Project PAM
Founders Brewing Company

Project PAMProject PAM
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IPA - Black / Cascadian Dark Ale
Ranked #8
Ranked #1,718
4.21 | pDev: 8.08%
Founders Brewing Company
Michigan, United States
Project PAMProject PAM
Notes: Black India pale ale aged in maple syrup bourbon barrels
Reviews: 238 | Ratings: 1,063 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of Treyliff
Treyliff from West Virginia

3.83/5  rDev -9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

750ml bottle poured into a snifter

A- pours deep brown in color with a one-finger creamy khaki head that has good retention

S- smells of roasted barley, faded hops, pine, frosted berries, char, maple, toasted oak, bourbon

T- initially sweet with the maple coming through, immediately followed by equal parts charred malt and faded citrusy hops. Mid-palate brings out notes of black licorice candy, caramel & pine. The finish gives light oaky bourbon and more maple and licorice on the linger

M- medium body with moderate carbonation leads to a foamy mouthfeel that turns into a creamy finish

O- interested flavors throughout, but they never seem to quite mesh

Dec 17, 2019
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GuyFawkes from Illinois

2.92/5  rDev -30.6%
look: 3 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3

Bottled late 2015; drank 12/19/15 @ the Palace.

Opaque dark brown appearance.

A rough pour yielded a big khaki head; strong lace.

Oak, bacon jam & sweet bourbon notes in the nose.

Thick, sticky mouthfeel.

Sweet bourbon, oak & candied bacon flavors; strong booze heat notes on the finish.

Cloying & boozy; not a great combination.

Jul 23, 2019
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Mdaniel723 from Missouri

4.15/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

I’m not sure what it was like fresh but it’s great aged, poured on 12/16/17 and it was like drinking a malty, balanced stout. No taste of maple or hops, but good malt flavor.

Dec 17, 2017
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jwilcox767 from Ohio

4.71/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

A - opaque dark brown pour, maybe slightly translucent. Thin head. Not much lacing.
S - typical IPA hopiness, awesome barrel aged notes like bourbon and maple.
T - fantastic blending of IPA hops and dark barrel flavors. So well balanced you'd think you're drinking just another porter. The flavors are so well integrated that the 11% ABV goes unnoticed.
M - medium bodied as far as an IPA goes. Just the right level of sweetness.
O - I got a bottle that was aged for approx 12-18 months and I can only assume that time served it well. This beer was on my list to try for the last 2 years so the expectations may have been set a little high. No matter, it met and exceeded all of them. I know that barrel aged IPA's are tough to pull off, and that makes this one that more special.

Dec 03, 2017
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augustgarage from California

4.04/5  rDev -4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Poured roughly from a 750mL bottle into my Bruery tulip.

Opaque, bistre body with a finger of desert sand foam on top. Sandy lacing; good retention.

Maple and bourbon in the nose along with some grassy/floral hop notes. Vanilla, coconut, hazlenut, tobacco, etc.

Sweet and complex palate entry finishing with a drying wave of char and toast, with a lingering heat emerging deep into the aftertaste. Well balanced, drinking more like a cocktail than an ale. Hops provide modest bitterness, perhaps a touch of citrus and pine, but are otherwise subsumed by the barrel aging and maple candy flavor.

Medium-bodied, well carbonated, with the 10.8% ABV adding heft without too much booze.

Rich and fairly roasty, this is more like a porter or foreign export stout than an IPA. Style guidelines aside, it is tasty and autumnal, perfect for the changing season.

For the amount of time/labor that went into this fairly expensive bottle ($18), I would have preferred their breakfast stout given the maple/bourbon treatment, but beggars can't be choosers I suppose.

Oct 14, 2017
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Brogie from Louisiana

4.23/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

My first review, I was waiting for the right time to try this beer without waiting to long. It was the bourbon taste that made me love this beer. It was strong and amazing, smell was awesome. Son was in town and I wanted to share a different beer with him. He loved it, sent him home with a KBS. Wish I had bought two!

