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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: 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.
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Reviews: 64 | Hads: 221
Photo of ChadQuest
2.03/5  rDev -45.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

LiftBridge Commander

A quick cap forms and then fades until the body is mostly still, just a thin band around the edge, very thin.
The body is a charry amber color.

The aroma is both very sweet and shows alcohol. Smells like cotton candy, very much so.

I figured it out on the taste. Cream Soda. This beer tastes like A&W Cream Soda. The sweetness is very strong, and
the sticky mouthfeel and carbination match up so much. The alcohol is easily noticable but not harsh as it is covered
in a lot of sweetness and floral notes, which is really odd for a barleywine. this whole thing is odd. I dont really get
the barrel much, unless the barrel tastes like Cream Soda and flower Cotton Candy, then i get a freakin ton of barrel.

I wouldn't say this one tastes terrible, i drank the entire bottle, but not at all good for a -Bal Barleywine,
i wanted barrel,heat, and caramel, this one gives me none of those.

D+ (918 characters)

Photo of mothman
2.39/5  rDev -35.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Aroma: all cardamom spices. Christmas spice. Winter Warmer.. Little barrel flavor

T: whiskey and vanilla then all spices.  Tastes like christmas. Oaky. 

Mouthfeel: Warming and spiced. Medium bodied with a medium amount of carbonation.

Overall, this was a terrible beer. I won't drink much if this. Just not for me. Sorry LB, but the recipe needs to change. (361 characters)

Photo of AgentZero
2.41/5  rDev -35%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

Two people brought this to my birthday tasting, don't remember which one we opened, but thanks to whomever it was.

A - A reddish-orange beer with some rising bubbles and a small white head that dissipated to nothing. No stick left on the sides, but it's a decent looking beer.

S - Smells like lavender hand soap, the perfumey kind. Not a lot else going on there. Some brown sugar malts but it's all killed by the massive lavender smell.

T - Taste is more of the same. I'm not convinced this was aged in bourbon barrels and it doesn't seem much like a barleywine. It is way too lavender heavy, with only a little bit of malt sweetness to break it up. Can't drink much, not good. "Subtle, sweet Caradamom"? Subtle my ass.

M - Medium bodied with some soft carbonation.

O - Found out later this is cardamom and not lavender. There was entirely too much of that flavor and it was not good. Can't drink much. Either they have different taste buds in the land of the Golden Gophers or the early reviews were a product of hyping something local. Sadly, this beer is a wreck and I would never drink it again. They said best enjoyed in "smaller portions." Trust me, they can't get small enough. (1,190 characters)

Photo of Thorpe429
2.44/5  rDev -34.2%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Bottle courtesy of mdfb79. Served in a SAVOR wine glass.

Pours a clear golden color with a big white head and some spotty lacing as it makes its way down to a thin cap. The nose carries way, way too much spice, and the spice that is there doesn't really work. The spice is so heavy that you can barely pick out a big, malty beer in the background.

Flavor is likewise overwhelmed with spice. Loads of cardamom in this one. Some residual sweetness. The body is better in that there's a bit of alcohol mixing with the spice.

I really did not see where they were going with this and wasn't a fan of the spicing at all. (618 characters)

Photo of hardy008
2.54/5  rDev -31.5%
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 Rhettroactive
2.63/5  rDev -29.1%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

From 750mL bottle to CBS snifter on 1/26/12
*From notes

-- Thanks, Ben --

A: Grab an amber ale off of your local bottle shop's shelves and it'd look like this: clean and unremarkable. A good pour yields a .5 finger head that fades rather fast. Minimal lacing and collar.

S: Ugh. I like herbs in beer, but I don't like this. It's just too much for a barleywine, especially one designated as English. Gimme a saison or a wild ale if you wanna herb it up. But this? Eek!

T: No barrel is present here, just more cardamom. It's like Stone, Victoy and DFH contracted Lift Bridge to make "Barleywine du Buff". Not good.

M: Meh, it's ok. It's got more carbonation then a lot of barrel aged beers. I'll give credit where it's due.

O: Hugely dissapointed by LB's Commander. Not a single person at our tasting enjoyed this, and it's no wonder. What exactly was to be accomplished here? Without question, this beer is one to avoid. (925 characters)

Photo of Sean9689
2.78/5  rDev -25.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Thanks, SpdKilz (or Chris?)! Good Beer/Bad Beer tasting. Poured into Bell's tulip.

A - Pours a mirky reddish color, cream-colored head, thin collar.

S - I couldn't tell you what cardamom smells like, but, I don't like it in my barrel-aged barleywine's, that's for sure. This beer is also very sweet and has very little barrel character to it. Don't get me wrong, I like my barleywine's sweet, but I think lack of barrel really put the sweetness into another level while the cardamom took this beer to a place it shouldn't have gone.

T - Similar to the nose, but even more floral/cardamom up front, in the middle, and on the finish. The sweet is there, but it's even masked by this evil plant. Again, no barrel character to it either, which I think would have helped with the floral notes & sweetness.

M - Medium, light carbonation, creamy finish.

