Blithering Idiot - Weyerbacher Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Blithering IdiotBlithering Idiot

Educational use only; do not reuse.

852 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 852
Hads: 1,978
rAvg: 3.68
pDev: 13.86%
Wants: 50
Gots: 280 | FT: 7
Brewed by:
Weyerbacher Brewing Co. visit their website
Pennsylvania, United States

Style | ABV
English Barleywine |  11.10% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 09-20-2001

No notes at this time.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Blithering Idiot Alström Bros
Reviews: 852 | Hads: 1,978
Photo of rdilauro
2.55/5  rDev -30.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.75

I am slowly beginning to enjoy barleywine Ales. I have to say this wasnt one of the winners.
It had that fairly deep brownish amber hue to it with a nice frothy white head. The aroma was typical of most barleywines.
There was just something from the initial taste through the ending that just didnt sit right with me in aroma as well as taste (348 characters)

Photo of GilGarp
3.75/5  rDev +1.9%

Old 12 oz bottle that's been sitting in the cellar for about 5 years or more.

Seved slightly chilled into a goblet, Blithering Idiot is a hazy amber brown color. It has some yeast floating in suspension. No head.

Aroma is sweet and slightly boozy but it seems to have mellowed with age.

Flavor has too but it still has some kick. Malty and sweet but fairly well balanced with the ample hops. Alcohol is really well hidden after aging.

Mouthfeel is full bodied and low in carbonation. A little oxidized but not bad.

Overall a pretty good barley wine but not exceptional. (574 characters)

Photo of seedyone
4/5  rDev +8.7%

I know like this stuff but I misplaced my notes.
In retrospect this is a modern day standout as it has left me blithering like an idiot.

I hope to revisit this amazing invention at a later date, hopefully no where near a national election as that is blithering season. (270 characters)

Photo of CraftyViki
3.5/5  rDev -4.9%

Blithering Idiot is a good barleywine. I found it to be quite drinkable. Saying that, I should also say I am not a huge fan of barleywines, so keep that in mind. (163 characters)

Photo of majorbase2
3.29/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

First review since BA reverted back to the attribute format! This is my first English Barley Wine. Big fan of American Barley Wines.
Pours a brown color with a big light brown foam head. Not much retention. A little bit of lacing. Nothing too out there in the aroma. Sweet caramel and bready malts. Slight hint of toffee. A bit of booze. Taste is a little underwhelming-- some dark fruits, most notably cherry and fig. Sweet malts. A ton of booze. Very poorly masked. A little bit of bitterness give it a sort of candy-like taste. Can't get over the alcohol, though. It is very offsetting compared to the slightly more subdued taste. Not a good combo. Not much carbonation. Easier to drink than you'd expect, but still not the most pleasant experience. Overall, not super impressed by my first entry into the English Barley Wine realm. Hopefully not a sign of the style as a whole. (881 characters)

Photo of richj1970
3.65/5  rDev -0.8%

Bottle dated 3/3/14

A: Pours a deep golden brown with two finger white head, and fairly heavy lacing for a barley wine.

S: Sweet caramel and butterscotch. Vanilla. Toffee.

T: Sweet caramel and honey. Rich toffee. Vanilla. Ripe bananas.

M: Thick bodied and very sweet.

O: Decent barleywine but I was hoping for more spices, maybe more hops, more complexity... (372 characters)

Photo of CarlosRuizsChauffeur
3.75/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A: Dark brown color, with a slight tinge of red. Decent amount of carbonation with a negligible head. Only slight lacing
S: Smells alcoholic first, then wafts of dark fruits like cherry, dates and fig come through. Very faint smell of roasted winter nuts, like chestnuts
T: Tastes alcoholic, but not as much as you would think an English Barleywine would or what the smell gives off. Tastes like what it smells, with a somewhat faint taste of dark stone fruit
M: Since it didn't taste as alcoholic as it could, it came off quite crisp. Lack of carbonation give it a weird consistency, but barleywines are not supposed to have effervescent bite
O: Better beer than what previous rankings give it credit for. If you wanted a barleywine than I would recommend Third Coast Old Ale by Bell's Brewery, which is great. Even though it is an American barleywine and Blithering Idiot is English, I think the styles are similar enough. Worth trying, especially if you are interested in this kind of brew (992 characters)

