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Blithering Idiot - Weyerbacher Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Blithering IdiotBlithering Idiot

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

1,849 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,849
Reviews: 834
rAvg: 3.65
pDev: 15.34%
Wants: 47
Gots: 196 | 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: 1,849 | Reviews: 834 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Tomas77
4.22/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This brew was an easy drinking barleywine. Copper-brown in appearance with some garnet highlights when held up to the light. Good carbonation. Small bubbles. Small, tight head with lace that sticks well.

Some fruitiness from the hops in the aroma. Malts are deep dark fruit tasting. Raisons,prunes, plums. Light but hot alcohol from the middle through to the end.

Big body but not huge which I think is why I had an easy time drinking this one.

Very good beer overall.

Photo of MTNboy
3.8/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance- A brownish color with just a hint of amber. It took a second for the off white head to develop but when it did it was thick.

Smell- A deep sweetness is the first thing that you notice. Then there will be some fruity esters.

Taste- Very sweet the yeast flavor is present but not overwhelming. There is not much for bitterness. It is semi fruity with an alcohol presents.

Mouthfeel- A very smooth brew but full bodied.

Drinkability- A very relaxing sipping beer. It has a lot of class like a cognac or brandy.

Photo of MuddyFeet
3.63/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a murky and strained mud brown that has a slight clay red to it. Slight tinged head that dissolved to a rotating film. Not picking much out int he nose--just some candy aromas.

Flavor is a plethora of conglomerations for an English barleywines. Molasses and syrup. malt sweetness. Wheat even. Even some odd candied sugars. Interesting flavors for the style. Also picking out some fresh sprigs of spruce for hops. Full mouthfeel that is very oily and cloying. Very easy to drink but the alcohol sure sneaks up on you. Fairly well concealed--I was surpised that it is above 10%--but it hit m awfully quick.

Thanks to Eyedrinkale for this bottle.

Photo of PittBeerGirl
3.45/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A- Nice translucent dark amber/brown body with thin 1/2 creamy off-white head. Perfect head retention and leaves behind plenty of lacing in the glass.

S- robust malty smell with plenty off dark fruit. The nose is sweet yet dry.

T- Plenty of malted barley upfront with hints of dark fruit in the background. Finish is a balance of alcohol, dark fruit, and barley. Aftertaste is dry with alcohol lingering.

M- Low carbonation and thick body. Uniform throughout.

D- The alcohol is not well hidden (which I expected) but this is still an enjoyable brew. This is a breakthrough brew for me because I was turned off completely to barley wine by a different brew. I would have this again and am now open to trying other barley wines. Nice job Weyerbacher.

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

A 12 oz bottle purchased at the Brewery during their March 2007 Open House.

A: The barleywine is a lighter brown color, think iced tea that has been steeped for a slighter longer period of time than normal. The head was larger, requiring two pours to empty the bottle.

S: Aroma-wise, the ale adheres to the English varient, showing off a big malt aroma that is concentrated to the point of fruitiness.

T: Mmmmm, maltiness! The flavor packs a punch, grain-wise. The flavors do not overwhelm but they are omnipresent, unrelenting in their caramel and biscuit maltiness. The malts do allow a mid-sip blast of grapefruit hops and a great deal of alcohol warmth at the back end. A lingering green tart grape and grapefruit hop element nicely round out the taste.

M: The nose makes one expect all malts, so the mid-beer hop blast is a nice change of scenery.

D: The alcohol is huge in this beer; just sitting here I can feel the effects of it. The malts don't disappoint and there is a surprisingly strong hop body midway through. Having had a fresh bottle, I realize that my previous review was of an old bottle that sat in the bottle shop too long.

Photo of wagenvolks
4.15/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle into a tulip glass

Out comes a semi-opaque, ruby-rust colored brew with a thin, soft tan head. The foam quickly dissipates into a wisp of its former self. The aroma, like the appearance, is good for its style, as the nose is met, dare I say run over, with hyper-sweet candy notes at first. Dig deeper, and aromas of sour apple, tart cherries, and lime burst through. The alcohol also makes an aromatic appearance as this barleywine warms.

The taste hits the tongue a runnin': a plethora of piney hops, alcohol, sweet caramel malts, and more alcohol. There's a little too much going on here...but I am "warming up" to the barleywine style and this beer definately has helped that process. A crisp, sharp mouthfeel with a fantastic bitter hop finish ensues. All in all, this brew is complex enough for 5 beers; it's tasty and packs quite a punch as far as ABV goes. I doubt I could have more than one of these in any 24 hour period, but it's something I'd surely look for again.

