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Insanity - Weyerbacher Brewing Co.

Not Rated.

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

1,864 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,864
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
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Ratings: 1,864 | Reviews: 839 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of jlandis


4.78/5  rDev +14.6%

12oz bottle poured into a Chimay Chalice

A - Deep copper in color with a thin tan head that took a few seconds after the pour to form itself.
S - A sweet malty vanilla with an oak presence.
T - At first, when the beer was still a little cold, the flavor was a sweet malty vanilla, but as it warmed up the bourbon really took over (in a good way). Fantastic flavor! Huge oak presence with the dark fruits that reminded me this was once Blithering Idiot.
M - A full flavor with subtle carbonation that sat on the tongue perfectly.
D - This was a slow sipper that lasted me a solid 90 minutes, and each one of those minutes was fantastic. The flavor was never harsh and was always enjoyable. The bourbon and the overall strength of the beer kept me pacing myself, and I'm glad I took the time to savor this one.

06-21-2010 13:37:20 | More by jlandis
Photo of jampics2


4.43/5  rDev +6.2%

On tap at the Brew Kettle. This is one I've had before at the end of a tasting, and I have a 2 year old bottle in the cellar, but I wanted to taste it on a straight pallate for the review.

Caramel in color, still looking. A small ring of head surrounds the goods.

Smells great. Lots of toffee, oak, and dark fruit. Bourbon is subdued. I get some booze soaked golden raisins for some reason. Nice depth and uniqueness in the nose.

Taste is stupendous. Amazing beer, here, this kicks blithering idiot in the balls. Huge toffee and caramel, nice wood and bourbon. Smooth and dank. Vanilla and candy, dark fruits and even a touch of coconut. Wow! We have a winner!!

Nice body, just enough carb to keep it going down smoothly.

On a curve, this is very drinkable for being such a big beer. Would certainly buy again! Just about the best available non-whale bourbon barleywine out there.

06-18-2010 19:43:36 | More by jampics2
Photo of Gyle41386

South Carolina

4.47/5  rDev +7.2%

12 oz bottle, courtesy of Desaparecido, poured into a snifter. Big thanks to Edgar for sending this one my way. Insanity may be available locally, but not in singles, and I had literally no interest in buying a 4 pack.

Having not yet tried Blithering Idiot, I'm not quite sure what to expect from Insanity. I remember Old Heathen and Heresy being quite similar, but that wouldn't make a difference since I haven't had the standard barleywine. That said, I remember hearing/reading rave reviews from someone whose beer opinion I trust, though I can't remember who.

I have no idea how to describe the color of this beer...it sort of reminds me of that odd brownish color you get when you mix like 35 different crayons/markers. It's got all kinds of dark red, orange, amber, brown, etc etc. Red's the dominant color, so let's go with that. About a finger's width of creamy light tan foam. The head retains very well, thanks in large part to the seemingly endless supply of bubbles that rise to it. There's some spotty lacing attached to the glass.

The nose is dominated initially by bourbon. Beneath the sweet heat lie more sweet scents, like vanilla, sugar, caramel, toffee, and dark fruits. A light, woody oak note rounds out a rather busy aroma.

I can't remember having a beer with such a big bourbon influence that wasn't boozy or hot. The bourbon/alcohol presence is certainly present, but without being overdone. That's very refreshing, as I've tasted far too many "big" beers that really disappointed me by being harshly alcoholic. So, we're already off to a good start here.

Now, it's impossible to open up a bourbon barrel aged English barleywine and not expect it to be sweet. Insanity certainly is sweet, but not insanely sweet. Dark fruits like figs and plums, along with the vanilla and sugar (which actually tastes a bit like coconut) and caramel/toffee. Lots of sweetness, but with a really nice, balancing woody and lightly bitter finish. This is a really, really nicely crafted beer.

This is a big-bodied beer, medium-full (if not full) body with very, very light carbonation. Very smooth and slick, without being syrupy. The texture combined with the lack of heat (aside from a slight warming in the throat) make Insanity a dangerously easy drinker. I can see this being one of those beers you keep ordering pints of at your favorite beer bar without slowing down, then suddenly can't stand up. It's intense without being menacing. An absolute joy to drink.

