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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

863 Ratings
THE BROS
94
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 863
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: 863 | Reviews: 497 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of WVbeergeek
4.7/5  rDev +17.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance is deep ruby almost a mahogany brown like color, with a large billowing beige head leaves fine bubbled lacing all around my glass with each sip in very even patterns. Aromatics are wonderful with layers of over ripened fruits reduced in a red wine with plums, raisins, and figs really standing out. Sweet waves of malts arise with hidden layers of hops I'm getting pine and citrus mainly, but the hop profile is so well played here. Flavors blend so harmoniously with abrasive big hop additions leaving slick bitterness throughout each sip, and big chewy malt layers of caramelized brown sugar with fruit additions again naming the figs, raisins, and plums. Complex hoppy flavors blend into the huge malt profile with herbal, citric, and coniferous qualities. A great barleywine as complex as all hell while still remaining painfully drinkable. Mouthfeel is huge with residual sugars sticking to the palate the hop oils from the boil and dry hopping really help lubricate things a bit. Carbonation is dead on even with every sip yet there's enough to send hop burps your way, like I said big chewy body. Drinkability is amazing especially for a barleywine at 10% I could get mangled on this brew without ever realizing my glass was being emptied. Even if your not into the bigger beers this one forms it's own path and really opens my eyes, well made I definitely applaud Southern Tier's latest efforts with all of the Imperials. By the way this was in a 22ounce bottle with a twist cap, WTF? Picked it up in Boardman, OH at Vintage Estate for 6.99 easily would have paid 13 without thinking it over down here in the Burgh thank god for Ron Bush and company. This was one of the Southern Tier's I never found in the Burgh.

WVbeergeek, Oct 31, 2007
Photo of RblWthACoz
4.03/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a clear dark amber with a creme head. Nose is just thick and ripe with malts. Flavor brings the same with a defined sweet tone and as things warm up there's a woodcedge to things as well. Beyond that really not much complexity. Thick malts, sweet tone, and that's about it. Feel is sticky slick on liquid and a bit lower on carbonation. This is a very easy drinking barleywine. Perhaps a few years aging will help develop some complexity?

RblWthACoz, Oct 12, 2008
Photo of nickfl
4.22/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - One finger of off-white foam on top of a hazy, dark brown body with amber highlights. The head settles quickly and leaves light lacing on the glass.

S - Caramel and brown sugar aromas dominate with background notes of mustard, blue veined cheese, and caraway seeds with a hint of vanilla.

T - Sweet, bready malt and thick caramel up front. Some brown sugar appears in the middle with spicy hops and some mustard notes. Finishes with more brown sugar and caramel as well as spicy, earthy hops flavor and fairly strong bitterness. Lingering caramel takes on a more burnt, molasses like flavor in the aftertaste along with a hop character that becomes mustardy and tobacco like with a lingering note of blue cheese.

M - Medium-thick body, moderately low carbonation, and a slightly sweet finish.

D - Quite drinkable for a beer of this strength and for the style. The alcoholic strength is, oddly, only really apparent in the nose and blends nicely with the thick, rich malt in the flavor profile. The caramel and brown sugar character is rich and simple but character is added by the spicy hops and the darkening of the flavors in the finish. The hop bitterness is surprisingly smooth and restrained for an American barleywine and this allows the beer to be unusually quaffable.

nickfl, Sep 02, 2010
Photo of russpowell
3.93/5  rDev -2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to koopa for this one, cheers Dennis!

Pours a chill hazed chestnut with a finger of chunky tan head. Tons of sticky lacing lines my glass along with great head retention

S: Figs, plums, a whisper of booze & breadyness, fades a bit as this warms...

T: Follows the nose, a bit of raisin & leafy hops as well up front, very English up front to me....More fruittyness with a touch of persimmons, cinnamon & dryness, plus doughyness as this warms. Finishes with slight smokeyness, toffee, then more figgyness

MF: Semi-chewy fairly low carbonation, nice balance

Drinks pretty easy for the ABV & style. This hides the Amarillo & Chinook hops too well, I will rate this a decent English Barley wine or a middling American BW, I prefer to be optimistic on this one!

russpowell, Aug 27, 2009
Photo of feloniousmonk
4.38/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Clear, crimson hued, slim, creamy head.

Aroma: rich, pungent, dark fruit meets brandy...cherry notes, sweet, but not too syrupy, rounds out dryly in the end.

Drinkin'...plump on the palate, and right quick, alcohol comes burning in, blazes the back of the mouth. Profusely malty, gathering sweetness, growing texture, bitter hops scouring the tongue.

Flavor lasts long in the mouth. Persistent finish. Big, hot, wet and juicy. Mmmm-mmm.

feloniousmonk, Jul 10, 2008
Photo of Slatetank
4.13/5  rDev +3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

enjoyed the 2012 oak aged version chilled in a tulip with tenderbranson69 from the bomber.

