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Insanity - Weyerbacher Brewing Co.

Not Rated.

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

1,854 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,854
Reviews: 838
rAvg: 4.17
pDev: 11.51%
Wants: 174
Gots: 341 | FT: 15
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: 1,854 | Reviews: 838 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of walleye


4.1/5  rDev -1.7%

from the bottle. poured a muddy brown with a light tan head some lacing. aroma alcohol, wood, fruity leans toward apples and pears, dark brown sugar, brandy, plums, caramel. flavor the alcohol was a little stong in this one at least it was like a nice bourbon so it wasn’t bad,,than came some apple , plums, malt, a little wood, not to bad of a beer.

03-17-2005 02:35:54 | More by walleye
Photo of Duncan2112


4.47/5  rDev +7.2%

When I first saw this on the shelf I was excited being a big fan of the Blithering Idiot Barely Wine. This is a beer that is dark in colour with an aroma that hints at the tastes to come. A very complex beer with the smell of the oak barrels and malts that were used. The taste starts off malty then there are hints of vanilla and oak with a finish that gives little doubt as to what the barrels had in them previously lovely bourbon. With a high ABV 11.1% this is a beer to be enjoyed slowly.

03-16-2005 21:23:49 | More by Duncan2112
Photo of Truh

New Hampshire

3.85/5  rDev -7.7%

Found myself in a bed in Bedlam with this one on 1/7/2005. 1 pt. 6 fl. oz. bomber poured twice in a shaker glass.

Downy pillow of thick starting head that begins to lace immediately and eventually withers to a light skein. Deep ruby hue with medium clarity and some dizzyingly slow bubbles seeping around. Plum, golden raisin, oak, big malt, and alcohol flame on nose. Giant malt canker strikes the palate immediately, with tart fruity characters banging in as well, though it is difficult to determine exactly what they are, maybe overripe peach. Very resinous, licorice flavor with an alcohol hit that is almost unforgiving. One of these is enough, and very pleasing.

03-16-2005 11:45:23 | More by Truh
Photo of tomthumbsblues


4.35/5  rDev +4.3%

Weyerbacher Insanity pours a nutty brown color with reddish tints. It produces a 1 1/2 finger thick head which goes down slowly. Some lacing was noticed as I polished off this beer. The smell was nutty with hints of wood, fruit and hazelnut. Tasting this beer is an experience with flavors of fruit which yields to a woody hazelnut finish. The mouthfeel is smooth like coffee. This beer is a pleasure to drink, but the alcohol hits you pretty hard after a bit. Overall, one I'd definitely buy again.

03-16-2005 04:49:08 | More by tomthumbsblues
Photo of connecticutpoet


5/5  rDev +19.9%

BONZAI!!! HERE is a beer to knock your socks off.

This one poured out a rich reddish amber color with a four finger creamy tan head.

The aroma was masterful... rich malt to the fore, with a slight fruitiness, and hints of oak, bourbon, and vanilla. Not too much in the way of hops. VERY different from ordinary Blithering Idiot.

The taste was enormously complex... rich burnt malts, oak, tannins, vanilla, bourbon... all VERY smooth and easily drinkable, with a noticeable alcohol warmth.

This stuff was damn incredible. I loved it. A bit pricey to be a regular beer, but for special occasions, it's perfect. F'ing-A perfect.

03-09-2005 03:10:08 | More by connecticutpoet
Photo of jdhilt

New Hampshire

4.1/5  rDev -1.7%

Pours with a two-finger light tan head, fades quickly and leaves traces of lace. Clear amber color. Medium carbonation and medium bodied. Nose is woody spices. Starts with a sweet flavor but the alcohol is there, still a good balance of malts and hops. $8.25 for a 22oz bottle from Colonial Spirits Acton, Ma.

03-07-2005 00:22:25 | More by jdhilt
Photo of orbitalr0x


4.58/5  rDev +9.8%

Another brew I've been highly anticipating....pours from the menacing bottle a dark brown with just a hint of red and a nice thick pillowy khaki head on top. A nice syrupy pour that yields some nice lacing as well. We're off to a good start! Rich caramels and toffee bathed in oaky bourbon on the nose. I get more oak than bourbon in the nose. Hints of vanilla and nice fruit tones waft up into my nose as well. Quite nice.

