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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 bort11
bort11

Missouri

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

22 oz bottle poured into a Corsendonk Christmas Ale tulip. Mild creamy tan head, very nice retention. Color is a dirty coppery orange.

Smell has candied orange and caramel aroma. Taste has a orange rind flavor with some candied sugars. A little mint. Mild sweet apples with cinnamon.

Creamy mouthfeel and medium body.

Blipped "Brain Burner" by No Age

Serving type: bottle

03-22-2009 04:39:35 | More by bort11
Photo of matty
matty

Pennsylvania

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

Amber colored beer with a slowly fading head.Aroma is fruity and grqapefruit.Taste is dark fruit,sweet caramel and pine hops.If they did this without the hops it would be way better.Still it is an overall good beer that I would recommend and try again!!

Serving type: bottle

03-19-2009 22:54:27 | More by matty
Photo of david131
david131

California

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

I bought this bottle a year ago (March 2008).

A- Absolutely clear deep ruby red with a creamy off white head that has some pretty good retention and lacing.

S- Caramel, pine, grapefruit, slightly vegetably, and a bit spicy. Not too shabby.

T- Sweet caramel up front with some pine and citrus on the tail end with some notes of vegetable. The alcohol isn't harsh, just a little warm. The hoppiness has died off a bit, but some of the oiliness is still apparent.

M- Sweet, sticky, cloying, dry with a nice carbonation level. What I tend to look for in a Barleywine. The sweetness becomes a tad overbearing in the aftertaste.

D-A nice surprise for Southern Tier. For a 10% clear beer from Southern Tier, I was expecting an alcohol bomb, but this is an enjoyable Barleywine. This renews Southern Tier a bit in my book.

Serving type: bottle

03-19-2009 03:57:20 | More by david131
Photo of number1bum
number1bum

Pennsylvania

4.4/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle says this is 'first batch from 2008' so this is probably a full year or a little more old.

Pours a dark, dense reddish brown with about a finger of beige head. Doesn't keep much of a lace, just some bubbles around the rim and a splash of stick here and there.

Smell has a deep caramel aroma and a lot of fruit. Fruit seems to be a combination of hops and yeast esters. There is some citrus, cherries, apples, pears and dark fruits. Deep, complex sweet malts and the alcohol, shockingly for a ST beer, is well masked.

The nose was nice on this one but the taste is better. It's a bold, complex and flavorful combination of sweet malts and fruit. Lots of caramel malt and sticky sweet flavor, citrus, apples, passion fruit, and dark fruits. Just a ton of fruitiness, which again seems both hop and yeast in origin. There is some slightly earthy hop flavor and bitterness in the finish. Alcohol, like the smell, is well masked.

Mouthfeel is full and smooth, creamy with light carbonation, giving it a soft, smooth feel. For a barleywine this is extremely drinkable.

This is one of the best ST imperial beers I've had. It's well balanced and even restrained, which is often ST's problem imo. By restrained I mean it's not overly hoppy or boozy, it's just well put together. I like it. This is a barleywine I would come back to for sure. Good stuff.

Serving type: bottle

03-19-2009 00:51:29 | More by number1bum
Photo of Hibernator
Hibernator

Massachusetts

3.78/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Southern Tier Backburner
22 oz brown bottle
Served in an Allagash tulip glass

Pours a mahogany brown with a decent head on top.

Whiffs of a caramel sweetness, malts and perhaps some fruit.

Bready and crusty dark bread backbone with a strong caramel malt presence. Sweet and sugary with hints of apple and even darker fruits like prunes.

Certainly a complex beer with an alcohol warmth and brown sugar punch on the finish. This beer is all over the place - acidic, bitter, sweet, sugary and bread flavors.

Serving type: bottle

03-14-2009 22:51:57 | More by Hibernator
Photo of Guzzler78
Guzzler78

Missouri

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

Been eying this one since it came out, finally pulled the trigger.

Appearance: A dark amber color. A 1/2" white head that reduces to a small layer over top of the beer, fair lacing

Smell: Sweet maltiness, floral and citrus hop aromas, dried fruits

Taste: Complex-sweet malts, citrus, dark fruit and a bit of tropical fruits and of course a nice hop bite

Mouthfeel: Medium body, nice and viscous feel. Somewhat dry finish

Drinkability: A good barleywine, glad i tried it would drink it again for sure. Could drink two or three glasses for sure

Serving type: bottle

03-14-2009 06:45:37 | More by Guzzler78
Photo of Gehrig
Gehrig

Illinois

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

I stopped by the great Neil St. Piccadilly on a whim tonight, and I'm awfully glad I did. Back Burner in the bomber bottle was in, perched next to Big Red and Unearthly, and deserved a shot. Great beer.

