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%

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JoeMcPhee (9426) - Toronto, ON, Ontario, CANADA - DEC 20, 2009
Cask at Blind Tiger and at The Pony. Deep amber pour with a tight, thin white head. The nose is loaded with softly sweet, crackery malt. A lot of light fruitiness with apple, pear and orange marmalade being the most prominet. Sweet and a little bit viscous, but never cloying, it’s got a good balance of malt and yeastiness. I think it could be a little bit hoppier, but there is a nice balance in here. A pretty solid interpretation of an English Strong Ale.

mabel (9246) - Toronto, Ontario, CANADA - MAR 8, 2010
[2646-20091205] Tap. Boozy grainy fruit malt aroma has a hint of banana. Slightly hazy, light brown orange body with a quick foamy white head. Fruity weird banana malt flavour. Medium-full body. Nice to try but odd banana fruit characteristics.
(@ Mr. Goodbar, Buffalo, NY)

nimbleprop (8377) - 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.

JaBier (7972) - 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.

FROTHINGSLOSH (7796) - 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.

vtafro (7445) - Wayne, New Jersey, USA - JAN 11, 2010
Cask @ Blind Tiger. Brune pour with a off white head. Very light on carbonation. Really didn’t enjoy this. malt and slight hop presence.

CaptainCougar (7133) - Columbia, Maryland, USA - DEC 7, 2009
On tap at Church Key DC: Pours a clear deep amber copper with a small ring of off-white head. Aroma of sweet toasted caramely malts and some piny English hops. Starts with pretty good fullness and rich caramel maltiness with some light fruity complexity, golden raisins and a decent hop balance before a smooth bittersweet finish. Very true to style and enjoyable.

swoopjones (7020) - Buffalo, New York, USA - APR 15, 2010
Draft @ Coles, Buffalo. NY. Orange honey color. Aromas of sweet malts, hay, honey. Sweet malt driven flavor, hints of spice, light juicy fruit gum. Medium mouthfeel. Good solid beer

HogTownHarry (6823) - Toronto (Harbourfront), Ontario, CANADA - APR 19, 2010
On Draught at Cole’s. Clear but deep bright refractive slightly reddish-amber with a smallish creamy off-white head. Smells great - roasty, lush with resiny "C" hops - mmmm - some alcohol, not too sweet, which is nice - really appealing (8-). Taste is interesting, the hops in the aroma are hardly present in the flavour at all - it’s mostly solid roasty malt - sweet, with background herbal/resiny dry bitterness - definitely alcohol, and a hint of carbonization; "black IPA"? - solid, regardless - I’d like a BIT more flavour hopping. Average body, solid carbonation - has a nice, restrained, slightly dry bitter finish with just a hint of booziness. Good stuff.

ben4321 (6503) - 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.

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