Old Heathen Imperial Stout | Weyerbacher Brewing Co.

Old Heathen Imperial StoutOld Heathen Imperial Stout
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:
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Ratings: 1,653 |  Reviews: 831
Photo of SIRIUS2
3.96/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz. bottle into a standard pint glass.

Pours very dark brown, with a heavy, almost viscous appearance. Decent light brown head of a couple fingers width that dissipates relatively quickly to a heavy ring around the glass. Surprisingly good lacing down the glass.

Aromas are mostly a dark fruit, similar to dates, but mixes with a modest roasty coffee smell. It's a complicated well combined aroma that is singular in nature, rather hard to pick out individual smells. Kinda cool.

On a long pull, the first thing I noticed a rather heavy, full, creamy to slick mouth feel. The flavors are rather full bodies with lots of dark fruit and fig on the front side that slowly yields to a dark bitter chocolate and eventually finishes to a coffee linger. A relatively light carbonation allows for a rather long finish.

This was not the Russian Imperial that I was expecting but it was very tasty! Definitely worth checking out.

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Photo of swizzlenuts
3.48/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

When pouring the beer, there was a little bit of ruby highlights, but when I look through the glass, all I see is blackness. The is a small off white/slightly tan head that sits atop the beer, but it dissipated quickly to a right. Not surprising considering the high ABV of the beer. It looks like a delicious Imperial Stout for sure. Putting my nose near the beer gives me tons of roasted malts with a slight bit of chocolate There is also a nice sweetness that comes through. I can get a hint of hoppiness, something earthy perhaps. Everything comes together in the nose, but I'd expect a little bit more roasted malts or coffee notes. It comes together more of a big sweet nose. I don't get any alcohol in the beer, which is pleasing and surprising.

The flavour of the beer is quite strange and unique for a russian imperial stout. I get a huge amount of fruitiness/mineral flavour from the yeast, undoubtedly. At the end of the tasting, there is a nice bitterness from the roasted malts, but as quick as it shows up, it fades away. The main flavour of the beer is estery yeast character. There is a little bit of alcohol in there as well, but not enough to hurt the experience. Over all, the flavour is kind of like the nose. Everything blends together, and nothing really hits me. I want more roasted flavours and gruffness. Even if I don't judge this beer as an imperial stout, it doesn't have any distinct flavours I can really latch onto. Just sweetness followed by a roasted character that shows up way too late to the party.

The mouthfeel is creamy and nice, but it doesn't add anything to the beer. I think the beer is drinkable, only because it doesn't have a lot of flavours. Not sure if this is just a badly handled bottle or a bit too old (I'd doubt this possibility the mose), but it's just very plain.

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

A- Poured into a snifter... about a 1/4 inch of somewhat fizzy brown head... little retention with a tiny bit of lacing. Beer is black in color with no light shining through when held up

S- First smell provides a toasted/burnt smell accompanied by some chocolate, but after some vigorous swirls of the glass... a great sweet dark fruit smell with a chocolate finish

T- Starts out with a sweet taste of dark fruits and molasses; finishes with a subtle yet tasty coffee and chocolate finish

M- Full bodied, yet somewhat watery mouth feel... smooth with little carbonation

D- Great tasting RIS. No alcohol/boozy taste... I would definately drink more


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

Excellent offer from Weyerbacher. Really top notch round oat feel for a RIS that renders the flavor reminiscent of an oatmeal stout.

A wonderful color, with a thin, translucent brown head with a glass clinging, creamy cap. Molasses, brown sugar, and dark chocolate on the nose with some sweet dark fruits. Dark chocolate taste, roasted grains, and a little heavy cream and vanilla.

Oats in the taste and in the mouth, which really round out the taste and, combined with the thin carbonation, really round out the finish, and curb the bitterness and alcohol.

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Photo of Mistofminn
3.38/5  rDev -14%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Picked this up the last time I made it out to Hudson. Being my favorite style and all, of course I had to give it a shot.

Poured into a tulip glass, this is dark brown, nearly black in color, with a light brown head produced from a cautious pour. Head doesn't last long, and is reduced to a small ring. Leaves some spotty lacing here and there, but nothing special.

The nose is awfully muted. I get lightly roasted malts, sweet malts and bitter chocolate/coffee. I also get a substantial alcohol smell, which isn't very appealing.

The taste is even more muted than the nose leads on. I get everything I mentioned in the aroma section, but it's all so muted. I'm kinda disappointed.

Mouthfeel is light to medium, definitely not on par with some of the better Imperial Stouts. Sharp bite from the carbonation, and only the lightest lingering bitter aftertaste.