Photo of mthomp081
3.84/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A - cranberry, plum colored, almost a red/plum wine

S - alcohol, plums, figs, dates, honey

T - very sweet, can taste the alcohol but not overwhelming, fruits are darker ones - plums and figs, maybe some berries

M - sweet, sharp from the alcohol, medium bodied, barely any carbonation

O - Very sweet, the dark fruits are nice, taste of plum and the figs/dates are rather different, but its almost too sweet at times. A sipper. (429 characters)

Photo of Ozzylizard
3.69/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottled 5/7/14 best by 5/7/2019 at 40 degrees into snifter
Aroma of malt and honey
Head average (3.5 cm). off white, frothy, rapidly diminishing to 3 mm ring and partial layer
Lacing OK – large irregular islands of small bubbles
Body medium amber, slight haze
Flavor begins very sweet and malty; no alcohol, no hops, no diacetyl. Ends with a nice stomach burn.
Palate full, creamy, soft carbonation. (401 characters)

Photo of Dan_McNeely
3.01/5  rDev -18.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

A- A soft copper brown color, easy and appealing. I don't find anything floating in the beer. The appearance is making me thirsty!

S- The distinct alcohol smell is a bit off putting. The is some smooth malty aroma to it after the alcohol. The smell doesn't entice me, nothing about it draws me in to want to taste it. The appearance isn't complimented by the smell for my liking.

T- The taste is very similar to the smell. I enjoy the malty bitter taste, but it quickly dissipates, leaving a feeling of hopelessness to the beer. I respect the beer and understand how someone would fit this taste, but it's just not something that clicks for me.

M- It's a nice dry feel. But it doesn't establish any real personality. It's an OK quick rush on impact but leaves you saying, "And Then..."

Overall- I love the name,it has an interesting label. (different than what is pictured, it's a bit more evil looking jester on my beer) This is really only my third or fourth barley wine style so I don't have much to compare this against. I may go on a barley wine binge over the next couple of weeks and then revist this beer to understand it better.

Take this review with a grain of salt... (1,186 characters)

Photo of MikeWard
3.59/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

poured from 12oz bottle into tulip glass. Bottled 12/17/13.

Color was a nice deep copper color with a small thin head. However, there were a ton of floaties, so i basically let it sit for about 45 minutes until the sank to the bottom. This got it to room temperature.

Aroma was very sweet, malts and candy

Taste was ok, the candy especially came through. There was a burning warmth from the alcohol, and a faint bitterness on the side of the tongue.

In the finish, the bitterness and sweetness duked it out, and the alcohol began to rise from warm to burning, almost harsh. Mouth was a bit below medium

Overall, didn't really enjoy this. I haven't tried it for some time, and it was really my gateway beer into higher alcohol and barleywine style beers. I remember enjoying it at the time, but I guess since then, I've found so much better options in both English and American style. Still a fondness for it, and you can't beat the name. (943 characters)

Photo of ThisWangsChung
2.55/5  rDev -30.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.25

12 oz bottle into a goblet.

A: Pours a chestnut color with some sediment floating around. The head is beautiful: while it's only a finger high with an off-white shade, it's so amazingly creamy looking. Retention isn't great, though. A thick yet short ring of lacing is left behind.

S: There's a rich fruitiness mainly...I swear the primary note is banana. I'm also picking up a lot of brown sugar, caramel, and alcohol. The booze doesn't bite my nose, but it's definitely there. I don't know - this one seems really undefined in its general aroma.

T: It opens up with a healthy dollop of brown sugar and banana. Caramel notes in the midtaste will segue to alcohol. A lot of alcohol. On the plus side, it's a very rummy alcohol, instead of just being pure fusel. This beer just screams 'imbalanced' - it's both too sweet and too boozy, without much of the depth or nuance an alcoholic beer can provide. Luckily, some of the sweetness fades away after a few sips, only to be replaced with...more leathery booze. Yikes.

M: The booze bites the tip of the tongue and clutches the esophagus going down. There is some creamy fullness to help sponge some of the alcoholic tendencies, though. Some - it's still pretty harsh. Carbonation is bang-on, at least.

