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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
Sort by:  Recent | Likes | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Backburner (Imperial Barley Wine Style Ale) Alström Bros
Ratings: 874 | Reviews: 497 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of MudHobbit
4.5/5  rDev +12.2%

Photo of Turbodog666
4.5/5  rDev +12.2%

Photo of LoganMc
4.48/5  rDev +11.7%

Photo of albertjr21
4.48/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Vintage 2011 bottle served in a snifter on 7-20-12:

A deep ruby color and syrupy looking consistency flirts almost into brown under a thin but resilient light beige froth. A delicious sweet aroma of caramel and luscious toasted bready malt delights the nose with a sugary raisin candy allure. I'm unsure as to how much has been going on in the bottle for the past year because I shamefully admit to having never tried a young version of this. But I can tell you that there is a very nice harmony of flavors bleeding into each other on the palate. Deep jammy earthy raisin fruit, caramel, and roasted grainy bread glide across the palate into pleasantly resinous sticky fruit bitterness. A little bit of pungent grape dryness in the finish as well. Enjoyed with a Blue Cheese D'Auvergne and thin sliced fresh Italian bread.

Photo of animalchin
4.47/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

22oz bottle with no date. Purchased from Wegmans 3/16/11.

A - A dark amber/slight beige body with a nice lingering tan head that turns into a thinner film. Haven't seen a barley wine this light in color before. A lot of light passes through, even in a darker environment (it's cloudy out today.)

S - Very strong esters upfront - very sweet. More plum and black cherry follows up with almost no alcohol apparent at all.

T - This may be one of the sweeter barley wines I have tasted. Some slight bitterness upfront, but then this breaks down into sweeter parts, once again with dark fruits in mix. Not a single sign of hops, but definitely picking up a robust malt character that clings to the fruitiness.

M - Served at a warmer temperature, the body is heavy and cream like. Thicker than expected - a big add on to the already robust nature of the brew.

O - Simply a wonderful work. The label says this is rarely made at the brewery, but I hope this is reconsidered. Certainly more than worth a try.

Photo of 2378GCGTG
4.47/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22oz bottle (aged 2 years @ ~50 degrees) poured into a Duvel tulip

Appearance: Dark gold/ Amber brown color, big eggshell colored bubbles with lacing that drips down the glass

Nose: Malty, toffee, caramel, light fruit notes like apricots

Taste: The apricots come through with a fantastic caramel and roasted malt backbone. Finish is piney and citrus from a the hops, the bitterness has faded perfectly well to support the beer.

Mouth: Velvetty and smooth, the alcohol taste that was there fresh is gone. This feels like silk on the tongue.

Overall: Bought 2 of these 2 years ago, and thought it would age ok, I am pleasantly surprised with this beer. Fresh isn't nearly as good as this, which has allowed the fruit to come out and the alcohol taste to settle down.

Photo of jdhilt
4.47/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours a two finger light tan head that faded quickly to a thin layer leaving some lace. Hazy amber color. Good carbonation and medium bodied. Caramel nose. Flavor is caramel and some molasses and alcohol. $6.49 for a 22oz bottle from Manchester Wine and Liquors Manchester, CT.

Photo of ThatWineGuy
4.47/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This large bottle aged two years in biegaman's cellar, thanks for sharing. Pours a murky, caramel brown with tan head that settled in short order, wispy streaks remain with minor lacing and a ring. Sweet caramel-molasses nose, malts, a fleeting malty aroma interspersed with a hoppy backdrop yet present. Taste is sweet, bitter, sticky toffee with a long finishthat pleases. Smooth texture in the mouth, somewhat like a sherry but then a viscosity that says big time barley wine. This is not my favourite beer style but one I respect when it's done right and this is certainly one of the finer I've come across, exceedingly drinkable. The alcohol can't be denied yet it blends well and is not overpowering. The hops not yet faded, they flirt with the malty backdrop teasing your tastebuds with a complex structure that flirts with your palate. Barley wines are never to be rushed and while this is worth savoring, I found myself unalbe to put the glass down for very long. Well done, another winner from Southern Tier.

