Founders Black Rye | Founders Brewing Company

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449 Reviews
Founders Black RyeFounders Black Rye

Brewed by:
Founders Brewing Company
Michigan, United States | website

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: 449 | Ratings: 1,580
Photo of Bone53
4.04/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Appearance: Black pour with no light coming through. Very thin tan head

Smell: Chocolate, roasted malts, big on the rye, hops, spice, slight smoke and leather

Taste: Smokey roasted malts and slight chocolate upfront, in the middle i pick up the spice from the rye and hops that lingers

Mouthfeel: Medium body; Goes down smooth with a moderate to substantial bitter finish

Overall: This is is definitely an interesting twist on a black ale, but does it work? Id say so. I enjoy the smokey malt flavor upfront with the rye hop finish, but somethings missing to make it truly great and i cant pinpoint it yet. I think id prefer less bitterness on the backend. Very interesting though

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Photo of tekstr1der
4.3/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Black pour with thin brown head. Sweet and toasted aromas. Taste some nice hop bitterness up front, with some smoked, coffee notes in a relatively clean finish.

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Photo of Beerdanza
4.28/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pours black, as the name says. A nice beige head that laces pretty well and sticks around. Smells of caramel and butterscotch and smoke. The taste is predominately a good hops bitterness and sour rye with an aftertaste of sweet maltiness. The hops flavor here is less flowery, and tempered by a smokey note that finishes the bitterness. Mouth feel is substantial. This is not a light, refreshing brew. It's a serious beer for people who appreciate the bitter and sour. I absolutely love the sour rye flavors. I may be a rye beer guy.

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Photo of maedhros09
4.33/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Look: Deep dark brown like a porter. Pours with average light tan head that dissipates into a nice film with some bubbles

Smell: An unusual mix of hops and dark roasted flavor with some savory almost onion-like rye notes

Taste: Dark roasted and lightly sweet porter/stout like notes with rye twang and a substantial piney herbal floral bitter hop presence

Feel: medium body and smooth mouthfeel.

Overall: Founder's gets an A for uniqueness - I've never had anything resembling the brew. Only some of the hoppier porters come close but they have a different hops profile and lack the rye flavor of this beer. It all blends remarkably well and makes for an enjoyable drinking experience. I think this works nicely with food - I had it with a bowl of chili. If I have a complaint it is simply the price, but in return you get a quality brew.

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Photo of CHickman
4.21/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pours pitch black color with a huge creamy 2 finger tan head that was full of tiny bubbles and faded extremely slowly, leaving very good lacing coating the sides and rings as it went down.

Smells of fresh piney hops, pine cone, strong rye, citrus hops, grapefruit, cocoa powder, pepper and other earthy spices; nose is very piney and the rye and spices blast your senses and then pull back to let the sweet citrus and bready malts come through. Coffee grinds and toffee trail late and add nice accents to this brew, I really like the way it changes from light and spices to sweet and coffee like.

Taste is like coffee or espresso at first, then changes to pumpernickel bread and a biscotti like cookie, and yet continues to change into a spicy treat with rye, floral hops, pine cone/piney hops, pepper, tea leaf and cocoa powder. Very dynamic and while it’s pretty hoppy with a lot of black IPA characteristics, the rye and peppery spices keep it lighter feeling with a sharp bitterness and lesser sweetness. The finish is a mix of roasted grains, burnt coffee, dark chocolate and earthy notes like peat moss, switching again to a grapefruit bitterness with some citrus zest and chocolate sweetness. The roast, rye and hoppy sweetness all compliment each other well.

A roller coaster beer ride of flavors that work very well together with nice balance and smooth almost slick feel. The carbonation was a little lighter than average, the bitterness was slightly above average and the finish was different after every sip. A really enjoyable beer that is very different and hides the ABV completely while remaining quite easy to drink. The rye is present in every aspect of this brew and makes for a wonderful leading role.

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Photo of stompilator
4.02/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into a tulip glass.

A - Poured an almost opaque black. Very light, fizzy head, which dissipated quickly.

S - Boozy and grainy, with a gentle hop aroma.

T - Very interesting elements at play here. Very malty and smoky on the front, with the hop flavor popping in near the back, and a nice bourbon-y aftertaste.

M - A little crisp and bubbly for my taste, but certainly not bad.

O - Very nicely layered, balanced taste, especially for a black IPA.

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Photo of Apellonious
4.12/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle dated 12/6/2014 poured into a tulip glass.

A - Dark brown/black, with a half finger tan lace that dissapates quickly.

S - Smells fantastic, and I am having trouble trying to put it into words. There is defintely a bourbon component courtesy of the rye, but its equally matched by a ctirus type hop and a dark fruit component.

T - And there is the twist. Burnt grains and mild smoke/oak appear, with a citrus bitter hop finish.

