Backburner - Barleywine Style Ale | Southern Tier Brewing Company

very good
938 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.

For Trade:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 938 |  Reviews: 512
Photo of joepais
3.83/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Well finally got to crack this one open thanks to a great BA who sent it to me in the barleywine BIF. This bottle had some age to it. I poured it into a snifter and it produced a short lived tan colored head that settled to a light lace of foam on top of a mahogany colored brew.

Slightly oxidized note to the nose with some good caramel sweetness. The hops had all but diminished but I could tell they were there fresh. The flavors were spot on for the style and my liking leaning ever so towards the sweet malt. It had a medium feel to it in my mouth with a light carbonation

A good drinking barleywine not one of the best but a good representation of the style. Worth the try especially for the price

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Photo of BYOFB
4/5  rDev 0%

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

Tasted On: 07-15-2012
Freshness: Not indicated
Packaging: 22 oz. brown bottle, pry-cap
Glassware: Snifter
Purchased: Received in a trade

Appearance is a dark amber colored clear beer, with one and a half fingers of off-white head. A fair amount of head retention and a good level of lace.

Aromas are rich; composed of oak, caramel malts, alcohol, spices and earthy hops.

The taste is both malty and hoppy, as you'd expect from a barleywine, with dark fruits, alcohol warming, and aged/wood flavors.

The mouthfeel is slick, with a full, thick body. Carbonation is low. The finish is smooth and is balanced well between sweet malts and bitter hops.

Overall, this is a strong and nicely balanced barleywine. I'd recommend you seek this one out - a real treat!

Thanks to TheBishopco for this one!

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Photo of seangibbs60
4.25/5  rDev +6.3%

Photo of aaronh
4.58/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Richly colored body topped by a thin cream head. Aroma of malt and alcohol sweetness dominate - a bit of earthy hops in there as well. Flavor is excellent. Nice balance of caramel, biscuit, and toffe malt flavors tempered by smooth hop bitterness. Mouthfeel is thick and smooth. Drinkability is very nice, but it's tough to drink more trhan one bomber of this in an evening. Another great opffering from Southern Tier.

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Photo of bjohnson
3.58/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a ripe plum color with an off white half finger head that holds nicely around the edges and leaves a bit of film in the center. Huge malty presence with hints of sweet caramel and spicy brown sugar notes. Hop presence stings the nose with a pine and floral fruit aromas. Thick and juicy with a huge alcohol bite.

Malty and hoppy combination blends well with a balanced mouthfeel. Caramel, slight chocolate, burnt sugar, and molasses malt notes. Piney and spicy hop flavors. Juicy and coating on the palate with a thickness. An interesting and thick barleywine definitely weighing in on the American side of the line. With such a high abv, this brew isn't very drinkable, but still pretty tasty. A nice one to get a hold of if you can and another good selection from ST.

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Photo of tripledbrew
4/5  rDev 0%

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

A thin beige head gives way to a lasting skim atop a boldly cloudy, dark bronze beauty of a barley wine.

The nose is full of alcohol spice/warm, fig, some caramelish sweet, stone fruit, alcohol, hints of tart yeast, light hoppy floral/bitter, and alcohol. My nose just caught a buzz.

At a cool temp. this beer is a nice blend of sweet, some fruity notes, and a bit of alcohol. As it warms the component flavors come out to play, and they play well. Warming vapors spread a wonderfully thick mix of sweet caramel, peach, bread dough, nice floral notes that hang in to crest with a very tasty herbal bitter into a finish that may not be epic for style, but is clean, tasty, and interesting. At room temp. the alcohol comes back to master the sip, but it is now a beast, and the master's whip yields a complex and brilliant sip.

Mouthfeel is suitably viscous, acceptably low carb., and provides a nice taste platform and quite good finish.

Can I think of five other barley wines I would prefer to sip? Yes. Ten? Perhaps. Quite drinkable, though alcohol is hardly hidden.

Impression: With a couple years on it this may be exceptional. Now it is a bit hot. Lotta good flavor here, I recommend this one, and will certainly buy more for the cellar.

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Photo of BillHilly
3.75/5  rDev -6.3%

Photo of Tballz420
4.57/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Brown colored brew, think and murky. Bubbly tan head. You dont even need to hold the glass near to smell the think malts coming out of that glass. Stinks of dank syrupy malts. Hot damn its a goodin. Thick malts stick to your throat. Nice load of bittering hops. Alcohol is there, and its spicy. Dark fruit tones. Its a big beer, theres no doot aboot that one. Thick and crunchy, very full mouth. Fairly sharp on the tongue. A no-shit beer.

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

bomber (22oz) served in an oversized wineglass.

pours a luscious, murky mahogany tone with a finger plus of a beige/tan-colored head which quickly retreats into a collar around the glass. spotty lacing evident; nothing to write home about on that front. both somewhat subpar showings (head retention/lacing) forgivable with respect to the strength/style.

fairly pungent nose is rife with caramel malts and a discernible hoppy presence; taste follows through as expected with a malt-forward, hoppy profile with the hops becoming most notable mid-palate. pretty good balance between the malty sweetness and hop bitterness, the latter resonating through the finish. not as big an alcohol showing as you might expect for a 10% ABV although it is discernible.

medium-plus bodied, a touch syrupy. easy drinking for a barley wine. looks like i'm going even 4s across the board on this one. recommended, especially to an ABW fan.

original review on: 10-15-2010

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

bomber poured into a snifter. pours a rich copper brown color with a half finger of tight tan head. light lacings.

aroma is malty and coniferous. a bit of spice is present as well. malt notes include caramel and a touch of chocolate. overall the brew is hoppy, which drowns out the malts a bit.

taste is rich and malty up front, with caramel malts and a bit of chocolate malt showing. a distant earthy quality forms a base, while it finishes on a light chocolate note with coniferous hops and residual caramel.

mouthfeel is full bodied and rich, with a smooth texture, and light bites from CO2 and alcohol. finishes demi-dry.

drinkability is decent. this is a full bodied and rich brew, with a notable alcohol tag (10%APV). that being said, this is a mellow and drinkable barley wine, without overpowering the malts or the hops. nicely crafted.

