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Heresy - Weyerbacher Brewing Co.

Not Rated.

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

1,903 Ratings
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,903
Reviews: 959
rAvg: 3.94
pDev: 11.93%
Wants: 90
Gots: 232 | 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 (bourbon) barrels.

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 06-21-2004)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,903 | Reviews: 959 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of tonytuffnuts
3.68/5  rDev -6.6%

Bomber purchased at Kraig's Kegs in Sherrill, NY.

Pours a opaque, dark brown--maybe even black--with a full one-finger frothy, rosy-brown head (like redwood), which slowly dissapates to a ring. It's a model look for RISs.

Smells like dark chocolate, roasted malt, and faint alcohol. When I breath deep, it think oak woodchips.

The taste doesn't exactly follow the aroma's advertisement. Caramel, roasted and chocolate malts, of course, but it's much smokier than I expected. I wanted a lot more chocolate out of this, instead I taste more vanilla bean. A little sugar soaked fruit or candied cherries, and a fleeting hop-bitter massage at the back of my tongue. A lasting bourbon bite encases every flavor, and oak finishes the job.

Moderately chalky, however the carbonation feels so relaxing in my mouth. When I'm done, I'm left with vanilla on my mind. This feels like a really bad review, but it's a really drinkable beverage. On second thought, maybe I shouldn't feel like I can throw back a bunch of RISs in one night. It just lacks the body this style should offer.

tonytuffnuts, Feb 28, 2007
Photo of Neehan
3.98/5  rDev +1%

This is one of the most interesting beers I have had, incredibly complex and it changes as you drink probably more than any beer I have had. The appearance remains jet-black throughout its enjoyment, but the head goes from massive to thin, from no lacing to decent retention. The smell is of dark plums, light chocolate, and light coffee. The taste is thick and dark with a very strong bourbon presence. The bourbon presence subsides as you drink it, but begins as very strong and mellows with each sip. Again changing, the mouthfeel goes from thick and creamy to thin and watery, very interesting. This is not the best beer I have ever had but definitely worth revisiting for its superior complexity. Not the greatest in any rating category but you will notice something different and it will hold your interest with each sip. Not for everyone, but a highly recommended beer to mix things up a bit.

Neehan, Feb 26, 2007
Photo of crwills
4.05/5  rDev +2.8%

Pours jet black into a Sinha glass, with a big fluffy head that fades to a film. Aroma is fascinating mix of espresso, oak, vanilla, and something tha treminds me of ocean water. Flavour is oaky, smoky, woody, with hints of unsweetened chocolate and charcoal and a sour cherry nose. Bitter, dry coffee bean and vanilla aftertaste. Very well-hidden alcohol.

I loved this beer -- the best of any of the oak-aged Weyerbachers that I've tried.

crwills, Feb 26, 2007
Photo of jhicks12
3.85/5  rDev -2.3%

Appearance: Poured dark black and thich with a dark chocalate tan head.

Smell: Nice roasted chocolate coffee aroma and a vanilla, oak smell as well

Taste: Nice roasted creamy chocolate taste at first then a vanilla oak, bourbon taste.

Mouthfeel: Nice velvety, creamy mouthfeel

Drinkability: I find the old heathen to be a better more drinkable beer. But I am not a huge bourbon fan. but all in all a nice change up and great flavors...I just need to get my palate to appreciate bourbon!

jhicks12, Feb 25, 2007
Photo of dgfair
4.13/5  rDev +4.8%

22 oz. bottle poured into a snifter

A - Midnight black with a large creamy chocolate milk colored head. Head dissipates quickly leaving a nice layer on top of the opaque liquid. A very nice looking stout and a nice head for a barrel aged beer.

S - Sweet chocolate all over with a solid vanilla presence and some nice sweet berry underpinnings. A little bit of a smoky oak aroma makes its way through as well. A very complex smell for an imperial stout, no doubt a product of the oak barrel aging...fantastic.

T - Smoky oak on top of chocolate with a little bit of vanilla-y bourbon making its presence known. Surprisingly, sweetness is very present even with the great balancing of the oak and bourbon. This is a nice tasting stout that really benefits from the time in the barrel. A slight alcohol taste at the swallow, but nothing overpowering.

