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Insanity - Weyerbacher Brewing Co.

Not Rated.

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

1,801 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,801
Reviews: 838
rAvg: 4.17
pDev: 11.27%
Wants: 174
Gots: 325 | 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: 1,801 | Reviews: 838 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of dsa7783

New Jersey

3.7/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

22oz bomber copped in Short Hills for about $6... From what I understand, this beer is the result of Weyerbacher aging their Blithering Idiot in oak bourbon casks... the result is a more powerful, somewhat enhanced version of their original creation, with bigger, bolder, and more extreme flavors... Known for their eccentric styles, this brew perfectly complements the typical Weyerbacher line with its strong, dominating flavor and taste... Nice ruby-red, light-copper appearance with minimal head and small lacing... smell is replete with dark-fruits, sweet, brown sugar, and figs... Taste strongly complements the aroma, with a distinct vanilla-bourbon flavor along with prunes, thick malts, and caramel sweetness... 11.1% ABV is certainly noticeable with a distinct alcohol presence... over-powering taste with a decent mouthfeel, but drinkability took a hit due to the powerful conglomeration of flavors... A sipper... Worth a try...

Serving type: bottle

01-26-2008 23:35:02 | More by dsa7783
Photo of jamie2dope


4.05/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

This will be my second tasting of this beer from Weyerbacher. The first time i partook, it totally knocked me on my ass, but perhaps this time with some more thought to moderation, I will be ok. Poured in to my Duvel glass a ruby color, with little head, but a ring of lacr around the glass. Aroma had essences of honey, dark fruits, and warm alcohol. Taste revealed the same, with the boozyness from the barrels showing traces of vanilla behind the fruit. Mouthfeel was thick like syrup...almost like alcoholic maple syrup. As far as drinking this one, I would suggest sharing this with a friend or two. The flavor is strong, and the strength of the alcohol is even stronger. Awesome beer from Weyerbacher. Paired very nicely with some blue cheese from Colston Bassett. Cheers

Serving type: bottle

01-25-2008 04:56:51 | More by jamie2dope
Photo of EliteDigger


4.25/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Recieved a bottle of both '06 and '07 in a trade with DrJay. Thanks!! This review is of the '06 vintage...

A-Poured into my Sam Adams glass a dark Amberish-Orange, cloudy and very nearly opaque. Very little head but for the small ring of lacing around the edge of the glass.
S-Aromas of booze, oak, sweet malts, apple juice and faint smell of cherries.
T-More of the same. Buttery oak, apples, brown sugar, bourbony sweet dark fruits, and caramel.
M-Very nice. Lightly carbonated, smooth and creamy.
D-The only reason this suffers is the higher ABV. I'm sure I could easily and eagerly drink one or four of these, but it would catch up to me sooner rather than later....
All in all a very tasty and delicious brew. Very worthwhile to search out.

Serving type: bottle

01-21-2008 22:59:45 | More by EliteDigger
Photo of NCSUdo


4.53/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22 oz bottle

A: Pours a deep clear amber under a fingers worth of white head. No lace, no retention.

S: Smells of bourbon, smells of some darker fruits, dates and some oak. Very nice.

T: Bourbon is huge here and it is excellent. Hints of vanilla, slightly sweet fruit, oak and some alcohol. Alcohol character creats a very nice warming sensation on the way down. Finish leaves hints of bourbon and oak.

M/D: Body is full, carbonation is touch high but contributes to a slight creamy texture. Drinkability is about as good as it gets for a 11.10% beer. It's a sipper for sure, but damn fine for a cold night. Will pick up more of this to set aside for a while.

Serving type: bottle

01-21-2008 01:25:34 | More by NCSUdo
Photo of MiguelMandingo


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

Wow. This beer is another example of why Weyerbacher is a great brewery. I have had several of their brews and have loved them all. I was able to pick up two bottles of Insanity from Chevy Chase Wine and Spirits in DC - I wish I had picked up more. I am more used to American Barleywines, but the maltier English Barleywines are a nice change of pace.

Poured part of a bomber into a snifter glass.

Appearance - It produced a 1/2 finger fine-textured foamy head that dissipated to a halo around the surface perimeter of the glass. It is translucent and very hazy - the haze is obviously chill haze as it too dissipates as the beer warms to room temperature, though not completely. It is an amber brownish red hue. There are constant carbonation streams that rises from the side of the glass, which sustain the surface halo.

