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 ManapuaMan
4.23/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Outstanding BBA barleywine. If you read the reviews of fellow BAs you can sum up this beer as follows - rough around the edges. Are Straight Jacket and Sucaba smoother and lighter on the alcohol heat? Absolutely. Are they more refined? Probably. Are they better? That's a matter of taste. Insanity is anything but subtle - it's a garnet, crushed velvet purple and brown pour with a thin head. Aroma is dark fruit, bourbon, toffee, wood, moist earth and vanilla. Taste is rich, sweet fruit with a big alcohol body followed by that exquisite bourbon-vanilla. The heat is there - there's no escaping it so just sip and enjoy. The vanilla and bourbon that just lingers after each sip...damn. It's awesome. Go nuts - buy a four pack: enjoy two now and stash the other two away for a year.

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Photo of Masonz223
4.45/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Look: dark brown ruby red color not much of a head.
Smell: brown sugar plums raisin Carmel lots of sugary sweetness some alchool that really clears the sinuses.
Taste: upfront you get that instant sweetness. Dark fruits raisin plums candied sugar. Finishes with some vanilla slight black cherry and a fruity tanginess. sweetness lingers in the after taste along with alchool warmith in the chest.
Feel: it is a full bodied beer. That holds the beer together great.
Overall: this is a very complex beer and it's what you should expect from this style. Lots of malt complexity makes this beer very sweet but the slight alchool taste balances it out perfect. Sip on this and enjoy.

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

Bottling date of 12/17/15

Appearance - Pours kind of a rusty, auburn red with a khaki, finger width head. Sub-par retention leaves behind a mostly barren surface and a thin ring around the edge of the glass.

Smell - Sweet and slightly tart, like bourbon-soaked cherries. Underlying molasses and caramel. Faint vanilla and oak. Mild astringency.

Taste - Follows the nose. Starts with cherry tartness and lesser dark notes of sugar-coated raisin and molasses. Mild oak and vanilla hit briefly mid-taste. A bit of heat hits in the finish, leaving the aftertaste ringing with a touch of astringency and a lingering sugary sweetness.

Mouthfeel - Full in body with low carbonation. The texture is sticky and slightly syrupy. Slightly dry finish.

Overall - Blithering Idiot is a pretty sub-par barleywine, and adding it bourbon barrels didn't do much to improve it. While it still has major flaws, it is slightly more enjoyable than its non-BA counterpart. I've got another in the fridge that I'll have no problem aging in hopes the Belgian Triple-like sweetness subsides with age and a more mellow, well developed brew emerges.

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Photo of IvoryFoxhole
3.76/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

12 oz bottle poured into stout glass, which may not have been a good idea. We shall see.

L: Two-finger head with poor retention, no lacing, thin ring. Beer is a dark burgundy.

S: Sweet malt typical of barleywine, definite strong oak barrel. Also alcohol. It's there.

T: Sweetness, dark fruits, oakiness, with some alcohol on finish.

F: Not a great job of masking alcohol. Low carbonation, medium body.

O: Decent barleywine, but too much barrel and alcohol and not enough subtlety.

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Photo of SerialTicker
4.08/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

$4.99 12oz bottle poured into an over-sized Sam Adams Perfect Pint. Heard plenty of great things about this beer so decided to give it a buy... almost bought two singles. Bottled 11/9/15 and poured 2/24/16 ... pretty fresh, I'd say.

This pours a super murky copper brown color. Looks really creamy going into the glass. The head is simply a modest ring around the glass leaving virtually no lacing. The aroma on Insanity is... big. The amount of alcohol I'm picking up is, well... insane. Almost equal parts alcohol and dark fruits, with a nice backing of oak from the barrel aging. Lots of whiskey in this beer, to be sure.

The taste follows the nose extremely well, for the most part. Dark fruits are in in this beer something fierce, with a hot booziness and slick feel. The oak aging is a nice addition to put a woody character up against the malt. One sip of this, and I'd stay out of the driver's seat for quite awhile... this stuff is potent. The alcohol dries right up off the tongue after each sip. The body on this is pretty creamy and big, but still, somehow not quite where I'd like it to be -- it just comes off a little too flat for me.

Something's missing with Insanity, and I'm not sure what it is entirely. The feel is certainly a bit off (the silkiness and lacking carbonation make it a bit syrupy), but I think the flavor just isn't all there. Near the end of the sip and into the finish there's a delicious, rich, almost maple syrup malty flavor that I really enjoy, but the majority of this beer's flavor is simply of alcohol before all else, and I'm not a fan of buying a beer and having to wait a handful of years before drinking it -- if a beer isn't delicious right after being bottled, then it shouldn't be bothered. I digress.

