Founders Black Rye - Founders Brewing Company

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Founders Black RyeFounders Black Rye

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1,441 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,441
Reviews: 493
rAvg: 4.03
pDev: 7.69%
Wants: 100
Gots: 251 | FT: 8
Brewed by:
Founders Brewing Company visit their website
Michigan, United States

Style | ABV
Rye Beer |  7.50% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: maxpower on 09-17-2004

78 IBU
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,441 | Reviews: 493
Reviews by meathookjones:
Photo of meathookjones
4.8/5  rDev +19.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours out almost pitch black with a tall tan head. Some nice lace was left around the glass. Great aroma filled with nice bitter hops, plenty of rye and dark chocolate. Some lighter fruit notes and smokiness were there as well. Nice citric bitter hops bite up front before some chocolate sweetness evens it out. Nice and roasty with a bit of smoke an coffee. Nice rye bread bitter finish. Very unique and damn tasty stuff. Pretty thick and well carbonated. Very drinkable stuff and it goes down way to easily. I could drink this all day. I am kick myself now for only getting one sixer of this when I was in the area.

More User Reviews:
Photo of BEERchitect
3.85/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Black and rye, and without owning any style delineation of porter, stout or brown- Founders Black Rye lives in that obscure world that prevent preconceived anticipations, yet creates curious anticipation that's all its own.

With its overt black appearance, the beer pours frothy, but with a sense of dry aridness that releases its carbonation quickly- suggesting dry ale. But with its stern coffee aromas, coupled with citrus, pine and burnt toast the nose is both robust and quick.

Evading much of its initial sweetness, the burnt sugar taste of toffee is cast to the side in order to favor those toasted and coffee flavors. Faint of toasted marshmallow and french-press coffee, the beer drifts into a spicy rye grain flavor that's both husken and earthen in taste, favoring root, sod and spice.

Its clean and citrus flavor captures the fleeting bitterness of white grapefruit particularly well even while burnt pine needles and peppercorn offer a special zing in its dry and drinkable finish; despite butting up against the friction of imperial strength.

Photo of Phocion
3.97/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle bottled on December 17, review on February 6. An aggressive pour creates a thick, frothy, khaki, moderately retentive head with a thick and strong layer of lacing. Dark brown-black body.

Aroma is well-balanced but big. A hoppiness that is primarily pine-forward but with a hint of citrus combines with a series of rich, dark malts. Baker's chocolate, toasted malts, and a bit of smokiness are all present, with a fairly light touch of spicy rye.

The flavor tastes... well, quite black. A roasty and lightly toasted astringency is cut somewhat by the spiciness of the rye. Coffee and burnt toffee. I can taste a citrus fruit character but can't really identify the particulars through the dark malts. Finishes with spicy and somewhat resiny rye and hop flavors.

Medium body and moderate carbonation. Creamy but semi-dry and very lightly astringent finish. Somewhat chalky.

Tasty and one of the very first Black IPAs (well before there was such a thing). Worth a try, and to the nostalgic beer nut in me, it's always nice to see beers that have been retired for nearly a decade make a return.

Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.55/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Barely transparent chocolate-covered walnut with ruby and bronze highlights when backlit. The whipped creamy head is the color of golden brown sugar and is a chiseled masterpiece as it slowly deflates. Thick gobs of lace adhere to the glass in abstract patterns and are the icing on this frosted chocolate cake of a beer.

Black Rye smells like a citrus hoppy, chocolate-focused porter. The hops are an integral part of the aroma, but I think they'll have a tougher time fighting through the roasted malt in this beer than they did in the excellent Red's Rye. While there's plenty of power, plenty of zip and zing, I can't say that I appreciate the rye.

Re-read the first sentence of the preceding paragraph and substitute the word 'tastes' for 'smells'. The dominant flavor is roasted black and chocolate malt that stops just short of charred. There's also a tendril or two of smoke, along with a tangy, almost peaty, sourness. Spicy rye keeps its head down initially, then becomes a little more bold with warming.

