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Old Backus Barleywine - Free State Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Old Backus Barleywine
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BA SCORE
95
world-class

128 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 128
Reviews: 70
rAvg: 4.34
pDev: 9.91%
Wants: 160
Gots: 6 | FT: 2
Brewed by:
Free State Brewing Co. visit their website
Kansas, United States

Style | ABV
American Barleywine |  10.50% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes/Commercial Description:
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 added by: BeerAdvocate on 10-29-2001)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 128 | Reviews: 70 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by augustgarage:
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augustgarage

California

4.53/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Many thanks to monsterfat for my first growler - I have forgotten the vintage, I think it is from '02 or so. Opens with a mild hiss, thankfully. Poured into snifter.

Tuscan red body with raspberry highlights, clear with a thin dense cosmic latte head that recedes to a thin collar. Poor lacing, but viscous legs.

Oaky, malt-rich, carmelized brown sugar, light burgandy, dark fruit, and even roasted bacon aromatics.

Figs, smoke, wild honey, maple sugar, and deep carmel malt flavors coat the palate. Mild earthy pine-like hops come through to offset the sweetness and meld with the faint tannic roastiness into the finish. Clean, deep, and well balanced.

Medium-bodied with low but sufficient carbonation. A hint of astringency adds complexity. The alcohol adds depth of flavor and body without excess heat.

Remarkably smooth and drinkable - straight-forward and gimmick-free - among the best examples of the style I've had.

Serving type: growler

08-13-2010 21:16:19 | More by augustgarage
More User Reviews:
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KAF

Iowa

4/5  rDev -7.8%

07-07-2014 01:47:12 | More by KAF
Photo of DemoniChris
DemoniChris

Nebraska

5/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured on tap into a tulip

A - One of the most beautiful beers I've seen. Dark red-brown color with the ruby tones looking absolutely stunning when held up to the light. About a finger of off white head, moderate lacing.

S - Tobacco, leather, vanilla, butterscotch, chocolate, toffee, dark fruits such as cherries, plums and raisins. Even getting some barrel like bourbon qualities even though this beer has not been barrel aged... Astounding!

T - Big sweetness. All of the aromas are extending through the flavor but in a bigger way. Caramelized burnt sugar, brown sugar, butterscotch, toffee, vanilla, caramel, dark fruits, bourbon, chocolate, tobacco. A slight herbal hop flavor comes through beneath the flavors but it works really nicely. It adds a nice underlying citrus quality that really ups the complexity of this beer. The bitterness is hard to detect, but it does linger a bit. It's also hard to detect any alcohol in this beer. In my eyes this is perfect.

M - This is how a barleywine should feel. Super rich sticky medium to full bodied mouthfeel. So velvety and slick. It finishes quite dry as well, leaving the imbiber wanting more. Carbonation is perfect, and the first sip is just as good as the last.

O - This is far and beyond the best barleywine I've ever had. The only one that would come close is Double DBA and maybe BCBBW, but that was an English style barleywine, although, Old Backus drinks more like an English style barleywine rather than an American one. Mostly because the hops felt more in the background rather than obviously prevalent in the forefront. It is crafted with such impervious balance, it's impossible to believe it's 10.5%. This might be the most delicious and rewarding beer I've ever put my lips around. Go try this if you can!

Serving type: on-tap

05-31-2014 08:01:04 | More by DemoniChris
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22Blue

Kansas

4/5  rDev -7.8%

05-31-2014 00:36:26 | More by 22Blue
Photo of LambicPentameter
LambicPentameter

Kansas

4.35/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Enjoyed on tap at Bridger's Bottle Shop in Westport last month. Reviewing from notes. Served into a 12 oz Belgian style tulip glass.

Appearance - I love the look of this beer, with a reddish clay hue with carmine highlights where the light passes through. The darker parts of the beer appear almost burgundy, and atop sits a one-finger head of khaki colored foam. Retention is moderate, and as it starts to recede, it leaves Lorraine Swiss sheets of lace on the side of the glass, which eventually turn into a ring sheets of residue as I drink the beer down.

