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 hoplover82
3.74/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 2.5

I can never ''love'' a stout that is too chocolaty. And this one is. It's not bad, but I just can't ''love'' it.

Pours black with a thick dark brown sugar creamy but quickly dissapating head.

Strong licerice in the aroma and choclate malts.

As I said, the flavor is too chocolaty, they should call it Imp Chocolate Stout. No balance to this one.

The mouthfeel is smooth and not too dry, which would make it better. It's pretty cloying.

The alcohol is very hidden so it seems drinkable but then you start to feel numb after half a bottle so it turns out, it's not. I could just have one of these (which is not a bad thing).

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Photo of JerzDevl2000
3.98/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Picked this up recently because winter is fast approaching and I'm on a stout kick right now. I wasn't quite sure if this would be a "motor-oil" stout or more of a rich and roasted variety but surprisingly, this turned out to be neither of those. This is pretty smooth and easygoing, which suits me well after the day at work I had yesterday!

It's almost a typical stout pour here - dark, with a hint of ruby at the edges, a creamy tan head, and surprisingly, no lacing to be found down the sides of my glass as I sip this down. The mouthfeel is different than other brands of this type that I've had lately - there is no roasting or toffee to be found here. Instead, this comes across as a sweet stout, with chocolate, lactose, milk, and a hint of espresso all found here. The aroma is isn't very overpowering but the mouthfeel is like a light version of the Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout. It goes down very creamy and smoothy, with a hint of the bitter chocolate in the back and a root-beer like carbonation left in front for the aftertaste.

I can't even taste the alcohol in this and I'm almost shocked this this is listed as 8.00% ABV. While this isn't the best stout I've had, there's no way ya could go wrong drinking this. It would go well with food since there's nothing here to overpower a meal and the alochol doesn't linger on breath like it does with so many other heavy beers. This might be enough to have my crave some Ghiradelli on the side...

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Photo of avalon07
4.33/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Poured from a bottle to a pint glass. Had a coal black color and a thick consistency. There was a huge, tan-colored, long-lasting head and excellent lacing.

S: A subtle aroma of coffee, malts and maybe some chocolate.

T: A nicely done taste with roasted malt, coffee, chocolate and a slightly astringent quality.

M: Highly carbonated with a smooth finish. Full-bodied.

D: This is a drinkable beer, though it is as heavy as you might expect.

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Photo of PatronWizard
3.97/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Gift from and thank you to Mauerhan. You ole softie!

Pours more of a super dark brown than black. Near black though. Sports a decent yet thin head of off-white bubbles, settling to a film.

Well, she smells good, Captain. Robust coffee. Maybe booze?

Taste sorta fruity. Cherries? A little too much so personally. Fruits are on top of the coffee, camel clutch.

In fact, there's a little too much everything here. For example: a little too fruity, a little too thin, a little too harsh. Yes, I'm fuckin Goldilocks. Let's let it warm.

<Let's it warm.>

A nice coffee flavor emerges to counter the fruits. Definitely tasts better at near room temperature. Still seems just a little thin for a stout, forgiveable.

Would I drink it again? If you're buying, I'll drink 20 of em. Would I seek it out again? Probably not.

Overall: good one shot beer

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

I've had my eye on this one for a while. I'm not sure what elderly heathens have to do with big stouts but I also like the name. The look is right, with a jet color and thick brown head that retreats to show elaborate sticky lace. The nose is sweet malt chocolate and coffee but could use some more muscle.

The texture is about right on this one; thick, almost syrupy. The flavors are not overwhelming but are complex and satisfying throughout. There is hoppy bitterness caught underneath a dump truck full of coffee and chocolate malts. Alcohol is almost negligible which is unexpected but welcome, especially for the style.

This is well crafted and worth trying. This winter will be cold. This one is your friend.

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Photo of CrellMoset
3.88/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Brickstore Pub, Decatur, GA. Served in a fitted pint glass.

Appearance: A deep hazy brown if not completely opaque brew with one-finger of foamy cocoa head with good retention. A few nice flourishes of lacing, almost like solar flares rising up out of the sheen of foam, though they fade fairly quickly.

Aroma: Milky chocolate with hints of raisins and a few light fruity esters. A few fresh, green hop notes, nondescript and earthy, break through at various times. The whole thing's rather faint, as well.

Taste: Dark bitter chocolate with plenty of char. A healthy dose of toasty malt notes add a little bit of complexity, and a dose of cherry-like sweetness - similar to what I remember from the bottled version - finish things off. A fairly light RIS, all things considered.

Mouthfeel: Well carbonated, largely even, and medium to thick bodied.

Drinkability: A solid and drinkable if not outstanding beer, with a reasonable abv% for the style that's well hidden and a nice assortment of interesting flavors. Not too very different from the bottled version - it's enjoyable in either serving format, but I wouldn't seen it out in either, as well.

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Photo of Douglas14
4.07/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours an extremely dark color with brown and ruby hues glinting through the edges. The aroma is nice. It is of coffee and very much of dark chocolate. The taste is the best aspect of this beer, as it should be. The roasted coffee and chocolate flavors really come out and it is great. Great beer.