A dense, durable finger of off-white foam topped a rich mahogany body in the trusty Duvel tulip. Snowy lacing on the tulip seals the deal for a terrific appearance. Good smell, rather malty, lots of caramel, berry, and coffee--delicious. Great taste, viscous, sweet and sour, bold malty flavor--wonderful barleywine. It's nicely hopped as well, almost wet-hopped in taste and texture. Hops definitely take charge in the second half of Back Burner in taste and mouthfeel.

Outstanding barleywine, delicious, flavorful, and brawny--one of the best I've had, and one of the best from Southern Tier. Outstanding.

Serving type: bottle

03-14-2009 03:59:22 | More by Gehrig
Photo of Tone
Tone

Missouri

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.

Serving type: bottle

03-12-2009 01:51:05 | More by Tone
Photo of oelergud
oelergud

Virginia

4.43/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Standard 1 pint 6oz brown glass bottle with a pry-off cap. The label shows what I'm assuming is a back burner.
Caramel colored body with a nice tan creamy head that leaves good lace and stays well.
The scent is a delicious caramel covered hop cone and spice.
Excellent flavor of caramel malts and spiced hops, very similar to the scent. Great aftertaste of spicy and sweet hops.
Medium body with plenty of residual sugars and good coating.
Great drinkability, easy to enjoy, complex and long lasting.

-Oelergud

Serving type: bottle

03-11-2009 01:31:38 | More by oelergud
Photo of homebrewhawk
homebrewhawk

Kansas

3.78/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bomber served in a snifter. Poured a brilliant reddish copper with a quickly dissipating head. Malty aroma with some burnt sugar. Some citrus hop aroma comes out as it warms. Definitely on the malty side. Full bodied and rich mouthfeel. More burnt sugar flavor, medium hoppiness. Hops come out more in the finish with a drying finish. Also a bit of smoke flavor in the finish. Pretty easy drinking for 10%, but I found it a little lackluster.

Serving type: bottle

03-11-2009 00:57:27 | More by homebrewhawk
Photo of barleywinefiend
barleywinefiend

Washington

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

Thanks to Drunkmonk!
Poured dark amber to brown with a small cream head. Nose is strong on the citrusy hops, grapefruit, some tropical fruit nots, pineapple and mango. Taste is quite similar with light cocoa undertones and citrus notes as well as a bit of caramel and dried fruits. Sugary mouthfeel with a bit of peppery tingling in the background, finishes with a nice citrusy dry hoppiness. Alcohol is very well hidden for the strength. Very drinkable!

Serving type: bottle

03-06-2009 05:25:08 | More by barleywinefiend
Photo of optiontwo
optiontwo

Minnesota

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

Appearance: Murky ruby red with two inch foamy cream colored head. Good retention and lacing.

Smell: Lots of citrus hops mixing with a sweet toffee like smell. Pine and earthy hops in the back of the aroma, smells somewhat acrid.

Taste: Grapefruit and pine hop flavors are front and center but followed by a strong caramel malt background. The hops come back at the end to give you a nice hit of flavor and bitterness.

Mouthfeel: Medium carbonation, full-bodied, kind of sticky but very smooth drinking.

Drinkability: Deceptively easy to drink.

Overall: I love Southern Tier and this barley wine does not disappoint, but I would say that it could be amazing after some aging. It has enough hops in it to age it for two years and it still be pretty damn hoppy. I'd say give it a year in the cellar and you'd have a stupendous, and more traditional, barley wine.

Serving type: bottle

02-24-2009 20:16:18 | More by optiontwo
Photo of TangTKE402
TangTKE402

New York

3.03/5  rDev -24.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Poured from a bomber glass into a Guinness Pint Glass and observed minimal head, and a deep dark unfiltered brown. It looked like mahogany that someone stupidly painted over with black, and then someone else was in the process of sanding the paint away.

The nose was faint, fruity, and a little bit of a surprising wheat and yeast aroma surfaced. Overall, nothing major to report on the nose.

The taste is slightly thin, and spicy in the mouth, with hints of cinnamon, a little curry, and mixed berries floating around in the mouth. This beer leaves you with a dry, hoppy swallow that is almost a little too bitter. The aftertaste smacks of metal and hops.

Overall, if this is your first Barleywine, it will not be the one to turn you on to the genre.

