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Insanity - Weyerbacher Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
InsanityInsanity

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
93
outstanding

2,186 Ratings
THE BROS
90
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,186
Reviews: 895
rAvg: 4.15
pDev: 11.33%
Wants: 199
Gots: 474 | FT: 28
Brewed by:
Weyerbacher Brewing Co. visit their website
Pennsylvania, United States

Style | ABV
English Barleywine |  11.10% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 06-21-2004

A bourbon barrel-aged English-style Barleywine.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 2,186 | Reviews: 895
Photo of muchos
4.24/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Bottled 11/11/14
Consumed 5/25/15
Dark brown with a hint of red. Small foam head which reduces quickly.
Not much in the nose. Sweet bread, mostly booze.
Taste starts alcohol, then sweet. Caramel, dates, figs, vanilla. Surprisingly smooth. Alcohol finish, like straight vanilla extract. Pretty delicious.
Feels smooth with slight alcohol sting. Medium body.
Overall a sweet, smooth, boozy treat.

Photo of JohnnyHopps
4.21/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Appearance - The beer was a brownish copper color with little bubbles.

Smell - Grass and malts come through in the nose with a slight oakiness.

Taste - I sat on this one for a year and I was rewarded. Boozy malts make the impression with vanilla, oak, and sweet fruits. Grape skin and butterscotch also make an appearance. A slightly warm aftertaste is coupled with sweet malts.

Mouthfeel - Though this is a little thin, it coats the tongue nicely.

Overall - Weyerbacher is pretty underrated. This is a solid beer.

Photo of Towen69
4.41/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.75

I'm at a stage where I'm liking the bourbon barrel aged beers. Especially the stouts, but this barley wine was awesome as well.

Photo of fredmugs
3.5/5  rDev -15.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Decent for a barley wine but I'm not getting the barrel at all.

Photo of ClavisAurea
4.12/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Bottle dated 01/13/2015 served in a tulip glass at cellar temps.

Appearance: typical reddish copper with a small head. The he'd sank but that's to be expected.

Nose: coconut, oak, vanilla, caramel, fruitcake.

Taste/mouthfeel: hot hot hot alcohols, very heady, the alcohol burn can be felt in my ears and throat. Spicy clove and complex fruity eaters. Mild bitterness. Creamy mouthfeel that is not too heavy.

Overall: this beer is quite a few notches above the standard Blithering Idiot barleywine. It really needs to age and mellow out; the hot alcohols are way too much. The oak barrel aging really adds complexity but did nothing for the fusels. I'll see this one in a year.

Photo of TTripp725
3/5  rDev -27.7%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3.25

Not a big fan of this brewer. It's not that they are bad it's they aren't my thing

Photo of Michael1974
3.09/5  rDev -25.5%
look: 2.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Loved the booze. Really hits the spot.

Photo of Beerdemon2731
3.71/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

First drank fresh, was not a fan at all. Let one age for a few months an noticed an improvement tremendously. not my style beer, not bad but not great in my opinion. Going to let the last 2 of my 4-pack age for a while and see how much more they improve.

Photo of whothehellisstanpapi
4.43/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: copper mud puddle with quick fading head
Aroma: vanilla, oak, and smoke with some alcohol
Taste: perfectly balanced, tastes like its smells with some sweetness
Moulthfeel: silky
Overall: wasn't the biggest fan of blithering idiot, but this is fantastic

Photo of TreyIsWilson
4.04/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

A - Pours a dark ruby red with a one-finger off-white head. The head fades extremely fast leaving some light sticky lacing.

S - Lots of booze, dark fruit, and vanilla.

T - The flavor follows the aroma with lots of bourbon, dark fruits, caramel malts and vanilla. The finish has a nice lingering alcohol burn.

M - Heavy body with medium carbonation. Smooth syrupy mouthfeel. The finish is sticky and dry.

O - This is a big badass English Barleywine with nice bourbon flavors throughout.

Photo of Jacobob10
4.26/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

12 oz bottle. Born on 12/22/2014, best by 12/22/2019. Deep ruby, almost brown, in color and clear with a small head. Heavy malt sweetness with no noticeable hop aroma. Caramel, toffee, fig, date, butterscotch, vanilla, bourbon, and brown sugar. Call me crazy but I even noticed a little banana in there. Excellent! Strong oak presence. The alcohol is not hidden at all. It is strong and in your face. Full bodied, thick, and well carbonated. A long, sweet finish.

A monster of a barleywine. Recommended to any lover of strong ales.

Photo of chinchill
4.05/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle nicely dated with both the bottling date (30-Dec.-2014) and the BB date (Dec. 2019).

The beer pours with a clear red-brown body and a small head that quickly reduces to a ring.

Aroma: fruity, malty, boozy, oaky and inviting. There's also a hint of vanilla.

