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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

864 Ratings
THE BROS
94
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 864
Reviews: 497
rAvg: 4.01
pDev: 10.47%
Wants: 68
Gots: 102 | FT: 8
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: 864 | Reviews: 497 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Alieniloquium
3.65/5  rDev -9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

650 mL bottle poured into a snifter.

Appearance - Deep garnet body with an off-white head. The head doesn't last long and it doesn't leave much lacing.

Smell - Delicious smell. Caramel and toffee malts with strong dark fruit aromas. Maybe some bananas in the background. Not a lot of the hops come through.

Taste - A bit of hoppiness right at the start, then sweet. Not a complex as the smell. The sweetness overwhelms what I can only imagine to be subtlety in the flavors. A good hop bitterness in the back lingers and reminds me that it's a barleywine and not an old ale.

Mouthfeel - Thick and a bit syrupy, which makes sense considering the sweetness. Not a lot of carbonation makes it feel thicker. The drinkability really starts to get sluggish as this beer warms. The slightest bit of alcohol warming in the finish.

Overall - Great smell, slightly disappointing flavor. Still tastes good, just not great.

Alieniloquium, Jun 04, 2011
Photo of beertunes
4.5/5  rDev +12.2%

beertunes, Jan 29, 2013
Photo of johnnnniee
3.93/5  rDev -2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I've been sitting on this one for a little while, there's no bottle dating, but I believe I put this away in 2009.
Pours a mostly clear deep reddish orange with a good sized off white head that shows great retention and moderate lace. Smells of sweet sugar, caramel and dark fruit, cherries mostly with an earthy as well as an ethanol bite. The flavor is sweet with cherries and raisins with lots of sweet and dark sugars. I also catch a hint of roast or chocolate at the end of every sip. There is a fair amount of alcohol burn as well as some earthy and oxidized flavors. Medium to thick body with a moderate level of carbonation and a sweet almost syrupy mouthfeel. This is a nice flavorful barleywine but it seems to be in that in between stage where its not exactly fresh and not quite aged enough. I might have to put some of these away and see how they work with a bit more age.

johnnnniee, Jul 21, 2012
Photo of Brad007
4.33/5  rDev +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.

Brad007, May 30, 2009
Photo of THECPJ
4/5  rDev -0.2%

THECPJ, Dec 05, 2011
Photo of dirtylou
4/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bomb, split with an amigo while planning our 3 week south african safari

appearance: pours into a pint glass, dark amber body, foamy beige cap, lovely little barleywine

smell: floral, boutique of hops, citrus and caramel malts - pretty

taste: a definite hopbomb, beautiful floral hop profile, citrus, pine, booze, thick caramel malts, brown sugar - 1 dimensional but nice

mouthfeel: moderate bitterness, medium body

drinkability: good

dirtylou, Apr 13, 2008
Photo of scruffwhor
4.13/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a carameled, maple syrupy ruby color. Very faint head and no bubbles or lacing. Great color though. The aroma is a cinnamon spicey citrus and a dash of caramel and figs. Starts with some warm fruits and a light touch of Chrstmas seasonings. Cinnamon, nutmeg, with some caramel plums. Good, warm, and spicey sweet. The palate has some complex alcohol notes. Some brandy or mabybe cognac and some warms peas with some orange zest. Sippable andnice to look at in a snifter.

scruffwhor, Jul 22, 2008
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 avalon07
4.5/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Poured from a bottle to a pint glass. Had an amber color and a cloudy consistency. There was a half inch of long-lasting, foamy/creamy head. Very good lacing.

S: A strong aroma of hops, caramel, and some sugar.

T: Tasted of hops - a lot of hops - caramel, malt, and sugar. Nicely complex. Actually gets better as it goes along.

M: A good amount of carbonation with a slick finish. Medium-bodied.

D: One of the more drinkable American barleywines around.

avalon07, Jun 09, 2010
Photo of ccrida
3.98/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

750 ml with a few months on it, poured into my Deshutes snifter, Backburner is a dark ruby with a large, rocky,burnt off-white head that leaves heavy lace.

Smell is rich and thick, fruity ale esters, caramel, nutty, and prune malts, wet, citrus hops, boozy but pretty good.

Taste is sharp and full, tangy, sweet malt and heavily hopped, caramelized fruits. The high ABV drys it out, although after the initially esters and hops, the finish is pretty clean. Pretty good, but could use more time to soften the edges.

Mouthfeel is slick and oily, medium heavy body, with a spicy, dry, hoppy and alcoholic finish.

