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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)

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
90
outstanding

880 Ratings
THE BROS
94
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 880
Reviews: 498
rAvg: 4.01
pDev: 10.47%
Wants: 73
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:
Beer added by: BeerTruth on 04-02-2007

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

No notes at this time.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 880 | Reviews: 498 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of rhoadsrage
4.33/5  rDev +8%
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.

Photo of ommegangpbr
3.97/5  rDev -1%
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.

Photo of aaronh
4.58/5  rDev +14.2%
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.

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.

Photo of DavidSeanNJ
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.

Photo of mattcrill
4.38/5  rDev +9.2%
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!

Photo of Bierman9
3.96/5  rDev -1.2%
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!

Prosit!!

1033

Photo of Phyl21ca
4.2/5  rDev +4.7%
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.

Photo of kmo1030
4.1/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

this beer is about a year old half which has been spent in a refridgerator...

ruby brown, with a good sized tan head.
the aroma contains a nice rich malty character with berry (strawberry, blackberry) tinged molasses, caramel, toffee, grape-y raisin, bread like yeast aroma that are almost rye like, a little bit of port wine, and it still has a little bit of piney hops. it's also got some pretty evident booze.
the taste follows suit with medium dark fruits, lots of boozy berries, it's spicy caramel/toffee malts, as well as some vanilla. the bitterness is toned down, but present at the back. don't even bother drinking this at anything but near room temp it's a far different and better beer warm. milk chocolate develops with the warmth as the berries tone themsleves down. pretty well balanced actually.
the body is full with moderate carbonation.
it doens't lend itself well to great drinkability, but it's a very enjoyable beer, and like i said, let warm A LOT.

Photo of Absumaster
3.92/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A clear, dark brown beer with a thin head and a slight viscous pour.

Smell is sweet malty with heavy alcohol and aggressive US hops (Chinook). A second layer of caramel and wood emphasize the depth of the beer.

Taste of hot alcohol and sweet caramel malts. The big, sweet body of the beer kind of puts the bitterness in second place, but after drinking about half of the glass, bitterness has found it's way to my tongue. Also a great US hoppiness that is citric and strong piney. The beer is too sweet and too alcoholic for my liking. Bitterness is great and combines very well with the caramel and wood notes.

Thanks to northyorksammy for this great beer!

Photo of yinzer
3.81/5  rDev -5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I believe the bottle to be fresh, I haven't aged it.

appearance: clear dark copper with small tan head

smell: sweet carmel, a bit nutty, some hops notes - a small amount of pine

taste: seems to have a balance of toned down flavors. Sweet malts, with mild hop flavor, slight dirty hot alcohol and nice Chinhook finish. I'm not sure what makes this an Imperial BW. Nothing seems to be doubled.

mouthfeel: full and rich, nice carbonation.

drinkability: All in all I'm finding it a nice sipper. I might buy one to age for six months.

In general I’ve never found any of Southern Tier’s beer to be the standard for any style. But I do like their beers, maybe because I have a sweet tooth as they aren’t dry and have a good malt feel to them. I do wish that this beer have more hop aroma, and mid-addition hop flavor, but I have been on a Wet Hop binge and maybe I’m being unfair. I do find some slight hot alcohol notes in the finish, which I find as a flaw. I do recommend this beer.

And cudos to those who are saying asking- "Why would you want to age this beer since aging it will tend to lessen the things that you want more of" ;p

Photo of hellcatsjg
4.23/5  rDev +5.5%
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.

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!

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.

Photo of Billolick
4.23/5  rDev +5.5%
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!

Photo of WVbeergeek
4.67/5  rDev +16.5%
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.

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.

Photo of blitheringidiot
4.67/5  rDev +16.5%
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.

Photo of WesWes
4.3/5  rDev +7.2%
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.

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.

Photo of sulldaddy
4.77/5  rDev +19%
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!

Photo of bruachan
3.88/5  rDev -3.2%
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

Photo of Wasatch
4.27/5  rDev +6.5%
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.

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.

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.

Backburner (Imperial Barley Wine Style Ale) from Southern Tier Brewing Company
90 out of 100 based on 880 ratings.