Sumatra Mountain Brown | Founders Brewing Company

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Sumatra Mountain BrownSumatra Mountain Brown
1,706 Ratings
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.

Added by drxandy on 12-19-2010

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,706 |  Reviews: 426
Photo of Npapuzz
1/5  rDev -76.7%
look: 1 | smell: 1 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

Photo of Edie
2/5  rDev -53.4%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Photo of g00ey
2.48/5  rDev -42.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.25

Photo of MurphDog14
2.53/5  rDev -41%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.25

Photo of incognito369
2.88/5  rDev -32.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3

Look -- Dark color throughout the majority of the glass and light brown color at the bottom of the glass and khaki colored head
Smell -- Aroma of Sumatra coffee, chocolate, and toffee
Taste -- On the front end you get the bitterness of the coffee/chocolate and on the back end you get the sweet caramel, its kind of like eating a expensive dark chocolate bar filled with caramel
Feel -- Medium bodied
Overall -- If you are a fan of brown ales and coffee this beer is for you, me personally not a fan of brown of ales but you can tell that it is a well crafted beer..try to buy one or two of the beers if you're not sure you'll like it....Cheers!

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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 ohiobeer29
3/5  rDev -30.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Photo of ThisSeasonsWaifu
3/5  rDev -30.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Photo of ejimhof
3/5  rDev -30.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Photo of sometimesibreathe
3/5  rDev -30.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Photo of Euroglot
3/5  rDev -30.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Photo of stoffystouts
3/5  rDev -30.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Photo of MrDis
3.08/5  rDev -28.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.75

Photo of casapy
3.27/5  rDev -23.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Photo of nick_perry
3.3/5  rDev -23.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pretty much as advertised. A solid brown ale with a coffee flavor.

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Photo of Bajdog
3.34/5  rDev -22.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.25

Photo of Zopiac
3.35/5  rDev -21.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

More coffee than Founder's Breakfast Stout, smells and tastes much more fresh but with a nice, mellow ale quality. Perfect drink for the coffee loving beer newbie, and not something to pass up if you like a nice coffee heavy stout.

 231 characters

Photo of josephwa
3.44/5  rDev -19.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

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 TSuthard
3.45/5  rDev -19.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.75

Excellent head and dark brown color. The coffee aroma is front and center. A very solid coffee beer that unfortunate must compete with its brother Breakfast Stout. Given a choice, I'd still take the stout.

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Photo of kojevergas
3.48/5  rDev -18.9%
look: 2.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

I love Founders' Breakfast Stout and had to pick this up when I saw it on the shelves of my local Whole Paycheck. A 4 pack ran me $16 in NYC (about as cheap as you'll find it in the city).

BOTTLE: 12 fl oz/355ml format. Pry-off crown cap. Straightforward label depicts mountains and has a brown motif for obvious reasons. Bottled 04/05/17.

9.0% ABV. "Imperial brown ale brewed with sumatra coffee." Brewed with caramel malt, flaked barley, chocolate malt, Munich malt, Perle hops, and sumatra coffee. 40 IBUs.

Served chilled into a nonic pint glass and allowed to come to temperature over the course of consumption.

HEAD: ~1-2cm in height. Pale khaki colour. Fairly creamy and soft in appearance, with a reasonably thick consistency. Coats the sides of the glass with thin lacing as it recedes, which unfortunately happens pretty quickly (definitely within a minute), betraying the high ABV.

BODY: Dark amber. Somewhat translucent but nontransparent. I see no yeast/lees within. Not the brown colour I expected, but generally appealing.

It isn't the most enticing appearance for a brown ale, but there's nothing egregiously wrong here and outside of style conventions it's generally appealing. Carbonation seems appropriate.

AROMA: The first thing I noticed when pouring was the coffee aromatics; they're not extraordinarily pungent but it is a strong enough aroma that it does leap out of the glass when the beer is being poured. Has an earthy character to it, evoking coffee in a more interesting manner than many coffee ales. Hints of roast from the coffee, maybe even a bit of muted's pronounced and anything but common, but I have come across far more aromatically expressive and pungent coffee brews. I don't get much coffee bitterness here at all.

Maltwise, I get the general Munich sweetness and caramel, but I doubt I'd peg this for a brown ale in a blind taste test; there's no overt brown malt character nor is there any of the nuttiness that brown malts combined with English yeast tend to produce.

To style, hops are minimal in presence, offering only a blip of floral character and balancing bitterness.

Aromatic intensity is moderately high - a feat owed entirely to the coffee.

No overt yeast notes or off-notes. It hides its ABV quite well at least aromatically.

Suggests a nontraditional brown ale that eschews the usual nuttiness and plain bread-like malt backbone in favour of a more assertive American-inspired coffee adjunct flavour. I'm intrigued, but I worry it strays too far from brown ale conventions to really be true to the style.

TASTE & TEXTURE: The earthy roasty subtleties of the dominant coffee flavour are underscored nicely by a soft plump presence on the palate derived from its admittedly plain caramel malt and brown malt backbone. Some minor chocolate malt flavour is there as well, though its added sweetness isn't needed (especially given the lack of any concomitant bitterness from the coffee adjunct addition).

Hop bitterness and flavour intensity is minimal, which is true to style. Unlike many brown ales, there's no nuttiness from the yeast (nor any other flavour from the yeast either, including the usual cerevisiae esters).

Mouthfeel is soft, smooth, and wet, nodding more towards a porter influence than a stout influence - and that works against the beer's premise. More dryness and coarseness would really help drag more depth of flavour and expressiveness out of the titular sumatra coffee, and showcasing coffee seems to have been the brewers' aim here. Call it a missed opportunity, but the carbonation is near perfect and in spite of it being billed as an "imperial" brown ale it's merely medium-bodied and not too heavy on the palate, aiding its drinkability; this is surprisingly approachable fare for a 9% ABV brew.

An easy way to get that coarseness and dryness would be ramping up roasted barley in the grain bill, which would also help accentuate the roastiness of the coffee and curb the unbalanced malty sweetness. Unfortunately, there's little if any roasted barley presence here.

Flavour duration is average for the style. Flavour intensity is quite high for a brown ale.

OVERALL: A brown ale for the coffee stout drinker, Sumatra Mountain Brown will cater to those (primarily American) beer drinkers who confuse extra ingredients/adjuncts with added complexity - but not to traditionalist enthusiasts of the style. It's easy to envision a U.S. beer drinker saying something like "I don't usually like brown ales, but I do like Sumatra Mountain Brown" given this beer's substantial departures from style conventions.

Still, it's hard not to be drawn to this over more hum-ho American stabs at the style given its likable coffee flavour, especially with Founders - one of the best at executing coffee ales - at the helm. I'll enjoy polishing off my 4-pack in spite of the beer's shortcomings, and I'd recommend trying this beer at least once.

Witness the brown ale Americanized.

High B- (3.48) / WORTHY

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Photo of aztraz
3.5/5  rDev -18.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Photo of ConradKenney
3.5/5  rDev -18.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Photo of Sazz9
3.5/5  rDev -18.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Photo of BenTN
3.5/5  rDev -18.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

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Sumatra Mountain Brown from Founders Brewing Company
Beer rating: 4.29 out of 5 with 1,706 ratings