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Insanity - Weyerbacher Brewing Co.

Not Rated.

Educational use only; do not reuse.

2,070 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,070
Reviews: 870
rAvg: 4.15
pDev: 11.81%
Wants: 195
Gots: 427 | 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: 2,070 | Reviews: 870 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of wagenvolks
4.27/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bomber split with atsprings.

Insanity pours a copper-amber body, relatively clear but stratified with yeast particles. A well-retained wisp of sandy taupe head sticks around as long as the beer does (which wasn't long!). It's probably just me, but I haven't found too many oaked beers to be overly appealing aroma-wise. This one, however, was the exception to the rule, as its smell was drenched in sweetened vanilla-oak complimented by a background of sherry and caramel malts. Absolutly intoxicating.

The flavor was excellent as well. It may have been a bit too sweet, but the vanilla character was delicious. Oaken notes brought a nice dryness to the body that balanced out the oily hops and sticky candied malts. A bittersweet, boozy mouthfeel delivered a medium-thick body and a somewhat oily finish, while the alcohol warmed the back of the palate. Overall, this was a great beer, and as far as English barleywines are concerned, it may be one of the finer interpretations of the style.

Photo of AKBelgianBeast
4.67/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Thanks to kplynch for the trade.

Wow do I like this one. Pours a deep ruby/brown cloudy color with a very nice off white head. Nose reeks of plum, raisin, date, sugar, brown sugar. Taste follows. Awesome dark fruit with raisin, candy plums, brown sugar, caramel, date, some spices, vanilla, maybe nutmeg, Wood on the finish. Sweet maltiness dominates here, but it is refreshingly smooth. Fruit and sugar lingers on the aftertaste. Alcohol is limited to none. mouthfeel is a touch thin I would say, but still good. Ever so slightly over-carbonated. Drinkability is pretty damn incredible in this one. 11% isn't even within my sphere of comprehension when drinking this. dangerous. Overall I am very impressed with this beer. Reminds me slightly of some good belgian strongs ala rochefort. Fantastic brew. Defenitley my favorite beer from weyerbacher so far. Can't wait to see how the other bottles age! Excellent. Exceptional. Extreme. Extra special. Extravagant. Insane.

Photo of Jmamay22
4.57/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Previously enjoyed, but finally reviewing.

Careful poor lets loose a good amount of sediment. Other than the suspended chunks of yeast it is an attractive beer with a tan colored head that settles to a thin cap. The beer itself is a dark ruby red. Some webbed lacing is left behind down the walls of my glass.

Very sweet smelling, faintly fruity and boozy. The bourbon barrel influence should not be understated. The wood, alcohol and vanilla mix with a fig sweetness that is very rich in scent.

The vanilla and oak tones are calling to be tasted. Still very sweet and maybe cloying for some, but enjoyable in my glass. The sweet dark fruits are balanced a by a strong alcohol spiciness. The fussel alcohols seemed to have subdued in the past few months as the vanilla and bourbon characteristics have come through wonderfully. Very port like. The vanilla creates a mellow smoothness from which the fruity alcohol esters bloom into a one of a kind experience.

Mouthfeel is rightly syrupy and this brew is dangerously drinkable. I can't speak enough about the depth and complexity the bourbon barrel aging has provided. I'm looking forward to the bomber I'm letting age.

Photo of jdubjacket
3.72/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Picked up a bottle of this in Batavia, New York when I was there on business. Split with my dad and poured into two pint glasses. Pours a murky brown with no head. A good amount of carbonation. Smell is dried fruit and alcohol. Tastes alot like BOOZE. Good lord this is alcoholic. Aside from the alcohol, the dried fruit and sugar becomes more pronounced. I'm sure this beer is better in the Winter, but for 75 degree weather, it's not ideal.

Photo of SLeffler27
4.12/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The label fairly represents this. The mysterious opaque mahogany elixir lurks below an almond head and draws it down to a fine ring of minimal lace.

Holy bourbon barrels Batman! But don't let that fool you, there are notes of plumb pudding waiting to tickle you olfactory too.

Aside from the obvious oak and malts, there is butter caramel and it keeps evolving across the tounge, and long after swallowing.

Fine carbonation compliments the syrupy silkiness.

Bring it on baby, 11% be dammed. This is one tasty brew, alluring and quite frankly worth the consequences.