Drinkability is ok. I'm not really enjoying this so I'm taking my time with it hoping it gets better as it hits room temperature...but unfortunately it's not.

Overall, kinda disappointed with this one. Not a whole lot going on. I will definitely have this again, as it's not terrible and still a good brew, but compared to other Imperial Stouts I've had this just doesn't stand up to them.

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

Thanks to tedpeer for the extra.

12oz. brown bottle poured into a snifter.

A: Pours pitch black, no light. Decent sized head on the rough pour with only a little bit of retention but decent lacing.

S: Roast/burn/char is pretty mild. More of the dark fruits and muted hops... almost like a big porter with more hops. There is a bit of deeper sweetness in the back, maybe some light molasses.

T/M: Some roasty malts try to peek past the dark fruits, milky chocolate, and muted hops. Maybe a small touch of alcohol as well. Some mocha like flavors and maybe even some lactose? Body is medium to medium full with slightly lower carbonation.

D: Definitely on the lighter side for a RIS. Tasty but there are others I'd turn to.

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Photo of pokesbeerdude
3.82/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

Awesome extra in my recent trade with roopy40.

A: Dark brown, very close to black in color with a tan head that decided to disappear almost as fast as it got there. No lacing to speak of, interesting looking beer.

S: Dark chocolate, roasted grains, slightly sour grain smell, molasses, and a hint of soy, but it isn't terribly strong. Touch of milk/milk chocolate and just a whiff of booze.

T: Very chocolatey up front followed by a decent dose of coffee as well. Dark roasted malts, slightly burnt character, a little bit of a hop bite at the end, but gets lost among the other flavors. Has some light notes of vanilla, and a little bit of booze, but not too shabby.

M: Nice on the mouth, fairly thick, slight alcohol heat. I wouldn't say that it's syrupy, but it's close, and that's alright by me for the style.

D: Fairly drinkable and has nice flavors, but a little too strong to think about a second one. I could see myself keeping this in the fridge year round though. Measures up nicely, but isn't over the top. Nice beer.

Thanks Paul!

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Photo of KarlHungus
3.41/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This beer pours a nearly opaque black color. The head is an inch and a half in height, and recedes slowly into nice lacing. The aroma is of graham cracker, alcohol (which seems odd in that this beer is only 8% ABV), and roasted malt. It is a rather fragrant aroma, but it lacks true complexity. The taste is like the aroma, but not as pronounced. The mouthfeel is medium bodied with moderate carbonation. This beer seems too thin for a beer of its strength. Overall, this is a decent beer. However, I can't see myself drinking it again with so many great stouts out there.

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

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a snifter glass.

Appearance is opaque black with a thin light brown/tan head that dissipated quickly. Light amount of lacing.

Smell is a mix of roasted malts, coffee and slight amount of chocolate.

Taste is very good. Roasted malts, coffee and a light dark chocolate bitterness with a mild sweetness as well. It seams pretty balanced.

Mouthfeel is creamy but not particularly thick. Subtle carbonation makes it very pleasant. Medium bodied.

Drinkablilty is very good. Its not as high in abv as others from this style, so I could see having a few at a time. Not to mention this is my favorite style of beer.

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Photo of cindyjeffsmith
4.13/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Weyerbacher Imperial Stout purchased at Boo's in Columbus
appearance - black, opaque. Nice head
smell - bitter and sweet, malty, espresso chocolate.
taste - ditto the smell. Very smooth.
moutfeel - full and creamy.
drinkability - very smooth imp stout.

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

Obtained in trade from ShogoKawada (thanks!). Poured from a 12oz bottle into my Dogfish Head shaped pint glass.

Liquid is a coal tinged bistre - topped with a creamy stand of desert/fallow foam which puts up quite a fight against the ABV before relinquishing its stature to a more modest skin with a persistent large-bubbled collar. Slow swirling leaves spackled lacing and french polish legs.

Assorted aromas of dark roast coffee, burnt sugar, bittersweet chocolate, toffee, and light molasses confront the nose. Slight citrus esters conjoin with the alcohol, faintly suggesting orange schnapps.

Sharp palate entry with an almost sour astringency from the roast malt. Sweetness builds nicely to join the roast, sort of like turbinado infused turkish coffee. Hops lend some subtle complexity to the bitterness which just offsets the sugars. The roast notes continue long into to the finish. Once it approaches room temp, I start to get some vanilla as well.

Medium bodied, with moderate carbonation. Just a bit sticky.

A respectable, well executed RIS, though without the complexity or intensity of some of the superior examples.

