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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

847 Ratings
THE BROS
94
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 847
Reviews: 496
rAvg: 4.01
pDev: 10.47%
Wants: 62
Gots: 96 | 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:  Latest | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Backburner (Imperial Barley Wine Style Ale) Alström Bros
Ratings: 847 | Reviews: 496 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of jayhawk73
jayhawk73

Maryland

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

A- Pours a bronze/red color w/ a beautiful two finger cocoa head. Decent carbonation and good lacing. Great looking, and perfect for the style.

S- Caramel, hops, malt, very sweet smelling... almost more than I'd like. Rum tinge to the fruit smell as well. Nice, although I'd like the hops to be more forward.

T- Big taste on this beer. A little on the sugar/sweet side, still nice. I'd like the hops to be predominant rather than the sweetness, but it's still good. A little short of great.

M- Very smooth, with a sweet aftertaste. No way this beer feels like 10%, it goes down too easily. A little on the dry side, and a tad thin. More malt in the taste would help the feel I think.

O- Nice Barleywine, and another solid beer from Southern Tier. If you like Barleywines, this is a good one to try- although the sweetness may turn off some people.

Serving type: bottle

07-02-2011 02:28:11 | More by jayhawk73
Photo of Neffbeer
Neffbeer

Pennsylvania

3.55/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

22oz bottle from last winter, poured into a snifter.

A: It pours a deep amber color with great looking mahogany highlights. A strong pour yielded a one finger white head that fades pretty quickly. It left a small amount of lacing on the glass.

S: The nose is full of sweet malty goodness; caramel, biscuits covered with fig jam, vanilla, raisins, and some faint notes of booze.

T: The flavors follow suit on the palate. There is a heavy wave of caramel followed by raisins, figs, vanilla, and sweet booze. It finishes sort of sweet with a little kick from the alcohol. Overall a pretty smooth drinker.

M: Medium to heavy in mouthfeel. There are still some residual sugars here that really add to the overall viscosity.

O: A decent barley wine that comes off a bit on the sweet side. It is not crazily complex by any means, but manages to get the job done.

Serving type: bottle

06-25-2011 01:13:00 | More by Neffbeer
Photo of thedoubler55
thedoubler55

New Jersey

3.83/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Clear reddish brown pour, that has a nice finger of head that leaves some nice lacing around the glass.

S: Weird smelling brew, sweet and spicy, a nose of caramel, citrus and sweet raisins.

T: Nothing great a large amount of dark fruits up front, with slight hints of citrus on the tail end.

M: Intense, high in carbonation and medium bodied.

O: Not to much contrast with everything in this brew, Not sure if I am interested in having this one again but might have to do it. Spicy and sweetness throw you off a bit on this one.

Serving type: on-tap

06-16-2011 00:38:20 | More by thedoubler55
Photo of infi
infi

New York

3.6/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22 oz. bottle, shared with BAs brun, glard and NYManc.

Poured into a Corsendonk tulip.

Complete copper/rustic-gold color with some transparency and a thin off-white colored head of low retention. Smell is distinctly sweet and aromatic. Lots of figgy-like qualities from the glass: dark-fruit sweetness, earthy oak tones and some piney hoppiness. Some malted barley breadiness to be found, with also some shortbread cookie characteristics.

Taste is more sweet-forward with the malt and honey-like sweetness. Very, very thin hop oil aspects to be said of. Begins with a syrupy and fruity sweetness on the palate and ends on a minimal hoppy and pine bitterness. Not much of a balance in the taste and I think that's the weakest aspect here.

Mouthfeel is just about medium-bodied with some carbonation. Average barleywine overall. Could use more hop punch and less syrupy sweetness.

Serving type: bottle

06-15-2011 15:45:10 | More by infi
Photo of Yagman3000
Yagman3000

New York

3.48/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bomber into a pint glass. Creamy head appears with a slow pour and a finger remains.

Appears brown with a bit of an orange glow.

Smells of figs and prunes with a touch of molasses.

Tastes similar to smell but a touch of toffee and over-ripe fruit comes through as well.

