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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

862 Ratings
THE BROS
94
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 862
Reviews: 497
rAvg: 4.01
pDev: 10.47%
Wants: 66
Gots: 101 | 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:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Backburner (Imperial Barley Wine Style Ale) Alström Bros
Ratings: 862 | Reviews: 497 | Display Reviews Only:
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.

bashiba, Mar 22, 2011
Photo of YouSkeete
3.95/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: deep and full reddish mahogany with a brown tint. Practically no head, with bubbly edges. moderate lacing.

S: Thick caramel malt upfront. Complex dark fruits like pomegranates, black cherries and dates. Hints of dry hops and lemon zest.

T: ultra sweet candied fruit and caramel is close to overwhelming, though smooth and dry malts do well at balancing out the flavor in the body. The fruits in the aroma are not far from the taste at all, definitely quite dark and complex. yeast and bready malts along with hints of maple syrup. Alcohol is present throughout.

M: Incredibly sweet, and very fruity. Medium body and medium carbonation. Decent fruity aftertaste.

D: It's a bit overpowering with its' massive fruity sweetness. Not a favorite, but still good.

YouSkeete, Mar 19, 2011
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.

animalchin, Mar 16, 2011
Photo of SkeeterHawk
3.8/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I picked this beer up at Green's liquor in Atlanta. I think that this is the first beer I have reviewed from Southern Tier. Let's see what they are all about:

Appearance: The beer popped like Hell when I popped the cap...I still don't know where the cap ended up, but it bounced off of the ceiling. So far so good...glad that this one didn't pop. Overall the beer is a nice reddish brown and clear with a small head after the pour. The head had disappeared back into the beer after about 45 seconds.

Aroma: The beer has the typical Barley Wine aroma with lots of malt and some hops and alcohol making up the predominant components of the aroma. There is a little bit of sweet cherry notes and some sweet caramel in here to round out the profile.

Taste: The flavor is quite balanced for a Barley Wine. It has a good deal of sweetness up front which is a bit unusual and then the hops and alcohol kick in quickly to give a firm warming and a bit of dryness in the finish that lingers for a while. The flavor is a little bit "soapy", but has a defined caramel and reserved toasty notes to compliment. The body is medium to full with ample carbonation. The mouthfeel is quite soft for this style. I like this, but I don't know how much it meets the style.

Opinion: This is a really good beer overall, but I wonder how much it really fits the out-skirts of the guidelines for a Barley Wine. I really like the balance as it is more toward the malt than any Barley Wine I have tried, but it seems a little weird for the style. I am used to these beers being strong, dry, somewhat harsh on the palate, with a bit of chalkyness to linger long after the finish. A burn is optional. This beer is balanced and strong which is nice for me. Unfortunately I am going to have to rate this beer against the Barley Wine style of beer than rating it on it's own merit. I would speculate that I would give this beer around a 4.5 as just a beer, but it won't score that high as a Barley Wine when compared to more classic examples as Bigfoot, etc.

SkeeterHawk, Mar 16, 2011
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

Snow81, Mar 14, 2011
Photo of rajendra82
4.2/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The translucent body was sienna colored, and the carbonation formed a two finger thick head. The smell was sweet and hoppy, and very intense like the style demands. There were notes of dry fruit, chocolate, and licorice in the smell. The taste comprised of the same elements as the smell, drizzled in brown sugar. The hops were a bit lacking here compared to Bigfoot or Old Ruffian. The beer felt sticky and rich in the mouth, and left a spicy aftertaste. A great nightcap beer with a soothing feel.

rajendra82, Mar 07, 2011
Photo of Bitterbill
3.98/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Another bottle I got with that great trader, russpowell. Thanks Russ!

A lovely deep red pour, 2 finger head of foam, excellent lacing...great way to start things off.

There's heaps of caramel and bready malt in the aroma intertwined with a rather small amount of hop bitterness. It smells more like an English BWSA than an American but the bread seems to be a bit too strong on my nose buds.

More of the same in the taste but it seems to work better on my palate than my nose. Caramel is huge, bread is big but not as big suggested by the smell, the hop bitterness is done very lightly, adding just a touch to stop this from becoming too sweet. Goodly amount of alcohol shining through bringing lots of warming. I'm a fan of the malt as well as the hop so I'm enjoying the sipping session I have going on here.

