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Insanity - Weyerbacher Brewing Co.


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1,683 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1683
Reviews: 833
rAvg: 4.17
pDev: 11.27%

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)
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Ratings: 1,683 | Reviews: 833 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of roger617


3.91/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

12 oz bottle poured into tulip.

Pours a deep amber color with a hazy cloudy appearance. Very little head that reduces quickly and leaves no lacing. Smell is a strong sweet boozy mess with bourbon. As is the taste. It's quite a good blend that is unexpected. There is so much sweetness that the alcohol and bourbon combo pack enough to help mellow it out. Nothing in this beer is subtle, it's full of dominating characteristics. Carbed well. I enjoyed this beer, I think the balance was done well enough to make it easy enough to drink at 11%.

Serving type: bottle

12-11-2013 01:51:13 | More by roger617
Photo of Catamount18

New Jersey

4.38/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into tulip glass from growler that was poured 3 weeks ago. Tried to share with some friends, but it didn't work out and I guess I'll drink it myself.

Murky caramel in color, with a darker top. Poured with a small head. Retains a light corona, and leaves a light film on the glass.

Smells of vanilla and bourbon. Not a bourbon drinker, but it's pleasant with the vanilla tone. A little sweetness.

Love the flavor. The barrel aging takes some of the sweetness out of the Blithering Idiot and adds a woody flavor. The vanilla smell comes with flavor and toffee. Halfway through the growler and it leaves a taste like I smoked a good cigar. Better a little warm than right out of the fridge.

Leaves a slight filmy texture in the mouth, a combination of high ABV content with the barrel aging. Not carbonated, which this beer shouldn't be considering how thick it looks.

Overall a fine beer. Haven't had a beer from Weyerbacher that disappointed. Just like smoked meats, wood adds a unique flavor to the barleywine.

Serving type: growler

12-08-2013 01:46:42 | More by Catamount18
Photo of MCain04


2.23/5  rDev -46.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

12 oz bottle poured into a crooked stave snifter. looks like bottled 01/28/13.

Pours a murky swamp water brown with a thin off-white head which quickly dissipates leaving minimal retention and lacing.

Smell is sweet with candied malts, toffee, almost fruity, vanilla, not too much bourbon.

Taste is off. There's a tart acidity to this which overpowers most of the other flavor profiles. Fruity esters. Not typical for the style and I don't think it's what they were going for.

Mouthfeel is overcarbonated and astringent. Numbs the tongue.

Overall, I received this as an extra and likely got a cellar turd. Drain poured after the first ounce. Hope it's just a bad bottle/batch, as I can't imagine this beer being intentionally produced to taste like this.

Serving type: bottle

11-24-2013 00:45:53 | More by MCain04
Photo of jhartley


4.1/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a tall wine glass.

Color is reminiscent of apple cider. Tons of bubbles constantly streaming up from the bottom of the glass. Thin head on top leaves plenty of lacing. Still loving the new label art!
Immediate smells of whiskey and fermented dark fruits, over-ripe apples.
Tastes of plums, oak, some vanilla, bourbon.
Very viscous and syrupy, a lot less carbonation than what appears in the glass. Boozy burn in the back of the throat, especially as it warms up.
This was a gift from fellow BA jzeilinger and what a winner this one is from a great local brewery. Not a beer to be taken lightly, it's a sipper!

Serving type: bottle

11-13-2013 23:27:20 | More by jhartley
Photo of taylor714914


3.25/5  rDev -22.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Pours a ruby red with a thin cap of off white foam. Not sure what is going on here, but there is almost no nose to this. A hint of bourbon and oak, but very faint. Taste is thin and a bit watery, with a light malt sweetness and the vanilla and oak from the barrel treatment. I’ve had this many times before and have loved the thick rich body, the malt sweetness with figs prunes and raisins, the oak and vanilla, the alcohol warming, everything, but on tap, there is a lot of this missing. Maybe it was an off year, but not nearly the beer it once was.

Serving type: on-tap

10-30-2013 21:27:38 | More by taylor714914
Photo of emyers


4.15/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle poured into a Founders snifter. No bottle date that I can see

Appearance: Pours a cloudy dark amber-brown with a one finger off-white head. Very good head retention considering the abv.

Smell: Lots of dark fruit - raisin, figs, plum - along with caramel, bourbon, and oak. The bourbon is fairly subtle compared to a lot of BBA barleywines out there, although that isn't a bad thing. This has a very balanced aroma.

Taste: The barrel comes out quite a bit more here - the predominating flavors are bourbon, oak, vanilla, and caramel, with the fruit a bit more in the background. There is a considerable alcohol bite on the finish. I'm a fan of some heat with my barleywines, but this one goes a little too far in my opinion. Could use some age to mellow it out.

