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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

869 Ratings
THE BROS
94
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 869
Reviews: 497
rAvg: 4.01
pDev: 10.47%
Wants: 70
Gots: 102 | 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:  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: 869 | Reviews: 497 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of akorsak
3.53/5  rDev -12%
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.

akorsak, Jan 01, 2008
Photo of Gonzoillini
3.75/5  rDev -6.5%

Gonzoillini, Apr 09, 2014
Photo of rhoadsrage
4.35/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

(Served in a snifter)

A- This beer has a warm deep reddish-brown body with a sea of tiny bubbles. There is a sticky light tan head that makes sheets of foam on the glass after each sip.

S-The sweet slightly floral smell of caramel malt has a cream note to it with a faint watermelon smell that soon blooms into a musty green pungent hop nose.

T- The taste of sweet caramel malt has some notes of dark caramel malt sweetness in the background followed by a spicy hop finish with some earthy pine hops. The hop bitterness along with the malt sweetness both linger a bit after the finish.

M- This beer has a medium-full mouthfeel with a creamy texture and no real alcohol heat.

D-The malt flavors are robust and the hops flavors are just as robust and more complex. This is a nice hoppy beer to sip by the fire on those subzero nights.

rhoadsrage, Jan 26, 2008
Photo of Zorro
4.03/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Clear brown colored beer with a thick lasting tan colored head. Maroon colored when held up to the light to test clarity.

Smells spicy and heavily hopped. Scents of Pinewood, citrus, faint mango and pineapple.

Starts out sweet and woody with a melon aftertaste. Quite fruity the melon taste stays but a peach flavor appears along with the taste of chocolate. Little bit of spice here, mostly cinnamon stick.

Mouthfeel is full.

Quite a friendly Barleywine not near as strong as the smell suggests. This is about perfectly balanced between flavor and tongue friendliness.

Sampled through the efforts of Bentkentk56 and Secret Bunny 09 BIF.

Zorro, Apr 26, 2009
Photo of jdhilt
4.47/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours a two finger light tan head that faded quickly to a thin layer leaving some lace. Hazy amber color. Good carbonation and medium bodied. Caramel nose. Flavor is caramel and some molasses and alcohol. $6.49 for a 22oz bottle from Manchester Wine and Liquors Manchester, CT.

jdhilt, Dec 21, 2008
Photo of Stinkypuss
4.05/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Backburner (Imperial Barley Wine Style Ale)
Southern Tier Brewing Company
Style: American Barleywine
ABV: 9.60 %

LOOK: Dark ruby brown color, opaque, with a small, short livid white collar of a head.

SMELL: Deeply caramelized and toasted malts, booze, dark fruits. Smells like a big beautiful barley wine.

TASTE: Sweet sugar plum notes upfront, giving way to a malty body with a fruity estery English ale yeast profile. Loads of malt flavor, little in the way of bitterness, and a downplayed but present alcohol character. Warms the soul, as well as the belly.

FEEL: Full bodied, smooth, viscous, syrupy, but well carbonated.

OVERALL: This is a very tasty brew, and it goes down easily for a beer of such strength. A well made barleywine, and would age gracefully if cellared properly.

Stinkypuss, May 26, 2012
Photo of smakawhat
4.35/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from the bottle into a snifter. Bottle dates June 27th, 2010 off we go.

Straight in the middle pours a nice dark amber out of the bottle, going to a really beautiful red plum color. Head has some color to it of cream tan. Some leg action but not much pock mark sticking.

Malty dominant, and some fruit almost faint Concord sweet grapes in the back. Smells particularly boozy, some hints of chocolate also but it needs to be aerated to open up the chocolate it seems. Overall though pretty good nose, smells like something sweet is coming.

Malt chocolate and mild malt overtones for taste. Surprisingly not as sweet as expected. Grape taste comes through in the after finish after a few swallows. Hardly noticeable high abv loosing the boozyness of the drink upon tasting. Small hints of tickle carbonation.

Pretty good I have to say for drinkability this was quite tasty I have to admit. I'd get it again for the style.

smakawhat, Feb 24, 2011
Photo of DrBier
4/5  rDev -0.2%

DrBier, Aug 07, 2014
Photo of Wasatch
4.3/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to jwc215 for this brew.

22oz. Bomber

Poured into a chalice a nice dark ruby red color, nice carbonation, tiny fizzy off-white head, some sticky lacing to follow. The nose is mostly hoppy with some malts, dark fruits, and caramel. The taste is slightly sweet, hoppy, some malts, and caramel. The alcohol is hidden very well, but does warm ya up a bit. Medium body, well rounded brew. Very drinkable, a very tasty, easy to drink barleywine, highly recommended.

Wasatch, Sep 12, 2007
Photo of brandoman63
4/5  rDev -0.2%

brandoman63, Nov 20, 2011
Photo of ppoitras
3.2/5  rDev -20.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

22oz bottle purchased from Julio's, Marlboro, MA.

