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Insanity - Weyerbacher Brewing Co.

Not Rated.

Educational use only; do not reuse.

2,003 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,003
Reviews: 854
rAvg: 4.16
pDev: 11.78%
Wants: 191
Gots: 373 | 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: 2,003 | Reviews: 854 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Patrick999
4.43/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Light amber, not too much head.

Light raisins and some booze in the nose...not really too much beyond that.

Damn, what the hell? Where was all this hiding in the aroma? A little char, a LOT of toasted coconut. I love beers that have this vanilla-coconut taste, and this one has it in spades. Wow. And the 11.1% here isn't anywhere near as tough as I thought it could be.

The "big beer" manifests itself in the feel...low carbonation, thick feel.

Drinkability is much higher than I thought it would be. You feel it, but it doesn't show in the taste at all, always a plus for a barleywine. I don't know, I wasn't expecting to be as impressed by this as I am.

Photo of pmccallum86
3.83/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a caramel color with a toffee colored head. Not bad, but nothing special.

Toffe sweetness in the nose, big roasted malts as well.

Taste is big, kind of hot too. Lots of residual sweetness in the finish. Oak comes through pretty heavily, which adds a nive touch. Solid example of the style.

Medium to high carbonation, which I find a little surprising as it was barrel aged. Very full bodied as well.

Drinkablility is good, not great, but a nice treat on occasion.

Photo of silentjay
4.03/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

pours a deep mahogany/brown with little head and lacing.

smellls mostly of toffee, dark fruits (raisins, figs, dates), wood/oak, brown sugar. a lot of booziness and a bit of rye bread. Vanilla extract comes to mind.

taste is similar to the aroma. a little bit more hops than in the aroma, but the oak and vanilla and booze are the most dominant flavors. lots of maple. an alcohol warming is evident, but its not an unpleasant harshness, its rather pleasant like a liqueur.

There is a heavy, syrupy mouthfeel, with a low carbonation which is perfect for the taste. Makes it feel like a liqueur, which is similar to the taste.

Drinkability is right where it should be for this beer. You can't shotgun this beer by any means, but its not meant for that. The booziness makes you take smaller sips, which makes this sipper last all night, which is perfect for a beer of this strength and complexity.

Not an everyday drinker. Not a beer I would recommend to many average people. Not even a good example of the style. But, its definitely unique and complex, with lots of flavors coming out that are not present in any other beers.

Photo of TMoney2591
3.95/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Served in a Dogfish Head snifter.

Visually unassuming, the colors here are primarily dark ambers and earthy browns. Add a saucy tinge of haze and remove most of what most would consider head. There you go. See it? Give it time. Once you've got it (we don't have all damn day...) take a deep whiff. What's that ya gettin' there, hm? If you ask me, there's definitely some oak, some bourbon, maybe a touch of spruce, and a good, healthy dose of alcohol. Izzat whatchoo've got? ... Sorry, got a little woozy there from the fumes. We're good now. Trust me. So, kiddies, when we slosh this bad boy around in our oral cavities (that's sciencey talk for "cake hole"), what do we see with our taste buds? Definitely some honey, some more oak and bourbon, some maple syrup (can you say "pancakes, bitches!"?), and some brown sugar. Do any of you have anything to add? No? Good, that means the treatment's working. Just let it glide up your spine, that's it. Isn't that nice? Oddly enough, kids, this brew flows just as thickly and gooily as that sensation you're feeling. Now, you're probably not gonna want to have seconds on the treatment (hell, you won't even need another: one's all you'll ever need, heh heh...), but those of you who eventually regain their memories will want to have another one of these. **ding-ding* Dr. Money, you are needed in the lobotomy lab stat* Whoa, gotta go, kids, but I'll be back real soon to check up on you. Sleep tight now!

Photo of goldbot
4.1/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Amber brown with thick, off-white head. Cloudy with a bit of spotty lacing.

Toffee aromas dominate along with some nuttiness and raisin aroma. Woody/oaky as well, with a hint of alcohol.

