Backburner - Barleywine Style Ale | Southern Tier Brewing Company

Log in or Sign up to start rating.
BA SCORE
89
very good
509 Reviews
Backburner - Barleywine Style AleBackburner - Barleywine Style Ale
BEER INFO

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

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:
509
Ratings:
930
Avg:
4
pDev:
14%
 
 
Wants:
78
Gots:
130
For Trade:
7
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Reviews: 509 | Ratings: 930
Photo of MattyG85
4.4/5  rDev +10%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

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

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

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

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

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

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

 1,547 characters

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

From BeerAdvocate Magazine Volume II, Issue IV:

Interesting, a twist-off bomber, you don't see that too often. The lacing drapes on the glass all the way down with a cobweb pattern. Clear and glowing tawny color. Deep aromas of caramel, golden raisins, roasted apples and a minty citric hop. Big, thick, creamy full body, some smoothness off of the moderate level of carbonation. Rich bread and caramel maltiness up front, hops come in strong, but are not overbearing and balance everything well. The hop bitterness couples with the warm peppery alcohol and yields a slight sharp tone in the middle. Bit of bread crust, raisin and ripe plum present. The alcohol is very warming, but not hot. Citric and mint hop flavors go well together and linger far into the bittersweet finish.

A solid Barleywine--balanced even with the semi-aggressive hop presence thrown at us. High regards for this beer within its style, which is without a doubt right on target.

 955 characters

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

Poured from 22oz brown bottle into a clear oversized wine glass. Purchased at Wine Warehouse (Charlottesville, VA) for $6.49.

A: Light caramel brown with strong off-white 1-finger head with decent retention and lacing down the glass.

S: Strong maltiness with sticky caramelly sweetness and floral and spicy hoppiness

T: Delicious strong pale and caramel malt flavors are highlighted by earthy, floral, and spicy malt flavors that are mildly to moderately bitter and give this brew a mellow quality that is good for sipping.

M: Smooth and silky with low but present carbonation and enjoyable sweetish pale malt aftertaste.

D: A delicious, solid brew that comes in at a nice price point with a consistent if unspectacular sweet caramel malt flavor accented with floral and earthy hops. A very good brew that needs a little more originality to move up a tier.

 861 characters

Photo of woosterbill
3.51/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

On-tap at Cask Republic into a tulip.

A: Crystal clear ruby-brown body under a finger of tan foam. Great retention and lacing. Lovely.

S: Sweet, fruity caramel malt; dates, raisins, and citrus; spicy alcohol. Not great, but pretty good.

T: Dark fruits are dominant, followed by bready malts + citrus hops. Pretty tasty, but far from memorable.

M: Hugely carbonated, with soft fine bubbles exploding throughout the (maybe) medium body. Intense, but overdone.

O: I enjoyed this beer, but it doesn't really stand up well to the myriad of great barleywines available. While I was a fan of the citrus fruitiness of the hops, I didn't feel that they added enough hoppiness or bitterness to contrast meaningfully with the fruity sweetness of the malt. Completely solid, but completely forgettable.

Cheers!

 804 characters

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.

 1,272 characters

Photo of DmanGTR
4.08/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Review from notes on 3/10/10. On tap at MacGregor's, I believe it's the 07 vintage.

A - Clear dark ruby/garnet with a well formed and retaining beige head. Very nice lacing. 4.5

S - Sweet muscat grapes, light caramel, hint of currants. Touch of carob. Wish the nose was stronger. 4.0

T - Big malty backbone, lots of caramel and a bit of figs followed by a healthy dose of bitterness and citrus. Finishes long with a touch of roast. 4.0

M - Crisp and medium bodied, well carbonated. A bit light for an American barleywine. 3.5

D - Too drinkable. Excellent. 4.5

 564 characters

Photo of Bierman9
3.96/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

From a big-ass, 22oz, painted-label bottle. No freshness info, but at 10%, I'm not too worried about spoilage. Part of my Birthday booty from old "Bro" Artied2.

