Founders Brewing Company

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Fruit and Field Beer
Ranked #16
Ranked #9,497
3.98 | pDev: 10.8%
Founders Brewing Company
Michigan, United States
Very Good
Notes: We took a crisp, light-bodied cherry ale and hid it away in oak barrels that have held both bourbon and maple syrup. After a lengthy stint, it emerged a changed beer, blanketed in notes of warm vanilla and earthy sweetness. The wood proves itself the star of this beer, adding depth and taming the tart cherry while the maple imposes a velvety texture that lingers for not a moment too long.
Reviews: 239 | Ratings: 760 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of Sigmund
Sigmund from Norway

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

355 ml bottle, Cardinal Pub & Bar, Stavanger. ABV is 8.0%. Pink to red colour, moderate off-white head with a hint of pink. Unusual aroma of cherries, marzipan, maple syrup, bourbon, vanilla and oak. The flavour is sweet but not cloying, again notes of cherries, maple syrup, bourbon and oak. Interesting, unusual - and good.

Apr 16, 2021
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EMV from Pennsylvania

4.31/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

2017 vintage. Poured from a bomber into a Dogfish head tulip

L: Clouded golden maroon pour with 2 fingers of foamy white head. nice lacing.

S: Cherry juice, bourbon, and sweets. Honey and maple syrup.

T.F: Just like it smells. Sweet and juicy... bursting with cherry and maple syrup. Honey, vanilla, and bourbon in the background. Mild cherry tartness sort of balances things, but this is definitely on the sweet side. Medium bodied and sticky on the tongue.

O: Really enjoyed this as a sweet boozy cherry bourbon maple dessert. Founders always puts effort into their barrel-aged series, and this one was fantastic.

Jul 05, 2020
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Vetbidder from Pennsylvania

4.1/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2017 vintage. I’ve been waiting till something like Covid came along to try this. Soft pour to minimize sediment resulted in almost no head. See through and light red with lots of bubbles rising. Looks decent. Scent is cherry, maple and slight bourbon and sweet but not potent. Wow, gentle cherry sweet with a slight bready malt quality. I think this brew has aged nicely. Just enough carbonation I’d call it medium low with a thicker feel. Drank to finish my 47th Birthday...good pick.

Mar 24, 2020
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RyanK252 from California

4.1/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle poured into a Founders Brewing Co snifter

A: Pours slightly hazy reddish orange amber with a frothy beige head that settles to a thin layer and leaves a little spotty lacing.

S: Slightly tart dark cherries, bourbon, peppery spice, dark sugar, faintly earthy, a touch of oak, and toasty biscuity malt.

T: Cherries come right out, but are immediately followed by the results of the time this spent in the barrel, bourbon, brown sugar, maple, vanilla, a little spice, and a touch of oak, slightly earthy, rounded out with some toasty biscuity malt.

M: Medium to full body, moderate carbonation, pretty sticky.

O: I was a little worried when they said they started with a "crisp, light bodied cherry ale", not knowing how well it would handle its wooden slumber. I have to say, it came out quite nicely on the other side, like a slice of cherry pie and a nip of bourbon all in one.

Sep 06, 2019
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GuyFawkes from Illinois

2/5  rDev -49.7%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Bottled 12/16/16; drank 3/10/17 @ the Yarchives.

Cloudy ruby red appearance.

A violent pour yielded a small white head; frothy lace.

Oak, cherry soda & bourbon notes in the nose.

Medium thick, sticky mouthfeel.

Strong bourbon heat & cloying cherry soda flavors up front; strong oak notes on the finish.

This tasted like dumping cheap bourbon into a Shirley Temple; cloying, hot & not good. Permanent pass.

Mar 25, 2019
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SierraNevallagash from Maine

4.44/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

2017 Vintage - poured into a 12oz snifter at cellar temp

Pours a tarnished copper/rosewood hue, with 2cm of quick-to-fade pinkish white head.

