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Insanity - Weyerbacher Brewing Co.

Not Rated.

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

1,881 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,881
Reviews: 841
rAvg: 4.17
pDev: 11.75%
Wants: 175
Gots: 350 | FT: 16
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
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Ratings: 1,881 | Reviews: 841 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of JerzDevl2000
4.38/5  rDev +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 +5.5%

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 -2.9%

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 -4.6%

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 20, 2011
Photo of b3shine
3.9/5  rDev -6.5%

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 -31.7%

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 +10.3%

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 +0.2%

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
Photo of Blanco
3.83/5  rDev -8.2%

pours a red/amber color with thick off-white head. bubbles of carbonation stick to the bottom of the snifter. smell is of caramel malt, fruit, slight hints of bourbon. A bit of "tootsie roll" is also apparent in the nose. taste follows similarly. Hints of bourbon. None of the bitterness associated with American barleywines and that is compliment here. Immediate chest warming. Slight tartness. Mouthfeel is extremely thick and heavy.

Overall, a solid -bal barleywine. The bourbon character is limited, but not a total knock on this brew.

Blanco, Jun 14, 2011
Photo of Alieniloquium
4.13/5  rDev -1%

12 oz. bottle poured into a snifter.

Appearance - Deep red amber body with very little head. It's quite murky and looks like it has chill haze. Decent lacing around the edges as it clings to the glass.

Smell - Oh I am a sucker for the bourbon. It's not overwhelming, but it's predominant. It blends nicely with a strong vanilla aroma that fades to caramel. Definite apple aroma to it. Possibly a Belgian yeast used somewhere in this. It's tough to discern between bourbon barrel and booze, but smells just a little bit hot.

Taste - Toffee, caramel, and vanilla, oh my. All the flavors are sweet, but the beer is only a bit sweet. Fruit flavors and esters push through the sugars. It finishes nicely with some bittering hops. The barrel comes through less in the taste than it does in the nose, but it's enough to complement the flavors.

Mouthfeel - It's not as syrupy as I thought it might be. It's also not as cloying as I thought it might be. A big beer, to be sure, but it tones down the pitfalls nicely. Lower carbonation, but hey, it's 11.1% ABV.

Overall - A delicious brew that incorporates the flavors remarkably well. I've got 5 more where this came from and I will be enjoying them for months to come.

Alieniloquium, Jun 13, 2011
Photo of MrOH
4.7/5  rDev +12.7%

Split last night with GF, we took notes.

Hazy light brown with orange highlights, thin off-white head that stays around for a while considering abv.Streaky lace.

Toffee, vanilla, milk chocolate, bourbon, almonds, black walnuts, some dried fig and apricot. Very soothing and inviting.

Milk chocolate, almonds, vanilla, bourbon, maple, subtle pie spices, oak, touch of raisin, hint of smoke. All very well put together, nothing out of places, and tasty as hell.

Full bodied, with light carbonation and a relatively clean finish. Warming but the alcohol is well hidden.

An excellent oak-aged beer. Barrel aging accentuates the base beer's flavors instead of overpowering them to get a subtle yet extremely flavorful dram.

MrOH, Jun 13, 2011
Photo of abraxel
4.4/5  rDev +5.5%

A - Looks a brownish ruby-red, with a decent amount of sediment. The finger or two of head falls quite fast to leave only the slightest ring of bubbles around the edge. I like the color.

S - Tasty, sweet vanilla, caramel, and toffee. I can definitely sense the bourbon, but there's no hint of alcohol. Quite good.

T - Ooh, I like this. Buttery smooth caramel/toffee/vanilla/bourbon. Only the slightest hint of alcohol. It's delicious.

M - Rather full, very smooth. Nice.

Overall, I'm impressed. I'm a fan of bourbon barleywines, and this is among the better of them.

abraxel, Jun 12, 2011
Photo of 4DAloveofSTOUT
4.28/5  rDev +2.6%

very nice extra from kmurray8621.

Aggressive pour into tulip glass.

Appearance: Dark opaque red almost brown. No head just a ring of off white foam around the glass. Decent lace.

Smell: Carmel and toffee malts. Strong barrell notes of wood, and vanilla.

