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Insanity - Weyerbacher Brewing Co.

Not Rated.

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

1,945 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,945
Reviews: 842
rAvg: 4.16
pDev: 11.78%
Wants: 186
Gots: 357 | FT: 18
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: 1,945 | Reviews: 842 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Deus1138
4.4/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I went to the store looking for something cold that I could enjoy as soon as I got home. Saw this, remembered seeing the name somewhere, probably the Brick Store's chalk board, so I picked it up.

Ironically, I was a on a big Barleywine kick last week. I had no idea this was a Barleywine until I got home.

Poured into a pint glass. Color is deep brown with reddish hues. Frothy 1/4" of head. Smell is mostly of sweet malts, some oak.

Taste...I have a new favorite Barleywine. I didn't pay attention to how much I paid for this. I hope it's not expensive, because I want a lot more of it! Superb flavors! Sweet caramel malts, the oak aging comes through nicely along with some vanilla notes. Mild bitterness from the hops. Cherry, plum. Wow! This is great! So many flavors and so well balanced! 11% alcohol?? Really?? You don't taste it. The alcohol has warming presence.

Full bodied mouthfeel, nice and smooth.

Drinkability is excellent. This is my new favorite Barleywine, and one of my new favorite brews!

Deus1138, Jul 24, 2009
Photo of LilBeerDoctor
1.78/5  rDev -57.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1.5

Bottle. Pours a clear amber/brown with a small off-white head. Aroma of alcohol, sweet sweet malt, medicinal cough syrup. Flavor of sweet malt, raisins, and super booziness. Some oak flavors but really this is just a boozy, sweet, sticky mess. This is really nasty. More than a couple sips is too much for me...

LilBeerDoctor, Jul 11, 2009
Photo of joerodiii
3.98/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Amber with moderate head and lacing.

Oak is at the front of the aroma and is followed by caramel maltiness and alcohol. Alcohol warmth almost overwhelms the flavor, but soon gives way to malty sweetness, mild bitterness, and eventually a lingering oakiness. Mouthfeel is nicely balanced by full body and just-right carbonation. Only the slight astringency kpt me from scoring higher.

This is quite drinkable for what it is. It is intended to be a sipper and fulfills its role.

joerodiii, Jun 17, 2009
Photo of LauraAlberts
4/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Ruby/Tawny/Burnt Orange appearance with about two fingers worth of head retention.

Smell: Sour Apple, Blackberry, Ripe Cherry, Pumpkin, Alcohol

Taste: Sour Apple, Blackberry, Cream (from the oak), Cherry, hint of Pumpkin Pie, Hops, Citrus, Alcohol - it doesn't hide very well in this one.

Mouthfeel: My favorite part of this beer. Full bodied, feels like a belgian quad in the mouth. Smooth, Soft, Tannic, tingly from alcohol and oak aging

Drinkability: Sipper - Savor this beer. It's over the top and well done by Weyerbacher - this is a trend I've seen with their beers. Almost too set in the style - dead on - I highly recommend.

Not for wussies!

LauraAlberts, Jun 13, 2009
Photo of chaz410
4.6/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

MY 100th REVIEW!! got this ON TAP at Common Market in Charlotte NC.

Appearance is a body that is hued red and lightly brown. A beautiful sparse tan tall head and good carbonation.
Smell is mostly caramel malts with hints of green raisins, prunes, musty hops and a little floral hop essence.
Taste is sour and sweet malts, caramel, prunes and dates. Very tart malty finish. Very slight notes of curants and dried cherries. Oak notes underlying the whole taste experience.
Mouthfell is smooth as silk.
This beer ages great and very approachable for big beer drinkers. Eaiser to take than most American barleywines and not so malty like many english barleywines.

chaz410, May 23, 2009
Photo of ZAP
4.7/5  rDev +13%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A-Pours a muddied burnt orange color..

S-Great aroma...a candy bar like sweetness of vanilla, caramel, and nougat in front but also some oak..

T-Great flavor very similar to the aroma....liked drinking a candy bar...that may sound sickly sweet but it isn't...it works...loads of caramel, vanilla, and nougat....minimal heat but just enough to keep this on edge..

M-Full but not immense...has almost a spritzy champagne like feel...that keeps the sweetness in check too...

