1. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  2. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

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

847 Ratings
THE BROS
94
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 847
Reviews: 496
rAvg: 4.01
pDev: 10.47%
Wants: 62
Gots: 96 | FT: 6
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:  Latest | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Backburner (Imperial Barley Wine Style Ale) Alström Bros
Ratings: 847 | Reviews: 496 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of BEERMILER12
BEERMILER12

Maine

4.03/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours a nice ruby/brown color with 2 fingers worth of head that leaves some nice lacing

S: I'm picking up some sweetness along with malts and other than that, not much at all. Possibly some faint hoppiness

T: Same as the smell, an overload (not in a bad way, though) of malty sweetness. Alcohol is nowhere to be seen behind the sweetness. It's a good thing I like sweet beers, or else this one might get cloyingly sweet

M: Thick and heavy, with medium carbonation. Coats the mouth with sugary sweetness, although it's not as bad as some of their blackwater series

D/O: One is definitely enough because of the sweetness and abv, but other than that, this is a great barleywine. I'm not sure how this would age, I'm afraid it might get even sweeter. Drink this one up for sure

Serving type: bottle

04-08-2011 00:42:27 | More by BEERMILER12
Photo of CosmoHopHead
CosmoHopHead

Kansas

4.03/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: pours a very dark ruby brown with a one finger off white head. Very thick lacing coats the glass walls

S: smells like a very nice barelywine. Malts are dominate but blend well with the potent earthy hops. Hints on pine, biscuits, yeast, lemon zest and tart fruit

T: tart fruits mixed with a bready, buscuit undertone. Earthy, piny hops come through on the backend. Alcohol warms the throat as it goes down.

M: light carbonation with a heavy feel on the tongue and bitter to the cheeks

D: at 10% abc it's pretty easy to drink. Alcohol is well hidden at first but comes on as you drink it. Probably couldn't drink more than one glass.

Overall a very nice barleywine. Not one of my favorites but I wouldn't shy away from having again.

Serving type: on-tap

05-01-2010 00:46:51 | More by CosmoHopHead
Photo of Holland
Holland

Illinois

4.03/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: dark brown with lighter highlights and an off white head that stays with lacing and a ring on the edges.

S: smells of honey, caramel, roasted malt.

T: delicious barleywine, but it's missing the fruity notes.

M: standard carbonation with a medium-heavy body. Good for the style.

O: very good beer, best of the night so far on a barleywine tasting with a few other decent ones.

Serving type: bottle

02-04-2012 01:44:47 | More by Holland
Photo of ADZA
ADZA

Australia

4.03/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This brew pours a nice copper,bronze hue with decent carbonation that leaves behind a two finger head that slowly recedes to a nice frothy rim and some sporadic lacing,the smell is very sweet with aromas of cane sugar,caramel candy,sticky toffee and of course sticky resinous pine cones,it has a medium bodied nicely carbonated mouthfeel which feels very slick,sticky and resinous and has tastes of caramel candy,butter popcorn,sticky toffee,maple syrup and is rounded out with a bittersweet almost sweetbitter boiled candy,resinous pine cone finish that leaves your lips and mouth nice and sticky and overall even though im not the biggest fan of Barleywines i really do like this one as it does have a few different elements to it and is very easy to drink with its ABV being only noticeable on first sip cheers.

Serving type: bottle

02-01-2011 15:43:08 | More by ADZA
Photo of axeman9182
axeman9182

New Jersey

4.03/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

22oz bottle, poured into my Duvel tulip.

The beer pours a murky dark brown, with just a hint of orange highlights when held to the light. The first pour didn't produce much, but when my glass was mostly empty I poured the remainder of the bottle in and was rewarded with three fingers of foamy off white head, with some solid lacing left behind. First pour was a 3, second a 4, so we'll split the difference. Nose is a little bit too boozy for my liking, but there's also plenty of toffee and some citrusy american hops. The alcohol is a little bit more restrained in the taste, but not enough that I'm willing to bump up the score. Toffee and booze give way to a bitterness that, while potent, isn't quite up there with say a fresh Bigfoot. The same bitter grapfruit note from the nose comes back to close things out. The body is rich, as one might expect, but it feels somewhat spry. I credit this to the carbonation, which is a bit higher than I might expect for a barleywine, but I find it works really well. The only thing holding back the drinkability is the amount of alcoholic heat I pick up on Backburner, otherwise it's a very solid American barleywine.

Serving type: bottle

10-13-2010 04:53:56 | More by axeman9182
Photo of danielharper
danielharper

Michigan

4.03/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Dark orange-red, very hazy (almost opaque), with a thick off-white head that sticks around for a bit and leaves some lacing. Very good appearance.

Smell: Crisp hops up-front, with a nice solid caramel maltiness underneath. Slightly sweet.

