Underground Mountain Brown
Founders Brewing Company

Underground Mountain BrownUnderground Mountain Brown
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American Brown Ale
Ranked #1
Ranked #551
4.38 | pDev: 7.08%
Founders Brewing Company
Michigan, United States
Underground Mountain BrownUnderground Mountain Brown
Notes: Barrel-Aged Sumatra Mountain Brown

Underground Mountain Brown is the harmonious drinking experience only achieved when our imperial brown ale, earthy Sumatra coffee and a year aging in caves below Grand Rapids comes together. A team of malts complement the bold sumatra coffee perfectly, while time spent immersed in oak creates layers of depth and complexity. A celebration of the barrel, the bean and everything in between.
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Reviews: 131 | Ratings: 416
Reviews by DavidRandall:
Photo of DavidRandall
4.35/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

More User Reviews:
Photo of TheSixthRing
4.37/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

From tasting notes 10/20/17
Had on-tap at Founders in Grand Rapids, MI

Appearance - Served in an oversized snifter, near black with cola brown edging. Mostly barren surface with an island of suds in the center and a thin ring around the edge if the glass. Fair lacing consists of broken lines and slotting.

Smell - As with the OG, the BA has an enticing aroma. Roasted coffee, chocolate, caramel, vanilla, oak and underlying bourbon booziness.

Taste - Follows the nose. Coffee, chocolate, caramel and some bourbon qualities upfront. Bourbon holds firm throughout, adding vanilla and oak before a hint of heat bites in the chocolatey finish.

Mouthfeel - Medium-bodied with light tingly carbonation. Creamy upfront before turning a dry, slightly boozy finish.

Overall - Equally as impressive as the OG Sumatra. The BA process just adds another layer of goodness. Highly recommended if you're ever by the brewery. Hopefully they decide to add it to their Barrel Project series at some point.

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Photo of bowzer4birdie
4.87/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Photo of rodlavers
3.93/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Photo of fthegiants
4.4/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of StoutAtTheDevil
4.02/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of Scottsbeer
4.48/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Photo of beergoot
4.35/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Mahogany brown body; clear; thick and sculpted head; sticky rings and sheets of foam inside the glass. Prominent coffee waft crosses the nostrils; roasted and charred grain notes with a touch of roasted nuts. Coffee, mocha, and toffee sum up the flavor; gently sweet with a bold bitterness; chocolate. Medium-heavy body; smooth with a gentle abrasiveness; generous residual sugar presence with a noticeable dryness at the finish.

This beer brings on an incredible and thoroughly enjoyable brown ale and coffee experience. You'll experience some excellent depth and complexity here, a fine blend of sugary and sweet malts, rich and bold coffee flavors, with a thick and creamy body. Damn fine...

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Photo of dafla67
4.6/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of MickeyHops
4.43/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of Suds
4.46/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I used to love brown ales in the 1990's, but the style seems to have been forgotten. I'm so glad to have found a tasty, enjoyable, engaging version of the style. The beer is a dark brown, yielding some amber hues only when held to the light. There is a slim off-white head. The aroma has lots of malt, caramel, and some nut notes. The taste is medium-dry with some bitterness and malt notes. Full in body and very rewarding. I loved this one.

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Photo of Darkmagus82
4.4/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured from bottle into a snifter
Appearance – Appropriately the beer pours a coffee colored dark brown with a head of tan colored foam. The head has a great level of retention, very slowly fading over time to leave a ton of thick foamy lace on the sides of the glass.
Smell – The aroma is big, sweet, and woody. There is a huge caramel and molasses smell that is matched by a roasted malt and a big showing of coffee. Along with these aromas comes some oak aromas and a decent showing of a ice boozy bourbon smell. The beer smells like a sweet mild brew of coffee with a couple shots of bourbon mixed within. Delicious!!
Taste – huge malty tastes of roasted malt and coffee great the tongue along with some sweeter flavors of caramel and molasses balancing them out, and producing a nice base flavor for the beer. While light upfront, the bourbon flavor really begins to amp up as the taste moves forward on the tongue, getting quite delightfully boozy more toward the finish of the taste. At the same time some oak and char along with an earthy hop also comes to the taste accentuating the bourbon flavors quite well. While so, more caramel and a bit of an almost creamy like taste come to the tongue and leave one with a robust boozy roasted coffee flavor to linger on the tongue.
Mouthfeel – The body of the brew is somewhat chewy with a carbonation level that is lower. The lower carbonation accentuates the chewy and thicker feel and really allows the big boozy and sweet coffee flavors to be savored.
Overall – This is one big and robust sipper for sure. Dark, sweet and very robust. A very nice nightcap on a cool fall day!!

