Dismiss Notice
Extreme Beer Fest:Los Angeles

Join us December 9th in Los Angeles for the ultimate throwdown of craft beer creativity!

Learn more...
Dismiss Notice
Introducing: Project Extreme Brewing (a Dogfish Head + BeerAdvocate project)

Old Heathen Imperial Stout | Weyerbacher Brewing Co.

Your Rating: None

Want it   Got it 
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
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Ratings: 1,653 |  Reviews: 831
Photo of Naugros
4/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark, dark brown with a foamy, tan head. Head fades quickly and leaves very little lace. I had this on tap at the brewery and the head was a lot thicker and retained lot better. Maybe my glass wasn't as clean as it should have been.

Burnt toast, dried fruit and chocolate hit the nose. There's a slight alcohol whiff that gives away that this is an Imperial Stout.

The smell carries over in the taste and I am glad of it. The toast is more prevalent as the beer warms up and the bitterness decreases, taking away some of the sense of chocolate with it.

The mouthfeel is that of a better-known stout out of Ireland, perhaps a little thicker and with more heat, but the alcohol is very well masked.

I can suck down quite a few pints of regular (non-imperial) stout and the same goes for this one despite the alcohol level of an imperial.

 841 characters

Photo of oriolesfan4
3.13/5  rDev -20.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Haven't had an imperial stout so gave a new one a try. Pours a get black color, tan head to it.... pretty appealing beer. Nice roasty aroma to this one. Taste is odd to me; for the style there is very little hops, a whole lot of malt, and a huge dose of hot alcohol flavor. I found it a bit thin for the style too, along with a funky sort of aftertaste. Man, I love this style but this one just doesn't cut it for me. I mean it isn't BAD, and it's drinkable.. but it's way too strong and doesn't have enough taste or mouthfeel for my liking.

 541 characters

Photo of illidurit
3.85/5  rDev -2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Pours a very dark brown with barely any head; what's there is tan. Light smoke and a lot of dark chocolate in the aroma, and maybe a hint of fruitiness. Slightly acidic coffee flavor with more dark chocolate. Pretty straightforward. Oily palate, medium-full body. Very drinkable.

 279 characters

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


Big thanks to Stevefinny for this throw-in on a trade!

Poured into a snifter.

A: Dark black thickness and color with one finger of caramel head that was gone quicker than it appeared. 4.0

S: This was my favorite part. Sublte coffee, dark chocolate, roasted malts and some raisen hints. Really nice and powerfull! 4.5

T: And here is where it lost steam...
I was let down by the light overall flavor in comparison to the awesome smells. Coffee and malts are there, but the dark chocolate is missing, and the taste is short lived. 3.5

M/D: Light in the mouth with matching carbonation, and very easy drinking. I definately would like to have had another to see if I missed something the first time or if my judgements were a little harsh since I like the bigger beers. 3.5/4.0

 783 characters

Photo of philbe311
3.53/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - A fingers worth of creamy medium brown foam with a layer of over sized bubbles sitting a top... Minimal retention gives way to a lopsided lacing... Deep dark brown color teetering on black with a little bit of light leaking in through the top...

S - Milk chocolate... Roasted malts... Caramel... A certain earthiness... Slightly woody...

T - Milk chocolate... Peat... Hints of coffee... Some subtle dark fruits... Hints of roasted malt... A very minor hop presence on the finish...

M - Medium bodied... Surprisingly thin... Loaded with biting carbonation...

D - Doesn't live up to my expectations of a Russian Imperial Stout in any category... Reserved and timid across the board... Seems more reminiscent of a Porter or even a Scotch Ale... I hate to knock a brew from the fine folks at Weyerbacher, but this one doesn't pass the test for me...

 857 characters

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

From bottle to pint glass. No code or date.

A: The long lasting frothy/creamy head starts out rocky but quickly evens out. Dark brown, about 3 fingers. The body is either black or the darkest brown ever. Thin ruby edges line the glass. Lacing is spare.

S & T: Despite what would seem to be a complex bill of malts (7 different), the nose is fairly standard for an RIS, albeit forceful. Heavy levels of chocolate and espresso. Lesser levels of molasses. Lightly roasted. Piney hops and a light leathery yeast. Although the nose isn't groundbreaking by any means, the aroma is quite good and in harmony.