D-Great tasting barley wine....the barrel aging never overwhelms but complements..

ZAP, May 18, 2009
Photo of rye726
4.35/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours an amberish brown with a thin tan head. Aroma has oak, bourbon, caramel malts, ripe fruits and a hop presence that seems to go against the grain. Taste has young alcohol, whiskey, old wood, bitter hops, sweet malts and ripe pitted fruit. Medium body heavy on the carbonation. Good stuff, but needs some time to let the hops mellow.

rye726, May 16, 2009
Photo of matty
3.75/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark amber colored beer with a slowly fading head.Aroma is dark fruits.Taste is bourbon,dark fruit,butter and sugar cane.Very warming in the mouth and stomach.It's a beer that you have to sip slowly to enjoy.I would recommend and will be purchasing again shortly.

matty, May 10, 2009
Photo of Mdog
4.2/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Cloudy brown-amber, good head.

Smell: Sweet, dark fruits, booze.

Taste: Sweetness continues, vanilla, caramel, a little tart fruit. Sweet, but not overbearing.

Drinkability: Might have to pick this up again for a cold winter's night.

Another Wiscoland buy, Weyerbacher Insanity is a very tasty and sweet barrel-aged brew. A nice treat and something of a special occasion beer.

Mdog, May 09, 2009
Photo of glid02
4.1/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle from a friend.

Pours a clear dark honey-copper color with a two-finger buttermilk head. The head recedes into a patchy layer on top leaving solid lacing.

Smells of sweet caramel malts with a good amount of vanilla and bourbon. As it warms sugar-coated fruit aromas waft out.

Tastes similar to how it smells. Sweet caramel malt flavors kick things off and are joined shortly by bourbon and vanilla flavors. Again, as it warms some fruit flavors come out, but the malt is still leading things. The ending is mildly bitter.

Mouthfeel is good. It's got a very nice thickness with mild carbonation.

Drinkability is good. I finished the bottle without a problem, and against the wishes of my liver I could probably have had another.

Overall this is a tasty oak-aged barleywine, but I'd prefer a bit more evidence of the oak-aged. That said, this is still a very good beer that's worth a shot.

glid02, May 06, 2009
Photo of drtth
4.65/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Lightly chilled and poured into a Duvel glass. Glass of cold water on the side to sip from periodically. This bottle was purchased in January of 08 and so has about 15 months of bottle age.

Appearance: Like its younger brother, Blithering Idiot, this pours a hazy russet brown with ¼" light tan head that recedes quickly leaving a small ring of foam. Sipping leaves a nice speckled lacing pattern on the side of the glass.

Smell: The effects of the bourbon barrel aging are immediately detectable as the aromas of bourbon and vanilla begin to spread out in the room even before taking a sniff. Underlying the aroma of vanilla is the sweet malt with little trace of the high ABV or of hops.

Taste: The flavor is mild, mellow, balanced, rich and sweet with a mixture of bourbon, vanilla and malt, the traces of mixed fruit found in the Blithering Idiot are here as is the trace of alcohol but in the background as the effects of the bourbon barrel add a new dimension of flavor. Overall the flavors are balanced but with the vanilla sweetness showing up as a major player. What bitterness there is hardly shows and the impression is of light, vanilla sweetness.

Mouthfeel: The mouth feel is medium bodied and soft with light carbonation. The finish is medium long and ends on notes of bitterness alternating with soft sweetness and a bourbon chaser.

Drinkability: This is very very drinkable. It goes down easily and I'm enjoying it greatly, but with this level of ABV (11%) it is definitely a one a night beer. Having just tasted and reviewed the Blithering Idiot (which is the version of this beer not aged in bourbon barrels) two nights ago it is possible to compare this beer with recent memory of that one. The effects of bourbon barrel aging show in increased depth and complexity of flavor and aroma and with the addition of a clear vanilla presence.

drtth, Apr 25, 2009
Photo of Proteus93
4.3/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Found this gem at In Vino Veritas here in Charlottesville. With a slow turnaround, things move slowly... and for items like this, that's a plus!

A: Somewhat hazy reddish amber. Head is a bit unsubstantial, with some patchy lacing.

S: Bourbon, woodiness, and vanilla. Malts and caramelized sugar. Alcohol is modest, and mellowed out.

