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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

860 Ratings
THE BROS
94
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 860
Reviews: 497
rAvg: 4.01
pDev: 10.47%
Wants: 65
Gots: 99 | 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: 860 | Reviews: 497 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of kmeves
kmeves

Wisconsin

3.53/5  rDev -12%

Pours a deep copper brown with aSmall off white head. Aroma is moderately sweet grape, caramel, cherry, date and grapefruit. Flavor is sweet caramel, grape, grapefruit, piney and some dough. Full body, sticky texture. Finishes very long and bitter. Alchohol very well hidden.

09-30-2008 17:32:58 | More by kmeves
Photo of bbothen
bbothen

California

4.22/5  rDev +5.2%

Pours a deep amber/brown color with a tiny off white head. Head quickly dissipates into a thin but active skim across the beer. SOme sticky lacing on glass as well.

Smells big of sweet caramel maltiness & a distinct citric hop presence.

Big caramel sweetness & a nice big hop bitterness. Rich. Full & complex.

Medium to full bodied, moderate carbonation, lingering bitterness.

For a 10% big ass barleywine...it drinks great. The 10% is well hidden.

I can't imagine anyone not liking this beer. It's big, huge, and flavorful. Go get it.

09-28-2008 01:46:51 | More by bbothen
Photo of msolar
msolar

Massachusetts

4/5  rDev -0.2%

We taste-tested a few Southern Tier and Rogue beers last night and this was one of the favorites among our friends. I'm normally not a big fan of Barley Wine style beers, but this was pretty good. The 10% ABV is pretty well hidden, and this beer is surprisingly drinkable. I doubt I would put this on tap at home, but I'd certainly buy a couple more bottles of it.

09-27-2008 20:29:13 | More by msolar
Photo of roadhouse
roadhouse

Florida

4/5  rDev -0.2%

Poured from a 22 oz. bomber bottle into a snifter.

Appears a dark reddish brown, but when held to the light it seems more of a straight up ruby color. Thin head of a little less than a half inch sinks down to a skim and leaves a bit of lacing.

Aroma is typical of many American barleywines. Citrusy and resiny hops with a strong caramel backdrop. Good but nothing to go nuts about.

Taste is good as well, but again it's not really anything special. More of the citrusy hops right from the start along with a sweet caramelly surrounding. Finishes somewhat bitter and citrusy, but the malts keep a bit of the sweetness around.

Mouthfeel is medium-full, smooth drinking with a fairly low but nice level of carbonation.

Overall I found this one to be good and tasty but it's not really one that makes you say wow. The main problem I have with Southern Tier is that the painted on lettering on the bottles always comes off on my hand!

09-11-2008 00:19:48 | More by roadhouse
Photo of JohnGalt1
JohnGalt1

Idaho

3.8/5  rDev -5.2%

22 from joe1510 .. shared a small glass with Brenda.. mine poured into my Smokestack goblet..

1" head with beautiful lacing.. brew is dark brown with not much showing until I held it to a light and it revealed a crystal clear ruby brew.. very pretty for the entire bottle.

Aroma is American hops but with a significant backboard of malts caramel and even some chocolate as it arms.. . yeasty fruitiness reminds me of overripe plums... does have a distinct solvent characteristic as it warms.

Flavor is very nice.. just enough bitterness to balance the malts.. good caramel.. toasty and much lesser chocolate malts.. complex malts with the fruitiness from the yeasts make this a memorable brew. Pine and citrus hops play very well with the overall sweetness. Bready midpalate and a long lingering hoppy/fruity finish combines with caramel remnants. Body is pretty much exact so is the carbonation..

I wish Backburner and other Southern Tier brews were available to me.. This BW is pretty classy fresh.. an would probably age like a champ if I had them in the cellar.. Good Stuff! Big props to joe1510 for a great trade!!

