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Founders Bolt Cutter - Founders Brewing Company

Founders Bolt CutterFounders Bolt Cutter

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
91
outstanding

1,042 Ratings
THE BROS
85
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1042
Reviews: 199
rAvg: 4.05
pDev: 12.59%


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:  Latest | High | Low | Top Reviewers | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Founders Bolt Cutter Alström Bros
Ratings: 1,042 | Reviews: 199 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of SLeffler27
SLeffler27

New York

4.39/5  rDev +8.4%
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.”

Serving type: on-tap

01-26-2013 20:38:46 | More by SLeffler27
Photo of brystmar
brystmar

Texas

3.93/5  rDev -3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On tap at Blind Tiger for VSK.

Lots of sweetness as caramely booze dominates the nose and seeps onto palate as well. Tastes like they liquified those little rectangular caramels you see wrapped in clear plastic at the grocery store. Pretty boozy from start to finish, even for a barleywine.

I liked this more than some of my peers did, but even still, my 4oz pour was more than enough. This has potential to shine very brightly in few years, hope to try it again with some age on it.

Serving type: on-tap

11-30-2012 16:29:17 | More by brystmar
Photo of axeman9182
axeman9182

New Jersey

3.53/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

10 oz pour in a wine glass at Barcade for their Founders blowout.

Bolt Cutter pours a murky amber, with no visibility through to the other side of the glass. What flimsy bits of foam that are actually present disappear quickly. The nose has some mice malt and barrel components, with aromas of caramel, maple, and brown sugar all commingling. A little bit of a pine hop note shines through as well. While the bourbon is a little more present in the flavor profile, I have to say it's still remarkably smooth for being a 15% beer. Besides, the maple, caramel, and brown sugar all still trump the booziness in terms of intensity. Right at the end though a brash bitterness and a flash of piney hops crash the party. It just doesn't fit, it's akin to a harsh, jangling chord ringing out against an otherwise nice piece of music. The carbonation is nicely muted, but the body is noticeably syrupy, just a bit too much. As is, Bolt Cutter is an alright beer (though not up to Founders' usual standards). I think some time to let the out of place dry hop portion that was shoehorned into the blend mellow will do it some good though.

Serving type: on-tap

11-29-2012 21:59:00 | More by axeman9182
Photo of Axnjxn
Axnjxn

North Carolina

3.98/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

750 ml capped bottle into a tulip.

pours a dark hazy Orange with a slight head. smell is huge on booze and raisins. taste is very sweet and boozy. lots of dark fruits in this one...raisins, figs. full bodied for sure. sipper. low carbonation. ABV apparent.

overall good barleywine. would have benefited from barrel aging.

Serving type: bottle

02-16-2014 03:08:29 | More by Axnjxn
Photo of WillCarrera
WillCarrera

Ohio

3.68/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On-tap at Churchkey in DC, poured into a snifter.

A- Pours a dark amber color with a finger of khaki head, leaves some nice lacing.

S- Big aroma of toffee, vanilla and bourbon, as well as some pineapple and juicy hops. Very boozy.

T- The flavor is very sweet at first with lots of toffee, vanilla, bourbon and maple syrup. Towards the finish some juicy, tropical hops produce a moderate bitterness. Lots of booze, which lend a lot of fruitiness but also just a lot of heat. Barrel notes are difficult to detect besides mild hints of vanilla and bourbon, not as much in that department as I would have hoped.

M- Medium-bodied, has a thick, slightly sticky feel. Considerable amount of alcoholic warmth on the end.

O- This is a solid barleywine, but I think Founders could have done better, it's pretty boozy and fruity without a really interesting barrel quality to keep it interesting, it's just a bit disjointed, I understand the whole 15% for their 15th anniversary idea, but it wasn't necessary.

Serving type: on-tap

11-19-2012 03:14:38 | More by WillCarrera
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CloudStrife

New York

4.33/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750ml bottle poured into a snifter. For my good friend Tim Villard, may this bolt cutter open up the gates of heaven for you.

A: Pours a clear copper brown with a dense off white head. Hard to see any visible carbonation, either very small bubbles or none at all. Laces the sides of the glass nicely.

S: For being bottled around a year ago, the malts smell like they are still in the fermentation tank. Neither bready nor fruity, but still a serious malting. Hops are present with a hint in the background. Bourbon and maple syrup arent very distinguishable but do add a sweet oaky aroma.

