Heresy | Weyerbacher Brewing Co.

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2,259 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: 2,259 |  Reviews: 1,012
Photo of CPeterson
4.29/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A -- An intensely black/brown brew that pours into a one finger head a dissipates quickly into a skim of light foam. No light can be seen through, completely opaque.

S -- Smells strongly of dark chocolate, raisins, figs, coffee, and wood.

T -- Huge chocolate and vanilla tones, burnt toffee, caramel, dark fruits, molasses, light essences of espresso and earth to mellow the sweet malts and a slight bitterness that results from those flavors.

M -- Huge body, but light on the palate. Fairly crisp and dry on the finish considering the sweetness.

D -- Definitely worth picking up, not for everyone everyday; but very solid.

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Photo of theBubba
4.3/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured a deep chocolate fudge-like color into my stem glass. A good head with decent retention and a bit of lace that lasted 'til the end.

Presented the aroma of chocolate, malt and coconut.

Mouthfeel was exeptional. Decent body and carbonation for the style.

Taste was smooth, malty, fruity (as in dried fruit) and lacked any over hopped bitterness. Delicious. One of my favorite Imperial Stouts. But...

Drinkability suffers from a sweetness that sets in after half a bomber. Not noticeable in the beginning, but very much apparent towards the end. At which point you reach for a Heffeweizen to clean your palate.

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Photo of yeahnatenelson
3.12/5  rDev -20.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Appearance -- Pours dark brown with a slim

Smell -- The nose is inviting: cocoa, dark fruit, toasted coconut, whiskey, vanillin wood sugars, and dry oak planks.

Taste -- After that nose, the taste leaves me wanting. Taste is a bit thin, but what is present includes chocolate malt, sour mash whiskey, and dry oak. The mellow oak and coconut so strong in the nose have vanished. Whiskey character is minimal, but what is there is a bit harsh and sour. Lingering flavors of woody oak and cocoa.

Mouthfeel -- A bit thin with gentler carbonation. Over time the oaky wood tannins become more present and somewhat distracting. Not bad, but not very noteworthy.

Drinkability -- It's not bad, but this beer gets edged out by so many other BA Imperial Stouts. I'm normally a fan of Weyerbacher, but this was a bit of a dud for me.

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

Auto-junkies will understand when I say this pours like used 5-w20. Its very dark with a hint of red as you pour. I got a good amount of caramel colored head that's leaving a nice lacing as it dissipates.

I smell a lot of the oak along with some caramel and a tinge of alcohol.

I taste a lot of oak, and I really get a sense of bourbon in it. To me it almost takes over the characteristics I expect from a non-oaked stout. The alcohol is not as prevelent for being 8% but its there. I get some smokiness and maybe some dark chocolate as well.

Mouthfeel is nice and robust but not too much. Definitely a sipping beer for me so I wouldnt consider it highly drinkable as if I was going to drink 4 of them, but very drinkable to enjoy one or two over the course of an evening.

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Photo of Mdog
3.65/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Black, good head.

Smell: Chocolate, molasses note.

Taste: Dry, molasses and dark fruit, woodiness. More dryness, lots of woody wine characteristics.

Drinkability: A sipper, one is enough.

The wood really comes through in this one, to the point where it takes over the beer too much for my liking. If it was a lilttle sweeter and less woody wine flavors I'd probably like it more.

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Photo of codewarrior
3.68/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz Singleton Poured into a Tulip

Picked up 2 singles at Beers of the World in Brighton, at a hefty price-point I might add. I believe I am drinking the 2010 vintage of this beer, but there are no markings on the bottle to indicate a particular age.

L: Black. 2-fingers head and black and thick. Looks like a RIS, and ... it's shiny!

S: Roast up front, booze in back, touch of oak in between. Smells good, and understated, but ultimately is a bit 2-dimensional.

T: Just like it smells. Malt then booze with oak in between ... an oak sandwich. Touch of wood in the finish and lingers longer than I thought it could. Aftertaste is much more enjoyable than the actual taste.

F: Thick and rich like liquid chocolate mixed with booze-sauce. Good, not great.

D: Very drinkable, even enjoyable ... but not world-class.

