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: 212
Gots: 708 | 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: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,293 | Reviews: 227
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 millertime416
4.01/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

To start off, this is a very very good American barleywine, maybe even great. The aroma is almost all hops: pineapple, citrus, even a little bit of pine. But still has a very strong malt presence. Flavor is along these lines, nice balance between hops and malt with a good level of bitterness. The alcohol is well hidden, maybe too well. Founders was right, this is definitely ready to drink now; though, I don't think age will hurt it at all.

The problem with this beer is that it purports to be a partially "maple syrup bourbon barrel aged" barleywine, and yet the barrel is completely absent. I detect almost no bourbon, barrel nor maple syrup of any sort in this beer. I drank this through many temperatures (fridge to room temp), and still cannot find any barrel. Maybe I drink too many bourbon barrel aged beers to detect it, but this does not at all drink like a barrel aged beer. If you were looking for a bourbon barrel aged barleywine along the lines of King Henry or Abacus, look again. While I acknowledge that I might be giving this a lower rating because it was marketed as a barrel aged barleywine, I would probably consider this to be better than most, if not all, the other non-barrel-aged american barleywines I have had.

Photo of thecheapies
3.62/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.75

Pours a warm red-orange color with a thin collar of manila foam. Looks quaint in the Church Brew Works taster tulip.

Weird soapy yeasty aroma that caught me by surprise. Light caramel, hint of woodiness, and citrusy hops. Very mellow. Not a good start.

Woah. Grapefruit hops, barrel wood, whiskey notes, and the mildest of caramel notes. Of course, I forgot a big solvent-y booze note that I'm not fond of. Not very sweet, but it is decently medicinal. Hints of stone fruits, but I think that's hop-related, too.

Tuned-up way too high. Booze-forward, majorly. Body is pretty thin for the style, too. Not a good feel.

What a disappointing beer! I'm never this harsh on Founders, but c'mon! A slightly above-average American Barleywine, at best.

Photo of jvillefan
4.62/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

A: A deep orange/yellow/amber color the an ivory white head that disappeared quickly.

S: Suprisingly, there was a lot of hop character present in this beer. There was subtle toffee in the background.

T: Bitter on the front end and the back end. The middle is composed of rich caramel and toffee.

M: Very heavy with great carbonation which was a pleasant surprise given that it was a 15% beer.

O: One of the best barleywines I've had. It is up there with King Henry, Mother of All Storms, and Abacus.

Photo of SLeffler27
4.41/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Fills a snifter with a translucent copper that radiates light, while thin fine white foam drifts above. A nice webbing of lace coats the glass, building rings with each sip, while the head itself slowly diminishes throughout the session.

Fresh hop citrus reaches out from the glass, drawing one into a sweet lusciousness, without betraying the floral freshness. Some caramel and some pine sap are also detected. Somewhat between the hoppy American, and the Malty English styles. Warms to reveal some of the ABV, while retaining the fresh aromas of earlier.

Follows the nose, with the bitterness expected from and American style, emphasizing tangerine, but allowing the dark dried fruits to play against the bitterness. Some toasted qualities too. Sweetness is in check, but still more than anticipated form the American version. Warms well, as a sipping beer should, accentuating the nuances of the flavor profile, rather than adding to it. The finish is unusual in a pleasant way. Lingering and not subtle, but not overbearing either.

Full body and smooth. Alcohol is a primary component, yet less than one might infer from 15% abv. Prickly carbonation and a tad syrupy.

An excellent sipping beer to enjoy while conversing in a light hearted manner, as loving eyes peer deeply back into ones soul. I enjoyed this after a meatloaf benedict with béarnaise sauce, on a bitterly cold sunny afternoon, in the “city.”

Photo of mfavoino
3.33/5  rDev -17.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

750 ml bottle shared with Treebs.

A: Bright ruby color with a small head that retained well. Sticky lacing along the sides of the glass.

S: Some pine and citrus hops on the nose. Booze definitely comes through in the nose and is dominant.

T: Initially I got some piney hop flavors, candied sugar and caramel malts, but then the booze just took over. Hot and detracted from the rest of the beer. I had to ask my buddy if this was a barrel aged beer because I wasn't getting any of the barrel that I would expect.

M: Medium body, syrupy, and too much booze heat.

O: The booze took away from a lot of potential. I'm not even sure I would characterize this as a barleywine.

