Black Biscuit
Founders Brewing Company

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Old Ale
Ranked #3
Ranked #213
4.54 | pDev: 9.47%
Founders Brewing Company
Michigan, United States
Notes: A cross between an Old Ale and a Baltic Porter. Brewed with a significant amount of biscuit malt and molasses.
Reviews: 151 | Ratings: 260 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
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Sparty1224 from Michigan

4.82/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Serving: 32 oz. crowler poured into a Founder's Backwoods Bastard snifter. Canned yesterday and poured fresh at the Detroit taproom.

A: Pours black, just like the name. No light getting through. Nice, light tan head that laces around the edges.

S: Huge biscuit malt up front, followed by some vanilla, molasses, oak. Maple and bourbon are there, but relegated a little to the back with the huge malt bill.

T: Big roasted malts up front, mixed with sweet molasses, fig, chocolate. Some maple sweetness on the finish with just a hint of bourbon.

M: Very thick and full, perfect carbonation. ABV right where I would expect it to be.

O: Alright, let's talk about Black Biscuit. There may not be a more legendary, mysterious, or even sought-after beer than Black Biscuit. Now I know what you're thinking: "Hey, Founder's isn't good anymore." And that's fine. They've taken some heat for several reasons. But let's face it, they are one of the original breweries that exploded craft beer and BA beers onto the scene. So let's time travel back to ca. 2009-10. Craft beer and BA stouts arejust starting to get hot (but not impossible to get). CBS in bottles is a year away. KBS is getting super popular, but you don't have to wait overnight to get it just yet. Goose Island is making it's name with BCBS and about to drop some variants for the first time ever. And then there's Founder's with Black Biscuit. I'll admit, I never had Black Biscuit back in the day. Today is my first time. I had just missed those early days, jumping on board around KBS 2012. But as those early years went by, one beer stood out to me that you only heard about in passing, or murmurs, or the stray BA post. It wasn't KBS, or CBS, or Blushing Monk. It was Black Biscuit. It was around for such a short period of time, but gained such praise by word of mouth. The reviews on here are so interesting, you can just feel the craft beer craze starting. Over 90% of them are from out of the state of Michigan though. Did they only distribute this beer out of state to get hype? Is that why they never bottled it? I have no idea. The lore behind this beer is amazing. So fast forward to 2021. It's Black Friday. Founder's needs to shake it up. Enter: Black Biscuit v 2.0. The naming of this beer is odd: B.A. Black Biscuit. Almost a misnomer? It's like saying BA CBS, right? I'm pretty sure the OG beer was maple syrup BA to begin with, but then again, there's such little info on this beer, who's to know for sure. So okay, what about the beer? Is it any good? Well, I'm here to say, yes. A resounding yes. Now, I know this beer would be wildly more popular if it dropped in, say, 2015. And I know these barrels and even the recipe may be slightly tweaked. But this is as close as it's gonna get, and it's fantastic. An old ale is such an interesting style, but it really works here. An obvious comparison point would be Kuhnenn's BA 4D, but this is way maltier and darker, almost drinks like a stout or porter. It's really like a less sweet CBS with a heavier malt bill and some molasses. Mouthfeel is fantastic. This truly is transporting me back to the first time I had CBS, sitting in the GR tap room. I can just feel the energy when I drink this beer. Is it world-class? Yes. Does it deserve the hype it's gained over 10+ years? Yes. Is it the best beer I've ever had? No. But I can't tell you how happy I am to finally be drinking this. It is probably THE whale for me. One that I honestly thought I'd never get to try. So thank you Founder's for this Black Friday surprise, and please bottle this for the Bottle Shop Series next year. Or don't, and just build the hype even more.

Recommendation: See a lot of people ISO for crowlers of this, and even the rare bottle (Mug club only?). So lucky to live close to the Detroit tap room where this is sitting on tap day after day. Should you trade your first born for it? No. But I would seriously consider going above and beyond to get this beer, it's that good.

Nov 29, 2021
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brystmar from Texas

3.55/5  rDev -21.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2010 vintage on tap at Barcade Brooklyn.

Dark brown body, nearly opaque. Some tan head and silky brown lace up top. Too bad it smells like nail polish. Acetone++

Old ale malt base joins the dry yeast and maple barrels to create a unique profile. Boozy, roasty, spikes of sweetness, finishes dry. Not much biscuit left. Did I mention boozy?

