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Insanity - Weyerbacher Brewing Co.

Not Rated.

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

1,972 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,972
Reviews: 846
rAvg: 4.15
pDev: 11.81%
Wants: 189
Gots: 358 | FT: 16
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: 1,972 | Reviews: 846 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Reino
4.2/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks for the bottle Paul!

Appearance- Deep, vibrant red when closer to light and orange-brown when kept away from it. This beer looks dense like syrup. There was around a fingers worth of yellow tinted white head, that ran off pretty quickly without leaving much in terms of lacing. The nice color of the beer keeps this score from dipping too low.

Smell- This is by far the highlight of this beer for me. I sat and smelled this beer for 10-15 minutes before taking a sip because I kept getting different aromas in every whiff I took. The first smells I picked up were sweet, juicy malts with an undertone of pecan pie and pie crust. There is definitely some booze in the nose, and it quickly started to mix and mingle with all sorts of different fruit smells giving it the smell of a sweet liqueur like Triple Sec, or maybe even a raspberry vodka. For a few seconds I thought I smelled rhubarb pie, even though I haven't had that type of pie in 10 or more years. This beer's smell is taking me weird places. I also get some vanilla notes and I think even some sour/tartness. I think the best way I can put it is that it smells like a boozy pie filling/topping, and the type of pie changes every time you smell it. Awesome.

Taste- The taste sticks with the liqueur theme to an extent, but brings in some different flavors than the nose suggested. I initially get figs and golden raisins surrounded by heat. Insanity sticks with the fig/raisin family of fruits flavor for awhile, but as it gets really warm, I start to taste pomegranate juice concentrate, caramel syrup, and some citrus fruit, orange I think, that lingers on the finish along with the alcohol. This beer is really sweet, and really hot, but Weyerbacher melded them quite well. A little more or less of either and this beer would be shit. There is a lot more going on in this beer than I can describe, or would want to try to describe after the first glass is finished. The abv makes notes seem a bit of a pain once the bottle is half gone.

Mouthfeel- This beer has high carbonation for the style, but I am sensitive to the sweetness of English Barleywines and think I would have found this beer to be like overly sweet, syrupy liquor in my mouth if not for the extra bubbles. If you like the feeling of heat surrounding your tongue (I do), then you will enjoy how this beer feels. Alcohol heat really hammers the sides of your tongue while the carbonation tingles the top.

Drinkability- As a man who has a love/hate relationship with English BW's, I was able to drink the entire 22 ounces without getting sick of the sweetness or heat. This is a great beer for cool evenings to have alone, or with friends, after dinner.

Photo of beveritt
3.45/5  rDev -16.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Presentation: Poured form a 22 oz brown bomber into a wine glass.

Appearance: Pours with very little head, just a ring around the glass of off-white foam. The beer itself is the color of tarnished copper with a not insubstantial chill haze. Last glass of the bomber has a lot of sediment with just a little remaining in the bottle.

Smell: Dominant aromas are byproducts of barrel aging. Vanilla, cherry and other oak accompaniments abound. Slight alcohol sweetness.

Taste: Decent carbonation bite upfront. Flavors of vanilla and cherry mix with a fairly sweet malt base to deliver what could be described as an after dinner cordial.

Mouthfeel: Higher than average carbonation level. Body is average.

Drinkability: Interesting, but the dominant flavors of the barrel seem to overwhelm the basic beer.

Photo of kmeves
3.45/5  rDev -16.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a semi cloudy copper with a medium beige head that remains for half the session. Aroma is medium sweet vanilla, alcohol, caramel, oak and light plum. Flavor is vanilla, alcohol, caramel, oak and some cherry. Creamy Full body, creamy texture. Long oakey sweet finish.

Photo of cvstrickland
4.08/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

22-ounce bomber bottle poured into a small tulip glass yields a hazy deep orange copper body with a finger of creamy ecru foam atop. The head reduces to a fine-bubbled collar and leaves a few freckles of lacing on the glass.

The smell is darkly fruity and brown sugar-malty, with a woody sweetness I assume is a remnant of the oak barrel aging. The aroma is fruitier and boozier as the drink warms a bit, but not obnoxiously so.