T: Fantastic barley wine flavor with a compliment of oak. Real nice blend of malt and hops that really shines with its complexity. Very balanced mix of the bourbon and maple barrels that dont overwhelm but instead add depth. Touch of sweetness in the finish, lingering malt aftertaste.

M: The beer hits the tongue with a creamy full body that has low carbonation. Finish leaves some stickiness as expected with the flavors this beer holds. Alcohol has settled down a good deal since I had it last year. Certainly something you want to sip on.

Overall a very well constructed brew that I feel is under-appreciated. Sure it has bourbon barrels and maple barrels and those flavors dont overwhelm your senses. Instead it is about a smooth complex blend that is; easy drinking yet serious, mild yet complex and strong but tame. Glad I set down this bottle, again Rest In Peace my good friend Tim Villard who thoroughly enjoyed strong barleywines.

Serving type: bottle

09-30-2013 22:47:28 | More by CloudStrife
Photo of yeahnatenelson
yeahnatenelson

Illinois

2.08/5  rDev -48.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 1.5

It's been a while since I've bothered to review, but this one seemed worth my time...

Appearance -- Bright orange with high clarity and a quarter-inch sudsy white head. Its appearance in the glass is more akin to a DIPA.

Aroma -- WHOA hops. Resinous hop dankness with overtones of tangerine and stone fruit, along with a base of caramel malt sweetness. DIPA?

Taste -- Again, VERY hoppy, akin to Devil Dancer. In fact, I'd swear this WAS Devil Dancer if it weren't so much sweeter and boozier. Assertively hoppy, but very focused in aromatics and flavor, and not enough in bitterness. Lots of simple caramel malt sweetness that, instead of lending balance to the massive hop presence, tends to make the flavor profile messier. As far as barrel character, there's really none to be found. Maybe underneath all of those hops somewhere, or maybe it's adding to the saccharine malt sweetness? Simple

Mouthfeel -- Fuller-bodied with firm carbonation. Too much carbonation for the style, but like everything else with this beer, it fits more snugly in the American Double/Imperial IPA category.

Overall -- This is my first real letdown from Founders. I consider them to be one of the best breweries in the business, but this falls way short. This is essentially Imperial Devil Dancer with a touch of maple. Really lacking in depth or the bones to make me believe this will benefit at all with age, in my super-duper humble opinion. Your mileage may vary, of course, since I don't like vintage 120 Minute, Double Crooked Tree or Devil Dancer. Maybe those are your bag?

Looking for a nuanced, complex barrel-aged barleywine with personality? LOOK ELSEWHERE.

Serving type: bottle

11-25-2012 19:00:00 | More by yeahnatenelson
Photo of yamar68
yamar68

Minnesota

4.28/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pretty mellow looking, boozy beer - burnt copper body topped with a slight half finger of pale khaki head that recedes after a few seconds... a thin collar retains pretty well and produces some oily booze legs.

Interesting... incredibly dynamic smelling beer but very smooth, oaky vanilla, citrus peel, some faint booze warmth, sweet syrupy malt character, surprisingly tame to the nose. Blossoms with some warmth... some dessert candies and sweet dark fruit comes to the forefront.

A lot more happening in the taste... sharp bourbon notes, that same vanilla oak, honey, pineapple and other tropical fruit, some caramel and leather... not so apparent though, certain aspects of the beer are overshadowed by the booze bill which I think makes it an excellent candidate for the cellar. As the beer nears room temperature, the beer really ties itself together. Booze translates to bitter juicy fruits, pineapple... balanced.

Dry, bitter, sake type finish is actually pretty enjoyable. Mouthfeel is spot-on, not too oily and not too thin.

Great stuff.

Serving type: bottle

11-21-2012 03:20:48 | More by yamar68
Photo of mrfrancis
mrfrancis

Kentucky

3.73/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

A: Pours a dark gold with a thin, creamy white head. Head retention is surprisingly good, though only a minimal amount of lace is present in the glass.

S: Aromas of almonds, nougat, herbs, grass, pine, juniper, toffee, caramel, vanilla, biscuits, and peppery, prickly alcohol are present on the nose.

