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Insanity | Weyerbacher Brewing Co.

931 Reviews

Brewed by:
Weyerbacher Brewing Co.
Pennsylvania, United States | website

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
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Reviews: 931 | Ratings: 2,415
Photo of Derek
4.34/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz bottle at 52F.

A: Dark copper-brown with plenty of particles floating about. What's up with that? There wasn't any yeast left in the bottle and there's not much head (so it's probably not wheat). Slight leg/lace.

S: Mmmm... bourbon! A little raisin, bread & toffee. Quite lovely.

T: Toffee, raisin, prune and vanilla. Alcohol is apparant, but nicely balanced by with sweetness... which is kept in check by a slight hint of bitterness. The sweet, boozy flavour is like candy for adults! (I like it a lot).

M: Moderate body and carbonation. Pleasant sweet/dry balance. A little acidic in the finish.

D: Definitely more approachable than some of the hop bombs within this style... but it's a sipper.

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Photo of Jason
3.87/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

22 oz bomber with no freshness date.

A- Very nice lacing effect on the glass, hazed reddish amber.

S- Head aroma of bourbon, vanilla, wood, caramel, alcohol ... mildly solvent and fusel oil from the barrel.

T&M- 11.1% abv where? Oh ...wait a minute, here it comes. There it is, that warming alcohol laced with fusel oil from the barrel. Wood flavor is snappy with a richly dense maltiness underneath. Mellow hoppiness, lots of malt sweetness which is balanced by the slow but steady alcohol, bourbon, and wood.

D- I slapped this beer at some good funky Stilton cheese ... wow, what a pairing. A sipping beer for sure, if you love bourbon barrel laced beers then this one is a must.

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Photo of mcallister
3.97/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A reddish brown pour with a quick to disspate off white yellow head leaving behind some very spotty lacing.

Sweet oak aromas that have infused a coconut, pineapple aroma into this brew with a vanilla bean. The wood covers most of the aromas some minor smells of malt, and some hop.

Big on the coconut and vanilla bean flavors. More of a dried coconut type of flavor. Big complex flavors of oak with very balanced malt and hops. A medium finish that leaves you wanting another sip. Alcohol is very well hidden by the wood. I would prefer slightly less oak aging but I still think this is a terrific beer that I will definitely have again.

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Photo of hero27
3.62/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22 oz bomber.

Stagnant dull copper, head of tan foam holds well but leaves nothing for lacing. Woody, oak-barrel flavor with some vanilla and obvious alcohol in the mix..the malts are the headliner here, and come off with somewhat of a whisky flavor. Easy to drink even at room temp, but the alcohol warms like an electric blanket...watch yourself.

Not stellar in my opinion, but a solid oak-aged barleywine.

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Photo of DrJay
4.32/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This one had been sitting in my "cellar" since last summer. It poured a hazed caramel with some yeasty flecks. The fine, white bubbles formed a short cap and left some lacing behind. Strong whiskey component in the aroma, along with solid malt, caramel, and lighter vanilla. Sweet, malty flavour, again with whiskey, but more vanilla is present here. Oak rounds things out somewhat and alcohol is warm in the finish. Full body, low carbonation, quite smooth on the palate. I thought the balance worked on this one - lots of strong characteristics that play well together.

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

Rich orange amber in colour. Initial head of beige which crumpled into little more than a ring. Lace followed the demise. Smells of apple, yeast, caramel, and candy. Hops come through in the nose and mingle with the oaky tones for a wood and bark feel. Alcohol spins a spicy layer of its own. The taste is wild and raw. Deliciously sweet. Candied and fermented. Vague hop balance cuts through the sweetness and gives this a bit of civility. The mouthfeel is medium with a bit of syrupy quality. The drinkability is good. Alcohol considered that is. This is a taste treat. Never overbearing. A well crafted barley wine.

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Photo of akajimmyd
4.38/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance – Hazy, dark, brown/purple with orange or apricot tints. Nice little crown, solid retention for the style. Poured into a snifter.

Smell – Fruity esters – apples, sweet candy sugars.

Taste – even a few months of aging has mellowed what was a very boozy taste. Delicious dark fruits – prunes, grapes apples.

Mouthfeel – strong full heavy body in the mouth, right on. complex, slightly woody as it warms.

Drinkability/notes - It’s a barleywine, and a really good one, given that, drinkability is right on. A good long slow drink. Do yourself a favor and don't drink it cold. Give this one a try.

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Photo of EStreet20
4.87/5  rDev +17.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

22 ounce bomber bottle poured into a fairly large snifter glass. Served at about cellar temp.