Photo of IBUnit63
4.25/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from bomber into Cab glass watching a torrential downpour and Sox-Yanks...

Apple cider body. Bready head - not much visible carbonation. Very rustic, moderately translucent. Looks like a caramel-apple sundae.

Apple, ginger and cloves dominate aroma. Moderate alcohol, copious caramel malt and candied ginger. Slight carbonation sting. Not a huge amount of hops here, but what's there set off piney aroma. Bourbon-oak-vanilla feel. Slightly unbalanced, but not to the detriment of enjoyment - wife says, "It smells like Christmas."

First wallop is quite alcoholic - bourbon-vanilla oak sting comes through with great deal of same spices from aroma. Again, lots of apple and ginger ale. Sweet and creamy. Not picking up a lot of bitterness here - mostly some pine in the hop presence. Complex and all over the place.

Warm and tingly mouthfeel with deep comfortable finish. Ginger ale-ish tingle up front, deep malt depth throughout.

This stuff is an absolute pleasure. Definitely something to sip, maybe in front of a fireplace for a special occasion.

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

Appearance- Pours with very little head and is a golden amber color.

Smell- Suprisingly aromatic, rather fruity too with strong alcoholic presence.

Taste- Pretty sweet beer, fruity and sugary, has some bitterness in the finish, a delightful beer to sip and ponder.

Mouthfeel- Good palate coverage, but doesnt leave much aftertaste.

Drinkability- A very solid brew, a delicious barleywine.

Photo of dnichols
3.58/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Thanks to abankovich who parted with this brew in a great trade. I poured the capped 22 ounce bottle into a tulip at a tasting event held with friends on a dock on the Columbia River.

A: It poured a classic brown and orange tinged body with a nearly amber head that was at most half a finger high before receded and leaving a layer of lacing in its place.

S: It had a rich malt and sweet bourbon aroma followed by a sweet sugary and alcohol smells. There were hints of smoky oak and earth hops but they were very subtle and almost not there.

T: This beer was all about the sugar. There were dominant flavors of caramel, brown sugar, vanilla, and sweet bourbon. The bourbon and oak came through without being overly dominant. There was a thickness to the sweet malty flavors that was similar to a diluted syrup.

M: It was a medium-bodied beer with a watery mouth feel and a warm clean finish.

D: I enjoyed the beer but it was fairly one dimensional and lacked the depth of character needed to offset the sugary flavors. I would gladly try this again but I doubt it will become a standard in my collection.

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

Beautiful pour. It's the color of maple syrup, but with crystalline highlights, and lots of gorgeous swirling bubbles. Aroma of bourbon and sweet malty grain. Huge tastes of vanilla, bourbon, oak, and also a little port wine, with just-sweet-enough caramel malt, and an undercurrent of classic barleywine flavor. Though the mouthfeel is creamy, the alcohol presence is perfect, just sharp enough. Complex, bracing, and delicious.

Photo of JDV
3.24/5  rDev -21.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Bottle shared by MiguelMandingo on BA. Definitely enjoyed this more than the blithering idiot. Poured a medium amber to caramel color with almost no head. Smell was spicy,cedary, oaky and a light alcohol presence as well as some notes of malt and vanilla. Taste is nice and strongly oaked, spicy, but still somewhat hot and grain like alcohol flavored. Still not very easily drinkable, but not bad at all, and more complex than expected.

Photo of beerthulhu
3.82/5  rDev -8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Poured a clear, bright ruby red with a thin creamy, macro-bubbly light beige head that quickly faded to a sparse, patchy layering. Visible carbonation was very soft, almost non apparent.

S: a sharp and pronounced alcohol presence of scotch. Not much else is detected behind the huge overpowering aroma.

T: very boozy and warm scotch. Once again not much else could be detected beyond the huge booziness of this beer.

M: moderately full with some viscosity and once again a spicy booziness on the swallow.

D: While the flavor was smooth within itself, the alcohol was still overpowering to the rest of the beer and severely limits this to moderation. Downing anything more then a bomber at one time would be...well insanity.

Photo of lordofthewiens
3.91/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A 22oz bottle served in a pint glass. This was an amber colored beer with a fairly thick head that left some nice lacing. I wasn't too impressed with the aroma, reminded me of oatmeal with brown sugar. Fortunately it tasted much better than its aroma. Vanilla, vinous, great hops presence, mellow. Noticeably warming alcohol later in the taste. Wonderful beer that packs a bit of a punch.

