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

944 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

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Reviews: 944 | Ratings: 2,478
Photo of Buck89
3.86/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

A 2016 bottle poured into a Teku glass. Very hazy, muddy copper color with a thin tan head. I smelled primarily Bourbon and vanilla on the nose. A bit of toffee and floral notes. The taste was well-balanced with the whiskey and the malty notes. Slightly sweet and floral. Full bodied and with a gentle warming on the finish.

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Photo of seedyone
4.1/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

From bottle dated 12/06/18 at home. May have started out too cold as the aroma was way shy of the strong taste. No head to speak of & even less aroma. Best aspect was the rich. deluxe texture. I'll always pick up the Blithering Idiot when I see it, but doubt I'll pass it by for this. The spiciness is there & the aging is most noticeable in the texture, but....

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

Can Weyerbacher do no wrong?

I think I have enjoyed just about everything I have tried to date from this brewer - including this 'insane' offering. Though it pours a very quickly dissipating head with no lacing, it pours almost looking like a nitro and with this hazy caramel color that was mesmerizing. The smell was a sweet mixture of bourbon and ale, and the mouthfeel was full-bodied, creamy, and only lightly carbonated (just the way I like it.) The taste was a decent blend of cinnamon, ale, and of course the bourbon, making for another impressive choice I made out of the Weyerbacher stable.

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Photo of jvgoor3786
4.25/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a 12 ounce bottle dated 11/14/16 and provided by jzeilinger.

The beer pours a deep, almost orangish brown with a one-finger head on a vigorous pour Tha last about five seconds leaving almost no ring or lacing.

The smell is deep dark fruits, raisin, plum, and some oak.

The taste follows with tons of raisin and a little barrel. There is also a lot of sweet toffee flavor that compliments the dark fruits well.

The mouthfeel is effervescent and medium bodied.

Overall this is very nice, complex, balanced, and a great barleywine.

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Photo of thebeers
3.84/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pours a nice ruddy brown color with a half finger of light tan head that's quick to dissipate into a lasting crown.

Strong toffee, raisins, pine and vanilla bourbon in the nose, with a faint medicinal, cherry note in the background.

Raisin and pine compete up front in the taste. There's some mild barrel, vanilla and cherry mid-palate. Then a bitter aftertaste, slight alcohol burn and some lingering oakiness.

Medium bodied with very prickly mouthfeel.

This bottle's still pretty fresh (11/14/16). I reckon a year or two will make it a whole lot smoother.

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Photo of woodychandler
4.31/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

It is ironic that I am following up an aged American Barleywine (Cassiopeia) with a young (bottled 11/28/16) English Barleywine. Maybe I am a f**ked up as everyone makes me out to be!

From the bottle: "Ale Aged in Oak Barrels"; [Bottled:] 11/28/16 [Best By:] 11/28/21".

I could almost weep for drinking this so early, but I know where I scored it & I am hopeful of finding another bottle to cellar. Despite its only having had three months in the bottle, I still went with a gentle pour. Once a sufficient amount had been decanted, I employed an in-glass swirl to raise a brief finger of foamy, light-tan head with very limited retention. Hey, there's no need to be shy! I know that you're young, but it's okay. Color was Coppery-Brown (SRM = > 17, < 22) with deep amber highlights & NE-quality clarity. I would bet that this is going to darken as it matures. Nose was very sweet and malty with notes of leather and coconut, the latter being very indicative of oak aging. Mouthfeel was light, but kind of hot and prickly on the tongue without a lot of appreciable carbonation. Warming, it began to acquire a higher viscosity, becoming very thick. The taste was quite sweet, like a caramel-coated coconut cluster with a light leatheriness that I am sure will develop over time, left to its own devices. This was unquestionably an English Barleywine since at its young age, it had no hop presence whatsoever. I really think that this is going to smooth out into a brandy-like sipper, given time to do so. Finish left me with a tear in my eye and a stickiness on my lips. I thought of all of the women that have come and gone: Ann, The Hoosiette, Linda Lou, The Old Lady, all with a kiss to remember them by, but with a lingering sadness on their departure from my life. Licking my lips, I could taste the beer's personality - coconut with a touch of leather, like wearing chaps to go sunbathing in Hawai'i. Oh my. If this is Insanity, then sign me up! I leave you with one of my favorite quotes: "There is a pleasure, sure, in being mad, that none but madmen know!" - John Donne, "The Spanish Friar" - II, i(1681).

