Old Heathen Imperial Stout | Weyerbacher Brewing Co.

very good
831 Reviews
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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Reviews: 831 | Ratings: 1,652
Photo of ViveLaChouffe
4/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Opaque black with a thick rich brown head

Smell: Oak, rich dark malt. Fruity and sweet. Smells like chocolate liqueur.

Taste: Strong oaky, port flavors. Prominenet alcohol flavor. Bitter coffee and fruity. Ever had those little chocolate bottle candies filled with various liqueurs? Well, this beer tastes a bit like Anthony Berg chocolate bottles filled with Grand Marnier. However, it could stand to be aged a bit to smooth it out.

Mouth: Huge, alcohol aftertaste

Drink: A good imperial stout, if a bit young at this tasting.

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Photo of WesWes
4.12/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer pours a deep black color with a thick brown head. The aroma is great. It has an intense black malt scent that is accompanied by chocolate and roasted malts; very nice. The taste is good. It has a rich dark malt feel that goes down easy and finishes dry and slightly bitter. It seems that this and the raspberry imperial stout are really bitter on the finish; maybe too much black malts. The mouthfeel is fine. It is a full bodied beer with good carbonation. This beer drinks well. I like the Weyerbacher lineup very much especially their "big beer" spread. This is a fine imperial stout.

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Photo of PhantomVodoo
3.95/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Mimimal brown head. Beer is an opaque black in the glass.
Aroma of medium to heavily roasted malt, dark fruit, cocoa, and a slight smokiness.

Taste shows roasty malt and dark fruit. Slight smokiness, coffee, cocoa, and alcohol. Hops provide a nice balance and really kick in at the finish.

Good body to the mouthfeel, although it's a little thin for an imperial stout.
This one is relatively smooth and the alcohol is well hidden, yielding a very drinkable imperial stout.
Overall, a good imperial stout.

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Photo of merlin48
4.45/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours an inky, opaque, dark brown with a minimal, tan head that quickly falls into a film and patches of lace.
Aroma is subdued for the style, but roasted coffee, dark chocolate, and some smoky nuttiness are very noticeable.
Mouthfeel is smooth and satiny, with medium carbonation and a peppery, hop bite.
Taste is enormous, and belies the subdued nose. A walnut nuttiness opens the door to a delicious roasted Kona coffee flavor, backed with a superior, dark chocolate note. Cherry and some plum fruity flavors emerge midway through. Alcohol is hidden away extremely well. Finish tastes like butternut roasted coffee.
One of the best tasting, American imperial stouts around. This makes up in taste what it lacks in aroma. I'm going to stock up on these next time I see them.

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Photo of jdhilt
4.08/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours with a three-finger light tan head that fades slowly and leaves a good lace. Black as coal, totally opaque. Good carbonation. Nose is roasted malts; Starts with a roasted chocolate/coffee flavor, finishes smooth with just a bit of bitterness. You don't notice the high ABV. $2.10 for a 12oz bottle.

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Photo of mzwolinski
3.83/5  rDev -2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked this up on a trip to New York, and have been saving it for a year or so while I quaffed all the lesser-ABV brews.

A nice-looking beer, to be sure. Jet black in color, with a surprisingly large, creamy, dark tan head. This settles into a respectable and persistant top.

Aroma is nice, with a big malt profile and a hint of roastiness. Develops a bit of fruitiness later on, but not as robust a scent as is typical for the style.

Malt is well-developed in the flavor as well, with chocolatey hints and a wee-bit o' roastiness to the finish. This gets better with warmth, developing a bit of plum flavor and a slightly more assertive bitterness to the finish. But still, in the end, lacks much hint of alcohol or any of the estery byproducts that one would expect from the style. Full-bodied, but rather high level of carbonation which makes it seem less so. Warming.

Decent enough, but in the end, a bit too "polite" for the "Imperial" guard. Send this stout back to the stormtroopers!

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

12 oz bottle, with no dating. Pours BLACK, very dark tan head. Coffee and cocoa in the nose. Nice thick and heavy mouthfeel. Burnt fruit, chocolate, black malt. Alcohol obvious but nicely in the background. Hint of vanilla and fruit in a nice long and smooth finish. High quality brew. Nice warming sipper

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Photo of jward
3.99/5  rDev +2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Black, with a somewhat thin brown head. The impressive nose presents cocoa powder, cherry and a pleasant woodsy, oak aroma. Rich roasted malt dominates the flavor profile, with hints of fruity tartness appearing mid-palate, giving way to a dark, even burnt, espresso-like finish. Hints of alcohol are also present at the finish. With a creamy mouthfeel, this is a delicious imperial from Weyerbacher.

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Photo of ark57
4.25/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This beer is thick and black. It has a thin tan head and a lot of aroma that smells of coffee, sweet chocolate, and dark fruits. The smooth body is very complex with tastes of coffee, choclate, plum, port wine, and a slight sourness. It finishes relatively dry with a taste of molasses. It would go well with a choclate dessert or as a nightcap on a cold night.

