Looking Glass
Founders Brewing Company

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IPA - Imperial
Ranked #898
Ranked #5,682
4.2 | pDev: 8.81%
Founders Brewing Company
Michigan, United States
Reviews: 21 | Ratings: 43 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of JDizzle
JDizzle from Indiana

4.82/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had on tap a while back at Founders.

My favorite beer to date at Founders. DT is my favorite DIPA and this adds a new dimension to it. Such a good barrel flavor comes through. A little more of an alcohol burn from the higher ABV, but easily tolerable. Not as bitter as DT either. I wish they would release this again.

Feb 18, 2012
Photo of cluth
cluth from Indiana

4.83/5  rDev +15%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Absurdly good. Crisp and deep. I was a bit hesitant with Kaiser Curmudgeon being the first pints we ordered, but I took a chance with this beer as it was one I'd never seen bottled. I was well rewarded. Founders has a way with beer that few breweries are able to match. The taste was distinct and good. From the first sip I wished I had ordered two as busy as the bar was. Definitely one that should be bottled for mass consumption.

May 22, 2011
Photo of alleykatking
alleykatking from Indiana

3.99/5  rDev -5%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Came to me on tap at Fiddler's.

A- Pours a golden orange with light red hue when the light hits it. One finger white head shows great retention pretty much staying the entire time. Nice sheeting lace on the sides of the glass. A fantastic looking beer.

S- Citrus hops right off the get go with a caramel malt underbody that shines through a lot of aroma. Light wood notes mixes along with a honey and green apple scent. Alcohol isn't very apparent or at least as much as the other people have said. Light pine hops in the ending of the aroma seem to have faded a little while aging.

T- The hops do come out first with a nice citrus blast. The caramel malt underbody stays from the start to ending. The barrel aging comes out toward the middle of the beer with notes of wood, vanilla, and some sweet grape skins. The ending of the beer to me had some light alcohol at the ending that was a little on the sweet side...brandy forward for sure. Piney hops come out as well along with some more barrel notes...more oaky than anything else.

M- Medium mouthfeel. Carbonation was a little light for the style. Caramel malts, green apple, and oak left on the palate. Piney hops, sweet alcohol, oak, and caramel malts left in the aftertaste. Flavors are well balanced I thought for an aged beer. No off flavors at all in this beer. Medium drying on the palate from the alcohol.

D- This beer was very easy drinking and I had many glasses of it. I can see why people choose brandy barrels now after tasting this. The alcohol comes out a little sweeter and not so in your face like bourbon barrels. There was a higher ABV but it did not drink like that at all. A mellow version I thought of Double Trouble but it worked out very well. I will be looking for more brandy barrel aged beers.

Jan 27, 2011
Photo of zoso1967
zoso1967 from Michigan

4/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served up at the taproom, this beer is a slightly hazy burnt orange color. It has a small parchment head that leaves surprisingly nice lace on the sides of the snifter, given that this is a barrel aged beer.

The aroma is boozy and sweet, spiked with citrus hops and a bit of spice. It also has a slight buttery character and plenty of caramel. This smells a lot like an old, but not too old, double IPA with some extra earth and heat.

The flavor is an interesting mix of sweet caramel malt, honey, grapefruit, pine, oak and brandy. Aging a double IPA in brandy actually makes a lot of sense now that I taste it. The sweetness from the beer shows through and mixes well with the sweetness of the brandy.

The mouthfeel is medium and, though it is a bit sticky, quite nice. The carbonation seems about right and though it is fairly sweet overall, the high hopping rate gives it a tingly dry finish.

Looking glass is quite smooth and despite the stickiness in the finish, I found it to be a very drinkable sipper of a beer. I can't say that this is the sort of beer I would go for time after time, but I think Founders accomplished a very nice marriage of malt, hops, brandy and wood in this beer. Definitely worth trying if you have the chance.

Jan 04, 2011
Photo of cadaugherty
cadaugherty from Illinois

4.2/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Brandy Barrel Double Trouble on tap at the Founders tasting room.

