Bottle Shop Series #1: Nemesis
Founders Brewing Company

Bottle Shop Series #1: NemesisBottle Shop Series #1: Nemesis
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Barleywine - American
Ranked #60
Ranked #5,473
4.08 | pDev: 7.35%
Founders Brewing Company
Michigan, United States
Bottle Shop Series #1: NemesisBottle Shop Series #1: Nemesis
Notes: Bottle Shop Series.

What's your nemesis? Ours is a Barleywine-style Ale brewed with roasted malts and no shortage of hops for a pleasantly bitter, booming flavor. Pouring with a slight and subtle mahogany hue and a multitude of flavors that will melt on your tongue - this is one nemesis you'll feel good about keeping around.
Reviews: 99 | Ratings: 218 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
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ScruffySouthpaw from New York

3.9/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in a snifter glass from the bottle.

Appearance: Dark mahogany with a hint of coffee colored body.

Smell: Sweet Brandy like aroma.

Taste: Malty from the beginning. Bitter molasses with a green grape tone.

Mouth: Medium carbonation.

Overall: Good brew but granted there are better Barrell aged barlewines out there. For the money worth grabbing. Salud!

Nov 18, 2021
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imnodoctorbut from Texas

3.99/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

pours a cola brown body with a tan froth head that has moderate retention and leaves a lot of thin sudsy lacing behind as it settles to a thin murky cap with defined halo

aroma is sweet, roasted caramel malt, and earthy bitter resinous hop

taste follows that up and adds a certain pine tar hit, booze, and that clove/bubblegum feeling that I usually associate with Belgians.

mouthfeel is mid-level carbonation and medium bodied with an herbal, boozy hit that rides a crisp feel and a dry finish

it's damn-near medicinal, it's herbal and pine soaked resin and maple sweet. if that's your jam, so too will this be your jam

Nov 15, 2021
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DaveMaciolek21 from New Jersey

4.44/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours brown with ruby highlights. Mocha head is modest, but laces the glass nicely. This is a very unique version of a barleywine. You immediately notice the deep roasted malts and caramel flavor. It is also a fairly well-hopped barleywine. So the taste evolves from sweeter roast to hop bitters, adding the traditional barleywine alcohol presence. It's really quite complex--a novel twist on tradition. Highly recommended.

Oct 15, 2021
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DeaconWhite82 from Pennsylvania

4.02/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4

Beer pours dark with little head. Smell is sweet and alcohol. Flavor goes from sweet to bitter to lingers for awhile on the tongue. I like it . Feel is great. I had 1 twelve ounce bottle. Hit that sweet spot buzz. Wish I would have gotten a 6 pack

Oct 14, 2021
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Ozzylizard from Pennsylvania

4.21/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Bottle Shop Series #1 Nemesis from Founders Brewing. Purchased 9/9/21 from Franklin Beer, Franklin, PA for $15/4-pack of 12 oz bottles ($ 0.312/oz). On room temperature shelf at store. Stored at home at 40 degrees. Reviewed 28/09/21. Note that I use DD/MM/YY protocol.
Stamped on back label “BOTTLED ON 03.08.21.” Served at 52.1 degrees in a hand washed and dried Jester King snifter. Final temperature 58.8 degrees.
Appearance – 4.
First pour – Deep Amber (SRM 15), clear.
Body – Ruby Brown (SRM 24), opaque. When rear-lite, translucent ruby.
Head – Large (Maximum five cm, aggressive center pour), wheat, high density, average retention, diminishing to a three to four mm crown and a rocky complete cap.
Lacing – Fair. Some high density drag lines as the volume drops, but no bands.
Aroma – 4.25 – Initially sweet with caramel/toffee overtones, no yeast, no hops.
Flavor – 4.25 – Flavor follows nose - no yeast, and a markedly bitter aftertaste with a long hangtime. No ethanol (11.2% ABV, as marked on container) taste or aroma. Rapid gastric burning. No dimethylsulfide or diacetyl.
Palate – 4 – Full, approaching creamy, soft carbonation.
Final impression and summation 4.25. Decent flavor but seems a bit rough, like it was bottled too soon. I’ll hold a couple bottles for a year or so and try it again.

