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Insanity - Weyerbacher Brewing Co.

Not Rated.

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2,009 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,009
Reviews: 854
rAvg: 4.15
pDev: 11.81%
Wants: 193
Gots: 376 | 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: 2,009 | Reviews: 854 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of DavoleBomb
4.02/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a snifter.

3.5 A: Clear darkish amber color. Not quite a half a finger of frothy off white head. Retention isn't too good either and leaves no lacing.

4.0 S: Good balance between malts and bourbon, though both could be stronger. Vanilla, booze, leather, oak, and a light citrus and melon from the bourbon and barrel. Caramel, toffee, plum and a touch of sherry.

4.0 T: The taste is a lot like the nose, but the bourbon is a bit weaker, which I like. I like bourbon as a complement to the beer and in this, it is. Strong cherry, caramel, toffee, plum, a bit medicinal and some sherry again. The bourbon barrel components are the same, but like I said, a bit weaker. Alcohol is only mildly detectable.

3.5 M: Lighter medium body. Carbonation is a bit too low. Could be a bit creamier as well. Overall, good but could be improved.

4.5 D: Not overly sweet like a lot of B-wines. Good aroma, good taste, the mouthfeel could be a bit better, but it goes down easy.

Photo of ManVersusBeer
4.1/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 22oz. into a goblet. Pretty sure this has some age on it, but not sure how long. It is a cloudy dark orange amber and very hazy with a nut-like brown ring of foamy bubbles. The head swirls like a nebula.
Just like a Barleywine should smell with a touch more sweet. Oak, earth, some bourbon toffee, honey, some prunes and dried plums, more bourbon.
This is a tasty brew. Alcohol is spicy, but not overpowering. It then moves to some sticky sweets of oak, bourbon, vanilla, caramel, toffee, and bread pudding. Some subtle raisin, date, and mild fig round out the dark fruit balance.
A sipper with tiny bubbles and treacly on the tongue, but this is an oak-aged Barleywine and it should be.

Photo of Beerenauslese
4.32/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a snifter, this has a good head initially but dissipates quickly, retaining a faint ring of foam, and leaving some faint clouds of lacing.

Aromas of sweet, dark malt, prune/raisin fruit, nuts, and leather. Alcohol is prominent.

Taste follows the nose, sweet malt at first, then tangy dark prune fruit/nuts/mincemeat, ending with a dry, slightly bitter hop finish. Alcohol level is noticeable.

Body is medium with a little carbonation, has a flat mouthfeel but an interesting tangy malty, leathery tongue feel.

This is an enjoyable barley wine, but definitely a night capper at 11.1%.

Photo of domtronzero
3.6/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A - Slightly murky reddish brown with a short, long loved tannish head that quickly dissipates into a thin ring around the glass.

S - Caramel, vanilla, sweet malts. Light boozy alcohol. Lite earthy hops.

F/M - Full rich caramel malty sweetness. Toffee and a little vanilla. Sweet flavorful boozy alcohol is present. Medium full bodied, slightly oily and slick. Moderately low carbonation.

D - OK, but really sweet and full. The boozy alcohol helps it finish a little dryer, but really just a big sweet beer.

Photo of spartanfan
3.89/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a very hazy copper color with almost no head resulting from a very aggressive pour.

S: The aromas of the blithering idiot are still very prominent in this beer. Smells of dates and brown sugar come at me first. There is also a significant amount of woody aroma.

T: The wood is more pronounced in the taste than the aroma. That and candi sugar are prevalent in the flavor. Perhaps some nutty flavors and a hint of vanilla as well.

M: This beer is a bit lacking in carbonation for my preference, but I guess it goes with the style. Incredibly smooth flavor without a trace of alcohol burn.

D: Holy crap this beer is smooth. I would never guess the alcohol that this silky smoothness belies. Very drinkable!

Photo of Vaison
4.07/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle poured into a nonic pint glass. I'm thinking a snifter would have been better.

