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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

856 Ratings
THE BROS
94
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 856
Reviews: 496
rAvg: 4.01
pDev: 10.47%
Wants: 63
Gots: 100 | 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:  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: 856 | Reviews: 496 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of LittleBreeze
LittleBreeze

New York

4.28/5  rDev +6.7%

Ignore the first sip or two. After it coats the tongue, this beer starts to come into its own. Serious hop blend and malty tongue twisting action. Carmel sweetness is appreciated. This isn't an alcohol bomb. Imo the abv is well hidden. But there was a sneak attack. Be careful.

03-21-2008 05:02:43 | More by LittleBreeze
Photo of cooncat
cooncat

Ohio

4.05/5  rDev +1%

Serving from a 22 oz bomber, decanted into a Sam Adams glass.

A firm pour yields a ruby-garnet colored brew with a thick one fingered head, which subsides to a thin cap. Decent lacing is evident on the glass.

Nose is predominently sweet malt in character, with dark fruit coming to the fore. The bottle states 85 IBUs, but none of those hops make it into the nose.

The taste is a full bodied sweet malt bomb! Dark fruit, cherries, mixed with molasses ... a sweetness I didn't expect. Like the nose, the 85 IBUs don't make much of a showing. In fact, they are pretty much completely buried. Mouthfeel is huge, not just full. Wonderfully warming, the alcohol is not really a force in the taste. It is just subtle; a subdued 'backburner' type of warming, especially as the beer warms. Despite the sweetness, I did not find it cloying; just amazingly delicious. This barleywine is dangerously drinkable, so enjoy responsibly. Highly recommended ... go out of your way to find this one.

Na Zdravje!

03-20-2008 23:33:56 | More by cooncat
Photo of DrinkinBuddy
DrinkinBuddy

New York

4.4/5  rDev +9.7%

Picked-up this bad boy at the Empty Pint. For those who don't know: that's Southern Tier's Bar. Gotta thank Cameron and Ryan for this one!! Poured a nice dark ruby/brown with a delicious off-white head(1 finger). Smells sweet and sultry. Taste is definately sweet malts with ripened dark fruits mixed and a bit of hop bite to match. A very refreshing and appealing barleywine. More enjoyable than Sierra Nevada's Bigfoot BW. Mouthfeel is moderate and slightly chewy. Not too thick. Drinkability, is pretty damn good due to the amazing covering of the 10.00 abv. A very nice BW. I can't wait to crack the one I've been storing for the last 2 years!

03-20-2008 04:06:44 | More by DrinkinBuddy
Photo of sawbones420
sawbones420

Massachusetts

4.55/5  rDev +13.5%

I'm a complete slut for Southern Tier, so I'm getting around to reviewing all of their bombers, slowly. I don't drink much barley wine these days, mostly on account of the fact that they make me feel like hell the next day, even when keeping my consumption way down. Southern Tier makes me so happy, however, so I'll take my chances on a Sunday night...

What the hell is an Imperial Barley Wine Style Ale anyway?

Pours a dark mahogany color into my trusty Brooklyn Brewery snifter (my favorite glass of all time). Head? No. I'm starting to think my dishwasher leaves a thin film of soap on my glasses though, as I almost never get much in the way of head retention.

Smells deep, dark, complex. Fruit, hops, sweet malt and alcohol come through. Most notable are those hops, though. Not used to such a strong presence in a barley wine.

First sip is potent. A robust malt flavor hits the sides of the mouth, while the sharp hop presence centers the brew nicely. There's a whole lot going on here. The alcohol warms the back of the tongue and the throat as it slides down, leaving quite a bit to think about. On another sip caramel comes through prominently in the middle part of the tongue. Sweet to be sure, but not too heavy/syrupy to make you feel bloated.

I love beers where every sip offers something new and different from the last. It's interesting how your mouth adapts to this brew as you drink it. Definitely an awesome take on the style and a must for anyone who considers himself a fan of barley wines.

Oh and the burps taste like hops. mmm

03-17-2008 02:46:41 | More by sawbones420
Photo of brewcrew76
brewcrew76

Wisconsin

4.25/5  rDev +6%

Purchased in Sept 2007

A - Dark mahogany, ruby with a thin tan head and sticky lacing.

S - Spicy, citrus, piney and perfumey hops with sweet caramel, toffee and dried dark fruits.

T - Big citrus, spicy, piney hops followed by sweet caramel, toffee, cherries, raisins and prunes. Slight alcohol taste is noticeable but fits nicely.

