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Heresy - Weyerbacher Brewing Co.

Not Rated.

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

1,876 Ratings
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,876
Reviews: 958
rAvg: 3.95
pDev: 11.9%
Wants: 91
Gots: 226 | FT: 13
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)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,876 | Reviews: 958 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of ThreeWiseMen


4.13/5  rDev +4.6%

Got this as an extra in a recent trade with hopsleeroy. Thanks Lee!

2008 bottle poured into a Rémy Martin snifter.

Appearance: Pours out very thick and very dark. Shortly after the fill, the carbonation gathers and charges upward to form a short, brown, foamy cap. Head is short-lived however; it dies to a hair-thin halo in less than a minute. Decent web-like lacing, especially for a barrel-aged beer. As alluded to earlier, the body is totally opaque.

Smell: Dark chocolate, vanilla, oak, dairy, and maybe even peanut butter. Sweet, smooth, and creamy with a mild bourbon sting in the finish. Very fragrant and balanced. Well done!

Taste: Dark chocolate and roasted malt start things off, but vanilla bean quickly takes over from there. The actual bourbon flavor is mild for the most part, becoming most apparent in the aftertaste. Caramel and oak are definitely in there, too. Prickly hops and light charred wood finish thing off.

Mouthfeel: "Oily" and "prickly" are the first adjectives to come to find. Full-bodied with a warm, dry finish (not too warm or too dry though). Mouth-coating is okay; could be better.

Drinkability: A very tasty RIS with a nice barrel character. I didn't get too much oak or bourbon, but the vanilla was large. I definitely liked the smell the best (almost gave it a 5.0), but all in all this was a solid beer. I wouldn't mind getting this one again.

10-22-2009 22:16:54 | More by ThreeWiseMen
Photo of MrDanno96


3.15/5  rDev -20.3%

A: Pours a dark brown/black that lets no light in. One finger of creamy, foamy head and lots of sticky lacing.

S: Strong malts, a little coffee, and cherry scented medicine. Also some booze. Despite these scents, there wasn't a whole lot going on here and the sweet cherry and booze smell was somewhat unexpected.

T: Coffee, roasted malt, sweet tangy fruit, raisin, cherry cough syrup, and booze. A lot of complex flavor here, but I found the alcohol and sweet tangy flavor to overpower it a bit.

M: Fully body, medium carbonation, pretty smooth.

D: As I noted above, there's a lot of good flavor here, but I feel they're a little out of balance: a little too much booze and sweetness in the flavor for a stout in my opinion. This is definitely an interesting beer and I can see some people liking the flavors found here. It's worth trying. Personally, however, I think I'll stick to more traditional stouts.

10-19-2009 05:01:16 | More by MrDanno96
Photo of sliverX

S. Georgia & S. Sandwich Isls.

4.5/5  rDev +13.9%

Poured a deep light sucking black with a nice mocha colored head that lasted well into the brew
Smell is heavy roasted malts, dark fruits, slight coffee and dark chocolate hints
Taste follows the nose but with a very slight alcohol presence that grows as it warms
Mouthfeel is perfect for an Imperial Stout thick almost chewy but not an used motor oil feel
Drinkability this is about as good as it gets for a RIS this is a definite stand by in this style category for me

10-16-2009 22:15:23 | More by sliverX
Photo of marvin213

North Carolina

3.18/5  rDev -19.5%

Solidly black, the beer's foam cap appears overly fizzy and a bit on the bleached side. It does leave legs like a fine wine might but, in sum, it ain't much different-looking than your average-looking stout.

The smell is faintly Russian Imperial. Oak, of course, is not the most distinguished of smells, but there's even less to this beer in the nose. I'll give it credit for a French oak smell but, thus far, the beer still needs some substance to its character.

The oak offers a unique brown sour sort fo taste to the liquid. It's pungent...almost acrid, but it's not really displeasing. It's a basic RIS aged in oak barrels. It's exactly as advertised...no more, no less. This particular oak would likely influence even the most potent stout, but it's almost overpowering here. I appreciate the approach but am left wondering what this beer'd be like where it served straight from production.

