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Backburner - Barleywine Style Ale - Southern Tier Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Backburner - Barleywine Style AleBackburner - Barleywine Style Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
89
very good

503 Reviews
THE BROS
94
outstanding

(Read More)
Reviews: 503
Hads: 901
Avg: 4
pDev: 13.75%
Wants: 79
Gots: 112 | FT: 7
Brewed by:
Southern Tier Brewing Company
New York, United States | website

Style | ABV
American Barleywine | 10.50% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: BeerTruth on 04-02-2007

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

Retired after 2015 - new recipe/beer coming out in 2016 with a new listing.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Backburner - Barleywine Style Ale Alström Bros
Reviews: 503 | Hads: 901
Photo of RoyalT
4/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance – This is a nice, bronzy brown in color with a modest but very stubborn head that left cool-looking pits and a nice film.

Smell – This smells more like an EBW than an ABW. The table sugar is huge at the nose along with a vast collection of light, summertime fruits. I get a beautiful white apricot, a must try if you’ve never had them, with a bit of non-tart apple and maybe white grapes to go along with the barleyWINE moniker. The malts are modest caramel but really they are in the background here.

Taste – The light fruits and table sugar come through at the taste along with the first hint of hops. I guess the hop profile is somewhat complex but they do not dominate this ale like you would think from looking at the impressive list. I get a nice citrus and light pine mix but again nothing heavy. The caramel is a bit bigger in the mouth but nothing off the charts.

Mouthfeel – This is a big medium-bodied and greasy slick in the mouth with little suggestion of the high ABV.

Drinkability – This is the closest thing I’ve found to a session Barley Wine. It is very easy-drinking, not intimidating at all as most ABVs can be, and actually is more Enlgish than American. The light fruity character sets this apart from the rest and makes this mandatory tasting for all the BW lovers.

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Photo of ccarney2
3.45/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance - Darkish deep amber orange color that is very cloudy. Pours about an inch of off white head when poured violently. Head quickly dissipates into a thin film that leaves hardly any lacing. Not too unexpected with the style and gravity.

Smell - Dark fruits with lots of cherry and plum to start. Alcohol is definitely evident, but so are a moderate amount of sweeter hops. Maybe a bit of caramel/vanilla scent, something sweet.

Taste - There is a big sweetness off the bat with this barleywine, that doesn't really fade too much. Alcohol flavor lasts throughout also, with the same characteristics of the smell here as well. Cherry, plum, and raisin dominate the palate. Kind of one dimensional in terms of flavors.

Mouthfeel - Moderate to high carbonation, with a pretty viscous and thick coat left on the tongue.

Overall - I feel like this is a slightly better than average beer. I don't have too much to compare it to stylewise, but I will say that you know how much alcohol you're taking in while drinking this. Southern Tier does not normally disappoint, and they didn't necessarily here either, but they also didn't really excite me either.

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Photo of pmarlowe
3.35/5  rDev -16.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

No discernible date on the bottle. Tulip glass.

A: Pours clear dark amber with a ring and some swirls of off-white head.

S: Upfront is toffee malt and vanilla, along with some red fruit (cherry, raspberry) and citrus brightness.

T: Some mild caramel segueing into some hop bitterness, and finishing pretty tasteless and very dry with a little caramel. Kind of one dimensional.

M: Medium-full body and mild carbonation.

O: Smells good, but pretty average taste.

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Photo of climax
4.12/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The cherry wood color gleaming from inside the snifter is bright and vivid. Head formed pretty easy after a gentle pour. Retention isdecent for the ABV, and blobs of bubbles cling together after it's all settled down.

The aroma is as bold and flavorful as it should be. Subtle hints of mint, citrus, and earth bring hop presence to a huge malt bill. Big notes of ripe red grapes, tootsie rolls, and cherries make up the bulk of the nose. Malt backing comes from caramel and graham cracker, while a bit of wood/root flavor adds some aged flavor and sophistication. The alcohol is in there, but adds merely a whisper of warmth.

This one seems much more on the sweet side than a lot of barleywines. It's never cloying, but there's a load of unfermented sugar in here, giving it an almost maraschino cherry character from start to finish. The taste seems a little less complex than the aroma, but it's a tough act to follow.

The body is a bit on the thin side for a barleywine IMO. More viscosity is always a plus for a sipper like this, yet I am enjoying it after a meal and it's quite easy to keep at it. The gentle carbonation adds just a fluff in the beginning and then the dryness keeps things crisp through the finish.

All things considered this baby's got a load of flavor. It's definitely on the sweet side and gets a bit cloying as the bomber wears on, but it never stops being a pleasure to drink.

