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 Patrick999
3.86/5  rDev -2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This seems to not get much attention in the barrel-aged stout world. Let's investigate.

Poured into a snifter sufficiently black, with little or no light penetration. Lively head retention.

Aroma of black licorice, raisin, a little chocolate.

Fairly aggressive taste, this takes some of the coconut-vanilla I found in their Insanity, and marries it with chocolate malts, roast, and an earthy bitterness. Pretty dry with a long roasty-complex finish. A little alcohol presence, this drinks bigger than 8% IMO.

That said, an "easy drinking" barrel-aged stout, as the ABV is pretty manageable. Not a bad one to have in the fridge.

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3.64/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

From bottle to pint glass. No date or batch number indicated.

A: A creamy one and a half finger medium brown head struggles to stay afloat even after an aggressive pour. Collar remains. The body is black and completely opaque, even when held in front of light. Absolutely no lacing

S & T: Heavily malted with dark chocolate, roasted cappuccino and oatmeal raisin cookie on the nose and palate. Definite oak contribution which is complimented by the piney hops. I get very subtle and clean bourbon aromas and flavors despite, from my memory, the bottle not specifying that Heresy was aged in BOURBON oak barrels. For my tastes, this is actually a perfect amount. There are lightly sour/lactose qualities along with some dark fruits (mainly raisin), vanilla and a recognizable alcohol that is a little hot.

M: The fullness in the body is lacking. And the level of effervescence is too high in my opinion.

D: Definitely worth a try and by no means a bad beer. Just an average RIS when RIS's should be anything BUT average.

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

Recieved via trade with richbrew. Strong pour from 12oz bottle to snifter. Very black with thin mocha head. Malty, dark fruit, bitter chocolate, and roasted malts. Flavors follow nose with some barrel aging. Medium to full bodied and the obvious light carbonation for impys. Very drinkable- I loved this offering!

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

22oz. bomber: this one pours a vary dark, opaque brown color. There was a bit of a light brown head on it that doesn't leave any lacing. This one has a full nose. Some vanilla, oak, chocolate and a whiff of alcohol to the nose. For an an Imperial stout, it has a medium body. The flavor is good, but I think it suffers a bit from the lack of a fuller body. Vanilla, chocolate and maybe some faint fruits. It is just a little sweet. Decent, but there are better RIS' out there.

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

Reviewed from my notes. Served in a small goblet at the Lion's Pride. The beer has a very dark brown color. The foamy head is also brown, and it leaves some patchy lacing as it recedes. This beer is very opaque; no light whatsoever can get through. It looks like a good RIS should look. Most of the aroma is made up of a tasty, warm bourbon smell. I can also make out toasted malts and some oakiness, which was probably infused in the barrel aging process. This is what I think a bourbon barrel aged stout should smell like. The taste is immediately sweet, with a bit of crystal sugar that I can pick up as soon as the beer touches my tongue. This sweetness is quickly overpowered by all of the other flavors this beer has. I can taste smooth chocolate, toasted malts, and a good bourbon character. The sweetness is detectable again in the aftertaste, but also present is dark chocolate bitterness and bourbon. This is a very tasty stout. The beer is sticky and sweet, but not exceptionally full-bodied. There is a low level of carbonation. The bourbon gives each sip a slight burn, but it isn't that bad at all. I find the balance of sweetness and ABV to be quite good. In fact, for such a strong flavored beer, this is quite drinkable. My one glass goes down very well. I don't think I would have more than one or two servings of this beer in an evening because it is fairly intense; it's worth savoring. I want to seek out and pick up a few bottles of this to have on hand.

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Photo of steve8robin
4.15/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Tried this brew before and enjoyed, so I'll try again and review...

A: Super pitch black with a thick mocha colored head that fades at a medium rate. Very good.

S: Blend of creamy bourbon, oak, and sugars upfront. Malty chocolate in the middle and dark fruit on the backend.

T: Bitter fizzy port with booziness in the middle and dark fruit, chocolate, and water on the backend. Good.

M: Balance is good.

D: Goes down easy. Good.

All in all, this is a decent brew. Not the best in the style, but still a good example. Good to try at least once if you have access. Not worth having to trade for.

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Photo of Lerxst
3.55/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A-Pours black with a nice 1/2" mocha colored head that has decent retention and leaves a bit of lacing. Looks good.