O: In the mood for a barleywine from Weyerbacher? Get Insanity instead. The barrel aging takes the edge off of...well, pretty much everything about this one. I wouldn't even think about touching this again unless I knew it had at least a year on it - four months hasn't exactly done the trick. Weyerbacher's worst offering as far as I'm concerned. (1,603 characters)

Photo of dcmchew
3.8/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pours brown/dark orange, low beige head, extremely thin ring afterwards, not so sticky with the little traces sliding back down to the beer.
Lots of dark fruit in the smell, fig and berry jam, overripe bananas, gluey toffee and caramel, dark bread and strong booze.
Taste is fruity in the start, strangely citrusy, with a lot of red grape mustiness and a touch of red apple acidity. Dark fruit jam, figs, dates, low red berries, getting sweeter and sweeter until the malts come up, with sticky caramel and molasses. A little breadiness way in the back. Lots of spices, with licorice, faint vanilla and clove, a pinch of peppercorn. Mildly bitter finish, with a bit of roasted grains and very very faint hops.
Smooth body, some nice fizz for the first 5 minutes, but not exactly what you'd want for a sipper. Alcohol is decently hidden at first, giving off some dark rum notes, but it will gang up on you after half the beer. It also clings in the aftertaste, so be sure to speak to people from a distance.
Not the most balanced barleywine, the fruitiness feels a bit chaotic, gets a bit too sweet and boozy close to the finish. Careful with this one or you'll end up talking like a "blithering idiot". (1,201 characters)

Photo of Vierenner
2.09/5  rDev -43.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

I did not enjoy this beer. Smelled like a ripe banana after popping the cap ... even more so in the glass. Probably the strangest smelling/tasting beer I've ever had. I like the lack of hops, but I can't seem to like anything else. Again I'm reminded to do a more detailed analysis before I make a blind purchase. (313 characters)

Photo of TheBeerDrinker
3.85/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pours out light brown in color and although not translucent it is not really dark with a small beige head with little retention.

Smell is very sweet from the dark malts, smells of banana, slight spices, and a nice tiny bit of vanilla although very faint. The smell is mostly sweet bananas which is very nice.

Taste is very sweet with bananas in the forefront as in the nose. There seems to be some spices that may be a little clove but hard to pinpoint. I really like the taste as I have always lived this beer.

Edit: After drinking a little I do seem to get more malts as it goes down the throat but not much.

Mouthfeel is semi-thick when you flush it around your mouth. It's not real thick to be sure but it does have some thickness to it.

Overall this is a fairly nice barelywine that I have loved for quite some time. It could use a little more time in the bottle to get rid of a little bit of the sweetness but it is not bad in any way. Really this tastes like a small barleywine that could be a little thicker and more robust for the style. I love the beer and would love to drink it plenty but it just isn't a true barleywine as I have drank. It's a little thin and just not robust as I would expect. Still a great beer. For the ABV it certainly doesn't taste that strong. It tastes like it could be 8ABV instead of 11ABV so it does mask the alcohol and seems like a beer I could drink all day but certainly not a session beer due to the high ABV. (1,460 characters)

Photo of SmashPants
3.3/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Bottle: pours a deep ruby-brown with plenty of fine sediment throughout the profile. A thin beige head drops quickly to a solid ring, leaving a light lace. A nice-looking beer.

Appearance: a quite strong aroma of maraschino cherry and heavy sherry alcohol. Not much more than that - a little one-dimensional.

Aroma: once again fairly one-dimensional with the sherry alcohol up front. Lacks the complexity of a usual barleywine.

Taste: a slight heavy fruit joins the sherry alcohol. Still a little dominated by the alcohol, but certainly a big flavour.

Aftertaste: a fairly heavy body with light, fine carbonation.

Mouth feel: at over AU$170 a case, this one is a no-go.

Overall: I have quite a sweet spot for a decent barleywine - this one falls a little short of the mark though. It is a bit one-dimensional, but still a worthwhile drink every now and then. (865 characters)

Photo of 57md
3.43/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Appearance is a brownish copper with a half finger of head. The head dissipated rather quickly. The nose had the slight hint of sweetness. The malt flavors are not nearly as hearty as they should be considering the style. The lightness of the malt makes the alcohol tastes strong and intrusive. The only real highlight of this offering is the trace of dark fruits in the flavor. (378 characters)

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

12oz bottle purchased from Leura Cellars in the Blue Mountains. No freshness date.

