Blithering Idiot - Weyerbacher Brewing Co.

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Blithering IdiotBlithering Idiot

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BA SCORE
83
good

1,851 Ratings
THE BROS
65
poor

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,851
Reviews: 835
rAvg: 3.65
pDev: 15.34%
Wants: 47
Gots: 198 | FT: 6
Brewed by:
Weyerbacher Brewing Co. visit their website
Pennsylvania, United States

Style | ABV
English Barleywine |  11.10% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 09-20-2001)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,851 | Reviews: 835 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of brantadid
3.75/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Poured a light garnett color with an 1/8 inch, off-white head. Head diminished quickly with lacing.

Smelled of really ripe fruit. Some figs, dates, and honey. Also some citrus hints in then nose. Reminds me of a port in a lot of ways. Maybe some residual sugar smells also.

Flavor isn't as vibrant as the nose. This beer is really balanced though. Lots of sweet fruit flavors on the front palate which are flavored by a nice maltiness, and finished off by a faint but crisp hoppiness. Some heat from alcohol is present.

Incredibly smooth and creamy. This beer feels rich. A slight fizziness on the tongue followed by this really creamy texture makes this really balanced and drinkable.

Photo of tpd975
3.58/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a browinsh chestnut hue with tinges of head. Pours with a big puffy 2 finger off white head. The head lingers before dying down to a nice collar which leaves behind chunks of spotty lacing.

S: Big sweet malty aromas. Tons of brown sugar mingled in with rum soaked raisins. Big aromas of malt and alcohol, this is gonna be a big brew.

T: Yep I called it. Sweet malt smacks you right across the face with the first sip. This is one of the maltier Barleywines I have had. Tons of brown sugar, a hint of almond oil, a dash of vanilla, and plenty of alcohol to burn.

M: Medium bodied by Barleywine standards, but does leave a slight sting from the booze.

D: No barleywine is actually drinkable and this one is one of the less drinkable ones. It's a good sipper, not so good as a drinker. 12 oz bottles are perfect containers for this one.

Overall: Not the best Barleywine but far from the worse. I would call it middle of the road. If you like alcohol burn and tons of malt, you may rate this one a bit highter.

Photo of DIM
3.58/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

a: A hazy orange copper color. Pours with a big off-white head which leaves some lace behind.

s: Alcohol and sugary malts dominate. Smells a bit like brandy and some very ripe fruit. The alcohol comes on a bit strong.

t: Similar to the smell here. Could use a bit more fruit flavor or something to help mask the alcohol. The sweetness of the malts is just about spot on.

m: Carbonation is very well done as it conveys the flavors and alcohol very well. Could stand to be a bit thicker perhaps.

d: A pretty good example of an English style barleywine, but there are better.

Photo of bigeyedfish
3.65/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 ounce bottle, no date, poured into a tulip.

Really, really nice hazy ruby-red color, a nice, solid one and a half inch head that fades pretty quickly. Some lacing, but for the alcohol content it's a little surprising that there is not more. A barley wine that looks like what a barley wine should look like.

Really, really big nose. Sugar and malt are the dominant aromas, and there is no getting around them. After that there is some candy-like elements being emitted, along with some sugared-plums. It's the smell of a big, non-Russian Imperial Stout. I've smelled it before, and I'll keep smelling it in the future, for one reason. I really, really dig the way this smells. This nose grabs you and says, 'you're in for something.' A lot more Euro-smelling than an American edition.

In the beginning, this beer tastes like apple juice. There are some plums lingering throughout the beer. But honestly, this is a beer that has mostly alcohol present, and not the good kind. The kind you taste when you are drinking a big beer that has not learned how to hide it's alcohol. It finishes with some dark fruits, but the alcohol in the mid palate is just an absolute killer. It isn't full of hops. And it isn't excessively sweet. This almost tastes like an ESB on Marion Jones-level steroids.

