Bottle Shop Series #2: Highball Drifter
Founders Brewing Company

Bottle Shop Series #2: Highball DrifterBottle Shop Series #2: Highball Drifter
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Founders Brewing Company
Michigan, United States
American Strong Ale
Ranked #66
Ranked #6,950
4.09 | pDev: 7.58%
Saturday at 03:11 AM
Mar 24, 2021
Bottle Shop Series #2: Highball DrifterBottle Shop Series #2: Highball Drifter
Notes: There’s a new sheriff in town – meet Highball Drifter, a barrel-aged sipper inspired by our favorite bourbon-based cocktails. The second entry in our Bottle Shop Series, Highball Drifter presents aromatics of caramel and vanilla, dried fruit and spice while hints of cherry and bitter orange peel whisk you away like a tumbling tumbleweed. Call us old-fashioned, but we think you’re going to love it.

IBUs: 25
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Rated: 4.24 by nyrblue2 from New York

Saturday at 03:11 AM
Photo of puck1225
Reviewed by puck1225 from Texas

4.25/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25
This is a fun beer. Flavorful and boozy. Nice beer for after a hockey game.

Poured from a bottle into a tulip glass. Clear dark reddish mahogany color with excellent beige head and nice curtain lacing. It does smell and taste like the cocktail. Caramel, vanilla, cherries, and orange peel. Warming and comforting. Nice treat!
Nov 03, 2022
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Reviewed by VashonGuy from Washington

3.91/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25
I've got a bottle from 6/9/22, so not too old. Others have remarked that this may not age well.

Highball Drifter is really a remarkable approximation of an Old Fashioned. It's got a lot of orange character, some cherry, and just a bit of bourbon (not very much). It's fairly light in texture, much lighter than most high ABV barrel aged beers. It's sweet, but not cloying.

And it's more like a highball cocktail than a beer, frankly. It reminded me of whisky cocktails, not so much of beers.

I'm fine with that. I think this is an interesting concoction by Founders. I wouldn't make it my daily drink, but I'd be glad to have a few bottles in the house for a change of pace every now and then.
Oct 29, 2022
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Reviewed by EMV from Pennsylvania

4.25/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25
Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a Dogfish Head tulip

L: Clear copper colored pour. 2 fingers of off-whtie head... leaves solid lacing.

S: Sweet and boozy. Strong cherry... lighter vanilla and orange peel.

T.F: Sweet and boozy, just like it smells. Bourbon and cherry. Vanilla and more booze. Orange peel comes in later with some spice and brown sugar. More cherry... warming. Smooth and medium bodied. Sticky on the tongue. Cherry vanilla finish.

O: An outstanding cocktail inspired brew. Great flavor mix and makes me want to try the actual cocktail.
Oct 27, 2022
Rated: 4.62 by JamieDuncan from Maryland

Oct 24, 2022
Rated: 4 by brittanylicious from Indiana

Oct 15, 2022
Rated: 4.08 by heysuz from Indiana

Oct 15, 2022
Rated: 4.48 by RalphStanley34 from French Polynesia

Oct 12, 2022
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Reviewed by bubseymour from Maryland

4.45/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5
A very interesting beer that is cherry and orange blend forward like a cocktail, but a very light and clean finish for an 11% beer. Don’t notice and bourbon barrel. Light hops aren’t noticed in this one. Very easy to drink and flavorful.
Oct 11, 2022
Rated: 4.25 by freewill35 from Indiana

Oct 09, 2022
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Reviewed by donspublic from Texas

4.36/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5
Poured from bottle into tulip, good tight 1 finger tan head, good retention and lacing. Light amberish brown in the glass, crystal clear. Big bourbon and caramel on the nose, liking this already. Taste follows the nose, big dose of bourbon, caramel, vanillin, and some orange appearing in the middle. Finish is on the light bitterness side, and there is a big caramel syrup residual on the finish. Man this is nice, grabbed a single and already regretting it. I would pour this puppy out whenever I felt like an old fashion. They didn't restrain themselves with the barrel aging on this one, it is in your face.
update: as it warms the orange is more predominate along with dark fruits, raisin & cherry.
Oct 03, 2022
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Reviewed by Darkmagus82 from Texas

