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

Backburner (Imperial Barley Wine Style Ale)Backburner (Imperial Barley Wine Style Ale)

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
90
outstanding

839 Ratings
THE BROS
94
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 839
Reviews: 496
rAvg: 4.01
pDev: 10.47%


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: 839 | Reviews: 496 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of BlackBelt5112203
BlackBelt5112203

South Carolina

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

22 oz bottle poured into a pint glass at cellar temperature.

L – Amber-brown color with a 2-finger cream-colored head. Nice retention but not much lacing. Clear with a good amount of bubbles. A little bit lighter than expected, but still fits the style.

S – Mostly caramel malts and citrus hops with some dark fruits mixed in. Alcohol is definitely apparent in the nose.

T – Follows the nose with a little more depth in the malt department. Starts off sweet with caramel, rich malts, molasses, and dark fruits like plums and figs. Bitter citrus hops creep in mid-taste and build toward the finish.

F – Medium-bodied with good carbonation, a sticky and mouth-coating feel, and a dry and bitter finish. Sweet caramel and bitter citrus hops linger. Lots of alcohol warmth is apparent at the finish.

O – This is a pretty solid American barleywine. It comes exactly as advertised with sweet caramel balanced with bitter citrus hops. The heat detracts a little from the drinkability, but it seems like that’s to be expected in beers that are this big. I haven’t had many barleywines so it’s tough to judge, but this one is pretty tasty. Another good beer from Southern Tier.

Serving type: bottle

11-27-2012 22:13:03 | More by BlackBelt5112203
Photo of Gobzilla
Gobzilla

California

3.85/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: poured a mahogany brown in color with yellow highlights and a thin ring of head that left very little bubbly lacing sticking to the glass.

S: most malty sweetness upfront in the nose but was able to detect some caramel, maybe a little dark fruitiness, hints of piney hops, a little booze and signs of maple.

T: the flavor was also very sweet and malty like the aroma suggested alongside dark fruit character, a little booze heat, caramel accents, a touch of toffee, maple sugar notes and a touch hoppiness.

M: the brew was medium in body with a fair amount of carbonation which had a sweet, mildly dark fruity, boozy, slightly hoppy and sticky finish

O: I thought it was just OK but was decent. I guess I am just use to these real big robust rich flavorful barleywines.

Serving type: bottle

11-20-2012 15:04:11 | More by Gobzilla
Photo of ummswimmin
ummswimmin

New Jersey

3.88/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I had this beer during the power outage following hurricane Sandy. I figured that a barleywine would work perfectly at room temperature.

I poured this beer into a snifter glass. This is a very hazy brown beer with minimal foam.

Backburner smells very hot. There are lots of venous qualities there.

The flavor is extremely rich. The heat comes in at the back of the throat.

This is a pretty good example of a barleywine. I'd go on more about this beer, but I got tired of writing reviews in the dark.

Serving type: bottle

11-10-2012 01:41:12 | More by ummswimmin
Photo of Darkmagus82
Darkmagus82

Virginia

3.93/5  rDev -2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from 22 oz bomber into snifter glass

Appearance- The beer pours a deep copper- red color with highlights of amber and a small off white head. The head fades very rapidly leaving a few bubbles to linger on the surface of the brew and leaving a light level of lacing on the sides of the glass.

Smell – The aroma is bready and sweet. A sweet aroma of caramel, cherries, apple, and toffee are plentiful mixing well with a big bready smell. With the sweet and malty is a decent showing of a nice bourbon aroma.

Taste – The taste starts out of a bready taste with hints of caramel and dark fruit sweetness. As the taste advances, a strong toffee sweetness comes to the tongue with it mixed with a lighter herbal flavor. As the taste moves on further the sweet fades slightly with an oak and bourbon alcohol flavor coming to the tongue. These two flavors grow quite a bit stronger at the end and mix with an earthy hop to leave a lingering sweet and earthy bourbon flavor on the tongue.

Mouthfeel – The body of the beer is on the slightly creamier and thicker side, although for a 9.6 % it is not all that exceptionally thick. The carbonation level is quite appropriate for the style as it is on the lower side. The lower carbonation and the slightly thicker body allow the sweet, boozy, oak and lightly hopped flavors to linger on the tongue.

