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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
89
very good

501 Reviews
THE BROS
94
outstanding

(Read More)
Reviews: 501
Hads: 885
rAvg: 3.99
pDev: 9.52%
Wants: 74
Gots: 103 | 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: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Backburner (Imperial Barley Wine Style Ale) Alström Bros
Reviews: 501 | Hads: 885
Photo of NewGeneric
4.5/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Thanks to the city of Chicago for hookin it up.
Poured into my Duvel tulip.

A: Deep ruby hue topped with beige head that recedes quickly and leaves scattered lacing around the glass. Minimal foam resides on top.

S: Very hop forward with serious, earthy hops followed by mountains of caramel goodness. There is some toastiness and mild dark fruits present as well. Quite pleasant.

T: Mild earthy hop bite up front, succeeded by extreme malt. Holy cow! This is a malt bomb! Sweet, sweet caramel dominates. Very good.

M: Really nice body, and almost no noticeable alcohol though. Bitterness and carbonation seem to be almost perfect. Incredible feel for a barleywine.

D: Mmm...what else can I say? (699 characters)

Photo of tavernjef
4.5/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Gorgeously dark and deep burnt orangey brown. Firm smallish capping of lightly yellowish foam sits for good length before settling to a soild skim and a big bubbly collar. Tons of thinly placed sheeting which breaks apart into some webby strings and moth holes.

Lofty aroma of big caramel malts parched with orangified piney hops and toasted breads. A bit of soft berries, molasses, raisin, and fig grows as it sits.

Taste is just as good if not better and carries a very fine complexity to its flavor profile. Big on malts with some soft, soothing caramel mixed with alot of dark fruity acsents of fig, raisin, and berries. Semi tangy and sweet with a soft, silky, smooth body that's delicately malty rich and thick with just the perfect amount of warmth off the end to round it off as a partial hop tone comes into play. Only a slight bittering bite of orange peel and pine nudges at the palate as it maintains its big malty profile and deep richness settling into the finish. Quite complex with some hints to brown sugar, vanilla, pear, and a whole lot of raisinyness. A bit of toasted grain moves across the finish as it warms with just right kind of Barleywine ABV hint as it finishes.

Soft, full, rounded, thick, and rich body, not overly hefty nor hoppy and keeps a nice tone and malty creamyness and chewyness the whole way through. Oh, and the finish is just as soft and alluringly delicate as the rest of its nature with its small amount of warmth floating in over the maltitude of sweetness. Nice...

A pretty fuckin' solid Barleywine by Southern Tier. This will age well for those of you who do that sort of thing. But I found this fairly fresh bottle of Backburner to be dead-on, super nice, and yummalishious!! Brings memories of Old Guardian...when I can get it?!

Another big thanks to JoeyBeerBelly for the recent hook up of East Coast goodies! (1,865 characters)

Photo of JoeyBeerBelly
4.5/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22 oz twist top bomber, served in a goblet.

A - chestnut brown/red hue color with a tan head that lasted a little while, leaving some lacing.

S - sweet raisin/date/fig aroma.

T - very good tasting brew, sweet at first, rich malty flavors, hop taste kicks in after the swallow.

M - medium/full bodied, good carbonation, sweet aftertaste.

D - goes down very easy, an all around very good barley wine. (413 characters)

Photo of tekn0ph1sh
4.5/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I really liked this Barley Wine. However it was my first so I really didn't have a lot to go on.

It poured a brownish ruby color in a tulip glass. It had little to no head and almost no lacing.

It was a very pleasant tasty sweet beer that went down easy. The alcohol was well masked. I even tasted it warmed up. A friend of mine received a glass of it as a miss pour and did not care for it so he pushed it over to me. Even after sitting 30-40 minutes in a bar in FL without the AC on it was still very tasty.

I went to see if I could procure a couple of bottles of this and unfortunately there were none to be had.

Definitely a do again. (646 characters)

Photo of Gehrig
4.5/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I stopped by the great Neil St. Piccadilly on a whim tonight, and I'm awfully glad I did. Back Burner in the bomber bottle was in, perched next to Big Red and Unearthly, and deserved a shot. Great beer.

