Project PAM
Founders Brewing Company

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IPA - Black / Cascadian Dark Ale
Ranked #6
Ranked #1,639
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: 1,062 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Reviews by Rizzy17:
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Rizzy17 from Pennsylvania

3.94/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dec 28, 2015
More User Reviews:
Photo of MLDucky
MLDucky from Texas

3.28/5  rDev -22.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pour was very enticing. Dark, but still able to see through. Aroma was unique and warming. Subtle pine, soft sweetness from the maple and a hint of bourbon. However, the taste lost me. Pine, roasty, sweet, oak spice and just all over the place. For me personally, I felt it was muddled and nothing really came together. Perhaps I should have waited on it, but I wanted to get that hop bite. I'm glad I got to try it, but for me, it didn't fit the bill.

Dec 14, 2015
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Hopeswimmer from Michigan

4.8/5  rDev +14%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Everything I hope a barrel aged black IPA would be.

Look: Dark, but light still shines through.

Smell: Bourbon + Sweetness...YUM

Taste: Lost quite a bit of the bitterness, mostly sweet. Very end of the taste is slightly bitter like a black IPA would be.

Feel: Quite a bit less bitter than I thought it'd be. Very smooth and SO drinkable.

Overall: I went out and bought 4 more bottles right away. I'll for sure age a few.

Nov 24, 2015
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hman43 from North Carolina

4.44/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Look: It pours black with light not getting through and a light brown head.

Smell: It has aromas of citrus and floral with bourbon and roasted malts being the most prominent.

Taste: It has a initial rush of chocolate flavor with roasted malts and a heavy dose of maple syrup with citrus and floral hops. The combination and layers of flavors is very complex and comes at different parts of the tasting.

Feel: It has a moderate texture that is rich and in spite of the maple flavoring, it is not slick. It has a sweet and bitter finish with alcohol warming that is not hot.

Overall: This is a well balance beer with a complex combination of hops, malts, and syrup flavor that works in waves. The finish ranks among one of the best that I've had.

Dec 05, 2015
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mschrei from Illinois

4.57/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This beer was all sorts of all over the place, a long drinker, an alcohol burner, a syrupy sipper, the only thing it wasn't was an India pale ale. I think. Everything got thrown onto the wall and it all stuck. Initial thought on taste was somebody poured a martini into my Stone enjoy by 1/1/16, but it developed some thickness and sweetness. I told a friend it was the most audacious beer I've ever drank. A tasty chameleonesque beer.

Dec 29, 2015
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MattyG85 from Minnesota

4.62/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Poured from a 750 ml bottle into a big Founders CBS glass.

Appearance: Pours jet black with a moderate amount of bubbles. About a finger of tan head that settles into a thin patchy layer. Leaves a lot of lacing.

Smell: A sweet, earthy, and fairly boozy aroma with a scent of earthy hops, whiskey, and roast. Solid hop presence with earthy hints of pine resin, grass, and subtle citrus. Dark roasted barley malt with hints of toast, biscuit, grains, chocolate, coffee, smoke, and yeast. Barrel hints of bourbon whiskey, oak, and vanilla. Sweet hints of maple syrup and molasses. A pretty solid aroma.

Taste: Like it smells, a sweet, earthy, and boozy Black IPA style taste with notes of earthy hops, roast, and whiskey. Upfront earthy and spicy hop notes of pine resin and grass. Also some citrus notes of grapefruit and orange. Dark roasted barley malt with notes of biscuit, toast, grains, chocolate, coffee, smoke, and yeast. Moderate barrel notes of bourbon whiskey, oak, and vanilla. Sweet taste of maple syrup and molasses. A really nice taste.

Mouthfeel: Full bodied with a moderate amount of carbonation. Creamy and somewhat sticky with a fairly drying finish. Alcohol heat is hidden fairly well.

Overall: A pretty good take on a Barrel Aged Black Ale. Nice balance of hops, dark malt, and barrel flavors.