Mouthfeel for this one is quite impressive. This is a huge beer that grabs a lot of your palate. Now, what it actually grabs it with is another story. There isn't a real problem with this beer until it gets to about 1/2 to 3/4 of the way back on the tongue. Then it's a lot of straight alcohol, and that's a little bit annoying. The finish is pleasant, mainly fruits, but it's overshadowed by the lingering alcohol. The mid palate is almost thoroughly gripped. There's almost a mineral-esq component to the mid palate. Yeah, there's wayyy too heavy a boozy flavor in the mid-palate. This is a three layer beer, only the second layer absolutely destroys the other two; one is almost forgotten, the other is almost completely overshadowed. That's kind of a problem.

A super malty, super boozy barleywine that does not hide its booze well? Yeah, as a late-night-front-of-a-fire-in-the-dead-of-winter-sipper its outstanding. And if that's all you're using it for, then it's a 5. But it's not. As a whole, this is a beer you only want to/can afford to have one of. Which is fine, barley wine's aren't sessionable by any stretch of the imagination. But this one takes some effort. However, since this beer eventually becomes Insanity it gets a load of respect; you need a good base, and this is it. It just needs to be aged in oak before its great. And that may very well be this beer's most noteworthy and interesting fact. It's always fun to imagine with big beers what they will be like when aged awhile; it's why so many people cellar. This beer is unique because it's probably one of the only examples we have of beers that can be sampled both fresh and aged, commercially produced that is. And it's a beer that you can drink and realize why beer should, in some cases be cellared. This beer almost proves a point more than anything. It's kind of like listening to Kid A, and then hearing OK Computer for the first time. You knew that when you listened to Kid A that Radiohead was unique; OK Computer showed you how they got there. This is the OK Computer of beers. I like that.

Photo of CWiggins
3.73/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I picked up this single bottle at Total Wine in Greensboro, NC just over a week ago. It pours a nice translucent amber into a pint glass. The head didn't last long even though it began with a nice set of dense off-white bubbles. I was reminded of strong Belgian ales as I took a deep sniff; scents of brown sugar, raisons, and strong caramel malts. The flavor is intense, and the alcohol sets in rather quickly. I detected flavors of caramel, ripe dark fruits, and warming alcohol. Some hops are certainly present at the finish and lingering aftertaste. I like the silky mouthfeel of this brew; it's not overly carbonated. This is a very good barleywine-style ale. It's probably my second favorite behind Olde School by Dogfish Head.

Photo of jasonjlewis
4.08/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a two finger head that dissipates and leaves a decent retention. Nice brown color. Head fades altogether half way down the glass.

Smell is of nice caramel maltings with a strong raisin smell. Faint hops.

Taste is very thick of caramel malts. Rasing tones come out as well. Hops are there to cut the sweetness, but are not overpowering at all. Alcohol provides a slight astringency.

Slight creaminess on the palate with a little alcohol astringency.

This isn't hard to drink, but definetly a sipper because of the high alcohol content.

Photo of GClarkage
4.47/5  rDev +22.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

11/12/07- Received as a gift from BA member Spinlock.

Presentation- 12oz bottle with no found freshness info. I know I have had it in my stash for at least 2 years though. So, it's 2005 or earlier. Poured into my Big Sky Bluehair Barleywine tulip.

Appearance- Off caramel brown color, kind of ruby red. Smaller 1/4 inch head on pour. Leaves a small silky rim behind. Minor lace patchwork left behind.

Smell- Traditional and wonderful smelling rich roasted caramel. Overripe cherries and a touch of alcohol.

Taste- Consumed at room temp. Smooth drinking barleywine. Sweet caramel, but not over the top. Some whiskey notes as well as a light touch of dark fruits...maybe some dark cherries and plums. Very lightly hopped. Mild alcohol taste..no burn at all.

Mouthfeel- Smooth, but not creamy with a lower carbonation level. Very light aftertaste. Just the tinyest watery note as the bottle finishes. Lightly warming.

Drinkability- Wondering why on earth this one doesn't get a 4 or better average. This was one of the better English style barleywines I have ever had. Maybe it ages very well and a fresh version isn't quite as good? At any rate, this was an excellent beer.

