Commander - Lift Bridge Brewery

Not Rated.
CommanderCommander

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BA SCORE
84
good

64 Reviews
THE BROS
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Reviews: 64
Hads: 220
rAvg: 3.71
pDev: 9.43%
Wants: 64
Gots: 86 | FT: 2
Brewed by:
Lift Bridge Brewery visit their website
Minnesota, United States

Style | ABV
English Barleywine |  12.50% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: plfahey on 11-19-2011

The Commander™ is our English-Style Barleywine ale brewed with heavy fists of malts and subtle, sweet Cardamom. Aged in bourbon barrels, its bold, complex flavor reaches heights measured only by the building of its namesake. This 12.5% ABV treat is best enjoyed in smaller portions when you have some time to savor it, between now and 2020.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 64 | Hads: 220
Reviews by KBomb:
Photo of KBomb
4.06/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Deep ruby-brown color, entirely translucent, not much head or lacing (consistent with the style).

Aroma has big-time candy sweetness. Lots of honey, brown sugar, and even some chocolate. A touch of oak and some faint "cheap" bourbon aroma marks the boozy smell. I'm surprised to hear other people comment on how strong the cardamon smell/taste comes through since I find it to be very mild.

The front of the sip is super-sweet with honey, toffee, fig, rum soaked raisin. I only detect the cardamon in the aftertaste, and again I find it very mild. Bourbon flavors seem missing, but other sweet flavors are highly prominent.

Mouthfeel is notably balanced. Less syrupy and cloying than some other big barleywines, yet still has a slickness to it.

Commander is a very fine brew, but the alcohol content and sweetness are almost too much. I poured about 10ozs for myself and I can't even finish it despite my admiration for much of its qualities. (948 characters)

More User Reviews:
Photo of mull0263
4/5  rDev +7.8%

Photo of NWer
4.5/5  rDev +21.3%

Photo of DaftPatrick
4.5/5  rDev +21.3%

Photo of bsp77
4.01/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Serving glass: Poured from bottle into goblet.

Appearance: Dark murky orangish-brown with thin off-white cap.

Smell: Mostly bourbon notes in the aroma with just a touch of Barleywine toffee notes.

Taste: The Barleywine notes are more evident in the taste, with toffee and dark fruit notes. But the malts are still not as complex as preferred in a world class Barleywine, but the bourbon does a good job of elevating the beer, with oak, vanilla, coconut and just general bourbon-ness. The cardamom comes through very lightly on the finish, which is unique for the style.

Feel: Thick and chewy with low carbonation. Fairly warming but not as hot as expected for the high abv. Maybe waiting almost a year before opening this helped in that regard.

Overall: While I am not sure that the core Barleywine is anything special, the bourbon and cardamom helps make this Interesting and enjoyable. (896 characters)

Photo of deebo
3.94/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Cask on chai at town Hall tap gives a different twist on this English style barleywine. Easy to drink barleywine. Smooth and whatnot. This version has less carbonation and more caradamom with a hint of cinnamon. (211 characters)

Photo of NilocRellim
3.25/5  rDev -12.4%

Photo of MNMike
4/5  rDev +7.8%

Photo of pat61
4.5/5  rDev +21.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

L: Pours brilliant deep amber with ruby highlights under a thin cream colored foam cap that hugs the side of the glass.
S: Fruit and malt aromas with a little biscuit and a suggestion of pear.
T: Rich malt flavors join with big alcohol with cardamom, vanilla, fruit, and biscuit.
F: Big body with average to below average carbonation.
O: Big alcohol gives this a mixed boubon drink character with a nice warming on the finish. (431 characters)

Photo of warmbier804
3.5/5  rDev -5.7%

Photo of MattyG85
3.97/5  rDev +7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from 750 ml bottle into a Surly Darkness Chalice glass. 2011 Bottle number 3432.

Appearance: Pours a deep and clear brownish amber orange with a moderate amount of bubbles. Not much head as a little bit of off white foam fades quickly into a few thin patches. Lacing is fairly light too. About what one would expect from such a high abv.

Smell: A pretty noticeable aroma of bourbon with some sweet vanilla and oak. Lots of sweet malts with caramel and toffee. Definitely noticing some spicy cardamom. Also some light hints of dark fruit and some alcohol. Smells like a nice blend that is sweet but fairly balanced.