Overall - A rather interesting barley wine with a rather diverse flavor profile. While on the sweeter side, there are also good flavors of a bready, hoppy and boozy flavor. The transitions in the taste are all rather smooth and with it not being a booze bomb like some barley wines it is somewhat easy to drink. Worth a try if you have a chance.

Serving type: bottle

11-10-2012 00:51:21 | More by Darkmagus82
Photo of bigaltemple
bigaltemple

Colorado

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

A - Deep, dark, copper color with nice amber hues appearing at the edges. Quarter inch, khaki-colored turns to a flimsy cap. Get some intricate sheets of lacing.

S - Initial whiff is lots of oak with subtle hints of vanilla. Sweet caramel and a bit of raisin show up as well. As it warms the floral/earthy hops become a bit more prominent.

T/M - Very similar to the nose. Tons of oak and vanilla, with some caramel and toffee. Mild bitterness finishes it off. Medium bodied, bordering on the thin side. Mild carbonation is nice for this one.

O - Haven't disliked a beer from Southern Tier yet. Found this one to be enjoyable, and would gladly have again.

Serving type: bottle

11-05-2012 04:31:39 | More by bigaltemple
Photo of bnes09
bnes09

Illinois

3.73/5  rDev -7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Dark bronze translucent ale. Ample light tan head with tons of lacing that lasts the entire drink and forms more with each sip.

Sweet, dark fruit aromas with raisins, dates and plums.

Dense malt character with dark fruits to add sweetness. Caramel and maple. Hops are subtle with an herbal tone. Sweet overall.

Thick, near syrupy texture. Descent carbonation provides a mild snappiness.

Adequate flavor and balance for a barley wine. Unfortunately, not much more to offer here. Also a tad too sweet for my taste.

Serving type: bottle

10-21-2012 01:41:22 | More by bnes09
Photo of PorterLambic
PorterLambic

Florida

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

Arrives in a snifter, a hazy dark brown with no head.
Smell is piney hops with some dark fruits and malt. Not exactly as expected but well balanced.
Taste is hoppy, sweet, malt, pine and some generic dark fruit notes. Balance is good.
Full bodied, warming and quite smooth. Extremely light effervescence, as expected. A nice sipping beer. Well done. So much better when it warms, easily twice the beer. Let it sit for 30 minutes at least and love it.

Serving type: on-tap

10-18-2012 01:45:29 | More by PorterLambic
Photo of dbrauneis
dbrauneis

North Carolina

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

Served on tap at Rattle N Hum in New York, NY

A: Pours a clear medium to dark amber in color with light amounts of visible carbonation. The beer has a half finger tall beige head that slowly reduced to a thin film covering the majority of the surface of the beer with a thin ring at the edges of the glass. Light amounts of lacing are observed.

S: Moderate to strong aromas of caramel and toffee malt sweetness with some notes of bourbon and vanilla - quite sweet and malty.

T: The taste is very similar to the smell with lots of malt flavors including caramel and toffee tastes and some bourbon notes - there are some light amounts of bourbon and vanilla. Very interesting with some notes alcohol near the finish.

M: Full bodied with light to moderate amounts of carbonation. Smooth with some alcohol heat in the finish.

O: This beer drinks more like a bourbon or a whiskey than a beer, this is definitely a slow sipping beer to enjoyed over quite a bit of time. I like the hints of bourbon like flavors and smells but this beer is big and does not hide the fact.

Serving type: on-tap

09-26-2012 02:28:40 | More by dbrauneis
Photo of WynnO
WynnO

Florida

3.98/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This dark reddish brown beast is quite inviting. Head is not exceptional---what barley wine is?

Smell is a bit weak but quite floral. Average, par, nominal, etc.

This jewel tastes pretty close to its definition. Southern Tier is amazing, and they do not disappoint here. Great balance of hops and heat. And it lingers...not too much though. Very tasty.

Mouthfeel is marvy IMHO. I like this beer for its politeness of knowing when to leave. I sense no yucky aftertastes. It exits like a champ.

