Dismiss Notice
Sneak peek! BeerAdvocate magazine #104 (September 2015) featuring Leah & Oscar from Highland Brewing in Asheville, North Carolina. Learn more ...

Heresy - Weyerbacher Brewing Co.

Not Rated.

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

994 Reviews
very good

(Read More)
Reviews: 994
Hads: 2,192
rAvg: 3.94
pDev: 7.87%
Wants: 103
Gots: 340 | FT: 18
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: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Heresy Alström Bros
Reviews: 994 | Hads: 2,192
Photo of glass_house
3.23/5  rDev -18%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3

Another swing-and-miss from Weyerbacher for me. With any of their beers, I've realized I either hate it or I love it. This looked and smelled nice enough, but seemed way too sweet, with an odd mix of dark fruit and toffee. Did not seem to be well complemented by it's time in the barrel. Besides the flavor profile that was a bit disjointed, the body was way too thin for what this beer is trying to be. Thankfully I had an Insanity on hand to rinse the taste out of my mouth and make me forget what I just drank. (513 characters)

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

12 ounce bottle into snifter, bottled on 2/3/2015. Pours pitch black color with a 1 finger dense tan head with good retention, that reduces to a thin cap that lingers. Light spotty soapy lacing clings around the glass. Aromas of big dark chocolate, cocoa, coffee, toast, dark bread, vanilla, toffee, bourbon, oak, light dark fruit, and roast/oaky earthiness. Damn nice aromas with good balance and complexity of dark/roasted malt, bourbon barrel, and light dark fruit notes; with great strength. Taste of dark chocolate, cocoa, coffee, toast, dark bread, vanilla, toffee, bourbon, oak, light dark fruit, and roast/oaky earthiness. Light roast/oaky bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of dark chocolate, cocoa, coffee, toast, dark bread, vanilla, toffee, bourbon, oak, light dark fruit, and roast/oaky bitterness on the finish for a good bit. Damn nice complexity and balance of dark/roasted malt, bourbon barrel, and light dark fruit flavors; with a great malt/barrel balance and zero cloying flavors after the finish. Light-medium carbonation and medium bodied; with a very smooth, fairly creamy, and slightly bready/chalky mouthfeel that is nice. Alcohol is very well hidden with only a light warming present after the finish. Overall this is an excellent barrel aged imperial stout. All around great complexity, balance, and robustness of dark/roasted malt, bourbon barrel, and light dark fruit flavors; and very smooth to sip on for the ABV. The barrel character is very pronounced, but not overdone. A very enjoyable offering. (1,542 characters)

Photo of EFitzsimmons
3.89/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Fantastic looking beer. Pitch black with a great full brown head.

Full whiskey smell, with a fresh wood smell, but not very strong.

Great whiskey flavor, with a distinguishable toasted vanilla bean flavor to it. This has a pretty well balanced flavor.

Warming full feel to this beer. It tasted better as you get further into the beer and it warms up just a little bit. The flavors seem to fill up a lot of your mouth. (424 characters)

Photo of PaulSlazinger
3.72/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

As much as I like Old Heathen, this just missed the mark for me. The bourbon flavor just did not seem to mesh well with this beer. Surprising because I generally like Weyerbacher's stuff. (187 characters)

Photo of OrangeMen
3.77/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.75

Appearance- Black opaque, pours an aggressive head, two to three fingers thick. Beautiful mocha, deep tan color, very thick and frothy.
Aroma- Chocolates, some roasted malt, slight sweet bourbon notes. Wonderful vanilla creaminess, earthy, oaky notes as well. Aromas are not overwhelming, subtle yet enjoyable.
Taste- Chocolate and vanilla creaminess, slight roastiness. Sweet bourbon notes come through mid palate, complimented by earthy notes, some astringent oak pokes through as well.
Feel- Lighter to medium mouthfeel, creamy qualities help the body. High carbonation, overly carbonated to the point where it masks the flavors. Not sure if its this bottle/batch or the standard.
Overall- Enjoyable and balanced, the flavors and aromas in this beer are seemingly all subtle, but not necessarily in a bad way. Fairly easy drinker, but still flavorful. The bourbon/oak notes compliment the base beer well. The huge knock is the carbonation, it masks the flavors in a bad way. As the beer sits and warms the carbonation fades and is much more enjoyable. (1,054 characters)

