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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
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Ratings: 2,005 | Reviews: 972 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.42/5  rDev -13%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Dark mahogany with an impenetrance that is only violated by meager crimson slivers at the edges. The loud escape of gas on crown cracking was concerning since I hate bubbly beer and I loathe bubbly Imperial stouts. The harsh looking, featureless, unsticky, khaki colored head isn't impressing me. Nor is the near total lack of lace. The beer is great, the head and lace are lousy.

The nose is everything that I'd hoped it would be. For those who are unaware, Heresy is simply Old Heathen that has been aged in oak barrels that previously contained bourbon; a great idea if some of the bourbon character seeps into the stout. I can appreciate quite a bit of heavily roasted black malt, more coffee than unsweetened chocolate and a mild-moderate brown sugary booziness from the barrel.

I'm sorry to say that the carbonation is as rampant as I'd feared. The flavor itself is pretty good, or would be if it wasn't nearly ruined by fizziness and a way too light body. I don't remember what Old Heathen tasted like, but I know that I liked it better than I like this beer. Since the flavors imparted by the bourbon barrels should have done nothing but improve the original beer, I'm forced to conclude that I got a bad bottle. Not old, just poorly bottled.

The flavor profile consists of roasted black malt, bittersweet chocolate and coffee with cream. The beer is also slightly dark fruity, modestly vanilla-like and barely bourbonish. It's hard to get a firm hold on things since all those bubbles quash any sort of complexity, depth or nuance.

The mouthfeel is nowhere near as full as it should be. Ignoring all the carbonation is proving difficult, but I'd call it 'stout medium' at best. There's a respectable amount of mouthcoating, without much flavor to go along with it. Drinkabililty suffers because of... pretty much everything that I've complained about above.

I have little doubt that if Heresy reached my glass as its brewers intended, I'd like it at least as much, if not more, than Old Heathen. I love bourbon and applaud the use of bourbon barrels in most styles. Too bad that fate intervened and isn't allowing me to optimally experience what is probably a pretty good RIS. I'd love to have another crack at this one. Thanks to blitheringidiot for the final bottle of a great trade.

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

Pitch black in color with quite the respectable tan head. Good aroma with quite the oakey notes going. Somewhat vanilla with a nice sherry tinge to it. Huge malty flavor. Very low bitterness whether roasted malt or hops. Theres a sherry/alcohol presence that is quite pleasing. Oak is very noticeable. Huge body and great oily mouthfeel. I love that when you can get it. Very enjoyable beer. Much better then Insanity from Weyerbacher. I know they are 2 different beers but both oak aged. I find this one far superior.

Photo of nlmartin
4.24/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The beer was poured from the bottle into a wide mouthed wine goblet.

Appearance:The beer pours dead black. The head at first was massive; however, the head quickly resolved into a ring of foam. There was thick lacing left behind on the glass.

Smell: The beer has a nice thick dark fruit smell. Currants and raisons play on a field of vannilla and dark roasted mocha coffee. There is a small amount of woody smell. There is also a nice spicy smell here.

Taste: The taste delivers on the smell. Dark fruits combine with vannilla and dark roasted coffee. Dam this bitch taste great. Total delivery on the smell.

Mouthfeel: The beer was meduim to full bodied. Very creamy beer quality.

Drinkability: Dam this is a very nice drinking beer. This is my favorite beer from weyerbacher. A dam fine drinking experience.

Photo of dirtylou
3.92/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

22oz bomber, from the Caboose - somewhere in VA, sticker says $4.99...go this last summer on the way back from rehoboth beach (dogfish head)

appearance: pours a dark mahogany...not nearly as dark or thick as other russian imperials...bubbly and foamy chocolate brown head that dissipates to some minimal lacing

smell: sweet rich/bitter cocoa, oak aging (combined with my own aging) has really come out in this one...woody, oak, vanilla, slight bourbon, touch of alcohol, chocolate covered cherry, other sweet fruit, slight roastiness aromas as well

taste: fairly smooth, lots of fruit sweetness involved, mild hop presence...chocolate covered cherry, touch of smoke, bourbon-esque alcohol, vanilla, wood/oak, slight alcohol...a dry bittersweet cocoa powder is present, raisin, plum...lots of roastiness

mouthfeel: medium body, too thin for me, carbonation present, very smooth, mild alcohol warming

drinkability: quite drinkable

Photo of Jredner
4.35/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Aroma was dark roasted barley malt and mild coffee/vanilla notes with a whiff of alcohol. Deep black with a beuatiful thick head. I really warmed up to this. At first it was strange because rather than bourbon it seemed to me to taste like a full chocolate/coffee infused Stout up front and then very wine like in the finish. Almost tasted like wine poured into an Impy. But I really warmed up to it and enjoyed it immensely.

