Founders Nemesis 2010 | Founders Brewing Company

507 Reviews
Founders Nemesis 2010Founders Nemesis 2010

Brewed by:
Founders Brewing Company
Michigan, United States

Style: American Barleywine

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 12.00%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by mcann2pu on 07-29-2010

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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Reviews: 507 | Ratings: 933
Photo of PDXHops
1.98/5  rDev -51.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

On tap in a shaker pint. Near black with mahogany highlights. A bit of head, a bit of lace.

Massively sweet and boozy nose, a concoction that's obviously malty but with some odd adjunct qualities. Holy mackerel, this stuff is sweet, a wave of malted milk and lemon-lime soda. Burnt and harsh woody flavors are in direct contrast rather than providing any sort of balance. Medium-thick with a lowish carbonation that does little to keep things moving along. By far the worst beer I've had from what is normally an enjoyable brewery.

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Photo of hopsbreath
2.54/5  rDev -38.3%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Thanks to zimmerbloke for yet another mid-west treat. I've been a fan of Founders since my first sip of Red's Rye PA. This beer landed on my wants list within about a day of the first review popping up. Poured into a pair of Duvel tulips and shared with my wife.

Appearance is purple-black with burgundy edges. Machiatto like head dissipates to a broken wispy cap and leaves spotty lacing all over. This is my first "Black Barleywine" and I gave to say it looks a OK.

The smell has a little of the wet cardboard oxidized aroma more typical with aged beers. Other than that, sweet fruity hops, ETOH, and a little raisin exists in the aroma. To be honest I don't really find it all that pleasant.

Big bitter finish follows the sweet roasty alcohol bomb. I am likening this to a big malty East-coast/Third-coast IPA. Not. A. Fan.

Thin, sticky, and lowly carbonated. Feels about right.

Not high on the drinkability here. Half a bottle is more than enough. I must say that this is the first miss for me coming from Founders. I'll be ISO next years Nemesis, but this vintage won't be on my radar any longer. Not recommended.

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Photo of Arbitrator
2.66/5  rDev -35.4%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

Chilled bottle into a glass. A very generous extra from Wisconsinality. Thanks, Kylie!

A: Pours a pitch black body with a half-finger of light beige head. It quickly vanishes into a light collar that leaves no lace down the glass. It's nearly opaque, but when I hold it to the light, there's a ruby translucence that reveals it's not fully there.

S: Soapy, old towels: the hop profile on this one screamed "Stone 14th" at me. Euchh. Not to my liking. As I ignore it and pay attention to the rest of the nose, I detect anise, roast, chocolate.

T: That soapiness in the nose is found here, again. I'll be up front: I can't stand this particular hop strain, whatever it is, and it quickly limits how much enjoyment I'm going to get out of the beer. Just the same, I put my aversion aside and enjoy the anise, chocolate, dark fruit (dates, in particular), and roasted malt. A touch of pineapple and leafy green hops are also found. It's well constructed, but the choices of ingredients just don't suit me. My problem, not the beer's.

M: Moderate chewiness; medium-full bodied. It is low in carbonation, with a decent creaminess. Not much heat to it, but there is a slight warmth in the finish.

D: This reminds me of Sierra Nevada's black barleywine, but with a considerably less impressive hop profile. I am glad I tried this, but I'm very glad I didn't get more of it.

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Photo of number1bum
2.74/5  rDev -33.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Pours a very dark brown, sort of mahogany when held to the light, with only a finger or so of head. I thought it was flat when I was pouring it until finally it generated some minimal, tan colored head. Keeps only a half full, mostly bubbly lace, with just about no stick.

Smell has some caramel and chocolate sweetness, some earthy and citrusy hops, and a bit of roasted malt. Light smokiness as well. I really don't detect any alcohol which is surprising given the 12%. Some nice things going on here.

Taste is...what the hell?...not what I was expecting given the nose. It's bitter as hell, and charred, and is quite harsh and astringent. I'm searching high and low for some redeeming value but I'm just not finding it. It starts off bitter, then comes a deeply roasted to the point of being burned flavor, then comes more bitterness that shatters the palate. It does leave some citrus and earthy hop flavor in the finish; thanks for that, as I'm licking my lips from the terrible bitterness. I love hoppy, bitter beers, but this is WAY over the top. I can't even let it linger on the palate to look for any softer malt or hop flavors. As it warms the burned flavor calms only slightly, allowing some very dark chocolate flavor to open up a bit. Still, this is overly roasted, overly bitter, and just not very good.

