Dismiss Notice
Subscribe to BeerAdvocate magazine?

Learn more about beer and save over 53% with a 3-year subscription.

Subscribe now →

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.
very good

80 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 80
Hads: 320
Avg: 4.03
pDev: 18.36%
Wants: 27
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: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Reviews: 80 | Hads: 320
Photo of schoolboy
4.5/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Ahhh! This is what I needed. An outstanding brew. I bought this over a year ago (January 2014) and I patiently waited until now, and it was worth the wait.

This has the look, light brown with great clarity. The aroma is strong and sweet and fresh.

The taste is a perfect blend of sweet and bitter with not much harshness. This is a great example of the style at its best. The aftertaste is smooth.

This is a highly recommended barleywine. I wonder if I can get more.

 470 characters

Photo of bassboneman
3.2/5  rDev -20.6%
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!

 440 characters

Photo of JMS1512
3.84/5  rDev -4.7%
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.

 805 characters

Photo of Apellonious
3.96/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

22 oz bomber from Lil Roberts poured into a tulip glass. DOB 2/15/12. Bought 6/20/ 14.

A - dark brown with ruby highlights. One finger head that moves to a thin lace quickly. Cloudy.

S - dark fruit, fig, grains, oak/vanilla.

T - More of the same, heavy dose of malts and vanilla notes. Some heat is present but it is not overbearing. Bourbon and molasses.

M - Mouthfeel is very dense, carbonation almost nonexistent. Yep, things get sticky.

O - Meal in a glass. Definitely a sipper. Could have used a touch more carbonation/hop balance, but based on the age, I can understand that the hops and carbo is lost. Good to finally try a 2 yr barleywine, they wont last that long in my house.

 692 characters

Photo of TongoRad
3.87/5  rDev -4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

This is a review of an older bottle, and the hops are not as prominent as they would be in a fresh bottle.

Great color,albeit a bit cloudy, and a nice fine head that like to stick around for a while. The nose is almost barleywine all the way, with a hint of oak playing a supporting role deep down under the figs, berries, nuts, light caramel, showing as a touch of vanilla bringing up the rear. Not too much here in the way of hops or specialty malts, but that's how I prefer them anyway. The vanilla comes out a lot more on the palate, while the oak lingers in the finish- a very well-integrated and non-intrusive element. The elegant presentation of well-woven flavors, unfortunately, is marred by an underattenuated quality that dominates all else. Dry this out a touch, and it would do a lot for this beer. Solid effort, but it easily could have been on a whole other level.

 880 characters

Photo of StonedTrippin
3.78/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

this cant have spent too much time on wood, as the oak properties are way behind the malt, and the carbonation on this is still so robust. the color is a hazy dark amber, and its real heady for an oaked brew. the nose is slightly fruity, almost dried cherries or figs on it, with all the grain taking on a sweeter, molasses sort of complexion, with just a faint staleness. the flavor is rather uniform, with a real fruity finish and an impressively light body for both the alcohol content and the norms of the style. dark caramel sweetness from the grain, it tastes like unfermented wort, but the finish is much more resolved, dryer, and honestly rather clean for the start. cherry and maybe raisin fruit flavors as well. tons of bubbles on it, a well hidden abv, and a dangerously drinkable lighter body. i could stand to see a little more of a prominent oak profile on it, may mellow the grain sweetness, but i think the beer is solid as a more drinkable barleywine. not southern tiers best, but a beer not to pass up if you havent had one.

 1,042 characters

Photo of RollBounce
3.95/5  rDev -2%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Great toffee and Carmel tones bright mouthfeel for a 2012 vintage. Some orange hints light lacing. Some chocolate is there as well.

Overall better then expected, with the sweetness thatbi love but still needing to age a little more for my taste. Would like to pick up a bottle

 277 characters

Photo of mrfrancis
4.03/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

A: Pours a clear amber with a fizzy khaki head that dissipates quickly.

S: Muted aromas of brown sugar, caramel, toffee, chocolate, toasted almonds, charred oak, and mildly herbal, citrusy hops express themselves on the nose. As the beer warms a bit, a touch of prickly, warming alcohol becomes more apparent.

T: Notes of brown sugar, toasted almonds, charred oak, caramel, toffee, nougat, woody spices, chocolate, herbs, and lemon are underpinned by somewhat prickly alcohol. The finish is gentle and warming with a nice juxtaposition of citrusy, herbal hop and sweet, toasty caramel malt flavors.

M: Fairly full in body and a little sticky. Carbonation is crisper than I would generally expect for a beer of this style. Alcohol is subdued. This ale can hit hard, though it is very smooth, straight-forward, and drinkable compared to many other American barleywines.