Taste: Sweet malts lots of caramel flavors mix with the taste of mild vanilla and a definate oak flavor. Not boozey at all. Some toffee and mild dark fruits linger. The barrell really showcases this solid base beer and adds the personality of the barrell just right. Damn tasty!

Mouthfeel: Full bodied with low carbonation.

Overall: Great Oak aged English Barleywine. Booze is completely hidden, massive barleywine flavors, and nice complexity. Wow! Its fantastic!

4DAloveofSTOUT, Jun 08, 2011
Photo of pmarlowe
4.47/5  rDev +7.2%

Spiegelau burgundy glass.

Pours a slightly cloudy, apple cider-like amber with a thin cap of orange-tan head. Bubbles are nice and super tiny, but not much head retention and minimal lacing. Smells like sweet caramel malt, toffee, green apple, oak, bourbon, and some dark fruit (black currant). Taste is caramel, oak, bourbon, and a little chocolate and vanilla on the finish. I was expecting something sweeter from the smell, but this tastes pretty dry. The oak and bourbon are well integrated, the oak imparting some dry tannins. Carbonation is medium, body is full, and there's a little heat on the finish. Overall, this is a very tasty and drinkable barleywine, not too heavy, in spite of the ABV.

pmarlowe, Jun 07, 2011
Photo of DoubleSimcoe
4.83/5  rDev +15.8%

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

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

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

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

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

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

DoubleSimcoe, Jun 06, 2011
Photo of lnashsig
4.1/5  rDev -1.7%

Many thanks to Beenitty for the chance to taste this one. I've had a few of the Weyerbacher beers, but not this one. Poured into my dfh snifter, pours a dark red/amber color, about 2 fingers of head, a little lacing remains on the glass. Smell- prunes, dates, sweet raisin, spices. There is a lot going on here, pretty complex. Taste- some alcohol heat, dark fruits (definitely the prunes, raisin, etc), some real sweetness to the dark fruit that is pronounced. On the back end of the flavor, there is some spices, ended by a dark chocolate bitterness. Alcohol heat is somewhat noticeable, I'm guessing this would mellow nicely with age. As to the style, I'm not really sure this belongs in the English Barleywine category. Maybe a American Strong Ale? Maybe an Old Ale? Regardless, this is a nice beer, and I'm planning to lay the other 3 down for a couple years and see what happens.

lnashsig, Jun 05, 2011
Photo of jcartamdg
4.13/5  rDev -1%

Poured into my bruery tulip. Amber brown with a paper thin head. Great lacing that quickly clings to the glass. Creamy caramel, alcohol upfront, malty with hops in the back. Taste is delicious, caramel, notes of rum and coconut, sweet but not too sweet. Mouthfeel of moderate carbonation, and medium body. This is a tasty beer.

jcartamdg, Jun 03, 2011
Photo of Bendurgin
3.73/5  rDev -10.6%

Poured into a tulip. Hazy murky copper body with a frothy white head head that settles to a nice layer of foam that stays throughout the drink.

The aroma is pretty solid. Lots of vanilla, oak, a bit of toffee and a little bit of lemon zest in the background. A musty aroma lingers in the background. Bourbon is really noticable on the pallet. Lots of caramel sweetness on the pallet. Oak and vanilla round this out but the bourbon is really up front on the pallet.

Medium full body with soft carbonation. This one is a little sticky and a bit hot. Not bad beer here. Also, it's kind of cool to have a pretty available barrel aged beer readily available. If the bourbon could get toned down a bit this one would be world class.

Bendurgin, Jun 02, 2011
Photo of jifigz
4/5  rDev -4.1%

Bottle poured into a standard pint glass.

A: A beautiful dark and rich mahogany color. A decent small head formed but disappeared rather quickly. Not lacing from the head remained.

S: Burnt caramel and a spicy sweet aroma that I can't really identify.

T: An extremely thick and malty taste seems to be the most prominent characteristics here. There are also notes of spices such as cinnamon and nutmeg laced throughout this brew. The taste is definitely thick. The lingering flavor is mainly ethanol flavor, burn, and sting (it is 11.1%.) The late aftertaste is almost like rotten fruit presenting sweet yet sour fulfillment.

M: The mouthfeel on this one is full and THICK. Nice level of carbonation and a pretty full body.