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Photo of jmdrpi
4.12/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 oz bottle, no date, but I'm assuming it's a 2011 bottle, and the brewery's website indicates a yearly February release.

appears a cloudy dark brown, with amber highlights at the edges of the glass. thin off-white colored head. strong aroma of sweet caramel malt with a touch of hops. very appetizing.

taste is big malt, as expected - toffee, bready, brown sugar. but not overly sweet, and balanced by a little hop finish. coats the mouth, but not too thick. just enough carbonation, so it drinks smooth.

a nice cold season beer, another Southern Tier success!

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Photo of chugalug06
2.68/5  rDev -33%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Update: One year aged - VERY sugary, this may be my last ST brew... Very bland and heat filled and non-unique, no loger fits a B-Wine. Mouthfeel is metallic and papery. No longer recommended.

A - Very little head rises... A nice cream colored ring forms around the perimeter of the brew. Color is very caramel with poor clarity.

S - Interesting. Very malty. Slightly metallic. Doesn't really smell like a IB-Wine... Vaguely fits the style... Not too much hop in this one. Lots of sweet caramel too.

T - Very smooth and well blended. A unique B-wine. Lots of grape and caramel. Slightly on the overly sugary side.

M - Near perfect. Good carb, no heat, and gentle smoothness.

O - Not quite what I was expecting, but still a nice brew. Worth finding and trying. Not sure what the price on this was, but I would think twice before paying over $8

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Photo of Thickfreakness
4.14/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A- A murky ruby/amber pour into my DFH glass. Not much of a head, but really sticky and oily as it drips down the sides of the glass.

S- Sweet Caramel and butterscotch candy, nutty toffee, raisins, black figs, honey and a touch of piney hops in the backround. Picking up notes of toasted marshmallows. Very complex!

T- A sweet and piney/fruity punch, that blends seemlessly! Tons of depth! Rich buttery caramel, sun dried fruits, honey, pine, roasted nuts and candycorn! Really wishing I could try this oak aged or out of a Firkin! Funny how it seems like an English BW after each sip... only to be punched in the kisser by the tart/piney hops!

M- I love the way the piney, citrusy punch marries with the sweet, sticky and oily malts! I wish they made gum that tastes like this... I chew it all day long! A nice bit of alcohol burn on the tongue! Love it!

O- Yet another brilliantly executed Imperial brew from Southern Tier! They sure as hell know how to do big beer!

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Photo of Chaney
4.12/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

"Imperial Barleywine" huh? Isn't a barleywine already imperial?

A: Poured a very dark, caramel amber color, with a slight beige head that was just right for this style.

S: Smelled like a melted "Astro Pop" combined with diluted cotton candy and the slight citrus bite only added to the pleasant aroma.

T: Sugary on the front part, along with a good bit of alcohol warming in the middle. The lingering was both dry and with an ending spice that was reminiscent of caraway seeds.

M: I dug the way the hops punched through the sugariness, making this multi-dimensional, rather than a sugar bomb. The carbonation was slight and insignificant overall.

O: For $6.99, this is a steal... and a damn fine barelywine if you ask me.

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Photo of Heischman
3.97/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Beer/Brewery - Backburner (Imperial Barley Wine Style Ale)/ Southern Tier Brewing Company
City/State- Lakewood, New York
STYLE – American Barleywine
ABV – 9.6%
IBU – 85
DATE – 23 OCT 2011
SERVING TYPE – 22 oz Bomber
GLASSWARE – Snifter
APPEARANCE – It is a murky brown with a hint of red, sadly it reminds me of pond water. It poured with a ¼ inch head that dissipated quickly leaving a ring of foam around the edge of the glass
AROMA- Fruity sweet with traces of alcohol
TASTE – It has the defined barleywine taste with some nice roasted malts, but with traces of fig and dates with the alcohol closing in at the end to warm you up.
MOUTHFEEL – A little thick with a good bit of carbonation on the tongue
CONCLUSION – A good stand alone barleywine, nothing special, but very enjoyable.
-JH-

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Photo of heysuz
4.2/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Intro: Split a 22oz. with a friend in a tulip glass.

Appearance: Somewhat of moderately thin head with big bubble. Moderate amount of carbonation on the glass. Deep amber color with a tint of ruby. Clear with no sediment

Smell: Fruity aromas with plums and dark berry notes, slightly sweet.

Taste: Good solid fruit flavors with a strong barley flavoring that really balances it out, slightly dry but a sweet feel in the back of the tongue.
.

Mouthfeel: Not any real aftertaste, nice and crisp and clean.

Overall: Well balanced barleywine, rich without being overly exotic. I think its high on my list for the type, although I have only rated a half dozen or less.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
4.2/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Pellinore1 for sending me this one!

