Heresy - Weyerbacher Brewing Co.

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very good

2,164 Ratings
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,164
Reviews: 1,007
rAvg: 3.93
pDev: 12.21%
Wants: 101
Gots: 331 | FT: 17
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: 2,164 | Reviews: 1,007
Photo of Tsull123
1.9/5  rDev -51.7%

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.

Photo of Ngntjp
3.25/5  rDev -17.3%

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.

Photo of cjgiant
3.87/5  rDev -1.5%

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.

Photo of Paincane
4/5  rDev +1.8%
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.

Photo of EvoRich
4.4/5  rDev +12%
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.

Photo of PvtSnowball
3.87/5  rDev -1.5%
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.

Photo of Zach136
3.9/5  rDev -0.8%
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.

Photo of Act25
3.99/5  rDev +1.5%
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).

Photo of threeviews
3.51/5  rDev -10.7%
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)

Photo of Bone53
3.99/5  rDev +1.5%
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.

Photo of CochonKing
4.18/5  rDev +6.4%
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.

Photo of jpro
3.75/5  rDev -4.6%
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.

Photo of TreyIsWilson
3.84/5  rDev -2.3%
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.

Photo of TheBeerDrinker
4.02/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.75

Pours out black as night with a 4-finger head that has really good retention with some nice lacing. The head was so big I couldn't pour a 12 once bottle in a glass that will easily fit a 16 once can with a head, Really nice lacing.

Smell is sweet vanilla, a little chocolate, some nice toffee, and a tiny bit of booze.

Taste is sweet toffee, a little vanilla, a TINY bit of booze although it is very subdued and hard to taste, and pretty sweet maybe some molasses or something but just seems more sweet than that. Hard to put a finger on the sweetness, maybe some sweetness from the malt.

Mouthfeel is sort of thin for an imperial stout. It's just a little thin.

Overall this is a really nice tasting beer that I love and would buy over and over again. I have a hard time finding things to complain about but if I'm being honest it could be a little thicker, have more dark malts. Just really a nice beer but pretty sweet and not much bite for a barrel aged beer. That being said I would love to drink this all day.

Photo of hops202
3.43/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Bottle poured into a stone snifter

A - black with hints of brown seems a little thin

S - smells very malty for a BA stout

T - chocolatey and toasty roast but not great

M - probably best part of the beer

O - disappointing based on prior reviews here

Photo of dacrza1
4.01/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

DATE TASTED: April 20, 2014... GLASSWARE: Corsendonk tulip... OCCASION: Easter Sunday--another humbling, dry Lenten offering completed... APPEARANCE: intimidating black body with a one-finger, fuzzy brown head; consistent, well-tempered lacing... AROMA: thick peat, smoke and sweet chocolate scents; some licorice and candy too...PALATE: intense, impactful punch at the teeth; mellow at the mouth and warming at the throat--full-bodied...TASTE: sweet, sharp vanilla and milk collide with a mild whiskey breath that invigorates, if not inspires--a bit hot, but not much of a deterrent... OVERALL: the whiskey is subdued but the ABV is significant enough to attract attention; otherwise, a complicated combination that leaves a sweet, warm aftertaste....

Photo of dank203
3.77/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

pours thick black with brown head. aromas have dark fruit, chocolate cake, vanilla, whiskey, alcohol. flavors have raisin, chocolate, slight spice. it is actually really complex. a little bit of a bite, carbonation is a bit heavy but overall a pretty enjoyable double stout

Photo of fx20736
3.84/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Bought a single bottle from Beers of the World on 4/25/14. Poured into a pint glass, served cool.

appearance: Bituminous black with 3 finger mochaccino head.

smell: chocolate, brown sugar, malt o meal, faint Bourbon.

taste: burnt brown sugar, alcohol solvents.

mouthfeel: a little spritzy but ok.

overall: not bad but lacking complexity and heft.

Photo of nodder
4.29/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A- Dark brown/black with a thin light brown head. Some light lacing and alcohol legs remain.

S- Dark malts, bourbon, coffee. Maybe some chocolate. Slight alcohol smell.

T- Much like the smell with a great balance of bourbon/coffee flavors.

M- Smooth with a medium mouthfeel, Can hardly detect the 8% ABV.

O- I really loved this beer. Im surprised it isn't rated higher.

