1. American Craft Beer Fest returns to Boston on May 29 & 30, featuring 640+ beers from 140+ brewers. Tickets are on sale now.

Heresy - Weyerbacher Brewing Co.

Not Rated.

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

2,005 Ratings
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,005
Reviews: 972
rAvg: 3.93
pDev: 12.21%
Wants: 99
Gots: 252 | 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
Sort by:  Recent | Likes | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Heresy Alström Bros
Ratings: 2,005 | Reviews: 972 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of MrHurmateeowish
4.41/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22oz. bomber from The Lighthouse in Manchester. Pours completely opaque black body with well over an inch of light brown head that slowly dissipates leaving much lacing. Wood and vanilla dominate the aroma, with hints of coffee and caramel in the background. Dark pleasant roasty coffee-dark chocolate, maltiness, and woody vanilla play equal roles in the flavor initially, but wood definitely dominates the finish and aftertaste. Rich full mouth-feel, though not viscous or sticky like some, with a fair bit of carbonation, more than is often seen in the style, but by no means does it hurt the beer. The carbonation along with the pleasing near-flawless flavor make this an extremely beer considering the full mouthfeel and abv. My only complaint for this beer is that the wood flavor could be a bit more subdued. Having said that, this beer is dangerously drinkable and is a new favorite for the style.

Photo of beerthulhu
4.2/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Poured a dark, cola-coffee with a soft, creamy 2 finger dark, khaki head that faded slightly leaving a great film lacing down the sides of the glass.

S: Fresh roasted mocha coffee, and a dry, bakers chocolate fills the nose. There was a slight hint of rum raisin as well. Nose was lighter then expected.

T: bitter black coffee, and a dark roasted chocolate. As you progress the flavor becomes much more smoother and refined. Some dark rum raisin, black licorice, black cherries are subtle but noticeable against the big roasted palate. A rich lingering roasted coffee fade finishes things out along with spicy burbon alcohol and chocolate.

M: full, creamy, and softly carbonated with a rich dark bitter coffee/chocolate flavor coming through upon warming.

D: Very easy to drink, great rich coffee finish makes this a joy to drink to the bitter end.

Photo of jwc215
3.85/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into snifter:

Pours black with a tan head that recedes to a bubbly patch.

The smell is of oak/vanilla with coffee, chocolate and a hint of anise.

The taste is of oak/vanilla that almost masks, but the chocolate/coffee and hint of anise pull through. An initial sweetness becomes balanced by a roastiness aand a fruity/peppery drying alcohol.

A bit lighter in the feel than I expected, with some slick alcohol lasting more in the aftertaste than the flavors. It is a slow sipper as it packs a punch.

4.41/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A huge foamy three finger chocolate brown head quickly forms with a strong pour. body is black as ink letting no light escape. Nose hints of nicely robust malt, smokey meaty notes, coffee and hidden alchol. first sip is only slightly thinner than expected with hints of coco, toffee, anise and burnt malt. A short sour feel bites the back of the tongue as the beer passes by. As you continue to let it develop you also get alchol soaked sour cherries and even phenol like notes including vanilla and banana. Mouthfeel is as thick as you would expect from this style but well received. A extremely enjoyable sipper. Dry bitter bite to the tongue is also there as you continue to drink through the night. Very good underated stout.

Photo of soupyman10
4.18/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Split a bottle of this with a friend. Crazy cheap for a RIS ($4.99 for a bomber). Poured a pitch black color, no highlights to speak of, with an off-white head that dissovles quickly and leaves very little lacing. Nose is roasted malt and almost winey-grapes and other dried fruit. Some oakiness in there too. A touch of alcohol. Very strange, but not bad. Flavor is likewise. Smooth, and highly fruity, with some chocolate, tons of roasted malt and cookies. That wine sits there in the oak barrels as well. Body is a little thin for a RIS, but the carbonation is mellow and appropriate to the style. Overall, this one is quite a tasty unique RIS, although maybe not one of the best. Worth a shot.

Photo of BeerSox
4.8/5  rDev +22.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

22oz bottle into 8oz snifter.

Opaque pitch black with a one finger light brown head that slowly settles to a thick rim along the glass.

Thick and roasty bitter malt aromas with a bit of hoppiness in the background to add some balance. Chocolate and coffee work their way in.

Heavy and roasty malts dominate the flavor, with some of the chocolate and coffee that is present in the aroma. Full bodied, with a coating feel. The finish is the lingering roasty grains.