T: Warm oak flavours, vanilla, lighter dark fruit notes, and alcohol - it's nowhere near as hot as it was, but it's still there.

M: Smooth, almost creamy, even. Carbonation is mild to moderate, allowing some softer notes of the body to come through.

D + notes: I'm amazed at what this beer has become. I did not hold the Blithering Idiot in high regard, but this suddenly changes things... the time on the shelf likely played a role in things, as well. This has becomes a very good brew, with a lot of subtle nuances in flavour. The alcohol is big as always, so it needs time to drink it all back... but it's worth it. This leaves me wanting to revisit the Blithering Idiot.

Proteus93, Apr 14, 2009
Photo of damienblack
3.83/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Pours a light amber, almost pinkish in hue. Creamy looking head lingers for a while, constantly leaves great lacing wherever the beer's touched - also crackles with carbonation. Smells strongly of plum, tropical fruit soaked through with alcohol - sweet, strong and boozey.

The first thing you notice is that the alcohol really isn't hidden well, at all. A slightly sour heavy bourbony booziness is the first thing you notice. Then, the big sweetness, almost like a tropical cocktail's worth of fruit and a bunch of sweet malt. Finally, with a bit of hops (but not enough to really lessen the impact of the others) coating the way, a huge sharp crack of wood alcoholic bite. That crack is both the most noticeable sensation, and the biggest drawback. Mouthfeel is solid, appropriately carbonated, overall medium in body, not real chewy at all, and doesn't cloy on the palate. Drinkability takes a huge hit from the big alcoholic bite. The baseline flavors are excellent, the sweet fruit mixed with the bourbon oaky edge. But when that bite kicks in, it is what takes this down from the awesome to very good but hard to drink. A great occasional sipper, though, especially when you need warming.

damienblack, Apr 12, 2009
Photo of UA8
4.4/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- Pours a dark ruby/ amber hue with a thin creamy tan head.

S- Hot with alcohol and sweet. Scents of pineapple, sweet oak, and coconut.

T- Leads sweet with pineapple, coconut, and yeast twanged toffee malts. Hides it 11.% abv well besides it lending some warmth to the belly.

M- Moderate carbonation and viscosity.

D- I really enjoy this beer quite a bit and would be happy putting a few back. Followed directly by a nap.

UA8, Apr 03, 2009
Photo of Yesac
4.08/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Dark amber/ruby with a thin white head. Sloppy lacing.

S - Sweet dark cherries

T - One complex brew. Vanilla, bourbon, dark cherries and oak. Nice hidden bite from the ABV.

M/D - Thick bodied.. nice coating on the palate... so smooth. Great brew.

Yesac, Mar 28, 2009
Photo of BigIrishman
4.03/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Poured into tullip

Appearance: Deep amber with big fluffy white head, leaving a bit of lace.

Smell: Sweet bourbon and a bit of dried fruit, maybe a faint hop presence but it's not overwhelming.

Taste: Big bourbon flavor and the dried fruits are also there. A nice vanilla twinge and a hint of hops round out the taste.

Mouthfeel: Heavy

Drinkability: While a great beer it's getting harder and harder to finish the glass, that taste is wearing me out.

Notes: A respectable brew but like I said, not one to be enjoyed for any long period. An occasional one of these is nice though.

BigIrishman, Mar 27, 2009
Photo of nickfl
4.65/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - One and a half fingers of dense, light brown head settles slowly and leaves light lace in its wake. The body is amber brown with good clarity.

S - Big, sweet malt note. Lots of raisins, figs, toffee and dark caramel. Some wood notes come out behind the malt, toasted oak, vanilla, and spicy, tobacco/ hops.

T - A powerful malt note upfront with lots of wood character. Lots of caramel and toffee with spicy toasted oak and some cedar notes. Alcoholic heat and spicy hops in the middle with moderate hop bitterness. The finish is long and very complex with notes of oak, vanilla, toffee, figs, tobacco, chocolate, and much more. A smooth, malty caramel note lingers on the palate long after the beer is gone.

M - Moderately thick oily body, medium carbonation, and a sweet finish.

