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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.

847 Ratings

(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
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Ratings: 847 | Reviews: 496 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of drumrboy22


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

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.

Serving type: bottle

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

New Jersey

4.15/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 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.

Serving type: bottle

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

New York

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

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.

Serving type: bottle

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

New Jersey

3.63/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

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...

Serving type: bottle

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


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

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!

Serving type: bottle

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


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

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.

Serving type: bottle

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


4.2/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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.

Serving type: bottle

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


4.2/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

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.

Serving type: bottle

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


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

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!

Serving type: bottle

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


3.98/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

Serving type: on-tap

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


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

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.

Serving type: bottle

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


4.38/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

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.

Serving type: bottle

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

4.5/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

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.

Serving type: bottle

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


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

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.

Serving type: bottle

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


4.2/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

Serving type: bottle

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

Rhode Island

4.25/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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

Serving type: bottle

02-02-2008 01:04:53 | More by dickieb
Photo of beerthulhu

New Jersey

4.28/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

85 ibu barley wine style. Hopped with Chinook and dried with Amarillo and centennial.

A: Pours a dark mahogany red with virtually no head.

S: Pine and spruce on nose.

T: Huge sticky pine flavor and palate. Bitter and dry with some dried grapefruit. 10.0 abv. Deep caramelized flavor with some bitterness that ends with a touch of lemon citrus. Some alcohol warming but otherwise very drinkable considering abv. Big dry pine bitterness from hops.

M: hearty malty mouthful. Reminds me of a arrogant bastard.

D: very good drinkability even for high abv%

Serving type: bottle

01-26-2008 18:02:32 | More by beerthulhu
Photo of rhoadsrage


4.35/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

(Served in a snifter)

A- This beer has a warm deep reddish-brown body with a sea of tiny bubbles. There is a sticky light tan head that makes sheets of foam on the glass after each sip.

S-The sweet slightly floral smell of caramel malt has a cream note to it with a faint watermelon smell that soon blooms into a musty green pungent hop nose.

T- The taste of sweet caramel malt has some notes of dark caramel malt sweetness in the background followed by a spicy hop finish with some earthy pine hops. The hop bitterness along with the malt sweetness both linger a bit after the finish.

M- This beer has a medium-full mouthfeel with a creamy texture and no real alcohol heat.

D-The malt flavors are robust and the hops flavors are just as robust and more complex. This is a nice hoppy beer to sip by the fire on those subzero nights.

Serving type: bottle

01-26-2008 03:31:53 | More by rhoadsrage
Photo of ommegangpbr

New York

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

Nothing too special looking upon the pour. Looks like a dark ale without any head or lacing. Nice clarity with streams of bubbles... a mahogany color, just not striking.
Scents are deep and sweet. Big malty presence with some obvious alcohol but it is enticing enough.
Flavors are very much on the malty side of things. For me this is drinking like a big ol' doppelbock and that's not a bad thing. I was expecting something hoppier from a Southern Tier brew, and this does have its share of hops in it, but malts are the feature ingredient here. Raisin is a prevalent flavor here, along with sweetened coffee phenomena.
I could see having a craving for this kind of thing but in that mood I am more likely to reach for something a little more Belgian in style. Someone looking for something more English or German in character should have a fine time with this brew.

Serving type: bottle

01-23-2008 09:11:35 | More by ommegangpbr
Photo of aaronh


4.63/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Richly colored body topped by a thin cream head. Aroma of malt and alcohol sweetness dominate - a bit of earthy hops in there as well. Flavor is excellent. Nice balance of caramel, biscuit, and toffe malt flavors tempered by smooth hop bitterness. Mouthfeel is thick and smooth. Drinkability is very nice, but it's tough to drink more trhan one bomber of this in an evening. Another great opffering from Southern Tier.

Serving type: bottle

01-04-2008 00:14:00 | More by aaronh
Photo of akorsak


3.53/5  rDev -12%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A 650 mL bottle purchased at Capone's a few months back.

A: The barleywine is a deep amber color, brown with enough reddish tint that it could be a black cherry cola. A finger and a half of head topped the beer but did not retain for very long, nor did it lace.

S: The nose is replete with lots and lots of malts, grainy, bready malts with dark alefruits and a citrusy undertone.

T: This is a wickedly sweet beer. The malts drip with green grapes, sweet and biting. Dark fruits contribute to the sweetness. The malts coat the tastebuds with their intensity. Cold, the hops add a note of bitterness but it isn't enough to put a dent in that malt profile. If you are patient enough to really let the ale warm up, a citrusy hop profile appears with a dash, spicing up the taste significantly.

