Heresy - Weyerbacher Brewing Co.

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very good

1,988 Ratings
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,988
Reviews: 968
rAvg: 3.93
pDev: 12.21%
Wants: 96
Gots: 250 | 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: 1,988 | Reviews: 968 | Display Reviews Only:
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.

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

Recieved this 22oz bottle as part of the Summer Sipper 2007 BIF. Pours a pitch black color, thick brown head that settles fairly quickly. Has somewhat of a grape aroma when poured cold, but as it warms to the proper temp, taste and aroma of coffee, baker's chocolate, possibly even tobacco become apparent, was expecting more oak-aged taste, but it is hidden somewhat behing the other flavors. Mouthfeel is just south of full bodied, nice and silky smooth. Drinkability is incredibly good. I don't recall having a "russian imperial stout before", I expected it to be alot harsher. I love being pleasantly surprised by a beer. Very good indeed.

Photo of jmalex
3.6/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I'm usually not a big fan of Weyerbacher, but I couldn't pass this up when I saw it for a good price. I mean, an oak aged Russian Imperial Stout is ALWAYS worth a try.

APPEARANCE: Poured into a snifter black, Black, BLACK. A one finger latte tan head formed on top and dropped to a thick collar and thin bubbly skin across most of the surface. Lacing is present but only in few amounts.

SMELL: The aroma is not what I expected. It's vinous with bourbon and red wine notes coming through quite prominently. Some caramel and chocolate aromas are there as well, but are much more subtle.

TASTE: Taste is more like what you'd expect from a RIS. Huge roasted flavor along with bittersweet chocolate. Notes of red wine are still present in the taste. Hop flavor shows itself only very briefly before transitioning to a very clean finish.

MOUTHFEEL: Not as chewy as I expected but still has a bit of a thickness to it. It's a bit syrupy, but extremely smooth. Carbonation level is perfect.

DRINKABILITY: Heresy is an extremely smooth beer and goes down easy. Though "only" 8%, alcohol is not apparent in the form of heat, but seems like it's there because of the vinous quality of it.

A good but not great beer. I'm really on the fence about whether this will be a repeat buy or not. I suppose if I see an inexpensive one, again, I won't be able to resist an oak-aged Russian Imperial Stout.

Photo of DaveFL1976
3.8/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

Heresy, Werbacher
Pours with a pitch black body and a thick tan head. The head settles down over the course of a few minutes but it never does disappear.
The smell is big, dry, and coffee-like. I suppose it’s as if you ground up some 90% coca with some nice coffee beans, and then dumped them into a good stout. There’s plenty of flavors going on here, and all of them are good.
The taste is full. There’s a lot of beer in this beer. It’s obvious that there’s a huge malt backbone, but the dryness of the roasted barley presents a bit of acidity on the back of the tongue that I wasn’t looking for. Nice hop balance, though; no doubt about that.
Mouthfeel is absolutely fantastic! Smooth, creamy, and chocolate pudding-like. Beautiful.
Drinkability is good, but is inhibited by that dryness at the end of the palate.
A: 4.5
S: 4.0
T: 3.5
M: 5.0
D: 3.5

Photo of Wasatch
4.38/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks goes out to BAs akorsak and MuenchenerKindl for the brew's.

Pours a nice clean black color, nice carbonation, small creamy tannish head, no sticky lacing at all though. The nose is malty, roasted, vanilla, oaky, toffee, and caramel. The taste is very nice consisting of roasted malts, some vanilla, nice oaky flavor, toffee/caramel. Medium body. Very drinkable, this is a outstanding RIS, highly recommended.

Photo of bort11
4.18/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

received one from Audiohero in trade and one from unclejedi for the BA Anniversary Bomber BIF.

22 os bottle poured into an imperial pint glass. Very tall head for an RIS, 2 1/2 to 3 fingers tall with some moderate legs. Lacing was not too sticky, but did create a coating for the glass with each sip.
Smell had a mild vanilla/chocolate sweetness. Mixed in was a dry cocoa powder. Taste follows smell, but then pops a little with the oaky woodiness.
Mouthfeel has a nice medium/full body. A little more on the thick side, which is something I like in an RIS. I really enjoyed this beer, another good one from Weyerbacher

Photo of wcudwight
3.98/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pitch black with a large tan head that holds well. Lace is sparse, but what is there, holds and sticks to the glass well.
Rich dark chocolate covered cherries and of course bourbon in the aroma. In fact there is much more boubon in the smell than I expected.
Strong chocolate flavor with lot's of bourbon flavor. Reminds me of those chocolates that have the liquer in them. Slightly bitter finish.
Mouthfeel is good, but a bit light for the style and the flavor profile.
This is a good beer. Are there better out there? Sure, but this one is worth your time and your dollar.