The taste is big and malty with a savory buttered-biscuity note and plenty of sticky vanilla caramel. The malty character manifests itself in varying degrees of savory, sweet, and dry flavors, with sweet and syrupy notes leading the parade, for sure, but doing so without dominating the supporting cast of gastronomic characters. As the drink warms, essences of hearty brown nut bread with sourwood honey, or perhaps Bisquick pancakes with raisins and unsweetened molasses collide with quite a bit of alcohol disguised as orange-infused vanilla extract that cleanses the palate and gently warms the drinker. A dry and earthy malty syrupiness wins my vote for the backbone of this multifaceted drink.

Weyerbacher's Insanity is a full-bodied and silky sipper with a potent ABV % that presents itself with a surprising degree of gentility. It's a very big brew that is quite pleasant to sip at on a cool, rainy day when the work is all done, but no session brew, for sure!

Photo of ZimZamZoom
3.98/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured half a bomber into a tulip glass. An interesting deep amber color, with a tan head that fades from two finger to a thin film over the course of a couple minutes. Minimal lacing. The beer is clear when held to the light, beautiful amber color, but at first glance appears to be murky...

Aroma is sweet with malt, and some spicy hops, with some alcohol to wake up the nasal passages. Ripe granny smith apples and spice. Taste is similar, the spice coming through strong, but backed by sweet malt/ripe pears, and a down-home earthy hop profile. There is some vanilla and bourbon notes but not overwhelming. Complex and interesting. A big alcohol warmth tops it all off.

Big bodied,and highly sip-able. I will enjoy this one for a while.

Photo of russpowell
4.18/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Cheers to melbatoast93, thanks Hart!

Pours caramel/orange with 1 finger of tan head. Good head retention & lacing

S: Oakyness, vanilla & bourbon

T: Dryness, some booze, raisins, plums & vanilla up front. toffee, booze soaked figs, caramel, pecans & dryness as this warms. Finishes with pecan, oak & dryness

MF: Chewy with low carbonation with a touch of ghost booze, super balance

Drinks a bit slow, due to the ABV & style; damn fine English Barley Wine!

Photo of nrpellegrini
3.95/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This beer was all over the place for me, but I loved it.

A golden caramel color with a thin white head set it up nice. The smell was crazy. It basically burned my nostrils, I was actually somewhat turned off by the smell, comparable to rubbing alcohol. The first sip was so strong, the alcohol punched me in the mouth. The hoppy bite was there and it was everything I didn't want but I gave it another shot. Every drink after that got better and better. The hops smoothed out but you still got the spiced flavor, the malts left a caramel taste and texture. But my favorite part was the oak, woody taste. The aftertaste was great and left me wanting more.

The beer bottle I drank from had been aged a year so that might of had some effect on the taste.


Photo of Redwood21
3.73/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

A: dark wood stain oaky, with a thin tan head on top that rings the glass

S: vanilla and oak, the smell seams pleasant but portends a disturbingly unbalanced beer!

T: ok ill have to thrw out a caveat, if you crave oak bombs or melted vanilla ice cream in your beer, than you might cream your pants for this brew. for me it is way too overwhelmed by the vanilla flavor that comes from the oak aging. its not bad, its just way too overpowered.

M/D: very creamy but the taste kills the taste and oh well

Photo of JohnGalt1
4.15/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

From DIM way back in February and enjoyed tonight as my ongoing cellar clearing project... enjoyed immensely from my Kasteel tulip.

1" head atop a murky burnished copper brew.. nice collar.

Aroma is very rich malts.. quite a bit of caramel and I swear I am getting wood notes, but it may be my imagination... fruitiness and boozy.. but boozy in a good way.

Wow! Flavor is the aroma tenfold... caramel and malts with more than enough wood... vanilla .. and more caramel... not getting much in the way of hops except a little spiciness that could just be the alcohol... body is nice an thick.. Waaay more complex than my feeble palate can put together right now... but I must say, I am hugely impressed.

Dan is an outstanding trader.. one of my favorites for sure.. I love this brew and must order a bunch more or break down and trade for a bunch.

Photo of maximum12
3.6/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to genog for sending this one my way in an early spring trade.

Insanity is amber with a flotilla of suspended gunk floating in the beer; literally, it neither falls or rises until I move it. Bizarre. Flat, with a smell or sweet fruit & booze.

