Old Heathen Imperial Stout | Weyerbacher Brewing Co.

very good
831 Reviews
Old Heathen Imperial StoutOld Heathen Imperial Stout

Brewed by:
Weyerbacher Brewing Co.
Pennsylvania, United States

Style: Russian Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.00%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
Rich, velvety and deliciously complex, Old Heathen (8% ABV) is a truly distinctive stout. We use seven types of malt and two varieties of hops to bring forth this big brew. Quite robust and roasty on the palate, Old Heathen Imperial Stout has a wonderfully fruity nose and a moderately dry finish. The taste is highly complex. Perhaps you’ll even discern notes of espresso or chocolate.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 08-19-2001

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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Reviews: 831 | Ratings: 1,652
Photo of Utica_Brew_Review
5/5  rDev +27.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Completely opaque with mild brown head and not much carbonation. Can't get much more stout than that. Roasted chocolate malt aroma with a hint of hop at the end. The typical caramel nutty, etc aroma. Amazing complex flavor. This beer sets the standard for the word stout. Perfectly roasted nut flavor. Amazing dark roasted coffee at the end of the sip. This beer is perfect. We'd love to try this on draught.

This is one of the best beers we have ever had. We struggled to find faults in this beer.

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Photo of Lupe
4.89/5  rDev +25.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Absolutely pitch black with a thin, yet dense, coffee colored creamy head. Head quickly recedes to a thin sheet and leaves some lace.

Big initial cocoa and espresso aroma. This leads the way for dark fruit and raisin. Alcohol is in the nose with a rum-like aroma. Some oak rounds thing out. Very nice.

Robust and has great complexity with flavors of espresso, bitter roasted malt, raisin, dark chocolate, tart plums and cherries. Mild leafy hops, add to the flavor, with the dark roasted malt providing the balancing bitterness. Other than sherry notes, the alcohol is very well hidden - more present in the aroma. Finishes clean with lingering fruit and roasted dryness.

Extremely smooth, creamy, a little thinner than expected. Medium in body. So drinkable. Even with the alcohol I could have a few of these in a sitting.

Top notch Imperial Stout. Rich, complex, very well balanced. No overly roasted bitterness or fusel alcohol flavors, and the hops add a nice complement. Very enjoyable.

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Photo of NJpadreFan
4.85/5  rDev +24%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Weyerbacher- Old Heathen Imperial Stout

Appearance- dark black with a thick brown head. Head held up nicely and laced the glass with a thcik spiderweb.
Smell- darkk roast coffee beans with a blend of cherywood and raisin.
Taste- burnt cherry wood blended with drak roast coffee, dark chocolate and fruit ( cherry, raisin, prune)
Mouthfeel- creamy smooth, with no alcohol detection. Warm and bursting with flavor.

Overall- 1 of the best, if not BEST, stouts I've ever had!! Loved it!!! You could not detect the 8% abv!!! Can't wait til it gets cold so I can drink this more often!!!

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Photo of charlesw
4.85/5  rDev +24%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

You know... I was drinking this the other day, thinking that I'd already reviewed it, and thinking to myself, "Wow! This sure changes quickly! Only 6 months old and this stuff is awesome!" Of course, ha, silly me! I'd never reviewed it before! Ha ha! I like this because of what it doesn't have... It doesn't that that bittersweet chocolate taste. It doesn't have that burned espresso taste. It's smooth and sweet and caramel. Maybe a touch smoked, but really, only a touch. Good stuff. Like a blend of barleywine and imperial porter. OK, awesome stuff. Drink it again? In a heartbeat. I love how they've made a beer this big in flavor and everything at only 8%. Very cool. Good job!

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Photo of Jake351
4.82/5  rDev +23.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Poured out to a black wall with reddish-brown tint. No light coming throught this one.

S: Burnt fruit, chocolate, and dark coffee.

T: Roasted malty goodness, with a coffee bite, and a slight chocolate aftertaste, pleasantly and briefly sweet. Some caramel notes evolve as it warms up with later sips. Nice!

M: Medium-full bodied, full without being cloying.

O: Overall a strong product, and great value for price. Can't wait to see what age would do to the characters in this one. Very good representative of its class.

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Photo of sinstaineddemon
4.82/5  rDev +23.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - wow, i thought the Brooklyn Chocolate was black, this is black, with a finger and a half of dark tan head

S - wow, what an aroma, not just chocolate, but that ambient chocolate aroma like when you walk into a chocolate shop, a second whiff elicits espresso or roasted coffee bean odors very inviting

T - wow (wow, 3 wow's in a row), not as overpowering as i thought, light hints of taste that tantalize, rich coffee and chocolate flavors, very delicious

M - smooth and velvety, easy down easy to sip again, which...

