Heresy | Weyerbacher Brewing Co.

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very good
1,004 Reviews

Brewed by:
Weyerbacher Brewing Co.
Pennsylvania, United States

Style: Russian Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.00%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
Old Heathen aged in oak (whiskey/bourbon) barrels.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 06-21-2004

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

For Trade:
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Reviews: 1,004 | Ratings: 2,233
Photo of Sammy
3.9/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Decent stout with a bourbon like flavour, syrup rather than thick flavour, a tad sour. Black, roasty smell, not too creamy. First taste is wood. Then some chocolate, and roast, bit of vanilla and spot of coffee, sugar. Well carbonated. Medium mouthfeel. Slightly less in a tasting a few weeks later.

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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 UCLABrewN84
4.07/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to bastu for sending me this one!

Pours an opaque black with a 1 inch puffy dark khaki head that settles to a thin film on the top of the beer. Small dots of lace form on the glass on the drink down. Smell is of dark roasted malt, bittersweet chocolate, vanilla, bourbon, and some woody oak aromas. Taste is of dark roasted malt, vanilla, bourbon, wood, and cocoa powder on the finish. There is an alcohol warmth in the back of the throat with each sip. This beer is a bit thin for a RIS with a very crisp mouthfeel. A higher level of carbonation on this one. Overall, this is a good barrel-aged RIS but the mouthfeel is a bit lacking.

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Photo of kylehay2004
4/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: 2 finger dark tan head on a near jet black body with excellent lacing.

S: chocolate, raisin, roasted malt and vanilla.

T: More of the same as the aroma with initial coffee bitterness and roasted malt transitioning into a vanilla/sweet chocolate finish.

M: smooth, thick bodied with moderate carbonation.

Overall: a drinkable, smooth stout with the booze well hidden.

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Photo of Knapp85
3.83/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

What a beast of a beer this is. The color is so dark just like it should be. There is really no light getting through this one. The head is a thick looking brown foam. The aroma of some highly roasted malts give off this burnt smell to the beer which is countered by the Barrel Aging which adds a sweetness to the nose. The taste is all imperial stout. The burnt and roasted malts kick you in the face right off the bat, then it starts to tingle with some hops and the bourbon barrel finishes it off with a very light sweet vanilla flavor and some fresh wood. The mouthfeel is nice and thick like oil. Really a nice brew!

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Photo of metter98
4.08/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: It is very dark black and came with a thick head that quickly settled down into a thin layer of tan bubbles on the surface.
S: There are light aromas of malt, hops, and alcohol.
T: The initial flavor is very rich and malty while there is a little dryness from the hops in the finish. Overall, the malt and hop flavors are very well balanced.
M: It feels medium-bodied on the palate and slightly creamy.
D: For an imperial stout, it's relatively easy to drink. Any traces of alcohol are very well hidden.

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Photo of BEERchitect
4.21/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I'm really impressed with this beer. Most of Weyerbacher's oak aged beers don't turn out as well as they should, but this one is different. A heavy Imperial Stout with Milk Stout and Oatmeal Stout sweetness and creaminess. The grains contribute a solid roasted character, with chocolates, berries, cherries, and grapes. Black and as opaque as you get with a brown frothy foamstand. Balanced well and increadibly easy drinking. Milk and lactose flavors smooth the beer, but become a bit too dominant. Otherwise, a joy to drink.

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Photo of largadeer
3.66/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Dark opaque brown with a tan head that lasted for a few minutes.

Smell: Tart dark fruit, dark chocolate, raisin, oatmeal, iron. Mellow barrel character, a bit of soy sauce oxidation.

Taste & mouthfeel: Semi-sweet with dark chocolate and oatmeal raisin cookie. A dash of vanilla and dark fruit. This is fairly viscous for being 8%. Dry, mildly oaky finish with a firm but smooth bitterness.

Overall: Somewhat weak nose, but the palate is good. Not exceptional by any stretch, but enjoyable.

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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 oriolesfan4
4.2/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Split a bottle of this with some friends the other night...