Pours a clear copper brown with a 1 inch foamy khaki head that settles to a thin cap. A foamy curtain of lace lines the glass on the drink down. Smell is of malt, caramel, and zesty herbal and citrus zest hops. Taste is of malt, caramel/toffee, brown sugar, grapefruit, and citrus zest. A mild citrus zest bitterness lingers on the palate after each sip. This beer has a good level of carbonation with a crisp but smooth mouthfeel. Overall, this is a good barleywine that has a very nice sweet but hoppy flavor. Taste is better than the smell but good stuff all around.

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Photo of crewfan16
3.92/5  rDev -2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

poured from an undated bomber (at least I cant find a date) into a snifter

a- pours a deep brown/ruby color. what very little head appears is slightly off white. not a ton of lacing on the glass.

s- lots of caramel malt sweetness. some sweet fruit as well, raisin or fig maybe. bread and some slight hop citrus

t- follows the nose pretty closely, but with more gusto. sweet caramel and fruit initially. then comes some more bready malt. some bitter citrus hops come out, then back to the fruity sweetness. i dont get a ton of hops here (older bottle maybe?) but there is a lot of sugar present for the style. Very tasty though.

m- not a ton of carbonation. this brew doesnt seem to heavy though. lots of sugary sweetness without being to viscous. flavors linger along time and the abv is not very present at all. highly drinkable.

overall, I really enjoyed this beer. I will be the first to admit that im not incredibly experienced in the style, but this brew is tasty. I have yet to find an imperial beer by southern tier that I didnt like.

m-

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Photo of danieelol
4.03/5  rDev +0.8%
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.

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Photo of Phelps
3.88/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle shared by Rickyn06, poured into a Russian river glass. 2009 vintage.

Blood red with brilliant clarity. One finger of foamy tan bubbles fizzles away after a while, leaving thick, winding trails of lace.

Herbal and fruity nose. Overripe orange, mint, caramel and biscuits. Smooth and malty-sweet.

Malt is stepped up in the flavor, creating a flavor like caramel and biscuits sprinkled with mint sprigs. Some orange peel is there as well, but not many hops are left in this two-year-old bottle. Toasted crackers linger long into the finish.

Very mild carbonation and fizz. Alcohol lends an almost chili spice quality, numbing the tongue a bit. Some fumes in the nose as well. Body is a bit thin, just under medium-light.

This backburner’s developed admirable smoothness after two years. The alcohol has moved to the back, blending nicely with age. The flavors aren't outstanding to begin with, but it's smooth and sweet now.

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Photo of jamescain
4.2/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to StoneBrewFanatic for sending this one back from NY and to texasclimber for bringing it to the tasting. Poured into a sniffer.

Appearance: Cloudy deep mahogany with about a finger thick off white head that slowly fades into a ring around the side of the glass.

Aroma: Slight citrus aroma, very malty, roasted malts, caramel, toffee, a hint of molasses and chocolate.

Taste: A kind of candi fruit, brown sugar, taste with raisins, molasses and caramel.

Mouthfeel: Big, thick, and chewy with minimal carbonation and a mild boozy finish.

Overall: This is a good barleywine, closer to an American barleywine then an English barleywine. More time could benefit this beer.

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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 bamadog
4.32/5  rDev +8%
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.

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Photo of kzoobrew
4/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a deep caramelly amber color. Three finger cinnamon colored head sits atop. The head works its way back at a casual pace leaving behind heavy moth eaten lacing. A nice cap remains on top for the duration.

Warm toast malt and caramel aroma are surprisingly dominant off the bat. Bright pineapple and citrus hop scents fill in behind. The aroma displays an impressive balance. Not the aroma I expect from an American Barleywine but it is enjoyed non the less.

Candied pineapple and caramel flavor lay heavy on the tongue out of the glass. A bright bitterness picks up as the flavor transitions to the midpalate before a heavy caramel flavor emerges. Deep flavors develop on the back of the palate, heavily caramelized sugar and raisins mainly. The darker flavors become very strong on the back end drowning out the lighter flavors from up front.

Backburner comes in just under full bodied. The carbonation is a bit higher than expected, delivering a bit of a lighter body than I would prefer. The finish is long as the dark sugar and fruit flavors dig into the tongue refusing to budge.

Backburner is a solid beer, enjoyable but fails to reach the top tier of the style. Easy to drink and enjoyable. This is one I will pick up a s a change in pace Barleywine but will not be on the top of my list.

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Photo of tbeckett
3.67/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle from the IGA in Potsdam. From notes.

A - Poured a dark red with a little island of white filmy head. Fairly effervescent. Bright. No lace and no head retention.

S - Caramel, hops are very obvious to balance against the sweetness to come, slight alcohol, sugary. Hops really push the sugars around but blend together.