M - A good creamy feel but the body is a tad bit thin. Nice carbonation. Finishes perfectly dry in the end, just like a nice bourbon.

D - A nice sipper for a cool evening. Easy to drink since the taste is so pleasing. Not too heavy on the alcohol, and an all-around enjoyable brew.

dgfair, Feb 19, 2007
Photo of alexskovan
4/5  rDev +1.5%

Pours black with a gigantic cascading brown head. If you hold it up to bright light it is not quite opaque -- a very dark brown. (So not quite a black hole, a little light escapes: call it a neutron star :o) Aroma is sweet and rich, toasted nuttyness as well as cherries and cream. Taste is dryer than the aroma would suggest. A lot of bitter chocolate and espresso, with an oaky and sour/fruity finish.

A nice big stout. Beer with balls!

alexskovan, Feb 18, 2007
Photo of mcallister
3.18/5  rDev -19.3%

Midnight pour, fluffy, thick mocha head with great retention, and sticky thick lacing. This head just lasts and lasts and doesn't seem to want to dissapear.

Sweet vanilla, bourbony oak, with a thick roasty dark semi sweet chocolate malty aroma, vanilla, anise, pureed blackberry, hints of black cherry, and prune. Slight molasses with some bitter hops abound.

Man, such a promising beer through the appearance and smell but totally falls off in the taste. Thin, unbalanced and lacking any complexity. Roasty yet enamling malt, with burnt unappetizing dark chocolate flavors. An offending mouthfeel really sets it off. Hard to even place what the main proponent of dissapointment is. But I'm very saddened by the outcome of this BA stout.

mcallister, Feb 06, 2007
Photo of drumline
4/5  rDev +1.5%

Appearance - Pours a dark black, with a quickly dissipating head.

Smell - Lots of oaky/woody flavors. Slight hints of chocolate come through, but mostly oak.

Taste/Mouthfeel - Nice and creamy body, about medium for an impy stout. Roasted malt flavor really shines, with just the right about of hops to keep the sweetness in check. Oaky/vanilla flavor dominant throughout. Nice dry finish.

Drinkability - Very drinkable; the 8% ABV is well hidden. An enjoyable brew.

drumline, Feb 05, 2007
Photo of mikesgroove
4.03/5  rDev +2.3%

Poured oil slick opaque black with a creamy 1 inch head that setlled down to a 1/2 layed. Depp lace and thick look overall, very nice. Smell was coffee and caramel. Maybe some toffee mixed in, earthy hints at the back but slight with a spice that tingled the nose. The taste was coffee and oak, with oak being a big played. Slight alcohol warming as well. Very unique taste, somewhat bitter as well, may do some good to lay down for a bit. Thick tasting, but not too much. This was a good RIS, and I think the oak age benefited it, will be cellaring a couple to see how they go down the road.

mikesgroove, Feb 03, 2007
Photo of Jmamay22
3.43/5  rDev -12.9%

Smell - Coffee and roasted malts.

Appearance - One and a half inch creamy head rested atop the black stout that eventually settled to a thin layer that left great lacing.

Taste - Well balanced with tastes of coffee and hints of the oak aging. Alcohol is well hidden and i don't detect much of a warming effect from it.

Mouthfeel - Medium to light bodied and smooth. Very lightly carbonated. I would have hoped for something heavier.

Drinkability - very drinkable. I really can't taste the alcohol.

Notes - A good brew, but not great. Seems to lack a distinguishing taste and depth as nothing seems to jump out at me. I might buy it again sometime, but not anytime soon.

Jmamay22, Jan 31, 2007
Photo of wedge
3.55/5  rDev -9.9%

Very black with a thick brown head that has a lush, creamy consistancy. Some lacing clings to the glass and the head retains well. Sweet, creamy, oaky bourbon aromas upfront...roasted/burnt malts lurk in the background. Wood and vanilla transitions to a creamy chocolate maltiness. Sweet with a light cocoa bitterness. Creamy mouthfeel seems full at first but not quite where it could be...a little warming.

