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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
89
very good

501 Reviews
THE BROS
94
outstanding

(Read More)
Reviews: 501
Hads: 885
rAvg: 3.99
pDev: 9.52%
Wants: 74
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: 885
Photo of MoreThanWine
4.35/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured a slow to emerge 1.5" head. Clear dark auburn brown. Smell is like a strong double IPA. Taste is complex with very sweet malt, hops, vanilla, caramel, butterscotch, some fruitiness, and spices. It's a big barley wine which will put some hair on your chest. A solid A performance to me. (292 characters)

Photo of Daniellobo
4.35/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Very nice barleywine, sweet caramel character with a smooth hoppy final profile.

Presentation: 22 oz brown capped bottle. Contemporary and dedicated design of a stove knob with the Southern Tier logo at its center. Small side narrative going over the history of the style, and a brief paragraph on intent and ingredients, closing with an additional warning to enjoy the brew with moderation. Shows °Plato (25), °Lovibond (15) and Alc. (10.0%) alongside detailed list of ingredients, and recommended drinking temperature and glassware. Poured into a medium size snifter.

A - Deep amber pour with dark copper tones, short foamy head with medium retention, leaving nice strokes of lace.

S - Sweet caramel malt, toffee roast notes, and a faint fruity whiff, grapefruit and pineapple maybe... Hops closing it subtly.

T - Taste follows and expands the nose in a very assertive and rich way. Caramel and toffee presence woven nicely with an almost unnoticeable boozy hint, some dark fruit notes. The hoppy profile it is here to, makes itself felt more so towards the end, it complements rather nicely the sweet profile, leaving the caramel as the main driver. Its a tiny fresh bite that finishes the experience rather well.

M - Medium to full body, with adequate subtle carbonation. Creamy, smooth and very rich texture.

D - Nice sipper... A rather enjoyable US barleywine.

Notes: It´s a great pleasure to be had. It carries a good profile of the style, remaining sweet and complex without overwhelming bitterness like other US versions lean on. And yet the hoppy profile, almost raw, is there woven in the end and working rather well. This is a bottle that I held in the cellar for about a year, so at least it is a batch of 08, maybe 07? This could have mellowed the hops in this nice way, although I have had this brew other times, supposedly without aging and it offered a very similar experience. (1,904 characters)

Photo of cindyjeffsmith
4.34/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

appearance: Hazy copper, looks like sorghum syrup. Pretty fat off white head on the pour that settles down to a smattering.
smell: Sweet, yeasty, fruity. That is, very nice.
taste: More of the same but even better. The balance is just superb. Slightly bitter finish, very slight...mostly sweet and full.
overall: haven't had this in a while and just picked up some 2013 (presumably...couldn't find the date on the bottle). Very nice fresh out of the gate. Tastes more like an English than an American to me. Actually quite reminiscent of Unearthly. (548 characters)

Photo of rhoadsrage
4.33/5  rDev +8.5%
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. (841 characters)

Photo of smakawhat
4.33/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from the bottle into a snifter. Bottle dates June 27th, 2010 off we go.

Straight in the middle pours a nice dark amber out of the bottle, going to a really beautiful red plum color. Head has some color to it of cream tan. Some leg action but not much pock mark sticking.

Malty dominant, and some fruit almost faint Concord sweet grapes in the back. Smells particularly boozy, some hints of chocolate also but it needs to be aerated to open up the chocolate it seems. Overall though pretty good nose, smells like something sweet is coming.

Malt chocolate and mild malt overtones for taste. Surprisingly not as sweet as expected. Grape taste comes through in the after finish after a few swallows. Hardly noticeable high abv loosing the boozyness of the drink upon tasting. Small hints of tickle carbonation.

Pretty good I have to say for drinkability this was quite tasty I have to admit. I'd get it again for the style. (930 characters)

Photo of portia99
4.33/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22oz bottle (2007 vintage) poured into a Portsmouth goblet.

A - Pours a beautiful reddish amber/brown color (held to the light, this gives off a not quite, but close to a red wine color)...perfectly clear with a small, tight bubbled cream colored head that fades rapidly to a thick collar around the glass and sparse pockets of bubbles on the surface.