Insanity is a solid beer. For the price, you absolutely can't go wrong with picking some of this stuff up, especially if you're the kind of person who ages beer. The thing is, I've just had better barrel aged English barleywines that were roughly just as fresh and didn't impart such an intense "bourbon (in this case, whiskey) before all else" flavor.

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Photo of gustavmahler-09
4.43/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Black, virtually no head. Smell spicy, very present. Taste is strong, boozy, spicy, with a long finish. Feels creamy, but with an edge. Overall a good barley wine without the cloying taste of some.

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Photo of q33jeff
3.16/5  rDev -23.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.25

Bottle to snifter. Aroma Is musty, sweet, honey, vegetables. Cloudy brown-orange. Strong. High alcohol. Belgian Wang. Brandy-like taste.
Bottle to Snifter. Bottle dated 11/16/15, though I just bought it, so who knows what the aging conditions were.
Similar to above notes, though I don't really get the wang.
LOOK: Deep Mahogany color, clear. Small head fades quickly.
AROMA: Apple, wine,
TASTE: honey, apple, whiskey that is not apparent in the nose shows up late and knocks everything else away.
FEEL: pretty flat, medium body.

Pretty Good, Ratings increased slightly, (3.01 to 3.16). I think I like the regular Blithering Idiot better.

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Photo of Prager62
4.35/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A bottle I recently picked up dated 11/09/15 and I'm guessing a batch number 596467B3. Pouring in my Weyerbacher tulip to have a taste!

Look- Pours a reddish brown semi transparent color leaving a small finger of light tan foam that settles to form a ring around the glass. Looks like whiskey when held up to the light.

Smell- Huge barrel aroma of whiskey, dark cherry, caramel, vanilla and wood.

Taste- Caramel malt, figs, raisins, dark cherry and vanilla. The label states 'ale aged in oak barrels', but I'm sure picking up a lot of booze in the finish along with the oak. I get a slight bit of corn at the end.

Feel- Slick with some carbonation and a good dose of heat in the finish.

Overall- I remember reading a lot about this beer when I joined the site years ago. Newer 'toys' seemed to have pushed this one aside. I never had the opportunity to try as distribution was out of reach until SW Michigan started getting a wider range of Weyerbacher products recently. A winner in my opinion! A nice mix of complex dark fruit flavors and barrel. With a best by date 5 years out from the bottling date, I'm glad I bought another to cellar. I'll definitely be looking for a couple more in my travels.

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Photo of Treyliff
3.94/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into a snifter
2012 vintage

A- pours a deep amber-brown color with a small creamy off-white head that reduces quickly, but leaves some alcohol legs behind

S- aroma is dominated with black cherry, with undertones of caramel, raisin, bourbon, toasted oak, coconut & a hint of booze

T- opens up with a big dose of sweet caramel/toffee, quickly followed by dark cherry and raisin, the bourbon shows up mid-palate with notes of vanilla and spicy oak. The finish brings some herbal notes, along with more bourbon and booze

M- medium body with low carbonation leads to a slightly foamy mouthfeel that has just enough bite to continue through to the finish

O- has held up quite well, more caramel and dark cherry come out, compared to fresh. It is surprisingly still quite boozy.

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Photo of bushbeer75
4.16/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

12 oz brown bottle - bottled on 1/19/15 - best before 1/19/19

Weyerbacher Insanity Ale body is reddish brown in color. A very small off-white head that shrank fast to a collar of bubbles with no lacing produced. The aroma of sweet malt; dark caramel, vanilla,, and oak dominated. Taste begins sweet, with flavors of caramel and brown sugar followed by light vanilla, oaky notes and a warming bourbon like finish. Mouth feel is high-medium to full bodied and syrupy on the palate with moderate carbonation and alcohol warmth noted.

Insanity makes a nice nighttime sipper.

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Photo of jopezu
4.75/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

pours a murky orange mahogany with almost no head. nose; massive (slightly) overripen banana, fresh banana bread, boozy fig, raisin, caramel, light hops, & light oak. taste; light caramel malt, earthy hops, light orange zest, big boozy banana, slight vanilla, raisin, oak, fig, & toffee. medium carbonation & mouthfeel. i knew this was a winner for me the moment i smelled it. the wood complexity, boozy fruit, & hop concoction is slowly pushing old ales and barleywines towards my favorite categories. the 11% abv shows up here, but it's gentle and warming. has some definite vinous dark fruit character here with the malts being very subtle. very complex, but the standouts here are the banana, oak, & fig. delicious!

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Photo of dansbeerrun
3.96/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

Holy moley. I want to get: Maui Coconut Porter, Crown Royal, Makers Mark. Then get the measuring stuffs and try to match this beers flavor package. Sight unseen, alcohol rules. Maybe different mixology with Breakfast Stout? YUM........

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

First time drinking a barley wine. Obviously I wasn't expecting the usual profile from the style (considering this is barrel aged), that being said...

