Commander | Lift Bridge Brewery

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CommanderCommander
BA SCORE
3.97/5
Very Good
249 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:
#5,889
Reviews:
73
Ratings:
249
pDev:
14.36%
Bros Score:
0
 
 
Wants:
62
Gots:
93
Trade:
4
HISTOGRAM
 
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 249 |  Reviews: 73
Photo of Philly82785
3.6/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This one needs some age on it. I had a side by side 2012 and 2011. The bourbon taste is over powering for a fresh batch, you can't taste the subtle notes of carmel and nuts. The aged one however the bourbon was very toned down and you could get the caremel and nutty notes much easier.

 285 characters

Photo of Etan
3.7/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

750ml bottle from the 2011 release, #3510.

A: Copper body, small white head.

S: Heavy cardamom (slightly minty, a bit herbal, but not in a bitter way), some molasses and brown sugar.

T: Tastes better than it smells, with more balance between the cardamom and the base beer. Marshmallow, cardamom, light bourbon, caramel. The spice becomes more pleasant as the palate gets used to it.

M: Medium bodied, light carbonation.

O. This beer was a lot better than I was expecting. Still, the base beer is a bit lacking compared to other top-notch barrel-aged barleywines, and it took a while to get used to the cardamom.

 617 characters

Photo of theCoder
4.5/5  rDev +13.4%

Photo of yamar68
4.17/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2012 vintage:

Clear burnt orange body capped with a quarter inch of egg shell white head that dissipates quickly, leaving a stubborn collar that produces some oily lacing.

Caramel malts, sage, conifer, very unique smelling beer... the relatively soft booze presence mingles with all the pine and spruce... some toffee, pretty tame bourbon character... nice.

Extremely smooth given the ABV. A far greater sense of balance and approachability compared to its '11 counterpart, classic English barleywine profile with an intriguing spice addition. Quite good - but not 18 bucks per 22oz good...

Give it a go, it's definitely interesting.

 637 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 4DAloveofSTOUT
3.95/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

thanks to duff27 for sharing this bottle! Thanks duff!

poured into tulip.

Appearance: reddish brown bodied beer with a thin white cap. Drops quickly to no head.

Smell: Big malts, syrupy, medicinal, menthol, brownsugar and maybe some peppermint.

Taste: Malt forward. brown sugar and caramel. menthol and spicy booze. Unusual combination, but it kind of works.

Mouthfeel: medium bodied beer with moderate carboantion. Spicy and slightly warming booze.

Overall: Its a solid beer, but nothing too crazy. I did not get much for barrel notes from this beer. If I did not know it was barrel aged, I would have thought it did spend any time in a barrel.

 651 characters

Photo of Duff27
3.88/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Short lived off white head. Cap and collar left. A light red orange color. A lot of lacing for an English barleywine.

Different smelling for sure. Not sure what that is and not sure what to think.

Methol, straight up. Mintiness. Sweet. Booze presents itself but not overpowering.

A little syrupy. Low carbonation.

It tastes like a Halls! But still good. Can blow a cool breeze. Not as bad at the BA rating. Thanks mnbearsfan.

 429 characters

Photo of mendvicdog
3.75/5  rDev -5.5%

Photo of oriolesfan4
4/5  rDev +0.8%

Photo of duceswild
3.25/5  rDev -18.1%

Photo of buzze40
4.25/5  rDev +7.1%

Photo of acurtis
3.75/5  rDev -5.5%

Photo of NilocRellim
3.25/5  rDev -18.1%

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

Huge thanks to LaCoursiere for this bottle...

A: Pours a translucent mahogany red/brown with almost no head whatsoever. There is only a thin white ring of white foam around the edges, and even that fades quickly. No lacing as it drinks.

S: The nose is sweet like caramel, toffee, and honey. There is also a great spice component to this beer that I'm really enjoying. The booze is there, but it's not overpowering.

T: I get caramel, apples, raisins, honey, cinnamon, and clove. It's sweet to start with the caramel and the fruit, but as it fades on the palate it get's spicy and boozy hot. I'm actually really enjoying the heat from the bourbon.

M: Full bodied beer. It sticks to the palate, coats, and casually moves off. the lingering flavors are bourbon, raisin, and toffee.

O: This is a pretty damn good barleywine, but it's not the best I've ever had. I really enjoyed the apple notes right up front, which I haven't tasted in a barleywine before. I'm extremely happy to have tried this beer, and would to have more again in the future.

 1,046 characters

Photo of ObiWanKushnobi
4.5/5  rDev +13.4%

Photo of ControlledBurn
3.75/5  rDev -5.5%

Photo of Doyle
4/5  rDev +0.8%

Photo of 3Hops
4/5  rDev +0.8%

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 MordorMongo
3.34/5  rDev -15.9%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Review #5, served cellar temp in tulip

A : Transparent dark amber, toffee hues, off-white medium head fades to a lingering cap, legs very persistent and likely this beer's best attribute.

S : Cardamom, still. Had first bottle of this back in March and while the smell has faded noticeably it is still way too over-bearing and dominates completely. Can pick up some traces of bourbon and vanilla from time to time, but damn that cardamom comes right back!

T : Here the cardamom has faded even more-so...sadly not quite enough yet, maybe should have given this another 6-12 months? Some nice caramel notes come through mid-palate, finish is cloying with that lingering cardamom, though it is MUCH improved over ~3 months ago.

M : Sticky, full mouthfeel, honestly close to on-point for the style.

O : Decent BA Barleywine, really wish they had went way lighter on the cardamom as I am not sure what it adds at this level of dominance. That said, it is clearly fading and if I had another I would wait a year or so in hopes the spice notes dissipate further.

 1,060 characters

Photo of afksports
4.5/5  rDev +13.4%

Photo of drewone
4/5  rDev +0.8%

Photo of lurpy1
3.56/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

Very curious to try this beer picked up several months ago. It has been interesting to see the boss initial reviews, followed by a run of reviewers hating on it. Going in with an open mind. 750 ml bomber, split with wife. Who, BTW, lasts about 3 sips before announcing Commander doesn't work for her.

Lovely fossilized amber coloration. Slight head, but no retention, not much lacing either.

The smell has booze, oak, sugar,and spice.Lot's of spice.Not so much cardamon to me, but mint and even a little pepper.

I really wanted to love the taste of this beer, but dammit, I cannot profess my love. The spice renders it a sipper at the absolute most. In fact, taking an aggressive gulp was outright uncomfortable. Still, I found a lot of tasty bourbon and sweetness to save the day and bring it up to a passable score.

The body was good, not great, in terms of thickness, but Commander did have an awesome, glazed-donut level of stickiness.Likey.

Lastly, my stomach was a bit upset afterward, and even though I have indefinite tolerance for heat and spice, I blame it on the liberal handfuls of spice thrown into the brew. Gotta ding the score for this. I could do 8 oz of this beer next time. The spice differentiates the beer but doesn't necessarily make it better at all. Without the spice, this could be great, because all the other qualities of a killer barleywine are there. With the spice, it's still drinkable to daring palates, and recommended, but probably just a slightly subpar barleywine. Very happy to see interesting offerings coming out of Stillwater.

 1,571 characters

Photo of motorhed
4.5/5  rDev +13.4%

Photo of SweJon
4.5/5  rDev +13.4%

Commander from Lift Bridge Brewery
Beer rating: 3.97 out of 5 with 249 ratings