Pours a murky amber with very little head, leaving only a thin ring. Lacing is average. Prominent caramel and malts with a touch of vanilla. The taste initially imitates the smell and then presents both vanilla and fruits. It has a syrupy feel and a very strong alcohol/bourbon finish which stays on the tongue for a bit. Unlike the others, I feel that the alcohol is not hidden at all which is fine for a barleywine especially when aged in an oak bourbon cask.

Photo of oglmcdgl
4/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Late night bottle split with sourbatchkid. Thanks for the chance.

A- a small cap of tan suds from a hard pour, settles quickly to a skin and a small ring. Hazy deep orange brown in color with a nive glow when held to the light.

S- burnt caramel and toffee with cinnamon toast. Some dark fruits and a faint hint of booze that grows with some warming.

T- nice balance between sweet snd spice. Lots ofr candied fruit and spiced breads. Caramel and toffe roll into some alcohol and a bit of oak. There are some earthy herbal hops deep in there.

M- a few steps above medium in body and a good amount of carb from the oaked brew. Dry tannic finish. You can almost feel the grain of the wood.

D- for a brew of this strength and bold flavor its very frinkable and quite a nice ride.

Photo of hdofu
4.65/5  rDev +12%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This beer is intense, almost to the point of.... well given the name you get where I was going. It pours a burnt umber color with a short live but all too impressive white head. Smell is very fruity like dried appricots, maybe a bit of cream. Taste is complex and reminds me of a sherry. Needless to say it is very smooth, has a good texture and you have to sip it to have any idea of how impressive it really is. Still it hides its taste of alcohol quite well considering what a whopper it is in that department.

Photo of andrewm190
4.38/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Great beer. Found it on tap at Quarry House in Silver Spring, poured into the appropriate glass. Straight away it was fruity, clearly of a high alcohol content but not overwhelming (taste wise anyway). The color and appearance of the beer were difficult to discern due to the lighting, but the taste is what matters most in these things, and the beer scoured very well.

Photo of cindyjeffsmith
4.87/5  rDev +17.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Review number 100! Ok, no big deal compared to the guru's here but I saved a special one for this. I love this beer and put one back.
Poured into a DFH snifter.
appearance: Dark crimson. This beauty looks like a nice tawny prot but with a head. Nice creamy head that doesn't recede fully despite the abv.
smell: mmmm...that deep buttery, dark fruit redolence that only a near perfect barleywine or strong ale can have.
taste: oh yeah. All that the nose advertises and surprisingly mellow.
mouthfeel: tick, creamy, decadent.
drinkability: Amazingly smooth.
This is an oak aged version of Blithering Idiot. That's a nice beer, but I'm not sure what can happen in those oak casks. This is a different beer completely.

Photo of joshstevens87
3.94/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A-pours a chestnut red/orange with a minimal light light tan head
S-a strong kick of the blithering idiot's fruity malt with some tofee and molasses with a strong hint of alcohol and whiskeyness
T-much like the smell, very interesting and very complex an almost perfect amount of whiskey character
M-full body with a notiable carbonation and a moderate alcohol kick
D-overall an extremly complex and delicious beer and one i definately look forward to drnking when its released

Photo of yeahnatenelson
3.88/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thrown in as an extra by Jwiss22 -- what a great guy!

Appearance -- Pours a deep ruby hue, nice clarity, with two fingers of creamy beige head that eventually dissipates into a fog above the liquid line.

Smell -- Whiskey, oak, vanilla, toffee. Alcohol is noticeable, but far from overpowering.

Taste -- Whiskey and oak dominate with toffee, caramel, honey, and vanilla. Some sherry-like notes and mild cardboard flavors also make themselves present, likely due to some minor oxidation. Finish is a bit boozy with toffee and coconut.

Mouthfeel -- Full in body, slick with ample creamy carbonation. Alcohol warming in the throat. Very smooth.