4/3.5/4/4/3.5

09-02-2008 07:45:40 | More by JohnGalt1
Photo of Georgiabeer
Georgiabeer

Georgia

3.63/5  rDev -9.5%

Pours a dark burnt orange with a fairly good head considering the style and abv and some sloppy lacing. Slightly hot in the nose and with very sweet aromas up-front of maple syrup, cardomom, and pear as well as a bit of wax and apple. The taste on the other hand could be a bit sweeeter on the finish. The beer drops off quite a bit toward the end. Otherwise the beer is still a bit hot and there are flavors of dry, crackery malt; and a savory flavor of salty caramel, buttered popcorn and something somewhat meaty. A little strange and somewhat flat tasting. Quite smooth, if a bit hot. Not bad, and it certainly packs a punch, but the flavors seem a bit unusual and not quite sweet enough for the style.

08-24-2008 20:44:00 | More by Georgiabeer
Photo of t0rin0
t0rin0

California

3.8/5  rDev -5.2%

While this was overall a good beer, I was expecting more after having the Unearthly, Choklate, Pumking, and Jahva.

Pours a deep clear brown. Plenty of foam and good retention.

Smell is quite malty and very boozy. This is a 2008 bottle but it seems that the hops have faded. There is a little european hop nose, so I checked the bottle and sure enough they used Willamette hops, interesting.

The taste is again boozy but also malty. Not overly hoppy like some other reviews have said. Again, this is probably 8 months old, so who knows.

Mouthfeel is medium/heavy, alcohol taste and effects keep it from being as drinkable as it could be. Enjoyable.

08-21-2008 18:52:24 | More by t0rin0
Photo of pershan
pershan

Maryland

4.35/5  rDev +8.5%

The beer poured a deep, clear, reddish-amber with a dense tan head into a pint glass. The aroma was of fresh, piney hops - very nice. The taste was a big-time blend of sweet caramel malt, pungent hop flavor, and alcoholic esters, with a huge hop bitterness at the finish. Not quite as good as SN Bigfoot, IMHO, but pretty darn close.

08-21-2008 15:20:06 | More by pershan
Photo of GClarkage
GClarkage

California

4/5  rDev -0.2%

08/11/08- Purchased at Chuck's Wine and Spirits in Chagrin Falls, OH.

Presentation- 22oz bottle with no freshness info. Poured into my Duvel tulip.

Appearance- Deep brown in color. Full one inch plus head upon pour. Settles at a good 1/4 inch for most of the duration of the beer.

Smell- Very hoppy in the nose with harsh grapefruit hops. Also has some caramel malt notes.

Taste- Sugary sweet with lots of caramel malts. Also some sweet orchard fruits with oranges and tangerines in the mix. The hops really are the key here though. They come through very strong...very Bigfoot in nature. Fairly well balanced though with a large malt profile as well.

Mouthfeel- Medium to a touch higher carbonation level. Still feeling the bitter aftertatse in my mouth almost 30 minutes after finishing it.

Drinkability- Traditional well hoppen american barleywine. Very good and very drinkable.

08-12-2008 04:09:06 | More by GClarkage
Photo of mattp
mattp

New York

3.83/5  rDev -4.5%

I picked up a bomber at Olivers along with a Hoppe Ale from Southern Tier. The pour is really nice with a fruity aroma and thick head. The color was lovely, a dark red/brown vision of substance. The mouth feel reminded me of Middle Ages Druid Fluid. It felt rich enough to just about chew. Very nice. As you would expect from a barleywine there was a nice bitterness and an appropriate malt balance. A nice sipping beer if you are only having one that night. It was kind of humid last night and a lot of condensation formed on the bottle. When I poured I found a chunk of the painted label stuck on my hand. Different.

08-06-2008 12:30:19 | More by mattp
Photo of Mdog
Mdog

Minnesota

4/5  rDev -0.2%

Appearance: Deep red, big head.

Smell: Very piney at first, then citrus, booze, dark fruit.

Taste: Nice caramel sweetness with just enough hops to balance it out. It does give a warming aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: Slick, coating.

Drinkability: Good stuff but strong and in 22oz bottles means one bottle only.

This is a pretty good barleywine. I think they seem to be going for right in-between American and English barleywine since it wasn't overly hoppy like US but not too sweet like UK BW's. Either that or the hops died down as it sat on the shelf in the store. Good to try.

08-02-2008 18:42:00 | More by Mdog
Photo of Mitchster
Mitchster

Michigan

4.55/5  rDev +13.5%

$6.99 for a 22oz bomber at the newly relocated Beverage Shop in TC. Brewed with 2-row pale malt, light and dark caramel malts, and hopped with chinook in the kettle, willamette for aroma, and dry hopped with amarillo and centennial (oooh, two of my favorites!)

