Bolt Cutter
Founders Brewing Company

Bolt CutterBolt Cutter
Write a Review
Beer Geek Stats: | Print Shelf Talker
Style:
Barleywine - American
ABV:
15%
Score:
91
Avg:
4.09 | pDev: 11.98%
Reviews:
246
Ratings:
1,360
From:
Founders Brewing Company
 
Michigan, United States
Avail:
Retired (no longer brewed)
Wants
  215
Gots
  669
SCORE
91
Outstanding
Bolt CutterBolt Cutter
Notes: Bolt Cutter is a cellarable barley wine with an ABV of 15%. Dry-hopped with a mountain of Cascade hops, it’s balanced by a malty sweetness and spicy complexity, resulting from barrel aging some of it in bourbon barrels, some in maple syrup-bourbon barrels and some not at all (standard fermentation only). We’ve allowed the beer to mature in bottles and kegs since July so that it would be perfect for its release next month. Bolt Cutter pours a deep copper color and is best sampled at different temperatures to allow the flavors to unfold.
Reviews: 246 | Ratings: 1,360 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of SFC21
SFC21 from Florida

4/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Bottled in 2012, so just about 8 years of sleep on this big guy.

Look is rusty/copper body that still has some carbonation left. Nose is butterscotch, dark bread, and sweet potato. The nose barely carries over to the taste, though, as the hops and 15% ABV takes over. A lot of bourbon notes, overripe orange, big, earthy hops and a slightly medicinal finish. Pretty smooth and not a lot of heat considering the ABV. I cellared this one as the initial reviews in 2012 said it was too hot and needed time. I'm glad I did, this aged really well.

Aug 13, 2020
Photo of TreyIsWilson
TreyIsWilson from Michigan

4.19/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A - Pours a clear amber with a thin off white head. Light amount of soapy lacing.

S - Aroma is caramel, oak and bourbon.

T - The taste is toffee, caramel, grapefruit rind, oak, piney hops and bourbon.

M - Medium body with medium carbonation. Sticky mouthfeel with a dry mouthfeel.

O - After 7 years this is still a big bad beer. The flavors are pretty well rounded with a big boozy finish.

Dec 22, 2019
Photo of Joe_Tool
Joe_Tool from New Jersey

4.09/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Let this one sit. Got a case of it back when they were making it. A bunch of my good friends took some off of me so I didn't have to tell the wife I spent $220 on a case of beer. I said let them sit for 5 years as it was horrible then. It improved a lot but was a bit of a disappointment. Still hot and cloying. If you still have one, wait. It's not worth cracking it yet. It may never get there but it certainly isn't yet.

Jun 16, 2019
Photo of dafla67
dafla67 from Pennsylvania

4.5/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Just drank a bottle last week (March 2019). Simply awesome. Pour a murky amber. Aroma of pine, bourbon & malt. Tastes so smooth even after 7 years. Full bodies. I am a Barleywine fan and this is one of my all time favorites. Needs to come out of retirement, more so then a third year in a row of CBS (and I really like CBS as well).

Apr 04, 2019
Photo of GuyFawkes
GuyFawkes from Illinois

4.25/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Bottled 2012; drank 2/27/14.

Murky bright orange hue.

Bright white head; minimal lace.

Thick, sticky mouthfeel.

Oak, caramel, smoke & grapefruit flavor; age hasn't harmed this sturdy monster one bit.

Feb 19, 2019
Photo of GregBarleycorn13
GregBarleycorn13 from New York

4.66/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Had in the cellar the last 6 years. I can't remember a better barleywine I've had in a long time. Still a great aroma and taste was all that a barleywine should be. Even after six years. Too bad it's not being made anymore.

Mar 25, 2018
Photo of Davepoolesque
Davepoolesque from Massachusetts

4.08/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottled in 2012, 15th Anniversary Ale. Another one of the first beers I ticked away in my "cellar". This must have been a beast back in the day. Pine, chocolate, caramel, toffee and oak. Medium bodied. Still lots of pine resin, dry bitterness. Eh, Big American Barleywines aren't really my bag. This is still going strong. Could probably easily age another 5 years.

Jan 19, 2018
Photo of Tony210
Tony210 from New Jersey

4.68/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Pours dark amber, minimal head
Smells of maple syrup, cola, slight bourbon.
Thick, syrupy deliciousness, some bourbon, some maple syrup, touch of cola on he finish.
Thick, full bodied
O. Right up my alley

9/19/17
Draft st a Prohibition Pig
4.75 rating

Sep 19, 2017
Photo of bobv
bobv from Vermont

4.21/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Moderate pour yields a 3/4 inch slightly off white head over a medium amber / mahogany body with some nice lacing. Nose of raisins, alcohol, and a little bit of hops that are still present after more than 4 and a half years in the bottle. As it warms other aromas come out; bourbon soaked dark fruit and fruit cake. Taste follows with a malt sweetness and a bit of sweetness from the maple/bourbon barrel part of the blend. As it warms the flavors change as well, with some caramel, molasses, and brown sugar flavor coming out after a while and there is also a little spice thing going on as well. Oh, the booziness hasn't changed at all! Ha! Feel is almost syrup-like, with not quite medium carbonation. Wow! Overall, I'm glad I held onto a couple of these.