Appearance- Light gold with a small but lasting head. Good lacing.

Aroma- Sweet honey right up front. After a couple sniffs the hops come out with a light citrus note.

Taste- Oak, vanilla, honey, with a rather crisp light bitterness at the end. This is really sweet at first but it unfolds into a much more complex bunch of flavors after a minute.

Mouth/Drink- Perhaps a touch thick with not as much carbonation as I would like but overall pretty nice and smooth.

I think the brandy really makes this a completely different beer. If the bartender hadn't said it was Double Trouble aged in Brandy I would never have guessed.

Dec 31, 2010
Photo of jampics2
jampics2 from Ohio

4.32/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Brewzilla, the grand tasting of Cleveland Beer Week 2010.

I took an informal poll and each and every person I asked at Brewzilla thought this beer was a reference to Alice in Wonderland. That means everyone was wrong. In order to really appreciate this beer, we need to take a trip. Not a trip down the rabbit hole, but a trip back in time.

Our destination? A time when life was simpler and music was music. August 26th, 1972. The end of the era of Freedom Rock. The week when 'Brandy (You're a Fine Girl)' by pop-rock quartet Looking Glass hit number one on the charts.

Just like the album cover of the 'Golden Classics' album, the beer posed and polished but still a bit rough around the edges. It is a hazy copper color with some gold and orange highlights. A nice head remains and some lacing is noted on the glass. But the haze and slightly dirty color stop this from certified platnum status.

Looking Glass suffered from a problem common to many groups. People came to Looking Glass concerts yearning for the same kind of New York pop sound they'd heard on "Brandy." They got bits and pieces of that sound, but they also had some gritty and dirty bar rock. Likewise, the aromas of Founders Looking Glass come close but don't live up to the billing. There's some hoppiness and some prominent barrel notes, stacked atop some subdued sweet malt and brandy. But the amazing thing is how these come together. Some vanilla and wood make the brandy and hops play nicely together. But the hops are past their prime and just miss the mark.

Everyone knew "Brandy". But fans had no insight into the band Looking Glass. In the end, these four men never quite established their own musical identity. That same problem stops the taste of Founders Looking Glass from making it to the hall of fame. The beer has some sweet malt and brandy with a touch of booziness and liquor sting. The barrel is mild and lets the hops shine through with pine and some grapefruit and mango. But nothing makes this identifiable or unique - the brandy just melts away and the signature hops of the base beer (Double Trouble) are faded and washed-up. It's nothing like Founders 'Hand of Doom' where the barrel treatment makes the beer an entirely different beast.

The beer's mouthfeel is creamy carbonation without too much pop. As for drinkability, this beer happened to be a one-hit wonder. But those who got to experience it live will always remember that simpler time. A time when Looking Glass topped the charts before fading into obscurity. And, as the song says:

"Brandy, you're a fine girl
What a good wife you would be
But my life, my lover, my lady
Is the sea"
(The CBS that is)

Nov 03, 2010
Photo of Spider889
Spider889 from Ohio

4.02/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

My very first beer at BREWzilla, what a way to start off an epic tasting! Described as an IPA aged in brandy barrels in their gypsum caves in MI.

Hazy orange color with a small cream-colored head. Decently carbonated.

Smelled sweet and woody. Vanilla and oak really dominate. Followed by citrus hops with some minimal pine resin in the background.

The flavor is much hoppier than the nose, but vanilla and brandy heat still dominate. Prickly on the tongue and warming all the way down. Bitter, semi-dry finish. Drinkability is low due to the abv and rarity of this beer.

Overall I was impressed. I liked that they put their IPA in brandy barrels, the barrel wasn't overpowering the way bourbon likely would have been in a lighter style like this. Hope to see this again some time!

Oct 25, 2010
Photo of cpetrone84
cpetrone84 from Pennsylvania

4/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had on tap at The Steel City Big Pour (Brandi Aged Double Trouble)

A-hazy pale gold with an off white head.

S-the nose has a fair bit of hops present, citrusy juicy hops with some syrpuy pine aromas, fairly sweet, notes of booze and brandi light in the back.

