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 drgonzo3705
5/5  rDev +26.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A: Pours a pretty black with a nice fluffy tan colored head that leaves nice lacing in my snifter.

S: Mmmm. Chocolate, molasses, and oak all tie together very nicely as it hits your nose.

T: Chocolate again not so much of the molasses in the taste but the oak aroma fills your mouth, very enjoyable.

M: Thick, creamy, mild carbonation, and a bit of hops.

D: Very drinkable. Being only 8% for this big of a stout is fantastic. I could easily polish off a 4 pack in.a night (have done it and will again). I look forward to this again next year!

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

A- Appearance is a very dark brown or black color with little to no head and some lacing in the glass. Looks very yummy in the glass.
S- Smell is of bourbon and oak with a hint of roasted malt
T- This beer was way better tasting than I thought it would be. Right up front it hits you with a oaky, bourbon chocolate taste but then finishes with a nice roasty chocolate taste with a hint of vanilla that lingers in your mouth.
M- Mouthfeel is very nice, velvety and not to "thick"
D- The price of the 4 pack will keep me from drinking too many of these but if I had unlimited funds I would pick this up everytimeI went to the store.

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Photo of Nowhereman529
3.92/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours very dark brown to black from the bottle with a reasonably dark tan, creamy head lining the top. The foam reduces to a fine rim within a few minutes and leaves just a bit of lace as the beer disappears.
S: Smell is complex: chocolate, bourbon, a hint of coffee and molasses. Averall a sweet smell with the promise of a little hoppy bitterness at the end.
T: This beer is big on taste upfront and subtle in the aftertaste. The chocolate and dark malt shine through pretty strikingly with the bourbon and a little oak and vanilla coming out in the aftertaste.
M: This brew has a very velvety feel to it. The combination of small bubble carbonation and thick beer make for easy drinking.
D: This is an all around solid russian imperial stout. Personally at 8% I could only take maybe two of these a night, but the go down easy and are a good example of the style.

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

I did not expect this beer to be as good as it was. Awesome overall, the price was steep but I would glady get this guy again. Pours a black color with a decent tan head. Smells of sweet malts and chocolate. Taste of sweet chocolate in the background and sweet malts from the oak barrels.. a nice flavor. Mouthfeel has no complaints, very smooth and goes down great. I want another.

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Photo of iasanlee
3.21/5  rDev -18.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Pours a black opaque color with a modest tan head. Nose is of roasted malts and mild coffee/dark chocolate. A light raisin and oak aroma. Flavor is again roasted malts (coffee). Vanilla bean/oak, but very watery. Body is medium with a low carbonation feel. This beer is boring. It lacks all the adveture and depth a good RIS. Someone hook them up with some unfermentables and complexity.

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

12oz bottle poured into a goblet.

A: Nice and black. Tan head that dissipates in a hurry.

S: Hints of coffee, licorice, cocoa, vanilla, and bourbon.

T: Much sweeter than the typical RIS. Espresso, vanilla, molasses, and a hint of bourbon. Hops are buried under an avalanche of malt and roastiness. Nice roasty aftertaste.

M: Appropriately dessertishly creamy.

D: Wow. Big thumbs up. This just might be my new go-to RIS. It'll definitely be my go-to dessert beer.

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

A lot of this beer is pretty standard for the style, not much of it stuck out as a great characteristic or a strength, really.. Its very malty and has a lot of dark fruit flavor and smell to it, similar to a strong bock more so than a RIS.. The mouth is a bit thinner but this adds a bit to the drinkability.. (my girlfriend liked it, and she usually never likes thicker, dark beers),but I found these to be weak points.. Overall Its certainly good, though not great.. I would gladly drink it again and choose it over many other options, but I wouldn't go out of my way to buy it again.

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

This was the very first bourbon barrel aged beer that I ever had when I started drinking craft beer.
Pours very dark brown with a nice mocha head. Smell is slight bourbon. Taste is more of the bourbon with a nice hint of vanilla. Good mouthfeel, creamy. Good beer, but not best in class.

