Backburner - Barleywine Style Ale | Southern Tier Brewing Company

Backburner - Barleywine Style AleBackburner - Barleywine Style Ale
Liked This Beer
4.02 w/ 940 ratings
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.

User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 940 |  Reviews: 512
Photo of katan
4.1/5  rDev +2%
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 -8.7%
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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Photo of Oxymoron
3.52/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Recently tried this fresh, but have hadn't aged. And it does not age well. Pours a darker shade of amber with a light brown hue throughout. A fizzy white head that quickly dissipated and not much lacing to speak of.

The nose was light for a barleywine, but some malt notes with a slight grainy backing. Some biscuit and light nutty notes. Some yeasty notes along with some lighter plum and fig phenolics. No real hop aroma to speak of. (The aged sample has big butyric notes).

The taste comes out more than the nose indicates. The malt is more represented with a more complex caramel flavor. Some sweet caramel, would have liked to see more depth with a more melanodian/kettle caramel thing. Some sudsy notes in the flavor that leaves a filmy finish. The bitterness comes out, but doesn't really balance to the malt well. Some light citrus hops but limited. Yeast notes and some oxidation but not overly off. (The aged continues with butyric but also a nasty sudsy thing).

The body is moderate to big. Some complexity but would like a bit more. Carbonation is a bit high, but helps the bitterness. Would like more finishing hops though. Overall not a great barleywine, but IMHO try it fresh.

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Photo of oakbluff
3.5/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark brownish ruby, good clarity. Minimal head. Nose- toffee, hot piney hops. Taste- sweet caramel malts, nuts, with a sharp hop bite on the finish. Medium bodied and carbonation. Drinks quite smooth but is missing something. Just not all that complex for a big barleywine.

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Photo of badbeer
4.26/5  rDev +6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Really dark red with an off-white head that has excellent retention and lacing. Sweet caramel, dark fruits, and toffee are balanced with piney and orange-y hops in the nose. Sweet malt all over the tongue; caramel, dark fruit, and a large amount of bitter, but flavorful hops come through with some pineapple and tangerine. This drinks incredibly smooth to me with a full body and about medium carbonation. I'll be getting more of this.

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Photo of flexabull
3.62/5  rDev -10%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle courtesy of seanpachefddfa, thanks again!

Pours a dark muddied, and cloudy brown color with a decent off white head.

Aromas are of cereal grains, stewed fruits, oak, spices, and booze.

Taste is grainy, dry, with some oak, and quite a bit of hops. Not a whole lot in the way of malts, a bit of sweetness, and some cereal flavors, but mostly I taste alcohol and mineral hops. Not really all that balanced, tastes more like an DIPA to me.

Mouthfeel is ok. A bit sharp on the tongue though.

Drinkability is so so. It's not a bad beer, but it seems to really miss the mark when it comes to the barleywine style. This is pretty average.

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Photo of CrellMoset
4.08/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottle from Wells Discount Liquors, Baltimore, MD. Poured into a cervoise.

Appearance: Pours a deep, filtered mahogany, crisp but dense. A nice one-plus-finger tan head has average to above-average retention and leaves sticky sheets and plenty of foamy, glittery, cloud-like blots of lace. Effervescence is surprisingly fast and fine-bubbled. A very attractive barleywine, nicely colored, and with very pleasant-looking lacing and head retention.

Aroma: Very clean and crisp. Full of light fruit esters - pears, blueberries - and hints of pine, buttery malt notes, caramelized sugars. Thoroughly pleasant and complex.

Taste: A nice, faded bitterness watches gracefully over an assortment of dark fruity notes, mild hop notes and fruity esters, and lightly- to heavily-caramelized malts. Raisins (rum raisin), big caramel, molasses, brown sugar, Belgian waffles, and toast, and pears, berries, pine, and citrus notes round things out. It's very complex, and a great combination of notes

Mouthfeel: Amazingly light for such a big and flavorful barleywine. The carbonation, crisp-looking at first, lightens up the body near-perfectly, cutting the crispness as well as the thickness for a nice, medium-feeling, creamy, even body.

Drinkability: For a 10.0% abv beer, it's solid. The flavors and aromas are pretty damn complex on this one, even if they don't make for the absolute most amazing combination, and the appearance and the mouthfeel are fantastic. Another winner from one of my top 5 breweries. Recommended.

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Photo of jdhilt
4.45/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours a two finger light tan head that faded quickly to a thin layer leaving some lace. Hazy amber color. Good carbonation and medium bodied. Caramel nose. Flavor is caramel and some molasses and alcohol. $6.49 for a 22oz bottle from Manchester Wine and Liquors Manchester, CT.

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4.03/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Two fingers of slow rising tan foam bubbles reach the top of my goblet and just sit there for awhile then start t fade turning rocky as they do. Lots of scattered lace is left. Body is of the deepest brown, almost black showing hints of ruby when held to light. Nose has tones of sweet cherry pie, phelonic spiceyness, and even a citrus rind hop presence. With first sip you get an initial dry slightly sweet spicey feel that is the base of this brew. Then you get a distinct hop burst that really takes over mid-palate and controls the rest of the way. A bit oily are these hops, almost reisen like. Alchol lingers in the backround. Mouthfeel has a nice hop dryness. Nicely drinkable barleywine.