Photo of Hop2it
4.8/5  rDev +22.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

I hid this bottle from myself about four months ago. Damn, a lot has happened in those four months. I hope it's aged as gracefully as I have.

This is a beauty of a pint: Jet black and the head has the look of a cup of hot chocolate. Seriously this feels like I'm about to down a tall glass of motor oil.

Smell's like s'mores. Roasted chocolate and subtle almond 'olfactory hues' invite me in with a powerful force.

The flavor lives up to the aroma. It coats my tongue in a thick lather of a melted and alcoholic Hershy's bar. As I review this live, I must admit that I am really impressed with this beer. I love a good stout, especially on these lonely winter nights, and this has delivered. I'm not new to Heresy either; I've had several of both this and last year's editions, but what I am drinking now and reviewing for the first time is a magnificant work of brewing art.

I understand that Heresy is a bourbon barrel-aged version of the "Old Heathan," which unfortunately I have not tried yet. Its brother beer, Insanity, is quite possibly the best beer I've ever tried, and this pint is refusing to live in its brother's shadows.

With both Insanity and Heresy, the extra aging really is where the beer comes to its own. Try one in the fall when they are first released, and then try one from the same batch a couple months later - I noticed a major difference.

For such a thick, heavy beer, it's goes down easy... a little too easy. My only knocks against its drinkability is that it is a force to be reckoned with.

What would another year of aging produce?...

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

This one was yummy. Creamy body, 3/4" head that held for a while, dark body with a faint red glow when held up to the light. I cant get over how much vanilla and exotic spice I tasted in this beer...so much so that "creamy" is the best description I can come up with...almost like coffee with a heavy dose of cream...oh and then comes the nice malt sweetness and medium dose of alcohol. Just the right amount for a heavy beer in a big bottle.

Photo of JISurfer
4.07/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A - Frothy tan head that lasted a very long time. The body of the beer was
super dark, so dark, no light came through the beer.
S - Smells just like dark roasted coffee, maybe a Ethiopian Harar. Also
had the presense of alcohol, woody undertones, and some
T - Same as the smell, but the fruit taste was more grapey and pungent.
The alcohol was a bit strong too, but I really like that. It was well
M - Smooth and warming. Pretty much "pile drived" the palate.
D - All the tastes/smells were very busy and rich. At sometimes, a little
too rich. What made this beer so cool with me, was that it chaged
as it warmed up.

I would suggest this to most Imperial lovers. I am very big into strong dark beers, so this was totally up my alley.

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

Pitch black with a full creamy dark brown head, low-moderate carbonation, and no lace. Light woody oak aroma. Woody oak flavors with bourbon character standing out fairly strong. Medium bodied (leans full) with a smooth but warming bourbon finish.

Interesting but not sure I would go after again ...

Label States: "Imperial Stout aged in oak barrels"

Per WBC website: "aging our Old Heathen in some very famous Oak barrels that were used for aging bourbon!"

($5.99 / 22 oz.)

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

Bomber into my Delirium Tremens glass.

Appearance: Blacker than black, as expected. Head's decent with a vigorous pour and not without. Not much lacing, but it's spotty a bit I suppose.

Smell: Eesh, a bit weird and unexpected. The aroma meld of the booze with the roasted and toasted malts don't really combine well. However, once it warms it gets slightly better, with the alcohol coming into a vanilla and decent sourness in the nose. But I was hoping for much more.

Taste: Better than the aroma for sure. The oak, vanilla, and booze sourness comes through very well with the body of the brew. There's definitely the sense of an Imperial Stout, as it's Old Heathen, and though the roasted and burnt malts aren't in the forefront, they come through well by the end. The oak and vanilla in the brew is prominent and welcoming. Pretty long finish, with some booze sourness left on the palate by the end.

Mouthfeel: I thought it would be thicker than it is. Pretty full, with a slight burst of carbonation at the end, lending to its overall creamy mouthfeel.

Drinkability: Even though I enjoy this the least out of the three JB experiments (Prophecy and Insanity being the other one, and how I love the Insanity), it's still a very drinkabile beer. It took me about an hour and a half to finish the bottle as I was watching the NY Giants beat the Eagles in overtime (3rd time's a charm baby), and it was a long and pretty satisfying experience. With the Imperial Stout nature of the brew in addition to the JB barrels it's certainly a sipper, and taken like that it's a beer enjoyed as the bottle is down. I hope there are many more experiments such as these in brewing, because I'll be the first in line to see what else happens with the craziness.

Photo of DarkerTheBetter
4.08/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a brownish black and the maglite reveals a nice mahogany. The head looks like a bunch of copper ball bearings that roll around a base of tan and copper foam rubber. Unfortunately, this didn’t last long as it fell to a thin film.