Photo of biegaman
4.47/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Iron red oxide with the slimmest bronzing trim. The beer is stainlessly clear although its deep tone yields distorted transparency. Nevertheless, its complexion is brilliant and its body glows. Despite the bare center, a sandy fence of lace has mushroomed up along its perimeter and serves to fatten up the otherwise barren surface of the beer.

The beer is brewed with Amarillo, Willamette, Chinook and Centennial - if there is a better cast of hops I'd like to know about it. Let me tell you - this smells wonderful. It's an ambrosial, leafy, pine-scented bouquet with a backdrop of scorched caramel and singed bread crust. It is as sticky sweet and tree sappy bitter as any American barleywine I've come across.

Big fat hop cones ladled with caramel and finally dipped in chocolate - this is the delicious profile of Southern Tier's barleywine. The hops really do play an unmistakable role contributing notes of spice, pine, and above all else dried citruisy fruit. What a power struggle between hops and malt! It has caramel crusted toffee wafers coated with citrus zest. It's an ultra-hoppy flavour that indulges the taste buds without numbing them.

Please, defined "drinkability" for me. Granted, this sample has had just about two years to mellow in the cellar but it is as smooth and quaffable of a 10% beer as you can expect to ever find. I don't believe that barleywines should necessarily be meant to be quaffable in this sense, but the fact that Back Burner is means that it's disappearing from the glass at a much faster pace than was expected.

And why wouldn't it? Like its supposed 85 IBU's, the alcohol is scarcely noted. The bottle could read 7% and I'd believe it; the alcohol plays no real factor in determining drinkability. The beer drinks like a sweet caramel-hop smoothie with the taste of biscuits and pine lingering pleasantly. Notes of candied-fruits and caramelized malts please the palate without overwhelming it. Each sip simply entices you more so to take the next.

Southern Tier had already proven to me that they could swim in high gravity waters but their barleywine certainly confirms that. Anything they release in a 650ml bottle is well worth picking up. I'm reminded of a few reputable West Coast offerings but wonder if even they are as good as the drink left in front of me. Back Burner is so aggressively hopped yet balanced with such finesse, I must recommend this to any fan of the style.

Photo of bgjohnston
4.45/5  rDev +11%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

While this looked like it would be an "o.k" beer, it turned out to be much better than expected. Bottle indicates it is a 2007, so about 2 years old as it passes into history.

My lowest mark for this beer is appearance. Has hardly any head and is a murky, cloudy brown. It nonetheless looks pretty much like a barleywine should, and has smooth, foamy carbonation with each sip.

The smell made me excited to sip it, and the taste delivered in a solid way. The aroma of sweetness and spice is true to the flavor. Maybe because it has some age on it, I actually would have pegged this as an English style barleywine if tasting blind, as there is no hop attack like a Bigfoot. Maybe it is a misconception on my part, but I expect American style barleywines to have more of a sharp hop bite. Maybe the age of this particular one made it into what it is now. There is just enough of a hop presence to spice up the sweetness of the malt, which has a very agreeable caramel/vanilla flavor to it.

Even if I wanted to, I couldn't mark it any lower for mouthfeel or drinkability. It is a 10% beer and a big bottle, to boot. That said, I could easily drink it way too fast, even with its full, satisfying mouthfeel.

I have previously been disappointed with other Southern Tier offerings, but they made good on all promises with this one.

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

A: A very dark brown color with quite a bit of red highlights. An impressive half finger of slightly off white head as well. Excellent lacing that was the first indication of how hoppy this beer is.

S: Hops. Just a wonderfully pungent hop nose. You do get quite a bit of malt and even a hint of raisins and molasses but damn was this hoppy.

T: Just a nice hoppy American barley wine. Tons of piney citrus hops. The malt was interesting in that there was quite a bit of other elements besides just the sweetness. Some dark fruit towards the end. Really nice and complex.

M: Heavy side of medium bodied that was fairly heavy on the tongue.

D: Damn this was quite a bit better on tap than it was in the bottle. The hops really shone though. It is a damn shame that we cannot get more Southern Tier stuff on tap being in the same state.