Mouthfeel: Full-bodied, although not as full-bodied as a lot of barleywines out there. Low carbonation level enhances the smooth mouthfeel.

Overall: Very solid BBA barleywine for the price and availability. However, it's a little rough around the edges at the moment and not quite at the same level as the heavy hitters in the barleywine division.

Serving type: bottle

10-27-2013 03:44:00 | More by emyers
Photo of richj1970


4.24/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

2011 vintage poured from 12 oz bottle into tulip glass.

A: Pours a cloudy ruby brown with a slight off white head that dissipated fairly quickly. No significant lacing.

S: Figs, raisin, caramel, butterscotch, and cloves. Hints of spice mixed with a nice sweet smell.

T: Dark fruits combined with sweet malts. Caramel and butterscotch with some underlying fruitiness and spice. Nice complexity. The alcohol really sneaks up to you on this one.

M: A little bit syrupy but to be expected given style and age. Very enjoyable none the less.

O: Very nice Barley wine. I have another bottle from 2013. The big question now is to drink it fresh as a comparison or let it age some...

Serving type: bottle

10-16-2013 02:31:09 | More by richj1970
Photo of superspak


4.33/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 ounce bottle into tulip glass, bottled on 2/21/2012. Pours cloudy deep ruby copper color with a small dense khaki head with good retention, that reduces to a thin lace cap that lingers. Light spotty soapy lacing clings on the glass, with some light streaming carbonation. Aromas of big raisin, pear, apple, fig, caramel, clove, oak, pepper, molasses, toast, herbal, brown bread, toffee, light bourbon, and yeast earthiness. Very nice aromas with good balance and complexity of malt notes with a fair amount of barrel presence; and good strength. Taste of big raisin, pear, apple, fig, caramel, molasses, toast, oak, clove, toffee, brown bread, bourbon, pepper, light vanilla, herbal, and yeast earthiness. Lingering notes of dark fruits, caramel, molasses, toast, clove, oak, toffee, brown bread, light bourbon, herbal, and yeast earthiness on the finish for a while. Fantastic balance and complexity of malt flavors; with moderate barrel presence and zero cloying sweetness after the finish. Light-medium carbonation and fairly full bodied; with a creamy, slick, and lightly syrupy mouthfeel that is nice. Alcohol is well hidden with only a small warming present after the finish. Overall this is a fantastic barrel aged barleywine! All around awesome complexity and balance of malt and barrel flavors; and quite smooth to sip on for the big ABV. A highly enjoyable offering.

Serving type: bottle

10-11-2013 03:57:29 | More by superspak
Photo of timc100


4.29/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Pours a clean ruby red/brown color with a nice beige head. The aroma is dominated by wood - tobacco, oaky vanilla and coconut mellows it all, some caramel. The taste is similarly barrel forward - lots of oak tannins an mellow vanilla. Some brown sugar and toffee as well. Smooth medium-full mouthfeel - really nice barleywine

Serving type: bottle

09-29-2013 22:00:36 | More by timc100
Photo of alaimoa


3.64/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Pours mahogany with little head and haziness
Smell overall a bit faint but of toffee, brown sugar, caramel, raisin
Taste pretty smooth for high ABV and a nice sweetness throughout that doesn't run too hot at the end
Mouthfeel nice carbonation considering the oak age
Overall a solid barleywine and very drinkae hiding ABV well.

Serving type: bottle

09-08-2013 19:22:46 | More by alaimoa
Photo of nickapalooza86


4.68/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

Poured about 6 months old

A nice deep amber, hazy as hell, a whole lot of floaties (flavor) very little head.

Smell is oak, caramel, toffee, brown sugar, vanilla and a bit of alcohol

Taste is caramel, vanilla, toffee, butterscotch, alcohol, oak, slight bourbon, over ripe plum in the finish.

Mouthfeel is medium full, a little high on carbonation for my barleywine tastes. Finishes nice, a little hot but for the ABV I would expect it!

Well I love Barleywines... Throw um in barrels and yep! They become a new beast! I do prefer CW BBBW, but will buy this whenever I see it no problem!

Grab it if you see it!

Serving type: bottle

08-30-2013 15:35:50 | More by nickapalooza86
Photo of joe1510


4.46/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

22oz bomber
Halftime Beverage

Insanity pours a brilliant crystal clear mahogany that absolutely glows ruby when backlit. A one finger creamy slightly off white head formed on the pour and slowly faded to a light skimming. Left a few spots of lacing.

The aroma comes mostly from the barrel aging, and I dig it. Big whiffs of vanilla bean and fragrant oak. Plum and prune follow suit along with some other dark fruits that escape me at this time.This may sound crazy but I smell coconut shavings. Very unique and delicious.

