Insanity | Weyerbacher Brewing Co.

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932 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

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Reviews: 932 | Ratings: 2,423
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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Photo of WVbeergeek
4.65/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

First sampled one it first came out over a year ago, delicious then let's see how it has changed. Appearance: Deep cloudy amber plum tone big thick creamy tannish head leaves lacing all around the chalice. Aroma: Touch of whiskey barrel (tamer than a year ago), alcohol soaked fruit tones creamy caramelized pears touch of plum brandy rich sweetness touch of chocolate here. Taste: Sugary upfront rolling waves of creamy alcohol drenched over ripened fruit finishes vanilla oak whiskey tinged vapors malty heavy yet hop burps arise after a few sips quite a phenomenom. Mouthfeel: Big creamy lucious body definitely slow bubbles, carbonation chugs along coats the palate with creamy vanilla oak with a soothing burn of whiskey. Drinkability: Enjoy the complexity one glass at a time possibly my favorite oak aged beer to date.

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Photo of FLAbeergutinMASS
3.88/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Considering this beers rank on this web site, I was expecting something out of this world. Unfortunately I have been let down (mildly) again by this brewery. A decent offering but IMO nowhere near worthy of its rating.

A- Average. Pale ale-esque

S- Overly powered by alcohol, that's the point right?!?!!??! Too prominent.

TMD- Its saving grace. A warming offering, not too complex, not too wild, straightforward Barley Wine.... A good thing sometimes.

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Photo of assurbanipaul
3.78/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 2 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a cloudy, silty river-water brown with a thin head. Aroma is heavy alcohol, almost whiskey-like, with some nutty and oaky edges. Before a taste, I would believe I just poured 12 oz of cold bourbon.

Taste is woody, malty and bitter. Well-rounded flavors of butter toffee and crystal malts, like a distant cousin of an aged spirit. Some hints of berry, nuts or cocoanut sneak up through the oaky tastes of the barrel aging. Doesn't seem to be a lot of alcohol in the flavor, although the familiar burn is there as it slides down the throat.

Mouthfeel is medium, sticky and slick. This is a very good barleywine, better than the score would suggest. It does seem a little one-dimensional, and it's appearance could certainly use more work. I like it.

Fresh 12-oz bottle, no aging.

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Photo of brewdlyhooked13
4.85/5  rDev +17.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Appearance - rather hazy on the pour, a muddy reddish brown color. The head foams up very thick and dense, creating a plug atop the beer. Thick, clumpy lacing is left behind as it ever so slowly yields its hold and thins down.

Aroma - a light, almost floral bourbon bouquet. Some soy notes in there, obvious oak influence, elegant.

Taste - what a flavor. Like Kahlua, whiskey and coffee mixed together. Insanely delicious is what it is. A heavy alcohol feel is all over this, but the intensity of flavor is such that the burn in understated. Some hops are present on the swallow but they are too weak in comparison to be a factor. Finishes warm from mouth to belly.

Mouthfeel - I picked up the incredible mouthfeel before the first taste registered. Extremely smooth, heavier than normal, and very subdued carbonation.

Drinkability - when I first started getting interested in better beers, I sought out the higher alcohol ones, thinking I'd experience the other end of the spectrum in the beer universe by doing so. I know now that that is no guaranteed way of proceeding, but where some high abv creations came across solely as an attempt to punish the palate and sensibilities, this is the kind of beer I envisioned - rich, intensely flavorful, memorable.

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

(Served in an American pint glass)

A- This beer pours a reddish-copper crystal clear body with a nice slow carbonation of tiny bubbles. The head is a creamy light tan with lots of medium size bubbles pushing through the surface.

S- The smell of oak barrels is strong in this one. There are smells of sweet caramel malt and honey also.

T- This beer has a nice oaky toasted malt flavor at the front that is pretty big. There are notes of bourbon and smoke in the background along with a hint of slightly darker malt although the body would suggest it is lighter malt that has been caramelize in the boil. The finish has a soft hops spicy quality with a nice taste of alcohol to balance the front of the beer.

M- This beer has a full body with some creamy texture and a soft fizz that goes nice with the alcohol warmth in the finish.

