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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

859 Ratings
THE BROS
94
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 859
Reviews: 497
rAvg: 4.01
pDev: 10.47%
Wants: 65
Gots: 100 | 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: 859 | Reviews: 497 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of OddNotion
OddNotion

New Jersey

3.65/5  rDev -9%

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.

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

Ontario (Canada)

4.13/5  rDev +3%

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.

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

Maine

4.38/5  rDev +9.2%

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

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

Florida

4/5  rDev -0.2%

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!

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

California

4.33/5  rDev +8%

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.

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

South Carolina

3.05/5  rDev -23.9%

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.

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

New York

4.08/5  rDev +1.7%

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.

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

Virginia

3.58/5  rDev -10.7%

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...

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

Pennsylvania

2.9/5  rDev -27.7%

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.

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

Florida

4.5/5  rDev +12.2%

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.

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

British Columbia (Canada)

4.35/5  rDev +8.5%

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.

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

Florida

2.98/5  rDev -25.7%

- 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

04-17-2011 05:38:12 | More by bierguru
Photo of woosterbill
woosterbill

Kentucky

3.5/5  rDev -12.7%

On-tap at Cask Republic into a tulip.

A: Crystal clear ruby-brown body under a finger of tan foam. Great retention and lacing. Lovely.

S: Sweet, fruity caramel malt; dates, raisins, and citrus; spicy alcohol. Not great, but pretty good.

T: Dark fruits are dominant, followed by bready malts + citrus hops. Pretty tasty, but far from memorable.

M: Hugely carbonated, with soft fine bubbles exploding throughout the (maybe) medium body. Intense, but overdone.

O: I enjoyed this beer, but it doesn't really stand up well to the myriad of great barleywines available. While I was a fan of the citrus fruitiness of the hops, I didn't feel that they added enough hoppiness or bitterness to contrast meaningfully with the fruity sweetness of the malt. Completely solid, but completely forgettable.

Cheers!

04-15-2011 02:29:09 | More by woosterbill
Photo of augustgarage
augustgarage

California

3.83/5  rDev -4.5%

Courtesy of ShogoKawada (thanks!) - poured from a 22oz bomber into my Dogfish Head oversized snifter.

Sienna body with bronze highlights and a beige pearling collar and isthmus. Decent retention. Light lacing.

Malty aromatics with caramel, toffee, and a touch of sherry as well. Lightly herbal hop notes.

Zesty earthy hops with a touch of citrus throughout - but the sweetness from specialty malt and a touch of oxidation is paramount. Moderately bitter at times, though this is by no means a hop-bomb. There is a touch of fruit in the drying finish, though the caramel never abates entirely.

Medium-bodied with sufficient carbonation. ABV is well hidden.

Uncomplicated, slightly sweet barleywine.

04-13-2011 01:16:23 | More by augustgarage
Photo of renniksdb
renniksdb

Kentucky

4.13/5  rDev +3%

Dark, clear mahogany appearance. Little to no head.

Has a light citrus (grapefruit) scent. Definite aromatic hop presence.

Medium body. Not syrupy, but noticeably thicker.

On first sip, it starts out sweet with a mix of oaken caramel malt and sweet grapefruit. Then goes to bitter citrus and finishes up with a sweet, mellow aftertaste. A good mix. Without the bitter break it might be too much sweet.

Though it weighs in at just over 9%, for a Barley wine it doesn't have a very alcoholic bite. I'd say that's neither good nor bad...just something I noticed.

Certainly a well done brew. Seems like it would go well with more hearty and savory dishes, or at least something to counter the strong, sweet character of the beer.

04-11-2011 01:43:53 | More by renniksdb
Photo of BEERMILER12
BEERMILER12

Maine

4.03/5  rDev +0.5%

A: Pours a nice ruby/brown color with 2 fingers worth of head that leaves some nice lacing

S: I'm picking up some sweetness along with malts and other than that, not much at all. Possibly some faint hoppiness

T: Same as the smell, an overload (not in a bad way, though) of malty sweetness. Alcohol is nowhere to be seen behind the sweetness. It's a good thing I like sweet beers, or else this one might get cloyingly sweet

M: Thick and heavy, with medium carbonation. Coats the mouth with sugary sweetness, although it's not as bad as some of their blackwater series

D/O: One is definitely enough because of the sweetness and abv, but other than that, this is a great barleywine. I'm not sure how this would age, I'm afraid it might get even sweeter. Drink this one up for sure

04-08-2011 00:42:27 | More by BEERMILER12
Photo of birderbeerer
birderbeerer

Virginia

3.58/5  rDev -10.7%

Light brown beer with a light and tall, frothy head.

Smells like a super sweet beer. No hop scent. Just caramelized malts over and over.

The taste is almost cloyingly sweet. Not quite, but it's close. It just seems like it's an overboard barleywine. No hops are present in the taste. Just a big bucket of sweetness.

04-05-2011 01:32:42 | More by birderbeerer
Photo of DrDemento456
DrDemento456

Pennsylvania

4.43/5  rDev +10.5%

A - Solid dark amber with just a half inch of foamy white head.

S - Smells like a nice dry hopped barleywine. Citrus rind with a sweet strong malt base and a bit of brown sugar goodness.

T - Wow who knew a little bit of dry hopping can make such a strong great tasting barleywine? Great hop presence of grapefruit and citrus along side of a great malt base. Sugar residue makes this beer have a sweet finish and hops strong enough to cover up the high ABV. Perfection.

M - Medium to heavy a definite sipper but easy sipper.