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Photo of nickfl
4.42/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A - One and a half fingers of dark, orange-brown foam on top of a dark, black body with no hints of light showing through. The head recedes slowly and leaves little lace on the glass.

S - Chocolate with a hint of chocolate and lots of malt sweetness and caramel to back it all up. Secondary hop notes blend well with the dark grain and some wood and vanilla are hiding in the background as well.

T - Lots of sweet chocolate and toffee and a mellow, raw oak note. Caramel and toffee dominate in the middle and some more coffee like notes emerge towards the finish. A nice mocha flavor lingers on the palate, reminiscent of chocolate covered coffee beans, and some subtle hop flavors appear as well with a combination of malt and hop bitterness that just barely balances the substantial sweetness.

M - Thick, creamy body, medium-low carbonation, and a sweet finish.

D - Very drinkable for such a big beer. The flavors and complexity lead one to expect a bigger alcohol punch than the relatively modest 8%, but it seems like this allows the beer to remain drinkable while also being more than sufficiently complex. The level of bitterness is also relatively low, and this allows the excellent malty character to shine through. At the back of all of this is a subtle, smooth oak note that is a nice change of pace from the extreme wood flavor that one often sees in barrel aged beers. Overall a very nice, somewhat atypical, Imperial Stout.

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Photo of dukedevil0
4.45/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A 12oz from a 4-pack I picked up at Jungle Jims in Fairfield, OH. Really only wanted a single, but oh well!

A: Pours dark black with two fingers of mocha/dark khaki head that settles down to an attractive thin layer...lacing on the glass.

S: coffee, chocolate, vanilla, roasted malts, a woodsy scent that i may be inventing since i know it's aged in oak

T: wow, this is good! tastes just like the scents, but oh so smooth and the flavors are all very well, chocolate, vanilla, roasted malts, and some woodiness

M: really creamy and just what i like out of a RIS...this beer is oh so smooth (on my second bottle, yes it's a little thin)

D: Super easy to drink, alcohol is masked and the flavor is great

I'm super glad that they weren't selling this in singles, because I will make GREAT use out of the remaining three bottles.

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Photo of coldmeat23
4.2/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

GLASS: Snifter
TEMP: Cellared @ approx 45 degrees

Pours a beautiful, deep, rich, dark black color. Three-finger head of thick, dark brown, foamy goodness. Retention is good. Lacing is sporadic, but very sticky.

Large presence of oak in this one. Huge hints of bourbon. Sweet vanilla toffees. Over-ripened dark fruits. Thick maltiness. Medium spiciness.
This one smells very creamy, if you can understand that.

Wow, that's much smoother and more well balanced than I expected, after that nose.
The oak presence is still rather large. Big chocolate milkshake flavor. Vanilla toffee sweetness. Perfect level of spiciness. Good smokey presence. Sweet molasses. A dark bread quality. Light notes of dark fruits.

Thick, full body on this one, and rightfully so. Big, smooth and creamy. Low level of carbonation, which does this one right.

Although this one is thick and rich enough that you probably wouldn't drink more than one or two, at a time, it's very drinkable. It just goes down so smooth and easy.

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Photo of Cavalier92
4.22/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Holy Crap Batman!

This is a HUGE Russian Imperial Stout, even by the standard of the style.

The Old Heathen Stout, aged in bourbon barrels picks up notes of oak, caramel and a quick hit of estery alcohol.

This is a thick-bodied, nearly black brew with a thick head of small caramel bubbles that dissipates to a clingy lace.

It's a thick feeling beer in your mouth that delivers on the vanilla scent but adds some malt and a rasiny flavor without being overly sweet. You can't sit at the bar all night drinking these, but one or two sure are fun!

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

I poured Heresy from a 12 ounce bottle into a standard pint glass. It is jet black with a thin tan head, minimal lacing. The most dominant smell is sweet whiskey. The brew is sweet and smooth. There are hints of alcohol, oak, smoke and a slight hoppy bitterness. It is a full bodied beer that is meant to be sipped and enjoyed. I really like this one.

