“Old Heathen Imperial Stout is our interpretation of a beer style that originated in the 18th century. Brewed in England and exported to Germany, Scandinavia and Russia, these beers became fashionable among the members of the Czar’s court. In order to survive long voyages they were brewed with high alcohol content to prevent spoilage.”
Weyerbacher Old Heathen Imperial Stout
Russian Imperial Stout, 8% ABV
Sayeth the Guys:
Ryan: Believe it or not, there is actually an end-game to this cellaring that we’re doing. Sure, some projects are more experimental than others, but in the end we just want a beer that tastes good. And, ladies and gentleman, we accomplished that with the Old Heathen.
When I first cracked a bottle of this open last summer I wasn’t overwhelmed by the booze nor was I blown away by the taste. But something in the back of my mind said to sit the rest back for a year and see what happens. A year in a cool, dark place really brought out some intriguing flavors and cooled off any heat that the 8% ABV put off.
As you can see below, Old Heathen poured a midnight black in color.
The nose was full of vanilla but not much else.
A sip gives much more insight to this beers character. Splashes of vanilla, oak and chocolate hit the palate along with subtle tartness finishing with some bitter German chocolate. As this beer warmed I started to pick up some coffee and espresso flavors as well.
Old Heathen has some pretty solid carbonation too. It’s also dangerously mellow, almost watery.
Congratulations, Old Heathen, the remaining bottles have been pulled out of the cellar and in to the fridge. Drink it fresh or set back – but not for any more than a year.
Andrew: The 2009 Old Heathen poured a very thick, tan/khaki colored head. Here is where I could say the beer poured like f*cking motor oil, but I think we already covered that line a few months ago.
I picked up a bit of booze in the nose, along with chocolate and some dark fruits.
What an incredibly complex beer – notes of vanilla, chocolate and oak up front. This is a very smooth beer, goes down easy and I really liked the bitter dark chocolate notes on the back-end that lingered for just a few moments after I had finished.
Karl: When the least interesting beer you drink all night is a year-old stout that’s aged itself a bit sour and from a brewery you’re barely aware exists, you’re having a good night. That said, out of an epic evening of tastings this Old Heathen wasn’t bad, it was just a little less “there” than I had expected.
It poured nice and dark like a stout should, with just a touch of head to it. Tastewise it’s amazingly mellow and like I mentioned, just a little sour. There seems to be a bit of red grape taste to it, and it’s amazingly watery for a stout. This could be a factor of the aging process but if you need a nice thick stout this one is not the way to go. As it warms a bit of a nose develops for it, otherwise it’s mostly scentless. A fine enough beer, but nothing grabbed me enough to say that you should throw some of these back for aging for any reason.