Founders Black Rye | Founders Brewing Company

453 Reviews
Founders Black RyeFounders Black Rye

Brewed by:
Founders Brewing Company
Michigan, United States

Style: Rye Beer

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 7.50%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
78 IBU

Added by maxpower on 09-17-2004

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Reviews: 453 | Ratings: 1,588
Photo of nortmand
5/5  rDev +23.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Dark brownish balck pour. Tan head.

Rich pineapple-grapefruit notes in the nose. Some roast and chocolate in a supporting role.

Bright acidity up front, blends into a fantastic amalgamation of chocolate and orange. Ends with an interesting mix of roast and hop resin bitterness.

Medium to full body, well carbonated, this is another kick ass beer from Founder's

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Photo of meathookjones
4.8/5  rDev +18.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours out almost pitch black with a tall tan head. Some nice lace was left around the glass. Great aroma filled with nice bitter hops, plenty of rye and dark chocolate. Some lighter fruit notes and smokiness were there as well. Nice citric bitter hops bite up front before some chocolate sweetness evens it out. Nice and roasty with a bit of smoke an coffee. Nice rye bread bitter finish. Very unique and damn tasty stuff. Pretty thick and well carbonated. Very drinkable stuff and it goes down way to easily. I could drink this all day. I am kick myself now for only getting one sixer of this when I was in the area.

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Photo of Crousejs
4.77/5  rDev +18.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Simply nice. This is a beer with much to be thankful of. First off coming from Founders should be its most telling.

Creamy dark color as far as liquid, insulation-like micro foam head. Tight as hell, seemingly unmovable. The head is what the brew feels like in the mouth.

Thick yet crisp, hits the middle of the palette and heads down to the back of the mouth. Apples and caramel, molasses and raspberry. Peaches somewhere under there too. As far as a rye, this is one of my favorites taste wise, it would appeal to me more if it were slightly tighter on the mouthfeel (like its friend Red Rye).

I'm looking forward to my trip to Grand Rapids to check this brewery out in person.

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Photo of KomodoDragon
4.76/5  rDev +17.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Smooth and clean, earthy start hoppy finish. Rye malt to help in the transition. What is not to like.

Lightly carbonated, full of flavor. Unique style but I appreciate that it was reserved and balanced, not over the top.

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Photo of ta_hagen
4.75/5  rDev +17.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Very smooth finish, that is how I'm going to start this. Dark, plumy, fleshy, smooth drinking craft beer. This one is very enjoyable. If in your location, you have to try, it's worth it. LIke a porter / stout, but with more of a easier finish. You have to watch youself, since you could drink the whole 6 pack in one sitting and the APV is 7.5%. Thumbs up to Founders.

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Photo of AuSablePine
4.71/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

I always know a good beer(albeit personal opinion), when I go to it when I'm out consecutive weeks in a row.
It's a winter brew so I time is of the essence.
I liked it a lot.
Guess I have a taste for Rye beer. Some don't.
Try it.

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Photo of shbobdb
4.68/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Oh man, this is the stuff.

It is pretty much the perfect porter. I'm dead serious. A strong luscious bit of chocolate, a slick rye mouthfeel, a blast of spicy rye mixing with the chocolate. Mmmm, just so so good.

It pours black. I mean, black. When I hold my Koelsch stange (a very thin glass) to the light, almost no light gets through but what little does is deep, deep garnet to the point where it really looks brown.

The smell is simple for the punch this beer delivers. That makes sense, since the hops play more of a supporting role. It just smells like a good bar of dark chocolate.

The taste is astounding. Semi-sweet chocolate, balanced by spicy rye with a blast of citrusy hops to clean out the end. Mmmmm. So good.

The mouthfeel is incredible. Rye provides a very slick mouthfeel -- normally this would be downright defective because it resembles WD40, but the beer is amply carbonated which breaks up the slickness and creates a wonderful beer.

Drinkability? Are you kidding me? This is awesome!

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Photo of Realale
4.67/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Slightly opaque black. Thick fine sticky dark cream head remains throughout and laces well.

Incredibly complex nose - touch creamy coffee leads the way, followed by fresh-from-the-oven brown bread, milk chocolate, and very well integrated leafy sharp hop aromas. Gorgeous stuff.

Full side of medium in the mouth. Nice malt sweetness and richness balanced almost perfectly by the bitterness from the hops and dark malts. Very long. Nicely carbonated to give a velvety mouthfeel. Great beer.

