Insanity - Weyerbacher Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
InsanityInsanity

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BA SCORE
93
outstanding

2,228 Ratings
THE BROS
90
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,228
Reviews: 905
rAvg: 4.15
pDev: 11.33%
Wants: 201
Gots: 482 | FT: 25
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: 2,228 | Reviews: 905
Photo of Sammy
4.1/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Nice head in pour, lasts throughout. Creamy mouthfeel. Unique yeast. Woodyness did something, I guess mellowed the barleywine flavour. Aroma of rum and alcohol. Malty, vanilla, and also chocolate malt. A bit better in a bottle had all to myself later on.

Photo of UCLABrewN84
4.24/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to bastu for sending me this one!

Pours a murky dark brown with a 2 inch fizzy tan head that settles to a film on the top of the beer. Random streaks of lace form on the glass on the drink down. Smell is of brown sugar, caramel/toffee, vanilla, bourbon, and some nice woody aromas. Taste is of malt, brown sugar, toffee, vanilla, bourbon, wood, and some citrus zest. An alcohol warmth in the back of the throat with each sip. This beer has a medium body and a low level of carbonation. Smooth and slightly sticky in the mouth. This is a good barrel aged barleywine but the mouthfeel knocks the overall score down a bit.

Photo of kylehay2004
4.17/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Very thin head which dissipates quickly on a murky amber orange body. Very strong but not overly boozy aroma with apricot, raisin, caramel, candied orange and malts. Flavor has a lot of wood and oak character up front which moves to apricot and raisin. This one is surprisingly not very boozy but the finish definitely has a whiskey like tingle. Strangely the more I drank it the less complex it seemed. Medium body and moderate carbonation, smooth for the ABV and style.

Photo of metter98
4.18/5  rDev +0.7%
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.

Photo of Thorpe429
4/5  rDev -3.6%
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.

Photo of brentk56
4.25/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a hazy chestnut color with a decent head that drops to a foamy surface covering with some splashes of lace

Smell: Whoa Nellie, is this a bourbon or a beer; loads of vanilla and oak; lots of fusel alcohol

Taste: Immediately hits the palate with an oaky vanilla bourbon aspect that starts to warm the mouth; significant dried fruit (dates) in there as well; after the swallow, the tannins dry out the mouth and leave a bitterness on the sides of the tongue; long, hot finish, with some hints of chocolate and cherry

Mouthfeel: Full bodied and syrupy with moderate carbonation; extreme warmth

Drinkability: A must for a Bourbon lover

Photo of BEERchitect
4.29/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Insanisty lives up to its name as utterly cavity-inducing sweetness and spicy alcohols weave together in an orgy that ignores anything mild or timid.

The beer's hazy ruby body projects the color of plum syrup but also releases a creamy foam structure that constructs a dense blanket of froth, retaining throughout the session and lacing with clumping pockets as the beer falls.

Its aromas build a malty-rich scent of maple, vanilla, caramel, almond, toffee and light molasses. As the alcohol weaves in, a sense of fruit and booze rise with port, sherry and cognac.

Its taste is a marvelous melange of malt complexities: its toffee-laden, maple dipped, caramelly taste is modestly cola-like and is candied with molasses-like "horehound" flavor. Somewhat of root beer and butterscotch, the ale simply lands on the sweeter side of the fence as the spicy booze balances. Slight sherry-like vinous fruit flavors add a glimmer of acidity while the brandy and port-like spices garner complexity and strength.

Its full texture is oily because of its sheer sweetness and light carbonation that allows the ale to lay blanketed on the tongue. Its wrap of spicy booze and slight creaminess lulls the palate to sleep with numbing capabilities and comfortable drunkedness.

As the last sips slide down the gullet, I'm left with the impressions that the beer is conflicted- if the sweetness and lack of hop bitterness is going to be there, then the ale has to be less spicy and offers a lesser attempt to dry. If its going to be more "Americanized", then its got to be much more hoppy to taste, texture and smell and has got to be more semi-dry.

