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.

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,653 |  Reviews: 831
Photo of mvanaskie13
4/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a tulip pint glass; nice tan head about 1/2 thick that dissipates but laces and clings well; color is solid black, very well done.

Smell is roasted barley malt, light coffee scent, hint of chocolate, very small hint of ester.

Taste is a very smooth malt sweetness, coffee notes, feint chocalate flavors. Good balance in the hop bitterness, but no discerible tastes.

Mouthfeel is very well done, nicely balanced, great carbonation, flavors hit tongue and cheek equally well.

Overall, very well done brew, good balance in sweetness and bitterness.

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Photo of coldmeat23
4.18/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

GLASS: Snifter
TEMP: Cellared @ approx 45 degrees
Thanks to a generous BA for a sweet Weyerbacher hook-up!

For all intents and purposes, this one is black. When backlit, it gives up a very tiny surface ring of dark brown....otherwise, you'd never know. A medium brown head, just over a finger thick, forms on top. It fades after a couple of minutes. The lacing is plentiful, yet fairly slick.

A boatload of dark roasted malts are oozing out of this glass. This one is more dark and roasty than sweet, for sure, but it does have a slight touch of sweetness to the smell. Light hints of dark fruits. A decent dose of dark roasted coffee beans. Hints of milk and dark chocolates. A light trace of molasses.

Taste follows the nose. It also introduces some nice hints of tobacco and leather. Light traces of smoke. This is very well balanced, overall.

This is almost full-bodied with a medium level of carbonation. It's very smooth and has a nice touch of creaminess. A slight hint of almost lacto or oatmeal smoothness.

Just a touch too roasty for a perfect score here. Other than that though, this is highly drinkable and totally enjoyable. As a bonus, the 8.00%abv is very well hidden.

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3.72/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours in a dark amber color. Pentiful & creamy foam, beige colored, unfortunately brief. Low carbonation doesn´t allow it to be recovered. Chocolate, coffee & mildly toasted notes in your nose; hops not felt. Low hoppy, bitternes & sweetness in your mouth. I expected a better taste after smelling it. A little flat in my humble opinion. Drinkable.

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Photo of stakem
4.28/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

On cask at Al's of Hampden on 3/10/11. Served in a nonic, this brew appears a dark brown to black color through the body with a thick froth of mocha colored head that tops this brew with a nearly brown coloration and amazing powers of retension. Patchy lace clings to the glass with every sip and a fingers worth of frothy head is still present as the last sip is taken.

The aroma of this brew is dark and roasty like chocolate mixed with dark skinned fruits. Lightly hoppy with a citrus component that blends well with the fruitier side of this brew's smell. As it warms up, more dark fruit notes come forward. I'm usually not a fan of fruit flavor/aroma in my stouts as I favor roastiness. However, it isn't distracting and collectively creates a pleasant experience.

The taste of this brew is reminiscent of dark fruit like raisins and plums but laden with alcohol and chocolate notes. A little bit of tangy citrus hops are present in the flavor just like the aroma. A lasting aftertaste of chocolate covered raisins resides in the mouth. Again, I'm not too big on the fruited RIS interpretations of the style but this one isn't bad, it is done well.

This is a medium bodied brew with a soft, light level of carbonation that makes this brew excessively smooth in the feel and very easy drinking. The abv incorporation comes out with fruity esters throughout the experience but it is fitting.

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Photo of wrightro07
3.87/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Black with a tan fluffy head. The only issue I have is I would like better head retention.
S: Rich in coffee and chocolate malts. I like the smell of this beer. It could be bigger but it fits the criteria well.
T: The taste is rich chocolate malts with a little bitter/sweet at the end. It does not have a burnt taste to it which is nice.
M: The mouth feel in carbonation silky the only issue is that I wish it had a little more body to make it linger in the mouth more.
O: overall it is a good imperial stout.

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

Pours a solid black with a finger of a tan head that rises quickly than all but disappears. Smells of chocolate, coffee, toffee, slightly sour with a hint of wet dog. I can't find much in the way of hops in the aroma. Taste is sweet and smooth with a lactic edge. Chocolate, coffee, toffee dominate the taste with maybe a hint of lactose? Smooth creamy mouthfeel, light carbonation with a medium body. Not a bad brew but reminds me more of an extra stout rather than a Russian Imperial Stout. The roast could be stronger and the slight sourness would again seem more at home in an extra stout.