06-16-2010 01:35:58 | More by Gyle41386
Photo of Bouleboubier


5/5  rDev +19.9%

On-tap, but it might as well have been cask or nitro.

The head - a fat, two-finger width and built like Cool Whip. This sat on top of what appears to be pureed mahogany. Dense and pulpy and a citrusy, sanguine shade. Quite a stark visual contrast from on top to bottom. Very attractive and un-beer like.

One of the most fantastic aromas ever committed to a brew. Amazing. Coconut, vanilla, and fresh-cut oak - in Technicolor. All veil the scent of barleywine hiding underneath. In fact, I completely forgot this was a barleywine beforehand, honest - thus adding to my surprise and delight when the lightbulb flicked on.

My god does this not go down like a creamy beer smoothie. Despite the fact that the head sports a creamy, nitro-tap-esque feel, the flavor is not compromised. When you sip this beast, it comes forth in layers - first, a dollop of sweet cream, followed by a warm fruity rush of the barley nectar. The consistency of the liquid is, for lack of a better comparison, similar to apple cider.

This is my ideal of what a dessert beer could or should be because, well, it tastes like bloody dessert. F'n stellar.

06-13-2010 01:57:23 | More by Bouleboubier
Photo of Lunch


4.05/5  rDev -2.9%

Served on-tap at Victoria Gastro Pub in Columbia, MD into a 12oz. snifter at an appropriate temperature (05/18/10).

A: Pours a thick and kind of oily murky shade of dark brown. Capped with just a haze of tan head. There is a slight ruby hue to this one.

S: Intense aroma that has an almost rum quality to it. Certainly there is whiskey and a hint of wood along with some molasses.

T: The rum continues on the palate and it is surprising considering that this beer was not aged in rum barrels. There is a cola flavor as well that seems to be well integrated with some whiskey notes. Hints of chocolate and sweet malt.

M: Full-bodied with a nice heavy creaminess and low carbonation. Extremely rich and somewhat syrupy allowing the entire palate to be coated.

D: For the style this is pretty drinkable, but this is certainly a beer that needs to be respected.

Overall I found this to be a pretty nice beer with the exception of this rum character that really stuck out to me. Another solid offering from Weyerbacher.

06-11-2010 16:24:24 | More by Lunch
Photo of CampusCrew


4.18/5  rDev +0.2%

appearance: a nice red dappled brown color, great lacing

smell: jack and coke aroma

taste: rich malts, raisins, and dates to oak, vanilla, and heavy bourbon but not overpowering like many bourbon aged. does have too much sweetness for me.

mouthfeel: medium full bodied

drinkability: a sipper but a nice barleywine and well done with bourbon casks

06-03-2010 22:48:19 | More by CampusCrew
Photo of bonsreeb85


4.6/5  rDev +10.3%

G311 hooked me up with this bottle, cheers brotha!

The beer comes out looking about the same color as the bottle: murky dark brown/tawney. Cream colored foamy head has decent retention given the strength of this monster.

Strong bourbon and oaky character backed with raisin, black cherries, fig and some tobacco. Can't forget the vanilla either...lots and lots of vanilla. This is gonna be good...

And now for the all important taste: Bourbon and oak really highlight the mentioned dark fruits, earthy bittering and tobacco notes. This is really complex! Vanilla shows up more and more as the beer reaches closer to room temp. Alcohol warms on the finish. THe flavors linger on and on and on and....

Full bodied mouth coating smooth slippery texture. Near perfection.

THe flavors are rich, intense, insane even! Too much for more than 24 oz. but 12-24 hits the spot. I do beleive English BWs are becoming a favorite of mine.

05-31-2010 01:15:19 | More by bonsreeb85
Photo of Lerxst


4.05/5  rDev -2.9%

A-Pours a cloudy, murky amber with a one finger off white head that has good retention and leaves some sticky lacing.

S-Bourbon is most prominent, caramel malt, maybe a bit of toffee with some vanilla and oak notes lingering in the back.