T: Complex notes of fresh bread, caramel, biscuit, toffee, maple syrup, brown sugar, toasted almonds, nougat, vanilla bean, and butterscotch are balanced by intense flavors of lemon, lime, herbs, grass, juniper berry, pine, and pepper. The finish is fiery and intense with resinous hop and bready malt notes overwhelmed by a pungent surge of alcohol.

M: Full-bodied and sticky. Carbonation is delicate and restrained. Alcohol presence is incredibly intense. This beer must be sipped very slowly.

O: This is a solid barleywine, but it is a bit harsh and over-the-top. If the alcohol presence were reigned in a bit, this would be much more likable and easier to drink, but as is, it's a bit rough around the edges. Not a bad example of the style by any stretch, but also not Founders' most refined effort either. Worth trying at least once.

Serving type: on-tap

06-10-2013 18:07:02 | More by mrfrancis
Photo of BlurryVisi0n
BlurryVisi0n

New York

3.98/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Served in a 50cl (17oz.) snifter glass.

Appearance: Right off the bat it pours your simple amber but you look at it has more of a cinnamon-rust color that is somewhat hazy. Head not so thick orange tinted just about 1/3" off the body.

Smell: Light alcohol scent, not crazy over it but it has a barley feel to it which is impossible to dislike.

Taste: The strong alcohol is very evident, you drink you feel. It has almost like a scotch feel to it combined with what real beer is. Barley so strong and a taste that lingers in your mouth.

Mouth: With a sweet after-taste, you feel what quality is. Not exactly smooth but just right texture combined with medium carbonation.

Overall: Made this my first beer for the year 2013 and I have to admit that I think I made the right choice on how to start the year. I lately have been taking a liking to barleywines and this one is on top of it's game. Grab a glass and lust it, Salud!

Serving type: bottle

01-02-2013 07:33:29 | More by BlurryVisi0n
Photo of deadonhisfeet
deadonhisfeet

Kentucky

4.04/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served on-tap. The pour is a slightly hazy reddish-amber, rather dark, and sports a thin head that quickly dies (not surprising given the high alcohol content). The nose is rather faint, but does boast some nice aromas of fruit, toffee, and hops as well as a hint of alcohol.

The beer is very full bodied and has an intense bittersweet flavor. It is very sweet up front, with big bready malt, vanilla, and cherry flavors. The alcohol seems to creep in very quickly on this one, beating the hops to the punch. By the time the hops arrive the sweet notes from the malt and alcohol have already had their way with you and warmed you up for a dry, lingering finish. I don't get any bourbon notes at all, but I do get some of the sweet oaky notes up front.

This is the second time I've had this beer on tap. Last time (about 4 months ago), it seemed a bit overpowering. This time, I knew what to expect and was able to meet it more on its own terms. I find it to be an intensely-flavored barleywine that is in sort of a transitional period right now. The hops are faded a bit, but the alcohol hasn't really mellowed out yet. I'd love to know what this tastes like in another 18 months.

Serving type: on-tap

06-28-2013 23:19:54 | More by deadonhisfeet
Photo of Greywulfken
Greywulfken

New York

4.54/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

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.

Serving type: bottle

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

Massachusetts

4.49/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Bolt Cutter opens to an intensely sweet, hoppy aroma that is instantly reminiscent of syrupy pink grapefruit juice with a dash of pine resin, lemon, and dandelion stem, and below that, a thick sugary base of Candi sugar, brown sugar, and a heaping spoonful of fruit esters, including orange, berry, and cherry, as well as light touches of fig, raisin, and plum. Smatterings of biscuit, whole wheat dough, and light toast crust add an earthy base. As a whole, the nose is very nice, geared toward the sugars as is typical in Barleywines, but nicely balanced and heavily aromatic, the interplay between brown sugar and fruit ester especially nice.

On the tongue, the beer proves darker than the sugary nose let on, the initial flavors being full of dark, rich fruits, including fig, prune, plum, black cherry, and raisin, with touches of berry and blood orange adding slightly lighter notes. These are joined by a heavy alcoholic overtone, the 15% ABV coming in strong, but blending nicely with the massive fruits in a dessert-like fashion. The combination of alcohol and fruits is reminiscent of wild ports or cognacs, with a touch of bourbon thrown in for good measure. The hops add a nice thick layer of syrupy pink grapefruit, as well as lighter lemon and faint pine notes, which help keep the sugars in check. Brown breads, yeasty rising whole wheat dough, toast crust, and biscuit form an earthy base, and the entire beverage is threaded with strong vanilla bean, and lighter caramel and toffee, with even some molasses and black pepper. The aftertaste is a continuation of the main mouthful, but here the booze becomes overly obvious, and the late stages of the aftertaste take on a vodka-like overtone that somewhat mars the presentation. Mouthfeel is a syrupy, viscous heaviness that is reminiscent of agave nectar in feel, and carbonation is light.

