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: 2,477
Photo of Hopheadjeffery
4/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Tasted in a Teku glass from a 12 oz bottle on July 28, 2015. Look is dark amber with a thin head and moderate lacing. Smell is dried fruits and rich caramel malts. Taste is sweet malts with complex oak, bourbon and bitter hop notes. Feel is thick and heavy.

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Photo of KYGunner
3.68/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

This started with a shocking amount of medicinal alcohol flavors. I let it settle and it began to open up. I would like to try it a second time with this in mind. It has a interesting mixture of caramel and citrus sweetness. Some butterscotch, oranges and honey toffee candy.

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Photo of mrn1ceguy
3.85/5  rDev -7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

This was a strong beer with some good taste to it. BA Barleywines, when done right, are some of the best beers out there. While it could have really used a bourbon kick to it, it was a solid beer none the less.

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Photo of deadsincebirth
3.66/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Sweet Spicy oak tannins. Smell a bit better than the taste and mouthfeel is thick. Overall a bit young for me but at only 7 months that's understandable.

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Photo of larryarms847
4/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours deep amber with a thin layer of off-white foam.

Caramel malt, dark fruits, cherry, oak, and leather.

Oak, vanilla, earthy hop bitterness, candied malt, and bourbon spice.

Heavy-bodied, light carbonation, bitter and fruity.

Overall, not too shabby.

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Photo of Prasm
4.41/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Great balance in this beer, sour mash nose and up front taste but it's balanced very nicely by a creamy mouth-feel and lengthy finish - excellent beer.

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

Look: caramel colored with whitish tan head
Smell: caramel bourbon malt
Feel: thick and sticky coats the tongue nicely which enhances the flavor absorbtion
Taste : caramel bourbon butterscotch
Overall: I was surprised how good this beer tasted. I highly recommend it

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

As much as I love Weyerbacher's Blithering Idiot, I'd cheat on it every chance I can with Insanity. The wood aging just imparts enough succulence to take it to the next step. I've had it many times, so I won't go through the standard pour, look, et cetera categories.

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

A nice deep amber with a thin one finger head, which breaks quickly, leaving little lacing behind. The nose is bourbony and woody with malts and dark fruits coming through as well. I pick up traces of leather as well. The taste is caramel malts, fruits and boozy on the tail. Despite the booziness, it is an incredibly smooth beer with a medium feel and carbonation.

All in all another winner from Weyerbacher. The ABV is enough to make this a very slow sipper, and it is quite enjoyable as it warms.

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Photo of JPowell712
4.24/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

This was a strong brew! It had almost a whiskey aroma off the pour. It was aged in oak barrels so I am thinking it is close to the aging style of a whiskey. Anyway, the odor alone gave away it's alcoholic strength, but when I tasted it, it was surprisingly smooth! I expected it to be harsh but it wasn't at all. I got a lot of vanilla and caramel notes. Very smooth, but the alcohol was definitely there. It warms you up. This is a great offering!

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Photo of EMV
4.36/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bottle into a tulip glass.

L: Pours a dark, dark mahogany... almost black with a finger or two of off-white head.

S: Boozy and rich... malts and dark fruits... bourbon.

T/F: Delicious taste... malty sweets with a nice backdrop of boozy bourbon. Complex dark fruits... cherries and figs. Oak and vanilla. Smooth and silky.. very rich. Love the mouthfeel. Alcoholic warmth and it gets better as it warms.

O: One of Weyerbacher's best and sticking it in a bourbon cask is a lovely thing to do with a Barleywine. Age it for 6 months and it's even better (about half my case made it that far). One that I will seek out again.

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Photo of BethanyB
4.05/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Look: The head may be low, but it is also smooth and solid, giving cause for the assumption that a higher ABV is what has forgivably stunted its growth. This khaki cap sits atop a slightly hazy body of medium copper coloring.

Smell: The true-to-style smell is of vanilla bean, slightly charred French toast, dark dried fruit, and rum raisin. Not as much liquor in the perfume as other oak barrel beers, but less boozy can certainly be better, as this allows the other elements of the flavor profile to come through.

Taste: Rum-soaked plums and cherries--a beer fiend's sangria. Earthy hops make a decent effort to subdue the alcohol flavor, which is more apparent on the tongue than it is on the nose. There is a good amount of nutty malt, which when mixed with the "rum punch" taste, takes on the flavor of coconut shavings. The oakiness decreases as the beer warms, causing the elements to come further into alignment.

Mouthfeel: Medium mouthfeel and carbonation, with a hearty, yet cautious level of alcohol warming. The finish is smooth other than a very slight stickiness from residual sugar.

Overall: An laudable beer, particularly in that it presents itself as a very drinkable example of the style, without losing its complexity. Sip slowly and allow it to warm up, as it becomes more balanced as the time to savor it goes on.

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Photo of DabblinWiscCraft
4.41/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Picked this up as a part of a build-your-own-sixer at my local grocer. Bottled on date states it's five months old. Poured at cellar temperature into a snifter.