Smell is nose-hair scorching alcohol, whiskey, with a backup of sweet sweet nothing, like candy gone to the dark side. The alcohol & whiskey is just a touch overwhelming, making anything else that might be coming out. I believe this beer would be better in 2009 - 2010.

Beer is fairly flat, but seriously warming. I've been working on the glass for about 45 minutes & I think it'll be an hour before I put it down, the definition of a sipper.

Photo of fitzy84
4.38/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Wow, Weyerbacher continues to impress me. Dark, reddish-amber color in appearance with patchy lacing on the head and side. Aromas are intense and thick: alcohol, malts, hops, cream, vanilla, woody, slight dark fruit. Taste is really rich in vanilla, syrup, caramel, toffee, and predominant alcohol. Mouthfeel gives the drink a creamy, heavy feeling with a slight, carbonated crispness to the aftertaste. Overall, very powerful but if you are a drinking a barleywine anyway, you should be expecting this strength. Very, very good.

Photo of Tilley4
3.53/5  rDev -14.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Very nice barleywine here.... Can't remember who sent me this but I know I got it in a trade somewhere...

This pours a very murky brown with a small head...very opaque...

Very boozy malty aroma...the oak is prevalent and sort of gives this a whiskey-type smell... There's some dark fruit in this as well but the most prevalent aroma is that of booze...

This tastes just as boozy as it smells... This is quite hot. The malts are there but this one is just too young right now. If the booze was toned down on this a little, it would be excellent..

This ones a sipper, for sure... This puppy picked up a little too much whiskey flavor if you ask me. I love whiskey but this is just too unbalanced..

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

Thanks johnd513! This is goood!
Poured a murky, cloudy deep orange with s amall white head. Nose was malty, well hopped and plent of bourbon, oak and vanilla. The taste was nice and followed the ose. It is much lighter and thinner than I expected. ABV was wel hidden and all of this plus damn good taste gave it high drinkability. AWESOME! Wish I had another bottle to age.

Photo of pvsob
4.2/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- Pours a rusty brown color that turns a lovely ruby when held up to the light. Half an inch, off-white head that dissipates slowly leaving a thin film and some lacing.

S- Dark fruit everywhere; dates, prunes, figs, etc... Burnt brown sugar and caramel. Spicy alcohol aromas come out as the brew warms.

T- Lots of sweet malt, molasses, and dark fruits. Alcohol comes through and dries everything out, leaving a smooth finish. Characteristics become more prevalent as the beer warms.

M- Medium to full with some carbonation.

D- An excellent American version of an English Barleywine. My alcohol tolerance will dictate when it's time to stop. I have a feeling it will be long before my taste buds are ready to give up. Great job Weyerbacher. Cheers!

Photo of Scoobydank
3.18/5  rDev -23.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

L:Bright white head that dissapears quickly. Light brown caramel toffee color.
S:A very light maple syrup on first smell. Some kind of steely tin as well. A touch of sweet caramel matliness.
T:A maple syrup caramel toffee mix right away. Slight alcohol burn. Sweet roasted caramel.
M:Sharp tiny little bubbles yet it still is nice round and warming.
D:Ok. Not the best Barleywine I have had. Certainly good though.

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

Pours a hazy chestnut with very little head. What head there is fades to nothing fairly quickly. Hmmm. What a strange beer! To me this tastes almost like a scotch and soda. Very boozy, lots of oak, and very firm, dry malt with almost peaty overtones from the tea-like tannins, and a bit of a sweet finish. The smell is similar. I think I like it, but it definitely took me a bit by surprise. A bit thick in the mouth with very pronounced tannins on the finish that help dry it out. Pretty interesting, and definitely different. I especially like the minerality that creeps in on the finish as it warms.

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

22 oz. serving into an Imperial pint glass.
The lable does not state the style, but it's aged in oak barrel's.

This is a cloudy, brownish-amber color, the color is dark but the carbonation is still obvious. The crown is an impressive thick, creamy brown-ish white color, dissipates quick but leaves plenty of lacing left-over.

This nose is heavy on the sweet malt and fruity aroma's with fruits like appricots and figs, hot whiskey-like heat and candy-sweet malt. This one has a big aroma, very nice.