Nose: Wow. Those maple bourbon barrels that Founders uses are really something else... Rich oaken vanillins, sweet bourbon soaked cherries, sticky maple syrup. This smells exactly like what it's supposed to be. Cherries, bourbon, oak, and maple syrup. The cherry aroma is sweet, concentrated, and very natural smelling. Think dried cherries. Absolutely wonderful.

Palate: Immediately upon taking the first sip, my eyes widen. Before anything else, you get this zing of tart cherries. Then the maple syrup comes into focus, and the beer becomes rather sweet. Vanilla, oak, spice, and bourbon notes follow. The tart thread continues through, and it's now in full cherry mode, but the sweetness prevails, and keeps the tartness quite subdued. There's so much going on, and it unfolds in stages, and for that, I say this is a complex beer. Big, bold flavors, but also nuanced and complex. In the finish, the tartness suddenly disappears, and you're left with sweet maple drizzled cherries, that fade into dry bourbon oak. No malt. No hops. This is a weird one.

Mouthfeel/Body: This has a luscious, viscous, sticky mouthfeel, and incredibly rich and full in body. Some fuzzy effervescence does a decent job at clawing through the thickness, but it has to fight. I am amazed this is only 8% ABV. It's a boozy 8%. I'd say it feels like 12-13%, but the lack of ABV shows itself in its drinkability. Heavy, sticky, and slick, but you can just drink it with utter ease.

Overall: Taste is subjective, and I may be an outlier here, based on the ratings, but I think this is phenomenal. There's just nothing like it. Cherries, maple, and bourbon? This is a show stopper of a beer, and stands in a category all its own. A maple syrup bourbon barrel aged fruit beer. Who would have thought? This is one you absolutely need to try to understand. A killer beer, with zero lookalikes.

Jared, thanks a million for this one.

Mar 17, 2019
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VoxRationis from New York

3.96/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Decanted from a 12 oz (355 ml) brown bottle into a snifter; no production information.
A: Pours a hazy amber color with a strong garnet hue toward the bottom of the glass. Minimal head, no significant retention or lacing.
S: Aromas of cherry, caramel, and tobacco evident; very earthy. Maybe a whiff of vanilla. Bourbon much more evident as it warms.
T: Sweet. Palate follows to nose with very strong tobacco and earthy flavors, especially at first. Maple syrup flavor present but muted; bourbon not quite as discernable as the other flavors. Low bitterness.
M: Medium to full bodied with low, persistent carbonation.
O: Interesting and drinkable. Not sure in what context it would make sense, other that perhaps for dessert.

Oct 07, 2018
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Pegasus from Texas

4.35/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Appearance: Hazy golden orange, with a modest white head that, nonetheless, retains very well. Towers of fine carbonation drift lazily to the surface. Thin, fine-beaded lacing coats the glass walls.

Aroma: Absolutely over-the-top aroma of cherries, bourbon, maple syrup, and wood. No alcohol is present in the aroma.

Taste: Opens with a strong note of mild cherries. ,As the taste progresses, alcohol is notable, both in taste, and warmth, as well as wood, maple syrup, bourbon, and ripe cherries. All of these flavors intensify as the beer warms. There is also a notable orange presence late in the taste, more of the rind, than the fruit. This contributes a hint of bitterness, as well.

Mouth feel: Very full and soft, with only hints of carbonation noted.

Drinkability/notes: Wonderfully over-the-top, in all respects; an excellent ale with which to celebrate the Fall Equinox, as I have just done. Best consumed slowly, as it is allowed to warm. Hopefully, this excellent example will be offered again.

Presentation: Packaged in a standard twenty-two ounce brown glass bomber, with a pry-off crown, served in a South American-style Pilsener glass.

Sep 23, 2018
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ScruffySouthpaw from New York

3.78/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in a tulip glass from the bottle.