Taste: Strong bitter solid hops on the front, very heavily malted in the middle, with a sweet aftertaste. Strong flavors of caramel and brown sugar. Pretty much your standard barleywine, but it doesn't quite gel as well as I'd like it to -- the hops and the malts seem like characteristics from two separate beers, and don't reinforce one another the way I'd like.

Mouthfeel: Thick, heavy hops and low carbonation. Slightly chewy.

Drinkability: A very nice barleywine, one of the better examples of the style. Well worth trying if you can get it.

Serving type: bottle

11-27-2008 05:22:38 | More by danielharper
Photo of danieelol
danieelol

Australia

4.03/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a golden red colour with healthy white head and lacing.

Nose is rye, lactic, soy milk. Marzipanny. Concrete. Bit of alcohol. More English-style, like Golden Pride. Yeast and honeycomb.

Taste is more of that vaguely synthetic sourdough yeast. Bit of concrete. Lots of toffee and a little sweet in the taste.

Mouthfeel is mediumish for the style with lowish carbonation and a lot of sweetness.

The funk concrete elements are interesting and not unpleasant. Dangerous and sneaks up on you (my bottle was marked 10%). Little bit sweet in large doses, but I get the impression that's Southern Tier's trademark.

Serving type: bottle

10-20-2011 00:30:04 | More by danieelol
Photo of arboristfish
arboristfish

Wisconsin

4.03/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer poured a deep red amber color, almost reminds me of a blood amber color, with a slightly off white head. The aroma I can describe as robust malt. Sweet and yet hints of hops as well. The taste is sweet and has a unique charateristic, also has a slight boozy character to it. The mouthfeel is medium light and I would consider this one drinkable.

Serving type: bottle

12-22-2010 22:39:23 | More by arboristfish
Photo of hoppymeal
hoppymeal

Michigan

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.

Serving type: bottle

05-20-2007 18:44:27 | More by hoppymeal
Photo of Wedgie28
Wedgie28

Texas

4.04/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

This is good stuff. Cool color - HTML #43104 or so, transparency 95.

Minute foam that follows the beer to the bottom of the glass.

I eat barley in soup sometimes and I like it. I drink barley in beer sometimes and like it and this is one of the best beers with barley in it so far. So I really like it. You should get some.

This is strong but doesn't taste strong. Get a girl two glasses and she'll like you afterwards.

Shankque'!

Serving type: on-tap

03-08-2014 20:24:26 | More by Wedgie28
Photo of far333
far333

Connecticut

4.05/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Served in a brandy snifter.

Murky chestnut colored with an inch high light brown thick head that slowly recedes leaving a ring of large bubbles around the inside edges of the glass.

Inviting and rich aroma of baked rhubarb, honey, ripe fruit and hoppy bitters.

Big flavor of fig and prune, some tangy cherry. Balance of caramel and hops upfront. Some molasses and roasty malt, punctuated by alcohol warmth, finishes with a flourish of hops. Mildly sweet. More prune in the finish.

Full mouthfeel, not too carbonated, thick. Just this side of syrupy. Pretty drinkable, but it's a sipper with all that vapor rising up.

Serving type: bottle

12-12-2008 00:57:12 | More by far333
Photo of brewerburgundy
brewerburgundy

California

4.05/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I've had this since the middle of October 2009, no freshness date, and its been poured into a goblet.

Nosy opening leads to a pour that produces a brilliantly clear red glass full of sensory pleasures, I hope. Pretty good frothy tan head with seemingly good retention. Three fingers to one to half. Some pretty heavy lacing.

A surprising burst of citrus and grapefruit hops greets me considering my best guess is that this bottle has just shy of a year on it. This seems to fade after several minutes to reveal sugar, brown sugar, slightly burnt caramel, and definite warming alcohol. Fresh red grapes.

Simple syrup, the grapes are in evidence again but definitely fresh not wine. Some caramel and and small toffee influences but straight sugar is dominant but dried out by the alcohol. Eating orange peel describes the hop presence at the beginning and the finish is citric, bitter, and lasting.

Full, thick, and syrupy mouthfeel where the carbonation makes exactly the right impact, keeping the syrup from closing in on the palatte. Bubbles seem to rise slowly or become suspended.

Very good but not as good as Bigfoot, the yardstick by which all other American barleywines are measured. I have a slight regret that I didn't have this when it was purchased, as some more hops could liven it up. Still good with a one bomber limit for obvious reasons.

Serving type: bottle

01-21-2010 01:24:25 | More by brewerburgundy
Photo of aepb1
aepb1

Florida

4.05/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A- Brown body with an off-white fluffy head

S- Caramel, apples, some bite from those apples too

T- Caramel up front, some hops sneak in but a great balance overall. Hop finish lingers.

