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.

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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 2,259 |  Reviews: 1,012
Photo of TMoney2591
4.12/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in a Dogfish Head snifter.

Thanks to jdiddy via the Heavy Metal BIF for this bottle (paired with Pantera's "Heresy")!

The heresy is so egregious that lightning splits the sky above. Bwa-ha-ha-ha! Ahem... This beer pours an opaque black-brown topped by a quickly dissipating finger or so of ecru micro-foam. The nose comprises chocolate syrup, roasted malts, vanilla, molasses, oak, and a tinge of bourbon. The taste emphasizes the vanilla, roasted malts, and bourbon, while the chocolate is toned down and dried out. There is an ever-so-slight sour-ish tinge at the end, possibly the by-product of the barrel and some age. The body is a very light heavy (or a heavy's tough to decide), with a light carbonation and a silky smooth feel. Overall, a solid barrel-aged stout: not the finest, but certainly nowhere near bad. Get some!

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Photo of KAP1356
4.15/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into my Weyerbacher tulip glass. Pretty sure this has been aging roughly 6 months after a trip to the brewery...

A - Dark as expected for a RIS. There was a gorgeous dark burnt caramel colored 2 finger head that receded quite quickly.

S - The smell is a well rounded nose of oak, bourbon, vanilla, choclolate and a slight coffee aroma.

T - The bourbon/vanilla/oak flavor stands out amongst everything else that is going on here. The chocolate and coffee appear more towards the back of the palate. I must say that there is a slight alcohol presence that I have not experienced with an 8% beer before.

M - A little thin for what I expected. Thicker than the Old Heathen, but still a little thin for a barrel aged RIS. However, it is still smooth and creamy and is quite easy on the palate.

D - Quite drinkable as the mouthfeel and flavor keep you coming back for more. For an 8% beer, this one did slow me down a little more than I expected from sip to sip.

A great barrel aged beer from a great brewery. This was my first beer craft beer I ever experienced and I love coming back to it again and again.

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Photo of homebrew311
4.17/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Received as an extra from msulinski- thanks man! Been wanting to try this one for a while, here we go. Poured into Stone Levitation tulip.

A: pours thick, pitch black, 1 finger of cocoa colored head, decent retention

S: nice mellow bourbon notes on the front, huge vanilla, mellow oak, melds into sweet dark chocolate, smells delicious!

T: the front features some sweet malts, molasses, followed by chocolate syrup, vanilla, big notes of oak. Does not taste quite as balanced as the nose would suggest. The flavors are bolder, the bourbon is more prominent and adds a wonderful element to the beer, but the base beer seems to be lacking some balance of its own.

MF: creamy, silky mouthfeel, thick body

D: another delicious bourbon aged stout. Not as balanced as some of the heavy hitters in the bourbon aged beer world (i.e. KBS, BCS, BCBCS) but good nevertheless

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Photo of boomer31
3.85/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I've enjoyed everything I've tried from Weyerbacher including Insanity which leads me to believe the barrel ageing will be just as good.

A - What you would expect from a RIS. Dark black with a deep tan loose head that dissapates quite quickly.

S - I get bourbon and roasty malts all the way here. The bourbon is not overwhelming though its there but not blowing me away like many barrel aged beers.

T - Again the bourbon is present but not over the top compared to others. Coffee is almost as present as the bourbon and a little cocoa in the back. Some bitterness here but mostly from the coffee and cocoa. I also sense some alcohol here as well. Nice aftertaste of bourbon and bitterness

M - Compared to other RIS I've had this is perhaps a bit 'thin' but the flavor is definately there. The carcbonation is light

D - Any bourbon beer is a sipper and this is no exception. The 8% seems to be generous as the alcohol is present in the front and back.

Overall a nice barrel aged stout and for the availability (seasonal and relatively inexpensive) a good RIS to enjoy periodically though now that I've tried it I'm not sure I'd seek it out again.

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Photo of entisgood
2.47/5  rDev -37.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

at first i was blown away by how much this smelt like alcohol out of the bottle. this had a very dark, almost black pour. big head left some lacing as i drank it.
i thought this beer was close to undrinkable. the only flavor i got from it was whiskey. had a creme feeling in my mouth but it was overwhelmed by the taste of alcohol.
I found this beer harder to drink than weyerbachers quad and will definitely be avoiding it.