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Photo of TKEbeerman
4/5  rDev 0%

Photo of fx20736
4.13/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of litheum94
3.12/5  rDev -22%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a deep, reddish-brown body that shines in the light. Two-finger, light brown head that sett;es to a patchy cover.

Faint aromas of apples, pears and figs. Earthy yeast and some caramel. Sweet alcohol esters, like brandy. Leafy hops.

Flavors of apples and pears, with some toffee. Faint chocolate malts with some caramel and bread flavors. Sweet alcohol finish, with faint earthy hops.

Some good flavors, but I wouldn't call this a barley wine in a blind tasting. Doesn't really have the qualities of an American or English BW. Good, but was hoping for more.

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Photo of Buebie
4.79/5  rDev +19.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I bought this at Heritage Liquore today, St. Paul MN
Price for my brown bombar was $6.50
It was in the dark, non lit cooler too!

A: Poured a dark redish orange. Head was 2-3 finger deep creamy white. Head stuck around for a long time before fizzling down to a quarter inch, and stayed that way. Thick clumpy laceing, not as thick as the imperial ipa, but close.

S: wiffs of rich hoppy aroma, huge floral hoppy aroma. Wort boil hops were chinook and Willamette. Dry hoped with Amarillo and Centennial. Sweet malt, I can actually get wiffs of the steeped grain, in a grape nuts kinda way. Fresh cut hay, grassy feilds. Some doughy yeast scents are present. A faint cry of alcahol in the smell as well.

T: Upfront there is a nice hoppy presence without bite, sweetness upfront as well. Very well balanced through each step in your mouth. Midway the carbonation meats with the creamyness and carries the sweet creamy malt through my mouth. Some mild cracked pepper, and other types of spices that I cannot put a finger on are present. After the swallow the tinged dryness of hops hange around. Alcahol warming kicked in just before the swallow and departed quickly as the hops aftertaste took over.

M: Creamy rich thickness with medium carbonation in the middle that disappears as all the other flavors begin to overwhelm and take over.

D: Another amazing brew from Southern tier. This would age very well. I highly recommend this beer. The laceing alone is like no other beer I have had. Its more thick as far as laceing goes then a stout.

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Photo of CWhite
3.75/5  rDev -6.3%

Photo of megamass
4/5  rDev 0%

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

Pours a golden red colour with healthy white head and lacing.

Nose is rye, lactic, soy milk. Marzipanny. Concrete. Bit of alcohol. More English-style, like Golden Pride. Yeast and honeycomb.

Taste is more of that vaguely synthetic sourdough yeast. Bit of concrete. Lots of toffee and a little sweet in the taste.

Mouthfeel is mediumish for the style with lowish carbonation and a lot of sweetness.

The funk concrete elements are interesting and not unpleasant. Dangerous and sneaks up on you (my bottle was marked 10%). Little bit sweet in large doses, but I get the impression that's Southern Tier's trademark.

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Photo of BedetheVenerable
4.12/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Presentation: 22oz brown pop top, nice label, no date

Appearance: Attractive hazy dark burnt orange beer, with lazy carbonation and a nice chunky dark ivory/cream cap with good retention

Smell: Really pleasant aromas...LOTS of sticky rich caramel, vinous dark fruits, just a GHOST of alcohol, with some dark toastiness as well...surprising lack of hop aromas, especially since it's dry-hopped; I wonder if this has had a year or so to mellow out on the shelf

Taste: Again, more English-style than I was expecting, which isn't a bad thing...there's a medium-strong herbal hop bitterness, but it's not anywhere near something like a Bigfoot for example; there are big toasty caramel notes, with a mild alcohol sting, and light notes of dark fruit. This is tasty, but not quite up to the vibrancy of the aromas.

Mouthfeel: Soft, and fairly full

Drinkability: Deft. on the high side for the style.

Conclusion: This is a really tasty barleywine that fits somewhere between the English and American styles. 10% alcohol? Really? WHERE?! This is nicely balanced, and the fact that the hops have receded a bit makes me wonder if this has been aged a bit. If it has, it's all the better for it. Would pick this up again.

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Photo of nitter
4.25/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of shoretaxi
4/5  rDev 0%

Photo of cbl2
3.99/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

6/21/2007 $5.75 22 oz. 10.00% First beer brewed 2007.


Given a hard pour, this is a relatively still beer that is dark brown suffused with crimson highlights. Just a thin ring of tan rims the glass, but otherwise there is no head to speak of.


Caramel candied apples with a touch of spiced rum. Notes of fig and banana lurk in the depths as well.


I've come to the conclusion that if Southern Tier puts something in a 22 oz. bomber, then it's worth drinking. This has a nice slick mouthfeel, with loads of caramel sweetness up front. Fruit flavors include pear, apple, raisins, prune, with rum-soaked bundt cake flavors dominating the finish. Supposedly this is 55 IBU's, but I find the bitterness to be minimal in this one, with the malts and alcohol taking center stage.

Drinkability is lower in this one than their last big beer I had (Hoppe, which also was 10% ABV), as the alcohol catches up with you by mid-bottle. Definitely a sipping beer, and something I'd like to cellar and see how it improves with age.

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Photo of hero27
3.88/5  rDev -3%
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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Backburner - Barleywine Style Ale from Southern Tier Brewing Company
4 out of 5 based on 938 ratings.
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