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Insanity - Weyerbacher Brewing Co.


Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

1,695 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1695
Reviews: 833
rAvg: 4.17
pDev: 11.27%

Brewed by:
Weyerbacher Brewing Co. visit their website
Pennsylvania, United States

Style | ABV
English Barleywine |  11.10% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes/Commercial Description:
A bourbon barrel-aged English-style Barleywine.

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 06-21-2004)
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Ratings: 1,695 | Reviews: 833 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of PorterLambic


4.69/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Pours a cloudy, coppery brown color. Some light still gets thru at the bottom of the glass making it kind of luminescent looking. Tan head develops then disappears quickly to nothing. Of course, no lace here.
Smell is rich, malty, oak, raisins, with lighter notes of grape and floral. Balance is quite good.
Taste is equally rich, like Warren Buffett rich. Notes of malt, oak, smoke, raisin & dates, bourbon, with a faint floral presence. Balance is phenomenal.
Full bodied, light-ish, but tart, effervescence. Warming from the start, a serious sipping beer. I imagine this is the closest I'll get to an after-dinner whiskey. A truly amazing brew. Get one, or seven, and share with friends on a cold winter night and you will be very happy.

Serving type: bottle

04-14-2014 01:48:07 | More by PorterLambic
Photo of martyl1000


4.13/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

This was good, but . . . (see final paragraph for a disclaimer). From a bottle that was a little too cold, into a tulip glass. Certainly a classic looking pour. It was a lovely copper haze, with a soft slow head and surprisingly little lacing, even though one could see how sticky it was on the glass.

The aroma was somewhat of a disappointment. Even 15 minutes later when the 5 ounces in my glass had warmed 10°, the aroma was pretty complex, a little fruity, heavy sweet sugar and sulfur and cream.

In the mouth, Insanity does live up to its name, in at least its overall uncertainty -- it didn't seem to know if it wanted to be a landlord's refined butter or movie megaplex "butter flavor".

this review might unfairly be comparing to Central Waters Bourbon Barrel Barleywine, which I'm drinking side-by-side with the Weyerbacher. The CW body was bigger and its flavor was more pride-worthy (dare I say 'majestic'?)
I'm having this again a year later. I'm having to downgrade my score from last year (4.45). A year ago, I had this brew side-by-side with Central Waters Brewers' Reserve BB Barley Wine. The Insanity is not even in the same ballpark as the CW. The Insanity has a metallic flavor that really kills the joy of a barrel-aged barley wine.

It's good, certainly. But not good enough to put in the cellar.

Serving type: bottle

03-30-2014 22:34:01 | More by martyl1000
Photo of hopflyer


3.7/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Bottled 1/22/13.

Last one of a 4 pack night last year. I thought the first three consumed fresh were way too boozy for my liking. Aged the last one. Here goes.

Pours brownish orange, hazy. Slow decant pour to leave dregs in bottle left no head.

Aroma is bourbon whisky through and through. Maybe bubble gum like as well.

First taste is still almost like a shot of whisky to me. The year has subdued the booze some but it still the prevalent taste here. Some caramel like malts in the background and a little bit of sugary sweetness appears once past the initial booze bomb. Bourbon becomes tame as my palate gets used to it. Getting almost like a caramel candy apple like taste. Not much in the way of hops and little to no bitterness.

Low carb and moderate body. Fits the bill with this.

Once past the initial bourbon assault on the first few sips, the backbone of this one really opens up. The booziness backs if but lingers enough to balance the sweetness. Definitely liking this now more than my initial tastes last year. Not sure if it's the age of the beer or my palate changing. Will re-visit this one fresh again to find out.

Serving type: bottle

03-30-2014 21:59:35 | More by hopflyer
Photo of JayQue


3.85/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Good one. I let this beer age for a year or so, don't know if it made any difference for the review. Pours a hazy ice-tea brown color. It takes a hard pour, but you can get a medium size light tan head with average retention. Thin bands of lace are visible on the glass.

Smell is quite good. This is a malty beer with plenty of aroma from the oak. Some toffee here as well.