I give this a 4.5 overall only because Southern Tier has raised its bar so high that it's hard to find a spearchucker amongst its vast selection of incredible beers that can rise above their standard. (lighten up---"spearchucker" is meant for its literal comedy here---someone who casts a spear a long, long way)

Serving type: on-tap

09-20-2012 00:01:43 | More by WynnO
Photo of TheSarge
TheSarge

Illinois

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

Poured about 6oz out into a wide mouthed tulip, and the brew makes a good two finger thick khaki colored head presentation with great retention, and the body is dark and hazy with a plum skin color.

The aroma is milk like, dark over ripe fruit, cooked veggies, and slight caramel.

Taste wise it is very caramel and toffee, with a spike of grapefruit kick in the end.

This is full in body, and a bit warming in the end.

Serving type: bottle

09-12-2012 02:14:00 | More by TheSarge
Photo of AlCaponeJunior
AlCaponeJunior

Texas

3.93/5  rDev -2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours cloudy and brown, very typical of a barleywine. Carbonation is ample and provided a pretty good 2 finger head that lasted a bit, but dissipated into a sheen, leaving pretty good thick, sticky lacing.

Aroma is blastingly malty, with that pungent barley aroma I'm looking for in a barleywine. Caramel malts are plentiful. Hops are equally forward, with a nice twang to top off the pungent aromas.

Flavor is very nice. Caramel malt, brown sugar, dark ripe fruits, some citrus bitterness, and a nice balancing of hops. This isn't an overly hopped barleywine, it's more malt forward and balanced (as compared to say SN Bigfoot ale, which I found to be monstrously hoppy). There's a note of oak, but it's not very forward and certainly not overpowering.

The body is medium to full, with a slick, syrupy finish.

It's pretty good, not the best barleywine I've had but still pretty good. It's right on par from what I expect from the Southern Tier Imperial Series.

Serving type: bottle

08-30-2012 22:42:36 | More by AlCaponeJunior
Photo of hardy008
hardy008

Minnesota

4.33/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Cloudy burgundy with a two finger beige head with nice retention and lacing. The aroma on this beer is one of the sweetest I have ever smelled. The aroma has caramel, toffee, oranges, dark fruit, and brown sugar.

Tastes almost as sweet as it smells, with caramel, toffee, oranges, and dark fruit. There is a bit more hop bitterness than I would have guessed, and it is a plus, because it goes so well together with the sweet malt flavors.

Full bodied with moderate carbonation. The alcohol is well hidden for 9.6 % abv, but this is definitely a warming beer. This is a very nice Barleywine for sure.

Serving type: bottle

08-25-2012 01:42:52 | More by hardy008
Photo of ngeunit1
ngeunit1

California

4.33/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours a hazy amber-copper color with a finger of frothy off-white head. The head fades down at a normal pace leaving behind some lacing.

S - Aroma is full of sweet caramel and caramelized malts with some citrus, grapefruit, and grassy hops some dark caramel malts and a bit of booze.

T - Starts off with a mix of sweet caramel and caramelized malts with some grapefruit and citrus hops and some bitterness. Through the middle, some brown sugar comes through with some grassy hops and some more bitterness. The finish is a mix of sweet caramelized malts, citrus and grassy hops, bitterness, and some booze.

M - Medium-full bodied with moderate carbonation. Feels smooth with a sweet, bitter, and warming finish.

D - Very drinkable. Nicely balanced American Barleywine with good body, malt, and hop balance.

Serving type: bottle

07-31-2012 06:12:22 | More by ngeunit1
Photo of Dope
Dope

Massachusetts

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

Relatively fresh bottle, <1 year old.

A: Pours a murky amber with a good sized and dense tan head. Fades slowly, leaving a thin but almost uninterrupted wall of lacing.

S: Loads of raisin, fig and molasses primarily. Some toffee and caramel in the middle.

T: Strong molasses up front along with the dark fruit - raisin and fig. Some toffee, caramel and a bit more molasses in the middle and towards the end. Not overly sweet, especially with a little burst of earthy and resin hop bitterness in the finish.

M: Heavy, thick.

O: A good american style barleywine. Nice complexity and balance of flavors. However, nothing stands out as earth-shattering so I give it a solid 4 across the board. Not a knock against the beer, it's a pretty excellent staple for the style. Just nothing to distinguish it from the rest.

