Old Heathen Imperial Stout | Weyerbacher Brewing Co.

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 TheKingofWichita
4.15/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a pitch black color with a tan head and good lacing. Smells of licorice, smoke, chocolate, toffee, and coffee. Tastes of chocolate malts, licorice, toffee, and caramel with hints of roasted coffee. Mouthfeel is very smooth with a little carbonation. Drinkability is very good. Overall a very nice beer.

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Photo of Mora2000
4/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to hophead101 for sending me this beer.

The beer pours pitch black with a cream-colored head. The aroma is a mix of chocolate, roasted malt, licorice and some soy sauce. The flavor is heavy on the chocolate and roasted malt, along with some smoke.

Medium to thick mouthfeel and low to medium carbonation.

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Photo of dudemuskie
3.8/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Picked up a 12oz bottle at The Andersons, Toledo, Oh!

Appearance- Black, with deep brown highlights on the edges. Practically opaque. Quickly rising, fizzy tan head reminiscent of a coke. No lacing.

Aroma- Big roastiness, raisins, spent medium roast coffee grounds, and light estery fruitiness. Slight brown malt character that intensifies as it warms. Beneath malt is a delicate herbal hop aroma.

Flavor- Creamy start with a slightly roasty big brown malt character riding a tingly CO2 blanket. Once the malt pushes through the bite of CO2, a pleasant roasty, chocolate, pruney complexity shines in the middle. Finishes slightly sticky and warm with a chewy, lingering aftertaste. Touch of astringency.

Mouthfeel- Sticky but has a thinner feel than anticipated for an imperial stout. Thinner body than expected as well. Slight warming sensation from alcoholic strength. High, slightly harsh CO2. Chewy finish/aftertaste.

Overall- Not bad. A lighter bodied take on a typically overwhelming style. Booziness slightly evident with warming sensation, but strangely drinkable due to its lighter body. Almost feels like a brown malt porter. Tasty nonetheless and definitely worth a try!

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Photo of alleykatking
4.2/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from 12oz bottle. Many thanks go out to Lukafer for the bottle!

A- Poured a black color which held red hues on sides of the glass when held to the light. One and a half finger beige head has medium retention. Spotty lacing with some light streaky lacing as well on the glass.

S- Nice roasted malt in the front...big coffee upfront! Chocoalte malts come into play next with a light smokey presence. The middle shows a darker fruit that makes up the overall backbone in the aroma. Light roasted malts come back for a quick second in the ending.

T- Roasted malts in the front with a hint of milk chocolate. Middle has the darker fruits come into play with some more light roasted malts. There is a light alcohol presence in the ending that blends well with a light chocolate overtone.

M- Medium mouthfeel. Carbonation is good for the beer and style. Roasted malts and light chocoalte left on the palate. Roasted malts, light darker fruits, and alcohol in the aftertaste. Alcohol has some medium drying on the palate. Flavors are well put together and clean tasting overall.

D- This was a great tasting beer that I really enjoyed. The ABV is a little much and comes out at times. I would like to see how this one ages and will be looking for another bottle to do just that. Old Heathen is devilishly good for the style!

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Photo of Seanibus
3.72/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Very smooth and coffelike. Pours deep black with a short lived head. Aroma is roasted and slightly bitter, like a semisweet chocolate. The flavor is like a deeply roasted coffee, woody and slight flat, with a broad bitterness. Tannic and deep. The mouthfeel is creamy.

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Photo of DrDemento456
4.41/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Found a individual for 3.50 (minus the dollar take out price) at D's in Monroeville. Love me some imperial Stouts!

A - Pours nice and viscous. Love that motor oil pour and thickness! Looks like a black waters of death. a nice layer of white foam rests on the top then slowly dies to a ring of lace.

S - Sort of chocolaty with a mild coffee and boozy rum smell, that mixes very well with a malty sweetness.

T - Sort of came off to me as the smoothness of Samuel Smiths imperial but with a slight more ABV booze. Not overbearing boozy in anyway but mostly roasted coffee with slight chocolate. Simple and does the job well.