Smell - I enjoy the smell a lot. As the beer warms the scent bouquet blooms. It is very boozy in the nose. Beyond the booze, I can smell a fruity scent - very close to sweet dark cherries. It then evolves to a caramel, vanilla, toffee flavor, with the booze showing through again, followed by woody oak.

Taste - The flavor is nearly identical to the scent. It is an evolution of flavors. The initial flavor is candied dark cherries, followed very closely by caramel, a heavy dose of vanilla, and toffee. It is then followed by booze, which then gives way to an oaky charred wood flavor, with very distant floral hops. Very tasty - I almost want to pour this over ice cream.

Mouthfeel - This is a full bodied brew. It is thick and sticky as it slides down the throat - very mouthcoating. It has a relatively low level of carbonation, and although I am not sure if this is typical for the style, I feel it suits this particular beer very nicely.

Drinkability - I really enjoyed drinking this brew. I drank it slowly, and not because of any flaws, but because I wanted to enjoy it for as long as possible. The flavor and scent of this beer kept me coming back for more. This a great beer for a cold day after a hardy meal. Worth searching out.

Serving type: bottle

01-20-2008 21:28:37 | More by MiguelMandingo
Photo of edskirk3


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

Brown glass bomber with no freshness information. Does a barleywine need freshness information? I shall serve in a Brandy glass.

Pours a cloudy apple cider shade. Dense, creamy head, tightly beaded. Significant lacing.

Bourbonesque aromas. Oak. Vanilla. Caramel. Alcohol.

Strong tang at first, then a warm mellowing. Bready characteristics, as well as some woody ones. And here comes the alcohol. Full-bodied and dense, yet fruity.

Very good, but Insanity isn't the name I would have chosen. Because I'm not feeling Insane right now. I just feel... right. I feel right.

Serving type: bottle

01-18-2008 04:11:48 | More by edskirk3


3.83/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A very murky brownish amber body hosts a solid foamy bubble light tan head that sits at about an inch and has about 4 minutes of retention. Nose is doughy sweet with over ripe dark fruit notes and tones of biscuits glazed with honey. As it enters the mouth it is not neatly as sweet as I had expected, it has nice dryness even spiceyness while yeilding slight sweetness. Peppery feel and mouth glazing the buds with spicey alchol that really hangs on. Alchol keeps the belly warm throughout. Comes off a little big to be drinkable. Kind of leaves a musky hue on the tongue. Not bad.

Serving type: bottle

01-16-2008 13:43:39 | More by SPLITGRIN
Photo of Dodo2step


3.6/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

The Insaniy had a good flavor but it didnt have the best aftertaste. The color was great and the smell was pretty decent. I purchased this beer at Malones Bar and Grill. I consider this type of beer to be a sipping beer. I dont think i cuold ever put down a six pack of this beer in one evening. Very tasty though and satsifying.

Serving type: bottle

01-16-2008 01:05:08 | More by Dodo2step
Photo of sholland119


3.35/5  rDev -19.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

poured into a snifter from a bomber.

A-Clear dark amber color, small foam head, little lacing.

S- some oakiness, some alcohol, some caramel, nothing very pronounced.

T-a lot caramel with a nice oakiness.

M-very light but still a bit sticky on the front of the tongue.

D-a little too strong on the alcohol notes to be completely enjoyable. I would not want to drink more than one.

All in all a bit of a disappointment as i enjoy their big beers. It is a whole lot better after it warms but is still a very slow sipper.

Serving type: bottle

01-13-2008 22:18:20 | More by sholland119
Photo of cookin420


3.23/5  rDev -22.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

Bomber poured into a chalice.
so far I've found that Weyerbachers beers all taste a bit raw and unrefined. Clumsily put together even.

pours a muddy orange-brown murk with some sediment visible through the haze. Sort of an attractive brew. Head is very thick and frothy with a coating of lace on the glass.

Smell is of good bourbon. Not just oak alone but quality bourbon. Also some orange and cherry, alcohol and overripe banana.

The taste is the same oak-wise. I feel like I'm drinking very weak bourbon and for the most part I am. My tongue is telling my brain bourbon and my brain is telling my stomach to churn a-la bourbon. (in a good way of course) The banana is still there as well.

