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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

862 Ratings
THE BROS
94
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 862
Reviews: 497
rAvg: 4.01
pDev: 10.47%
Wants: 66
Gots: 101 | 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: 862 | Reviews: 497 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of WesWes
4.33/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The beer pours a ruby red/brown color with a thick frothy offwhite head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is good. It has a rich, warm, malty scent that boasts of pale and caramel malts along with a loads of hops. It's bitter in the nose, yet the sweet smell of malts also stands out. The taste is wonderful. It has a bitter hop flavor at first and slowly moves to warm burnt toffee in the finish. It's rich and full bodied; a slow drinker, but one that's quite enjoyable. This is a tastey barleywine. I've got one stored away. I can't wait to compare. It's full flavored and full of hops; a great drinker.

WesWes, Oct 18, 2007
Photo of BlindPig
4.55/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A- About a 1" tan head on a kind of clear dark brown and amber body. Great head retention and thin lacing covers the top with a nice collar and sticks to side of glass.
S- Huge hop aroma along with a bunch of sweet caramel and toffee malt, alcohol comes through nice and big too, some pine and light citrus, some breads also.
T- Sweet caramel malt back bone with a ton of hops that are holding on to the malts. Pine and some grapefruit make up the hop profile and leave a nice big bitterness on mid of tongue. Breads, and alcohol come through very nicley. Nothing over powers the other even though they are all big flavors.
M- Full body with low carbonation that tickles the tongue.
D- It is a very nice barley wine and refreshing to have one after not have one or a good one in about 7 months. I would get this again and can only OAT can be as good as this.

BlindPig, Oct 11, 2007
Photo of sulldaddy
4.8/5  rDev +19.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I am samplinga 22 oz bottle at cellar temp poured into a snifter. The beer pours a clear deep mahogany color with ruby highlights and a thin creamy beige head forming an edge layer and some thin islands of foam. Aroma is malty with raisins, caramel and brown sugar and is also slightly boozy. First sip reveals a thick syrupy body and is very spacious with soft carb. Flavor is also malty and some dark fruit mixed around with brown sugar and molasses again. Just a hint of warm booze shows up on the finish. No hops at all, with sweet malt dominating from start to finish. Very nice malt lovers brew!

sulldaddy, Sep 25, 2007
Photo of bruachan
3.9/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

it's a dark amber with a deep reddish hue. the head is ample and persistent (and cream colored)

heavy hop aroma accompanied by caramel, though only as a sidekick.

oh yeah, that tastes like chinook. definitely a full beer, and it carries a good range of malt flavors. there's a flavor like port, which contributes nicely to depth. bitter, but tastefully so

good beer. i could pobably find some others like it, but i don't suppose that makes it bad

bruachan, Sep 22, 2007
Photo of Wasatch
4.3/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to jwc215 for this brew.

22oz. Bomber

Poured into a chalice a nice dark ruby red color, nice carbonation, tiny fizzy off-white head, some sticky lacing to follow. The nose is mostly hoppy with some malts, dark fruits, and caramel. The taste is slightly sweet, hoppy, some malts, and caramel. The alcohol is hidden very well, but does warm ya up a bit. Medium body, well rounded brew. Very drinkable, a very tasty, easy to drink barleywine, highly recommended.

Wasatch, Sep 11, 2007
Photo of soupyman10
4/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a solid brown with some amber highlights, a pretty short tan head with no real lacing. Nose is strong on spices. Some dried fruit, maybe raisins. Sweet spicy malt flavors up front. Dried fruit on the tongue, prunes, some deep molasses or brown sugar too. There's a touch of hops that show up in the background, although their very mild, especially for an American barley wine. Alcohol shows up later on, although its fairly mild, but it does stay for most of the rest of the beer, especially in the aftertaste. Feel is medium bodied, not quite syrupy, and tasty. This is another good beer from Southern Tier, although it doesn't dominate the style like a lot of their brews do.

soupyman10, Aug 27, 2007
Photo of clvand0
3.9/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark brown color with a nice head that falls fast and leaves a little lacing on the glass. The aroma is very malty, sweet, has some hops, and a lot of alcohol. The flavor is very malty and tasty - lots of sweet caramel and toffee - and plenty of hops to back that up. Alcohol is present in the flavor as well. The body is medium and the drinkability is good. This is a very nice American Barleywine - others have more hop character, but this is a tasty beer none-the-less.

clvand0, Aug 27, 2007
Photo of Gavage
4.33/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: pours a clear dark brown color with a 2" head that last quite a while for the style. Some spots of lace develop during the session.

Smell: malt sweetness, earthy, and a bit of hop bitterness is detectable.

