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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

869 Ratings
THE BROS
94
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 869
Reviews: 497
rAvg: 4.01
pDev: 10.47%
Wants: 70
Gots: 103 | 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: 869 | Reviews: 497 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of hellcatsjg
4.25/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Dark amber color with a two finger tan foam head. Head disappears soon after pouring, but a good amount of lacing is present.

Smell: Dark raisins, sweet brown sugar, and a bit of mollasass as well. Nice and sweet.

Taste: Just like the nose. Raisin, brown sugar, mollasass. Also a good bit of maltiness.

Mouthfeel: Nice thickness. Coats the mouth well and leaves a nice sweet flavor that slowly gives way to a bready malty flavor that lingers for a while.

Drinkability: Very nice beer. Thick and full but not so much so that it would hinder your enjoyment of several glasses. 10% ABV is kind of high, but this drinks so nicely on a cold night that you won't really notice. Good barleywine.

hellcatsjg, Nov 17, 2007
Photo of tavernjef
4.5/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Gorgeously dark and deep burnt orangey brown. Firm smallish capping of lightly yellowish foam sits for good length before settling to a soild skim and a big bubbly collar. Tons of thinly placed sheeting which breaks apart into some webby strings and moth holes.

Lofty aroma of big caramel malts parched with orangified piney hops and toasted breads. A bit of soft berries, molasses, raisin, and fig grows as it sits.

Taste is just as good if not better and carries a very fine complexity to its flavor profile. Big on malts with some soft, soothing caramel mixed with alot of dark fruity acsents of fig, raisin, and berries. Semi tangy and sweet with a soft, silky, smooth body that's delicately malty rich and thick with just the perfect amount of warmth off the end to round it off as a partial hop tone comes into play. Only a slight bittering bite of orange peel and pine nudges at the palate as it maintains its big malty profile and deep richness settling into the finish. Quite complex with some hints to brown sugar, vanilla, pear, and a whole lot of raisinyness. A bit of toasted grain moves across the finish as it warms with just right kind of Barleywine ABV hint as it finishes.

Soft, full, rounded, thick, and rich body, not overly hefty nor hoppy and keeps a nice tone and malty creamyness and chewyness the whole way through. Oh, and the finish is just as soft and alluringly delicate as the rest of its nature with its small amount of warmth floating in over the maltitude of sweetness. Nice...

A pretty fuckin' solid Barleywine by Southern Tier. This will age well for those of you who do that sort of thing. But I found this fairly fresh bottle of Backburner to be dead-on, super nice, and yummalishious!! Brings memories of Old Guardian...when I can get it?!

Another big thanks to JoeyBeerBelly for the recent hook up of East Coast goodies!

tavernjef, Nov 16, 2007
Photo of TheBierBand
4.08/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

FIRST BREW TWO THOUSAND & SEVEN: (according to the silk screened label)

Poured from the 22 oz bomber into a snifter glass. The head formed into a nice pillowy 1" of light beige dense foam. The color of the ale was a deep dark mohogany with garnet tones when held to light. VERY pronounced lacing as I drank.

The aroma was of toasted malt with some piney hops.

The taste was GOOD. Plenty of hop goodness (like pine needles), dried fruit taste like dates/figs, even some sweet chocolate undertones.... rather complex, I would say.

Mouthfeel: Very nice and creamy... full body. Medium carbonation. Very nice mouthcoating and aftertaste. (The hops prevails). I'd call this rich and robust!

Drinkability: Quite good.... for a barleywine. Big in alcohol.... but it's masked well. Not that your going to session this all day long.... but its a good sipper without any negative attributes.