Drinkability -- A tasty beer for sure, especially for those who love BA beers. Had to knock points off of taste for how overwhelming the whiskey flavor was to the beer. I could tell that there was a lot of great stuff going on under the mask of whiskey flavor. That said, I still enjoyed it and will likely seek out the next release.

Photo of Spica66
4.63/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Received as an extra from RandomDanger - Thank you, Will!

Poured from bottle into tulip glasses.

A: Deep caramel/amber color. Very thin head that dissipates quickly. Good carbonation. Very nice to look at.

S: Wonderful nose on this. Sweet malt, very slight oakiness.

Before I go on, I want everyone to know that I do not give 5s easily.

T: Incredibly rich, deep malt. Caramel and oak with a coconut finish that stays on the tongue for a very long time.

M: This is the smoothest beer I have ever had. Perfect carbonation to keep it from being to "sticky" in your mouth.

D: The alcohol is hidden in this one so well, that it would be dangerous to have more than one ready to drink at one time!

This is, without a doubt, the nicest beer surprise I have ever received. This will become a permanent occupant of my cellar!

Photo of TKEbeerman
4.33/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into my pint glass, Insanity pours a dark burnt orange with a thick head. As the head settles, sip after sip leaves wonderful lace on the glass.

This brew is very aromatic. The alcohol is present and strong without being offending. Dark fruit and caramel define it's aroma.

The flavor profile of the malt is excellent. It is not sweet to the point where there is no hop presence. Alcohol warms the throat on the way down. Hops are mellow, obviously smoothed out with the Oak aging. Excellent bourbon hints in the flavor make your mouth water.

The mouthfeel is medium to full with light carbonation. Just the right amount of body. The drinkablity is above average for a beer of this caliber

Wonderfully crafted and refined, this is becoming my favorite English Style Barley Wine. I would love to see a hoppier American version of Insanity (possibly dementia?)

Photo of scifan
4.32/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from the 22oz bottle into my awaiting Portsmouth glass. Has a dark caramel color with a small one finger head that almost immediately settles into a wispy ring on the outer edge of the glass.
Getting some caramel, toffee, and butterscoth on the nose with some lovely vanilla, oak, and boubon in the background. They all blend together quite nicely to create a nice bouquet that is nicely balanced neither too malty or too boozy.
Taste heavenly. Lovely sweet malts come through nicely at first. Getting some caramel and toffee flavors. Then the barrel aging makes itself known with some vanilla and oaky flavors followed by a nice alcohol burn as you swallow.
Has a slightly thick mouthfeel with low carbonation which is spot on for the style. It nver becomes cloying or difficult to drink. Very nice beer from weyerbacker.

Photo of johnnnniee
4.09/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The thermostat outside say its 98 degrees, my window ac is having trouble keeping the living room in the 80's. You know what would really hit the spot right about now is a big thick oak aged barleywine. :)

Pours a dark orange amber that borders on brown. I coaxed a smallish head into my tulip, but she receded quickly to form a ring around the top of my glass. Smells of oak caramel and vanillin right up front. Subtle but lovely bourbon on the nose. Slight twinge of higher alcohols mixed with some dark cherries or prunes, or both. Taste is sweet upfront with the oak balancing some fruit, caramel, and melanoids. About midway and into the finish the higher alcohols take over and remind you that this one is 11+ abv. The finish is rather dry with that lingering caramel'd alcohol taste. Light carbonation, medium body with a dry finish, sweet syrupy mouthfeel. I like this one. Flavor and aroma are excellent, but I think I like it more with age on it because right now the alcohol is a bit too present. I'm going to stash some of these away and re-review in the future.