Mouthfeel is thinner than I'd expect. I actually wish there was more thickness to this... A bit more syrupy perhaps.

Overall this was good but I wouldn't run to get it again for a while. Maybe it would be better served warm in the winter.

Serving type: bottle

06-13-2011 02:18:58 | More by Yagman3000
Photo of lonestar4lunch
lonestar4lunch

Texas

4/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured this into a New Belgium goblet and it is dark and murky. The head doesn't last long and sits down to nothing but a light lacing. Wow do I love the smell of barleywines. The aroma is strong and sweet. The plums and black cherries hit you first then comes malt and booze. It sends chills down my spine cause I know what the first sip is going to bring.

Wow, this is a gentle back hand to the taste buds. You expect it to be uber sweet with the first taste then here comes the hops. If there is a Jekyll and Hyde brew this is it which honestly adds to the enjoyment of this barleywine. I really enjoy the hops in this one and almost wish there was just a bit more to duke it out with the sweetness.

There is just a bit of heat on the finish but it for sure doesn't linger like other big barleywines. I really wish Southern Tier was here in Texas, damnit.

Serving type: bottle

06-09-2011 02:13:13 | More by lonestar4lunch
Photo of Alieniloquium
Alieniloquium

Florida

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.

Serving type: bottle

06-04-2011 01:39:04 | More by Alieniloquium
Photo of Knapp85
Knapp85

Pennsylvania

3.5/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This barley wine as poured at the ACBF 2010. The color of the beer is a dark brown color almost black. The head is minimal and doesn't leave much lacing. The smell is a little on the sweet side, some hops in there too. The taste has a burnt bitterness that fades into a subtle sweet aftertaste. This brew is average to me. I would try it again to give it another shot.

Serving type: on-tap

06-01-2011 02:56:09 | More by Knapp85
Photo of mjgooner13
mjgooner13

New York

3.75/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - A coke a cola type color, a dark maple with hints of red on the sides. Left some nice lacing as i continued to drink.

S- had the usual sweet barleywine smell, of sweetness from some dark fruits and maybe some toffee.

T- Taste was not as sweet as the smell, which I think in this case is a good thing. Up front I get the same fruity tastes from the nose, some malt as well as licorice on the end. It was pretty well balanced throughout without really being dominated by anything.

M- Medium bodied and the alcohol was masked pretty well, so it went down quite smooth, which could make this one a bit dangerous with the 9.6 abv.

O- Def enjoyed this one, well balanced, hides the alcohol although you can pick it up a little bit, certainly wouldn't mind having one or two of these on a rainy day.

Serving type: on-tap

05-27-2011 15:02:23 | More by mjgooner13
Photo of Brouwerij78
Brouwerij78

New York

3/5  rDev -25.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

One word...Meh...too pricey. I would probably not buy again but would be interested to see what it tastes like on tap. It is a heavier beer, with a bit of an aftertaste (not a particularly pleasant one). Overall, save your money - there are better barley wine style beers out there...try Victory Old Horizontal instead.

Serving type: bottle

05-27-2011 00:09:59 | More by Brouwerij78
Photo of Trilogy31
Trilogy31

California

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

Pours a hazy dark red amber with a thin head that leaves nice lacing. The nose has marzipan, sweet orange, caramel, coffee and shortbread - nice dessert style nose. The taste brings caramel nougat, more shortbread and a hit of citrus. A nice hop backbone and light carbonation does well to balance the sweetness, though it does have a light drying astrigency. Good beer i was glad to have the chance to try.

Serving type: bottle

05-25-2011 03:40:13 | More by Trilogy31
Photo of canucklehead
canucklehead

British Columbia (Canada)

4.05/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Just picked this up so it must be this years stock as it has not been in BC before. Very drinkable right the get go. Lovely hoppy nose with a deep carmel colour. Not overhopped or too sweet but rather a big balanced BW. The finish is long and naunced and the beer tends to drink like an English BW with some PNW hops. Great beer

Serving type: bottle

05-23-2011 17:15:34 | More by canucklehead
Photo of Casey10
Casey10

Maine

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.

