Brooklyn Backbreaker | Brooklyn Brewery

Liked This Beer
3.74 w/ 55 ratings

Brewed by:
Brooklyn Brewery
New York, United States

Style: English Strong Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 7.00%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by david18 on 11-23-2009

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 55 |  Reviews: 50
Photo of jaxon53
3.5/5  rDev -6.4%

Photo of mbs11
3.5/5  rDev -6.4%

Photo of PittBeerGirl
4/5  rDev +7%

Photo of HopStoopid120
4/5  rDev +7%

Photo of Thorpe429
3.33/5  rDev -11%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Reviewed from notes.

Pours amber with a bit of brightness. White head and a bit of lacing. Nose is sweet malt with a bit of fruit, toffee, and caramel. Taste is lightly sweet wihout much else. Medium body wig a bit of alcohol. Great concept, but fairly plain overall.

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Photo of metter98
3.7/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: It's clear amber with not much carbonation visible.
S: There are faint aromas of malts.
T: Malty sweetness flavors dominate the taste, which is rounded and well-balanced. The taste doesn't stand out as being very special or unique, but the effort that went into raking out the malts in England is definitely noted. There's a bit of dryness in the finish.
M: It feels medium-bodied on the palate.
D: The beer is relatively easy to drink.

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Photo of femALEist
3.8/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Had this on tap at the brewery.
Backbreaker is an English Strong Ale and 7%. It poured a dark amber into my plastic cup. It smelled of caramelized malts, toffee, caramel with some piney hops. It tasted like sweet roasted malts, citrus hops, caramel, some dark fruits and a toffee finish. It was definitely sweeter than I was expecting but again, a good beer to try when you are trying to keep everyone happy.

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Photo of SIRIUS2
4.06/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served on tap in a tulip glass at Tyler's Tap Room in Apex, NC.

Golden brew with a ruddy brownish hue, clear, with a foamy head of two fingers or so. Good head retention and considerable lacing down the glass. Very attractive.

Aromas were not very distinctive, but a pleasant mix of light to moderate caramel maltiness mixing with a more herbal and very light citrus hoppiness. The aromas were nice but rather light.

Flavors roll over the tongue in a solid wave of moderate malts, balanced near perfectly with hops in a way that really highlights the best parts of the malt. This isn't a sweet beer, but it was certainly those complex malt characteristics that were most enjoyable to me. I'm a little surprised that this beer isn't better rated. Of the three brews I sampled this night, this one was my surprise favorite. Balance is the key: good weight, great balance, incredibly easy to drink, and smooth as silk.

Definitely liked this one and would highly recommend it.

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Photo of DmanGTR
4.12/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Review from 2/4/10. On tap at MacGregor's.

A - Deep amber red with thin white ring for a cap. No lace. 3.5

S - Very sweet caramel malts, touch of cherry tartness. 4.0

T - Nice mellow cherry and cranberry tartness mixed with a malty amber ale. Lots of caramel and finished long and bittersweet. 4.0

M - Medium bodied, with decent carbonation. Very smooth. 4.5

D - Quite impressive given the sweetness. 4.5

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Photo of tzieser
4.15/5  rDev +11%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had on-tap at The Pour Farm Tavern in New Bedford.

Pours a typical looking clear brown color with a small head that settles to a thin lacing. Huge malt nose, some candy noticible. Flavor was deliciously malty, notes of candied fruit. Good drinkability.

I'm surprised this beer hasn't gotten better reviewed. I thought it was fantastically crafted. I hear they used a special rare floor-malt that's pushed by hand like the olden days. Definitely give this one a shot if you see it.

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Photo of corby112
3.16/5  rDev -15.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours a dark golden amber orange color with a thin one finger off white head that quickly settles into a thin lasting ring. Not much lacing.

Sweet caramel malt aroma with hints of mares otter and subtle earthy hops and citrus. Biscuity malt and orange peel in the nose.

Medium bodied with an overly sweet malt profile with hints of toffee, biscuit and caramel. Subtle earthy pine hops with hints of orange peel and tangerine. Decently balance but kind of simple and pedestrian.

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Photo of CHickman
2.68/5  rDev -28.3%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Had on tap at the Hop Devil Grill, NYC. Pours hazy orange amber with a small tan fizzy to creamy head; smells of hops, sweet malt, dark fruit and maybe yeast or wheat. Not an impressive nose.