Photo of NCSUdo
3.98/5  rDev +9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle

A: Murky brown under a slightly off white head. OK lacing and retention.

S: Caramel, sweet malt, some roasted malt, alcohol and some dark fruit and bread. Good aroma.

T: Some sweetness and breadiness up front but is followed quickly by a quick burst of bitterness and apparent alcohol, warming all the way down. Left with a slight roasted, malty after taste that isn't very strong. I was kind of undecided on the taste at first, the warming really seems to give this one a nice kick, but overall is slightly cloying.

M/D: Creamy, full body, carbonation may be a touch too high however. Sipper, sipper, sipper, but good drinkability none the less.

Overall this is a pretty decent barley wine in my opinion.

Photo of ArrogantB
4.13/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I was very happy to receive this as an extra in a trade with VWCraig, thanks! The pour was a nice dark orange with a frothy head that died pretty quick. The smell was candy and caramel and sugars, yum. The taste was also like candied fruits and was pretty delicious. The alcohol was not overt but I could easily tell this beer was a powerhouse. Excellent brew from Weyerbacher and restores my faith after that raspberry imperial stout mess I had two nights ago. While I definitely prefer American style Barleywines (especially West Coast) this was a winner.

Photo of number1bum
3.65/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

This one pours into my tulip glass a murky brown with some ruby in it. Some bubbles rising to the top can be seen through the murk, and the one finger of tan head on top recedes to pretty much nothing.

Smell is quite fruity, with cherry, plums, and other dark fruits. It's also sweet and malty, and there is some Belgian candi sugar in there, too.

The fruits from the smell are there in the taste, as well; primarily dark fruits which I'm not the best at identifying. The malt sweetness, highlighted by caramel flavor, takes over halfway through and dominates through the finish. Also some brown sugar/candi sugar flavor. Not much in the way of hops. What is really bothersome for me is that the alcohol is way too noticeable. It burns the throat and makes its presence know too much for me.

Mouthfeel is full bodied, and it's quite creamy. Drinkability is hurt by the high abv but more so by how noticeable and burning the alcohol is. Overall, this is a tasty brew, but it's a sipper for sure.

Photo of irishkyle21
4.1/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours with a light off white head. Has decent retention as well as lacing. The color is a lightly hazy orange amber.

Smells of fruits, a lot of licorice, and a bit of spiceness. I really enjoyed the nose on this barley wine.

Tastes of fruits ( dates and prunes come to mind), caramel, malts and a huge warming alcohol. A solid EBW and I am glad I bought a six pack.

Photo of tempest
3.65/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

This beer pours a dark ruby with off-white head. The aroma smells like a concentrated cherry and fruit punch mix. The flavor starts with a big sweet, light caramel candy taste. The flavor is balanced a bit by earthy hops, but the malts dominate. Overall, this beer is tasty, but not that complex and the alcohol heat catches up with you as it warms. Still worth trying if you're into English barleywines.

Photo of asabreed
4.47/5  rDev +22.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Though I love Insanity, I've yet to actually have Blithering Idiot all by its lonesome. Here goes. 12 oz. bottle into a Val-Dieu oversized wine glass.

Appearance: A bit lighter than a nice red wine, with some interesting highlights in a stream of light and some maneuvering of the body. Lots of thick bubbles around the edge of the top of the brew, and with some swirls there are some round spots of lacing all over the glass.

Smell: At the forefront are aromas of fruit and malt. I'm getting cherry and strawberry the most, with some citrus both from the hops, I'm guessing, and the malt complexity. Dark berries. Hints of unsweetened chocolate and burnt coffee. Bread Crust. And some welcoming hints of alcohol. Luckily the alcohol isn't pervasive as it warms, as it actually becomes more complex.