Apr 16, 2017
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Stlfoodscene from Missouri

4.52/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Opened a bomber out of the cellar to share with the wife before I head to Vegas for the Super Bowl. Vegas Baby, VEGAS!

Poured into a tulip and it pours a jet black, oily color but as the carbonation settles, it shows a dark brown color as the label on the front of the bottle foreshadows. Carbonation is very present and the head mellows out to remind you that this is still an IPA.

The smell is rich, sweet bourbon and it hits on all notes. It's super enticing and, if you still believe that it's an IPA, you are left with anxious anticipation to drink it.

It hits the tongue and you get the hops right away but it's almost instantly wiped out by a deep, malty wave of flavor that keeps you coming back time and again.

Overall it's awesome and I know that time has done good by this beer and more time will do it even better. Another knockout by Founders. Keep em coming! (looking forward to DOOM :)

Feb 04, 2017
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mvanaskie13 from Pennsylvania

3.59/5  rDev -14.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a chalice: color is dark brown to black, head is tan, presenting 1/2 inch thick, with fine bubbles, head laces nicely and lingers as a mostly solid top.

Smell is a fading blend of light bourbon, subtle maple syrup, chocolate/cocoa, vanilla, and a mild hop earthiness.

Taste is a bit more muddled, less flavor distinction: light bourbon, maple syrup notes, then vanilla - less cocoa and hop flavors.

Mouthfeel is moderate: a bit carbonated, a bit sharp on the tongue, some moderate lingering sweetness.

Overall a good, not great beer - the hop/bourbon/maple syrup combination is possibly one too many flavors to create a unique brew with discriminate flavors or flavors that work better together. .

Jan 04, 2017
Photo of ChrisMon02
ChrisMon02 from Ohio

4.37/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Jet black, frothy mocha head. Burnt caramel, butterscotch, maple, hops and a touch of bourbon. Taste is intense and very deep. Complex and interesting. Definitely one to sip on and enjoy. Scary that the alcohol is so well hidden. Mouthfeel is soft and inviting. Nothing I would want a ton of but quite enjoyable. Recommended.

Oct 31, 2016
Photo of sulldaddy
sulldaddy from Connecticut

4.23/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

Sampling a cellar temp bottle that is about 1 year old. Pouring into a snifter for sampling. The beer pours a dark cola brown color with creamy tan head of 1 cm foaming up and sticking around as a sturdy surface layer throughout the sampling.
Aroma is rich malt with toffee and molasses, chocolate, and of course some bourbon notes. A decent hit of sweet maple syrup is in there too. No hops nor any real booze notes, the bourbon is more of a vanilla and sweet bourbon notes, not heat.
First sip reveals a smooth texture with minor smooth carbonation rolling across my palate. The beer rolls down to my belly with no heat or any hint of how boozy the beer is.
Flavor is what to expect with some dark chocolate, lots of brown sugar and molasses with a kick of vanilla and some dry roast on the finish. I dont get an alcohol hints of heat or black pepper and no hops dare to show up for this malt forward big boozy beer. I am enjoying this brew and find it very drinkable tonight. If you see a bottle and like malt forward complex and deep beers, take the bottle home with you.

Oct 09, 2016
Photo of Jadjunk
Jadjunk from Georgia

4.17/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

No label information. Project PAM is brewed in the style of an American Black IPA aged in Maple Syrup Bourbon Barrels, available in 750ml. bottles and on limited draft. One of the latest entries in the backstage series.

Poured from a 750ml. bottle to a tulip glass.

(Appearance) Pours a frothy cream head of a deep tan/light brown color over a very dark, dense brown body. Retention is very good and lacing is light and patchy. 4.25

(Smell) Black patent bitterness, soft chocolate, and delicate roasted grain with a boldly bitter hop aroma touting citrus peel, pine, and herbal, fruity tones. Delicate undertones of rich bourbon flavor are noticeable with vanilla and toasted oak. Potency is moderate. 4