L: Pours a deep rusty copper with about an inch-and-a-half of off-white head that stays for a bit and leaves moderate lacing on the glass. Plenty of visible carbonation.

S: Raisin bread, spice, butterscotch, and molasses notes in the nose. There's definitely some clear alcohol/bourbon coming through, as well. Sweet and boozy.

T: Sweet caramel malt at the front end exhibiting some butterscotch quality. A bit of more toasted malt underneath. There's just a bit of molasses/black licorice in the mix. The creamy middle has more of the sweet malts, with more of a suggestion of raisin bread than the front. There's a rising bourbon flavor that emerges and carries through to the finish. The back end continues the sweet but has a more decidedly bourbon taste. The aftertaste leaves just a bit of bitter. With that said, I'm amazed at how well this one hides the alcohol.

F: Medium-bodied--smooth and creamy for most of the ride on the palate. Just the slightest stick, but certainly not a syrupy brew.

O: Thumbs way up for this one from Weyerbacher. I'm utterly impressed with how little clear alcohol comes across on a beer with an ABV this high. I highly recommend giving this one a try.

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Photo of neurobot01
4.01/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle dated 12/16/2013 into a Teku at cellar temp.

Look: absolutely gorgeous burnt orange with a beautiful offwhite head.

Smell: oak, creme brulée, vanilla.

Taste: ridiculous creamy sweetness up front, but with harsh alcohol quickly coming to dominate.

Feel: medium body, creamy feel.

Overall: the first half-second of the taste was divine, and the rest of the beer is good to great, but the harshness that defines the taste knocks this down a fair bit. I don't remember this being so harsh when I had it fresh, so the age may not have done it any favors.

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

The bourbon flavor is perfectly balanced; a serious improvement from the standard Blithering Idiot. This is phenomenal, and I can't wait to lay a few down and see how they age over time.

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Photo of UrbanCaveman
4.46/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle, poured into a snifter at ~40 degrees F.

Appearance: Pours a nearly opaque ruddy bronze-brown, and forms a thin head of off-white foam that quickly dies to a ring, and evaporates completely by halfway through the snifter. There is no lacing.

Smell: Boozy caramel malt suffused with raisin and cherry wells out of the glass, alongside a bready scent.

Taste: Caramel suffused with fruits, specifically cherry, fig, and date, opens the flavor palate. Breadiness joins in as it moves along the palate, and there's more than a hint of boozy liquor along for the ride as well. Touches of oak appear, alongside a faint mix of spice and smoke, and very vaguely, vanilla. The finish leaves a vaguely boozy, vaguely medicinal residue clinging to the tongue.

Mouthfeel: Thick, rich, creamy, sticky, and silky-smooth.

Overall: Of late, I've been chased away from the world of barleywines by experiencing too many American barleywines that triggered my hop sensitivity, and had forgotten how much I enjoy a potent, complex English barleywine. This beer reminded me that I place a solid English barleywine up in my pantheon of beers alongside a good doppelbock, eisbock, wee heavy, and quad. Well done, Weyerbacher. Well done.

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Photo of muchos
4.24/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Bottled 11/11/14
Consumed 5/25/15
Dark brown with a hint of red. Small foam head which reduces quickly.
Not much in the nose. Sweet bread, mostly booze.
Taste starts alcohol, then sweet. Caramel, dates, figs, vanilla. Surprisingly smooth. Alcohol finish, like straight vanilla extract. Pretty delicious.
Feels smooth with slight alcohol sting. Medium body.
Overall a sweet, smooth, boozy treat.

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

Appearance - The beer was a brownish copper color with little bubbles.

Smell - Grass and malts come through in the nose with a slight oakiness.

Taste - I sat on this one for a year and I was rewarded. Boozy malts make the impression with vanilla, oak, and sweet fruits. Grape skin and butterscotch also make an appearance. A slightly warm aftertaste is coupled with sweet malts.

Mouthfeel - Though this is a little thin, it coats the tongue nicely.

Overall - Weyerbacher is pretty underrated. This is a solid beer.

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

05/2015 Original Review
Bottle dated 01/13/2015 served in a tulip glass at cellar temps.

Appearance: typical reddish copper with a small head. The he'd sank but that's to be expected.

Nose: coconut, oak, vanilla, caramel, fruitcake.

Taste/mouthfeel: hot hot hot alcohols, very heady, the alcohol burn can be felt in my ears and throat. Spicy clove and complex fruity eaters. Mild bitterness. Creamy mouthfeel that is not too heavy.

Overall: this beer is quite a few notches above the standard Blithering Idiot barleywine. It really needs to age and mellow out; the hot alcohols are way too much. The oak barrel aging really adds complexity but did nothing for the fusels. I'll see this one in a year.

03/2017 Cellar Review
Same bottling as above

The beer looks the same. Nose is barrel, sweet alcohol and malts. The taste has mellowed a bit. The fusels are still there but not as prominent. This is really a nice Barrel Aged English Barleywine. I'm impressed that it was an improvementioned to the base beer.

