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Heresy - Weyerbacher Brewing Co.

Not Rated.

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

1,855 Ratings
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,855
Reviews: 956
rAvg: 3.95
pDev: 11.9%
Wants: 86
Gots: 224 | FT: 12
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: 1,855 | Reviews: 956 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of foamer


3.08/5  rDev -22%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

22 oz bomber brought back from Richmond, VA.

Pours an absolute pitch black with a nice tan head that diminishes to a ring a bubbles along the edge of the glass. Strong notes of coffee in the nose backed up by some unsweetened chocolate. Some licorice hints, but the chocolate and the coffee notes dominate. The chocolate, coffee and licorice hints come through in the initial taste, but it's a little rough. A rather harshly alcoholic warmth comes through next, which isn't terribly pleasant, before the lingering bitter finish. The hints of oak come through in the finish, but they are subtle. Moderately heavy mouthfeel with minimal carbonation. This beer might perhaps benefit from some aging. It seems rather harsh. Perhaps I might buy another and cellar it for a while. Right now, I'm not terribly impressed.

As the beer warms a bit, I get more and more of a buttery flavour. This beer has less and less to recommend it as I drink. Still going to slog through the bomber though.

Serving type: bottle

08-14-2005 01:43:35 | More by foamer
Photo of Px2GrafX


4.25/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

presentation: 22oz bottle with a blue black and white label on the front. there is lightning in the background of the label and weyerbacher heresy is written across the lightning. "imperial stout aged in oak barrels" is presented on the label. there is no bottling date or abv displayed.

appearance: pours a thick midnight black with a fairly dark brown head in a snifter. no light penetrates anywhere. looks almost as good as it smells. good tight head retention.

smell: burnt wood, chocolate and alcohol from my first whiff. sweet caramelly vanilla as well. some esters and raisins too. excellent aroma.

taste: sweet and more chocolate. vinous wood and alcohol aftertaste. not enough bitters to balance in my opinion. bourbon flavors and burnt woodiness becomes a little annoying. oak barrel stouts aren't my favorite, but if this is your thing, i'd say it's excellent.

mouthfeel: medium body, but a little light for my liking. swallow is smooth and carbonation is light. overall, pretty good for an impy stout.

drinkability: very drinkable dispite some of the flavors in the finish becoming a hinderance. i still find myself yearning for the next sip. alcohol isn't bad, but then sneaks up on you. i'm surprised it's only 8%.

overall: pretty good ris. better oak barrel stout (in my experience) than dominion's but not quite as good a ris as north coast's rasputin. gets a thumbs up from me.

update: it's now about 20mins. after first reviewing this beer and i'm shocked that it's only 8%abv. drinkers beware!

Serving type: bottle

08-09-2005 01:26:43 | More by Px2GrafX
Photo of GCBrewingCo

North Carolina

3.13/5  rDev -20.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

The beer poured into the glass pitch black like motor oil with a tan and frothy head which rose tall and fell slowly to coat the glass in a tan foam.

The aroma was strong, strong diacetyl (churned butter) with a nice oak character and a low fruitiness. The stout did not have a strong characteristic of roasted or coffee or chococolate, mainly butter and oak.

The flavor was fairly bland with oak and butter as the most prevalent flavors. The oak was well done, but the butter was Land-O-Lakes in a bottle. Some very slight dark fruit characteristics, some alcohol, but zero complexity and no stoutlike characteristics to note in the flavor. Perhaps a slight coffee and chocolate, but only slight.

The finish was even with a slightly lasting roasty (finally) and a bit of buttery slickness into the afteraste. The body was full, but not viscous as expected. Not awful, but nothing worth trying or seeking out. Skip it.

22 ounce bottle.

Serving type: bottle

08-05-2005 22:35:10 | More by GCBrewingCo
Photo of battlekow


4.43/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours an inky, opaque black with a nice, chocolate brown head. Very nice lacing. It smells of cream cheese icing, like you'd find on spice cake, and rum--sweetly alcoholic. Taste is the same, rummy but delicious. It's like drinking dessert. Usually, I consider it a negative when the alcohol in a beer is as apparent as it is in Heresy, but here it works. This would be an absolutely perfect after-dinner sipper, but it's certainly not limited to that role. You could down this pretty quickly if you wished--it's smooth enough.

