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Insanity - Weyerbacher Brewing Co.

Not Rated.

Educational use only; do not reuse.

897 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 897
Hads: 2,266
Avg: 4.14
pDev: 17.87%
Wants: 215
Gots: 501 | FT: 29
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: 897 | Hads: 2,266
Photo of TurdFurgison
3.73/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Poured from large (Arrogant Bastard sized) bottle. Looks nice, orangy red color with thin lacing on top.

Smells STRONG, like whiskey or bourbon or the like. You could definitely taste the alcohol from the start. Nice flavor, pretty robust though.

I rated low on drinkability, just as I'd rate a straight whiskey as low drinkability. Felt like I should drink it straight from the bottle in a paper bag.

Thanks to UncleDerby for the gift. Nicely done barleywine.

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Photo of klewis
3.6/5  rDev -13%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A: Pours a light ruby/brown with a large bubbly head. Lots of beaded lace left on the glass.

S: Big smell with aromas of raisins, bread, and a little citrus

T: This one tastes quite malty up front before quickly giving way to the hops and a noticable alcohol presence. Flavors are similar to the aroma, but slightly subdued by the alcohol.

M: Full-bodied with a little bit of a slickness. Good carbonation.

D: Perhaps this one is worth trying, but there is nothing that makes this barleywine stand out from any others. The presence of the alcohol is a little overwhelming and makes this one a little difficult to drink. For the price, I don't think this one is worth buying again.

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Photo of Birdiebeagle
3.79/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle Lets start by saying this is a little different. Pours a cloudy red auburn. Has a lasting light brown head. It is very murky. Has a toasted oak sweet aroma. A sweet acid taste, very soda like. Has a scotch taste its like scotch beer. Its different but kinda good. Strong abv. Don’t drink too many fast.

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Photo of ManekiNeko
3.65/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Served, lightly chilled, in a Maudite snifter. Bomber.

Appearance: Dark crimson, slightly hazy. Topped by a thickish, but short, khaki head. Head fades to a scant layer after a few sips. Specks of foam were left on the glass.

Smell: Mild boozy maple syrup-like aromas mized with burnt oaky and vanilla aromas. Pruny and caramel malts are also prominent.

Taste: Bittersweet pruny/caramel malts with a strong alcohol/whiskey kick. Medicinally unpleasant finish.

Mouthfeel: Hearty medium bodied beer. Somewhat viscous.

Drinkability: This is an improvement over Blithering Idiot, but I like OD's Millenium much better, both the normal and the oak-aged versions. The medicinal aftertaste on this hinders enjoyment for me. I'll not be rushing back for more of this.

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Photo of scooter231
3.95/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Note: This is my second review of this. I like this a lot better than I did the first time- it's mellower, the garbagey taste is gone- perhaps it was stored better... whatever the reason, this is much more enjoyable now.

Dark hazy muddled cloudy reddish brown color with a tannish head, and a bare tich of lacing. Smell is soooo raisiny, with light chocolate notes. Definitely alcohol in the nose. Kind of reminds me of cognac a tich- very rich.

Taste is cognac-y again, dark ripe fruits, more alcohol, though it's not overly harsh. It's complex. Mouthfeel is pretty decent as well- medium-bodied, but a tad too oily for me. Overall drinkable for a high-alcohol, barley wine... though I couldn't finish a bomber of this by myself.

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Photo of Phatz
4.58/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: This beer pours out a rusty orange/brown with a small tan head. It is cloudy in appearance. Thick and mostly opaque.

Smell: The smell is a malty, sweet fruity (dark fruit) aroma. It also has hints of vanilla, powdered sugar and oak. Then it portrays noticeable, but not overpowering alcohol in the nose.

Taste: The taste is malty caramel and sweet dark fruits, like dates, apple and oak barrel flavors. This is a complex and yet very approachable beer. It will likely please many pallets; somewhat middle of the road, in that it is subtle and not overly extreme in any direction. Insanity does not sacrifice being interesting to avoid any cloying tastes. Good job, Weyerbacher!

Mouthfeel: The mouthfeel is medium bodied with moderate carbonation. Sticky and substantial feeling in your mouth, yet very refreshing.

Drinkability: This is a very easy to drink beer that is unique. It is vinous and yet carries many bourbon attributes as well. Anyway; as a (former) bourbon man, this is a fantastic nightcap substitution. I highly recommend giving it a try.

Hope this is helpful.