The mouthfeel borders on tart. For an RIS, that's weird. For its character, I credit it. The unique sweet/sour play comes partly from oak and what sense like raisin. The liquid feels like a raisin RIS. Is that possible? It's an odd beer out of Pennsylvania that is just unique enough to be worth trying. Different, simple, and enjoyable combine to produce good drinkability for a comparatively blah beer.

10-14-2009 00:51:48 | More by marvin213
Photo of GeezLynn


3.68/5  rDev -6.8%

Jet black, with a moderate tan head. Decent retention. Bourbon aroma is most noticeable, followed by vanilla and cocoa. Smooth vanilla flavors, a little whiskey and a little sweet dark malt. Mouthfeel is good -fairly creamy with moderate carbonation.
No doubt this one is oak aged. It really dominates here rather than compliments this beer. Overall, good but there's plenty missing here.

10-13-2009 03:01:37 | More by GeezLynn
Photo of bobsy

Ontario (Canada)

3.8/5  rDev -3.8%

Glass at Goodbar's in Buffalo.

Beautiful looking imperial, with a pitch black body and a deep mocha head. Nice retention and lace. The aroma is muted, even after the too-cold-pour warms up. Aside from the expected roasted malt notes there's a touch of treacle and a spicy sweetness. The taste, however, is not muted, and there's nothing wrong with this. Its a by the book imperial stout, and doesn't call upon any extra bells and whistles to enhance its character. Strong roasted coffee notes dominate at first, before giving way to bittersweet chocolate, and a decently bitter, warming finish. Medium full body has a pleasant creaminess to it, and the restrained carbonation is about right. Obviously not one of the big imperials that will blow your taste buds away, but its well-constructed and I liked it.

09-28-2009 15:22:04 | More by bobsy
Photo of BarrytheBear


3.85/5  rDev -2.5%

Midnight pour with nice carbonation that leaves a pleasant lacing down my glass.

Scents are mild with whiffs of coffee and cocoa

The taste of this beer continues to confound me. What I can only assume is a melding of the coffee and chocolate flavors combined with the oak yields the odd but somewhat pleasant taste of grape bubble gum. Each continual sip yields a pleasant grapeyness that is difficult to overlook. Odd.

Understated alcohol, pleasant carbonation, and purple Bubble Yum flavors slapped by an oak plank yield an easy drinker.

09-26-2009 20:08:40 | More by BarrytheBear
Photo of rickmick


4.58/5  rDev +15.9%

Pours dark, slightly brown, with a large head that halves in a minute. The smell is very nice, and there is a strong, dominant note of oak.

The taste is complex, smooth for the most part with a slight bite at the end, with hints of vanilla and a strong oak component. Mouthfeel is fantastic: the brew is both thick and chewey, but also nicely carbonated.

For an imperial stout, the smooth oak and nice mouthfeel make it relatively drinkable.

09-26-2009 02:29:05 | More by rickmick
Photo of Magpie14


3.65/5  rDev -7.6%

A: The pour presented deep dark browns, strips of black, and chunks of crimson hues. The body houses a somewhat heavy pour with minimal lacing and a deep mahogany cap that fizzled away quickly

S: this brew boasts big roasted black malt, some coffee, and unsweetened chocolate. Sweetness smells of brown sugar and some soft booze. Very nice!

T: dominant taste of toasted black malt paired with unsweetened chocolate and coffee. The beer is also tinged with dark fruits and light coconut tastes that are coated with vanilla-like flavors. Overall things are tasty and mix well
Upon drinking I was a bit disappointed by the fuzzy bubbly feel and mild body

M: thinner for an RIS and rather bubbled. The feel is slick in some regards but misses the mark overall, needs more bottom end. This kind of beats up the brew

D: i tell you what...this beer holds its own and needs a bit of work at the same time, some elements are awry within (especially for an RIS). In any event, the flavors are nice and tasty. I would buy again...but would reach for others before settling on this

09-16-2009 08:15:10 | More by Magpie14
Photo of rapidsequence


3.83/5  rDev -3%

12 oz bottle from a four pack I bought a month or so ago that I've been "aging" (meaning I just havent gotten around to popping one yet.

