Barrel Runner
Founders Brewing Company

Barrel RunnerBarrel Runner
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IPA - Imperial
Ranked #4,114
Ranked #42,192
3.64 | pDev: 17.58%
Founders Brewing Company
Michigan, United States
Barrel RunnerBarrel Runner
Notes: Inspiration for our barrel-aged beers can come from the most unexpected places and our latest release is proof of that. Sweet and hoppy, rich and bright – this rum barrel-aged imperial IPA brewed with Mosaic hops will make you believe you’re in the tropics.
Reviews: 184 | Ratings: 498 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Reviews by neliam24:
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neliam24 from New York

3.94/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Jul 29, 2018
More User Reviews:
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jampics2 from Ohio

1.28/5  rDev -64.8%
look: 2.25 | smell: 1 | taste: 1 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

Worst beer Founders has ever released and One of the worst I’ve ever had in 20k+ beers. Smells and tastes like cheap rum and acetone. Just a horrible experiment gone wrong; probably won’t buy another Founders beer again after this after being a die hard fan for around 15 years. This should have died on the barrel room floor.

Jul 30, 2018
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maximum12 from Minnesota

2.11/5  rDev -42%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 1

How far Founders barrel aged program has fallen in my eyes. I once bought everything they put in a barrel happily, blindly. That hasn’t been the case in years. 12 oz. bottle – hoping for Backwoods, fearing Frangelic Mountain Brown.

The pour is West Coast IPA circa 2012, a lovely clear gold. The smell is those soft, gum-destroying, candy-sprinkled, fake orange things they sell in bulk bins across the country. I bought some once. They weren’t good. Those, plus rum. I’m having unpleasant flashbacks.

Barrel Runner is no Backwoods. In fact, I’m not sure it’s beer at all. There’s a whirlwind of weirdness: first let’s discuss the soap. Ever get beaned by your mom with a frozen loaf of bread then get your mouth washed out with Dawn? It’s kind of like that, minus the concussion-like symptoms. Chemical peel orange, tons of sweet rum, man-made vanilla, booze. Split the stubby with my wife, who took two sips before rejecting it. I concur. To the drain.

Other than the pretty color, a complete failure.

Aug 05, 2018
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depechemode1983 from Texas

2.73/5  rDev -25%
look: 3.75 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.75

Pours out medium amber in color. Head is off-white with moderate retention and moderate splotchy uneven lacing.

The nose is confusing. Smells like chemically treated wood. Coconut bathrooms spray with mahogany? I don't know. Boozy.
I'm sorry this one took me by surprise. Here goes the taste.

Very sweet. Sugar cane sweet. Maybe picking up some caramel. Rum is there for sure. The booze is very noticeable. This one is very cloying. It is way to sweet.

Mouthfeel is thick and syrupy. Carbonation is low.

Eh this one is a let down. Smells like chemicals, way too sweet and boozy, and the mouthfeel is way to thick. Not a drain pour. I payed to much for the bottle and want to get a buzz. Only bought two beers tonight. Maybe I just didn't understand this beer.

Jul 29, 2018
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RaulMondesi from California

2.11/5  rDev -42%
look: 4 | smell: 1.75 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 1.75

This is insane. And I don’t mean Vincent Van Gogh insane. This is just wrong. Smells like a tropical nightmare, and taste like a Subway sandwich with expired meat that was made on the equater. Now, I’ve had a lot of beers, but this one is vile, putrid, and just downright shameful. Founders, don’t ever do this to us again.

Jul 14, 2018
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hoptheology from South Dakota

1.55/5  rDev -57.4%
look: 4 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1.5

What the hell even was this?

Dark golden appearance with lots of fluffy white head leaving slight rings of lace around the glass.

Smells like a tropical condom.

And well the flavor...if you've ever wondered what straining Malibu shooters through a damp gym sock tasted like, look no further. Finish is of prison wine & dirty tap water. The belches come back in a regurgutative fashion like a turd you can't flush down at your first date's house.

Feel is like getting kicked by a Brazilian in the mouth and then nursing it in a bowl of Sprite.

Overall, a joke of a beer. Rogue watch out - Founder's is coming for you.

Jul 14, 2018
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Wolvmar from Michigan

4.18/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pour: bottle late May 2018. 12oz bottle poured into tulip glass. Beautiful deep golden amber or burnt orange color. Thick, 2-3 finger sudsy head. Head lasted well before leaving a nice color and generous lacing. Really nice.

