Dismiss Notice
Extreme Beer Fest:Los Angeles

Join us December 9th in Los Angeles for the ultimate throwdown of craft beer creativity!

Learn more...
Dismiss Notice
Introducing: Project Extreme Brewing (a Dogfish Head + BeerAdvocate project)

Backburner - Barleywine Style Ale | Southern Tier Brewing Company

Your Rating: None

Want it   Got it 
Backburner - Barleywine Style AleBackburner - Barleywine Style Ale
BA SCORE
4.02/5
Exceptional
940 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
Ranking:
-
Reviews:
512
Ratings:
940
pDev:
10.2%
Bros Score:
4.2
 
 
Wants:
75
Gots:
131
Trade:
6
HISTOGRAM
 
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Ratings: 940 |  Reviews: 512
Photo of TheManiacalOne
4.6/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

2007 release, poured from a 22oz bottle into an imperial pint glass.

A: The beer is a deep reddish brown color with a short off-white head that fades slowly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is of brown sugar, caramelized malts, fruit, a good amount of hops and a little bit of alcohol.

T: The taste starts out sweet up front with strong flavors of brown sugar, caramel & dark fruit. Then a strong but not over-powering hops presence comes in to provide a good balance. There's a hearty malt character and no trace of the alcohol that you get in the smell. The after-taste is slightly sweet.

M: Crisp and very smooth, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is slightly sticky.

D: Very tasty, goes down easily, not too filling, strong kick, excellent representation of style, this is a really good beer to drink for a long time and yet another excellent big beer from Southern Tier.

 906 characters

Photo of oberon
3.73/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Southern Tier's two new offerings are seriously top notch and being so close in proxemity to the brewery they are easy to find and will be a main stay in my house.Poured into an oversized wine glass a deep amber almost burgundy color with a tight formed thin white head leaving shitty lace stuck to the glass.Big and balanced aromas deep cherry and brown sugar tones mixed with piney,resiny Amarillo hop aromas a defient rum like alcohol presence shows thru as well.Sweetish brown sugar and dark fruit flavors really hit home with a noticable sweet alcohol zip really coming thru as it warms to near room temp,the hops seem a bit overwhelmed by such a big malty sweet base but they show thru after a bit in a piney,grapefruit rind presence but never jumps out at ya.The hop burps came afterwords but the hop flavors need a bit of a push in my mind but they are everywhere else,big and brash Iam gonna hold one for a awhile and see what turns up.

 945 characters

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

A - One finger of off-white foam on top of a hazy, dark brown body with amber highlights. The head settles quickly and leaves light lacing on the glass.

S - Caramel and brown sugar aromas dominate with background notes of mustard, blue veined cheese, and caraway seeds with a hint of vanilla.

T - Sweet, bready malt and thick caramel up front. Some brown sugar appears in the middle with spicy hops and some mustard notes. Finishes with more brown sugar and caramel as well as spicy, earthy hops flavor and fairly strong bitterness. Lingering caramel takes on a more burnt, molasses like flavor in the aftertaste along with a hop character that becomes mustardy and tobacco like with a lingering note of blue cheese.

M - Medium-thick body, moderately low carbonation, and a slightly sweet finish.

D - Quite drinkable for a beer of this strength and for the style. The alcoholic strength is, oddly, only really apparent in the nose and blends nicely with the thick, rich malt in the flavor profile. The caramel and brown sugar character is rich and simple but character is added by the spicy hops and the darkening of the flavors in the finish. The hop bitterness is surprisingly smooth and restrained for an American barleywine and this allows the beer to be unusually quaffable.

 1,283 characters

Photo of Gagnonsux
4.5/5  rDev +11.9%

Photo of vfgccp
3.28/5  rDev -18.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A - Medium maple syrup color with a thin white head and ok lace.

S - Oak, booze, hints of brown sugar.

T - Smooth sweetness. Mild dried fruit character, but mostly oak and brown sugar that came through in the nose. Warm booze through the finish.

M - Medium body with a sweet finish.

O - OK flavors, but the booze is a bit astringent.

 337 characters

Photo of billab914
3.8/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22oz bottle into my Southern Tier glass. Pours a hazy dark copper reddish color with a two finger white fluffy head. Moderate lacing on the glass.

Aroma is malty with a lot of caramel sweetness and surprisingly slightly hoppy. Taste also has a lot of caramel and maltiness with some fruit flavors as well. It also has a slight sweetness in the finish with a little bitterness.

Mouthfeel is heavy with moderate carbonation. Drinkability is pretty good for a 10% beer. I'm glad I split the bottle with someone because 22oz of it would be slightly tough if planning to drink anything else tonight but one glass was very drinkable.

 643 characters

Photo of wethorseblanket
3.75/5  rDev -6.7%

Photo of paulish
4/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

 618 characters

Photo of XmnwildX12
4/5  rDev -0.5%

Photo of mendvicdog
3.5/5  rDev -12.9%

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

Thanks to koopa for this one, cheers Dennis!

