Insanity (Ale Aged in Oak Barrels) | Weyerbacher Brewing Co.

941 Reviews
Insanity (Ale Aged in Oak Barrels)Insanity (Ale Aged in Oak Barrels)

Brewed by:
Weyerbacher Brewing Co.
Pennsylvania, United States

Style: English Barleywine

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 11.10%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
Bourbon barrel-aged "Blithering Idiot"

Added by BeerAdvocate on 06-21-2004

For Trade:
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Reviews: 941 | Ratings: 2,471
Photo of guinnessfan
1.61/5  rDev -61.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 2 | overall: 1

12 oz. bottle from a friend.

A: Clouded copper color,decent tan head, with some lacing, yet no retention.

S: Not much, sweet cherries maybe. Malt and some alcohol.

T: Lord help me...Cloyingly sweet, vanilla-ish, maple syrup-like flavored cheap vodka. Thats it!

M: Bitter alcohol a hornet sting inside my mouth. Weird vanilla aftertaste.

D: Umm...not really at all for me. It was a drain pour. Sorry.

I don't think I like the English barleywines. I would like to try their Twelve, though to compare.

 517 characters

Photo of LilBeerDoctor
1.76/5  rDev -57.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1.5

Bottle. Pours a clear amber/brown with a small off-white head. Aroma of alcohol, sweet sweet malt, medicinal cough syrup. Flavor of sweet malt, raisins, and super booziness. Some oak flavors but really this is just a boozy, sweet, sticky mess. This is really nasty. More than a couple sips is too much for me...

 311 characters

Photo of AltBock
2.03/5  rDev -51%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1.5

22 oz. bomber bottle that has a cool label of a person freaking out in the doorway of a red/black room. Below the picture is the name of the beer in blood red letters. In between the picture and the name of the beer is a sentence you want to see on a beer bottle, "Ale aged in oak barrels." The only other things on the label is all the mandatory US information, like the Government warning. Weyerbacher doesn't date their bottles and this one is no different.

Appearance: I decided to pour this Weyerbacher beer into a Chimay Chalise. It seemed fitting for the style. What came out of the bottle and into the glass was a beer that is the same color and texture of swamp water. It was truly that murky. It looked so much like swamp water that I swear I saw a crocodile emerging from the beer. Sitting on top of this murky liquid was a white head of foam that was less than 1/2 inch in height. This head of foam quickly dissipated into a handful of white rings along the edge and a spot or two of white lace around the chalise.

Smell: "Insanity" was very fruity with a hint of toasted malts, a quick splash of charred oak, and tons of medicinal alcohol. To me, medicinal alcohol is something you can find in cough syrup and other liquid medicines that contain alcohol in them. Why it's in this beer is my question. It's OK to have alcohol in the aroma, but not medicinal alcohol. Sometimes the alcohol was so bad that it burned my nose and I had to quickly turn my head in disgust to get it out of my nose. Other times, it was fruity and that to me means that it was trying not to be boozy all the time.

Taste: The taste starts and ends with the same flavor, medicinal alcohol! I was honestly expecting more flavors to make an appearance, but instead I received one big taste of medicinal alcohol. I guess the taste wanted to be like the aroma. That's just sad! I did happen to notice a few flavors behind the alcohol, but they were all too tiny in size. Those tiny flavors I found were black cherries, oak, and bitter citrus hops. I would have loved to see each one of those flavors come out from the back and into the front, but the medicinal alcohol would have cut them down where they stood. I can understand why they didn't want to come out. If you can't tell already, the taste was just way too powerful with medicinal alcohol.

Mouthfeel: Yeah, it was a full bodied beer, but of course the aftertaste had to be filled with nothing but alcoholic medicine. Enough with the alcoholic medicine already! It got boring in the aroma.

Drinkability: You can probably tell already that I had hard time drinking this one. If there were more flavors than just medicinal alcohol, then it might have not been all that bad. In every aspect of this beer, the medicinal alcohol ruled over it like it was a dictator. I only take medicine when I'm sick, I shouldn't have to take it when I crack open a beer. I wouldn't touch this one again! If you're feeling sick, take 2 spoon fulls of "Insanity" and call the doctor in the morning.

