Founders Black Rye | Founders Brewing Company

454 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: 454 | Ratings: 1,589
Photo of Sammy
3.8/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Jet black with lots of creamy head. Boozy and roast stout aroma. Some chocolate. Very faint rye, nothing like Red's Rye.Creamy and well carbonated taste, toast, spice, nothing too intense. Buit of roast on aftertaste. Very drinkable. Thanks Dr. Jay.

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Photo of t0rin0
4/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Another strange brew that I've come across in the past couple of weeks. I'm still learning about rye in beers and haven't decided yet if its worth trying in a homebrew or not. This beer was basically a nice balanced thick porter/stout with decent amount of rye in it. This extra ingredient surprisingly gives it a whole new dimension.

I poured my half of the bottle into a pint glass and it foamed nicely with a brown/tan color that left a nice sticky lacing behind for the duration of the drink. The foam that remained floating sat as island in the middle of the glass. Interesting to note that there was some sediment at the bottom of the bottle, possibly yeast possibly hops and other particulates.

The smell was half of chocolatey coffee malts and half of rye. Upon first smell I thought I was smelling hops but I'm pretty sure that, unless they used a ton of chinook or some piney powerful hops in the aroma, I was smelling the rye malt. Odd but interesting and eventually inviting once I figured out what everything was. The taste was along the same lines as the aroma. It had a nice chocolatey sweetness and a solid coffee spice and this was all slightly enhanced by the bite of the rye. By the time I got half way through my glass I was really starting to enjoy this, despite my general hatred of coffee flavored anything.

The body was slightly heavy and the carbonation as well as the sticky foam made it a nice thick drink. Even though it had an unimpressive abv it was moderately warming.

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Photo of metter98
4.1/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: The beer is black when viewed from afar but when held up to the light the bottom is clear and very dark red in color. It poured with a quarter finger high tan head that died down, leaving wisps of bubbles on the surface, a collar around the edge of the glass, and lots of lacing down the sides.
S: Moderate aromas of roasted malts are present in the nose.
T: The taste has lots of flavors of burnt and roasted malts along with notes of piney hops; the rye lends lots of spicy flavors to the finish that linger into the aftertaste.
M: It feels medium-bodied and a little crisp on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: I really enjoyed the boldness in burnt/roasted malts and spicy flavors offered by this rye beer. It is definitely one I could try again.

Serving type: bottle

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Photo of BEERchitect
3.85/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Black and rye, and without owning any style delineation of porter, stout or brown- Founders Black Rye lives in that obscure world that prevent preconceived anticipations, yet creates curious anticipation that's all its own.

With its overt black appearance, the beer pours frothy, but with a sense of dry aridness that releases its carbonation quickly- suggesting dry ale. But with its stern coffee aromas, coupled with citrus, pine and burnt toast the nose is both robust and quick.

Evading much of its initial sweetness, the burnt sugar taste of toffee is cast to the side in order to favor those toasted and coffee flavors. Faint of toasted marshmallow and french-press coffee, the beer drifts into a spicy rye grain flavor that's both husken and earthen in taste, favoring root, sod and spice.

Its clean and citrus flavor captures the fleeting bitterness of white grapefruit particularly well even while burnt pine needles and peppercorn offer a special zing in its dry and drinkable finish; despite butting up against the friction of imperial strength.

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Photo of brentk56
4.33/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pours a black color with ruby highlights and a prodigious head that leaves plenty of lacing

Smell: Roasted malt, chocolate and nut aroma along with some leafy hops

Taste: Starts out with a rich espresso and chocolate flavor; after the swallow, the hops and sour rye (pumpernickel?) flavors kick in to complement the malt profile; on the finish, the rye kicks into third gear and joins with the nut flavors to complement the earlier elements

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with moderate carbonation and a slightly astringent finish from the rye

Drinkability: I really enjoy a beer that stakes out its own turf and this beer clearly accomplishes that goal. Highly recommended!

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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 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 superspak
4.1/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 ounce bottle into tulip glass, bottled on 12/6/2014. Pours fairly pitch black color with a 1-2 finger dense tan head with good retention, that reduces to a small cap that lingers. Nice spotty soapy lacing clings around the glass. Aromas of big grapefruit, tangerine, lemon zest, orange peel, pine, chocolate, cocoa, coffee, spicy rye, brown bread, floral, grass, and floral/roasted earthiness. Damn nice aromas with great balance and complexity of citrus/pine hops and moderate roasted/bready malt sweetness; with great strength. Taste of big grapefruit, tangerine, lemon zest, orange peel, pine, chocolate, cocoa, coffee, spicy rye, brown bread, floral, grass, and floral/roasted earthiness. Good amount of pine/roasted bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of grapefruit, tangerine, lemon/orange zest, pine, chocolate, cocoa, coffee, spicy rye, brown bread, and floral/roasted earthiness on the finish for a good bit. Damn nice complexity and balance of citrus/pine hops and moderate roasted/bready malt sweetness; with a great malt/bitterness balance and zero cloying flavors after the finish. Medium carbonation and body; with a very smooth, crisp, moderately sticky, and lightly creamy/bready mouthfeel that is nice. Alcohol is very well hidden with minimal warming present after the finish. Overall this is an excellent black rye IPA style. All around great complexity and balance of citrus/pine hops and moderate roasted/bready malt sweetness; and very smooth and crisp to drink for the ABV. A very enjoyable offering.

