Founders Brewing Company

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IPA - Imperial
Ranked #808
Ranked #3,190
4.12 | pDev: 11.17%
Founders Brewing Company
Michigan, United States
Notes: Previously known as Hand of Doom.

Doom may be impending but that doesn't mean you have to fear it. A collision of worlds, the intense hop character of our Imperial IPA mingles with the warm vanilla and oak notes imparted from the time spent in our favorite bourbon barrels. Like all good things, Doom comes to those who wait.
Reviews: 506 | Ratings: 2,249 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Reviews by jbuddle:
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jbuddle from New York

3/5  rDev -27.2%

May 14, 2013
More User Reviews:
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dcotom from Iowa

4.5/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 12-ounce bottle into a snifter. Beautiful deep copper color, with a brilliant white head that settled within moments. The one I sampled was about two weeks past the bottling date. There is a ton of bourbon on the nose and palate, and the alcohol (12.4%) is very prominent. But there is a lot of subtle hop character here. Nice bitterness, not much sweetness, not too tannic, and a clean finish with just a hint of resin on the tongue. Absolutely delicious, and much too easily drinkable for its size. This is not going to have universal appeal by any stretch. If you like bourbon, however, you'll find that the bourbon barrel character works very nicely in this imperial IPA.

May 18, 2017
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threeviews from Florida

4.66/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

Poured from a 750ml bottle (2017 specific freshness date) into a Rastal Teku 2.0 glass.

A - First pour from the large bottle reveals a beautiful deep honey gold with a off white, creamy, 1-finger head. (5.0)

S - Bourbon, Coconut, Citrus (orange and yellow grapefruit), Vanilla and a Floral/Honeysuckle aroma all bloom in equal proportions. (4.5)

T - The presence of the spirit is much more prominent in the flavor but never the dominant sits nicely between the citrusy character of the beer and the wood from the cask. Bourbon hits first followed by the floral and citrus components imparted by the beer with the barrel (vanilla and coconut) finishing things off nicely (4.75)

M - This is where Doom shines...full, creamy mouthfeel that finishes dry courtesy of the hop bitterness and oak tannins. However, it has a full body with an increasing alcohol warmth as it warms, thereby reducing its drinkability (4.25)

O - Like others in this style, there is nothing to find fault with this beer. I absolutely adore Oak/Barrel aged IPAs and wish there were more on the market. Burton Baton (Dogfish Head), White Oak Jai Alai (Cigar City), Hop Crisis (21st Amendment)* and Rumble (Great Divide)* are some (and perhaps all) of the great wood-aged IPAs that I have enjoyed. and I will gladly add Doom to that list. Doom stands to be the epitome for this (unsung style) which features the beer and barrel complimenting one another rather than either one dominating. (4.75)
*Sadly, these are no longer available

May 17, 2017
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smcolw from Massachusetts

4.58/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Given the high alcohol, I expected little from the head but, while small, it holds up and leaves impressive rings of lace. The liquid is lightly cloudy with a dark gold color.

Low or sweet caramel to the nose. Almost like a pale barley wine.

The flavor is like a barley wine as well except for a well balanced hop presence for bitterness. The finish is literally bitter and sweet. Good carbonation against the obviously thick body. The flavor masks the 12.4% abv, making this a deceptively potent beer. I get rum soaked raisins, salted caramel, and black pepper in the taste. A truly superior beer worth seeking out.

This is one of the great beers in the world, imho.

Aug 06, 2017
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teromous from Virginia

3.59/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This is a 12oz bottle.
From the back label: "Bottled On: 04.27.17 1601 6 12.4% ALC/VOL"

Appearance: The body is a medium-dark shade of orange and amber. It has a medium head that is creamy textured and off-white. For a beer that has 12.4% ABV it has amazing retention. The beer has very good clarity.

Aroma: There is a light, woody, barrel aroma. It smells a bit like a watered down bourbon.

Taste: The beer has a lot of barrel flavor. There is a lot of bitterness to the beer and it has a strong charred ash flavor.

Mouthfeel: It has a lot of bitterness. The body is light and loaded with tannin which dries up the palate. Dry finish with a lot of remaining bitterness. The alcohol is hidden very well.

Overall: There wasn't any hop flavor or aroma to the beer; it only contributes to the heavy bitterness in the beer. It is a high alcohol beer with loads of bitterness and a nice bourbon barrel flavor. For such a high alcohol beer it is very well done but it just feels over-engineered without any real benefit. It felt a bit more like a bourbon barrel barleywine than an Imperial IPA. It's not a bad beer so I would still recommend it but I think I would only really recommend it to those who either really like bourbon or those who like barleywines.

