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Blithering Idiot | Weyerbacher Brewing Co.

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898 Reviews
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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

For Trade:
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Reviews: 898 | Ratings: 2,145
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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Photo of MyakkaRiver
4/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottled 11/2014, opened 1/2016. Cellared at 54 degrees. Extremely smooth. Thin whispy head that dissipates quickly. Almost ruby red hue. Sweet upfront with nice toffee notes near the finish. A little thin on the mouthfeel but certainly an enjoyable beer. Looking forward to another one in about a year.

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Photo of Dragginballs76
3.93/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours deep plum color with decent tan head that quickly goes away until there is nothing no lacing either.

Smell dark fruit and plum notes you can slightly smell the alcohol

Taste is very smooth dried fruit cherry and fig flavors this has been aging about 9 months and the alcohol is very well masked for 11%

Feel some burn from the alcohol kind of heavy and syrup like feel

Overall I really enjoyed this and will probably have another.

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Photo of MaxBrews
3.81/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

As soon as the bottle is opened the smell of alcohol fills the nostrils. Blithering idiot pours a brilliant dark brown color with ruby notes; just shy of being translucent The beer produces a nice head that retains quite well slowly dissipating into a soapy lacing. A beautiful head for a beer of it’s strength.

There is a lot of alcohol on the nose combined with fruity esters, that give the beer a slightly medicinal smell. It’s not off putting, however, this beer combines aromas of dark fruits, cherry plums, fig, dates and dark berries, caramel and vanilla.

This beer has strong flavors of vanilla, caramel, cherry, fig and dates. As an 11% abv beer there is always an alcoholic warming sensation in the mouth. I find this beer to be complex in its dark fruit characteristics. My palate cannot detect much of a hop quality of this beer. It’s a big, boozy, sweet beer that has it’s complexities in the arena of dark fruits.

The body of this beer is vicious, bit syrupy but not overbearing.

Overall Blithering Idiot is a great representation of the English Barley Wine Style. It plays more into fruity and malty characteristics rather than providing overwhelming high alpha oil hop flavors of american barley wines. Is this beer as complex as Bigfoot, Old Horizontal, Foghorn, Old Ruffian or others in this camp? No, however it is simple and relaxing. It lacks some of the sexiness and otherworldly complexities that many other American breweries offer, but it’s still an excellent nightcap. Many reviewers complained about the alcohol being overwhelming in this beer; there is a strong presence of alcohol in Blithering Idiot, but I did not find it overbearing but I would imagine aging this beer would mellow it out a bit and perhaps bring out some some of its malt complexities. My only critique on this beer is because there is very little hop flavor in this beer I would have liked to taste more nuance malt flavors such as toasted biscuit, perhaps a bit of roast balanced with the sweet flavors of dates and fig. Overall I found this to be a solid representation of the English Barley Wine Style. It could have been more complex, however it is not a beer I would turn down.

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Photo of ctylinebeer
3.92/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.75

12 oz bottle poured into snifter glass. Consumed with sharp cheeses, pretzels, and lightly salted peanuts.

L - dark ruby red color when the light is passing through. Bits of yeast floating around. Very little foam dome with a ring around the edges. Very little lacing.

S - Dried fruit, plums, apricots, oranges, and a hint of alcohol. Quite lovely ;-]

T - Raisins, maple syrup, dried fruit, licorice. Strong boozy dried fruit finish

F - Syrupy thick texture, slight carbonation on the tip of the tongue. It looks heavy and feels heavy

O - I am a bit confused on barleywines. For some reason, I always base my opinion by comparing barleywines to Bigfoot, which is a bad habit. I have had other BWs and they are like this. I feel like they should be making a Belgian Strong Dark Ale like Chimay Blue rather than an English Barleywine since they specialize in Belgian beers. Nice slow-sipper for cold nights in Pennsylvania. Cheers!

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

Pours a deep rubyish brown with minimal head, some lacing but it doesn't last. The smell is sweet malts with some winey alcohol. Taste brings the malts again with some hops and a tiny bit of alcohol on the back end. The feel is medium and the carbonation is moderate. Not a bad barleywine but I prefer the BA version (Insanity) much more.

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Photo of The-Adjunct-Hippie
4.02/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Look : Toffee caramel colored body; 90% opaque; head is fleeting but 2 fingers initially. Mild lace left.

Aroma : Lots of fermentation and alcohol. You can tell this beer is meant to wreck you. Notes of cherry, currant, fig, and plum swirl around in the snifter.

Taste : Um...in your face??? A fig/cherry punch to the palate comes first, followed by furious destructive carbonation, a wall of alcohol burn, and finally a dry, figgy finish.

Feel : Medium bodied, dry leathery feel throughout, alcohol burn very apparent. I could be sipping Vodka for all I know.

Overall : Not for the faint of heart. This beer will kill you if you aren’t careful. Super powerful, super rich, very fig-cherry-like. I’d have it again, but damn this is going to leave me sprawled on the floor.