M- Warming from the alcohol, creamy and full-bodied. Its name is perfect and says it all!

D- Nice barleywine and it's a great expression of the style

Serving type: bottle

11-28-2010 17:02:02 | More by aepb1
Photo of Stinkypuss
Stinkypuss

Pennsylvania

4.05/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Backburner (Imperial Barley Wine Style Ale)
Southern Tier Brewing Company
Style: American Barleywine
ABV: 9.60 %

LOOK: Dark ruby brown color, opaque, with a small, short livid white collar of a head.

SMELL: Deeply caramelized and toasted malts, booze, dark fruits. Smells like a big beautiful barley wine.

TASTE: Sweet sugar plum notes upfront, giving way to a malty body with a fruity estery English ale yeast profile. Loads of malt flavor, little in the way of bitterness, and a downplayed but present alcohol character. Warms the soul, as well as the belly.

FEEL: Full bodied, smooth, viscous, syrupy, but well carbonated.

OVERALL: This is a very tasty brew, and it goes down easily for a beer of such strength. A well made barleywine, and would age gracefully if cellared properly.

Serving type: on-tap

05-26-2012 21:49:25 | More by Stinkypuss
Photo of LauraAlberts
LauraAlberts

South Carolina

4.05/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance - Copper Plum hue with amber glow with mild head that dissipates slowly. Decent lacing on glass. Poured into a snifter glass.

Smell: Hops, burnt brown sugar, nutmeg, cocoa, rich milk chocolate ghiradelli brownie, dried cherries, maple syrup, watered down bourbon - very fragrant and floral

Taste: dried dark chocolate, biscuit, faint hint of dried red fruit, hint of grapefruit bitterness, aged hops

Mouthfeel: nice effervescense, silky, smooth like an aged whisky - slightly watery through mid-palate -but makes up in aftertaste.

Drinkability: sipper with a good cigar, great after dinner beverage for long conversations or times full of thought.

This will age very well.

Serving type: bottle

05-31-2010 00:31:59 | More by LauraAlberts
Photo of canucklehead
canucklehead

British Columbia (Canada)

4.05/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Just picked this up so it must be this years stock as it has not been in BC before. Very drinkable right the get go. Lovely hoppy nose with a deep carmel colour. Not overhopped or too sweet but rather a big balanced BW. The finish is long and naunced and the beer tends to drink like an English BW with some PNW hops. Great beer

Serving type: bottle

05-23-2011 17:15:34 | More by canucklehead
Photo of cooncat
cooncat

Ohio

4.05/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Serving from a 22 oz bomber, decanted into a Sam Adams glass.

A firm pour yields a ruby-garnet colored brew with a thick one fingered head, which subsides to a thin cap. Decent lacing is evident on the glass.

Nose is predominently sweet malt in character, with dark fruit coming to the fore. The bottle states 85 IBUs, but none of those hops make it into the nose.

The taste is a full bodied sweet malt bomb! Dark fruit, cherries, mixed with molasses ... a sweetness I didn't expect. Like the nose, the 85 IBUs don't make much of a showing. In fact, they are pretty much completely buried. Mouthfeel is huge, not just full. Wonderfully warming, the alcohol is not really a force in the taste. It is just subtle; a subdued 'backburner' type of warming, especially as the beer warms. Despite the sweetness, I did not find it cloying; just amazingly delicious. This barleywine is dangerously drinkable, so enjoy responsibly. Highly recommended ... go out of your way to find this one.

Na Zdravje!

Serving type: bottle

03-20-2008 23:33:56 | More by cooncat
Photo of Vancer
Vancer

Illinois

4.05/5  rDev +1%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Hojaminbag comes up with another sweet beer from a sweet trade - thanks guy!

A sexy beer pour, oaken cola brown, clear - with a very sticky tan head - leaving a sheet of lace in my Corsendork tulip. THIS is the way a beer should look.

Classic sweet caramel BW style aroma, and even with some hops lurking underneath.

And yeah, the quaff is semi-dominated with the hops - more than needed in a pure Barleywine. Reminds me of the Bigfoot. Woody and resinous. No way this is a 10% brew.

Southern Tier - you make great beer.

Serving type: bottle

04-12-2008 19:22:27 | More by Vancer
Photo of clayrock81
clayrock81

Virginia

4.05/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured a brownish body with slowly receeding one-finger offwhite head and lace rings. A great floral hop smell along with bready caramel malts. Medium to full chewey body with a strong wood presence as well as a bit of yeast and caramel/honeyesque sweetness. Feels sticky and balanced from minor citric hops in backbite and finishes a little crisp as well thanks to carb and well-hidden ABV. A well-balanced sweet and fruity beer that has a nice finish and is worth trying at least once.

