Founders Nemesis 2010 | Founders Brewing Company

506 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.

For Trade:
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Reviews: 506 | Ratings: 932
Photo of OakedCanuck
3.45/5  rDev -16.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle into cervoise.

A - Pours a grayish brown with decent light brown head formation, stuck around for a minute or two then disappeared.

S - Lots of caramel malts, brown sugar, plums, currants, rum

T - Much the same as the smell. Lots of caramel sweetness, molasses, and toffee. There is a certain dry pine hoppiness to it but you can tell it is a bit faded. Certain roastiness to it, not coffee, but more along the lines of charred wood.

M - Thinner, alcohol burn, slightly tacky.

O - An interesting beer, good flavour arrangement. Pretty average. Gonna revisit this one in a year or two.

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Photo of DoubleSimcoe
3.43/5  rDev -16.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Founder's Nemesis on tap at Bodega in Columbus, Ohio. A 10-oz pour priced at $11 (WHAT!?). Lucky me I got it during Happy Hour, half price...

Appearance: Very dark, almost black. Faint head. Thick lacing. A hefty brew!

Smell: Light compared to the appearance and taste. Booziness comes through. Some hops and malts in a nice balance, but mostly booze. Toastiness floating around.

Taste: Some oak and vanilla, as if it were barrel-aged. Booze through and through. A gentle bitterness at the end of the sip.

Mouthfeel: Low to medium carbonation, medium body, lots of booze. Warming.

Drinkability: Low, obviously. It really is too alcoholic. Don't love it.

I find this brew to be a little lost... black barleywine? I don't detect much roastiness here... and this doesn't really taste like a barleywine to me. More like a strong Black IPA, but not quite.

I've had Nemesis twice on tap and I can't get to love it. It is unbalanced and hard to enjoy.

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Photo of kojevergas
3.43/5  rDev -16.7%

BOTTLE: attractive blue label art. 2010 vintage. 12 fl oz brown glass. Branded pry-off pressure cap.

Courtesy of the very generous Duff27.

Reviewed live. Expectations are very high given the brewery and style (Backwoods Bastard might be my favourite barleywine). 12.00% ABV. 100 IBUs.

Served at fridge temp and allowed to warm over the course of consumption. Side-poured with extra vigor as slight undercarbonation is anticipated given the beer's age. Served into Mitchells of Lancaster stemware.

No bubble show forms as it's poured.

HEAD: One finger wide. Pale khaki colour. Consistency is great: smooth, even, thick, and creamy. Has a nice soft complexion.

Retention is good for the high ABV - about 5 minutes. No lacing sticks to the sides of the glass as the head recedes.

BODY: Dark brown-black. Opaque; no yeast particulate or hop sediment is visible.

Appears well-carbonated. Not unique or special for a barleywine, but appealing. The head is nice.


AROMA: Dark malts, cream, caramalt, schwarz malts, toffee, marshmallow, a kiss of dark fruit (mainly raisin, but maybe prune or date), and a subtle hint of oxidation - which works well here. Black strap molasses. Burnt sugars. Hints of piney hop notes. Some vanilla. Traces of resinous hop notes. A kiss of spruce on the backend, as well as a handful of mint-y herbal hops.

A pleasant aroma of mild strength.

TASTE: Fantastic. The heavy dark & schwarz malt core brings the conventional sweetness, but it's well balanced by a surprisingly assertive hop presence (at least, assertive given it's 4 years old) and touches of cream and vanilla, which mellow out the flavour profile. Faint raisin. Marshmallow.

It's well-balanced, and has some lovely flavours; the cream and the marshmallow work beautifully alongside eachother, and the subtle vanilla is lovely. The delicate hop notes lend it impressive complexity; the subtle piney, sprucey, and resinous hops fit in perfectly here. This is almost a gestalt build; it's certainly cohesive and boasts superb amplitude of flavour.

Good depth of flavour. Average duration and intensity of flavour.

No yeasty notes or spices come through in the taste. I quite like this.

TEXTURE: Nicely soft. Creamy. It's silky on the backend, but starts out smooth albeit lumpy. Full-bodied, with a lurking alcohol presence but no overt booziness or heat. Has sufficient weight and heft on the palate, enabling this big heavy texture to support the big heavy flavours. Overall presence on the palate is good; this texture complements the taste well. A bit overcarbonated.

Not oily, astringent, harsh, gushed, or scratchy.

OVERALL: It's a very drinkable barleywine which hits each note right but doesn't try for anything more. This seems like it'd make an excellent base for a bourbon-barrel aged beer. Hides its ABV well. It's a solid beer in the style from Founders, but Founders has done better. The marshmallow is a real highlight here. I wish this were still available. Very well done.

Huge thanks to Duff27 for the chance to try this.

High B-

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Photo of BarrytheBear
3.43/5  rDev -16.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12 bottle into my Unibroue tulip

Spotty surface head dips into a mahogany body with crimson edges when held to the light

Very sugary on the nose with a boatload of vanilla and caramel sweetness . Oddly, my first whiff was of citrus hops, but subsequent sniffs reveal far more earthy hops.

Hmmm...this beer feels quite raw and there's some real promise here, but strangely the flavors taste distinctly different rather than complimentary. There's the heavy malt base that lays the foundation with the sugary sweetness and bite of booze. At the end the hops swoop in a carry a light tingling bitterness, but the cohesion is lacking. It's like that ridiculous Stride flavor change gum where the flavors are distinct, but don't necessarily mesh.

The mouthfeel is similarly confounding for me. It starts a bit oily on the front on the tongue and finishes a bit watery and flat. Maybe puberty will help this youngster find its way into maturity, but it's just not there yet.

It's somewhat enjoyable but not particularly memorable.

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Photo of jamie2dope
3.42/5  rDev -17%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Thanks to Matt for setting a couple of these aside for me today. Nemesis 2010 pours out a very dark brown, almost black with little more than a small white lacing. Big whiff of hops and honey up front, with some figs and a strong alcohol perfume. Damn, the taste is straight on booze and hops, a real palate bruiser that leaves a very bitter ending. The body is very big, making it a slow sipper along with the somewhat intense, almost acrid flavor profile. Drinkability? Not so great right now, but I could see this one developing quite nicely with a couple years of age to it. I felt the same way about the 09, but unfortunately I drank all of my supply. This one I am going to hold on to and revisit a ways down the road.

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Photo of domtronzero
3.4/5  rDev -17.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

A - Very dark brown, almost opaque. Small but fluffy, long lasting tannish white head. Lots of lacing.

S - Big citrusy hops, caramel, a little bit of roast, and a little bit of pleasant boozy alcohol.

F/M - Piny/citrusy hops, dark malts: bitter chocolate, raisins. Slight solventy alcohol flavor. Resinous and very bitter. Very astringent and very dry in the finish. Full bodied, full viscous, oily and slick mouthfeel. Moderate carbonation.

D - Thick, full, sweet and boozy. Very astringent and very bitter. This one will definitely improve with age.

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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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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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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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Founders Nemesis 2010 from Founders Brewing Company
4.12 out of 5 based on 932 ratings.
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