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Insanity - Weyerbacher Brewing Co.

Not Rated.

Educational use only; do not reuse.

899 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 899
Hads: 2,275
Avg: 4.14
pDev: 11.35%
Wants: 220
Gots: 511 | FT: 31
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

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: 899 | Hads: 2,275
Photo of Hhawk06
4.2/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this one in the 16.6 (?) oz. bottle, courtesy of Colonial Spirits. It poured a shimmery brown to ruby red in color with adequate off-white head and slick lace. The nose is very strong; reminiscent of tobacco and brandy all the way. Wow, this brew is like having a meal. The mouthfeel is robust, heavy, and certainly chewy. Is this dinner? Yep. The taste buds tingle with a prominent smooth smokey maltiness that's accompanied by a tobacco edge as well as some clove beating around the bush. The finish is more brandy-like with clear punctuations of the high alcohol content this fine brew offers. Ultimately I sense some lingering licorice flavors on the back of the palate. Special!

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

Pours thick and cloudy, like liquid caramels into my glass. No real head to speak of, but lots of tiny bubbles rising up the sides of the glass. A wonderful vanilla aroma rises from the top, with a mild scent of alcohol in there. The taste... sweetness at first, with caramel, brown sugar and sweet malt filling my mouth. The vanilla aroma is strongly present in the taste as well. A mild woody bitterness is in there too... must be from those oak casks. There's definitely alcohol present, with a slight burning in the aftertaste... it bothers me a bit at first, but it fades as I continue to drink... it's either because the beer is getting warmer as I slowly sip and enjoy, or I'm just getting used to the taste of the alcohol while the other flavors come to the forefront. In either case, this is one that becomes more and more drinkable as you sip. The only real room for improvement I can see in this one is the carbonation level... the tiny bubbles are nice, but there's a few too many of them for a barleywine... my tongue is busy enough picking up all the flavors, and doesn't need the distraction of so many bubbles dancing on the tip of my tongue. Otherwise, a nearly perfect brew!

Of course, at 11% alcohol, and with such a rich and complex taste, this isn't a session beer. But it makes for an enjoyable nightcap.

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Photo of NeroFiddled
4.72/5  rDev +14%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

This is the second release out of three in the oak-aged line of beers from Weyerbacher. The bottle opens with a decent release of gas; and with the yeast poured, it's a hazy dark chestnut with orange highlights beneath a thin head of creamy light tan foam that receeds quickly to just an average collar (of course, the 11% alcohol will help to do that!). The nose delivers a waft of bourbon, sweetish vanilla, drying woody oak, dried dark fruits, and a distinctly caramelish malt - as well as an occassional note of cocoanut! It's full, supple maltiness slides more oily than creamy across the tongue; and it's very-fine bubbled (seemingly natural) carbonation lends a gentle caress to the tongue. The flavor is rich and complex with a pleasant note of alcohol, vanilla, dark fruit skins, almonds, caramel/toffee, almost-burnt brown sugar, a lick of black licorice, wood, a low-key leafy hoppiness, and a rounding note of delicate, buttery diacetyl. WOW! It's not as malty or hoppy as most American versions, but keep in mind that this is based on British barleywines, many of which are more along these lines. On the other hand, however, it's at American barleywine strength! It finishes drying as it's alcohol and drying woodiness battle what residual maltiness is there; and more licorice flavor comes out as it warms. Quite impressive!

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Photo of asabreed
4.9/5  rDev +18.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

I was so excited about finding that that I bought two bottles just on that general principle. The hype has been high, and though some Weyerbacher stuff I liked, much of it I didn't think was the most superb in each respective category. Insanity, however, is absolutely gorgeous in every way, and I may just buy out any bottles I can find of this stuff. 22 oz. bomber into a wine glass.

Appearance: Nice white head that sticks pretty solidly to the top, foaming and slowly dissipating. A great mix of hazy amber, orange, and yellow colors, with bubbles sluggishly making their way to breathe at the beginning of the foam.

Smell: Holy good God. Absolutely perfect and insanely complex. I'm just going to give a run down upon breathing it in: caramel, sugars, fruit, toffee, pineapple, plum, raisin, oak, vanilla, slight bourbon, slight rum, butter, frosting, slight yeast, bread and nuts. The complexity is interminable. I can't say enough.

