Weyerbacher Brewing Co.

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Stout - Russian Imperial
3.97 | pDev: 11.84%
Weyerbacher Brewing Co.
Pennsylvania, United States
Retired (no longer brewed)
Very Good
Notes: We take our Old Heathen and age it in oak bourbon barrels. The result is our silky smooth Heresy, 8% ABV. The aroma is filled with vanilla, cocoa and roasted coffee. Notes of oak, whiskey, roasted barley and vanilla dance across your taste buds.
Reviews: 1,014 | Ratings: 2,264 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
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StoneTSR from Colorado

3.92/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

A: Phone flashlight test allow zero light through. The mocha-colored head is larger than expected given the age of this beer, it was purchased in Lincoln, Nebraska in 2012. About a half an inch swells up with a variety of bubble sizes, which settle into about half the surface of beer being covered with an extremely thin layer of foam that looks like a map. The inky, blackness looks like motor oil underneath. Again, a bit of a surprise, but lacing does adorn the backside of the glass as the beer goes down.

S; Dark chocolate and a light, coffee roast are all that's left on the nose. If I strain, I can get a touch of vanilla. Not very aggressive anymore.

T: Still delicious. Ironic? No, maybe coincidental is more accurate, that it tastes like Hershey's Dark Chocolate. There's a mild, black coffee flavor underneath along with a touch of vanilla. When the beer was first poured there was a little bit of that Cheri note from an overly ripe beer, but after a few sips it goes away and some wonderful flavors, already described above, become more intense.

M: Carbonation is minimal, but present and noticeable. While I would expect sweetness in this big, bourbon, barrel-aged Stout with some age on it, it's actually pretty dry. The roast and dark chocolate combine for a nice bitterness, especially on the end, that keeps you wanting to come back for that next sip.

O: This one aged very gracefully. I should have consumed this a few years ago, but it got lost in the back of the cellar and didn't happen until now. Still, it's gorgeous. Wayerbacher always comes through for me...even when I don't come through for them. My grading will be done with an acknowledgement of age in mind.

Jul 12, 2019
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TheDoctor from Canada (QC)

3.87/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Serving: Bottle
Bottled: Oct-28-2016

This beer pours a thick pitch black with three fingers of very active brown head that immediately settles to a ring around glass leaving no lacing.

The aroma is predominately sweet caramelized malt scents. Maple, brown sugar, vanilla whiskey notes, tobacco and a whiff of oxidation.

The flavor follows with rich, sweet malt roast flavors with some dark fruits and nutty roast flavors, vanillins, oak, really mellow whiskey notes (almost like what you get out of cooking with whiskey), kind of a vinous quality to it.

Thick and vinous, coating sweetness, light carbonation, warming finish.

A nice beer that has aged gracefully. It is very nice to sip on and see how it warms up. It is neither super roasty nor super whiskey-ey. There is a nice brown sugar sweetness on top of mellow whiskey, faint dark fruits and a little touch of oxidation that I actually think added to it a little. This was a nice beer. I like how restrained it was and enjoyed the fruitiness from the yeast (something I'm usually not huge on in a stout).

Oct 01, 2018
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Hopheadjeffery from Illinois

3.91/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 4

Tasted in a Rastal Teku from a 12 fl oz bottle on July 2, 2018. Old Heathen aged in oak bourbon barrels. The aroma is vanilla, cocoa and roasted coffee. The taste is oak, whiskey, roasted barley and vanilla. Feel is very light for the style.

Jul 09, 2018
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jjamadorphd from Florida

4.07/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Weyerbacher never disappoints, and Heresy falls into that category for them..

A beautifully dark almost black beer with a dark tan head, little staying power and no lacing. I was very impressed with the smell, it was sweet, boozy, and just a touch of hops to the nose. Where the smell was impressive the feel was less than stellar. It was an experience in astringent-ness...Nonetheless, the taste was very flavorful, and overall I found it to be another good offering from the Weyerbacher stable.