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Photo of nobjon
3.4/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

SMELLS SWEETER than it tastes ,,, dark but belies the flavor associated with its rich color,,, if you like flavor and not to bitter go with victory VVV storm king or even sam is better, never thought i d say that ,, unimpressed ,, wont be sippi n weyerbacher any time soon

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Photo of KajII
4.1/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

[Best served in a Snifter]

Poured very dark brown with a small creamy tan head that was mostly diminishing and had some nice lacing. The aroma was of burnt bread malts, a mild resin hop and a sweet doughy yeast with hints of dark chocolate, coffee and molasses. It tasted malty and moderately sweet with notes of chocolate and molasses in the beginning and finished a bitter-sweet with a nice hint of coffee and hops at the end with the flavor lasting a nice while after the swallow. Mouthfeel was full in body and creamy yet a little oily in texture with a flat carbonation. Overall a very tasty and smooth Imperial Stout with really no taste of the high alcohol content. I also like the name…

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

A: Pours nearly black, with some brown at the edges, and fairly thick. About a half-finger of dense creamy dark tan head that leaves a bit of lacing.

S: Nice combination of dark roasted (coffee) and sweet caramel malts. A bit of light fruit, with a very nice freshness in the end that I think comes from aromatic hops.

T: Good balanced malt profile, as it has in the nose. Has a bit more malt sweetness backing up the dark roast than many similar beers. Again, I pick up coffee in the front. Hops are good - not overpoweringly bitter (as I find them to be in Yeti, for example), but present enough to round out the flavor and balance the strong heavy flavors of the grains.

M: Pretty good for the style, but a touch on the light side. Floats in the mouth. Quite nice.

D: This is a very well balanced, solid imperial stout. It doesn't bowl me over with amazingness, as some of my favorites do, and it's a bit light in the mouthfeel, but that's about everything negative I have to say about it. The alcohol is hidden away well - this is 8% ABV? Will definitely drink it again.

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Photo of orangesol
3.82/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Served on cask at Al's of Hampden into a nonic pint.

A - Pours dark as night with a nice pillow of one finger tall tan head leaving spotty rings of lacing down the glass.

S - Plenty of dark roasted malts, bittersweet chocolate, and some dry graham crackers combine to form a thick, rich, nose. Nothing flashy here, just as solid nose.

T - Tons of dark roast mix well with some chocolaty sweetness, dry graham crackers, and a bit of dark roasted coffee. Some nice smokiness comes out in the finish but it doesn't linger very long. Decent balance but this one really isn't anything special.

M - Heavy body and flavor with moderate carbonation. Not as thick as you might think in the feel, a touch too watery even. Plenty of lingering roast in the finish.

D - Not too bad, nowhere near the best but still some pretty good stuff. The ABV. does get to you over time bringing this one down a notch or two. Still glad I tried it tho.

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Photo of celticfutblclub
3.82/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle

A - Super black body (no light getting through this bad boy) and a pale head that recedes quickly to the glass.

S - roasted, espresso come to mind instantly. subtle dark fruit lingers in the back.

T - fruits and alcohol hit upfront followed by a very roasted malty taste with a bit of espresso. i enjoy how the taste and smell seem to be working in opposite directions.

M - nice carbonation. sticks well to the mouth leaving you wanting more.

D - easily see myself capable of having multiple of these (too bad i only got one in a mixed sixer).

i expect good things from weyerbacher and they did not disappoint here.

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Photo of falloutsnow
3.72/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A hard pour produces a small head, dark tan in color, that quickly settles to a thin ring of bubbles around the glass. No evident lacing after taking a sip. Beer is a dark, dark chestnut brown in color.

The beer's scent isn't particularly strong or well-defined, at least for me. My nose picks up traces of dark, syrupy prunes, roasted malt, raisins, and hints of cocoa powder.

Taste of roasted malt sweetness, semi-bitter chocolate, Sumatran coffee, prunes, raisins, light smattering of hop bitterness near the end, and a slight metallic twang. Aftertaste primarily of raisins, prunes, and roasted malt.

Mouthfeel is of medium-heaviness with modest carbonation upfront, but that tapers off quickly. Fairly dry finish.

A quality imperial stout, full of flavor, though a bit tame in the nose. Something that's locally available and definitely checking out again.

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Photo of Ryan011235
3.79/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

Poured into an E&J Cask & Cream glass on 2/13/11

Dark brown; settles nearly black with deep ruby highlights. Two fingers of ample foam immediately began to crackle away, becoming a thin layer soon after. Not much lace.

