Founders Bolt Cutter - Founders Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Founders Bolt CutterFounders Bolt Cutter

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BA SCORE
89
very good

228 Reviews
THE BROS
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no score

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Reviews: 228
Hads: 1,296
rAvg: 4
pDev: 12.5%
Wants: 215
Gots: 705 | FT: 73
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: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 228 | Hads: 1,296
Photo of cbutova
4.06/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Reviewed from notes from Saturday night. A good beer to celebrate a friend's birthday.

A- Shared between about 5 glasses from the 750ml bottle. Somewhat hazy red body with a creamy white cap. Decent head retention and tons of lace clouds everywhere from a frothy ring.

S- Big deep caramel malts and the cascade hops are noticed instantly. Some spicy raisin and some oak. Not getting a ton beyond that in the aroma specifically.

T- A ton more opens up here compared to the nose. Maple is nice and just a bit sweet atop the big caramel, raisin, dark fruit and spicy notes. Oak and bourbon are subdued but balanced in very nicely. Dry hopping lends a citrus floral feel that actually works nicely with the rest of the flavors. Slight alcohol hints.

MF- Body is creamy and somewhat silky but not as thick as I would expect. Alcohol warmth and some bitterness.

Big but very dangerously drinkable. Awesome balance of huge barrel and barleywine flavors. (951 characters)

Photo of beerdrifter
4.19/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Picked this up in a great trade with Evan! Crystal clear copper-mahogany pour with a one finger creamy off-white head with decent retention and crazy lacing. Deliciously sweet malty nose with hints of resiny, citrusy hops, pine, butterscotch, wood, and booze. The taste is rich and complex with a strong, boozy, malt forward sweetness with hints of vanilla, tobacco, maple, caramel, dark fruit, tea, oak, and butterscotch. The mouthfeel was really boozy up front, but as it came to temp, it became almost creamy. Still thick and syrupy, but really smooth with a nice warming, bitter finish. Overall, this is one complex and flavorful beer. Would love to see what cellaring does for this one. (691 characters)

Photo of corby112
4.2/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Pours a slightly hazy golden amber color with tangerine hues and a two finger frothy off-wife head that quickly settles into a thick, lasting cap.  Streaks of soapy lacing left behind.  

Sweet, slightly leathery malt aroma with a complex hop profile balancing out the boozy sweetness.  Citrus/tropical notes of pineapple, tangerine and grapefruit followed by resinous pine, grass, leathery malt, caramel, toffee and biscuit.  There's a touch of alcohol in the nose but more subtle than expected.

Full chewy body with a huge blast of bitter, earthy hops that linger over the sweet and earthy/leathery malts. Dank, bitter and resinous with an earthy/grassy hop bite followed by sweet caramel malt backbone and subtle heat.  Sticky pine needle flavor along with grapefruit and orange peel sweetness countered by caramel malt and toffee toward the finish.  Really well balanced and smooth with the high abv excellently masked.  Would never have guessed that  it was 15%.  Another solid entry in the backstage series but not worth the exorbitant price. (1,059 characters)

Photo of jaxon53
4.11/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Served this a bit below cellar temperature, letting the beer evolve some as it warms. Served this in an oversized snifter, from a 750ml bottle. A Founders brew is always worth a shot...

Appearance: Bolt Cutter pours out a crystal clear deep copper color, that is quite brilliant when held to a light. A somewhat gentle pours brings about a solid inch of creamy tan foam. Pretty decent head retention. Thick foamy lace was left clinging to the glass. A really pretty beer in my opinion.

Smell: Big, sweet nose on this beer. Seems to be a pretty healthy dose of hops in there. Sweet malt really seems to be the center piece, along with some sweet candied fruit. Raisin and plum come to mond first. Hints at fine pipe tobbacco. Toffee is there but is slightly hidden. Booze is there, but is quite subtle...

Taste: Full flavor packed into Bolt Cutter. Again big, and quite sweet. Strong dark fruits, similar to those found on a holiday fruit cake. Hops are in there but are overpowered but the sweet malt base. A bit of a boozy bite but the 15 percent ABV is quite well hidden. A little sweet but not bad.

Mouthfeel: Wonderful, full bodied mouthfeel. Pretty smooth considering its big size.

Overall: Not a bad drink, the sweetness started to get to me though. One glass is really enough for me. Alcohol is well hidden but will bite you. A sipper in my opinion. Not my favorite brew from Founders, but not bad... (1,414 characters)

Photo of smcnulty1981
4.55/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

A: clear golden orange color with a slight off white 1 finger head with a god ammount of lacing and alcohol legs

S: good ammount of caramel malts and warming vanilla very sweet smelling
Slight dank hop smell no alcohol on the nose

T: vanilla and caramel with a slight hop bitterness there is a slight hint of alcohol

M: full mouthfeel very sticker and lingers for awhile

O: great beer overall asome15th anniversy beer for founders and its a shame that this beer will be brewed only once (494 characters)

Photo of ppoitras
4.23/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

750ml bottle received via Growling at the Moon. Thanks for the brew, Dan!