Popped the cap to pour, and noticed it is a screw-off. How odd!!
Also, the lettering from the label, for the names "Southern Tier" and "Backburner", easily comes off the bottle. So, beware if you save and collect bottles.

Poured into my Rapscallion chalice, it has an extremely deep ruby/garnet color. A small amount of bubbles slowly meander towards the top, where a thin layer of head has formed. The topping is light tan in hue, and mostly gathers at the edge of the glass. Lacing is fairly decent as well, though I find the bier color to be a killer! Nose is on the restrained side, with notes of alcohol, burnt brown sugar, and a little raisin coming through. Mouthfeel is top-shelf, with the liquid being medium to medium-plus, and gliding over the tongue as easily as Orr on ice.

Flavor tends to favor the bitter, hoppy side over the sweeter malts, though both are present. Initially hitting the palate are some brown-sugary notes, with some subtle caramel and molasses. Soon after, there's some dark fruity action, with a bit of raisin and fig thrown around. Finally, some resiny, piney hops zestily coat the tongue. It's a dry finish, and the alcohol is noted as it warms the innards. A solid, pleasing offering from Southern Tier. Thnx, Bro!

Prosit!!

1033

 1,432 characters

Photo of Holland
4.03/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: dark brown with lighter highlights and an off white head that stays with lacing and a ring on the edges.

S: smells of honey, caramel, roasted malt.

T: delicious barleywine, but it's missing the fruity notes.

M: standard carbonation with a medium-heavy body. Good for the style.

O: very good beer, best of the night so far on a barleywine tasting with a few other decent ones.

 385 characters

Photo of FosterJM
4.08/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

638 review on BA
Bottle to snifter
22oz

Thanks to my wife for bringing this home from her NY business trip.

App- As this poured it was more akin to a darker muddled brown. As I finish 1/2 the glass it takes a shade more of a smoother rum color of browns, red, a little amber. A puffy two finger head receding very quickly and left maybe one streak of lace and at most 10 dots of lace.

Smell- This is very malt heavy but decedantly sweet with the light/dark caramel being used very well. Its a bit of a vanilla like character with some candy sweetness.

Taste- I think I have finally found a benchmark of what the style should be measured against. I'm not giving a 5 because well I felt MoaS and Abacus were tastier. The paired malt and decidely smooth and soft and backseat hops bring a bit of balance to this malt forward BW but with the choice Amarillo & Centennial playing a big part in making this a very smooth and refreshing and not too overpowering beer.

Mouth- This is a very medium bodied beer with with almost a high carbonated feel to it. Nice bubbles on the finish make this a very refreshing beer.

Drink- A very well done barleywine. Malty with a refreshing kick of hops and a sound selection of malt/ratio that make it have some spice, vanilla, smooth. I love me some barleywines and the wife is going back to NY, this may need to come home again.

 1,366 characters

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

Appearance: It pours a nice looking ruby brown color. Head is vanilla colored and only about a finger deep. Looks like the alcohol might have killed this one. Retention was good and lacing was sticky and thicker than expected.

Smell: Strong, piney hops kick it off nicely. They're followed up by sweet citrus grapefruit and pineapple aromas. It is malty and sweet smelling. Caramel malts seem to be primary variety. The aroma's a little weak, but opens up more as it warms. Plum and raisin scents finally emerge. The nose is complex and nothing short of appetizing.

Taste: It's sweet and a little citrusy up front. Grapefruit and pineapple flavors are nice, but a little more subdued than the nose suggests. Hops are piney, bitter, and a little citric. Caramel malts are sweet and really balance it out a lot. It's easily one of the most balance barleywines that I've tried. Dark fruit flavors are secondary and feature plum, raisin, and a little prune. The flavor profile is easily as complex as the nose, if not moreso. Amazingly, alcohol is not very noticeable. At 10%, I was expecting it, but it's masked extremely well.

