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Heresy - Weyerbacher Brewing Co.

Not Rated.

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

2,015 Ratings
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,015
Reviews: 976
rAvg: 3.93
pDev: 12.21%
Wants: 101
Gots: 260 | FT: 14
Brewed by:
Weyerbacher Brewing Co. visit their website
Pennsylvania, United States

Style | ABV
Russian Imperial Stout |  8.00% ABV

Availability: Rotating

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

Old Heathen aged in oak (whiskey/bourbon) barrels.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 2,015 | Reviews: 976 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of KarlHungus
3.13/5  rDev -20.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

This beer pours nearly opaque dark brown color. The head is a half inch of tan foam that recedes quickly into a thin ring of lacing around the edges of the glass. The aroma is of chocolate, oak, roasted malt, graham cracker, and vanilla extract. There is some nice complexity to the aroma, but for some odd reason I just don't find it to be all that appealing. The taste is of roasted malt with a hint of wood, and cocoa powder. The mouthfeel is medium-full bodied with a texture that comes across as watery for an Imperial Stout. Overall, this beer just doesn't do it for me. I can't see myself drinking it again.

Photo of WYVYRN527
3.77/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle poured into a snifter.

A: Black as night with a thin tan head that settles quickly. Not much for lacing, as is expected.

S: Almost vinous, with a Bordeaux-like quality. Roasted malts and chocolate make up the rest of the aroma.

T: Much like the smell, but that vinous character is much stronger. A bit of oak is present, but more wine barrel character than Bourbon. Flavors consist of coffee, chocolate, dark fruit, and toast, along with a Claret character lingering in the backround. The finish is smooth, sweet, and lasts a while.

Notes: Heresy is a good beer, but I wonder if the brewery got the barrels from a reliable source. Were these charred American oak barrels or French Oak purchased from Chateau Latour? This full bodied brew is decent, and is a great offering. I just expected something a bit different.

Photo of billab914
4.15/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2010 vintage poured from a 12oz bottle into my Dogfish snifter. It poured black in color with a thin tan head keeping to the edges of the glass.

The barrel flavors come through in the aroma right off the bat. I get a lot of the woody oak along with a bit of the vanilla and bourbon. Some sweeter, malty, chocolate, brown sugar and molasses notes come through as well.

The taste shows a lot of dark, bitter-sweet chocolate flavor to it, along with some big, roasty, burnt, coffee like flavors. The real draw here though is the woody, oak, vanilla and moderate bourbon that the barrel aging gives it. Everything comes together and integrates very nicely. Excellent flavor overall.

The mouthfeel is on the heavier side and carbonation is a little above average for a barrel aged imperial stout. Drinkability was very good, I really enjoyed it this evening. I particularly liked that the barrel characters complimented the imperial stout, instead of overpowering it. Everything came together very nicely to make an excellent beer overall.

Photo of haazer
4.47/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Sampled at the Philly Winter Beerfest. After some of the taps had run dry Weyerbacher broke out some bottles to sample. This was one of them.

A- A nice tan, frothy head forms a top the pitch black brew.

S- Wonderful aroma's of bourbon and vanilla. A very well balanced oak aroma follows suit, is very noticeable but not unbearable. Chocolate and caramel malts round out the smell.

T- I should find my Old Heathen link from my review on it and post it here. All the flavors are there but add vanilla, oak, and bourbon. The chocolate flavor is punctuated more so when throwing O.H. in the barrels they use. A win win for sure.

M- Medium to full bodied. Very creamy brew.

D- Absolutely delicious. Well done from Weyerbacher. Granted all they did was throw Old Heathen into a barrel but it turned out for the better. The added flavors and the heightened chocolate taste is great. A good example of how barrel experimentation changes a beer. Would be interesting to put this side by side with regular O.H.

Photo of phillybeer7779
3.98/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2011 batch poured from a bottle into an oversized snifter.

Appearance- Pitch black with decent amount of head, nice lacing.

Smell- Aroma is of bourbon and vanilla, lots of maltiness.

Taste- Full bodied taste with hints of chocolate and vanilla. Bourbon is present, but nicely integrated into the beer, not too dominant, brings a tasty dimension to this beer.

Mouthfeel- Very roasty and full bodied, a little bit of alcohol heat on the way down.

Drinkability- A very enjoyable beer, but would probably not want to have several of these in one night. Still, a little more drinkable than the average bourbon aged stout.