Pours a chill hazed chestnut with a finger of chunky tan head. Tons of sticky lacing lines my glass along with great head retention

S: Figs, plums, a whisper of booze & breadyness, fades a bit as this warms...

T: Follows the nose, a bit of raisin & leafy hops as well up front, very English up front to me....More fruittyness with a touch of persimmons, cinnamon & dryness, plus doughyness as this warms. Finishes with slight smokeyness, toffee, then more figgyness

MF: Semi-chewy fairly low carbonation, nice balance

Drinks pretty easy for the ABV & style. This hides the Amarillo & Chinook hops too well, I will rate this a decent English Barley wine or a middling American BW, I prefer to be optimistic on this one!

 769 characters

Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.73/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pours a ruby-colored body with a short-lived, beige head.

Smell: A rich, malty sweet aroma with plenty of fruitiness held within notes of black cherries and syrup-soaked plums.

Taste: Strong, supporting malt backbone bringing flavors of sweet, charred caramel, dark fruits, and hints of chocolate. The beer certainly needs that malty brace for the sharp hop hit of soapy pine right at the end and into the long, lingering finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-full body, with a very thick, lush mouthfeel.

Drinkability: Its all kinds of decent!

 556 characters

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

Dark bronze with bright Sunkist highlights... that becomes blood orange when backlit with fading afternoon sunshine. Topping the liquid is an outstanding looking lid of golden brown sugar colored creaminess that is starting to lay down gorgeous sheets of shotgun-blasted lace. We have ourselves a looker.

The aroma is exactly what the ingredients list says it will be. It's moderately caramel-like and has a decent amount of citrusy hoppiness. The hops (Chinook, Willamette, Amarillo and Centennial) could stand to be a little more aggressive, but then this isn't a DIPA, so allowances will be made. No appreciable alcohol is a plus.

Back Burner Barley Wine Style Ale is yet another delicious big beer from the good folks at Southern Tier Brewing Company. These guys almost never let me down (Imperial Cherry Saison is an unfortunate exception). This brew is sweeter and less hoppy than I typically like, but I'm enjoying it all the same.

I'm still floored by how the 10.0% ABV tastes several percentage points lower... at least. The flavor profile include a raging river of melted caramel and a boatload of liqueur-infused fruitiness. Let's go with maraschino cherries, orange peel and grapefruit peel macerated in Grand Marnier.

If I had cracked the crown right after release (when the alpha acids were still kickin' like a mule), the flavor score might have been one notch higher. As is, this stuff is too good not to give the drinkability score a well-deserved bump.

The mouthfeel is as expected given the talent at this brewery and a few megatons of malt sugars. Calling it luxurious would not be out of line. Well-integrated carbonation does great work behind the scenes.

Back Burner may not be my favorite Southern Tier beer, but it's damn good stuff that I will definitely be drinking again. This is a gentle giant of an American barleywine that everyone from adventurous newbies to beer geeks should enjoy. This beer geek sure does.

 1,949 characters

Photo of drewone
4.25/5  rDev +5.7%

Photo of mikesgroove
3.06/5  rDev -23.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours out a nice light brown color with a modest head of tan across the top that fades and leaves light lacing in its wake. Aroma is hot, loads of alcohol here with hints of caramel, lots of hops and a just a biting malt nose as well. Really a very odd profile from both sides. Very hot on the palate again with minimal balance to it, just seemed like it was terribly off balance. Flavors were all over the place with hints of everything but the kitchen sink and just an very hot, hoppy, dry finish that really did not work well for me at all.

Overall I was rather unimpressed here I have to admit. I had high hopes for this, but maybe a year or so will settle it down.

 670 characters

Photo of Alieniloquium
3.69/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

650 mL bottle poured into a snifter.

Appearance - Deep garnet body with an off-white head. The head doesn't last long and it doesn't leave much lacing.

Smell - Delicious smell. Caramel and toffee malts with strong dark fruit aromas. Maybe some bananas in the background. Not a lot of the hops come through.

Taste - A bit of hoppiness right at the start, then sweet. Not a complex as the smell. The sweetness overwhelms what I can only imagine to be subtlety in the flavors. A good hop bitterness in the back lingers and reminds me that it's a barleywine and not an old ale.

Mouthfeel - Thick and a bit syrupy, which makes sense considering the sweetness. Not a lot of carbonation makes it feel thicker. The drinkability really starts to get sluggish as this beer warms. The slightest bit of alcohol warming in the finish.

Overall - Great smell, slightly disappointing flavor. Still tastes good, just not great.

 915 characters

Photo of Slatetank
4.11/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

enjoyed the 2012 oak aged version chilled in a tulip with tenderbranson69 from the bomber.

