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Heresy - Weyerbacher Brewing Co.

Not Rated.

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

1,851 Ratings
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,851
Reviews: 956
rAvg: 3.95
pDev: 11.9%
Wants: 85
Gots: 224 | FT: 12
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: 1,851 | Reviews: 956 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of UncleFlip


4.45/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Picked this one up at Vintage Cellar in Blacksburg, VA last summer. Not sure why I haven't apped into it until now...

Beautiful black in the glass, with a dark tan cascading head, a bit loose on the bubbles. When head gets to just under two fingers, it stabilises. Held to the light, there's just a slight aura of ruby around the bottom edge.

The smell right up front is oddly just like the inexpensive burgundy my father used to drink with dinner most every night (out of a regular every day drinking glass, not a wine glass), followed by a rich chocolate, then some oak at the end. It's a lovely smell, and not just for the great memories of dinners with dad.

It'sd dry right up front, and the flavours blossom after a second or two. Chocolate, smoke, raisins, coffee. The oak takes over at the end... and there's some hop bitterness on the way out. Very nice.

Mouthfeel is good- hearty, somewhat thick liquid, with a high tight carbonation that isn't oo oppressive.

Hmmm....8%? Oh yeah, I could drink this one all night.

Be well

Serving type: bottle

05-23-2006 07:14:35 | More by UncleFlip
Photo of klewis


2.93/5  rDev -25.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

A: Pours jet black with a thick tan head that lingers for quite a while.

S: Lots of chocolate and coffee in the bouquet followed by a stinging alcoholic aroma.

T: I really love beers with some subtle oaking. Too bad this one doesn't fit the mold. Burnt chocolate flavor with oak overkill.

M: The mouthfeel has a nice stickiness to it, but the body is WAY too thin and watery for a RIS.

D: Unfortunately, this beer has let me down. Fortunately, I have come to subpar expect brews from Weyerbacher, so I wasn't too disapointed. Don't waste your money on this one.

Serving type: bottle

05-23-2006 00:05:01 | More by klewis
Photo of Contra

New York

4.25/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I recently had Heresy on tap, and I'm currently enjoying a 22 oz bottle. There were some more pronounced subtly in the tap version, but the rich chocolaty taste stands out in both.

The presentation of both types are spectacular. Dark black, with a mild tan head. Aroma was a bit weak in intensity, but what was there was excellent. It pours out very thick, as you would expect and hope for.

Old Heathen is Heresy's mellower cousin, which is the same beer, only not aged in oak barrels. Comparing the two, Heresy definitely has a certain characteristic of caramel, bourbon, and a tinge of vanilla, all of which Old Heathen lacks. Both share the full chocolate taste and the balanced bitterness with sweetness.

Overall, Heresy is a fantastic Imperial Stout, with quite a lot of nuisances.

Serving type: on-tap

05-22-2006 22:31:17 | More by Contra
Photo of DrJay


4.38/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This one had been sitting in my "cellar" for about a year, so it was time to bring it out of hiding. Very dark, essentially black, with a chocolate brown head that showed some good retention and produced thick lacing. Aromas of vanilla, oak, smoke, and bourbon complemented the malty notes of milk chocolate, malted milk, and roasted barley quite well. Balanced hop flavour and bitterness with some chocolate and malted milk character. Drying wood/vanilla flavours and plenty of bourbon and alcohol in the finish. The malt really lingered for a long time. Full bodied and creamy with well-integrated, low carbonation. Very tasty and without the sharp edges that sometimes accompany barrel aging.

Serving type: bottle

05-19-2006 01:15:09 | More by DrJay
Photo of Viggo

Ontario (Canada)

4.15/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours an opaque black, brown/red edges, medium brown head, nice lacing and retention. Smell is sweet, vanilla and chocolate, molasses, dark fruits and some toffee. Taste is chocolate, toffee and vanilla, oak, sweet finish, very flavourful. Mouthfeel is medium to full bodied with low to medium carbonation, very smooth. Nice imperial stout, very enjoyable, thanks DrJay!

Serving type: bottle

04-22-2006 03:03:58 | More by Viggo
Photo of HimerMan

New Jersey

3.85/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

22oz bottle from Mahar's in Albany, NY. Tried with Flannery - was the suggested Imperial Stout on the extensive beer menu.

Definitely worth the aging from its initial Old Heathen state.

Pour - exceptionally dark with a very nice deep brown head, that quickly goes away.

Taste - a bit harsh on the alcohol flavor, even with the beer being on the low-end of russian imperials. Notes of coffee and chocolate come though, and as the beer warms you the flavors slightly change to a bit of hops.

Overall - Good stout, definitely worth a try if you have the option.

