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Blithering Idiot - Weyerbacher Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Blithering IdiotBlithering Idiot

Educational use only; do not reuse.

866 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 866
Hads: 2,033
Avg: 3.67
pDev: 22.89%
Wants: 52
Gots: 320 | FT: 8
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: 866 | Hads: 2,033
Photo of AlexJ
4.64/5  rDev +26.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

1999 vintage bottle (old lable). I will begin by saying that I have been a fan of this beer since it's beginning. It is very good fresh but really benefits from cellar aging. When young it is tasty, but lighter-bodied, the hops still taste green, and the malt profile is still grainy rather than rounded. Even 1 yr. make a notable differance.
-Pours a deep mahogany topped by velvet-smooth beige head. Good clarity with minimal lacing.
-Aroma is transcendant, mouth-watering. Deep candied citrus-peel, plum, raisen and other dark fruits followed by clove, cinnamon and oak. The tinge of alcohol almost burns my nose.
-Taste is better than the smell-all of the aromas carry through and more! Lots of gooey fruits and spices as well as a superbly subdued piney hop character, which is surprising. Lots of vanilla and oak here too. This is so complex. Finish is long, smooth and lip-smacking good. Bittersweet hops tingle the tongue. Warming all the way to my toes!
--I urge any lovers of barleywine to pursue this one. Buy a whole case (about $35-40 in PA) and cellar them. Drink a few every winter and enjoy with patience. This bottle was nearly 6 years old was the best I've had. I would say it's at it's peak, but could still go a few years too. Cheers!

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Photo of Hhawk06
4.17/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This offering poured with a light brown body that could be considered as having a slight tint of orange. The head is not much more than a thin layer of film on top, and even that disappears fairly quickly. The nose is intriguing and tempting; caramel, clove, and a candy sweet aroma perk the senses. The taste has a quite a few intermingling flavors. I'd say the overall tone is set by a brandy-like quality, but it is surrounded by licorice and caramel notes. The mouthfeel is certainly full bodied but very smooth. My favorite part of the beer is the finish. All those pronounced flavors transform into almost a full cocoa feel and for a split second its almost like you're drinking some chocolate milk. Love that! Everything is tied up nicely with a small amount of bitterness at the very end. Love this barleywine, highly recommended!

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Photo of twelvsies
3.73/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This beer pours a VERY murky and dirty looking light brown, tough to see through. Smells like wine, very alcoholic and fruity with some noticable sweet malts. Something about this taste definately says English style, rather than American barley wine. Very sweet and complex with lots of flavors... brandy, dried fruits. Definate alcohol taste. I know a lot of people frown upon this in beers but I don't really find anything wrong with alcohol taste in an alcoholic beverage, it only makes sense. This beer could use more of a hop kick, that would make it great. As of now it's just passing as good. Smooth and sticky in the mouth. Not as drinkable because of the ABV and alcoholic taste, but a fine "put me to bed on a slow Thursday" beer. Night night folks.

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Photo of danadeny
3.1/5  rDev -15.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Ruby brown body, no head, decent carbonation. Cinnamon and spice smell, but very faint. Flavor is malty up front with a red wine finish, a little caramel in the middle. Drinkability is average. The red wine charactoristics are interesting, have yet to experience that flavor in a barleywine berfore.

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Photo of abcsofbeer
3.85/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a light brown color about the same look as apple cider. Cloudy brown with apparent yeast sediment. The head is somewhat thin and tannish, leaving trace amounts of lace.

The aroma is much like a red wine with a fruity background. There are small amounts of alcohol in the smell as well. The taste is at first, like wine and fairly fruity. There is a bit of apple spice and a mild alcoholic taste as well. The label did not give an abv %, but you could definitely tell it was there.