Photo of djairae
2/5  rDev -49.2%

I purchased a four pack of Heresy based on the description on the box. This beer has an awful hoppy sour taste. I have opened two and could not manage to drink more than half before pouring it down the drain. I really hate wasting pricey beer, but I cannot tolerate this stuff!
Looks like the bro-in-law is getting a couple of beers for xmas! (342 characters)

Photo of Tsar_Riga
3.4/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Solid black, with a very large tan head, very rocky and quick to fade to a thin cap. Lacing is present.

S - Not so good. A band-aid element, along with wood and a bit of booze. Something seems off.

T - Missing most of the stout flavor notes I look for; not completely absent, but the volume for the chocolate and roast notes is turned way down. Leather and dark fruit are present, but I mainly pick up the alcohol from the barrel, a subtle sourness, and the oak.

M - Slick and coating, perhaps a bit thinner than I'd expect for a RIS.

O - Something did not quite gel here. There have been rumbling concerns of infection, but while there are off notes, particularly in the nose, this is not the issue. The barrel has not augmented the underlying beer, and the parts are less than the whole. A bit disappointing, but not the drain pour experience some have described. (880 characters)

Photo of PatrickKellyCT
2.08/5  rDev -47.2%
look: 4 | smell: 2.25 | taste: 1.75 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Drain pour for me...I don't love bourbon barrel beers but normally I can finish them. Just really, not enjoying this one. Drinks more like a mediocre sour than an Russian Imperial Stout. If it was the only beer I had in my fridge I could finish it...but for my one Tuesday night beer I'm dumping it and going for the Founders Breakfast Stout. (342 characters)

Photo of MrIncognito
3.35/5  rDev -15%

This beer pours a dark walnut body with a 3-finer tan head that retains for a few minutes leaving nice lacing. Lots of carbonation rushing up from the bottom which surprised me

Aroma of molasses and chocolate with a spicy alcohol in the nose. Some sweet vanilla as the beer warms more

Interesting tasting RIS. Would not have classified it as such in a blind taste test. A little sweet and sticky but light bodied. Not thick and roasty like I expected. Very high carbonation which I would nearly classify as effervescent. Chocolate malts with molasses and vanilla. The barrel comes through as the beer warms and you get a nice oaky flavor. Alcohol spices up the sweetness a little bit.

Not a bad beer but just wasn't great. Not what I was expecting in a whisky-barrel aged RIS. (792 characters)

Photo of bound4er
2.5/5  rDev -36.5%

A. Dark brown appearance with a massive tan head of three fingers that ever so slowly recedes.
S. Dark malt, oak and a nasty note of excrement (sulfur?) - call it "poopy" smelling
T. Oak, whisky-like alcohol, some coffee. Not much else.
M. Thin and flat tasting.
O. The beer guy I buy from and trust recommended this stuff. I trust his palate but he missed on this beer big time. Nothing I want to drink again. May even end up dumping my other three bottles. (459 characters)

Photo of mikecollins50
4/5  rDev +1.5%

So an employee at a local shop recommended I buy this along with the old heathen and blind test each. This one in my opinion is good for sure but super different than the old heathen. I thought there would be subtle differences based on his recommendation. Anyways, I liked both of them but old heathen is definitely more my style. This thing was like a sour stout. It was super carbonated. I started noticing the barrel taste more and more as it warmed up. Interesting beer for sure, good, not my favorite but I did enjoy it. (526 characters)

Photo of JasonHaviland
2/5  rDev -49.2%

What a disappointment. Bottled on 2/14 and I think it's also indicating a drink by date of 10/14. Similar to other reviews, there's just nothing here for me. Actually tasting more like a barrel aged sour than a stout. Thin, tart and simple. Not a good effort from Weyerbacher, which usually excells... Maybe it was a bad batch, but avoid the 2/14 bottling.... (359 characters)

Photo of Tsull123
1.9/5  rDev -51.8%

Not good. It just tastes like oak, oak, and more oak. The only other note i can pick up, and i'm not kidding, is urine. As i bury my face in this snifter and inhale deeply, i smell old urine.