Serving type: bottle

02-23-2009 23:53:27 | More by TangTKE402
Photo of mmmbeer
mmmbeer

Massachusetts

3.23/5  rDev -19.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

22 oz. bomber, 2008 version, sampled several months back. It pours dark ruby, with low carbonation and an inch of light tan head. Later, the beer is almost still and the head reduces to a small collar. Orange, pine, white grapefruit and ethanol in the nose; still pretty raw. It tastes young as well, with thick caramel malts, fruity esters, and citric/piney/spicy hops that impart a deep bitterness. The body is medium to thick (approaching syrupy), dry, with light carbonation, and a medium to long finish. Still very young and rough around the edges, but will probably be great in a year or two.

Serving type: bottle

02-23-2009 20:31:09 | More by mmmbeer
Photo of johlendorf
johlendorf

New Jersey

4.1/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bomber into pint glass. Another strong delivery from Southern Tier.

A = Honey colored, slightly cloudy. Little head, lacing, or carbonation.

S = Plum sweetness, floral and hops.

T = Crisp and clean throughout. Dark fruit up front followed by citrus and slightly piney hops. Well balanced with maltiness throughout.

M = Feels solid. Satisfying on a cold rainy day.

D = Caution, sharp turn ahead! Deceptive for a 10%.

Really enjoyed this. I'm a fan of this style beer and BackBurner did me right.

Serving type: bottle

02-19-2009 01:32:16 | More by johlendorf
Photo of aerozeppl
aerozeppl

New York

4.45/5  rDev +11%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: A very dark brown color with quite a bit of red highlights. An impressive half finger of slightly off white head as well. Excellent lacing that was the first indication of how hoppy this beer is.

S: Hops. Just a wonderfully pungent hop nose. You do get quite a bit of malt and even a hint of raisins and molasses but damn was this hoppy.

T: Just a nice hoppy American barley wine. Tons of piney citrus hops. The malt was interesting in that there was quite a bit of other elements besides just the sweetness. Some dark fruit towards the end. Really nice and complex.

M: Heavy side of medium bodied that was fairly heavy on the tongue.

D: Damn this was quite a bit better on tap than it was in the bottle. The hops really shone though. It is a damn shame that we cannot get more Southern Tier stuff on tap being in the same state.

Serving type: on-tap

02-18-2009 20:47:13 | More by aerozeppl
Photo of asabreed
asabreed

New York

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

Bomber into a Brooklyn snifter / tulip or whatever they call it.

Appearance: Beautifully amber. Nice lacing, with sometimes a soapy feel, sometimes hugely billowing. All depending on the pour and swirl.

Smell: Nothing transcendent, but everything's nice. A good balanced between caramelized sugars and citrus hops. A bit of vanilla, some fruit esters and candied fruit, mild tobacco and chocolate as it warms.

Taste: I feel like this sucker in bourbon barrels would take off to new depths. But that said, good caramelized fruit and citrus hops balanced by some sweeter vanilla and other fruit esters. Long finish with some good stuff to admire, and good things to go back to. Not as much of a hop bite as I expected, which makes me wonder how much it will mellow out even more with aging.

Mouthfeel: Near-full and a bit welcomingly sticky, if you will. Coating. Not a lot of carbonation, but there doesn't need to be.

Drinkability: Again, far from transcendent, but I enjoyed every sip of this, and it's really hard to go wrong with picking it up. Thankfully, it's not as super-hopped as a lot of American Barley Wines can be, which is nice, since I'm more of a fan of the English style. But there's enough going on, enough booze, and enough flavor to keep me happy, and another beer from ST that keeps the ante high.

Serving type: bottle

02-17-2009 06:34:39 | More by asabreed
Photo of DrKnoskelson
DrKnoskelson

Pennsylvania

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

22 ounce bottle

A - Nice amber red/brown color. Pours even, decent head. No lace in glass.

S - Very pungent aroma. Pronounced malt nose with a hoppy back-bone.

T - Initial hop bitterness melts into sweet malt taste leads.

M - Subtle alcohol presence that develops with time.

D - While I was somewhat disappointed in Southern Tiers Barleywine, this is a good brew. I was hoping for hops than malt. Low alcohol taste makes this beer easy drinking.

Serving type: bottle

02-17-2009 03:05:34 | More by DrKnoskelson
Photo of rebelthrower
rebelthrower

Massachusetts

4/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A-Dark red/rust in color. Off-white head that took a while to dissipate.

S-Smells sweet, strong barley and a little bit of hops

T- Rich with malt. Alcohol is not as strong as originally expected. a bit spicy on the tongue.

M- Mid amount of carbonation. Body wasn't to heavy. Nothing stands out as a unique taste.

D- Easy to drink. Not overwhelmed with alcohol. Overall the beer is pretty good. I was expect more though.

