Backburner - Barleywine Style Ale | Southern Tier Brewing Company

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510 Reviews
Backburner - Barleywine Style AleBackburner - Barleywine Style Ale

Brewed by:
Southern Tier Brewing Company
New York, United States

Style: American Barleywine

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.50%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
Retired after 2015 - new recipe/beer coming out in 2016 with a new listing.

Added by BeerTruth on 04-02-2007

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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Reviews: 510 | Ratings: 933
Photo of Slatetank
4.11/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

enjoyed the 2012 oak aged version chilled in a tulip with tenderbranson69 from the bomber.

The color is deep cocoa brown with tranfslucent clarity and thick cap of tan. The smell is caramel with a touch of alcohol and slight hint of wood with a nice fruity tinge of yeast and light malt caramel odors with mild vinous yeast element giving that dried fruit you may excpect in the nose. The feel is sweet but potent with moderate bitterness and somewhat dark fruit essence with good balance of bitterness from hops w/ a semi-dry finish

The taste is familiar in that it has that dark fruit tinged flavor with lots of caramel up front with a good amount of alcohol and light flavors of malt with a gentle roasted taste in the background an almost port-like with a nice blend of hops giving the barleywine a slight pine accent to the mild toffee elements in the malt. Overall a pretty tasty barleywine and respresents the style well

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Photo of SerialHiker
3.82/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

Appearance: Pours a light brown, mahogany, amber color…fairly transparent, I can see a few bubbles in the middle…head is a light khaki, starts pinky thick and settles to a nice top layer…a good lookin’ brew…(4/5)

Smell: Candied strawberry and dark cherry sweetness right off the bat…it’s very malty, with hints of caramel and toffee…there’s some earthy yeast notes in there as well…no hops bitterness to really speak of…it’s not overly complex, just a sweet, inviting barley wine…(3.75/5)

Taste: Sweet dark cherry and candied strawberry flavor up front…very malty, with tones of earthiness, caramel and toffee…there is very little sign of hops, though I do get a light airy, citrus feel late…there’s also a noticeable earthy, musty yeast flavor playing a background role to all that sweetness…the tiniest hint of alcohol heat is present too, giving the brew a bit of a cough medicine feel…still very enjoyable…(3.75/5)

Mouthfeel: Medium body with medium to lots of carbonation…it fluffs up bringing tons of candied sweetness and earthy maltiness to the palate…it’s rich, syrupy, creamy and mildly chewy…sweet malt lingers well into the after taste…(4.25/5)

Overall: This is a pretty good brew…the flavor isn’t anything too exotic, but it is solid and very drinkable…it’s close to a winter seasonal minus the warming spices…I’d put this at an above average brew, worthy of purchase, but won’t blow any minds…Southern Tier makes some very tasty beers and this is another in that long line…lately, I’ve been fancying the barley wines lately and Backburner will only continues that trend…scoop one of these up and enjoy your evening! (3.75/5)

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Photo of BurgeoningBrewhead
4.55/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured bomber into 34oz mug. Clear orange/red with a moderate white head that sticks. Smells mostly of hops, but with a strong malt presence providing some bready scents. Taste is all over the place; smooth clean malt sweetness at first, then slightly minty hops, warming alcohol, and finally a slightly yeasty finish. This is a big beer; just what I'd expect a barleywine to be. Mouthfeel is full and a bit creamy, moderately carbonated.

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Photo of MattyG85
4.4/5  rDev +10%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a 22 oz. bottle into a Surly Darkness chalice glass.

Appearance: Pours a very deep copper with hints of ruby red. Moderate amount of bubbles. Big three finger off white head which slowly recedes into a thin creamy layer. Leaves a lot of lacing around the glass.