Earthy and woody flavors with a touch of caramel or toffee. Some raisin, finishing with subtle alcohol flavor - warms the throat nicely. Oak and vanilla flavors come out and intensify as the beer warms.

Viscous and creamy with low carbonation making a pleasant full body.

The oakiness pairs nicely with the malts, although it may be a bit tilted towards the oak. The alcohol is well hidden, mostly only noticeable going down. Very drinkable; oak is definitely a great enhancement for English barleywines.

Photo of scottyshades
4.43/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Weyerbacher's Barrel aged Blithering Idiot (which is also delicious)

A: Pours a dense, barely transparent dark amber/orange color. The head is cream colored, creamy and dense. Retention is excellent and leaves thick coats of foam along the glass.

S: Wow really complex nose. Really sweet notes of bourbon (not as intense as you may expect), a rich and amazing oak note, vanilla, raisin, and a slight whiff of date. The aroma is sweet with a good dose of alcohol as it decants.

T: Holy you know what! So delicious and complex. Bourbon flavors greet you at first, mid-palate gives you coconut (a new surprise!), LOTS of vanilla, and a strong undertone of oak. Finally, the finish gives you dark fruits (raisins, dates, PALM SYRUP) and a sweet caramel and molasses touch. It seems like half the notes I taste came from palm trees! Overall, this brew is pretty sweet (especially when warmer). Alcohol is decently hidden, but at the same time it adds to the complexity of the flavors and adds some serious body.

MF/D: Viscous feel for sure, creamy and anything but dry. Drinkability is high, despite the alcohol and sweetness. One of my new favorites for sure, and I'm not sure I can let the 2 year old bottle in my cellar sit anymore!!

Photo of Morey
4.35/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pours a deep thick and somewhat syrupy looking brownish red color with an extremely sticky tan colored head that is slowly settling to a thin lace.

The smell is heavy on the oak and wood for sure. Bourbon, Dark fruits and alcohol also play their part in adding to this complex aroma.

The taste quickly introduces it's oaky flavors followed up by ripe fruits, butterscotch, and a kiss of alcohol. This complex ale then finishes surprisingly smooth on the back end.

Medium-full mouthfeel with low-lying carbonation. Very smooth.

I could drink 2 of these on a good night, but that's about it.

Morey's Bottom Line: I was excited to try this beer, and it didn't disappoint at all. People who don't love Blithering Idiot shouldn't hesitate to try Insanity. It absolutely blows the base beer away. The oak aging process helps tame the alcohol in a big way, and it's much more complex.

4.18/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured out of the bottle into a Chalice. It poured with only about a one finger head tan in color.

The appearance is great, dark maple syrup in color.

It smells of oak and bourban, banana, and vanilla and becomes more complex as temperature increases.

the taste is great, pepper, caramel, bourban, malt liquor, brown sugar. It leaves you with a very warm throat, you can certainly feel the heat from the alcohol.

The mouth feel is just right not too thick or thin. Very smooth finish with a perfect amount of carbonation.

Over all a great barley wine, I enjoyed it thoroughly until the last drop, will be getting more of it.

Photo of srandycarter
4.13/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Dark copper, murky, nice off white head leaves fast to ring. Some lace. Tons of sediment in the beer.

S - Booze and sweet caramel.

T - Wonderful blend of bite, sweet, carbonation and balance. Nice

M - Medium body, but nice balance and great carb.

D - For the ABV and style very drinkable. Not really a session, though.

Photo of avalon07
4.3/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Poured from a bottle to a pint glass. Had an amber color and a cloudy consistency. There was a small amount of foamy head that quickly dissipated. Above average lacing.

S: A super-sweet smell of caramel, sugar, and malt.

T: Tasted of malt, brown sugar, and a tinge of hops up front, and caramel in the finish. Well balanced and flavorful.

M: A well-carbonated beer with a dry finish. Medium-bodied, not as thick and chunky as some barleywines.

D: This is a well made, drinkable beer.