S - Tons of caramel character here. Very rich and sweet, lots of fruity aromas here...a little bit brighter than expected. Malty sweetness, brown sugar, unfermented wort.

T - Quite malty, tons of caramel, a touch of coffee and dark roasted malts. Molasses, brown sugar. Some fruityness (I'm getting citrus - oranges, lemons) and a good portion of port wine character. Alcohol presence is definitely there, but not at all hot...a couple of years on this one has smoothed out any hotness that was there to begin. Hop levels are just about perfect. Bottle says 85 IBU, but this has mellowed for sure over the years. There is still enough bitterness there to really balance this out well for me. Tons of malt and sweeet character, but the hops keep this from seeming cloying or syrupy. Very good barleywine.

M - Fairly full bodied. Has a nice feel on the tongue - a touch oily and quite viscous. The hops keep this from feeling syrupy. Carbonation is maybe a touch high for my liking, although I would say it is medium level overall. Just feels maybe a little too prickly for my tastes, feel it would be better served at a lower level to enhance the fullness of the body. Overall, still quite good.

D - I was a little bit concerned(?) about opening this bomber for myself, but figured what the heck. Thought it might be tough to get thru, but I'm finding this much more drinkable than expected. At 10%, it is on the high side...this will be my last beer of the night, but this is hidden fairly well. Thought with a couple of years on this the hops would be totally faded and this might be a super sweet barleywine, but I am pleasantly surprised to find that it is quite well balanced.

My local store still has about a case of the 2007's left...think I'm going to have to go down there and get a couple more bottles before they disappear. (2,192 characters)

Photo of snaotheus
4.33/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22 oz bottle poured into a 22 oz stein. Got it at Malt & Vine in Redmond, WA.

Pours a golden reddish color, very slightly cloudy. Little carbonation, less than a finger head, and hardly any lacing at all. Smell is musty and alcoholic with maybe a little plum or cherry with molasses.

Taste is bitter, slightly sour, citrus and cherry, but leaves you with an impression of sweetness. Smoke and mustiness throughout.

Mouthfeel is pretty good, but fairly sticky (probably what gives the impression of sweetness).

For as strong as this beer is, it's probably dangerously drinkable. (581 characters)

Photo of pershan
4.33/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The beer poured a deep, clear, reddish-amber with a dense tan head into a pint glass. The aroma was of fresh, piney hops - very nice. The taste was a big-time blend of sweet caramel malt, pungent hop flavor, and alcoholic esters, with a huge hop bitterness at the finish. Not quite as good as SN Bigfoot, IMHO, but pretty darn close. (333 characters)

Photo of skrib09
4.33/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

poured out a rich mahogany color with an off white head.

smells slightly sour, a strong pine and citrus come through, and maybe some sweetness. the alcohol is faint on the nose.

a really nice offering of hop and barley balance. overall richness comes through in a well mannered way. the color and taste are paralleled.

mouthfeel is fullbodied yet light. it's an easier to drink brew than other southern tier products. (420 characters)

Photo of Cyberkedi
4.33/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Aroma is strong and fruity, more like a hard cider, with tones of apple and malt along with hints of brown sugar, grapefruit and honey. It pours a lovely transparent mahogany with a decent pale cinnamon head. Flavor is fruity, mainly apple; malty, slightly woody, slightly sweet, with hints of caramel and grapefruit - and a fair alcohol nip that lets you know it is a barleywine. Texture is smooth yet edgy and leaves behind a nice, slightly tinny fizz. I believe barleywine fans will like this one. (500 characters)

Photo of lordofthewiens
4.32/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From a bomber, poured into a snifter. The beer was a garnet color with a fairly small white head. The aroma was pleasantly fruity, with a hint of spice. The taste followed form. The alcohol was warming without being intrusive. Very nice beer. I imagine it would cellar well. (274 characters)

Photo of jdaelhousen
4.32/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Brown colored body with little head to it.

Aroma consists of sweet candy sugar, orange peel, mild coriander notes, and contains a strong boozy factor.

Taste has an immediate blast of alcohol mixed with fruit essences of fig, cherry, and mild toffee presence. Mouthfeel is very sticky with a strong alcohol backing.