Serving type: bottle

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

New Jersey

3.65/5  rDev -9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bought this about 10 months ago and it was old at the time I bought it. It was in a store with a very slow moving stock. The exact age/vintage is unknown. However, I know it is over a year old.

Poured into my DFH Signature Glass.

Appearance: Deep burgundy/ruby color with a one half finger off white head that dissipates relatively quickly. Leaves a cap and some lacing.

Smell: Dark fruits and caramel. This smells amazing. The smells are so bold and assertive, yet smooth.

Taste: Dark fruits, caramel, raisins. Not bitter at all. I guess this was older than I hoped. I like my Barleywines mellowed out but not to the point where the bitterness is completely gone. Honestly it tastes like a more assertive Quadrupel. It is good but I assume past its prime. I have not had it fresh so I can not compare, but most Barleywines start off with a more aggressive hop presence. The malt flavor in this is great.

Mouthfeel: Smooth, almost creamy, lightly carbonated.

Overall: I enjoy this, not my favorite for the style and I will need to find a fresh one for comparison sake. The malt flavor in this is amazing, I want to have this one with some bitterness and hop presence.

Serving type: bottle

05-17-2011 02:26:34 | More by OddNotion
Photo of CrumpledFish
CrumpledFish

Ontario (Canada)

4.13/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours dark amber with a fairly thin white head.

S: Quite a malty smell. Caramel?

T: Very sweet, but in a good way.

M: Smooth. Almost no carbonation detected.

O: I like this beer a lot. The sweetness means it would be hard to drink more than 1 or 2, but it's good while it lasts. It actually reminds me quite a bit of Spaten Optimator, a doppelbock.

Serving type: bottle

05-15-2011 00:41:38 | More by CrumpledFish
Photo of gueuzeonhigh
gueuzeonhigh

Maine

4.38/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours with a dark amber-red almost caramel like color, topped off by a tight-knit but short lived head.

There's a flowery nose that disseminates sprites of hops, malt, yeast and something bucolic-- maybe it's fresh-cut grass like rifts or it's something to do with yeast..

The flavor is spicy and tart-- I checked the bottle label to see if Southern Tier included pepper in the brew--no they didn't.

The flavor includes notes of caramel, raisins, hops, malt and a mystical sweetness-- not cloying but a soothing underpinning that seems like a net that holds the rest of the key flavors together as they roll across my palate.

The finish is a long lasting hops bitterness as the starting flavors dissipate.

Over all this is an interesting beer-- propped by this spicy character that keeps my attention and my arm reaching to pour more from the bottle.

This beer is not what I'd call a refresher-- but a sipping beer-- it's one that is such that it demands its own stage-- and not to be shared with any other distraction.

Nice -- although I notice the 9.6% ABV

Serving type: bottle

05-11-2011 00:10:13 | More by gueuzeonhigh
Photo of Arknot
Arknot

Florida

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

I'm loving this beer!
Appearance is dark amber with soft tan head.
Smell is caramel malt
Taste is buttery smooth caramel with very mild hop finish. Sweet upfront with a mostly dry finish.
Mouthfeel is buttery smooth and coating.
Overall, this really is a perfect straight up barley wine.
This beer doesn't try to blast you with hops, over malt, or burn you with alcohol. Its just a perfect smooth barley wine. Sometimes I like a beer that offers some thrills and I'll grab something from Stone or the likes. But if I want just a perfect rounded beer that simply tastes great and goes does perfect, Southern Tier is one of the best!

Serving type: bottle

05-06-2011 23:14:22 | More by Arknot
Photo of Krakistophales
Krakistophales

Connecticut

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

A: Pours a super dark, ruby red with about a finger's worth of off white head that recedes into a small bubble film.

S: Raisins, caramel, honey, malts, figs

T: An initial hit of dark fruit and roasted barley, followed by a bready, creamy middle that's followed by citrus hops and caramel in the finish.

M: Medium body, good carbonation, goes down well and the sweetness masks the alcohol well.

O: This is a very tasty brew. I swear, every single beer southern tier makes is sweeter than usual, but I enjoy all of them. I'm new to barleywines, only having had stone before this, so I'm very happy to be enjoying this brew.