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Photo of StrangeBrewer76
4.28/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This beer pours thick and black as sin with a light brown to dark tan head.

I smell toffee, chocolate, alcohol and coffee.

The subtleties of the taste may be beyond my palate but it's really smooth and tasty. Low carbonation and no shyness about presenting the clean alcohol taste around the edges with chocolate malt and oak in the middle.

Since this is sold in 22oz bottles only as far as I know, I think the drinkability is good for one in a session and I could see having more than one per week since there is only a little hesitation to finish this serving.

Get it if you can find it.

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Photo of TheMistler
3.57/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

As ever, I like the simplicity of Weyerbacher's labeling.

Anywho. A rather thick pour, displaying a delayed-release, dark tan head. Not great retention. A whispy, feusal alcohol topper. Nice ring with bubbles of varying sizes vying for attention. Not much lacing.

A creamy nose, chocolate - both milk chocolate and cocoa powder - and coffee to the nose. Prunes. A whiff of alcohol spice.

Toasted dark bread to the taste. Dark fruit and some chocolate. Finishes sharp, with alcohol and hops.

Very very creamy feel. Thick, but slight prickliness and spice keep things moving along okay. Something just seems a tad off, though... the body and mouthfeel just don't entirely gel, to my mind.

A more than decent offering, and a pretty good sipper, but I didn't enjoy it as much as other Weyerbacher brews.

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

From notes. On tap. Poured black with minimal head which fell to flimsy ring, no lacing. SMELL of molasses, malty sweetness, roasted grain, and a bit of chocolate. Molasses a bit too dominant or a higher score. TASTE follows the nose. Molasses, malty sweet, and roasted grains blending nicely, with a touch of chocolate as well. Molasses a bit strong, but still very nice. FEEL is medium carbonation, viscous, smooth and oily. Mild bitterness lingers. DRINKS pretty well for a fairly big beer, smooth and pleasant. Not session material, but I'd be pleased to have it again.

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

poured into my new southern tier tulip. (thanks jason!)
this beer is dark. black. no light gets through at all. just how i like it. at first no head is forming but about mid glass i get a one finger mocha brown head that leaves a nice amount of lacing.

smell is full of roasted malt, some raisins, biter sweet chocolate, bourbon barrels. smell is good

taste is pretty much spot on with the smell. interesting. the first thing im getting is the bourbony wood qualities. lots of big roasted malt character fighting through the bourbon.

mouth is thick. heavy and full. a very nice ris.

i would drink this again. not the best of its style but it is still pretty good.

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Photo of colts9016
3.65/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a pint glass at 52 degrees.

Appearance: Blacker than the aces of spades. There was a dark tan one finger head, but it is only a ring around the glass. There is a lot of effervescence, visible on the side of the glass. The clarity of the is opaque.

Nose: A nice roasted dark malt, with coffee, chocolate, molasses, and some raisin like aroma. There is a subtle hop fruity ester and alcohol in the background.

Taste: A mild roasted dark complex malt with coffee, molasses, and some muted chocolate tones. There is some fruity esters in the beer.

Overall: To me the flavors are muted and not as rich as some RIS. The nose was nicer than the flavor. The mouth feel is a medium to medium light body, with a slight creaminess. The finish is medium light and a tad dry. You can taste the alcohol in the brew. The beer to me seems confused. There is not a complete unity to the brew. When I want a good RIS, I want a complete uniformed and rich in flavor. Don't get me wrong the beer is good but not great.

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Photo of Jettanbass9
3.7/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A - jet black with some mohagany reddish brown highlights. Light head that dissipates to the edges of the glass.

S - a nice balanced resiny oak aroma that blends with fresh roasted coffee and sweet caramel. Hints of vanilla and roasted nuts. Not overly complex but very well balanced.

T - oak like resin with a very nutty maltiness. Roasted flavor is balanced and not overly acrid or astringent. Caramel malts come through to bring a sweetness that is deserving of a RIS. The beer could definitely take some more roasted malts. Hints of anise, licorice and a slight bitterness that brings everything to balance.

