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Commander - Lift Bridge Brewery

Not Rated.
CommanderCommander

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
88
very good

185 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 185
Reviews: 60
rAvg: 3.95
pDev: 16.2%
Wants: 54
Gots: 75 | 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: 185 | Reviews: 60 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of leschkie
4.5/5  rDev +13.9%

leschkie, Feb 29, 2012
Photo of morimech
4.05/5  rDev +2.5%
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 richbrew
3.75/5  rDev -5.1%

richbrew, Feb 25, 2012
Photo of ChadQuest
2.03/5  rDev -48.6%
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+

ChadQuest, Feb 25, 2012
Photo of cosmicevan
3.73/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

big thanks to biglobo8971 for hitting this want in the growler plus BIF (round 3). opened and enjoyed from my blue point snifter.

a - a hard pour yeilded a solid finger of big foamy bubbly off white head on a crisp semi transparent rosy amber.

s - i can smell it from the table in front of me. upon closer inspection big caramel toffee. very nice vanilla sweetness from the bourbon barrels. it comes across more like the bourbon barrel flavoring on backwoods, that really creamy caramel malt. quite nice. feels like i'm in for a treat.

t - WOW...the sweetness from the nose almost knocks me over. that is INTENSE. the toffee is extremely in your face. the english barleywine maltiness is there, but it sits in the backseat to the boozy sweetness from the barrels. as it warms and i get used to it, it becomes more enjoyable and less cloying. the potpouri cardamom is a bit intense.

m - pretty soft and smooth...kind of tingly. sweet caramel coating in my mouth. boozy.

o - overall, i'm a big fan of barleywines and a big fan of beers that age in barrels. this was enjoyable and certainly worth a try, but in the category of barrel aged barleywines, there is some STEEP competition and this one is decent, but there are some superstars. this one just doesn't hold a candle to an abacus, king henry, blighs, moas, the list goes on and on...
very happy to have tried it though!

cosmicevan, Feb 05, 2012
Photo of DCon
4.8/5  rDev +21.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Enjoyed a 1 PINT 9.4 FL. OZ. 750 ML bottle of this w/ ChrisF when he arrived in town. Poured from the Dark Aqua/Orange Labeled bottle w/ a Silhouette of an army man in front of a High Towered Farm House into a 12oz Snifter Glass. Has 2011 BOTTLE NUMBER: 2280 on the side & also sayings like "GOBLET WORTHY" & "Savor In Smaller Portions" scattered.

Aroma- Huge scotch and light-medium booziness from the beginning. Raisins and dark fruits come around also.

Appearance- Pours a ton of bubbles but no head at all. Has a dark copper body with good clarity. Leaves suds behind on the glass.

Flavor- Tons of depth and complexity from the start to finish. Can tell it is has been aged in barrels with the amount of bourbon and scotch characteristics. A sweet finish is then present with a light bitterness level. Perfect!

Mouthfeel- Medium-Full Bodied, Moderate Carbonation, Smooth, and subtle on the finish. Has a nice amount of alcohol warmth and just enough to make you want another drink. Not overpowering at all.

Overall Impression- Very rich and perfect amount of character! Enjoyed thoroughly and will be looking for more of this brew at a later date. First time having anything from Lift Bridge and was impressed! Thanks Chris!

DCon, Jan 30, 2012
Photo of Rhettroactive
2.63/5  rDev -33.4%
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.

Rhettroactive, Jan 30, 2012
Photo of AshleyMiller
4/5  rDev +1.3%

AshleyMiller, Jan 30, 2012
Photo of djrn2
3.5/5  rDev -11.4%

djrn2, Jan 28, 2012
Photo of billab914
3.1/5  rDev -21.5%
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.

billab914, Jan 27, 2012
Photo of siege06nd
2.78/5  rDev -29.6%
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.

siege06nd, Jan 27, 2012
Photo of womencantsail
3.68/5  rDev -6.8%
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.

womencantsail, Jan 24, 2012
Photo of HopHead84
3.68/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

1/22/2012

A: Transparent dark orange with a big white head.

S: Caramel blends with wood and brown sugar. There's a candied sweetness. Bourbon is retrained. The cardamom is pronounced. I get a little dark toffee.

T: Cardamom, caramel, toffee, and booze. Bourbon is strong and I detect a little vanilla. I'm not really digging the cardamom, especially not in the finish. Alcohol is pretty well hidden.

M: Upper medium body with medium carbonation.

Overall: A solid beer but that spice is detracting. It adds nothing positive.

HopHead84, Jan 23, 2012
Photo of jodan
4/5  rDev +1.3%

jodan, Jan 21, 2012
Photo of tewaris
4/5  rDev +1.3%
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
Photo of zenwatts
5/5  rDev +26.6%

zenwatts, Jan 19, 2012
Photo of will1256
4.5/5  rDev +13.9%

will1256, Jan 19, 2012
Photo of jera1350
4.5/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle #1603

Pours into a Duvel tulip a deep ruby color with a thick foamy head of sandy colored foam. Some light lacing.

Rich sweetness in the nose with some floral notes, light bourbon and cardamom.

Love this flavor. Huge sweetness in the forms of toffee and brown sugar. The cardamom is very prevalent and is a nice compliment to the sweetness. Some booze, but not hot, and light bourbon presence. The bourbon doesn't really stand out as it's more mellow and well blended with the overall flavor.

Full bodied and slick smoothness. Very supple carbonation feel.

This goes down so well and the flavor works awesomely. I'm a huge fan of this beer. I really hope they decide to make this one again. Interested to see how this ages, but it sure does drink tremendously right now.

jera1350, Jan 17, 2012
Photo of Chriscrundwell12
3/5  rDev -24.1%
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.

Chriscrundwell12, Jan 17, 2012
Photo of nightwing002
3.5/5  rDev -11.4%

nightwing002, Jan 16, 2012
Photo of ygtbsm94
3/5  rDev -24.1%

ygtbsm94, Jan 11, 2012
Photo of Sean9689
2.75/5  rDev -30.4%
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.

Sean9689, Jan 10, 2012
Photo of ottodyer
4/5  rDev +1.3%

ottodyer, Jan 09, 2012
Photo of AgentZero
2.38/5  rDev -39.7%
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.

AgentZero, Jan 09, 2012
Photo of nmann08
3.5/5  rDev -11.4%

nmann08, Jan 08, 2012
Commander from Lift Bridge Brewery
88 out of 100 based on 185 ratings.