well together, at all. It's more like burnt paper and leather.

The flavors in the mouth are perfectly complex enough, dark chocolate, bitter-sour cherry, oak, and molasses. But certainly not sweet enough for a likable Russian Imperial Stout.

Medium-bodied, w/ a sharp not entirely welcome carbonation, yet still very creamy.

UPDATE: 4/3/2014

It's been a year, I thought I'd give this another try.

I'm not getting the barrel-aging flavors, at all.

If you like a strong cherry stout, you'll like this. I've never liked cherry in a stout. I love the sound of it. But then again, I've never had a chocolate-covered cherry that I've really liked.

Same score as last year.

Serving type: bottle

04-04-2014 02:11:15 | More by martyl1000
Photo of MECove

North Carolina

2.91/5  rDev -26.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.75

The only reason I tolerated the aroma or flavor is because my husband is a Jack Daniels whiskey fan. *He* appreciated it a lot, so as I review, it's just not my cup of tea /beer but for those that enjoy the hard sweet liquor bite, it must be great. It's manly and complex.

Color is my preference--dark.
Mouth feel is average.
Head and lacing was nutty brown and slight.

Positive--strong effects! The aftertaste a few minutes later is rich and pleasant.

Serving type: bottle

03-13-2014 23:27:43 | More by MECove
Photo of chinchill

South Carolina

4.26/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

12 oz bottle appears to have a 2012 date stamp, which sounds correct.

Pours near inky black but has red-brown edges under light. Thin weak head quickly reduces to a durable thin ring, and leaves spotty lacing.

I find barrel aged beers sometimes have too much of a good thing, leaving them overly woody or dominated by the aromas and flavors of whatever preceded them in the barrel. This one smells like it may fall into this group, but the flavor is excellent, with a nearly perfect melding of oak barrel effect and what I gather is an already super RIS. This is not to say that the aroma is unattractive, it certaininly is not, just that it reflect a substantial contribution from the oak-whisky barrel.

O: Superb. Allowed to warm in the bottle, then improved with further warming in the glass.

Serving type: bottle

03-11-2014 01:23:42 | More by chinchill
Photo of Roguer


2.78/5  rDev -29.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.75

Curiously fizzy dark tan head, fairly quickly fading. Brew is an expected dark black. Head quickly ends up a thin residue on top of the beer.

Aroma is strong in chocolate malts, followed by whiskey, oak, and vanilla. The whiskey gives a hint of coffee aroma, although I don't believe this is a coffee beer. I like that the stout base is the dominant aroma, not the whiskey.

Flavor is decidedly tart, distractingly so. Sour and tart flavors, up front, dark fruit and grapes, followed by chocolate malts. Whiskey comes through, along with oak and vanilla, very, very lightly on the back-end.

Mouthfeel is exceptionally thin for the style. Additionally, it's a bit heavy and sour in the back of the throat.

Is this an infected bottle? I don't know for sure, but the fizzy head and sour notes make me seriously wonder. If I get the chance to try it again, I'd like to compare and see, but for now, I'm reviewing the glass in my hand, and it isn't good. Not at all.

Serving type: bottle

02-24-2014 02:18:54 | More by Roguer
Photo of spinrsx

Ontario (Canada)

3.7/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

12oz Bottle from Total Wine Tampa FL for $3.50

Appearance - Dark brown colour with a small size frothy beige head. I can't make out the amount of carbonation showing and there is some fair lacing. The head lasted for around 5 minutes before it was gone.

Smell - Malts, chocolate, grains, coffee

Taste & Mouth - There is an average amount of carbonation and I can taste malts, chocolate, and coffee. There is also some faint wood and a bit of a dark fruit flavour.

Overall - A little thin/watery and the wood aging doesn't really show up much. An okay beer but not something I'd buy again, too many better choices out there.

Serving type: bottle

02-24-2014 01:47:26 | More by spinrsx
Photo of nataku00


3.76/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Bottle poured into a tulip glass, 2010 release so around three years old. Beer pours a dark brown, bordering on black and very opaque. Half a finger of light brown creamy head with mostly tiny bubbles that dissipates to an oil slick of bubbles.

Nose is disappointingly mild. Some light baker's chocolate and roasted malt and sweet caramel.

Taste is a little better, baker's chocolate, cocoa, roasted malt, with some fruity coffee. Not much barrel character.

Full body, slick and oily with some mild carbonation that lightly tickles the tongue.

