Monday, March 21, 2011

Insanity, Weyerbacher Style

I helped a friend of mine fit a new case of beer into his beer closet and since he's beyond generous he gave me bottles of Weyerbacher's Insanity, Decadence (their 10th anniversary beer) and a Double Simcoe all from 2005.  All for like 10 minutes of work.  Andrew's awesome.  Since I had just bought some bottles of 2011 Insanity, I knew it would mean an awesome side by side and here we are.
In the left glass is the 2005 Insanity and in the right is the 2011.  At first I couldn't see a big difference in their appearance, but the 2005 was actually much darker.  The head retention in the 2011 seems better based on the picture although I didn't notice when I first poured them.

I decided to drink the 2011 first because of how impressive the 2005 smelled.  I figured this would be a more subdued version of that and didn't want to be disappointed.  Pretty mild aroma, not much to it.  A little more caramel, vanilla and dark fruit appeared in it as the beer warmed up but it was still subdued.  Starts with dark fruit (figs, plums, raisins), moves into some vanilla and caramel, then finishes with a mild alcohol burn.  Not as strong a burn as the Dogfish Head Olde School from the other day, but still present.  Very good bourbon barrel barleywine and really enjoyable with a really nice flavor.  Since Insanity only sits in the barrel for a month or two, you get some wood, vanilla and bourbon but it's mild enough that the base beer blends with it instead of being overpowered.  Still couldn't hold a candle to the 2005 though.

To start, let me say that the 2005 smelled absolutely fantastic.  I could hold it at arms length and still smell it which is just crazy.  Tons of caramel with figs and prunes and no alcohol presence at all in the nose.  The first sip was delicious.  Apple from the aging, some sweet bourbon, vanilla, and then dark fruit.  I was just blown away.  Very thick and creamy.  As I made my way through it, the oxidation was slightly apparent but it blended so well with the base and brought it to another level instead of detracting.  Lots of vanilla which blended with a luscious caramel base.  Totally one of the best beers I've ever had.

This was a completely different experience compared to the side by side of 2008 vs 2011 Blithering Idiot I did recently.  The 2005 was so different than the 2011 and just so fantastic.  It's funny because while the 2011 was great, the 2005 had so much going on that it was easily forgotten.  I hope the Decadence he gave me developed in the same way and really look forward to drinking it.

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