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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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,653 |  Reviews: 831
Photo of damienblack
3.77/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Review from a glass a couple of nights ago. Standard RIS appearance, decent tan head, decent lacing left. Aroma was sweet, malty and a bit coffee-ee. Taste was overwhelmingly sweet. There wasn't much in the way of the big roastiness I love so much, which was a bit dissappointing. It sort of lacks roast and focuses on sweet in the same way Rasputin lacks sweet and focuses on roast. Not a bad beer by any means, just lacking a bit. Mouthfeel was still plenty chewy, full bodied, and low on carbonation. Drinkability was very high, although it's not really the most alcoholic RIS to begin with. OK, decent to try, but nothing to get excited over.

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Photo of
4.23/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I enjoyed pouring this beer into my glass, as I have taken a liking to darker, heavier bodied beers lately. It is black, with a brown tinged head. The taste had strong coffee and chocolate notes, with a subtle dryness that led to a sweet and sour aftertaste (could just be my pallet today). I found it drinkable, with the alcohol somewhat inconspicuous. I look forward to finishing my six-pack.

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Photo of gabrielsyme
4.03/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On the real ale tap at Rustico. Pours dark dark black with maybe some ruby lasting. Taste is like fine dark chocolate, sweet without being sickly so, and some bitterness in the finish. Strong enough to let you know it, but still relatively easy to finish.

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

Lightly chilled and poured into a Duvel glass. Glass of cold water on the side to sip from periodically. This bottle was purchased in Nov of 07 and so has about 18 months of bottle age.

Appearance: Pours dark brown almost black with a full foam head about ¾" thick which is dark tan in color. The head recedes slowly and sipping leaves a nice line of foam with trails of lacing down to the rim of foam around the liquid. A fine layer of foam remains on the surface.

Smell: The aroma leaves no doubt this is a stout. There are dark roasted malts here with bittersweet chocolate, hints of dark fruits, some coffee, and no remaining trace of the hops that might have been present when the bottle was new.

Taste: The dominant flavor is the dark roasted bittersweet chocolate malt, with some traces of sweetness popping out here and there. I really don't taste any hops here at all but there are definite coffee and dark fruit flavors in the mix.

Mouthfeel: The mouth feel is smooth, thick and almost oily and the carbonation is minimal. The finish is long and balanced between dryness and bittersweet flavor from the roasted malt, again there seems to be no strong hop presence.

Drinkability: A very nice Imperial Stout that is as complex in flavor as you could ask for. As seems to be the case with most Imperial Stouts this one should be only lightly chilled or the flavors may be too harsh for some. However, at 8% ABV it's the a one a night beer to sip slowly and savor. I'm looking forward to the bottle of the bourbon barrel aged version (Heresy) that I'll be opening and reviewing in the next few days.

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Photo of tigg924
3.05/5  rDev -22%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Appearance: black, small head

Smell:burnt malt, coffee, alcohol

Taste: burnt malt, coffee, alcohol

Mouthfeel: a little creamy, heavy body, bitter and biting--slightly sweet finish

Drinkability: I do not see this as being overly complex for a RIS. It is very one or two dimensional. I think there are better offerings for the style and will not get this again.

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

12 oz. Very dark brown pour with a minimalistic brown head. Retained a ring throughout and stuck to the sides of the glass just slightly. Nice roasty aromas, malt, coffee and light chocolate, just a hint of hops. Creamier mouthfeel than I was expecting, pretty nice. Taste is quite similar to the aromas. There is some dark plum or other red fruit in their also. I like these imperials that are below 10%, less boozy and very drinkable. It doesn't have the complexity that the big boys have, but is excellent in it's own right. Especially since I think Weyerbacher produces quite a few overly boozy brews.

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Photo of goblue3509
3.56/5  rDev -9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

This beer pours a very dark brown almost black color. The smell is malty, you can't smell all of the complexity of the taste of the beer though. The taste of the beer is like a stout, it is malty and smokey. There is also a taste of licorice in there as well. There is very little carbonation for mouthfeel. This is a very good beer, but it would be difficult to drink a large amount of them. It does go down smooth, but a little heavy.

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

This pours a perfect opaque black color with a very decent crackling brown head and very nice lacing. The aroma is an inviting chocolate charcoal and licorice. The flavor jumps out with all the same qualities plus a sweet malt background. It's got some hop bitterness at the edges, but overall this is smooth, in a very medium bodied lucious feeling stout. Surprisingly drinkable due to subtlety of the alcohol presence and great mouthfeel and great flavor. This is what a stout should be. Bravo!

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Photo of BigMike
4.07/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle with no freshness date.

Pours pitch black with Almost no head to speak of.
Smells of coffee, black licorice with a hint of chocolate.

