1. Extreme Beer Fest. March 20 & 21, 2015 in Boston, Mass. Join us!
  2. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  3. 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.

1,898 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,898
Reviews: 842
rAvg: 4.16
pDev: 11.78%
Wants: 177
Gots: 354 | FT: 17
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: 1,898 | Reviews: 842 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of eclipse54
4.25/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

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.

eclipse54, Aug 16, 2011
Photo of JoEBoBpr
4.38/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

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.

JoEBoBpr, Aug 08, 2011
Photo of NODAK
4.08/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

NODAK, Aug 07, 2011
Photo of Scotchboy
4/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

Scotchboy, Aug 02, 2011
Photo of Janderson91
4.47/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

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.

Janderson91, Aug 01, 2011
Photo of leschkie
4.3/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle courtesy of trxxpaxxs poured into a tulip.

Thanks Tom for this generous treat! I've been eyeing it everyday since you sent it over, and finally decided to crack it open. The name perfectly describes my current mental state after having to work all day despite it being a Saturday.

Pours a translucent deep ruby red when backlit against an incandescent light bulb with a short-lived ecru-color head. I think this head retracted faster than George Costanza's junk on the swimming pool episode of Seinfeld. Damn dude, not even the faintest sign of lace. And this is only 11.1% ABV? That would be something I'd expect for a 14%.

Oh wow, this smells and tastes fantastic! Reminds me of a Belgian strong dark actually. Well-integrated flavors of dark fruits, rum-soaked sugar raisins, dark sweet caramel, sweet malts, biscuits, yeast, subtle brown sugar, and slight oak that finishes with a pleasant warm boozy sensation which takes nothing away from the flavor profile. And it just keeps getting better as I let it sit and aerate a little bit.

Mouthfeel is medium- to full-bodied with an excessive amount of carbination at the start. However, the carbination settles down quite nicely as it warms and opens up.

This is actually my first English Barleywine. If this offering is standard for the style, I think I've found myself a new favorite. This is an outstanding offering by Weyerbacher. For the past week and a half I've had beers that have done nothing but disappoint. So I am so happy to finally have something that I've thoroughly enjoyed from start to finish. I can't wait to trade for more bottles!

leschkie, Jul 31, 2011
Photo of Bfarr
4.18/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

Hazy red with medium tan frothy head and good retention. Caramel barley, yeast and bourbon oak. Sweet bourbon caramel with light barley and a bready finish. Notes of oak and vanilla. Light fuzz, slick and dry but overall a very heavy body.

Great flavor but it sits very heavy on the palate and stomach. Alcohol is well incorporated with the taste. Nothing is overpowering but it’s overall a heavy barley-wine making it a tough decision whether it’s a fantastic beer or just a plain ol’ great beer *sarcastic*. It was certainly a great compliment (especially in name) to go with the end of the 4th season of Dexter.

Bfarr, Jul 25, 2011
Photo of DrStiffington
4.43/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Well, I've had Blithering Idiot several times, but I always had a hard time pulling the trigger on Insanity, which is the more expernsive oak-aged version. It pours a thick, hazy brownish color into my glass. A small head disappears fairly quickly. Man this smells great. I get some oak(natch), along with some malty caramel sweetness. The taste is very smooth, even though it's followed by a slight alcohol burn. Nice stuff. I really like Weyerbacher. Along with Victory and Troegs, PA has some awesome beers! Glad I live nearby!

DrStiffington, Jul 25, 2011
Photo of Mario61Aler
4.65/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Wow! Poured aggresively from a 12 oz into a tulip and got 1", of tan head, that left in seconds but laced nicely. The color was a medium to dark amber that was clear, with a good amount of "falling" carbonation.

The aroma is raisons, dark cherries, vanilla and "BANG" in your nose BOURBON! WOW!

The taste was not complex, just like it smelled, then comes a little alcohol taste and a dry finish! Glad it finished dry because upfront this is sweet but not coyingly so.

The Mouthfeel is medium to slightly thick, but clean and warming and dry at the end.

Overall, try this one! You won't know what your missing until you do. It has an 11% ABV so one is all you'll need to go with a sirloin or a filet mignon, potatoes and a citrus fruit laden salad with bitter greens and a raspberry vinegrette. I opened this one cooking the above and finished it at supper. I was NOT disapointed. I will revisit it often.

Mario61Aler, Jul 25, 2011
Photo of AleWatcher
4.3/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Bottle from 2dogbrew.
Thanks Russ!

Served in New Belgium Globe.

Deep plum color, creamy tan head. Awesome retention and legs thick like a milkshake! Strong lacing forms blobs from opaque curtains.

The Malts are strong with this one. Big sweet caramel malts rock out with notes of toffee and rum-soaked raisins. Fruity notes like plums, perhaps even black cherries, that are also coming across.