Serving type: bottle

05-06-2011 04:57:26 | More by Krakistophales
Photo of mikesgroove
mikesgroove

South Carolina

3.05/5  rDev -23.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours out a nice light brown color with a modest head of tan across the top that fades and leaves light lacing in its wake. Aroma is hot, loads of alcohol here with hints of caramel, lots of hops and a just a biting malt nose as well. Really a very odd profile from both sides. Very hot on the palate again with minimal balance to it, just seemed like it was terribly off balance. Flavors were all over the place with hints of everything but the kitchen sink and just an very hot, hoppy, dry finish that really did not work well for me at all.

Overall I was rather unimpressed here I have to admit. I had high hopes for this, but maybe a year or so will settle it down.

Serving type: bottle

05-02-2011 00:13:38 | More by mikesgroove
Photo of metter98
metter98

New York

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

A: The beer is clear amber in color and has a very slight amount of visible carbonation. It poured with a thin beige head that quickly died down leaving bits of lacing on the surface.
S: There are relatively sweet and moderately strong aromas of caramel and raisins in the nose.
T: The taste is very similar to the smell and is quite malty. Some notes of dark fruits are also perceptible.
M: It feels full-bodied and a bit sticky on the palate with a low to moderate amount of carbonation. There is warming from the alcohol in the finish.
O: The beer definitely feels strong from the warming sensations but the alcohol is very well hidden from both the smell and taste.

Serving type: bottle

04-30-2011 02:30:35 | More by metter98
Photo of gopens44
gopens44

Virginia

3.58/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

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...

Serving type: bottle

04-27-2011 12:55:46 | More by gopens44
Photo of biglite351
biglite351

Pennsylvania

2.9/5  rDev -27.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

A - cloudy golden honey with a tall creamy near white head.

S - sweet caramel, fruit and yeast. A non so bitter hop scent in the finish.

T - a hop hit up front that is pushed by a caramel and fruit flavor through the middle. Slight roasted after taste.

M - medium coating with a mild tingle on the sides of the tongue.

O - not bad but not my bag.

Serving type: bottle

04-26-2011 21:45:16 | More by biglite351
Photo of tekn0ph1sh
tekn0ph1sh

Florida

4.5/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I really liked this Barley Wine. However it was my first so I really didn't have a lot to go on.

It poured a brownish ruby color in a tulip glass. It had little to no head and almost no lacing.

It was a very pleasant tasty sweet beer that went down easy. The alcohol was well masked. I even tasted it warmed up. A friend of mine received a glass of it as a miss pour and did not care for it so he pushed it over to me. Even after sitting 30-40 minutes in a bar in FL without the AC on it was still very tasty.

I went to see if I could procure a couple of bottles of this and unfortunately there were none to be had.

Definitely a do again.

Serving type: on-tap

04-26-2011 16:19:16 | More by tekn0ph1sh
Photo of BDTyre
BDTyre

British Columbia (Canada)

4.35/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Not too sure what an Imperial Barley Wine is, but okay. Nice coppery-mahogany colour with a thin, lacy cream coloured head.

Rich malts, wine and light spice in the nose. Very mild citrus. Nice mild coffee and brandy taste, hints of bread, spices and brown sugar. Hints of wine, cinnamon and raisins.

A bit light on the body, but the carbonation is good. I think the ABV is actually a bit low for the style, but that's not a bad thing.

Serving type: bottle

04-26-2011 04:57:16 | More by BDTyre
Photo of bierguru
bierguru

Florida

2.98/5  rDev -25.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

- clear amber body no head pours with a slight bubbly head but fades quick

- smells of rich dark fruits with a hop backbone

- big dark fruit sweetness right up front malty middle with a citrus hop ending maybe some slight cherry flavors no booze backbone

- slightly carbonated and some prickleness in the mouth

- decent beer not really the best american barleywine out there very mild in both flavors and booze flavor

Serving type: bottle

04-17-2011 05:38:12 | More by bierguru
Backburner (Imperial Barley Wine Style Ale) from Southern Tier Brewing Company
90 out of 100 based on 847 ratings.