First sip....wow....a delectably rich mix of deep nutty caramel malt melding into a lovely bourbon oak flavor. A nice shot of vanilla comes through with a sweet fruitiness. Quite sweet overall, but not cloying. The oak and bourbon flavors work perfectly here and take the Blithering Idiot to a whole new level. Simply an awesome oak aged barleywine.

Mouthfeel is full and thick...slightly syrupy, this brew coats the palate and makes its presence known. Perfect for the style...just the way I like it. This is definelty a sipping brew....take some time out...sit and savor this brew for maximum enjoyment. Cheers to Weyerbacher for brewing this beauty and cheers to blitheringidiot for allowing me the opportunity to sample it!

03-05-2005 05:20:38 | More by orbitalr0x
Photo of BCMan


4.08/5  rDev -2.2%

This is the 2nd installment of oak aged beer from Weyerbacher and I think it's much more successful than the Heresy. This beer is like a murky root beer color with some nice activity after the pour. The nose is a bit mediciney but does not taste as you might expect. The alcohol taste is quick but fades fast into a slightly sweet caramel flavor. Definetly worth a try.

I'd also like to comment on the art work of the label. Weyerbacher has a pretty bland label traditionally but the more recent releases are a major improvement. This label is a nice follow-up to the Heresy label.

03-04-2005 00:00:07 | More by BCMan
Photo of oxmasterscream

New Jersey

4.43/5  rDev +6.2%

Murky iced tea with just a trickle of bubbles journeying upward toward a small ring of head. Pretty typical appearance for a barley wine.

Out of the fridge, it smelled of vanilla and spice... but man, as it warmed, the bouquet really opened up. I smelled things I never smelled in a beer before. Its oakiness really began to reveal itself. The vanilla got much stronger and aromas of all things candied came forth. By the time it had warmed for about an hour or so, it smelled like a glass of pancakes smothered in butter and maple syrup. Loved it.

The taste followed the same path of the smell. Cold, I got that pseudo-bourbon taste right off followed by a sweet and sour giant malt flavor which finished solidly bitter and somewhat drying. I was content at first sip. A few more sips revelaed some spicy hops that left a slight burn on the tongue. Little did I know, it would become completely amazing as I let it sit. Flavors of maraschino cherries, butter, maple syrup, butterscotch, toffee... shit, this stuff was damn near amazing.

Mouth was thick and full with a slight tingle on the tongue.

Drinkability. Shit, I bought two bottles and gave one away last Christmas (stupid!). I am going to raid my local store tomorrow for whatever they have left. This stuff is a necessary house barley wine. I can't believe I waited this long to drink it.

Sidenote: You're best off to sip Insanity slowly and really savor the flavors as they develop. I promise you, you won't be let down. Don't drink this cold and fast, you'll really be missing out on all of the greatness that comes forth as it warms.

03-03-2005 02:21:21 | More by oxmasterscream
Photo of santoslhalper


5/5  rDev +19.9%

Appearence: Pours a stunning dark amber with a creamy, fomay beige head.

Smell: The smell is incredibly woody with a phenomenal malt balance.

Taste and Mouthfeel: Holy shit. This is what I call beer. The oak aging did such a wonderful job with an already wonderful beer. The original Blither Idiot flavor is present, but much mellower and more balanced, with the giant oak flavor adding so much to the beer. The mouthfeel is wonderfully rich and creamy. This is one of the smoothest, most balanced tasting beers I've ever had.

Drinkability and Overall: Brilliant. I'm so proud of Weyerbacher for making such a fabulous brew. The richest and creamiest barleywine around. The balance achieved is so perfect it makes one fumble in and out of insanity as they drink this beer. The reason it's called Insanity is obvious to me: This beer is so wonderful, it damn near drives you insane.

03-01-2005 05:28:49 | More by santoslhalper
Photo of WanderingFool


4.4/5  rDev +5.5%

I'm a big fan of Blithering Idiot so when I found some Insanity (BI aged in an oak cask) I grabbed the first bottle I could reach. This beer pours a hazy dark copper color with a foamy white head on top. The foam dissolves to a thin ring around the surface leaving some spots of lace behind.

