Founders Bolt Cutter - Founders Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Founders Bolt CutterFounders Bolt Cutter

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

1,293 Ratings
THE BROS
85
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,293
Reviews: 227
rAvg: 4.05
pDev: 12.1%
Wants: 213
Gots: 707 | FT: 72
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: 1,293 | Reviews: 227
Photo of PeterIngemi
4.33/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 750ml into a duvel glass

A: a beautiful brownish ruby amber, more ruby then anything, I get a massive two fingers of caramel covered head, that shows excellent retention, dissapating slowly and leaving tons of sticky lacing.... Beautful

S: surprising amount of dry hop aroma on the nose, I read that they dry hopped this one with a mountain of cascade hops, but still ... Very nice rich caramel/toffee aromas... Some nice light fruit notes as well, pinneapple and mango nice topical aroma, brown sugar, and some nice oak notes...

T: yum... This brew is deffinatly sweet, but I feel like the dry hopping rounds it out nicley.... This beer taste like tropical fruit covered on brown sugar with a touch of maple and burbon... It wasn't until tasting this that unread further into the beer to discover it is a blend of unaged, burbon barrel aged, and maple burbon aged, portions of the same beer.... Nice! I feel like the barrel aged components really round this out nicley, adding hints of maple syrup and burbon soaked oak... Very well rounded and very delicious.

M: heavy, full, luscious, with lower creamy carbonation, this brew is a touch syrupy but just right... A bite of bitter pine comes trough in the finish, drying the palate, and leaving a bitter residue in the mouth.

O: this is a great beer, very nicley done, wonderfully rounded... It is a very big barleywine, id love to see what a few years would do here.

Photo of MacQ32
4.33/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Poured slowly to a beautiful amber/red, I began pouring pretty agressively to ensure at least a decent finger of head, the head slowly rose up to a two finger stack of amber/caramel colored fluffly goodness. About 5 minutes later only a thin thin layer remains across the surface, outer ring and lacing is 10/10.

S - Mostly scotch-boozy, bready caramel sweetness and sweet brown sugar, definitely some citrusy/resinous hop aromas, and warm fuzzy feeling spices.

T - Holy tits. Lots of alcohol burn to it, but the burn isnt too strong if that makes any sense at all. Kind of like drinking a mild scotch, or a slightly watered down buttery scotch with some resinous hop qualities. Spices and sweet brown sugar/molasses/caramel mix in with the boozyness - after the initial boozyness is done rocking my palate. Traces of orange and grapefruit are evident, definitely some strong spices that balance well with the boozy qualities, although I cant pinpoint it with the glorious gangbang of flavors my mouth just endured.

M - Full bodied, if the mouthfeel was a SAT percentage rank, it'd be in the top 95% for sipperness. Medium/less carbonation, appropriate.

O - I've had scotch beers that remind me of scotch more than beer. This is like a scotch beer that is all beer (and lots of scotchy flavors). Figure that one out.

Photo of vobr0002
4.33/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- brownish amber in color, murky appearance with white head that lingers.

S- boozy, toffee, caramel, bread, floral, slight citrus.

T- caramel, toffee, sweetness. Very thick and lots of hop bitterness. Lot of alcohol warmth and some bourbon on the back end.

M- thick full body with lots of carbonation.

O- this is a very good beer. Well worth seeking out and enjoying. Easy sipper.

Photo of ncketchum
4.33/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served cellar temp into a pint glass, split with my dad and sister over thanksgiving leftovers

A - Pours a murky honey-brown, three fingers of brown-orange head, good retention and lacing

S - malt forward nose, caramel, followed by hops and a little burn of alcohol

T - as with the nose, malt and breadiness up front, sweetness of caramel and maple syrup, then a rather large hop presence at the same time as the alcohol starts its subtle, slow burn

M - smooth, thick, and warming

O - excellent barrel aged barleywine, nice balance of hops and malt, aging in the different barrels gives a good amount of complexity. A great offering from Founders, happy to have had the opportunity to get my hands on this one.

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

A: Poured a very nice orange color with a one finger off-white head with great retention, lasting for the majority of the time it took to drink it. Sticky lacing forms down the sides.

S: Wow, surprisingly hoppy, lots of pine and citrus upfront with some caramel, toffee, and oak that come forward. Lots of vanilla comes out in the middle. It was rather resiny with a little bit of alcohol at the end.

T: More hops upfront, very piney mixed with some grapefruit. The hops transition to some caramelized sugar, vanilla, bourbon, oak, and a little bit of maple.