The finish is increasingly hoppy, with a tangy, citric fruitiness that I love. Thankfully, that smoked chocolate undercurrent continues to contribute in a meaningful way until the very end. There's nothing at all wrong with the medium mouthfeel, but I still find myself wishing it was more full and more chewy. If this beer was bigger, in every sense of the word, it'd be a world-beater.

Black Rye isn't quite the equal of Red's Rye, but then few beers are in my estimation. It's still an outstanding concoction that provides the added bonus of chocolate and smoke in addition to its rye malt spiciness. A good indication of a beer's drinkability for me is how full the glass is when I've completed my review. As I type, my pint glass is empty. 'Nuff said. Thanks once again to deejaydan for more Founders excellence.

Photo of Todd
4.3/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12oz brown bottle. Deep, dark brown, nearly opaque black with a large bubbled frothy foam head and clingy lace.

Dark rye bread and some coffee in the nose – soft.

Medium to full bodied, firm, smooth. Citric-like sharp bitterness strikes the palate upfront. Hop spice and rye meld together with a chocolaty malt flavor beneath, coffee suggestions, and a distinct roasted flavor and touch of astringency. Bready notes, with toasted edges. Nutty feel on the palate and in the finish. Quite drying. Husky and leafy tannin notes in the finish, and some rye sourness.

Simply a delicious beer. Very balanced and highly drinkable, and the rye in this works well.

"Black is Back" indeed.

Photo of SerialTicker
4.16/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottled 12/8/14 (or something like that) and poured into a shaker pint 1/25/15. $3.29 single.

Appearance: That's sexy. Whole beer barely fit into the pint. Huge, creamy, dark tan head on top that went down to about a finger and stayed. Loads of lacing. Basically pitch black, or maybe a super dark brown, color, with some ruby on the edges. What a great looking beer.

Smell: Smells like a quality stout or porter with the rich roastiness this beer has, but there's a touch of spicy rye, and also a subtle earthy/herbal hop character. Great balance on the nose.

Taste/feel: Actually surprisingly a bit light on the flavor. Some roast, light rye spice, a bit of earthy and herbal hoppiness... very well done regardless, though. The rye compliments very well and isn't at all overbearing. I was expecting something in my face and bitter, but this is a crazy drinkable 7.5% beer that goes down incredibly easy and just feels sessionable/4-5%. The feel is about middle of the road with a little heft, but it's still super easy drinking... there's a very light, slow hitting prickliness of carbonation that only makes this beer all-the-more easy to drink. The bitterness is surprisingly low, which, again, only makes this beer one you feel compelled to drink quickly.

Something about this beer... I don't know exactly what it is. It's somewhat light tasting (to me) but I guess that's part of what makes it so great. The best part about this beer is what some people may find to be the worst part -- the subtlety of the rye is excellent, and the feel is fantastic as well. For some reason I wasn't expecting a whole helluva lot from this beer, but it's a great one.

Photo of oberon
4/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a near pitch black with a slight off white colored head that held its retention well.aromas are unique chocolate with dry earth with a hint of sour rye faintly wich goes well with the chocolaty/earthy aromas.Starts out with some bitter chocolate with a lighter caramel note finishing with that light sourness with a hit of piney hop in the finish.Quite unique in its different flavors like that of a oatmeal stout finishing with the hit of rye and American hop,I really liked it will have again for sure.

Photo of RoyalT
4.12/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance – This was indeed nearly black in color with a dark white retentive head. The head left some nice pitting on top of the liquid and was a beauty to behold.

Smell – Ah, the light black malts have some serious hop notes. This is Rye Beer Founder’s style. If there’s such as thing as black pine resin these guys found it and dumped in a boatload.

Taste – The malts are darkish and very flavorful. The hops are toned down significantly from the nose, leading me to think that this beer was dry-hopped. There is just the smallest sense of sweetness here, but it’s there and certainly not part of my imagination.

Mouthfeel – This is a medium-bodied dry black beer.

Drinkability – This is a good beer although it’s a bit unusually balanced. It’s very light on the rye so I don’t know if it quite earned its name, but it was super-tasty nevertheless.