What an enjoyable beer. The malts are bitter, yet smooth. There are no overzealous hops to mask the complexity that the malts carry on their own. The %ABV is about 8%, which increases the drinkability. Highly recommended.

Photo of abcsofbeer
4.5/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 22oz bomber into a pint glass. Bottle lists no drink by date. The appearance is very nice: with a two finger medium brown colored head, that is both rocky and creamy. There is an abundance of sticky lacing. The color of this beer is pitch black.

Aroma is of black coffee and dark chocolate mixed in with dark roasted malts and also licorice.

Taste is a nice, bitter black coffee flavor and sharp roasted malts. There is a small warming alcohol flavor that is similar to bourbon or whiskey.

Overall, an excellent stout choice.

Photo of Traquairlover
4.32/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22-oz bomber poured into snifters.

A = Black, thick light brown head made up of foam and medium bubbles, very slow dissipation.

S = Oak, chocolate, spicy notes almost like a Spanish tempranillo, very interesting.

T = Creamy chocolate, coffee, malt, almost like a malted chocolate milkshake, very creamy, long bitter coffee finish while cream and sweet tastes linger on gums and lips.

M = Thick bodied, frothty, excellent mouthcoating.

D = Good drinkability, too bad the ABV is as high as it is, because this would be an excellent beer to have a few of if you were going by taste alone. An excellent dessert beer.

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

Pours a dark opaque black with a decent tan head that slowly diminishes to a ring and leaves spotty lacing on the glass. Aroma is a wonderful blend of oak, roasted barley, coffee, and brown malts. Taste is a smooth blend of oak and roasted barley. The beer is very smooth and enjoyably dry, the alcohol is very well hidden. While still not all that high on the list when it comes to the style, this is still very enjoyable.

Photo of joekfsu
3.64/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

22 oz bottle. Pours nearly pitch black with a tall tan head that is mostly lasting. Aroma of bitter chocolate and coffee. Initial taste of malts, dark fruits, and a hint of smoke. Flavor ends kind of dry, fruity, and bitter with a hint of alcohol. Limited lacing, light carbonation, medium to heavy body, some alcohol noted. Drinkable, but other options out there.

Photo of DavidSeanNJ
4.23/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 oz. bottle, impressive pour, served into a tulip.

A- Thick, murky, black substance- thnk the color of ink. small thin dark tan head, some lace.

S- Smell was of oak and roasted coffee beans.

T- Taste was oakey, bourbon whiskeyish, chocolate, and roasted malts.

M- Mouthfeel was thick and creamy, very full bodied and warm.

D- Awesome RIS. I would love to pair this with a chocolate cake for an after dinner treat.

Photo of mrbosworth
4.51/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Oak aged Imperial Stouts are instant favorites for most, but this one really pushes it's way to the front. When poured into a wide mouth chalice and tipped to see the color, well...there is none. It's a black hole that invites you to dive in with an alluring vanilla/coffee scent. So smooth. Sweet and bitter flavors, extremely drinkable but you'll want to savor this one at 8.2% abv. A must try.

Photo of dsa7783
4.32/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From what I understand, this particular brew was created by Weyerbacher aging their outstanding Old Heathen in oak-barrels... the result is a superb step-up from an already fantastic brew... Old Heathen tinged with vanilla, bourbon, and whiskey notes that is extremely complex, rich, and flavorful, and a level up from a typical RIS... Pours a deep, dark, jet-black, ebony hue with a reddish, modest tan head that soon dissipated... smell is absolutely wonderful, with rich, dark, burnt-chocolate, espresso, and cocoa... taste couldn't more strongly complement the aroma, with rich latte-like, bourbon, whiskey, vanilla, chocolate, and strong cocoa and espresso notes... just about the perfect rendition of the style... can't get much more thick, rich, or complex than this one... one of my favorite beers from Weyerbacher... this one is a real winner with myriad flavors that tingle the tongue and delight the pallate... certainly a winner where aroma and flavor are concerned... this one hits home... one of the better depictions of the style... a top American brew... Definitely recommended...

