Dismiss Notice
Get 12 monthly issues of BeerAdvocate magazine and save $5 when you select "auto-renew."

Subscribe now →
Dismiss Notice
Join our email list →

And we'll send you the latest updates and offers from BeerAdvocate, because knowing is half the battle.

Insanity - Weyerbacher Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
InsanityInsanity

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
92
outstanding

908 Reviews
THE BROS
90
outstanding

(Read More)
Reviews: 908
Hads: 2,320
Avg: 4.14
pDev: 17.87%
Wants: 227
Gots: 530 | FT: 28
Brewed by:
Weyerbacher Brewing Co.
Pennsylvania, United States | website

Style | ABV
English Barleywine | 11.10% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 06-21-2004

Bourbon barrel-aged "Blithering Idiot"
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Insanity Alström Bros
Reviews: 908 | Hads: 2,320
Photo of Gr8Stouts
5/5  rDev +20.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

My favorite Ale or beer for any day that ends in y. Perfect balance of bourbon for my taste. Strong beer not for the faint of heart. Anyone considering this beer should read the label on Stones Arrogant Bastard, "Your not worthy".

 231 characters

Photo of BrewMakeMeFeel
4.34/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Look: Reddish-brown, around 15 SRM. Pours with a small tan to off-white head. Maybe a trace of haze.

Smell: Pleasant oak aroma is instantly noticeable but not overpowering. Some fruity, estery notes are bit more subtle.

Taste: Bourbony oak flavor is smooth and complex, extremely well balanced with caramel sweetness. Finishing with a hint of lingering bitterness and a clean, alcohol burn. Very distinct flavor profile.

Feel: Silky, with very little carbonation. Full-bodied and pleasant. Like the taste, reminiscent of bourbon.

 535 characters

Photo of HattedClassic
4.16/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer pours a nice and creamy white head that dissipates quickly. The beer itself is nice brown color (official term). Thee beer also has a nice purple shade to that brown as well and resembles a plumish color or a red grape color. Also, the beer is hazy but clear enough that you can see through it.

The beer smell has a nice malty smell that is very delicious. The malt notes are a bunch of different varieties of smell. While the overall beer smell is of dark fruits, the beer also has notes of sugar with a very tiny alcohol smell. Additionally, the beer has very luxurious, very silky vanilla smell that mixes wonderfully with the beer.

The beer taste is bit different than the smell. While the beer still has the same notes, the overall taste leans more towards the vanilla than the dark fruit taste. The dark fruit taste is still there and resembles plums but the vanilla comes out a lot more. There also happens to be a pervasive light oak note.

The beer's mouthfeel is wonderful. The beer is heavy bodied with very little carbonation. The lack of any carbonation gives the full bodied beer a nice silky feel to it as it goes down.

Overall, this beer is one of the best barleywines I've had. The oaking gives it a nice vanilla note that mixes well with it. A definite must have on your drink list.

 1,316 characters

Photo of kkleu357
4.05/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 4.5

On tap for $3 a glass. Very hazy caramel color. Sweet slightly boozy bourbon aroma. Taste was very sweet. Pretty tasty. Good amount of sweet grain comes through. Lots of booze taste. Reminds me of a small version of Central Waters Bourbon Barrel Barley Wine.

 258 characters

Photo of MacMalt
4.57/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into snifter. Beautiful honey color. Light head and lacing. Very pleasant smell: vanilla, butterscotch, and caramel with distinct bourbon. When sipped, the first taste is the bourbon, followed by the sweet combination of caramel, vanilla, and cherry. Then the alcohol burn hits. There is a pleasant thickness, almost like drinking a cordial. Overall, I really enjoyed this barleywine: the oak aging definitely improves the Blithering Idiot. I'll certainly add this to my regular selection of beers!

 515 characters

Photo of Bignutz
4.22/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

mmmmmm...here we go. On the POUR, the look is the color of a nice deep orange/brown, like a low sunset on the horizon. Lots of very nice fine bubbles rising though the head is very thin and almost non-forming; common among high ABVs. Normal lacing.