Mar 05, 2017
Photo of mitch3114
mitch3114 from New York

4.96/5  rDev +21.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

My holy grail barleywine. I remember when this came out in 2012 I couldn't really afford a 20.00-25.00 bottle of beer. Most of the beverage centers around had it and one by one the bottles were going.

There was this one place in Saratoga that had one bottle left for like a year. I finally decided to pull the trigger and when I went there it was gone. Now, 2017 I stumbled across it in the day after a founders tap takeover at the Ruck in Troy.

Four years has aged this beer into a magnificent journey. Raisins and dried fruits, brown sugar and nicely mellowed hops all blend together nicely into a very enjoyable beer that was every bit that I hoped for

Feb 05, 2017
Photo of scottfrie
scottfrie from California

3.78/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

750ml bottle into tulip. 2012.

A: Pours a dark caramel/ruby color with a thin short lived cap of dark tan foam that faded into a fuzzy and long lasting collar. Spots of soapy lace was left down the glass.
S: Super sweet almost syrupy nose with notes of candy fruit and tons of caramel and leather. Very rich and potent smelling. I get hints of vanilla and a touch of spice. The booze is noticeable but not hot.
T: Super rich and potent barleywine flavors, but amplified. I get the usual notes of caramel, leather, tobacco, and raisin, but everything is taken to eleven. Very intense flavors. Flavors are also on the stupidly sweet side, to the point of syrupy, but I wouldn't say this is cloyingly sugary. Leafy hop bitterness lingers long after the swallow. The bitterness throughout pokes through the sweetness. Booze is noticeable in the aftertaste with a kiss of warmth but it's not hot. Hints of bourbon, hints of chocolate, hints of maple syrup.
M: Thick body, heavy sticky syrupy mouthfeel, super sweet and super bitter. Soft low carbonation. Sticky. Booze is actually fairly smooth. You can tell from the booze its a heavy beer but the booze isn't hot.
O: One of the most intense barely wins I've had. Flavors on the sweeter side, but overall it all kinda works well together. Just super intense overall, very potent. Bitterness is intense.

Sep 27, 2016
Photo of ryan1788a5
ryan1788a5 from Massachusetts

4.15/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

750ml bottle poured into a snifter.

A: Red-orange in color with great clarity. No head at all, and only pencil-thin wisps of lacing.

S: Sweet malt base of bread, toast, caramel, and treacle. The hopping has faded but still holds some power as spicy and earthy aromas pull through easily. Pine and wet forest floor. Faint whiffs of bourbon and oak.

T: Caramel, treacle, toasted biscuit, bread crust. Pinch of cocoa. Still a big pull of spicy and earthy hops. Pine and bark. Faint cardboard. Fruit skins. Ever so slight tease of bourbon and oak. Alcohol rides up a bit, but never gets distracting. Long earthy and toasty finish.

M: Huge, thick body. Very chewy. Alcohol warms through and through. Still plenty of prickling carbonation.

O: Four years in the cellar and I feel this beer very easily could do double that time and then some. Though the hops have calmed down a little, they still pack a punch. Alcohol is taming itself nicely. I really wish I had another bottle. This is an excellent American barley wine that is built for the cellar.

May 16, 2016
Photo of jmasher85
jmasher85 from Maryland

4.4/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Classic American barleywine, but taken to that super cool level that only the great breweries like Founders reach. It starts of heavy and rich, with some brown sugar, molasses, some bourbon and cognac flavors come through as well. Not much maple syrup, but it could be buried under all the other flavors. The dry hopping was well done and the hops have held up rather well after all these years, though they are very smooth, floral, and aromatic, possibly more so than they originally were (but I'll never know...). The feel is thick, heavy, almost devoid of carbonation, and still pretty hot and boozy. But this is a gorgeous sweet, semi-bitter, and incredibly complex beer that I could sit sniffing all day and never get tired of finding new dimensions to. Hope to see this one again!

Apr 03, 2016
Photo of mjpolzin
mjpolzin from Wisconsin

3.75/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Waited 3 years to finally crack this bottle and it turned out to be a let-down. It was sweet and very hoppy and those two components do not mesh well together. Maybe more time will allow the flavors to work better together but right now I didn't enjoy this beer.