Taste: How could the taste come close to the aromas? I'm seriously asking myself that now. The vanilla flavors and woodiness are up front, sliding into a balance of tons of different fruit and malt qualities (in addition to a creamy sweetness akin to cake icing, which I've never encountered in a beer), and finally settling into the slightest and most subtle form of hop bitterness. The aftertaste is simply stellar also. I can't believe how amazing this is.

Mouthfeel: Perfect again. Silky, smooth, creamy, The carbonation is medium to high, but somehow is perfect and settles down very well, going extremely well with the other qualities of the flavors, allowing them to blossom into the fullest potential.

Drinkability: You'd simply be a fool to not savor this for as long as possible. If the ABV were lower this may be the beer that the gods would drink. Simply amazing.

Thank you, Weyerbacher. If this somehow doesn't become a staple I'm going to be very sad. I may spend the rest of the money in my bank account now on getting bottles just to have them. I believe this is the staple all barley wines should be trying to match. Not only that, but from most of the barley wines I've tried, the "greenness" factor is a huge variable. But with this young guy, it doesn't even matter, and it's perfect now. That, to me, means that if this gets better as it gets older, I'm in for a very tangible and effulgent form of pure perfection.

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Photo of MrSeth
4.23/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a deep copper with a hearty 2 inch tan head. It settles but doesn't go away, leaving lace and foam all over the place in the glass.

Exotic nose, pineapple and coconut.

Light-medium bodied, the exotic aromas in the nose follow to the palate along with a big bourbon flavor (Knob Creek? my favorite), vanilla and oak. POWerful carbonation, stingy on the tongue. The foam is really smooth though, and adds a marshmallowy character to the overall effect. This is an experiment in styles that has gone wonderfully well. A must try for barley wine fans. Cheers.

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

This bottle of Weyerbacher's Insanity was another gift to me from a BA buddy at work (thanks, Derek!) whose Uncle had sent him a large sampler pack. The Weyerbacher beers are not currently distributed in Texas, so this was another treat for me. I had previously tried the Old Heathen Imperial Stout and found it to be quite good, so I had high expectations for this barleywine. Fortunately, my high hopes were justified, as the Insanity is an all-around excellent brew.

The pour was teriffic, prompting a full head of tightly-compacted bubbles. The color was a dense and hazy amber. Very nice appearance.

The smell was woody and full of the promise of the alcohol bite. Faint vanilla presence in the odor.

The taste was incredibly complex. The beer is aged in oak bourbon barrels, and you can definitely get some of the warm bourbon characteristics out of the initial taste. After that, it's an amalgam of different textures. Vanilla was present, along with banana, cloves, and alspice. The different tastes changed prominence as the beer warmed, adding depth.

Great mouthfeel, with a warming and satisfying finish. Very drinkable, but at 11% ABV it's not a beer to be quaffed quickly. Take your time with it, get to know it a little, and the friendship will blossom. Easily sipped and enjoyed.

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

Ahh...Insanity! This one pours with a very slow to recede cream colored head, very lightly hazed medium amber color in the glass. Big woody/vanilla nose apparent at first whiff. Heavy maltiness gives way to fruit, vanilla and oak. Latent alcohol and hops show up at the end of the swallow. Powerful mix, very complex ale. Finishes bittersweet with a long wood and alcohol fadeout, outstanding fireside sipping beer. Do like me and grab some for cellaring, this one's a beaut!

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Photo of cubedbee
4.25/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a deep burgundy red with a thick 1.5 off-white head in my Duvel tulip. Aroma is deep and rich---bourbon, carmamel, plums, raisins, vanilla, and oak. The taste is everything found on the nose, with the oak becoming much more assertive. Unlike the Heresy, where the bourbon dominates, the bourbon takes a back seat here with oak, vanilla, and fruit really coming through. The alchohol is immediately noticeable after you swallow as your throat warms. This is a very lightly carbonated and smooth beer with a medium mouthfeel. This is a nice sipping beer and doesn't kick you on your ass as much as some other barleywines.