Overall, and outstanding and highly alcoholic barleywine. (376 characters)

Photo of Gavage
4.32/5  rDev +8.3%
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. (620 characters)

Photo of bamadog
4.32/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle is from January 2010, and with a recent batch of cooler nights, I figure it's a good of a night as any to crack it. Review is from notes taken on 9/23/2011 and poured from the bottle to a snifter.

Appearance: Pour is a deep coppery color with some hints of ruby to it; body presents a little a bottle murky, but you can still see light through it despite the cloudiness; starts with a 1/2 finger light tan, creamy head that fades relatively quickly to a thin, uneven skim with a thick, foamy ring around the surface; plenty of tiny spots and oil lingers on the sides of the glass.

Smell: Smell is fantastic, very big, robust -- I can smell it from the table; plenty of hop presence to it still and it is fairly citric and reminiscent of oranges, and with the big, sweet caramel maltiness backing it up, it is like candied fruit; warm toffee (and caramel, as already mentioned) sweetness, and a bit of a warm baking spiciness to it.

Taste: Taste is very good, and the hop presence has managed to really hold up well and there is still a good bit of herbal and fruity bitterness to it; very sweet, rich and deep maltiness is the strongest aspect to it along with the hops, and they are just as the nose suggests -- caramel and toffee with a bit of the warm baking spices to them; alcohol is still present, but more in the back and as a warming presence as opposed to a big isopropyl-like flavor.

Mouthfeel: Body is just over what I would consider medium in weight, and the carbonation is still present, but comes across as soft and it provides just about the right amount of carbonation; a moderately thick and sticky coating is left all over the mouth, and it allows the bitter hops to linger well into the aftertaste; belly is left a little warm from the nearly 10% ABV.

Overall: A great beer to be sure, and well worth picking up. I'm a pretty big fan of ST's bigger beers, and this one definitely runs with the rest of them. It's a sipper, to be sure, but it won't be a problem to finish the bottle by myself over the course of the night. (2,053 characters)

Photo of Krakistophales
4.32/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours a super dark, ruby red with about a finger's worth of off white head that recedes into a small bubble film.

S: Raisins, caramel, honey, malts, figs

T: An initial hit of dark fruit and roasted barley, followed by a bready, creamy middle that's followed by citrus hops and caramel in the finish.

M: Medium body, good carbonation, goes down well and the sweetness masks the alcohol well.

O: This is a very tasty brew. I swear, every single beer southern tier makes is sweeter than usual, but I enjoy all of them. I'm new to barleywines, only having had stone before this, so I'm very happy to be enjoying this brew. (625 characters)

Photo of aubuc1
4.32/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 oz bottle poured in to a goblet.

Pours a hazy dark amber with a thinning tan head.

Big smell of citrus y hops and a big biscuit.

Taste is a nice balance of huge hops and biscuit malt. Sweet, bitter and yet slightly sour.

Mouthfeel is very smooth and creamy.

Nice huge balance makes this very drinkable.

A truly great beer. (337 characters)

Photo of darklordlager
4.32/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Opens with a spurt of carbonation...

A: Pours an opaque orange/brown with sparse lacing.

S: A smash of sweet grapefruit citrus, layers of caramel, and a bit of dark fruit. A bit of biscuit in it as well.

T: Sweet citrus, (mild grapefruit), biscuit, layered caramel, bitterness, & sweet malt in the finish. Very "balanced" in a way. just when you expect the bitterness or malt to become huge and overwhelming, it yields to the other elements.

M: Slick, slightly syrupy, but with a silky texture--work nicely.

D: A very solid barleywine. Not one to write home about, but very solid none-the-less. (601 characters)

Photo of ngeunit1
4.32/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours a hazy amber-copper color with a finger of frothy off-white head. The head fades down at a normal pace leaving behind some lacing.

S - Aroma is full of sweet caramel and caramelized malts with some citrus, grapefruit, and grassy hops some dark caramel malts and a bit of booze.

T - Starts off with a mix of sweet caramel and caramelized malts with some grapefruit and citrus hops and some bitterness. Through the middle, some brown sugar comes through with some grassy hops and some more bitterness. The finish is a mix of sweet caramelized malts, citrus and grassy hops, bitterness, and some booze.

