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: 908
Photo of Spica66
3.68/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I received this an extra from randomdanger. Thank you, Will!

This is the base beer from which comes barrel-aged Insanity.

A: Dark amber color with some viscosity noticeable when pouring. Decent head formation with little retention.

S: The malts are definitely the star of this show. The smell is of crystal/caramel malts like when you are brewing. I did expect some hops, but got none.

T: Very complex malt profile. Nothing dark, just intertwining, sweet, medium-malt flavors. Again no hops to speak of. Also, almost none of the wonderful coconut aftertaste of the Insanity.

M: Full-bodied but not cloying. The good level of carbonation helps with this. The alcohol does not interfere, it just gives that nice warm feeling.

D: Excellent balance and very nice complexity make this an easy drinker.

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Photo of brewmudgeon
3.62/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

blithering idiot

a 3.5 clear amber, short light beige head doesn't stick around. partial whispy cap and thin ring. final pour adds a million little chunkies, which i think actually improves the look of this one. lacing is still nonexistent.

s 3.5-4 sweet dark malt, figs, dates, hints of alcohol. aromas could stand to be more intense. only the alcohol fumes seem to intensify with warming. doesn't deserve a 4 but since both smell and taste are in between this one will get it.

t 3.5-3.75 big, dark, toasted caramel, etoh, touch of molasses. nothing bright or vibrant, this one plods along like a slow-witted cretin ... like a blithering idiot almost.

m 3.5 tongue coating, tongue numbing. sharp alcohol cuts right through a fullish body. liquid bread dough that's gone and fermented--might as well bottle it!

d 3.5 not an unpleasant sipper. a beverage to fall back on once you or i have lost most of our brain cells.

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Photo of stonelis
4.42/5  rDev +20.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured a dark red with a two finger tan head. Fruity aroma. Malty with brown sugar and figs. Slight alcohol finish which is more prominent as it warms. You just gotta love the name of this one. Overall another really great beer from the Weyerbacher Brewery.

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Photo of Marcrates
2.96/5  rDev -19.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

A - Pours a cherry, brownish color. The head vanished fairly quickly

S - Smells very inviting, actually. I'm smelling a lot of fruit..some citrus and other that I can't figure out. I can definitely smell the 11% alcohol that I'm about to taste..

T - I'm a little torn on the taste. My first sip was great-- I could taste the alcohol pretty heavily, but the malt seemed to cover it up fairly well.. My next few sips were a little less forgiving though. There is no doubt that I feel like I'm drinking 11% alcohol with this one..I wish it were a little more balanced.

M - Definitely heavy. The alcohol burns.

D - I couldn't have more than one of these at a time. The balance just isn't there.

I don't hate this beer--but it definitely isn't something I'm crazy about. It's worth a try though.

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Photo of kbutler1
3.58/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottle. Pours a clean reddish tan color with a nice head. Smells of dark fruits including raisin. Sweet smell of malts. Light to medium mouthfeel. The taste is similiar to the aromas in that you get dark fruits. Not as hoppy as I thought it would be for a BW. Not too bad.

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Photo of Arenbeer
4.38/5  rDev +19%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle into a snifter glass.

A- Pours a dark brown with a nice 2 finger off white almost yellow head.

S- Real sweet barley with a slight hop presence.

T- Smooth and sweet. Barley and malts up front with a good hop bitterness to top it off. Slight alcohol as it warms but not bad. Also kind of has an almost coffee finish.

M- Full body, real smooth on the tonque, and just the right amount of carbonation makes this brew so easy to drink and worth having more.


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Photo of boomer31
3.83/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

On-tap at Stub and that place. I loved Insanity so I figured I should try the un-bourbonized version.

A - Carmamely light brown with no head. No haze just a transparent caramel.

S - Sweet nose with some fruit. Mostly sweet malt.

T - Sweet caramel malt, dark fruit and some almost belgian yeasty taste but tough to pin down. A nice flavor for an english b-wine. Light on the hops but very smooth and sweet malt.

M - Almost no carbonation which worked well for the style. I love hoppy american b-wines but like the change of pace from an english style.

D - No alcohol heat at all and very sweet. Weyerbacher does a great job with this high ABV b-wine.

