Founders Bolt Cutter | Founders Brewing Company

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233 Reviews
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Founders Bolt CutterFounders Bolt Cutter
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Founders Brewing Company
Michigan, United States | website

Style: American Barleywine

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 15.00%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
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.

Added by Thickfreakness on 11-03-2012

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

BEER STATS
Reviews:
233
Ratings:
1,328
Avg:
4.01
pDev:
12.22%
 
 
Wants:
211
Gots:
691
For Trade:
67
User Reviews
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Reviews: 233 | Ratings: 1,328
Photo of SawDog505
4.38/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a 20 oz Duvel tulip. Poured aggressive and got a massive 3 inch slightly off white head, that leaves plenty of lacing, with the actual color being a bright clear orange red. Smell is biscuit, pine, apricot, tangerine, carmel, and other fruity esters. Taste is what you would expect from the nose, with a little more alcohol than the nose would have you expect, but very tame for its 15% ABV. Body is medium large, plenty of carbonation, not really dry, and so easy drinking for its size. Founders has done it again, this is a absolute treat and the alcohol is hidden really well.

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Photo of avalon07
4.36/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

A: Poured from a growler to a pint glass. Had a copper color and a clear consistency. There was a small amount of foamy head that quickly dissipated. Fair lacing.

S: A big aroma of hops, caramel, and malt.

T: Tasted of hops (a lot of hops, as you would expect), caramel, malt, and a fruity quality. The booziness of the beer, in spite of the high ABV& isn't an issue. This is a complex, assertive, powerful flavor.

M: A well-carbonated beer with a sharp finish. Full-bodied.

O: Certainly not a session beer, this one is an aggressive beast, but well made and drinkable.

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Photo of BEERMILER12
4.35/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a nice amber/mahogany color with half a fingers worth of off-white head

S: Plenty of hops, along with a big malt backbone and alcohol. As it warms, notes of vanilla, oak, and maple all come out and integrate nicely with the hops and sweet malts

T: Starts off with the sweetness of the malts and then goes into a combination of the hops and alcohol. The alcohol is present, but it doesn't seem like it's 15%. I'd say it seems more like the level of say Devil Dancer or even more comparably to Stone's OG BW (so around 11-12%). As it warms, the barrel notes come out more with vanilla, oak, and maple (same as in the nose). Nicely complex, especially as it gets closer to room temperature

M: Full bodied with moderate carbonation. Creamy and smooth

O: Now that the style (on the site at least) has been changed to American BW and not English BW, it fits the style much more. Definitely a hoppy barleywine with plenty of kick and complexities. The barrels really add a nice dimension to this beer, especially the maple barrels. I can see this one aging very nicely as the hops and alcohol fade and the barrels (should be) shining more

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Photo of sleuthdog
4.35/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into snifter

Appearance: This presents as a light straw or orange color with a minimal half finger size head. Light does penetrate this when held up to the light.

Smell: Hop forward with bread and some spice. I'm getting an orange character as well. Some sweetness in the background with maybe brown sugar or molasses.

Taste: Best way I can describe this is as an orange, grassy, sweet taste. I get a big sweet caramel with some bread notes. This is one big sweet beer.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied and creamy as it coats my palate completely. Alcohol does give a slight burn as it swirls in my mouth.

Overall: I have to say this is not an english style barleywine but rather more an american style barleywine. I really did enjoy this but this is going in knowing not to expect an english style.

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Photo of Stinkypuss
4.34/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pours a reddish amber color with decent clarity on the first pour. Subsequent pours add some yeasty sediment, as this sample has spent much of its life cellared or in the fridge. The aroma is sweet, sugary, and malty. It hides the booze well, but there is some bourbon and clean alcohol to the nose as well.

The flavor has layers of sweetness, going from brown sugar, to molasses, and finally maple. I did not initially know this was a maple bourbon barrel aged beer but as I drank it, the characteristics became obvious. The beer has mellowed a bit with age I am sure, it drank like 10-11% ABV beer, not 15% + ABV beer. Nice sweet flavors and a modest alcohol bite.

Overall, this is a nice beer and one that may not have even peaked yet. Founders has at times retired beers only to produce them years down the line. I will hold out hope for this one.

