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Founders Bolt Cutter - Founders Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Founders Bolt CutterFounders Bolt Cutter

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
91
outstanding

1,288 Ratings
THE BROS
85
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,288
Reviews: 226
rAvg: 4.05
pDev: 12.1%
Wants: 209
Gots: 710 | FT: 75
Brewed by:
Founders Brewing Company visit their website
Michigan, United States

Style | ABV
American Barleywine |  15.00% ABV

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: Thickfreakness on 11-03-2012

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

Bolt Cutter is a cellarable barley wine with an ABV of 15%. Dry-hopped with a mountain of Cascade hops, it’s balanced by a malty sweetness and spicy complexity, resulting from barrel aging some of it in bourbon barrels, some in maple syrup-bourbon barrels and some not at all (standard fermentation only). We’ve allowed the beer to mature in bottles and kegs since July so that it would be perfect for its release next month. Bolt Cutter pours a deep copper color and is best sampled at different temperatures to allow the flavors to unfold.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,288 | Reviews: 226
Photo of SomethingClever
4.38/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

3 year old bottle.

Surprisingly still amazingly hoppy reminded you of Double bastard and boozy as well. This beer was intends can not imagine what it was like fresh it still seemed to go down smooth for being 15% ABV.

Photo of jlindros
3.16/5  rDev -22%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

2012 vintage rudzud and I sat on for a while waiting for the booze to die down.

Pours a big creamy fluffy head, nice lacing, legs too, mostly clear auburn reddish color.

Nose big sweet candy malts, toffee caramel candy, creme brulee, sweet malts. Aged soft malt with some booze.

Taste is super sweet candy, toffee caramel, nutty, but also bbq sauce like notes, bitter rind hops, chewy sweet syrupy malts, messy malts. Bitter rind finish, boozy alcohol, etc.

Mouth is boozy and boozy, decent carb, but hard to get down.

Photo of rudzud
2.88/5  rDev -28.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

2012 vintage split with JLindros.

A - Poured into a Kate the Great tulip a crystal clear honey hue with a big one finger head that faded to leave suds.

S - Aromas of sweet malts, bourbon, cardboard, lots of booze.

T - Taste is sticky sweet caramel, cardboard, alcohol is hidden but loads of cloy sugar.

M - Mouthfeel is sticky sweet, cloy, messy.

O - Overall this beer was a complete and utter mess, awful.

Serving type: bottle

Photo of CraftFan5
2.86/5  rDev -29.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 5 | overall: 3

Not sure why this one has such high ratings. The nose was meh, and the flavor was sickeningly sweet. It almost tasted artificial. So glad I didn't drop $28 for a bottle a few months ago.

Photo of 30MinutesSouth
2.45/5  rDev -39.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

A beer legendary for being a hot, unbalanced mess upon its release still lives up to it's rep over 2 years later by being a slightly less hot but just as bad tasting mess.

Photo of schmidtmattsays
3.22/5  rDev -20.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Poured from bottle 3/12/15. Smells like a barleywine - not a particularly good one. Not a lot of booze on the nose for a 15% beer. Getting a lot melon, old hops, and oxidization from the taste. Not very enjoyable - wouldn't pass on a pour but definitely not seeking this thing out at all.

Photo of kkleu357
4.44/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I really enjoyed this beer. It was brewed back in 2012, so 3 years old. Not sure what it was like 3 years ago, but today it was fantastic. Sweet bread yeast aroma. Big malt taste with a log of fig raisin flavor. Excellent.

Photo of Thirstygoat
4.32/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Poured into a Founders tulip. The head was golden, the beer cloudy, bronze color not translucent.
Before long there's only a bit a lacing.
The smell is about 80% malt, 10% wood and 10% old hops.
The taste pretty much follows the aroma with a bit of sting on the back of the mouth from either the wood or the remnant of the hops. Sweet, as in drink on a very cold day sticky sweet. ( I did.)
An ample mouth feel that coats the throat all the way down.
Cellaring doesn't always produce such satisfactory results. I'm glad I've got another one for next winter

Photo of ThickNStout
4.64/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

750mL bottle. No bottling date but this was a late 2012 release. Served in a Founders snifter.

