Heresy | Weyerbacher Brewing Co.

very good
1,009 Reviews

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.

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Reviews: 1,009 | Ratings: 2,255
Photo of Tsull123
1.9/5  rDev -51.8%

Not good. It just tastes like oak, oak, and more oak. The only other note i can pick up, and i'm not kidding, is urine. As i bury my face in this snifter and inhale deeply, i smell old urine.

There is no coffee, vanilla, chocolate, bourbon, anything. It smells and tastes like watered down $5/pint scottish whisky.

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Photo of tkepx182
1.95/5  rDev -50.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1.5

This beer is a heavy imperial stout beer that has been aged in Oak barrels. It is in these barrels that the beer develops a harsh taste to the beer. I personally, do not like the taste of this beer despite the fact that I really like imperial stouts. I was disappointed and expected more.

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Photo of JasonHaviland
2/5  rDev -49.2%

What a disappointment. Bottled on 2/14 and I think it's also indicating a drink by date of 10/14. Similar to other reviews, there's just nothing here for me. Actually tasting more like a barrel aged sour than a stout. Thin, tart and simple. Not a good effort from Weyerbacher, which usually excells... Maybe it was a bad batch, but avoid the 2/14 bottling....

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Photo of djairae
2/5  rDev -49.2%

I purchased a four pack of Heresy based on the description on the box. This beer has an awful hoppy sour taste. I have opened two and could not manage to drink more than half before pouring it down the drain. I really hate wasting pricey beer, but I cannot tolerate this stuff!
Looks like the bro-in-law is getting a couple of beers for xmas!

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Photo of cpetrone84
2.18/5  rDev -44.7%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Pour is jet black with a tight caramel head that dissipates quickly. Nose is assertive bourbon, slightly harsh, heavy roast, slightly acrid. Ouch, taste is rough, heavily acrid, burnt malts, extremely sweet finish, body is thin, empty in back, light carb, slick oily feel.

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Photo of PDXHops
2.35/5  rDev -40.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

On tap in a shaker pint. Black body with a modest but dense creamy tan head. Decent sticky lacing.

Smells of boozy sweet oak, cocoa and vanilla. Lacking in the roasted department. The bourbon flavor is quite strong, and doesn't really go well together with plentiful tangy raisin and sweet rich fig. A little chocolate in the swallow. Really boozy, even at a manageable 8% ABV. Again, quite lacking in roasted malt character, with a touch showing up only in the aftertaste. A good deal thinner than anticipated.

Overall impression: Forgettable, could use a few tweaks. Not recommended.

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Photo of xanok
2.41/5  rDev -38.8%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

I was pretty psyched about trying this beer. I've enjoyed a lot of other Weyerbachers and I always enjoy a new let's get to it. Bought from the fairgrounds in Danbury, CT.

A: Pretty standard. Near jet black with two about 1.5 fingers of toasty brown head that dissipates strangely quickly.

S: Disappointing. Smell of alcohol is getting in the way of everything. Is this beer or hard liquor? The bourbon is way overpowering. Hints of dark fruit and chocolate in the back.

T: Tastes a bit better than the smell, but still... bourbon is too overpowering, getting in the way a bit. Otherwise, tastes how it smells, dark fruits mostly, hints of chocolate.

M: If this has one thing going, its nice and full bodied. Light carbonation, smooth finish.

D: Egh. Not my cup of tea at all. Drinkable, but I will not be buying this beer again in the near future.

The bourbon was too much here, period. Will not be buying again.

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Photo of Plughfish
2.42/5  rDev -38.6%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

What the hell did I just buy? I had high hopes for Heresy based on some of the buzz I have heard about it combined with my like of Weyerbacher products. The moment you pop the top, the smell of bourbon hits your face. That was not a good start for me. I quickly remember that I am not a fan of bourbon. The stout pours a pitch black color with a quickly dissipating head. It certainly looks like an Imperial Stout but the smell of bourbon and oak are too strong for me. I can detect some roasted malt aroma hiding in there somewhere. The first sip hits you with that strong bourbon taste with some sweetness behind it and it wasn’t getting any better for me from there. I bought a 12oz bottle that I split with my girlfriend and that was too much for me. I had a real hard time finishing this one. If you are a bourbon fan, than this stout is for you. As far as I am concerned, I will stick with the Old Heathen.

