Heresy | Weyerbacher Brewing Co.

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
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Ratings: 2,258 |  Reviews: 1,012
Photo of womencantsail
3.88/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: The pour borders on black with a thin layer of tan colored foam.

S: A fairly mild nose overall with some notes of dark chocolate, roasted malt, and maybe a bit of coffee.

T: The flavor is a bit more robust than the nose would let on. The primary flavors are typical of an RIS with some coffee and chocolate, along with a bit of sweetness followed by the usual roast.

M: The body is medium with a fairly low level of carbonation.

D: Not a bad beer, and one of the better beers I've had from Weyerbacher. The alcohol is well hidden, so no complaints there.

 561 characters

Photo of kingcrowing
4.05/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle poured into a chalice.

Pours a dark black with almost no head at all but eventually a very thing dark brown head forms and fades. Nose is really strong and boozy right from the pour. You can smell the bourbon from far away.

Taste is surprisingy not too boozy, it's very rich and complex with an initial sharp bite that actually finishes very cleanly. There is a light woody flavor and subtle bourbon that's not as strong as the nose would lead on to. Mouthfeel is decent although a bit light.

 506 characters

Photo of BZero007
4.15/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from bottle in to a snifter at just below room temp. Brew flows out black straight down the side of the glass to form a perfect head. This is one of those stouts that need a little help to get a good formation. Head is a dark brown creamy color and gives off great aromas of Bourbon, molasses, with a hint of roasted chocolate smell. The flavor of the Bourbon comes threw very well with a bit of chocolaty oak taste to it. The carbonation is at a appropriate level where it will not destroy your mouth, but present enough to bring flavors threw. This can easily be a session beer for a social event.

Definitely one of my favorite Bourbon flavored stouts.

 662 characters

Photo of matty
4.12/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pitch black colored beer with a slowly fading creamy head.Aroma is chocolate and whiskey.Taste is chocolate,sweet cream and burnt malts.Very smooth for a higher alcohol beer.I would highly recommend this beer and it is a no brainer that I would purchase this again.

 265 characters

Photo of ThoughtPolice
4.69/5  rDev +19%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

First thing I want to say is, I hope this beer is not really retired as the BA list says. That means I got one of the last bottles at the beer store, and that I might not be able to get more when I go back tomorrow. This beverage is amazing.

Blackity black. Leaves thin layer of head, mostly in a ring around the edge. Not much lacing.

Malt (as in chocolate milk shake type malt. Not beer malt). Chocolate. Smokiness. I smell hops but can't describe their aroma.

Fan-freakin-tastic. Too much like a milk shake to exist as a beer. The malt sits in your mouth for minutes after a sip. And it tastes just like a damn smoky ass milkshake.
I normally wouldn't flip out over something this unbeerlike, but I like it a lot.

Mouthfeel & Drink:
Epic and great. Mouthfeel lingers in a creamy stout kind of way, but with a mix of that ice creamy sweetness... I could drink a lot of these.

Buy it if you can. Please for the love of the Flying Spaghetti Monster. Buy it.
I can't believe I gave a beer two 5's

 1,036 characters

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

A: the beer is a dark black color with no sign of bubbles from carbonation coming to the surface. the head was a very interesting dark red but faded quickly.

S: very aromatic almost woody smell to it

T: chocolate and grains. upon it first hitting the tastebud its really intense alcohol taste especially if you breath in while its in your mouth. this fades to more of its real taste chocolate and grains. and finishes bitter and delightful

M: smooth and creamy with a little bit of carbonation. finishes dry.

D: not somthing for a hot day when you need something refreshing however not bad. not hard to drink at all cause i really take to this kind of beer.

overall: i liked it, not much seperates this beer from most others of its type except that redish head but if you like this kind of beer give it a try. bought it at a beer store for 3$ for a single bottle and would have it at a bar if it was on tap.

 912 characters

Photo of alcstradamus
3.4/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Reviewed from notes

Black pour with a finger of head that leaves some nice lacing. Aroma is a very pleasant blend of chocolate, oak, toffee, floral hops, boozy heat, and marshmallow.

The flavor doesn't quite bring the complexity that was promised by the nose, but I suppose this is still decent. Toasted malts and caramel sweetness make up most of the flavor profile. Some dark fruit is present in the finish along with the oak. The body on this is on the thin side of medium, definitely could use a bit more bulk under it. Drinkability is solid though unspectacular. There are just too many other similar beers that I would reach for first.