Serving type: bottle

04-05-2006 17:44:36 | More by HimerMan
Photo of Maestro


4.72/5  rDev +19.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I thoroughly enjoyed this version of the Old Heathen. The whisky notes were phenomenal. I couldn't imagine a better take on a Russion Imperial Stout. I have seen this one before but put off buying it for some reason. The black beer has big flavors. Big malts, big hops and big whisky. This was a truly great beer. Find a bomber and share with a good buddy.

Serving type: bottle

03-31-2006 00:24:42 | More by Maestro
Photo of assurbanipaul


3.88/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark, dark brown with purple highlights and a thick, dark khaki head. Nose is dry black patent malt and an obvious woody, herbal smell, like an old cigarette found in the drawer of a piece of furniture just pulled out after decades in the attic. Poured into a tulip, head doesn't last but has lots of carbonation going on in the glass.

Taste is black patent and chocolate malts, dry and dusty. Some sorghum elements, espresso, not too sweet. A faint woody, musty element, not as pronounced as in the aroma. Definite dark wine flavors, not up front but more toward the finish. Faint vanilla, syrup-y nature, maybe liquor, maybe not. Finish is dry and lingering with not a trace of alcohol.

The woody oak flavors really come out more as it warms in the second half of the glass, so let this one warm up. Mouthfeel is not thick at all, lots of carbonation, just below soda consistency, slightly astringent. Not bad, just on the lighter end of the Impy Stout spectrum. Points for the smell, points late in the game for the flavor, but I like these to be a little heavier.

Serving type: bottle

03-30-2006 04:36:48 | More by assurbanipaul
Photo of nriech


4.43/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Capital Ale House in Richmond, VA. Ive had this on tap and bottled and didnt notice a significant difference. The bourbon and oak flavors are present but not obvious. I think the vanilla is slightly more present than the oak. The drinkability is great, very smooth and lingers for a while.

This is a good dark, rich beer to introduce newbie stout lovers to. The alcohol is not overpowering either even at 8.2%.

Serving type: on-tap

03-29-2006 13:19:56 | More by nriech
Photo of johnniemarg

New York

4/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

22 oz bomber poured into an imperial pint glass.

Pours black with an inch and a half dark brown frothy head. The head dissipates after a couple of minutes, leaving a brown crust on top of the beer. I'm not seeing any lacing

Smells of chocolate and oak. Although I don't know if the barrels were previously used to age bourbon, the smell is bourbon-y to me anyway. A little fruity cherry scent as well. This smells exquisite.

The flavor isn't really in line with the aroma at first (but I've had this before and I thought it was...gonna let it warm up.) There's a sour, almost wine flavor to it at first. Yes, as it warms, that sourness fades. Chocalte and vanilla up front, then bourbon-y oak on the back of the tongue as it goes down. I feel a warming alcohol burn down my throat into the stomach. This leaves an aftertaste of a cognac or brandy.

Slick mouthfeel is thin for an Imperial. I prefer a thick, creamy imperial stout.

Thoroughly drinkable at an appropriate temperature. This beer, maybe more than any other I've had, really needs to warm for 15 minutes or so out of the fridge.

Serving type: bottle

03-27-2006 01:01:07 | More by johnniemarg
Photo of alexgash


3.83/5  rDev -3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Very dark black. Solid. Frothy finger (long-lasting) of deep tan head, dotted with darker dots of yeast (?). Nose of cabernet vinous, oak (duh), cherries and plum, backed by bitter dark chocolate. Tastes of strong, vinous notes up front. Oak. Dark, bitter chocolate. Restrained sweetness of dark fruits and cherries is overwhelmed by the roasted chocolate and cabernet. Warming finish. Not bad. Better at room temp--more stout sweetness. Mouthfeel is a little thin for the style.

Serving type: bottle

03-26-2006 06:27:43 | More by alexgash
Photo of Crosling


4/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Opaque. Light tan head. Huge oak influence in the aroma giving hints of bourbon, vanilla, cream, cocoa, chocolate and roasted malt. Very complex flavor. Layers upon layers of flavor. Notes of bourbon soaked malts, vanilla, oak, roasted malt and chocolate. I’m starting to enjoy these bourbon barrel aged beers. A lovely beer.

Serving type: bottle

03-19-2006 01:42:45 | More by Crosling
Photo of BadBadger

New York

3.65/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This is a beauty to behold in a glass: a wonderful cascading head and a deep dark color. The smell is is strong and uniform, lacking complexity but imbued with malt and alcohol. The taste is strong but like the smell not overwhelming in sophistication: is it burnt malt, caramel, the oak? Not in the upper tier of imperial stouts but worthy of giving a go if you spot it on the shelves. Enjoy!