Glad I got to try this, but I wouldn't seek it out again.

Oct 18, 2012
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atxdelivery from Texas

4.5/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had what might be the last hand bottle from a quarter barrel and this beer did not disappoint the crowd. It held up was the general thought. The carbonation was nearly perfect for an ale. The flavors were great, sweet syrup, chocolate and strong boozy feel. Good stuff.

Jun 30, 2012
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ChugginOil from Illinois

4.55/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Had this bad boy @ The Bavarian Lodge.

Pours almost black with dark brown edging. A thin layer of light tan head sits for a short while. Some clustered lacing.

The nose is big time molasses and maple syrup. Filled with some sweet biscuit malt and some sweet cocoa. There is a big boozy scent that has some hints of of oak.

The taste is a home run. Massive sweet maple syrup and milk chocolate with a bit of roasted malt and vanilla. There is a pretty noticeable biscuit malt bill as well. Very enjoyable as the abv is very well hidden.

The mouthfeel is viscous and creamy. Chewy and dessert like. Light carbonation perfectly suits this brew.

Overall, this is an amazing brew with great characteristics all around. One of my favorites from Founders. Hope its up to bat for the "Backstage Series".

Dec 01, 2011
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mltobin from Connecticut

4.33/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served on-tap in Putnam County, NY.

Appearance is near black with a thin white head. Its` nose contains vanilla, wood, bourbon and malt. Upon sipping this well regarded brew, I taste oak, dark chocolate, vanilla, roasted malts and booze. Its mouthfeel leans towards thick with not too much carbonation. All in all, an excellent beer that I was very happy to have to opportunity to consume.

Nov 20, 2011
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barleyPops from Illinois

4.15/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

draft at Ribco on 11/16/11. 10 oz. pour into a Founders etched snifter for $7.50 and I got to keep the glass, how sweet is that! coal black with just a hint of a fast fading tan head by the time it was served at my end of the bar. aroma of burnt, roasted malts and black licorice. this was served very cold, so had to let it warm a bit. flavor was boozy dark chocolate with roasted notes along with some oak, vanilla and molasses. low carbonation, medium mouthfeel. not quite the uber stellar beer I was hoping for, but still another very solid beer from Founders which I’d love to see bottled.

Nov 17, 2011
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bashiba from Iowa

3.58/5  rDev -21.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured a deep dark brown/black with a thick tan head that left light lacing and a long bubbly ring.

The smell was a strange mixture of molasses and bitter dark chocolate.

The flavor was very sweet with big molasses notes and some deep dark chocolate, heavy malts with lots of noticeable dark fruits and a slightly burnt black bitterness that doesn't quite come close to balancing out the sweetness. Didn't really get much of the biscuit flavors this is famous for.

The mouthfeel was actually a bit thin for a beer of this style, also a bit hot.

This was interesting, very much a dark molasses bomb, but the execution wasn't great. I managed to drink two pints, so I guess it was drinkable for a beer this size, but still a bit much after a while.

Nov 17, 2011
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patm1986 from New Jersey

4.75/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Notes: November 2010
Growler from the whole foods beer room in the bowery. GREAT find.

Dark as a damned desert night, man. The head on this baby is nearly gold. A beautiful thick, brown, viscous looking brew. It doesn't poor quite as thickly syrupy as a stout, but it does have a look greater than a porter. Dark, dark.

It smells strongly of coffee, milk chocolate, and bread, with an interesting hint of butter. It smells like biscuits. Maybe that's coming as a result of the name, but it's definitely bready.

Hello burnt rye toast, caramel, chocolate, and a bit of coffee. Hello bourbon-y sweetness. Hello molasses chew. Lovingly smooth without anything much of an overboard roast flavor to suggest strength. Really lovely.

It coats the palate. Smooth, frothy, carbonated like a porter, but the old ale characteristics affect the consistency greatly. Smooth, smooth, smooth.

Love. Love. Really love this. What a treat.

As of this review writing(oct 2011), this isn't offered this year, according to an email I received from founders in response to my inquiry of a 2011 release. Sadness. I really hope this comes back. PLEASE. I'd be more excited to land this than CBS. Really.

Oct 30, 2011
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chalsk from New Jersey

4.5/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Blind Tiger. Pours a black color with a caramel colored foam head. Has an aroma of dark fruit, molasses and chocolate. Has a sweet boozy taste. Smooth despite the high abv. A nice velvety chocolate finish. Has a dark fruit underbelly. Thin to medium mouthfeel.

