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

874 Ratings
THE BROS
94
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 874
Reviews: 497
rAvg: 4.01
pDev: 10.47%
Wants: 71
Gots: 105 | 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: 874 | Reviews: 497 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of JRod1969
4.25/5  rDev +6%

Photo of chugalug06
2.68/5  rDev -33.2%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Update: One year aged - VERY sugary, this may be my last ST brew... Very bland and heat filled and non-unique, no loger fits a B-Wine. Mouthfeel is metallic and papery. No longer recommended.

A - Very little head rises... A nice cream colored ring forms around the perimeter of the brew. Color is very caramel with poor clarity.

S - Interesting. Very malty. Slightly metallic. Doesn't really smell like a IB-Wine... Vaguely fits the style... Not too much hop in this one. Lots of sweet caramel too.

T - Very smooth and well blended. A unique B-wine. Lots of grape and caramel. Slightly on the overly sugary side.

M - Near perfect. Good carb, no heat, and gentle smoothness.

O - Not quite what I was expecting, but still a nice brew. Worth finding and trying. Not sure what the price on this was, but I would think twice before paying over $8

Photo of Thickfreakness
4.13/5  rDev +3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

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!

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

"Imperial Barleywine" huh? Isn't a barleywine already imperial?

A: Poured a very dark, caramel amber color, with a slight beige head that was just right for this style.

S: Smelled like a melted "Astro Pop" combined with diluted cotton candy and the slight citrus bite only added to the pleasant aroma.

T: Sugary on the front part, along with a good bit of alcohol warming in the middle. The lingering was both dry and with an ending spice that was reminiscent of caraway seeds.

M: I dug the way the hops punched through the sugariness, making this multi-dimensional, rather than a sugar bomb. The carbonation was slight and insignificant overall.

O: For $6.99, this is a steal... and a damn fine barelywine if you ask me.

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

Beer/Brewery - Backburner (Imperial Barley Wine Style Ale)/ Southern Tier Brewing Company
City/State- Lakewood, New York
STYLE – American Barleywine
ABV – 9.6%
IBU – 85
DATE – 23 OCT 2011
SERVING TYPE – 22 oz Bomber
GLASSWARE – Snifter
APPEARANCE – It is a murky brown with a hint of red, sadly it reminds me of pond water. It poured with a ¼ inch head that dissipated quickly leaving a ring of foam around the edge of the glass
AROMA- Fruity sweet with traces of alcohol
TASTE – It has the defined barleywine taste with some nice roasted malts, but with traces of fig and dates with the alcohol closing in at the end to warm you up.
MOUTHFEEL – A little thick with a good bit of carbonation on the tongue
CONCLUSION – A good stand alone barleywine, nothing special, but very enjoyable.
-JH-

Photo of heysuz
4.22/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

Photo of UCLABrewN84
4.22/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Pellinore1 for sending me this one!

Pours a clear copper brown with a 1 inch foamy khaki head that settles to a thin cap. A foamy curtain of lace lines the glass on the drink down. Smell is of malt, caramel, and zesty herbal and citrus zest hops. Taste is of malt, caramel/toffee, brown sugar, grapefruit, and citrus zest. A mild citrus zest bitterness lingers on the palate after each sip. This beer has a good level of carbonation with a crisp but smooth mouthfeel. Overall, this is a good barleywine that has a very nice sweet but hoppy flavor. Taste is better than the smell but good stuff all around.

Photo of crewfan16
3.93/5  rDev -2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

poured from an undated bomber (at least I cant find a date) into a snifter

a- pours a deep brown/ruby color. what very little head appears is slightly off white. not a ton of lacing on the glass.

s- lots of caramel malt sweetness. some sweet fruit as well, raisin or fig maybe. bread and some slight hop citrus

t- follows the nose pretty closely, but with more gusto. sweet caramel and fruit initially. then comes some more bready malt. some bitter citrus hops come out, then back to the fruity sweetness. i dont get a ton of hops here (older bottle maybe?) but there is a lot of sugar present for the style. Very tasty though.

m- not a ton of carbonation. this brew doesnt seem to heavy though. lots of sugary sweetness without being to viscous. flavors linger along time and the abv is not very present at all. highly drinkable.

overall, I really enjoyed this beer. I will be the first to admit that im not incredibly experienced in the style, but this brew is tasty. I have yet to find an imperial beer by southern tier that I didnt like.

m-

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

Pours a golden red colour with healthy white head and lacing.

Nose is rye, lactic, soy milk. Marzipanny. Concrete. Bit of alcohol. More English-style, like Golden Pride. Yeast and honeycomb.