Smells of dark coffee, licorice, alcohol and almost cough syrup.

Tastes of burnt coffee and much like a sour brown ale with a slight orange rind sourness and a dry palate finish.

The mouthfeel is full and thick with an exciting combination of carbonation that gives this a superb texture.

Good beer. As tasty as this beer is, it doesn't go down too well. It's fantastic, but I wouldn't want to drink too many.

Photo of granger10
4/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a thick darkness in color with a nice creamy tan head. Head reduces to a skim layer atop the liquid. Aroma is strong in dark fruits and cream. Lots of creamy vanilla. Taste is also really creamy and rather smooth. Not as big and intense as I was thinking but more of a smooth RIS. Oak and bourbon and vanilla are all weak in here, I wouldn't have known this was oak aged except for the fact I read it on the bottle. There's a bit of some bitter cocoa in the finish. A good beer, definitely enjoyable and worth trying but it's not quite at the top of the class in respect to style.

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

pours a very nice dark brown with a gorgeous tan foamy 2 in head that fizzles down a thin layer with some lacing on the sides of the glass. you can immediatley smell the oak and woods along with a bit of fruit and a little alcohol kick. a nice a pleasant taste , roasted nut, along with hops and of course the oak. a very nice smooth mouthfeel. i might limit myself to two of these

Photo of Litterbean
4.24/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is my first time experiencing an oak-aged beer, and let me tell you, the smell is amazing. Hints of vanilla and oak. This smells reminiscent of a fine whiskey. Delicious.

Appearance is typical. Black with a tan head.

Tasty! The oak aging is apparent in the taste. Hints of vanilla hovering over a dark chocolatey malt base. A certain amount of hoppiness is present on the tip of the tongue. Mouthfeel is creamy and smooth. This is a delicious beer.

Photo of kmo1030
4.12/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

dark brown with a good tan head. the smell is much improved over old heathen. there is a large oak character with some nice vanilla and whiskey notes in addition to the flavors and aromas of it's precursor. the chocolate is more pronounced in the smell and flavor here in addition to mild coffee aromas and flavors and dark fruits. somehow this version smells a little boozy even though it's aroma is more complex and strong here and i didn't smell any in the heathen. some nice butterscotch flavors are also newly present here. i wanna score the taste alittle higher but it doesn't deserve a 4.5 maybe a 4.25. a lightish mouthfeel with meduim carbonation. overall a big improvement over old heathen i complained of it being underwhelming in my review of it, but this beer improves in all the ways it should for the most part. this is a beer worthy of the imperial stout moniker.

Photo of canucklehead
4.74/5  rDev +20.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Another Malto trade, this beer was top shelf. Jet black with a tan head, I could smell the boozy old plum nose combined with the scent of oak. The beer is burnt malt and oak aged goodness wrapped in a velvet glove. The smoothness was off the charts for such a big beer. The complexity was added to by the oak aging yet no one flavour stood out over the others. Like Storm King, Rasputin and Stone Impy this is a near perfect stout.

Photo of jimdkc
4.34/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Pours dark, very nearly black, with a half-inch of brown foam which quickly receeds to a very persistent ring and a few isolated patches on the inky surface.

I love the aroma of this beer! (I don't give 5's lightly!) Dominated by bourbon and alcohol, you also get hints of vanilla and oak. I drank this from a snifter, and that's a combination that will convince you that the glassware can really enhance a beer.

Taste is, again, dominated by the bourbon, but also roasty, almost burnt malt lends some coffee and bittersweet chocolate notes. Sensed dark fruit flavors: grape and plum. Just a hint of diacetyl butteriness, but I really didn't find it objectionable.

Mouthfeel is surprisingly thin, with some grapeskin-like astringency on the finish. A little pleasant alcohol warmth in the back of the throat.

Drinkability is very good. A 22 oz. bomber went down quite smoothly.

I thoroughly enjoyed this beer! Thanks to Higravity for the sample!

Photo of EStreet20
4.42/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22 ounce brown glass bomber bottle poured into a nonic pint glass.

A - Pours a deep oily black with a very large tan (or light brown head). A nice looking stout. Head laces nice and seems to cake up on top a little.

S - Smells chocolatey, with a little bit of roasted caramel. Also a wierd smell that I can only describe as butter. I don;t know how to explain it, but it smells to me like butter or some other dairy product that I can't quite put my finger on.

T - Very malty upon first sip and some roasted flavors. You can definitely taste the impression the oak aging makes on this beer. Gives it a different kind of flavor than other stouts. I dig it. A little alcohol in there but nothing I'd really calll a kick. Overall a very nice (and different) tasting stout.

M - A nice full bodied feel. One to chew on and savor.

D - Going down nice and smooth. Can definitely put one of these down a little quicker than most stouts/sippers.