Photo of Snow81
4.43/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

Appearance: Red glow, so clean, no haze, no maltyness

Smell: Roosted malts, sweet grass, caramel hops off the nose

Head: Very small but last the life of the beer, light tan in color

Taste: Caramel with a deep rich citric, no heat is shown in the beer so drink it up now

Weight: Malty, nice and heavy

Finish: Stick, Stick, Stick to my lips with a bit of a Dark citric bitter in there

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

1pt bottle.Snifter glass.Enjoyed on jun´11.Bright brownish copper color.Foggy.Yellowish beige crown.Fairly well retention.Intense sweet malt aromas involving fruity notes.Flavor: Esters give us a miscelaneous of berries,citrics & apricot,orange hues too.Dry sweet bitter mouthfeel.Full body,correct carbonation.Sweety aftertaste while kind warming alcohol lingers through it.Very well balanced beer.A pretty nice drinkability. A TOP ONE!

Photo of DrDemento456
4.43/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Solid dark amber with just a half inch of foamy white head.

S - Smells like a nice dry hopped barleywine. Citrus rind with a sweet strong malt base and a bit of brown sugar goodness.

T - Wow who knew a little bit of dry hopping can make such a strong great tasting barleywine? Great hop presence of grapefruit and citrus along side of a great malt base. Sugar residue makes this beer have a sweet finish and hops strong enough to cover up the high ABV. Perfection.

M - Medium to heavy a definite sipper but easy sipper.

Overall it's a damn near perfect barleywine. Sweet, hoppy, and delicious. With an 8 dollar price tag it's not too expensive to enjoy on an occasion. Would recommend it to others.

Photo of TheRougeBastard
4.43/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Since I am a big fan of Barley Wine styles, I never pass one up and willing to try all entries! Southern Tier's "back burner" absolutely did itself proud! Consumed straight from the 22 ounce bomber during the Niner's big win over "not-so Hot-Lanta"! But I digress...everything about the "back burner" that matters was pleasing; smell, taste, etc, was well balanced and an enjoyable consumption! Very, VERY reminiscent (sp?) of the Horn Dog by the Flying Dog, one of the better samplings of the genre, IMO! Well worth a try!

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

Standard 1 pint 6oz brown glass bottle with a pry-off cap. The label shows what I'm assuming is a back burner.
Caramel colored body with a nice tan creamy head that leaves good lace and stays well.
The scent is a delicious caramel covered hop cone and spice.
Excellent flavor of caramel malts and spiced hops, very similar to the scent. Great aftertaste of spicy and sweet hops.
Medium body with plenty of residual sugars and good coating.
Great drinkability, easy to enjoy, complex and long lasting.

-Oelergud

Photo of brentk56
4.43/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pours a caramel color with a very modest head that manages to dot the chalice with lace

Smell: Rich and deep aromatics, with fig and dates, treacle and a hint of piney hops

Taste: With a sweet treacle beginning, the dark fruits move to prominence by mid-palate, with a balancing earthy/piney bitterness as well; after the swallow, the flavors are nicely balanced and the finish is prolonged; almost like bread pudding in a bottle but with a bit of tobacco on the finish

Mouthfeel: Full bodied with low to moderate carbonation; some warmth in the gullet

Drinkability: A really fine, well-balanced barleywine

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

A-dark cloudy chestnut brown with a thick cream colored head. the head stays and there's a good lacing that stays on the glass

S-really strong malts. small hint of caramel and grapes. this is a very strong scent.

T-mmm this is a good, complex beer. hits with a great amount of grainy caramel. then hits with a bomb of sweet malts. the after-taste is powerful and long lasting of caramel grains and some grapes. this beer is really good!

M-really good light to medium carbonation that is really creamy. finish is very smooth. its a thick beer but not too heavy for 10%

D-after my first few sips, i didn't think i'd be able to finish the bomber, not because of the taste but because of how thick the beer seemed. however, i found myself drinking this at quite a quick pace. the tastes toward the end do start to begin to fade together and it becomes less complex. Still at the end the bottle, i was very sad it was over

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.