A very nice warming booziness comes across on the finish, turning this beer into a wonderful little sipper. The body is nearly full with a creamy feel thanks to a wonderfully restrained carbonation level.

Overall-- this is a very nice beer. I have no idea what the availability of this is, but I'm assuming it cannot be too hard to find as I've gotten no less than 4 bottles of this from different trades. This is quite tasty and an impressive offering from Weyerbacher.
Well done.

AleWatcher, Jul 18, 2011
Photo of HopDiggityDawg
4/5  rDev -3.8%
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

HopDiggityDawg, Jul 15, 2011
Photo of uustal
4.3/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a deep apple cider color, little to no head which lasts merely seconds. Aroma of grapes, tart fruits and a bit of alcohol, very much like white wine. Strong sticky toffee flavor. Hints of dark fruits and some tart fruit flavor as well. As the beer warms, these initial flavors fade to the back and the beer is dominated by big cherry, vanilla and bourbon barrel notes.

uustal, Jul 14, 2011
Photo of wchollif
3.78/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer poured in a snifter from on high generates a finger of head that dissipates rather quickly and leave a light ring around the glass. The color is a dark amber but not hazy or cloudy. Whoa Bourbon big time on the nose, it really smells like i put a 1/2 shot of bourbon in my barleywine (not that I've done that, lately). Maple and burnt sugar is lighter on the nose dominated by booze. The flavor is very light on the malt and hops, but the hoppy bitterness is present on the finish. Vanilla, charred wood (not smoke, but close) and honey. This is a very sweet beer, the overt syrupy sweetness and one note nose is keeping this beer from being a solid A. Alcohol is in check, but you know it's there with the heat and bitterness on the finish. Good beer, not great, but I'll enjoy my others.

wchollif, Jul 12, 2011
Photo of jtingue
4.45/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a snifter.

Appearance- Reddish brown in color with a slight haze to it. Minimal head, but a nice ring of miniscule bubbles around the glass. Nice lacing as well.

Smell- Grapes and tart cherries are present. A bit of sting from alcohol. Definitely some of the oak and bourbon qualities showing already.

Taste- Flavors of cherry and vanilla are muted by stronger tobacco and leather. The cherry then almost bursts onto the palate turning very sweet and is joined by other fruits. Then alcohol warms the palate at the same time that bourbon becomes perceptible. Charred wood and vanilla leave no doubts that this was aged in bourbon barrels. The finish is another transition; it has a dryness reminiscent of a pinot grigio.

Mouthfeel- Fairly standard. Good amount of carbonation and a medium to thick body which helps to coat the mouth with the beer's wonderful flavor. It finishes with a warming from the alcohol.

Very enjoyable sipper. Plenty of layers on the taste

jtingue, Jul 06, 2011
Photo of dtivp
4.43/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured a hazy reddish amber with a half finger tan head very little retention and spotty lacing.

Aroma of caramelized sugar, sweet dark fruits and bourbon.

Taste was initially sweet with caramel, burnt sugar then the oak and bourbon hits yous with some vanilla.

Mouth Feel was full body very light carbonation, smooth with a nice bourbon warming.

Overall this was a very good barleywine to sip and enjoy with caution.

dtivp, Jul 03, 2011
Photo of claspada
4.2/5  rDev +1%
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.

claspada, Jun 30, 2011
Photo of capeannbass36
4.22/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- 12 ounce bottle with a rough pour into a Duvel tulip. Hazy, copper, brown with a minimal tan head that disappeared almost immediately.
Very little lacing.

S- Spice, sweet malt, caramel, vanilla, and bourbon.

T- Sweet and spicy alcohol. Caramel, vanilla, and bourbon. Some oak.

M- Very light carbonation. Sticky. Not all that warm, considering the ABV,

O- One of my favorite barley wines to date. Nice and smooth. Saving a couple. mmm....

capeannbass36, Jun 29, 2011
Photo of JerzDevl2000
4.38/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Picked this up for $3.75 a bottle in Totowa. While I'm not a huge Barleywine fan, I wanted to give this a shot since it had been a long time since I had one. Most beers of this style that I had reeked of alcohol and were tough for someone like me to appreciate and enjoy. This one was different because of it was so smooth and the strength came in the flavor itself, and not in the boozy taste!

Nice pour to this with a deep almond hue and a decent amount of carbonation for this style. There was some head and lacing and yes, there was a slight scent of alcohol to this. It was present in the taste as well but nowhere near as strong as the flavors of rye, oak, and sweet plum. The latter gave it a bit of complexity like a Belgian beer but the Bourbon stickiness tied everything together nicely. It was amazing how well balanced this was, like a good Abbey!

