Backburner (Imperial Barley Wine Style Ale) - Southern Tier Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Backburner (Imperial Barley Wine Style Ale)Backburner (Imperial Barley Wine Style Ale)

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BA SCORE
90
outstanding

876 Ratings
THE BROS
94
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 876
Reviews: 497
rAvg: 4.01
pDev: 10.47%
Wants: 71
Gots: 106 | 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
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Ratings: 876 | Reviews: 497 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of pottergator
4/5  rDev -0.2%

Photo of homebrewhawk
3.78/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bomber served in a snifter. Poured a brilliant reddish copper with a quickly dissipating head. Malty aroma with some burnt sugar. Some citrus hop aroma comes out as it warms. Definitely on the malty side. Full bodied and rich mouthfeel. More burnt sugar flavor, medium hoppiness. Hops come out more in the finish with a drying finish. Also a bit of smoke flavor in the finish. Pretty easy drinking for 10%, but I found it a little lackluster.

Photo of LordAdmNelson
4.25/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Great looking beer. Deep rich caramel-red-brown. About two inches of head with moderate retention and good lacing.

S- Also smells great, although the aroma isn't too strong. Big citrusy hops with a strong caramel-malty backbone.

T- Some molasses, citrusy hops, some pine, caramel sweetness. Some alcohol too. Some rum raisin in there too. Roasty/peppery finish. Bitterness is pretty low. Robust and flavorful, I really like this.

M- Medium bodied, coats the mouth well. A bit of prickle from the carbonation.

D- Just a great beer. I keep looking for more flavors. Sweetness makes it a bit hard to have a bunch though. Not as grassy/earthy/piney as other Barleywines I've had. Kind of like a big, imperial APA, really.

Photo of climax
4.1/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The cherry wood color gleaming from inside the snifter is bright and vivid. Head formed pretty easy after a gentle pour. Retention isdecent for the ABV, and blobs of bubbles cling together after it's all settled down.

The aroma is as bold and flavorful as it should be. Subtle hints of mint, citrus, and earth bring hop presence to a huge malt bill. Big notes of ripe red grapes, tootsie rolls, and cherries make up the bulk of the nose. Malt backing comes from caramel and graham cracker, while a bit of wood/root flavor adds some aged flavor and sophistication. The alcohol is in there, but adds merely a whisper of warmth.

This one seems much more on the sweet side than a lot of barleywines. It's never cloying, but there's a load of unfermented sugar in here, giving it an almost maraschino cherry character from start to finish. The taste seems a little less complex than the aroma, but it's a tough act to follow.

The body is a bit on the thin side for a barleywine IMO. More viscosity is always a plus for a sipper like this, yet I am enjoying it after a meal and it's quite easy to keep at it. The gentle carbonation adds just a fluff in the beginning and then the dryness keeps things crisp through the finish.

All things considered this baby's got a load of flavor. It's definitely on the sweet side and gets a bit cloying as the bomber wears on, but it never stops being a pleasure to drink.

Photo of StlHopHead77
3.95/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2012 vintage

A-Pours out a seriously dark,murky,maroonish brown with with 1 1/2 inches of slightly off white foam that showed moderate retention and left concentric,sticky rings of lacing.

S-Dark cherry,rum soaked raisin,baked sugar,plum,caramel apple and slight hop notes.

T-Ripe,red apple,brown sugar,bitter,citric hops,molasses,toffee and pipe tobacco finishing with an earthy herbal finish.

M-Medium bodied with good balance of flavors.Not overly sweet with a substantial citric hop presence right now.I think some age would benefit this a great deal.

O-Really nice.I wasn't aware that this had been retired so I'll probably pick up a few of the remaining bottles at my local shop.

Photo of perrymarcus
4/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

bomber (22oz) served in an oversized wineglass.

pours a luscious, murky mahogany tone with a finger plus of a beige/tan-colored head which quickly retreats into a collar around the glass. spotty lacing evident; nothing to write home about on that front. both somewhat subpar showings (head retention/lacing) forgivable with respect to the strength/style.

fairly pungent nose is rife with caramel malts and a discernible hoppy presence.

taste follows through as expected with a malt-forward, hoppy profile with the hops becoming most notable mid-palate. pretty good balance between the malty sweetness and hop bitterness, the latter resonating through the finish. not as big an alcohol showing as you might expect for a 10% ABV... pretty tasty - might be a bit overdone with the hops considering the style (IMHO... though i admittedly prefer the english version, so i should keep that in mind) - but enjoyable nonetheless.

medium-plus bodied, a touch syrupy. easy drinking for a barley wine. looks like i'm going even 4s across the board on this one. recommended, especially to a barley wine fan.