There is no coffee, vanilla, chocolate, bourbon, anything. It smells and tastes like watered down $5/pint scottish whisky. (315 characters)

Photo of Ngntjp
3.25/5  rDev -17.5%

To keep this short and sweet, there's just too much whiskey flavor for me if I want to enjoy this. Ole heathen was good but the whiskey on this one is a little overwhelming and unpleasant. Granted, I don't much enjoy straight liquor, and maybe that's the issue, but this tastes more of liquor than beer to me and I'm not enjoying drinking this one much as a result. It reminds me of a really badly root beer flavored dum-dum. I'll say it's ok. But that's my whiskey unfriendly palate saying so, keep in mind. Not something I'll seek out again. (543 characters)

Photo of cjgiant
3.87/5  rDev -1.8%

A: pours mildly viscous black, producing a fluffy head that lasts very well

S: light roasted notes covered by the obvious wood tones. There is also a hint of cherry.

T/M: definitely didn't see it coming, but it tends towards a sour stout in some fashion. There's a bit more carbonation than I'm used to in a RIS, also. The front taste (probably mostly due to the carbonation), had a bit of a cola taste. Behind that is a raspberry-cocoa taste, followed by the barrel wood taste the slowly dries the taste.

O: even with all the unexpected flavors mentioned above, I enjoyed this beer. It was simple, fairly straightforward, and tasty. (641 characters)

Photo of Paincane
4/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Dark brown body with a thick khaki head. Good head retention and lacing.
S: Coffee, dark chocolate and bourbon aromas.
T: Molasses, whiskey, oak and roasted malt flavors. A bit boozy.
M: Smooth, dry and malt forward brew.
O: Excellent Russian Imperial Stout. (267 characters)

Photo of EvoRich
4.4/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Look: Pours jet black with about 1 finger of tan head which is retains for a few minutes.

Smell: Roasted nuts, malt and chocolate. A hint of bourbon/whiskey, but very little.

Taste: The barrel aging definitely shows up in the flavor. Tasting also some roasted malts

Feel: Smooth and velvety. Little carbonation.

Overall: Not what I was expecting, but still a good overall beer. I would definitely get this again. (418 characters)

Photo of PvtSnowball
3.87/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Purchased from one of the local liquor stores.

A: Black with a large amount of head with fantastic retention and good lacing. A truly awesome looking beer.

S: Malt, fruit and booze. Lots of booze.

T: It tastes just like it smells. Quite alcoholic.

M: Rich and well carbonated.

O: Good beer but maybe a bit too alcoholic. Looks fantastic. (342 characters)

Photo of Zach136
3.9/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Bottled 3/10/14 - consumed 6/12/14

A - Pitch black, tan head, good lacing.

S - Toasty caramel and chocolate. Touch of roast.

T/M - Roasted barley, soy sauce, light tones of dark fruit and caramel. Lingering bitter/soy sauce finish.

O - An OK beer. I found the finish distracting from any desirable flavors. (310 characters)

Photo of Act25
3.99/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Old Heathen one of my first and favorites RIS. Surpassed by a few since then.
This one resolves into more of a whiskey finish, lots of oak and char. Cannot say on 1st try whether it's an improvement, but on 2nd try I think it's a detriment. Altho well crafted, the whiskey barrel imparts unecessary stale whiskey notes, that mar what is otherwise a smooth RIS. I'd take Carton, Rasputen, TEN Fidy RIS over this any day and in general this is my take on whiskey barrel RIS: a notch below.

A: Pitch, ok lacing and head.
S: Bread, tar, whiskey, char, wet hay. A bit whiskey floor too.
T: Follows the smell. More char, more whiskey. Not overwhelming, ok meditation, but the RIS offers more nuance without the whiskey barrel in the beer.
MF: Medium to full bodied, strong finish.

Skip and try all the straight RIS and Double stouts and porters first. Too medicinal. Let it warm. I'm going to open an Old Rasputin and save this for bed time. (or cooking). (958 characters)

Photo of threeviews
3.51/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a 12oz bottle (bottled on 1/24/14, best by: 9/24/14) into a 10oz Libbey Brandy snifter.

