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Heresy | Weyerbacher Brewing Co.

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Very Good
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.

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 2,258 |  Reviews: 1,012
Photo of gopens44
3.88/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Darky McDark with a thin foamy head.

S - Pretty straight up RIS thing going on here with a subtle hint of coffee, but more bourbon than most other RIS not named KBS.

T - As the nose would suggest, nifty bit of bourbon taste without being overly hot. Well rounded out oak thing going on with the coffee subtleties.

M - Creamy and full bodied. Little carbonation

O - Nice, but I doubt that the bottle would yield as much fun. Guess I'll have to try one out...

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Photo of CuriousMonk
3/5  rDev -23.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from 12oz bottle into a snifter glass. Pours jet black with a small fading thin head. Decent, but not great, looking beer. Aroma is chocolate, roast, and caramel. The oak and bourbon from the barrel-aging are just barely noticeable. Flavor is typical imperial stout notes of chocolate, coffee, roast, and caramel. Very subtle oak and bourbon, along with maybe a touch of vanilla. Balanced and tasty. Somewhat thin on the palate for the style. I’d like a little more to it. Smooth mouthfeel though, but a disappointment overall.

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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 birchstick
4.5/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to DrRock for sending this awesome extra my way!

Chilled in the fridge for an hour, served pretty warm in a Bell's tulip

A - pours a nice black color with a solid one and a half finger cocoa colored head that has really nice retention

S - nice burnt malt with loads of chocolate and molasses. The oak is there as well but is overshadowed by a nice vanilla bourbon aroma.

T - starts off with rich chocolate malts on the front. This fades to a bit of coffee / burnt malt wrapped up with some sweet charred oak. Lots of vanilla and molasses bourbon on the exhale. Very rich, boozy, and delicious. Reminds me of KBS but with less bourbon heat and more vanilla / molasses. Awesome stuff!

M - luxuriously smooth with a nice body.

D - When I first read the label, I only thought this was aged in oak barrels, not bourbon barrels and was pleasantly surprised when I started drinking this. This was a really good bourbon barrel aged RIS. I wasn't the biggest fan of Old Heathen, but the barrel aging took the stout to another level. Nice chocolate and sweet molasses puts this one near the top of the BAL RISs for me, especially at only 8%.

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Photo of quine
3.78/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Pours an opaque black with a huge brown head. Retention and lacing are both excellent.

S: Smells like coffee and chocolate, roasted malts and oak. A definite sweetness can also be detected.

T: Tastes similar to what I would have expected, that is, Old Heathen aged in oak bourbon barrels. It has chocolate and coffee, a dark fruity sweetness, along with some oak, vanilla, and bourbon. A definite booziness is there also, which was not as present in Old Heathen. Unfortunately, it's almost a little too sweet. I think I would like it a lot more if the flavor balance were different.

M: Tingly from the carbonation and booze. A bit thin, and a bit dry.

D: A little too sweet and a little boozy, but otherwise, pretty drinkable. However, I do prefer Weyerbacher's normal imperial stout (Old Heathen) to this.

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Photo of petacutlasaurus
4/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Picked this guy up with an Insanity over at Chevy Chase Beverage. Haven't had the insanity yet, but after having such a good time with the Heresy, I know its big bro will be a real treat.

Heresy is quite a heavy beer that is nicely balanced by ample carbonation. Tastes of bourbon and oak come through with a nearly-over-the-top sweetness that stays barely on the right side of that line, probably coming more from brown sugar than caramel. Saw this on draft at ChurchKey and will have to compare the two deliveries.

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Photo of Holland
3.9/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: poured into a tulip glass, this looks black with an almost 2 inch brown head. Thick lacing and head stay for a long time.

S: Oak, malt, caramel, and a bit of alcohol.

T: First a caramel and malty taste hit, then a bit of fruit, and it finished off with a strong oak flavor that sits in your mouth.

M: medium bodied and smooth, but still allows a crisp aftertaste with all of that carbonation

O: Good beer, but my taste buds are kind of burned out after just a couple of sips

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

A: Black pour with a thick brown head. Retention and lacing are both pretty good.