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Photo of oberon
4/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a near pitch black with a slight off white colored head that held its retention well.aromas are unique chocolate with dry earth with a hint of sour rye faintly wich goes well with the chocolaty/earthy aromas.Starts out with some bitter chocolate with a lighter caramel note finishing with that light sourness with a hit of piney hop in the finish.Quite unique in its different flavors like that of a oatmeal stout finishing with the hit of rye and American hop,I really liked it will have again for sure.

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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 chinchill
3.98/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle Bottled 06 Dec.2014.

L - Dark black; opaque excepting dark ruby-brown edges. Resepctable and durable light brown head.

AROMA - Some spicy rye, black bread and light hops.

Taste - lightly spicy from the rye and hops; plenty of roasted grain notes; hints of toffee and dark chocolate. Finishes with dark and medium roast grains and a light bitterness, especially given the semi-bold hop component.

Feel - The body is medium-high with a smooth and full mouthfeel; medium carbonation. Dry finish.

O: excellent rendition of a hoppy black rye.

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Photo of TheManiacalOne
3.9/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Acquired via trade from biegaman, so a big "Thank you" goes out to him. Poured from a 12oz bottle into a US tumbler pint glass.

A: The beer is a reddish black color with a short tan head that fades slowly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is of dark bready malts, hops and some chocolate.

T: The taste starts with flavors of rye bread & dark chocolate. Then a strong hops flavor comes in and combines with the dark chocolate to create an intense but welcome bitterness. The malt character is very hearty but what little sweetness is in there gets overpowered. The after-taste is bitter and hoppy.

M: Smooth and very crisp, medium-to-heavy body, medium carbonation, clean and dry finish.

D: Tasty, goes down very easily, slightly filling, good kick, this is a nice beer to drink a few of, but personally I'd have be in the mood for it in order to select it. However, overall, it's a very good beer.

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Photo of dbrauneis
4.04/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

A: Pours an opaque yet still clear jet black in color with light amounts of active visible carbonation near the surface of the beer and faint dark cola brown highlights. The beer has a half finger tall dense foamy tan head that reduces to a thick film covering the entire surface of the beer with a thick ring at the edges of the glass. Moderate to heavy amounts of lacing are observed.

S: Moderate aromas of roasted malts, spicy rye, and pine hops.

T: Upfront there is a moderate flavor of roasted malts and dark malts with just a hint of sweetness. That is followed by moderate flavors of rye spiciness and piney hops. There is a light to moderate amount of lingering bitterness in the finish.

M: Medium bodied with moderate to heavy amounts of carbonation. Slick upfront with a light amount of dryness in the finish.

O: Enjoyable with a pleasant amount of complexity to the flavors and aromas. Easy to drink and definitely one I would grab again (and I'm not always a fan of Black IPAs which this is obviously a hybrid with).

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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 russpowell
4.28/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Cheers to joe151o for this one...! Review based on notes:

Opened with a hiss, a bit of a gusher...Ebony with 4 fingers of tan head. Insane lacing & head retention

S: Toasty grain, licorice & dark fruit

T: Peppery rye, dryness, chicory & molasses up front. Coffee grinds, crisp rye, dryness & some cocoa as this warms. Finishes with a bit of plum, more crisp rye & some more coffee

MF: Medium bodied with restrained carbonation

Easy drinking, very nice take on a style that getting more popular. Despite the rough start, this was a nice beer!

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Photo of mikesgroove
4.18/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had the pleasure of having this one for the first time last night and have to admit I was totally blown away by it. Served cold and poured into a pint glass, this one was consumed on 01/30/2010.

The pour was dark and massive. Nearly completely black with a nice and tight head of tan on top that reached a of near two inches before settling back down. Aroma was loaded with chocolate and touches of light hops and hints of spice. Almost peppery with a touch of molasses, nicely done I have to admit. Each sip seemed to build the flavor more and more, really coming together towards the end. Light spice, hints of chocolate and coffee, and a deep, resionous hop flavor that gave it a decided bite as it finished. Rich feel and very well carbonated, I literally could not get enough of this one.

Overall so damn solid, one of my new favorites from Founders for sure.

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Photo of Slatetank
4.15/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Enjoyed chilled in a nonic on tap at Golden Crust Pizza in Red Lion

The color is black as advertized with opaque clarity with light tan head with fine bead and good retention. The smell has lots of malt -roasty with mild dark cocoa aroma with slight spice with a mild sweet malt odor. The feel is very roasty with medium body with light sweetness and semi-dry and spicy finish.

