Back Burner (2016-)
Southern Tier Brewing Company

Back Burner (2016-)Back Burner (2016-)
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American Barleywine
3.98 | pDev: 7.04%
Southern Tier Brewing Company
New York, United States
Retired (no longer brewed)
Very Good
Back Burner (2016-)Back Burner (2016-)
Notes: Long ago, British farmhouse brewers made special ales using the first runnings of the mash. These beers, now called barley wine, are brewed in the tradition of days past. At Southern Tier this long awaited brew is placed on the back burner until the start of the new year. Back Burner Barley Wine is a celebration of things to come and things remembered. It's conceived in three small batches, using voluminous amounts of barley and hops. The process starts early in the morning and ends late into the night. We hope this rare brew reignites your spirit for another trip around the sun.
Reviews: 29 | Ratings: 86 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of Brutaltruth
4.25/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

From the 12 oz bottle in a snifter via a friend from work---THANKS KEVIN!
This FINE barelywine pours a muddy amber tinged brown with a nice head of
off white foam that subsides to a thick ring, thin light pool, and features some
nice sticky sudsy lacing. Nose of sweet syrupy caramel malts, sticky hop notes
of pine, and subtle yeast notes letting one know that this is in the English style.
Flavors hit the perfect notes of balanced hops and malts with brown sugar malts
and caramel dashed with light fig and dates with a touch of tart cherries that are
balanced with herbal and pine touched hops. Excellent mouth feel; medium full
body, coating, sweet, and boozy with medium light carbonation and a lightly
dry sweet finish.

A solid and well put together barelywine. Excellence.


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Photo of WesMantooth
4.06/5  rDev +2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Bottled 1/5/16

Poured fairly gently into a snifter. It is a dirty/murky brown with an amber tint. A moderate tan head settles into a fine ring.

It smells sweet and syrupy, with caramel, molasses, brown sugar,
some alcohol, and malted barley. It is pretty rich. Strikes me as an English style.

Surprise! There's hops. Spicy and ripe fruit ester up front with a significant bitterness with a touch of floral flavor on the back end. In between, the sweetness rules. Maple syrup, molasses, caramelized sugars, and some dates/figs. A nice balance between the rich flavors and the hops.

The body is fuller, with a bit of a sticky, syrupy feel. The biggest knock is the dry, overly crisp finish.

This is a nice Barleywine. It still leans American, even after a year, but offers plenty of sweet, malty English qualities for those who prefer the later.

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Photo of woodychandler
4.11/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

My latest horizontal has taken me onto Southern Tier & frankly, some relatively big beers from them. I am a little surprised that this has already been retired, but perhaps there will be a new recipe in 2017.

From the bottle: "Brewed with 4 varieties of Hops, 4 types of Malts, Blackstrap Molasses, and local Maple Syrup".

My bottle has a DOB of 01/05/16 12:47PM, making it just over a year old. The Pop! of the cap was followed by a gentle pour since I have no idea as to how it has aged. A vigorous in-glass swirl raised two-plus fingers of foamy, rocky, deep-tan/light-brown head that slowly fell away to wisps. Color was Brown to Dark Brown (SRM = > 22, < 27) with NE-quality clarity. Nose was very sweet, a combination of the malts and the easily identified treacle and syrup. Mouthfeel was medium, a little light for the style. The taste was interesting - very sweet and again, both the treacle and the syrup were evident, but the hops were providing an interesting bitter counterbalance. In fact, had it not been for the hoppy bitterness of it, I might have guessed/assumed that it was an English Barleywine. Finish was semi-dry, more thanks to a fusel alcohol heat than anything else. It was aging nicely & if they release a 2017 version, I may buy two with an eye towards cellaring one of them for an extended period.

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Photo of drunkenmess
4.02/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

Dark ruby brown body. Reddish hues with a tan frothy head that settles to a thin layer thru out. Nice beautiful lacing is present as well. Smells of alcohol and juicy dark fruit, sugary sweetness. Taste is a bit sweeter than most barleywines I've had. Maybe due to the molasses and maple syrup added. Caramel and light breadiness too. Actaully you can smell the abv more than you can taste it. Super easy to drink, very smooth, light carbonation and full bodied. Awesome beer for then winter.