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 CharlatanSin
4.15/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Bought a bottle in back in NYC for...a lot. My first Founders 750ml.

The beer pours into a tulip with not much head, which collapses into a ring and eventually disappears altogether. The color is a vibrant amber red with a little bit of haze. The aroma is very sweet. Kind of like a cherry cough candy. It smells more identifiably like sweet malt as the beer warms.

A really powerful taste. There's a lot of booze, especially on the finish, which I like in my barleywines. There's some hops, but not as prominent as in, say, Bigfoot or Old Guardian. Plenty of sweet malt and charred brown sugar. Pretty much dead on for what I'd expect from an American barleywine. The mouthfeel is surprisingly slick for a brew this high in ABV, with very low carbonation.

This beer is a heck of a sipper. A really nice example of what I'd like in an American barleywine -- more intense than an English version, but less hop-forward than a lot of other examples of the style. Well done as usual, Founders.

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

I'm revisiting this beer 2.5 years after originally rating it a solid 4. The time in the cellar has rendered this a masterpiece - everything is in perfect balance now, the hops are toned down but there is still a faint bitterness in the finish counterbalancing the massive notes of toffee and brown sugar. Secondary components of oak and whiskey deepen the experience.

I'm a barleywine fanatic and have had many of the world's best at this point. Properly cellared Bolt Cutter is up there near the top of the food chain now. Maybe not that god tier echelon, but close. Wish I had more of these and hadn't drank or traded the half dozen or so I had so early in the game.

Photo of portia99
3.97/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

750ml bottle received in trade with Speedwayjim poured into a Founders CBS snifter.

A - Pours a glowing, brilliant amber orange color with medium clarity and a finger of frothy tan head that dies slowly over a minute or so leaving rings of lacing on the glass.

S - Bourbon, butter, vanilla, toffee, sweet malt, mild citrus hop presence. The buttery and toffee aromas blossom as the beer warms and take over.

T - Alcohol/boozy up front, some citrusy hops, mild/mid hop bitterness. Caramel and some sugary malt flavors, some brown sugar. Touch of astringency, some fruity esters. A dry, biscuity, maybe a touch nutty finish with hints of roasty malts.

M - This gives a huge tingle on the lips and tongue from the healthy dose of bourbony booze found in here. From beginning to end it is there reminding me that this is indeed a 15% beer. Body is quite full and a bit sticky. Carbonation is low/medium and fits well here. Bourbon gives a bit of a warmth on each sip.

O - Balanced and more bitter/hoppy than many/most barleywines. Not as hop forward as Big Foot, but it is missing a lot of the rich malty depth typically found in the style. Rather boozy all around...keeps this towards the sipper side of the scale...tingly and warming on each sip.

Photo of zac16125
4.09/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4

750mL bottle into a small snifter

This beer hit the market and was hot shit, 2 months later its getting killed on reviews and the BA forums. I was excited to get a hold of a bottle to try for myself.

A: Pours a very dark amber with some reddish hues when held to light. One fingers width of very light tan colored head dissipates down at a fairly quick rate. Leaves a good amount of spotty lacing.

S: Smells sweet, but like a hoppy citrus sweetness. There is a rather non-descript sugary sweetness, a melon character that is rather unique to the barleywine style, some faint hints of bourbon and vanilla-oak from the barrel, and some booze. Its unique, but I like.

T: Hops and burnt sugary sweetness are the first tastes I notice. Initially it is very reminiscent of DFH 120 Minute. Then some other notes come out including caramel and toffee, with bourbon and booze on the finish. There is some hop bitterness on the finish too. Im not sure where all the cloying sweetness comments are coming from, this beer isnt even on the higher end of the sweet spectrum in my opinion. It actually reminds me a lot of DFH 120 (although I may be biased as this was suggested to me by someone before I even tried it) with the addition of bourbon barrel notes. I love 120min, but I dont particularly like how the bourbon characters mesh with the flavor profile of the base beer here. I like the taste a lot, but Im deducting points for the aftertaste which is a bit odd at times.

M/D: This beer has an absolutely delightful mouthfeel. Full bodied, manages to stay away from becoming syrupy, a decently heavy carbonation, and a very smooth mouthfeel. The drinkability on this thing is dangerous. Great in this aspect. 4

O: Overall, this one kind of put me through a roller coaster of beer-motions. Im a whore for big boozy beers, and this is certainly one of those. I also think it has a great mouthfeel and drinkability, and I appreciate the unique qualities... BUT I just dont think barrel aging did this one much good. I love BBA beers, but barrel aging doesnt go with everything. I would be interested to try this just as a base beer. Either way, I did thoroughly enough this and highly recommend it to anyone who loves big boozy beers. This certainly isnt for everyone though.