Overall, a decent beginner's RIS

 678 characters

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

Pours a dark black color with a huge poof of brown head, quickly diminishing into a small cap, decent retention, minimal lacing. Smell is of dark roasted grains supported by whiffs of burbony booze and dry wood, faint touch of chocolate and prune. Taste is a rather mellow blend of burnt grains, dark chocolate, burbon, dry wood with neary a hint of the dark fruit that i detected in smell. No vanilla from the oak - odd. I was expecting bold and got mellow. Dry, fuller side of medium bodied, slightly creamy, minimal boozy aftertaste, some sips border on watery. I sampled this on draft recently at a beer fest and it was almost like a different brew. Good beer, just different from my expectation - could use a little more assertiveness. Thanks to philbe311 for picking this one up for me.

 792 characters

Photo of ksimons
4.06/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A-Midnight black with a fluffy brown head.

S-Smells nicely of bourbon, roasted malt and dark coffee. Really great smell overall when you put your nose in it.

T-roasted malt, chocolate, coffee, bourbon sweetness.

M-medium body, little to no carbonation, dry coffee aftertaste

Overall, very drinkable with a decent body.

 323 characters

Photo of fastsrt
4.52/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle in snifter

A: black, one finger brown head that is tight like espresso foam

S: vanilla, oak, bourbon, lots of oak.

T: oak, malts, cream, vanilla, sweetness, the roasted malts and the oak work in unison to create amazing complexity. this is one of those beers that will make you stop and think each time you take a drink.

M: so so smooth wow. low carbonation, full body.

D: lower abv for RIS make this one's drinkability super high. this is one awesome brew goes down like water. I got to hunt down some more of this one to lay down. bet it ages well.

 571 characters

Photo of dasenebler
3.82/5  rDev -3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

From the 12oz. bottle (2010) Heresy pours jet black with a tan head. Not terribly viscous, with decent retention and lacing. This beer is aged in oak, but it's oak that was used for bourbon, so really, it's a bourbon-barrel stout.

Rich nose of sweet bourbon, vanilla, overripe dark fruit, and caramel.

Flavor is complex, with lots of boozy bourbon flavors floating around in a malty, roasty stout. There is a buttery/diacetyl character that seems to be the Weyerbacher signature. I get that flavor with many of their beers, and sometimes it's off-putting. Here though, that signature works quite well. Finish is warming, with a touch of hop bitterness. This is a good stout with a lot going on. The mouthfeel could have been more full and creamy. Medium carbonation.

I feel that Heresy might benefit from a year in the cellar, but fresh, it's still a tasty offering from Weyerbacher.

 888 characters

Photo of cdizinno
3.51/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a tulip glass from a 12oz bottle with label as pictured.

A: Pitch black with a nice fluffy dark tan head that falls quickly and leaves minimal lacing.

S: Burnt cherries or dark fruits and an overpowering alcohol scent are initial aromas. Some sweet roasted caramel and chocolate after further tries.

T&M: Smooth crispness. Thick bodied. Quick roasted bite with apparent oak aged flavors. Malt sweetness with some mild hops. Finishes with a tangy, fruity flavor that I can't really describe.... maybe dark fruits.

The oak character is mild and the alcohol is masked well in the flavors. Not anything I would try again, only because I am not a stout fan, but this is a quality stout. The flavors remind me a belgian dubel brew. Definitely worth a try if you are a stout fan.

 790 characters

Photo of Mistofminn
4.22/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I've had the regular Old Heathen before, and wasn't all that impressed. Maybe throwing it in some old Kentucky bourbon barrels will make it better.

Pours a deep black, with a half finger of brown sugar colored head. Decent retention and leaves some nice lacing. Starts out strong.

The nose starts out strong with roasted malts and chocolate. The barrel notes are soft, but I pick up light bourbon, oak and vanilla characters. This smells pretty good, much better than the base beer.

The taste is, much like the normal Old Heathen, very muted. I get light roasted malt, chocolate, an earthiness and woodyness from the barrels as well as a very light bourbon note. It's good, but definitely not as strong as it could be.

Mouthfeel is creamy and smooth, with a low carbonation. Drinkability is great, alcohol isn't a problem in this one.

Overall, a much better beer than the base Old Heathen. It has more complexity and depth, more flavor and less alcohol. All around, it's a better beer and one I enjoyed much more after it had been aged in barrels.

 1,052 characters

Photo of SkeeterHawk
4.03/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I picked this beer up at Knightly Spirits a few days ago, and now I am in Daytona for Bike Week...and it is time to enjoy this one.

Appearance: Pours a super black color with no light visible when held to the light. There is a 1/4" head of creamy tan bubbles on top of the beer and even a minute or so after the pour, there is still a solid offering of foam on top of the beer.

Aroma: I initially got the required roasty malt character but I could also pick up the dry wood from the aging process. There is a little bit of Chocolate in here, but it plays a supporting role.

