Heresy - Weyerbacher Brewing Co.

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very good

991 Reviews
very good

(Read More)
Reviews: 991
Hads: 2,180
rAvg: 3.94
pDev: 11.68%
Wants: 101
Gots: 337 | 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: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 991 | Hads: 2,180
Photo of dank203
3.77/5  rDev -4.3%
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 (273 characters)

Photo of fx20736
3.84/5  rDev -2.5%
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. (351 characters)

Photo of nodder
4.29/5  rDev +8.9%
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. (373 characters)

Photo of emyers
3.59/5  rDev -8.9%
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. (772 characters)

Photo of fscottkey
3.53/5  rDev -10.4%
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. (853 characters)

Photo of micromaniac129
3.54/5  rDev -10.2%
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. (480 characters)

Photo of martyl1000
4.04/5  rDev +2.5%
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. (1,053 characters)

Photo of MECove
2.98/5  rDev -24.4%
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. (455 characters)

Photo of chinchill
4.24/5  rDev +7.6%
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. (800 characters)

Photo of Roguer
2.83/5  rDev -28.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.75

Curiously fizzy dark tan head, fairly quickly fading. Brew is an expected dark black. Head quickly ends up a thin residue on top of the beer.

Aroma is strong in chocolate malts, followed by whiskey, oak, and vanilla. The whiskey gives a hint of coffee aroma, although I don't believe this is a coffee beer. I like that the stout base is the dominant aroma, not the whiskey.

Flavor is decidedly tart, distractingly so. Sour and tart flavors, up front, dark fruit and grapes, followed by chocolate malts. Whiskey comes through, along with oak and vanilla, very, very lightly on the back-end.

Mouthfeel is exceptionally thin for the style. Additionally, it's a bit heavy and sour in the back of the throat.

Is this an infected bottle? I don't know for sure, but the fizzy head and sour notes make me seriously wonder. If I get the chance to try it again, I'd like to compare and see, but for now, I'm reviewing the glass in my hand, and it isn't good. Not at all. (964 characters)

Photo of spinrsx
3.7/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

12oz Bottle from Total Wine Tampa FL for $3.50

Appearance - Dark brown colour with a small size frothy beige head. I can't make out the amount of carbonation showing and there is some fair lacing. The head lasted for around 5 minutes before it was gone.

Smell - Malts, chocolate, grains, coffee

Taste & Mouth - There is an average amount of carbonation and I can taste malts, chocolate, and coffee. There is also some faint wood and a bit of a dark fruit flavour.

Overall - A little thin/watery and the wood aging doesn't really show up much. An okay beer but not something I'd buy again, too many better choices out there. (627 characters)

Photo of nataku00
3.73/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Bottle poured into a tulip glass, 2010 release so around three years old. Beer pours a dark brown, bordering on black and very opaque. Half a finger of light brown creamy head with mostly tiny bubbles that dissipates to an oil slick of bubbles.

Nose is disappointingly mild. Some light baker's chocolate and roasted malt and sweet caramel.

Taste is a little better, baker's chocolate, cocoa, roasted malt, with some fruity coffee. Not much barrel character.

Full body, slick and oily with some mild carbonation that lightly tickles the tongue. (549 characters)

Photo of illeagle05
3.91/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

2013 poured from a 12oz bottle into a mini snifter.

a: Deep dark brown to pitch black, with a light brown rim and some light head remaining on the top after a somewhat quick dissipation.

s: not much here...dark fruits.

t: dark fruits, toffee...pretty malt-forward. bourbon.

m: malty feel with light carbonation and slightly syrupy...lacking some of the warming would have hoped for from a barrel-aged stout.

o: decent but underwhelming BA stout. almost felt more like an attempt at a quad to me than a BA IS, but still overall decent. not likely to buy a 4pk in the future though. (586 characters)

Photo of CowsandBeer
3.83/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Dusty 12oz bottle pulled from the cellar with a bottled on date of 03/08/2012. Poured into a Blind Tiger Brewery snifter at cellar temp.

Appearance: A down the middle pour produces a finger of dark tan head. Black body with a nice tan ring.

Aroma: Up front a soggy, mellow bourbon barrel. Vanilla, butterscotch, and drying oak. Dark roasted malts similar to old coffee come through from the base beer itself. Age has really mellowed out the barrel presence.