M - Creamy and not as thick as other barleywines. Dry bitter finish.

D - A nice blend of bold hops and sweet malts.

03-14-2008 03:39:04 | More by brewcrew76
Photo of Stoneman78
Stoneman78

California

3.68/5  rDev -8.2%

Bottle purchased at Sam's in Clybourn

Appearance is a dark amber hue, thin layer of off-white head dissipates, sticky lacing

Smell is dominated by hops [floral, grassy, citrus], sweet brown sugar, toffee, dark fruits, and alcohol

Taste is initially caramel malts and alcohol, transitions to pepper and bitter pine hops, then comes dark fruits and toffee, finishes sweet and pepper spicy

Mouthfeel is medium/full-bodied, thick and chewy texture, prickly carbonation

Drinkability is fair, but the alcohol presence and pepper distracts from the overall taste profile, this is a super-hoppy barleywine, slightly unbalanced but decent overall

03-09-2008 21:18:34 | More by Stoneman78
Photo of lpayette
lpayette

Vermont

4/5  rDev -0.2%

Purchased from Table & Vine in W. Springfield, MA for $6 a bomber.

At the pop of the cap you know that you wont be disappointed by this beer. With a hiss, the aroma immediately hits you with big fruity, malty, and hoppy notes. Ok, that was only my review of the popping of the top. On to the appearance-

Out of the bottle backburner pours a copper-like hue, but in the glass with more volume it develops a very nice ruby hue. With a hard pour the beer mustered about 1 finger of head which produced some nice brussels lace but still disappeared rather quickly.

The smell as mentioned previously, does not disappont. I'm proud to declare that I successfully was able to guess 2 of the 4 hop varities in this brew before looking at what it was brewed with (I guessed chinook, and amarillo). The willamette really made sense after reading it on the bottle, and the centinnial as well.

This is certainly an american style barleywine rather than an english... Very hoppy as expected, but to be honest... the combination of hops seems a little odd initially- although it seems to work better by mid bottle or so. I'd predict that this would be much better with some age under it... maybe a year or two? Malt-wise- subtle notes of caramel with a slightly chocolatey finish. The 10% abv is apparent, but not overpowering.

The mouthfeel when young at least is a bit lacking, but I predict that some age on this would yeild a much better result. The hops are so potent that they tingle around the edges of the tongue and you can practically feel the enamel stripping off your teeth... I suppose that's a good thing if you're looking for a hop bomb, american style barleywine. I tend to prefer the english variety, but again, with some aging, this might be spectacular. Also, the initial sips with the head present are very creamy, and I enjoyed those most.

Overall a very respectable offering from southern tier, and probably worth seeking out if you're a big American style barleywine fan. I know that I'll be picking up some more if I get the opportunity, but this time I'll wait at least a year before opening and let this develop a bit further before I revisit.

03-04-2008 06:21:31 | More by lpayette
Photo of barleywinebrewer
barleywinebrewer

New Hampshire

4.03/5  rDev +0.5%

A - rich dark brown color with a large light tan head

S - dark fruits, brown sugar, citric hops, alcohol warmth.

T - Similar to the nose, rich sweet malts, some citric hops, some warming

M - medium full body, nicely carbonated, sweet aftertaste, warming effect.

D - a nice overall barleywine.

03-03-2008 16:41:37 | More by barleywinebrewer
Photo of tprokop7
tprokop7

Massachusetts

4.5/5  rDev +12.2%

Reviewing this one from the Dive Bar. Poured from the tap into a snifter. I had a bottle the other day, and I was excited when I saw it on the chalkboard.

A - Pours copper with a one finger whitish head.

S - Smells sweet and hoppy. Definate bitterness, with some floral and citrus as the main influences.

T - Nice, sweet flavor quickly backed up with floral hops.

M - Smooth, with pleasant moderate carbonation.

D - This one really wins here. Despite the high abv, it goes down smooth and pleasant overall. I've always thought ST's regular offerings were pretty average, but I've loved their bigger stuff so far.

03-03-2008 02:16:11 | More by tprokop7
Photo of drumrboy22
drumrboy22

Colorado

4.1/5  rDev +2.2%

Thanks to jjayjaye for this one! 22oz. bottle says first brew of 2007, so I'm guessing this has about a year on it. Poured into a LaChouffe tulip. Beer was a dark, rusty red color with a small, off-white head. Moderate lacing around the glass and slow carbonation.

