1. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  2. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

Insanity - Weyerbacher Brewing Co.

Not Rated.

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

1,868 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,868
Reviews: 839
rAvg: 4.17
pDev: 11.51%
Wants: 174
Gots: 345 | FT: 15
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)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Insanity Alström Bros
Ratings: 1,868 | Reviews: 839 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of MaxSpang


4.48/5  rDev +7.4%

Served in a snifter.


This beer is extremely murky. Reddish-brown with almost no light coming through. The head was about a finger and disappeared completely after a few moments. Admittedly it's not the prettiest beer, but you can tell from the looks that it is good and hearty. It looks like a typical unfiltered barleywine.


Lots of biscuit in the nose. The oak comes through, as do raisin and dark fruits such as plums and overly-ripe apricots. A very slight tinge of alcohol comes through, but not as much as one would expect from a 11.1% beer. As it warms, the alcohol becomes more pronounced yet it's still fairly well hidden. There is a hint of spice such as cloves or nutmeg, albeit they are very mild.


Ah - this is everything I like in a good barleywine. Tons and tons of dark fruits - dark overly-ripe cherries, plum, raisin, and apricot. I am reminded of cognac while I sip due to the wonderful fruit flavors. It's very sweet, in fact it is almost syrupy which, in this case, is very pleasant.There's a large amount of bread and biscuit flavors. The alcohol is extremely hidden in this beer, there's only a slight taste of the alcohol after you swallow. The oak is sort of an afterthought, and I probably wouldn't have noticed it if the smell didn't come through. The aftertaste lasts and lasts, almost never quite leaving the mouth.


This one's a sipper. It's very thick and syrupy with almost no carbonation. It's slightly warming, but not as much as you'd think for having such a high ABV. It's not easy drinking by any means, but rather the type of beer you sit and enjoy over the course of an hour (or longer!).


Excellent, excellent English style Barleywine. It's got all of the delicious dark fruits and biscuit notes, and the oak adds a really nice bit of complexity that makes you crave more. This almost reminds me of Dogfish Head's 120 Minute IPA as far as the extreme fruit flavors. I don't know how old my bottle was (couldn't find a date anywhere), but I can tell this beer ages b-e-a-utifully. This is an awesome beer and is relatively easy to find (if you get Weyerbacher, that is) so I am definitely going to hold this beer in very high regards. Grab a few of these for the winter months, and enjoy in your favorite reading chair while snuggling up under some covers before bed.


09-30-2011 00:52:25 | More by MaxSpang
Photo of gopens44


3.78/5  rDev -9.4%

A - Murky brown with very little head and no lacing.

S - Heavy whiskey smell upfront, touch of sweetness cowering in the back.

T - Whiskey hot, smoky sweetness and very little else.

M - Dry, lingering alcohol in the aftertaste.

O - I know I didn't expand too greatly on this, but being a fan of whiskey, I enjoyed the basic premise of this. That being a hot whiskey laden english barleywine. So, that should explain my higher marks for such a narrowly described beer that I certainly enjoyed.

09-24-2011 17:50:50 | More by gopens44
Photo of doopydoogle

Nova Scotia (Canada)

4.08/5  rDev -2.2%

A - Very cloudy reddish amber with a tan-white head that dissipates fairly quickly and leaves little lace.

S- Raisins, plums, thick malts, honey roasted carrots, vanilla, caramel, toffee, candy corn, cotton candy, apples, figs, alcohol (slight paint thinner), grass, pears, dankness.

T - Rich, explosive, sweet malts, followed by some slightly astringent character that gives way to an alcohol bite. The bite implies currants, cherries, plums, dates, and other dark fruits, then leaves a finish with some vanilla and alcohol that hints at spices such as cardamom and anise. Chewy raisins and a slight chocolate note are complemented by a subtle bitter that leaves the essence of grape skins and a funky basement behind.

M - Explosive carbonation and a sticky backbite give the beer a very smooth yet strangely residual quality that haunts your palate for quite a while.

O - What a barleywhine! Quite smooth, rich, complex, and absurdly accommodating for such a radical brew. Cheers!

