JorisPPattyn (7306) - Antwerpen, BELGIUM - OCT 5, 2012
4.1 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
Small yellow-cream head, dwindling over red-amber beer. Rich cake nose; a cake with USA hops and liqueur; crème de bananes, apricotbrandy. Very similar flavours in relation to the nose, but enriched by orangepeelessence and a dash of strawberryliqueur. Bit soapy too, however. Retronasal some dried fruit. Very rich and onctuous, alcoholwarming, velvety feel. Not a long aftertaste nor lingering flavours. Very good Barley Wine, no discussion.
boFNjackson (3574) - Portland, Oregon, USA - OCT 3, 2012
3.9 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
Bottle... Poured deep, burnt orange with an eggy, off-white head. The oak on this hit the spot. Regular Back Burner can come off a bit astringent with it’s alcohol heat. The oak played nicely with the higher abc, adding depth and complexity. Nice malt sweetness, earthy and ashy wood tones, while hints of hops gave it some balance. Some fruity esters and vanilla that meshed nicely with the burning alcohol heat towards the end.
kermis (2484) - The Hague, NETHERLANDS - SEP 30, 2012
4.1 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
Draft at Beer Temple. Pours clear brown with a small tan head. Aroma of caramel, dark fruit, oak and vanilla. Flavour is heavy sweet and moderate bitter. Full bodied with soft carbonation.
Rasmus40 (6982) - Beder, Aarhus, DENMARK - SEP 27, 2012
3.7 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 15/20
Bottle @ DØE meeting. Hazy amber with an off-white head. Aroma is sweet, heavy malty, caramel, dark fruit, wood and moderate hoppy. Flavor is very sweet and moderate bitter. Sweet finish. 190912
Camons (3702) - Hasselager, DENMARK - SEP 26, 2012
3.9 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
Bottle @ DØE meeting. Pours hazy golden with a offwhite head. Aroma of sweet malt, caramel, dried fruit, oak, vanilla. Flavour is rather sweet ( ofc its a Southren tier ) with malts, caramel, drieed fruit, nuts, light hops, oak, vanilla, booze. Medium to full, soft carbonation, warming alcoholic finish.. Sweet but still nice beer. 190912
Chad9976 (884) - Albany, New York, USA - SEP 23, 2012
4.2 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
I’ve reviewed pretty much every beer Southern Tier makes, but I always avoided the Back Burner because barleywines tend to be intimidating brews. Now that I’ve had it (twice in four days, actually) I have to say it’s one of the most drinker-friendly barleywines on the craft beer market. Robust and complex for sure, it’s a hearty beer whose deliciousness makes up for any booziness.
NOTE: There are actually a few different versions of this beer. The original, an Oak Aged, and a Bourbon Barrel Aged. The original is 10% ABV, the Oak Aged is 9.6% and the Bourbon Barrel is 14.1% Though I’ve had all three, this review is based mostly on a 7-month-old bottle of the Oak Aged and partially on a tap pour I had of this only a few days ago.
I poured a 22oz bottle into a tulip glass.
Appearance: Muddy complexion of cherry red, mahogany and brown proper. Forms a large, white, frothy head which leaves a surprisingly high amount of lacing for the style and never completely dissipates.
Smell: Almost a Belgian-like nose of dark fruit and candy. Rum-soaked raisin, plum, fig, and slight citrusy notes from the hops. A hint of alcohol from a fairly fresh bottle, but none in a significant vintage or on tap.
Taste: I’ve often found barleywines to be little more than carbonated syrup or imperial IPAs in disguise, but thankfully that’s not the case with Southern Tier Oak Aged Back Burner. A fresh version begins with a strong hop bitterness and taste of citrusy American hops. An older version is more sweet with a syrup-like flavor of toffee and caramel. Through the middle comes a mélange of fruit flavors: dates, raisins, figs, plums, and black cherries (oh my!). It’s an interesting and delectable contrast and balance between the assertive hops and the confectionary sweetness.
This is one of those beers where there’s a difference between hop bitterness and hop flavor as this definitely leans towards the hop flavor side. Chinook imparts an earthy, slightly resiny flavor and dry bitterness without going to the extremes of an imperial IPA. This is definitely more bitter than a British style barleywine, but not to the point of being reckless and overly trendy. The finish is sweet and tasty as the original caramel and toffee flavors emerge again. And despite all that, the body is really only medium and the finish is not as sticky or dry as you’d think.
Drinkability: Though very flavorful, Southern Tier Oak Aged Back Burner is not an assault on the tongue. This has one of the most comfortable mouthfeels for a beer of the style. Soft with a creamy texture, but with a noticeable amount of energy. It goes down very smooth with just a kiss of alcohol warmth and an accompanying vanilla flavor (likely due to the oak). At 9.6% ABV you’d probably consider this a nightcap or liquid dessert, but I had this on tap with spicy venison and it paired wonderfully. Definitely worth a try for fans of the barleywine style.
BoltonDK (322) - Copenhagen, DENMARK - SEP 22, 2012
4.4 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 18/20
Bottle at home.
Dark hazy amber, small white head.
Strong aroma;alcohol, resin, caramel, woody, vanilla.
Sweet malty taste, delicate blended with hops
Really nice Barley wine
b3shine (2232) - Cincinnati, Ohio, USA - SEP 21, 2012
3.1 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 13/20
Draft to snifter. Looks okay; an opaque Brown with thin off-white lacing. Smells and tastes sweet and woody with an average mouthfeel. Not bad, but not great for the style.
jredmond (4009) - Manhattan, New York, USA - SEP 11, 2012
3.5 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 15/20
Draft at shorties with Andy and Paul. Pours a deep brownish amber with off white lacing. Aroma is rich caramel malts and vanilla. Mouthfeel is medium with vanilla dominating, booze burn, and lots of malts.
CampesinoTino (612) - Seattle, Washington, USA - SEP 5, 2012
3.8 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
Bomber. Pours a solid crimson and mahogany color with a half-inch of suds and foam. Mostly dark fruits, caramelized sugars, vanilla and hops resin in the aroma. Taste starts out with a strong dose of caramel, candied dates, raisins and plum. Also some citrus rind and tropical fruit around the edges. The oak aged alcohol flavors balance out the sweetness with the bitterness fairly well. The body is slightly syrupy with soft carbonation and more caramel and booze in the finish. Not quite as complex as some other oak aged brews but still enjoyable.