MarkSachon (331) - Pennsylvania, USA - JUL 31, 2012
4.7 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 19/20
Bomber bottle from Giant Eagle in Pittsburgh at an honest price. Pours dark, near black, with hints of amber in the body through the glass. Nice amount of foam to dig in to with plenty of bubbles for a nice aroma. Smooth and sometimes sweet, especially the sugars on the finish. Very nice and worth every penny.
jesperhammer (2202) - Copenhagen, DENMARK - NOV 14, 2012
4.5 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 18/20
09-NOV-2012, From Fish & Beer, @Ulkløbben Meeting, @my place.
Amber with lasting off-white head. Malty fruity with wood, grape fruit, caramel, raisin.
High carbonation, sweet, long bitter and sweet finish.
geauxtigers1 (3) - - MAY 4, 2013 does not count
4.4 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 19/20
The best american style barley wine I have had to this point. Hop components are at a minimum compared to many other. The oak and vanilla notes do not over power the barley wine at all.
n0mel (250) - FINLAND - OCT 28, 2012
4.4 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 18/20
Bottle. The head is nonexistent, off-white. The beer itself has the color I would expect from a barley wine: a clear dark red copper. Looks good. Aroma is some fruity hops, raisins, almond / marzipan. Flavor reminds me a bit of a strong American IPA, but the raisins differentiate it from those. Carbonation is soft and mouthfeel pretty smooth. Finish is slightly bitter and sweet, some alcohol.
What a great beer. Reminds me of Anchor Old Foghorn, which is the archetype barley wine for me, i.e. very good. The taste of alcohol at the end takes a bit away from my points. But, nonetheless, I thoroughly enjoyed this one.
mcrae19 (59) - - MAR 7, 2013
4.4 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 19/20
22 oz. bottled 02/12. Pours a reddish brown. Caramel, alcohol, and malt aromas. Sweet with flavor of raisin and vanilla. Syrupy and very smooth, all the way to the finish. Despite the name, very little burn. Then again, this bottle was cellared a year before I drank it, so perhaps putting Back Burner on the back burner for a year tamed the burn? An excellent beer.
BoltonDK (320) - 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
Chad9976 (882) - 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.
superspak (1464) - Michigan, USA - MAY 17, 2013
4.2 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
22 ounce bottle into snifter, bottled on 2/15/2012. Pours slightly hazy deep ruby red color with a 1 finger dense cream colored head with good retention, that reduces to a thin lace cap that lingers. Light spotty soapy lacing clings on the glass. Aromas of big orange zest, caramel, raisin, molasses, toast, toffee, oak, floral, pine, grass, and floral earthiness. Fantastic aromas with great balance and complexity of malt notes with moderate hop and oak balance. Taste of orange zest, caramel, raisin, toast, toffee, brown sugar, brown bread, floral, pine, oak, grass, and floral earthiness. Minimal bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of orange zest, raisin, caramel, brown sugar, toffee, toast, brown bread, floral, light pine, and hop earthiness on the finish for a good bit. Damn nice complexity and balance of deep malt flavors with moderate hop balance; and zero cloying sweetness present after the finish. Medium carbonation and moderately full bodied; with a creamy, fairly slick, and lightly sticky mouthfeel that is very nice. Alcohol is very well hidden with hardly any warming noticed after the finish. Overall this is a highly excellent barleywine! All around nice balance and complexity of malt flavors with moderate hops; and dangerously smooth to sip on. A highly enjoyable offering.
saxo (11211) - Højbjerg, Aarhus, DENMARK - MAR 24, 2013
4.2 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 17/20
Bottle. Nice head with good duration. Color is dark amber. Aroma and taste are rich hops, dried fruits, wood, caramel and malt. Full bodied and long bitter finish. Yummy.
tympanic (131) - New York, New York, USA - APR 20, 2013
4.2 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
Wowzers! I just said ’wowzers’! I bought this at Foodtown because it was one of the less expensive large bottles. Glad I did.