T-light malt body of caramel and brown sugar but hops really making a strong presence. resignous and piney hops with notes of tangerine and grapefruit behind. vanilla sets in with wood letting a lingering brandi flavor hanging on next to a lightly assertive hop bitterness in the finish.

M-smooth, soft up front but plenty of carbonation with a lively crisp finish.

D-the barrel imparts a light amount of flavor but definitely present and reasonablly integrated. the hops are still quite strong but enough balance to be above average. well done blend for me.

Oct 18, 2010
Photo of maximum12
maximum12 from Minnesota

3.03/5  rDev -27.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Meeting old friends for a beer at Grumpy's Downtown & spotted this on the seasonal list; instant woody. Nothing like a new Founders beer to start winding my crank. Launch!

If you didn't know any better, you'd think the smallish (10 oz. ?) pour was a Michelob Golden Light. OK, a little more body than that, but not much. Smell was hard alcohol & somewhat stale hops, which suprised me.

Looking Glass is one of the few innovative Founders brews that fails to impress. Mostly, this just tastes like an old IPA caterpillar that hasn't turned butterfly yet. The hops are faded, the barrel aging adds some harsh, indistinct alcohol. And it's sweet.

Really, this is a mess. Not a bad mess, but I certainly didn't want another sample - & I could drink just about any Founders bourbon barrel beer until my throat closed. Cut above mediocre, but not up to Founders high standards.

Oct 07, 2010
Photo of kzoobrew
kzoobrew from Michigan

3.7/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Enjoyed on tap at Founders

Golden orange body with slight haze. There was not much head to speak of by the time the snifter got to the table. Splotchy lacing left clinging to the side.

Lots of citrus and Brandy in the nose. To be perfectly honest the brandy covered up a lot and was a bit heavy handed. Slight hints of pale malt barely reached the surface. The hop aroma was rather bright despite being overwhelmed by the brandy. Slight hints of oak though not to the level I would expect.

The nose gives a very good indication of what will be revealed on the tongue. Looking Glass is a Brandy bomb. The sharpness of the brandy is not terribly offensive though I am not such a fan of pairing it with a DIPA. Slight biting bitterness and a rather decent amount of citrus hop flavor does manage to hold up. Once again the brandy and the citrus dominate nearly ever other aspect.

Medium bodied with a light carbonation. Slightly oily texture with a drier finish than what I had anticipated.

I love the concept and I love the experimentation but this beer is just not for me. The brandy just seems out of place. I was very happy to have the opportunity to try this one, would definitely give it another shot. One is definitely enough for a sitting, just not super drinkable.

Sep 21, 2010
Photo of Urbancaver
Urbancaver from Ohio

3.58/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

a classic DIPA... honestly, quite unremarkable... a shadow of the hopiness that devil dancer imparts. maybe that was my mistake for doing a side by side... still, well blended. and at 11.1% it packs a punch without really tasting of it. Overall, not the most drinkable DIPA but still quite good

Sep 21, 2010
Photo of ne0m00re
ne0m00re from Ohio

3.72/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

09/04/10- Had this one on-tap at the Founders brewpub.
A: Burnt orange amber with a nice white smaller head.
S: Clean, pale malts, sweet bread, citrus (orange and apricots), slightly musty.
T: Sweet, tastes cloudy and pale with slight resiny hops. Honey sweet. Oaky vanilla, but mild. Sweet sticky on the teeth.
M: Heavier, with lighter spritzy carbonation.
D: OK. One glass is enough.

Sep 19, 2010
Photo of LanceW
LanceW from Michigan

4.66/5  rDev +11%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

I had this beer for the second time last night.

The first time I had this brew it was on recommendation from the server at the brewery. I as tasted it... I was extremely impressed with the color. It was served in a snifter and had a color similar to cherry wood. After finishing this my generous pour, I asked the server what was used to create this beer. He said that it is their Double Trouble IPA fermented in brandy barrels.