Photo of DaveFL1976
4.38/5  rDev +20%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I wish I had taken detailed notes on this beer, but instead I'm relying on my 6th sense of beer perception. I bought a Blithering Idiot - first time ever - at Bocktown outside of Pittsburgh. I had remembered hearing good things about the brew on BeerAdvocate so I figured I'd give it a shot. I was impressed. Big, smooth, a nice hoppy balance, and quite drinkable for a n 11 percent beer. Next time I hope to document my tongue's impression a bit better. Nevertheless, this is a really nice beer.

Photo of kingjames1
3.68/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

What was impressive about this beer's appearance was the color - a deep and alluring amber nectar. A bit murky, with some yeast thickening it up. There was a consistent and persistent lacing, but no head really.

The smell is quite good: spicy, alcoholic, and sugary sweet, with light fruits: plums, or nectarines, raisins and cherries.

I definitely taste the raisin in the first sip - prunes, brandy, cherry-vanilla syrup, and bready malts. There is a strong, warming alcoholic presence toward the end as well. This is a boozy one!

Mouthfeel is nicely carbonated - had it been less so, it would be overly sticky and 'thick'.

Drinkable - sort of :) Unlike the tremendously drinkable Bigfoot (imho), this one is much more a sipper...and one seems more than enough.

Photo of mobyfann
3.95/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

The beer pours a hazy amber colored base with a medium white head, very good head retention and a few slivers of lacing effects on the glass. The aroma is sweet, malty, and a whiff of alcohol.

The taste is very mild for a barley, a little fruity, the sweet malt taste is great. I sense maybe a touch of lemon. The head makes this beer is extremely smooth at any time you drink it... At a mark of 11%, this one could be a nice barley win session beer... that could only last two beers.

Final Thought: Quite simply a solid barley wine from Weyerbacher.

Photo of guinnessfan
3.13/5  rDev -14.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

12 oz. bottle poured into a Williamsburg Alewerks pint glass.
This is officially my first barley wine review.

A: Nice caramel coloring, with tons of yeasties floating around. Thin tan head recedes to virtually nothing, leaving no lacing. Carbonation bubbles stream constantly.

S: Very fruity, like maybe dates or something. Sweet malt and a lot of alcohol.

T: Same as smell, yet completely dominated by alcohol. No hop taste at all. Too boozy.

M: Highly carbonated prickles added to the alcohol bite leaves the tongue numb. Seems a little thin and watery.

D: Not really...Too much punch to drink more than 1. I had higher expectations due to all the hype. What did Public Enemy say ? Don't believe the...oh well. Weyerbacher always seems to do everything too big. Too much spice or too much alcohol.

Photo of lordofthewiens
3.78/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A 12oz bottle poured into a snifter, this is an attractive beer. Red/orange color, small head, nicely carbonated. It had a dark fruit, malty aroma. The taste showed a strong malt presence, with little, if any, hops . This was a mild beer, not at all aggressive. I thought it to be very drinkable, even at 11% ABV.

Photo of TheDragonTony
2.63/5  rDev -27.9%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

A: poured reddish with two + fingers of head that receded relatively quickly. The pour is cloudy and there is quite a bit of sediment in it that is settling slowly, I think.

S: Smell is mostly figs, spices and alcohol (which one would expect considering this is 11%)

T: Alcohol dominates the taste. Their is also fruit underneath but the hops are completely lost at this point. The yeast is apparent (but considering that it still hasn't settled that isn't entirely surprising.

M: Thin and slippery. It also has a weird tang to it.

D: This isn't terrible, but at this point I wouldn't want to drink much of it at this stage.

Note: I do not generally comment on the freshness dating or lack thereof on the beers that I'm drinking but in the case of the beers from this case I will make an exception. There is non freshness date on these bottles, however, there is a very clear best before stamp on the case and it claims that I should have drank this by 02/03/07. I can only guess that Weyerbacher puts the date on the case because they are from PA and we here (generally) have to buy by the case, still it would be nice if it was on the bottle.

Note 2: This beer is the reason that I got this mixed case, I was listening to the Basic Brewing Radio podcast and they were talking about barley wine so I went down to the distributor and found this case. I am glad that I enjoyed the other beers in the case more because at this point this one is a disappointment. I still have a two bottles of this left in a dark corner of my cellar so I will allow them to age further hopefully that will curb the alcohol and allow this one to shine. I think that it really could (of course this is the only Barley Wine I've had to date so maybe I'm completely off base).

Photo of onehomesickalien
3.83/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

First time trying this one.
Definitely not disappointed.
Prefer Great Divide's Old Ruffian, but I will likely be putting this one into rotation.

Appearance: Poured into a oversized wine glass. Very nice copper/red look. Very little foam or lacing.

Smell: Very little hops smell. More of a cherry or raisin mixed with a bit of alcohol.