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Photo of Tomdee74
3.56/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

this is not the best stout i ever had but it's enjoyable. it's not terrible by any means..

A - Poured into my favorite glass.. a smuttynose big beer series tulip glass with an inch and half head.. head dissipated quickly.. a little lacing but not much there.. it is black but it is a tad bit thin....

S - smell a tiny bit of maybe bourbon in there i guess. a faint smell of alcohol... perhaps a tiny smell of chocolate.. not much...

T - actually don't taste the alcohol. this is pretty smooth.. it is an enjoyable stout.. this is one i do enjoy.. it doesn't blow me away but certainly doesn't let me down and it's calming a stout craving i have right now. but it's not a hoppy stout.. it's not like a yeti or smuttynose or founders stout loaded with hops..

M - Decent carbonation. don't taste the abv's here.. it's a little thin... not too hoppy at all..

D - i hope my review doesn't come off to look like i'm bashing this because i am not.. this is probably the 5th four pack of these i've bought.. sometimes i just want a smooth stout and it's perfect for a hot summer nite like tonite.. but most nites i probably want a little more flavor... a little more hoppiness.. but this is okay.. good job weyerbacher!

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

A: Dark murky brown, tan head, okay lacing.

S: Nice dark and roasted malty smell, a little booze in there. A little chocolate, not unappealing.

T: I don't know if it's because this is too fresh, or what, but the taste is underwhelming. There is a good amount of roasted malts and bittersweet chocolate. As far as the "barrel aged" part goes, can sense a little smoky taste, but not much at all. Enjoyable, though.

M: Kind of on the thin side with not much carbonation. Not nearly as smooth as I'd like,

D: I've been wanting to try this for a while, and the price doesn't match the taste. But, this is a mediocre to decent attempt.

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Photo of donkeyrunner
2.64/5  rDev -33%
look: 3 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Great brewery, terrible labels. Opaque black with a muddy tan head. Eh retention leaves a few lacey splashes.

I've had 2 bottles of this over the last couple weeks and the first one had an unmistakable scent that initially escaped me. Now I know: it's fresh paint. This beer smells exactly like fresh paint. At first I liked it as one of those good-bad smells like gasonline or the smell of one's own fart. But then it really got to me and ruined my whole Heresy experience.

Smooth and reserved Heresy is an introvert in the double stout world. Alcohol and roasted malt is kept in check by barrel aging which is further smoothed over by oats. Dark fruity highlights.

Not a bad beer, it's just once something smells like fresh paint it can't taste good again. Anyone up for a trade?

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

Dark dark brown with a small amount of quickly dissipating tan head. Aroma is very roasty with maybe a hint of coffee and some boozy scents coming through as well.

Flavor is a medium sweetness with a little hint of sour bitterness as well. Well carbonated - seems about the right amount.

This is a strange one for me - not very much like any other stout I've had before. Unsure if there's something a bit off about my bottle or if that is just how this one tastes. Regardless, it is an interesting beer - glad I was able to try it, but not sure i'd seek it out again.

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

Pours a very dark brown with a wet ecru head. Distinct oaky aroma with chocolate and a woody smokey note. Flavor is dark chocolate, coconut, licorice, and a decent roasted coffee note with some bitterness. Silky smooth mouthfeel, maybe a little thin. Pretty good.

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Photo of biglite351
2.87/5  rDev -27.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

A - Near black with a tall tan head that lasts and leaves light lacing

S - Majority of the scent if from bourbon, but it is not too strong. There is a mild under toe of malt.

T - MIld bourbon taste that is the top flavor, not overpowering though like most bourbon brews. Some malt and chocolatem rather sweet overall.

M - Good coating with mild tingle on the front sides of tongue.

D - I could have a couple of these but not an all night drink.

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Photo of Naugros
4.35/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had at the Weyerbacher brewery at the sampling bar.

Almost pitch black with a full, tan head. This was in a plastic sample cup, so I can't speak to the lacing.

This smells of coffee, chocolate and bourbon.