M: Medium to full bodied with moderate carbonation. Slightly boozy, but it doesn't really impede the drinkability.

O: As someone that isn't a huge barleywine fan, I liked this beer quite a bit, probably because of the barrel aging. Surprised at how hop forward it was, but I am sure this will fade with time. Great beer to have for thanksgiving dinner.

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

Pours a nice amber color, not much of a head though and no lacing.

Smell has huge sweet malt aroma, caramel being the most dominant, some toffee, decent citrus hop presence at first but soon is pushed out of the way by the malt, can pick up some alcohol which isn't that surprising considering its strength.

Taste is very malt heavy yet the citrus hops are surprisingly strong and help balance the flavor from being too sweet, also surprising is the lack of heat, the alcohol is definitely there and present but much tamer for a young 15% barleywine than I would have thought.

Very tasty and normally I would recommend aging barleywines but the current citrus hop presence ages a lot and will only fade with time.

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 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 timc100
4.31/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Split a bottle at Duck Fat.

A: Gorgeous slightly murky golden amber. The dirty cream head looked like a beer that was 66% barrel aged - bit bubbles, spotty lacing, but substantial. Great looking beer

S: Prominent resinous grapefruit citrus and sticky caramel, very skunky and pungent, which is all very nice. However, lacks complexity in this category - no barrel character, no BW fruitiness. Still, though, good aroma

T: Great stuff. Incredibly rich, very sweet caramel and sticky resinous pine and grapefruit. There are slight vanilla and oak notes that I wish were more prominent - cannot detect any maple syrup in flavor, aside from assumed added sweetness. A delicious, messy, sweet caramel bomb.

P: Full. Sticky. Chewy. Syrupy. Just huge, but again, kind of messy

O: A really great beer! I wish they would have barrel aged the whole beer and did __ bourbon and ___ maple syrup bourbon. Have one sitting in the basement, really looking forward to what age will do.

It is kind of a mess, but works. Received a lot of negative feedback on the forums, which I don't think it deserves. A great beer if you are into huge, sweet, sticky onslaughts on the palate.

Photo of Chaney
4.28/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in a 3 Stars Brewing snifter.

A: Poured a very, very saturated oranges color, infinitely sticky, and with lots of lacing left on the glass.

S: Typical American Barleywine scent (not that that's bad): Hop/red wine/red velvet cake batter.

T: So much Imperial Red Ale in this: Hoppy and then some. Reminded my of SN Bigfoot, but just in a bomber. Caramel, pineapple, whole leaf hops, and then some.

M: Sticky and gooey. Not that that's a bad thing……. it's actually a good one. Shit, I dug the mouth on this one.

O: I think this was worth the $$ to spend once.

Photo of bluejacket74
4.27/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

750 ml bottle, vintage 2012. Served in a snifter, the beer pours a garnet red/copper color with about a half inch light tan head. Head retention is good, and there's a lot of lacing left behind. The brew smells like dark fruit, caramel, vanilla, candied oranges, sweet spices, citrusy hops, wood, and some booze/bourbon. It tastes similar to the aroma, like dark fruit (cherries, raisins), sweet spices, caramel, vanilla, candied oranges, toffee, wood, bourbon/booze, citrusy hops, molasses and some light pine resin. It's mostly sweet tasting, but there's noticeable bitterness too. Mouthfeel/body is full, it's syrupy and coating with low/moderate carbonation. It's not as boozy as I expected for being 15% ABV. I thought this was a pretty good brew, hopefully Founders will make this again in the future.

Photo of cfrances33
4.27/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle thanks to scud, poured into a Founders snifter.

Pour: Slightly hazy deep orange, with a finger and a half of cream colored, almost tannish head. Leaves some pretty surprising lacing for a 15% monster, and the head hangs around and eventually recedes to a rim.

Smell: Wow. This is super complex. Pineapple and booze up front, that breaks away into a deep bourbon toffee. A yeasty aspect comes in, and is overwhelmed by tons of caramel and butterscotch.

Taste: At first... lots of booze and a significant pineapple and citrus hop presence. Quickly gives way to some toffee and bourbon. As it warms, toffee becomes more pronounced, and a light maple syrup presence. Pretty sweet, but not too much. Barrel comes out towards the end of the glass at its warmest.

Mouthfeel: Quite boozy, but not because of the barrel presence. Bourbon is only present in some light flavors. Very syrupy, and a glass is an hour long process.

Overall: Good beer. Not astounding, but good. I definitely think this has some incredible aging potential.

