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Insanity - Weyerbacher Brewing Co.

Not Rated.

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

1,964 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,964
Reviews: 844
rAvg: 4.16
pDev: 11.78%
Wants: 188
Gots: 354 | 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: 1,964 | Reviews: 844 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of goschool
4.47/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This barley wine pours a ruby-brown with a creamy, but small almond head. The nose has lots of wood and lots of alcohol as well as bourbon, vanilla, and caramel malts. Wood and bourbon also dominate the taste. Vanilla and sugary sweet malts come out as the elixir sits on your tongue. The mouthfeel is thick, oily, and well carbonated. I can taste the 11% ABV more than I can feel it, but still, it's big and bold.

Photo of FtownThrowDown
4.55/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I purchased this off a recomendation from a friend, and was not upset. I'm usually all about the stouts, but am drinking more and more barleywines. Let me start off by saying, I think this may be the most drinkable 11%+ beer I've had.
Pours a light brown with plenty of substance floating/suspended in the glass. Tastes very smooth. The bourbon flavor is not as strong as in the heresy. It allows more of the vanilla flavor to come through. Which was very pleasant. I commented several times on how smooth and drinkable this beer was. It is just that smooth. I bought this at a local store and drank it the same night, but believe it was from last years batch, so it was inadvertently aged nicely. For barleywine drinkers and non-barleywine drinkers, I would highly recommend giving this one a chance.

Photo of kirok1999
4.33/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Been waiting a while for this one. 22oz bomber.

A- Hazy, ruddy bronze, moderate head that leaves no lacing, not surprising as this is mostly about the malt.

S- Sweet vanilla, oak, bourbon, and dark fruits.

T- Thick smoky oak, vanilla, and a bourbon alcohol burn that warms the throat nicely. It is vanilla up front, dark fruit in the middle and that smooth alcohol burn in the end. Very complex but not too over the top. The finish is what is most noticable; scotch/bourbon alcohol.

M- Creamy and slightly dry.

D- Pretty high ABV but still a very drinkable barleywine. Goes down smoothly and would be great by a fire on a cold winter night. Not too bad in the middle of summer either.

Photo of RedHaze
4.28/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a clear rusty brown, with a quarter inch head that fades slowly to a thin swirling cap, leaving behind a thick webbing of lace.

Smell; very pronounced vanilla, with some definite hints of bourbon. Some of the oak is there, as well as plums and cherries. I can detect some caramel and toffee maltiness in the background.

Taste; there's definitely a lot of bourbon flavor in this. It takes a few sips to be able to start picking out anything else. The vanilla makes a nice appearance, as well as some coconut that I didn't notice in the aroma. sweet cherries and plums are present, and mingle nicely with the bourbon flavors. I can see how some would not like this beer, but I happen to enjoy bourbon and scotch, so this is making for an enjoyable drink.

Mouthfeel is medium to full bodied, adn seems to fit the flavor profile very nicely. With the strong bourbon flavors this is definitely a sipping beer, but I still find myself continually reaching for the glass, although I am feeling a bit numb at this point.

I've had this fresh and with a little age on it, and with time the malts and stone fruits really have a chance to shine through, creating a really nice drinking experience. Probably the best beer (with at least a year on it) that Weyerbacher puts out. It's like bourbon soaked cherries with a little brown sugar and vanilla sprinkled on top; a definite dessert beer.

Photo of JohnnyM2002
3.93/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a white wine glass at 55 degrees.

Pours a cloudy amber color and smells of caramel, vanilla, and heavy on the alcohol. Oak-barrel aging gives it almost a bourbon aroma. The high ABV comes out in the aftertaste, but before it goes down, it tastes sweet; the alcohol and wood balance this out very well, though. For being 11%, it goes down very well. One of my favorite Barleywines so far.

Photo of guzzle211
4.43/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle cellared 8 months poured into a tremens glass
A- cloudy dark amber red. thin white head disappeared as quickly as it fizzed into being. a few bubbles left on the glass but no real lacing (with this abv i am not the least bit surprised.)
S- smells like a nutbrown ale, slight alcohol presence
T+M- a brew like this - a delicious, barrel aged version of weyerbacher's blithering idiot - is a testament to the wonders of both bourbon barrel flavoring (aged up to three weeks in kentucky barrels such as four roses) and bottle conditioning , . this bottle has been sitting since november, and tastes so much better than a new one (and a new one is pretty yummy.) it tastes like a nutbrown ale with an alcohol hint, and is incredibly deceptive. it is filling in the mouth but its not thick.
D - i almost gave this a 5 because an american barleywine with this type of abv really shouldn't be this smooth and inviting. it would be a foolish session, but the thought almost crosses your mind.

