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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)

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
90
outstanding

856 Ratings
THE BROS
94
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 856
Reviews: 496
rAvg: 4.01
pDev: 10.47%
Wants: 63
Gots: 100 | FT: 6
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:
This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: BeerTruth on 04-02-2007)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Backburner (Imperial Barley Wine Style Ale) Alström Bros
Ratings: 856 | Reviews: 496 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Arknot
Arknot

Florida

4/5  rDev -0.2%

I'm loving this beer!
Appearance is dark amber with soft tan head.
Smell is caramel malt
Taste is buttery smooth caramel with very mild hop finish. Sweet upfront with a mostly dry finish.
Mouthfeel is buttery smooth and coating.
Overall, this really is a perfect straight up barley wine.
This beer doesn't try to blast you with hops, over malt, or burn you with alcohol. Its just a perfect smooth barley wine. Sometimes I like a beer that offers some thrills and I'll grab something from Stone or the likes. But if I want just a perfect rounded beer that simply tastes great and goes does perfect, Southern Tier is one of the best!

05-06-2011 23:14:22 | More by Arknot
Photo of Krakistophales
Krakistophales

California

4.33/5  rDev +8%

A: Pours a super dark, ruby red with about a finger's worth of off white head that recedes into a small bubble film.

S: Raisins, caramel, honey, malts, figs

T: An initial hit of dark fruit and roasted barley, followed by a bready, creamy middle that's followed by citrus hops and caramel in the finish.

M: Medium body, good carbonation, goes down well and the sweetness masks the alcohol well.

O: This is a very tasty brew. I swear, every single beer southern tier makes is sweeter than usual, but I enjoy all of them. I'm new to barleywines, only having had stone before this, so I'm very happy to be enjoying this brew.

05-06-2011 04:57:26 | More by Krakistophales
Photo of mikesgroove
mikesgroove

South Carolina

3.05/5  rDev -23.9%

Pours out a nice light brown color with a modest head of tan across the top that fades and leaves light lacing in its wake. Aroma is hot, loads of alcohol here with hints of caramel, lots of hops and a just a biting malt nose as well. Really a very odd profile from both sides. Very hot on the palate again with minimal balance to it, just seemed like it was terribly off balance. Flavors were all over the place with hints of everything but the kitchen sink and just an very hot, hoppy, dry finish that really did not work well for me at all.

Overall I was rather unimpressed here I have to admit. I had high hopes for this, but maybe a year or so will settle it down.

05-02-2011 00:13:38 | More by mikesgroove
Photo of metter98
metter98

New York

4.08/5  rDev +1.7%

A: The beer is clear amber in color and has a very slight amount of visible carbonation. It poured with a thin beige head that quickly died down leaving bits of lacing on the surface.
S: There are relatively sweet and moderately strong aromas of caramel and raisins in the nose.
T: The taste is very similar to the smell and is quite malty. Some notes of dark fruits are also perceptible.
M: It feels full-bodied and a bit sticky on the palate with a low to moderate amount of carbonation. There is warming from the alcohol in the finish.
O: The beer definitely feels strong from the warming sensations but the alcohol is very well hidden from both the smell and taste.

04-30-2011 02:30:35 | More by metter98
Photo of gopens44
gopens44

Virginia

3.58/5  rDev -10.7%

A- Somewhere between golden and orange. Hazy with a nice thick foamy creme colored head.

S - A ton of malt hits first with a twinge of honey sweetness following. I looked for hops but didn't find any.

T- Like the nose, malty and honey sweet with a grape taste as well. After a while a medicinal taste came through but not a ton of it. Just enough to notice.

M - Silky with not too much carbonation. Almost no aftertaste at all.

O - This came across a little more like an English barleywine in my opinion due to the lack of a predominant hop presence. Good beer but it lacked a tiny little "something" that I can't quite place...maybe it was the lack of hop taste after all...

04-27-2011 12:55:46 | More by gopens44
Photo of biglite351
biglite351

Pennsylvania

2.9/5  rDev -27.7%

A - cloudy golden honey with a tall creamy near white head.

S - sweet caramel, fruit and yeast. A non so bitter hop scent in the finish.

T - a hop hit up front that is pushed by a caramel and fruit flavor through the middle. Slight roasted after taste.