The oaky aroma has some hints of vanilla and caramel malt mixed in. Each sip of this medium to full bodied beer is smooth with a mild tingle of carbonation on the palate. The flavor is a strong combination of oak and vanilla. As the beer warms some caramel malt and hints of cherry and alcohol mix in. It finishes with a sweet malty flavor and alcohol mix.

I really enjoyed the vanilla flavor in this beer. It's a bit unusual and balanced the oaky notes. I've got to get another bottle soon and add it to my cellar to see how it ages. I think it will smooth out nicely and ease some of the alcohol notes.

02-27-2005 21:56:28 | More by WanderingFool
Photo of stjarnflikka


4.6/5  rDev +10.3%

Thanks to Oliver Twist!

Ok, so i had checked this out when the local bar said they had gotten new USA beer ;) Ordered in bar without asking for price and it got served for around 20$ !!! Jees, incredibly expensive but still, i had all the happiness in front of me.

Pours a deep red and dark beer with absolutely no head and some carbonation in center of glass. Nice deep red inner glow that forces you to drink.

Smell comes on huge! String vinious character with huge traces: figs, burned malts, syrup and huge raisin charater. Strong prescense of alcohol and nice smooth smell.

Comes on palatte unreasonably strong. Hits with wine, raisins and more fruit. Strong alcohol lifted by syrupsweet taste with some malts and a strong reminder of the bourbon cask.
Continues strong with alcohol and as it warms up a bit it becomes more mellow and intriguing. Nice vanilla and oak traces in there, nice burned and alcoholic touch lingers to bring on a nice malty and somewhat bitter aftertaste that sooths me way too good.

Exellently balanced, extremely potent. Way better when a bit warmer, and certainly a sipper that takes a long long time to finish.

Seems that the bourbon cask made its job and created a yet more intriguing brew, maybe this should be layed down a few years to create perfection? Dont know, but certainly a nice meeting.

02-20-2005 10:14:02 | More by stjarnflikka
Photo of crookedhalo


4.13/5  rDev -1%

12 oz. bottle. Served at about 55°. Pours a murky chestnut color with a pillowy khaki colored head. Some overripened apple and woody esters with a sporadic alcohol, brown sugar and vanilla bean aroma underneath a solid malt backbone. Bourbon is less present in the aroma as opposed to the Heresy. Surprisingly mellow, I thought the bourbon-barrel aging might be a little too forceful. Malty and creamy rich, some tropical esters come through as well as a drier, woody finish from the barrel-aging. Some vanilla bean extract and maraschino cherry taste makes its way through. A good beer that would cellar nicely. A nice modification that revs up an average English-style barleywine.

02-20-2005 06:30:39 | More by crookedhalo
Photo of WesWes

New York

4.33/5  rDev +3.8%

The beer pours a dark amber color with a thick frothy tan head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is outstanding. It has a very complex malt palate that is overlayed with a very fine bourbon scent. It boasts of multiple caramel and pale malts along with a slight vanilla odor. The taste is awesome. It has a very rich, malty flavor that boasts of caramel and some chocolate malts. It show off it's elevated abv., but is mellowed with the oak barrel aging. It adds a smooth bourbon flavor to the already complex palate. The mouthfeel is good. It is a full bodied beer with adequate carbonation. This is a damn good beer. I love the barrel aging. I hope to see more beers of the same style. It drinks well and warms stomach.

02-14-2005 16:51:50 | More by WesWes
Photo of goodbyeohio


4.43/5  rDev +6.2%

pours a beautiful deep red with hearty foam afro which leaves light lacing on the glass and thick bubbles on top.

smells odd, not a strong aroma but distinct. maybe a little bit of penicillin, definitely some hops. plum aroma is slightly detectable as well. bizarre.

the first sip overwhelms you with a buttery vanilla. this is like no other beer in its smoothness and rich cream flavor. that's the perfect description. it's like drinking a creamed barleywine. the delicious taste really justifies and explains the off aroma.

this beer is great and i'll put my other bottle in the cellar to see how much mellower this puppy can get. maybe the slickest brew around today.