Taste: Alcohol is fairly strong, but not in a bad way. Mixes well with sweet dark fruit fruit flavors. Still not very strong in the hops department. Tastes a little like vomit.

Mouthfeel: Nice medium body. A little strong going down.

Drinkability: Take it slow. First sip's a doozie. Likely, you'll only want one, but it does taste better as you go along.

Photo of KOPBeerDrinker
3.78/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured this beer from the bottle into a snifter. The beer is clear and a deep reddish color with an off white head, about 1 finger thick which quickly dissipated.

The aroma is fruity, maybe cherry or grape like, with slight vanilla and alcohol notes.

Tastes of sweet malt with plum or raison. Finishes with a warm alcohol note, not much hops.

Mouthfeel is smooth and full bodied. Pretty easy to drink, though more than a couple would be tough, due to the ABV. I haven't had many barley wines to compare this to, but I definately like this beer.

Photo of jdg204
4.15/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Damn, another winner from the Weybacher boys. I gotta get back there soon to get a new variety case (all advocates in the area definetly need to stop by the brewery and assemble their own case).

Appearance - Very nice deep amber (almost cherry wood colored, just lovely) with a nice white head.

Smell - Nice dark fruits come through with a touch of cinnamon/spice.

Taste - Very deep flavor, once again it's the dark fruits (raisins and cherry) that come through strongest, but not overwhelming. The sweet malt is wonderful and gives off a caramel sensation. Flavor finishes with a nice slight bitterness (from hops or some other spice most likely) which sits well.

Mouthfeel - Very thick malty presence fills the mouth. The flavor is so intense it makes your tongue tingle, very cool! Also has a great aftertaste and just sits very well.

Drinkability - I have to admit I was a bit of late-comer to the Barley Wines, but this is the 2nd one in a month that I've enjoyed immensely (both English style). I had a bottle of this when I first got my case and wasn't a huge fan, but I let this sit for about 4/5 months and the results were fantastic!!! Give this brew a try (but maybe let it sit for a while), you won't be disappointed.

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

Executive Summary: This is my first time having the Idiot in quite a while - in fact, I've had the Insanity several times in that interval, and frankly, I'm quite stunned that the bourbon barrel has such an impact on this. It really is on another level. But this is a review of the Blithering Idiot, so before I stray too far, here goes...

As I let this warm, I should relate to you the importance of this beer as it pertains to my entry into craft brews. We had a card-playing night coming up a few years ago, and we wanted to find some different stuff to drink. I had heard rumblings of this place called Shangy's in Emmaus, PA. We decided to head there to see what it was all about. We wound up walking out of there with two mixed cases. One was from Flying Dog and one from Weyerbacher - had to go with that one, since they were apparently from my immediate local area. The other appealing thing about the W case was this thing called the Blithering Idiot - an 11.1% ABV beer. Surely that HAD to be fun! Sure enough, it was, but little did I know it would spark an interest - no, an obsession - for craft beer. I now return to my cradle of beer civilization to give it a proper send-up.

Appearance: Pours a clear, mostly reddish-copper hue into my tulip glass with a fluffy khaki-colored head that's loathe to recede. Wonderful lacing.

Smell: Figs, raisins, dates permeate a malt backbone with a little more than a hint of alcohol. Some vanilla and licorice notes in there as well.

Taste: Sweet from the get-go with some of those raisins. Some hops get into the mix as I move this around. Big warming alcohol rush at the end - almost boozy.

Mouthfeel: A little thinner than I expected/remembered, but there's plenty of sticky goodness here to make up for it. Carbonation is moderate - almost on the high side for the style, but the bubbles are tight/small, if that makes any sense, so it reduces the impact on smoothness.

Drinkability: Well, it's a big, bad barleywine. You're not going to pound several of these (unless you're me several years ago - see above). That said, it's a fairly enjoyable sipper.

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

Poured from a 12oz. bottle into a snifter glass. Cellared for about six months. Appears a dark reddish-amber color with about a finger of dense off-white foam. Smells of sweet malts, stewed fruits, and alcohol. Tastes of sugary caramel malts, plums/prunes, and maybe a touch of dried cherry. Full bodied and creamy in the mouth with medium carbonation. This is a tasty barley wine. Recommended.

Photo of Neehan
2.65/5  rDev -27.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

From the bottle into a snifter, this poured a shiny, dark copper with purple hues and no head whatsoever. The smell was the best part of the beer, bringing in some complexities, but dominated by the alcohol presence to go along with fruity flavors, primarily an acidic red grape. The taste was also alcohol dominant combined with a sharp turn to the carbonation with a slightly bitter finish. This tastes more like a wine or a cognac than a barleywine. Lots of complexities, just not well-mixed. Maybe I'll give this another try as I am a big fan of the style and the brewery, just not the brew in front of me.