Mouthfeel is medium-full bodied and very dry in the finish. Bitterness just wrecks the palate and dries the hell out of it. Not very pleasant at all.

As I was drinking and reviewing this I went and looked at other reviews to see if I'm just way off base or if maybe this bottle is somehow bad. I found Ding's review, whom I rarely agree with, and I am surprised to say that I am in nearly full agreement with him, thus confirming that this bottle is just fine, it's just not a very good beer. Bottom line: this is way out of balance and just plain harsh at times, and is, quite frankly, not very good.

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Photo of bobhits
2.85/5  rDev -30.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

It seems I missed the message that Nemisis is going to be a new beer every year. After the wonderful 2009 maple bourbon barrel aged wheat wine I was dreaming of 10 year verticals with that gem of a beer. I was rather happy to see the 2010 out so I could sample that beer once again fresh and start building towards a vertical. The problem sadly is that I fount myself opening a thick, hoppy, barley wine?

This beer is nearly black, thick, with a strong head with decent lacing (darn impressive at 12%).

It doesn't have the strongest nose but the hops and powerful malt presence are there.

100 IBU's but not all that hoppy by "hoppy barely wine" standards. Dates, raisins, dark malts, mixed with a nice bitter finish.

As one would expect thick, somewhat syrupy, low in carbonation, with an alcohol and hop bite to finish it.

This 12 oz bottle has nearly vanished so it's rather drinkable. The problem is really if that's the goal. I like a beer like this to take a bit longer to finish.

I've tried to get away from commenting on price but hell...this just isn't enough to justify the price. There's no oak aging that I can tell going on here. This is just a big beer for the price of something that's expensive to make. I simply cannot recommend this in a 4 pack...if you can get a single or find it on tap by all means give it a try.

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Photo of Ryan011235
2.86/5  rDev -30.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

On tap in a Chimay Chalice at Brew's on 9/14/10

In the glass it looks very dark but held to the light it has clear, ruby highlights. The head is just under one finger & holds up surprisingly well. Even skim of retention & solid lace - very good for the abv.

Citric hop aromas accent roasted dark malts, namely cocoa. Sweet notes caramel & brown sugar. Molasses, too. Earthy hints. Pine notes.

The taste is far more geared toward roasted malts than citric hops. Bittersweet chocolate, hints of molasses & brown sugar. Maybe a hint of coffee? Earthy, piney, dry bitterness picks up towards the end. Surprisingly dry on the finish.

Full body with reasonably low carbonation. Smooth but with an underlying grittiness. Chocolate & roasted residuals on the finish. Not very hot.

A decent beer overall, though it seems more like a cracked out porter or stout than anything. Not really worth the price of entry, in my opinion.

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Photo of bound4er
2.87/5  rDev -30.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

I wasn't crazy about the 2009 version of this beer ... let's see how this stacks up.

A. Off white, two finger head with spotty lacing. Deep, deep mahogany color - light barely penetrates this brew.

S. Strong barrel notes hit you first - lots of vanilla, caramel, cream and oak. Alcohol burn follows next (I could feel it in my nostrils). Some hop weediness pokes through too. This smells damn good.

T. This beers bitterness really jumps out at me. I am not sure what to think other than I don't like it. Unfortunately very little of the great nose carriers over to the palate. There's some toasty malt, raisin and of course alcohol.

M. Medium plus in body with a nice mouthfeel. Low carbonation.

D. Really struggling with this beer. The bitterness and booziness just kills the drinkability - this is a slow sipper for sure and not something I want to revisit.

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Photo of marvin213
3.03/5  rDev -26.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Dark, it looks more like a stout than a barleywine. Granted this one's been sittin' for a couple years now, but there's little head to speak of. The nose is a leathery, licorice molasses. It smells like it would ooze instead of pour.

It tastes like a stout--the black licorice IS there--and it's a little figgy if ya ask me. The burn is there like a barleywine brings, but it's still more of a stout than anything else. 100 IBUs? Guess those went by the wayside these last 700-ish days. Must've saved this one in large part because I simply don't like it. Maybe it's past its prime, but this one's forgettable for me.

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Photo of ArrogantB
3.06/5  rDev -25.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12oz bottle thanks to Rusty Diamond, appreciate it! 100 IBU's and 12% ABV? Shiiit! I wasn't sure if this was a black barleywine, DIPA, or what. It was dark black, it did smell like hops slightly and it was unmistakeably 12% ABV. I was so glad I split this with a couple friends, four ounces was more than enough. One of my friends though this was a lot like Port Old Viscosity but I can't really say. It was syrupy, thick, hoppy, malty, alcoholic, not quite "messy" but clearly overdone. I find it hard to believe Founder's could not have knocked this down a bot and had a very nice black ipa...