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.

Photo of BMMillsy
4.06/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Pours a beautiful amber red with very small head. Smells like caramel toffee sweet lollipop candy. A hint of citrus. Tastes like candy with booze. What I expect from an American style barleywine. Alcohol burn on the tongue. Sweet candy brown sugar and maple. Mellow flavor overall though, and not too cloying. Thick mouthfeel and very oily. Definitely gotta be in a drinking mood. Pretty intense.

I'm not sure I understand the hate with this one. It seems like people were coming into this thinking it would be like King Henry or Sucaba with some extra maple. This is a completely different style of barleywine from those, and I found it to be rather well done. While I would have liked a bit more from the barrels, this was a fun beer.

Photo of KFBR392
3.84/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Appearance: Bright red color with brown accents. Thin head on the pour with maintained slightly throughout, very pleasant lacing on glass as beer was drank. I would describe the look of this beer as aggressive, violent in a very wonderful way.

Smell: A crazy bright sweetness going on here. A potent combination of malt and toffee/caramel. Makes your mouth water in anticipation for what this beer could bring. The high alcohol content plays a role here but it is more of an undertone during the aroma.

Taste: The front of this beer is a very strong start. A pleasant sweetness hits right away and got me excited for what else was coming. But unfortunately, the malty sweetness gets overrun by the high booze content in this beer. Where an elite barley wine would take off, this beer lacks a solid body. Needs more of a hop, caramel, malt, molasses attack in the body. Instead the body thins out and slowly fades away into a alcohol sting. There is some hop presence in the finish but bring a sourness more then anything else.

Mouthfeel: A pleasant smoothness for how high the alcohol content is. The active presence of the malt is here, a high lacing covers the palette. A little thin but overall pretty good.

Overall: I had huge expectations for this beer. I love Founders and barley wine ales, so naturally I fell in love with the idea of this beer. I waited and waited and it didn't live up to the hype I created for it. You have to give credit for Founders going for it all here though. 15% ABV is high even for a barley wine. I appreciate what they were able to do here with their 15th Anniversary beer but overall I was a little disappointed.

Photo of mjtiernan
3.48/5  rDev -14.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

750ml bottle poured into an oversized snifter.

A: Ruby red with some shades of brown haze. Small cap of foam that disappeared quickly leaving just a ring around the edge. Significant alcohol legs.

S: Big aroma! Malty sweetness, some boozy alcohol, and a solid dose of pine/citrus hops.

T: Big flavor too! Super sweet, lots of oak, pretty boozy and a high dose of hop bitterness for a BA barleywine.

M: Thick and syrupy. Too sweet and boozy to be drinkable. Some alcohol burn in the finish.

O: Not enjoying this. The hops characteristics remind me of FFF Behemoth but overall it’s not nearly as good.

Photo of Arbitrator
2.73/5  rDev -32.6%
look: 3.25 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3

My allergies were acting up last night; my eyes felt inflamed and itchy, my vision blurred. From across the room, I spotted what appeared to be Goatse on a bottle label. Goatse?!?! Did White Birch make a non-ironic beer for once? I listened to the weirdos watching the Niners game and sidled over to the bottle. Oh... huh. My vision really is bad today. It's a bolt cutter. FOUNDERS!? Sweet. I love Founders. Thanks, Jason.

A: Pours a crystal clear copper-orange body with a half-pinky finger of tan head. Seems nice.

S: Boozy, raisiny caramel, brown sugar. Oxidized hops and vanilla. Not much in the way of bourbon or oak.

T: Bolt Cutter? More like Sweet Fucker. Brown sugar, caramel, toffee, even a touch of maple. Vanilla -- and there's the bourbon, a little more present on the taste than in the nose. Oak presents a light astringency in the finish. It's not enough to cut the sweetness. Nor are the hops; they have a stale, oxidized earthiness and melon flavor. Really... odd.

M: It's harsh; the one-two combination of booze and slight sugary burn are irritating to the palate. It's not super-syrupy, but it's on the sweet end and is cloying in some sips. The carbonation doesn't offset said sweetness enough.