Poured into a heavy glass chalice, formed a 1/4" tan head over the clear burgundy chestnut brew. Head holds relatively steady, but tending towards a layer of small bubbles, with plenty of sticky lacing. Aroma is sweet malt, dark fruit, and alcohol. Taste is syrupy upfront for a moment, and then is overpowered by an extremely artificial-seeming fruitiness, with warmth coming on at the end. Mouthfeel is average to good, nothing particularly notable, and drinkability is quashed a bit by the fruitiness that (looking at the ingredients) probably is coming from some hop or another. Regardless, this one just didn't do much for me.

ppoitras, Jun 10, 2007
Photo of biegaman
4.47/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Iron red oxide with the slimmest bronzing trim. The beer is stainlessly clear although its deep tone yields distorted transparency. Nevertheless, its complexion is brilliant and its body glows. Despite the bare center, a sandy fence of lace has mushroomed up along its perimeter and serves to fatten up the otherwise barren surface of the beer.

The beer is brewed with Amarillo, Willamette, Chinook and Centennial - if there is a better cast of hops I'd like to know about it. Let me tell you - this smells wonderful. It's an ambrosial, leafy, pine-scented bouquet with a backdrop of scorched caramel and singed bread crust. It is as sticky sweet and tree sappy bitter as any American barleywine I've come across.

Big fat hop cones ladled with caramel and finally dipped in chocolate - this is the delicious profile of Southern Tier's barleywine. The hops really do play an unmistakable role contributing notes of spice, pine, and above all else dried citruisy fruit. What a power struggle between hops and malt! It has caramel crusted toffee wafers coated with citrus zest. It's an ultra-hoppy flavour that indulges the taste buds without numbing them.

Please, defined "drinkability" for me. Granted, this sample has had just about two years to mellow in the cellar but it is as smooth and quaffable of a 10% beer as you can expect to ever find. I don't believe that barleywines should necessarily be meant to be quaffable in this sense, but the fact that Back Burner is means that it's disappearing from the glass at a much faster pace than was expected.

And why wouldn't it? Like its supposed 85 IBU's, the alcohol is scarcely noted. The bottle could read 7% and I'd believe it; the alcohol plays no real factor in determining drinkability. The beer drinks like a sweet caramel-hop smoothie with the taste of biscuits and pine lingering pleasantly. Notes of candied-fruits and caramelized malts please the palate without overwhelming it. Each sip simply entices you more so to take the next.

Southern Tier had already proven to me that they could swim in high gravity waters but their barleywine certainly confirms that. Anything they release in a 650ml bottle is well worth picking up. I'm reminded of a few reputable West Coast offerings but wonder if even they are as good as the drink left in front of me. Back Burner is so aggressively hopped yet balanced with such finesse, I must recommend this to any fan of the style.

biegaman, Feb 05, 2009
Photo of rab53
5/5  rDev +24.7%

rab53, Dec 09, 2011
Photo of tdm168
4.5/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22oz bottle poured into a brandy snifter.

Pours a deep, dark brown close to purple with one finger of head that fades to a thin lacing. Nose is malts and raisins. Taste is caramel and roasted malt with a very smooth dark fruit flavor maybe raisins or figs and just a hint of chocolate. Very good mouthfeel, not over carbonated, full bodied, and very smooth warmth from the alcohol.

I really liked this beer. I found it in the back of a Wegman's on my journey to Hornell, NY. It had dust on the bottle and looked like a hidden gem. Since we only recently started getting my hands on Southern Tier in NC, I buy up any I see. I'm so glad I did.

tdm168, Aug 02, 2011
Photo of plaid75
4/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a deep amber hue with a half finger frothy tan head. There was good retention and lacing.

The smell featured a heavy caramel malt with some alcohol and a sweet hop.

The taste consisted of a dull alcohol, dark fruit, raisin and an earthy hop. Some residual sweetness.

The mouthfeel was typical of the style with a slightly tongue numbing alcohol.

Overall a tasty and well balanced barleywine.

plaid75, Jun 16, 2009
Photo of Kelp
3.5/5  rDev -12.7%

Kelp, Jan 25, 2013
Photo of billab914
3.78/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22oz bottle into my Southern Tier glass. Pours a hazy dark copper reddish color with a two finger white fluffy head. Moderate lacing on the glass.

Aroma is malty with a lot of caramel sweetness and surprisingly slightly hoppy. Taste also has a lot of caramel and maltiness with some fruit flavors as well. It also has a slight sweetness in the finish with a little bitterness.

Mouthfeel is heavy with moderate carbonation. Drinkability is pretty good for a 10% beer. I'm glad I split the bottle with someone because 22oz of it would be slightly tough if planning to drink anything else tonight but one glass was very drinkable.

billab914, Dec 27, 2009
Photo of Latarnik
4/5  rDev -0.2%

Latarnik, May 29, 2014
Photo of sendbeer
4.25/5  rDev +6%

sendbeer, Dec 21, 2012
Photo of beerthulhu
4.28/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

85 ibu barley wine style. Hopped with Chinook and dried with Amarillo and centennial.

