Lift Bridge Brewery

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Lift Bridge Brewery
Minnesota, United States
English Barleywine
Ranked #155
Ranked #11,703
3.98 | pDev: 14.07%
Jan 08, 2023
Nov 19, 2011
The Commander™ is our English-Style Barleywine ale brewed with heavy fists of malts and subtle, sweet Cardamom. Aged in bourbon barrels, its bold, complex flavor reaches heights measured only by the building of its namesake. This 12.5% ABV treat is best enjoyed in smaller portions when you have some time to savor it, between now and 2020.
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Photo of ZAP
Reviewed by ZAP from Minnesota

4.7/5  rDev +18.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75
2017 Vintage/Bottle Number 0490

Flat out phenomenal beer. I loved it at the brew pub and this bottle confirms that.

Such a rich maltiness.... Vanilla wafer cookies...caramel.... barrel aging does not overwhelm this or add significant impressions but I'm sure it contributes to that vanilla wafer cookie flavor..just a little light licorice like touch from the cardamon...could do without that...would love to see a version without cardamon...

Body is full but not immense....medium to light carbonation...delicious beer and you'd never guess the ABV at 12.5....was thinking 7.5% maybe....

One of my favorite beers this year..
Jan 08, 2023
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Reviewed by JayQue from Virginia

3.91/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4
2018 Batch. Bought a bottle at Bernie's Wine and Liquor in Fargo ND. I have a wooden map of the US with spaces for beer bottle caps, I was looking for North Dakota beers in bottles but no luck!!! It seems that North Dakota brewers are using mostly cans!!! I did score a Montana beer cap and this Minnesota beer. Pours a hazy, murky medium brown color with a beige head that fades fast. No lacing to speak of. Aroma is pretty good. Caramel malt, maltiness in general and some bourbon barrel flavoring and oak bitterness. Big beer/lot of malt flavor. The caramel malt, bready malt and bourbon barrel flavoring are just right. not enough hoppiness for it to be classified as an American Barleywine. Mouthfeel is strong , rich and malty. Some alcohol presence and interesting bourbon barrel and oak bitterness in the finish. This is a good beer, strong but well mannered. Aged enough not to be harsh.
Jun 26, 2021
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Reviewed by MNAle from Minnesota

3.84/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75
2019 vintage. Murky brown color under a short off-white head that is gone in less than a minute, leaving a creamy ring. Even with a backlight, there is not much visible through the murk. The appearance is kind of ugly; surprising for such a "young" beer.

The smell is very barley-wine-like, dark fruit, brown sugar, toffee, alcohol, along with a sweet breadish aroma.

The taste is very different, however. Quite spicy, almost a cinnamon flavor, backed by the sweet bready malts and brown/burnt sugar. I'm not sure what cardamom tastes like; perhaps that is what I am identifying as cinnamon. There is a solid bitter hit almost immediately, which continues throughout, fading a bit in the aftertaste. The finish is spicy, sweet, a bit bitter, toffee, with a nice alcohol warmth. This is a pleasant beer, but more of a holiday warmer than a (quoting the label now) "bona fide barleywine ale".

Moderate body, just a bit on the slick side.

Overall, this is a really good beer, good enough it may make my holiday list for next year, but it is decidedly a different take on what a barley wine should be (but, then, the cardamom on the label tells you that), so I would not recommend this to someone who wants to taste a barley wine for the first time. It's a really, really nice sipping beer to finish the evening with, though.
Feb 01, 2021
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Reviewed by ovaltine from Indiana

4.5/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5
Pours a beautiful dark copper color with a tan head that dissipates quickly. I was expecting no head from a 2014 bottle so I’m already in bonusville! The nose has a heaping helping of toffee and caramel aromas, some fruity notes from the cardamom, and the slightest hint of the barrel with a subtle boozy note.

The subtle boozy note from the barrel continues on the taste, but it appears WAAAAAY after you take a drink of this - there’s big caramel and toffee flavors, the fruity sweetness, and then, after a substantial delay, a boozy warming sits in your chest. Wow.

This is executed exceptionally well. I was a bit concerned about how this would hold up after 6+ years and 2 long trips, but my concerns were unfounded, because this is a world-class barleywine.
Feb 01, 2021
Rated: 3.9 by Dharmelink from Wisconsin

Dec 27, 2020
Rated: 4 by MonkeyPilates from Minnesota

Dec 15, 2020
Rated: 5 by Can_if_you_can from Minnesota

Jul 23, 2020
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Reviewed by gatornation from Arizona

3.89/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4
Pours a cola color with a tan head.Smell of caramel,fruit,and spice. Taste followed nose yet had more spice than i would like,notes of dark fruit and vanilla. Mouth feel is thick and hoppy with cardomen in the finish. glad this is now available in a 12oz bottle.
Apr 16, 2020
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Rated by beer_banse from Wisconsin

4.08/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4
22oz Bottle - Year 2016 - Bottle Number 0739 - Overall a solid barleywine
Apr 13, 2020
Rated: 4.5 by d5001986 from Wisconsin

Apr 03, 2020
Rated: 3.95 by bschmidt_37 from Illinois

Mar 17, 2020
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Rated by BarrelAgedG from California

4.38/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25
2011 Vintage........ maybe waited a little too long.... oh well.. it was actually pretty delicious and tasted of caramel and vanilla!
Mar 16, 2020
Rated: 4.17 by Burgy from Minnesota

Oct 31, 2019
Rated: 4.05 by jakea from Wisconsin

Oct 20, 2019
Rated: 4.05 by TheGent from New Jersey

Sep 01, 2019
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Rated by brutalfarce from Connecticut

3.08/5  rDev -22.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3
Thin boozy overly sweet just not for me
Aug 31, 2019
Rated: 3.63 by Stevedore from Oregon

Aug 12, 2019
Rated: 4.1 by Sparky44 from Illinois

Aug 11, 2019
Rated: 4.24 by crobinso from Colorado

May 23, 2019
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Reviewed by REVZEB from Illinois

3.92/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4
Had on tap. Light caramel brown pour, no head. Can smell the bourbon right off the bat, with tons of caramel, candied orange, vanilla, and cardamom. The taste is sickly sweet, not enough wood from the barrel played in. The candied orange, vanilla, and caramel dominate, brightening up the whole profile. It's not bad, but it's not great either. Feel is sticky, slightly cloying, and thin.
May 10, 2019
Commander from Lift Bridge Brewery
Beer rating: 89 out of 100 with 276 ratings