The NOSE is wood, whiskey and caramel hard candy. Roasty Toasty Big and Bold Butterscotch , Malted Toffee. CAPS intentional. Very good COMPLEXITY on the schnoz. Hops are not present. Dessert section. TASTE is ...#$@1% ... OMG! Chewy, sticky. Coat your gullet with strong malted woody caramel. Add a teaspoon Whiskey, some malted toffee and 1 vanilla bean then stir. WOW! HUGE Beer with ample everything.

Indeed a CONTENDER on the AGED ALE trail style. FINAL WORD: Thick and huge delicious desert ale, smash your favorite malted brownie topped with caramel and dipped in a nice whiskey then cram it down your throat with force as you numb your head and smile and say "boozely done!", yum. A hell of a beer. Complex and delicious! Cellar this one. I added this to my top ten. CHEERS!

 1,035 characters

Photo of ArsMoriendiOU818
4.19/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Bottled 12/31/14. Diacetyl. Apparently not a bad batch as others have rated this batch. Must have been handled poorly.

Update: Non-infected batch.... delicious

 160 characters

Photo of OrangeMen
4.31/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

1 month from bottle date

Appearance- Pours a reddish-brown mahogony color, glistens and quite transparent. Finger thick, off white colored head, fairly soapy and bubbly. Moderate lacing on sides of glass.
Aroma- Sweet boozy bourbon aromas, vanilla, butterscotch, and coconut, slight oaky notes. Sweeter fruits, cherries/berries, lucious and juicy. Toasted malts featuring caramel and toffee tones as well.
Taste- Rich toasted malts, caramel, darker fruits than on the aroma, more plum/raisin/fig. Creamy vanilla/butterscotch, nutty, sweet bourbon w/ some fusel alcohol notes, dry oaky astringency.
Feel- Medium mouthfeel, slightly sticky and creamy. Lower carbonation, spot on.
Overall- Beer has great balance, roasty richness of the malts, dark fruits, and barrel characteristics all compliment eachother, nothing supercedes. There is a booziness that stands out, but at the same time the bottle is very fresh. Barrel adds a nice creamy sweetness while also adding some dry astringent qualities. Very well done, impression is this will get better with age.

 1,058 characters

Photo of ajm5108
3.55/5  rDev -14.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I got a lot of the bourbon & wood flavor along with some vanilla & even some dark cherry. It is a pretty hefty brew, a sipper for sure. Your opinion of it will likely depend on how much you like bourbon. It isn't quite as smooth as some other bourbon barrel-aged beers, but it does have a certain complexity to be appreciated. Finishes a tad boozey.

 353 characters

Photo of GFM
3.98/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

12oz bottle poured into a snifter. Pours a dense dark amber with a reddish hue. One finger head formed on a delayed basis as the carbonation bubbles surfaced--settled quickly. Very little lacing. Bourbon sweetness evident in the scent, as is the alcohol. Smooth feel. First few sips tasted like alcohol but after I let it sit, the flavor profile emerged. A bourbon (almost bourbon & coke like) sweetness with vanilla undertone. A nice sipping beer. I will definitely age a bottle. (8.5)

 486 characters

Photo of Shroud0fdoom
3.91/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

*12 oz bottle poured into a wine glass..cause I'm classy like that!*

I've had this brew many, many time in the past. Never reviewed it. I guess I got that "ticker" mentality once again. Let's just get down to the chase, shall we? This brew pours Gorgeous! Nice dark Amber/Copper body with light blonde hues. Well filtered and crystal clean. A small white head crowned her majesty for a moment and left some nice lacing around as proof of its existence. This is a phenomenal look brew!

The aroma should tell me what I got myself into. First whiff is of buttery oak notes with slight toast and vanilla. Some cereal grains and toffee makes its dominant stance. On the back end some booze enlightens the mood. It's a big beer for sure, just not in your face as some. Pretty outstanding really.