M - medium coating with a mild tingle on the sides of the tongue.

O - not bad but not my bag.

04-26-2011 21:45:16 | More by biglite351
Photo of tekn0ph1sh
tekn0ph1sh

Florida

4.5/5  rDev +12.2%

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.

04-26-2011 16:19:16 | More by tekn0ph1sh
Photo of BDTyre
BDTyre

British Columbia (Canada)

4.35/5  rDev +8.5%

Not too sure what an Imperial Barley Wine is, but okay. Nice coppery-mahogany colour with a thin, lacy cream coloured head.

Rich malts, wine and light spice in the nose. Very mild citrus. Nice mild coffee and brandy taste, hints of bread, spices and brown sugar. Hints of wine, cinnamon and raisins.

A bit light on the body, but the carbonation is good. I think the ABV is actually a bit low for the style, but that's not a bad thing.

04-26-2011 04:57:16 | More by BDTyre
Photo of bierguru
bierguru

Florida

2.98/5  rDev -25.7%

- clear amber body no head pours with a slight bubbly head but fades quick

- smells of rich dark fruits with a hop backbone

- big dark fruit sweetness right up front malty middle with a citrus hop ending maybe some slight cherry flavors no booze backbone

- slightly carbonated and some prickleness in the mouth

- decent beer not really the best american barleywine out there very mild in both flavors and booze flavor

04-17-2011 05:38:12 | More by bierguru
Photo of woosterbill
woosterbill

Kentucky

3.5/5  rDev -12.7%

On-tap at Cask Republic into a tulip.

A: Crystal clear ruby-brown body under a finger of tan foam. Great retention and lacing. Lovely.

S: Sweet, fruity caramel malt; dates, raisins, and citrus; spicy alcohol. Not great, but pretty good.

T: Dark fruits are dominant, followed by bready malts + citrus hops. Pretty tasty, but far from memorable.

M: Hugely carbonated, with soft fine bubbles exploding throughout the (maybe) medium body. Intense, but overdone.

O: I enjoyed this beer, but it doesn't really stand up well to the myriad of great barleywines available. While I was a fan of the citrus fruitiness of the hops, I didn't feel that they added enough hoppiness or bitterness to contrast meaningfully with the fruity sweetness of the malt. Completely solid, but completely forgettable.

Cheers!

04-15-2011 02:29:09 | More by woosterbill
Photo of augustgarage
augustgarage

California

3.83/5  rDev -4.5%

Courtesy of ShogoKawada (thanks!) - poured from a 22oz bomber into my Dogfish Head oversized snifter.

Sienna body with bronze highlights and a beige pearling collar and isthmus. Decent retention. Light lacing.

Malty aromatics with caramel, toffee, and a touch of sherry as well. Lightly herbal hop notes.

Zesty earthy hops with a touch of citrus throughout - but the sweetness from specialty malt and a touch of oxidation is paramount. Moderately bitter at times, though this is by no means a hop-bomb. There is a touch of fruit in the drying finish, though the caramel never abates entirely.

Medium-bodied with sufficient carbonation. ABV is well hidden.

Uncomplicated, slightly sweet barleywine.

04-13-2011 01:16:23 | More by augustgarage
Photo of renniksdb
renniksdb

Kentucky

4.13/5  rDev +3%

Dark, clear mahogany appearance. Little to no head.

Has a light citrus (grapefruit) scent. Definite aromatic hop presence.

Medium body. Not syrupy, but noticeably thicker.

On first sip, it starts out sweet with a mix of oaken caramel malt and sweet grapefruit. Then goes to bitter citrus and finishes up with a sweet, mellow aftertaste. A good mix. Without the bitter break it might be too much sweet.

Though it weighs in at just over 9%, for a Barley wine it doesn't have a very alcoholic bite. I'd say that's neither good nor bad...just something I noticed.

Certainly a well done brew. Seems like it would go well with more hearty and savory dishes, or at least something to counter the strong, sweet character of the beer.