Close or at full bodied, carbonation is on the light side, very nice mouth feel and pretty easy to drink considering the abv. I like!

Bitterbill, Mar 03, 2011
Photo of sacrelicio
3.45/5  rDev -14%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Decent barleywine, but not a favorite. A little let down. Fruity pineapple and honey and cherry syrup smell. Taste is somewhat savory and sweet, with bitter pine hops and chewy malt. Solid bitterness on the finish. Mouthfeel is full but flat. Fairly drinkable, but nothing special.

sacrelicio, Feb 26, 2011
Photo of smakawhat
4.35/5  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.

smakawhat, Feb 24, 2011
Photo of MoreThanWine
4.38/5  rDev +9.2%
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.

MoreThanWine, Feb 24, 2011
Photo of 4DAloveofSTOUT
3.7/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

poured into snifter glass.

Appearance: hazy orange color with a thinkg white head.

Smell: Malty goodness. Some hops to balance the beer/

Taste: Oak, vanilla, malty sweetnes.

Mothfeel: This is a big beer that is very balanced. It s an imporession to wo worka n qiimqnten sign,

4DAloveofSTOUT, Feb 13, 2011
Photo of dtivp
4.25/5  rDev +6%
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.

dtivp, Feb 06, 2011
Photo of elgiacomo
4.2/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22oz bottle. 2010 batch. Probably 9 months old or so. Served at cellar temperature.

Pours red/copper/amber with a large off white/beige head that leaves some lacing and holds a very nice cap.

Powerful aroma of rich caramel and toffee, sweet breads, brown sugar, butterscotch, vanilla.

Flavor is caramel, butterscotch, toffee, brown sugar, vanilla, some spice, some sweetness, and very little noticeable alcohol.

Mouthfeel is medium to full, creamy, low to medium carbonation.

Very nice Barley Wine! Incredibly drinkable...very smooth with the most well integrated alcohol content of any of the big Southern Tier brews I've had to date.

elgiacomo, Feb 04, 2011
Photo of ADZA
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.

ADZA, Feb 01, 2011
Photo of daledeee
4.28/5  rDev +6.7%
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.

daledeee, Jan 29, 2011
Photo of phishgator
3.33/5  rDev -17%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured into a stout pint glass. Big foamy white head and lighter amber color. The nose is some fruity hops, alcohol esters, and apricot fruit. The taste is residual sugars throughout. There is a bitterness that tries to balance the sweetness, but doesn't. The alcohol is actually well hidden even though you smell it. The body is filling; finished the bomber and didn't want anymore beer for the night. It's been a little while since I've been drinking a Barley Wine so I might be a little bias on the taste. Not bad just there are much better examples out there.

phishgator, Jan 27, 2011
Photo of waltersrj
3.73/5  rDev -7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pour: Deep ruby red with a brown hue and a 2 fingered off white head. Sticky lacing on the glass and decent legs.

Nose: Dark fruit, sweet sugars, very hoppy, caramel malt, and toffee.

Taste: Dark fruits, prune and fig, toffee, caramel, very bitter hops, slightly cloying malts, and alcohol.

Mouthfeel: Thick but creamy with a slightly cloying feel.

Overall: a pretty good representation of an ABW, great hop and malt profile but not the best.

waltersrj, Jan 23, 2011
Photo of bbeane
4.08/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Poured into my DFH snifter... starts with a small head that disappears quickly. Beer is dark amber colored, very cloudy

S- I could smell a malty sweetness as soon as I popped the cap. Actual wiff from the snifter is super aromatic of mostly sweet maltiness with a very subtle bitter backbone

T- A little more bitterness accompanying the huge malty sweetness then the aroma lets on. Both combine nicely leaving behind a balanced aftertaste in your mouth along with a bit of boozy heat

M- Medium body with light carbonation

D- Tastes great, though I couldnt consider it too sessionable at 10% abv. I would def consider buying again. Not ST's greatest work, but very worthy to say the least

CHEERS!!

bbeane, Jan 22, 2011
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

AdamBear, Jan 10, 2011
Photo of Tballz420
4.55/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Brown colored brew, think and murky. Bubbly tan head. You dont even need to hold the glass near to smell the think malts coming out of that glass. Stinks of dank syrupy malts. Hot damn its a goodin. Thick malts stick to your throat. Nice load of bittering hops. Alcohol is there, and its spicy. Dark fruit tones. Its a big beer, theres no doot aboot that one. Thick and crunchy, very full mouth. Fairly sharp on the tongue. A no-shit beer.