M: Medium full body with a creamy texture. Fine carbonation and a semi dry, moderately bitter finish. Could have been a little fuller, but other than that, the mouthfeel is exactly what it should be.

D: Old Heathen is a solid RIS and fixture in Weyerbacher's lineup. Very palatable. Very drinkable. I actually prefer it to the Kentucky Bourbon barrel aged "Heresy. "

 972 characters

Photo of u2carew
3.85/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz longneck.
A) Pours with a half of a finger thick head that is brown in color. The body of this brew is opaque; as dark as oil when poured. Lacing is thin and sticky.
S) Bread. Coffee. Roasted malts. Subtle spice tones - cinnamon, brown sugar.
T) Sweet up front with some light alcohol. Then moves to a roasted grain and coffee taste. Finishes with a slight hop bite along with sweet malt. Some medicinal and metallic undertones.
M) Full body. Fizzy with some dryness. Overall the body is a little bit closer to a porter than a stout, but definitely has some girth to it.
D) A fairly delicious brew. I'd have another.

 622 characters

Photo of MbpBugeye
3.55/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A- Dark with barely a head. It looks full bodied.

S- Lots of roast. Licorice, leather and dark fruits abound.

T- I think this might be my least favorite part of this beer, sadly. Its good but it just isnt special in anyway. Nothing sets it apart from the average RIS.

I feel bad saying this because barrel aging is not always better but, in the case of Old Heathen vs. Heresy, barrel aging wins out.

 402 characters

Photo of cdbooth219
4.22/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle poured into pint glass

A: Pours a jet black color with half a finger of dark tan head that dissipates leaving a bit of lacing on the glass

S: Smells of chocolate and licorice, with some notes of coffee and vanilla as well

T: Licorice and chocolate are the first thing i sense, followed by coffee. Theres a little bit of vanilla throughout the taste as well. Also a bit of oak wood tartness to it, as well as some prune and raisin notes. The finish is of black coffee and quite bitter.

M: Light for an RIS, but still rather full bodied. Not overly carbonated, it has a pleasant mouthfeel to it. No real alcohol presence.

D: Very drinkable for the 8% abv, and quite complex and flavorful, I could definitely drink a few of these in one sitting

Overall, this is a very good RIS. I really enjoy the complexity and flavorfullness of it, as well as the fact that it is quite drinkable. Another great Weyerbacher offering.

 934 characters

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

12oz bottle into a Stella Artois glass on the late late. I've had this numerous times but never on draft.

Shoe polish black in the glass while it had some brownish shades when pouring out the bottle. Seeing some brown spots on the edges as well. Heathen is not the thickest looking RIS and it's certainly not the darkest, but it's black as hell with a tannish 1/2 inch of semi frothy head leaving weak lace.

The last bottle of this I had smelled like a medium sized creme brulee which is nasty to me, but I don't get it here, Im thinking there is some variation between bottles. This smells the part with chocolate syrup and black coffee, mixed in vanilla bean and a dosing of semi piney hops. OH is not terribly overdone in scent but it is on par with other RIS.

Getting a little bit of tootsie rolls up front with sweet caramel working with some baker's chocolate. The coffee is roasted and a bit acrid, but there is a nice vanilla taste that goes with it, kind of like coffee cream. Im guessing this is fresh based on the earthy and piney hops that come in at the end. A bit of a smoke to this but I could be thinking that.

The feel is a small step above medium. When I think RIS, I think big and viscous. When I think Weyerbacher I just think big, OH is not in that realm. This is lighter bodied than expected but it does the trick. A bit of a burnt taste towards the end and no sign of the ABV.

This is a very drinkable RIS coming from a great brewery, Im just surprised that this is only 8%, I was thinking it would be at least 10 plus. This is one that you can either sip on a take a bigger plunge, it's your choice, depending on your mood. This went great with and on some chocolate brownie ice cream, sweet jesus.

 1,727 characters

Photo of SpeedwayJim
3.5/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Poured from a 12oz. bottle into a Blue Point snifter.

A: Heavy pour yields a 1 finger, coarse, chocolate head that dissipates quickly. Beer is opaque black though not particularly thick. Lacing is densely spotty with moderate stick.

