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Commander - Lift Bridge Brewery

Not Rated.
CommanderCommander

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

186 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 186
Reviews: 61
rAvg: 3.94
pDev: 15.99%
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: 186 | Reviews: 61 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of richaa01
4/5  rDev +1.5%

richaa01, Mar 16, 2014
Photo of hardy008
2.53/5  rDev -35.8%
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.

hardy008, Mar 09, 2014
Photo of DaftPatrick
4.5/5  rDev +14.2%

DaftPatrick, Mar 01, 2014
Photo of mattmarka1
2.5/5  rDev -36.5%

mattmarka1, Jan 15, 2014
Photo of joh02034
3.75/5  rDev -4.8%

joh02034, Jan 12, 2014
Photo of MacQ32
3.75/5  rDev -4.8%

MacQ32, Jan 03, 2014
Photo of StPaulSchmitty
3.75/5  rDev -4.8%

StPaulSchmitty, Jan 02, 2014
Photo of Dactrius
4/5  rDev +1.5%

Dactrius, Dec 29, 2013
Photo of Hopsiam14
4.5/5  rDev +14.2%

Hopsiam14, Dec 17, 2013
Photo of MontereyBay831
3.5/5  rDev -11.2%

MontereyBay831, Dec 15, 2013
Photo of Jslay013
4/5  rDev +1.5%

Jslay013, Dec 14, 2013
Photo of kojevergas
3.29/5  rDev -16.5%
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-

kojevergas, Dec 12, 2013
Photo of XmnwildX12
3.25/5  rDev -17.5%

XmnwildX12, Dec 09, 2013
Photo of mikeincharleston
4/5  rDev +1.5%

mikeincharleston, Dec 07, 2013
Photo of flexabull
3.75/5  rDev -4.8%

flexabull, Dec 02, 2013
Photo of Pug
5/5  rDev +26.9%

Pug, Nov 27, 2013
Photo of Lare453
4.25/5  rDev +7.9%

Lare453, Nov 24, 2013
Photo of dav2080
4.25/5  rDev +7.9%

dav2080, Nov 20, 2013
Photo of AnalogErik
4.25/5  rDev +7.9%

AnalogErik, Oct 31, 2013
Photo of jarrgal
4.5/5  rDev +14.2%

jarrgal, Oct 28, 2013
Photo of smartassboiler
3/5  rDev -23.9%

smartassboiler, Oct 28, 2013
Photo of HoistinBrews
3.75/5  rDev -4.8%

HoistinBrews, Oct 26, 2013
Photo of jacobbocce72
3.75/5  rDev -4.8%

jacobbocce72, Oct 05, 2013
Photo of dragomni
3.75/5  rDev -4.8%

dragomni, Sep 29, 2013
Photo of DaveAnderson
4.14/5  rDev +5.1%
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.

DaveAnderson, Sep 19, 2013
Commander from Lift Bridge Brewery
88 out of 100 based on 186 ratings.