Taste is more of that vaguely synthetic sourdough yeast. Bit of concrete. Lots of toffee and a little sweet in the taste.

Mouthfeel is mediumish for the style with lowish carbonation and a lot of sweetness.

The funk concrete elements are interesting and not unpleasant. Dangerous and sneaks up on you (my bottle was marked 10%). Little bit sweet in large doses, but I get the impression that's Southern Tier's trademark.

Photo of Phelps
3.9/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle shared by Rickyn06, poured into a Russian river glass. 2009 vintage.

Blood red with brilliant clarity. One finger of foamy tan bubbles fizzles away after a while, leaving thick, winding trails of lace.

Herbal and fruity nose. Overripe orange, mint, caramel and biscuits. Smooth and malty-sweet.

Malt is stepped up in the flavor, creating a flavor like caramel and biscuits sprinkled with mint sprigs. Some orange peel is there as well, but not many hops are left in this two-year-old bottle. Toasted crackers linger long into the finish.

Very mild carbonation and fizz. Alcohol lends an almost chili spice quality, numbing the tongue a bit. Some fumes in the nose as well. Body is a bit thin, just under medium-light.

This backburner’s developed admirable smoothness after two years. The alcohol has moved to the back, blending nicely with age. The flavors aren't outstanding to begin with, but it's smooth and sweet now.

Photo of jamescain
4.22/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to StoneBrewFanatic for sending this one back from NY and to texasclimber for bringing it to the tasting. Poured into a sniffer.

Appearance: Cloudy deep mahogany with about a finger thick off white head that slowly fades into a ring around the side of the glass.

Aroma: Slight citrus aroma, very malty, roasted malts, caramel, toffee, a hint of molasses and chocolate.

Taste: A kind of candi fruit, brown sugar, taste with raisins, molasses and caramel.

Mouthfeel: Big, thick, and chewy with minimal carbonation and a mild boozy finish.

Overall: This is a good barleywine, closer to an American barleywine then an English barleywine. More time could benefit this beer.

Photo of cindiwindi1025
4.22/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

a- light chestnut color, medium head that reduces to a sticky, light colored collar around the glass, nice!

s- smells like cola. no other way to describe it

t- big taste. molasses, raisins, yeast, earthy malts, with a hop bite. brilliant balanced taste that comes into the barleywine parameters with ease. alcohol is very well masked. a little peppery aftertaste, not hugely so.

m- a bit prickly, medium carbonation with tiny bubbles. overall very drinkable, hop finish is a tad dry but crisp, nothing heavy here

o- happy with this selection, as always with the southern teir products, big robust imperial beers with complex tastes. I'm not a huge fan or regular imbibor of the barleywine style, but I would get this one again.

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

Bottle is from January 2010, and with a recent batch of cooler nights, I figure it's a good of a night as any to crack it. Review is from notes taken on 9/23/2011 and poured from the bottle to a snifter.

Appearance: Pour is a deep coppery color with some hints of ruby to it; body presents a little a bottle murky, but you can still see light through it despite the cloudiness; starts with a 1/2 finger light tan, creamy head that fades relatively quickly to a thin, uneven skim with a thick, foamy ring around the surface; plenty of tiny spots and oil lingers on the sides of the glass.

Smell: Smell is fantastic, very big, robust -- I can smell it from the table; plenty of hop presence to it still and it is fairly citric and reminiscent of oranges, and with the big, sweet caramel maltiness backing it up, it is like candied fruit; warm toffee (and caramel, as already mentioned) sweetness, and a bit of a warm baking spiciness to it.

Taste: Taste is very good, and the hop presence has managed to really hold up well and there is still a good bit of herbal and fruity bitterness to it; very sweet, rich and deep maltiness is the strongest aspect to it along with the hops, and they are just as the nose suggests -- caramel and toffee with a bit of the warm baking spices to them; alcohol is still present, but more in the back and as a warming presence as opposed to a big isopropyl-like flavor.

Mouthfeel: Body is just over what I would consider medium in weight, and the carbonation is still present, but comes across as soft and it provides just about the right amount of carbonation; a moderately thick and sticky coating is left all over the mouth, and it allows the bitter hops to linger well into the aftertaste; belly is left a little warm from the nearly 10% ABV.

Overall: A great beer to be sure, and well worth picking up. I'm a pretty big fan of ST's bigger beers, and this one definitely runs with the rest of them. It's a sipper, to be sure, but it won't be a problem to finish the bottle by myself over the course of the night.