T - Strong earthy notes, caramel, molasses, sugar, maple syrup, strong pure hops push the dark fruit sweetness out of the way.

M - Mild to medium carbonation, full body, sweet finish.

O/D - Alright. The hop forward profile of this barleywine is much like the American take on all other traditional styles...more hops. Lacks alot of the characteristics that I enjoy in BWs by just hopping the hell out of it. I probably wouldn't seek this out again but I enjoyed half the bottle to the degree that I would consider it a good American twist on the style.

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Photo of sprucetip
3.95/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

from notes. Clear, copper/amber, thin fizzy tan head, no lacing. But good looking overall.

At first and in no particular order, boozy estery dark fruit, floral hops, caramel malt, and a more general malty sweetness. Really nice, if a bit hot. Later, the super rich caramel malt is prominent and highlighted by fruity notes from either hops and or yeast.

Dark fruit, mild hop bitterness, caramel and rich malty sweetness coming on strong in the middle and stealing the show. It's all accented lightly by gentle hoppy bitterness. Quite sweet, but very tasty.

Low carbonation leads to a thinnish feel for such a thick and rich brew. Mild warming, really sweet finish.

Many diverse elements add to the complexity and balance of this worthy ale. But it's pretty sweet, to be sure, even for a barleywine. I'd have it again.

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Photo of Jules11788
4.2/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours a cloudy deep mahogany red; barely any head; slight lacing.

S: Smells of sweet malts, figs, toffee, and sugary syrup.

T: Starts off with some nice sweet malts; opens up along the middle of the tongue to reveal soft flavors of malt, toffee, and a slight hint of fig; finishes sweet with a slight hint of bitterness.

M: Medium thickness; lightly carbonated; very soft and smooth on the tongue.

O: This is a really great Barleywine. Had this side-by-side with an Old Ruffian and was surprised that I found this to be the better (fresh) Barleywine of the two. This was super smooth, so it would be interesting to see what happens with a little age on it.

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Photo of StaveHooks
3.84/5  rDev -4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

A - Pours a hazy garnet brown. Tight off white head leaves minimal lacing.

S - Roasted caramel malt, doughy fruit bread, dark cherries, some tropical fruit.

T - Loads of caramel and toffee, caramelized brown sugar. Sugary cherries and fig brighten up the dense toffee while mild leafy and citrus hops breakthrough and add some spiciness. Bits of bitter pecan and pepper on the finish.

M - Full thick body, chewy and creamy at times.

Not sure how old this is buts it's on the sweeter side of things, in a good way. Very rich and lots of complexity. This is more of a really well put together English Barleywine than it's American counterpart.

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Photo of chickenflea
4.14/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Bottle: The aroma is a combination of chocolate, caramel, anise, faint smoke, and mild citrus hops. It pours a transparent garnet with a small off-white head. The flavor starts with lots of chocolate and caramel. There is some light fruitiness in the background. The finish has some light notes of umami and charcoal. The mouthfeel is a tad thin for a Barley Wine. A lot of alcohol in the aroma, but very little burn in the finish. A very nice barley wine. Not too sweet. Very balanced.

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Photo of dogfishandi
3.62/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22oz bottle about room temp poured into ordinary kitchen glass. split with a friend. im thinking this is the 2011 vintage, but could easily be the 2010 (bought at wegmans, dont think they push much of this beer)

pours out a clear deep red color. one finger of light tan colored head that faded to just a very thin retentive layer. no lace.

in the aroma, big doses of burnt candied caramel, toffee, a little buttery, (english yeast), woody hops, and just very light hints of dark fruits.

pretty much the same taste as the aroma suggests. burnt candied caramel apple, buttery, woody hops, not much bitterness, but a good amount of heat. burnt sugar in the finish.

big sticky body, maybe a little more carbonation than i would want in a BW.

for me, this is definatly more of an english barlywine, no real aggresive hops and lots of english yeast characteristics (toffee, buttery). not something i would really come back to in a hurry, but id like to try it again, maybe a little colder next time.

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Photo of 1Adam12
4/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Orangish red, burgundy color, not much head. Sticky lacing, just not much of it. Smells very sweet. Figs, grapes, currants, strawberry, just very sweet. Taste is similar. Too sweet IMO. Good, just too sweet. Very nice fruity flavor, not much booziness to it. Mouthfeel is nice. Almost no carbonation, slightly creamy. Solid 4's all the way around. Overall, despite my score, there's just nothing special or memorable about this. It's nice, but nothing stands out to tell me "you have to buy this again".

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Backburner - Barleywine Style Ale from Southern Tier Brewing Company
89 out of 100 based on 503 ratings.