Many thanks to Brewfan for sending me the best stout I've had in recent memory

Serving type: bottle

08-05-2005 08:20:35 | More by battlekow
Photo of mntlover


3.48/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a black, dark hardly any light coming thru just on the edges, a deep tan head falls to a ring some lacing left behind.

Aroma is roasted malt hints of coco when first poured fades soon, coffee and vanilla take over with vanilla from the oak dominating. Some citrus hops also noted in the smell.

Taste is roasted malt strong vanilla light coffee flavors with a lingering alcohol presence. Some burnt smokey flavors also. Finish is kind of watery some alcohol notes hardly any hops. Don't know whats up with this one was expecting bliss after Insanity but all I get is mediocrity.

Mouthfeel is a little lighter then it should be but the lightly watery type finish in a Impy Stout is a no no.

Drinkability is well try it hell have to try them all. For me this one looks good, even the aroma while not the best suggests better. Wouldn't buy this again or recommend expect for sampling a new brew.

Serving type: bottle

08-04-2005 20:01:00 | More by mntlover
Photo of Beervis

Ontario (Canada)

3.73/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

22oz bottle with no date at all.

Pours a pitch black with thin tan head.

Smell is of coffee, caramel, alcohol spiciness, and faint vanilla.

Taste is dark roast coffee with a fantastic oaky vanilla flavour. Mouthfeel is medium, but it has a watery thinness that wasn't expected. Hops aren't really up-front, but they are definitely there to balance it out. Finishes very dry with a bit of alcohol warmth.

The is definitely drinkable, but it expected the oak aging to add a little more to it. A great brew nonetheless.

Serving type: bottle

07-18-2005 16:04:20 | More by Beervis
Photo of jdhilt

New Hampshire

3.78/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a one-finger brown head that fades slowly but doesn't leave much lace. Totally black color. Light carbonation and very heavy bodied. Nose is roasted coffee. Starts sweet but with a burnt coffee flavor, smooth finish. $5.85 for a 22 oz bottle from Colonial Spirits Acton, Ma

Serving type: bottle

07-16-2005 22:52:36 | More by jdhilt
Photo of kegerator


4/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

decent for an imperial.
pours black naturally, with a small 1/2 inch head that is slightly fizzy and does not stick around too long. It leaves some lacing behind though.
smell was big vanilla and oak, with hints of coffee and bitter chocolate. Taste was vanilla/oak that finishes with a chocolaty coffee light bitterness.
It finishes sweet and smooth but quite thin for an imperial I thought. Not bad but not great.

Serving type: bottle

07-11-2005 11:51:44 | More by kegerator
Photo of NeroFiddled


4.8/5  rDev +21.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

From a 22 oz bottle.... slightly aged.

Heresy may very well be my favorite brew from Weyerbacher!!! The oak aging adds notes of bourbon, vanilla, wood, and vinous fruit to an already excellent Imperial Stout.

It pours an opaque body with a thin glint of mahogany at the base of the glass. The head starts as a two-fingered head of frothy dark tan foam that drops quickly to a creamy 1/4" surface covering, and then dissolves to a razor thin surface covering, leaving little more than spotty lace abot the glass.

The nose offers toasted chocolate; a berry-like yeasty fruitiness; vanilla; oak; cherries; vinous fruit; coconut; and some alcohol.

The body is medium-full, and it's silky smooth in the mouth with a low-level, very fine and natural carbonation from bottle conditioning that gently caresses the tongue before sliding silkily away.

The flavor delivers dark fruits and a touch of bourbon floating atop a dark malt and bittersweet chocolate maltiness. It has a soft roasted edge to it, and it's backed by a bold bitterness with some drying alcohol in the finish.

It finishes fairly short considering the drama that takes place in the mouth; with some residual vinous characeristics, milk chocolate, a light touch of mocha java, and some mild, lingering bitterness.

There are clear variations in this beer, maybe coming from barrel to barrel or batch to batch; but they just lend it that much more charm. Some bottles are more chocolatey, and some offer more vinous fruit. Some have more alcohol, and some have more wood.... it's all good! This is a really pleasant, easy to drink, very rich, and satiating brew that deserves far more mention than it gets! KUDOS!