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Photo of oracle
2.46/5  rDev -37.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

12 oz bottle served in a traditional english pint glass.

Beer poured an opaque black with generious very dark tan head that left minor lacing in the glass.

Smell was all coffee and dark roasted carmel.

I was disappointed with this beer. The taste of whiskey which comes from the oak barrels in which the beer is fermented lend entirely too much whiskey flavor into the beer, obliterating the taste of the beer itself. I just really couldn't taste much here except for the whiskey.

I'll pass on this one from now on.

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Photo of entisgood
2.47/5  rDev -37.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

at first i was blown away by how much this smelt like alcohol out of the bottle. this had a very dark, almost black pour. big head left some lacing as i drank it.
i thought this beer was close to undrinkable. the only flavor i got from it was whiskey. had a creme feeling in my mouth but it was overwhelmed by the taste of alcohol.
I found this beer harder to drink than weyerbachers quad and will definitely be avoiding it.

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Photo of bound4er
2.5/5  rDev -36.5%

A. Dark brown appearance with a massive tan head of three fingers that ever so slowly recedes.
S. Dark malt, oak and a nasty note of excrement (sulfur?) - call it "poopy" smelling
T. Oak, whisky-like alcohol, some coffee. Not much else.
M. Thin and flat tasting.
O. The beer guy I buy from and trust recommended this stuff. I trust his palate but he missed on this beer big time. Nothing I want to drink again. May even end up dumping my other three bottles.

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Photo of acurtis
2.52/5  rDev -36%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Weyerbacher Heresy Imperial Stout - 12oz bottle (undated, should be 2010)
When I visited the brewery a few weeks ago they were completely out of this brew. I was looking forward to trying it so I picked up a 4 pack when I saw it at my local shop, sandy's. I love stouts but I don't like a strong alcohol taste. I have 3 different Weyberbacher Imperial Stouts in the fridge so its time to try one. This one, Hersey is 8% abv and was aged in Oak barrels.
Poured into Weyerbacher Verboten glass. Very dark with small 1/2 finger tan head. Good lacing. The bourbon is very present in this bottle. Dominates the smell. Taste wise the oak and bourbon also really come through, I just don't like it. Unfortunately not what I'm looking for in a beer although I do think that they achieved what they were out for when aging their stout in bourbon barrels.

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Photo of Retail1LO
2.54/5  rDev -35.5%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

12 oz. bottle into a Guinness pint glass.

Poured vigorously into the glass and developed a finger and a half width head which dissipated quickly. This scarcely had any kind of nose/smell to it whatsoever. Cocoa was about the only present scent, and it was faint at best. The taste is undistinguished. There's not a lot going on at all. In fact, I struggle to pull out any typical flavor associated with a stout. It's just...bland. Alcohol is about the only thing detectable. The mouthfeel is the least impressive aspect of this beer. It's so thin, I feel like I'm drinking a weak cup of coffee. Overall, this isn't something I have any desire to come back to. I have 3 more bottles left. Think I'll give these away as extras in trades.

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Photo of PartyHatjo
2.55/5  rDev -35.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

What did they do to Old Heathen? They completely messed this up, alright, aging in oak may have been a good idea, but did you have to age it in something that had bourbon beforehand? I admit, the bourbon adds an intriguing aroma, and the beer tastes good at first sip, but the lingering bourbon flavor is overpowering the beauty of the imperial stout.

On a side note, I have two more bottles, and am hoping that age will mellow these out a lot! Probably won't try it again for another year.

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Photo of CaptJackHarkness
2.56/5  rDev -35%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Pours a deep brown with ruddy highlights good creamy head. Not a very malty aroma. Tasted like burnt chocolate and sour raisins.Very bitter aftertaste.Higher and obvious alchohol content, which is expected in an Imperial. Perhaps this beer is a touch too hoppy!

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Photo of yelterdow
2.57/5  rDev -34.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

Cellared for the better part of a year, this baby is ready for a review. 22 oz. bomber served at cellar temperature in a huge brandy snifter.