Mouthfeel is really nice here. Mild carbonation works well with all thats going on in this beer. Velvety but not thick like it;s appearance would suggest.

I didn't feel that this beer was very drinkable. It was good for what it is and not the clumsy effort I feared but it was too chewy. I'm not scared of a T-bone steak of a brew but my issue is that I still want to taste ale and i didn't taste ale in this to the degree of my liking. I won't rate this beer according to my own tastes though, I'll never buy another but will recommend it to anyone who I think might enjoy it.

Serving type: bottle

01-10-2008 15:11:07 | More by cookin420
Photo of brantadid

New Jersey

4.18/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured a honey amber color into a snifter. A two finger cream colored head formed. Some cascading. Head diminished quickly with tons of sticky lacing.

A lot of alcohol in the nose. Also a lot of vanilla, toffee, and oaky notes. Some sweet barley/malt notes as well.

Sweet front palate. Some malty flavors with lots of vanilla. Reminds me a little of bourbon so I think the vanilla is from the oak. Some hops came through before a blast of alcohol.

Lower carbonation and an insanely rich and creamy mouthfeel. Inspite of teh alcohol, this beer is way too drinkable.

Serving type: bottle

01-09-2008 03:30:04 | More by brantadid
Photo of deltatauhobbit


3.78/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours a murky copper color with good head and good lacing.

Smell is malty with caramel and a strong oak aroma with some other spice.

Very strong taste, aggressive alcohol bite with a bourbon edge and caramel, fairly sweet with smoky undertones.

I can certainly feel the warmth of this beer, even has a warming sensation in my mouth. Unfortunately, this decreases the drinkability as I can easily make out the alcohol and makes it slightly difficult to enjoy the entire bottle.

Serving type: bottle

01-07-2008 23:37:06 | More by deltatauhobbit
Photo of MrHurmateeowish

New Hampshire

4.45/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

22oz bomber from The Lighthouse in Manchester. Pours a slightly hazy copper red with a good inch of light tan head that slowly dissipates. Smells woody, spicy, fruity, nutty, and malty. Tastes Malty and nutty with a fair bit of caramel, and spice, banana, wood, and alcohol playing contributing roles. Rich full body just flirting with viscosity. Instead of being sticky and viscous though, it has a pleasing full body with a fair amount of carbonation to wash it down making this barleywine more drinkable than most. Wow. This beer is absolutely phenomenal. I can honestly say that this is the best barleywine I have ever had.

Serving type: bottle

01-07-2008 03:31:26 | More by MrHurmateeowish
Photo of techdiver


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

Beautiful clear copper color with a one finger head that dissipates quickly leaving a thin coat of foam.

Awesome nose with caramel malt, oak and fruit.

Taste echoes the nose, but here the alcohol is very noticable in the finish.

Mouthfeel is fairly light due to the carbonation. Still shows as definite medium bodied, would be full without the carbonation, very smooth.

Drinkability limited due to the alcohol content, and the fact that it is so noticable.

Serving type: bottle

01-05-2008 04:29:26 | More by techdiver
Photo of atsprings

North Carolina

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

Pours a hazy light brown with orange highlights. The brew sports a decent head that diminishes to a ring and leaves spotty lacing. The aroma is an abundance of burnt caramel, dried fruits, malts and oak. The taste is an interesting blend of burnt caramel and oak with some dried fruit in as well. The beer is certainly heavy bodied but it eases a bit as it warms. This is certainly one that took a good long time to drink, but I must say I did enjoy it!

Serving type: bottle

12-17-2007 03:10:53 | More by atsprings
Photo of guinnessfan


1.53/5  rDev -63.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 2 | overall: 1

12 oz. bottle from a friend.

A: Clouded copper color,decent tan head, with some lacing, yet no retention.

S: Not much, sweet cherries maybe. Malt and some alcohol.

T: Lord help me...Cloyingly sweet, vanilla-ish, maple syrup-like flavored cheap vodka. Thats it!

M: Bitter alcohol sting...like a hornet sting inside my mouth. Weird vanilla aftertaste.

D: Umm...not really at all for me. It was a drain pour. Sorry.

I don't think I like the English barleywines. I would like to try their Twelve, though to compare.