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Photo of winomark
2.8/5  rDev -23.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Pours a hazy medium copper with a quickly fading light tan head. Sweet candy and spice dominate this rich smelling beer. Very inviting. Malty sweetness quite strong also. Lots of malt and spice control the palate. Surprisingly light finish. Mouthfeel is not as thick as I was expecting. Somewhat disappointing. Wish this was thicker and richer than it is. Smelled like it would be much more flavorful. No need to try this one.

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Photo of Rastacouere
3.15/5  rDev -14.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Deep amber, clear with a rather generous head, off-white and with decent lacing, but dissipating after a couple of seconds. Mostly malty sweet nose, but not as rich as most barley wines I’ve had. It consists mainly of brown sugar and vinous fruits (plums, grapes) with notes of vanilla and an obvious if not overwhelming alcohol presence. Thin-Medium bodied, quite smooth, with a tad more carbonation than usual in the style, but somehow, there are peaks where it seems a little boring, too easy going and just not particularly captivating.

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

12ozer bottle purchased as a single from Yankee Spirits, Sturbridge, MA.

Poured into an imperial pint glass, formed a 1/2" light tan head above a murky, orangey-amber brew. Head is not particularly long-lasting, and lacing is minimal, but not so out of line with the style. Aroma is of sweet malt and strong alcohol notes. Taste is all about the sweet malts, with strong alcohol at the outset. However, even the strong alcohol notes in this case aren't overpowering, even for such a high abv. Mouthfeel and drinkability are good for the style. Worth a try for a barleywine, the English interpretation gives a more approachable product in this case.

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Photo of bultrey
3.55/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

I'm just not feelin' it with many of these American barley wines. I definitely like the more delicate and understated English versions better. And I know this is classified as "English" style, but it's not like the ones that I've had. This pours a nice maroon color with a thin wispy head, and it smells incredibly vinous and fruity -- almost like raspberry wine. The taste just whacks you over the head with a fruitiness that I just don't like. It's sweet and juicy, and the actual malt sweetness seems lost. The hops are strong, no doubt, and hit your palate on the way down, leaving more bitterness than flavor. Drinkability suffers, even as a sipping beverage. Maybe this is better in the bottles, and maybe it needs to be at room temperature, but this just isn't for me.

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Photo of orbitalr0x
4/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a deep reddish amber with really no head to speak of. The smell is caramel covered fruit with plenty of piney, earthy hops coming out as well. Not too overpowering.

The first taste is a candied fruity, hoppy punch in the mouth, with just enough caramel maltiness to keep it all together. Biterness and alcohol sting the back of the palate on the way down. A little off balance, but I do love the hops so I won't complain.

Mouthfeel is good with a nice full body and good consistency. Drinkability is good as well, but after a few of these you'll end up looking like the joker on the label. I think this one could've used some more time in the cellar...but it's good fresh if you're looking for a hoppier taste. Check this one out if you like barleywines. Thanks to, ironically enough, blitheringidiot himself for the chance to partake.

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Photo of far333
4.05/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Opaque burnt orange color with chunklets suspended. Thick and fine beige head rises up a full inch and sinks every so slowly. Aroma rises up from the glass before I'm even done pouring. It's thick and rich and sweet, smelling of rich malts and honey, plus pear and apple. Very inviting. Mouthfeel is a little watery, but gives way to a wallop of pungent flavor. Pine and citrus with sweet malts and fruit riding beneath. Finish is an alochol burn followed by a lingering tingle. That full 11% makes itself known, and probably hides many other interesting flavors that would normally surface.

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Photo of santoslhalper
4.65/5  rDev +26.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A great example of barleywine for those who've never had one before. Poors a very deep, rusty color with hardly any head. The nose is fruity and sweet with a hint of toffee but smells mainly of liquor, which is definitly acceptable consider the alcohol content. The taste is out of this world. Ridiculously complex with tastes of prunes, raisens, toffee, caramel and so much more. Incredibly smooth for how potent it is. The mouthfeel is very thick and syrupy but not at all in a bad way. And as for the drinkability, I could drink this all day. A sipping beer that will get you tanked. :-) Enjoy.

