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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 MaineBrewing
4.09/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

A - poured a dark translucent amber with a loose head, about one finger, produced with a vigorous pour. It subsided quickly to a nice foam cap. The cap remained throughout definitely a plus coupled with some lacing.

S - notes of hops come first then followed by a wall of malt sweetness, and fruity nuances. The hops are a piney resinous character while the malt provides a nice raisin and dark fruit aroma. It is rounded out by vanilla and whiskey notes.

T - Taste is very mellow, I would even say refined. It is malt forward, with notes of toast, biscuit, brown sugar, and raisin. There is a slight grassy hop flavor and even slighter Bittering hops. I think the barrel aging does a lot for the balance, making this very smooth tasting.

M - mouthfeel is a little light for the style, low carbonation. Went down really fast for the style, I would have expected more of a sipping experience, this drank like a much lighter, lower abv beer.

O - it's a very balanced BA barley wine, more of in the English style in my opinion, certainly more malt forward and low hop flavor/bitterness. It was missing some just overall body and there was nothing really lingering on my pallet afterwords, but nonetheless enjoyable if your looking for a more relaxed barley wine experience. (1,278 characters)

Photo of pershan
4.33/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The beer poured a deep, clear, reddish-amber with a dense tan head into a pint glass. The aroma was of fresh, piney hops - very nice. The taste was a big-time blend of sweet caramel malt, pungent hop flavor, and alcoholic esters, with a huge hop bitterness at the finish. Not quite as good as SN Bigfoot, IMHO, but pretty darn close. (333 characters)

Photo of ThePeskyDingo
4.2/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Drinkin with mothman and DerrickBerg tonight.

Poured a 1 finger light tan head that dissipated in a medium amount of time. The beer color is a deep hazy amber color. Lots of lacing.

Smells very hoppy, with hints of dark fruits in the background

Tastes hoppy, with some dark fruit notes in the background, like the smell.

Mouthfeel is nice, bitter during the whole experience. Carbonation is on the low side of medium. Bitter aftertaste.

Pretty drinkable beer. Very tastey, hoppy like i like them, but not cant have more than a couple due to the ABV. (556 characters)

Photo of LittleBreeze
4.25/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Ignore the first sip or two. After it coats the tongue, this beer starts to come into its own. Serious hop blend and malty tongue twisting action. Carmel sweetness is appreciated. This isn't an alcohol bomb. Imo the abv is well hidden. But there was a sneak attack. Be careful. (277 characters)

Photo of crewfan16
3.92/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

poured from an undated bomber (at least I cant find a date) into a snifter

a- pours a deep brown/ruby color. what very little head appears is slightly off white. not a ton of lacing on the glass.

s- lots of caramel malt sweetness. some sweet fruit as well, raisin or fig maybe. bread and some slight hop citrus

t- follows the nose pretty closely, but with more gusto. sweet caramel and fruit initially. then comes some more bready malt. some bitter citrus hops come out, then back to the fruity sweetness. i dont get a ton of hops here (older bottle maybe?) but there is a lot of sugar present for the style. Very tasty though.

m- not a ton of carbonation. this brew doesnt seem to heavy though. lots of sugary sweetness without being to viscous. flavors linger along time and the abv is not very present at all. highly drinkable.

overall, I really enjoyed this beer. I will be the first to admit that im not incredibly experienced in the style, but this brew is tasty. I have yet to find an imperial beer by southern tier that I didnt like.

m- (1,050 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 arboristfish
4.03/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer poured a deep red amber color, almost reminds me of a blood amber color, with a slightly off white head. The aroma I can describe as robust malt. Sweet and yet hints of hops as well. The taste is sweet and has a unique charateristic, also has a slight boozy character to it. The mouthfeel is medium light and I would consider this one drinkable. (355 characters)

Photo of LauraAlberts
4.07/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance - Copper Plum hue with amber glow with mild head that dissipates slowly. Decent lacing on glass. Poured into a snifter glass.

Smell: Hops, burnt brown sugar, nutmeg, cocoa, rich milk chocolate ghiradelli brownie, dried cherries, maple syrup, watered down bourbon - very fragrant and floral

Taste: dried dark chocolate, biscuit, faint hint of dried red fruit, hint of grapefruit bitterness, aged hops

Mouthfeel: nice effervescense, silky, smooth like an aged whisky - slightly watery through mid-palate -but makes up in aftertaste.

Drinkability: sipper with a good cigar, great after dinner beverage for long conversations or times full of thought.

