Brooklyn Back Breaker
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RATINGS: 68   WEIGHTED AVG: 3.21/5   SEASONAL: Special   EST. CALORIES: 210   ABV: 7%
Making malt has always been hard work. The barley needs to be soaked, sprouted to exactly the right point, and then gently dried, capturing the enzymes that will convert grain starches into malt sugars. For hundreds of years this was done on a “malting floor”, where workers would control the sprouting of the malt by constant raking, adjusting temperature and preventing the rootlets of the malt from weaving together into an inseparable mat. But it was backbreaking work. Men dragged 75 lb wrought iron rakes through the malt beds and then smoothed it all over by hand with specialized shovels and ploughs. Eventually maltsters created mechanized malting methods. It was much easier, but the malts weren’t quite the same, their flavors not as rich. So some maltsters retained their traditional malting floors and still use them today.

In August brewmaster Garrett Oliver traveled to the Crisp Maltings in rural Great Ryburgh, England to make malt on their 150 yr old malting floor. After five days of raking, ploughing, shoveling and kilning 19 tons of malt, he gained a new appreciation for the flavors of traditional floor malts. And he took the malt back to Brooklyn. Now we bring you BackBreaker, a robust honey-colored ale bursting with the juicy flavors of our heirloom Maris Otter malt and aromatized with earthy English Fuggle hops. It’s a beer that pairs wonderfully with all your autumn and winter dishes. We hope you enjoy it, and hey – don’t ever say we never did nothin’ for ya.

Malt: “Brewmaster’s” Floor-malted Maris Otter Pale Malt, Great Ryburgh, England, English Crystal malt.
Barley grower: Teddy Maufe
Hops: English Fuggle
OG: 17.0° Plato
ABV: 7.0%

   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 12/20
goldtwins (4320) - Nesconset, New York, USA - FEB 22, 2010
Cask @ Blind Tiger. Poured a deep hazy amber color. Mild sweaty hop aroma with some citrus notes below. Semi-sweet toasted malt flavor. Semi-dry hop finish. Light bodied with a very light carbonation.

   AROMA 5/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 5/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 11/20
FROTHINGSLOSH (6835) - GREENSBURG, Pennsylvania, USA - FEB 21, 2010
Sampled on draft at D’s in Monroeville this beer poured a dark orange-caramel color with a small beige head that faded quickly but produced nice lacing. The aroma was tart, tangy and bitter with light touches of fruit, nut and yeastiness. The flavor was bitter, tart and tangy with fruity, vanilla, nut and a yeasty undertones. The finish was long and bitter sour caramel. The flavors are a bit of a muddles mess and did not work for me. Eh.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 17/20
jodah52 (210) - Michigan, USA - FEB 20, 2010
Light brown with a hint of amber and a cream-colored head, attractive. Aroma of fresh hops and malt, with hints of smoke and wood. Flavors are tightly controlled and superbly balanced, subdued sweetness finishing in crisp but not overpowering hop bite. The fairly high ABV for this style is hidden very well; this would make an excellent, refined session beer. Though understated, I think this is fantastic.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 14/20
ucusty (2691) - raleigh, North Carolina, USA - FEB 14, 2010
On tap at Tylers-Durham, NC. Bright amber pour with a fizzy off white head. Aroma is lemony with a touch of biscuity cereal grains. Body is thin. Flavor is malt driven with just a touch of fuggles

   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 5/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 11/20
deyholla (10213) - Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA - FEB 11, 2010
Sampled at the 2010 Indiana Winterfest. Poured a clear amber brown with an off-white head. Aroma was full of malts with notes of bread, biscuit and a touch of dark grain. Flavor was similar with a mainly malty flavor and a bit one note.

   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 12/20
JaBier (7027) - Capital City, Ohio, USA - FEB 7, 2010
Sample at HopCat. Clear amber pour with a thin off-white head. Nose of English malt and honey. English malt flavor with a bit of fruitiness before a sweet finish. Not bad, but a bit too sweet for my taste.

   AROMA 4/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 2/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 10/20
LinusStick (3252) - Moon Twp, suburb of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA - FEB 7, 2010
Good for the style I guess, but very bland. Aroma was so so. A hint of roasted malt and caramel. Pour was a nice medium brown with a one finger off white head. Taste was very bland and watery and the great carbonation doesn’t let many flavor through. A slight caramel malt aftertaste but that’s about it. BMC drinkers would love this

   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 13/20
rocbyter (2079) - Waterbury, Connecticut, USA - FEB 1, 2010
On cask at the 10th annual Real Ale Fest at Bar in New Haven. Light cereal malt aroma with a light amount of bitterness. Hazy amber color with a small white head. Vegetable hop flavor that fades in the finish.

   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 12/20
Lubiere (12939) - Ottawa, Ontario, CANADA - JAN 26, 2010
A golden amber ale with a thin white head. A light whiskey malt aroma with light vanilla notes, creamy. In mouth, a sweetish malt with British hops, veering on Vienna style, sweet fruits and nutty notes, a bit boring. On tap at DBA Brooklyn, 1st Williamsburg Cask Ale Festival, Jan 10 2010.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 15/20
mansquito (5454) - Nueva York, New York, USA - JAN 26, 2010
As other people have noted, this is a strange beer that is very difficult to categorize. I got in at Swift Hibernian Lounge, where no information is posted about the beer. I only had a sense that the alcohol content was somewhat high because of the Chimay chalice they poured the beer into, everything else, I had to figure out with my nose and tongue. Pours an orange color with a creamy looking white head, and leaves some light lacing. Aroma is mostly fruity, cherry. The taste is heavy on tart bubblegum/ cherry flavor right around the middle, and then it changes to a really good finish... yeasty maybe. There is a tiny bit of bitterness and really mild hops in the beer, but they are like a subtle undertone complementing the other flavors. Overall, I liked this beer. It was weird and I would have had no idea how to describe it... I thought for a second that it was a Belgian style, but it didn’t quite fit in that category, nor does it really fit in the English Strong Ale category, but I guess the reason why we got such a categorization is because it fits all the bigger beers with crazy flavors under one roof.

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