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Backburner - Barleywine Style Ale | Southern Tier Brewing Company

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BA SCORE
90
outstanding
511 Reviews
Backburner - Barleywine Style AleBackburner - Barleywine Style Ale
BEER INFO

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

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.

BEER STATS
Reviews:
511
Ratings:
934
Avg:
4
pDev:
14%
 
 
Wants:
78
Gots:
132
For Trade:
7
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Reviews: 511 | Ratings: 934
Photo of sweemzander
3.33/5  rDev -16.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

22oz. bottle poured into a tulip. 17-07-07 printed on the bottle.

(A)- Pours a thick & dark mahogany amber color that actually cascaded for a second or two as a decent off-white head formed. Decent retention. Left some lacing here & there.

(S)- Toasted & floral-like figs & raisins with bits of vanilla, toffee, and roasted cocoa.

(T)- Thin, yet dry & syrupy. Lots of fig & raisin with some toasted toffee & caramel.

(M)- Kind of a lackluster carbonation level. Like I mentioned earlier, its rather thin & syrupy in consistency & texture.

(D)- A decent aged barleywine that unfortunately, might be too old, but I cant know that for sure. Very syrupy & thin for a beer that should have a good kick to it. Enjoyable, but I would easily gravitate towards other offerings of the style. I would welcome the opportunity to try a fresh one for comparison.

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Photo of Brad007
4.3/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark reddish-brown color with a two-finger head that fades down to one finger. Nice presentation.

Aroma is full of cascade and centennial hops in the nose with a bit of sweet malt and alcohol warmth.

Taste is strong and full of sweet, caramel-like malt with raisin. Hops are quite strong here as well.Very mellow with only a hint of alcohol warmth.

Mouthfeel is full of the lingering smorgasboard of flavors mentioned above. Very nice.

I like this barleywine. It's very mellow and easy to drink even when it's young. A bit of aging should expose the malt even more.

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Photo of Viggo
4.02/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

At Goldoraks tasting, post-Mondial 2007! Big group of RB guys and a couple BA's, and some on both, it was a great time! Can't remember who brought this because I didn't write it down, but to whoever did, thanks!

Pours a clear brown, small off white head, lace spots, leaves a small ring, something very average about it though. Smell is sweet, some caramel, citrus, very fruity, alcohol, smell like an English barleywine. Taste is rich toffee, slight roast, very fruity, bit of alcohol, nice balance. Mouthfeel is medium to full bodied with low carbonation, quite coating and rich. Not sure if I would call this an American barleywine, but pretty half decent stuff. Thanks!

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Photo of Bighuge
4.22/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Scarlet red body. Slight off white head. Lace is quite adequate for the octane level. Aroma is fruity and hoppy. I get the pineapple like hoppy smell and some sweet maltiness as well. Pretty nice balance between malt and hops for this bigass brew. Rich caramel malts lay a nice foundation. Citrusy and pungent hops accent nicely. Alcohol is damn near absent in the flavor. Slightly spicy aftertaste from hops. Good barleywine overall.

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Photo of Bung
4.15/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

22 oz. Cloudy amber pour, with a nice whitish ring around and good lacing. Aroma is sweet malt up front, caramel covered fruit, faint hops. Taste is a pleasant and balanced blend of caramel, malt, yellow raisin, brown sugar and piney hops. Pleasant nearly creamy mouthfeel. Nearly 2 years on this has turned it into a cross between an English and American barleywine. I prefer the English, so I'm glad I waited. One of the most balanced barleywines I've had. Drinkability is good for a big beer, good warming brew. Worth trying, but if you're really looking for American style, drink this fresh.

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Photo of jmdrpi
4.12/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 oz bottle, no date, but I'm assuming it's a 2011 bottle, and the brewery's website indicates a yearly February release.

appears a cloudy dark brown, with amber highlights at the edges of the glass. thin off-white colored head. strong aroma of sweet caramel malt with a touch of hops. very appetizing.

taste is big malt, as expected - toffee, bready, brown sugar. but not overly sweet, and balanced by a little hop finish. coats the mouth, but not too thick. just enough carbonation, so it drinks smooth.

a nice cold season beer, another Southern Tier success!