Overall pretty nice. Perhaps a bit underwhelming but still a good beer.

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Photo of twiggamortis420
3.4/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle from 2008 pours an uber-hazed, reddish color with a minimal, rapidly diminishing off-white foam. Fades to a light ring in no time. I must say though, bonus points to Weyerbacher for the great name and label.

Nose is sweet and caramely with a heavy alcohol load. Lots of vanilla and rum, one dimensional. Just ok on the nose.

Taste is sweet and slightly fruity, kind of British feeling but alcohol is more powerful than any English Barleywine from across the pond I have had. Dark rum soaked raisins come to mind. Sticky and sweet, but not cloying. Carbonation is nice, definitely low and does not get in the way. ABV feels high, but not 11% high. Not bad...not great either and I dont think it would get any better with more age.

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Photo of jmhart
3.26/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Served this up with Frasier433 during Beer Thursday (TM).

12 oz poured into a snifter

A- Pours a deep dark crimson brown color, a little hazy, with a one finger dense head that dissipated pretty quickly into a nice bubbly lace.

S- Sweet caramel malt, with a moderate amount of nuts. No hops at all on the nose, but I can't say a lot of barleywines give these away on the nose.

T- Malty with some nice brown fruits: prunes, dark cherries. Subtle hints of yeast and almond. No hops at all.

M- Thick and creamy, refreshing. Not as much bite as you'd expect from a 11.1% ABV brew. Very smooth. This is made to be swirled around your mouth before swallowing. Take your time with it, enjoy it on your tongue.

D- This was a good brew, but had no hops which was really disappointing. I understand English Barleywines don't have as many hops as American BW, but there's got to be some bitter in there some where. The brew was good. It has some great flavors, but it was just a tad sweet without the hops.

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Photo of LesStewart
1.93/5  rDev -47.6%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1.5

Gosh... and I was looking forward to this beer.
The pour is pretty standard for a barleywine, red to brown and cloudy in color with a white to tan head that diminished in a minute or two. The nose was pears and sweet malt. The first taste put the nail in the coffin for me though; red cherries and butterscotch rule this beer. And the sweet to syrupy full mouthfeel makes sure that the taste lingers eventually giving way to a small amount of fusals on the end. I could see someone enjoying this beer, but that person isn't me.

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

A- Apple cider red with some adhesive carbonation and a late forming ivory white head. Bubbles continue to rise well after the pour.

S- Sweet maltiness goes beyond bread reaching the cake stage, icing and all. Some late season apples, hints of dried cherries and raisins, and a little bit of port wine. A little bit of heat on the tail end.

T- After the immediate assault of heavy duty barley malts that follow the nose, an unexpected wave of hops take over to wash the stickiness away. Finishes dry, with a tiny burn in the back of the throat, and an ethanol aftertaste.

M- Thick and syrupy up front, but washes away pretty clean.

D- Surprisingly refreshing, the lack of a lasting aftertaste makes for an easy to drink brew. Real potential to turn you into its namesake.

Granted, I don't know a great deal about the barley wine style, but I'm very surprised that this isn't rated higher. I have a couple I'm aging as well, so it will be interesting to see how this beer changes.

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Photo of jculler82
3.63/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle that I bought about a month ago to Corsendonk glass

Pours a shade between amber and copper, not much head to speak of, but this is not unexpected at 11% ABV. Some sediment poured with the beer, but I won't count that against the beer.

Smells of brown sugar mostly, some dark caramel, pretty one dimensional. Smells good, just not mind blowing.

Brown sugar and some dark fruits mostly. As it warms, the alcohol becomes more apparent, thought is stays in that background and is also somewhat pleasing, very brandy-like in the finish. Like the smell there isn't a lot to dig through here. It tastes good, but, again, it doesn't leave you going sip after sip trying to identify different flavors. Nicely balanced though, not cloying at all.

Mouthfeel is wonderful, exactly how I like my higher alcohol beers. Nice full mouthfeel with medium carbonation that makes this beer so smooth, almost silky. Best part about this beer.

Drinkability, in its current state, is a bit low. The warming alcohol could possibly become too much. I wish I would've bought two bottles of this beer and aged one to see if the mild fusels aged out.

