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Founders Nemesis 2009 - Founders Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Founders Nemesis 2009Founders Nemesis 2009

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

682 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 682
Reviews: 468
rAvg: 4.15
pDev: 13.01%
Wants: 184
Gots: 129 | FT: 6
Brewed by:
Founders Brewing Company visit their website
Michigan, United States

Style | ABV
Wheatwine |  12.00% ABV

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes/Commercial Description:
This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

Maple bourbon barrel aged wheat wine.

(Beer added by: WYVYRN527 on 02-06-2010)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 682 | Reviews: 468 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of WakeandBake
4.25/5  rDev +2.4%

A hazy amber/orange color pour , almost no head just a small lace leaving ring , soft tiny carbonation bubbles very nice looking . Aroma is of tangy wheat malt,apple,honey, vanilla,smokey burbon , bread crust , wood and a hint of maple . Flavor is a little fruity up front , with bubblegum ? hints if too cold, smokey burbon ,toasted wheat, lots of vanilla and more burbon , very noticeable warming effect , long boozy finish with some earthy hop notes , nice level of hop bitterness seems hidden behind the burbon .Full body ,with a chewy mouthfeel, slightly sticky, Wow this this thing kicked my ass ! I needed a little nap after drinking that .
A little boozy for me at this point going to let the rest of mine sit and mellow out a little . Nice job Founders .

WakeandBake, Feb 15, 2010
Photo of ndolover
4.2/5  rDev +1.2%

Let me start off with saying I hate wheat wines...worst style ever! Very high in alcohol with limited ability to cellar.

With that said, this is by far the best wheat wine I have ever had.

A: Almost no head and fairly flat looking, golden amber with orange hues. very clear and almost brilliant

A: up front maple, with alcohol and boozy notes burning my nose. sweet notes redolent of apricots, bannana, plum, and grapes. bourbon and alcohol persists as it warms

F: boozy wheat, and fruit esters...some sharp notes and even tea bag at times, but subsides as it warms.

M: thick rich, with heavy alcohol notes, some fusels, but not overly so.

O: A wonderful beer that is surprising for a wheat wine. I really thought I would hate this beer, but was really enjoyable. I would suggest sharing as 12 oz is quite a bit...and should be shared in front of a fire on a cold day

ndolover, Feb 15, 2010
Photo of b3barron
4.83/5  rDev +16.4%

Served in a stemless wine glass. Head is nonexistent but color is beautiful - a "golden amber" if that makes any sense. Smells of booze and raisons with plenty of bourbon, vanilla, and woodiness. This smells fantastic. Taste follows the smell - load of bourbon and vanilla. This stuff is incredible. Mouthfeel is oily and viscous. Drinkability is about perfect for the style. I've only had a handful of wheatwines but this takes the cake and I need to find a way to secure a few more bottles. I'm not sure if Founders intends on continuing to make this but they have a winner here in an underrated style.

b3barron, Feb 15, 2010
Photo of GRPunk
4.93/5  rDev +18.8%

Sabretooth has Wolverine, The Joker has Batman, I have Founders.

Bottle poured into a Duvel tulip.

A- A normal pour left a slow forming, 1/2 finger, khaki head. The body was a cloudy, copper-orange-peach with moderate carbonation. The head dropped to a thin film that left wonderful sticky rings on the glass.

S- It's so complex. There's an intial sweetness of fruit with something of a brown sugar and honey mixture (maybe the maple described on the bottle) and a whiskeyish alcohol in the background. The smokiness and vanilla of the bourbon qualities is enhanced with a little warmth.

T- A little Joey Lawrence "Whoa!" My first thought was sweet honey with a great mix of herb-like qualities. There's a touch of spicy hops to bring the sweetness into check. With some warmth there's something of rich, stewed fruits (apricot maybe) with a slight buttery flavor. Again, the bourbon comes through more as the beer warms.

M- It's quite viscus with a bit of a coating sensation. There's a light prickle of carbonation. The most profound feel is of warming alcohol on the throat. It's very present, yet not harsh at all.

