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Insanity - Weyerbacher Brewing Co.


Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

1,687 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1687
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: 1,687 | Reviews: 833 | Show All Ratings:
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 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 taylor714914


3.25/5  rDev -22.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Pours a ruby red with a thin cap of off white foam. Not sure what is going on here, but there is almost no nose to this. A hint of bourbon and oak, but very faint. Taste is thin and a bit watery, with a light malt sweetness and the vanilla and oak from the barrel treatment. I’ve had this many times before and have loved the thick rich body, the malt sweetness with figs prunes and raisins, the oak and vanilla, the alcohol warming, everything, but on tap, there is a lot of this missing. Maybe it was an off year, but not nearly the beer it once was.

Serving type: on-tap

10-30-2013 21:27:38 | More by taylor714914
Photo of DrinkSlurm


4.39/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Poured from tap into tulip at south park tavern in Dayton. Pours a murky orange with sticky white lacing. Lots of caramel aromas...toffee and vanilla.
Taste is where this shines...wow. huuuge caramel flavor. Its basically like a worthers in liquid alcohol form. Lots of sweetness and vanilla flavors as well. Some woody notes finish. Really just sooo smooth. Wow. This is a fantastic English barleywine. One of the best I ever had.
Right now there is a woman sitting 2 seats down from me talking to herself (weird) ..she must have had one of these.

Serving type: on-tap

04-02-2013 22:59:24 | More by DrinkSlurm
Photo of Darkmagus82


4.2/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Served on tap in a chalice glass

Appearance – Served a hazed copper colored brew with a one half finger white head. The head fades very quickly leaving a light level of lacing on the sides of the glass.

Smell- The nose is big of a bready, caramel, and fruit aroma. The fruit is a mix of both light and dark with the darker fruit smells winning out over the light. Smells of raisin, cherry, and prune are mixed with lighter notes of pear and banana. With these smells comes a light oaky and vanilla smell as well as a decently boozy smell of a more bourbon nature.

Taste – The taste begins malty and caramel and stone fruit sweet. There is a big bready base with large amounts of caramel sweetness with lighter notes of a cherry, prune and plum sweetness. As the flavors advance some of the oaky flavors begin developing further with the sweet fading ever so slightly, but remaining rather strong none the less. Toward the end of the taste the boozy notes that were detected in the nose come to the tongue. The flavors, largely of a bourbon nature, blend well with the sweet caramel and fruit leaving a nice thick warming sweet taste on the tongue.

Mouthfeel – The body of the beer was on the thicker and creamier side with a carbonation level that was a bit on the lower side. The thicker body and thinner carbonation were both quite nice for keeping this a sipping brew as well as for allowing for the sweeter and maltier flavors of the brew to really pronounce themselves with the warming boozy taste that is present.

Overall- A great sipping brew if I do say so myself. Not too overpowering, but definitely strong and flavorful enough with just the right amount of warming kick from the boozy taste to make it quite and enjoyable warmer.

Serving type: on-tap

03-11-2013 01:09:02 | More by Darkmagus82
Photo of BrokenStones

New Jersey

3.8/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Served in a 12 oz Snifter @thecloverleaf in Caldwell, NJ. One of the better beer venues in NYC metro area. Constantly rotating taps, special features and tap take over nights...food is really good too.

A: Auburn, white foam 1", nice lacing.

S: alcohol, honey fruit and mild hops.

T: alcohol, carmel, hops, medium body.

M: medium body, hits all senses in the mouth and pallet.

O: A really good beer; I would have it again if it again if thee were not 60 other beers to try. Worthy of throwing a 4 pan in the fridge.

Serving type: on-tap

02-29-2012 09:30:20 | More by BrokenStones
Photo of Thorpe429


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

On tap at Pizza Paradiso in Dupont Circle. Served in a snifter.

Pours an orange-copper color with a short white head and a bit of lacing on the way down. The nose carries a decent amount of bourbon along with light vanilla and oak. Sweet caramel and brown sugar there as well. Flavor is fairly sweet with some nice barrel notes in the background. Medium-full body with slight carbonation and a nice chewiness. Solid brew.

Serving type: on-tap

02-25-2012 01:27:14 | More by Thorpe429
Photo of drabmuh


4.03/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On tap at Pizza P for their barleywine thing. Served in a snifter, beer is sort of copper / red and mostly clear. Thin almost non-existent head, low carbonation, no lacing, basically this beer is still.

