Blithering Idiot | Weyerbacher Brewing Co.

2,178 Ratings
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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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Ratings: 2,178 |  Reviews: 907
Photo of Hoagie1973
3.97/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a hazy reddish-amber with a moderate butter colored head.
Aroma of sweet dark candied fruits. malt and alcohol.
Creamy body with a somewhat light fruity flavor. Low carbonation. Sugary sweetness through the middle with a balancing bitterness from both hops and the high ABV in the finish. Pretty pleasant and drinkable overall, though a tad boozy (expected).
Not bad.

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Photo of CheezyBlaster
2.83/5  rDev -23.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This beer is like someone made the batter for a banana bread, with prunes and dried figs, but said: "Nah, bro. Just drink this batter."

Pummeled pile of bruised bananas and brown sugar?

Nose: Ripe dark fruits with a hint of tang, yeasts, sweet apples. Fig. Plummy-figgy-black-bananas.

Booze with a bit of booze on the side -overly warming. [reviewed year later and booze died down] ]r, Bruised apple, date-chutney, ouse-like candied apples and caramel flavor is trampled by booze and metallic finish [year out, metallic finish gone]. Maybe it needs to calm down for a year or two?

Again, 1 year later: big ass. Booze died down a bit. Just pummeled black-ass overripe fruit.

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Photo of ianjsullivan
3.24/5  rDev -12%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

ST: 12oz poured into a chalice. The bottle lists the ABV but not a BOD or DBD.

A: Cloudy apple cider brown with a very think brown head that disappears quickly.

S: Strong sweet malt, syrup, brown sugar, slight hops, dark fruit, alcohol esters, and spicy yeast.

T: Strong spicy yeast, chocolate, raisins, molasses, and lots of alcohol.

M: Thick and heavy

O: Lots of strong flavors are present in this beer, but they are drowned out by the burn of alcohol, which lingers in the back of the throat. As the bros warned, this beer needs to sit and age until the alcohol mellows.

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Photo of Doshkin
3.72/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

a - very brown and very little head that disappears quickly. under backlight, this beer looks very cool - blazing fiery orange with a yellow outline. lots of floaties if you like pouring out the whole beer like me

s - boom. malty explosion. alcohol percentage is present, but not overpowering. maybe a touch of citrus hops?

t - matches the smell for the most part. malty blast as expected from a barlyewine style. slightly bitter finish, but nice.

m - thick and delicious. the alcohol lingers high on the palate and the malts hit lower on the tongue.

o - very yummy beer. quite drinkable for the 11.1%. i would buy this again for sure

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Photo of Arithmeticus
3.78/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 2 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured at basement temp in a flared glass

A: clear brown orange; good head but it dissipates quickly and looks thin; carbonation action decent
S: really intense, lovely smell dominated by prunes
T: very intense raisin and prune; very strong booze content; malts and hops are well in the background; intense but not complex
M: a bit watery

I don't understand the low ratings here; it's a perfectly acceptable, strong barleywine-style, albeit not refined

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Photo of Beer4Baltimore
3.05/5  rDev -17.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

- from the notes and a shared mixed 6 pack
A - thin headed cloudy dark brown.
S - alcohol is present in the smell along with heavy malty aromas.
T - alcohol dominates and blasts away the little malty character that is there.
M - moderately carbonated for a medium bodied beer.
D - one is enough for now and probably for later as well.

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Photo of PatrickSullivan
3.75/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a cloudy reddish brown with some sediment present. A tan head jumps up to about one finger, then disappears. Very minimal lacing left behind.

S: Sweet malt in the forefront with some yeast hanging around. Also some dark fruit scents with a little alcohol.

T: Malt sweetness blended with some raisin/fig fruits. Sense some buttery caramel/toffee in the back with some breadiness thrown in. The alcohol is evident in a nice warming throughout. Not hop forward whatsoever.

M: Medium to full in body with mild carbonation. Creamy and a bit sticky in the mouth with a touch of dryness on the finish.

O: I liked this beer a lot. A real sipper at 11.1%, although the alcohol isn't as overwhelming as the percent would dictate.