04-11-2011 01:43:53 | More by renniksdb
Photo of BEERMILER12
BEERMILER12

Maine

4.03/5  rDev +0.5%

A: Pours a nice ruby/brown color with 2 fingers worth of head that leaves some nice lacing

S: I'm picking up some sweetness along with malts and other than that, not much at all. Possibly some faint hoppiness

T: Same as the smell, an overload (not in a bad way, though) of malty sweetness. Alcohol is nowhere to be seen behind the sweetness. It's a good thing I like sweet beers, or else this one might get cloyingly sweet

M: Thick and heavy, with medium carbonation. Coats the mouth with sugary sweetness, although it's not as bad as some of their blackwater series

D/O: One is definitely enough because of the sweetness and abv, but other than that, this is a great barleywine. I'm not sure how this would age, I'm afraid it might get even sweeter. Drink this one up for sure

04-08-2011 00:42:27 | More by BEERMILER12
Photo of birderbeerer
birderbeerer

Virginia

3.58/5  rDev -10.7%

Light brown beer with a light and tall, frothy head.

Smells like a super sweet beer. No hop scent. Just caramelized malts over and over.

The taste is almost cloyingly sweet. Not quite, but it's close. It just seems like it's an overboard barleywine. No hops are present in the taste. Just a big bucket of sweetness.

04-05-2011 01:32:42 | More by birderbeerer
Photo of DrDemento456
DrDemento456

Pennsylvania

4.43/5  rDev +10.5%

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.

04-04-2011 20:10:23 | More by DrDemento456
Photo of BeerLover99
BeerLover99

Illinois

4.25/5  rDev +6%

A: deep cardinal red body, fluffy 2 finger head, towering white lacing throughout.

S: big malt aroma, fine spice, citrus dancing in glass

T: malt smooth punch up front, long slow mild bitter big BOOZY finish.

M: medium/heavy, smooth semi-chewy mouth.

O: Southern Tier makes nice bombers, this is delicious Barleywine. It is one of my favorite beer styles. This is quite good, not world class, but you could do much worse.

ENJOY!

03-30-2011 16:54:23 | More by BeerLover99
Photo of cjgator3
cjgator3

Florida

4.15/5  rDev +3.5%

22oz bottle

A- Poured into a tulip glass. Pours a dark amber color with an off-white head with great retention and lacing.

S- The aroma is a lot of malt like I expect in a goodn barleywine and fresh hops. 

T- The taste like the aroma has a ton of rich malty flavors up front. The finish features some bitterness from the hops and a good amount of lingering warmth from the alcohol in the finish.

M- The mouthfeel is fantastic. It is medium bodied with a perfect amount of carbonation creating a perfect texture.

O- Overall, Southern Tier Backburner is a fine barleywine. It is a little maltier than most barleywines made here in the states, but it is deliciously crafted. I'm interested in seeing how this one ages as well. Recommended!

03-26-2011 03:26:08 | More by cjgator3
Photo of vfgccp
vfgccp

New York

3.3/5  rDev -17.7%

A - Medium maple syrup color with a thin white head and ok lace.

S - Oak, booze, hints of brown sugar.

T - Smooth sweetness. Mild dried fruit character, but mostly oak and brown sugar that came through in the nose. Warm booze through the finish.

M - Medium body with a sweet finish.

O - OK flavors, but the booze is a bit astringent.

03-22-2011 13:18:09 | More by vfgccp
Photo of Blakaeris
Blakaeris

Iowa

4.38/5  rDev +9.2%

Pours brilliantly clear ruby red. Head is dense and crisply white, dissipating slowly and leaving sheets of sticky lacing. Certainly one of the most attractive beers I've seen.

Aroma rich caramel malt sweetness. Hints of brown sugar, and a nice bit of plum and date dark fruit. Only a slight alcohol heat.

Taste is similar to the nose. Bready caramel malt and bunt toffee up front. More of the plum, raisin, and date dark fruit. Finishes with a dry cedar quality, and an earthy bitterness that brings some balance to the sweetness.

Mouthfeel is medium-full. Extremely soft and silky.

Surprisingly malty, very smooth and drinkable. The caramel and dark fruit notes are outstanding when matched with the dry woody earthy bitterness. A winner.

03-22-2011 01:24:20 | More by Blakaeris
Photo of bashiba
bashiba

Iowa

4.4/5  rDev +9.7%

Poured a very nice shade of copper with deep clear ruby highlights and a light off white head that lingered for quite a while with some light lacing.

