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Heresy - Weyerbacher Brewing Co.

Not Rated.

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very good

2,021 Ratings
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,021
Reviews: 977
rAvg: 3.93
pDev: 12.21%
Wants: 101
Gots: 264 | FT: 15
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: 2,021 | Reviews: 977 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of jondeelee
4.5/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Heresy is made by aging Weyerbacher's Old Heathen Imperial Stout in oak barrels that formerly held bourbon. I haven't yet tried Old Heathen, and so am doing these reviews out of order since I can't specifically comment on what the oak aging has done to the brew, but what I can say about Heresy is that it smells amazing: huge Imperial Stout aromas (chocolate, coffee, vanilla) that have the added nuance of bourbon tones, lending fig and port notes to the nose.

On the tongue, the beer is thick and rich, with definite Imperial Stout flavors (chocolate, chocolate malt, coffee, vanilla, ash) mixed with light touches of bourbon and charred oak, port and fig, and hints of black cherry, maple syrup, pepper, and anise. The higher ABV (10%) does result in a bit of a vodka-like tinge at the edges, but this mostly blends in nicely with the bourbon and coffee. The aftertaste is mainly thick, black malts and hints of char, and lasts for a good while. Mouthfeel is a syrupy medium-heavy, and carbonation is medium.

Overall, this is a great Imperial Stout, and the bourbon touches give it an edge that is quite appealing. Only the slight vodka edge mars what is otherwise a good taste profile for this style. Still, if you're looking for a mealy stout, you don't get a whole lot better than this.

Photo of jonvan04
4.15/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I had this beer for the first time at a festival and was very excited to try a whole bottle. This beer poured black with a thin white head. It had an aroma of roasted malts with some notes of licorice, and vanlla mixed in. The taste was a nice roasty blend of oak, vanilla, and roasted malts, with notes lactose and cocunut thrown in. It was medium bodied and drinkable for the style without that much of an alcohol burn. This was a very delicious stout.

Photo of homebrewhawk
4.07/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz. bottle served in a snifter. Poured a deep brown/black with almost a finger of tan head. Big aroma of bourbon, but in a good way! Also some vanilla and toffee. In the flavor there was not as much bourbon as you would have expected from the aroma. Maybe a little thin. Lots of chocolate, not a lot of roasted barley. More toffee and vanilla in the finish. Pretty easy drinking. I enjoyed this.

Photo of jamescain
4.02/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured into a sniffer, thanks to texasclimber for sharing this one

Appearance: Black with reddish hues and a mocha colored head about a centimeter high that fades into a thin lacing over the top of the beer.

Aroma: Strong notes of chocolate, roasted grain with hints of vanilla, coffee and alcohol. Overall a well rounded and complex aroma.

Taste: Chocolate, coffee, a touch of licorice, vanilla and oak with a nice alcohol warming sensation. The taste is not as dynamic as the aroma is, but it is still complex enough to hold your attention and keep you trying to find more flavors.

Mouthfeel: A little thin then what I prefer for the style, but that does add to its drinkability. Low carbonation doesn’t do anything to help boost the perceived body.

Overall: I enjoyed this beer a lot; it will be nice to see how it changes with a little age on it. If I could improve anything it would be the body of the beer.

Photo of meatyard
4.2/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2009 vintage

Pours an opaque black, no color along the edges, with a 2-finger, mocha head that falls relatively quickly to a cover without lacing.

The smell is dark chocolate, coffee and licorice and, maybe, a bit of molasses.

The taste is similar to the aroma and the flavors do stand out with coffee, dark chocolate more so and there is just a hint of alcohol. As it warms, vanilla sneaks out.

Mouthfeel is medium, slightly dry and mildly carbonated.

Overall: While some flavors still stand out it feels like the age has mellowed and melded the flavors. It's very tasty, not great but satisfying-recommended.

Photo of SWMeyer4141
4.46/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

I think this is a 2011...

Appearance-Very dark brown. Tiny brown head, small enough to not even note it had one. Some nice alcohol legs.

Smell-Huge oak and bourbon notes. Chocolate covered cherrys with vanilla frosting. The barrel aging process definitely enhanced the aroma big time. Reminds me of a Tactical Nuclear Penguin with alot less alcohol. I really hope it tastes incredible too.

Taste-So I haven't had many barrel aged beers, but are they all this good? When sipping the stout out of the claret you just smell the bourbon and look forward for the taste. Big Oaky bourbon vanilla taste. Followed by some dark fruits and cherry. The finish is some dark slightly bitter chocolate along with a dash of bourbon. Incredible balanced, but I need to give it a 4.5 to leave room for more Barrell Aged beers.