TheBierBand, Nov 12, 2007
Photo of Billolick
4.25/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bomber bottle, (gotta love 22 ounce bombers of Barley wine!, I remember the days of 7.5 ounce Old "Crusties...") this one pours a rich, dark honey tone of amber. seems pretty clear and it supports a long lasting dark tan head, that slowly goes holey and leaves tons of sticky sheeting and dense lacing. Nose is of dark toast, brandy and some alcohol. This is a very tasty, full bodied, malty BWine. Rich and smooth and thoroughly dangerous at 10%. Real nice winter beer/sipper from STBC, go get some and enjoy with care!

Billolick, Nov 09, 2007
Photo of WVbeergeek
4.7/5  rDev +17.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance is deep ruby almost a mahogany brown like color, with a large billowing beige head leaves fine bubbled lacing all around my glass with each sip in very even patterns. Aromatics are wonderful with layers of over ripened fruits reduced in a red wine with plums, raisins, and figs really standing out. Sweet waves of malts arise with hidden layers of hops I'm getting pine and citrus mainly, but the hop profile is so well played here. Flavors blend so harmoniously with abrasive big hop additions leaving slick bitterness throughout each sip, and big chewy malt layers of caramelized brown sugar with fruit additions again naming the figs, raisins, and plums. Complex hoppy flavors blend into the huge malt profile with herbal, citric, and coniferous qualities. A great barleywine as complex as all hell while still remaining painfully drinkable. Mouthfeel is huge with residual sugars sticking to the palate the hop oils from the boil and dry hopping really help lubricate things a bit. Carbonation is dead on even with every sip yet there's enough to send hop burps your way, like I said big chewy body. Drinkability is amazing especially for a barleywine at 10% I could get mangled on this brew without ever realizing my glass was being emptied. Even if your not into the bigger beers this one forms it's own path and really opens my eyes, well made I definitely applaud Southern Tier's latest efforts with all of the Imperials. By the way this was in a 22ounce bottle with a twist cap, WTF? Picked it up in Boardman, OH at Vintage Estate for 6.99 easily would have paid 13 without thinking it over down here in the Burgh thank god for Ron Bush and company. This was one of the Southern Tier's I never found in the Burgh.

WVbeergeek, Oct 31, 2007
Photo of kirok1999
4.1/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A murky super dark copper with some stick lacing. Clear and dark, really pretty in a goblet. Smell is pretty strong fruits, yet lots of hops balance it really well.
Taste is sweet and strong and clear. More balanced toward the malts than some aggressively hopped barleywines. I imagine if this is left to age and mellow the hops it will be really nice. As it is it is very fruity, raisins, dates and some caramel thrown in. This is most everything a good barleywine should be, I think it leans more toward the English barleywine than American. A few years in the bottle would really let that come out.
A real sipper, very nice to drink and very easy going down.

kirok1999, Oct 27, 2007
Photo of blitheringidiot
4.7/5  rDev +17.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Screw top bottle with a painted label that actually fell apart in me hands. Looks like the paint fell apart. Anywho: Kettle hops: Chinook, Aroma Hops: Willamette, Dry Hops: Amarillo, Centennial.

Fills a glass with an ominous dim ruby aspect topped with a pillowy fluffy antique white dense cap leaving some residual gooey drippy lace in the glass.

Nose offers up a brilliant fruit cornicopia of dates, figs, dried apple and a plethora of deep sugary tones like cherry cola, pineapple, caramel and spice wafer.

First swigs: Delectible (5/5 worthy?) vertual candy of caramel sweet thick viscous deep maple syrupy waffle, candy apple, figs, raisins, WOW! This is a pizza with the works!

Thick full bodied beauty here with a lot to offer. Sticky linger of copious sugar residue.

Last swigs: Brilliant Barley Wine that reminds me of a cross between two gems: Old FogHorn and BigFoot. More of BigFoot than Old FogHorn but two barley wines that wrote the book. Top notch BarleyWine!!!!

Beer is good. Happy big barley beering.

blitheringidiot, Oct 26, 2007
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 12, 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 26, 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
Backburner (Imperial Barley Wine Style Ale) from Southern Tier Brewing Company
90 out of 100 based on 869 ratings.