Caramel and toffee malts get things started but are quickly followed by layer upon layer of complexity. Vanilla and a drying oak character come through mid-palate along with the dark fruits that were in the aroma. Finishes with a complimentary brown sugar sweetness and strong but appropriate alcohol spiciness. My description does not do this barleywine justice.

Full body but with a slick oily type feel. Sluggish carbonation lets this one work through slowly, just the way it needs to be. The body and mouthfeel is about as good as it gets.

For such a huge beer, the alcohol (in flavor) doesn't hurt the drinkability at all. This is without a doubt a sipper but one I wouldn't mind sipping the night away with.

In my expierence Weyerbacher is either hit or miss. They hit a bullseye when they started brewing Insanity. I would go buy a case of this tomorrow if it was available in my area. Excellent barleywine from Weyerbacher.

Reviewed: 8/26/07

Serving type: bottle

08-18-2013 21:40:29 | More by joe1510
Photo of jrenihan

Ontario (Canada)

3.93/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Beer is reddish-copper in colour. Large beige head. Decent retention.

Nose contains bourbon, lots of malt (caramel, bread), oak, vanilla.

Taste is similar, but bourbon is dialed back a bit. Bourbon, caramel and bready malts, oak. Vanilla. Some dark fruit, mainly raisin. Very sweet. A fair bit of alcohol heat.

Full bodied, moderate to low carbonation. Sticky.

Overall, pretty good, but not as good as I had expected or hoped.

Serving type: bottle

08-17-2013 19:23:24 | More by jrenihan
Photo of Smurf2055


4.08/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Pours a cross between mahogany and ruby with minimal head.

Smell is pretty standard for a barleywine, malt and a slight fruitiness.

Taste is sweet malty, even sugary, caramel. Very sweet but not to the point of being cloying.

Very amazing and tasty. Great drinkability. Not much of the barrel aging comes out, but very drinkable.

Serving type: bottle

08-08-2013 16:20:55 | More by Smurf2055
Photo of Tonerelia

New Jersey

4.38/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Slightly hazy brown with orange and red hues, crowned with a tan cream head that settles into a thin lace.

Surprisingly subtle in the aroma, not as big as what was expected. Raw hop leaf and wood aromas, some alcohol spice, and a soft fruity / malty sweetness. Light fruity esters and fusels hit the eyes, watering them slightly, and reminding you that this is not a beer to be underestimated.

Full and even in the body. Flavors are deeply complex, with plenty of bourbon nuances. Raw leaf, chocolate powder, aggressive spicy alcohol, burnt caramel, sugary sweet backbone, deep vanilla, oaky wood, dark juicy ripe fruits, slight vinous port-like character beneath, some chalkiness on the palate, and a touch of date sugar.

Recommendation: allow to warm to room temperature and enjoy in a wide-bowled snifter. This will allow all of the malt and wood complexities to really pull through, as well as enhance the alcohol presence.

Serving type: bottle

Serving type: bottle

07-22-2013 00:21:12 | More by Tonerelia
Photo of schwemjw


4.24/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

A: A dark murky brownish amber. A small tan head.

S: Loads of deep dark bread with vanilla and caramel sweetness. A hint of tart cherry and raisins. Very earthy.

T: Sweet vanilla, brown sugar, molasses, fig, raisins with thick bread and a hint of spicy rye. Really complex. Caramel and toffee round out the edges with a little banana and oak in there as well. The booze really comes through in the finish.

M: Full bodied with no carbonation. A surprisingly quick finish but the lingering burn of alcohol, especially as this thing warms up.

O: The smell is really nice but the flavor just explodes when you drink it. A very nice oak presence, with a ton of dark fruit, bread and earth. amazing! / 92

Serving type: bottle

07-16-2013 19:19:40 | More by schwemjw
Photo of CFHMagnet


4.09/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A finger of yellowy tan head sits over a matte brown body. It keeps a lightly frothy ring and makes a good attempt at keeping some lace around.

Dark fruit, banana and booze are my first impressions. Going deeper I get caramelized malt and a little vanilla.

Malty, with dark fruit and vanilla, the booze is present, but not overpowering. The aftertaste is a little woody. The more I drink, the more I also notice a little caramel and maple syrup.

The feel is medium-heavy bodied. The carbonation is not overboard, just gets it moving and stays out of the way.

Serving type: bottle

07-15-2013 02:13:35 | More by CFHMagnet
Photo of Onenote81

North Carolina

4.05/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into a tulip glass.