Smells roasty & grainy. Anise, coffee beans, unsweetened chocolate, cocoa powder & dark berries. Earthy with a subtle smokiness.

Simple & effective flavors: roasted chocolate & coffee; undertones of grains; earthy hop residuals. Pretty dry with just a light sweetness. Starts to smooth out over time.

The feel is a bit thin; almost watery at times. Unobtrusive carbonation; just enough to keep things moving along. Mostly dry finish with tangy, roasted notions.

Nothing over the top here, just a solid imperial stout. Grit & bitterness compounds. I like that it's comfortably seated at 8% abv.

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Photo of happygnome
3.33/5  rDev -15.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

a: pours a deep dark black color with about an inch of brown head that disappears quickly leaving a slim trace of lace around the edge of the glass and a thin layer on the top of the beer

s: deeply roasted malts, sweet marachino cherry aroma. Earthy aroma of hops balances this nicely

t: Chocolate roasted malts dominate the flavor. Coffee is also present. Earthy hops balance the flavor

m: Medium bodied beer with not a lot of carbonation

overall, this is a pretty decent beer. Not the best example of the style but a nice beer to enjoy

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Photo of Jeffo
2.88/5  rDev -26.7%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Got this at De Molen in Bodegraven.

From a bottle into a snifter.

APPEARANCE: Black pour makes a small, medium looking head with relatively lousy retention. Head quickly fades to a splotchy wisp and ring. Jet black body, thicker looking, and no carbonation evident. A slight ring remains until the end but leaves no lacing down the glass. An impressively thick body and lackluster head balances out the score here.

SMELL: Milder nose of roasted malt and musty leather. A note of oats in there, though I don't think this is an oatmeal stout. A light note of cocoa in there, but overall, this is just too mute to be anything worth writing home about.

TASTE: Some roasted notes and sweet caramel malt. Some leather, grapes, and red wine as well. Quite mute up front, but the sweet caramel and wine flavors come alive a little after the swallow. Bold and lingering aftertaste showcases some bitter chocolate as balance, but it is still dominated by sweet caramel and red wine. Very sweet for an imperial stout.

PALATE: Medium body and medium-high levels of carbonation. Creamy enough on the palate, but not overly smooth. Goes down fine and finishes slightly mouth-coating. Fine here.

OVERALL: Nothing wrong or offensive about this beer, but nothing worth writing home about either. If you like your imperial stouts on the sweeter side, then this might just do it for you. Though I enjoy a little more bitterness, the main criticism is that the nose is too mute and the initial flavor is lacking. After the swallow it comes to life a little, but needs more upfront. One worth checking out if you see, but I won't need to go back.

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Photo of sendsilk
3.5/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bought a 12 oz. of this at my special place for getting expensive older brews. Think I paid $2.79. No date/batch markings on the bottle but knowing this place it's probably been there for a couple of years (which is why I go there!).

A- This is dark, really dark. like Stone RIS or Ten Fidy. Nice looking head leaves great lacing on the glass.

S- This is pretty weak. Nothing much jumps out, some molasses and cocoa. Smells like an Ol' Chub Scotch Ale.

T- Pretty good, if this was a Scotch Ale it would be top notch but as aN Imperial Stout it is fairly simple.

M- Fairly weak for an IS. Not bad, not great.

D- Pretty good, this one has gone down about 75% as I right this review. Nothing to cry about, nothing to write home about. Decent offering but would be an awesome Scotch Ale if that is what I was expecting.

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Photo of chilly460
3.89/5  rDev -1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Average for they style, medium black with a mocha head that dissipates quickly. Minimal lacing.

S - Excellent sweet malts and lots of dark cherry. Plenty of light roast coffee, with some licorice.

T - Starts with the nice medium roast, moving to sweet cherry and raisin. Somewhat sweet malty finish.

M - Ok for the style, could be thicker. Good carbonation.

D - Easy drinking as they get, nice balance of sweet fruit and roast makes this easy to put away.

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Photo of warnerry
4.08/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours a thick, opaque black with a finger of brown head that dissipates rather quickly, leaving a trail of lacing behind.

S - Deep roasted malts along with some chocolate and earthy notes. Nice.

T - Similar to smell with chocolate and roasted malts dominating, and a slight coffee flavor. Some nice earthiness and balancing hops on the finish.

M - Mouthfeel is actually a little thin for the style, but not terribly so.

D - Very smooth with little apparent alcohol.