Dec 04, 2015
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Fargrow from Michigan

4.66/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

This beer blew me away with the balance of flavors that seem like they shouldn't work. The typical sweetness of a boozy black beer, balanced by a nice hop bite, balanced by sweet maple. Didn't get much bourbon or oak, but that's to be expected as these were 3rd use barrels.
This combo worked great in the aroma as well. Crazy drinkability too. I was going to save half the bomber for later, but could not stop drinking it. Phenomenal beer. Really well done.

Dec 03, 2015
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SHDoyle from Ohio

4.31/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Description: Deep brown color that's borderline black with a layer of tan/khaki head but not a thick one. Has a wood/oak aroma, sweetness from the maple and a definite hoppy scent. The taste is pretty different than anything else I've had and I'd best describe it as a sweet, black IPA. It has a bitter, hoppy finish but syrup comes through after that and leaves a lingering sweetness on the tongue. For as high as the ABV is, the alcohol is hidden pretty well hidden. The mouthfeel is about what you'd expect from a black IPA, maybe a little thicker than normal with medium carbonation.

Suggested food pairing: Something acidic to balance the sweetness...maybe an Italian sub with vinegar

If you like this beer then you should also try: Oh, I don't know, just any of the several garden variety maple syrup, bourbon barrel aged black IPAs you're likely to find at your local grocery store

Overall: 4.25 (This a good beer and I would likely drink it again) This beer is "different" and "interesting". In this case, those are actually apt descriptors as opposed to being euphemisms for "crappy". I wasn't sure what to expect from this and it's probably not something I could or would drink very often, but all in all it works for me. Some other posters suggested that the maple syrup bourbon barrels would have been better put to use producing CBS. That's fair, but Founders still deserves some credit for another big, flavorful, original, boundary-testing beer.

Jan 02, 2016
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ThickNStout from Georgia

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

750mL bottle from Sprayberry Bottle Shop (Marietta, GA). 15.99. No bottle date but this was released early 11/2015. Served in a Founders snifter.

Pours deep brown, like black tea, with a tall, frothy two and a half finger cap of tan head. A wide ring on the surface remains, along with a full halo that leaves some scattered trails of lace.

Subtle but sweet maple is discernible from my first deep whiff. That aroma is supported by syrup, chocolate, faint char, toast, mild citrus, butter pecan and some piney hop notes. Interesting for sure and rather appealing besides.

The disparate flavors come together in an odd way, with sweet and bitter both vying for control. Roasted malt, maple syrup, oranges, mild barrel char, butterscotch, pine, vague bourbon, chocolate, candied nuts, faint mint, softly present vanilla, coconut, a hint of honey and a healthy dollop of booze. This is a unique flavor trip and despite its heft, remains pretty easy to drink.

Feels full but not heavy with a gentle, delicate carbonation. Bittersweet, roasty aftertaste of cooked grains, maple syrup, faint citrus and dim chocolate.

Founders has another's unique creation in Project PAM. It has left my palate simultaneously confused and delighted. This was a fun one to try and I might even drop the cash on another bottle if I come across it again.

Dec 09, 2015
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Slatetank from Pennsylvania

4.33/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

I enjoyed this from a cervoise, thanks to Tenderbranson69 for gifting me with this bottle shared with JC BA carlos.

The color is pitch black opaque with thick collar of tan foam with fine bead. The smell has sweet maple in the aroma with wood and cocoa with a slightly earthy and pine scent from hops with mild bourbon aroma and light alcohol with dank herbal hop aroma as it warms. The feel is moderately sweet with medium carbonation and slight oaky dry texture with medium bitterness with nice balance of bourbon and malt with low alcohol in the finish.