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Photo of von_kaiser
4.25/5  rDev -3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of Budlum
4.49/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of HungarianCount
4.52/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of JakerLou
4.46/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of jrpapajcik
4.64/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

At home from the bottle.

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Photo of kojevergas
4/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Currently rated #1 in the American Brown Ale category and #502 overall.

BOTTLE: 2019 vintage. A 4-pack ran me $12.99 USD plus tax at a beer store in New Orleans, LA. 12 fl oz format with brown glass and a pry-off crown cap. Bottled On: 08.07.19. 1657 6.

11.9% ABV. "Imperial Brown Ale brewed with Sumatra Coffee Aged in Bourbon Barrels."

Served chilled (I'll chime in with fridge temp notes later).

BODY: Deep amber-brown with some translucence at the bottom of my nonic pint. Too dark to be transparent enough to see any yeast/lees within, but I can't find any looking closely at my glass; appears filtered.

HEAD: Sits there a good 6 minutes after the pour, starting at ~4cm and receding to 2cm within 2 minutes, then slowly dying thereafter, leaving behind vestigial webby lacing. Creamy, frothy, soft, and supple.

Definitely an inviting appearance for a brown ale. Looks well-carbonated. While not overtly brown per se, its dark amber hue is beckoning enough.

AROMA: The bourbon notes are incredible - decadent vanilla bean, toasted coconut, subtle barrel sugars, vibrant oak...a knockout bourbon aroma up there with the best bourbon barrel aged beers I've encountered (including Founders' own Backwoods Bastard).

Earthy coffee is present, bringing mellow roastiness and balancing bitterness to the vanillin sweetness from the barrel notes. What I'm missing here is much of anything aroma-wise from the base beer; I'm having trouble finding any brown malt sweetness or nutty notes lurking beneath the bourbon barrel, so I'm worried the bourbon barrel will eclipse the base beer.

Aromatic intensity is moderately high. Shockingly mellow for an 11.9% ABV beer. Promises a terrific bourbon barrel flavour and a nice coffee character but it doesn't bring the goods when it comes to a base brown ale.

No off-notes are detectable. Lacks any alcohol heat. No overt hoppy aromatics.

TASTE & TEXTURE: Silky smooth, comfortingly soft, impossibly light-bodied for its ABV, and gentle on the palate. Carbonation is perfect. It's not thin or weak, but it has a very soft silky presence on the palate that makes it more approachable than it probably should be for 11.9% ABV.

Vanilla is up front (probably barrel vanillin), giving way to a splendid bourbon barrel flavour redolent of subtle toasted coconut, white oak barrel sugars, and still more vanilla...has some of the best bourbon-barrel derived vanilla flavour I've experienced.

Earthy coffee weaves its way in, never injecting much roasty flavour (to its detriment) but lending mellow balancing bitterness which is much needed without going over the top into acrid or harsh territory.

The base beer does get a bit eclipsed by the bourbon barrel character as I feared, but I do get a general malty sweetness in addition to scintillae of nougat, candied walnut, treacle, and chocolate sugar. Hershey's Chocolate syrup lands in the third act, making it a biteen too sweet towards the finish for my tastes. It's a minor gripe, though - for the most part this beer nails an ideal level of sweetness given what it's going for. Though I can't help but think a more aggressive coffee and some roasted barley additions would bring this into neater balance.

Gets gooey as its flavours taper off, landing thicker on the finish than its silky light open might have you expect.

OVERALL: A silky delicious ale - more bourbon barrel ale than brown ale proper - that is a must-try at its reasonable price point. Up there with Founders' other bourbon barrel aged marvels (Backwoods Bastard, KBS), but its coffee character doesn't rival that of Founders' own Breakfast Stout, which is a bit of a let down, and those hoping for a traditionally nutty brown ale - or an American brown with more aggressive hoppy flavours - would do best to look elsewhere. Too imperialized to be regarded accurately as a true brown ale, but absolutely worth trying and a beer I'd happily buy again.

Afterthought: Notice how (some of) the best bourbon barrel aged beers have an age statement regarding time spent in the barrels, and it's often at least 1 year.

