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Insanity - Weyerbacher Brewing Co.

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2,121 Ratings

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Ratings: 2,121
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
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Ratings: 2,121 | Reviews: 882
Photo of farrago
3.84/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

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

Photo of JasonA
4.77/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Light carmel, almost amber. Fairly clear, though not transparent. Little head into islands as expected with ample lacing.

Almost carmel. Wow. There is a lot here that Im not used to smelling. Not sure I could place all of it. Sweet, though floral. Extremely appealing. Wow, I could smell this all day. If the taste is anything close to the smell, this is gonna be one heck of a brew. I can smell the ABV and its quite enticing.

Malty smooth. Wow, lots and lots of creamy carmely malt. Not heavy at all. Its sweet, yummy really, but more smooth than typical malt. The only tiny detractor is some of the ABV creeps up into the taste and can overwhelm. Overall, this is amazing. True to style with little to no hops. I need to find this receipe.

Awesome balance for a BW. I would love to know how they made this so smooth. Malty aftertaste is great.

A++++ would buy from again. This is everything I want in an English BW.

Photo of phantomwyse
4.05/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Hazy, but vivid, muddy orange body with a vivacious better than two-finger tan head. Lively carbonation. It would take a geologist to fully appreciate the layers of lacing produced by this beer

S: Matured alcohol up front, like an aged Scotch. Dark fruit with plum, fig, grape, maybe some berry leading the charge. Solid ubiquitous malts.

T: Dark and fruity, with the same fruits as above, but with powdered cocoa all over them. Soft, but noticeable, alcohol -- blackberry brandy, perhaps some sherry. Pulled taffy and some hints at bubblegum Solid malt foundation supporting the heavy fruit and alcohol burden, light caramel, warm milk.

M: Medium to full bodied with a moderate creaminess.

D: Given the abv, it will sneak up on you. Despite the delightful taste, this pretty girl will take you for a wild ride.

Photo of ffejherb
3.94/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Memphis Tap Room on 3/7/09 during Philly Beer Week.

A - Poured a caramely copper-colored body with modest carbonation and very little head that quickly disappeared and left no lacing.

S - Very subdued nose for a bourbon barrel-aged beer, especially a barleywine. Sweet caramel malt with borubon and vanilla notes emerging as it warmed up. Some bubblegum notes reminiscent of Hubba Bubba also appeared, along with a slight waft of alcohol.

T - The sweetness of the malt and vanilla flavor creates an underlying bublegum sweetness. Hops are surprisingly scant, as is the bourbon presence. There are some oak/woody notes with a touch of vanilla that emerge in the finish.

M - Medium body with a thick, syrupy mouthfeel. While it is certainly sweet, the bourbon presence appeases any cloying aspect this would have had. Finish is bittersweet.

D - This wasn't as insane as I had anticipated. Instead, this was a very sweet barleywine with a subtle bourbon presence. I will say that it was quite drinkable for a high ABV barleywine, although one was certainly enough for me in a sitting.

Photo of StrangeBrewer76
4.85/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours copper brown and hazy into a tulip with a uniform bubble of medium to small sized head about 2 fingers that fades back in due time leaving a nice continuous foamy lacing.

I smell licorice, banana bread and earth. Very root, dirt smell. Intriguing. Second smell, I get a fruit like cherry or a berry.

Tastes of banana bread and brown sugar with a little of the oak wood. Yowza! This is good. Alcohol burn as an afterthought only helps my impression.

Mouthfeel could not be improved. Creamy, smooth and easy with just a minor bite at the end to remind you that this is not a milk. Outstanding.

Drinkability - yes. More please.

I will buy this again whenever I see it and also look into more of this style.

Photo of treyrab
4.21/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Big thanks go Numbeercruncher for recommending this. I have heard much about this brew and have been anxiuously awaiting its release, so I cracked one to start my spring break. Grabbed one tonight, but I will be going back for more. Poured into my snifter...

A: Pours a thick, murky copper that is surpringly clear. A very thin skim of bone colored head appears while subtle carbonation maintains a thin head.

S: The smell is surprisingly lacking in complexity. Smell is slight oak, very light caramel and slight bourbon. The smell is nothing to get excited over as it smells very light.

T: Gladly this beer tastes incredible...way better than the scent. The beer starts with a great oaky bourbon. The bourbon is the perfect amount and is not overly done. After the bourbon notes come a nice dry oak and sweet caramel. Some slight vanilla also shows. A great aspect of this beer is the fruitiness. Some great mix of light and dark fruits blend well with the bourbon.

M: A tad light for my liking for such a big brew, but not bad.

D: For an 11.1ABV, this is incredibly drinkable. I think the thinner mouthfeel yields this, but I can definitely drink 2 or 3 of these in a sitting. I will be saving a bunch to age.

Photo of nick76
4.4/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

The aroma is very fruity with tropical fruit, bourbon, caramel, vanilla, wood, and malt. The appearance is deep amber with a large head. The flavor is like the aroma and very complex. The palate is a tad thin but still smooth. Overall it's fantastic but very unusual. One of my favorite beers.

