Old Backus Barleywine | Free State Brewing Co.

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93
outstanding
242 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:
242
Reviews:
93
Avg:
4.24
pDev:
10.61%
 
 
Wants:
196
Gots:
43
For Trade:
6
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 242 |  Reviews: 93
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

Photo of tsgooch79
3.5/5  rDev -17.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Photo of Harrison8
4.56/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Look: Gorgeous burgundy, unfiltered shade, topped with a light, fairly thin head which leaves behind plenty of lace.

Smell: A bit of toffee here, a bit of caramel there. Delicious. It invites you to take a sip...

Taste: Upon taking a sip, toffee and caramel flavors hit, before giving way to a hoppy finish. Great ebb and flow of flavors.

Feel: It feels really good. It's smooth and robust. Such a pleasure to drink.

Overall: This is an outstanding beer. Certainly pick up a glass if the opportunity arises. Watch out, it's smooth and fairly hard hitting in ABV. Great overall!

Served in a 12oz snifter. First barleywine. I need more.

 640 characters

Photo of etmcgee
4.52/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

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

Photo of skaboom420
3.9/5  rDev -8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

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

Photo of ThaddeusLamar
3.94/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Photo of drpimento
4.33/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Very good. When opened, I got a whiff of caramel and toffee right away, then with my schnoz in the glass I got raisins, apricots, yeast, hops, rye. Flavor has lots going on too - most pleasing to me was a note of roast which perfectly contrasts in a matching way the sweeter qualities. There is plenty of bitter in a balanced measure. Body however was odd in that it was good then it was a bit thin - kind of oscillated between the two states. Very drinkable for a strong brew.

 477 characters

Photo of BEER88
3.83/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Photo of sweemzander
4.36/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

12oz bottle poured into a snifter
(A)- Toasted caramel colored amber with some decent white froth
(S)- Some nice leathery sherry-like caramel and toffee
(T)- Nice toffee and caramel meets some sherry-like fruits and leather
(M)- Nice balance without being overly hoppy
(O)- Refreshing to see a great american style barleywine that isnt completely hopped to the gills. A really nice showcase of sweet malts and a smooth finish

 425 characters

Photo of jw4free
3.9/5  rDev -8%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

High gravity killer! So smooth, with sweetness. Watch out, have too many, and it's a crusher the next day.

106 characters

Photo of itracy63
4.1/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Photo of kbwalters
4.17/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured cold into a tulip glass; been in the fridge since January.
Look = 4.5 Pours a mahogany with red highlights and 2.5 fingers of off white head; head is thick with great retention and lacing.
Aroma = 4.25 Very sweet aroma; candied sugar, fruity (dark and pitted fruits), strong caramel and toffee notes; overall an intense aroma, smells good
Taste = 4.0 Follows the nose for the most part; sweet, candy sugar, toffee, caramel. Mild bitterness on the finish and a decent alcohol presence
Feel = 4.25 Thick and full bodied, syrupy and smooth. Low to medium carbonation.
Drinkability = 4.0 Not bad for a big barleywine
Overall = 4.175 A solid brew all around, very sweet aroma and taste, hops were muted but the brew is at least 7 months old.

 743 characters

Photo of Magery
3.88/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Photo of americancontrarian
4.94/5  rDev +16.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Photo of woodchip
3.81/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of Pearlstreetbrewingco
3.75/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Old Backus Barleywine from Free State Brewing Co.
4.24 out of 5 based on 242 ratings.
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