The taste is very good with lovely maple and nice dark fruit in the taste with slight wood tannin and gentle woody hops mid-palate with a slight cocoa flavor and mild bourbon accent with sweetness of maple in the finish ...the alcohol is not very noticeable in the taste at all. Overall I loved this for its complexity considering a black IPA in a barrel that was originally used to store maple and later bourbon it is a pretty wonderful beer in that it manages to convey all the flavors in a way that is still a complimentary and concise finished product with maple and bourbon balanced with the flavor of dark malt and hops very well.

Dec 30, 2015
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morimech from Minnesota

4.27/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Cola color with a finger of head that slowly settled to a thin cap. Heavy lacing is left down the glass. Unique aroma. A combination of bourbon barrel, chocolate and roasted malt, and earthy and citrus hops. A touch of booze as well. Almost smells like a barrel-aged stout. The flavor confuses the hell out of my palate but I do enjoy this. Very stout-like with the chocolate and roasted malt combined with the maple bourbon barrels. But this is also an IPA with the hop bitterness and flavor as well as a lighter body despite its bloated ABV. Notes of vanilla, maple syrup, earth, and a bit of citrus zest. A bit of alcohol in the finish. Medium body with light carbonation that gives the beer a smooth, somewhat creamy texture. Overall this is a very interesting beer that I would definitely drink again.

Dec 02, 2015
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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 jalapeƱo 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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AlexFields from Tennessee

4.22/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

Dec 12, 2015
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Johncnh from New Hampshire

4.29/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Dec 25, 2015
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AlpacaAlpaca from New York

4.63/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Dec 09, 2015
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deschamp52 from Michigan

4.12/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

May 15, 2016
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Knapp85 from Pennsylvania

4.25/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured out as a black color with a tan head on top. The smell of the beer has a nice sweetness and hoppiness to it. The taste of the beer is of maple and hops, really quite interesting flavor but I dig it. The feel of the beer is medium bodied. Overall it's a solid brew, was nice to try.

Dec 14, 2015
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ThrewRedButter from Massachusetts

3.28/5  rDev -22.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

L - Pitch black with a finger of eggshell-colored head

S - Maple syrup alcohol. No black IPA characteristics to be found.

T - I would classify this beer as maple syrup schnapps and nothing else. No barrel, no black IPA, barely...BARELY any bourbon, and that's about it. Just maple and alcohol.

F - Exactly what you'd expect from an imperial black IPA which is full-bodied and no real sting from the alcohol.

O - What a fu**ing disappointment. The Backstage Series has been on a decline and this might be the deathblow. Is there maple? Sure, but you completely lose the base Black IPA which would have added huge roasted notes to a maple syrup bourbon (if the bourbon existed). Just slap with a label that says "Dr. McGillicuddy's Maple Schnapps" and that would be a more accurate representation of what is in this bottle.

Dec 22, 2015
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Sinzanasti from Ohio

4.44/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Dec 11, 2015
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NotAlcoholicJustAHobby from Vermont

3.73/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Jan 16, 2016
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beermeblazer99 from Michigan

4.45/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Nov 27, 2015
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Chucker17 from South Dakota

3.9/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Jan 17, 2016
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BiaSongThan from New York

4.9/5  rDev +16.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Dark brown with khaki head.
Aroma of maple syrup, bourbon, barrel characters oak, vanilla, toasted coconut. Taste leads with maple and bourbon sweetness. As it warms you get a really nice cocoa followed by a bit of pine, citrus hop bitterness. Very complex with many flavors swirling around. Hints of caramel, smoke, earthy hops, roasted malts.
Full mouthfeel, not too thick but lightly carbonated and velvety.
Overall, I came into this skeptical, but ended up really enjoying it. The maple bourbon barrel flavors and black ipa flavors sort of go back and forth. The hop characteristics somewhat take a back seat to the bourbon barrel, as they should imo. Another winner from founders.

Dec 18, 2015
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Cuervo_PCB from Florida

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

Sep 10, 2016
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whatname from Pennsylvania

4.14/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Dec 22, 2015
Project PAM from Founders Brewing Company
Beer rating: 94 out of 100 with 1062 ratings