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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
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 80 | Hads: 317
Photo of TheBrewo
3.64/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

This was served from the tap at Tap and Mallet in Rochester, NY into a Great Lakes Brewing snifter. The brew glowed a golden ruby red, holding a two finger tan head of tight bubbles. This left spotty froth around the glass as it went slowly away. Carbonation appeared light, and no haze or sediment was noted. The nose blows your socks off!! There was the deepest butter and oak, mixing and flourishing with freshness and robustness. It was musky, yet warming and spicy. There was maple syrupy sugars and thickness, and light booze to the back. Our first impression was that it was boozy and buttery, but not nearly as good as the nose. The flavoring opened with light caramel grains and syrupy sweetness. The booze cut everything, moving to the peak with unforgiving fusel bite. Black pepper, oak, paler malts, and faint honey flowed on the back. The booze really killed a lot of any remaining flavoring, leaving booze, wood and caramel to the very end. The aftertaste rumbled on with vodka, nail polish, plastic phenols, and more even oaky musk. The body was thinner than expected, with medium carbonation. There was light coating, but ultimately fusel bite to suck the palate bone dry. There was nice slurp and smack, but thin on froth or cream. The abv was appropriate, and the beer was very slow drinking.

Overall, by far the best thing about this brew was the nose. This is the closest nose we’ve found to be nearly as oaky and smooth as the Bourbon County series. The rest of the tasting falls from there drastically. The flavoring is hugely boozy throughout, with fusel fire burning away the rest of the palate, and decimating all flavor. The feel was also thinner than expected, again, taking away from the experience. (1,730 characters)

Photo of StaveHooks
2.96/5  rDev -26.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

On tap at Southern Tier brewery.

A - Poured a mahogany brown with a thin cream cap. Very pretty beer.

S - Lots of oak, buttery caramel, vanilla, rich candy toffee, burnt raisins, licorice, alcohol.

T - Super dense malt, oak was very heavy, vanilla, burnt brown sugar, candy toffee, burnt raisins, pine and hints of citrus.

M - Full body, creamy feel, low carbonation, warming.

This beer is either way too young or just doesn't work. Very raw and powerful flavors all around. Nothing seemed to mesh well. I'd like to try a bottled version with some time on it. (565 characters)

Photo of TheMultiYeast
3.8/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours clear amber/orange with a small head and bits of lacing.

Smell is on par. Slghtly sweet, caramel malts, burnt sugar, light booze, light floral hops, some pine.

Malt forward..oak comes through more in taste with some spice notes..figs, more sweetness, little bitterness, little booze.

Easier to drink than many of this style

Nice BW, falls into its style. (364 characters)

Photo of TwelveOunces
4.12/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 Oz bottle poured into a Duvel tulip

A- Crystal clear deep dark ruby red. About one finger of a white/tan head. Pretty good alcohol legs on the glass.

S- This is one hoppy smelling barley wine. The hop profile is showing signs of aging but is still rather pleasant. It is citrusy, has an overly ripened feel to it. A little caramel sweetness. A slight vanilla oakyness. Really nice smelling barleywine.

T- Big beer. A big bitterness is the first thing here. Followed up by that really hoppy profile. It is astringent and citrusy. The flavors are pineapple, raisins, grapefruit. Sticky feel from the malt load. The malts carry a lot of caramel and toffee. Really helps balance out the bitterness. Not as much oak as I was expecting, it does bring a dry vanilla taste with it. Some alcohol taste but hardly noticable.

M- Big and bitter. Drinks about as easy as you would expect. Leaves behind a lot of the hop taste. Nice sized mouthfeel to it.

O- This is a solid Barley wine. Its very hop forward which leaves me to think that this was only aged for a few months on oak chips. If it was aged for a longer period of time The hop flavor would have completely disappeared and I think the oak would have been more present. But, a great beer and for 7$, it is a steal. (1,270 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 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 korguy123
4.17/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle into tulip.

A- Clear, dark mahogany pour with red highlights. Half finger off white head. Lacing is minimal.

S- Nice sweetness, dark fruits, oak, vanilla, brown sugar and a touch of bitterness and alcohol.

T- Oak right up front, brown sugar, vanilla, date, figs and some pear. Nice roasted malts. Bitterness is quite low for an American, seems almost English inspired. Very mellow in the finish with a touch of alcohol.

M- Light to medium body. Very chewy, slightly warm in the finish.

O- I've never had regular Backburner so I can't say if this is better or worse, but I can tell where the oak really shines through and helps this beer. (649 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 ThickNStout
4.55/5  rDev +13.2%
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. (550 characters)

Photo of Thickfreakness
4.18/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- A dark chestnut brown/cherry wood pour into my Bruery tulip. The light tan head fades rather quickly, but leaves some nice sticky lacing that doesn't want to let go. Shines a beautiful ruby red when the light hits it.

S- Caramel, vanilla, figs, prunes, toasted and charred wood. Little hints of cherry lollipops, subtle sweet, candied citrus, and black licorice. This is deeper than a Leonard Cohen lyric.

T- Licorice covered in caramel... sweet and citrusy! Some grapefruit, orange peel, and vanilla. Wonderful dried fruits! Notes of cherry, plums, figs, and red grapes. Some hints of melted buttered popcorn and toasted oak.

M- Bitter/citrus/sweet/licorice... but with a buttery feel. On the thick and oily side which is nice! No sign of carbonation, and the alcohol doesn't really show it's head.

O- Silky smooth, sweet, bitter, citrusy, with enough notes to keep even the best playing!!! Awesome blend of caramel sweetness, bitter citrus/pine, licorice, and buttered popcorn. Nice mouthfeel! Nice stickiness!!! (1,024 characters)

Photo of jtingue
3.95/5  rDev -1.7%
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. (1,160 characters)

Photo of CloudStrife
4.2/5  rDev +4.5%
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. (953 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 crossovert
4.09/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

650ml bottle. DOB 02/15/12

It pours a clear reddish brown with a quickly-dissipating off-white head. It leaves some decent lacing.

The smell is nice. Very American-tinged which I usually appreciate in the aroma of barleywines. Nice hop smells, though not super hoppy with some candied orange sort of smell. It pairs with just an amazing malt smell and beautiful oak notes. This brew smells amazing imo.

The flavor is good too. More earthiness, more cloying caramel-like sweetness, but overall nice. Fruit notes creep in after a few quaffs. I feel like the oak doesn't shine as much in the flavor. I think my tolerance for alcohol flavor is strengthening because this one doesn't seem to bad, at least i a not getting any annoying alcoholic notes like others have had. (770 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 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 philbe311
4.07/5  rDev +1.2%
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... (1,060 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)

Photo of kawilliams81
3.58/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

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. (415 characters)

Photo of silentjay
3.7/5  rDev -8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

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. (787 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 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 Motozappa
3.97/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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! (931 characters)

Photo of BEERMILER12
4.17/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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 (709 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)

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