Taste is very good. The oak is the most prominent flavor backing up a somewhat sweet malty beer. Toffee is evident as well with a light alcohol warming finish.

Mouthfeel is rich, mostly creamy and smooth with a little alcohol bite.

This is a one-and done-beer but the one goes down very easily. A potent but very approachable beer.

Serving type: bottle

03-26-2014 01:03:13 | More by JayQue
Photo of BurgeoningBrewhead


4.3/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

Poured into fluted snifter; deep ruby, clear, with a fluffy yellow-cream head that descends relatively quickly leaving a nice slick ring of foam.
Smells of dark fermented fruit, sweet caramel and toffee malt, raisin bread, bourbon.
Tastes of sweet, bready toffee malt with bourbon, dark fruit, and slight spice.
Mouthfeel is surprising; it starts out slick and sticky, but then transitions into a fluffy quad-like feel. Awesome twist!
Overall, very glad I picked this one up. My girlfriend kept insisting I had had it before, but I didn't think I had and I was correct. Good thing...it's awesome! An english barleywine that drinks like a quad.

Serving type: bottle

03-15-2014 05:02:18 | More by BurgeoningBrewhead
Photo of clayrock81


4.03/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Poured a dark auburn tinted brown body with a strong boozy/bourbon like aroma mixed with sugary sweet maltiness (caramel, toffee) and a little bit of woodiness and I think a hint of dark fruit (I am leaning towards figs). Beer is full-bodied and thick, not really sticky so it goes down smooth like velvet, there's some bourbon and woodiness in here so it's smooth and boozy. I get taste notes of vanilla, figs, possibly plum, toffee, caramel and the finish is a little hot but it's more complimentary than distracting. All in all a very enjoyable barleywine.

Serving type: bottle

03-13-2014 11:51:21 | More by clayrock81
Photo of _solskei


4.5/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Super ale, cannot say anything bad about this one. It's great at room temperature or a little cooler. It does get better as it sits in the glass. The reddish tint and lighter aroma is quite devious, it packs a punch! The bourbon is near perfect for the price at $14.99 x 4 12oz.

Serving type: bottle

03-07-2014 03:12:04 | More by _solskei
Photo of PeterParker

New Jersey

3.66/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.75

Pours a deep brownish ruby. No head and very little lacing.

Smells of candied fruits, figs, bourbon, and some booze.

Tastes sweet, not overly sweet though. Follows the smell: bourbon, fruity, sweetness, wuth a bit of alcohol burn.

Thin with very minimal carbonation.

Middle of the road barleywine. Still pretty good but doesn't really stand out.

Serving type: bottle

03-03-2014 01:57:20 | More by PeterParker
Photo of gr0g

New Jersey

4.31/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Relatively fresh bottle, dated 12/17/2013. Pours reddish-brown (or mahogany, if you like), clear, with a short head of fine bubbles. Some spotty lacing. Aroma is packed with sugary malt character Bourbon-barrel character. Lots of vanilla and oak, with toffee and candy apple to lesser extent. A noticeable fusel alcohol note is the only knock against it.

Barrel aging adds great complexity to the flavor, with Bourbon, vanilla, and woodiness complementing but not overpowering. Plenty of malt sugars come through, but the sweetness is held in check and doesn't become cloying. Soft carbonation complements the flavor nicely, and the texture has appropriate heft and stickiness. "Drinkability" is good for a Barleywine this potent.

A damn good offering from Weyerbacher and certainly worth seeking out. At $15-16 for a 4-pack, the price per fluid ounce is quite good for a quality barrel-aged ale. While it's no Sucaba or BCBBW, it's a rather fine substitute.

Serving type: bottle

03-01-2014 01:56:00 | More by gr0g
Photo of GreesyFizeek

New York

4.16/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.25

Bottle purchased from Nathaniel Square Corner Store in Rochester, NY.

Pours a murky, muddy dark brown. One inch head, with not much lacing.

Smells include brown sugar, toffee, caramel and bourbon.