A - A nice hard pour yields a gorgeous red color with a nice two finger sized head. The head has great retention. Only when held directly to light can you see some tiny bubbles in the beer as well as some floating particles, I assume to be yeast unless it's wood from the barrels?

S - Has a smell of some dark fruits with a great vanilla character as well as a bit of caramel coming through. Alcohol notes come through as well. A great sniffer.

T - A ton of vanilla flavor busting through a plethora of fruity tastes on the palate. A subtle smoky flavor is present as well. The barrel aging has really turned this into a mellow and pleasant tasting beer for a barleywine, but the alcohol presence definitely reminds you of what you're drinking.

M - An excellent smooth, lightly carbonated feel that is great for the style.

D - What a flavor rush, you def want more. Some new craft drinkers will definitely be scared by nearly any beer of this style but big beer fans are in for a treat.

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Photo of DaggerEyes
4.47/5  rDev +8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 oz bomber bottle ---> an oversized wine glass

poured a hazy ruby / brown with a small head that disapates into a lovely lace coating. Great legs, sticky on the side of the glass

Truely Exceptional and complex nose. Sweet and fruity with notes of strawberry, vanilla. Also present are some carmel, bourban and perhaps some coconut and banana scents mixed with a slightly tangy hop back bone which balances out the sweet fruity scents nicely.

A bit spicey with a nice ammount of carbonation and a malty taste on the tip of the tounge. Warm and fuzzy alchohol feeling on the pallete. Taste of carmel, vanilla with an alchohol and hoppy finish.

A wonderful beer to sip and sip on. A very enjoyable after dinner drink

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Photo of bditty187
4.11/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Hazy, coppery amber in hue with bronze highlights as well, IMO this is the perfect color for a barleywine! Beige foam, at the apex the bubbles united long enough to create a head that was two fingers tall. Head retention was decent, the foam slowly faded to a soapy cap. The subsequent lacing was very impressive considering the high alcohol content; I love the tattered wallpaper look. Damn lovely to look at!

The nose is strongly alcoholic… whoa. I swear I smell gin and cognac; amazingly potent in this regard. I need to hunt through the booze to find the beer but once I did I was rewarded mightily with caramelized sugars, oak, vanilla, and hints of dark fruit. I wish the beery aspects were louder because the alcohol is so vocal. No matter, every time I take a sniff I get a big-ass smile on my face. Inviting but it is not a very complex bouquet, aside from the cognac aspects.

The palate is strongly alcoholic… whoa. I swear I taste gin and cognac infused with vanilla beans aged in oak casks. It’s much fruitier than the nose let on; the blend of fruits is great! I detect apples, pears, raisin, bananas, and even some figs. Caramel candy. Molasses, Jim Bean, oak, more vanilla, and the finish starts hot, vaguely spicy with a cool vanilla wafer sweetness. The aftertaste is hot in the throat but sweet on the tongue. Complex. Relaxing. Oh, this is very good. Still, I wish the beery aspects were louder. The palate is dominated by oak and booze; more maltiness would have been a reward. Am I complaining about a beer like this? Yes I am. I am a hard-ass on barleywines. This is really good but not quite elite.

The mouthfeel fits this beer well but nothing strikes me as noteworthy. I can’t take a big enough sip to really get a good feel for how big this beer is, I’d call it medium/medium-full but this is largely a guess. Low but natural carbonation, I like the mouthfeel just fine.

I *have to* sip this beer. It is so damn boozy and raw. I like it. I really like it. I wish there was more barleywine aspects. Broken record, I know. IMO, this beer is very close to being world class… it could be a unique gem. Believe me, I am not complaining. This beer is a hell of a night cap. Sip. Sip. Sip. Relax. Sip. Ah, my brain is slowly getting soaked. What a lovely beer. Thank you BigLove! Recommended.

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Photo of Viggo
4.32/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a slightly hazy orange, small white head forms, some spots of lace and decent retention. Smell is nice, bourbon/whiskey, sweet caramel and toffee, citrus and floral, alcohol, very nice. Taste is malty, lots of caramel, rich, bourbon and oak notes, floral, and vanilla in the finish with more toffee. Mouthfeel is medium to full bodied with low carbonation. Amazing, possibly the best bourbon aged beer I've had yet, at least for the style. Thanks DrJay!

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Photo of Oxymoron
3.59/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Insane in the membrane. The pour was a darker amber to brown with slight orange hues when held to the light. Mostly cloudy with a decent head when poured that left a lawyer through the majority of the tasting. Left good lacing as well.

The smell is phenolic. Very much like a sherry or lighter bourbon. Really the smell masks everything else, but hints of sweet malt and caramel touches.