M: This is easily mistaken for an English barleywine, with the focus on lots o' malts.

D: Let this beer warm up for a rather long period of time. It releases more of the hops and those hops are desperately needed to overcome the malty sweetness.

Serving type: bottle

01-01-2008 00:09:06 | More by akorsak
Photo of DavidSeanNJ

New Jersey

4.55/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Beautiful 22 oz. bomber poured into a chalice...

A- Browns, oranges, reds, all tied into one. Little bubbles of carbonation floating to the top- thing cream colored head.

S- Melted caramel, raisons, malts, sugar

T- Malts of all flavors (big sweet and sugary flavors), oak, nut, vanilla, dried fruits, nutmeg, and HOPS. The hops were not upfront to me, but got me on the back end. No alcohol flavor whatsoever. P

M- Mouthfeel was very light and sleek. Easily sipped.

D- As drinkable as a barleywine will get. This is as good a barleywine as I have ever had. Smooth, complex, sweet, balanced, fruity, hoppy. Everything a barleywine should be.

Very recommended for the BW lovers out there.

Serving type: bottle

12-28-2007 01:50:06 | More by DavidSeanNJ
Photo of mattcrill


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

Bottle inspection:

Twist off bomber (pretty cool...never had a twist-off bomber before)
10% abv
23 Plato
85 IBU's
2 row pale malt
Light and dark carmel malts
Kettle hops: Chinook
Aroma hops: Willamette
Dry hops: Amarillo and Centennial

Now that's a heck of a label!! Thank you!

Aroma: Candied oranges, carmel notes, sweet bread, and pacific NW hops. No alcohol heat or off aromas. Smells great with sweet and bitterness well-knit together.

Appearance: Dirty ruby color with a batter-like off-white head.

Flavor: Big resiny hops, carmel backbone, more candied oranges, rasins, and plums. Again, the palate goes back and forth between the carmel malt sweetness and resiny, piney hops.

Mouthfeel: Medium to full-bodied with medium carbonation.

Overall impression: I dug this beer. Enough hops to satisfy and enough malt backbone to balance the assault on the palate. Another winner from Southern Tier. It's hard for me to find much fault with this brewery. Nicely done!

Serving type: bottle

12-16-2007 17:53:14 | More by mattcrill
Photo of Bierman9

New Hampshire

3.98/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

From a big-ass, 22oz, painted-label bottle. No freshness info, but at 10%, I'm not too worried about spoilage. Part of my Birthday booty from old "Bro" Artied2.

Popped the cap to pour, and noticed it is a screw-off. How odd!!
Also, the lettering from the label, for the names "Southern Tier" and "Backburner", easily comes off the bottle. So, beware if you save and collect bottles.

Poured into my Rapscallion chalice, it has an extremely deep ruby/garnet color. A small amount of bubbles slowly meander towards the top, where a thin layer of head has formed. The topping is light tan in hue, and mostly gathers at the edge of the glass. Lacing is fairly decent as well, though I find the bier color to be a killer! Nose is on the restrained side, with notes of alcohol, burnt brown sugar, and a little raisin coming through. Mouthfeel is top-shelf, with the liquid being medium to medium-plus, and gliding over the tongue as easily as Orr on ice.

Flavor tends to favor the bitter, hoppy side over the sweeter malts, though both are present. Initially hitting the palate are some brown-sugary notes, with some subtle caramel and molasses. Soon after, there's some dark fruity action, with a bit of raisin and fig thrown around. Finally, some resiny, piney hops zestily coat the tongue. It's a dry finish, and the alcohol is noted as it warms the innards. A solid, pleasing offering from Southern Tier. Thnx, Bro!



Serving type: bottle

12-08-2007 20:36:41 | More by Bierman9
Photo of Phyl21ca

Quebec (Canada)

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

Bottle: Poured a deep burgundy color ale with a medium foamy head with good retention and some nice foamy head with good retention and some nice lacing. Aroma of sweet caramel malt with some floral malt also discernable. Taste is also a well balance mix between some caramel malt with some notes of toffee, dry fruits with a floral and bitter hoppy ending. Body is slightly above average with some great carbonation and no alcohol was showing. Extreme take on the style but still well balance enough to be enjoyable.

Serving type: bottle

12-03-2007 20:05:55 | More by Phyl21ca
Backburner (Imperial Barley Wine Style Ale) from Southern Tier Brewing Company
90 out of 100 based on 847 ratings.