The taste follows the smell, but upon the first sip you understand how talented Weyerbacher's brew masters are. The balance between the flavors is amazing. The toasty malts, the chocolate and coffee notes and the bourbon extracted from the barrel all play well together in the sand box of your tongue. Amazingly executed!

Smooth and silky as a stout should be with a medium body. There is no bitterness that can be associated with some imperial stouts.

I thought Old Heathen was my favorite Weyerbacher beer, but this stuff is incredible. I bought a bunch while there and plan to cellar four bottles. They should age nicely and I can't wait to try the last one four years from now.

From reading older reviews (especially those of the brothers), I'm guessing Weyerbacher has improved the recipe through the years to create a better balance and better body.

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Photo of AgentZero
3.92/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Pretty black brew, very minimal head came out on an agressive pour, little brown on the edges.

S - Toffee, soy sauce, some roasted malt backbone. A little bit of oaky smell due to the barrel aging, smells pretty nice.

T - Taste is about in line with the smell. Nicely roasty, with some sweet ginseng/soy sauce taste. Mostly toffee and caramel malts, pretty solid tasting, nothing ususual.

M - Little thin, would have liked it a bit more viscous.

D - Decently drinkable for thie style

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Photo of Pahn
3.99/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle into Duvel tulip. No bottled on information (it's apparently only on the case).

Appearance: Free pour down the middle of the glass leaves a one inch, fizzy tan head that dissipates quickly and leaves small, short-lasting streaks of lacing. Pours a thick, oil black. Mild legs and spotty lacing.

Smell: From the bottle: bourbon and chocolate cake. In the glass: the same bourbon and chocolate cake, along with a touch of espresso and some vanilla. Very full and rich. A little boozy. I'm on board from the start. As the beer warms, a big bourbon note emerges and the smells gets a lot boozier, with the earlier smells sticking around but way in the background. Honestly, I love how this beer smells and could easily give it a 5.0, but I think it ends up a little too simplistic for that.

Taste: First sip is chocolate cake and espresso, with a very smooth and creamy but warm finish. Not as deep as the smell so far. The second sip brings out some bourbon in the middle, and some faint raisin in the end; still deliciously smooth, with some roasted malt in the aftertaste. After the third sip, I'm sold, as the bourbon character really starts to stand strong along with the dominant chocolate cake, roasted malt, and espresso flavors.

Unfortunately, the beer is a fair amount hotter than it needs to be. Would be interested in trying this after aging it for a couple years. Some building bitterness shows up, particularly in the finish. The flavor continues to deliver more nuances, with vanilla and some more dark fruit flavors mixing in with everything else. The flavor isn't so much well-balanced as it a complex collection of beautiful notes, complimented by a very nice mouthfeel. I don't know what would bring this beer more into balance, but I do know that the steadily building, quickly unacceptably strong alcohol heat takes away from both the balance and the individual flavors.

Mouthfeel: On the fuller side of medium bodied. Mild carbonation. Creamy and hot, with a building chocolate/roasted malt bitterness.

Drinkability: Too much alcohol in the flavor. As good as a lot of what the smell and taste provide is, it's kind of annoying to taste it and then have it disappear in a barrage of hot, solvent-like alcohol. While still an above-average beer, the whole is less than the sum of its parts, and doesn't beg me to return to the beer.

This is a confusing one. A lot of what it does is done really, really well. At the same time, the feel is a bit too light, and the alcohol is just a juggernaut that doesn't allow the numerous, beautiful flavors to shine. The boozy aroma is nice, because the bourbon character is strong and rich, while the stout notes at least stay present. In the taste, the alcohol just kind of wrecks everything. It's still an above average beer, but it leaves me wanting more (wanting *something else*).

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Photo of bgildea
4.47/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Very nice dark brown/blackish color. Great tan head that stuck around, with some good lacing.

S: Smells great. Great smell of oak, carmel, roasted malts. Everything smells great. Very enticing.

T: Great flavor, matches the smell exactly. Nice sweet taste, great balance of flavors.

M: Great chew to the beer, nice thickness.

D: It's very drinkable. The beer definitely delivers.