Aug 18, 2017
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Lone_Freighter from Vermont

3.5/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This was poured into a snifter. The appearance was a dark brown close to black color with a slim finger’s worth of tan to off white foamy head that dissipated within less than about forty seconds. Slim clingy slightly foamy lacing roams around the glass nicely. The smell starts with rich dark fruits with a good amount of rich sweet milk chocolate and bitter dark chocolate. All three meld really nice. A dry sweet semi-chocolatey aftertaste runs into the finish. On the palate, this one sat about a medium on the body with a fairly decent sipping quality about it. Carbonation comes across really nice and low. The dryness hits my tongue the hardest but not overbearing. Overall, this was a pretty good Russian Imperial Stout but not a lot of whiskey barrel shows up. Maybe it was my timing but I wouldn’t mind trying again fresher.

Jun 24, 2017
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Shade1951 from Pennsylvania

3.8/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Strange. For this beer, the parts are greater than the whole. I like it well enough, and yet there is something disappointing.

I like the oil-black color. The head dissipates very quickly, leaving the glass looking as if there's ice coffee in it. I really had to work at getting the smell. I had to angle the glass just right against my nose and inhale deeply. I did get some fragrance of the barrel with tones of bourbon. I would have preferred more on the nose.

The taste definitely provides some bourbon, along with hints of... maybe cocoa and leather. It's solid, if not very memorable. The feel is rather creamy - nice - but just a bit under carbonated for my taste. Maybe that's the style? I don't know - but I've had Imperials that were tasty and creamy but with more pizzazz.

This offering from the brewery is fine. I prefer Old Heathen, though.

May 28, 2017
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OldManMetal from North Carolina

3.13/5  rDev -21.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.75

Heresy is an effervescent, nigh-impenetrably black beer with sullen orange footlights and a large, brief-lived, slightly pebbly brown head that leaves scant spots of lacing. The nose is a lying harbinger of great things to come: a medium-big aroma that leads with ephemeral whiskey notes that are quickly overtaken by a tasty blend of butterscotch, light-complected caramel, and hints of toffee and toast, all topped by moderate alcohol overtones. The palate leads with a whiskey character that is as assertive as it is fleeting on the nose. The absence of the full, sweet midrange and low-end flavors characteristic of bourbon make me wonder what type of barrels were used for aging; the flatness/evenness of the flavor profile from top to bottom is much more suggestive of Canadian whisky. This flavor is not too strong, nor overbearing, but it somehow manages to completely overshadow the dark malt character of the base beer, leaving it no more differentiated nor strongly expressed than would be the case in an average Schwarzbier. In fact, that is a perfect description of how this beer tastes: an anonymous Schwarzbier mixed with the dregs of a Cutty Sark on the rocks. The finish is a modest hit of whiskey and dark malt, and is somewhat warming; the linger is a watery whiskey flavor that lasts for a few minutes. Mouthfeel is watery as well, and is thin for the full body; the texture is slightly creamy and very slightly peppery from the underexpressed carbonation. Unfortunately, this beer is incapable of acting like an imperial stout, and has allowed the barrel treatment to get the upper hand, completely losing its soul in the process. (12 oz bottle, 116 days after pkg)

Mar 05, 2017
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scotorum from Massachusetts

3.76/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75


We get this brewer's products but this is the first time I've seen this one in my state, although I'd seen it occasionally in the state next door and regretted not buying some. Surprised to find it since it's supposed to be retired.

Poured from the 12 oz. bottle into a Samuel Smith English nonick.

a: Opaque black with slight ruby hints at the bottom, tan inch thick head receded slowly to even surface foam and a little patchy/spotty lacing.

s: Whiskey and slight dark roasty malt.

t: Follows the nose with moderate hop bite. Black coffee notes in the finish and aftertaste fade later.

m; Light to medium, ok body with slight watery notes and some carbonation tingle.

o; Love their Insanity BBA barleywine but this is rather weak and thin feeling for an imperial stout. The booze flavor carries it.