Theres a decent alcohol warmth to this one. I taste coffee and dark chocolate. Initially sweet then finishes with a good amount of bitterness. A roasted nutty flavor is also present.

Good mouthfeel. Nice body and substance to it.

I like this stout. It has a lot of nice flavors going on and is easy to drink. Pretty good balance and a nice complexity.

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Photo of Brenden
4.3/5  rDev +10%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

The color is black with a thick foamy head the color of coffee. Lacing is light. The smell is complex, with heavy roasted malt contributing coffee chocolate and some note of fruits. The taste is even more complex. I don't know if something's changed or something was odd about my bottle, but to me a black licorice was absolutely the strongest and even was the flavor left on the sides of the tongue in a strong finish. Strong malts including the coffee and bitter dark chocolates in the smell as well as a mix of toasted grains and various fruits. As for the mouthfeel, pay no heed to anyone who claims this could be thicker. I have never imagined anything could be this thick and anyone who says otherwise may have misread the label or been in some sort of haze. This left itself in syrupy sheets in the glass and I could see the thickness on the glass. This is the fullest-bodied brew I've ever had. It's also one of those special brews that has a high ABV you don't get kicked with but you feel in that very pleasant way. Bottom line: B+ my ass.

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Photo of Drew966
4/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Old Heathen Imperial Stout pours an opaque black with a thin tan head that doesn't last very long, from a brown twelve ounce bottle. There is a touch of roast in the aroma. The body could be a bit thicker, but is adequate. There is some roasty malt in the flavor, it's also a bit estery, alcohol is also a bit noticeable. Pretty good, definitely worth a try.

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Photo of wiseguy142
2.91/5  rDev -25.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Just got done with an exam- felt like something strong and dark. Pours black but brown around the edges with a creamy, thick, foamy tan head.

Aroma isn't particularly striking. A confused mix of slightly harsh hops and some roasted malt, alcohol, and light coffee and must. The aromas don't blend together in any pleasurably subtle way and there's no one aroma that would otherwise compensate for that.

Taste follows up on the aroma. Very stale tasting, both the malt and the coffee flavors, with a sickly hop flavor. Almost like they didn't use quality ingredients or something, which I find hard to believe since most of Weyerbacher's beers are quite good.

Very soft and cushiony mouthfeel with low carbonation. This beer needs some rehabilitating to make it anything special.

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

Weyerbacher Old Heathen is a bitch black ale with a mocha colored head that leaves very nice lacing. The aroma is mostly of coffee. It is medium-full bodied and smooth with a light, dry finish. It is well balanced and quite simple. The flavor, like the aroma, is mostly of coffee. There is a touch of sweetness at the finish, like licorice. This is a very drinkable Imperial Stout, sort of along the lines of Victory Storm King.

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Photo of endincolorado
4.1/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance- Black with thick creamy tan head and great lacing.

Smell- Rich cocoa and strong roasty malts. Hop aromas came through a bit, with slight tingle of alcohol. Dark fruits.

Taste- sweet. Much sweeter than expected, well-balanced with dark chocolate, malt, fruity, rich almost milky sweetness. Roasty, milder than expected for the style. No apparent alcohol.

Mouthfeel- Thick, creamy body, low carbonation.

Drinkability- Excellent for the style, in my opinion. Rich and not so powerful as to be unenjoyable after a couple.

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Photo of Oxymoron
3.5/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

As compared to a young heathen? Pours a midnight black color with some ruby red highlights around the edge of the glass. A good pour left a tan colored head but did quickly dissipate and hide to the edge of the glass. No lacing really, but some good viscous/legs that clinged on to the glass.

The nose is limited overall, but some nice smells what you could get. A light malty aroma with some light chocolate and toffee notes. Not much on the astringency side. Mostly a malt nose with a light lactic aroma, more of a milky thing. Some yeast aromas and a hint of earthy/mineral notes as well.

The taste comes out more than the nose. A more malt base with a noticeable chocolate and hint of roast. A bit one dimensional, I would like a bit more depth. Noticeable esters with plums and raisins. A bit much for style but ok. Some noticeable minerally/metallic notes that I usually associate with black strap molasses. There is a bit of a stale note, strange considering the freshness of this. Noticeable yeast notes and alcohol/fusel flavors.

The body is moderate. This is where the beer really falls off. Really would like more depth. There isn't much for carbonation but ok for style. Overall a bit disappointed in this one. I would have liked more complexity overall and some minor brewing notes kind of offset.

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Photo of ahalloin
3.91/5  rDev 0%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I had this beer on cask (be jealous) in the "Casks of March" event at Rustico in Northern VA. This old heathen came along after I finished up Allagash Black. If Black was black in color, this was pitch black. No light, at all passed through this fine beer! The head was very impressive for a cask beer. About two fingers width of light tan/khaki colored bubbles billowed out of the lovely Weyerbacher tulip glass that I got to keep.