(Taste) The flavor generates many of the same rich flavor compounds as the aroma, although the malt profile is more prevalent in the flavor. Rich specialty malt notes of chocolate, moderate roast and caramelized syrups are given an extra glaze of richness and edge from the ever-potent maple bourbon barrel presence, merging out to a strong, but yielding pine and herbal hop finish. Very tasty, rich malt profile and the bourbon barrel generates an outstanding flavor compliment to the beer as a whole. 4.25

(Mouthfeel) Texture is silky, smooth, softly viscous, mildly dry. Carbonation is modest, generating a medium frothiness and a moderately crisp finish. Body is medium+ for the style, medium/heavy overall. Balance is slightly sweet with bourbon graininess over hoppy bitter. Alcohol presence is modest and there are no off characters. 4

(Overall) A very enjoyable spin on a traditional Black IPA. The inclusion of maple syrup bourbon barrels generates a lot of velvety smoothness to further enhance the rich, but edgy specialty malt profile. The hop profile is comparatively slight, but has an enjoyable level of bitterness for a decidedly Black IPA. A real standout in the style, I hope to see more Black IPA beers take the barrel-aging route going forward. 4.25

Founders Brewing Company's
Project PAM

Sep 29, 2016
Photo of phishgator
phishgator from Florida

4.53/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a snifter glass, 14 oz. Large white head with only a slight hint of tan. Color is black as night and a thick sludge body. No light passing through on the edges. Big aromas of piney hops, bourbon, roasted coffee, and dark bread. The flavor starts off with bitter hops followed by a rich roasted bready note and rounded out with the sweet mixture of bourbon barrels and maple syrup. As it warms the flavor profile becomes more chocolaty and velvet smooth. The hops seem to balance well in this brew. Certainly a lot to ask to sit and drink this one a warm Florida afternoon, but still an absolute gem.

Sep 19, 2016
Photo of DrinkThemAll
DrinkThemAll from California

4.09/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a 750ml into a snifter.

A-pours an almost opaque black, with minimal light penetration around the edges. Single finger cream colored frothy head, that dissipates to just a ring. Nice looking brew.

S-sweet malt, hint of Bourbon. Faintly earthy. Can't really smell the maple characters. Sourdough bread with sugar. Very light and dessert like.

T-slight hop bill, faint chocolate, sweet malt. Very hard to pull out the maple. A tad of bourbon. Wish the maple was more pronounced. Lacking in the barrel aged department.

M-Medium bodied, decent carbonation with a slightly dry finish. Still no maple in the mouth.

O-Dissapointed in the maple characters. Can't really taste them. A decent brew, but kind of over priced for what it is. I would drink again, but not for $15 a bottle.

Aug 31, 2016
Photo of RyanK252
RyanK252 from California

4.21/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

On tap at Kuni Sama

A: Pours dark brown, nearly black, with a frothy beige head that settles to a thin layer and leaves a little light lacing.

S: Bourbon, maple syrup, roasty malt, a hint of chocolate, earthy, a little pine, molasses, and dark sugar sweetness.

T: Smooth bourbon, maple syrup, vanilla, chocolate, a little pine, and dark sugar/molasses/toffee sweetness. A little alcohol can come out.

M: Medium to full body, moderate carbonation.

O: Really glad I got to try this one, albeit with some age on it. It seems to have transitioned from a black IPA to a big stout. I would love to have been able to try this one fresh and more in it's prime, but what remains is still very tasty.

Aug 11, 2016
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rodmanfor3 from Vermont

4/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Introduced as, "The Poor Man's CBS" at a tasting.

What I got was a thin licorice flavored stout that slightly disappointed.

If this is indeed a Poor Man's CBS, I request that Founders produce more of the Rich Man's CBS that I enjoyed so much in the past. I would be willing to pay the price difference for the pleasure of enjoying a superior beer.

Jun 30, 2016
Photo of goblue30
goblue30 from Michigan

4.49/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Interesting and delicious beer. Definitely hope to see this again with Founders increasing their barrel program with the latest expansion. Keep up the good work!

Jun 22, 2016
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BethanyB from New York

4.11/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Look: Not only is the foamy beige head is absolutely enormous, it simply doesn't let up. doesn't let up. The brown body is so dark it's close to brown. Truly opaque.