Taste: More complex than the smell. Dark fruits, vanilla, faint wood, dark bread and a hint of pepper.

Mouthfeel: wonderfully smooth with admirably limited adverse effects of the 11.1% ABV. The beer is full bodied and lightly sticky with little carbonation.

Overall: an excellent and refined barleywine.

Photo of Rango_the_Beer_Guy
4.52/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Weyerbacher – Easton, PA
Insanity English Barleywine – 11.1% abv
English Barleywine (BJCP 19B)
Bottle Inspection – packaged 01/15 – 3 mo. Old

Aroma (11/12)
Aroma smells very interesting and complex from the first scent. Strong sweet malty aromas mix with a caramel/molassess toffee note and vanilla from the oak aging. May be some mild dark fruit notes, but no discernable hops aromas or esters. Definitely a sherry-like aroma mixed in as well with small amounts of alcohol present on the nose (literally as well, by accident).

Appearance (3/3)
Medium brown color with slight red hue and brilliant clarity. Medium-small off-white head which dissipates quickly with low retention.

Flavor (18/20)
The interesting and powerful aromas are matched well by a complex and powerful flavor in this beer. The sweet maltiness gives way to the dark fruit notes to balance out the beer fairly well, with only a moderate alcoholic warmth; fairly well masked for a beer this big. Minimal hop bitterness if any and a heavy thick malty sweetness lingers. Slightly noticeable vanilla/cream taste associated with the oak barrel aging. No noticeable off-flavors, complex but far swung to the malt side of balance.


Mouthfeel (5/5)
Thick, viscous, and almost chewy moutfeel. Very creamy and full-bodied mouthfeel with moderate-low carbonation. The alcoholic warmth comes on strongly through the finish with some alcoholic bite as it passes through. The alcoholic bite is not too bad considering the beer is 11% abv, and does not linger in the aftertase. Clean aftertaste with a sweet malty finish. No diacetyl.


Overall Impression (9/10)
Overall, I really enjoy this beer especially as it warmed up and unlocked a few different flavors. Definitely one to be taken easy as the high alcohol is well masked in both aroma and flavor. A smooth, creamy, and full-bodied beer that is extremely malt-balanced. Awesome English Barleywine, would recommend to lovers of the high abv beers or barleywines. The one I drank was very young (~3 mo.), should age well and I’d be interested to see if the flavor develops more.

Total (46/50) – Outstanding; World-class example of style.

Photo of StonedTrippin
4.03/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

perhaps as much oak on this beer as on any i have ever had. its really good, a lot better than it looks. almost milky super cloudy yeasty in the glass without much head at all. the smell is way more oak than bourbon, although i do get some vanilla notes and some sweetness. the grain is pretty straight forward, caramelized long boil sweet wort aromas, dried dates, english ale yeast. the flavor is a lot like the nose, just a little less intense ont the wood. the sweetness of the malt is much more pronounced, marshmallow and coconut notes come in, nutty for a second, but quite sweet, candy like for awhile, and then the wood. weird to think about drinking a solid object, like a tree trunk, but thats how this beer feels to me. its yeast too, but not overly so, it gets boozy as it warms, but i think this is pretty excellent barleywine. a great example of the style, and unique enough to stand out. thanks to thebrewo for leaving this one at my house!

Photo of Nctide
4.38/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle. Pours a hazy burnt orange color with a persistent white head. Smells of vanilla and bourbon. The taste is really enjoyable with a nice transition from the malts to bourbon to a not-overbearing alcohol burn on the finish.
Well done. This one is remarkably smooth for the high abv. I haven't had a beer quite like it. The barrel aging seems to take a bit of the edge off the barley wine. I will be going back for more.

Photo of dbrauneis
4.15/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A: Pours a lightly hazy medium copper-ish amber in color with moderate amounts of active visible carbonation rising from the bottom of the glass and moderate amounts of honey colored highlights. The beer has a finger tall sudsy foamy beige head that reduces to a large patch of mottled thin film covering the majority of the surface of the beer and a thick ring at the edges of the glass. Moderate amounts of lacing are observed.

S: Moderate to strong aromas of bourbon, vanilla, and oak with lighter aromas of brown sugar and toffee malts.

T: Upfront there is a moderate flavor of toffee and caramel malts with moderate amounts of brown sugar sweetness. That is followed by strong flavors of bourbon, vanilla, and oak. Light amounts of bitterness in the finish.

M: Medium to full bodied with moderate amounts of carbonation. Smooth.

O: Much easier to drink than I expected for the style and strength of this beer... Very enjoyable with really nice bourbon barrel flavors and aromas.

Photo of fx20736
4/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

dark amber with thin cream colored head. Malty aroma, slightly nutty and fruity. White grape/ apricot taste with boozy finish. This is an ok beer but nothing special.

