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Blithering Idiot | Weyerbacher Brewing Co.

888 Reviews
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Blithering IdiotBlithering Idiot

Brewed by:
Weyerbacher Brewing Co.
Pennsylvania, United States | website

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: 888 | Ratings: 2,126
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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Photo of stcules
3.46/5  rDev -6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Dark brown color, totallly full of thn floating thingies. Half finger of foam, scarce.
In the smell a wall of maltiness, with light note of american hops. Dry fruitiness, molasses, raisins, dry figs.
Full taste, malty and honeyed notes, and fruit, too. Dry figs and nuts, overal. Then some hop, just for the balance.
Some alcohol is perceptible.
Full bodied, liquorous finish.
Quite malty aftertaste.
Not bad.

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Photo of mlockman
3/5  rDev -18.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

While I wouldn't use the phrase "sugar bomb," this is a REALLY sweet barleywine, almost cloyingly so but not quite. Oddly, the sweetness became less offensive as it warmed up.

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Photo of Towen69
3.63/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 4.5

This was my first barley wine. I was reluctant to try barley wine because I'm not a huge wine fan. The first sip tasted like wine, but from past experience I drank on. By the end of the first bottle my palate had adjusted and I was liking the flavor. I ended up drinking all 4 and felt like crap the next day, but, all in all a good experience for my first barley wine.

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Photo of Franziskaner
3.18/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Chestnut brown colored with a fingernail of beige head covering a majority of the top. Aroma is virtually nonexistent despite repeated attempts. The flavor is a boozy, malty, alcoholic assault. There's a light nutty element Intwined. The mouth is boozy and gently burns on the aY down.

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Photo of ClavisAurea
3.21/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle served in a laser etched wine glass. Freshness date is 12/19/2014.

Appearance: weird orange color with hints of red. Amazingly clear, there was a fluffy head that lasted for about 1.3 seconds, now nothing. Alcohol content maybe, my glass was just cleaned.

Nose: bland, kinda stale aroma of some hops and malt. Wet dog maybe...

Taste: hot alcohol, solvents, dried fruit, very low carbonation, minor hops bitterness but mostly the malt and alcohol come through.

Overall: age me please. I'll see you in a year.

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Photo of benloho
3.8/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Bottle has been in the cellar for a couple of years to help smooth out the strong alcohol feel and flavor.

Very sweet smelling and tasting, but very pleasant. Rich and creamy. Great after dinner beer and certainly a sipper. Not much bitterness at all which causes it to be a bit too malty for me, but that's what one would expect from an 11% beer. Nice alcohol warmth but not overpowering. Could definitely get into trouble on a colder day drinking this one too quick.

Not the greatest barleywine, but certainly one worth trying if you're a fan of the style.

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

A: Amber, slightly hazy, half-finger head that dissipates rather quickly.
S: Malty, spicy
T: Very malty, finish reminds me of Belgians.
M: Flat, super thick.
O: I enjoyed it. The mouthfeel lets you know that it's going to be a heavy beer. It's very much a Belgian beer, and could probably be labeled as such since the finish has a strange twist that ping-pongs my taste buds (think: malty, malty, malty, twang). One hell of a way to get drunk fast, since my mouth numbed up pretty quickly, and I only noticed the malt towards the end. Lacks breadth, but has depth, if that makes sense.

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Photo of xtavior
1.66/5  rDev -54.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 1

This was easily the WORST thing i have EVER drank. It was like someone took a cheap red wine and mixed it with a cheap American lager (ala bud light). I bought a pack weeks ago and can't even get drunk enough to stomach it. Just. Frigging. Terrible.

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Photo of tkolterman
4.75/5  rDev +29.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

This beer has good taste from begining to end. On my third six pack. I went to the the Weyerbacher Brewery, nice operation. Blithering is a high ABU beer.
I am a D-beer kinda guy. I enjoy it every bottle I drink.

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Photo of StoutHunter
3.52/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I picked up a bottle of Weyerbacher's Blithering Idiot last week for $3.19 at The Lager Mill. I've been working my way through the Weyerbacher lineup and I thought it was time to give this Barleywine a try, so lets see how it goes. Bottled on 2/15/15. Poured from a brown 12oz bottle into a snifter.

A- The label looks good, it's got a nice design to it and it's eye catching. It poured an amber red color that took on of a ruby red hue when held to the light with a half a fingers worth of bubbly light tan head that died down to a thin ring that eventually faded away and it left a little bit of spotty lacing behind. This is a pretty nice looking beer, but I wish the head and retention were just a little better.

S- The aroma starts off with a lower amount of high sweetness with a fruity aroma being the first to show up and it imparts a mixture of apples and light dark fruit aromas with no single aspect sticking out the most. Up next comes a slight alcohol aroma that leads into the malts which are on the lighter side and they impart some sweet malt, caramel malt, caramel and grainy aromas. This beer has a nice aroma, but I wish it was a little more complex.

T- The taste seems to be very similar to the aroma and it starts off with very high amount of medium sweetness with the same fruity aspects that I got in the aroma being the first to show up, but this time they aren't as bright and they are just a little lighter. Up next comes a noticeable alcohol flavors that isn't too warming and it's followed by the malts which are lighter like they were in the aroma and they impart the same aspects with caramel and sweet malts seeming to stick out the most. On the finish there's no bitterness with some sweetness and booze taking it's place and it had a fruity aftertaste. This is a nice tasting beer, but just like aroma I wish it was more complex.

M- Fairly smooth, not too cloying, slightly crisp, on the very thick side of being medium bodied with a lower amount of medium carbonation. This beer has a nice mouthfeel that works well with it.

Overall I thought this was a nice beer and I thought it was it a nice example of an English Style Barleywine, but In the end it didn't turn out as great as some of the better ones I've had, it just lacked the complexity and big mouthfeel that some of that better ones seem to have and it left me wanting more. This beer has nice drinkability, it's fairly smooth, not too cloying, slightly crisp, a little filling and the taste did a nice job at holding my attention, I think one is a good amount for me, I don't really have the urge to drink another one in a row. What I like the most about this beer was how true to style it was, besides lacking it complexity it had pretty much all the things that I look for in the style. What I like the least about this beer is the lack of complexity, that aspect could use some work. I would buy this beer again, but I'm not going to go out of my way to stock up on it and I would say it worth a try if you are a fan of the style. All in all I liked this beer, but I didn't love, it needs a little work, but I think it has potential. IT's not a favorite Weyerbacher beer and it's right about average for the style. Nice job guys, but I think with a little more work this could be a very nice Barleywine.

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Photo of Mitchster
2.38/5  rDev -35.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.25

11.1% ABV, Original Gravity: 26.2p, 34 IBU's.
Hopped with Northern Brewer (B), Perle (B), Hallertuaer.
12oz bottle.
Pours out to a medium amber, forming a soft yellow head with good retention and solid lacing. Carbonation is moderately brisk, ~2.75 carbs or so. The nose is ripe with figs, dates, belgian candi sugar, grape juice, plums, cherries and apple juice. Mouthfeel is thick and syrupy with a dense body. Tastes like a fruit salad, lots of grapes, fugs and dates. Modestly strong oxidized wet cardboard flavor half way through with moderate higher alcohols and soy sauce like yeast autolysis with mild herbal bitterness.

The oxidation and higher alcohols definitely ruin this for me. Not a very good or very well brewed beer. I definitely wouldn't buy this again. Drain pour. Blithering indeed,

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Blithering Idiot from Weyerbacher Brewing Co.
83 out of 100 based on 888 ratings.
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