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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

1,259 Ratings
THE BROS
85
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,259
Reviews: 218
rAvg: 4.05
pDev: 12.1%
Wants: 200
Gots: 708 | 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: 1,259 | Reviews: 218 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of oberon
3.81/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.75

Great to get this beer,one of my favorite breweries from the home state.Poured into an imperial nonic a deep burnt orange with a thinner but tightley formed off white head atop.A mix of alcohol dipped dark fruits and cake in the nose,not much hop presence,almost like a CHRISTmas fruit cake to me.Sweet with alot of fruitiness on the palate,raisin/prue to go along with alcohol dipped cherries with a decent earthy dryness and leafy hops in the finish.It's big and chewey and the drying hops seem to come more into play as I drink more,this is all of the 15% it says it is.Iam going to bed early tonight.

Photo of StonedTrippin
4.04/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

one of the best barleywines of the year. not cheap, but damn good. it pours a sticky honey color with just a finger or two of white lace on top. the nose is crazy, sweet and strong, like a homemade spirit or something, its got notes of scotch, toffee, brown sugar, and orange peel. that first thing I think of when I taste this is, wow, if gummy bears were liquid, this is what it would taste like. its sort of got that artificial fruit flavor sweetness from all the malt, but it works here, and the alcohol is just ridiculous, especially when this gets up to room temperature, its downright hot. not much hops in here that I can pick out, but a lot of big flavors competing for attention, so its probably just as well. mouthfeel is thick and gooey, not much carbonation, which makes this a slow sipper. the alcohol content makes sharing the bottle must, as does the sugar, which gets tiring. still, this is what a barleywine should be, and founders has pulled this off wonderfully.

Photo of emerge077
3.81/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

In a highball glass, this beer pours a tawny brown, frothy foam around the edges and a decent skim across the surface that lasts for awhile.

Sticky sweet, heavily malty aroma with a significant dose of dried fruit. Pretty average for the style, nothing out of the ordinary.

Flavors are smooth and malt driven, plenty of dried fruit, some apricot and sultana. Sticky sweet though not cloying. Smooth feel with a fairly well disguised abv. Medium to full body, with a light level of carbonation. Fairly straightforward barley wine, enjoyable enough, though glad I was able to pay less than retail. Happy 14th to Four Moon... here's to many more.

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 TMoney2591
3.38/5  rDev -16.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Served in an Illinois State shaker pint glass.

Fifteen great years from Founders. Cheers! This celebration pours a mostly clear auburn topped by a finger of light khaki foam. The nose comprises grapefruit zest, sweet caramel, a hint of vanilla, pine resin, and a decent dose of booze. The taste brings in more of the same, with the alcohol merging with the citrusy hops, boosting them to the heavens. The sweetness of the caramel (joined by what may or may not be a kiss of bourbon/maple) remains intact, but it's beginning to clash a bit with the boozy hops, which leave a chlorophyll-laden aftertaste that lingers for a bit. The body is a hefty medium, with a light moderate carbonation and a dry finish. Overall, a decent anniversary b-wine, but one that's clearly way too hot at the moment, and one whose overly-expressive hops kill any real sense of the barrels and of balance. It's not really all that bad, but there are plenty better barleywines out there, especially for the money.

Photo of JAHMUR
4.25/5  rDev +4.9%

Photo of nickfl
4/5  rDev -1.2%

Photo of TheManiacalOne
4.46/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

On-tap 1/8/2013 at Track 84, in Warwick, RI served in a flight glass.

A: The beer is a deep amber color, with a short off-white head that fades slowly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma contains brown sugar, bourbon, vanilla, caramelized malts, some alcohol and some hops.

T: The taste starts out very sweet with flavors of caramel, brown sugar, vanilla and bourbon. Then a significant alcohol stings quickly follows as you would expect from a beer with 15.00% ABV. The malt character is hearty and there’s a mild but complementary hops presence creating a very good balance for such strong and sweet beer. The after-taste is slightly sweet.