4.07/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4
Poured from a bottle into a snifter
Appearance – The beer pours a dark reddish amber color with a small head of fizzy white foam. The head fades relatively quickly, leaving some streaky lace on the sides of the glass.
Smell – The aroma is rather rich of orange rind and bitters along with lots of cherry, caramel and vanilla. Along with these smells comes a showing of a bready and doughy malt smell mixed with notes of raisin and prune. Big spice aromas nutmeg, clove, allspice, and mace are there as well. With some candied fruit smells and a bit of oak and booze, the drink gives off an almost fruit cake like aroma.
Taste – The taste starts out with a big showing of a sweet fruit syrupy with lots of cherry and orange. Other doughy malt flavors and a whole lot of toffee, caramel, and vanilla are there as well. Mixed with these are light spice flavors of clove and allspice as well as some light bourbon boozy flavors. As the taste advances it picks up more oak and bourbon, all while the orange gets more intense and brings with it a little bit of rind bitterness. Some pepper and cinnamon join more toward the end of the flavor profile, and with an every stronger presence of fruit sweetness and booze, one is left with an almost cocktail mixed with cough syrup (in a pleasant cough syrup like way) taste to linger on the tongue.
Mouthfeel – The body of the brew is quite thick and chewy with a carbonation level that is low. For the big robust flavors, the bourbon-oak tastes, and alcohol, the feel is quite well done, making a cocktail like sipper.
Overall – A rather thick, sweet, and big cocktail like brew with big flavor and a whole lot of warmth. Overall, a rather nice sipping warmer.
Sep 28, 2022
Rated: 4.35 by LizT from Texas

Sep 25, 2022
Rated: 3.87 by q33jeff from New Jersey

Sep 18, 2022
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Reviewed by Franziskaner from Missouri

3.68/5  rDev -10%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75
Brown in color with a murky complexion. There’s a fingernail of brown around the rim and covering a quarter of the top. The aroma is of orange peel, bourbon, raisins, and vanilla. I’m tasting bourbon, vanilla, and orange. The mouth is dry, somewhat dense, and a bit boozy.
Sep 18, 2022
Rated: 4.16 by Curt3 from New Jersey

Sep 16, 2022
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Reviewed by Whyteboar from Michigan

3.95/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4
Bottled 7/7/21, enjoyed 9/13/22 - Although it has a fairly high ABV, not sure this is meant to be cellared. So consider the aging if you read this.
Poured copper, bright reddish copper with very active carbonation but little head and no lacing.
Aroma was almost lost on my damaged nose completely, very mild. A bit of malts gets through and an indiscernible sweetness rather after the sniff. Hmmm.
The taste was very good actually, the sweetness found its way to the front, a bit of vanilla, touch of cherries and a hint of orange. All wrapped up in bourbon. At least to start with, after a few minutes it settles down and the rest of the flavors are back. I think I need to get a new one and try it fresh.
The feel was rather viscous, but well suited for a BA bourbon based malt beverage (okay, beer)
Tasty, quite tasty.
Sep 13, 2022
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Reviewed by clayrock81 from Florida

3.83/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75
Poured a seethru copper body with minimal head. Aroma is mild with notes of caramel, toffee and biscuit. Fuller-bodied beer that is dry, slightly bready, has a nominal toffee sweetness with a hint of cherry and hides the ABV well. Pretty easy to drink with no bitterness...not much else to say as it seems to just a be a "regular beer".
Sep 09, 2022
Rated: 4.58 by BeardedWalrus from North Carolina

Sep 08, 2022
Rated: 3.94 by Taphouse_Traveler from Florida

Sep 06, 2022
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Reviewed by maximum12 from Minnesota

3.03/5  rDev -25.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3
Day was when I would hunt down any Founders barrel aged release, but those days are years gone. Experimental sounding 12 oz. bottle up & split with the wife.

The pour is more copper than copper, with about as much life. The nose is vaguely sweet & unremarkable.

Highball Drifter is surprisingly tame. Delicate oranges shake hands with gentle bitters & a low level of bourbon. Sweetness winds throughout with a touch of vanilla on the finish. Alcohol sneaks up on one. Glad I split this itty bitty bottle.

This is a beer that tastes like it was brewed not to offend. Anyone. Ever. Decent enough.
Sep 03, 2022
Rated: 4.24 by SFNC from North Carolina

Aug 28, 2022
Photo of Ozzylizard
Reviewed by Ozzylizard from Pennsylvania

4.01/5  rDev -2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5
Highball Drifter from Founders. Purchased from Franklin Beer Company, Franklin, PA, 12/08/22 for $ 14.50(Including tax)/four-pack of 12 oz bottles ($ 0.30/oz). On room-temperature shelf at store and stored at 37 degrees at home. Reviewed 26/08/22. Note that I use DD/MM/YY protocol.
Stamped “BOTTLED ON 06.09.22” on the rear label. Served at 51.9 degrees in a hand washed and dried Jester King Snifter. Final temperature 58.8 degrees.
Appearance – 3.
First pour – Medium Amber (SRM 12), CLEAR.
Body – Brown (SRM 20), opaque. Under direct light, same. When rear-lite, ruby and clear.
Head – Average (Maximum two cm, aggressive center pour), wheat, high density, short retention, receding to a 0.5 to 2.5 mm ring of tiny bubbles constantly being renewed by effervescence (No crown per se) and a small island for a cap.
Lacing – None.
Aroma – 3.25 – Not much, just a weak fruitiness. No malt, no hops, no yeast.
Flavor – 4.5 – Begins slightly sweet and generally citrus fruity, no malt, no hops, no yeast. No ethanol (11 % ABV as marked on label) aroma or taste. No distinct cherry or orange; instead, a mulled yet flavorful blend. Bourbon is not distinct but ties all the flavors together. Moderate lower gastric warming. No dimethylsulfide or diacetyl.
Palate – 3.5 – Medium, slightly thicker than water, lively carbonation.
Final impression and summation: 4.5 This far, this is probably my favorite from the Bottle Shop series, although I’ve never had a highball. The flavor is well-blended and tasty, with enough linalool (and hidden ethanol) to sedate. I’m headed to my local distributor later to pick up a case!
Aug 26, 2022
Rated: 4.19 by SaxmanRick from Minnesota

Aug 26, 2022
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Reviewed by jvgoor3786 from Arkansas

4.25/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25
Pours a deep ruby with minimal head and lacing.

