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Founders Nemesis 2009 - Founders Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Founders Nemesis 2009Founders Nemesis 2009

Educational use only; do not reuse.

467 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 467
Hads: 696
Avg: 4.12
pDev: 12.86%
Wants: 186
Gots: 125 | FT: 7
Brewed by:
Founders Brewing Company visit their website
Michigan, United States

Style | ABV
Wheatwine |  12.00% ABV

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: WYVYRN527 on 02-06-2010

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

Maple bourbon barrel aged wheat wine.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 467 | Hads: 696
4.59/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This review is from notes that I found dated 2-20-10.

A near perfect amber tone of a body that nearly glows on the edges when held to light. Head is a very light tan with tight bubbles that reach almost two fingers then fades to just a skim in about two minutes. No real lace is noticeable. Nose is beautiful as it screams rich hop buttered toffee and true butter rum, this is just so unique and lovely. As I take first sip it is just so creamy and rich with a pretty close following to the nose in terms of the buttered rum. Sweet but not heavy as hops do play nicely on the back half of the palate to balance the beer. I absolutely do not get a huge or over the top bourbon presence as some have noted, and I am a big bourbon fan. Alcohol is slightly hot on the back end of this one. A couple of years in the cellar will do it well. Mouthfeel is played more by the hops than by the heavy sweet notes. Drinkability is nice but the alcohol will sneak up on you.

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Photo of larryi86
4.55/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Huge thanks to garymuchow for this, did not see this coming!
12 oz bottle poured into a snifter

A- A clear amber with a lot of floaters with a small off white head.

S- Maple, bourbon, sweet, oak, dark fruits, tart cherries?, mint, oxidation, some complexity that I'm having trouble describing but it is great.

T- Maple, bourbon, earthy spice, sweet malts, raisins/figs, hints of grapefruit rind, brown sugar, smooth, great complexity.

M- Smooth, medium to full body, low carbonation

O- I have not tried this fresh but I have tried fresh Sweet Repute and this is better. Complexity is great, very smooth, almost no alcohol. If you can get a hold of a bottle, get it!

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Photo of BrewUSA
4.13/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Founders Nemesis

Look 9/10
Smell 17/20
Taste 37/40
Feel 8/10
Drinkability 16/20

Overall 87/100

Summery: Nice big barley wine. Not a huge fan of the style. So for me it's about as good as it gets~

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Photo of jaasen64
3.97/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 2 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

12oz bottle poured into Founders tulip.

A- Cap comes off with a decent hiss, pours a slightly hazy with a little bit of translucency, orange brown in color with a very thin white head that quickly recedes to a still top, carbonation appears to be fairly low and there's a ton of white sediment chunks floating around even though it's been resting in my cellar for >6 months and I didn't pour the bottom of the beer in. By far not the most physically attractive beer.

S- Maple definitely still comes out fairly strong with a nice oak presence, malty with some underlying dark fruits, a slight bit of citrus that conflicts with the maple a tiny bit, a little bit of acetone. Oxidation is definitely present but overall the nose is holding up with still a strong aroma, decent barrel presence, and complexity.

T- Sweet maple balanced with a nice oak presence, fairly malty, slight bit of citrus, dark fruits come out on the finish with a nice plum presence balancing nicely with the maple. Not as much acetone or oxidation as the nose indicates, nice subtle complexities.

M- Slick, definitely on the flat side, goes down pretty easy without too much alcohol burn.

O- Besides the appearance Nemesis is a pretty good beer that is definitely still holding it's own. Once you get past the insane amount of sediment it's actually quite tasty. The maple barrel adds a nice presence balanced with malty dark fruits. I wouldn't age this much longer as I think it's already falling off but it's still definitely worth drinking.

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Photo of bladehines
5/5  rDev +21.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A-Very Amber! Stored this bottle myself for the last 5yrs in a cellar! Lots of sediment! Beautiful color!

S-Very bourbon-esque! Malty sweetness, smells great!!!.

T-WOW bourbon!!!! Very malty as well, balanced, no alcohol after taste. So much bourbon. Very little maple left. If you did a blind taste on this you'd think it was a decent bourbon or a great bourbon with some water added.

M-Heavy body, thick, coats your throat even!

O-I love bourbon and I love this beer! I have tried one every year since I bought them and waited till now to try this one. I bought and stored all of them in a cellar the entire time so I know mine are better then most, and I pored mine in a tulip glass slow so there was very little sediment in the glass. Nice slow pour. So good, too bad it's my last one...