S-Roasted malt, some bakers chocolate, a whiff of vanilla and bourbon.

T-Roasted malt, dark fruit, a bit of bourbon, chocolate and coffee. But there is an acrid aftertaste. It is terrible and it won't leave my tongue. I'd give it a 4 on taste if it weren't for the aftertaste.

M-A bit thin for the style.

D-That aftertaste really hurts the drinkability.

Overall, its not bad, but I'm not terribly impressed either.

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

Good imperial stout, mild oak character. This beer pours a healthy black with deep ruby highlights around the edges. The aroma is rich with brown sugar, some roast and a fair bit of fruity malt. There's a touch of oak, but it's milder than expected. The flavor is sweet with an odd finish. It's a good sweet, mild-ish impy stout. The feel is a tad under-carbonated, but it works fairly well with the flavor.

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Photo of djmichaelk
3.31/5  rDev -16%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle into a highball glass. Late night tasting. Review from notes.

A - Black as night, very little head. Light lacing down the sides of the glass that stuck around for the duration.

S - Surprisingly very little in the way of aroma, even as it warmed. A bit of dark chocolate, some oak, plenty of malt, maybe just a hint of black licorice. But pretty light for the style.

T - I get a lot of the typical flavors for the style, but for some reason, the oak is not working with the roastiness in this beer. I get some burnt brown sugar, dark chocolate, woodiness, and maybe a hint of coffee, but the flavors are not melding in a happy way for me.

M - It seems a bit watery for an impy stout. I usually expect a blanket for my tongue, but it's not happening here. Another disappointment.

D - With the (somewhat) high ABV for this one, I expected to be feeling it by now, but not so much this time, which works in its favor. The flavor just isn't jiving with me right now, so that's the limiting factor here.

Well, after hearing/reading such good things, I was disappointed to say the least. This is the initial review, so I'll try it again when I get back to the east coast and see if things change.

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Photo of Hoops4life511
3.87/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from 12oz brown bottle into snifter, no visible freshness date.

Appearance: Vigorous pour produced a quarter inch dark tan head that quickly fell to an off white cap. Beer is opaque black with a rich amber color appearing through the edges when held toward the light.

Smell: Smell is what you would expect from a stout, malty with hints of dark chocolate and a little vanilla. No sign of the oak showing through the nose, but a little alcohol harshness toward the end.

Taste: Roasty with some alcohol burn. Sweet taste of vanilla, not bitter at all, with a slight oak apparent on the finish. Very pleasant.

Mouthfeel: Thick and smooth, medium to full body, not overly carbonated but small bubbles are apparent. Dry finish, but something just not selling me.

Drinkability: Harsh alcohol is only apparent for a second leading you right back to a second and third sip, but this thick rich beer feels like a dessert in itself. Quite easy to drink one, but any more than two would be a challenge.

Overall, a very good beer, one I would love to have after a nice dinner in place of dessert or paired with a vanilla ice cream. Not quite living up to the price tag to put it in the rotation, but one well worth a try.

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

Pours pitch black, with a light collar of espresso colored foam sitting on top. Roasted malt, black coffee, oak, vanilla and milk chocolate on the nose. The taste is pretty similar to the nose, with the good roasty malt flavors accented nicely by oak, bourbon, milk chocolate and a bit of coconut. The oak aging works really well on this one; a huge improvement over Old Heathen.

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Photo of MetalHopHead6
3.76/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Weyerbacher Heresy is smooth, sweet, and boozy.

It poured black with a short dark tan head. It smelled like wood and whiskey and tasted very sweet, with notes of wood, dark fruit, and vanilla. The feel was extremely smooth and viscous with a lingering sweet dark fruit dryness. It's slippery but not creamy.

As stouts go, Heresy is fruity and sweet. I did not taste any coffee or chocolate. It's a good after-dinner sipper.

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Photo of metter98
4.08/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: It is very dark black and came with a thick head that quickly settled down into a thin layer of tan bubbles on the surface.
S: There are light aromas of malt, hops, and alcohol.
T: The initial flavor is very rich and malty while there is a little dryness from the hops in the finish. Overall, the malt and hop flavors are very well balanced.
M: It feels medium-bodied on the palate and slightly creamy.
D: For an imperial stout, it's relatively easy to drink. Any traces of alcohol are very well hidden.