Similar tastes- with a strong bourbon kick up front, some oak, vanilla, and the aforementioned flavors from the aroma- rich malt flavors of brown sugar, toffee, and caramel. Finishes pretty boozy and strong. Alcohol is definitely felt, so some age will probably help this one.

Medium bodied, a little too thin for a barrel-aged barleywine, but still fine anyway. Low carbonation, creamy, sticky, sweet mouthfeel.

A great BA barleywine- a thicker body and less alcohol presence would put it in the elite ranks.

Serving type: bottle

02-26-2014 00:10:30 | More by GreesyFizeek
Photo of don1481


4.14/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into Mr. Pint Glass.

Appearance: Pours a dark caramel with a brisk amount of carbonation and a thumb-width khaki colored head that lingers for a few moments.

Smell: A little bit of bourbon, but more bready and fruity - get quite a bit of figs and raisins here. Some vanilla notes, caramel and toffee too. As it breathes, it gets more complex.

Taste: Bourbon, but much deeper than just the heat. Caramel, butterscotch, vanilla, and raisins abound in the taste. It's a pretty complex dance that's going on in this one.

Mouthfeel: Much more warming than some of the other barleywines I've had lately. The alcohol burn, especially during the first few sips, lingers a bit longer. It gets cleaner as I drink more, but the lingering first few sips really came as a bit of a surprise compared to other barleywines of late. Medium-bodied for sure.

Overall: I'll be aging this to see how it progresses. Lots of potential, but it's a notch below CW's amongst the recent ones I've had.

Serving type: bottle

02-25-2014 00:40:25 | More by don1481
Photo of 57md


4.23/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Appearance is a dark copper color with over a finger of head that enjoyed some lengthy retention. The head also left nice thick lacing behind on the glass. There was a touch of vanilla on the nose. The bourbon is certainly present in the flavor profile along with vanilla and the essence of wood. The finish is dry and slightly bitter. This is well done.

Serving type: on-tap

02-23-2014 00:42:43 | More by 57md
Photo of Scrapss


4.14/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Poured from the bottle into a wide mouth champagne style beer glass.

A: Deep brown with an orange edge. Head falls immediately to a thin collar. Hazy. Legs are minor with minimal lacing. Tight bubble reappear after brisk swirling and agitation. Looks nearly nitro.

S: Huge barrel oak and some minor vanillan notes This is young, and lemon grassy hop notes play and flit about the monster medium-heavy roasted malts. Has a butterscotch thing going on. Deep fried chicken. Orange honey notes.

T: Wow. I can only imagine aging removing some of the balanced hop, barrel and malt notes out of this brew. Citrus is muted but comes from all angles: barrel, hop and overall. The malt is definitely a player, deeper than caramel by my estimation. Has a kind of tangy yeastiness to it. Hops are young in this sample. The butterscotch in the nose is in the quaff. I am getting dark, sweet fruits like figs and prunes. Hides booziness well.

M: Very slick and smooth. Minor bittering, mostly malt sweetness. Carbonation is slight yet lends to overall fullness.

O: Very good. Sipper for sure. A nice effort, with some age that butterscotch might quell but you'd lose that hop note. A quandry for sure, so grab some for today, some for 6 months and some for year 1 and year 2. Or 3. Or 4.

Serving type: bottle

02-21-2014 00:30:29 | More by Scrapss
Photo of Jjski

New York

4.74/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Full disclosure : one of my favorites of " accessible" brews, up there with Backwoods Bastard, Bigfoot, and borbon barrel stouts. Thick, strong like bull, hair on chest, good night.

2013 vintage, of which I have been working on a case since last year

A- orange brown semi opaque, one finger head

S- overripe apricots and malty, sourdough yeasty bread, vanilla oaky tangy marmalade

T- at this point of its evolution , apricots soaked in bourbon. Whispers of tart orange zest with brandy

M- retains a lively mouthfeel with solid, pleasant carbonation of fine, relaxed bubbles. Body of beer is perfect, like good merlot. Fulfilling but not cumbersome

O- You will hate this beer, so do not buy. If you find excess on shelves anywhere, please message me, so that I can dispose of it in a safe manner. DO NOT try to enjoy this beer. Leave that to me. For the safety and sanity of other BA's, I feel it is my duty to remove this from the supply chain and immediately place in my climate-controlled cellar.

