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: 1,589
Photo of Buebie
2.18/5  rDev -46%
look: 2 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

I'm afraid I might have an infected bottle. Got this in a trade, so I cant try the review again, I only have 1 bottle.

Popped the cap to a powerful blasting hiss. Poured into a pint glass only yo reveal a huge overflowing 4+ inches of geyser like borwn head. Once settles it leaves sea foam like half inch retention and the weirdest looking lace I've ever seen. I dont even have a word for it. Its like amoldy seafoam of brown foam.
The beer itself is black with a mild glowing red hue when held to light.

Aromas of cocoa powder, sweet maltyness and a bit of rye along with some bitter chocolate grain.

Taste? Well, I cant say I got that far. Its bad, the bottle is bad. Once the liquid was in my mouth, WAMO! some kind of scientific reaction, the liquid turns to foam and lots of it, carbonations stinging the hell out of my mouth. Spit it out and am dissapointed, the bottle is infected....


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Photo of pwoods
2.96/5  rDev -26.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Thanks to ahatch78 for this extra.

12oz. stubby brown bottle poured into an imperial pint. Screw Founders dating system.

A: Pours nearly straight black with some small brown hues that creep through when back lit. 2 1/2 fingers of mocha head that hangs out for quite a bit. Nice clumps of lacing on the side at first.

S: Rye phenols and nice citrus resiny oils. Some burnt grains that aren't as pleasant.

T/M: Dry to the point of being chalky. Dry coffee. Hoppy grapefruit with plenty of bitterness and large rye phenols. Medium body with enough carbonation.

D: Not a bad brew, but the mouthfeel really hurts it. I'll try it again to see if I like it better.

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Photo of kojevergas
3.05/5  rDev -24.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

01.31.15: brief impressions below. Full review to follow.

Served chilled, not cold. Bottled 12/30/14.

HEAD: Healthy and long-lasting. Apt khaki colour. Not much lacing. Good consistency overall.

BODY: Opaque dark black with cola-brown ridges.

Looks decent, but it's not unique or special.

AROMA: Heavy on chocolate malt, with rye's signature spiciness shining through as well. The dry hopping is evident.

TASTE/TEXTURE: The roasty malt characteristics don't play well with the dry hopping. There's a dragging bitter harshness at the heart of this beer, which I'm not big on. The harshness that accompanies its burnt sugar characteristics is equally off-putting. Molasses. Cream. Dark malts. Schwarz malts. The chocolate malts lend it a chocolatey sweetness that feels out of place, and rye's spiciness isn't well showcased. Its scratchy unrefreshing feel doesn't help, and it suffers from slight astringency; this has a tannic husky feel to it, with subsidiary notes of starch. This is pretty disappointing.

OVERALL: Drinkable but underwhelming and overpriced for its quality. A forgettable rye beer from Founders, Black Rye won't be appearing on my receipts ever again. I hoped for better considering the quality of the brewery behind this, but I suppose it's above average.


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Photo of NCMatt
3.08/5  rDev -23.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.75

I got this because I found it marked down ridiculous. My local shop had a 4-pack for $5, and while I know rye beers and black beers each aren't usually my forte, I decided to get it anyways, because how can you pass up a deal like that? Well, it's certainly a black rye. That's for sure. For the style, especially considering the ratings on this site, obviously it is amazing. For me however, it was just too much. Too strong on the rye / spice for me personally and has a strong black malt taste as well.

If you like rye beers, you'll probably dig this beer. For me however, it's not one I plan to purchase again.

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Photo of RonaldTheriot
3.24/5  rDev -19.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Founders Black Rye has a thin, beige head, a black (with ruby highlights, under direct sunlight) appearance, and splotchy lacing left on the glass. The aroma is of piney & citrusy hop resin, and that’s about it. Taste is of standard hop resin, some char, and a bit of sweet malt. Bitterness might be rated at 78 IBU, but this beer is NOT particularly bitter. Mouthfeel is light to medium, and Founders Black Rye finishes semi-dry and drinkable. No alcohol showing up in the aroma or flavor. If I did not know this beer contained rye, I’d never think of it. This beer is similar to many other run-of-the mill, hop-resin ales of the last four or five years. I would not pick this one to introduce a Coors Light drinker to craft beers, since Coors Light is arguably better than this. Yes, I think it is better, on second thought.


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Photo of benito
3.25/5  rDev -19.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Ruby seems more apt then black, at least in appearance--rather accepting of light for a 'black' beer. A beautiful, lumpy head that dissipates slowly and leaves lacing until the last drop is drunk. The bouquet is roasty, with hints of chocolate liqueur and coffee.

