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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

874 Ratings
THE BROS
94
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 874
Reviews: 497
rAvg: 4.01
pDev: 10.47%
Wants: 70
Gots: 104 | 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
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Ratings: 874 | Reviews: 497 | Display Reviews Only:
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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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!

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.

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.

Photo of Bierguy5
3.58/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

22 oz. bomber, 10% ABV, 85 IBU. Mahogany in color, with some ruby shades. Tan foamy head, which held together well for the size of the beer, then faded to a nice ring.

Citrusy, floral and slightly grassy aroma. Not much else.

Bits of dark fruit and toffee stick out first. A lot of sweetness, with some fruity flavors. Bitterness is not as powerful as the aroma would indicate.

Good body, with lower carbonation. Fairly balanced. Overall, not bad, but not terribly exciting either.

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

Thanks Derek, this was good drinking for a young fresh BW.The malt and fruity yeast was enjoyable in the aroma, there was lace on the opaque brown. Amarillo and C-hop. Appropriate above-average carbonation. Above average mouthfeel.Some complexity and significant fruitiness to taste.

Photo of klewis
2.38/5  rDev -40.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

A: Pours a deep garnet color with a small bubbly head. Moderate lacing.

S: Small but balanced smell with both a fruity malt character and a dry hoppiness. Noticable alcohol presence.

T: Malty with brief fruit flavors that quickly yield to a taste of burnt plastic and chemicals. Bitter, hoppy, and alcoholic in the finish.

M: Full-bodied, chewy, and sticky with light carbonation.

D: Not bad, except for the disgusting taste of course. One of the worst tasting barleywines that I've had.

Photo of DarkerTheBetter
4.08/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This beer pours a beautiful concord grape and burgundy color with an enticing creamy tan head.

In the smell there’s a little plumb and raisin with a touch of smoked honey that melts into a decisive silky, yet assertive, hop. There’s also a boozy alcohol that comes out, but it fades nicely into the rest.

Tastes of a creamy barley and a touch of peach that again transfers into a simcoe-esque hop. It’s simple but solid.

Feels medium bodied with a tiny electric carbonation that livens things up quite a bit.

Very nice, very simple and very solid.

Photo of blitz134
3.93/5  rDev -2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Received in a trade from jayjaye. He has been my Southern Tier hookup lately. Much appreciated.

Clear body with a dark garnet color. Light tan head on top. An inch thick initially but reduced to a quarter inch of foam that reaches up towards the edges of the glass to hold on. Pretty nice.

Lots of hops and sweet simple sugar syrup. Not really caramel too much in the sweetness but more of a cherry lifesaver fruitiness. Hops are floral and a little citrusy. Flavor seems a bit subdued, good but not bursting forth from the glass.

Flavor is pretty good, quite hoppy again. Citrus hops predominately with some pine aspects. Malts are caramelly but has some sweet bread as well. Has some dark fruitiness too, a little raisin and other dark fruit hints. Pretty good. Not the most complex, but a solid offering. A little hints of alcohol, but works well in this.

Mouthfeel is medium or so. Coats the mouthwell and the flavor lingers. Low carbonation level.

Good drinkability. A solid barleywine offering. Not the most complex, but good. Bigfoot'ish in its hoppiness.

Photo of EStreet20
3.93/5  rDev -2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A new barleywine from Southern Tier??? I've been pretty impressed with their big beers since they became available here so I had to try it. Here goes.

22 Ounce bomber bottle poured into a snifter glass.

A - Very nice look. A dark mahogany that glows a bright red when held up to light. Two finger head of cream colored foam, probably due to hard pour. Head has some staying power.

S - Hops coming up here along with some sugary smell.

T - A whole lot of fruity/sweet malt flavors here. This brew really has the flavors of an English Barleywine. The alcohol is well hidden in the taste. Lots of sweetness.

M - A nice chewy, thick sticky feel.

D - I found the sugary flavors to be a bit overdone. Still pretty good if you're looking for a really sweet barleywine.

Notes: This one's gotta be mislabeled. It's an American brew but it's got the characterstics of an English BW. Still quite tasty.

Photo of trep
4.22/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22oz bottle.

Dark ruby body, perfect clarity. So clear in fact that I can read what i'm typing on the screen through it. Nice stream of bubbles rise to the surface from the middle of the glass. A thin, bone colored head creates a crown around the edge of the glass. Rich malt, a bit of citrusy hops, and a sting of alcohol to finish the aroma off.

This is absolutely dominated by malt. Juicy fruitiness hits you at the start, followed by a balance of hop bitterness. Finishes biscuity with a touch of white grape aftertaste. Man this is a pretty complex brew. Certainly English in style, I'm not sure why it's categorized as American Barleywine.

Medium/Full bodied with nice carbonation. The alcohol never shows through on this one, which is a feat, considering its not very hoppy and 10% abv. Super-drinkable for style and abv. Another solid offering from the gentlemen in NY.

