1. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  2. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

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.

856 Ratings

(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 lpayette


4/5  rDev -0.2%

Purchased from Table & Vine in W. Springfield, MA for $6 a bomber.

At the pop of the cap you know that you wont be disappointed by this beer. With a hiss, the aroma immediately hits you with big fruity, malty, and hoppy notes. Ok, that was only my review of the popping of the top. On to the appearance-

Out of the bottle backburner pours a copper-like hue, but in the glass with more volume it develops a very nice ruby hue. With a hard pour the beer mustered about 1 finger of head which produced some nice brussels lace but still disappeared rather quickly.

The smell as mentioned previously, does not disappont. I'm proud to declare that I successfully was able to guess 2 of the 4 hop varities in this brew before looking at what it was brewed with (I guessed chinook, and amarillo). The willamette really made sense after reading it on the bottle, and the centinnial as well.

This is certainly an american style barleywine rather than an english... Very hoppy as expected, but to be honest... the combination of hops seems a little odd initially- although it seems to work better by mid bottle or so. I'd predict that this would be much better with some age under it... maybe a year or two? Malt-wise- subtle notes of caramel with a slightly chocolatey finish. The 10% abv is apparent, but not overpowering.

The mouthfeel when young at least is a bit lacking, but I predict that some age on this would yeild a much better result. The hops are so potent that they tingle around the edges of the tongue and you can practically feel the enamel stripping off your teeth... I suppose that's a good thing if you're looking for a hop bomb, american style barleywine. I tend to prefer the english variety, but again, with some aging, this might be spectacular. Also, the initial sips with the head present are very creamy, and I enjoyed those most.

Overall a very respectable offering from southern tier, and probably worth seeking out if you're a big American style barleywine fan. I know that I'll be picking up some more if I get the opportunity, but this time I'll wait at least a year before opening and let this develop a bit further before I revisit.

03-04-2008 06:21:31 | More by lpayette
Photo of Atron67


3.98/5  rDev -0.7%

750 ml bottle that ive had for a year or so. drinking out of a harpoon tulip glass (100 barrel series style)

A- pours a dark opaque brown, slightly muddy looking from the side but actually appears to be particulate free when held up to a light. clear red shines through when held to the light. overall a pretty solid representation of what you would expect. a tan/cream head on top that built up a little then was stuck around for a little while. nothing big but for a style with so little head expectationgs, is pretty reasonable.

S- mainly a huge maltiness. ide say oaky, but maybe its moer just tannic. but not the astringent version. that of aged hops (cellared version remember, although only a year) not really much presence of floral hop character. although the malt profile that does shine through is distinctly bitter and not reminiscent of the more english styles of barleywines. there seems to a be a 'copper' tanginess to the scent as well giving a 'peppery' character similiar to other highly malted beers or like that of a bock. although bocks tend to be less forward.

T- pretty strong malt flavor throughout. starts off with a strong maltiness. not quite tongue assault, but its strong. contains that peppery character common to the more intense varieties and the tannic character i expected from he scent. doesn't actually ever materialize the highly bitter aspect however. all of this is pretty accentuated by the mild fine carbonation that gives it a little acidity, but lets it stick to its characteristics of maltiness. the finish is not sweet, however its not nearly bitter. its peppery character really defines the finish. has a bit of complexity in the maltiness.

M- has a thick body, but isn't syrupy. medium/light carbonation.

D- is a pretty solid barleywine that i might be drinking out of season right now, however its quite tasty and enjoyable though not really mind blowing. its a better experience in the style, however being one of my favorite styles, i have pretty high expectation.

05-25-2009 20:44:03 | More by Atron67
Photo of n00blar


4.25/5  rDev +6%

05-04-2013 02:03:43 | More by n00blar
Photo of ThatWineGuy

Ontario (Canada)

4.47/5  rDev +11.5%

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.

02-05-2009 03:52:44 | More by ThatWineGuy
Photo of Casey10


3.73/5  rDev -7%

Not sure if I just had a bad bottle or something but was let down by this barley wine beer.

While the apperance was nice dark and the smell was good which was like slight carmel like smell.

The taste was okay as the mouthfeel I realize that that Barleywines can be hit or miss I gave this a good.

If I try this one again I hope that it is a bit better.

05-19-2011 22:38:43 | More by Casey10
Photo of rwilde


4/5  rDev -0.2%

11-27-2011 22:28:05 | More by rwilde
Photo of EStreet20

New Jersey

3.93/5  rDev -2%

A new barleywine from Southern Tier??? I've been pretty impressed with their big beers since they became available here so I had to try it. Here goes.