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Photo of barnzy78
4.12/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Tap House Grill - Des Plaines, IL
A - brown with faint ruby hues, creamy tan head sticks to the glass as it slowly fades
S - malty and earthy aroma, woodsy oak, vanilla, brown sugar
T - bold flavors of toasted grain, brown sugar, vanilla, oak, earthy hops, fruit, raisin, piny hop bitterness, boozy at times
M - fuller body, creamy, drying finish
O - nice oak aged barley wine. I thoroughly enjoyed it and wouldn't change anything about it.

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Photo of claspada
3.55/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Aromas are quite fruity (dark and stone fruits that is). Some prune, raisin, licorice, berry, inviting. As it warms I can detect some more lighter sweeter fruits and some caramels and nice hints of vanilla.

The taste is quite balanced considering I was expecting a much sweeter beer (as Southern Tier tends to do). A nice thick, deep maltiness persists throughout. Definitely rich, almost like a doppelbock, a lot of dark bready malts. Subtle prune, molasses and licorice. Very little bittering but some aroma hops are present, Quite atypical but an enjoyable twist for the style. I like that this isn't another Pacific coast hop bomb. Finishes with a dryness that makes such a malty beer dangerous. As it warms it starts drinking like candy, with bright vanilla and light caramel flavors. Carbonation is fairly low, as to be expected, especially considering the ABV, style and the brewer. A shade lighter than a "syrupy" beer in my opinion

Overall, thumbs up. I appreciate the out-of-the box approach by Southern Tier on this "barleywine," although by today's standards I would classify it as an Imperial Cascadian Dark Ale.

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Photo of dgilks
3.47/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Cloudy dark red colour with a tiny head. Poor head retention but that's not what the beer is about.

Massive caramel malt on the nose with hints of grain. Some earthy and almost floral hops. Quite fruity.

Rich, silky malt with more fruit and earthy hops. Interesting combination. Pretty tasty.

Full body with moderate carbonation. Good.

I really like the combination of intensely rich malt and earthy hops here but it is a little cloying. Good but not great.

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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 lordofthewiens
4.32/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From a bomber, poured into a snifter. The beer was a garnet color with a fairly small white head. The aroma was pleasantly fruity, with a hint of spice. The taste followed form. The alcohol was warming without being intrusive. Very nice beer. I imagine it would cellar well.

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Photo of ArrogantB
4.37/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Got this bomber in a recent trade with kirok1999. The bottle says it was the first beer of 2007 so it must be about a year old now. Dark red color that is almost brown but not quite. The flavor smells great, hoppy, toffee, West Coast. The flavor follows up with a chewy, hop-laden taste. Lots of hops in this one and that is how I like it. Given how good this tastes now I bet a couple years will treat this beer well. Best beer I have had from Southern Tier but I'm biased toward barleywines.

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Photo of ZAP
4.65/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Big and well done.

A-Deep brown/mahogany...creamy 1/8 inch tan head.

S-Very hoppy aroma...sweet candied tropical fruits...also some toffee like malt.

t-Sweeter style BW which I enjoy....toffee like maltiness...also some berries, molasses and brown sugar....the hops are more of a secondary player on the taste but they still lend a nice sweet candied fruit presence.

M-Big and rich....full bodied...very creamy...what I expect from a BW..finishes smooth and sweet but not cloying.

D-Hell of a beer here. I love the rich malty BW's but what this one lends is a fantastic hop feel while never become extremely bitter. Top notch BW

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

22oz bomb, split with an amigo while planning our 3 week south african safari

appearance: pours into a pint glass, dark amber body, foamy beige cap, lovely little barleywine

smell: floral, boutique of hops, citrus and caramel malts - pretty

taste: a definite hopbomb, beautiful floral hop profile, citrus, pine, booze, thick caramel malts, brown sugar - 1 dimensional but nice

mouthfeel: moderate bitterness, medium body

drinkability: good

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Photo of ccrida
3.98/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

750 ml with a few months on it, poured into my Deshutes snifter, Backburner is a dark ruby with a large, rocky,burnt off-white head that leaves heavy lace.

