Tank Bender
Founders Brewing Company

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German Eisbock
4.22 | pDev: 7.11%
Founders Brewing Company
Michigan, United States
Retired (no longer brewed)
Notes: Tank Bender is our first foray into the rare style known as Eisbock. This style involves freezing water off the beer, resulting in ultra-concentrated flavor, deeper body and, in our case, a bent tank from collapsing ice. A liberal addition of Munich malt highlights the toasty and dark fruit notes while a stay in bourbon barrels tames those intense flavors.
Reviews: 15 | Ratings: 50 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of Roguer
4.07/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

Crystal clear dark brown brew with purplish highlights. Slight gusher from the bottle; head quickly disappears.

On the nose, there is tons of caramel, earthy bittering hops, and a touch of oxidation.

Impressively smooth on the palate. It tastes like an American Barleywine without the aggressive bitterness. Huge notes of caramel, toasted grains, earthy hops, wood, and bourbon all come together in a smooth package.

Impressively drinkable. Silky and smooth on the palate, and while it's clearly a big brew, it feels more like a 10% ABV beer than the massive 15% it actually hides.

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Roguer from Georgia, Jan 13, 2019
Photo of beersampler6
3.89/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A very nice, smooth sipping beer but man does that high ABV hit you going down! Tried this one on tap at Founders. Nice amber color with minimal head or lingering lacing. Smells of bourbon and dark fruit. Tastes of bourbon, wood, dark cherry, plum, vanilla, caramel, brown sugar, molasses and malt. Smooth, slightly creamy, syrupy thick mouthfeel. Decent carbonation. A good beer but be prepared for the big alcohol slug.

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beersampler6 from Michigan, Aug 15, 2018
Photo of jzeilinger
4.21/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Many thanks to tacosandbeer for this bottle.

A - Deep ruby red color with beautiful clarity and thin, bubbly lacing.

S - Sticky sweet and sugary dark fruit with a boozy forward nose.

T - Dark carmelized sugar, bourbon, some dark fruit, and a huge boozy finish.

M - Thick, syrupy, and lipsmacking sticky.

O - Big and boozy.

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jzeilinger from Pennsylvania, Jun 21, 2018
Photo of BEERchitect
4.06/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Celebrating their twentieth anniversary, it seems that the Founders Brewing Company is having their midlife crisis a little early. Getting out of their normal hoppy and roasty comfort zone and treading the classic German waters of bock bier. But this bock is triple in strength and rounded in bourbon barrels while freezing out the unwanted stuff- water.

Apparently all that freezing and scooping is tough on the bright tanks as Tank Bender comes out swinging with a host of dark fruit, sultry sweet scents, light earth and spice. Bright and tawny brown, a garnet sheen casts a rich and sandy froth before a full malty palate of cake, brown sugar and sorghum slathers the early palate.

Retaining that sweet and cakey tone across the middle palate, the fruit esters begin to shine with apple, apricot, date, fig and maraschino cherries. Trending earthy with a mossy, leathery and fresh pulled tobacco tone, a sherry and port savory spiciness emerges on the late palate. Trending oaken and soaked in booze, the nuances of cashew, vanilla, coconut and caramel apply a rich barrel set of complexities to the overall taste.

Full and lush on the tastebuds, the nearly cloying ale's malty linger is offset by the whisky spice and slight vinous tang. A light peppery finish works in the absence of any balancing hops. But the hops do allow for a mild minty, herbal and stemmy taste to help in tepid balance before a long afterglow of sweetness and spice.

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BEERchitect from Kentucky, May 31, 2018
Photo of TheSixthRing
4.18/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

From tasting notes 10/20/17
Had on-tap at Founders in Grand Rapids, MI

Appearance - 8 ounces served up in an oversized brandy glass. Deep garnet red in color with a thin, broken layer of sandstone colored head and a thick ring of suds encircling the glass. Not much for lacing; a handful of spots, and most of them slide back into the drink.

Smell - Interesting aroma. Malty with a toffee-like sweetness and a faint herbal character. A bit of booze heat tingles the nose hairs.

Taste - Follows the nose. Caramel base with some lighter toffee sweetness developing in the finish. Scant trace of hops that hint at floral or herbal character. Finish ends with that aforementioned toffee character and a pleasant booziness without too much heat.

Mouthfeel - Medium-bodied with light carbonation. Slick texture that turns slightly dry and sticky in the finish. Smooth. Stupid smooth for 15%. You'd think it wasn't over 8%.

Overall - Technically an Eisbock, but it drinks much like a malt-heavy Barleywine or Old Ale. Yeah, this is right up my alley. I'm glad I was at the right place and right time to try this unique and rare style of brew.

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TheSixthRing from California, May 26, 2018
Photo of BenHoppy
4.18/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

For 15% it's very smooth. Amber marzen color with an Oktoberfest/sahte flavor. Never had an eisenbock so hard to compare but I get a lot of caramel, dark fruit, toffee, vodka flavor. A good slow sipper to try but probably never try again.