Sep 28, 2021
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malrubius from Vermont

4.58/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Bottle dated 3/21. Darker than garnet reddish brown with long-lasting eggshell head and lace. Brown sugar maple syrup woody earthy pine and booze aroma. Medium-heavy sweetness maple syrup brown sugar with some boozy port fruitiness and earthy woody piney finish. Full body and very fine carbo bite but not fizzy or bubbly. Pretty fucking amazing. Bigfoot is one of my all-time faves and it's also in this "American" substyle of barleywines.

Sep 12, 2021
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DoctorZombies from Florida

4.47/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottled 3/8/21. Poured at 56.8°. Two fingers of khaki foam atop ruby brown liquid with excellent clarity; long lasting cap retention; heavy ring and lacing; thin legs on swirl. Nose is herbal green hops and caramel. Entry is bitter hops followed by sweet caramel, and then molasses; toffee as beer warms; bittersweet baker’s chocolate on backend; bitter hop finish. Medium body; smooth tongue coating; moderate minus carbonation; no warmth from 11.2% abv. Overall, if you like barleywine to have bitterness along with the caramel sweetness (I do), then this ale has a boatload of bitterness…maybe too much; layers of flavors and enough sugar to keep the hops from going overboard…still a long bitter linger; I wonder if another six months would back off some of hop bitterness…still, I like this beer and would gladly drink again.

Sep 09, 2021
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PaleMorning from Pennsylvania

4.57/5  rDev +12%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

This reminds of some of the barley wines I have had in the past without the same complexity of flavors. Primary up front flavor is reminiscent of raisins but this is washed away by a sweet boozy aftertaste. I actually enjoyed this quite a bit.

Aug 28, 2021
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mntlover from Tennessee

4.14/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours a dark drown almost black except when held to the light nice thumb sized tan head falls about medium fast with some good lace.

Aroma is nice caramel, roasted malts with coffee hints, good earthy notes, molasses, deeper then most American styles at least darker for sure. Still have the classic big ops in the nose resins, dank deep citrus,, herbal and pine almost tobacco but not quite there.

Taste is big like the nose like a big BW with some roasted malts thrown in for good measure. Has the big malts of an English style but not quite as sweet and sugary but with the bigger hop profile of an American style deep dank resinous. it is enjoyable and the 11% is well hidden .

Mouthfeel is is big with nice smooth carbonation.

Overall not bad kind of a hybrid in my opinion anyway stuck in the middle of an American and English. Love me a good BW though being slightly different isn't bad an enjoyable beer.

Aug 26, 2021
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secondtooth from Indiana

4.05/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

APPEARANCE: Opaque, near black with ruby highlights. Average khaki head and thin strands of lace.

AROMA: Roasty malts, almost cocoa-is, with some floral hops underneath. Interesting combo.

TASTE: Big huge hops over the top. Roasty malts heavy, as well. Flavor all over the tongue, chewy and coating the palate with flavors. A slow sipper here, especially at 11.2%. A righteous barleywine here, big in all the right places.

Aug 25, 2021
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klarcbarr3 from Michigan

3.8/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

I poured a 12 oz. bottle into a pint glass. The head seemed thin for most of the pour, then suddenly zoomed after pouring into a lovely, substantial light tan mushroom.. nice! The color is deep mahoghany, black except where light seeps in around the bottom and edges. The smell is odd.. very hoppy IPA-like, with a fuzzy floral perfume that is not attractive.. think optimized ginko tree. The taste rises above the scent, but once again, unusual, and perplexing. I get coffee and sweet notes at first, that get overwhelmed by hops and bitterness as the sip ages in my mouth. There is no lack of complexity and thought behind this brew. I just don't know if it is worth the effort. It comes in at a hefty 11.2% ABV, so at least you will get a buzz. I admire Founders continued quest to find new, delightful, unusual brews, and they usually succeed. This one, overall, does not do it for me.

Aug 21, 2021
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hoptheology from South Dakota

3.83/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Bottled on 03.09.21, into Ploughshare glass.

Brown-black, with tea elements scattered in there, with a stable finger of whitish-brown head.

Aroma of spoiled hops with some slight oxidation and roasted malts, bringing some onion, cardboard, manure, and dusty attic to the table. It sort of works for a Barleywine and is semi-approachable so I can't tank this category completely.

Flavor is definitely hoppy barleywine, it'd definitely be amber colored if I were blindfolded. Tastes indiscriminate from a traditional barleywine - the dark malts did nothing here. White onion, stale hops, cardboard, both sharp and muted pine, lots of hang-time with the resins, some skunk, and a little raisin flavor.

