Backburner - Barleywine Style Ale | Southern Tier Brewing Company

BA SCORE
89
very good
938 Ratings
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
Ratings:
938
Reviews:
512
Avg:
4
pDev:
10.25%
 
 
Wants:
75
Gots:
132
For Trade:
6
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 938 |  Reviews: 512
Photo of homebrewhawk
3.8/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bomber served in a snifter. Poured a brilliant reddish copper with a quickly dissipating head. Malty aroma with some burnt sugar. Some citrus hop aroma comes out as it warms. Definitely on the malty side. Full bodied and rich mouthfeel. More burnt sugar flavor, medium hoppiness. Hops come out more in the finish with a drying finish. Also a bit of smoke flavor in the finish. Pretty easy drinking for 10%, but I found it a little lackluster.

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Photo of barleywinefiend
4.1/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Drunkmonk!
Poured dark amber to brown with a small cream head. Nose is strong on the citrusy hops, grapefruit, some tropical fruit nots, pineapple and mango. Taste is quite similar with light cocoa undertones and citrus notes as well as a bit of caramel and dried fruits. Sugary mouthfeel with a bit of peppery tingling in the background, finishes with a nice citrusy dry hoppiness. Alcohol is very well hidden for the strength. Very drinkable!

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

Appearance: Murky ruby red with two inch foamy cream colored head. Good retention and lacing.

Smell: Lots of citrus hops mixing with a sweet toffee like smell. Pine and earthy hops in the back of the aroma, smells somewhat acrid.

Taste: Grapefruit and pine hop flavors are front and center but followed by a strong caramel malt background. The hops come back at the end to give you a nice hit of flavor and bitterness.

Mouthfeel: Medium carbonation, full-bodied, kind of sticky but very smooth drinking.

Drinkability: Deceptively easy to drink.

Overall: I love Southern Tier and this barley wine does not disappoint, but I would say that it could be amazing after some aging. It has enough hops in it to age it for two years and it still be pretty damn hoppy. I'd say give it a year in the cellar and you'd have a stupendous, and more traditional, barley wine.

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

Poured from a bomber glass into a Guinness Pint Glass and observed minimal head, and a deep dark unfiltered brown. It looked like mahogany that someone stupidly painted over with black, and then someone else was in the process of sanding the paint away.

The nose was faint, fruity, and a little bit of a surprising wheat and yeast aroma surfaced. Overall, nothing major to report on the nose.

The taste is slightly thin, and spicy in the mouth, with hints of cinnamon, a little curry, and mixed berries floating around in the mouth. This beer leaves you with a dry, hoppy swallow that is almost a little too bitter. The aftertaste smacks of metal and hops.

Overall, if this is your first Barleywine, it will not be the one to turn you on to the genre.

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Photo of mmmbeer
3.23/5  rDev -19.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

22 oz. bomber, 2008 version, sampled several months back. It pours dark ruby, with low carbonation and an inch of light tan head. Later, the beer is almost still and the head reduces to a small collar. Orange, pine, white grapefruit and ethanol in the nose; still pretty raw. It tastes young as well, with thick caramel malts, fruity esters, and citric/piney/spicy hops that impart a deep bitterness. The body is medium to thick (approaching syrupy), dry, with light carbonation, and a medium to long finish. Still very young and rough around the edges, but will probably be great in a year or two.

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Photo of johlendorf
4.05/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bomber into pint glass. Another strong delivery from Southern Tier.

A = Honey colored, slightly cloudy. Little head, lacing, or carbonation.

S = Plum sweetness, floral and hops.

T = Crisp and clean throughout. Dark fruit up front followed by citrus and slightly piney hops. Well balanced with maltiness throughout.

M = Feels solid. Satisfying on a cold rainy day.

D = Caution, sharp turn ahead! Deceptive for a 10%.

Really enjoyed this. I'm a fan of this style beer and BackBurner did me right.

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Photo of aerozeppl
4.45/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: A very dark brown color with quite a bit of red highlights. An impressive half finger of slightly off white head as well. Excellent lacing that was the first indication of how hoppy this beer is.

S: Hops. Just a wonderfully pungent hop nose. You do get quite a bit of malt and even a hint of raisins and molasses but damn was this hoppy.

T: Just a nice hoppy American barley wine. Tons of piney citrus hops. The malt was interesting in that there was quite a bit of other elements besides just the sweetness. Some dark fruit towards the end. Really nice and complex.

M: Heavy side of medium bodied that was fairly heavy on the tongue.

D: Damn this was quite a bit better on tap than it was in the bottle. The hops really shone though. It is a damn shame that we cannot get more Southern Tier stuff on tap being in the same state.