D - ...makes this brew highly drinkable

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Photo of BigMarty1980
4.79/5  rDev +22.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

A- Pours out as dark as black coffee. The head is a beautiful rich cream brown.

S- Coffee

T- Taste is of coffee/expresso. Hints of raisin and maybe some figs.

M- Its a great full body.

O- This is by far, at this point, is one of the best Imperial Stoudts I've ever had. Perfect for a cold fall/early winter day. You will not disappointed.

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Photo of BurgeoningBrewhead
4.77/5  rDev +22%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Poured from 12oz bottle into nonic pint glass. Dark brown oily pour, yielding a single-finger head even with a very aggressive pour. Smells sweet up front, with roasted undertones. Taste is delicious; coating your whole mouth with sweetness, then the roast-ness comes in and finishes. Leaving some nice lacing as I drink as well. Mouthfeel is creamy and full. A great RIS, a great beer.

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Photo of JJKBeerLvr
4.77/5  rDev +22%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Poured from a bottle into pint glass.

Appearance: Very dark with nice brown head.

Smell: Pleasant, and can smell both the hops and roasted malts.

Taste: Excellent taste. There is both a strong hop and malt flavor, but it is not too bitter, nor too sweet. The balance between them is great.

This is one of the best imperial stouts I've tasted. You will enjoy it if you like a bold stout. It is complex, and every time I drink it, I get something new. Definitely a beer to drink again.

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Photo of thebrood1987
4.72/5  rDev +20.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Very dark and I get roasted coffee dark malt plum and fruits. It start off very smooth with sweet dark roasted malty a bit of a fruity hop bite and then ending with a long roasty coffee bean taste although they use no coffee so this is all from the excellent use of malts...very impressive.

Definitely one of my favorite Weyerbacher beers I've ever had from them. Its very silky smooth and as the beer warms I get herbal tastes mixing in with the really rich and extremely tasty roastinesss. The body of the beer is a little thin for a russian imperial which is the only downfall but not enough to ever put a beer this tasty down.

The fruitiness plum flavor comes out more as it warms too. The tastes all come together in unison asa top notch quality russian imperial craft beer.

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Photo of Phatz
4.71/5  rDev +20.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Served in my pint glass at nearly room temperature.
What a fantastic beer!!!

Appearance: This beer pours a fantastic motor oil black with a slight red hue to it. Sit in the glass completely opaque and very proud. Tight and creamy two finger head (chocolaty brown) rises from within and sits nobly on top of this black brew. The head is creamy and delicious. The magnificent lacing lasts through the entire duration of the beer. The appearance of this beer is as close to perfect as you can get!

Smell: Bitter sweet chocolate with no question. WOW! The dark chocolate leads into dark fruits and gentle roasted malts. The aroma seems smooth and calming. It makes you sit back, relax, and salivate.

Taste: What a magnificent taste it is. Dark chocolate, dark roasted malts, definitely hints of molasses and subtle suggestions toward espresso (particularly in the aftertaste). There is also black licorice and little bit of cooked currants. Then more coco and a subtle gentle little bit of tart fruit like raspberries. There is NO hoppy bitterness at all! It has just enough just tart to balance out the sweet. The aftertaste is perfect, slightly sweet, slightly tart, barely dry, just hanging there BEGGING you to take another sip! MMMM UUUAAAGGHH!! I'm sure there is something sinful in a thing this delicious!

Mouthfeel: Smooth and velvety! Creamy-licious! For a Russian Imperial Stout it is not terribly heavy or extremely thick (but sooo smooth) and I think that adds to the perfect drinkability factor.

Drinkability: This beer tastes so good and feels great in your mouth the moment you swallow, the mouth just CRAVES for more! I always try to make a beer last through my entire review, but ... ooops ... its gone already and I am CRAVING another! It sits light in the stomach (for a RIS), and I could certainly put down a number of these. This beer is an amazing experience and I HIGHLY recommend it!

Note: remember to let your RISs warm up before drinking them. I drink usually between 60-65 degrees minimum. And that is to start. Do so and you will get more out of it (IMO).

Hope this is helpful.

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Photo of Kranders
4.7/5  rDev +20.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Amazing beer. Pours ultra-black and has deep aromas of chocolate, coffee and everything you'd expect in a big bold stout. Amazingly complex in taste, full of the dark flavors and the chocolate and coffee come through nice and strong. Great smooth finish. Loved it.