The taste has that distinct oak aged taste but not as bad as the nose would indicate. More of a smooth taste, the malt is well represented with caramel and touches of DMS flavors. At the front there is a peppery flavor that blends with a very subtle yeast quality. There is a sweetness that lingers and mellows the bourbon quality out. It becomes more apparent and easier to drink as the beer warms.

The body is full and the carbonation is low. Overall this was is a beer to sit and enjoy. I think this is a beer that would age well, so if you have a bottle sit on it.

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

This beer was copper with some red hues and a very bubbly off white head. Fruits, apples and cherries, a hint of vanilla and oak dominate the smell, and a cough medicine like astringent is also there. I got a big hit of black cherry in the taste with some raisins, and bourbon like vanilla/oak flavor. I don't get much of the alcohol, it is very well hidden. The mouth feel is very light, yet it leaves slight glycerin coating. This is very drinkable especially considering the high alcohol content.

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Photo of Beauregard
4.32/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I really enjoyed this one on tap... a big barleywine with a lot of sweet, malty flavors, including vanilla and caramel, as well as oak and hop tastes. Noticeable alcohol flavor at first, but not overwhelming for such a strong beer. The smooth creamy mouthfeel brought it all together like a fine dessert. My first impression upon tasting this was black velvet cheesecake with a dash of bourbon. I love it... hope to see it on tap again.

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Photo of EPseja
4.15/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this one sitting in my DBF for well over a year now... about time I break it out for a review!

Served from a 22oz. bomber in a big brandy snifter at cellar temperature. Will let it warm up a bit more before I complete the review, however.

A - Pours like nice, unfiltered apple cider with a ruby cast, creating a dense, finely bubbled head -- light tan in color, and creamy. Also shows pockets of big soapy bubbles, swirling with rainbow color as if they were actually made of soap. The head dissapates over the course of a few minutes, but leaves behind islands of big bubbles. Lacing sticks to the side of the glass with each sip, and retreats ever so slowly back into the remaining liquid.

S - Big, candy apple and vanilla. Seductive. Malty and sweet like a dessert. Creme brulee? Has a depth of character that contains many nuances that are hard to pinpoint. Can't get my nose out of the glass.

T - Rather laid back upon entering the mouth... miscellaneous malt sweetness and a hint of vanilla. Once it hits the middle of the tongue, that's where the fun begins, and the oak comes through. Immediately following, there are yeasty notes and dark, sweet fruits. Lots of raisiny goodness. The swallow brings a hugely warming alcohol kick, and a nice dose of hoppiness for balance.

M - Tingly, but restrained carbonation. Washes around the mouth pleasantly, becoming a froth. Initally a bit rough from the alcohol, but once it warms to somewhere around room temperature, the alcohol fades harmlessly into the background.

D - A big beer from the boys who love to make big beers. Great scent, and a very nice taste profile. The oak aging adds an excellent depth and roundness that pumps up the scores. Would go great with a nice English Stilton Cheese. Don't drink a bomber of this by yourself unless you're intentionally trying to get plastered, or in need some some help falling asleep.

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Photo of Crosling
3.76/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Attractive ruby in color. Aroma is pretty one-dimensional, as it’s full of the barrel, but not much malt complexity. Flavor is bursting with oak barrel contributions, especially cocunut but also vanilla and bourbon along with the sweet malt which is unequally balanced by the barrel. Oaky and dry and the feel on the palate is stupendous.

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Photo of jaxon53
4.35/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in a snifter from a twenty two ounce bottle, at slightly below room temp . Poured a deep redish amber with a short bubbly head. Smelled of hops , oak , and bourbon , followed by a mild burst of alcohol. Had a nice smooth taste of oak, bourbon , and a faint vanilla sweetness that was followed by a rather warm alcohol finish. Nice and gentle on the palate with a little kick to let you know you're drinking a barley wine. Thought this one was pretty drinkable, but is definately a sipper.

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Photo of aaronh
4.35/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Yeah! Now this is a beer! After a few years of brewing my own high octane, hop-laden beers, finally a commercial beer that makes me re-think my brewing schedule. A nice dark amber, oranginsh beer. Looks like a strong ale/ big IPA. Sexy. The aroma is seductive, with wisps of booze, vanilla, bourbon, and burnt brown sugars. The taste is exotic. Huge doses of malt, aggressive hops, and a smooth alcohol warmth. The mouthfeel is very robust, almost coating the tongue in flavor. On top of this, it's a very approachable beer. Not for the faint of heart, but for fans of aggressive beers, this one is a sure thing.

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Photo of beermanbrian
4.04/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

I've had this one for at least a year. Got it fresh at the brewery and it's been sitting in the basement ever since then.

Cloudy orange color. Thin tan head with no lacing.

Smell of vanilla and bourbon. From what I remember tasting it a year ago it has mellowed somewhat but the smell still caries a kick.