Taste test time MOFOs! First hits with that toffee sweetness that turns to buttery notes. Vanilla and cereal grains are shaking hands on your palate before big bad booze comes in and disrupts the harmony. Slight fruity esters before the finish. This beast finishes boozy and dry with slight bitter on the sides of the palate. Lingering vanilla in the aftertaste. Pretty good if you ask me. The feel on this brew is lighter than you would expect with its hefty ABV. Carbonation is on point and is poppin!

Overall: This brew used to be lucious on the palate and full blown toasted coconut Bomb. Since 2012 and up its lost that flavor profile. Who knows, maybe the barrels are getting weaker after every use or not enough time in the barrel. IDK, all I know this batch is better than last year's offering. So maybe Dan is getting this back on track! Still a drinkable brew that I have no problem killing a few in a session. This brew is Worthy!

 1,738 characters

Photo of Bone53
4.33/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Appearance: The pour results in a rich amber color with a two finger tan head

Smell: Dark fruit (rasisin,figs), caramel and toffee malt, bourbon, vanilla. Love the aromas im getting

Taste: I get more of the malt in the taste with a little of the dark fruit mentioned and a nice bourbon, vanilla undertone

Mouthfeel: Medium mouthfeel and pretty light for the style; Considering its 11.1%, its exremely smooth with not as much alcohol as expected, although aging would tone it down even more

Overall: Its hard not to like a barrel aged barelywine, and this is no exception. Reminds me a lot of Duclaw Hell on Wood which was the last barrel aged barleywine i rremember enjoying quite a bit. It has the caramel malts, dark fruit, and bourbon characteristics as expected in this style. During the winter months this is a winner for sure. Some aging and i could see this being world class

 887 characters

Photo of Donco
4.39/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Given some of the reviews, I am pleasantly surprised. This is an above-average-not-quite top of the line English Barleywine. Very well balanced with a pleasing dark fruit and bourbon/oak flavor. Smooth and very drinkable. Recommended as one doesn't see too many of this variety in 12 oz. bottles.

Edit on 9/10/15: Drinking this some 9 months after bottling, I find this beer is even better. Very mellow/sweet and boozy but very smooth with some additional age added. Recommended!

 480 characters

Photo of Jeffreysan
4.75/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

2014 edition, 12 oz bottle, poured into a pint glass

Appearance: Pours a beautiful, completely opaque, deep mahogany color, speckled with red and orange highlights, and a quarter of a finger of white-colored head that almost immediately dissolve away into nothing.

Aroma: Very aromatic with strong aromas of toasted malt, imparting notes of freshly toasted English muffins, followed by some notes of candied sugar, toffee, maple syrup, dried stone fruit such as raisins, figs, prunes, vanilla, and a touch of bourbon and oak.

Taste: Absolutely delicious! Strong notes of toasted malt up front, immediately followed by flavors of dried stone fruit, candied sugar, and a lot of maple syrup-like sweetness, some vanilla an caramel, toffee, and slightly bitter notes of bourbon and hops.

Mouthfeel: Medium to slightly chewy and very, very smooth as there is no carbonation what-so-ever. With an ABV of 11.1%, there is a very pleasant alcohol warmth on the palate.

Overall: Wow, what an excellent barleywine! Weyerbacher’s Blithering Idiot Barleywine is fantastic, but this is even better! The bourbon barrel-aging has really elevated the great Blithering Idiot into an absolutely excellent beer. I can’t wait to see what it is like with some age on it over the next few years.

 1,291 characters

Photo of uvachief
4.15/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a snifter glass. This is strong ABV English Barley Wine but you would never know it by the taste. Hidden ridiculously well. You definitely taste the oak bourbon as well as malt, dark fruit like dates or prunes even and vanilla. Lighter and thinner that you would expect. Very smooth and mellow. Aftertaste is very subtle but mainly malt and dark fruit with a hint of bourbon. Just a hint though. Really smooth.

 450 characters

Photo of predikit
3.3/5  rDev -20.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Pours a dark burnt orange, with insubstantial head that maintained a surface presence for a long time.