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Photo of dreadnatty08
4.7/5  rDev +20.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a gorgeous opaque midnight black color with a creamy coffee dense head. Aromas are chocolaty, fruity, licorice, and alcoholic. A moderately heavy mouthfeel covers the tongue with a thick coating of bitter chocolate, coffee, roasty deliciousness. This is a pretty incredible beer; carbonation is low but dead on. Hops are subdued but provide a bit of citrus backbone while the patent malts pick up the bulk of the bitterness. This is one of the best RIS's I've tried next to Expedition and BCS, amazing.

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Photo of challenja
4.7/5  rDev +20.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle served in a Dogfish Head pint glass, OK OK I snuck some out of the bottle.

A: A nice black crude oil with a nice looking mocha chocolate 1 finger laced head. One good looking beer!

S: Nice medium espresso, ripe red fruit, dark plum, Swedish milk chocolate, smoked malt and something I can't get. Sniff Sniff. That's a good thing.

T: Well rounded espresso beans, mocha rich malted chocolate balls, ripe red berries, raisin, plum, and smoked pork!

M: This is one smooth imperial stout. One of the smoothest I have tried. It has a cask mouth feel out of a bottle! Ridiculous! Good zesty carbonation that just melts in your mouth. I am really impressed.

O: I am buying this again, a seriously good Imperial Stout, that is smooth, rich, and complex, but not overpowering in terms of malt and coffee that most I.S have.

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Photo of OKCNittany
4.68/5  rDev +19.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A: Thin brown head that didn't stick around too long, but left a decent amount of lacing on the glass. Black body.

S: Very pleasant aroma of coffee and something sweet (maybe a touch of vanilla?)

T: Wonderful flavors here - roasted coffee and malts, some chocolate, and plenty of hops too.

M: Full body. Light carbonation. Very smooth with an exceptional & lasting aftertaste.

D: The alcohol was hidden well. The taste lets you know you're drinking something substantial, but you won't want to stop.

While it may be shy of the top few in its category, it should serve as proof you don't need to approach 12% abv to make an outstanding RIS.

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Photo of microbrewlover
4.68/5  rDev +19.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

This brew pours an opaque black with a one finger mocha head which lasts for several minuets. Good lacing stays on the glass until the end.

The smell is heavy with chocolate, coffee, nuts, raisins, sweet and roasted malts.

The taste follows the nose with sweet and roasted malts dominating, then chocolate and burnt coffee comes in. There is a slightly nutty taste then the finish is more silky chocolate. There is not much hop character but that is fine for this style; I am not complaining.

The mouthfeel is rich and smooth; nothing more to say.

Overall this is one of the best and well balanced Imperial Stouts I have had; another winner from Weyerbacher.

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Photo of Vancer
4.67/5  rDev +19.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

What a hammer! Great, great RIS ! Impressive!

Poured an opaque black molasses, topped by a tanny head. Yum. Then, a bouquet of aromas; anise, raisons and malts.

But the taste, wow; a glass of sour mash bourbon brandy! Big sour green apple finish. One big RIS, I see now that this batch is loaded up at 10% - no wonder my face was flush at the end.

Mouth was tangy, sharp, and crisp. This one certainly move up to the top of RIS’s in my book. I will look forward to the next one, two or six-pack. A definite sipper for an evening of pure drinking pleasure.

BeerBeing is killing me with these great samples! Weyerbacher is one hellava brewery.

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Photo of EvoRich
4.65/5  rDev +18.9%

Look: Poured into a snifer. Pitch black, pours with a big bubbly head which fades to just a ring around the edge of the glass.

Smell: Deep roasty notes, with some chocolate, sweet, dark fruits.

Taste: Dark and roasty, dark chocolate flavors, with just the smallest touch of a coffee finish.

Feel: fulled bodied, medium carbonation.

Overall: I don't have much to say about this beer, but it is infact excellent.

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Photo of GClarkage
4.65/5  rDev +18.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

06/09/05- Received via trade with Santoslhalper. Still have one left from Connecticutpoet/Steinlifter.

Presentation- 12oz undated bottle, poured into a standard pint glass. (Wish so much I had poured it into a Duvel glass or a snifter). I looked awesome in a pint, but would have looked so much better in a different style glass.

Appearance- Deep dark brown pour with a nice inch dirty chocolate colored head. Excellent lacing.

Smell- Tons of roasted coffee and malt with a nice whiff of alcohol. This smells like much more than 8%.

Taste- At first sip a taste of dirty sweatsocks reaveled itself (to me that means smoke flavor) I'm still getting into this style. But, as it mellowed, it took on the wonderful coffee and deep dark and a bit sweet roasted malt flavor. Wow, this truly rivals Stone IRS! The first smoky taste threw me off at first, but the last 3/4 of this brew was tremendous.

Mouthfeel- Creamy, warming and lower carbonation. If only I could try this on cask!