Taste is strongly bourbon up front. The malt sweetness does break through and balance things out. No bitterness to speak of.

For the punch it packs up front the finish is very smooth. This beer is one meant for sipping. This is the third barley wine i've reviewed in the last three days and this one does not fit the mold. Very different from the others in a very unique way. Hats off to Weyerbacher for trying something a little out of the ordinary. Not one I would drink on a regular basis but certainly worth a try.

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Photo of BlitzShadow
4.52/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This barleywine was poured from a 22 oz. bottle at cellar temperature into a red wine glass.

Appearance: This beer is deep amber in color with a 1/2" beige head.

Smell: I can actually smell the bourbon! This is cool! There is a slight hint of vanilla with a malty overtone.

Taste: This beer is so complex in taste. The alcohol is dominant in the initial sip! (maybe b/c I was looking for it, though) The bourbon and vanilla up the ante, too. There is a nice fruity, malty taste to finish. The bitterness is there, but balanced within.

Mouthfeel: This is an incredibly smooth beer with a thick-bodied, creamy, smooth mouthfeel.

Drinkability: This is one awesome barley wine!! The taste and mouth-smell are huge and complex. I would have this whenever possible!

Notes- This is definitely a beer that will drive you MAD! This is potent stuff that demands respect and very delicious.

Edit - This was one of my first reveiws ever (over four years ago) and Weyerebacher was the brewery that introduced me to barrel-aging. Hence, you can understand my excitement.

Minor score adjustments to recalibrate since I'm now much more familiar with this style.

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Photo of mrasskicktastic
4.4/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - Clouded sienna brown with a half finger of tan head that dissipates to a thin layer of froth which is maintained throughout the glass. Spots of lacing adorn the glass as the beer dissappears.

S - Sweet caramel, candied suger, oak, a faint bourbon, a little vanilla, and just a dash of coriander.

T - Oak, slightly buttery caramel malt, alcohol, vanilla, white pepper, a touch of bourbon and a faint hop bitterness in the foretaste. The aftertaste is light caramel sweetness with a very faint, short-lived, hop bitterness.

M - The smoothness is ludacrous. The viscosity is thinner than expected, but about medium. It is very refreshing, especially considering its sweetness.

D - Very good! It is sweet, but not too sweet. Too strong to session, naturally. Food pairing? Not really, it is a dessert beer definitely. It might go nice with a turkey leg though.

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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.

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Photo of nlmartin
4.55/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

The beer was poured from the bottle at room temperature into a twenty ounce wide mouthed wine goblet.

Appearance: The beer pours a very lovely deep amber coloration. The head was thick off white that settles into a ring of foam.

Smell: There is the smell of crushed hop leafs. This is joined by a vanilla whiskey kind of smell. There is a nice dark fruity base raisins and dates. All this wraps around a very nice malty base.

Taste: This beer has a very complex commanding taste. The beer has a very nice spicy alcohol intial taste. Vannila and whiskey via for supremacy; however, I think the whiskey has won out. Dam tasty malty base floats this brew down the throat. There is a good combination of fruity goodness present to the beer. Taste great and is way filling.

Mouthfeel: This beer attacks the mouth and takes over. A full bodied beer does not even begin to describe this beer. Very creamy and smooth.

Drinkability: This is one mother of a good drinking barley wine. There is a huge complexity to the taste and smell. The mouthfeel is just masterful. This is a very good drinking beer; however, the alcohol is kicking my ass. This may be a better beer to split with others.

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Photo of shroompod
4.27/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

poured cold into pint glass
appearance : Cloudy Copper, head dissipates quickly
smell: plums? fruity,nice hop aroma
taste : again with the plums , and fruity. appropriate hoppiness. Taste lingers
mouth feel: Chewy & thick; the way I like it. Carbonation is light.
drinkability: 6 of these will hurt. That being said; I'm on my second 22 oz , and haven't decided if I'm up for a 3rd. These are dangerous!

Insanity is appropriate for it's style. It's my kinda beer.
<wiping drool of shoulder because straight jackets keeps me from reaching my cuff> AGHH!!!

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Photo of Dithyramb
3.85/5  rDev -7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served on tap out of a 10 oz. Saison Dupont glass at Ale Mary's in Bmore. Poured out reddish hazy brown with only a light wisp of a cling. Not much lacing going on. Floral with heavy malts and a bit of oak. Coffee, toffee, with a smooth whiskey vibe. Smooth, though it is a decidedly heavy beer. Sugar and alcohol tend to linger on the tongue. Didn't think this would be too hot on tap, turned out alright.

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Insanity from Weyerbacher Brewing Co.
92 out of 100 based on 931 ratings.
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