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

2,062 Ratings
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,062
Reviews: 988
rAvg: 3.93
pDev: 12.21%
Wants: 99
Gots: 290 | FT: 16
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
to view all ratings, reviews and sorting options.
Ratings: 2,062 | Reviews: 988
Photo of far333
4.39/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served just below cellar temp in a crystal snifter. Brownish black with a light brown frothy head that settles quickly and leaves ringlets of lace and wiggly legs running up the sides of the glass.

Rich and inviting aroma of cocoa and dark coffee, some molasses and buttery vanilla.

Even flavor of rich coffee, some cocoa, hints of smoke and oak, molasses and darkly roasted malt. Finishes with a fine hop bite and some spiciness. ABV does not interfere.

Silky sultry mouthfeel, very smooth. Finishes a bit bubbly, tongue and cheeks slowly warm and begin to numb. Very drinkable, great sipper.

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

12 oz bottle poured into my snifter.

A- pours a very dark, deep red/brown hue. The color is almost black, but I can tell there's some red in it. Head is mocha colored, fizzy and fades immediately to a thin collar. Remarkably this one leaves traces of lacing all the way down the glass. Body is opaque and no light shines through.

S- Nose is very typical for an imperial stout. Dark chocolate malt and a hint of raisins can be detected as well as hints of oak. A hint of alcohol astringency can also be detected.

T-Mild flavor upfront with chocolate malt and a bit of roasted coffee flavor. The finish is smooth with dark chocolate flavors being the highlight and a hint of oak and roasted bitterness coming through at the end. Well balanced the whole way through. Some dark chocolate flavors and roasted notes linger.

M-Carbonation is medium and tingly and body weight is medium-heavy.

D- This is a nice, chocolaty RIS. The flavors aren't in your face and the ABV is almost undetectable. A very nice brew but not the most impressive I have had. Very similar to Old Heathen (which I have not had in awhile) and much harder to come by. I will probably have this again, but might go for Old Heathen instead because of its availability.

Photo of ph2001
3.68/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bottle in snifter

this one pours black, with thin layer of head that leaves quick. the smell i smild of booze and sweetness. the taste has a sweetness similar to that of bourbon. the alcohol is not noticeable however. it is creamy and drinkable.

Photo of brewnewbeer
4.17/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured this creation into my favorite into my favorite Guinness glass.

What jumps out at me for this beer is definitely, the smell. I get a huge chocolate sense with the bourbon bite shining through. Being a bourbon fan I was drawn to this beer in hopes that it would shine, and boy does it. Also a bit of vanilla bean and smoked malt comes out. I think the smoked malt is a result of the oak barrels, but no problem here, just a thought.

The appearance is black as night with an espresso-like head that dissipated quickly into a sheet across the top that resembled whipped milk taking on the espresso. Not much lacing at all. If anything small circles are present.

Taste is of chocolate, malts, a bit of vanilla bean that warms up nicely and oak woodiness that stays pretty much constant throughout. As this beer warmed up, the chocolate really came through nicely. There was not much chocolate but the alcohol lingered far after.

Mouth feel is smooth, velvety. The only part that may have scored lower than most was the mouth feel because of the strong oak.

At 8.0% ABV, the drinkability of this beer is high on my list because of the fact that this style of beer is smooth going down, this version of the style is quite tasty, and it is a wonderful addition to anything from a sit by the fire or Monday night football game.

At $6.49 for 26 oz., this was a deal and a definite buy again.

Photo of Bighuge
3.42/5  rDev -13%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Ap: 4.0 Oily black elixir. Creamy and thick crop of brown froth. No light gets through the body of this beer. Lacing is fairly substantial for an Imperial.

Ar: 4.5 Great aroma. Big and bold scents of milk chocolate. Plus all the other suspects: roasted malts, java, vanilla, anise oil, burnt malts. Yeah, I love smelling this one.

