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Commander - Lift Bridge Brewery

Not Rated.
CommanderCommander

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
89
very good

195 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 195
Reviews: 61
rAvg: 3.94
pDev: 15.99%
Wants: 55
Gots: 79 | FT: 1
Brewed by:
Lift Bridge Brewery visit their website
Minnesota, United States

Style | ABV
English Barleywine |  12.50% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes/Commercial Description:
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 added by: plfahey on 11-19-2011)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 195 | Reviews: 61 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by tewaris:
Photo of tewaris
4/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a tasting snifter.

Perhaps the first Minnesota barleywine for me. I am glad that it was at the tasting because my first impression of this beer (on tap at the brewery) was NOT good. Poured into a tasting snifter. Thanks for sharing!

Looks the usual: dark amber, molten look of barleywines. Medium head/retention. Here's the thing with this beer, it's a different barleywine that takes some time getting used to because of the strong notes of green cardamom. Smells like an Indian dessert, frankly: sweet w/ plenty of green cardamom thrown in.

Tastes similar with sticky caramel coming forward, and finishes with a mild bitterness. I think it will age beautifully. It's one of the rare beers in which alcohol is tasting delicious. Medium bodied for a barleywine, and a good example keeping the ingredients in mind.

4, 4, 4, 4, 4

tewaris, Jan 20, 2012
More User Reviews:
Photo of mull0263
4/5  rDev +1.5%

mull0263, Dec 14, 2011
Photo of DaftPatrick
4.5/5  rDev +14.2%

DaftPatrick, Mar 01, 2014
Photo of bsp77
4.01/5  rDev +1.8%
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.

bsp77, Sep 06, 2014
Photo of NilocRellim
3.25/5  rDev -17.5%

NilocRellim, Sep 29, 2012
Photo of MNMike
4/5  rDev +1.5%

MNMike, Nov 10, 2014
Photo of warmbier804
3.5/5  rDev -11.2%

warmbier804, Oct 29, 2014
Photo of MattyG85
3.98/5  rDev +1%
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.

MattyG85, Mar 11, 2012
Photo of jtladner
3.5/5  rDev -11.2%

jtladner, Apr 05, 2014
Photo of acurtis
3.75/5  rDev -4.8%

acurtis, Sep 30, 2012
Photo of roostor07
3.25/5  rDev -17.5%

roostor07, Mar 24, 2013
Photo of 4four4
4.75/5  rDev +20.6%

4four4, Jul 25, 2014
Photo of ChopperSmith
3.93/5  rDev -0.3%
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!

ChopperSmith, Dec 08, 2011
Photo of leschkie
4.5/5  rDev +14.2%

leschkie, Feb 29, 2012
Photo of Photekut
3.75/5  rDev -4.8%

Photekut, May 19, 2013
Photo of tempest
4.25/5  rDev +7.9%
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.

tempest, Dec 21, 2011
Photo of plfahey
4.1/5  rDev +4.1%
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.

plfahey, Nov 19, 2011
Photo of brewnic
5/5  rDev +26.9%

brewnic, Nov 21, 2011
Photo of Gonzoillini
4.25/5  rDev +7.9%

Gonzoillini, Apr 06, 2014
Photo of jmpizzo
3/5  rDev -23.9%

jmpizzo, Jan 06, 2012
Photo of MontereyBay831
3.5/5  rDev -11.2%

MontereyBay831, Dec 15, 2013
Photo of JRendon02
4.25/5  rDev +7.9%

JRendon02, Aug 17, 2013
Photo of morimech
4.05/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottle number 3296.

Clear, crimson color with one finger of head that quickly settled to a thin film. Just a little spotty lacing is left on the glass during consumption. Looks are about what I expect from a barleywine.

Enjoyable aroma that is a compbination of barleywine and barrel. Deep caramel flavor with compliments of bourbon, vanilla, and cut grass. Alcohol is noticeable.

The barrel comes through in the flavor much more noticeable. Flavor of bourbon and vanilla with a sweet caramel undertone. A bit hot with plenty of alcohol in the finish.

Nicely carbonated with a smooth, subtle texture. Compliments the sipping nature of this beer

By far the best Lift Bridge beer I ever had. One of the better bourbon barrel aged barleywines. Might be worth buying another and age it for a couple of years.

morimech, Feb 26, 2012
Photo of bum732
4.25/5  rDev +7.9%

bum732, Apr 05, 2014
Photo of StPaulSchmitty
3.75/5  rDev -4.8%

StPaulSchmitty, Jan 02, 2014
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Commander from Lift Bridge Brewery
89 out of 100 based on 195 ratings.