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Photo of counselor
3.68/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer pours a deep garnet with a tall head that dissapears quickly. There are rich malty aromas of vanilla, nutmeg, cinnimon and powerful bourbon oak, like it was oak aged in Jiom Beam barrels or something. The beer tastes oaky and really like a bourbon barrel aged beer, the alcohol is not really evident until you swallow, then a mild warming sensation creeps up from your gullet. This is a smooth beer and at 11% abv, it is smooth and agreeable. Not as up front and in your faceliek some other barleywines. A nice sipping beer that is not overwhelming

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Photo of Bighuge
4.6/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Appearance: Murky looking dirty auburn. Not much UV gets through. Thin off white head leaves minimal lace.

Aroma: Oak, vanilla, caramel, nougat, passion fruits, slight alcohol and wine barrels. Very nice.

Taste: The taste of this beer really agrees with me. It's got a great blend of everything I found on the nose. Vanilla, oak, wine, caramel and nougat.

Mouthfeel: Smooth and creamy. Medium body. Lightly carbonated.

Drinkability: This one could become addictive. Even though there's an alcohol presence, it's fitting in the context of this beer. And the oak aging does wonders for the taste and smoothness of this barleywine. A great beer. Best one I've had from Weyerbacher.

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Photo of OldSock
3.92/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance - Poured into my snifter from a 12 oz bottle, it is an orange-brown more orange-amber held toward a light. Light wispy head that quickly settles to a faint coating, but it does stick around in this form. Nothing too exciting in this department.

Smell - Alcohol up front, with dried fruit and oak as supporting aromas. Nice, but at this stage the alcohol is pretty overpowering.

Taste - Again alcohol takes the lead, but the oak and fruits are stronger in the taste then they were in the smell. The hops, absent from the smell, provide a slight spiciness to the taste. The oak gains intensity as I drink, the flavor really peeks as I am finishing the glass.

Mouthfeel - Nice full body, with subdued carbonation. This is a solid sipper.

Drinkability - A little harsh on the alcohol at this point, some aging would do this wonders. Not my favorite barley wine, but a pretty good example of an interesting barrel-aged one.

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Photo of feloniousmonk
4.42/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Thoroughly hazed, deep crimson, slice of cocoa-cream foam rests above.
Rich aroma, complex and cognac-y, ripe fruit, cherries and grapes, dates, plums, my favorite kind of barleywine aroma. Gloriously good.
Taste: hot from the start, and dripping with juicy fruit, with an alcoholic sting on the side. Abundant flavor, lush, vibrant texture.
I'm a little confused, as the label only mentions an aging in oak barrels, yet doesn't state whether they were occupied by wine or whiskey....I am getting some bourbon notes, but they're overshadowed by the bubbling fruit, the vanilla tones speak up, too, feeling more mellow as we go...just a brief flash of harshness. I'm liking this lots.
Yummmm....a very complex and tasty creation. i like it, like it, like it.

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

poured out a mohagony color with ruby tones and a nice 1 inch head that left nice lacing throughout.
smell was of vanilla, oak and caramel sugars with very slight spiciness from some hop perhaps. Taste hits with a malty sweetness up front, vanilla and sugars and finishes slighly crisp with a nice alcohol warmth. The alcohol is present in the aroma as well but no where near overpowering. All in all a very nice Barley Wine.

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Photo of Hex92
4.08/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

WOW! I like this beer. Bought it cause the name sounded interesting. I didin't realize the kick it would have. Definitely a high octane beer. You can smell and taste the alcohol and I like that in a beer. Looks like a nice dubbel in the glass. The smell may be a little sour, but the taste is real nice. I wish I could remember how much I paid for the bottle. I will be picking up another bottle on my next trip to the store.

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Photo of outdoorbrewer
3.85/5  rDev -7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Open house at Weyerbacher Brewery April 2, 2005 was a success judging by the crowd and the checkout line.
All the beers were a hit with the Insanity stealing the show.
Poured out of a keg to a pitcher then the little sample cup this beer sparkled as John explained it's a barleywine aged in bourbon barrels of different distillers blended to specific proprotions agreed upon by the decision makers.
Referring to my notes - I found the clear sample well foaming with some bubbles showing in the copper colored brew
It had an oak wood saturated malted aroma and to me no detectable hops
So many different flavors were present upon tasting that were discernable at first and then transferred into something else later.
Toasted malts hit you as you slide into the alcohol laced bourbon flavors
This all happening as a bitterness follows up the original spiciness and vanilla cake-like essence making you wonder if you should serve this beer for dessert!
Flex your beer muscle and try Insanity - see how much You can lift
Most would agree that this very complex concoction is a crowd pleaser.

