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 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 Raymond69
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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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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Insanity (Ale Aged in Oak Barrels) from Weyerbacher Brewing Co.
4.14 out of 5 based on 2,478 ratings.
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