Mouthfeel-A tad bit thin and slightly watery which may be the only real negative about this beer. Medium bodied and a nice amount of carbonation.

Overall-The fact that all this flavor comes out a 8% beer is amazing. Could definitely drink 3 or 4 of these in a sitting. Going to save some more bottles and try them every few months. As for the other few bottles I have left, I'm going to have to drink them.

Photo of TheSevenDuffs
3.95/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Could not find freshness info on the bottle but this bottle was purchased about a year ago.

Poured in to Duvel tulip.

A - Dark brown/black in colour with one finger of espresso coloured head.

S - Sweet chocolate, oak, vanilla, licorice.

T - Chocolate, oak, coffee, some vanilla and licorice. A touch boozy.

M - Light to medium body. Somewhat watery at times.

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

12 oz bottle into a stange

A - Pours basically black, no seeing through this one. Nice 2 1/2 fingers of brown frothy foam with good retention and sticky lacing.

S - Roasty malts, dried fruits, oak, vanilla. Not overpowering but its there.

T - Follows the nose. Roasty malts, some dried fruits, then the oaken booze hits. The booze is hidden well but you can tell its there.

M - Its a little thinner than anticipated. Very smooth though. Not a lot of aftertaste either. For the abv it goes down easy

O - Enjoyable. Glad I tried it, been eyeing it awhile. I will revisit this one in the fall I believe once the leaves start to turn

Photo of 4DAloveofSTOUT
3.93/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Aggressive pour into a tulip glass.

Appearance: Motor oil black bodied beer with a medium brown head that is dense. Decent lacing on the side of the glass.

Smell: The robust smell of roasted and charred malts. The oak smells really nice with this beer; it’s a great compliment to the malts. You can smell some booze too.

Taste: A mild sweetness in the form of raisins and black licorice. Oak is there right away, but it’s subtle. Hints of molasses, tobacco, and dark chocolate. The beer is not very sweet or very roasty, but it sure has bold flavors with a nice oak compliment that adds depth and complexity. Mild alcohol bite in the finish.

Mouthfeel: Silky, velvety, sexy smooth beer! Full bodied with moderate carbonation. Impressive. Hands down best part of the beer, it brings everything together nicely.

Overall: I really like this brewery. I have had 2 of their beers so far and have been very impressed with both of them. Under rated brewery alert! Fantastic beer. Seek it out.

Photo of Blanco
4/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 4

Vigorous pour into a snifter yields a huge tan head on top of the pitch black beer.

smell is of chocolate, dark malts, hints of bourbon, slight coffee hints, but not much, seems incidental.

taste is smooth, with no bitterness and nice chocolate flavors. The bourbon is a background flavor, almost just acting as a slight modifier to the chocolate and malt rather than a distinct flavor all it's own. Alcohol is not apparent in the flavor.

Mouthfeel is a bit thin for stout. Somewhat disappointing given how good the flavor is. this takes away some of that.

Overall, very good stout. This doesn't stand up to the best barrel-aged stouts out there, but it's a step above many imperial stouts on the market.

Photo of gregshead
4.09/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Reviewed from notes on 4/29/11. Thanks to NickD717 for this one.

A: Pours a slick thick black with a little head. A little bit motor oil/viscous looking.

S: Roasted smells. Maybe hints of tobacco. Good amounts of oak/vanilla.

T: Tastes of vanilla stand out the most. Some roasted notes keep the sweetness from running crazy.

M: Nice lighter feel. Some carbonation but mostly a slick oily feel.

O: A great beer if you like the vanilla taste especially. very tasty. need to get more of it.

Photo of siradmiralnelson
4.13/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 12oz bottle into Tulip.

A. 3+ fingers of tan colored head. Thick lacing. Really good retention. Color is pitch black.

S. Yeast, oak, vanilla, roasted malt, milk chocolate. Nice Imperial Stout aroma. Not too strong, but very pleasant. Not a lot of coffee aroma, which is a personal preference.

T. Roasted malt, vanilla, oak, nice smooth milk chocolate flavor. Picks up a lot of nice qualities from the barrel aging. Pretty smooth beer.

M. Medium full bodied. Medium carbonation. Finishes pretty clean.

O. Overall I like this beer. Kind of hard to go wrong with a barrel aged Imperial Stout, but this beer has some finer qualities. It is very smooth. Has a nice vanilla milk chocolate flavor.

