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Heresy - Weyerbacher Brewing Co.

Not Rated.

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

1,905 Ratings
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,905
Reviews: 959
rAvg: 3.94
pDev: 11.93%
Wants: 90
Gots: 233 | 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:
Old Heathen aged in oak (whiskey/bourbon) barrels.

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 06-21-2004)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,905 | Reviews: 959 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Mdog
3.63/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Black, good head.

Smell: Chocolate, molasses note.

Taste: Dry, molasses and dark fruit, woodiness. More dryness, lots of woody wine characteristics.

Drinkability: A sipper, one is enough.

The wood really comes through in this one, to the point where it takes over the beer too much for my liking. If it was a lilttle sweeter and less woody wine flavors I'd probably like it more.

Mdog, Jan 03, 2011
Photo of codewarrior
3.68/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz Singleton Poured into a Tulip

Picked up 2 singles at Beers of the World in Brighton, at a hefty price-point I might add. I believe I am drinking the 2010 vintage of this beer, but there are no markings on the bottle to indicate a particular age.

L: Black. 2-fingers head and black and thick. Looks like a RIS, and ... it's shiny!

S: Roast up front, booze in back, touch of oak in between. Smells good, and understated, but ultimately is a bit 2-dimensional.

T: Just like it smells. Malt then booze with oak in between ... an oak sandwich. Touch of wood in the finish and lingers longer than I thought it could. Aftertaste is much more enjoyable than the actual taste.

F: Thick and rich like liquid chocolate mixed with booze-sauce. Good, not great.

D: Very drinkable, even enjoyable ... but not world-class.

codewarrior, Dec 26, 2010
Photo of mulder1010
4.08/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle poured into a tulip
thanks to Biglite351 for the beer

A-- Poured a dark cola color, settled black. No head, just a light brown film. Swirling the glass got a one finger head but that quickly went back to film. Just a small bit of carbonation shown.

S-- Bourbon and oak. Very nice smell. Not overpowering but very obvious. A little bit of chocolate and vanilla. Good nose.

T-- Oak and more oak. Just a bit of bourbon.

M-- Medium feel and low carbonation. Bourbon comes out more in the mouth but in a way it is watered down. Not a bad thing as it is much more smooth and not just overpowering as other BA that are higher ABV. Little hints of chocolate milk and vanilla. Finishes very dry due to the oak.

D-- Quite nice. Well hidden ABV and not a massive bourbon bomb. Like that the bourbon more secondary and the oak is more obvious. Now how the heck do I get more of it.

mulder1010, Dec 25, 2010
Photo of oregonskibum
3.85/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a snifter glass.

A: Color is a deep, dark brown, almost black. Pours with a thin light tan head that dies off quickly, leaving some splotchy lacing and thin ring around the glass.

S: Rich cocoa, oak, toffee, faint vanilla, lots of roasted malts. Smells a little hot.

T: Chocolate, roasted malts, and a little coffee. Flavors generally carry from the smell, although the oak and vanilla seem less present. Some bitterness present though, especially toward the finish. Generally, the taste doesn't hold up to the smell. Finishes fast with just a little heat.

M: Light bodied compared to some BA imperial stouts. Medium carbonation makes this drink more like a stout.

D: This isn't the greatest imperial stout out there and I was a little disappointed with the taste (compared to the smell). But there's something to be said about a very drinkable, somewhat flavorable BA imperial stout. At 8%, I could drink a couple of these and still remember my name. For that reason, it got higher marks here.

oregonskibum, Dec 10, 2010
Photo of nas5755
3.08/5  rDev -21.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

A black pour with a two-finger head, some retention and no lacing. The nose is full of cocoa and some vanilla from the oak. The taste has a bit more complexity to it. A huge blast of roasted malts engulfs the palate then it melds away into the delicate flavors of this stout, vanilla, oak, some tannins and lots of chocolate follow through. The carbonation has held up a quite well for a beer that is a year old, in fact it is a bit too much. This beer is a tad on the thin side and could have coated the palate with more depth. Overall, this is a good BA stout, nothing to write home about but not something that has gone astray.

nas5755, Dec 06, 2010
Photo of TheHoppiest
4.6/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into an oversized snifter. Pours a oily brown with a creamy tan head that reduces to a thin skim in top, with a ring of head around the glass.

Smells of creamy oatmeal, smoke, and milky malt.

Complex in flavor; starts slightly bitter, moving to creamy smooth, ith mild malty oats, finishing smokey. Not nearly as coffee-flavored as other Russian Imperial stouts,this is more akin to an imperial oatmeal stout. For as strong as this brew is, it really hides It's alcohol content well.

Tangy on the tongue, this full bodied brew is creamy from sip to swallow.

