Heresy | Weyerbacher Brewing Co.

Liked This Beer
3.94 w/ 2,258 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.

User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Ratings: 2,258 |  Reviews: 1,012
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!

 974 characters

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.

 560 characters

Photo of black13
3.85/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A- Pours pitch black with a decent sized mocha colored head that lingered around until half the beer was gone. Left a decent amount of lacing until the very end.

S- Quite a bit going on here. I get chocolate, malts, coffee, and some pleasant alcohol tones. All are pleasant and work well together. As it warmed up the bourbon booziness became pleasantly apparent.

T- All the aromas above are present on the palate, but in different qualities. The coffee and bourbon blend very well and are the dominant flavors, although the chocolate and malts are not entirely subdued or lost. A very good balance.

M- The mouthfeel is medium bodied, which fits the flavor profile quite well. It's not overpowering, but lets you know its there. No syrupy aftertaste is left.

D- A very drinkable RIS. At first it's just an OK beer, but give it some time to warm up and it starts to become a better beer. I could drink a couple of these no problem, I would just let them warm up first.

This is my first Weyerbacher and I look forward to tasting some more.

 1,042 characters

Photo of JayS2629
2.99/5  rDev -24.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

I see what they were aiming for in this beer but they missed the mark. The beer pours a dark brown, almost black with a thin head that fades fast and leaves minimal lacing. The smell is of immediate oak and bourbon with roasted malt and coffee tones following. Faint hints of cocoa and smoke. The taste has ashy burnt malt up front and oak and bourbon in the back with no middle. The sweet that should be center is missing. Faint hint of dry cocoa meshed with burnt roasty flavors, smoke and bourbon don't meld well. Faint hint of vanilla trys to salvage but just isn't enough. The mouthfeel is quite thin for the style and finishes with medicinal notes. Won't buy this one again.

 680 characters

Photo of jcartamdg
3.84/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured into my ccb pint glass, brownish black with no head or lacing at all. Aroma of the oak right away, then malts and sweetness. Taste follows the nose, vanilla and butterscotch are also there, finish is a bit medicinal. Mouthfeel is nice, moderate carbonation. Not a bad ris.

 279 characters

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

Thanks to GallowsThief for the extra!

Poured into a snifter from a 12oz bottle.
This pours a very dark brown color and ends up solid black with reddish-amber edging. Less than a pinky finger of tan head resides for a short period of time. The nose is dominated by the offerings given by the barrels. Butterscotch, oak and vanilla. The taste is quite the same with a roasty exception. Pretty damn sweet up front but not really cloyingly so. Butterscotch, vanilla, roasted malt and chocolate are the big players in the taste. The bitter chocolate is carried throughout the aftertaste and mellows into a sweeter cocoa taste. Yum. The mouthfeel is pretty velvet like with a nice carbonation level. Very sticky as well, coating my palate. Big bodied beast for sure. Overall, great bourbon flavor upfront packs a punch without masking the roasty, chocolate flavors offered by the stout before barrel aging. Thanks again Rich!

 921 characters

Photo of ImperialStoat
2.87/5  rDev -27.2%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Appearance: Black. Frothy off-white head. Decent lacing.

Smell: Alcohol. Roasted malts. Not much. Certainly nothing in the way of bourbon.

Taste: Unremarkable. Roasted malt, some vanilla, alcohol and a wee bit of dark chocolate.

Mouthfeel: Compared to other imperial stouts it's thin, but for an 8-percenter it's hard to complain.

Overall: Extremely generic and I wouldn't buy it again (particularly for European prices) but I don't regret picking one up. It's odd: though this stout is ostensibly -bal aged I've only thought to address that element twice, once in the aroma and once now - needless to say the bourbon factor is minor to the point of being undetectable. DO NOT BUY THIS BEER JUST BECAUSE YOU LIKE GI BCBS OR PARABOLA/KBS/BLAH BLAH. In summation: fine, but unexciting.

 790 characters

Photo of aepb1
3.85/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A- Deep black body with a creamy brown head with some nice lacing

S- Sweet chocolate and vanilla with an oaky bite

T- Sweet chocolate up front, oaky sherry finish it up a little boozy

M- Medium body, moderate carbonation, boozy heat

O- A solid beer, just a little thin and a LOT of heat

 290 characters

Photo of mikereaser
3.48/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

2008 bottle poured into my new belgium globe

A - Pours a pitch black with 3 inches of tan foam that slowly faded.