O - Well, if you're a cardamom fan, I think you're probably going to rate this in your top 5 cardamom beers for sure. I just didn't enjoy this plant or the over-the-top sweetness and lack of barrel notes. Would not drink again and can't recommend. (1,099 characters)

Photo of mikeyv35
2.8/5  rDev -24.5%
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 siege06nd
2.8/5  rDev -24.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Thanks, Rhettroactive, for setting up the trade for this.

A: Pours a relatively light, cloudy orange color. Very minimal head, just a dusting of head around the edges of the brew. Faint lacing traces the glass after a hard swirl. Good color, crappy head, retention, and lacing.

S: Some caramel, super sweet grapes and apples that probably represents the cardamom, some ginger and spice. An extremely sweet, fruity nose. Not a lot of malt, barrel depth though. The barrel-aging is undetectable. Meh.

T: I don't know, man. This is just weird. Lots of sweet cherry, apple, grape. Also a ton of herbs, particularly belgian spices. I get absolutely zero barrel aging on this. Just a touch of booze heat on the finish. It's sweet and fruity with a pungent herbal finish. Tastes nothing like any English Barleywine I have had. *Sigh*

M: Medium carbonation, medium to full mouthfeel. Not nearly as thick or cloying as the style should suggest. Saccharine and sweet, I'm not sure about this one. Bitter herbal qualities really clash with the sweetness and result in a mediocre finish.

O: Nowhere near what the early reviews suggested. I understand the "home team" bump, but I can't believe how badly MN locals misrepresented this one. This is nowhere near a memorable English Barleywine. I would expect this is what I would get from the next "Stone plus two random breweries" collaboration barleywine. Overly sweet, way too much residual sugar, herbal knavery. What can I say? It's mediocre. Decidedly mediocre. (1,508 characters)

Photo of ShanePB
2.91/5  rDev -21.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

750 ml bottle
Served into my Lift Bridge snifter

A: Crystal clear ruby red with some orange highlights throughout the body. A fluffy, soapy off-white head sits atop and leaves minor sticky lacing on the glass. Only a thin retention ring is around the outside, too.

S: Medicinal herbal quality straight away, mint, ginger... is all of this coming from the cardamom in here? Subtle bourbon and wood undertones, rounding out with big malty sweetness and spearmint. Very odd smelling beer.

T: Sweet spearmint, ginger, candied sugar, caramelized sugar, dark and caramel malts with a very faint bourbon note coming through in the back end. I think all these herbal, medicinal and mint flavors are coming from the cardamom, and it's just too much. It's overpowering all the subtleties the barrel treatment should have imparted into the beer.

M: Sticky, smooth with a good amount of carbonation. It still felt a little too sticky for my liking and the accompanying sweetness didn't help the cause.

This was a bit of a miss for me. I was pretty excited to try this but I think the cardamom was used a bit too much. Tone it back, let the base beer and barrel treatment blend everything together, and this could easily be a great one. (1,228 characters)

Photo of Chriscrundwell12
2.99/5  rDev -19.4%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

750 ml bottle poured into a Darkness snifter, sharred with a fellow BA.

Bottle # 1309

A- Pours a one finger off white head that dissipates slowly, nice bubbles on top, cloudy burnt orange color, splotchy lacing.
S- Really interesting aroma, mint upfront, ginger, must be the cardamom in the beer, not sure if I m a fan of the cardamom, slight vanilla comes out but the cardamom takes over completely, no bourbon characteristics.
T- Again the cardamom takes over, (mint, ginger) slight vanilla in the background, brown sugar, sweet malts, I have to say I’m not a fan.
M- Medium mouth feel, smooth drinking, decent carbonation, some heat but nothing overpowering, dry finish.
O- Wow I was pretty let down by this beer, the cardamom which I had no idea what it was until we opened this bottle, just takes over the beer, big mint and ginger, really sweet, not a lot of bourbon. (878 characters)

Photo of MasterSki
3.01/5  rDev -18.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Thanks to Carleton (SpdKilz) for sharing this one. Served in a Captain Lawrence tulip.

A - A half-finger of white foam settles to a thin ring of bubbles. Transparent orange-red body.

S - Smells like perfume. I initially thought lavender hand soap, but upon inspecting the label I discovered it was actually cardamom. In any case, that's pretty much all I can smell - I let the beer warm up for a while in the hopes some of the other flavors would show up, but all I got was some nebulous sugary malt.

T - The taste is again redolent of cardamon, perfume, and flowers. There's a tad more sweetness and a bready malt character as well, but I just can't get past the overpowering cardamom.

M - Medium-full body, lower carbonation, a slightly grainy texture, with light residual stickiness. Some warming alcohol, but nothing out of place for 12.5%.

D - Did I get the right beer? I didn't get any of the advertised barrel-aging and only a little of the barleywine. If you loved Poppaskull then you'll probably love this beer, but if you're like me and have limited tolerance for cardamom then you'll probably hate it. Either way, to me it's mono-dimensional and hard to drink it large quantities. (1,196 characters)

Photo of billab914
3.11/5  rDev -16.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured from a 750ml bottle into a snifter. It poured orange amber in color with a thin white head sticking to the edges of the glass.