O: I might be a little more lenient on this one considering it's Founders... Or maybe I'm being harsher because I initially thought it was a Goatse beer. Whatever the case, I'm glad I don't have a bottle.

Photo of Jwale73
4.06/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On-tap at Track 84. Served in an SN Beercamp taster. Pours the color of maple syrup with a slightly hazy clarity and a loose, off-white head. Nose expresses raisins, prunes, a medium malt profile and candied demerara sugar. Taste follows nose with a slight residual alcohol bite at the finish. Mouthfeel is medium-light in body with a slightly oily texture and an even carbonation. Overall, a good American Barleywine, but not worthy of the hype and the price point. I'd like to see what 3-5 years in the cellar does to this beer. That said, this brew does not drink like a 15% abv beer.

Photo of DocJitsu
3.52/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a vibrant, clear, golden amber color, with a small, short-lived light tan colored head. Aromas consist of sorghum and boiling barley wort. There's a candied presence on the nose as well. A bit of alcohol wafts off the top of the glass. The mouthfeel is chewy, a bit oily, and has a slight carbonation scrub on the back of the tongue. The carbonation burns a little more when the alcohol emerges. Sorghum and toffee flavors up front, but the alcohol bitters the flavor too quickly and continues to invade the palate after the finish. The alcohol is just too much. I'm really quite disappointed.

Photo of Bendurgin
3.8/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Poured into a tulip. This one pours a slightly muddy copper rust color with some golden hues and a nice cap of beige head.

The aroma has a nice grassy hop blanket with some boozy caramel notes and dark fruits like raisins. The pallet is a bit of the sweet side. Vanilla and raisins with brown sugar and some notes of grassy hops on the background.

The body is full and with good carbonation. Overall this one is enjoyable but a bit pricey. I just assume grab Bigfoot or something to that nature.

Photo of andrewinski1
3.75/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to Bendurgin for sharing this deliciousness! Poured into a tulip. The color is dark straw with a bit of haze. There is a nice half inch fluffy head.

The aroma is hoppy, with fruity notes of pineapple. There is a nice dose of vanilla here also.

The taste starts out mildly malty with some wood notes and vanilla. There is a fruity hoppy finish with notes of mint.

This is full bodied, with a fluffy white head. This is tasty.

Photo of thagr81us
3.76/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Big thanks goes out to beeruser and funkydelic for sharing this one at a recent Random Sunday Tasting! Served from bottle into a Mikkeller taster flute. Poured red-orange with a minimal off-white head. Maintained decent lacing throughout the glass. The aroma was comprised of sweet malt, caramel, caramel hop, wood, sweet alcohol, and fruit. The flavor was of sweet malt, caramel, sweet alcohol, wood, and dark fruit. It had a light feel on the palate with medium-high carbonation. Overall this was a pretty good brew. I went into this one after hearing all of the hype and was really hoping that it would knock my socks off as far as the style goes. However, I found most aspects of this one to only be decent throughout. The flavor did bring a little more to the party as it was rather smooth and well balanced, but did leave something to be desired. Just a little more going on in this one would have really done it some good based on my opinion of the style. Definitely worth your time to try to get this one if you have the ammo to do so.

Photo of jegross2
2.3/5  rDev -43.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.25

Reviewing the Bolt Cutter from Founders Brewing Company out of Grand Rapids, Michigan. This American-style barleywine was brewed in honor of Founders' 15th anniversary, and is a blend of the base beer unaged, aged in maple syrup barrels and aged in bourbon barrels.
Score: 40

November 2012 vintage bottle served in a Surly Darkness snifter and enjoyed on 01/11/13.

Appearance: Pours a bourbon color with a finger and a half of seafoam colored seafoam-like head that slowly settles to a thin layer. Awesome lacing ad retention. 4.5/5

Smell: Boozy caramel, an earthy spiciness, stale hops and tons of sweet, bready malt. Brown sugar, maple and light lemon too. 2/5

Taste: Tastes like a boozy, bready malt-forward stale IPA with a maple character and light spiciness. Another reviewer likened this to barrel aged Devil Dancer -- spot on! There is some caramel too. This beer is almost undrinkable, and this is only 2 months old. This beer was much tastier, albeit still disappointing, fresh, but even then it was nothing special. It has since fallen off entirely, and collapsed into a sweet malt bomb of a mess. 2/5