Appearance: Unique pink tinted amber with medium bubbles and a rose tinted head. Head rises just about a notch below a fingers length and drops before first sip with even lacing and no stickiness on the glass.

Smell: Tarty scent which feels a bit like grapes and honey, light scent though which dissipates quickly.

Taste: Sweet cherry and grapes which makes me think a bit of wine. White wine with a dose of carbonation and shot of honey and yeast. Feels a bit sour but very mellow.

Mouth: Sticky with light t medium carbonation.

Overall: Nice brew and definitely a dessert if you want to finish your night off with this one. Drink with love and enjoy. Salud!

Jun 19, 2018
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MonDak_Joe1953 from Minnesota

3.91/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured from 12oz bottle into glass. Label is stamped 'BOTTLED ON 01/10/2017'.
Slightly cloud, medium amber, with cherry red shade, colored body. Slight head upon pouring dissipates to island cap and bubble fed ring. Strings of lacing left behind after each sip.
Aroma is cherry cough medicine (sweet cherry), vanilla and oak bourbon barrel.
Taste is a combination of sweet and tart cherry, with minor additions of vanilla. Oak wood barrel is the backbone, but the bourbon is faint. Maple is also there but quite faint.
Medium, syrupy mouth feel. A momentary tongue burn with each sip, but does not linger.
There are not too many barrel aged fruit beers that I have tried, which makes it more difficult to rate. This does have a reminder of a syrupy cherry flavored medicine, but the barrel aging does add an extra taste dimension. The beer is not terrible but not a "wow" experience either. Interesting to try after a year of bottle aging. It's a beer but has resemblance to a liqueur.

Apr 10, 2018
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chinchill from South Carolina

4.29/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

12 oz bottle with a 12/16 bottling date

Look: Pours clear dark red-copper. Medium off-white head has a slightly pink coloration. The head has good retention.

Aroma: Interesting aroma with a strong impact from the barrel aging (mainly wood notes), sweet bourbon and cherries. Subtle touch of maple.

Flavor: less woody with good balance: Sweet cherries up front with a suggestion of tart cherries by the finish. Subtle maple and light bourbon. Very fine, lingering aftertaste.

M: Medium bodied; near medium carbonation; sticky.

Overall: Certainly an interesting and well crafted ale. The maple bourbon barrels are milder than might be expected while the cherries are more up front. Nonetheless, I think this ale lives up to its potential. (4.3+)

Feb 12, 2018
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BenHoppy from Michigan

3.72/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Amber red body with smells of sweet candy cherries in this one year aged bottle. I get flavors of light maple but moreso I get cherry honey with notes of vanilla and light whisky. It is well balanced but there is this medicinal cough syrup flavor that puts me off. I was hoping aging it for a year would lose the medicine flavor and had high hopes it would resemble a Manhattan. Perhaps if it aged an extra couple years it would fade away some of its bad flavoring.

Jan 15, 2018
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Snowcrash000 from Germany

3.79/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pours a light ruby red with a small fizzy head. Smells of candied cherries, with a very slight chemical whiff, plus notes of vanilla, caramel and a little bourbon. Tastes foremost of candied cherries, with notes of caramel, bourbon, vanilla and just a hint of maple syrup. This is quite sweet, but it's not too bad and there's also a slight sourness to it to balance things out. Still, definitely a dessert beer, but a nice one.

Dec 15, 2017
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FLima from Brazil

3.75/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Amber reddish color with a thick off-white head with great retention and leaving strong laces.
Aroma with notes of oak, mild elegant bourbon, some tart cherry, raspberries and cinnamon.
Sweet flavor with notes of raspberries, cherries, caramel, bourbon, oak, maple and lots of cinnamon. Quite dry aftertaste with a sweet fruity finish.
Medium body with appropriate carbonation.
Red flavors with elegant oaked bourbon notes, maple base and a distant sourness.

Dec 13, 2017
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Huhzubendah from District of Columbia

4.1/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Draft at Churchkey in DC.

