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Free State Old Backus Barleywine, Rolling With an MC Hammer Sized Entourage

Alright, taking it back to the Free State on this one to show the midwest some love. On that subject, Midwest people always get toxic shock syndrome when I call Colorado “the midwest” apparently Oklahoma is not either, and Kansas must be DQ’ed by association? Can someone clear this ambiguous swath up for me? Is Montana the mid-west? Iowa? Anyway, fuck it, we are mashing out on barrel aged barleywines in today’s review, GROWLER ONLY NO BOTTLES (GONB) so you know this is colder than the fridge and the freezer, snatching up your bottles at my leisure

Look at that milky messy malty bomb. I got all the syrup.

Free State Brewing Co.
Kansas, United States
American Barleywine | 10.50% ABV

You read that right, I merked an entire 2 liter growler of this while playing Black Ops. That shit was Blackout Ops after 6 glasses.

Anyway, here’s the deal with this amazing barleywine:

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.

This beer is older than your janky ass girlfriend, peep game.

A: Look. at. that. mess. God damn I have never seen such a murky, turbid barleywine. It seriously looks like the dregs from a homebrew fermentation tank BUT IN AN AMAZING WAY. There’s a nice amount of flotsam and jetsam that looks strangely decadent and alluring, like when Augustus Gloomp falls into the chocolate river. You know it is dirty, but you like it like that.

Hey so we are going to make a huge 10.5% abv barleywine oh yeah, and you can only drink it in 2 Liter format. Wait wat-

S: This smells flat out amazing. This runs with King Henry in terms of olfactory profile and just tosses hot shurikens of toffee, candied apples, brown sugar, butterscotch, Werther’s Originals, and sweet kisses from Nana. You judged me earlier for killing 2 liters of a 10.5% beer but YOU DONT KNOW WHAT I WENT THROUGH. This beer is official as hell, when you bite this beer, it bites back.

T: The hot 90 minute beats just keep rolling out with an amazing sticky caramel meets graham cracker soaked in chocolate milk aspect. That sounds pretty core, but trust me, when it is in liquid form, IT IS A READING FROM THE BOOK OF DANKERONOMY. The dankest book of the Old Testament.

When the Fedex guy came, I was all ears for the doorbell, knowing that my weekend was about to be destroyed by 2 liters of sticky heaven. Also, a growler came. Ba dum tish.

M: This is chewy and has a nice coating that breaks up malty buds and watches Groundhog Day with you. You get a huge candy presence and a decadent It is thick and roughs up your palate just enough so you know you need to come up with that money. I still think about this beer, is it Winter yet? I hope I still have hookups in Kansas. I crushed this growler like Bruce Banner.

D: See my previous statement and complete lack of restraint. We are talking about a fucking huge barleywine and I drilled the equivalent of 3 bombers while getting lit up by 12 year olds on Xbox live. While they have to rub one out to Mila Kunis, I get to mash on huge amazing barleywines. The world order is restored. I want to tell you not to get this beer so that there is more for me the next time it is on draft, but many of you are mouthbreathers without Fedex accounts so I will say this: this sits in my top 5 top barleywines. Think about that shit.

Killing a growler of this will erase all signs of bother.

Narrative: Old Jim Backus listened to Iron Maiden and operated a C&C Corrugated Iron Punchpress for a living. For 12 hours a day he would drill steel and eat Hungryman dinners for lunch. We are talking about over a pound of food, as indicated on the packaging. James Backus once had a supervisor who disapproved of him dipping and smoking at the same time on the worksite, 3 days later, that supervisor joined the Coast Guard. No one could figure out why. Jim never said much but he always ate a huge Abba Zabba with his lunch and far be it for his co-workers to question Jim’s actions. He was a hardass but somehow, people knew that he was sweet to the core. One of his hobbies was going to scrapyards and finding items to spot weld into playground equipment for disadvantaged children. Sure they often cut themselves on the jagged aluminum edges, but Jim wouldn’t have any pussy children horsing around on his iron sculptures of punitive diversion. Old Backus was a bad ass, just dont ask for a piece of his Abba Zabba.

