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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 larryarms847
3.15/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours dark copper and slightly hazy with a solid finger of light khaki and creamy foam.

Earthy, dark fruits, cherry, toasted malt, and some spicy yeast aroma.

Spicy yeast, dark fruit, toasted dinner rolls, and slightly odd.

Medium-heavy bodied, medium carbonation, spicy, astringent, not good.

Overall, this pours well and smells halfway decent, but the flavor and mouthfeel are rather bizarre and off-putting.

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Photo of Mikus
2.48/5  rDev -32.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Looked good. Had some interesting aromas (some sort of spicy hop or yeast note that was interesting), along with some bready maltiness. Fell apart on the taste and mouthfeel. Really muddy, nothing distinct or stand out shining through. Would not recommend. Still haven't found a decent Weyerbacher brew.

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Photo of TheSixthRing
3.02/5  rDev -17.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

Bottling date of 01/05/15

Appearance - Pours a relatively clear copper red color with a beige head that peaks at about half a finger's thickness. Poor retention results in a mostly barren surface with a razor thin ring around the edge of the glass.

Smell - Strong cherry aroma backed by notes of caramel and banana.

Taste - Notes of cherry and caramel upfront and throughout. Distant banana undertone that peaks through mid-taste. Cloyingly sweet finish with an astringent aftertaste.

Mouthfeel - Sits somewhere between medium to full in body with a sticky texture; like maple syrup cut with water. Low carbonation. Drying finish.

Overall - People have compared this to cough syrup, and I have to agree that to an extent it does have a cherry cough syrup flavor. Very little balance, no depth, and really just kind of a big ol' mess. Maybe it would age to something better, but I won't be the one to try it.

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Photo of EFitzsimmons
3.27/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

dark amber with a great looking head that fades to a good film on the sides and a little bit of fuzz on top maintained by the carbonation.

Very malty smell, with a sweetness to it, with a light raisin smell to me.

Nice big and sweet malt to start the taste, and then the sweetness continues with a caramel flavor, but the beer finishes with a somewhat strange bitter hop, that just doesn't sit quite right.

The carbonation is great, and the beer really seems to settle and stay on the back top part of the mouth. It has a pretty light feel for how big a beer it is.

This is a pretty good beer(best served not too cold), and I usually love big hop finishes, but something about this beer just didn't sit quite right with me, which is a bit of a bummer.

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Photo of Jeffreysan
4.47/5  rDev +21.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2014 edition 12 oz bottle, poured into a pint glass

Appearance: Pours a very pretty, deep, dark, mahogany color, speckled with orange highlights, and a quarter of a finger of white-colored head that quickly dissolved away into a thin lacing of foam that almost completely covered the top of the beer.

Aroma: Very aromatic with strong aromas of toasted malt, imparting notes of freshly toasted English muffins, followed by some notes of brown sugar, toffee, dried stone fruit such as raisins, figs, prunes, and a touch of maple syrup.

Taste: Delicious! Strong flavors of toasted malt, brown sugar and maple syrup-like sweetness, dried stone fruit, and a touch of hoppy bitterness at the finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied, but leaning a little towards the thin side. It’s a very smooth beer as there is very little carbonation. With an ABV of 11.1%, there is a very pleasant alcohol warmth on the palate.

Overall: This is a very, very, good barleywine! Excellent, in fact! It has great flavors of malt, brown sugar and maple syrup-like sweetness, dried stone fruit and a touch of hops. The only thing keeping this barleywine from being world-class is the slightly less than perfect mouthfeel. If it had a chewier mouthfeel, it would be world-class.

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Photo of m_hall
3.67/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pour from 12oz. bottle into a wine glass, Pours clear copper, capped with a 1-finger cream head that falls fairly quickly. Scant lacing.

Aroma is dominated by malts, more towards the sweet end than bread-y.Some wine-like dark fruits. There is a very distinct alcoholic tang, which at 11.1%, is unsurprising.

Flavor is sweet to bitter-sweet, with fig and apricot notes, along with a bit of caramel. Alcohol on the finish, and a great deal of it. Little to no hop bitterness or floral tones.

Mouthfeel was smooth, a trifle thick, quite pleasant.