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

Bomber into a Brooklyn snifter / tulip or whatever they call it.

Appearance: Beautifully amber. Nice lacing, with sometimes a soapy feel, sometimes hugely billowing. All depending on the pour and swirl.

Smell: Nothing transcendent, but everything's nice. A good balanced between caramelized sugars and citrus hops. A bit of vanilla, some fruit esters and candied fruit, mild tobacco and chocolate as it warms.

Taste: I feel like this sucker in bourbon barrels would take off to new depths. But that said, good caramelized fruit and citrus hops balanced by some sweeter vanilla and other fruit esters. Long finish with some good stuff to admire, and good things to go back to. Not as much of a hop bite as I expected, which makes me wonder how much it will mellow out even more with aging.

Mouthfeel: Near-full and a bit welcomingly sticky, if you will. Coating. Not a lot of carbonation, but there doesn't need to be.

Drinkability: Again, far from transcendent, but I enjoyed every sip of this, and it's really hard to go wrong with picking it up. Thankfully, it's not as super-hopped as a lot of American Barley Wines can be, which is nice, since I'm more of a fan of the English style. But there's enough going on, enough booze, and enough flavor to keep me happy, and another beer from ST that keeps the ante high.

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

22 ounce bottle

A - Nice amber red/brown color. Pours even, decent head. No lace in glass.

S - Very pungent aroma. Pronounced malt nose with a hoppy back-bone.

T - Initial hop bitterness melts into sweet malt taste leads.

M - Subtle alcohol presence that develops with time.

D - While I was somewhat disappointed in Southern Tiers Barleywine, this is a good brew. I was hoping for hops than malt. Low alcohol taste makes this beer easy drinking.

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Photo of rebelthrower
3.94/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A-Dark red/rust in color. Off-white head that took a while to dissipate.

S-Smells sweet, strong barley and a little bit of hops

T- Rich with malt. Alcohol is not as strong as originally expected. a bit spicy on the tongue.

M- Mid amount of carbonation. Body wasn't to heavy. Nothing stands out as a unique taste.

D- Easy to drink. Not overwhelmed with alcohol. Overall the beer is pretty good. I was expect more though.

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Photo of Jayli
3.78/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Had at The Abbey in Worcester 2/13
This beer pours a a mahogony color leaning more towards a plum color with an off white half finger head that holds nicely. Thick lacing that are present throughout. Nose is a big malty presence with hints of sweet caramel and sugar. Hops are also present with pine and floral fruit aromas. Alcohol is also very present in the nose. This is the first barley wine that I've tried and based off the nose, I thought that I would not like it. I was wrong! Taste is way more mellow than the smell - in a good way. Caramels, chocolate, brown sugar mixed with pine and floral hops. I found this to be very well balanced. Somewhat thick and juicy in the mouth. This is definitely a sipper, and with the high ABV not one to sit with for a session - however definitely a beer that I would have again!

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Photo of phisig137
3.17/5  rDev -20.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

A- Pours a mahogany color, fading to deep gold around the edges... great range of color. One finger head quickly dissipates, and leaves nothing behind.

S- Complex burnt sugars, resinous hops, a touch of leather, and a fair amount of alcohol/hooch.

F- Big flavor, but lacking. Lots of unfermented sugars here, with caramel hints. Solid hop bitterness, with only a touch of piney flavor. Sweetness is overwhelming on the finish. Unfortunately the alcohol is quite hot and forward.

M- Thick and lucious, creamy and smooth. Very nice.

D- A bit low due to the alcohol presence.

Overall, I'm pretty disappointed in this one. Usually Southern Tier has some phenomenal beers, but this one just doesn't stand up to the rest of their lineup. It is worth a try for the price, but I won't be rushing back.

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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 biegaman
4.47/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Iron red oxide with the slimmest bronzing trim. The beer is stainlessly clear although its deep tone yields distorted transparency. Nevertheless, its complexion is brilliant and its body glows. Despite the bare center, a sandy fence of lace has mushroomed up along its perimeter and serves to fatten up the otherwise barren surface of the beer.

The beer is brewed with Amarillo, Willamette, Chinook and Centennial - if there is a better cast of hops I'd like to know about it. Let me tell you - this smells wonderful. It's an ambrosial, leafy, pine-scented bouquet with a backdrop of scorched caramel and singed bread crust. It is as sticky sweet and tree sappy bitter as any American barleywine I've come across.

Big fat hop cones ladled with caramel and finally dipped in chocolate - this is the delicious profile of Southern Tier's barleywine. The hops really do play an unmistakable role contributing notes of spice, pine, and above all else dried citruisy fruit. What a power struggle between hops and malt! It has caramel crusted toffee wafers coated with citrus zest. It's an ultra-hoppy flavour that indulges the taste buds without numbing them.