M: Crisp and very smooth, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is slightly sticky.

O: Very tasty, goes down dangerously easy, not too filling, very strong kick, very good representation of style, this is an excellent sipping beer to drink for as long as you can handle it.

Photo of Jason
3.75/5  rDev -7.4%

Photo of RblWthACoz
4.15/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I hope this beer kicks it up a bit after warming. As it is right now, it's somewhat one-dimensional. It's nice and smooth with good malty tones. Bit of an alcohol burn on things. Overall, it's pretty nice. Too bad I don't have another to lay down to see how it ages. Regardless, happy anniversary Founders. Here's to the next 15 years.

(And it is opening up nicely, just so ya know.)

Photo of Slatetank
4.01/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This was on tap a while back at Holy Hound in York, PA enjoyed chilled in a snifter.

The color and clarity are both great a brilliant copper/bronze shade with visible carbonation and thick cream cap of light beige with tight bead and nice lace formation. The smell is very good, but comes off very hop forward and high alcohol in the nose which is appropos to the style but not especially complex so just above average accept it has some nice hop pine scents. The feel is good well above average in that it is 15% and feels like 10% tops it has hop oiliness and high bitterness level but it is relatively dry for the style making it taste similar to a Double IPA with asservtive bite and pretty hard not to have alcohol effect the palate at the abv listed but it does a decent job of concealing with some moderate carbonation.

This tastes intense! as the name implies it does not tread lightly and it means business -lots of sharp hops with piney, peppery bite and slight caramel and nutty dry malt to underscore with lots of alcohol with some fruitiness on the palate. I really dug this and it is so fresh you can't help but wonder if the intense octane of a 15% can mellow with cellaring, but the hops are very tasty so I would not hold on to this. I enjoyed how smooth it was for there aren't many 15% beers I have liked as much as this, A great tribute to 15 years in business -keep up the good work Founders!

Photo of oline73
4.05/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I had this on-tap at the Capone's Black Friday Event. Served in a tasting snifter.

Appearance: The beer pours a clear reddish amber color with a layer of off whit head. The head fades to a ring around the glass and leaves some lacing.

Smell: Right off the bat I notice the strong alcohol burn. I'm getting an aggressive hop presence along with some dark fruit. Warm and full of citrus peel hops.

Taste: I would say that this beer could use some age. Quite bitter and very hoppy. Citrus peel hops are backed up by some sweet brown sugar, dark fruit, and maple syrup notes. The finish is very bitter. There is a hot alcohol burn throughout the whole sip.

Mouthfeel: The body is just on the syrupy side of medium with fluffy, tingly carbonation and a dry finish.

Overall: I thought this beer was too young. I think it could be fantastic in a year or two. The sweet notes were very good, but they need time to come to the front some more.

Photo of mendvicdog
3.25/5  rDev -19.8%

Photo of XmnwildX12
4/5  rDev -1.2%

Photo of russpowell
4.15/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours crimson/chestnut with 3 fingers of fluffy tan head. Insane lacing & above average head retention

S: Some pine & citrus, some boozey cakeyness as it warms

T: Brown sugar, pine in spades, a touch warming booze & woody hops up front along with dryness. Pineapple & grapefruit as this warms with a touch of cakeyness & more pine, just a hint of fruit cake there as well. Finishes with pineyness, backed up by treacle, dryness & pineapple upside down cake (like the kind they had in MREs) , plus a little booze sting

MF: Much chewyness, fairly firm carbonation, skews very hoppy

I liked this, would love to age some, but I suspect all the hoppyness would fade quickly. A sipper. Pricey, but I didn't feel cheated

Photo of MasterSki
4.17/5  rDev +3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle shared by someone at Zwanze Day. Chris I think? Served in a Zwanze glass.

A - Light off-white foam settles to wisps, a thin collar, and minimal lace. Mostly transparent amber body.

