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Commander - Lift Bridge Brewery

Not Rated.
CommanderCommander

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
84
good

64 Reviews
THE BROS
-
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 64
Hads: 221
rAvg: 3.71
pDev: 17.25%
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: 221
Reviews by lurpy1:
Photo of lurpy1
3.56/5  rDev -4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

Very curious to try this beer picked up several months ago. It has been interesting to see the boss initial reviews, followed by a run of reviewers hating on it. Going in with an open mind. 750 ml bomber, split with wife. Who, BTW, lasts about 3 sips before announcing Commander doesn't work for her.

Lovely fossilized amber coloration. Slight head, but no retention, not much lacing either.

The smell has booze, oak, sugar,and spice.Lot's of spice.Not so much cardamon to me, but mint and even a little pepper.

I really wanted to love the taste of this beer, but dammit, I cannot profess my love. The spice renders it a sipper at the absolute most. In fact, taking an aggressive gulp was outright uncomfortable. Still, I found a lot of tasty bourbon and sweetness to save the day and bring it up to a passable score.

The body was good, not great, in terms of thickness, but Commander did have an awesome, glazed-donut level of stickiness.Likey.

Lastly, my stomach was a bit upset afterward, and even though I have indefinite tolerance for heat and spice, I blame it on the liberal handfuls of spice thrown into the brew. Gotta ding the score for this. I could do 8 oz of this beer next time. The spice differentiates the beer but doesn't necessarily make it better at all. Without the spice, this could be great, because all the other qualities of a killer barleywine are there. With the spice, it's still drinkable to daring palates, and recommended, but probably just a slightly subpar barleywine. Very happy to see interesting offerings coming out of Stillwater. (1,571 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.