Tastes of malt, yeast, raisins, grass, bread and/or grains, and honey; this beer borders on skunky tasting, and just seemed to be too grainy and not well balanced. Hops were used sparingly as there was very little trace of the hop flavor present. Disappointing flavor, with medium carbonation, and average to less than average drinkability. This did nothing for me, and while it was OK and hid the alcohol level well, it was just not a refreshing or quaffable beer for me.

Tasting Notes: Perhaps my taste buds and palate were spoiled from drinking the Dogfish Head Burton Baton and Indian Brown Ale I had prior to drinking the Brooklyn Back Breaker, but regardless of the drinking order of the evening, this beer just fell short on the flavor. Unlike the other limited release Brooklyn brews, like the Cuvee de Cardoz, this beer did not excite me at all. The Cuvee de Cardoz was exceptional, original and quite a treat to experience, where as this beer was rather dull and average at best.

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Photo of thekevlarkid
3.6/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Off tap at The Daily Planet in downtown Btown this beer was a murky copper color with one finger of off-white foam that left so-so lacing. The aroma was almost all malt, toasted malt, caramel malt and a touch of toffee. The flavors were similar, bready malt, caramel malt and a little bit of herbal hops at the end. Misbalanced and not particularly interesting. The mouthfeel was average, the body and carbonation the same.

 423 characters

Photo of rfgetz
3.7/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Rather clear, yellowy brown color, minimal head & lacing. Smell is of carmel and grassy matls, english hops, touch of sweet honey and booze. Taste begins with a semi bitter bite of grass, followed with a mild, honey-like sweetness... beer mellows into a nice bready and sweet malt profile, with a bitter english hopped finnish. Medium bodied yet bubbly and crisp. Decent, fresh tasting beer without much in the way of unneeded depth.

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Photo of JMC_TM
4.2/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this on draft at the Flying Saucer in Charlotte, NC

BackBreaker is a robust honey-colored ale with the aroma of sweet caramel malts, toffee, and some herbal hops. The taste follows suit with the aroma very well with the malt clearly being the focal point of this brew. After each sip you are left with a hint of lingering sweetness. This one is easy to drink even with it's malt-centric profile. 7.0% ABV

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Photo of SFLpunk
3.5/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Half-pint draft at American Flatbread Burlington Hearth.

Quick review: Initial aromas of medium caramel malt with whispers of a Belgian yeast strain. Palate is sweet up front but then a bitter bite turns the flavors more towards a strong pale ale. Crisp and sharp carbonation. Moderately long finish.

Not what I expected. Well crafted, but not stoked.

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Photo of apbarwood
3.83/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

-On tap at the Busy Bee Care in Raleigh, NC served in a Brooklyn Brewery tulip glass

A reddish brown color with a nice off-white colored head. A nice amount of lace sticking around throughout the session. The aromas is heavy on the sweet malt with a sweet caramel/toffee and biscuit aroma but also a pleasant fruitiness. Those aromas carry through to the flavor with an extra emphasis on the fruity aspects. Almost a sweet juicy fruit/bubble gum flavor mingling with the malt flavors. The bitterness is firm on the finish and leaves a nice drying quality. The high ABV is restrained and doesn't bog down on the finish. Nice medium-bodied brew that pairs well with food, worked great with my cheese burger. All in all, it's a good brew, but I'd only recommend it to those who like the English style beers. It's nice, but not the greatest thing ever.

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Photo of afausser
3.95/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served in a Brooklyn tulip glass.

Appearance: Pours a hazy, clouded dark peachy, glowing orange. Little to no head (maybe as a result of sitting before being brought to the table?), but there's a slightly off white fine ring around the edge of the glass and some very consistent foam bubbles on top. Simple and pretty.

Smell: Very bready and yeasty--the malt aromas come through very sweetly and strongly. There's a bit of citrus

Taste: A prominent citrus note, and a hint of sourness, but this comes across as more bitter than acidic. Juicy red apples and bread are also very obvious--tastes almost like biting into one. The more I think about it, the more it comes across as a cider note.

Mouthfeel: Nothing really too exciting here, but crisp, clean, and gets the job done. Medium bodied and very low carbonation, with tiny bubbles.