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Photo of glid02
4.05/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottle purchased from Green's on Buford in Atlanta.

Pours one shade from black with a cascading two-finger tan head. The head recedes into a wispy layer on top leaving solid lacing.

Smells of sweet roasted malts, molasses, and hints of citrus hops. As the beer warms the citrus hop aromas intensify a bit.

Tastes good. Solidly roasted malt flavors up front with good amounts of unsweetened chocolate and smaller amounts of molasses. Midway through the sip a bit of citrus hop flavors enter into things and carry through until a hit of tobacco enters in before a mildly bitter ending.

Mouthfeel is very good. It has a great thickness with soft carbonation.

Drinkability is good. I didn't have a problem finishing the bottle and could have another.

Overall I was a fan of this beer. I would argue that it's more of an American Double Stout than an RIS but what's semantics? Either way, it's worth a shot.

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

on tap at la Cave du Vin, poured into a tuliup glass

a: dark black color, silky 3/4" tan head, with good retention. Reduces to light lacing cap

s: cocoa, light bitter chocolate, coffee.

t: nice roasted malt and chocolate, more sweet than bitter. Slight alchohol is noticable as is warms. The alchohol its self is warming and would be perfect on a cold winter day.

m&d: smooth creamy mouthfeel, complex RIS, drinkable for its style bu sip and enjoy!!!


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Photo of Byeast
4.33/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: complete darkness, solid opaque black, the head cascades to a big 3 inches of cocoa/dark tan foam that threatens to overflow and settles to 1/2 inch of rocky goodness.

Smell: very much like Hersheys cocoa powder, bitter chocolate, esspresso, touch of alcohol, molasses and hint of dairy.

Taste: Big body of roasty malts, lots of dark chocolate flavor, sweeter than expected in a great way with tinges of dairy,just a touch of dark fruit flavor, the chocolate flavor never really crosses into that big bitterness you get from a raw darker chocolate but is still dark, just a medium hit of toasted/burnt sugar bitterness and dark fruity fermented twang to nicely balance the massive deep malt. The just a tiny bit unbalanced sweetness and chocolaty flavors of loads of roasted malt are what i get the most. Finish is not too long, very reminiscent of espresso.

Mouthfeel: quite thick, tongue coating, creamy

Drinkability/Notes: A really great imperial stout. Very complex and definitely unique flavor profile. I think that being 8% abv vs. the 9,10% that many IMPY stouts are nowadays in America makes this RIS very drinkable. Its equally as huge in character and depth, but it would seem that they left a bit more extra sugars unfermented to give it a smooth and maybe sweeter quality.

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

-Poured into a tulip glass.

Opened the bottle and poured it into my glass, creating a nice, creamy head. I was a bit disappointed at how quickly it dissipated, but it did leave some nice lacing.

Sticking my nose right into the glass, I was greeted with an inviting, robust aroma. I could smell the hops and hints of fruit, but in no way a "fruity" smelling beer.

There is a fine balance of hoppy bitterness and fruity sweetness. A very enjoyable balance. The taste is robust and full of different notes which begins with a slightly coarse feel and ends smoothly.

It wasn't as thick and creamy on the tongue as I thought it would be when poured, but it did have a thickness to it.

Delicious beer with a great balance between bitter and sweet notes.

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

12 oz bottle, tulip glass

Pours very dark with a light tan frothy head. Thought the head dissipated too quickly, but left some decent lacing.

Aroma of roasted malts and sweetness, possibly from fruit. Picked up some hops in the background.

Bold taste of roasted malts, combined with a fruity sweetness. Some hop bitterness. Surprised by the sweetness of this and that it was well balanced.

Lighter drinking than I thought, but overall decent. Smooth & creamy.

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

Perhaps my favorite offering from Weyerbacher, although I am a sucker for a good stout
A: Pours a rich, thick, viscous looking black color that produces an evil looking mocha colored head that retains very well and leaves nice lacing along the glass.

S: Surprisingly yeasty for a stout! Nice touch! Fruity sour berries on the nose, along with chocolate, caramel, molasses, a nutty aroma, and some alcohol that is not extremely well hidden.

T: Same as the nose, very sour fruity twangyness to it from the yeast. Chocolate and roasted flavors dominate the flavor profile, along with caramel, molasses, and something that resembles maple syrup.

MF/D: Pretty damn viscous, full in body, slight sour fruity lingering finish

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Photo of Gyle41386
3.92/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a pint glass.

Nice black pour. Three fingers of dark tan foam retain pretty well, but not much sticks to the glass.