Smell is rich and thick, fruity ale esters, caramel, nutty, and prune malts, wet, citrus hops, boozy but pretty good.

Taste is sharp and full, tangy, sweet malt and heavily hopped, caramelized fruits. The high ABV drys it out, although after the initially esters and hops, the finish is pretty clean. Pretty good, but could use more time to soften the edges.

Mouthfeel is slick and oily, medium heavy body, with a spicy, dry, hoppy and alcoholic finish.

Drinkability is pretty good, this is a nice barleywine for sure, second bomber that I've had. The first with any time in my cellar, it still has room to run, but I'll be sure to get more, especially once this become available in WA!

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Photo of BeerFMAndy
3.9/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

22 oz bottle poured in a Sprecher snifter. 10% ABV, 25 degrees Plato, 15 degrees L, "serve in a snifter", best at 42 degrees F, listed ingredients, no date.

A - Pours a beautiful lightly hazy bronze color with golden amber highlights. A very low tan head pops up only to disappear right away to a ring of loose bubbles. A little coating of lace is left in a collar.

S - The aroma is almost reminiscent of a strong IPA. Lots of hops in the nose give off some potent pine hints mixed with fruity resins. Dark cherry and sugar-sprinkled raisin. The caramel malts add a nice lightly toasted aroma with some residual sweetness. The alcohol is also present but not overly strong.

T - Deep toasted caramel malts give the flavor a round feel with that caramel and honey sweetness. Notes of toasted, dense bread also come and go. The hops are still strange to me in this beer's first sips. There is a definite pine and light grapefruit from the Chinook that I'm not sold on yet. It doesn't seem to fit the profile. The lingering bitterness isn't at all bad though. In fact I think it balances well. The fruitiness is low but present and the alcohol finishes smooth.

M - Besides it going down the wrong pipe, it's smooth! Medium-full bodied and rich with a lingering bitterness to the finish. A little bit chewy but round overall.

D - Another sipping beer that has good balance but the potential to get old half-way through the bottle. A decent barleywine that has a sort of old world feel to it. Definitely enjoyable but not something I'll be rushing back out for. Maybe one to age to smooth even further.

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Photo of Pencible
3.68/5  rDev -8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This poured a slightly hazy mahogany with a bit of tan head. It smelled like fresh copper and lemon hops, with surprisingly little malt, but a bit of brown sugar and oak. It tasted like copper and citrus hops with a bit of burnt caramel, roasted barley, and vanilla oak. It was slightly thick with some carbonation, and had a bitter aftertaste. Overall this was very mild and plain for a barleywine. It had a nice clean flavor and good body, but it didn't have any unique character at all. It was more like an imperial amber or IPA, which was fairly disappointing to me. It hid the alcohol decently, so it was easy enough to drink, but I was really hoping for something more. This could conceivably improve (a lot) with age, if it develops a much stronger malt character. But it's not worth much fresh.

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Photo of cpetrone84
3.63/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A-pours a clear copper reddish color with a dirty white head leaving a nice lace.

S-the nose is big, tons of caramel malts up front, toasted malt, notes of meat in the middle, dark fruits soaked with some alcohol in the back, earthy and tea hop scent.

T-the taste follows the nose, caramel, meat, sweet in the back, notes of booze, tea, earthy hops.

M-smooth on the palate, low carbonation, soft finish, syrupy and medium bodied.

D-pretty solid brew here, a little sweet but not cloying. nice hop presence in the back to balance all the malts.

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Photo of Cyberkedi
4.33/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Aroma is strong and fruity, more like a hard cider, with tones of apple and malt along with hints of brown sugar, grapefruit and honey. It pours a lovely transparent mahogany with a decent pale cinnamon head. Flavor is fruity, mainly apple; malty, slightly woody, slightly sweet, with hints of caramel and grapefruit - and a fair alcohol nip that lets you know it is a barleywine. Texture is smooth yet edgy and leaves behind a nice, slightly tinny fizz. I believe barleywine fans will like this one.