O: As I approach the bottom of the glass I find myself enjoying this brew more than I did at the start. Maybe the flavors are blending and melting nicely on my palate or maybe the alcohol is melting my inhibitions and molding my thoughts and opinions for me. Either way, I am enjoying this beer and want another either now or sometime.

jifigz, May 30, 2011
Photo of ratedz
4.03/5  rDev -3.4%

Received in a trade with 603BeerMe. Thanks, Clark!

A - Pours an amber brown with a lot of fizz but zero head. Several streams of bubbles crawl up the side of the bubbles and accumulate to form a thin ring around half of the glass.

S - Nose is loaded with sweet caramel, vanilla, toffee, and light oak.

T - Very sweet. Brown sugar, vanilla, and hints of oak. Slight alcohol burn on the finish.

M - Medium bodied, light carbonation which is perfectly fine for the style. The sweetness sticks around long after the finish.

O - I was expecting some bourbon flavors from the barrel aging, but was disappointed when they weren't there. The sweetness was a bit much, but was expected since this is an English barleywine

ratedz, May 29, 2011
Photo of jlindros
4.33/5  rDev +3.8%

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.

jlindros, May 24, 2011
Photo of smokeypeat
4.43/5  rDev +6.2%

Pours a nice amber brown with a very distinct red tinge around the edges. Minimal eggshell head that does not linger too long. The aroma on this one is great. Picking up lots of dark fruit, some toffee, vanilla, cherry, faint alcohol notes. A lot is going on but it all smells great. The taste is fantastic as well. A really complex beer. A barleywine that is definitely a more traditional English style with a big malt background. I'm loving the mix of flavors: Caramel/toffee/dark fruit/almond/vanilla/cherry/slight bourbon the list goes on and on. Low on the carbonation side, but drinks really smooth for 11%. Overall, I can see this beer being a staple in my house. It's a great slow sipper to linger over on a weekend evening. Weyerbacher hit a home run on this one.

smokeypeat, May 21, 2011
Photo of babaracas
4.22/5  rDev +1.2%

Pours a clear ruby with brown tint, one and a half fingers of dense offwhite head, settles to a thick ring, splotchy sheeting. Smell: brown bread, big caramelized sugar hit, sugary dates, cherry-ish - here's where the bourbon barrel character comes in. Taste: raisin, sugary black plum flesh, dates, caramel, note of vanilla, and a bit vinous. The sugary fruit goodness is cut by oak character and twin (small) doses of earthy hops and alcohol. But doesn't seem anywhere near 11%. Syrupy feel with enough carbonation to keep it from getting too sweet. A sipper for sure, very nice. 2011.

babaracas, May 16, 2011
Photo of Thickfreakness
4.6/5  rDev +10.3%

Poured from a bottle dated 2/15/11

A- Beautiful ruby red... two finger auburn head with decent retention. A touch of sticky lacing left behind. Nice carbonation popping the little bit of foam on the surface.

S- Brown sugar! vanilla! chewy, malty breadiness!!! Banana, fresh baked cookies! A touch of wood and alcohol. I can't get my nose out of the tulip glass! This is brilliant!

T- Toasted oakey vanilla, caramel, brown sugar, and over ripe banana's. Alcohol bite is pleasingly warming. Touches of dried fruit... prunes, raisins and fig jam!!! Unreal!!!

M- Creamy caramel coats the tongue and never lets go. I love the sweet, fruitiness of this!!! Sticky like honey, without being overly sweet!

O- This is absolutely fucking brilliant!!! I don't know why I waited so long to pick this up! Grabbed the last 4-pack from my local! Worth every penny! I can't wait to put a couple of years on one and try it again!

Thickfreakness, May 15, 2011
Photo of richkrull
4/5  rDev -4.1%

Got this one in my poker winnings from jkane101. Thanks man.

Poured a deep amber/copper color with a big beige head and decent lacing.

Smell is fruity, a little oakey with a tinge of alcohol in the finish.

Taste is well, kind of winelike. I guess that's to be expected. Lots if alcohol in the finish. Definitely some burn going down.

To me it feels like a medium to full bodied beer.

Overall a pretty good beer. I didn't realize it was a barleywine when I poured it as it doesn't say so on the bottle. I think this is my first barleywine experience and it wasn't too bad. I would try this one again.

richkrull, May 11, 2011
Insanity from Weyerbacher Brewing Co.
93 out of 100 based on 1,881 ratings.