Taste: One of the best things about this brew is the long finish, where not only the hops start to come out a bit and balance some more of the malt flavors and sweetness, but it lingers, allowing much of the fruit complexity to come out, adding tenfold to the enjoyment of the experience. It starts, though, with flavors of watermelon, strawberry, cherry, then to some oily orange hops, with a bit of vanilla sweetness, maple, dough flavors, and then with the finish. Great stuff overall, and much to admire.

Mouthfeel: Thick without feeling cloying, and enough of a rich bust of carbonation to make it a more than pleasurable sipper. Too many from the style are either too thick or too watered down somehow, and I imagine it's not easy to get right. But this is definitely right on.

Drinkability: I figured there was a reason I had to like Insanity so much, and it makes sense given that Blithering Idiot is the forefront. A wonderfully complex English Barley Wine, and I do say that I'm more of a fan of this style than some of the more greener and raucous American Barley Wines. Not so much hops that it's assaulting, and wonderful fruity characteristics abound. Keep it up, Weyerbacher.

Photo of JamesS
4.05/5  rDev +11%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Good stuff. It poured out smooth, although with very little head (normal with barleywine) and absolutely no lacing as I drank it. BI has a very nice deep brown/copper color. It had an excellent scent, strongly hoppy and for some reason it reminded me of raison-walnut pie. For such a high ABV beer, it went down smooth, although it was a little rough in the mouth. It had an excellent strong flavor, not as bitter as I would have thought. A nice balance of bitter and sweetness.

Photo of russpowell
3.5/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Had this in NC, late July

Poured an effervescent amber/chestnut with 2 fingers of white head & loads of floaties??!?? Average head retention& above average lacing

S: Bready, fruitty & caramel

T: Bready with caramel & alcohol hotness up front. More caramel & candy sugar as this warmed . Finishes with loads booze burn & more caramel

MF: Medium-bodied, slick & low carbonation

Drank like a 11%+ abv barley wine, maybe this ages gracefully? Not impressed

Photo of saintwarrick
3.93/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

As solid looking brew, pours a very hazy orangish brown with an OK head that soon leaves only a lace around the ring of my snifter. Aroma is very sweet, brown sugar and caramel and those characteristics carry over to the taste, mixed in with some run, raisins and prunes. Some big alcohol backing up this brew, but the sweetness helps this brew become more drinkable. Goes down fairly smooth with the alcohol not becoming too overpowering.

Photo of Risser09
3.5/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle poured into a large snifter - 2007 bottling

Appearance: An aggressive pour leads to a very slightly hazy beer. It is ruby red in appearance, with a slight sienna color. The head is Ivory, close to tan with 1" to its height. Moderate lacing is left behind by the tiny ilttle bubbles that it is composed of.

Smell: Alcohol burn in the nose. Followed closely by plum, fig, raisin and some anise. Malt.

Taste: Sweet figs and a tartness almost like a crumb crisp of fruits. Overripe cherries and plenty of malt are there also. I don't think the flavor is complex enough to warrant good scores. The alcohol presence is duely noted.

Mouthfeel: Alcohol burn throughout the experience. Carbonation at first, then it passes and retains that tiny bubble feeling throughout. Sugars and esters. Great warming belt through the mouth, esophagus and belly. Indicative of what a winter beer should be.

Drinkability: Have a few on a wintery day, or if you have to go shovel snow. It will certainly be more enjoyable. This beer would do well with more complexity in the taste department, which I think Insanity provides, through oak aging. However, it is an afforable barleywine that could seal the deal with 2 or 3 in one night. Nicely done.

Photo of fitzy84
4.05/5  rDev +11%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This shocked me when I first drank it. The smell was very strong. I was able to get used to it and the typical barley wine drinker would probably too. However, this is not the faint of heart. I felt its thickness and sharp, ultra-malty taste was welcomed but very strong during first sips. One or two bottles of this drink is far enough due to its strong alcohol volume. More than that will probably make you into an idiot.

Photo of Absumaster
3.63/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to jasonm for this beer.

A brown, dark copper beer with a thin head and slight viscous pour.

