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

BA SCORE
92
outstanding
2,485 Ratings
Insanity (Ale Aged in Oak Barrels)Insanity (Ale Aged in Oak Barrels)
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Weyerbacher Brewing Co.
Pennsylvania, United States
weyerbacher.com

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

BEER STATS
Ratings:
2,485
Reviews:
947
Avg:
4.14
pDev:
11.11%
 
 
Wants:
234
Gots:
597
For Trade:
30
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 2,485 |  Reviews: 947
Photo of Sammy
4.1/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Nice head in pour, lasts throughout. Creamy mouthfeel. Unique yeast. Woodyness did something, I guess mellowed the barleywine flavour. Aroma of rum and alcohol. Malty, vanilla, and also chocolate malt. A bit better in a bottle had all to myself later on.

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Photo of acurtis
3.75/5  rDev -9.4%

Photo of Texasfan549
4.25/5  rDev +2.7%

Photo of kylehay2004
4.17/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Very thin head which dissipates quickly on a murky amber orange body. Very strong but not overly boozy aroma with apricot, raisin, caramel, candied orange and malts. Flavor has a lot of wood and oak character up front which moves to apricot and raisin. This one is surprisingly not very boozy but the finish definitely has a whiskey like tingle. Strangely the more I drank it the less complex it seemed. Medium body and moderate carbonation, smooth for the ABV and style.

 471 characters

Photo of GRG1313
4/5  rDev -3.4%

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

Photo of UCLABrewN84
4.24/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to bastu for sending me this one!

Pours a murky dark brown with a 2 inch fizzy tan head that settles to a film on the top of the beer. Random streaks of lace form on the glass on the drink down. Smell is of brown sugar, caramel/toffee, vanilla, bourbon, and some nice woody aromas. Taste is of malt, brown sugar, toffee, vanilla, bourbon, wood, and some citrus zest. An alcohol warmth in the back of the throat with each sip. This beer has a medium body and a low level of carbonation. Smooth and slightly sticky in the mouth. This is a good barrel aged barleywine but the mouthfeel knocks the overall score down a bit.

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Photo of spycow
3.5/5  rDev -15.5%

Photo of StonedTrippin
4.03/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

perhaps as much oak on this beer as on any i have ever had. its really good, a lot better than it looks. almost milky super cloudy yeasty in the glass without much head at all. the smell is way more oak than bourbon, although i do get some vanilla notes and some sweetness. the grain is pretty straight forward, caramelized long boil sweet wort aromas, dried dates, english ale yeast. the flavor is a lot like the nose, just a little less intense ont the wood. the sweetness of the malt is much more pronounced, marshmallow and coconut notes come in, nutty for a second, but quite sweet, candy like for awhile, and then the wood. weird to think about drinking a solid object, like a tree trunk, but thats how this beer feels to me. its yeast too, but not overly so, it gets boozy as it warms, but i think this is pretty excellent barleywine. a great example of the style, and unique enough to stand out. thanks to thebrewo for leaving this one at my house!

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Photo of kjkinsey
4.5/5  rDev +8.7%

Photo of djrn2
4/5  rDev -3.4%

Photo of Knapp85
4/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is a really good beer from Weyerbacher. I know how much they enjoy their barrel aged beers from the tours I've taken. This beer is the Barrel Aged Blithering Idiot so to speak. It's got a lot of the same elements that the Idiot has but it's a little bit stronger and sweeter. It's got a very deep copper color without much head. The aroma is of dark fruits, malts and some fresh wood. The flavors are smooth and robust with a big boozey aftertaste. The mouthfeel is a bit thicker than the Idiot so that works nicely too.