Please, defined "drinkability" for me. Granted, this sample has had just about two years to mellow in the cellar but it is as smooth and quaffable of a 10% beer as you can expect to ever find. I don't believe that barleywines should necessarily be meant to be quaffable in this sense, but the fact that Back Burner is means that it's disappearing from the glass at a much faster pace than was expected.

And why wouldn't it? Like its supposed 85 IBU's, the alcohol is scarcely noted. The bottle could read 7% and I'd believe it; the alcohol plays no real factor in determining drinkability. The beer drinks like a sweet caramel-hop smoothie with the taste of biscuits and pine lingering pleasantly. Notes of candied-fruits and caramelized malts please the palate without overwhelming it. Each sip simply entices you more so to take the next.

Southern Tier had already proven to me that they could swim in high gravity waters but their barleywine certainly confirms that. Anything they release in a 650ml bottle is well worth picking up. I'm reminded of a few reputable West Coast offerings but wonder if even they are as good as the drink left in front of me. Back Burner is so aggressively hopped yet balanced with such finesse, I must recommend this to any fan of the style.

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Photo of ThatWineGuy
4.45/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This large bottle aged two years in biegaman's cellar, thanks for sharing. Pours a murky, caramel brown with tan head that settled in short order, wispy streaks remain with minor lacing and a ring. Sweet caramel-molasses nose, malts, a fleeting malty aroma interspersed with a hoppy backdrop yet present. Taste is sweet, bitter, sticky toffee with a long finishthat pleases. Smooth texture in the mouth, somewhat like a sherry but then a viscosity that says big time barley wine. This is not my favourite beer style but one I respect when it's done right and this is certainly one of the finer I've come across, exceedingly drinkable. The alcohol can't be denied yet it blends well and is not overpowering. The hops not yet faded, they flirt with the malty backdrop teasing your tastebuds with a complex structure that flirts with your palate. Barley wines are never to be rushed and while this is worth savoring, I found myself unalbe to put the glass down for very long. Well done, another winner from Southern Tier.

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Photo of lincoln44
3.75/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

22 oz. bottle into a pint glass.

Bronze amber color, clear but deep mahogany appearance. Not much head after the pour but may be contributed to the temperature. Nice lacing stuck around afterward.

S- Spicy, sweet, and slight floral hop aroma all combined. Picking up a roasted malt flavor, must have been used for color and depth.

Taste- Rich sweet and spicy taste. The hop flavor must be from the Chinook as it is spicy and not as aromatic yet still enjoyable. Kind of a woody taste coming through on the tail of it all.

M- slick feel from the high residuals and hop oils. Carbonation is right on for this style.

D-Not my favorite barley wine but enjoyable nonetheless. Spicier and woody taste compared to the BW I am familiar with. Overall decent brew but I don't think I would be searching for this one every time I go to the store.

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

22 oz. bottle tried 15 Nov 2008.

Poured in 0.4 L Sonnen glass. Medium light brown head. Medium carbonation. Clear ruby brown color. Smells quite hoppy, almost like an IPA, soapy, floral. Starts roasty malty, chocolatey. Moderately roasty throughout. Sweet, warming finish but not hot. Slightly astringent aftertaste. Medium body. Somewhat sticky mouthfeel.

Nice barleywine, would get this again.

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

22oz bottle into 25oz snifter.

When not held up to the light, the beer appears as almost black with some ruby highlights. Some light reveals that this is a mahogany colored beer with an off white one finger head. The head settles to a very thin cap, along with a thin rim along the glass. The settling head leaves behind a solid wall of lacing.

High amounts of citrusy grapefruit is in there along with a little bit of sweet and tart pineapple. The hops are a little spicy as well. The malts aren't detectable behind the high amounts of hops.

Ultra sharp hops in the flavor. Some sweet flavors come from the malts, hidden behind more grapefruit and pineapple. The alcohol is well hidden. The hops seems to dominate the flavor.

Another major hop-bomb from ST. This one gives any hop fan a run for their money. Tons of citrus from the sharp hops. Barely any malts to speak of. A good Barleywine. Recommended.

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Photo of SpecialK088
4.31/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle Deliruim Snifter

Sexy Sexy this beer looks really good and the light on it just makes it look better the head is thin but just hangs around the entire time you have the beer, deep carmel brown.

Sweet carmel malt with a slew of diffrent hops more fragrent than many beers all the hops and malt come out in the nose.

So extremly complex and smooth this one is sweet in the finish and bitter in the middle and finish is a mixture of the two, has a nice sweet carmel taste that mixes in the hops well, this beer is huge in every way.

