Southern Tier Oak Aged Backburner: One fine barley wine
When I see Southern Tier brews on tap I generally make a point of at least sampling them. Their specialty beers are generally exceptional. I tried the Oak Aged Backburner Barley Wine along with a few Imperial IPA samples that were on tap at my local pub. I’m glad I included it.
This one has a cloudy copper appearance and a sparse head that latches onto the glass. The nose is very oak forward with lots of caramel, toffee and fruit undertones to back it up. A hint of whisky and a slight boozy quality also come through. The hop aroma is there, but it is understated. In fact I couldn’t really guess what kind of finishing hop was used.
The taste is much like the nose–sweet and complex. The alcohol presence serves to warm up the finish of the beer and creates a nice contrast to the oak dryness. At 9.6% alcohol this brew comes in at the low end of the Barley Wine guidelines. It actually drinks more like a double IPA with a bit of added sweetness. It is very drinkable and reminded me of Great Divide’s excellent Rumble Oak Aged IPA.
I didn’t try a food pairing with this one. There were a few cigar aficionados at the bar that were raving about how well it went with tobacco, but I was content to enjoy this one all by itself, or maybe with a Haiku:
Drinking Barley Wine
Warming up a cool evening
Summer’s late this year