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

Pours a deep caramelly amber color. Three finger cinnamon colored head sits atop. The head works its way back at a casual pace leaving behind heavy moth eaten lacing. A nice cap remains on top for the duration.

Warm toast malt and caramel aroma are surprisingly dominant off the bat. Bright pineapple and citrus hop scents fill in behind. The aroma displays an impressive balance. Not the aroma I expect from an American Barleywine but it is enjoyed non the less.

Candied pineapple and caramel flavor lay heavy on the tongue out of the glass. A bright bitterness picks up as the flavor transitions to the midpalate before a heavy caramel flavor emerges. Deep flavors develop on the back of the palate, heavily caramelized sugar and raisins mainly. The darker flavors become very strong on the back end drowning out the lighter flavors from up front.

Backburner comes in just under full bodied. The carbonation is a bit higher than expected, delivering a bit of a lighter body than I would prefer. The finish is long as the dark sugar and fruit flavors dig into the tongue refusing to budge.

Backburner is a solid beer, enjoyable but fails to reach the top tier of the style. Easy to drink and enjoyable. This is one I will pick up a s a change in pace Barleywine but will not be on the top of my list.

Photo of tbeckett
3.7/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle from the IGA in Potsdam. From notes.

A - Poured a dark red with a little island of white filmy head. Fairly effervescent. Bright. No lace and no head retention.

S - Caramel, hops are very obvious to balance against the sweetness to come, slight alcohol, sugary. Hops really push the sugars around but blend together.

T - Strong earthy notes, caramel, molasses, sugar, maple syrup, strong pure hops push the dark fruit sweetness out of the way.

M - Mild to medium carbonation, full body, sweet finish.

O/D - Alright. The hop forward profile of this barleywine is much like the American take on all other traditional styles...more hops. Lacks alot of the characteristics that I enjoy in BWs by just hopping the hell out of it. I probably wouldn't seek this out again but I enjoyed half the bottle to the degree that I would consider it a good American twist on the style.

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

from notes. Clear, copper/amber, thin fizzy tan head, no lacing. But good looking overall.

At first and in no particular order, boozy estery dark fruit, floral hops, caramel malt, and a more general malty sweetness. Really nice, if a bit hot. Later, the super rich caramel malt is prominent and highlighted by fruity notes from either hops and or yeast.

Dark fruit, mild hop bitterness, caramel and rich malty sweetness coming on strong in the middle and stealing the show. It's all accented lightly by gentle hoppy bitterness. Quite sweet, but very tasty.

Low carbonation leads to a thinnish feel for such a thick and rich brew. Mild warming, really sweet finish.

Many diverse elements add to the complexity and balance of this worthy ale. But it's pretty sweet, to be sure, even for a barleywine. I'd have it again.

Photo of Jules11788
4.22/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours a cloudy deep mahogany red; barely any head; slight lacing.

S: Smells of sweet malts, figs, toffee, and sugary syrup.

T: Starts off with some nice sweet malts; opens up along the middle of the tongue to reveal soft flavors of malt, toffee, and a slight hint of fig; finishes sweet with a slight hint of bitterness.

M: Medium thickness; lightly carbonated; very soft and smooth on the tongue.

O: This is a really great Barleywine. Had this side-by-side with an Old Ruffian and was surprised that I found this to be the better (fresh) Barleywine of the two. This was super smooth, so it would be interesting to see what happens with a little age on it.

Photo of StaveHooks
3.83/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

A - Pours a hazy garnet brown. Tight off white head leaves minimal lacing.

S - Roasted caramel malt, doughy fruit bread, dark cherries, some tropical fruit.

T - Loads of caramel and toffee, caramelized brown sugar. Sugary cherries and fig brighten up the dense toffee while mild leafy and citrus hops breakthrough and add some spiciness. Bits of bitter pecan and pepper on the finish.

M - Full thick body, chewy and creamy at times.

Not sure how old this is buts it's on the sweeter side of things, in a good way. Very rich and lots of complexity. This is more of a really well put together English Barleywine than it's American counterpart.

Photo of chickenflea
4.18/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Bottle: The aroma is a combination of chocolate, caramel, anise, faint smoke, and mild citrus hops. It pours a transparent garnet with a small off-white head. The flavor starts with lots of chocolate and caramel. There is some light fruitiness in the background. The finish has some light notes of umami and charcoal. The mouthfeel is a tad thin for a Barley Wine. A lot of alcohol in the aroma, but very little burn in the finish. A very nice barley wine. Not too sweet. Very balanced.

