Heresy - Weyerbacher Brewing Co.

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very good

1,987 Ratings
very good

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Ratings: 1,987
Reviews: 968
rAvg: 3.93
pDev: 12.21%
Wants: 96
Gots: 249 | 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 (whiskey/bourbon) barrels.

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 06-21-2004)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,987 | Reviews: 968 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of trill
4.65/5  rDev +18.3%
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
4.13/5  rDev +5.1%
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
3.9/5  rDev -0.8%
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
3.88/5  rDev -1.3%
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
3.63/5  rDev -7.6%
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
2.9/5  rDev -26.2%
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.

Photo of Stoneman78
3.6/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle poured at the BA/RB table at the 2007 Strong Ale festival
A- Dark brown/black hue, minimal biege head mostly dissipating, not much lacing
S- Dark fruits, brown sugar and molasses, licorice, alcohol
T- Initial taste is wood and bourbon, vanilla, raisins, plums, coffee, alcohol
M- Light/medium bodied, watery texture, low carbonation
D- Decent but somewhat uninspiring IRS, lacks boldness and complexities found is many of the bigger offerings in this genre

Photo of davidt
4.43/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a brandy snifter. Dark black with a large beige head. Coffee aroma with some chocolate Not bitter at all. Rich and creamy, the beer goes down smoothly. Very nice beer for a cool Fall evening by the fire. This is one of the better Russian Imperial Stouts I've tried, and it's easy to find a well.

Photo of PlaywrightSam
4.43/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22 oz bomber into tulip glass. A: Black oil, tan head that goes down pretty quickly. Not much lacing. S: Bitter chocolate, dark fruit, some earthy hops in there. Very enticing. T: Moderately sweet, chocolate, bourbon, oak, really nice layer of earthy/mild citrus hops on the wonderfully long finish. Beautifully balanced. M: Smooth, chewy, delicious. D: I am not by any means an expert on RIS, but I think this has to be one of my favorites out of the ones I've had. Really brilliant, complex flavors, none of them too intense as to detract from each other. I picked this one up knowing nothing about it, I think I'll definitely pick it up again.

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

Decided while prepping the turkey for brining...decided a keep it for a special occasion beer was in order. The occasion, the lady making pumpkin Crème brûlée... and all I have to do is donate my brewing pot to an overnight turkey home. Black brew, good fluidity in pour. Sweet and sour beer. Quite a fantastic combination. Something I don’t think I would have liked in the beginning of my beer education, ore even membership of with BA, or possibly when I received this in a trade over a year ago, but now, quite nice. I don’t know how this aged bottle compares to the fresh ones, but if this is any indication, age on people, age on. Really smooth, I’m glad I had the ’hold onto’ mentality with this one. Very slight alcohol taste right at the end is the only heat this one brings at it’s age.

Photo of NJpadreFan
3.93/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Weyerbacher- Heresy

A- Pitch black with a huge creamy tan head. Heavy lacing.
S- Light, but notes of charcoal and whickey.
T- Sweet bourbon whiskey. Big flavor of charcoal with a touch of sugary chocolate in the end.
M- Sweet and boozy. Burnt charcoal and ash coat the mouth.

Overall, This is quite boozy tasting for 8%! Pour JD into a pint of stout, that's what this is.

Photo of Bierman9
4/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Reviewed from a 12oz bottle I've been sitting on since tis past February. No freshness info found on the label.

Poured into a small snifter, the liquid is a solid, completely opaque, engine-oil black. Head is a rich tan, starting out at about 1/2" though quickly ebbing to a thin, fine layer of tight bubbles. Doesnt't leave much lace behind, though. Nose has inviting roasty aspects, with semi-sweet choco notes also wafting up and out. Feels quite velvety on the tongue; smooth and silky, all the while being a smidge above medium in the body area. Almost gets into the chewy arena, though not quite.

Taste kicks off with a combo of some semi-sweet choco malt and some coffee-ish, roasty, bitter flavors. It then comes forth with some dark fruit characteristics, like black currant and a subtle hint of raisins. Finish comes around with a bit of floral hoppiness lurking in the shadows, and it gets dry at this point, too. I don't really pick up anything in the way of oak, as the label suggests. Also, the 8% abv is well hidden, as I can't pick up any "heat" at all here. Fairly decent, all-in-all.


overall: 4
appearance: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | mouthfeel: 4 | drinkability: 4


Photo of vtfan77
3.5/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A- Very, very dark, almost black, topped with a generous coffee-colored head that actually sticks around for a while. Very attractive.

S- The oak aging contributes a lot to the aroma of this beer. Bourbon and vanilla are extremely prominent. They're very nice, but are almost too strong; they overshadow the stout aromas, which are definitely present with some roasted malt, but kind of weak.

