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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.
very good

501 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 501
Hads: 888
Avg: 4
pDev: 13.75%
Wants: 72
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: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Backburner (Imperial Barley Wine Style Ale) Alström Bros
Reviews: 501 | Hads: 888
Photo of sommersb
4.3/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Tasted On: 07-15-2012
Freshness: Not indicated
Packaging: 22 oz. brown bottle, pry-cap
Glassware: Snifter
Purchased: Received in a trade

Appearance is a dark amber colored clear beer, with one and a half fingers of off-white head. A fair amount of head retention and a good level of lace.

Aromas are rich; composed of oak, caramel malts, alcohol, spices and earthy hops.

The taste is both malty and hoppy, as you'd expect from a barleywine, with dark fruits, alcohol warming, and aged/wood flavors.

The mouthfeel is slick, with a full, thick body. Carbonation is low. The finish is smooth and is balanced well between sweet malts and bitter hops.

Overall, this is a strong and nicely balanced barleywine. I'd recommend you seek this one out - a real treat!

Thanks to TheBishopco for this one!

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Photo of alexgash
4.3/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22 oz. bottle.

Pours into the Stone Old Guardian glass with a deep, dark coppery brown body. Clear. Very dense, creamy finger of khaki brown head. Great lacing. Nose of scorched brown sugar, toffee, caramel, rummy fruits, candied yams, and some herbal hops.

Herbal hop bitterness greets the tongue. Toasted malt with burnt brown sugar quickly follow. Toffee and candy-coated fruit swell mid-palate. Citrus and herbal hop flavor follow, with some bitterness to balance the sweetish malt. Nicely done. Hop resin bitterness in the finish with lingering syrupy fruit and toffee malt. Full-bodied with a smooth, creamy feel. Another impressive ST bomber.

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Photo of Guzzler78
4.3/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Been eying this one since it came out, finally pulled the trigger.

Appearance: A dark amber color. A 1/2" white head that reduces to a small layer over top of the beer, fair lacing

Smell: Sweet maltiness, floral and citrus hop aromas, dried fruits

Taste: Complex-sweet malts, citrus, dark fruit and a bit of tropical fruits and of course a nice hop bite

Mouthfeel: Medium body, nice and viscous feel. Somewhat dry finish

Drinkability: A good barleywine, glad i tried it would drink it again for sure. Could drink two or three glasses for sure

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Photo of Wasatch
4.27/5  rDev +6.7%
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.

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Photo of boomer31
4.27/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Seen this beer many a time and finally purchased one. Have been 50/50 on Southern Tier in the past (Loved Unearthly, Iniquity, Hoppe and a 1 year aged Oak Aged Unearthly and Hated Cherry Saison, Pumpking, Creme Brule and fresh Oak Aged Unearthly).

A - Hazy dark tan with beige head that sticks and lingers.
S - Floral hops are slight, the dominate nose is malty sweetness. Smells very much like a boiling wort in my glass! A rich b-wine in the nose for sure, I'm thinking it'll be less bitter than most American b-wines.
T - Caramel malt up front, some bitterness in the back with lingering balance of bitter hops and sweet malt. Very nice tast, does not taste 10% at all.
M - Rich, nice carbonation and sticky sweetness though not overwhelming.
D - Don't taste the 10% here. Very sweet and a very nice b-wine overall.

Nice work ST. I came in 50/50 but had a notion this would be a great brew. This tipped the scale for ST, can't wait to get some Oat and Choklat

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Photo of sinstaineddemon
4.27/5  rDev +6.7%
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

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Photo of dtivp
4.27/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured a medium copper brown with a nice white head, dissipated into a collar with moderate lacing.

Very nice sweet aroma of toffee, sugar and a hint of malt.

The taste is sweet with, toffee, vanilla , brown sugar and figs, however, the sweetness is not over powering, it is tamed with a hint of malt and bitter hops. The alcohol is well masked and only slightly detectable.

Medium body with light carbonation, very creamy with a slight bitter finish.

This is a very nice drinkable barleywine, and look forward to purchasing again.

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Photo of deanhead
4.27/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Brilliant amber/copper color
Smells of earth and horseblanket, with slight hint of fruit.
Sweet and malty, but well balnce with a dank bitternses that rides it's way thru the finish of the beer. It's a nice medium bodied, dank and sticky beer, yet Highly drinkable as far as barleywines go. This is great beer. Sek it out!

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Photo of badbeer
4.26/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Really dark red with an off-white head that has excellent retention and lacing. Sweet caramel, dark fruits, and toffee are balanced with piney and orange-y hops in the nose. Sweet malt all over the tongue; caramel, dark fruit, and a large amount of bitter, but flavorful hops come through with some pineapple and tangerine. This drinks incredibly smooth to me with a full body and about medium carbonation. I'll be getting more of this.

