Old Backus Barleywine | Free State Brewing Co.

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93
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239 Ratings
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Old Backus BarleywineOld Backus Barleywine
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Free State Brewing Co.
Kansas, United States
freestatebrewing.com

Style: American Barleywine

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.50%

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.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 10-29-2001

BEER STATS
Ratings:
239
Reviews:
91
Avg:
4.24
pDev:
10.85%
 
 
Wants:
196
Gots:
43
For Trade:
6
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 239 |  Reviews: 91
Photo of FreshZ
4.15/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of Kurmaraja
4.25/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of boogerisu
4.23/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of chitownfanatic21
4.35/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of robinbsmith
5/5  rDev +17.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Free State is the best, period.

(I will review this properly another time)

76 characters

Photo of locoformavs
4.19/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of newbeeraday
2/5  rDev -52.8%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Photo of mflamar
3.9/5  rDev -8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of stephens101
3.7/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Reddish-brown with a bubbly tan froth. Smells of gum and cherry syrup. Tastes of plum, black grape, burnt sugar and pine. Has a sickly sweet aftertaste. Syrupy and even medicinal in spots. Medium in body with a touch of alcohol warmth.

I get the history of this one, and have nothing but respect, but it's really not working on any level for me, and ain't nobody got time for that these days.

 400 characters

Photo of Zonian1
4.24/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of AGoodStout
4.5/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of The-Adjunct-Hippie
3.86/5  rDev -9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Old Backus pours a copper-orange mixture with a smallish 2 finger head. Opacity is about 70%.

Aromas start to lift as the glass is agitated, I'm getting a lot of grape skins both black and globe. Resinous and viney qualities are very present, as is a large body of toffee and caramel malts. Some fresher aromas are released as the snifter is agitated further bringing forth snap pea and dry grass.

Barleywines are no joke and this is no exception. Flavor impacts like a fiery comet into the core of your palate. Some aged and spoiled alcohol are first sampled, followed by tons of grape skins soaked in the stuff, tasting like someone popped the lid on a forgotten barrel of whiskey at the bottom brink of a pirate ship. It pretty much stays there except for a thick slop of toffee malt backing. A sharp note of hop finishes the profile with a stinging character.

Feel is thick and destructive, but doesn't completely devistate, more like bends your tongue a little bit much like a tree in an F1 tornado, then passes by and leaves a trail of dust and dryness in the air. More "sessionable" (excuse me, if you will) than other BW's.

Overall, Freestate's offering isn't bad, but it's not among the best I feel. It could have more variety in the flavor, and a little more synchronity with what's there, but it's still an enjoyable brew nevertheless. Probably won't return soon, but it's worth a try if you haven't had it.

 1,426 characters

Photo of Tsnider123
4.16/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of gibgink
3.94/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of Houser
4/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of PrestigeWorldwide
4.17/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of cp45
4.24/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of Holopirek
4.29/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of 50StateBeerTour
4.24/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of Groenebeor
3.89/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Photo of joemetric
4.45/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Photo of TheHopsman
4.25/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of lemmy187
4.19/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Photo of theranko
4.47/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of teromous
3.43/5  rDev -19.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

There ticks on the side of the label to mark a date code but none of them are punched on this beer. I purchased it in Dec 2015.

Appearance: The body is a tawny brown color and murky. The head is a short off-white cap that fades out to a ring that leaves spotty lacing on the glass. Not bad for a high ABV beer.

Aroma: The aroma is recessed to the point of being nearly hidden. It pokes out of the darkness with a bit of caramel and just a touch of alcohol.

Taste: It has a very sweet caramel flavor that roams the palate unchecked. It's the kind of beer that you need to eat something salty or bitter to counteract the sweetness that is not accounted for in the beer itself. It works very well as an English Barleywine but nothing about this beer says American Barleywine.

Mouthfeel: The beer is nice and smooth as if it was already well aged. It is very easy drinking.

Overall: I would recommend the beer to those who enjoy a good English Barleywine but this is not something I'd recommend to those who are looking for an American Barleywine. It's a good sweet beer but it lacks complexity, depth, or any unique character. While it would be a nice sweet treat for a barleywine lover, it unfortunately doesn't offer anything beyond sweet caramel and a high ABV content.

 1,274 characters

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Old Backus Barleywine from Free State Brewing Co.
4.24 out of 5 based on 239 ratings.
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