1. American Craft Beer Fest returns to Boston on May 29 & 30, featuring 640+ beers from 140+ brewers. Tickets are on sale now.

Insanity - Weyerbacher Brewing Co.

Not Rated.

Educational use only; do not reuse.

2,124 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,124
Reviews: 882
rAvg: 4.15
pDev: 11.57%
Wants: 197
Gots: 445 | FT: 23
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
to view all ratings, reviews and sorting options.
Ratings: 2,124 | Reviews: 882
Photo of BarrelO
4/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into a goblet.

A: Cloudy reddish-brown body. Decent head leaves plenty of lacing.

S: Vanilla, toffee, caramel, and alcohol.

T: Impressively complex. Bourbon, vanilla, coconut, raisins and other dark fruits. Lots of pricky alcohol.

M: Medium-bodied, smooth and creamy with a bit of carbonation.

D: I was a bit nervous going in. On the one hand, I didn't care for Blithering Idiot, the base beer, at all. On the other hand, I really liked Heresy, the only other Weyerbacher barrel-aged beer I've had. I'd say this is much closer to the latter than the former. I don't like bourbon barrel beers as much as other BAs seem to, but this is still a good slow (and I do mean slow) sipper. It reminded me a lot of Firestone's Quercus Alba series.

Photo of wspscott
3.34/5  rDev -19.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

12oz bottle in Duvel tulip
no date, but it is the last of a six pack purchased last december, so it is at least a year old.

A: A hazy medium brown color, a thin film for the head, no lace. Not a pretty beer.
S: The oak is very obvious, the bourbon is more hidden which surprised me. There is not much else in the nose, but it smells good.
T: The bourbon is very much out front, it is almost overwhelming, very difficult to detect other flavors. There is some definite oak character under the bourbon, but not much else.
M: A medium mouthfeel, low level of carbonation, just right for a barleywine.
D: I like bourbon and like like barleywines and I tend to like other bourbon barrel beers, but this seems to unbalanced. The bourbon has swamped the beer. Worth trying for anyone who likes bourbon beers, but I won't purchase again.

I found another one from the same six pack. This is not an "official" review, but more of my impression from last night.

It is interesting to read this review, because my impression last night was completely different. The bourbon was completely integrated with the beer and complemented it nicely. It was not unbalanced at all. The oak and bourbon were still very present, but everything went together quite well. I wonder if the beer was going through an "awkward" stage the last time, because last night this was a very good beer. It is amazing what another year does for some beers.

If I had been scoring it last night, the numbers would likely have been 3, 3.5, 4, 3.5, 4.

Photo of WeedKing4
4.38/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark reddish ruby colour with a hint of brown to it. Failry clear as well with a decent amount of head. Tastes of oak and vanilla with a very smooth malt background. Theres no alcohol in the taste, but you can feel it slightly when you drink. But thats not a bad thing, gives it character. Very drinkable considering the high abv %. I wish I had more then one bottle of this now. Very damn tasty.

Photo of siradmiralnelson
4.35/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 12oz bottle into Tulip.

A. 1 finger head of an off white color. Head disappeared pretty quick. A litte bit of lacing. Color is ruby brown.

S. Oak, vanilla, alcohol, berries, brown sugar, caramel, dark fruit, bourbon.

T. Vanilla, alcohol, maple, brown sugar, oak, dark fruit. Very delicous. Really like the vanilla, oak, and bourbon flavors.

M. Medium/full bodied. Lingering sweetness. Light carbonation.

D. Very drinkable for an 11% barleywine. This beer takes a good barleywine and makes it great with barrel aging. A big complex delicous beer.

Photo of thedoubler55
4/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Bottle Poured into a glass

A- Pours a dark copper color almost red, leaves a slight head that reduces to laces around the glass.

S-Vanilla, cherries, and some oak

T-First taste is strong alcohol, this beer although very high in alcohol content, leaves a great aftertaste. Cherry type flavor with a hint of vanilla.

M- Nothing very special here, not to filling, but a smooth to the sip.

D- Not a beer I would like to drink a lot of because of the high alcohol content, but this is definitely a good beer to have after a bad/long day of work.

Photo of BigMike
4.08/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A: Crystal clear deep ruby copper color. A pretty off white head in top that's already sticking to the glass.

S: Alcohol, sour cherries, vanilla, dark fruits, toasted caramel, light bourbon notes, oak.

T: A full on flavor assult here. Lots of astringent alcohol initially. Oak and sour cherry hit next. Vanilla comes in and the finish is bitter with tons of bourbon heat.

M: Sticky on the tongue but slightly on the thin side. A tad more substance would be ideal but I won't nitpick.

