Brooklyn Back Breaker
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RATINGS: 67   WEIGHTED AVG: 3.21   SEASONAL: Special   EST. CALORIES: 210   ABV: 7%
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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 5/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 5/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 11/20
FROTHINGSLOSH (4918) - 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 6/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 12/20
JaBier (4887) - 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 6/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 13/20
nimbleprop (4881) - SouthWest, Washington, Washington DC, USA - DEC 2, 2009
Sampled at Churchkey DC. Pours a transparent orange amber with a frothy, lacing white head. Aroma is mostly malts, crackers, biscuit, some honey. Flavor is more of the same, crisp malts, some sweetness, dry, grainy. Finish is crisp with no hint of 7% alc. This was nice, sessionable too.

   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 8/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 2/5   OVERALL 12/20
Aurelius (4178) - Tallahassee, Florida, USA - MAR 26, 2010
Man, I thought that this was going to rock, but I came away disappointed. I have a lot of respect for Brooklyn, and for English ales, so I was sure that this was a must-have. Cloudy, medium to dark hone amber. Spot-on, slightly fruity English bitter aroma. Flavor, unfortunately, was a little astringent and homebrew-y, woody, cidery at times, and just came off as off-kilter. Mouth is light. Long tea-bitter finish. On draught, Capital Ale House, Richmond.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 14/20
JCB (3999) - Durham, North Carolina, USA - JAN 23, 2010
On tap at Tyler’s, Durham. Still looking amber pour, but almost merits a 4 for simply being so bright. The nose is sweet fruit and juniper to begin with, some soft malt emerging just a tad. Body is a bit thin, and the beer is certainly flavorful enough. But the Fuggles get a bit lost in a beer that doesn’t seem quite to know what direction it’s headed.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 12/20
ben4321 (3928) - Hoboken, New Jersey, USA - MAR 2, 2010
Location: On tap at Hop Devil Grill, 2/13/10

Aroma: Caramel and toffee malts
Appearance: Clearish copper color
Flavor: Some sweetness, light hop balance
Palate: Creamy, low carbonation, lightish body
Overall Impression: Not very detailed notes on this one, but I do remember that I didn’t love this one, something about it just wasn’t quite right. Everything about it is solid, and it is pretty much on target for what they were trying to do, but for some reason it just didn’t quite work for my taste buds. It isn’t bad, but I wouldn’t see myself ordering it again.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 13/20
obguthr (3840) - Staunton, Virginia, USA - JAN 10, 2010
Draft: Woody juniper nose. Hazy copper, thin yellow head. Malt flavor that is a touch moldy, but in a pleasing way. Finishes with a salty ocean breeze. Unique and moderately enjoyable.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 15/20
maniac (3800) - Baltimore, Maryland, USA - SEP 17, 2010
On tap at Capital Ale House - Downtown on 03/05/2010. Slightly hazy amber body with a small creamy off-white head. Sweet caramel and earthy hop aroma. Sweet caramel, toast, malt, earthy hop flavor. Medium full body with moderate carbonation.

   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 10/20
Butters (3766) - Richmond, Virginia, USA - DEC 25, 2010
On draft with joe and graham at CAH. Pours a near clear amber with tan head. Sweet, grainy, malty, sticky. Lingering malt bite, some faint hops, and way too expensive.

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