Serving type: bottle

02-23-2014 03:28:17 | More by nataku00
Photo of illeagle05


3.91/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

2013 poured from a 12oz bottle into a mini snifter.

a: Deep dark brown to pitch black, with a light brown rim and some light head remaining on the top after a somewhat quick dissipation.

s: not much here...dark fruits.

t: dark fruits, toffee...pretty malt-forward. bourbon.

m: malty feel with light carbonation and slightly syrupy...lacking some of the warming would have hoped for from a barrel-aged stout.

o: decent but underwhelming BA stout. almost felt more like an attempt at a quad to me than a BA IS, but still overall decent. not likely to buy a 4pk in the future though.

Serving type: bottle

02-22-2014 04:11:53 | More by illeagle05
Photo of CowsandBeer


3.81/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Dusty 12oz bottle pulled from the cellar with a bottled on date of 03/08/2012. Poured into a Blind Tiger Brewery snifter at cellar temp.

Appearance: A down the middle pour produces a finger of dark tan head. Black body with a nice tan ring.

Aroma: Up front a soggy, mellow bourbon barrel. Vanilla, butterscotch, and drying oak. Dark roasted malts similar to old coffee come through from the base beer itself. Age has really mellowed out the barrel presence.

Taste: All butterscotch barrel notes up front. Smooth roasted chocolate, brown sugar and coke (??). Oaky vanilla finish from the barrel.

Mouthfeel: Very warming but not unpleasant. The heat has really mellowed out. Prickly carbonation with a medium, creamy, almost syrup mouthfeel.

Overall: The barrel still dominates the beer in every aspect, and I imagine this must be quite hot fresh. However, with time it’s really mellowed out to where some really nice barrel notes come out. With that said, this had a best by date of 11/08/2012, and in the future I’ll probably stick to that as the beer is starting to taste muted and the barrel is getting an odd, soggy/funky note. Still, I wouldn’t mind picking up a single of this guy once a year.

Serving type: bottle

02-21-2014 03:39:10 | More by CowsandBeer
Photo of BumpyAZ

New Jersey

3.74/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Bottled 2/4/14

A: Very dark brown/black, 1/4 inch creamy brown head.

S: Predominantly whiskey, very strong. Hints of chocolate and vanilla.

T: Whisky/booze heavy upfront, chocolate/vanilla quickly kicks in. Roasty Alcohol burn at the end.

M: Slightly thick, overly carbonated.

Not a bad barrel aged stout for the price point, but too strong on the whiskey/booze characteristics. May be best with some age on it? Would be interested in trying the base beer.

Serving type: bottle

02-20-2014 05:05:20 | More by BumpyAZ
Photo of ArdyExfor


3.89/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Pitch black with just the edges barely showing through when held to the light. Small tan head that dissipates quickly leaving a slight collar.

S: Oaken bourbon. Chocolate, vanilla. Dark fruit. Slight alcohol.

T: Mirrors the aroma. Very smooth. Nice bit of roast at the end.

M: Medium/full mouth feel. Very low carbonation.

O: Not the best BA stout I've ever had but very drinkable.

Serving type: bottle

01-25-2014 04:39:38 | More by ArdyExfor
Photo of CaptFrothy


4/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Ever feel compelled to review a beer because it's much better than the reviews?
I've had a bottle of Heresy in the cellar for a while, maybe two years? No date on the label, which is different than the one pictured, has a bearded guy with a hoodie and two arms.

Smells the part, chocolatey, vanilla, and woody bourbon
Looks dark and dense with a thin ring of foam.
Tastes fantastic, starts with the chocolaty dark raisins with a sour woody bourbon note follow up that I can't get enough of, cuts through the dark fruits for a clean aftertaste, unique.

Mayhaps you have to leave this to mature like I did but it really delivers the goods, a slight bit thin at 8%, but that woody bourbon sour aftertaste is beguiling.

Serving type: bottle

01-18-2014 02:18:39 | More by CaptFrothy
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 barczar


3.58/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Pours an opaque black with a modest mocha head that dissipates into a thin coating of bubbles.

Tar, licorice, dark fruit, roast malt, soy, and chocolate form the initial aroma. Oak and whiskey surface late, adding complexity.

Flavor reveals a sour, vinous character at the base, with hints of chocolate, roast malt, toasted nuts, vanilla, and oak rounding out the finish. That tart character is totally overwhelming initially, but fades a little as it warms.