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Photo of rand
3.13/5  rDev -24%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.25

From 12 oz bottle to snifter. Been sitting in the back of my mini-fridge for 4 years now.

A: Cola-brown, thinner appearance than expected. Not much of a head to speak of.

S: Earthy grain and booze. Disjointed bouquet with notes of copper, wood. Hoppy strain as well, surprising given how old it is.

T: Raisin and booze are noted first. Oaky, grainy. Minerally aspect as the flavors unravel, tastes oxidized a bit. A healthy dose of hop essence at the back of the sip, really unexpected given the brew's age. The bittering aspects bleed into warming booze and a lingering, medicinal sweetness.

M: Chewy mouthfeel, but lighter than excepted. Lots of scrubbing bubbles - if it was oxidized it was from the bottling

Not a bad BW, but nothing remarkable. I figured I'd sit on this bottle for awhile, but it hindsight that probably wasn't the best idea given this was a one-off. Given the amount of carb left in the bottle, though, my guess is that this just isn't a very good brew.

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Photo of harrymel
3.17/5  rDev -23.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Bottled: Aug, 2010

A: Pours a dark, dark , ruby ale with near excellent clarity. Little head formation and a thin sheet of light latte sits atop the ale. Spotty lacing. Darker the barley, the better IMO.

S: Malt, caramel, toffee, bitter hops. Reminds me of Pike Brewing Barley Wine. Hopefully the hops don't over power the sweetness the malt offers. Hints of vitamin smells.

T: Bitter and alcoholic. Plenty of malt, but much more bittering hops. Seems like there may be some anise/licorice in there. The alcohol is poorly addressed. A salami flavor as well.

M: Medium body with high carb for the style. needs lowered carbonation. Dry finish.

O: This beer needs time. Additionally, I'm unsure the time would offer much more than polish for the alcohol flavors. The nose is nice, but the flavor is dominated by too much chemistry from the hops and alcohol for my preferences. It's called a Barley Wine because the barley should dominate - here the beer doesn't do itself justice.

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Photo of Jdiddy
3.18/5  rDev -22.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Well, Founders are my favorite brewery and I had high hopes for this. Unfortunately, I was very letdown by this years Nemesis. Nothing more than a sweet, sticky dark IPA IMO. The hops overpower what may have been an interesting combo. The malts want to present themselves but can't. Leaves a nasty coating on the mouth after drinking. Like Karo Syrup or something. I am a hophead and this just didn't do it for me. Of all the great beers Founders releases, not sure why this was Nemesis 2010. I love ya Founders but this may have been one of my least favorite beers of yours.

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Photo of KeefD
3.19/5  rDev -22.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Shared this at a tasting the other night and only had a few ounces. Couldn't get a good feel on it, so decided to open my 2nd and only other bottle. Pours a very dark brown color, but necessarily black, with some ruby red highlights. A one finger head formed and stuck around, great lacing for the high ABV. Aroma is mostly hoppy upon first whiff. Definite notes of pine needles and booze, but not really picking up on much else. Isn't this supposed to be a "black barleywine?" Where's the roast and sweetness? So, I'm having trouble trying to describe what this beer tastes like. It's kinda hoppy, not really bitter. Hops are piney, and slightly fruity, maybe hints of grapefruit in there. Roast is also there in the flavor which I couldn't pick up on in the aroma. There's a decent balance between the slightly bitter and chocolately roasted malts, the average bitterness, and the sweetness of the beer. But the booze really starts to come through on the back end and isn't very well hidden. Body is full with carbonation on the lighter side of medium. This is an OK beer, but nothing to get crazy about. An A- is overrated for this beer in my opinion. While not the same style, fresh '09 Nemesis is the better beer. This was sort of a let down, and just a decent tasting ASA, and nothing more.

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Photo of Georgiabeer
3.2/5  rDev -22.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours very dark brown, almost black. Little head. Very heavy malt nose with molasses and charred sugar and some bitter and earthy hops. Really I find this quite heavy and a bit overbearing. The taste has that same combination of heavy bitterness from both the hops and charred sugar, and a stiff, dry, heavy maltiness. Fairly leaden and really nothing here that elevates this above the norm. Relatively thick in the mouth, and fairly unremarkable. For my money this is a wildly bad value. Oh well.

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Photo of jpmclaug
3.22/5  rDev -21.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Poured from the bottle into my Sam Adams perfect pint glass.