D- It's a sipper, but oh so good. This is a "hyped beer" that I think really lives up to expectations. It's a great way to warm a snowy, February day. The only thing holding me back from getting a case of this is my pocketbook and availability.

GRPunk, Feb 14, 2010
Photo of kmattingly
5/5  rDev +20.5%

It is rare that a high alcohol beer makes me want to sip and quaff at the same time, but Nemesis accomplishes this feat. The taste of bourbon screams shot, while the backbone of hops/sweetness of maple says take your time. I would love to have two or three of these beers at one sitting, but the abv makes this desire moot. All in all a fantastic beer.

kmattingly, Feb 14, 2010
Photo of Bulkman
4.7/5  rDev +13.3%

Bought this tonight, & it was bottled on my birthday, 2/3/2010 - so only 10 days in the bottle - maybe this will be my annual birthday celebratory beer.

Aggressive pour into my New Belgium snifter yields a minimal white head, with a dark copper color. When held up to light, it has superb clarity, though you can't see through it. The laser etching at the bottom of my glass releases a constant stream of carbonation, which forms an oily-looking swirling layer of very fine bubbles on the surface. No lacing to speak of either, but after each sip, clusters of small foam do cling to the sides of the glass.

Don't let the lack of head fool you. It's not needed. The aroma exploding out of this is of straight bourbon whiskey, reminiscent of Old Grandad, with an underlying sweetness & maybe a bit of hops. Right up my alley & a big part of what I really enjoy about bourbon barrel-aged beer.

Taste follows the nose closely, with some woody undertones & finishes with a mild, though very pleasant, alcohol burn as I exhale.

The oily-looking layer on the surface coats my tongue with a creamy, sweet, medium body that lingers long after each sip. In fact, it feels thicker as the alcohol burn dissipates.

I'm finishing my 12 oz. as I type these final words & it's only now that I realize how drinkable this beer is. For me, it is an excellent meld of two of my favorite things: whiskey & beer. I could easily drink 2, maybe 3 of these over a few hours. I've been waiting impatiently for this ever since I spotted it last fall on Founders site, and it did not disappoint. It is simply outstanding & I can't wait to see how my other 7 bottles develop over time. If you get a chance to get some of this, don't pass it by. You'll regret it.

Bulkman, Feb 14, 2010
Photo of KeefD
4.6/5  rDev +10.8%

Seems to ooze out of the glass with the viscosity and color of honey. OK, maybe not as thick as honey, but damn thick and the carbonation bubbles move slowly to the top. No head or lacing, looks almost flat in the glass. Lovely aroma of wheat, light bourbon barrel, and some maple-like sweetness. Wow, the flavor in this beer has some amazing complexity. Sweet, honey like start, light twang from the wheat, followed by nice caramel notes, and finishes slightly warm with toasty, oaky, bourbon finish. There is also a nice bitter, citrusy hop flavor that comes forth in the middle that fades nicely in the toasty, maple and oak finish. Wow, this really is a fantastic beer. I really thought this was going to be a sickly sweet beer upon first sip, but the finish is one of the most complex I've ever tasted, especially from a wheatwine. Very full mouthfeel, and while it's sweet and high in ABV, it's surprisingly easy to drink. This is a true winner and easily the best wheatwine I've ever had!

KeefD, Feb 14, 2010
Photo of plaztikjezuz
3.83/5  rDev -7.7%

was a gift from one of my tenants who works at a beer store, good tenant and awesome gift.

poured a 12 oz bottle in to two brandy snifters, there was a little head that quick dissipated just leaving the tawny elixir.

the aroma is rich; malty, alcohol, wheat, with wisp's of maple syrup, bourbon, and vanilla.

the flavor is full on malt followed by the warming sensation of alcohol. it is a little sweet but it is a wheat beer and that is to be expected for the size of this beer. the maple and oak are in the background and i think will become more apparent as this wheatwine gets some age and those hotter alcohols break down.

the mouthfeel is a little viscus and sticks to the inside of the your mouth with caramelized malt goodness.

this beer is very good but not as drinkable as it will be with a little age, IMO a little young, wheat beers are not long aging beers but nemesis 09 needs a little bit of time give it 60 - 90 days to 6 months you will be happy you did. i would keep it under a year, wheat beers are not the best cellaring beers.

plaztikjezuz, Feb 14, 2010
Photo of enfield249
4.4/5  rDev +6%

A - Pours a golden honey color with almost no head, but the little there is white.