Wow, I've not been terribly impressed with other Weyerbacher offerings, but this one was a definite winner. Highly recommend it!

TheHoppiest, Nov 27, 2010
Photo of cosmicevan
4.58/5  rDev +16.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - poured into an oversized snifter. silky black with a creamy tan head that left some souvenirs on the side of the glass as the head subsided a bit, but never went completely away.
S - Deep and strong roasted malts with a hint of grape. has a fresh type of smell which makes me think of the oak barrels. alc is pretty tame.
T - oh wow. really comes alive in the flavor dept. i'm a big fan of RIS and this one was a pleasant surprise since i had never tried it before. roasted malts, oak tames the flavor. the alc is really well blended and not in your face at all.
M - pretty medium bodied. very smooth and not overly rich and filling. leaves a pretty fresh feel in your mouth.
D - dangerously drinkable. good gateway RIS for folks who aren't fans of the style (yet).

cosmicevan, Nov 20, 2010
Photo of wspscott
4/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle in Duvel tulip (original review- 5/29/09)

A: Completely black, with a tan head that drops quickly leaving a small bit of lace.
S: Roasty with some chocolate in the background, maybe some dried fruits.
T: The chocolate is much more apparent with the roasty bits more muted. In the background is a flavor I could not place, then I looked at the label and remembered this is aged in oak, that is it, a hint of wood, some vanilla
M: Not as thick as some RISs, but still some roundness, there is a medium level of carbonation. A hint of warming from the alcohol, very appropriate for the style.
D: This goes down very easily, a great sippin/dessert beer. Very recommended for anyone who is a RIS fan. Please bring this to KY.
11/18/10 in a Duvel tulip

From the same six pack as the original review
no change to numbers

A: The head seems to drop immediately, there is a hint of lace but not much.
S: Light chocolate, some roasted malt, a hint of coffee
T: There are mostly muted dark malts, makes me think of dark caramel and some chocolate malts. There are definitely some roasted malts, but they seem to be covered by some sweetness, maybe from caramel malt? The wood character seems more pronounced, some vanilla combined with drying tannins.
M: This feels like it could be a "chuggin" beer, not watery, but definitely not thick/too creamy. The carbonation seems to have flattened out.
D: I would like to compare a fresh one with one that is at least 18 months old. This is a very yummy beer that is not overly complicated or simple. The woodiness seems to be more pronounced than I remember and I could see the aging process causing that. Definitely recommended for any RIS lover. Anyone with a six pack should hold back a couple to experience the aging process. Nice beer, would drink regularly if I could.

wspscott, Nov 19, 2010
Photo of CooperEllis
3.8/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The sum of the parts are, well, sumparts. This is a solid, above average RIS. It is not a skullcrushing, mind bending, life altering brew. And, honestly, that's a bit refreshing. It is keeping w/ the style. It is delicious. It is something I would buy all the time if the local price wasn't insane.

Dark pour. Heavy tan head. Mild lacing.

There is a nice density of bubbles rimming the egde of the glass.

Very nice roast malt without any burnt, acrid, boozy notes. But it is limited, while the aroma grows w/ the initial taste.

The first bottle of this I thought was a 5 mouthfeel but the second bottle was average, as was the second. I don't think there is bottle vairation, but maybe my expectations were very low for the first bottle.

Although I think this is priced too high, my location is one where most stuff is. This is something I would drink consistently if it was priced lower, it is certainly good but it is priced like great. This is my only critique because this is a solid, if unspectacular, example of the style.


CooperEllis, Nov 18, 2010
Photo of tmcelvain
3.85/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

L: Black. Almost no head when poured into a goblet.
S: Alcohol and Oak. Very sweet to the nose.
T: Alcohol and Oak. Bits of sweet blackberry.
M: Very watery, and a medium carbonation that is either to little for the wetness, or too much for the stout flavors - I can't decide which.
D: Not a session beer with the amount of alcohol in the smell and taste, but good flavors that could entertain me through 2 or 3.

Smooth beer with a nice, but not over-powering oak flavor. Might be a nice way to introduce your friends to some bigger beers, but the dry finish and watery feel keep this from shining within the style and just off my list of favorites.

tmcelvain, Nov 12, 2010
Photo of erosier
3.75/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

L: Pours a deep black color with almost no head until the end of the pour. A short and thick brown colored head that leaves little lacing as it fades makes it pretty decent looking.
S: Smells of deep roasted malts, caramel, chocolate, coffee, and a hint of hops and alcohol at the end. Smells hot but inticing.
T: Tastes of deep roasted malts, some slightly bitter black malts, rich chocolate, caramel, and coffee with a big alcohol kick at the end.
M: Hot, warming, perfect amount of carbonation, thick bodied.
D: OK drinkability, it was pretty hot feeling so it was harder to get down than some other ones, but at 8% abv it was still pretty drinkable.