Photo of raven3131
3.75/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This beer starts out looking like it could be a favorite but tails off a little towards the end. It pours a rich, dark, brown - almost black with medium to thin head that lingers for a short time. The first smells are deep coffee and malt - along with a burnt almond floating around somewhere...

First sip was a little dissapointing as I expected a richer, more tongue coating feel, however the flavour is quite nice. Very distict in it's caramel, yet sweet malt finish. Overall, though it could be a litter meaner up front I had no problem opening the second one right away...

Photo of MaltyGoodness
2.82/5  rDev -28.2%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

22 oz. bomber

Pours a used-motor oil black with a mocha head. No light escapes the glass.

Smells of oak, malt, and alcohol. Listed as 8%, smells like 12. Smells angry.

Taste is of roasted malts, oak and alcohol. Sweet upfront and actually quite smooth aftertaste. Finishes smoother than it starts.

Average body for the style. I actually expected more meat on it's bones after that smell.

I can finish this bomber with no coaxing. However, it's just not as smooth as other offerings of this style and it really boasts the alcohol.

Photo of Bierguy5
3.85/5  rDev -2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Dark, nearly pitch black. Thick tan foamy head. Great head retention, but not much lace. Strong roasty, oak, smoke, vanilla nose. Hints of bourbon. Good roasty character, dominated by the oak. Sweet and smoky. Oak character really comes out when it warms. Alcohol presence is somewhat noticable. Seems a bit thin for a stout of this magnitude. Very interesting, but maybe slightly overwhleming. Still, very good in small doses.

Photo of blitz134
3.18/5  rDev -19.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pitch black body that poured with a one finger head which was a deep chocolate color. Aroma is a deep rich alcoholic chocolate with strong fruit overtones. Oak and vanilla saturate the nose. Overall sweet and fairly complex. Very inviting.

The taste, or lack there of, really struck me as being off in this beer. I don't really pick up any of the strong characteristics which I found in the nose. Initially there is a tiny bit of sweetness but the midrange doesn't offer anything. Finish is a bit spicy with some oak characteristics. The alcohol burn is a bit harsh. What flavor is there is okay at best. The alcohol brings it down.

Mouthfeel is fairly full, but not what I think it should be for the style. Drinkability is only okay as well. The lack of taste doesn't make me want a second.

Overall this one presented itself strongly but failed to follow through once it hit my lips. Oh well...

Photo of BeerBeing
4.3/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Presentation: 12oz brown glass longneck US-generic bottle, blue and black label

Appearance: pitch black color, minor brown head, no lacing

Smell: raisins, malt, chocolate, cherry, vanilla, alcohol and hint of oak

Taste: full body, crisp mouthfeel, roasted malt, cherry, chocolate, molasses, some vanilla, alcohol, minor hops, and oak

Notes: I like it somehow better thn base brew (Old Heathen Imperial Stout)

Photo of Wonka
3.79/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

No dates

Appearance – an aggressive pour yields a massive 3.5-finger, billowy mocha head; body is black as night with a faint edge of purple if one peers through a sharp edge in the glass; average lace

Smell – whiskey, sweet chocolate, woody, ripe plum; I get a vibe of smelling a bottle of Jack Daniels in a furniture store with a bar of Hershey’s chocolate near my nose

Taste – chocolate certainly bitters in comparison to the nose when flavor blends; closes with more chocolate and a bit of whiskey, wood and bitterness; in the bottom half of the bottle the chocolate sweetens a bit

Mouthfeel – the first half of the bottle is nowhere near as full as I’d prefer; feel is moderate, sliding and somewhat crackly on the back end; nonetheless, its pleasantly creamy overall; the bottom half is more of where it needs to be; somewhat dry to close

Drinkability – relatively enjoyable; first half of the bottle gets a 3 and the last half gets a 4

Here’s a unique Jekyll (first half of the bottle) and Hyde (second half of the bottle) situation. If the bottom half could be bottled, this is a better product.

Photo of AlexJ
4.49/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I have really developed an appreciation for oak aged beers since my first review of this product. Time to give it another whirl.

Pitch black pour supports a creamy, milk chocolate colored head that settles into a ring with some clingy lace.

Aroma is superb, featuring dark roast malts, chocolate, creamed coffee, coconut, vanilla, bourbon, dark jammy fruits, and toasty oak.

Flavor follows suit with expressions of dark chocolate covered toasted coconut, smooth vanilla, coffee, molasses, dark ripe fruit, bourbon, oak, and licorice. Seems a lot smoother and less bourbony than my first experience.

Body is big chewy, and very smooth with a slick and creamy texture. Great balance and no hint of it's strength, except for that bourbon-laced reminder. A fantastic beer from one of my hometown favorite brewers.

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