Just exquisite. The kind of beer that makes me entertain taking up cigar-smoking.

Low A- (4.02) / EXCELLENT

09/11/19 bottle at fridge temp:

A bit more subdued than when served merely chilled, but undoubtedly a great beer. Its creamy silky soft mouthfeel is an ideal cushion for the vanilla-forward bourbon barrel flavour. Has no bourbon warmth.

About as sweet as a beer can get without becoming a chore to drink 12-16oz of.

I'd serve this chilled in the future, but if you take your time drinking it (which is hard to do given its deliciousness and how buried its ABV is) I could see one enjoying the flavours surface and come into focus it comes to temp.


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Photo of Nunya
4.4/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of cjgiant
4.22/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle dated 8/2019:
Coming out of the bottle, the beer is a medium brown, and looks pretty clear. In the glass, it is a a much deeper brown, though still distinguishable from black. A beige head hits a decent height with a fairly aggressive pour, and that head leaves a curtain of lace as I just let it sit and settle. A thick circle surrounds a large island and continues the lacing for the rest of the glass.

The aromas fit the morning time, with the coffee being the leader. There's a little bit of vanilla and just a hint of chocolate coming from a heavily toasted (but not burnt) bread. The bourbon sneaks into the nose after I've taken a handful of sips.

At first taste, I am a little surprised to find the beer a little lighter than expected. The carbonation is light, and the flavors are fairly bold, giving a certain richness. And while the beer isn't too sweet, it also isn't that dry. Yet the beer does not seem to weigh on my palate. My best guess is that the bite from the alcohol is aiding in giving this lighter impression to me.

The opening note does have a bit more of dark toast with a little bit of wooden bitterness helping with that brown ale characteristic. The coffee doesn't power through things like I felt it did in Sumatra Mountain Brown. It's definitely there, but it's sharing so nicely with the vanilla, oak, and very light bourbon spice that they seem to lessen each other's influence enough to let the toasted malt come through.

Somehow, this worked better as a brown ale than the original for me. It's still far from traditional and likely belongs in a different category, but overall I did enjoy drinking this brew.

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Photo of jzlyo
3.94/5  rDev -10%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Aroma is malts, sweet caramel and mild bourbon. The flavor is coffee, malts/slightly nutty, chocolate and a medium sweet/caramel/a hint of sour finish.

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Photo of archero
4/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of McHenry
4.71/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Photo of BEERchitect
4.25/5  rDev -3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Every fan of Founders Brewing knew that their Sumatra Mountain Brown had it in them. That is a bourbon barrel treatment. Under the careful watch of the brewers, this imperial coffee brown ale sees its full potential.

Dark brown in its pour, the faintly hazed brown ale crowns with a slight tarnish froth. Above it all swirls a sultry scent of coffee, bourbon, caramel, chocolate, caramel and candied nuttiness to draw the senses closer and closer. Honey flavors laced with bourbon creep onto the early palate with the strong overtones of chocolate, toffee, caramel, coconut and vanilla having a soothing, creamy effect.

As the strong malt sweetness wraps around the tongue, the caramel, toffee and chocolate are careful not to dwarf the coffee additions which brings its own earthy and soilish roast to the middle palate. Nutty with toasted pecan, the additional taste of bread crust, toasted coconut and semisweet chocolate bring a softness to the late palate while the ale tries to offer a broad and woodsy bitter balance.

Full bodied from the sweetness of whisky and caramel malts, the beer has a surprising lightness that offers a unique drinkability. But with a linger of sweet and spicy bourbon, the nuances of coconut, vanilla and oak extends into a coffee fueled aftertaste of Irish coffee done right.

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Photo of Quackershnoc
4.49/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: thick, muddy brown color; two fingers of frothy khaki head

Aroma: coffee; chocolate; nutty; malty; sweet; oak

Taste: starts with a bit of chocolate; moves into a toasty malt profile with chocolate and coffee overtones; nutty notes on the back with more coffee and hints of chocolate; oak and vanilla come through the finish with a hit of boozy warmth

Mouthfeel: liquid velvet; creamy; frothy; perfect

Overall Impression: dang, this is a really great beer; I am very impressed with the amount of flavors, the complexity of the tastes, the balance...I don't quite know what to say about it; the mouthfeel is amazing--perfect 10 if there ever was one; absolutely delicious

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Underground Mountain Brown from Founders Brewing Company
Beer rating: 96 out of 100 with 416 ratings