Taste: All butterscotch barrel notes up front. Smooth roasted chocolate, brown sugar and coke (??). Oaky vanilla finish from the barrel.

Mouthfeel: Very warming but not unpleasant. The heat has really mellowed out. Prickly carbonation with a medium, creamy, almost syrup mouthfeel.

Overall: The barrel still dominates the beer in every aspect, and I imagine this must be quite hot fresh. However, with time it’s really mellowed out to where some really nice barrel notes come out. With that said, this had a best by date of 11/08/2012, and in the future I’ll probably stick to that as the beer is starting to taste muted and the barrel is getting an odd, soggy/funky note. Still, I wouldn’t mind picking up a single of this guy once a year. (1,210 characters)

Photo of BumpyAZ
3.74/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Bottled 2/4/14

A: Very dark brown/black, 1/4 inch creamy brown head.

S: Predominantly whiskey, very strong. Hints of chocolate and vanilla.

T: Whisky/booze heavy upfront, chocolate/vanilla quickly kicks in. Roasty Alcohol burn at the end.

M: Slightly thick, overly carbonated.

Not a bad barrel aged stout for the price point, but too strong on the whiskey/booze characteristics. May be best with some age on it? Would be interested in trying the base beer. (461 characters)

Photo of TheSupremeAJ
4.34/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

From the Weyerbacher brewery in Easton, PA - Pours jet black with a hazy brown head. Medium layer. Aroma is sweet bourbon alcohol. The taste is a lot more chocolaty and bourbon forward than i remember from the bottle. The keg this was poured from was released in February so this is about 2 months old. Mouthfeel is not as luxuriousness or smooth as I prefer- it's a little over-carbonated for an impy stout. Overall this is very good and well-formed... this is much better in the growler (2012) than I recall in the bottle (2011) but it may just be a difference in batches.

2014 Version - VIA Tap @ Weyerbacher Tasting Room

2015 bottle from Dallesandros Steak Shop, paired with a double provolone cherry pepper fried onion cheesesteak. This beer has evolved and stabilized... Improved my review numbers slightly as this has matured!

Very good and a bit cleaner than I recall in years prior. Hop aroma was a little more floral than I recall and overall my favorite offering when I visited the brewery. (1,004 characters)

Photo of ArdyExfor
3.88/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Pitch black with just the edges barely showing through when held to the light. Small tan head that dissipates quickly leaving a slight collar.

S: Oaken bourbon. Chocolate, vanilla. Dark fruit. Slight alcohol.

T: Mirrors the aroma. Very smooth. Nice bit of roast at the end.

M: Medium/full mouth feel. Very low carbonation.

O: Not the best BA stout I've ever had but very drinkable. (388 characters)

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

Ever feel compelled to review a beer because it's much better than the reviews?
I've had a bottle of Heresy in the cellar for a while, maybe two years? No date on the label, which is different than the one pictured, has a bearded guy with a hoodie and two arms.

Smells the part, chocolatey, vanilla, and woody bourbon
Looks dark and dense with a thin ring of foam.
Tastes fantastic, starts with the chocolaty dark raisins with a sour woody bourbon note follow up that I can't get enough of, cuts through the dark fruits for a clean aftertaste, unique.

Mayhaps you have to leave this to mature like I did but it really delivers the goods, a slight bit thin at 8%, but that woody bourbon sour aftertaste is beguiling. (717 characters)

Photo of CASK1
3.8/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Black as night with a dark tan head that fades a bit quickly. Aome coffee and dark chocolate aroma and flavor hides behind a hit of bourbon. Rich, toasty character I expect in a RIS is lost behind the bourbon. Mouthfeel is disappointingly thin and watery. (256 characters)

Photo of barczar
3.62/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Pours an opaque black with a modest mocha head that dissipates into a thin coating of bubbles.

Tar, licorice, dark fruit, roast malt, soy, and chocolate form the initial aroma. Oak and whiskey surface late, adding complexity.

Flavor reveals a sour, vinous character at the base, with hints of chocolate, roast malt, toasted nuts, vanilla, and oak rounding out the finish. That tart character is totally overwhelming initially, but fades a little as it warms.

Body is fairly thick, with minimal carbonation and moderate alcohol warmth.