Pretty complex stout here, but the oak-aged...iness overwhelms the malt profile at times making it a little too sweet and woody to have more than one.

wedge, Jan 26, 2007
Photo of rhoadsrage
2.95/5  rDev -25.1%

(Served in a snifter)

A- This beer pours a jet black body with a tan cream head that last a good bit. There are a few random bubbles stuck to the side of the glass but other than that there is no sign of life in that dense body.

S- This beer has smells of big wet oak and a soft note of bourbon sweetness. There is no real smell of malt even when it warms.

T- This beer ahs a light dry dark malt note that is overpowered by a oaky note which is overpowered by cherry sourness without the fruity flavor. The finish is a chalky note with a bitterness that increases as the beer warms.

M- This beer has a medium-full mouthfeel that starts of creamy but gets watery in the finish.

D- This beer is big and oaky but there are no malt flavors to balance the wood. The oak flavors are balanced by a sourness and a bitterness in the finish. No real depth or complexity in this beer.

rhoadsrage, Jan 22, 2007
Photo of mrasskicktastic
3.7/5  rDev -6.1%

A - Black with a big, creamy, light brown head which never fully subsides. Heavy rings of lacing coat the glass.

S - Oak, toffee, coffee and chocolate. A bit of diacetyl. A nice aroma, but you need to be in the mood for it. The buttery aroma is more potent than I would like.

T - A bold oaken flavor dominates with a bit of coffee and burnt chocolatey undertones. It is enjoyable.

M - Smooth and thin. Pretty refreshing.

D - Good. I prefer it to Old Heathen. Keep oak aging, Weyerbacher, and I'll keep drinking.

mrasskicktastic, Dec 31, 2006
Photo of JohnnyM2002
4.08/5  rDev +3.6%

Sampled from a 12 oz bottle, poured into a white wine glass at 50 degrees.

A - Poured a very dark black with no chance of light escaping. A creamy, milk-chocolate colored head that left sticky lacing the whole way down. Beautiful pour.

S - Powerful combination of vanilla, raisins, burnt coffee, and the most potent - wood. Oaked-aging definitely detectable.

T - Barrel-aged alcohol really comes through in the flavors, but not overly pungent. Vanilla is more blended with cocoa flavors and it finishes with a raisin/grape sour hint. Complex flavors that develop more throughout the 'glass-life' of the beer.

M - Creamy body with a warming sensation upon the finish.

D - I really enjoyed this beer very much. I'd definitely include it in a RIS sampling.

JohnnyM2002, Dec 31, 2006
Photo of aforbes10
3.85/5  rDev -2.3%

Pours almost totally black with a little ring of tan colored head. Odor is dank like an old cellar and heavy with coffee grounds. Taste is a soft coffee with oak, vanilla, alcohol. Very mellow and soft and not overly complex. Almost, i'd say, a delicate beer. Mouthfeel is a bit thin and watery for the stlye, IMO. Easy to drink overall despite its ABV. Sort of a whispery version of an impy with the oak barrel aging being almost a more prominent feature than the beer itself.

aforbes10, Dec 28, 2006
Photo of biegaman
3.38/5  rDev -14.2%

Pours with plenty of big, chocolat milk coloured head. A dark black body and would leave a lightning storm of lacing. Aroma filled with oak - a earthy, dirty aged wood. Strong bourbony notes and maybe a little alcohol creeps in. Flavours a little off centered. I get mild hop residue, a strong absence of malts (except a light biscuity malt) and a roast character of charred wood. Very flat for a RIS. The oak aging didn't seem to adopt any dimension - lack of vanilla, etc that you often find resulting from. Flavours are just too soft and the oak didn't seem to compliment anything. Disappointed.

biegaman, Dec 12, 2006
Photo of grub
4.18/5  rDev +6.1%

biegaman shared this bottle with me. thanks jan!

bottle had been aging for about 9 months since purchase.

pours an inky black with a huge dense brown head. the head drops slowly and leaves lots of lace. the lace really clings too, and was tough to rinse out after finishing the glass.

aroma is nice. strong oak and vanilla presence. roasty. bready malt. alcohol, but not over the top. espresso. bittersweet chocolate.

taste is good. lots of oak and vanilla. bittersweet chocolate. espresso. roasty, but less than i expected from a RIS. bit of alcohol. nice biscuit malt.

mouthfeel is good. nice thick body and a good carbonation level. often a RIS will be low on the carbonation, but this one has no issues there.