Feb 23, 2017
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Dragginballs76 from South Carolina

3.99/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance - Pours dark mahogany with mocha colored head that lasts for a bit. not much lacing.

Aroma - Whiskey and chocolate are up front. Roasted malts and hints of vanilla, nutty finish.

Taste - Whiskey and chocolate forward much like the aroma. The flavor of the whiskey is there but not the strong alcohol that usually accompanies, vanilla and roasted malts as well.

Feel - Very smooth and velvet like well carbonated sight burn from the alcohol.

Overall - Very sold WBA stout good flavors and depth.

Jan 14, 2017
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BFCarr from New Jersey

4.1/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottled on 10/21/16. Poured into tulip glass on 1/11/17. Pours black with 1/2" tan head that fades quickly. Aroma has light roasted notes and light whiskey notes. Not an overpowering amount of whiskey, which is refreshing. Taste is mostly whiskey, but not excessive, the imperial stout side is background player, but the overall effect is tasty. Feel is somewhat silky but not great for an imperial stout. Overall, a nice take on a whiskey barrel aged brew.

Jan 12, 2017
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hoptheology from South Dakota

4.45/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Appearance is dark tarry black, with a brown-beige head of 1 finger.

Aroma of sweet bourbon barrel, whiskey, some cocoa and dark coffee ground.

Flavors of mocha, dark coffee, sweet bourbon, very slight medicinal alcohol, and then hot chocolate/cake on the finish.

The feel is very carbonated, yet still smooth. Hot booziness up the middle that continues the burn to the finish.

Overall, this was much better than I thought it would be. I was expecting a whiskey bomb and what I got was some real nice chocolate notes, coffee, and a polite whiskey character. I'll be buying more of this soon.

Jan 06, 2017
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citizencane from Pennsylvania

3.78/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Smells booozy with roasted malt and whiskey. Little head or lacing. Taste is similar to nose. Feel has plenty of heat but is fairly thick with some chewiness. Not bad but not great.

Nov 18, 2016
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ThrewRedButter from Massachusetts

4.09/5  rDev +3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

L - Pitch black in all aspects. Less than a finger of light brown head

S - Smooth oak and bourbon, dark fruits, and some dark fudge chocolate.

T - Bourbon/whiskey up front with the dark chocolate right after. Cherries, plums, and raisins, a lot of oak and a burnt coffee ground taste

F - A little thin, but not too bad. Feels lighter than an 8% BA stout.

O - Not bad, but not amazing. A perfectly standards BA RIS.

Sep 11, 2016
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Ozzylizard from Pennsylvania

4.25/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

$ 61/case ($ 0.21/oz) at Franklin Beer Co, Franklin, PA
Bottled 1/20/15, BB 9/20/15, at 42 degrees into a hand washed and dried JK snifter, allowed to warm to 50 degrees
Aroma of roasted malt and whiskey
Head small (< one cm, aggressive pour), light brown, creamy with rocks, diminishing to three mm ring and partial layer
Lacing fair – complete narrow rings of tiny bubbles
Body dark brown/black, opaque
Flavor – somewhat of a bourbony flavor but not quite as sweet, the roasted malt is subdued; no hops, no alcohol, no diacetyl
Palate full, creamy, soft carbonation

Appearance 4, Aroma 4, Flavor 4.5, Palate 4, Overall 4.25

Apr 01, 2016
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q33jeff from New Jersey

4.1/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at blend.Aroma is whiskey and lots of coffee, chocolate. Taste is coffee and whiskey. Dark black color. Medium head.Tasty.
Bottle to snifter.
In bottles again. Glad to try again and maybe age 1 or 2 although abv is a little low for that.

