Commander | Lift Bridge Brewery

BA SCORE
85
very good
243 Ratings
THE BROS
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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 Commanderâ„¢ 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
Ratings:
243
Reviews:
72
Avg:
3.79
pDev:
15.83%
 
 
Wants:
62
Gots:
93
For Trade:
2
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 243 |  Reviews: 72
Photo of KarlHungus
3.75/5  rDev -1.1%

Photo of MattyG85
3.97/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from 750 ml bottle into a Surly Darkness Chalice glass. 2011 Bottle number 3432.

Appearance: Pours a deep and clear brownish amber orange with a moderate amount of bubbles. Not much head as a little bit of off white foam fades quickly into a few thin patches. Lacing is fairly light too. About what one would expect from such a high abv.

Smell: A pretty noticeable aroma of bourbon with some sweet vanilla and oak. Lots of sweet malts with caramel and toffee. Definitely noticing some spicy cardamom. Also some light hints of dark fruit and some alcohol. Smells like a nice blend that is sweet but fairly balanced.

Taste: A pretty tasty blend. Good taste of bourbon upfront with strong notes of sweet vanilla and some wood. Sweet caramel malts with some toffee and hints of dark fruits. Very noticeable cardamom which gives a nice spicy kick. Also picking up a banana like flavor and some earthy hops towards the finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with a moderate level of carbonation. Moderately syrupy and somewhat boozy but still pretty smooth for a 12.5 abv.

Overall: A pretty nice take on an English Barleywine. Far from traditional but the spices add a nice flavor.

 1,183 characters

Photo of iRun2Beer
4/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of morimech
4.05/5  rDev +6.9%
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.

 810 characters

Photo of AgentZero
2.41/5  rDev -36.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

Two people brought this to my birthday tasting, don't remember which one we opened, but thanks to whomever it was.

A - A reddish-orange beer with some rising bubbles and a small white head that dissipated to nothing. No stick left on the sides, but it's a decent looking beer.

S - Smells like lavender hand soap, the perfumey kind. Not a lot else going on there. Some brown sugar malts but it's all killed by the massive lavender smell.

T - Taste is more of the same. I'm not convinced this was aged in bourbon barrels and it doesn't seem much like a barleywine. It is way too lavender heavy, with only a little bit of malt sweetness to break it up. Can't drink much, not good. "Subtle, sweet Caradamom"? Subtle my ass.

M - Medium bodied with some soft carbonation.

O - Found out later this is cardamom and not lavender. There was entirely too much of that flavor and it was not good. Can't drink much. Either they have different taste buds in the land of the Golden Gophers or the early reviews were a product of hyping something local. Sadly, this beer is a wreck and I would never drink it again. They said best enjoyed in "smaller portions." Trust me, they can't get small enough.

 1,190 characters

Photo of gford217
3.12/5  rDev -17.7%
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.

 929 characters

Photo of Wowcoolman
4.25/5  rDev +12.1%

Photo of PassMeAZima
4/5  rDev +5.5%

Photo of dleiner
3.75/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of siege06nd
2.8/5  rDev -26.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Thanks, Rhettroactive, for setting up the trade for this.

A: Pours a relatively light, cloudy orange color. Very minimal head, just a dusting of head around the edges of the brew. Faint lacing traces the glass after a hard swirl. Good color, crappy head, retention, and lacing.

S: Some caramel, super sweet grapes and apples that probably represents the cardamom, some ginger and spice. An extremely sweet, fruity nose. Not a lot of malt, barrel depth though. The barrel-aging is undetectable. Meh.

T: I don't know, man. This is just weird. Lots of sweet cherry, apple, grape. Also a ton of herbs, particularly belgian spices. I get absolutely zero barrel aging on this. Just a touch of booze heat on the finish. It's sweet and fruity with a pungent herbal finish. Tastes nothing like any English Barleywine I have had. *Sigh*

M: Medium carbonation, medium to full mouthfeel. Not nearly as thick or cloying as the style should suggest. Saccharine and sweet, I'm not sure about this one. Bitter herbal qualities really clash with the sweetness and result in a mediocre finish.