drinkability is good. fairly balanced and enjoyable. the aging has done this one some good, and i'd be curious to try a sample with even a little more time. i had a fresh bottle almost two years ago and the oak and whiskey were overpowering. i remember thinking 'hey, did someone pour some stout in my whiskey'. the alcohol was much more prominent then too. now i think it has mellowed alot into a nicer (but still strongly oaked) stout. definitely worth a try, especially if you can lay one down for a year.

grub, Dec 12, 2006
Photo of bruachan
3.1/5  rDev -21.3%

this is from the big-beers-made-bigger-and-more-complex-by-aging-in-oak-bourbon-barrels line. i wasn't a big fan of old heathen, but i'm willing to be open-minded (i have liked the bourbon barrel beers i've tried)

not a chance of light escaping this bad boy. if the black won't get ya, the dark head will. released form this head (which tries to die, but for the reinforcing bubbles) is an intense whiskey aroma layered over the deep roastiness. if i could draw this, i would picture something long and pointy sitting on something with considerable mass (washington monument atop st. peter's basilica in rome). i'm not offended by the potency of the whiskey smell (heck great lakes' version smells very heavily of bourbon) but i don't think it meshes well enough with the beer

meh...same for flavor (and boy, this is the driest RIS i've ever tasted), though i can't taste the booze as much as i can feel it. like its unadulterated cousin this beer isn't very complex, which isn't the end of the world, but something i expect from an imperial stout. it does not taste bad...just uninspiring. the finish is anticlimactic, as well

bruachan, Dec 06, 2006
Photo of Shiredave
3.8/5  rDev -3.6%

Great bottle and lable - black w/ Heresy in large Frankenstien like letters with an electric blue bolt of lightning in the background. Even if you were illiterate, you would know this was a beer to be feared.
A huge brown head billows up and receeds into an intensly black liquid so opaque it defys the beam of my Mag-lite.
Aromas are awsome - sherry and chocolate, oak and dates, black malt and whiskey all hang inside the goblet - too heavy to rise beyond the lip of the glass.
Flavors are of a classic dry stout on steroids - roasted barley flavor and dryness dominate. Some sour cherry notes and burnt chocoalte add some sweet character but it lacks any real malt backbone and the rough scorched flavors arent balanced by caramel / malty sweetness I'd hoped for. The alcohol is very well folded into the chalky dryness and interseting whiskey notes.
Body is thinner than most Imp. Stouts - very dry and over attenuated. The barrel aging has given this beer some excellent flavors and aromas but the beer on a whole was not overly impressive.

*This bottle was probobly 1 +/- years old, and stored @ +/- 60 deg. F, and I'm remebering this beer was better when I had it fresh a year ago. I'll try my other bottle in another year and see if it comes full circle.

Shiredave, Dec 02, 2006
Photo of Callenak
4.05/5  rDev +2.8%

Poured from a bomber into a maudite tulip.

Pours jet black with a two inch mocha head. Smells lovely. Chocolate, oak, and roasted barley.

The taste follows the smell. Oak is very forward in this one which is to my taste but I could see it as to much for some. Loads of chocolate and coffee to follow with a hint of vanilla. Alcohol is at a perfect balance. I don’t really pick up on any bourbon or whiskey though. Not sure if they just used a plane oak barrel or just added oak into the fermenter.

A great beer by Weyerbacher that I would love to try again.

Callenak, Nov 29, 2006
Photo of AaronHomoya
4.5/5  rDev +14.2%

Black color with a nice tan head.

Smells of coffee, roasted malt and toffee.

Taste is sweet, vanilla, and chocolate with a slightly bitter finish of coffee and hops at the end. Big, complex and really rounded out with the oak aging. One of the best-tasting RIS's I've had.

Mouthfeel is very smooth, medium-thick with very little carbonation.

This is a great RIS that may not be quite as huge and intense as some (Dark Lord), but is really nicely rounded-out and full of tasty, complex flavors.

AaronHomoya, Nov 22, 2006
Photo of yelterdow
2.4/5  rDev -39.1%

Cellared for the better part of a year, this baby is ready for a review. 22 oz. bomber served at cellar temperature in a huge brandy snifter.