S: A ton of oak and vanilla on the smell. The hops stick around for a bit and try to mask a booziness that is just too overwhelming. Some chocolate mixed in as well.

T: Chocolate up front gives way to the oakiness. Vanilla and a nice dry aftertaste follow. The chocolate sort of sits on the tongue throughout, and the alcohol is only faintly present.

MF: Medium body that is carbonated properly. Was expecting a heavier body here to be honest, but it wasn't a detractor.

O: Not bad overall. Nothing really stands out to me about this beer, but I didn't hate it. The oak taste isn't inhibiting like I've found in other beers, it rests nicely in the background and allows other flavors to show up. The problem is no one flavor seems to stick out.

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Photo of sk8man121
3.79/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle poured into Allagash chalice.

A: Pours a completely opaque pitch black. 1-finger caramel-beige head settles to a thin film that clings to the perimeter of the glass.

S: Freshly brewed espresso is strong in the nose, followed by notes of dark fruits and smoky campfire. Doesn't smell overly sweet or overly boozy, which I was a bit concerned about gien Weyerbacher's other high-gravity offerings.

T: Sweet chocolate cream up front, followed by bitter oak tannins and coffee grounds. Oak and vanilla are present, but not necessarily bourbon per say. Finish is pleasantly fruity, with a slight burn from the 8% ABV that does not detract.

M: Carbonation is medium-high; perhaps a bit much for the style. Rather thin, as well.

O: While this beer has a very pleasant and smooth flavor, it suffers a bit from the mouthfeel. Nevertheless, Heresy is definitely a nice beer, and one of the better Weyerbacher brews.

A well-balanced barrel-aged RIS.

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Photo of Netdigger2
3.46/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle to a pint glass.

Poured mocha black with a Ritz cracker-colored 3" head that doesn't dissipate.

Smell is oak, blackstrap molasses and black malt. A bit boozy.

Taste is very subdued from the nose. Molasses, caramel, unsweetened cocoa powder, bitter chocolate, very malty with no discernable hop character.

Mouthfeel is surprisingly light with a creamy dryness. It dissipates much like Guinness draught and doesn't leave a winey oaked feel on the palate <- this is good.

Overall, could probably benefit from more conditioning. The flavors haven't properly meshed, leaving me desiring more chocolate, coffee, or cream, but comes up short on all three.

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Photo of liamt07
4.1/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Rattle N Hum, Weyerbacher feature night. 12oz into a footed pilsner glass of sorts.

Pours a dark shade or two off of black, almost opaque body with some ruby and mahogany translucence around the edges. No head, but a collar remains. Nose has some chocolate, molasses and light roastiness. Relatively sweet in this respect. Taste has more sweet chocolate, molasses, anise, some maple and caramel comes through siginificantly as it warms. Sweet and medium heavy mouthfeel. Warming alcohol, and some lingering roastiness on the palate. Solid imperial stout.

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Photo of AnPiobaire
3.79/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I poured this stout from a 12 oz bottle at a temp of 54 degrees.

It poured an opaque brown with a 2cm tan head that stuck around for several minutes.

The nose was of malt, oak, and a subtle note of smoke.

The taste was malt and coffee with a mellow bitter finish.

It was the mouthfeel that made this brew interesting. It started out thinner and more carbonated then I normally expect in an Imperial Stout but it finished thick and almost chewy on the palate.

Overall, this is an enjoyable and drickable Imperial Stout. Enjoy!!!

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

12oz bottle into snifter

A - Pours a dark black with brown edging. Off yellow to tan head with little retention.

S - Oaky, chocolate, vanilla, slight pine hops

T - Roasted coffee mixed with bakers chocolate. The bourbon/brandy/liquor flavour is somewhat muted or tamed, which is nice. I do pick up an astringent quality on the back

M - Light heavy, decent carbonation

O - A tasty beer but just a few off flavours in different parts of the palate. I think it could afford to be a bit better organized but a decent drink. I would try this one again for sure.