Aroma is sweet, mild oakiness and a little liquor, smells nice really good.

Beer is nice, smooth, sweet, good finish, and nice malt backbone, this beer is a huge improvement on Blithering Idiot, quite an amazing version of a barleywine. I'd have it again.

Serving type: on-tap

02-21-2012 16:10:49 | More by drabmuh
Photo of FightingEntropy


4.03/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A little extra time waiting for friends at the Muddy Pig led to a draft of Insanity to bide the time. No head on the beer, but a light white bubbles around the beer/glass boundary. Blood red beer in singles lighting--more of a brown and ruby held up to the light. Nose is fairly light, but sourdough bread, dark cherries and chocolate on top of a light spice and assertive alcohol. Insanity is the more standard barleywine Blithering Idiot that's aged in a oak bourbon barrel. Taste clearly gives the ghost of barleywine past and has a very familiar blend of dark fruit, oily bitterness, and figs. Departing from Blithering Idiot is the strong oak and harsh alcohol. Warming while reading a book the bourbon shows up full force with an alcohol sting--somehow more balance now. Drink this one slow.

Good, but I prefer Blithering Idiot. In the bottle, the idea of bourbon barrel aging being added to an already fine barleywine should be even better, but this one doesn't add up to more than the sum of it's part. Well worth a try for a night but will look elsewhere for my next barleywine.

Serving type: on-tap

12-23-2011 05:26:38 | More by FightingEntropy
Photo of corby112


3.63/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

2006 vintage on draft at Capones in Norristown, PA on Black Friday 2011.

Pours a cloudy dark amber color that's opaque with a one finger off white head that slowly settles into a thin ring.  Spotty lacing left behind.

Sweet boozy aroma with lots of caramel malt and dark fruit notes. Hints of caramel, toffee, date and fig.

Crsip medium body with soft carbonation that gives way to booozy malt sweetness and dark fruit notes. Nice heat up front that gives way to some zesty spice and sweeter notes. Hints of fig, date and raisin along with caramel and toffee. Has smoothed out but still boozy with a decent amount of heat.

Serving type: on-tap

11-30-2011 01:03:50 | More by corby112
Photo of HopDiggityDawg

North Carolina

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

On tap at Duckworth's.
a -hazy reddish amber with a a little head, minimal lacing.

S - bourbon.

T - Bourbon, sweet after-taste

MF - has a medium to full body

O - very good, I am not a fan of Barleywines but I had a sample of this one and it led me to order one. Did not know until half way through that it was 11+% abv

Serving type: bottle

Serving type: on-tap

07-15-2011 11:01:55 | More by HopDiggityDawg
Photo of claspada

New Jersey

4.2/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Aromas begin with sweet and profound with burnt brown sugar, biscuity malts and cookie dough. As it warms you get some dark fruit, plus a delicious blend of oak/wood, vanilla and bourbon. Really light on the booze, much ligher on tap then from the bottle.

The taste follows nose, but much more intensified. It begins sweet once again with complex burnt/carmelized sugar flavors. Some earthy and oaky notes from the Bourbon; it finishes with a nice prickly booziness. As it warms yoy get more of the barrel influence with sublte vanilla and a more complex nuttiness.

The mouthfeel if quite full bodied, with ample carbonation. Barrel aging helps this finish dry despite the high ABV.

Overall this is way too drinkable and delicious. This is how barrel-aging is supposed to taste; balanced to perfection.

Serving type: on-tap

06-30-2011 18:59:41 | More by claspada
Photo of b3shine


3.9/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Looks good; like a murky, barrel-aged barley wine should. Smells GREAT! Malt, cherries, and wood notes are present. Tastes good, but it's the weakest part of the brew. VERY sweet. Cherries and barrel-aging are good, but intense. Mothfeel is good; goes down easily for 9.5%. Overall, a good brew...but it doesn't hold a candle to bourbon-barreled Behemoth.

Serving type: on-tap

06-19-2011 22:41:07 | More by b3shine
Photo of DoubleSimcoe

New York

4.83/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Weyerbacher Insanity on tap at Pony in Hell's Kitchen, NYC, part of a brewery event there.