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Photo of Georgiabeer
4.67/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

An exceptional beer. Pours extremely dark, almost black with a short head that dissipates pretty quickly and leaves some spotty lacing. The smell is a blend of hops and roastiness with some spicy rye underlying it all. The taste is very deep and layered. Some hops up front, then a deep bitterness from roasting, followed by spicy rye flavors and a little grainy sourness on the aftertaste. Its very dry, but there are cream and dark chocolate flavors here as well. The mouthfeel is medium weight, but bitter tannins and creaminess are nicely in balance. Maybe a tad too carbonated, but very drinkable. A really nice offering from a great brewery.

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Photo of BeerFink
4.65/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours deep mahogany, looks black until you hold it up to the light. Foamy khaki colored head crops up immediately. It looks like a stout. Close your eyes and inhale and you'd think its a pale ale. Lots of clean citrous and floral hops hit the snout, as well dark malts. Taste starts off a little light and crisp, with surprisingly strong hops. Suddenly, you are rushed by huge bitter chocolate and roasted grain. Some coffee is there as well. Sharp rye characters are present, but subtle. Moutheel is pretty full and creamy from the large malt bill, but the assertive hops keep things crisp. I wonder if you made a black and tan using an IPA if it would turn out like this. It is the best of both worlds. There is the huge malt profile of a good stout, but they wonderfully hoppy qualities of an IPA. This beer really took me by surprise.

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Photo of tavernjef
4.64/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Burnt brown body under a thin cocoa colored foamy cap. Keeps a flimsy skimming and loosely thin set collaring. Thin displaced sheets of lace stick close to the top.

Beautiful aroma of bountifully fluffed espresso roast and roasted rye. Dry fudge, charred chocolate, and green hop bitterness of spruce all make favorable encounters within. Its not huge by any means, just solidly present and fresh. Love it.

Taste is wildly decadent with dark bittering tones of char, chocolate, espresso, dry spruce pine, spicey toasted rye bread, vanilla, and dry fudge. Great roasted edge the whole way through as well as the all encompassing chocolate undertone that sets the stage for the charred stuff and bitterness. A near perfect blend of darkly roasted flavors, moderate bitterness, and subtle dryness.

Clean and roastified medium quick body. Low and even set carbonation and slick even while the roast and bitterness take its hold.

Killer stuff! Loved it! Goes down with an irrefutable slooshing down the gullet. Akin to New Glarus Black Wheat without the banana - just add the rye.

Thanks to trbeer for the tremendous heeping stash of samples!

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Photo of Damian
4.62/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Drank from a 12 fl. oz. bottle purchased at A-Wines, Cambridge, MA

Wow, what an incredible looking bottle. The black label with Spinal Tap-esque looking font has me excited already.

As for the beer itself: It poured a thick, near pitch black with a tight, foamy, two-finger, tan head that slowly faded to a thick, lasting film. Blankets of lacing coated the glass and remained long after the beer was finished.

The aroma was rich, sweet and outrageously smooth. Dark chocolate was instantly recognizable along with black coffee and strong vanilla and sugary lactic notes. Roasted and caramel malts were also quite apparent.

The taste was a flavorful, complex and well-balanced mix of sweet and bitter. A touch of sweet maltiness was noticeable up front before the deep roasted malt and coffee flavors came through mid-palate. A citric, bitter twang appeared on the back end and carried into the long-lasting, slightly dry and bitter finish. As the beer warmed, a touch of hopiness became noticeable in the finish as well.

Mouthfeel was rich, slick, super creamy and nearly full-bodied.

This beer was impressive in all aspects. Even though it is labeled as a "rye beer," it closely resembles an American stout and would be able to compete with the best of them.

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Photo of surlysober
4.62/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

SECOND TRIAL: This is a dynamite beer. I really enjoy the rich bitter chocolate flavors and the extremely dry finish. The beer pours a nice black, with a modest head. The aroma is bitter chocolate and roasted malt. The taste is very similar: very, very roasted malt, burnt pizza crust, and a nice bitter chocolate. The finish is very dry and leaves a bit of a burnt malt flavor on the palate. I really, really enjoy this beer. It reminds me a bit of Three Floyd's Alpha Klaus, but it's quite a bit cheaper, making it an excellent choice. Another great Founder's brew.

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Photo of Mitchster
4.62/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Brew with chocolate and de-bitterized black rye malts (among other things). 7% ABV, 40 IBUs, unfiltered, winter seasonal.

Pours to a very clear, nearly black, very dark brown, forming a large cream and soapy light tan head with just wonderful retention and gorgeous lacing. Nice looking brew. The aroma blows my mind...very fresh, green and oily hops (with a touch of skunky MJ...Amarillo anyone?) expertly balanced by a beautiful deeply roasted malt gestalt with notes of coffee, vanilla, black walnut and burning wood, but not with the expected density of a stout. Wow...this is just killer stuff. The mouthfeel is akin to a porter...medium bodied with a nice hop sting and light chalky astringency. Taste...reminds me of a perfect mix between what Bell's Porter used to be and Sierra Nevade have the hop intensity of SN but the mouthfeel/roasted sweetness/black walnut 1-2-3 of Bell's. Coffee, black patent without the empty charcoal, and a strong hop bite all meld into a wonderful brew. The bitterness is moderate, and the moderately astringent lingering deeply roasted notes mixed harmoniously with hop bite and light chalk. Cleanly fermented with no off-flavors...imperceptable alcohol.