M - Carbonation is average to above average, has a sharp mouthfeel.

O - Grabbed a single (which I wont do again based on the price), but will defintiely be looking for it next year to see if I can pick it up when its fresher. Fans of black IPAs will enjoy this one.

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Photo of Jmamay22
4.28/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Pours an opaque and deeply dark black with a tan colored head that maintains its size. Nice sticky lacing too. Smells of pine and spicey from the rye. A hint of roast and chocolate. They rye is even more prominent once sipping. Very strong rye flavors and a good firm bitter finish. Hints of roast flavors behind the rye spiciness. Very enjoyable and interesting beer. Mouthfeel is on the heavier side of medium. Well done.

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Photo of cbutova
3.9/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Had a bottle of this quite some time ago around New Years. Dated 12/06/14.

A- Stubby Founders bottle pours a mostly black brew to my tulip. A crown tops the beer at one finger with a thick frothy texture. The retention is fairly good as a medium ring remains leaving a thick sheet with webs falling from that for lacing.

S- Earthy hops and blackened barley. Charred dark malts, whole cereal grains, heavily toasted nuts, hearty bread and chocolate brownies. The hops are in between earthy dirt and bright citrus.

T- Rye grows some here with a spiciness that adds onto the charred blackened malts and the heavily toasted browned grains. Cereal, caramel, coffee, cocoa nibs lead up to citrus zest, floral and earthy tones.

MF- Medium bodied and taking into account the flavors it feels just a bit thin at times. The bubbles flow at a medium to high level promoting a creamy texture. Finishes somewhat bitter with burnt and hops contributing.

Definitely some pros and cons to this experience. I think the balance of the aromas and flavor is quite nice. At time the body feels somewhat thin to support what is going on. A solid hoppy dark ale with charred, chocolate grains and bright hops.

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

served on draft in shaker pint glass

black in color, off white head, decent head retention. nice aroma of a well rounded hop aroma paired with just a little toasty malt flavor. taste is hop dominated.

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

Moderately black in color and impenetrable to light. A fingernail of khaki colored head is present. Brussels lacing. The nose brings dark malt,earthy rye notes, and chocolate. The flavor is as advertised in the nose with the rye leading the way. The bitter dark malt would be next but the rye is certainly dominant. The mouth is slightly viscous and chewy.

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Photo of stortore
4.23/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

12 ounce bottle dated 12/6/2014, into a Stiegl stange.

Pours almost black, very opaque. Big head in this thin, little stick, not much lacing. Smell is a big rush of rye and malts, good amount of caramel. Overall roasty aroma. A little smoke, hint of black pepper, are those pretzels I smell? Taste continues the rye smell, strong and bitter. A big malt presence, less caramel than the nose, some bitter chocolate, still get a little smoke. Dry, solid body, taste lingers on the tongue.

Really like this beer, Founders should make this year- round. Lots of flavor, a pretty complex aroma. Very enjoyable.

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

Poured into a tulip from a 12 oz bottle.

Color is dark opaque brown with a frothy tan head. Nice lacing and retention. A very nice looking beer. Definitely rye on the nose, along with some roasted malt and citrusy hops. Flavor is crisp citrus hops followed by roasted malt with a dry, semi-bitter finish. It's a very good example of using rye without overpowering the beer. The rye is there and works well with the hops.

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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 puboflyons
4.29/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

From the 12 fl. oz. bottle. Bottling date of 12/22/2014. Sampled on March 4, 2015.

Deep dark brown to near black pour with a lingering tan head.

Great aroma of dark grainy malts, coffee, earthy and piney hops.

Decent oily. medium to better than medium body.

The taste has a powerful earthy and piney bitterness that overtakes references to the dark malts and grain picked up in the first mouth swirl. Lingering bite at the end.

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Photo of thedoubler55
4.06/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours a dark brown color, pretty much black, a nice finger of tan head at the top, and some nice lacing around the glass as you drink it.

S: Lots of rye up front followed by chocolate and some vanilla as well, the roast is present throughout, nice nose on this one.

T: The taste on this one throws me for a loop, but good flavors throughout, the roast is present all around followed by some coffee notes and good mixture of hops.

M:Heavy/medium bodied, nice amount of carbonation, nice warming on the tail end.

O: Overall great flavors coming from this brew, well balanced and great mixture of everything in this brew, definitely want more of this. Love me some Founders.

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Photo of JoeyAder
4.45/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Deep brown hue with a tan head. Aromas are a bit metallic and tinny but you get some very nice roast as well. Mouthfeel is rich and creamy with just enough carbonation to break up the flavor into decadent layers. Rich roast, some leather, touch of caramel and finishes with a bit of spice. A hearty and delicious beer.

