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Insanity - Weyerbacher Brewing Co.

Not Rated.

Educational use only; do not reuse.

2,068 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,068
Reviews: 870
rAvg: 4.15
pDev: 11.81%
Wants: 195
Gots: 425 | FT: 20
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: 2,068 | Reviews: 870 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Bung
4.19/5  rDev +1%
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 +3.6%
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
4.62/5  rDev +11.3%
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
4.57/5  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
4.34/5  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
4.2/5  rDev +1.2%
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 +10.8%
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%
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
4.17/5  rDev +0.5%
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
4.57/5  rDev +10.1%
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
4.62/5  rDev +11.3%
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
4.12/5  rDev -0.7%
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
4.67/5  rDev +12.5%
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
4.74/5  rDev +14.2%
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
4.62/5  rDev +11.3%
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!

Photo of twiggamortis420
3.54/5  rDev -14.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

22 oz bomber, no date on the bottle but I believe this is a 2007 or 2008 vintage. Pours a very hazy, light copper color with a frothy, tapioca looking tan head. Retention is decent and not much lacing.

Smells like vanilla, oak and pudding. Just hints of oxidation, seems to have held up well. Some bourbon and egg nog, pretty much a cornucopia of scents. Nice nose and the alcohol is not too prevalent.

Taste is vanilla laden with whiskey written all over it. Not too rough, but very hot and alcoholic. The malt is a bit on the wan side and lets all kinds of crazy barrel-aged flavors come through. The oak and vanilla is nice and it tastes a bit like a Twix bar soaked in grain alcohol. A fairly unique barleywine, I cant make up my mind on this one; one sip will be pretty smooth and complex and the next can be a hot and boozy mess. Not even sure if more age could round this one out. No way would I want a whole bomber of this to myself, but still a fun beer to try between a few friends.

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

A: Poured into a tulip from the tap, color is a light brown amber that has a garnet color when viewed at an angle. A coarse 1-finger thick head lingers for a minute or two before fading away. Lacing is minimal, but this certainly looks like a barleywine.

S: Sweet malts and caramel notes along with a definitive bourbon barrel aroma come through in the bouquet. A slight boozy aroma is also present. I imagine it has mellowed somewhat since its birth on 2008.

T: Absolutely delicious. Sweet, thick, and sticky caramel notes are mixed with brown sugar and toffee flavors. These balanced sweet flavors lead into a finish of oakey vanilla balanced with the bourbon from the nose to round out the beer nicely. The hops have faded from what I remember from Blithering Idiot, though there are still some undertones of pine as well.

M/D: Thick and sticky, but what else would you expect from barleywine? Lightly carbonated, the texture is what is expected. Weyerbacher definitely got it right with this barrel aging process. The bourbon is kept in check and really adds to the beer rather than becoming a focal point. I have since waxed the top of the bottle in my cellar and I will be holding onto it for a while to see what even more time can do for this beer, since this has come such a long way from its humble beginnings as fresh Blithering Idiot.

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

Insanity on tap at Capone's, pure Insanity...

A- A light colored Barleywine with a mix between bronze, gold and amber, it is quite light. There is a bright white head on top so that's a plus in this barrel aged beer. A nice sheet of lacing on the way down. Window covering in fact.

S- The smell is bold and the barrel aging while big, does not distract from the other scents. There is the base beer with all those malts and things, plus some whiskey/bourbon scent along with a plethora of fruits that will be explained below.

T- This is a fruity ass big barleywine. I remember having blithering idiot a few times but this seems different. A big basket of fruits. Plums, pears, apricots, and others mashed in as well. Malts with some bread and some small yeastiness. Bourbon is on the light end but I can still taste it distinctly. There is some alcohol in this 11 percenter so don't go in thinking this will be easy, it is a Weyerbacher beer after all.

M- A very smooth ride with some slight heat in the finish. I gotta say this does have a fruityh aftertaste, unlike any barleywine that i've had. Could it be the barrel's, could it be this batch, could it be me, I don't know. It's sweet, but not a cloying mess. above medium in feel and a good amount of carb going for it.

D- I think these were distributed in bombers at some point and I commend anybody who attempted to drink a bomber of this to the head, I salute you. I myself would go for a 12ozer because I was kind of over this after 6oz or so. A lot of alcohol and a big fruit base makes for a weird BA'ed barleywine, either way this ain't so bad.

Photo of cpetrone84
3.8/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A-pours a deep reddish copper color with a tight dense tan colored head.

S-the nose is fragrent but boozy, dark cherries, plums, bourbon and oak, hints of vanilla, fusel alcohol in the back.

T-taste follows the nose, sweet, cherries up front, bourbon, light notes of oak and vanilla, plums and cherries in the back with fusel alcohol and some heat.

M-smooth and creamy on the palate, full bodied with enough carb to balance. slightly syrupy with a wet oily finish.