Taste: The flavor has significantly more chocolate than I thought from the aroma. The malt is the key player in here, but there is also some hops in the flavor that were hidden in the aroma of the cold beer. The beer itself is medium to full bodied with ample carbonation, so that the beer goes down pretty smooth despite its 8%ABV.

Opinion: This is a pretty darn good beer. I like the malt complexity and how the wood aging adds a significant amount of character to the beer. That said, you could nit-pick the beer by saying that it would be nice if it had more alcoholic presence, more age, etc...but regardless, it is a good beer and one that I wouldn't mind drinking again.

 1,256 characters

Photo of branimal9
3.65/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Current vintage, poured into my trusty New Belgium tulip glass...

appearance - poured out a dark, rich brown with a sweet looking sandy brown head, about an inch or so.

aroma - bourbon hits you pretty quick, followed by some chocolaty sweetness.

taste - bourbon flavor is not overpowering, but restrained a bit compared to the aroma, as well as some of the other barrel-aged braws I've had lately. Flavors of dark chocolate dominate.

mouthfeel - full bodied and creamy. very pleasant.

drinkability - quite drinkable for the style, naturally so because it's not quite as big as some of those more aggressive BA stouts popular right now, but also because it is nicely balanced. sort of a quasi-sessionable BA RIS, if you will.

overall, I quite liked this little guy. packed full of flavor, but at 8%, it won't make your head spin. it'll just make you nice, warm and happy.

 877 characters

Photo of Cyberkedi
4.06/5  rDev +3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a deep, opaque black-brown with a fairly thick and fine-bubbled light tan head, quite appealing. Aroma is strong, smoky and fruity with a good alcohol ting like brandy and a subtle hint of unsweetened chocolate. Flavor is more like a barleywine than a stout, fruity and chocolaty with a brandy-like bite. The fruit and chocolate aspects actually complement each other rather than fighting it out on the tongue. There are also hints of smoke or charcoal and licorice. Texture is smooth as milk, yet edgy and a little tingly.

 529 characters

Photo of jzeilinger
3.92/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Pours a motor oil black with no light getting through. Nice one finger tan head. It's impossible to tell if there's any carbonation because it's so dark, but there are bubbles sticking to the sides of the glass midway down.

Aroma is dark roasted malt with a hint of caramel. If this beer has any weakness, it's the nose. For an Imperial Stout, I was expecting a much bolder aroma. Heresy lost some points here, unfortunately.

Taste is strong bourbon presence around half way through that sticks around for the remainder of the sip. Dark roasted malts eventually give way to a slightly coffee-like aftertaste. Vanilla, caramel, bittersweet chocolate, cocoa, and traces of plum and figs. Starts out sweet and migrates to a strong bourbon finish that warms the throat and as it goes down, warms the stomach as well. The hops do surface for a brief moment at the very end.

Mouthfeel is medium body, but again, not the typical Russian Imperial Stout character. Texture is very smooth on the tongue and finishes dry and sticky. Very drinkable for a Russian Imperial.

Had a small sample of this at the Weyerbacher Brewery and it didn't really appeal to me. Had a full glass tonight and now have a greater appreciation for it once my taste buds started to settle in. A very noteworthy beer, worth checking out.

 1,307 characters

Photo of DrDemento456
4.43/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - Black and viscous. Awesome.
S - Smells of toffee, chocolate, and coffee malts
T - Warming alcohol and oak with slight chocolate tones.
M - Heavy but delicious. A nice RIS.
D - Well if it gets cheaper I will have more of it but founders IRS it's my go to beer.

 263 characters

Photo of fairdinkum2
4.2/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Just tasted a Paradox Islay oak barrel stout and wanted to try something in the same vein.

Problem is that Heresy and Paradox are almost night and day as stouts. Paradox is cold, brooding and mysterious. Heresy is warm and inviting.

Poured in to a tulip glass from a 12 oz. bottle, the stout formed a thick, lumpy, dark sand colored head, which dissipated to a thin collar with medium lacing.

Gentle chocolate and vanilla nose warmed by malt and alcohol notes.

Impressive flavor. Very inviting, rich milk chocolate, malt and sweet alcohol notes with a long finish. Alcohol does not predominate, but noticeable as I empty the glass.

Very nice mouthfeel. Definitely a keeper.

 678 characters

Photo of bamadog
4.12/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Thanks to my buddy Ross for picking this up and offering it at a recent dinner and tasting. Pour is from the bottle to a pint glass and the review is from notes taken on 3/1/10.

Appearance: Pour is black and starts with a one finger creamy and dark tan head with nice retention that fades to a thick and full skim; body is entirely opaque and glugs out like a thinner oil; nice washes and spots of lacing are left along the sides of the glass.

Smell: Big whiff of alcohol at first, but then it really mellows out and the dark chocolate and burnt roasty malts sneak in with a mild dark cherry fruitiness underneath it all; slightly oaky vanilla here and there.

