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Backburner - Barleywine Style Ale | Southern Tier Brewing Company

YOUR RATING = None |
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:
929
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: 929
Photo of WVbeergeek
4.67/5  rDev +16.8%
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.

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

Pours a clear dark amber with a creme head. Nose is just thick and ripe with malts. Flavor brings the same with a defined sweet tone and as things warm up there's a woodcedge to things as well. Beyond that really not much complexity. Thick malts, sweet tone, and that's about it. Feel is sticky slick on liquid and a bit lower on carbonation. This is a very easy drinking barleywine. Perhaps a few years aging will help develop some complexity?

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Photo of stakem
3.68/5  rDev -8%
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.

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Photo of jwc215
3.16/5  rDev -21%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Pours deep, rich mahogany with a one-inch head that descends to half-size and stays (very impressive for abv level!). Some lacing sticks to glass.

Well, this is a hoppy-smelling beer for the style. Citrus and pine with resiny alcohol with plenty of sweet malt mixed in. Complex, but leans towards plastic.

I thought I would enjoy the hoppy profile, and I do to a point, but it is just too much for this style, and ends up with plastic/resin mixing with alcohol that is very sharp. Still, caramel and molasses are enough to give it more complexity and depth. It has a medium-to-full body. Very warming - I would even say hot.

Interesting, and not bad tasting, but the mix ends up leaving a plastic aftertaste and it's very sharp. Things just don't meld together well enough for me to get again, though I'm glad I had it once. Maybe aging will mellow it, but I'm not quite convinced it's worth it.

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

Clear, crimson hued, slim, creamy head.

Aroma: rich, pungent, dark fruit meets brandy...cherry notes, sweet, but not too syrupy, rounds out dryly in the end.

Drinkin'...plump on the palate, and right quick, alcohol comes burning in, blazes the back of the mouth. Profusely malty, gathering sweetness, growing texture, bitter hops scouring the tongue.

Flavor lasts long in the mouth. Persistent finish. Big, hot, wet and juicy. Mmmm-mmm.

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Photo of Alieniloquium
3.69/5  rDev -7.8%
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.

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Photo of tdm168
4.5/5  rDev +12.5%
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.

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Photo of johnnnniee
3.91/5  rDev -2.3%
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.

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Photo of smakawhat
4.33/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from the bottle into a snifter. Bottle dates June 27th, 2010 off we go.

Straight in the middle pours a nice dark amber out of the bottle, going to a really beautiful red plum color. Head has some color to it of cream tan. Some leg action but not much pock mark sticking.

Malty dominant, and some fruit almost faint Concord sweet grapes in the back. Smells particularly boozy, some hints of chocolate also but it needs to be aerated to open up the chocolate it seems. Overall though pretty good nose, smells like something sweet is coming.

Malt chocolate and mild malt overtones for taste. Surprisingly not as sweet as expected. Grape taste comes through in the after finish after a few swallows. Hardly noticeable high abv loosing the boozyness of the drink upon tasting. Small hints of tickle carbonation.

Pretty good I have to say for drinkability this was quite tasty I have to admit. I'd get it again for the style.

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

Bomber bottle, (gotta love 22 ounce bombers of Barley wine!, I remember the days of 7.5 ounce Old "Crusties...") this one pours a rich, dark honey tone of amber. seems pretty clear and it supports a long lasting dark tan head, that slowly goes holey and leaves tons of sticky sheeting and dense lacing. Nose is of dark toast, brandy and some alcohol. This is a very tasty, full bodied, malty BWine. Rich and smooth and thoroughly dangerous at 10%. Real nice winter beer/sipper from STBC, go get some and enjoy with care!

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

08/11/08- Purchased at Chuck's Wine and Spirits in Chagrin Falls, OH.

Presentation- 22oz bottle with no freshness info. Poured into my Duvel tulip.

Appearance- Deep brown in color. Full one inch plus head upon pour. Settles at a good 1/4 inch for most of the duration of the beer.

Smell- Very hoppy in the nose with harsh grapefruit hops. Also has some caramel malt notes.

Taste- Sugary sweet with lots of caramel malts. Also some sweet orchard fruits with oranges and tangerines in the mix. The hops really are the key here though. They come through very strong...very Bigfoot in nature. Fairly well balanced though with a large malt profile as well.