09-23-2011 07:30:17 | More by doopydoogle
Photo of Lothar666

Rhode Island

4.3/5  rDev +3.1%

Poured into a large snifter from a 22 oz bottle.

A- Poured a Dark Brown, viscous body with a syrupy, bone-white head the receeded quickly but left sticky lacing on the side of the glass.

S- Strong alcohol, dark fruits and a light apple aroma with notes of cinnamon and spice like grog in winter, and a wood aroma like the inside of a wine barrel

T- Dark fruits, a mix of green raisins, Apples or Pears, and a buttery toffee flavor backed with strong alcohol in the throat and tongue. The aftertaste is strongly reminiscent of ripe pears or apples with a flavor of nutmeg and cinnamon; the flavors from the oak barrels become more pronounced the warmer this one gets.

M- The sweetness left on the tongue is a bit cloying with a warmness in the mouth and throat; it drinks with a level of smoothness expected for the style. While this one is a bit of a booze bomb, that is not a bad feature in a barleywine.

Very decent. A slow sipper by neccessity, of course, but a good representation of the style, and an excellent example of why one would bother to age a beer in oak barrels.

09-22-2011 01:15:55 | More by Lothar666
Photo of antlerwrestler19


4.03/5  rDev -3.4%

The appearance is a little dull other than the color - small white head fades pretty fast leaving no lacing but the actual body of the beer is a deep evil looking ruby brown color. Note: floaties. The aroma is immediately boozy but not overwhelming, woody, sweet caramel, vanilla hinting in, sweet and fruity mess - but good. The flavors are intense - caramel, vanilla, pineapple and mango perhaps mingling with the others, there is almost a cola-like aspect as well. The mouthfeel - a medium bodied beer with some carbonation and a slight numbing burn from the booze and woodiness. This beer was rather enjoyable but a definite sipper for me. For someone who started off hating barleywines, I'm glad I am beginning to dive in and enjoy the style. I set a few of these beasts aside to see what some time does to them - only expecting good things.


09-21-2011 05:20:06 | More by antlerwrestler19
Photo of Klym


3.88/5  rDev -7%

Poured into a surly darkness snifter. Thanks to N2168 for taking this off my wants!

Overall I was a little let down by this. I've been wanting to try this for a while and it's my first beer from weyerbacher, but it didn't do much to impress me. It has a dark fruit profile reminiscents of J.W. Lee's harvest ale, but without as much flavor or depth as J.W. Lee's. Just really simple dark fruits with a wine-like alcohol profile that I don't see doing very much now or with age. Not bad, but not worth going out of your way to get.

09-19-2011 07:22:12 | More by Klym
Photo of iwantmorehops


4.5/5  rDev +7.9%

Thanks to Baconsausage for this one

Copper and golden around the edges with a nice little head, into a snifter, Insanity seems very inviting on sight alone. The head recedes rather quickly into a ring, but the aroma that follows is just wonderful. The bourbon blends into the malty backbone of this beer in a way that really reminds me of a pina colada. Its vanilla/coconut with a little pineapple some caramel and some booze. I've notice this same smell in Curieux, and its a mix I really enjoy. This beer tastes just wonderful, the malty sweetness of an aged barleywine goes very well with the bourbon/pina colada flavor. Its quite the sipper at 11% and you'll notice it, but the slick mouthfeel and the wonderful barrel flavor and smell will keep you coming back for more.

Another great beer that does not make it to VT. This is one I will really miss it once this glass is gone.

09-19-2011 02:16:27 | More by iwantmorehops
Photo of mdvatab


4.47/5  rDev +7.2%

Brought this bottle home from a 4th of July weekend trip to FL.
Poured from 12oz bottle into snifter.

Aroma: Sweet, fruity strawberry, coconut, vanilla, carmelized sugar meld together to create a tropical fruit aroma.

Appearance: 1 finger off-white head goes to 1/2 finger, sticking around for a while for an English barleywine. Clear, ruby-copper body.

Flavor: Wow. This is a great one! Again, vanilla, coconut, pineapple, and carmelized sugar. Very minimal bitterness. Finish is soft and smooth.

Mouthfeel: Medium mouthfeel and medium-low carbonation. Warming alcohol in finish.