A bit of bourbon and oak and something sweet on the nose.

The taste is loaded with bourbon and orange. It's very sweet with cherry and oak. on the finish. The orange flavor really pops. You can taste the 11% abv also.

The mouthfeel is low carbonation the medium body.

I love an old fashioned with lots of citrus, so I'm really enjoying this. If you hate bourbon cocktails or orange, it's probably not for you.
Aug 21, 2022
Rated: 4.24 by MICAMD from Maryland

Aug 14, 2022
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Rated by TBoneJones from Texas

4/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4
Malty, orangey, somewhat sweet with added notes of caramel and molasses. Pretty smooth.
Aug 13, 2022
Rated: 4.19 by DownyIsHungry from Minnesota

Aug 10, 2022
Rated: 4 by StArnoldFan from Texas

Aug 07, 2022
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Reviewed by NCSapiens from Indiana

4.02/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4
The orange flavor is going to divide folks on this one; it is strong and unlike anything I’ve had in a beer before. It looks like a strong ale, dark ruby-brown in color with nice beige foam and lacing. It tastes like a super sweet strong ale with added orange and whiskey barrel. Notes of orange, cherry, caramel, yeasty malts, ethanol, raisin, plumb, vanilla, oak, with slight hints of cola, nutmeg, coriander, tobacco. I can’t decide if this is a great new experiment or a cloying and artificial tasting drain pour. I’m confused by this more than anything.
Aug 02, 2022
Rated: 3.93 by Pens1967 from Louisiana

Aug 01, 2022
Rated: 3.6 by mattjp03 from Alabama

Jul 31, 2022
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Reviewed by AdmiralOzone from Minnesota

4.51/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5
Pours a clear brown with a ruby tint. Thin off-white short-lived head that leaves nice leggings when swirled. Aroma is oak, vanilla, caramel, bourbon and a hint of orange. Flavor follows the nose, plus now I'm getting the cherry. Sipper drinks much like an English style barleywine which is one of my favorite styles. Feel is medium bodied, without much carbonation. Overall, I love this beer.
Jul 29, 2022
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Reviewed by klarcbarr3 from Michigan

4.44/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5
A moderate pour into a pint glass yielded a fine one inch head, which replenished enough for the glass to lace nicely during consumption. I detected only bourbon and vanilla on the nose, which left me unprepared for taste explosion! chocolate, vanilla, bourbon, caramel, sea salt, and scotch with a toasted bread note developing on the nose. The taste is boozy and more complex than I expected, the mouthfeel is lovely... I cannot find fault with this brew! Yeah, two ice cubes and two cherries in a highball glass, why not! Founders has accomplished the cocktail feel they sought! I'm loving it!
Jul 29, 2022
Photo of trevormajor
Reviewed by trevormajor from Ohio

4.5/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5
12 oz bottle, born on 7/7/21, poured into a Founders snifter at 55 degrees F:
L - brown and somewhat translucent with a hazelnut head that lingered
S - caramel, dark fruit
T - drinks like a barleywine, caramel and toffee with dark fruits
F - silky and thick with minimal carbonation
O - very nice, not what I was expecting
Jun 26, 2022
Rated: 4.5 by shigg85 from Japan

Jun 21, 2022
Rated: 3.95 by einman from Minnesota

Jun 19, 2022
Rated: 4.15 by prototypic from Ohio

May 30, 2022
Photo of Bloodbuzz99
Rated by Bloodbuzz99 from Georgia

4.25/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25
Bottle from Canton St March 2022
May 22, 2022
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Reviewed by Brutaltruth from Ohio

4.21/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25
From the growler in a snifter via Country Fresh Market Beechmont. This solid
brew pours a red tinged brown with a nice head of white foam that settles to a thick ring,
thin clumping layer, and shows light lacing. Nose of cherry, bourbon, orange, and
vanilla with rich caramel and brown sugar notes. Flavors hit the mark with
brown sugar and caramel mellowed by orange, cherry, vanilla, bourbon, light
oak, and golden raisin with a hint of cranberry. Nice mouth feel; medium body,
smooth, warming, light verging on medium light carbonation, and a medium dry


May 19, 2022
Bottle Shop Series #2: Highball Drifter from Founders Brewing Company
Beer rating: 91 out of 100 with 189 ratings