Overall, this beer is worth trying, but is just sorta average. I'll probably purchase it again in the future and age it a bit longer. It isn't bad by any means, just not exceptional.

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Photo of dtivp
3.53/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured a caramel brown with a nice off white head that retained well.
Aroma of butterscotch, dark fruit and slight hops.
Taste was sweet, following the aroma of butterscotch and cherry with slight hoppiness. The high alcohol was masked very well.
Mouth-feel was medium body, syrupy, very little carbonation with a slight warming of alcohol at the end.
This is a sipper, a little on the sweet side for me.

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Photo of kingcrowing
3.7/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into a DFH signature glass.

Pours a nice brown with a very thing light brown head mostly around the rim. Nose is surprisingly light, malty and sweet with a tinge of hot booze.

Taste is quite nice, it's very sweet and fruity but the mouthfeel is so thick and creamy that it's really very pleasant. Smooth and a bit syrupy, carbonation is light and sharp. Overall quite tasty and the alcohol isn't too in your face for the abv.

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Photo of mothman
3.87/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a very light layer of off whte head. Color is a caramel brown.

Aroma: Sweet and malty. reminds me of other Weyerbacher beers I have had recently. Molasses, cherries, raisins, caramel malts. Not to bad.

Taste: Rich and malty. Some booze showing. Caramel and toffee. Cherries, raisins, and molasses. A lot like the aroma. I like this for an English bwine since it has more than just malts to it. Has some flavors like the quad had to it.

Mouthfeel: Smooth, warming, and creamy. Medium bodied with a low amount to medium carbonation. Ends sweet and malty with lots of dried fruit flavors.

Overall, not a bad English bwine, especially for the price. Slowing sipping this one. Drinkability is very similar to the other Weyerbacher beers I have had. Some what drinkable. Not very hoppy, but fits the style.

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Photo of biggietattoos
3.75/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Blithering may be one of the first Barlywines Ive tried since rating beers here and I was pleased with it.

Poured a nice reddish amber, small head, light lacing

Smelled floral type malts, light citrusy hops.

Taste was lightly malty masked the 11% abv nicely

mouthfeel was a nice smooth feel

very drinklable at such a high abv

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Photo of bsp77
4/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Serving glass: Poured from bottle into Snifter.

Appearance: Beautiful red mahogany with very thin head and only minor lacing.

Smell: Plum, caramel, butterscotch, cherry, figs and English spicy & floral hops. Great malty aroma.

Taste: A sweet malt bomb with butterscotch, caramel, plum and cherry dominant. There is a decent counterbalance of spicy English hops (likely Fuggles or Goldings).

Feel: Very syrupy with a full body and low carbonation. Quite warming and smooth, but slightly cloying.

Drinkability: Nice sipper when a malty shot of alcohol is desired. Speaking of alcohol, at 11.1%, it is remarkably well hidden, making this brew somewhat dangerous.

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Photo of jlandis
4.52/5  rDev +22.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into a Chimay Chalice

A - Beautiful light brown/amber in color with a thin white head

S - Malty dark fruits that remind me of a sweet wine. No hop aroma, but this is an English Barleywine so I wasn't expecting much in the hops department

T - Rich sweet malt with cherry and other dark fruit. The alcohol is clearly present, but not off putting.

M - Thick and rich with nice warming alcohol.

D- Definitely a slow sipper. The chalice sat with me for about an hour and as it warmed the flavors became so much richer.

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Photo of ZeroSignal
3.17/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle, no date

A - Pours a light brown/dark amber color with a very thin, white head that dissipates quickly.

S - Dark fruits, cherry, very sweet smelling but otherwise a little light in the hops in the nose, but this is an "English" style.

T&M - Heavy fruity sweetness up front, with a burnt sugar character. Bitterness falls to the very back of the profile. Feels medium bodied and slightly fluffy. Alcohol character is strong, but doesn't feel like the 11% listed on the bottle.

D - Lacks a little complexity for my personal liking, but I think this falls within style parameters. The heavy sweetness and higher ABV make this a one and done, but sipping it is enjoyable.

