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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.

For Trade:
User Reviews
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Reviews: 510 | Ratings: 933
Photo of demitriustown
4.12/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

07 version via trade a while ago with Jah Noth! (Thank You!) Aroma is wonderful with a nice roasted nut and caramel overtone, a bit of fruity hoppiness, and some raisins and prunes to round out this awesome aroma. Pours a clear ruby color with a two finger thick head that lingers around for a while. Taste is malty with dark fruit intermingled. A lot of stuff going on in the taste of this brew. Smoothing going down and deceptively drinkable. Overall, A darn good barley wine with about a year of age on it. Nice!

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Photo of Crosling
3.53/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Ruby/brown color. Aroma is mainly dominated by sherry-like oxidation. Flavor is also dominated by sherry-like oxidation, but also has some nice elements of raisins, dark fruit, caramel and mixed nut. Decent finish as well, which lasts pretty long. Very oxidized, but still pretty good.

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Photo of emerge077
4.18/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a Hitachino glass. Color is the darkest possible shade of orange. Plenty of intricate lacing, good retention overall.

Toffee caramel notes with some orange peel and pastry. Spun sugar or cotton candy. Alcohol is in the background if you look for it.

Hoppy bitterness with a huge, rich maltiness. Citrus is in there somewhere, followed by leafy hops. Rich, spicy, a little doughy. Long bitter aftertaste. Very smooth, velvety feel, the bottle doesn't last too long. Very drinkable barleywine...

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Photo of Donnie2112
4.17/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

appearance: dark cherry brown with a nice film of bubbly head on top

smell:dark fruit and cereal just a bit of citrusy hops.

taste: lots of raisins, some brown sugar, a bit of nutty yeast, nice citrus, and some floral hops

mouthfeel: oily and astringent full bodied and nicely carbonated

drinkability: nice flavor easy drinking for what it is. I like this one it's full enough and ends up finishing lean with the hops really nicely balanced

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Photo of Buebie
4.79/5  rDev +19.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I bought this at Heritage Liquore today, St. Paul MN
Price for my brown bombar was $6.50
It was in the dark, non lit cooler too!

A: Poured a dark redish orange. Head was 2-3 finger deep creamy white. Head stuck around for a long time before fizzling down to a quarter inch, and stayed that way. Thick clumpy laceing, not as thick as the imperial ipa, but close.

S: wiffs of rich hoppy aroma, huge floral hoppy aroma. Wort boil hops were chinook and Willamette. Dry hoped with Amarillo and Centennial. Sweet malt, I can actually get wiffs of the steeped grain, in a grape nuts kinda way. Fresh cut hay, grassy feilds. Some doughy yeast scents are present. A faint cry of alcahol in the smell as well.

T: Upfront there is a nice hoppy presence without bite, sweetness upfront as well. Very well balanced through each step in your mouth. Midway the carbonation meats with the creamyness and carries the sweet creamy malt through my mouth. Some mild cracked pepper, and other types of spices that I cannot put a finger on are present. After the swallow the tinged dryness of hops hange around. Alcahol warming kicked in just before the swallow and departed quickly as the hops aftertaste took over.

M: Creamy rich thickness with medium carbonation in the middle that disappears as all the other flavors begin to overwhelm and take over.

D: Another amazing brew from Southern tier. This would age very well. I highly recommend this beer. The laceing alone is like no other beer I have had. Its more thick as far as laceing goes then a stout.

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

bomber poured into a snifter. pours a rich copper brown color with a half finger of tight tan head. light lacings.

aroma is malty and coniferous. a bit of spice is present as well. malt notes include caramel and a touch of chocolate. overall the brew is hoppy, which drowns out the malts a bit.

taste is rich and malty up front, with caramel malts and a bit of chocolate malt showing. a distant earthy quality forms a base, while it finishes on a light chocolate note with coniferous hops and residual caramel.

mouthfeel is full bodied and rich, with a smooth texture, and light bites from CO2 and alcohol. finishes demi-dry.

drinkability is decent. this is a full bodied and rich brew, with a notable alcohol tag (10%APV). that being said, this is a mellow and drinkable barley wine, without overpowering the malts or the hops. nicely crafted.

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Photo of irishkyle21
4.2/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Finally got my special order in (got to love the LCBO). Poured into my favorite snifter. The off white head leaves a good amount of lacing and stays 1/4 of an inch the whole way through. Has a reddish brown color.