The color is deep cocoa brown with tranfslucent clarity and thick cap of tan. The smell is caramel with a touch of alcohol and slight hint of wood with a nice fruity tinge of yeast and light malt caramel odors with mild vinous yeast element giving that dried fruit you may excpect in the nose. The feel is sweet but potent with moderate bitterness and somewhat dark fruit essence with good balance of bitterness from hops w/ a semi-dry finish

The taste is familiar in that it has that dark fruit tinged flavor with lots of caramel up front with a good amount of alcohol and light flavors of malt with a gentle roasted taste in the background an almost port-like with a nice blend of hops giving the barleywine a slight pine accent to the mild toffee elements in the malt. Overall a pretty tasty barleywine and respresents the style well

Slatetank, May 30, 2013
Photo of WesWes
4.33/5  rDev +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.

WesWes, Oct 18, 2007
Photo of mendvicdog
3.5/5  rDev -12.7%

mendvicdog, Nov 26, 2013
Photo of Mora2000
4.22/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer pours a reddish-amber color with a white head. The aroma is caramel, malt, pine and citrus hops. There is a great combination of fruit and malts that I really love in a barleywine. The flavor is caramel malt with a good amount of piney hops. Very soft mouthfeel and low carbonation.

Mora2000, May 31, 2010
Photo of jwc215
3.13/5  rDev -21.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Pours deep, rich mahogany with a one-inch head that descends to half-size and stays (very impressive for abv level!). Some lacing sticks to glass.

Well, this is a hoppy-smelling beer for the style. Citrus and pine with resiny alcohol with plenty of sweet malt mixed in. Complex, but leans towards plastic.

I thought I would enjoy the hoppy profile, and I do to a point, but it is just too much for this style, and ends up with plastic/resin mixing with alcohol that is very sharp. Still, caramel and molasses are enough to give it more complexity and depth. It has a medium-to-full body. Very warming - I would even say hot.

Interesting, and not bad tasting, but the mix ends up leaving a plastic aftertaste and it's very sharp. Things just don't meld together well enough for me to get again, though I'm glad I had it once. Maybe aging will mellow it, but I'm not quite convinced it's worth it.

jwc215, Jul 16, 2007
Photo of Rochefort10nh
4/5  rDev -0.2%

Rochefort10nh, Nov 18, 2011
Photo of smcolw
4.13/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Impressive dense head that leaves a lot of ring lace on the glass. The color is light brown. Light shines through with little cloudiness.

Surprising amount of hop in the nose; the malt is equally surprising in its mildness. This could be a pale ale if I were blindfolded except for the touch of alcohol in the background.

This is a deceptive beer: The alcohol is quite muted for 10%. It's present but not oily. Lots of malt flavor while the hop is a perfect counterpoint for balance. Rich, without being "thick"; lots of carbonation to counter this.

This is more hoppy than most Barley Wines, which is to my liking.

smcolw, Oct 19, 2008
Photo of XmnwildX12
4/5  rDev -0.2%

XmnwildX12, Dec 13, 2013
Photo of Gavage
4.33/5  rDev +8%
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.

Gavage, Aug 12, 2007
Photo of GClarkage
4/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

08/11/08- Purchased at Chuck's Wine and Spirits in Chagrin Falls, OH.

Presentation- 22oz bottle with no freshness info. Poured into my Duvel tulip.

Appearance- Deep brown in color. Full one inch plus head upon pour. Settles at a good 1/4 inch for most of the duration of the beer.

Smell- Very hoppy in the nose with harsh grapefruit hops. Also has some caramel malt notes.

Taste- Sugary sweet with lots of caramel malts. Also some sweet orchard fruits with oranges and tangerines in the mix. The hops really are the key here though. They come through very strong...very Bigfoot in nature. Fairly well balanced though with a large malt profile as well.

Mouthfeel- Medium to a touch higher carbonation level. Still feeling the bitter aftertatse in my mouth almost 30 minutes after finishing it.

Drinkability- Traditional well hoppen american barleywine. Very good and very drinkable.

GClarkage, Aug 12, 2008
Photo of corby112
3.93/5  rDev -2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark amber/brown color with a foamy off-white head, slight lacing. Pleasant aroma of hops, alcohol and dark fruit. Very quaffable for a barley wine especially at 10% ABV. Tons of hops up front with dark fruit and a nice alcohol warmth in the finish.

corby112, Nov 27, 2008
Photo of weeare138
4.22/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to liquidarrogance for this...
Appears a semi transparent caramel toned brown with a small whit cap that quickly fades. Spotty bits if lacing are left around the glass.
Smell is of caramel, vanilla, molasses, dates, nougat, and fried dough. Wow...reminds me of a fried snickers bar.
Taste is of the aromas with more of a caramel infused cherry flavor pulling through with tobacco leaves and vanilla nougat.
Mouthfeel is full bodied, chewy, slick, and oily on the finish. Light traces of the 10% abv is evident with warmth and lip smacking goodness in the swallow.