D - Big complex, boozy malt bomb insanity (an appropriately named beer as it turns out). It looks good, it smells better, and the flavor is absolutely exceptional. This is one of the most complex beers I have ever had, and despite the huge sweetness it never becomes cloying or overwhelming. As it warms it only gets better and I can say I honestly wouldn't mind drinking this at near room temperature. I have not been overly impressed with many of the Weyerbacher beers that I have had so far, but I must say that this is spectacular. Very reminiscent of J.W. Lees Harvest Ale, maybe even better.

nickfl, Mar 27, 2009
Photo of CoalCellar
2.9/5  rDev -30.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into my glass.

a: Pours a deep golden color, builds almost no head to speak of, small traces of lace on the glass.

s: sweetness, is that bourbon? Tough to tell, not as much going on here as I would have liked.

t: Watery, with a light sweetness. Where is all the oak, bourbon, malt, and vanilla?

m: syrupy and thick

d: Due to the lack of flavor, this is much more drinkable than it should be. I expected alot more from this. Weyerbacher is usually dead on, but not with this one. I'll pass next time.

CoalCellar, Mar 26, 2009
Photo of cjgator3
3.55/5  rDev -14.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

22oz bottle

A- Pours a dark reddish brown color wtih a nice light tan colored head that leaves a good amount of lacing around the glass.

S- The aroma is sweet malt, dark fruits and a touch of oak and it is very hot from all the alcohol in the nose as well. This is a fresh batch, the nose could definitely benefit from a year or two of aging to mellow this one out. The oak barrels this beer is aged in gives off very hot bourbon-like aromas with some vanilla as well.

T- The taste features a lot of malt, dark fruits, vanilla, oak and bourbon flavors with a warm boozy finish. The taste like the aroma is definitely a little harsh due to it's freshness and would benefit greatly in my opinion with another year or two of aging to mellow out a little bit and get rid of the harsh boozy finish.

M- The mouthfeel is medium bodied with a good amount of carbonation.

D- Overall, this is not a bad beer but it is a little hot and rough around the edges when fresh. I can imagine this this beer will improve significantly with some age on it. Right now, it's a little hot with a bit too much bourbon characteristics but this will definitely get smoothed out after a year of so.

cjgator3, Mar 24, 2009
Photo of beer2day
4.4/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Aged 2 years in the beer fridge.

Pours a very nice dark brown with little to no head, but lots of intial carbonation. No lacing.

Nose is all about the oak. Picks up fruit, wood esthers, and a certain chewiness. The nose is very intense.

Hits the tongue smooth, but the fire quickly builds from the high alcohol content. You really taste the alcohol here, maybe even more than you feel it. Extremely bright in the mouth. Some may find the fire here a little too hot, but this one tastes really great to me.

beer2day, Mar 24, 2009
Photo of everetends
4.38/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22 oz bomber I picked up last time I was at Green's off Ponce in Atlanta, GA. I have heard a lot about this beer and I was elated when I saw the cases stacked up. Weyerbacher has been good to me so far. Served up in my Free the Hops snifter.

A: Pours a pretty nice dark brown that has these beautiful copper/orange hues to it. Held to the light, more of that orange finds its way out. A pretty aggressive pour did not yield much head . . . initially. A very slow, creamy biege head bubbled its way up. It falls in due time to a thick bubbly ring. This beer appears to be pretty oily because the foam just slides back into the glass allowing zero lace. Even when held to the light, the dark brown is pretty much opaque. Can't see my finger on the other side.

S: Smells are pretty straight forward barleywine. Lots of big time malt in here with brown sugar and caramel goodness. There is a bit of bread hiding in there as well. The hops are pretty nice and floral. Smells very wholesome and clean. Dark fruit is floating around in there, but can't figure them out right now. Touch of alcohol presence in the form of some bourbon. Pretty good.

T: Damn this is good. The malts are damned near perfect. They are there but somehow keep from being TOO sweet. Lots of caramel and molasses. The bread is once again barely there, but it is there. The hops are light with just a touch of bite to cut through the malt. Slight floral and citrus flavor, but it still adds to the sweetness. There is a really nice wood and vanilla coming out here as well. Behind that is a bit of buttery sweet cream. Then you get what I can only describe as honey roasted cashews. This is fuggin tasty.

