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Commander | Lift Bridge Brewery

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CommanderCommander
BA SCORE
3.97/5
Very Good
246 Ratings
CommanderCommander
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Lift Bridge Brewery
Minnesota, United States
liftbridgebrewery.com

Style: English Barleywine

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 12.50%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
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.

Added by plfahey on 11-19-2011

BEER STATS
Ranking:
#5,377
Reviews:
72
Ratings:
246
pDev:
14.61%
Bros Score:
0
 
 
Wants:
62
Gots:
93
Trade:
3
HISTOGRAM
 
User Ratings & Reviews
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first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Ratings: 246 |  Reviews: 72
Photo of acurtis
3.75/5  rDev -5.5%

Photo of spycow
3.25/5  rDev -18.1%

Photo of djrn2
3.5/5  rDev -11.8%

Photo of nmann08
3.5/5  rDev -11.8%

Photo of oriolesfan4
4/5  rDev +0.8%

Photo of kojevergas
3.29/5  rDev -17.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

2012 vintage bottle number 4364. "Ale brewed with cardamom and aged in bourbon barrels." [For the record, I have no idea what the fuck cardamom tastes like. Duff27 is laughing right now.] 12.5% ABV confirmed. 22 fl oz with intricate gold foil-ed over unbranded gold pry-off pressure cap acquired as a gift from me sister (I aged it for a year) and served into an EKU 28 stem-snifter in me parents' gaff in high altitude Castle Rock, CO. Reviewed live. Expectations are high given its current ratings as well as the style.

Served cold - straight from the fridge - and allowed to warm over the course of consumption. Side-poured with standard vigor as no carbonation issues are anticipated.

A: No bubble show forms as it's poured.

Pours a half finger wide head of white/off-white colour. Disappointingly thin. Retains for less than 20 seconds. Lacks creaminess. Not real frothy. No lacing clings to the sides of the glass as the head recedes.

Body colour is a translucent pinkish peach-orange. Nontransparent. No floating yeast particles are visible. Appears well-carbonated.

Overall, it looks like a substandard barleywine, to be honest. There's nothing unique or special (or even particularly remarkable) about it. I'm optimistic. There are no egregious flaws here.

Sm: Marshmallow is the first thing I notice. Some spice. Light unrefined caramel. Faint spice-induced bitterness emerges just after the finish. Brown sugar. Faded floral and vaguely fruity hop notes. I don't find explicit bourbon, but there is some faint vanilla - which is neither authentic like true vanilla bean nor syrupy and artificial like vanillicin; it's in-between. Definitely on the sweeter side. Fermented cherry. Treacle. Maybe maple?

Again, I don't pretend to have any idea what in hell cardamom tastes like. I don't even really know what it is.

A pleasant, appealing aroma of moderate strength, though it doesn't really provide much evocative bourbon nor is it consistent with the best barleywines I've tried. In any case, I'm looking forward to it.

T/Mf: Marshmallow, floral hop character, vague fruity hops, pale malts, amber malts, vague toffee, treacle, syrups, caramel, and nebulous vanilla. No definite bourbon presence - there's no toasty refined oak wood barrel notes nor any authentic vanilla bean. I also don't get any bourbon-induced spiciness, which I consider a good thing, but which speaks to the lack of actual bourbon character here.

No hop character or yeast character comes through.

Not as well balanced as anticipated. Average depth, duration, and intensity of flavour. I expected far more from the bourbon barrel, but it doesn't really develop the natural tendencies of the base beer. We're left with a complex enough brew, but one that isn't particularly subtle, intricate, or nuanced.

It's a biteen too sweet, especially on the climax. Not as boozy/hot as anticipated. Wet. Unrefreshing. Smooth. Good thickness and body. Well-carbonated. Pretty nice presence on the palate.

Dr: I figure age has helped it, but ultimately it isn't as good as expected. Drinkable for what it is, but at heart it's a sipper. I'll kill this alone as a nightcap, but you'd really want to share it (as Lift Bridge openly acknowledges). I wouldn't go out of me way to recommend it to friends or trade partners, but it's a pleasing barleywine with interesting elements. Ultimately, I want a lot more from the bourbon and there isn't all that much complexity, but it hides its 12.5% ABV as well as any average barleywine. Well worth trying, but not the kind of barleywine that's ideal for my personal tastes.

As much as I like it, it just doesn't offer that much more than most above-average barleywines.

I'll probably buy it again a couple times, but it's not worth going out of one's way to acquire it. Tasty, but not a paragon.

B-

 3,840 characters

Photo of oline73
3.98/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I had this at the November Baltimore BA tasting. Served from the bottle into a tasting snifter.