Feel is resinous to the max, it's definitely more like a quadruple IPA, lots of hang time, hops aren't going anywhere soon. Boozy, hot, cutting, semi-thick, slightly sticky. Fits the beer.

Overall, not really my thing but I can respect it for what it is. I can respect American Barleywine even though I don't like it, but I feel the style is overrated as a whole where each beer is concerned (Bigfoot was/is a hop-burn nightmare, IMO, take that as a consideration with this review). Will probably age well, crack one in 2031. As far as the "dark" aspect, not really seeing the point. Brew a standard American Barleywine, it'll taste the same.

$2.99 @ Red's in Nashville (oddly)

Aug 21, 2021
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WoodBrew from Ohio

4.25/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

My brother-in-law brought a bottle of this beer to my parents lake house to share. It poured a deep, rich mahogany amber with tan head that left some lacing. The scent had roasted and caramel malt notes along with earth highlights. The taste has roasted malt and caramel notes up front and throughout followed by earthy peat along with toffee, vanilla and dark fruit. The mouthfeel was medium in body with smooth carbonation. Overall it is a solid barelywine.

Aug 11, 2021
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cjeep from Pennsylvania

4.25/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Yeah this is a good one from a fine outfit. Rock on founders. Bottled 3/8:21 consumed 8/10/21. A bit aged but holding up nicely.
L: drinking from the bottle. Looks nice.
S: lots of molasses and brown sugar. Very nice.
T: classic barley wine. Caramel hops toffee big and beautiful.
F: smooth rich wonderful.
O: winner no doubt.

Aug 11, 2021
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maximum12 from Minnesota

3.87/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Never saw this here in MSP & was surprised to see it on shelves in Alaska, so picked up a four. 12 oz. bottle with the new ‘spare’ Founder Bottle Shop art.

The pour is wine red without the clarity. The nose, as promised, swells with caramel, toffee, & pungent hops. Like Bigoot. Only better.

Nemesis reminds me of the original which I loved so (nobody else around here seemed to in 2009, I bought over a case of it four pack by four pack over a couple months). This is not in the same stratosphere (or style for that matter). It is what the label & nose promise: a caramel-heavy barleywine wrapped in booze, bitter hops, pine resin, & a touch of raisin skin, with a syrupy, malty sweetness that builds sip-over-sip. Pair this with a West Coast IPA for a good case of palate hop burn.

This is an old school barleywine: grip the malt & rip the hops. Surprised it has an average rating over 4 as I’d suspect the delicate palates of today would need something more: blueberries or lactose or honey cilantro barrels or something. Me? It’s a good beer.

Aug 10, 2021
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Limazulu from Idaho

4.51/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

A-beautiful like most good barleywines. Prodigious head for the high ABV
S-toffee, brown sugar, unctious
T-toffee, raisin, a little molasses, substantial hops for the style. Average sweet, above average bitter
M-Full (-) body, modest carbonation, slick

Aug 07, 2021
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Shiredave from New York

4.53/5  rDev +11%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottling date: 03-09-21
Deep, russet brown, nearly opaque with a creamy, tan head that left concentric rings of lace as it slumped.
Aromas of dark grain and scorched brown sugar, molasses, wet leather and mulched pine branches. Smoked alcohol notes waft in as I snuff a near empty glass.
The flavor is rich and deep - delicious malt sugars are woven into chalky dark grains and grassy, sprucey hop bitterness. This is like a Baltic Porter crossed with a west coast barleywine in perfect balance. Balance is the key here as BIG malt and hop characters shake hands with alcohol in the most convivial way.
The finish is long and complex- soft caramel flavors mingle with a peppery hop and a tickle of boozy warmth.

Aug 01, 2021
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Peach63 from New York

4.58/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Pours mahogany with a 1" tan head, which lasts. Heavy lacing to the end.

Aroma is toffee, roast malt, dark fruits, molasses.

Taste is roast malt, caramel, toffee, raisin, currants, dates, molasses, rye spiciness.

Full bodied, light carbonation. Sticky, semisweet finish.

Outstanding! Founder's brewed another very good Barleywine.