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Photo of bishopdc0
4.15/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Love the name of this beer and it was the label the drew me to it. The name fits the color, very dark, black with a thick head formation. The head is tan with mostly small bubbles. After a few sips the head begins to dissipate.

The nose is sweet malty to start. It took some deeper nose dives to get a good nose but roasted notes became prominent as the beer heated.

The taste is where this beer shines, which is great, it starts roasted with a slight carbonation, the roasted flavor continues as a malty sweetness comes to the front. The malt taste is of dark chocolate silky smooth. The taste finishes with a dry but not bitterness with a slight amount of alcohol.

The mouth is smooth with a noticeable alcohol numb on the tongue. If you let enough time sit between the numb continues to feel on the throat it is very nice makes the next sip seem that much different.

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Photo of TheSupremeAJ
4/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle from Abe's of Bethlehem, PA. Poured into a chalice.

A- Nice dark chocolate color. On the lighter side of things for an RIS. Creamy tan head that quickly fades to a thin ring. I would particularly enjoy trying this on nitro or cask.

S- Rich cocoa, coffee, and light smoke. Can detect a healthy tinge of alcohol.

T- This actually has a resemblance to a Belgian beer with some dark fruit flavor in the background. The cocoa, coffee, and smoke are upfront in the flavor.

M- Kind of thin and carbonation is appropriate for an RIS. The bubbles are a little too coarse in my opinion... and that's why I think it would benefit from nitro or cask conditioning. This beer leaves a very rich bittersweet aftertaste that invites another sip.

D- I like to think of this as a fairly easy RIS @ 8%... it's on the lower spectrum of things in that sense. Its a very good cold winter night beer. Like other RIS', it really isn't meant to be quaffed, but rather sipped and enjoyed!

ALSO- If you make it to the brewery on a Saturday there is a free tour with unlimited free samples!

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Photo of dchester
3.87/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

The thing that sets this Imperial Stout apart from many others is the belgian yeast characteristics, which Weyerbacher seems to do a lot. You definitely have that prevalent banana throughout. That, commingling with the smoked wood, really makes for one of the more unique RIS you will have.

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Photo of rudzud
3.95/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a Duvel Tulip

A - Nice dark black colour with a one finger tan head that hangs around for a little bit before fading leaving no side lacing but a nice thin halo.

S - Typical RIS aromas here. Some chocolate and alcohol notes along with some nice dark fruits.

T - Much like above, this has the nice usual RIS flavours. Some nice lightly roasty sweet malts along with some good espresso and chocolate notes.

M - Surprisingly high carbonation for this beer considering the ABV. Not as creamy as I would like it.

D - Like others have said this is definatley quaffable. The 8% is hardly noticeably as one drinks and drinks and drinks this tasty stout away.

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Photo of josefnewsong
3.82/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

A - pours almost black with a finger of brown head that persists for a short time, then disappears leaving almost no lace
S - typical imp stout smells, alcohol and dark chocolate dominate, a bit of dark fruit and espresso
T - Dark fruit and dark chocolate, a bit of alcohol and some roasted espresso notes
M - slightly oily with little carbonation, medium bodied - on the lighter side for the style, sticky
D - drinkable, but nothing spectacular to make you come back to it right away. At 8% it's fairly quaffable for the style

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Photo of ColdPoncho
4.19/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - This is one of the few beers in this style I've seen that isn't basically a black version of red. It's all black. Which is great! A heavy brown head has great retention. So the beer looks good, but the label features a very prominent barcode right under the name of the beer. Come on.

S - There's some smoke, which is something I've come to associate with Weyerbacher. Chocolates, dark fruit, wood, leather, even some vanilla. A good nose.

T - It opens with the dark fruit as well as some smoke, then you immediately get the chocolate, and the leather dries out your mouth a bit. Nicely complex, and very complimentary to the nose. As it warms, it all kind of blends together and loses its character an interest. Kind just a neutral dark flavor.

M - Smooth, a bit lighter than expected. It's good, but surprisingly small.

D - Yeah, this is good to drink. It's tasty, thought-provoking, and smooth. A very good beer.

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Photo of Casey10
3.83/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I felt this was a above average RIS. There is nothing overwhelming about the brew but it is good and has some nice things about it.

The pour is dark with some nice chocolate lacing on the glass. The taste is a bit thin compared with other stouts pretty decent smell light charcoal.

The drinkabilty is good as it has a low abv for a ris and the price is not bad either.

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