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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
89
very good

80 Reviews
THE BROS
-
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 80
Hads: 317
rAvg: 4.02
pDev: 3.98%
Wants: 28
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
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Reviews: 80 | Hads: 317
Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.97/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to jmgrub for sharing this one at Benny’s tasting.

Pours a clear brown with a foamy tan head that settles to an oily film on top of the beer. Small dots of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of malt, brown sugar, caramel, citrus zest, and alcohol. Taste is much the same with a medium citrus zest bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a good level of carbonation with a crisp but medium bodied mouthfeel. Overall, this is a good beer that is tasty but really doesn’t come across as oak-aged in the aroma or flavor. (563 characters)

Photo of StonedTrippin
3.78/5  rDev -6%
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 BEERchitect
4.03/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

It never gets old, the effect that oak has on alcoholic beverages. Whether it's bourbon, scotch, wine, or beer- the maturity and control that the wood has over the beverage is undeniable and regal.

Pouring with a bright garnet hue, the beer shows surprising clarity as the carbonation penetrates the liquid en route to build a dense and creamy light tan, almost yellowish head. The barley-stained foam laces the glass and retains with confidence and masculinity.

The full spectrum of ale aromas rise from the glass with individual scents of molasses and toast, plumbs and raisins, malt and grain, citrus and pine, rum and oak... the complementary notes go on and on with balance, strength, and most importantly void of off-character.

Much the same can be said for flavor as the plethora of taste begin as caramel, molasses, malty sweetness, and medium toast. More fruity esters of plumbs, grapes, dates, figs, prunes, raisins, and cherries carry the sweetness across mid palate and begin to weave into the rummy alcohol taste. A balance of hops deliver notes of grapefruit, pine resin, and grassy elements, again at mid palate and fuel a medium bitterness in finish to complement the receding malty-dry taste.

Very full flavored with creamy and supple carbonation that's mouth coating, robust, and strongly textured. The beer remains creamy and full until deep into finish where the hop bitterness, alcohol warmth, and toasty-dryness closes the taste with a malty, semi-dry texture.

This oaked version of Backburner remains well balanced between malt and hops for a perfect after dinner substitute to port wines or sherries. The complexity of oak gives an overall woodish taste and powdery texture but also amplify the caramel, vanillans, and char while rounding off the rougher edges of grassy and sharp citrusy hops. (1,827 characters)

Photo of oberon
4.06/5  rDev +1%
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. (564 characters)

Photo of WVbeergeek
3.45/5  rDev -14.2%
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. (1,046 characters)

Photo of superspak
4.22/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22 ounce bottle into snifter, bottled on 2/15/2012. Pours slightly hazy deep ruby red color with a 1 finger dense cream colored head with good retention, that reduces to a thin lace cap that lingers. Light spotty soapy lacing clings on the glass. Aromas of big orange zest, caramel, raisin, molasses, toast, toffee, oak, floral, pine, grass, and floral earthiness. Fantastic aromas with great balance and complexity of malt notes with moderate hop and oak balance. Taste of orange zest, caramel, raisin, toast, toffee, brown sugar, brown bread, floral, pine, oak, grass, and floral earthiness. Minimal bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of orange zest, raisin, caramel, brown sugar, toffee, toast, brown bread, floral, light pine, and hop earthiness on the finish for a good bit. Damn nice complexity and balance of deep malt flavors with moderate hop balance; and zero cloying sweetness present after the finish. Medium carbonation and moderately full bodied; with a creamy, fairly slick, and lightly sticky mouthfeel that is very nice. Alcohol is very well hidden with hardly any warming noticed after the finish. Overall this is a highly excellent barleywine! All around nice balance and complexity of malt flavors with moderate hops; and dangerously smooth to sip on. A highly enjoyable offering. (1,312 characters)

Photo of weeare138
3.65/5  rDev -9.2%
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. (349 characters)

Photo of barleywinefiend
4.27/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Poured a dark amber color with good carbonation leaving a small dirty white cap, some bubbles and a light amount of lacing

S: Nice and sweet. Notes of caramel, oak, vanilla, pine resin are most evident

T: Wow. Me likey from the first sip. A nicemalty sweetness with some wood tannins, toffee, caramel, liht raisins and light vanilla kick with booze. The beer is a bit sticky, sweet and coating but drinks well and super tasty. The finish is a little sticky but very persistent on the oak.

M: Medium to full bodied with light-moderate carbonation. A bit slick, sticky

O: I will drink this again and again. My biggest inital complaint with non BA version is that it super bitter, like Bigfoot, which I can not stand. The oak really rounds out the beer and makes it very plesant and enjoyable. (797 characters)

Photo of rhoadsrage
4.12/5  rDev +2.5%
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. (761 characters)

Photo of DrDemento456
4.28/5  rDev +6.5%
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 avalon07
4/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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

S: A hoppy smell, of course, with a somewhat sweet aspect to it as well.

T: Tasted of hops (not as much as I would have thought), malt, caramel, the advertised oak, and that sweet, fruity, almost citrusy quality. The oak may have actually mellowed this beer a bit too much, but it's still a good flavor.

