Heresy | Weyerbacher Brewing Co.

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2,259 Ratings

Brewed by:
Weyerbacher Brewing Co.
Pennsylvania, United States

Style: Russian Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.00%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
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.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 06-21-2004

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 2,259 |  Reviews: 1,012
Reviews by Dantes:
Photo of Dantes
2.61/5  rDev -33.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Package: 1 pint, 6 oz. (22oz.) crowned, brown bomber. Label depicts a flash of lightning and the words “Weyerbacher,” “Heresy” and “Imperial Stout aged in OAK barrels.” No date or ABV information, but this is a fairly new, limited release that I expect is not more than a couple of months old.

Presentation: 20 oz.imperial pint at ~50º

Appearance: Pretty standard for an Imperial Stout. Good, dark brown opacity, with little light penetrating the dark body, although one can detect a faint ruby-ish glow at the margin. Generates a crema-like, fairly loose head that doesn’t have much sticking power.

Smell: Nothing subtle about this! The strong bourbon-and-sour mash aroma is fairly overpowering. The oak barrels also contribute quite a strong vanilla element. After an acclimation period, one can detect some classic stout aromas like coffee, roasted malt (a bit burnt actually), and woodiness. Whatever fruitiness and malt are swamped by the alcohol.

Taste: The first sensation is overwhelmingly bourbonish; fairly sweet, with strong vanilla elements. Almost mouth-numbing in its warmish, alcoholic body. Again, further sampling allows one to pick out some other flavors: some coffee-like bitterness leavens the flabby sweetness upfront; a bit of cheap, Baker’s chocolate; and grain roasted beyond the burning point. There’s not much stout in this stout, or if there is, it’s masked by the bourbon and oak! I wish the oak tannins were present, but I fear they were imparted to the whiskey. Finishes both sweetly and acridly.

Mouthfeel: Again, there is a dichotomy. The first few droughts seem creamy and smooth because of the overt sweetness and the bourbon-derived alcoholness. However, as one drinks more and more, this seems to become thinner and thinner. The carbonation is a bit harsh. One realizes that but for the oak and bourbon, there isn’t much to like about the stout.

Drinkability: Not very high. I can think of TONS of stouts I’d like to have before this. In fact, I drank a lovely Deepshaft Stout after this, that not only tasted great, but cleansed my palate!

Backwash: Sorry to resort (again) to a wine analogy, but this beer is much like a characterless bulk Chardonnay from Australia or California that’s been oaked within an inch of its life! Now some Chardonnays can withstand a lot of oak (e.g. Beringer Private Reserve), but they need to be able to stand up to the wood. This doesn’t do that. And worse, it has to contend with both the wood AND the bourbon. Supposedly this is Old Heathen aged in barrels used for both Jack Daniels (sour mash) and Jim Beam (bourbon). I’m not a huge fan of Old Heathen to begin with, and it certainly doesn’t improve here. I think it would be a lot better if the the oak and bourbon influences were reduced a bit (diluted with more regular Old Heathen and perhaps some plain oak barrels). I’m a huge bourbon fan (less so JD), but this doesn’t work very well. Perhaps some age will marry this better, but I can’t recommend it for now. If you must, I'd recommend you add a nip of your favorite bourbon to your favorite stout.

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More User Reviews:
Photo of Czarkazm
3.07/5  rDev -22.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Pours cola colored and collects in the glass looking fairly black with mahogany highlights along the edges. Thick khaki colored head with loads of bubbles streaming up. Smell seems a bit off for an imperial stout. I get very mild roast, a touch of dark fruits, faint coffee acidity, and it all gets clouded out by a tart lacto funk. This bottle is from feb., 2014, the last of my 4 pack and they all had this quality. Recalled this same phenomenon in half of my 4 pack from 2013. Will not be buying a 4 pack this year. Thin mouthfeel and overly carbonated. Taste is dominated by sour notes. Tart apples, vinegar, black currant, a nuttiness maybe, sour cherry. It's not undrinkable if you convince yourself its supposed to taste like this. I had Cantillon's Gueuze Lambic Bio recently and this one reminds me of that blended with a porter, but this could not have been the brewer's intention.