Copper body with a quarter inch of sticky, off-white head. Aromas of maple and bourbon. Cherry pie with sweet maple, oak, bourbon. Nice cherry tartness.

Dec 03, 2017
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Slatetank from Pennsylvania

4.12/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Amber honey look small white head with fine bead
Smells of stone fruit and jam-like berry sweetness in aroma and oak with woody notes in the background
Mouthfeel is a mix of full warm sweet and tart with medium high carbonation and semi dry finish
Taste is mostly tart cherry and wood with slight honey-like sweet flavor mid palate and alcohol is subtle as it finishes semi sweet with cherry lingering and warming quality
Overall a pleasure to consume with fresh tart cherry flavor dominating yet the wood is a complimentary taste and well done per Founders usual skill in fruit/wood aged ales

Nov 23, 2017
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EMH73 from New York

3.5/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Had on tap, poured a clear light red with no head and no lacing. Faint aroma of cherries, bourbon and a medicinal quality. Taste was medicinal cherries, bourbon, cinnamon, maple and vanilla. Light bodied, no carbonation and a watery mouth feel. Very disappointing.

Oct 15, 2017
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macrosmatic from Florida

2.96/5  rDev -25.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.75

Reviewed from notes. Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a J. Wakefield OG teku glass.

A: Fairly clear and gold-tinted red. Forms a thin pink head that fades quickly to a ring of foam. A good amount of visible carbonation.

S: Cherries up front - fresh, and cherry juice cocktail, and just a bit of cough syrup. Some sweet fruity yeast esters and a candied aspect that I’m guessing is the maple syrup, but isn’t overtly maple-y. Some husky pale malts. Mild oaky tannins with just a bit of vanilla. Not any significant bourbon on the nose. Fine, not particularly appealing to me.

T: Cherries again - mildy tart pie filling, cherry juice cocktail and more cough medicine than the nose. The bourbon that I was missing on the nose is present here, but unfortunately just serves to accentuate the medicinal cherry flavors. Candied maraschino cherries in a light bourbon. Some grainy pale malts again. Light woody tannins, but the dryness that these would normally offer is drowned out by the sweet flavors. Incidentally, still not getting any maple flavor – just quite sweet. The sweet and lightly tart cherries last through the hang with a bit of that candied-cherry as well.

M: Body is towards the light end. The alcohol seems at least integrated but it's pretty obvious, especially for such a conservative ABV. Fairly low carbonation sensation, but not flat.

O: To my tastes, this is really not good. The fruit flavors that tend towards sickly medicinal sweet are only accentuated by bourbon and the sweetness of the maple syrup (though again, I'm not getting the maple flavor). I would have expected the wood to provide some welcome relief, but it’s just not there. I have made it through about half my 12 oz. bottle, but I think that might be about it before it melds with my drain. Not infected or anything, but just a failure of concept. I think they tried to do this with the wrong beer – it accentuated everything about a mildly tart cherry beer that I don’t want accentuated. Really not enjoyable.

Oct 07, 2017
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Tripel_Threat from Michigan

4.09/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served on tap in a tulip, 25 cl pour. Ruby red in color with a thin collar of white bubbles. Aromas of sweet syrupy cherries, oak, vanilla, some medicinal booze. Amazing flavor of sticky cherries, vanilla, bourbon, oak, and maple sugar. Slick, medium feel. Wonderfully warm. Sweet, without being too sweet to be relegated to dessert.