Serving type: bottle

03-19-2006 00:34:11 | More by BadBadger
Photo of blackie


3.73/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

appearance: The pour produces a dark tan, .5" head that gradually recedes back into the liquid from which it came, save for a ring around the glass and a small island of froth. The beer is practically black in color, save for some brown light escaping from the edges.

smell: Dominant roasted, hazelnut, woody aromas. Definately a considerable aroma of bourbon barrel, with some light vanilla accompanying. Somewhat sharp alcohol sting, but not as bad in my opinion as others have mentioned. Maybe some age mellowed it out. Moderately sweet, with a dark chocolate aroma. A milder RIS aroma, but nice. Low to moderate hop aroma.

mouthfeel: The carbonation is on the light side of the medium range, and the body is just above medium.

taste: Semisweet chocolate, roasted barley, oak, and some nuttiness up front. Just the slightest alcohol tinge. Finish astringent with just a little hop aroma.

drinkability: Easy

Purchased from The Caboose in VA with dirtylou on the way back from our Dogfish excursion last summer...cellared since then.

Serving type: bottle

03-16-2006 04:33:45 | More by blackie
Photo of trep

West Virginia

4.53/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Heresy leaves the 22oz bottle thanks to Kosher1337 for the trade. Smell is very complex with bourbon alcohol hitting you at the start, followed by dark chocolate and some fruity hints. First drink...surprising mouthfeel...alcohol isn't too present and taste of dark chocolate, coffee, and vanilla beans. Finishes with a very pleasant vanilla aftertaste. As it warms up it gets more complex and every drink leaves you wanting more. I wasn't expecting a lot from this beer, but it was a very pleasant surprise. It was incredibly drinkable for an Imperial Stout. This isn't the quality of a Bell's Expedition, or Brooklyn Black, but is definitely in the upper echelon Impy Stouts. Bravo to Weyerbacher.

Serving type: bottle

03-12-2006 06:43:43 | More by trep
Photo of NiceGuyMike

New Jersey

4.03/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Very dark with nice light tan head with lacing. Smells if light caremels, chocolates and throw in some nice oakiness. Smells are not strong at all. Tastes of vanilla oak, chocolate and alcohol. Finishes with sweet after taste. Good medium bodied which takes away with it the main flavor components, but leaves behind rich warming oaky chocolates flavors.

This is very drinkable.

Serving type: bottle

03-12-2006 02:41:33 | More by NiceGuyMike
Photo of BEERchitect


4.2/5  rDev +6.3%
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 KFaulkner


3.13/5  rDev -20.8%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Purchased as a single bottle, but a big one, I was excited to try my first Russian Imperial Ale.

It poured dark... very dark. In fact, it foamed up quite impressively upon my normal (and BA recommended) pour. The foam itself was a dark brown and lingered for a while before mellowing down to a light lace on the beer surface. The smell was just what I expected; dark, burnt, chocolatey with hints of licorice and fruits like currants and cherries.

The beer tastes almost as it smells, with the burnt/fruity taste dominating at first and then the alcohol content making its presence known at the end. This beer is unlike anything I've ever had before, and the closest thing I can compare it to is Guiness, only with more character and alcohol. I wish I had tried Imprerial before I tried Heresy, which is Weyerbacher's Imperial Stout aged oak. Even so, I enjoyed this beer and I can't wait to try more Russian Imperial Stouts in the not-too-distant future.

This is my third Weyerbacher beer, and although I enjoyed Blithering Idiot (if not for the clever name) and Insanity (because it's superb), I would recommend this Russian Imperial to anyone.

Serving type: bottle

03-05-2006 03:59:18 | More by KFaulkner
Photo of supernaut


3.5/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Ok, in continuation of my run of RISs here goes....(this one and several others this week on the road courtesy of the random stash found at Stirling wines)

Opaque black with a mild head and some lacing. Pretty average retention. Overall pretty solid, but nothing special. Meets the expectations of the style, perhaps a bit more.

Smells of roasted malt and licorice. A hidden sweetness seems to lurk.

Taste is, to be honest, very comparable to Sammy Smiths Imperial Stout. Perhaps because I had the aforementioned brew last night, the taste profile is fresh in my head...or it just happens to be similar. Either way, there is a distinct woodiness, probably due to the Oak Barrel aging. Seems to be somewhat smoky as well. Faint coffee, and the same burnt/roasted malt detected in the nose. No overwhelming sense of booziness, but present nonetheless. Sweetness is discrete, but not necessarily countered by anything as interesting as other examples of the style.