Nose: mango, orange, hint of rum. Not real strong but pleasant.

Taste: the mosaic hops hit first with mango and citrus followed by plenty of bitterness on the backend. The rum is there but very subtle. Maybe a little butterscotch as well, especially as it lingers in the mouth.

Mouthfeel: feels how it looks; rich, oily but not a milkshake. Despite the huge head, it doesn’t feel over carbonated. Well done.

Overall: like other reviews, I wasn’t sure what to expect and am pleasantly surprised at how much I like his. I love big dessert stouts and this has the feel of a big dessert fruit IPA/stout if that makes any sense. The stout mouthfeel combined with the mosaic and rum flavors work really well together. Would buy again. Wonder how this would/will age?

Jul 01, 2018
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Slim_720 from Wisconsin

1.15/5  rDev -68.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 1 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

I would go lower than one on taste and smell if BA would let. Founders should give me my money back for this wretched drain pour. This just sat way too long in poor quality rum barrels.

Jul 28, 2018
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ovaltine from Indiana

4.07/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Hoooo boy, reviews are all over the place for this beer, let’s see where I land with this. It pours a hazy golden orange color with a thick light tan head.

The nose is where this misses a bit for me - I get no discernible hops, just a lot of boozy rum. Getting nervous (I wasn’t a fan of Mango Magnifico, and the nose on this is bringing back memories).

But there’s no reason to worry, IMHO. The Mosaic hops are very present on the taste, with pungent citrus flavors balancing the rum and booze nicely. Delicious.

I saw a review that compared this to a pina colada. I thought that was a harbinger of disappointment for me (I don’t like pina coladas - at all), but it turned out to be accurate, and I really enjoyed this. After the sniff test, I would’ve said that wasn’t possible.

Well done by Founders, IMHO.

Jul 17, 2018
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sjones5045 from Pennsylvania

4.14/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

So a few things to say about this beer and it’s rating. It’s a RUM Barrel aged beer. If you are looking for hops and citrus that taken over this market then you won’t like this

That said the look is ok. Brownish orange with an ok head. Nothing spectacular about it.

The smell, well, malt and rum. Maybe a little bitter hop pr sense but rum. We’re you surprised to smell rum?

The taste is actually pretty impressive. It’s not the sweet Malibu rum taste but it’s actually nice biting rum flavor accompanied by a sting malt bill and some bitter hops peeking through.

The feel, is heavy but kind of what I’d expect from a heavy rum presence.

Overall, again the reviews are a bit off base. This is a rum beer so if you don’t like rum then you will not like this beer. It certainly isn’t a pansy barrel aged beer. Then went after this hard and it’s well put together. To be fair the first bottle I had I was taken back a bit. Y the second I really just embraced it for the rum taste and really enjoyed it. It’s a great sipper and I will definitely enjoy this more and buy again. Nice work being original and different. Can’t imagine how difficult this beer is to brew. Nice work.

Aug 11, 2018
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Fordcoyote15 from Kentucky

2.66/5  rDev -26.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 1

Oh. My. God. This brought me back to being 19 years old and drinking a cheap bottle of clear well rum my buddy drunkenly brought home from a party.

I don't really like rum, at least not apart from spiced rum in fall apple cider or similar... so drinking a beer that taste like drinking straight clear rum was not my jam.

I recommend that you proceed with caution or anticipation depending on how you regard lower shelf clear rum.

Jul 27, 2018
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Bouleboubier from New Jersey

4.02/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

(12 oz bottle, poured into a snifter)

L: orange-amber liquid - probably was relatively clear until I dumped in the small slug of sediment... spongy, sudsy, off-white foam which recedes swiftly but leaves a fish-eyed collar

S: mild whiff of vaguely tropical hops with a huge olfactory chaser of coconut rum... stream of spicy booze gradually issues forth... sort of tropical, dried papaya note soon kicks into gear... very subtle caramel malt undertone, but this altogether does not smell like an IPA (or a beer), though it does smell good

T: mango, papaya, coconut liqueur... caramel and papaya in the finish; aftertaste is coconut cologne and dried pineapple nugglets... grassy, somewhat herbal-spicy bitterness slowly builds at the back of the palate... the coconut element with the malt seems to create a background coconut creme pie essence... overall, thankfully not terribly sweet

F: sleek, streamlined texture... perfect whoosh of quiet heat... slender viscosity, soft snap in the finish; delicate spicy static humming at the roof of the mouth, but wonderfully clean, dry underbelly

O: a malt-based daiquiri taste... rather different, can't recall another beer I've had that was similar, and I'll applaud Founders for creating something relatively unique... to be true, 'rum barrel-aged IPA' is not something I'd generally want to try, but I could see having another of these, but coconut-crusted shrimp is necessary

Jul 01, 2018
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biboergosum from Canada

2.98/5  rDev -18.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12oz bottle - I don't know why I put myself through this, as I've never had a barrel-aged IPA that was any good.