This will age very well. (690 characters)

Photo of evanforbeer
4.04/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured deep orange-red with off white head from bomber
Nose- sweet nose; fruity with orange and grapefruit zest with floral notes, caramel malt toffee
Taste- follows with lots of fruity hoppy flavors, citrus and even a touch of mango, lots of caramel malt with subtle dark fruits, buttered raisin bread, oaky vanilla. Finishes with booze, fruit, some pine and oak-mellowed dark fruit
Feel- fairly light bodied for a barleywine extremely drinkable. Fair amount of carbonation
Pretty good, really nice fruitiness from the hops. Barrel does well and not overdone (561 characters)

Photo of sophisticated
4.12/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

"1st brew of 2008" stated on bottle.

A) Dark amber, almost a deep ruby when held to the light. Head is nice - tight small bubbles which left thick lace.

S) Strongly fruit smell - cherreies, plums. Some vanilla. Caramel, malts, some hops but mostly sweet.

D) Strong sweet fruit taste - cherries and caramel. Plenty of malts but also some citrus hops and some mild spice. The 10% ABV not noticeable in taste but leaves a slight warming burn.

MF) Chewey and soft

D) Good! This is an intense brew with complex flavors but a nice sipper to savor. Definitely enjoyable. (569 characters)

Photo of seedsofchaos
3.95/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thick, tawny, rubies thrown in the fire... Backburner is a heavy, opaque and dark barleywine. Sweet caramel malts, candied pears, plums and leather all lend themselves to a great aroma. Southern Tier never lets one down with anything short of a sweet beer but does well not to do so in a cloying way. A bit too peppery, but overall solid with great flavors of roasted caramel, dark fruits, earthy hops and leather.. Decent medium-heavy mouthfeel with a bit of heat from the alcohol. (482 characters)

Photo of optiontwo
4/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Murky ruby red with two inch foamy cream colored head. Good retention and lacing.

Smell: Lots of citrus hops mixing with a sweet toffee like smell. Pine and earthy hops in the back of the aroma, smells somewhat acrid.

Taste: Grapefruit and pine hop flavors are front and center but followed by a strong caramel malt background. The hops come back at the end to give you a nice hit of flavor and bitterness.

Mouthfeel: Medium carbonation, full-bodied, kind of sticky but very smooth drinking.

Drinkability: Deceptively easy to drink.

Overall: I love Southern Tier and this barley wine does not disappoint, but I would say that it could be amazing after some aging. It has enough hops in it to age it for two years and it still be pretty damn hoppy. I'd say give it a year in the cellar and you'd have a stupendous, and more traditional, barley wine. (866 characters)

Photo of THORN
4.2/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 Oz. bottle poured into Duvel tulip. Served 50-55 F.
A: Dark mahogany. Retains thin frothy white head.
S: Malts, sweet hops, cherry, and spice.
T: Bold malts are met with intense fruity and resiny hops. Fruit and bread body finish with a lingering bitter. Alcohol is faintly noticeable.
M: Medium on tongue. Warming.
D: Big beer. On the fruity side of barleywines. (366 characters)

Photo of WillieMoe
4.12/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A-Pours a reddish brown color, with a thin head that quickly dissolves, but leaves a nice lace.

S-The aroma is of hops, mostly citrusy, with some hints of floral and piney hops. Smells more like an IPA, than a barleywine.

T-The taste is similar to the smell, in that is starts hoppy and IPAish, but as it goes down you can feel that bit of sharp alcohol taste you usually find in a barleywine, as it goes down.

Goes down very clean and smooth for a barleywine. It's very balanced and probably one of the more drinkable barleywines and overall another winner from ST. (569 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 TheBlackMallard
4.15/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I have a snow day tomorrow so I turned on Heavyweights and decided to review this.

Pours a dark red with an orange/yellow hue into my Kuhnhenn tulip, no head but a ring around the glass.

Mmm, Smells like caramel, raisins, brown sugar, citrus, and pine. This is one of the reasons I love a barleywine.

Sweet caramel malts up front, followed by pine with a nice harsh lingering bitterness.

Heavy but it goes down easily.

Wow, this is exactly what I want when I pick up a barleywine. Oat and Gemini weren't my thing, this along with Chokat and Unearthly are all impressive. (578 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 hopheadjuice
3.87/5  rDev -3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

22 oz. bottle, no freshness date.

Pours a murky dark copper/ruby with a slow rising one finger head that's clinging onto the glass.

