Blithering Idiot | Weyerbacher Brewing Co.

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Blithering IdiotBlithering Idiot

Brewed by:
Weyerbacher Brewing Co.
Pennsylvania, United States

Style: English Barleywine

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 11.10%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 09-20-2001

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Reviews: 905 | Ratings: 2,174
Photo of BSiegs
3.39/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Extremely dark ruby to brown in color. One finger of light tan head. Recedes quickly to a ring around the edge, little lacing. The aroma is caramel, molasses, dark fruit, bready. Hint of spice and booziness. The taste is heavy spice, overpowering most other flavors, and some dark fruit. I get a strange metallic twang on the finish. Medium-full body, moderate carbonation. I was excited after the aroma but the taste doesn't match. A solid brew, but not a barleywine I will seek again.

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Photo of tekstr1der
4.05/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Hazy dark brown pour with just a tan ring on top. Aroma tells me I'll enjoy - cooked sugar, dark fruits, and a hint of booze. Flavor follow similarly but more intense all around, very sweet from start to aftertaste and boozy with some woodiness in the finish. A little less alcohol burn and more dark fruit flavors would have ramped this up considerably. Still a very solid offering for the style. I'll have it again for sure.

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Photo of stakem
3.58/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

8ish year old 12oz bottle into a snifter appears hazy mahogany with a khaki cap thats quick to fade leaving spotty lace.

Aroma is toasty malt overtop raisony fruitiness. Sherry and vinous appeal fills out the rest of the nose.

Taste is caramel malt, toast and raisons before a hefty waft of solvent alcohol and mealy almost rusty feel of minerals. As it warms up, it gets a bit vinous feeling.

Light in body, light carbonation. A decent brew but perhaps ive let this one go too long.

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Photo of GuyFawkes
4.2/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Murky deep rust color; lots of sediment floating around.

Thin offwhite head; no lace.

Nose is of subtle, sweet caramel.

Thick mouthfeel.

Taste of artisan candy; sweet but not cloying. Booze is present but palatable. As it warms this becomes more delicious & subtle. A nice beer for dessert.

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Photo of Marraybay
2.1/5  rDev -42.9%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Yuck: Not a fan. Pours a cloudy amber cider-esque color, with little to no head. Very little carbonation. The nose is syrupy-sweet vinous fruit and alcohol and the taste follows suit in onenote. Desperately cries for some counterbalancing citrus bitterness, but there's none to be had. Almost comes off literally as wine not beer. Couldn't finish the pour.

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Photo of SawDog505
3.76/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Poured into a 13 oz Weyerbacher tulip glass bottled on 8/17/16. Pours a very attractive murky deep amber, with a solid one inch off white head.

Smell is dark fruit, brown sugar, toffee, vanilla, booze, and bubblegum.

Taste follows toffee, brown sugar, vanilla, dark fruit, bubblegum, and some hints of boooze.

Mouthfeel is a little less than medium, very mild carbonation, a little dry, and a sipper that goes down pretty easy.

Overall this is a very solid English Barleywine. Drinks like a strong ale.

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Photo of Bierliebhaber3
3.94/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This barley wine pours a deep, dark red with a very thin foamy white head. The smell is pretty sweet with some mild dark fruit notes and an obvious alcohol scent (it is 11% alcohol), like most barley wines. The flavor is extremely strong, like basically all barley wines that I’ve tried. There are very strong and complex fruit notes with dates, raisins, grapes, and apples being most prominent in that order. One criticism though would be that they are a bit artificial and a little cloying. There is a sweet burnt sugar flavor as well. In the aftertaste some mild bitterness as well as a noticeable alcohol flavor take over. The body is on the high end of medium. This is definitely a bold fruit-oriented barley wine with some aspects reminiscent of a Belgian Quad, while still maintaining a clear barley wine identity. Barley wines are a pretty diverse style, and I also don’t drink them frequently, so I have some trouble identifying what the status quo is. To my tastes though this is a decent example and I feel that it is underrated. To be fair I agree with most that it is a big, heavy handed beer, but I kind of like that sometimes.