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Photo of CharlieMurphy
3.72/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A: barely any light brown head, just a ring. Brown tinted black

S: Not super strong smell but the oaking is the most prominent and blends with a certain sweetness really well. My pretaste thoughts are that it will be just the right amount of oak flavor. Some vanilla overpowering some chocolate and I'd say it smells like some mild bourbon and brandy detectable. Get some roastiness and toffee notes after really digging with my nose.

T: A nice myriad of flavors: Milk sugar, marshmallows, oak, bourbon, roasted malts tiny tinge of booze, chocolate are all in circulation, relatively in that order but each taste seems to shuffle their position back and forth. It's like a dessert beer spiked with some hot booze

M: Not too shabby. Considerably cloying for a 3oz. sample size. Some burning on the way down too. I'd agree with some previous comments that it's relatively thin for the style. The sweetness seems to contribute and at the same time distract from this.

O: I really like this beer and want to drink a lot of it in a sitting, but I'm unsure if it would be possible.

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Photo of Lunch
3.58/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottle purchased from the ever-miserable and less than helpful men at Chevy Chase Wine and Spirits.

Poured into a Brooklyn snifter and it appears rather dark brown nearing black. The head and overall look are reminding me of Black OPS with champagne-like bubbles of the head. Goddamn, this even smells like Black OPS. Not much bourbon or oak, but I'm getting some roast and perhaps a hint of chocolate. I really getting a bubblegum-like aroma that is almost rum like...not really enjoying this as much as I would have liked. Taste is mild with no bourbon, but the rum character is here a well as a champagne yeast. If someone told me that this was indeed Black OPS I would believe the shit out of them. Mouthfeel is a bit thin, with slightly over vibrant yet soft carbonation.

I was hoping that this could get me my BA Imperial Stout fix, but no dice.

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Photo of Pellinore1
4.07/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to DonManguno for sending this one.

Pours deep black, yielding about a finger of tan head. This fades slowly, leaving some lacing down the side of the glass.

Smelling this beer, bourbon and oak hit the nose first. Behind this float roasty malt, chocolate and coffee. I am really enjoying this aroma.

The flavor is just about everything I would expect from the nose, though the characteristics of the beer itself (rather than the barrel) seem to come through a little more clearly. Roasted malt, bitter chocolate, vanilla, oak, and bourbon are all present.

Medium to full-bodied, this is not quite as thick as I like to see in a RIS.

Absolutely a solid beer, and I'm glad I got a chance to try it. It makes me want to look into Weyerbacher's other offerings.

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Photo of seeswo
3.85/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours opaque black with a cocoa-tan head. Nose is roast and coffee, maybe the faintest touch of vanilla/oak. I'm pretty torn on the flavor. Some sips it comes together and some it doesn't. When it's good, the vanilla and oakiness, meld well with the roast and chocolate and go down smooth and easy. When it's not working for me, there is a bit of booziness/faint bitterness or oak astringency in the finish that is unpleasant. The mouthfeel is affected negatively by that oakiness that sits on the tongue and a somewhat thinner than expected body. Overall, this is pretty good with moments of greatness and a slight upgrade for the can't miss price.

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Photo of RedSpecial1
4.73/5  rDev +20.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark black with a thin layer of light brown head. Oak comes through strong in the nose, as well as toasty barley, and some faint chocolate notes. The bourbon comes through quite well, and is quite tasty against the other scents. The flavor is very deep. Bourbon comes through first on the taste, followed by robust roasted notes at the end, very tasty. The mouthfeel is fairly light considering the ABV and complex flavors going on. This beer coats the mouth quite well, and leaves a pleasant after taste. Overall, this is a great beer.

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Photo of jayhawk73
3.45/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A- Pours black with a sliver for a head. Lots of carbonation in the head as well, which I'm not impressed by. Lacing is below average.

S- The prevailing smell here is bourbon, with chocolate, coffee, and vanilla and a hint of citrus in the background. Decent, if unremarkable smelling beer. I was hoping for a little bolder nose profile here.