Comments – Thanks to skyhand for sharing this tasty rye gem. She nose I loves me sum rye!

Photo of DaPeculierDane
4.43/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Finally a beer that competes with the Great Dane’s Black Moravian. I would label this as a Schwartz Bier rather than a Rye beer to be sure. A huge citric assault on your tongue and palate is followed by a deeply chocolate underbelly in this fantastically jet black brew. Dry and toasty as beer can be. Black as night. Just great. The mouthfeel is unbelievably assertive. The carbonation is extremely biting. Lots of fun and full flavored.

Photo of JudgeRoughneck
4.18/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

There is big 'ol root beer float colored head on this guy that stays just as long. It is a black brew with burgundy highlights. The nose is powerful. I get alcohol, chocolate, burnt caramel, big spicy hop aroma, and a slight vanilla creme. Alcohol is a little strong.

Going in, I'm thinking a dry-hopped, roasty beer, with a rye kick is going to be either brilliant or a total punch in the palate. After sampling, I think it is both. The tounge braces with every sip to receive hop bitter, rye zing, spice, and roasty, burnt flavors all combining to pack a punch while blending so nicely you can't really tell where one character ends and the next begins. All this forefront action is held down by the firm hand of a deep, dark, chocolate-caramel tone that makes itself well-known. There is an aftertaste of bittersweet chocolate.

The midwieght mouthfeel plays a perfect role here, supporting the beast without getting in the way. While I can't stop sipping this beer it is kinda hard to think more than one in a sitting.

This beer is a marvel of architecture. Whoever brews this is showing off, and they deserve to because I doubt many brewers could pull this off so nicely. By all rights, this should taste like hate, but it is so well put together that it is awesome. Definately a different take on rye. Kind of the inverse of a dark lager.

Photo of kaimcm
3.98/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: black body thats rimmed with a deep ruby up to the light. frothy tan head.

S: roast, rye funk, a bit of floral hops but not as much as I expected for a dry hopped beer. chocolate, smoke and ash meld together quite well

T/M: up front with roasted malt, but its light and followed by a splash of sugar. chocolate chases the beer down as it dries slightly. hops finish off pleasantly and leave you wanting more. im having a hard time picking out the rye, especially compared to the red's rye. there is a hint of a pepper spice remiscent of rye.

D: relatively light for such a dark beer and easy to put down. dont mistake the relative simplicity of this beer for a fault or brewer error. while not meant for a session, it is meant for easy drinking. right on Founders again, this is a very enjoyable and unique beer. cheers!

Photo of orbitalr0x
4.42/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours from the stubby bottle a deep dark black with hints of dark brown on the edges. A small tan head appears and slowly falls to just a ring around the outside of the glass. Wonderful deep roasty nose with hints of spicy grain and dark chocolate. Piney, resiny, slightly citric hop nose is well pronounced and freakin lovely. Wow...this smells so damn good.

First sip brings a big, charred, roasty malt upfront. A bit of spiciness shows through from the rye. Hints of dark cocoa, raisins and molasses intermingle with a nice piney, fresh herbal resiny hoppiness that adds a healthy bitterness on the way down. Quite an amazing brew here!

Good medium bodied mouthfeel and carbonation...very porter like in body. This is an incredibly enjoyable, tasty brew that I could easy see myself sitting down to a few of. Somewhat reminds me of Alpha Klaus in the flavor profile. Cheers to Founders for another winner!

Photo of blitz134
4.25/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Been a while since I've reviewed...been working on reducing the beer stock...

Figured I'd work on another one of my Founder's brews I've acquired, I think this one from Warriorsoul. Head erupted on this one, which quite frankly ticks me off, haha. All I want to do is pour my beer into my glass in one go. But anyways, its about as dark as you can get without actually being opaque. Some garnet and ruby light shines through. Head is light tan, and as mentioned there is a ton of it. Regardless, its still a nice looking brew.

