Dismiss Notice
Hello, is it beer you're looking for?

Learn more about beer. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for as low as 68% off the single issue price.

Subscribe now →

Commander - Lift Bridge Brewery

Not Rated.

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

64 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 64
Hads: 221
Avg: 3.77
pDev: 16.45%
Wants: 62
Gots: 87 | FT: 3
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
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Reviews: 64 | Hads: 221
Photo of pat61
4.5/5  rDev +19.4%
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 dar482
4.21/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

The beer comes in a dark ruby color.

The aroma is straight huge cardamom, big caramel and bourbon sweetness.

The flavor hits again with that cardamom, which I'm not quite sure is doing in the beer. Then onto vanilla, caramel, dark fruit of dried date and plum, and some oak drying.

The beer drinks below its ABV on the alcohol, with a slightly thinner mouthfeel.

Still, the base is fantastic, I am just unsure what the cardamom does for this.

 446 characters

Photo of deebo
3.94/5  rDev +4.5%
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 mwilbur
3.6/5  rDev -4.5%

Vintage 2013. Bottle number 1482. Poured from 22 oz bottle into snifter.
A: Pours a clear dark brown amber hue with essentially no head. (3.5)
S: Sweet dark caramel, banana, clove, cardamom, and boozy, bourbon-soaked raisin. (3.75)
T: Sweet dark(-ish) caramel, banana, cardamom, dark dried fruit (raisin, date), and boozy-but-sweet bourbon. (3.75)
M: Moderately heavy body. Sweet with an oily slick feel. Decent lingering on the palate. (3.5)
D: A sipper for sure given the ABV. A decent example of style, but nothing special. The cardamom is an interesting twist. (3.5)

 576 characters

Photo of bsp77
4.01/5  rDev +6.4%
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 hardy008
2.54/5  rDev -32.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.25 | overall: 2.5

2013 Release
Bottle number 1789

Pours copper with a small off white head which doesn't last very long before fading. thje aroma has cardamom, brown sugar, spices, and that's about it. I do not pick up any Bourbon, dark fruit, or vanilla. Disappointing. Hopefully this will taste better than it smells.

Has an overly sweet taste with plenty of alcohol heat. Does not taste like Bourbon, just alcohol. There is also cardamom, brown sugar, and a small hint of vanilla. Not impressive at all. There is nothing to balance the cloying sweetness.

On the light side of medium bodied with very little carbonation. Has a boozy aftertaste. Not very well made in my opinion. I will pass on this beer in the future.

 705 characters

Photo of kojevergas
3.29/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

2012 vintage bottle number 4364. "Ale brewed with cardamom and aged in bourbon barrels." [For the record, I have no idea what the fuck cardamom tastes like. Duff27 is laughing right now.] 12.5% ABV confirmed. 22 fl oz with intricate gold foil-ed over unbranded gold pry-off pressure cap acquired as a gift from me sister (I aged it for a year) and served into an EKU 28 stem-snifter in me parents' gaff in high altitude Castle Rock, CO. Reviewed live. Expectations are high given its current ratings as well as the style.

Served cold - straight from the fridge - and allowed to warm over the course of consumption. Side-poured with standard vigor as no carbonation issues are anticipated.

A: No bubble show forms as it's poured.

Pours a half finger wide head of white/off-white colour. Disappointingly thin. Retains for less than 20 seconds. Lacks creaminess. Not real frothy. No lacing clings to the sides of the glass as the head recedes.

Body colour is a translucent pinkish peach-orange. Nontransparent. No floating yeast particles are visible. Appears well-carbonated.

Overall, it looks like a substandard barleywine, to be honest. There's nothing unique or special (or even particularly remarkable) about it. I'm optimistic. There are no egregious flaws here.

Sm: Marshmallow is the first thing I notice. Some spice. Light unrefined caramel. Faint spice-induced bitterness emerges just after the finish. Brown sugar. Faded floral and vaguely fruity hop notes. I don't find explicit bourbon, but there is some faint vanilla - which is neither authentic like true vanilla bean nor syrupy and artificial like vanillicin; it's in-between. Definitely on the sweeter side. Fermented cherry. Treacle. Maybe maple?

Again, I don't pretend to have any idea what in hell cardamom tastes like. I don't even really know what it is.