Taste: big malt sweetness here along with some soft molasses, milk chocolate, caramel, brown sugar, and decent hop presence. Some alochol warming is present.

Mouthfeel: medium in body which is a bit lighter than other barleywines. Smooth from start to finish. Relatively brief aftertaste.

Drinkability: this is mellow and very enjoyable compared to some other barleywines. Nice beer here.

Gavage, Aug 12, 2007
Photo of RedChrome
3.58/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A iced tea brown color with a huge red color in the light. Tan half inch high head faded very rapidly. Slowly rising carbonation in an average amount. Lacing is small sticky spots.

Aromas of cherries popped first in the scent. Alcohol is clearly present but not as strong as expected. Light citrus and earthy pine blend to balance out the complexity.

Taste is subdued alcohol which leaves room for the other components. Malt is a toffee and caramel blend, which plays against and wins over dark fruits including plums. Bittering finish from hops.

Thinner then most others in the style, but it allows for carbonation to really grab a hold and shift some flavors.

A decent choice. A great after dinner beer on a cold night. Not as strong alcohol profile as others I have had. A subtly strong beer with good flavor.

RedChrome, Aug 06, 2007
Photo of Imstillthegman
3.85/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks go to nlmartin for throwing this in as an extra on a recent trade.

Backburner comes out of the bottle looking like cola. I thought for a moment I had opened a Coke. It had a finger and a half of light tan head that remains a constant sheet on top of the liquid. There is some craggy lacing ringing the glass.

The aroma is where this one is lacking a bit, IMO. When I first poured it into my glass I could smell it three feet away...but now I have to shove my nose in there to get a whiff of it. There is some caramel, brown sugar, pine, black cherries, and a stem-like floral scent if ya know what I mean.

The flavor is a good blend of malt and hops. Spicy, yet sweet. Dark caramels, spicy florals, pine resin, brown sugar, dark fruits. The abv is noticed a little at the end.

Solid medium bodied brew that's nicely carbonated. Some burn from the alcohol in the aftertaste that overrides the bitterness...I knocked it down from 4.0 to 3.5 as this grew stronger. Overall, a good barleywine that is easy to enjoy. Might be a good idea to share it with a friend, though.

Imstillthegman, Jul 25, 2007
Photo of jwc215
3.13/5  rDev -21.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Pours deep, rich mahogany with a one-inch head that descends to half-size and stays (very impressive for abv level!). Some lacing sticks to glass.

Well, this is a hoppy-smelling beer for the style. Citrus and pine with resiny alcohol with plenty of sweet malt mixed in. Complex, but leans towards plastic.

I thought I would enjoy the hoppy profile, and I do to a point, but it is just too much for this style, and ends up with plastic/resin mixing with alcohol that is very sharp. Still, caramel and molasses are enough to give it more complexity and depth. It has a medium-to-full body. Very warming - I would even say hot.

Interesting, and not bad tasting, but the mix ends up leaving a plastic aftertaste and it's very sharp. Things just don't meld together well enough for me to get again, though I'm glad I had it once. Maybe aging will mellow it, but I'm not quite convinced it's worth it.

jwc215, Jul 16, 2007
Photo of Viggo
4.03/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

At Goldoraks tasting, post-Mondial 2007! Big group of RB guys and a couple BA's, and some on both, it was a great time! Can't remember who brought this because I didn't write it down, but to whoever did, thanks!

Pours a clear brown, small off white head, lace spots, leaves a small ring, something very average about it though. Smell is sweet, some caramel, citrus, very fruity, alcohol, smell like an English barleywine. Taste is rich toffee, slight roast, very fruity, bit of alcohol, nice balance. Mouthfeel is medium to full bodied with low carbonation, quite coating and rich. Not sure if I would call this an American barleywine, but pretty half decent stuff. Thanks!

Viggo, Jul 15, 2007
Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.7/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pours a ruby-colored body with a short-lived, beige head.

Smell: A rich, malty sweet aroma with plenty of fruitiness held within notes of black cherries and syrup-soaked plums.

Taste: Strong, supporting malt backbone bringing flavors of sweet, charred caramel, dark fruits, and hints of chocolate. The beer certainly needs that malty brace for the sharp hop hit of soapy pine right at the end and into the long, lingering finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-full body, with a very thick, lush mouthfeel.

Drinkability: Its all kinds of decent!