Photo of Bung
4.22/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12 oz. A deep ruby pour, not much head to speak of. Doesn't lace the glass and is all around uninspring quite frankly.

Sweet aroma, caramel, candied sugar some malt. Good dose of vanilla and bourbon like notes.

Taste luckily does not have the candy sugar sweetness. Loads of malt, vanilla, caramel and oaky bourbonness. I really like the way they impart their barrel aging. The only knock could be that the lingering flavors though nice, fade a little quick. Vanilla and oak finish and linger for just a bit. Most things that finish with a woody note I don't consider that a strong hanging on type of flavor.
Solid sticky body and mouthfeel. Alcohol is hidden enough for 11%.

What it lacks in appearance it certainly makes up for in the way it tastes. I bet this is nice after a year, but I don't think it needs much more.

Photo of FLBeerGuy
4.3/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a hazy dark amber with a thin white head that leaves great lacing.
Smell is oak, bourbon, vanilla & malts
Taste is complex, brown sugar, vanilla, thick malts, some smooth bourbon with a strong alcohol presence.
Mouthfeel is quite thick and creamy, very nice.
Quite boozy, but creamy, warm and smooth. This is one big awesome beer, made for sipping.
Not going to have more than one of these, it's too big a beer. Nonetheless, it an awesome beer one worth trying if you like a big beer.

Photo of Mavajo
4.65/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Pours a slightly dark amber color with a thin white head that fades quickly into whispy clouds. Sparse, spotty lacing.

Nose is wonderful - there's a slight sting to the nostrils reminiscient of cinnamon or brown sugar. Also strong notes of vanilla and a dark fruitiness.

If the nose was wonderful, the taste is sheer bliss. Sweet, caramel malt, dark fruits/raisins, vanilla...the oak aging does wonders to mellow this and add tremendous complexity. Mouthfeel is superb - smooth and perfect carbonation.

There's a warming here, but the alcohol is blended quite well overall.

Tremendous, tremendous barleywine. I can't stress enough how impressed I am with this brew.

Photo of mikesgroove
4.58/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This one was for Rich. Apparently your favorite brew man and I could easily see why. Served on tap none the less, this one was enjoyed thoroughly on 02/27/2010. 

The pour was a deep, dark amber in color with a decent bit of cloudiness to it. Nice little head of white pops up and over the top, settling down into a thin, but firm coating of white that sticks to the walls decently, and evenly. Rich, deep vanilla coming through the air, enough that it was really the only thing I was detecting at first. Smooth, oak notes now coming up as well as toffee and butterscotch. Complex as could be, you could fall in and die in the aroma of this one. Then you take that first sip, and wave after wave of crashing smooth as silk flavor washes over you. Just immense and complex, it really just puts it all into perspective. Rich caramel malts that are pinned perfectly against the rich, decadent toffee and vanilla flavors. Light touch of bourbon, smooth, earthy, Sublime. There is just nothing at all about this that doesn't just scream smooth and complex.


One of the best BA versions of anything out there, and with its relative ease to acquire should be a staple in anyone's fridge.

Photo of OneDropSoup
4.35/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a snifter: A translucent, deep amber-brown, cider-like, with a thin collar & a moderate amount of slow-rising bubbles. Thin wisp of foam, no real highlights.

Smells of yummy vanilla & oak up front, syrupy malt, over-ripe banana. There's a subtle spiciness (anise maybe?), some stewed dark fruits, caramel & butterscotch. A lot going on here.

The notes in the smell are all packed on into one rich, gentle wallop in the taste, with a rising heat & edge from the booze. Pleasing aftertaste of lingering, woody sweetness.

Feels full & chewy, moderately hot with just a little sharpness. Complex, to be sure.

Man, this was big & delicious, like a warm bear hug that'll have you dozing off. Very satisfying, but one's plenty. A good last stop of the night.

Photo of bassmantin
4.18/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Deep golden orange with minimal head. Aged over a year.

At first smell, I thought there was going to be a strong malt liquor taste, but it is more subdued than I expected. It is very sweet but surprisingly well balanced, and the alcohol is extremely well hidden. The age may have helped that.

