Frootwood | Founders Brewing Company

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Very Good
729 Ratings

Brewed by:
Founders Brewing Company
Michigan, United States

Style: Fruit / Vegetable Beer

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.00%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
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.

Added by WCKDVBZ on 10-23-2016

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 729 |  Reviews: 231
Photo of Sammy
3.92/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Photo of jaydoc
3.78/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.81/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of StonedTrippin
3.22/5  rDev -18.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

dont come at me with some maple syrup bogus poser stuff, not that this is fake, but come on, dont tempt me and pull me in with a maple promise and deliver a sweet and uselessly strong cherry ale, i miss the point of this one, and i dont think its very good overall, and it without a shadow of a doubt fails to deliver on its promise. maple is almost an irrelevant part of this, and i am the wrong guy to tease on that. the cherry is sweet and bland at the same time, the extra strength makes this seem forced, and the bourbon aspect is one of the only angles this has, and for once, especially from founders, the idea is so much better than the beer. residual sugars, a lack of body, and literally no maple syrup at all plague this beer and drag it down, along with what i thought i could always expect from founders. good heavens, this is mediocre, and if it came from joe schmoe brewing on the corner of main street and broadway avenue in small town america, i could tolerate it, find it redeeming, and even order a second one, but please, do not present me a maple anything and under deliver to this offensive degree if you are one of the most reputable operations in the country, you owe me one...

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Photo of GRG1313
3.75/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of kjkinsey
3.8/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of Knapp85
3.75/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of djrn2
3.65/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of westcoastbeerlvr
3.88/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of oriolesfan4
2.83/5  rDev -28.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.75

Photo of Taphouse_Traveler
4.09/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of metter98
4.09/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.25

A: The beer is light pinkish red in color and has a light amount of visible carbonation. It poured with a half finger high bright white head that gradually died down, leaving a thick collar around the edge, a large patch of bubbles on the surface, and some bits of lacing down the sides of the glass.
S: Moderate to strong aromas of oaky vanilla are present in the nose along with some hints of cherries and bourbon.
T: The taste follows the smell, except that the cherry flavors are a little stronger and there are additional hints of maple syrup, the latter of which lends a touch of sweetness. The maple syrup becomes stronger as the beer warms up.
M: It feels light- to medium-bodied on the palate and has a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: Once warmed up a bit, the taste of this beer has a very good balance between the cherry, maple syrup, and oaky vanilla flavors.

Serving type: bottle

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Photo of BEERchitect
4/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The infatuation that Founders Brewing has with maple bourbon barrels lands them at the precipice of local cherry fruit. In much the same way that Stone Temple Pilots had their weird era, these brewers use fruit and barrels to reach new heights of weirdness in taste.

Frootwood pours a hazy ruby crowned with a cottony white froth. Sweet and fruity on the nose, the scent is of cherry kool-ade but with that unmistakable scent of sweet bourbon. Cherry pie hits the palate with a splash of jolly rancher and pastry breadiness. Caramel and maple round the taste as balance is achieved on the middle palate.

Its sweet fruitiness shows a slow and patient retreat as its candied malts stubbornly linger across the tongue. Bold bourbon nuances bring their own vanilla cream soda, caramel, maple and peppery warmth to the show while the finish is one of spicy booze, peppercorn and.

Oddly enough, the flavors work in a simplistic and charismatic fruit filled way. Bing cherries play out once again like cherry pie, buttery crust and all. Warm and spicy, the ale trails with an aftertaste of holiday mulled red wine and cider.

 1,120 characters

Photo of kojevergas
2.54/5  rDev -35.7%
look: 3 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

BOTTLE shared with Schlimenhaumer. $5 at a Whole Paycheck in Manhattan.

AROMA: A scintilla of cherry. Syrupy aromatics but no overt maple. Alcohol warmth. No bourbon, really. No vanilla or rich white oak.

It seems the base beer used was a bit too thin and lacked the body and boldness to withstand barrel aging.

A kiss of tartness.

Leaves boozy brandy-like legs when the glass is tilted.

Not a great aroma.

TASTE/TEXTURE: Syrupy as hell and full-bodied. A bit tart. Some least it's not medicinal.

No evocative maple or expressive bourbon barrel.

Not balanced. Worse for having been barrel-aged.

The base just can't handle the onslaught of the barrel.

Texture is weirdly thin yet also syrupy - the base beer's lightness destroyed by the syrup.