Serving type: bottle

07-26-2012 02:28:55 | More by Dope
Photo of albertjr21
albertjr21

New York

4.48/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Vintage 2011 bottle served in a snifter on 7-20-12:

A deep ruby color and syrupy looking consistency flirts almost into brown under a thin but resilient light beige froth. A delicious sweet aroma of caramel and luscious toasted bready malt delights the nose with a sugary raisin candy allure. I'm unsure as to how much has been going on in the bottle for the past year because I shamefully admit to having never tried a young version of this. But I can tell you that there is a very nice harmony of flavors bleeding into each other on the palate. Deep jammy earthy raisin fruit, caramel, and roasted grainy bread glide across the palate into pleasantly resinous sticky fruit bitterness. A little bit of pungent grape dryness in the finish as well. Enjoyed with a Blue Cheese D'Auvergne and thin sliced fresh Italian bread.

Serving type: bottle

07-21-2012 03:45:16 | More by albertjr21
Photo of johnnnniee
johnnnniee

New Hampshire

3.93/5  rDev -2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I've been sitting on this one for a little while, there's no bottle dating, but I believe I put this away in 2009.
Pours a mostly clear deep reddish orange with a good sized off white head that shows great retention and moderate lace. Smells of sweet sugar, caramel and dark fruit, cherries mostly with an earthy as well as an ethanol bite. The flavor is sweet with cherries and raisins with lots of sweet and dark sugars. I also catch a hint of roast or chocolate at the end of every sip. There is a fair amount of alcohol burn as well as some earthy and oxidized flavors. Medium to thick body with a moderate level of carbonation and a sweet almost syrupy mouthfeel. This is a nice flavorful barleywine but it seems to be in that in between stage where its not exactly fresh and not quite aged enough. I might have to put some of these away and see how they work with a bit more age.

Serving type: bottle

07-21-2012 02:05:41 | More by johnnnniee
Photo of siege06nd
siege06nd

Virginia

3.8/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A 2011 bottle, poured into a Sam Adams Perfect Pint.

A. Pours a very cloudy, ruddy copper color. Not much head to speak of, just a wisp of a cream colored neck around the top. Lacing is also very faint. Meh.

S. Toasted malt, raisin, caramel, and some subtle hop notes.

T. Lots of toasty bread crust, some toasty caramel, raisin, toffee, spicy and bitter hops, and a fairly big booze burn on the back end.

M. Boozy finish but everything else is pretty well-balanced. Slightly astringent and drying from the bitterness and alcohol burn.

O. A solid American Barleywine and, I think, one of the better versions that is readily available. That said, with a little bit of effort, far better can be had, including Gratitude and Dogfish Head Olde School.

Serving type: bottle

07-20-2012 23:44:52 | More by siege06nd
Photo of sommersb
sommersb

Tennessee

4.33/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Tasted On: 07-15-2012
Freshness: Not indicated
Packaging: 22 oz. brown bottle, pry-cap
Glassware: Snifter
Purchased: Received in a trade

Appearance is a dark amber colored clear beer, with one and a half fingers of off-white head. A fair amount of head retention and a good level of lace.

Aromas are rich; composed of oak, caramel malts, alcohol, spices and earthy hops.

The taste is both malty and hoppy, as you'd expect from a barleywine, with dark fruits, alcohol warming, and aged/wood flavors.

The mouthfeel is slick, with a full, thick body. Carbonation is low. The finish is smooth and is balanced well between sweet malts and bitter hops.

Overall, this is a strong and nicely balanced barleywine. I'd recommend you seek this one out - a real treat!

Thanks to TheBishopco for this one!

Serving type: bottle

07-16-2012 03:32:53 | More by sommersb
Photo of BlurryVisi0n
BlurryVisi0n

New York

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

Served in a pint glass.

Appearance: This beer like most barleywines pours a darker amber, a little hazy on the body with an off white to really light (white-orange) head that rose to maybe 1/3".

Smell: Strong barley scent, with hints of caramel and sweet hops.