Tst: 3.0 Decent flavor, but doesn't seem quite big enough for the "Imperial" label. It tastes almost like an imperialized milk stout. It's got some of that milk sugar feel to it. Also burnt malt and black licorice. Some heat is realized on the palate even though this is a "paltry" 8% a/v. And some acridness as well. Too much black patent??

MF: 3.0 The carbonation level is just a little too prickly for the style and the body is not big and full enough. My belief is Imperial Stouts should damn near feel like Valvoline in the mouth...at least viscosity wise. And this isn't close.

DK: 3.0 This used to be aged in Bourbon Bbls, though I don't see anything to that effect on the label now. This is a nice smelling, but pretty average tasting stout.

Old Review from 4-1-05


Black beer with a thin brown head. Lacing is pretty good for an Imperial Stout. Decentaroma of wood, oak, vanilla, Jim Beam, highly kilned malts and chocolate. Flavor consists of milk chocolate, oak, bourbon alcohol, roasted malt tones and bitter coffee bean. Overall though, pretty light in flavor for a Bourbon Bbl Imp. Stout. The mouthfeel is a little too fizzy for the style. And a little too light in body. About medium or so.

All in all, I've seen what a Bourbon BBL Imp Stout can be (see Town Hall) and this falls way short of that level.

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

Pours a pitch black with a great caramel colored head that goes nowhere fast. Good lacing. Smell is fantastic. Lots of oak and vanilla character, sweet malts, maybe some bourbon, cream. Taste is very sweet, oaky, vanilla notes, not much roastiness in there but lots of malty sweetness. I tend to like my Impy stouts more bold but this is still very pleasant. Mouthfeel is very thick and viscous. Not too much carbonation, slick. Fairly drinkable.

Photo of SaCkErZ9
4.27/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22oz bottle into a snifter. This bottle is about three years old and has been kept in good condition all three years. Pours pitch black with a decent but somewhat wispy, charcoal grey colored head. A small amount of lacing with a nice, long, retention.

The aroma is where it is at with this one. I was looking for something bourbony today, since it is one of the first cool days here in the south, and that is what I got. Immediately it is oaky, bourbon, vanilla, slightly fruity, and a touch of booziness. If you are looking for a solid, barrel aged Impy, this one fits the bill to a T as far as aroma goes.

A little disappointed in the flavor of this one. There is definitely a pronounced bourbon feel to this one, but it is also kind of sweet. I would say syrupy or cloying, but it is on the sweeter side. Stick on the toungue and all over the mouth. A good dose of vanilla and plenty of booziness. The coffee malts make there way out of the shell in the aftertaste and finish. A little bit of prune juice jumps out as well.

If this wasnt as sweet, it would be near 5's in all categories. As it stands, it is still a very nice barrel aged beers. Perhaps this one isnt as sweet when consumed fresh; who knows. I plan to find out.

Photo of fitzy84
4.87/5  rDev +23.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Wow, this is a great Russian Imperial Stout. Appearance is jet black with a milk chocolate-colored head and some patchy lacing on the side. Aromas are wicked strong with a rich, milk chocolate smell wrapped in a woody/alcohol texture. Taste is really, really sweet. We are talking tons of chocolate, coffee, cocoa, sugars, vanilla, malt. Exceptional mouthfeel allows this to be really creamy; great desert-oriented drink. Overall, a great, great stout.

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

A- Pours a thick black with a slight brown tinge at the edges. The head quickly recedes to a thin ring, yet leaves spotty lacing down the side of the glass.

S- This beer has an incredibly malty aroma. Lots of caramel malt and roasty sweetness. Notes of rum, caramel, vanilla, and coffee all intertwine with the dark, sweet smells.

T- Based on the smell, I was afraid that it would be a little too sweet, but it was actually extremely well balanced. The coffee and vanilla come through very clearly, accented by a very rich malt and a sudden kick of hop bitterness.

