Old Heathen Imperial Stout | Weyerbacher Brewing Co.

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Old Heathen Imperial StoutOld Heathen Imperial Stout
Very Good
1,653 Ratings
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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Ratings: 1,653 |  Reviews: 831
Photo of Slatetank
4.32/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I had this at my cousins house in Lancaster on 8/7 enjoyed from a pint glass chilled.

The stout is deep black and opaque in clarity with a quick dropping sandstone cap w/ fine bead.The head falls to a a ring and spots of lace collect. The smell is deep with cocoa and the nose has light caramel notes with slight sweet vanilla cream and gentle grain aroma with light fruit from the yeast which has some prune and dark concentrated sugar with toasted nose and gentle spice accents.The feel is very good with decent smooth body, creamy malt with light bitterness and balance stays firmly in the malt camp with slight soft alcohol tinge and subtle roasted texture with some moderate spice and carbonation.

The flavor is great when sipped or taken in larger gulps, either way the malt expresses well with fantastic chocolate malt taste that lacks a lot of dark malt astringency. There is a moderately high level of caramel malt flavor but the hop spice stays in the background as a supporting roll. The toasted almost toffee like essence provides a nice complexity while some stone fruit from the yeast is evident. Overall a extremely drinkable stout --possibly my favorite offering from Weyerbacher, smooth drinkability which is coupled with relatively low alcohol in the taste for the style which I like- Kudos Weyerbacher!

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Photo of magine
3.93/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a pint glass.

Pours a black with a bit of ruby red along the edges. Has a near brown head. Head settles to a wispy lace covering the top of the brew. Some minor lace that rims the glass on the way down. Good looks.

Brew smells of sweet malted cocoa and coffee. Some dark fruits; raisins maybe. Pretty solid nose.

Brew is velvety smooth; thick dense and malty. Great creaminess in the brew. Nice balance of carbonation as you drink and ends sweet and peppers the tongue. Leans to a slightly dry aftertaste. The tastes I pick up are roasted cocoa, coffee, and some raisins. Big malts and some very think and creamy flavors and that. Some earthy flaovors as well. Even some dark fruit hops as it warms. Very complex and great body and taste.

This is a great brew from Weyerbacher. Great tastes and body that hide the 8% alcohol very well. I could see myself drinking a few of these to kick start my night. Great stuff.

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Photo of AleWatcher
3.97/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

No doubt I got this bottle from 2dogbrew... I have no clue how long I've had it in the cellar... Served in a New Belgium Globe glass.

Very dark... Nearing black, but with reddish hues on the edges. Nice dark tan head has great retention and decent lacing.
Smells of cocoa and some ground coffee... Dark malts are dry and roasty after a slight initial burst of sweetness. As it warms I'm greeted with a touch of warmth that I find pleasant and enjoyable-- not at all distracting.
The beer has a nice overall flavor profile. Not a huge amount of depth or intensity, but certainly a drinkable beer. The body is medium with enough carbonation to keep it interestingly soft and creamy.

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Photo of lurpy1
3.78/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Shared with the wife the other night, and I just want to say my half bottle of Old Heathen really helped me make it through a phone call with by bipolar dad.

Psycho-therapeutic value aside, Old Heathen pours brownish/black with a half-finger head that interestingly enough, stays in the glass till the very end.Doesn't have the deep aroma of some RIS, but pretty good, nothing offensive. The taste is heavily malt and maybe some caramel in there, perhaps some coffee? Appealing. But the mouthfeel, for me, isn't RIS. A little too thin, a little too bubbly, a little too something.

A very good, but not great stout. Still recommended.

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Photo of AdamBear
3.27/5  rDev -16.8%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A-black with a nice tan head. exactly how it should look

S-smells like chocolate covered...blue berries...as odd as that may sound, though its a really faint scent.

T-ok well scratch the blueberries, they're not in this taste at all. comes in with a good strong taste of chocolate and coffee powder. the of coffee powder lasts. its a pretty run of the mill imperial stout. the after-taste is mostly of coffee bean.

M-medium to heavy carbonation with a dry finish

O-not a bad beer but its pretty boring as an imperial stout. the one good thing to make up for that is the real low price and ease of drinking. however, i still don't think i'll be ordering this again unless my options are extremely limited.

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Photo of OakedCanuck
3.1/5  rDev -21.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

12oz bottle into cervoise

A - Pours a deep brown to lighter black. Small light tan head with minimal lacing

S - Roast coffee, chocolate, charcoal, pine.