S - Lot alcohol, some wheat and malt. Full!

T - Very strong whiskey flavor. Sweet, maple syrup, and slight woodyness.

M - Very full, cloying, lots of alcohol warmth.

D - The only reason this didn't get a 4.5 was that I couldn't drink more than one a month. It's a great mighty beer.

enfield249, Feb 13, 2010
Photo of sweemzander
4.03/5  rDev -2.9%

(Reviewed on Feb. 05)
12oz. bottle poured into a snifter. Bottled Feb.03,2010

(A)- Pours a hazy, but fairly thick golden copper color that produced a large fluffy & frothy white head with some great retention behind it. Its just sticking to every inch of the glass. Surprising due to how much alcohol is in this.

(S)- Lots of bourbon-like characters behind the smell. Plenty of spicy oaky vanilla. Bits of toast, butter, and honey far back in the background. Not smelling much of the maple, but then again, the bourbon & vanilla are quite potent this fresh from bottling (only 2 days!)

(T)- Precisely like the smell was. Lots of bourbon & vanilla in front of a toasted wheat & honey.

(M)- A good carbonation level to it. This is only two days in the bottle. The boozy bourbon & oaky vanilla from the barrels really take the center stage. Its also a little hot right now, But I am excited to see how time will change this.

(D)- Definitely a new & exciting beer from Founders. Has a very potent bourbon oak with how fresh it is, but I am excited to see how time in the bottle will develop this one over the coming months & years; this has serious stuffing to last for a long time. Pretty good now, but I think it will be even better after 6 months or a year.

sweemzander, Feb 13, 2010
Photo of rudylaw
4.05/5  rDev -2.4%

Looks like apple cider with the slightest hint of a head. Hardly any lacing to speak of.

Tons of booze in the nose off the bat. Vanilla, caramel, banana, maple and butterscotch round things out. Just an awesome and complex aroma!

All of the same on the taste buds but there is also a hint of cherry syrup. Possibly some coconut notes as well... but very faint.

Low carbonation and finishes clean. At 12%, this took me awhile and at about the 8oz mark, I should have folded the tent... but I wasn't wasting a drop since the bottle ran me $6! All in all, a solid effort that should really shine with a few months in the cellar.

rudylaw, Feb 13, 2010
Photo of Shumista
4.97/5  rDev +19.8%

Lucky enough to get a chance to get a hold of some of this stuff. I had been looking forward to this limited release for a long time.

Pours a translucent copper amber with a small white head. Looks great. The smell is buttery and dominated by maple and bourbon but there is also some oak and alcohol. The smell is very reminiscient of Backwoods Bastard in my opinion. Definitely tastes like a Founders barrel aged beer, very reminiscient of there other barrel aged beers. Taste is exactly what the description of the beer promises. It's like a barleywine (wheatwine) with huge overtones of maple, bourbon and oak. The alcohol is noticeable but I like it that way. Its a warming sipper of a beer. Complaining this beer is too boozy would be like complaining a good glass of bourbon is boozy. Its strong and meant to be sipped and the alcohol is pleasant and warming. For me because I'm a huge fan of barrel aged beers and barleywines are my favorite style it does not get any better than this. The mouthfeel may be my favorite part of Nemesis though. Its thick, creamy, velvety, smooth, warming and most of all comforting. A great evening sipper. It's a shame this will only be brewed once, I could drink them all year long.

Typically I don't like to use phrases like the "the best beer I've ever had". This one is top 5 for sure though. I can't describe how important it is that every fan of barleywines (wheatwines) and other strong ales do everything in their power to get a hold of at least one of these. More of an experience than a beer.

Shumista, Feb 13, 2010
Photo of TCgoalie
4.3/5  rDev +3.6%

Cool, a nice surprise to see this at my local beer store. I picked up a single and can't wait to try it.

Golden amber color with not much head fills the glass. A small rim of white surrounds the glass. Not a whole lot happening in terms of carbonation.

