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.

1,825 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,825
Reviews: 838
rAvg: 4.17
pDev: 11.51%
Wants: 174
Gots: 327 | 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:  Latest | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Insanity Alström Bros
Ratings: 1,825 | Reviews: 838 | Display Reviews Only:
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 JTSbeerislife


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

Drank 4-26-11
Poured from a bottle from the 2010/2011 batch into a Dogfish Head Snifter
(an excellent glass with a lazer etched nuculation logo at the bottom)

Color is a beautiful reddish brown and the initial pour has a thick head that flattens out all to quickly (easily revived with a little swirling, a lively beer!)

Tremendous and powerful nose of malt, alc, yeast, sweet bourbon, light oak, caramel, etc. Very complex and rather wine like

Alcohol is well hidden by delicious and very distinct malt, yeast, with naunces of Bourbon/Oak, somewhat sweet with complex lingering flavors in the finish

Very full bodied in the mouth, with a nice crisp acidity which balances the sweetness

What a wonderful experience! I am sure many will find this style a little "over the top", but I feel differently as I like my drink strong and aggresive (i.e., Single Malt Scotch)

Serving type: bottle

04-28-2011 00:45:03 | More by JTSbeerislife
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 russwbeck


3.53/5  rDev -15.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Thick, orange-brown pour with some red mixed in. A creamy white head leads to good retention and lacing.

S: The oakiness is definitely present with a sweetness underneath. I think I'm getting grapes and vanilla mostly and a bit boozy.

T: Taste starts off with the sweet grapes and vanilla. The oakiness comes next and is big in flavor. Very dry aftertaste and really boozy at the end. The woodiness throughout leaves a strange, and not particularly pleasant, taste in the mouth.

MF: Light body with the alcohol really present. It is nicely carbonated.

O: This was alright. The taste was strange honestly and not great. Too boozy and doesn't stand out in any way.

Serving type: bottle

04-25-2011 23:26:30 | More by russwbeck
Photo of KeefD


4.28/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a mahogany brown color with no head or lacing. Lovely aroma of vanilla, toffee, caramel, burnt sugar, light barrel notes and a touch of bourbon. Taste is pretty much spot on with the nose. Loads of caramel, sugary sweetness reminiscent of smarties candy, light earthy, herbal bitterness, some oak in small amounts, and a touch of bourbon. This reminds why I like English Barleywines so much more than the American versions as the hops are subdued and don't overpower the toasty, caramelized malts. As it warms, more fruity characteristics some out including raisins, dates, and figs along with a more bread. This is good stuff! Almost full mouthfeel with light carbonation. Overall this is a really good barleywine and glad to finally try it! Thanks Dave!

Serving type: bottle

04-24-2011 17:08:18 | More by KeefD
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 chefhatt


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

I poured this beer into a pint glass, it has a nice dark brown body to it, with not a lot of head to it. The smell is caramel and a little fruity. The taste is nice sweet malts, i don't detect any hops and some fruits come through also. This one has a nice smooth mouth feel to it and is very nice. I didn't care for the blithering idiot but i like this one. Definitely a sipping beer.

Serving type: bottle

04-22-2011 02:51:01 | More by chefhatt
Photo of dogfishandi

New York

4.38/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle at cellar temp poured into a tulip. i can barely make out the bottling date 02 ?? 11.

pours out a fairly clear deep reddish brown color with 2 fingers of off white, very slight tan colored head that has some nice retention. a little bit of lace off of a swirl, but its pretty quick to fall back into the beer.

sweet aromas of toffee, candied caramel, nuts with a little dark fruits and a touch of grapes. some vanilla, wood, and bourbony alcohol apparent as well. somewhat sherry like.

english barleywine and bourbon barrel are blended almost perfectly in the taste. sweet candied caramel malts, toffee, grapey dark fruits, nutty balanced so nicely by a spicy bourbon alcohol heat with a bit of wood and vanilla.

super slick, smooth, and velvety on the palate. carbonation feels dead on for the style. lighter side of heavy bodied. chewy. coats the palate.

overall: this drank too quickly for such the big beer it was. it exceeded my expectations, a very nice beer, ill definatly be back to this. also have to put some in the cellar.

Serving type: bottle

04-20-2011 00:21:48 | More by dogfishandi
Photo of happy4hoppybeer


4.43/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into snifter a gorgeous,opaque,midnight black with thin head white head,fizzling away rather fast. Moderate thin lacing.

Aromas of sweet malt, toffee,a good scent of grapes, the fact this was aged in oak barrels in also apparent on the nose. Very nice. Pleasing and inviting aroma.