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Photo of Newbeergeek1
3.6/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thought I'd try it because I like a lot of their brews. This is, for my tastes, OK. Certainly not even close to bad but just OK. I'm glad I tried it but most likely would not buy it again. A little sweet for me.

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Photo of Oldejoe
4.46/5  rDev +21.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Looks. Golden ruby with a thin, tan head.
Smell. Pleasant aroma of fuzzy fruit (apricot?), honey, caramel, brown sugars, touch of yeast; more high toned than earthy which seems odd given the richness.
Taste. More balanced than the aroma would lead you to expect. Very nice mix of sweet malts, toasted barley, and controlled hops. A rich complex blend of the malty, the toasty, the muted hoppy.
Feel. Chewy, full bodied, a bit tangy with a mildly dry finish, and mild bubbly sparkle.
Overall. Really nice, well balanced Rich favorite genre.

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Photo of Soneji75
3.5/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I really wasn’t planning on reviewing this beer until I got to about the middle of the glass… hence the half-drank picture.

I am not a barleywine person. I’ve always found them syrupy, sticky and too sweet for my taste. But I can’t say that I’ve had many. I don’t believe barleywines should come in pours or containers larger than 4-6oz as you really don’t need more than that before they become overwhelming. Barleywines have always felt more of a digestif; to have in small quantities after dinner. Or with a nice cigar, the way I am enjoy this now.

Blithering Idiot pours a very reddish-brown and notes of dark cherries and plums immediately hit your nose. It has a decent head with some thin, but nice lacing that sticks around for a bit until about mid-glass. On the nose you’ll get an overwhelming scent of dark fruit, namely black cherries, prunes and plums. There was a faint “mediciny” scent I couldn’t shake after several sniffs.

The nose is simply a straight follow up to the palate; all dark cherries. As expected, very sweet and sticky with little to no hop bitterness to speak of. You can certainly feel the warmth of the booze in your mouth and as it makes its way down your system. At 19F outside, this was definitely the right choice of beer to end the evening. This beer is big, you can practically chew it. The lingering aftertaste is very sweet and reminiscent of brandy or cognac with a very faint , dry grain finish.

As I am halfway through my 12-oz pour, I truly wished Weyerbacher (and others) would offer barleywines in smaller presentations as this style would be ideal as a nightcap or an after-dinner conversation piece. I do find a certain level of elegance to this drink; imagine sitting in an elgant room filled with mahogony and oak furniture and some guy in a fancy suit talking about how his stock went one iota higher while you sip your barleywine from a fancy snifter and go… “what a blithering idiot”.

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Photo of lastmango
3.78/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured a deep brown with a one finger tan fizzy head that dissipated quickly to none after one sip. No lacing. Aroma is caramel and dark fruit. Tastes the same of malt, caramel and dark fruit. Very sweet and boozy. Heavy feel, smooth and oily with low carbonation. I do not feel any burn like some others, but the back of my tongue is getting numb. :)

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Photo of Hop_God
4.14/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

A : deep mahogany to wine red. Clear

S: dark fruit. Caramel. Sweet plum.

T: sweet fruit. Brown sugar. Candied orange. Rum.

F: soft but crisp

O: quite good. Nice sweetness. Not much heat. Not cloying.

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Photo of Wer34truh
4.46/5  rDev +21.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Had this the other night, so this is not be a fully comprehensive review - which I also blame the ridiculous ABV.

I'm still getting used to the style, and have yet to have a barleywine I've truly loved. Well, up to yesterday that is. This is a marvelously nuanced barley wine, with just enough of malt sweetness to counteract the in an other beer extreme bitterness. A+.