 3,026 characters

Photo of MCain04
2.27/5  rDev -45.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

12 oz bottle poured into a crooked stave snifter. looks like bottled 01/28/13.

Pours a murky swamp water brown with a thin off-white head which quickly dissipates leaving minimal retention and lacing.

Smell is sweet with candied malts, toffee, almost fruity, vanilla, not too much bourbon.

Taste is off. There's a tart acidity to this which overpowers most of the other flavor profiles. Fruity esters. Not typical for the style and I don't think it's what they were going for.

Mouthfeel is overcarbonated and astringent. Numbs the tongue.

Overall, I received this as an extra and likely got a cellar turd. Drain poured after the first ounce. Hope it's just a bad bottle/batch, as I can't imagine this beer being intentionally produced to taste like this.

 760 characters

Photo of rdilauro
2.6/5  rDev -37.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

I admit I am not a fan of barley style of beers. Once I opened this one, I knew it wasnt going to be any different. The pour was dark and uneventful.
The first sip was over the top... Too much, too much of something, malt, barley, grapefruit.
I am sure this is a beer for some, but really not for me

 299 characters

Photo of JackStraw22
2.6/5  rDev -37.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

22oz. bomber, no date.

Appearance: cloudy, dark amber/orange. ok head, not much retention.

Smell: Sweet, cherry aromas. Lots of malt. Alcohol is definately present.

Taste: Holy crap that's intense! I don't really dig it, but it's intense. Huge vanilla aftertaste. I like vanilla, but this seems a bit too much, it's all I can focus on at the end. Alcohol is quite powerful and harsh. Nothing seems blended here, it feels like five different loud guitars all playing different songs. Sugary sweet as well.

I just couldn't enjoy this, and for $8, it might not be worth a try.

 585 characters

Photo of JamesShoemaker
2.67/5  rDev -35.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

12 oz bottle poured into my new flute glass. Thanks Andrew!

A - gross. The sediment in this beer became really active when I poured it out. It looks like there are skin cells floating around in there; does not dissipate. No head, obvious carbonation.

S - there's not much to the smell except the sweeter barley character. I'm beginning to realize that I don't care for hopless BWs.

T - blech. I wanted to drain pour this one from the get-go. Unfortunately I had just drain poured a skunked Fat Dog, so I powered through the Insanity. This BW is so artificially sweet, I really, really detest it. The only good thing is that the alcohol is hidden, and rather high, so it's not a total waste.

M - not bad. The taste doesn't linger, which is good in this case, and it feels less syrupy than expected.

O - I've had two Weyerbacher beers so far (this one and Blithering Idiot). Their BWs are really bad, IMO; I'll try the Simcoe, but if that flops I think I'm done with Weyerbacher.

 983 characters

Photo of harrymel
2.68/5  rDev -35.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.25 | overall: 2.75

Bottled Jan, 2013
Thanks William!
Brown cherry ale with near excellent clarity and a shredded sheet of tan foam. Smells like artificial cherry juice, sweet nougat, some alcohol, a little oak and vanilla with light malt, some bread - meh. Quite sweet with a cloying aftermath of cherry again. Some more alcohol and a touch of oak and vanilla. Medium over thin with moderate carb and a cloying finish - really sweet for a long time: makes me want salty chips. I'm glad to have tried this, but glad not to have actually worked for it.

 531 characters

Photo of oregonskibum
2.73/5  rDev -34.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a brandy snifter glass.

A: Color is a dark burnt amber, bordering on brown. Pours with almost no head. What little head disappears almost immediately. Appears flat. No carbonation with just a thin ring around the edge of the glass.

S: Sweet toffee, butterscotch, caramal. Picking up on the wood notes. Some raisins and maybe a faint note of vanilla.

T: Big sweet notes continue. More butterscotch and toffee, mixed in with a stronger oak/wood presence. Heat kicks in mid taste and really starts to warm towards the end. Continue to get some raisin notes with other dark fruits.

M: A touch on the big side; comes across as a little syrupy. Carbonation is low to non-existant.

D: I'm not a huge BW drinker, so don't have the width of experience to really say this is 'bad', but this certainly doesn't stand out as a great example of the style. The residual sweetness really detracts from the beer, masking some of the other flavors that would have made this a decent beer.