ChainGangGuy, Jul 01, 2007
Photo of sinstaineddemon
4.3/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - this barleywine pours a crimson brownish color with a thick golden brown tempura colored heady, steady but small carbonation sustains said head

S - a pleasant aroma of brown sugar, molasses, is what hits first, with a decent hoppiness second all over a sufficient malty backbone

T - strong sweetness up front as in the aroma, howerve the sweetness is more defined, more poignant, especially the brown sugary notes, but the molasses flavors are still there as well, what makes it great is the perfect hop balance, also some decent woody/resin flavors in the background

M&D - really a great example of an American Barleywine, in all elements its very good and excellent in flavor and balance, smooth due to the sugary sweetness, despite the higher ABV, again a high quality brew from Southern Tier

sinstaineddemon, Jun 30, 2007
Photo of bjohnson
3.58/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a ripe plum color with an off white half finger head that holds nicely around the edges and leaves a bit of film in the center. Huge malty presence with hints of sweet caramel and spicy brown sugar notes. Hop presence stings the nose with a pine and floral fruit aromas. Thick and juicy with a huge alcohol bite.

Malty and hoppy combination blends well with a balanced mouthfeel. Caramel, slight chocolate, burnt sugar, and molasses malt notes. Piney and spicy hop flavors. Juicy and coating on the palate with a thickness. An interesting and thick barleywine definitely weighing in on the American side of the line. With such a high abv, this brew isn't very drinkable, but still pretty tasty. A nice one to get a hold of if you can and another good selection from ST.

bjohnson, Jun 26, 2007
Photo of cbl2
3.98/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

6/21/2007 $5.75 22 oz. 10.00% First beer brewed 2007.

Appearance:

Given a hard pour, this is a relatively still beer that is dark brown suffused with crimson highlights. Just a thin ring of tan rims the glass, but otherwise there is no head to speak of.

Aroma:

Caramel candied apples with a touch of spiced rum. Notes of fig and banana lurk in the depths as well.

Taste/Mouthfeel:

I've come to the conclusion that if Southern Tier puts something in a 22 oz. bomber, then it's worth drinking. This has a nice slick mouthfeel, with loads of caramel sweetness up front. Fruit flavors include pear, apple, raisins, prune, with rum-soaked bundt cake flavors dominating the finish. Supposedly this is 55 IBU's, but I find the bitterness to be minimal in this one, with the malts and alcohol taking center stage.

Drinkability is lower in this one than their last big beer I had (Hoppe, which also was 10% ABV), as the alcohol catches up with you by mid-bottle. Definitely a sipping beer, and something I'd like to cellar and see how it improves with age.

cbl2, Jun 21, 2007
Photo of NEhophead
3.58/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

1 pt, 6 fl oz brown bottle, served in a snifter.
First brew 2007.

Pours a deep garnet with hues of ruby. Slightly creamy, off-white head that fades to a near intact sheet with pools of bubbles. Lasting strings of foamy lacing with decent strength.

Dark, yet ripe fruit: plum, cherry, fig. Notes of acidity with a sharp alcohol aroma. Spicy pine from the hops. Mild hints of powdered chocolate/caramel.

Creamy, semi-sweet tones of caramel and hazlenut; rather dry and powdery. Mild, dark fruit: cherry, grape, and plum met by a young and swarming alcohol presence. Subtle, almost bland flavors.

Medium in body; slick, smooth for the most part. A nice balance in texture with hops and malt.

The flavors are too tame for my preference in Barleywines. Nothing offensive, but not one I'd have again.

NEhophead, Jun 11, 2007
Photo of ppoitras
3.2/5  rDev -20.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

22oz bottle purchased from Julio's, Marlboro, MA.

Poured into a heavy glass chalice, formed a 1/4" tan head over the clear burgundy chestnut brew. Head holds relatively steady, but tending towards a layer of small bubbles, with plenty of sticky lacing. Aroma is sweet malt, dark fruit, and alcohol. Taste is syrupy upfront for a moment, and then is overpowered by an extremely artificial-seeming fruitiness, with warmth coming on at the end. Mouthfeel is average to good, nothing particularly notable, and drinkability is quashed a bit by the fruitiness that (looking at the ingredients) probably is coming from some hop or another. Regardless, this one just didn't do much for me.

ppoitras, Jun 10, 2007
Photo of JoeyBeerBelly
4.5/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22 oz twist top bomber, served in a goblet.

A - chestnut brown/red hue color with a tan head that lasted a little while, leaving some lacing.

S - sweet raisin/date/fig aroma.

T - very good tasting brew, sweet at first, rich malty flavors, hop taste kicks in after the swallow.

M - medium/full bodied, good carbonation, sweet aftertaste.

D - goes down very easy, an all around very good barley wine.

