1. American Craft Beer Fest is this weekend in Boston, Mass. Join us for 640+ beers from 140+ brewers! Tickets for Friday, May 29 are still available. Cheers!

Oak-Aged Backburner (Imperial Barley Wine Style Ale) - Southern Tier Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Oak-Aged Backburner (Imperial Barley Wine Style Ale)Oak-Aged Backburner (Imperial Barley Wine Style Ale)

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
90
outstanding

315 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 315
Reviews: 81
rAvg: 4.05
pDev: 9.14%
Wants: 29
Gots: 45 | FT: 3
Brewed by:
Southern Tier Brewing Company visit their website
New York, United States

Style | ABV
American Barleywine |  9.60% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: MasterSki on 02-01-2012

No notes at this time.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
to view more.
Ratings: 315 | Reviews: 81
Reviews by DIM:
Photo of DIM
4.34/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.5

2011 bottle I believe

a: This was a slightly hazy caramel color with golden edges; it poured with a small but long lasting sticky head.

s: Lots of caramel and brown propped by surprisingly strong given the age of the bottle, leafy lemon rind hop aromas. There was also some mild toasty oak.

t: Big bracingly sweet molasses and caramel dominate. Towards the middle and finish there was grassy, oaky, alcoholic bitterness that mellowed the sweetness very nicely.

m: Not thin, but thinner than expected.

o: I'm very glad I found one of these but I wish I had more. Great beer with some age on it.

More User Reviews:
Photo of bassboneman
3.2/5  rDev -21%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3

I must admit...
I am glad I didnt dump this product upon first tasting!
I had it with a super hearty and delicious stew my wife made...not a good complimentary drink.
However, with something sweet - this drink is much better!
I wish the label had a more prominent BARLEY WINE logo...
To quote Monty Python's Instant Record Collection... "Warning...Larks Vomit" - or ' "Crunchy Frog"...
An interesting drink to say the least...ProsT fruende!

Photo of oberon
4.06/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Pours a rich amber tinged deep brown with a billowing one and a half finger off white creamy head that takes forever to settle,just great clarity and a great head.Toasty oak and alcohol soaked dark fruit in the nose,as it warms a real alcohol zip comes into play.A full creamy feel with low carbonation.Flavors are lightly toasted with a shot of vanilla and raisin,it's not overly sweet though as there is a earthy more toasted finish.I like this better than the standard version,it doesn't seem to be as sweet,the oak is not overbearing.another great one from ST.

Photo of MadScientist
4.15/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A: Medium copper with a slight haze, I'm pretty sure this was dry hoped hence the haze. The head doesn't get very big but last for a long time with the foam being made of a mix of mostly cream bubbles with some large soapy bubbles that are tan in color. The crown has small blisters indicating that it is not a fresh bottle, have just bought it last week I'm guessing it's a bottle from last year.

S: A moderately-strong, rich malt aroma that has malt sweetness, some ripe cherries, a bit of and caramel. The oak notes are moderate bringing some cinnamon to nose. There is a bit of dark stone fruit at moderately light levels. Maybe this is last years bottle as the hops aroma is pretty low, just a faint citrus. A reasonable amount of floral alcohol aroma as well.

T: The malt flavor is strong and up front bringing a fair amount of sweetness but it is quickly balanced by a strong hops bitterness. The malt bring flavors of caramel, plums and nectarines with a moderately-light cocoa showing up mid-way into the flavor. The hops are again on the low side with a nondescript citrus hops flavor like an aged beer. Light citrus hops flavor but a moderately strong hops bitterness. Having a moderate oak flavor that only underlines the Barleywine flavor with some cinnamon and a faint coconut flavor. The balance of the beer is somewhat bitter while the finish is medium. The aftertaste is of hops bitterness, some caramel malt sweetness and the oak showing a bit more as the other flavors fade.

M: Medium-full bodied with a moderate level of carbonation. This one reminds you that it a sipping beer from the good amount of warmth from the alcohol from the palate to throat to the belly.