Damn, I'm spoiled to be a Michigander. We've got some great brews here and Founders is in the top 3 as far as I'm concerned. Comparable to the quality of the other Underdog, Bear Republic. Just another wonderful brew from a world-class brewery. Another exceptional brew from Michigan. Highly recommended!

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Photo of cokes
4.6/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Midnight ruby topped with ashy tan foam.
On the nose, it's all chocolate chip cookies, espresso, and ferns.
Pours over the lips with big gulps of iced mocha and baker's chocolate. Full of char and smoke and burnt things, then turns breadier in the midlands, with some noticed rye spiciness, but moreso with the sweeter cookie notions, especially as it nears room temp. Phantoms of vanilla pod and blackberry jam appear later, then it resumes it's chocolateyness, but positions itself closer to fudge now. Hops present with a green leafiness, noting both spearmint and spruce.
Medium bodied, modest of carbonation. It's mitigated, light cream, heft flows with reckless abandon through the chute.

This is another beautiful creation. Wow.

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Photo of WakeandBake
4.6/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Nice black pour with a tan head. Looks like dark porter,smells like hops,chocolate,and sweet rye bread. The flavor is awesome,kind of like IPA meets stout,and the flavor changes throughout the glass,some coffee,caramel and dark bread,rye grain notes, awesome mouthfeel good lively carbonation, and a crisp hop burps tasted like hops. One of my top 3 favs easily.

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Photo of Erdinger2003
4.59/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a great head that retains well with a good lacing. Color is black with brown edges. The smell is nice and roasty with a light chocolatey smell coming through. It also has a lot of hoppy smell coming through. The flavor is really chocoalatey with some earthy roastiness. I really enjoy this. The mouthfeel is carbonated well and a little crisp, but the flavor is just like putting a handfull of black roasty coffee malts in your mouth and just chewing. I love it! Overall I will have this again and hope to have lots of it.

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Photo of merlin48
4.58/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Another Founders acquisition courtesy of brewedlyhooked13, and a fine one it is. Pours dark and opaque into the pint glass, ruby mahogany when backlit. Creamy tan head is two inches tall and retains well, leaving enormous splotches of lace all over the glass. Aroma begins with hoppy spruce and grapefruit, with dark roasty espresso notes and rye bread crust quick to follow. Mouthfeel is silky rich, almost full bodied, with tingly spicy hops and rye tickling the palate. The taste is complex, with bitter and acidic dark roasty malts, pine cone hops, spicy rye grain, and rye bread notes. Delicious flavors mingle all over the palate, and are never overly bitter. Wow! This is one tasty brew. Exceptional balance. This is just about the perfect beer, with outstanding aroma, appearance, taste, and mouthfeel. A sublime sipping experience that is immensely pleasant. This is one of those beers I would choose to take to a deserted island, in mass quantities. I admit to being a fan of rye beers, and this is probably the best one I've sampled. Another big winner from Founders.

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Photo of NJBeerguy
4.58/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

This Dark Black unfilted beer is sure to please. It pours with a sturdy dark beige/light brown head that holds throughout the session. The lace rings the glass perfectly. Defintely serve this beer on the warm side as it bring forth all the glorious roasted flavor of this brew. I found it to be big coffee taste that morphs into a dry chocolate nuttyness. The finish is a real dryness that for my taste, lingers just a little too long, but did leave me wanting that next sip. Black Rye may not be the best of Founder beer as far as I'm concerned but, it is still a very drinkable beer from a small very interesting brewery.

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Photo of Mateer
4.56/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

12 oz typical Founder's bottle with a black label, no date.

Pours black in color with little head retention. A slight red, brown hew when put directly under a light. Otherwise, this looks more like a stout than an ale.

Thick hops, burnt coffee and bready notes. A little alcohol sting and lingering bitterness pushes through at the end but nothing extreme.

Again, Founder's calls this a "hopped dark ale brewed with rye" and I think it tastes like a stout with rye. It is similar to their Breakfast Stout with less of everything but hops.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.55/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Barely transparent chocolate-covered walnut with ruby and bronze highlights when backlit. The whipped creamy head is the color of golden brown sugar and is a chiseled masterpiece as it slowly deflates. Thick gobs of lace adhere to the glass in abstract patterns and are the icing on this frosted chocolate cake of a beer.