Pours like motor oil, boozy aroma but get some bourbon notes as well. Taste is full bodied, taste is of chocolate and roastiness, some vanilla tones from the bourbon aged barrels. A really good imperial stout, tons of flavor and the bourbon barrels add a good touch.. would definitely try again.

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Photo of zeff80
4.17/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Poured out an opaque jet black color with a small, off-white head of bubbly foam. It left thin trails of lace on the glass.

S - It smelled of oak, wood and mild bourbon notes. There was a nice roasty presence, too.

T - Good bourbon flavor with oak, raisin and a malty backbone. There was some chocolate and molasses flavors, too.

M - It was crisp, sharp and smooth. A medium bodied ale with a dry , clean finish.

O - This is a very nice oaked RIS. Weyerbacher continues to make good beers.

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Photo of oline73
3.01/5  rDev -23.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

I had this on-tap at Victoria Gastropub. Poured into a 5oz. sample glass.

Appearance: Pours very dark brown with some light coming through at the edges. There is a half finger of tan head that leaves a ring on the edge of the glass.

Smell: Very mild. There is some bourbon and perhaps a hint of vanilla, not picking up much roast.

Taste: Bourbon along with some mildly roasty sweetness. There is a hint of cocoa and a roasty bourbon finish. The flavors seem a bit mild given the style if you ask me.

Mouthfeel: The body is on the thin side with mild carbonation and a very dry finish.

Overall: A bit on the thin side and I would have like bolder flavors. That being said, still pretty smooth and not a bad beer.

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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 nickfl
4.42/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A - One and a half fingers of dark, orange-brown foam on top of a dark, black body with no hints of light showing through. The head recedes slowly and leaves little lace on the glass.

S - Chocolate with a hint of chocolate and lots of malt sweetness and caramel to back it all up. Secondary hop notes blend well with the dark grain and some wood and vanilla are hiding in the background as well.

T - Lots of sweet chocolate and toffee and a mellow, raw oak note. Caramel and toffee dominate in the middle and some more coffee like notes emerge towards the finish. A nice mocha flavor lingers on the palate, reminiscent of chocolate covered coffee beans, and some subtle hop flavors appear as well with a combination of malt and hop bitterness that just barely balances the substantial sweetness.

M - Thick, creamy body, medium-low carbonation, and a sweet finish.

D - Very drinkable for such a big beer. The flavors and complexity lead one to expect a bigger alcohol punch than the relatively modest 8%, but it seems like this allows the beer to remain drinkable while also being more than sufficiently complex. The level of bitterness is also relatively low, and this allows the excellent malty character to shine through. At the back of all of this is a subtle, smooth oak note that is a nice change of pace from the extreme wood flavor that one often sees in barrel aged beers. Overall a very nice, somewhat atypical, Imperial Stout.

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Photo of mothman
3.7/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to fbm115 for this!

Poured into Old Guardian snifter.

Pours 1/4 finger of light tan head. Fades down and leaves some splattered lace. Color pours a dark copper brown, but settles black.

Aroma: Oak, vanilla, cherries. raisins, molasses, and chocolate. Some roasted malt.

Taste: Tons of roasted and smoked malted. Bacon comes to mind. The smoked malt covers a lot of the beer up. I hardly get any chocolate. Some dark fruit notes and maybe a hit of toffee.

Mouthfeel: Roasted, smooth, and a bit creamy. Lots of carbonation with a medium to full body. Ends very dry and roasted.

Overall, I was a bit disappointed by this beer. It didn't compete with the other RISs that I have had. Relatively drinkable, but not something I want to much of.

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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 NeroFiddled
4.77/5  rDev +21.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

From a 22 oz bottle.... slightly aged.

Heresy may very well be my favorite brew from Weyerbacher!!! The oak aging adds notes of bourbon, vanilla, wood, and vinous fruit to an already excellent Imperial Stout.

It pours an opaque body with a thin glint of mahogany at the base of the glass. The head starts as a two-fingered head of frothy dark tan foam that drops quickly to a creamy 1/4" surface covering, and then dissolves to a razor thin surface covering, leaving little more than spotty lace abot the glass.

The nose offers toasted chocolate; a berry-like yeasty fruitiness; vanilla; oak; cherries; vinous fruit; coconut; and some alcohol.