Mouthfeel- Medium to a touch higher carbonation level. Still feeling the bitter aftertatse in my mouth almost 30 minutes after finishing it.

Drinkability- Traditional well hoppen american barleywine. Very good and very drinkable.

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Photo of vfgccp
3.28/5  rDev -18%
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.

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

The beer pours a ruby red/brown color with a thick frothy offwhite head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is good. It has a rich, warm, malty scent that boasts of pale and caramel malts along with a loads of hops. It's bitter in the nose, yet the sweet smell of malts also stands out. The taste is wonderful. It has a bitter hop flavor at first and slowly moves to warm burnt toffee in the finish. It's rich and full bodied; a slow drinker, but one that's quite enjoyable. This is a tastey barleywine. I've got one stored away. I can't wait to compare. It's full flavored and full of hops; a great drinker.

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Photo of Gobzilla
3.85/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: poured a mahogany brown in color with yellow highlights and a thin ring of head that left very little bubbly lacing sticking to the glass.

S: most malty sweetness upfront in the nose but was able to detect some caramel, maybe a little dark fruitiness, hints of piney hops, a little booze and signs of maple.

T: the flavor was also very sweet and malty like the aroma suggested alongside dark fruit character, a little booze heat, caramel accents, a touch of toffee, maple sugar notes and a touch hoppiness.

M: the brew was medium in body with a fair amount of carbonation which had a sweet, mildly dark fruity, boozy, slightly hoppy and sticky finish

O: I thought it was just OK but was decent. I guess I am just use to these real big robust rich flavorful barleywines.

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Photo of Mora2000
4.2/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer pours a reddish-amber color with a white head. The aroma is caramel, malt, pine and citrus hops. There is a great combination of fruit and malts that I really love in a barleywine. The flavor is caramel malt with a good amount of piney hops. Very soft mouthfeel and low carbonation.

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Photo of Gavage
4.32/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: pours a clear dark brown color with a 2" head that last quite a while for the style. Some spots of lace develop during the session.

Smell: malt sweetness, earthy, and a bit of hop bitterness is detectable.

Taste: big malt sweetness here along with some soft molasses, milk chocolate, caramel, brown sugar, and decent hop presence. Some alochol warming is present.

Mouthfeel: medium in body which is a bit lighter than other barleywines. Smooth from start to finish. Relatively brief aftertaste.

Drinkability: this is mellow and very enjoyable compared to some other barleywines. Nice beer here.

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Photo of Tone
4.7/5  rDev +17.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a hazy copper/amber color. 1/3 inch head of a pale tan color. Good retention and decent lacing. Smells of strong hops, sweet malt, slight alcohol, and a hint of raisin. Fits the style of an American Barleywine. Mouth feel is really smooth and crisp with an average carbonation level. Tastes of strong hops up front, earthy malt comes through next, slight alcohol, and the finish is sweet malt and more hops. Wow, for a Barleywine fan and a big hops fan this is a great brew. Overall, this is a really tasty beer and I wish I had a SN Bigfoot to compare next, but I think this is just as good. Definitely worth a try.

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Photo of Wasatch
4.27/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to jwc215 for this brew.

22oz. Bomber

Poured into a chalice a nice dark ruby red color, nice carbonation, tiny fizzy off-white head, some sticky lacing to follow. The nose is mostly hoppy with some malts, dark fruits, and caramel. The taste is slightly sweet, hoppy, some malts, and caramel. The alcohol is hidden very well, but does warm ya up a bit. Medium body, well rounded brew. Very drinkable, a very tasty, easy to drink barleywine, highly recommended.

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Photo of LiquidAmber
4.18/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured into a Reuben's Brew small snifter. Properly cellared 2009 bottle. Pours a medium to dark, clear reddish orange with a fine half finger light khaki head with good retention and lacing. Aroma of caramel malt, dark and light dried fruit, a hint of orange, slight oxidation. Flavor is caramel malt, dates, figs, a hint of plum and peach, brown bread and a hint of rye (without any rye tartness). Finishes very smooth with dry caramel malt, figs and dates. Nice medium creamy body. I was not sure what to expect from this, especially after such a long aging. I had put this down to try after a few years with a fresh bottle, but this was discontinued until a new version came out in 2016. Although I expected an odd comparison since they adjusted the recipe for the new version, I'm pleasantly surprised to find I like both of these very well. This aged one is very mellow, very well integrated with no hops noticeable. It's a little muted, but like the fresh version, the strong presence of date and fig over lighter stone fruits is different, well done and appreciated for a change. I thought the fresh one was date/fig forward, but this aged one is like the essence of those fruit extracted and melded, mellow and pleasant. Although there was a light oxidation in the aroma, it is absent in the flavor. This has aged like a champ. Very good.

