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Insanity - Weyerbacher Brewing Co.

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2,012 Ratings

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Ratings: 2,012
Reviews: 856
rAvg: 4.15
pDev: 11.81%
Wants: 191
Gots: 379 | 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:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 06-21-2004

A bourbon barrel-aged English-style Barleywine.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 2,012 | Reviews: 856 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of HopDiggityDawg
4/5  rDev -3.6%
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

Photo of uustal
4.27/5  rDev +2.9%
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.

Photo of wchollif
3.8/5  rDev -8.4%
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.

Photo of jtingue
4.4/5  rDev +6%
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

Photo of dtivp
4.42/5  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.

Photo of claspada
4.17/5  rDev +0.5%
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.

Photo of capeannbass36
4.2/5  rDev +1.2%
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....

Photo of JerzDevl2000
4.35/5  rDev +4.8%
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.

Photo of sweemzander
4.4/5  rDev +6%
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!

Photo of Shaw
4.05/5  rDev -2.4%
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.

Photo of Sixofsigmas
3.97/5  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.

Photo of b3shine
3.95/5  rDev -4.8%
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.

Photo of caskstrength
2.91/5  rDev -29.9%
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)

Photo of stimulus
4.62/5  rDev +11.3%
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.

Photo of bum732
4.15/5  rDev 0%
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.

Photo of Blanco
3.81/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

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.

Photo of Alieniloquium
4.13/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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.

Photo of MrOH
4.66/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

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.

Photo of abraxel
4.39/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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.

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

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!

Photo of pmarlowe
4.47/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

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.

Photo of DoubleSimcoe
4.8/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

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.

Photo of lnashsig
4.12/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

Photo of jcartamdg
4.08/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

Photo of Bendurgin
3.75/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

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.

Insanity from Weyerbacher Brewing Co.
93 out of 100 based on 2,012 ratings.