T- Really not what I was expecting. The bourbon comes through, but not a whole bunch else. The beer tastes really thin for this style. Some coffee on the aftertaste. Really not much more than average in this department.

M- Very thin. Very average, and slightly disappointing.

O- I generally love Weyerbacher, but I feel like they missed an opportunity on this one. Slightly better than average brew- that deserves to be more complex and hearty. Still, glad I got to try this one.

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Photo of bobhits
3.79/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a touch thin, but the deepest of deep blacks, a creamy tan milk chocolate head that doesn’t build much, but stays rather well. Not much in the way of legs or lacing.

The closest thing to bourbon county stout I’ve ever smelled. A wonderful nose of raisins, oak, vanilla, bourbon, chewy chocolate, cocoa, rum, and god knows what else. Simply amazing to take in.

Unexpectedly sweet on the tongue. The opening at this temp is a bit hard to qualify. It ends with a chocolate finish. It seems there are citrus hops that are mixing without dropping a beer with the malt and creating this rather sweet fruity start. Finishing with bourbon and a touch of alcohol bite.

The mouth as others have mentioned is too thin and not overly exciting.

Overall I’m pretty happy with this beer. Huge thanks to Crushedvol for this extra. It isn’t a beer I’ll seek out again, but I’m very pleased with it.

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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 sweemzander
4.55/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

12oz. bottle poured into a snifter.

(A)- Pours a fairly thick pitch black color. Produced an awesome brown colored frothy head. Some great retention behind it with some lacing here and there.

(S)- A nice dry rich profile. Some oaky wood, raisin, cocoa, molasses, and baked bread. A mild roastedness.

(T)- Similar to the smell in every way just about. A rich roasted profile. Creamy cocoa, molasses, raisin, and an interesting baked bread component. Finishes nicely dry and an overall mellow oak character.

(M)- A great mellow carbonation level. A superb balance too. So rich and malty, yet smooth with a really nice complex oaky finish.

(D)- A world class stout that is severely underrated in the world that consider "bigger is better" high gravity, boozy stouts. This is what I like to see in a great stout. I daresay this has more (and better) flavor that alot of the big, heavy, popular Imperial Stouts lack. Excellent stuff to say the least.

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Photo of perrymarcus
3.93/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

12oz bottle served in a snifter.

pours a cola brown, sits an opaque black; aggressive pour yields ~ 1" khaki toned head. middling retention but outstanding lacing. great presentation.

nose is everything you look for in an imperial stout. roasted malt, coffee, bitter chocolate. secondary notes of oak and vanilla. ultimately it's a very good aroma; my one criticism would be it's could be a little bolder.

flavor is right in line with the nose. not overwhelmingly good but very solid with the coffee, chocolate, and roasted malts all pulling thrugh. the oak and vanilla are muted but present also.

mouthfeel is easily the worst element of this beer. very thin, surprisingly so. not what you expect in a RIS.

overall this is a solid RIS, but also a flawed one. personally i look for my (russian) imperial stouts to be bolder and thicker.

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Photo of beer1018
3.74/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance- midnight black with a large carmel color head.

Smell- charcol and oak up front with coffee and chocolate taking a back seat.

Taste- mainly taste the charcol flavor, I wish the coffee and oak flavor was stronger

Mouthfeel- it is thin like others have said but still coats your mouth like a good stout does, I thought I would get some carbonation burn because the head was so big but there was none.

Overall- its no oak yeti or bbcs but for the price it is one of the better deals on oak aged imps.

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

The basics: no idea on price, thanks to great trader Brian44556; 8% ABV...

It's haiku madness:

Darker than the night
Rimmed by rich creamy goodness
Lacing is awesome

Robust aroma
Hints at bigger things to come
Oakey subtleness

Huge and flavorful
Chocolate malt is the King
Finish is warming

What I like most: The huge, chocolate malt flavor profile

What I like least: Not super unique and the barrell aging is a tad subdued

Verdict: excellent beer, worth tracking down

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Heresy from Weyerbacher Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 3.94 out of 5 with 2,258 ratings
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