22 Ounce bomber bottle poured into a snifter glass.

A - Very nice look. A dark mahogany that glows a bright red when held up to light. Two finger head of cream colored foam, probably due to hard pour. Head has some staying power.

S - Hops coming up here along with some sugary smell.

T - A whole lot of fruity/sweet malt flavors here. This brew really has the flavors of an English Barleywine. The alcohol is well hidden in the taste. Lots of sweetness.

M - A nice chewy, thick sticky feel.

D - I found the sugary flavors to be a bit overdone. Still pretty good if you're looking for a really sweet barleywine.

Notes: This one's gotta be mislabeled. It's an American brew but it's got the characterstics of an English BW. Still quite tasty.

05-08-2007 03:26:18 | More by EStreet20
Photo of allenson21

New York

4/5  rDev -0.2%

02-11-2013 15:42:40 | More by allenson21
Photo of djgustafson

New York

3.75/5  rDev -6.5%

07-31-2013 23:48:39 | More by djgustafson
Photo of paulys55


4/5  rDev -0.2%

06-28-2013 14:04:19 | More by paulys55
Photo of sacrelicio


3.45/5  rDev -14%

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.

02-26-2011 06:23:26 | More by sacrelicio
Photo of dragonWhale

New York

4.2/5  rDev +4.7%

I don't remember it quite like this..but here it is in all its resplendent glory. Still with massive chain alcohols stirring the pot, prickling carbonation and surprisingly large hop aroma and flavor contributions. It's pretty astounding that this has held up so well after a year. I only remembered that it wasn't *too* sweet last time I had it.
Brilliant ruby. I feel as though I can see right through it, the light shines so brightly, but it is false! It is cloudy in there and my glass is stained with the strains of the liquid attempting to reach my mouth and swallow me whole. The alcohols are evident in the smell, shining through the sweet caramel malt, blending in with oranges and flowers in the hops. It is still bitter, not acridly so, with a nice balance between its sweetness, its booze, and its dryness. The carbonation is excellent, helping to lure you into thinking that this dry beer is one also of reasonability. Do not let it lie to you as it has done to me!

11-18-2010 02:54:43 | More by dragonWhale
Photo of BarrelO


3.58/5  rDev -10.7%

22oz bomber poured into a goblet.

A: Good garnet color. Nice two-finger head, but it fades fairly quickly.

S: Carmel malt and citrusy hops at war with each other. Fairly solventy.

T: Again, the malt and hops pretty much cancel each other out. It's basically a neuter beer. Not too pleasant.

M: Appropriately thick and after-dinnery.

D: Can't say I dig it too much. Since it reminds me of Old Horizontal, I'm giving it the same score. It's almost becoming a tradition at this point.

07-24-2009 03:08:35 | More by BarrelO
Photo of jmathis


4/5  rDev -0.2%

07-17-2012 01:42:54 | More by jmathis
Photo of gopens44


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 badbeer


4.25/5  rDev +6%

Really dark red with an off-white head that has excellent retention and lacing. Sweet caramel, dark fruits, and toffee are balanced with piney and orange-y hops in the nose. Sweet malt all over the tongue; caramel, dark fruit, and a large amount of bitter, but flavorful hops come through with some pineapple and tangerine. This drinks incredibly smooth to me with a full body and about medium carbonation. I'll be getting more of this.

12-28-2008 00:57:59 | More by badbeer
Photo of cratez

Ontario (Canada)

4.15/5  rDev +3.5%

650ml bottle shared with Adil and Christian at Chancey Smith's. Pours a clouded, deep ruby hue with a thin ring of beige head. Several spots of lacing line the tulip. Smell and taste are yeast esters, pear-like aromas, prunes, sweet caramelized fruit, candy apples, red plums, butterscotch, liquor, and a light, minty hop bitterness to end. Mouthfeel is rich, silky, fuller than medium, a bit juicy, powdery and parched finish with some warming alcohol. Pretty basic for the style but it's aromatic and flavourful nonetheless. Drinks well for the weight even though the booze is evident at times. Southern Tier never disappoints.

10-07-2010 03:13:29 | More by cratez
Photo of MMAJYK


3.98/5  rDev -0.7%

From my notebook.

A- Medium rust color; head is 1/8" and loose.

S- Citrus and floral hops dominate, but is pleasantly balanced with the malts. Touch of molasses and brown sugar.

T- Sweet like dates and figs; rich. Hops are definitely noticable, but sweetness of malts dominate.

M- Sticky in the mouth and low carbonation.

D- One of the most drinkable BWs I have ever tried. Smooth, balanced, and a great representation of the style!