This came as a surprise to me. I am not a huge fan of IPAs but this brew really took my fancy. The brandy and wood barrel flavors really toned the the finishing notes of the hops.

Sep 16, 2010
Photo of Thorpe429
Thorpe429 from Illinois

4/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours pale copper with a bit of rust coloring. Minimal head or lacing. Hoppy with citrus and earth. Not overpowering. Semi-sweet. A bit of the brandy comes through. Taste is initially a bit boozy. Behind is some sweet malt. Not too hoppy. The barrel-aging takes precedence. Mouthfeel is a bit boozy but with a nice sweet/bitter mix. Good drinkability and fairly unique.

Sep 04, 2010
Photo of MasterSki
MasterSki from Canada (ON)

4.01/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On-tap at Founders during the Nemesis 2010 release. Guess this is about a month old. Served in a large snifter.

A - Pours with a finger-plus of off-white foam that leaves behind some spotty lace, a thin ring, and some filmy haze. Pretty impressive head volume considering the type of glass used. Slightly hazed golden body.

S - Smells like an aged IPA - like two month old Double Trouble. There's a bit of oak, but not a lot of overt brandy flavor, maybe a bit of additional sweetness that could be confused as malt or sugared hop.

T - This is very smooth and deceptive - I was surprised it picked up almost 2% from the brandy barrels. There is more overt brandy character and oaky vanilla imparting a sweetness that I don't normally associate with Double Trouble. It also blunts the bitterness of the base beer. On the flip side, this is nothing like Hand of Doom, as you can actually still taste citrus and pine DIPA flavors here. This seems to have held up better with age, as aromatic hop character is generally the first thing to go.

M - There's a bit of carbonation zing at the outset, but then it moves into a soft, medium-bodied phase before finishing with some oily hop resin character. This is far more DIPA than barrel-aged in terms of texture - not particularly tannic or oaky.

D - The barrel-aging seems fairly subtle here (particularly compared to Hand of Doom), but I think overall it diminishes the original beer by removing a lot of the aromatic hop character, while not adding much more than some additional sweetness and alcohol. It would have been nice to try this when it was first tapped, as it'd be easier to be objective about this subject. Like all the other Founders barrel-aged Double Troubles, this is more of a curiosity than something of which I'd want multiple pints.

Sep 04, 2010
Photo of WeisGuy
WeisGuy from New York

4/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

On-tap at the Founders brewpub on 8/26. Review from notes.

a - pours a bright golden amber color with a slight haziness, one-finger ivory head with decent retention and lacing for the high abv

s - piney, resiny hops along with nice orange and grapefruit citrus notes, booziness is substantial with the brandy barrel character really coming through on the aroma, light oaky notes

t - this really assaults your palate, big grapefruit and pine resin hoppiness up front with a light sweetness from the barrel aging and caramel malt on the midpalate, nice brandy and oak notes on the midpalate, finish is quite bitter and fairly dry, though the caramel malt and brandy flavors add a subtly sweet backbone, substantial boozy heat lingers on the palate after swallowing

m - medium to fuller bodied, moderate to lower carbonation, big alcohol warming effect, on the dry side, but with a nice sweetness

d - out of this, Kaiser Curmudgeon and Bourbon Barrel Apple Cream Ale, all of which were sampled on this visit to Founders, this was by far the most drinkable, that said, this is a big -bal aged DIPA that doesn't try to mask that fact, a sipper for sure and probably not something I would order more than one snifter of due to the intensity

While a brandy barrel aged DIPA did not sound all that great to me, I love Double Trouble, the base beer, and Looking Glass really exceeded my expectations. Founders really knows what they're doing with -bals. That said, I would probably choose regular Double Trouble if both were on tap.

Aug 31, 2010
Photo of boomer31
boomer31 from Minnesota

4.21/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Reviewed 8-27 and notes taken at tasting

A - Light gold, transparent with tiny wight bubbles...wouldn't consider the bubbles head.