Photo of jmacdaddy2008
4.43/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Tried a couple of the Southern Tier beers last night and I really like their imperial line.

Their Barley wine has a nice color. Deep amber with a thick head when dissipated it leaves some big bubbles and film on the side.

Has a strong smell of spiced fruits and malty richness. Gets better when warmed in my snifter.

Good full bodied taste, almost creamy feel on the palate. More of the spiced fruits and typical flavors of a strong Barely wine. Definite sipper, has a slight burn from alcohol, but still well hidden

Overall, this beer will only get better with time, but found it hard to age because of the good drink ability.

Photo of MattyG85
4.4/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a 22 oz. bottle into a Surly Darkness chalice glass.

Appearance: Pours a very deep copper with hints of ruby red. Moderate amount of bubbles. Big three finger off white head which slowly recedes into a thin creamy layer. Leaves a lot of lacing around the glass.

Smell: A big sweet malty caramel aroma with good hints of hops and oak. Toasted bready malts with big hints of sweet caramel, toffee, biscuit, grains, and yeast. Hints of oak chips and wood. Solid hop profile with earthy hints of grass, pine, and a floral perfume like scent. Hints of citrus orange and grapefruit. Also hints of apple along with dark cherry, fig, and raisin. Sweet burnt brown sugar is in the mix as well as soon booze. A pretty solid rich aroma.

Taste: Like the aroma previews, a big rich taste of caramel malt, oak, hops, dried fruits, and booze. Sweet toasted malts with notes of caramel, toffee, grains, bready biscuit, and yeast. Taste of oak and wood. Brown sugar sweetness. Big hop kick with notes of grass, pine, and a floral, herbal hop taste. Citrus taste of orange peel and grapefruit. Dried apple taste. Undertones of dark fruit with notes of dried cherry, raisin, and fig. Some alcohol is also noticeable in the taste. A very rich and good Barley Wine taste with a good balance.

Mouthfeel: Full bodied with a moderate amount of carbonation. Creamy, rich, and fairly chewy. Finishes dry. Alcohol heat is felt as expected but it isn't too hot.

Overall: A really good Barley Wine. Good bold mix of sweet malt, hops, oak, and fruit esters.

Photo of RickS95
4.4/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

There isn't much to say about the pour and appearance as it's relatively non-descript. It comes out as a very thin pour with a dark chestnut color. The head is thin and doesn't retain well. The slight head never really forms, but never really goes away either, leaving a thin ring of white bubbles.

It picks up in the nose as a ton of malts and an equal amount of hops comes wafting up from the snifter. Sticking your nose deep into the snifter reveals a good does of caramel malts and some alcohol astringency which masks the Centennial hops. The citrus scent is still there, but it's been governed well.

The taste. Three letters...WOW or OMG. It's stellar. Caramel malt overload with brown sugar, vanilla, and the citric hops. Alcohol is there, but isn't overwhelming, nor is the hop flavor. Strangely, I guess due to all the malts and sugar, it takes on a Belgianesque fruitiness. Really sublime taste.

For the type, it's the smoothest, easiest drinking barleywine I've ever had. It's mostly sweet and while there is bitterness, it never punches you in the gut like other barleywines. It's full bodied, very sweet, only slightly bitter, carbonated only slightly, and amazingly, it's kind of creamy.

It's an amazing beer overall and one of the top rungs of the barleywine ladder. It's easy to drink, has well-hidden alcohol content, and won't make your lips, tongue and throat numb.

Photo of bashiba
4.4/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured a very nice shade of copper with deep clear ruby highlights and a light off white head that lingered for quite a while with some light lacing.

The smell has a great big toasted and bready malt nose, slightly sweet with a hint of maple.

The flavor is very mild for a big barleywine. Sweet and mapley with some nice big sourdough bread flavors and some light molasses.

The mouthfeel is suprisingly light bodied for the size of the beer with light carbonation and just a touch of alcohol heat.

Very nice Barleywine, I think I generally prefer this big malty style version vs. some of the more common barely hop monsters.

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