Pleasant malty taste, some grapiness coming in,sweetness of all sorts. Cannot detect any hops, nor should I, as this is an English-style barleywine. Rather medium body,maybe a little thin for such a huge beer. Light carbonation,which is a plus for this style. Certainly hides the 11.1% ABV very well.

Very good, pleasant. Would have again. Like a good fine wine,only it's beer/ale, perfect for Sundays,dinners and the winter season. I would say the body is maybe a little too light, that's about my only criticism.

Serving type: bottle

04-17-2011 19:02:38 | More by happy4hoppybeer
Photo of JamnesCameron


3.88/5  rDev -7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a snifter. Pours a hazy deep amber with two fingers of light tan head that drops rather quickly. Some lacing evident.

Aromas of vanilla, oak, caramel malt. Sherry notes. Alcohol.

Flavors of bourbon, vanilla, oak tannins, caramel malts, sherry. No hops evident. Can pick out the english barleywine base from the barrel age. Finish is medium with vanilla, oak tannins, and caramel malt lingering.

Mouthfeel is big, chewy.

Overall a very nice barrel aged beer. Nothing too aggressive or offensive. But also nothing that makes it stand out from every other barrel aged brew.

Serving type: bottle

04-17-2011 02:16:21 | More by JamnesCameron
Photo of axeman9182

New Jersey

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

12oz bottle with a bottled on date of 1/25/11. It was chilled slightly before being poured into my Duvel tulip.

Insanity pours a crystal clear amber, with spots of ruby tracing the outer edge of the glass. The off-white head ends up at just over three fingers in height, and shows impressive staying power. Solid sized spots of lacing are left clinging to the sides of the glass as well. The nose has a little bit of toffee, but primarily consists of bourbon. It smells like an extremely smooth bourbon, but it's largely a one note aroma. Things open up a bit more in the flavor. Caramel is largely replaced by alcohol infused caramelized brown sugar. There's a suggestion of bitterness from hops, but it's noticeably restrained, even for an English style barleywine. The barrel presence is also quite prominent, a blend of vanilla and straight bourbon. The body is spot on for the style, although a little more slick than I'm used to. That might be in part due to the fact that the carbonation is just a little too low. Insanity is a pretty good beer fresh out of the gate, but I think a little bit of age will smooth out the bourbon character a bit more and transform this beer into something great.

Serving type: bottle

04-15-2011 11:58:55 | More by axeman9182
Photo of Stinkypuss


4.43/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Weyerbacher Insanity: The already well established Blithering Idiot aged in Oak barrels.

Appearance: Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a large brandy snifter. A bright hazed peach/red color and a small film of head lasts the duration.

Smell: Barleywine elements of booze fruit sweetness and a nice woody undertone of oak barrel aging.

Taste: A lot of complexity overwhelms the palate initially. Fruity notes of peach schnapps and vanilla. Sweet brown sugar, caramel, woody oak astringency quite nice. The flavors develop as the beer warms but must be appreciated sipping while it approaches room temperature.

Mouthfeel: Full bodied, a little heavy, thick and chewy. Lingering barleywine flavor with an oaky dryness.

Overall: Hot damn. Very tasty and complex. A fine sipper worthy of attention.

Serving type: bottle

04-15-2011 07:58:23 | More by Stinkypuss
Photo of larsenju


4.03/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A-Crystal clear amber body with a short off white head, dropped quickly leaving some fine lacing.

S-Caramel followed quickly by some rich oak and then some sharp alcohol. I also got some biscuit, some dark fruits, and a touch of vanilla.

T-Big candy toffee and caramel right up front along with some strong nutty flavors and a little biscuit. It kind of reminds me of peanut brittle. From there on in some fruity flavors developed along with a little toasted oak and some tannins. The aftertaste brings some light fruits, I would say plums and orange.

M-Hits really full and round but then dries out considerably. Medium carbonation. Considering the high abv plus the oak it doesn't dry as much as I would expect.

D-Really a unique and nice flavor, but the high alcohols really drag it down. Its far to sharp right now, but I think with a little age this could smooth out very nicely.

Serving type: bottle

04-15-2011 04:20:09 | More by larsenju
Photo of Knapp85


4/5  rDev -4.1%
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.

Serving type: bottle

04-15-2011 00:25:06 | More by Knapp85
Photo of BrewCrew2010


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

A: Muddy brown body with a copper hint to it. Head is small, short lived, spotty lacing.

S: A big and sweet nose on this one. Strong aroma of vanilla, bourbon, booze, and dark fruits.