Appearance: The beer pours a clear reddish amber color with a layer of off white head that sticks around pretty well.

Smell: The theme here is a smokey caramel sweetness. There is a fruity note here that reminds me of a caramel apple. Some warm bourbon/alcohol in the finish.

Taste: This is a very sweet barleywine. Caramel malt has a strong presence. There is some smoke that I would guess comes from the bourbon barrels. There is a slight bitterness that builds towards the finish which is also quite warm.

Mouthfeel: The body is a bit syrupy with a lot of tingly carbonation. The finish is rather slick.

Overall: While this beer is quite sweet, I still found my pour very easy to drink. I thought it was very smooth and would have more in the future.

 854 characters

Photo of zestar
3.75/5  rDev -5.5%

Photo of mothman
2.39/5  rDev -39.8%
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.

 361 characters

Photo of Thorpe429
2.44/5  rDev -38.5%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Bottle courtesy of mdfb79. Served in a SAVOR wine glass.

Pours a clear golden color with a big white head and some spotty lacing as it makes its way down to a thin cap. The nose carries way, way too much spice, and the spice that is there doesn't really work. The spice is so heavy that you can barely pick out a big, malty beer in the background.

Flavor is likewise overwhelmed with spice. Loads of cardamom in this one. Some residual sweetness. The body is better in that there's a bit of alcohol mixing with the spice.

I really did not see where they were going with this and wasn't a fan of the spicing at all.

 618 characters

Photo of ygtbsm94
3/5  rDev -24.4%

Photo of billab914
3.11/5  rDev -21.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured from a 750ml bottle into a snifter. It poured orange amber in color with a thin white head sticking to the edges of the glass.

The aroma is very herbal as the cardamon flavors are the focal point of it. I get some sweeter, honey notes to it, but unfortunately not really any barrel aged characteristics. It feels somewhat medicinal to me. The cardamon dominates way too much as well.

The taste also shows a lot of the herbal cardamon flavors throughout. I get a more of the honey sweetness to it as well. It's very herbal, floral and sweet, which just didn't work well for me. Both the barleywine and barrel flavors are overshadowed unfortunately.

The mouthfeel is medium bodied with carbonation being moderate. Overall it was way too sweet and herbal for me. It could have been a little more balanced and the herbal flavors could have been toned down some as well. I would have liked a little more traditional barleywine characteristics to show through as well as the barrel flavors. It wasn't a terrible beer, but it isn't something I'd buy.

 1,056 characters

Photo of wethorseblanket
4/5  rDev +0.8%

Photo of nathanmiller
4/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of XmnwildX12
3.25/5  rDev -18.1%

Photo of mendvicdog
3.75/5  rDev -5.5%

Photo of duceswild
3.25/5  rDev -18.1%

Photo of drewone
4/5  rDev +0.8%

Photo of mdfb79
3.54/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

From 03/30/12 notes. Shared with a few friends. Thanks to nugganooch for sending this one my way. Bottle 2034.

a - Pours a deep reddish amber color with a few white bubbles, and low carbonation evident.

s - Smells a bit minty, and of cardamom, caramel malts, spices, and coconut. Weird mix, doesn't work very well at all. Not very good.

t - Tastes of bourbon, vanilla, toasted malts, caramel malts, toffee, sweet dark fruits, light alcohol, and light cardamom and spices. MUCH, much better then the nose. As it warmed up it got even better. Really nice taste.

m - Medium body and low to moderate carbonation. Not much heat at all, actually pretty easy to drink.

o - Overall an interesting beer. A ton of spice and cardamom in the nose that is weird and doesn't work well, but the taste is really nice and is missing most of that. Worth checking out for the taste.

 868 characters

Photo of womencantsail
3.68/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks for sharing this one, Shane.

Pours burnt orange in color with an off-white head. Smells mostly like caramel and toffee with hints of vanilla. The cardamom that is added comes through fairly strongly. A bit of bourbon, but not much. A sweet flavor, mostly caramel and toffee with some vanilla to it, too. The cardamom is again noticeable. Much more bourbon than on the nose. Perhaps a little bit of grape flavor, too. Medium bodied with low to medium carbonation.

 470 characters

Photo of Huhzubendah
3.85/5  rDev -3%
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.

 431 characters

Photo of chippo33
4/5  rDev +0.8%

Photo of rab53
3.46/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Photo of JAHMUR
3/5  rDev -24.4%

Photo of a77cj7
4/5  rDev +0.8%

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Commander from Lift Bridge Brewery
Beer rating: 3.97 out of 5 with 246 ratings
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