Aroma was pine hops, a hint of citrus, raisins and sweet malt.

Taste was caramel, toffee, with heavy hops; but also pretty sweet and well balanced.

Mouthfeel was thick and sticky.

Really tasty beer. Still pretty hoppy after a year. This one should age well. I'd like to put one in the cellar for a few years to see how it does. I really like Southern Tier. They are a solid brewery that consistently puts out great products.

03-02-2008 16:05:04 | More by drumrboy22
Photo of RonfromJersey
RonfromJersey

New Jersey

4.15/5  rDev +3.5%

Dark red mahagoney, excellent clarity, heavy carbonation streams, topped by two fingers of french vanilla foam. Good lacing.

Extremely sweet aroma, fruit soaking in alcohol, with a strong dose of fresh baked goods.

Solid thick malt beginning flows across the tongue. Not as super sweet as I was anticipating. Biscuit beginning gives way to fruit. No sensation of alcohol in the taste at all. Surprisingly balanced.

Thick, solid mouthfeel. Surprisingly drinkable.

A nice nightcap from the folks at the Tier.

03-01-2008 04:46:09 | More by RonfromJersey
Photo of Jmamay22
Jmamay22

New York

3.68/5  rDev -8.2%

I've been loving everything that Southern Tier has been putting out lately and I have high expectations for their Barley Wine.

Pours a rust tinged mahogany's with white wisps that hint of the head that has since dissipated. Collar leaves behind occasional spotty lacing.

Smells strongly of toffee and sweet malts. The hops are surely there as well, but aren't in your face as many American versions. The alcohol is strong as well, but does not come off as harsh. There's a nice fruit scent as well, which mixes with the hops to create an interesting citrus and raisin scent.

Tastes of cherry ladened with brown sugar and rum. Sweet and alcohol fueled until the hops start overtaking things. Much more citrus and pine than in the nose.

Mouthfeel is average and medium bodied. Hops and alcohol create this prickly feeling in the aftertaste. Drinkability comes off as difficult due to the harshness of the alcohol in the taste. The combination of alcohol and hops seem to create a near metallic aftertaste. Not their best. Best enjoyed as a digestif and alone.

03-01-2008 02:39:30 | More by Jmamay22
Photo of dsa7783
dsa7783

New Jersey

3.63/5  rDev -9.5%

650 ML bottle copped for $5.99 from Gary's in Madison...
After an aggressive pour, the appearance is a dark, mahogany-brown colored hue with an impressive-sized foamy and frothy head that soon receded leaving loads of lacing...
Strong smell bursting with a nice suggestion of a balance between thick malts and rich hops with noticeable essences of caramel, toffee, and honey...
Taste was super-thick and rich, very, very sweet, even for a barleywine, bursting with powerful candied sugars, thick malts that dominated the hops, caramel, toffee, licorice, and honey...
The taste was extremely sweet on this one, very different from most Southern Tier brews I've sampled...
Mouthfeel was rich and thick, but overdone with the Herculean suggestion of sugars and honey...
Drinkablity took a real hit due to the slightly overwhelming and powerfully sweet taste that dominated the palate and took over the taste buds... This beer would be teriffic if it were a little more bitter and slightly less sweet...
Nonetheless, a pretty good sample...

02-29-2008 00:09:00 | More by dsa7783
Photo of CrazyMacHarris99
CrazyMacHarris99

Pennsylvania

3.9/5  rDev -2.7%

Poured a clear ruby red with a thin off white head that left some nice thick lacing. Smells of hops, citrus notes and some alcohol with a hint of some sweet malts. The taste is about the same. Starts out sweet with some sweet fruit then switches to some citrus and hop bitterness. The hop presence really comes out in the finish. The mouthfeel is a happy medium. Overall this is a good rendition of the style but not overly extreme. This makes it a great (to me) session barleywine.

I'm raising this glass to the late, great Myron Cope! This one gets a Double Yoi!

02-28-2008 01:43:32 | More by CrazyMacHarris99
Photo of WillieMoe
WillieMoe

Massachusetts

4.1/5  rDev +2.2%

A-Pours a reddish brown color, with a thin head that quickly dissolves, but leaves a nice lace.

S-The aroma is of hops, mostly citrusy, with some hints of floral and piney hops. Smells more like an IPA, than a barleywine.

T-The taste is similar to the smell, in that is starts hoppy and IPAish, but as it goes down you can feel that bit of sharp alcohol taste you usually find in a barleywine, as it goes down.