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Photo of BeerBelcher
4.26/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

I thought this was an exceptional barley-wine. Hoppy, approachable, and (like most Southern Tier beers) a highly attractive appearance. I'd definitely recommend.

Most Southern Tier beers have a clear body and brilliant color, and this beer is no exception. It had a copper color and voluminous cumulus-cloud head. Aroma is strongly of hops, almost like a DIPA. Flavor is strongly malty but balanced with a real wallop of hop bitterness and some citrus. Conceals its 10% ABV quite ably. Mouthfeel is certainly stout enough, but still is quite drinkable and mostly dry in my mouth.

I would highly recommend this beer. I bought this bottle at 3 Cellars in Franklin, WI.

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Photo of WildTurkey
4.25/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from bomber into snifter glass.

A: Traditional Barley Wine color. Dark amber with a little red. Thick head that recedes. Beige head with mixed size bubbles.

S: Lots of caramel and dark fruit. Maybe a some pine hop aroma afterwards.

T: Big flavor. Sweet caramel, with more dark fruit like raisin, followed by some nice hop bitterness -- pine. The alcohol taste is muted -- which I like in this instance. You can only detect the alcohol by some warmth in the finish.

M: Medium/Full body but it also feels dry -- which makes it feel deceptively lighter. Some carbonation can be felt in the mouth.

D: This is a very nice big body, full flavor, barley wine. Nice hop character for a malty beer like this style call for. Despite the big flavor, very smooth and drinkable. High alcohol is only slightly detectable, so you can slug it back if you like -- instead of sipping. Well done.

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Photo of LittleBreeze
4.25/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Ignore the first sip or two. After it coats the tongue, this beer starts to come into its own. Serious hop blend and malty tongue twisting action. Carmel sweetness is appreciated. This isn't an alcohol bomb. Imo the abv is well hidden. But there was a sneak attack. Be careful.

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Photo of daledeee
4.25/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A 22 oz. bomber.

Poured this and got a wonderful off white creamy head and a reddish brown body.

Nose quite hoppy,roasted malts and also musty.

Taste is somewhat sweet with a big dose of hops and a bigger dost of toasted or roasted malts. This is a big beer. Once again a slightly musty finish.

Mouth feel is nicely carbonated and the creamy head leaves a nice feel in your mouth. This is a very tasty beer and there is plenty of alcohol warmth to go with it. One of the best barleywines out there.

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Photo of Immortale25
4.24/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured into a Palm snifter at The Local Miami.

A- Pours a reddish light brown color with a 1/2 inch light tan head that retains well before slowly meandering down to a thick ring around the edge of the glass and a light sheet of surface foam. Spotty resilient lacing.

S- Piney hops lead the way with some cereal grain malt sweetness bringing up the rear. Makes for a pleasant balance. A bit musty with some alcohol fume.

T- The bitterness clamps down hard almost making my jaw tense up. Definitely a hop-forward barleywine but there's plenty of biscuity malt to complement. The alcohol is noticeable but easily managed.

M- A bit creamy, thick and sharp all at the same time. Medium carbonation and a fuller sort of body for the style.

O- Haven't had this in years and I've never had it on tap so it was a nice reminder of how awesome ST can be.

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Photo of Billolick
4.23/5  rDev +5.8%
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!

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Photo of Metalmonk
4.23/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served at cellar temperature. Love these screen-printed Southern Tier bottles, and the overall S.T. design scheme is really great. The beer itself looks excellent. Incredible clarity through the copper/mahogany color with a soapy light tan cap. As the head shrinks slowly then disappears, large strips of lace ring the glass.

Big toffee/caramel sweetness in the nose, with piney hops taking a strong foothold in the background. Faint tobacco-leaf/wood earthiness in the distance.

I found the flavor to be among the most unique of any barleywine I've come across so far. Overall quality and enjoyment is a 4, but there's something else here I can't put my finger on that pushes it further over the edge. Kind of a sharp wood flavor, as if it were aged in a new barrel (ie. no bourbon or other spirit having hung out in the barrel). A bit like Fred From The Wood but not quite as green. Expected toffee, molasses, and pine elements come forth at the front of the sip, with only a pinch of the 10% alcohol making itself known. Then the woody characteristic takes over, with a pungent, astringent grassy element mingling and hanging around the rest of the time. Seems a little strange at first, but with time it really shows itself as a top-notch BW.

Mouthfeel is creamy, though not quite as creamy or thick as I'd like it to be...quite good, but something even fuller and chewier would really do the trick.