Smell: A big sweet malty caramel aroma with good hints of hops and oak. Toasted bready malts with big hints of sweet caramel, toffee, biscuit, grains, and yeast. Hints of oak chips and wood. Solid hop profile with earthy hints of grass, pine, and a floral perfume like scent. Hints of citrus orange and grapefruit. Also hints of apple along with dark cherry, fig, and raisin. Sweet burnt brown sugar is in the mix as well as soon booze. A pretty solid rich aroma.

Taste: Like the aroma previews, a big rich taste of caramel malt, oak, hops, dried fruits, and booze. Sweet toasted malts with notes of caramel, toffee, grains, bready biscuit, and yeast. Taste of oak and wood. Brown sugar sweetness. Big hop kick with notes of grass, pine, and a floral, herbal hop taste. Citrus taste of orange peel and grapefruit. Dried apple taste. Undertones of dark fruit with notes of dried cherry, raisin, and fig. Some alcohol is also noticeable in the taste. A very rich and good Barley Wine taste with a good balance.

Mouthfeel: Full bodied with a moderate amount of carbonation. Creamy, rich, and fairly chewy. Finishes dry. Alcohol heat is felt as expected but it isn't too hot.

Overall: A really good Barley Wine. Good bold mix of sweet malt, hops, oak, and fruit esters.

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Photo of DrewV
3.33/5  rDev -16.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Meh, not a horrible beer, but certainly nothing special. A bit "earthy", which in my mind doesn't accurately represent the style. Pretty heavy malt, but backed up with some sort of minty flavors. Just not a cohesive brew. The differing flavors seem to be playing against each other, not offering a constructive flavor buildup. Flavor gets worse as the beer warms, which is opposite of what I usually prefer. Best I can say about this is that the alcohol presence isn't offensive. But no real attractive flavors or aromas present. Mouthfeel is okay, but that doesn't really make or break a beer. For the price, there's MUCH better out there. I'm glad I tried it, because now I know what to avoid in the future. No more than a B- rating from me.

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Photo of evanforbeer
4.04/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured deep orange-red with off white head from bomber
Nose- sweet nose; fruity with orange and grapefruit zest with floral notes, caramel malt toffee
Taste- follows with lots of fruity hoppy flavors, citrus and even a touch of mango, lots of caramel malt with subtle dark fruits, buttered raisin bread, oaky vanilla. Finishes with booze, fruit, some pine and oak-mellowed dark fruit
Feel- fairly light bodied for a barleywine extremely drinkable. Fair amount of carbonation
Pretty good, really nice fruitiness from the hops. Barrel does well and not overdone

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Photo of Immortale25
4.24/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured into a Palm snifter at The Local Miami.

A- Pours a reddish light brown color with a 1/2 inch light tan head that retains well before slowly meandering down to a thick ring around the edge of the glass and a light sheet of surface foam. Spotty resilient lacing.

S- Piney hops lead the way with some cereal grain malt sweetness bringing up the rear. Makes for a pleasant balance. A bit musty with some alcohol fume.

T- The bitterness clamps down hard almost making my jaw tense up. Definitely a hop-forward barleywine but there's plenty of biscuity malt to complement. The alcohol is noticeable but easily managed.

M- A bit creamy, thick and sharp all at the same time. Medium carbonation and a fuller sort of body for the style.

O- Haven't had this in years and I've never had it on tap so it was a nice reminder of how awesome ST can be.

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Photo of cindyjeffsmith
4.34/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

appearance: Hazy copper, looks like sorghum syrup. Pretty fat off white head on the pour that settles down to a smattering.
smell: Sweet, yeasty, fruity. That is, very nice.
taste: More of the same but even better. The balance is just superb. Slightly bitter finish, very slight...mostly sweet and full.
overall: haven't had this in a while and just picked up some 2013 (presumably...couldn't find the date on the bottle). Very nice fresh out of the gate. Tastes more like an English than an American to me. Actually quite reminiscent of Unearthly.

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Photo of overgrownmoose
3.84/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4

S: Bomber poured into wine glass. Served at 45*F.