Pours a surprisingly clear, vibrant amber with about a one and a half finger cap of pale, sandy head. A thin film rests on the surface with a small halo that leaves just a few dots of lace.

Aromas are sweet, malty and vaguely earthy with a good deal of aged hops. Vanilla, oak, maple, caramel, faint pine, toffee, old citrus, autumn leaves and sugar. Despite the fact that hop aromas seem past their prime I keep coming back for more of the inviting sweetness.

The flavors quickly overcome any negative vibes left from the smell of fading hops. Thick, sweet caramel is the predominant taste. Earthen oak, cereal, toffee, grainy malt, mild pine, sweet maple glaze, vanilla, orange peels, brown sugar, leather, faint barrel char and just a little boozey heat. I can't detect any bourbon but the combination of malts, maple and barrel is outstanding. On top of the masterful blend of flavors the 15% abv goes down like a brew with less about half of that. Delicious.

Syrupy, heavy, full feel with moderately low carbonation. Completely coats the tongue, creating a long, sweet aftertaste that is full of maple, caramel and cereal grains.

I sat on this bottle of Bolt Cutter for over two years to let the high alcohol mellow out and I must say that my plan worked beautifully. Both hops and heat have long since faded, leaving behind a fantastically sweet and complex barleywine. Excellent work by Founders creating an enduring and evolving brew that, based on this experience, I suspect could go several more years with favorable results.

Photo of cvm4
4.05/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

L - Pours a red mahogany body with a one finger light tan head.

S - Malty aroma with caramel, toffee and candied sugars.

T - Rich malts along with brown sugar and maple syrup. I can definitely pick up some of the bourbon barreling on the back of the taste. Just straight forward and a delight to drink.

F - Full bodied, low carbonation. Smooth body with low abv heat.

O - A very unique barleywine to drink that has held its own overtime. I think this one still has some legs on it.

Photo of Stinkypuss
4.34/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pours a reddish amber color with decent clarity on the first pour. Subsequent pours add some yeasty sediment, as this sample has spent much of its life cellared or in the fridge. The aroma is sweet, sugary, and malty. It hides the booze well, but there is some bourbon and clean alcohol to the nose as well.

The flavor has layers of sweetness, going from brown sugar, to molasses, and finally maple. I did not initially know this was a maple bourbon barrel aged beer but as I drank it, the characteristics became obvious. The beer has mellowed a bit with age I am sure, it drank like 10-11% ABV beer, not 15% + ABV beer. Nice sweet flavors and a modest alcohol bite.

Overall, this is a nice beer and one that may not have even peaked yet. Founders has at times retired beers only to produce them years down the line. I will hold out hope for this one.

Photo of yarnbomb
4.5/5  rDev +11.1%

Aged this one for a while and It. Was. AWESOME. Also had this on tap at the brewery, definitely delicious. Very much to my taste.

Photo of Flight317
4.25/5  rDev +4.9%

I haven't logged a lot of barley wine's so I'm not the most well versed. This one goes down so easy it will put you in your place by mid bottle. Carbonation held up well after two years behind the cellar door. The alcohol is hidden so well behind a nice sweet malt backbone. You smell a bit of the booze but don't notice it until you feel the affects. Glad I got to try this one.

Photo of brewlover_z
4.25/5  rDev +4.9%

This barreled-aged barley wine was absolutely delectable. I was surprised to find even after a solid 21 months of aging that it still had a noticeably boozy influence in the taste. Supremely brewed and with great fullness, Bolt Cutter definitely has established its place among Founders' stupendous high gravity series.

Photo of clayrock81
3.9/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a reddish body with large head that goes away real quick and leaves a little bit of lace. Aroma is boozy at first and then there are sweet malts like caramel/toffee/sugar that hit me with minimal hops. Sticky, full-bodied, the booze is prevalent with a little bit of woodiness to help it smoothly finish. There are some dark fruit flavors and a sugary, vanilla like boozy sweetness but the alcohol in this is just a little too much and overpowers the other characteristics of the beer.

Photo of BeerImmediately
3.79/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

750ml into bubble snifter at about 45 degrees.

Pours with a very short, soap-bubble head over a chill-hazed amber body. Decent lacing. Appears still.

Aromas are quite sweet. Lots of maple syrup and bread - adult french toast. Mostly malts, but there seem to be some sharp hops still trying hard to power through. Vanilla and bourbon also show.