M- Begins really sticky and smooth, but has a really nice effervescence and a crisp finish.

D- Although it isn't as big as a lot of other RIS's out there, the alcohol is exceptionally well-hidden and the body isn't too heavy for another.

Photo of DIM
4.07/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

a: This was perfectly black, no highlights. A violent pour produced a short lived two fingers of mocha head.

s: This has a big cherry nose. Milder notes of vanilla, molasses, bourbon, oak, and roasty chocolate. Not overpowering but enticing.

t: Roasty chocolate up front. The finish brings cherry flavors and a little vanilla bourbon.

m: Lush, creamy carbonation, but the body is a bit thin.

d: Weyerbacher does barrel aging right. It's subtle and serves to enhance rather than overwhelm. The problem is that Old Heathen is a very good but not great RIS. Still, this is well worth trying.

Photo of maximum12
4.34/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to marcpal for this bottle, which I've been hoarding since it arrived several months ago.

Heresy is black. Nice tan head. Smells divine, with a hot alcohol smell & a dark, earthy scent.

Taste is all over the place. Vanilla, oaky tree branch, a kick of alcohol, Three Musketeers Bar, all balanced nicely on top of one another. A lot more subtle than I thought it would be. Not the overwhelming kill-me-now taste of a top-shelf RIS, but something different. Subtle. I think I already said that.

Mouthfeel is a little heavy but Heresy is very drinkable for a high ABV RIS. Great beer. I hope when Weyerbacher hits Wisconsin in the coming weeks that this is among the gems that arrive.

Photo of ljbrisson
3.72/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours syrupy into a pint glass, with an inch of rough caramel brown head with moderate retention. A spiderweb of lacing sticks around for the drink. Aroma is of chocolate, roasted coffee, yet smells sweet with not much bitter undertone. Mouthfeel is thick and syrupy, although not as much as Stone's contribution to the style. Very slick and chewy, sticks with you after a sip. Carbonation surprises with its aggression. Taste is burnt oak, wood, chocolate, slight hint of roasted coffee beans, with a surprising hop character at the finish.

Drinkability is moderate; 8.0% ABV is pretty high, and this beer is really heavy, it fills you up. Overall, this is a good beer and I enjoyed it, but I don't know if I will revisit it.

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

Pours a smooth black oily color. Big bubbly tan head climbs on top and settles slowly.

Rich nose is full of molasses and sweetened condensed milk. Oak and vanilla soften the roasted grains.

Taste is rich with nice depth. Solid stout chocolaty dark malt is really enhanced by the oak character. Vanilla, wood, toasted grain, and sweet molasses. Finishes with a lingering oaky chocolate taste and a nice toasted bread grain flavor fading.
Feel has a nice smoothness without being overly rich. It takes a couple swallows to clean it off the palate.

Oak is nicely balanced, not too strong but nicely flavorful. An expectedly full flavorful beer with a nicely approachable character. Tasty and nicely sippable only impeded by abv.

Photo of hwwty4
3.93/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Thanks to Akorsak for this one.

Poured a 12oz bottle into my New Belgium globe glass. This beer pours some of the blackest liquid I've ever seen poured out of a glass bottle. Jet black with a 1 inch dark tan head. The aroma is chocolate, vanilla, cream and a bit of oak. The taste is huge up front, with chocolate malts dominating the profile but still leaving enough room for the caramel, vanilla and oak to come through also. The mouthfeel is surprisingly thin. I definitely thought that this beer would have a bit more body to it. The drinkability is still good. I actually think that I like Old Heathen just a bit better but I definitely wouldn't turn down another bottle.

Photo of d0ggnate
4/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Another Weyerbacher wonder. I've tried it once before, but will take this oppourtunity to rate it.

