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Insanity - Weyerbacher Brewing Co.

Not Rated.

Educational use only; do not reuse.

896 Reviews

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Reviews: 896
Hads: 2,258
rAvg: 4.15
pDev: 10.12%
Wants: 210
Gots: 494 | FT: 26
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: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Insanity Alström Bros
Reviews: 896 | Hads: 2,258
Photo of hustlemuscle
3.71/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Gorgeous cascading bubbles rise like champagne bubbles afteing pouring a pints-worth. They erupt from the bottom forming a thick head that eventually receeds into a thin, yet solid, covering. Cloudy and chunky, with huge suspendies in the pleasant apricot colored body. High marks for the performance aspect of the pour.

Strong sugery nose, fruity candy sweet.

Cloying sugery fruitiness, mowed down by a high-speed truck's worth of alchohol. Hot, hot, hot. Would age help? The high alchohol flavor really punishes the overall quality of the beer. The review started cool, but as it warmed there would be sudden glimpses of greatness, sips of almost perfection, followed by another brutal blast of alchohol.

Too hot to be an easy sipper, it punishes the toungue and the liver with this high abv. Just plain too hot. Again, this one might be a good candidate for the cellar for a year, or two. (900 characters)

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

thanks to Malto for this beer. The main feel of this beer is a heady oaky mouthfeel that turns time into a matrix like tasting experience.. The complexity and nuances are apparent after a few sips. I tasted old fruit, tobacco and caramel. A beer for the cellar, this is a sipper for cold evenings. (297 characters)

Photo of nitemarebrewer
3.35/5  rDev -19.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance was a cloudy amber. moderate head, dissipates down to a little lace.
Aroma was woody, bourbon, vanilla.
Taste: vanilla, woody, alcoholic, and sweet.
Mouthfeel was thick.
This beer wasnt good for me given the vanilla and bourbon taste overpowered all else. Weyerbacher's other barley wine, Blithering Idiot! is a much better beer in my opinion. (358 characters)

Photo of KroMagnon
4.26/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer was rather cloudy which detracts, but in terms of flavor it was tops. The aroma was strong, fruity, malty and also had some nice complex aromas that reminded me of oak and black walnuts. The flavor was very big tending toward the sweet side but balanced fine for the style. The body was good and there was an alcoholic warmth that was perfect. Excellent. (364 characters)

Photo of Vancer
4.37/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

What a boozy glass of bourbon – but hey, a great sipping frosty! The pour was a clue – a high octane looking amber with just a thin ivory head. The flat brew just reeks with a sour malt bourbon whisky sour aroma. Close to drinking a glass of sherry, with a touch of vanilla undertones.

For a glass of bourbon, er beer, this one had a fairly strong malt backbone. Actually, for a BW, somewhat oily and slick. I really enjoyed this one, would luv to have a few more down the road sometime.

The label didn’t note the 11% abv, but even though it was strong and noticeable, it did not distract from the overall great quality of this one.

I appreciate beerbeing for sending this one to me. (695 characters)

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

12oz single, not sure who sent this to me but if you read this and it was you let me know...opened in honor of ND pulling one out against GT, a game that can only be summarized with one word, "insanity"

appearance: one of the more spooky labels I have come across, not sure what to think about that...pours into a snifter. body is a dark hazy amber, nice creamy beige head with great retention/lacing

smell: great aromas! The most noticeable things here are the vanilla, bourbon, and oak that separate this beer from the norm. big and boozy malt backbone, dark fruit, fig, dates. Great!

taste: This is an awesome barleywine. Big alcohol presence that is very similar to a nice bourbon, strong vanilla, definite oak effects, booze covered plum and cherry, fig, dates, a touch nutty...big malt body, green hops try to sneak through but ultimately play a background role. This beer is very impressive, bravo weyerbacher

mouthfeel: uber-creamy, alcohol is hot but it doesnt even matter in this beer, medium-full body

drinkability: good (1,046 characters)

Photo of jmz62565
3.88/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This pours a clear red color with a large frothy tan head. Nice looking,but the color is lighter than other b/ws. The smell is bourban oak,dark fruit, and vanilla. Not too strong,but aromatic. The taste has a very large flavor of vanilla. The alcohol is very much present,but it's creamy almost like a cream soda. Vanilla and bourban are the kings of this beer. The m/f is medium with the flavors mixing well. This is a good b/w,but it's different from others. Worth trying again. (480 characters)

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

This barley wine pours a ruby-brown with a creamy, but small almond head. The nose has lots of wood and lots of alcohol as well as bourbon, vanilla, and caramel malts. Wood and bourbon also dominate the taste. Vanilla and sugary sweet malts come out as the elixir sits on your tongue. The mouthfeel is thick, oily, and well carbonated. I can taste the 11% ABV more than I can feel it, but still, it's big and bold. (414 characters)