O: A fairly sweet beer that's got a good amount of hops bitterness with a moderate amount of oak character. I didn't get much in the way of an other barrel character like like it was a wine or whiskey barrel that it was aged in and overall I'd like a bit more oak character in there. I'd had this fresh before, like out bright tank 13 day after brewing fresh along with from the store where it's had a solid amount of hops flavor and aroma which is awesome if not a bit agressive. Aged this beer has mellowed but I don't see it become an elegant after dinner beer like other Barleywine. Personally I prefer this one young and full of hops character but this still help ease the pain of a long work week just fine.

Photo of WVbeergeek
3.45/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I've been in love with the Backburner, and when the base beer is as good as it is I believe you shouldn't mess with it. However, there's exceptions to that just looka at what Founders does with variations of Breakfast Stout. Pours a deep ruby red mahogany brown hue with a cream colored khaki head with fine speckled laicng forming on the sides of my glass. Aroma has oak and vanilla with hints of booze, caramelized sugars with a rolling breadiness. Also in addition there's a subdued earth, citrus pith, and herbaceous flavor combination that gets a bit jaded by the loads of vanilla and charred oak flavors, making the beer a bit dysmal for me. I like Unearthly but not a fan of Oak Aged Unearthly, this is basically the same type of oak flavor, it just doesn't do anything for me that the base beer meant so much. Mouthfeel burns a bit a, quite booze ridden with dry oak chip finish going on, cloyingly sweet at the same time not enough hops balance things out. Overall I don't like the booze level and the overt sweetness found in this beer.

Photo of rhoadsrage
4.12/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

(Served in a snifter)

A- The slightly dense deep aged copper body has a sticky light beige film on top that last a bit.

S- The soft rich buttery toffee aroma has papery oak notes and some cream and dry hops notes in the finish. There is some raw oak aromas with green raisins and vanilla that come through as it opens.

T- The pine wood pungent hop flavor dominates the slightly sweet malt notes that follow in the finish. There is a soft raw oak, paper straws and green raisin hint that comes through in the finish.

M- This beer has a medium mouthfeel with no alcohol heat noticed.

O- This beer is a bit dry and most of the flavors are very soft but the big pungent hops seem to dominate everything. The raw oak notes do add a nice character to the beer.

Photo of JMS1512
3.84/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

The initial smell that sways my sinuses is one of raisin and a bit of toast. A few more inhales and I also notice a little bit of citrus, I suspect from the Willamette hops. Its color appears as a deep, and slightly cloudy mahogany. Backlit by the sun, it gives off a small red flare midst the brown. My first sip includes roasted malt, a tinge of hops, and more raisins from the nose. Midway through, I also detect vanilla and a little bourbon. It lingers, joined by big wood. [rim shot] No, really, the finish really leaves you with the oak-aged portion of the process. Great sipper. Tiny bubbles and mist-droplet like lacing. I’ve had the regular version of this. I much prefer this one, as it reminds me of Widdershins, but with less oak. Good take on barleywine, without being from across the pond.

Photo of CloudStrife
4.2/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bottle poured into a snifter. Bottled 02/15/12.

A: Pours a ruby copperish-red with a puffy 1.5 finger slightly yellowed head. Beer is fairly clear with a small amount of visible carbonation. A little lacing after the 2nd pour from the bottle.

S: At first I got hop but there is a lot of carmely malt in there as well. Hints of oak come through. Lots of dark fruits like fig, raisin and plum make an appearance. Alcohol is fairly hidden behind the fruit and oak.

T: Smooth flavor of dark fruits and hop with an oak backing. Pretty mild flavors that collaborate well together. Hops are bold but don't overpower, malt is sweet but not overly. Oak kicks in to mild out the booze.

M: Fairly thick on the palate, low carbonation. Nice and warming in the stomach. Real easy drinking for 9.6%

Overall a fantastic barley wine made better with some oak additions. A must for anyone who likes barley wines or for those who dont think they like the style.

Photo of BrewMaven
4.06/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Last of my Syracuse trip purchases.