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Photo of emmasdad
3.43/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours from the 12 oz bottle a hazy, deep, dark copper color, with a minimal amount of off-white foam. Aromas are a little off-putting here, with dark fruit, fusel alcohol and sweet malt. On the palate, this one is extremely sweet, with hints of caramel, toffee and alcohol. Not bad, but not nearly as good as Insanity.

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Photo of mfunk9786
4.39/5  rDev +19.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Tonight I'm conducting an experiment that has long been in the works: I'm drinking and reviewing Blithering Idiot, followed by Insanity. Pardon me in advance if my Insanity review reads like the ramblings of... well, a Blithering Idiot. Stage one of two!:

A: This pours nicely with a surprisingly light, fizzy head that goes beyond the one-finger mark. Lighter colored than most American Barleywines, it's the color of watered down blood orange juice.

S: A lot of good stuff going on here. Sweet, dark fruits followed by... well, honestly, this beer has the aroma of the kind of fruit juice mixture that advertises its antioxidant qualities all over the bottle. Dark, rich, even sort of... tropical.

T: A breath of fresh air for an American-brewed Barleywine. Missing the overwhelming hops that [sometimes welcomely] accompany the style, this beer is a study in sweet malts and rich, acidic dark fruit. Some alcohol burn on the finish, certainly more than an extreme, hop-bomb type of American Barleywine.

M: Because of the alcohol burn and the sort of red wine dryness that accompanies this brew, I was longing for a juicy hop aftertaste that one must try to forget about when enjoying this gem. But still!

D: Still a weird category for me. I really like this beer so I'd rate it high, but if you were brought up on super-hoppy beers this might take some getting used to.

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Photo of MbpBugeye
3.6/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This is the unbarrel aged sibling to one of my favorite barleywines of all time, Insanity. Im hoping it will be just as good.

A- Noticeably less dark, chunky and brooding as Insanity. It still has lots of that ruby red brightness to it though.

S- Caramel, dark fruits and some alcohol. Its sweet and I can see where Insanity gets its fruity bouquet.

T- All the dark fruits you could ask for. Lots of caramel malts and alcohol as well.

M- Sticky at times, full bodied with low carbonation and plenty of alcohol warmth.

I think I might have gone into this with high hopes. I love Insanity a lot, but these two beers are totally different animals.

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Photo of philbe311
4.07/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Notes from a side by side tasting of Blithering Idiot and Insanity

A - Light to medium caramel like brown color... A slight orangish red hue is noticeable when held up to the light... A thin rich tan head of chunky bubbles quickly fizzes away leaving the slightest possible ring of bubbles around the edge of the glass... Very few stray tortoise paced carbonation rises towards the center of the snifter...

S - The textbook malt forward uber-sweetness expected from an English Barleywine... Raisins... Toffee... Fig... Some dark cherries... Just a faint hint of alcohol lies beneath the surface... Couldn't be more inviting...

The expected sweetness derived from a stellar mix of dark fruit, caramel, and toffee is there but fights for dominance with a subtle alcoholic warmth and a muted earthy hop presence... Excellent flavor and complexity... Really top notched...

M - Medium to full bodied... Subtle carbonation... Slightly sticky... Dense... Fairly straightforward and enjoyable...

D - While the 11.1% ABV can be detected both the nose and palette, it is still a highly drinkable offering... One of the better American produced English Barleywines due to the fact that it never becomes cloying... Anyone who welcomes this into their glass and enjoys it is far from a Blithering Idiot themselves...

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Photo of berpwillie
3.9/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

pours a copper-amber color with a bit of head and some light lacing. lots of carbonation. the alcoholi thought was well hidden and made for a very tastey beer. a bit of a light wine taste followed by a slightly bitter finish. not anything to write home about, but still a pretty good beer.

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Photo of rootbeerman
3.7/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

poured into duvel tulip

A: pours dark amber with a thin finger of light brown head that fell somewhat quickly.
S: sweet barley malt, a bit a caramel and a hint of alcohol.
T&M: thick and coating, very sweet malt and again caramel, a light hop bitterness and alcohol on the aftertaste.
D: thickness and high alcohol make for more of a sipper yet is really easy to drink.

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