Jun 25, 2017
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Milktoast75 from Wisconsin

4.27/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Brewed date of 5/03/17. Held out as long as I could. 6 pak 12oz. bottle poured into Door Co. Brewing snifter. I was "talked" into purchasing this 6 pak on the cashiers observation of me buying Founder's Old Ale. Hey you might like this? They had one 6 pak left. Uh, ok. Best beer purchase of the Summer.
L. Pours a perfect, smooth, copper hue. Minimal white head dissipates quickly.
S. Hard time with this one. Oak. Some floral. Grapefruit. Vanilla and alcohol. Strangely as it warmed the smell did not change.
T. First taste were sharp wood, grapefruit, floral with a strange back of the throat tartness. Why would I even drink anymore? It only gets better from here. Sip. Wait. Sip. Let it warm. Much smoother. Flavors blend and meld as intended. I did enjoy this beer but for a potent sipper, I prefer Founder's Old Ale. I would buy again given the chance though!
F. Smooth, but not thick or heavy feel.
This is a beer that cannot be defined with one glass or bottle. To say its is a complex beer is an understatement. Some will not get past the initial blast of alcohol or barrel aging flavor. Give this beer the time to appreciate when drinking it that the brewers did to produce it. There is a lot going on and should be treated accordingly. Take your time to fully enjoy this beer. I found the smoothest flavors were found as the beer warms to near room temp.
I try not to compare beers to beers but take them as they are.

Jan 07, 2018
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2beerdogs from California

3.29/5  rDev -20.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.25

I don't know about this one.
It pours nicely. Copper to amber in hue. Foam is solid, rises well, white, fluffy, some good retention, medium lacing.
Aroma is kind of all over the place. I'm getting a clash of bourbon notes and some piney hops. Then maybe citrus muddled with bourbon.
At first I'm getting some woody oak, then some alcohol heat. I find the piney notes but they are assaulted by the boozy march. I just don't think this is coming together.
The mouthfeel is medium bodied with a lite carbonation.
I just don't think this one is for me.

Jul 10, 2017
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Bruno74200 from France

4.25/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

L - lightly hazy with a three fingers head

S - bourbon, caramel, citrus, pine resin

T - bourbon, orange, grapefruit, herbal bitterness, vanilla, caramel. Very few sweetness compare to the bitterness. Some mineral notes. Orange blossom

M - medium carbonation, a bit sirupy

O - A very nice barrel aged dipa. At 12% it almost flirts with barleywine territory but it's really really not boozy for the abv. I think I'll feel it quite soon

Nov 17, 2017
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Dragginballs76 from South Carolina

4.09/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance - Pours cloudy burnt orange color with nice rocky white head. Spotty lacing.

Aroma - Picking up some oak, vanilla, little bit of caramel, nice amount of bourbon. Not getting much hops, maybe a little pine aroma but that is about it. Aroma reminds me of a barleywine.

Taste - Getting a little more pine/hop flavors in the taste. The vanilla is a little more muted. There is some grapefruit and orange peel along with a good amount of bourbon and oak.

Feel - Medium bodied, good carbonation. A good bit of warming from the alcohol along with some burn.

Overall - A really well done beer, good flavors nice aroma very boozy.

Aug 29, 2017
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morimech from Minnesota

3.62/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottled on 04/28/17.
Clear amber color with a finger of head that settles to a thin cap. Spotty lacing is left down the glass. Aroma of alcohol, floral ditch weed, bourbon, and some oak. Confusing flavor. Very boozy, the citrus hops are muted and do not combine well the bourbon or barrel. Does have some nice smooth whisky and vanilla notes but otherwise this is a mess. Smooth and rich body. By far the best aspect of the beer. This is a miss. If I want a barrel-aged IPA I will drink Toppling Goliath Naughty 90 or Naughty Temple if they ever brew them again.

May 21, 2017
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Benjolovesbeer from Michigan

5/5  rDev +21.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This beer is amazing. Best imperial IPA ever. Poured fresh into a wide glass goblet. Color is scotch like, sticky looking, molasses like. Fluffy white head slow carbonated, hoppy body. Smell is bourbon barrel with hints of pine citrus and right there and then I knew I was in for a treat. The taste is barrel forward with a bit of bourbon flavor. Love it! I need more! This is better than backwoods when fresh. It is sticky, toffee, molasses, creamy vanilla, dark fruit, oaky, scotch. Doesn't taste like an IPA but has that imperial flavor yet @ 12% abv it is quite smooth. I've read across forums with people criticizing and hating it, don't understand as this stuff is amazing. It's a slow drinker yet so delicious. I must seek out more.

May 23, 2017
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Wolvmar from Michigan

4.32/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pour: yellow-orange with a lots of white head that slowly ebbs leaving a web of lacing as you drink. Really attractive beer.

Aroma: Not a lot of aroma given it’s an imperial IPA and BB aged. Maybe my sniffer is dead tonight!

Taste: hop/malt forward, bourbon, citrus, maybe some vanilla, oak char, some honey like sweetness. Reminds me of Hopslam with bourbon on top.