10% ABV, OG=23 plato, 15Lovibond. Funny. The bottle is stamped with the specs as per Rogue tradition, but as the condensation forms, the letter slip off and you can rearrange them like you would refrigerator magnets.

Pours out to a clear deep rich mahogany, forming a tall off-yellow head with excellent retention and good lacing. Carbonation is medium. The aroma is hop-a-licious. Loads of sticky, piney, resinous, hops with loads of chewy sticky sweet malts. The mouthfeel is bold and beautiful, soft, chewy and very satisfying. The taste starts with the big resisnous hops, but they are not harsh not overwhelming like an Arrogant Bastard can be. This gives way to a big estery profile with lots of dark over-ripe fruits...apples and cherries are big. Followed by brown sugar, roasted nuts, and a moderate herbal bitterness which is nicely balanced for such a big beer. The aftertaste is of herbal hops bitterness, leather, and raisins.

This is a very nice barleywine. It's a big beer, but it's easier to drink than most. It still has a big hop bill, and isn't quite as sweet as some of it's English bretheren, but I would gladly buy it again. Recommended.

07-29-2008 22:38:57 | More by Mitchster
Photo of Wetpaperbag
Wetpaperbag

Washington

3.58/5  rDev -10.7%

A- A dark burnt copper red color. The head is tick fluffy and very very light tan, but vanishes quickly leaving great lacing.

S- The smell is very true to form of an American Barleywine. The Hops are present along with sweet malt smells and nice dark fruits are also very much there.

T- There is a bread taste that mixes with the dark fruits giving a granola type of taste. The hop taste is there and provides a bitter taste.

M- Feels good on the mouth, the Alcohol creates a spiciness on the tongue.

D- Easy to drink.

07-29-2008 19:56:57 | More by Wetpaperbag
Photo of mcmidc
mcmidc

Wisconsin

4/5  rDev -0.2%

Poured a deep amber color with a small tan head that lingered surprisingly. The smell is of fruits, and raisans with some hops and alcohol in the background. Tastes spicy with primarily plums and raisans that is spicy. Mouthfeel is full bodied, with spices running rampant. Drinkability is pretty good for a 10% beer and it's pretty smooth. Really becoming a fan of Southern Tier they put out some really good brews. I'll drink it again.

07-28-2008 20:41:45 | More by mcmidc
Photo of scruffwhor
scruffwhor

Illinois

4.13/5  rDev +3%

Pours a carameled, maple syrupy ruby color. Very faint head and no bubbles or lacing. Great color though. The aroma is a cinnamon spicey citrus and a dash of caramel and figs. Starts with some warm fruits and a light touch of Chrstmas seasonings. Cinnamon, nutmeg, with some caramel plums. Good, warm, and spicey sweet. The palate has some complex alcohol notes. Some brandy or mabybe cognac and some warms peas with some orange zest. Sippable andnice to look at in a snifter.

07-22-2008 05:02:29 | More by scruffwhor
Photo of jdaelhousen
jdaelhousen

Massachusetts

4.33/5  rDev +8%

Brown colored body with little head to it.

Aroma consists of sweet candy sugar, orange peel, mild coriander notes, and contains a strong boozy factor.

Taste has an immediate blast of alcohol mixed with fruit essences of fig, cherry, and mild toffee presence. Mouthfeel is very sticky with a strong alcohol backing.

Overall, and outstanding and highly alcoholic barleywine.

07-20-2008 23:26:43 | More by jdaelhousen
Photo of alexgash
alexgash

Connecticut

4.28/5  rDev +6.7%

22 oz. bottle.

Pours into the Stone Old Guardian glass with a deep, dark coppery brown body. Clear. Very dense, creamy finger of khaki brown head. Great lacing. Nose of scorched brown sugar, toffee, caramel, rummy fruits, candied yams, and some herbal hops.