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Photo of Sammy
4.1/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Nice head in pour, lasts throughout. Creamy mouthfeel. Unique yeast. Woodyness did something, I guess mellowed the barleywine flavour. Aroma of rum and alcohol. Malty, vanilla, and also chocolate malt. A bit better in a bottle had all to myself later on.

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Photo of LuckySevens82
4.47/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22oz bomber.
Pours a hazy, tarnished copper. A thick, tan, head (1.5 finger) tops this one. Very good lacing as well.
Smell is oak, earthy vanila, toasted malts, caramel, a bit fruity, and alcohol. It almost smells like custard or more specifically flan.
Taste is somewhat hoppy, fusel alcohol, vanilla, bourbon, toasted malts, caramel, a hint of chocolate. Despite the fusels, this is smooth and surprisingly easy to drink.
Overall, a good barleywine. I'm always interested in seeing how bourbon casks help with the aging of certain beers. I feel that Weyerbacher did a good job picking their barleywine to age this way...it's damn good.
Oh, one quick note, I recieved this bottle in trade and I cannot remember who from. I would like to give credit, but since I can't remember, thank you whoever you were.

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Photo of mjc410
3.8/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Presentation: 22 oz bomber

Appearance: Poured the entire bottle into my snifter. The head just barely popped up above the lip of the glass. The light tan head quickly receded to lacing.

Smell: Alcohol, bourbon, vanilla.

Taste: Exactly like the smell. The alcohol is definitely hidden much better than in Blithering Idiot. Still, it's a bit overpowering. Yeast yields a bit of bread taste. Hard to detect the hops.

Mouth: Thick and smooth.

Drinkability: The alcohol is still a bit much for me, so I took it down a bit here for me.

A great beer, for very special occasions. I think I might age some myself next to some blithering idiot and see what happens.

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Photo of Wonka
4.35/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

1 PT. 6 FL. OZS.
No dates
Purchased at Shawan Liquors in Hunt Valley, MD

Appearance – red/orange color; off-white head - a bit more than expected early, then it ran a bit later as expected; lace was good for a barley wine

Smell – what I’d expect from a barley wine aged in bourbon wood - bourbon and more bourbon; spice runs throughout but does not dominate; caramel enters midway and runs a bit stronger than the bourbon to nearly the end where the bourbon re-emerges and takes over

Taste – bourbon and vinous accents, double check; caramel and oak, check; a small dose of vanilla and the lightest hint of smoke; bourbon sets the aftertaste along with some woody and sweet notes

Mouthfeel – uniquely smooth; there’s a good body above the bourbon; when sipping a bit quicker than a snail’s pace, it’s a bit too crisp; take your time

Drinkability – genuinely warming; not a bourbon fan, but if I was, I’d move this rating to a 4.5

Two signs should appear on the label – ‘Caution! Let It Warm.’ & ‘Drink Slow! Bourbon Crossing’.

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Photo of GClarkage
4.31/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

03/18/05- Received via trade from BA member Santoslhalper.

Presentation- 12oz scary looking bottle with no dates. Poured into my Corsendonk tulip.

Appearance- Deep auburn colored pour with a small tight white head. Lacing was strong.

Smell- This dude just reeked of alcohol. Almost like jet fuel. This one scared me a bit.

Taste- So much more mellow that I expected after the initial scent. Very fruity (cherries, etc), almost woody like if aged for yeard in oak barrels. Alcohol is definitely present and warms your body very nicely.

Mouthfeel- Smoooth, creamy and mouth coating. Almost like drinking a quality bourbon or whisky rather than a beer.

Drinkability- I'm gonna have to get a few more of these in the future. Quality brew for sure. Extra thanks to santoslhalper for the kick ass beer!

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Photo of walleye
4.1/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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.

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Photo of Duncan2112
4.43/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

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Photo of Truh
3.85/5  rDev -7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

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.

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Photo of tomthumbsblues
4.35/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

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

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.

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Insanity from Weyerbacher Brewing Co.
92 out of 100 based on 899 ratings.