weeare138, Apr 18, 2010
Photo of barleywinefiend
4.1/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Drunkmonk!
Poured dark amber to brown with a small cream head. Nose is strong on the citrusy hops, grapefruit, some tropical fruit nots, pineapple and mango. Taste is quite similar with light cocoa undertones and citrus notes as well as a bit of caramel and dried fruits. 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. Very drinkable!

barleywinefiend, Mar 06, 2009
Photo of drewone
4.25/5  rDev +6%

drewone, Sep 10, 2012
Photo of dbrauneis
3.95/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Served on tap at Rattle N Hum in New York, NY

A: Pours a clear medium to dark amber in color with light amounts of visible carbonation. The beer has a half finger tall beige head that slowly reduced to a thin film covering the majority of the surface of the beer with a thin ring at the edges of the glass. Light amounts of lacing are observed.

S: Moderate to strong aromas of caramel and toffee malt sweetness with some notes of bourbon and vanilla - quite sweet and malty.

T: The taste is very similar to the smell with lots of malt flavors including caramel and toffee tastes and some bourbon notes - there are some light amounts of bourbon and vanilla. Very interesting with some notes alcohol near the finish.

M: Full bodied with light to moderate amounts of carbonation. Smooth with some alcohol heat in the finish.

O: This beer drinks more like a bourbon or a whiskey than a beer, this is definitely a slow sipping beer to enjoyed over quite a bit of time. I like the hints of bourbon like flavors and smells but this beer is big and does not hide the fact.

dbrauneis, Sep 26, 2012
Photo of Billolick
4.25/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bomber bottle, (gotta love 22 ounce bombers of Barley wine!, I remember the days of 7.5 ounce Old "Crusties...") this one pours a rich, dark honey tone of amber. seems pretty clear and it supports a long lasting dark tan head, that slowly goes holey and leaves tons of sticky sheeting and dense lacing. Nose is of dark toast, brandy and some alcohol. This is a very tasty, full bodied, malty BWine. Rich and smooth and thoroughly dangerous at 10%. Real nice winter beer/sipper from STBC, go get some and enjoy with care!

Billolick, Nov 09, 2007
Photo of Georgiabeer
3.63/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark burnt orange with a fairly good head considering the style and abv and some sloppy lacing. Slightly hot in the nose and with very sweet aromas up-front of maple syrup, cardomom, and pear as well as a bit of wax and apple. The taste on the other hand could be a bit sweeeter on the finish. The beer drops off quite a bit toward the end. Otherwise the beer is still a bit hot and there are flavors of dry, crackery malt; and a savory flavor of salty caramel, buttered popcorn and something somewhat meaty. A little strange and somewhat flat tasting. Quite smooth, if a bit hot. Not bad, and it certainly packs a punch, but the flavors seem a bit unusual and not quite sweet enough for the style.

Georgiabeer, Aug 24, 2008
Photo of akorsak
3.53/5  rDev -12%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A 650 mL bottle purchased at Capone's a few months back.

A: The barleywine is a deep amber color, brown with enough reddish tint that it could be a black cherry cola. A finger and a half of head topped the beer but did not retain for very long, nor did it lace.

S: The nose is replete with lots and lots of malts, grainy, bready malts with dark alefruits and a citrusy undertone.

T: This is a wickedly sweet beer. The malts drip with green grapes, sweet and biting. Dark fruits contribute to the sweetness. The malts coat the tastebuds with their intensity. Cold, the hops add a note of bitterness but it isn't enough to put a dent in that malt profile. If you are patient enough to really let the ale warm up, a citrusy hop profile appears with a dash, spicing up the taste significantly.

M: This is easily mistaken for an English barleywine, with the focus on lots o' malts.

D: Let this beer warm up for a rather long period of time. It releases more of the hops and those hops are desperately needed to overcome the malty sweetness.

akorsak, Jan 01, 2008
Photo of rhoadsrage
4.35/5  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.

rhoadsrage, Jan 26, 2008
Photo of Zorro
4.03/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Clear brown colored beer with a thick lasting tan colored head. Maroon colored when held up to the light to test clarity.

Smells spicy and heavily hopped. Scents of Pinewood, citrus, faint mango and pineapple.

Starts out sweet and woody with a melon aftertaste. Quite fruity the melon taste stays but a peach flavor appears along with the taste of chocolate. Little bit of spice here, mostly cinnamon stick.

Mouthfeel is full.

Quite a friendly Barleywine not near as strong as the smell suggests. This is about perfectly balanced between flavor and tongue friendliness.

Sampled through the efforts of Bentkentk56 and Secret Bunny 09 BIF.

Zorro, Apr 26, 2009
Backburner (Imperial Barley Wine Style Ale) from Southern Tier Brewing Company
90 out of 100 based on 863 ratings.