Herbal hop bitterness greets the tongue. Toasted malt with burnt brown sugar quickly follow. Toffee and candy-coated fruit swell mid-palate. Citrus and herbal hop flavor follow, with some bitterness to balance the sweetish malt. Nicely done. Hop resin bitterness in the finish with lingering syrupy fruit and toffee malt. Full-bodied with a smooth, creamy feel. Another impressive ST bomber.

07-20-2008 02:50:47 | More by alexgash
Photo of lordofthewiens
lordofthewiens

Maine

4.33/5  rDev +8%

From a bomber, poured into a snifter. The beer was a garnet color with a fairly small white head. The aroma was pleasantly fruity, with a hint of spice. The taste followed form. The alcohol was warming without being intrusive. Very nice beer. I imagine it would cellar well.

07-16-2008 19:22:36 | More by lordofthewiens
Photo of EPICAC
EPICAC

Massachusetts

3.88/5  rDev -3.2%

On tap at Burp Castle in NYC.

Pours a clear, deep amber. Topped by a beige head that fades to a patchy film leaving spotty lace. The aroma is malty and very fruity with notes of caramel and cherries. Swirling brings out hints of hops.

Malty: caramel and a bit of chocolate. Toasty with a bit of citrusy hops and a nice bitter finish. Full-bodied, moderate to low carbonation and smooth.

07-16-2008 19:10:56 | More by EPICAC
Photo of ccrida
ccrida

Oregon

3.98/5  rDev -0.7%

750 ml with a few months on it, poured into my Deshutes snifter, Backburner is a dark ruby with a large, rocky,burnt off-white head that leaves heavy lace.

Smell is rich and thick, fruity ale esters, caramel, nutty, and prune malts, wet, citrus hops, boozy but pretty good.

Taste is sharp and full, tangy, sweet malt and heavily hopped, caramelized fruits. The high ABV drys it out, although after the initially esters and hops, the finish is pretty clean. Pretty good, but could use more time to soften the edges.

Mouthfeel is slick and oily, medium heavy body, with a spicy, dry, hoppy and alcoholic finish.

Drinkability is pretty good, this is a nice barleywine for sure, second bomber that I've had. The first with any time in my cellar, it still has room to run, but I'll be sure to get more, especially once this become available in WA!

07-14-2008 03:02:34 | More by ccrida
Photo of feloniousmonk
feloniousmonk

Minnesota

4.38/5  rDev +9.2%

Clear, crimson hued, slim, creamy head.

Aroma: rich, pungent, dark fruit meets brandy...cherry notes, sweet, but not too syrupy, rounds out dryly in the end.

Drinkin'...plump on the palate, and right quick, alcohol comes burning in, blazes the back of the mouth. Profusely malty, gathering sweetness, growing texture, bitter hops scouring the tongue.

Flavor lasts long in the mouth. Persistent finish. Big, hot, wet and juicy. Mmmm-mmm.

07-10-2008 04:54:59 | More by feloniousmonk
Photo of MuenchenerKindl
MuenchenerKindl

Germany

4.28/5  rDev +6.7%

Poured from bomber to a glass mug the liquid is red with very good carbonaion. The head is tall 2 fingers of tan foam and leaves good lace.

The smell is big think sticky malt and extra hops,very bitter.

The taste follows a very big and thick brew to ba sure, However the hops are there and good.

The mouthfeel is good, vary full with great carbonation.

The drinkability is oh so good, this is a fine BW lots of biggness.

Prosit, MK

07-10-2008 03:55:38 | More by MuenchenerKindl
Photo of prototypic
prototypic

Ohio

4.38/5  rDev +9.2%

Appearance: It pours a nice looking ruby brown color. Head is vanilla colored and only about a finger deep. Looks like the alcohol might have killed this one. Retention was good and lacing was sticky and thicker than expected.

Smell: Strong, piney hops kick it off nicely. They're followed up by sweet citrus grapefruit and pineapple aromas. It is malty and sweet smelling. Caramel malts seem to be primary variety. The aroma's a little weak, but opens up more as it warms. Plum and raisin scents finally emerge. The nose is complex and nothing short of appetizing.

Taste: It's sweet and a little citrusy up front. Grapefruit and pineapple flavors are nice, but a little more subdued than the nose suggests. Hops are piney, bitter, and a little citric. Caramel malts are sweet and really balance it out a lot. It's easily one of the most balance barleywines that I've tried. Dark fruit flavors are secondary and feature plum, raisin, and a little prune. The flavor profile is easily as complex as the nose, if not moreso. Amazingly, alcohol is not very noticeable. At 10%, I was expecting it, but it's masked extremely well.