I wonder about the need for the "Imperial" in the name. The alcohol is hardly noticeable; it's not as if this is wildly alcoholic in taste or actual ABV. The flavor is very nice, definitely complex with its own individuality, but aren't barleywines kind of imperial without needing to call them Imperial? Maybe it's just a marketing thing, suckering in all of us who throw down their money for anything "imperial." Whatever the case, this is a fine barleywine that should be sought out by all lovers of the style...though probably not the best BW introduction for newbies.

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Photo of beerthulhu
4.23/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

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

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

S: Pine and spruce on nose.

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

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

D: very good drinkability even for high abv%

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Photo of dickieb
4.23/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark amber mahogany in color, with nothing more than a ring around the tulip for a head. Still leaves good lacing however. The smell is piny hops with a bunch of sweat bready malts worked in. The flavor starts sweet with raisins and other dark fruits and the following hop bitterness includes some grapefruit and earth notes. Mouthfeel is right on for 10%, and the drinkability well its a sipper being a barley wine, but a tasty sipper which I will enjoy all off. Im looking forward to next years release

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Photo of LordAdmNelson
4.23/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Great looking beer. Deep rich caramel-red-brown. About two inches of head with moderate retention and good lacing.

S- Also smells great, although the aroma isn't too strong. Big citrusy hops with a strong caramel-malty backbone.

T- Some molasses, citrusy hops, some pine, caramel sweetness. Some alcohol too. Some rum raisin in there too. Roasty/peppery finish. Bitterness is pretty low. Robust and flavorful, I really like this.

M- Medium bodied, coats the mouth well. A bit of prickle from the carbonation.

D- Just a great beer. I keep looking for more flavors. Sweetness makes it a bit hard to have a bunch though. Not as grassy/earthy/piney as other Barleywines I've had. Kind of like a big, imperial APA, really.

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Photo of brewcrew76
4.23/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Purchased in Sept 2007

A - Dark mahogany, ruby with a thin tan head and sticky lacing.

S - Spicy, citrus, piney and perfumey hops with sweet caramel, toffee and dried dark fruits.

T - Big citrus, spicy, piney hops followed by sweet caramel, toffee, cherries, raisins and prunes. Slight alcohol taste is noticeable but fits nicely.

M - Creamy and not as thick as other barleywines. Dry bitter finish.

D - A nice blend of bold hops and sweet malts.

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Photo of hellcatsjg
4.23/5  rDev +5.8%
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.

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Photo of cindiwindi1025
4.23/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

a- light chestnut color, medium head that reduces to a sticky, light colored collar around the glass, nice!

s- smells like cola. no other way to describe it

t- big taste. molasses, raisins, yeast, earthy malts, with a hop bite. brilliant balanced taste that comes into the barleywine parameters with ease. alcohol is very well masked. a little peppery aftertaste, not hugely so.

m- a bit prickly, medium carbonation with tiny bubbles. overall very drinkable, hop finish is a tad dry but crisp, nothing heavy here

o- happy with this selection, as always with the southern teir products, big robust imperial beers with complex tastes. I'm not a huge fan or regular imbibor of the barleywine style, but I would get this one again.

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Photo of BeerLover99
4.23/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: deep cardinal red body, fluffy 2 finger head, towering white lacing throughout.

S: big malt aroma, fine spice, citrus dancing in glass

T: malt smooth punch up front, long slow mild bitter big BOOZY finish.

M: medium/heavy, smooth semi-chewy mouth.

O: Southern Tier makes nice bombers, this is delicious Barleywine. It is one of my favorite beer styles. This is quite good, not world class, but you could do much worse.


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Photo of yesyouam
4.23/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Southern Tier Back Burner is a clear, dense, ruby ale with a thick, lumpy, yellow-beige head that has outstanding retention and lacing. It has a strong, sweet aroma that's grainy, tart and grassy. It's full bodied and very smooth with a dry, delicate finsh. It's very sweet. The grassy hops are present. It's not super bitter, but it's pretty American tasting. There is a long aftertaste of whiskey and juniper and perhaps peat. 22 oz. is a lot of this. It looks like this is the "FIRST BREWED OF TWO THOUSAND & EIGHT".

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Photo of weeare138
4.22/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to liquidarrogance for this...
Appears a semi transparent caramel toned brown with a small whit cap that quickly fades. Spotty bits if lacing are left around the glass.
Smell is of caramel, vanilla, molasses, dates, nougat, and fried dough. Wow...reminds me of a fried snickers bar.
Taste is of the aromas with more of a caramel infused cherry flavor pulling through with tobacco leaves and vanilla nougat.
Mouthfeel is full bodied, chewy, slick, and oily on the finish. Light traces of the 10% abv is evident with warmth and lip smacking goodness in the swallow.

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Backburner (Imperial Barley Wine Style Ale) from Southern Tier Brewing Company
89 out of 100 based on 501 ratings.