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Photo of t0rin0
4.25/5  rDev +2.7%

Photo of nmann08
4.5/5  rDev +8.7%

Photo of oriolesfan4
3.75/5  rDev -9.4%

Photo of westcoastbeerlvr
3.75/5  rDev -9.4%

Photo of metter98
4.18/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: The beer is clear mahogany in color and has a thin ring of off white bubbles lining the edge of the glass.
S: There are light aromas of bourbon and vanilla in the nose.
T: The taste is rather complex and has flavors of bourbon, fruits, malty sweetness, oak and vanilla.
M: It feels medium- to full-bodied and very smooth on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation.
D: The beer is dangerously drinkable because the alcohol is well masked from the taste.

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Photo of BEERchitect
4.29/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Insanisty lives up to its name as utterly cavity-inducing sweetness and spicy alcohols weave together in an orgy that ignores anything mild or timid.

The beer's hazy ruby body projects the color of plum syrup but also releases a creamy foam structure that constructs a dense blanket of froth, retaining throughout the session and lacing with clumping pockets as the beer falls.

Its aromas build a malty-rich scent of maple, vanilla, caramel, almond, toffee and light molasses. As the alcohol weaves in, a sense of fruit and booze rise with port, sherry and cognac.

Its taste is a marvelous melange of malt complexities: its toffee-laden, maple dipped, caramelly taste is modestly cola-like and is candied with molasses-like "horehound" flavor. Somewhat of root beer and butterscotch, the ale simply lands on the sweeter side of the fence as the spicy booze balances. Slight sherry-like vinous fruit flavors add a glimmer of acidity while the brandy and port-like spices garner complexity and strength.

Its full texture is oily because of its sheer sweetness and light carbonation that allows the ale to lay blanketed on the tongue. Its wrap of spicy booze and slight creaminess lulls the palate to sleep with numbing capabilities and comfortable drunkedness.

As the last sips slide down the gullet, I'm left with the impressions that the beer is conflicted- if the sweetness and lack of hop bitterness is going to be there, then the ale has to be less spicy and offers a lesser attempt to dry. If its going to be more "Americanized", then its got to be much more hoppy to taste, texture and smell and has got to be more semi-dry.

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Photo of kojevergas
3.58/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

BOTTLE: Brown glass. Branded pry-off pressure cap. Decent label art.

Acquired: in a trade with the gracious SlothB77. Thanks, man!

Reviewed live at low altitude in Austin, TX. Side-poured with standard vigor as no carbonation issues are anticipated.

Vintage: 2015. Bottled: 01/06/15. Best before: 01/06/20.
ABV: 11.1%
Style: Whiskey barrel aged barleywine (per their website).
Serving temp: Cold. Allowed to warm over the course of consumption.
Serving vessel: Pilsner glass.
Expectations: Extremely high. I loved Weyerbacher's Riserva and Insanity has a great reputation.

No bubble show forms as it's poured.

HEAD: 4 fingers wide. Khaki colour. Creamy, frothy, full, and sumptuous, with ideal thickness. Could be darker and richer. Quite soft-looking.

Retention: Superb for the ABV - easily 8 minutes. Leaves a coating of light lacing on the sides of the glass as it recedes.

BODY: Translucent deep amber. Appears well-carbonated. No yeast particulate or hop sediment is visible.

Overall, it's a good looking barleywine. Suggests a toasty, malty brew with higher carbonation.

AROMA: Sweetness seems perfect. Rich Scottish malts, amber malts, caramel, some indistinct fruit, English toffee, and English brown malt. Definitely has a more English character to it - at least from the yeast. The barrel aging is more subtle and faint than anticipated, but it seems to fit the base beer, bringing into the fold notes of marshmallow, white oak and concomitant barrel sugars, a bit of authentic vanilla, and backgrounded bourbon (but strangely, not whiskey, as the vanilla is quite present but there's no spiciness).

Aromatic intensity: average.

This pleasant aroma suggests a soft, coating brew with ideal sweetness and complementary subtle barrel character. I can't wait to try it, and it never seems boozy at all.