A - Dark brown on the edges black in the center body with a small white head that quickly ran away

S - Sweet citrus hop flavor with a big malty aroma

T - Big citrusy hop flavor with a huge sweet malty backbone. Not really picking up on any specific malt notes, maybe a little roast. A bit of a boozy flavor as well. Finishes with a mixture of bitter hops and coffee.

M - heavy body, very little carbonation, syrupy texture as well.

D - A bit too hot. This thing definitely needs some time to mellow out. I think I'll wait a good while before opening any of the other bottles of this monster.

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Photo of dejrrma
3.23/5  rDev -21.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

$12 for a 12 oz bottle at Brick Store. Poured into a tulip pint glass. 2010 Vintage.

a-pours a very dark amber color, with a good amount of fluffy, tan head. Leaves some lacing behind.

s- like raisins. some vanilla coming through, and generally very sweet-smelling.

t- sugary and of dark fruit. very boozy. some chocolate hints. almost no hops or bitterness detected. this is too sweet for me. it takes away from the rest of the flavors.

m- syrupy, cloying, slightly under-carbonated.

o- disappointment...but it was 2yrs old.

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Photo of crossovert
3.23/5  rDev -21.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12 oz bottle.

It pours into my snifter a thick black with a foamy off-white head. The head sticks for s good while and leaves some nice lacing.

The smell is an interplay between roasty, sweet, and hoppy. The roasted chocolate character is most noticeable along with a huge sweetness and a burst of alcohol. The hops linger underneath with a bit of citrus.

The flavor is like you would expect, all of the place. I haven't had a black ipa/barleywine yet that has spoken to me. It has a huge bitterness that is more like smoky hoppy coffee than anything. There is also a huge alcoholic kick and sweetness. It is like a messy devil dancer.

If you love cloying sweetness, rauchbier, and bitter hops all together you'll like this. Too mishmashed for me though.

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Photo of maximum12
3.23/5  rDev -21.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Picked up a 4 pack of this at Dennis Bros a couple days ago & have been thinking about it ever since. The 2009 was insanely good, so I'm thinking there's no place to go but down. Right? Hope not!

Pour is a bit of a surprise, a red so dark it appears to be black until held up to the revealing light of the sun (or clouds, today). The nose is smash-mouth, roundhouse, iron-club of hops. Wow. This smells more like a IIPA than 3/4 of the IIPAs I've had. Alcohol, too, is very apparent.

Nemesis 2010 is a corrosive mix of caramel, hops, hops, & sickly malts. The caramel is a big blast out front, quickly shunted aside by a cream of hops, which are shushed & kicked by the malts...which have a weird, almost oxidized taste to them. I think it's just the high IBUs mixing strangely with the sweetness of the malts, but I'm not sure, & it throws a bit of a wet blanket over the whole experience for me. As it warms the odd taste retreats into the background a bit.

Well carbonated for a barleywine, smooth as a baby's butt in your mouth, or something. I don't think I could take more than a bottle of this, the alcohol, while not strong on the tongue, is warming the depths of my bowels like an October bonfire.

Well...pretty good. Always expect a unique angle from Founders, but unlike the vast majority of their beers, which I adore, this one missed the bullseye for me. I bought a case of the 2009, I don't see myself buying more of the 2010. Am interested to see how it ages, though. Into the cellar with you other three lads!

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Photo of trappistlover
3.27/5  rDev -20.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

(12oz bottle). Pours near black with tan head. Aroma of grass, citrusy hops, wood, and some medicinal/root notes. Taste is roasty with a sweet malt backbone. Also detecting some smoke/char characteristics. Medium bodied with a dry finish. Lots of licorice coming out as well and the alcohol is noticeable, but subdued for 12%. Not really my cup of tea.

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Photo of alcstradamus
3.28/5  rDev -20.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Reviewed from notes

Pours a near black with a millimeter of head. The aroma is sharp and boozy. Nail polish remover and sweet maltiness.

The flavor starts out with a very nice blend of dark chocolate cake batter, sweet caramel, burnt toast, bitter coffee, and earthy hops. The finish has a bit of acetone and a lot of bitterness, which doesn't make for a super pleasant combination. Still, the flavor is decent.

The body is a bit fuller than medium and carbonation is low. Good for the style.

Overall this beer just did not do a good job hiding its high ABV, and the flavor profile just wasn't strong enough to make up for it. A good but unspectacular beer.