Pours a murky rusty amber with a small white cap. Light lace left after each sip. Sweet caramel, vanilla, bourbon - create a very sweet aroma. A pleasant invitation to partake for sure. Sticky body. Slight syrupy feel, but it finishes well. The flavor mimics the aroma quite well, as I am hit with a smack of bourbon, vanilla, toffee, maple syrup. Total malty goodness. This one erred on the sweet side for sure, but it was a good beer. I'm really starting to dig this little hybrid "style." Alcohol is barely detectable in this one, as I'm finishing, I am no more worse for wear. Well done!

Serving type: bottle

07-14-2013 01:45:49 | More by Onenote81
Photo of CurtFromHershey


4.46/5  rDev +7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a deep mahogany with reddish edges. Fluffy head with decent retention for an 11% abv beer. Lots of narsty lookin' floaties.

Smell is big on bourbon, with some vanilla and toffee peeking through. Slightest hint of piney hops.

Taste follows the nose closely plus a sweet malty finish.

Mouthfeel is thick and syrupy. Nice carbonation.

Not the prettiest beer, but damn this is nice. Should get more attention.

Serving type: bottle

07-04-2013 00:06:23 | More by CurtFromHershey
Photo of utopiajane

New York

3.46/5  rDev -17%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Poured a burnt caramel color and a little thick with two fingers of foam that fell fast enough to a thin film on top and some big loose bubbles around the edge of the glass. Shimmering wet lace. Nose is toasted malt, sweet, sweet caramel and dark ripe fruits. Rains, figs oak and vanilla. No hop presence on the nose. Sugary and reminds one of cake. Taste is big and boozy! Sweet with lots of malt sugar, toasted malt a little char in back and smooth vanilla. For how boozy it is it's plenty good. Alcohol is hot and warms from the nose to the last swallow. Stays hot in the aftertaste too. Body is thick and heavy. It's surprisingly delicious like a good sweet raisin bread that someone spiked. This one is for sipping and while I found it a bit too heavy I am glad I tried it. Reminds me of rum, sticky and very sweet.

Serving type: bottle

06-27-2013 17:45:03 | More by utopiajane
Photo of DocJ007


3.95/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a snifter.
2013 vintage

A - Light amber to brown in color, with a minimal head that dissipates quickly. No lacing.

S - Lots of toasted malt, oak, and vanilla from the barrel cover up hints of dried out raisin-bread from the base English barleywine.

T - Oak barreling brings forth complex notes of oak, vanilla, coconut, and candied sugar. No hop presence as expected. Finish is booze warmth.

M - Medium bodied with medium level of carbonation. Nothing surprising here.

O - This beer should be a sipper at 11.% ABV but drinks remarkably easy for being so strong. A very enjoyable barleywine that is better that the base beer (blithering idiot) in every way. If you are a fan of barrel aged beers and/or barleywines then you should be happy with this beer.

Serving type: bottle

06-19-2013 14:03:40 | More by DocJ007
Photo of hopley


4.98/5  rDev +19.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A - brown with nice 2 finger head which settled down, limited lacing

S - Great smell - sweet bubble bum with alcohol and vanilla

T - spectacular! great barrel taste with some vanilla, limited hoppiness for an ale but that's ok for an 11% abv, a fact that came through very clearly

M - heavy and thick, awesome

O - frigging great - the type of beer that you usually can only taste at a beer festival - so thankful they bottled this!!

Serving type: bottle

06-14-2013 01:54:01 | More by hopley
Photo of Shumania


3.96/5  rDev -5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

12 ounce bottle poured into a snifter

A: dark cola, ruby red color, cream colored head and small bottles on the side

S: deep dark fruit, sweet cherries, plum, vanilla

T: similar to the smell, dark fruits, figs, raisins, cherries, vanilla, mild tropical hops, lots of hot booze

M: nice creaminess, but this is a sipper.

This is a very complex beer. There is a lot going on and it all works well together.

Serving type: bottle

06-14-2013 01:08:12 | More by Shumania
Photo of Beer-A-Lot


4.14/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

An impressive beer from Weyerbacher. The only problem I had was the abundance of alcohol presence. Even so, the complexity, feel, and craftsmanship here are strong features. I feel that with a little aging and moderation of the booziness, this could be an outstanding brew. I still enjoyed it much and plan to pick up some more to hold on to. Very glad I tried this. It's big, though. Very big.

Serving type: bottle

05-27-2013 23:09:23 | More by Beer-A-Lot
Photo of RaulMondesi


4.44/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Can Raul get a "hells" to the "yeah!"? This hot dog son of a gun is making Raul feel it! Beautiful raison textures, silky like silk, and just all around sexy! Like a lap dance at Spearmint Rhino, can Raul have another!?

Raul does this like whoa!

Serving type: bottle

05-27-2013 05:25:57 | More by RaulMondesi
Insanity from Weyerbacher Brewing Co.
93 out of 100 based on 1,683 ratings.