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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

1,268 Ratings
THE BROS
85
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,268
Reviews: 220
rAvg: 4.05
pDev: 12.1%
Wants: 206
Gots: 708 | 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: 1,268 | Reviews: 220 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of stakem
3.36/5  rDev -17%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Aawwweee shit. Another fouders big bottle series. As luck would have it, local advocate of beer Orangesol tipped me off to a place that had bottles for sale. This was my first time purchasing one of these "backstage?" 750's with no bottle limit or secret handshake at the door granting me access to such a privilege.

I opened this at a tasting I hosted this past weekend that was stout themed. (Im a douche like that.) Color me excited for this: wearing my bold cutter hat, founders shirt, bolt cutter boobie tassels and matching underoos. Ok, none of that is true except for the tasting and opening part. Poured into a tulip, the brew appears a hazed copper orange with 2 fingers of frothy yellowish tan head. Patchy webs of lace stick to the glass and display solid powers of retention. There is ruby clarity noted when held to the light along with a lighter yellowish coloring around the edges.

The nose has fruity, citrus, floral and pine aromatics primarily centric to hop charcter. This is pretty much what the entire focus of the nose is about with hints of herbs and a bit of catty appeal. There is some solvent alcohol cutting through with a mild tingle of accenting caramel sticky candy sweetness.

The taste is all about the hops with a huge solvent to fusel alcohol inclusion. Focusing on the hop character it is fruity, floral, pine-like, herbal and a bit catty. Did I mention solvent booze is readily apparent numbing the tongue more with each sip? Hints of caramel grain attempt to poke through but with no residual sweetness. Ample to excessive bitterness with alcohol running rampant. Almost like mandrin oranges and tannic dry woodiness are the last things noted.

This is medium bodied with a modest amount of carbonation. It has a big alcohol impact and hoppiness. This is like vodka with a splash of resinous DIPA added. Aging would be wonderful to tone the booze down but having the hops fade would leave this pretty boring and lifeless. It will be interesting to see how this developes but you wont catch me buying any more of this.

Photo of imperialking
4/5  rDev -1.2%

Photo of mothman
3.75/5  rDev -7.4%

Photo of Gonzoillini
3.75/5  rDev -7.4%

Photo of chinchill
3.74/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Shared bottle. Very high ABV cannot be hidden. While I'm not hit in the face with the full 15%, this is, nonetheless, a bit too boozy for me. The high ABV comes in a very flavorful brew, which suggests various fruits and fruit brandy. Excellent hop/malt balance.

M: Rather full bodied, with excellent (low) carbonation.

Photo of corby112
4.2/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Pours a slightly hazy golden amber color with tangerine hues and a two finger frothy off-wife head that quickly settles into a thick, lasting cap.  Streaks of soapy lacing left behind.  

Sweet, slightly leathery malt aroma with a complex hop profile balancing out the boozy sweetness.  Citrus/tropical notes of pineapple, tangerine and grapefruit followed by resinous pine, grass, leathery malt, caramel, toffee and biscuit.  There's a touch of alcohol in the nose but more subtle than expected.

Full chewy body with a huge blast of bitter, earthy hops that linger over the sweet and earthy/leathery malts. Dank, bitter and resinous with an earthy/grassy hop bite followed by sweet caramel malt backbone and subtle heat.  Sticky pine needle flavor along with grapefruit and orange peel sweetness countered by caramel malt and toffee toward the finish.  Really well balanced and smooth with the high abv excellently masked.  Would never have guessed that  it was 15%.  Another solid entry in the backstage series but not worth the exorbitant price.

Photo of mdaschaf
4.32/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Poured a very nice orange color with a one finger off-white head with great retention, lasting for the majority of the time it took to drink it. Sticky lacing forms down the sides.

S: Wow, surprisingly hoppy, lots of pine and citrus upfront with some caramel, toffee, and oak that come forward. Lots of vanilla comes out in the middle. It was rather resiny with a little bit of alcohol at the end.

T: More hops upfront, very piney mixed with some grapefruit. The hops transition to some caramelized sugar, vanilla, bourbon, oak, and a little bit of maple.

M: Medium to full bodied with moderate carbonation. Slightly boozy, but it doesn't really impede the drinkability.

O: As someone that isn't a huge barleywine fan, I liked this beer quite a bit, probably because of the barrel aging. Surprised at how hop forward it was, but I am sure this will fade with time. Great beer to have for thanksgiving dinner.

Photo of afsdan
4.25/5  rDev +4.9%

Photo of Huhzubendah
2.14/5  rDev -47.2%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1.75 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Shared by Paul.