Hat tip to Beerchitect for finding vanilla cream soda in this...once I read that I knew he'd identified what I couldn't.

OVERALL: Warm and tough to drink, with shallow flavours and no expressiveness from any of them. The light thin ale they chose to put in barrels wasn't up to the task, and it offers little in terms of cherry, maple, or bourbon. A rare miss from a brewery usually excellent at barrel aging. I wanted to love this, but it's not what one expects from the brewery behind CBS and KBS. Drinks way boozier than 8% ABV. Definitely wouldn't buy again.


 1,357 characters

Photo of WillieThreebiers
4.27/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pours a warm amber with just a trace of fizzy head that evaporates nearly instantly. Big sweet bourbon nose with a cherry tail. Taste follows nose at a slight distance. Smoothly on the thin side. Really very enjoyable.

 219 characters

Photo of zeff80
4.09/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a clear reddish color with a small, white head of foam. It smelled of cherry and very sweet notes. Nice cherry flavor, a hint of oak and a touch of maple.

 161 characters

Photo of superspak
3.88/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle into tulip glass, bottled on 12/19/2016. Pours slightly hazy medium orange/amber/light pink color with a 1-2 finger dense light pink head with good retention, that reduces to a thin cap that lingers. Light spotty soapy lacing clings on the glass. Aromas of lightly tart cherry, berries, apple, maple, brown sugar, caramel, vanilla, oak, and lightly toasted bread; with light cinnamon, bourbon, nuttiness, and oak/toasted earthiness. Nice and pleasant aromas with good balance and complexity of cherries, dark/bready malt, and bourbon barrel notes; with solid strength. Taste of big lightly tart/tangy cherry, berries, apple, maple, brown sugar, caramel, vanilla, oak, and lightly toasted bread; with light cinnamon, bourbon, nuttiness, and oak/toasted earthiness. Light bourbon/oak spiciness and fruit tartness on the finish; with lingering notes of cherry, berries, apple, maple, brown sugar, caramel, vanilla, oak, lightly toasted bread, cinnamon, nuttiness, and oak/toasted earthiness on the finish for a good bit. Very nice complexity, robustness, and balance of cherries, dark/bready malt, and bourbon barrel flavors; with a nice malt, tartness, and oak spiciness balance; with zero cloying sweetness after the finish. Slight dryness from oak spiciness as well. Medium carbonation and medium-full body; with a very smooth, moderately creamy/grainy, slightly slick/syrupy, and acidic/tannic balanced mouthfeel that is great. Zero warming alcohol or barrel booziness after the finish. Overall this is a very nice barrel aged fruit beer. All around nice complexity, robustness, and balance of cherries, dark/bready malt, and bourbon barrel flavors; very smooth and easy to drink for the ABV. Not much bourbon presence; but the barrel character is well represented in vanilla, oak, spice, and maple notes. This was not too heavy/sweet feeling, making it very drinkable. A very enjoyable offering.

 1,913 characters

Photo of mothman
4/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A bit of a gusher. White head. Amber ruby color.

Lots of fresh cherries. The maple bourbon shows nicely which I didn't expect. It is sweet. Very unique and I am glad I picked it up. It isn't going to blow your mind, but it is definitely worth a try!

 250 characters

Photo of dbrauneis
4/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.25

A: Pours a relatively clear reddish amber in color with moderate amounts of gentle active visible carbonation rising along the edges of the glass and moderate burnt orange colored highlights. The beer has a finger tall foamy white head with a slight pinkish highlight to it that slowly reduces to a large patch of thin film covering the majority of the surface of the beer (probably about 85%) and a thin ring at the edges of the glass. Light amounts of lacing are observed.

S: Moderate aromas of oak and vanilla with light to moderate aromas of slightly sweet cherries and bourbon.

T: Upfront there is a light flavor of slightly grainy malts with a moderate amount of maple syrup sweetness. That is followed by slightly stronger than moderate flavors of slightly sweet cherries and a moderate amount of oak, vanilla, and bourbon. Light amounts of lingering sweetness with a hint of bourbon booziness.

M: Just shy o medium bodied with moderate amounts of carbonation.

O: I really enjoy the combination of bourbon/vanilla/oak, cherry, and maple as it was quite successful in my opinion. The flavors and aromas really opened up as this beer warmed and the complexity also increased. Definitely not a small, easy drinking beer but enjoyable as a dessert beer.