M - Heavy and thick yet drinkable and enjoyable.

D - Founders will always be my number one cheap imperial stout but I guess every evil genius needs a number two (pun intended) If I couldn't find any Founders you would find this in my fridge. PA props yall!

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Photo of captainjferjado
3.73/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Vigorously poured which results in a thick and tight burnt caramel colored head which begins thick and dissipates slowly. Otherwise an opaque black.

A burnt caramel sweetness in the noise. A bit unexpected.

An acrid bitterness with rich dark chocolate. Nails the bitterness with just a little too much smokiness. Ends sweetly. Mildly carbonated, it's nice to begin with the chocolate and smoky bitterness and end with sweetness. Smooth.

Not a session beer, but good.

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Photo of Elendinn
4.15/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

Thanks to hellomisterp for this generous bottle. Poured from the bottle into a half-ounce pilsner glass.

A - black and opaque with two fingers of caramel-colored head, the edges of the beer turning a deep crimson when held to the light.

S - espresso and chocolate dominate; smoke and roasted malt are also prevalent, with an underlying dark-fruit sweetness.

T - again, espresso and chocolate are dominant, with the complimentary sweetness of raisins, figs, plums, and other dark fruits. Finishes a tad dry, with hints of cream and milk.

M - thin and relatively light-bodied; creamy and smooth.

D - though the subdued flavors and the scrawny body are atypical for the style, its elegeance, nuance, and complexity, coupled with its barely-perceptable abv, make this beer extremely drinkable and a real treat -- certainly preferable to some of its aggressive and overbearing contemporaries.

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Photo of jera1350
3.38/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours into a tulip a thinner black with a moderately thick dark tan head. A little lacing around the glass.

Not a huge nose, but it consists of some rich roasted malt with a hint of smoke, some molasses and chocolate.

Decent complexity and matches up quite well with the nose. Their is a rather large presence of alcohol going on though. Even for an 8% beer, it's quite noticeable. Toasty aftertaste.

Quite thin and flat feeling for the style. I don't even know if I would call this full bodied.

Have to say that this is a bit of a disappointment for a RIS. Not terrible by any means, just really average in several areas. I wouldn't have this again.

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Photo of biglite351
4.04/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A - black as tar with a brown head that leaves don lacing.

S - some malts and dark chocolate. Maybe some raisin.

T - very deep. Malts, dark chocolate, fruit, goodness in a glass.

M - a lot of coating but just a slight tingle on sides of tongue.

D - I will get this very often.

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Photo of haazer
4.15/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a pint glass.

A- Pours out of the bottle very dark, almost black with light brown hue throughout. Very dense carbonated, tan and beige head forms at the top. Almost no light gets through this beer.

S- Intense malt aroma. Expresso and coffee tie in together nicely. Small hints of chocolate, I actually get a fruity hint as I pull my nose away as well.

T- The flavor pendulum swings through your mouth with this stout. You get the malty flavor right away. Then after a swallow or gulp, you get the transition in the mouth to expresso. Hint of cream and milk with sugar. At the very end I taste a burnt, smoky charcoal flavor that tantalizes my taste buds.

M- Nicy creamy mouthfeel in the beginning, slightly drying towards the back end. My biggest complaint with this beer though is that it seems to be way too light bodied for a stout. It almost feels like I'm drinking a light beer that stole a stouts looks and flavor.

D- I love this beer, when I first tried it at Weyerbacher on a saturday afternoon I knew I could drink several of these. Made a variety case comprised of four different beers, I picked more of this than any other in the case. The 8% is nearly undetectable. Though it doesnt feel like a stout should to me at least, it sure goes down easy.

Notes: Definitely one of the more complex tasting stouts I've tried.

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Photo of BeerAndBourbon
3.65/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A. Pours a dark black with ruby brown where the light shines through around the edges. Pours with a two finger creamy tan small bubble head that dissipates over a few minutes leaving bits of residual lacing.

S. Dark coffee or espresso with a bit of fruity ester, maybe banana. Cocoa comes out as it warms.

T. Strong dark coffee (not acidic enough to be espresso) with a balancing bitterness on the tail end. As it warms it opens up more with some brown sugar and raisin coming out in the middle.