Oct 19, 2011
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wchollif from North Carolina

4.52/5  rDev -0.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Beer poured from tap into a tulip $8.50, looked like a 10ish ounce pour. Dark brown 'crema' head, not very impressive. The color was blackish, seemed to have some brown to the edges, not dark as night oily like I expected. The nose was amazing, dominated by bourbon but not overwhelming. To a lesser degree notes of oak, vanilla and caramel. The flavor was also outstanding. Got more notes of vanilla and caramel than on the nose. It has some sweetness with caramel burnt sugar and molasses. Other people were talking about 'bready' and 'yeasty', I wasn't on board so much, maybe very light and nuanced. Mouthfeel was perfection for me, smooth, silky, coating, but not overly thick with light carbonation.

Aug 30, 2011
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FourKicks from Michigan

4.67/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On-tap. Poured in a 12oz tulip.

Pours jet black with dark brown edging. A small amount of light tan head leaves very nice lacing.

Aroma has syrup and molasses with bourbon. A decent amount of dark chocolate and hints of dark fruits.

Very well-balanced tasting beer. Bourbon, molasses, maple syrup, malts all playing lead roles. Notes of chocolate and vanilla, dark fruits and some oak. Sweet but not too sweet.

Thick and creamy with light carbonation. Slightly sticky and a small amount of alcohol at the finish.

Overall an awesome beer. Better than I expected. Very nice balance of flavors, good amount of alcohol and very easy to drink. I could drink this beer all night, and I did. Ended up having five 12oz pours of this masterpiece of a beer.

Aug 26, 2011
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surlytheduff from Tajikistan

4.25/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On tap at the French Laundry's Founders event. 10oz pour into a tulip. Poured an oily black with very little head and dark brown around the rim. The aroma carried with it dark roasted malts, licorice, bourbon, oak and vanilla. The taste was very much licorice-forward, with molasses and raisin notes accompanying mild, bitter chocolatiness. There was some alcohol heat, but it was subdued I'm sure due to the age of the beer (keg was probably coming up on a year old). There was a sweet finish to it. Mouthfeel was thick and creamy with light carbonation. Overall a delicious dark treat which earned its spot in the upper echelon of Founders big beer lineup.

Aug 25, 2011
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SkiBum22 from New York

4.8/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A - Pours jet black with a half inch of mocha head. Leaves nice lacing down the glass.

S - Smells like molasses, brown sugar, caramel, smoke, licorice, and a hint of oak. Whiskey is definitly present also.

T - Chocolate, dark fruits, sweet caramel, some toffee, whiskey. The whiskey note isn't as strong on the palate as the nose.

M - Full, rich and thick, smooth, soft carbonation, creamy finish.

O - This is another great beer from Founders that I feel gets a little over looked. I wish this was available more often.

Aug 15, 2011
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Gfunk720 from Connecticut

4.13/5  rDev -9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to DeCicco's. Out of a wine glass.

A- Blackish brown, slightly opaque. Light khaki colored head with some mild lacing.

S- Smells like a hoppy old ale, with some notes of caramel. The porter comes through as a little creaminess in the smell. Both provide a little sweetness.

T- Very smooth. The old ale is dominant initially with notes of molassas, chocolate, malt, and hops. The baltic is mostly on the aftertaste, with sweetness and dark malt coming through. I get a little hint of booziness, but it is far from intolerable.

M- Spot on. The carbonation was a little light but fitting for the style. I could have used a touch more body.

O- Another solid beer from Founders. Would love to see a bourbon barrel aged variation of this. Got better and better as it warmed up.


Aug 12, 2011
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yourefragile from District of Columbia

3.72/5  rDev -18.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

32 oz growler shared by capra12 in line at BASC release.