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Photo of Stinkypuss
4.07/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Backburner (Imperial Barley Wine Style Ale)
Southern Tier Brewing Company
Style: American Barleywine
ABV: 9.60 %

LOOK: Dark ruby brown color, opaque, with a small, short livid white collar of a head.

SMELL: Deeply caramelized and toasted malts, booze, dark fruits. Smells like a big beautiful barley wine.

TASTE: Sweet sugar plum notes upfront, giving way to a malty body with a fruity estery English ale yeast profile. Loads of malt flavor, little in the way of bitterness, and a downplayed but present alcohol character. Warms the soul, as well as the belly.

FEEL: Full bodied, smooth, viscous, syrupy, but well carbonated.

OVERALL: This is a very tasty brew, and it goes down easily for a beer of such strength. A well made barleywine, and would age gracefully if cellared properly.

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Photo of JohnGalt1
3.78/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

22 from joe1510 .. shared a small glass with Brenda.. mine poured into my Smokestack goblet..

1" head with beautiful lacing.. brew is dark brown with not much showing until I held it to a light and it revealed a crystal clear ruby brew.. very pretty for the entire bottle.

Aroma is American hops but with a significant backboard of malts caramel and even some chocolate as it arms.. . yeasty fruitiness reminds me of overripe plums... does have a distinct solvent characteristic as it warms.

Flavor is very nice.. just enough bitterness to balance the malts.. good caramel.. toasty and much lesser chocolate malts.. complex malts with the fruitiness from the yeasts make this a memorable brew. Pine and citrus hops play very well with the overall sweetness. Bready midpalate and a long lingering hoppy/fruity finish combines with caramel remnants. Body is pretty much exact so is the carbonation..

I wish Backburner and other Southern Tier brews were available to me.. This BW is pretty classy fresh.. an would probably age like a champ if I had them in the cellar.. Good Stuff! Big props to joe1510 for a great trade!!

4/3.5/4/4/3.5

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Photo of Zorro
4.01/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Clear brown colored beer with a thick lasting tan colored head. Maroon colored when held up to the light to test clarity.

Smells spicy and heavily hopped. Scents of Pinewood, citrus, faint mango and pineapple.

Starts out sweet and woody with a melon aftertaste. Quite fruity the melon taste stays but a peach flavor appears along with the taste of chocolate. Little bit of spice here, mostly cinnamon stick.

Mouthfeel is full.

Quite a friendly Barleywine not near as strong as the smell suggests. This is about perfectly balanced between flavor and tongue friendliness.

Sampled through the efforts of Bentkentk56 and Secret Bunny 09 BIF.

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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 plaid75
4/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a deep amber hue with a half finger frothy tan head. There was good retention and lacing.

The smell featured a heavy caramel malt with some alcohol and a sweet hop.

The taste consisted of a dull alcohol, dark fruit, raisin and an earthy hop. Some residual sweetness.

The mouthfeel was typical of the style with a slightly tongue numbing alcohol.

Overall a tasty and well balanced barleywine.

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

Pours a dark burnt orange with a fairly good head considering the style and abv and some sloppy lacing. Slightly hot in the nose and with very sweet aromas up-front of maple syrup, cardomom, and pear as well as a bit of wax and apple. The taste on the other hand could be a bit sweeeter on the finish. The beer drops off quite a bit toward the end. Otherwise the beer is still a bit hot and there are flavors of dry, crackery malt; and a savory flavor of salty caramel, buttered popcorn and something somewhat meaty. A little strange and somewhat flat tasting. Quite smooth, if a bit hot. Not bad, and it certainly packs a punch, but the flavors seem a bit unusual and not quite sweet enough for the style.

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