Poured into a DFH snifter, formed a 1/2" tan head over the clear reddish coppper brew. Head lasts tremendously for such an abv brew, with leggy, going-nowhere lacing. Aroma is fruity, sweet, and boozy.

Taste starts syrupy sweet, a quick fruitiness in the middle, then a strong slap of hops bitterness followed quickly by alcohol. Slight numbness lingers after the swallow. Even so, not as forward with the EtOH as some less abv brews I have had. Mouthfeel is slickery smooth, and drinkability is good. I was fearing a Beast-like affront, but I actually enjoyed this brew, as substantial as it is. (674 characters)

Photo of chugalug06
4.2/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Amazing 1/2 finger, vanilla colored, foamy, frothy head on top of a clouded ruby red brew.

Coconut, roasty, caramel, vanilla, very strong and pleasant. Slight hint of heat.

Whoa, @ 15% I was expecting a ridiculous amount of heat and sugar, that's not the case. Smooth, a bit watery, easy drinking, slight burn on the late after taste, mild carbonation. Strong Iced Tea flavors are rampant, missing much of the tropical barrel flavors found in other BA B-wines. Lots of caramel and toasted malts.

A very nice way to celebrate an anniversary... Highly recommended, it's up with some of the best. Thanks! (605 characters)

Photo of Huhzubendah
2.14/5  rDev -46.5%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1.75 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Shared by Paul.

Thanks...sorta. The beer appears a who cares irrelevant hue with a it doesn’t matter head. The aroma brings a please don’t scent with a shitload of unnecessary hops and huge boozy sweetness. Just because you can doesn’t mean you should. Tons of malt and hops thrown together with no sensitivity or balance. Overwhelming alcohol and sweetness. What a disappoinment. No thanks. (399 characters)

Photo of timc100
4.31/5  rDev +7.7%
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. (1,170 characters)

Photo of chanokokoro
4.13/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Poured from a 750 ml bottle into a Founders Brewing Company 15th Anniversary/Bolt Cutter branded goblet

Pours a deep golden amber capped by a cream colored two finger fluffy head. Above average retention, especially for a BA brew, fair amount of splotchy, sticky lacing. Deep aroma of dates, hints of brown sugar, toasted oak, and light background notes of bourbon. Dried apricot, figs, and dates dominate immediately holding down some piney hops. Brown sugar and caramel midpalate joined by vanilla and toasted oak. Aggressive, piney hops surface, but are quickly rounded out by toffee and caramel malt which continues through the finish and are joined by pleasant bourbon and warming alcohol. Huge full body, smooth and syrupy with gentle carbonation. A very enjoyable brew and one that can be expected to improve with age. (826 characters)

Photo of rapidsequence
4.43/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22 oz bottle (I think, maybe its a 750) bought for an exorbitant sum at Ned's.

Appearance: Exceptional clarity. Copper or iced tea colored body. Decent head with a stiff pour, fades to spots. Good lacing.

Smell: Sweet, hoppy, and hot. Rich caramel malt and maple syrup as well as vanilla notes. CItrus and pine. The alcohol stings the nose, especially with deep inhalation.

Taste: Delicious caramel and darker toffee is up front. Maple flavor is complementary and not overpowering. Vanilla and some woody barrel flavor. Cascade hops flavor and lots of bitterness. Big alcohol bite at the end.

Mouthfeel: Slick and sticky. Full body almost chewy, but not too much. Coats the tongue. Long sweet, boozy finish.

Overall: This is a great beer. Lots of nice complexity. Price is nearly prohibitive. (797 characters)

Photo of DrinkSlurm
3.67/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Poured from tap into snifter at flying saucer Kansas city. Poured a seethrough amber brown with chewey head and lacing. Huge hop aromas...way to much for me...mixed with big sweetness. Taste is sweet caramel toffee malts and lots of hops. Its a bit hot and sharp. I am so glad I didn't buy a bottle. ..its just way to hoppy. Maybe some age would mellow this out a bit but id never get again unless it was aged... (412 characters)

Photo of tdm168
4.38/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to jtd1969 for sharing this bottle.