This beer pours a clear, medium copper amber colour, with four fingers of puffy, loosely foamy, and bubbly ecru head, which leaves some scratchy snow rime pattern lace around the glass as it slowly seeps away.

It smells of citrus vodka, an acrid woodsiness, estery phenols, gritty and grainy caramel malt, melted plastic, and some testy herbal, leafy, and piney green hop bitters. The taste is orange, red grapefruit, and lemon (steeped in rubbing alcohol), wet staves, grainy and bready caramel malt, brown sugar syrup, a muddled tropical fruitiness, vanilla pods, and more leafy, weedy, and piney hoppiness.

The carbonation is adequate in its palate-pleasing frothiness, the body a solid middleweight, and not particularly smooth, as the boozy and hoppy essences make for a bit of a rough go here. It finishes off-dry, the soused-up fruity character showing the most lingering legs.

Overall - yeah, I don't know if they used actual aged rum barrels, as I'm only getting the heat, mostly, from the wood. At least the underlying DIPA isn't totally obliterated, but this whole thing is still an unnecessary mess, I'm afraid to say. Looks like Founders' unfettered run has come to an end, for me.

Oct 05, 2018
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Gobearswalter34 from Illinois

4.39/5  rDev +20.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a hazy, golden yellow with a thin. Clumpy, white head.
Smells of big malt, butterscotch and pineapple.
Carmel covered pineapple. Oak and vanilla, slight hop. Good rum barrel presence. Pleasant.
Smootjh finish with this smooth to big mouthfeel.
Overall a wonderful beer. I am on the side that likes this.

Sep 28, 2018
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LifesAnesthesia from Virginia

4.49/5  rDev +23.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

L - Hazy golden amber/orange with a medium white head that sticks around and leaves some lacing behind.
S - Sweet tropical spiced rum alongside resiny, piney, bitter hops and citrus
T - Weird at first because you get a healthy hint of the rum profile: Follows the nose with the piney, resiny, bitter hops up front followed by notes of citrus with the sweet, alcohol notes of tropical spiced rum. Maybe some coconut, brown sugar, honey notes in there? The 11.1% is hidden very well. Everything just intermingles so well together and compliments each other nicely.
F - Medium to fuller bodied with a moderate amount of carbonation - sticky.
O - This one seems to be a love it or hate it kind of beer, but I have to admit this one just works for me. I was unsure about pairing rum and IPA, but the flavor profile and even smell of the IPA and rum just meld so well together. This is a great IPA overall, but perfect for summer on the beach as well.

Aug 04, 2018
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cavedave from New York

3.04/5  rDev -16.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3

Barley wine? BA IPA? Bottled 6/5/18

Pours a cloudy dark gold with a thick and lumpy off white finger of foam atop. Oily lace is left to hang as glass surrenders liquid.

Aroma is strong, heavy with rum, alcohol, caramel, and rooty herbal bitter. Hints of vanilla and oaky tannins are present. Less alcohol spice and vaporous warmth would improve this.

Pretty much taste matches aroma, especially the sweet of too much caramel. Mosaic hops still MIA. Literally, there are no aromas or flavors indicating mosaic hops. Very strong alcohol presence, including some of the less desirable alcohol flavors. Rum tries to save the day here, and as a barley wine with rum notes this would be acceptable if it had better taste and balance. Instead it is just a mish mosh of strong flavors meet alcohol overabundance.

Thin for a barley wine, too thick for IPA, too high carb. for barley wine, and not viscous enough. Finish is a too sweet mess of alcohol burn and lingering resiny bitter buildup.

Stay away. Even at the bargain price I paid it isn't worth it. Not recommended.