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

22oz bottle about room temp poured into ordinary kitchen glass. split with a friend. im thinking this is the 2011 vintage, but could easily be the 2010 (bought at wegmans, dont think they push much of this beer)

pours out a clear deep red color. one finger of light tan colored head that faded to just a very thin retentive layer. no lace.

in the aroma, big doses of burnt candied caramel, toffee, a little buttery, (english yeast), woody hops, and just very light hints of dark fruits.

pretty much the same taste as the aroma suggests. burnt candied caramel apple, buttery, woody hops, not much bitterness, but a good amount of heat. burnt sugar in the finish.

big sticky body, maybe a little more carbonation than i would want in a BW.

for me, this is definatly more of an english barlywine, no real aggresive hops and lots of english yeast characteristics (toffee, buttery). not something i would really come back to in a hurry, but id like to try it again, maybe a little colder next time.

Photo of 1Adam12
4/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Orangish red, burgundy color, not much head. Sticky lacing, just not much of it. Smells very sweet. Figs, grapes, currants, strawberry, just very sweet. Taste is similar. Too sweet IMO. Good, just too sweet. Very nice fruity flavor, not much booziness to it. Mouthfeel is nice. Almost no carbonation, slightly creamy. Solid 4's all the way around. Overall, despite my score, there's just nothing special or memorable about this. It's nice, but nothing stands out to tell me "you have to buy this again".

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

2011 vintage shared with Klym; bottle was courtesy of GoGators in a previous trade.

Poured into Stone Nonics.

Review from notes dated July 25 2011.

A: Rich dark mohagony tree trunk with a favoritism given to rustic browns. Reds flash in rotations of the glass, but browns dominate. Brown eggshell foams stubbornly hold on the edges of the glass. No head or lacing. Brilliant colors, but looks quite flat.

S: Rich toffee with a different mix of spices. Nutmegs certainly peak a bit. It really smells like a very rich imperial Irish red to me. Candy sweetness that is in check and deeply flavorful. Candied flavors throughout. Mixes of caramelized sugars, huge malt nose.

T: Sweet but subdued. There's a real tree bark like spice character that mellows alcohols and the sweetness. Cinnamon peanut brittle notes with some light toffee malt sweetener. A slightly grassy hop in the finish/linger that helps regulate the flavor transitions. Lots of flavor overlap in here, makes very slow transitions that mix both pleasantly and unpleasantly. An interesting deep fry batters flavor linger.

M: This has a medium-full body that does a good job of keeping the alcohol away long enough for the candies to take over. Very nice soothing bubbles accentuate the candies. The peak of the bubbles recedes to reveal equally intense candies. Solid balance here.

O: At first I found myself in a bit of a been-there-done-that drinking experience, but more time with this made me feel otherwise. The current age of this beer may put the flavors in an awkward spot. Nonetheless, all the necessary elements are there to make this a very complex aged beer. I'll seek this out again as a cellar investment. Currently very subtle with mellow complexities, but most importantly it comes off promising. The sweetness will mellow and the mouth feel will help carry any new flavor developments to new heights. The only thing I might miss here with age is the nice residual hop factor. However, it won't need to be there if the sweetness calms down.

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

Flavor and sweetness resemble many other Southern Tier brews. I can't pinpoint it, but there must be a substantial, common ingredient in all of them (Cuvee Series One, Oat, etc). I think there's too much sweetness, really. However, if you're looking for a desert-like beer, this could work very well. Very little hop bite makes the desert experience work.

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.

Photo of Klym
3.9/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a snifter & shared with Cavery. Thank you to gogators for hooking Cavery and me up with this bottle!

2011 Vintage

A: A date fruit brown that collects into a dark brown with a 1 finger off-white head. A nice medium-thick lacing that sticks around for a respectable while.

S: Fig, date, a little bit of cherry, a little hops and some small maple syrup like sweetness. A big white bread background to it all, too.

T: A bitter hop hit kicks it off and slides off into big balanced dark fruit sweetness paired with more savory butterscotch sweetness. The lingering hop bitterness with the excellently blended and balanced dark fruit sweetness is really nice. This beer really grew on me throughout drinking. Little to no alcohol detectable for me.

M: Medium bodied with very thorough carbonation in the mouthfeel. A small tad of heat on the roof of the mouth but it's masked by the hop feel in the same area. Slick linger on the sides of the tongue and inner gums but is really quite pleasant.

O: A really nice barley wine that I can imagine being great fresh and great aged. I liked the interplay of the deep, sweet dark fruit flavors and the biting hops; it all came together better than I expected it could. My second beer from southern tier and I leave again impressed.

Backburner (Imperial Barley Wine Style Ale) from Southern Tier Brewing Company
90 out of 100 based on 874 ratings.