Death | Founders Brewing Company

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18 Ratings

Brewed by:
Founders Brewing Company
Michigan, United States

Style: American Wheatwine Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 13.00%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
Death is a wheatwine that's half bourbon barrel aged and half maple barrel aged.

Added by BeerFMAndy on 04-18-2010

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 18 |  Reviews: 10
Reviews by SteelersX:
Photo of SteelersX
4.5/5  rDev +2%

More User Reviews:
Photo of Kegatron
4.37/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On tap @ Founders (Grand Rapids, MI) on 4/22/10. 8 oz pour served in a snifter.

Pours a deeper looking cola-like brown/black, with a thin covering of light mocha head (which has a good bit of a burnt looking edge to it). Swirling gets about a 1/4 of a foamy finger rise out of this, leaving a rich cascade of heavy spotty lacing and brown oils behind. I'm getting a good bit of that thick fruity sweetness from the Wheat Wine character coming out here in the aroma at first. The combo of maple & bourbon barrels is definitely present but I think that the sticky sweetness of the maple may actually win out here. Green woody tannics dry out the back of each sniff, while some stiff warmth really pushes this hard in the nose.

The taste is sweet and boozy on the tongue, with the fruit and grains of the Wheat Wine forming a strong base for all of that barrel character to form around. The strong sticky flavor from the maple barrel seems to come out stronger at first but the bourbon notes still pulls the back of profile up pretty strongly with plenty of char and vanilla. Well call it a draw but the bourbon is what is remembered the most, as it's flavors are what lingers last, along with some woody dryness and warmth in the finish. The mouthfeel is full bodied, with a big and firm creaminess that carries all of these big flavors along. There's definitely some rather heady alcohol beef going on with this, but much like the other BA offerings I've had from Founder's, the strength of the bourbon flavor helps take a good bit of the blame away that big ABV that is present. This drinks VERY well for 13% (watch out, this ones a creeper), with the slickness from all of that oak character letting this flow pretty darn easily for the size.

I haven't had the Nemesis yet to compare but you could definitely feel the fight (and overall bigger presence) between the maple and bourbon that were at work here. Chewy, flavorful, and surprisingly drinkable for the size, this is yet another top-notch offering in Founders superb lineup of barrel-aged beers.

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Photo of BeerFMAndy
4.05/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

8 oz tap pour into a snifter and shared with Sweemzander at Founder's Black Party 2010.

A - Black, just like the rest of the beers have been (imagine that!) with a low, surprisingly white ring of foam with a tiny layer. Little spots of lace adorn the glass after a swirl. Legs are visible from the swirl too.

S - Crisp and dry roasted malts with a balance of lightly citrusy hops. A fair amount of black licorice appears on the nose which I love! The nose reminds me a lot of Nemesis with the funky wheat behind the wood barrel and booze nose.

T - Lots of roasted black malts with a roasted bitter flavor and a black licorice all over. Molasses is rather big in the flavor too but not a main component as it's got a lot of barrel flavor going on from maple to bourbon. Fully sweet.

M - Full-bodied and potent with a rich mouthfeel and warming alcohol sensation to the finish that slightly overtakes the roasted bitterness. It's a really sweet beer.

D - One hell of a sipping beer with potent flavor and lingering aftertaste but reasonably drinkable for how rich and bold it is. The alcohol, like most of the high gravity beers, is full-flavored but unobtrusive.

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Photo of levifunk
4.5/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

appearance - black! very little head that died immediately.
smell - bourbon and maple
taste - big bourbon flavor, but also sweet due to the maple. very balanced flavor. very smooth flavor. Its 13%, so obviously there is some hotness, but no where near what you would anticipate. no bitterness.
mouth - thick. low carbonation creates a syrupy feel.
overall - amazing beer. super complex. I was a bit spoiled in the quantity I had, so was able to sip on it for a long time. It only got better with every sip.

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Photo of TCgoalie
4.44/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Notes from last night

A: I can't see anything in this dark establishment. But I guess that is only fitting for Founders Death! (A band is playing is so it is very dark)

S: Wow, ok I have to think about this one...honey, anise, bourbon. The smell is sweet and with a swivel of the glass, dark smells of blood and formaldehyde(not really). It is quite amazing really, rich bourbony chocolate.

T: The underlying flavor is sweet honey joined by vanilla oak mellowness with an overtone of bourbon. A gentle hop bitterness joins the fun followed by anise.

M: This is heavy in the mouth but quite creamy and smooth. As expected, the high ABV gives some heat to the tongue causing some drying.

D: The 8oz pour offered at the brewery will provide you with at least 30 minutes of near flavor overload. Try this, it is unlike anything else.

 836 characters

Photo of klikger
4.37/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - Dark brown, little bit of head, with a touch of lacing as the glass is consumed

S - A very complex, fragrant bouquet. Strong scents of maple, molasses, and bourbon with touches of dried fruit and vanilla.

T - True to the nose, this is an intoxicating blend of all of the above. It definitely is sweet, but not cloyingly so. The variety of tastes and relative lack of hoppiness remind me more of old ales and winter warmers than barleywines (only other wheatwine I've had is Nemesis...). This is sweeter than Nemesis, but the alcohol is better masked.

M - Dangerously smooth; although its sweetness is apparent throughout, it didn't feel syrupy.

D - Again, way smoother than a 13% has any right to be. The sweetness and gravity are obvious limiting factors, but I had well over a pint and would gladly have had more.