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

12 ounce bottle into snifter, bottled on 2/3/2015. Pours pitch black color with a 1 finger dense tan head with good retention, that reduces to a thin cap that lingers. Light spotty soapy lacing clings around the glass. Aromas of big dark chocolate, cocoa, coffee, toast, dark bread, vanilla, toffee, bourbon, oak, light dark fruit, and roast/oaky earthiness. Damn nice aromas with good balance and complexity of dark/roasted malt, bourbon barrel, and light dark fruit notes; with great strength. Taste of dark chocolate, cocoa, coffee, toast, dark bread, vanilla, toffee, bourbon, oak, light dark fruit, and roast/oaky earthiness. Light roast/oaky bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of dark chocolate, cocoa, coffee, toast, dark bread, vanilla, toffee, bourbon, oak, light dark fruit, and roast/oaky bitterness on the finish for a good bit. Damn nice complexity and balance of dark/roasted malt, bourbon barrel, and light dark fruit flavors; with a great malt/barrel balance and zero cloying flavors after the finish. Light-medium carbonation and medium bodied; with a very smooth, fairly creamy, and slightly bready/chalky mouthfeel that is nice. Alcohol is very well hidden with only a light warming present after the finish. Overall this is an excellent barrel aged imperial stout. All around great complexity, balance, and robustness of dark/roasted malt, bourbon barrel, and light dark fruit flavors; and very smooth to sip on for the ABV. The barrel character is very pronounced, but not overdone. A very enjoyable offering.

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Photo of oberon
4.08/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I have had hit or miss experiences with Weyerbacher this I would say is a hit,poured a ink black with a dark mocha colored 1/2 finger creamy head.The oak its aged in shows thru in the nose with a vanilla-like tone along with some molasses and iron,a real nice mellow mouthfeel for a bigger brew really slides down easy.Not huge in my mind for the style but very good flavors vanilla tinged with molasses and rum soaked raisins finishing somewhat woody and cola-like.A nice impy stout not overly big to me,its approachable with out any flavor loss or character.

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Photo of RoyalT
3.98/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance – This beer is black with a slight purple tint around the edges. It produced a nice, big head on an even pour and left a large, cool-looking pool of foam on top of the liquid that I eventually had to drink away.

Smell – The sweet vanilla notes came out instantly when I poured the beer. It’s an oaky kind of aroma and is complimented with some nice, dark, roasted malts and a sharp presence of alcohol.

Taste – The alcohol came out sharply at the taste as well. The big oaky vanilla was here in force along with a light coffee flavor.

Mouthfeel – This Imp Stout is medium to full in the body with a dry, almost powdery finish.

Drinkability – This is a very unique offering from Weyerbacher. It is a very sharp, sipping stout. You’ll either love it or hate it.

Comments – Thanks to skyhand for bringing this to our first annual Friday the 13th Fright Night bash. This, the veggies burgers, and THE WORST movie that I’ve ever seen (IOW, great fun to watch) made for a terrific evening.

Thanks also to garthwaite for getting this out to Seattle. Garthwaite mailed it, skyhand brought it, RoyalT poured it, and cschwaz drank it. What a team!

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Photo of aszatk01
3.5/5  rDev -11.2%

Photo of DanGeo
3.75/5  rDev -4.8%

Photo of t2grogan
4/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of Marklaker
3.8/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Photo of OhioBobcat
3.75/5  rDev -4.8%

Photo of npala86
3.25/5  rDev -17.5%

Photo of tbryan5
3.65/5  rDev -7.4%

Photo of drumline
3.99/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance - Pours a dark black, with a quickly dissipating head.

Smell - Lots of oaky/woody flavors. Slight hints of chocolate come through, but mostly oak.