 1,006 characters

Photo of Sludgeman
2.73/5  rDev -34.1%
look: 3.25 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 2.75

Poured into a pint glass.

A - Poured a slightly cloudy reddish brown. Half-finger of head that quickly disipated to a thin layer. Little to no lacing. Average carbonation.

S - Dark fruits. Yeasty. Sweetness.

T - Raisins marinated in alcohol. Very malty. Sweet. Some vanilla.

MF - Smooth with some alchol burn in the finish.

O - Supposedly the English Barleywine style is more balanced. Not the case with this beer. While some beers are too hoppy, the lack of some more dominant hop flavor puts this beer too far to the malty, dark fruit side of the scale. Not a beer I will drink again.

 591 characters

Photo of tone77
2.81/5  rDev -32.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Poured from a brown 12 oz. bottle. Has a pretty, cloudy amberish color with a 1/2 inch head. Smell is mostly of alcohol, some fruits are apparent. Taste is strong of alcohol, some malts and fruits, strong tasting. Feels light in the mouth and drinkability is not good. Overall this beer was a bit overpowering for my tastes, alcohol was not well hidden.

 353 characters

Photo of ArrogantB
2.86/5  rDev -30.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

22oz bottle courtesy of DRINKNDRIVE, thanks. I was looking forward to this after having Weyerbacher's Blitehring Idiot which is excellent. Sadly, this is nowhere near excellent. It is orange and looks good but the smell is just ominous. Nothing but scary boozy demons. The flavor was overdone barrel, wood, and then alcoholic booze as a finale. If this is truly barrel-aged Blithering Idiot then they need to stop because they had it right the first time.

 455 characters

Photo of LarryV
2.9/5  rDev -30%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 1.5

Somewhere in the netherworld between booze and beer lies Insanity. Soft aroma of bourbon and oak hits the nose. Very little head, and very little carbonation, almost seems flat. Strong flavor of bourbon with vanilla overtones - strong, boozy flavor. Not a beer that you could drink quickly, and not my preference in a barleywine. The vanilla and bourbon flavors overpower this beer though it does become slightly more balanced when it warms up. Very buttery mouthfeel, I was reminded of hot buttered rum.

I couldn't drink more than a glass of this in one sitting, I just don't care for the flavor very much at all.

 617 characters

Photo of CuriousMonk
2.9/5  rDev -30%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Poured from 12 oz bottle into a tulip. No date. Pours a dark amber color with a red light; thin creamy head. The aroma is malty, with a touch of vanilla and very light wallnut. Thick body, full malt flavor, very sweet, with sweet caramel and fudge too, a hint of liquorice. Even the final is very sweet, not enough hopped, there is a lot of malt and caramel, some sweet liquorice; the alcohol warmth is too much. Not enough complex, not fully convincing; and the barrel is missing in action. I was not a big fan of the sediments found in this beer, although, I understood its purpose. This beer was definitely not for me.

 621 characters

Photo of caskstrength
2.91/5  rDev -29.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

12 oz bottle. My understanding is this is bourbon barrel aged, and what's not to love about bourbon barrel aged barleywines?

Pours a nice dark golden color with appropriate carbonation.

Smells are interesting. Coconut and sweet bananas with some alcohol. Fruits, but more light fruits (apricot, yellow raisin) than dark fruits. The bourbon and oak are in the back, not sure how much I'd pick up on those if I weren't looking. Hints of solvents. (uh-oh)

Tastes show more of the bourbon with the alcohol and the coconut/banana. It's interesting and unique, but the alcohol is ultimately too much. It has some sweetness, but more simple sugars than dark/rich toffee and caramel. Stronger bourbon notes with vanilla, oak, etc. would be appreciated and are missed here. There is a solventy vibe that comes and goes, moreso when warming.

Moutfeel is fine. Good heft, but not syrupy or heavy. Carbonation keeps things moving.