S - nice strong chocolate aroma as well as some dark fruit, smoke and overall burnt smell

T - A bit of a let down, a bit watery, but i'm picking up chocolate, some chared flavor, vanilla all ending with the chocolate again. The flavor really disappears quickly.

M/D - medium bodied with light carbonation, its very thin and disappears fairly quickly. I'm wondering if this is due to the age of the bottle. I'll have to find a fresher bottle to compare.

 571 characters

Photo of jhughes23
3.73/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

12oz. Bottled poured into DFH Sig Glass

Pours a viscous black that settles nicely in the glass forming a half inch dark grey head that dissipates quickly into a thin lacing layer around the edges only, leaving the rest of the surface wide open and black as black can be.

Smells definitely of chocolate and cherry, almost a chocolatey cherry liquor....this sounds funny but I get a bourbony/whisky smell as well, and yes I know this is not bourbon barrel aged. Maybe its the oak that it's soaked in.

The taste is very complex, maybe overly. The bitterness is that of bitter chocolate with layers of vanilla, cherry and bourbon (again, only way i can explain it), maybe a better description would be a cheap bourbon flavor...but I don't mind it. Roasted malts are there as well but not as heavy as expected, Alcohol flavor is very upfront. The Oak is in the finish but it's not as oaky as you might expect, it seems to bring some different flavor characteristics than it's own oak flavor.

Mouthfeel is where this brew really lacks in my book. Thin and a little more carbonated than I like in a RIS. Lingers for a while but definitely not the silky smooth I expect.

This beer was definitely better on tap at Pinocchio's than it is out of the bottle. Maybe some aging would do it justice but I know the beer I had on draft was no older than the one in bottle.

I'd try it again, especially on tap. But nothing I'm super excited about.

 1,436 characters

Photo of Auracom
3.7/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Here's one brewer that just cannot be found back home in Illinois. I was happy to discover a shitload of Heresy in my friend's fridge. Split a 12 oz. bottle in Hoboken on May 24th, 2011 in a Dogfish Head tulip glass.

Appearance is a dark-chocolate coloring that is slightly-oily with no head or retention. Decent lacing when I swirl it around.

The aroma is primarily smoky and burnt notes. Chocolate underneath (not sure if it's dark or milk). Oak barrel character is somewhat apparent as well. Overall more subtle than strong.

Heresy's taste includes vanilla, milk chocolate, and roasted qualities on the front and middle portions of the drink. Near the backend a dark chocolate bitterness comes through heavily. Surprisingly, it doesn't lead a long finish.

Has medium body with plenty of carbonation and that rather short finish without any dryness.

It's actually very drinkable, getting through multiple 12 oz'ers would be a piece of cake. The flavors are nice throughout the nose and drink but nothing is particularly dominant or powerful. Unfortunately, that means Heresy isn't too memorable, but it does drink more easily than many other competitors in this style.

 1,180 characters

Photo of pmarlowe
4.42/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Tulip glass.

Pours jet black with almost three fingers of dark khaki foam. Pretty good retention but minimal lacing. Smell is roasted malt, a bit of toasted oak, bourbon, and cinnamon/cardamon, molasses. Taste is chocolate malt, oak, cola, some bourbon, and coffee on the finish. Nice round mouthfeel, medium-full body; carbonation is on the low end; alcohol is invisible. Overall: wow, this is really tasty. The oak is well integrated and avoids being overpowering. Definitely smooth enough to drink alone or pair with dessert. I could drink this all day.

 557 characters

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

A great BBA Imperial Stout.

O- I have had this several times so I am aware of what to expect. A decent stout with some nice notes of Bourbon Barrel Aging. Perhaps if I had not had several other highly regarded BA Imp Stouts than I would have thought this one a solid choice. It still is, but considering there are still no bars locally that carry it, it's a take home special.

If you are out and see it try it, probably close to the bottle price and worth trying.

 466 characters

Photo of mdaschaf
3.97/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Review from notes

A: Pours a dark brown, practically black with a small tan head that had decent retention. Not much lacing.

S: Coffee, roasted malts, a good bit of vanilla and some light milk chocolate. No sign of alcohol.

T: Very rich with a nice combination of coffee, chocolate and hints of vanilla. There is a little bit of dark fruit, hard to distinguish which ones, but a slight sweetness from it.