The body is medium-full, and it's silky smooth in the mouth with a low-level, very fine and natural carbonation from bottle conditioning that gently caresses the tongue before sliding silkily away.

The flavor delivers dark fruits and a touch of bourbon floating atop a dark malt and bittersweet chocolate maltiness. It has a soft roasted edge to it, and it's backed by a bold bitterness with some drying alcohol in the finish.

It finishes fairly short considering the drama that takes place in the mouth; with some residual vinous characeristics, milk chocolate, a light touch of mocha java, and some mild, lingering bitterness.

There are clear variations in this beer, maybe coming from barrel to barrel or batch to batch; but they just lend it that much more charm. Some bottles are more chocolatey, and some offer more vinous fruit. Some have more alcohol, and some have more wood.... it's all good! This is a really pleasant, easy to drink, very rich, and satiating brew that deserves far more mention than it gets! KUDOS!

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Photo of chinchill
4.24/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

12 oz bottle appears to have a 2012 date stamp, which sounds correct.

Pours near inky black but has red-brown edges under light. Thin weak head quickly reduces to a durable thin ring, and leaves spotty lacing.

I find barrel aged beers sometimes have too much of a good thing, leaving them overly woody or dominated by the aromas and flavors of whatever preceded them in the barrel. This one smells like it may fall into this group, but the flavor is excellent, with a nearly perfect melding of oak barrel effect and what I gather is an already super RIS. This is not to say that the aroma is unattractive, it certaininly is not, just that it reflect a substantial contribution from the oak-whisky barrel.

O: Superb. Allowed to warm in the bottle, then improved with further warming in the glass.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.42/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Dark mahogany with an impenetrance that is only violated by meager crimson slivers at the edges. The loud escape of gas on crown cracking was concerning since I hate bubbly beer and I loathe bubbly Imperial stouts. The harsh looking, featureless, unsticky, khaki colored head isn't impressing me. Nor is the near total lack of lace. The beer is great, the head and lace are lousy.

The nose is everything that I'd hoped it would be. For those who are unaware, Heresy is simply Old Heathen that has been aged in oak barrels that previously contained bourbon; a great idea if some of the bourbon character seeps into the stout. I can appreciate quite a bit of heavily roasted black malt, more coffee than unsweetened chocolate and a mild-moderate brown sugary booziness from the barrel.

I'm sorry to say that the carbonation is as rampant as I'd feared. The flavor itself is pretty good, or would be if it wasn't nearly ruined by fizziness and a way too light body. I don't remember what Old Heathen tasted like, but I know that I liked it better than I like this beer. Since the flavors imparted by the bourbon barrels should have done nothing but improve the original beer, I'm forced to conclude that I got a bad bottle. Not old, just poorly bottled.

The flavor profile consists of roasted black malt, bittersweet chocolate and coffee with cream. The beer is also slightly dark fruity, modestly vanilla-like and barely bourbonish. It's hard to get a firm hold on things since all those bubbles quash any sort of complexity, depth or nuance.

The mouthfeel is nowhere near as full as it should be. Ignoring all the carbonation is proving difficult, but I'd call it 'stout medium' at best. There's a respectable amount of mouthcoating, without much flavor to go along with it. Drinkabililty suffers because of... pretty much everything that I've complained about above.

I have little doubt that if Heresy reached my glass as its brewers intended, I'd like it at least as much, if not more, than Old Heathen. I love bourbon and applaud the use of bourbon barrels in most styles. Too bad that fate intervened and isn't allowing me to optimally experience what is probably a pretty good RIS. I'd love to have another crack at this one. Thanks to blitheringidiot for the final bottle of a great trade.

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Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.59/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance: Pours an inky black body with a dark, tan-colored head that quickly fell to a thin ring of lace.

Smell: A redolent aroma vast in red wine qualities; dark chocolate, black pepper, alcohol, and tart, dark fruitiness.

Taste: For me, it's more evocative of a red wine than anything bourbon based. Unfortunately, any chocolaty or roasty stout qualities are thin and tend to meander, and that's if you can perceive them beneath the excessive oakiness. As the beer warms, the alcohol goes from being glaring to overkill.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied. Moderate carbonation. Somewhat watery texture.