M: A well-carbonated beer with a smooth, clean finish. Medium-bodied.

O: Not my favorite barleywine, but drinkable nonetheless. (596 characters)

Photo of barczar
3.77/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a clear deep amber with garnet highlights and a quarter inch cream colored head that dissipates slowly, leaving a ring around the rim.

Aroma is sweet malt, caramel, booze, and a but ifsoft grapefruit. There's a slight hint of vanilla and pine.

The flavor is somewhat dominated by booze, with a backbone of fairly sweet caramel malt and a hint of vanilla. Citrus hop is present throughout. There's a hint of oak at the slightly bitter finish.

Body is moderate, with fairly low carbonation, ending with alcohol warmth.

Overall, a pretty tasty beer. Alcohol is definitely evident. I expected a little more hop presence for the style. (640 characters)

Photo of OWSLEY069
3.11/5  rDev -22.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours a clean orange-ish to amber color with a light tan head. In the aroma, mellow bourbon, small dark fruits, and alcohol. In the taste, alcohol to oaky bourbon, dark fruit, and licorice. An alcohol bite and a medium bodied mouthfeel, with a small dry bourbon, vanilla, and alcohol like aftertaste. Too big, like a shot inside a barleywine. It's just too much for me. (369 characters)

Photo of mrfrancis
4.03/5  rDev +0.2%
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 jmdrpi
4.05/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

22 oz bottle, no date.

appears a deep brown with brilliant red highlights. nice thick off-white head. decent retention and lacing. rich boozy aroma. spicy, herbal, wood. earthy hops, complex. taste has a good balance of caramel malt, bitter hops, and slight alcohol burn. a bit syrupy, coats the tongue, mild carbonation, which works. nice beers to slowly sip and enjoy. opens up and is quite nice as it warms. (412 characters)

Photo of Bung
4.03/5  rDev +0.2%
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. (498 characters)

Photo of BMMillsy
3.6/5  rDev -10.4%
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 rlee1390
4.09/5  rDev +1.7%
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. (312 characters)

Photo of prototypic
4/5  rDev -0.5%
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. (1,883 characters)

Photo of ThisWangsChung
3.41/5  rDev -15.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

22oz bottle (repeatedly poured) into a snifter.

A: Pours a dark chestnut color with a beautiful glow. Given the small glass size, there isn't much head - just a thin off-white film, and even that retains itself poorly. The beautiful shade gives it a few extra brownie points.

S: Lots of caramel, toffee, and earth in this one. The hops seem faded at this point (not unexpected) with only faint notes of melon, peach, and lemongrass. I also pick up additional oaky, vanilla tones as it opens up in the glass. Competent without bowling me over in any way.

T: This opens very fruity on the tongue. There are still some front-loaded hop flavors (it's almost like a lemon cake, in a manner), without any obnoxious bitterness anywhere on the palate. Finish is subtly oaky, but more dominated by sweet, buttery vanilla - and after some time, some boozy touches. The end result is a very sweet brew best suited for dessert, but with a surprising drinkability level. Not amazingly complex, though.

M: It's thick yet soft on the palate - as a barleywine should be - though perhaps a bit too prickly at times. Once carbonation softens, the full texture is allowed to shine through. Oak helps to dry the finish up slightly; this is why it's relatively drinkable.

O: This seems to strike a middle ground between the hoppy American barleywine and the sweet, desserty English barleywine - and truth be told, I'm more reminded of the latter here. Oddly for the style, this is best when it's very cold; it becomes rather imbalanced and even harsh when warmed up sufficiently. (1,563 characters)

Photo of DrinkSlurm
4.03/5  rDev +0.2%
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. (362 characters)

Photo of jrenihan
3.95/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Beer is a very dark amber, with a moderately sized beige head. Good lacing, OK retention.

Lots of oak in the nose, along with caramel malt, vanilla, some dry dark fruit. Nice smell, the oak is strong but blends in well.

Taste consists of caramel, oak, raisin, vanilla. Some bitterness from the hops, and perhaps a bit of grass and citrus peaking through the rest of the beer. The hope and the barrel leave the beer not as sweet as it probably would be otherwise (which I think would be quite a bit, given how my mouth is getting dried out).

Beer is full bodied, but a little thinner than expected. Moderate carbonation. Dries out the mouth in a big way.

Overall, pretty good. Glad to have tried it. (705 characters)

Photo of DIM
4.34/5  rDev +8%
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 n2185
4/5  rDev -0.5%
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. (699 characters)

Photo of BeerLover99
4.09/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: tan/rust body, trace white head,
dainty lacing ring

S: oak, barley, mild whiff of caramel/toffee

T: sweet caramel, big oak, solid barley, malt,
little boozy, oily/mild bitter finish.

M: med body, oily/mild tongue prick mouth
smooth

O: Usually LOVE every bomber by Southern Tier,
but this one was just above average.
I would get again, since it is one of my fav styles.

NICE, NOT MUST HAVE! (398 characters)

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Oak-Aged Backburner (Imperial Barley Wine Style Ale) from Southern Tier Brewing Company
89 out of 100 based on 80 ratings.