Photo of Freethyhops
3.95/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

a- pours a deep copper/dark amber color. the cream/tan colored head that was produced dissipated to a film and collar quickly but that little bit of head stuck around for the rest of the way. nice clarity on this one.

s- evident sweetness with tones of caramel and butterscotch. heavy oak is quite pleasant. a bit of boozy fruits in there as well. a nice mix of aromas that are all welcomed and enjoyable.

t- big malt sweetness is prevalent throughout this one. butterscotch, boozy dried fruits, caramel, and a bit of woodiness and earthiness. some breadiness and nuttiness. I could use a bit more bitterness to balance the sweetness, but it never gets cloying and just seems like a decadent dessert beer.

m- a bit of stickiness. full-medium bodied with low carbonation gives it a bit of a velvety fell. just the slightest alcohol warming.

d- very good actually. no offensive or overbearing flavors. the booze and sweetness could weigh on you eventually but it is a very drinkable 11%. at the affordable price for an wood aged strong ale. I would love to pick some more of this to enjoy occasionally and lay down to age.

Photo of BB1313
4.47/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle poured into a standard pint glass. Pours a hazy glowing brown w/ a hint of burnt orange. Nice big fluffy head w/ nice lacing. The smell is full of malt, toffee, and bourbon. The taste matches, w/ a warm sweetness. The flavors are very sharp. I sense a small amount of chocolate and vanilla, but not alot. The aging in oak barrels really made this a smooth one. The mouthfeel is very creamy and smooth. Despite the warm bourbon sensation, this is pretty drinkable at over 11% abv.

Weyerbacher never disappoints and they didn't w/ Insanity. This is a great barleywine w/ an English Influence, recommended.

Photo of yesyouam
4.46/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Weyerbacher Insanity is a very clear, dense copper ale that has a white or off white head that disappears in less than a second. The thin ring that remains decorates the glass with lace. The aroma is dark, wooden and smokey with notes of leather, dark fruit and bourbon sweetness. Wow, it smells manly. It's like Sean Connery's aftershave. It's full bodied and smooth with a very clean finish. There's lots of bourbon in the taste. It's like a beer interpretation of bourbon. The malt flavors support it very well with a round, fruity sweetness. There is a toffee note in there but it's mostly all about the charred oak. There's plenty of flavor to go around here. This is a nice treat. It might make for a perfect dessert beer.

Photo of Arbitrator
4/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Chilled bomber into a glass. Courtesy of a trade with dmunroe. Thanks Donald.

A: Pours a very dark, but clear, toffee-colored body that lightens to a coppery gold at the edges. A vigorous pour yields half an inch of cream-colored head that recedes slowly into a light collar and a smattering of bubbles on top of the brew. Wait, carbonation? That's not how English Barleywines should be. No lacing down the glass.

S: Toffee, butterscotch, nuts, caramel. Not much in the way of hops, but there is an earthy component to it. I get a very small oak character with some vanilla and dark fruit. Just the hint of a prickle that could be spicy phenols or booze -- I can't make up my mind.

T: Starts off boldly sweet with butterscotch, toffee, and caramel, but earthiness quickly kicks in to prevent this from getting too imbalanced. Gets nutty with dark fruits in the mid-taste, but I can't place the specific fruit variety; it's fairly subdued, especially once the vanilla kicks in and overpowers it. Tannic in the finish with a resurgence of earth and toffee. Just the lightest hint of booziness in the aftertaste.

M: Full-bodied, with low carbonation that makes it creamy. A subdued booziness is present, making it a warmer but not a hot beer by any means. Finishes malty.

D: This is definitely a sipper. It took me several hours to finish a bottle, and I enjoyed the whole thing.

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

pours a cloudy hazy copper color with spare off white head, spare lacing, and average carbonation. sweet caramel like smell, where the alcohol is very apparent. after smelling the beer i figured it was going to be very boozey. but not so much. sweet caramel nutty taste and a sweet finish. medium body, oily texture, and long flavor duration. excellent brew that will creep up on your ass. light weights should take it slow.

Photo of jlandis
4.77/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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.

Photo of jampics2
4.42/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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.

Photo of Gyle41386
4.47/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

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.

Photo of Bouleboubier
5/5  rDev +20.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

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.

Insanity from Weyerbacher Brewing Co.
93 out of 100 based on 2,009 ratings.