S: Coffee, dark chocolate, licquorice, booze, and roasted malt sourness.

T: Roasted coffee, brownie, dark chocolate bitterness. Slightly tart due to the high carbonation. Boozy at the middle and end. Toasted malt sourness at the finish along with coffee bitterness that lingers on the palate. Sticky on the finish. Coffee lingers on the palate. Greens a little as it warms, showing a subdued hop character.

M: Light to medium bodied. Incredibly thin for a RIS. More carbonated than most in its style and rather coarse in the mouth. Oiliness comes through a bit as it warms but still not up to par. Finish is messy and sticky, lingering around for a good amount of time.

D: Seems more like an imperial coffee stout than the traditional RIS, the one area where this beer really fails is the mouthfeel. Coarse, thin, carbonated, it just doesn't do the style justice. Still though, nice complexity with a booziness that isn't overdone. A pretty beer with a subtle, yet enticing nose. Slightly better than the run-of-the-mill imperial stout.

 1,279 characters

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

pours a solid jet black color with very tanish almost brown head, and barely any lacing. too dark to see any sort of carbonation going on. smells of roasted nuts maybe with some dark chocolate going on too. same goes for the taste. very malty with subtle hoppy hints. wasn't nearly as heavy as i thought by the look of it.

 322 characters

Photo of unclejimbay
4.6/5  rDev +17%
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.

 702 characters

Photo of emmasdad
2.51/5  rDev -36.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

Pours midnight black, with a nice topper of light brown foam. I was really looking forward to this one after trying the Heresy. This one was a huge letdown. A nice nose, with roasted malt, molasses and dark chocolate was inviting, but from the first sip I was not impressed. The roasted malt was there, as well as an almost cloying sweetness. Alcohol was not evident. Maybe I got a bad bottle, but I was not impressed.

 418 characters

Photo of allergictomacros
4.48/5  rDev +14%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A - Pitch black with an inch of brown foam.

S - Nose is dark fruit, roasty toastiness, grapes and slight caramel, and pervasive coffee.

T - Fruity up front more than anything, moving into a sweet, somewhat tart middle. Aftertaste is bitter with burnt, roasted grains and dark sugars.

M - Slick, oily body with a lowish carbonation. Decent heft and very, very smooth.

D - Ridiculously easy drinking for an imp. stout. So smooth and soft, it just slides down. Dangerous.

 472 characters

Photo of tone77
3.58/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a brown 12 oz. bottle. Has a black color with a small head. Smell is of roasted malts and alcohol, some chocolate. Taste is of roasted malts, a touch of coffee, and some hop bitterness.Feels full bodied in the mouth and overall is a solid beer.

 256 characters

Photo of jcarbaugh
4.35/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- Almost jet black, with a very little head that dissipates quickly, leaving a small ring,

S- alcohol, dark roasted scent, chocolate and coffee.

T- mild sweetness and burnt at first, but as it warms, you start notice some nice subtleties: chocolate, coffee, roasted malt, some dark fruit, and a pleasant woodiness.

M- nice and smooth with moderate carbonation.

Notes: I really enjoy this beer. The complexity and subtleties of this beer really engage the drinker. I found myself dissecting every sip. Thoroughly enjoyable!

 527 characters

Photo of oglmcdgl
3.55/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle split with some friends.

A- black with brown egdes. A small flash of mocha colored head that settles to a few spots and a small ring.

S- dark roasted espresso and bakers chocolate. Black strap molasses and a bit of char.

T- bitter cacao nib and burt coffee. A woody character here and there with some touches of booze.

M- medium to light body and about the same on carb.

D- real nice I love a beer with lots of flavor that won't wreck you palate

 468 characters

Photo of Arenbeer
3.43/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

12oz bottle into a Snifter Glass

A- Pours a solid black with a 1 1/2 finger light brown head on top that leaves little to no lacing.

S- Smells of darker roasted malts with a good hint of coffee and or toffee.

T- First sip gives me a strange sour funk taste off the bat but finishes nicely with roasted malts and coffee. Some molasses and a sweeter dark fruit.

M- Medium heavy body with moderate carbonation and a slight dry bitter finish but not bad at all.

