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Backburner (Imperial Barley Wine Style Ale) - Southern Tier Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Backburner (Imperial Barley Wine Style Ale)Backburner (Imperial Barley Wine Style Ale)

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
90
outstanding

880 Ratings
THE BROS
94
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 880
Reviews: 498
rAvg: 4.01
pDev: 10.47%
Wants: 74
Gots: 102 | FT: 7
Brewed by:
Southern Tier Brewing Company visit their website
New York, United States

Style | ABV
American Barleywine |  9.60% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: BeerTruth on 04-02-2007

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

No notes at this time.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 880 | Reviews: 498
Reviews by RoyalT:
Photo of RoyalT
4/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance – This is a nice, bronzy brown in color with a modest but very stubborn head that left cool-looking pits and a nice film.

Smell – This smells more like an EBW than an ABW. The table sugar is huge at the nose along with a vast collection of light, summertime fruits. I get a beautiful white apricot, a must try if you’ve never had them, with a bit of non-tart apple and maybe white grapes to go along with the barleyWINE moniker. The malts are modest caramel but really they are in the background here.

Taste – The light fruits and table sugar come through at the taste along with the first hint of hops. I guess the hop profile is somewhat complex but they do not dominate this ale like you would think from looking at the impressive list. I get a nice citrus and light pine mix but again nothing heavy. The caramel is a bit bigger in the mouth but nothing off the charts.

Mouthfeel – This is a big medium-bodied and greasy slick in the mouth with little suggestion of the high ABV.

Drinkability – This is the closest thing I’ve found to a session Barley Wine. It is very easy-drinking, not intimidating at all as most ABVs can be, and actually is more Enlgish than American. The light fruity character sets this apart from the rest and makes this mandatory tasting for all the BW lovers.

More User Reviews:
Photo of oberon
3.73/5  rDev -7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Southern Tier's two new offerings are seriously top notch and being so close in proxemity to the brewery they are easy to find and will be a main stay in my house.Poured into an oversized wine glass a deep amber almost burgundy color with a tight formed thin white head leaving shitty lace stuck to the glass.Big and balanced aromas deep cherry and brown sugar tones mixed with piney,resiny Amarillo hop aromas a defient rum like alcohol presence shows thru as well.Sweetish brown sugar and dark fruit flavors really hit home with a noticable sweet alcohol zip really coming thru as it warms to near room temp,the hops seem a bit overwhelmed by such a big malty sweet base but they show thru after a bit in a piney,grapefruit rind presence but never jumps out at ya.The hop burps came afterwords but the hop flavors need a bit of a push in my mind but they are everywhere else,big and brash Iam gonna hold one for a awhile and see what turns up.

Photo of ArrogantDeadGuy
4.35/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a molasses deep brown leaving no head. The sweet aromas are enticing and subtle rather than candy coated. The first sip has a pleasant sweetness of hearty brown sugar. The hoppy ending is fantastic. The warmth of the alcohol compliments the whole experience provided by this fine barley wine. The finish is smooth without a syrupy viscosity.

Photo of BeerAdvocate
4.2/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From BeerAdvocate Magazine Volume II, Issue IV:

Interesting, a twist-off bomber, you don't see that too often. The lacing drapes on the glass all the way down with a cobweb pattern. Clear and glowing tawny color. Deep aromas of caramel, golden raisins, roasted apples and a minty citric hop. Big, thick, creamy full body, some smoothness off of the moderate level of carbonation. Rich bread and caramel maltiness up front, hops come in strong, but are not overbearing and balance everything well. The hop bitterness couples with the warm peppery alcohol and yields a slight sharp tone in the middle. Bit of bread crust, raisin and ripe plum present. The alcohol is very warming, but not hot. Citric and mint hop flavors go well together and linger far into the bittersweet finish.

A solid Barleywine--balanced even with the semi-aggressive hop presence thrown at us. High regards for this beer within its style, which is without a doubt right on target.

Photo of blitz134
3.91/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Received in a trade from jayjaye. He has been my Southern Tier hookup lately. Much appreciated.