Photo of FtownThrowDown
4.5/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I purchased this off a recomendation from a friend, and was not upset. I'm usually all about the stouts, but am drinking more and more barleywines. Let me start off by saying, I think this may be the most drinkable 11%+ beer I've had.
Pours a light brown with plenty of substance floating/suspended in the glass. Tastes very smooth. The bourbon flavor is not as strong as in the heresy. It allows more of the vanilla flavor to come through. Which was very pleasant. I commented several times on how smooth and drinkable this beer was. It is just that smooth. I bought this at a local store and drank it the same night, but believe it was from last years batch, so it was inadvertently aged nicely. For barleywine drinkers and non-barleywine drinkers, I would highly recommend giving this one a chance. (802 characters)

Photo of kirok1999
4.3/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Been waiting a while for this one. 22oz bomber.

A- Hazy, ruddy bronze, moderate head that leaves no lacing, not surprising as this is mostly about the malt.

S- Sweet vanilla, oak, bourbon, and dark fruits.

T- Thick smoky oak, vanilla, and a bourbon alcohol burn that warms the throat nicely. It is vanilla up front, dark fruit in the middle and that smooth alcohol burn in the end. Very complex but not too over the top. The finish is what is most noticable; scotch/bourbon alcohol.

M- Creamy and slightly dry.

D- Pretty high ABV but still a very drinkable barleywine. Goes down smoothly and would be great by a fire on a cold winter night. Not too bad in the middle of summer either. (699 characters)

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

Pours a clear rusty brown, with a quarter inch head that fades slowly to a thin swirling cap, leaving behind a thick webbing of lace.

Smell; very pronounced vanilla, with some definite hints of bourbon. Some of the oak is there, as well as plums and cherries. I can detect some caramel and toffee maltiness in the background.

Taste; there's definitely a lot of bourbon flavor in this. It takes a few sips to be able to start picking out anything else. The vanilla makes a nice appearance, as well as some coconut that I didn't notice in the aroma. sweet cherries and plums are present, and mingle nicely with the bourbon flavors. I can see how some would not like this beer, but I happen to enjoy bourbon and scotch, so this is making for an enjoyable drink.

Mouthfeel is medium to full bodied, adn seems to fit the flavor profile very nicely. With the strong bourbon flavors this is definitely a sipping beer, but I still find myself continually reaching for the glass, although I am feeling a bit numb at this point.

I've had this fresh and with a little age on it, and with time the malts and stone fruits really have a chance to shine through, creating a really nice drinking experience. Probably the best beer (with at least a year on it) that Weyerbacher puts out. It's like bourbon soaked cherries with a little brown sugar and vanilla sprinkled on top; a definite dessert beer. (1,390 characters)

Photo of JohnnyM2002
3.9/5  rDev -6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a white wine glass at 55 degrees.

Pours a cloudy amber color and smells of caramel, vanilla, and heavy on the alcohol. Oak-barrel aging gives it almost a bourbon aroma. The high ABV comes out in the aftertaste, but before it goes down, it tastes sweet; the alcohol and wood balance this out very well, though. For being 11%, it goes down very well. One of my favorite Barleywines so far. (422 characters)

Photo of guzzle211
4.42/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle cellared 8 months poured into a tremens glass
A- cloudy dark amber red. thin white head disappeared as quickly as it fizzed into being. a few bubbles left on the glass but no real lacing (with this abv i am not the least bit surprised.)
S- smells like a nutbrown ale, slight alcohol presence
T+M- a brew like this - a delicious, barrel aged version of weyerbacher's blithering idiot - is a testament to the wonders of both bourbon barrel flavoring (aged up to three weeks in kentucky barrels such as four roses) and bottle conditioning , . this bottle has been sitting since november, and tastes so much better than a new one (and a new one is pretty yummy.) it tastes like a nutbrown ale with an alcohol hint, and is incredibly deceptive. it is filling in the mouth but its not thick.
D - i almost gave this a 5 because an american barleywine with this type of abv really shouldn't be this smooth and inviting. it would be a foolish session, but the thought almost crosses your mind. (1,001 characters)

Photo of Westsidethreat
4.37/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Looks a lot like apple cider, extremely hazed. Light tan head is wispy but present. Little streams of bubbles appear from various places on the sides of the glass and make their way to the surface.

S: Bourbon, vanilla, dark cherries and caramel. Yum.

T: Hello bourbon! Lots of baked coconut, vanilla oak and toast. Alcohol esters very prevelent. Sort of an off aftertaste, bit too dirty of a bitterness that doesn't balance properly.