A: A rich, oil-like pour fills my glass quickly and finishes with a brown/tan layer of head.
S: Milk chocolate, caramel, smooth coffee aromas. Bitter chocolate notes also apparent.
T: Bitter chocolate and a bit of coffee come through first. Finished with a familiar milk chocolate creaminess.
M: Not a viscous as I would have guessed. Very smooth and flowing. Flavor is sharp, while this beer is pretty runny.
D: Tasty and rich, but not overpowering. I thought this might have been a bit "heavier," but it really gives way to an enjoyable and flavorful beer.

Photo of Gueuzedude
3.6/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

April 2004 Bottling (or there abouts); Sampled August 2008
A vigorous pour into my 25cl tulip glass produces both aromas of rum and bourbon as well as a four-finger thick, darkly brown stained, dark tan colored head. The beer is quite black though it will show a flash of color if held up directly to the light. Spicy, buttery, vanilla laden, Bourbon-like aromas definitely dominate the nose. The vanillin notes are perhaps the most dominant note here and are definitely enjoyable. This is as harshly alcoholic / boozy smelling as I would have expected and there is also a significant, lightly toasted coconut aroma here that becomes quite distinctive. There is perhaps a touch or toasty malt aromatic notes here, but the barrel clearly dominates the aroma, yet remains smooth enough that I don't find it objectionable. I wonder if the couple of years have helped to mellow this beer out.

The body is somewhat thin for an Imperial stout and has likely lost a bit of heft over the years. Malt flavors and alcohol combine to contribute a sweetness to this brew that is somewhat light. Spicy oak notes yield to buttery oak components that sit on top of vanilla flavors. The dark grain flavors are much more noticeable in the flavor and contribute a finish of espresso, some tart burnt flavors, chocolate notes (that pair well with the vanillin components), a dusty cocoa note and a touch of astringent burnt grain that contributes a touch of bitterness in the finish. Some flavors of roasted, dried figs and blackened rains help to round out things just a bit. As the beer warms up a touch of chalky malt becomes noticeable in the finish, but only just.

Definitely dominated by the Bourbon barrel aging, but it keeps from being harsh (especially in the nose where it is quite smooth). Not bad and perhaps even a bit better than I was expecting.

Photo of OWSLEY069
4.1/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours jet black, with a dark tan head. In the aroma, roasty malt, oaky, and a small coffee presence. In the taste, big roasty malt, coffee, and a whiskey note. A smooth, big body mouthfeel, and a semi dry roasty malt aftertaste. A very smooth and big beer, and a nice coffee presence. Very nice.

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

A: Thin layer of khaki head on top of a dark black (just shy of inky) beer.

S: Dark vanilla scent over top of thick oaky smoke. Faint hint of dark cocoa underneath.

T: Notes of weak coffee, brown sugar, cocoa and vanilla extract. Wonderful complexity in there.

M: Thick and creamy with a very smooth finish. Fine carbonation cuts through the sweet malts.

D: A good after-dinner drink, but not something I'd want most times of day. Just a bit to sweet and heavy to drink other parts of the day. However, it's a nice example of oaked IS.

Photo of EddieSTL
4.55/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A - Very good. Jet black.
S - Very good. Vanilla, butterscotch, some oak, no hops detected.
T - Very good. Roast character present, not overwhelming. Blends well with the vanilla/butterscotch flavors.
M - Great. Full, silky.
D - Very good. Slight alcohol, smooth bitterness, slightly sweet.

Overall a great beer, drinkable especially w/ desert. Recommended!

Photo of largadeer
3.66/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Dark opaque brown with a tan head that lasted for a few minutes.

Smell: Tart dark fruit, dark chocolate, raisin, oatmeal, iron. Mellow barrel character, a bit of soy sauce oxidation.

Taste & mouthfeel: Semi-sweet with dark chocolate and oatmeal raisin cookie. A dash of vanilla and dark fruit. This is fairly viscous for being 8%. Dry, mildly oaky finish with a firm but smooth bitterness.