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Photo of Gtreid
3.85/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle poured into an Imperial Pint glass.

A: Pitch black at first, but when back lit, just a touch of a reddish hue comes through. Pours one finger of wet sand colored head that did not hang around or leave much lace.

A: Smells of rich coffee and chocolate. Roasted nuts, figs, black current, and other dark fruit come through as well.

T: Very nice. I first get the chocolate, then a little coffee, followed by the dark fruit. Not overly complex, just right.

M: Heavy body, but smooth on the palate. Not much carbonation, just silky.

D, and overall impression: At 8% this is very drinkable. As the beer warms it goes down very easy. I thought this was a very good Imperial Stout, definately worth the try, and one I will be having again. Skal.

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Photo of Douglas88
4.15/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle thanks to Daniel, thanks man. Pours a dark, almost black color with an initially large head that quickly goes down to a small light brown head. The aroma is nice; lots of coffee and vanilla, some dark fruits also. A nice flavor of dark fruits, some light coffee and chocolates, some milkiness, toffee and perhaps a hint of banana. The mouthfeel is very rich and creamy. A nice brew for sure. Very drinkable and no notice of alcohol, almost no warmth even.

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Photo of bhalter8
4.47/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a jet black color, not even a hint of light making it through the glass. A surprisingly thin, coffee colored head on top. The smell practically made me drool. The chocolate, coffee combination is strong, and exceptional. The smell delivers even more, when tasting. That chocolate, coffee smell translates strongly into the taste of the beer. Slightly bitter, but still very smooth stout. A pleasure to drink. I had it on of the first cool afternoons, and it warmed me nicely. Top notch.

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Photo of Mauerhan
3.98/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

thanks to duqtroops for this and many others from the secret halloween bif.

pours a dark rich brown with a nice chocolate colored head that fizzles fast. small amount of lacing.

smells chocolaty. malty and rich.

taste is nice. full. big chocolate roasted malt flavors up front, follows through with a nice nutty aftertaste. very nice brew

smooth medium bodied. full flavored. an easy drink. im really glad i got a chance to crack this open and enjoy. excited to age a bottle

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Photo of CHADMC3
4.42/5  rDev +13%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a gorgeous opaque with an abundant dark tan head lasts through most of the beer leaving just a faint lacing behind.

Abundant roast aroma with chocolate & coffee. So much malt goodness, smells like a winner.

Fantastic sweet chocolate flavor with roasted malt and some version of dark bread.

Robust body and tons of flavor character with medium carbonation, this beer has a lot to offer the palate.

This is a winner and one of my favorites in the style. Warming & complex, I will be sampling this over and over.

A good PA beer to enjoy before game 5 of the Series!

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

I rated 4.25 on appearance and smell

Pours a dark brown color with a 1 finger head. Very nice retention.

Smell is of licorice, irish moss, and a big whiff of chocolate malt.

Taste is huge on the chocolate malt with only a hint of roasted characteristic. Alcohol is fairly muted. Licorice with a slight mint undertone comes out as well.

Creamy smooth mouthfeel at first, but as the beer warms it becomes slightly astringent.

This is a very good chocolatey imperial stout. Give it a try. There is a nice complexity without a whole lot of roasted flavor.

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Photo of DLtheMD
3.88/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle purchased during a "fire sale" at Adobe Blues (Staten Island, NY).

Appearance: Jet black, uniform throughout. Little head

Smell: Coffee, oats, chocolate, roasted nuts

Taste: Almost like a dark milk chocolate. Some smokiness. Goes a little dry on the aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: Smooth, little creamy, but not overly viscous.

Drinkability: Definitely a session beer, maybe 2 at a sitting.

Definitely a delicious beer. The 8% ABV doesn't come through that much in the taste. Fine work.

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Photo of mooseisloose
3.82/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

This brew has a chocolate and cinnamon smell, fresh chocolate chip cookies come to mind. Poured into a pint it is thick and dark black with a little bit of tan head. Taste is roasted malts and lots of it. In the glass I can smell the alcohol but it really isn't evident in the taste until the very end where is seems to go up through the nose and evaporate from the tongue. This is one potent brew. The mouthfeel is thick and syrupy but very slick. The carbonation is low and is only detected for a short time in the middle of the taste. The finish is dry but still has lingering sweetness and alcohol. It goes down extremely smoothly, like silk. Gotta watch the AC though this one will sneak up fast.

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Photo of steelcutoats
4/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

I've had this fine stout on several occasions, never having reviewed it and after purchasing a Weyerbacher "Big Beers" variety pack; I figured it was a good time to throw in my two cents. I poured it right into my tasting snifter and prepared to enjoy. There was a thick mocha head that quickly dissipated the color was absolutely jet black, with no light what so ever penetrating it from the other side of the glass. The aroma was strong, with lots of dark roasted malts, and dark, bittersweet chocolates. The flavor was not as strong as I thought it would be. Its very mellow and sooth drinking. The high alcohol content is very well hidden. You can definitely taste the malts, with a sweet after taste. This is a good brew, one to definitely try out in the future.