The flavor of rye malt with slight coffee-like roasted elements and some mild bitterness of hops with a slight spice quality which is peppery and continues with hops and mild alcohol in the finish. Overall this is a great rye with stout-like qualities nice dark malt taste.

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Photo of Jason
3.87/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 oz short twist-off brown bottle with no freshness date.

A- Deep leather brown color, two fingers of lace hold strong with excellent retention which shows on the glass.

S- Layers of floral hops, spicy rye, faint burnt grain and a hint of burnt raisins.

T&M- Pretty damn smooth with an ample crispness. Thick oily hop flavor, malty with a burnt and spicy character. Sufficient hop bitterness, more roasted grain in the finish with a long lingering hop flavor.

D- Interesting to say the least, this one really grows on you after a while. Dark, spicy, hoppy in a floral kind of way ... certainly not conventional but it works. I could see drinking this one on a regular basis to mix things up.

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Photo of WVbeergeek
4.33/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appears an almost opaque cola ruby brown forms a large tan head leaves behind even specks of lacing. Aroma has some spicy rye and herbal hops along with a very nice mix of dark chocolate, dark cofee, and a touch of anise or mint like tones. Taste...a beautiful blend of chocolate powder, tea leaves, fresh ground cofee beans, spicy rye with herbal and earthy hop notes. Mouthfeel is Schwarzish light to medium body range smooth even carbonation. Drinkability...honestly challenging and drinkable an all day any season kinda beer great brew truly quality from Grand Rapids.

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Photo of johnnnniee
3.84/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

New release came into town today picked up at Bert's
Solid black color with a decent off white head. Roasty earthy resinous and a little spicy. Easy drinking at 7.5 % is dangerous I finished it before this review. Good stuff!

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Photo of smakawhat
3.74/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from the bottle into a Spiegelau IPA glass. Bottled 12/12/2014.

Great looker of a brew. Thick and foamy and controlled four finger cap, sitting like a brick but with a nice creamy tan appearance and very fine bubbles on top. Body color is real dark and interesting. Deep redish mahogany with light red and brown highlights. Some clarity to it even while dark, and just a little noticeable slow and fine rising carbonation.

Excellent solid aroma. Lots of hints of milk chocolate, and a sense of muted spice. Hints of some fruity hop angles and some leafy character on the aroma as well with some nice balance turns. Very nice.

Palate seems to lack a little bit of focus though. Mild and very light bodied with not much of the chocolate coming out. Slightly feeling a little burnt strangely, but with some matching juiced hop tones that come out in the mid palate. Dry, but not too much, with an odd tasting grainy finish that doesn't seem to meld well.

There's some good character here, but even if not being the biggest Rye fan, still the parts don't really seem to jive and fit well here. Slightly comes out kind of session feeling too which at 6.6 abv doesn't really work over well either. Not horrible, but not great either.

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Photo of jwc215
4/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottled on 12/06/22014:

Pours black with a thin lasting tan head.

The smell is of chocolate with some pine, dark bread and rye.

The taste is of chocolate, coffee, with earthy/piney hop spicing and bitterness. Minty rye in the finish.

Full-bodied (or close enough to call it that.)

An all-round well-brewed beer. Well-hopped but doesn't clash with roast. A nice touch of rye gives it a unique character. An enjoyable dark, hoppy, rye beer.

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Photo of feloniousmonk
3.88/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Deep black color, full cocoa/tan head..nice lookin'...I like it okay...
Aroma: rich and creamy, big, grainy, feeling, almost loud... very dark.
Taste: rich and full, very dark and tasty, posssessing exceptional grit, very full texture, hearty mouthfeel.
Medium bodied, so-so finish...kind of curious about the need for a beer of this kind, it doesn't satisfy like a porter or a stout. A nice drink, though not much to really remember.
Hurrah, Black Rye, ...

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Photo of Tone
4.02/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a black color. 3/4 inch head of a tan color. Great retention and great lacing. Smells of piney hops, sweet malt, slight roasted malt, hint of yeast, slight alcohol, rye, and hint of wood. Mouth feel is smooth and clean, with an average carbonation level. Fits the style of a Rye Beer. Tastes of roasted malt, sweet malt, piney hops, slight wood, slight rye, alcohol, and a hint of yeast. Overall, great appearance, good aroma, feel, body, blend, and complexity.

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Photo of Wasatch
4.35/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours a dark brown color, nice carbonation, nice creamy tan head, lots of lacing throughout the drink.

S - Scents of sweet malts, toffee, and caramel.

T - The taste is malty with a nice toffee flavor, there is a nice dry finish.

M - Medium body.

D - Very drinkable. This is a very tasty brew offer from Founders. Glad I had a chance to check it out.

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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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