A good representative of the style, though I think cellar aging could improve this by allowing the alcohol to settle down with the rest of the flavors. I'll give this one another look in a year or so.

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Photo of predikit
2.91/5  rDev -20.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.75

Pours a reddish brown, leaves a thick light tan head that sticks around for an amazing amount of time.

Smell is fairly mute, slight citrus, barley and malt, orange peel.

First taste was interesting, but then it just started going downhill. Eucalyptus, caramel, the alcohol lends a great deal, could almost say that in itself is the prime flavor with the rest just acting as support. Not very pleasant.

Mouthfeel is pretty good, smooth and creamy. Medium bodied, light carbonation, goes down easy, at the least.

Had to finish off Weyerbacher's locally available at some point, I guess trudging through brews like this is inevitable, wouldn't ever go near this again.

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Photo of DarthVorador
2.29/5  rDev -37.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 1.25 | feel: 2.25 | overall: 1.75

Looked & smelled great, but went all down hill from there. Couldn't get past the strong cough syrup flavor. This one definitely needs to be aged, otherwise it's damn near undrinkable.

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Photo of glass_house
3.63/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

12 oz. bottle poured into a sniffer

Pours a deep dark mahogany with copper highlights and one finger of creamy khaki head that leaves a wisp of a light cap. Looks thick and sticky on the sides of my glass. Aroma is intense dark caramelized malts and overripe banana peel soaked in sweet dark rum. No disguising that this is a huge, sweet English barleywine.

Taste starts with a rush of dark fruits. Figs, prunes and a touch of dried apricot. Gets even sweeter in the middle with the banana coming through, along with some molasses. The hops certainly take a backseat, but it does finish with a slightly dirty grassy note and leaves a brandy-like sweetness. It's fairly smooth, but there's a noticeable alcohol warmth. It's obvious this is a huge beer, meant to be sipped. As anticipated it's viscous and chewy, coating the palate maybe as much as any beer I've had. Carbonation is low and suits the style well.

Overall this is an intense version of the style, and one I would drink again, as I appreciate the occasional big bad malt bomb. However, I prefer to share it, as the syrupy sweetness can become a bit much.

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Photo of delta490
3.85/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured a cloudy ruby-tinted copper with a barely-there white head. No lacing whatsoever. The aroma is light, but does have some nice caramel and dark fruit notes (I'm thinking dried figs). The taste is a little bit more robust, with a little more depth to the fruit and sugars and a nice warming effect from the alcohol. The body has a nice thickness to it and a little tingle to it on the finish.

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Photo of Coolcheech
4.5/5  rDev +22.3%

Poured from a bottle, drank from a tulip.

Appearance: Caramel color with a very thin head.

Smell: Malty in the bottle, alcohol and apples in glass.

Taste: You can taste the alcohol, but it was sweet and light. For a Barleywine I think the bitterness and floral notes of the hops are very very mild.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied. The more I drank, and the more the temperature of the beer dropped, the more fuller it felt. I started drinking it very cold, and everything about it was light at first, but that could just be me.

Drinkability: It’s a bright, sweet-ish beer which I found delicious. I like hops, but my top beers have always been on the less hoppy side, and this fits the bill.

(I just read that this is an English Barleywine, which apposed to American Barleywines which are super hopped, these are more fruity. Makes sense, today I learned.)

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Photo of rdilauro
2.55/5  rDev -30.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.75

I am slowly beginning to enjoy barleywine Ales. I have to say this wasnt one of the winners.
It had that fairly deep brownish amber hue to it with a nice frothy white head. The aroma was typical of most barleywines.
There was just something from the initial taste through the ending that just didnt sit right with me in aroma as well as taste

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Photo of GilGarp
3.75/5  rDev +1.9%

Old 12 oz bottle that's been sitting in the cellar for about 5 years or more.

Seved slightly chilled into a goblet, Blithering Idiot is a hazy amber brown color. It has some yeast floating in suspension. No head.

Aroma is sweet and slightly boozy but it seems to have mellowed with age.

Flavor has too but it still has some kick. Malty and sweet but fairly well balanced with the ample hops. Alcohol is really well hidden after aging.

Mouthfeel is full bodied and low in carbonation. A little oxidized but not bad.

Overall a pretty good barley wine but not exceptional.