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 Knapp85
4/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is a really good beer from Weyerbacher. I know how much they enjoy their barrel aged beers from the tours I've taken. This beer is the Barrel Aged Blithering Idiot so to speak. It's got a lot of the same elements that the Idiot has but it's a little bit stronger and sweeter. It's got a very deep copper color without much head. The aroma is of dark fruits, malts and some fresh wood. The flavors are smooth and robust with a big boozey aftertaste. The mouthfeel is a bit thicker than the Idiot so that works nicely too.

Photo of Phyl21ca
4.2/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle: Poured a light burgundy color ale with a small dark head with pretty good retention. Aroma of sweet liquor filtered subtly through the malt and sweet hops of this beer. Taste is quite sweet but at least the bourbon aging and come well together at the end do not overpower it. Probably one of the best bourbon aging beers I had. Thanks to Beerslayer for that one.

Photo of largadeer
3.06/5  rDev -26.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Extra from centennial. Thanks!

Reddish-brown body capped by a thin tan head. Smells strongly of stewed fruits (figs, berries), brown sugar, oak and booze. I detect more oak than bourbon. The nose has a simplistic sweetness that isn't very appealing to me. Tastes sweet and boozy with a huge preserved fruit presence. Brown sugar and caramel come out more toward the finish. Bourbon and oak are present but subtle; barrel aging seems to have given this more raw booze flavor than anything. Body is about medium, a bit more thin than I'd like. Not a bad beer overall, but nothing I'd want to revisit. Very middle of the road for the style.

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

"Let us consider that we are all partially insane. It will explain us to each other."

--Mark Twain

Minimally murky cranberry-infused orange beneath half a snifter of caramel mousse colored foam. I love the spongecake-like texture of the head and the amazing amount of lace (given the ABV) that is being laid down. This is how an American barleywine should look.

On the pour, the room was filled with the scent of bourbon. Now that I'm concentrating on the nose for real, aided by the sloping sides of the snifter, that aspect is a more balanced, more incorporated portion of the whole. Caramel and boozy maraschino cherries lead the assault, although boozy makes it sound like the alcohol is harsh or raw. It isn't.

My best guess is that this bottle is two years old. Looks like I picked the perfect time to crack the crown because it's still a beast, but it's a manageable beast. That's exactly how I like my barleywines. In addition to a little age, I think the fact that the alcohol portion of the flavor profile tastes like bourbon helps immensely.

Insanity favors the caramel-toffee family of flavors and is a better beer for it. Whereas I like my DIPAs and American IPAs to be pale malt-dominant (to keep the hops in the center of the spotlight), I like my barleywines to feature flavor from the barley side of things. There's plenty of hop bitterness to go around and it keeps things from becoming too sweet and sticky.

In case you hadn't heard, this beer is Blithering Idiot aged in oak barrels that had previously held bourbon. If it's done right, I haven't yet met big beer that didn't benefit from such aging. Since bourbon (along with single malt Scotch) is my favorite liquor, I might be a little biased. The classic flavors of burnt sugar and vanilla are front and center, giving this big ale the nudge that is needs to enter the realm of greatness.

How in the world can a beer that weighs in at 11.1% be so damn drinkable? Again, softening due to the passage of time has a lot to do with it. Another reason is a mouthfeel that is softly carbonated and isn't a big, gooey mess. I occasionally like big, gooey messes, but I also like barleywine mouthfeels that are built for speed. Like this one.

I need to acquire another bottle of Blithering Idiot because I don't remember it as being nearly this good. It's hard to imagine that bourbon barrel aging is completely responsible for the outstanding ale that sits before me, but I guess it's possible. Insanity just shot to the top of my 'must have' list when I travel to Ohio next month. Insane is right. Insanely delicious.

Photo of mikesgroove
4.57/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This one was for Rich. Apparently your favorite brew man and I could easily see why. Served on tap none the less, this one was enjoyed thoroughly on 02/27/2010. 