Photo of Trombone69
4.24/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

I split one with a buddy. He hated it. But I liked it. A lot.

Photo of delta490
4.04/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a deep cloudy copper with a thinner light tan head that burns off relatively quickly. A little bit hangs on to leave some small soapy lacing. The aroma takes some time to open up, bringing out the deep malts and dark fruit notes and just a hint of vanillin. The body, though, brings the oak-aging upfront, backed up by the caramel and fruit sweetness. The oak isn't overwhelming, but it is the first thing I taste. The body has a nice thickness to it with a nice smooth finish.

Photo of MDHopster
4.15/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Clear coppery bronze with quick fading head little lacing. Served in a Unibroue flute. Smoky oak, vanilla, and caramel nose highlight bourbon cask. Lasting vanilla oak aftertaste. Mild alcohol burn given ABV. Got to get some more to cellar, drink by date 4 years after bottling

Photo of glass_house
4.29/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

This is a beautifully done barreled barleywine. Plenty of the usual English barleywine characteristics, but none of the cloying, off-putting sweetness I found in Blithering Idiot. Its time in the barrel was well-spent, as the smokey wood, and slightly boozy heat add a layer of complexity that pairs perfectly with the rich malty backbone. It's a sipper for sure, and a damn good one. Can't wait to see what a year in the cellar does for this one.

Photo of kojevergas
3.58/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

BOTTLE: Brown glass. Branded pry-off pressure cap. Decent label art.

Acquired: in a trade with the gracious SlothB77. Thanks, man!

Reviewed live at low altitude in Austin, TX. Side-poured with standard vigor as no carbonation issues are anticipated.

Vintage: 2015. Bottled: 01/06/15. Best before: 01/06/20.
ABV: 11.1%
Style: Whiskey barrel aged barleywine (per their website).
Serving temp: Cold. Allowed to warm over the course of consumption.
Serving vessel: Pilsner glass.
Expectations: Extremely high. I loved Weyerbacher's Riserva and Insanity has a great reputation.

No bubble show forms as it's poured.

HEAD: 4 fingers wide. Khaki colour. Creamy, frothy, full, and sumptuous, with ideal thickness. Could be darker and richer. Quite soft-looking.

Retention: Superb for the ABV - easily 8 minutes. Leaves a coating of light lacing on the sides of the glass as it recedes.

BODY: Translucent deep amber. Appears well-carbonated. No yeast particulate or hop sediment is visible.

Overall, it's a good looking barleywine. Suggests a toasty, malty brew with higher carbonation.

AROMA: Sweetness seems perfect. Rich Scottish malts, amber malts, caramel, some indistinct fruit, English toffee, and English brown malt. Definitely has a more English character to it - at least from the yeast. The barrel aging is more subtle and faint than anticipated, but it seems to fit the base beer, bringing into the fold notes of marshmallow, white oak and concomitant barrel sugars, a bit of authentic vanilla, and backgrounded bourbon (but strangely, not whiskey, as the vanilla is quite present but there's no spiciness).

Aromatic intensity: average.

This pleasant aroma suggests a soft, coating brew with ideal sweetness and complementary subtle barrel character. I can't wait to try it, and it never seems boozy at all.

TEXTURE: The mouthfeel is the first thing I notice; marvelously soft and creamy, it accentuates the marshmallow notes beautifully. Carbonation is perfect, it's medium-bodied to the point that drinkability is heightened, and it has the right amount of heft, thickness, and weight on the palate without ever being overbearing, sticky, or syrupy. Wow. My only criticism is that its silkiness and wetness are overdone, gutting the beer of any real flavour duration.

Not oily, gushed, hot, boozy, astringent, harsh, rough, or scratchy.

TASTE: Though its flavour duration is tragically brief, this is a hell of a barleywine, with soft notes of marshmallow, faint vanilla, and light bourbon accentuating the base beer, coaxing out notes of caramel, English toffee, English brown malts, amber malts, and a kiss of fruit with some gorgeous Scottish malt sweetness in there too. Sweet but never cloying, this is a shockingly sippable barleywine whose 11.1% ABV isn't noticeable at all.

My critiques are nitpicks, and I'm forced only to look at how this beer could be better, because it has no egregious flaws. It's a bit shallow in terms of depth of flavour; the oak in particular is far too reticent and the cream mutes the flavour profile. While the balance is excellent as-is, if they could maintain that masterful balance with the intricacy and layered flavours of better barleywines, this would truly be world-class. It's a cohesive build, but lacks the complexity needed to really impress, and isn't gestalt. It errs on the side of subtlety, but I'd like for it to open up a bit; there's room for more flavour expression.

Flavour intensity: Average.
Flavour amplitude: Superb.

No yeast character, booze, or off-notes come through.