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Photo of DarkerTheBetter
4.17/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a brownish orange with a slight purple. It’s very cloudy and has a yellowish head. Smells of sour prunes, molasses and a dry hop. Tastes of oranges, red liquorish and coffee. Finishes dry like coffee and grapefruit with a nice warming. Mouth feel in playful with lots of small bubble carbonation.

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Photo of lackenhauser
2.93/5  rDev -29.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Pours a murky orange/amber sort of color. Decent head on top at first. Big vanilla aroma tinged with alcohol. Some malty sweetness but the vanilla overpowers. Malt presence dominates the flavor. Again with the vanilla. Somewhat phenolic/astringent and has a pucker to it. Definate alcohol going on here. Has a metallic/coppery tinge to it. All this rolls together to become a flavor which overall I find somewhat unpleasant. Decent mouthfeel. Rather dissappointing I think. Too many non barleywine characteristics. I understand this is oak aged but detected no oak. For me as a barleywine fan-I will pass.

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Photo of BillyB
4/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The nice dark fruit aroma is pleasant.
There is a syrupy medium body with little to no head. Strong alcohol aroma and flavor.
Nice Bitter/Sweet balance leaning towards sweet with dark fruit; plums, raisins. Not much carbonation. Very drinkable. The alcohol is sneaky.

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Photo of mentor
4.85/5  rDev +17.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Bottle shared by crosling at a small BA gathering he hosted. IMO, this beer was the champion of the evening. Wow. Dusting of head over a rich red-brownish liquid. Smells piercing alcohol and bourbon oak. Sherry soaked deep dark raisins. Taste is wonderful. Well blended and smooth. Wet sweet caramel tossed with sour brandy bourbon. Noticable oak that's carried by re-assuring dark fruit and a playful vanilla. What's that fruit...raisin is too 'cheap' of a description. Darker and a more stable and filling flavor. Thick mouthfeel clings to the tongue allowing the enjoyment to persist. This beer is really amazing. I'm happy to be sitting on a year old bottle in my basement.

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Photo of waldowin
4.24/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a very hazy ruby, with a white head that fades quickly. Some visible carbonation, but the depths are too murky to make out well.

Smells of strawberries, vanilla, and malts. Sugars everywhere, with a *very* faint citrusy hop finish.

Taste is of bourbon spiked with vanilla, and left in an oak cask for a month or so. Almost no hop presence, but this is one very tasty brew.

Mouthfeel is sticky and sweet, almost syrupy. Some definite alcohol tingle and warmth in the finish, with moderate carbonation adding to this.

With me being such a big-beer malt lover, this is just amazing. I could revel in this beer all day (if it didn't mean rapid loss of consciousness).

Watch the alcohol on this one! One is enough for me, it's an excellent night-cap on a cold day. I'll definitely be looking for more of this! Thanks to IrishRedRock for the brew!

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Photo of TastyTaste
4.38/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle insto a goblet.

Appearance: About 1/2" of head sits atop a scarlet red body with streams of bubbles rising from the bottom.

Smell: Nice bourbon smell in the nose, very oaky. Strong in malt and aclohol, also, very pungent overall.

Taste: Huge alcohol, hops, bourbon, oak flavors kick you in the mouth immediately. Sharp tasting, would be even better with some additional bottle aging. As it warm the flavors become more prevalent, seperating themselves from each other, making this a very nice sipper for a cold November evening.

Mouthfeel: Full and slick, fairly sticky and sweet residue. Alcohol tingles and burns on the way down.

Drinkability: I don't get many opportunities to sample oak aged beers, but I like them and thei bourbon characteristics. This beer is fairly sharp and would benefit from mellwoing, very good and interesting, anyways. Thanks to Px2Grafx for another good beer.

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Photo of orfeu
4.85/5  rDev +17.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured a 22 oz. bomber into an oversized wine glass/goblet. Brown ruby color with moderate, dense tan head. The nose is all bourbon soaked dates, toffee malts and astringent hops. The taste is....goddam heavenly. Is this what aging in oak bourbon barrels does? As my friend said when she tasted it, "This is what I want beer to taste like all the time." Almost overwhelmingly creamy mouthfeel. Alcohol warms up from the belly all the way to the sinus. Sheer beauty in a bottle. Excellent, excellent beer.

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Photo of Sephiroth
4.7/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

No date, but AlexJ said it was from last year. Thanks for the trade. Poured into a tulip, the beer is a slightly hazy amber. Ample head for the ABV%. The nose is of dark fruits muddled in vanilla and bourbon. Yep, there must be alcohol in it.