Serving type: bottle

02-10-2014 04:05:28 | More by Jjski
Photo of wvsabbath

West Virginia

3.51/5  rDev -15.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Serving Type - Bottle

Appearance - Dark ruby tan/brown, minimal 1/8 inch head, decent sticky lacking.

Smell - Cherries, fig, grapes, bourbon, some wood and smoke. Some hops also but not relaly a big, robust smell.

Taste - Sweet with lots of fruits like orange and grape mixed with dark fruits such as raisin and plum. Malts provide caramel and some wood. Sugars mixed in add more sweetness. Bourbon is present, along with vanilla. Alcohol is present in each sip.

Mouthfeel - Sweet fruits and sugars along with caramel malts coats the tongue. Palate picks up more of the same along with more alcohol. Aftertaste is sweet and alcohol warm.

Overall - Not bad, its too sweet which masks the bourbon some. Alcohol is a bit too present but doesn't ruin the beer. A decent drink, not my favorite but worth a try.

Serving type: bottle

02-10-2014 01:29:27 | More by wvsabbath
Photo of Ri0


4.05/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

poured 12oz bottle into chalice.

A - Muddy brown with some amber tones with almost no head and no lacing.

S - Bourbon is quite strong, but caramel, toffee, brown sugar, and dark fruits come in as it warms.

T - Again, the bourbon is quite strong up front. As it warms the caramel, vanilla, toffee, butterscotch, and dark fruits come in and enhance the flavor.

M - Thinner bodied than other BW's, but okay. Carbonation is lighter and the feel could be a bit smoother.

O - Good, but I hope age improves this. I will try it again in 6 months.

Serving type: bottle

02-09-2014 17:55:17 | More by Ri0
Photo of tastybeer

North Carolina

4.34/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Aged for about five years...

Color is hazy, cloudy, almond-woody brown. Head is small and quickly fading. Not much for lace.

Smell is delicate, harmoniously mixed vanilla, woody, nutty bourbon aromas. Sugary sweet at the top with figs, raisins, miscellaneous berries, cherry, even cranberry. Delightful soft tartness hovering over the brown sugar, slight musky wood aromas. One of the less assertive and still big barleywines. Perhaps I prefer British style...

Taste is very sweet, balanced by an array of other pleasing flavors. Woody-earthy dryness, plums, raisins, figs, vanilla, alcohol/liquor, smooth goodness. Certainly a sipper. Flavors expand as it warms up. Never overwhelming but still abundant with variety.

Serving type: bottle

02-09-2014 02:26:29 | More by tastybeer
Photo of wedge

North Carolina

4.33/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Bomber...I'm thinking 2008?

Deep caramel brown with an initially creamy off-white head that slips away to nothing. Nice legs. Lots of little yeasty bits suspended. Hefty, smooth bourbon aroma, but without much booziness. Little oxidation too, which is a pleasant surprise. Raisin, vanilla, woody spice, figs, maple, a little almond-like nuttiness, cherry. Super smooth, sweet, fruity malt flavor. Again, the bourbon is prevalent, but not in a boozy way. Toffee, maple, sweet bread, and vinous fruit. A really delicious toasted note follows late with a lingering dried fruit quality. Oaky vanilla and tobacco. Quite sweet...definitely a sipper, but damn tasty. Heavy with residual sugars and lusciously smooth. I'm pretty relieved this held up so well. Very rich, but pretty excellent.

Serving type: bottle

02-09-2014 02:24:17 | More by wedge
Photo of CHickman

New York

3.34/5  rDev -19.9%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

On tap at Fire & Oak in Jersey City: Poured into a Chimay chalice and was an orange copper color with a small off white head that faded quickly and left OK lacing. The bartender told me it was a hoppy barleywine and he could not have been more wrong; this nose and flavor were both very malty, with oaky notes, yeast and more like a Belgian Strong Ale than a barleywine. There was some bourbon and caramel notes, but it was more malt and yeast than anything else. It was sweet with some heat that was not as bad as I thought it would be considering the ABV, but this did not go down easy or smooth. Mouthfeel was mdium to full bodied with mild carbonation and chewy feel, but as much as I wanted to like it this brew just let me down. I'll have to try it again from a bottle some time.