Photo of LeftyBWS
4.25/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 oz. brown bottle into a Sam Adams pint glass.
A: Black in color, no doubt about that. Light brown head that is bubbly and huge; requires two pours to avoid overflow. The head slowly fizzes away. Slippery sheets of lacing, leaves sprinkles on the sides of the glass and a nice creamy layer of head atop the beer.
S: Chocolate, coffee, roasted malts, grains. Quite nose-filling. A bubbliness tingles the nose too. Some sweetness and maybe honey or cream?
T: Nice maltiness to it. Bitter chocolate, alcohol, and warm, soft malts. Dryness and choclate in the finish, pretty muted. Oaky and bready overall.
M: Little bit of alcohol but otherwise pretty good. Malty fullness to it with a slight bitter tingle. Satisfying for the style.
D: I like this. Quite drinkable for an imperial stout.

Photo of sraimondi
3.4/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Very excited to pop this one, as I'm a big fan of Weyerbacher stuff (This past year's Autumnfest was remarkable!) and I have read the many positive reviews on this one.

Poured with a very large brown/cream head which collapses slowly. Very nice sheet lacing. Quite opaque brown/black.

Major oak/whiskey hits you first, with definite chocolate overtones which take over. Some toffee as well in the background.

Taste is oak/whiskey-like. For my taste this is overdone--too extreme on the whiskey side; this is a beer afterall, right?? Throws the beer out of balance.

Mouthfeel is very nice and smooth; rounded as well.

Elevated ABV is definitely present. Overall, I'm a bit disappointed in this one. Just too whiskeyish for a beer. Too bad, as this is a very complex brew otherwise, but the oak barrel involvement is way over the top and provides for an unbalanced beer in the end IMHO. Dialing back the extreme qualities of this one would have given me a better experience.


Photo of Jwale73
3.73/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Served in my DFH snifter. Poured the color of tar with absolutely no light penetration. Luscious, dense mocha-colored head with consistent lacing throughout the tasting. Strong scent of oak, coffee and molasses. Taste similar to nose with the addition of chocolate; heavy presence of alcohol and oak at the finish. Full-bodied mouthfeel. Very smooth, but not quite silky as there is a bit of carbonation detectable on the tongue and a little too oaky for my taste (strong bourbon undertones). This is a definitely a complex brew that should be savored slowly. Would have been better bottled as a 12oz. because 22 is just too much oak for a sitting.

Photo of JoeyBeerBelly
4.5/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22oz bomber, served in a tulip glass.

A - black as the ace of spades with a light brown head that hung on for most of the ride, leaving bits of lacing all down the glass.

S - rich, roasted malts and oak aromas.

T - I could really taste the oak in this one, delicious roasted flavors all the way through.

M - full bodied, light carbonation, good and chewy in the mouth.

D - smooth with a meal or as an after dinner sipper.

Photo of RblWthACoz
4/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a pitch black with a higher rising tan head that falls fairly quickly. Nose is thick molasses malts with mild coffee on there. The malts are the thickest character here though. Flavor is malty and thick. I get a touch of alcohol as well. Feel is about standard for the liquid, though it seems to fall off on the end to a more watery and thin feel. Carbonation is typical. Overall this is a good brew in the essence that it is even and smooth. There isn't anything overly interesting going on here. Just an even keeled experience.

Photo of trill
4.62/5  rDev +17.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours black, completely opaque, with a toffee-colored head, about 1/2", that hangs. Smell is espresso, rich dark chocolate, and soft caramel malt. Taste is fantastically rich, smoother than many RIS, with heavy notes of espresso, vanilla, oak, dark chocolate, cola, and a hint of figs. Lacing is fairly heavy and mouthfeel is wonderfully rich and thick. Not as powerfully bitter as Bell's Expedition, which works to its advantage. A dessert by itself.

Photo of Biscuit033
4.15/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Poured a viscous blackness, with a large light brown dense head with little lacing.

S: Vanilla, oak, bourbon, and a roasted malt sweetness.

T: Cream, smoke, chocolate, and vanilla. Similar to a rocky road ice cream with some smokiness.

M: Thick, creamy, mellow carbination, more viscous than most beer but not syruppy. The flavors linger in your mouth for a long time. Not to much of a bitter feel.

D: This goes down very easy for its ABV and is well balanced between bitter chocolate, sweet malts, and smokiness.

Photo of akorsak
4.05/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A 650 mL bomber from Stateline. I last reviewed this beer almost two years ago. Admittedly (see the previous review caption below), I was not big on barrel aging back then.

A: The stout is black. One word, plain and simple. Nothing escapes its depth. Atop the beer is a latte-colored head, large on pour (2+ fingers) that laced nicely before I refilled the glass.