Drinkability is pretty good, this is a nice barleywine for sure, second bomber that I've had. The first with any time in my cellar, it still has room to run, but I'll be sure to get more, especially once this become available in WA!

ccrida, Jul 14, 2008
Photo of BeerFMAndy
3.9/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

22 oz bottle poured in a Sprecher snifter. 10% ABV, 25 degrees Plato, 15 degrees L, "serve in a snifter", best at 42 degrees F, listed ingredients, no date.

A - Pours a beautiful lightly hazy bronze color with golden amber highlights. A very low tan head pops up only to disappear right away to a ring of loose bubbles. A little coating of lace is left in a collar.

S - The aroma is almost reminiscent of a strong IPA. Lots of hops in the nose give off some potent pine hints mixed with fruity resins. Dark cherry and sugar-sprinkled raisin. The caramel malts add a nice lightly toasted aroma with some residual sweetness. The alcohol is also present but not overly strong.

T - Deep toasted caramel malts give the flavor a round feel with that caramel and honey sweetness. Notes of toasted, dense bread also come and go. The hops are still strange to me in this beer's first sips. There is a definite pine and light grapefruit from the Chinook that I'm not sold on yet. It doesn't seem to fit the profile. The lingering bitterness isn't at all bad though. In fact I think it balances well. The fruitiness is low but present and the alcohol finishes smooth.

M - Besides it going down the wrong pipe, it's smooth! Medium-full bodied and rich with a lingering bitterness to the finish. A little bit chewy but round overall.

D - Another sipping beer that has good balance but the potential to get old half-way through the bottle. A decent barleywine that has a sort of old world feel to it. Definitely enjoyable but not something I'll be rushing back out for. Maybe one to age to smooth even further.

BeerFMAndy, Feb 21, 2010
Photo of Hopheadjeffery
4/5  rDev -0.2%

Hopheadjeffery, Oct 04, 2013
Photo of vfgccp
3.3/5  rDev -17.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A - Medium maple syrup color with a thin white head and ok lace.

S - Oak, booze, hints of brown sugar.

T - Smooth sweetness. Mild dried fruit character, but mostly oak and brown sugar that came through in the nose. Warm booze through the finish.

M - Medium body with a sweet finish.

O - OK flavors, but the booze is a bit astringent.

vfgccp, Mar 22, 2011
Photo of DrDemento456
4.43/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Solid dark amber with just a half inch of foamy white head.

S - Smells like a nice dry hopped barleywine. Citrus rind with a sweet strong malt base and a bit of brown sugar goodness.

T - Wow who knew a little bit of dry hopping can make such a strong great tasting barleywine? Great hop presence of grapefruit and citrus along side of a great malt base. Sugar residue makes this beer have a sweet finish and hops strong enough to cover up the high ABV. Perfection.

M - Medium to heavy a definite sipper but easy sipper.

Overall it's a damn near perfect barleywine. Sweet, hoppy, and delicious. With an 8 dollar price tag it's not too expensive to enjoy on an occasion. Would recommend it to others.

DrDemento456, Apr 04, 2011
Photo of bluejacket74
3.98/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 ounce bottle, I'd guess and say it's about a year old if not older than that. Served in a snifter, the beer pours a reddish/brown color with a half inch tan head that went away quickly. There's a decent amount of lacing. The brew smells like caramel malt, molasses, apricots, plums and a bit of pine hops. The taste is mostly like the aroma, but there's also the addition of some cherries, toffee and orange peel flavors. Mouthfeel/body is medium, it's a bit creamy and coating with moderate carbonation. It's easy enough to drink. I think it's a good overall brew, I'd buy it again in the future. It's certainly worth trying.

bluejacket74, Feb 20, 2012
Photo of claspada
3.53/5  rDev -12%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Aromas are quite fruity (dark and stone fruits that is). Some prune, raisin, licorice, berry, inviting. As it warms I can detect some more lighter sweeter fruits and some caramels and nice hints of vanilla.

The taste is quite balanced considering I was expecting a much sweeter beer (as Southern Tier tends to do). A nice thick, deep maltiness persists throughout. Definitely rich, almost like a doppelbock, a lot of dark bready malts. Subtle prune, molasses and licorice. Very little bittering but some aroma hops are present, Quite atypical but an enjoyable twist for the style. I like that this isn't another Pacific coast hop bomb. Finishes with a dryness that makes such a malty beer dangerous. As it warms it starts drinking like candy, with bright vanilla and light caramel flavors. Carbonation is fairly low, as to be expected, especially considering the ABV, style and the brewer. A shade lighter than a "syrupy" beer in my opinion

Overall, thumbs up. I appreciate the out-of-the box approach by Southern Tier on this "barleywine," although by today's standards I would classify it as an Imperial Cascadian Dark Ale.

claspada, Nov 17, 2010
Photo of tavernjef
4.5/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Gorgeously dark and deep burnt orangey brown. Firm smallish capping of lightly yellowish foam sits for good length before settling to a soild skim and a big bubbly collar. Tons of thinly placed sheeting which breaks apart into some webby strings and moth holes.