Overall: I'm a big fan of blithering idiot and this just takes that beer to the next level. This is a 2009 vintage and is drinking great.

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

..through the mucky muck, castles made of clouds, there sits insanity, sitting in my glass. Brown, highlit all tawny, nice little beige head. F! you! It screams bourbon..vanilla and booze challenging your nostrils. Dates and cherries, sweet malt, and more booze. It demands your full attention. There is nothing but this beer. So enjoy it! And damn you anyone who has the balls to look away!
Drinks like an angry sailor, hurling expletives as it curls down the whirlpool of your esophagus. It burns slightly, with the sweet malt left lingering to soothe your throat's wounds. You have been violated here today, and you have enjoyed this 09 Insanity. The barrel leaves its astringency like a stain, the vanilla a breath mint. The dark fruits are one of your few allies. Keep them close!

Photo of nhindian
3.82/5  rDev -8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12oz bottle poured into a snifter.

My first barrel aged anything.. figured I'd go big with this one! Pours a deep brown, dark blood red color and develops little to no head. Many streams of bubble rise from the bottom of the glass, only to die wistfully among the surface. Little lacing to be seen

Nose is... wow. Almost all bourbon. Getting instant flashbacks of drinking Jim Beam on the rocks. Very interesting to experience in a beer, to say the least. Also getting sweet caramel, vanilla, figs and raisins. I can almost feel the alcohol burn through my nose...

Taste, expectedly, really follows the nose on this one. It honestly tastes like I'm drinking bourbon rather than beer, just with less alcohol burn. Not to say that there isn't a burn, but it fits and doesn't impose. Interestingly enough, as it warms up it gives it more complexity that helps subdue the alcohol (interesting because Weyerbacher suggests serving at 45-55 degrees), yet it still is present. Most noticeable in the warming is the presence of a smokey, oak feeling that doesn't help the burn but masks the alcohol a bit, giving way to the more fruity flavors and creamy vanilla. I'm a bit disappointed I didn't try Blithering Idiot before this to compare the two, but now I have a goal for the future!

Mouthfeel is heavy and moderately carbonated. Very sticky feeling and the bourbon definitely leaves a burning sensation on the palate. Really warms you up...

Drinkability is low. If the alcohol in this doesn't keep you from drinking too quickly, the sweetness and bourbon burn certainly will. A true sipper.

Overall not sure how I feel about this. It's my first bourbon aged beer so I don't have much to go on, but it's a strange sensation to have so much liquor sensation in a beer.

Photo of biegaman
4.28/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Insanity is blood red and would easily pass for the stuff if not for its generous tawny highlights and the fact that it's complexion is transparent and glassy. Yup, the only thing congealing here is the spongy, dusty-looking cord wrapped around the perimeter. In the light the beer becomes bright candy apple red, the perfect stain for a vintage Corvette...

Ironically enough, considering the aroma revs up like one of those loud, hulking, teeming with horsepower engines. Nearly three years (possibly longer) in the cellar has done little to quiet this puppy: hot bourbon-y notes of vanilla, spices and oak are copious and still have enough potency to lay you down like a railroad track if you're not ready for them.

But while obviously capable of stinging like a bee, Insanity seems more content just floating like a butterfly. On the palate, the aforementioned vanilla is lush, the oak mellow and no more than a tinkle is heard of the spices. Incredibly rich notes of butterscotch, creme caramel and rum-raisin are noted along with nougat and dark skinned fruits.

Aside from its nectar-like flavours, little is left of the malts at this age and the beer is needle thin and, like a needle, the alcohol tends to prick you with every shot it get's - a considerable annoyance considering how intricate the taste is. Like the bourbon whose barrel whence it came, this is better suited to two ounce rock glasses - not 650ml bombers.

This may the first instance when drinking a beer where I actually welcome the thought of a spittoon. Then again I've got another two-thirds of the bottle and an empty stomach; I think my brain cells have already begun choreography on a synchronized swimming routine. But ask me and I'll tell you it's worth it. This is a sensuous, soothing, sedating treat.

It's easy to be impressed by the intensity and profoundness of (in particular bourbon) barrel aged beers. I certainly was my first time trying one, which happened to be a year-old 2005 vintage of Weyerbacher Insanity. While I've since become rather numb to the whole scene, I can still appreciate a well crafted example when I come across it. And this, my friends, still remains one of the finest ones I've come across.

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

Poured from 12oz brown bottle into a clear oversized wine glass. No freshness date. Part of a 4-pack purchased at Beer Run (Charlottesville, VA) for $14.99.

A: Dusky dark amber with with a thin cap of tihglty bubbled head that leaves a thin crust of lace at the top and small dots all down the glass.