Clear body with a dark garnet color. Light tan head on top. An inch thick initially but reduced to a quarter inch of foam that reaches up towards the edges of the glass to hold on. Pretty nice.

Lots of hops and sweet simple sugar syrup. Not really caramel too much in the sweetness but more of a cherry lifesaver fruitiness. Hops are floral and a little citrusy. Flavor seems a bit subdued, good but not bursting forth from the glass.

Flavor is pretty good, quite hoppy again. Citrus hops predominately with some pine aspects. Malts are caramelly but has some sweet bread as well. Has some dark fruitiness too, a little raisin and other dark fruit hints. Pretty good. Not the most complex, but a solid offering. A little hints of alcohol, but works well in this.

Mouthfeel is medium or so. Coats the mouthwell and the flavor lingers. Low carbonation level.

Good drinkability. A solid barleywine offering. Not the most complex, but good. Bigfoot'ish in its hoppiness.

Photo of lordofthewiens
4.32/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From a bomber, poured into a snifter. The beer was a garnet color with a fairly small white head. The aroma was pleasantly fruity, with a hint of spice. The taste followed form. The alcohol was warming without being intrusive. Very nice beer. I imagine it would cellar well.

Photo of generallee
4.65/5  rDev +16%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Presentation: It was poured from tap into a small (10 or 12oz) nonic pint glass and served right at the brewery in there own bar The Empty Pint.

Appearance: A small finger of just off white head sits on top of a mahogany reddish brown colored beer. The body looks thick and blurry when held up to the light. Its head quickly fades to a slick ring of lace.

Smell: In the nose I get a big blast of sweet, rich, bready and somewhat fruity malt. Hops can also be found in the nose and they add just a touch of citrus.

Taste/Palate: The flavor is like caramel covered raisins and baked apples with hints of plum and nectarine wrapped up in sweet bready and pie crust like maltiness. Add to this a nice warm boozy character and some mellow hops with modest notes of citrusy grapefruit rind and herbal bitterness. It feels quite firm on the palate and smooth but still lightly carbonated. (slow sipper)

Notes: When I think Barley Wine, this is about what I think of. It has loads of malt complexity first, which is then backed up with hops. Backburner is a very enjoyable Barley Wine!!!

Photo of Billolick
4.23/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bomber bottle, (gotta love 22 ounce bombers of Barley wine!, I remember the days of 7.5 ounce Old "Crusties...") this one pours a rich, dark honey tone of amber. seems pretty clear and it supports a long lasting dark tan head, that slowly goes holey and leaves tons of sticky sheeting and dense lacing. Nose is of dark toast, brandy and some alcohol. This is a very tasty, full bodied, malty BWine. Rich and smooth and thoroughly dangerous at 10%. Real nice winter beer/sipper from STBC, go get some and enjoy with care!

Photo of tigg924
3.55/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Appearance: minimal head, moderate carbonation, orange-brown, slightly cloudy

Smell: pineapple, pine, malt, hops, and dark fruit

Taste: hops, alcohol, sweet dried fruit, pine, caramel, and malt

Mouthfeel: harsh/bitter first sip then smooth with a bitter aftertaste, medium heavy in body

Drinkability: One is enough for me. This one definately lands on the bitter side of barleywines. This does have a good flavor combination and the alcohol is not hidden. To me this is not as experimentive as other barleywines I have tried.

Photo of badbeer
4.26/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Really dark red with an off-white head that has excellent retention and lacing. Sweet caramel, dark fruits, and toffee are balanced with piney and orange-y hops in the nose. Sweet malt all over the tongue; caramel, dark fruit, and a large amount of bitter, but flavorful hops come through with some pineapple and tangerine. This drinks incredibly smooth to me with a full body and about medium carbonation. I'll be getting more of this.

Photo of Mora2000
4.2/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer pours a reddish-amber color with a white head. The aroma is caramel, malt, pine and citrus hops. There is a great combination of fruit and malts that I really love in a barleywine. The flavor is caramel malt with a good amount of piney hops. Very soft mouthfeel and low carbonation.