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Photo of Beerdemon2731
3.71/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

First drank fresh, was not a fan at all. Let one age for a few months an noticed an improvement tremendously. not my style beer, not bad but not great in my opinion. Going to let the last 2 of my 4-pack age for a while and see how much more they improve.

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Photo of whothehellisstanpapi
4.43/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: copper mud puddle with quick fading head
Aroma: vanilla, oak, and smoke with some alcohol
Taste: perfectly balanced, tastes like its smells with some sweetness
Moulthfeel: silky
Overall: wasn't the biggest fan of blithering idiot, but this is fantastic

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

A - Pours a dark ruby red with a one-finger off-white head. The head fades extremely fast leaving some light sticky lacing.

S - Lots of booze, dark fruit, and vanilla.

T - The flavor follows the aroma with lots of bourbon, dark fruits, caramel malts and vanilla. The finish has a nice lingering alcohol burn.

M - Heavy body with medium carbonation. Smooth syrupy mouthfeel. The finish is sticky and dry.

O - This is a big badass English Barleywine with nice bourbon flavors throughout.

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Photo of Jacobob10
4.26/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

12 oz bottle. Born on 12/22/2014, best by 12/22/2019. Deep ruby, almost brown, in color and clear with a small head. Heavy malt sweetness with no noticeable hop aroma. Caramel, toffee, fig, date, butterscotch, vanilla, bourbon, and brown sugar. Call me crazy but I even noticed a little banana in there. Excellent! Strong oak presence. The alcohol is not hidden at all. It is strong and in your face. Full bodied, thick, and well carbonated. A long, sweet finish.

A monster of a barleywine. Recommended to any lover of strong ales.


Review of a 12 oz bottle from the cellar. Born on 12/17/2015, best by 12/17/2020. Drank on 4/18/2017 (1 year, 4 months old).

A ton of small floating yeast particles, which gives it a murky appearance. Massive butterscotch aroma. Toffee, banana, vanilla and brown sugar are still prevalent. The barrel comes off way more in the flavor than the aroma. I remember enjoying this way more fresh than aged. Not bad with a year of age on it, but I don't feel like it did the beer any favors.

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Photo of chinchill
4.05/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle nicely dated with both the bottling date (30-Dec.-2014) and the BB date (Dec. 2019).

The beer pours with a clear red-brown body and a small head that quickly reduces to a ring.

Aroma: fruity, malty, boozy, oaky and inviting. There's also a hint of vanilla.

Taste: More complex than the smell. Dark fruits, vanilla, faint wood, dark bread and a hint of pepper.

Mouthfeel: wonderfully smooth with admirably limited adverse effects of the 11.1% ABV. The beer is full bodied and lightly sticky with little carbonation.

Overall: an excellent and refined barleywine.

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Photo of Rango_the_Beer_Guy
4.52/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Weyerbacher – Easton, PA
Insanity English Barleywine – 11.1% abv
English Barleywine (BJCP 19B)
Bottle Inspection – packaged 01/15 – 3 mo. Old

Aroma (11/12)
Aroma smells very interesting and complex from the first scent. Strong sweet malty aromas mix with a caramel/molassess toffee note and vanilla from the oak aging. May be some mild dark fruit notes, but no discernable hops aromas or esters. Definitely a sherry-like aroma mixed in as well with small amounts of alcohol present on the nose (literally as well, by accident).

Appearance (3/3)
Medium brown color with slight red hue and brilliant clarity. Medium-small off-white head which dissipates quickly with low retention.

Flavor (18/20)
The interesting and powerful aromas are matched well by a complex and powerful flavor in this beer. The sweet maltiness gives way to the dark fruit notes to balance out the beer fairly well, with only a moderate alcoholic warmth; fairly well masked for a beer this big. Minimal hop bitterness if any and a heavy thick malty sweetness lingers. Slightly noticeable vanilla/cream taste associated with the oak barrel aging. No noticeable off-flavors, complex but far swung to the malt side of balance.

Mouthfeel (5/5)
Thick, viscous, and almost chewy moutfeel. Very creamy and full-bodied mouthfeel with moderate-low carbonation. The alcoholic warmth comes on strongly through the finish with some alcoholic bite as it passes through. The alcoholic bite is not too bad considering the beer is 11% abv, and does not linger in the aftertase. Clean aftertaste with a sweet malty finish. No diacetyl.

Overall Impression (9/10)
Overall, I really enjoy this beer especially as it warmed up and unlocked a few different flavors. Definitely one to be taken easy as the high alcohol is well masked in both aroma and flavor. A smooth, creamy, and full-bodied beer that is extremely malt-balanced. Awesome English Barleywine, would recommend to lovers of the high abv beers or barleywines. The one I drank was very young (~3 mo.), should age well and I’d be interested to see if the flavor develops more.

Total (46/50) – Outstanding; World-class example of style.

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Insanity (Ale Aged in Oak Barrels) from Weyerbacher Brewing Co.
4.14 out of 5 based on 2,477 ratings.
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