M: Thick and chewy. Carbonation works its magic.

D: I love bourbon barrel beers and this one was no exception. Missed on the aftertaste but deserved the good marks regardless. (624 characters)

Photo of hoppymeal
4.3/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22 oz 2005 vintage. Pours dark copper to amber in color and hazy with a large tan head. Toasted caramel malty sweetness, coconut, vanilla, rich sugary prunes, maybe a little piney hoppiness and a definite alcohol prescence in the aroma. Taste is some sweet caramel and vanilla followed by a hint of bitterness, with a nice big alcohol presence in the finish. Somewhat chewy, medium to heavy body. For an oak-aged beer, the sweet vanilla and oak/wood flavors and aromas were not too strong, which I preferred as some are too sweet in the taste and smell. I had sampled this beer before,(about 3 mos ago, a 12oz 05 bottle) and was dissapointed as it was all alcohol, almost like rubbing alcohol. I wrote that off as a bad bottle and am glad I did, this sampling is much different, a very good barleywine. (802 characters)

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

Poured from a 12 oz bottle at 52F.

A: Dark copper-brown with plenty of particles floating about. What's up with that? There wasn't any yeast left in the bottle and there's not much head (so it's probably not wheat). Slight leg/lace.

S: Mmmm... bourbon! A little raisin, bread & toffee. Quite lovely.

T: Toffee, raisin, prune and vanilla. Alcohol is apparant, but nicely balanced by with sweetness... which is kept in check by a slight hint of bitterness. The sweet, boozy flavour is like candy for adults! (I like it a lot).

M: Moderate body and carbonation. Pleasant sweet/dry balance. A little acidic in the finish.

D: Definitely more approachable than some of the hop bombs within this style... but it's a sipper. (731 characters)

Photo of Jason
3.87/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

22 oz bomber with no freshness date.

A- Very nice lacing effect on the glass, hazed reddish amber.

S- Head aroma of bourbon, vanilla, wood, caramel, alcohol ... mildly solvent and fusel oil from the barrel.

T&M- 11.1% abv where? Oh ...wait a minute, here it comes. There it is, that warming alcohol laced with fusel oil from the barrel. Wood flavor is snappy with a richly dense maltiness underneath. Mellow hoppiness, lots of malt sweetness which is balanced by the slow but steady alcohol, bourbon, and wood.

D- I slapped this beer at some good funky Stilton cheese ... wow, what a pairing. A sipping beer for sure, if you love bourbon barrel laced beers then this one is a must. (693 characters)

Photo of mcallister
3.97/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A reddish brown pour with a quick to disspate off white yellow head leaving behind some very spotty lacing.

Sweet oak aromas that have infused a coconut, pineapple aroma into this brew with a vanilla bean. The wood covers most of the aromas some minor smells of malt, and some hop.

Big on the coconut and vanilla bean flavors. More of a dried coconut type of flavor. Big complex flavors of oak with very balanced malt and hops. A medium finish that leaves you wanting another sip. Alcohol is very well hidden by the wood. I would prefer slightly less oak aging but I still think this is a terrific beer that I will definitely have again. (643 characters)

Photo of hero27
3.62/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22 oz bomber.

Stagnant dull copper, head of tan foam holds well but leaves nothing for lacing. Woody, oak-barrel flavor with some vanilla and obvious alcohol in the mix..the malts are the headliner here, and come off with somewhat of a whisky flavor. Easy to drink even at room temp, but the alcohol warms like an electric blanket...watch yourself.

Not stellar in my opinion, but a solid oak-aged barleywine. (414 characters)

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

This one had been sitting in my "cellar" since last summer. It poured a hazed caramel with some yeasty flecks. The fine, white bubbles formed a short cap and left some lacing behind. Strong whiskey component in the aroma, along with solid malt, caramel, and lighter vanilla. Sweet, malty flavour, again with whiskey, but more vanilla is present here. Oak rounds things out somewhat and alcohol is warm in the finish. Full body, low carbonation, quite smooth on the palate. I thought the balance worked on this one - lots of strong characteristics that play well together. (571 characters)

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

Rich orange amber in colour. Initial head of beige which crumpled into little more than a ring. Lace followed the demise. Smells of apple, yeast, caramel, and candy. Hops come through in the nose and mingle with the oaky tones for a wood and bark feel. Alcohol spins a spicy layer of its own. The taste is wild and raw. Deliciously sweet. Candied and fermented. Vague hop balance cuts through the sweetness and gives this a bit of civility. The mouthfeel is medium with a bit of syrupy quality. The drinkability is good. Alcohol considered that is. This is a taste treat. Never overbearing. A well crafted barley wine. (618 characters)

Photo of akajimmyd
4.38/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance – Hazy, dark, brown/purple with orange or apricot tints. Nice little crown, solid retention for the style. Poured into a snifter.