M - This is what gets me about the beer, nor viscous or too thin, this beer teeters on the line of both. IMO, a RIS should be a bold sipping beer, this beer lacks that chewy mouthfeel that i desire in a good RIS.

D - due to the mouthfeel this RIS is very drinkable. It may not seem like a bad thing but I like my RIS' to be a sipping beer, not one that goes down too easy. It's drinkablility is much like an American or foreign extra stout. It goes down way too easy.

This beer is an easily accessible, great mid priced brew. It is one of my favorites of the area. Seek this beer out, its a great all around beer that is easy to kick back.

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

Pours an oilslick black. Solid finger of thick mocha head. Settles with ample, thick lacing. Boy is that head just crusting on the edges of the glass. Islands and small bubbles of carbonation still present.

Deep roasted/burt malt. Espresso, baking chocolate. Deep malt, gosh.

Rich dark malt, coffee beans, dark chocolate, with a stoutish finish. Maybe some almond in there.

Sits extremely well. Balanced throughout witha long lasting flavor. Yum.

Im still quite glad Im able to get Weyerbacher. One of the best east coast breweries. Give me more.

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

Poured a deep black with a medium dark brown head that slowly fades. Nose is nice. It has a very rich and malty scent that boasts of chocolate malts and a creamy finish. The oak is highly noticable. Taste is great with a smooth chocolate flavor pretty oaky too. Mouthfeel is good. It is a full bodied beer with adequate carbonation. Excellent beer.

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Photo of BigIrishman
4.27/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a snifter

Appearance: Pours dark as night and thick as motor oil, caramel 1 finger head which dissipates slowly and leaves little lace.

Smell: Wow, a whole bunch of flavors here. I get a ton of bourbon and slight amount of vanilla. Also very malty and a touch of alcohol comes through.

taste: Coffee comes through here but the oak barrel aging comes through a lot. Very malty and overall very nice.

Mouthfeel: Extremely heavy, exactly what you would expect out of a RIS.

Drinkability: Overall pretty good, but please, no more than 2-3 of these b/c it's just too heavy and powerful.

Notes: Barrel aging completely changed old heathen into a monster, very nice and I'll be back for more. Another extremely flavorful weyerbacher creation.

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Photo of Reagan1984
3.76/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours with and aggressive creamy head that starts dark and lightens to a light brown color.. The beer is thick looking and really black in color... As the head fades it starts clinging all along the glass. Later it's confirmed... Tons of lacing.

The aroma is fairly light....A bit muddy... reminds me of cedar wood chips. I know that doesn't make sense, but that's what I thought of. Slight vanilla... but it comes across a little like wet cardboard. cinnamon?

Flavor is nice.... Quite innocuous.... Bit of oak. Bit of vanilla... Bit of roasted malt... bit of malt grains... Have to admit it's growing on me a bit...

Mouth feel is smooth and creamy... carbonation is about as Light as it could be....
A bit like you are drinking milk after a while.. Body is a little lighter than I enjoy... I like thicker bodied stouts... Especially barrel ages versions...

Very drinkable...

In the end, I enjoyed it more than at first... It definitely grew on me.

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

This beer pours almost black, but there are red tinges on the edges when held to the light. Head is mocha colored, fizzy and fades immediately to a thin layer, very little lacing left on the glass. Nose is of dark chocolate, coffee and malt with a hint of alcohol. Mild flavor upfront with chocolate malt and a bit of roasted coffee flavor. The finish is smooth with dark chocolate flavors - it's in the finish that you can pick up the oak taste, and some smokiness.Carbonation is medium and tingly and body weight is medium-heavy. Overall, not a bad Stout - I would definitely pick it up again.

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Photo of Amalak
3.21/5  rDev -18.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This beer was a perfect black, 100 percent opaque. It also had a solid tan head to it. The scent was alcoholly and grape. Very strong.

The taste had an oak barrel feel to it, has a metallic taste to it and is extremely heavy. It certainly a strong stout.

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