No change in rating, but I'll add a few notes. I detect a rye character. Not sure if that is from the malt, or from the whiskey barrel. The whiskey taste seems to be something other than bourbon, maybe rye, or I think a taste a charcoal like Jack Daniels taste. Also, there are some grassy, earthy notes. Great to try this again, much different than SMS.


Mar 08, 2016
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Chico1985 from Massachusetts

3.85/5  rDev -3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Woah man. This is not only exactly one year old, but also four months past the best by date, both I was unaware of until this moment. Maybe some things are just meant to be. Thanks Mom for giving me this expired beer for Christmas.

A - 12oz pour to a trusty Fantome tulip reveals a black beer believe it or not, with just about a finger of brown head. Quickly falls to a cap, which eventually turns to a thin ring. Some decent lace-dot formations left behind.

S - Definitely a big whiskey and oak barrel presence, milk chocolate, coffee tones, brown sugar. Maybe a touch heavy with the alcohol and a bit faint but nice.

T - Still a big raw whiskey presence, lots of booze-soaked oak, but it's a nice unhinged liquor kind of feel that also blends better with the stout, more flavor prominence in general here. More like a chocolate dark fruit cordial, with notes of caramel and vanilla floating in there.

M - Oily and viscous feel that's just a touch on the thin side, decent carbonation that is on the lower side of the spectrum. On the boozy side for 8% as well.

O - The taste pulls through when it comes down to it, a bit flimsy-feeling overall but for an 8% stout with very unabashed whiskey barrel I feel like that's kind of expected. Not the most standout in the style certainly but nice.

Feb 18, 2016
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stingray from Wisconsin

4.15/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.25

Notes: 12 oz bottle served at cellar temperature in a chalice. Two dates on the bottle, "02/11/15" and "10/11/15", I assume are bottled-on and drink-by dates. Consumed on Nov. 18, 2015. This was my last bottle of a 4-pack and was left sitting in my basement; I gave one away and drank two early on. I was just getting over a cold and wanted a beer. I wasn't impressed before so I figured I wouldn't waste a beer I really liked while my nose was still a bit stuffy.

L: Not quite pitch black, very dark brown with a brown head. Plenty of foam, depending on how you pour it. Very slight residual lacing.

S: Definitely got the whiskey immediately after the pour but it toned down as I drank. Also a burnt smell. I still had some congestion in my sinuses so the smell was inhibited so I'd prefer to abstain from ranking the smell.

T: Whiskey is mellow, rising to the front occasionally which is a dramatic departure from the other bottles. A molasses sweetness, I even got banana here and there. Burnt taste to match the smell, somewhat like coffee grounds. Reminded me a lot of Postum, if you've ever had it.

F: Much thicker than the other (younger) bottles, but not oily at all. Biggest negative of the beer was that it left a bit of a burning sensation, not due to carbonation. I remember this with the other bottles as well.

O: Is this the same beer I had before? 6+ months in the basement has served it well. When I drank this before, the whiskey didn't blend well at all and was quite harsh. Now it's much smoother and very pleasant. Thicker mouthfeel and more of a burnt flavor. I bought Old Heathen at the same time and strongly preferred the OH before. Now I'm not so sure. At 8% and with an "expiration" date I didn't expect it to improve with age but I much prefer it now than when fresh. I may have to experiment with that.

Nov 19, 2015
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SFNC from North Carolina

4.03/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Look; Pretty standard for an Imperial Stout, dark brown to black with a brown sugar head. The head splts quickly and there is light lacing in it's absence.
Smell; Scorched caramel, bourbon, vanilla and some plum
Taste; Sweet, burnt sugar, oak, lots of bourbon, vanilla and a cola like aftertaste.
Feel; Creamy!
Overall; Not an earth shaker by any means, but very enjoyable. One of the better bargain BA RIS.

