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)

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BA SCORE
90
outstanding

303 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 303
Reviews: 78
rAvg: 4.05
pDev: 9.14%
Wants: 25
Gots: 46 | FT: 5
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:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: MasterSki on 02-01-2012)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 303 | Reviews: 78 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Nobcefus
4.25/5  rDev +4.9%

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 gpblackgt
4/5  rDev -1.2%

Photo of SSEngelbrecht
4/5  rDev -1.2%

Photo of RandyBoBandy
4.75/5  rDev +17.3%

Photo of pottergator
4.25/5  rDev +4.9%

Photo of zac16125
4.23/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

22oz bottle into a snifter
no bottling dates

A: Pours an orange-ish brown with ruby highlights when held to light. 1 fingers width of light tan head dissipates down fairly quickly, but leaves lots of lacing.

S: Caramel/toffee, very nutty, apple, candied sugar. Quite sweet, along with some floral hops, and subtle oak that I probably wouldn't have picked up if I hadn't known this was the oak aged version.

T: Follows the nose. Candied sugar, caramel and toffee, nutty. Some hop bitterness on the finish. Again it is quite sweet, deliciously so. I often find American Barleywines too hop forward and at times astringent. That is not the case with this one, as although the hops are certainly more prevalent than most English Barleywines, they still take a back seat to the sweet malts. Nice balance of flavors here.

M/D: Full bodied, appropriately low carbonation that makes it quite smooth, ABV is very well controlled, and drinkability is excellent for the style.

O: Excellent American Barley Wine, one of the best Ive had. Id drink this again in a heartbeat.

Photo of ThisWangsChung
3.41/5  rDev -15.8%
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.

Photo of Zbeetleman
4/5  rDev -1.2%

Photo of IronLover
4.34/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Chestnut brown in color with a reddish hue and a slight haze. Poured with a short beige foam that quickly reduced to a wispy cap. Sweet caramel malt, prune and ripe apple aromas with spicy herbal and citrus hop aromas in the background. Vanilla aromas surface and intensify as this warms. Full bodied, chewy feel with lazy rich carbonation and a pleasant spicy tanginess. Vanilla, ripe fruit, apple and prune flavors throughout. Bready and caramel flavors up front. Tangy, peppery, herbal flavors through the middle that transition to citrusy, bitter hops at the end. Finishes with a sticky sweet maltiness on the edges with a delayed hop bitterness down the middle. Incredibly malty yet a plethora of flavors and hop character.

Photo of steamboatbrewer
4.25/5  rDev +4.9%

Photo of WOLFGANG
4.5/5  rDev +11.1%

Photo of paintchip
4.75/5  rDev +17.3%

Photo of hustlesworth
4.49/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

A-pours a clear ruby red with an amazingly thick and creamy cap of beige foam. This head is just ridiculous. Outstanding retention and bubbly texture and thick blankets of everlasting lace. Absolutely perfect for the style. ***theres STILL a gulp of foam left at the end of the glass. Gosh.

S- hops dominate the aroma, as shown by the IPA-esque foam. Clean and floral bitterness and very very spicy peppercorn and chile. Bold alcohol vapors seem barrel-concentrated similar to whiskey and the oak aromas are powerful and smoothly sweet in the form of cured wood and earthy tannins, but low on vanilla. Half dried orange and sun dried tomato with some mild sandalwood, caramel and toffee notes. Very spicy, earthy, woodsy and manly.

T- as spicy as it smells from this combination of bold hops. Intense oak flavor has been absorbed into every corner of the flavor profile. Huge tannin character and again, low on sweetness. Slight smokiness lends a suggestion of a less peaty Islay scotch and the hops play out a grassy lemony bitterness along with the bitterness of alcohol. Peppery and warm, very bitter but balanced by the oak flavors and concentrated grainy malt. The finish is long and whiskied, with the lingering taste of a saturated barrel and golden raisins.

