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Commander - Lift Bridge Brewery

Not Rated.
CommanderCommander

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

202 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 202
Reviews: 62
rAvg: 3.95
pDev: 15.7%
Wants: 56
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: 202 | Reviews: 62 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of trxxpaxxs
4.2/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Huge thanks to LaCoursiere for this bottle...

A: Pours a translucent mahogany red/brown with almost no head whatsoever. There is only a thin white ring of white foam around the edges, and even that fades quickly. No lacing as it drinks.

S: The nose is sweet like caramel, toffee, and honey. There is also a great spice component to this beer that I'm really enjoying. The booze is there, but it's not overpowering.

T: I get caramel, apples, raisins, honey, cinnamon, and clove. It's sweet to start with the caramel and the fruit, but as it fades on the palate it get's spicy and boozy hot. I'm actually really enjoying the heat from the bourbon.

M: Full bodied beer. It sticks to the palate, coats, and casually moves off. the lingering flavors are bourbon, raisin, and toffee.

O: This is a pretty damn good barleywine, but it's not the best I've ever had. I really enjoyed the apple notes right up front, which I haven't tasted in a barleywine before. I'm extremely happy to have tried this beer, and would to have more again in the future.

Photo of MacQ32
3.75/5  rDev -5.1%

Photo of mikeincharleston
4/5  rDev +1.3%

Photo of seeswo
4.25/5  rDev +7.6%

Photo of Wowcoolman
4.25/5  rDev +7.6%

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 MattyG85
3.98/5  rDev +0.8%
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 GrindFatherBob
4.75/5  rDev +20.3%

Photo of SpdKilz
4/5  rDev +1.3%

Photo of bigbeers84
4/5  rDev +1.3%

Photo of josephwa
4.8/5  rDev +21.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A - perfect head retention, rusty copper hue, white head.
S - fruit, bouron, caramel, smoke, oak.
T - sweetness, molasses, bourbon, oak, light hoppiness, sweet malt, dried fruit.
M - medium body, light after burn, very well carbonated.
O - wow, this was a fantastic beer. I would highly recommend it. The bourbon aging went really well with the complexity of the beer.

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.

Photo of bum732
4.25/5  rDev +7.6%

Photo of hardy008
2.53/5  rDev -35.9%
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.

Photo of Dactrius
4/5  rDev +1.3%

Photo of Photekut
3.75/5  rDev -5.1%

Photo of bsp77
4.01/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Serving glass: Poured from bottle into goblet.

Appearance: Dark murky orangish-brown with thin off-white cap.

Smell: Mostly bourbon notes in the aroma with just a touch of Barleywine toffee notes.

Taste: The Barleywine notes are more evident in the taste, with toffee and dark fruit notes. But the malts are still not as complex as preferred in a world class Barleywine, but the bourbon does a good job of elevating the beer, with oak, vanilla, coconut and just general bourbon-ness. The cardamom comes through very lightly on the finish, which is unique for the style.

Feel: Thick and chewy with low carbonation. Fairly warming but not as hot as expected for the high abv. Maybe waiting almost a year before opening this helped in that regard.

Overall: While I am not sure that the core Barleywine is anything special, the bourbon and cardamom helps make this Interesting and enjoyable.

Photo of Localdrinklax
4/5  rDev +1.3%

Photo of DarthGuitarHero
4.5/5  rDev +13.9%

Photo of DaftPatrick
4.5/5  rDev +13.9%

Photo of Thedrizzle
4/5  rDev +1.3%

Photo of Hopstout
4.35/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance - Brownish copper with a hint of orange. Clear. Very little head and low carbonation. The color is uncommon and intriguing.

Aroma - Decent scent of bourbon whiskey and a splash of sweet vanilla. Also, a hint of Oak. Maybe a little raisin as well.

Taste - Very full flavored with multiple layers yet balanced beautifully. Strong taste of warm bourbon whiskey with Vanilla, Sweet malt and Oak.

Mouthfeel - Potent yet calm and smooth with a nice aftertaste that doesn't linger.

Overall - This barleywine takes your whole mouth hostage with a floodgate of flavors that really are uniquely balanced. With the high alcohol content and powerful whiskey zest, this one is made to swig in small tasty sips.
I really enjoy both bourbon and beer so this was right up my alley.
I decided to cellar two bottles of this to try at a later date and I have a feeling that bottle number two will not last a year.

Photo of MNBeerGeek
3.75/5  rDev -5.1%

Photo of jmarsh123
3.75/5  rDev -5.1%

Photo of ralerwen
4/5  rDev +1.3%

Commander from Lift Bridge Brewery
88 out of 100 based on 202 ratings.