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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

874 Ratings
THE BROS
94
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 874
Reviews: 497
rAvg: 4.01
pDev: 10.47%
Wants: 71
Gots: 105 | 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:
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:  Recent | Likes | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Backburner (Imperial Barley Wine Style Ale) Alström Bros
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Ratings: 874 | Reviews: 497 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Sammy
3.78/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks Derek, this was good drinking for a young fresh BW.The malt and fruity yeast was enjoyable in the aroma, there was lace on the opaque brown. Amarillo and C-hop. Appropriate above-average carbonation. Above average mouthfeel.Some complexity and significant fruitiness to taste.

Photo of t0rin0
3.8/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

While this was overall a good beer, I was expecting more after having the Unearthly, Choklate, Pumking, and Jahva.

Pours a deep clear brown. Plenty of foam and good retention.

Smell is quite malty and very boozy. This is a 2008 bottle but it seems that the hops have faded. There is a little european hop nose, so I checked the bottle and sure enough they used Willamette hops, interesting.

The taste is again boozy but also malty. Not overly hoppy like some other reviews have said. Again, this is probably 8 months old, so who knows.

Mouthfeel is medium/heavy, alcohol taste and effects keep it from being as drinkable as it could be. Enjoyable.

Photo of spycow
3.75/5  rDev -6.5%

Photo of UCLABrewN84
4.22/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Pellinore1 for sending me this one!

Pours a clear copper brown with a 1 inch foamy khaki head that settles to a thin cap. A foamy curtain of lace lines the glass on the drink down. Smell is of malt, caramel, and zesty herbal and citrus zest hops. Taste is of malt, caramel/toffee, brown sugar, grapefruit, and citrus zest. A mild citrus zest bitterness lingers on the palate after each sip. This beer has a good level of carbonation with a crisp but smooth mouthfeel. Overall, this is a good barleywine that has a very nice sweet but hoppy flavor. Taste is better than the smell but good stuff all around.

Photo of djrn2
4/5  rDev -0.2%

Photo of zestar
3.75/5  rDev -6.5%

Photo of acurtis
3.5/5  rDev -12.7%

Photo of GRG1313
3.5/5  rDev -12.7%

Photo of metter98
4.08/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

Photo of olradetbalder
4.25/5  rDev +6%

Photo of kjkinsey
4/5  rDev -0.2%

Photo of brentk56
4.43/5  rDev +10.5%
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

Photo of BEERchitect
3.98/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

With fortified malt sweetness and a peripheral dance of hops about the edges, Southern Tier nails the flavor profile of American-style Barleywines with this nearly-balanced example.

Pouring a deep ruby or mohogany hue and with the signature haze of hoppy ales, the beer forms a masculine appearance and carries it well with a dense tanish head, long-lasting retention, and classic rings of lace as the beer fades.

The mouthwatering sweet sent of caramelized barley, toffee, and even molasses all take turns sharing the nose. Not to be outdone are the deep spicy hop notes of pine and citrus. Alcohol aromas are evident in a very rummy, cherry, and raisony way.

The focus toward sweetness continues with a balance of malty richness and toffee sweetness. The taste of heavy caramelization chases the beer from inital sip until the savory finish. A rise of citrusy grapefruit and orange zest complement the sweetness with an awakening sharpness and acidity that develops nicely into a clean resiny bitterness in finish. Estery with fruit complexities of cherry, raisons, and rum continue to blend in and out of the malty make up.

Big and bold, the early weighted creaminess is slow developing into a long and lingering finish of near-cloying and resiny-dry balance. Alcohol abrasion and biting hops deny the smooth and deeply developing finish of classics like Bigfoot Barleywine and Behemoth Barleywine.

Regardless, fresh varieties yield a brighter and hop-forward citrusy component while older versions prove smoother and more rounded. Should pair well with Stilton or Maytag Blue cheeses.

Photo of Phyl21ca
4.22/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle: Poured a deep burgundy color ale with a medium foamy head with good retention and some nice foamy head with good retention and some nice lacing. Aroma of sweet caramel malt with some floral malt also discernable. Taste is also a well balance mix between some caramel malt with some notes of toffee, dry fruits with a floral and bitter hoppy ending. Body is slightly above average with some great carbonation and no alcohol was showing. Extreme take on the style but still well balance enough to be enjoyable.

Photo of kylehay2004
4.13/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

A: Thin head on a minimally hazy deep amber. Clearer than expected for the style.

S: apricot, syrup/molasses, terpentine (mild), sweet caramel malts.

T: Lots of sweet caramel malt, mildly boozy with some semi-sweet dark fruit like plum, apricot and fig.

M: May be the easiest to drink barleywine I have had. The usual sharpness than one has to get used to as they drink one of these isnt there. This one is smooth and likely this has to go along with the clearer body as oppose to others in the style. Light to medium carbonation and medium body.

Overall: very drinkable, more so than most, without lacking the flavor of a solid barleywine.

Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.18/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Dark bronze with bright Sunkist highlights... that becomes blood orange when backlit with fading afternoon sunshine. Topping the liquid is an outstanding looking lid of golden brown sugar colored creaminess that is starting to lay down gorgeous sheets of shotgun-blasted lace. We have ourselves a looker.