Smells of caramel malts, big juicy hops and alcohol.

Tastes of caramel malts, bitter hops (citrusy/floral), fruits and a warming alcohol.

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Photo of bosco7
4.22/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Deep garnet color with a creamy tan head.

Vanilla, caramel, waffle cone, light molasses, under cooked chocolate chip cookie, and some cherries in the nose.

First thing I taste is the heavy and complex malt flavors; molasses, burnt caramel, toffee, and brown sugar. A hint of powder chocolate and dark cherries in the middle. Some cinnamon and herbs in the finish. The bitterness and alcohol are agressive.

Full body with plenty of carbonation to counter. I think the alcohol burn is a little much at this point in its life and brings the drinkability down a little bit. Tasty barleywine, the malt profile is so complex. Aggressive to boot. Recommended.

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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 dogger6253
4.06/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark and cloudy, can't really see anything. It's not black though, there is some brown coloring going on. The head is a strong, mocha layer of foam about 1/2 inch thick. Gorgeous streams of lacing coat the side of my glass. Pretty stuff.

At first I thought there wasn't much going on in the aroma, but I realized that there is a lot of balance and complexity going on. There is no "over-powering" scent, everything is in subtle balance. Overall, pretty fruity with some darkness going on too. Sort of like plums, rum, raisins topped off with a bit of clove for good measure.

The taste was more bitter than I expected, heavy hops upfront. In the back of the flavor is where the dark fruits and similar tastes hide out. There is a quick, but mellow transition from bitter to sweet and tart. I found the slightest hint of lavender mixed in as well. Kind of heavy on the roasted malt taste too.

This was pretty heavy, pretty boozy too. I feel like it's an excellent beer, but I don't feel the fruitiness came out as much as it should in this style. Actually, this tasted more like an imperial stout than a barley wine.

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Photo of Kendo
4.2/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Poured into a pint glass. Body is reddish-coppery in color with a 1-finger cream/tannish head that retains nicely. No visible carbonation in the body. Decent lace on the way down the glass.

S: Not terribly strong in the nose is the first impression -- mainly caramel malt and something fruity. As it warms I get a hint of alcohol on top of sweet malt and fruit.

T: Nicely balanced between caramel malt sweetness and hop bitterness. I get brown sugar and toffee but balanced by a lingering sense of lemony pine or even spruce. Also a touch of spice and heat at the back of the sip. A very nicely balanced barleywine.

M: Pretty creamy in feel, a bit heavier than medium in heft.

D: Very good, particularly for a beer of this strength. I split the bomber with a friend and it went down more slowly than your average beer, but it was not difficult to drink at all.

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Photo of jpnasty
3.05/5  rDev -23.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I enjoyed this beer but i wouldn't say I really loved it. Of all the southern tier products I have had this is probably my least favorite. First off this doesn't really drink like a barley wine to me, it just feels to tame. I like my barley wines to be right up in your face and make you know that you are drinking a barley wine; this on the other hand drank like a very malty IPA. Maybe a year or two in the basement would bring out some of the more complexity and strength I expect from a barley wine.

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Photo of Foxman
3.93/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

It pours a clear and fairly carbonated ruddy coppery amber. A finger of pithy beige head sinks to rounded hillocks of froth. Rolls of lacing coast along the inside of the glass.

In the aroma, toasted malt is sugar sweet with caramel and dried fruit. Toffee and vanilla join a muted citrus hop note. A mild swirl of dough is warmed by a puff of alcohol.

Upon sipping, roasty malt is initially rock candy sweet and dusted with caramel, raisin, and dark cherry. Creamy vanilla rounded doughy esters slide alongside a cozy warm cusp of alcohol. Baked biscuit is earthy and residual malt sugars preside but are soon dried by a mix of floral and citrus zest bitter hop influences. The finish is crisp but mellow. The hops assert late, but in the end they help complete a nice profile.

Full bodied, it has a sinewy, slick feel that lays fairly sweet and silky on the palate.

The aroma is a touch light and the hops take their time in the flavor, but the result is a homey, tasty barleywine that takes on a little British character. It goes down easily and the covert but husky ABV presents nary a hitch. It's no grand giant, maybe, but it's sure good enough to promote from the back burner to one in the front. Though then the name wouldn't be as cool. So never mind.