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Photo of Durge
3.98/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

A deep mahogany color with a solid light tan head and an excellent lace. The aroma is a very mellow blend of malt and red wine with a subtle nuttiness. The taste shows much the same with lots of malty sweetness and a deep grape wine. Very fine carbonation and fair drinkability for a barleywine. Fruity and nutty. Delicious but not something to drink carelessly. Very nice.

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Photo of StoutHunter
3.51/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

I picked up a bottle of Southern Tier's Backburner at Boyne Country Provisions. It's a little cold tonight and I'm in the mood for a Barleywine, so lets see how it goes. 2016 Vintage. Poured from a brown 12oz bottle into a snifter.

A- The label looks nice, it goes well with the name and it's a little eye catching. It poured a brown and red color that takes on more of a ruby and crimson color when held to the light with a little over a fingers worth of creamy tan head that died down to a thin ring that stayed till the end and it left a little bit of patchy lacing behind. This is a good looking beer, I have no complaints.

S- The aroma starts off with a lower amount of high sweetness with a candied sugar aroma being the first to show up and it goes right into some fruity aromas which impart some nice dark fruit aromas that when mixed with the candied sugar it becomes a nice candied fruit like aroma. Up next comes a slight alcohol aroma that goes into the malts which impart some caramel, toasted, brown bread and lots of sweet malt aromas. This beer has a nice aroma, but I wish it was a little more complex.

T- The taste seems to be similar to the aroma and it starts off with a higher amount of medium sweetness with the dark fruits still being the first to show up this time it has a nice juicy aspect to it and the sweetness makes it a little bit like candied fruit. Up next comes a little bit of alcohol that goes into the malts which impart all the aspects that they did in the aroma, but this time more caramel aspects come through with a little bit of toffee. On the finish there's hardly any bitterness with some sweetness taking it's place and it has a nice dark fruit and malty aftertaste. This is a nice tasting beer, but for a barley wine I wish it was bolder and more complex.

M- Smooth, pretty crisp, not too boozy, on the thicker side of being medium bodied with a higher amount of medium carbonation. The mouthfeel is decent, but I wish it was thicker with less carbonation.

Overall I thought this was a nice beer and decent example of the style, to me it was more like a lighter version of a barleywine and I was kind of missing some of that complexity and intensity, but the flavors and aromas seemed to be pretty inline with the style. This beer had ok drinkability, I think one is enough for me, it might start to wear on me after that. What I like the most about this beer is the appearance and that the alcohol was well hidden, those are the highlights to me. What I like the leas about this beer is the mouthfeel, I wish it was thicker with less carbonation. I don't think I would buy this beer again, but I wouldn't turn one down. I would only recommend it if your looking for something on the lighter side of the style. All in all I liked this beer, but I didn't love it and in some aspects it was a little rough around the edges, but it's not a bad beer. It's not a favorite Southern Tier beer and it's just a little above average for the style. Solid job guys, but with a little more work this could be a pretty good beer.

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Photo of KarlHungus
3.55/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This beer pours a murky brown color. The head is a quarter inch in height, and recedes into a thin ring of lacing. The aroma is of pine resin, grapefruit, and caramel. The taste leans more toward the malt than the aroma does, but this is still a hop centric beer. Like a lot of other overly hopped barleywines the hops seem to be sitting on top of the malt, and never intermingling. The mouthfeel is full bodied with lively carbonation. Overall, I think this beer would be better with some age on it. Then again age might further bring out the its lack of oneness between the malt and the hops.

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Photo of Daniellobo
4.35/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Very nice barleywine, sweet caramel character with a smooth hoppy final profile.