Pours a very hazy brown amber, and despite what I thought was a careful pour, leaving the dregs in the bottle, there are stacks of floating bits in the glass. Head forms a tight ring after bubbling up initially. Body feels heavy, carbonation is fine, but minimal. No lacing. Looks okay.

Nose is sweet but dry, with sherry characters and a slight oxidised note coming through. Booze is certainly noticeable, as is a slight dusty pepper character that's almost the memory of hops. It's decent enough, but not very complex, and smelling a little tired.

Taste is similar in many ways. Papery oxidation comes through a fair bit on the front and mid-palate, more sherry notes, booted along by a strong alcohol kick. Sweetness is actually pretty minimal: at the very least, it's tied heavily to the booze, which is pretty dominating. Bitterness on the back, partly medicinal from the booziness, and perhaps partially from hops. Feel is almost astringent and burning like hot cognac.

Pretty hard to drink, and without the complexities or flavours that warrant the level of booziness. It's a big beer, but it doesn't justify being as big as it is. (1,225 characters)

Photo of BMMillsy
3.74/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Had this with dinner at Brass Rail in Hoboken. Pours a deep beautiful red color, clear, with a nice creamy half finger head on top. Aroma is subdued with toffee, caramel, sweet brown sugar, some dark fruit. Flavor is big time malts: toffee, caramel, molasses maybe, some sweet sweet dark fruits like plums and figs. Very sweet brown sugar, heavy thick mouthfeel with low carbonation. Very solid barleywine and now looking forward to trying some Insanity. (454 characters)

Photo of hopsputin
4.04/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

a: a mix of clear caramel and ruby red. minimal head that is more of a lacing - off white. big legs on this one

s: tons of caramel and toffee upfront. then your hit with a bunch of sugary sweetness - candied strawberry, and sugary caramel. this smells like a candy. i also am picking up something like a coconut macaroon - i don't know. smells like desert in a bottle mixed with sweet malt

t: sweet caramely syrup. loads of caramel and toffee malts that tastes like a syrup. again following the nowise, its candied sugar, and strawberry candies. right away, i also want to say that there is almost no hint of the 11+% in the flavor here. also some figs, plums, and raisins in here as well. there is a slight earthy tea-like flavor in here as well..not bitter at all

m: medium mouthfeel that coats your mouth and feels like syrup. no carbonation to speak of

o: definitely a tasty English Barleywine. i would have liked the fruits in here to pop a little more, but for an 11+% beer, this drinks incredibly smooth. this is definitely a sweet beer that is a sipper. i think its worth picking up (i love sweet beers, and the English style barleywines) (1,150 characters)

Photo of TheBrewo
3.71/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

We crack a bottle of 2011 stock (with the original label!!), pouring a brew of deep cherrywood into our ¾ sized tasting snifters. It puts up a quick half finger tall head of suntanned foam, showing brief retention, although it is easily reproducible. Soft wisps of lacing are left around the glasses. A thick haze cuts clarity, with large chunks of sediment locked throughout the liquid. Carbonation appears to be moderate. The aroma stings with fusel booziness, but otherwise offers notes of raw honey, thick syrupy fruitiness of plum, red apple, and white pear, buttery diacetyls, vinyl plastics, mineral water, black pepper and clove spiciness, cooked maple sugar, lightly toasted caramel malts, metallic adjuncts, white corn, and a heavy Weizen-style dark wheat maltiness. Our first impression is that the flavoring is much more subdued than you would expect to follow that nose, most noticeably in its lack of heat and fruity complexity. As we sip, the taste begins with cloyingly sweet caramel and brown maltiness, cooled banana breadiness, mineral water, watermelon and apple fruitiness, dried waxiness, plastic and medicinal phenols, and soft buttery diacetyls. The middle comes to a peak with straight caramel sugar cloy, soy sauce saltiness, salted caramel, plum and apple juiciness, clover honey, sweet tea, and the faintest grassy hops. Washing through the end comes the final, albeit similar, mixture of white and brown sugar sweetness in the form of simple syrup, black peppery heat of booze, frank apple juiciness, iced tea-lemonade sweetness, soft plastic twinges, faint metallics, and dusty granite. The aftertaste breathes of tannic breakfast tea, dried apricot, white sugar, banana esters, cloven phenols, adjuncty and metallic graininess, caramel malt sweetness, sumptuous cherry juiciness, waves of fusel booze, spicy cracked black pepper, and mint julep sweetness. The body is on the light side of medium, but with hearty thickness of residual sugar to each slurp. The carbonation is near nonpalpable. Otherwise, the mouth is met with okay foam, cream, froth, or smack. It is left basted with a thick, sugary coat, with little eventual dryness or astringency. The abv is appropriate, and the beer sips decently.