Photo of Absumaster
4.65/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This beer comes very close to being perfect, I don't give 5's easily, but every sip of this beer was pure bliss! Thanks to jasonm for this fantastic beer.

A pitch black beer with some rube hues and a stable, creamy head.

Smell was dark and complex, some muted burned smells, chocolate and powdery cacoa. There is a woody smell, reminds me of fresh pallet wood, piney. There is also a 'boozy' smell that is somewhat tart and has a slight winey smell. Also some alcoholic smell which is just a little sharp.

Taste of chocolate with powdery cacao. There is a light roast and burned taste, which is way less than an 'ordinairy' stout, also less sharp maltbitter. The oak-aging gives the beer a woody, dark timberwoody taste and adds to the beers complexity and depth. The beer's mouthfeel is warming and sticky, with the fine carbonation, this beer is velvet smooth. The alcohol is warm and feels just a tad sharp at the back of my tongue. Drinkability is as good as it gets for a beer of this size.

One of the best beers I have come across in the last years!

Photo of flexabull
4.05/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a dark flat black color with a big chunky tan head.

Aromas are nice, chocolate, roasted malts, coffee, and oak are all noted on the complex nose.

Taste is of slightly burnt coffee, some bitter chocolate, and creamy malts. Finish is a bit biting and tart, some bitterness as well as some oak notes.

Mouthfeel is pretty good. Maybe a bit too thin for the style.

All in all, a nice RIS. Quite drinkable, and with some good flavors. Not overly big and overpowering... just smooth and tasty.

Thanks for sending this mikesgroove!

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

Poured into a pint glass.
Appearance: Pours near pitch black with head that quickly recedes.
Smell: Malty base with bourbon present.
Taste: The oak is very noticeable IMO, lending a bourbon-like twist to the malt. Quite complex, though the myriad tastes don't quite mesh in harmony. Notes of raisin, fig also in the background. Alcohol warmth present.
Mouthfeel: a tad light for a RIS, alcohol warmth bites on the tongue.
Drinkability: Considering the moderate alcohol and complex taste-a good dinner sipper, paired well with beef.
Overall: These bottles were purchased 2 years ago. They have since mellowed a bit (I would have rated it a bit lower then) and are a bit more harmonious on the palate. Let's let another bottle rest for another year...A complex and interesting RIS.

Photo of wagenvolks
3.95/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22 oz. bomber into a sippy-cup (aka beer tasting glass brought home from the raleigh world beer fest)

Out bounces a deep-brown bodied stout with less viscosity than one might expect for a RIS. A dark beige head capped the glass and was retained well, but left little lacing. The aroma was the highlight of this beer, and it hit me with a strong, dark chocolate paired with fruity nuiances such as plum, raisin, and tart. The oak-aging provided a nice acidic backdrop.

The oak really showed up on the taste, giving the stout some beefy, merlot-style notes. The acidity and sugar were a bit on the heavy side, but its chocolate and coffee notes supplied a tasty balance to the flavor. Reminded me of a dessert-style port wine without the high alcohol and sweentess. Mouthfeel was thin and juicy, not what I was expecting from a RIS, but still good. All in all, a tasty, intriguing beer from the Easton, PA crew. Give it a shot.

Photo of John_M
4.03/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I figured Weyerbacher would probably do a pretty good job with this style of beer, and sure enough they make a very good RIS.

Pours an impressive dark color, with decent foam retention and fairly good lacing. On the nose I get a lot of coffee and chocalate, with a touch of sweet vanilla. On the palate this is a very nice beer indeed. It is not particularly heavy or intense, but with nice soft, smooth, sweet chocolate/coffee flavors. Although sweet, there is just a hint of dryness on the mid palate, which makes this beer all the more drinkable. On the impressive finish, I even pick up a trace of cherry along with the chocolate and coffee. The beer is surprisingly drinkable, and I have to say I appreciate the fact the abv. is "only" 8%. With an abv. like that, I might even be able to have a second glass. A winner from Weyerbacher.

