Sumatra Mountain Brown | Founders Brewing Company

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Sumatra Mountain BrownSumatra Mountain Brown
Sumatra Mountain BrownSumatra Mountain Brown

Brewed by:
Founders Brewing Company
Michigan, United States

Style: American Brown Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.00%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
This bold, imperial brown ale gets its body from a team of malts including Caramel malt for sweetness, flaked barley for dense foam, a bit of Chocolate malt for its deep color and Aromatic and Munich malts to add even more depth. German and Perle hops add a touch of bitterness to balance the malty sweetness. The addition of rich Sumatra coffee takes this perfectly balanced imperial brown ale to a decadent level.

User Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 433 | Ratings: 1,750
Reviews by Georgiabeer:
Photo of Georgiabeer
4.02/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

More User Reviews:
Photo of BEERchitect
4.23/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

For every mood, there's a beer. And in some cases there's a beer for several moods. Looking to wind down? Or gear up? Or for a dark and balanced taste? Or for something strong in stature. Something bitter? Something sweet? Founders covers all these bases with Sumatra Mountain Brown.

The imperial brown ale pours devilishly dark and springs to life with a dense blanket of mocha whipped foam. The high earthen perfume of nutty, butter and soilish coffee rise up but not without a firm followup of chocolate, toffee, walnut and wood. Its taste is sultry with the toasted sweetness of toffee, caramel and candied pecan- all laying on a bed of toast and coffee.

With the Sumatra coffee riding high, its overtones of shaven woods, dried chicory and butter pecan is both delicate but bold. Supporting the coffee well is the chocolaty malt center that registers on the middle palate like candy nougat and malted milk balls. Alas, the dark ale trends beer-like and chases a woodsy hop bitterness, that easily disguises of coffee-derived bitterness, into a deep bittersweet finish.

Full in body, yet there's a lightness that the coffee brings. The beer's gently rolling carbonation is off-cask but light and creamy nevertheless. The light simmering warmth of alcohol allow a kaluha-like flavor to reward the finish like fine coffee liquor.

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Photo of Xenoreactive
2.95/5  rDev -31.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2.75

L: Dark brown and watery looking. Not much head, but whatever comes through goes away rather rapidly.

S: Fucktons of coffee. I mean, this is alot of coffee beans just being shoved into your nose.

T: Not too impressed. Alot of flavorful cold brew coffee, but other than the general brown ale flavor, this is lacking.

F: Over-carbonated and very thin. Lacking density.

O: If you climb the mountain, you might burn the calories that this throwaway gave you.

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Photo of cbutova
4.31/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A- Dark mahogany 12oz to goblet pour. The head is creamy and thick ascending above a finger with decent retention. A thick pillow remains for a long time and large thick sheets of lacing remain behind each sip.

S- Coffee mountain. The aroma is basically dominated by the coffee with a luscious, rich blend of caramel to toasty aromas. Milk chocolate comes to mind big time. Vanilla sweets even.

T- A bit more of a brown ale here but to be real its like you took a rich brown ale base and pressed it ala French with medium roast coffee. Dutch cocoa powder, vanilla bean sweets, medium caramel, toasted pecans, slight sweetness, bitter dark chocolate bars and slight raisin.

MF- Silky and extremely smooth body that in the end is of medium thickness. High end carbonation is taken aback by the chewy creaminess and bitter coffee grounds linger forever in the finish. Decadent.

Coffee Brown Ale done right. The malts and coffee pretty much marry each other and blend into one entity. Each sip brings on decadent flavors that smoothly bless the taste buds without being a slow sipping dessert beer. Finds that rare medium between rich stout and watery dark ale with amazing coffee usage. No surprise as Breakfast Stout still runs the show.

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Photo of BrokenEdge
4.53/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is a damn fine beer. Pours a very dark brown, nearly black. Thin but persistent head that dissolves into foam and leaves soapy lacing along the glass. Smells stunning, just like coffee with cream in it. Not an overwhelming, bitter, dark roast type smell like you would find with most coffee stouts. Seems the brown ale style mellows the intensity some. Taste is exactly like it smells, like a nice cup of creamy, sweet and only slightly bitter coffee. There's some light charred sweetness (like toasted marshmallow) and a roasted, nutty quality. Really deep and complex flavors at work. Feel is also excellent, creamy, smooth, but still full bodied. Alcohol is imperceptible. If you're at all into coffee flavored beer, it's worth a try. I just hope this becomes a year round release!