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Photo of rlee1390
3.9/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A-Cloudy amber, not much carbonation, at all, no head either. But at 4+ years old I can't say I'm shocked.

S-Extremely malt heavy. Lots of wheat. Very slight bourbon, some sugary maple is left.

T-Malt heavy, but still balanced even this old. The sugary sweet maple is there. Not much bourbon but some oak is there. But age has left it a tad too sweet.

M-Medium bodied, not much carbonation rather thick.

O-A tad too sweet. I can only imagine how good this would have been fresh. But I am soo glad to be able to have tried it.

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Photo of McUbermensch
4.01/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Served cold from a bottle and poured into a tulip.

I tried to let this warm as much as I could as the establishment I ordered it from had it in a fridge.

The appearance was a cloudy orange. I would have liked to have poured this from the bottle myself to allow the yeast sediment to stay in the bottle. Pretty sure that the rough pour made it cloudy.

The nose was mostly maple with some subtle barrel notes.

Mouthfeel was solid and exactly what I would expect from a beer of this style.

The first sip of the beer was sweet and mapley but it quickly started reminding me of a peppermint. I'm a bourbon drinker and I could hardly detect the bourbon save the nose. Perhaps the mint flavor I was getting was a mixture of maple and bourbon but it was so much like peppermint that's all I could compare it to.

If you have this drink it now. I doubt more time would do this beer any good.

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Photo of Alieniloquium
3.78/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 2 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle poured into a snifter.

Appearance - Sedimenty deep orange. Lots of chunks floating about. No head.

Smell - Nice whiskey aroma. Really smells like bourbon. Sweet caramel and maple. Definite oxidation, but it almost seems appropriate.

Taste - Sweet maple, but it's gone quickly. Bourbon. Lots of oak. Sweet caramel malt. Oxidation throughout.

Mouthfeel - Oaky and bitter. Low carbonation if any.

Overall - The bourbon and maple is very tasty. Oxidation seems to make it more complex.

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Photo of kevanb
4.28/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

12oz bottle poured into a Founders Snifter.

The beer pours a lovely caramel brown color, hues of apricot when struck by the light, very murky, lots of sediment floating in the glass with a finger or so of bone colored head, very soapy and thick that has moderate retention and leaves only the faintest of spotted lace behind. The aroma is very big, lots of soft toffee, rich sweet grain, bourbon is prominent, but not harsh at all, very integrated, cereal grains are also apparent in contrast from the richer, darker malt, maple isn't really noticeable however, but caramel, light wood and vanilla pop out at the back end. It's very complex, big, boozy and sweet. The flavors are in queue, massive amounts of toffee and caramel, bourbon and wood creep in with a bit of vanilla, great barrel character, rich grain with some lighter cracker malt as well, a bit of sticky molasses pops out at the finish. The body is rich, albeit a bit thin, carbonation is lively but on the lower end, coats the mouth well and finishes a bit astringently.

Verdict: Delicious stuff that has aged so nicely. I was only able to detect the faintest touches of oxidation but the layers are so complex. Maple is an afterthought, but the bourbon is potent yet smooth. It's rich, smooth and just a joy to sip.

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Photo of mcgwire756
4.79/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Bottle poured into my usual tulip glass.

Pours a great orange amber color. The 1/2 finger head fades quickly from the year of age.

The smell is the best part of this beer with smells of bourbon maple and burnt sugar. Simply awesome.

The taste is strongly of bourbon. Tastes similar to Backwoods Bastard in this respect. I wish this was toned down a little bit. The taste of maple and vanilla evens it out a little bit, but not perfectly.

The mouthfeel is great and smooth as can be. No alcohol burn at all.

This is a big beer and could tell right away I had to sip on this for a while. Slight alcohol burn at the end. I wonder how many IBU's were in this one compared to the 100 IBU in the 2010 Nemesis. It seems to be fewer and not as balanced.

I really enjoyed this beer for what it is. At first I thought I would want a lot more of it, and now I think maybe just one more to see how it ages in a few more years would be sufficient.

2013 edit- This beer has aged amzingly and is so much more nuanced and refined. I highly recommend it at this point.

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Photo of Brenden
4.58/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This is another huge, boozy beer from Founders. This beer is either a nightmare or nearly divine, depending on the drinker's regard for spirits and hard liquor.