02-02-2005 15:12:09 | More by goodbyeohio
Photo of PopeJonPaul


4.38/5  rDev +5%

This beer was a pleasant surprise. Not as much of an aroma as I expected, definite creamy head, glowing cloudy blood-orange color. Hits you right away with a vanilla bourbon creaminess, strong malt flavor but not heavy. Kind of a "sticky" mouthfeel (I felt like I was getting a "milk moustache" drinking this stuff) but not overly sweet at all - I think cask-aging this takes some of the heady sweetness out of this barleywine's regular punch and helped balance it more. Light whiskey aftertaste mixed with a stronger oak aftertaste. Goes down really smooth. Unusually smooth. Dangerously smooth. I'll be buying this again, oh yes.

01-29-2005 20:03:02 | More by PopeJonPaul
Photo of mikeys01


4.33/5  rDev +3.8%

Served from a 22oz bomber, recently acquired from Table & Vine in Northampton. Being that Blithering Idiot is a barleywine I really enjoy, I was very intrigued to try the barrel aged version known as Insanity.
Insanity poured out a just slightly hazy burnt orange color, with thin wispy white foam topping. Aroma give you a quick zap of bourbon barrel before immersing you in sweet malt, vanilla, vague fruitiness, and a hint of alcoholic zest. Taste proves to be surprisingly well rounded, bourbon barrel and oak come out at first, but only to serve as an introduction and accent, rather than the brutality of bourbon in some other barrel aged brews. Very candi sweet and caramely through the middle with a hint of peppery spice. Finish gives you a slight bitterness, light vanilla and a bit of anise even. Body is full, but not too thick. Quite drinkable for a big barleywine, and worthy of distinction from its blithering cousin.

01-28-2005 01:34:49 | More by mikeys01
Photo of IrishMike

New Jersey

4.2/5  rDev +0.7%

I thought i'd pick an interesting beer as part of my first review, so this fit the bill perfectly. Picked up a 22oz. bomber of this bad boy from my local liquor store for $6 flat.

appearance- deep copper color with a small head that maintains itself well; plenty of lacing on the glass that stays throughout the drinking process

smell- if you've ever had Blithering Idiot, the general smell of that beer acts as a base for this one. Very fruity in the backround, with oak and mild bourbon notes up front. One of those beers that sneak up on you really, with the smell being mild while the taste being anything but.

Taste- Very, very different from your standard barley wine. Almost no hop to this beer, is relies heavily on it's malty character throughout the entire experience. Extremely flavorful, with the oak aging making it's presence known. Bourbon and a mild taste of vanilla mingle with that fruity Blithering Idiot character that never lets you forget the origin of this beer. Alcohol isn't hidden extremely well in this beer, but mixes with the taste so well as to not distract from the experience at all. If anything, the only flaw of this beer, IMHO, is the lack of any hop character at all.

Mouthfeel- Not as thick as most barley wines, nor is it "runny" or watery by any means. I believe that this is the most "average" aspect of this beer.

Drinkability- You would think that a beer with a style as wild as this one would be hard to drink on a regular basis, but it's actually pretty easy to down this 22oz in one sitting. Chalk it up to it's incredible balance and the fact that it isn't as thick as you'd expect.

I find it a little ironic that i didn't care for Heresy AT ALL and yet find myself purchasing this beer fairly frequently. I think it's all about balance, which i didn't feel Heresy had, but Insanity most certainly does. An excellent brew for those looking for something a little different, and easily Weyerbacher's best product.

01-27-2005 02:31:37 | More by IrishMike
Photo of brewnut11


4.65/5  rDev +11.5%

This beer pours with a nice deep dark reddish tint and a head that quickly goes away. It has a very nice vanilla aroma. The taste is different than any other barley wine I've erver had. Very malty with a bourbon, vanilla taste and an alcohol finish....very smooth. It is an exceptional beer to sit in front of a fire or to watch a good football game. It tastes so good, it could deffinately sneak up on you if you go for more.

01-24-2005 22:39:50 | More by brewnut11
Photo of RonfromJersey

New Jersey

4.43/5  rDev +6.2%

Dark brown body, which turns blood red when held to the light. Topped by two fingers plus of eggnogy colored firm tight foam. LAways nice to see a hefty brew hold its head.

If you didn't know it was barrell aged, one whiff would convince you. Huge notes of oak, vanilla, and bourbon better than I ever drank. Just sniff this one for awile before diving in.

Taste begins with a big splash of malt, followed by a big brush of hops, and then the guests arrive at the party. Vanilla, oak, a bit of bouron, and a warming glow of alcohol arises from your belly - smooth, not a nasty burn in the back of your throat.