D-this is a little boozy but not bad. the sweetness tries to balance and does a decent job with some more subtle bourbon and oak notes. nice.

Photo of fairdinkum2
4.19/5  rDev +1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a pint bottle into a tulip glass. First impressions were not particularly promising. Very murky brown, orange appearance - like unfiltered apple cider. Yielded a quarter inch head that quickly dissipated to a thin collar. Nice sweet malt and warm alcohol aromas. Love the flavor and mouthfeel of this beer. Starts with raisins and chocolate, finishes with bourbon and candi sugar. Beer literally coats the mouth, giving it a long finish. Sweetness is well balanced and not cloying. Very rich and satisfying. Reminds me of Petite Liquer which was a French champagne blended with an orange liquer. Definitely a keeper.

Photo of chrishart74
3.58/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A. pours a light amber color with the edge slightly brown indicative of its oak aging.

S. Vanilla, brandy, and honey. Sweet candy.

T. Sweet! Reminds me much more of a fine brandy than bourbon as others have suggested. Honey aftertaste is definitely present and reminiscent of port. Alcohol is present especially as it warms.

M. Very nice (I love brandy, rum, and port).

D. A slow but satisfying sipper.

Overall, a good brew but one I may not revisit unless age softens the sweetness... not likely.

Photo of kinglouix
4.94/5  rDev +19%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I was slightly reluctant to order this because some of the high alcohol weyerbacher products tend to be overwhelming with the alcohol being the predominant flavor. Quite frankly this was the best barley wine I have ever had. The vanilla smooths over the bourban and the fuses with the other flavors to create Barley Wine bliss. This is the best Weyerbacher product I have ever tasted and would recommend this product to any beer, wine or bourban drinker. Can't wait to seek this out in the bottle.

Photo of jzeilinger
4.3/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 ounce bottle from 2008. Poured into a tulip glass and was a mahogany/reddish color that was translucent, perhaps a toffee color. Had alot of fine particulate "floaties", my fault for not paying closer attention to the fact these have been bottle fermented as part of the process. Has very fine carbonation going on. Pours a one finger tan colored head that quickly fades to a fine creamy layer over the top. The vast amount of floaties don't look overly appealing. For anyone who reads this, my advice is to pour this one quietly and leave a little in the bottom of the bottle, you can swig that seperately as long as the glass is floaty-free, all is good!

Smells of roasted caramel toffee malts, raisins, butterscotch hints, brown sugar. The taste is dominated by caramel, toffee, raisin, and some vanilla in the background. The hi-lite of this one for is the the nice blend of bourbon that settles in underneath all of the other flavors going. The hops come through, ever so slightly, just enough at the end of the sip to dial back the sweetness just a small bit. Insanity is Blithering Idiot on bourbon 'roids. The Idiot is decent, but the Insanity is far and away better. The bourban finish leaves a nice warming effect in the throat that lingers for several minutes. It finishes wet and then evolves to semi-dry.

This is a full bodied, heavy beer, is very smooth on the tongue, and has some depth to it that makes things very interesting. I feel this is very drinkable, it is very sweet, and very potent. I know some people didn't appreciate the sweet side of this beer as much as I did, but perhaps you need to be in the right mood or frame of mind. Best served in a snifter or tulip glass and I would pour it slight chilled or at room temp. This is a very good offering from Weyerbacher. I look forward to this once a year treat.

Photo of yourefragile
4.54/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle purchased on my first visit to the brewery Nov 2006. Aged in a cool dark place.

Split the bottle, pouring it into two snifters and letting it warm up to near room temperature. Relatively clear, crimson/mahogany color, hard pour produces a thin bubbly tan head that leaves little lacing and retention (as expected for the style and age). Strong, rich balanced aroma of vanilla, oak, bourbon, ripe dark fruits, but very little burn from alcohol like a fresh bottle. Obviously the hops and alcohol burn that are present fresh have now almost completely faded and this now resembles something like a port. Strong notes of raisin and dark fruits, and from the middle into the finish a complex balance of oak, vanilla, bourbon. Carbonation has held up well, supporting the medium-full smooth body. I'm a much bigger fan of this beer with some age on it and is holding up very well with 3 years on it.

Photo of paco1029384756
4/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle thanks to jlindros.

Pours a murky brown color with one finger of smooth off white head.

Scent of sugars, some fruit, caramel, oak, bitter spices, and a hint of alcohol. Surprisingly mellow for the strength, and the bourbon and oak characters are nice and subtle.

Taste of sweet candy, sugars, bourbon, caramel, and dark fruit. Similarly with the scent, the bourbon and oak are subtle, maybe they are more noticeable when the beer is fresh. A tasty English Barleywine to be sure, I would love to try this again in the future.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied and smooth with a small pinch from the carbonation.

Insanity from Weyerbacher Brewing Co.
93 out of 100 based on 2,068 ratings.