The smell has a great big toasted and bready malt nose, slightly sweet with a hint of maple.

The flavor is very mild for a big barleywine. Sweet and mapley with some nice big sourdough bread flavors and some light molasses.

The mouthfeel is suprisingly light bodied for the size of the beer with light carbonation and just a touch of alcohol heat.

Very nice Barleywine, I think I generally prefer this big malty style version vs. some of the more common barely hop monsters.

03-22-2011 01:09:18 | More by bashiba
Photo of YouSkeete
YouSkeete

Massachusetts

3.95/5  rDev -1.5%

A: deep and full reddish mahogany with a brown tint. Practically no head, with bubbly edges. moderate lacing.

S: Thick caramel malt upfront. Complex dark fruits like pomegranates, black cherries and dates. Hints of dry hops and lemon zest.

T: ultra sweet candied fruit and caramel is close to overwhelming, though smooth and dry malts do well at balancing out the flavor in the body. The fruits in the aroma are not far from the taste at all, definitely quite dark and complex. yeast and bready malts along with hints of maple syrup. Alcohol is present throughout.

M: Incredibly sweet, and very fruity. Medium body and medium carbonation. Decent fruity aftertaste.

D: It's a bit overpowering with its' massive fruity sweetness. Not a favorite, but still good.

03-19-2011 00:47:42 | More by YouSkeete
Photo of animalchin
animalchin

North Carolina

4.47/5  rDev +11.5%

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.

03-16-2011 19:49:18 | More by animalchin
Photo of SkeeterHawk
SkeeterHawk

Texas

3.8/5  rDev -5.2%

I picked this beer up at Green's liquor in Atlanta. I think that this is the first beer I have reviewed from Southern Tier. Let's see what they are all about:

Appearance: The beer popped like Hell when I popped the cap...I still don't know where the cap ended up, but it bounced off of the ceiling. So far so good...glad that this one didn't pop. Overall the beer is a nice reddish brown and clear with a small head after the pour. The head had disappeared back into the beer after about 45 seconds.

Aroma: The beer has the typical Barley Wine aroma with lots of malt and some hops and alcohol making up the predominant components of the aroma. There is a little bit of sweet cherry notes and some sweet caramel in here to round out the profile.

Taste: The flavor is quite balanced for a Barley Wine. It has a good deal of sweetness up front which is a bit unusual and then the hops and alcohol kick in quickly to give a firm warming and a bit of dryness in the finish that lingers for a while. The flavor is a little bit "soapy", but has a defined caramel and reserved toasty notes to compliment. The body is medium to full with ample carbonation. The mouthfeel is quite soft for this style. I like this, but I don't know how much it meets the style.

Opinion: This is a really good beer overall, but I wonder how much it really fits the out-skirts of the guidelines for a Barley Wine. I really like the balance as it is more toward the malt than any Barley Wine I have tried, but it seems a little weird for the style. I am used to these beers being strong, dry, somewhat harsh on the palate, with a bit of chalkyness to linger long after the finish. A burn is optional. This beer is balanced and strong which is nice for me. Unfortunately I am going to have to rate this beer against the Barley Wine style of beer than rating it on it's own merit. I would speculate that I would give this beer around a 4.5 as just a beer, but it won't score that high as a Barley Wine when compared to more classic examples as Bigfoot, etc.

03-16-2011 02:21:29 | More by SkeeterHawk
Photo of Snow81
Snow81

Minnesota

4.43/5  rDev +10.5%

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

03-14-2011 12:52:15 | More by Snow81
Photo of rajendra82
rajendra82

Georgia

4.2/5  rDev +4.7%

The translucent body was sienna colored, and the carbonation formed a two finger thick head. The smell was sweet and hoppy, and very intense like the style demands. There were notes of dry fruit, chocolate, and licorice in the smell. The taste comprised of the same elements as the smell, drizzled in brown sugar. The hops were a bit lacking here compared to Bigfoot or Old Ruffian. The beer felt sticky and rich in the mouth, and left a spicy aftertaste. A great nightcap beer with a soothing feel.

03-07-2011 05:04:59 | More by rajendra82
Backburner (Imperial Barley Wine Style Ale) from Southern Tier Brewing Company
90 out of 100 based on 856 ratings.