App: Served in an eight-ounce glass, Insanity comes looking like a classic barleywine: the expensive-wood color, the frothy fluffy head (almost overflowing from the tiny glass), plus some serious retention and awe-inspiring lacing.

Smell: Sweet and profound, burnt sugar, biscuit, grandma’s cookies. Raisin, plus a delicious blend of wood, vanilla and bourbon. Quality booze. This is how barreling should be done!

Taste: Follows nose, intensified. Sweet and nourishing right away, sort of Virginia ham and Wal-mart cookies all in one. Very earthy and Appalachian, but also high-end European-style cakes in Manhattan. Bourbon, prickly heat at the end. Reminds me of drinking my 12-year-old Elijah Craig: vanilla, wood and I’m in heaven.

Mouthfeel: Full body, carbonation and flavor. Beautiful vanilla/bourbon aroma all around. Dessert-y and enticing! Spicy-hot-dry finish.

Overall: Drinkable, delicious, gorgeous. This is the reason why I love barrel-aged beers. Wow! Easily my favorite Weyerbacher, up there with Double Simcoe.

Serving type: on-tap

06-06-2011 02:12:33 | More by DoubleSimcoe
Photo of thagr81us

South Carolina

3.5/5  rDev -16.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Served from tap into a sampler shaker. Poured a hazy yellow-orange with a half finger off-white head that subsided to a minimal amount quickly. Maintained decent lacing throughout the glass. The aroma was comprised of sweet malt, dark fruit, and sweet alcohol. The flavor was of sweet malt, dark fruit, caramel, nuttiness, and alcohol. It had a medium feel on the palate with medium carbonation. Overall this was a decent brew. The alcohol on this one was very forward and almost invasive. It wouldn't have been bad if there was more sweetness to balance it out slightly. If you have a bottle of this I would suggest laying it down in your cellar for awhile to allow this heat to subside some so that more subtle flavors can make their way forward. Worth trying though fresh or aged.

Serving type: on-tap

05-04-2011 16:38:53 | More by thagr81us
Photo of mdfb79

New York

4.1/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From 04/25/11 notes. Had on tap at Churchkey in Washington, DC.

a - Pours a murky reddish brown color with one inch of off white head and moderate carbonation evident.

s - Smells of bourbon, oak, maple, caramel malts, bready malts, and toasted malts.

t - Tastes of bourbon, oak, maple syrup, caramel malts, toffee, light alcohol, and bready malts.

m - Medium body and moderate carbonation.

o - Overall a very nice English barleywine. I loved the nose; it was full of bourbon, maple, and caramel/toffee. Would like to have again.

Serving type: on-tap

04-28-2011 19:04:55 | More by mdfb79
Photo of GoalieRon33


3.25/5  rDev -22.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A- Orangish Brown, with some red floating around. Not much of a head. Lacing was evident, nothing spectacularly though.

S- Burnt aroma. Very bready. Booze is present throughout. Not much hoppinness at all.

T- Definitively burned flavor. Oaky as all hell. Booze becomes present at the end of each swill. Strange overall taste.

M- Mildly heavy. Not motor oil thickness, but not too watery. Pretty solid.

O- Not the biggest fan of this style, which is probably why I'm slightly skewed negatively with comments. Odd beer, but true to style.
Worth giving a shot.

Serving type: on-tap

04-26-2011 22:20:07 | More by GoalieRon33
Photo of liamt07

Ontario (Canada)

4.47/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at the Weyerbacher feature night at Rattle N Hum. Snifter.

Pours a dark amber, transparency is difficult to ascertain in the light. Almost no head, but a thin collar sits on top. Nose has rich toffee and caramel notes, loads of big sweet maltiness but not overdone. Taste follows suit, heavy maltiness, toffee, caramel, dried dark fruits, some alcohol in the finish. Alcohol lends some character and warming qualities to this; full bodied and a great mouthfeel. Sticky finish with an appropriate and far from cloying feel. Damn good barleywine.

Serving type: on-tap

04-23-2011 03:18:33 | More by liamt07
Photo of jabergess


4.6/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Usually it is hit or miss with me and barley wines. They all have the same flavor, the same taste. This one is resoundingly different. The smell is amazing, vanilla, bourbon and raisins all having a party in my glass. What I really like is that the taste is just like the smell. And its all wrapped up in a tasty 11% package. If this is anywhere near your favorite style you need to to give this one a try.