Photo of ZimZamZoom
4.08/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours black as black can be, with a real thick and creamy dark tan head. The head stays put a long time, and leaves a nice lacing on the glass.

Oak is in the aroma along with some roasted dark malt, dark fruit, and coffee. The smell is rich and bold but at the same time delicate. If you told yourself you were smelling a fine oak Chardonnay you could almost believe it.

This is a real complex Imperial stout. You can taste the oak, with smooth creamy chocolate and coffee, followed by some hop bitterness and an alcohol finish.

Heresy is medium bodied, thick and creamy in the mouth, surprisingly easy going down. A nice sipper on a cool night.

Photo of prototypic
3.43/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Appearance: Pours a dark, dark brown color with a one and a half finger creamy, tan head. Very good retention and lacing.

Smell: Mostly it smells of a nice blend of espresso and dark chocolate with a twist of bourbon. Slight hints of wood chips. Nice malty presence.

Taste: Coffee and dark chocolate flavors are readily apparent. Definitely has a bourbon-esque taste. Alcohol taste is definitely noticeable and provides a slight burn.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability: It's light bodied. But, due to the abv and the noticeable alcohol taste, I think drinkability is limited. One bomber is enough for me in one sitting. Overall, it's okay. Worth a try. But, there are much better imperial stouts on the market.

Photo of mobius024
3.43/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

I can't really say anything too bad about this beer, in fact it's not unpleasant. But it tends in taste and mouth feel to remind me more of a strong double IPA, than an IRS. You get the drift. It lacks that big beer ballsiness that sings siren songs to the IRS lover. It has lighter hopiness, not very bitter, what happened to the coffee, where is the chocolate, mouth feel not chewy. Let me reiterate: it is not a bad beer, just a weak IRS ...

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

Pours black with a chocolatey milk brown head. Roasted chocolate and coffee come through predominantly in the nose. Hints of oak soaked with bourbon and a mild candy sugar sweetness round it out.

Roasted chocolate and coffee dominate the beginning of the mouth with a sharp spike of sugary sweetness in the middle, but towards the end it's eased into a gentle corny bourbon flavor. I'm gonna guess and say Jim Beam barrels because it's just too familiar. Woody dryness is left on the tongue. This one really evolves over the palette.

Mouthfeel is appropriate for an 8% stout. It doesn't match the motor oil appearance, but is light enough to remain drinkable without being filling. Would pair well with food. Nice carbonation and milky cream body. The oak smoothed this one out. Not a bad buy.

Photo of rohrbachsfan
4.5/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

After previously enjoying Weyerbacher’s Old Heathen Imperial Stout, I had to give the oak barrel aged version a try.

Appearance: Poured extremely dark brown (almost black) with a thick tan head.

Smell: Roasted malt, vanilla, and alcohol.

Taste: Strong roasted chocolate malt flavor balanced with the taste of bourbon and vanillin from the oak barrel. A strong, but pleasant, alcohol taste is present (seemed higher than 8% ABV). Little or no hops flavor (the way I like it).

Mouthfeel: Creamy with smooth warming finish.

Drinkability: This was the third bourbon barrel aged beer that I have tasted (previously tasted Winter's Bourbon Cask Ale, which was so-so, and Allagash Curieux, which was very nice and unique) and in my opinion of the three, the stout balanced best with the bourbon barrel aging flavors. I really loved it (it’s Old Heathen kicked up a notch) and will buy this again.

Photo of BlastTyrant
4.3/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Pours black with a thick brown head. Aroma is whiskey, vanilla, oak, which gives this beer an aroma reminiscent of Bailey’s Irish Cream (yeah, it surprised me too). This brew is definitely different. If you like whiskey, you’re likely to like this. It has a nice sour tang as well, which serves, oddly enough, to mellow and blend the finish. Not as hoppy or heavily bodied as most Imperial Stouts, but a very good and unique brew nonetheless. Nice!

Photo of psinderson
3.95/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. bottle poured into pint glass.

Appearance: Dark, dark brown with thick caramel head that lasts forever. Very nice.