If I want a barleywine, I'm not choosing this.
If I want a barrel aged barleywine, I'm not choosing this. (but I do like the coconut)

 1,061 characters

Photo of lackenhauser
2.93/5  rDev -29.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Pours a murky orange/amber sort of color. Decent head on top at first. Big vanilla aroma tinged with alcohol. Some malty sweetness but the vanilla overpowers. Malt presence dominates the flavor. Again with the vanilla. Somewhat phenolic/astringent and has a pucker to it. Definate alcohol going on here. Has a metallic/coppery tinge to it. All this rolls together to become a flavor which overall I find somewhat unpleasant. Decent mouthfeel. Rather dissappointing I think. Too many non barleywine characteristics. I understand this is oak aged but detected no oak. For me as a barleywine fan-I will pass.

 605 characters

Photo of garymuchow
2.98/5  rDev -28%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

This sample courtesy of SS'05. Thanks fella's.

A rather modest aroma of alcohol and a sharp sweet malt. The sharpness lends some spiciness and the sweet malt some fruitiness with a bit of toastiness. The alcohol is almost boozey.
Clear amber of gold red. Head upon pouring that leaves fairly quickly to a spotty covering with a ring.
The alcohol is almost bourbon like and is quite intense. Even leaves the bourbon aftertaste on the tongue. There is a nice mildness at first that is sweet (with a touch of vanilla in time) and pleasant and just a touch of hop bitterness that also is nice. The rest is booze, bourbon and oak, and somewhat overwhelming at that.
Smooth and pretty thick. Carbonated nicely for style.
This is tough, cuz' I've come to the conclusion in the last year that I'm not a bourbon guy and this is not bourbon like aged in barrels, this is like bourbon in my beer. I don't want to hate this, because I like the idea behind what the brewers did. But I have to accept that this isn't what I'm looking for. There aren't flaws. It mellows some with time, but not enough. Insanity is a good name that speaks to the intensity of drinking this beer.

 1,172 characters

Photo of CoalCellar
2.98/5  rDev -28%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into my glass.

a: Pours a deep golden color, builds almost no head to speak of, small traces of lace on the glass.

s: sweetness, is that bourbon? Tough to tell, not as much going on here as I would have liked.

t: Watery, with a light sweetness. Where is all the oak, bourbon, malt, and vanilla?

m: syrupy and thick

d: Due to the lack of flavor, this is much more drinkable than it should be. I expected alot more from this. Weyerbacher is usually dead on, but not with this one. I'll pass next time.

 532 characters

Photo of StoneTSR
3.04/5  rDev -26.6%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

APPEARANCE: This beer if brown and murky and had I not already enjoyed some brown, murky beers like this in the past I would be worried. It is not the most appetizing beer ever. A quick wash of bubbles comes and goes within seconds of pouring this into the glass and leaves no head at all – only a ring of bubbles surrounding the outside of the glass.

SMELL: Interesting. While there was a little bit on the nose right after the pour, there is not a whole lot left after that wash of bubbles. However, when I stick my nose in the bottle, even the now-empty bottle, I get some of the traditional Barleywine aromas – brown sugar, vanilla, spice, banana and a touch of bread.

TASTE: The oak is the strongest element of the flavor in the Insanity. In fact, I would go as far as to say that it is insane how much oak is on this thing. Hints of sweet banana bread and spices sweeten it up in the middle and back, but an unfortunate (and unwanted) bit of weird citrus creeps into the mix as well. It seems like there is a mild infection here which is too bad, because I think this has the potential to be a great beer.

MOUTHFEEL: There is a lot more sparkle to this than it would appear to have giving the perception of a lighter body than it actually has. The sharp oak taste causes a slight pucker up front, but the sweeter banana and spice notes pull it back towards the back. Overall, the mouthfeel is clean and leaves almost nothing behind.

OVERALL: This is borderline for me. Given all the great reviews I’ve read of the Insanity and what tasted like some off flavors, I have to believe that this beer is slightly infected. It still isn’t bad, but by no means is it deserving of its 93 score in this condition. If I am given the opportunity to try this beer again in the future, I certainly will and I’ll re-review. Until then, I have to go with decent, but not great.

 1,882 characters

Photo of largadeer
3.06/5  rDev -26.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Extra from centennial. Thanks!