It's a deep, rich, burnished orange-brown color, somehow both thick and somewhat opaque in the look. A yellow-tinted head doesn't seem to be rising too tall but it sticks around, creamy and thick, and it leaves some good spotting and even some patching on the glass as it goes.
This is as much the beer equivalent of bourbon as I've ever encountered, with less to overtake it or shadow it, even if just slightly, than in a big stout. It's sweet, not too syrupy, hot but not overwhelmingly so, and plenty complex. Molasses, toffee, vanilla, breads, oak; there's so much here, and it's a pleasure to sip and unwrap. There's a little bit of a sugary undertone, and there's a discernable underlying wheat/malt base to hold it all together. It's a slow sipper, absolutely, but it's so rich and deep it needs to be anyway. Drunk exactly the way one would drink bourbon, disappointment seems impossible.
The body is very interesting; it seems medium but there's so much happening it's almost difficult to say. It has a certain necessary thickness without cloying or filling, and it's not velvety but it is undeniably smooth.

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Photo of KickbacksSteve
4.37/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

2009 vintage poured into a small snifter. Light copper body, small head and minimal lacing. Aroma includes notes of molasses, brown sugar, vanilla, graham cracker, syrup. Taste includes notes of all the same and includes some alcohol notes. I would think this beer could continue to get better for several more years to give it more time for the alcohol flavor to fade. Quite a tasty beer.

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Photo of GonzoHomebrewer
4.21/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Last bottle! Poured into an Alchemist glass

A- Hazy cloudy with mostly darker shades of orange, very heavy sediment, obvious seperation between sediment and everything else, not appealing to the eye, but I'm sure Founders didn't make this beer to age and look great

S- nose is nice, smell leads off with wheatwine characteristics of clove, banana, bit of spice followed by some vanilla sweetness

T- Beer really takes off here, Barrel is a bit more noticeable, but not overwhelming at all. Incredibly smooth bourbon vanilla takes over and you have to dig a bit to find the beer characteristics, but they're still there, some other sweetness near the end that could be the maple, but it never lingers long enough to be too discernible. Aged wonderfully

M- Not too sticky, just a kiss of carbonation at this point, just enough to make the sweetness easy to take

O- There's absolutely no signs this beer is 12% and that makes it crazy drinkable. I don't see how this could really get any better, so if you're still holding on to bottles, drink em now. I've had this fresh, 1 year, 2 year and 4. I'd say one year was my favorite, followed by 4 then fresh and 2. Hope to see this re-brewed!

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Photo of Brez07
4.1/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Reviewed as part of the Blind Beer BIF. 12 oz poured into a snifter

Pours orangey amber, limited ring of head and no lace

The booze is strong with this one. Blasted with bourbon as soom as I opened it. Obviously bourbon barreled, already thinking barleywine. Caramel, orange candy/burnt sugar, some piney-ness

Toffee, caramel and pine come to mind as I sip this, slowly. Sweet bread as well. Decent fusel burn. Lightly bitter from what I'm guessing is residual hops, as this has some age on it. Sweet but with a nice contrast from bitterness

Medium to full bodied, low on carb. Slightly dry finish

Fantastic, right in my wheelhouse. Definitely thinking this is a BA barleywine, maybe from Founders based on geographical location of my sender

Reveal: 2009 Founders Nemesis. Daaamn, that's a good one. Very close with the guess (it's a wheat wine). I see why everyone wants Founders to rebrew this one!

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Photo of KickInTheChalice
3.59/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.75

From notes. Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a tulip.

Nemesis has a mostly transparent caramel color with a small white head. The cap fades pretty quickly to a ring around the edge of the glass.

The aroma is full of creamy vanilla. Some maple and bourbon add a sweet booziness.

The flavor is still fairly harsh. There is not enough body to contain the high ABV. It reminds me a little bit of cream soda, with vanilla, some oak barrel character, maple, bourbon, and sweet caramel from the base wheat wine.

The body is a little bit thin from what I want out of a wheat wine, especially one that has this much alcohol. The booze is definitely noticeable. Carbonation is on the light side.

This had potential, but the flavor is still too harsh to be enjoyable.

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Photo of stephenjmoore
4.12/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A- A dark tan body with some amber colored hues. Very cloudy with some sediment showing through. Head took all the way until the end if the pour to show up, but hangs around as a layer of bubbles around the edges of the glass.

S- A bit of sweet vanilla bourbon flavors up front, with some oak coming through as well. There is the slightest bit of maple sugar sweetness present as well.

T- Sweet maple bourbon up front with lots of oak coming through towards the middle. This beer has a lot of sweetness and a lot of oak. There is some booze noticeable from the middle and towards the end.