Smooth rich and complex this goes down like candy medium to thick body.

Not something you could just sit around and drink but you want to sit and sip at a great beer this is one you need to try.

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Photo of naterock
4.36/5  rDev +9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

poured into a delerium snifter.

Deep red in color, Phenomenal Head that stays like a film over the top of the glass.

Smell is rich barley and a super sweet nose with a brown sugar nose. But with teh massive barley comes a shit load of hops. Chinooks are huge.

Taste is so incredibly rich with malt. Hugely malted with a Gigantic Hop profile. Very Very Good.

Mouth is highly viscous with a decent carbonation. Drinks too easy for the ABV. Just a phenomenal Brew all together, there is nothing small about this beer.

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Photo of edmedina
4.53/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pours a nice clear dark amber color. It does have nice heard as well shows off a lot of carbonation.

Smell: Hoppy with hints of mint and cocoa. Very much floural smell. Not at all what I would expect from a Barleywine.

Taste: Very interesting taste here. Starts off bitter from the hops. As the taste settles you get a sweet after taste. Finishes dry leaving nothing left to taste

Overall: When I saw Imperial Barleywine on the bottle, I thought to myself how do you take a beer that is already strong and go over the top on it? Well Southern Tier certainly figured it out. The hops they use blend very well together. The smell leads you to believe you are enjoying an Imperial IPA but the taste lets you know otherwise. I never thought someone would go further with my favorite style of beer. I am glad Southern Tier did.

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

Bottle into red wine glass.

Pours a hazy deep brown with a hint of red and a medium, off-white head.

Aroma is caramel, a hint of cocoa, minty hops.

Taste starts off with a sweet, huge malt back bone with hints of dark fruit and even cocoa, with prickly hops emerging from the very beginning and really taking up residence midway with a prickly, minty, piny presence. The hops perfectly counterbalance the huge sweet malt without dominating. Finish is malt sweetness, drying hop bitterness and definitely a bit of spicy alcohol burn on the finish, complemented by the prickly hops - it's clear how this beer got it's name.

Mouthfeel is heavy, syrupy, and oily, but with a light, crisp carbonation.

Delicious beer - easy to finish one bomber, but I think one is enough.

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Photo of roopy40
4.3/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22 oz bottle poured into a snifter

A - Looks like a light brown, but when held up with light in its background, a reddish-amber hue appears. Beautiful, white, creamy head forms and looks like the top of a meringue pie.

S - Good balance of fruit and hops. I think raisin and alcohol is definitely present.

T - Now you certainly taste the fig, raisin, and spice with a nice hop finish.

M - Thick, but smooth and well carbonated. Definitely a medium to heavy body, but it is very pleasant and feels wonderful going down. A friend and I could not get enough of it.

D - Very high on the drinkability chart and especially dangerous when you consider the high ABV of this wonderful barley wine.

Overall, I am again impressed with ST Imperials. I confess to not having tried dozens of this style, but I sure am enjoying them and will continue my journey.

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Photo of katan
4.1/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22oz bomber, into a goblet

A - Pours a very brown color - with a little bit of redish haze. Head formation is very light and fairly light cream white in color. Leaves behind just a small film.

S - A fairly floral hop aroma dominates - piney and full of grapefruit. Small amount of yeasty and phenolic scents hanging around in the background. Moderately assertive versus other barley wines.

T - Starts off on the sweet side - malt forward. Bitterness does build at mid-stream, which includes a complimentary hop earthiness. Not near as direct as the smell would indicate. Finishes with a combination of chocolate sweetness, alcohol and a sour acidity. Aftertaste is bitter.

M - Thick and creamy - heavy in body. Cloying and sticky. The unfermentable sugars are very detectable. High amount of oily alpha acids left behind.

D - For barley wines, I find this to be extremely drinkable. That's not to say that one shouldn't have more than one of these in a session, but rather that the beers flavor and carbonation profile are very smooth. ABV will probably knock you over pretty good however.

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Photo of pvsob
3.67/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A- Pours a clear mahogany color with a small (tan) head that fades quickly leaving some lacing.

S- Raisins, figs, sugar cookies, bread, alcohol, and hops

T- Starts off sweet (raisins, figs), transitions into a slight hoppy flavor that increases through the swallow. Dry finish with plenty of alcohol.

M- Medium feel with very little carbonation.

D/O- A decent American Barleywine from a great brewery. I will definitely pick up a few bombers of this brew for some aging. Cheers!

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Backburner - Barleywine Style Ale from Southern Tier Brewing Company
4 out of 5 based on 938 ratings.
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