A dense, durable finger of off-white foam topped a rich mahogany body in the trusty Duvel tulip. Snowy lacing on the tulip seals the deal for a terrific appearance. Good smell, rather malty, lots of caramel, berry, and coffee--delicious. Great taste, viscous, sweet and sour, bold malty flavor--wonderful barleywine. It's nicely hopped as well, almost wet-hopped in taste and texture. Hops definitely take charge in the second half of Back Burner in taste and mouthfeel.

Outstanding barleywine, delicious, flavorful, and brawny--one of the best I've had, and one of the best from Southern Tier. Outstanding. (812 characters)

Photo of tprokop7
4.49/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Reviewing this one from the Dive Bar. Poured from the tap into a snifter. I had a bottle the other day, and I was excited when I saw it on the chalkboard.

A - Pours copper with a one finger whitish head.

S - Smells sweet and hoppy. Definate bitterness, with some floral and citrus as the main influences.

T - Nice, sweet flavor quickly backed up with floral hops.

M - Smooth, with pleasant moderate carbonation.

D - This one really wins here. Despite the high abv, it goes down smooth and pleasant overall. I've always thought ST's regular offerings were pretty average, but I've loved their bigger stuff so far. (617 characters)

Photo of 2378GCGTG
4.47/5  rDev +12%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22oz bottle (aged 2 years @ ~50 degrees) poured into a Duvel tulip

Appearance: Dark gold/ Amber brown color, big eggshell colored bubbles with lacing that drips down the glass

Nose: Malty, toffee, caramel, light fruit notes like apricots

Taste: The apricots come through with a fantastic caramel and roasted malt backbone. Finish is piney and citrus from a the hops, the bitterness has faded perfectly well to support the beer.

Mouth: Velvetty and smooth, the alcohol taste that was there fresh is gone. This feels like silk on the tongue.

Overall: Bought 2 of these 2 years ago, and thought it would age ok, I am pleasantly surprised with this beer. Fresh isn't nearly as good as this, which has allowed the fruit to come out and the alcohol taste to settle down. (769 characters)

Photo of biegaman
4.47/5  rDev +12%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Iron red oxide with the slimmest bronzing trim. The beer is stainlessly clear although its deep tone yields distorted transparency. Nevertheless, its complexion is brilliant and its body glows. Despite the bare center, a sandy fence of lace has mushroomed up along its perimeter and serves to fatten up the otherwise barren surface of the beer.

The beer is brewed with Amarillo, Willamette, Chinook and Centennial - if there is a better cast of hops I'd like to know about it. Let me tell you - this smells wonderful. It's an ambrosial, leafy, pine-scented bouquet with a backdrop of scorched caramel and singed bread crust. It is as sticky sweet and tree sappy bitter as any American barleywine I've come across.

Big fat hop cones ladled with caramel and finally dipped in chocolate - this is the delicious profile of Southern Tier's barleywine. The hops really do play an unmistakable role contributing notes of spice, pine, and above all else dried citruisy fruit. What a power struggle between hops and malt! It has caramel crusted toffee wafers coated with citrus zest. It's an ultra-hoppy flavour that indulges the taste buds without numbing them.

Please, defined "drinkability" for me. Granted, this sample has had just about two years to mellow in the cellar but it is as smooth and quaffable of a 10% beer as you can expect to ever find. I don't believe that barleywines should necessarily be meant to be quaffable in this sense, but the fact that Back Burner is means that it's disappearing from the glass at a much faster pace than was expected.

And why wouldn't it? Like its supposed 85 IBU's, the alcohol is scarcely noted. The bottle could read 7% and I'd believe it; the alcohol plays no real factor in determining drinkability. The beer drinks like a sweet caramel-hop smoothie with the taste of biscuits and pine lingering pleasantly. Notes of candied-fruits and caramelized malts please the palate without overwhelming it. Each sip simply entices you more so to take the next.