Rye takes the forefront in the aroma leading in with a sharpness. If I didn't know it was rye I might say it has some aroma in there. A light roasted malt comes in as well with a bit of resin or pine hops to finish.

Lots of rye, but alcohol notes seem to work their way in as well. I like this much better than the Red's Rye which I found really unbalanced. This beer is loaded with lightly roasted coffee and bittersweet chocolate notes which work well to balance things out. The roastedness lasts 'til the end. I really like this one.

Typical dry rye finish that I like and look for, but that doesn't mean the flavors finish dry. They linger for quite awhile. Initially this one feels "medium" on the tongue. This is how I think rye beers should be. Drinkability is good. Lots of flavor. The dryness and the strong flavors might limit it to being a sipper. Nature of the beast I guess. But definately give it a shot should you have the opportunity.

Photo of chOAKbarrell
3.88/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I wasnt sure if I should expect too much from this one... I'm not real into the taste of rye in my beers.

Luckily, I was very pleasantly suprised. This beer has the deeper, richer characteristics of a porter, but with an outstanding rye flavor. It is not too overpowering though. Very flavorful and tasty. Seems very well rounded.

I would like to try this again, if I ever see it.

Photo of sponberg
3.98/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

beautiful beer to look at - deep chocolate brown with a pillowy, foamy light tan head thet sits there forever. Complex aroma of Munich-y malt, whiffs of roastiness and spicy almost junipery hops, and rye graininess.

And you thought the aroma was complex... starts with a combination of roasty bite, a lemon peel and pine hoppiness, and a thin yet round maltiness. Then a dry chocolate and rye graininess joins in, along with a spiciness that sends vapors up into the sinuses. Finishes with a slightly tart, rye, roast, chocolate flavor that I've *never* had from any other beer. Slightly thin mouthfeel - but drinkable in its oddness.

Can't think of another beer to compare it to - maybe a whiff of Alpha Klaus in there, but still different. Thanks to BA JeffKrenner for the bottle!

Photo of Beaver13
3.93/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle. Pours brown with a huge rocky light brown head that retains well and laces the glass.

The aroma is rye, chocolate and some tart fruits with a little roasted coffee.

The flavor is sweet lactic chocolate, nuts, coffee and roasted malts with a little vinous fruitiness that blossoms as it warms. There is enough bitterness at the end for a dry crisp finish. The mouthfeel is is pretty full and creamy with some slightly sharp carbonation.

Overall, an interesting and enjoyable beer.

Photo of barhoc11
3.56/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Nice mix between a black ipa and a rye beer. Roasted taste with a spicy rye finish.

Photo of CAC329
4.5/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I had no clue what to expect from this beer - it was great experience.
Founders is tops in my book

Photo of Doomcifer
3.93/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

First time seeing this one today and curiously picked it up. Glad I did! Pours a nice cola like color - very dark with a rubyish hue to it. Excellent creamy head with terrific lacing left behind as the brew disappears. Smells of malty coffee and chocolate roastiness like a good stout in fact. Plus something else I can;t quite put my finger on, probably the rye?? Taste is of coffee, dark chocolate, roasted malts, slight hops, with a constant lingering rye undertone which stays with you after the sip is over and done with. Very dry. I could only take down a couple per sitting and move onto something else, which isn't necessarily a bad thing. I am very pleasantly surprised at this blind purchase and will definitely purchase again, as well as try out other Founders brews. Recommended for stout fans.

Photo of Jason
3.87/5  rDev -4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 oz short twist-off brown bottle with no freshness date.

A- Deep leather brown color, two fingers of lace hold strong with excellent retention which shows on the glass.

S- Layers of floral hops, spicy rye, faint burnt grain and a hint of burnt raisins.

T&M- Pretty damn smooth with an ample crispness. Thick oily hop flavor, malty with a burnt and spicy character. Sufficient hop bitterness, more roasted grain in the finish with a long lingering hop flavor.

D- Interesting to say the least, this one really grows on you after a while. Dark, spicy, hoppy in a floral kind of way ... certainly not conventional but it works. I could see drinking this one on a regular basis to mix things up.