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Photo of Tom052
4.32/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is the first Weyerbacher beer I have ever had and it made quite the impression. It had a very smooth pour with a solid jet black color. The beer just had a very relaxed look to it. Heresy has a strong malty/chocolate smell with just enough alcohol not to overpower it and surprise, surprise, it smells just like it tastes...delicious. It's an excellent mix of alcohol and a roasted taste.
Overall, a really solid beer and I'm am sad to see it has been retired. If you happen to see one, pick it up while you still can.

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

12oz bottle split with onix1agr.

A- super dark brown almost completely black. Small skin of mocha color head that completely vanishes.

S- lots of creme brule and burt coffee. The slightest hint of oak.

T- espresso and dark chocolate. Some vanilla and oak. Boozy and burt with molasses and brown sugar.

M- medium to thin body with a medium carb. Very dry.

D- its was alright but in a world full of stouts in and out of wood this was alright.

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Photo of Stunner97
4.33/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance- dark pitch black in color with no light what so ever getting through this one, pours a tan head that very quickly disapates away

Smell- slight oak can be noticed as well as plenty of roasted and slight bittersweet chocolate notes, faint vanilla and dark chocolate, very nice nose

Taste- lots of chocolate on this stout with almost a slight kick of vanilla, the wood can be faintly picked up in the background, very slight bitterness in finish but alot of roasted malts dominate, slight boozy alcohol flavor though not really in an offensive way, raisons and slight rum flavor, raisonette like, not the most complex stout ever but very solid none the less

Mouthfeel- medium bodied with a sharp crisp carbonation on the finish with slight booze warmth

Drinkability- very enjoyable and one that I could see having more then one of in a session, its a very nice beer with an enjoyable and nice change of pace from some of the overally bitter and to hopped russian imperials, more sweet the dry but not cloying at all, easy smooth drinking with a taste though not super powerful that really grows on you as you go, one I would probably try again

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

I poured into a pint glass to a small mocha head. It is black in color. The smell roasted malts, chocolate, and alcohol. The taste is dark roasted malt, kind of chocolate and coffee, and I get alcohol and vanilla/oak. It has a nice viscous mouthfeel. Overall, it is a pretty good beer.


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Photo of mfunk9786
4.33/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Weyerbacher Old Heathen Imperial Stout aged in oak bourbon barrels.

A: Pours like motor oil, very thin mocha head.

S: Chocolate and bourbon are the most noticeable smells, but there is a hint of fresh berries and vanilla as well. Not quite as fragrant as other beers of this style, but still quite nice.

T: Bourbon and dark chocolate are the stars yet again, in addition to a sweet vanilla taste. Lacks the roasty taste that can be found in most imperial/double stouts. Still a very tasty beer.

M: Despite the very thin head, this beer is atypically fizzy for its style. Could probably be a bit more smooth.

D: If you're a fan of the style, I could see drinking one or two of these in a session.

Well done, Weyerbacher. It'd be nice to try a stout designed particularly for barrel aging rather than a preexisting product that's been barrel aged.

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Photo of pmccallum86
2.8/5  rDev -28.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a deep dark brown color with a small coffee colored thin bubbly head.

Smell is licorice and chocolate. Some roasted malt and dried fruit aromas as well.

Taste is bland and fizzy. Not too much going on here, some roasted malt flavors and cocoa come through, but really not much else. I feel the high carbonation really blocks our a lot of the other apsects.

Mouthfeel is thin and fizzy, not very good for an RIS.

Drinkablility is alight, pretty dissapointing RIS.

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

Thanks to fbm115 for this!

Poured into Old Guardian snifter.

Pours 1/4 finger of light tan head. Fades down and leaves some splattered lace. Color pours a dark copper brown, but settles black.

Aroma: Oak, vanilla, cherries. raisins, molasses, and chocolate. Some roasted malt.

Taste: Tons of roasted and smoked malted. Bacon comes to mind. The smoked malt covers a lot of the beer up. I hardly get any chocolate. Some dark fruit notes and maybe a hit of toffee.

Mouthfeel: Roasted, smooth, and a bit creamy. Lots of carbonation with a medium to full body. Ends very dry and roasted.

Overall, I was a bit disappointed by this beer. It didn't compete with the other RISs that I have had. Relatively drinkable, but not something I want to much of.

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Photo of nickd717
4.19/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

12oz bottle shared by mfielden. Thanks, Mark.