Smell is malty and full-bodied, and has a sweet smell. The alcohol is nicely hidden, no trace of that in the smell.

Taste is very malty and sweet. The alcohol can be tasted and leaves a nice warmth in my throat. Bitterness just succeeds to balance the sweetness and develops during the glass. In the end it is a bit sharp and raw, but not in a bad way. I can also taste some citrus in here, probably the hops. The yeast leaves a nice fruity taste and reminds me of an English yeast strain. Although I feel this is a nice brew, I found it to be a little too sweet, which made it a bit one-dimensional and inhibited the drinkability.

Photo of Bitterbill
3.43/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

I got this one in a trade with Wasatch. Thanks again, John!

It pours from 12oz bottle a cloudy orange-brown with a very small head of foam that shrinks to a few small islands near the center of the glass and there's no lacing to speak of.

The smell is a strong dose of caramel malt and some hop bitterness.

The taste has a good malty flavour...the caramel is big and in your face. I can taste some bittering in the background and it cuts the sweetness a bit but the malt sweetness is *still* king here and I can't deny that it isn't tasty.

A few more sips in and I'm starting to notice the alcohol both in the taste and in the swallow. Very warming indeed. Maybe this is too fresh a bottle(no dates on label or bottle) and it needs some aging but whatever, I opened it and I'm going to finish it, even if it takes me all day. ;^) Oh and don't get me wrong, this is far from a drain pour, it's just not at the stage where I want a BWSA to be. Same thing happened with the most recent Bigfoot that I now have tucked away..

Bottom line: This one has potential to be a really good BWSA. From what I sampled, it's just a tad too "hot".

Photo of OWSLEY069
3.25/5  rDev -11%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a clean deep amber, with a light tan head, that did not last. Aromas of alcohol and a dry fruit. Tastes of dry dark fruit, with an alcohol end. A dry alcohol aftertaste, also a fruit presence is left behind as well. Big alcohol, another big beer, yet a great sipper, better as it warms up by not being so abrasive.

Photo of smcolw
3.65/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Cloudy with a muddy brown color; very nice head with equally impressive lace.

Sweet, malted barley aromas--brown sugar!

The malt sweetness is powerful. Good hop presense to create balance. Surprisingly, the alcohol content doesn't show up because of the strong flavors. Creamy body with light carbonation.

This is a powerful beer that is deceptive because of the flavor profile. The balance is the most attractive part of this offering--most barley wines are overpoweringly sweet or alcohol-laden. This beer lands like a nice double bock, ale style.

Photo of macster
4.18/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a viscous amber-brown with a tight, but thin off-white head. Rich, complex aromas of dark, dried fruits, raisin bread, molasses, caramel and toasted malts along with a definitve red wine character. Mouthfeel is pleasingly full, round, smooth and chewy. An explosion of complex flavors greet the tongue; figs, raisin, dark rum, brown sugar, dark caramel and malt. The alcohol nicely accentuates the array of flavors and the BW’s complexity. Finishes long and sweet with just a touch of hoppy bitterness at the very end. A big brew made to sip and enjoy slowly

Photo of Glazed144
3.55/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A lot of bbbles, very minimal head, big bubbles though. Murky, cloudy opaque amber-brown color. Possibly apricot in the flavor? Good mouthfeel, slight alcohol afterburn. Alcohol is hidden quite well though for its content. Also a distinct malt-sweetness, fruity taste. Good brew but nothing to get all that excited about.

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

This was an awesome barley wine.

A: A dark, blood-colored body with no head or lacing of significance.

S: Smelled sweet, almost like Robitussin.

T: A rather sweet taste with berry tones. Seemed a little filling, like a bock. But, despite the high alcohol content, you could not really taste it.

M: A nice, full-bodied beer.

D: Pretty drinkable despite the high alcohol content. The sweet, malty taste does a good job of shielding your palette from the large amount of alcohol. The only downside is that it is kind of filling.

Blithering Idiot from Weyerbacher Brewing Co.
83 out of 100 based on 1,851 ratings.