Southern Tier Backburner 9.6% ABV
Imperial Barley Wine Style Ale
Southern Tier Brewing Company
This is the first Barley Wine I have reviewed and will most certainly not be the last. I am thoroughly impressed with this brew. It has a mellow flavor to it and is gentle on my palate while still providing great character and depth. It has very low or “soft carbonation” with hints of raisins and brown sugar, which makes it seem more like wine than beer. The finish reminds me of a port wine. I will need to try out some different Barley Wines to be sure, but it appears I’ve become enamored with another different style of beer. This may just be a case of Southern Tier yet again, doing an excellent job with their Imperial Series. I will gladly take up the research necessary to find out for sure.
With another sip, I can not help but pause…exhale…and enjoy the moment. This is a delicious beer. Though I’m sure others would call it complex, I hesitate to describe it as such. While there are various notes to discern with differences from beginning to end, it almost seems like more trouble than it’s worth to dive into those details. The overarching theme of the brew is one of pleasing goodness. It satisfies in all areas of taste, aroma, finish and bodily sensation.
This is a brew you can share with a friend who is more wine connoisseur than beer lover. She or he will appreciate the beer aspects and fall in love with the more wine like characteristics of the beverage. Though I consider myself a beer man first and foremost, this brew is a nice segue into a desire to discover the good wines out there. Although I think I’ll stick within the Barley Wine genre for the purposes of this website and so I don’t fall into the rabbit hole that is the world of wine. One alcoholic vice/love is enough for me currently.
Unlike wine, if you are looking for food pairings with this beer, stop. This elixir is best enjoyed on its own. There is no need for food to cleanse your palate or accentuate your experience. This late winter seasonal from Southern Tier is perfect to share with friends next to a fire as you anxiously wait for spring to arrive. The high alcohol content which is what originally gave the brew its name, as Barley Wine generally has similar alcohol content to wine, will keep you warm and help lubricate any discussion or heighten one’s longing for that special someone. I happened to procure this bottle from last year’s batch and it has aged wonderfully. I look forward to the release of this year’s offering which will hopefully be out soon, as late winter steadily approaches. Grab one when you see it and you too may fall in love anew with another style of brew.