Overall: Overall the beer is very good. The beer is very beer has a great balance of flavors that makes it extremely drinkable. I'd highly recommend this to anyone who likes a good stout.

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

Nice bourbon barrel stout, somewhat thin but with a pleasing taste and a fine profile overall.

Presentation: 12 oz brown capped bottle. Black and blue label with a white glowing fonts under a thunder going across them. (Weyerbacher, please, find a good designer urgently. You need it badly. I´ll even do it if I have to.) Lacks any visible bottling or freshness date, and shows Alc. by Vol. (8%). Served in a snifter.

A - Black pour broad brown edges, short bubbly head that fades quickly, minimal lacing, and a fair surface memory ring.

S - The initial kick of the smell is outstandingly beautiful, with a bourbon oak and vanilla range riding roasted malts. Unfortunately it fades a bit too much, and a bit too quickly, but still leaving a pleasing whiff.

T - Rich bourbon range over roasted malts, with chocolate notes, a touch of coffee, and back to the bourbon and its vanilla-oak touches, with a warming boozy tone in the finish.

M - Medium body with tingly carbonation. Feels a bit light at times and the bubbles help it a bit but do not quite make the trick, all in all providing a nice but not too remarkable finish.

D - Fair sipper, a bit short of being significantly memorable but in the right direction.

Notes: Pity, this starts hitting all the right notes, and mind you it remains pretty good, but the expectations of something truly remarkable subside a bit as soon as the aroma goes shy and the body feels not as sturdy as it could.

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Photo of urwithdave
3.94/5  rDev 0%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Drank this Saturday night at the Roo. Poured into a standard pint glass.
A- pours black in color. Not a oil black, but its still black. There is very little head and minimal lacing left. This makes me wonder if the pint that this thing was poured into was a "beer clean" glass.

A- roasted malts, dark fruits, burnt coffee. It smells a little like booze for sure.

T- the dark fruits hit me first. Figs or prunes. There is a strong oak presence. There is a bourbon flavor that cuts down the roasted malts that I detected in the nose. A little vanilla rounds it out.

M- a little thin for me. I would have preferred a little more thickness. I like em chewy though. The carbonation is just about right and it finishes nice.

D- for the style I would say that it drinks really easy. With that being said, there are plenty others that I would seek out first.

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

Deep, dark brown with a thin, coffee-colored canopy of sud.

Getting close, the smell of smooth bourbon hits you first, followed by a touch of bitter, chocolately roast.

Surprisingly well-balanced flavor. Had this from a bottle (or was it at the brewery?) long ago and was a little turned off by the bourbon stranglehold. That's all been taken care of, I see. Like the aroma, the taste of bourbon is smooth and blends oh so nicely with the bitter, slightly acidic roast and choco-hints.

Really darn smooth feel, as well. The alcohol, even at 8%, doesn't factor all that much into the overall taste and, therefore, this is dangerously drinkable. 2 or 3 and you're solid.

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

Poured from a 12 oz bottle, 2010 release

A - Pours a pitch black with a fizzy, half finger mocha head; retention settles to a thin lace

S - Nose is oak, dark fruit, molasses and a slight hint a caramel. Light alcohol presence.

T&M - Creamy juxtaposed with an effervescence, medium to full bodied. There are oak and tannin notes, and a light dryness is left on the tongue. Malt is balanced by a hint of bitterness. Background has caramel, toffee, and raisin with a hint of sweet.

D - Nicely balanced and easy to drink. No overpowering flavors, ABV normal for the style; I could go for two.

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Photo of jrallen34
3.69/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

I drank this from a 12oz bottle into my Orval glass.

The beer medium black with lots of medium tan head carbonation to start. Rises about three fingers but then its gone right away without much fanfare or lacing.

The aroma is strong and really nice. Very malty on the front, lots of sweet bourbon, vanilla and chocolate. It finishes with some nice oak, chocolate milk and alcohol.

The taste is a little disappointing and light in taste especially compared after the aroma where i was expecting so much more, some really nice sweetness. The taste is just mostly light coffee and alcohol, they missed out so much here.

The feel is light but very warm on the tongue, easy to drink but not one is about all I'd want.

Overall, pretty disappointed. Started out great with some much aroma then just boring to finish.