Photo of Westsidethreat
4.38/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Looks a lot like apple cider, extremely hazed. Light tan head is wispy but present. Little streams of bubbles appear from various places on the sides of the glass and make their way to the surface.

S: Bourbon, vanilla, dark cherries and caramel. Yum.

T: Hello bourbon! Lots of baked coconut, vanilla oak and toast. Alcohol esters very prevelent. Sort of an off aftertaste, bit too dirty of a bitterness that doesn't balance properly.

M: Thick and chewy. Carbonation works its magic.

D: I love bourbon barrel beers and this one was no exception. Missed on the aftertaste but deserved the good marks regardless.

Photo of hoppymeal
4.33/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22 oz 2005 vintage. Pours dark copper to amber in color and hazy with a large tan head. Toasted caramel malty sweetness, coconut, vanilla, rich sugary prunes, maybe a little piney hoppiness and a definite alcohol prescence in the aroma. Taste is some sweet caramel and vanilla followed by a hint of bitterness, with a nice big alcohol presence in the finish. Somewhat chewy, medium to heavy body. For an oak-aged beer, the sweet vanilla and oak/wood flavors and aromas were not too strong, which I preferred as some are too sweet in the taste and smell. I had sampled this beer before,(about 3 mos ago, a 12oz 05 bottle) and was dissapointed as it was all alcohol, almost like rubbing alcohol. I wrote that off as a bad bottle and am glad I did, this sampling is much different, a very good barleywine.

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

Poured from a 12 oz bottle at 52F.

A: Dark copper-brown with plenty of particles floating about. What's up with that? There wasn't any yeast left in the bottle and there's not much head (so it's probably not wheat). Slight leg/lace.

S: Mmmm... bourbon! A little raisin, bread & toffee. Quite lovely.

T: Toffee, raisin, prune and vanilla. Alcohol is apparant, but nicely balanced by with sweetness... which is kept in check by a slight hint of bitterness. The sweet, boozy flavour is like candy for adults! (I like it a lot).

M: Moderate body and carbonation. Pleasant sweet/dry balance. A little acidic in the finish.

D: Definitely more approachable than some of the hop bombs within this style... but it's a sipper.

Photo of Jason
3.88/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

22 oz bomber with no freshness date.

A- Very nice lacing effect on the glass, hazed reddish amber.

S- Head aroma of bourbon, vanilla, wood, caramel, alcohol ... mildly solvent and fusel oil from the barrel.

T&M- 11.1% abv where? Oh ...wait a minute, here it comes. There it is, that warming alcohol laced with fusel oil from the barrel. Wood flavor is snappy with a richly dense maltiness underneath. Mellow hoppiness, lots of malt sweetness which is balanced by the slow but steady alcohol, bourbon, and wood.

D- I slapped this beer at some good funky Stilton cheese ... wow, what a pairing. A sipping beer for sure, if you love bourbon barrel laced beers then this one is a must.

Photo of mcallister
3.98/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A reddish brown pour with a quick to disspate off white yellow head leaving behind some very spotty lacing.

Sweet oak aromas that have infused a coconut, pineapple aroma into this brew with a vanilla bean. The wood covers most of the aromas some minor smells of malt, and some hop.

Big on the coconut and vanilla bean flavors. More of a dried coconut type of flavor. Big complex flavors of oak with very balanced malt and hops. A medium finish that leaves you wanting another sip. Alcohol is very well hidden by the wood. I would prefer slightly less oak aging but I still think this is a terrific beer that I will definitely have again.

Photo of hero27
3.6/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22 oz bomber.

Stagnant dull copper, head of tan foam holds well but leaves nothing for lacing. Woody, oak-barrel flavor with some vanilla and obvious alcohol in the mix..the malts are the headliner here, and come off with somewhat of a whisky flavor. Easy to drink even at room temp, but the alcohol warms like an electric blanket...watch yourself.

Not stellar in my opinion, but a solid oak-aged barleywine.

Photo of DrJay
4.33/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This one had been sitting in my "cellar" since last summer. It poured a hazed caramel with some yeasty flecks. The fine, white bubbles formed a short cap and left some lacing behind. Strong whiskey component in the aroma, along with solid malt, caramel, and lighter vanilla. Sweet, malty flavour, again with whiskey, but more vanilla is present here. Oak rounds things out somewhat and alcohol is warm in the finish. Full body, low carbonation, quite smooth on the palate. I thought the balance worked on this one - lots of strong characteristics that play well together.

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

Rich orange amber in colour. Initial head of beige which crumpled into little more than a ring. Lace followed the demise. Smells of apple, yeast, caramel, and candy. Hops come through in the nose and mingle with the oaky tones for a wood and bark feel. Alcohol spins a spicy layer of its own. The taste is wild and raw. Deliciously sweet. Candied and fermented. Vague hop balance cuts through the sweetness and gives this a bit of civility. The mouthfeel is medium with a bit of syrupy quality. The drinkability is good. Alcohol considered that is. This is a taste treat. Never overbearing. A well crafted barley wine.