The smeel was of sweet chocoloate. Almost too sweet, like bubble gum sweet! There were some roasty qualities and a touch of alcohol in the smell, but not much.

The taste was bubble-gum sweetness and chocolate. The finish was roasty and bitter.

The mouthfeel was extremely smooth. The texture was like milk, but it went down like Kool-Aid on a hot day! Beautiful stuff.

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Photo of Pencible
4.18/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Just had this on cask at Rustico's Glassware Giveaway. It looked amazing, nice opaque black with a surprising amount of dark tan head (in a tulip glass). It smelled like dark chocolate and bananas with some bready yeast and a bit of roasted coffee. It tasted similar, with a great but dry bittersweet malt character. The banana and yeast surprised me, although it wasn't as noticeable in the flavor. Fairly thick and very smooth, with no noticeable alcohol either. This was all too easy to drink, and so very enjoyable. None of the flavors were quite as big as I was expecting, but they were nicely melded together.

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Photo of SeanRedd
4.05/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A dark lake, pinky-size beige head retreats to a whisp of smoke on the water. A light ring of lacing encircles the black ice. Light scent of cocoa, vanilla and white sugar. Sips like a chocolate seltzer that stays friendly and hides a lil tang. Another chocolate cream soda mocha egg drop; at a sessionable RIS pace. Carbonation is rather crisp and the finish is delicate, with a palatable bitter touch at the end. The heathen is tame and inviting; but a gargoyle, sorcerer, or founder leave this one on second string.

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Photo of JRed
4.17/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Black potion with light coffee colored head. A dessert-like aroma of chocolate cream. Tastes of smooth chocolate, cream, butterscotch, and slight raisin. Its not as thick as it looks, mouthfeel is quite slick and medium-bodied. The alcohol is hidden very well behind flavor and can sneak up on ya.

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Photo of rwrk42
4.33/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pour: Dark as night with a thin tan head
Smell: Roasted grains, coffee, chocolate, and a faint fruit smell.
Taste: Just like it smells. Full of roasty, coffee and chocolate taste. Very smooth, full flavored Stout. Faint hops and robust roasted malt finish.
An absolutely terrific Stout which I highy recommend.

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Photo of KeefD
2.71/5  rDev -30.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

Darkest brown, almost opaque, one finger creamed coffee head, light lacing. Aroma is of fruity esters, alcohol, light chocolate and a little bit of roastiness. Strong alcohol smell comes out as it warms. Too much sweet fruit in the nose for my liking. I like more roasty malts in my stouts. Flavor is more of the grapey fruitiness. Has an almost red wine-like quality. Some roastiness is present but it's buried deep. Also some light chocolate flavors, but not much going on here. Alcohol is very present and not well hidden for 8%. I don't know if this is an older bottle, but at this ABV it should have held up well. Not very impressed by this beer.

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Photo of iceball585
3.92/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A- Dark black color, non-transparent, thin brown color head that faded quickly to a thin ring

S- Chocolate, vanilla, roasted malts, coffee beans, raisens

T- Dark fruits, espresso, earthy, roasted malts, slightly bitter

M- Medium body, medium carbonation, tart, semi-dry finish, warming of alcohol

D- Worth trying

This beer has an interesting collection of flavors in one. Not quite my favorite but worth buying again.

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Photo of goatgoat
4.07/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

An opaque black with hints of bark brown. Coffee foam struggles to create a thin head but gets pulled back into nothing. No lace.

Thick aroma of dark fruits, roasted malts and alcohol. Undercurrents of piney hops.

Big flavor with decent balance. Malts come more forward as the beer warms. Leaves a lasting bitterness with a bit of an alcohol bite.

Decently heavy body with low carbonation.

I poured it pretty cold. Thankfully it took me about an hour to finish. It's an entirely different beer warmed up. A good brew. One of the few RISs that I could crack a couple of in one night.

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Photo of fitzy84
4.18/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 3 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Silky black appearance, slightly oily looking. Thin lacing on the side with no head. Aromas were utterly fantastic. An incredible array of coffee, cocoa, vanilla, alcohol, malt, dark fruit. The taste has a carbonated, milky/creamy flavor. Lacks the specific range of flavors sensed from smell, but does have a dark chocolate, malt taste. Light and way creamy. Makes it a little heavy and, at least for my bottle, made it quite chilled from refrigeration. Overall, great.

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

A: Oil Brown, with a nice Mocha head.. sure looks good.

S: A little more subtle... toffee, espresso, perhaps even fruit?

T: sweet, dark and malty. You can taste the alc a bit.. But overall quite pleasing. Not as bruising as some Imperials can get..

M: Good here, not too slick.. It feels a little heavy

D: A runner up. It is not the first imperial I would tell someone to try, but it certainly is worth getting a pack.

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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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