Mouthfeel is just what you would want, solid and substantial, about three quarters of the way to an imperial stout. Drinkability is fine, just don't rush yourself. This is an enjoyable sipper.

Like brother Heresy, Weyerbacher takes a good beer (Blithering Idiot) and makes it better. As I watch the foot of snow outside, all still seems right. Give this a try, though beware of price gouging. Dare I say, Insanely good?

01-23-2005 06:02:25 | More by RonfromJersey
Photo of whartontallboy

New York

4.4/5  rDev +5.5%

Pours a very deep clear brown with about one finger of head that disappears quickly but leaves a nice lace. First smell that hits you is that of bourbon, but it gradually gives way to an underlying maltiness doubled with an offsetting spicy nose. Very unique aroma that gets you excited for your first sip. Flavor itself is very interesting; it's bourbon-heavy with a good sweet-spicy balance before finishing extremely malty and vanilla with a wonderful malt aftertaste. The alcohol is extremely well-hidden for its potency, and the medium-bodied mouthfeel makes it much more drinkable than a lot of others in its weight class. I can't imagine wanting more than one at once, but I can see really enjoying this one on a snowy night.

01-23-2005 02:33:26 | More by whartontallboy
Photo of Stubbie1


4.33/5  rDev +3.8%

A clear brown color with a nice tightly wound light tan head. Nice lacing leading to a few tan clumps left floating in the middle of the glass. Hints of wood, a hint hops, vanilla and a slight presence of fruit in the aroma. A very small hint of alcohol comes across the nose.
The taste is complex; fruit up front, sweet malt and then more flavors move in. Hints of the oak maybe giving this a bit of a bourbon tone? Vanilla, malt and tones of dark fruit join in. A sweet smooth mouthfeel joins in to enjoy the ride across the pallet. The alcohol punch is covered up nice but is present enough to remind you that it is there in the background. As this warned the flavors and aroma seemed to come out more and made this brew more enjoyable.
If this is Insanity…commit me for life!

01-23-2005 02:17:43 | More by Stubbie1
Photo of Rastacouere

Quebec (Canada)

3.1/5  rDev -25.7%

Clear medium brown, no head. Light rummy and bourbony aroma presenting vanilla, and sadly no fruits at all, resulting in a simple sweet slightly woody and earthy array of flavors at which the integration is not all that. While I can name a few flavors, it’s not too complex and very candyish. Straight bourbon flavor also makes for a disappointing palate compared to the aroma. Astringent finish. Almost roasty finish feels a bit harsh. Alcohol is strong still. Creamy medium body is very liqurous, but this fits here. It feels like a run as fast as possible to follow a trend to me. Do they also run to catch the new season’s fashion clothe color? Or perhaps it was just released a little too early. Still, as it is: boring.

01-22-2005 18:18:38 | More by Rastacouere
Photo of Dogbrick


3.75/5  rDev -10.1%

Sampled at From The Vine beer tasting Jan 14th, 2005: Clear, dark amber color with a very thin light tan head. Lacing is nonexistent. Woody aroma, with a strong bourbon/whiskey presence. Rich body, and the alcohol is not hidden in this one at all. Oak and toffee flavors are masked by the bourbon flavor at first, and the sting doesn’t go away for awhile. The finish is dry and bitter. Pretty good beer but kind of hard to drink.

01-17-2005 18:02:16 | More by Dogbrick
Photo of altctrlsdelete

North Carolina

4.47/5  rDev +7.2%

On tap at Capital Ale House downtown. Doesn't look to be moving too quickly.

Much more subtle bourbon flavoring than the Heresy, which I thought was great. I had been putting off trying the Insanity due to this -- I assumed the level of bourbon-infusion would be close to the same, and didn't think it would complement the barleywine as well as it did the stout. However, Weyerbacher hit it spot on with this concoction. The bourbon is there, but it's in the background. The immensity and impact of the Blithering Idiot is in your face, backed up with just enough bourbon to make it perfect.

Highly recommended to anyone who enjoys a barleywine.

01-16-2005 03:06:06 | More by altctrlsdelete
Insanity from Weyerbacher Brewing Co.
93 out of 100 based on 1,854 ratings.