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Photo of Sabtos
3.73/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Slightly hazy garnet with a dark brown core and a soft, fizzy tan blanket that settles to a ring.

Smell is butterscotch, caramel, raisin, toffee, new leather and red grape all behind a little wall of alchol burn.

Taste is raisin, toasted biscuit, and light molasses. I then get red grape and even raspberry. It's not too heavy, with an almost tart brightness, making it relatively light for a barleywine. As I get more into it, flavors of Barq's develop, as well as bright oak and basement must.

Medium body, nicely carbonated, with a little heat, a little stickiness, finishing semi-dry.

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Photo of SABERG
4.06/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2015 vintage poured from 12 oz bottle into the modified tulip glass.
A - Dark oak colored, carbonation struggles through the body, skyward, a ring of evidence displays its efforts.
S - Toffee, light brown sugar, shade tobacco curing, old oak plank from your basement. patience.
T - Just like the nose. complexity added with temperature, dark fruit, yellow raisin, kiss of cinnamon.
F - Slick, full palate coating, sweet finish
O - A big delightful offering, a bit sweet, the body could use some heft, that said I will be seeking out again

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Photo of GarthDanielson
4.21/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a bottle into a snifter, the beer is a muddled, opaque, caramel coloring, with a filmy, wispy, white surface coating of head. Aromas of rich caramel and toffee forward, followed by a blending of fruit characteristics, including apple, date, fig, raisin, and plum. Solid bready note in the nose, also. Sugary highlights. Flavors are richly sweet forward, deep and layered, with a tangy caramel blend first, followed by roasted toffee, subtle char wood and earth notes, sweet apple, rich fig and date, tart plum and cherry, and sugary highlights throughout. You really could find an infinite layer upon layer of flavors in this. Full bodied and downright chewy, with a booze soaked fruitcake aftertaste. The finish is slick, smooth, and still big, letting your palate know it's done some work. Solid boozy and richly sweet linger. This is a damn fine beer.

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Photo of dbl_delta
4.08/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Growler into pint glass. (What the heck - it's a Friday night.) Pours a slightly hazy dark honey-amber color with almost no head. Initial impression is molasses, bourbon, and booze. Some dark fruit in there too, but it's kind of overwhelmed by everything else. Thick, sticky mouthfeel. Finish is sweet and sticky too. Interestingly, I am not a fan of Blithering Idiot, but sticking it in a bourbon barrel changes everything. This one is a handful, but a thoroughly enjoyable one!

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Photo of Ozzylizard
4.31/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Received from @Josholson in NBS BIF #4
Bottle produced 11/26/15, BB 11/26/20, at 42 degrees into a hand washed and dried Weyerbacher tulip
Aroma of malt
Head small (Maximum < one cm, aggressive pour), tan, creamy, diminishing to a two mm ring and thin layer
Lacing - none
Body – dark amber, cloudy
Flavor – starts sweet but not cloying, malty, some alcohol; no hops, no diacetyl
Palate medium to full, creamy, soft carbonation

Excellent and relatively cheap.

Appearance 4, Aroma 4.25, Flavor 4.25, Palate 4.5, Overall 4.5

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Photo of hopsputin
4.11/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

a: a slightly murky brown color with just a hint of ruby red. head pours thin and dissipates right away

s: toffee, leather, oak, sweet berries, molasses, brown sugar, alcohol, caramel malts, plums, figs, and raisins. this is a bold aroma, with lots going on right away and a definite alcohol in the aroma

t: toffee, molasses, and fig in a big way up front. very sweet on the tip of the tongue. behind that is a nice oak presence as well as some of that leather and sweet berries, and dark rich plum. there is definitely a large alcohol presence in the flavor as well - its burning the lips. the alcohol is effectively canceling out the initial sweetness. there is a bit of a spice in here as well - like nutmeg or raw cinnamon also that makes itself known in the background. there is also a hint of bitter orange rind as well towards the very end. definite sipper.

m: heavy, sticky mouthfeel, not much carbonation at all. just what it should be

o: this is a definite sipper that drinks almost like a liquor. big rich sweet flavors abound in here, and you can feel the beer from the syrup to the tinge it leaves on your lips. might be best to sit on this for a while to let the alcohol die down just a touch, but this is a fantastic nighttime sipper