A - murky orange with a big, off white head that has great retention

S - huge bready aroma with some sugary notes

T - bready, burnt sugar, caramel, sticky, alcohol, mild bitter finish

M - full bodied, warm, well carbonated

This in my opinion is a fantastic beer. The 15% is only slightly noticeable. The malt is big, sticky, and flavorful. The burnt sugar notes were fantastic throughout. This is one of the better beers that I have had recently. I definitely this is a beer that people should be checking out. (558 characters)

Photo of Pencible
4.2/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: This poured a clear gold with moderate off white head.
S: It smelled like strong sugary citrus and candied apricot, with some fresh grapefruit and pine.
T: It tasted like bittersweet citrus and sugar, with some grapefruit and light chocolate and pine. It had a clean and bittersweet aftertaste with alcohol warming.
M: It was fairly thick with moderate carbonation. Nice full body.
D: This was reminiscent of Flying Mouflan, but a little less malt balance. It had a wonderful hop profile in the scent and taste, with a solid body. The alcohol was definitely noticeable, so it needed to be sipped. Age might help mellow, but it would also totally change the character of the brew. I thoroughly enjoyed this beer, and was happy to get to try the rare brew. (757 characters)

Photo of mwilbur
4.05/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2012 vintage (15th anniversary). Poured from 750 mL bottle into snifter.
A: Pours a dark orange-amber hue with 1/4 inch light tan head. Fairly quickly recedes.
S: Equal parts grainy hops and sweet caramel malt hits first. Toast, brandy, and raisins. Hint of light maple syrup.
T: Aggressive hops and alcohol hit first. Toasted grains, sweet caramel malt, and sultanas. With warming, notes of toffee, light molasses, and rye emerge. Malt also comes more forward to better balance the strong hop presence.
M: Moderate-heavy body. Sticky sweet feel. Strong boozy alcohol note and strong hop bitterness with a moderately dry finish.
D: A solid barleywine. Interesting twist with the strong hop presence. This certainly could age well, but you'd lose the hops over time which I think elevate this brew a notch. Yes, the alcohol is strong at 15%, but drinks easier than that. (869 characters)

Photo of jmarsh123
3.81/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Pours muddy reddish brown with a thin ring of foam. Little lacing.

Fresh out of the fridge the aroma consists of heavy aggressive hops however, as the bee warms a lot of oak, and booze come out. Lot sof sweet caramel notes kind of contrast the hops.

Lots of hops up front. Good aggressive assault of pine and some citrus and age has tamed this one a bit. Not longer overly hoppy. As it warms more oak and booze comes through. Hops fades near the end as the strength of this beer is felt.

Medium bodied, but quite thin from what I would expect from an ABV this high. A bit too boozy at times as this alcohol is not concealed well.

Not too bad, but nowhere near the level of hype when it first came out. I absolutely HATED this fresh, but time has mellowed the hops and brought it together into a drinkable, but still not great beer. (835 characters)

Photo of rfgetz
3.95/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a copper tinted orange, lightly hazed, fluffy cap of tan foam, decent lacing. Scent brings strong brown sugar and honey notes, firm hop profile with citrus zest, spice, some vanilla notes. Taste is big and sweet with strong hop notes... follows scent. Full bodies, sticky and chewy. Solid beer, but maybe a touch too big and sweet for my palate. (351 characters)

Photo of rlee1390
3.91/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A-Clear ruby red, one finger head with not much carbonation.

S-Maple, hops, bourbon, some caramel and molasses.

T-Maple, bourbon, hops. Not really balanced. Slight bitterness.

M-Lighter than I was expecting, not much carbonation and some alcohol heat.

O-Needs some time to age, the beer isn't all there yet. The flavors have potential but right now the balance isn't where it should be. (390 characters)

Photo of Powderhornphil
4/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a hazy rich amber orange. Pretty appealing looking.

Smells of Citrus, earthy hops when cool. As it warms, and it seems that sound be recommended, scents of warm, buttery toffee start to come forward.

Let this beer warm up. It really lets the sweet malty toffee out. For me, the booze is more palatable as it warms. Some oakiness starts to come through. Generally, the barrel and bourbon are gentle influences.

Mouthfeel is full but not as thick as you might think for a 15 % BW.

Overall a nice beer. I can see the letdown if you expect something like a top 50 beer. But you enjoy for what is is, you will get a nice BW. (630 characters)

Photo of JohnnyHopps
3.78/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Bolt Cutter is an attractive copper color in appearance and produced a slight white head. It showed appropriate retention and lacing for the style. As far as aroma goes, this certainly smells like a barley wine with wheat-like notes and hops grabbing for attention. In the initial taste, one great sweet toffee, alcohol, a measure of pineapple, and various mild citrus hops. The hops were not prominent for an American barley wine. Yet when I think of a barleywine, I anticipate a beer that is bursting with taste. The warm of the alcohol is the most apparent aspect of the aftertaste. It does not go far enough to be a burning sensation, and is actually quite pleasant. The thick texture allow the burn to linger for a few extra moments, making this a great cold winter night drink.