Photo of FosterJM
4.06/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

245th review on BA
bottle to snifter

App- An almost carbon copy pour of Expedition. Very dark brown with a dark tan almost brown head.

Smell- Not a whole lot going on here. Lots of malt and mostly booze.

Taste- Complete 180 from the nose. Chocolate, malts that end up a bit sweet and a touch bitter.

Mouth- Medium bodied and medium carb level. Has a nice taste of a sweet malt finish.

Drink- For an extra this was an awesome thing to get. An RIS from the east coast that was easy to drink, flavorful and enjoyable.

Photo of CPeterson
4.29/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A -- An intensely black/brown brew that pours into a one finger head a dissipates quickly into a skim of light foam. No light can be seen through, completely opaque.

S -- Smells strongly of dark chocolate, raisins, figs, coffee, and wood.

T -- Huge chocolate and vanilla tones, burnt toffee, caramel, dark fruits, molasses, light essences of espresso and earth to mellow the sweet malts and a slight bitterness that results from those flavors.

M -- Huge body, but light on the palate. Fairly crisp and dry on the finish considering the sweetness.

D -- Definitely worth picking up, not for everyone everyday; but very solid.

Photo of theBubba
4.3/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured a deep chocolate fudge-like color into my stem glass. A good head with decent retention and a bit of lace that lasted 'til the end.

Presented the aroma of chocolate, malt and coconut.

Mouthfeel was exeptional. Decent body and carbonation for the style.

Taste was smooth, malty, fruity (as in dried fruit) and lacked any over hopped bitterness. Delicious. One of my favorite Imperial Stouts. But...

Drinkability suffers from a sweetness that sets in after half a bomber. Not noticeable in the beginning, but very much apparent towards the end. At which point you reach for a Heffeweizen to clean your palate.

Photo of yeahnatenelson
3.12/5  rDev -20.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Appearance -- Pours dark brown with a slim

Smell -- The nose is inviting: cocoa, dark fruit, toasted coconut, whiskey, vanillin wood sugars, and dry oak planks.

Taste -- After that nose, the taste leaves me wanting. Taste is a bit thin, but what is present includes chocolate malt, sour mash whiskey, and dry oak. The mellow oak and coconut so strong in the nose have vanished. Whiskey character is minimal, but what is there is a bit harsh and sour. Lingering flavors of woody oak and cocoa.

Mouthfeel -- A bit thin with gentler carbonation. Over time the oaky wood tannins become more present and somewhat distracting. Not bad, but not very noteworthy.

Drinkability -- It's not bad, but this beer gets edged out by so many other BA Imperial Stouts. I'm normally a fan of Weyerbacher, but this was a bit of a dud for me.

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

Auto-junkies will understand when I say this pours like used 5-w20. Its very dark with a hint of red as you pour. I got a good amount of caramel colored head that's leaving a nice lacing as it dissipates.

I smell a lot of the oak along with some caramel and a tinge of alcohol.

I taste a lot of oak, and I really get a sense of bourbon in it. To me it almost takes over the characteristics I expect from a non-oaked stout. The alcohol is not as prevelent for being 8% but its there. I get some smokiness and maybe some dark chocolate as well.

Mouthfeel is nice and robust but not too much. Definitely a sipping beer for me so I wouldnt consider it highly drinkable as if I was going to drink 4 of them, but very drinkable to enjoy one or two over the course of an evening.

Photo of Mdog
3.65/5  rDev -7.1%
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.

Photo of codewarrior
3.68/5  rDev -6.4%
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.

Photo of mulder1010
4.09/5  rDev +4.1%
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.

Photo of oregonskibum
3.88/5  rDev -1.3%
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.

Photo of nas5755
3.1/5  rDev -21.1%
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.

Photo of TheHoppiest
4.62/5  rDev +17.6%
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!

Photo of cosmicevan
4.53/5  rDev +15.3%
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).

Photo of wspscott
4/5  rDev +1.8%
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.

Photo of CooperEllis
3.77/5  rDev -4.1%
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.


Photo of tmcelvain
3.87/5  rDev -1.5%
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.

Photo of erosier
3.73/5  rDev -5.1%
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.

Photo of bobquick
4.33/5  rDev +10.2%
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

Photo of tempest
3.78/5  rDev -3.8%
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.

Photo of Dreadnaught33
4.37/5  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.

Photo of rtepiak
3.83/5  rDev -2.5%
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.

Heresy from Weyerbacher Brewing Co.
88 out of 100 based on 2,015 ratings.