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Photo of Jacobob10
3.99/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle
Bottled on 5/26/15
Best before 5/26/20

Purchased at the brewery and cellared for about a year. Ruby brown with a small off-white head. Sweet caramel aroma, fig, raisin, brown sugar. No hops. A little alcohol heat in the flavor, but mainly a tame and straightforward English barleywine. Full bodied, smooth, and warming.

Overall, I'll shell out the couple of extra bucks any day for it's barrel aged cousin Insanity. The difference between the two is quite striking.

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Photo of scotorum
4.57/5  rDev +24.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5


Accidental purchase thanks to an inconsiderate blithering idiot who unbeknownst to me had replaced two bottles in my Insanity fourpack with this before I bought it.

Poured from the 12 oz. bottle into a Samuel Smith English tulip.

a: Nearly clear copper with a four inch thick offwhite head which receded slowly to a thick, dense, even foam.

s: Caramel malt and dark ripe fruit such as plum. Aroma is evident from first pour.

t; Follows the nose along with a significant throat burn from the high ABV. Finish is similar with evident alcohol.

m: Full, oily smooth, some carbonation tingle.

o: A powerful barleywine, high octane all the way. Might even prefer this BBA-less version over Insanity, since it seems to have a smoother body, and my rating ended up being significantly higher than the 4.32 I gave Insanity. Considering that, I should probably thank the blithering idiot who pulled that switcheroo.

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Photo of jjamadorphd
4.26/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

I have watched Weyerbacher from afar and finally had an opportunity top pick up one of their offerings - a very good choice as it turned out...

There was a head but it dissipated as quickly as it appeared and there was no lacing to speak of. I will say, the brew has an appealing reddish hue with highlights of yellow, very nice. The smell was distinctly honey to me, not sure why, but definitely honey. The beer was so smooth, only lightly carbonated (the way I like it) but still with an astringent bite on the tongue - not oppressive, but certainly there and not something to be ignored. The taste was bold, a definite tang to the the 11% ABV, but not so much it was distracting or taking away from the overall experience. (I've had 10%s that were so overpowering it just took away the enjoyment and flavor of the beer, but not here). A very good brew, my first barely wine and I'll be looking for others in the future.

 929 characters

Photo of NoYouDidnt
3.44/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 3 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Pours a dark ruby with a 1 finger head on agressive pour that quickly goes to nothing. Aroma is of caramel, Applejacks cereal, red grapes, plum. Taste, more darker fruits, tootsie roll, bourbon/alcohol. Lots more caramel too. Mouthfeel, just holding the liquid in your mouth you can feel it bubble like a soda. Very agressive. Overall, okay barley wine, okay beer.

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Photo of 0_0
4.28/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

So excited that they named a beer after my friend Nate, I decided to grab one and try it out:
L - Dark Amber, kind of like the apple cider Nate drinks instead of real man beer
S - Boozy, Dark fruit, brown sugar, quite unlike that fine piece of brown sugar that I was supposed to hook up with, but Nate ruined because he was a terrible wingman
T + F - Definitely taste the alcohol, thick fig, date, coffee and brown sugar flavors, but imagine these items covered in liquor, like Nate is after he strikes out at the bar and falls to the floor in our shared living room.
O - Hate Nate. Blithering Idiot though is a complex beer with great taste, unlike Nate.

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Photo of MichaelT86
3.88/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

For me it's a hard beer to review because I'm not a huge fan of very malt forward beers, especially not in the summer. My wife bought me the beer under the premise that it was named after me (in fairness I'd bought her a Sea Hag for the same reason). I would say as far as I can tell it was very well executed Barleywine, I just don't like the style much. Fantastic packaging though and that counts for something. Rather heavy with a bit too much after taste for me, especially on a warm summer night.

 501 characters

Photo of Eeroomnhoj
3.32/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Have never had a barley wine before and I decided this was the day. That is a strong beer and much unlike anything I have had in the past. It looked real nice poured into a glass but the taste is not one I am used to. This is not something to chug after you mow the lawn!!!! This is something to be sipped slowly.