Appearance- A loud *pfwssss* as the cap comes off... what a great looking beer. Dark cocoa on the eyes, it has a creaminess unlike any other imperial stout I've seen... seriously viscous and mature, the barrel aging has definitely influenced the appearance. Big, spotty lacing is splattered all over the inside of the glass, while the remaining outer ring of bubbles continues to slowly pop and disintegrate. A powerlifter on the eyes.

Smell- This aroma lives on another planet when it comes to imperial stouts. Wood, chocolate, and the most amazing fullness with regard to the barrel aging in oak. So phenomenally unique that my nose refuses to back out of the glass. Truffles, vanilla, cordialesque notes abound. English Stilton cheese is clearly there. Wildly exciting.

Taste- I'm shocked to find a sour astringency gripping my tongue and ruining any chance of going on... this should not suffer from cellaring so this is really disappointing. The beer simply self-destructs upon entry, exhibiting a harsh bite that envelops the mouth and sends me reeling. This is really impossible to further sample.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability- Flat and boring... it doesn't stay together for even three seconds. I love most everything from Weyerbacher, especially their latest efforts... but this bottle of Heresy is terrible.

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Photo of Phyl21ca
2.59/5  rDev -34.3%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Bottle (courtesy of Hopdog): Poured a pitch-black color ale with a huge dark brown head with average retention. Aroma is overpowered by whisky with small traces of vanilla that are still discernable. Taste is also overpowered by the whisky aging and leaves little place to the rest of the beer. I couldn’t find any chocolate/coffee taste that I usually like from Imperial Stout. Also, the warming alcohol feel really doesn’t do it for me. Full body and rally good carbonation, which is bit surprising from an Imperial Stout. Too bad I didn’t like that one and I probably should have started by the Old Heathen.

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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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Photo of nomad
2.62/5  rDev -33.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

What's this I see at my corner bodega? Well, gotta grab two because I'm soon gone from the Keystone state...

Black as can be, this beer pours out a mocha-colored head of tight, thick foam. Its about a half finger deep and at first stodgy, but soon falling to a soupy mess. Its lace is irregular, thin, and watery. Not much of the sturdy head, clumpy lace, and slight carbonation I'd expect from a hefty stout.

Whoa, sweet toned tannins anyone? No doubt this beer sat on oak, as the body is quite fruity with a very slight vanilla scent. Opens to a sense of chocolate and roast malts, but none I could call substantial. Though it lacks much stout-ish character, and its indistinct fruitiness speaks a touch of raw homemade wine, the oak scents are full, rounded, and complex. On a generous day my nose would appreciate this beer, but on any other where I'm craving a true stout experience I would indeed have to invoke the term heresy.

As for taste, it begins with a very dark bitter chocolate covered in the flavors of hard-charred steak (that nasty way-past-burnt skin flavor). The effect of the oak barrel is very strong and ill-matched to the stout's profile, lending its young flavor and texture everywhere like a gaudy wallpaper plastered from floor to ceiling, foyer to backporch. Closest comparison, for me, is to a very young Bordeaux but with a little less vinuous acidity. The stout body, wherever I could catch a fading glimpse of it, was dangerously thin. No black, roast, or chocolate flavors to be found, only an overpowering but muddled sense of a young experiment awash in low-quality tannins.

Yet, regardless of its recent exit from cask-aging, I don't see this beer developing in to much of anything because there's little stout, let alone that of an imperial sort, underneath the oak barrage. I'd like a below average beer to taste like a below average beer, not a below average wine. To note, this beer is not bottle conditioned and suffered from an extremely watery mouthfeel lacking almost any carbonation. By far the worst of all the barrel aged beers I've tried.

The Ben and Jerry's Brownie Batter ice cream and glass of water I had nearby two bottles of this beer tasted more like a oak-aged stout than these supposed ones did. I tried to enjoy this beer, twice, I swear.

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Photo of donkeyrunner
2.64/5  rDev -33%
look: 3 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Great brewery, terrible labels. Opaque black with a muddy tan head. Eh retention leaves a few lacey splashes.