Photo of taez555
4.39/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22oz bottle. From notes, tasted 2/17/08

This beer poured an orange body with a small white head. Rather opaque with a lot of loose particle swimming around. Not sure if it's a bad bottle or just unsettled yeast.

Nose is extremely well rounded mix of sweet malt and sugary oak with a strong alcohol punch.

Taste is full bodied and extremely sweet. Tons of caramel and caramelized sugar. Sugar in the raw, brown sugar. Very yummy. A nice bourbon oak flavor balances perfectly against the sweetness. Never to big, but never too small. Perfect balance of oak. Bitterness is kept to a minimum with just enough to give it some balance, but never enough to be really noticeable. Very strong sweet alcohol threw every sip.

Insanity huh? I'm not sure about that. Insanity sounds like something completely out of balance and undrinkable. This beer is perfectly balanced with oak and malt. Very nice beer.

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

Bottle pored into a tulip glass produced a nice white billowy head on top of a reddish brown body

Aromas of oak and bourbon as well as dark fruits and vanilla

This thing tastes like a good oaked aged whisky
As well

As for mouthfeel lets just say smooth

An interesting Barley Wine I would drink another

Photo of CWiggins
3.66/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark chestnut brown into a snifter. The head, what little formed, is mainly off-white and dense. Smells of dried fruit, oak, and floral-y hops dominate the aroma. The flavor is big, with Scotch, creme brulee, oak, dried fruit, and vanilla taking the lead. It's not a very thick barleywine: it's relatively easy on the tongue with a medium amount of carbonation. This is a very nice barleywine, but it is a might powerful; half a glass is plenty. Drink slow and enjoy!

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

Thanks to J for the trade/extra.

POurs a clear reddish amber, definitely lighter on the edges. Surprisingly big white head, long lasting foam, nice foam coating on glass.

Smells like bourbon and oak. Gigantic oak taste. I don't have the bottle handy, but I assume this is an oak aged barleywine. Really interesting, and not something I've tried before. Lots of dark fruit ... maybe prunes or figs, and some bourbon in there as well. There's a caramel malt undercurrent that sets off the strong flavors nicely. No real hop flavors that I could detect, or that stood out. Maybe a hint of grapefruit.

I wouldn't want it every day, but really nice.

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

22oz bomber poured into the Hennepin flute. No bottled on/drink by date, although with the listed alcohol content, 11.1% abv, age isn't a concern. "Ale aged in Oak Barrels" written on the bottle.

A fantastic looking beer; a ton of head (about two fingers) that starts off with a bubbly layer on top of its toffee-colored body, but soon smooths out to a finger and a half of smooth, glorious, stick white foam that does not seem to be moving at all toward receding. Where recession does occur a full ring of thick (read: complete) lacing stays.

The body color is a little darker than a lot of barley wines; it looks if anything like a Belgian Strong dark ale. The body color is a really nice dark brown, with subtle bits of super dark red thrown in. Just an awesome beer to look at. Intimidating and yet inviting at the same time. Wow.

...And it smells about the same. Huge presence of dark fruits- plums, figs, dates- along with some toffee/caramel sweetness, with hints of oak thrown in for good measure. No dominant aroma of alcohol, although hints of it come and go. Even some buttery-elements which is really nice. Just a huge bouquet that's an absolute treat to quaff.

The body is a little more focused and on point than the aroma. It's pretty on point, predictable and tight. There is some alcohol/dark fruit on the mid palate, A lot of buttery-ness on the beginning and the finish is similar to the beginning, a predominant buttery/caramel sweetness with some alcohol. There's some oak, between the mid-palate and the finish, but this is not a beer that has a ton of rogue flavors to deal with- it's much like a haiku. Flavor A, Flavor B, Flavor A. That might be the Oak's most significant contribution; the mellowing of all outside flavors, leaving one major flavor progression all done atop a body that is as smooth as any barleywine being made.

The mouthfeel is pretty nice, although nothing to make you say 'wow'. As previously stated the Oak has transformed this into something that is the dictionary definition of smooth and/or lush. There is no carbonation, and not much palate grip. Some slight-sensations on the outer parts of the mouth, but other than that, it's a beer that for the most parts, is just a smooth drinking, delicious beer.