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

A - Poured from a bottle into a pint glass, beautiful hazy medium brown color, with some lacing - has an almost syrupy look to it.

S - Really impressive aroma, oak and alcohol, also fruity and caramel-like notes.

T - similar to smell, with fruity, caramel tones, maybe raisin-y. Very pronounced oak/bourbon flavor, and some toasty bread in there too.

M - Creamy, with light carbonation

D - The most drinkable barleywine I've tried, despite the high ABV. Would normally stick with one pint of a barleywine, but I could easily go for two of this one.

Photo of bonkers
4.25/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I poured from a 22 ounce bottle into a snifter. It pours a dark, clear caramel color with a decent white head and a bit of lacing. The aroma is heavy on booze. The flavor is more complex however. There are hints of wood, caramel, dried fruit and alcohol, the finish is alcohol. The brew is medium bodied and it is a sipper. The 11% abv is not in your face and it is a good beer. I did enjoy this slightly more than blithering idiot.

Edit: with 2 years on it the beer is amazing. Much fuller in body, more prominant bourbon. Just great

Photo of FleeVT
3.93/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Brown bomber into a pint glass.

A: Fairly clear burnt amber with a sprite off white head. Excellent lacing. The carbonation is generated solely with the poor as there is little to no action later.

S: Very subdued nose. Sweet malts with subtle hints of banana, breads, and a dab of alcohol in the form of bourbon (from the bourbon wood aging).

T/M: This is silky smooth when it hits your tongue then tingle with carbonation as it passes over the palate. Exceptional body. I pick up the banana and brown sugar on the front, bananas foster perhaps. Fantastic and smooth, and then you swallow. The alcohol peppers your palate and dries the back of your throat as it warms it's way down your chest.

D: A sipper for sure and a damn good one. I really like the offerings from Weyerbacher and this is exemplary of the style.

Photo of Lothore
3.65/5  rDev -12%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A- Pours a clear reddish hue with a two finger head that dissapates rather quickly.

S- Very syrupy, sweet and malty, caramel, perhaps a hint of vanilla?

T- Caramely, smooth, dark fruits, raisin, sweet, a bit resiny, back end is a little muted.

M- Medium viscosity, a little low on the carbonation.

D- This is a very drinkable beer, i'd definitely have another but it's not as full bodied as id like it to be for an 11 percent barleywine (but this particular bottle has been aging about a year so that could have something to do with it.)

Photo of meatyard
4.14/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a hazy, muddy ruby color with a short, noisy head.

Smells very nicely of the bourbon, vanilla and dark fruits.

The taste is similar to the smell but not as pronounced. Certainly there is the dark fruit and the bourbon alcohol taste (and aroma) lingers and lingers in the mouth.

Mouthfeel is fairly thick and carbonation continued throughout the glass.

Drinkability is worth going slow on this one. I might like 2 in a row but that could be more than I would appreciate with the high ABV.

Photo of Mauerhan
4.32/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

ive been waiting a while to open this little beauty.I think to myself as i crack open the bottle... tonight my little friend is not your lucky night.

pours a opaque copper brown into my glass. a nice one finger head is produced and then fades. moderate amount of lacing. and a nice little collection of sediment down bottom.

smell is nice sweet bready malt. small hop presence. mostly a nice vanilla bourbon scent.

taste is luxurious. smooth oaky tones. a nice creamy sweetness. oak, vanilla, bread, some dark fruit. and a slight burn of alcohol at the back.

mouth is creamy. thick. full. rich. like i said some burn.

very drinkable. i love me some barley wines and would love to lay a bottle of this down for a year to see what else comes out to play. so i guess im on the market for it again. ISO INSANITY

Photo of nasty15108
4.32/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 1pt 6oz bomber into a snifter.

A - Poured a brownish/red color with a head of tan foam. Good lacing and decent head retention.

S - Aroma of vanilla, dark fruit, alcohol(Burbon)and wood.

T - Malty with a slight sweetness up front. Flavors of vanilla, caramel and dark fruit were predominant. Lot of heat from the alcohol throughout. Finishes off slightly dry. Great flavor.

MF&D - Med/Thick mouthfeel. Coated the mouth well. A sipper, but highly drinkable for 11.1% ABV. Highly recommended.

Photo of wisrarebeer
4.34/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thought I'd crack this open with the temps not reaching more than +3F and the low tonight about -10F. Windchills are -20-35F. Perfect for this beer!

A: surprisingly hazy, light copper color
S: definite barrel-aged notes
T: very, very good - sweetness was there for English-style BW and bourbon was amazing
M: not cloying, very drinkable
D: I'd definitely order another...

Photo of ncbeermonger
3.78/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

hello great beer!

This english styled barley wine pours a little hazey

The smell is a little overpowering I caught some caramel in there though!

It tastes like a barleywine should taste, a little over powering but still great!

the mouthfeel is a little odd almost slimey

This is a very drinkable barleywine!