Will try again!

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Photo of HamdenHector
4.34/5  rDev +17.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A: cloudy; dark bronze in color; poured slowly straight down the center of the snifter - no head; no lacing;

S: dark fruit, caramel, a little plum; some alcohol, but not inappropriate for the style; virtually no hop character; as it warms, the aroma gets sweeter- cherry like;

T: flavor isn't very assertive; dark fruit, caramel - some similarity to a port; alcohol is evident and quite strong in the middle; almost no bitterness;

M: medium to full bodied; light carbonation; dry finish;

O: a really nice beer to sip at;

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Photo of thepenguin
4.34/5  rDev +17.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

L: Pours a golden-amber, with tinges of burnt orange and slightly more carbonation than you usually find with the style. Mostly clear, with only a very mild opacity.

S: Rich and delicious. Lots of caramel and toffee, with plenty of sweet mealy fruits, namely dates and bananas. Some sweet bread, vanilla, a bit of black tea and oxidized, musty sherry/Madeira notes. This beer also shows unmistakable British ale yeast influence in my mind.

T: Lots of dried fruits and fruit preserves. The maltiness has been a bit tempered by the age, revealing more oxidized notes than the aroma and this a decidedly dry barleywine, adding to the perception of a dry sherry. Alcohol practically nonexistent. After the malt dies down there are some very intriguing nutty, mildly herbaceous and surprisingly minty notes in the finish.

F: Just above medium bodied with a silky feel and moderate though slightly higher than average carbonation for the style. The lack of heat on this one is truly astounding – I swear I’ve had beers in the 7-8% range that pack more of a punch than this.

Thoughts: English barleywines…such good candidates for the cellar. Granted the extended aging of this beer likely altered its character, where are all the shitty reviews of this beer coming from? Nuanced and subtle and even among aged barleywines I found this to a bit different with its relatively dry drinkability and dry sherry likeness.

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Photo of bushbeer75
3.96/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

12 oz brown bottle - bottled on 2/20/15 - best before 2/20/20

Weyerbacher Blithering Idiot Barleywine Ale poured into my snifter a dark copper color producing a one finger tan head that was reduced in no time to a foamy collar with a light film of foam on top. The nose was dominated by dark fruit and caramel with just a hint of hops in the background. The taste is malty with the flavors of dark fruit [raisins and figs] , caramel and alcohol making its presence known. After taste is a little sweet with light hops at the finish. Mouth feel is to the smooth side with a fuller body.

This Ale is easy to drink...not to filling for the style.

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Photo of mirp1
4.44/5  rDev +20.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Some of the ratings below must be from pretentious beer snob pretenders. Here's the point, it is a Barley Wine. Barley Wine, along with English Old Ale, some of the better Scotch Ales, Imperial Stouts, are supposed to taste alcoholic in nature. That is the point of doing it. Brewers want to blend in as much balanced malt and complexity, while achieving a high abv. To accomplish that, along with a sound recipe, you need great fermentation, with the latter being huge. Getting beer to ferment down to 11-12 % abv is not an easy thing to do, unless you cheat of course. There is no cheating at Weyerbacher, this beer is a malt bomb, and is supposed to be. So, relax out there. If a non-warming, thin bodied beer is what you prefer, you have no case in rating Barley Wine. Some beers and brewers are negatively effected by unduly harsh reviews, so please, do not be over intoxicated by your anonymity. No, I do not work or have any formal connection with Weyerbacher. I merely subscribe to common sense.

 1,013 characters

Photo of drdiesel9483
3.43/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Dark auburn plum color with a slight head that has a skim. Sweet plum scent with a lot of booze. Taste sooo boozy with some plum. Medium light body with medium light carbonation. Not that good of a barley wine.

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Blithering Idiot from Weyerbacher Brewing Co.
3.68 out of 5 based on 2,174 ratings.
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