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Photo of tobelerone
4.34/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

I'm revisiting this beer 2.5 years after originally rating it a solid 4. The time in the cellar has rendered this a masterpiece - everything is in perfect balance now, the hops are toned down but there is still a faint bitterness in the finish counterbalancing the massive notes of toffee and brown sugar. Secondary components of oak and whiskey deepen the experience.

I'm a barleywine fanatic and have had many of the world's best at this point. Properly cellared Bolt Cutter is up there near the top of the food chain now. Maybe not that god tier echelon, but close. Wish I had more of these and hadn't drank or traded the half dozen or so I had so early in the game.

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Photo of Resuin
4.34/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a 750 mL bottle into a snifter. I believe this has a couple years of age on it. Reviewed from last night's notes.

Appearance: Pours a deep caramel color and leaves a finger of off-white head.

Smell: Big oak, caramel, molasses, light pine hops, dark fruits. Pretty sweet but manageable; well balanced.

Taste: Sweet caramel, molasses, dark fruits, light hops. The alcohol is well hidden. Nice balance of sweet/bitter/alcohol.

Mouth-feel: Low to medium carbonation with a medium body. Finishes well balanced between bitter and sweet, fairly smooth.

Overall: Definitely a well balanced, big barleywine. I think age has smoothed it out a good amount. Not overly sweet.

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Photo of CloudStrife
4.33/5  rDev +8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750ml bottle poured into a snifter. For my good friend Tim Villard, may this bolt cutter open up the gates of heaven for you.

A: Pours a clear copper brown with a dense off white head. Hard to see any visible carbonation, either very small bubbles or none at all. Laces the sides of the glass nicely.

S: For being bottled around a year ago, the malts smell like they are still in the fermentation tank. Neither bready nor fruity, but still a serious malting. Hops are present with a hint in the background. Bourbon and maple syrup arent very distinguishable but do add a sweet oaky aroma.

T: Fantastic barley wine flavor with a compliment of oak. Real nice blend of malt and hops that really shines with its complexity. Very balanced mix of the bourbon and maple barrels that dont overwhelm but instead add depth. Touch of sweetness in the finish, lingering malt aftertaste.

M: The beer hits the tongue with a creamy full body that has low carbonation. Finish leaves some stickiness as expected with the flavors this beer holds. Alcohol has settled down a good deal since I had it last year. Certainly something you want to sip on.

Overall a very well constructed brew that I feel is under-appreciated. Sure it has bourbon barrels and maple barrels and those flavors dont overwhelm your senses. Instead it is about a smooth complex blend that is; easy drinking yet serious, mild yet complex and strong but tame. Glad I set down this bottle, again Rest In Peace my good friend Tim Villard who thoroughly enjoyed strong barleywines.

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Photo of mntlover
4.33/5  rDev +8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a hazy burnt copper color with a nice one finger cream head from a bar pour lasts quite a while. Lots of pretty lace from such a small head. A beautiful looking brew.

Aroma is big malty notes,biscuit notes and lots of caramel, maple sticky goodness all around. Nice big fruit notes with spicy alcohol seems like sherry more to me then bourbon but its all good whatever is going on.

Taste is nice big malt sugary goodness with nice sherry like alcohol notes I swear it seems more like sherry to me of well. It all blends perfect eh 15% tastes more like 10%. Somewhere in the middle good citrus notes come out and keep this from being cloying. Instead its a big kick your butt tasty sipping brew that is hard to put down. Only draw back I see is what I paid for my 10oz pour.

Mouthfeel is well seems light for such a big brew I would say only medium.

Overall very drinkable for such a big brew. Happy I found it on tap on my vacation .

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Photo of lovindahops
4.33/5  rDev +8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

After being the dd for the wine and chocolate festival at the fair, I definitely deserved to open one of my two bolt cutters.

A- With an aggressive pour, bolt cutter pours a reddish amber body with a solid head of tan foam that rises to the top of my surly tulip. As the head recides, remnants of the foam drift to the edges of the glass. Strong carbonation rips through the glass

S- sweet caramel and earthy tones lead off a richened fruit presence. Some vanilla oak and slighlty sweet syrup are present in this bold barleywine

T- Very strong surge of butterscotch and fruit like candy is galvanized as the predominant characteristics from the get go. An earthy presence flows through with an extreme presence of hoppiness characterized by piney flavors. Certainly bold but masking the alcohol well throughout the tasting. Really a big sweet barleywine flavor as was hoping for

M- A little thin but still sweet and clinging to the pallet

O- I really enjoyed this as an all out flavor assault for a barleywine. I wish I could sense the bourbon that everyone mentioned but nevertheless this is a wild brew that some aging will do well. I'm looking for a few more of these. Thanks founders!