T - Decently roasty with coffee and chocolate mainly present. I pick up a hint of vanilla and molasses. I notice a big back end of nuts, I think hazelnut.

M - Medium and thin, not the greatest. It is way too thin than expected but does make it drinkable.

O - This beer didn't get me too excited. Pretty plain and lacked the depth of flavour usually associated with this style.

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Photo of claspada
4/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Aromas of rich cooca and coffee dominate with a nice touch of bitter and roasted malts that take over the profile very nicely.

The tastes begin with smooth, roasted maltiness that wraps itself over the palate. There are light hints of vanilla mix in with the dark chocolate and rich roasted malts. As it warms you get a nice touch of sweet vanilla and brown sugar that really compliments the cocoa and lightly hopped finish quite nicely.

The flavors deliver lots of dark malt with a bittersweet chocolate character and a soft, roasted edge backed by a bold bitterness and some drying alcohol in the finish.

Overall, Weyerbacher continues to deliver with affordable quality beers. This "sessionable" Russian Imperial Stout is often overlooked by many, including myself, because it is readily available and doesn't have it's own magical release day, but any fan of the style should/will enjoy this.

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Photo of 4DAloveofSTOUT
4.11/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

poured into tulip glass.

Appearance: Dark black bodied beer. Dark Mocha head initially 2 fingers head, but dissapates into a cap on top of the beer. Decent lacing sticking to side of glass.

Smell: Faint coffee and dark chocolates. Smells nice, but not very robust nose.

Taste: Sweetness and some roasty coffee notes start things off. Coffee, molasses, and caramelized sugar. Nice bite to this RIS, that makes you want to sink your teeth into it.

Mouthfeel: This beer is creamy and smooth. Its a full bodied beer with moderate carbonation.

Overall: Third Weyerbacher beer I have tried and I have enjoyed all three of them. In my opinion, I enjoyed this beer more than Heresy. Its really close tho, but Old Heathen is such solid RIS that it does not need the barrel aging to be a top notch beer!

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Photo of BuxMontBeerLover
3.88/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle was part of the Big Beers Variety Case from Weyerbacher.

Enjoyed in a DFH Signature Glass.

A - Pours a totally opaque, deep black color with a one finger, beige colored head that quickly fades. Leaves a fair amount of lacing.

S - Not an overwhelming aroma. A hint of sweetness with a heavily roasted malt aroma.

T - The beer is a decent stout with hints of chocolate and coffee. The overwhelming taste is that of burnt malts and a slight tobacco taste as well. A tad bitter. The alcohol is pretty well disguised but is more apparent as the beer warms up.

M - A rather thinnish stout. Not as creamy as I'd like. A bitterness lingers after each sip.

O - A good beer that dosen't really set itself apart from other stouts out there. Weyerbacher's other imperial stout, Heresy is a much creamier and tastier beer, in my opinion. Not bad.


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Photo of MikeM40
3.5/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a DFH Signature glass from a 12oz bottle,this Imperial Stout poured a jet black with a two finger tan head that left a fair amount of lacing. This beer has a very fruity aroma,blueberry and black cherry with just a hint of roasted malt,and maybe a bit of ash.This is a good smelling beer with just a hint of alcohol on the nose. Mouthfeel is medium thick and the carbonation gives it a frothy,creamy quality. The taste is surprisingly un-berry like,compared to the nose,with malt and sweet milk upfront and dark chocolate and coca following. The presence of alcohol is well hidden. This brew may be creamy and easy drinking,but it is also somewhat boring and lacking the punch of most Imperials. I'd much rather have a Heresy.

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Photo of bum732
2.74/5  rDev -30.3%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

S: Fruity with some herbalness, smells like an American porter, touch chalky, some cappucino.

L: Pitch black, light tan head, creamy, dissipates slightly, good lacing.

T: Dark fruity sweet with a light roasty component. Dark caramel and medium bitterness with some coffee candy sweetness in the finish. Touch of ash.

M: Medium mouthfeel, medium carbonation.

I hate imperial stouts like this, not much roast or chocolate. Despite this, i can recognize a good beer designed like this, this beer is not one of them.

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Photo of ExtraStout
4.03/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this on tap in a 12oz. glass. It pours nicely black, with a good head, but it fades quickly. Alcohol hits the nose first quickly followed by lots of coffee. Chocolate, and roasty malts, as you would expect, quite subtle, which i liked, nice balance and slightly too thin mouthfeel, with nice bitterness. This was the last one of the night and it still stood up nicely overall.

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

I poured Old Heathen Imperial Stout from a 12 oz bottle at around 52 degrees. It poured a dark brown with a tan head. Not completely opaque but dark.