Overall: I REEAAALLLY wish this beer were sold in Indiana... Excellent flavors derived from both the beer itself, as well as the barrel aging. The high ABV prevents it from being something that one would want to drink all night, but this one would be a great treat every now and then!

09-15-2011 01:56:31 | More by mdvatab
Photo of cosmicevan

New York

4.33/5  rDev +3.8%

Big thanks to beenitty for tossing this in on an almost local trade.

a - opened and poured into my E snifter. really nice plum purple red color with a full finger of cream colored head that hung out.

s - very nice mix of booze, wood, caramel, toffee, malt, nutmeg. little dirty smelling.

t - very tasty, but heavy booze and vanilla oak. very very nice tasting beer. malt dominant with a strong toffee nutmeg flavor. quite nice. the barrels seem to give it a rough around the edges flavor, but really nice sweetness.

m - rather smooth and light for such a big beer. the booziness isn't in your face either...a bit on the nose, but still enjoyable in many ways.

o - overall, this is an awesome barrel aged brew. love me a good barleywine as well and this is all in one.

09-11-2011 04:09:50 | More by cosmicevan
Photo of shawnsmith1


4.55/5  rDev +9.1%

A: Poured a rich copper/red into tulip glass; slight cream colored head which disappears almost instantly. Minimal lace.

S: Bourbon barrel, vanilla, butterscotch; medium caramel malt; sweet alcohol.

T: Up front caramel, vanilla and bourbon notes evolve to dried fig and pleasing alcohol warmth. Apparent bitterness (grapefruit?)--not sure if from hops or byproduct of alcohol burn.

M: Medium body, warm/ creamy

F: Long sweet bourbon finish of butterscotch and caramel/ vicks dark cherry/ buttered popcorn. Complex, lingering finish

O: Love this beer. Excellent slow sipper. Finished the bottle with a nice cheese plate.

09-11-2011 01:14:06 | More by shawnsmith1
Photo of bogus564

New Jersey

4.33/5  rDev +3.8%

12 fl oz, poured into a pint glass.

It's Labor Day weekend, so I have all the time in the world to drink and review beers, then sober up in time to get back to work on Tuesday. Here's to holiday weekends!

It's a little cloudy, burnt amber in color, with a wheat colored head that doesn't last very long before dissolving into lace. On to the scent.

Wow - there's a bit going on in terms of smell. There's a sweet smell, like that of candy, perhaps taffy. You also tend to smell the alcohol, so you know it's going to hurt you a little. There's also not a hint, but a strong suggestion of caramel.

You can tell that it was aged in bourbon barrels for sure; if you didn't know better, you might think that you were enjoying a bourbon. It's sweet, like I mentioned, tastes like bourbon, caramel, taffy, and alcohol. There's a very slight hoppiness, but you'd miss it if you weren't looking for it. Holy mackarel.

It's a good, not amazing, mouthfeel. It's medium-bodied, well-carbonated, and rolls over the palate like a bourbon whiskey.

Be careful with this one, guys - too many of these, and you're likely to be found singing the Notre Dame fight song, even though you didn't go to college, much less Notre Dame. I'd suggest a good rack of barbequed ribs to soak up the alcohol, because a few of these will make you wobble.

09-04-2011 19:15:45 | More by bogus564
Photo of turfy


4.25/5  rDev +1.9%

A - Poured a reddish-amber color with a slight head that dissipated fairly quickly into a thin film and then nothing.

S - Sweet caramel, vanilla, some oak and bourbon, along with alcohol.

T - A very nice, smooth blend of caramel malts and vanilla. Excellent!

M - Creamy mouthfeel with medium body. This suits my palate perfectly.

O - This is one of my favorite barleywines so far. I will try to get more of these for the cellar, especially when colder temps arrive.

09-02-2011 00:49:44 | More by turfy
Photo of DogfishJoe


4.18/5  rDev +0.2%

A. This beer pours with little to no head, probably due to the alcohol. Has a clear caramel color.

S. Smells like roasted caramel with slight hints of vanilla and alcohol is present.

T. At the front of the tongue this beer has a distinct caramel malt taste followed by slight vanilla that's taken over by a alcohol burn.