This is a fantastic beer and I'm lucky to have tried it. I like Nemesis quite a bit, but this is a notch above it, without a doubt. Founders - you continue to amaze.

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Photo of AgentZero
4.05/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Seeing how much alcohol was in this, I now know why I blacked out on my trip to Founders. Wow.

A - Pretty sure it is black, pretty dark in here (although great music). Small head that didn't retain for long and vanished into nothingness.

S - Maple, bourbon. A nice combination. Smells very sweet and has more rich, deep notes than I was guessing from a wheatwine.

T - Burnt caramel, bourbon, maple, honey, just a touch of chocolate. This is quite sweet, although that is not unexpected from the nose. It's also got a good deal of booze, but it's not bad.

M - A little too syurpy on this one, but full bodied with appropriate carbonation.

D - This one buried me. Perhaps I should not have drank it while drinking multiple pours of Black Biscuit, Devil Dancer, Kaiser Crumuddgeon, and CBS. Good stuff, and entirely too drinkable for the ABV.

 844 characters

Photo of sweemzander
4.37/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

8oz. tap poured into a snifter at Founders Black Party.

(A)- Pours a deep dark black color that produced a light layer of light tan bubbles.

(S)- Layers of roasted licorice with hints of a bourbon-like vanilla. Bits of molasses. Some spicy pepper thing at the end, but is most likely more licorice.

(T)- Some big dense licorice in front of some roasted malts of raisins & molasses. Bits of vanilla & bourbon-like traits.

(M)- A good carbonation level & balance. Sweet, but is subdued by some of the roasted malts & deep licorice flavors. Thick, but in a fitting way. well balanced in the alcohol department too. Not hot, but makes its presence known.

(D)- I never would have thought this was a wheatwine until I asked what style it was. A solid to excellent beer. Definitely the most unique of the style I have ever had. Not too hot or off-balanced. Just a good feel & taste of the above flavors. Well-done Founders, yet again.

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Photo of amrozga
4.5/5  rDev +2%

Photo of JasonHaviland
4.18/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Photo of mgbickel
4.12/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Founders, reviewed from notes.

Poured into an 8 oz snifter. Clear brown, almost black in color. No head whatsoever.

You can smell sweet alcohol wafting up from the snifter's bulb. You can pick up some grainy, bourbon-esque undertones.

This is a sinus clearer...some wheat flavors come out up front be get drowned out by the booziness. Finishes with a sweet, alcohol burn.

The mouthfeel is thick and sticky...almost like drinking a watery syrup. Zero carbonation.

This is a highly complex, sipping beer. I can see how this can hit both ends of the rating spectrum. Not for everyone...

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Photo of klipper
4.5/5  rDev +2%

Photo of Lukafer
5/5  rDev +13.4%

Photo of bringmetobelgium
4/5  rDev -9.3%

Photo of BedetheVenerable
4.35/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Presentation: 8oz pour into a large snifter on-tap at Founders. Woot!

Appearance: Black beer, with a creamy ivory cap which soon fades to a thick sticky ring with good retention.

Smell: Light booziness, tons of dark caramel malts, no real roasted presence, with rich dark fruit as well. Hops aren't really noticed.

Taste: Rich, incredibly warming (well, duh), burnt caramel and lots of dark fruity alcohol with some nutty chocolate and a medium bitter finish...this is damn nice. It's incredibly powerful, and while there's not a TON of depth, maybe this just needs some time to become more expressive.

Mouthfeel: Rich, heavy, boozy

Drinkability: Don't be stupid about it, but this tastes and feels like an 8-9% beer at most. The alcohol is really pretty well hidden. For that reason, I have to give it the 4.5

Conclusion: I feel honored to have gotten to try this. If they bottled it, I'd definitely pick up a few bombers to save for special occasions.

 959 characters

5/5  rDev +13.4%

Photo of sullenbee
4.57/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

"I've been sipping on Death for a while..."

"I'd like more Death please..."

"Can you tell me more about Death?..."

The black version of Nemesis, a maple bourbon barrel aged wheatwine. I was told they used the same bourbon barrels used for Backwoods, KBS, and Hand of Doom, but also aged in barrels used for high end maple syrup.

If you feel like facing Death, definitely brace yourself for this delicious delicate surprise. Certainly a sipper, meant to make you ponder how life could possibly be worth living without Founders to make yet another stellar beer.

My second attempt at facing Death fell on a Saturday afternoon. (The first attempt was made at the annual Founders Black Party, where I had far too many other beers to give a fair judgement) My roommate, though not a huge beer geek, tagged along for the meetup because he had previously loved Nemesis.

I'd gladly face Death over and over. This beer was created for lovers of all things dark, macabre, sweet and sinister. It poured a deep brown/black, with a light burnt mocha head. Alcohol is well hidden, I found myself having no problem finishing off two 8oz pours. But watch out, partake in this dance of Death with caution. Toasted black malts, sweet bourbon and maple syrup aid in its buried ABV. Death is meant to be respected and savored. It's probably best to grieve in appropriate funeral attire. This beer demands a polished black suit or a slinky dark dress. Dress in your best.

May Death RIP once the last drop is gone.

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Photo of tripledbrew
4.5/5  rDev +2%

Death from Founders Brewing Company
Beer rating: 4.41 out of 5 with 18 ratings