Brooklyn Backbreaker | Brooklyn Brewery

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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.

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 55 |  Reviews: 50
Reviews by BigBigPickle:
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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More User Reviews:
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 Billolick
3.95/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

From a mini growler filled at DeCicco's, Ardsley, NY. Pours murky, dull, medium copper, under a typical light khake head, that departs fairly quickly, but does leave copious and highly stickly patches of lace. Yummy smelling malted up nose. Smooth, malty and tasty offering. 10% nowhere to be seen/tasted. Light caramel, leafy tea, wood all picked up. Mouth drying hops late to balance out the finish and add to the intrigue. Enjoyable, olde school British ale. Well worth seeking out and enjoying on a cold and wet winter's night

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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 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 NJpadreFan
3.41/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Brooklyn- Backbreaker

A- dark golden orange with a mild foamy head. Decent lacing ringed my glass.
S- Light buttery caramel malt, bready/ biscuity, with a sweet light citrus touch. Mostly faint.
T- Light sweet butter and caramel malt with a light touch of citrus hops. Mild flavors with no alc. detection. A twang of hay/ straw.
M- Lightly sweet and buttery smooth malt throughout with a muted hoppy sweet, touch of bitterness, end.

Overall- The flavors are too subdued. Decent.

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Photo of Sammy
3.67/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On tap at Mr. Goodbar, this place is getting some great beers in. Strong aromas - what is it? malt, maybe some yeast and spice. Easy mouthfeel, still feels yeasty. Golden with white bubbly head. Orange taste, with hops. Off the wall. Toffee and hoppy.
Had on tap at Cole's 4 months later, and not as good.

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Photo of SpeedwayJim
3.91/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 2 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 16oz. growler into an Ithaca brewery pint glass.

A: Vigorous pour yields a .5 finger coarse light cream colored head that dissipates quickly into a thin film at the top. Brew is a clear mahogany that reveals a highly carbonated body.

S: Nose is sweet honey, citrus, caramel, brown sugar, and hops

T: Opens very fresh, citrus, slight hoppiness that fades nicely into a prominent citrus malt body. Floral character comes through towards the end along with a brief twinge of sourness. Also a nice light brown sugar sweetness. Finishes very clean with near no aftertaste.

M: Surprisingly light bodied and very very refreshing. Smooth as all heck because of a noticeable flatness and finishes incredibly clean, leaving little to nothing.

D: Highly drinkable for the mouthfeel and the nicely complex but not overwhelming flavor. 7% is not a lot but this feels like having a soda. Almost no booziness is detectable at all.

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Photo of Gmann
3.65/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a solid copper color with a small off-white head that settled into a very light ring. The aroma is bready, caramel malt, a bit of peppery spice and solvent. Big bready malt with a peppery spice, light caramel, hints of metal, perhaps some hard water or mineral water, the abv is a bit raw and noticable. Some light tea flavors in the end, a touch fruity. Moderate to full body with tingly carbonation. It might look fairly light but this is got some weight to it. Finishes on the malty sweet side, hops are just there for balance. A nice malty brew, no crazy flavor. The abv seems a bit raw but it doesn't hinder the drinkability. Enjoyable and easily drinkable.

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Photo of scootny
4/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A deep copper with an off white head and bits of lacing. Clear with little activity in the glass. Smell is really rich. Caramel and thick yeasty bready malts. Light butterscotch, earthy hops, and a touch of alcohol. Taste is much the same with a satisfying mellowness in the clean finish that allows you to savor the complexity of the malt structure. So many layers in it with sweet dark breads, multigrain dinner rolls, and husky grains. A delicious banana tinged fruitiness from the yeast has apple and grapes as well. A lightly lingering malt on the back of my throat. Feel is nicely weighted and just a touch light on carbonation for my taste but too much more could destroy the silkiness of it. This goes down quite nicely and it excels with just about any food. This would be the ultimate football stadium beer. Garret may have broken his back to bring this one to us but it sure is appreciated.