Photo of akajimmyd
4.4/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance – Hazy, dark, brown/purple with orange or apricot tints. Nice little crown, solid retention for the style. Poured into a snifter.

Smell – Fruity esters – apples, sweet candy sugars.

Taste – even a few months of aging has mellowed what was a very boozy taste. Delicious dark fruits – prunes, grapes apples.

Mouthfeel – strong full heavy body in the mouth, right on. complex, slightly woody as it warms.

Drinkability/notes - It’s a barleywine, and a really good one, given that, drinkability is right on. A good long slow drink. Do yourself a favor and don't drink it cold. Give this one a try.

Photo of EStreet20
4.88/5  rDev +17.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

22 ounce bomber bottle poured into a fairly large snifter glass. Served at about cellar temp.

A - A nice hard pour yields a gorgeous red color with a nice two finger sized head. The head has great retention. Only when held directly to light can you see some tiny bubbles in the beer as well as some floating particles, I assume to be yeast unless it's wood from the barrels?

S - Has a smell of some dark fruits with a great vanilla character as well as a bit of caramel coming through. Alcohol notes come through as well. A great sniffer.

T - A ton of vanilla flavor busting through a plethora of fruity tastes on the palate. A subtle smoky flavor is present as well. The barrel aging has really turned this into a mellow and pleasant tasting beer for a barleywine, but the alcohol presence definitely reminds you of what you're drinking.

M - An excellent smooth, lightly carbonated feel that is great for the style.

D - What a flavor rush, you def want more. Some new craft drinkers will definitely be scared by nearly any beer of this style but big beer fans are in for a treat.

Photo of DaggerEyes
4.45/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 oz bomber bottle ---> an oversized wine glass

poured a hazy ruby / brown with a small head that disapates into a lovely lace coating. Great legs, sticky on the side of the glass

Truely Exceptional and complex nose. Sweet and fruity with notes of strawberry, vanilla. Also present are some carmel, bourban and perhaps some coconut and banana scents mixed with a slightly tangy hop back bone which balances out the sweet fruity scents nicely.

A bit spicey with a nice ammount of carbonation and a malty taste on the tip of the tounge. Warm and fuzzy alchohol feeling on the pallete. Taste of carmel, vanilla with an alchohol and hoppy finish.

A wonderful beer to sip and sip on. A very enjoyable after dinner drink

Photo of bditty187
4.1/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Hazy, coppery amber in hue with bronze highlights as well, IMO this is the perfect color for a barleywine! Beige foam, at the apex the bubbles united long enough to create a head that was two fingers tall. Head retention was decent, the foam slowly faded to a soapy cap. The subsequent lacing was very impressive considering the high alcohol content; I love the tattered wallpaper look. Damn lovely to look at!

The nose is strongly alcoholic… whoa. I swear I smell gin and cognac; amazingly potent in this regard. I need to hunt through the booze to find the beer but once I did I was rewarded mightily with caramelized sugars, oak, vanilla, and hints of dark fruit. I wish the beery aspects were louder because the alcohol is so vocal. No matter, every time I take a sniff I get a big-ass smile on my face. Inviting but it is not a very complex bouquet, aside from the cognac aspects.

The palate is strongly alcoholic… whoa. I swear I taste gin and cognac infused with vanilla beans aged in oak casks. It’s much fruitier than the nose let on; the blend of fruits is great! I detect apples, pears, raisin, bananas, and even some figs. Caramel candy. Molasses, Jim Bean, oak, more vanilla, and the finish starts hot, vaguely spicy with a cool vanilla wafer sweetness. The aftertaste is hot in the throat but sweet on the tongue. Complex. Relaxing. Oh, this is very good. Still, I wish the beery aspects were louder. The palate is dominated by oak and booze; more maltiness would have been a reward. Am I complaining about a beer like this? Yes I am. I am a hard-ass on barleywines. This is really good but not quite elite.

The mouthfeel fits this beer well but nothing strikes me as noteworthy. I can’t take a big enough sip to really get a good feel for how big this beer is, I’d call it medium/medium-full but this is largely a guess. Low but natural carbonation, I like the mouthfeel just fine.

I *have to* sip this beer. It is so damn boozy and raw. I like it. I really like it. I wish there was more barleywine aspects. Broken record, I know. IMO, this beer is very close to being world class… it could be a unique gem. Believe me, I am not complaining. This beer is a hell of a night cap. Sip. Sip. Sip. Relax. Sip. Ah, my brain is slowly getting soaked. What a lovely beer. Thank you BigLove! Recommended.