The feel of this is not very heavy, it's more crisp, medium to heavy feel though. The malt is HUGE right off, toffee and honey currents and belgian-like sour yeastiness that is pretty unique. HOT, whiskey-hot! but the malt has enough complexity to make it work. There's a balance of spicey hops that comes out right at the end. high on the complexity scale.

Sip it!

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

Into an imperial pint, allowing the sediment into the glass, pours a dark crimson color bearing on reddish orange, not much head, a thin film for the most part. The aroma is hot, all 11 odd percent this is and more. After regrouping, I get lots of red skinned fruits, raisin and plum and cherry, etc. Caramels, oak, bourbon, hot.

And then to taste, which also, is hot. The alcohol doesn't hide. doesn't detract, but just be wary. Which brings on the bourbon, with oak and vanilla notes, caramels and sweet fruits, less dark skinned and more juicy, plus some brown sugar. The mouth is pretty good, could be creamier but is plenty full, carbonation is good, body is good. In all... Take. This. Slow. Both because its not shy and it will bite, and because it deserves a slow, steady imbibing. Thanks to DarkerTheBetter for this one.

Photo of BeerBelcher
3.73/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I wasn't quite sure what to expect from this beer, the packaging telling me that it was an "oak aged ale." Now that I learn that it is a Blithering Idiot Barleywine, this makes a lot of sense to me, as I thought this beer to be a nice barley wine of the not-overly-hoppy variety with some good vanilla notes. Good.

Color was a fairly opaque orangey hue with moderate head. Aroma was caramel, sweet maltiness, and alcohol esters. Flavor was very like that of a non-hoppy barley-wine...significantly malty and sweet with some searing alcohol mouthfeel. Mouthfeel was warm and pretty good.

Quite a good beer if you like this sort of barley-wine, and worth seeking out. I bought this beer at a Whole Foods near Fair Oaks mall in Fairfax County, VA.

Photo of Atron67
4.22/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

So in reminiscence this is a beer i tried 3 years ago which was way too advanced for my tastes at the time, so now im coming back to it and see how it tastes

A- Copper brown, with a very light amber head that didnt last long but wouldnt really expect it to. pretty strong carbonation

S- smells of rum and bourbon to me, very strong lightly fruit character to it. very light hops but not very sweet, probably a mix between the alcohol balancign out and the hops themselves

T- huge malt characters with lots of alcohol all over the place, very very nice. huge oak character all over as well. just a wonderful beer in my opinion,

M- strong carbonation, thick body, lingering on the body.

D- i love this beer as a sipper

Photo of tpd975
4.22/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a nice amber hue with two finger head. The carbonation is nice and the retention is wonderful.

S: Nice bourbon aromas with hints of oak and vanilla. Nice malty quality rounds things out. Very nice smelling barleywine.

T: Wow wonderful flavors. Tons of oak and vanilla. Hints of ripe fruit and sweet malt. Wonderful flavors, a barleywine to be proud of.

M: Medium in body, wonderful carbonation. Very enjoyable.

D: One of the more drinkable barleywines.

Overall: Weyerbacher took a wonderful barleywine and kicked it up to new extremes. The oak ageing made a good barleywine great. The taste and character of this one is overthetop. I really like it. Wish I had another to age. YUM!!

Photo of jwc215
3.95/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

22 oz. bottle - poured into a snifter:

Pours hazed orangeish caramel-colored with a thin tan head that becomes a bubbly patch, though subequent pours produce a thin creamy even cover. Some lacing sticks.

The smell is of caramel with oaky vanilla, light cinnamon - oak plays a big role here - I'd say a dominating role, even.

The taste is of sweet vanilla with strong bourbon, woody. The bourbon and oak dominate. Alcohol is pretty well-covered in first few sips, but becomes quite apparent as it progresses. I had a hard time grasping the beer base, which didn't really make itself known, though caramel came through as it warmed. I liked it, but more for the oak aspect, which I think is really well done, more than the barleywine aspect with seemed like just caramel (maybe a hint of fruitiness). Finishes with a moderately boozy sweetness.

The fell is very creamy with a full (ish?) body. Soft carbonation gives it an almost cask-like feel. Interesting. I do like the creaminess of it - almost like a caramel, creamy bourbon.

