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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 phishgator
3.31/5  rDev -17%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured into a stout pint glass. Big foamy white head and lighter amber color. The nose is some fruity hops, alcohol esters, and apricot fruit. The taste is residual sugars throughout. There is a bitterness that tries to balance the sweetness, but doesn't. The alcohol is actually well hidden even though you smell it. The body is filling; finished the bomber and didn't want anymore beer for the night. It's been a little while since I've been drinking a Barley Wine so I might be a little bias on the taste. Not bad just there are much better examples out there. (563 characters)

Photo of sweemzander
3.33/5  rDev -16.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

22oz. bottle poured into a tulip. 17-07-07 printed on the bottle.

(A)- Pours a thick & dark mahogany amber color that actually cascaded for a second or two as a decent off-white head formed. Decent retention. Left some lacing here & there.

(S)- Toasted & floral-like figs & raisins with bits of vanilla, toffee, and roasted cocoa.

(T)- Thin, yet dry & syrupy. Lots of fig & raisin with some toasted toffee & caramel.

(M)- Kind of a lackluster carbonation level. Like I mentioned earlier, its rather thin & syrupy in consistency & texture.

(D)- A decent aged barleywine that unfortunately, might be too old, but I cant know that for sure. Very syrupy & thin for a beer that should have a good kick to it. Enjoyable, but I would easily gravitate towards other offerings of the style. I would welcome the opportunity to try a fresh one for comparison. (858 characters)

Photo of DrewV
3.33/5  rDev -16.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Meh, not a horrible beer, but certainly nothing special. A bit "earthy", which in my mind doesn't accurately represent the style. Pretty heavy malt, but backed up with some sort of minty flavors. Just not a cohesive brew. The differing flavors seem to be playing against each other, not offering a constructive flavor buildup. Flavor gets worse as the beer warms, which is opposite of what I usually prefer. Best I can say about this is that the alcohol presence isn't offensive. But no real attractive flavors or aromas present. Mouthfeel is okay, but that doesn't really make or break a beer. For the price, there's MUCH better out there. I'm glad I tried it, because now I know what to avoid in the future. No more than a B- rating from me. (743 characters)

Photo of pmarlowe
3.35/5  rDev -16%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

No discernible date on the bottle. Tulip glass.

A: Pours clear dark amber with a ring and some swirls of off-white head.

S: Upfront is toffee malt and vanilla, along with some red fruit (cherry, raspberry) and citrus brightness.

T: Some mild caramel segueing into some hop bitterness, and finishing pretty tasteless and very dry with a little caramel. Kind of one dimensional.

M: Medium-full body and mild carbonation.

O: Smells good, but pretty average taste. (465 characters)

Photo of jjanega08
3.41/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A= Pours a viscous looking amberish brown color with a small half centimeter head that's a cream color but lasts a long time leaving decent spotty lacing.
S= Pretty pungent pine and grapefruit hops in it but there is a very noticeable alcohol odor as well as some darker sweet malts in it.
T= The hops come through up front but are gone quickly by thick syrupy malt. The malts are very sweet and not quite stout tasting but more of a thick brown ale kinda malt taste. There's a slight alcohol touch as well.
M= Thick and syrupy with a dry finish
D= Decent. This is prolly the first big beer I've had in a while where you could notice the alcohol so that's a little disappointing but it's still an ok beer. Not the best barleywine I've had but I suppose it was worth trying. (773 characters)

Photo of silentjay
3.41/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

nice dark mahogany with a decent sized light khaki head that dissipates quick, but leaves intricate lacing on the glass. a beautiful pour.

aroma is very malty and fruity. raisins, and other dried, sweetened dark fruits like plums. alcoholic as well.

taste is very malty sweet. lots of caramel, some dark fruit, and a bit of floral and piney hops try to balance the sweetness. They fail, as this one is a bit too sweet and alcoholic for my liking.

Can't knock the body, as it suits the style being heavy-medium bodied with just enough carbonation and a lot of sticky, syrupy residue.

Very sweet and with burning alcohol prevalent throughout, this is one to nurse, but lacks the complexity I would want in a sipper. Not bad for the price, but not my favorite of the style, nor my favorite of ST's portfolio. (810 characters)

Photo of harrymel
3.42/5  rDev -14.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Bottled 13FEB12

Dark brown with deep amber character and a solid quilt of buttered cream foam. Smells nice. Toffee, leather, malts, coffee, caramel, more malt and a hint of oak. Nice nose. Flavor is sweet and alcoholic, not nearly as decadent as the olfactory. Malts and tannins and sweetness. Nothing special. Medium on full bodied with a light, touching carb and a semi dry finish. Nice beer, nothing special. (412 characters)

Photo of Kadonny
3.43/5  rDev -14%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured from a bomber bottle into a tulip glass.

A: A dark reddish orange color with a thin off white head. Nice glass lacing.

S: Dark fruits, sweetness and floral herby hops.