Goes down very clean and smooth for a barleywine. It's very balanced and probably one of the more drinkable barleywines and overall another winner from ST.

02-27-2008 23:01:29 | More by WillieMoe
Photo of RedBeerHead
RedBeerHead

Ohio

4.2/5  rDev +4.7%

On a barely wine kick, so here's another one...
I purchased this from Warehouse Beverage on Mayfield in Cleveland. I continue to find that they are a consistent source of good, hard to find, selections.

Poured from a 22 oz into a regular pint glass. Very carbonated head, light and bubbly. The body is cloudy and has a dark amber color.
Smells like bread and also citrus. Has a matly/roasted hint as well. Definite contrast here compared to other barley wine style beers I've tried.
First thing you notice about the taste is the definite "kick in the mouth". Hints of ginger, spice, citrus and bread. Very sophisticated taste.
In general, very drinkable...good feel on the tongue. A must try if your exploring the barley wine style.

02-27-2008 02:05:53 | More by RedBeerHead
Photo of tpd975
tpd975

Florida

4.2/5  rDev +4.7%

Yet another beer courtesy of BeerTruth. Thanks Adam.

A: Pours deep brown color with hings of red. The head is small in volume, yet pretty dense. The head dies nearly as fast as it rises, but does leave behind some lacing.

S: The aroma is inviting. Nice bready yeast malt with hints of pine. There is citrus in there as well. It is skewed more to orange than grapefruit or lemon. Beneath it all is a nice sweet carmalized brown sugar with a hint of booze.

T: This one is malt forward. Nice sweet caramel malt with wonderful yeasty notes. Pine sap sweetness comes in with hints of grapefruit. A bit of booze leaves a bit of burn as it slides down the throat.

M: Medium carbonation but very smooth overall.

D: Well balanced, as drinkable as you will get with a barleywine with this ABV.

Overall: ST is one of my favorites. I am glad that I have BeerTruth to keep a steady flow coming my way. The taste of this one is rather balanced with the perfect amount of malt and hops, sweet and bitter. It is very drinkable for the ABV, I really enjoyed it. Can not even begin to imagine how it would taste on tap.

02-24-2008 22:37:46 | More by tpd975
Photo of GbVDave
GbVDave

Illinois

4.4/5  rDev +9.7%

Poured from a 22oz bomber into two pint glasses. Thanks to HeatherAnn for the assist!

A: Pours a dark rusty reddish-brown with a small and creamy light khaki-colored head. This head leaves sticky sheets of lace in the glass.

S: Big one-two punch of bitter citrus hops and toasted, caramel-y malt. Also along for the ride are some spice and grain.

T: Big citrus hops that gradually turn piney as it warms. Awesome toasted malt, spicy caramel, and peppery hops with a rather non-intrusive alcohol heat that adds rather than detracts.

M: Bitter and hoppy but at the same time restrained and not too raw. Peppery, spicy, and sweet and creamy. Very complex.

D: Excellent. Very balanced and drinkable for such a big barleywine. A pleasure to drink!

02-19-2008 00:12:06 | More by GbVDave
Photo of imaguitargod
imaguitargod

Ohio

3.98/5  rDev -0.7%

This was on tap at La Cave Du Vin so I ended up getting a snifter of it. Burgundy in color and a little less opaque than most barely wines I've had. There is not much carbonation and is your typical barley wine in taste except when it comes to the hops. There is a lot of hops here but they come in as a background flavor and aftertaste making it a bit bitter.

02-18-2008 00:27:21 | More by imaguitargod
Photo of jim102864
jim102864

Connecticut

3.78/5  rDev -5.7%

Reddish brown ibw from a bomber bottle poured into my Chimay snifter. Thick pour with no head and moderate carbonation.

Pleasing nose with berry esters such as blackberry and other dark fruit. Backgound whiff of anise from cherry licorice and caramel; very aromatic nose. Sugar is evident and Willimette hops.

Anice from licorice with a slight booze burn in the finish. Phenolic with a mediciny tongue. Some carbonation adds to the exprience.

Mouthfeel was thick and chewy. Chinook and Willimette, and Amarillo hops open their doors.

Definitely a sipper but a lovely interpretation of the style. Let it warm up.

02-13-2008 13:27:38 | More by jim102864
Photo of IBUnit63
IBUnit63

Massachusetts

4.38/5  rDev +9.2%

Bourbon-colored (how can you go wrong?) from 22 oz. poured into mug with richer-than expected (but still moderate) head. Not a lot of carbonation here; it looks like a barley wine should.