Poured into a pint glass an hour after removal from fridge. Poured
a deep clear amber with a pretty tall off white head that receded to a cover.

The worlds weakest beak is picking up some ripe fruit aromas.

Right up front this may be one of the most flavor intense beers I've had in quite a while..a mouthful netted a nice hit of ripe plums and dark cherries followed by a caramel sweetness in the middle. Finish is showing a slight hop presence with more lingering sweetness.

Viscous, malty mouthfeel with gentle carbonation.

This is good...REALLY good.

Photo of Roguer
4.19/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Dark nut brown appearance, cloudy. Minimal cream head.

Heavy oak and vanilla on the nose; heavy malts, but nothing stands out; slight booziness.

Extremely smooth and very tasty. Vanilla, oak, and caramel stand out. Whatever edge the beer may have had has definitely been smoothed by age.

Not a thick feel - about medium - but complex and sweet. Makes this beer a sipper.

I'm surprised to like this beer so much. It reminds me quite a big of Burton Baton. Definitely recommended.

Bottled Feb 2012; 23 months old.

Photo of prototypic
4/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Oak Aged Backburner pours a darker copper color. It’s clear for the most part. Looks a little red when held to light. An off-white head tops it. It rises to about a finger and a half in height before falling back to a surface covering. Held there for a bit. Lacing was on the lighter side.

The nose is good. It features a pretty sweet caramel malt scent up front. There might be a hint of chocolate there, as well. Oak is very much in the mix. One whiff reveals it adds a lot of character. Dark fruit notes of raisin and plum are apparent. There’s a hint of a spirit, but it’s tough to tell what it is exactly. Hops are noted. Grapefruit is the most notable hop scent. Alcohol is held in check for the most part. It’s not all that noticeable. Smells good.

The flavor is likewise good. I like it. The malt base is mostly caramel. It’s sweet. Chocolate malts are also noted. Tastes like cocoa. Dark fruit flavors of plum and raisin are easily noted. The work very well with the malt base. Oak definitely adds character and quality depth. The oak flavor is quite good. Hop flavors of grapefruit, pineapple, and pine are all noted. It tastes a little bitter, but it’s negated quite a bit by the strong malt presence. Alcohol is blended pretty well. Doesn’t seem like 10% territory. Finishes sweet and oaky with a touch of citric hop flavor.

Oak Aged Backburner has a medium body that is definitely smooth. Carbonation is light and restrained. For a big Barleywine, this is surprisingly easy drinking. I’ll polish off this bomber with ease.

I’ve always been a big fan of Backburner. Needless to say, an oak aged version was very intriguing to me. It definitely delivers, but it isn’t quite as good as Backburner. I think the oak flavor tends to mask some of its dark fruit and hop flavor. It’s still very good though. Definitely a worthy endeavor. Check it out.

Photo of dbossman
4.12/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Reddish caramel brown hue with a big thick light brown head and fantastic lacing

S: Amazing sweet roasty caramel malts playing off the dark fruits and cherries; the oak aromas bring it all together--God, this smells good

T: Roasted toasty malts up front followed by some subtle sweet fruitiness--cherries, raisins; the oak character dries the finish

F: Full bodied and fairly chewy though a touch too dry on the finish because of the wood aging

O: This is a damn nice barley wine and the year I let it age has done some nice things to mellow it out a bit

Photo of glass_house
4.1/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz. draft at Caliente Pizza and Draft House, Pittsburgh.

Beautiful dark amber, lets just enough light through to make it glow. Did not get much aroma to speak of, just a hint of malty bready sweetness...but I was also surrounded by fresh hot pizza so perhaps that made it tougher to pick up the subtleties. Very little head, and only a slight ring stuck around, with minimal lacing.

Slick smooth mouthfeel. On the heavy side of medium-bodied with very little carbonation. Taste was dynamic enough to impress, but not overly complex. Starts out with a caramel-toffee-vanilla malt presence accented by faint dark fruit. Just enough hops to offer some balance. Oak comes through smoothly on a dryish finish. The barrel aging definitely mellows this out a little. The alcohol is not "hidden" by any means, but it didn't strike me as particularly boozy.