Mouthfeel: Full bodied, minimal carbonation. Malty sweet and juicy. 3/5

Overall: Founders beers are very rarely duds, but this one is an imperial stinker. When I had this beer fresh the night before FOBAB, it reminded me of a less-hoppy New Glarus Thumbprint Barleywine with a little maple mixed in. Tasty, but certainly not worth the hype. Just under two months later, it's fallen off a cliff, the hops have become completely stale, and the boozy malt has taken over entirely. Considering that this bottle sat in my fridge for the duration of its "shelf life," and considering it was not even "stored" for two months, I doubt my experience had anything to do with storage conditions (though if Founders' maple aging program has taught us anything, this may be the byproduct of bottle variation). If you have not opened your bottles yet, I advise you sit on them longer -- this beer cannot get much worse and time can only serve to mellow out the booziness.

Recommendation: Avoid this one, though I presume this advice comes too little too late.

Pairings: The sink drain.

Cost: $25 for a 750 ml bottle.

Photo of bobhits
3.2/5  rDev -21%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Pours a dense protein and yeast infused body with dark ruby and orange coloring. Given a good forced pour it produces a nice inch or so of head in my founder snifter, but it doesn't last or provide lacing. There are some huge alcohol legs that show what is left of the carbonation. Given the alcohol none of this is surprising.

Given the size of this beer the aroma is a bit subtle. There's a tone of caramel sugars with nice American hop aromas (I get a stone like centennial (SP?) hope aroma though there's something else that leads me to believe I might be off on this or there's another hop I should be picking up). Finishing out there's a good bit of sweet sugars with vanilla notes that are coming from the oak aging. I don't get straight bourbon here, but the oak and vanilla are there.

Deep caramel malt is accented by vanilla notes from oak aging. Bolt Cutter mixes the sugary flavor with a nice bit of a bittering hops and a hint of an alcohol finish. Given the 15% abv. there is far less of a bite from alcohol than I had expected. Founders has for some reason decided that anything in a 750 ml should be as sweet and sugary as possible. This one is a lot less over the top than their others (fake sugar infused hazel nut coffee, maple syrup mixed in coffee and bourbon, over the top sugary barely wine aged in sugar infused maple barrels, or a super sugary fruit beer), but make no mistake this is a sugary sweet beer. While there is a good effort to balance the beer with hops it doesn't make it there. This beer is much like their standard barley wine with oak and vanilla added in.

I'm not sure how to score this. 15% is rather subtle. The carbonation is very good for the alcohol levels and there's still a bit of an alcohol bite left here. This beer is not overly dense or thick so don't expect the thick syrupy smooth mouth feel of some of the great English Barely Wines (JW Lee I'm talking about you). The final verdict is this is good, but not great in this regard.

Bolt Cutter comes in at nearly 23 a bottle here in Kentucky after tax. I have a bottle to age and see if this one ages well (what 3-5 years? Really let me know how long I should age this one, PM me darn it!). Ultimately this is very good beer, but it is sold in the wrong format (nobody needs 750 ml of this and it is hard to review with company) and it never really mixes into a full beer. There's too much sugar to go with the bite. It isn't clean flavored and it is so freaking big. This beer just doesn't come together in the end. Don't get me wrong, this isn't bad, it isn't something to be insulted, but it isn't worth the money and if I didn't have another bottle I'd not even consider buying it again.

Photo of smakawhat
3.95/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

Poured from the bottle into a snifter glass.

Pours out of the bottle like golden caramel, hits and makes a simple one finger head, very creamy and thick, perhaps off tan in color, a very light beige. Body color is a real nice peach orange and hints of red, with very slow rising carbonation coming up, and crystal clear. The beer is really good looking.

Nose is a bit simple and strange all at once. A fascinating mix of over-ripe melon, slightly acidic and sour, with a hint of caramel like sweetness malt in the background. Not bad but and odd sense, some sour and light vinegar comes out a bit.

Palate hits with a big rush. Thick caramel malt matching the nose of this strange large melon character. Quite large, but also sort of odd in a way. The body has a little tongue playful carbonation up front, but is quickly subdued by the malt thickness. Sweetness comes out a little bit more with warmth.

Overall it's fairly interesting and fun, but not the greatest tasting barleywine I've had and it's over ripe sour fruit angle is sort of bizarre. Luckily drinks well at such a high abv, but I wouldn't pay a lot of money for this.

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