The aroma is very herbal as the cardamon flavors are the focal point of it. I get some sweeter, honey notes to it, but unfortunately not really any barrel aged characteristics. It feels somewhat medicinal to me. The cardamon dominates way too much as well.

The taste also shows a lot of the herbal cardamon flavors throughout. I get a more of the honey sweetness to it as well. It's very herbal, floral and sweet, which just didn't work well for me. Both the barleywine and barrel flavors are overshadowed unfortunately.

The mouthfeel is medium bodied with carbonation being moderate. Overall it was way too sweet and herbal for me. It could have been a little more balanced and the herbal flavors could have been toned down some as well. I would have liked a little more traditional barleywine characteristics to show through as well as the barrel flavors. It wasn't a terrible beer, but it isn't something I'd buy. (1,056 characters)

Photo of gford217
3.12/5  rDev -15.9%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

750ml bottle.

Pours a deep, clear amber with a Sally thick beige head that slinks down the sides of the glass leaving delicate lacing.

Aroma is odd for the style, really herbal, presumably from the cardamom, with only a little caramel malt sweetness coming through. The barrel character is also subtle. I'd love to know what this smells like without all the cardamom.

The taste is a marked improvement for me. There is much more caramel and vanilla sweetness supporting a more subtle cardamom presence...well, more subtle than the aroma at least. The barrel is also more prevalent, especially in the finish.

The mouthfeel is solid, medium bodied with soft carbonation.

I don't exactly now what to say about this one. I really think it would be an excellent beer if it wasn't for the cardamom overload. As it is, it's an average BA barley wine. I would love to try this with a couple years on it to let the cardamom die down. (929 characters)

Photo of doucmehu
3.16/5  rDev -14.8%
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 zac16125
3.25/5  rDev -12.4%
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 kojevergas
3.29/5  rDev -11.3%
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.

B- (3,840 characters)

Photo of MordorMongo
3.34/5  rDev -10%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Review #5, served cellar temp in tulip

A : Transparent dark amber, toffee hues, off-white medium head fades to a lingering cap, legs very persistent and likely this beer's best attribute.

S : Cardamom, still. Had first bottle of this back in March and while the smell has faded noticeably it is still way too over-bearing and dominates completely. Can pick up some traces of bourbon and vanilla from time to time, but damn that cardamom comes right back!

T : Here the cardamom has faded even more-so...sadly not quite enough yet, maybe should have given this another 6-12 months? Some nice caramel notes come through mid-palate, finish is cloying with that lingering cardamom, though it is MUCH improved over ~3 months ago.

M : Sticky, full mouthfeel, honestly close to on-point for the style.

O : Decent BA Barleywine, really wish they had went way lighter on the cardamom as I am not sure what it adds at this level of dominance. That said, it is clearly fading and if I had another I would wait a year or so in hopes the spice notes dissipate further. (1,060 characters)

Photo of mdfb79
3.54/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

From 03/30/12 notes. Shared with a few friends. Thanks to nugganooch for sending this one my way. Bottle 2034.

a - Pours a deep reddish amber color with a few white bubbles, and low carbonation evident.

s - Smells a bit minty, and of cardamom, caramel malts, spices, and coconut. Weird mix, doesn't work very well at all. Not very good.

t - Tastes of bourbon, vanilla, toasted malts, caramel malts, toffee, sweet dark fruits, light alcohol, and light cardamom and spices. MUCH, much better then the nose. As it warmed up it got even better. Really nice taste.

m - Medium body and low to moderate carbonation. Not much heat at all, actually pretty easy to drink.

o - Overall an interesting beer. A ton of spice and cardamom in the nose that is weird and doesn't work well, but the taste is really nice and is missing most of that. Worth checking out for the taste. (868 characters)

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)

Photo of mwilbur
3.6/5  rDev -3%

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 Philly82785
3.6/5  rDev -3%
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 drabmuh
3.6/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Opened at a recent tasting, thanks to who ever did that!

Beer is brown and hazy with an off white / tan head of small bubbles, some lacing on the glass, low retention.

Aroma is spicy like peppermint or something...later to be revealed by the label as cardamon.

Oh dear this beer is a cardamon bomb, interesting and strong. The spice dominates eclipsing all other flavors and perception. I couldn't finish a bottle myslef or a pint. Not a repeat for me...too much. (466 characters)

Photo of barleywinefiend
3.67/5  rDev -1.1%
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 womencantsail
3.68/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks for sharing this one, Shane.

Pours burnt orange in color with an off-white head. Smells mostly like caramel and toffee with hints of vanilla. The cardamom that is added comes through fairly strongly. A bit of bourbon, but not much. A sweet flavor, mostly caramel and toffee with some vanilla to it, too. The cardamom is again noticeable. Much more bourbon than on the nose. Perhaps a little bit of grape flavor, too. Medium bodied with low to medium carbonation. (470 characters)

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