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Old Backus Barleywine - Free State Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Old Backus BarleywineOld Backus Barleywine

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
95
world-class

149 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 149
Reviews: 71
rAvg: 4.28
pDev: 10.98%
Wants: 170
Gots: 12 | 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: 149 | Reviews: 71 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of swaghawk
4.25/5  rDev -0.7%

swaghawk, Jul 02, 2013
Photo of JasonFromLA
4/5  rDev -6.5%

JasonFromLA, Mar 29, 2013
Photo of zeledonia
4.19/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

2011 vintage, on-tap at the brewpub. Tasted 22 January 2013, reviewed from notes. My review is lacking a bit of detail, due to in-bar note-taking.

Pours a medium-dark reddish amber. Clear. One finger of off-white head that leaves terraces of lacing.

Smell pops with spice, hops, and smooth whiskey. Loads of spice, and a smooth, warm burn.

Taste has zip, zing, and zap. Brandy, candy, and more and more spice.

Feel is quite good. Medium body, very sticky, lasting and rounded, smoothly rising and drifting back down. More carbonation than many barleywines, and I like that.

A really tasty, spiced-up barrel-aged barleywine. The barrel is really cleanly integrated, with no obvious lines between the beer and the barrel. Happy I got the chance to try this.

zeledonia, Feb 10, 2013
Photo of jrenn
4.25/5  rDev -0.7%

jrenn, Jan 26, 2013
Photo of phishbone23
3/5  rDev -29.9%

phishbone23, Jan 23, 2013
Photo of starrdogg
4.25/5  rDev -0.7%

starrdogg, Jan 14, 2013
Photo of oline73
3.98/5  rDev -7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from the growler into a tasting snifter.

Appearance: Pours a cloudy reddish amber with a small amount of off white head that goes away rather quickly.

Smell: This is really sweet and full of caramel and grain. I'm getting a lot of dark fruit along with a mild banana note.

Taste: This is a really sweet barleywine. Lots of caramel like malt. The mild banana shows up here as well. A strong dark fruit note here along with the sweetness. The finish is sweet, but there is a solid hop presence as well.

Mouthfeel: The body is syrupy with a few tingles of carbonation and a dry finish.

Overall: I would say that the main story here is the sweetness. I'd have more if it was offered.

oline73, Jan 14, 2013
Photo of spycow
3.25/5  rDev -24.1%

spycow, Jan 13, 2013
Photo of UCLABrewN84
4.05/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to DrAwkward82 for sharing this one at drewone's place.

Pours a murky brown with a foamy khaki head that settles to an oily film on top of the beer. Small dots and streaks of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of malt, brown sugar, caramel, toffee, and citrus zest. Taste is much the same with a semi-sweet finish. There is a mild amount of hop bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp and medium bodied mouthfeel. Overall, this is a good beer with a great smell and a tasty flavor.

UCLABrewN84, Jan 07, 2013
Photo of drewone
4/5  rDev -6.5%

drewone, Jan 06, 2013
Photo of rfbenavi80
4.25/5  rDev -0.7%

rfbenavi80, Dec 23, 2012
Photo of DrLaFollette
4.75/5  rDev +11%

DrLaFollette, Nov 30, 2012
Photo of Thirstygoat
4.75/5  rDev +11%

Thirstygoat, Nov 23, 2012
Photo of BeerHunter76
4/5  rDev -6.5%

BeerHunter76, Nov 12, 2012
Photo of Texasfan549
4/5  rDev -6.5%

Texasfan549, Nov 06, 2012
Photo of tewaris
4.25/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks Ryan! The growler fill was from a 2009 keg I believe.

A deep mahogany brown colored beer that is relatively still as it should be in my opinion. I do observe some legs. Aroma is slightly alcoholic with notes of toffee and dry fruit. Not too sweet on the taste with notes of wood and roast. Hop bitterness works well. Vanilla and even bourbon like notes although this is not aged in barrels. Medium body and low carbonation. Tastes good, kicks ass; one of the better American barleywines I have had.

tewaris, Oct 17, 2012
Photo of t0rin0
4.25/5  rDev -0.7%

t0rin0, Oct 01, 2012
Photo of shebby
4.5/5  rDev +5.1%

shebby, Aug 17, 2012
Photo of Adidasakh
5/5  rDev +16.8%

Adidasakh, Aug 15, 2012
Photo of bpfrush
4.5/5  rDev +5.1%

bpfrush, Aug 13, 2012
Photo of Duff27
4.25/5  rDev -0.7%

Duff27, Aug 13, 2012
Photo of Khazadum
4/5  rDev -6.5%

Khazadum, Aug 11, 2012
Photo of sammo
4.5/5  rDev +5.1%

sammo, Jun 23, 2012
Photo of orangesol
4.48/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Big thanks to Kegatron for sharing this one with us all at Stakem's Fish Fry. This growler is over a year old.

A - Pours slightly hazy dark amber with a nice one finger tall light tan head leaving thin strings of lace down parts of the glass.

S - Smells amazing right off the bat. Lots of brown sugar, caramel, toffee, butterscotch, and a bit of dark fruit at the end of each sniff.

T - Starts off with a big dose of sweetness - mostly toffee, caramel, butterscotch and a bit of molasses - slowly giving way to a bit of dark fruits and some dulled hop bitterness. Very little, if any, booze is present but there is definitely a touch of oxidation in this one but, like the booze, it never gets in the way.

M - Big body with a smooth, creamy feel with moderate carbonation. The feel works extremely well with the flavors to create an easy drinking yet potent barleywine.

O - Damn, this is one fine barleywine. I have had some great barleywines in my travels but this one is one of the best. Simply awesome stuff, hope I get to try it again some day.

orangesol, Apr 20, 2012
Photo of Rhettroactive
3.95/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

From 64oz growler to Portsmouth glass on 3/29/12
*From notes

-- Thanks, Siege --

Growler filled around Christmas 2011

A: Muddy cider in color. A standard pour yields a creamy one finger off-white head. It lingers for a minute and leaves a thick collar and moderate lacing.

S: Stodgy pine oil. Hints of sliced green apple and a touch of toasted malt.

T: Creamy malt up front. The mid is nothing if not a bit sweet. The hops then jump right in and bite the palate. It's more of a biting pine resin then fruity.

M: Decent. We're talking about a growler that was filled and driven all the way back from Kansas a few months ago, so it's not gonna be crisp. A bit oily and thin as well.

O: A nice take on an American Barleywine. Being as this is non-barrel aged, this instantly is put at a disadvantage, though having said that, this is still a solid beer. I'd recommend drinking it fresh, or waiting quite a while to get into it, as the hops here were a bit stale in my opinion.

Not quite up to the rDev or lofty status, and certainly not worth dumping your cellar for.

Rhettroactive, Apr 03, 2012
Old Backus Barleywine from Free State Brewing Co.
95 out of 100 based on 149 ratings.