I found the taste itself to be a mixed bag and hard to get my mind around. The initial flavor is smooth--almost stoutlike--and then, by mid-tongue, the bitterness (rye, I imagine, rather than hops) kicks in. The transition between the two flavors is abrupt, and it's the latter which hangs on in the mouth long after my 12 ounces are gone. The overall feel is almost coarse and difficult to savor since the flavors come and go so quickly.

I'm on the fence with this one but would probably hesitate to go with it again. IMO, for anyone else it's worth a try if you happen to come across it.

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Photo of ePrahject
3.29/5  rDev -18.6%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Beautiful dark beer. Smells amazing and has a rich malty aroma. The hoppiness is a bit to much for my liking but a lot of people love this beer. I picked it up at my local Meijer the day they put it on the shelves.

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Photo of Phyl21ca
3.33/5  rDev -17.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Bottle courtesy of Tpaliga: Poured a medium black color ale with a medium foamy head with average retention. Aroma of hops is dominant with some traces of malt being noticeable. Taste consists of predominantly citrus hops with a bitter finish and some light roasted malt. Body is a bit thin IMO and rye is very hard to detect. I would have appreciated a bit more complexity and less reliance on hops personally.

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Photo of fscottkey
3.33/5  rDev -17.6%
look: 4 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.25

A: [4.00] Pours a dark black color. There is a tiny amount of light penetration with back lighting. The pour forms a 1/4 finger of tan head. The head leaves nice lacing on the glass. The bottle clearly lists the ABV (7.5%), the IBU (78) and the bottled date (12/17/15).

S: [2.75] I get chocolate and roasted malts. If I was handed this beer I would guess a stout based on the appearance and the nose. After a few sips the nose has a "chlorine" like scent. Chlorine is the best descriptor that I have for it. It starts to dominate the nose.

T: [3.50] The taste follows the nose but there is something in addition to the chocolate (which is present throughout the palate). The malt is there too - but some other "spicy" element exists too. The flavor is a bit like chlorine.

M: [3.75] Smooth and creamy. Very nice body overall. There is a little bitter flush right at the end.

O: [3.25] This is a great beer with a flaw. There is an off taste and smell that keep this from really knocking it out of the park. I'd be tempted to buy another one of these and see if it was a bad beer. I enjoy Founders brews but I have to rate what is in front of me. That being said I have to knock some points off this one for the "chlorine" smell/taste.

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Photo of zdk9
3.36/5  rDev -16.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

My third and last night without power. Tonight a beer for the blackness of the night.

A- Who let the foam out?!? Pouring this beer took considerable time as it foamed up incredibly and I had to wait for it subside three times before I could get an entire bottle into the glass for drinking. And I have to say that that somewhat ruined the experience for me. As for the color of the beer, well it's black, black as night, enough said.

S- Roasted grains, coffee, and a bit of unsweetened cocoa.

T- The biggest contributor to the taste party is roasted coffee, but there is also some bakers chocolate or cocoa, and a hint of roasted almonds or hazlenuts. Very porterlike which I find delicious.

M- Very overcarbonated. As if the pouring wasn't enough the first sips were sharp as the bubbles attacked my innocent tongue. After I got past this I found a dry and astringent beer.

D- If this beer is always this carbonated I would not drink another. But if I simply have a bad bottle I would certainly be willing to give it another try. I enjoyed the porteresque smell and flavor, though I was hardpressed to find any contribution of the rye.

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Photo of mdm46410
3.38/5  rDev -16.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a shaker. This beer poured a deep brown/black semi-translucent color with ruby highlights around the edges of the glass. A thin, fizzy head lasted for a few moments, then faded into a few lingering bubbles. The aroma consisted of roasted chocolate malts, nuts, and a bit of light piney hops sitting in the background. The flavor was slightly biting, and bitter at the start. Then it was followed up by some chocolate and coffee notes that lingered. The mouthfeel was lightly carbonated and medium-bodied. This was a pretty good brew from Founders. It almost reminded me of a dry stout. Worth a try.

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Photo of terrabyte
3.41/5  rDev -15.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A nice black pour with a thick tan head.

A small whiff of roasted chocolate and coffee, before the smell of grapefruit hops overtook it.

I like rye breads a lot. They have a very distinct flavor and smell. However, I'm unable to really pinpoint where the rye flavor is in this beer. I feel some oat stout in this, but overwhelmed by a citrus, grapefruit hops. A tart & slightly bitter aftertaste. I would have guessed this was a cross between oat stout and IPA to me.

Mouthful is too carbonated for me, however it did make it seem lighter. However, I like the opposite.

Overall, it's drinkable, but not bold enough for me. If you're going to put RYE in big fonts, lets emphasize it.