JoeyBeerBelly, Jun 09, 2007
Photo of lackenhauser
4.4/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Beautiful mahogany color with a fairly sizeable head in top. Very malty aroma with a good dose of hops up front. Big full malt flavor with a bevy of hops but not the explosion that other US barleywines offer. Very nice caramel flavors. Somewhat earthy and rich tasting. Great body-extremely full and satisfying. Very, very drinkable. I let this sit over a 2 hour period while working around the house and it just got better and better. Well worth enjoying on a regular basis.

lackenhauser, Jun 03, 2007
Photo of jmz62565
4.15/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer pours a clear dark burnt reddish/orange with a large tan head. The head is long lasting and leaves good lacing. The smell is lighter than I expected,but there is some hop and dark fruit aromas. The taste is very good,almost Bigfoot like, with bitter hops,dark fruit,cherry,vanilla, and an oak woodiness. The m/f is medium with all the flavors mixing well. What can I say? This is a damn good beer from a brewery that produces some kickass beers.

jmz62565, May 20, 2007
Photo of hoppymeal
4.03/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours dark amber to brown, clear, with a small light cream head that slowly recedes. Aroma is strong on the citrusy hops, grapefruit, some tropical fruit nots, pineapple and mango. A sweet malty backbone is evident but is definitely overpowered by the fruity hoppiness. Taste is quite similar with large tropical fruit and citrus notes as well as a bit of caramel and pruney breadiness. Soft and 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. This beer is quite tasty, but seems to be one of those dipa/bw hybrid/crossover beers. Very strong dipa charcateristics with a large sugary and malty backbone that accentuates the fruitiness. Very good and quite easy to drink, will look forward to seeing what a little cellaring time produces.

hoppymeal, May 20, 2007
Photo of Derek
4.2/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A twist-top bomber?

A: Dark copper-brown, off-white head, some retention, good lace.

S: Plenty of fresh hop aroma: pine, peachy-appricot, woody spice; brandy.

T: Assertive bitterness, piney, light citrus, amarillo-aspirin, burnt toffee, light fruityness, alcohol is extremely well-hidden. Some BW's need some age on them, but this one is really great fresh.

M: Moderate body (well-attenuated), slightly creamy, hints of hop acidity, moderate carbonation.

D: Quite drinkable... the 10% could really catch up to you!

Derek, May 18, 2007
Photo of neonbrown82
4.15/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This is a good barleywine. Received as part of a random trade during Dark Lord day. Reminds me of a good middle ground between English and American barleywine.

The beer pours very dark for the style, and almost looks layered like a black and tan. Very deep and dark plum color towards the dark, almost opaque brown, and at the bottom it appears more of a dark amber. Probably just the light shining off the table. Good carbonation, but little head. Decent lacing, and what little head pours has a good staying power.

The smell is not all that impressive. Has malty backbone, showing off some of the earthy, ripe dark fruits. Soft notes of fig, prune, and blackberry. Some herbal hops as well. Everything seems very soft and muted, however.

The taste is great. Everything the aroma has and more, and the flavors intensify on the palate. The malts are the obvious focus on this beer. Rich and sweet, kind of bready, more like an English barleywine, along with the same dark fruits mentioned in the aroma. As it is swallowed, the hops flavor hits strong with a huge piney and herbal hops flavor, like Chinook and/or noble hops. Nice catty bitterness with a hint of a grapefruit lingering in the finish. Very good balance, even with the obvious stress on the malts.

The body is huge. Nice and dextrinous. Sweet, but not aggressively so, to the point where it gets to be cloying. The alcohol is fairly well hidden for a 10% barleywine. Easy to drink as well. I wasn't in the mood for anything too strong, given the recent turn back to spring time, but this still hit the spot. I'm glad I was able to drink this, and don't regret not going to the store for something lighter.

neonbrown82, May 18, 2007
Photo of grub
4.1/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

quarterly tasting party may 16/07 with northyorksammy, Derek, and me (grub). everyone threw in a few bottles and we had an interesting mix of beer. Derek contributed this one, so thanks derek!

22oz bottle, listed as their first batch of 2007.

pours deep reddish brown with a small dense tan head. the head drops fairly quick and leaves a bit of spotty lace.

aroma is nice. light alcohol. bready malt. nice fresh hoppy character. orange and apricot. light caramel sweetness.

taste is good. light alcohol. bready malt. medium bitterness. lots of nice citrus - orange, apricot, grapefruit.

mouthfeel is good. medium carbonation level with a nice big body.

drinkability is great. well balanced and very good.

grub, May 17, 2007
Backburner (Imperial Barley Wine Style Ale) from Southern Tier Brewing Company
90 out of 100 based on 862 ratings.