Dec 30, 2015
Photo of bound4er
bound4er from Wisconsin

4.07/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Amber, semi turbid appearance with a thin off white head that recedes quickly. Smells very complex with turbinado sugar,cinnamon, burnt straw, weed, orange pith and booze. Taste is nice but doesn't quite live up to the smell. Displays malt sweetness - almost citrus like, slight weediness and some alcoholic heat. Finishes with good lingering piney bitterness. Mouthfeel is medium bodied. This is an enjoyable Barleywine from Founders. Not sure I would have wanted to drink this upon release given that even now it is a chore to finish a half of bottle.

Dec 27, 2015
Photo of Cylinsier
Cylinsier from Pennsylvania

4.24/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

22 oz from a friend's stash

Pours a hazy amber gold. Yellowish film for a head.

Aroma of aged malts, brown sugar, and grains.

Tastes of maple, brown sugar, and hints of scotch whisky.

Feels thick and viscous. Light sting of carbonation and booze on the tongue. Warms going down.

Excellent barelywine with some great age to it. Very worth having.

Dec 19, 2015
Photo of rodbeermunch
rodbeermunch from Nevada

3.59/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Came out an amber and gold color, half inch of head, beigeish in color. Looked pretty.

Aroma was heat, a substantial amount of hops, honey, sweet.
Taste drove a shit ton of caramel, hops and booze into my gullet. Plenty sticky stuff. Motuhfeel brought out waves of bitterness as it warmed. Would like to try a less boozy version of this beer, or maybe some kind of adjunct or a greater percentage of barrel aging to give a little more depth here.

Dec 09, 2015
Photo of Phyl21ca
Phyl21ca from Canada (QC)

4/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle: Poured a clear light copper color ale with a medium size foamy head with good retention and some lacing. Aroma of residual sugar notes with light toffee and caramel notes is very nice. Taste is also dominated by residual sugar notes, with some light toffee notes and light caramel notes. Body is about average with good carbonation and light warming alcohol. I was expecting sugar bomb but while this is still a sweet beer I thought it had enough attenuation for the style.

Jul 30, 2015
Photo of smanson56
smanson56 from New Hampshire

4.1/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to @strohme2 for this great 2012 bottle of Bolt Cutter. It poured a fairly clear red orange color with a nice white head. The nose was sharp still holding up to it's 15% abv The taste was smooth and hid the alcohol well. Not much burn in the finish. A great old Barley wine IMO.

Jul 28, 2015
Photo of SomethingClever
SomethingClever from Ohio

4.38/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

3 year old bottle.

Surprisingly still amazingly hoppy reminded you of Double bastard and boozy as well. This beer was intends can not imagine what it was like fresh it still seemed to go down smooth for being 15% ABV.

May 25, 2015
Photo of jlindros
jlindros from Massachusetts

3.16/5  rDev -22.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

2012 vintage rudzud and I sat on for a while waiting for the booze to die down.

Pours a big creamy fluffy head, nice lacing, legs too, mostly clear auburn reddish color.

Nose big sweet candy malts, toffee caramel candy, creme brulee, sweet malts. Aged soft malt with some booze.

Taste is super sweet candy, toffee caramel, nutty, but also bbq sauce like notes, bitter rind hops, chewy sweet syrupy malts, messy malts. Bitter rind finish, boozy alcohol, etc.

Mouth is boozy and boozy, decent carb, but hard to get down.

Apr 25, 2015
Photo of rudzud
rudzud from Massachusetts

2.88/5  rDev -29.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

2012 vintage split with JLindros.

A - Poured into a Kate the Great tulip a crystal clear honey hue with a big one finger head that faded to leave suds.

S - Aromas of sweet malts, bourbon, cardboard, lots of booze.

T - Taste is sticky sweet caramel, cardboard, alcohol is hidden but loads of cloy sugar.

M - Mouthfeel is sticky sweet, cloy, messy.

O - Overall this beer was a complete and utter mess, awful.

Serving type: bottle

Apr 24, 2015
Photo of CraftFan5
CraftFan5 from New Jersey

2.86/5  rDev -30.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 5 | overall: 3

Not sure why this one has such high ratings. The nose was meh, and the flavor was sickeningly sweet. It almost tasted artificial. So glad I didn't drop $28 for a bottle a few months ago.

Apr 20, 2015
Photo of 30MinutesSouth
30MinutesSouth from Indiana

2.45/5  rDev -40.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

A beer legendary for being a hot, unbalanced mess upon its release still lives up to it's rep over 2 years later by being a slightly less hot but just as bad tasting mess.

Mar 23, 2015
Photo of schmidtmattsays
schmidtmattsays from Illinois

3.22/5  rDev -21.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Poured from bottle 3/12/15. Smells like a barleywine - not a particularly good one. Not a lot of booze on the nose for a 15% beer. Getting a lot melon, old hops, and oxidization from the taste. Not very enjoyable - wouldn't pass on a pour but definitely not seeking this thing out at all.

Mar 15, 2015
Bolt Cutter from Founders Brewing Company
Beer rating: 91 out of 100 with 1360 ratings