O: Nowhere near what the early reviews suggested. I understand the "home team" bump, but I can't believe how badly MN locals misrepresented this one. This is nowhere near a memorable English Barleywine. I would expect this is what I would get from the next "Stone plus two random breweries" collaboration barleywine. Overly sweet, way too much residual sugar, herbal knavery. What can I say? It's mediocre. Decidedly mediocre.

 1,508 characters

Photo of Hopstout
4.82/5  rDev +27.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Appearance - Brownish copper with a hint of orange. Clear. Very little head and low carbonation. The color is uncommon and intriguing.

Aroma - Decent scent of bourbon whiskey and a splash of sweet vanilla. Also, a hint of Oak. Maybe a little raisin as well.

Taste - Very full flavored with multiple layers yet balanced beautifully. Strong taste of warm bourbon whiskey with Vanilla, Sweet malt and Oak.

Mouthfeel - Potent yet calm and smooth with a nice aftertaste that doesn't linger.

Overall - This barleywine takes your whole mouth hostage with a floodgate of flavors that really are uniquely balanced. With the high alcohol content and powerful whiskey zest, this one is made to swig in small tasty sips.
I really enjoy both bourbon and beer so this was right up my alley.
I decided to cellar two bottles of this to try at a later date and I have a feeling that bottle number two will not last a year.

 912 characters

Photo of mikeincharleston
4/5  rDev +5.5%

Photo of Kramerbarthomer
3.98/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Photo of MacQ32
3.75/5  rDev -1.1%

Photo of Ristaccia
4.19/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Photo of Sean9689
2.78/5  rDev -26.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Thanks, SpdKilz (or Chris?)! Good Beer/Bad Beer tasting. Poured into Bell's tulip.

A - Pours a mirky reddish color, cream-colored head, thin collar.

S - I couldn't tell you what cardamom smells like, but, I don't like it in my barrel-aged barleywine's, that's for sure. This beer is also very sweet and has very little barrel character to it. Don't get me wrong, I like my barleywine's sweet, but I think lack of barrel really put the sweetness into another level while the cardamom took this beer to a place it shouldn't have gone.

T - Similar to the nose, but even more floral/cardamom up front, in the middle, and on the finish. The sweet is there, but it's even masked by this evil plant. Again, no barrel character to it either, which I think would have helped with the floral notes & sweetness.

M - Medium, light carbonation, creamy finish.

O - Well, if you're a cardamom fan, I think you're probably going to rate this in your top 5 cardamom beers for sure. I just didn't enjoy this plant or the over-the-top sweetness and lack of barrel notes. Would not drink again and can't recommend.

 1,099 characters

Photo of DIPAFAN
3.62/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Photo of Exiled
3.75/5  rDev -1.1%

Photo of flexabull
3.75/5  rDev -1.1%

Photo of dheldman
2.75/5  rDev -27.4%

Photo of Soneast
3.84/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of MNBeerGeek
3.75/5  rDev -1.1%

Photo of Thedrizzle
4/5  rDev +5.5%

Photo of bsp77
4.01/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Serving glass: Poured from bottle into goblet.

Appearance: Dark murky orangish-brown with thin off-white cap.

Smell: Mostly bourbon notes in the aroma with just a touch of Barleywine toffee notes.

Taste: The Barleywine notes are more evident in the taste, with toffee and dark fruit notes. But the malts are still not as complex as preferred in a world class Barleywine, but the bourbon does a good job of elevating the beer, with oak, vanilla, coconut and just general bourbon-ness. The cardamom comes through very lightly on the finish, which is unique for the style.

Feel: Thick and chewy with low carbonation. Fairly warming but not as hot as expected for the high abv. Maybe waiting almost a year before opening this helped in that regard.

Overall: While I am not sure that the core Barleywine is anything special, the bourbon and cardamom helps make this Interesting and enjoyable.

 896 characters

Photo of seeswo
4.25/5  rDev +12.1%

Commander from Lift Bridge Brewery
3.79 out of 5 based on 243 ratings.
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