T-A mixture of bourbon, oak and vanilla is right up front with caramel malt, a bit of butterscotch, raisins and other dark fruits bringing up the middle and back.

M-Full bodied, syrupy, a bit sticky, somewhat low carb level, coats the palate well.

D-Its a sipper to be sure, but it goes down easily enough.

If you like English Barleywines, its definitely worth a go. A very nice offering from Weyerbacher. I'd buy it again.

05-31-2010 00:01:50 | More by Lerxst
Photo of Wisconsinality


4.25/5  rDev +1.9%

Thanks to beerwolf77 for hooking me up with this one.
12oz bottle poured into Duvel Tulip.

A- Pours a deep burgundy that lets no light through and seems to have a nice haze to it. It pours a finger's worth of head that dies down quickly and leaves no lacing.

S- Right off the bat I get some black licorice, some dark fruits and a little booze. A little bit of malt and some oak in there as well.

T- The first thing I pick up is the the black licorice. The dark fruits come there after and a mellow flow of oak. A little bit of sweetness and a small amount of malt round this one out. No real alcohol to speak of.

M- Medium to full bodied that just seems to cling and coat your mouth. Just the right amount carbonation and a little puckering from the sweetness.

D- The alcohol barely makes it's self known. That is a good sign for a higher abv barleywine. Sweet but not cloyingly so. A very good beer.

05-25-2010 01:56:51 | More by Wisconsinality
Photo of nova009


4.28/5  rDev +2.6%

Poured from a bottle into a snifter.

A - Dark brown with a small white head, small amount of lacing

S - Oak and vanilla with a sweet scent added in, maybe caramel

T - Oak and vanilla for sure but the caramel was much more present that I expected but pleasantly so

M - Fairly heavy but not overly so, smooth, right balance of carbonation

D - It's a heavy beer but one that you want to sit back and enjoy, I would definitely grab one of these again

05-23-2010 04:37:33 | More by nova009
Photo of bluejacket74


4.33/5  rDev +3.8%

22 ounce bottle, I believe it's about a year or so old. Served in a snifter, the beer pours a murky dark reddish/brown color with about an inch light tan head. Head retention and lacing are both decent. Aroma is bourbon, oak, vanilla, brown sugar, butterscotch, and some dark fruit. The taste is the same as the aroma, but with the bourbon, oak and vanilla flavors being the strongest, and at the same time they're not overpowering the other flavors. Mouthfeel/body is medium/full, it's creamy and a bit syrupy with moderate carbonation. Drinkability is good, it's smooth and easy to drink. I liked this brew, and would definitely buy it again in the future.

05-22-2010 22:51:49 | More by bluejacket74
Photo of KAP1356


4.35/5  rDev +4.3%

Poured from a bottle that I have aged for 6 months into a snifter.

A - A dark rich brown that is as inviting as the slight white head that forms on the top of the snifter. lacing is little as I would expect from a higher ABV beer.

S - Smells of oak and vanilla obviously. But some sweet smells of caramel and malts.

T - The oak and vanilla scents only lead you into the exact same taste that is so mwell balanced with the malts in the beer. Very smooth flavors that keep me coming back for sip after sip. Tastes of caramel malts and and almost candy like quality that really works well.

M - Very smooth and mellow.

D - would be hard to put away any more than two of these in one sitting, although one was certainly a treat.

05-13-2010 03:33:20 | More by KAP1356
Photo of emmasdad


4.38/5  rDev +5%

Pours an extremely dark mahogany brown, with a little bit of mocha foam, which quickly recedes to the edges of the snifter. Very nice bourbon aromas, along with cinnamon, vanilla and oak. Flavors of bourbon, oak, caramel and a little milk chocolate, along with some nice warming alcohol. The bourbon barrel aging really works well here, as the one dimensional and uninteresting Blithering Idiot is transformed into a truly incredible beer.

05-13-2010 00:35:02 | More by emmasdad
Photo of oregonskibum


2.7/5  rDev -35.3%

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a brandy snifter glass.