A few months in a well kept growler hasn't been kind to this beer. Still complex, sweet and smooth but most of the maple flavor has faded and a black licorice and molasses flavor has taken over. Slightly oxidized and soft carbonation but still a silky, soft body. Interesting trying some age on this but this beer is never a favorite (though still more enjoyable than Kaiser Curmodgeon)

Jul 16, 2011
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Georgiabeer from Georgia

4.7/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On-tap at the Brick Store Pub for their 14th anniversary celebration. I love this style (styles?) and was happy to see this in the line-up. Pours black with a decent tan head that sticks around as a cap. Excellent lacing that leaves defined and prominent rings down the glass. Smells slightly vinous. I believe that this particular keg has been aged for a year, so I would expect this as well as a bit less chewiness in the mouthfeel. Additional notes of gingerbread and especially, molasses. Warming, with spice and pine notes on the back end. The taste is just awesome. Classic old ale taste with the extra notes of molasses and gingerbread again, but also well integrated boozy and barrel notes as well as a nice, dry bitterness throughout that counterbalances the molasses notes nicely. It is indeed quite smooth, not sticky at all, and with a nice long finish. A fine beer indeed.

Jun 26, 2011
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tmoneyba from Ohio

4.47/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured black color with an average creamy light brown head that mostly lasted with fair lacing. Moderate to heavy toasted malt, wood and maple aroma. Medium to full body with a smooth texture and flat carbonation. Medium to heavy toasted sweet malt and bourbon flavor with a medium to heavy sweet finish of moderate to long duration. My expectations where exceeded with a standout beer.

Jun 12, 2011
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DoubleSimcoe from Pennsylvania

4.42/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Founders Black Biscuit on tap at R’n’H in Manhattan, part of an event there with multiple taps and rare brews. This was the highlight of the night, better than KBS and even CBS. Eight ounces for twelve dollars, yet another willing rape that Founders night. :-)

Appearance: Served in a wine glass (dislike!) filled to the brim, Black Biscuit comes with no head, just a rim and an island. Barely a touch of auburn in an otherwise pitch-black body. Not much lacing or retention.

Smell: There is a peculiar, delicious aroma I cannot quite pinpoint but I love. Something like mashed cherries, strawberry bubblegum and artificial flavor. Also, sweet table wine, reminds me of the Japanese plum wine I had for a while at home.

Taste: Bubblegum sweetness right away, more of that plum feel. Prickly dry finish that lingers in the mouth. Red wine taste as well. Lots of dark fruits. Brown sugar, reduction sauce.

Mouthfeel: Low carbonation, full body and flavor. Boozy and sweet, but well balanced. Smooth finish.

Overall: Super intriguing, with flavors I had never encountered in a beer. Very drinkable, enjoyable. Can’t wait to try it again! Note: let it warm a while before sipping to fully enjoy all the flavors.

Jun 04, 2011
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axeman9182 from New Jersey

4.16/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

On tap at the Rattle n Hum and served in an 8oz goblet.

Black Biscuit pours almost stout-like in it's blackness. There's a think khaki head and not a trace of lacing left behind. The nose is a malt-head/sweet-tooth's dream, a large helping each of brown sugar, molasses, and chocolate. The flavor doesn't change anything, which is just fine by me. The balance between those competing flavors is absolutely sublime, it's almost as if they have an understanding whereby a different one takes charge each sip. The mouthfeel is a bit of a letdown though. For such a malt forward, 10%+ beer, the body is a bit on the thin side. At the same time the carbonation is a bit uppity for this kind of beer. Overall the mouthfeel drinks more like a hop forward barleywine. Black Biscuit is a very cool beer, a bit of an interesting take on the old ale style that's very well executed.

May 28, 2011
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infi from New York

4.77/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Another gem at the RnH/Founders event.

Poured into a wine glass.

Very porter-looking overall: translucent dark-brown, thin tan head of quick dissipation and not much lacing. Nice visual layer of the alcoholic legs floating atop the dark brew. Smell carried a very nice hum and generalized sweetness overall. The biscuit malt and molasses make for a nice synergistic blend of this interesting bready/sugary complexity. Very, very engaging to the nose. Just like the CBS, the molasses imparts a nice buttery vanilla/caramel sweetness to the beer as well.

First old ale ever tried and immediately blown away. The balance between the buttery pie crust-like taste of the biscuit malt and dark honey sweetness from the molasses is incredible. There's also identifiable notes of dark bittersweet chocolate and raisin/prune dark fruitiness on the palate. An unusual combination of a baltic porter and old ale makes for such a beautifully tasting beer. Complexity and amplification of flavors further through more warmth.

Mouthfeel is just smooth and silky. Real easy and tasty to drink. 10.5% ABV makes its way known through the nice buzz it evokes on the body. Black Biscuit was the biggest surprise of the night. One of the better tasting innovative beers I've tried. Founders, please bottle this!