Taste/Mouthfeel - Nice and creamy body, about medium for an impy stout. Roasted malt flavor really shines, with just the right about of hops to keep the sweetness in check. Oaky/vanilla flavor dominant throughout. Nice dry finish.

Drinkability - Very drinkable; the 8% ABV is well hidden. An enjoyable brew.

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Photo of jose_alehouseSD
2.12/5  rDev -46.2%

Photo of Ben7773
3.5/5  rDev -11.2%

Photo of orbitalr0x
3.98/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Heresy pours out of the 12 oz. bottle a deep black, impenatrable to light with a huge tan head that stakes its claim atop the brew with might. The smell is a big dose of bourbon right up front along with roasted bitter chocolate notes and hints of damp wood.

The first taste is a intermingling of dark roasted nutty malts, bittersweet chocolate and bourbon. The bourbon is quite prominent and is accompanied by earthy, woody tones. I enjoy the cross pollination of flavors on my palate here.

Mouthfeel is a little thin for me and and possibly a bit too carbonated. I enjoy my impy's with a bit thicker body. Drinkability is good. Quite an enjoyable brew...but it's more of a brew that I'd drink one of every now and again. If you like bourbon or even if you just like impy stouts, I recommend checking this one out. Thanks to blitheringidiot for the bottle!

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Photo of blitz134
3.18/5  rDev -19.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pitch black body that poured with a one finger head which was a deep chocolate color. Aroma is a deep rich alcoholic chocolate with strong fruit overtones. Oak and vanilla saturate the nose. Overall sweet and fairly complex. Very inviting.

The taste, or lack there of, really struck me as being off in this beer. I don't really pick up any of the strong characteristics which I found in the nose. Initially there is a tiny bit of sweetness but the midrange doesn't offer anything. Finish is a bit spicy with some oak characteristics. The alcohol burn is a bit harsh. What flavor is there is okay at best. The alcohol brings it down.

Mouthfeel is fairly full, but not what I think it should be for the style. Drinkability is only okay as well. The lack of taste doesn't make me want a second.

Overall this one presented itself strongly but failed to follow through once it hit my lips. Oh well...

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Photo of rwinzing
3.83/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured my beer into a DFH snifter. Very dark with almost not head at all

A - Midnight Black

S - smells very oaky

T - Strong oak flavor is present and then a sweetness appears finishes with some slight bitterness

M - Feel a little thin

O - I enjoy this beer as a drinker in my rotation. Not the best Imperial oak stout but very solid beer. I buy a four pack once a month. Encourage people to try this one.

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Photo of bulldogg915
4.25/5  rDev +7.9%

Photo of Punchy_Munchie
3.76/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Photo of JasonA
4.35/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours an oilslick black. Solid finger of thick mocha head. Settles with ample, thick lacing. Boy is that head just crusting on the edges of the glass. Islands and small bubbles of carbonation still present.

Deep roasted/burt malt. Espresso, baking chocolate. Deep malt, gosh.

Rich dark malt, coffee beans, dark chocolate, with a stoutish finish. Maybe some almond in there.

Sits extremely well. Balanced throughout witha long lasting flavor. Yum.

Im still quite glad Im able to get Weyerbacher. One of the best east coast breweries. Give me more.

 550 characters

Photo of daveshawley
4.25/5  rDev +7.9%

Photo of lordofthewiens
3.88/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A 22oz bottle served in a tulip glass. Nice looking beer: black, thick mocha head, impressive lacing all the way down. It had a predominately coffee aroma, as well as some sweet fruit and vanilla. Coffee and milk chocolate taste. I thought it was a tad too sweet, which cut down the drinkability a bit.

 302 characters

Photo of thetommo
4/5  rDev +1.5%

Photo of DaftPatrick
3.75/5  rDev -4.8%

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Heresy from Weyerbacher Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 3.94 out of 5 with 2,259 ratings