Jul 26, 2021
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LXIXME from New Mexico

4.24/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

This beer opens up and releases a nice aroma lined with caramel and toffee and hints of alcohol as it warms, I think I'm going to set out a bottle or 2 and let them warm and see if this beer is better warm or slightly chilled to start with.
AN UPDATE: I did the old switcharoo, I set the bottle of Nemesis out over night and put a tulip beer glass I'm borrowing from Bosque Brewing's tap room in Las Cruces in the fridge last night and low and behold my suspicious were confirmed. The Bottle Shop: Nemesis beer was better this way as it added to the existing tastes by sitting out overnight with a bit of pretty nice malt characteristics that I rather enjoyed. The last two bottles of this 4 pack are no longer in my fridge but a tulip glass is.

Jul 26, 2021
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LifesAnesthesia from Virginia

4.42/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

L - Deep, rich brown with a light tan head that sticks around somewhat and leaves behind a ton of lacing.
S - Tons of roasted malt and caramel notes along with bitter, earthy hops
T - Follows the nose with roasted malt and caramel notes up front and throughout followed by earthy, bitter hops and some citrus notes along with toffee and some vanilla. Some dried dark fruit in there as well.
F - Medium leaning towards full bodied with moderate carbonation.
O - a very solid barelywine with a ton of character.

Jul 25, 2021
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Roguer from Connecticut

4.07/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Attractive dark brew. Modest head production and retention.

Nose features a nice blend of bright hops and toasty malts. Toffee, brown sugar, orange, grapefruit, and pine.

Similar on the palate, with enough of a hop load that it comes across almost more like a black IPA. Very strong hop flavors, fairly high bitterness. Burnt toast, candied orange, lemon, resin, pine, ruby red grapefruit, caramel, toffee.

Easily drinkable; almost too drinkable. A double-digit barleywine should make you take a little more time downing than this; this is dangerous! Slick and lively.

I'm super digging this brew. It's not quite a traditional ABW, if you're thinking along the lines of Bigfoot. I'm not sure what age will do to this one, but fresh, it's delicious.

Jul 19, 2021
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REVZEB from Illinois

3.6/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Dark brown opaque body with a finger of tan foam. Getting aromas of toffee, barley, cola, raisin and prune but all underneath piney hops. Taste is way too hopped, failed to strike the balance of hops bite with dark flavors, rather it pulled the dark flavors brighter and weaker. Pine fills the palate, prune, burnt caramel and black pepper are the biggest factors. Feel is overly hopped and very bitter, light bodied too. Reminds me of some of stone's hoppy barleywine back in the day.
Look I love a barleywine with a good bite, but this just doesn't have the balance needed.

Jul 18, 2021
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mothman from Minnesota

4.25/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Tan khaki head. Dark brown color.

Reminds me of the good ol’ days. Caramel, toffee, cocoa. Sticky and resiny. Grapefruit citrus. Super hoppy, but also malty. Drinks super easily for the abv. Definitely reminds me of nemesis b2

Jul 16, 2021
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Kkasprzak from Wisconsin

3.31/5  rDev -18.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Poured dark with a large head that concentrated hoppyness, citrus and bitterness. Once reduced to a ring, the other flavors start coming through offering a better balance. Thin enough to satisfy thirst while providing flavor, just can’t pinpoint the flavors.

Overall, it’s pleasantly balanced between hops and malt with a predominant bitterness. Alone or kept from sweet food it’s enjoyable.

Jul 11, 2021
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Mindcrime1000 from South Dakota

3.69/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

Pours dark brown but not opaque. Outstanding head and lacing. Aromas and flavors of licorice, leather, dark fruit, burnt sugars, toffee and sharp citrus rind. There is plenty of malt and sugar, but the roasted malt flavor and aggressive hops still manage to put this one out of balance. The booze is quite present, and yet the brew isn't a burner. In short, all of the ingredients for a great taste are there, but they are competing with not complementing one another. A big beer, it nonetheless isn't syrupy or heavy for the style. It actually has a pleasing level of aggressive carbonation and delivers a good drying finish.

I allow for extra hop and other flavor aggression for this style. But even so, this one is a bridge too far in that regard. It isn't a bad beer at all. The big flavors are initially welcome and complex. But they just don't quite mesh and balance out.

Jul 11, 2021
Bottle Shop Series #1: Nemesis from Founders Brewing Company
Beer rating: 90 out of 100 with 218 ratings