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Photo of jayhawk73
3.21/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a deep amber color w/ a nice one finger cocoa head. Good carbonation and lacing on my snifter glass. Somewhat cloudy in appearance as well. Nose is a little underwhelming to me. Some cherry, fig, alcohol, sweetness. Very understated, and not as aromatic as I'd like. Definitely not up to the best for this style. Taste is smooth, but same as the nose. I'm just not feeling this beer, and I really like most of this breweries offerings. It just doesn't have the punch, character or complexity as a good English Barleywine has. Feel is alright, sweet and somewhat light and syrupy. A fairly simplistic feel for this style. Overall, this is a little bit of a let down. Weyerbacher makes some great brews overall... Unfortunately, this one is slightly better than mediocre for the style.

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Photo of hdelavega
3.82/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a brownish red with almost no head.
Nose is super sweet, strawberry, raspberry, burnt sugar, big on booze, white grape.
Lots of sweet flavors, mimics the nose except in the alcohol, tons of booze, there is a little bitterness at the finish.
Mouth feel is pretty smooth, you really get that nice silky feel that you'd expect from a high ABV barley wine.
Not to bad overall I'd like to try one with a few years on it for sure.

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Photo of forcedlaughter
4.5/5  rDev +22.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12oz year old bottle. I have had many fresh, but wanted to review an older bottle.

Looks great in my snifter. Dark red with a white head. Tight bubbles that fade but a light swirl gets it right back.

Smells great. Sweet, which you want from a barleywine, but I also get some alcohol and toffee.

Taste: Wat can I say? I love this beer fresh but put a little age on it and you have a sublime beer. The rough edges are subdued and you have an overall smoother beer, with caramel, toffee, candy apple, etc... All the things I want from a barleywine.

Mouthfeel is great. Coats my mouth and the drinkability is high but I couldn't have a bunch because of the ABV.

This is a go-to for me. I can get this fresh, but I prefer some age on it. I'd rather have this over Monster or Old Horizontal. The only few that trump this are Bigfoot and Flying Mouflan.

The low rating is probably based on fresh tastings, and it should be aged a bit.

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

A: Pours dark red with a big white head that becomes a slight layer of film

S: Caramel, some cherries, red apples, rum raisin vapors, bready, creamy sweetness, and hints of banana

T: Big time candied fruit flavors going on up front, with a touch of red apple tart and sweet combination going on in the middle, and a slight hop bite towards the end, but overall a very sweet, candied barleywine, which I happen to love.

O: This is a great barleywine. Not sure what people are crying about who give it Bs and Cs, I've had barleywines FAR worse than this one.

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Photo of Slatetank
3.57/5  rDev -3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12 oz brown bottle into a snifter.
The color is deep ruby w/ dark amber hues and is nestled beneath a smooth 1/2 inch ecru cap that settles to a crust. The bead is tight and carbonation is visible. Lace holds and releases as theclarity is translucent. The aroma is all malt w/ deep toffee, mild wood and slight spice w/ hints of toasted caramel and mild alcohol notes. Mouthfeel is sweet up front w/ slight spice + mild toasted dry malt feel w/ a high alcohol heat and moderately high carbonation level for the style.

The taste is a full malty blend of toasted caramel and is augmented by some slight creamy tinges which are accented by a slight cinnnamon-like woodiness which transitions to an alcohol flavor which brings a warmth and dryness on the throat + carries on to the belly with some subtle toffee that lingers after the swallow. There is a mild pine that emerges as it ners cellar temp with the fusel in the tertiary taste. Overall mot a great barleywine, but better than some in the style. I give thos props fo the aroma and taste but there is more fusel alcohol in this than I prefer for my personal taste.

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Photo of obrendano
3.77/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - rich light brown and clear, slightly tan head is very unstable and leaves quickly.

S - strong aromas of banana bread, rum raisin and cinnamon

T - dextrin malt tones, hints of the aromas above, but the 11% alcohol dominates, especially in the middle, and mutes a lot of the potential this beer has. the sweetness and the alcohol combine for a hint of rum or whiskey as well. zero hop taste. finish is warm and malty

M - medium-heavy body and not very carbonated, kind of lifeless on the tongue

D - not awful by any means, but the high alcohol is probably the culprit here in the negative points. the flavors, head, and body are muted in favor of pure diesel power. however, would definitely be a good stepping stone beer to get into more complex brews as a beginner