The taste is intense. The bourbon barrel ageing has done wonders for this beer. Dates, raisins, figs, and cherries are smoothly blended with vanilla oak characteristics. The bourbon flavor really shines as it warms. This is a masterpiece.

The mouthfeel is thick and smooth, not syrupy given the style. If this is distributed where you live, drinkability is high. If you have to trade or travel, like me, not as good. I think another year of cellaring would only help. Hard to believe it could get much better, though.

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Photo of Zorro
4.12/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Pours a cloudy red brown beer with a tan head, I gave this a good 3 day rest in the refrigerator, might not have been enough to settle the yeast in the bottom.

Smell is sweet and very fruity with a lot of spice in the alcohol fume part of the scent. Black pepper, apples and oak ride the alcohol fumes to the nose. After a while vanilla, brown sugar and bourbon scents become separate from the other aromas.

Taste is very neutral at the start with no strong flavors or sweetness to surprise your tongue. Without any strong flavors; subtle flavors and nuance are what make this beer. Pleasant flavors of vanilla and oak make up the first recognizable flavors and remind me of Cajun bread pudding as they make it in New Orleans. Bourbon is tasteable here but it isn't strong and melds in to a mild butterscotch flavor with a nice spike of vanilla to it. Alcohol is detectable but is by no means strong and servers as a carrier of subtle flavors. If this beer has a fault it might be too mild mannered.

Mouthfeel is good.

An exceedingly mild mannered barley wine here that is by no means offensive at all. Dangerously drinkable for the alcohol content. I see this as an excellent candidate for a Christmas nightcap or for the basis of a pleasant mulled beer for the holidays.

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Photo of unclederby
4.55/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

An attractive beer: burnt orange in color, a vigorous pour results in a 3/4 inch head. Some lacing on the glass.

The bouquet is of sweet malts, yeast, figs, spiciness, bourbon and alchohol.

Wow! The first cold drink and all i can think is bourbon! Just like a Wild Turkey on the rocks it's a blast of oak, spiciness and serious alchohol... the potency of this thing really caught me off guard.

But as i let it warm in the glass the alchohol recedes just a bit and the finer characteristics of this brew make themselves known. The sweet malt is present for sure, as is cinnamon, oak, vanilla, plums and figs. Hops maintain a fine presence too, as does the alchohol.

Mouthfeel is what one would expect from a barleywine. A bit syrupy, but not over the top. Pleasant creamy texture with a bit of viscosity and fine carbonation.

I'm drinking this thing pretty fast... maybe i should slow down given the abv. Overall, it's very tasty and comes the closest to a bourbon experience as any beer i've tried to date. The flavors as well as the alchohol warming in the throat and gut is similar to that of bourbon, and is pleasantly familiar... well done!

I'm nearly half done with this bomber and i think i could go another round, though i'd possibly be floored before i finished as i'm starting to feel it now. Nice heady buzz.

Recommended, but if you don't like bourbon - approach with caution.

edit: i have to say - the complexities of this brew keep making themselves known - as i am almost finished now and the estery qualities are much more apparant now then at first.

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Photo of MuddyFeet
4.72/5  rDev +14%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Easily one of the smoothest, most balanced and best drinking barleywine I have ever had the pleasure to drink. Had this againg in a basement for 7 months.

Poured a very rich and glowing orange-red in color. Incredibly thick and spongey head sitting comfortably on top. Subsided down to a not-so-thin layer of head that left some nice layered lace around the glass. Lots of little black dots in the beer too--yeast, perhaps?

Decomposing piney hops and malts came through in the aroma. Oddly, while that description sounds kind of negative, it is very comforting. Makes me think of a few days after Christmas when you take down the tree.

Flavor is very smooth and balanced. Lots of sweet malts. The hop presence is not so bitter and tingly as I expected but provides more of a balance. Kind of dark fruits. Subtle caramel. Makes me think of bourbon. The oak provides a nice subtle backbone to the smoothness. But I really liked all the vanilla flavors I as getting from this beer.

Full and rich body. A bit cloying. Hardly any alcohol burn comes through. The malts are nicely layered and really hold up well for a barleywine.

Oh God! I could not put this beer down. Good thing my bed is only 15 yards away becaus even though I cannot taste the alcohol I sure can feel it. Keeping my eyes open for another bottle of this beer.

