Brew Review: Old Heathen

24 Oct

Brew: Old Heathen

Brewed by: Weyerbacher Brewing Co. (Easton, PA)

Style: Imperial Stout (8.0% ABV)

 

Weyerbacher has two similar imperial stouts that are pretty much available whenever you want them in the Twin Cities.  Both the Old Heathen and Heresy are imperial stouts with the only difference that I can tell is that the Heresy is aged in oak barrels.  So I picked up both recently and the old Heathen is the one I popped open first.  Still haven’t gotten to the Heresy but that will be coming up soon I think.  Weyerbacher, out of Pennsylvania, has impressed me with what I have experienced from them so far.  Their Blasphemy and Tiny are both really good brews and I was excited to try one of their more regular offerings in the Old Heathen.

The Heathen poured out a solid black.  No light escapes and looks like most other imperial stouts.  A tight head with small compact bubbles rose up from the beer, it was the color of a mocha or dark khaki.  It rose up about a half inch, a bit smaller than I would ideally want but still a really good looking imperial stout.

The aroma of this brew was excellent.  I picked up toffee, vanilla and roasted grains right away.  I could smell this beast from far away, I didn’t even have to get close to it to really smell the goodness.  The right amount of sweet balanced with the char and bitterness of roast of the grains.  There is a faint detection of dark fruits and a hint of hop presence but those are minor players at this point.

The first sip is great.  This imperial stout is thick and chewy.  You can tell there are pounds and pounds of ingredients in this recipe.  Nothing light drinking about it at all.  Just what I wanted.  There is a ton of dark chocolate on the first sip. The chocolate lends in bitterness to the sip and combined with the roasted aspects of the grains that bitterness shines through as well.  Not a ‘bitter’ beer as you might think but there is that presence with every sip that there is a sharper tang hiding in the background waiting for you.  There are also flavors of coffee that come through as well.  Those fruity aromas that I picked up earlier didn’t really go anywhere.  This beer was mainly roast and chocolate bitterness.

The amount of chocolate in the taste was awesome and really took me by surprise and I didn’t expect that at any point until it hit me in the face.  The sweetness of the massive amount of malts was definitely balanced by the bitterness from the chocolate, coffee and roasted grains.  I didn’t pick up much by way of hops.  I don’t know the bottling date or anything about this brew so I couldn’t tell you anything about how old it was in that regard but I would wager it had maybe 3-6 months on it at this point.  Not a ton but enough for the hops to start their decline in power in the beer if there were many to begin with.  Since this is widely available, I can easily see this becoming a beer I always have in my fridge.  If you haven’t had it and not that its getting colder I would try to snag some next time your off to the store.

 

Final Grade: B+

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