I've had 2 bottles of this over the last couple weeks and the first one had an unmistakable scent that initially escaped me. Now I know: it's fresh paint. This beer smells exactly like fresh paint. At first I liked it as one of those good-bad smells like gasonline or the smell of one's own fart. But then it really got to me and ruined my whole Heresy experience.

Smooth and reserved Heresy is an introvert in the double stout world. Alcohol and roasted malt is kept in check by barrel aging which is further smoothed over by oats. Dark fruity highlights.

Not a bad beer, it's just once something smells like fresh paint it can't taste good again. Anyone up for a trade?

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2.65/5  rDev -32.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

355ml bottle. Tumbler glass. Revisited on agt´12. Dark brown color. Tan froth creates a creamy, quickly dissipated crown. Burnt & roasted aromas, hints of chocolate, tartar berries & alcohol notes to the nose. Touches of chocolate, berries & Bourbon at first sip follow by some roasted maltiness. Full & viscous body. Medium to high carbonation. Oily to watery texture in the middle makes tartiness to blow up malts. Helpfully it doesn´t linger into the slightly hoppy & sweet malty finish. Warming alcohol on the aftertaste. Dissapointed.

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Photo of BMMillsy
2.65/5  rDev -32.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 1.75 | overall: 2.5

Pours very dark brown with a small and quickly receding light brown/dark kahki head. Smell seems off. Some sour notes on top of heavy alcohol, black currant. Flavor follows very metallic and bland. Pretty high carbonation for the style. Not sure if this is infected, but it is not good. If there is any flavor here is is watered down black currants. Not much going on here. Not good. I will have to try this again hoping that I got an infected bottle.

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Photo of oxmasterscream
2.7/5  rDev -31.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Let me preface this review by saying that Weyerbacher damn near destroyed Old Heathen by aging it in oak barrels. I'm not a huge fan of Old Heathen but it's much better left alone.

Appearance: Poured from a bomber into a pint glass. Color was a deep, dark chocolate. There was an initial brown bubble eruption which disappeared almost immediately leaving what looked a lot like a flat cola. There was no head, no ring, no anything. Strange.

Aroma: Just out of the bottle, all I could detect was a heavy bourbon aroma. As it began to warm, the bourbon smell began to give way to some mild chocolate. For the most part though, it smelled like a glass of bourbon without the phenols.

Taste: Once again, the flavors of bourbon are predominate... big oak and vanilla flavors first, then a bit spicy and tangy followed by a bitter, burnt coffee finish. It literally tastes most like a sweet black coffee with a shot of bourbon mixed in. The taste is a lot less complex than I would've liked for a russian imperial stout though. The bourbon-like flavors make it an interesting brew but are overwhelming and become very distracting.

Mouthfeel: Medium to full. Not nearly thick and chewy enough for a russian imperial stout. Carbonation pricks at your tongue just a bit. Not enough to make this a really smooth drink though.

Drinkability: This stuff is just ok. Interesting at best due to its bourbon-like qualities but I probably wouldn't have it again. That doesn't mean it shouldn't be tried at least once by all BAs though.

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Photo of sacfly
2.76/5  rDev -29.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 1.5

Pours thick. Head quickly dissipates. Opaque. Body is on the thick side. Smells like bourbon. Tastes like bourbon. I detected not even a hint of anything else.

If you like, I mean REALLY like, bourbon- this is your beer. If you are looking for any hint of stout flavors, you will want to pass on this one. I kind of liked the overpowering flavor at first, but about halfway through the 22 oz bottle I was sick of it. I wanted a beer. I had a hard time finishing this one. I would recommend splitting one with two or three friends.

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Photo of pmccallum86
2.8/5  rDev -28.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a deep dark brown color with a small coffee colored thin bubbly head.

Smell is licorice and chocolate. Some roasted malt and dried fruit aromas as well.

Taste is bland and fizzy. Not too much going on here, some roasted malt flavors and cocoa come through, but really not much else. I feel the high carbonation really blocks our a lot of the other apsects.

Mouthfeel is thin and fizzy, not very good for an RIS.

Drinkablility is alight, pretty dissapointing RIS.

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Heresy from Weyerbacher Brewing Co.
3.94 out of 5 based on 2,255 ratings.
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