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BenHoppy from Michigan, Mar 18, 2018
Photo of jvgoor3786
4/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A vigorous pour produced almost no head and the little fizz that was there was gone almost immediately. The color is a deep ruddy/amber that's crystal clear and one of the more incredibly beautiful I've seen.

The smell screams of bourbon and dark fruits. There's also some sweet caramel malt underneath and even a little some fruit.

The taste is syrup sweet bourbon, caramel, and some candied dark fruits. The bourbon and sweetness lingers on the end and is almost cloying.

The mouthfeel is very thick and coats the whole mouth. The carbonation is minimal. The finish is long and sticky.

This is a seriously sweet beer with nice complexity. It will need to be sipped slowly.

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jvgoor3786 from Arkansas, Feb 04, 2018
Photo of jwilcox767
4.22/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Dark ruby/black color, almost opaque. Not much carbonation, and looks syrupy as it really coats the glass.

S: Nice and boozy up front, notes of very dark/candied fruits, and lots of roasted malt.

T: Bourbon barrel to the face, the dark fruits are close behind, followed by charred something. The booze/bourbon is really there the whole time and is well blended with the other flavors.

M: Maybe a little thicker than I'd like, especially for this ABV. Not much carbonation to speak of to excite the mouth.

O: I was very excited to get my hands on this. I haven't had very many Eisbock's in the past, but this was enjoyable. The main turnoff is that it's almost too syrupy/cloying, but manages to prevail. Of course it's very boozy, but I feel like they could have done a better job making sure that all of the other great flavors weren't trampled. Some say this is like a barleywine or a BA barleywine, but I really feel like this is its own distinct monster. It's awesome to say that I had this (and it was quite good), but I think once is enough.

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Photo of Stevedore
4/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750ml bottle, served in a snifter glass. Dark caramel body, slight reddish/orange hue, one finger white head. Smell is doppelbock on steroids, crackers and bread with a bit of noble hop bitterness and floral notes, moderate bourbon presence. Still a bit simplistic on the palate, it's essentially a sweeter doppelbock flavour profile with a fair bit of bourbon, not terribly boozy. Sort of like Twizzlers, in a sense, with toasted grains and crackers. Mouthfeel is medium fuller bodied, muted carbonation which seems appropriate for a beer like this. As you'd expect, a heavy super doppelbock with bourbon flavours thrown in there yet still clean and smooth.

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Stevedore from Wisconsin, Dec 28, 2017
Photo of maximum12
4.14/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Many thanks to Rkitchen for answering my desperate plea for this beer; sadly, the first Founders beer in years I’ve been all atwitter for. 750ML bottle split with my wife.

The pour is gorgeous: a clear, dark crimson that shatters the light from my expensive LED spotlights into zillions of pieces. Minimal head, which is to be expected. Smells like sugar-glazed dark fruits, with just a touch of booze & barrel. Nice start.

Tank Bender is loaded with harvest dark fruit. And alcohol. And barrel. And sugar. Initial impression is much like the nose: massive loads of dark red fruit soaked in brown sugar, then stored in a bourbon barrel for good measure. Caramel & booze are less prominent, but wound about the brew like a strangling cord. Thick, boozy, & with my sweet tooth, I could have taken the entire bomber.

The booze has caused me to shed my fleece & slippers. My pants might be next. It’s hard to stand out amidst the static these days, but this beer succeeds & delivers. Simply excellent.

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maximum12 from Minnesota, Dec 22, 2017
Photo of superspak
4.25/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

750 ml bottle into tulip glass, bottled in 10/2017. Pours crystal clear deep ruby red/copper/amber color with a 1-2 finger fairly dense and fluffy light khaki head with solid retention, that reduces to a thin spotty lace cap that lingers. Light spotty lacing clings on the glass, with a moderate amount of streaming carbonation retaining the cap. Aromas of big caramel, brown sugar, toffee, vanilla, maple, raisin, plum, fig, date, pear, apricot, apple, bourbon, coconut, toasted oak, and brown bread; with light notes of molasses, chocolate, leather, tobacco, pepper, and oak/toasted earthiness. Minimal booze in the aromas as it warms. Damn nice aromas with great complexity and balance of dark/bready malt and bourbon barrel notes; with great strength. Taste of huge caramel, brown sugar, toffee, vanilla, maple, raisin, plum, fig, date, pear, apricot, apple, bourbon, coconut, toasted oak, and brown bread; with light notes of molasses, chocolate, leather, tobacco, pepper, and oak/toasted earthiness. Light bourbon/oak tannin spiciness against sweetness on the finish. Lingering notes of caramel, brown sugar, toffee, vanilla, maple, dark fruit, pear, apricot, apple, bourbon, coconut, toasted oak, brown bread, molasses, chocolate, leather, tobacco, pepper, and oak/toasted earthiness on the finish for a while. Incredible complexity, robustness, and balance of dark/bready malt and bourbon barrel flavors; with a great malt and bourbon/oak spiciness balance; and zero cloying sweetness after the finish. Slightly increasing dryness from bourbon/oak spiciness. Light-medium carbonation and fairly full bodied; with a very smooth, creamy, bready, and silky malt mouthfeel that is fantastic. Slight slickness, stickiness, and oak tannins. Very clean on lager flavors, not overly fruity/yeasty, Mildly increasing warmth of 15%, with minimal booziness lingering after the finish. Overall this was a fantastic barrel aged eisbock! All around outstanding complexity, robustness, and balance of dark/bready malt and bourbon barrel flavors; very smooth and dangerously easy to sip on for the huge ABV. Pretty unique, but has a really outstanding balance between rich Munich malt and bourbon barrel complexity; without being overly fruity/yeasty. A highly enjoyable offering, and spot on style example.