Highly recommended!

Photo of fineexampl
4.6/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 3

Bought some 12oz bottles direct from the brewery. None of this "let's see how long this has been sitting in the window of my local beer store" BS for this wise shopper, no sir!

I can review this ale in one word. Ahem!


Yep. That would sum it up nicely.

Want a few more?

Alright! The color is a gorgeous reddish brown. It poured with a pinky of head that faded immediately. The aroma is that of the finest liqour and most definitely a bourbony tang to it. The oak aging does this beer wonders and it's just fantastic compared to it's unoaked counterpart. This is like sipping a fine spirit, but without the harsh bite. The bitterness is not overpowering and fades smoothly leaving an ever so slight sour vanilla at the very end. The carbonation level is that of actively fermenting beer and is hardly noticeable. I don't see how so many reviews talk of gushers. This barely hissed upon opening.

This is a very well rounded barleywine and simply put, it's the best i've tasted.

Final thought is that this stuff is probably best cold, but not too cold. Brave souls might drink it room temp, but it just would not be as refreshing.

Serving vessel was a Weyerbacher tulip.

Photo of Gosox8787
3.9/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Presentation: 22 oz. bottle poured into a snifter glass in two parts.

Appearance - Deep ruby brown. Not much light makes it through the glass. One finger beige head that quickly recedes into a barely there lacing.

Aroma - Oak and brown sugar are the first notes to hit my nose. Slight pine and toffee notes finish the nose. Very potent.

Taste - Brown sugar sweetness and oak notes dominate the first sip. Very sweet overall. SOme pine notes balance out each sip toward the end. Slightly bitter aftertaste.

Mouthfeel - Medium bodied and extremely smooth. Goes down easy and without any carbonation.

Drinkability - Although smooth, the high ABV and somewhat harsh flavors do make this somewhat hard to consume in large quantities.

Overall, a very flavorful and complex brew. Incredibly smooth, but the flavor profile is a bit muddled and unbalanced. Definitely an interesting barleywine worth trying for those who like big beers.

Photo of jstilwell
4.15/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Ahh Weyerbacher Insanity!!! Have had this many many times over the years. This was one of the first oaked beers that really appeared to me, many years ago. Reviewing from a fairly fresh bottle at a local tasting.

Nice pour with a bby red/bronzish hue, and a thin off white head that disappears in a hurry. This is one aromatic brew. One sniff and you have some idea what you are in for. Strong, strong oak mixes with vanilla, toffee and dark fruit. Taste follows, and is a true assault on the palate. So many complex flavors of thick malt and vanilla oak with a sugary sweet boozy finish.

To be true to the review, this "fairly fresh" bottle is not high on drinkability, as it is too sweet and boozy. I have had them aged, and this does change quite a lot.

This is the perfect beer to share with a group, and expose people to what oak aging really is. I'll be revisiting this one often and hope to find it on tap again.

Photo of MbpBugeye
4.6/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A- I was surprised when I opened this bottle and it gushed out the top. I hurried to pour some into my snifter. Despite the gushing the head in the glass was small and didnt last very long. The beer is a sexy deep ruby red, with lots of floaties (probably due to the gushing).

S- Nice aroma. Strong on oak and cherries. This is pretty strong smelling. I could smell it as soon as I poured. Behind the oak and cherry sweetness there is some alcohol spice along with some other fruits like pear. In all a pretty boozy smelling beer. Just the way I like my barleywine.

T- Cherry and other dark fruits up front. It moves into sweet caramel then oak and finishes spicy and alcoholic. The booze doesnt hide much in this one, but here its a good thing.

M- Fairly chewy and syrupy. Not a whole lot of carbonation but its there. Lots of alcohol warmth.

D- One and done, but this is a very very good evening sipper.

Photo of nukem5
4.6/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Like a true Weyerbacher, Good till the last drop, and I mean suck the bottle dry.

A: Black as night and a nice creamy head.