The aroma is exactly what the ingredients list says it will be. It's moderately caramel-like and has a decent amount of citrusy hoppiness. The hops (Chinook, Willamette, Amarillo and Centennial) could stand to be a little more aggressive, but then this isn't a DIPA, so allowances will be made. No appreciable alcohol is a plus.

Back Burner Barley Wine Style Ale is yet another delicious big beer from the good folks at Southern Tier Brewing Company. These guys almost never let me down (Imperial Cherry Saison is an unfortunate exception). This brew is sweeter and less hoppy than I typically like, but I'm enjoying it all the same.

I'm still floored by how the 10.0% ABV tastes several percentage points lower... at least. The flavor profile include a raging river of melted caramel and a boatload of liqueur-infused fruitiness. Let's go with maraschino cherries, orange peel and grapefruit peel macerated in Grand Marnier.

If I had cracked the crown right after release (when the alpha acids were still kickin' like a mule), the flavor score might have been one notch higher. As is, this stuff is too good not to give the drinkability score a well-deserved bump.

The mouthfeel is as expected given the talent at this brewery and a few megatons of malt sugars. Calling it luxurious would not be out of line. Well-integrated carbonation does great work behind the scenes.

Back Burner may not be my favorite Southern Tier beer, but it's damn good stuff that I will definitely be drinking again. This is a gentle giant of an American barleywine that everyone from adventurous newbies to beer geeks should enjoy. This beer geek sure does.

Photo of jaydoc
4/5  rDev -0.2%

Photo of mikesgroove
3.05/5  rDev -23.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

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.

Photo of Knapp85
3.5/5  rDev -12.7%
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.

Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.7/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pours a ruby-colored body with a short-lived, beige head.

Smell: A rich, malty sweet aroma with plenty of fruitiness held within notes of black cherries and syrup-soaked plums.

Taste: Strong, supporting malt backbone bringing flavors of sweet, charred caramel, dark fruits, and hints of chocolate. The beer certainly needs that malty brace for the sharp hop hit of soapy pine right at the end and into the long, lingering finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-full body, with a very thick, lush mouthfeel.

Drinkability: Its all kinds of decent!

Photo of oberon
3.7/5  rDev -7.7%
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 emerge077
4.18/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a Hitachino glass. Color is the darkest possible shade of orange. Plenty of intricate lacing, good retention overall.

Toffee caramel notes with some orange peel and pastry. Spun sugar or cotton candy. Alcohol is in the background if you look for it.

Hoppy bitterness with a huge, rich maltiness. Citrus is in there somewhere, followed by leafy hops. Rich, spicy, a little doughy. Long bitter aftertaste. Very smooth, velvety feel, the bottle doesn't last too long. Very drinkable barleywine...

Photo of JAHMUR
4/5  rDev -0.2%

Photo of zeff80
3.98/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Poured out a clear, burgundy/garnet color with a small, thick, foamy head. It left sticky trails of lace.

S - It smelled of rich malt, very biscuity. Also, good caramel and floral notes.

T - It tasted of sweet malt. It was very rich with some fruity flavors. Just enough bitter hops to add some balance.

M - It was soft and smooth. A medium to full-bodied beer.

D - This is a pretty good barleywine. Certainly a very malty one.

Photo of NeroFiddled
4.18/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Clear. Deep mahogany in color. The yellowed tan head rises two or more inches at the first pour, then dies down to a solid finger's width, and then a creamy half-inch cap that holds a solid surface covering for some time. Lacing is quite nice. Given the strength, the head retention and lacing are quite impressive.

Smell: Sticky sweet with a distinct caramelish maltiness and citrusy/tropical fruits that include tangerine, pineapple, melon, papaya, and coconut as well as some apples, pears, and red berries. I can only assume that the fruitiness is a combination of yeastiness, citrusy hops, and sugary malts, as well as some alcohol. It's certainly bold and complex, but also welcoming.

Taste: The sweetness found in the nose appears on the tongue. It's caramelish and sticky, and even a subtle touch chocolatey. The fruitiness is right there with it, however, cutting through the sugar with gently acidic citrusy juiciness. And by mid-palate it's become more about the fruitiness (still very solidly backed by sweet caramel malts)! Bitterness then steps in, and you're ushered to the finish with an added brush of grassy and herbal character to boot. The caramel tumbles with the fruitiness. The bitterness tumbles with the sweetness. The alcohol steps forward and then vanishes just as quickly as it came. It's a long and drawn out finish with just about every note that's found in the nose making an appearance at least once or twice if not more. Really rich and full!!!

Mouthfeel: Viscous, to say the least. There are a lot of unfermented sugars in this baby. It's almost like tasting wort. The creamy, very fine-bubbled median carbonation just barely cuts through, and it's super creamy and remarkably smooth across the palate.

Drinkability: Overall it's a bit too much to drink beyond a short apertif, settling night cap, or relaxing, slow sipper - but guiding wisdom tells us that drinkability has much more to do with its special and unique qualities - and how much we enjoy it in those moments - than anything that has to do with quantity or length of time. I could easily enjoy a small glass of this for an hour. It's rich and full and complex, and very interesting and satiating. There are barleywines that are better rounded and far more balanced, but there's still something here that makes it very worthwhile. Certainly worth trying!!!

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Backburner (Imperial Barley Wine Style Ale) from Southern Tier Brewing Company
90 out of 100 based on 874 ratings.