M: Medium bodied and very smooth with low to medium carbonation that lends itself nicely to style.

O: Very nice beer, drinks extremely smooth with no sign of alcohol in it, but even at 8% its a sipper that could easily catch up to you. Probably the best beer I have had from Weyerbacher so far.

 708 characters

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

Reviewed from notes:

appearance: dark brown black with a 1 finger head

smell: bourbon, vanilla, sweet, malts

taste: bourbon, vanilla, sweet, malts

mouthfeel: mild carbonation, full body

overall: very nice bourbon barrel beer that won't kick you when your down. was surprised how good this one was.


 319 characters

Photo of MikeM40
4.5/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a DFH Signature glass. An aggressive pour yields a two finger sized tan head and an ink black body. Smells of bourbon,roast malt,and a slightly fruity scent rise from the glass. Strong roasted flavors with hints for dark fruits and berries and notes of chocolate and bourbon,oak,and hints of vanilla make for a nice complexity. But all the flavors are nicely balanced. Alcohol taste is present but is not overwhelming. This beer has a nice thick,viscous mouthfeel and a rich character. It's a big beer that avoids being over of my favorites. 

 590 characters

Photo of JTSbeerislife
4.42/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle from the 2010/2011 batch, poured into an English Imperial Pint (nonick)

Pours with a thick ½“ head which reduces to about an 1/8” within a few minutes, some lace, Chocolate black color, you cannot see through it.

Distinct smell, quite rich, with coffee, chocolate, sweet vanilla oak, and yes! (thank you) a faint hint of alcohol, heavy malts, and a touch of that bitter stout hops.

Very delicious flavor, Very Rich, very full bodied, chocolate, coffee, deep intense malt, light to medium wood which gives a sense of vanilla, crisp acidity gives balance to a very full bodied and noticeably (thank you) alcoholic beer, this is a very complex beer. Did I mention that this beer is spot on delicious.

Lingering, very dry, chocolate/wood/vanilla, bitter stout finish. Quite enjoyable.

I am sure there are faults to this beer, but to be honest, at this moment in time, I cannot think of them. IMO this is one of the best Imp Stouts for the money, but I admit there are 100's I have not tried yet. But as a point of reference I have had Founders KBS (draft), Victory Storm King, Samuel Smith's Imperial, etc.

 1,126 characters

Photo of Kvlterbm
3.9/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

12oz bottle to snifter.

A: Pours a dark brown bordering on black with about a finger and a half of mocha colored head.

S: Milk chocolate, roasted malt, and oak. The bourbon is there in the nose, but it's not aggressive at all. There's a dark fruit sweetness that blends nicely with the chocolate as well.

T: Malt and chocolate up front. There's some oaky vanilla flavor which leads into the bourbon. Again, the bourbon characters are subtle and work well with the beer rather than overpowering it. A bit of a warming feeling from the alcohol lingers with some coffee flavor as well.

M: Pretty low carbonation, which is definitely not a problem for the style. The body's a little thinner than I'd prefer, though. A nice, smooth mouthfeel to the beer.

Overall, a pretty solid beer. I have to say I prefer Weyerbacher's Insanity when it comes to bourbon barrel beers, but this one is definitely enjoyable.

 907 characters

Photo of bpw28
3.88/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Three finger Dark Mocha Colored Head, Black (about a 39-40 SRM), Very Nice Lacing.

Nose: Whisky, Whiskey, Whiskey, Dark Fruits, Chocolate, Caramel.

Taste: Chocolate, Oaky, Smoky, Boozy, Dark Fruits, A little spicy, Smooth but nice fullness, Surpisingly strong carb, Coffee Bitter.

Final Thoughts: Pretty nice beer. It isn't the best imperial, but its an imperial with a oaky hook so its something a little off the path of the standard.

Food Pairing: Fruits, Chocolate, Roasted Meats, Smoked Ham, Blackened Fish, Ribs (very nice rib beer!), Smoky Cheese, Creamy Cheeses

 585 characters

Photo of JoshVandy
3.5/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Big thanks to Rich (rhong187) for including this extra in a recent trade.
355mL bottle into a Founders snifter.

A- Pours a very dark brown color with a pretty generous 3 finger tan colored head that recedes into a fine rim. Decent lacing.

S- Chocolate and malt comes through nicely, with some vanilla, oak, and very subtle bourbon notes. The subtleness of the bourbon works well here, complimenting the beer, rather than overpowering it.