Southern Tier had already proven to me that they could swim in high gravity waters but their barleywine certainly confirms that. Anything they release in a 650ml bottle is well worth picking up. I'm reminded of a few reputable West Coast offerings but wonder if even they are as good as the drink left in front of me. Back Burner is so aggressively hopped yet balanced with such finesse, I must recommend this to any fan of the style. (2,439 characters)

Photo of albertjr21
4.47/5  rDev +12%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Vintage 2011 bottle served in a snifter on 7-20-12:

A deep ruby color and syrupy looking consistency flirts almost into brown under a thin but resilient light beige froth. A delicious sweet aroma of caramel and luscious toasted bready malt delights the nose with a sugary raisin candy allure. I'm unsure as to how much has been going on in the bottle for the past year because I shamefully admit to having never tried a young version of this. But I can tell you that there is a very nice harmony of flavors bleeding into each other on the palate. Deep jammy earthy raisin fruit, caramel, and roasted grainy bread glide across the palate into pleasantly resinous sticky fruit bitterness. A little bit of pungent grape dryness in the finish as well. Enjoyed with a Blue Cheese D'Auvergne and thin sliced fresh Italian bread. (823 characters)

Photo of animalchin
4.45/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

22oz bottle with no date. Purchased from Wegmans 3/16/11.

A - A dark amber/slight beige body with a nice lingering tan head that turns into a thinner film. Haven't seen a barley wine this light in color before. A lot of light passes through, even in a darker environment (it's cloudy out today.)

S - Very strong esters upfront - very sweet. More plum and black cherry follows up with almost no alcohol apparent at all.

T - This may be one of the sweeter barley wines I have tasted. Some slight bitterness upfront, but then this breaks down into sweeter parts, once again with dark fruits in mix. Not a single sign of hops, but definitely picking up a robust malt character that clings to the fruitiness.

M - Served at a warmer temperature, the body is heavy and cream like. Thicker than expected - a big add on to the already robust nature of the brew.

O - Simply a wonderful work. The label says this is rarely made at the brewery, but I hope this is reconsidered. Certainly more than worth a try. (1,005 characters)

Photo of jdhilt
4.45/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours a two finger light tan head that faded quickly to a thin layer leaving some lace. Hazy amber color. Good carbonation and medium bodied. Caramel nose. Flavor is caramel and some molasses and alcohol. $6.49 for a 22oz bottle from Manchester Wine and Liquors Manchester, CT. (277 characters)

Photo of ThatWineGuy
4.45/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This large bottle aged two years in biegaman's cellar, thanks for sharing. Pours a murky, caramel brown with tan head that settled in short order, wispy streaks remain with minor lacing and a ring. Sweet caramel-molasses nose, malts, a fleeting malty aroma interspersed with a hoppy backdrop yet present. Taste is sweet, bitter, sticky toffee with a long finishthat pleases. Smooth texture in the mouth, somewhat like a sherry but then a viscosity that says big time barley wine. This is not my favourite beer style but one I respect when it's done right and this is certainly one of the finer I've come across, exceedingly drinkable. The alcohol can't be denied yet it blends well and is not overpowering. The hops not yet faded, they flirt with the malty backdrop teasing your tastebuds with a complex structure that flirts with your palate. Barley wines are never to be rushed and while this is worth savoring, I found myself unalbe to put the glass down for very long. Well done, another winner from Southern Tier. (1,018 characters)

Photo of gkatsoris
4.45/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Deep brown in color w/ a reddish hue w/ no haze. Big foamy head that took over 5 min to dissolve. Not too much lacing left on the glass (tulip glass).

S: Lots of hops for a barleywine. Cherries. Raisins. Some alcohol is evident. Some wood too.

T: Holy Balanced! Perfect malts and hops (imo). Delicious. This is absolutely delicious. Cherries and vanilla. Raisins. Not too sweet or bitter. No alcohol taste (even though you can smell it right before you drink it). Again, lots of malts and hops and cherries.

M: Very thin. Not as chewy as I like my brews. Also a little high in the carbonation.

D: I could drink this year round, day or night. Very well crafted barleywine. Man have I been missing out. (708 characters)

Photo of aerozeppl
4.45/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: A very dark brown color with quite a bit of red highlights. An impressive half finger of slightly off white head as well. Excellent lacing that was the first indication of how hoppy this beer is.

S: Hops. Just a wonderfully pungent hop nose. You do get quite a bit of malt and even a hint of raisins and molasses but damn was this hoppy.

T: Just a nice hoppy American barley wine. Tons of piney citrus hops. The malt was interesting in that there was quite a bit of other elements besides just the sweetness. Some dark fruit towards the end. Really nice and complex.

M: Heavy side of medium bodied that was fairly heavy on the tongue.