Drinkability: For me, it fell short of the bold, though balanced deliciousness of some other Imperial Stouts. In fact, I preferred the simple, straight-up Old Heathen Stout.

*Vintage Update*

Let's see how its sister bottle turned out. The wine character has greatly diminished, now replaced with a vinous plum/prune combination. The oakiness has also declined, currently at a very nice level. There're malty tastes of roast and bittersweet chocolate, but they're not particularly strong and there's only a very, very minute amount of sweetness remaining. While it hasn't seen a betterment from a few years of quiet aging, it did hold up. But that's cellaring for you, it's a crapshoot.

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Photo of TheManiacalOne
4.63/5  rDev +17.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured from a 22oz. bottle into a mug glass.

A: The beer is a deep dark brown color with a large brown head that fades slowly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is of rich chocolate, roasted malts, coffee, some dark fruit and a little bit of alcohol.

T: The taste is very rich and is full of dark chocolate, roasted coffee, dark malts with a touch of fruit and the slightest alcohol burn. There’s a very mild hops presence that periodically peeks through the maltiness, but it’s certainly there. The after-taste is slightly sweet.

M: Very smooth with a little crispness (even though you don’t expect much from the style), heavy body, light-to-medium carbonation, sticky and dry finish.

D: Very tasty, goes down easily, a little filling, excellent representation of style, despite you being able to detect the alcohol a little bit more than you usually can in a beer for this style, the kick is decent but not as hard as some RIS’s can have. However, I would definitely consider this one a sipper rather than a pounder and a very good one at that. I enjoyed Old Heathen some time ago, but enjoyed this one more, a testament oak barrel aging at the brewery.

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Photo of Rifugium
4.13/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

First had: ?
Not sure when/where I first had this, but this review is from a recent tasting at Capone's, Norristown, PA

Have they changed the recipe? Seemed a lot better recently than the last time I had this one. Served in a snifter, a dark black color with a thin but dense mocha head. Aroma of dark chocolate, roasted malts, notes of bourbon and red wine. Taste of dark chocolate and rich caramel, some vanilla, more of the boozy bourbon and wine notes from the aroma, tinges of roasty malts and coffee. Very very silky smooth, nearly full-bodied, and a very enjoyable sipper overall.

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Photo of mikesgroove
4.03/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured oil slick opaque black with a creamy 1 inch head that setlled down to a 1/2 layed. Depp lace and thick look overall, very nice. Smell was coffee and caramel. Maybe some toffee mixed in, earthy hints at the back but slight with a spice that tingled the nose. The taste was coffee and oak, with oak being a big played. Slight alcohol warming as well. Very unique taste, somewhat bitter as well, may do some good to lay down for a bit. Thick tasting, but not too much. This was a good RIS, and I think the oak age benefited it, will be cellaring a couple to see how they go down the road.

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

A: The pour borders on black with a thin layer of tan colored foam.

S: A fairly mild nose overall with some notes of dark chocolate, roasted malt, and maybe a bit of coffee.

T: The flavor is a bit more robust than the nose would let on. The primary flavors are typical of an RIS with some coffee and chocolate, along with a bit of sweetness followed by the usual roast.

M: The body is medium with a fairly low level of carbonation.

D: Not a bad beer, and one of the better beers I've had from Weyerbacher. The alcohol is well hidden, so no complaints there.

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Photo of russpowell
4.37/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Got this from melbatoast93, Cheers Hart!

Pours an ebony tinged mahogany with a pinky of mocha colored head. Above average head retention & lacing

S: Coffee, roasted & charred grain

T: Roasted grain, cocoa, bourbon & vanilla up front. Coffee, dryness & boozed-up baker's chocolate as this warms. Finishes dry with chocolate, vanilla, booze, a bit more richness & little less booze, & you have a 5.0 here

MF: Medium bodied to chewy, oily, very sticky with a bit of carbonation, rich

Drinks great for the style & delivers a boatload of flavor for the ABV! Another winner from Weyerbacher!

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Heresy from Weyerbacher Brewing Co.
3.94 out of 5 based on 2,233 ratings.
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