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Photo of Myotus
4.3/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured at 50°F from a 12oz bottle (2013 vintage) into a snifter. Consumed on 31Jul16.
SMELL: Strong aromas of oak, figs, plums, and brown sugar intertwine with mild cinnamon, caramel and vanilla aromas to create along with subtle aromas of tree nuts, coconut, alcohol, earthy hops, and orange peel to create a balanced and multifarious smell profile.
4.5 out of 5
TASTE: Like the aromas, balance in the taste profile is instantly established as strong flavors of oak, figs, and plums caress the palate. Strong flavors of brown sugar and caramel immediately give way to significantly amplify the sweetness. Balance is quickly restored as mild flavors of vanilla, tree nuts, alcohol, and spicy cinnamon accompany the prior flavors. Further complexity develops as subtle coconut and earthy hop flavors enter while flavors of alcohol grow slightly stronger. Subtle orange peel flavors bring an additional touch of bittersweetness as all previous flavors maintain.
4.25 out of 5
NOTE: The taste profile had such a staggering sophistication as one would expect and hope for in the style. The barrel aging gave this a wonderful oak flavor that blended very well with the other flavors. I was surprised (and somewhat disappointed) that the perception of alcohol was as high as it was given that this bottle had been aged for three years. I was hoping that the heat would have died down by now. At the end of the day, this was a spectacular Barleywine. I recommend aging this unless you love the perception of alcohol in your brews.

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Photo of mschrei
4.04/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into snifter. Couple months old. Red brown with no foam or lacing. Boozy and barrel aged smell, follows through the taste. Very strong, not much other than barrel ale taste. Feel like I'm drinking straight liquor. Good, but thinking it would be much more subtle and enjoyable after a few years.

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Photo of Tone
4.07/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a cloudy, brown color. 1/5 inch head of an off-white color. Slight retention and slight lacing. Smells of alcohol, slight liquor, dark citrus, yeast, sweet malt, hint of wood, and a hint of hops. Fits the style of an English Barleywine. Mouth feel is smooth and clean, with an average carbonation level. Tastes of alcohol, slight liquor, sweet malt, yeast, dark citrus, slight earthy malt, hops, and a hint of wood. Overall, weak appearance, great aroma, body, blend, and feel.

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Photo of Dragginballs76
4.24/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours - Deep purple wine looking color little head that quickly faded some lacing.

Smell - Right away sweet caramel an brown sugar, the oak is also coming through nice malty slightly fruit smell.

Taste - The oak comes out in the first sip, also banana flavor and sweet brown sugar, not getting any alcohol well hidden. It almost tastes like it has aged a year or so but it has not.

Fell - high side of medium, well carbonated slightly dry.

Overall - This is an amazing beer, great flavors and smell. The alcohol is very well hidden.

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Photo of FBarber
4.34/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours a deep ruby colored brown with a thin tan head that dissipates leaving no head and no lacing.

Smell has aromas of caramel, toffee, brown sugar, fig, and bourbon with undertones of caramel malts and a hint of vanilla.

Taste has notes of prune and fig with brown sugar and toffee. Not as much caramel in the taste as there was in the nose. However, the bourbon was more prominent with a noticeable oak character. As the bourbon stands out in the finish it does have a bit of a "hot" finish that slowly mellows into this absolutely wonderful mellow aftertaste of vanilla and barley wine soaked oak. The upfront flavors are good, but the finish is what makes it. I seriously paused in between each sip just to savor the flavors.

Feel has decent carbonation for a barrel aged beer. Provides a slight tingle initially on the tongue. Very smooth - almost like soft caramel on the mouth. Bit of sweetness provides some coating on the mouth, but the alcohol finishes dry.

Overall this is a world class barrel aged barleywine up there with the best. I've already started plotting how I can get some more next year.

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Photo of Rogerlb
3.94/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a tulip glass. Amber opaque, cloudy with really no head. It looks nice enough. You can make out slight carbonation bubbles. Aroma is slight, mostly of raisins, and sweet booze.

The taste is a boozey spoiled grapefruit and fig. There's malt in there but not too forward, no bitterness to speak of either. At 11.1 % the booze is right up front, not very hidden, to style (and Weyerbacher likes booze-forward). The wood of the barrel is pretty far in the bg and I had to look for it. Not sure the sweet is a grapey quality or just the alcohol. Finishes sticky and syrupy. Now I'm barely getting the molasses they're talking about.