Reddish-brown body capped by a thin tan head. Smells strongly of stewed fruits (figs, berries), brown sugar, oak and booze. I detect more oak than bourbon. The nose has a simplistic sweetness that isn't very appealing to me. Tastes sweet and boozy with a huge preserved fruit presence. Brown sugar and caramel come out more toward the finish. Bourbon and oak are present but subtle; barrel aging seems to have given this more raw booze flavor than anything. Body is about medium, a bit more thin than I'd like. Not a bad beer overall, but nothing I'd want to revisit. Very middle of the road for the style.

 638 characters

Photo of williamherbert
3.06/5  rDev -26.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Quick notes on this beer:

Thick and milky looking. A full finger of head. Dark at the top, lighter at the bottom. Color is mahogany. Nice spotty lace.

The smell is a malty roast, with a hint of chocolate. Smoky and a bit of sweet cherrywood. It's a strong beer, an unusual liqueur/brandy flavor. Quite sweet indeed.

The taste is a heavy barleywine ale, with a cherry/grenadine flavor. Very strong and quite pungent. Oh, and the alcohol flavor truly is "insane."

It feels smooth but so very thick. I had to personally choke this one down on the swallow. Rough on the gag-reflex. It's a hard sell. If you like incredibly strong barleywine flavor, go nuts. Me? I'm gonna go sober up.

 693 characters

Photo of GCBrewingCo
3.09/5  rDev -25.4%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

The beer poured a crystal clear deep amber with a frothy tan head which rose tall at a very slow rate and refused to release it's stranglehold on the glass as it coated it during the slow retreat of it's presence.

The aroma was fruity and malty with a cherry presence while the head was still intact. Once the head caused the glass to plead for mercy and retreated, the aroma became almost a port wine aromatic like in beef burgundy (first thing that came to mind).

The flavor was interesting, but not overly complex. The flavors were diacetyl with oak and cherries. The flavor contained again a winelike character comprised of malt, oak and fruits. Alcohol also resonated in the flavor. No appreciable hop presence except for some bittering that was earthy and unappealing and the malt character contained a bit of caramel but nothing overly interesting.

The finish was dry with caramel and fruits with butter into the aftertaste. The body was full, but not viscous and seemed less due to carbonation level. I'd skip this beer. Missing complexity and not at all what I expected.

22 ounce bottle.

 1,108 characters

Photo of Rastacouere
3.12/5  rDev -24.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Clear medium brown, no head. Light rummy and bourbony aroma presenting vanilla, and sadly no fruits at all, resulting in a simple sweet slightly woody and earthy array of flavors at which the integration is not all that. While I can name a few flavors, it’s not too complex and very candyish. Straight bourbon flavor also makes for a disappointing palate compared to the aroma. Astringent finish. Almost roasty finish feels a bit harsh. Alcohol is strong still. Creamy medium body is very liqurous, but this fits here. It feels like a run as fast as possible to follow a trend to me. Do they also run to catch the new season’s fashion clothe color? Or perhaps it was just released a little too early. Still, as it is: boring.

 727 characters

Photo of BeefyMee
3.16/5  rDev -23.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Cracked open a bomber that I had been aging for a couple years, and I have to say I'm not quite sure what to make of this beer. It certainly is an interesting brew, but the extreme scotch flavor is more than a little distracting. It smells of scotch and tastes of scotch more than it does beer. This isn't such a bad thing, just a little overboard. It did end up being far more drinkable than I imagined it would be at first sip.

 429 characters

Photo of q33jeff
3.16/5  rDev -23.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.25

Bottle to snifter. Aroma Is musty, sweet, honey, vegetables. Cloudy brown-orange. Strong. High alcohol. Belgian Wang. Brandy-like taste.
Bottle to Snifter. Bottle dated 11/16/15, though I just bought it, so who knows what the aging conditions were.
Similar to above notes, though I don't really get the wang.
LOOK: Deep Mahogany color, clear. Small head fades quickly.
AROMA: Apple, wine,
TASTE: honey, apple, whiskey that is not apparent in the nose shows up late and knocks everything else away.
FEEL: pretty flat, medium body.

Pretty Good, Ratings increased slightly, (3.01 to 3.16). I think I like the regular Blithering Idiot better.

 683 characters

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Insanity (Ale Aged in Oak Barrels) from Weyerbacher Brewing Co.
4.14 out of 5 based on 2,471 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.