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Photo of wuthrichj15
4.5/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Wow what an awesome beer. Had the first one out of the bottle today. Sticky, sweet, a little chocolate, a nice coffee. What a wonderful beer. Definitely get this if you can.

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Photo of JizackFH
4.59/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

What do you do when you order way too much sumatra coffee? You improvise of course, and brew up a big coffee infused imperial brown ale. Well, thats at least what the guys over at Founders Brewing did with this fine beverage right here. I’m personally excited for this one because I love coffee, beer, and Founders. Lets pop this this sucker open and dive in.

It pours a deep brown color that glows a reddish hue when held to the light. There us about a finger and a half of light tan head resting on top. The head has some decent retention, and leaves a little bit of lace behind on the glass as it falls. Some carbonation bubbles are visible as well.

There is a big cold brew coffee smell right away. I’m getting some nice chocolate and toasted malt aromas. There are also notes of caramel, vanilla, and some nuttiness. Just a little bit of alcohol is decipherable here as well.

The taste starts off with a mix of milk and dark chocolate and a big coffee flavor. There is a nice caramel maltiness and vanilla. I’m getting some nice hop presence that is adding some bitterness and earthy flavors. A little bit of booze comes out in the finish, but for the most part the alcohol presence is covered up really well.

This has a nice medium body and very nice silky creamy feel to it. It goes down easy and has a smooth richness. There is some moderate carbonation going on. A little bit of hop bitterness is present, along with just a touch of heat from the booze.

Overall, I really enjoyed this beer. Founders is bringing brown ales up to a new new level. There is a lot of flavor in this beer, and I especially love the coffee presence. It gave the whole experience a cold brew coffee quality that was great. Its a beer worth buying just for the smell alone. However, after smelling it, I imagine it being near impossible to muster up the self control not to take a big swig. Definitely pick this up if you get the chance.

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Photo of damndirtyape
4.04/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

12oz bottle, bottled 04/05/17. Served in a snifter glass.

Appearance: Clear dark brown. Some dark amber notes. Thin light tan head. Some strands of lacing that slowly slid back down the glass.

Smell: Strong coffee aroma. Fresh ground dark roast with hints of chocolate and cream - mocha!

Taste: Tastes much like it smells. Coffee, hint of chocolate (again, very much like mocha). Some sweetness in the middle - a mix of chocolate and something sweeter, approaching caramel. The finish is lightly bitter, with black coffee bitterness and just a hint of noble hops. But I may be fooling myself on the noble hops at the finish. Tasty and complex.

Mouthfeel: Creamy with prickly carbonation. Very smooth.

Overall / Drinkability: A good sipping and savoring beer, and went excellent with dessert (no-bake cookies). A one per evening beer - too intense to have another right after the first one, but something I will look for again.

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Photo of Brutaltruth
4.46/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Enjoyed from the growler via Buehler's Market in Wooster which is the best darn collective of brew in the area. Period.
Poured into a snifter this fantastic brown ale pours a deep murky brown with a fantastic head of off white foam that settles to a thick ting, thin layer, and excellent lacing---ESPECIALLY for a coffee brew. Nose of sumptuous rich dark java, dark sweet cocoa, earthy notes from the coffee, and notes of creme brulee. Flavors surpass the nose by a mile with rich coffee on the front and sides, cream, brown sugars, and subtle char notes hit perfectly in the middle and fade into the rear with a VERY subtle zesty hops flavor that tingles nicely with the warming background of the brew. Excellent mouth feel, medium full, quaffable and dangerous with perfect carbonation to keep it lively.


A stout drinker brown ale that exceeded my expectations from the small sample at the grocery store.

Excellent job Founders, a classic to be certain taking the brown ale to another level.


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Photo of ByronDBeer
4.48/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

L: Very nice dark brown, not much head.
S: Exotic coffee smell, almost chinese herbal, not too strong of a smell due to lack of head.
T: VERY balanced coffee, almost like a perfect cold brew. Not too bitter, enough malt backbone to give the sweetness for the very nice coffee taste.
F: Medium balanced mouth feel. Not too much carbonation.

Exactly what you expect when you hear "Imperial brown ale with sumatra coffee"

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Photo of ChrisMon02
4.41/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

12 oz. bottle poured into a globe.

Deep brown color-pillowy head-quickly dies.