M. On the thin side of medium - not nearly as thick as I want a brew this dark and flavorful to be. A fairly high level of small bubble carbonation, which isn't offensive, but is a bit too much for me.

D. It hides the 8% well. While it's not super complex right now, I've had some aged bottles that have really blown me away; I'll let the other six pack age for a bit.

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Photo of Lukafer
4.22/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours an extremely dark brown/black with a fingers worth of tan head that quickly dissipates. Smells a touch smoky with a lot of coffee and some roasted malts. I taste slight coffee, not nearly as much as the nose, some brown sugar with a nice hop finish. Kinda surprised at how strong the finish is, really didn't expect it. It's not over powering but it compliments the sweetness in the middle. Body is kind of light but I don't mind, this is a really good beer. I can't wait until I go to Ohio again so I can get a sixer of this, good stuff!

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Photo of ChadQuest
3.54/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Body is black but i can see some browning around the edges, nothing really sticking to the edges of the glass when swirled. looks thin-ish for the style.
Aroma: toffee and molasses, something rather estery and bright which was interesting, and coca cola.
Taste has a even more noticable coca-cola character in it, but mostly on the finish. There is some roast, like a light buttery coffee,and some cane sweetness.
i'm not a fan of the mouthfeel,for me it's too thin for the RIS name. there is carbination in here though.

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Photo of jmerloni
3.71/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pretty damn black. Jet black, really. How an imperial stout should really look. Creamy looking and a tan frothy head.

S - Toffee, dark fruits, not very much malt detectable.

T - Toffee, chocolate, plum, raisin, grapes, brown sugar.

M - Thick and creamy. Nice. A bit too much carbonation maybe?

D - Pretty drinkable. A bit of a taste bud blaster. Might get it again if it weren't the case that Weyerbacher brews about 10 other imperial stouts.

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Photo of FickleBeast
3.7/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle poured into a pint glass. Reviewed on my droid.

Pours pitch black with two fingers of brown foam. Aroma is rich coffee, chocolate, and malty sweetness.

Taste isn't as powerful as the aroma would suggest. It is kind of watery, could really use some more sweetness or roasted flavor. Drinkable, but I've had many better RIS.

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Photo of schoolboy
3.99/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

This is my first taste of Old Heathen, and it comes right on the heals of one of my favorite stouts, Sierra Nevada(and my favorite SN product). At first it has what's wrong with the style, too much flavor, too much booze, etc. This is also why I like SN stout - it is a nice strong brew without beingtoo strong or too wimpy (like the wonderfully tasty Guiness).

Half way through this gets better, and as imperial stouts go, it is wimpy (and that's good). I certainly don't want more than one of these, and I was itching for anover SN stout.

Weyerbacher is usually a first rate company, and this product is no exception.

That original review was from a long time ago. No, in February 2016 I picked up a bottle at SAveon that had two dates on it - 11-21-2014 and 7-21-2015. So it's a very old bottle. It did not hold much carbonation but otherwise it's pretty good. Malty boozy smell and taste. Enjoyable. I upped my ratings.

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Photo of GregSVT
3.73/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

12oz bottle into a tall pint glass

A: Pours a deep black with a medium khaki head that barely fades and sticks around the rest of the beer. Great looking stout.

S: The nose is cocoa, vanilla, and roasty coffee.

T: The taste is mostly cocoa and dark fruits with a slight milk chocolate flavor on the finish. A bit subdued compared to the nose but relatively tasty.

M: The feel, while creamy from the awesome head, is a bit light. It almost feels like an Irish Dry Stout.

D: This is a good beer I could drink when I was in the mood for a creamy/roasty beer.

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Photo of tsmcneil
4.28/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Remove cap = Very nice initial aroma!

First pour = Beautiful, creamy head!

Held up to the light = Dark black! No light penetration.

First sip = Sharp on the tongue, but excites the entire palate!

Empty glass afterthought = Super pleasing aftertaste. Oral and olfactory senses have definitely had a wonderful workout. Will be looking for this one again!