A- A standard pour reveals a nearly pitch black beer and a healthy, 1 finger khaki head which dissipates rather quickly. As you consume, some light makes its way through the beer at the edges of the glass. (3.5)

S- Although the aroma is somewhat muted, I am able to pull all kinds of interesting notes imparted by the barrel aging: vanilla, oak, charcoal, leather and coffee. The only contribution I can find from the beer is mild milk chocolate swimming about. I also detect a very faint sourness which would suggest that Heresy has been aged in 2nd or 3rd use barrels. As the beer reaches room temperature, I'm getting some of the bourbon heat (3.75)

T- I am immediately hit with the sweetness of vanilla and chocolate. Mid-palate I get a coffee-like roastiness along with a get a hint of tart black cherry. It is in the long, lingering finish where the whiskey essence comes out quite strongly and coats the palate. The mild tartness detected is detected long after the sip. As the beer warms, a slight warming sensation is perceived after each sip. (3.75)

M- Although clocking in at a respectable 8% ABV, Heresey has a relatively light body. Being bottle conditioned, the carbonation is (and not surprisingly) quite strong. As such, it does not afford proper time for all of the flavors to develop on the palate before having them washed away. Over the course of consumption, I found myself swirling the glass to force some carbonation out of solution. (3.5)

O- Heresy is nothing like your bourbon soaked booze-bombs a la BCBS or KBS. However, that is not to suggest that it is any less enjoyable. In fact, Heresy is quite complex and possesses a unique character all its own. What's more, it possesses a high drinkability and stands to be the first barrel-aged beers I can have more than one in a sitting. In order to best enjoy this beer, I suggest drinking it as close to room temperature as possible and pour it with enough vigor to remove some of the carbonation. Since I did notice some faint sourness, I would suggest not aging this beer (or at a minimum this batch) since those flavors will get stronger as time goes on. (3.75) (2,244 characters)

Photo of Bone53
3.99/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a snifter at around 45 degrees Fahrenheit

Appearance: Pitch black with a one finger brown head

Smell: Vanilla, bourbon, malts

Taste: Similar to nose; Vanilla, bourbon, and malts to finish it off

Mouthfeel: Medium body, and quite light for a imperial stout

Overall: I prefer when barrel aged stouts are roasted and chocolate malt dominated with bourbon in the background. But this has vanilla and bourbon at the forefront with roasted malts coming through towards the end of the palate. The mouthfeel is also lacking. I respect what they're trying to do and I tend to enjoy it more as it warms. Solid beer that I will most likely come back to again. (679 characters)

Photo of CochonKing
4.18/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Pours a deep black with almost no head, but it is beautiful. The smell is reminiscent of oatmeal and chocolate with large amounts of coffee. The whiskey barrels are on the end of the nose giving a complex finish of oak. Drinks smooth with strong coffee notes in the beginning. Finish is long. It is clearly a full bodied beer. Creamy on the palate and very well balanced with almost no carbonation. Very nice beer. (414 characters)

Photo of jpro
3.75/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

12oz bottle into a small snifter...

A: Black with some brown around the edges; mocha head; about a 1/4 finger of foam; no lace.

S: Mostly bourbon notes; vanilla; oak; some dark fruit and sweet malt.

T: Slightly nutty flavor, followed by oaky, syrupy bourbon; molasses and light coffee flavor on the finish.

M: Medium-full; medium carbonation.

O: A nice barrel aged stout; a little on the lighter side for an RIS, but still tasty and also a little easier drinking. I have no idea how old this bottle is (I’m guessing it’s at least two years) ... would like to try a fresh one to compare. (595 characters)

Photo of TreyIsWilson
3.84/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A - Pours a midnight black with a two-finger foamy tan head. Light sticky lacing.

S - Dark roasted malts, vanilla, & bourbon.

T - Follows the aroma. Dark roasted malts, coffee, vanilla, and bourbon. Finish has some faint alcohol in the finish.

M - Medium bodied with high carbonation. Light watery mouthfeel. Dry finish.

O - Not a bad BA Stout, but it's definetly lacking in body. Not something I'd search out, but definetly drinkable. (440 characters)

Heresy from Weyerbacher Brewing Co.
88 out of 100 based on 994 ratings.