May 25, 2011
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metter98 from New York

4.25/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: The beer is near black in color (traces of amber are visible near the edges of the glass when it is held up to the light) and poured with a thin tan head that has good retention properties and consistently left a thin layer of bubbles covering the surface.
S: There are faint aromas of raisings in the nose, however the smell becomes much stronger as the beer begins to warm up.
T: The taste has flavors of alcohol, bitter coffee, chocolate and raisins and becomes more complex as the beer warms up.
M: It feels full-bodied and rather smooth on the palate with a low to medium amount of carbonation. Warming from the alcohol is definitely noticeable.
O: This is a beer that definitely needs to be sipped given its strength and the amount of alcohol in the taste.

May 25, 2011
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cosmicevan from New York

4.94/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

At rattle n hum founders event. Boy what a good time, hangin with other fellow BAs. Beer showed up a watery black. Smelled like festive spiciness. Taste followed the nose. Really unique. I get both the porter and the old ake. Great mix. One of the better and more unique beers I have ever had. This is just awesomeness in a glass.

May 24, 2011
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portia99 from Massachusetts

4.33/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

1 liter growler split 4 ways, poured into a New Belgium globe.

A - Pours a clear liquid, deep black in color initially, but when held to the light there is a rich ruby and dark brown color to be seen. A low finger of foamy off-white head lingers for a short time and leaves behind some low lacing.

S - A bit boozy with noticeable bourbon right up front. Vanilla and maple sugary sweetness and some coffee and dark roasted malts.

T - Vanilla, boozey bourbon, coffee, lightly mapled, sugar, fruity/pruney. As it warms a bit and towards the finish of each swallow I really start to get a nice licorice aspect as well.

M - A little thin of medium bodied, very creamy smooth with a lower carbonation level (partly from the growler?). Good alcohol warmth without being hot/burning in the mouth.

O - Opened this as a prelude to our blind imperial stout tasting - ended up being the highlight of the night against some stiff competition. Really enjoyable beer.

May 16, 2011
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OakedCanuck from Washington

4.42/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Huge thanks to Knifestyles for providing me with this 500ml swing-top bottle/growler. A nice rare beer for my 250th review. Thanks Chris!

A - Pours a nice deep black with brown edging. Very little 1/2 finger tan brown head that, to no surprise, was not retained very long. Very minor lacing.

S - Bready, strong chocolate, some smoke, oak, vanilla, molasses

T - Very much the same as the nose. Great maple, molasses, sweet toffee, biscuit/bready malts, vanilla and creamy chocolate. There is a very nice 'earthiness' to this beer, almost musty. Awesome.

M - Semi-flat but decent carb. Medium-heavy, creamy, smooth

O - This is an awesome beer, very deep with lots of flavour layers. A fantastic Old Ale, exactly what you'd expect for the style. If only it was bottled... Great beer.

May 09, 2011
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DCon from Missouri

4.42/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Enjoyed on-tap @ The Stable in Saint Louis, MO, during the Founder's Beer Dinner Event. This was my fourth beer of the night & served with a Roast, Potatoes, & Carrots. Poured into my 10 oz. Glass and enjoyed only one of these.

Appearance- Received with an Extremely Dark Black with a Brownish Tint. Half a Finger of head and a small amount of lacing. The retention is always weak in these Old Ales, so I won't bother even criticizing its short life span.

Smell- Has a deep molasses/maple smell with also an oaked smell. It smells as if it was aged in barrels with molasses and oak for years. Great!

Taste- It starts out with a molasses/spicy taste and then has a great sweetness that had to be caused by added sugars? This present spice is more like a Captain Morgan Spiced Rum taste. The finish has a tartness and Crown Royale whisky mouthfeel. I'm very interested in this Old Ale but was limited to our group.

Mouthfeel- Medium-Full Bodied with a Medium amount of Carbonation. The sweetness here left a great alcohol (Crown) finish on the palate.

Overall- This was my second Old Ale and have to say it was tremendous! The drinkability was tough but was appropriate for the style. I will be looking out for more Old Ales in the future to compare this one to besides the Southern Tier Old Man Winter Ale (which was too sour for an Old Ale style).

Apr 27, 2011
Black Biscuit from Founders Brewing Company
Beer rating: 99 out of 100 with 260 ratings