Appearance- A loud *pfwssss* as the cap comes off... what a great looking beer. Dark cocoa on the eyes, it has a creaminess unlike any other imperial stout I've seen... seriously viscous and mature, the barrel aging has definitely influenced the appearance. Big, spotty lacing is splattered all over the inside of the glass, while the remaining outer ring of bubbles continues to slowly pop and disintegrate. A powerlifter on the eyes.

Smell- This aroma lives on another planet when it comes to imperial stouts. Wood, chocolate, and the most amazing fullness with regard to the barrel aging in oak. So phenomenally unique that my nose refuses to back out of the glass. Truffles, vanilla, cordialesque notes abound. English Stilton cheese is clearly there. Wildly exciting.

Taste- I'm shocked to find a sour astringency gripping my tongue and ruining any chance of going on... this should not suffer from cellaring so this is really disappointing. The beer simply self-destructs upon entry, exhibiting a harsh bite that envelops the mouth and sends me reeling. This is really impossible to further sample.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability- Flat and boring... it doesn't stay together for even three seconds. I love most everything from Weyerbacher, especially their latest efforts... but this bottle of Heresy is terrible.

yelterdow, Nov 05, 2006
Photo of Georgiabeer
2.78/5  rDev -29.4%

This stout on first appearance appears to be perfect- a beautiful pour, inky black with a thick creamy head.

The smell is heavily of oak- new oak at that. This beer smells like an anejo tequila with the undertones of the stout in the background. You get some of the rich roastiness of the stout on the nose, but the oak just buries it.

The taste is more new oak- it even tastes like an old tequila. There are some beautiful stout notes, but once again buried. This is like a fine wine that has been turned into an oak bomb by too much time in the wrong kind of barrel. A shame.

Mouthfeel is nice and full, with some creaminess, but the tannins make the aftertaste too sharp.

Overall not very drinkable. I liked certain nuances here, but way out of balance. My least favorite of the usually wonderful Weyerbachers.

Georgiabeer, Nov 05, 2006
Photo of msubulldog25
4.6/5  rDev +16.8%

Tried a 12 oz. bottle (no date) which was recently acquired in a trade with melbatoast93. A simply-designed label with the word "HERESY" superimposed over a bolt of electricity. Some other text, too, though most of it is a long-winded legal disclaimer...

A: Poured to my Widmer Bros. pint glass. Creamy mocha-colored crown - 2 fingers tall. Great retention and creamy lace. Color is black as midnight and pours like oil.

S: Mmmm...smells like brown sugar and rum raisins with chocolate and oak notes. Some vanilla, honey, and ripe cherries all splashed with a shot of bourbon. Smell improves and deepens as it warms...

T: Semi-sweetness of dark roasted malts (coffee, chocolate), raisins, and mellowed smoky oak barrel. Hints of vanilla and a little sourness. Nice alcohol warmth without being too boozy. All the flavors are very well balanced. Like the smell, the taste gets even better as the beer warms. I started with a grade of '4' for this one, though after letting it sit for 20-30 minutes, the last few ounces of this pour could have ranked a '5'. My wife agreed that it was more delicious the warmer it got...

M: Very smooth with just a slight tingle of carbonation. Velvety mouthfeel with sweetness, bitterness and alcohol all clinging pleasantly - giving a full mouthfeel and a medium-full body.

D: An excellent RIS...terrific flavors and great balance. I'm glad I got to try this one, I'd gladly have more of these! Thanks Hart!

msubulldog25, Oct 30, 2006
Photo of scott
4.85/5  rDev +23.1%

22 oz. circa 2005

One of the best bodies I've seen on a stout - so pure and refined. Great fluffy, medium-tan head with plenty of retention and lacing. Magnificent.
Mild oak front end with vanilla/chocolate/mild burnt accents. No alcohol to note, but plenty of rich coffee to keep me satisfied.
Taste is extraordinary. A complete liquid symphony harmoniously in duet with oak & balanced stout, to crescendo into a gloriously made drink that I wish would never end. Seriously, Weyerbacher has made it's way onto my radar. Bless the creators of such a fine drink.

scott, Oct 22, 2006
Heresy from Weyerbacher Brewing Co.
88 out of 100 based on 1,903 ratings.