Old Backus Barleywine
Free State Brewing Co.

Old Backus BarleywineOld Backus Barleywine
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Free State Brewing Co.
Kansas, United States
American Barleywine
Ranked #51
Ranked #2,953
4.21 | pDev: 10.69%
Oct 29, 2022
Oct 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.
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Reviewed by BeerAndGasMasks from Virginia

3.96/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4
Vintage: 2018. It pours a pretty much clear amber color with a small light tan/off-white head that slowly reduces to a thin layer yet still leaves a bit of lacing. The nose gets a dose of alcohol and dark fruit. The mouth gets a swift kick of alcohol and then a nice mixture of dark fruit and roasted malt.
Oct 29, 2022
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Rated by Manta200 from Kentucky

4.23/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25
Single bottle from Harrison8
Mar 29, 2022
Rated: 3.94 by crobinso from Colorado

Jul 09, 2021
Rated: 4.33 by Luckydog91 from Texas

Apr 16, 2021
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Reviewed by bret27 from California

4.59/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5
2016 bottle courtesy of JohnnyHops.
~4 yrs old at this point.
L: mahogany brown. Min/mod light tan head.
S: raisins/dates, earthy, fruity, vanilla.
T: dates, caramel, vanilla, multiple fruits, maybe some citrus flavor.
F: medium, slick, low carbonation.
Overall: Great example of the style.
Sep 30, 2020
Rated: 4.18 by joran from Kansas

May 02, 2020
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Reviewed by MissouriMule from Missouri

4.73/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75
Plum and raisin sweetness are balanced nicely by spice and bitterness from the hops. Carbonation is perfect for the genre. The fuller body and higher alcohol content distinguish it from its West Coast cousin, Anchor Brewing’s Old Foghorn. That said, given the more pronounced bitterness of Old Foghorn (at least in the 8.2% ABV version to which comparison is made), I think both qualify as British Barleywines.

Drink this if you want more body and less bitterness. For more nuance and bitterness, Old Foghorn’s lower ABV iterations May be a better bet.
Jan 16, 2020
Rated: 4.18 by Walnut from Missouri

Jan 19, 2019
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Reviewed by Jugs_McGhee from Colorado

2.85/5  rDev -32.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.75
Bottle as part of a 4 pack. Currently the #1 beer in Kansas:

Syrupy amber malts dominate. Hints of caramel. Ample malty sweetness...it's a bit too sweet for my tastes.

No overt hop notes or off-notes. Not quite dialed-in balance-wise.

Mouthfeel is a bit gooey, certainly thick & full-bodied, and a biteen chewy. Smooth and wet otherwise. Unrefreshing but not boozy.

I don't find it to be a very great barleywine even compared to your typical always-on-the-shelf barleywines from other states. Best beer in Kansas? Not in my book...but even if it were, respectfully - we're still talking about Kansas.

Nov 14, 2018
Rated: 4.24 by StanleysCup from Maryland

Nov 11, 2018
Rated: 4.21 by psweendogg from Connecticut

Mar 17, 2018
Rated: 4.25 by mwvman from Indiana

Jan 26, 2018
Rated: 4.54 by RDW from Nebraska

Jan 20, 2018
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Reviewed by StonedTrippin from Colorado

3.93/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4
2015 bottle has held up really well. this is a nice barleywine, not overly complex, not barrel aged, not trying to do too much, just a good old fashioned strong ale that is perfect for the late fall and early winter stages of the year that we are in now. deep reddish amber color, frothy tan headed, bubbly for the style and its age. the aroma has a little wet cardboard oxidation, but i always think that flatters a barleywine. the hops have held up, or else this was insanely hoppy when it was fresh, it still has a nice piney and orange peel character to the aroma, and plenty of bitterness as well. caramelized and long boiled grain sugars, a light maple or brown sugar note, and a warming booze nose. the flavor is the same, but its just so well integrated all of it, the hops are not just in the finish but all the way through, and the malts are rich without ever being sugary to me. the age has helped this mellow i would think. its warming but not hot on the alcohol and has a long bready finish, very much a barleywine of the old school, but but a beer i really enjoyed in this seasonal context. i hope to be able to try it fresh sometime...
Dec 05, 2017
Rated: 4.18 by jera1350 from Minnesota

Nov 05, 2017
Rated: 4.48 by SOIA from Kansas

Nov 02, 2017
Rated: 3.75 by Hellpop65 from Kansas

Oct 14, 2017
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Rated by Mdaniel723 from Missouri

4.16/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4
Very good barleywine. Has a beautiful copper color, very malt forward nose and taste.
Sep 17, 2017
Rated: 4.46 by unclekeith from Alaska

Sep 13, 2017
Rated: 4.23 by ICTguy21 from Kansas

Aug 06, 2017
Old Backus Barleywine from Free State Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 93 out of 100 with 263 ratings