Serving type: on-tap

02-06-2014 23:24:15 | More by CHickman
Photo of ZorroZ


4.56/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

I had one of these with lunch after spending much of the morning shoveling heavy, wet snow. After that, the high... Warmth of this brew was perfect, as was the taste.

Appearance: a lovely chestnut brown

Smell: pleasant enough, but not much of a smell, to be honest

Taste: oh, wow! Fruity, with a hint of figs alongside a strong malt backbone. Despite the very high ABV, the alcohol is clearly present, but not overpowering. Just lovely!

Mouthfeel: I'd almost expected this to taste syrupy, but it was very nice. And, again, the alcohol doesn't overpower the rest of the beer at all.

Overall this was exactly what my aching back + I needed between rounds 1 and 2 of snow duty... Ah, the wages of home ownership...

Serving type: on-tap

02-03-2014 18:00:20 | More by ZorroZ
Photo of jhawth


4.1/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Poured into a tumbler. Pours a rich, murky reddish orange with a half-finger, beige head.

Aroma: Vanilla, rich dark fruits, slight woodiness.

Taste: Rich dark, candied fruits are dominant, with a very nice undertone of vanilla and woody smoothness.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied, slightly viscous, but comparatively light for the style. Very drinkable for 11%, alcohol is present but not at all offensive.

Overall: Really nice barleywine. Barrel character seems very restrained, and the result is a very drinkable, nicely complex ale.

Serving type: bottle

02-03-2014 02:08:42 | More by jhawth
Photo of NYR2

New Jersey

4.31/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

A - Hazy brown, no real head, but slight lacing on the glass(snifter)

S - Hard to say, oak and vanilla, not too strong.

T - Much like the smell I am getting hints of vanilla and as the beer suggests it tastes of an ale that has been aged in oak barrels...so it certainly lives up to its claim. The alcohol is well hidden in this delicious beer.

M - Smooth with a little carbonation that wakes up the tongue but nothing powerful.

O - I am at a bit of a loss for words on the description, all I know is that I like it and I want more. I will definitely attempt to acquire another 4-pack before it is gone for the year. If you like their Blithering Idiot, you will love this.

Serving type: bottle

01-20-2014 04:48:52 | More by NYR2
Photo of krs0123

New Jersey

4.56/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a pretty brownish red. Lacing is thin. Medium carb. Smell is of caramel, bourbon, and vanilla. Taste is wonderful. Balanced bourbon, vanilla, dark fruit. Better than last year. Mouthfeel is appropriate, medium carb, sticky. Overall....even better than the last few years.

Serving type: bottle

01-16-2014 00:36:02 | More by krs0123
Photo of mverity


3.81/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Bottle into snifter. Nice hazy amber brown color with good amount of light tan head that held well and faded into a medium collar. Earthy sweet caramel aroma. Taste is slightly boozey, but otherwise an enjoyable woody hop pines, some toffee, and a slight vanilla character. A bit lighter body than I would like from a barley wine. Medium carbonation.

Serving type: bottle

01-14-2014 04:09:32 | More by mverity
Photo of PicoPapa


4.2/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

12oz bottle. Pours a murky dark brownish mahogany color with a half inch of head. Minimal lacing. The aroma is oaky and boozey with some caramel popcorn, butter, and sweet bread. The taste is bourbon and oak at first. Warming alcohol presence throughout with lots of caramel malts, and notes of butter. More malts at the finish with bourbon as well. Not overly hot and somewhat balanced, which seems weird to say. Medium bodied. Overall, well made Bourbon Barrel Aged Barleywine that isn't a pain in the ass to try and track down. Worth seeking out.

Serving type: bottle

12-17-2013 02:25:25 | More by PicoPapa
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Insanity from Weyerbacher Brewing Co.
93 out of 100 based on 1,695 ratings.