Overall it's a damn near perfect barleywine. Sweet, hoppy, and delicious. With an 8 dollar price tag it's not too expensive to enjoy on an occasion. Would recommend it to others.

04-04-2011 20:10:23 | More by DrDemento456
Photo of BeerLover99
BeerLover99

Illinois

4.25/5  rDev +6%

A: deep cardinal red body, fluffy 2 finger head, towering white lacing throughout.

S: big malt aroma, fine spice, citrus dancing in glass

T: malt smooth punch up front, long slow mild bitter big BOOZY finish.

M: medium/heavy, smooth semi-chewy mouth.

O: Southern Tier makes nice bombers, this is delicious Barleywine. It is one of my favorite beer styles. This is quite good, not world class, but you could do much worse.

ENJOY!

03-30-2011 16:54:23 | More by BeerLover99
Photo of cjgator3
cjgator3

Florida

4.15/5  rDev +3.5%

22oz bottle

A- Poured into a tulip glass. Pours a dark amber color with an off-white head with great retention and lacing.

S- The aroma is a lot of malt like I expect in a goodn barleywine and fresh hops. 

T- The taste like the aroma has a ton of rich malty flavors up front. The finish features some bitterness from the hops and a good amount of lingering warmth from the alcohol in the finish.

M- The mouthfeel is fantastic. It is medium bodied with a perfect amount of carbonation creating a perfect texture.

O- Overall, Southern Tier Backburner is a fine barleywine. It is a little maltier than most barleywines made here in the states, but it is deliciously crafted. I'm interested in seeing how this one ages as well. Recommended!

03-26-2011 03:26:08 | More by cjgator3
Photo of vfgccp
vfgccp

New York

3.3/5  rDev -17.7%

A - Medium maple syrup color with a thin white head and ok lace.

S - Oak, booze, hints of brown sugar.

T - Smooth sweetness. Mild dried fruit character, but mostly oak and brown sugar that came through in the nose. Warm booze through the finish.

M - Medium body with a sweet finish.

O - OK flavors, but the booze is a bit astringent.

03-22-2011 13:18:09 | More by vfgccp
Photo of Blakaeris
Blakaeris

Iowa

4.38/5  rDev +9.2%

Pours brilliantly clear ruby red. Head is dense and crisply white, dissipating slowly and leaving sheets of sticky lacing. Certainly one of the most attractive beers I've seen.

Aroma rich caramel malt sweetness. Hints of brown sugar, and a nice bit of plum and date dark fruit. Only a slight alcohol heat.

Taste is similar to the nose. Bready caramel malt and bunt toffee up front. More of the plum, raisin, and date dark fruit. Finishes with a dry cedar quality, and an earthy bitterness that brings some balance to the sweetness.

Mouthfeel is medium-full. Extremely soft and silky.

Surprisingly malty, very smooth and drinkable. The caramel and dark fruit notes are outstanding when matched with the dry woody earthy bitterness. A winner.

03-22-2011 01:24:20 | More by Blakaeris
Photo of bashiba
bashiba

Iowa

4.4/5  rDev +9.7%

Poured a very nice shade of copper with deep clear ruby highlights and a light off white head that lingered for quite a while with some light lacing.

The smell has a great big toasted and bready malt nose, slightly sweet with a hint of maple.

The flavor is very mild for a big barleywine. Sweet and mapley with some nice big sourdough bread flavors and some light molasses.

The mouthfeel is suprisingly light bodied for the size of the beer with light carbonation and just a touch of alcohol heat.

Very nice Barleywine, I think I generally prefer this big malty style version vs. some of the more common barely hop monsters.

03-22-2011 01:09:18 | More by bashiba
Photo of YouSkeete
YouSkeete

Massachusetts

3.95/5  rDev -1.5%

A: deep and full reddish mahogany with a brown tint. Practically no head, with bubbly edges. moderate lacing.

S: Thick caramel malt upfront. Complex dark fruits like pomegranates, black cherries and dates. Hints of dry hops and lemon zest.

T: ultra sweet candied fruit and caramel is close to overwhelming, though smooth and dry malts do well at balancing out the flavor in the body. The fruits in the aroma are not far from the taste at all, definitely quite dark and complex. yeast and bready malts along with hints of maple syrup. Alcohol is present throughout.

M: Incredibly sweet, and very fruity. Medium body and medium carbonation. Decent fruity aftertaste.

D: It's a bit overpowering with its' massive fruity sweetness. Not a favorite, but still good.

03-19-2011 00:47:42 | More by YouSkeete
Photo of animalchin
animalchin

North Carolina

4.47/5  rDev +11.5%

22oz bottle with no date. Purchased from Wegmans 3/16/11.

A - A dark amber/slight beige body with a nice lingering tan head that turns into a thinner film. Haven't seen a barley wine this light in color before. A lot of light passes through, even in a darker environment (it's cloudy out today.)

S - Very strong esters upfront - very sweet. More plum and black cherry follows up with almost no alcohol apparent at all.

T - This may be one of the sweeter barley wines I have tasted. Some slight bitterness upfront, but then this breaks down into sweeter parts, once again with dark fruits in mix. Not a single sign of hops, but definitely picking up a robust malt character that clings to the fruitiness.

M - Served at a warmer temperature, the body is heavy and cream like. Thicker than expected - a big add on to the already robust nature of the brew.

O - Simply a wonderful work. The label says this is rarely made at the brewery, but I hope this is reconsidered. Certainly more than worth a try.

03-16-2011 19:49:18 | More by animalchin
Backburner (Imperial Barley Wine Style Ale) from Southern Tier Brewing Company
90 out of 100 based on 859 ratings.