Commander
Lift Bridge Brewery

CommanderCommander
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Style:
Barleywine - English
Ranked #97
ABV:
12.5%
Score:
90
Ranked #7,364
Avg:
4.02 | pDev: 13.93%
Reviews:
81
Ratings:
274
From:
Lift Bridge Brewery
 
Minnesota, United States
Avail:
Rotating/Seasonal
Wants
  62
Gots
  92
SCORE
90
Outstanding
CommanderCommander
Notes: 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.
Reviews: 81 | Ratings: 274 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Reviews by brewnic:
Photo of brewnic
brewnic from Minnesota

5/5  rDev +24.4%

Nov 21, 2011
More User Reviews:
Photo of zenwatts
zenwatts from Minnesota

5/5  rDev +24.4%

Jan 19, 2012
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ygtbsm94 from Utah

3/5  rDev -25.4%

Jan 11, 2012
Photo of flexabull
flexabull from California

3.75/5  rDev -6.7%

Dec 02, 2013
Photo of Photekut
Photekut from Tennessee

3.75/5  rDev -6.7%

May 19, 2013
Photo of mendvicdog
mendvicdog from Maryland

3.75/5  rDev -6.7%

Nov 06, 2012
Photo of drewone
drewone from California

4/5  rDev -0.5%

May 21, 2012
Photo of deebo
deebo from Michigan

3.94/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Cask on chai at town Hall tap gives a different twist on this English style barleywine. Easy to drink barleywine. Smooth and whatnot. This version has less carbonation and more caradamom with a hint of cinnamon.

Dec 27, 2014
Photo of morimech
morimech from Minnesota

4.05/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottle number 3296.

Clear, crimson color with one finger of head that quickly settled to a thin film. Just a little spotty lacing is left on the glass during consumption. Looks are about what I expect from a barleywine.

Enjoyable aroma that is a compbination of barleywine and barrel. Deep caramel flavor with compliments of bourbon, vanilla, and cut grass. Alcohol is noticeable.

The barrel comes through in the flavor much more noticeable. Flavor of bourbon and vanilla with a sweet caramel undertone. A bit hot with plenty of alcohol in the finish.

Nicely carbonated with a smooth, subtle texture. Compliments the sipping nature of this beer

By far the best Lift Bridge beer I ever had. One of the better bourbon barrel aged barleywines. Might be worth buying another and age it for a couple of years.

Feb 26, 2012
Photo of HopHead84
HopHead84 from California

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

1/22/2012

A: Transparent dark orange with a big white head.

S: Caramel blends with wood and brown sugar. There's a candied sweetness. Bourbon is retrained. The cardamom is pronounced. I get a little dark toffee.

T: Cardamom, caramel, toffee, and booze. Bourbon is strong and I detect a little vanilla. I'm not really digging the cardamom, especially not in the finish. Alcohol is pretty well hidden.

M: Upper medium body with medium carbonation.

Overall: A solid beer but that spice is detracting. It adds nothing positive.

Jan 23, 2012
Photo of MasterSki
MasterSki from Canada (ON)

3.01/5  rDev -25.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Thanks to Carleton (SpdKilz) for sharing this one. Served in a Captain Lawrence tulip.

A - A half-finger of white foam settles to a thin ring of bubbles. Transparent orange-red body.

S - Smells like perfume. I initially thought lavender hand soap, but upon inspecting the label I discovered it was actually cardamom. In any case, that's pretty much all I can smell - I let the beer warm up for a while in the hopes some of the other flavors would show up, but all I got was some nebulous sugary malt.

T - The taste is again redolent of cardamon, perfume, and flowers. There's a tad more sweetness and a bready malt character as well, but I just can't get past the overpowering cardamom.

M - Medium-full body, lower carbonation, a slightly grainy texture, with light residual stickiness. Some warming alcohol, but nothing out of place for 12.5%.

D - Did I get the right beer? I didn't get any of the advertised barrel-aging and only a little of the barleywine. If you loved Poppaskull then you'll probably love this beer, but if you're like me and have limited tolerance for cardamom then you'll probably hate it. Either way, to me it's mono-dimensional and hard to drink it large quantities.

Jan 08, 2012
Photo of Buebie
Buebie from Minnesota

4.69/5  rDev +16.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Tatter tot hotdish in the oven. What to do? What to do?
How about open this badass local brew? Sure, why not.

Poured rigorously from the bottle into an oversized merlot glass.
Super pale copper color with redish hues when held to light, very hazy, not much can be seen through the glass.
Head almost forms half an inch, leaving a solid collar and spotty thin streaks of lace.
Aroma is superb, malt driven with sweet brown maple sugar, just snipit of barrel and vanilla. Loads of bready sweet malt. Man this is smelling really wonderful. Mild floral hops with a small amount of resin.
Taste: My reaction literally "Wow, this tastes amazing" My mouth is smiling on the inside. I really like this beer, outfuckingstanding to be exact.
Starting out with just a small amount of heat. So for me, to have such a small amount of well hidden heat and just the right amount of warming, its fairly significant. At 12.5 % thats a well hidden abv. Goose and Maverick would call this thing dangerous.
Sweet delicious malts, vanilla, mild bourbon, toasty wood, maple brown sugar and syrup drenched buttery rolls that melt in your mouth.
Hops warm through the swallow presenting with very floral flavors and mild pine.
Mouthfeel is slick, not heavy, but balanced with a slick mild creaminess and moderate carbonation.
A small amount of earthy peppery flavors through the swallow as well.