A pleasant, appealing aroma of moderate strength, though it doesn't really provide much evocative bourbon nor is it consistent with the best barleywines I've tried. In any case, I'm looking forward to it.

T/Mf: Marshmallow, floral hop character, vague fruity hops, pale malts, amber malts, vague toffee, treacle, syrups, caramel, and nebulous vanilla. No definite bourbon presence - there's no toasty refined oak wood barrel notes nor any authentic vanilla bean. I also don't get any bourbon-induced spiciness, which I consider a good thing, but which speaks to the lack of actual bourbon character here.

No hop character or yeast character comes through.

Not as well balanced as anticipated. Average depth, duration, and intensity of flavour. I expected far more from the bourbon barrel, but it doesn't really develop the natural tendencies of the base beer. We're left with a complex enough brew, but one that isn't particularly subtle, intricate, or nuanced.

It's a biteen too sweet, especially on the climax. Not as boozy/hot as anticipated. Wet. Unrefreshing. Smooth. Good thickness and body. Well-carbonated. Pretty nice presence on the palate.

Dr: I figure age has helped it, but ultimately it isn't as good as expected. Drinkable for what it is, but at heart it's a sipper. I'll kill this alone as a nightcap, but you'd really want to share it (as Lift Bridge openly acknowledges). I wouldn't go out of me way to recommend it to friends or trade partners, but it's a pleasing barleywine with interesting elements. Ultimately, I want a lot more from the bourbon and there isn't all that much complexity, but it hides its 12.5% ABV as well as any average barleywine. Well worth trying, but not the kind of barleywine that's ideal for my personal tastes.

As much as I like it, it just doesn't offer that much more than most above-average barleywines.

I'll probably buy it again a couple times, but it's not worth going out of one's way to acquire it. Tasty, but not a paragon.


 3,840 characters

Photo of DaveAnderson
4.17/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2012 release, bottle 5131.

Much lighter than expected for a barleywine. Bourbon is really up front with this one. No hint of the cardamom that seems so polarizing for this beer, but then again, this is a year old, so it may have faded. I have been advised that this beer is hot when young, but it is ever-so-smooth today, if a little sweet.

Drinkability is great, but this is definitely a bottle for sharing. The sweetness gets to be a drag after a couple of hours, which is what it takes to drink this bottle solo. It never stops smelling great, however. Best thing I have had from Lift Bridge so far.

 604 characters

Photo of feloniousmonk
4.15/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Lift Bridge Brewing Company Commander Bona Fide Barley Wine Ale. 2011 bottle, #3014. Ale brewed with cardamom and aged in bourbon barrels. Alc. 12.5%. Goblet worthy. Brewed & bottled by Lift Bridge Brewing company, Stillwater, Minn.

Beautiful clear, garnet hue, off-white head slims down with a quickness.

Aroma: cherry, vanilla, brown sugar, alcohol…and bourbon. Gorgeous.

Taste: Mmmm, boom! Big malt flavor right off the bat, huge taste, enormous. Maple is here, treacle, rich, warm and delicious. Incredible. Vanilla, sugar, big booze, Amazingly complex, rich, and rewarding. Some chocolate roars in, cocoa, caramel, toffee.
So much.
Maybe a little too much,?
but, no, not really…
not quite...

 704 characters

Photo of rudzud
3.97/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.75

2011 vintage shared with friends. Poured into a tulip.

A - Poured a nice clear honey amber hue with a quarter inch head that fades to leave light lacing and a thin cloud.

S - Aromas of sweet malts and light vanilla. Fairly standard.

T - Taste is similar to the nose with nice sweet malts and light vanilla. Good barleywine here very solid as age has done this well.

M - Mouthfeel is nice for a barleywine with the alcohol hidden nicely.

O - Overall not a bad barleywine. Alcohol hidden well could use a hair more age but for all intensive purposes a solid beer.

 566 characters

Photo of KBomb
4.06/5  rDev +7.7%
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

Photo of Scotchboy
4.24/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

2011 bottling (#3789) split with a mate...my portion into a chalice...

A: Tawny with gold highlights...just a hint of haze...some lace and legs, a decent amount for a big, barreled beer.

S: Big-time sweetness...malty, sugary...dried figs, light spice (really in check here, YES!), honey, oak, earthy, hints of spirit...really a nice nose...