TEXTURE: The mouthfeel is the first thing I notice; marvelously soft and creamy, it accentuates the marshmallow notes beautifully. Carbonation is perfect, it's medium-bodied to the point that drinkability is heightened, and it has the right amount of heft, thickness, and weight on the palate without ever being overbearing, sticky, or syrupy. Wow. My only criticism is that its silkiness and wetness are overdone, gutting the beer of any real flavour duration.

Not oily, gushed, hot, boozy, astringent, harsh, rough, or scratchy.

TASTE: Though its flavour duration is tragically brief, this is a hell of a barleywine, with soft notes of marshmallow, faint vanilla, and light bourbon accentuating the base beer, coaxing out notes of caramel, English toffee, English brown malts, amber malts, and a kiss of fruit with some gorgeous Scottish malt sweetness in there too. Sweet but never cloying, this is a shockingly sippable barleywine whose 11.1% ABV isn't noticeable at all.

My critiques are nitpicks, and I'm forced only to look at how this beer could be better, because it has no egregious flaws. It's a bit shallow in terms of depth of flavour; the oak in particular is far too reticent and the cream mutes the flavour profile. While the balance is excellent as-is, if they could maintain that masterful balance with the intricacy and layered flavours of better barleywines, this would truly be world-class. It's a cohesive build, but lacks the complexity needed to really impress, and isn't gestalt. It errs on the side of subtlety, but I'd like for it to open up a bit; there's room for more flavour expression.

Flavour intensity: Average.
Flavour amplitude: Superb.

No yeast character, booze, or off-notes come through.

OVERALL: One of the most drinkable barleywines I've ever had that I actually like, Insanity is a brew that deserves its high reputation and hides its ABV dangerously well. Those similarly fatigued by examples of the style which are cloying and/or hide their lack of flavour underneath a bourbon barrel facade will find this refreshingly splendid, but as good as it is, there's ample room for improvement. That said, this is one of few barleywines I could see myself buying on a regular basis - if only I had ready access to it. There's a clear marriage of texture to taste, and the mouthfeel is marvelous. No one can call herself a true barleywine enthusiast without trying this at least once, and this will forever be my response to those who hold up Sierra Nevada's Bigfoot as the best widely available barleywine in the U.S.. Highly recommended.

Huge thanks to SlothB77 for the chance to try this!

B (3.48)

 4,467 characters

Photo of oline73
4.15/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured from the bottle into a tasting snifter. I had this during a BA Barleywine tasting.

This one poured a much lighter color than most of the other barleywines poured that night. There is a banana note in the smell and taste that didn't show up in the other beers. I'm getting a good amount of sweetness with a slightly fruity finish. There is a nice bourbon undertone. This one stands up well against the more sought after beers of this style.

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Photo of brentk56
4.25/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a hazy chestnut color with a decent head that drops to a foamy surface covering with some splashes of lace

Smell: Whoa Nellie, is this a bourbon or a beer; loads of vanilla and oak; lots of fusel alcohol

Taste: Immediately hits the palate with an oaky vanilla bourbon aspect that starts to warm the mouth; significant dried fruit (dates) in there as well; after the swallow, the tannins dry out the mouth and leave a bitterness on the sides of the tongue; long, hot finish, with some hints of chocolate and cherry

Mouthfeel: Full bodied and syrupy with moderate carbonation; extreme warmth

Drinkability: A must for a Bourbon lover

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Photo of Phyl21ca
4.2/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle: Poured a light burgundy color ale with a small dark head with pretty good retention. Aroma of sweet liquor filtered subtly through the malt and sweet hops of this beer. Taste is quite sweet but at least the bourbon aging and come well together at the end do not overpower it. Probably one of the best bourbon aging beers I had. Thanks to Beerslayer for that one.

 370 characters

Photo of WillieThreebiers
4/5  rDev -3.4%

Photo of dmorgan310
4.25/5  rDev +2.7%

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.

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Insanity (Ale Aged in Oak Barrels) from Weyerbacher Brewing Co.
4.14 out of 5 based on 2,485 ratings.
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