Rich coffee-bittersweet chocolate-quality creamer note-burnt molasses.

Coffee bomb-creamer-caramel-milk chocolate. Slight bittering burnt malts. No booze.

Medium mouthfeel-medium-low carbonation. Moves nicely throughout each drink.

Wow-this is simple but delicious. If you enjoy strait forward, simple, quality coffee dominant beers than you will love this one. Recommended.

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Photo of RAFH
4.35/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Saw the new Founders brew at our local Martin's grocery store in Stevensville, Michigan on May 28, 2016. I normally love Founders Breakfast Stout and KBS and I also love imperials, so when I saw this imperial brown, I was excited. Founders did not let me down. Wow! This tasted like an imperial brown version of a KBS. This definitely could be a top 250 beer on Beer Advocate.

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Photo of Gobearswalter34
4.9/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

L- Pours a brown with ruby and amber hues in the light. One-finger, creamy, off-white head that recedes and leaves lace.
S- immediately, a blast of roasted coffee beans and sweet malt. Lots of chocolate and caramel as well. Just a tad of bitter hop.
T- this could be the best tasting coffee forward beer that I have ever had. The roasting us on these two maitre beans is perfect. The Hop bitterness combines with the coffee bitterness perfectly. In the Finish you have chocolate and slight caramel. The bitterness does linger for a while after the drink is gone.
F- all the roasty bitterness leaves on wonderful warming feeling. The best mouth feel of a brown I have ever had.
O- the best browned I have ever had!

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Photo of Nugget40
4.91/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

I'm going to start off by saying I don't understand why some people are comparing this beer to the characteristics of stouts, the only similarity is they are both brewed with coffee, and I guess the fact that they are both dark beers, but brown ale is very different than a stout. Anyway, this beer pours a very dark brown, with light slightly getting through on the edges, similar to a cola. Leaves about a one finger head that dissipates fairly quickly, with decent lacing and retention in its wake. The smell is big, roasted, ground Sumatran coffee beans, roasted malts, hints of caramel and chocolate in the background. The taste follows the nose, only the coffee flavor is even bigger, with a nice sweetness from the malts in the finish. Has the typical nutty flavors that come with a brown ale, that play very nicely with the coffee, and again hints of chocolate and caramel in the background. Has some nice bitterness in the finish as well from a mixture of the hops and coffee. As it warms, I get even more of the sweetness from the malts, and the coffee flavor really pops.
This beer has a medium bodied mouthfeel, with plenty of carbonation. I can feel the oils from the coffee stick in my mouth, and it leaves a nice lasting flavor. Overall I feel this beer is an absolute knockout. One of the very best coffee beers I have ever had, all the ingredients blend perfectly together to create a delicious beer, especially if you are a coffee lover. Founders is really a terrific brewery, probably my favorite "big" craft brewery, and they really seem to create magic with their dark beers. If you love dark beers and coffee, then this beer will quickly become a favorite for you.

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Photo of dbrauneis
4.29/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A: Pours an opaque yet still clear extremely dark brown (approaching jet black) in color with light to moderate amounts of active visible carbonation rising along the edges of the glass and faint dark cola brown highlights. The beer has a three finger tall dense foamy tan head that slowly reduce to a medium to large sized cap of very thick film surrounded by a large patch of medium thick film covering the remainder of the surface of the beer and a thick ring at the edges of the glass. Moderate amounts of lacing are observed.

S: Moderate to strong aromas of rich freshly brewed coffee over the top of moderate aromas of caramel, nutty, and chocolate malts. Light notes of earthy hops.

T: Upfront there is a moderate to strong flavor of caramel, nutty, roasted, and chocolate malts with a moderate amount of chocolate sweetness. That is followed by moderate to strong flavors of freshly brewed, slightly sweet, rich coffee. Finally there is a very light flavor of earthy hops which contribute a light amounts of bitterness in the finish which does not linger for long.

M: Slightly heavier than medium bodied with moderate amounts of carbonation. Smooth with a light to moderate amount of slickness in the finish.

O: A nice complexity and depth of malt flavors from the grain bill in this brew and a wonderful, rich coffee flavor and aroma. Easy to drink and hides the alcohol really well. If you enjoy coffee, definitely consider grabbing this one.

 1,456 characters

Photo of Balderayne
4.75/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

This is a KEEPER! Get it! Enjoy it! Hide it from others!
Rich coffee and chocolate flavors. Smooth on the tongue with a robust, yet smooth feel and finish. You'll want to come back for more.

