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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

1,267 Ratings
THE BROS
85
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,267
Reviews: 220
rAvg: 4.05
pDev: 12.1%
Wants: 205
Gots: 709 | FT: 76
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: 1,267 | Reviews: 220 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of bierdabbler
3.25/5  rDev -19.8%

Photo of MattyG85
4.42/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 750 ml bottle into a Surly Darkness chalice glass.

Appearance: Pours a deep and hazy copper amber orange with a moderate amount of carbonation. About one finger of off white head that recedes into a thin patchy layer. Leaves a good amount of lacing around the glass.

Smell: A big kick of sweet malts, hops, and booze. Sharp citrus hop aroma up front with hints of orange, grapefruit, pineapple, lemon, and mango. Some earthy hops and pine spice. Sweet malts with big hints of burnt caramel, toffee, biscuit, and yeast. Some brown sugar, honey, and maple syrup add to the sweetness. Barrel presence is pretty laid back with only slight hints of bourbon and vanilla. Alcohol scent is pretty noticeable as expected. A very big and good aroma.

Taste: Tastes as big and strong as it smells. Big presence of bitter and spicy hops up front. Notes of citrus grapefruit, orange, pineapple, mango, and lemon. Earthy hops and a sharp spice from pine resin. Fairly grassy. Big malt presence that adds some balancing sweetness. Notes of burnt caramel, toffee, yeast, and biscuit. Also some brown sugar and maple syrup along with a little taste of honey and vanilla. Slight taste of bourbon and wood although its pretty subtle compared to the other flavors. Alcohol heat rounds out the taste. Big and pretty good taste.

Mouthfeel: Heavy full body with a moderate amount of carbonation. Chewy, slightly syrupy, and pretty visceral. Finishes fairly dry. Lots of alcohol warmth is felt as expected.

Overall: A very good take on a American Barleywine. A slow sipper for sure and not for the faint of heart. Big hop presence that is very sharp. It will be interesting to see how this one ages.

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 whodeyvols
4.25/5  rDev +4.9%

Photo of shadytony
4.25/5  rDev +4.9%

Photo of gamanley
5/5  rDev +23.5%

Photo of Ncpogs
4.5/5  rDev +11.1%

Photo of YogiBeer
3/5  rDev -25.9%

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

750mL bottle. Pours a slightly hazy medium brown with an inch of frothy head. Lots of lacing. Aromas of booze, citrus hops, raisins, caramel and earth. The taste is malty but with a surprising amount of hops. Bitter with some caramel, dark fruits, and booze. Heavier mouthfeel. This is one of the hoppier barleywines I have had, almost like a boozier Bigfoot. Slow drinker but with over 25oz of this 15% ABV beer that's a good thing. Drinks fairly well for being so high in alcohol. Overall, well made delicious barleywine. Hope I get to have another one.

Photo of dalepryor
4.25/5  rDev +4.9%

Photo of Holmes698
4.5/5  rDev +11.1%

Photo of JAHMUR
4.25/5  rDev +4.9%

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

A: pours a clear, deep amber color with a small off-white head that quickly fades to a ring. Minimal lacing is left behind.

S: aromas are of sweet caramel, brown sugar, and mild citrus.

T: sweet tastes of caramel balanced by citrusy hops. Not quite as much hops as I was expecting, and this reminds me more of an english style barleywine than american. When cold alcohol is practically not existent, but as it warms the alcohol becomes more apparent.

M: Full mouthfeel with a perfect amount of carbonation. As the beer warms the alcohol becomes a bit too hot.

O: A very solid, very strong barleywine. I'd like to try it with some age on it and would buy it again if I ever get the chance.

Photo of brooklynbrews
4.25/5  rDev +4.9%

Photo of YogiBeerAhhh
4/5  rDev -1.2%

Photo of BEERchitect
3.95/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

When turning fifteen years old, you either go big or go home. Founders charges into triple nickle territory with this massive American barleywine with a balanced, complex, and strong palate throughout.

Much like brandy, the tawny caramel beer shows good clarity with amber and orange highlights. A swirl of the glass shows as much brandy legging as it does beery froth. Carbonation patiently layers the surface with off white creme and never brings lacing into the conversation.

A strong whiff of bourbon and caramel gather in the nose, along side of hearty-sweet notes of brown sugar, pecans, toasted almonds, and maple. Fruit character accompanies the sweet scent with cherries, apricots, grapefruit, and oranges. Pine and vegetal hop notes allow for an earthen balance to the fruit and sweetness. My mind keeps returning to notions of peanut brittle, fruitcake, and bourbon.

Equally strong, a thin syrup and honey taste satisfies the sweet tooth while a quick rebuttal of citrusy hops rise to nearly balance the sweet. Sharp hop bitterness grows alongside of the emerging alcohol to eventually control the finish over that of malt and fruit. Marmalade, peppery alcohol and cherries are the lingering taste even as the beer turns to resinous pine-like bitterness to finish.

Full bodied, however the beer shows incredible dryness, for both the good and bad. There's enough sweetness to become a carriage for carbonation that provides creamy textures early on. But the malty-dry middle palate allows the immense alcohols to dominate the finish, making the hops seem harsh and the esters tasting like children's cough syrups. Moderately fusal, you must live the sheer taste of ethanol to fully appreciate this barleywine.

With it's overall hot temperament, the beer seems "green" or under-matured. And like many other strong beers of Founders, I'm sure this anniversary ale is destined for greatness with proper cellar conditions. But right now the malt richness doesn't properly balance the fifteen percent strength, the hops are raw- as if it's trying too much to garner imperial IPA-type taste.

Photo of stxSS07
3.5/5  rDev -13.6%

Photo of drewone
4.5/5  rDev +11.1%

Photo of mctizzz
3.25/5  rDev -19.8%

Photo of Vogie
4/5  rDev -1.2%

Photo of RES
4.25/5  rDev +4.9%

Photo of zgunder
3.5/5  rDev -13.6%

Photo of
4.25/5  rDev +4.9%

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Photo of Etan
3.53/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

750ml into a snifter.

A: Nice bright amber with a decent off-white head.

S: Smells of slightly aged hops, caramel, a bit herbal, strong alcohol.

T: Bitter citrus and pine, dank earthiness, mild cidery sweetness, faint maple, palpable booze.

M: Medium-bodied, moderate carbonation.

O: Honestly, this tastes like an overly bitter, overly boozy American barleywine to me. Not much barrel character to speak of, and the hops and alcohol together give the beer a slightly astringent feel. I don't think aging this will improve it, but who knows.

Founders Bolt Cutter from Founders Brewing Company
91 out of 100 based on 1,267 ratings.