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Photo of 99bottles
3.5/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Weyerbacher's Old Heathen is a pretty good imperial stout. It lacks the wow of the big boys (Stone, Victory, Rogue) and falls more in line with what I try to use as my imperial benchmark, Sam Smith. It's not too fancy, easy malt and choco, somewhat weak hopfeel. It pours a deep brown-black and yields a deep tan head which quickly subsides to a thin lace upon the surface of the beer. The taste of alcohol is strong for only being 8%. I would think the ABV could be increased and the overall flavor enhanced with a better blend of hops. It just lacks something the others don't. Not at all bad, but really not worth the purchase if another is available.

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Photo of ChrisBowers
3.53/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

First off, let me say I LOVE the aftertaste of this beer. Rich espresso, bittersweet chocolate and a nice warming effect. What I don't really like all that much is the initial taste. Its a been "mediciney" for lack of a better word. Its not that its a bad taste, its just odd. Alcohol is very apparent. Mouthfeel is average to thin. There are much better representations available from regional breweries such as Victory's Storm King. Still, a very drinkable beer, but chances are you'll have your choice of others if you find a place that has this.

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Photo of nomad
3.29/5  rDev -15.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Black with a good mocha head, and coating lace and stain blanketing the glass. Looks good.

Smells of cookie dough, sweet dark malt, chocolate milk wisps, and a combination of roasty notes and soapy hop notes.

Has espresso impressions from the black and roast malt mix. Fairly chewy, but a thin body of flavor that doesn't show more than a general Imperial Stout personality, though with a toasted nut tone. Milky and light roast finish. Moderate mouthfeel. Hard to choose when Storm King and Black Choc. Stout are as available at the same price.

Another average approximation of the style by Weyerbacher. But, as always, their offerings are drinkable thanks to their moderate profiles.

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

Poured with a thick head which lasted quite awhile. Aroma of cocoa and dark roasted coffee with subtle fruit notes. Body is thin for the style yet smooth. Flavors are good, roasty malt, chocolate but finishing a bit too dry in my opinion. I found the thinner body, drier finish and lack of sweetness uncharacteristic for the style. Not an exceptional Stout but a decent one. Thanks Jason for the sample.

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Photo of GuinnessSmurf
4.4/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Dark beer fans pay heed: this beer is remarkable.

It pours a dark, dark brown with a deep brown head - the heavy nature of the beer is apparent in pouring. You can tell that it will be very thick and slow drinking, as almost no light passes through it. Smells of caramels, malts, and alcohol. The taste is overall sweet - but carries with it many complexities. Caramel and coffee seem to join forces against a warm, alcohol flavor which warms the mouth when you drink it. The body of this beer is thick - and delicious.

Something about this beer just wows me. I actually drank 3 bottles of it (on different occasions) before writing this review because I was afraid I was exaggerating my joy for it.

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

Served cold, in a pint glass
Appear: Poured a somewhat sluggish, somewhat rocky head. Very very dark beer, with slow, almost nonexistant bubbles rising.
Smell: Nice sweet roasted malt first off. Smells more like a milk stout than an imperial stout, actually. I expect a bit more hops in this style, but it still smells delicious.
Taste: Not as strong as an imperial stout should be. Nicely roasted flavor. A little alcohol, but not as apparent as its 8% would suggest. Sweetness fades kinda quickly, leaving a lingering bitterness, and something like burnt toast. Tastes great, and I would give it a higher rating here, but its just not quite right for the style. Well balanced, however.
Mouthfeel: Thick, heavy, coating.. nice. A little astringent, however.
Drinkability: Quite drinkable despite the high alcohol. I like this beer, and wish my rating was higher, but it just doesn't fit the billing for an imperial stout to me.

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

A well carbonated, black or dark brown with a two finger chocolate-khaki puffy head. Thin bits of sparse lacing remain.
Deep coffee and roasted malt aroma, a little soaked wheat note.
Chocolate, caramel and black patent, bitterness seems to come from heavily roasted malt not hops. Black currant, coffee, what hops exist are floral, but they're crushed under all the dark flavors.
Robust, smooth, but full, acidic bite.

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Photo of bditty187
4.05/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Black as midnight, even when I held it to the light only a vague brown hue could be detected, the russet head of a half finger in height held reasonably well. It did dissipate in time. The subsequent lacing was spotty but evident. The nose is big and aromatic with heaps of rich roasted malts, dry coffee beans, and milk chocolate; it is a luscious nose. The aromas of hops are absent. Inviting. The palate was surprisingly watery upfront with minimal bulk until the middle, here I found a solid foundation of roasted malts, hints of coffee, very dry, minimal chocolate, which was contrary to the invitation of the aromas. The hops are somewhat noticeable but dull. The aftertaste is amazingly long; it latched onto my cheeks and never left. This is a smaller Imperial Stout or a big “regular” Stout. Either way I am impressed with Old Heathen. It is not very hoppy nor is it very burnt but is kind of sweet and very relaxing, especially for the style. The mouthfeel is apathetic, this is a bit of a disappointment, it lacks in sturdiness; the carbonation was moderate but manageable. I found this to be an easy drinking Imperial Stout (is that good?), I really couldn’t taste the alcohol, it’s plenty drinkable. As a whole, I really dig this one, flaws and all. It is well worth trying. Thanks Bierman9!