Serving type: bottle

07-27-2010 12:42:17 | More by clayrock81
Photo of markskar
markskar

New Hampshire

4.05/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2007 Vintage Backburner Bomber (First Brew Two Thousand Seven on bottle)

Visited the family in Connecticut today and came back with a sweet haul, including this fine offering from Southern Tier, courtesy of my brother Matt. Nasdrovia Bro!

A - Reddish brown and clear, barely any head to speak of, but this is fine for a barleywine.

S - Grainy, toasty, with pleasant fruity esters. The hops are there, but seem to be performing the difficult task of masking the alcohol in this huge brew rather than being up front and in your face as you would find in a Bigfoot.

T - Toffee, caramel flavors dominate, with a nice dark fruit finish. Dried apricots, raisins, and sweet malts with the slightest hint of citrusy hops. The hops were probably more prevalent before aging, but time has given this a wonderful balance. Mellow malty, fruity flavor at the onset, with a mild citrus hop finish that lingers nicely on the back of the tongue.

M - Thick, smooth and chewy with a wonderful warming quality. Perhaps the best aspect of this deceptively mellow brew. Like butter on bread (which isn't to say diacetyl--it's just so smooth).

D - Wonderfully drinkable at a sipping pace. A quality barleywine to be savored on a cold winter's night--or, if you're like me, whenever you feel like it! (this is my favorite style after all...)

Serving type: bottle

05-31-2009 03:57:12 | More by markskar
Photo of dogger6253
dogger6253

Minnesota

4.05/5  rDev +1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark and cloudy, can't really see anything. It's not black though, there is some brown coloring going on. The head is a strong, mocha layer of foam about 1/2 inch thick. Gorgeous streams of lacing coat the side of my glass. Pretty stuff.

At first I thought there wasn't much going on in the aroma, but I realized that there is a lot of balance and complexity going on. There is no "over-powering" scent, everything is in subtle balance. Overall, pretty fruity with some darkness going on too. Sort of like plums, rum, raisins topped off with a bit of clove for good measure.

The taste was more bitter than I expected, heavy hops upfront. In the back of the flavor is where the dark fruits and similar tastes hide out. There is a quick, but mellow transition from bitter to sweet and tart. I found the slightest hint of lavender mixed in as well. Kind of heavy on the roasted malt taste too.

This was pretty heavy, pretty boozy too. I feel like it's an excellent beer, but I don't feel the fruitiness came out as much as it should in this style. Actually, this tasted more like an imperial stout than a barley wine.

Serving type: bottle

05-21-2008 04:10:09 | More by dogger6253
Photo of AdmiralDiaz
AdmiralDiaz

Minnesota

4.05/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from bomber to pint glass.

Pours a dark brown with a decent-sized off-white head. Good retention and a little bit of lacing. Smells strongly of caramel, toffee, hops and barley. Taste is right on with the nose, however the hops play a pretty large part as does the alcohol. Mouthfeel is well carbonated and very thick, just the way I like it (lol)
Again, Southern Tier doesn't fail me.

Serving type: bottle

12-25-2009 06:41:24 | More by AdmiralDiaz
Photo of evanforbeer
evanforbeer

California

4.06/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured deep orange-red with off white head from bomber
Nose- sweet nose; fruity with orange and grapefruit zest with floral notes, caramel malt toffee
Taste- follows with lots of fruity hoppy flavors, citrus and even a touch of mango, lots of caramel malt with subtle dark fruits, buttered raisin bread, oaky vanilla. Finishes with booze, fruit, some pine and oak-mellowed dark fruit
Feel- fairly light bodied for a barleywine extremely drinkable. Fair amount of carbonation
Pretty good, really nice fruitiness from the hops. Barrel does well and not overdone

Serving type: bottle

04-03-2013 01:53:47 | More by evanforbeer
Photo of metter98
metter98

New York

4.08/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: The beer is clear amber in color and has a very slight amount of visible carbonation. It poured with a thin beige head that quickly died down leaving bits of lacing on the surface.
S: There are relatively sweet and moderately strong aromas of caramel and raisins in the nose.
T: The taste is very similar to the smell and is quite malty. Some notes of dark fruits are also perceptible.
M: It feels full-bodied and a bit sticky on the palate with a low to moderate amount of carbonation. There is warming from the alcohol in the finish.
O: The beer definitely feels strong from the warming sensations but the alcohol is very well hidden from both the smell and taste.

Serving type: bottle

04-30-2011 02:30:35 | More by metter98
Photo of DarkerTheBetter
DarkerTheBetter

Pennsylvania

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.

Serving type: bottle

05-10-2007 19:17:17 | More by DarkerTheBetter
Backburner (Imperial Barley Wine Style Ale) from Southern Tier Brewing Company
90 out of 100 based on 847 ratings.