D: Damn this was quite a bit better on tap than it was in the bottle. The hops really shone though. It is a damn shame that we cannot get more Southern Tier stuff on tap being in the same state. (836 characters)

Photo of bgjohnston
4.44/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

While this looked like it would be an "o.k" beer, it turned out to be much better than expected. Bottle indicates it is a 2007, so about 2 years old as it passes into history.

My lowest mark for this beer is appearance. Has hardly any head and is a murky, cloudy brown. It nonetheless looks pretty much like a barleywine should, and has smooth, foamy carbonation with each sip.

The smell made me excited to sip it, and the taste delivered in a solid way. The aroma of sweetness and spice is true to the flavor. Maybe because it has some age on it, I actually would have pegged this as an English style barleywine if tasting blind, as there is no hop attack like a Bigfoot. Maybe it is a misconception on my part, but I expect American style barleywines to have more of a sharp hop bite. Maybe the age of this particular one made it into what it is now. There is just enough of a hop presence to spice up the sweetness of the malt, which has a very agreeable caramel/vanilla flavor to it.

Even if I wanted to, I couldn't mark it any lower for mouthfeel or drinkability. It is a 10% beer and a big bottle, to boot. That said, I could easily drink it way too fast, even with its full, satisfying mouthfeel.

I have previously been disappointed with other Southern Tier offerings, but they made good on all promises with this one. (1,329 characters)

Photo of jwff
4.43/5  rDev +11%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a glowing ruby/light brown with a nice white head. Great clarity. Pepper and fresh citrus stand out from the northwest hops with a hint of sweet malt and some caramel.

Hops and malt are incredibly balanced. A lot more mellow than I would have guessed at 85 IBUs. Grapefruit rind mixes with some light malt and caramel. Prickly hop flavor, but never bitter. The caramel is more pronounced than in the smell and gives it a nice balance. Peppery end with a little breadiness. All the flavors are extremely subtle and play off each other nicely. No trace of alcohol or heat anywhere in this beer. Sticky finish.

Rich mouthfeel that borders on thick but holds back just enough. Coats the mouth but without any slickness. Perfect for the size of this beer. This beer is fairly unique to me as an American barley wine. It has the IBUS, but it doesn't have the harsh bitter hops like Old Ruff, and doesn't have the boldness in ingredients like a Bigfoot. Just an extremely pleasant and light (for 10%) brew. Great offering from the North East. (1,048 characters)

Photo of GONZALOYANNA
4.42/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

1pt bottle.Snifter glass.Enjoyed on jun´11.Bright brownish copper color.Foggy.Yellowish beige crown.Fairly well retention.Intense sweet malt aromas involving fruity notes.Flavor: Esters give us a miscelaneous of berries,citrics & apricot,orange hues too.Dry sweet bitter mouthfeel.Full body,correct carbonation.Sweety aftertaste while kind warming alcohol lingers through it.Very well balanced beer.A pretty nice drinkability. A TOP ONE! (438 characters)

Photo of DrDemento456
4.42/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Solid dark amber with just a half inch of foamy white head.

S - Smells like a nice dry hopped barleywine. Citrus rind with a sweet strong malt base and a bit of brown sugar goodness.

T - Wow who knew a little bit of dry hopping can make such a strong great tasting barleywine? Great hop presence of grapefruit and citrus along side of a great malt base. Sugar residue makes this beer have a sweet finish and hops strong enough to cover up the high ABV. Perfection.

M - Medium to heavy a definite sipper but easy sipper.

Overall it's a damn near perfect barleywine. Sweet, hoppy, and delicious. With an 8 dollar price tag it's not too expensive to enjoy on an occasion. Would recommend it to others. (706 characters)

Photo of YankChef
4.42/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22 oz. bomber poured into an oversized wine glass.

Appearance: Very, very dark brown almost a black/brown. Creamly slightly off-white head that dissipated quickly.Decent lacing

Smell: Very fruity. smelled of strawberries, peaces and cream, orange, bubble gum. Subtle smells of honey, brown sugar and a barely detecable odor of roasted malt.

Taste: Smell is misleading, this tastes like a barley wine not a fresh fruit tart! caramel and roasted malt upfront and certainly a bit of a hop punch from the 85 IBU's. Alcohol is certainly present in a pleasantly warming way, but in no way overpowering. Thiss beer tasted yong, could use some time.