Surprisingly hearty herbal/grassy hop flower aroma. Nice and strong bitterness. Some bitter citrus zest? In a barley wine? Aroma yields intriguing yet mild presence of malt; alcohol is surprisingly absent.

First taste is very hoppy for barley wine. The expected rich, viscous malt/alcohol backbone is slow to emerge, but the wait is enjoyable. Hops are nicely and unexpectedly overpowering on the palate. Malt and alcohol come in on a mild wave as time passes to generate the expected new-age hop abundant barley wine pucker and texture.

What starts out as a warm sleeping bag of hop syrup on the mouth wanting of just a little carbonation evolves into a well-balanced yet striking, crackling mix of low-burning, roasted malt and the same but more coating hop goodness. Each sip reveals something different from the last. The overall character reminds me of an "apprentice" 3F Behemoth. Very intriguing stuff that I look forward to enjoying again.

02-13-2008 03:21:50 | More by IBUnit63
Photo of gkatsoris
gkatsoris


4.5/5  rDev +12.2%

A: Deep brown in color w/ a reddish hue w/ no haze. Big foamy head that took over 5 min to dissolve. Not too much lacing left on the glass (tulip glass).

S: Lots of hops for a barleywine. Cherries. Raisins. Some alcohol is evident. Some wood too.

T: Holy Balanced! Perfect malts and hops (imo). Delicious. This is absolutely delicious. Cherries and vanilla. Raisins. Not too sweet or bitter. No alcohol taste (even though you can smell it right before you drink it). Again, lots of malts and hops and cherries.

M: Very thin. Not as chewy as I like my brews. Also a little high in the carbonation.

D: I could drink this year round, day or night. Very well crafted barleywine. Man have I been missing out.

02-13-2008 01:29:14 | More by gkatsoris
Photo of mcallister
mcallister

Ohio

4/5  rDev -0.2%

What we have here is a year aged bottle of backburner.

Thick viscous dark copper colored with unfiltered characteristics. A one finger head of tan fades quickly into some trace laceing and a puffy topping.

Spicy hoppy aromas up front. Some dark homeade caramel and toffee mixed with dried fruts underneath. The hops show a little bit of flora citrus as well. Not huge on the style (of the nose) for a barley wine.

Very interesting barley wine. Dried fruits become juicy and tight in the mouth. Fig, date and prun with dark caramel. Very bitter ending spicey and complex totally dries out the tongue. Some apple flavors on the late mid palate to finish with a bit of a nutty kick.

Nice creamy mouthfeel but the overly bitter finish hurts drinkability. But a good BW nonetheless.

02-11-2008 21:16:48 | More by mcallister
Photo of macster
macster

Florida

4.2/5  rDev +4.7%

Pours from the bomber a deep garnet-mahogany color. Pour creates a thin bone white head which fades to faint wisps of foam and some spotty lacing.

Sweet, but moderate aromas of figs, raisins, prunes, dark caramel candy, toffee, vanilla bean and dark brown sugar are intially appreciated with some faint secondary whiffs of piney/citrusy hops and a touch of alcohol in the background.

Full, sticky and slighty oily mouthfeel with a subdued carbonation level fits the big Barleywine style.

Flavor profile is a hybrid of an English and American Barleywine in that it starts out sugary sweet with notes of dark dried fruits, toffee, brown sugar and dark rum but assertively finishes with a firm hit of Chinook hop citrus rind bitterness. The 10% abv is subtle and nicely warms up the finish.

All in all an interesting and fairly complex BW that is certainly worth seeking out.

02-10-2008 06:48:20 | More by macster
Photo of dickieb
dickieb

Rhode Island

4.25/5  rDev +6%

Pours a dark amber mahogany in color, with nothing more than a ring around the tulip for a head. Still leaves good lacing however. The smell is piny hops with a bunch of sweat bready malts worked in. The flavor starts sweet with raisins and other dark fruits and the following hop bitterness includes some grapefruit and earth notes. Mouthfeel is right on for 10%, and the drinkability well its a sipper being a barley wine, but a tasty sipper which I will enjoy all off. Im looking forward to next years release

02-02-2008 01:04:53 | More by dickieb
Backburner (Imperial Barley Wine Style Ale) from Southern Tier Brewing Company
90 out of 100 based on 856 ratings.