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Heresy - Weyerbacher Brewing Co.


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very good

1,705 Ratings
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1705
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: 1,705 | Reviews: 940 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of Sammy

Ontario (Canada)

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

Decent stout with a bourbon like flavour, syrup rather than thick flavour, a tad sour. Black, roasty smell, not too creamy. First taste is wood. Then some chocolate, and roast, bit of vanilla and spot of coffee, sugar. Well carbonated. Medium mouthfeel. Slightly less in a tasting a few weeks later.

Serving type: bottle

02-20-2005 05:33:20 | More by Sammy
Photo of UCLABrewN84


4.05/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to bastu for sending me this one!

Pours an opaque black with a 1 inch puffy dark khaki head that settles to a thin film on the top of the beer. Small dots of lace form on the glass on the drink down. Smell is of dark roasted malt, bittersweet chocolate, vanilla, bourbon, and some woody oak aromas. Taste is of dark roasted malt, vanilla, bourbon, wood, and cocoa powder on the finish. There is an alcohol warmth in the back of the throat with each sip. This beer is a bit thin for a RIS with a very crisp mouthfeel. A higher level of carbonation on this one. Overall, this is a good barrel-aged RIS but the mouthfeel is a bit lacking.

Serving type: bottle

11-04-2011 01:03:16 | More by UCLABrewN84
Photo of BuckeyeNation


3.4/5  rDev -14.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Dark mahogany with an impenetrance that is only violated by meager crimson slivers at the edges. The loud escape of gas on crown cracking was concerning since I hate bubbly beer and I loathe bubbly Imperial stouts. The harsh looking, featureless, unsticky, khaki colored head isn't impressing me. Nor is the near total lack of lace. The beer is great, the head and lace are lousy.

The nose is everything that I'd hoped it would be. For those who are unaware, Heresy is simply Old Heathen that has been aged in oak barrels that previously contained bourbon; a great idea if some of the bourbon character seeps into the stout. I can appreciate quite a bit of heavily roasted black malt, more coffee than unsweetened chocolate and a mild-moderate brown sugary booziness from the barrel.

I'm sorry to say that the carbonation is as rampant as I'd feared. The flavor itself is pretty good, or would be if it wasn't nearly ruined by fizziness and a way too light body. I don't remember what Old Heathen tasted like, but I know that I liked it better than I like this beer. Since the flavors imparted by the bourbon barrels should have done nothing but improve the original beer, I'm forced to conclude that I got a bad bottle. Not old, just poorly bottled.

The flavor profile consists of roasted black malt, bittersweet chocolate and coffee with cream. The beer is also slightly dark fruity, modestly vanilla-like and barely bourbonish. It's hard to get a firm hold on things since all those bubbles quash any sort of complexity, depth or nuance.

The mouthfeel is nowhere near as full as it should be. Ignoring all the carbonation is proving difficult, but I'd call it 'stout medium' at best. There's a respectable amount of mouthcoating, without much flavor to go along with it. Drinkabililty suffers because of... pretty much everything that I've complained about above.

I have little doubt that if Heresy reached my glass as its brewers intended, I'd like it at least as much, if not more, than Old Heathen. I love bourbon and applaud the use of bourbon barrels in most styles. Too bad that fate intervened and isn't allowing me to optimally experience what is probably a pretty good RIS. I'd love to have another crack at this one. Thanks to blitheringidiot for the final bottle of a great trade.

Serving type: bottle

02-09-2006 22:08:34 | More by BuckeyeNation
Photo of mikesgroove

South Carolina

4.03/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured oil slick opaque black with a creamy 1 inch head that setlled down to a 1/2 layed. Depp lace and thick look overall, very nice. Smell was coffee and caramel. Maybe some toffee mixed in, earthy hints at the back but slight with a spice that tingled the nose. The taste was coffee and oak, with oak being a big played. Slight alcohol warming as well. Very unique taste, somewhat bitter as well, may do some good to lay down for a bit. Thick tasting, but not too much. This was a good RIS, and I think the oak age benefited it, will be cellaring a couple to see how they go down the road.

Serving type: bottle

02-03-2007 01:27:18 | More by mikesgroove
Photo of womencantsail


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

A: The pour borders on black with a thin layer of tan colored foam.

