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Old Backus Barleywine - Free State Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Old Backus BarleywineOld Backus Barleywine

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
94
outstanding

171 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 171
Reviews: 77
rAvg: 4.26
pDev: 10.8%
Wants: 178
Gots: 28 | FT: 3
Brewed by:
Free State Brewing Co. visit their website
Kansas, United States

Style | ABV
American Barleywine |  10.50% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 10-29-2001

Bronze Medal Winner, 1997 World Beer Championships - Barleywines.

Old Backus contains just over 2,000 pounds of malt and 55 pounds of hops. The original gravity is 25.6 P/1092 which contributes to an alcohol content of 10.5% by volume. This is a tremendously complex beer that should be savoured slowly and in moderation. It will continue to change with age as it is served unfiltered.

This barleywine is named after Richard Backus, an old friend to the Brewery.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 171 | Reviews: 77 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of jewellrunner
4.75/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Photo of WoostaBia
4.54/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Photo of AndyBeerGuy
4.11/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Photo of BrownAleBollocks
3.44/5  rDev -19.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Pours a deep copper with red and brown. Head is off white and fairly small. Aroma is mostly malts with caramel, toffee, and some dark fruit. Taste follows the nose with only light hopping. Mouthfeel is medium and a bit more oily than I expected. Overall a fairly good barelywine that hides it's alcohol well.

Photo of snarygare
4.03/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Photo of evanRwise
4.35/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Photo of beergorrilla
3.71/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of Zaphog
3.77/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of BMart
4/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of kevanb
4.23/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

12oz bottle, 2014 on the neck, poured into a Brooklyn Brewery snifter.

The beer pours a medium amber color, hues of burgundy and caramel brown, light opacity though fairly clear with a solid finger of off white head, thick and foamy that has very nice retention, settling into a thick ring of film around the circumference of the glass while yielding nice swatches of soapy lace. The aroma is very heavy on the malted barley, caramel and amber malts, with brown sugar, toffee and a bit of dark pitted stone fruits but some definite piney and grapefruit forward hops help to balance this out. The flavors mirror the nose very well, lightly piney and bitter hops initiate the senses, while some grapefruit citrus plays well with the sweeter malts and brings out the richer more chewy flavors of toffee, molasses, raisin and fig though the bitterness from the hops and a bit of the fruitiness linger nicely. The mouthfeel is very nice, quite smooth and almost creamy with very low discernible carbonation, though just enough to prop the beer up, and a velvety finish.

Verdict: An excellent take on the American style barleywine. Definite hop presence that integrates very well with the malt profile and general sweetness of the beer. Complex, but not overly complicated and a very nice sipper that has great nuance as it warms, definitely a very under the radar beer.

Photo of Sanderson
4.24/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of orcrist_cleaver
4.02/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

A: Dark brown bordering black with some red highlights. A lush finger's worth of mocha head with excellent retention.

S: Rising alcohol aromatics follow brown malt, treacle, shaved dark chocolate. Light citrus. Caramelized peaches.

M: Leathery and full bodied. High carb.

T: Bitterness and malt battle it out in this border state brew. Caramel malt body collides worth some tangy apple florals. Cherry and other stone fruits contribute nicely. Having been aged for 9 mos I feel like some of the flavors have mellowed and merged. Seems unauthoratative for a bw. I tend to like more assertive bws with pronounced flavors.

Photo of kguyty
3.9/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of zac16125
4/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

12oz bottle into a snifter
no bottling dates

Thanks to mikeincharleston for hooking me up with this one!

A: Pours a dark copper with ruby hues when held to light, good clarity. Just over 1 fingers width of light tan head builds and then dissipates away fairly quickly. Leaves a few small patches of lacing. 4.25

S: Very nice aroma of sweetness, hops, and booze. Candied sugar, toffee. Lots of hoppy characters, with citrus and piney notes. 4.25

T: Nice combo of malts and hops. Citrus, some fruity characters, pine, booze. Good, but flavors aren’t as intense as many in the style, nor is it as complex as I look for in the style. 3.75

M/D: Medium body, appropriate carbonation, fairly smooth, ABV is noticeable but its not hot, drinkability is very good. 4.25

O: Good beer, but I was disappointed. I had very high expectations for this one, considering it was a top 5 barleywine on BA for years. It certainly didn’t live up to that, but tasty nonetheless. Glad I got to finally try it. Thanks Mike! 4

Photo of McNazz
4.02/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of KCBeerNerd
4.45/5  rDev +4.5%

Photo of --Dom--
4.5/5  rDev +5.6%

A complete home run for Free State. Just an amazing example of the style. A little less heat/carbonation than some other offerings in this category. But jam-packed with character, complexity and flavor. Too many nuances to list. It's sweet that's for sure, but never off-putting. I wish I had the self control to save a few of these for the cellar but there's no chance of that... Don't miss out on this one. I'd even recommend this to folks looking to get into the style... look out though, they might just be ruined afterwards.....

Photo of KShophead
4.75/5  rDev +11.5%

Photo of kellensmith15
5/5  rDev +17.4%

Photo of Jeffrey2310
4.25/5  rDev -0.2%

Photo of dradair
4.25/5  rDev -0.2%

Photo of mikeincharleston
4/5  rDev -6.1%

Photo of russpowell
3.84/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 2.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Unreadable dating code, but it is a recently released Barley Wine, so I'm sure if anything, it's too young...

Pours an effervescent Auburn/chestnut color with a thin sand colored head. Middling head retention & lacing

S: Rich cakeyness, plums & taffy

T: Follows the nose, some woody hops, a bit of booze & grape taffy up front. Toffee comes through as this warms, dryness, woody/oak stave notes, a bit of masked boozeyness & even a hint of apricot as well. Finisihes dry, malty as hell with slight boozeyness & a touch of apricot or Pear Brandy, good complexity

MF: Chewy, moderate carbonation

Drinks a touch slow, a ponderous sipper here on display. Not sure it lives up to it draft/growler credentials, but I bet you this will age fantastic; straddles the American/English BW line with some aplomb. Get some!

Photo of pjbfromkc
4.5/5  rDev +5.6%

Photo of Can_has_beer
3/5  rDev -29.6%

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Old Backus Barleywine from Free State Brewing Co.
94 out of 100 based on 171 ratings.