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Photo of PeterIngemi
4.33/5  rDev +8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 750ml into a duvel glass

A: a beautiful brownish ruby amber, more ruby then anything, I get a massive two fingers of caramel covered head, that shows excellent retention, dissapating slowly and leaving tons of sticky lacing.... Beautful

S: surprising amount of dry hop aroma on the nose, I read that they dry hopped this one with a mountain of cascade hops, but still ... Very nice rich caramel/toffee aromas... Some nice light fruit notes as well, pinneapple and mango nice topical aroma, brown sugar, and some nice oak notes...

T: yum... This brew is deffinatly sweet, but I feel like the dry hopping rounds it out nicley.... This beer taste like tropical fruit covered on brown sugar with a touch of maple and burbon... It wasn't until tasting this that unread further into the beer to discover it is a blend of unaged, burbon barrel aged, and maple burbon aged, portions of the same beer.... Nice! I feel like the barrel aged components really round this out nicley, adding hints of maple syrup and burbon soaked oak... Very well rounded and very delicious.

M: heavy, full, luscious, with lower creamy carbonation, this brew is a touch syrupy but just right... A bite of bitter pine comes trough in the finish, drying the palate, and leaving a bitter residue in the mouth.

O: this is a great beer, very nicley done, wonderfully rounded... It is a very big barleywine, id love to see what a few years would do here.

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Photo of MacQ32
4.33/5  rDev +8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Poured slowly to a beautiful amber/red, I began pouring pretty agressively to ensure at least a decent finger of head, the head slowly rose up to a two finger stack of amber/caramel colored fluffly goodness. About 5 minutes later only a thin thin layer remains across the surface, outer ring and lacing is 10/10.

S - Mostly scotch-boozy, bready caramel sweetness and sweet brown sugar, definitely some citrusy/resinous hop aromas, and warm fuzzy feeling spices.

T - Holy tits. Lots of alcohol burn to it, but the burn isnt too strong if that makes any sense at all. Kind of like drinking a mild scotch, or a slightly watered down buttery scotch with some resinous hop qualities. Spices and sweet brown sugar/molasses/caramel mix in with the boozyness - after the initial boozyness is done rocking my palate. Traces of orange and grapefruit are evident, definitely some strong spices that balance well with the boozy qualities, although I cant pinpoint it with the glorious gangbang of flavors my mouth just endured.

M - Full bodied, if the mouthfeel was a SAT percentage rank, it'd be in the top 95% for sipperness. Medium/less carbonation, appropriate.

O - I've had scotch beers that remind me of scotch more than beer. This is like a scotch beer that is all beer (and lots of scotchy flavors). Figure that one out.

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Photo of vobr0002
4.33/5  rDev +8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- brownish amber in color, murky appearance with white head that lingers.

S- boozy, toffee, caramel, bread, floral, slight citrus.

T- caramel, toffee, sweetness. Very thick and lots of hop bitterness. Lot of alcohol warmth and some bourbon on the back end.

M- thick full body with lots of carbonation.

O- this is a very good beer. Well worth seeking out and enjoying. Easy sipper.

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Photo of ncketchum
4.33/5  rDev +8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served cellar temp into a pint glass, split with my dad and sister over thanksgiving leftovers

A - Pours a murky honey-brown, three fingers of brown-orange head, good retention and lacing

S - malt forward nose, caramel, followed by hops and a little burn of alcohol

T - as with the nose, malt and breadiness up front, sweetness of caramel and maple syrup, then a rather large hop presence at the same time as the alcohol starts its subtle, slow burn

M - smooth, thick, and warming

O - excellent barrel aged barleywine, nice balance of hops and malt, aging in the different barrels gives a good amount of complexity. A great offering from Founders, happy to have had the opportunity to get my hands on this one.

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Photo of mdaschaf
4.32/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Poured a very nice orange color with a one finger off-white head with great retention, lasting for the majority of the time it took to drink it. Sticky lacing forms down the sides.