Photo of 1Adam12
4/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Orangish red, burgundy color, not much head. Sticky lacing, just not much of it. Smells very sweet. Figs, grapes, currants, strawberry, just very sweet. Taste is similar. Too sweet IMO. Good, just too sweet. Very nice fruity flavor, not much booziness to it. Mouthfeel is nice. Almost no carbonation, slightly creamy. Solid 4's all the way around. Overall, despite my score, there's just nothing special or memorable about this. It's nice, but nothing stands out to tell me "you have to buy this again".

Photo of Stonebreaker
3.9/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Appearance: A very nice looking beer. Good creamy head, dark amber color.

Smell: Unfermented malt sugars, not raisiny so much but some sort of dried fruit, perhaps figs, caramel sugars blah blah blah.

Taste and Mouthfeel: Slightly thin for the style, sweet malt with a nice warming alcohol effect, caramel, figs. It's a smooth operator to an extent, here I am at the end of a bomber and I'm feelin it. A good beer, but not an outstanding one.

Drinkability: It's a barleywine people, act accordingly.

Photo of dogfishandi
3.62/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22oz bottle about room temp poured into ordinary kitchen glass. split with a friend. im thinking this is the 2011 vintage, but could easily be the 2010 (bought at wegmans, dont think they push much of this beer)

pours out a clear deep red color. one finger of light tan colored head that faded to just a very thin retentive layer. no lace.

in the aroma, big doses of burnt candied caramel, toffee, a little buttery, (english yeast), woody hops, and just very light hints of dark fruits.

pretty much the same taste as the aroma suggests. burnt candied caramel apple, buttery, woody hops, not much bitterness, but a good amount of heat. burnt sugar in the finish.

big sticky body, maybe a little more carbonation than i would want in a BW.

for me, this is definatly more of an english barlywine, no real aggresive hops and lots of english yeast characteristics (toffee, buttery). not something i would really come back to in a hurry, but id like to try it again, maybe a little colder next time.

Photo of MattyG85
4.4/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a 22 oz. bottle into a Surly Darkness chalice glass.

Appearance: Pours a very deep copper with hints of ruby red. Moderate amount of bubbles. Big three finger off white head which slowly recedes into a thin creamy layer. Leaves a lot of lacing around the glass.

Smell: A big sweet malty caramel aroma with good hints of hops and oak. Toasted bready malts with big hints of sweet caramel, toffee, biscuit, grains, and yeast. Hints of oak chips and wood. Solid hop profile with earthy hints of grass, pine, and a floral perfume like scent. Hints of citrus orange and grapefruit. Also hints of apple along with dark cherry, fig, and raisin. Sweet burnt brown sugar is in the mix as well as soon booze. A pretty solid rich aroma.

Taste: Like the aroma previews, a big rich taste of caramel malt, oak, hops, dried fruits, and booze. Sweet toasted malts with notes of caramel, toffee, grains, bready biscuit, and yeast. Taste of oak and wood. Brown sugar sweetness. Big hop kick with notes of grass, pine, and a floral, herbal hop taste. Citrus taste of orange peel and grapefruit. Dried apple taste. Undertones of dark fruit with notes of dried cherry, raisin, and fig. Some alcohol is also noticeable in the taste. A very rich and good Barley Wine taste with a good balance.

Mouthfeel: Full bodied with a moderate amount of carbonation. Creamy, rich, and fairly chewy. Finishes dry. Alcohol heat is felt as expected but it isn't too hot.

Overall: A really good Barley Wine. Good bold mix of sweet malt, hops, oak, and fruit esters.

Photo of jazzyjeff13
3.58/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A 650ml bottle with no visible BB date. Purchased ages ago from a webshop. This bottle is old; I've had it for nigh on two years and it may have been out of date even before then. Mostly stored in my garage. The label describes it as an American take on the British barleywine.

Poured into a Duvel tulip (twice). Bottle conditioned. A deep reddish-amber hue with faint haze and light carbonation. Produces a large head of creamy off-white foam that lasts for a few minutes before subsiding to a patchy surface layer. Aroma of sweet, heavily oxidised malt with a fruity character. Hints of caramel, grain, sherry/port, brown sugar, dried fruit, subtle pine, stewed hops, faint yeast and a serious whiff of booze. Rich and slightly cloying.