A: Color is a dark burnt amber, bordering on brown. Pours with almost no head. What little head disappears almost immediately. Appears flat. No carbonation with just a thin ring around the edge of the glass.

S: Sweet toffee, butterscotch, caramal. Picking up on the wood notes. Some raisins and maybe a faint note of vanilla.

T: Big sweet notes continue. More butterscotch and toffee, mixed in with a stronger oak/wood presence. Heat kicks in mid taste and really starts to warm towards the end. Continue to get some raisin notes with other dark fruits.

M: A touch on the big side; comes across as a little syrupy. Carbonation is low to non-existant.

D: I'm not a huge BW drinker, so don't have the width of experience to really say this is 'bad', but this certainly doesn't stand out as a great example of the style. The residual sweetness really detracts from the beer, masking some of the other flavors that would have made this a decent beer.

05-10-2010 04:18:41 | More by oregonskibum
Photo of obywan59


4.38/5  rDev +5%

Pours thickly into my pint glass. A hard pour into the bottom of the glass yielding a scant 1-finger head that quickly recedes. Minimal lacing. A deep amber to light mahogany in color, the brew is cloudy and yields orange highlights.

Big, rich bourbon barrel aroma with sweet vanilla.

Similar, but fuller taste. Bourbon barrel again, with cherries and dark fruits. Some light bitterness in the end. Alcohol is a bit harsh at first, but soon mellows out.

Nice thick, syrupy mouthfeel, but not cloying. Flavor retention is excellent.

This is a sipper, but it's very drinkable for the style.

Compared to other bourbon barrel brews I've sampled, it's not as smooth as the Firestone 13, (the alcohol is a bit harsh at first) but it's more developed than the Brooklyn Black OPS.

05-10-2010 04:07:35 | More by obywan59
Photo of mfunk9786


4.75/5  rDev +13.9%

Insanity is an amazing variation on Blithering Idiot, it's amazing what barrel aging does for this already excellent beer. It's completely transformed - slightly less appealing in some areas, but far more appealing in others.

A: The appearance is slightly darker than BI. Mahogany is the word that comes to mind, not quite as much in the way of orange highlights as Blithering Idiot.

S: The smell is a little bit less exciting than regular ol' Blithering Idiot. The vanilla, oak, and bourbon scent of the barrel overwhelms the sweet dark fruit aromas.

T: The taste is an extension of the smell, but luckily, the tongue can pick up a lot more dimension than the nose. There's the vanilla bean, bourbon, and oak situation going on, but on another level, there's a slightly less astringent alcohol taste than BI, and that does a lot for the sweet raisin aftertaste.

M: There's still booziness, don't get me wrong. But the (and I can't overstate this) amazing vanilla bean flavor that hangs over the whole experience makes the booze more worthwhile than it is in the more 'naked' Blithering Idiot. The mouthfeel benefits from this.

D: The drinkability is also improved, but it's sort of a given that this is a one-bottle-a-month type of beer. I mean, if you've got the income to buy this by the case, hell, drink it every night instead of a glass of nice scotch... but for me, I can't imagine enjoying a bourbon barrel aged beer more often than once every couple of weeks. Still, though, don't get me wrong - this is one masterpiece of a beer.

05-06-2010 02:47:02 | More by mfunk9786
Photo of Slatetank


3.85/5  rDev -7.7%

I picked this bottle up at quick 6 a couple weeks ago -poured chilled from the 12oz brown bottle into a snifter allowed to raise in temp gradually

A - An auburn hued murky, ruddy amber bordering on copper w/ a fast dropping light beige cap w/ thick bubbles. The cream settles to a ring w/ a wispy center and spots like jupiter. The lace clings in a spotted ring pattern

S - As the ale is swirled it gives off stone fruit notes and berry-like esters w/ some fusel odors and mild vanilla from the oak w/ a sweet bourbon accent. The nose has elements of pine and cherry w/ a tobacco-like toasted aroma

M - A tannic astringency at first w/ mild bitterness and a moderately carbonated feel which is good for the abv w/ medium level of sweetness and dry toasted texture in the middle. There is spice w/ moderate heat from the alcohol w/ a light caramel tang of yeast

