Heresy | Weyerbacher Brewing Co.

very good
2,256 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.

For Trade:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 2,256 |  Reviews: 1,011
Photo of badboyrsl84
3.71/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours beautifully in a tulip glass with a outstanding 2 inch tan head that sits atop the beer

Smell- Dark and milk chocolate. Oaky presence with hints of vanilla and a touch of dark fruit.

Taste- definitely a RIS. Lots of oak taste to this. Dark choclate, raisins, vanilla and nice alcohol kick in the end.

Overall - the oak to this stands out and plays along very well to the beer itself. Perfect with a cigar.

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

Presentation: Huge thanks to Alewatcher, who threw this in as an extra! Bottled 1-17-11, best by 9-17-11. Awesome to have two dates. Pretty cool label as well.

Appearance: Black as night, with a long-lasting large cap of dark tan foam. Nice looking RIS.

Smell: Definitely in the English RIS, rather than the American Imperial Stout category, with notes of chocolate, lightly-boozy dark fruit, and soft notes of dark roasted grain. Not really getting much in the way of oak. Mild, but quite pleasant.

Taste: Dark fruit predominates, and some of the flavors are almost sweet, which throws me a bit off-balance. Nice, just wasn't expecting it. A dry, roasty bitterness soon balances this out, before fading into a dry, pleasant, and (IMO) perfectly balanaced oaky finish. Medium booze across the palate, certainly not offensive, though just a touch more than I was expecting from a beer of 8%. As the beer warms, notes of cocoa powder emerge, but the alcohol comes out a bit more sharply. It's really the one downside to a beer that's a really nice (somewhat unsual, in the age of ever-increasing-abv) take on an RIS.

Mouthfeel: Medium-full, not really heavy

Overall: I could see really enjoying this in October-December; it's kind of a pity it's released in Feb. There's a really nice balance between roasty/fruity, both tart and sweet/and dry oak, but the booze (again, esp. for only 8%) comes through a bit too strongly and keeps this from being something I'd reach for regularly.

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

12oz bottle, huge thanks to mulder1010! My share served in a Tripel Karmeliet tulip style glass.

Pours a nice black colour, not super thick, but not too thin. Has a tan coloured head of foam that hangs around for some time.

Smell is complex, nice aromas imparted from the oak, oak itself, a touch of vanilla, some wood and some coconut. Nice and not overbearing.

Taste is a touch oaky with some vanilla and a bit of coffee and chocolate coming through. Consistent and well defined.

Mouthfeel is nice and smooth, easy to drink, the body matches the beer well and is probably lighter than the norm for the style, but in this case with it suiting the beer so well, it does the trick!

Overall, think of a super-sessionable Imperial Stout and this is it, oak-aged, complex, defined and drinkable and this ticks most boxes.

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

A: Pours jet black with a finger of tan head that disappears quickly

S: Right up front, a nice blast of black cherries, then it tapers off into a caramel/toffee/vanilla creamy sweetness, and finishes with slight hints of oak and wood. Very sweet smell.

T: At first, a taste of coffee and a dark roast richness, with the middle transitioning into more of a currant/dark berry sweetness, and the end finishing with some woody/oaky dryness. Rather tasty.

O: A pretty good stout. I've had better, but this is a solid one in its own right.

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Photo of matttttYCE
3.87/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Appearance - Poured into my Stone IRS specialty glass. This one has almost 2 fingers worth of light brown, creamy head. Head subsides rather quickly and lacing is a light.

Smell - Aroma is oak and wood up front, with some light notes of Bourbon, nice vanilla and light sweetness, a bit of coconut, then nice notes of coffee (that's why I get first of the 'stout aromas' for some reason) chocolate, roasted malts, dark fruit like fig and black cherry, and some caramel and toffee sprinkled in there. Smell is a bit more fresh oak barrels than used Bourbon barrels, but still some of that nice Bourbon aroma there. The oak aging seems pretty well done and not overpowering at all.

Taste - Oak/wood and lighter Bourbon qualities, vanilla, coffee, roasted malts, dark chocolate, slight dark fruit, and caramel. This is quite a balanced, well crafted tasting RIS that seems to benefit from the addition of the barrel aging. Barrel tastes are smooth and well-rounded. I might actually like them to be a bit stronger in the taste, but I can't knock it for that.

Mouthfeel - Consistency is light-smooth and a bit thin, carbonation is light, body is light-medium, and the finish is about medium in length - leaves leftover tastes of roasted malts, chocolate, and coffee, and hints of the barrels. I actually feel like the mouthfeel is overall a bit too light for an RIS. Makes it a bit more drinkable, but I'm not really looking to session a number of these. So a bit of a knock for that.