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Dont Spit Into the Wind, Dont Mess Around with Hill Farmstead Jim

Big Jim IPA

You Dont Tug On Superman's Cape and You Don't Mess Around With Jim

Don’t pull the mask off the old lone ranger. Seriously.

OH WAIT 11/11/11 at 11:11, GIVE ME A KISS AND MAKE A WISH!

Hill Farmstead Jim, 7.5% Black IPA, aged in Merlot Barrels

A: Hey guys, guess what color this black IPA is? If you said fuschia, you are, absolutely wrong. It is a slick “baby stout” sort of blackness. It’s that sort of gentle blackness that Milton attempted to both embrace and ward away. The head is off white and has a nice contrast the evil darkness below just like JOHN MILTON OH SHIT DID YOU SEE WHAT JUST TOOK PLACE THERE?

S: This is an IPA, through and through. The pine and grass reach out like a bath and body works candle, the citrus notes grapple and strike me like those weird weeds in Ursula’s cave. You know, those weeds…

I love this brewery but this beer tries to have too many fucking specialties. Just be a paladin.

T: The taste is strange, is isn’t quite herbal, it swiftly moves and changes several times while you taste it. It gets a bit of oakiness, then almost a grape or a cinnamon, then returns to its normal pinecone roots and finishes sweet. I have no idea how to approach this changeling. It goes tobacco, carnival, woods, carnival. Which I guess each of those makes sense together. Oh 5th grade.

M: The wine notes at the outset make this a blustering, confusing beer. You get a big wine note that turns into herbs, into a sweetness. The entire experience washes clean, but your conscience remains besmirched. It’s like your old uncle, whom you remember so fondly but now he’s back from the military and gives extra long hugs and is more serious. I don’t know whether to embrace the gravity of this project or to ask for my old friend back.

I dont like it, but I cannot escape its grasp.

D: This is like a Japanese game show in that it is intense, varied, and makes no sense. I don’t know how long you can watch that kinds of craziness but this is just too busy for my taste buds. If they sold this in 6 packs I would see it as a sort of Sartorial punch line rather than a beverage purchase. I don’t know what to make of myself after having tasted this. Maybe I could have been an optometrist, after Jim, who knows.

Narrative: “And you FINAL WISHHHH?” the genie hissed at Clarence Hyrbo amiably. “Well, I mean, I already got this swell wheatgrass farm for my grandfather” he surveyed the verdant pastures and the genie nodded approvingly. “And shucks, I already have this swell Merlot vinery for my grammy,” he ejaculated as the wine fields arose in front of him with sticky sweet grapes, ripe for harvest. The genie rubbed his ethereal palms and hovered entreatingly, “well?” he importuned. Clarence looked left and looked right, and only saw two wasted paradigms of wishes spoiled on human greed. He felt ashamed. His cell phone rang a sweet Creed ringtone and he wondered how to set this all right. “Genie?” Clarence softly uttered, “yes Clarence?” the genie responded gently. “Well, I see now that, every time someone gets a wish, it usually just ends with ironic consequences, like a grandmother overdosing on merlot, or artery problems due to wheatgrass,” the genie nodded solemnly “such is the Genie Code, to provide wishes only with disastrous consequences and life changing realizations but, you’ve hardly even tried yours out yet.” Clarence surverey the fields and firmly stated “GENIE! I want something that will make everyone happy, something that no one will die from, and no one will hate me for.” The genie waved his hands over the South Carolina countryside and the grapes and wheat grass disappeared. In wave after wave, tobacco fields rolled over the verdant pastures. “NOW EVERYONE WILL REMEMBER ME FAVORABLY!” Clarence called and ran all the way to the Charleston homestead which was recently founded