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Photo of ColForbinBC
3.87/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

22oz bomber poured into a chouffe tulip

A murky, deep red body with a slightly off white cap reached to the top of my tulip and took forever to lie back down. Settled to a thin collar and left significant rings of lace.

Sweet nose, tons of malt with a strong grapefruit hop presence reaching up through the raisins, apples, figs/dates, and ethanol.

The bitter hops hit you up front with raisins, sweet malt, figs/dates holding their own on the back end. Some brown sugar and caramel also show up in the finish. Doesn't seem like a cohesive brew. The flavors complement each other, but they don't exactly line up.

Full bodied, heavy, with a chewy hop presence.

A good example of the style, fairly easy to drink. A definite sipper.

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Photo of far333
4.07/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Served in a brandy snifter.

Murky chestnut colored with an inch high light brown thick head that slowly recedes leaving a ring of large bubbles around the inside edges of the glass.

Inviting and rich aroma of baked rhubarb, honey, ripe fruit and hoppy bitters.

Big flavor of fig and prune, some tangy cherry. Balance of caramel and hops upfront. Some molasses and roasty malt, punctuated by alcohol warmth, finishes with a flourish of hops. Mildly sweet. More prune in the finish.

Full mouthfeel, not too carbonated, thick. Just this side of syrupy. Pretty drinkable, but it's a sipper with all that vapor rising up.

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Photo of imagineiii
3.87/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A: poured into my trusty dfh snifter. decent eggshell head, diminishes after minute leaving lace. mahoghany color with blood red tones. could be a little clearer in my glass.

S: malty sweetness is rich and tart. red apples, raisans, maybe grapes and melons. hops?

T: Sweet smooth on the tongue. Tart and biting as it moves. bitter tannins in the aftertaste. complex and smooth but borderline syrupy, resulting in a long lingering aftertaste.

M: Carbonation doesnt do much to break up the syrupy aftertaste.

D: I gave this a 4 for drinkability because of its style. ive had barleywines that are far less smooth.

Being a barleywine, this is a beer that you know whether or not youre going to like it when you buy it. I like it, it is an above average barleywine.

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Photo of MMAJYK
4.02/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

From my notebook.

A- Medium rust color; head is 1/8" and loose.

S- Citrus and floral hops dominate, but is pleasantly balanced with the malts. Touch of molasses and brown sugar.

T- Sweet like dates and figs; rich. Hops are definitely noticable, but sweetness of malts dominate.

M- Sticky in the mouth and low carbonation.

D- One of the most drinkable BWs I have ever tried. Smooth, balanced, and a great representation of the style!

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Photo of corby112
3.91/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark amber/brown color with a foamy off-white head, slight lacing. Pleasant aroma of hops, alcohol and dark fruit. Very quaffable for a barley wine especially at 10% ABV. Tons of hops up front with dark fruit and a nice alcohol warmth in the finish.

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Photo of danielharper
4.03/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Dark orange-red, very hazy (almost opaque), with a thick off-white head that sticks around for a bit and leaves some lacing. Very good appearance.

Smell: Crisp hops up-front, with a nice solid caramel maltiness underneath. Slightly sweet.

Taste: Strong bitter solid hops on the front, very heavily malted in the middle, with a sweet aftertaste. Strong flavors of caramel and brown sugar. Pretty much your standard barleywine, but it doesn't quite gel as well as I'd like it to -- the hops and the malts seem like characteristics from two separate beers, and don't reinforce one another the way I'd like.

Mouthfeel: Thick, heavy hops and low carbonation. Slightly chewy.

Drinkability: A very nice barleywine, one of the better examples of the style. Well worth trying if you can get it.

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Photo of wkcyr4
4.72/5  rDev +17.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured from 22oz. bomber into a Brandy Snifter:

A: Amber body, thin tan head, a little bit of retention on sides of glass.

S: Bourbon like, woodsy aroma very sweet and inviting.

T: Boozy, strong alcohol taste. Sticky much like an aged DIPA to me. I love it!! Leaves me wanting more.

M: Smooth, syrupy and full. Caramel notes come to the front upon letting it warm.

D: Easy sipper, for sure, but be careful not to get too confident or this one will bite you in the ass ! Very drinkable, in moderation of course.

I like this very much. It warms you on a cold Illinois evening. Only wonder how it would be after some lay down time? I believe this will be the only indulgence of the night. A solid effort from ST. Very strongly reccommended.

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Photo of hero27
3.88/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 oz bomber.
10% abv
Courtesy of IBUnit63 in trade, you rock!

Pours a clear, dark amber with a chunky head of tan foram.
The malt backbone carries a huge load here..quite sweet outright, but surprisingly mellow for the style. dark fruits blend in well with the heavy caramel sweetness..hop bitterness is certainly there, but not to the point of bashing your tastebuds into oblivion..they provide just enough clout to balance out the tremendous dosage of malt included here...
Mouthfeel is big, but not distracting and still very easy to drink..