Overall - A very balanced and well done beer, especially with the addition of the barrel aging. I haven't tasted the base beer they use prior to barrel aging, but I imagine it's nice and balanced much like this one. I think the barrel aging in Heresy was pretty well done. I might have liked a bit more strength to the barrel aging flavors, but that might upset the overall balanced nature of this beer, so I'll just say if it ain't broke, don't fix it. Not my favorite barrel aged RIS, but I'd definitely drink this again. Thank you trxxpaxxs!! Another greatly appreciated brew!

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Photo of Trilogy31
3.8/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a cloudy midnight black with a creamy finger of khaki colored foam. The nose hits you with powdered chocolate straight away with butter toffee, tootsie roll, and malt balls with no real sense of true malts or wood - though it was a nice if not a bit sweet nose. The taste is brings dark roasted malts, coffe and a bit of dryer toffee - nice and different from the nose. The wood brings a nice tannic balance on the finish the oddly finishes a bit diluted for an 8% beer. Nicely done.

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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 corby112
4.34/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours pitch black and completely opaque with a one finger beige head that slowly settles into a lasting ring. Sporadic spots of lacing left behind.

Complex aroma with a nice balance of dark roasted malt and bourbon. The barrel presence is prominent with hints of earthy oak and sweet, boozy bourbon as well as some toasted coconut and vanilla. Underneath the dark malt are there with notes of chocolate, coffee bean and toast. The nose on this beer is excellent. Lots of bourbon barrel without overpowering the other notes.

Medium bodied and well balance with a strong base beer character that counters the strong bourbon barrel presence. Lots of great boozy bourbon flavor without being overly hot. A decent amount of earthy wood/oak as well as some coconut and vanilla notes the smooth out the sweet bourbon flavor. Underneath, there is a prominent sweet and roasted malt presence. Lots of luscious chocolate along with some roasted coffee, toffee, nut and oatmeal. Really smooth and quaffable, especially considering the amount of bourbon flavor. Very good and probably the best beer I've had yet from this brewery.

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Photo of Sam21
3.85/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle. Bottled 2/10/11. Best by 10/10/11. Poured into snifter.

Appearance – Deep black body with a creamy brown head. Dense and appealing. Sticks around for a minute or so before receding to the dark depths. No real lacing forms amid constant swirling.

Smell – A rather strong note of black cherry sits atop an aromatic base of dark chocolate, roasted malts, and oak.

Taste – The dark fruity note strikes first and sticks around straight into the finish. The malts provide a great roasted backbone with smooth dark chocolate. The oak brings forth well balanced character alongside a bit of vanilla. Overall, a nicely balanced imperial stout with a nice addition from oak aging.

Mouthfeel – Medium body with decently creamy carbonation. It’s not the most velvety smooth imperial stout I’ve ever tried, but it’s pleasant.

Drinkability – Goes down really smooth, even in this summer heat. Nice depth and complexity without being overwhelming. Bold, balanced, and approachable.

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

Pour from a 12oz bottle into my Kuhnhenn snifter.

Pours an oily black with glimpses of espresso brown. Inch and a half of light tan head. Decent retention with little lacing to speak of.

Nose consists of rich chocolate, vanilla, light oak and some slight bourbon.

Taste is sweet, rich chocolate, bourbon, vanilla, slight oak and small amounts of malts. Alcohol is present.

Body is medium-full with a slight creaminess. Slight alcohol burn at the finish.

Overall it is good. No more, no less. Bourbon seem a bit low quality and there could be a bit more of a malt presence.

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Photo of CallMeIschmael
4.27/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I'm a huge fan of this brewery so there is some bias.

What strikes me first about this one is how strong of an alcohol-y smell it has, but how smoothly that dissipates in the mouth. It has a slight vodka-like tinge to it, but the chocolate, anise and smokey wood flavor comes through and dominates. The mouthfeel is excellent, especially with a slight chill: creamy, perfect carbonation for the style, chalky for just the right amount of time.

I love this beer. It was one of the first imperial stouts I came around to. Weyerbacher makes my favorite-easily-accessible beers. This one is almost always in my cellar (hard to keep my hands off of).

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Photo of jondeelee
4.5/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Heresy is made by aging Weyerbacher's Old Heathen Imperial Stout in oak barrels that formerly held bourbon. I haven't yet tried Old Heathen, and so am doing these reviews out of order since I can't specifically comment on what the oak aging has done to the brew, but what I can say about Heresy is that it smells amazing: huge Imperial Stout aromas (chocolate, coffee, vanilla) that have the added nuance of bourbon tones, lending fig and port notes to the nose.

On the tongue, the beer is thick and rich, with definite Imperial Stout flavors (chocolate, chocolate malt, coffee, vanilla, ash) mixed with light touches of bourbon and charred oak, port and fig, and hints of black cherry, maple syrup, pepper, and anise. The higher ABV (10%) does result in a bit of a vodka-like tinge at the edges, but this mostly blends in nicely with the bourbon and coffee. The aftertaste is mainly thick, black malts and hints of char, and lasts for a good while. Mouthfeel is a syrupy medium-heavy, and carbonation is medium.