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Photo of ThisWangsChung
3.45/5  rDev -19.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark burgundy color. The head is three fingers high and mocha in shade. I'm quite impressed by the retention, though slightly less so by the slightly bubbly texture. Plenty of lacing sticks to the glass

The aroma brings a wondrous combination of black coffee and milk chocolate, especially at first. After some time, some earthen and grassy tones show up. Since it's a brown ale, caramel and brown sugar set up the foundation for the other notes. I have to say the aroma comes together really well.

It doesn't taste like a pure coffee bomb - it just mostly tastes like a pure coffee bomb. The flavor starts off with nice notes of caramel, milk chocolate, and brown sugar. Then the black coffee hits around the middle with a nice roast, and is augmented with a nice finishing hoppiness. Unfortunately, there's an Achilles heel to this beer: the coffee seems slightly vegetal and stale. Since the base beer seems designed to showcase the coffee, that's a bit of a problem. Still, everything else about the flavor is actually quite good, so I can't bitch *too* hard.

I do think the feel is a little thin for 9%, and the general texture is more slick than creamy. Still, the off-dry finish and coffee astringency help will it off the palate with surprising ease. Founders really know how to make a big beer drink like it's much smaller. Carbonation is medium.

Founders has a TON of winners, but every once in a while they let me down. I'll call this a mild letdown, personally. It's wonderfully easygoing for 9%, but the stale coffee notes hinder - this would be a great beer if I didn't get those "coffee that's been sitting in the pot for three hours at the office, which is why we joined the rest of 2016 and bought a Keurig machine to replace it" vibes. I probably won't buy again, unless it's on tap.

3.45/5: Almost great, but the vegetal qualities hurt those chances

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Photo of ChipChaight
4.31/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

12oz bottle from Pioneer on the UWS NYC.
Dark brown with light hazelnut head, good lacing, smells straight up like fresh coffee grounds, taste is very sweet chocolate syrup and creamy coffee that ends with a mild roasted bitterness, this beer is medium bodied and well carbonated. A sweet caffe latte freddo of a beer, delicious!

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Photo of Vetbidder
4.23/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

I had this beer off of tap at a tasting and probably would not have ever tried it otherwise as brown ales are not my favorite. This beer has a reddish tinged dark dark brown look and my tap pour produced no head. The scent and flavor is dominated by coffee with slight bitterness but there's some chocolate and hops in there too (complex). It is quite thick with less carbonation on the mouthfeel. Dangerous at this percent and a good sipping beer.

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Photo of majorbase2
4.38/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Aggressive pour yields a dark brown color with a huge, light brown creamy head. Great retention. Minor lacing.

Aroma of roasted coffee. Sweet, caramel malts.

Sweet, bitter, flavorful dark roast coffee. Sweet caramel malts and candied dark fruits. Wow. Quite sweet an bitter, but not overly. Good presence of hops. Alcohol is very muted for 9%.

Medium bodied, moderate carbonation. Really drinks more as a light stout, with the roasted coffee flavors and alcohol. A fun beer at 9%, but easy to down this 4pk an about 2 hours (might have to try it sometime lol!).

A great beer from Founders. If you like coffee you'll love this beer, also a nice alternative if you want something slightly lighter than a coffee stout. Can't go wrong with this anytime.

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Photo of puck1225
4.21/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured a beautiful dark brown from a bottle into a snifter. Nice thick fluffy light brown head and great lacing. The smell is of coffee, chocolate and a bit of banana. The taste is strongly coffee with some dark chocolate. The feel is silky smooth. A very enjoyable beer!

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Photo of weezarc
4.25/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of KomodoDragon
4.18/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

Light brown, big creamy head.

Smells of caramel, chocolate, sweet, bread, very dessert

Sweet caramel smooth malts, think Werthers - a bit of roast and coffee - so maybe a caramel latte. nice light carbonation, limited hops but there is some balance, some spice. Alcohol bursts in during the finish, like a shot chaser.
Not sure the sweetness and coffee exactly mesh, but some interesting aspects and appreciate Founders allowing the flavors to come out front and center, not hidden behind hops or carbonation.

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Photo of rdoggg
4.46/5  rDev +4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of BrewsOverHoes
3.95/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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Sumatra Mountain Brown from Founders Brewing Company
Beer rating: 4.29 out of 5 with 1,750 ratings