Feb 24, 2019
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twistedwedge from Kentucky

4/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I, too don’t understand some of the reviews here. This is exactly what the name suggests-a rum barrel aged beer. I think it’s exactly what I was expecting when I first cracked it open. Sticky mouthfeel, rum and some coconut notes there. Not enough IPA bump to consider it an “imperial” (sorry, Founders) but an IPA nonetheless.

Has more than enough ABV to get you in trouble. This reminds me of some of the bourbon barrel aged beers I’ve seen around and tasted.

Don’t go into it expecting anything but and appreciate it for what it is. Good job, Founders. Glad to see some variety on the market. I’d probably buy this one again-which isn’t something I can say about the bourbon variants I’ve tried before.

Aug 01, 2018
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DVMin98 from North Carolina

2.77/5  rDev -23.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Was glad to see this on the menu. I was looking to try this finally, but didn't want to buy a four pack. Good thing I didn't. Nice amber color served in a snifter. That was great! But then I smelled it. I thought 'hmm, this is different. Kinda tropical I guess, but not in a good way.' Then I tasted it. Tasted like dish soap. This must be one of those Jamaican rum barrels which always taste like a big ol' glass of Cascade dish soap. The rum and the hops just don't go together at all. Not good, Mon. Worst Founders beer to date

Sep 23, 2018
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buckthehog from Texas

4.48/5  rDev +23.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Pirate juice shoots down my throat
A quaffable brew from a scallywag’s boat
Pineapple and tobacco is what I taste
And beautiful rum flavor that Founders aced
Barrel aged till I die is my final quote

Jun 23, 2018
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Bier82 from New York

2.76/5  rDev -24.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

I really didn't want to believe the negative reviews, I love Founders barrel aged, drank at least a case of Dankwood. However, this is awful. It tastes like watered down rum mixed with lemon. So, unless you are die-hard for rum, this probably won't be for you. Glad I only had one bottle because I couldn't get more than half down.

Jul 26, 2018
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Funyard from Texas

4.46/5  rDev +22.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.75

A beer that delivers an experience that is memorable. I loved the coconut rum aroma and matching flavor. After the tropical coco rum bite, the mosaic hops were effective in combining piney bitterness to the sweeter fruitiness. Honestly, this beer provoked a wide-eyed excitement to my evening. Pleasantly surprising! I will seek out more of this one.

Jun 30, 2018
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John_M from Oregon

2.09/5  rDev -42.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1.25 | overall: 1.5

On tap at Belmont Station. So, so happy I only got a 4 ounce pour of this nasty beer.

The beer pours golden amber color with decent head retention and lacing. On the nose, there's a huge buttered rum aroma that is intriguing. There's also a slightly medicinal aroma as well, along with some vanilla. It's an odd combination frankly. Hard to believe this is supposed to be a dipa. On the palate, this is flat out disgusting. The beer is very sweet and boozy, and the vanilla, rum and medicinal flavor is very prominent and off putting. There's some hoppy bitterness and light pine, which does not play well with the other flavors in this wretched beer. The beer is quite hot on the finish, with a cloying, nauseating presence on the finish.

Yuck! While I give Founders credit for their willingness to experiment, this is a complete fail. Almost certainly the worst beer I've ever had from Founders.

Sep 03, 2018
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russpowell from Arkansas

3.99/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours an effervescent and hazed gold with a thumb of Rocky eggshell colored head. Stellar lacing and great head retention

S: Faint rum and butterscotch notes

T: Raw barrel notes, butterscotch, cakeyness and pineapple up front, plenty of dryness. Rummyness stays strong, plenty of booze, faint pineapple, dryness, and a little leafy hops as this warms. Finishes dry, boozey, with traces of honey, butterscotch, with a little pineapple

MF: Medium body, slight carbonation

Interesting DIPA, I would buy it again

Jul 19, 2018
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stephens101 from Oklahoma

3.68/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

This seems to be a love it or hate it beer.

Bright amber in color with a sticky and foamy tan froth.

Aroma is heavy with rum and various tropical fruits.

Tastes of rum, vanilla, guava and has a faint woodiness. The rum is almost overpowering, but hints of herbal hops change its trajectory toward the end. Pith and grapefruit zest are noted in the aftertaste.

Medium in body and the alcohol heat, while extant, does not kill.

This is the Metal Machine Music of beers. It's a great experimental outing, just not to everyone's taste.

Jul 10, 2018
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Mikexw from New York

3.34/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Aug 24, 2018
Barrel Runner from Founders Brewing Company
Beer rating: 83 out of 100 with 498 ratings