Interesting, sweet smell with hints of yeast. I can depict the maple syrup in the scent. There is also quite a bit of alcohol esters. Not your typical beer smell.

Whoa. What a robust mouth full of taste! I first notice an almost warm taste upon entry into my mouth...Then comes an explosion of creamy, thick maple. It is so thick. At the end, the bourbon barrel hits with a pleasant mild kick mixed with alcohol esters.

The mouthfeel is unlike anything I can recall in recent memory. Such a thick creamy texture like I'm drinking thickness of marshmallow cream with the weight of a large marble.

Don't buy a 4 pack and expect to drink them in one evening by yourself. The perfect beer to slump next to a warm fire and contemplate the meaning of life. This beer makes me smarter.

TCgoalie, Feb 13, 2010
Photo of Tiklmelmo
3.88/5  rDev -6.5%

A - Nice translucent copper color. Almost has the appearance of a jewel when held up to the light. Quarter inch of thin bubbly head with moderate to low lacing.

S - Lots of bourbon in the nose. Almost smells like a shot of nice bourbon. Some caramel / toffee underneath, but the bourbon definitely dominates. Smells good if you like bourbon.

T - Taste mostly follows the nose. Creamy, rich nutty bourbon with some vanilla and maple. Almost tastes like a nice almond nougat. Only downside is a pretty strong alcohol heat. Might pick up another of these to lie down for a year or more. Can't say that this is best for drinking now, unless you're looking for a real strong sipper. Has the potential to be a 4.5 or a 5 later.

M - Really nice thick creamy mouthfeel. Low to moderate carbonation. If the booziness was toned down a bit more, this would be almost perfect here.

D - Definitely a nice sipper, but I'd hold off at least 6 months to a year before cracking another of these.

Overall, this has a lot of potential with some age. The vanilla and maple flavors really meld nicely once you get past the booze. But, that said, it's not quite ready for prime time.

Tiklmelmo, Feb 13, 2010
Photo of CraftAle
4.72/5  rDev +13.7%

An unique brew, as is common from Founders. Aroma and taste are mostly bourbon, which is not over-shadowed by the roasted malt in many bourbon stouts. The maple adds some sweetness, but not to an excessive degree. High ABV limits its drinkability. Don't miss this very limited release!

CraftAle, Feb 12, 2010
Photo of trbergman
4.8/5  rDev +15.7%

12oz bottle poured into a tulip.

A - An aggressive pour yields a dense, quarter-inch bone white head. The body is a slightly hazy burnished copper, with lazy carbonation.

S - Rich maple syrup and vanilla leap out of the glass. Beneath, there's an aroma of praline, with hints of honey and banana.

T - Wonderfully complex on the palate, with bourbon coming to the fore. A bit hot, though not unpleasantly so. Sweet maple, vanilla, and nuts, with tastes of banana, coconut, and baked apples with cinnamon. Flavors alternate in waves, keeping this beer very interesting. There's a bit of piney hop flavor, though it's difficult to make out, and an assertive bitterness. The finish is rich, balanced between sweet malt and alcohol.

M - Full and syrupy, with just enough carbonation to prevent a cloying effect.

D - One bottle is enough, but what a bottle it is! A must-try.

trbergman, Feb 12, 2010
Photo of maximum12
4.72/5  rDev +13.7%

Picked up a four-pack of this brew at Thomas Liquors in St. Paul, MN, an underrated brew-haven if there ever was one. If you've never been there & live anywhere near, go, now.

Pours a lovely shade of surly, almost flourescent orange, with an attendant amount of tiny bits & pieces floating in the mix. Smell is odd. Maple, wheat, & some weird, unidentifiable combination.

However, once Nemesis hits the tongue & cheeks, all confusion is gone with the gale. Strong, real, tree-tapped maple syrup is rising, & it's clearly been living in sin with a quantity of bourbon. Underneath this Maginot Line of serious taste are all sorts of other interesting discoveries to be had. Vanilla, of course, & coconut coming from a random angle, plus the severe sweetness of the wheatwine twining limbs with the vanilla. Strangely, there is no wheat anywhere to be found.