Drinkability- I still have one more, so I'll have to check on that smoke flavor again. Otherwise, it's great. Rivals some of the best IRS beers I have had.

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Photo of Hokies
4.65/5  rDev +18.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours a jet black color with a nice tan head that sticks around for a while and a decent sticky lace on the glass. The beer is an opaque black color with some red hues highlighting the edges.

The aroma is filled with coffee and dark chocolate and a tremendous espresso note.

The taste is not as heavy as most RIS as the the dark chocolate does not make a presence till the end. It starts with the espresso taste but then their is also a light taste of some dark fruits, could be raisins or figs.

I am not a big fan of Russian Imperial Stouts but this one is tremendous. I like the creaminess to it and the more dominant taste of espresso. This is a dangerous brew as you can not taste the alcohol one bit.

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Photo of Bubba83
4.64/5  rDev +18.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served at 50 degrees, poured it into a Snifter. Thanks go to Kegatron for trading this gem to me.

Initial impressions by sight are good. A larger head than most have reported after a somewhat vigorous pour. Leaves maybe 2 finger widths of head that is light coffee colored. The liquid itself is pure blackness, like staring into an abyss. Not much lacing though and dissipates fairly quick.

Terrific aromas stand out immediately. Hints of smoke, chocolate, espresso, and a twinge of alcohol and sting.

Tastes a lot like it smells. First we get some mild sweet dark fruits followed quickly by caramel and then into the deep dark chocolate and coffee bitterness. There is some tartness here that adds just the right amount of character to work all these flavors in together. So complex I could attempt analyzing it for hours. Overall just exactly the flavors I've been searching for in an Imperial Stout.

Feels good, slightly oily but not overly heavy. Still has a decent amount of carbonation despite the oilyness.

Drinks well too, this beer has reminded me Impy Stouts don't need 10+% ABV to be masterpieces. There is no burn at all on the swallow and I was left wanting more. The perfect beer to sip while reading a book in a cold mansion next to a cozy fire. The best Imperial Stout I've had so far.

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Photo of Jeffreysan
4.63/5  rDev +18.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

12 ounce bottle poured into a snifter

Appearance: Pours completely black and devoid of all light, like tar, without practically any head or lacing to speak of, just an extremely thin, almost invisible halo of lacing gripping the glass. This beer is gorgeous! Exactly what an Imperial Stout should look like!

Aroma: Dark bread, slight roasted coffee beans, and dark chocolate. Maybe a hint of vanilla?

Taste: Lots of roasted malt, followed by dark chocolate and finishing with a subtle hoppy bitterness. Wonderfully balanced. Very earthy. Fantastic stout!

Mouthfeel: Smoooth, like a creamy coffee! The beer has almost no carbonation to speak of, which leaves a smoothness that’s very, very pleasing. Very chewy and wonderful. Even though the beer is at 8% ABV, you can’t find any alcohol in the mouth or taste whatsoever.

Overall: Damn, this is a great stout! Very roasty, very chewy, very tastey! I could drink these all day, though at the 8% ABV, I’d be on the floor! Definitely getting this again. Could become my standard imperial stout.

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Photo of padan7
4.63/5  rDev +18.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A: Brown head that didn't stick around too long,. Black body. Looks like an imperial stoudt should.

S: Very pleasant aroma of coffee and other goodies.

T: Roasted coffee and malts, some chocolate. I compare this to Rasputin.

M: Full body. But not as heavy as Rasputin. Very, very smooth . I actually prefer this to Rasputin.

D: The alcohol was hidden well. Goes down much easier than Rasputin. Just a fun time with a great beer. I still really enjoy Rasputin but this beer takes less effort.

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Photo of Backer2004
4.62/5  rDev +18.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I'm beginning to fall in love with Weyerbacher beers. I'm unsure of their distribution in NC, but they were at the Charlotte Oktoberfest and their line seemed to be the longest most of the time. Just a great Russian Imperial stout that would love to just have more more and more.

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Photo of templar316
4.62/5  rDev +18.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

As beautiful as beer gets on the pour. A thick black unable to see through you have to be ready for a beer like this. Extraordinary aroma; bready, yeasty, and above all malty. The head dissapates too fast and you certainly need to decant to serve as they're is defineatly an over carbonation straight from the bottle. However once you get to the taste it can't be beat: malty, bready, chocolately, a perfect finish to any evenings enjoyment. Though the complex flavor is best limited to a few rather then a dozen.
Still smooth and malty, nowadays it seems like everyones trying to knock you out at the first sip. Old Heathen is a beer that knows balance.

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Old Heathen Imperial Stout from Weyerbacher Brewing Co.
3.91 out of 5 based on 1,652 ratings.
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