Overall, this is a great Imperial Stout, and the bourbon touches give it an edge that is quite appealing. Only the slight vodka edge mars what is otherwise a good taste profile for this style. Still, if you're looking for a mealy stout, you don't get a whole lot better than this.

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Photo of jonvan04
4.15/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I had this beer for the first time at a festival and was very excited to try a whole bottle. This beer poured black with a thin white head. It had an aroma of roasted malts with some notes of licorice, and vanlla mixed in. The taste was a nice roasty blend of oak, vanilla, and roasted malts, with notes lactose and cocunut thrown in. It was medium bodied and drinkable for the style without that much of an alcohol burn. This was a very delicious stout.

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

12oz. bottle served in a snifter. Poured a deep brown/black with almost a finger of tan head. Big aroma of bourbon, but in a good way! Also some vanilla and toffee. In the flavor there was not as much bourbon as you would have expected from the aroma. Maybe a little thin. Lots of chocolate, not a lot of roasted barley. More toffee and vanilla in the finish. Pretty easy drinking. I enjoyed this.

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Photo of jamescain
4.02/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured into a sniffer, thanks to texasclimber for sharing this one

Appearance: Black with reddish hues and a mocha colored head about a centimeter high that fades into a thin lacing over the top of the beer.

Aroma: Strong notes of chocolate, roasted grain with hints of vanilla, coffee and alcohol. Overall a well rounded and complex aroma.

Taste: Chocolate, coffee, a touch of licorice, vanilla and oak with a nice alcohol warming sensation. The taste is not as dynamic as the aroma is, but it is still complex enough to hold your attention and keep you trying to find more flavors.

Mouthfeel: A little thin then what I prefer for the style, but that does add to its drinkability. Low carbonation doesn’t do anything to help boost the perceived body.

Overall: I enjoyed this beer a lot; it will be nice to see how it changes with a little age on it. If I could improve anything it would be the body of the beer.

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

2009 vintage

Pours an opaque black, no color along the edges, with a 2-finger, mocha head that falls relatively quickly to a cover without lacing.

The smell is dark chocolate, coffee and licorice and, maybe, a bit of molasses.

The taste is similar to the aroma and the flavors do stand out with coffee, dark chocolate more so and there is just a hint of alcohol. As it warms, vanilla sneaks out.

Mouthfeel is medium, slightly dry and mildly carbonated.

Overall: While some flavors still stand out it feels like the age has mellowed and melded the flavors. It's very tasty, not great but satisfying-recommended.

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Photo of SWMeyer4141
4.46/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

I think this is a 2011...

Appearance-Very dark brown. Tiny brown head, small enough to not even note it had one. Some nice alcohol legs.

Smell-Huge oak and bourbon notes. Chocolate covered cherrys with vanilla frosting. The barrel aging process definitely enhanced the aroma big time. Reminds me of a Tactical Nuclear Penguin with alot less alcohol. I really hope it tastes incredible too.

Taste-So I haven't had many barrel aged beers, but are they all this good? When sipping the stout out of the claret you just smell the bourbon and look forward for the taste. Big Oaky bourbon vanilla taste. Followed by some dark fruits and cherry. The finish is some dark slightly bitter chocolate along with a dash of bourbon. Incredible balanced, but I need to give it a 4.5 to leave room for more Barrell Aged beers.

Mouthfeel-A tad bit thin and slightly watery which may be the only real negative about this beer. Medium bodied and a nice amount of carbonation.

Overall-The fact that all this flavor comes out a 8% beer is amazing. Could definitely drink 3 or 4 of these in a sitting. Going to save some more bottles and try them every few months. As for the other few bottles I have left, I'm going to have to drink them.

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Photo of TheSevenDuffs
3.95/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Could not find freshness info on the bottle but this bottle was purchased about a year ago.

Poured in to Duvel tulip.

A - Dark brown/black in colour with one finger of espresso coloured head.

S - Sweet chocolate, oak, vanilla, licorice.

T - Chocolate, oak, coffee, some vanilla and licorice. A touch boozy.

M - Light to medium body. Somewhat watery at times.

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Photo of mooselvlt
3.75/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle into a stange

A - Pours basically black, no seeing through this one. Nice 2 1/2 fingers of brown frothy foam with good retention and sticky lacing.

S - Roasty malts, dried fruits, oak, vanilla. Not overpowering but its there.

T - Follows the nose. Roasty malts, some dried fruits, then the oaken booze hits. The booze is hidden well but you can tell its there.