Overall, this more than lived up to expectations. I went out specifically for the tapping of this keg and I'm happy I did. I will most defnitely be seeking this out in the future--would love to try it from a bottle as well.

Photo of Treyliff
4.26/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.25

This ones got at least a year on it, which is typically how I like American Barleywines. Poured into a snifter

A- pours a slightly hazy auburn brown with some ruby hues, creamy off-white head that reduces to a small layer skimming the top

S- the malty notes have definitely kicked in, lots of sweet caramel malt with some oaky vanilla aromas, toffee, woodsy earthy tones, some piney hops are present but the caramel malt has taken over

T- surprising fruity notes up front with notes of citrusy hops and some fruity esters, the caramel malt kicks in mid-palate with some bready malt notes, dark cherry. The citrus flavors reappear near the backend with a dry finish with a linger of vanilla oak

M- medium body with low carbonation, slightly foamy mouthfeel with a fairly slick finish

O- big caramel malt flavor with a nice citrusy flavor to compliment, a bit of age has been nice to this beer, very good.

Photo of Bung
4.03/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz. Into Founders snifter. Dark brownish red pour. Thin layer of white on top.

Aroma, toffee like maltyness, quite a bit of herbal and red fruity hops.

Taste, some herbal and piney hops initially. Large brown sugar, caramel and toffee follows. Fig. Some woodiness, peat, cocoa even.
Time has been kind to this, making it somewhere in between an American and English Barleywine.

Med-full body, just enough carbonation. Coats well, not too sticky. Alcohol is very well hidden.
Overall very good.

Photo of gillagorilla
4/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 oz. bottle poured into a Burley Oak snifter (bottled on 2/28/13)

A: Pours a nice tan 1 finger head that has nice lacing. It is a solid murky amber brown color.

S: Sweet, sweet malt with some nice tropical fruit notes in there with some taffy and licorice.

T: Very light barleywine flavor. Not very sweet but a very nice even controlled flavor throughout. Easy to drink. Almost creamy tasting. A bit of taffy and licorice as well.

M: Nice solid carbonation that you can just feel in the pressure of it. It isn't so much on the tongue but just in the texture of the liquid.

O: Finally, a good beer in the past few days, it might just have been that I needed a break from stouts. This seems like a light barleywine, but I don't mean that in a bad way. It is a full and flavorful BW that is easy to drink.

Photo of philbe311
4.07/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - A finger and a half worth of khaki colored fluff with lots of big chunky bubbles sitting on top... Modest retention gives way to a full slightly fluffy lacing... The color is a medium brown... Lightly carbonated with only a couple stray bubbles rising at various paces...

S - Caramel... The oak character stands out as well... Dark fruits... A bit of booze... Some subtle woody notes... Very nice... Very complex... Each whiff reveals something new...

T - Wood, oak, and booze to start... Brown sugar... Caramel... Walnuts... Very light dark fruit notes... The booziness and oak linger on the palette and punish the tongue in a rather pleasant way...

M - Medium bodied yet surprisingly light.. Light carbonation... Sleek... Smooth... The finish is a bit chalky...

D - Very nice offering here from Southern Tier... I wasn't even aware I had purchased the oak aged version until I took my first sip... Lots of good things going on here, but perhaps a bit too young... A little time in the bottle could round this one into elite Barleywine contention...

Photo of n2185
4/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 2 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: pours a clear copper with barely any off-white head that almost completely vanishes with no lacing.

S: caramel and vanilla at first followed by woody oak notes. There is also a strong aroma of sweet peaches and orange. Light alcohol aroma on the finish. Smells quite good.

T: again, caramel and vanilla at first with some woody flavors. Bubblegum and peach flavors come through mear the finish with a light alcohol burn.

M: medium-thick carbonation with mid-low carbonation, this beer just avoids being too sticky sweet.

O: a good beer, overall. I really like the peach aromas, though I'm not for sure if they're intended or not. Still, it's not cloyingly sweet like many Southern Tier beers.