T - The flavor is strong w/ big oak tannic notes and creamy vanilla bean in tandem which leads to pepper and brown sugar with an accent of coconut w/ a light nutty taste. The fruitiness comes forward more as it nears cellar temp w/ a mellow dried apricot note which also leads to mild currant and date w/ an accent of tart cherry filling. The slight custard-like element of subtle oxidation which has a sherry like taste adds to the spice and alcohol flavors, but the contrast lessens after mid bottle as the alchohol/sugar aspects become more pronounced and slightly harsh

D - A good barleywine and the oak barrel certainly adds depth but lots of alchol makes it hard to enjoy a bottle alone, it has a warming and I prefer less fusel, but the beer has character and if you are looking for a big malty and oaky barleywine this fits the bill.

05-05-2010 16:59:53 | More by Slatetank
Photo of GregSVT


4.47/5  rDev +7.2%

12oz bottle into a snifter...an extra in a recent trade.

A: Pours a dark orange almost brown with a small off-white head that fades to a ring and leaves a bit of lacing on the glass.

S: The nose is full of vanilla, toffee, caramel, and a bit of oak. When I first smelled this I thought "Nemesis" right away...smells excellent.

T: The taste is large amounts of buttery caramel, toffee, vanilla, and some molassess. There's a very slight hop bitterness.

M: The feel is thick with just the right amount of carbonation. It coats the mouth with all the delicious flavors.

D: This would not last long in my place...it's very good and from what I've seen relatively cheap. The ABV is a bit high which would keep me from drinking more than 2 or 3 in a night...that's the only downfall in drinkability.

All that's missing is the maple and it would be very much like Nemesis. Highly recommended if you like barrel aged barleywines or just great beer in general.

05-05-2010 01:17:25 | More by GregSVT
Photo of BSSBeerGuy


3.58/5  rDev -14.1%

Poured into a St. Bernardus glass, it had very little head and a medium dark amber color.

The taste begins sweet with hints of oak and caramel with a dry alcohol finish.

I will say that the aftertaste was bitter and not enjoyable at all.

I probably wouldn't buy it again this year, but definitely its worth $13.00 a 4pack to try it.

05-04-2010 05:05:11 | More by BSSBeerGuy
Photo of rfgetz

New Jersey

3.95/5  rDev -5.3%

Pours a murky dulled penny color with a minimal burst of creamy cream colored head... minimal retention but decent lacing. First thing i smell before the glass is even at my nose is vanilla. Strong vanilla notes from the the oak as well as an underlying woodyness to the nose. Faint hints of carmely sweetness and orange (hmmm?). Taste is thankfully not all vanilla, but the oak notes are strong, a faint barleywine like sweetness and hints of orange liqour. The oak makes for a smooth, almost creamy body and the booze notes are minimal. Weyerbachers oak aged beers really do show the effect of the process, and i really enjoy that.

05-03-2010 15:24:25 | More by rfgetz
Photo of irishking1977

New Jersey

4.1/5  rDev -1.7%

A: Murky amber/brown with little head to speak of, and less than moderate lacing on the glass. To a degree, what I expect in appearance from a barleywine.

S: Oak and vanilla is what dominates the aroma. Nice. Not expected from a barleywine.

T: Holy cow! A bouquet of vanilla and oak with a caramel and mild alcoholic background. The alcohol is hidden much better than Weyerbacher's Blithering Idiot, (which I didn't care for a great deal; it was just okay. The alcohol was at the forefront of that one)

M: Carbonation is much higher than your average barleywine. One of my biggest issues with barleywines is the fact that a good majority of them aren't as carbonated as I would like. Just a subjective preference. Otherwise, this one is nicely balanced carbonation wise, but doesn't have any major differences other than that to a typical barleywine. No bitterness is detected in comparison to other barleywine's I've had. A brewer's interpretation is always different.