Overall: Somewhat weak nose, but the palate is good. Not exceptional by any stretch, but enjoyable.

Photo of jbphoto88
4.6/5  rDev +17%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

What a treat, the first time I bought this the bottle broke on my flight back home. This one was shipped from a friend who felt my pain and showered pity upon me.

Poured from a 22oz bottle into a mug. The brew is jet black with no light passing through. It looks viscus, interesting and almost begs me to drink it. There is a dark khaki, thick creamy head that rises a full 2 inches above the beverage and coats everything it touches. I practice restraint and just settle for smelling it... for now.

The nose is just short of exceptional. It is of dark roasted malts, heavy dark chocolates and dark roasted coffee. Anyone see a dark pattern here?

The taste is exceptional. Smooth and creamy with a initial malt pop to the tongue. Sweetened dark chocolate eclipses any java flavors that might have been present in the scent. Very robust full flavors that are very distinct. The only thing subtle is in the aftertaste. There is a light organic, smoked woody flavor that reminds me of scotch. It has to be the oak aging process which is nice. Its not over powering just a gentle touch or layer of extra flavor.

Amazing mouthfeel. This beer is smooth and easy to drink. A perfect balance of flavor and carbonation. I could drink this forever and the the only thing stopping me from giving it perfect scores is the moderate hop profile. I think it could use a little more bite from some hops. A dazzling beverage and a must try.

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

A - Pitch black liquid with thick, creamy head of dark foam.

S - Lots of roast and wine, cocoa, some fruit. Oak/woodiness.

T - Sweet with strong dark fruitiness and coffee. Somewhat medicinal. Quite malty, and lots of toastiness and a sharp oaky bite. Some hops bring up the back end, but mostly a malt-dominated beer.

M - Chewy like toffee. Lower than expected astringency.

D - Quite drinkable for a large beer. Avoids being too heavy despite the mouthfeel. Flavours are good, but no super strong.

Photo of russpowell
4.37/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Got this from melbatoast93, Cheers Hart!

Pours an ebony tinged mahogany with a pinky of mocha colored head. Above average head retention & lacing

S: Coffee, roasted & charred grain

T: Roasted grain, cocoa, bourbon & vanilla up front. Coffee, dryness & boozed-up baker's chocolate as this warms. Finishes dry with chocolate, vanilla, booze, a bit more richness & little less booze, & you have a 5.0 here

MF: Medium bodied to chewy, oily, very sticky with a bit of carbonation, rich

Drinks great for the style & delivers a boatload of flavor for the ABV! Another winner from Weyerbacher!

Photo of bkilpatr
3.56/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 22 oz bottle into a pint glass. 07/07/08.

Pours pitch black with a large three finger creamy brown head. The head dissipated slowly leaving some nice lacing behind. The aroma is heavily chocolate and roasted malt, with a lot of sour whiskey and slight cherry also.

Taste starts with a lot of creamy chocolate and slightly sweet malt, with a hint of vanilla. Finishes with lots of roasted malt and bitter dark chocolate. Within all of this is a solid oak and alcohol/whiskey flavor. There is also a slight metallic taste that I get every few sips, not sure where it comes from. If the metallic taste were gone, the taste score would be at least half a point higher.

The feel is a lot better than the non-oaked version. The body is a lot fuller and the carbonation is lower. It's still a bit on the thin side, but the feel is much improved. Drinkability is still good, due to it's slight thinness.

Pretty good for an oak-aged stout. Much better than the non-oaked version.

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

Black in color with a creamy brown head. Aroma consists of chocolate, coffee, roasted malt and there's also some vinous notes to it. Full-bodied mouthfeel. Roasted malt and chocolate upfront. Vanilla oakiness follows with hints of creamed coffee toward the back. This is very smooth for an Imperial stout.

to view all ratings, reviews and sorting options.
Heresy from Weyerbacher Brewing Co.
88 out of 100 based on 2,062 ratings.