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Photo of jamie2dope
3.65/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Lately (perhaps unconsciously) I have been drawn to Barleywines by sheer evidence of the fact that I keep purchasing new ones. I bought this one for two reasons: I have never had it out of the bottle, and I grabbed a new blue cheese (Great Hill Blue) to pair it with. Poured a dark rosewood color, with a small white head. Nose has lots of grains that almost come off as honey soaked, followed by some brush strokes of stone fruit, and plenty of alcohol to go around. Taste is as intense as the smell, with some residual sweetness showing up at the beginning (perhaps the fruit and honey), and then ending on a much more hoppy, bitter note. Body of this brew coats the mouth from top to bottom, and leaves a very noticeable hoppy aftertaste. No question that this beer is big, with lots of hops and alcohol to push your palate around. One bomber is more than enough for me, but that isn't to say that it is not a very complex, tasty Barleywine. It is nice to see a beer like this with such balls come along. An impressive beer from Southern Tier, and one that I think would make a great candidate for some aging. Cheers

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Photo of jmacdaddy2008
4.42/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Tried a couple of the Southern Tier beers last night and I really like their imperial line.

Their Barley wine has a nice color. Deep amber with a thick head when dissipated it leaves some big bubbles and film on the side.

Has a strong smell of spiced fruits and malty richness. Gets better when warmed in my snifter.

Good full bodied taste, almost creamy feel on the palate. More of the spiced fruits and typical flavors of a strong Barely wine. Definite sipper, has a slight burn from alcohol, but still well hidden

Overall, this beer will only get better with time, but found it hard to age because of the good drink ability.

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Photo of cokes
3.58/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

From the '08 bottle, it pours a deep and dark mahogany brown. It's a gorgeous color. The topping is short, sparse and off-white.
It noses of brown sugar, dark rum, ganja resin, peaches, and orange juice. It's an interesting and delicious aroma, but it seems a bit dialed-down.
Taste-wise, the progress can be thoroughly described as:
toasted grain-->caramel--->grilled pineapple-->bitter herb-->pine sap-->lemon rind-->cedar/cinnamon-->brandy. They problem is, that describes EVERYTHING that is in here. It's linear and offers no sideroads or detours. Nothing really meshes. It's merely and simply a progression of flavors. There's no melding, or complexity. It's just one thing, then another, then another. It's a series of compartments starting with malt, then hops, then alcohol.
The build is plenty thick and deep enough to let everything shine. It feels like a b'wine.
My gripe here is that nothing truly congeals. There is a series of tasty Barleywine traits. Great stuff, really, but they don't ever link up with any type of fluidity. It's all jagged, staccato, and separated. It needs to breathe and expand and deepen and coalesce....and it doesn't...
At least not yet. Age may do this a great deal of good. Fresh, though, it is skippable.

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Photo of Monkeyknife
4.2/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle a rich ruby red color with a light but frothy beige head.

A sweet aroma of dark ripe fruits, sweet malt, and floral hops.

Tastes of sweet malts, caramel, brown sugar, and citrusy hops. Clean finish. The alcohol is well hidden.

Full mouthfeel, smooth, and lightly carbonated.

This is one very easy to drink and even easier to enjoy barley wine from Southern Tier.

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

Thanks to Joe1510

Big citrus hop bomb at the moment... quite tasty young and fresh, but this really really really tastes like it needs a few years on it.

Pours a brilliant ruby red, perfectly carbonated with lasting head, lacing, and initial finger and a half of creamy head that disappears, as per the style, rather quickly.

Hops all over the nose, peaking around some sweet, malty notes. A slightly maltier, slightly less aggressive hop presence than a DIPA, but it's in the realm.

Taste has some awesome, incredibly well balanced hop flavor, a dry finish after a rounded, malty sweet middle, with golden raisin notes in particular coming through. It just tastes... simple. Malt flavor lacks complexity, it's perhaps a little spritzy.

Seems like a fine candidate to see what some aging does. The hops will of course drop out a bit, but there's a lot here. Some oxidative notes might help round things out.... or it might just get syrupy. Who knows?

Certainly worth the try, I'd gladly drink another.

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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 Vancer
4.04/5  rDev +1%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Hojaminbag comes up with another sweet beer from a sweet trade - thanks guy!

A sexy beer pour, oaken cola brown, clear - with a very sticky tan head - leaving a sheet of lace in my Corsendork tulip. THIS is the way a beer should look.

Classic sweet caramel BW style aroma, and even with some hops lurking underneath.