Mouthfeel: Carbonation is certainly present but very mellow. Somewhat of a drying effect from the alcohol but not overwhelmingly so.

Overall: A very approachable barley wine. Not overly hoppy or alcoholic and very wel balanced. Certainly a sipper however. IF you like the style give this one a shot. (957 characters)

Photo of oelergud
4.42/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Standard 1 pint 6oz brown glass bottle with a pry-off cap. The label shows what I'm assuming is a back burner.
Caramel colored body with a nice tan creamy head that leaves good lace and stays well.
The scent is a delicious caramel covered hop cone and spice.
Excellent flavor of caramel malts and spiced hops, very similar to the scent. Great aftertaste of spicy and sweet hops.
Medium body with plenty of residual sugars and good coating.
Great drinkability, easy to enjoy, complex and long lasting.

-Oelergud (511 characters)

Photo of brentk56
4.42/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pours a caramel color with a very modest head that manages to dot the chalice with lace

Smell: Rich and deep aromatics, with fig and dates, treacle and a hint of piney hops

Taste: With a sweet treacle beginning, the dark fruits move to prominence by mid-palate, with a balancing earthy/piney bitterness as well; after the swallow, the flavors are nicely balanced and the finish is prolonged; almost like bread pudding in a bottle but with a bit of tobacco on the finish

Mouthfeel: Full bodied with low to moderate carbonation; some warmth in the gullet

Drinkability: A really fine, well-balanced barleywine (622 characters)

Photo of BeerTruth
4.42/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22 oz. bottle poured into a snifter.

Backburner pours a beautiful dark ruby with a generous head that dies down a bit slowly after pour. Lacing is very grainy with a medium stickiness. Smell is very hoppy which excites me when it comes to Barleywines. Very sharp citrus odor with a subtle malt undertone. You can definitely tell this is an American version. The taste of this barleywine is a powerful hop explosion of grapefruit/pine. A hint of malt in the aftertaste, just enough to make this very well balanced. Mouthfeel is a bit chewy but quite smooth. This goes down all too easy for a barleywine at 10% abv so take your time and enjoy this one. Definitely look forward to aging. Good work again Southern Tier, Keep it up. (728 characters)

Photo of jmacdaddy2008
4.42/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Tried a couple of the Southern Tier beers last night and I really like their imperial line.

Their Barley wine has a nice color. Deep amber with a thick head when dissipated it leaves some big bubbles and film on the side.

Has a strong smell of spiced fruits and malty richness. Gets better when warmed in my snifter.

Good full bodied taste, almost creamy feel on the palate. More of the spiced fruits and typical flavors of a strong Barely wine. Definite sipper, has a slight burn from alcohol, but still well hidden

Overall, this beer will only get better with time, but found it hard to age because of the good drink ability. (632 characters)

Photo of Snow81
4.41/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

Appearance: Red glow, so clean, no haze, no maltyness

Smell: Roosted malts, sweet grass, caramel hops off the nose

Head: Very small but last the life of the beer, light tan in color

Taste: Caramel with a deep rich citric, no heat is shown in the beer so drink it up now

Weight: Malty, nice and heavy

Finish: Stick, Stick, Stick to my lips with a bit of a Dark citric bitter in there (387 characters)

Photo of AdamBear
4.41/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A-dark cloudy chestnut brown with a thick cream colored head. the head stays and there's a good lacing that stays on the glass

S-really strong malts. small hint of caramel and grapes. this is a very strong scent.

T-mmm this is a good, complex beer. hits with a great amount of grainy caramel. then hits with a bomb of sweet malts. the after-taste is powerful and long lasting of caramel grains and some grapes. this beer is really good!

M-really good light to medium carbonation that is really creamy. finish is very smooth. its a thick beer but not too heavy for 10%

D-after my first few sips, i didn't think i'd be able to finish the bomber, not because of the taste but because of how thick the beer seemed. however, i found myself drinking this at quite a quick pace. the tastes toward the end do start to begin to fade together and it becomes less complex. Still at the end the bottle, i was very sad it was over (921 characters)

Backburner (Imperial Barley Wine Style Ale) from Southern Tier Brewing Company
89 out of 100 based on 501 ratings.