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: 2,169
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.

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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.

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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.

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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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Photo of TheBrosy
2.47/5  rDev -32.9%
look: 2.75 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

12 oz. bottle poured into a pint glass.

Appearance: Copper-brown, opaque. Pours with a really nice head that dissipates to nearly nothing.

Smell: Woah boy there is alcohol here. Nice fruit-ester smell for an English barleywine.

Taste: You taste alcohol and not terribly much else. Some brown suger is evident. Very very sweet, lacks nuance. Probably should have aged this longer.

Mouthful: Nice rich creamy body. Low carbonation.

Overall: Not a terribly impressive barleywine. Alcohol flavoring is overpowering and whatever else Weyerbacher was trying to do was lost in that.

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Photo of Nevbo
2.79/5  rDev -24.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.75

Smells and tastes like cherry cough syrup with a touch of licorice. It's a bit sweet up front but bitter on the back end. The mouthfeel is very thick and syrupy. Did not like this one too much.

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Photo of q33jeff
3.45/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Appearnce is Translucent Copper Color. Aroma is Strong Hops. Strong Strong Strong. Alcohol is very apparent; but there is a definite smoothness. Blithering Idiot.
Bottle to snifter. (Date=12/09/15).
LOOK: same, copper, translucent.
AROMA: Not sure where I smelled hops in 2012, but this is all malty with brandy, and red grape. Sweet smelling.
TASTE: grape, oak, spiced rum, touches of tobacco, leather and butternut squash. Quite tasty, although maybe a touch too sweet. Alcohol burn is there.
FEEL: thin to medium body. Below average carbonation, but there is a fizzy bite.

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Photo of SportsandJorts
3.85/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Appearance: pours a deep ruby to garnet color. a finger or just more of a tan head forms, has moderate retention and leaves behind a very small lacing. almost opaque due to the darkness of the color but some strong brightness to it.

Smell: big estery and boozy nose. esters include apples to lightly stewed plums. more dark fruits and some strong sweet malts, mainly caramel.

Taste: opens up with some woody to light vanilla tones, this is quickly taken up by dark fruits. ranges from plums to some slight raisin. apple juice comes somewhere in the middle. strong caramel and toasted grains. ends with a strong bite of astringent booze.

Mouthfeel: heavy but not quite to the chewy viscous level. strong warming alcohol character. most of the balance falls to malts but actually ends fairly on the dry side of the style. alcohol leaves some astringency behind and there is some lingering yeasty flavors.

Overall: I can see why this beer doesn't get rave reviews when young, its harsh and intense and unbalanced. but I really enjoy what is going on here. love the yeasty flavors and the malt depth, all without being overpowering. booziness boarderline but if you know what you're in the mood for and are ready, its nice. Kudos to weyerbacher, cause this will be a fun one to watch evolve.

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Photo of creepinjeeper
4.3/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

12 oz bottle poured into a snifter.
Sadly, I am not sure how old this bottle is. I think it is two, maybe three, years old. Whatever the bottling date (I cannot locate one), time has certainly been kind to this barleywine.
Little head thins out fast. The scent of cherries, plums and a bit of vanilla hits the nose. It looks thick and full bodied; almost as if it should have oozed out of the bottle instead of poured. Next to no carbonation. The taste is one of grown up Hawaiian Punch, made with stone fruits - cherries, plums - slightly faded
It starts off sticky sweet, but gives no hint of 11% ABV is given in its dry finish. This is a barleywine worth seeking out.

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Photo of jmasher85
3.78/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

Drinking it at only 6 months old, I realize I should have listened to the reviews on this one - a bit too hot and sweet to drink fresh. The "best by" date gives me 5 years from bottling and no doubt, this brew needs it to unleash its full potential.

That said, I don't regret breaking it out now. With almost no head and low carbonation, this sticky beer smells up the room as soon as it's poured. Sweet and malty, scents of cherry cough syrup and raspberries are the dominant elements. And it's a booze bomb too - like I said, this is a much more potent 11% than even a seasoned drinker like myself would have liked. Still though, while not yet a world-class barleywine, it's got potential with some aging and it's worth picking up for any barleywine fan.

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Photo of KillerJigger
3.73/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

I would say this was a drier style. Less sweet on the back end as well. Can be a let down compared to the over the top versions but is very drinkable.

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Photo of T-34-85
4.04/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Aged for a year in my basement before consumption.

A slightly hazy light/medium brown color with a thin ring of lacing around the glass.

Smell of sweetness, caramel notes, and complex malts.

The taste has an assertive body of rich caramel malt with a solid level of sweetness, a relatively rounded feel and a noticeable, but not intrusive, alcohol kick.

The aging seems to have mellowed out the beer, and taken the edge off to eliminate the harshness

This is a solid sturdy barleywine, and a good sipper for a cold winter afternoon.

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Photo of OldManMetal
4.44/5  rDev +20.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This beer is like a singed cat- it's better than it looks. The fast-vanishing thin tannish head and sparse flecks of lacing that immediately slide back into the collar form a poor contrast to a nice-enough-looking body: hazy, ruby-brown and effervescent. The aroma makes you forget about all that; it is modestly assertive, a self-assured attention-getter that leads with cinnamon-pear-booze, then settles into an inviting, deeply sweet melange of cherry, vinous green grapes, caramel and floral tea, encompassed by alcohol overtones and undertones. The flavor is deep and sweet as well: brown sugar, plum, dark cherry and hints of toffee and cassis chase each other through an ocean of caramel-bread malt and booze, held in check somewhat by a modest herbal bitterness. The finish is caramel-cherry and quite boozy; the linger is boozy too, and lasts a few minutes. The mouthfeel is biggish for the medium-large body and quite warming from the alcohol (it's quite warming going down, too); the texture is viscous and creamy with just a hint of perceived carbonation, perfect for such a big beer. (12 oz bottle, no code date)

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Photo of Jon_Hendricks
4.25/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Appearance: Pours a dark burgundy red color.

Overall: The aroma consists of cherry, currant, and alcohol. You can tell this beer is meant to wreck you. The taste has a strong surge of malty sweetness, with a trace of toffee on the back end. Not for the faint of heart. This beer will kill you if you aren’t careful. Super powerful, super rich.

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Blithering Idiot from Weyerbacher Brewing Co.
3.68 out of 5 based on 2,169 ratings.
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