M- Full bodied, definite boozy presence, low carbonation.

O- Wish I had this fresh to compare, but this one is still good after a few years. If the maple came through a little more and the booziness was dialed down a touch, this one would be top notch.

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Photo of TheRemyLeabeau
4.94/5  rDev +19.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

One of my favorite beers of all time. I have only had it with three years of age on it I never had the beer fresh. It was honestly like drinking candy to me, the flavor was balanced throughout and as it warmed the sweetness seeped out even more than when cold. I honestly believe that its hard to consider a beer based of other people's reviews because everyone is so different that depending on your preferences you might like it/love it/hate it for any beer. So if you're like me and have a massive sweet tooth for sugar goods then this beer is right up your alley!

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
4.12/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Bottle shared at GRG1313’s tasting.

Pours a hazy orange with a foamy orange-tan head that settles to wisps of film on top of the beer. Small dots of lace slowly drip into the remaining beer on the drink down. Smell is malt, caramel, toffee, vanilla, and bourbon aromas. Taste is much the same with vanilla and bourbon flavors on the finish. There is a mild amount of woody bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp and medium bodied mouthfeel. Overall, this is a very good beer with some nice aromas and great flavors.

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Photo of siege06nd
4.45/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Bill for the trade...

A. Pours a very murky, wildflower honey color with an orangish tint. Very flat, only a trace of extremely tiny bubbles ring the glass. Sparce lacing. For the age and ABV, not bad.

S. That's the stuff...treacle, caramel, ripe fruit, vanilla, brown sugar, hints of chocolate, sawdust, even some herbal qualities. Vanilla and caramel are at the forefront. Good amount of honey and some maple as well. I also detect faint spiciness from the hops. Smells like a rum cake.

T. Follows the nose with a more pronounced barrel flavor and extremely prominent chocolate notes. Big kiss of bourbon on the back end, but not in an aggressive, off-putting way. Chocolate, caramel, maple, vanilla, and ripe fruit. There's an interplay on the mid that is distinctly melon-like. This rolls over the tongue like liquid dessert and hits a lot of beautiful notes along the way. Oh and did I mention hops? They've faded a bit, but they still assert themselves with a mildly spicy, bittering finish.

M. Sweet and decadent. Carbonation is still moderate which is impressive for the age. The crispness of the carbonation and the hops leaves a very neat finish that lingers long enough for you to savor but not so long that it overstays its welcome. This is a well balanced beer, a lot of bold flavors are integrated quite well here.

O. One of the best wheatwines I have had. Surprisingly good considering the age. If there is a dusty corner in your store where these can be had, I wouldn't hesitate to pick them up. Drinking great now and I don't see any reason why it won't continue to drink great on into the future. Cheers!

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Photo of BMMillsy
3.97/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

2009 bottle Poured February 15, 2013. Part of a vertical with 2010 up second. Pours cloudy orange with no head. Aroma is maple, bourbon, wet dog, some wheat funk, hints of toffee and definite vanilla caramel. Thick syrupy mouthfeel. Sweet vanilla up front, lingering caramel, a bit of fig. Bit of spice and a little citrus? Very very smooth with nearly no carbonation. Booze warms but it is mellow (this thing is 3 or 4 years old after all). Very nice barleywine that suspect hit its peak before opening.

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Photo of thecheapies
4.07/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 4.5

Pours a reddish honey color with loads of floaties. After a flat pour, a rush of head cream rose up to about 1/2" and subsequently fell. Some foamy glaze legs as you tilt the glass.

Maple and vanilla characters of the bourbon and the barrel still are punchy; but, believe me, I remember the aroma on this thing when it was fresh. It's definitely rounder and mellower, and frankly, that's a good thing. This wheatwine was hot and overpowering in the nose years ago. Today, the hops are nearly nonexistent and the malts thinned out a wee bit too much, but it's still an impressive aroma overall.

The maple has fallen off just a bit, but it's still here, married to the bourbon and pushing through gooey layers of caramel, vanilla, booze, and butterscotch. The wheat in this beer style can really pronounce a flavor of butterscotch if the beer is sweet. I love butterscotch! The real prize here is the way the bourbon has fallen into the backdrop with sweet mash and vanilla flavors and hints of coconut. There's a perfumy note in here, too. Don't get me wrong, the booze is still pretty big. Interesting.