Smell: A big strong aroma of chocolate and nondescript spice hits the nose with a POW! Additional sweetness comes in the form of salted caramel, and if it weren't for some deeply roasted malt, the scent would be a bit cloying. As the beer warms, I'm reminded of a s'more!

Flavor: Roasted malt and molasses, with some banana and vanilla bean tilting the scale toward sweet. There's lots more going on here, however, especially when it comes to herbs and spices. Loads of licorice, black pepper and rosemary complement a moderate bitterness and bitterness and earthy hop flavors that weren't present on the nose. Things grow curiouser and curiouser as exotic tea leaves, rum, and a little jalapeño round out this old trading ship of spices.

Medium mouthfeel and medium carbonation. Alcohol warming is strong, but relaxes into a smooth finish.

Overall: A bit sweet at first, but there's much to discover. The herbs and spices create an enticing otherworldly nature. Make like an explorer, and discover this uncommon treasure.

May 30, 2016
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Hopheadjeffery from Illinois

4.21/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Tasted in a Spiegelau IPA glass from a 750 ml bottle on May 14, 2016. Look is nearly black with a tan head and some spotty lacing. Smell is dark dried fruit, bourbon barrel notes and rich dark roasted malt aromas. Taste is bourbon, dark dried fruits, maple syrup and sweet dark roasted malt flavors. Feel is full in body with a crisp and somewhat bitter finish.

May 15, 2016
Photo of MikeWard
MikeWard from Pennsylvania

4.17/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

poured from a 22oz bottle into a pint glass. no dating, but a one time brew, likely 6-8 months on?

looks really wicked on the pour. black body with a hint of brown. head is generous and dark tan in color. head diminishes, but at least a 1/4 inch solid covering remains. excellent lacing.

from the description you would expect a nose full of aromas, but really didn't get much of anything. kind of a clean malty smell. no booze, no bourbon, no hops.

this is kind of a weird beer. a black ipa, but maybe the age has killed off the hops, because i cant detect them at all. bourbon is present, and the slight touch of maple takes the burn off the alcohol. not overly sweet or overly boozy, just very pleasant.

mouth is an excellent feel, between medium and full, really rolls nicely around the tongue. very slightly syrupy feel to it.

all in all a very nice beer to sip over during the evening.

May 13, 2016
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pkalix from California

4.46/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

looks bitchin'! fluffy tan head, really decent carbonation that's hard to see through the dark mahogany liquid. weird aroma. sweet. sweet on the palate. getting the maple sweetness although it's not strong. slight hop bitterness. just a weird concoction but i think i like it..... not a fan of black IPAs but this leans toward the good for me....

May 12, 2016
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rand from California

4.19/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

From 22 oz bomber to nonic glass

A: Black in color, maybe a shade of brown as light shines through, which is not much. Huge sudsy head leaves sticky lacing all over.

S: Big hoppy nose immediately met by distict maple and bourbon. Suggestions of anise and oak edge the bouquet, ushered by alcohol volatiles

T: Flavors reflect the aromas - rush of bitter, rind-y hops, quickly offset buy an onslaught of decadent, barrel-aged flavors. There's a nice hoppy, lemon-orange zest aspect at the tip of the sip, which is quickly forgotten as the sugars roll in. Maple, cocoa, anise, a touch of mint and leather and a big dollop of booze. Strangely, the flavors work and play off each other nicely, especially as the beer warms a bit and your palate calibrates to the brew's bold flavors. Long, bitter-sweet finish.

M: Medium complexion with lots of scrubbing bubbles. Quite oily, washes down easily.

I don't fiend for black IPA's like I used to; I had a few examples that were too disjointed and now most of them taste a little splashy. But although this is a weird brew, it works. I was thinking of storing a bottle for a bit but I think the hop character will die off, so it's going down this week.

May 10, 2016
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bbtkd from South Dakota

3.89/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Founders Project Pam, 10.8% ABV. Picking up some maple nose and taste here but not overwhelming, decent taste, not much bitterness - pretty good. Would get this again.