Overall, this is fantastic beer, and while the nose was good, the flavors are excellent, and paired with a perfect mouthfeel. Only the strong alcoholic aftertaste proves jarring; the rest of the beer is sweet, sugary heaven.

Serving type: bottle

09-07-2013 00:19:01 | More by jondeelee
Photo of andrewinski1
andrewinski1

New Hampshire

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.

Serving type: bottle

01-13-2013 02:05:24 | More by andrewinski1
Photo of BarryMFBurton
BarryMFBurton

Indiana

4/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A week after this beer was released, I was still kicking myself for not seeking it out. But by a stroke of blind luck, I came across a bottle, and I’m still not sure how. Thank you, oh sweet and merciful beer gods.

A: Pours a rusty-bolt red, slight hazy but with deep color to it. Surprisingly big head for such a hefty, alcoholic beer, too, rising to a full inch of eggshell-colored cream at a slow, determined pace. Eventually the foam falls to nothing more than a few bubbles, leaving little specks of lacing everywhere as it does.

S: Typical barleywine scents, but a twist – no, really, it smells like someone squeezed some lemon juice in here. It’s a tangy hop kick, almost acrid, wafting up effortlessly through the malts. Not a bad effect, actually: lemon and sour grape candy notes are causing some interesting interplay with the fig, caramel, molasses, and black licorice that run deep through the nose. Woody tones pick up on the back end, as well.

T: Holy hell, now I where this stuff got its name – pour some of this on a chain and you’ll cut right through it. Power in a bottle, but slow to deliver, the palate starts with a peaty, leathery earthiness and caramel nougat character. It’s all malt, but no sugar; how did they do that? Maybe it’s just that the other flavors are intense enough to push the residual sugars into the background. The hops come off in a stinging, astringent way, prickling with pine needles, blood orange, peach, and a touch of flowery hibiscus, and the booze isn’t far behind: its warmth grows to vodka-and-water solvent proportions before dying down to a more pleasing (though just as strong) taste of roasty Scotch. Yep, I’d say that’s enough to draw my attention away from any other flavor this beer can conjure up. Aftertaste is astonishingly light, leaving just a small taste of sherry and fruity candy on the tongue.

M: Fiery as all hell, but I’ve had IPAs feel thicker than this – sure, this is a sipper, but that’s really only because chugging it would be the liquid equivalent of the Cinnamon Challenge. Take heed: this beer is dangerously drinkable, as far as 10%+ beers go.

O: What the hell is going on in my glass? I think I like it, but that might just be the power of the Bolt Cutter luring me into its grasp. Give this one a year – no, two. Trust me, open it up next year to celebrate Founders’ 16th anniversary and you’ll be much happier. I mean, you’ll probably be just as happy, but at least it will stop your taste buds from burning off. Seriously, I think my hair is falling out…

Serving type: bottle

12-14-2012 23:16:26 | More by BarryMFBurton
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FanofHefe

Illinois

4.48/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bomber poured into a Duvel tulip. Clear, dark amber body with strong red tint and a one-finer tan head. The head dissipates very quickly and leaves a smattering of lacing.

More impressed by the aroma than I thought I would be. The hops definitely jump out early with a combination of citrus and light tropical notes. Solid caramel malt aroma blends with the hops nicely.

The flavor is a little stronger on the caramel malt side than the original aroma. But, enough of hop presence to make for a solid barleywine mix.

Surprisingly, very little notice of the alcohol for such a strong abv. This is one of, if not the best, barleywines I've ever had.

Serving type: bottle

12-24-2012 00:17:59 | More by FanofHefe
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rapidsequence

Virginia

4.44/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22 oz bottle (I think, maybe its a 750) bought for an exorbitant sum at Ned's.

Appearance: Exceptional clarity. Copper or iced tea colored body. Decent head with a stiff pour, fades to spots. Good lacing.