M - Its a little thinner than anticipated. Very smooth though. Not a lot of aftertaste either. For the abv it goes down easy

O - Enjoyable. Glad I tried it, been eyeing it awhile. I will revisit this one in the fall I believe once the leaves start to turn

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Photo of 4DAloveofSTOUT
3.93/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Aggressive pour into a tulip glass.

Appearance: Motor oil black bodied beer with a medium brown head that is dense. Decent lacing on the side of the glass.

Smell: The robust smell of roasted and charred malts. The oak smells really nice with this beer; it’s a great compliment to the malts. You can smell some booze too.

Taste: A mild sweetness in the form of raisins and black licorice. Oak is there right away, but it’s subtle. Hints of molasses, tobacco, and dark chocolate. The beer is not very sweet or very roasty, but it sure has bold flavors with a nice oak compliment that adds depth and complexity. Mild alcohol bite in the finish.

Mouthfeel: Silky, velvety, sexy smooth beer! Full bodied with moderate carbonation. Impressive. Hands down best part of the beer, it brings everything together nicely.

Overall: I really like this brewery. I have had 2 of their beers so far and have been very impressed with both of them. Under rated brewery alert! Fantastic beer. Seek it out.

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Photo of Blanco
4/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 4

Vigorous pour into a snifter yields a huge tan head on top of the pitch black beer.

smell is of chocolate, dark malts, hints of bourbon, slight coffee hints, but not much, seems incidental.

taste is smooth, with no bitterness and nice chocolate flavors. The bourbon is a background flavor, almost just acting as a slight modifier to the chocolate and malt rather than a distinct flavor all it's own. Alcohol is not apparent in the flavor.

Mouthfeel is a bit thin for stout. Somewhat disappointing given how good the flavor is. this takes away some of that.

Overall, very good stout. This doesn't stand up to the best barrel-aged stouts out there, but it's a step above many imperial stouts on the market.

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Photo of gregshead
4.09/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Reviewed from notes on 4/29/11. Thanks to NickD717 for this one.

A: Pours a slick thick black with a little head. A little bit motor oil/viscous looking.

S: Roasted smells. Maybe hints of tobacco. Good amounts of oak/vanilla.

T: Tastes of vanilla stand out the most. Some roasted notes keep the sweetness from running crazy.

M: Nice lighter feel. Some carbonation but mostly a slick oily feel.

O: A great beer if you like the vanilla taste especially. very tasty. need to get more of it.

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Photo of siradmiralnelson
4.13/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 12oz bottle into Tulip.

A. 3+ fingers of tan colored head. Thick lacing. Really good retention. Color is pitch black.

S. Yeast, oak, vanilla, roasted malt, milk chocolate. Nice Imperial Stout aroma. Not too strong, but very pleasant. Not a lot of coffee aroma, which is a personal preference.

T. Roasted malt, vanilla, oak, nice smooth milk chocolate flavor. Picks up a lot of nice qualities from the barrel aging. Pretty smooth beer.

M. Medium full bodied. Medium carbonation. Finishes pretty clean.

O. Overall I like this beer. Kind of hard to go wrong with a barrel aged Imperial Stout, but this beer has some finer qualities. It is very smooth. Has a nice vanilla milk chocolate flavor.

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Photo of BeerFMAndy
4.12/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle poured into a snifter.
8% ABV, (03101, 11101)

A - Heresy pours like motor oil and ends up in the snifter just as black. A short-lived tan head cakes the glass with spotty lace.

S - Warming, smooth bourbon expresses it's involvement first and foremost, gently blanketing the roasted black malts and their chocolaty nuances. A swirl adds some oak wood notes and a touch of coffee. Very nice smell.

T - Smooth oak and bourbon insert their presence into the heavily roasted black malt right away. Chocolate and coffee fall towards the back but it doesn't have the nuanced "pop" the aroma carries with it.

M - Full-bodied and acridly bitter, warming alcohol is mellow and enjoyable through the smooth finish.

O - Heresy seems like a name more fit for a beer brewed to be an abomination of a style while this one is pretty darn close to it's intended objective. Great all around, I'd love to age a few of these for future consumption. Certainly an enjoyable RIS!

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Photo of nukem5
4.03/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours an almost black color rich and thick with a nice tight cap of tan foam. Nice legs all the way down the glass.

S: First is the earthy tones and chocolaty with heavy undertones of bourbon.

T: Warm and rich almost a decadent feeling when the taste-buds get their first blast of chocolate, oak, raisins, dark cherries with an earthy tone laying under all the others.

M: Again a warm rich feeling with a full body and great smooth taste.

O: Very drinkable in a snifter with a fine Grasshopper Tiramasu the tastes were very complimentary to one another.

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Heresy from Weyerbacher Brewing Co.
3.94 out of 5 based on 2,256 ratings.
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