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Photo of mulder1010
4.09/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle poured into a tulip
thanks to Biglite351 for the beer

A-- Poured a dark cola color, settled black. No head, just a light brown film. Swirling the glass got a one finger head but that quickly went back to film. Just a small bit of carbonation shown.

S-- Bourbon and oak. Very nice smell. Not overpowering but very obvious. A little bit of chocolate and vanilla. Good nose.

T-- Oak and more oak. Just a bit of bourbon.

M-- Medium feel and low carbonation. Bourbon comes out more in the mouth but in a way it is watered down. Not a bad thing as it is much more smooth and not just overpowering as other BA that are higher ABV. Little hints of chocolate milk and vanilla. Finishes very dry due to the oak.

D-- Quite nice. Well hidden ABV and not a massive bourbon bomb. Like that the bourbon more secondary and the oak is more obvious. Now how the heck do I get more of it.

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Photo of oregonskibum
3.88/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a snifter glass.

A: Color is a deep, dark brown, almost black. Pours with a thin light tan head that dies off quickly, leaving some splotchy lacing and thin ring around the glass.

S: Rich cocoa, oak, toffee, faint vanilla, lots of roasted malts. Smells a little hot.

T: Chocolate, roasted malts, and a little coffee. Flavors generally carry from the smell, although the oak and vanilla seem less present. Some bitterness present though, especially toward the finish. Generally, the taste doesn't hold up to the smell. Finishes fast with just a little heat.

M: Light bodied compared to some BA imperial stouts. Medium carbonation makes this drink more like a stout.

D: This isn't the greatest imperial stout out there and I was a little disappointed with the taste (compared to the smell). But there's something to be said about a very drinkable, somewhat flavorable BA imperial stout. At 8%, I could drink a couple of these and still remember my name. For that reason, it got higher marks here.

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Photo of nas5755
3.1/5  rDev -21.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

A black pour with a two-finger head, some retention and no lacing. The nose is full of cocoa and some vanilla from the oak. The taste has a bit more complexity to it. A huge blast of roasted malts engulfs the palate then it melds away into the delicate flavors of this stout, vanilla, oak, some tannins and lots of chocolate follow through. The carbonation has held up a quite well for a beer that is a year old, in fact it is a bit too much. This beer is a tad on the thin side and could have coated the palate with more depth. Overall, this is a good BA stout, nothing to write home about but not something that has gone astray.

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Photo of TheHoppiest
4.62/5  rDev +17.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into an oversized snifter. Pours a oily brown with a creamy tan head that reduces to a thin skim in top, with a ring of head around the glass.

Smells of creamy oatmeal, smoke, and milky malt.

Complex in flavor; starts slightly bitter, moving to creamy smooth, ith mild malty oats, finishing smokey. Not nearly as coffee-flavored as other Russian Imperial stouts,this is more akin to an imperial oatmeal stout. For as strong as this brew is, it really hides It's alcohol content well.

Tangy on the tongue, this full bodied brew is creamy from sip to swallow.

Wow, I've not been terribly impressed with other Weyerbacher offerings, but this one was a definite winner. Highly recommend it!

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Photo of cosmicevan
4.53/5  rDev +15%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - poured into an oversized snifter. silky black with a creamy tan head that left some souvenirs on the side of the glass as the head subsided a bit, but never went completely away.
S - Deep and strong roasted malts with a hint of grape. has a fresh type of smell which makes me think of the oak barrels. alc is pretty tame.
T - oh wow. really comes alive in the flavor dept. i'm a big fan of RIS and this one was a pleasant surprise since i had never tried it before. roasted malts, oak tames the flavor. the alc is really well blended and not in your face at all.
M - pretty medium bodied. very smooth and not overly rich and filling. leaves a pretty fresh feel in your mouth.
D - dangerously drinkable. good gateway RIS for folks who aren't fans of the style (yet).