Smell: Sweet, hoppy, and hot. Rich caramel malt and maple syrup as well as vanilla notes. CItrus and pine. The alcohol stings the nose, especially with deep inhalation.

Taste: Delicious caramel and darker toffee is up front. Maple flavor is complementary and not overpowering. Vanilla and some woody barrel flavor. Cascade hops flavor and lots of bitterness. Big alcohol bite at the end.

Mouthfeel: Slick and sticky. Full body almost chewy, but not too much. Coats the tongue. Long sweet, boozy finish.

Overall: This is a great beer. Lots of nice complexity. Price is nearly prohibitive.

Serving type: bottle

03-07-2013 02:03:54 | More by rapidsequence
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Gatch

Massachusetts

4.66/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Been sittin' on this for a loooong time! 15th Anniversary Ale - 2012.

A: Beautiful, slightly hazy, bright rose color with shades of pink. Frothy but fairly thin/light off-white head that builds steadily and fades in a similar manner leaving behind some great lacing and retention. Simply stunning!

S: Where to begin...seriously massive malt character. Bread, sugar, booze, barrel, yeast. Aroma is intimidating but also inviting and exciting at the same time. A sign of things to come...

T: Extremely happy that I waited so long to drink this judging by what others have said. While it's still incredibly sweet, boozy, and heavy, I can only imagine how much more amplified these qualities would have been for the first several months after bottling. Having said that...the flavors are massive and truly delicious. Tons of sweet, sugary booze...woody, earthy barrel & bourbon...bready, roasted malt...sugary, dark fruits. This is a true "barleywine." Almost qualifies as a spirit.

M: Viscous with plenty of carbonation to go around. Held up very well. Such a serious beer with serious flavor. For what it is, this is amazing.

O: The definition of "treat." A very special beer. Should I feel selfish drinking the entire 750ml bottle by myself? Nah. It's my sincere hope that Founders can have another 15+ years of success!

Serving type: bottle

02-24-2014 04:55:32 | More by Gatch
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beerdrifter

Germany

4.2/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Picked this up in a great trade with Evan! Crystal clear copper-mahogany pour with a one finger creamy off-white head with decent retention and crazy lacing. Deliciously sweet malty nose with hints of resiny, citrusy hops, pine, butterscotch, wood, and booze. The taste is rich and complex with a strong, boozy, malt forward sweetness with hints of vanilla, tobacco, maple, caramel, dark fruit, tea, oak, and butterscotch. The mouthfeel was really boozy up front, but as it came to temp, it became almost creamy. Still thick and syrupy, but really smooth with a nice warming, bitter finish. Overall, this is one complex and flavorful beer. Would love to see what cellaring does for this one.

Serving type: bottle

03-22-2013 19:51:50 | More by beerdrifter
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bobhits

Kentucky

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.

Serving type: bottle

01-12-2013 11:14:31 | More by bobhits
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jegross2

Illinois

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.

Serving type: bottle

01-12-2013 18:41:54 | More by jegross2
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davey101

Connecticut

4.43/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

750ml bottle into a tulip glass. Served at cellar temperature. The bottle sat around for a day or so and I noticed a bit of floating cloudy sediment at the bottle of the bottle.

A - Pours a clear dark red/auburn color. A dense two finger creamy off white head forms but disappears quite quickly leaving behind a thin and spotchy cap with thick soapy edging. Eventually the cap vanishes and its just the edging. Decent amount of retention and lacing with clinging alcoholic legs. A swirl creates another dense head and a lively cascading effect. Beautiful looking beer!

S - Chewy toffee, bourbon soaked figs and raisins, brown sugar, maple, burnt caramel, vanilla and marshmallow. Some bright citric and piney hops. Extremely complex and layered, the aroma is just so busy. Has one of the most present and enjoyable alcohol presences I've experienced in a beer.

T - Starts off with toffee, caramel, and butterscotch and then some interesting tropical notes from the hops. Mango, peaches, and pine. Its not hoppy in the way that an American style BW is hoppy, its just...present with no real bitterness. Waves of warming bourbon, oak, vanilla, and dates. Very complex with each sip bringing a new element. Maple, butter, brown sugar, candi sugar, cotton candy; very sweet!. Just a huge amount of flavor here. A touch of warming alcohol but this does not feel like 15% at all.

M - Dense and creamy mouth feel, slightly syrupy. Excellent mouth feel for such a high octane beer.