 1,260 characters

Photo of NeroFiddled
4.17/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Founders Brewing Co. "Frootwood"
750 ml brown glass bottle, no freshness dating, but labeled "2017 RELEASE"
$11.99 @ Wegmans Market, Collegeville, PA
$12.99 @ Total Wine & More, Cherry Hill, NJ

Notes via stream of consciousness: A little bit of a rough pour is needed to bring up a fluffy pinkish head over a slightly hazy ruby colored body. The head retention is excellent but the lacing is only good to very good. The aroma is fruity with sweet berries, apple, and a little bit of cherry; but also oak and some malt. It's not bold, but it's clear, and very clean. The flavor is distinctly fruity, but again not distinctly cherry - this is a cherry beer, right? It's cherry-like, but there's also fruitiness that surrounds it as in the aroma. It's cherry, but it's soft like strawberry. OK, moving on... the oak balances it nicely. It's the perfect balance in my opinion, between soft oak and soft fruit - I was expecting it to be a little sharper in cherry and a little fuller in oak, but this is really quite supple and smooth; dare I say it as it might be taken in a bad way, but it's like a Shirley Temple that's been oak aged. As it warms I get more oak in the aroma, and perhaps in the flavor as well, which goes to wards drinkability as it changes a little bit throughout the glass, which lends depth, if not complexity. Back to the Shirley temple, it's sweetish, even sweet, and there's not a lot of bitterness to it (very moderate), but it still finishes fairly dry because of the light alcohol (which is just enough) and the oak. What's the strength? 8.0%... yeah, that works. It just occurred to me that this is a maple syrup barrel-aged beer as well, and I might be imagining it because of that, but I think there is an edge of maple syrup to it, especially in the finish - that's another layer of complexity in what initially seems very straightforward. So what did I miss? Mouthfeel, always mouthfeel... medium-bodied and really quite smooth and almost creamy. Very nice, but perhaps even a bit too soft? Maybe a little bit more carbonic bite would help? I don't know. Let's check it off: appearance is very good but the head retention and lacing could be better (actually the lacing I have right now is pretty good); the aroma is clean and expressed both the fruit and the wood - haha, there's the name; and the flavor follows. It's nicely balanced on the sweet side, and it finishes with plenty of oak. I can truly say I've never had a beer quite like it, and although it's a little "Shirley Temple" for me it's certainly not a beer I'd turn away. My wife said that she really likes it and she could drink it all of the time. I'll have to check the price, but if it's less than Rodenbach or the Duchess I'm fine with that; and in any case, I'd certainly suggest that it's worth trying. A special beer.

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Photo of DrBier
4.1/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of jlindros
3.76/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I've been really turned off by most of their big beer series in the last couple of years, esp with the price they fetch and pretty lame execution on many of them. However, I tried this at a tasting and thought it was pretty good, so got a bottle to try more of it. 2017 vintage.

Pours a decent frothy bubbly fizzy 1/2 finger slight pinkish head that fades at a med pace with some sticky lacing, semi clear fairly hazy slight pinkish light red strawberry juice color.

Nose brings some nice barrel character plenty of maple syrup, some bourbon notes and toasted oak, raw oak, a little candy syrup with a bit of a cherry syrup, a sweet candy malt, Belgian golden malts and a little candi sugar like character, mild fruity esters, a little candy apple, some iced tea herbalness, and some mulling spices.

Taste starts fairly sweet, a bit syrupy but not a ton, some sweet cherry juice and cherry syrup, a little cough syrup, mild maple less than the nose, some toasted and raw oak, very little bourbon, into some fruity esters again I think, a little candied apple like character, sweet candy malt, syrupy golden malt, into that mild herbal iced tea again. Finish is a bit sticky, a hint of warming booze, lingering cherry juice.

Mouth is med to fuller bod, not quite as syrupy or sticky as I expected from the sweetness, decent carb, a hint of warming booze.

Overall I remember it being a lot better when I tried it at the tasting event, but this seems to fall in line with what I originally expected it to be, very sweet, lots of cherry flavor, not much barrel, at least it's not too boozy or sticky on the finish, but it's quite sweet and cherry fruity so hard to drink much, there's no way I'm going to finish the whole bottle.

 1,730 characters

Photo of Gagnonsux
4.52/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Photo of chinchill
4.29/5  rDev +8.6%
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+)

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Photo of vfgccp
3.56/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

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Frootwood from Founders Brewing Company
Beer rating: 3.95 out of 5 with 729 ratings