The nose was minimal but had some cocoa and coffe notes.

The taste was ok but not nearly as bold as I like to see in an Imperial stout. The same subtle cocoa and coffee notes came through on the palate with a bitter hollow finish.

The mouthfeel was much too thin for what I am looking for in an Imperial stout and the carbonation was higher then I like as well.

Overall this is not an awful beer by far but there are many many more better examples of Imperial Stouts out there. Enjoy!!!

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Photo of pmarlowe
3.98/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Tulip glass.

Pours near black with a massive three fingers of dense, light beige foam. Thick sheets of lacing. Looks really good. Smell and taste is lots of chocolate malt and a touch of vanilla and herbs/spices. Medium bodied and medium-light carbonation, a little lighter than I'd prefer--almost water-like on the finish.

Overall, a very solid example of the style that I could imagine putting in the regular everyday rotation (if it were distributed anywhere near here). It drinks more stout than "imperial" stout.

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Photo of mikesgroove
4.17/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

dark as night inky black pour with a nice little tan head of about two inches that fades down into a nice layer of about an inch or so that hangs around for the remainder of the session.

nice aroma, rich cooca and coffee dominate with a nice touch of bitter and roasted malts that take over the profile very nicely. smooth, effortless flavor then wraps itself over the palate. light hints of vanilla mix in with the dark chocolate and rich roasted malts. small touch of alcohol but this fades quickly as it warms and leaves you with a nice touch of sweet vanilla and brown sugar that really compliments the cocoa and lightly hopped finish quite nicely

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Photo of tkepx182
3.55/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

This is a good imperial stout compared to some of the other ones that I have tried. It has a pleasant aroma with a nice look to it. But everything else about this beer is average at best. I enjoy most of the beers that Weyerbacher puts out and as much as I wanted to enjoy this beer, I was rather indifferent to it.

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Photo of shand
4.22/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a chalice.

First, an oddity on the bottle. Why does this have a nine month freshness date? What kind of imperial stout only lasts 9 months! In all fairness, the brew I'm reviewing right now is technically three months out of code. I don't care though, should still be delicious. Pours out of the bottle fairly black with a finger wroth of head that quickly recedes to bubbly wisps. The aroma is again very nice, but very standard for the style. Dark fruit, dark chocolate, roasted coffee and malts. It does it well though, so it's all good. The taste is also fairly good, it's strong on the dark fruits at first, which begin to get tempered by the dark chocolate and roasted coffee. Deep roasted malts finish this one out. It's very well-done, but has nothing extra to make it stand out from the pack.

The mouthfeel is good, it's lightly carbonated and just a touch less than full-bodied. And the drinkability is quite good for a RIS, perhaps due to the fairly low ABV. This one wasn't all that much of a sipper. But you know what's really superb about this one? The price. This single ran me 2.09 at a fairly expensive store. I'm pretty sure six-packs run 12 dollars. That's a lot of good RIS for just a little bit of money.

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Photo of plfahey
4.12/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle poured into a tulip glass.

Appearance-Black with the faintest ruby highlights when held to the light. Opaque, but appears clear.Moderate mocha tan head has decent retention, and forms some nice lace on the glass.

Aroma-Yum-the aroma on this just plain kicks ass. Superbly balanced blend of sweet plums and dried fruit, with bittersweet dark chocolate and a sort of dry, roasted coffee aroma. Low earthy hops perceptible, but do not play much of a role here. Awesome roast, and just a whiff of alcohol.

Flavor-Sweet dark fruit begins the charge but is quickly enveloped by a swell of dark chocolate and then wave after wave of roasted black espresso. Bitter, roasted grains dominate the palate for some time, but as they begin to fade, chocolate and earthy hop notes emerge in the aftertaste which just seems to go on forever.

Mouthfeel-Medium to medium full body with moderate carbonation. That bubbles lightly across the tongue. Smooth with some alcohol warmth.

I wouldn't call this an outstanding imperial stout, but it's definitely a good beer. The flavor is a little harsh through the middle, but I still like it a lot. Also, at 8% alcohol and the medium body, it's not very imperial for a RIS, but it works. Very good, but not great.

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Photo of Mdog
3.8/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Black, good head.

Smell: Coffee, roasted notes, a little dark chocolate.

Taste: Moderate coffee, a little sweetness, bitter coffee finish.

Drinkability: The single went down easy.

Another single to try. Not too impressed with this one as I prefer my big stouts to be a little more sweet than this one. Oh well, Weyerbacher makes a lot of good beers, I'll have those instead.