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Photo of meathookjones
2.57/5  rDev -30%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

What an appropriate name for a barley wine, definitely fits the description of my disposition after too much of the style. This pours out a deep amber color with a tall off white head that quickly collapses to a covering of foam and bubbles. The aroma is filled with the scent of sweet ripe fruit joined by a sharp but not overpowering scent of alcohol. Sweet malts greet the tongue first with fruit flavors and molasses. The finish is a bit tongue numbing with alcohol and slightly sweet. Mouthfeel is full and syrupy will sufficient carbonation. This takes a hit on drinkability from the alcohol taste that numbs my tongue, I dare not have another one or I might not be able to feel my tongue at all. Fresh I don’t care too much for it but I will have to age a bottle of this and see how it turns out. If the alcohol mellows this could turn into something much better.

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Photo of TinusTime
3.55/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark copper with little to no head. Smell is fairly sweet and malty with notes. Toffee and liquor soaked dark fruits are also on the nose. Taste is a bit thin for something this potent. Rich malt and toffee, with more brandied fruits on the tongue. Alcohol is disguised well. Mouthfeel is a bit sticky however with almost a cotton candy type feeling. Drinkability isnt bad, however I can think of several other barleywines I would rather have a go at.

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Photo of ZAP
4.54/5  rDev +23.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Aroma of sweet fruits...blackberries, plums, perhaps some peaches...very nice...also some molasses on the aroma...

Cloudy orangish brown color...no head...very low carbonation in the mouth..feels a bit watery because of it...I'd call it as medium bodied...

Sweet flavor...toffee....molasses...sweet fruit....a hint of caramel...has some English qualities to it...earthy hop flavor...

I like this....very easy drinking for the ABV..deliciously sweet...earthy...very nice...best of the Weyerbachers I've had...

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Photo of CBFanWish
3.33/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

On tap at MacGregor's in Hennrietta. So I go in and I see Blithering Idiot on special, so I figure I have waited long enough, I might as well get a glass.
The appearance was much like an apple cider. Murky bronze in colour with no head to speak of.
The aroma was very alcoholic with hints of figs and butterscotch.
The taste was much like a red wine. I would say a merlot. It had a grapey taste with a strong figgy background.
The mouthfeel was a little off. Kind of chalky at first, but got easier to drink as it went down.
Not a bad barley wine, but not something i would make a habit of buying.

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Photo of malthead
3.7/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Born less than two months ago, from a Weyerbacher "Big Beers" case, most of which is going into my celler (i.e., the closet of my college dorm room...)
Poured into an etched Duvel tulip.

A nice, deep clear ruby color, with a ~.5 inch fine beige head. The smell is very complex, with malt, grapes, almost smells like wine. Taste is strong and rather raw, as it's not even two months old... very malty, but with strong alcohol overtones and more hops, especially in the finish, than many English barley wines. Ends a little sweet, almost cloying. Mouthfeel is dominated by a noticable alcohol presence, but it's not enough to be unpleasant - rather is a very nice warmer.. almost feels a little creamy, too. Drinkability is a tough question with an 11% ABV... this one's going very well, a good sipping drink, but I'm not sure I'd want more than one at a sitting, even accounting for the high ABV.
Definitely a brew with great cellar potential - it's nice to have one now, to see a fresh sample, but I'll be waiting until winter before reaching for the next one in the 6pack, and I'm looking forward to it already.

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

This was one of the guest taps at 5 Seasons in Atlanta for the July 1 celebration (yay bigger beer!) A very nice barleywine and one that I think is better for the style than the wimpy for style Old Heathen. This is on the dark side of the brown specturm wiht an ok head. It’s got that big barleywine fruitiness in the aroma backed up with a healthy does of sweet malt and leafy, grassy hops. The caramel-like malt is sweet, but not cloying and blends nicely with the dates and fig fruitiness.