This beer has so much flavor and so many terrific attributes. I wish I could afford several more bottles to open over the years. Because this is by far the best beer of this style to come out of MN, and also one of the best beers of this style to ever grace these lips.
Great Job LBB, you guys nailed it!

Dec 21, 2011
Photo of BarrelAgedG
BarrelAgedG from California

4.38/5  rDev +9%
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
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TheGent from New Jersey

4.05/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Sep 01, 2019
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markasparov from District of Columbia

3.75/5  rDev -6.7%

Apr 12, 2014
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bigdaddypolite from Minnesota

5/5  rDev +24.4%

Dec 03, 2011
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dar482 from New York

4.21/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

The beer comes in a dark ruby color.

The aroma is straight huge cardamom, big caramel and bourbon sweetness.

The flavor hits again with that cardamom, which I'm not quite sure is doing in the beer. Then onto vanilla, caramel, dark fruit of dried date and plum, and some oak drying.

The beer drinks below its ABV on the alcohol, with a slightly thinner mouthfeel.

Still, the base is fantastic, I am just unsure what the cardamom does for this.

Feb 20, 2015
Photo of gford217
gford217 from Georgia

3.12/5  rDev -22.4%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

750ml bottle.

Pours a deep, clear amber with a Sally thick beige head that slinks down the sides of the glass leaving delicate lacing.

Aroma is odd for the style, really herbal, presumably from the cardamom, with only a little caramel malt sweetness coming through. The barrel character is also subtle. I'd love to know what this smells like without all the cardamom.

The taste is a marked improvement for me. There is much more caramel and vanilla sweetness supporting a more subtle cardamom presence...well, more subtle than the aroma at least. The barrel is also more prevalent, especially in the finish.

The mouthfeel is solid, medium bodied with soft carbonation.

I don't exactly now what to say about this one. I really think it would be an excellent beer if it wasn't for the cardamom overload. As it is, it's an average BA barley wine. I would love to try this with a couple years on it to let the cardamom die down.

Mar 06, 2012
Photo of 4four4
4four4 from Minnesota

4.75/5  rDev +18.2%

Jul 25, 2014
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mothman from Minnesota

2.39/5  rDev -40.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Aroma: all cardamom spices. Christmas spice. Winter Warmer.. Little barrel flavor

T: whiskey and vanilla then all spices.  Tastes like christmas. Oaky. 

Mouthfeel: Warming and spiced. Medium bodied with a medium amount of carbonation.

Overall, this was a terrible beer. I won't drink much if this. Just not for me. Sorry LB, but the recipe needs to change.

Jul 27, 2012
Photo of Pitmonkey
Pitmonkey from Minnesota

5/5  rDev +24.4%

Dec 17, 2011
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Huhzubendah from District of Columbia

3.85/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Shared by mdfb79. Thanks Dan.

The beer is bright orange with a small, fleeting, off white head. The aroma offers sweet malt and an abundant spice character. Mint, pepper, cardamom. Ehh...this is ok, but not my thing. Minty, spicy, sweet. I can understand why some people may enjoy this more than I, but again, this is not my cup of tea/beer. Alcohol is pretty mild, considering the high abv. A good beer for sure, and worth a try.

Mar 31, 2012
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barleywinefiend from Washington

3.67/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

A: Poured a maberish-crimson color with a small dirty white cap which provides a few bubbles and light lacing.

S: A big caramel and toffee nose with a little spice and bourbon w/ vanilla

T: Big sugary sweetness upfront, loads of toffee, caramel. Boozey sweet for sure. Barrel influence plays into this providing old wood, vanilla and bourbon. A lingering dash of spice hides out as well. The finish is sweet, lingering, sharp

M: Medium bodied, well carbonated, layers of toffee and caramel sweetness cling to the palate

O: Good. No major issues but the sweetness was really in your face.

Mar 04, 2013
Photo of mwilbur
mwilbur from Minnesota

3.6/5  rDev -10.4%

Vintage 2013. Bottle number 1482. Poured from 22 oz bottle into snifter.
A: Pours a clear dark brown amber hue with essentially no head. (3.5)
S: Sweet dark caramel, banana, clove, cardamom, and boozy, bourbon-soaked raisin. (3.75)
T: Sweet dark(-ish) caramel, banana, cardamom, dark dried fruit (raisin, date), and boozy-but-sweet bourbon. (3.75)
M: Moderately heavy body. Sweet with an oily slick feel. Decent lingering on the palate. (3.5)
D: A sipper for sure given the ABV. A decent example of style, but nothing special. The cardamom is an interesting twist. (3.5)

Oct 04, 2014
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lonewolfcry from Minnesota

4.04/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Nov 28, 2014
Commander from Lift Bridge Brewery
Beer rating: 90 out of 100 with 274 ratings