O. Great beer could use some age.

09-01-2011 05:16:35 | More by DogfishJoe
Photo of ncfranklin


4.1/5  rDev -1.7%

12oz bottle into a Duvel Tulip

A: Deep dark rust color. Little to no translucence. Hard pour only gave a small half finger soapy tan head that receded quickly, most likely do to the alcohol content.

S: Bourbon really coming on strong, with oak, some crispier grass characters and a light malt sweetness. Very nice nose here, could rival some finer scotches.

T: Wow. Big oak wood flavor. Backbone of bourbon laced malt, some light earthy hops. Mostly sweet alcohol phenols. This one doesn't get boozy however. Very much a sipper.

M: Big and chewy, with a cling to the gums. Hardly carbonated at all.

D: A sipping beer that would be great on a colder night with a cigar. Bourbon Barrel at its finest.

08-29-2011 15:04:28 | More by ncfranklin
Photo of claytong


4.25/5  rDev +1.9%

thanks to doodler as throwing me this one as an extra.

appearance - good english barleywine right here. maple brown with big head. long lasting. amazing lacing, lasting about half an hour over all and then thinning a bit. swirls in the lacing, very pretty.

smell - butterscotch, caramel at first. then a lot of heat as it warms. a bit of whisky. heat dominates as it warms.

taste - follows the nose. almost a 4.5, but just not very complex. very enjoyable though.

mouthfeel - not a bit of cloying. medium to heavy bodied with light to medium carbonation. the way i like it.

very impressed. didnt think it would be this good.

08-28-2011 22:36:50 | More by claytong
Photo of zaphodchak


4.43/5  rDev +6.2%

Finger of khaki head, dark, hazy ruby amber body.

Smells intense, dates, oaky, some dark raisin, tons of malt... subtle, rich, faintly musty in a good way.

Taste largely follows the nose and is intensely sweet and rich mushroomy malt. Quite vinous, but a tad sweet and syrupy to be 'drinkable.' Quite an impressive sipper though. Possible citrus in aftertaste.

Mouthfeel is pretty standard... maybe needed to be carbier to avoid syrup, but not a detractor.

Barleywines are hit or miss for me. This one is a hit-- I'm now wondering whether it would mellow or develop with age...

08-28-2011 01:49:08 | More by zaphodchak
Photo of haazer


3.95/5  rDev -5.3%

The stand alone Idiot was decent, let's see what some time in the barrels does.

A- Pour yields some thick and creamy light brown head. Settles down slowly on top of a turbid brown, apricot and orange beer. Looks like apple cider. The head has now settled down to a thin ring, no lacing.

S- Strong oak profile to start. It follows with bourbon, but extremely smooth and not hot. Theres also some vanilla swirled in. Some sweet yeast profile, and caramel malts. This also has elements of cognac.

T- Tastes like a smooth bourbon without heat and the bite, good oak accents the flavor greatly. The sweetness in the nose is subdued in the flavor. Almost no hop presence, and a vanilla extract round this out.

M- Light to medium bodied. Carbonation is felt on the tongue. Fairly smooth brew overall. Alc is barely apparent anywhere.

O- A visit to the brewery will show you a phrase saying "the idiot finally lost it", but this is definitely the idiot becoming sophisticated. Better than the original, but I'll take Heresy out of the barrel over this. Still a good barleywine, and better than the standard version.

08-26-2011 02:29:42 | More by haazer
Photo of zeledonia


3.78/5  rDev -9.4%

2011 batch, not sure of bottling date. I've had Blithering Idiot, and found it to be incredibly sweet, so I'm curious how the beer is affected by some time in the barrels.

Pours a muddy tea brown, orange at the edges, looking sludgy coming out of the bottle. One-finger off-white head, dissipates fast, but has some good lacing. Little visible carbonation. Don't really like the color.

Smells boozy. To be honest, I don't get much beyond the smell of bourbon. There's a hint of sweetness and dark fruit behind it, but other than that I can't even pick up any malt characteristics. Okay, the bourbon smell isn't offensive, but this is a beer, not a whiskey.