M - Medium-full bodied with moderate carbonation. Feels smooth with a sweet, bitter, and warming finish.

D - Very drinkable. Nicely balanced American Barleywine with good body, malt, and hop balance. (813 characters)

Photo of hardy008
4.32/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Cloudy burgundy with a two finger beige head with nice retention and lacing. The aroma on this beer is one of the sweetest I have ever smelled. The aroma has caramel, toffee, oranges, dark fruit, and brown sugar.

Tastes almost as sweet as it smells, with caramel, toffee, oranges, and dark fruit. There is a bit more hop bitterness than I would have guessed, and it is a plus, because it goes so well together with the sweet malt flavors.

Full bodied with moderate carbonation. The alcohol is well hidden for 9.6 % abv, but this is definitely a warming beer. This is a very nice Barleywine for sure. (603 characters)

Photo of magine
4.32/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a becker glass.

Pours a cloudy dark amber caramel color. Has a cream colored head; head is about a finger width thick initially. Head then settles to a patchy lace head, nice lacing along the sides of the glass. Good looking brew.

Brew has a big barley malt nose. Caramel and sweet bready notes. Very good smell.

Brew is smooth, velvety, full and creamy. Big barley flavors, malty caramel notes as well. Sweet bready malts in the end. Finishes slightly dry and alcohol is masked pretty well. Can taste a nice hop oily resin in there as well, maybe some fruit based hops. Good drinkable brew... nice warming effect. Very good stuff here.

Now this is a damn tasty barleywine; malty, big barley, caramel, sweet bready taste as well. Excellent stuff here. One of the best barleywines I have had. (807 characters)

Photo of SpecialK088
4.31/5  rDev +8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle Deliruim Snifter

Sexy Sexy this beer looks really good and the light on it just makes it look better the head is thin but just hangs around the entire time you have the beer, deep carmel brown.

Sweet carmel malt with a slew of diffrent hops more fragrent than many beers all the hops and malt come out in the nose.

So extremly complex and smooth this one is sweet in the finish and bitter in the middle and finish is a mixture of the two, has a nice sweet carmel taste that mixes in the hops well, this beer is huge in every way.

Smooth rich and complex this goes down like candy medium to thick body.

Not something you could just sit around and drink but you want to sit and sip at a great beer this is one you need to try. (750 characters)

Photo of roopy40
4.3/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22 oz bottle poured into a snifter

A - Looks like a light brown, but when held up with light in its background, a reddish-amber hue appears. Beautiful, white, creamy head forms and looks like the top of a meringue pie.

S - Good balance of fruit and hops. I think raisin and alcohol is definitely present.

T - Now you certainly taste the fig, raisin, and spice with a nice hop finish.

M - Thick, but smooth and well carbonated. Definitely a medium to heavy body, but it is very pleasant and feels wonderful going down. A friend and I could not get enough of it.

D - Very high on the drinkability chart and especially dangerous when you consider the high ABV of this wonderful barley wine.

Overall, I am again impressed with ST Imperials. I confess to not having tried dozens of this style, but I sure am enjoying them and will continue my journey. (852 characters)

Photo of MuenchenerKindl
4.3/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from bomber to a glass mug the liquid is red with very good carbonaion. The head is tall 2 fingers of tan foam and leaves good lace.

The smell is big think sticky malt and extra hops,very bitter.

The taste follows a very big and thick brew to ba sure, However the hops are there and good.

The mouthfeel is good, vary full with great carbonation.

The drinkability is oh so good, this is a fine BW lots of biggness.

Prosit, MK (436 characters)

Photo of WesWes
4.3/5  rDev +7.8%
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. (611 characters)

Photo of Brad007
4.3/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark reddish-brown color with a two-finger head that fades down to one finger. Nice presentation.

Aroma is full of cascade and centennial hops in the nose with a bit of sweet malt and alcohol warmth.

Taste is strong and full of sweet, caramel-like malt with raisin. Hops are quite strong here as well.Very mellow with only a hint of alcohol warmth.

Mouthfeel is full of the lingering smorgasboard of flavors mentioned above. Very nice.

I like this barleywine. It's very mellow and easy to drink even when it's young. A bit of aging should expose the malt even more. (577 characters)

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