Photo of zeff80
4.27/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Poured out a clear, ruby/copper color with a one finger, dark, khaki-colored head of foam. It left thin rings of lace on the glass.

S - It smelled sweet, malty and boozy.

T - This is so boozy. It is malty with caramel, toffee and butterscotch. It had a strong alcohol heat.

M - It was sharp and smooth. A full bodied ale with clean finish.

O - This is a very big, boozy barleywine. Glad I was able to get some and share some.

Photo of Tucquan
4.27/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had this on 2012-11-22 in Pittsburgh, PA

A - Very hazy orange-brown with 1/3-finger tan head that fades fast and leaves mild lacing. Alcohol legs.

S - Hop floral, citrus, sweet, graham cracker, baked apple, bartlet pear, cherry.

T - Hop forward, dopplebock-like malt, caramel, pine, vinuous, cherry, rasin, apple/pear. Not overly sweet. Lingering bitter/piney finish balanced with enough of the other flavors. Taste improved as it continued to warm

M - Medium-heavy body and light carbonation. Resinous, prickly, not syrupy. Definitely a tongue-coater.

O - Quite good for such a high ABV brew. As a comparison, I liked this more than the Avery Mephistopholes.

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.

Photo of Rutager
4.25/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Big thank you to Steasy66 and Mrbubbler for each sending me a bottle of this! Two awesome traders.

Appearance. Pours a hazy, deep amber-orange with a finger of thick off-white head that has a slight orange tint to it.

Smell. Big caramel and citrus hops with some brown sugar, a touch of pine, and a good hit of booze.

Taste. Brown sugar, caramel and a bit of maple followed by some citrusy hops and some pine resin. Crazy abv is hidden way to well (though there is a bit of booze).

Mouthfeel. Full body, low+ carbonation.

Overall. Planning to solo this one. It's a sipper but shouldn't be a problem to get through this whole bottle as far as drinkability goes ...that abv may be a different story. Hopefully won't be yelling at my neighbors in my underwear or some shit later on.

Photo of yamar68
4.25/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pretty mellow looking, boozy beer - burnt copper body topped with a slight half finger of pale khaki head that recedes after a few seconds... a thin collar retains pretty well and produces some oily booze legs.

Interesting... incredibly dynamic smelling beer but very smooth, oaky vanilla, citrus peel, some faint booze warmth, sweet syrupy malt character, surprisingly tame to the nose. Blossoms with some warmth... some dessert candies and sweet dark fruit comes to the forefront.

A lot more happening in the taste... sharp bourbon notes, that same vanilla oak, honey, pineapple and other tropical fruit, some caramel and leather... not so apparent though, certain aspects of the beer are overshadowed by the booze bill which I think makes it an excellent candidate for the cellar. As the beer nears room temperature, the beer really ties itself together. Booze translates to bitter juicy fruits, pineapple... balanced.

Dry, bitter, sake type finish is actually pretty enjoyable. Mouthfeel is spot-on, not too oily and not too thin.

Great stuff.

Photo of twiggamortis420
4.25/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

750 mL bottle pours a lightly hazed copper color with a surprisingly delicate head that sticks around a good while...nice lace too.

Nose is almost all caramel...wow, like a boardwalk candy shop! Little bit of toffee and toast, smooth nose - that’s fo sho.

Taste is understatedly hoppy! Mashes sweetness, toast and caramel just about as well as any beer I have ever had. Alcohol is ridiculously smooth for a 13%'er...Impressive. I really like it. Mouthfeel is a tad less creamy than I expected, but that is a minor complaint. Founder’s can do some amazing beers and Bolt Cutter fits their profile well, though it is almost a disappointment if one of their beers fails to rock your socks off! That can be both a blessing and a curse, in this case I think Bolt Cutter is a very good Barleywine, but never quite reaches the ‘epic’ status that many of their beers seem to effortlessly obtain.

Photo of BlackBelt5112203
4.25/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

750 mL bottle poured into a snifter at cellar temperature.

L – Deep amber color with a 3-finger frothy, bubbly cream-colored head. Really nice retention and some lacing. Clear with a good amount of bubbles.

S – Caramel malt, some leathery notes, grapefruit and pine hops, and a big whiff of alcohol. Hops are pretty subdued but become more apparent after agitation (pouring, swirling, etc.).

T – Starts off sweet with caramel malt and molasses and rapidly progresses to bourbon heat. Vanilla and maple notes become more apparent as the heat smoothes out. Some bitter grapefruit hops come out at the finish. This is pretty lightly hopped for an American barleywine, but it seems to fit here for some reason.

