1. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  2. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

Founders Bolt Cutter - Founders Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Founders Bolt CutterFounders Bolt Cutter

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

1,174 Ratings
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,174
Reviews: 212
rAvg: 4.05
pDev: 12.35%
Wants: 188
Gots: 699 | 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:
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 added by: Thickfreakness on 11-03-2012)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Founders Bolt Cutter Alström Bros
Ratings: 1,174 | Reviews: 212 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of lovindahops

New York

4.35/5  rDev +7.4%

After being the dd for the wine and chocolate festival at the fair, I definitely deserved to open one of my two bolt cutters.

A- With an aggressive pour, bolt cutter pours a reddish amber body with a solid head of tan foam that rises to the top of my surly tulip. As the head recides, remnants of the foam drift to the edges of the glass. Strong carbonation rips through the glass

S- sweet caramel and earthy tones lead off a richened fruit presence. Some vanilla oak and slighlty sweet syrup are present in this bold barleywine

T- Very strong surge of butterscotch and fruit like candy is galvanized as the predominant characteristics from the get go. An earthy presence flows through with an extreme presence of hoppiness characterized by piney flavors. Certainly bold but masking the alcohol well throughout the tasting. Really a big sweet barleywine flavor as was hoping for

M- A little thin but still sweet and clinging to the pallet

O- I really enjoyed this as an all out flavor assault for a barleywine. I wish I could sense the bourbon that everyone mentioned but nevertheless this is a wild brew that some aging will do well. I'm looking for a few more of these. Thanks founders!

11-25-2012 04:45:21 | More by lovindahops
Photo of Greywulfken

New York

4.54/5  rDev +12.1%

A: center-pour into tulip: clear deep amber with orange highlights; slim head of tan slips away without a trace

S: chewy caramel; suggestion of candied bitter orange; warm brown sugar sweetness

T: alcohol was a little sharp up front; warming, boozy; sweet orange and coriander in a solventy pool; some malty roasted/burnt orange rind

M: at just below room temp, medium body, no real carbonation, some astringence (alcohol); slight chew up front, but then dissolves and slides quickly across the palate; boozy aftertaste - probably a good cigar beer

O: hey, look, its Founders and its a barleywine. You know you're not going to go wrong. This was an excellent barleywine, but (yes, a but) I was not stopped dead in my tracks. I've had Founders Nemesis 2010 (an American barleywine), and plenty of other b'wines - this is up there with the best barleywines, but I don't know that it clearly displaces the best of the bunch.
It is obvious that you need to buy this if you see it, and I credit those with the discipline to store this for a couple of years. It will no doubt be fantastic.

Aged really well: had one on 3/2/13 and it had already morphed into a superior beer than it started off as - more citrus notes on the tongue and nose, all the malt and hop flavors melded and mellowed; super smoothness and deliciousness.

11-25-2012 04:08:09 | More by Greywulfken
Photo of homebrew311


3.1/5  rDev -23.5%

Appearance is bright orange with minimal head. Spotty lacing present. Nose is a solvent infused Devil Dancer character, a bit of earth, tons of earthy hops, a touch of maple and vanilla. Taste is vegetal spicy character with heavy onion hop character and solventy alcohol burn. Not a big fan. Mouthfeel is heavy with mild carbonation and plenty of burn. Overall, big disappointment here. Things are out of balance and very overpriced.

11-25-2012 03:35:07 | More by homebrew311
Photo of SDG1070


4/5  rDev -1.2%

11-25-2012 02:51:06 | More by SDG1070
Photo of PDZ


4/5  rDev -1.2%

11-25-2012 02:25:35 | More by PDZ
Photo of CaptDavyJones

New York

4.25/5  rDev +4.9%

11-25-2012 02:19:47 | More by CaptDavyJones
Photo of BARFLYB


3.93/5  rDev -3%

On tap at Capone's in SEPA.

Bolt Cutter comes in a goblet with a small trim of off white bubbles up top leaving a skim of foam for a bit before fading off, no lace but some swirls bring it back. The body is a deep amber golden color that is on the bright side, not much activity after a bit.

Smell is big on caramel and toffee with some toasted malt characteristic. Bourbon and maple in the scent. Sweet and alcoholic, I can sniff it from the glass cold and warm. Not a distraction. Not well integrated yet, I can see this blooming later on becoming a sweeter scent as a nice hop presence is noted.

For 15% this can be a lot hotter than it is, the alcohol is masked but not fully so it seeps out in the taste all over. The hops come forefront bringing out some sharp pine, with a mix of bourbon and slight maple tones leading to some more sweet caramel. English in nature that will mature when the hops drop.

Body is above medium with a harshness from the hops and alcohol mix, that is not all that scorching. A hoppy barleywine now, that probably will tone down with time. Carbonation is muted but there and keeping the beer from being dead.