M: Full bodied brew that keeps it smooth. This is such a creamy ass beer. Really fluffy on the palate but still coats with a cooling creamy goodness. I can not believe this beer sits over 11%. It doesn't burn whatsoever, just smooth wonderful beer. Carbonation has a bit of jump to it, keeping this slightly crisp and easy down the throat. Aftertaste is that slight bitterness from the hops fighting with that caramel malt. I almost gave this a 5 because the feel is so awe inspiring.

D: I have the feeling this beer is dangerous as all hell. I mean all these great flavors that are sweet and enjoyable and then no alcohol reminding you to slow down. So friggin good. I found this beer amazingly drinkable. This is probably the best Weyerbacher offering I have had to date. Great flavors that create this amazingly complex yet balanced flavor profile. Damned good. Get you some.

everetends, Mar 21, 2009
Photo of CHADMC3
4.1/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Copper orange body with reddish hues, a behemoth tan head, creamy, and tightly bundled, leaving a generous sticky lacing to grasp the inside of the glass.

The aroma is molasses sweet with vanilla and wood (oak, increasingly noticeable as it warms) with a bourbon like flavor and raisins or other dark fruit.

Whoa, the label is appropriate, and I now feel like the creature on the label! Big time malt/bourbon/oak/slightly sweet/intense alcohol all at once. Perhaps even some bread and almost a banana like aftertaste with a spice/alcohol burn on the throat. The sweet malt and bourbon flavors become more prevalent as the beer warms.

On the heavy side of medium bodied, slightly syrupy, medium carbonation.

This is one heck of a bold beer. Tons of strong, but diverse flavors, easy to drink, more character as it warms. Great brew.

CHADMC3, Mar 20, 2009
Photo of drgonzo3705
4.15/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

A: Pours a deep amber color with a thin white head with decent lacing.

S: Nice sweet caramel malt with some oak and a bit of a burn from the alcohol.

T: Again with the sweet maltiness and there's that alcohol burn too.

M: Thick and creamy pretty well carbonated.

D: I could enjoy a bottle or two of this in an evening but I do have to say that fresh it is pretty hot. I had this last year a few months after if came out and thought it was great so don't be afraid to lay this one out for a little while.

drgonzo3705, Mar 18, 2009
Photo of gford217
3.95/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

22oz bomber poured into a snifter.

Pours a slightly hazy brownish amber with a rocky off-white head that lingers as a cap for a while and leaves good lacing. A constant stream of bubbles comes to the top.

The aroma is sugary sweet with some decent caramel sweetness and molasses. Cherry fruit sweetness in the nose along with tons of other dark fruits as it warms, especially plums and raisins.

The taste is bigger and more boozy than the aroma with the huge caramel malt backbone. Good bourbon presence in the finish which leaves a significant burn going down. There is a good dry oak and vanilla presence from the barrel.

Medium bodied with good carbonation for the style.

This is a very tasty barleywine with tons of dark fruits and lots booze in the taste. Not the best I've ever had, but a very good beer.

gford217, Mar 15, 2009
Photo of farrago
3.83/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Two fingers settle into a dense one finger head, dark cream to brown in hue, mostly tightly woven tiny bubbles except for a larger swell in the center, plenty of sticky lacing, almost messy. Complete murkiness in the brick red to brown color, like water from a rusty pipe. Thick, treacly nose that slugs its way forward inch by inch, rum raisin, fruitcake, banana bread, black licorice, brown sugar, maple syrup, you name it, it's sweet, whiskey oak barrels, apricot to green grape scents, compression makes it semi-difficult to parse out individual elements. Full-bodied, heaves itself into the mouth like a cannonball leap into a pool, no alcohol burn but you know it's potent with each sip. Feels like three sumo wrestlers in a coma reclining on your tongue, it can move, but fleetingly and with effort. The brown sugar, molasses, banana bread, licorice, whiskey, crème brûlée and tiramisu flavors slathered on you. Much to its credit the carbonation is able to at times offer safe haven. While the malts definitely in charge the hops do slip in some corn, field grass, mandarin orange and pine. The pineapple, apricot, fig, date fruit never too sweet, erect enough posture to form a bridge to non-sugar based components.

farrago, Mar 13, 2009
Insanity from Weyerbacher Brewing Co.
93 out of 100 based on 1,945 ratings.