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 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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Photo of TheManiacalOne
4.6/5  rDev +17.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Poured from a 12oz. bottle into an imperial pint glass.

A: The beer pours a deep dark blackish brown, with a short brown head that fades quickly and doesn’t leave much lacing.

S: The aroma is of dark chocolate, roasted coffee, caramelized malt, a little bit of hops and a hint of dark fruits.

T: Heavy chocolate and espresso flavor dominates, there is some hops character there that comes through and a touch of fruity sweetness. I found it to be very well-balanced.

M: Very smooth and it’s more crisp than other Russian Imperial Stouts that I’ve had. It has a medium-to-full body and medium carbonation and leaves a little bit of stickiness in the finish.

D: This beer is extremely easy to drink. There’s not hint of the 8.00% ABV and it’s not as filling as other RIS’s. It was one of those beers that I had a hard time keeping in the glass long enough to review. Overall, I think this is an excellent beer. I usually like a bigger kick with this style of beer, but I think any more strength would throw off the balance, so I consider it addition by subtraction.

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Photo of Katahdin
4.6/5  rDev +17.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Not a typical Weyerbacher beer. It pours very thick, very black, almostt like a heavy motor oil. Definitely has the body of an Imperiqal Stout but is more creamy in the taste than most Imperial Stouts. Texture on the tongue is smooth with almost an aftertaste of roasted oatmeal. Drinks just as smooth and belies it's big beer charcteristics. Complex maltiness adds to the experience as it goes down. A wonderful beer for a cold winter night in front of a fire.

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Photo of Stinkypuss
4.6/5  rDev +17.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A. Poured into a frozen Steelers mug, watching the game. What a great coincidence. Pours chocolate syrup with a dark khaki head.

S. Woody booze dark cherries.

T. Smooth malty and creamy. Sedating. Very well rounded. Toasted malt. Robust coffee in the distance. Sharp bitter hops. There are layers of grandness. 5

M. Coats the palate with a light creme. Enjoyable.

D. I am glad I have 2 more of these!

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Photo of bjohnson
4.6/5  rDev +17.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A: Pours a jet black oil like color with a thin one finger caramel colored head. Slight rim of retention around the glass with a thin film on top.
S: Dark fruit mashed together with sweet caramel, chocolate, and a bit of roasted coffee.
T/M: Very complex brew this one is. Many different flavors all peeking in and out. Burnt roasted coffee and sweet chocolate. Dark fruits--mostly plum, raisons, and figs. Very silky smooth across the palate with a slight burning sensation on the roof of the mouth (abv?). Sweet dry finish with a bit of hop bitterness. Nice subtle carbonation zing. Nice balance of the flavors.
D: One stellar Impy stout. I'm very happy these are in 12oz'ers. Abv goes unmasked with only a subtle cameo. Definately worth tracking down and added for the winter season.

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Photo of unclejimbay
4.6/5  rDev +17.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Dark coffee in color, short tan head and short retention, no lace, but reduces to a nice thin rocky cap.
Smells of roasted dark malts, cocoa, a hint of coffee and American hops.
Tastes as it smells, balanced well with citrus hop character. Dominant cocoa and coffee flavors. Big on taste but well balanced.
Medium full body, low/medium carbo.

Very enjoyable impy stout IMHO, full malty body with nice hop support. This is a subtley sweet and chocolate dominant RIS, not too sweet. I have enjoyed this one more than once now, and it's currently a steal @ $1.50 per 12oz bottle @ Broudy's Jax Beach, FL 4/17/10.

I like the taste of this one so much it's almost sessionable if I was in a true RIS mood.

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Photo of Ricochet
4.6/5  rDev +17.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Got this in a sampler pack, sat in my fridge for a few weeks, and after a night of drinking heavily with friends, I took this one out, gave a small bit to a friend, and had a few sips myself and stopped there. It seemed a shame to not enjoy this properly for my review of BA.

Because I had this in the bottle, except for the small pour I gave my friend, it's BLACK, but couldn't see if it let light through, but still a good rating. It smelled as any other imperial. Appetizing coffee, roasted malt, alcohol, drink it up.

Mouth was good again. Just like other imperials I've sampled, it makes me want to chew it. Good sign.

Taste was, unusual. Deep roasted malts, sweet fruity hop flavor and the finish was , well, tasted like a dark fudge brownie. That was amazing. Because I love brownies, for a BEER to taste like this so strongly, it made my day.

PLUS, for an imperial, this was reasonably priced and well, it was the flavor just like Brooklyn's double chocolate plus a note I haven't experienced before in a beer, it makes it very very buy-again.

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Photo of jtw5877
4.6/5  rDev +17.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This stuff is great, a very pleasant surprise to see this at my local farm market. Pours a thick deep dark black hue with a brownish tan head. Wonderful deep rich maltiness with alot of coffee, caramel, and chocolatey tones. A very fine imperial stout that I would recommend to anyone who can find it.

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Photo of CWiggins
4.55/5  rDev +16.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a "black-as-night" hue in my Samuel Smith glass. The texture is quite syrupy. A thin, tan head appeared briefly; the lacing held firm for several minutes around the edge, right at the point of surface tension.

The aroma is mainly of all those classic dark beer characteristics: coffee, dark chocolate, a bit of sweet, dried fruit, and some toasted nuts make themselves clearly known.

Ah! What a tremendous flavor! I don't know if stout gets much better than this. Smooth, strong, and delicious! The flavor is mainly of dark coffee and chocolate, the dark, baking type. Just the right amount of alcohol provides the warm and thick texture delivered by this beer. If you taste closely, you can also obtain detect properties of dark dried fruits, and the whole thing is capped off with a slight bitterness with a long-lasting aftertaste. Nearly perfect!

I really enjoy the mouthfeel of this beer. It's cloying, but not in an annoying manner.

Like many of Weyerbacher's beers, this one is entirely drinkable and enjoyable. I highly recommend it.

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Photo of billybob
4.55/5  rDev +16.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

pours jet black inthe glass no light comes through. rich medium tan two finger head holds well with some nice sticky lacing. mostly coffee aromas with a hint of bitter chocolate and some earthy, smokiness. slightly sweet and smooth. coffee up front then bitter chocolate with dried prune, dark molasses, and brown sugar. light mouthfeel and carbonation is just right. the 8 % abv is the only reason not to session with this beer.

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Photo of doppelmeup
4.55/5  rDev +16.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I drank this side by side with some Heresy, to see what effect oak aging would have on the beer. It was an interesting experience, and I preferred the Old Heathen over the Heresy. Here is my review.

Very dark brew with no light shining through. Not a great head, and only minimal lacing. No doubt you were drinking a stout when you looked at this one.

Aromas of coffee, bittersweet cocoa and espresso.

A dark and rich flavored beer. Similar in taste to how it smelled, with espresso dominating the flavor. Very nice tasting stout. The high ABV was very well hidden.

Mouthfeel was rich and thick. Again, no doubt that you were drinking a RIS.

Very drinkable brew, although the high ABV would definitely sneak up on you, so drink carefully.

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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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