OVERALL: One of the most drinkable barleywines I've ever had that I actually like, Insanity is a brew that deserves its high reputation and hides its ABV dangerously well. Those similarly fatigued by examples of the style which are cloying and/or hide their lack of flavour underneath a bourbon barrel facade will find this refreshingly splendid, but as good as it is, there's ample room for improvement. That said, this is one of few barleywines I could see myself buying on a regular basis - if only I had ready access to it. There's a clear marriage of texture to taste, and the mouthfeel is marvelous. No one can call herself a true barleywine enthusiast without trying this at least once, and this will forever be my response to those who hold up Sierra Nevada's Bigfoot as the best widely available barleywine in the U.S.. Highly recommended.

Huge thanks to SlothB77 for the chance to try this!

B (3.48)

Photo of StoutHunter
4.05/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

I picked up a bottle of Weyerbacher's Insanity a few weeks ago for $4.09 at Holiday Market. I've been wanting to try this beer for a couple years and now that Weyerbacher is available in Michigan I thought I would give it a try, so lets see how it goes. Bottled on 1/19/15. Poured from a brown 12oz bottle into a snifter.

A- The label looks good, it goes well with the name and it's a little eye catching. It poured a dark amber brown color that took on more of darker ruby color when held to the light with a little over a fingers worth of creamy and bubbly tan head that died down to a thin ring that stayed till the end and it left some nice spotty lacing behind. This is a good looking beer, i have no complaints.

S- The aroma starts off with a lower amount of high sweetness with the malts being the first to show up and they impart some sweet malt, caramel, toffee and slight butterscotch like aroma with a some alcohol aromas showing up in the background. Up next comes the dark fruits with a nice fruity juice and slightly grape like aromas and it's followed the oak which is on the lighter side and it imparts some light oak and vanilla aromas. This beer has a good aroma, it's pretty much what I expect from the style, but I wish the oak showed up just a little more.

T- The taste seems to be similar to the aroma and it starts off with lower amount of high sweetness with the malts being the first to show up and they impart all the nice aspects that they did in the aroma with no single aspect sticking out the most and they seemed to show up a little more than they did in the aroma. Up next comes a noticeable alcohol flavor that's followed by the dark fruits which impart the same aspects that they did in the aroma and they are a little lighter this time. On the finish comes the oak which shows up just a little more than it did in the aroma with some nice vanilla flavors and it's followed by no bitterness with some sweet alcohol taking it's place with a nice caramel, toffee, vanilla and sweet malt like aftertaste. This was a good tasting beer, but I wish it was a little less sweet and boozy.

M- Fairly smooth, the alcohol could have been hidden just a little better, a little crisp, sticky, a little warming, on the lighter side of being full bodied with a slightly lower amount of medium carbonation. This beer had a good mouthfeel, but I thought it could have been a little smoother.

Overall I thought this was a good beer and good example of the style, it had a lot of the aspects that I look for in an English style Barleywine and while I wish the oak showed up a little more, the aspects that did show up worked well with this beer and I enjoyed it. This beer had ok drinkability, it was fairly smooth, the alcohol could have been hidden just a little better, a little crisp, sticky, a little warming, a little filling and the taste did a nice job at holding my attention, I think one is the perfect amount for me, anymore than that and I think the sweetness and booze would start to wear on me. What I like the most about this beer this beer was how true to style it is, it's just what I expect from an English Barleywine. What I like the least about this beer was that the that the oak barrels didn't show up just a little more. I would buy this beer again and I would like to see how it changes overtime. I would recommend trying this beer, especially if you like big and malty barleywines. All in all I was pretty happy with this beer, I wasn't sure how this one was going to turn out, but I had high hopes and in the end it lived up to my expectations. I think it's a good beer and I'm happy to be able to buy it now. So far it's one of my favorite Weyerbacher beers and it's above average for the style. Good job guys this is one tasty Barleywine, keep up the hard work.

Photo of scotorum
4.32/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Bottled 1/19/15. Poured from the 12 oz. bottle into a Samuel Adams nonick.

a: Clear copper with a foamy finger thick head which receded to thin surface foam and spotty lacing.

s: Mild alcohol.

t: Rich caramel malt forward followed by a medium hop bite and serious alcohol throat burn. Some liquor notes subtly emerge on a finish which is otherwise sweet to dry. Later the liquor notes become dominant.

m; Full with great body and plenty of carbonation tingle.

o: Powerful malty goodness which becomes more bourbon dominated as it is consumed. Ends up being quite competitive with Backwoods Bastard.

Photo of Gr8Stouts
5/5  rDev +20.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

My favorite Ale or beer for any day that ends in y. Perfect balance of bourbon for my taste. Strong beer not for the faint of heart. Anyone considering this beer should read the label on Stones Arrogant Bastard, "Your not worthy".

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Insanity from Weyerbacher Brewing Co.
93 out of 100 based on 2,186 ratings.