Photo of emyers
3.59/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. bottle poured into a Founders snifter.

Appearance: Pours black with a 1-finger medium brown head.

Smell: Cocoa powder and roasted malt dominate, followed by bourbon and oak. The bourbon seems fairly muted. Pleasant, but pretty unspectacular as far as barrel-aged imperial stouts go.

Taste: Same complaint as the smell - the flavor profile is good enough, with a solid roasted malt/dark chocolate base along with some bourbon - but there just isn't a whole lot of depth. Maybe I've been drinking too much Bourbon County lately, but this almost seems like "BBA Imperial Stout Lite." Luckily I like BBA imperial stouts enough that it's still very enjoyable.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied, medium carbonation level.

Overall: Decent but very underwhelming for the style.

Photo of fscottkey
3.53/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Dark black pour covered with a 2 finger tan cap. The head slowly recedes leaving no lacing.

S: Very boozy smell. The Whiskey is evident right away. There are other tones of coffee and chocolate - but the Whiskey is the dominant characteristic.

T: Follows the nose. The whiskey is throughout even in the after taste. But there are hints of dark malts and char. After warming and as the glass progresses the boozy flavor really dominates and hides the other subtle flavors (I consider that a negative).

M: Meaty and delicious. This reminds me of Ten Fidy - with the full body that coats the tongue. Very smooth and pleasurable.

O: I am not a huge fan of whiskey - so that being said a lot of whiskey up front is not great. However, the other tones play really well and accent the whiskey flavor. Also the mouth feel is lush and sexy and I like it.

Photo of micromaniac129
3.54/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Pours a deep brown black with a fizzy soda like head.

The aroma from the bottle smells good with roasted malts milk chocolate, oak and vanilla tannins. Bourbon barrels are light and reside mostly in background.
In the glass flavors like soggy cardboard are quite pronounced.

Drinks with a lot of roasted malt flair and warming alcohol. Coffee with cream and chocolate milk are tasted also.
Drinks thin and gritty on the palate
I feel this was a let down, I was expecting better.

Photo of martyl1000
4.04/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4

This is after my 3rd bottle of Heresy over a period of two weeks at home in a quiet environment. It's a beautiful pour into a snifter. Mostly opaque black, topped with a inch of khaki head. Almost no lacing to speak of, as if it were much higher abv.

The aroma is a serious flaw. I can't pinpoint the problem, but the barrel aging and the burnt coffee are not working well together, at all. It's more like burnt paper and leather.

The flavors in the mouth are perfectly complex enough, dark chocolate, bitter-sour cherry, oak, and molasses. But certainly not sweet enough for a likable Russian Imperial Stout.

Medium-bodied, w/ a sharp not entirely welcome carbonation, yet still very creamy.

UPDATE: 4/3/2014

It's been a year, I thought I'd give this another try.

I'm not getting the barrel-aging flavors, at all.

If you like a strong cherry stout, you'll like this. I've never liked cherry in a stout. I love the sound of it. But then again, I've never had a chocolate-covered cherry that I've really liked.

Same score as last year.

Photo of MECove
2.98/5  rDev -24.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.75

The only reason I tolerated the aroma or flavor is because my husband is a Jack Daniels whiskey fan. *He* appreciated it a lot, so as I review, it's just not my cup of tea /beer but for those that enjoy the hard sweet liquor bite, it must be great. It's manly and complex.

Color is my preference--dark.
Mouth feel is average.
Head and lacing was nutty brown and slight.

Positive--strong effects! The aftertaste a few minutes later is rich and pleasant.

Photo of chinchill
4.24/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

12 oz bottle appears to have a 2012 date stamp, which sounds correct.

Pours near inky black but has red-brown edges under light. Thin weak head quickly reduces to a durable thin ring, and leaves spotty lacing.

I find barrel aged beers sometimes have too much of a good thing, leaving them overly woody or dominated by the aromas and flavors of whatever preceded them in the barrel. This one smells like it may fall into this group, but the flavor is excellent, with a nearly perfect melding of oak barrel effect and what I gather is an already super RIS. This is not to say that the aroma is unattractive, it certaininly is not, just that it reflect a substantial contribution from the oak-whisky barrel.

O: Superb. Allowed to warm in the bottle, then improved with further warming in the glass.

Heresy from Weyerbacher Brewing Co.
88 out of 100 based on 2,164 ratings.