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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
90
outstanding

231 Reviews
THE BROS
-
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 231
Hads: 1,316
Avg: 4.01
pDev: 12.22%
Wants: 216
Gots: 699 | FT: 68
Brewed by:
Founders Brewing Company
Michigan, United States | website

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: 231 | Hads: 1,316
Photo of mjpolzin
3.75/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Waited 3 years to finally crack this bottle and it turned out to be a let-down. It was sweet and very hoppy and those two components do not mesh well together. Maybe more time will allow the flavors to work better together but right now I didn't enjoy this beer.

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Photo of bound4er
4.07/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Amber, semi turbid appearance with a thin off white head that recedes quickly. Smells very complex with turbinado sugar,cinnamon, burnt straw, weed, orange pith and booze. Taste is nice but doesn't quite live up to the smell. Displays malt sweetness - almost citrus like, slight weediness and some alcoholic heat. Finishes with good lingering piney bitterness. Mouthfeel is medium bodied. This is an enjoyable Barleywine from Founders. Not sure I would have wanted to drink this upon release given that even now it is a chore to finish a half of bottle.

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Photo of Cylinsier
4.24/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

22 oz from a friend's stash

Pours a hazy amber gold. Yellowish film for a head.

Aroma of aged malts, brown sugar, and grains.

Tastes of maple, brown sugar, and hints of scotch whisky.

Feels thick and viscous. Light sting of carbonation and booze on the tongue. Warms going down.

Excellent barelywine with some great age to it. Very worth having.

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Photo of rodbeermunch
3.59/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Came out an amber and gold color, half inch of head, beigeish in color. Looked pretty.

Aroma was heat, a substantial amount of hops, honey, sweet.
Taste drove a shit ton of caramel, hops and booze into my gullet. Plenty sticky stuff. Motuhfeel brought out waves of bitterness as it warmed. Would like to try a less boozy version of this beer, or maybe some kind of adjunct or a greater percentage of barrel aging to give a little more depth here.

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Photo of Phyl21ca
4/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle: Poured a clear light copper color ale with a medium size foamy head with good retention and some lacing. Aroma of residual sugar notes with light toffee and caramel notes is very nice. Taste is also dominated by residual sugar notes, with some light toffee notes and light caramel notes. Body is about average with good carbonation and light warming alcohol. I was expecting sugar bomb but while this is still a sweet beer I thought it had enough attenuation for the style.

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Photo of smanson56
4.1/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to @strohme2 for this great 2012 bottle of Bolt Cutter. It poured a fairly clear red orange color with a nice white head. The nose was sharp still holding up to it's 15% abv The taste was smooth and hid the alcohol well. Not much burn in the finish. A great old Barley wine IMO.

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Photo of SomethingClever
4.38/5  rDev +9.2%
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.

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Photo of jlindros
3.16/5  rDev -21.2%
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.

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Photo of rudzud
2.88/5  rDev -28.2%
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

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Photo of CraftFan5
2.86/5  rDev -28.7%
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.

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Photo of 30MinutesSouth
2.45/5  rDev -38.9%
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.

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Photo of schmidtmattsays
3.22/5  rDev -19.7%
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.

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Photo of kkleu357
4.44/5  rDev +10.7%
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.

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Photo of Thirstygoat
4.32/5  rDev +7.7%
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

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Photo of ThickNStout
4.64/5  rDev +15.7%
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.

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Photo of cvm4
4.05/5  rDev +1%
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.

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Photo of Stinkypuss
4.34/5  rDev +8.2%
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.

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Photo of Flight317
4.25/5  rDev +6%

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.

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Photo of brewlover_z
4.25/5  rDev +6%

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.

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Photo of clayrock81
3.9/5  rDev -2.7%
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.

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Photo of BeerImmediately
3.79/5  rDev -5.5%
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.

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Photo of smcolw
4.01/5  rDev 0%
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.

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Photo of MDDMD
3.9/5  rDev -2.7%
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

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Photo of wordemupg
3.81/5  rDev -5%
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

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Photo of blackcompg
4.51/5  rDev +12.5%
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.

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Founders Bolt Cutter from Founders Brewing Company
90 out of 100 based on 231 ratings.