Mouthfeel/Drinkabilty: It's full bodied, but only marginally so. Not as thick and chewy as some in this style. Carbonation level is subdued and very well done. Nice, super smooth feel. Drinkability is good, but there's no way I'd try to tackle more than a single bomber. It's too strong and too big for much more than that.

Southern Tier's developed perhaps the most balanced Barleywine I've had the pleasure of drinking. It's very good and really doesn't have any large shortcomings. I prefer just a tad more hops for the style. But, this really is damn good. It's hard to find much fault in it. Truth be told, Southern Tier would have to put a lot of effort into making a bad beer. They just can't seem to do it.

 1,843 characters

Photo of buschbeer
3.98/5  rDev -0.5%

650 ml. bottle
Served in a snifter

It is a rust to copper color with amber highlights. It is topped with an inch of tan head.

The smell has bread, toffee, molasses, fig, date, etc.

The taste is on the malty side. Of course I have no idea how old this bottle is. The date and fig seem to rule the day. There are some hints of caramel and toffee.

Thick and viscous. A joy to sup.

I haven't had this in awhile and it tasted exactly as I remembered, malty with rich dark fruit flavors. It was a nice find.

 509 characters

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

Just picked this up so it must be this years stock as it has not been in BC before. Very drinkable right the get go. Lovely hoppy nose with a deep carmel colour. Not overhopped or too sweet but rather a big balanced BW. The finish is long and naunced and the beer tends to drink like an English BW with some PNW hops. Great beer

 328 characters

Photo of tpd975
4.2/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Yet another beer courtesy of BeerTruth. Thanks Adam.

A: Pours deep brown color with hings of red. The head is small in volume, yet pretty dense. The head dies nearly as fast as it rises, but does leave behind some lacing.

S: The aroma is inviting. Nice bready yeast malt with hints of pine. There is citrus in there as well. It is skewed more to orange than grapefruit or lemon. Beneath it all is a nice sweet carmalized brown sugar with a hint of booze.

T: This one is malt forward. Nice sweet caramel malt with wonderful yeasty notes. Pine sap sweetness comes in with hints of grapefruit. A bit of booze leaves a bit of burn as it slides down the throat.

M: Medium carbonation but very smooth overall.

D: Well balanced, as drinkable as you will get with a barleywine with this ABV.

Overall: ST is one of my favorites. I am glad that I have BeerTruth to keep a steady flow coming my way. The taste of this one is rather balanced with the perfect amount of malt and hops, sweet and bitter. It is very drinkable for the ABV, I really enjoyed it. Can not even begin to imagine how it would taste on tap.

 1,110 characters

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

22 oz. bottle.

Pours into the Stone Old Guardian glass with a deep, dark coppery brown body. Clear. Very dense, creamy finger of khaki brown head. Great lacing. Nose of scorched brown sugar, toffee, caramel, rummy fruits, candied yams, and some herbal hops.

Herbal hop bitterness greets the tongue. Toasted malt with burnt brown sugar quickly follow. Toffee and candy-coated fruit swell mid-palate. Citrus and herbal hop flavor follow, with some bitterness to balance the sweetish malt. Nicely done. Hop resin bitterness in the finish with lingering syrupy fruit and toffee malt. Full-bodied with a smooth, creamy feel. Another impressive ST bomber.

 651 characters

Photo of ADZA
4.03/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This brew pours a nice copper,bronze hue with decent carbonation that leaves behind a two finger head that slowly recedes to a nice frothy rim and some sporadic lacing,the smell is very sweet with aromas of cane sugar,caramel candy,sticky toffee and of course sticky resinous pine cones,it has a medium bodied nicely carbonated mouthfeel which feels very slick,sticky and resinous and has tastes of caramel candy,butter popcorn,sticky toffee,maple syrup and is rounded out with a bittersweet almost sweetbitter boiled candy,resinous pine cone finish that leaves your lips and mouth nice and sticky and overall even though im not the biggest fan of Barleywines i really do like this one as it does have a few different elements to it and is very easy to drink with its ABV being only noticeable on first sip cheers.