D- This is a big oaky ale that has good balance and a nice malt flavor with the warming qualities of a big barley wine. The aroma was a bit soft and I would like to see a bit more complexity in the malt to really make this an OMG beer.

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Photo of Shovelbum
4.37/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a thin creamyoff-white head over a hazy amber tinted deep brown body. Head rapidly recedes leaving behind thin sheets of lace. Aromas of caramel malt, bourbon and hints of hops and alcohol. Tastes of crisp sweet malt up front moving to a more pronounced bitterness that is notable but definitely not out of place or overwhelming. Substantial vinous fruit character with mild citric flavors, joined by a nice bourbon presence from the barrel aging. with mild citric flavors. A warming alcohol presence too. Full-bodied with low carbonation. Creamy mouthfeel finishes quite clean with lingering sweetness.

This is one complex barleywine, yet it works. The bourbon and hop characters are notable, but not over the top. You can pick out different flavors if you really analyze it, but otherwise they blend together to make a tasty sipping brew with remarkable depth.

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

Very nice "Big" beer by Weyerbacher. Pours a nice thick slightly amber head that dissipates fairly quickly. Very strong aroma and taste of alcohol only somewhat balanced by malty sweetness. The alcohol is almost too much. Likely the second "bomber" I have will age well and I will seek out a couple more to see what age brings this beer. Overall excellent "big" beer that checks in shy of a barleywine.

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Photo of Gueuzedude
3.62/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a lightly hazy, amber-ruby color that is topped by a quickly disappearing, amber-tan colored head. The aroma is a heady mix of oak, vanilla and alcohol. The aroma is certainly dominated by the oak, but I actually enjoy it; there is enough concentrated malt sweetness to keep the oak in check. I get notes of sweet buttery oak, vanillin, sweet raisins and, interestingly enough, lots of aromatics that remind me of coconut. The aroma is nice and it is really striking how the coconut note comes to dominate the nose over time.

The beer has a light sweetness that morphs into a slightly hot finish reminiscent of rum and grain alcohol. The beer is so soft and smooth up front that it does not quite have enough oomph to balance the sharp finish. There is enough malt to hold the oak in check and keep it from over taking and dominating the flavor though.

The flavor of this beer is not rich enough; it is almost a let down after the well integrated, rich, aromatic nose. In fact that is the problem, the flavors in this beer just don't live up to the wonderful nose. There are soft fruity notes of raisins here, but they are not enough to hold back the thin, flabby character of a beer that seems like it should be rich and satisfying.

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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.

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Photo of TurdFurgison
3.73/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Poured from large (Arrogant Bastard sized) bottle. Looks nice, orangy red color with thin lacing on top.

Smells STRONG, like whiskey or bourbon or the like. You could definitely taste the alcohol from the start. Nice flavor, pretty robust though.

I rated low on drinkability, just as I'd rate a straight whiskey as low drinkability. Felt like I should drink it straight from the bottle in a paper bag.

Thanks to UncleDerby for the gift. Nicely done barleywine.

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Photo of klewis
3.6/5  rDev -13%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A: Pours a light ruby/brown with a large bubbly head. Lots of beaded lace left on the glass.

S: Big smell with aromas of raisins, bread, and a little citrus

T: This one tastes quite malty up front before quickly giving way to the hops and a noticable alcohol presence. Flavors are similar to the aroma, but slightly subdued by the alcohol.

M: Full-bodied with a little bit of a slickness. Good carbonation.

D: Perhaps this one is worth trying, but there is nothing that makes this barleywine stand out from any others. The presence of the alcohol is a little overwhelming and makes this one a little difficult to drink. For the price, I don't think this one is worth buying again.

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Photo of Birdiebeagle
3.79/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle Lets start by saying this is a little different. Pours a cloudy red auburn. Has a lasting light brown head. It is very murky. Has a toasted oak sweet aroma. A sweet acid taste, very soda like. Has a scotch taste its like scotch beer. Its different but kinda good. Strong abv. Don’t drink too many fast.

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Photo of ManekiNeko
3.65/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Served, lightly chilled, in a Maudite snifter. Bomber.