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

Appearance – Solid black in color with a nice, very tight, tanned head that showed some good retention.

Smell – What a lovely bouquet! This is indeed “imperial.” The roasted malts form the backbone here, but they are complimented by a plethora of smells. The deep, dark fruits are among the highlights. The big Rainier cherries are especially appealing, as are the tobacco and dates.

The espresso is prominent as well, nicely encouraged by the raw sugars and alcohol. All in all, this has a very complex nose, and I’m sure I haven’t done it justice.

Taste – The espresso from the nose steps it up a bit here, as this is the prominent flavor that I found. The malts of course make up the base, and all the sugar and fruits from the smell find their way to the tongue. I really liked the fine cocoa powder that introduced itself to me here.

Mouthfeel – Impeccably smooth and very bitter. This medium to full-bodied Imperial Stout was a joy to hold in the cheeks.

Drinkability – My wife and I had some good unexpected work-related news to celebrate tonight, and I couldn’t have wandered into a nicer ale. This one will close the evening, as I can't imagine chasing it with anything else. Guten nacht!

Comments – Curses to Jason for sending this to me. I’ll never be able to get the flavors out of my mind and will trade and spend foolishly trying to get another.

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Photo of Indybeer
3.75/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle.Poured a dark black with a massive head that really stuck around. Lots of lacing on the glass. Aroma is of espresso coffee, roasted malt and a slight smokiness. Taste is coffee and chocolate and lots of roasted malt. This is not an overpowering imperial, but has a very good balance. Smooth and silky with just the right amount of bitterness in the finish. This is a very easy drinking beer.

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Photo of frank4sail
4.02/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Black opeque look in the glass with a nice rich milk cocoa colored head on the pour which settles quickly to a tan sheen and lace. Nice cocoa black malt and slight berry nose. Sharp sourish plum , burnt malt, and light expresso are show the most. The feel and taste are a little lighter than you would think. Medium mouth. Dry sightly sour tongue in the finish. Overall very nice.. just a slight lightness to the brew sensed.

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Photo of bigbubba
3.47/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

It was extremely dark with a dissapointing head that faded quickly. The smell was very good, but the taste didn't follow. It wasn't bad as a stout, but compared to other Imperial Stouts it was not impressive. There was a nice dark malt taste. It is a decent beer but it just doesn't live up to this category.

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

This beer was not what I was expecting at all. This seams to be one of those beers that will sneak up on you because it's very easy to drink but has very respectable ABV. It pours smooth and generates a frothy, brown head. The color is very deep redish color when held to the light but away from the light it appears black. The foam faded fast to a weather system over the beer. The first sip was very good. Had a nice bold flavor to it that was full of chocolate and coffee tones. The mouthfeel is nice and smooth. As I said before, very drinkable. I tend to stay away from Weyerbacher but since recently having the Rasberry Imperial and now this beer I realize that I need to stay with the styles I like brcause these two beers are very nice beer to have on hand. I highly suggest you try if if you haven't already.

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Photo of CharlesRiver
3.89/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I love Imperial Stouts so when new ones come to town, I get excited. Pours out solid black, much like oil with almost no head at all. The smell is wonderful. Coffee and chocolate with a grainy almost nutty flavor. The taste is not as nice as the smell. Solid, just no mind blowing. More coffee and some burnt notes come through. I like my imp stouts to have more of a hop backbone which this one seems to lack. More on the sweet side. A good beer that I am glad that I tried.

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Photo of edchicma
4.06/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A very nice brew that started with an absolutely great black color with an outstanding head and lacing. Smell was of burnt malt with some fruity elements. A hint of smokiness was also present. Taste was wine-like, with the alcohol presence overriding any sweetness. Definite hop bitterness in the finish. Mouthfeel for a hig abv was nice. As expected, it was very dry, yet medium bodied. Very drinkable for its abv. My first offering from this brewery...I hope the others are just as good. My bottle was not plain jane....it had the silhouette of a druid? with neat stylized lettering.

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

This brewing company caught my attention at EBFest...in fact; I got to pour for them (and sample) for a while.
This one pours an oily black with a firm beige/tannish head on top and some sticky and trailing lace. A smoky and toasted malt aroma makes way for some floral hop and fumy alcohol.
The malt is smoky and rich. Burnt toast, dark coffee, chocolate and hint of licorice flavors are all upfront. Citrusy bitterness and a faint metallic tang can are also noticed. A light warming alcohol emerges and gathers momentum as it warms. This is a hearty and flavorful Imperial stout, that doesn't over-rely on potent alcohol to be noticed.

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Old Heathen Imperial Stout from Weyerbacher Brewing Co.
3.91 out of 5 based on 1,652 ratings.
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