Appearance: As I pour it, I'm concerned that it looks pretty thin. In the glass though, it looks pretty good. Opaque with a thin brown head that leaves a little lacing.

Smell: A little whiff of oaky bourbon, but mostly bitter chocolately and coffe-ey roasted malt. Its decent, but you kind of have to work for it.

Taste: Definitely more bourbon taste than smell, and I like the fact that it doesnt overpower the RIS flavors completely. The roasty chocolate and coffee are much more apparent in the taste than the smell. Its quite good.

Mouthfeel: Too thin. Like I suspected when I poured it, it feels a little watery. A good score in this style for me requires the beer to be thick, syrupy, creamy.

Drinkability: This is a really good beer when compared to the broad category of "beer". When compared to RISs, its more like average. The bourbon hints make this more interesting than the regular Old Heathen for me. My main problem with this is the less than aggresive smell and the too-thin mouthfeel. I'll let the rest of these age.

09-08-2009 01:00:25 | More by rapidsequence
Photo of MrHungryMonkey


4/5  rDev +1.3%

Nose is chocolaty malty with rich dark roast and mildly tart/sour hops. Smells good.

Pours jet black with mild head. Looks good.

Rich chocolate roast, deep malt, ripe raisin. Soft hints of alcohol. Soft bitterness. Notes of dark chocolate. Soft carbonation. Soft herbal spiciness. Dark non-sweet chocolaty stout. Sadly no indication of oak, but still quite good. Tastes good. Feels good. Good drinkability.

09-07-2009 18:46:33 | More by MrHungryMonkey
Photo of Gyle41386

South Carolina

4.15/5  rDev +5.1%

Poured from a bottle into a pint glass.

Blackish pour with dark red highlights. Two fingers of foam dissipate relatively quickly, and, like Old Heathen, not much sticks to the glass.

Aroma is a bourbony-boozy version of Old Heathen. The bourbon and vanilla add to the sweetness from the dark fruits...the dark chocolate and roasted espresso provide a nice balance.

In my Old Heathen review, I mentioned the initial sweetness being a bit of a turn-off when I first started drinking it. There are no such turn-offs in Heresy. Great flavor. The aroma led me to believe there may be some boozy heat, but that's not the case. All of the flavors from Old Heathen are still here...the sweet malts and dark fruits, the bittersweet chocolate, the light roast from the espresso. Just add sweet bourbon, oak, and vanilla.

Unfortunately, the body could put on a few pounds, much like Old Heathen. All of the great imperial stouts I've had have had this really thick, chewy texture. The lesser stouts are thin and watery. This is somewhere in between. It's still better than the average stout, but just barely.

I'm rather pleased with my mini Weyerbacher imperial stout tasting. Good stuff, and I'll hopefully be picking up more for cellaring.

09-02-2009 05:47:41 | More by Gyle41386
Photo of Martin2D

New Jersey

3.98/5  rDev +0.8%

A - Pitch black with a huge dark tan head that retains well. Perfect looking beer

S - Oaky, almost vanilla like with roasted malts

T - Hints of roasted malts predominated by hints of oak and vanilla. Leaves a roasty aftertaste.

M - Medium-heavy carbonation and thick in body.

D - While the body is thick, the taste is somewhat watery and not roasty enough to be a great stout. However, this is a great beer. If they reclassified this, it might be better. However, don't hesitate to try, but don't expect a stout.

09-01-2009 02:01:21 | More by Martin2D
Photo of deapokid


3.63/5  rDev -8.1%

From what I gather, this imperial stout is an oaked-aged version of Weyerbacher's Old Heathen... and not a bad one at that.