 814 characters

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.

 387 characters

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

22 oz twist top bomber, served in a goblet.

A - chestnut brown/red hue color with a tan head that lasted a little while, leaving some lacing.

S - sweet raisin/date/fig aroma.

T - very good tasting brew, sweet at first, rich malty flavors, hop taste kicks in after the swallow.

M - medium/full bodied, good carbonation, sweet aftertaste.

D - goes down very easy, an all around very good barley wine.

 413 characters

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

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

 453 characters

Photo of BEERMILER12
4.03/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours a nice ruby/brown color with 2 fingers worth of head that leaves some nice lacing

S: I'm picking up some sweetness along with malts and other than that, not much at all. Possibly some faint hoppiness

T: Same as the smell, an overload (not in a bad way, though) of malty sweetness. Alcohol is nowhere to be seen behind the sweetness. It's a good thing I like sweet beers, or else this one might get cloyingly sweet

M: Thick and heavy, with medium carbonation. Coats the mouth with sugary sweetness, although it's not as bad as some of their blackwater series

D/O: One is definitely enough because of the sweetness and abv, but other than that, this is a great barleywine. I'm not sure how this would age, I'm afraid it might get even sweeter. Drink this one up for sure

 781 characters

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.

 525 characters

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

22 oz bottle was poured into a snifter.

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

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

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

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

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

 787 characters

Photo of sulldaddy
4.77/5  rDev +19.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I am samplinga 22 oz bottle at cellar temp poured into a snifter. The beer pours a clear deep mahogany color with ruby highlights and a thin creamy beige head forming an edge layer and some thin islands of foam. Aroma is malty with raisins, caramel and brown sugar and is also slightly boozy. First sip reveals a thick syrupy body and is very spacious with soft carb. Flavor is also malty and some dark fruit mixed around with brown sugar and molasses again. Just a hint of warm booze shows up on the finish. No hops at all, with sweet malt dominating from start to finish. Very nice malt lovers brew!

 601 characters

Photo of brewdlyhooked13
4.14/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance - a brownish red iced tea color. A sizable cap of creamy tan foam hangs around for a minute before dropping to a soapy cover. Nice lace trails weaving up and down around the glass.

Aroma - flowery citrus, with just an edge of pine. Powdery grain, a fairly light nose in general.

Taste - sweet grain coats the mouth at first, followed by a mixture of alcohol and spicy hops. Lightly fruity, they are more balanced to the bitter side but show great character. The swallow shows a flash of citrusy sweetness before the bitterness jumps out and takes over, drying things out for a fine finish.

Mouthfeel - incredibly smooth, this feels like its already been in the cellar for three years. Easy-going bubbles don't interfere with the flow. My favorite part of this beer, almost...

Drinkability - it will take some will power to leave the other to age; we'll see if I'm up to it.

 888 characters

Photo of PittBeerGirl
3.48/5  rDev -13%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

One of my last ST brews to review-thanks chris for sharing!

A- Body is a translucent red/brown hue with dynamic cloudiness. Pours with a thin fizzy one finger head that has little retention.

S-alcohol, spice, barley, caramel, and a candy sugar sweetness. Sweet, spicy, and boozy.

T- Sweet malt upfront with caramel and barley being the most prominent characters and a hint of plum in the background. A slight alcohol heat lingers.

M- Full medium weight body with soft carbonation and slight alcohol astringency.

D- This is a good barleywine overall. Very sweet and boozy-which can get a bit cloying after awhile.

 617 characters

Photo of srandycarter
4.2/5  rDev +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!

 342 characters

Backburner - Barleywine Style Ale from Southern Tier Brewing Company
89 out of 100 based on 509 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • Return of the Belgian Beer Fest

    BeerAdvocate Brings its All-Belgian Fest to Portland, Maine on September 17, 2016. Tickets are on sale now.

    Learn More
  • Get the Mag

    Become a BeerAdvocate magazine print subscriber today.

    Subscribe