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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)

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279 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 279
Reviews: 78
rAvg: 4.05
pDev: 9.14%
Wants: 24
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: 279 | Reviews: 78 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of prototypic
4/5  rDev -1.2%

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.

prototypic, Apr 15, 2012
Photo of weeare138
3.63/5  rDev -10.4%

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.

weeare138, Apr 13, 2012
Photo of jwat
4.5/5  rDev +11.1%

jwat, Apr 08, 2012
Photo of philbe311
4.05/5  rDev 0%

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...

philbe311, Apr 07, 2012
Photo of BeerLover99
4.1/5  rDev +1.2%

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

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.


BeerLover99, Apr 05, 2012
Photo of Dan25D
2.75/5  rDev -32.1%

Dan25D, Apr 02, 2012
Photo of BluBeers
4.5/5  rDev +11.1%

BluBeers, Mar 31, 2012
Photo of GrindFatherBob
3.75/5  rDev -7.4%

GrindFatherBob, Mar 28, 2012
Photo of chevre
4/5  rDev -1.2%

chevre, Mar 27, 2012
Photo of Brutesling57
4.5/5  rDev +11.1%

Brutesling57, Mar 27, 2012
Photo of kawilliams81
3.58/5  rDev -11.6%

Served in a Alesmith Horny Devil snifter.

A- pours a dark copper with a 2 finger light tan head. Nice thin leopard spotting of lacing around the glass.

S- oak/wood, citrus and some dark fruit.

T- sweet caramel, citrus, and wood. Has some hop bitterness.

M- medium body and carbonation. There's a hint of alcohol.

O- good Barleywine but not very complex. Wish this beer picked up some more flavors from the oak.

kawilliams81, Mar 27, 2012
Photo of PeteRiz
3.5/5  rDev -13.6%

PeteRiz, Mar 25, 2012
Photo of ConorThomas
4.5/5  rDev +11.1%

ConorThomas, Mar 23, 2012
Photo of silentjay
3.68/5  rDev -9.1%

deep, yet still translucent mahogany with a two-fingered khaki head that quickly settles, leaving behind chunky lacing.

oaky aroma (virgin oak maybe, not getting much liquor characteristic) gives a sugary, vanilla aroma on top of the malty, fruity, and caramelly aroma.

starts fruity, woody, and sweet. sweet dark fruits come in next with some caramel, vanilla and toasted malts. boozy from start to finish.

medium bodied with subtle carbonation, yet not quite providing the syrupy body that would make this ideal.

adds a bit of complexity on top of the base beer, which was lacking a bit in that department. Doesn't quite become a complex, savory monster as many oak/barrel/bourbon aged barleywines are able to. It's better than the original, but not worth seeking out extensively.

silentjay, Mar 21, 2012
Photo of ShemRahBoo
4/5  rDev -1.2%

ShemRahBoo, Mar 20, 2012
Photo of Jsmitty1967
4/5  rDev -1.2%

Jsmitty1967, Mar 20, 2012
Photo of BEERchitect
4.03/5  rDev -0.5%

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.

BEERchitect, Mar 19, 2012
Photo of barczar
3.73/5  rDev -7.9%

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.

barczar, Mar 19, 2012
Photo of Motozappa
3.98/5  rDev -1.7%

Upon the eyeballs: Slightly unimpressive with deep amber color & little, if no lacing.

Upon the schnozzola: Fruity like fermented figs, alcohol is apparent, an earthly oaken odor, vanilla validation, whiffs of wine & the tannins transpire (either from new oak or vintage vino barrels).

Upon the taste-buds: Wow pow, it's hard to tell what prevails at first, but there's a definite presence of sweetness, turning earthy, with fig notes, then fig newtons (a mild breadiness arises), a warmth, then alcohol & then back to a lingering, yet mild sweetness :)

Within the trap: Very light carbonation & perhaps not quite enough? Smooth and mildly creamy. A little warmth, probably from the high alcohol content at 9.6%

Drinking vessel & package: Tulip/Goblet from a 22 ounce bot.

All in all, a pleasure to slowly swill, but although it is well crafted & very complex, it's perhaps too much so for my liking in the Barley Wine style!

Motozappa, Mar 18, 2012
Photo of BEERMILER12
4.2/5  rDev +3.7%

Bottled 02/15/12

A: Pours a dark amber color with almost no head

S: Very malty with notes of caramel, oak, vanilla, and hops

T: Again very malty. Starts with caramel sweetness, tobacco, oak, vanilla, some alcohol, and then finishes with hops but isn't overly bitter

M: Medium-full bodied with light-moderate carbonation. Slightly slick from the hops

O: Very much like the base beer, only with added notes of vanilla and oak. I like the complexity of this, even though it's difficult to get past the sweetness in some cases. The oak and vanilla come out more and more as this warms up, so it's good to let this sit for about 20 minutes before it really shines and becomes a different beer than the regular

BEERMILER12, Mar 16, 2012
Photo of vitters03
4.5/5  rDev +11.1%

vitters03, Mar 10, 2012
Photo of avalon07
4/5  rDev -1.2%

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.

avalon07, Mar 08, 2012
Photo of joshtrich
3.5/5  rDev -13.6%

joshtrich, Mar 07, 2012
Photo of coz
4/5  rDev -1.2%

coz, Mar 04, 2012
Photo of WVbeergeek
3.4/5  rDev -16%

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.

WVbeergeek, Mar 04, 2012
Oak-Aged Backburner (Imperial Barley Wine Style Ale) from Southern Tier Brewing Company
90 out of 100 based on 279 ratings.