Presentation: 22 oz brown capped bottle. Contemporary and dedicated design of a stove knob with the Southern Tier logo at its center. Small side narrative going over the history of the style, and a brief paragraph on intent and ingredients, closing with an additional warning to enjoy the brew with moderation. Shows °Plato (25), °Lovibond (15) and Alc. (10.0%) alongside detailed list of ingredients, and recommended drinking temperature and glassware. Poured into a medium size snifter.

A - Deep amber pour with dark copper tones, short foamy head with medium retention, leaving nice strokes of lace.

S - Sweet caramel malt, toffee roast notes, and a faint fruity whiff, grapefruit and pineapple maybe... Hops closing it subtly.

T - Taste follows and expands the nose in a very assertive and rich way. Caramel and toffee presence woven nicely with an almost unnoticeable boozy hint, some dark fruit notes. The hoppy profile it is here to, makes itself felt more so towards the end, it complements rather nicely the sweet profile, leaving the caramel as the main driver. Its a tiny fresh bite that finishes the experience rather well.

M - Medium to full body, with adequate subtle carbonation. Creamy, smooth and very rich texture.

D - Nice sipper... A rather enjoyable US barleywine.

Notes: It´s a great pleasure to be had. It carries a good profile of the style, remaining sweet and complex without overwhelming bitterness like other US versions lean on. And yet the hoppy profile, almost raw, is there woven in the end and working rather well. This is a bottle that I held in the cellar for about a year, so at least it is a batch of 08, maybe 07? This could have mellowed the hops in this nice way, although I have had this brew other times, supposedly without aging and it offered a very similar experience.

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Photo of tavernjef
4.5/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Gorgeously dark and deep burnt orangey brown. Firm smallish capping of lightly yellowish foam sits for good length before settling to a soild skim and a big bubbly collar. Tons of thinly placed sheeting which breaks apart into some webby strings and moth holes.

Lofty aroma of big caramel malts parched with orangified piney hops and toasted breads. A bit of soft berries, molasses, raisin, and fig grows as it sits.

Taste is just as good if not better and carries a very fine complexity to its flavor profile. Big on malts with some soft, soothing caramel mixed with alot of dark fruity acsents of fig, raisin, and berries. Semi tangy and sweet with a soft, silky, smooth body that's delicately malty rich and thick with just the perfect amount of warmth off the end to round it off as a partial hop tone comes into play. Only a slight bittering bite of orange peel and pine nudges at the palate as it maintains its big malty profile and deep richness settling into the finish. Quite complex with some hints to brown sugar, vanilla, pear, and a whole lot of raisinyness. A bit of toasted grain moves across the finish as it warms with just right kind of Barleywine ABV hint as it finishes.

Soft, full, rounded, thick, and rich body, not overly hefty nor hoppy and keeps a nice tone and malty creamyness and chewyness the whole way through. Oh, and the finish is just as soft and alluringly delicate as the rest of its nature with its small amount of warmth floating in over the maltitude of sweetness. Nice...

A pretty fuckin' solid Barleywine by Southern Tier. This will age well for those of you who do that sort of thing. But I found this fairly fresh bottle of Backburner to be dead-on, super nice, and yummalishious!! Brings memories of Old Guardian...when I can get it?!

Another big thanks to JoeyBeerBelly for the recent hook up of East Coast goodies!

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

Relatively fresh bottle, <1 year old.

A: Pours a murky amber with a good sized and dense tan head. Fades slowly, leaving a thin but almost uninterrupted wall of lacing.

S: Loads of raisin, fig and molasses primarily. Some toffee and caramel in the middle.

T: Strong molasses up front along with the dark fruit - raisin and fig. Some toffee, caramel and a bit more molasses in the middle and towards the end. Not overly sweet, especially with a little burst of earthy and resin hop bitterness in the finish.

M: Heavy, thick.

O: A good american style barleywine. Nice complexity and balance of flavors. However, nothing stands out as earth-shattering so I give it a solid 4 across the board. Not a knock against the beer, it's a pretty excellent staple for the style. Just nothing to distinguish it from the rest.

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Backburner - Barleywine Style Ale from Southern Tier Brewing Company
4 out of 5 based on 934 ratings.
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