And yeah, the quaff is semi-dominated with the hops - more than needed in a pure Barleywine. Reminds me of the Bigfoot. Woody and resinous. No way this is a 10% brew.

Southern Tier - you make great beer.

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Photo of Avryle
3.88/5  rDev -3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A- Pours a clear, dark garnet, almost like cherry soda but without the active carbonation. Small almond-colored head even with vigorous pour. Little lacing but the consistency is so thick, the liquid coats & slides slowly down the side of the glass

S- Strong caramel malts and pine-y hops. Ubiquitous "dark fruits" such as dates & raisins and a sweet tinge of citrus. Booze in the background

T- Strong bitter hop presence along with heavy caramel malts. There's a sweet woodiness to it. Also burnt brown sugar and... citrus??? Warming booze finish

M- Very full-bodied, almost syrupy in consistancy

D- This is a heavy one even for a barleywine. Proceed with caution at 10%

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Photo of Metalmonk
4.23/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served at cellar temperature. Love these screen-printed Southern Tier bottles, and the overall S.T. design scheme is really great. The beer itself looks excellent. Incredible clarity through the copper/mahogany color with a soapy light tan cap. As the head shrinks slowly then disappears, large strips of lace ring the glass.

Big toffee/caramel sweetness in the nose, with piney hops taking a strong foothold in the background. Faint tobacco-leaf/wood earthiness in the distance.

I found the flavor to be among the most unique of any barleywine I've come across so far. Overall quality and enjoyment is a 4, but there's something else here I can't put my finger on that pushes it further over the edge. Kind of a sharp wood flavor, as if it were aged in a new barrel (ie. no bourbon or other spirit having hung out in the barrel). A bit like Fred From The Wood but not quite as green. Expected toffee, molasses, and pine elements come forth at the front of the sip, with only a pinch of the 10% alcohol making itself known. Then the woody characteristic takes over, with a pungent, astringent grassy element mingling and hanging around the rest of the time. Seems a little strange at first, but with time it really shows itself as a top-notch BW.

Mouthfeel is creamy, though not quite as creamy or thick as I'd like it to be...quite good, but something even fuller and chewier would really do the trick.

I wonder about the need for the "Imperial" in the name. The alcohol is hardly noticeable; it's not as if this is wildly alcoholic in taste or actual ABV. The flavor is very nice, definitely complex with its own individuality, but aren't barleywines kind of imperial without needing to call them Imperial? Maybe it's just a marketing thing, suckering in all of us who throw down their money for anything "imperial." Whatever the case, this is a fine barleywine that should be sought out by all lovers of the style...though probably not the best BW introduction for newbies.

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Photo of BeerBelcher
4.26/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

I thought this was an exceptional barley-wine. Hoppy, approachable, and (like most Southern Tier beers) a highly attractive appearance. I'd definitely recommend.

Most Southern Tier beers have a clear body and brilliant color, and this beer is no exception. It had a copper color and voluminous cumulus-cloud head. Aroma is strongly of hops, almost like a DIPA. Flavor is strongly malty but balanced with a real wallop of hop bitterness and some citrus. Conceals its 10% ABV quite ably. Mouthfeel is certainly stout enough, but still is quite drinkable and mostly dry in my mouth.

I would highly recommend this beer. I bought this bottle at 3 Cellars in Franklin, WI.

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Photo of morebeergood
3.6/5  rDev -10%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Tried this big beer on tap last Saturday night at Deep Ellum. Came served in a Unibroue tulip glass. It was dark red, bordering on mahogany in color. Not much head or carbonation to speak of. The smell was really piney. The taste was very good. Sometimes I am not a fan of certain barleywines because they border on firewater, but this was a tamed inferno that I'd have no trouble enjoying. Very smooth in both body and taste, and very satisfying. Only thing that I noticed was that the alcohol really kicks with this one, so I am glad that it was acting as my dessert after dinner. No more beer after that one.

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

I have a snow day tomorrow so I turned on Heavyweights and decided to review this.

Pours a dark red with an orange/yellow hue into my Kuhnhenn tulip, no head but a ring around the glass.

Mmm, Smells like caramel, raisins, brown sugar, citrus, and pine. This is one of the reasons I love a barleywine.

Sweet caramel malts up front, followed by pine with a nice harsh lingering bitterness.

Heavy but it goes down easily.

Wow, this is exactly what I want when I pick up a barleywine. Oat and Gemini weren't my thing, this along with Chokat and Unearthly are all impressive.

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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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