Taste: Not bad at all, I like it a lot with its caramel feel and strong "wine-rum" taste.

Mouth: Medium carbonation not so sticking as you would expect, it definitely isn't a 4 that's why I can't rate it so high but it will at least satisfy.

Overall: You will definitely like this, it will satisfy most palates and would be hard if it couldn't with most real beer drinkers . Take a shot because I would definitely grab it again. Salud!

Serving type: bottle

07-15-2012 02:11:37 | More by BlurryVisi0n
Photo of charlzm
charlzm

California

3.45/5  rDev -14%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Consumed April 22nd, 2012 at Hopjacks, Ensley Florida.

Color is a clear, deep amber with a minimal off-white head. Some slight sheeting.

Aroma: resiny alcohol and a whiff of vanilla.

Almost a lacquer flavor at first. Sweet. Caramelized malt, vanilla, wood and alcohol heat. Some pepper. Not very bitter.

Thick in the mouth. Some carbonation prickle. Dry on the finish.

Easy to drink but oddly not super tasty. Considering I got this for $2.50 during happy hour, I'm not looking this gift horse in the mouth. Worthwhile, if not especially outstanding.

Serving type: on-tap

06-23-2012 19:48:32 | More by charlzm
Photo of Stinkypuss
Stinkypuss

Pennsylvania

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.

Serving type: on-tap

05-26-2012 21:49:25 | More by Stinkypuss
Photo of wvsabbath
wvsabbath

West Virginia

3.63/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Serving Type - 22oz bottle

Appearance - Tanish black, nice 2 inch creamy head and tons of lacing.

Smell - ROasted malts, whiskey, spices, dark fruits, some added sugars, a little toffee and caramel note.

Taste - Strong opening taste of whiskey and fruits. Malts add the famed caramel/toffee flavor. Plenty of cherry mixed in with some molasses and brown sugars. Not very hoppy or much A slight warm alcohol bite near the finish.

Mouthfeel - Thick, syrupy and rich. Tounge gets malts, whiskey and sugars. Palate gets more of the same. Afetrtaste is dry and fruity.

Overall - This reminds me moreso of a belgium strong ale then a barleywine. Too drinkible, not such a monster sipper that ive come to know. I did enjoy the whiskey flavor but its just too tame and lacks the depth and complex flavors. Try bigfoot from sierra nevada and you will see what i meen. This is ok but i wouldnt buy again.

Serving type: bottle

05-26-2012 05:15:23 | More by wvsabbath
Photo of t420o
t420o

California

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

From old notes (9/3/2011)

Southern tier back burner barleywine

A- semi aggressive pour yields a 1 finger off white/tan head that rests atop a hazy copper body. Leaves decent lacing. 4 

S-deep candied sugar, cherry, ripe dark fruits, toffee, bready, slight sourness from the cherry smell, some alcohol. Smells very good 4   

T- follows the nose. Big waves of dark fruits, cherries, caramaized brown sugar, toffee, lightly hoppy, and some caramel. Alcohol is very well hidden.  Complex and well done. 4

M- good mouthfeel. Lowerer carbonation good weight 4

O- a very good barleywine which may be my favorite style. It is sweet but it does it in a good way in my opinion. Pretty drinkable 4

B+/A-

Serving type: bottle

05-24-2012 06:17:11 | More by t420o
Photo of BostonHops
BostonHops

Massachusetts

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 although it is discernible.

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 an ABW fan.

original review on: 10-15-2010

Serving type: bottle

05-16-2012 01:24:13 | More by BostonHops
Photo of dgilks
dgilks

Australia

3.48/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Cloudy dark red colour with a tiny head. Poor head retention but that's not what the beer is about.

Massive caramel malt on the nose with hints of grain. Some earthy and almost floral hops. Quite fruity.

Rich, silky malt with more fruit and earthy hops. Interesting combination. Pretty tasty.

Full body with moderate carbonation. Good.

I really like the combination of intensely rich malt and earthy hops here but it is a little cloying. Good but not great.

Serving type: bottle

05-07-2012 10:56:14 | More by dgilks
Backburner (Imperial Barley Wine Style Ale) from Southern Tier Brewing Company
90 out of 100 based on 839 ratings.