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Heresy - Weyerbacher Brewing Co.

Not Rated.

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

1,887 Ratings
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,887
Reviews: 958
rAvg: 3.95
pDev: 11.65%
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: 1,887 | Reviews: 958 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of jwm232


4.33/5  rDev +9.6%

I couldn't wait any longer. I cracked open a 22oz bomber last night.

A: When poured, it appeared very viscous, very dark. The head was a nice caramel color that was rather unrelenting. It laced very thickly throughout my pint.

S: There was a deep chocolate, coffee, and strong malt smell; boozey.

T: Distinct chocolate taste initially. It exploded in my mouth. A bit of coffee. It transitioned well to a slightly bitter finish. The strong taste really mellowed to a nice, balanced finish. You can taste the alcohol but it's never overwhelming. The warmer it got the boozier it tasted. The initial chocolate taste that was so prevalent was placed on the backburner. I was surprised at how much the taste changed as it warmed up.

M: Smooth, creamy, nice.

D: Way more drinkable that I had anticipated. I put this bottle down myslef. I will certainly be drinking more of these in the near future.

07-28-2006 12:53:49 | More by jwm232
Photo of Phatz


4.83/5  rDev +22.3%

Weyerbacher has the coolest (well maybe=) labels. The bomber presentation is simply cool. The important thing is the beer inside. I LOVE this beer. It is certainly my favorite Weyerbacher beer.

Appearance: Dark black body worth mahogany around the edges. Nice head with great retention.

Smell: Beautiful dark roasty malt, currants chocolate, with a hint of smokiness. Very enticing.

Taste: This beer is so thick and creamy and yet not the biggest Russian Imperial that I’ve had it maybe the most drinkable RIS. The roasty flavor leads into a chocolaty malt with hints of oak and vanilla. I love the hint of bourbon flavor and the espresso in the finish.

Mouthfeel: The body could have been bigger, but on the other hand that may reduce it's drinkability a bit. The medium body is remarkable smooth and creamy.

Drinkability: Dangerous. I love the flavor so much I could put down the whole bomber twice over and regret it =) Fortunately, I was sharing with friends.

Hope this is helpful.

07-24-2006 16:15:02 | More by Phatz
Photo of doppelmeup

North Carolina

3.58/5  rDev -9.4%

Had this side by side with some Old Heathen, which is this beer's non oak-aged counterpart. I preferred the Old Heathen. I don't think the oak aging helped this beer. Here is my review.

Poured a deep black, as did the Old Heathen. Very much a stout in appearence. Slightly better head then the Old Heathen.

Aromas were considerably different. This beer had strong scents of oak, vanilla, butter, and bourbon. It almost had a Chardonnay-like aroma, which I found fascinating. No doubt you were drinking an oak-aged brew, but I found the oakiness quite strong and thought it overpowered the other aromas.

Taste was quite oaky, with lots of vanilla and a very evident bourbon flavor in the background. The oak-aging really changed the flavor of this beer, but I don't think in a good way. I've had several other Oak-aged brews which I liked better than this one, including Old Dominion Oak Barrel Stout (very good!) and Yeti Oak Aged which was quite complex.

Mouthfeel was typical of a RIS.

I'd probably pass on this beer again unless I got it for free. Not a terrible beer by any means, but I don't think it was as good as it's non oak-aged counterpart, Old Heathen.

07-23-2006 03:50:08 | More by doppelmeup
Photo of nvsblman


4/5  rDev +1.3%

Pours a deep black with a thick brown head. Aroma has coffee, chocolate, and a little bit of oak. First in the taste is a smooth chocolate flavor, but a nice oak whisky-like flavor follows in the aftertaste. The oak really balances the sweetness from the malt and chocolate flavors. Also noticing some nice vanilla notes. Really smooth and well balanced, the alcohol is just making itself slightly noticable. Lightly carbonated with a medium mouthfeel. This is a pretty enjoyable and drinkable beer!

07-16-2006 21:16:19 | More by nvsblman
Photo of veggiemafia


3.5/5  rDev -11.4%

12oz. into a snifter

Appearance is as perfect as perfect can be. Good head, great retention for an Imperial stout. Sufficiently light-suckingly black with a head the color of espresso crema.

Smell is nice, but very boozy. Side by side with some Maker's Mark, it's very similar. I don't know that this is a beer that was improved with oak aging. Other than that coffee, roasted malts, not so fruity, but some plums in there, and very much like a sweeter sherry.

Taste is big on the bourbon and the booze. I don't really like this in this context. There's a really great stout somewhere in there, it's just under all the booze and bourbon.

Mouthfeel is nice, but a little on the clingy/sticky side.

After one of these, I'm quite ready to move onto either Stone IRS or Siberian Night.

07-16-2006 05:09:32 | More by veggiemafia
Photo of geexploitation


3.95/5  rDev 0%

Pours black and tan -- black body, relatively dark tan head. The head sticks around forever and leaves lots of lacing. A very attractive beer. Zesty chocolates, slight berries, and the spices on top of the espresso foam in the nose. On the palate, present alcohol and sweet espresso cream mingle at first. The beer dries out in the mid-palate through the finish, with some coffee dryness taking over. Mouthfeel is thin for an oak-aged imperial stout, but maintains its smoothness throughout. The overall effect is good, pretty well integrated, but not revelatory. The tastes involved are exactly what you'd expect, but nothing more. Good but not great.