For a barrel-aged I'm not sure this demonstrates the nuances I expected. When it warms the astringent quality of the booze mellows, or I'm just getting used to it. A very good if not world-class English barleywine in my opinion.

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Photo of angelmonster
4.02/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Review is of 2 and a half old bottle dated Jan/2014

Pours a copper hazy color, head is very thin and egg shell white. For a barleywine, the lacing and head retention were surprising.

Smells of dried fruits, figs, prunes, and dates. Toasted and caramel malts are also present, as well as alcohol, diacetyls like a chardonnay. Hops arent really there, sweetness dominates this beer.

Main flavors in this beer are butterscotch, caramel, dried apricot and plum. Alcohol is definitely there, sadly not getting a ton of oak. Biscuity malts are the base of this beer, almost like an Imperial fat tire. Cant really pick out hops as in the aroma.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied, carbonation is good, small head added a substantial froth to coat the mouth.

Overall, this beer was on my want list for a long time so maybe the expectations were too high. Thought it was a solid barleywine but nothing phenomenal. Didnt get much from the oak barrels, alcohol was a bit messy, almost medicinal. Dont think this beer is too far off from Blithering Idiot.

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Photo of BiaSongThan
4.6/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2015 vintage bottled November enjoyed 5/12/16 Brownish red appearance slightly cloudy with little head. Aroma of dark fruits, bread, desserts, oak, bourbon. Taste is the same with some caramel, toffee, vanilla. Medium body soft carbonation and a bit sticky/ syrupy on the lips. This is a really nice Ba English barleywine. Sure, bourbon county is more complex, abacus probably is too, but this is much easier to find and very enjoyable.

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Photo of jancona
3.25/5  rDev -21.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

On tap - a very uninspiring looking beer - no foam and no lacing. Cloudy reddish brown beer. Nose is pure booze - as it warmed - I mean 20 minutes later - I got some faint vanilla notes trying to poke through. Taste is pure booze - like someone poured a shot in my beer. If you like this style - go for it. I prefer a little subtlety in my barrel aged brews.

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Photo of jahbless
3.34/5  rDev -19.3%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Tart with a hint of molasses. Some heat in the finish, can definitely tell it's high Abv. Slightly dry finish, pretty sub-par barleywine; Just OK, wouldn't rush to buy again.

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Photo of drdiesel9483
4.24/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Dark auburn color with a slight white head a pretty good lacing. Dark fruit with some fig and plum with some sweet vanilla. Mellow taste, sweet caramel and toffee and fig. Medium light body and carbonation. Pretty damn good.

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Photo of BNLTandem
4.31/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Sooooooo......Maybe it's the euphoria of the Friday of Spring Break week....but this is great beer IMHO.

Look - is it cloudy...not really but I can't see through it. It looks more like translucent honey or maple syrup than an unfiltered wheat. poured in to a "Homer Simpson"glass (ask Kate at Aperitivo). Almost completely devoid of any head or lacing...but it's definitely not flat. Seems true to the style. Imperial malty oak aged XXXXX never seems to retain a head. Get over it IPA Guys.

Smell - A bit sweet, a bit bready, TONS of malt, fruity....banana, fig, prunes... no yeasty notes from belgian or german yeast, but some similar fruitiness. VANILLA from the wood.

Taste - All of the above. Residual, toasty sugars. Oak, Vanillla, an unexpected almost tropical fruitiness.

Feel - Thick. Not as thick with residual sugars as the look would indicate. But it clings on the pallet forever. No burn from the carbonation. Ok, I'm not drinking this on 90 degree weekends....but I AM drinking it, lets be clear!

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Photo of Tonyjenlasc
4.5/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Look - Dark amber/brown/red color. Looks nice in the glass.
Smell - Tons of oak/barrel on the nose. Caramel/toffee and dark fruits come thru as well.
Taste - Follows the nose beautifully. Oak, caramel/toffee, cherries, figs, sweet malts, wood, molasses
Feel - Sticky/syrupy

Overall - A fantastic English barleywine!

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Insanity (Ale Aged in Oak Barrels) from Weyerbacher Brewing Co.
4.14 out of 5 based on 2,478 ratings.
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