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Photo of TastyIsBeer
4.34/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Probably the closest thing I've had to the Blakkr collaboration (that was Real Ale/Surly/3F, I had the Surly version): a deep, roasty, almost savory taste that is preceded by a dark rye nose. Unless and until Blakkr comes back this may be my go-to Black IPA. Founders is really getting serious with the bitter black between this and Dark Penance (also quite good)...

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Photo of Chris_the_Tartar
3.99/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Very dark brown with a 2 finger head that sticks around. Smells like hops, rye, and a hint of coffee. Tasted like hops and rye and was surprisingly smoky. Felt almost like eating sourdough bread, texture was definitely a strong point. Had me thinking it'd be an excellent beer to enjoy with BBQ. Would buy again.

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Photo of mothmanscott
4.31/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pours a deep brown so dark it appears black producing 1.5 fingers of somewhat lasting tan finely bubbled head that leaves a pasty wash of blotchy, streaky lacing. Aroma is dark malt, roast, cocoa, toffee, faint coffee, smoke, pumpernickel bread, brown sugar, some caramel & spice. Taste is dark malt, burnt dark bread, bold rye maltiness & spice, molasses, smoke, prune, brown sugar, tobacco & a lively bitter finish that lingers long in the burnt malt, smoky, dry aftertaste. As with a number of rye beers a metallic note emerges in the background & becomes most prominent in the aftertaste but is not detracting . Mouthfeel is medium bodied, moderately carbonated, lively & crawling with prickly spice, dry & astringent in the aftertaste. Exceptional!

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Photo of hosehead83
4.09/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured from 12oz. bottle into a "balloon" glass.
Black, cola in color, with a sturdy head of tan foam.
Aroma-Oily hops, roasted malt.
Taste-Spicy rye, Dark roasted malt, piney hops leading to a dry finish. Well-balanced and flavorfull, a faint chocolate note emerges upon warming a bit. A great match for a cheeseburger with the works, or a well-seasoned steak.

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Photo of elNopalero
4.25/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

This has an intense porter/stout character to it. “Rye beer” only tells half the story!
This pours a solid jet black with cocoa colored foam. There's an intense roasty chocolate-coffee aroma on it. This tastes like a roasty rye stout with a long intense finish.

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Photo of ThisWangsChung
3.87/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle into a teku.

Appearance: Pours a very dark brown color. The head is around a finger high, with a mocha shade. Retention isn't all that hot, and very little lacing is left on the glass. (3.25)

Smell: The nose strikes a good balance between an IPA and a rye porter. While I do pick up some nice hops (mainly floral in quality), the maltiness are every bit their equal. Not only do I get rye, I also get some chocolate, brown sugar, and even a touch of roast. There's a definite mish-mash of styles going on here like I said, but it's well focused in spite of that. (3.75)

Taste: Some floral hops initially appear, before turning into more of a piny, grassy flavor. Malts are sneaky, subtle, yet very much present - combined with the hop bitterness, it develops a nice coffee flavor. Gentle undertones of rye last throughout the flavor profile, and the roastiness managed to both be sneaky and bold. This could have been a total clusterfuck, yet the fact that it's balanced and cohesive is a real testament to Founders. (4)

Mouthfeel: Full-bodied yet lively on the tongue, it still features a crisp, dry finish. It's not bone-dry, though - everything about the feel is metered quite well. This is just dry enough to be easy drinking, and wet enough to feel rich. (3.75)

Overall: This one just works. Certainly, it works a lot better than Dark Penance did. Everything about this beer works in near-perfect harmony - of course, none of that would matter if it didn't taste good. Which it does, very much so. Worthy of anyone's time, attention, or money. (4)

3.87/5: Founders strikes again

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Photo of Sparty1224
4.23/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Serving: 12 oz. bottle poured into a Founder's tap room pint glass. Bottled on 12/17/2014, making this exactly 2 months old.

A: Pours a nearly opaque black, cola-like appearance, with a small fizzy 1/4-finger head.

S: A lot of spicy rye malt. Some nice earthy and piney hop aromas in the background.

T: Classic Founder's ale here. Great balance up front, lots of spicy rye notes, followed by a nice piney hop bitterness. Finishes very dry, bitter and bruising.

M: Great carbonation here. Full mouthfeel for a black ale. Alcohol well-hidden for 7.5% ABV. Nice, bitter aftertaste.

O: Never got to try this back in 2005, but I'm sure it's the same recipe. It's a really nice beer done in the classic Founder's ale-style. Tons of malt presence, hops come through very bitter on the finish. It's a very loud and aggressive beer, which is typical. Not sure if bringing back a black ale adds much to their lineup with an Imperial Black IPA just added and recently doing a single Black IPA for ArtPrize. Either way, it's a nice addition, and another drinkable, well-done beer from Founder's.

Recommendation: Worth a try for even the most casual Founder's fan.

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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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Founders Black Rye from Founders Brewing Company
90 out of 100 based on 449 ratings.
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