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Heresy - Weyerbacher Brewing Co.

Not Rated.

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very good

2,015 Ratings
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,015
Reviews: 976
rAvg: 3.93
pDev: 12.21%
Wants: 101
Gots: 260 | 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: 2,015 | Reviews: 976 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Crosling
3.98/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Opaque. Light tan head. Huge oak influence in the aroma giving hints of bourbon, vanilla, cream, cocoa, chocolate and roasted malt. Very complex flavor. Layers upon layers of flavor. Notes of bourbon soaked malts, vanilla, oak, roasted malt and chocolate. I’m starting to enjoy these bourbon barrel aged beers. A lovely beer.

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

This is a beauty to behold in a glass: a wonderful cascading head and a deep dark color. The smell is is strong and uniform, lacking complexity but imbued with malt and alcohol. The taste is strong but like the smell not overwhelming in sophistication: is it burnt malt, caramel, the oak? Not in the upper tier of imperial stouts but worthy of giving a go if you spot it on the shelves. Enjoy!

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

appearance: The pour produces a dark tan, .5" head that gradually recedes back into the liquid from which it came, save for a ring around the glass and a small island of froth. The beer is practically black in color, save for some brown light escaping from the edges.

smell: Dominant roasted, hazelnut, woody aromas. Definately a considerable aroma of bourbon barrel, with some light vanilla accompanying. Somewhat sharp alcohol sting, but not as bad in my opinion as others have mentioned. Maybe some age mellowed it out. Moderately sweet, with a dark chocolate aroma. A milder RIS aroma, but nice. Low to moderate hop aroma.

mouthfeel: The carbonation is on the light side of the medium range, and the body is just above medium.

taste: Semisweet chocolate, roasted barley, oak, and some nuttiness up front. Just the slightest alcohol tinge. Finish astringent with just a little hop aroma.

drinkability: Easy

Purchased from The Caboose in VA with dirtylou on the way back from our Dogfish excursion last summer...cellared since then.

Photo of trep
4.52/5  rDev +15%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Heresy leaves the 22oz bottle thanks to Kosher1337 for the trade. Smell is very complex with bourbon alcohol hitting you at the start, followed by dark chocolate and some fruity hints. First drink...surprising mouthfeel...alcohol isn't too present and taste of dark chocolate, coffee, and vanilla beans. Finishes with a very pleasant vanilla aftertaste. As it warms up it gets more complex and every drink leaves you wanting more. I wasn't expecting a lot from this beer, but it was a very pleasant surprise. It was incredibly drinkable for an Imperial Stout. This isn't the quality of a Bell's Expedition, or Brooklyn Black, but is definitely in the upper echelon Impy Stouts. Bravo to Weyerbacher.

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

Very dark with nice light tan head with lacing. Smells if light caremels, chocolates and throw in some nice oakiness. Smells are not strong at all. Tastes of vanilla oak, chocolate and alcohol. Finishes with sweet after taste. Good medium bodied which takes away with it the main flavor components, but leaves behind rich warming oaky chocolates flavors.

This is very drinkable.

Photo of BEERchitect
4.21/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I'm really impressed with this beer. Most of Weyerbacher's oak aged beers don't turn out as well as they should, but this one is different. A heavy Imperial Stout with Milk Stout and Oatmeal Stout sweetness and creaminess. The grains contribute a solid roasted character, with chocolates, berries, cherries, and grapes. Black and as opaque as you get with a brown frothy foamstand. Balanced well and increadibly easy drinking. Milk and lactose flavors smooth the beer, but become a bit too dominant. Otherwise, a joy to drink.

Photo of KFaulkner
3.08/5  rDev -21.6%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Purchased as a single bottle, but a big one, I was excited to try my first Russian Imperial Ale.

It poured dark... very dark. In fact, it foamed up quite impressively upon my normal (and BA recommended) pour. The foam itself was a dark brown and lingered for a while before mellowing down to a light lace on the beer surface. The smell was just what I expected; dark, burnt, chocolatey with hints of licorice and fruits like currants and cherries.

The beer tastes almost as it smells, with the burnt/fruity taste dominating at first and then the alcohol content making its presence known at the end. This beer is unlike anything I've ever had before, and the closest thing I can compare it to is Guiness, only with more character and alcohol. I wish I had tried Imprerial before I tried Heresy, which is Weyerbacher's Imperial Stout aged oak. Even so, I enjoyed this beer and I can't wait to try more Russian Imperial Stouts in the not-too-distant future.

This is my third Weyerbacher beer, and although I enjoyed Blithering Idiot (if not for the clever name) and Insanity (because it's superb), I would recommend this Russian Imperial to anyone.

Photo of supernaut
3.5/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Ok, in continuation of my run of RISs here goes....(this one and several others this week on the road courtesy of the random stash found at Stirling wines)

Opaque black with a mild head and some lacing. Pretty average retention. Overall pretty solid, but nothing special. Meets the expectations of the style, perhaps a bit more.

Smells of roasted malt and licorice. A hidden sweetness seems to lurk.

Taste is, to be honest, very comparable to Sammy Smiths Imperial Stout. Perhaps because I had the aforementioned brew last night, the taste profile is fresh in my head...or it just happens to be similar. Either way, there is a distinct woodiness, probably due to the Oak Barrel aging. Seems to be somewhat smoky as well. Faint coffee, and the same burnt/roasted malt detected in the nose. No overwhelming sense of booziness, but present nonetheless. Sweetness is discrete, but not necessarily countered by anything as interesting as other examples of the style.

True similarity to Sam Smith IS is in the finish. Kind of a dry and solvent finish....what I like to describe as acidic and sharp. Smoothness must really be worked for. If I warm the beer across the palate, it become a little "smoothed," but overall not an incredibly chewy or silky beer to put back. Drinkable for the abv, but not as much as several others which come to mind with even higher abv's.

A solid beer that I would not hesitate to drink again. I will say this however: If there were 10 RISs sitting in front of me though, and this was one of them, there would probably be 5 others that I would choose first.

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

This is truly one of the first Oak-aged Imperials I have enjoyed. The Oak balance is so fine, yet so wild; it's a party on the taste buds. Slight hints of plums and raisins, with a definite fruit character mixed in.

Poured deep black, with a khaki head that laced beautifully. The rim of the liquid lets you, just slightly, with a whiskey hued appearance.

At 8% this beer drinks nicely, not too heavy, but warming enough. Snow falling Miles Davis "Live at the Plaza", my wife...it's all good.

Photo of brewdlyhooked13
4.6/5  rDev +17%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance - pours out much like oil, black gold with a thick and dense mocha cap. Thin, solid cover after the meltdown.

Aroma - whiskey and chocolate syrup, and an unmistakeable presence of an elevated abv level. Heavy, blanketing aroma.

Taste - whiskey on top, dark chocolate after that, just the way it smells. The oak is easily picked up at one end while the malty dark sweetness takes care of Act 2. Not as complex as some but it does these two flavors to the hilt. Finishes warm and heady with a boozy, chocolate wrap-up

Mouthfeel - lively carbonation, tastes thicker than it feels, enough to discourage large sips. Well done, though I think a lower carbonation would enhance the smoothness

Drinkability - intense stuff and a fine bargain at 5$/bomber. I expect this would age well for at least two to four years

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.

Heresy from Weyerbacher Brewing Co.
88 out of 100 based on 2,015 ratings.