Photo of djgustafson
3.75/5  rDev -6.5%

Photo of cowboy83
4/5  rDev -0.2%

Photo of n00blar
4.25/5  rDev +6%

Photo of Evarigan
4.25/5  rDev +6%

Photo of rwilde
4/5  rDev -0.2%

Photo of phisig137
3.13/5  rDev -21.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

A- Pours a mahogany color, fading to deep gold around the edges... great range of color. One finger head quickly dissipates, and leaves nothing behind.

S- Complex burnt sugars, resinous hops, a touch of leather, and a fair amount of alcohol/hooch.

F- Big flavor, but lacking. Lots of unfermented sugars here, with caramel hints. Solid hop bitterness, with only a touch of piney flavor. Sweetness is overwhelming on the finish. Unfortunately the alcohol is quite hot and forward.

M- Thick and lucious, creamy and smooth. Very nice.

D- A bit low due to the alcohol presence.

Overall, I'm pretty disappointed in this one. Usually Southern Tier has some phenomenal beers, but this one just doesn't stand up to the rest of their lineup. It is worth a try for the price, but I won't be rushing back.

Photo of paulys55
4/5  rDev -0.2%

Photo of TheSleepyMonkey
4.25/5  rDev +6%

Photo of YeastEnthusiast
3.5/5  rDev -12.7%

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

A- Poured into my DFH snifter... starts with a small head that disappears quickly. Beer is dark amber colored, very cloudy

S- I could smell a malty sweetness as soon as I popped the cap. Actual wiff from the snifter is super aromatic of mostly sweet maltiness with a very subtle bitter backbone

T- A little more bitterness accompanying the huge malty sweetness then the aroma lets on. Both combine nicely leaving behind a balanced aftertaste in your mouth along with a bit of boozy heat

M- Medium body with light carbonation

D- Tastes great, though I couldnt consider it too sessionable at 10% abv. I would def consider buying again. Not ST's greatest work, but very worthy to say the least

CHEERS!!

Photo of cwd
4.25/5  rDev +6%

Photo of CHSLBrew
3.85/5  rDev -4%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Bomber poured into a snifter.

A-Hazy copper-brown beer, murky, remiscent of iced tea. Almost non-existent head, tan colored what is there.

S-Murky, sticky hops, resiny. Malty semi-sweetness, slightly toasty with a nutty, fruity one-two punch mixed in there.

T-Earthy and herbal hop flavors welcome in a reign of aggressive hop bitterness. This bitter is certainly necessary, as it's trying its hardest to balance a big malt presence, toasty and nutty in character, with a slight bready sweetness. Raisins in there, as well. Finshes bitter, with a slight fruitiness and a linger herbal nuance.

M-Medium full body, moves around surprisingly spritely, with a surprisingly lively, yet not overwhelming, carbonation.

D-Decent. A strong example of an amped-up American barleywine with its rediculous bitterness and hop presence. Drink up :D

Photo of lpayette
4/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

Photo of danielharper
4.03/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Dark orange-red, very hazy (almost opaque), with a thick off-white head that sticks around for a bit and leaves some lacing. Very good appearance.

Smell: Crisp hops up-front, with a nice solid caramel maltiness underneath. Slightly sweet.

Taste: Strong bitter solid hops on the front, very heavily malted in the middle, with a sweet aftertaste. Strong flavors of caramel and brown sugar. Pretty much your standard barleywine, but it doesn't quite gel as well as I'd like it to -- the hops and the malts seem like characteristics from two separate beers, and don't reinforce one another the way I'd like.

Mouthfeel: Thick, heavy hops and low carbonation. Slightly chewy.

Drinkability: A very nice barleywine, one of the better examples of the style. Well worth trying if you can get it.

Photo of sjones5045
4/5  rDev -0.2%

Photo of Atron67
3.98/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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.

Photo of seangibbs60
4.25/5  rDev +6%

Photo of Casey10
3.73/5  rDev -7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

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.

Photo of ThatWineGuy
4.47/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 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.

Backburner (Imperial Barley Wine Style Ale) from Southern Tier Brewing Company
90 out of 100 based on 876 ratings.