A: Deep red-brown glow. Almost no head.

S: Very malty. Weak notes of caramel, molasses, and an almost unidentifiable floral smell.

T: Dominated by sweet malt. The hops could use a slight boost to get within style. The alcohol makes itself known but isn't harsh.

M: Smooth and thick, bordering on syrupy. Just enough carbonation to give a light sparkling on the tongue.

O: An above average example of a high gravity beer. It is slightly sweet for my taste, but fits the style well.

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Photo of harrymel
3.42/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Bottled 13FEB12

Dark brown with deep amber character and a solid quilt of buttered cream foam. Smells nice. Toffee, leather, malts, coffee, caramel, more malt and a hint of oak. Nice nose. Flavor is sweet and alcoholic, not nearly as decadent as the olfactory. Malts and tannins and sweetness. Nothing special. Medium on full bodied with a light, touching carb and a semi dry finish. Nice beer, nothing special.

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Photo of MisterE
3.49/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

bought this 22 oz. bomber at Ward's earlier this week

A: pours a murky rusty brown with almost no head

S: sweet malt, citrusy hops, and alcohol

T: more like an English Barleywine in my opinion, with a boozy bite as it warms

M: smooth but rather thin, very little carbonation

O: after reading previous reviews, this beer was a disappointment, but solid all the same

Perhaps it's hard for me to get excited by a beer in this category that costs more than Bigfoot but delivers less of the pleasure.

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Photo of TheRougeBastard
4.4/5  rDev +10%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Since I am a big fan of Barley Wine styles, I never pass one up and willing to try all entries! Southern Tier's "back burner" absolutely did itself proud! Consumed straight from the 22 ounce bomber during the Niner's big win over "not-so Hot-Lanta"! But I digress...everything about the "back burner" that matters was pleasing; smell, taste, etc, was well balanced and an enjoyable consumption! Very, VERY reminiscent (sp?) of the Horn Dog by the Flying Dog, one of the better samplings of the genre, IMO! Well worth a try!

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Photo of MRclean
4.8/5  rDev +20%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Vessel: Purchased in a 22 oz. bottle. Consumed from a tulip glass.

Appearance: a clean reddish brown, ½ finger developing head that dissipates quickly

Smell: sweet, caramel, malty

Taste: Sweet caramel and oak comes together with a notable but appropriate hop presence. It has a great flavor.

Mouthfeel: Smooth, with a slight punch of alcohol.

Overall: I am admittedly not a huge barley wine fan but this offering from Rogue is fantastic. The flavors come together in an amazingly enjoyable balance to create a delicious barley wine.
Serving type: bottle

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Photo of Flounder57
4/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 oz bottle was poured into a snifter.

Appearance: This beer poured a one finger head that has reduced to a thin layer and left some lacing on the glass. It is a murky crimson brown color with some visions of bubbles coming up through the glass.

Smell: sweet caramel malts, toffee, citrus, and boozy alcohol.

Taste: Very tasty brew. I have been holding on to this one for several years and it has stood the test of time. It is good to see the hops not killing the maltiness of this beer. The taste follows the aroma really well.

Mouthfeel: Silky smooth, full bodied, medium bodied, boozy, and quite the treat.

Overall: Pretty solid barleywine. Hoppy, but the maltiness makes this beer well balanced. Quite enjoyable and a good sipper in the middle of this snowstorm we are getting.

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Photo of GotWad629
3.7/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

pours a dark red - brown with a thin head that dissipates quickly.

Smell is of toffee, dark fruits, and caramel. The booze is definitely present.

Taste is similar. Lots of toffee, dark fruit and caramel. There is a decent amount of sweetness that is balanced out nicely with the bitterness of the hops. The alcohol is definitely noticeable as well.

The body and carbonation are both pretty light.

This is definitely a sipper and perfect for a winter night.

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Photo of BlackBelt5112203
4/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 oz bottle poured into a pint glass at cellar temperature.