Smell – Fruity esters – apples, sweet candy sugars.

Taste – even a few months of aging has mellowed what was a very boozy taste. Delicious dark fruits – prunes, grapes apples.

Mouthfeel – strong full heavy body in the mouth, right on. complex, slightly woody as it warms.

Drinkability/notes - It’s a barleywine, and a really good one, given that, drinkability is right on. A good long slow drink. Do yourself a favor and don't drink it cold. Give this one a try. (623 characters)

Photo of EStreet20
4.87/5  rDev +17.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

22 ounce bomber bottle poured into a fairly large snifter glass. Served at about cellar temp.

A - A nice hard pour yields a gorgeous red color with a nice two finger sized head. The head has great retention. Only when held directly to light can you see some tiny bubbles in the beer as well as some floating particles, I assume to be yeast unless it's wood from the barrels?

S - Has a smell of some dark fruits with a great vanilla character as well as a bit of caramel coming through. Alcohol notes come through as well. A great sniffer.

T - A ton of vanilla flavor busting through a plethora of fruity tastes on the palate. A subtle smoky flavor is present as well. The barrel aging has really turned this into a mellow and pleasant tasting beer for a barleywine, but the alcohol presence definitely reminds you of what you're drinking.

M - An excellent smooth, lightly carbonated feel that is great for the style.

D - What a flavor rush, you def want more. Some new craft drinkers will definitely be scared by nearly any beer of this style but big beer fans are in for a treat. (1,095 characters)

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

22 oz bomber bottle ---> an oversized wine glass

poured a hazy ruby / brown with a small head that disapates into a lovely lace coating. Great legs, sticky on the side of the glass

Truely Exceptional and complex nose. Sweet and fruity with notes of strawberry, vanilla. Also present are some carmel, bourban and perhaps some coconut and banana scents mixed with a slightly tangy hop back bone which balances out the sweet fruity scents nicely.

A bit spicey with a nice ammount of carbonation and a malty taste on the tip of the tounge. Warm and fuzzy alchohol feeling on the pallete. Taste of carmel, vanilla with an alchohol and hoppy finish.

A wonderful beer to sip and sip on. A very enjoyable after dinner drink (731 characters)

Photo of bditty187
4.11/5  rDev -1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Hazy, coppery amber in hue with bronze highlights as well, IMO this is the perfect color for a barleywine! Beige foam, at the apex the bubbles united long enough to create a head that was two fingers tall. Head retention was decent, the foam slowly faded to a soapy cap. The subsequent lacing was very impressive considering the high alcohol content; I love the tattered wallpaper look. Damn lovely to look at!

The nose is strongly alcoholic… whoa. I swear I smell gin and cognac; amazingly potent in this regard. I need to hunt through the booze to find the beer but once I did I was rewarded mightily with caramelized sugars, oak, vanilla, and hints of dark fruit. I wish the beery aspects were louder because the alcohol is so vocal. No matter, every time I take a sniff I get a big-ass smile on my face. Inviting but it is not a very complex bouquet, aside from the cognac aspects.

The palate is strongly alcoholic… whoa. I swear I taste gin and cognac infused with vanilla beans aged in oak casks. It’s much fruitier than the nose let on; the blend of fruits is great! I detect apples, pears, raisin, bananas, and even some figs. Caramel candy. Molasses, Jim Bean, oak, more vanilla, and the finish starts hot, vaguely spicy with a cool vanilla wafer sweetness. The aftertaste is hot in the throat but sweet on the tongue. Complex. Relaxing. Oh, this is very good. Still, I wish the beery aspects were louder. The palate is dominated by oak and booze; more maltiness would have been a reward. Am I complaining about a beer like this? Yes I am. I am a hard-ass on barleywines. This is really good but not quite elite.

The mouthfeel fits this beer well but nothing strikes me as noteworthy. I can’t take a big enough sip to really get a good feel for how big this beer is, I’d call it medium/medium-full but this is largely a guess. Low but natural carbonation, I like the mouthfeel just fine.

I *have to* sip this beer. It is so damn boozy and raw. I like it. I really like it. I wish there was more barleywine aspects. Broken record, I know. IMO, this beer is very close to being world class… it could be a unique gem. Believe me, I am not complaining. This beer is a hell of a night cap. Sip. Sip. Sip. Relax. Sip. Ah, my brain is slowly getting soaked. What a lovely beer. Thank you BigLove! Recommended. (2,333 characters)

Insanity from Weyerbacher Brewing Co.
93 out of 100 based on 896 ratings.