The color is deep cocoa brown with tranfslucent clarity and thick cap of tan. The smell is caramel with a touch of alcohol and slight hint of wood with a nice fruity tinge of yeast and light malt caramel odors with mild vinous yeast element giving that dried fruit you may excpect in the nose. The feel is sweet but potent with moderate bitterness and somewhat dark fruit essence with good balance of bitterness from hops w/ a semi-dry finish

The taste is familiar in that it has that dark fruit tinged flavor with lots of caramel up front with a good amount of alcohol and light flavors of malt with a gentle roasted taste in the background an almost port-like with a nice blend of hops giving the barleywine a slight pine accent to the mild toffee elements in the malt. Overall a pretty tasty barleywine and respresents the style well

 929 characters

Photo of jgunther71
4/5  rDev -0.5%

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

I've been sitting on this one for a little while, there's no bottle dating, but I believe I put this away in 2009.
Pours a mostly clear deep reddish orange with a good sized off white head that shows great retention and moderate lace. Smells of sweet sugar, caramel and dark fruit, cherries mostly with an earthy as well as an ethanol bite. The flavor is sweet with cherries and raisins with lots of sweet and dark sugars. I also catch a hint of roast or chocolate at the end of every sip. There is a fair amount of alcohol burn as well as some earthy and oxidized flavors. Medium to thick body with a moderate level of carbonation and a sweet almost syrupy mouthfeel. This is a nice flavorful barleywine but it seems to be in that in between stage where its not exactly fresh and not quite aged enough. I might have to put some of these away and see how they work with a bit more age.

 885 characters

Photo of stakem
3.68/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

2010 bomber poured into a tulip. Appears a clear mahogany with khaki cap that fades leaving stringy lace.

Aroma of raison, toasted malts, toffee and slight biscuit grains. As it warms, a touch of herbal character.

Taste is tannic/astringent like strong black tea that fades into herbal bitterness, toffee and molasses with no residual sweetness. Slight raisony alcohol.

Medium in body and modestly carbonated. A decent brew thats leaves the mouth feeling weird from all the tannic character/astringency.

 506 characters

Photo of tdm168
4.5/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22oz bottle poured into a brandy snifter.

Pours a deep, dark brown close to purple with one finger of head that fades to a thin lacing. Nose is malts and raisins. Taste is caramel and roasted malt with a very smooth dark fruit flavor maybe raisins or figs and just a hint of chocolate. Very good mouthfeel, not over carbonated, full bodied, and very smooth warmth from the alcohol.

I really liked this beer. I found it in the back of a Wegman's on my journey to Hornell, NY. It had dust on the bottle and looked like a hidden gem. Since we only recently started getting my hands on Southern Tier in NC, I buy up any I see. I'm so glad I did.

 643 characters

Photo of WVbeergeek
4.67/5  rDev +16.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance is deep ruby almost a mahogany brown like color, with a large billowing beige head leaves fine bubbled lacing all around my glass with each sip in very even patterns. Aromatics are wonderful with layers of over ripened fruits reduced in a red wine with plums, raisins, and figs really standing out. Sweet waves of malts arise with hidden layers of hops I'm getting pine and citrus mainly, but the hop profile is so well played here. Flavors blend so harmoniously with abrasive big hop additions leaving slick bitterness throughout each sip, and big chewy malt layers of caramelized brown sugar with fruit additions again naming the figs, raisins, and plums. Complex hoppy flavors blend into the huge malt profile with herbal, citric, and coniferous qualities. A great barleywine as complex as all hell while still remaining painfully drinkable. Mouthfeel is huge with residual sugars sticking to the palate the hop oils from the boil and dry hopping really help lubricate things a bit. Carbonation is dead on even with every sip yet there's enough to send hop burps your way, like I said big chewy body. Drinkability is amazing especially for a barleywine at 10% I could get mangled on this brew without ever realizing my glass was being emptied. Even if your not into the bigger beers this one forms it's own path and really opens my eyes, well made I definitely applaud Southern Tier's latest efforts with all of the Imperials. By the way this was in a 22ounce bottle with a twist cap, WTF? Picked it up in Boardman, OH at Vintage Estate for 6.99 easily would have paid 13 without thinking it over down here in the Burgh thank god for Ron Bush and company. This was one of the Southern Tier's I never found in the Burgh.

 1,733 characters

Photo of BMart
4/5  rDev -0.5%

Photo of Hopheadjeffery
4/5  rDev -0.5%

Backburner - Barleywine Style Ale from Southern Tier Brewing Company
Beer rating: 4.02 out of 5 with 940 ratings
  • About Us

    Founded in Boston in 1996, BeerAdvocate (BA) is your go-to resource for beer powered by an independent community of enthusiasts and professionals dedicated to supporting and promoting better beer.

    Learn More
  • Our Community

    Comprised of consumers and industry professionals, many of whom started as members of this site, our community is one of the oldest, largest, and most respected beer communities online.
  • Our Events

    Since 2003 we've hosted over 60 world-class beer festivals to bring awareness to independent brewers and educate attendees.
  • Our Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.