Drinkability: Very drinkable and refreshing for the 7% ABV, and easily sessionable. Glad to have had the chance to try this one on tap.

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Photo of Gambrinus1184
4.15/5  rDev +11%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Served on-tap at Delaney's in New Haven, Conn.

A: Poured a reddish, dark amber color with a frothy, white two-finger head of foam which left a thick ring and decent webby lace. Carbonation was mild but ample.

S: Smells sweet and bready with overtones of raisin and cherry. A slight hop zestiness and lemongrass gets picked up a bit.

T: Flavor is smooth and malty. Loads of roasted caramel and toffee flavors with a smooth, dry toasted brown bread caveat. The fruitiness is light, but present, with slight plum and berry notes, but it's mostly sweet malt with a slight alcoholic bite, but not much at all.

M: Mouthfeel is smooth, creamy and steady. Nice for a malty, higher ABV ale.

D: At 7% ABV, it's a good short session strong ale or a mighty fine after dinner drink. It's surprisingly light given it's malty nature and higher ABV. The flavors seem so well blended and smooth it'd be tough not to go after another. Would love to pick up a growler of this stuff someplace.

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Photo of Katahdin
3.71/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 2 | overall: 4

A caramel type taste that lingers on the tongue a bit with some hints of apples and pears in the aftertaste. Definite earthiness to the mouth feel, kind of a rough texture. Smells of roasted malts. Pours a rich, dark, amber with a nice creamy head. Goes down smooth and easily drinkable but a tad on the sweet side for such an otherwise heavy beer.

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Photo of glid02
3.88/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On-tap at the Porter Beer Bar in Atlanta.

Pours a clear reddish-brown color with a one-finger off-white head. The head recedes into a wispy layer on top leaving solid lacing.

Smells of mildly sweet caramel malts with a hint of toastiness and even lighter hint of light fruits.

Tastes similar to how it smells, though more robust. Sweet caramel malt flavors with underlying bready flavors kick things off. Shortly afterward hints of leafy hops and indistinct fruit flavors enter into things along with a smooth toasty flavor. These carry through to a crisp and mildly bitter ending.

Mouthfeel is good. It's got a nice thickness with moderate carbonation.

Drinkability is also good. I finished my glass without a problem and could have another.

Overall this was a far cry from a bright and flavorful beer but the subtleties were done very well. Worth a shot.

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Photo of Brent
4.6/5  rDev +23%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I'm usually caught up in beers with big hops or deep, dark roasting that I sometimes forget that malt can be the star, too. I thought this beer truly inspired - lots of depth to the malt with toffee and nuttyness, tinged with orchard fruit. The 7% abv was well submerged and the beer deceptive in strength, as it drinks like a session ale. Thanks to Blake for lugging the keg to the Bowling Green BA gathering!

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Photo of BigBigPickle
2.93/5  rDev -21.7%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

I understand why they decided to do this. Garrett Oliver went to England, fell in love with traditional four-row malt and is being very authentic. However, I did not enjoy the lack of aroma and it was, frankly, a bit too fruity. Point of interest, this was served at the brewery out of a plastic cup.

A: Amber - no head to speak of with good lacing.

S: None (plastic cup?)

T: Fruity yeast - sweet malt. Some hop with great bitterness coupled with a fruity maltiness. Eh.

M: Good bitterness.

D: Okay - not going to drink another.

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Photo of OneDropSoup
3.05/5  rDev -18.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

On tap at House of 1000 Beers (formerly 6 & Save) in New Kensington, PA.

Poured into a Gulden Draak tulip: a thin collar of head over a clear copper-orange with bright highlights. No lacing.

Smells of slight toasty caramel, solid but restrained.

Taste of mild toffee/caramel, some apple & pear-like fruitiness, clean cereal malts. There's just a hint of sharp booze & a knd of mineral flintiness I don't care for.

Medium-bodied, booze provides a little "poke" in the mouthfeel. Going along with the mineral/flinty taste is a chalky feeling I'm really not into.

I can't say I found much to enjoy about this one. The highs were not that high & there were some definite minuses. Rarely do I say this, but I really considered not finishing this one. Maybe I'm missing something, but this didn't do it for me.

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Brooklyn Backbreaker from Brooklyn Brewery
Beer rating: 54.5% out of 100 with 55 ratings
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