MF- very low carbonation fades to almost nil by the bottom of an 8oz snifter, adding more whiskiness to the whole shebang. Backburner doesn't feel as hot as it smells and tastes but still has some warming effect on this cool summer night. The body is thickly malted and akin to a thin syrup which is completely acceptable considering the angels have taken their share and surely some H2O along with it. Eisbock concentrated feeling. Sticky and dry, tannic and unashamed. Not for Lil bitches.

D- could be the oakiest beer I've ever had and it's dope when you think of it as a whiskey although it has a distinct freshness to it also. The sheer amount of tannins has my pilot light flickering. A little more sweetness in the flavor would be appreciated but it's a beast as it is. This is a cigar beer if I've ever had one. Something dark to compliment the spiciness.

Photo of aslamm75
4/5  rDev -1.2%

Photo of JamesShoemaker
3.75/5  rDev -7.4%

Photo of TheBeerAlmanac
3.75/5  rDev -7.4%

Photo of JohnBender
4.25/5  rDev +4.9%

Photo of Grinky
3.5/5  rDev -13.6%

Photo of oberon
4.05/5  rDev 0%
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 aleslover
4.25/5  rDev +4.9%

Photo of JamesMN
3.95/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Deep mahogany body with unexpected clarity. Poured a one finger cream-colored head that has now dissipated to a thin film of suds, leaving good lacing.

Aroma: Rich malts oozing with caramel, apple and a touch of hearty spice (like one would find in hot cider). Not much in terms of hops and reminiscent of a Scotch Ale.

Taste: Of the many flavors, the oak is the most prominent. It brings out an almost cinnamon or nutmeg spice note in the grain. This creates a sort of cinnamon apple flavor that gives it an almost candy-like quality. Although it is hard to define what hop flavor is present, it is easier to detect the bitterness that is contributed by them. The bitterness starts about halfway through and continues on through to echo in the aftertaste. This strikes a good balance with the somewhat sweet malt flavor. Once the hop bitterness has faded after each sip, the heat in the back of the throat kicks in. Although I’d classify 9.6% ABV as being only in the upper middle part of the craft beer strength range, it definitely packs a punch in this Barleywine.

Mouthfeel: Almost full in body but not quite heavy feeling. The carbonation is on par with what is expected from an oak-aged brew and brings a lightness to the drinkability. Although classified as more of a sipper, it is easy to take this beast down.

Final Thoughts: I’d been curious to try Backburner for a while now (well ever since I grew to appreciate this style) and while not the beer I expected, it did impress. Just when I’d begun to peg the American Barleywine style as nothing more than citrusy malt-bombs, Backburner comes along and redefines that trend. With characteristics of both an American Barleywine, English Barleywine, and Scotch Ale, Backburner is a treat for those seek out the finer things. Would I drink it again? Sure.

Photo of b1515152004
4/5  rDev -1.2%

Photo of djre4orm
3/5  rDev -25.9%

Photo of Hopswagger
3.63/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

P: Murky mahogany color with a fast fading taupe froth. Wet lacing forms on the sides.

S: Heavy wood aroma, vanilla, sweet roasted caramel malt, creole spices, roasted barley, and a faint old milk aroma.

T/M: Super sweet upfront with toasted caramel, syrup, brown sugar, drinks similar to really sweet tea but with loads of smoldered barley and wood. Hops are earthy and very mild while faint chocolate lingers in the backdrop. A nice full body with moderate carbonation.

O: I hate to say it but I'm not a fan of this one. I like that the oak cuts the sweetness but its just too understated for the brigade of sweetness that attacks the palate. It's like drinking overly sweetened tea. Well put together and easy drinking gives this a bump in points. I read reviews about a strong hop profile so I really want to try a fresh version.

Oak-Aged Backburner (Imperial Barley Wine Style Ale) from Southern Tier Brewing Company
90 out of 100 based on 303 ratings.