Overall this was an interesting IRS. Unfortunately it somewhat tasted like I put rancid milk in my coffee. Has a real strange funk in the flavor that's real hard to get over.


 646 characters

Photo of semibaked
3.22/5  rDev -18.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Poured into a pint glass, thanks to GrueLurks for the bottle.

A - Pours pitch FN black with slight dark brown foam on top that yields no lacing.

S - Big molasses smell with slight coffee and hops, has an earthy sweetness (if there is such a thing).

T - Molasses, an interesting sourness, coffee and hop bitterness. Interesting combo.

M - Coast the mouth well, pretty thick and chewy. Above average amount of carbonation too.

D - It has some good elements like the sourness and hops, but the molasses it a bit overpowering, nice to try though.

 548 characters

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

A - The beer pours an opaque black color, with a moderate bubbly tan head.

S - Mild roasted character, along with a coffee and dark fruit, and a bit of ash to the nose.

T - Taste reveals a lightly burnt toffee, ash, roasted notes, black licorice. A very slight note of alcohol seems to come across in the finish, and becomes slightly more prevalent as the beer warms. Aftertaste reveals sour milk taste for a while then an astringent finish. Nonetheless, it adds depth and is pleasing in its character.

M - Oily and medium thick.

D - Overall, an excellent version of the style.

 582 characters

Photo of bluejacket74
3.97/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle. Served in a nonic pint glass, the beer pours dark brown with a small quarter inch tan head. Head retention is low, lacing is decent. The brew smells like molasses, coffee, dark fruit (raisins, plums), chocolate, and surprisingly even a bit of banana. The aroma is very sweet and malty. Taste is similar to the aroma, but the brew also has a bit of a licorice and smoky taste. Mouthfeel/body is medium, it's a bit creamy and has decent carbonation. Drinkability is good, it's smooth and goes down easy. The 8% ABV isn't very noticable at all. I think this is a good overall brew, it's definitely worth a try.

 624 characters

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

Aroma is rich and smoky with an overtone of quality coffee and hints of chocolate and molasses. It pours a dark sepia with a decent, if not too persistent, tan head. Flavor is like a good mocha, mainly good coffee and sweet chocolate with a hint of brown sugar. Texture is tingly and lively with a fairly firm alcohol bite. Definitely recommended.

 347 characters

Photo of cpetrone84
4.05/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A-pours a dark black opaque liquid with one and a half fingers of a mahogony brown colored head that is tight and creamy in appearance. Little to no retention or lacing left on the glass

S-the nose is a little small but brings all the right things. Molasses is faint but right up front. Dark chocolate and just a touch of coffee comes in towards the middle as the sweet dark fruits seem to parlay off of this to create a nice sweet finish that is comprised of rum soaked raisins and a touch of plum

T-the taste follows the nose, not huge but solid. Molasses, dark chocolate, a touch of roasted coffee start off. The roasty flavors increase throughout the drink. Light notes of plum and dark cherry come in with rum soaked raisn in there as well, however more faint than the nose would indicate

M-full bodied and smooth in texture. A lot of carbonation at the back, higher than I would have liked. Quite chewy on the back.

D-this is a very good brew, checks on everything you want to see and fair in size. I love a good RIS and this fits in suit.

 1,049 characters

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

A: Very little head, what's there is dark tan and disappears fast. The beer is black, maybe some light coming through around the edges.

S: Very mild, but slightly sharper than most RIS. Some woodyness, like a fresh cut oak log, sort of sweet. But way too mild.

T: Again, sweet, too sweet, and an interesting cooked flavor. It's a bit dry and otherwise contains most the typical flavors.

M: a little lightish for a RIS, but smooth and appropriate carbonation.

D: Smooth and approachable, not at all overwhelming.

 515 characters

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

    Founded in Boston in 1996, BeerAdvocate (BA) is your go-to resource for beer powered by an independent community of enthusiasts and professionals dedicated to supporting and promoting better beer.

    Learn More
  • Our Community

    Comprised of consumers and industry professionals, many of whom started as members of this site, our community is one of the oldest, largest, and most respected beer communities online.
  • Our Events

    Since 2003 we've hosted over 60 world-class beer festivals to bring awareness to independent brewers and educate attendees.
  • Our Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.