T: First hint is dark fruits with some floral herby spicy hops, then the malt honey caramel sweetness flows in. A bit spicy but the sweetness overtakes the hops to the point of being cloying IMO. Finish is sweet and really over the top. Where are all the dark dried fruit flavors I love in my barleywines?

M: Medium with a coating prickly mouthfeel. Some bitterness but sweetness is lingering.

D: Low, this wore on me at the end of the bomber.

Overall this barleywine just didn't do it for me. Too honey sweet and not enough dark fruit flavors. I'll take an Old Guardian, Bigfoot, Old Ho or Old Ruff over this any day. Sorry, misses the mark for me. (831 characters)

Photo of charlzm
3.45/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Consumed April 22nd, 2012 at Hopjacks, Ensley Florida.

Color is a clear, deep amber with a minimal off-white head. Some slight sheeting.

Aroma: resiny alcohol and a whiff of vanilla.

Almost a lacquer flavor at first. Sweet. Caramelized malt, vanilla, wood and alcohol heat. Some pepper. Not very bitter.

Thick in the mouth. Some carbonation prickle. Dry on the finish.

Easy to drink but oddly not super tasty. Considering I got this for $2.50 during happy hour, I'm not looking this gift horse in the mouth. Worthwhile, if not especially outstanding. (556 characters)

Photo of ccarney2
3.45/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance - Darkish deep amber orange color that is very cloudy. Pours about an inch of off white head when poured violently. Head quickly dissipates into a thin film that leaves hardly any lacing. Not too unexpected with the style and gravity.

Smell - Dark fruits with lots of cherry and plum to start. Alcohol is definitely evident, but so are a moderate amount of sweeter hops. Maybe a bit of caramel/vanilla scent, something sweet.

Taste - There is a big sweetness off the bat with this barleywine, that doesn't really fade too much. Alcohol flavor lasts throughout also, with the same characteristics of the smell here as well. Cherry, plum, and raisin dominate the palate. Kind of one dimensional in terms of flavors.

Mouthfeel - Moderate to high carbonation, with a pretty viscous and thick coat left on the tongue.

Overall - I feel like this is a slightly better than average beer. I don't have too much to compare it to stylewise, but I will say that you know how much alcohol you're taking in while drinking this. Southern Tier does not normally disappoint, and they didn't necessarily here either, but they also didn't really excite me either. (1,161 characters)

Photo of sacrelicio
3.46/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Decent barleywine, but not a favorite. A little let down. Fruity pineapple and honey and cherry syrup smell. Taste is somewhat savory and sweet, with bitter pine hops and chewy malt. Solid bitterness on the finish. Mouthfeel is full but flat. Fairly drinkable, but nothing special. (281 characters)

Photo of dgilks
3.47/5  rDev -13%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Cloudy dark red colour with a tiny head. Poor head retention but that's not what the beer is about.

Massive caramel malt on the nose with hints of grain. Some earthy and almost floral hops. Quite fruity.

Rich, silky malt with more fruit and earthy hops. Interesting combination. Pretty tasty.

Full body with moderate carbonation. Good.

I really like the combination of intensely rich malt and earthy hops here but it is a little cloying. Good but not great. (461 characters)

Photo of Yagman3000
3.48/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bomber into a pint glass. Creamy head appears with a slow pour and a finger remains.

Appears brown with a bit of an orange glow.

Smells of figs and prunes with a touch of molasses.

Tastes similar to smell but a touch of toffee and over-ripe fruit comes through as well.

Mouthfeel is thinner than I'd expect. I actually wish there was more thickness to this... A bit more syrupy perhaps.

Overall this was good but I wouldn't run to get it again for a while. Maybe it would be better served warm in the winter. (532 characters)

Photo of PittBeerGirl
3.48/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

One of my last ST brews to review-thanks chris for sharing!

A- Body is a translucent red/brown hue with dynamic cloudiness. Pours with a thin fizzy one finger head that has little retention.

S-alcohol, spice, barley, caramel, and a candy sugar sweetness. Sweet, spicy, and boozy.

T- Sweet malt upfront with caramel and barley being the most prominent characters and a hint of plum in the background. A slight alcohol heat lingers.

M- Full medium weight body with soft carbonation and slight alcohol astringency.