S: Like Dark Fruits , Figs,plums,cherries.

T: A bit of a Bourbon tastes, bits of oak and such.

M: Feels like a creamy barrel of fine whiskey

D: Once again like all the fine beverages at Weyerbacher very drinkable and well worth the price.

One lastr note, if you can find them on tap, drink em.

Photo of stakem
4.1/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

No bottle date to be found but judging by the sediment on the bottom this surely isn't from the recent fresh release.

Pulled it out of my fridge and let it set for a little over 3 hours to get to room temp before popping the top. When I opened this beer I nearly had a mess. The bubbles raced out of this and overlowed right into my quickly grabbed glass. I was very careful in moving the bottle so that I didn't disturb the sediment on the bottom but the gushing stirred this all up to the point where it is now very clowdy and particles are stuck hanging in suspension.

Pours a cloudy (as previously described) amber brown with some redness about it and a finger of slightly yellowish/tanned head. Nice bit of lacing around the glass. Aroma is full of primarily vanilla with some oak and malt as well. Has a slight alcohol tingle/burn in the nose. Taste is a complex range of malt sweetness and some flavors of apple and pear blended with solvent alcohol and all the joyous character that oak can impart in a beer: primarily a dominating taste of vanilla and some oakiness. A very solid sipper that is somewhat bitter in the finish showcasing the lasting impression of the hops but balanced nicely with the rest of the features this beer has to offer. Medium to heavy feel with light carbination despite the initial surge.

The folks at weyerbacher really make some magic happen with their barrels. I really enjoy this beer and would highly recommend it.

Photo of ShogoKawada
4.7/5  rDev +13%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22oz, no freshness date. Oak aged English Barleywine? OK! Digging a bit reveals this is blithering idiot aged in bourbon barrels. Sweet.

Poured into chouffe tulip while I install my new hard drive.

A- Caramel, dull rust brown with a creamy head that fizzes out quickly. Still, a nice minimalistic ring of foam is there... slightly toasted marshmallow in color.

S- Caramel, bourbon, wood, a bit of smoke, candied fruits, cherries specifically. The oak is well-pronounced.

T- Wow... bold assault here. Caramel is wrangling with the toasty oak flavors for supreme domination of my tongue. Sweet sugary syrupy flavors (maple candy) follow. Reallly well-blended. Not too bourbon-centric... it's very well incorporated.

M- Creamy, smooth, not nearly as hot as you'd expect. Good carbonation.

D- I'm wondering if this was an older bottle, as it's insanely drinkable. Insanity it is... I really liked this, one of the best barleywines I've ever had!

Photo of steve8robin
4.72/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Finally glad to find this one at a local beer store...

A: Decent. A little murky looking, but still a bronze color with a decent head that quickly resides to a murky white film on top of the brew.

S: Smells of oaky malts with sweet candi sugars on the backend. Pefect. Reminds me of Hoppin Frogs BORIS The Crusher Stout in the oakiness.

T: This took me by surprise! Unique. A hint too much water, but aside from that it's perfect. Tastes of pear, candi sugar, oakiness, and booziness all in one. A hint less intense than BORIS.

M: Perfect amount of carbonation. Does not leave your mouth polluted with flavor, but flavor not disappear right away. Perfect.

D: Goes down perfect.

All in all, this brew definitely took me by surprise. Phenomenal brew. This is a good example of an English Barleywine. If you are looking to try a top brew in this style and cannot get your hands on The Perfect Storm. Then try this one. If you like barleywines, you will not be disappointed. If you like tons of hops, then this brew is probably not for you.

Photo of JustinJTisdale
4.65/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I love this beer! Its like candy in a glass. Super sweet with a nice oaky hint of whiskey on the finish.

It pours a dark amber with a head that fades quickly but gives off an excellent aroma!

The alcohol content is something to be respected. Caught myself glued to the barstool after a couple of these things.

I would absolutely continue drinking this and intend to later on tonight while it lasts!

Insanity from Weyerbacher Brewing Co.
93 out of 100 based on 2,003 ratings.