Overall, a very satisfying barleywine from Southern Tier.

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Photo of beckje01
4.59/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- Very dark amber with a light thin head.

S- Wonderful caramel and malt with a hint of the booze.

T- Nice taste hides the ABV very well, nice and mellow. Very good flavor.

M- Great thickness and perfect activity.

D- Very drinkable it's a slow sipper but you don't want to stop. The best thing about this beer is it's great fresh no need to age it like other barleywines.

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Photo of charlesw
2.85/5  rDev -29.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

It's brown. Today it's listed as 'merican b'wine but it's obviously not one. Smells like a Hardy clone. Mouth and taste more like ol' lighthouse (sic).

Low head, low carbonation in general. Which is really too bad 'cause what this really needs is to be lighter, you know? I mean, it's syrupy like underatenuated extract homebrew. Very unfortunate. Just like ol' lighthouse. Bleh.

Smells like Hardy. Prunes and brandy and caramel malt... Whoa! Heady stuff! But the flavors of a Hardy just aren't there. A little bitter at the end, but lots of syrupy sweetness. It's an English style, eh? And not one I'd seek out again.

Suggestions: dry it out a little, up the carbonation, up the bitterness, make the grain bill a little more complex.

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Photo of lightindarkness
4.37/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a nice deep dark copper, brownish with some ruby sheen. Sudsy thick head swirls into a mass on top, then settles down to patchy bubbly froth.

Nose is packed with rich bready caramel and piny hops. A little chocolate, bread crust, and some alcohol burn. Really nice.

Taste is nice, not too aggressive up front, with a delayed attack that builds as caramel smoothness and deep grains rise into resinous hop flavors sharpened by alcohol spice. A nice version of the style that would probably do well with some well controlled age on it.

Feel is nice heavier medium body, cut by alcohol fumes. A little sticky on the palate, cleaning up a little with a hanging resinous finish. Carbonation adds nicely to the spice without being too strong, submitting to the stronger body of the beer.

Putting the 10% abv aside, it drinks remarkably well. Hops aren't too harsh (it is nearing a year old), and huge balance is fairly well achieved. Not too syrupy or thick on heavy malt, not too sharp on hops, it drinks a little better than many other huge barleywines. Just watch that alcohol.

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Photo of jjayjaye
4.38/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Last one left from the case that i bought the day it was released. "FIRST BREW TWO THOUSAND & SEVEN".

Pours a caramel mahogany amber color with better than a full finger foamy, yet fairly stiff, light tan head that lingers nicely leaving sheets of Belgian lacing behind. The smell is classic and true to style. The aroma is sweet and malty, butterscotch and caramel. Lightly carbonated with a slight tang of alcohol and hops. The mouth feel is medium-full bodied and altogether creamy and smooth. Full flavored, the taste is sweet, and inviting with sweet notes of caramel and butterscotch. A real crowd pleaser. A really fine drinker...the 10% ABV has aged into oblivion. I think it's possible that a person could crack a couple of these open, given that they were close to an easy chair. Highly recommended!

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Photo of jwinship83
3.63/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

2008 bottle stored in the basement since may

A- deep dark amber to ruby colored body with a finger of fleeting off white very sticky head.

S- strong odor of hops. lots of dark ripe fruits. cherries, figs, and a hint of booze

T- loads of citrusy hops. some medicinal qualities, and the fruits i could smell. pretty boozy

M- nice and syrupy. the alcohol warms all the way down.

D- best suited for colder weather, the whole bottle was kind of hard to polish off on my own. half of it was perfect. wouldnt want another one.

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

A - Pours a deep dark raw apple cider. Not much head, not much lace. Almost legs going on.

S - Classic BW smells - dark fruits, deep sweet caramel malt.

T - Straight up sweet nectar with some hops to fight. Sweet wins, not completely balanced.

M - Medium to full body, good coating, great carb.

D - For the style, pretty darned drinkable!

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Photo of smcolw
4.13/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Impressive dense head that leaves a lot of ring lace on the glass. The color is light brown. Light shines through with little cloudiness.

Surprising amount of hop in the nose; the malt is equally surprising in its mildness. This could be a pale ale if I were blindfolded except for the touch of alcohol in the background.

This is a deceptive beer: The alcohol is quite muted for 10%. It's present but not oily. Lots of malt flavor while the hop is a perfect counterpoint for balance. Rich, without being "thick"; lots of carbonation to counter this.

This is more hoppy than most Barley Wines, which is to my liking.

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Photo of torchednoodle
3.75/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to jctribe25 for this beer.

It's a decent barleywine. Pours a dark brown copper. Taste is of sweet raisins and fruit. There's some mild burn from the alcohol, but it really hides the alcohol pretty well considering 10%. Carbonation feels very good. The group I drank this with enjoyed this beer, but we agreed that it wasn't a standout compared to the other beers we were drinking that day.

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Backburner - Barleywine Style Ale from Southern Tier Brewing Company
Beer rating: 82.9% out of 100 with 940 ratings
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