D- This is a good barleywine overall. Very sweet and boozy-which can get a bit cloying after awhile. (617 characters)

Photo of MisterE
3.49/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

bought this 22 oz. bomber at Ward's earlier this week

A: pours a murky rusty brown with almost no head

S: sweet malt, citrusy hops, and alcohol

T: more like an English Barleywine in my opinion, with a boozy bite as it warms

M: smooth but rather thin, very little carbonation

O: after reading previous reviews, this beer was a disappointment, but solid all the same

Perhaps it's hard for me to get excited by a beer in this category that costs more than Bigfoot but delivers less of the pleasure. (501 characters)

Photo of kmeves
3.5/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a deep copper brown with aSmall off white head. Aroma is moderately sweet grape, caramel, cherry, date and grapefruit. Flavor is sweet caramel, grape, grapefruit, piney and some dough. Full body, sticky texture. Finishes very long and bitter. Alchohol very well hidden. (275 characters)

Photo of Knapp85
3.5/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This barley wine as poured at the ACBF 2010. The color of the beer is a dark brown color almost black. The head is minimal and doesn't leave much lacing. The smell is a little on the sweet side, some hops in there too. The taste has a burnt bitterness that fades into a subtle sweet aftertaste. This brew is average to me. I would try it again to give it another shot. (368 characters)

Photo of oakbluff
3.5/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark brownish ruby, good clarity. Minimal head. Nose- toffee, hot piney hops. Taste- sweet caramel malts, nuts, with a sharp hop bite on the finish. Medium bodied and carbonation. Drinks quite smooth but is missing something. Just not all that complex for a big barleywine. (281 characters)

Photo of woosterbill
3.51/5  rDev -12%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

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! (804 characters)

Photo of Oxymoron
3.52/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Recently tried this fresh, but have hadn't aged. And it does not age well. Pours a darker shade of amber with a light brown hue throughout. A fizzy white head that quickly dissipated and not much lacing to speak of.

The nose was light for a barleywine, but some malt notes with a slight grainy backing. Some biscuit and light nutty notes. Some yeasty notes along with some lighter plum and fig phenolics. No real hop aroma to speak of. (The aged sample has big butyric notes).

The taste comes out more than the nose indicates. The malt is more represented with a more complex caramel flavor. Some sweet caramel, would have liked to see more depth with a more melanodian/kettle caramel thing. Some sudsy notes in the flavor that leaves a filmy finish. The bitterness comes out, but doesn't really balance to the malt well. Some light citrus hops but limited. Yeast notes and some oxidation but not overly off. (The aged continues with butyric but also a nasty sudsy thing).

The body is moderate to big. Some complexity but would like a bit more. Carbonation is a bit high, but helps the bitterness. Would like more finishing hops though. Overall not a great barleywine, but IMHO try it fresh. (1,194 characters)

Photo of akorsak
3.53/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A 650 mL bottle purchased at Capone's a few months back.

A: The barleywine is a deep amber color, brown with enough reddish tint that it could be a black cherry cola. A finger and a half of head topped the beer but did not retain for very long, nor did it lace.

S: The nose is replete with lots and lots of malts, grainy, bready malts with dark alefruits and a citrusy undertone.

T: This is a wickedly sweet beer. The malts drip with green grapes, sweet and biting. Dark fruits contribute to the sweetness. The malts coat the tastebuds with their intensity. Cold, the hops add a note of bitterness but it isn't enough to put a dent in that malt profile. If you are patient enough to really let the ale warm up, a citrusy hop profile appears with a dash, spicing up the taste significantly.

M: This is easily mistaken for an English barleywine, with the focus on lots o' malts.

D: Let this beer warm up for a rather long period of time. It releases more of the hops and those hops are desperately needed to overcome the malty sweetness. (1,041 characters)

Photo of matty
3.53/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Amber colored beer with a slowly fading head.Aroma is fruity and grqapefruit.Taste is dark fruit,sweet caramel and pine hops.If they did this without the hops it would be way better.Still it is an overall good beer that I would recommend and try again!! (253 characters)

Photo of Crosling
3.53/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Ruby/brown color. Aroma is mainly dominated by sherry-like oxidation. Flavor is also dominated by sherry-like oxidation, but also has some nice elements of raisins, dark fruit, caramel and mixed nut. Decent finish as well, which lasts pretty long. Very oxidized, but still pretty good. (285 characters)

Photo of froghop
3.54/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

pours a clear burnt auburn with a small white-yellowish head, and great lacing.

smell is faint, some caramel, some grain, and a touch of spice.

taste is sticky, some spice, caramel, a touch of nuts, and a roastiness to it, ends dry and slightly bitter. (254 characters)

Photo of rapidsequence
3.54/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle. I bought it at Total Wine in northern VA in November. Since its a February release, I'm assuming its from 2/10.

Appearance: An attractive clear red-brown color and an off white head with good retention. Webs of lacing.

Smell: A nosefull of caramel malt, ripe fruit, and citrus hops. Less hoppy than I hoped, but it is a year old or so. There's an earthy, slightly vegetal aroma in the background that I often find in ST beers and do not enjoy.

Taste: Very much what I expected from the smell. The vegetal aroma is really not tasted much. Caramel and fruit. A little toast. A nice amount of hops bitterness, but again the flavor is subdued. Alcohol is barely detected.

Mouthfeel: Very little bad to say about the mouthfeel. Big and sticky with soft carbonation.

Drinkability: Without that slight earthy/vegetal smell/taste, this would be excellent. As it is, for me, its pretty good. (902 characters)

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