Serving type: bottle

07-08-2005 00:54:46 | More by NeroFiddled
Photo of cracgor


4.13/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Dark velvety black color. Small dark tan head forms and quickly becomes a small collar. Not a very heady beer. Kind of disappointing, but the black color of the beer is so seductive.

Smell: coffee-like roasted malt flavor. A fruity background and minimally oaky or resiny flavor. A little nutty but not as complex as I might like.

Mouthfeel: very full bodied and a bit alcoholic-but without the taste.

Drinkability: Very good. I wouldn't mind it at all, I just like some others much more. I can't really taste any great flavor created by the oak aging.

Serving type: bottle

06-30-2005 00:11:06 | More by cracgor
Photo of beermanbrian


4.03/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Black color with a foamy tan head that leaves a nice lacing on the glass. Smell is vanilla, and the bourbon from the oak barrels. Some roasted malt smell that comes out more in the taste. A little more hops bitterness on the aftertaste than you would expect. Very creamy heavy mouthfeel. The alchohol is a little too prominent for my taste. A very interesting beer that i would recomend is worth a try but not something i will seek out on a regular basis.

Serving type: bottle

06-28-2005 12:35:12 | More by beermanbrian
Photo of mentor


3.95/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2004 issue that was aged in my cellar for a year and consumed in June 2005. Pours a three-finger brown head of fluffy tiny bubbles. Pitch black liquid that is very very dark brown when held to light. Smells alcohol, dry grass, ashtray with hints of licorice and cumin. Hmmm...not very enticing. Yes, there's sweet malt and roast grains, but these other smells were quite noticable. Fortunately, it tastes quite good. Starts sweet with caramel and coffee, then a tang that could be black patent. Not a cherry sour like I know black patent can add to a beer, it's much smoother. Licorice was strong and chocolate was mild. Roast is present as a noticable base, not as a flavor that rises and falls. There is a nice caramel and toffee that sort of blends everything together. It tastes like that German candy Haribo Color-rado (it's a chocolate covered licorice). Thick mouthfeel and mildly carbonated.

Serving type: bottle

06-25-2005 22:35:06 | More by mentor
Photo of GClarkage


4.58/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

06/24/05- Received via trade with Santoslhalper.

Presentation- 12oz undated bottle poured into my Duvel tulip.

Appearance- Black with mohagany tint. Nice 1/2 inch head and average lacing.

Smell- One of the best stouts I have smelled. Smells more like a wine actually. Huge vanilla scent, with a splash of milk chocolate. A bit of oak as well. Some minor alcohol fumes that add to the delight of my nose.

Taste- This dude even tastes like a wine aged in oak. Well, add some chocolate, and some dark roasted malt. Big oaky vanilla flavor with maybe just a tad of smokeyness. Quite delicious.

Mouthfeel- Very full mouthfeel. One of the thicker imperials I have had. Very smooth and low to medium carbonation. Another I would pay anything, well if anything was less than $10 a pint to try on cask.

Serving type: bottle

06-24-2005 23:27:50 | More by GClarkage
Photo of shippos

New York

4.13/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

poured witha black body with a dark tan colored head.
buttery vanillian aroma, whiskey like but without the harsh hot alcohol...also note this has sat in my fridge since it's release (mmm when was that?) the oaky vanillian whiskey notes dominate the aroma. smooth creamy and mellowed mouthfeel with a lucious viscous body...the whiskey aging definetly mellowed this beer and added some wonderful character. not much imperial stout character left in it but it picked up the whiskey notes well and there is a bit of young bit left in the aroma reminiscent of the what this was aged in...definetly worth trying and might be worth getting again.

Serving type: bottle

06-17-2005 01:56:48 | More by shippos
Photo of MrSeth


4.22/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a deep dark brown color, opaque black at the center. Fully poured, it's black. A coffee-brown head forms and holds, not settling down right away. Even over a good span of time the retention is still remarkable, a ring of suds that runs out toward the center of the surface where lace swirls continuously.