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

This is a hazy dark amber beer with very little head. The slight head has very fine bubbles that lace the glass well. The smell is very good, it is a prune or raisin smell with some vanilla and oak. I don't smell any hops. It is a bit sweet, but the oak is very obvious. The mouthfeel is great. It is very smooth and silky. It is very easy to drink even considering the 11.10% alcohol.

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Photo of Hop2it
5/5  rDev +20.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Good head, frothy off-white. Very cloudy brown body and active carbonation lining the side of the glass. Malty-toasted sweet smell. Pleasant touch of vanilla.

Very alive with flavor! Wow. Like a smoothy. The alcohol is certianly present in every corner of my happy mouth. After a few sips the initial rush mellows out and dark fruit step up. Finally on an exhale I sense the gentle quaff of bourbon. I cannot explain the joy in knowing that a completely new taste appears several seconds after the sip is over.

***Aging note: I first reviewed Insanity 7 months ago and my impression was left thinking it was two beers hidden in one. The flavors were all over the place: fruits one minute, roasted malts the next; no alcohol at first, then it was overpowering.

- I taste all of that now, but in one solid package!! It's like watching a power-hitter start batting for average to become a Triple Crown winner.

Did I mention how great this looks?! The 22oz bomber makes two pours possible, and the second is even darker and creamier than the first.

I cannot wait to review the other bottle aging in my fridge in a few months.

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Photo of kmo1030
4.52/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

very hazy brown with a thick tan head. very complex nose with vanilla, whiskey, oak, caramel, raisin, other dark fruitiness, cocoa, and alcohol. sweeter floral fruity smells develop as it warms. smells more like an aged whiskey or cogniac. the taste does justice to the aroma with much of the complexity translating well. strong vanilla sweet caramel presence with the bourbon/oak character coming through as well. a cocoa flavor shows up at the back of the mouth with some juicy fruit flavors: raisin, plum, fig, and maybe a little ripe pear and dark berry. full bodied with delicate carbonation that lends well to the total package, and honestly, this barleywine delivers a total package. excellent aroma and flavor. a very impressive offering from weyerbacher. i wish i had another bottle because this will most certainly age well.

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Photo of ybnorml
3.75/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A cloudy dark amber ,bordering on brown, beer. has a small dark beige head. There is some vanilla and a hint of fruit on the aroma. Then theres the alcohol. There is a touch of vanilla on the tip of your tongue then some fruit sweetness in the middle. The finish is mostly alcohol with a hint of tabacco at the back of the throat.

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Photo of BeerBeing
4.4/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Presentation: 12oz brown glass longneck US-generic bottle, red on black label

Appearance: reddish coper color, tan colored small head, minor but sticky lacing

Smell: alcohol, malt, vanilla and some oak

Taste: full body, very smooth mouthfeel, very malty, vanilla, caramel, alcohol, some hops in background, you can feel oak taste in it

Notes: I like it much better thn base brew (Blithering Idiot)

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Photo of granger10
4.2/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Alluring crimson red color with a dark tan head. Just a very nice beer to look at. Aroma's of bourbon, oak, ripened fruit, caramel, alcohol, and a bit of hops. Not real strong but enticing none the less. Taste leaves the hops behind and goes with the malt, bourbon interplay. Begins caramelly, juices up with a lip smacking fruit flavor then goes more bourbony and woody. Vanilla and oak in the background. A nice chewy, bready base adds to the mouthfeel. Finishes with an alcohol kick and maybe some yeasty phenolics. Warming on the way down. Medium bodied which fits well with the flavors of this beer. Much better than prophecy.

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

Appearance – This ABW poured a light brown orange in color, which was strange for the style. The head was modest but lasted well.

Smell – The nice malty bourbony backbone dominated the smell, which was pleasing but lacked the complexity that I’ve come to expect from the style.

Taste – The thick, malty flavor here is mixed with booze and some light red wine.

Mouthfeel – This medium-bodied Barley Wine had a nice mouthfeel but the booze was a bit too “stingy” for my tastes.

Drinkability – I enjoyed this Weyerbacher offering but thought it could have been handled with a bit more finesse.

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Photo of egajdzis
3.98/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured a copper color with a sticky off white head and nice lacing on the glass. Vanilla, bourbon oak, sweet caramel aroma. Tastes melded alcohol, bourbon, bitter grapefruit, while still being sweet and sticky. I enjoyed this and thought it was much better than the original as well as Weyerbacher's other bourbon experiment (Heresy or Prophecy).

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Insanity from Weyerbacher Brewing Co.
92 out of 100 based on 897 ratings.