Taste is full of sweet - the vanilla and syrup nearly drown out everything else. Touch of rye-like spice. Hop bitterness still lingers, much as with the aroma. Altogether, seemed like a coffee which had too much artificial sweetener syrup mixed in.

Mouthfeel is thick and sticky - as expected with a 15% BW. Really lingers on the palate.

All that said, I'm a sweet-tooth, so this beer did not offend me... I enjoyed it. Not your prototypical Barleywine, but that's OK with me. Glad I cellared it for 18 mo's - may have taken the initial edge off of it.

Photo of smcolw
4.01/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Nearly no head, and it settles to rim bubbles. Nearly no spots for lace. The color is deep amber.

Warm and semisweet malty. Very rich.

Starts subtly, but the strong malt base provides lots of alcohol warmth. There's a bitter presence that provides balance. The mouthfeel is super rich but the carbonation is not lost. Very warming.

Photo of MDDMD
3.9/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A-brown orange color with a decent light tan head and little lacing

S-toffee, bourbon, oak, brown sugar, vanilla, nutty, light pine

T-toffee, caramel, nutty, bourbon, oak, little dark fruit, malty

F-medium body with light carbonation, smooth and a little boozy

O-decent Barleywine and not as much booze as I expected, but wouldn't put this in my upper echelon of Barleywines

Photo of wordemupg
3.81/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

750ml bottle poured into balloon snifter 14/6/14

A clear amber liquid, a couple bubbles, thin film leaves a few polka dots, wide legs down the side

S still lots of pine and citrus, this would've been a palate wrecker fresh, faint bourbon, pancake syrup, orange peel, hard toffee, lots of booze

T more booze, heaps of brown sugar and caramel, faint wood, sweet bourbon, more citrus then the nose, a little sweet and boozy but enjoyable

M thank and syrupy, my lips are stuck together, heat hits the chest and throat, rind and brown sugar on the finish

O I liked it but I didn't love it, still hoppy, very sweet and boozy, I'm glad I didn't try to take this one down solo

Fruet was a hard act to follow and perhaps didn't help this ones cause, its good beer with a little barrel, lots of sugar and booze, one of those beers I want to try fresh and with 5+ years on it

Photo of blackcompg
4.51/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

I've been aging this bottle for nearly 2 years, been looking forward to this for awhile now, here we go...

Appearance - Pours about 2 fingers of rich tan orangish foam - the head literally has a creaminess in it's appearance, body is a gorgeous burnt orange amber, extremely hazy and nearly opaque, definitely has legs when swirled in a snifter, leaves rings of soft lace after each sip.

Smell - Big fresh baked fruitcake, ripe dark fruits, brown sugar, molasses, maple syrup, dark cooked toffee, vanilla caramels, and a wedge of rum cake.

Taste - I'm nearly speechless... All of the flavors mentioned above literally explode across my palate, I'll try to break this down... There is fruitcake here, with the roasted crust and sweet baked dark fruits of plum, dates, cherry, and apricots - sweetness of roasted caramels and dark toffee, maple in the nose but not so much in the mouth, and all the while there is a backbone of bourbon, oak, and dried vanilla bean - the bourbon here is so complimentary and fits so well, absolutely delicious. Long into the finish I get some light grassiness and citrus pith from the hops, definitely mellowed by the lingering oak and bourbon.

Mouthfeel - This is the higher side of medium, but not quite full, as the bourbon and oak work so well at keeping the sweetness from asserting, keeping it in check, while the oak provides a bit of dryness. Carb is definitely on the lower side, very smooth, and is perfect for keeping the very full and bold flavors balanced with the bourbon and drying oak, perfectly ushering in the muted hop nuances at the end of each sip.

Overall - You know that this is a big beer with each sip, but the flavors are so well balanced and complex. Every nuance and flavor is a complimentary part in a wonderful symphony. All of the barleywine flavors you want are here, along with the bourbon and oaky characteristics of the barrel, add in the mellowed hops and vanilla bean and you have a very special barleywine. Find one with some age, at any cost. What a wonderful treat.