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

12oz bottle in Duvel tulip (original review- 5/29/09)

A: Completely black, with a tan head that drops quickly leaving a small bit of lace.
S: Roasty with some chocolate in the background, maybe some dried fruits.
T: The chocolate is much more apparent with the roasty bits more muted. In the background is a flavor I could not place, then I looked at the label and remembered this is aged in oak, that is it, a hint of wood, some vanilla
M: Not as thick as some RISs, but still some roundness, there is a medium level of carbonation. A hint of warming from the alcohol, very appropriate for the style.
D: This goes down very easily, a great sippin/dessert beer. Very recommended for anyone who is a RIS fan. Please bring this to KY.
11/18/10 in a Duvel tulip

From the same six pack as the original review
no change to numbers

A: The head seems to drop immediately, there is a hint of lace but not much.
S: Light chocolate, some roasted malt, a hint of coffee
T: There are mostly muted dark malts, makes me think of dark caramel and some chocolate malts. There are definitely some roasted malts, but they seem to be covered by some sweetness, maybe from caramel malt? The wood character seems more pronounced, some vanilla combined with drying tannins.
M: This feels like it could be a "chuggin" beer, not watery, but definitely not thick/too creamy. The carbonation seems to have flattened out.
D: I would like to compare a fresh one with one that is at least 18 months old. This is a very yummy beer that is not overly complicated or simple. The woodiness seems to be more pronounced than I remember and I could see the aging process causing that. Definitely recommended for any RIS lover. Anyone with a six pack should hold back a couple to experience the aging process. Nice beer, would drink regularly if I could.

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Photo of CooperEllis
3.77/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The sum of the parts are, well, sumparts. This is a solid, above average RIS. It is not a skullcrushing, mind bending, life altering brew. And, honestly, that's a bit refreshing. It is keeping w/ the style. It is delicious. It is something I would buy all the time if the local price wasn't insane.

Dark pour. Heavy tan head. Mild lacing.

There is a nice density of bubbles rimming the egde of the glass.

Very nice roast malt without any burnt, acrid, boozy notes. But it is limited, while the aroma grows w/ the initial taste.

The first bottle of this I thought was a 5 mouthfeel but the second bottle was average, as was the second. I don't think there is bottle vairation, but maybe my expectations were very low for the first bottle.

Although I think this is priced too high, my location is one where most stuff is. This is something I would drink consistently if it was priced lower, it is certainly good but it is priced like great. This is my only critique because this is a solid, if unspectacular, example of the style.


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Photo of tmcelvain
3.87/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

L: Black. Almost no head when poured into a goblet.
S: Alcohol and Oak. Very sweet to the nose.
T: Alcohol and Oak. Bits of sweet blackberry.
M: Very watery, and a medium carbonation that is either to little for the wetness, or too much for the stout flavors - I can't decide which.
D: Not a session beer with the amount of alcohol in the smell and taste, but good flavors that could entertain me through 2 or 3.

Smooth beer with a nice, but not over-powering oak flavor. Might be a nice way to introduce your friends to some bigger beers, but the dry finish and watery feel keep this from shining within the style and just off my list of favorites.

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

L: Pours a deep black color with almost no head until the end of the pour. A short and thick brown colored head that leaves little lacing as it fades makes it pretty decent looking.
S: Smells of deep roasted malts, caramel, chocolate, coffee, and a hint of hops and alcohol at the end. Smells hot but inticing.
T: Tastes of deep roasted malts, some slightly bitter black malts, rich chocolate, caramel, and coffee with a big alcohol kick at the end.
M: Hot, warming, perfect amount of carbonation, thick bodied.
D: OK drinkability, it was pretty hot feeling so it was harder to get down than some other ones, but at 8% abv it was still pretty drinkable.

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Photo of bobquick
4.33/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Probably the lightest RIS I've ever had. Not a heavy beer even though it looks like a glass of Coke after its been poured from the bottle. VERY drinkable even at 8% dangerous. The malt lingers for a cocoa or chocolate finish. Not a huge head when poured but enough for the smell of roasted grains to add to the overall experience

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

Had a bottle at the Farmhouse for $6. This was a simple, but relatively drinkable RIS. There was an interesting chocolate banana flavor as the beer warms, otherwise, there's a balanced toasty vanilla and caramel, cocoa roast. It's not the most complex imperial stout, but it's smooth and makes a pretty decent dessert beer.

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Photo of Dreadnaught33
4.37/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Jet Black with a nice tan head that looks very creamy. Lacing swirls on the sides of the glass as well.

S: Nice mature oak smell entwined with coffee roast, vanilla, dark cherry, chocolate. Very good.

T: Smell with a massive addition of roast at the back of the palate. Oak is very nice and not overpowering. Milk chocolate with a little vanilla shines through as well.