O: A nice, approachable example of an American barleywine that displays just enough depth and complexity to remain intriguing. I could see this being a good introduction to the style for ale drinkers wanting to try something a bit stronger and heavier.

 1,124 characters

Photo of RoamingGnome
4.31/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Southern Tier Oak-Aged Back-burner

From 3/22/14 tasting notes. Split this one with my bro. This was poured out of a 22 oz bottle into a couple pint glasses.

A) Darker amber with a little haze. Not much head, maybe half a finger. A light tan collar remained. No lacing noted.

S) Nice sweet malt, good amount of the oak, and hint of raisin and dried cherries.

T) Follows the nose... Loving the sweetness of this brew. Light hop bitterness. Very woody.... The alcohol is very well hidden, even as this warms.

M) Smooth with a woody coating for your palate. Medium bodied with lighter carbonation.

O) I'd go for this again... A very nice barley wine to sip on. I've probably over scored a few barley wines in the past compared to this one, because it's definitely right up there.

 783 characters

Photo of glass_house
4.1/5  rDev +1.7%
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.

 1,078 characters

Photo of Roguer
4.19/5  rDev +4%
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.

 516 characters

Photo of BastardKing24
4.35/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Found this beer while looking for something tasty, and it looked to fit the bill. Oak aged barleywine, yummy

Appears out of the bottle in a dark red fashion/amber, with not alot of head to speak of.

Smells danky, loads of caramel malty goodness with a good hop bill to back it up. Also I can pick up oak too, it shows up right along with everything else so I can't wait to taste it. Dark and ripe light fruit smells also contribute.

Taste is very good with a tongue tickling burst of caramel, oak, cherries, and a sort of port like sweetness that sets this apart from beers like bigfoot or old guardian. Also is a decent hoppiness to the tune of fruity hops with low bitterness. This tastes more like an english barleywine.

Feel is low carbonation and a slick mouthfeel that coats the tongue and fills the cheeks full of flavor.

Glad I got to try this as I think its one of the better barleywines I've had.

 912 characters

Photo of mntlover
4.42/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Pours a deep murky burnt amber brown color, very nice looking. Head is small only a finger on an aggressive pour but leaves some lacing behind.

Aroma is wonderful sweet brown sugars, caramel, maple, molasses, figs add fruit notes. Rich sweet malt notes some light wood earthy vanilla hints mingled through out hops are way underneath a deep citrus, probably more when fresh but this has been aged some and is perfection now.

Taste is like the nose big huge chewy sugary malts. Can defiantly taste the oak and vanilla more then you smell it as it mingles through out the sugary molasses. Finish is dry oak and vanilla a lingering sweetness and a light alcohol burn that blends well.

Mouthfeel is big almost full with carbonation level that is mellow. Smooth easy sipping brew.

Overall, the shop employee recommended this not sure how old it is but he said it had some age on it and it was drinking well, well he wasn't lying this is great. More like an English Barley Wine as the hops have matured past in your face bitterness.

 1,030 characters

Photo of Ieatlambfries
4.07/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Poured a clear dark amber. Fluffy tan 3 inch head, which left sticky lace that clung though the whole beer.

Smell was dominated by hop oils. Dark fruits and malt were present.

Citrus hops hit you up front, followed by sweet malts, and dried fruits. Dates and honey, with an oak finish on the exhale. Warming alcohol is ever present. Yet still very drinkable.

Chewy mouthfeel, followed by slick hop oils that leave an oily resin on the tongue.

Overall quite an enjoyable Barleywine. One of the more balanced I've tasted. Quite drinkable despite the abv. Usually I like to cellar a Barlywine for a good year, but this was able to be enjoyed right away. I suspect the oak has tamed some of the over the top hops and sweetness that Barleywines usually display.

 763 characters

Photo of Treyliff
4.26/5  rDev +5.7%
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.

 912 characters

Photo of BrewMaven
4.06/5  rDev +0.7%
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.

 596 characters

Photo of Kuaff
4.58/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Served in a snifter, cellar temperature. An oak-aged barleywine? From a brewery I already know to be awesome? You could say I'm looking forward to this one... Let's get it on.

A pour of this barleywine creates a two-finger, sort of tan off-white head that slowly recedes. It's the color of a wall or piece of paper that once was pure white, but has been forgotten by time, faded and yellowed with age. The body is deep, dark ruby red. A murky, thick red that I can only barely see through.

The aroma delivers strong raisins, cherries and vanilla upfront without messing around. Some resinous hops mixed with maple syrup and leathery bourbon are enhancing things even further... caramel and butterscotch too... oh man, this is amazing.

The flavor is brimming with vanilla, cherries, plums, caramel, and woody hops. As if all of this wan't enough, the finish adds some sensual sweet breadiness.