Photo of Viggo
4.33/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a slightly hazy orange, small white head forms, some spots of lace and decent retention. Smell is nice, bourbon/whiskey, sweet caramel and toffee, citrus and floral, alcohol, very nice. Taste is malty, lots of caramel, rich, bourbon and oak notes, floral, and vanilla in the finish with more toffee. Mouthfeel is medium to full bodied with low carbonation. Amazing, possibly the best bourbon aged beer I've had yet, at least for the style. Thanks DrJay!

Photo of Oxymoron
3.55/5  rDev -14.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Insane in the membrane. The pour was a darker amber to brown with slight orange hues when held to the light. Mostly cloudy with a decent head when poured that left a lawyer through the majority of the tasting. Left good lacing as well.

The smell is phenolic. Very much like a sherry or lighter bourbon. Really the smell masks everything else, but hints of sweet malt and caramel touches.

The taste has that distinct oak aged taste but not as bad as the nose would indicate. More of a smooth taste, the malt is well represented with caramel and touches of DMS flavors. At the front there is a peppery flavor that blends with a very subtle yeast quality. There is a sweetness that lingers and mellows the bourbon quality out. It becomes more apparent and easier to drink as the beer warms.

The body is full and the carbonation is low. Overall this was is a beer to sit and enjoy. I think this is a beer that would age well, so if you have a bottle sit on it.

Photo of orsulacp
4.33/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This beer was copper with some red hues and a very bubbly off white head. Fruits, apples and cherries, a hint of vanilla and oak dominate the smell, and a cough medicine like astringent is also there. I got a big hit of black cherry in the taste with some raisins, and bourbon like vanilla/oak flavor. I don't get much of the alcohol, it is very well hidden. The mouth feel is very light, yet it leaves slight glycerin coating. This is very drinkable especially considering the high alcohol content.

Photo of Beauregard
4.33/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I really enjoyed this one on tap... a big barleywine with a lot of sweet, malty flavors, including vanilla and caramel, as well as oak and hop tastes. Noticeable alcohol flavor at first, but not overwhelming for such a strong beer. The smooth creamy mouthfeel brought it all together like a fine dessert. My first impression upon tasting this was black velvet cheesecake with a dash of bourbon. I love it... hope to see it on tap again.

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

Had this one sitting in my DBF for well over a year now... about time I break it out for a review!

Served from a 22oz. bomber in a big brandy snifter at cellar temperature. Will let it warm up a bit more before I complete the review, however.

A - Pours like nice, unfiltered apple cider with a ruby cast, creating a dense, finely bubbled head -- light tan in color, and creamy. Also shows pockets of big soapy bubbles, swirling with rainbow color as if they were actually made of soap. The head dissapates over the course of a few minutes, but leaves behind islands of big bubbles. Lacing sticks to the side of the glass with each sip, and retreats ever so slowly back into the remaining liquid.

S - Big, candy apple and vanilla. Seductive. Malty and sweet like a dessert. Creme brulee? Has a depth of character that contains many nuances that are hard to pinpoint. Can't get my nose out of the glass.

T - Rather laid back upon entering the mouth... miscellaneous malt sweetness and a hint of vanilla. Once it hits the middle of the tongue, that's where the fun begins, and the oak comes through. Immediately following, there are yeasty notes and dark, sweet fruits. Lots of raisiny goodness. The swallow brings a hugely warming alcohol kick, and a nice dose of hoppiness for balance.

M - Tingly, but restrained carbonation. Washes around the mouth pleasantly, becoming a froth. Initally a bit rough from the alcohol, but once it warms to somewhere around room temperature, the alcohol fades harmlessly into the background.

D - A big beer from the boys who love to make big beers. Great scent, and a very nice taste profile. The oak aging adds an excellent depth and roundness that pumps up the scores. Would go great with a nice English Stilton Cheese. Don't drink a bomber of this by yourself unless you're intentionally trying to get plastered, or in need some some help falling asleep.

Photo of Crosling
3.8/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Attractive ruby in color. Aroma is pretty one-dimensional, as it’s full of the barrel, but not much malt complexity. Flavor is bursting with oak barrel contributions, especially cocunut but also vanilla and bourbon along with the sweet malt which is unequally balanced by the barrel. Oaky and dry and the feel on the palate is stupendous.

Photo of jaxon53
4.35/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in a snifter from a twenty two ounce bottle, at slightly below room temp . Poured a deep redish amber with a short bubbly head. Smelled of hops , oak , and bourbon , followed by a mild burst of alcohol. Had a nice smooth taste of oak, bourbon , and a faint vanilla sweetness that was followed by a rather warm alcohol finish. Nice and gentle on the palate with a little kick to let you know you're drinking a barley wine. Thought this one was pretty drinkable, but is definately a sipper.

Insanity from Weyerbacher Brewing Co.
93 out of 100 based on 1,964 ratings.