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Photo of seedyone
4/5  rDev +8.7%

I know like this stuff but I misplaced my notes.
In retrospect this is a modern day standout as it has left me blithering like an idiot.

I hope to revisit this amazing invention at a later date, hopefully no where near a national election as that is blithering season.

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Photo of CraftyViki
3.5/5  rDev -4.9%

Blithering Idiot is a good barleywine. I found it to be quite drinkable. Saying that, I should also say I am not a huge fan of barleywines, so keep that in mind.

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Photo of majorbase2
3.29/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

First review since BA reverted back to the attribute format! This is my first English Barley Wine. Big fan of American Barley Wines.
Pours a brown color with a big light brown foam head. Not much retention. A little bit of lacing. Nothing too out there in the aroma. Sweet caramel and bready malts. Slight hint of toffee. A bit of booze. Taste is a little underwhelming-- some dark fruits, most notably cherry and fig. Sweet malts. A ton of booze. Very poorly masked. A little bit of bitterness give it a sort of candy-like taste. Can't get over the alcohol, though. It is very offsetting compared to the slightly more subdued taste. Not a good combo. Not much carbonation. Easier to drink than you'd expect, but still not the most pleasant experience. Overall, not super impressed by my first entry into the English Barley Wine realm. Hopefully not a sign of the style as a whole.

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Photo of richj1970
3.65/5  rDev -0.8%

Bottle dated 3/3/14

A: Pours a deep golden brown with two finger white head, and fairly heavy lacing for a barley wine.

S: Sweet caramel and butterscotch. Vanilla. Toffee.

T: Sweet caramel and honey. Rich toffee. Vanilla. Ripe bananas.

M: Thick bodied and very sweet.

O: Decent barleywine but I was hoping for more spices, maybe more hops, more complexity...

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

A: Dark brown color, with a slight tinge of red. Decent amount of carbonation with a negligible head. Only slight lacing
S: Smells alcoholic first, then wafts of dark fruits like cherry, dates and fig come through. Very faint smell of roasted winter nuts, like chestnuts
T: Tastes alcoholic, but not as much as you would think an English Barleywine would or what the smell gives off. Tastes like what it smells, with a somewhat faint taste of dark stone fruit
M: Since it didn't taste as alcoholic as it could, it came off quite crisp. Lack of carbonation give it a weird consistency, but barleywines are not supposed to have effervescent bite
O: Better beer than what previous rankings give it credit for. If you wanted a barleywine than I would recommend Third Coast Old Ale by Bell's Brewery, which is great. Even though it is an American barleywine and Blithering Idiot is English, I think the styles are similar enough. Worth trying, especially if you are interested in this kind of brew

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Photo of mthomp081
3.84/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A - cranberry, plum colored, almost a red/plum wine

S - alcohol, plums, figs, dates, honey

T - very sweet, can taste the alcohol but not overwhelming, fruits are darker ones - plums and figs, maybe some berries

M - sweet, sharp from the alcohol, medium bodied, barely any carbonation

O - Very sweet, the dark fruits are nice, taste of plum and the figs/dates are rather different, but its almost too sweet at times. A sipper.

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Photo of Ozzylizard
3.69/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottled 5/7/14 best by 5/7/2019 at 40 degrees into snifter
Aroma of malt and honey
Head average (3.5 cm). off white, frothy, rapidly diminishing to 3 mm ring and partial layer
Lacing OK – large irregular islands of small bubbles
Body medium amber, slight haze
Flavor begins very sweet and malty; no alcohol, no hops, no diacetyl. Ends with a nice stomach burn.
Palate full, creamy, soft carbonation.

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Photo of Dan_McNeely
3.01/5  rDev -18.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

A- A soft copper brown color, easy and appealing. I don't find anything floating in the beer. The appearance is making me thirsty!

S- The distinct alcohol smell is a bit off putting. The is some smooth malty aroma to it after the alcohol. The smell doesn't entice me, nothing about it draws me in to want to taste it. The appearance isn't complimented by the smell for my liking.

T- The taste is very similar to the smell. I enjoy the malty bitter taste, but it quickly dissipates, leaving a feeling of hopelessness to the beer. I respect the beer and understand how someone would fit this taste, but it's just not something that clicks for me.