T: Taste follows the smell. Strong malty upfront with notes of brown sugar, bourbon, over ripe dark fruits, vanilla, & caramel. Finishes very boozy and sweet.

M: Full body, decent medium carbonation, & creamy texture which helps balances the high ABV.

O: I really enjoyed this beer, but can only handle one at a time because it's very sweet and the high ABV. Love the flavor, but definitely a sipper.

Serving type: bottle

04-13-2011 02:51:36 | More by BrewCrew2010
Photo of perrymarcus


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

12oz bottle served in a snifter.

pours a deep, dark amber tone with a touch of haze; yields a 3/4" foamy, khaki-colored head that doesn't stick around too long. not surprising given the style and strength... patchy lacing.

nose is right in line with what i typically expect from an english barleywine: sweet, highly malt-forward with a perceptible alcohol presence. secondary notes here are of dark fruits, oak, and a touch of bourbon.

aroma profile pulls through in the flavor with no big surprises. malty, a bit woody with the dark fruit, bourbon, booze all there. finish is boozy. definitely a very tasty EBW. alcohol could be a little better hidden but otherwise this is excellent.

medium-full mouthfeel with just below average carbonation.

overall this is a great beer, embodying most of what i look for in an EBW. on a side note, i think my preference is beginning to swing back to the american version of the style. regardless, so far i've been impressed with what weyerbacher brings to the table with their barleywines (or most beers, for that matter).

Serving type: bottle

04-12-2011 02:13:13 | More by perrymarcus
Photo of bamadog


4.28/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pour is a dark caramel brown with some ruby highlights when held up to the light; starts with a big creamy 2 finger head that is a deep off-white color, approaching a light tan; head fades to a full, but thin and uneven cap and that eventually dwindles to a full and thick ring with an island skim in the center.

Smell: Plenty of maltiness that is rich, and much like the appearance, definitely reminiscent of caramel; bit of a sweet oakiness and vanilla; slight tinge of alcohol to it

Taste: Excellent - definitely an English style recipe -- the malts are the dominant flavor aspect -- plenty of rich and sweet caramel; touch a dark fruitiness that is reminiscent of raisins; just a touch of a slight hop bitterness is in the back; alcohol is pretty well-masked considering that the ABV is over 11%, it's there and it has a touch of bourbon to it and it's warming.

Mouthfeel: Body comes across as heavy and thick, like a good barleywine should; carbonation is present and fairly strong considering how heavy the body is; leaves a sticky coating all over the mouth and the gums and belly are left quite warm and tingly from the larger than average ABV.

Overall: looks good, smells better, and tastes even better. The only thing that would lower this beer's overall score is the higher ABV that will limit the amount that could be imbibed safely.

Serving type: bottle

04-12-2011 01:26:33 | More by bamadog
Photo of Dreadnaught33

District of Columbia

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

A: A look that almost would ride the line between a Big double IPA and a dark Oud Bruin: A Muddy dense dark orange to brown color with a huge head at first that slowly bubbles down to a thin off white ring around the beer.

S: A nice smell with very nice woody oak and savory dark bourbon flavors with cherry, brown sugar, malt ice cream, dark sugary fruits, even a little bit of a tangy funky sour note thats hidden in there. A nice aroma, though I wish it was a bit more fragrant.

T: Not bad, but heavy on raisin and prune flavors with the bourbon oak hitting up front in a nice balanced way. Ripened dark fruits at the back, and a sugary middle without a whole lot of character. some brown sugar notes with cherry at the back of the palate that are pleasant. Some bursts of tropical fruit in there as well that are cool. Not an overly balanced flavor with a hit up front and then flavor hitting at the very back without much middle, like music with plenty of bass and soprano without a lot of alto and tenor voices. Not bad, but not amazing.

M: A little hot, but at 11% what did I expect...Wasn't really that bad. Medium bodied, good carbonation level

O: Gets tiring pretty quickly, as the imbalance don't really make it the most easy thing to drink. Not bad, but I'll take Heresy from them anyday compared to this.

Serving type: bottle

04-11-2011 02:11:00 | More by Dreadnaught33
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 busterthecat


3.85/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into wine glass

A- Pours an unexpected odd dark orange brown hue, semi-transparent. No head, carb is present.

S- Very odd, fruity sweet notes, almost overly ripe. Some vanilla, a touch of earth, some booze.

T- A burst of sweet fruit (blood orange, white grape, something else)/ A touch of sharp zest, some old vanilla, hint of leather and dirty wood with a light acidic value. some alc heat. Very interesting and different.

M- Medium bodied, a burst upfront that quickly fades but leaves tip of tongue tingling. Wetness that has a slight acidic feel.