Serving type: bottle

12-17-2007 01:18:42 | More by guinnessfan
Photo of NJpadreFan

New Jersey

3.93/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Weyerbacher- Insanity

A- Reddish copper with a thick frothy white head. Excellent head retention and lacing.
S- Faint bourbon, Charcoal, caramel, dried fruits.
T- Sweet syrupy caramel malt, dried prunes and dates, oak chips, pine sap, ash, and cocoa.
M- Surprisingly light, yet sweet with the alc. kicking in near the end.

Overall- Very mild for 11% yet flavorful. The alc. is well hidden until the end of each sip. Really warms the throat!

Serving type: bottle

12-14-2007 20:49:36 | More by NJpadreFan
Photo of TheBierBand


4.53/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from the 22 oz Bomber into a pint glass to produce a nice 1-1/4" head of light beige dense foam that lasted and lasted... once it began to dissipate, it left nice rings of clumpy lacing down the sides of my glass. The beer is a semi-cloudy amber color with big chunks of particulate hanging there...(gotta love clumps!).

The smell is unique. Let me see if I can break this down for you.... Have you ever walked into a leather store and sniffed that wonderful, fresh leather smell?.... That's a big part of it... but also a malty sweet caramel.... but wait.... there's more.... like fresh butter in a creamery.... OK.... That's the best I can do... GREAT AROMA.

The taste is very good. That leathery taste comes through along with a ripe fruity taste.... nice malt sweetness and a tiny bit of hop bitterness to add to the complexity.

Mouthfeel: Very thick and rich. Robust seems inadequate to describe this Barleywine. Definately CHEWY! Carbonation is, very appropriately, on the low side.

Drinkability: Definately a sipper. But one could enjoy a Bomber over an hour of bliss. Good stuff.... TRY IT.... You'll like it!

Serving type: bottle

12-12-2007 19:34:52 | More by TheBierBand
Photo of DavidEddie


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

A big thanks to JJ for sharing this 22 oz!

Dark murky brown in appearance. Nice off white sticky lacing. This beer belts out wonderful aromas of ripe melon, carmel, vanilla, and bourbon. Tastes of sweet malt, dark cherries, apples, vanilla, oak, and bourbon. A bit of alcohol comes through after each sip and cuts some of the sweetness. Nice and warming! Mouth feel is thick and smooth. Drinkability is "Insanely" good considering the high ABV. This barrel aged brew is a perfect one to sip on around the holidays!

Serving type: bottle

12-09-2007 04:50:53 | More by DavidEddie
Photo of stewart124


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

22oz. bomber here.

This one pours a hazy amber color with a sticky tan head that leaves an impressive lacing effect along the glass.

Pine notes that are almost overpowered by the traces of bourbon and bits of citrusy hops.

Whoa on the taste! Bourbon and strong indeed. The alcohol is warming and packs a punch to say the least. There is a residual sweetness from the caramel malts. Hops blend well in the overall taste and it seems like almost everything is subdued by the bourbon. Vanilla comes through in the aftertaste and the alcohol is surely there in the end. It is warming all the way down into the stomach.

A very tasty and drinkable bourbon barley wine for sure but I am pretty sure that I couldn't drink more than one bomber in a sitting or it would be trouble.

Serving type: bottle

12-04-2007 03:01:41 | More by stewart124
Photo of DIM


4.45/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

note: Tasted immediately after a Blithering Idiot.

a: Almost clear orange copper in color. Pours with a medium off-white head. Overall a bit darker and better clarity than Blithering Idiot.

s: The bourbon does a great job of complimenting the barleywine here. In fact, the bourbon notes help diffuse the almost overwhelming alcohol I found in B.I. Some of the swet malts manage to peek through the bourbon. Lots of fun to smell.

t: It is a bit difficult to pick the barleywine out from the boubon, but it is there. Some vanilla compliments the sweetnes of B.I. very well. In this case barrel aging made a very good beer great.

m: The barrel did not harm the carbonation one bit. As with B.I., this could stand to be a bit thicker.

d: Not for everyday, this is a great beer to treat yourself with.