Photo of jwff
4.45/5  rDev +11%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a glowing ruby/light brown with a nice white head. Great clarity. Pepper and fresh citrus stand out from the northwest hops with a hint of sweet malt and some caramel.

Hops and malt are incredibly balanced. A lot more mellow than I would have guessed at 85 IBUs. Grapefruit rind mixes with some light malt and caramel. Prickly hop flavor, but never bitter. The caramel is more pronounced than in the smell and gives it a nice balance. Peppery end with a little breadiness. All the flavors are extremely subtle and play off each other nicely. No trace of alcohol or heat anywhere in this beer. Sticky finish.

Rich mouthfeel that borders on thick but holds back just enough. Coats the mouth but without any slickness. Perfect for the size of this beer. This beer is fairly unique to me as an American barley wine. It has the IBUS, but it doesn't have the harsh bitter hops like Old Ruff, and doesn't have the boldness in ingredients like a Bigfoot. Just an extremely pleasant and light (for 10%) brew. Great offering from the North East.

Photo of YankChef
4.43/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22 oz. bomber poured into an oversized wine glass.

Appearance: Very, very dark brown almost a black/brown. Creamly slightly off-white head that dissipated quickly.Decent lacing

Smell: Very fruity. smelled of strawberries, peaces and cream, orange, bubble gum. Subtle smells of honey, brown sugar and a barely detecable odor of roasted malt.

Taste: Smell is misleading, this tastes like a barley wine not a fresh fruit tart! caramel and roasted malt upfront and certainly a bit of a hop punch from the 85 IBU's. Alcohol is certainly present in a pleasantly warming way, but in no way overpowering. Thiss beer tasted yong, could use some time.

Mouthfeel: Carbonation is certainly present but very mellow. Somewhat of a drying effect from the alcohol but not overwhelmingly so.

Overall: A very approachable barley wine. Not overly hoppy or alcoholic and very wel balanced. Certainly a sipper however. IF you like the style give this one a shot.

Photo of oberon
3.7/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Southern Tier's two new offerings are seriously top notch and being so close in proxemity to the brewery they are easy to find and will be a main stay in my house.Poured into an oversized wine glass a deep amber almost burgundy color with a tight formed thin white head leaving shitty lace stuck to the glass.Big and balanced aromas deep cherry and brown sugar tones mixed with piney,resiny Amarillo hop aromas a defient rum like alcohol presence shows thru as well.Sweetish brown sugar and dark fruit flavors really hit home with a noticable sweet alcohol zip really coming thru as it warms to near room temp,the hops seem a bit overwhelmed by such a big malty sweet base but they show thru after a bit in a piney,grapefruit rind presence but never jumps out at ya.The hop burps came afterwords but the hop flavors need a bit of a push in my mind but they are everywhere else,big and brash Iam gonna hold one for a awhile and see what turns up.

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

vital stats:
10%
85 ibu
15o L
2-row pale malt
light & dark caramel malt
kettle hop: chinook
aroma hop: willamette
dry hop: amarillo & centennial

clear ruby pour with frothy foam and amoebic lacing. slight pine in the aroma, mostly dominated by a strong scent of fruitcake. candied ginger, apricots, and healthy doses of cinnamon and brown sugar fill the nasal cavity. raisin puree rounds out the fruit bomb in my snifter.

smooth and easy-drinking, especially at a slightly warmer temperature. sweetness is an undisputed character that defines the back burner. the maltiness is a bit one-dimensional, and simple sweetness is the unfortunate byproduct of a beer that shoots for drinkability above thickness and overwhelming complexity. dry though, and that might be the saving grace as it provides some balance. an almost-belgian yeast flavor and hints of white grape and fresh-cut grass struggle for independence behind a barrage of overripe fruits.

it's been a while since i've had a barleywine.. not sure why.. but this one is rather pleasing, very drinkable, and no challenge to finish a bomber. version 1.0 shows need for improvement, but it's on the plus side of southern tier releases. solid good effort.. the previous reviewer thinks this will age well, i do not. take your chances, people.

Photo of BeerTruth
4.43/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22 oz. bottle poured into a snifter.

Backburner pours a beautiful dark ruby with a generous head that dies down a bit slowly after pour. Lacing is very grainy with a medium stickiness. Smell is very hoppy which excites me when it comes to Barleywines. Very sharp citrus odor with a subtle malt undertone. You can definitely tell this is an American version. The taste of this barleywine is a powerful hop explosion of grapefruit/pine. A hint of malt in the aftertaste, just enough to make this very well balanced. Mouthfeel is a bit chewy but quite smooth. This goes down all too easy for a barleywine at 10% abv so take your time and enjoy this one. Definitely look forward to aging. Good work again Southern Tier, Keep it up.

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Backburner (Imperial Barley Wine Style Ale) from Southern Tier Brewing Company
90 out of 100 based on 874 ratings.