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Photo of lester619
3.43/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Deep dark brown with a thinner head than I expected. Smell is of sour dough bread, pineaples and coffee. This has a very rich and interesting flavor. Sour, sweet, spicy and bitter with a noticable alcahol aftertaste. I've had beers with a much higher ABV that do not show their boozy side as much as this one. Roasted malty coffee flavors remind me of a warm porter. Again the tangy spicy sourness from the rye comes out. I've recently become interested in rye beers. I'm not sure if I know exactly how to appreciate what a great one is supposed to be like. This was an intersting beer with very complex flavors. I can't say I really loved those flavors.

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Photo of AndoBrew
3.45/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

*i did not like this beer, and would not drink it again*

app: black as my ass ( I am of irish decent) Its not BLACK! .. oh that must mean something else.. it is deep dark garnet ruby

smell: smells like a strong brown ale, roasty toasty malts, some smoke? it smells good.

taste: very toasty roasted flavor, many malts, hop spine right down the middle of it to give you some pucker.. its ok, it tastes like a beer that would give me a headache. wish it were a bit more creamy and rich.

mf: water water water, COME ON BLACK RYE THICKEN UP!

drinkable?: hmm.. not for me, to smoke headache feeling and a touch to many hops that steal its creamy smoothability.

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Photo of jlindros
3.47/5  rDev -14.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.25

Pours a creamy darker colored 1/2 finger head that fades semi slowly with nice lacing, pretty much pitch black beer.

Nose brings black ipa mostly, dark roasty malts, little chocolate, caramel and various Crystal malts, with earthy spicy hops, mild coffee roast and a little spicy slight fruity rye. Mild fluffy chewy like nougat as it warms.

Taste brings fruity rye right of the bat, a mild spicy rye flavor too, quite fruity though, then onto dark malts, roasty and a little char, no choc, but a little roasty coffee, various caramel with little fluffy nougat carafa like flavors again. Then big spicy hops, earthy spicy and mild briny like, and a little toasty brown malt late with touch nutty. Some plastic phenols come through late, like a glue flavor. Finish is dry but sticky, lingering spicy hops and mild fruity rye, more plastic phenols, and dark chewy malts.

Mouth is med bod mild creamy note, sticky, decent carb.

Overall first the hops and malts clash, then rye turns a weird fruity instead of spicy, then the bad phenols just top it off. Def not the best beer by Founders, they kinda missed altogether on this one imo.

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Photo of Imstillthegman
3.48/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to Flyingbison for this bottle.

Pours an opaque black with a thick dark tan head that fades to a ring. Moderate lacing.

Aroma is a blend of dark chocolate, coffee, rye, burnt brown sugar, and some grapefruit hops.

The flavor, for me, is closer to a stout than a rye. The rye flavor doesn't come through strong enough. Coffee flavor is dominant, with some oats and a bit of the hops at the end. Seems a lot like an oatmeal stout. Over halfway done and still waiting on the rye...

Decent carbonation in this medium bodied brew. Coffee aftertaste remains for a while. Some bitterness on swallowing and just a touch of dryness, as well. If you're looking for a rye beer you may want to grab a Founders Red Rye instead. Not a bad beer....just not quite what I was expecting.

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Photo of marburg
3.48/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I'm still not sure what to make of this one. Pours beautifully -- burnt marshmellow brown, nearly black, with flashes of burgandy -- with a puffy cloud of brown foam that sticks, at times in chunks, to the side of the glass.

Smells like rye and pumpernickel with a distant, muddled aroma of nutella and a sort of pale ale citric quality. A certain milky quality to it -- chocolatey, sweet, creamy up front. You can certainly get a feel for the rye in the dark, pumpernickel aroma and flavor. Slides into a bone dry hoppiness. Piney and citric, the finish dominates, and while it's cleansing, it's abrupt and disjointed. Like a darker, more chocolatey west coast pale ale. I feel like the beer itself is an original, but the concept is merely following the herd -- more hops, more hops, more hops. I appreciated the crispness of it all during the first bottle, but after that, it got a little grating.

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Photo of jcdiflorio
3.49/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

poured into a flaired tulip from a 12oz brown stubby bottle with a twist-off cap. Thanks to Sudsdog for the send the last of the 2nd journey of the infamous BA shuttle.

Black,opaque with a slight mahogany hue. Tan head went over the rim of the glass with a moderate pour,creamy,pillowy lots of different sized bubbles make up the head, not tight had good retention,leaving sticking rings of lace on the top of the glass with spotty chunks the rest of the way down. Good carbination streams of very tiny bubbles surging from the sides round the glass.

Moderate aromas,very roasty,black coffee,earthy,a grainy/rye aroma with some sweet carmell notes with dark,sweet fruity overtones.

Very roasty taste,some slight sourness,burnt notes, bittersweet chocolate/carmell flavors. Finishes with a sweet, citrus rind bite with a slight grapefruityness that fades away ever so slightly.
The taste is reminisent of a Porter,except for the high bitterness.