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Photo of hoplover82
4/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A-Pours a clear amber color with initially, a huge off white, creamy head that has very good retention, but not much lacing.
S-Let this one warm up a bit before pouring. It's a tame in the aroma, faint with dark fruits, sweet maple syrup, brown sugar, candied prunes. Very solid aroma for an english style BW.
T-Much like the aroma yet with a much more pronounced caramel coated prune sweetness, there is some maple syrup and brown sugar notes but it's more in the finish than anything. There obviously is some alcohol warmth, but that's a given. Also some clean soft bitterness is there to keep it from being too sweet, thank you.
M-Thick and sweet, very chewy body, yet easy going down. A lingering sweet/warm finish. Would be nice to enjoy this in the winter, but it's summer, so, anyways.
O-Overall, I had my questions, but it turned out to be a pretty good interpretation of the style. Good beer!

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Photo of UTCengOwl
3.41/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Got a bottle of this out in Maryland while visiting my brother before he gets married. Woo hurricane! Served in a Guinness flared pint glass.

This beer pours a dirty, hazy brown. Kind of nasty looking. The head, while it lasts, is a nicely dense light tan film. Saves the beer from an appearance disaster.

The nose reminds me distinctly of bread pudding with raisins in it. A bit thick and maybe overpowering, but it's distinct and interesting.

The taste itself is much, much more bland. Where did those flavors go that came through in the nose? It's not bad... it's even somewhat smooth... but the flavor just isn't there. I won't drain pour the rest of this, but I'm not dying to take more sips. I think it's about time to break out the rum and make some hurricanes!

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Photo of Sam21
3.52/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle. Bottled 6/10/10. Best by 6/10/15. Poured into snifter.

Appearance – Rusty orange body with a short lived tan head. Chunky floaters. I kept most of it in the bottle, but there is a lot of sludge in the bottom. I’m chalking it up to the year + that this spent on the shelves in less than optimal temperature swings.

Smell – Dark dried fruits, caramel, rum raisins, and a touch of nose tingling alcohol. Nothing seems to pop or really pull you in. Pleasant and uninteresting, for me at least.

Taste – Dried fruits up front with some bready malt. Moderately sweet throughout with toffee, caramel, and raisins rounding it out. Finishes with a alcohol sting and a strong caramel sweetness.

Mouthfeel – Full bodied and decently thick. Ample carbonation creates a pleasant feel.

Drinkability – An alright English barleywine, although the flavor profile seems a bit lacking in complexity. It starts off on a good not, but the dark fruit fizzle into a generically sweet finish. Worth purchasing a bottle to try. I enjoyed it.

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Photo of deapokid
3.28/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

2009 bottle purchased from Capone's. Enjoyed on 7/9/2011 and reviewed from notes.

Medium bodied with an amber hue and thin ring of white suds. I'm pleasantly surprised to find some carbonation and certainly blown away by the head-to-toe sediment. This is a mysteriously soupy concoction.

Aroma is sweet and malty with the acidity of apple cider. The booze has burned off a bit, allowing subtle hints of spice to peak through.

Definitely showing more flavor than a fresh model, this boasts red delicious apple, english malt, sour mash bourbon and a staggering alcoholic burn. Luckily, the flavor development and passage of time have made it less cloying and the dry conclusion and floral qualities are welcome additions.

The mouth is definitely the best part, packing a silky smooth texture. Time has obviously taken away some of the offending elements, but it still feels incomplete and I think a few more years wouldn't hurt. It definitely has its moments, but compared to Abacus and Gratitude, it's underdeveloped.

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Photo of AlCaponeJunior
3.22/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Yellow-brown and fairly cloudy, head was minimal and lacing was so-so.

Over-ripe dark fruits and pungent, heavy malts dominate the aroma.

Caramel malts and earthy flavors meet with almost sicky-sweet plums and figs, along with a bit of hops bitterness.

Body is pretty good, full and smoothly carbonated.

It's not nearly as good as insanity, and I wouldn't seek it out again, although if you're a die-hard barleywine fan you'll probably like this one.

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

12oz bottle at about fridge temp split with a friend poured into a pint glass. i believe this is a 2011 vintage.

pours out a cloudy, deep copper, red color with a nice 1-2 finger off white, almost light tan colored head. decent semi thick retention, no real lace.

initial aromas are of hot solventy alcohol, dark fruits and caramel, almost a little candied. maybe a little apple.

again, very hot and quite sweet. fruity, mostly apples and a little fig, also slightly grapey. candied caramel, toffee, slightly nutty. finishes crisp, slightly bitter and almost a little dry?

definatly hot and alcoholic, fairly big body, decent feeling carbonation.

overall, a decent english BW, but insanity (bourbon barrel aged version) was so much better. it almost tastes like a completely different beer. i would definatly recommend insanity over this. maybe this would fare a little better with some age?