Photo of merlin48
4.58/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Another Founders acquisition courtesy of brewedlyhooked13, and a fine one it is. Pours dark and opaque into the pint glass, ruby mahogany when backlit. Creamy tan head is two inches tall and retains well, leaving enormous splotches of lace all over the glass. Aroma begins with hoppy spruce and grapefruit, with dark roasty espresso notes and rye bread crust quick to follow. Mouthfeel is silky rich, almost full bodied, with tingly spicy hops and rye tickling the palate. The taste is complex, with bitter and acidic dark roasty malts, pine cone hops, spicy rye grain, and rye bread notes. Delicious flavors mingle all over the palate, and are never overly bitter. Wow! This is one tasty brew. Exceptional balance. This is just about the perfect beer, with outstanding aroma, appearance, taste, and mouthfeel. A sublime sipping experience that is immensely pleasant. This is one of those beers I would choose to take to a deserted island, in mass quantities. I admit to being a fan of rye beers, and this is probably the best one I've sampled. Another big winner from Founders.

Photo of fdrich29
3.97/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

6 pack from either Luke's in Rockland, MA or Curtis' in Weymouth, MA.

Mountainous head like that of a rootbeer float. Smells chocolately, with rye and bready hints. No false advertising here, tastes like rye bread. Founders continues to impress. Glad they're finally available in Massachusetts (sans Breakfast Stout).

Quite a substantial and fulfilling brew. Nothing run of the mill about this one. Somehow adds some sophistication to any beer fridge without being snobby.

Photo of warriorsoul
4.22/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Love the's like an 80's Metal Band logo.

Pours a deep black w/ just a hint of light passing through...less than a half finger of head, light brown in color and disappears almost immediately. Very minimal lace and what sticks to the glass, vanishes just as quickly.

The smell is great...a sweet vanilla and coffee burst in the nostrils.

Taste is very is sweet, but dry and a touch bitter. The malt is a smack in the face w/ just a hint of hop. I can taste a dark roast coffee in here that is very clean and refreshing.

The mouthfeel is well balanced and this could easily become a session beer. Too bad I only picked up one.

Another great beer from Founders...I would highly recommend this beer.

Photo of OldFrothingSlosh
4/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Surprising darkness in the color...much more sinister than expected (however, it DOES say "black" in the label....). Aggressive pour yields a finger-thick layer of tan-colored head that is "big-bubbled" and sticky. Good lacing of the glass. Aromas are quite similar to that of a well-hopped stout: large, lots of toasty malt, and a strong hop presence. Flavor was fine, with a hefty amount of creamy mouthfeel. Hoppy from the get-go, with a bit of chocolate moving in during the middle, and finishing with a pronounced dryness. Drinkable. Another successful rye beer for me.

Photo of jcdiflorio
3.49/5  rDev -13.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

poured into a flaired tulip from a 12oz brown stubby bottle with a twist-off cap. Thanks to Sudsdog for the send the last of the 2nd journey of the infamous BA shuttle.

Black,opaque with a slight mahogany hue. Tan head went over the rim of the glass with a moderate pour,creamy,pillowy lots of different sized bubbles make up the head, not tight had good retention,leaving sticking rings of lace on the top of the glass with spotty chunks the rest of the way down. Good carbination streams of very tiny bubbles surging from the sides round the glass.

Moderate aromas,very roasty,black coffee,earthy,a grainy/rye aroma with some sweet carmell notes with dark,sweet fruity overtones.

Very roasty taste,some slight sourness,burnt notes, bittersweet chocolate/carmell flavors. Finishes with a sweet, citrus rind bite with a slight grapefruityness that fades away ever so slightly.
The taste is reminisent of a Porter,except for the high bitterness.

Suprizingly light mouthfeel, feels somewhat coarse,leaving an oily hop residue on the palate. Fairly easy drinking, could drink a few of these not an all nighter by any means. An interesting beer worth a try.

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Founders Black Rye from Founders Brewing Company
90 out of 100 based on 1,441 ratings.