Suprizingly light mouthfeel, feels somewhat coarse,leaving an oily hop residue on the palate. Fairly easy drinking, could drink a few of these not an all nighter by any means. An interesting beer worth a try.

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Photo of CortexBomb
3.5/5  rDev -13.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours out black with some crimson colour around the edges. Slight head is off tan, just a dusting after the pour faded away. Scent, mainly the rye, as one would expect, along with some definite floral tones from the hops and something that reminds me of sod, strange, yet appealing.

Flavour, starts out gently on the rye flavour, but then the hops start to show up, first a flash, then a fade, and then a strong return on the back of the tongue with that expected grapefruit and pine aspect. Flavour definitely has some softly malted aspects, and the vaguest hint of chocolate, but you have to dig for the secondary flavours because the hops are front and centre and finally lend a decent bite to the finish. Probably quite good for hop heads, I'm lukewarm to the trend myself, so it's a shade above average and essentially boils down to rye tinged IPA.

The mouthfeel and drinkability both come in at average; the mouth is very light, hence that score while the drinkability reflects the nature of the hops, I enjoy them for a while, but then they start to become a liability.

Beer that has some interesting aspects, but could have done with more rye and less hops.

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Photo of Cresant
3.5/5  rDev -13.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured this 12 oz., undated brown bottle into a nonic. Opaque brown/black body. One finger of anemic head. Light tan sticky lace hugged the glass.

Smelled Clean and hoppy. Faint alcohol aroma. Grainy. Rye.

Tasted mildly of molasses and flowery hops. Well balanced and drinkable.

Mouthfeel was smooth with an mildly oily texture. Medium to full body. Founders Brewery has become my all-around favorite. Everything I have tried from them has been well above average.

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Photo of winomark
3.5/5  rDev -13.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a nice deep, dark brown with a thick, pillowy light tan head. Dark malt aromas, along with a healthy dose of rye in the nose. Some hoppiness noticable. Roasted malt flavors dominate, but once again the rye component is very noticable. Hops add a nice bitterness and spiciness to the palate and finish. Flavorful mouthfeel, but surprisingly light, thanks to the adequate carbonation and the hops. A very nice beer. Drinkable, but not a session beer for me. The combination of rye, hops, and dark malts makes this one worth trying.

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Photo of TX-Badger
3.5/5  rDev -13.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark brown with tan-ish head. Pine, some roasted nuts, and a little floral note on the nose; follows onto the palate. Finishes with more hop resin. Lots of hops for a dark ale.

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Photo of sullysbeer
3.52/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Aroma: Sweet candy like roasted chocolate, burnt marshmellow, Citrus and spicey hop arma. Fruity esters of strawberries covered in chocolate. Smells so good!

Appearance: Clear, dark brown with ruby highlights. Thick and creamy off white head retention.

Flavor: Malty with roasted barley character mixed with a rye flavor. Slightly acidic from the dark malts but not overpowering at all. Piney hop flavor and the piney hop bitterness dominates the palate after the swallow. Slight smokiness.

Mouthfeel: Medium-full body. A tad high on the carbonation. Slick on the tongue.

Overall Impression: This reminds me of a brown ale with a twist, which would be the rye. This beer kind of dissapointed me becasue the hop aroma is supposed to be a lot more intense. Especially if your marketing the term dry hopping on the label. I was expecting a burst of hop aroma which wasn't really there. This is a well brewed beer and very tasty. Great job!!

The term dry hopping means:

Verb - To introduce hops to the wort after the fermentation. Dry hopping significantly increases the hops character of the aroma and flavor of the final beer without increasing the bitterness or IBUs (international bittering units).

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Photo of Clint_Yoho
3.52/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

4 oz pour in a wine glass at Birch and Barley

L: This beer was very black with zero head but this could have been an issue with the time between the pour and me getting the beer.

S: I did not get much from the smell. It was very mild, slight toasted malts.

T: I was expecting more from the malt and hops. What I got was lacking in malt and a hop forward beer.

F: Again I was expecting more from the malt, but this beer felt thin. Could have been my mind playing a trick on me but I was dissapointed.

O: I was dissapointed with this beer, I was expecting better.

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Photo of FLAbeergutinMASS
3.53/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Explosive head. A relatively slow pour that resulted in over a two-inch head! As it settles it's lacing itself with out any consumption. An interesting beer. It reminds me of some Black Lagers I've had. Not entirely sure how to grade this beer because I simply don't drink this style too often.

Smokey, coffee, burnt nuts dominate this beer. You can really taste the grains in this beer. I can imagine this beer going nicely with a pungent cheese plate.

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Founders Black Rye from Founders Brewing Company
4.04 out of 5 based on 1,589 ratings.
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