This beer has lost a good amount of carbonation. But, the body died down from what was syrupy and sweet to a more fully-realized fuller body. Even though the mouthfeel is still the flaw here, it's probably improved from the fresh version. Still a little boozy, but not the hot mess it once was.

I'm not too versed in this particular style. I'm pretty sure Nemesis '09 was the first I ever experienced, and I've had a mere few since then. I'm back to this one, probably for the last time. Still tops in my book, but then again, there's a Boogoop waiting in my fridge. We'll see, I guess.

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Photo of imscotty
4.3/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This is my last bottle of Nemesis 2009. Makes me a little sad, like saying goodbye to an old friend. Still it is time; see you in another life brother.

A: A lovely clear coppery/ orange glow to this one. Light fine carbonation. Very little laceing that dissipated quickly.

S: Maple, Vanilla, Ethanol, and maple.

T: Somehow the maple, caramel malt and strong alcohol flavors combine to taste like whiskey. Yes, when sipping this slowly it is a beer that is reminiscent of a fine whiskey. It is great, just the thing on a cold winters day. There are vanilla tones too and others I cannot identify. I note that some reviewers have called this sweet, I am not getting that at all, unless you think Whiskey is sweet. As much as I like it, this beer is on the other side of its peak. The flavors are loosing some of their complexity. Drink it now.

M: Medium body, creamy mouth feel. Leaves a nice lingering bourbon taste on the tongue. A strong finish. Sip and savor.

O: So sad our relationship is over. Thank you Founders.

Notes: This review is for a beer aged for three years. Drink this now, it is on the other side of the hill. I remember the first bottle I had fresh. Wow, the flavors, the maple, the heat. I knew it was worth aging. I would say it peaked last year. The heat cooled off and the flavors had great complexity. The complexity is fading, still a great beer. Enjoy now.

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Photo of mscudder
4.42/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Grabbed this one with some friends at Brick Store Pub.

A - Rich orange hue with a pale head. The color has a nice pure gleam to it.

S - Maple syrup and caramel compose the heavy sweetness on the nose. Some booze and bourbon round it out.

T - Nice sweetness compared to what I was expecting. Mostly citrus-filled flavors with bourbon, maple and vanilla. Some woody oak comes through as well.

M - Big body with a consistency closer to syrup than any pale ale!

O - Complex and simple. I wish this one was on rotation.

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Photo of JustinMatthew
4.37/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to my buddy Jim for this one.

Poured to a Yards "Ales of The Revolution" tulip glass and shared alone. Hazy burnt orange with a thin white head that quickly dissipates. Smell is lite but some vanilla, peach and apricot. Taste is very nice, lots going on for being a few years old: apricot, toffee & caramel, some peach. maple & vanilla from the oak aging. Easy drinking. Very sweet but one of the nicer wheat wines I've had over the years. Currently trying to track down a 2010 and looking forward to it for comparison.

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Photo of FosterJM
3.35/5  rDev -18.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

1584th Review on BA
Bottle to Founders Snifter

Thanks to Daysinthewake for this one

App- This was a deep glowing orange color with a deep sunset color. A bit clear and wasnt expecting that. The head was a bit small at quick to recede. A bit tan in color and I would say its only 1/2" at most. Didnt leave much cling or lace. Maybe a couple bubbles. A lot of sediment in this one.

Smell- There is really a lot going on in the glass. It had a ton of aromatics even after 3 years. It seems to be developing quite well. The base wheatwine is quite prevalent with a ton of deep and rich malts and a bit of mango/papaya sweetness. The maple is still sticking around quite well. A bit warm on the nose. The booze is almost too much with an ethanol aroma that makes it sting a bit.

Taste- A lot of the flavors carry over to the taste on this beer. Like I said for 3 years this is holding up well but dont think its for me. The base wheatwine doesnt show too much on the flavor vs. the nose. The maple comes through with a warm breakfast like flavor and then with the bourbon it might be a too much. It was very stinging and oaky and almost too much. Took me much longer to drink this one than I thought.

Mouth- A deeper medium body with a medium carbonation. A bit creamy and a bit full on the finish. The residual flavors of this beer are pretty much the listing on the bottle. Wheatwine sweetness, sticky maple, stinging bourbon.

Drink- I really wanted to like this one more. It seems to be dropping but it is still really good if you take the time to sip on it and just enjoy a vintage beer versus trying to just pound it quick. For 12% it drinks very full and you know its boozy.

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Founders Nemesis 2009 from Founders Brewing Company
92 out of 100 based on 467 ratings.