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Commander - Lift Bridge Brewery

Not Rated.
CommanderCommander

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

175 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 175
Reviews: 59
rAvg: 3.93
pDev: 16.28%
Wants: 53
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: 175 | Reviews: 59 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of HopHead84
HopHead84

California

3.68/5  rDev -6.4%
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.

Serving type: bottle

01-23-2012 15:27:48 | More by HopHead84
Photo of billab914
billab914

Virginia

3.1/5  rDev -21.1%
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.

Serving type: bottle

01-27-2012 21:57:07 | More by billab914
Photo of Rhettroactive
Rhettroactive

District of Columbia

2.63/5  rDev -33.1%
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.

Serving type: bottle

01-30-2012 22:27:40 | More by Rhettroactive
Photo of ShanePB
ShanePB

Pennsylvania

2.88/5  rDev -26.7%
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.

Serving type: bottle

04-02-2012 19:40:03 | More by ShanePB
Photo of AgentZero
AgentZero

Illinois

2.38/5  rDev -39.4%
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.

Serving type: bottle

01-09-2012 16:36:40 | More by AgentZero
Photo of chippo33
chippo33

Vermont

4/5  rDev +1.8%

01-10-2013 05:51:41 | More by chippo33
Photo of gford217
gford217

Georgia

3.18/5  rDev -19.1%
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.

Serving type: bottle

03-06-2012 03:24:43 | More by gford217
Photo of Duff27
Duff27

Illinois

3.9/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Short lived off white head. Cap and collar left. A light red orange color. A lot of lacing for an English barleywine.

Different smelling for sure. Not sure what that is and not sure what to think.

Methol, straight up. Mintiness. Sweet. Booze presents itself but not overpowering.

A little syrupy. Low carbonation.

It tastes like a Halls! But still good. Can blow a cool breeze. Not as bad at the BA rating. Thanks mnbearsfan.

Serving type: bottle

11-09-2012 03:08:45 | More by Duff27
Photo of rudzud
rudzud

Massachusetts

4/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.75

2011 vintage shared with friends. Poured into a tulip.

A - Poured a nice clear honey amber hue with a quarter inch head that fades to leave light lacing and a thin cloud.

S - Aromas of sweet malts and light vanilla. Fairly standard.

T - Taste is similar to the nose with nice sweet malts and light vanilla. Good barleywine here very solid as age has done this well.

M - Mouthfeel is nice for a barleywine with the alcohol hidden nicely.

O - Overall not a bad barleywine. Alcohol hidden well could use a hair more age but for all intensive purposes a solid beer.

Serving type: bottle

05-02-2013 00:26:36 | More by rudzud
Photo of maximum12
maximum12

Minnesota

4.43/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Sampled a titch out of the bottle the day before the release party, had a glass at the release party, had another glass at the release party, pondered having a third glass, considered the car keys in my pocket, thought better of it, bought six bottles. Guess I like it.

Pour is a cloudy orange with a heavy dose of yellow, almost hefesque. The smell reaches out to grab one by the noses short & curlies: spicy, sweet, vanilla, malty. Lovely.

Commander is a barrel-aged English Barleywine of unique parentage. The spices, assumedly cardamom, are tearing a whole lot of hole in this beer. There's also a rye component - rye barrels? The barrel presents itself with a nice dose of vanilla & faint bourbon underneath the spicing. Finish is a malt rampant, a swift blow of sweet malts that's slashed by the drying of the wood. The balance is exquisite.

This is an excellent barleywine, & a great first barrel-aged effort by a young brewery. Delighted to have a few bottles to see how this one turns in the next year or two. Lift Bridge, do this again, or something like it - this is a unqualified success.

Serving type: on-tap

11-20-2011 04:53:25 | More by maximum12
Photo of Lare453
Lare453

Florida

4.25/5  rDev +8.1%

11-24-2013 01:24:35 | More by Lare453
Photo of KarlHungus
KarlHungus

Minnesota

3.75/5  rDev -4.6%

07-06-2014 22:14:35 | More by KarlHungus
Photo of eawolff99
eawolff99

Colorado

3.5/5  rDev -10.9%

03-04-2012 05:12:12 | More by eawolff99
Photo of Sean9689
Sean9689

Illinois

2.75/5  rDev -30%
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.

Serving type: bottle

01-10-2012 17:46:00 | More by Sean9689
Photo of morimech
morimech

Minnesota

4.05/5  rDev +3.1%
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.

Serving type: bottle

02-26-2012 20:12:16 | More by morimech
Photo of smartassboiler
smartassboiler

Illinois

3/5  rDev -23.7%

10-28-2013 03:02:35 | More by smartassboiler
Photo of Exiled
Exiled

Texas

3.75/5  rDev -4.6%

04-06-2012 01:48:20 | More by Exiled
Photo of flexabull
flexabull

California

3.75/5  rDev -4.6%

12-02-2013 22:55:25 | More by flexabull
Photo of cosmicevan
cosmicevan

New York

3.73/5  rDev -5.1%
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!

Serving type: bottle

02-05-2012 02:23:21 | More by cosmicevan
Photo of mattmarka1
mattmarka1

Minnesota

2.5/5  rDev -36.4%

01-15-2014 04:27:03 | More by mattmarka1
Photo of jera1350
jera1350

Minnesota

4.5/5  rDev +14.5%
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.

Serving type: bottle

01-17-2012 16:03:02 | More by jera1350
Photo of seeswo
seeswo

Ohio

4.25/5  rDev +8.1%

12-18-2011 14:33:51 | More by seeswo
Photo of 4DAloveofSTOUT
4DAloveofSTOUT

Illinois

3.95/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

thanks to duff27 for sharing this bottle! Thanks duff!

poured into tulip.

Appearance: reddish brown bodied beer with a thin white cap. Drops quickly to no head.

Smell: Big malts, syrupy, medicinal, menthol, brownsugar and maybe some peppermint.

Taste: Malt forward. brown sugar and caramel. menthol and spicy booze. Unusual combination, but it kind of works.

Mouthfeel: medium bodied beer with moderate carboantion. Spicy and slightly warming booze.

Overall: Its a solid beer, but nothing too crazy. I did not get much for barrel notes from this beer. If I did not know it was barrel aged, I would have thought it did spend any time in a barrel.

Serving type: bottle

11-09-2012 07:25:06 | More by 4DAloveofSTOUT
Photo of lackenhauser
lackenhauser

Maryland

4.55/5  rDev +15.8%
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.

Serving type: bottle

01-03-2012 00:08:05 | More by lackenhauser
Photo of GrindFatherBob
GrindFatherBob

New York

4.75/5  rDev +20.9%

05-23-2013 18:36:06 | More by GrindFatherBob
Commander from Lift Bridge Brewery
88 out of 100 based on 175 ratings.