Overall, the best thing about this brew is its aroma. This aspect of it is actually rather boastful, with each component taking a big stand, looking for all the attention. It was, however, disproportionate when followed by that flavoring, with huge booziness in the nose that was extremely dampened in the finished product on the palate. Perhaps this was to its benefit, hoping cloy would be more appealing to people than harshness. So that said, nothing was really offensive about this beer, it just came across as quite simple and light to the touch. Perhaps the nearly three years we put on it was to its detriment, but according to the brewer, they are confident that it improves up to five years in the bottle. We’d have to do a vertical to find out, but that just doesn’t seem very appealing at present. On a happy/interesting/mostly unrelated note, this is our first review since getting engaged earlier this week, so huzzah!! (3,173 characters)

Photo of SafeAtFirst
2.08/5  rDev -43.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Murky tea colored. Very little head.

It's almost impressive how they got so little aroma out of so much malt. I mean maybe my nose is off tonight...*reads other reviews*...nope not my nose that's the problem.

Flavor follows aroma. Some vague malty notes a bit of alcohol spice, not much going on here. Mouthfeel and finish are, whatever I'm done here.

Bought this with hopes of ageing some but I guess I'll be getting a good buzz tonight instead. (450 characters)

Photo of BethanyB
3.67/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Reddish orange in color. The excellent clarity showcased a flurry of bubbles that gathered to creat a creamy beige head which, while large at first, quickly dropped and remained at a one-finger width.

Smell: Abundant melanoidins, with plenty of toffee and caramel aromas. Currants and dried cherries are easy to sniff out, as is toasted malt. Could be a bit more complex.

Taste: High malt complexity: toasted malt at the forefront with some roasty notes in the background and a bready, yeasty malt aftertaste. The melanoidins remain high, but are in balance with the malt. A treacle flavor is especially strong. The fruitiness seems to take on in a bit of an unfortunate cough syrup taste when mixed with darker flavors.

Mouthfeel: The body is a bit light and smooth for the style, making the beer seem less "big." Definitely detracts from the balance. Carbonation is moderate.

Overall: A decent barleywine, but not one I'd seek out again. While complex, the aroma and flavor were both a bit light, and the mouthfeel certainly didn't help in that respect. (1,075 characters)

Photo of HardTarget
4.11/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Murky brown glass holds the thinnest of halos that tried to up up a few spots of lace that washed away. Beer has legs, slowly flowing down the sides of the glass when swirled.

Smell: Big, fruity, mostly fig with caramel and toffee supporting sweetness. Alcohol is a touch hot, bit of a paint thinner edge, a little rocket fuel.

Taste: Big flavor! The nice fig and toffee notes in the nose really come out. A sugary finish hides the alcohol until well after the swallow when they slowly rise like a vapor.

Mouthfeel: Big body, heavy, very low carbonation gives just a little prickle. Finish is very dry, almost puckering.

Overall: A great sipper! Bold flavor, most of it really good! Covers the 11% better than I expected. A great Christmas time beer.

Thanks to Illudium for the sample! (802 characters)

Photo of Thezapper
3.58/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

A: This beer pours a deep reddish brown with little head which dissipates quickly.

S: I don't get much in the aroma. Some earthiness, dried fruit, and a little alcohol.

T: I get fruity tartness and some hop bitterness upon first taste. It finishes with just a touch of alcohol but not nearly as much as you'd think from 11% abv. Doesn't have quite enough complexity of flavor that I look for in a barleywine. It finishes very dry with just a hint of lingering bitterness.

M: Definitely on the light side for this style but with nice carbonation.

O: A tasty beverage for sure but nothing spectacular. I really want big flavor from this style of beer and this one, while enjoyable to drink, is rather lacking in that department. Not a bad brew for a cold night though, warms you up quickly. (796 characters)

Blithering Idiot from Weyerbacher Brewing Co.
83 out of 100 based on 852 ratings.