T- More bourbon and oak. The malt is more prominent with a distinct coffee-ish roasted flavor. The 8% ABV makes itself known as well. The beer is quite dry and finishes with a mild bitterness.

M- Velvety smooth, medium-full body with a low level of carbonation.

D- This is a very rich beer, and although the ABV is not particularly high for the style, it seems higher. As such, I would definitely stop at one, and that one would have to be drunk slowly.

I haven't really had a bourbon barrel-aged beer before, and I guess the bourbon flavor was a bit more than I was expecting. It seemed to overshadow the actual "beer" aspect rather than complement it. It was still quite enjoyable, but this "flaw" keeps it from competing with the upper echelon of the style. Recommended, especially for fans of bourbon barrel-aged beers.

Photo of brantadid
3.68/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured black with no light passing through. Wonderful tan, frothy head which diminished to nice lacing.

Not much in the nose. Smells like dark chocolate and tar.

Tastes of burned malt, but that could be the oak. Really reminds me of a cabernet sauvignon or a zin. Lots of dark fruit and some blueberry. A lot going on in this beer.

Lower carbonation makes for a very drinkable beer with a nice silky mouthfeel.

I will be searching this beer out again.

Photo of panamabchc
3.7/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Served in a snifter glass. Poured nicely with a thick brownish head almost resembling the crema of an expresso. Nice aromas, coffee,dark berries. Extremely smooth , you can definelty pick up on the oak, it smooths out the flavor. Left a bit of a tart taste on the pallet perhaps from the oak. Over all good brew would drink again.

Photo of HugoGrim
4.13/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Jet black body with toffee head. As it pours I notice how syrupy this is.

Aroma is very rich and sweet. Right out of the bottle the smoky wood character is quite strong, but as it sits in the pint glass this becomes more subdued, and the sweet chocolate notes come forward. Smells like dark chocolate cake.

The flavor has a much more subtle wood flavor than many of the other wood aged beers I've tried, which I like very much. It is not over-stated at all. Bakers chocolate, alcohol is slightly noticeable, freshly cut wood.

Photo of NCSUdo
4.15/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Nice dark brown head. Opaque black body. Great looking head with bubble on top of bubble. Slowly dies down with some decent lacing through out.

S: Roasted, chocolate, malty sweetness, hints of some vanilla and licorice. Could begin to pick up on a little alocohol near the end of the glass.

T: Roasted finish. Chocolate and a slight coconut like hint. A little bitter in the finish with a slight hint of alcohol that is slightly warming. Really a nice sweetness up front. Bitter chocolate taste borders on coffee like.

M/D: Robust full body with a good amount of carbonation. A little sticky. Although alcohol is concealed fairly well, this is still a sipper. Not quite smooth enough for higher drinkability. 8% is definately felt if not tasted. Something that is best enjoyed on a cold night.

Photo of ByTor2112
4.05/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to Stu in PA for this one.Pours a very dark color, not jet black with a wee bit of very dark brown coming through.. A big head forms but quickly falls with zero lacing-light brown color.
Aroma- a whiff of alcohol, bready, woody,smells like bittersweet chocolate and cocoa powder.
Mouthfeel-Whoa! very aggressive, boozy with the dark and roasted malts coming secondary. Hops are in there somewhere but minimal compared to the very robust flavors of the malt. A little bit of a burnt taste or bitter tannic flavor-this is good! I CAN detect the oak flavors, they come with a vigorous froth on the palate. Not too oaky and they almost give a little essence of cabernet. Very different RIS than the others I've tasted and this is a great Stout.
Weyerbacher never disappoints. Cheers!

Photo of bjohnson
3.7/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a jet black with a one finger milk chocolate colored head. Bigger bubbles hug the outer rim with a smooth cloud like appearance in the middle. Looks soft and inviting. Sticky circle lacing forms down the glass. Vanilla soaked oak with a touch of booziness. Woody and earthy. Dark fruit notes that almost take on a tart like aroma. Booze becomes more apparent as it warms.

Vanilla and chocolate flavors. Bourbon soaked oak barrels really impart a nice flavor to this beer--they actually take over most of the subtle flavors that could potentially come out. Slight dark fruit notes with a touch of licorice round out the flavors. A bit thin on the palate with most of the flavors dropping off quickly leaving only the bourbon and fading vanilla notes legging it out to the finish. Quite smooth, however, with a soft and pleasing finish. I was looking for a bigger beer with a full bodied mouthfeel. RIS at 8%? That's the first interesting thing. Unfortunately this barely touches a medium body and is actually a tad watery in my opinion. Nice try by Weyerbacher, but I was expecting more for the price tag and the style.