It's really tough to rate beers with this much alcohol for drinkability, because, let's face it, no one in their right minds is going to drink a beer like this all night, or even for half a night. This is a beer that you enjoy one over the course of a 30-to-60-minute period and that's it; it's a one and done, unless you want to be done.

But is it drinkable in the context of being a beer that you drink as a night cap. It's eerily reminiscent of a lot of dessert wines. Between the alcohol and the sweet/smoothness it's as close to a dessert beer as there is; quad's have a little more bite than this, and most other barleywine's have some hop and/or alcohol presence. It's an odd beer...

And one that you need to know what it was to appreciate what it has become. Blithering Idiot, the beer that is aged in Oak to make Insanity, is a rough beer. It's a brutal, unapologetic barleywine that is real big in alcohol and even bigger in alcohol taste- in short, it's the perfect beer to be aged.

Except I don't know that they didn't age it too much. This beer is a 'too' beer. It's too smooth, it's too polished. It looks too good and it's too easy to drink. It's a little too polished- too quad like. God this isn't a barleywine. I've spent a good 45 minutes trying to figure this beer out. I can't it's too much. Yeah, you know what. That's it. That's this beer. Too much. A too beer if I ever saw one.

Photo of steelcutoats
4.24/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

My dear mother bought me a case of INSANITY for Christmas this past year...definitely the best gift of all. I remember having it last year, but don't remember the heavenly bourbon nose that accompanies it. The one that I'm reviewing now is a bit below the recommended serving temperature of 45-50 degrees, but it is gradually warming nicely.
The first thing you notice about this beer after opening it is the bourbon aroma that comes off of it. I'm not a fan of "brown liquor" by any stretch of the imagination, but it is a welcome addition. I've always been a fan of the Weyerbacher Brewing Co., my all time favorite brew of theirs being HERESY, but I'll save that review for another day. I broke out the special glassware for this tasting, a 21 1/8th oz. crystal snifter. The beer poured with little head, I'm guessing due to the temp that I keep my fridge.
As the beer warmed up to 45 degrees the bourbon becomes more pronounced in both taste and aroma. This beer weighs in at 11.1% ABV but you'd never know it due to the epic smoothness that it holds. The oak casks used to age this beer do a wonderful job of drying out the ale and imparting a smooth finish on the finished product. I consider it a very drinkable beer, reserved for special occasions and family gatherings. It is a definite keeper and I will most certainly be cellaring the rest for next years release to compare and contrast.

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

Orange amber in color. Long lasting, but small head. Excellent lace.

Sweet dark caramel aroma; slight bisquit (with honey).

Very rich and sweet, almost like creme brule. The finish has enough hop to prevent this beer from getting too coy. Strong alcohol aftertaste. The carbonation is tight making this a smooth drink.

This may be the best barley wine I've ever had.

Photo of dsa7783
3.7/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

22oz bomber copped in Short Hills for about $6... From what I understand, this beer is the result of Weyerbacher aging their Blithering Idiot in oak bourbon casks... the result is a more powerful, somewhat enhanced version of their original creation, with bigger, bolder, and more extreme flavors... Known for their eccentric styles, this brew perfectly complements the typical Weyerbacher line with its strong, dominating flavor and taste... Nice ruby-red, light-copper appearance with minimal head and small lacing... smell is replete with dark-fruits, sweet, brown sugar, and figs... Taste strongly complements the aroma, with a distinct vanilla-bourbon flavor along with prunes, thick malts, and caramel sweetness... 11.1% ABV is certainly noticeable with a distinct alcohol presence... over-powering taste with a decent mouthfeel, but drinkability took a hit due to the powerful conglomeration of flavors... A sipper... Worth a try...

Photo of jamie2dope
4.02/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

This will be my second tasting of this beer from Weyerbacher. The first time i partook, it totally knocked me on my ass, but perhaps this time with some more thought to moderation, I will be ok. Poured in to my Duvel glass a ruby color, with little head, but a ring of lacr around the glass. Aroma had essences of honey, dark fruits, and warm alcohol. Taste revealed the same, with the boozyness from the barrels showing traces of vanilla behind the fruit. Mouthfeel was thick like syrup...almost like alcoholic maple syrup. As far as drinking this one, I would suggest sharing this with a friend or two. The flavor is strong, and the strength of the alcohol is even stronger. Awesome beer from Weyerbacher. Paired very nicely with some blue cheese from Colston Bassett. Cheers

Photo of EliteDigger
4.22/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Recieved a bottle of both '06 and '07 in a trade with DrJay. Thanks!! This review is of the '06 vintage...