May 01, 2016
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StoutHunter from Michigan

4.23/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

I picked up a bottle of Founders Project PAM for $14.99 at The Lager Mill. I'm pretty interested to see what this beer is all about, so lets see how it goes. 2015 Vintage. Poured from a brown 22oz bottle into a Teku.

A- The label looks ok, it's a little weird and I don't know how it ties into the beer, but I don't think it's too eye catching. It poured a dark black color that didn't let any light through and it had a little over two fingers worth of fizzy and slightly creamy tan head that died down to a thick ring that stayed till the end and it left some nice patchy lacing behind. This is a very nice looking beer, I have no complaints.

S- The aroma starts off with a higher amount of medium sweetness with the malts being the first to show up and they impart a nice dark, roasted, chocolate, light coffee and charred aromas and it's followed by the hops which impart a nice and bright citrus and tropical fruit aromas with a little bit of floral hops showing up in the background. Up next comes the maple syrup barrels which show up just enough and they impart some nice bourbon, woody, light vanilla and light maple syrup like aromas. This beer has a very nice aroma, all the aspects work well together and I like that barrels are noticeable.

T- The taste seems to be similar to the aroma and it starts off with a slightly higher amount of medium sweetness with the malts still being the first to show up, but this time they are lighter and they aren't as robust when it comes to the charred and roasted aspects. Up next comes the hops which impart that same nice tropical fruit and citrus rind aspects that I got in the aroma with a little bit of floral hops coming though in the background and it's followed by a little bit of noticeable alcohol which leads into the barrels which impart all those nice aspects that they did in the aroma. On the finish there's a higher amount of medium bitterness with a little bit of alcohol heat coming through and it had a hoppy, bourbon and maple syrup like aftertaste. This is a very nice tasting beer, the flavors work well together and no single aspect is too overpowering.

M- Fairly smooth, a little crisp, on the thicker side of being medium bodied with a medium amount of carbonation. The mouthfeel is good and it works well with this beer.

Overall I thought this was a very nice beer and I thought it was a very nice example of the style, it was pretty much just as advertised and all the different flavors come together well and they blended much better than I expected. This beer had nice drinkability, one glass is the perfect amount for me, but I don't think I would have a problem drinking the full bottle. What I like the most about this beer is the complexity, it's nice and the flavors don't clash. What I like the least about this beer was the booziness, I think it could have been hidden just a little better. I would buy this beer again if they make it again and I would recommend to anyone who black IPAs, it's different that most, but it works well. All in all I was happy with this beer and I was little impressed on how well everthing came together. It's not a favorite Founders beer, but it's up there as one of the better and most interesting Black IPAs I;ve tried. Good job guys, this was a very nice and very unique beer, keep it up.

Apr 22, 2016
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stortore from Illinois

4.18/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

750 ml bottle into a snifter.

Pours almost black, opaque, with a small head and lots of foamy cling. Smell is of citrusy and resiny hops, malt, caramel, light molasses, an overall sweet aroma. Taste is a little more malt forward, plenty of the citrus and resin hops, caramel, a general sweetness with a little maple on the finish. Really no bourbon in the aroma or flavor, but it's damn good. Smooth, well carbonated, good body.

It is a black IPA above all, but it's pretty unique. Flavors blend well. Had this on New Year's Day- I'm a little behind on reviews, and notice more recent reviews are getting more maple and bourbon. Have another bottle, so maybe there's maple in my future. Well worth a purchase, if you can still find it.

Apr 21, 2016
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BoldRulerVT from Vermont

4.19/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Served at a tasting.
Pours very dark brown, near black with minimal light caramel head.
Aromas are a lot of dark roasted malt, similar to a stout with some whiskey and sweet maple notes.
Flavor is delicious, soft and round with perfectly balanced whiskey, maple and deep roasted malts.
Mouthfeel is excellent.
Overall this beer is delicious but it's not a black IPA. Hop flavors were minimal.

Apr 08, 2016
Project PAM from Founders Brewing Company
Beer rating: 94 out of 100 with 1063 ratings