Tastes of sweet, fruity malt with a hoppy finish. Notes of caramel, grain, sherry, raisins, dried fruit, brown sugar, mild pine resin, faint weed, stewed hops and yeast esters. A warming whiff of alcohol lurks in the background, accompanied by a lingering sweetness and a hoppy bitterness upon swallowing. Mouthfeel is silky smooth with a light carbonation that suits the style. Lovely body that borders on unctuous, while tingly hop oils stimulate the palate. Aftertaste of sweet caramel malt, pine-laden hop notes, booze and a mild bitterness.

Despite the age of the bottle this is OK. Then again, I'd expect this style of beer to hold up reasonably well. It looks spot on, while the aroma and flavour are laden with sweet, oxidised malt, dried fruit and mild pine. Little in the way of aromatic hops but quite well balanced. Great body - just right. I reckon the booze helped to preserve this one. Not sure if this is produced anymore, but worth a punt if you come across it.

Photo of far333
4.07/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Served in a brandy snifter.

Murky chestnut colored with an inch high light brown thick head that slowly recedes leaving a ring of large bubbles around the inside edges of the glass.

Inviting and rich aroma of baked rhubarb, honey, ripe fruit and hoppy bitters.

Big flavor of fig and prune, some tangy cherry. Balance of caramel and hops upfront. Some molasses and roasty malt, punctuated by alcohol warmth, finishes with a flourish of hops. Mildly sweet. More prune in the finish.

Full mouthfeel, not too carbonated, thick. Just this side of syrupy. Pretty drinkable, but it's a sipper with all that vapor rising up.

Photo of BurgeoningBrewhead
4.55/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured bomber into 34oz mug. Clear orange/red with a moderate white head that sticks. Smells mostly of hops, but with a strong malt presence providing some bready scents. Taste is all over the place; smooth clean malt sweetness at first, then slightly minty hops, warming alcohol, and finally a slightly yeasty finish. This is a big beer; just what I'd expect a barleywine to be. Mouthfeel is full and a bit creamy, moderately carbonated.

Photo of WVbeergeek
4.67/5  rDev +16.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance is deep ruby almost a mahogany brown like color, with a large billowing beige head leaves fine bubbled lacing all around my glass with each sip in very even patterns. Aromatics are wonderful with layers of over ripened fruits reduced in a red wine with plums, raisins, and figs really standing out. Sweet waves of malts arise with hidden layers of hops I'm getting pine and citrus mainly, but the hop profile is so well played here. Flavors blend so harmoniously with abrasive big hop additions leaving slick bitterness throughout each sip, and big chewy malt layers of caramelized brown sugar with fruit additions again naming the figs, raisins, and plums. Complex hoppy flavors blend into the huge malt profile with herbal, citric, and coniferous qualities. A great barleywine as complex as all hell while still remaining painfully drinkable. Mouthfeel is huge with residual sugars sticking to the palate the hop oils from the boil and dry hopping really help lubricate things a bit. Carbonation is dead on even with every sip yet there's enough to send hop burps your way, like I said big chewy body. Drinkability is amazing especially for a barleywine at 10% I could get mangled on this brew without ever realizing my glass was being emptied. Even if your not into the bigger beers this one forms it's own path and really opens my eyes, well made I definitely applaud Southern Tier's latest efforts with all of the Imperials. By the way this was in a 22ounce bottle with a twist cap, WTF? Picked it up in Boardman, OH at Vintage Estate for 6.99 easily would have paid 13 without thinking it over down here in the Burgh thank god for Ron Bush and company. This was one of the Southern Tier's I never found in the Burgh.

Photo of rhoadsrage
4.33/5  rDev +8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

(Served in a snifter)

A- This beer has a warm deep reddish-brown body with a sea of tiny bubbles. There is a sticky light tan head that makes sheets of foam on the glass after each sip.

S-The sweet slightly floral smell of caramel malt has a cream note to it with a faint watermelon smell that soon blooms into a musty green pungent hop nose.