Taste: A pretty tasty blend. Good taste of bourbon upfront with strong notes of sweet vanilla and some wood. Sweet caramel malts with some toffee and hints of dark fruits. Very noticeable cardamom which gives a nice spicy kick. Also picking up a banana like flavor and some earthy hops towards the finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with a moderate level of carbonation. Moderately syrupy and somewhat boozy but still pretty smooth for a 12.5 abv.

Overall: A pretty nice take on an English Barleywine. Far from traditional but the spices add a nice flavor. (1,183 characters)

Photo of jtladner
3.5/5  rDev -5.7%

Photo of acurtis
3.75/5  rDev +1.1%

Photo of roostor07
3.25/5  rDev -12.4%

Photo of 4four4
4.75/5  rDev +28%

Photo of ChopperSmith
3.92/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 750 ml bottle into a clear tulip glass.

Appearance: Slightly hazy ruby color with a one finger tan foam head that fades fast and leaves some sticky suds on the side.

Smell: Sweet with the bourbon whiskey right up front, mixed with some good bready malts. Nice.

Taste: Sweet and smooth with that bourbon barrel flavor right there. Mixed with some good roasted malts. The alcohol warming is there right away with the first sip, as to be expected with a barleywine. The bourbon flavor really makes this one shine.

Mouth feel: Sweet and slick with low carbonation, which fits the style well.

Overall: I love good beer, and I love good bourbon whiskey...so this is really the best of both worlds. Full and robust flavors, smooth as silk and strong as hell. An excellent English Barleywine from our own little Minnesota brewery Lift Bridge. Well done, Lift Bridge! (879 characters)

Photo of leschkie
4.5/5  rDev +21.3%

Photo of Photekut
3.75/5  rDev +1.1%

Photo of tempest
4.27/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Split a bottle with a friend, but this beer was so big it wouldn't have hurt to have a 3rd. It poured a deep red with a weaker off-white head and larger bubbles that seemed to indicate the higher ABV. Wow, the aroma jumps out of my goblet and is rich and fruity with vanilla coconut and pineapple upfront. The flavor is equally rich, but not over the top, or cloyingly sweet. The strong, but gentle bourbon flavors blend seamlessly with fruity esters, making one of the best barrel and beer collaborations I've tasted. It's hard to tell where the complex beer character ends and the barrel starts. It may have been $18 for a bottle, but it's worth trying at least once. (669 characters)

Photo of plfahey
4.12/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750mL bottle poured into a tulip glass.

Appearance-Amber copper and quite clear-looks warm and inviting. Trace of cream colored foam and some legs show upon swirling.

Aroma-Pleasant blend of fresh cardamom pods and bourbon, along with substantial vanilla from the barrel aging. The cardamom notes serve to accentuate the vanilla notes as well. Malt profile runs from brown sugar to black tar molasses and maple syrup. In addition to the cardamom, spice notes include clove and ginger, and there's a fair amount of coconut and herbal/minty notes as well. Quite interesting.

Flavor-Follows nose with cardamom spicing-ginger, clove, and cinnamon. Some caramel and light dried fruit-like pecan caramel rolls or cinnamon swirl bread. Bourbon notes are well integrated, and coconut and vanilla are once again quite prominent. Finishes with smooth alcohol and some toasty caramel.

Mouthfeel-Viscous, full body with moderately low carbonation. Moderately warming, though the alcohol is quite well disguised.

I wouldn't call this anywhere near a traditional English barleywine-what with the spicing and the barrel aging, it overshadows the toffee/caramel flavors that I would have expected. That said, it's pretty damn tasty and is right for the season. The overall impression is one of a beefed-up Christmas ale, and I think one of the most impressive features is that, even without any age on it, the 12.5% alcohol is smooth and well integrated. Good, and exceptionally interesting-definitely a step forward for Lift Bridge. (1,533 characters)

Photo of brewnic
5/5  rDev +34.8%

Photo of Gonzoillini
4.25/5  rDev +14.6%

Photo of jmpizzo
3/5  rDev -19.1%

Photo of MontereyBay831
3.5/5  rDev -5.7%

Photo of JRendon02
4.25/5  rDev +14.6%

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Commander from Lift Bridge Brewery
84 out of 100 based on 64 ratings.