True similarity to Sam Smith IS is in the finish. Kind of a dry and solvent finish....what I like to describe as acidic and sharp. Smoothness must really be worked for. If I warm the beer across the palate, it become a little "smoothed," but overall not an incredibly chewy or silky beer to put back. Drinkable for the abv, but not as much as several others which come to mind with even higher abv's.

A solid beer that I would not hesitate to drink again. I will say this however: If there were 10 RISs sitting in front of me though, and this was one of them, there would probably be 5 others that I would choose first.

Serving type: bottle

03-01-2006 02:39:47 | More by supernaut
Photo of FLAbeergutinMASS


4.13/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is truly one of the first Oak-aged Imperials I have enjoyed. The Oak balance is so fine, yet so wild; it's a party on the taste buds. Slight hints of plums and raisins, with a definite fruit character mixed in.

Poured deep black, with a khaki head that laced beautifully. The rim of the liquid lets you, just slightly, with a whiskey hued appearance.

At 8% this beer drinks nicely, not too heavy, but warming enough. Snow falling Miles Davis "Live at the Plaza", my wife...it's all good.

Serving type: bottle

02-25-2006 20:35:17 | More by FLAbeergutinMASS
Photo of brewdlyhooked13


4.58/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance - pours out much like oil, black gold with a thick and dense mocha cap. Thin, solid cover after the meltdown.

Aroma - whiskey and chocolate syrup, and an unmistakeable presence of an elevated abv level. Heavy, blanketing aroma.

Taste - whiskey on top, dark chocolate after that, just the way it smells. The oak is easily picked up at one end while the malty dark sweetness takes care of Act 2. Not as complex as some but it does these two flavors to the hilt. Finishes warm and heady with a boozy, chocolate wrap-up

Mouthfeel - lively carbonation, tastes thicker than it feels, enough to discourage large sips. Well done, though I think a lower carbonation would enhance the smoothness

Drinkability - intense stuff and a fine bargain at 5$/bomber. I expect this would age well for at least two to four years

Serving type: bottle

02-11-2006 03:06:18 | More by brewdlyhooked13
Photo of BuckeyeNation


3.4/5  rDev -13.9%
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 lackenhauser


4.05/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pitch black in color with quite the respectable tan head. Good aroma with quite the oakey notes going. Somewhat vanilla with a nice sherry tinge to it. Huge malty flavor. Very low bitterness whether roasted malt or hops. Theres a sherry/alcohol presence that is quite pleasing. Oak is very noticeable. Huge body and great oily mouthfeel. I love that when you can get it. Very enjoyable beer. Much better then Insanity from Weyerbacher. I know they are 2 different beers but both oak aged. I find this one far superior.

Serving type: bottle

02-06-2006 00:53:47 | More by lackenhauser
Photo of nlmartin


4.28/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The beer was poured from the bottle into a wide mouthed wine goblet.

Appearance:The beer pours dead black. The head at first was massive; however, the head quickly resolved into a ring of foam. There was thick lacing left behind on the glass.

Smell: The beer has a nice thick dark fruit smell. Currants and raisons play on a field of vannilla and dark roasted mocha coffee. There is a small amount of woody smell. There is also a nice spicy smell here.

Taste: The taste delivers on the smell. Dark fruits combine with vannilla and dark roasted coffee. Dam this bitch taste great. Total delivery on the smell.

Mouthfeel: The beer was meduim to full bodied. Very creamy beer quality.

Drinkability: Dam this is a very nice drinking beer. This is my favorite beer from weyerbacher. A dam fine drinking experience.

Serving type: bottle

02-03-2006 15:29:06 | More by nlmartin
Photo of dirtylou


3.93/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

22oz bomber, from the Caboose - somewhere in VA, sticker says $4.99...go this last summer on the way back from rehoboth beach (dogfish head)

appearance: pours a dark mahogany...not nearly as dark or thick as other russian imperials...bubbly and foamy chocolate brown head that dissipates to some minimal lacing

smell: sweet rich/bitter cocoa, oak aging (combined with my own aging) has really come out in this one...woody, oak, vanilla, slight bourbon, touch of alcohol, chocolate covered cherry, other sweet fruit, slight roastiness aromas as well

taste: fairly smooth, lots of fruit sweetness involved, mild hop presence...chocolate covered cherry, touch of smoke, bourbon-esque alcohol, vanilla, wood/oak, slight alcohol...a dry bittersweet cocoa powder is present, raisin, plum...lots of roastiness

mouthfeel: medium body, too thin for me, carbonation present, very smooth, mild alcohol warming

drinkability: quite drinkable

Serving type: bottle

02-03-2006 02:33:29 | More by dirtylou
Heresy from Weyerbacher Brewing Co.
89 out of 100 based on 1,851 ratings.