Beer pours a candy bar black with a reddish/tan head and limited carbonation. Liquid is impossible to see through, making it seem imposing and impenetrable.

Coffee aroma with faint wood scent and a hint of licorice is present, but not overpowering.

Taste boasts big, pronounced vanilla and oak flavors. Unfortunately, the big ending is met with a rather small beginning. There is very little stout character to be found in this beer and the opening seems flavorless compared to the massive finale. A minute amount of character comes out as it warms (mostly bourbon), but that might be too little, too late. This major flaw turns what could have been a great beer into a good one.

Mouthfeel is a bit watery (especially on the initial sips), with a mild sizzle at the end that matches the sweet dessert flavor well. The well-masked carbonation slowly rolls out over time.

Surprisingly (especially for the style), the ABV isn't high enough to make this a problem beer and it's relatively easy going down. I'm not usually a fan of Weyerbacher's beers, but this is really one of their better models.

A good budget edition of the barrel-aged stout.

08-31-2009 11:59:38 | More by deapokid
Photo of beerbully

New Jersey

4.35/5  rDev +10.1%

Poured into a pint glass from a twelve ounce bottle that has been aged for a few months

A-Dark as night with a half inch head that slowly disapears

S-Roasty, Vanilla, Caramel, whiskey barrel,

T-Tastes simlar to it's smell. Alot of vanilla and the wood comes through pretty strong. Very tasty brew. Some black licorice

M-slick, little to no carbonation

D-Given the style which I don't think is meant to be a session beer, this beer goes does rather easy 2 or 3 three tops for me me but the style dictates that. Really good beer

08-30-2009 01:11:17 | More by beerbully
Photo of u2carew


3.53/5  rDev -10.6%

12oz bottle
A) Pours with a brown creamy head. Sticky lacing. Opaque.
S) Chocolate. Coffee. Roasted grains. The overall aroma is fairly subtle.
T) Chocolate. Smoky. Caramel sweetness. Hops linger just below the surface and in the finish.
M) Smooth with some grit. Full bodied. Mellow alcohol effervescence.
D) A decent brew but not a standout.

08-29-2009 19:20:13 | More by u2carew
Photo of schoolboy


4.63/5  rDev +17.2%

In most categories, this beauty exceeds expectations. Unlike many of this breed, this one doesn't ooze booze and it doesn't need you to wait a year before it smooths out.
there too.
Truly a concoction from a skilled brewmaster, this is one I hope I can find regularly. It would be great to se this in bars. Or how about ON TAP. That would be amazing.

I think this one benefits from not being so strong, but they also have a nice balance here. That oakiness is just barely

08-28-2009 23:38:37 | More by schoolboy
Photo of kiddynamite920


3.85/5  rDev -2.5%

A: Pretty black, tannish head. Pretty standard for an Imp Stout.

S: Coffee, toffee, alcohol and fruity dark malts. Very nice. Second time around with this beer and I am noticing a much larger amount of oak and burnt wood aromas.

T: One of the sweeter imp stouts I've had, very rich and full of coffee and caramel. Nice toasty flavor. Good amount of oak as well.

M: Thin, but sticky.

D: Wouldn't have more than one or two. ABV is 8 so be careful.

08-28-2009 03:54:54 | More by kiddynamite920
Photo of Nibbley


4.3/5  rDev +8.9%

Pours black,black with a mocha colored head that fades quickly.
Aroma is dark ripe fruits and well toasted rye bread.
This brew has a nice big mouthfeel and great malty sweetness. Not much in the way of hops profile and the alcohol is surprisingly mild for 8.00ABV.
First time I've tried this one but it wont be the last,way above average Russian Imperial Stout.