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

pours a very cloudy caramel amber with only a stirring of bubbles for a head. nose; massive caramel, oak, fig and toffee. this beer has a very alcoholic nose! taste; boozy caramel, dark fruit esters (fig/plum/cherry), oak, brown sugar, and yes, i pick up some earthy/leafy hop bitters here. low carbonation and approaching a heavy mouthfeel. not sure why this is rated so lowly, but i enjoyed it. the 11.1% is a little untamed, but that wears off after a bit while the fruit and wood characters start to appear. i can certainly understand a low score if barleywines aren't your style; hell, i know i give some criminally low lambic/sour scores myself on lack of style appreciation alone. for me, this is a big sipper with a nice profile worth exploring. :)

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Photo of dbl_delta
3.53/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Undated bottle into pint glass. Pours a clear deep amber-red with a modest off-white head. Initial impression is overwhelmingly sweet - almost syrupy, with a lot of dark fruit. Alcohol is fairly well hidden, but at 11.1% you can only do so much. Heavy, syrupy mouthfeel. Overall, it's kind of like eating a handful of raisins that have been soaked in alcohol. I think this is one that might improve with age.

Update 06/10/16: In September 2014 I cellared a bottle dated 09/23/14 and 09/23/19 (presumably the "bottled on" and "best by" dates). The "changelog":

Hazy now, with almost no head. Sweetness is quite muted. Dark fruit not as dominant. Alcohol is still there, but not as noticeable as when fresh. Still kind of syrupy. It lost a lot of its punch in the last year and a half, but compensated by an increase in complexity. I'm still not inclined to make this one a regular in my fridge, but it's better with some age on it.

Note: BA score now reflects the aged version.

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Photo of Caveworm
4.24/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Blithering Idiot - Weyerbacher Brewing Co. Poured from the bottle into an oversized wine glass, this beer's head is two fingers thick and off white, with web-like lacing and a clear, dark mahogany body.

I smell dark figs and plums, along with dare I say green apple. Earthy, grassy grains also. I can't detect much hops going on unless they are delicately floral.

Tastes like much of the elements described above, along with a nice helping of boozy warmth. The fruits here make JUST enough of their mark before becoming too overpowering. This would be a great digestif.

The mouthfeel here is smooth and crisp. Not much lingering on the tongue for a higher ABV brew.

Overall, I'll give Blithering Idiot - Weyerbacher Brewing Co.a 4.25 My 1st English barleywine, I feel this was a great introduction to the style.

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Photo of KTCamm
3.84/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

9/7...pours brownish cherry red with light foam that dissolves quickly. Cherry cough syrup nose, medicinal. Dark fruits, plums. Puckering steep dark fruit flavor, boozy. Raisins and figs, jammy. Second wave punch. A sipper for sure. All in all pretty balanced for a barleywine. Not my favorite style, but this one worked for me.

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Photo of bgold86
4.25/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Very strong alcohol nose (like a booze soaked cherry), extremely fruity and sweet finish, was not expecting that. Little to no carbonation, strong boozy finish.

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Photo of leroybrown10
2.75/5  rDev -25.3%
look: 3.25 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 2.75

Pours a deep amber-brown. No head to speak of. Hazy.

Heavy caramel aroma followed by big fruity notes. Green apple, plum, and pear. Heavy malt. Nail polish remover, extremely off-putting.

Taste is caramel, toffee, and light molasses. Fruity with a weird sweet/sour combination. Green apple, figs, dates, and cherry(?). Boozy.

Thick mouth feel with low carbonation. Sticky and syrupy. Alcoholic warmth. Fruit flavors linger.

This was a weird and disappointing beer. Unpleasant aromas and flavors don't quite blend together. Just odd all the way around.

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Photo of marcownz747
4.5/5  rDev +22.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

The beer had a heavy toffee and caramel aroma. It was rather sweet, but that's what you expect with an English Barley Wine.

I can't write the greatest review on this beer as I don't have the best nose or palate, but I think it's worth noting that Cicerone and the BJCP list this beer as a commercial example of an English Barley Wine... The beer is picked specifically to allow people to learn English Barley Wines... and yet the beer is rated as a 64 by the bros, and in the 80s by the community.

I genuinely wish that this site reviewed beer by the style guidelines, rather than by the taste preferences of the drinker.

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Photo of chinchill
3.7/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

12 oz bottle.

Hazy copper body is topped by a tan head that has great retention, especially for style.

A load of sweet and medium roasted malts in the nose along with less pronounced alcohol esters. The alcohol is more evident in tasting where it is joined by notes of toffee, figs, and other dark fruits.

Feel: a bit more heat than ideal but quite smooth.

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Photo of pat61
3.78/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

L: Pours an energetic brilliant cherry tinted gold with a soapy 1” white foam collar with low head retention. S: Estery, malty aromas with bread and fruit and some odd solvent aroma suggesting issues with fermentation temperature or bad yeast. T: Malty sweet palate with balancing bitterness, banana, spicy yeast, sherry, a little solventy, big alcohol. F: Medium full body, medium to medium low carbonation. O: Some more age might tone down the solventy character and soften the alcohol.