Taste is actually quite good. The smell had me worried, but there's much more going on in this beer than just the barrel flavor. Sure, the bourbon is there, but it's really well balanced by rich sweet malts. Strong on the dark fruits, with prunes and dark cherries. Very little hop, but it's an English-style barleywine, so that's to be expected.

Mouthfeel is rich and syrupy, with medium-low carbonation. The little bubbles persist well, trying to lift it up, but they're just not strong enough. The result is a slightly flat mouthfeel, which leaves those heavy malt and bourbon flavors just pooling on the tongue.

Really up and down for me. Taste is excellent, complex and well-balanced for a barrel-aged beer. But everything else about it is wanting a bit. Not very pretty, smells mostly of bourbon, and mouthfeel is kinda flat. Fortunately taste carries it enough to make it pretty darn good overall.

08-25-2011 03:41:34 | More by zeledonia
Photo of DCon


4.6/5  rDev +10.3%

Brew given to me from mdvatab in a recent trade. Estimated price is @ $5.50 and very excited to have this one finally. Poured from the 12 FL OZ bottle (that looks like it has a character on the front from Batman Beyond) into a 16oz Pint Glass and has no sign of a refreshness date.

Aroma- Strong oak characteristic from the start. Very complex... Malty, rich, has an amber/red ale aroma and then hints of molasses. Hints of strong alcohols/whiskey are present too, almost the same as smell in a sherry cask version.

Appearance- Pours 2 fingers of off-white head that has great retention. Has a reddish copper body and can tell that this beer is very viscous. Leaves sudsy lace behind.

Flavor- Very strong oaky tastes from the beginning. Malts are sweet and very abundant throughout the whole drink. Has a bourbon taste at the finish also. Has a sweet finish and a medium bitterness (but tough to notice through all the malts/sweetness). Great!

Mouthfeel- Full Bodied, Light-Medium Carbonation, Chewy (could have been my dinner!), Bit of warming throughout the drink, and has tons of texture and grit throughout.

Overall Impression- While getting into Barleywines lately, this one fits the profile of the style and is very interesting! IT IS Insane like the label says and get your hands on this one as soon as possible! Very rich and complexed, oaky and bourbon flavored, who wouldn't a 6-pack of this?

08-22-2011 04:14:18 | More by DCon
Photo of Krakistophales


4.43/5  rDev +6.2%

A: Pours a ruby red color with a finger of white head that becomes just a film at the top

S: Plenty of caramel, toffee, hints of butterscotch, a huge bready sweetness like bread pudding, rum raisin-esque aromas going on. Very enticing.

T: Much like the smell. Caramel, toffee and butterscotch at first, moving into a middle of bready, sweet, rich, and creamy textures and flavors, and finishes with a slight oaky finish, but the rum raisin booziness in the finish is also present. This is a very hot brew out of the gate.

O: I'm glad I picked up a 4 of this on all the BA's suggestions. This is a damn fine barleywine. Score 1 for weyerbacher.

08-19-2011 00:32:50 | More by Krakistophales
Photo of eclipse54


4.25/5  rDev +1.9%

A big "thank you" to jyounger30 for grabbing me a few of these; thanks a ton Jay! This was a 12 ounce bottle with a bottled-on date of 01/25/2011. Into a DFH signature snifter...

Pours a hazy brown, so hazy in that it is nearly opaque save for the edges of the glass. A finger’s-breadth of foamy, cream-colored head rises and lingers for nearly a minute before settling down into a ring and a central patch of bubbles. Smells of toffee, hazelnut, caramel, oak, and faint dark fruit (raisin in particular). Tastes of toffee, oak, hazelnut, brown sugar, some raisin and date, and a faint touch of alcohol in the rear. As it warms, a vanilla presence becomes detectable, but the alcohol also makes itself more prominent. Mouthfeel is rich, but only medium in body as the carbonation and alcohol serve to thin it nicely. Finish is a touch dry. Overall, a great barleywine now and I have high hopes for the ones stashed away. I am very happy I was able to try this guy, and would recommend it to fans of the style.

08-16-2011 01:40:19 | More by eclipse54
Photo of JoEBoBpr


4.38/5  rDev +5%

Poured into a tulip glass.

A - Pours a very nice hazy slightly brown orange and copper color with a nice 0.5 inch light tan or slightly off-white head.

