Founders Bolt Cutter - Founders Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Founders Bolt CutterFounders Bolt Cutter

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BA SCORE
91
outstanding

1,237 Ratings
THE BROS
85
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,237
Reviews: 216
rAvg: 4.05
pDev: 12.35%
Wants: 198
Gots: 711 | 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:
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 added by: Thickfreakness on 11-03-2012)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,237 | Reviews: 216 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of hopswap1
4.25/5  rDev +4.9%

Photo of DocJitsu
3.46/5  rDev -14.6%
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 MordorMongo
2.75/5  rDev -32.1%

Photo of ROBSTARR
4.75/5  rDev +17.3%

Photo of megamass
4.25/5  rDev +4.9%

Photo of outoffocus
4.5/5  rDev +11.1%

Photo of CheapBeerBuzz
4/5  rDev -1.2%

Photo of westcoastbeerlvr
2.75/5  rDev -32.1%

Photo of Bendurgin
3.76/5  rDev -7.2%
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 sabitu
4.25/5  rDev +4.9%

Photo of thagr81us
3.78/5  rDev -6.7%
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
2.28/5  rDev -43.7%
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
3.15/5  rDev -22.2%
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 kevflaherty
4.25/5  rDev +4.9%

Photo of aorloski
4/5  rDev -1.2%

Photo of doc17325
4.25/5  rDev +4.9%

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.

Photo of wells9uk
5/5  rDev +23.5%

Photo of BlissJunkie
4.5/5  rDev +11.1%

Photo of mikediesel124
4.25/5  rDev +4.9%

Photo of chippo33
4/5  rDev -1.2%

Photo of TheBrewo
3.95/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

We pour a brew of deep, yet bright golden orange. It holds a one and a half finger head of massive, soapy-looking tan bubbles, showing okay retention, and decent reproducibility. Vestiges of this sit in aggregates to one side of glass, with spots of lacing dripping down the sides. There is a definite haze, and swirls of sediment run through the liquid. Carbonation appears light. The nose initially gives deep caramel malts, hot booze, and brushes of lemony, citric hops. Bubblegum esters add sweetness, as does sticky toffee, warm bourbon, and faint maple syrup sugars. Vanilla, musky woodiness, and dirty, muddy mineral come out with warmth. Our first impression is that the beer is nicely flavored, the various barreling efforts are each visible, and the booze is massive. As we sip, raw honey sweetness, burnt caramel malts, fusel vodka booze, and dried maple candies start things off. We move to the peak with salty caramel, citric hoppy freshness, warm oakiness, medicinal phenols, more hollow fusels, and the sweetened cloying bite of warmed maple sugar. The finish wash is of thick buttery grain, caramel sweetness, insanely bittering wood, and more fumes of that fusel booze. The aftertaste breathes of fiery peppery booze, bittering citric hops, biting woodiness, raw plastic phenols, maple sweetness, caramel sweetness, and mineral. The body is full, and the carbonation is light to medium. There is wild stickiness to the feel, with the lips and tongue left coated with sugary smack. There is nice slurp, pop, cream, and froth, and the mouth is satisfyingly coated and warmed. The booze and wood both add eventual dryness, but not to the point of puckered astringency. The abv is huge, and the beer drinks accordingly as a definite, slow sipper.

Overall, what we liked most about this beer was how the beer is very much like it is described, and the soft, sticky mouthfeel. As this beer is a blend we were worried that the mix would get overly complex, and that the maple and wood would get lost. This was very much to the contrary, as the sweetness was there, while the wood was present, almost overly so. The latter gave a strong bittering pucker of flavor to the finish and aftertaste that wasn’t quite balanced out. The nose was nice, and in the same vein, while the feel was great, and greatly contributory to the experience. This is a nice beer, but a bit hot, and in need of perhaps a little more age.

Photo of avalon07
4.38/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

A: Poured from a growler to a pint glass. Had a copper color and a clear consistency. There was a small amount of foamy head that quickly dissipated. Fair lacing.

S: A big aroma of hops, caramel, and malt.

T: Tasted of hops (a lot of hops, as you would expect), caramel, malt, and a fruity quality. The booziness of the beer, in spite of the high ABV& isn't an issue. This is a complex, assertive, powerful flavor.

M: A well-carbonated beer with a sharp finish. Full-bodied.

O: Certainly not a session beer, this one is an aggressive beast, but well made and drinkable.

Photo of stevec32
4/5  rDev -1.2%

Founders Bolt Cutter from Founders Brewing Company
91 out of 100 based on 1,237 ratings.