Pours jet black with a small fading than head. Decent, but not great, looking beer.

Aroma is chocolate, roast, and caramel. Really smells excellent. The oak and bourbon from the -bal 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 heft to it. Smooth mouthfeel though.

Very drinkable for the style, and especially a bourbon -bal aged version. I have two more of these in the cellar and would like to see what this beer does with a little age.

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

Chilled 12oz bottle into a glass. Shared by mfielden at a tasting tonight. Thanks, Mark!

A: Pours a pitch black body with about two inches of tan-colored head. It remains for a couple of minutes before falling into a light collar and broken film on the brew. No lacing.

S: Vanilla, some oak, cream, coconut, sweet chocolate, coffee. Really restrained and tantalizing bourbon-caramel aroma.

T: Follows the nose pretty well. Leads off with a 'white' sweetness in vanilla, cream, and coconut before introducing a mildly tannic mid-taste in oak elements. Progresses into sweet chocolate and coffee, with a very light roasted malt presence. Leans toward the sweeter side throughout, with some hints of dark berry. Bourbon-caramel in the finish. Beautiful balance. The first time I had this, my palate wasn't able to appreciate the nuances of this beer. Now I'm wild about them.

M: Medium-full bodied. Very low carbonation to produce a creamy body, but it doesn't hurt the flavor, so I can't complain. Well-masked ABV. The aftertaste is on the sweet and creamy side.

D: This has a very mellow flavor profile. I'm impressed by how drinkable and smooth they managed to brew a 'big' beer in an 'extreme' style. Quite an accomplishment.

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

Pours opaque black with very thin head, no lacing, minimal legs.

Aroma is vanilla and chocolate, a little darker coffe malt creeps in, a little subdued but pleasant. A little bit of booT aroma as it warms.

Flavor is slightly booZy, with some dark malt, very little roast, or it's getting covered up by the barrel. Very nicely balances, tipping to the sweeter side.

Lighter mouthfeel than I would expect, leaves a nice sweetness in the mouth.

Thanks to gamanley for the bottle.

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Photo of Arenbeer
4.32/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle into a snifter glass

A- Pours a solid black with a thin light brown head on top that has some super tight bubbles and leaves decent lacing as it goes down.

S- Strong oak smell hits you up front with a sweetness from the bourbon and coffee.

T- Dark Roasted malts compliment a strong woody bourbon taste followed not to far from a great coffee backround. Also hidden in there is what tastes like some sweet dark fruits that blend it all together.

M- A full bodied stout no doubt. Moderate carbonation at first that dosen't stick around leaving a great alcohol fullness and slight sting on the toungue. Slight bitter dryness leaves you wanting to drink more.

Overall I got to say this is a great Imperial Stout. Very well balanced in every way, the alcohol is there but blended perfectly with the complex arsenal of flavors. And the lower carbonation and bitterness makes this brew so smooth and easy to drink.


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Photo of SpeedwayJim
3.33/5  rDev -15.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from a 12oz. bottle into a Blue Point snifter.

A: Gentle pour yields a massive, semi-coarse 2.5 finger chocolate head with nice legs. Beer is a dense, opaque black. Lacing is patchy and has a nice waterfall pattern with great stick.

S: Nose is boozy, plums, overripe figs, subtle liquorice, chocolate, and toffee. Dominant characteristic here is the booze though and it serves to mask the other flavors.

T: Dark fruit, booze, and sweet soy sauce invade the senses. I know that this is barrel aged, but still, its a bit over-the-top for me. Alcohol makes this one hot and quite one-sided, covering all the more subtle flavors. Further sweetens in the end with overripe figs and plums. Finish is pleasantly clean, accented by a final shot of booziness. Chocolate, cocoa, and other "brownie-like" flavors are noticeably lacking and their absence places further emphasis on the strong alcoholic taste.

M: Medium bodied, more carbonated than most, and this becomes even more apparent in a less than smooth mouth. Incredibly hot for its relatively (in its style) low abv. Slightly watery in the mouth. Finish is very clean for its style and much appreciated.

D: An average RIS that I feel tries to go over the top with complexity and strength, but ends up failing simply because of too much booze. Chocolate malt characteristics that would have worked greatly to balance the taste, are, as stated before, lacking. Not a bad beer by any means but not one that I'll be dying to try again.

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