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Photo of philbe311
3.8/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - A fingers worth of creamy medium brown foam with a layer of over sized bubbles sitting a top... Minimal retention gives way to a splotchy lacing... Deep dark brown color teetering on black with a little bit of light leaking in through the top...

S - The oak aging is evident from first whiff, but not overpowering... Loads of oak... Loads of wood... A certain booziness... Vanilla...

T - The oak again dominates the palette... Notes of wood and vanilla... The traditional Russian Imperial Stout are lost, but this is still this is a very satisfying brew...

M - On the fuller side of medium bodied... Muted carbonation... Sleek... Still a little on the thin side...

D - A nice and fairly subtle oak aged offerings which is a welcome departure from a lot of what's available on the market... Quaffable, even at 8.5% ABV... A vast improvement over its rather bland non-oaked counterpart, Old Heathen...

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Photo of CHickman
3.94/5  rDev 0%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Pours opaque black with a creamy 1/4 inch tan head that fades quickly. Decent lacing.

Smells of burnt sugar, charcoal, burnt wood, caramel, grains, red wine, coffee and alcohol.

Tastes of coffee, burnt malt, chocolate, caramel, fire burnt wood, bourbon, light hops, citrus and faint vanilla. Very tasty, and a real sipper that is similar to a cordial or bourbon, where the alcohol peeks through but is not offensive. Very tasty indeed, as the oak aging is evident in a good way.

Mouthfeel is smooth and creamy, with a malty and smoky dry finish that has basically no carbonation.

Really complex and a unique beer that goes down smooth like a great after dinner drink. Not one to pound all night, but a definite beer to seek out and savor.

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Photo of jpmclaug
3.28/5  rDev -16.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into my stone IRS snifter

A - Black with a small light tan head

S - sweet vanilla caramel flavors with a hint of whiskey at the end.

T - dark malty stout body with a hints of booze. Notes of vanilla and chocolate are present as well. Maybe a hint of coffee. Slightly metallic taste in the finish though really hurts the flavor.

M - heavy body with a fair amount of carbonation

D - Decent barrel aged stout. Not too hot but plenty of boozy notes to scratch that itch. A decent bang for your buck but not an extraordinary beer. Worth trying but I wouldn't go crazy seeking it out.

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Photo of irishking1977
4.26/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Thick, black menacing liquid with virtually no head and barely any lacing. Cold carbonated coffee filtered through an offensive linemen's jock strap? Doesn't look too great, but that might not matter too much.

S: Mild chocolate malts, caramel and sweetened coffee predominantly comes through. Some woodiness as well. Very appealing.

T: Woah. Sweet chocolate malts linger on the sides of the tongue, along with a hint of sweet coffee, as detected in the smell. Some oak woodiness comes through in the finish too.

M: Not as thick as it would appear to be. Less chalky than your average stout, which isn't bad, just not common. Less malts used in this than your typical stout perhaps? Decent carbonation as well.

D: Deceivingly drinkable, since it is a stout, with a relatively higher abv than your average beer, but not as hot or heavy as one might expect. I could have a few of these, which I look forward to do on the next beer purchase.

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Photo of jballeng
4.62/5  rDev +17.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Pours a uniform coffee-black with a short-lived creamy tan head, leaving an angelic ring of foam about two minutes from the pour. "Angelic" is the operative word here, as this beer is nothing short of heavenly. Immediately to the nose comes alcohol and dark fruit, especially raisins, prunes, and red apple. A subtle spiciness permeates the aroma, not unlike cumin and cinnamon, reminiscent of a fresh apple pie. Slightly thinner than many imperials I have tried, with very light lacing. Hits the palette with immediate strong bittersweet chocolate and cinnamon. Also, vanilla, mallow, and a very slight bitterness of a weak black coffee. A subtle finish of dates, licorice, and alcohol soon follows. Mouthfeel is smooth with immediate but subtle brown sugar sweetness with hints of molasses, followed by a residual fuzzy dryness. Overall this is a fantastic and complex beer, and in the running for my favorite imperial stout. As I write, a delayed and delightful aftertaste of spicy Cabernet is hitting the nose. A lovely, lovely beer.

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