S - Slight brandy barrel nose but the malts really come through. The fruity hops are noticable especially as the beer warms. I expected more barrel in the nose but was very happy when the hops and malt dominated. My only problem with the nose is not knowing what to expect...hops, barrel, malt?!? Nothing slaps you in the face, just ok.

T - Malt in the front with a touch of sweetness with a hint of brandy but hop bitterness in the back. This again was a great relief when the hops and malt balanced the brandy.

M - Rich double IPA, low carb and a bit dry from the hops

D - The IPA really shines here...the barrel compliments the beer nicely but never overwhelms. Too drinkable

I was not sure what to expect from this beer. I love barrel aged beers when the barrel shines though but not on barrel aged IPAs. This had a fantastic balance between barrel and double trouble. Nice work here

Aug 29, 2010
Photo of NorthsideFred
NorthsideFred from Illinois

4.13/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Had an 8 oz pour in a snifter at Founders (12 oz pour also offered).

Nice orange appearance, not as dark as some DIPA's, but that's not always a bad thing. Nice white lacing.

Wow! The smell of brandy punches you in the nose.

Mmmmm. This is good. The strong alcohol smell does not follow through in the taste. Don't get me wrong, it is present, but not overpowering. A little more bitter than I prefer, but not out of line.

This is full bodied, and much smoother than I expected.

The drinkability is there, and this is an excellent beer; but, you're at Founders, and there are so many other beers to try, so I can't imagine having more than one.

Aug 02, 2010
Photo of TCgoalie
TCgoalie from Michigan

4.54/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Notes from 7/31/10

A: Poured into a large snifter courtesy of Founders. Dark gold in color, good lacing is evident from the start as clumps stick to the glass from the waiters off balance tray carry. Just a rim of head appears at the top, enough to show off its lacing.

S: Quite possibly the best smelling IPA I've ever had...at least the best in quite some time. Heavily citrus up front with grapefruit, cherry, peach and a touch of bready malts.

T: A grapefruit tone mixes with cherry, spice and pine throughout most of this drink offset with a rich malt. The hop profile dims toward the end revealing a piney aftertaste. Hop lovers, this is an excellent DIPA for you as you will avoid heavy malts. The balance is excellent and the overall taste profile is quite complex.

M: Fairly heavy in the mouth, a bit of heat kicks in at the end showing off its ABV. The aftertaste is somewhat bitter yet clean.

D: 2 or 3 of these would be quite easy to put away, though the alcohol content would surely creep in.

Aug 02, 2010
Photo of MichaelinFishers
MichaelinFishers from Indiana

4.67/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

On-tap at the tap room in an 8 oz snifter.

This is brandy-barrel aged Double Trouble.

A beautiful gold color with a little bit of wispy head remaining in the snifter.

The aroma is all Double Trouble, with a little bit of oak and booze.

The brandy barrels impart a little bit of oak to the point where, if you're familiar with Double Trouble, you think that this is DT with a little more meat on its bones. The oak is much more subtle than previous attempts to age DT and it ends up very well-balanced.

I could drink this all night if someone else was driving.

Excellent.aging job, a fantastic beer!

Aug 01, 2010
Photo of mothman
mothman from Minnesota

4.52/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

This is a Brandy Barrel Aged D/IIPA.

Served into brandy snifter.

Served with 1/2 finger of white head. Color is a clear golden orange.

Aroma: Very sweet brandy, oak, and vanilla. Fresh floral hops. Bright citrus kick.

Taste: Very fresh floral hops. This IIPA has a huge fruit citrus taste. Grapefruit, pineapple, lemon citrus. Oak and warm brandy flavors. Top of the line IIPA. Very fresh with a nice brandy addition.

Mouthfeel: Bitter and smooth but warm. Full bodied with a medium amount of carbonation. Ends a bit sticky.

Overall, this is a solid -bal aged iipa. Normally -bal aged/oak aged ipas are awful because the hops are faded but this was very fresh. Reminded me a bit of Devil Dancer. Very drinkable and I love the addition of the brandy -bal aging.

Jul 30, 2010
Looking Glass from Founders Brewing Company
Beer rating: 92 out of 100 with 43 ratings