T: ...and the taste is just as good. Super smooth toffee, sugary malt (not cloying though), butterscotch, dried fruits...figs, dates...raisins, some alcohol warmth, earthy spice...caramel, cardamom...hints of cocoa and vanilla as well. Very complex and unique.

Spices unfold more as this warms up, but by no means is the cardamom overwhelming at this age. The barrel character and bourbon are semi-light but definitely there...with the honey-like component I'd guess Jim Beam but apparently these are Heaven Hill BA. Either way, very nice.

MF: Creamy...smooth...light warmth for this big of a beer...viscous too...full bodied...lower carbonation.

O: Really liked this one, and glad I sat on it for a year or so. Really was able to pull out a lot of different components in the nose and palate, which is always a plus. English-Style Barleywines aren't really my thing either, this is just really well done.

Thanks Aaron for shipping me this bad boy!

 1,296 characters

Photo of mikeyv35
2.8/5  rDev -25.7%
look: 4 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Date: 04/05/2013
Type: 22oz. Bomber
Vintage: 2012
Glass Southampton Tulip

Pours a light brown mahogany in color w/ a thin white head which produces minimal lacing. Aromas of caramel, toffee, breadiness, light bourbon, spices (guessing Cardamon, but I am not sure exactly what Cardamon should smell like). The flavor was of caramel/toffee up front, transitioning into butterscotch, and finishes w/ strong breadiness and cloying spice (Cardamon). Medium bodied w/ lower end carbonation. One glass was way too much for me as the cloying Cardamon was really getting to me. Ended up drain pouring the remainder of the glass which I rarely do.

Overall, a very unique brew that I can appreciate due to how outside the box and creative it is. However, not my type of barleywine at all and one that made me realize that I don't like Cardamon in beer at all.

 850 characters

Photo of doucmehu
3.16/5  rDev -16.2%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 2.25 | overall: 3

2012 vintage poured into my gnome tulip.

A: Pours a crimson tinted amber, thin head runs away quickly, leaving little to no trace of bubbles. Nice clarity.

S: Sweet vanilla, caramel, holiday spices, dark fruit, booze

T: Vanilla extract, caramel, estery dark fruit, bourbon presence is thin and reminiscent of cheap whiskey (not all bad), alcohol dominates on the finish. Slightly metallic hint.

M: Moderate viscosity, a hair on the thin side for a big barleywine. Carbonation is acceptable but low. Hot, buttery alcohol starts slow, and keeps on creeping up until my mouth is warm and toasty. Lasting rubbing alcohol flavor is minimal, but off-putting.

O: Seems different than last year, more bourbon? Decent beer, I didn't find the spice overwhelming. More dark fruit than I was expecting. I think I will pass next year.

 826 characters

Photo of barleywinefiend
3.67/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

A: Poured a maberish-crimson color with a small dirty white cap which provides a few bubbles and light lacing.

S: A big caramel and toffee nose with a little spice and bourbon w/ vanilla

T: Big sugary sweetness upfront, loads of toffee, caramel. Boozey sweet for sure. Barrel influence plays into this providing old wood, vanilla and bourbon. A lingering dash of spice hides out as well. The finish is sweet, lingering, sharp

M: Medium bodied, well carbonated, layers of toffee and caramel sweetness cling to the palate

O: Good. No major issues but the sweetness was really in your face.

 591 characters

Photo of hoplover82
4.35/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

A-Pours a slightly hazy rich copper color with a small white fleeting head that leaves some spotting lacing.
S-The aroma right off the bat is IN YOUR FACE with a caramel covered nuttiness, warm alcohol notes, some complex dark fruits, dry figs stand out to me. The nose is very sweet. There is some butterscotch way in the back you have to look for it. Along with fresh sweet smelling leather like earthy notes.
T-In the flavor, I do think I pick up on some of the cardamom spice. The oak age shows up mainly as vanilla notes and some faint woodiness. There is also some butter like notes way on the finish. There is definitely warm alcohol in the flavor as to be expected in a beer this big, but it's not overwhelming or overly fusel. As the beer warms a little, it kinda of reminds me of a good burbon that I've had before. The beer is extremely complex, with dark fruit notes of figs and dry apricots and prunes, I could sit for hours evaluating all the different notes that I pick up. I'm surprise that this beer doesn't have a higher rating.
M-The mouthfeel is very slick and creamy with a medium low carbonation and extremely long warm oaky finish.
O- My overall impression of this beer is that it's underrated and I think this stands up well against other well known barley wines. This has such a great complexity and balance that it's hard to achieve in a beer this big. This is my first beer I've tried from Lift Bridge and I am very impressed. Mad props to my friend Sara Jane for hooking it up! Thanks again, Sara!