O - Excellent, excellent, excellent beer. It stands out from the other barrel aged english BW's in that it has more of a hop presence than the others while still retaining those huge notes of toffee and butterscotch. This is drinking extremely well fresh, the alcohol is barely noticeable and only seems to compliment the intense and decadent sweetness with a pleasant warmth on the end. Flavors and aromas are top notch. Not quite a King Henry, but awfully damn close.

Serving type: bottle

11-10-2012 03:39:12 | More by davey101
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TwelveOunces

Kentucky

4.48/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

750 ML poured into a snifter

A- Pours very syrupy . A half a finger of a dense off white head. A ton of alcohol legs. A hazy copper color. A menace of a looking beer.

S- There is a lot of hops on the nose. A slight sharp pine, some overly ripened grapefruit. Caramel and toffee. A slight vanilla and a nice oak character.

T- A crisp bitterness up front. Followed up by an obvious alcohol presence. It sweeps over with a bit of the oak flavor and dry feel. There is a very slight touch of bourbon and vanilla. The malt profile of this beer is very caramel and toffee forward which is accented nicely by the vanilla. Hop flavors are more dominant on the nose. The hops are slightly citrus and overly ripened fruits, flavors of an aged IPA.

M- Thick and syrupy. I wouldn't call it hot but it is without a doubt a very warming beer. More drinkable then I was expecting. Good carbonation and a bitter palate.

O- This is a beast of a beer. Approach only if your ready to embrace some intense flavors. I like fresh barley wines, barrel aged barley wines and barley wines aged at least a year. I like the fresh ones because they have an intense hop profile, and aged ones because the hop profile has died and allowed the malts to take over. This beer is sort of stuck in limbo between the three, partially aged in barrels for about 5 months total. Its good now but I see it as a beer that will improve incredibly with age.

Serving type: bottle

11-26-2012 23:40:41 | More by TwelveOunces
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mwilbur

Minnesota

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

2012 vintage (15th anniversary). Poured from 750 mL bottle into snifter.
A: Pours a dark orange-amber hue with 1/4 inch light tan head. Fairly quickly recedes.
S: Equal parts grainy hops and sweet caramel malt hits first. Toast, brandy, and raisins. Hint of light maple syrup.
T: Aggressive hops and alcohol hit first. Toasted grains, sweet caramel malt, and sultanas. With warming, notes of toffee, light molasses, and rye emerge. Malt also comes more forward to better balance the strong hop presence.
M: Moderate-heavy body. Sticky sweet feel. Strong boozy alcohol note and strong hop bitterness with a moderately dry finish.
D: A solid barleywine. Interesting twist with the strong hop presence. This certainly could age well, but you'd lose the hops over time which I think elevate this brew a notch. Yes, the alcohol is strong at 15%, but drinks easier than that.

Serving type: bottle

03-01-2013 03:57:54 | More by mwilbur
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MacQ32

South Carolina

4.35/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Poured slowly to a beautiful amber/red, I began pouring pretty agressively to ensure at least a decent finger of head, the head slowly rose up to a two finger stack of amber/caramel colored fluffly goodness. About 5 minutes later only a thin thin layer remains across the surface, outer ring and lacing is 10/10.

S - Mostly scotch-boozy, bready caramel sweetness and sweet brown sugar, definitely some citrusy/resinous hop aromas, and warm fuzzy feeling spices.

T - Holy tits. Lots of alcohol burn to it, but the burn isnt too strong if that makes any sense at all. Kind of like drinking a mild scotch, or a slightly watered down buttery scotch with some resinous hop qualities. Spices and sweet brown sugar/molasses/caramel mix in with the boozyness - after the initial boozyness is done rocking my palate. Traces of orange and grapefruit are evident, definitely some strong spices that balance well with the boozy qualities, although I cant pinpoint it with the glorious gangbang of flavors my mouth just endured.

M - Full bodied, if the mouthfeel was a SAT percentage rank, it'd be in the top 95% for sipperness. Medium/less carbonation, appropriate.

O - I've had scotch beers that remind me of scotch more than beer. This is like a scotch beer that is all beer (and lots of scotchy flavors). Figure that one out.

Serving type: growler

01-04-2013 02:14:59 | More by MacQ32
Founders Bolt Cutter from Founders Brewing Company
91 out of 100 based on 1,042 ratings.