L – Amber-brown color with a 2-finger cream-colored head. Nice retention but not much lacing. Clear with a good amount of bubbles. A little bit lighter than expected, but still fits the style.

S – Mostly caramel malts and citrus hops with some dark fruits mixed in. Alcohol is definitely apparent in the nose.

T – Follows the nose with a little more depth in the malt department. Starts off sweet with caramel, rich malts, molasses, and dark fruits like plums and figs. Bitter citrus hops creep in mid-taste and build toward the finish.

F – Medium-bodied with good carbonation, a sticky and mouth-coating feel, and a dry and bitter finish. Sweet caramel and bitter citrus hops linger. Lots of alcohol warmth is apparent at the finish.

O – This is a pretty solid American barleywine. It comes exactly as advertised with sweet caramel balanced with bitter citrus hops. The heat detracts a little from the drinkability, but it seems like that’s to be expected in beers that are this big. I haven’t had many barleywines so it’s tough to judge, but this one is pretty tasty. Another good beer from Southern Tier.

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Photo of Gobzilla
3.85/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: poured a mahogany brown in color with yellow highlights and a thin ring of head that left very little bubbly lacing sticking to the glass.

S: most malty sweetness upfront in the nose but was able to detect some caramel, maybe a little dark fruitiness, hints of piney hops, a little booze and signs of maple.

T: the flavor was also very sweet and malty like the aroma suggested alongside dark fruit character, a little booze heat, caramel accents, a touch of toffee, maple sugar notes and a touch hoppiness.

M: the brew was medium in body with a fair amount of carbonation which had a sweet, mildly dark fruity, boozy, slightly hoppy and sticky finish

O: I thought it was just OK but was decent. I guess I am just use to these real big robust rich flavorful barleywines.

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Photo of ummswimmin
3.85/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I had this beer during the power outage following hurricane Sandy. I figured that a barleywine would work perfectly at room temperature.

I poured this beer into a snifter glass. This is a very hazy brown beer with minimal foam.

Backburner smells very hot. There are lots of venous qualities there.

The flavor is extremely rich. The heat comes in at the back of the throat.

This is a pretty good example of a barleywine. I'd go on more about this beer, but I got tired of writing reviews in the dark.

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Photo of Darkmagus82
3.92/5  rDev -2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from 22 oz bomber into snifter glass

Appearance- The beer pours a deep copper- red color with highlights of amber and a small off white head. The head fades very rapidly leaving a few bubbles to linger on the surface of the brew and leaving a light level of lacing on the sides of the glass.

Smell – The aroma is bready and sweet. A sweet aroma of caramel, cherries, apple, and toffee are plentiful mixing well with a big bready smell. With the sweet and malty is a decent showing of a nice bourbon aroma.

Taste – The taste starts out of a bready taste with hints of caramel and dark fruit sweetness. As the taste advances, a strong toffee sweetness comes to the tongue with it mixed with a lighter herbal flavor. As the taste moves on further the sweet fades slightly with an oak and bourbon alcohol flavor coming to the tongue. These two flavors grow quite a bit stronger at the end and mix with an earthy hop to leave a lingering sweet and earthy bourbon flavor on the tongue.

Mouthfeel – The body of the beer is on the slightly creamier and thicker side, although for a 9.6 % it is not all that exceptionally thick. The carbonation level is quite appropriate for the style as it is on the lower side. The lower carbonation and the slightly thicker body allow the sweet, boozy, oak and lightly hopped flavors to linger on the tongue.

Overall - A rather interesting barley wine with a rather diverse flavor profile. While on the sweeter side, there are also good flavors of a bready, hoppy and boozy flavor. The transitions in the taste are all rather smooth and with it not being a booze bomb like some barley wines it is somewhat easy to drink. Worth a try if you have a chance.