08-23-2009 20:59:35 | More by Nibbley
Photo of yesyouam

New York

4.63/5  rDev +17.2%

Weyerbacher Heresy is a solid black ale with a huge, creamy, light brown head that has outstanding retention and leaves thick sheets of lacing on the glass. There is coffee, salmiakki, chocolate and wood in the aroma. It's pretty full bodied, smooth and creamy with a crisp finish that has a little graininess to it. It's pretty delicate for an imperial stout. There's lots of wood resin in the flavor and not a lot of sweetness. There is a note of coffee and a hint of licorice. It has super balance. This beer is downright chuggable.

08-21-2009 12:53:16 | More by yesyouam
Photo of DoubleJ


3.08/5  rDev -22%

One of the treasures I brought back home from Philadelphia. 12 ounce bottle, on to the beer:

No explanation needed for the color of the beer. Okay, so the edges are cola colored. The semi-tanned head don top is 1/2 inch thick initally, slowly drops away and settles. Lots of oak in the aroma at first. The oak dissipates and some old bitter chocolate underneath, and chocolate malt. Not an overpowering imperial stout, its body is medium...one of the weaker bodies I've felt in an RIS (that's Heresy!). Mild notes of oak create a fruity cherry flavor. Slight perfumy chocolate. Alcohol is hidden in the body, but it will warm the stomach.

What would this beer be like without the oak? I bet the lighting bolt found on the label of the beer had something to do with zapping the beer of its power potential.

08-20-2009 06:09:22 | More by DoubleJ
Photo of montageman


3.6/5  rDev -8.9%

Poured into a pint glass.

Dark as night, very ominous pour. The aroma is oaky with lots of vanilla and a touch of coffee, but the taste falls short. Not as big as I would like. There are some definite notes of coffee and vanilla, but there is also an off sour taste that is off putting. Mouthfeel is light and doesn't coat the mouth the way a powerful stout should. All of that said, this is easy to drink. It's not bad by any means. Recommended.

08-01-2009 02:02:26 | More by montageman
Photo of Kadonny


4.33/5  rDev +9.6%

Poured from a tap at the Craft Ale House into their 9 ounce drinking glass.

A: A dark brown almost black color with a one finger light brown head. Nice full lacing.

S: Sweet chocolate, coffee, oak, vanilla.

T: The chocolate flavors come forward first with a nice deep sweetness and a hint of charred coffee, molasses and oak flavors. The creaminess then follows with a nice mellow vanilla flavor that follows through to the finish. Finish is sweet and lasting with a bit of bitter chocolate at the very end. Very nice barrel aged beer.

M: Full, creamy, low carbonation and very little alcohol flavor. Other reviewers talked about alcohol burn, I got none from this tap version.

D: Per my above comment, drinkability is very good. The only thing for me was the sweetness. This is a great one or two glass beer.

Overall a very nice barrel aged version of their Old Heathen that adds lots of complexity. I really dug this beer and would be glad to drink it anytime. Very good from tap.

07-29-2009 14:13:02 | More by Kadonny
Photo of drpimento


3.95/5  rDev 0%

Got this beer about 6 weeks ago at Sam's in Chicago. Nice stuff. Poured with an off-white to light tan head and a bit of lace. Opaque brown. Heavy dark chocolate aroma rounded out with coffee, toffee, caramel, malt, barest hint of hop. Flavor's similar. Body is good- natural carbonation, decent mouth. finish is easy. Session beer but for the sneaky alcohol

07-23-2009 02:02:38 | More by drpimento
Photo of sonicstylee

New York

4.22/5  rDev +6.8%

birthday beer is always good beer! this one pours out almost like motor oil, very dark and thick. holds onto it's dark chocolate tan head all the way down. smells were of bitter hops, chocolate, and alcohol. nice creamy and chocolate tones mixed in with roasted nuts and a small dose of alcohol heat. this is one for a cold new england evening for sure.

07-12-2009 20:21:19 | More by sonicstylee
Heresy from Weyerbacher Brewing Co.
89 out of 100 based on 1,876 ratings.