Bolt Cutter
Founders Brewing Company

Bolt CutterBolt Cutter
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Founders Brewing Company
Michigan, United States
Barleywine - American
4.05 | pDev: 12.1%
Mar 24, 2021
Nov 03, 2012
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.
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Ratings by Thickfreakness:
Photo of Thickfreakness
4.58/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5
by Thickfreakness from New York

Apparently, picked this up a couple of weeks before the actual release... lucky me! Here we go!

A- Poured at just below cellar temp into my Bruery Tulip. A gorgeous copper/amber hue that shows excellent clarity. A thick and fluffy three finger head that holds on nicely as it slowly fades leaving chunks of thick lacing all over my glass! Kinda like looking thru orange blossom honey... clear, yet thick enough to distort whatever lies behind it. Better carbonation than I would have thought.

S- WOW! Caramel candy corn, brown sugar and butter grilled pineapple, ALCOHOL, vanilla sugar, and some toasted nuts. Butterscotch, mango, papaya, marshmallow, sweet pink grapefruit with a nice sweet malt backbone. Picking up alot of hops for an English Style B.W. This has a wonderful depth, but I bet as the alcohol edge mellows in a few years, this one will really shine and become world class.

T- Maple Creme Brulee-Flambe!!! Huge alcohol as I expected from a 15% B.W. so no surprise here! Lots of grilled tropical fruit notes. Like grilling pineapple and mango with a brown sugar butter sauce! Has some little hints of nutty pancakes with light amber maple syrup, marshamallow, caramel rum syrup and freshly scraped vanilla pods. Butterscotch with a shot of dark rum may better describe this fine brew.

M- Nice and chewy like a cinnamon sticky bun with vanilla icing. Really glides down your throat, especially as it warms up. Burns like a nice scotch going down. Like liquid toffee. Carbonation really dies down and becomes thick and viscous as it comes to proper temp. Buttery and honey with a warm glow.

O- This is really fantastic and should develop and get even better with age. Sweet like honey nectar, pineapple, and vanilla caramel candy. Notes of maple syrup, vanilla, tropical fruit and butterscotch... The alcohol is really huge on this one... but that's not something I mind. Really nice on a chilly fall night.

Nov 03, 2012
More User Ratings:
Photo of BeardedWalrus
4.53/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5
by BeardedWalrus from North Carolina

Bottled in 2012, poured into a brandy snifter. Color is a beautiful mahogany brown, with some burnt orange in direct light. Nose is big and sweet, lots of brown sugar and maple. Taste is similar, with sweet caramel, toffee, and oak notes delivering a delicious experience. The feel is slick and sweet, with with a relatively mild body that makes it surprisingly drinkable at 15% abv. Overall, it's another great brew from Founders, and i count myself lucky for having gotten a bottle.

Mar 24, 2021
4.25 by bigred89 from Maryland on Oct 25, 2020
3.75 by jschott75 from Illinois on Oct 17, 2020
Photo of SFC21
4/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4
by SFC21 from Florida

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
4.19/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25
by TreyIsWilson from Michigan

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
4.09/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4
by Joe_Tool from New Jersey

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
4.5/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5
by dafla67 from Pennsylvania

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
4.25/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25
by GuyFawkes from Illinois

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
3.75 by Sammy from Canada (ON) on Feb 17, 2019
4 by brittanylicious from Indiana on Jan 05, 2019
4 by heysuz from Indiana on Jan 05, 2019
3.67 by hopkrid from Florida on Oct 07, 2018
Photo of GregBarleycorn13
4.66/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75
by GregBarleycorn13 from New York

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
3.81 by Warren2621 from Indiana on Feb 25, 2018
3.93 by Futbolmanby from Michigan on Feb 16, 2018
Photo of Davepoolesque
4.08/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4
by Davepoolesque from Massachusetts

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
4.38 by liquorpig from Massachusetts on Jan 06, 2018
4.1 by MrZach76 from Pennsylvania on Dec 30, 2017
3.52 by Mikexw from New York on Dec 01, 2017
4.3 by NolaHopHead from Louisiana on Nov 20, 2017
3.75 by t2grogan from Arizona on Nov 09, 2017
Photo of Tony210
4.68/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75
by Tony210 from New Jersey

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

Draft st a Prohibition Pig
4.75 rating

Sep 19, 2017
4.21 by PrestigeWorldwide from Michigan on Aug 20, 2017
3.47 by marqoid from Arizona on Jul 04, 2017
3.72 by TboneRN from Minnesota on May 29, 2017
4.28 by kidzord from Illinois on May 20, 2017
3.23 by mltobin from Connecticut on May 20, 2017
4 by kylehay2004 from Illinois on Mar 25, 2017
4.12 by Richter525 from Michigan on Mar 15, 2017
Photo of bobv
4.21/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25
by bobv from Vermont

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
4.96/5  rDev +22.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5
by mitch3114 from New York

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
4.49 by jmg480 from Pennsylvania on Dec 07, 2016
3.5 by rspauldi from Texas on Oct 04, 2016
Photo of scottfrie
3.78/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75
by scottfrie from California

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
4.5 by MurphDog14 from Illinois on Jul 19, 2016
4.44 by chillin from Indiana on May 30, 2016
Photo of ryan1788a5
4.15/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25
by ryan1788a5 from Massachusetts

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
4 by tim007007 from Illinois on May 15, 2016
3.84 by DCgolfpro from Maryland on Apr 26, 2016
Bolt Cutter from Founders Brewing Company
Beer rating: 90 out of 100 with 1361 ratings