Thanks...sorta. The beer appears a who cares irrelevant hue with a it doesn’t matter head. The aroma brings a please don’t scent with a shitload of unnecessary hops and huge boozy sweetness. Just because you can doesn’t mean you should. Tons of malt and hops thrown together with no sensitivity or balance. Overwhelming alcohol and sweetness. What a disappoinment. No thanks.

Photo of BARFLYB
3.92/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

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.

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

Pours a reddish amber color with decent clarity on the first pour. Subsequent pours add some yeasty sediment, as this sample has spent much of its life cellared or in the fridge. The aroma is sweet, sugary, and malty. It hides the booze well, but there is some bourbon and clean alcohol to the nose as well.

The flavor has layers of sweetness, going from brown sugar, to molasses, and finally maple. I did not initially know this was a maple bourbon barrel aged beer but as I drank it, the characteristics became obvious. The beer has mellowed a bit with age I am sure, it drank like 10-11% ABV beer, not 15% + ABV beer. Nice sweet flavors and a modest alcohol bite.

Overall, this is a nice beer and one that may not have even peaked yet. Founders has at times retired beers only to produce them years down the line. I will hold out hope for this one.

Photo of ejimhof
3/5  rDev -25.9%

Photo of barleywinefiend
3.06/5  rDev -24.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A: Poured a golden amber color with a small tannish cap ich quickly reseds leaving a minimal lacing and minor lacing clinging to the glass.

S: Booze soaked toffee, light vanilla and honestly...that is about it sadly.

T: The flavor is boozey and sweet upfront with a load of toffee, some btterscotch, faint maple, lighter fruits with a modest Earthiness. The finish is rather hot, sweet, thin and dry yet slightly sticky.

M: Medium-bodied,hot, slightly sticky feel. This beer needed more body. Th alcohol can sometimes give the appearance of thinness and this is also my major complaint against Mother of All Storms.

O: This beer has great potential., While I think the booze sting will subside leaning toward fuller a body and mouthfeel in the future I feel this beer was just to much to soon and to young.

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 tdm168
4.38/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to jtd1969 for sharing this bottle.

A - murky orange with a big, off white head that has great retention

S - huge bready aroma with some sugary notes

T - bready, burnt sugar, caramel, sticky, alcohol, mild bitter finish

M - full bodied, warm, well carbonated

This in my opinion is a fantastic beer. The 15% is only slightly noticeable. The malt is big, sticky, and flavorful. The burnt sugar notes were fantastic throughout. This is one of the better beers that I have had recently. I definitely this is a beer that people should be checking out.

Photo of brandoman63
3.5/5  rDev -13.6%

Photo of rab53
3.75/5  rDev -7.4%

Photo of ShanePB
3.75/5  rDev -7.4%

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

(Served in a tulip glass)

A- This beer pours a slightly dense but clear aged copper brown body with a bubbly light tan head that sticks to the glass and sluggishly slides back into the beer.

S- the nice sweet caramel malt aroma has some candy sugar notes that come through as the beer warms and a slight spicy character with some ether hints in the finish.

T- The smooth sweet caramel malt grows as the beer warms and takes on a brassy wheat malt flavor. The finish of pungent hops and alcohol gently round out each sip.

M- The medium mouthfeel has a thick texture in the finish that is thinned by an alcohol warmth that hangs in the mouth.

O- This is a big monster barleywine with a gentle alcohol heat for 15% ABV and I was surprised at how much hops presence was in there aswell. It was a nice beer to taste but I would have preferred it without as much alcohol. This beer was a night starter and night ender in one bottle.

Photo of Zaphog
4/5  rDev -1.2%

Photo of KAF
3.5/5  rDev -13.6%

Photo of billab914
4/5  rDev -1.2%

Photo of Kelp
3.75/5  rDev -7.4%

Photo of iL0VEbeer
4.25/5  rDev +4.9%

Photo of ppoitras
4.23/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

750ml bottle received via Growling at the Moon. Thanks for the brew, Dan!

Poured into a DFH snifter, formed a 1/2" tan head over the clear reddish coppper brew. Head lasts tremendously for such an abv brew, with leggy, going-nowhere lacing. Aroma is fruity, sweet, and boozy.

Taste starts syrupy sweet, a quick fruitiness in the middle, then a strong slap of hops bitterness followed quickly by alcohol. Slight numbness lingers after the swallow. Even so, not as forward with the EtOH as some less abv brews I have had. Mouthfeel is slickery smooth, and drinkability is good. I was fearing a Beast-like affront, but I actually enjoyed this brew, as substantial as it is.

Founders Bolt Cutter from Founders Brewing Company
91 out of 100 based on 1,268 ratings.