Black Rye smells like a citrus hoppy, chocolate-focused porter. The hops are an integral part of the aroma, but I think they'll have a tougher time fighting through the roasted malt in this beer than they did in the excellent Red's Rye. While there's plenty of power, plenty of zip and zing, I can't say that I appreciate the rye.

Re-read the first sentence of the preceding paragraph and substitute the word 'tastes' for 'smells'. The dominant flavor is roasted black and chocolate malt that stops just short of charred. There's also a tendril or two of smoke, along with a tangy, almost peaty, sourness. Spicy rye keeps its head down initially, then becomes a little more bold with warming.

The finish is increasingly hoppy, with a tangy, citric fruitiness that I love. Thankfully, that smoked chocolate undercurrent continues to contribute in a meaningful way until the very end. There's nothing at all wrong with the medium mouthfeel, but I still find myself wishing it was more full and more chewy. If this beer was bigger, in every sense of the word, it'd be a world-beater.

Black Rye isn't quite the equal of Red's Rye, but then few beers are in my estimation. It's still an outstanding concoction that provides the added bonus of chocolate and smoke in addition to its rye malt spiciness. A good indication of a beer's drinkability for me is how full the glass is when I've completed my review. As I type, my pint glass is empty. 'Nuff said. Thanks once again to deejaydan for more Founders excellence.

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Photo of pmcadamis
4.53/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - A massive four finger plus light brown head rose over the top of my 0.5L pint glass! This monstrous head exhibits honeycomb-like bubbles throughout it's entire mass, and it forms a soft-serve ice cream like whipped formation on top. Tons of sticky brown lace sticks to the glass. The brew itself is pitch black with some brownish hits around the edges, and the aweseome head never goes away!

S - Smokey black coal sooty notes predominate while charred wood campfire aromas are there too. Rye toast, pumpernickel bread, burning leaves in autumn. Deep burnt hay or grass hop notes too.

T - Toasted grains, burning wood, deep burnt cereal flavors, and rye and pumpernickel breads. Some soy sauce, rhubarb, and dark roast coffee aspects show themselves as the beer warms up. Lots of deep hay-like hops play second fiddle to the roasted grains, but they are still quite assertive. This tastes like a schwarzbier on steroids.

M - Light bodied with moderate carbonation and a very dry and smoky finish.

D - Excellent! I love Red's Rye, and this is a perfect dark side companion to Founder's other excellent rye beer.

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Photo of CraftAle
4.53/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Black color. Medium body---not syrup thick. Aroma is burnt grain. Bitterness comes from burnt grain, rye and lots of hops. Even better on tap at brew pub. Much less filling than stouts. Founders deserves credit for this "different" brew. The best of the black brews I have tried!

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Photo of jmasher85
4.52/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

As soon as I open the cap, the toffee hits me. Some burnt brown sugar comes next, once I start pouring this molasses-brown, mildly heady ale into my tulip glass. Smells both sweet and bitter, with a slightly sour rye flavor in there too. A bit of pine and some scent that I can only place from certain cleaning fluids, which doesn't sound like a good thing except that I rather enjoy using that particular cleaning fluid. Later sniffs unlock a bit of chocolate chip cookie - go figure, right?

The taste is impressive as well. Bitter hops and and sweet malts meet once again on the front of my tongue in a smooth, lightly carbonated mix. The strong-ish alcohol presence is there too, but works in concert with the flavor rather than against it. Still heavy on the burnt toffee and some tootsie roll, but without the sugar. I'd say the taste and color suit each other well in this situation - it really does have an almost ashy quality to the bitterness. A bit of a smokey flavor in the hops is probably at work there.

Overall, this is a wonderful beer that's a delight every time I drink it. Just the smell of this one is enough to stop me in my tracks and make me want to drink it every time I see it, like when I see The Godfather on TV and have to sit down and watch the rest.

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Photo of mynie
4.52/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pour is damn near perfect. Big nearly opaque blackness with one of the most gigantic heads I have ever seen. Tough head, too. Sticks up a good inch and a half above the end of the glass and it stays stuck. Damn!

Three distinct odors make up the complex nose, each in about equal parts: intense, bready rye, very dry, harsh hops, and a lightly sweet chocolate malt. Very nice.

The nose is all present in the mouth. All three flavors--chocolate, rye, death hops--hit you at once at the start. The hops mellow in the middle, letting the rye shine through all marbled and whatnot, really fanastically bittersweet, and then it almost entirely on the surprisingly sweet chocolate malt. Very, very nice.

Yet another excellent beer from the folks at Founders.

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Founders Black Rye from Founders Brewing Company
4.04 out of 5 based on 1,588 ratings.
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