A pretty good barleywine that has both English and American characteristics with the Founders touch. If I find a bottle I'll see where it takes me. Right now, I could not see drinking more than 8oz's though as it's ripe.

11-25-2012 01:45:49 | More by BARFLYB
Photo of RandomBattle

New York

3.9/5  rDev -3.7%

Bottle to Founders tulip, perfect!

Appearance - pours a darkish amber and produces a nice 1 finger white soapy head. Very well carbonated.

Smell - the first of the varying aromas I got from this beer was just straight up alcohol, which is understandable given the ABV, but not exactly inviting. That asides I got a lot of hops and some sweet, malty caramel.

Taste - this is a big beer and the tastes are very evident of that. Strong hops, sweet, sticky malt, sugary caramel, and a slight alcohol burn. At the current moment in time this seems more like an American barleywine then an English style, primarily due to the strong hop presence.

Mouthfeel - for a big beer the mouthfeel was pretty much on point, asides the alcoholic twang it went down fairly easy.

Overall - I agree with everyone that said age will do this one well, I plan on sitting on the rest of my bottles for a while. Given the hype and average retail price I don't think I will be buying anymore though.

11-25-2012 00:41:11 | More by RandomBattle
Photo of tut2528


3.61/5  rDev -10.9%

thanks to sleuthdog for opening this at the tasting!

A: pours more like an Irish Red Ale, with a deep red-orange color with about a 1/2 fingers worth of head formation that is slight beige in color. This looks like an IPA. There is even some transparency.

S:There is a huge hop note, strong sweet fruit punch, bread, biscuit, alcohol burn, grass. This really isn't what i was expecting...

T: This is such a weird tasting brew, and the complexity is very straightforward. Its got a sweet caramel, with big grassy hop note, some orange-peel with a ass load of creaminess in the finish.

M: medium bodied, alcohol definitely felt on the lips along with the creaminess

O: very nice brew, and definitely grassy hop forward. definitely would be interesting to see how this develops. the most intriguing part is the huge creaminess in the the finish which allows to mask the 15%. overall, a solid brew, but not the best of the style. I honestly feel this falls in between an American BW and a English BW.

11-25-2012 00:37:41 | More by tut2528
Photo of sleuthdog


4.38/5  rDev +8.1%

Poured into snifter

Appearance: This presents as a light straw or orange color with a minimal half finger size head. Light does penetrate this when held up to the light.

Smell: Hop forward with bread and some spice. I'm getting an orange character as well. Some sweetness in the background with maybe brown sugar or molasses.

Taste: Best way I can describe this is as an orange, grassy, sweet taste. I get a big sweet caramel with some bread notes. This is one big sweet beer.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied and creamy as it coats my palate completely. Alcohol does give a slight burn as it swirls in my mouth.

Overall: I have to say this is not an english style barleywine but rather more an american style barleywine. I really did enjoy this but this is going in knowing not to expect an english style.

11-25-2012 00:31:42 | More by sleuthdog
Photo of Phacoman


4.5/5  rDev +11.1%

11-24-2012 22:49:17 | More by Phacoman


3/5  rDev -25.9%

11-24-2012 22:10:57 | More by IMSPEAKNOENGLISH
Photo of Soneast


3.5/5  rDev -13.6%

11-24-2012 22:10:34 | More by Soneast
Photo of daleyke


4.5/5  rDev +11.1%

11-24-2012 19:20:48 | More by daleyke
Photo of tdmccarthy


4.25/5  rDev +4.9%

11-24-2012 19:03:09 | More by tdmccarthy
Photo of rydev24


4.5/5  rDev +11.1%

11-24-2012 15:53:41 | More by rydev24
Photo of Rhettroactive

District of Columbia

3.25/5  rDev -19.8%

11-24-2012 13:32:56 | More by Rhettroactive
Photo of Stumpy29er

New York

3.75/5  rDev -7.4%

11-24-2012 04:56:37 | More by Stumpy29er
Photo of BrokenStones

New Jersey

4.25/5  rDev +4.9%

11-24-2012 04:13:56 | More by BrokenStones
Photo of HamGlade10


4.75/5  rDev +17.3%

11-24-2012 04:06:34 | More by HamGlade10
Photo of Beeradelphia


4.5/5  rDev +11.1%

11-24-2012 03:35:05 | More by Beeradelphia
Photo of rjacobs6


4.25/5  rDev +4.9%

11-24-2012 03:12:39 | More by rjacobs6
Photo of oline73


4.05/5  rDev 0%

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.

11-24-2012 02:47:41 | More by oline73
Photo of imperialking


4/5  rDev -1.2%

11-24-2012 02:39:33 | More by imperialking
Photo of Paul3371


4/5  rDev -1.2%

11-24-2012 01:44:21 | More by Paul3371
Founders Bolt Cutter from Founders Brewing Company
91 out of 100 based on 1,174 ratings.