07-14-2006 03:46:07 | More by geexploitation
Photo of oelergud


4.72/5  rDev +19.5%

Opaque black body. Brown silken head with medium bubbles interspersed. Good retention and decent lace.
Strong sherrylike smell with dark chocolate and cream, very inviting.
The taste is mellow and round, smoked roasted cocoa beans and sherrylike flavor with almonds. Aftertaste is mostly almonds with some faint hop notes.
Full and dense mouthfeel with some coating and a slightly dry finish.
Very drinkable. Definitely on the repeat list.


07-05-2006 23:27:32 | More by oelergud
Photo of Ellbert


3.88/5  rDev -1.8%

Appearance: Very dark with a tan head. The head is pretty thin and fades fairly quickly.

Smell: A very thick and sweet aroma arises from the glass. I smell prunes and raisins. Not much oak is in the aroma.

Taste: Very mellow with a little vanilla. There is definitely coffee and roastedness in the flavor.

Mouthfeel: The mouthfeel is thick and chewy. I think there is just the right amount of carbonation. Very creamy.

Overall a good beer.

06-15-2006 22:12:46 | More by Ellbert
Photo of nickss


3.75/5  rDev -5.1%

Pitch black... completely opaque in color. Huge and flat head... almost nitro-like, which makes sense as its cask conditioned and has not carbonation to make the head rocky. Head gradually subsides to a thin cap.

Nose is dominated by an oak-chip aroma with some phenolic smell. Kinda one dimensional, but nice nonetheless.

Big bourbon flavour with a touch of oak. Tons of alcohol... an unabashed in-your-face brew. To all novices... respect this beer, or it will put a hurt on you.

A bit thin in the mouthfeel, but not terrible. The lack of carbonation in this RIS is a nice change of pace.... it certainly serves to enhances the liquory feel of this one.

A bit too much bite to be drinkable, but very enjoyable in the right situation. Sip in moderation, and enjoy.

06-11-2006 15:04:54 | More by nickss
Photo of WanderingFool


3.85/5  rDev -2.5%

Today being 6/6/06, the day of armageddon, I needed an 'evil' beer to drink while I wait for the coming destruction to begin. The only thing I had on hand that fit the bill was Heresy.

The beer pours an inky black with some lots of tiny yeast particles floating in the brew. A small frothy tan head forms on top which quickly dissolves to a thin ring around the surface leaving no lace behind.

A strong burbon aroma greets you before each sip. Notes of vanilla, oak and alcohol are most noticeable. This medium bodied beer is very smooth and dry with just a mild fizz on the tip of the tongue. The flavor is much like a brandy. The taste begins with some fruity notes of plum and raisin. Oak and vanilla quickly take over and it finishes with some nuttyness with just a hint of hops. Once gone a mild burbon flavor remains behind.

For such a strong flavored beer I found it surprisingly drinkable. If you like malt whiskey's this beer is right up your alley.

06-07-2006 00:13:30 | More by WanderingFool
Photo of presscaught


3.83/5  rDev -3%

Purchased at Spirits Unlimited in Redbank, NJ (highly recommended liquor store!). Served from a refrigerated (~50F) bomber, in a Smuttynose pint glass.

A: Very HARD pour…unintentionally hard…overflowing head. Once things settle down about three fingers of creamy brown that slowly diminish to an eighth inch ring that remains throughout. Beer itself is Ink black with no light transmission. As drank some lacing.

S: Alcohol. Whisky or Bourbon. Can’t get past the whisky, scotchy, bourbony nose.

T: Nutty, Oaky, Sweet Vanilla, Alcohol (scotch again), and roasted malts

M: Medium mouthfeel but still has a creamy characteristic at swallow (does that make sense?). Carbonation is just right.

D: Medium drinkability. Not a bad beer but definitely not my favorite Stout…don’t think it would crack the top 15.

05-24-2006 20:06:31 | More by presscaught
Photo of UncleFlip


4.45/5  rDev +12.7%

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

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


2.93/5  rDev -25.8%

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.

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

New York

4.25/5  rDev +7.6%

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.

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


4.38/5  rDev +10.9%

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.

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

Ontario (Canada)

4.15/5  rDev +5.1%

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!

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

New Jersey

3.85/5  rDev -2.5%

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.

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


4.72/5  rDev +19.5%

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.

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


3.88/5  rDev -1.8%

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.

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


4.43/5  rDev +12.2%

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%.

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

New York

4/5  rDev +1.3%

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.

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


3.83/5  rDev -3%

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.

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


4/5  rDev +1.3%

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.

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

New York

3.65/5  rDev -7.6%

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!

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


3.73/5  rDev -5.6%

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.

03-16-2006 04:33:45 | More by blackie
Heresy from Weyerbacher Brewing Co.
89 out of 100 based on 1,887 ratings.