Very smooth for a bourbon, rather smooth for a beer. As it progresses the caramel becomes more apparent, so does the warmth. Flavors do not hang on long into the aftertaste - a mixed feeling about that. The oak-aged aspect of this beer makes this one a winner, and an interesting brew for that. Still, not something I'd want to keep on drinking, especially as I enjoyed the first three-quarters of it more than the last quarter. Good use of oak here! My gut instince tells me that this would go well with spare ribs...will have to try it.

Photo of AltBock
2/5  rDev -51.8%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1.5

22 oz. bomber bottle that has a cool label of a person freaking out in the doorway of a red/black room. Below the picture is the name of the beer in blood red letters. In between the picture and the name of the beer is a sentence you want to see on a beer bottle, "Ale aged in oak barrels." The only other things on the label is all the mandatory US information, like the Government warning. Weyerbacher doesn't date their bottles and this one is no different.

Appearance: I decided to pour this Weyerbacher beer into a Chimay Chalise. It seemed fitting for the style. What came out of the bottle and into the glass was a beer that is the same color and texture of swamp water. It was truly that murky. It looked so much like swamp water that I swear I saw a crocodile emerging from the beer. Sitting on top of this murky liquid was a white head of foam that was less than 1/2 inch in height. This head of foam quickly dissipated into a handful of white rings along the edge and a spot or two of white lace around the chalise.

Smell: "Insanity" was very fruity with a hint of toasted malts, a quick splash of charred oak, and tons of medicinal alcohol. To me, medicinal alcohol is something you can find in cough syrup and other liquid medicines that contain alcohol in them. Why it's in this beer is my question. It's OK to have alcohol in the aroma, but not medicinal alcohol. Sometimes the alcohol was so bad that it burned my nose and I had to quickly turn my head in disgust to get it out of my nose. Other times, it was fruity and that to me means that it was trying not to be boozy all the time.

Taste: The taste starts and ends with the same flavor, medicinal alcohol! I was honestly expecting more flavors to make an appearance, but instead I received one big taste of medicinal alcohol. I guess the taste wanted to be like the aroma. That's just sad! I did happen to notice a few flavors behind the alcohol, but they were all too tiny in size. Those tiny flavors I found were black cherries, oak, and bitter citrus hops. I would have loved to see each one of those flavors come out from the back and into the front, but the medicinal alcohol would have cut them down where they stood. I can understand why they didn't want to come out. If you can't tell already, the taste was just way too powerful with medicinal alcohol.

Mouthfeel: Yeah, it was a full bodied beer, but of course the aftertaste had to be filled with nothing but alcoholic medicine. Enough with the alcoholic medicine already! It got boring in the aroma.

Drinkability: You can probably tell already that I had hard time drinking this one. If there were more flavors than just medicinal alcohol, then it might have not been all that bad. In every aspect of this beer, the medicinal alcohol ruled over it like it was a dictator. I only take medicine when I'm sick, I shouldn't have to take it when I crack open a beer. I wouldn't touch this one again! If you're feeling sick, take 2 spoon fulls of "Insanity" and call the doctor in the morning.

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

Poured from a 22 oz.bomber into a tulip style gobblet

I love everything about this one it is my absolute favorite. I just bought 7 bottles of this one for it is a seasonal and is now out of stock!

Taste hints of vanilla,mapley bourbon malt sweetness. Love the smell and taste this one you need to let sit a little bit so you can get the true taste out of it. Only need one of these a night high alcohol 11.1%, which amazingly is very easily drinkable! I recomend every ale or barleywine drinker to try this one! I give this one a A++

Photo of ArrogantB
2.83/5  rDev -31.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

22oz bottle courtesy of DRINKNDRIVE, thanks. I was looking forward to this after having Weyerbacher's Blitehring Idiot which is excellent. Sadly, this is nowhere near excellent. It is orange and looks good but the smell is just ominous. Nothing but scary boozy demons. The flavor was overdone barrel, wood, and then alcoholic booze as a finale. If this is truly barrel-aged Blithering Idiot then they need to stop because they had it right the first time.

Insanity from Weyerbacher Brewing Co.
93 out of 100 based on 1,972 ratings.