Mouthfeel/Drinkabilty: It's full bodied, but only marginally so. Not as thick and chewy as some in this style. Carbonation level is subdued and very well done. Nice, super smooth feel. Drinkability is good, but there's no way I'd try to tackle more than a single bomber. It's too strong and too big for much more than that.

Southern Tier's developed perhaps the most balanced Barleywine I've had the pleasure of drinking. It's very good and really doesn't have any large shortcomings. I prefer just a tad more hops for the style. But, this really is damn good. It's hard to find much fault in it. Truth be told, Southern Tier would have to put a lot of effort into making a bad beer. They just can't seem to do it.

07-10-2008 03:49:54 | More by prototypic
Photo of NeroFiddled
NeroFiddled

Pennsylvania

4.18/5  rDev +4.2%

Appearance: Clear. Deep mahogany in color. The yellowed tan head rises two or more inches at the first pour, then dies down to a solid finger's width, and then a creamy half-inch cap that holds a solid surface covering for some time. Lacing is quite nice. Given the strength, the head retention and lacing are quite impressive.

Smell: Sticky sweet with a distinct caramelish maltiness and citrusy/tropical fruits that include tangerine, pineapple, melon, papaya, and coconut as well as some apples, pears, and red berries. I can only assume that the fruitiness is a combination of yeastiness, citrusy hops, and sugary malts, as well as some alcohol. It's certainly bold and complex, but also welcoming.

Taste: The sweetness found in the nose appears on the tongue. It's caramelish and sticky, and even a subtle touch chocolatey. The fruitiness is right there with it, however, cutting through the sugar with gently acidic citrusy juiciness. And by mid-palate it's become more about the fruitiness (still very solidly backed by sweet caramel malts)! Bitterness then steps in, and you're ushered to the finish with an added brush of grassy and herbal character to boot. The caramel tumbles with the fruitiness. The bitterness tumbles with the sweetness. The alcohol steps forward and then vanishes just as quickly as it came. It's a long and drawn out finish with just about every note that's found in the nose making an appearance at least once or twice if not more. Really rich and full!!!

Mouthfeel: Viscous, to say the least. There are a lot of unfermented sugars in this baby. It's almost like tasting wort. The creamy, very fine-bubbled median carbonation just barely cuts through, and it's super creamy and remarkably smooth across the palate.

Drinkability: Overall it's a bit too much to drink beyond a short apertif, settling night cap, or relaxing, slow sipper - but guiding wisdom tells us that drinkability has much more to do with its special and unique qualities - and how much we enjoy it in those moments - than anything that has to do with quantity or length of time. I could easily enjoy a small glass of this for an hour. It's rich and full and complex, and very interesting and satiating. There are barleywines that are better rounded and far more balanced, but there's still something here that makes it very worthwhile. Certainly worth trying!!!

07-01-2008 03:00:35 | More by NeroFiddled
Photo of brewdlyhooked13
brewdlyhooked13

Ohio

4.15/5  rDev +3.5%

Appearance - a brownish red iced tea color. A sizable cap of creamy tan foam hangs around for a minute before dropping to a soapy cover. Nice lace trails weaving up and down around the glass.

Aroma - flowery citrus, with just an edge of pine. Powdery grain, a fairly light nose in general.

Taste - sweet grain coats the mouth at first, followed by a mixture of alcohol and spicy hops. Lightly fruity, they are more balanced to the bitter side but show great character. The swallow shows a flash of citrusy sweetness before the bitterness jumps out and takes over, drying things out for a fine finish.

Mouthfeel - incredibly smooth, this feels like its already been in the cellar for three years. Easy-going bubbles don't interfere with the flow. My favorite part of this beer, almost...

Drinkability - it will take some will power to leave the other to age; we'll see if I'm up to it.

06-17-2008 21:58:49 | More by brewdlyhooked13
Backburner (Imperial Barley Wine Style Ale) from Southern Tier Brewing Company
90 out of 100 based on 860 ratings.