Smell: Sweet, almost candy-like with some spicy molasses.

Taste: Great complexity. Sweet, molasses, coffee all wonderfully mixed. A cocoa background.

Mouthfeel: A bit thinner than expected, but not bad.

Drinkability: Too complex to go down fast. But good for a RIS.

Photo of IntriqKen
4.93/5  rDev +25.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pretty dark amber...almost black.
Two fingers of a milk chocolate colored head melts to a sticky lace with a quarter of an inch left on top.

Smells like coffee and chocolate...chocolate and coffee....followed with a bit of the oak barrel and bourbon.

Tastes like it and chocolate and bourbon LOVE the bourbon tastes in it. Lots of sweet vanilla comes through from the oak barrels as well. More vanilla than I've experienced before in a beer. Love it all.

This is an incredibly balanced Oaked Imperial Stout. Nothing overpowers...everything just plays against each other and then finishes clean in the mouth.

Love it.

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

This beer is really interesting and great for someone who wants to see how much a burbon barrel can transform a beer. It has a great vanilla, nut-oak aroma. Pours thick and screams complexity. I chilled it a bit to much but let it warm up in my brandy glass a little longer after my first sip. The body is great and mouthfeel was perfect for a beer of this magnitude. I could drink about tow per session, but after that the ABV gets in the way not the taste. Try one is you have a chance and like big beers.

Photo of 51mmz0rz
4.5/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bomber poured into a 0.5L Duvel tulip.

A: Huge creamy dark coffee colored head. It takes it time and leave lacing down the glass. Body is absolutely black.

S: Typical sweet coffee and chocolate, and a nice vanilla fruit in the background.

T: Taste the malts and some alcohol up front. Can taste the vanilla flavor from the barrels on the finish. A good amount of sweetness, and not much hop balance, but it doesn't bother me.

M: Creamy, filling, pretty thick. Good carbonation, not too much.

D: Leaves the palliate pretty clean. Can't find much to complain about here.

I love big malty beers, especially RISes and this was no exception.

Photo of brewcrew76
4.05/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Pours a deep black with a 3 finger bubbly tan head.

S - Bourbon, vanilla, oak, roasted malt, chocolate and toffee. Smells just like my homebrewed bourbon porter (heavy on the bourbon).

T - Bourbon and vanilla up front and then you get slammed in the face with a wet, woody, oak taste that is a little overbearing (this taste settles down as the beer warms). Caramel and roasted malt appear in the background and then the aftertaste that lingers is back to bourbon and vanilla.

M - Medium bodied but highly carbonated that creates a bubbly, full, biting sensation on the tongue that does not flow very well with the beer.

D - This beer would be fabulous with better carbonation. Bourbon lovers dream though with very complex bourbon notes mixed in. I enjoyed it.

Photo of khiasmus
4.05/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

A- Almost black with light tan head that dies down to a ring and leaves little lacing.

S- Wonderful. Dates, raisins, dried plum, molasses, oak, roastiness, anise, graininess. No hop aroma, no alcohol aroma, surprisingly. Very complex and smells soooo alluring...

T- Thick and sweet flavor. Heavy. Dark. Don't know how to describe it in flavor terms, only in density terms. Many of the flavors are the same as the aromas listed... has some cocoa and some mild hops in the finish, and a small amount of acohol, just for good measure. Aftertaste is the same as the taste, and lasts forever.

M- Thick, syrupy, low carbonation, but not overpowering or disappointingly flat. Smooth and satisfying with a long, smooth finish.

D- A whole bottle would be easy to drink. This is probably the only imperial stout I could drink a lot of... but it's not thin. Just really good.

Photo of wingman14
2.95/5  rDev -24.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Pours jet black with a dark tan head that stays for a bit. The smell is very sweet with a strong dose of hard liquor. The taste is very similar, sweet up front, alcohol going down that over powers the beer. This one isn't very high in ABV (for an Imperial), yet the flavor reveals so much in the taste, probably because they are aged in bourbon barrels. The mouthfeel is ok, it was hard to get past the flavor. I don't like that I bought this in a growler, the description was deceiving, I can't see having more than one of these. Check it out if you really like the Imperials.

Heresy from Weyerbacher Brewing Co.
88 out of 100 based on 1,988 ratings.