Mouthfeel is low, flat, & deadly, as one might expect from this big brew. Drinkability? Hell, yes. This is the kind of thing I might be willing to lay my head down on the bar for. You'd never see Robert de Niro coming with that baseball bat.

Fanastic beer. This is what I expect from Founders, & what they deliver, over & over, with their barrel-aged brews. And why haven't more people used maple? That addition is killer. Killer. Wonderful brew. Find this & drink this.

maximum12, Feb 12, 2010
Photo of paco1029384756
4.53/5  rDev +9.2%

Pours a cider color with minimal, short lived white head and a sharp smooth ring of lacing.

Scent of maple, honey, sweet bourbon, oak, vanilla, sugars, tobacco, ripe apples, and a touch of spicy alcohol. For the strength, this is surprisingly balanced and complex.

Taste of silky smooth maple, sweet bourbon, light dry oak, burnt sugars, caramel, tobacco, and a bit of alcohol in the finish. Delicious, I am greatly looking forward to how this ages.

Mouthfeel is medium heavy bodied and very smooth with a light bite of carbonation.

paco1029384756, Feb 12, 2010
Photo of MarkFy
4.78/5  rDev +15.2%

A: Pours a caramel, slightly hazy, very thin head that disappears quickly.

S: the bourbon is huge! Notes of vanilla and oak. Smell reminds me of a Goose Island BCS.

T: the malt is certainly there, again, very nice bourbon flavor, sweet maple syrup shows up along with a touch of vanilla.

MF: a bit syrupy with little carbonation

D: Founder's is quickly becoming one of my favorite brewers and this certainly an amazing addition. Grabbing more tomorrow if there are any left!

MarkFy, Feb 12, 2010
Photo of biggred1
4.33/5  rDev +4.3%

Hazy,golden amber with a filmy cream colored head that leaves scraps of lace on the glass. A perfect combination of bourbony toasted oak, maple syrup and wheat malt. Big woody flavors of bourbon and maple on top of a massive pillow of wheat malt. Finishes hot, like neat bourbon. Full bodied and sticky, best enjoyed near room temperature to fully appreciate the big flavors. A really big and powerful beer, I'd like to see what a few months in the cellar would do for it.

biggred1, Feb 12, 2010
Photo of StoutMaster77
4.83/5  rDev +16.4%

OK, so this was my first wheatwine tasting so it was hard to have anything to compare it to, but either way it was a great beer, not that I expected any different from Founders.
A-A hazy golden orange, light head, with legs
S-Fruity light oaky bourbon smell
T-Wow! definite malt upfront, with some fruit, sizurp, bourbon flavor on the end of the palate, a hint of hop, just barely.
M-Med-Full bodied, carbonation was a medium, made the beer quite refreshing.
D-The only hint of the high ABV was during exhalations after the first few sips, but dang it was good.

I wish this was readily available later in the year, I would love sucking this down out on the screened porch all spring and summer long.

StoutMaster77, Feb 11, 2010
Photo of homebrew311
4.47/5  rDev +7.7%

A: Pours a dark golden, slightly hazy, very thin head that disappears quickly with a razor thin collar left. Some streaky lacing.

S: very strong bourbon character on the nose, prominent notes of vanilla and oak with a nice bit of maple syrup somewhere in the middle. I definitely notice similar maple character to CBS.

T: the front of the palate has noticeble malt presence followed by oaky notes with a nice presence of maple syrup. All of these delicate flavors are then enveloped by huge bourbon notes. The taste is a rollercoaster of flavors with a heavy bourbon presence and subtle notes of maple syrup throughout. I'm not picking up a lot in the way of wheat, but that's okay because the flavors that are there are delicious

MF: chewy and slightly syrupy with low level of carbonation

D: wow! another delicious beer from Founders... no surprise. This will hold me over until KBS is released.

homebrew311, Feb 10, 2010
Photo of yourefragile
4.28/5  rDev +3.1%

12 oz bottle, February 3, 2010 on the case, poured into a snifter.