M: Medium-heavy creamy feel. Awesome.

D: Very good for a barrel aged beer, pretty easy to drink but I couldnt get through more than a bottle in one night.

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

a wonderful pour with a very assertive head that works its way downward into the black and forms as the bubbles come up to about three fingers. nose of chocolate and bourbon malt. palate is a mild baltic sour hiding in a deep core of malt bourbon bitter warmth.

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Photo of xnicknj
3.86/5  rDev -2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle poured into large wine glass

Pours a midnight black with a nice toffee brown head which retains well while leaving some filmy lacing on the glass.

Roasted dark malt, some sweetness, and a bit of warmth in the nose. Fairly subdued for a bal aged stout.

Dark sweetness with caramel and molasses in the beginning, giving way to dark chocolate and some bitterness. A bit of boozy warmth slices through with notes of vanilla and oaked bourbon, although somewhat light. Finishes with tingly dryness, a bit of bourbon and vanilla.

Heavier body although slightly light for the style, some dry feel and bitterness linger on the palate. Drinks pretty well for the style, although there's definitely better examples out there.

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

A - Pours a deep brown/black. No light comes through this beer. It's got a small but very dark head that dissipates quickly.

S - Chocolate and coffee notes hit me first, with a strongly oaky booze following.

T - Doesn't really seem to line up with the smell that well. There's a predominant oatmeal/caramel malty flavor, with hints of coffee and some vanilla and oak on the finish.

M - It's a thick and dry beer that's not really too heavy.

D - There's a nice warming quality that this has, and it's pretty easy to drink.

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

Black, opaque body. Two finger brown sugar colored head. Head works its way back rather quickly leaving only slight lacing.

The aroma is largely set around the bourbon. The whiskey is strong but not overly boozy. Dark bitter chocolate and roasted malt set underneath. Though the aroma is slightly lopsided in favor of the bourbon it is pleasant.

Roasted malt and chocolate roll across the tongue. The bourbon does not really shine until midpalate. The back of the palate picks up some caramel before transitioning back to bourbon.
Slight charred malt and oak flavor linger on the back of the tongue.

Full bodied and a bit more viscosity than I expected, especially given a lower abv for the style. Smooth and creamy texture with moderate carbonation. Flavors dig deep into the tongue for a long finish.

Very enjoyable and rather smooth. Booze is slightly warming but not obstructive. Solid beer and definitely recommended.

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Photo of Mora2000
4.08/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Exiled for sharing this bottle.

The beer pours a black color with a tan head. The aroma is chocolate, roasted malt and licorice. It smells almost exactly like Old Heathen. I don't get any bourbon-aged notes in the aroma.

The flavor is a different story. I get a lot of bourbon, maple, vanilla and oak notes - as well as some chocolate and roasted malt. Not sure where all of these components were in the aroma, but they are present in the flavor and work very well together.

Full mouthfeel and medium carbonation.

I believe this is a better beer than Old Heathen.

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

12oz bottle. Pours a black viscous liquid that disappears in an instant. Minimal lacing. Aromas of chocolate and roasted malts. A nice coffee smell as well. Taste has a dark chocolate flavor to it. A bit of a coffee aftertaste. Not picking up on too much of an Oak flavor. This brew has a nice heavy quality to it. A good sipper and the flavors blend together nicely. Certainly worth a try.

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

A 2008 bottle that just hasn't held up particularly well. What tastes like an excellent overall beer when young has gotten a bit muddled and faded in the time since, even if oxidation hasn't gotten out of control.

Tasted in a Spiegelau tulip during a RIS tasting (with plain crackers and water for palate cleansing between tastings).

Pale for a RIS (but still pretty dark), moderate retention and no real lacing.

Chocolate and mocha notes are present but are faint. Esters are restrained.

Vanilla and mocha hit up the palate for a one note (or, two note, as it were) experience that is pleasant, but lacking.

This beer does have great structure and smoothness, and medium-full mouth. If this had more going on, I'd be in love.

Overall this was quite enjoyable, and redeemed Weyerbacher to some degree for me, even though it wasn't a particularly great beer. I'd love to try this fresh/young.

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Heresy from Weyerbacher Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 3.94 out of 5 with 2,259 ratings