T- The taste of sweet caramel malt has some notes of dark caramel malt sweetness in the background followed by a spicy hop finish with some earthy pine hops. The hop bitterness along with the malt sweetness both linger a bit after the finish.

M- This beer has a medium-full mouthfeel with a creamy texture and no real alcohol heat.

D-The malt flavors are robust and the hops flavors are just as robust and more complex. This is a nice hoppy beer to sip by the fire on those subzero nights.

Photo of pwoods
3.93/5  rDev -2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

22oz. brown bomber poured into a snifter. Notes.

A: Deep mohagony pour, completely opaque. Shortish light tan head on the pour with good retention. Nice lacing.

S: Super sweet malts with dense bready aromas. Hops are light but present and floral. Just a touch of alcohol in the nose.

T/M: Sweet malts with a great alcohol complexity. Hops are a bit bigger with a nice bitterness and a citrus twist. Dense dark moist bread and dark fruits. Body is nearly full and a bit chewy.

D: Big beer but still drinkable fresh. Definitely have to take your time, though.

Photo of Wedgie28
4.02/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

This is good stuff. Cool color - HTML #43104 or so, transparency 95.

Minute foam that follows the beer to the bottom of the glass.

I eat barley in soup sometimes and I like it. I drink barley in beer sometimes and like it and this is one of the best beers with barley in it so far. So I really like it. You should get some.

This is strong but doesn't taste strong. Get a girl two glasses and she'll like you afterwards.

Shankque'!

Photo of jmz62565
4.11/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer pours a clear dark burnt reddish/orange with a large tan head. The head is long lasting and leaves good lacing. The smell is lighter than I expected,but there is some hop and dark fruit aromas. The taste is very good,almost Bigfoot like, with bitter hops,dark fruit,cherry,vanilla, and an oak woodiness. The m/f is medium with all the flavors mixing well. What can I say? This is a damn good beer from a brewery that produces some kickass beers.

Photo of asabreed
4/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bomber into a Brooklyn snifter / tulip or whatever they call it.

Appearance: Beautifully amber. Nice lacing, with sometimes a soapy feel, sometimes hugely billowing. All depending on the pour and swirl.

Smell: Nothing transcendent, but everything's nice. A good balanced between caramelized sugars and citrus hops. A bit of vanilla, some fruit esters and candied fruit, mild tobacco and chocolate as it warms.

Taste: I feel like this sucker in bourbon barrels would take off to new depths. But that said, good caramelized fruit and citrus hops balanced by some sweeter vanilla and other fruit esters. Long finish with some good stuff to admire, and good things to go back to. Not as much of a hop bite as I expected, which makes me wonder how much it will mellow out even more with aging.

Mouthfeel: Near-full and a bit welcomingly sticky, if you will. Coating. Not a lot of carbonation, but there doesn't need to be.

Drinkability: Again, far from transcendent, but I enjoyed every sip of this, and it's really hard to go wrong with picking it up. Thankfully, it's not as super-hopped as a lot of American Barley Wines can be, which is nice, since I'm more of a fan of the English style. But there's enough going on, enough booze, and enough flavor to keep me happy, and another beer from ST that keeps the ante high.

Photo of Stigs
3.88/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

bomber, poured into a mini Chimay goblet...sampling about 8oz of this

A - poured a thin layer of offwhite foam which sped away quickly. the liquid is a cloudy very dark burnt amber. looks like just about every other barleywine ive ever had.

S - loads and loads of dark fruits...fresh grapes, raisins, also apricots. some brown sugar thrown in as well.

T - more of the fruits, but throw in more sweetness and also a pleasantly surprising chocolate near the end. very small amount of hops creep in near the end and also some citrus here and there. great balance.

M - sticky, real sticky. pleasant aftertaste, and just about perfect carbonation...maybe the tiniest bit overdone and a tad bit thin.

D - not a huge fan of barleywines, but liked this. alcohol is very well hidden, the taste isnt too over the top with sweetness, and a pleasant mouthfeel. another pleasing release from Southern Tier.

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Backburner (Imperial Barley Wine Style Ale) from Southern Tier Brewing Company
90 out of 100 based on 880 ratings.