T- Tastes like it smells. Strong chocolate and toasted malt flavor, with nice vanilla and oak undertones. The subtle bourbon makes it way to the palate in the finish, with a slight warming sensation.

M- Interesting. A little over-carbonated and thin in the mouth, but it does have a very creamy feel to it.

O- I was decently impressed with this beer. The bourbon characteristics are the most interesting part here, being very subtle and letting the rest of the beer shine through nicely. A decent brew.

 945 characters

Photo of n2185
4.17/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

A: Pours black with an impressive 4 fingers of tan head that recedes into a thin layer with a little lacing.

S: Roasted malts with sweet, creamy chocolate up front followed by notes of vanilla, oak, and bourbon. The bourbon is subtle, but it allows for the aromas of the stout to shine through. Very nice.

T: Similar to the aroma, there are roasted malts with slightly bitter coffee and sweet chocolate notes at first. Then come vanilla, oak, and bourbon flavors that compliment instead of dominating. There is also a toffee flavor in there as well and a slight alcohol burn on the finish.

M: Medium body and carbonation, this beer doesn't feel much like a stout. It's a bit watery where it should be thick and creamy.

O: Overall, a good bourbon barrel stout and the best deal out there for the style. It's not at the top of the category, but I enjoyed this beer far more than I've enjoyed several other bbal stouts that cost $15-20+ per bottle. It's one of the rare bbal stouts that manages to still taste like a stout while incorporating the bourbon flavors. The bourbon could be a bit stronger, but I'd rather have it a bit too subtle than overwhelming like it is in many versions of the style. Its only real failing is the body.

 1,236 characters

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.

 716 characters

Photo of bum732
3.46/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

S: Moderately strong bourbon, oak, some sweet chocolate, vanilla, some alcohol.

L: Dark thick black, very tight tan creamy head with pretty good retention and great lacing.

T: Rich toffee malt up front followed quickly by a light roasty, bourbon note. Low earthy bitterness leads to more sweetness with a touch of tannin dryness. Finishes semi-dry with a slighty ashy note.

M: Medium bodied, slighty thin in the finish with some tannins. Low carbonation.

Not bad, actually gets worst as it warms, believe it or not. Thin mouthfeel for style, slightly tannic and alcohol a little warm are its flaws.

 602 characters

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

I can pretty much say that's pitch black. Nice brown head, looks very creamy as well as the body.

Very strong vanilla and cherry I'm thinking from the oak. Chocalate and roasted caramel is also present. Nice smell.

Wow! What a great taste! Cherry flavor I'm thinking from the oak, smoke, chocalate, caramel, some coffee flavor, really sweet but a little bitter from the roastiness. The alcohol is hidden well.

Really creamy, medium body, feels a little dry at the end, no alcohol warmth. Feels nice.

This is a sipper for sure. The taste of alcohol is hidden well but sneaks up on you. I'm used to big time alcohol warmth with Imperial Stouts, especially, barrel aged stouts but not that issue here. Very smooth and creamy feel.

 732 characters

Photo of fastpass17
3.42/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz Brown Bottle. Bottled on 1/20/2011.

A: Rich dark red color not quiet black. A decent one finger head that lasts. The carbonation is strong and firm.

S: Dark chocolate comes right to the nose first. Cherries, and port mix with vanilla, and marshmallow mid way through. This finishes up with a layer of crisp roasted barley backbone.

T: This begins with a roasted coffee and burnt sugar flavor. Cream, vanilla and spice come up mid drink. Finishes off very crisply with a touch of the oak character coming up nicely. There is also a black strap molasses character that intermingles towards the finish.

M,O: For a Russian imperial stout it is not very oily which is pleasant, there is also no overwhelming alcohol presence. Very drinkable for the style. The oak seems to smooth this beer out very nicely.

 812 characters

Heresy from Weyerbacher Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 78.7% out of 100 with 2,258 ratings
  • About Us

    Founded in Boston in 1996, BeerAdvocate (BA) is your go-to resource for beer powered by an independent community of enthusiasts and professionals dedicated to supporting and promoting better beer.

    Learn More
  • Our Community

    Comprised of consumers and industry professionals, many of whom started as members of this site, our community is one of the oldest, largest, and most respected beer communities online.
  • Our Events

    Since 2003 we've hosted over 60 world-class beer festivals to bring awareness to independent brewers and educate attendees.
  • Our Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.