1/12/10 Liked it so much I bought a second 32oz. growler. The toffee caramel flavors in this one deserve another mention. As does the superb fruitiness of the yeast. Just an excellent beer that needs only a touch more carbonation as it starts out light but creamy and then goes too close to flat as it warms which is a crime because the flavors really open up as it sits in the glass. Still a lovely beer warts and all.

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Photo of JTahoe
3.67/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Gold colored and slightly hazy with 1/4 head which dissipates fairly quickly.

S - Bread and biscuit aroma.

T - Follows nose with substantial malt and grain character. Some mild hops in the background. Not very complex, but nice.

M - Smooth and slighly creamy with low carbonation

D - A nice drink, but nothing too special. Perhaps I expected more since this was listed as a "brewmaster reserve" beer. A solid brew.

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Photo of Amalak
4/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I had this off the tap at the Brooklyn Brewery in Williamsburg.
A- Redish brown, but clear. It has a nice tan head and leaves a good deal of lacing behind.
S- Malty scent and perhaps a bit of yeast.
T- Like the scent, the malts definitely come through. Very smooth with a mix of nuttiness to it as well as a slight sour undertone to give it some added flavor.

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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 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 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 plaid75
4/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a deep copper hue with a one finger foamy white head. There was good retention and decent lacing.

The smell featured a resinous hop, sweet malts and green apple.

The taste consisted of a full bready malt, herbal hop and a touch of diacytl.

The noithfel was typical of the style.

Overall a tasty and seemingly authentic English ale.

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Photo of erosier
3.99/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

L: Pours a nice darker amber color with a small and thin off-white colored head that laces the glass a bit on the way down.
S: Smells of sweet toasted and roasted malts, hints of toffee, caramel, and the aroma of citrus-y hops at the end.
T: Tastes of sweet roasted and toasted malts, nice citrus-y hops, then hints of caramel and toffee at the end for a really sweet tasting brew.
M: Very smooth, warming, slightly thicker and sweeter than expecting, perfect amount of carbonation.
D: Very drinkable beer, a bit on the heavy and sweet side but well worth a try. Overall a really good beer.

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Photo of david18
3.33/5  rDev -11%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Another interesting beer from the Brooklyn Brewery. I'm surprised it's not on this site yet. It's called a traditional British Strong but it also has hints of belgian yeast flavor. Color is dark, i.e. arrogant bastard, good, light carbonation, good mouthfeel and flavor. I have to really like a beer this strong to drink it multiple times. This is a good one, but not top on my list for high alcohol by volume beers.

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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 donkeyrunner
3.48/5  rDev -7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Had this at the Brooklyn Brewery's happy hour. I felt like I was at a high school reunion exchanging tokens for plastic cups full of beer.

Clear copper with ample retention and lace. Smells like fruit and caramelized malt. Tastes like fruit as well, albiet it with a bready caramel and noble hop spice background. Like a beery fruitcake.

I like it.

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Photo of TheManiacalOne
4.3/5  rDev +15%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On-tap 12/30/09 at Track 84 in Warwick, RI, served in a tulip glass.

A: The beer is a light brown color, with a short off-white head that fades quickly and leaves a thin lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is of honey, caramelized malts, some citrus and a touch of hops.

T: The taste starts out sweet with flavors of honey, caramel, citrus and other fruits. Then a hearty malt character and a nut flavor that come in to provide some breadiness. The hops presence is mild but complementary and creates a good balance.

M: Crisp and very smooth, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is slightly sticky.

D: Very tasty, goes down quite easily, not too filling, good kick, good representation of style, this is a very nice beer to drink for a whole evening. I was surprised at how much I liked it.

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Photo of soupyman10
3.92/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On tap at the Church Key - always down for something new and weird from Brooklyn. This is an amber beer with a small head. Definite apples and caramel in the nose. Toffee, with some hop backbone. I dunno, for 10.6% ABV this was pretty underwhelming - I need more going on in the flavor and nose to keep me interested.

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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 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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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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Brooklyn Backbreaker from Brooklyn Brewery
Beer rating: 3.74 out of 5 with 55 ratings