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Photo of whoneeds8
3.88/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into pint glass a black with a nice tan head that lasted fairly long for a RIS with nice lacing.

Smell, seems non-existant however that's probably me because of allergies.

Taste is light for an RIS, which is something I actually like. Mouthfeel is nice and smooth.

Overall, this is an RIS with very good drinkability. Nothing really spectacular but nothing terrible either.

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Photo of tempest
3.36/5  rDev -14.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pulled out of the Weyerbacher big beers variety pack. Pours pitch black with a short tan head.

Another Weyerbacher beer. Another underachiever. Don't get me wrong, there's nothing offensive or off, but the aroma is very muted and the flavor scores low on complexity. What's there is pleasant enough - big dark roasted barley with java and dark bittersweet chocolate. The aroma has a metallic note and a hint of milk chocolate. The body is reasonably thick and fairly drinkable. Not bad overall, but there are many better RIS's available.

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Photo of Shaw
3.88/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours all black with a chocolate brown head that reduces to a thin layer.

A lighter aroma of roasted malt, chocolate and coffee.

It's got a good taste: rich and creamy with lots of roasted and toasted flavors. There is just a hint of alcohol. This is a very under control RIS.

The mouthfeel is also creamy and smooth.

Overall this is pretty good. I was expecting something a bit more extreme. This is a good RIS to introduce people to the style.

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

A - solid black with a fading brown head

S - I can only pick up roasted malts

T - Sweet overtone of roasted malts, a mono flavor. Dark fruits. The 8% is cleverly hidden.

M - Thick on the palate and heavy carbonation

D - High drinkablility. Not bitter or head on alcohol taste.

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Photo of BeerBelcher
2.93/5  rDev -25.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

The world is full of great Russian Imperial Stouts. In fact, it's rare to find one on this site without a glowing review. But I found this one to be very....average. We just got distribution of Weyerbacher here in Wisconsin, and everyone's excited (this flavor of the month excitement goes back a year or so - we got Stone this summer, Southern Tier a little before that, etc), but that excitement for me didn't turn into a greatly favorable impression of this particular beer.

It pours black and a bit thin, with a very modest amount of head. Aroma is faint but reminiscent of dark malt, roastiness, and chocolate. Flavor is same, but I was distracted by this due to some wateriness and a very faint flavor (particularly for this style of beer).

This beer wasn't bad, it just doesn't compare to many others of the style. Still, I'd have it again and weakly recommend it. I bought a 6-pack at Discount Liquor in Milwaukee.

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Photo of ThreeWiseMen
3.33/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Got this as an extra in a trade with Aprilluvsbeer.

Reviewed by Wisemen Nick and Jorge.

Appearance: Pitch black, tight brown head. Head is thin and leaves no lacing.

Smell: Milk chocolate and coffee beans. Caramel and almonds are also present.

Taste: Wiseman Nick says the flavor begins with strong milk chocolate, followed by coffee beans, caramel, roasted malts, and a touch of alcohol. Wiseman Jorge believes the flavor begins with coffee beans, and is followed by milk chocolate. EDIT: (Nick) I've had an RIS like this before. Full Circle Brewing Company makes their RIS with only black and caramel malts and it had a flavor identical to this one. Needless to say, I'm not a big fan of the taste - it's too sweet.

Mouthfeel: A little gritty. High carbonation for an imperial stout. Syrupy and fairly slick. Heavy

Drinkability: Smooth and sweet...a little TOO sweet at times.

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Photo of paco1029384756
3.87/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to seanpachefddfa for the bottle.

Pours black with low carbonation and little head with a good ring of lacing.

Scent of roasted malts, coffee, chocolate, cherries and blueberries. Wonderful smelling stuff with a great balance between the malts and fruits.

Taste of roasted malts and coffee initially with the flavor of blueberries being overpowered by the malts and alcohol. A slightly metallic flavor comes with the alcohol does this beer leaving a tangy, oily finish.

Mouthfeel is smooth with little carbonation, but the oily texture of the beer is a little unpleasant.

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Photo of gameface23
3.71/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

A: Very dark brown/black with a tan head that dissipates pretty quickly and leaves a lace that slides rapidly down the glass.

S: Dark fruits, chocolate covered cherry cordials, and slight black coffee.

T: Well rounded, consisting of dark fruits with a coffee finish. Nothing is too prominent, but I liked it.

M: Great mouthfeel. Thick and creamy.

D: I don't think I would ever want to or could ever drink more than one or two imperial stouts, but this was only 8% ABV.

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Photo of aubuc1
4.42/5  rDev +13%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle poured in to a goblet.

Pours dark black with a thin tan head.

Sweet smell of ripe fruit jumps out of the glass. Behind it is some chocolate and roasted malt.

Taste is of sweet, roasted malts. Great tasting imperial stout for me especially since it is less coffeeish (I don't like coffee) than others.

Full mouthfeel and a nice way of drinking considering the alcohol.

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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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