The aromas jump right out at me with peachy, passion fruit and yeasty notes. The nose knows, and this imperial stout is already interesting. There seems to be a touch of musky wood in the background, but it is fairly subdued.

The taste is again very fruity at the start, along with more familiar coffeeish, toasty malt. Uber-ripe peach, musk, some tart flavors and an alcoholic undertone help to fill out an adequately carbonated mouthfeel.. taking over where the malt flavors trail off and adding depth and length to the stout. I don't recall having a stout that was this much fun (thoroughly enjoyable).. maybe a Guinness from a pristine tap.

Serving type: bottle

06-05-2005 17:24:03 | More by MrSeth
Photo of Phyl21ca

Quebec (Canada)

2.58/5  rDev -34.7%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Bottle (courtesy of Hopdog): Poured a pitch-black color ale with a huge dark brown head with average retention. Aroma is overpowered by whisky with small traces of vanilla that are still discernable. Taste is also overpowered by the whisky aging and leaves little place to the rest of the beer. I couldn’t find any chocolate/coffee taste that I usually like from Imperial Stout. Also, the warming alcohol feel really doesn’t do it for me. Full body and rally good carbonation, which is bit surprising from an Imperial Stout. Too bad I didn’t like that one and I probably should have started by the Old Heathen.

Serving type: bottle

06-02-2005 15:04:23 | More by Phyl21ca
Photo of Sycodrummer


4.13/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a black bomber into an imperial pint glass yeilding a 2.5 finger dark brown head; very think and frothy and it stuck to the glass with rings of lace the whole way down the glass. The beer itself was a deep dark black, with no light even near able to get thru. A beautiful looking beer.

Smell was of roasted malt, dark chocolate, strong coffee, and whiskey. Alcohol was also very detectable.

Taste was very alcoholic upfront. A little surprising, but the alcohol was the first thing I noticed when I sipped this beer. I know its 8% ABV but I've had other beers this high (and higher) where the alcohol was not the first taste detected. Roasted dark chocolate flavors and burnt coffee were also present. Distinct "charred" taste and some whisps of whiskey as well. Slight bitter bite to each sip, but nothing out of balance.

Rather thick on the palate with a chewy vicosity. Almost wine or whiskey like.

Very drinkable for the sample size, though it would be hard to have more than one in a sitting. Then again, there would be no need to. This a great beer to be enjoyed by sipping its complicated flavors and enjoy each one alone and as they blend with each other. Very well done, I'll be picking this up again very soon.

Serving type: bottle

06-01-2005 03:14:25 | More by Sycodrummer
Photo of silver0rlead

North Carolina

4.25/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours an opaque black with no light penetration and a frothy tan colored head that leaves nice lacing, a menacing looking stout. Smell is breathtaking, big cocoa aroma with hints of coffee, currant, vanilla, oak and alcohol, very intriguing. The taste begins with many shades of fine chocolate, coffee, vanilla, oak, a hint of diacetyl, and finishes dry, bitter and with a winey, alcoholic finish that warms. A very complex brew, the oak aging has really done this beer well. The mouthfeel is creamy and smooth with low carbonation but the drinkability is somewhat low because of the wine-like alcoholic finish.

Serving type: bottle

05-27-2005 04:56:45 | More by silver0rlead
Photo of guinnessman


3.75/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Very subtle chocolate tones. Almost an exact 2in of head. Appearance is good. Also subtle oak aromas. A smooth mouthfeel. Chocolate flavor, but with a twist; there is this interesting sweetness on the tip of my tongue, that oddly enough reminds me of a grape juice. This beer is very good; however all the flavors are very mild. Don't get me wrong this it this beers backbone! The mildness makes this beer that much more enjoyable. Best of all flavors are not too intense which makes this beer not only drinkable but also complex and well balanced.

Serving type: bottle

05-16-2005 03:57:25 | More by guinnessman
Photo of RedLion


4.6/5  rDev +16.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Exceptionally dark beer, with a taste I've never experienced before. The oak barrel aging brings flavors I've only tasted before in whiskies and wines. Very thick, black pour reminiscent of tar. Completely light proof! Not much head though.
I'm very happy with this beer. I'll definately buy this again, and try to copy it if I ever get my hands on oak barrels.
It's a great alternative to the morning cup o' coffee, but will cause mild stupidity if had on an empty stomach.