Photo of AndyAvalanche
4.32/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

750 ML bottle poured into a Duvel Tulip Style glass. Liquid comes out a nice autumn amber brown color that glows a hearty leaf changing autumn red when held up to the light; absolutely perfect clarity. There's a nice almost orange creamsicle colored head with mostly small bubbles present. Gave it a hard pour and it sticks around for a little while, even just a skimming at first. Nice lacing and glass retention.

Great smelling beer, might not be the perfect representation of the style, but I dig it; almost as if it were geared towards me. A wee bit of bourbon and a large amount of caramel malts a bit nutty, but high quality nuts like pecans and maybe even some almond. A bit of a deep dark fruits, like raisons, black cherries, apples, dates/figs, and maybe even some apricots added in. A lot going on in the smell and it's good. There's some gentle citrus hops at the end.

Taste is a slight step up. Really don't need to elaborate much on it because it's pretty similar to the smell. The nuttiness isn't quite as strong as the smell, but still present. Bourbon present, but the best parts of it. Sweet grainy and lots of caramel. Nutty again with bitterness and sweetness (like going from pecans to almonds). Again with all the above mentioned fruits; the hops are more detectable in the flavor. You can tell the hops have faded a bit, but I still think the 2 years on this brew has done it well.

Mouthfeel is pretty close to perfect. It's full bodied with a nice lingering flavor without being too heavy; the weight of it actually feels a little light. Good carbonation level, not much of a bite from that. It's not overwhelming but there is some heat from the alcohol, not a burn, just detectable heat. Nice and smooth with an appropriate bitter finish. Nice lingering flavor and a comforting warmth to it. Really nice drinkability. I think this is an under appreciated/under talked about beer (just my opinion). Quality all the way; another great beer from a great brewery.

Photo of gcamparone
3.84/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a 22 oz bottle into a Founders KBS goblet. Bought this in November 2012, been stored at cellar temp. since then.

Appearance - Pours a hazy nectarine-colored body with a 1 finger off-white head that reduces slowly and leaves spotty lacing.

Smell - Reminiscent of an aged DIPA - piney, heavy malt, caramel, citrus rind, and bready/grainy. Some booze on the nose, but for 15% it's not too strong.

Taste - Sweet with heavy malt upfront - molasses, honey, caramel, spices. The follow through is piney, resinous, muted, and astringent with a boozy burn. The finish is slightly roasty.. burnt toffee, sugar, char.

Mouthfeel - For 15% alcohol, it's actually kind of watery. Low carbonation.

This was my first bolt cutter.. when it first came out people complained of an unbalance, hot mess. It's not quite at that level, but it's definitely not amazing either. An average high ABV barleywine at best.

Photo of Resuin
4.34/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a 750 mL bottle into a snifter. I believe this has a couple years of age on it. Reviewed from last night's notes.

Appearance: Pours a deep caramel color and leaves a finger of off-white head.

Smell: Big oak, caramel, molasses, light pine hops, dark fruits. Pretty sweet but manageable; well balanced.

Taste: Sweet caramel, molasses, dark fruits, light hops. The alcohol is well hidden. Nice balance of sweet/bitter/alcohol.

Mouth-feel: Low to medium carbonation with a medium body. Finishes well balanced between bitter and sweet, fairly smooth.

Overall: Definitely a well balanced, big barleywine. I think age has smoothed it out a good amount. Not overly sweet.

Photo of reebtaerG
4.59/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had on draft at churchkey in snifter on 5/10/14

A-Pours caramel brown with off-white head. Excellent lacing.

S-Aromas of caramel, pine, toffee.

T-Tasting notes of caramel, pine, citrus, toffee. This was outstanding where the 15.5

M-Medium body with a dry finish. Light syrupy mouthfeel. Super smooth

O-Overall this is an excellent barley wine where was the 15.5% it was the surprise beer for the night for me.

Photo of mverity
4.26/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Bottle courtesy of @heatwave33. Amber brown in color with hints of deep red. Cream colored head, faded into thin wisps and a craggy medium collar. Aroma is of molasses, earthy burnt wood, tobacco, and some earthy spices. Taste is spiced and tobacco up front, faded earthy hops, woody and a touch boozey at the very end. Nice toffee/molasses flavor running throughout too. Nice full body and low to medium carbonation.

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Founders Bolt Cutter from Founders Brewing Company
91 out of 100 based on 1,288 ratings.