Strong barrel/whisky profile, sweet caramel and malty finish. Certainly not bad, just not what I expected. Guess I'll have to drink a few more (non-aged) barley wines and compare em all.

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Photo of Stolenface1
3.84/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Pours amber brown with next to no head. Aroma of caramel, vanilla, fig, dried dark fruits, oak, bourbon, toffee. Flavor is dead on with the aroma with plums, cherries, slight sweetness. Big booze. This is a little hot right now, should definitely age longer for full enjoyment. Wish I would have waited. The feel is medium and creamy. Light carbonation. Could be a winner, but this glass is just too hot. Needs to mellow.

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

Lots of dark plum and cherry in the nose, with vanilla, oak chips, and simple syrup on the tongue. A strong, rich malt backbone anchors this solid barleywine, along with a full body and exceptionally smooth mouthfeel that helps it go down easy. This is disappearing from my glass alarmingly quickly.

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

Excellent barrel aged barley wine. This one was in my basement for about a year and aged nicely. Nice cooper reddish color. Smells of bourbon and vanilla and tastes the same. Highly recommend for any barley wine fan.

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

Bottle dated 1/6/15 - 1/6/20 poured into a snifter. L: hazy caramel color with no head or lacing A: dark fruits, oak barrel, and booze T: vanilla, oak, raisins, alcohol finish M: light, thin, moderate carbonation O: good representation of the style, but a little boozy even with more than a year in the bottle. I have two more bottles that I will age for awhile longer.

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Photo of tbryan5
4.31/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A- Classic deep red brown barleywine hue.
S- Great bourbon notes. Oak, coconut, and solid malt backbone.
T- The barrel and hefty maltiness work great together. Similar to the nose.
M- Light carbonation and slick coating mouthfeel.
D- Pretty stout at 11%. Great sipper.

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Photo of pollocwr
3.97/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Golden amber in color. Light head. Aromas are mostly the barrel. Taste is light with little carbonation. Oak and Bourbon are strong on the palate.

Good beer. Not worth the hype.

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Photo of bubseymour
4.29/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Bottled on date of January 2015 and drinking it with about 10-11 months of age on it. Brown and murky. Very intimidating beer to look at. A lot of sweet dark fruit, caramel, molasses and smoke in the nose. Taste is sweet honey, some bourbon and boozy. Thought with 11 months it would mellow but still has some heat to it. A very decent English style Barleywine and recommend to anyone who enjoys the style.

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Photo of spacecake9
4/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into my Werk Force snifter.
A - Pours a clear dark orange/brown with really no head at all.
S - Aroma is sweet, dark fruit and boozy.
T - This is a big, boozy sipper. May be a little hot right now, which makes it hard to pick out the underlying flavors. The bourbon is right there for ya.
M - Low carbonation, medium mouth feel.
O - I bought a 4-pack, and 3 went in the cellar to age. Tried this one now to set expectations. If you are in the mood for a bourbon forward beer, then this is a good one. But I expect this beer will be better in 12-24 months.

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Photo of Czarkazm
4.05/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Bottle 2/11/2013. Pours a dull amber color with ruby-orange highlights when the sun hits the glass. Not much of a head or visible carbonation but an insane amount of sediment got kicked up from the bottom of the bottle after popping the top that was poured and consumed. The nose is mainly sweet caramel and toffee, dried dark fruits, lots of vanilla and oak, ESB nuances, sour green grape, and the slightest hint of cocoa powder. For some reason, I always get a strange, vinous, soured quality to a majority of Weyerbacher's barrel aged beers that I've opened. The mouth feel is more on the medium side but smooth, and I still get a little bit of the alcohol burn on the back end, but it's nowhere near the level of boozy this beer is fresh. Taste has a lot of vanilla, clover honey, rum, caramel, nougat, raisins, and fig.

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Photo of Mshea805
4.7/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

2013 bottle. Booze or barrel flavor was very minimal, extremely smooth and easy drinking for 11%. Belgian like dried fruit flavor with the oak, vanilla and typical sweetness of an English Barleywine. After receiving an infected 4-pack im very glad I had a chance to try this beer as it was meant to taste.

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Photo of GOBLIN
4.19/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Really just an around terrific English Barley wine. Dare I say probably my pick for a non barrel aged barleywine. The thing that's the most impressive is for 11.1% I can't detect any boozy qualities. This is such an easy drinking and smooth big beer it simply has to be consumed to be believed how good this is.

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Photo of Canada_Dan
4.34/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours clear copper with a light wispy head. This one has been a want for some time and the anticipation was to be rewarded. Beautiful nose of caramel and vanilla. No overlying booziness, great creamy mouthfeel. Really everything you look for in a barley wine, up there as one of the best I've had. Thanks to @zappoman for hooking this one up

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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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