Body is fairly thick, with minimal carbonation and moderate alcohol warmth.

Reminds me of the Yorkshire stingo or the Sam Smith imperial stout, with that vinous dominance. Hoping that fades with age. I like sour, but not in my stouts.

Serving type: bottle

12-16-2013 04:26:40 | More by barczar
Photo of jjboesen


3.83/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.25

This reveiw is based on the one from whiskey aged barrels. It pours a seriously deep black body that is capped by a plush crown of beige foam and splotted with chunky lacing throughout.

The nose is quickly overwhelmed by an intense bourbon aroma - natch! The initial bite is sweet, malty with some chalkiness involved; there is a noticable hoppiness in attendance and is quickly supplanted by a sweet bourbon tsunami.

The mouthfeel is rather disjointed by a heavy cloyingness, a harsh chalk feint and a dry finish that loiters around the back of the throat for a while.

Not bad; not great - but definitely drinkable.

Serving type: bottle

11-04-2013 02:07:36 | More by jjboesen
Photo of ezperkins2


3.48/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Weyerbacher – Heresy
12 oz bottle poured into a Tulip

A: Very Dark brown with a touch of light coming through. Very thin light brown head that dissipates quickly.

S: The first thing that hits me is the woodyness from the barrel and the alcohol. The alcohol is fairly sharp and almost has a rubbing alcohol quality to it. This is followed by a nice roasty note with a hint of smoke. I also get a bit of dark chocolate and coffee.

T: The Taste also has a pretty high alcohol punch. The first thing I get on the taste is the alcohol followed by the wood and roasted notes. The coffee taste comes through more in the flavor than in the nose to me. It lingers a while along with the wood.

M: The carbonation is just right for the style with just enough bubble to give it a touch of a creamy mouth feel when moved about the mouth. Over all it starts a bit watery but the alcohol dries out the finish a bit.

O: I received this beer in a great box from jagerholic thanks to my third place finish in BA fantasy baseball. This is my first offering from Weyerbacher and over all I enjoyed it but, I thought the alcohol was a sharp and a bit over powering for an 8% beer and distracted from the subtle nuances of the finish. I also feel the barrel character was a bit one dimensional. I got a lot of wood but none of the other flavors I have come to expect from a stout aged in whiskey barrels (Vanilla, caramel, toffee.) I would be curios to see if this beer would hold up for a couple of years to see the finish balance out a bit. Again, I did enjoy the beer and was glad I got a chance to try it. I look forward to trying additional offerings from Weyebacher.

Serving type: bottle

10-30-2013 05:15:37 | More by ezperkins2
Photo of 1sophrosyne1


3.45/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Tasted over 20 minutes just above refrigerator cold and allowed to warm.

Pours a thick ebony that allows light to pass only around the rim. Produces a light brown bubbly head that's thin and falls fast. But some clumps on a central island persist, and there are some sheets of lacing.
Smells equal parts bright iced coffee and American whisky with its toffee, orange rind, spice, bruleed vanilla, and underlayer of grassy earth. AS it warms, maize floats through.
An odd marriage of acidified camphor and smoky wood flavors enter halfway into each gulp and detract from the sweet, stylistically correct but boozy start. There's an almost vegetal late phase that turns a bit medicinal. It's a curious collection of tastes that are intellectually engaging, but not terribly enjoyable.
It's heavier on carbonation that expected--a good counterpoint to all the strong booze, but an enhancement to the weird acidity that pierces through the creaminess that should be part of a good stout.
This is a creative brew, but not one I'll reach to drink again. The ethanol is out of balance as are some of the taste elements. The real enjoyment for me is in breathing it in...and it ends there.

Serving type: bottle

10-29-2013 01:06:24 | More by 1sophrosyne1
Photo of BMMillsy


2.61/5  rDev -34.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 1.75 | overall: 2.5

Pours very dark brown with a small and quickly receding light brown/dark kahki head. Smell seems off. Some sour notes on top of heavy alcohol, black currant. Flavor follows very metallic and bland. Pretty high carbonation for the style. Not sure if this is infected, but it is not good. If there is any flavor here is is watered down black currants. Not much going on here. Not good. I will have to try this again hoping that I got an infected bottle.

Serving type: bottle

10-16-2013 00:40:21 | More by BMMillsy
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Heresy from Weyerbacher Brewing Co.
89 out of 100 based on 1,703 ratings.