Smells like ripened fruit, fig, dates, banana peel.

Taste is not to my liking. The alcohol bursts forth unrestrained with a bit of a menthol, strong oak flavors. Toffee and cream, vanilla. This is very complex but just does not agree with me. I've never been one to consider a drain pour, but this is awfully close. Though I tried a subsequent bottle after letting it warm up. It lost a lot of the flavor spread but it made drinking it a lot more bearable.

Medium body, low carbonation. Finishes with alcohol and vanilla/oak combo.

Overall I wouldn't go near this again.

 677 characters

Photo of WhiteHillsStore
4.02/5  rDev -2.9%

Pours a deep reddish orange with a thin head that trails the glass. The smell has a bit of alcohol in it with some sweet fruits such as plum coming through on the nose. The taste was quite nice with vanilla and alcohol burn in the beginning before mellowing out. Not bad but a bit too abrasive for me.

 301 characters

Photo of Tsar_Riga
3.71/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A - Bold reddish copper color, cast with a haze so thick it makes the beer almost opaque. A short head of off-white, fading quickly, but with extensive lacing.

S - Strong notes of alcohol and wood, underpinned with a subtle note of corruption. It is subtle, though, and mostly the nose is consistent with a barrel.

T - Following the nose, the primary hit is of bourbon and wood, char and oak. Like the nose, there are off notes, in this case metallic in nature, but these are again subtle. A bit of a sour note on the close.

M - Moderate to low carbonation and high alcohol. The burn keeps the sweeter elements from becoming too cloying.

O - The elements here seem to be interesting enough, but small flaws keep this from being something I wholly endorse. I think there are a lot of good qualities, the oak and bourbon notes are full and delicious, but the end result is not harmonious.

 896 characters

Photo of JdoubleA
3.5/5  rDev -15.5%

As an English Barleywine this doesn't score as high as it should. I'd tick my review up a bit as an old ale. The body just isn't there and really lacks if you are drinking it beside other great barleywines.

 208 characters

Photo of Roguer
4.02/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Beautiful shade of reddish-brown, but with an incredible amount of suspended particulate. Nice tan head, good retention for the style. Brew seems light, but I can't see through it at all.

Big bourbon notes, vanilla, caramel, toffee, and coconut; a great balance of strong malts and barrel aging. Not overpowering on the aroma.

Very interesting flavor: fruity and sweet up front, boozy and bourbon-y on the back-end. Caramel and toffee are present in abundance, but there's a surprising amount of grape and cherry in there. Vanilla and a medicinal cherry kick round it out, while the bourbon brings it all home. Slightly sweet bubblegum yeast flavor.

Slightly hot beer (expected at 11%). Other than that, oily and silky.

This is a very solid BBA barleywine. It's not up there with the best in class (Abacus, BCBBW), but it's definitely a tasty beer.

 856 characters

Photo of threeviews
4.86/5  rDev +17.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

12oz bottle (bottled on: 12/11/2013, besty by: 12/11/2018) into a Rastal Teku 2.0 stemmed glass

A- Depending on how the light strikes the sediment floating about (and your visual perspective), Insanity pours a deep ruby red and/or copper color and sports a sturdy, 1-finger's worth of an off-white (verging on khaki) head. Considering the ABV, head retention is quite strong and even after subsiding, a significant film coasts the surface (non-nucleated glass). Considering the fact that the beer is both barrel-aged and bottle conditioned, the appearance is quite attractive. (4.25)

S- Although quite pungent, its complexity makes it difficult to categorize. In short, the aroma is mostly Bourbon barrel and whiskey-soaked fruits. Vanilla, oak, caramel, toffee, brown sugar, ripened berries, raisins, plums, dates, overripe melon and honey. (5.0)

T- Just as complex and massive as the nose suggests...even more so! Add to the aforementioned medley of aromas the slight presence of milk chocolate in the flavor. Drink this one on the warmer side to elicit all of the flavors. (4.75)