Lofty aroma of big caramel malts parched with orangified piney hops and toasted breads. A bit of soft berries, molasses, raisin, and fig grows as it sits.

Taste is just as good if not better and carries a very fine complexity to its flavor profile. Big on malts with some soft, soothing caramel mixed with alot of dark fruity acsents of fig, raisin, and berries. Semi tangy and sweet with a soft, silky, smooth body that's delicately malty rich and thick with just the perfect amount of warmth off the end to round it off as a partial hop tone comes into play. Only a slight bittering bite of orange peel and pine nudges at the palate as it maintains its big malty profile and deep richness settling into the finish. Quite complex with some hints to brown sugar, vanilla, pear, and a whole lot of raisinyness. A bit of toasted grain moves across the finish as it warms with just right kind of Barleywine ABV hint as it finishes.

Soft, full, rounded, thick, and rich body, not overly hefty nor hoppy and keeps a nice tone and malty creamyness and chewyness the whole way through. Oh, and the finish is just as soft and alluringly delicate as the rest of its nature with its small amount of warmth floating in over the maltitude of sweetness. Nice...

A pretty fuckin' solid Barleywine by Southern Tier. This will age well for those of you who do that sort of thing. But I found this fairly fresh bottle of Backburner to be dead-on, super nice, and yummalishious!! Brings memories of Old Guardian...when I can get it?!

Another big thanks to JoeyBeerBelly for the recent hook up of East Coast goodies!

tavernjef, Nov 16, 2007
Photo of Cyberkedi
4.35/5  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.

Cyberkedi, Oct 24, 2010
Photo of Duff27
3.5/5  rDev -12.7%

Duff27, Dec 13, 2011
Photo of dgilks
3.48/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Cloudy dark red colour with a tiny head. Poor head retention but that's not what the beer is about.

Massive caramel malt on the nose with hints of grain. Some earthy and almost floral hops. Quite fruity.

Rich, silky malt with more fruit and earthy hops. Interesting combination. Pretty tasty.

Full body with moderate carbonation. Good.

I really like the combination of intensely rich malt and earthy hops here but it is a little cloying. Good but not great.

dgilks, May 07, 2012
Photo of WOLFGANG
4.25/5  rDev +6%

WOLFGANG, Jul 06, 2013
Photo of ZAP
4.65/5  rDev +16%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Big and well done.

A-Deep brown/mahogany...creamy 1/8 inch tan head.

S-Very hoppy aroma...sweet candied tropical fruits...also some toffee like malt.

t-Sweeter style BW which I enjoy....toffee like maltiness...also some berries, molasses and brown sugar....the hops are more of a secondary player on the taste but they still lend a nice sweet candied fruit presence.

M-Big and rich....full bodied...very creamy...what I expect from a BW..finishes smooth and sweet but not cloying.

D-Hell of a beer here. I love the rich malty BW's but what this one lends is a fantastic hop feel while never become extremely bitter. Top notch BW

ZAP, May 21, 2008
Photo of barnzy78
4.13/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Tap House Grill - Des Plaines, IL
A - brown with faint ruby hues, creamy tan head sticks to the glass as it slowly fades
S - malty and earthy aroma, woodsy oak, vanilla, brown sugar
T - bold flavors of toasted grain, brown sugar, vanilla, oak, earthy hops, fruit, raisin, piny hop bitterness, boozy at times
M - fuller body, creamy, drying finish
O - nice oak aged barley wine. I thoroughly enjoyed it and wouldn't change anything about it.

barnzy78, Jan 10, 2014
Photo of RoyalT
4/5  rDev -0.2%
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.

RoyalT, Dec 25, 2011
Photo of cjgator3
4.15/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22oz bottle

A- Poured into a tulip glass. Pours a dark amber color with an off-white head with great retention and lacing.

S- The aroma is a lot of malt like I expect in a goodn barleywine and fresh hops. 

T- The taste like the aroma has a ton of rich malty flavors up front. The finish features some bitterness from the hops and a good amount of lingering warmth from the alcohol in the finish.

M- The mouthfeel is fantastic. It is medium bodied with a perfect amount of carbonation creating a perfect texture.

O- Overall, Southern Tier Backburner is a fine barleywine. It is a little maltier than most barleywines made here in the states, but it is deliciously crafted. I'm interested in seeing how this one ages as well. Recommended!

cjgator3, Mar 26, 2011
Backburner (Imperial Barley Wine Style Ale) from Southern Tier Brewing Company
90 out of 100 based on 864 ratings.