Appearance: Dark crimson, slightly hazy. Topped by a thickish, but short, khaki head. Head fades to a scant layer after a few sips. Specks of foam were left on the glass.

Smell: Mild boozy maple syrup-like aromas mized with burnt oaky and vanilla aromas. Pruny and caramel malts are also prominent.

Taste: Bittersweet pruny/caramel malts with a strong alcohol/whiskey kick. Medicinally unpleasant finish.

Mouthfeel: Hearty medium bodied beer. Somewhat viscous.

Drinkability: This is an improvement over Blithering Idiot, but I like OD's Millenium much better, both the normal and the oak-aged versions. The medicinal aftertaste on this hinders enjoyment for me. I'll not be rushing back for more of this.

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Photo of scooter231
3.95/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Note: This is my second review of this. I like this a lot better than I did the first time- it's mellower, the garbagey taste is gone- perhaps it was stored better... whatever the reason, this is much more enjoyable now.

Dark hazy muddled cloudy reddish brown color with a tannish head, and a bare tich of lacing. Smell is soooo raisiny, with light chocolate notes. Definitely alcohol in the nose. Kind of reminds me of cognac a tich- very rich.

Taste is cognac-y again, dark ripe fruits, more alcohol, though it's not overly harsh. It's complex. Mouthfeel is pretty decent as well- medium-bodied, but a tad too oily for me. Overall drinkable for a high-alcohol, barley wine... though I couldn't finish a bomber of this by myself.

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Photo of Phatz
4.58/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: This beer pours out a rusty orange/brown with a small tan head. It is cloudy in appearance. Thick and mostly opaque.

Smell: The smell is a malty, sweet fruity (dark fruit) aroma. It also has hints of vanilla, powdered sugar and oak. Then it portrays noticeable, but not overpowering alcohol in the nose.

Taste: The taste is malty caramel and sweet dark fruits, like dates, apple and oak barrel flavors. This is a complex and yet very approachable beer. It will likely please many pallets; somewhat middle of the road, in that it is subtle and not overly extreme in any direction. Insanity does not sacrifice being interesting to avoid any cloying tastes. Good job, Weyerbacher!

Mouthfeel: The mouthfeel is medium bodied with moderate carbonation. Sticky and substantial feeling in your mouth, yet very refreshing.

Drinkability: This is a very easy to drink beer that is unique. It is vinous and yet carries many bourbon attributes as well. Anyway; as a (former) bourbon man, this is a fantastic nightcap substitution. I highly recommend giving it a try.

Hope this is helpful.

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Photo of DarkerTheBetter
4.17/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a brownish orange with a slight purple. It’s very cloudy and has a yellowish head. Smells of sour prunes, molasses and a dry hop. Tastes of oranges, red liquorish and coffee. Finishes dry like coffee and grapefruit with a nice warming. Mouth feel in playful with lots of small bubble carbonation.

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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.

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

The nice dark fruit aroma is pleasant.
There is a syrupy medium body with little to no head. Strong alcohol aroma and flavor.
Nice Bitter/Sweet balance leaning towards sweet with dark fruit; plums, raisins. Not much carbonation. Very drinkable. The alcohol is sneaky.

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Photo of mentor
4.85/5  rDev +17.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Bottle shared by crosling at a small BA gathering he hosted. IMO, this beer was the champion of the evening. Wow. Dusting of head over a rich red-brownish liquid. Smells piercing alcohol and bourbon oak. Sherry soaked deep dark raisins. Taste is wonderful. Well blended and smooth. Wet sweet caramel tossed with sour brandy bourbon. Noticable oak that's carried by re-assuring dark fruit and a playful vanilla. What's that fruit...raisin is too 'cheap' of a description. Darker and a more stable and filling flavor. Thick mouthfeel clings to the tongue allowing the enjoyment to persist. This beer is really amazing. I'm happy to be sitting on a year old bottle in my basement.

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Photo of waldowin
4.24/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a very hazy ruby, with a white head that fades quickly. Some visible carbonation, but the depths are too murky to make out well.