erosier, Nov 12, 2010
Photo of bobquick
4.35/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Probably the lightest RIS I've ever had. Not a heavy beer even though it looks like a glass of Coke after its been poured from the bottle. VERY drinkable even at 8% alcohol...read: dangerous. The malt lingers for a cocoa or chocolate finish. Not a huge head when poured but enough for the smell of roasted grains to add to the overall experience

bobquick, Nov 12, 2010
Photo of tempest
3.78/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had a bottle at the Farmhouse for $6. This was a simple, but relatively drinkable RIS. There was an interesting chocolate banana flavor as the beer warms, otherwise, there's a balanced toasty vanilla and caramel, cocoa roast. It's not the most complex imperial stout, but it's smooth and makes a pretty decent dessert beer.

tempest, Nov 04, 2010
Photo of Dreadnaught33
4.38/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Jet Black with a nice tan head that looks very creamy. Lacing swirls on the sides of the glass as well.

S: Nice mature oak smell entwined with coffee roast, vanilla, dark cherry, chocolate. Very good.

T: Smell with a massive addition of roast at the back of the palate. Oak is very nice and not overpowering. Milk chocolate with a little vanilla shines through as well.

M: Medium-heavy creamy feel. Awesome.

D: Very good for a barrel aged beer, pretty easy to drink but I couldnt get through more than a bottle in one night.

Dreadnaught33, Nov 02, 2010
Photo of rtepiak
3.8/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

a wonderful pour with a very assertive head that works its way downward into the black and forms as the bubbles come up to about three fingers. nose of chocolate and bourbon malt. palate is a mild baltic sour hiding in a deep core of malt bourbon bitter warmth.

rtepiak, Nov 01, 2010
Photo of xnicknj
3.88/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle poured into large wine glass

Pours a midnight black with a nice toffee brown head which retains well while leaving some filmy lacing on the glass.

Roasted dark malt, some sweetness, and a bit of warmth in the nose. Fairly subdued for a bal aged stout.

Dark sweetness with caramel and molasses in the beginning, giving way to dark chocolate and some bitterness. A bit of boozy warmth slices through with notes of vanilla and oaked bourbon, although somewhat light. Finishes with tingly dryness, a bit of bourbon and vanilla.

Heavier body although slightly light for the style, some dry feel and bitterness linger on the palate. Drinks pretty well for the style, although there's definitely better examples out there.

xnicknj, Oct 21, 2010
Photo of ColdPoncho
3.85/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Pours a deep brown/black. No light comes through this beer. It's got a small but very dark head that dissipates quickly.

S - Chocolate and coffee notes hit me first, with a strongly oaky booze following.

T - Doesn't really seem to line up with the smell that well. There's a predominant oatmeal/caramel malty flavor, with hints of coffee and some vanilla and oak on the finish.

M - It's a thick and dry beer that's not really too heavy.

D - There's a nice warming quality that this has, and it's pretty easy to drink.

ColdPoncho, Oct 20, 2010
Photo of kzoobrew
4/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Black, opaque body. Two finger brown sugar colored head. Head works its way back rather quickly leaving only slight lacing.

The aroma is largely set around the bourbon. The whiskey is strong but not overly boozy. Dark bitter chocolate and roasted malt set underneath. Though the aroma is slightly lopsided in favor of the bourbon it is pleasant.

Roasted malt and chocolate roll across the tongue. The bourbon does not really shine until midpalate. The back of the palate picks up some caramel before transitioning back to bourbon.
Slight charred malt and oak flavor linger on the back of the tongue.

Full bodied and a bit more viscosity than I expected, especially given a lower abv for the style. Smooth and creamy texture with moderate carbonation. Flavors dig deep into the tongue for a long finish.

Very enjoyable and rather smooth. Booze is slightly warming but not obstructive. Solid beer and definitely recommended.

kzoobrew, Oct 19, 2010
Photo of Mora2000
4.13/5  rDev +4.8%
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.

Mora2000, Oct 18, 2010
Photo of PicoPapa
3.98/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle. Pours a black viscous liquid that disappears in an instant. Minimal lacing. Aromas of chocolate and roasted malts. A nice coffee smell as well. Taste has a dark chocolate flavor to it. A bit of a coffee aftertaste. Not picking up on too much of an Oak flavor. This brew has a nice heavy quality to it. A good sipper and the flavors blend together nicely. Certainly worth a try.

PicoPapa, Oct 18, 2010
Photo of errantnight
3.73/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A 2008 bottle that just hasn't held up particularly well. What tastes like an excellent overall beer when young has gotten a bit muddled and faded in the time since, even if oxidation hasn't gotten out of control.