Tballz420, Jan 09, 2011
Photo of magine
4.33/5  rDev +8%
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.

magine, Jan 09, 2011
Photo of tchaos
4.22/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bomber poured into a tulip.

A - Medium amber; hazy, with a two finger head and excellent retention.

S - Intense malt, plus citrusy hops and some raisin. Fantastic aroma that intensifies as it warms.

M - Medium full and velvety; low carbonation with noticable, but not overpowering alcohol.

T - Right on target for the style. Starts with bready malt, then sweetness that carries through to the citrus hops and alcohol. Finishes with a dry, lingering hop bitterness

D - Very nice for the ABV, and a solid entry in the Southern Tier (ST) Imperial line. Much less polarizing in my circle than some other ST Imperials (e.g. Creme Brulee, Pumking).

tchaos, Jan 05, 2011
Photo of generallee
4.68/5  rDev +16.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Presentation: It was poured from tap into a small (10 or 12oz) nonic pint glass and served right at the brewery in there own bar The Empty Pint.

Appearance: A small finger of just off white head sits on top of a mahogany reddish brown colored beer. The body looks thick and blurry when held up to the light. Its head quickly fades to a slick ring of lace.

Smell: In the nose I get a big blast of sweet, rich, bready and somewhat fruity malt. Hops can also be found in the nose and they add just a touch of citrus.

Taste/Palate: The flavor is like caramel covered raisins and baked apples with hints of plum and nectarine wrapped up in sweet bready and pie crust like maltiness. Add to this a nice warm boozy character and some mellow hops with modest notes of citrusy grapefruit rind and herbal bitterness. It feels quite firm on the palate and smooth but still lightly carbonated. (slow sipper)

Notes: When I think Barley Wine, this is about what I think of. It has loads of malt complexity first, which is then backed up with hops. Backburner is a very enjoyable Barley Wine!!!

generallee, Jan 04, 2011
Photo of TJBAIHWL
3.6/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A - Dark cherrywood red. Translucent, and many tiny streams of bubbles appear when held up to light. No highlights really. Buttery, sticky head that starts craggy and subsides to about 1/4" thickness, leaving behind ample thick lacing.

S - The lemony hops and caramel malt are in-your-face, and a little alcohol, spice, & toastiness is present as well. That all blends together to create a sweet, fruity, almost smoky aroma. There really is a lot in the nose, more than I can really pick out or characterize.

T - Resiny and citrusy hops up front, sweet & clean malts in the middle of the palate, and a little warmth on the finish, with the resiny hops recurring as it goes down. Dark caramel, almost chocolaty malt comes through later on. Resiny hops & dark syrupy sweetness linger and give the impression of a maple flavor that I didn't find anywhere in the body of the beer. A good, unique barleywine flavor that creates a nice little narrative in your mouth.

M - Thick, sticky, chewy, full. The mouthfeel of this beer screams "big".

D - While not as digestible as some Barleywines, it is pretty good for one so thick & heavy as this. It's definitely one for sipping. If you drink it too fast, either the alcohol burn will get you or the aforementioned resiny aftertaste will. At a normal Barleywine sipping pace, though, this one is just fine.

TJBAIHWL, Jan 04, 2011
Photo of rapidsequence
3.55/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle. I bought it at Total Wine in northern VA in November. Since its a February release, I'm assuming its from 2/10.

Appearance: An attractive clear red-brown color and an off white head with good retention. Webs of lacing.

Smell: A nosefull of caramel malt, ripe fruit, and citrus hops. Less hoppy than I hoped, but it is a year old or so. There's an earthy, slightly vegetal aroma in the background that I often find in ST beers and do not enjoy.

Taste: Very much what I expected from the smell. The vegetal aroma is really not tasted much. Caramel and fruit. A little toast. A nice amount of hops bitterness, but again the flavor is subdued. Alcohol is barely detected.

Mouthfeel: Very little bad to say about the mouthfeel. Big and sticky with soft carbonation.

Drinkability: Without that slight earthy/vegetal smell/taste, this would be excellent. As it is, for me, its pretty good.

rapidsequence, Jan 02, 2011
Backburner (Imperial Barley Wine Style Ale) from Southern Tier Brewing Company
90 out of 100 based on 862 ratings.