S: The nose is dark malts, full of chocolate and burnt toast, and a lot of barrel. The barrel has added bourbon aromas, vanilla and booze.

T: The ale is far more oak than stout. Vanilla mixes with butter and pepper to create an intoxicating flavor. Buried within the swirling oak flavors are stout notes. Thick coffee and chocolate, along with dark roasted grains provide the bitter compliment to the oak's sweet softness. The stout qualities leaving a lasting impression of dark roasts and burnt flavors in the back of the mouth.

M: The silky soft oak flavors are nicely paired with the stout here. Neither flavor overwhelms the other, making this a pleasing sipper.

D: Thank God for evolving tastebuds. While I once found this to be offensive, I have come around. The flavors blend nicely, a signature of Weyerbacher's barrel-aged line. This is a quality stout.

Photo of riversider76
3.88/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours black with a thin tan head. Decent retention,and nice lacing. Smell is of smokey,roasted malts,and maybe some coffee. Medium bodied,with a bit of carbonation. Taste is roasted,and chocolately, with a bit of a dark fruit edge. Lighter than I expected. Very nice.

Photo of yourefragile
3.91/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12 oz 2006 bottle (no date), sitting in my cellar for about 13 months poured into a pint glass

A: First, this beer looks amazing, though I don't quite remember being so impressed last year. Liquid is opaque pitch black. Very large, fluffy coffee colored head that dissipates very slowly and leaves enormous amounts of lacing down the glass. Pretty much looks perfect to me.
S: Complex, smoky, malty aromas. Becomes richer as it warms up and of course can also detect bourbon.
T: This is where I felt a little let down in this beer. Still delicious, but not quite as complex as I remembered it and the alcohol has been subdued. Begins with roasted malt flavor and finishes with a vanilla sweetness, almost too sweet, especially in aftertaste. As it warms up can taste hints of the bourbon, but not as strong as it was when fresh. Eventually as you finish drinking the sweetness overwhelms everything else.
M: Starts off lightly carbonated and has a full bodied, very creamy and smooth mouthfeel.
D: A very interesting beer, but I think I enjoyed this more the first time around when it was fresh, or maybe I had just built up my expectations for this too much from last year.

Photo of dickieb
3.61/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

pours pitch black with a toffee colored head. The lacing is their, but not as present as with other of the style. The oak aging sticks out in the nose with a big wiff of vanilla and bourbon. The flavor is also strong with the oak aging, with some roasted malts and chocolates coming through. The alcohol can be detected, but is well complimented. The mouthfeel is light for an IS, and this beer is not incredibly drinkable. Overall worth a try, not the best IS but by no means bad.

Photo of Kendo
2.91/5  rDev -26%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

A: Poured from the bomber into a Sam Smith's nonic. Body is black with a 2-finger chocolate-colored head that settles quickly. Some splotches of lacing cling to the side of the glass, but not a lot.

S: Black licorice and french vanilla coffee at first, with something sweet I couldn't quite put my fingers on. As it warmed it smelled more of booze, and that's when I concluded that the unknown scent was bourbon and vanilla.

T: First impression is wood. Beyond that I get vanilla and oak over a faint bit of roasted malt. Lingering sweetness reminds me of cream soda at times. As it warms, the bourbon taste becomes more obvious. But sweet vanilla overwhelms even that heat, and it closes with a cloying, lingering sweetness.

M: Fairly creamy in feel, but too light in heft for an imperial stout. Thin, and almost watery, in fact.

D: Not good. I let it warm for a substantial amount of time (OK, I didn't really "let" it warm; I had trouble drinking it, so it sat in the glass and got warmer), thinking maybe it would improve as it warmed. No such luck. This is the first time I've purposesly poured a portion of a beer down the drain in a very long time. I don't think I made it through much more than 14 oz or so, and even that took close to 2 hours. . . .

Notes: This one's been in my cellar for a pretty long time. Not sure how long, and with no dates on the bottle, I have no way of guessing just how old this one was. . . . Think Jack Daniels and Vanilla Coke -- flat Vanilla Coke -- and you have the idea. Not recommended, especially not in large quantities. Maybe this would be interesting in a 5-6 oz-sized serving in a snifter -- i.e., split the bomber 4 ways -- but trying to drink a bomber of this was a chore. I couldn't do it.

Heresy from Weyerbacher Brewing Co.
88 out of 100 based on 2,005 ratings.