O- A very different and interesting beer. Drank very well. An experience more then the average beer. Fights conformity. Wish I got a 4pk instead of a single.

Serving type: bottle

04-09-2011 03:56:38 | More by busterthecat
Photo of aubuc1


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

12 oz bottle poured into a snifter.

pours a lightly reddish brown with a sticky, thinning light tan head.

Smell is a boozy, woody, sweet, candyish delight.

Taste is a very smooth, oaky, then boozy, then slight burning finish like a sip of whiskey.

Mouthfeel is surprisingly creamy.

Overall this is a delight.

Serving type: bottle

04-08-2011 00:47:52 | More by aubuc1
Photo of coldmeat23


4.4/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

GLASS: Snifter
TEMP: Cellared @ approx 45 degrees
Thanks to a generous BA for a sweet Weyerbacher hook-up!

I just had a Blithering Idiot, and loved it, let's see what the bourbon-barrel aged version is like. (If anyone is reading this review and I lose you, please see my Blithering Idiot review to hopefully see what I'm referencing.)
The first difference is the darker color. This one is a dark amber color with some deep crimson highlights. The head is Still a very light tan color, it just doesn't form as thickly on this one and dissipates more quickly. The lacing is slightly better though. It's in medium thickness strands that are nicely sticky.

The smell is almost exactly what was expected; loads of rich maltiness countered by a rich helping of bourbon presence.The bourbon brings about a new depth of richness, yet the oak provides a nice 'cutting' level of balance to the sweetness.

Taste is very similar to B.I., but is more bready. Once again, the oak presence brings a touch of dryness that cuts through the sweetness and balances it out very nicely. Nice notes of vanilla and cherries.

The feel is just shy of full-bodied. This has a medium-to-high level of carbonation, which is just a touch too much. It is smooth, yet has a slight touch of sharpness to it, and is almost completely lacking in creaminess.

This is at least as drinkable as it's non-BA counterpart, possibly more so. It's got an even better level of balance overall, between sweet and dry.
I'm not being picky though, I'd enjoy drinking either of them, anytime. Thank you, Weyerbacher!

Serving type: bottle

04-07-2011 21:02:30 | More by coldmeat23
Photo of edognight


3.88/5  rDev -7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Deep hazy copper-brown. Slight head. Served in a huge wine glass (ala brandy snifter) swirling to warm. Cold it does taste pretty big, as it warms it gets much bigger. Loud syrupy mediciney smell. Vanilla, malt, sweet fruits.

Taste like it smells, but BIG! Strong complexities...this is "beer" but dominated with loud vanilla, oak and fruit. Very aromatic. Slight malt and maple syrup. Very good. I am not a barleywine guy, but I was very impressed by this.

I had one watching a movie and slept like a baby. Brush your teeth, tho...

Serving type: bottle

04-05-2011 12:54:43 | More by edognight
Photo of alcstradamus


4.35/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a caramel brown with a finger of head and spotty lacing.

Aroma is lightly toasted malt, pine and floral hoppiness, oak, vanilla and caramel sweetness.

The flavor is stellar. Dry oakiness and a toffee/caramel sweetness from the bourbon lead off. Some floral hoppiness as well as a strong toasted malt profile. A bit of alcohol heat, but not much relative to the ABV.

The body is on the full side of medium and carbonation is a bit too stinging.

Overall this beer is phenomenal. Definitely gives the big boys of the style a run for their money. Highly recommended.

Serving type: bottle

04-03-2011 23:55:45 | More by alcstradamus
Photo of smakawhat


4.68/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from the bottle into a snifter glass.

Has a nice looking real creamy looking and also cream colored head that is off white. Real nice red amber body with some carbonation slightly visible.

Bouquet is a real jammy fruit. Great hints of simple malt, and also somer brown sugar. Feels in the nose also a little powdery, some cinnamon also, gets in that powedered toast thing. Real neat.

Taste is really a surprising malt, hint of fruit like on the nose, but an exceptional milk chocolate feel and aroma on the palate. The chocolate comes out of nowhere and is a total ambush. It's wonderful. Doesn't even feel particularly boozy, but is a little wet. Slightly dry too... just great.

Overall I would have expected that chocolate profile on a big stout, not a barleywine, but alas there it is. With the jammy fruit front this is a total surprise and a real neat marriage. Just a great drink very impressed with this one. I was getting a little worried there, I wasn't too impressed with Heresy but this is just awesome.

Serving type: bottle

04-03-2011 18:32:40 | More by smakawhat
Insanity from Weyerbacher Brewing Co.
93 out of 100 based on 1,825 ratings.