Thick and syrupy feel. Sticky, too. I love it.

I kinda knew I was gonna love this before even cracking it open. And I did. Oh yes... I did.

 1,040 characters

Photo of BMMillsy
3.6/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Bottle to snifter at World of Beer Tioga. Pours a reddish brown, clear, with nearly no head. Aroma of sweet hard candies, bit of dank hops, but heavy on the caramel malt. Flavor is toffee, biscuit, hard candy, dry oak, vanilla root beer. Plenty going on but super sweet. I sould have shared this with someone, but it was only my wife and I at the bar and she won't drink it. Slick mouthfeel with lowish carbonation. Not bad, but just a bit much for me. On the sweet side and a bit more oak than I would have wanted.

 515 characters

Photo of dbossman
4.12/5  rDev +2.2%
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

 561 characters

Photo of NewGlarusFan
4.59/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a Pint glass

A) Pours thick a very dark brown color like caramel or maple syrup. Not too cloudy thick two finger head that lingers and leaves a good amount of lacing.

S) Toffee candy, caramel, brown sugar, Citra hops, oak

T) Sweet batter, same as aroma and a strong oak finish very pleasant.

M) low carbonation thick

O) Very good beer can't wait to have again. It's a great option for an American style barley wine

 436 characters

Photo of DrDemento456
4.28/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Got a Gobet of this for 5 bucks at the Beermuda.

A - Pours a rustic deep brown mildly hazy with a pillow like inch plus of head
S - Smells of aged citrus hops, butterscotch candies, bready malts, oak notes, and a decent amount of sherry.
T - Taste is smooth the hops are fairly aged and take a back seat but still have a tropical tone. The oak is also mixed well within giving a slight woody taste but the majority of the flavors are a sherry and a mild stingy medicinal cherry aspect.
M - Like the regular Backburner the body is thick and syrup like but goes down smooth.

Overall like the oak aged Pumking the oak really does round out the hops and malts, making some flavors stronger and some secondary flavors come to life. Truly a world class Barleywine.

 762 characters

Photo of MistahBeah
3.95/5  rDev -2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Pours a ruby brown. Cream colored head that disappears after half a minute or so. Minimal lacing. Some visible carbonation. A little cloudy

Smells of toasty malts. Vanilla and oak notes. Toffee and caramel

Taste follows the nose to the tee. Lots of toasty bready malts. Almost a fruit bread flavor. Woody oak with hints of vanilla. Sweet caramel and toffee in the finish. Slight alcohol heat

Feels full-bodied and coating. Some warmth and tingly spice from the alcohol

Overall not too bad. Approachable for those starting their forray into barleywines. not overly complex. The oak smooths the beer out and adds a nice secondary flavor profile. Affordable (8.99), easy-drinking and tasty but not the greatest

 711 characters

Photo of JWeldon
3.48/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

750ml poured into a tulip at 46F

A: pours a dark, reddish amber with a half-finger of light khaki head

S: fig and raisin, bready with hints of oak and cherry

T: Dates and raisin with cherry, toffee and oak

M: medium bodied with a big malty beginning and a light hop finish. Balanced booziness

O: A solid beer, but not a showstopper. I definitely enjoyed it, and it gained some complexity as it warmed up from the 46F pour temp. There’s just a “stand-out” element missing that places it behind other barlywine-styled brews I’ve drunk.

 546 characters

Photo of DIM
4.34/5  rDev +7.7%
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.

 598 characters

Photo of ryan1788a5
4/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bottle poured into a snifter.

A: Red-brown in color. Good clarity. A quarter inch of beige head quickly dies, leaving only a few small spots of lacing as a legacy.

S: Chewy brown caramel, brown molasses, brown sugar, toasted bread crust. Toasted oak and light vanilla backing. Fig and date fruitiness. Subtle citrus and earthy leaves from the hops.

T: Brown sugar, molasses, and chewy caramel up front. Toast and bread crust. Oak has an established presence on the mid-palate. It comes across as toasty and lightly seasoned with a warming hint of vanilla. Touch of spicy alcohol toward the back end. Just a slight suggestion of citrus peel a subtle herbal, oily spice coming from the hops. Fading finish of caramel, bread crust, and toasty, seasoned oak.

M: Thick in body. Viscous and very chewy. Light sensation of warming alcohol and a gentle touch of hop astringency that has almost been ironed out.

O: A sure winter sipper of a beer. It’s very nicely balanced and the oak is well integrated. Alcohol is very tame, even at the 9.6%. A solid buy when it’s available.

 1,084 characters

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Oak-Aged Backburner (Imperial Barley Wine Style Ale) from Southern Tier Brewing Company
89 out of 100 based on 80 ratings.