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Photo of mgbickel
4.15/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a Duck Rabbit snifter. A thick and hearty, inch thick, layer of dark caramel colored head formed on top of the black (pretty much solid and opaque) body. The head receded quicker than I though it would due to the bulkiness and was a pretty poor lacer.

The nose has burnt chocolate, dry roasted coffee, black strap molasses and black malts all together in equal strength and proportions.

Hmm...the taste is similar to the nose, but not entirely. You get a lot of roasted malts up front...that give way to the meaty molasses center. The dark malts take over the finish and slowly fade to a light, coffee bitterness.

The mouth feel is lighter than expected...light to medium bodied, with moderate carbonation.

Overall a great offering. Very drinkable due to the awesome blend of flavors and complexity. The 8% ABV is hidden well.

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Photo of bsp77
4.05/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Serving glass: Poured from bottle into Snifter.

Appearance: Extremely dark brown with thin tan head and light lacing.

Smell: Sweet molasses, roasted barley, alcohol and chocolate.

Taste: Loads of chocolate and cream with some molasses and roasted barley. Turns just slightly bitter at the end.

Feel: Ridiculously smooth and creamy full body. Low carbonation with a dry and warming finish.

Drinkability: Very nice example of an old school English-style Russian Imperial Stout, as opposed to the ramped up versions most American craft brewers make.

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Photo of KAP1356
3.83/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz. bottle into my Weyerbacher tulip glass...

A - Dark and almost completely black but just some light getting through. A nice dark caramel one finger head forms on top with a nicely frothy appearance.

S - Dark chocolates and dark roasted malts take the forefront of the nose. I seem to get some slight hop presence but not enough to make a dent into the roasted malt and chocolate nose. A slight coffee presence is also apparent that adds nicely to the profile.

T - Much like the nose, dark malts and chocolate are the stars. Some coffee notes seem to come througn as well. The hops I noticed in the nose seem to come through a tony bit but again, nothing to live up to everything else that is going on.

M - Slightly more thin that I was expecting, but I still find it quite smooth and very much in the way an RIS should be.

D - At 8% it is quite a drinkable beer. This one really mellows out as it warms a bit and was a very very easy drink.

Very impressed by this one. I love Weyerbacher and I have a great respect for their ability to make great beers. This one just adds to what is already an impressive catologue of beers.

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Photo of Onenote81
4.27/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle poured into a goblet. Pours a dark black with just a faint amount of light peeking through the edges. A inch-sized thick mocha head grows on top. Recedes quickly; leaves behind some dark lace. Wonderful sweet scents of milk chocolate, vinous grapes, dark coffee, and some char on the back end.

The mouth is creamy and smooth, but goes down a little too easily. Thin aspects noted, but overall a good feel. Great bitter black coffee flavors that finish with a sweet coat of chocolate and cream. Wow! I was really impressed with this beer. I about glugged this down. Quite quaffable for the ABV and darkness. I think this rivals Old Rasputin for an accessible RIS. Nicely done.

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Photo of fastsrt
4.11/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

12 ounce bottle in snifter

A: black, creamy tan head.

S: Chocolate, toasty aroma, this smells awsome!

T: Chocolate, small hint of coffee (astringency), some alcohol

M: thin feeling i was hoping for richness because of the nose.

D: it is light smooth and drinkable, good deal, comes in six packs, 8%, but there are many RIS I would choose but is a solid beer. Hersey is a amazing treat if you liked this one give it a try,

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Photo of Strawbs
3.12/5  rDev -20.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 4

Had my first couple of these this week. Dark color & lovely aroma. The head quickly disappated. A decent beer, but actually rather thin for a stout and no flavors that truly stood out. Could have just as easily been a Beck's dark if tasted blind. The 8% alcohol was not noticable on the palate. When really thirsty you can drink one quickly, but that's not what I want as the best thing I can say about a beer. Not a bad beer, but a bland beer.

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Old Heathen Imperial Stout from Weyerbacher Brewing Co.
3.91 out of 5 based on 1,653 ratings.
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