Photo of GreenWBush
4.58/5  rDev +16.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

My introduction to this brewery came as a great find: a $4.99 bomber of this particular beer tucked away in a corner of my new local beershop. The appearance of this beer is much like the prototypical expected RIS or ADS, sturdy opaque “black”, with long lingering whirry head and dots and dashes of lace.

Nose is oaken and harmonius. Vinous silky smooth chocolate truffle. Tannin-laced red wine qualities. Hints of butterscotch. Inviting.

Taste hits soft as a feather with smooth rounded fruits; figs, raisins, currants. Creeps back further on tongue with woodsy English hops, vanilla, roast, silky buttered roast. Whiskey [bourbon] afterimage ever so slightly lingers.

This has to have one of the finest mouthfeels of a RIS I’ve experienced. Silky smooth and goes down painfully well. Bottle hits the recycling bin before I know it.

Impressed by my first Weyerbacher brew.

Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.55/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance: Pours an inky black body with a dark, tan-colored head that quickly fell to a thin ring of lace.

Smell: A redolent aroma vast in red wine qualities; dark chocolate, black pepper, alcohol, and tart, dark fruitiness.

Taste: For me, it's more evocative of a red wine than anything bourbon based. Unfortunately, any chocolaty or roasty stout qualities are thin and tend to meander, and that's if you can perceive them beneath the excessive oakiness. As the beer warms, the alcohol goes from being glaring to overkill.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied. Moderate carbonation. Somewhat watery texture.

Drinkability: For me, it fell short of the bold, though balanced deliciousness of some other Imperial Stouts. In fact, I preferred the simple, straight-up Old Heathen Stout.

*Vintage Update*

Let's see how its sister bottle turned out. The wine character has greatly diminished, now replaced with a vinous plum/prune combination. The oakiness has also declined, currently at a very nice level. There're malty tastes of roast and bittersweet chocolate, but they're not particularly strong and there's only a very, very minute amount of sweetness remaining. While it hasn't seen a betterment from a few years of quiet aging, it did hold up. But that's cellaring for you, it's a crapshoot.

Photo of BMoney575
3.1/5  rDev -21.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Sampled on 8-3-07

Pours almost black with blood-red edges. A big tan head sits on top, leaving clingy lacing.

Smell is sweet malt, with quite a bit of woodiness.

Taste is very sweet at first, not really anything in the middle, and huge oak in the finish. If you try hard, there's a little chocolate, anise, alcohol, and that's it. The alcohol really comes in as it warms.

Mouthfeel is decent, maybe a little too carbonated.

Drinkability is also so-so, there's just not much there.

Overall, a disappointment. Very sweet and plain, the only high point is the oak. And, if it's oak you're looking for, go for an oak-aged Yeti.

Photo of TheManiacalOne
4.63/5  rDev +17.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured from a 22oz. bottle into a mug glass.

A: The beer is a deep dark brown color with a large brown head that fades slowly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is of rich chocolate, roasted malts, coffee, some dark fruit and a little bit of alcohol.

T: The taste is very rich and is full of dark chocolate, roasted coffee, dark malts with a touch of fruit and the slightest alcohol burn. There’s a very mild hops presence that periodically peeks through the maltiness, but it’s certainly there. The after-taste is slightly sweet.

M: Very smooth with a little crispness (even though you don’t expect much from the style), heavy body, light-to-medium carbonation, sticky and dry finish.

D: Very tasty, goes down easily, a little filling, excellent representation of style, despite you being able to detect the alcohol a little bit more than you usually can in a beer for this style, the kick is decent but not as hard as some RIS’s can have. However, I would definitely consider this one a sipper rather than a pounder and a very good one at that. I enjoyed Old Heathen some time ago, but enjoyed this one more, a testament oak barrel aging at the brewery.

Photo of BlindPig
3.93/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Really thick dark mocha head on a pitch black body.
S- Nice size chocolate aroma along with hints of burnt grains, light notes of whiskey, hints of grass hops, and light hints of wood. Overall it doesn't have a very pronounced nose at all.
T- Chocolate, hints of coffee (at the start), grass hops that make for a bit dryer beer, hints of whiskey (wish there was a lot more in it though), and just a slight hint of vinalla. In the aftertaste you have warming from alcohol and coffee comes out a bit more. Lingering bitterness on the tip of tongue and a dry feel made from the malts and a little from the hops.
M- Full body with low/medium carbonation.
D- It is pretty good. I was hoping for a bit stronger beer in general (especially since it's barrel aged). Still a decent beer but wouldn't go crazy over it and I doubt it will stand out in the crowd a month down the road.

Heresy from Weyerbacher Brewing Co.
88 out of 100 based on 1,987 ratings.