The pour was a deep, dark amber in color with a decent bit of cloudiness to it. Nice little head of white pops up and over the top, settling down into a thin, but firm coating of white that sticks to the walls decently, and evenly. Rich, deep vanilla coming through the air, enough that it was really the only thing I was detecting at first. Smooth, oak notes now coming up as well as toffee and butterscotch. Complex as could be, you could fall in and die in the aroma of this one. Then you take that first sip, and wave after wave of crashing smooth as silk flavor washes over you. Just immense and complex, it really just puts it all into perspective. Rich caramel malts that are pinned perfectly against the rich, decadent toffee and vanilla flavors. Light touch of bourbon, smooth, earthy, Sublime. There is just nothing at all about this that doesn't just scream smooth and complex.

 

One of the best BA versions of anything out there, and with its relative ease to acquire should be a staple in anyone's fridge.

Photo of oberon
4.1/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poures a deep,rich amber color with a slightly off white head,aromas are very woody with some vanilla and high octaine alcohol kick ur nostriles hard and lets you know this is big and bad ass.Thick and chewey mouthfeel makes this beer a sipper one to savor,very warming alcoholic beer, oak flavors are very prevelant with some butteriness as well,almost like a vanilla flavored spiced rum.Iam glad I got a chance to try this,its a sipper or one to share with friends like I did tonight,very rich and flavorful.

Photo of womencantsail
3.58/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to Richard for sharing.

Pours a hazed copper color with a soapy off-white head. Smells a bit boozy. Lots of sweet malt, bourbon, and brown sugar. There’s toffee, and caramel, maybe some dark fruit. Not bad, but hot. The flavor is more of the same, except a bit muddled and slightly oxidized. There is good toffee and vanilla character, but quite a bit of booze and bourbon. Some mild oak notes. Medium to full body with low to medium carbonation.

Photo of ChainGangGuy
4.62/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pours a bright, though murky dark-hued ruby body with a cream tan-colored head. The game is afoot!

Smell: Okay, here's the skinny. The bourbon tones are quite intense, with notes of oak, vanilla, and sugar. A captivating smell, to say the least.

Taste: Let's of things going on here. Strong toffee maltiness and a soft touch of candy sugar evolves into an immense bourbon flavor. The sweet vanilla notes mingle with a certain fruitiness to create a cream of coconut flavor. Smooth, warming bourbon finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-full body, with a thick, luscious mouthfeel and almost nil carbonation.

Drinkability: Delicious! Anyone who tells you otherwise is trying to deceive and delude you. Its hard not to express a deep love for this beer with the addictive furvor of a crackhouse reject.

Thanks for another fun-filled beer experience from... Weyerbacher Brewing Co.!

Photo of TMoney2591
3.93/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Served in a Dogfish Head snifter.

Visually unassuming, the colors here are primarily dark ambers and earthy browns. Add a saucy tinge of haze and remove most of what most would consider head. There you go. See it? Give it time. Once you've got it (we don't have all damn day...) take a deep whiff. What's that ya gettin' there, hm? If you ask me, there's definitely some oak, some bourbon, maybe a touch of spruce, and a good, healthy dose of alcohol. Izzat whatchoo've got? ... Sorry, got a little woozy there from the fumes. We're good now. Trust me. So, kiddies, when we slosh this bad boy around in our oral cavities (that's sciencey talk for "cake hole"), what do we see with our taste buds? Definitely some honey, some more oak and bourbon, some maple syrup (can you say "pancakes, bitches!"?), and some brown sugar. Do any of you have anything to add? No? Good, that means the treatment's working. Just let it glide up your spine, that's it. Isn't that nice? Oddly enough, kids, this brew flows just as thickly and gooily as that sensation you're feeling. Now, you're probably not gonna want to have seconds on the treatment (hell, you won't even need another: one's all you'll ever need, heh heh...), but those of you who eventually regain their memories will want to have another one of these. **ding-ding* Dr. Money, you are needed in the lobotomy lab stat* Whoa, gotta go, kids, but I'll be back real soon to check up on you. Sleep tight now!