S: Wow, surprisingly hoppy, lots of pine and citrus upfront with some caramel, toffee, and oak that come forward. Lots of vanilla comes out in the middle. It was rather resiny with a little bit of alcohol at the end.

T: More hops upfront, very piney mixed with some grapefruit. The hops transition to some caramelized sugar, vanilla, bourbon, oak, and a little bit of maple.

M: Medium to full bodied with moderate carbonation. Slightly boozy, but it doesn't really impede the drinkability.

O: As someone that isn't a huge barleywine fan, I liked this beer quite a bit, probably because of the barrel aging. Surprised at how hop forward it was, but I am sure this will fade with time. Great beer to have for thanksgiving dinner.

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Photo of deltatauhobbit
4.32/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a nice amber color, not much of a head though and no lacing.

Smell has huge sweet malt aroma, caramel being the most dominant, some toffee, decent citrus hop presence at first but soon is pushed out of the way by the malt, can pick up some alcohol which isn't that surprising considering its strength.

Taste is very malt heavy yet the citrus hops are surprisingly strong and help balance the flavor from being too sweet, also surprising is the lack of heat, the alcohol is definitely there and present but much tamer for a young 15% barleywine than I would have thought.

Very tasty and normally I would recommend aging barleywines but the current citrus hop presence ages a lot and will only fade with time.

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Photo of AndyAvalanche
4.32/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

750 ML bottle poured into a Duvel Tulip Style glass. Liquid comes out a nice autumn amber brown color that glows a hearty leaf changing autumn red when held up to the light; absolutely perfect clarity. There's a nice almost orange creamsicle colored head with mostly small bubbles present. Gave it a hard pour and it sticks around for a little while, even just a skimming at first. Nice lacing and glass retention.

Great smelling beer, might not be the perfect representation of the style, but I dig it; almost as if it were geared towards me. A wee bit of bourbon and a large amount of caramel malts a bit nutty, but high quality nuts like pecans and maybe even some almond. A bit of a deep dark fruits, like raisons, black cherries, apples, dates/figs, and maybe even some apricots added in. A lot going on in the smell and it's good. There's some gentle citrus hops at the end.

Taste is a slight step up. Really don't need to elaborate much on it because it's pretty similar to the smell. The nuttiness isn't quite as strong as the smell, but still present. Bourbon present, but the best parts of it. Sweet grainy and lots of caramel. Nutty again with bitterness and sweetness (like going from pecans to almonds). Again with all the above mentioned fruits; the hops are more detectable in the flavor. You can tell the hops have faded a bit, but I still think the 2 years on this brew has done it well.

Mouthfeel is pretty close to perfect. It's full bodied with a nice lingering flavor without being too heavy; the weight of it actually feels a little light. Good carbonation level, not much of a bite from that. It's not overwhelming but there is some heat from the alcohol, not a burn, just detectable heat. Nice and smooth with an appropriate bitter finish. Nice lingering flavor and a comforting warmth to it. Really nice drinkability. I think this is an under appreciated/under talked about beer (just my opinion). Quality all the way; another great beer from a great brewery.

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Photo of Thirstygoat
4.32/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Poured into a Founders tulip. The head was golden, the beer cloudy, bronze color not translucent.
Before long there's only a bit a lacing.
The smell is about 80% malt, 10% wood and 10% old hops.
The taste pretty much follows the aroma with a bit of sting on the back of the mouth from either the wood or the remnant of the hops. Sweet, as in drink on a very cold day sticky sweet. ( I did.)
An ample mouth feel that coats the throat all the way down.
Cellaring doesn't always produce such satisfactory results. I'm glad I've got another one for next winter

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Photo of Chaney
4.28/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in a 3 Stars Brewing snifter.

A: Poured a very, very saturated oranges color, infinitely sticky, and with lots of lacing left on the glass.

S: Typical American Barleywine scent (not that that's bad): Hop/red wine/red velvet cake batter.

T: So much Imperial Red Ale in this: Hoppy and then some. Reminded my of SN Bigfoot, but just in a bomber. Caramel, pineapple, whole leaf hops, and then some.

M: Sticky and gooey. Not that that's a bad thing……. it's actually a good one. Shit, I dug the mouth on this one.

O: I think this was worth the $$ to spend once.