Oct 02, 2017
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LiquidAmber from Washington

4.09/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Poured into a Fremont small snifter. Pours a slightly hazy medium orange amber with a half finger off-white head with great retention and lacing. Aroma of neutral malt, cooked cherries, light wood, vanilla and maple syrup; inviting. Flavor is neutral malt, cherry pie filling cherries (almost eerily perfect flavor match), developing vanilla and mild maple and bourbon, finishing slightly tart with woody light bourbon and residual sweet/tart cherries. Medium bodied with light to moderate creaminess and nice mouthfeel. I'm not a tart beer fan and I put off trying this until I just saw the last bottle at a nearby store and decided to pull the trigger. I'm pleasantly surprised to find this quite a bit better than I had expected. The cherry flavor is so similar to pie filling that this is unlike anything else I've ever had. There is little fresh cherry esters, but that is simlilar to some bottled cherry juices. The best par of this is the flavor progression, from cherry juice to more robust vanilla and pie filling and finishing with revealed wood and mild bourbon notes with the cherry taking on a more tart note. At first I thought I might have been better off with a 12 oz. bottle of this as it is so novel, but I enjoyed finishing the bomber. Well done, exceeded expectations; I'd buy this again if it was offered. Always nice to find a beer that does not fit your preferred styles, but still was enjoyable and keeps your interest.

Sep 13, 2017
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SargeMcCluck from Texas

3.91/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Pours light red - different hues in different light. A sticky web of lacing hangs around. All the labels are falling off for some reason.

Smells of cherry skin & juice, plus subdued vanilla. Natural tartness mixes well with some maple undertones, and does not overpower. Barell unfortunately fails to lend much character. One too many things going on here - nothing really shining.

Sep 08, 2017
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HawkeyeJosh from Arkansas

3.62/5  rDev -9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

It pours a beautiful red with a small white head that quickly disappears. Aroma is cherry and a little bourbon, not much. the cherry smell reminds of that medicinal cherry flavor that I hate with a passion, which is a little worrisome. There may be a little maple smell in there as well, but only after it warms a little. And as it warms, the cherry smell gets less medicinal. Taste is almost all cherry, but not medicinal at all (whew!). There is some bourbon, vanilla, oak, and the slight maple and cherry together almost make it too sweet for me. Mouthfeel is nice, medium-bodied. Overall, the flavors don't mesh well in this one. It's almost like someone took a sweet cherry ale and added a shot of maple-flavored bourbon to it. Not bad, glad I tried it, but would not buy it again.

Aug 20, 2017
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SMZBrew from Pennsylvania

3.2/5  rDev -19.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A rare disappointment from Founders for me. I was a fan at cherry, vanilla, oak, and bourbon. Maple takes this one step to far. It has a cloying sweetness that clashes with every other flavor in this beer. Doesn't work for me.

Aug 05, 2017
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Frudel from Canada (QC)

4.09/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottled. Reddish liquid with a small white head.

Nose is very cherry forward, wood, bourbon, slight vanilla and maple.

Taste is tart cherries, residual sugar, wood notes, sweet malt, maple syrup, with some subtle vanilla. Maple is much more noticeable in taste than nose.

8%? Really? Doesn’t feel like it! Medium body, syrupy texture.

Aug 04, 2017
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Dope from Massachusetts

4.02/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

1/10/17 bottling date

A: Pours a clear dark red. Tall frothy light pink head adorns it. Head is light and fizzy but sticks around quite well. Thin wispy bits of lacing everywhere.

S: Interesting aroma. Cherries for sure, not unlike cherry cough syrup. Sweet bourbon and maple makes for an interesting combined aroma.

T: More of the same. Cherries immediately up front but it's quite sweet now and less medicinal. There is a light backing of bourbon and a sweet maple overlay to everything. Cherries DO turn a bit medicinal on the back end. Light oak and maple mix in for the finish and lingering aftertaste.

M: Medium bodied, sweet and sticky.

O: An interesting brew that I don't think quite lives up to its potential. The maple bourbon barrels are a great idea to add some complexity but they are so subtle you can barely tell they're there. At the end of the day it's 90% a very sweet cherry ale and that's about it. Not that there's anything wrong with that but it could have been more, in my opinion. Still tasty and enjoyable, can't complain.

Jul 27, 2017
Frootwood from Founders Brewing Company
Beer rating: 89 out of 100 with 760 ratings