 1,527 characters

Photo of eclipse54
4.02/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a light brown that is almost plum in color, and develops a thin layer of khaki head. The head dissipates quickly, leaving some bubbly legs strewn across the surface. The aroma is of plum, dark cherry, candied apple, sweet caramel, a bit of oak, and faint bourbon and vanilla. It smells much fruitier than anticipated, and the barrel notes are very subtle in the nose. Taste brings a large change of pace. Ample oak, vanilla, and bourbon jump our, with the fruits playing second fiddle; more plum, cherry, and some date all rear their heads. Brown sugar, caramel, and a bit of hazelnut are detectable as well. Mouthfeel is rich in flavor, but there is a solid amount of carbonation to keep things lively. Not overly sticky or cloyingly sweet. Overall, this one reminds me a lot of Founders’ Backwoods Bastard, which I enjoy greatly. The dryness from the wood and bourbon really complements the sweetness of the fruit and malt flavors. This one makes for a great evening sipper.

 984 characters

Photo of allouez86
3.79/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

2012 version served into my D'achouffe tulip, this beer is only a couple months old and it says on the bottle that it should age for up to ten years. Have had it at a year old before but am reviewing the newest version which is only a couple months old.

Color is dark mahogany, like most barleywines are. Barely any head, no surprises since it's a 12.5% barleywine.

Smell is definitely vanilla forward. There is the smell of cardamom and cinnamon which is also expected as it says that it was brewed with cardamom. Very slight hint of bourbon and orange zest. The vanilla is very strong.

The taste to me doesn't quite live up to the $17 price tag when it's this fresh. I get very little hop presence and sweetness that I love in a good barleywine. To me the oak, bourbon, and vanilla overpower any sign of a barleywine. The booze is hidden well, but the spice is a little too heavy.

Medium mouthfeel with very little carbonation bite, per the style.

Overall this beer being as young as it is was just ok. We had last years' version recently and was blown away by the good that a year of aging can do to this beer. I'd definitely recommend holding on to this beer for at least 10 months or longer, just to let the spice die down. This beer will get much better as it ages.

 1,277 characters

Photo of josephwa
4.77/5  rDev +26.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A - perfect head retention, rusty copper hue, white head.
S - fruit, bouron, caramel, smoke, oak.
T - sweetness, molasses, bourbon, oak, light hoppiness, sweet malt, dried fruit.
M - medium body, light after burn, very well carbonated.
O - wow, this was a fantastic beer. I would highly recommend it. The bourbon aging went really well with the complexity of the beer.

 372 characters

Photo of MarcatGSB
3.83/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2011 Vintage bottle number 2037. Poured into DFH Signature glass.

A: Pours a very bright ruby/copper color with a very intriguing white head, almost 2 fingers. Nice lacing around the edge the glass, and it persists for the entire glass.

N: Very, very intriguing. I'm picking up some sort of mint flavor...it's interesting and appealing. What is it? Not really sure, but it's followed by a certain spice quality, and some nice soft vanilla notes.

T: Very sweet. Alot of the typical BW notes are coming thru...Caramel, vanilla, molasses. A touch of smoke helps to balance this out. The barrel character is not overwhelming, but actually is very pleasant.

M: Mouthfeel is a bit thin relatively speaking, but it drinks really nice. Some sticky quality, but fades away. Creamy, and the perfect amount of carbonation.

D and O: I feel this beer has aged very well, and is extremely drinkable. I'm torn on how to review this, because I'm really enjoying it, but I feel with the spice quality and the mint, it's not really "true to style". So I will rate it as such, but please note I REALLY enjoyed this beer, and was a nice change of pace from some of the big bodied BA Barleywine's I've been drinking as of late.