This is not my favorite Backstage Pass beer; In fact, it may be my least favorite. I have another Bolt Cutter than I am going to age a few years. I will be interested to see how it matures. (974 characters)

Photo of hardy008
4.18/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark amber with a one finger off white head which has very good retention and lacing, especially for such a high abv beer. Smells like toffee, caramel, vanilla, alcohol, and citrus. Smells like this will be very sweet.

Tastes just like it smells. It is sweet with toffee, caramel, alcohol, citrus, and a little vanilla. There is enough hop bitterness to keep this beer from becoming too sweet. The alcohol is noticeable and warming, but there is no alcohol burn. Has very nice flavor, and is just about perfect for a cold winter night.

Full bodied with low carbonation, and a sweet aftertaste. Leaves the mouth feeling sticky. A nice big Barleywine from Founders. (666 characters)

Photo of mntlover
4.33/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a hazy burnt copper color with a nice one finger cream head from a bar pour lasts quite a while. Lots of pretty lace from such a small head. A beautiful looking brew.

Aroma is big malty notes,biscuit notes and lots of caramel, maple sticky goodness all around. Nice big fruit notes with spicy alcohol seems like sherry more to me then bourbon but its all good whatever is going on.

Taste is nice big malt sugary goodness with nice sherry like alcohol notes I swear it seems more like sherry to me of well. It all blends perfect eh 15% tastes more like 10%. Somewhere in the middle good citrus notes come out and keep this from being cloying. Instead its a big kick your butt tasty sipping brew that is hard to put down. Only draw back I see is what I paid for my 10oz pour.

Mouthfeel is well seems light for such a big brew I would say only medium.

Overall very drinkable for such a big brew. Happy I found it on tap on my vacation . (943 characters)

Photo of CMUbrew
3.95/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottle poured into a Founders snifter

A: Muddy varnish brown, thin film for a head.

S: Scent of general hoppiness at fridge temperature. With minor warming, alcohol, oak, and bourbon notes come through while the hops become more subdued.

T: At fridge temp it's quite hoppy. With warming much more alcohol, bitter hops throughout, bourbon, oak, and booze in the finish. No maple syrup sadly. Lingering hops and booze, with even more warming it approaches some serious fusel alcohol levels. Vodka finish at close to room temperature.

M: Viscous, oily, slick. Borders on syrupy.

O: I think the flavors were blended quite well, but alcohol just overwhelmed everything as the beer went on, especially the tasty hop presence. I'm certainly not shy when it comes to strong drinks or big abvs, but I think this beer would have benefitted from staying at 11-12% abv (although I suppose that would remove the "15" aspect from this anniversary beer). (945 characters)

Photo of thedoubler55
4.41/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A: A transparent amber in color that leaves a nice fluffy off white head at the top, and very minimal lacing around the glass.

S: Lots of mape, bourbon and caramel up front, hints of brown sugar and barley, a nutty note on the tail end, for a barley wine not to much booze present.

T: Up front just like the nose, hints of vanilla and honey with slight sweetness from the brown sugar it seems, the booze is present but nothing crazy, a nice rum cake flavor as well on this one.

M: For the amount of booze it is not all that present, a warming brew, medium bodied slight carbonation and a bit of stickyness.

D: This brew was really good, I expected a lot from it and was not let down. Glad my liquor store held this one for me, very pleasant and great tasting, Thank you Founders! (785 characters)

Photo of jzeilinger
3.93/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

A - Pours a medium copper color with a nice creamy head that dies down fairly fast and leaves a thin and sticky layer and light carbonation.

S - Sweet caramel & toffee, hints of green apples, alcohol, bourbon, and some maple syrup presence. The aroma smells syrupy, bold, thick, and the alcohol smacks you in the nose.

T - The alcohol presence sure isn't shy and really is overpowering, especially on the first several sips until my palate finally adjusts to this big beer. Lots of bourbon, maple, and brown sugar up front with substantial burn on the way down. After several sips the throat adjusts and the burns calms down to being almost noticeable, but still present nonetheless. Lightly spicy and after a minute or so the cascades start to surface and coats the mouth with a layer of citrus.

M - The best aspect of this beer, it's thick and full bodied which is what I would expect from something this big. Sticky, lightly syrupy, slick, viscous and velvet smooth.

O - The first several sips are intimidating because the alcohol presence is so in your face, about 1/5 in it goes away and the other nuances start to come out. There is some nice complexity but the booziness can take too much of a front seat with this beer. It's also very warm in the beginning. I have a few bottles left and they're going straight to the cellar to see how this one develops in 10-12 months. (1,382 characters)

Founders Bolt Cutter from Founders Brewing Company
89 out of 100 based on 228 ratings.