S: A fairly mild nose overall with some notes of dark chocolate, roasted malt, and maybe a bit of coffee.

T: The flavor is a bit more robust than the nose would let on. The primary flavors are typical of an RIS with some coffee and chocolate, along with a bit of sweetness followed by the usual roast.

M: The body is medium with a fairly low level of carbonation.

D: Not a bad beer, and one of the better beers I've had from Weyerbacher. The alcohol is well hidden, so no complaints there.

Serving type: bottle

03-21-2010 07:05:09 | More by womencantsail
Photo of Phyl21ca

Quebec (Canada)

2.58/5  rDev -34.8%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Bottle (courtesy of Hopdog): Poured a pitch-black color ale with a huge dark brown head with average retention. Aroma is overpowered by whisky with small traces of vanilla that are still discernable. Taste is also overpowered by the whisky aging and leaves little place to the rest of the beer. I couldn’t find any chocolate/coffee taste that I usually like from Imperial Stout. Also, the warming alcohol feel really doesn’t do it for me. Full body and rally good carbonation, which is bit surprising from an Imperial Stout. Too bad I didn’t like that one and I probably should have started by the Old Heathen.

Serving type: bottle

06-02-2005 15:04:23 | More by Phyl21ca
Photo of BEERchitect


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

I'm really impressed with this beer. Most of Weyerbacher's oak aged beers don't turn out as well as they should, but this one is different. A heavy Imperial Stout with Milk Stout and Oatmeal Stout sweetness and creaminess. The grains contribute a solid roasted character, with chocolates, berries, cherries, and grapes. Black and as opaque as you get with a brown frothy foamstand. Balanced well and increadibly easy drinking. Milk and lactose flavors smooth the beer, but become a bit too dominant. Otherwise, a joy to drink.

Serving type: bottle

03-09-2006 17:44:35 | More by BEERchitect
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 ChainGangGuy


3.55/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance: Pours an inky black body with a dark, tan-colored head that quickly fell to a thin ring of lace.

Smell: A redolent aroma vast in red wine qualities; dark chocolate, black pepper, alcohol, and tart, dark fruitiness.

Taste: For me, it's more evocative of a red wine than anything bourbon based. Unfortunately, any chocolaty or roasty stout qualities are thin and tend to meander, and that's if you can perceive them beneath the excessive oakiness. As the beer warms, the alcohol goes from being glaring to overkill.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied. Moderate carbonation. Somewhat watery texture.

Drinkability: For me, it fell short of the bold, though balanced deliciousness of some other Imperial Stouts. In fact, I preferred the simple, straight-up Old Heathen Stout.

*Vintage Update*

Let's see how its sister bottle turned out. The wine character has greatly diminished, now replaced with a vinous plum/prune combination. The oakiness has also declined, currently at a very nice level. There're malty tastes of roast and bittersweet chocolate, but they're not particularly strong and there's only a very, very minute amount of sweetness remaining. While it hasn't seen a betterment from a few years of quiet aging, it did hold up. But that's cellaring for you, it's a crapshoot.

Serving type: bottle

08-05-2007 05:18:43 | More by ChainGangGuy
Photo of oberon

North Carolina

4.08/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I have had hit or miss experiences with Weyerbacher this I would say is a hit,poured a ink black with a dark mocha colored 1/2 finger creamy head.The oak its aged in shows thru in the nose with a vanilla-like tone along with some molasses and iron,a real nice mellow mouthfeel for a bigger brew really slides down easy.Not huge in my mind for the style but very good flavors vanilla tinged with molasses and rum soaked raisins finishing somewhat woody and cola-like.A nice impy stout not overly big to me,its approachable with out any flavor loss or character.

Serving type: bottle

08-17-2006 01:56:45 | More by oberon
Photo of TMoney2591


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

Served in a Dogfish Head snifter.

Thanks to jdiddy via the Heavy Metal BIF for this bottle (paired with Pantera's "Heresy")!