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superspak from Michigan, Dec 09, 2017
Photo of Jwale73
3.77/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pours a translucent garnet hue with no head. Nose expresses ethanol, caramelized sugar and medicinal notes. Taste is malty with more ethanol and fruity notes. Mouthfeel is light-medium in body with a slight oiliness to the texture and an assertive carbonation. A residual alcohol burn lingers at the back of the throat between quaffs. Overall, this beer is hot an young. Worth a little time in the cellar to allow it to open up.

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Jwale73 from Rhode Island, Nov 25, 2017
Photo of Sparty1224
4.24/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Serving: 750mL bomber poured into a Founder's taproom snifter. No bottled on date, but this is from the October 2017 Anniversary party.

A: Looks like a brandy in the glass. Basically no carbonation, syrupy consistency. Has a translucent dark amber-ruby color with some gold at the edges.

S: Think cherries jubilee. Very boozy, liquor-forward aroma with a hint of dark fruit beneath. Some oak, maple, fig and raisin in there as well.

T: Huge bourbon barrel up front, followed by a quick rush of maple and dark fruits, and then completely overpowered again by more booze and bourbon. Very boozy finish. Lots of oak, char, molasses.

M: About as thin as you'd expect for this ABV, barely any carbonation. Very boozy throughout. It's like drinking an ice wine or a spirit.

O: First anniversary release for Founder's since Deca, right? Never had that one, but excited to get my hands on this one. Only experience with the Eisbock before this was KRE and BRE, and I wasn't a huge fan of those, even despite being fruited. It's a tough style, it's very boozy and strong, mutes a lot of the flavors. The barrel is nice here, makes it almost like a big BA Barleywine. It's just the concentration of it from freezing it really mutes the flavors for me. It's a really nice beer, and it's done about as well as it could be. It's just not that exciting or flavorful. Also, way too boozy at 15%, hard to finish a whole bomber. Great way to celebrate Founder's 20th birthday though, in a truly unique way. And that's how they roll.

Recommendation: Tough find, unless you live near Founder's. Maybe not trade-worthy, but definitely something to keep your eye out for if you missed the release.

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Sparty1224 from Michigan, Nov 22, 2017
Photo of Masonz223
4.48/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Smell: Big Boozy dark fruits, plum fig, candied sugar, brown sugar, Vanilla pear, apple, bubblegum, sweet and boozy. This nose is really strong. Smells like a barrel aged quad.

Taste: Follows the nose right upfront it's brown sugar covered apples, sweat pear, creamy vanilla. That fruitiness carries into the middle of the mouth were you get a more complex dark fruitiness, Plum, figs, more pear and vanilla. Bubble gum. All of this is going on well this this caramelized brown sugar sweetness lingers. The sweetness starts to mix with this warm bourbon booziness. The finish is a mix of of sweet sticky Carmel, apple, a light oakiness and warm
Booze that warms the chest as it goes down and numbs the tongue for a second. The beer is big ,boozy, sweet, and fruity.

Feel: Medium mouth feel, a light creaminess, sticky. It's big and boozy. This needs to be sipped on to enjoy the complexity of this beer.

Overall: I'm really impressed with founders. This is a style that isn't attempted often, and they did a great job. It's a big boozy beer, that represents founders and 20 years perfectly. I would recommend anyone who likes big beers to try this. This is a definite world class offering!

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Masonz223 from Michigan, Oct 27, 2017
Photo of JohnnyHopps
4.63/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Appearance - On tap, The beer was a golden copper color with white bubbles crowning the top of the glass.

Smell - Sweet malts, dark fruits and alcohol sting or noted.

Taste - I was impressed by the sweetness coupled with lager yeast. The malts are a strong backbone that can't be conquered by a boozy backbone. The beer turned drier toward the finish.

Mouthfeel - While being smooth, the beer had a thick stickiness.

Overall - Eisbocks are a style that is way too rare. This is superb.

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Tank Bender from Founders Brewing Company
Beer rating: 91 out of 100 with 50 ratings