Serving type: on-tap

04-10-2011 03:01:38 | More by jabergess
Photo of Bierguy5


4.47/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Hazy amber color, with a solid white head that disappears quickly. Only a few tiny bubbles streaming to the surface.

Dark fruit, figs, caramel. Great oak, vanilla hints in the nose as well. Some alcohol as well. Very complex.

Long lingering ripe fruit, with a bit of English toffee. Oaky tannins. A bit of caramel sweetness. Drying finish.

Medium body, fine carbonation. Enough warmth for a barleywine. Great complexity. This is killer.

Serving type: on-tap

04-02-2011 21:27:48 | More by Bierguy5
Photo of ktrillionaire


4.18/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Insanity passes muster in the looks dept. It is a lustrous shade of mahogany and is capped with a loose cappuccino-hued froth.

S - The nose is quite mild, for an EBW, and especially for an EBW aged in whisky barrels. As it airs out, some general maltiness is out there, and a bit of a hint of hazelnut liqueur.

T - The flavor is quite delectable, immediately yielding notes of chocolate and hazelnut; as it airs out booze and oak get in the mix in a very complementary way. The flavors are all very good, but if I am to nitpick, there is not quite enough intensity.

M - The feel is too thin. Were it bulked up, these flavors would be more plump and juicy than they are.

O - Weyerbacher just seems to get better and better. Another big-time winner from one of the most underrated breweries out there.

Serving type: on-tap

03-31-2011 18:37:57 | More by ktrillionaire
Photo of Lolli1315


3.78/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A- A reddish brown color that is slightly hazy with ruby highlights. A small tan head forms that disappears completely with time as lacing is nowhere to be seen.

S- Lots of wood, vanilla, and bourbon punch you in the face immediately dominating the smell. Bits of caramel and dark fruit begin to emerge before alcohol rounds out the smell.

T- Just as in the smell, you can really tell that this beer was aged in bourbon barrels. Wood, vanilla, and bourbon are dominating, a little too much in my opinion, as the flavors of the barley wine are somewhat lost beneath them. The dark fruits with a little bit of apple emerge towards the middle with touches of caramel lining as well. The alcohol begins to pick up and becomes slightly solventy towards the end of the beer as it warms with every drink.

M- Full bodied and a little syrupy. Low amounts of carbonation as well.

D- This beer is a sipper for sure and it was a little struggle making it through a full pint. If you like bourbon, and I do, get this for sure. Unfortunately, I think that much of the complexity of the beer gets lost the booziness of this one. Might as well drink a glass of bourbon instead.

Serving type: on-tap

03-29-2011 15:31:01 | More by Lolli1315
Photo of metter98

New York

4.22/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: The beer is clear mahogany in color and has a thin ring of off white bubbles lining the edge of the glass.
S: There are light aromas of bourbon and vanilla in the nose.
T: The taste is rather complex and has flavors of bourbon, fruits, malty sweetness, oak and vanilla.
M: It feels medium- to full-bodied and very smooth on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation.
D: The beer is dangerously drinkable because the alcohol is well masked from the taste.

Serving type: on-tap

03-08-2011 04:47:37 | More by metter98
Photo of woosterbill


3.93/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

On-tap at Prime 16 into an Old Engine Oil tulip.

A: Clear deep persimmon body with a half-inch head of fine tan bubbles that recede into a persistent ring. Very nice looking barleywine, especially for an on-tap pour.

S: Vanilla, caramel, candied raisins, bourbon, oak, and some warm alcohol. Just lovely.

T: Follows the nose precisely: bourbon, vanilla, caramel, dark fruits, and a massively boozy finish. A little harsh, but delicious.

M: Fairly lively full body; the ample carbonation goes a long way toward cutting through the sweetness, but prevents the flavor from being quite as mouth-coatingly intense as it could be. Overall, pretty good.

D: As tasty as this is, the heat really takes its toll.

Notes: Great beer, plain and simple. I could have dealt with a bit less booze and (potentially paradoxically, I know) a bit more bourbon. The barrels are clearly there, but their contribution isn't as pronounced as it is in some other BBBWs. Still, this is a great treat, and at happy-hour pricing it's an absolute steal.


Serving type: on-tap

03-04-2011 01:06:14 | More by woosterbill
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Insanity from Weyerbacher Brewing Co.
93 out of 100 based on 1,687 ratings.