S - Maple, caramel, light vanilla, a hint of bourbon, brown sugar, some nutty notes. There's perhaps a touch of alcohol as this warms up. For an 'American' barleywine there's fairly low hop presence; there's perhaps a bit of pine mingling with the booze.

T - The taste is similar, with notes of rum cake, caramel, maple, honey-drizzled bread, and bit of oaky vanilla. Not a ton of bourbon flavor here; just nice sweet barleywine flavors that manage to avoid getting overly cloying thanks to a low but sufficient amount of hop bitterness. Alcohol is better hidden as well.

M - Some definite alcohol heat at this stage, but nothing overwhelming for 15%. Smooth texture, medium-full body, lower carbonation, and a mildly tannic finish. Perhaps a bit undersized for 15%, but still fairly big.

D - I was skeptical this would be good, but I ended up really enjoying this beer; enough so that I went out and bought a bottle. I suspect it will be excellent in 6-12 months, but it's enjoyable in small quantities right out of the gate. Congrats to Founders on 15 years!

Photo of Rifugium
4.12/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

First had: on tap at Capone's, Norristown, PA

Slightly hazy ruby-copper pour with a thick ringlet of white foam; decent retention and a bit of lacing. Aroma was sweet and malty, toffee and butterscotch, and a hint of naphtha-like booze. Taste was pretty nice, but seemed to fade after the first couple sips for some reason. More malty goodness, toffee, butterscotch, dried maraschino cherries, some boozy heat, and a markedly bitter hop finish. The toffee sweetness faded as it warmed, otherwise my taste rating would possibly step up a notch. This wasn't quite a full-bodied beer, but on the upper end of medium, fairly mellow considering it's still pretty young, but will probably be a nice sipper in a year or two.

Hence I will save my bottles until then.

Photo of DrunkinYogi
4.25/5  rDev +4.9%

Photo of drabmuh
4.07/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On tap at Churchkey DC's Founders Anniversary party with a few other founders offerings. Served in a snifter. 10 ounce pour. Beer is clear and orange-ish with a soft white head with low retention, no lacing and low carbonation. Looks fine.

Aroma is nice. Bourbon, sweet, malt. Aggressive. A little heat as well.

Beer is dry on the finish, light on the body but maintains the sweetness upfront. The bourbon and oak are lost in the palate, maybe the ABV is thinning the beer too much. Overall it is a good beer but from Founders I was expecting an amazing barrel aged experience. One of the poorer showings from their BA beers honestly. I might have it again.

Photo of beernads
4.25/5  rDev +4.9%

Photo of drewone
4.5/5  rDev +11.1%

Photo of mdfb79
4.1/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

From 11/28/12 notes. Had this on tap at the Blind Tiger VSK event in NYC. Had a sip from a friend and then an 8 oz. pour.

a - Pours an amber-clear reddish color with one inch of white head and low carbonation evident. Looks as expected.

s - Smells of bready malts, bourbon, oak, toasted malts, alcohol , caramel malts, toffee, and light vanilla. Good, but much more bready than I was expecting, and a decent amount of alcohol.

t - Tastes of bready malts, toasted malts, graham cracker, bourbon, oak, vanilla, caramel malts, dark fruits, toffee, alcohol, butterscotch, and biscuit. Again, tons of bread and toasted malts, but more dark fruit and caramel here than the nose. A small step up from the nose for me, but the alcohol is still there too.

m - Medium body and low carbonation. Pretty thick and nice body, and some alcohol heat.

o - Overall I found this to be a good BA barleywine, but not great. While it does not taste liek it is necessarily 15% ABV, it is strong and the alcohol is there. Tons of bready and toasted malts, and some nice bourbon, I have one bottle of this and will hold onto it for a year or two to see if it mellows out a little bit. Good but not as good as some of the other Founders special beers.

Photo of oriolesfan4
3.75/5  rDev -7.4%

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 InspectorBob
4/5  rDev -1.2%

Founders Bolt Cutter from Founders Brewing Company
91 out of 100 based on 1,259 ratings.