Pours a hazed, yet clear bright golden amber thick liquid. A thin, bubbly white head that quickly fades to a thin ring. Sticky clearish streaks of lacing slide across the inside of the glass. Having had CBS and Black Biscuit recently, the aroma is initially a little difficult to distinguish from those. Very powerful, rich and sweet, and as the beer warms up, more of the wheatwine character pulls through. A blend of banana and sweet yeasty aromas with strong tannin-y barrel notes. Light on the bourbon, mild maple and vanilla with some booziness. Thick body with lighter carbonation and oddly dry in the finish (which lingers a little longer than I appreciate). Flavor is dominated by the oak, very sweet blend of vanilla and maple, lighter on the bourbon, and not as sickening sweet as Black Biscuit. It's hard to find the base beer, but again as it warms there is a mild fruity/banana and some spice flavor under the booze and syrup sweet. A very interesting beer, but the flavors are not nearly as complex as KBS, Backwoods, etc in my opinion and I did not particularly enjoy the finish. Definitely worth revisiting when it's not so fresh, though the booze was never that much of a problem this first time around.

yourefragile, Feb 09, 2010
Photo of caskstrength
3.85/5  rDev -7.2%

Boy, does this sound exciting. Maple bourbon barrel aged "wheat wine"? Are you serious? Let's do this....

Neat looking label. Founders seems to take it's label art seriously. A small point, but a nice touch in general for their beers.

Pours a somewhat opaque golden light brown. minimal head, but still appears adequately carbonated.

Smell is sweet, buttery. Maple and vanilla stand out to me.

Taste is...boozy. Buttery maple and vanilla flavors there to mix with the booze. The bourbon notes almost get lost in the sharp booze. Or maybe it's so much bourbon that it's moved from "bourbon influenced" to "bourbon dominated," I can't tell.
(If I tasted this blind, the first brewery I would have thought of would likely have been Dogfish Head. Hot, boozy, thick sipper here)

Mouthfeel is rich, but not too thick or syrupy. Pretty much spot on for what they're going for, I think. Carbonation within the beer is fine, but not much head.

Drinkability is limited by the style, abv, and boozy vibe here.

Rough around the edges, but still interesting and worth trying. Hard to give a definitive verdict because this beer screams for some time in the cellar.

caskstrength, Feb 09, 2010
Photo of MasterSki
3.95/5  rDev -4.8%

Figured I'd open a bottle as a nightcap. Served in my Darkness snifter. Bottled February 3rd, 2010. Picked this up at West Lakeview Liquors.

A - Pours with a late-rising dime of tan foam that dissipates to a thin ring. Hazy apple cider color, a mix of orange and brown. A few tiny fingers of lace. I wasn't expecting much from a 12% barrel-aged wheat wine, and I didn't get much either.

S - This is another brew that shouldn't be served too cold. Caramel, vanilla, toasted oak and coconut. There's a lot of barrel, but not an excessive amount of bourbon - guessing it's because they are second use (bourbon, then maple). There's a sugary character that isn't exactly maple syrup - more like maraschino cherry. There's a touch of booze as well - reminiscent of spiced rum.

T - Lots of toasted oak - vaguely reminiscent of Double Bastard on French Oak. Taste is a mix of cherry syrup, vanilla, coconut, and buttery shortbread cookie. Finish is very whisky-like, with a tannic dryness. Not much of the base wheat beer is left here - it's as if the wheatwine is more neutral of a base beer than a stout or barleywine.

M - Very low carbonation, body is a little too light for a 12% beer. Finishes surprisingly dry and clean. Light residual stickiness, which is unexpected for this sort of brew.

D - I probably should have shared this with my wife. It'll take me a while to finish the last 6oz. This could probably use some time to mellow out. Reminds me more of barrel-aged scotch ales than it does of barrel-aged barleywines, possibly because of the maple addition. It's definitely unique, but not something I'd be seeking out too often. Very much a dessert beer.

I was really expecting to love this beer based on the description, but it's somehow less than the sum of its parts. It's more of an A- experience for me, but I can't figure out where I've underrated it (damn the lack of .25 increments).

MasterSki, Feb 09, 2010
Founders Nemesis 2009 from Founders Brewing Company
92 out of 100 based on 682 ratings.