Photo of BeerFMAndy
4.12/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle poured into a snifter.
8% ABV, (03101, 11101)

A - Heresy pours like motor oil and ends up in the snifter just as black. A short-lived tan head cakes the glass with spotty lace.

S - Warming, smooth bourbon expresses it's involvement first and foremost, gently blanketing the roasted black malts and their chocolaty nuances. A swirl adds some oak wood notes and a touch of coffee. Very nice smell.

T - Smooth oak and bourbon insert their presence into the heavily roasted black malt right away. Chocolate and coffee fall towards the back but it doesn't have the nuanced "pop" the aroma carries with it.

M - Full-bodied and acridly bitter, warming alcohol is mellow and enjoyable through the smooth finish.

O - Heresy seems like a name more fit for a beer brewed to be an abomination of a style while this one is pretty darn close to it's intended objective. Great all around, I'd love to age a few of these for future consumption. Certainly an enjoyable RIS!

Photo of nukem5
4.03/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours an almost black color rich and thick with a nice tight cap of tan foam. Nice legs all the way down the glass.

S: First is the earthy tones and chocolaty with heavy undertones of bourbon.

T: Warm and rich almost a decadent feeling when the taste-buds get their first blast of chocolate, oak, raisins, dark cherries with an earthy tone laying under all the others.

M: Again a warm rich feeling with a full body and great smooth taste.

O: Very drinkable in a snifter with a fine Grasshopper Tiramasu the tastes were very complimentary to one another.

Photo of black13
3.85/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A- Pours pitch black with a decent sized mocha colored head that lingered around until half the beer was gone. Left a decent amount of lacing until the very end.

S- Quite a bit going on here. I get chocolate, malts, coffee, and some pleasant alcohol tones. All are pleasant and work well together. As it warmed up the bourbon booziness became pleasantly apparent.

T- All the aromas above are present on the palate, but in different qualities. The coffee and bourbon blend very well and are the dominant flavors, although the chocolate and malts are not entirely subdued or lost. A very good balance.

M- The mouthfeel is medium bodied, which fits the flavor profile quite well. It's not overpowering, but lets you know its there. No syrupy aftertaste is left.

D- A very drinkable RIS. At first it's just an OK beer, but give it some time to warm up and it starts to become a better beer. I could drink a couple of these no problem, I would just let them warm up first.

This is my first Weyerbacher and I look forward to tasting some more.

Photo of JayS2629
2.99/5  rDev -23.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

I see what they were aiming for in this beer but they missed the mark. The beer pours a dark brown, almost black with a thin head that fades fast and leaves minimal lacing. The smell is of immediate oak and bourbon with roasted malt and coffee tones following. Faint hints of cocoa and smoke. The taste has ashy burnt malt up front and oak and bourbon in the back with no middle. The sweet that should be center is missing. Faint hint of dry cocoa meshed with burnt roasty flavors, smoke and bourbon don't meld well. Faint hint of vanilla trys to salvage but just isn't enough. The mouthfeel is quite thin for the style and finishes with medicinal notes. Won't buy this one again.

Photo of jcartamdg
3.84/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured into my ccb pint glass, brownish black with no head or lacing at all. Aroma of the oak right away, then malts and sweetness. Taste follows the nose, vanilla and butterscotch are also there, finish is a bit medicinal. Mouthfeel is nice, moderate carbonation. Not a bad ris.

Photo of ChugginOil
4.2/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to GallowsThief for the extra!

Poured into a snifter from a 12oz bottle.
This pours a very dark brown color and ends up solid black with reddish-amber edging. Less than a pinky finger of tan head resides for a short period of time. The nose is dominated by the offerings given by the barrels. Butterscotch, oak and vanilla. The taste is quite the same with a roasty exception. Pretty damn sweet up front but not really cloyingly so. Butterscotch, vanilla, roasted malt and chocolate are the big players in the taste. The bitter chocolate is carried throughout the aftertaste and mellows into a sweeter cocoa taste. Yum. The mouthfeel is pretty velvet like with a nice carbonation level. Very sticky as well, coating my palate. Big bodied beast for sure. Overall, great bourbon flavor upfront packs a punch without masking the roasty, chocolate flavors offered by the stout before barrel aging. Thanks again Rich!

Photo of ImperialStoat
2.87/5  rDev -27%
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
3.73/5  rDev -5.1%
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
4.42/5  rDev +12.5%
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.

Heresy from Weyerbacher Brewing Co.
88 out of 100 based on 2,021 ratings.