Tasted in a Spiegelau tulip during a RIS tasting (with plain crackers and water for palate cleansing between tastings).

Pale for a RIS (but still pretty dark), moderate retention and no real lacing.

Chocolate and mocha notes are present but are faint. Esters are restrained.

Vanilla and mocha hit up the palate for a one note (or, two note, as it were) experience that is pleasant, but lacking.

This beer does have great structure and smoothness, and medium-full mouth. If this had more going on, I'd be in love.

Overall this was quite enjoyable, and redeemed Weyerbacher to some degree for me, even though it wasn't a particularly great beer. I'd love to try this fresh/young.

errantnight, Oct 16, 2010
Photo of stakem
4.47/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On the nitro blend at Als served in a snifter. Pours black in color with a finger of dark tan head that receeds fairly quickly leaving faint patches of lace about the glass.

The aroma of this brew is dark and woodsy with an immediate scent of oak, heavily roasted malt that comes across with a bit of coffee character and slight chocolate. The alcohol is noticeable as well but overall blends well together to create a very enjoyable scent.

The taste of Heresy is dark roasted malt that imparts a moderate bitterness upfront. Throughout the body are flavors of oak, slight vanilla and an alcohol presence that is not masked all that well. Infact I'd say whatever type of barrels they age Heresy in only accents the boldness of the alcohol. At no point though is the 8% abv offputting, it blends nicely with the other flavors to make a robust, very well made RIS.

This is a medium to full bodied brew with a light, almost creamy feel and carbonation level. I'm not totally sold on whether having this brew via different presentations (tap, nitro, bottle) changes it all that much. In this case the feel has been altered a bit by the nitro. Overall, this is just a solid brew that I believe to be under appreciated. The list goes on for other beers in this catrgory that get hyped up and over exaggerated. I'm glad this is regularly available.

stakem, Oct 14, 2010
Photo of AdamBear
3.58/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

not the best russian imperial stout, but definitely one to try if you love the type.

A-black with a nice tan head, exactly how stouts should look

S-smells a lot like bourbon. the high abv is evident!

T-faint hint of mocha upfront with the oak after-taste within. the alcohol is not well hidden

M-medium carbonation with a watery finish

D-the alcohol hits quickly but its a quite a nice beer to sip down! the distinct taste stays and is enjoyed throughout the drink.

AdamBear, Oct 13, 2010
Photo of r0nyn
4.22/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bottle into my DFH snifter.

Pours a super, super dark inky black. There's a big thick tan head that dissipates slowly into a minute cap. Some loose, wispy lacing. I really love how RIS's look and this is one of the prettiest ones I've ever had the pleasure of viewing. Smell is rich and chocolatey, wow. Very sweet smelling! There's also quite a bit of coffee, malt, vanilla and some hints of bourbon. One of the better smelling beers I've experienced.

Chocolatey coffee sweetness up front that permeates the entire flavor profile. There's also roasted malts everywhere, as well as some vanilla nuances, ostensibly from the oak barrels. Towards the back end is a slight bit of bitterness, but it's from the dark chocolate and coffee, not hops. The bitterness and sweetness from the chocolate ride long into the aftertaste. Really quite delectable, if not overly complex. Alcohol gets more detectable as the brew warms, but it's not boozy by any stretch of the imagination. Mouthfeel is medium-bodied, with a smooth finish and minimal carbonation. Not as weighty as some other Russian Imperials I've had, but still very good.

Drinkability is awesome. The delicious smell and the pleasing taste meld together to create a very pleasurable drinking experience. The ABV, while present, is never obtrusive and serves to complement the overall flavors of this brew. From previous reviews, it would seem that Heresy benefits from the mellowing effects of aging. Not sure how old mine was, but I'm glad it seems to have a least a few years on it.

r0nyn, Oct 11, 2010
Photo of Augustiner719
3.2/5  rDev -18.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a tulip glass.

Pours a het black, viscous color with s light cappuccino colored head. The label reads aged in oak barrels and I get the qualities of oak. A good amount of vanilla and some bourbon too though I am not sure if this is a bourbon barrel. Either way it's got vanilla, oak, molasses, sugar cane, roasted chocolate notes. Not really coffee forward, though it does have soke bitterness onnthe backend slightly. There is a real big boozy flavor, like whiskey burn almost that is not integrated well into this beer at all. Mouthfeel is medium bodied for a ris but it's got a big dry alcohol burn on the finish. Not the most drinkable and the 8 percent abv is not hidden well at all. Nice beer, not really good on it's own, but I did pair it later with chili which was fantastic. Worth a shot, but really needs some age one it I think.

Augustiner719, Oct 10, 2010
Heresy from Weyerbacher Brewing Co.
88 out of 100 based on 1,905 ratings.