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Photo of LiquidAmber
4.16/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured into a Fremont small snifter. Side by side tasting with a properly aged 2009 version. Pours a dark, murky orange with a thin light khaki head that has good retention and leaves quite a bit of lacing. Aroma of dark and light stone fruit, raisins, caramel malt, a little orange zest and light hint of hops; a bit boozy. Flavor is dry caramel malt, figs and dates, light molasses and raisin. Finishes with a very satisfying semi-dry dried fruit and toffee flavor with just a little bit of grassy hops. Finish is full and rich. Medium to heavy bodied with nice creaminess and light carbonation. This barleywine leans much closer to dried dates and figs with little of the plum flavors many barleywines have, and it works very well. The start is a little mellow, but the rich dried fruit flavors and caramel build into a pleasant, balanced finish. Hops are mild, but this bottle is a few months old, so they may have faded a bit. A different flavor profile that leans towards an English style, but with less stone fruit presence. Not as complex as some others of the style, but the flavors are very good as they are. I like this quite a bit and will look for another bottle to lay down for a few years.

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Photo of Jason
3.89/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

12oz brown bottle, sample from the brewery.

Deep garnet hue, love the froth on top. Mint and rind in the nose with a caramel sweetness and floral alcohol. Smooth and full bodied with a semi-dry feel. Some caramel, hop resin, and spicy warming alcohol to start. Ripe fruit, bread, esters, and some bitterness in the middle. Finishes very warming and leans a bit dry. A good take on the style, quite lively.

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Photo of IronLover
4.28/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Ruby red in color with good clarity through deep color. Poured with a short, creamy, dense, light beige foam with good retention. Medium high dark fruit aromas, prune and dates as well as dark molasses and dark toffee. Very light earthy hop aromas struggle to show through the rich malty aroma. Full bodied with a rich, creamy smooth feel. Light carbonation at the finish. Pleasant warming sensation hits right from the beginning. Intense dark malt flavors, sweet. dark fruit, dark chocolate notes, dark molasses. Medium hop bitterness through the middle the maltiness a bit. Dark maltiness persists at the back end with the addition of roasted coffee notes. Boozy warmth peaks near the end as this finished semi-dryly with dark malty and light bitterness. The incredibly complex malt character is the showcase. The hop bitterness is provides just enough balance. Pleasantly boozy and warming with no alcoholic sting. Very enjoyable.

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Photo of Rock_Glenn
4/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I guess I've never had a true "Barley Wine" because I've never tasted anything like this. It's strong, full bodied, delicious, beautiful, graciously foamy, and punches you in the face with every sip. Drink this, but drink one. Only one.

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Photo of ClavisAurea
3.28/5  rDev -17.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

01/2016 bottling date. Served cold in a snifter

Poured a nice brownish red with a tan head. Some lacing and a bit of sediment. Smells of dark fruits, caramel, rich malts and fruitcake. Taste similar to the smell but with some alcohol heat. A nice beer to be sure but not world class. I thought it was a bit pricy at $16 for a 4-pack in Buffalo, NY.

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Photo of stevoj
3.96/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle from Boise Co-op. Starts off with some sweet malts, and follows through with lots of growing warmth. Very dark brown, with a small skin of beige head. While it seems overly sweet, it all works out extremely well in the end. Tasty and satisfying.

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Photo of DIM
4.24/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

It's been too long since I've had the original so I can't say if this is an improvement or not, but this damn good and a bit different than any other barleywine I've tried. The hops up front are earthy, green, and plenty assertive. The maple syrup and molasses come through as pleasantly sweet balance that lingers into the warm, tingly finish. A bit pricey, but well worth trying.

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Photo of TheSixthRing
4.19/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Bottling date of 01/05/16

Appearance - Pours dark, ruby brown in color with a khaki, near finger width head. Fair retention, dissipating to a thin, broken layer of surface suds and a ring around the edge of the glass. Lacing consists of few, tiny spots.

Smell - Arousing aroma of caramel, maple, light roast and a hint of earthy hop.

Taste - Follows the nose to a degree. Maple sweetness, caramel and a touch of molasses upfront, then a lesser bittering note of earth and roasted malt add balance to the brew. Slightly numbing 'anise' quality. Light notes of dark, fruity character that hints at fig and black cherry. Finishes bittersweet, with earthy hop lingering alongside the caramel/maple sweetness.

Mouthfeel - Near full in body with moderate carbonation. Super smooth, nigh velvety texture with just a touch of stickiness. Drinks stupid easy for a 10.5% brew.

Overall - This is a beautiful and unique barelywine. Just enough complexity, with a well-layered flavor profile and a smooth, approachable drinkability. I hope ST keeps this one around. I wouldn't hesitate to pick it up again, given the chance.