A: Pours a dark mahogany red with virtually no head.

S: Pine and spruce on nose.

T: Huge sticky pine flavor and palate. Bitter and dry with some dried grapefruit. 10.0 abv. Deep caramelized flavor with some bitterness that ends with a touch of lemon citrus. Some alcohol warming but otherwise very drinkable considering abv. Big dry pine bitterness from hops.

M: hearty malty mouthful. Reminds me of a arrogant bastard.

D: very good drinkability even for high abv%

beerthulhu, Jan 26, 2008
Photo of JohnGalt1
3.8/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

22 from joe1510 .. shared a small glass with Brenda.. mine poured into my Smokestack goblet..

1" head with beautiful lacing.. brew is dark brown with not much showing until I held it to a light and it revealed a crystal clear ruby brew.. very pretty for the entire bottle.

Aroma is American hops but with a significant backboard of malts caramel and even some chocolate as it arms.. . yeasty fruitiness reminds me of overripe plums... does have a distinct solvent characteristic as it warms.

Flavor is very nice.. just enough bitterness to balance the malts.. good caramel.. toasty and much lesser chocolate malts.. complex malts with the fruitiness from the yeasts make this a memorable brew. Pine and citrus hops play very well with the overall sweetness. Bready midpalate and a long lingering hoppy/fruity finish combines with caramel remnants. Body is pretty much exact so is the carbonation..

I wish Backburner and other Southern Tier brews were available to me.. This BW is pretty classy fresh.. an would probably age like a champ if I had them in the cellar.. Good Stuff! Big props to joe1510 for a great trade!!

4/3.5/4/4/3.5

JohnGalt1, Sep 02, 2008
Photo of Viggo
4.03/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

At Goldoraks tasting, post-Mondial 2007! Big group of RB guys and a couple BA's, and some on both, it was a great time! Can't remember who brought this because I didn't write it down, but to whoever did, thanks!

Pours a clear brown, small off white head, lace spots, leaves a small ring, something very average about it though. Smell is sweet, some caramel, citrus, very fruity, alcohol, smell like an English barleywine. Taste is rich toffee, slight roast, very fruity, bit of alcohol, nice balance. Mouthfeel is medium to full bodied with low carbonation, quite coating and rich. Not sure if I would call this an American barleywine, but pretty half decent stuff. Thanks!

Viggo, Jul 15, 2007
Photo of Bighuge
4.2/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Scarlet red body. Slight off white head. Lace is quite adequate for the octane level. Aroma is fruity and hoppy. I get the pineapple like hoppy smell and some sweet maltiness as well. Pretty nice balance between malt and hops for this bigass brew. Rich caramel malts lay a nice foundation. Citrusy and pungent hops accent nicely. Alcohol is damn near absent in the flavor. Slightly spicy aftertaste from hops. Good barleywine overall.

Bighuge, Mar 28, 2008
Photo of Tone
4.72/5  rDev +17.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a hazy copper/amber color. 1/3 inch head of a pale tan color. Good retention and decent lacing. Smells of strong hops, sweet malt, slight alcohol, and a hint of raisin. Fits the style of an American Barleywine. Mouth feel is really smooth and crisp with an average carbonation level. Tastes of strong hops up front, earthy malt comes through next, slight alcohol, and the finish is sweet malt and more hops. Wow, for a Barleywine fan and a big hops fan this is a great brew. Overall, this is a really tasty beer and I wish I had a SN Bigfoot to compare next, but I think this is just as good. Definitely worth a try.

Tone, Mar 12, 2009
Photo of Alieniloquium
3.65/5  rDev -9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

650 mL bottle poured into a snifter.

Appearance - Deep garnet body with an off-white head. The head doesn't last long and it doesn't leave much lacing.

Smell - Delicious smell. Caramel and toffee malts with strong dark fruit aromas. Maybe some bananas in the background. Not a lot of the hops come through.

Taste - A bit of hoppiness right at the start, then sweet. Not a complex as the smell. The sweetness overwhelms what I can only imagine to be subtlety in the flavors. A good hop bitterness in the back lingers and reminds me that it's a barleywine and not an old ale.

Mouthfeel - Thick and a bit syrupy, which makes sense considering the sweetness. Not a lot of carbonation makes it feel thicker. The drinkability really starts to get sluggish as this beer warms. The slightest bit of alcohol warming in the finish.

Overall - Great smell, slightly disappointing flavor. Still tastes good, just not great.

Alieniloquium, Jun 04, 2011
Backburner (Imperial Barley Wine Style Ale) from Southern Tier Brewing Company
90 out of 100 based on 869 ratings.