Oct 06, 2015
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HopHunter19 from Missouri

4.16/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Smells like bourbon, oak, roasty dark malts, less intense than bigger whiskey aged imperial stouts. Taste is bourbon, oak, vanilla, caramel, dark malts, coffee, roast, chocolate. Mouthfeel is medium, alc covered, aftertaste is bourbon, oak, caramel. Overall this beer is damn decent. I'd buy it again. I'd compare it to FW Velvet Merkin, I think people may be too quick to knock this one because it's an 8% BA stout, but it does exactly what its supposed to do.

Oct 01, 2015
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Franziskaner from Missouri

3.67/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Jet black in color with no penetration to light. There's a fingernail of beige resting on the vast majority of the top. Aroma is dark roasted barley, black licorice, and wood smoke. I taste dark roasted barley, sweet lactose, plum, and alcohol. The mouth is thick, chewy, and viscous.

Sep 08, 2015
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madelfonatree from Ohio

4.15/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottled 2/11/15 enjoyed 9/1/15 in a MadTree tulip/snifter.

Look - Small head was quick to develop and quick to dissipate. Tan medium bubbles head. Thick black body with brown edges. No sediment. No lacing.

Smell - Sweet bourbon. Vanilla. Coffee. Chocolate. Light berry.

Taste - Subdued bourbon. Chocolate. Coffee. Vanilla. Berry.

Feel - Looks much heavier than it is but still heavy. Carbonation more apparent than look. Bitter bite on tongue.

Overall - Lets call this Bourbon Barrel Aged Light. Average. I see myself hovering around 4 with ratings so take that in to account.

Sep 02, 2015
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pat61 from Minnesota

4.5/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

L: Pours inky opaque black under a 1” light tan foam cap with a very fine bead and produces intricate lace. S: Bourbon aroma T: Bourbon, vanilla, coffee, and chocolate with some drying astringency in the finish. F: Medium full body, medium low carbonation O: A very rich, bourbon Russian Imperial Stout.

Aug 18, 2015
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AlarmClock314 from Wisconsin

3.95/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle dated 2/11/15. Pours opaque black with a medium-sized brown head. Smells of whiskey, dark fruit, and some roasted malt. Tastes mostly of whiskey and dark fruit, but has some roasted malt and coffee flavors. Medium carbonation and somewhat thin body for the style. Grab this if you like whiskey and lighter stouts; pass if you expect your RIS's to be thick.

Aug 16, 2015
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EMV from Pennsylvania

4.02/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a tulip glass.

L: Pours an inky black. Minimal brownish head.

S: Roasted malts and chocolate. Slight vanilla on the nose.

T/F: Roasted malts up front giving way to chocolates and coffee. Very mild whiskey, and not nearly as boozy as I'd expect for a whiskey aged beer. Mild oak and vanilla. The taste gets bigger as it warms, and slightly dry at the finish.

O: Solid but not one of my favorite whiskey aged beers. It's missing a bit of the booziness that I look for, and overall I think their 'insanity' is a stronger brew. Still... it's tasty and great for a change of pace. I'll be aging half a case to see if that brings out anything new.

Aug 06, 2015
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GarthDanielson from Virginia

4.17/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

2015. Poured from a bottle into a snifter, the beer is jet black, with a thin, low profile, brown head that quickly dissipates. The aromas are rich dark chocolate, black strap molasses, old world fruit sweetness, vanilla, bourbon spice and heat, and subtle char notes. Flavors are rich and sweet forward, heavy on the old world fruit, with an undertone of bittersweet chocolate. Plum, date, raisins, and fig all blend nicely, and are balanced by the bitterness of chocolate, subtle char and smoke, and coffee highlights. Subtle vanilla cream notes accent a bit, and there is a building warmth from the boozy notes that heat up the otherwise rich stone fruit aftertaste. The body is big and robust, slightly oily, and smooth, with a slick, slow, layered, lingering finish. Heavy beer, with an interesting taste profile for the style.

Jul 19, 2015
Heresy from Weyerbacher Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 89 out of 100 with 2264 ratings