Serving type: bottle

04-19-2005 15:16:10 | More by RedLion
Photo of TinusTime


4.22/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours an opaque black with a nice head the colour of expresso froth. Aroma is of coffee, rich dark chocolate, vanilla, of course bourbon, and some wood notes. The taste is rich with chocolate and vanilla overtones. Not too sweet in fact finishes dryer than one would expect. The alcohol is noticable, but not overpowering. Mouthfeel is thick, but not overly so. A bit viscous, but with enough carbonation to compensate. Drinkability is good. I would definitly buy another and another. Its funny I hate Hate Hate bourbon, but every bourbon aged beer I try I love

Serving type: bottle

04-09-2005 04:31:47 | More by TinusTime
Photo of jdaelhousen


3.58/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Weyerbacher's beers were recommended to me by a buddy, and Heresy did not fall below my expectations.

Right from the pour, the thick stout and scent seeped into the air and filled up my nostils. I got a better sense of its dark, oaky aroma when i put my nose up to the glass. The spotty, choppy head filled up about and inch and 1/2 of the glass.

This is a very dark stout, midnight black. Upon my first sip, I immediately noticed the high alcohol % of the brew. Heresy has a very bold and full taste. It has a strong, malty flavor, but the alcohol percentage is the kicker. The alcohol blends great with the thick and chewy feel of the beer.

Heresy's after-taste remains well after the beer goes down the pipe. You can feel the ping at the back of your throat, yet the full stout flavor remains upon your palette. The after-taste was personally my favorite experience about drinking this beer. A wonderful taste to have in your mouth after taking a sip.

Overall, this beer was impressive. Many high alc. % beers I have had in the past dissapoint. But Heresy has a perfect blend of taste & depth in alchol %. I could only drink a couple of these in a sitting, because they are naturally strong. But I would certainly look forward to having those few, any day of the week.

Serving type: bottle

04-09-2005 02:40:24 | More by jdaelhousen
Photo of euskera

North Carolina

4.22/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bomber..

Pours out an onyx black, viscuous and thick. Smell is sweetish, but with the usual bitter coffee and chocolate overtones. Taste is complex, with the chocolate and malt in front, the bitter roasted coffee and slight hop flavor in there. As if fades, there's a vanilla/bourbon whiskey quality that lingers in the background that is quite pleasant. Loved the mouthfeel, creamy and rich. Another delicious example of the style. Recommended.

Serving type: bottle

04-04-2005 16:36:46 | More by euskera
Photo of mjc410


4.33/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Presentation: 22 oz bomber

Appearance: Poured into a snifter, a deep, rich tan head develops. Unfortunately, it leaves all too quickly. Still, the still, pitch black, mysterious liquid beneath is awesome to look at. It coats the sides of the glass very nicely when swirled, and oozes back to the bottom very slowly.

Smell: Roasted, smoky character. Also bourbon, oak, vanilla.

Taste: Tastes like it smells, which is just about perfect. The alcohol is SO well hidden in this beer.

Mouth: Thick and creamy. Very syrupy, slides down the throat just like it does in the glass. Wonderful.

Drinkability: So easy to drink a bomber of this by oneself! Should really be shared. Just great.

Old Heathen is much better when those oak barrels turn it into Heresy.

Serving type: bottle

04-02-2005 23:56:14 | More by mjc410
Photo of cro250klr


3.48/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Not a bad try by the 'bacher brewers. Certainly not the best Russian I've had but I put quite a bit away when I did have it. It was had at a local beer festival and was the last brew that I sampled. It was offered on tap and was a bit warm. Most of the other brewers were pulling out and this was pretty much all that was left. I did like the chocolaty coffee, malty, oaky taste that Weyerbacher achieved. Definetly not a 'true' Russian but a pretty good variation of one. It was really creamy with a little bitter finish to it. This stout would make a nice compliment to a dessert or a good steak but I can't see making a full session of this one. Average and worth a try.

Serving type: on-tap

04-02-2005 16:03:24 | More by cro250klr
Heresy from Weyerbacher Brewing Co.
89 out of 100 based on 1,855 ratings.