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Commander - Lift Bridge Brewery

Not Rated.
CommanderCommander

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
88
very good

210 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 210
Reviews: 64
rAvg: 3.95
pDev: 15.44%
Wants: 58
Gots: 82 | 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:
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: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 210 | Reviews: 64 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of ObiWanKushnobi
4.5/5  rDev +13.9%

Photo of ControlledBurn
3.75/5  rDev -5.1%

Photo of Doyle
4/5  rDev +1.3%

Photo of 3Hops
4/5  rDev +1.3%

Photo of mothman
2.39/5  rDev -39.5%
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.

Photo of MordorMongo
3.34/5  rDev -15.4%
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.

Photo of afksports
4.5/5  rDev +13.9%

Photo of drewone
4/5  rDev +1.3%

Photo of lurpy1
3.56/5  rDev -9.9%
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.

Photo of motorhed
4.5/5  rDev +13.9%

Photo of SweJon
4.5/5  rDev +13.9%

Photo of fuzzcherry
3.5/5  rDev -11.4%

Photo of drabmuh
3.6/5  rDev -8.9%
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.

Photo of Exiled
3.75/5  rDev -5.1%

Photo of mdfb79
3.54/5  rDev -10.4%
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.

Photo of DarthGuitarHero
4.5/5  rDev +13.9%

Photo of Thorpe429
2.44/5  rDev -38.2%
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.

Photo of ShanePB
2.91/5  rDev -26.3%
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.

Photo of Huhzubendah
3.85/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Shared by mdfb79. Thanks Dan.

The beer is bright orange with a small, fleeting, off white head. The aroma offers sweet malt and an abundant spice character. Mint, pepper, cardamom. Ehh...this is ok, but not my thing. Minty, spicy, sweet. I can understand why some people may enjoy this more than I, but again, this is not my cup of tea/beer. Alcohol is pretty mild, considering the high abv. A good beer for sure, and worth a try.

Photo of elec
4/5  rDev +1.3%

Photo of coreyfmcdonald
4.25/5  rDev +7.6%

Photo of vobr0002
4.25/5  rDev +7.6%

Photo of MattyG85
3.97/5  rDev +0.5%
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.

Photo of gford217
3.12/5  rDev -21%
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.

Photo of eawolff99
3.5/5  rDev -11.4%

Commander from Lift Bridge Brewery
88 out of 100 based on 210 ratings.