The heresy is so egregious that lightning splits the sky above. Bwa-ha-ha-ha! Ahem... This beer pours an opaque black-brown topped by a quickly dissipating finger or so of ecru micro-foam. The nose comprises chocolate syrup, roasted malts, vanilla, molasses, oak, and a tinge of bourbon. The taste emphasizes the vanilla, roasted malts, and bourbon, while the chocolate is toned down and dried out. There is an ever-so-slight sour-ish tinge at the end, possibly the by-product of the barrel and some age. The body is a very light heavy (or a heavy medium...it's tough to decide), with a light carbonation and a silky smooth feel. Overall, a solid barrel-aged stout: not the finest, but certainly nowhere near bad. Get some!

Serving type: bottle

07-05-2010 07:36:19 | More by TMoney2591
Photo of NeroFiddled


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

From a 22 oz bottle.... slightly aged.

Heresy may very well be my favorite brew from Weyerbacher!!! The oak aging adds notes of bourbon, vanilla, wood, and vinous fruit to an already excellent Imperial Stout.

It pours an opaque body with a thin glint of mahogany at the base of the glass. The head starts as a two-fingered head of frothy dark tan foam that drops quickly to a creamy 1/4" surface covering, and then dissolves to a razor thin surface covering, leaving little more than spotty lace abot the glass.

The nose offers toasted chocolate; a berry-like yeasty fruitiness; vanilla; oak; cherries; vinous fruit; coconut; and some alcohol.

The body is medium-full, and it's silky smooth in the mouth with a low-level, very fine and natural carbonation from bottle conditioning that gently caresses the tongue before sliding silkily away.

The flavor delivers dark fruits and a touch of bourbon floating atop a dark malt and bittersweet chocolate maltiness. It has a soft roasted edge to it, and it's backed by a bold bitterness with some drying alcohol in the finish.

It finishes fairly short considering the drama that takes place in the mouth; with some residual vinous characeristics, milk chocolate, a light touch of mocha java, and some mild, lingering bitterness.

There are clear variations in this beer, maybe coming from barrel to barrel or batch to batch; but they just lend it that much more charm. Some bottles are more chocolatey, and some offer more vinous fruit. Some have more alcohol, and some have more wood.... it's all good! This is a really pleasant, easy to drink, very rich, and satiating brew that deserves far more mention than it gets! KUDOS!

Serving type: bottle

07-08-2005 00:54:46 | More by NeroFiddled
Photo of feloniousmonk


4/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Deep ebon hue, nearly all light is trapped inside, with mere crimson glimmers at the cracks...nice, though brief, cocoa-colored head
Aroma is a bit on the shy side, not quite unfolding all the delights I anticipate from a top-of- the-line IS. Molasses, maple, anise, espresso, the usual suspects.
Taste: nice, and rich, and very good in the mouth, but fairly underwhelming, compared to the better IS's out there. Cocoa gets thicker in the texture...gets Alcohol, also, seems humble at first, though speaks up later in the game.
A bit hoppier than I expected, as well, and it all feels on the whole, mellow and smooth, despite the jumped-up flavor characteristics. Tasty, and not too overbearing. Gets thicker, richer, tastier as we go further in, but not too much so. A milder, mellower, balanced IS than those I'm used to, but there's nothing wrong with that, is there? I didn't think so...
the more I drink of this, the more I like it. Doesn't blow me oway, but that's okay...

Serving type: bottle

09-26-2004 17:31:14 | More by feloniousmonk
Photo of TheManiacalOne

Rhode Island

4.63/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured from a 22oz. bottle into a mug glass.

A: The beer is a deep dark brown color with a large brown head that fades slowly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is of rich chocolate, roasted malts, coffee, some dark fruit and a little bit of alcohol.

T: The taste is very rich and is full of dark chocolate, roasted coffee, dark malts with a touch of fruit and the slightest alcohol burn. There’s a very mild hops presence that periodically peeks through the maltiness, but it’s certainly there. The after-taste is slightly sweet.

M: Very smooth with a little crispness (even though you don’t expect much from the style), heavy body, light-to-medium carbonation, sticky and dry finish.

D: Very tasty, goes down easily, a little filling, excellent representation of style, despite you being able to detect the alcohol a little bit more than you usually can in a beer for this style, the kick is decent but not as hard as some RIS’s can have. However, I would definitely consider this one a sipper rather than a pounder and a very good one at that. I enjoyed Old Heathen some time ago, but enjoyed this one more, a testament oak barrel aging at the brewery.