Smell - Wonderful blend of barley and grain, brown sugar, burnt caramel, English toffee and some slight alcohol astringency. There are also notes of earthy and herbal hops that provide a counterpoint to the sweeter aroma profiles.

Taste - Delivering on the promise of the nose, but cranked up a little bit, the taste imparts molasses, toffee and caramelized sugar along with an underlying rustic stone-ground grains from the malt base. Some notes of dried fruit reminiscent of figs and dates are now here where I didn't detect them in the smell. There is also a hint of leather and maybe just a touch of tannin characteristic on the finish as well as some herbal hop bitterness.

Mouthfeel - Medium bodied and moderate carbonation, but I must admit there is just a slight touch of oiliness/slickness from the feel that I didn't quite expect. I can't really call it off-putting, but it was unexpected and slightly out of place.

Overall, a beautiful beer with a great taste and solid aroma, and just a small bit of docking on the mouthfeel. Still, it's perhaps my favorite from Free State and could stand up to any American Barleywine in the country in my humble opinion. I wish they bottled it so that others could know just how good it really is. I especially like how the hops don't overpower as they do with some American style barleywines.

Serving type: on-tap

05-22-2014 22:00:09 | More by LambicPentameter
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acslatersbtb

Colorado

4/5  rDev -7.8%

05-02-2014 00:17:03 | More by acslatersbtb
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Bosoxfan20

Missouri

4/5  rDev -7.8%

04-27-2014 01:08:04 | More by Bosoxfan20
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AmyfaceNYC

New York

4.75/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Very strong and malty, delicious barleywine. Pours a dark, rich color. Tastes like smooth and delicious liquor--only the alcohol is not particularly noticeable. I didn't notice much sweetness or hoppiness. Beer was medium- to full-bodied, with moderate carbonation. This not the most complex beer I've had, but there were lots of different flavors going on--lots to enjoy!

Serving type: on-tap

04-26-2014 22:46:02 | More by AmyfaceNYC
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csmalley

Kansas

4.5/5  rDev +3.7%

04-19-2014 15:26:20 | More by csmalley
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FreeKansas

Kansas

4.75/5  rDev +9.4%

04-16-2014 20:28:05 | More by FreeKansas
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BarrytheBear

Wisconsin

4.5/5  rDev +3.7%

04-07-2014 02:14:40 | More by BarrytheBear
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bismarksays

Iowa

4/5  rDev -7.8%

04-01-2014 03:38:16 | More by bismarksays
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PeakedInHighSchool

Missouri

3.75/5  rDev -13.6%

03-28-2014 19:29:12 | More by PeakedInHighSchool
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alienlifeforcecube

Massachusetts

3.75/5  rDev -13.6%

03-06-2014 01:28:52 | More by alienlifeforcecube
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jroberts8811

Missouri

4.5/5  rDev +3.7%

02-18-2014 00:19:24 | More by jroberts8811
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Illinois

5/5  rDev +15.2%

01-22-2014 22:43:24 | More by RichH55
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Illinois

4.75/5  rDev +9.4%

01-20-2014 17:35:37 | More by IMSPEAKNOENGLISH
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Connecticut

4.25/5  rDev -2.1%

01-13-2014 23:55:18 | More by CTJman
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Kansas

4.25/5  rDev -2.1%

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Kansas

3.5/5  rDev -19.4%

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jaydoc

Kansas

4.25/5  rDev -2.1%

11-16-2013 16:47:20 | More by jaydoc
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Oregon

4/5  rDev -7.8%

11-16-2013 05:07:13 | More by SeatsTaken
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daisychain

Kansas

5/5  rDev +15.2%

11-07-2013 22:17:00 | More by daisychain
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Delaware

4.5/5  rDev +3.7%

10-28-2013 20:26:35 | More by Imstillthegman
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Kansas

4.25/5  rDev -2.1%

10-27-2013 03:29:34 | More by Mikevicgates
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Old Backus Barleywine from Free State Brewing Co.
95 out of 100 based on 128 ratings.