D: This is one sneaky bastard. Highly drinkable in that it's quite tasty with little to no alcoholic bite, though, there is a bite even if it is barely detectable. 11% + is certainly a bite, regardless. Say goodnight after two or three of these. But certainly a happy goodnight.

05-02-2010 01:39:23 | More by irishking1977
Photo of philbe311


4.05/5  rDev -2.9%

Notes from a side by side tasting of Blithering Idiot and Insanity

A - Light to medium caramel like brown color... An ever so faint haziness... A slight orange red hue is noticeable when held up to the light... A thin light tan colored head quickly fizzes away leaving only a thin ring of bubbles around the edge of the glass... Absolutely still within...

S - The oak aging is unavoidable... A warm inviting booziness dominates though it doesn't overpower... There is a complete void of the standard English Barleywine sweetness...

T - Similar to the nose, the oak aging dominates the palette... Alcohol warmth, wood, and a touch of vanilla dominate... Buried deep beneath the surface is a very faint touch of caramel and toffee sweetness...

M - The oak aging adds a certain sleek smoothness to this offerings... Medium to full bodied... Very limited carbonation... Goes down very very easily...

D - Most people have a love or hate relationship with oak aged offerings... Luckily for me, I tend to love them... That makes this Weyerbacher offering a keeper... On the positive side this is a very smooth and sophisticated offering... On the negative, not enough of the original English Barleywine survives...

05-02-2010 01:06:05 | More by philbe311
Photo of jmdrpi


4.45/5  rDev +6.7%

120z bottle poured into snifter

A - hazy amber brown color, thin head. tiny creamy bubbles cling tot he sides of the glass

S - caramel, booze, sweet malt

T - huge malt flavor, vanilla, warms the throat. flavors come alive as it warms

M - carbonation tingles the tongue, medium body, smooth

D - is very drinkable for the abv. great taste, great value

04-29-2010 02:47:01 | More by jmdrpi
Photo of gnemesis


4.38/5  rDev +5%

Poured from 12oz bottle into snifter. Pors reddish-brown with thin off-white head. Smells of dark fruit and almost cloying sweet maltiness. Perhaps a little alcohol in the nose as well? The taste is more dark fruit, sweet, but not overly so. You can taste the slightly sour barrel age. Nicely blended and super delish. Medium carbonation with a medium to full body. Dangerously drinkable. One of my favorite barley wines. I will sit a bottle in the cellar and see what wonderful flavors emerge.

04-28-2010 14:59:50 | More by gnemesis
Photo of PittBeerGirl


3.2/5  rDev -23.3%

Found a bottle at 3 sons and thought it looked interesting-besides I've been generally avoiding barleywines for 3 yrs. Its the most recent release. 12 oz bottle poured into a snifter.

A-Body is a dark, nearly transparent ruby red hue. Pours with a white head that is minimal and quickly fades to a thin collar. Bubbles can be seen steadily rising to the top.

S-At first all I get is alcohol, oak, and grain. But the nose blossoms as the beer warms. Dark fruits such as cherry and red grapes emerge and come forward to dominate-although the nose is very dry like a dark wine.

T-The dominate flavor upfront is dry,dark fruit-neither sweet or tart. The oak presence is also quite noticeable-it is woody and wet and adds a nice component to the flavor. A mild grainy malt backbone is there initially as well The finish is very dry as the alcohol comes forward and leaves a moderate bitterness and a very large heat. All that lingers are the slightest hints of soaked wood and dry dark fruit behind the big alcohol heat.

M-Low to medium carbonation and medium weight body that is completely dominated by alcohol astringency. A mild amount of smooth oak and malt are there-but very scant.

D- This brew is very complex and I like the balance the oak attempts to add to this brew. In the end though this brew is still a super boozy barley wine. Its definitely better and more tolerable as it warms but still too hot for my liking with nothing but a dry wine character to show for it- I guess that's pretty common for this style-hence why I am not a wine-o. Very cool to try an oaked barleywine though. In summary-don't look at my score-read my review.

04-27-2010 03:53:12 | More by PittBeerGirl
Insanity from Weyerbacher Brewing Co.
93 out of 100 based on 1,864 ratings.