 1,212 characters

Photo of kawilliams81
3.78/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2011 vintage.

A- pours a dark copper with a 1 finger off-white head. Some trails of lacing remain on the glass.

S- sweet honey, some herbs and spices, slight vanilla.

T- sweet buttery caramel, bourbon, vanilla, faint chocolate, roast near finish.

M- full body with medium carbonation. Has a syrupy, buttery feel.

O- not a amazing, overwhelming BA Barleywine, but still has a nice flavor to it. Wouldn't try again though.

 425 characters

Photo of zac16125
3.25/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

22oz bottle into a small snifter
2012 vintage, bottle number 3757

Thanks to haveanother1 for sending this over in a trade.

A: Pours a rather thin appearing murky brown with dark amber red hues when held to light. A sliver of light tan heads comes and goes almost immediately. Leaves no appreciable lacing.

S: So not gonna lie, I dont know what cardamon is, but Im guessing thats what Im getting from this beer. Its kind of like a minty-sage, and it certainly is prominent. I also get some caramel, toffee and bourbon notes. But make no mistake, the green spices sure do dominate. As it warms the cardamom (which I am now calling it since thats what it must be) subsides and some lovely other aromas come out like cinnamon and gingerbread, along with more pronounced barrel characters. Allowed to warm even further and those aromas are completely overtaking by ethanol booze. The aromas of the beer take you on a roller coaster ride, unfortunately, the troughs are much more prevalent than the peaks.

T: Sweet barleywine flavors; caramel, toffee, and molasses. Similar to the nose, the minty-sage component is prominent, but not as dominant. I also get ginger, faint bourbon notes that are hard to pick up behind all the spice flavors, some booze. As it warms the taste becomes very boozy. This starts off unique, gets quite enjoyable for a bit, but than finishes a boozy mess (and unfortunately the 'finish' last for the majority of the drink.)

M/D: Medium bodied, a bit thin for the style. Carbonation is very low, approaching flat. This one is a slow sipper, I almost never have trouble finishing a bomber by myself, but this one could be a challenge. So much spice, coupled with sweet syrupy characters make drinking this whole thing difficult.

O: Overall, this is a perplexing beer. There really are hints of greatness here, but as a whole it just doesnt quite come together. I think the cardamom could be a really cool addition to a barleywine, but it needs scaled down. Similarly, they need to find a way to make it a touch less ethanol-boozey. I really do think with a couple tweaks this could be a terrific beer, but as is its just a unique, but far too boozy and not terribly well done, barleywine. That being said, I do recommend it to others, cause the uniqueness alone is worth checking out. Just make sure you have a friend or two to share the bottle with.

 2,379 characters

Photo of Philly82785
3.6/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This one needs some age on it. I had a side by side 2012 and 2011. The bourbon taste is over powering for a fresh batch, you can't taste the subtle notes of carmel and nuts. The aged one however the bourbon was very toned down and you could get the caremel and nutty notes much easier.

 285 characters

Photo of Etan
3.7/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

750ml bottle from the 2011 release, #3510.

A: Copper body, small white head.

S: Heavy cardamom (slightly minty, a bit herbal, but not in a bitter way), some molasses and brown sugar.

T: Tastes better than it smells, with more balance between the cardamom and the base beer. Marshmallow, cardamom, light bourbon, caramel. The spice becomes more pleasant as the palate gets used to it.

M: Medium bodied, light carbonation.

O. This beer was a lot better than I was expecting. Still, the base beer is a bit lacking compared to other top-notch barrel-aged barleywines, and it took a while to get used to the cardamom.

 617 characters

Photo of yamar68
4.17/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2012 vintage:

Clear burnt orange body capped with a quarter inch of egg shell white head that dissipates quickly, leaving a stubborn collar that produces some oily lacing.

Caramel malts, sage, conifer, very unique smelling beer... the relatively soft booze presence mingles with all the pine and spruce... some toffee, pretty tame bourbon character... nice.

Extremely smooth given the ABV. A far greater sense of balance and approachability compared to its '11 counterpart, classic English barleywine profile with an intriguing spice addition. Quite good - but not 18 bucks per 22oz good...

Give it a go, it's definitely interesting.

 637 characters

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Commander from Lift Bridge Brewery
85 out of 100 based on 64 ratings.