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Photo of ohmybock
3.32/5  rDev -19.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

I like Founders a lot, but I have mixed feelings about this brew. It pours nicely and is quite dark, but it doesn't have the opaque blackness of something like an impy stout when held up to the light. That's okay though, since this isn't an impy stout. The profile reminds me quite of bit of Sierra Nevada's recent black barleywine. This one smells better than the SN brew, yet Nemesis doesn't taste as good. Unfortunately, Nemesis has a strong, long-lasting, soapy flavor that ruins it for me. Perhaps that is hop-related and would fade with time, but I'm not sure. Nemesis doesn't strike me as a beer that would benefit with age. Conversely, I think the SN version might improve with age. Neither brew is overly roasty or full-bodied, yet neither is as hoppy in the bitterness/taste/aroma department as I thought they might be for Amercian barleywines. Both brews oddly lack in the malt/body department and are too watery for barleywines (whether they be English, American, black, blonde, or somewhere in-between). To be honest, I don't feel the need to run out and buy more of either one. They were both fun to try once, but for me...that's enough. I'm starting to think I often don't care for the combination of dark/hoppy/sometimes-strong brews. Well, I do enjoy the Imperial Stout from Smuttynose so that's at least one dark, hoppy, strong ale I like. Perhaps there's a Black/Cascadian IPA or two I enjoy at times as well.

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Photo of mikesgroove
3.33/5  rDev -19.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I decided to have two more tastings before a long cutoff. This was the first and was done solo, served cold and into a pint glass, these were consumed on 11/18/2010.

I was a big fan of last years so I was hoping for similar results to be honest, but felt a bit let down. Pours out a nice light brown color with a modest head of tan across the top that fades and leaves light lacing in its wake. Aroma is hot, loads of alcohol here with hints of caramel, lots of hops and a just a biting malt nose as well. Really a very odd profile from both sides. Very hot on the palate again with minimal balance to it, just seemed like it was terribly off balance. Flavors were all over the place with hints of everything but the kitchen sink and just an very hot, hoppy, dry finish that really did not work well for me at all.

Overall I was rather unimpressed here I have to admit. I had high hopes for this, but maybe a year or so will settle it down.

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Photo of trxxpaxxs
3.33/5  rDev -19.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Huge thanks to jerryfreak for this bottle.

A: Pours a deep, dark, molasses brown with just the tiniest amount of red around the edges. There is almost no head to this beer, just the thinnest of halos around the surface of the brew.

S: This beer smells super malty, and extremely boozy. I also pick up notes of plums, raisins, and brown sugar. There is some honey in there too. But the booze in unmistakable.

T: Starts off with flavors of sweet malt, burnt toast, and just a tad of sea-weed. The fruits (plums, raisins, cherries) come through after the first hit, but the finish is nothing but tart and funky. Huge booze on the back end, and flavors that are just a bit off.

M: This is a full bodied beer. It's sticky, chewy, and totally cloying to the palate.

O: I'm seriously disappointed in this beer. I was expecting a lot from a Founders barleywine and I was let down. The booze is too dominating and the flavors are too murky.

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Photo of Brez07
3.35/5  rDev -18.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

12oz bottle poured into a Cigar City snifter. Consumed a few days ago, reviewing from notes

A: Deep mahogany color. Pour initially leaves 1 finger cream head. Slowly dissolves to 1/4 finger, but a swirl of the glass revitalizes it. Good looking beer

S: Citrusy hops, caramel, maple, burnt toast and bitter chocolate. Oh, and booze. Lots of it. Still, I love the smell of this beer

T: Yikes, boozy hot mess right now. Starts with a maple sweetness that unfortunately quickly fades to a dirty pine flavor. Herbal. Smokey moss finish. I picked up on some caramel malt and molasses too

M: Full bodied. Sharp carbonation. Dry bitter finish

D: Man, it was tough to get through all 12 ounces. How can something smell so good but taste like beer gasoline? The nose allows me to remain hopeful that my other bottle ages well, but I have no plans to try it any time soon

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Photo of rootbeerman
3.38/5  rDev -18%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A: pours dark brown almost black. Head is about a finger of coffee with cream in color and is slow to fall.
S: very sweet barley, letting it warm to pick out more, very slight alcohol now. Some dark caramel, and light pine hop.
T/M: seems thinner, I was expecting to almost have to chew this. Flavor is somewhat simple, sweet caramel. Hop pine almost reminds me more of coffee. Also a little bit of chocolate. Carbonation is light.
O: wondering if it was better fresh or would be better with more time on it, my problem is this was my only bottle.

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Founders Nemesis 2010 from Founders Brewing Company
4.12 out of 5 based on 933 ratings.
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