Photo of phisig137
3.7/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark amber almost mahogany, with a creamy one finger head. Poor retention, but it leaves behind some nice delicate lacing.

Aroma is mildly malty, with vanilla hints and some prevalent alcohol. Pretty mild.

Flavor is sweet from front to back, with some complex sugars up front, and an alcohol burn on the finish. Toffee and caramel are mild up front, along with what seems to be candi sugar. Finish is hot and boozy. Warm vanilla waves intermingle throughout. Mouthfeel is creamy if not a little light. Drinkability is dangerously high.

Oddly, this tastes pretty darn close to Insanity. I would not have expected this much vanilla flavor from an un-oak-aged barley wine. The alcohol is very prevalent in this fresh. I think this may be the one Weyerbacher brew that I prefer with some oak aging. This is decent, but not as nice as the Insanity. Either way, I love weyerbacher and everything they do.... I'll happily buy this again.

Photo of rsyberg01
4.38/5  rDev +20%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

S - 12 oz bottle courtesy of doppelmeup

A - Pours a copper clear brew with a nice sticky head.

S - caramel, slightly sweet light fruity notes, somewhat peachy, sugary, hardly any alcohol detectable.

T - caramel, kind of astringent, definite fruit in there, maybe apricot or peach, alcohol warmth.

M - smooth, sticky, awesome.

D - for what it is, its almost perfect.

Photo of SilentSabre
3.78/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Thanks to Aprilluvsbeer for sharing this one with me. Poured a semi-cloudy bronze orange colour with an offwhite foamy cap that faded away in a matter of seconds. A patch work of frost still remains on the top. Smell is sweet malts, cooked fruit, and alcohol. Lots of alcohol. Taste is the same, almost reminding me of a Belgian Tripel with its cooked fruit note. This is a good beer, but it's far from an English Barley Wine. Any English Barley Wine I've ever had, anyway. Mouthfeel is nice and thick; a solid, full-bodied ale. Drinkability is a 3.0 at best due to its 11%+abv. Not bad.

Photo of Matteox3
3.48/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

All physical components of this beer such as color, pour, aroma, etc. were well crafted. However, my enjoyment of this beer was set back by its high alcohol content, which made this beer hard for me to get through. The flavor was great, but hope for more of it to balance out the alcohol.

Photo of kernalklink
4.2/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I really liked this departure from some of the other barleywnes on the market- sweeter but still very drinkable. Poured hazy dark, dark amber with sticky head and lacing. Ripe fruits, very sugary malt aromas with a spicy alcoholic whiff. Molasses- pure and simple. Thick, slick fruity molasses but still smooth and not overly sweet. Finished with an almost roasted character and a slight piney hop punch. I can hardly taste the big alcohol, though the bottle is more than a few months old. Highly recommended.

Photo of markgugs
3.98/5  rDev +9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

poured from a 12oz. bottle into an oversized wine glass

A: Pours a murky golden apricot, like overripened amber-hued fruit. Very little head that disappears almost instantly and leaves no lacing to speak of.

S: Strong ripened fruit aromas, I detect hints of banana, raisins, a very bready overall scent. Smells delicious!

T: Initially, this leaves no doubt of the present alcohol, intermingled with some roasty, malted caramel flavoring. As the beer warms, more & more fruity flavors emerge, beginning with some subtle pear and peach, and then developing spiciness is added to the mix. Even a dash of warmed brown sugar bursts forth. Certainly not one-dimensional, that's for sure. Tasty!

M: Very nice, a distinct crisp carbonation underlies the entire mouthfeel, but blends well with an overall full-bodied creaminess.

D: Pretty much an ass-kicker, not for the faint of heart. Drink more than is reasonable, and well, it ain't called Blithering Idiot for nuttin'!

A very nice barley wine style from a vastly underrated brewery.

Photo of Braudog
4.05/5  rDev +11%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

I finally took the leap and purchased this wonderfully-nomenclatured beverage at a local beer purveyor, not because I’m any type of Barleywine lover, but because I love Weyerbacher and I love the name. It poured a rusty brown, with the visual luster of African pond water, and hardly any head. The flavor was characteristic for a barleywine ... stinging and alcoholy, caramel and malty. On the first swallow, I must say, I was not floored the way I expected to be. This was relatively mellow, although warming in my throat. The 11% is more than evident, but well balanced within a fig cookie, a prune shake, a sugarplum. If I need to cozy up to the fire this February with a barleywine, this will top my list. (#2678, 2/3/07)

Blithering Idiot from Weyerbacher Brewing Co.
83 out of 100 based on 1,849 ratings.