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Photo of cbl2
3.15/5  rDev -14.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3


Slightly cloudy, reddish-brown with no head.


A mild malt aroma reminiscent of a bock.


Slightly unpleasant, diacetyl dominates, with mild malt characteristics and a bitter finish.

Note: I think this one needs some time to mature (at least I hope that's the explanation). I've set aside a few, and will review again at a later point.

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Photo of connecticutpoet
4.42/5  rDev +20.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I got this one mainly for the name, before I even knew it was a barleywine. I am especially fond of barleywines, so I had high hopes for this one. And I was not disappointed.

It was a nice clear red color, and there was not a lot of head, as I expected from the high alcohol content. The aroma was of sweet malt, unsurprising for the style. But there was a generous hint of apples and a bright hop overtone as well.

The flavor was of very strong malt with the alcohol coming through noticeably, but not overpoweringly. Just enough to let you know that you would be on your way to becoming this beer's namesake if you had more than one. It was not bitter, and it had a nice fruity aftertaste.

I liked this one a LOT.

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Photo of Maestro
3.47/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This barley wine is not one of my favorites. I have had it several times, but I decided to wait to review a bottle from last winter that has had time to sit. It is more mature but still not great. The appearance is a brown cloudy mix with a thin, tan head. The nose is very fruity, likes raisins and dates. The taste is pretty much raisins and dates. That is the only way I can describe this. The only other way is to say that it is like drinking a fig newton. The alcohol is strong. But it isn't very drinkable. Definitey a one-dimensional barley wine.

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Photo of LarryV
3.9/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a nice reddish amber color with a thin head that dissipated very quickly. Very little carbonation present. Smell is kind of winey with dark fruit in the nose. Perhaps it would benefit from more aging, I found it to be too sweet. Hops are hardly present, leaning towards a big malty taste. Not a bad barleywine, but at the price of $15 for a 6 pack, I found it somewhat disappointing. Hard to drink more than one of these due to the sweetness which I found to be rather overbearing. Cheers!

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Photo of yeagerbm
3.9/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bought this as part of a mixed case from the brewery. This is definately a high power brew. Pours a clear brownish red with a thin light brown head. Smell is fruity malt and alcohol, but its not overpowering. Taste is like dark dried fruit with very sweet malt and very warm alcohol. Has just enough hops to balance the sweetness. Flavors are very ripe and agressive. Definately a sipping beer. I'd like to try this one with a little age.

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Photo of irishmoss
3.82/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2004 edition ~ served around 55 degrees
This pours a nice garnet color that seems to be pretty clear. A nice rush of fizzing head that quickly dissipates to a ring and a few swirls.
The aroma is sweet caramel, alcohol, and a little vinous.
This has a big malty backbone with a faint plum flavor that quickly gives way to an astringent flavor that leaves a nice dry mouth and little after taste. Each sip is a little warming and although there is a little alcohol flavor, it’s not overpowering. But this could sit down in the cellar pretty well, and hopefully tame down some of the tannic qualities. Overall this isn’t a bad barley wine by any means, not as complex as I’ve had, but this is pretty green.

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Photo of Running4beer
3.67/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours out a hazy orangish color and yeast floaties are in there as well and eventually settle at the bottom of the glass, a medium off white head almost tan and thins out. Aroma is of alcohol, raisons, alcohol, some weak malt, alcohol, figs, alcohol, a bit of spicey hops and did I mention the alcohol. Taste is pretty much the same alcohol and more alcohol and very little of all else. Very chewy and full bodied also cause of the noticeable alcohol there is a warming everytime you take a sip. This could with out a doubt sit in a dark corner for at least a year to develop into a less alcohol more flavorful beer, at least I believe with a year on the bench it can mellow out a little.

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Blithering Idiot from Weyerbacher Brewing Co.
83 out of 100 based on 866 ratings.