Reminds me of the Yorkshire stingo or the Sam Smith imperial stout, with that vinous dominance. Hoping that fades with age. I like sour, but not in my stouts. (698 characters)

Photo of jjboesen
3.84/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.25

This reveiw is based on the one from whiskey aged barrels. It pours a seriously deep black body that is capped by a plush crown of beige foam and splotted with chunky lacing throughout.

The nose is quickly overwhelmed by an intense bourbon aroma - natch! The initial bite is sweet, malty with some chalkiness involved; there is a noticable hoppiness in attendance and is quickly supplanted by a sweet bourbon tsunami.

The mouthfeel is rather disjointed by a heavy cloyingness, a harsh chalk feint and a dry finish that loiters around the back of the throat for a while.

Not bad; not great - but definitely drinkable. (621 characters)

Photo of ezperkins2
3.48/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Weyerbacher – Heresy
12 oz bottle poured into a Tulip

A: Very Dark brown with a touch of light coming through. Very thin light brown head that dissipates quickly.

S: The first thing that hits me is the woodyness from the barrel and the alcohol. The alcohol is fairly sharp and almost has a rubbing alcohol quality to it. This is followed by a nice roasty note with a hint of smoke. I also get a bit of dark chocolate and coffee.

T: The Taste also has a pretty high alcohol punch. The first thing I get on the taste is the alcohol followed by the wood and roasted notes. The coffee taste comes through more in the flavor than in the nose to me. It lingers a while along with the wood.

M: The carbonation is just right for the style with just enough bubble to give it a touch of a creamy mouth feel when moved about the mouth. Over all it starts a bit watery but the alcohol dries out the finish a bit.

O: I received this beer in a great box from jagerholic thanks to my third place finish in BA fantasy baseball. This is my first offering from Weyerbacher and over all I enjoyed it but, I thought the alcohol was a sharp and a bit over powering for an 8% beer and distracted from the subtle nuances of the finish. I also feel the barrel character was a bit one dimensional. I got a lot of wood but none of the other flavors I have come to expect from a stout aged in whiskey barrels (Vanilla, caramel, toffee.) I would be curios to see if this beer would hold up for a couple of years to see the finish balance out a bit. Again, I did enjoy the beer and was glad I got a chance to try it. I look forward to trying additional offerings from Weyebacher. (1,669 characters)

Photo of 1sophrosyne1
3.5/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Tasted over 20 minutes just above refrigerator cold and allowed to warm.

Pours a thick ebony that allows light to pass only around the rim. Produces a light brown bubbly head that's thin and falls fast. But some clumps on a central island persist, and there are some sheets of lacing.
Smells equal parts bright iced coffee and American whisky with its toffee, orange rind, spice, bruleed vanilla, and underlayer of grassy earth. AS it warms, maize floats through.
An odd marriage of acidified camphor and smoky wood flavors enter halfway into each gulp and detract from the sweet, stylistically correct but boozy start. There's an almost vegetal late phase that turns a bit medicinal. It's a curious collection of tastes that are intellectually engaging, but not terribly enjoyable.
It's heavier on carbonation that expected--a good counterpoint to all the strong booze, but an enhancement to the weird acidity that pierces through the creaminess that should be part of a good stout.
This is a creative brew, but not one I'll reach to drink again. The ethanol is out of balance as are some of the taste elements. The real enjoyment for me is in breathing it in...and it ends there. (1,182 characters)

Photo of BMMillsy
2.65/5  rDev -32.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 1.75 | overall: 2.5

Pours very dark brown with a small and quickly receding light brown/dark kahki head. Smell seems off. Some sour notes on top of heavy alcohol, black currant. Flavor follows very metallic and bland. Pretty high carbonation for the style. Not sure if this is infected, but it is not good. If there is any flavor here is is watered down black currants. Not much going on here. Not good. I will have to try this again hoping that I got an infected bottle. (451 characters)

Photo of mjmworld
4.28/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Not only is it a wonderful beer to drink. I absolutely love the taste of the aged whiskey barrels that is left on your taste buds. I was so impressed with the flavors that I made it into an outstanding "Heresy Brownie with Heresy Ganache". If you have not had this beer give it a try as you will not be disappointed. (316 characters)

Heresy from Weyerbacher Brewing Co.
88 out of 100 based on 991 ratings.