S: Woody toffee aromas are strongest, but the bourbon-vanilla blends in smoothly and allows a light waft of alcohol to pop through here and there. There is a herbla hops note there too, but the sweet, dark fruity, figgy maltiness is biggest and best.

T: The flavor is sumptuous with caramel-toffee bracing the early flavor only to be clubbed down by more fruity, estery alcohol flavors and finished with a vanilla frosting-bourbon touch in the finish. Alcohol is not hidden but provides depth to the oaky, vanilla, and bourbon notes. A really masterful brew that fits the style very well.

M: Not surprisingly very sticky and coating with low carbonation but a very layering feel on the palate.

D: Wow -- was Weyerbacher ahead of their time with this brew -- barleywine on bourbon barrels 5-6 years ago -- who new? This is a delicious brew that I will be coming back to many more times. I am going to put a few down and see what transpires with a few years.

Photo of pastradul
4.69/5  rDev +13%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

2009 vintage

poured into a deschutes tulip.

Pours a ruby reddish brown with some head but leaves fast.

the aroma is a cherry cordial! some red fruit sweetness come sout of the glass followed by a nice malty backbone.

the taste is reversed. the malt and alcohol dance around on the front and mid palate... the it turns into a nice boozy cherry flavor going from the mid to back palate.

The mouthfeel is a somewhat thick but not overly so.

Excellent beer!

Photo of bfree
4.61/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Coloring reminds me of Iced Tea with minimal lacing at the top

S: Delightful scent-Phenolic, tart, brown sugar, raisins...similar to other barleywines and a hint of the oak barrel it was aged in

T: can really taste the Oak aging more so than I smelled, and there is a very strong alcoholic component from the aging (11%!!!), also taste brown sugar and the traditional barleywine tart/fruity flavor... delicious

M: very smooth throughout, light-medium bodied with a syrupy component to it, very little carbonation

D: for such a big beer it is really smooth and does not have a lot of bite in terms of mouthfeel...definitely a rare tasting beer and a cool and tasty twist on the traditional barleywine by oak aging it

Photo of lovetranquillity
4.12/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Dark murky brown, small light fluffy head.

Raisins, figs, toffee, alcohol, very oaky smelling, smells almost like scotch.

Raisins, alcohol, figs, you can really taste the oak, and hints of scotch or whiskey flavor. Caramel, toffee, vanilla.

Medium carbonation, creamy when warm.

Average drinkability for a barley whine. The alcohol is more noticeable in here than in some others that have an even higher percentage. It is a tasty barleywhine and if you like the flavor oak adds to beers than this is a good choice. It is sweet, bitter,creamy, oaky and good.

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

A: A darkish murky brown in color, with a very nice tan head.

S: Sweet with notes of raisons and caramel. Perhaps a bit of creaminess in there as well. This beer smells great. There is a bit of an almost cloying sweetness, almost bourbon like. The oak is noticeable, but is not overdone.

T: Malty and sweet. The finish is all oaky and has a mellow syrupy sweetness. This beer is fairly reminiscent of Nemesis 09. Very sweet, but enjoyably so. Oak and caramel meet in a wonderful union in this brew. The alcohol is pretty well hidden in this guy as well.

M: Thick and creamy. Carbonation is low, but I think it works for the style.

D: Yes. And it is dangerous. I could finish off this guy before I knew what hit me.

Photo of kzoobrew
4.23/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Hazed and rusted amber body. Two and a half finger oatmeal colored head. Retention is astoundingly good, especially when considering the abv. Thick sheets of lacing blanket the walls of the glass. Cap remain perched atop til the end.

Rich caramel malt and bourbon combine for one of the most ridiculously outstanding smells my nose has encountered. Bourbon is plentiful but not overwhelming. Caramel is thick and gooey. The oak is smooth, bind the aroma together.

Smooth bourbon rolls across the palate giving way to a rich caramel flavor. Sweet berry flavors hit mid palate before transitioning back into caramel. Pleasant warming booziness never gets too hot. The oak becomes more evident as it warms, very inviting woods and vanilla flavors noted through out.
Medium to full bodied with low but appropriate carbonation. Very smooth and creamy texture. The body does thin out with warmth but this does not create a problem. The finish is much dryer than expected, minimal flavors linger for too long.

I would love to drink this one all night long but unfortunately the abv would prevent that. The booze is fit well into the recipe and does not become obstructive. Absolutely wonderful beer, really wish this one was available in my area.

Beandip is the man, big thanks for this bottle. Cheers Adam!

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.

to view all ratings, reviews and sorting options.
Insanity from Weyerbacher Brewing Co.
93 out of 100 based on 2,124 ratings.