Photo of Bierguy5
4.42/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap at South Park Tavern. Clear mahogany, with some ruby edges. White head disappears immediately, but leaves a few spots of lace.

Great oak aroma, dark candied fruits. Figs and plums. Caramel malt as well. Great nose.

Some darker fruits and figs up front. Huge malt character, without a great deal of sweetness. Nice oak character with drying tannin, but manages to not be overwhelming.

Medium body, with lower carbonation. Some warmth from alcohol. Great oak character. Awesome beer.

Photo of rlee1390
4.09/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A-Clear amber, two finger head that tries to be tan

S-Oak caramel, toffee, hops are present.

T-Oak, caramel, darker malts, some bitterness, grassy, raisins and chocoalte.

M-Medium bodied, chewy with some carbonation

O-I've had the regular Back Burner but never reviewed it. Should seek it out for comparison.

Photo of ThickNStout
4.55/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at the brewery. Served in a goblet. 

A- deep chestnut hued red brown. Thin layer of cream head. Nice lace. 

S- citrus and floral hops, sugar, vanilla. 

T- so smooth! Big hops but smoothed out by the oak. Caramel, biscuity malt, vanilla. Only hints of the near 10% abv. Long smooth sweet aftertaste. 

M- medium to full feel. Nice dose of carbonation that makes the flavors tingle. 

O- one of my favorite barleywines that I've tried. Robustly hopped and so smooth with the nice blended flavors of oak. Excellent and highly recommended.

Photo of jtingue
3.95/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Growler fill from the brewery. Poured into a pumpking chalice.

Appearance. Copper brown in color. Pours with 3 fingers of off white head, which dissipates quickly leaving some nice lacing down the side of the glass. A thin, frothy layer of head remains for a while.

Smell. Caramel and toffee are joined by a faint toasted oak and some mustiness, which I often recognize in Southern Tiers oak aged beers.

Taste. Starts off with a semi-tart grape flavor. Some of the more sugar-sweet flavors of caramel come in. This is balanced, and eventually overtaken by a slight oak soaked bitterness. The oak, however, is not as musty as I found it to be in their other oak aged beers. The slight fruity tartness comes back, this time soaked in rum. The finish is dried a bit by the alcohol presence, and contains a lingering ripe berry flavor.

3.5Mouthfeel. A moderate to thick body is broken up and made light by a moderate amount of loose carbonation.

This one really benefits from the aging, in my opinion. The original was dominated by a persistant presence of the yeast that was used, while this was much more balanced by the oak, fruit and caramel flavors.

Photo of DrinkSlurm
4.03/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Poured from tap into snifter at tap and mallet Rochester ny. Pours a hazy burnt orange with nice lacing. Sweet malty syrup and an almost citrus hop aroma. Taste is somewhat mild toffe at first but finishes with a big toffee caramel hop flavor with a mild vanilla woody oak. Its easy to drink....really easy but hits hard. Its better as it warms. Nice barleywine.

Photo of Etan
4.06/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

22oz into a wine glass.

A: Pours out an amber-brown with a small light beige head.

S: Brown sugar, molasses, light oxidation, leafy, overripe citrus. A bit sweet.

T: Brown bread, toffee, a little bit of pleasantly dry oak character, light clementine and hop bitterness.

M: Medium-bodied, light carbonation.

O: This is actually pretty nice. The oak tempers the sweetness a bit, and the hop character isn't astringent or overbearing.

Photo of weeare138
3.65/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appears a dense mahogany with a small white cap that slowly fades into a gentle cap. Tiny speckles of lacing are left around the glass.
Smell is of dense caramel, fruit, vanilla, oak, whiskey, peaches, pineapple...sheer sweetness.
Taste is of the aromas with a candy sweetness that lingers with heat.
Mouthfeel is full bodied, chewy, sweet, and hot.

to view more.
Oak-Aged Backburner (Imperial Barley Wine Style Ale) from Southern Tier Brewing Company
90 out of 100 based on 315 ratings.