12-01-2008 17:57:11 | More by MMAJYK
Photo of Thickfreakness

New York

4.13/5  rDev +3%

A- A murky ruby/amber pour into my DFH glass. Not much of a head, but really sticky and oily as it drips down the sides of the glass.

S- Sweet Caramel and butterscotch candy, nutty toffee, raisins, black figs, honey and a touch of piney hops in the backround. Picking up notes of toasted marshmallows. Very complex!

T- A sweet and piney/fruity punch, that blends seemlessly! Tons of depth! Rich buttery caramel, sun dried fruits, honey, pine, roasted nuts and candycorn! Really wishing I could try this oak aged or out of a Firkin! Funny how it seems like an English BW after each sip... only to be punched in the kisser by the tart/piney hops!

M- I love the way the piney, citrusy punch marries with the sweet, sticky and oily malts! I wish they made gum that tastes like this... I chew it all day long! A nice bit of alcohol burn on the tongue! Love it!

O- Yet another brilliantly executed Imperial brew from Southern Tier! They sure as hell know how to do big beer!

11-10-2011 03:11:17 | More by Thickfreakness
Photo of bbrown12

New Jersey

4/5  rDev -0.2%

01-03-2013 23:47:58 | More by bbrown12
Photo of YeastEnthusiast

New Jersey

3.5/5  rDev -12.7%

01-29-2014 04:55:56 | More by YeastEnthusiast
Photo of blitz134


3.93/5  rDev -2%

Received in a trade from jayjaye. He has been my Southern Tier hookup lately. Much appreciated.

Clear body with a dark garnet color. Light tan head on top. An inch thick initially but reduced to a quarter inch of foam that reaches up towards the edges of the glass to hold on. Pretty nice.

Lots of hops and sweet simple sugar syrup. Not really caramel too much in the sweetness but more of a cherry lifesaver fruitiness. Hops are floral and a little citrusy. Flavor seems a bit subdued, good but not bursting forth from the glass.

Flavor is pretty good, quite hoppy again. Citrus hops predominately with some pine aspects. Malts are caramelly but has some sweet bread as well. Has some dark fruitiness too, a little raisin and other dark fruit hints. Pretty good. Not the most complex, but a solid offering. A little hints of alcohol, but works well in this.

Mouthfeel is medium or so. Coats the mouthwell and the flavor lingers. Low carbonation level.

Good drinkability. A solid barleywine offering. Not the most complex, but good. Bigfoot'ish in its hoppiness.

05-10-2007 01:04:24 | More by blitz134
Photo of heysuz


4.22/5  rDev +5.2%

Intro: Split a 22oz. with a friend in a tulip glass.

Appearance: Somewhat of moderately thin head with big bubble. Moderate amount of carbonation on the glass. Deep amber color with a tint of ruby. Clear with no sediment

Smell: Fruity aromas with plums and dark berry notes, slightly sweet.

Taste: Good solid fruit flavors with a strong barley flavoring that really balances it out, slightly dry but a sweet feel in the back of the tongue.

Mouthfeel: Not any real aftertaste, nice and crisp and clean.

Overall: Well balanced barleywine, rich without being overly exotic. I think its high on my list for the type, although I have only rated a half dozen or less.

10-20-2011 19:28:35 | More by heysuz
Photo of sneth019


4/5  rDev -0.2%

02-10-2012 01:50:52 | More by sneth019
Photo of Jmamay22

New York

3.68/5  rDev -8.2%

I've been loving everything that Southern Tier has been putting out lately and I have high expectations for their Barley Wine.

Pours a rust tinged mahogany's with white wisps that hint of the head that has since dissipated. Collar leaves behind occasional spotty lacing.

Smells strongly of toffee and sweet malts. The hops are surely there as well, but aren't in your face as many American versions. The alcohol is strong as well, but does not come off as harsh. There's a nice fruit scent as well, which mixes with the hops to create an interesting citrus and raisin scent.

Tastes of cherry ladened with brown sugar and rum. Sweet and alcohol fueled until the hops start overtaking things. Much more citrus and pine than in the nose.

Mouthfeel is average and medium bodied. Hops and alcohol create this prickly feeling in the aftertaste. Drinkability comes off as difficult due to the harshness of the alcohol in the taste. The combination of alcohol and hops seem to create a near metallic aftertaste. Not their best. Best enjoyed as a digestif and alone.

03-01-2008 02:39:30 | More by Jmamay22
Backburner (Imperial Barley Wine Style Ale) from Southern Tier Brewing Company
90 out of 100 based on 856 ratings.