Smells of strawberries, vanilla, and malts. Sugars everywhere, with a *very* faint citrusy hop finish.

Taste is of bourbon spiked with vanilla, and left in an oak cask for a month or so. Almost no hop presence, but this is one very tasty brew.

Mouthfeel is sticky and sweet, almost syrupy. Some definite alcohol tingle and warmth in the finish, with moderate carbonation adding to this.

With me being such a big-beer malt lover, this is just amazing. I could revel in this beer all day (if it didn't mean rapid loss of consciousness).

Watch the alcohol on this one! One is enough for me, it's an excellent night-cap on a cold day. I'll definitely be looking for more of this! Thanks to IrishRedRock for the brew!

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

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle insto a goblet.

Appearance: About 1/2" of head sits atop a scarlet red body with streams of bubbles rising from the bottom.

Smell: Nice bourbon smell in the nose, very oaky. Strong in malt and aclohol, also, very pungent overall.

Taste: Huge alcohol, hops, bourbon, oak flavors kick you in the mouth immediately. Sharp tasting, would be even better with some additional bottle aging. As it warm the flavors become more prevalent, seperating themselves from each other, making this a very nice sipper for a cold November evening.

Mouthfeel: Full and slick, fairly sticky and sweet residue. Alcohol tingles and burns on the way down.

Drinkability: I don't get many opportunities to sample oak aged beers, but I like them and thei bourbon characteristics. This beer is fairly sharp and would benefit from mellwoing, very good and interesting, anyways. Thanks to Px2Grafx for another good beer.

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Photo of orfeu
4.85/5  rDev +17.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured a 22 oz. bomber into an oversized wine glass/goblet. Brown ruby color with moderate, dense tan head. The nose is all bourbon soaked dates, toffee malts and astringent hops. The taste is....goddam heavenly. Is this what aging in oak bourbon barrels does? As my friend said when she tasted it, "This is what I want beer to taste like all the time." Almost overwhelmingly creamy mouthfeel. Alcohol warms up from the belly all the way to the sinus. Sheer beauty in a bottle. Excellent, excellent beer.

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Photo of Sephiroth
4.7/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

No date, but AlexJ said it was from last year. Thanks for the trade. Poured into a tulip, the beer is a slightly hazy amber. Ample head for the ABV%. The nose is of dark fruits muddled in vanilla and bourbon. Yep, there must be alcohol in it.

The taste is intense. The bourbon barrel ageing has done wonders for this beer. Dates, raisins, figs, and cherries are smoothly blended with vanilla oak characteristics. The bourbon flavor really shines as it warms. This is a masterpiece.

The mouthfeel is thick and smooth, not syrupy given the style. If this is distributed where you live, drinkability is high. If you have to trade or travel, like me, not as good. I think another year of cellaring would only help. Hard to believe it could get much better, though.

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Photo of Zorro
4.12/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Pours a cloudy red brown beer with a tan head, I gave this a good 3 day rest in the refrigerator, might not have been enough to settle the yeast in the bottom.

Smell is sweet and very fruity with a lot of spice in the alcohol fume part of the scent. Black pepper, apples and oak ride the alcohol fumes to the nose. After a while vanilla, brown sugar and bourbon scents become separate from the other aromas.

Taste is very neutral at the start with no strong flavors or sweetness to surprise your tongue. Without any strong flavors; subtle flavors and nuance are what make this beer. Pleasant flavors of vanilla and oak make up the first recognizable flavors and remind me of Cajun bread pudding as they make it in New Orleans. Bourbon is tasteable here but it isn't strong and melds in to a mild butterscotch flavor with a nice spike of vanilla to it. Alcohol is detectable but is by no means strong and servers as a carrier of subtle flavors. If this beer has a fault it might be too mild mannered.

Mouthfeel is good.

An exceedingly mild mannered barley wine here that is by no means offensive at all. Dangerously drinkable for the alcohol content. I see this as an excellent candidate for a Christmas nightcap or for the basis of a pleasant mulled beer for the holidays.

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Insanity from Weyerbacher Brewing Co.
4.14 out of 5 based on 2,423 ratings.
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