M- Full bodied and creamy. The bottle conditioning is not only responsible for giving this beer an amazing mouthfeel, the aromas maintain on the surface throughout consumption. (5.0)

O- Simply put...this is one of the best barrel-aged beers I have ever sampled. Not being an especially huge fan of English-style barleywines, the bourbon barrel-aging adds a character that elevates an already proven beer to mythical heights. The appearance, complexities in both aroma and flavor as well as its silky mouthfeel culminate to make Insanity one intensely enjoyable drinking experiences. After reading, it should come as no surprise that my overall impression of Insanity is nearly perfect. Weyerbacher continues to impress and cannot wait until they release the next batch! (5.0)

 1,863 characters

Photo of RickS95
4.51/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

The appearance alone lets you know this beer means business. It's about the color of the little Brach's caramel cubes. A medium brown with some copper notes around the edges. You can see the richness because it's murky. The head is frothy and dirty yellow. It retains well, never fully dying. A thin lace follows each sip.

Smell is a bit lacking. For such a strong beer, you'd think everything would be aggressive, but the scent is not. A bit of caramel malt if you really get your nose in there, and somewhat floral, but little else. Not bad smells, just not enough of what's there.

Oh wow. It's good. The English barleywines are far more sophisticated than ours. Caramel and toffee lead the way. Some dark fruits at mid-sip. Really, only the oak from the barrels in the finish. The alcohol is very well masked and there's little in the way of hop presence.

Hard to believe an 11.1% ABV beer can be so smooth. Very rich with some sweet and floral notes. The dark fruits really hit the spot. Full-bodied and more like a kitten than a tiger. So easy to drink. Slight heat in the finish.

Overall, I'd not guessed this to be any kind of barleywine. It goes down easily, but watch out for that ABV. Really an exceptional beer.

 1,226 characters

Photo of Lordhelmit
4.67/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Wow!

A - Really not much to speak of here. Medium-dark brown color, a bit hazy. Pours with a decent enough tan head which is not very persistent.

S - Straight whiskey. Smells like a mix of bourbon/whiskey. That is truly about all I could smell, maybe a hint of the oak. Mostly whiskey. ...I love whiskey.

T - Hard to beat. Tastes like a sort of caramel candy, with hints of pomegranate/raisin-ish, and a hint of oak. Pretty noticeable fruity taste, but not overpowering. Kind of like apple cider.

M - Definitely full bodied. Nice and thick. Also hard to beat.

O - A great brew. At 11% abv too, this is one I will deifnitely be buying again. Very nice.

 658 characters

Photo of keithmurray
3.5/5  rDev -15.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance - murky brown liquid with light tan head, lots of sediment

Smell - toffee, coconut, oak

Taste - caramel, toffee, oak, coconut

Mouthfeel - full bodied, low carbonation, a bit of harshness and astringency upfront from the barrel and the booze, warming effect on the way down

Overall - was hoping that this would change my mind about barleywines, but to no avail. Just not a style that I can get into

Price Point - $3.99/12 oz single

 446 characters

Photo of gillagorilla
3.36/5  rDev -18.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

12 oz. bottle poured into a Burley Oak snifter

A: Hazy dark copper brown with a minimal head even when swirled. No lacing.

S: Caramel and roasted sweet malts with toffee. A fair bit of oak is blended with the previous smells along with an underlying bourbon. Definitely some dates as well. Turns to mostly bourbon as it warms.

T: Quite a bit of bourbon. Too much in fact for me. It remind me a lot of BCBBW in fact, but with less body and ABV. That one had some extra flavor with the bourbon, but this is mostly bourbon. Pretty sweet from some decadent malts. Kind of a one note for me.

M: Smooth with a bourbon-esque body.

O: Too much bourbon for me. I could really go for a Hell on Wood in fact. Good if you like bourbon. If you can't get some BCBBW, grab some of this.

 778 characters

Insanity from Weyerbacher Brewing Co.
92 out of 100 based on 908 ratings.