Photo of macster
4.07/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bourbon barrrel aged 22 oz. bomber. Pours a hazy dark amber-orange with a fairly thin head which maintains as a fine film throughout the glass. No lacing noted. Assertive, luscious aromas of dark fruits, bourbon, charred wood and vanilla bean all somewhat amplified by the alcohol. Mouthfeel was a bit lighter than anticipated for such a big brew. Complex and delicious flavors of dark crystal malts, plum, dates, bourbon, wood and vanilla start things out on the sweeter side, but a mild woody/hoppy bitterness with a degree of warmth form the alcohol finishes this off nicely.

Photo of kevd193213
3.2/5  rDev -22.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Bomber, poured into a flute. Cloudy amber pour with a medium tan colored head. Aroma of brown sugar, hops and alcohol. Nice lacing around the glass, this is a thick beer which you can almost chew. Taste of piney hops with some pepper present. Dominating flavor is apple cider with a tart full finish.

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

Ran into a random bottle at Rustico in Viriginia

A - Cloudy amber with a small off white head and awesome lacing

S - Lots of malt. Oak and bourbon smells as well

T - Lots of oak vanilla and caramel

M - Medium body with medium carbonation. Smooth and creamy.

D - AWESOME. Totally drinkable and extremely enjoyable. A tad bit smoother and it would be pretty much perfect.

Photo of westweasel
3.93/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer pours out a cloudy roan (it's a color someone told me about) with a thin beige head. Floaties seen throughout the glass - appears to be yeast sediment.

The aroma was alcohol - front & center. Hints of caramel and bready malt are also around but take some work to pick up.

The taste was caramel and nuts. It also had a tartness and "cherry-like" character to it, probably from the oak aging. The mouthfeel is pretty full.

This is one very drinkable and enjoyable barleywine. It's definitely a sipper and it's tasty.

Photo of TangTKE402
3.96/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured the color of cloudy pumpkin brown from a 22 oz. bottle. I poured it cautiously, so no major head developed with

The malty nose smells almost of a Scotch ale mixed with floral notes. Upon first sip, I was blown away by its originality of flavor and overall texture.

The mouthfeel is substantial, though not overpowering, and the taste comes off malty on the tongue, but swallows smooth with the overarching taste of alcohol and burnt vanilla.

In this bottle I taste the feeling of a warm fireplace inside as the cold crisp winds whip at the windows.

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

This poured a hazy mahogany with light tan head. It smelled fairly complex, like vanilla oak, roasted honey wheat, dark caramel, prunes and alcohol. It tasted like brown sugar and dark caramel with aged vanilla oak, fresh plumb, prominent alcohol, and a hint of pineapple. It was somewhat thick with no carbonation, and had a lasting bittersweet aftertaste with alcohol warming. Overall this was a big beer with big flavor and body, and big alcohol. It was fairly tasty, but lacked subtlety. There was no year on the bottle, so I'm not sure if this was fresh, but I think a couple years of age could really help mellow this beer out. Otherwise, it was generally a clean and interesting drink, certainly enjoyable to sip.

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

22oz bottle served in a goblet.

L - murky brown/red color with a good sized tan head, carbonation bubbles were pretty constant throughout the entire drinking session.

S - bourbon/alcohol aroma is most of what I'm getting from this one.

T - bourbon flavor hits upfront and then there is a nice sweetness of malt before the warming brings back the bourbon taste.

F - medium bodied with mild carbonation.

D - it's a pretty good slow sipper.

Photo of PatrickJR
3.45/5  rDev -16.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Review number 350!

Poured from a 22 oz bottle into oversized snifter. I let it warm up to slightly under room temperature for maximum flavor.

A - Orangish brown, nearly opaque. Quarter inch of light brown, almost peach-colored head rises and has some surprisingly good retention for the ABV, with some equally impressive lacing.

S - Huge vanilla character jumps out at first, with something citrus, like tangerine, backing this aroma. Sweet and slightly sour smelling berries pull through, like a combination of blackberries, blueberries, and black cherries. Earthy and woody aromas pull through faintly in the back, followed by a whiff of hot alcohol.

T - Unfortunately, I'm having the same problems here that I had with Blithering Idiot. All of the wonderful vanilla and fruit from the nose are very fleeting in the taste. After this quick burst of fruity and quite indistinct flavor, the oaked character takes hold briefly with an ample bitterness erasing any vestige of decadent sweetness. In the finish and aftertaste, things get quite ugly with the ill-hidden alcohol. Bitter, hot, and nearly overpowering alcohol takes over and leaves nothing on the palate.

M - Medium to full bodied, certainly too thin for my liking. The carbonation is also a little high. Both of these contribute to the overwhelming alcohol and lack of sweet character. Again, problems that Blithering Idiot had.

D - I wanted to like this beer, and while it's certainly not bad it misses the mark in a lot of ways. The alcohol makes this quite the chore.

Photo of Reino
4.24/5  rDev +2.2%
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.

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Insanity from Weyerbacher Brewing Co.
93 out of 100 based on 2,121 ratings.