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Commander - Lift Bridge Brewery

Not Rated.
CommanderCommander

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

199 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 199
Reviews: 61
rAvg: 3.95
pDev: 15.95%
Wants: 55
Gots: 80 | 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: 199 | Reviews: 61 | Display Reviews Only:
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.

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.

Photo of jodan
4/5  rDev +1.3%

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

Photo of zenwatts
5/5  rDev +26.6%

Photo of will1256
4.5/5  rDev +13.9%

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.

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.

Photo of nightwing002
3.5/5  rDev -11.4%

Photo of ygtbsm94
3/5  rDev -24.1%

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.

Photo of ottodyer
4/5  rDev +1.3%

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.

Photo of nmann08
3.5/5  rDev -11.4%

Photo of MasterSki
3.03/5  rDev -23.3%
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.

Photo of jmpizzo
3/5  rDev -24.1%

Photo of pmccallum86
4.5/5  rDev +13.9%

Photo of aliving1
4.5/5  rDev +13.9%

Photo of lackenhauser
4.55/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Very nice, deep bronze color. Not much head wise but a definate nice carbonation level. Malty and slight bourbon aroma. Buttery sweetness. Simply a great flavor overall. Just a huge malt bomb. Massive caramel sweetness. Distinct bourbon flavor but not overwhelming and not massively oakey. The cardomon lends a sublte, mildly anise like spice to it. Huge mouthfeel, extremely sweet and sticky. I would rate it higher as it is what I like but trying to keep it in line overall. A killer UK barleywine in my book. Very sweet and big which may be a turn off to some. At 12.5% there is not a hint of booze for miles. many thanks to mnbearsfan for this Secret Santa sample. Wowzers! Great, great stuff and going on my wants.

Photo of JAHMUR
3/5  rDev -24.1%

Photo of riverrunt421
5/5  rDev +26.6%

Photo of jjanega08
3.9/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2011 Vintage Bottle Number: 2494

A= This beer pours what appears to be flat before a nice finger and a half of head rises out of it. The bubbles are tiny and the head is an off white color. The lacing on the side of the glass is about average.

S= The smell is initially a sweet vanilla bourbon. After the beer breathes for a moment however I get a lot more cardamom in it. The barrel smell seems to have faded a bit as it sits and the cardamom plays a more and more serious role in the aroma. The barleywine beneath the additives is somewhat basic. A sweeter barleywine without the hop punch.

T= The taste is again bourbon barrel flavors up front. Tons of wood and whisps of vanilla. The barleywine appears in glimpses here and there. The cardamom comes through more in the mid before falling to some heavy vanilla flavors and a biscuity finish. The alcohol is well hidden and covered by the flavors.

M= This is a thicker sweeter barleywine for sure.

O= This is right about where I would expect it to be from the brewery. A well made barleywine in bourbon barrels. Tastes great and works well. I don't see this having an amazing following and it's not worth freaking out about. A locally made bourbon barrel barleywine it is and I love it for that. Check it out if ya get a chance and I'll surely track down more bottles as well as pick some up as the years go by if they continue to brew it.

Photo of therobot
3.5/5  rDev -11.4%

Photo of tempest
4.25/5  rDev +7.6%
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.

Photo of Buebie
4.72/5  rDev +19.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Tatter tot hotdish in the oven. What to do? What to do?
How about open this badass local brew? Sure, why not.

Poured rigorously from the bottle into an oversized merlot glass.
Super pale copper color with redish hues when held to light, very hazy, not much can be seen through the glass.
Head almost forms half an inch, leaving a solid collar and spotty thin streaks of lace.
Aroma is superb, malt driven with sweet brown maple sugar, just snipit of barrel and vanilla. Loads of bready sweet malt. Man this is smelling really wonderful. Mild floral hops with a small amount of resin.
Taste: My reaction literally "Wow, this tastes amazing" My mouth is smiling on the inside. I really like this beer, outfuckingstanding to be exact.
Starting out with just a small amount of heat. So for me, to have such a small amount of well hidden heat and just the right amount of warming, its fairly significant. At 12.5 % thats a well hidden abv. Goose and Maverick would call this thing dangerous.
Sweet delicious malts, vanilla, mild bourbon, toasty wood, maple brown sugar and syrup drenched buttery rolls that melt in your mouth.
Hops warm through the swallow presenting with very floral flavors and mild pine.
Mouthfeel is slick, not heavy, but balanced with a slick mild creaminess and moderate carbonation.
A small amount of earthy peppery flavors through the swallow as well.

This beer has so much flavor and so many terrific attributes. I wish I could afford several more bottles to open over the years. Because this is by far the best beer of this style to come out of MN, and also one of the best beers of this style to ever grace these lips.
Great Job LBB, you guys nailed it!

Commander from Lift Bridge Brewery
89 out of 100 based on 199 ratings.