Serving type: bottle

02-16-2009 23:58:40 | More by rebelthrower
Photo of Jayli
Jayli

Massachusetts

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

Had at The Abbey in Worcester 2/13
This beer pours a a mahogony color leaning more towards a plum color with an off white half finger head that holds nicely. Thick lacing that are present throughout. Nose is a big malty presence with hints of sweet caramel and sugar. Hops are also present with pine and floral fruit aromas. Alcohol is also very present in the nose. This is the first barley wine that I've tried and based off the nose, I thought that I would not like it. I was wrong! Taste is way more mellow than the smell - in a good way. Caramels, chocolate, brown sugar mixed with pine and floral hops. I found this to be very well balanced. Somewhat thick and juicy in the mouth. This is definitely a sipper, and with the high ABV not one to sit with for a session - however definitely a beer that I would have again!

Serving type: on-tap

02-14-2009 18:21:53 | More by Jayli
Photo of phisig137
phisig137

Virginia

3.13/5  rDev -21.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

A- Pours a mahogany color, fading to deep gold around the edges... great range of color. One finger head quickly dissipates, and leaves nothing behind.

S- Complex burnt sugars, resinous hops, a touch of leather, and a fair amount of alcohol/hooch.

F- Big flavor, but lacking. Lots of unfermented sugars here, with caramel hints. Solid hop bitterness, with only a touch of piney flavor. Sweetness is overwhelming on the finish. Unfortunately the alcohol is quite hot and forward.

M- Thick and lucious, creamy and smooth. Very nice.

D- A bit low due to the alcohol presence.

Overall, I'm pretty disappointed in this one. Usually Southern Tier has some phenomenal beers, but this one just doesn't stand up to the rest of their lineup. It is worth a try for the price, but I won't be rushing back.

Serving type: bottle

02-13-2009 01:17:19 | More by phisig137
Photo of Pencible
Pencible

Virginia

3.68/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This poured a slightly hazy mahogany with a bit of tan head. It smelled like fresh copper and lemon hops, with surprisingly little malt, but a bit of brown sugar and oak. It tasted like copper and citrus hops with a bit of burnt caramel, roasted barley, and vanilla oak. It was slightly thick with some carbonation, and had a bitter aftertaste. Overall this was very mild and plain for a barleywine. It had a nice clean flavor and good body, but it didn't have any unique character at all. It was more like an imperial amber or IPA, which was fairly disappointing to me. It hid the alcohol decently, so it was easy enough to drink, but I was really hoping for something more. This could conceivably improve (a lot) with age, if it develops a much stronger malt character. But it's not worth much fresh.

Serving type: bottle

02-05-2009 16:23:13 | More by Pencible
Photo of biegaman
biegaman

Ontario (Canada)

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.

Serving type: bottle

02-05-2009 04:00:01 | More by biegaman
Photo of ThatWineGuy
ThatWineGuy

Ontario (Canada)

4.47/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This large bottle aged two years in biegaman's cellar, thanks for sharing. Pours a murky, caramel brown with tan head that settled in short order, wispy streaks remain with minor lacing and a ring. Sweet caramel-molasses nose, malts, a fleeting malty aroma interspersed with a hoppy backdrop yet present. Taste is sweet, bitter, sticky toffee with a long finishthat pleases. Smooth texture in the mouth, somewhat like a sherry but then a viscosity that says big time barley wine. This is not my favourite beer style but one I respect when it's done right and this is certainly one of the finer I've come across, exceedingly drinkable. The alcohol can't be denied yet it blends well and is not overpowering. The hops not yet faded, they flirt with the malty backdrop teasing your tastebuds with a complex structure that flirts with your palate. Barley wines are never to be rushed and while this is worth savoring, I found myself unalbe to put the glass down for very long. Well done, another winner from Southern Tier.

Serving type: bottle

02-05-2009 03:52:44 | More by ThatWineGuy
Photo of lincoln44
lincoln44

Illinois

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

22 oz. bottle into a pint glass.

Bronze amber color, clear but deep mahogany appearance. Not much head after the pour but may be contributed to the temperature. Nice lacing stuck around afterward.

S- Spicy, sweet, and slight floral hop aroma all combined. Picking up a roasted malt flavor, must have been used for color and depth.

Taste- Rich sweet and spicy taste. The hop flavor must be from the Chinook as it is spicy and not as aromatic yet still enjoyable. Kind of a woody taste coming through on the tail of it all.

M- slick feel from the high residuals and hop oils. Carbonation is right on for this style.

D-Not my favorite barley wine but enjoyable nonetheless. Spicier and woody taste compared to the BW I am familiar with. Overall decent brew but I don't think I would be searching for this one every time I go to the store.

Serving type: bottle

02-03-2009 22:59:56 | More by lincoln44
Backburner (Imperial Barley Wine Style Ale) from Southern Tier Brewing Company
90 out of 100 based on 847 ratings.