Mouthfeel: really good balance of malty thickness, just enough carbonation to make it an IPA not just a BB aged Stout feel.

Overall: This beer grows on me as I drink it. Smooth, hop citrus, bitterness and bourbon are well balanced. Really interesting and surpringly easy to drink. Highly recommend it.

Dec 03, 2017
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Rufus1 from Kentucky

3.79/5  rDev -8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Pours an amber/orange into a fifteen ounce mug the same temperature as the beer. Small off white head that dissipates rapidly. Touch of lacing.

Hits the nose with hints of vanilla, citrus hops and pineapple. Bourbon. Oak. Spicy alcohol.

Tastes of mild hoppy bitterness followed by pineapple and whiskey notes. Dry oak. Bourbon sweetness. Boozy.

Medium full mouthfeel with medium to low carbonation. Finish is bourbon, oak and oily hops. Still not dry on the finish.

All in all a very good beer. The mix is interesting but I prefer to keep my bourbon and beer flavors separate. Give it a try. Cheers!!

Jun 26, 2017
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FLima from Brazil

4.14/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Slightly hazy amber orange color with a thick off-white head with great retention and leaving strong laces.
Aroma with predominant notes of mild bourbon, vanilla, oak and lychees.
Flavor is more interesting with notes of chocolate-cocoa, bourbon, lots of spices, especially vanilla, orange marmalade and resin. Dry and bitter aftertaste.
Bordering full body with appropriate carbonation. They have slaved its 12% abv. Well done.
Me like it. Very complex and flavorful with no notes shadowing the recipe. Oak and bourbon are delicate. Almost an American Barley Wine without the dark notes. I felt a lot of cocoa upfront with bourbon and oak on the background.

Dec 13, 2017
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PorterLambic from Florida

4.13/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Jul 11, 2017
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chugalug06 from Colorado

4.51/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Golden mild foggy brew with large lasting foamy soapy off-white head. Lacing is a bit weak...

Relatively fresh hops for being barrel aged. Crisp pine and forward vanilla.

Great bitter vanilla with faded piney hops. Dry, earthy, crisp, easy drinker, very fluid, buttery vanilla feel, low carbonation feel with high press of bubbles. Awesomely bitter and drinkable.

This brew is damn good and needs to be tried by all... Thanks abanton for another great trade! A crisp summer drinker for a damn hot day. Highly recommended.

Jun 20, 2013
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jsanford from Georgia

4.25/5  rDev +3.2%

May 13, 2013
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mmhannon from New Jersey

4.61/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Jul 17, 2017
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BFCarr from New Jersey

3.94/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2017 from growler. Tastes more like a strong ale than a barrel aged DIPA. I get the vanilla notes and it's very smooth for 12%. But the very bitter DIPA and the bourbon notes are masked. Very drinkable, just not what I expected.

Jun 01, 2017
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joeponte from Rhode Island

5/5  rDev +21.4%

Oct 03, 2013
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BSquaredGolf from Ohio

3.74/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4

Jan 04, 2018
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jscheuf from Illinois

4.25/5  rDev +3.2%

Jan 08, 2014
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TheHopsman from Nebraska

4.04/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Jun 09, 2017
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BuckeyeNation from Iowa

3.82/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Golden honeyish orange with a slim slice of ivory colored cream that faded to a broken film in mere minutes. Even though very little lace graced the glass in the end, the beer did look pretty good in a balloon snifter. $5 for an 8 ounce pour.

As it happened, aroma was the beer's best feature. It was impressively hoppy, with loads of pineapple, orange and lemon that was powerfully pungent. Alcohol was barely noted, which was yet another plus. Simcoe was a no-brainer. The bartender (after talking with the brewer) stated that Amarillo and Summit are the other members of the hop bill.

For whatever reason, hops were much less prominent on the palate and alcohol was more prominent. The ale smoothed out a little over time (it was served too cold), but hop flavor never did increase, as I'd hoped it would. Call me crazy, but a DIPA named Hand Of Doom ought to pummel the tongue in merciless fashion.

Nothing darker than sugary pale malt was appreciated. Flavors otherwise included candied grapefruit, pineapple, orange and lemon. Unfortunately, flavor intensity left quite a bit to be desired. The alcohol wasn't as well-masked as it should have been. It added a solvent-like flavor and was warm enough to begin numbing the tongue by the bottom half of the glass.

The body/mouthfeel was a fraction lighter than medium for the style and was as smooth as possible given the rampant ethanol. Lightly sparkly bubbles added just the right amount of lift.

Given the rest of the Founders lineup (including the outstanding Double Trouble), Hand Of Doom is a disappointing effort. An American DIPA that doesn't taste very hoppy isn't much of an American DIPA. It's as simple as that.

Sep 17, 2009
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randylangford from Pennsylvania

4/5  rDev -2.9%

Jun 19, 2013
Doom from Founders Brewing Company
Beer rating: 92 out of 100 with 2249 ratings