Serving type: bottle

08-02-2007 04:48:41 | More by TheManiacalOne
Photo of russpowell


4.4/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Got this from melbatoast93, Cheers Hart!

Pours an ebony tinged mahogany with a pinky of mocha colored head. Above average head retention & lacing

S: Coffee, roasted & charred grain

T: Roasted grain, cocoa, bourbon & vanilla up front. Coffee, dryness & boozed-up baker's chocolate as this warms. Finishes dry with chocolate, vanilla, booze, a bit more richness & little less booze, & you have a 5.0 here

MF: Medium bodied to chewy, oily, very sticky with a bit of carbonation, rich

Drinks great for the style & delivers a boatload of flavor for the ABV! Another winner from Weyerbacher!

Serving type: bottle

07-10-2008 05:26:49 | More by russpowell
Photo of WesWes

New York

4.55/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The beer pours a deep dark black color with a thick frothy dark brown color that slowly fades. The aroma is perfect. It has a very rich and malty scent that boasts of chocolate malts and a creamy finish. It smells like chocolate frosting. The taste is great as well. It has a smooth chocolate flavor with a sweet creamy finish. It is quite complex and extremely tastey. The mouthfeel is good. It is a full bodied beer with adequate carbonation. This is a damn fine imperial stout. It has it all; a good drinker.

Serving type: bottle

08-26-2004 01:41:57 | More by WesWes
Photo of Mora2000


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

Thanks to Exiled for sharing this bottle.

The beer pours a black color with a tan head. The aroma is chocolate, roasted malt and licorice. It smells almost exactly like Old Heathen. I don't get any bourbon-aged notes in the aroma.

The flavor is a different story. I get a lot of bourbon, maple, vanilla and oak notes - as well as some chocolate and roasted malt. Not sure where all of these components were in the aroma, but they are present in the flavor and work very well together.

Full mouthfeel and medium carbonation.

I believe this is a better beer than Old Heathen.

Serving type: bottle

10-18-2010 19:37:47 | More by Mora2000
Photo of zeff80


4.2/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Poured out an opaque jet black color with a small, off-white head of bubbly foam. It left thin trails of lace on the glass.

S - It smelled of oak, wood and mild bourbon notes. There was a nice roasty presence, too.

T - Good bourbon flavor with oak, raisin and a malty backbone. There was some chocolate and molasses flavors, too.

M - It was crisp, sharp and smooth. A medium bodied ale with a dry , clean finish.

O - This is a very nice oaked RIS. Weyerbacher continues to make good beers.

Serving type: bottle

09-04-2011 21:55:35 | More by zeff80
Photo of Gueuzedude


3.58/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

April 2004 Bottling (or there abouts); Sampled August 2008
A vigorous pour into my 25cl tulip glass produces both aromas of rum and bourbon as well as a four-finger thick, darkly brown stained, dark tan colored head. The beer is quite black though it will show a flash of color if held up directly to the light. Spicy, buttery, vanilla laden, Bourbon-like aromas definitely dominate the nose. The vanillin notes are perhaps the most dominant note here and are definitely enjoyable. This is as harshly alcoholic / boozy smelling as I would have expected and there is also a significant, lightly toasted coconut aroma here that becomes quite distinctive. There is perhaps a touch or toasty malt aromatic notes here, but the barrel clearly dominates the aroma, yet remains smooth enough that I don't find it objectionable. I wonder if the couple of years have helped to mellow this beer out.

The body is somewhat thin for an Imperial stout and has likely lost a bit of heft over the years. Malt flavors and alcohol combine to contribute a sweetness to this brew that is somewhat light. Spicy oak notes yield to buttery oak components that sit on top of vanilla flavors. The dark grain flavors are much more noticeable in the flavor and contribute a finish of espresso, some tart burnt flavors, chocolate notes (that pair well with the vanillin components), a dusty cocoa note and a touch of astringent burnt grain that contributes a touch of bitterness in the finish. Some flavors of roasted, dried figs and blackened rains help to round out things just a bit. As the beer warms up a touch of chalky malt becomes noticeable in the finish, but only just.

Definitely dominated by the Bourbon barrel aging, but it keeps from being harsh (especially in the nose where it is quite smooth). Not bad and perhaps even a bit better than I was expecting.