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Photo of Rollzroyce21
3.73/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

- 12oz. bottle poured into stemless wine glass on 15-Aug-15

This is a pretty decent shelf BW; one of the best ones per price point. It's not as good as Old Stock. It's not better than Old Numbskull either, but it's offered in a 12oz. bottle which is a huge plus. I think I prefer this a bit more than Uinta's.

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Photo of Brad_Ford
3.86/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4

Appearance: Poured from a bottle into a snifter 8/15/2015. Pours dark rose with a bubbly head that dissipates to a thin line around the glass.

Aroma: Strong bouquet of assorted fruits with alcohol

Taste: Brown sugar, plum, and various berries up front with a flat alcohol finish with lingering fruitiness

Mouthfeel: Very creamy upfront, smooths out to be little thinner on the finish. Very pleasant and satisfying.

Overall: Very good barleywine overall. Would like to see a little more balance to the fruitiness with lingering hops or a warmer alcohol finish. The creamy, satisfying mouthfeel makes up for it.

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Photo of CHickman
3.46/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Bottle was at least a year old and poured a cloudy red copper that resembled beach water with sand in it as the brew had some many tiny yeast particles that it looked like sand. The head was 1-2 fingers creamy tan color with brown speckles throughout; it faded slowly and left good lacing that mostly slid back down into the layer on top.

Smells of sweet malt, caramel, toffee, tin metal or a penny, grains and some dark fruit. Seems to have yeast and aspirin come out more as it sits, with the metallic and caramel notes staying the strongest.

Tastes sweet and fruity up front, with cherry, dates and plum mixed with brown sugar, metallic yeast, caramel and grainy flavors that have the penny again, some peat moss, tree bark and toffee. It's sweeter than the nose and hides the high ABV very well, but the metallic notes just send it the wrong way for my palate. I enjoyed the initial sweetness and hoped more would follow, but it leveled out and leaned more towards a Belgian style brew. Some herbs or tea leaf show up late for some added complexities.

Mouthfeel is slick and on the thin side with very mild carbonation, a medium to thick chewy body, and a sweet, grainy aftertaste that is as much yeast as it is caramel and fruity notes. Overall a decent beer.

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Photo of PA-hunter
4.13/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Poured 12oz bottle into snifter glass. 11.1% abv

Appearance- Pours a deep plum color, with a two finger head fast to dissipate. Very hazy.

Smell- Dark fruit aromas of plums and raisons. Slight bit of oakiness as well.

Taste- Sweet and adhering to the darker fruit nots just as in the nose. Plums and raisons continue into the taste and are well evident. Sweet bready flavors also come in along with spices of clove and nutmeg. The beer finishes slightly bitter yet has a cherry tartness in the finish as well.

Mouthfeel- Heavy in body, good carbonation, finishes hot from the alc.

Overall- I was not expecting this beer to surprise me but it did. Similar to a Quad IMO. The alcohol is evident (says the stomach more than the mouth). The dark fruit flavors really came through though and were balanced and complex. Many flavors in the right amounts. Solid brew for sure.

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Photo of Roguer
3.66/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Nearly transparent caramel reddish-brown brew, filled with sediment and topped with a short-lived cream colored head.

Aroma almost leans more toward Belgian Quad than English Barleywine: sweet, dark fruit; nuts; dark bread; a touch of spice; Belgian yeast. There's a certain sharpness that's elusive, almost medicinal.

Flavor actually follows. Initial taste is caramel grains, slightly nutty, followed quickly by sweet brown sugar and yeast, and finished off with a boozy kick and sweet fruit. There's a lingering sweetness from the yeast. It certainly straddles the line between Quad and EBW.

Slightly hot, but for the high ABV, not at all bad.

Not sure exactly how old this bottle is, but I think it's at least 2 years at this point. It tastes quite good, although it doesn't quite mesh with what I would expect for an English Barleywine. That may be partly due to the yeast, and partly due to the age. (There's no mention of Belgian yeast, and that's not a claim I'm making; it's merely an impression I get from the flavor profile.) But I rather like this big, sweet brew; it's pretty smooth and drinkable.

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Photo of ColdOneKev
3.68/5  rDev 0%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A - Brown body with a decent white head fades quickly leaves no lacing.
S - Dark fruit, raisins, figs, etc. Molasses, brown sugar.
T - Caramel, brown sugar, dark fruit, alcohol. Only an eight month old bottle. Burn has settled a little, b ut I imagine it'd be smoother with another six months.
M - Thick body, low carbonation. Coats the palate and doesn't leave.
O - A good barleywine. Worth trying especially if you're a fan of the style.

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Blithering Idiot from Weyerbacher Brewing Co.
3.68 out of 5 based on 2,145 ratings.
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