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Photo of bigaltemple
3.95/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Deep, dark, copper color with nice amber hues appearing at the edges. Quarter inch, khaki-colored turns to a flimsy cap. Get some intricate sheets of lacing.

S - Initial whiff is lots of oak with subtle hints of vanilla. Sweet caramel and a bit of raisin show up as well. As it warms the floral/earthy hops become a bit more prominent.

T/M - Very similar to the nose. Tons of oak and vanilla, with some caramel and toffee. Mild bitterness finishes it off. Medium bodied, bordering on the thin side. Mild carbonation is nice for this one.

O - Haven't disliked a beer from Southern Tier yet. Found this one to be enjoyable, and would gladly have again.

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Photo of bnes09
3.71/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Dark bronze translucent ale. Ample light tan head with tons of lacing that lasts the entire drink and forms more with each sip.

Sweet, dark fruit aromas with raisins, dates and plums.

Dense malt character with dark fruits to add sweetness. Caramel and maple. Hops are subtle with an herbal tone. Sweet overall.

Thick, near syrupy texture. Descent carbonation provides a mild snappiness.

Adequate flavor and balance for a barley wine. Unfortunately, not much more to offer here. Also a tad too sweet for my taste.

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Photo of PorterLambic
3.76/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Arrives in a snifter, a hazy dark brown with no head.
Smell is piney hops with some dark fruits and malt. Not exactly as expected but well balanced.
Taste is hoppy, sweet, malt, pine and some generic dark fruit notes. Balance is good.
Full bodied, warming and quite smooth. Extremely light effervescence, as expected. A nice sipping beer. Well done. So much better when it warms, easily twice the beer. Let it sit for 30 minutes at least and love it.

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Photo of dbrauneis
3.95/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Served on tap at Rattle N Hum in New York, NY

A: Pours a clear medium to dark amber in color with light amounts of visible carbonation. The beer has a half finger tall beige head that slowly reduced to a thin film covering the majority of the surface of the beer with a thin ring at the edges of the glass. Light amounts of lacing are observed.

S: Moderate to strong aromas of caramel and toffee malt sweetness with some notes of bourbon and vanilla - quite sweet and malty.

T: The taste is very similar to the smell with lots of malt flavors including caramel and toffee tastes and some bourbon notes - there are some light amounts of bourbon and vanilla. Very interesting with some notes alcohol near the finish.

M: Full bodied with light to moderate amounts of carbonation. Smooth with some alcohol heat in the finish.

O: This beer drinks more like a bourbon or a whiskey than a beer, this is definitely a slow sipping beer to enjoyed over quite a bit of time. I like the hints of bourbon like flavors and smells but this beer is big and does not hide the fact.

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Photo of WynnO
3.87/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This dark reddish brown beast is quite inviting. Head is not exceptional---what barley wine is?

Smell is a bit weak but quite floral. Average, par, nominal, etc.

This jewel tastes pretty close to its definition. Southern Tier is amazing, and they do not disappoint here. Great balance of hops and heat. And it lingers...not too much though. Very tasty.

Mouthfeel is marvy IMHO. I like this beer for its politeness of knowing when to leave. I sense no yucky aftertastes. It exits like a champ.

I give this a 4.5 overall only because Southern Tier has raised its bar so high that it's hard to find a spearchucker amongst its vast selection of incredible beers that can rise above their standard. (lighten up---"spearchucker" is meant for its literal comedy here---someone who casts a spear a long, long way)

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Photo of TheSarge
3.7/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured about 6oz out into a wide mouthed tulip, and the brew makes a good two finger thick khaki colored head presentation with great retention, and the body is dark and hazy with a plum skin color.

The aroma is milk like, dark over ripe fruit, cooked veggies, and slight caramel.

Taste wise it is very caramel and toffee, with a spike of grapefruit kick in the end.

This is full in body, and a bit warming in the end.

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Backburner - Barleywine Style Ale from Southern Tier Brewing Company
4 out of 5 based on 933 ratings.
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