This one is very complex in the aroma. Starts off with a big blast of grain followed by a musty earthiness/yeast funk with tobacco, wood, cherries, strawberries and a slight hop and alcohol presence.

Taste is thick and strong. Big bready, caramel malts upfront with a big assertive dark fruit taste. Hops have a grassy earthy quality being more subdued. Alcohol heat is present but not too strong or overbearing.

Mouthfeel is extremely thick and chewy. Full bodied ale with a semi dry finish.

Drinkability is a little low with the 10% abv but its not a bad beer by any standards . (717 characters)

Photo of MVotter
3.65/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Aroma from the mouth of the freshly opened bottle: malts, hops, alcoholic smells

Aroma after the pour: phenols, malts, hops

The Southern Tier Back Burner pours into a tall pils glass producing a three finger cream-colored head which settles back to a one inch layer of foam atop a clear-bronze brew.

This barley wine begins "alcohol sweet" and finishes with a very complex blend of flavors of hops, malts and diacetyls.

The mouthfeel is heavy and carbonated, sticky, chewy, oily.

The drinkability of this brew is dependent upon your willingness to be patient. The 10% abv is rather evident. IT IS A SIPPER. And, if sipped can be an enjoyable experience.

Just be ready for a very substantial brew. I've said it for other brews ... it drinks like a brandy. (760 characters)

Photo of chicano4craft
3.73/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dirty brown. Cloudy and slighty red. Creamy white head.

Nose is strongly caramel and toffee. Smells very sweet. There's a faint citrus smell way in the back. I'm not sure how old this bottle is. I got it in a trade a few months ago. But whatever hops were there have since faded to the background.

Hops are still hanging around in the taste. There back up singers to the sweet barley now. Not as caramel as I expected, but that's good. There's a bit at the end. It's by no means hot...but after half a glass I was feeling this one.

Mouthfeel is a tad syrupy and heavy. This and the hugh abv brings down the drinkability for me. Overall it was an enjoyable barleywine. I much prefer my barleywines fresh. I'm more into the balance of lots of hops and barley. Would love to try this one again. (802 characters)

Photo of waltersrj
3.75/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pour: Deep ruby red with a brown hue and a 2 fingered off white head. Sticky lacing on the glass and decent legs.

Nose: Dark fruit, sweet sugars, very hoppy, caramel malt, and toffee.

Taste: Dark fruits, prune and fig, toffee, caramel, very bitter hops, slightly cloying malts, and alcohol.

Mouthfeel: Thick but creamy with a slightly cloying feel.

Overall: a pretty good representation of an ABW, great hop and malt profile but not the best. (446 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 DawnL
3.73/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

True amber with a little sticky lacing at the rim.

Pleasant hops with some alcohol on the nose.

Lots of alcohol heat. A cross between fine whiskey and beer. Wooden quality - not oak and not pine - more like bramble. Very intense, especially the alcohol.

This brew coats the palate. Has some residual sugar that collects around the lips but is not evident in either taste or aroma.

The drinkability suffers just because of the massiveness of this brew.

All in all - I love this beer! (487 characters)

Photo of imagineiii
3.87/5  rDev -3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A: poured into my trusty dfh snifter. decent eggshell head, diminishes after minute leaving lace. mahoghany color with blood red tones. could be a little clearer in my glass.

S: malty sweetness is rich and tart. red apples, raisans, maybe grapes and melons. hops?

T: Sweet smooth on the tongue. Tart and biting as it moves. bitter tannins in the aftertaste. complex and smooth but borderline syrupy, resulting in a long lingering aftertaste.

M: Carbonation doesnt do much to break up the syrupy aftertaste.

D: I gave this a 4 for drinkability because of its style. ive had barleywines that are far less smooth.

Being a barleywine, this is a beer that you know whether or not youre going to like it when you buy it. I like it, it is an above average barleywine. (765 characters)

Photo of ClevoPiwo
3.58/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a nice deep copper or chestnut color with a decent head that dissipates down to a frothy ring along the outside of the glass leaving a nice lacing on the way down.

The smell is pretty good with nice malty aromas of caramel and molasses as well as a nice floral character of the hops coming through as well. The alcohol is a bit pronounced in the smell, edging on a slightly solvent-like quality, but not too much.

Taste is pretty good, with nice mouth feel and a characteristic malt sweetness up front and a hoppy finish. The alcohol is present as well, and perhaps a bit assertive.

Not my favorite by Southern Tier, but definitely a worthy brew! (657 characters)

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