M- It's a nice dry feel. But it doesn't establish any real personality. It's an OK quick rush on impact but leaves you saying, "And Then..."

Overall- I love the name,it has an interesting label. (different than what is pictured, it's a bit more evil looking jester on my beer) This is really only my third or fourth barley wine style so I don't have much to compare this against. I may go on a barley wine binge over the next couple of weeks and then revist this beer to understand it better.

Take this review with a grain of salt...

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Photo of MikeWard
3.59/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

poured from 12oz bottle into tulip glass. Bottled 12/17/13.

Color was a nice deep copper color with a small thin head. However, there were a ton of floaties, so i basically let it sit for about 45 minutes until the sank to the bottom. This got it to room temperature.

Aroma was very sweet, malts and candy

Taste was ok, the candy especially came through. There was a burning warmth from the alcohol, and a faint bitterness on the side of the tongue.

In the finish, the bitterness and sweetness duked it out, and the alcohol began to rise from warm to burning, almost harsh. Mouth was a bit below medium

Overall, didn't really enjoy this. I haven't tried it for some time, and it was really my gateway beer into higher alcohol and barleywine style beers. I remember enjoying it at the time, but I guess since then, I've found so much better options in both English and American style. Still a fondness for it, and you can't beat the name.

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Photo of ThisWangsChung
2.55/5  rDev -30.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.25

12 oz bottle into a goblet.

A: Pours a chestnut color with some sediment floating around. The head is beautiful: while it's only a finger high with an off-white shade, it's so amazingly creamy looking. Retention isn't great, though. A thick yet short ring of lacing is left behind.

S: There's a rich fruitiness mainly...I swear the primary note is banana. I'm also picking up a lot of brown sugar, caramel, and alcohol. The booze doesn't bite my nose, but it's definitely there. I don't know - this one seems really undefined in its general aroma.

T: It opens up with a healthy dollop of brown sugar and banana. Caramel notes in the midtaste will segue to alcohol. A lot of alcohol. On the plus side, it's a very rummy alcohol, instead of just being pure fusel. This beer just screams 'imbalanced' - it's both too sweet and too boozy, without much of the depth or nuance an alcoholic beer can provide. Luckily, some of the sweetness fades away after a few sips, only to be replaced with...more leathery booze. Yikes.

M: The booze bites the tip of the tongue and clutches the esophagus going down. There is some creamy fullness to help sponge some of the alcoholic tendencies, though. Some - it's still pretty harsh. Carbonation is bang-on, at least.

O: In the mood for a barleywine from Weyerbacher? Get Insanity instead. The barrel aging takes the edge off of...well, pretty much everything about this one. I wouldn't even think about touching this again unless I knew it had at least a year on it - four months hasn't exactly done the trick. Weyerbacher's worst offering as far as I'm concerned.

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

Pours brown/dark orange, low beige head, extremely thin ring afterwards, not so sticky with the little traces sliding back down to the beer.
Lots of dark fruit in the smell, fig and berry jam, overripe bananas, gluey toffee and caramel, dark bread and strong booze.
Taste is fruity in the start, strangely citrusy, with a lot of red grape mustiness and a touch of red apple acidity. Dark fruit jam, figs, dates, low red berries, getting sweeter and sweeter until the malts come up, with sticky caramel and molasses. A little breadiness way in the back. Lots of spices, with licorice, faint vanilla and clove, a pinch of peppercorn. Mildly bitter finish, with a bit of roasted grains and very very faint hops.
Smooth body, some nice fizz for the first 5 minutes, but not exactly what you'd want for a sipper. Alcohol is decently hidden at first, giving off some dark rum notes, but it will gang up on you after half the beer. It also clings in the aftertaste, so be sure to speak to people from a distance.
Not the most balanced barleywine, the fruitiness feels a bit chaotic, gets a bit too sweet and boozy close to the finish. Careful with this one or you'll end up talking like a "blithering idiot".

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Photo of Vierenner
2.09/5  rDev -43.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

I did not enjoy this beer. Smelled like a ripe banana after popping the cap ... even more so in the glass. Probably the strangest smelling/tasting beer I've ever had. I like the lack of hops, but I can't seem to like anything else. Again I'm reminded to do a more detailed analysis before I make a blind purchase.

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