Photo of nickfl
4.62/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - One and a half fingers of dense, light brown head settles slowly and leaves light lace in its wake. The body is amber brown with good clarity.

S - Big, sweet malt note. Lots of raisins, figs, toffee and dark caramel. Some wood notes come out behind the malt, toasted oak, vanilla, and spicy, tobacco/ hops.

T - A powerful malt note upfront with lots of wood character. Lots of caramel and toffee with spicy toasted oak and some cedar notes. Alcoholic heat and spicy hops in the middle with moderate hop bitterness. The finish is long and very complex with notes of oak, vanilla, toffee, figs, tobacco, chocolate, and much more. A smooth, malty caramel note lingers on the palate long after the beer is gone.

M - Moderately thick oily body, medium carbonation, and a sweet finish.

D - Big complex, boozy malt bomb insanity (an appropriately named beer as it turns out). It looks good, it smells better, and the flavor is absolutely exceptional. This is one of the most complex beers I have ever had, and despite the huge sweetness it never becomes cloying or overwhelming. As it warms it only gets better and I can say I honestly wouldn't mind drinking this at near room temperature. I have not been overly impressed with many of the Weyerbacher beers that I have had so far, but I must say that this is spectacular. Very reminiscent of J.W. Lees Harvest Ale, maybe even better.

Photo of oline73
4.15/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured from the bottle into a tasting snifter. I had this during a BA Barleywine tasting.

This one poured a much lighter color than most of the other barleywines poured that night. There is a banana note in the smell and taste that didn't show up in the other beers. I'm getting a good amount of sweetness with a slightly fruity finish. There is a nice bourbon undertone. This one stands up well against the more sought after beers of this style.

Photo of NeroFiddled
4.72/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

This is the second release out of three in the oak-aged line of beers from Weyerbacher. The bottle opens with a decent release of gas; and with the yeast poured, it's a hazy dark chestnut with orange highlights beneath a thin head of creamy light tan foam that receeds quickly to just an average collar (of course, the 11% alcohol will help to do that!). The nose delivers a waft of bourbon, sweetish vanilla, drying woody oak, dried dark fruits, and a distinctly caramelish malt - as well as an occassional note of cocoanut! It's full, supple maltiness slides more oily than creamy across the tongue; and it's very-fine bubbled (seemingly natural) carbonation lends a gentle caress to the tongue. The flavor is rich and complex with a pleasant note of alcohol, vanilla, dark fruit skins, almonds, caramel/toffee, almost-burnt brown sugar, a lick of black licorice, wood, a low-key leafy hoppiness, and a rounding note of delicate, buttery diacetyl. WOW! It's not as malty or hoppy as most American versions, but keep in mind that this is based on British barleywines, many of which are more along these lines. On the other hand, however, it's at American barleywine strength! It finishes drying as it's alcohol and drying woodiness battle what residual maltiness is there; and more licorice flavor comes out as it warms. Quite impressive!

Photo of TheManiacalOne
3.85/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22oz bottle into an imperial pint glass. While there's no date that I could find on the bottle, I know I've had it for more than two years.

A: The beer is a light reddish brown color, with a thin off-white head that fades quickly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is of strong alcohol, caramel, brown sugar, malts and a decent amount of hops.

T: The taste starts off sweet with flavors of brown sugar, caramel and citrus. Then there's a strong alcohol burn that comes in but it's not as boozy as the smell indicates. The malt character is very hearty. The hops presence is toned-down from the age but it's still strong enough to bring some balance. The after-taste is slightly sweet.

M: Smooth and crisp, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is slightly sticky.

D: Tasty, goes down dangerously easily, not too filling, strong kick, good representation of style, I'm not sure that it's much of an improvement on Blithering Idiot but it has certainly stood up well with age. Overall, it's a good high-powered beer to sip on for a while.