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Photo of arizcards
4.09/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Picked up a single from TW Arrowhead in early February for $5.99. Bottled on 1/5/2016.

Beer poured mahogany with a nice white head upon the initial pour.

Nose is malty with dark fruits and hints of citrus.

Taste is well balanced between the huge malt base, dark fruits and citrus hops.

Mouthfeel is full and satisfying.

Overall this is a nice barley wine that is worth a shot. A bit pricey for the format but still good.

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Photo of cjgiant
4.12/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Bottle dated [unreadable]/5/16:
Pours a mostly brown looking, but with a little light the ruby color listed on the label is obvious. Head is rusty white, and grows to a couple fingers, lasting well into the drink covering the surface, considerably thick at the glass edge.

Nose is about right in notes - malty caramel, a little dark fruit (raisiny later in the pour), and some piney bitterness. The issue comes in strength - it takes a little effort to find the aromas. alcohol does show up eventually.

Taste reminds me of Old Ruffian a bit. There is a decent thick honey-molasses maltiness up front. The hops aren't completely hidden, though, and poke through early. Their power is countered nicely by the malt and a decent little punch of alcohol. The hops seem a little piney early, but become a more generic woody as the beer gets closer to room temps.

Decently thick in body, but slick on the palate with a little oily lingering. I feel the strength of this beer in boldness and ABV as I drink, which is perfectly fine.

Barleywines are hit or miss for me, and I tend to like the English style more. This plays a little balancing act and I think leans American, but not so much to kill my interest. Really enjoyed it and need to grab it again.

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Photo of Bluecrow
3.83/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

-(clearly dated) bottle pour into snifter: clear, orange-brown with minimal froth that quickly dissipated. The aroma includes molasses and toffee. The taste is the star. Candied figs and toasty malt with enough bitterness to balance the sweet. Alcohol is well-enough hidden.

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Photo of mvanaskie13
4.17/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured into a pint glass: color is brown, a little opaque, head is light tan presenting thinly then dissipating to a top and some spotty lacing.

Smell is heavy booze and huge deep malt, definitely some molasses and maple - nearing port like depth.

Taste is a little muted compared the aroma, with the booziness laying heavy on the tongue, flavors of caramel, raisin, fig, then sweeter sides of molasses and maple. Hops are blend of citrus and pine, with the resinous qualities lingering longer through the tasting

Mouthfeel is fairly dry with some lingering sharp bitterness on the tongue, not cloying.

Overall, a very, very good new barleywine - no surprise from Southern Tier - excited to try and taste.
This brew would be interesting to age over some oak for just a bit of time to smooth these rougher edges.

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Photo of fx20736
4.16/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bought a 4 pak from Wegmans Feb 2016. Served in a Duvel tulip at cellar temp.

Look: Dark garnet, thin offwhite head, decent lacing.

Smell: Nice dark fruitiness

Taste: rich Port-like mix of fruity syrup and toasted maltiness

Feel: Syrupy for the style

Overall: good, solid barleywine

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Photo of redgorillabreath
3.66/5  rDev -8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Just visited the brewery!!! Anyway...
Look: nearly altbier dark. 3/16" head disappeared in a few minutes, no lacing.
Smell: "balance" is evident
Taste: nicely balanced, with a long,long finish. Alcohol burn seems to give way to roasted grain.
Feel: not watery, but not in proportion to intensity of flavors.
Overall: I'm currently working my way through 10 gallons of a home made tripel. This would make a nice "variety" brew to break the monotony...IT JUST DID!!!
Anyway, I'm really enjoying back burner.

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Photo of delta490
3.99/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Pours a deep clear ruby-tinted brown. Almost no head but still manages to leave small sticky lacing. The aroma is rich and malty, with big booze and dark fruits dominating. The taste is much the same with just a smidge of earthy hops. The body is a little lighter, not quite as full on the palate but still quite good. Very smooth throughout.

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Photo of Mitchster
4.45/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

No psecs per the bottle or website other than "Ale yeast, two types of malt, four varieties of hops with blackstrap molasses and local maple syrup" 10.5% ABV per the website.