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Photo of quine
4.15/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Pours a jet black. Not very much head, and it doesn't stick around long either.

S: Lots of roasted malts, aromas of coffee and chocolate. Some fruity sweetness also comes through.

T: Taste is quite good. The roastiness of the malts and coffee are the dominant flavors, with some chocolate and dark fruitiness in the background. Good balance of bitter and sweet.

M: Carbonation was fairly high, almost a little too high. Makes the brew feel lighter than I'd like for the style.

D: No trace of the 8.0% ABV. Delicious balance of flavors. Good offering from Weyerbacher.

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Photo of Knapp85
3.58/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This beer is ultra black when pouring it into a glass the look of oil always comes to mind. The few bubbles it had rise to the top and fade shortly after. The lacing wasn't too bad, kind of scattered about. The aroma was pretty strong with deep roasted malts and chocolate. The taste wasn't too bad either resembling similar characteristics of the aromas with the addition of some tasty hops in the finish. The Mouthfeel is thick without a doubt. The only other thought I have is that I would pass this one up if Heresy was right next to it.

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Photo of chefhatt
3/5  rDev -23.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I poured this beer into a pint glass, it was as black as night, with a little tan head that quickly dissipates to a thin lace around the edge. The smell is of roasted malts and chocolate. The taste is very balanced well of malts and hops, i taste some chocolate on the back of the tongue. the mouth feel is ok. Overall this is a ok beer for me, i'm not really into dark beers but i like to try them.

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Photo of GoalieRon33
4.04/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- Black. Absolutely pitch black. Used engine oil is the best way to describe it (thanks Brothers). I may be a little biased, but I love to just admire and look at beers this black and opaque.

S- A little less than I expected with the depth of the coloration. Slight hoppiness with some malty sweetness. Muted licorice, with a little more molasses (sticky, sweet) than I really expected.

T- Mild for a RIS. Malty backbone is slightly overshadowed by very mild hops. The medium body lends to the muted taste overall, as its surprisingly easy to drink. There was really no discernable hoppy bite. If anything, the fusion of hops to malts has created an ideal situation with this beer. The big Alcohol content is noticeable at the end of the sip with an ever-so-slight burn.

M- Medium body. Nothing too heavy. From the coloration, you would expect a syrupy consistency, but combined with the mild yet complex tastes, this beer is easy to drink.

O- My favorite RIS to date. Such an easy beer to drink for so much going on. Heavy as hell in the ABV dept, but so easy and smooth to drink. Loved it from beginning to end.

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Photo of Morey
3.68/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours pitch black in color (although it's not as thick as say...FBS). Head stood only about one finger tall following a medium pour, and has settled to a very thin lace after only a few minutes. Not too much in the way of head retention either.

Smells of roasted malts and not much else to be honest. Nothing offensive, but a pretty clean and mild aroma for a Imperial Stout.

This taste better than it smells and looks. Very balanced. It's roasty with a touch of sweetness that is balanced out by a mild hop bitterness.

Medium bodied mouthfeel (which is a bit thin for the style) with a smooth finish.

Alcohol isn't noticeable in the slightest. Easy drinking IS for sure.

Morey's Bottom Line: I'm a big Weyerbacher fan, but I've also had some really great Stouts lately. This one is good, but it's not elite by any means. Would I drink it again...heck yeah! Am I likely to purchase a sixer of it, probably not. If you have friends that have never had an IS, this would be a good first step.

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Photo of Alieniloquium
3.65/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. poured into a goblet. Served at 52 degrees.

Appearance - Black, perhaps dark brown. Does not look viscous. Even a bit transparent (or at least more than I would expect from an RIS). Tan head that vanishes quickly to leave only a trace of carbonation.

Smell - Roasty. Very roasty. Chocolate flavors, maybe coffee, but mostly roasted malt.

Taste - Bitter start from the hops. The hops mask a lot of the stout flavor. Finishes with, surprise, a roasty malt flavor. Some chocolate, some coffee. Mostly the same as the smell. All in all, the flavor isn't very intense.

Mouthfeel - Thin for a big stout (not all that big, really). It finishes a bit dry. It could use a bit more body. Not much alcohol, but it's only 8%, so I probably wouldn't even notice it if it were prevalent. It gets a bit more syrupy as it warms, but not enough.

Overall - Not impressed. Not offensive by any means, just uninteresting. Needs more body and more malty complexity. It's just roasty and malt in both taste and aroma.

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Old Heathen Imperial Stout from Weyerbacher Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 3.93 out of 5 with 1,653 ratings