Serving type: bottle

12-02-2007 19:11:27 | More by DIM
Photo of smurphy77


4.1/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

had this one on draft at Tria II. the nose was of hops and the appearance was a golden orange hue. The flavor of this beer was somewhat murky. Not necessarily in a bad way, but I found it difficult to identify individual flavors above and beyond the hops. That is, until the aftertaste. Big bourbon flavor in the aftertaste. Not a bad beer, but I don't know that I was blown away either. Haven't had the blithering idiot without the bourbon barrel aging for comparison.

Serving type: on-tap

11-26-2007 03:05:44 | More by smurphy77
Photo of joeskirkie

New Jersey

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

One 22oz. bottle without noticeable freshness date meets one snifter.

Once there it sits a hazy dull copper, with a light bubbly head that decides not to last.

Nice nose, pungent oak and alcohol with undertones sweet dried fruit.

No denying the alcohol in this one thats for sure. It's a delicious mixture of butterscotch and oak with vanilla hints to finish it off. One is instantly reminded of a very smooth bourbon. Lovely.

Smooth and syrupy on the tongue, this is one to slow down and enjoy for sure.

Serving type: bottle

11-14-2007 01:35:57 | More by joeskirkie
Photo of ski271


4.33/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I enjoyed this beer shortly after having a Stone Old Guardian. They are both outstanding beers, and they are proof of how varied beers of this style can be. For me it's the big hops aroma with buttery malt flavor that make it one of my favorites. For this one, it was the fruit and spice that accompanied the malts that made this such a pleasant experience. Most notably, the dark fruit (mostly plum I think) and vanilla came out right from the start in the nose and they carried through the warming alcohol presence to stay through the long finish. Enjoyable, thick malt flavors, with those wonderful woodsy notes that make you feel like you're snuggled in a thick quilt, sitting by a fire at your camp in a secluded section of the forest that is quieted by the newly fallen snow. <sigh> ok that reminds me of past ski trips too much. time to go.

Serving type: bottle

11-09-2007 22:09:14 | More by ski271
Photo of BuckeyeNation


4.4/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

"Let us consider that we are all partially insane. It will explain us to each other."

--Mark Twain

Minimally murky cranberry-infused orange beneath half a snifter of caramel mousse colored foam. I love the spongecake-like texture of the head and the amazing amount of lace (given the ABV) that is being laid down. This is how an American barleywine should look.

On the pour, the room was filled with the scent of bourbon. Now that I'm concentrating on the nose for real, aided by the sloping sides of the snifter, that aspect is a more balanced, more incorporated portion of the whole. Caramel and boozy maraschino cherries lead the assault, although boozy makes it sound like the alcohol is harsh or raw. It isn't.

My best guess is that this bottle is two years old. Looks like I picked the perfect time to crack the crown because it's still a beast, but it's a manageable beast. That's exactly how I like my barleywines. In addition to a little age, I think the fact that the alcohol portion of the flavor profile tastes like bourbon helps immensely.

Insanity favors the caramel-toffee family of flavors and is a better beer for it. Whereas I like my DIPAs and American IPAs to be pale malt-dominant (to keep the hops in the center of the spotlight), I like my barleywines to feature flavor from the barley side of things. There's plenty of hop bitterness to go around and it keeps things from becoming too sweet and sticky.

In case you hadn't heard, this beer is Blithering Idiot aged in oak barrels that had previously held bourbon. If it's done right, I haven't yet met big beer that didn't benefit from such aging. Since bourbon (along with single malt Scotch) is my favorite liquor, I might be a little biased. The classic flavors of burnt sugar and vanilla are front and center, giving this big ale the nudge that is needs to enter the realm of greatness.

How in the world can a beer that weighs in at 11.1% be so damn drinkable? Again, softening due to the passage of time has a lot to do with it. Another reason is a mouthfeel that is softly carbonated and isn't a big, gooey mess. I occasionally like big, gooey messes, but I also like barleywine mouthfeels that are built for speed. Like this one.

I need to acquire another bottle of Blithering Idiot because I don't remember it as being nearly this good. It's hard to imagine that bourbon barrel aging is completely responsible for the outstanding ale that sits before me, but I guess it's possible. Insanity just shot to the top of my 'must have' list when I travel to Ohio next month. Insane is right. Insanely delicious.

Serving type: bottle

11-09-2007 16:23:18 | More by BuckeyeNation
Insanity from Weyerbacher Brewing Co.
93 out of 100 based on 1,801 ratings.