Welcome back to Beer of the Week, folks. This time around, a tale of horror; of demented minds that lie awake at night, infusing beer with the untold properties of sacramental oak, giving life to the feverish dreams that bore into the deep recesses of the brewmaster's mind! It's maniacal! It's madness! It's Weyerbacher Insanity! (dum dum dum!!!)
Come with us, as we plumb the depths of the unknown to find out what happens when beer is aged on bourbon barrel oak!
Weyerbacher is truly a brewery all about experimentation. Take a quick look at the Easton, Pennsylvania brewhouse's catalog: who would make Imperial pumpkin ale, if they weren't somehow warped in the head? They've got beers like Decadence spiced amber, which, at 13% is hefty enough to do you in after one bomber bottle. Then there's Blasphemy, an oak aged version of their 11% strong Quadrupel Belgian ale - did we mention Weyerbacher was the first non-Trappist brewery to brew a Quad? Yeah, these guys were nuts before nuts was cool.
Their new brew, Insanity, follows that tradition. What they've done is taken their curiosly strong Blithering Idiot Barleywine - a deep, rich copper ale - and aged it on bourbon barrel oak to create a brand new flavor. Now, I've never had the Blithering Idiot, so I can't really say just how much that aging process changed those initial flavors. But I can tell you that Insanity is one serious, delerious beer.
Insanity pours thick like molten toffee, with a moderate head that doesn't foam up much. It's a ruddy looking brew, like copper when it gets wet and dries out. The nose is bountiful, too: I could just hover about this glass and sniff for a little while, soaking up the cherry and vanilla fumes that waft out of it. Then again, to sip it is profound. Immediately you taste the cool, clean vanilla flavor, followed by a root beer and sweet rock candy. This is sweet stuff, but the balance comes in the form of that high ABV and the spicyness of the oak. It's fairly creamy in the body department, but it never grows too thick thanks to a decent amount of carbonation.
Remember those old cartoons where you'd see a drunken monk sticking his head under the spigot of an oak barrel? This beer is what came out of that. After the sweet, fruity flavors subside, you taste a wave of bourbon, Canadian whisky, and brandy. There's tons of oak and a pleasant warmth from that payload of alcohol. A couple sips and you start to feel like you're drinking the smoothest, sweetest bourbon you've ever had. Pour it into a brandy snifter, and the illusion grows even stronger.
Insanity is dynamite with food too. I paired it with a fat ass burger topped with a rough salsa made of roasted jalepenos. The sweetness cut through the fat of the burger and the heat of the salsa, while the smokey, oaken qualities brought out the beefiness of the meat. I'd drink it with hearty, spicy, or meaty foods, or just sip it slow like a fine scotch.
Pick up Insanity at - where else? - BX Beer Depot in Lake Worth.