The alcohol is here but it isn't able to be felt until quite a bit of the bottle has been downed. While something like this would be better suited for a warm winter's night, this is so well-crafted that it can be enjoyed all year around. For anyone who's into this style, this is a can't-miss and worth the price. I wish more beers would go out on a limb and attempt this style, since it's a joy to behold a strong beer that's understated at the same time.

JerzDevl2000, Jun 24, 2011
Photo of sweemzander
4.4/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12oz. bottle poured into a snifter.

(A)- Pours a deep reddish amber color. Produced a nice cap of tan froth. Surprisingly good retention considering the ABV.

(S)- A nice rich caramel and boozy oak/brown sugar aroma. Bits of honey and fig as well; awesome.

(T)- A nice richness of caramel, dry oak, booze, and brown sugar/toffee. Lots of a honeyed/candied fig character.

(M)- A mellow carbonation level. A great balance to it as well. not overly boozy or overly sweet either; just a superb overall richness and harmonious feel. Nowhere does this feel like 11.1% ABV.

(D)- Without a doubt, one of the finest English Barleywines readily available as well affordable. Why has it taken me this long to try this one? The perfect winter warmer for those cold nights, though it was quite excellent on this night as well!

sweemzander, Jun 23, 2011
Photo of Shaw
4.05/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a lovely deep amber in color with a big head that reduces to a quarter-inch layer in my tulip glass.

Big whiskey aroma, no surprise there.

The taste is sweet with big bourbon notes. But the whiskey flavors aren't overpowering. They work nicely with the malt sweetness. I also note vanilla and fruit in this one.

Creamy body is just about perfect.

Overall this is one of the finer bourbon-barrel beers out there. It isn't too boozy. It's balanced.

Shaw, Jun 23, 2011
Photo of Sixofsigmas
3.98/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From notes:

Murky burnt caramel pour with very little head.
Smells of bourbon, coconut, caramel, slight tart fruit in the nose, some vanilla maybe....
Very sweet to start, nice malty oak flavors, coconut, raisiny, boozey.
Mouth is dry and resiny. Good carb, good alcohol warmth.
Could drink a few of these in one sitting, but I have a feeling that would lead to passing out. Very nice smooth ale.

Sixofsigmas, Jun 21, 2011
Photo of b3shine
3.9/5  rDev -6.3%
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.

b3shine, Jun 19, 2011
Photo of caskstrength
2.85/5  rDev -31.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

12 oz bottle. My understanding is this is bourbon barrel aged, and what's not to love about bourbon barrel aged barleywines?

Pours a nice dark golden color with appropriate carbonation.

Smells are interesting. Coconut and sweet bananas with some alcohol. Fruits, but more light fruits (apricot, yellow raisin) than dark fruits. The bourbon and oak are in the back, not sure how much I'd pick up on those if I weren't looking. Hints of solvents. (uh-oh)

Tastes show more of the bourbon with the alcohol and the coconut/banana. It's interesting and unique, but the alcohol is ultimately too much. It has some sweetness, but more simple sugars than dark/rich toffee and caramel. Stronger bourbon notes with vanilla, oak, etc. would be appreciated and are missed here. There is a solventy vibe that comes and goes, moreso when warming.

Moutfeel is fine. Good heft, but not syrupy or heavy. Carbonation keeps things moving.

If I want a barleywine, I'm not choosing this.
If I want a barrel aged barleywine, I'm not choosing this. (but I do like the coconut)

caskstrength, Jun 18, 2011
Photo of stimulus
4.6/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Growler, more expensive per ounce than the bottled version, but WOW. This is like candy.

A: Pours a clear amber/light brown with a 1/2 finger beige head.
S: Toffee, caramel, vanilla, bourbon.
T: Sweet sugar up front, vanilla and caramel in the middle, big boozy bourbon on the tail end.
M: Medium bodied, medium carbonation, biting and sticky finish.
O: Drinks like highly alcoholic soda or bubblegum, even moreso than the bottles, and i'm not sure if that's a good or bad thing, but for me i like it. Too boozy overall, and probably too sweet for most: it's different than the Abacus I just tried last night, but I like them both for very different reasons even though they are both barrel aged barleywines.

stimulus, Jun 15, 2011
Photo of bum732
4.18/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

S: Very rich toffee malt with moderate oak, some rum sweetness. Caramel and breadiness rounds it out.

L: Hazy reddish brown, light tan head that dissipates to a dusting.

T: Rich toffee sweetness with an undercurrent of raisins and touch of oak. Rich sweet caramel follows low herbal bitterness. Finishes quite sweet and rich.

M: Slick medium full body, low carbonation.

Very rich and sweet, definitely a sipper.

bum732, Jun 15, 2011
Insanity from Weyerbacher Brewing Co.
93 out of 100 based on 1,898 ratings.