Taste: Quite nice -- very dark and roasty malts with the dark bittersweet chocolate; the mild cherry-like presence is definitely underneath everything; slight woodiness to it, but it's minimal; alcohol is present at the end and could be blended a bit better, or perhaps if this sat for 6-12 months it might smooth out a bit.

Mouthfeel: Smooth, thick and creamy; almost a grittiness is left on the palate; nice sticky/dry coating is left on the roof of the mouth and the gums are left a little tingly; belly is left quite warm.

Drinkability: A great stout, to be sure; smell, flavor and mouthfeel are all there, but the ABV is too high for too much and it could be blended just a bit better; definitely worth picking up though.

 1,391 characters

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

A- Not fully black on the pour. Big fluffy sticky sand colored head sticks around for a long time as it throws lots and lots of lacing.

S- Sweet caramel, vanilla, chocolate, raisins and lots of oak. It is very delicious but it is not very strong.

T- Like the nose the taste isn't very strong, but whats there is very delicious. Oak and cocoa dominate. Mostly sweet and heavily malty but there is a quick flash of hops towards the end, right before a cocoa finish.

M- Very very very dry. Body is not quite as full as I would like but the finish on this beer is very good. I like a dry beer and this is one of the driest Ive ever had.

D- Lower ABV for the style, not completely heavy on the stomach and quite smooth and well balanced all make this beer pretty drinkable.

 772 characters

Photo of ABOWMan
4.23/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

Poured a fluffy caramel colored head of fine bubbles nearly two fingers thick which dissipated within a relatively short time period. Still better than most stouts of similar ABV.

The aroma reminded me of a good bourbon (read Makers Mark) with added vanilla plus a hint of chocolate.

The flavor is bust'n out wonderful. Roasted malts, bourbon, vanilla, chocolate with a nicely balanced bitter/sweet profile.

Mouthfeel is as rich and full as the color (Which is nearly opaque).

A wonderful sipping ale that is neither too full or light for a full bodied stout with a respectable ABV. If all stouts were like this, I think I could really fall in love with them for everyday enjoyment.

Great job Weyerbacher! Keep up the good work.

 746 characters

Photo of m1ked
4.53/5  rDev +15%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Yet another WF Bowery beer room pick up.

A- Pours blackness, with a good 1 inch moussey sand colored head that has a uniform tight appearance except for a couple of large bubbles that pop here & there. Head slowly shrinks down and leaves a foam moustache around the entire glass.

S- Richness, vanilla, woody, soft bourbon, subdued coffee, some raisin, and rich dark chocolate. Smells delicioso.

T- I get some cocoa, chocolate, vanilla and the bourbon hit that lingers in a good way. There is a little smokey, woody throughout. After taste of slightly burnt marshmallow that leaves a lingering sweetness.

M- Not as heavy/full as I thought it wold be. Medium-moderate body, creay smooth mouthfells, a little oily after the swallow.

D- This is a great treat of a beer. Out of the BA Impy's, this has to rank up there in the top 5 for me. A must try.

 851 characters

Photo of Mavajo
3.45/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

Pours jet black with a moderate tan head - light lacing. Taste and aroma were predominantly a charcoal/burnt sensation - I had trouble getting past it. Behind that assault, there were notes of bourbon and maybe vanilla. Honestly, the charcoal/burn taste (presumably from the roasted malts?) was completely overwhelming. Body is fantastic - smooth, full and almsot velvety.

All in all, it took me an hour to finish this thing. Maybe my tastebuds were whacked, or maybe I got a bad bottle, but this really wasn't very tasty. I had a similar experience with Peche Mortel, but upon trying again, the second bottle was much better -- so maybe I'll do the same thing with Heresy and give it a second chance.

 702 characters

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

A - motor oil with a finger width head that fades into a thin sudsy film. As it warms, caramel begins to appear. And if there were ever such a thing as a "sticky sugary aroma", this has it.

S - coconut hits your first followed by vanilla, and then some booze - kinda like spiced rum. extremely faint malt in the background.

T - coconut, vanilla, chocolate up front and some autumn spices seem framed by a mild bitterness on the front end, the sides of the tongue, and in the finish. alcoholic warmth builds from inside the chest. And then chocolate returns in the finish. So much character. Even the booze has depth.

M - full bodied and thick; soothing

D - I'm not sure what is meant by "drinkability". I like taking big gulps of this. And, as I write more of this review, I reach for the glass to take another gulp. I guess the drinkability is good, maybe better?

I like this. I got a single from Hop City for $1.99 and they seem to have many, many six packs of this stuff stacked up front. This Friday, I'm getting me some. Delicious!

 1,042 characters

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

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

    Learn More
  • Our Community

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

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

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