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Photo of coalcracker
4.03/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Poured from a bottle with a hazy deep golden hue. Little carbonation noted, though still somewhat lively.
Smell: Upon the initial pour, a fairly strong fruity aroma emerges with elements of fig, raisin, and dark fruits.
Taste: Strong but pleasant dose of dark fruits (again fig/raisin, dark cherry) along with caramel. Overall quite sweet. Build-up of alcohol is very noticeable and leads to a considerable warmth at the end.
Mouthfeel: Big with the appropriate mouthfeel for this style.

Overall: Big, boisterous- yet smooth barleywine. Just a tad over the top. Despite the big taste profile, sip this and enjoy the complexities.

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Photo of dasenebler
3.55/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a nice ruby-brown with a decent little head, good for a big beer. Aroma is boozy, but there's a lot of dark fruit that's nice.

Flavor is very sweet and fruity. Alcohol is extremely present. Lacks a malt richness. Not a whole lot of bitterness or hop presence. Mouthfeel is very slick and creamy, a redeeming quality for the beer.

For the price point, this barleywine is not really worth it. Maybe I don't like the English style. Either way, I could see it benefiting from a year or two in the cellar.

*EDIT 8/2011*
With about 1.5 years on it, Blithering Idiot is a MUCH better beer. The alcohol content is still formidable, but the sweetness is tempered, allowing the wonderful maltiness of this brew to shine through. Huge notes of toffee, dates and bourbon, even though this stuff ain't barrel-aged. Definitely let this one sit for a while before drinking. Upping this to a "B" from a "C". Cheers!

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Photo of rwinzing
3.55/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured a bottle into my Duvel tulip

It poured hazy amber with barley any head. Gentle lacing on the side of the glass

Smell was sweet but not over powering. Expected some hop aroma but did not get any

Taste - Sweet through out. Very well balanced and not bitter. A little hot but not overwhelming nice to the style

mouthfeel was not overly full but not thin either

overall not a bad barleywine very enjoyable and balanced

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Photo of greengorilla
4.67/5  rDev +26.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I poured this from a 12 ounce bottle into an oversized snifter. It is a hazy caramel color with a decent tan head that dissipated somewhat quickly.

It has a fruity and malty scent.

The taste is awesome. Very little hops, but a great malt taste. The alcohol is masked well.

The mouthfeel is great too.

This is just a great beer. I was a little surprised at how good this beer is, from the reviews that I had read. I love it though. At $12 for a four pack, I think this is a real good deal.

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Photo of HopsYeast
4.08/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

had this at a weyerbacher pairing dinner. this was paired with the dessert which was a chipoltle chocolate bourbon custard sauce. very wine like and not something you can pound. this is a beer for slow drinking during relaxed times. great for the winter.

a-poured with no head and a dark copper body. has an almost reddish tint to it.
s-smells fruity and floral with the sweetness of the fruits and some caramel malts coming through.
t-malty sweetness again almost burnt sugar like. fruity but not too sweet. very clean finish that washes off your palate quickly.
m-has a nice smooth velvety mouthfeel. carbonation is low to almost non existent.
o-def a good beer for colder weather. has a nice warming touch at the end which it welcome when the temps drop.

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Photo of smakawhat
3.42/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from the bottle into a nonic pint glass. Snifter indisposed...

A good large caramel foamy cap of a head, off tan perhaps, sits on a great orange amber body. Lots of snapping noises from the bubbles, but a very nice color I must say.

Smell seems off. Something feels like rotting and sour grain. Not digging this.

Taste is actually considerably better. Soft cherries and malt backbone with a good full texture in the palate. Sweet soft sugars and maple with a creamy texture. Lightly carbonated but just a touch. Even some mushy over ripe banana.

Overall this surprised me I was expecting a disaster but this turned out alright. Certainly not the best I've had though.

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Blithering Idiot from Weyerbacher Brewing Co.
3.68 out of 5 based on 2,178 ratings.
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