Pours out to a clear deep mahogany, forming a modest off yellow head with poor retention and minimal lacing. The nose ir pungent with hops. I'm thinking Chinook and Columbus, piney and sweet smelling, with a fruity ester profile and suggestions of strawberry jam. Mouthfeel is big, rich, dense. The taste is very good. Opens up with lots of piney hops, followed by strawberry jam, dates, figs, and leather in the finish. Bitterness is firm, but well balanced considering the huge body. Mouthfeel is a bit acidic owing to the large amount of hops. Peppery boozy finish. Warming punch and super rich.

A very nice of the better barleywines I've had. Pretty classic presentation for the style. Worth picking up a 6 pack. Perfect for sipping on a cold winter night. A meal in itself. Recommended.

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Photo of 57md
3.92/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Pours a brownish copper with some ruby edges and just under a finger of head. The nose is mildly hoppy. The malt profile blends nicely with the hops but the alcohol burn of this offering is just a wee bit too hot.

I think that I am going to grab up a four-pack of this offering and conduct an aging experiment. One or maybe even two years of age might serve this beer well.

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Photo of superspak
4/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle into snifter, bottled on 1/5/2016. Pours slightly hazy deep ruby red/brownish color with a 1-2 finger dense light khaki head with great retention, that reduces to a nice cap that lingers. Nice spotty soapy lacing clings around the glass. Aromas of big caramel, maple, molasses, brown sugar, toasted bread, light chocolate/nuttiness, raisin, plum, grapefruit, tangerine, pineapple, lemon zest, orange peel, light pine, floral, grass, and toasted earthiness. Very nice aromas with great balance and complexity of dark/bready malt, maple/molasses, and light-moderate citrus hop/dark fruit notes; with great strength. Taste of big caramel, maple, molasses, brown sugar, toasted bread, light chocolate/nuttiness, raisin, plum, grapefruit, tangerine, pineapple, lemon zest, orange peel, light pine, floral, grass, and toasted earthiness. Light-medium pine/grassy bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of caramel, maple, molasses, brown sugar, toasted bread, light chocolate/nuttiness, raisin, plum, grapefruit, tangerine, pineapple, lemon zest, orange peel, light pine, and floral/toasted earthiness on the finish for a while. Damn nice complexity, robustness, and balance of dark/bready malt, maple/molasses, and light-moderate citrus hop/dark fruit flavors; with a great malt/bitterness balance and zero cloying flavors after the finish. Light dryness from bitterness as well. Light-medium carbonation and medium-full bodied; with a very smooth, moderately creamy/bready, and lightly sticky mouthfeel that is great. Alcohol is very well hidden with minimal warming present after the finish. Overall this is a damn nice American barleywine style! All around great complexity, robustness, and balance of dark/bready malt, maple/molasses, and light-moderate citrus hop/dark fruit flavors; and very smooth and easy to drink for the big ABV. For being as fresh as this is, it is not overly hoppy or bitter; but still has a nice showcase of hops with great balance against the sweet malts. A very enjoyable offering.

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Photo of zeff80
3.84/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured out a clear, amber color with a small, foamy head. It smelled of rich malt, very biscuity. Also, good caramel and floral notes. It tasted of sweet caramel and toffee. It was very rich with some fruity flavors. Just enough bitter hops to add some balance.

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Photo of orcrist_cleaver
3.45/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Dark amber pour. Thin tan head. Bready, treacle malts accentuated by sweet molasses, woodiness. Dark cherries and stone fruit are prominent. Forward hop floral taste. Thin cutting sweetness with good carbonation level. Malty on the back with subtle notes of alcohol. Raisins, ginger, barley complimentary to chocolate, licorice molasses.

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Photo of BB1313
4/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottled on 1/5/16. 12oz bottle poured into a tulip. Pours a deep brown with ruby hues; fluffy khaki head that fades leaving great retention and sticky lacing. The aromas are full of malts. Lots of caramel and toffee along with some maple. Dark fruits are there. Hints of some black cherry as well. The flavors seem to follow the nose. The flavors are definitely on the sweeter side. Lots of maple syrup. Lots of caramel along with more hints of toffee. Lots of raisin notes. Dark fruits are there. Some citrus notes in the mix. Hints of cocoa as well. The malts dominate. There's a subtle warmth in the finish, but it's absolutely not boozy at all. Alcohol basically goes unnoticed. It's dangerously drinkable. Mouthfeel is full-bodied with moderate carbonation. It feels light and slick. Very smooth.

This is a very nice barleywine. It has everything that you would expect from the style. The maple really shines. Enjoyable stuff. Well done.

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Back Burner (2016-) from Southern Tier Brewing Company
Beer rating: 89 out of 100 with 86 ratings