Aroma is of bittersweet chocolate, espresso, and dark fruits. Hard for me to figure out which element is the dominant one, as each whiff provides a differing opinion.

Flavor starts out malty and fruity sweet, followed by a lightly bitter hop kick, which gives way to a coffee-ish roast. Very interesting flavor profile. The roast isn't anything like a char, which is where most imperial stouts go downhill for me, so that's a bonus. However, something about that initial sweetness just didn't sit right with me at first. It grew on me, though, and this became a very pleasant drinking experience.

Body isn't as big as I'd expect from an imperial stout. It's really smooth, and a very easy drinker, but it's just a little too thin for me to give it anything higher. Carbonation level is higher than I'm used to for the style, but I don't find it to be a bother. Alcohol is completely masked.

This is a damn nice beer. I wouldn't call it a top imperial stout, but it's definitely better than my overall score will reflect. Can't wait to open my bottle of Heresy next.

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Photo of ianL
4.33/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - really pretty looking dark beer with the small, light-brown head that one expects with a quality stout

S - milk chocolatish, caramels

T - more coffee than chocolate but a really tasty beer

M - lighter than i expected but nothing to complain about...if i were to be picky a heavier feel would make this perfect

D - something i would love to drink on a regular basis...this was my random find for the week and consider myself lucky to have found it

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

2007 vintage

Deep black ale with a white head. Average for the style.

Almost a lager-like aroma. Smells like schwarzbier.

Flavors are much more complex than the aroma. Still plays on the lager thing, interesting and noteworthy. Not too much roasted barley, more black patent than anything.

Lots of sweetness but not sticky of viscous, making for a nice mouthfeel.

Good but in a well made homebrew sort of way. Not a letdown because it's so different. Cheers!

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Photo of FloppyDog
4.44/5  rDev +13%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours a thick jet black with a finger height of thick brown foam of some of the finest bubbles I have ever seen. The head lingers on for the first few minutes after the pour.

The aroma is first of a pleasing alcohol presence followed by light and mellow chocolate and burnt aromas that are nicely balanced without one drastically outweighing the other. I was expecting more intensity from the aroma, but it is still pretty good.

The taste is of burnt malt up front with a light chocolaty-ness after the sip has gone down. Hop bitterness and flavor are present in the middle of the sip, but are subdued relative to the malt character. The mouth feel is super smooth....amazing! Tastes almost like it is a nitrogen imperial stout because it is so smooth.

Drinkability is super high for any style, which is particularly impressive for a high gravity brew such as this. Overall, I am very impressed.

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Photo of mikedashg
3.59/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Poured a dark rich black with a big tan head Ito my snifter
S- very light chcolate an coffee. Not too much here.
T- dark chocolate and coffee. Roasted malt. Suprisingly black licorice And sweet cherry
m-moderate carb and kind of creamy
d-not bad. Not great. I've had better.

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Photo of tatoodkelt
3.92/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Consumed 8/3/09- from notes.

Got this one courtesy of buddy and fellow BA 46and2, thanks again Dan!

Brown 12oz bottle poured into a pint glass.

A- Almost pitch black with about a finger and a half cocoa colored head that lasted most of the glass. Not much lacing.

S- Roasted chocolate, vanilla and a little licorice.

T- All of the nose plus some dark fruit and little smokey.

M- Medium bodied and smooth.

D- Drinks pretty easy, more than 2 or 3 though would be too much on one sitting.

I was interested to see how this compared to the Heresy, pretty similar except for the oak flavors in that one and this one seems a little less heavy. Both very good!

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Photo of mrmanning
3.73/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle courtesy of HogtownHarry. Deep black pour, unleashes a creamy mocha head. Not a lot of lacing here, but the head was long lived. Nose is quite roasty/toasty, with coffee beans,black licorice, some vanilla, dark fruit. Tastes of roasted coffee beans, some dark chocolate,black licorice, some smokey fruity notes, leading to pit fruits and hops towards the end. Nice creamy palate, bitter and dark chocolate sweetness balances. A pleasure. Thanks a lot for this one Harry!

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

Poured into a pint glass

A-Dark as night, half inch head good lacing that sticks to my pint glass

S-roasty and chocolate

T-Chocolate and burnt coffee slight black licorice toward the end and then a rush of chocolate and then back to the licorice then chocolate. as I wait for my next taste I taste the chocolate

M-Some mild carbonation, creamy and thick

D-For this style this beer is very drinkable. If you can drink more than 2 or 3 impy's than they are drinkable

Solid beer that is a good representation
I am a fan

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