A-Poured into my Sam Adams glass a dark Amberish-Orange, cloudy and very nearly opaque. Very little head but for the small ring of lacing around the edge of the glass.
S-Aromas of booze, oak, sweet malts, apple juice and faint smell of cherries.
T-More of the same. Buttery oak, apples, brown sugar, bourbony sweet dark fruits, and caramel.
M-Very nice. Lightly carbonated, smooth and creamy.
D-The only reason this suffers is the higher ABV. I'm sure I could easily and eagerly drink one or four of these, but it would catch up to me sooner rather than later....
All in all a very tasty and delicious brew. Very worthwhile to search out.

Photo of NCSUdo
4.49/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22 oz bottle

A: Pours a deep clear amber under a fingers worth of white head. No lace, no retention.

S: Smells of bourbon, smells of some darker fruits, dates and some oak. Very nice.

T: Bourbon is huge here and it is excellent. Hints of vanilla, slightly sweet fruit, oak and some alcohol. Alcohol character creats a very nice warming sensation on the way down. Finish leaves hints of bourbon and oak.

M/D: Body is full, carbonation is touch high but contributes to a slight creamy texture. Drinkability is about as good as it gets for a 11.10% beer. It's a sipper for sure, but damn fine for a cold night. Will pick up more of this to set aside for a while.

Photo of MiguelMandingo
4.42/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Wow. This beer is another example of why Weyerbacher is a great brewery. I have had several of their brews and have loved them all. I was able to pick up two bottles of Insanity from Chevy Chase Wine and Spirits in DC - I wish I had picked up more. I am more used to American Barleywines, but the maltier English Barleywines are a nice change of pace.

Poured part of a bomber into a snifter glass.

Appearance - It produced a 1/2 finger fine-textured foamy head that dissipated to a halo around the surface perimeter of the glass. It is translucent and very hazy - the haze is obviously chill haze as it too dissipates as the beer warms to room temperature, though not completely. It is an amber brownish red hue. There are constant carbonation streams that rises from the side of the glass, which sustain the surface halo.

Smell - I enjoy the smell a lot. As the beer warms the scent bouquet blooms. It is very boozy in the nose. Beyond the booze, I can smell a fruity scent - very close to sweet dark cherries. It then evolves to a caramel, vanilla, toffee flavor, with the booze showing through again, followed by woody oak.

Taste - The flavor is nearly identical to the scent. It is an evolution of flavors. The initial flavor is candied dark cherries, followed very closely by caramel, a heavy dose of vanilla, and toffee. It is then followed by booze, which then gives way to an oaky charred wood flavor, with very distant floral hops. Very tasty - I almost want to pour this over ice cream.

Mouthfeel - This is a full bodied brew. It is thick and sticky as it slides down the throat - very mouthcoating. It has a relatively low level of carbonation, and although I am not sure if this is typical for the style, I feel it suits this particular beer very nicely.

Drinkability - I really enjoyed drinking this brew. I drank it slowly, and not because of any flaws, but because I wanted to enjoy it for as long as possible. The flavor and scent of this beer kept me coming back for more. This a great beer for a cold day after a hardy meal. Worth searching out.

Photo of edskirk3
3.86/5  rDev -7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Brown glass bomber with no freshness information. Does a barleywine need freshness information? I shall serve in a Brandy glass.

Pours a cloudy apple cider shade. Dense, creamy head, tightly beaded. Significant lacing.

Bourbonesque aromas. Oak. Vanilla. Caramel. Alcohol.

Strong tang at first, then a warm mellowing. Bready characteristics, as well as some woody ones. And here comes the alcohol. Full-bodied and dense, yet fruity.

Very good, but Insanity isn't the name I would have chosen. Because I'm not feeling Insane right now. I just feel... right. I feel right.

Insanity from Weyerbacher Brewing Co.
93 out of 100 based on 2,070 ratings.