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Photo of bluejacket74
4.27/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

750 ml bottle, vintage 2012. Served in a snifter, the beer pours a garnet red/copper color with about a half inch light tan head. Head retention is good, and there's a lot of lacing left behind. The brew smells like dark fruit, caramel, vanilla, candied oranges, sweet spices, citrusy hops, wood, and some booze/bourbon. It tastes similar to the aroma, like dark fruit (cherries, raisins), sweet spices, caramel, vanilla, candied oranges, toffee, wood, bourbon/booze, citrusy hops, molasses and some light pine resin. It's mostly sweet tasting, but there's noticeable bitterness too. Mouthfeel/body is full, it's syrupy and coating with low/moderate carbonation. It's not as boozy as I expected for being 15% ABV. I thought this was a pretty good brew, hopefully Founders will make this again in the future.

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Photo of cfrances33
4.27/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle thanks to scud, poured into a Founders snifter.

Pour: Slightly hazy deep orange, with a finger and a half of cream colored, almost tannish head. Leaves some pretty surprising lacing for a 15% monster, and the head hangs around and eventually recedes to a rim.

Smell: Wow. This is super complex. Pineapple and booze up front, that breaks away into a deep bourbon toffee. A yeasty aspect comes in, and is overwhelmed by tons of caramel and butterscotch.

Taste: At first... lots of booze and a significant pineapple and citrus hop presence. Quickly gives way to some toffee and bourbon. As it warms, toffee becomes more pronounced, and a light maple syrup presence. Pretty sweet, but not too much. Barrel comes out towards the end of the glass at its warmest.

Mouthfeel: Quite boozy, but not because of the barrel presence. Bourbon is only present in some light flavors. Very syrupy, and a glass is an hour long process.

Overall: Good beer. Not astounding, but good. I definitely think this has some incredible aging potential.

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Photo of zeff80
4.27/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Poured out a clear, ruby/copper color with a one finger, dark, khaki-colored head of foam. It left thin rings of lace on the glass.

S - It smelled sweet, malty and boozy.

T - This is so boozy. It is malty with caramel, toffee and butterscotch. It had a strong alcohol heat.

M - It was sharp and smooth. A full bodied ale with clean finish.

O - This is a very big, boozy barleywine. Glad I was able to get some and share some.

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Photo of Tucquan
4.27/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had this on 2012-11-22 in Pittsburgh, PA

A - Very hazy orange-brown with 1/3-finger tan head that fades fast and leaves mild lacing. Alcohol legs.

S - Hop floral, citrus, sweet, graham cracker, baked apple, bartlet pear, cherry.

T - Hop forward, dopplebock-like malt, caramel, pine, vinuous, cherry, rasin, apple/pear. Not overly sweet. Lingering bitter/piney finish balanced with enough of the other flavors. Taste improved as it continued to warm

M - Medium-heavy body and light carbonation. Resinous, prickly, not syrupy. Definitely a tongue-coater.

O - Quite good for such a high ABV brew. As a comparison, I liked this more than the Avery Mephistopholes.

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Photo of mverity
4.26/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Bottle courtesy of @heatwave33. Amber brown in color with hints of deep red. Cream colored head, faded into thin wisps and a craggy medium collar. Aroma is of molasses, earthy burnt wood, tobacco, and some earthy spices. Taste is spiced and tobacco up front, faded earthy hops, woody and a touch boozey at the very end. Nice toffee/molasses flavor running throughout too. Nice full body and low to medium carbonation.

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Photo of Rutager
4.25/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Big thank you to Steasy66 and Mrbubbler for each sending me a bottle of this! Two awesome traders.

Appearance. Pours a hazy, deep amber-orange with a finger of thick off-white head that has a slight orange tint to it.

Smell. Big caramel and citrus hops with some brown sugar, a touch of pine, and a good hit of booze.

Taste. Brown sugar, caramel and a bit of maple followed by some citrusy hops and some pine resin. Crazy abv is hidden way to well (though there is a bit of booze).

Mouthfeel. Full body, low+ carbonation.

Overall. Planning to solo this one. It's a sipper but shouldn't be a problem to get through this whole bottle as far as drinkability goes ...that abv may be a different story. Hopefully won't be yelling at my neighbors in my underwear or some shit later on.

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Founders Bolt Cutter from Founders Brewing Company
90 out of 100 based on 233 ratings.
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