F – Medium-to-full-bodied with good carbonation, a velvety and chewy mouthfeel, and a sweet and dry finish. There is a definite throat-warming sensation from the alcohol.

O – Out of the American barleywines that I’ve had thus far, this may be one of my favorites. It is definitely on the sweeter side of the scale (although never cloying) and only seems lightly hopped but, as I said before, it seems to work very well in this instance. I think it certainly tastes better than it smells and is more complex than the aroma suggests. Furthermore, I think the body and mouthfeel suit the beer well. Definitely worth trying in my opinion.

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 Dope
4.25/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a clear ruby red with a big and dense tan head adorning it. Fades very, very slowly. Leaves an almost solid wall of lacing behind. Top-notch head retention.

S: Whoa, english barleywine? Not so sure about that. Very hoppy. Lots of tropical fruit like apricot, mango, pineapple along with a bunch of raisin. Noticeable alcohol sting but honestly not as much as you'd expect. Hoppiness covers it up quite a bit. As it warms up, the raisin really comes to the forefront with a touch of brown sugar.

T: Again, surprisingly hoppy. Very hoppy in fact. Lots of tropical fruit up front mixes with a very, very strong raisin aspect. Some garlicky/oniony hops too. Lots of caramel and toffee in there. Has sort of a grainy aspect towards the finish. Finishes with toffee and more garlic/onion. Some hop oil coats the mouth nicely as well, leading to a long lingering hoppy aftertaste. Booze is surprisingly well hidden though it does immediately warm the belly from the very first sip.

M: Big and heavy. Not over the top though, decent carbonation and hoppiness cuts it nicely.

O: A hell of a big beer. Big ABV, huge malt notes and huge hop notes. Lots of strong, sharp flavors all mix together quite well. Very enjoyable even for a super fresh 15% ABV beer. Hope I can pick up another one of these to cellar, curious how it ages.

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 HattedClassic
4.24/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Just randomly found a bottle hanging out on the bad side of the shelf surrounded by BMC. Fortunately, I saved it by buying it.

The beer pours some fairly light white creamy and bubbly head that dissipates partially but leaves a film on the top of the beer. Also, a bit of lacing but not much. The beer itself is a hazy, almost opaque copper brown. The beer smell has strong caramel malt sweetness notes. Some fruit sweetness notes exist but are very faint compared to the caramel notes and a tiny hint of alcohol. Other notes include maple oak and slight hints of pine hops that barely noticeable. The taste is extremely sweet with a bit of balanced complexity. The taste shares many of the same notes from the smell. The malt sweetness is the strongest with a molasses taste as well. Light pine hops to balance out the sweetness. The mouthfeel is heavy bodied with low carbonation. The beer is also a bit thick going down but feels pretty good. Overall, a fairly good beer.

Photo of Hopswagger
4.24/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

P: Pours a beautiful clear ruby red copper body with a bubbly off white head that fizzles to wet bubbly lacing.

S: Rich roasted caramel malt, loads of barley, peppermint candy, caramelized sugar, and astringent booze becomes full force once warm.

T/M: Rich roasted malts and spicy barley continue in the flavor. Spicy bourbon booze that covers the palate with apple peel in the dry finish. Once warmed the sweet maltiness fades to the upstaging spicy barley and heavy booze profile. The finish is much dryer and leaves a resinous pine film behind with butterscotch and faint coffee on the end. Full sticky body with moderate carbonation.

O: Wow this is big time. Booze, spice, barley and great sweet melts. Complexity that changes with different temps and becomes a powerhouse once warmed. Even though the booze erupts in the warmth it's still smooth and refined.

Photo of brewandbbq
4.24/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

7oz pour for $8.00 at Cask and Vine in Derry, NH.

Presented with a quarter inch of bone head atop a light mahogany body with a haze. A partial skim coat and zero lacing for the duration of the glass.

After the beer warms up the aromatics reveal plenty of alcoholic heft, raisins, toffee, figs, caramel, bourbon, oak, and vanilla.

On the thicker side of medium bodied with a creamy mouthfeel.

Chewy malt, boozy bourbon, and vanilla lead off the palate. A mild bitterness runs underneath the sweet malt and chipped toffee. A warmth on the throat carries form one sip to the next.

Finishes with lingering malt, bourbon, and vanilla.

This is one big Barleywine and the bourbon barrel finish is nicely balanced. Quite a treat to sample on tap in NH.

Founders Bolt Cutter from Founders Brewing Company
91 out of 100 based on 1,293 ratings.