Photo of jlindros
4.3/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This one must be a year or 2 old by now.

Light fizzy had fades semi slowly, super hazy yeast chunked dark molasses reddish brown color.

Nose has lots of med dark malts, brown sugar, candi sugar, molasses, toffee, light oak and bourbon, decent whisky aroma, fairly sweet aroma, aged malts.

Taste sweet malts, sweet candi sugar, brown sugar, molasses, crystal malts, caramel, toffee, chewy malts, fairly boozy, some oak and a bit of whisky, light nutty malts, some fruits like apple and dried apricots, light earthy hops. Finishes still semi sweet, lingering malts, bit syrupy, aged malts, candi sugar, light booze, slight hop bitterness.

Mouth is a bit heavier bodied with decent carb, bit boozy.

Overall good beer, lots of sweet additions but not too sweet, great malt flavors, light earthy hops, boozy but not overly, light oak and nice whisky, fairly Belgian Strong ale or quad flavored.

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

This beer looks great. Super sweet nose. Über malts. Flavor is stellar. Smooth and seet with loads of malts, raisins coating my tongue, mild vanilla as a very after thought. Slight booze on the backend too after a few sips. Extremely smooth feel. I think this is quite and underrated barley wine. Beats the hell out of what Gratitude became. Hard for me to pick another from the area, or the country, that is on this level, or exceeds it. Bottom line: you couldn't really ask for anything more.

Photo of Slatetank
3.85/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I picked this bottle up at quick 6 a couple weeks ago -poured chilled from the 12oz brown bottle into a snifter allowed to raise in temp gradually

A - An auburn hued murky, ruddy amber bordering on copper w/ a fast dropping light beige cap w/ thick bubbles. The cream settles to a ring w/ a wispy center and spots like jupiter. The lace clings in a spotted ring pattern

S - As the ale is swirled it gives off stone fruit notes and berry-like esters w/ some fusel odors and mild vanilla from the oak w/ a sweet bourbon accent. The nose has elements of pine and cherry w/ a tobacco-like toasted aroma

M - A tannic astringency at first w/ mild bitterness and a moderately carbonated feel which is good for the abv w/ medium level of sweetness and dry toasted texture in the middle. There is spice w/ moderate heat from the alcohol w/ a light caramel tang of yeast

T - The flavor is strong w/ big oak tannic notes and creamy vanilla bean in tandem which leads to pepper and brown sugar with an accent of coconut w/ a light nutty taste. The fruitiness comes forward more as it nears cellar temp w/ a mellow dried apricot note which also leads to mild currant and date w/ an accent of tart cherry filling. The slight custard-like element of subtle oxidation which has a sherry like taste adds to the spice and alcohol flavors, but the contrast lessens after mid bottle as the alchohol/sugar aspects become more pronounced and slightly harsh

D - A good barleywine and the oak barrel certainly adds depth but lots of alchol makes it hard to enjoy a bottle alone, it has a warming and I prefer less fusel, but the beer has character and if you are looking for a big malty and oaky barleywine this fits the bill.

Photo of Jason
3.87/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

22 oz bomber with no freshness date.

A- Very nice lacing effect on the glass, hazed reddish amber.

S- Head aroma of bourbon, vanilla, wood, caramel, alcohol ... mildly solvent and fusel oil from the barrel.

T&M- 11.1% abv where? Oh ...wait a minute, here it comes. There it is, that warming alcohol laced with fusel oil from the barrel. Wood flavor is snappy with a richly dense maltiness underneath. Mellow hoppiness, lots of malt sweetness which is balanced by the slow but steady alcohol, bourbon, and wood.

D- I slapped this beer at some good funky Stilton cheese ... wow, what a pairing. A sipping beer for sure, if you love bourbon barrel laced beers then this one is a must.

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Insanity from Weyerbacher Brewing Co.
93 out of 100 based on 2,228 ratings.