Serving type: bottle

08-20-2008 04:53:14 | More by Gueuzedude
Photo of Knapp85


3.8/5  rDev -4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

What a beast of a beer this is. The color is so dark just like it should be. There is really no light getting through this one. The head is a thick looking brown foam. The aroma of some highly roasted malts give off this burnt smell to the beer which is countered by the Barrel Aging which adds a sweetness to the nose. The taste is all imperial stout. The burnt and roasted malts kick you in the face right off the bat, then it starts to tingle with some hops and the bourbon barrel finishes it off with a very light sweet vanilla flavor and some fresh wood. The mouthfeel is nice and thick like oil. Really a nice brew!

Serving type: bottle

04-14-2011 00:07:12 | More by Knapp85
Photo of jwc215


3.85/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into snifter:

Pours black with a tan head that recedes to a bubbly patch.

The smell is of oak/vanilla with coffee, chocolate and a hint of anise.

The taste is of oak/vanilla that almost masks, but the chocolate/coffee and hint of anise pull through. An initial sweetness becomes balanced by a roastiness aand a fruity/peppery drying alcohol.

A bit lighter in the feel than I expected, with some slick alcohol lasting more in the aftertaste than the flavors. It is a slow sipper as it packs a punch.

Serving type: bottle

03-02-2008 15:07:16 | More by jwc215
Photo of RblWthACoz


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

Pours a pitch black with a higher rising tan head that falls fairly quickly. Nose is thick molasses malts with mild coffee on there. The malts are the thickest character here though. Flavor is malty and thick. I get a touch of alcohol as well. Feel is about standard for the liquid, though it seems to fall off on the end to a more watery and thin feel. Carbonation is typical. Overall this is a good brew in the essence that it is even and smooth. There isn't anything overly interesting going on here. Just an even keeled experience.

Serving type: bottle

01-01-2008 04:24:22 | More by RblWthACoz
Photo of WVbeergeek


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

Appearance: Pitch black big thick tan head very impressive appearance leaves thick broad bands of lacing. Aroma: Fusel alcohol tones can be picked up in the orgy of deep dark chocolate smokey wood from the whiskey barrel aging in both Jim and Jack barrels very complex and big. Taste: A wave of soft milk chocolate with the whiskey barrel aging adding a complexity to this Imperial Stout that is just amazing. Smokey with hints of oak some strong espresso from dark roasts very big brew but enjoyable at the same time. Mouthfeel: Not as thick as I was anticipating medium bodied creamy textured very nice even carbonation making this a smooth sipper all the way. Drinkability: Overall I'm impressed with this Weyerbacher creation sometimes they don't do it for me but this one is truly innovative and delicious. I could definitely go for another because this brew balances all of the complex flavors involved so nicely higher abv but that's expected with a barrel aged imperial stout very nice brew.

Serving type: bottle

08-16-2004 18:26:21 | More by WVbeergeek
Photo of Gavage

New Jersey

4.08/5  rDev +3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours black in color with a thin 1/2" head. Not any lacing other than a few dots on the glass. The aroma is nice as roasted malts, chocolate, coffee, and alcohol dominate and some mellow vanilla extract tones linger in the background. The flavor is most of the same in the aroma, except add a mellow port wine floating in the background.

The mouthfeel was smooth with a touch of a creamy texture, and ended smooth. The tastebuds had roasted malts and chocolate lingering for a bit after swallowing. Nicely drinkable and the alcohol isn't overpowering with this imperial stout.

Serving type: bottle

07-25-2004 19:21:14 | More by Gavage
Photo of smcolw


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

Awesome light brown head--five fingers wide. So dark that light does not shine through. Lumpy lace all over the glass.

Very dry. I'm reminded of Cocoa Pebbles but without the sugar.

Lots of cocoa. Do you remember taking some of the Hershey powdered chocolate and placing it on your tongue? Here it is. Relatively thin body but the light carbonation gives this a decent mouthfeel. The aftertaste is similar to the flavor of dark chocolate after the swallow.

Serving type: bottle

03-29-2009 02:19:00 | More by smcolw
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Heresy from Weyerbacher Brewing Co.
89 out of 100 based on 1,705 ratings.