S - Sweet caramel aromas with some nice slight molasses and sweetness. There is also some nice apple fruit notes. The hop presence is mild and there is some nice slight alcoholic burn. Some Bourbon notes are present as well some slight woody notes. Vanilla and clove spice is present.

T & M - Delicious malty-chewy grain. Sweet caramel and molases is present. Some nice brown sugar notes as well as vanilla is present. This beer taste amazing. Very sweet yet not overwhelming. There is some nice Bourbon notes and slight wood flavors as well. The vanilla is quite delicious and balances the extreme sweetness of the caramel. This is quite a complex beer that as it warms dark fruit flavors develop with some dates and some slight raisin notes. There is some over-rippened banana notes as well as some slight bready notes as well. So delicious and complex. There is practically no hop notes in this beer. The malt shines through so perfectly. Moutfhfeel is nearly perfect soft and fluffy and creamy but also with some slight crisp and clean carbonation. Rich and full bodied.

O - Great beer that I am enjoying thoroughly at this moment. Very complex and flavorful. Very well crafted and delicious brew. Thanks to arniepnminne for this great treat.

08-08-2011 01:17:51 | More by JoEBoBpr
Photo of NODAK


4.08/5  rDev -2.2%

Extremely sweet smell, characterized by loads of toffee, alcohol, fruits (cherries?) and a boatload of molasses. Some bread as well. And oh yeah, alcohol. Bourbon specifically.

Taste is also like a dessert. The main force in the taste for me is a heavy, sweet brown sugar, with loads of molasses as well as some bread. There's a fruity quality as well that really comes out as it warms up, maybe cherries? The bourbon shows on the finish, though not all as much as I may have though...and a note of oak on the finish as well.

Deceptively smooth for its ABV. As you'd expect, this beer is big and sweet....but it's dang drinkable.

08-07-2011 18:25:16 | More by NODAK
Photo of Scotchboy


4/5  rDev -4.1%

Thank you Steve! From our last trade; Insanity, poured into a New Belgium globe.

A: Pours thick, a hazy (chill haze I find out) orange-ish brown (not my best description ever) with an off-yellow head with tight bubbles that slowly retreats. Lacing is ok, and there are some slow-moving alcohol legs.

S: Sweet (as expected), slightly Belgian-smelling (unexpected) malty, candy-sugar smell mixed with yeast esters and some of the oak and booze; the dark fruit (plums and prunes) and green apples mix with the alcohol a little and form a scent reminiscent of cough syrup...in a good way. Call me crazy but the nose reminds me of a sweet boozy Dubbel.

T: Smooth, smooth oak flavors primarily, with a decent amount of alcohol burn. This beer has a whisky-like taste and finish, although I don't think these oak barrels were whisky barrels. Definitely some tart sweetness, with a good layer of caramel malt, but the oak and alcohol cover a lot of that up.

MF: Smooth, heavier-medium body with a clingy feel. Finish is dry, front the alcohol I would think.

O: A really pleasant beer considering it's so boozy, and one I could see aging for a short period to try and mesh all the wonderful flavors together (caramel malt, oak, booze, sweetness, fruit characteristics). Right now, it's a good sipper, and better than almost every other English Barleywine and Old Ale I've ever tried.

08-02-2011 03:13:02 | More by Scotchboy
Photo of Janderson91


4.47/5  rDev +7.2%

Bottled on 12/21/10. Enjoyed on 07/31/11.

A - Pours a slightly hazy dark amber color with a small white head. Leaves little to no lacing.

S - Sweet, bourbon, vanilla aroma backed up by some good caramel, dark fruity notes. Excellent smelling beer.

T - Tongue numbing alcohol up front. Pretty strong bourbon vanilla and a huge caramel sweetness. Some cherry and plum taste as well. Layers of flavors.

M - Mouthfeel is good and creamy with just a hint of carbonation.

O - Overall, I think this is really a great beer. Not too far behind Abacus in the BBBW category. Great job, Weyerbacher.

08-01-2011 01:08:27 | More by Janderson91
Insanity from Weyerbacher Brewing Co.
93 out of 100 based on 1,868 ratings.