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Founders Bolt Cutter | Founders Brewing Company

YOUR RATING = None |
BA SCORE
90
outstanding
233 Reviews
THE BROS
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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 brewlover_z
4.25/5  rDev +6%

This barreled-aged barley wine was absolutely delectable. I was surprised to find even after a solid 21 months of aging that it still had a noticeably boozy influence in the taste. Supremely brewed and with great fullness, Bolt Cutter definitely has established its place among Founders' stupendous high gravity series.

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Photo of HattedClassic
4.24/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Just randomly found a bottle hanging out on the bad side of the shelf surrounded by BMC. Fortunately, I saved it by buying it.

The beer pours some fairly light white creamy and bubbly head that dissipates partially but leaves a film on the top of the beer. Also, a bit of lacing but not much. The beer itself is a hazy, almost opaque copper brown. The beer smell has strong caramel malt sweetness notes. Some fruit sweetness notes exist but are very faint compared to the caramel notes and a tiny hint of alcohol. Other notes include maple oak and slight hints of pine hops that barely noticeable. The taste is extremely sweet with a bit of balanced complexity. The taste shares many of the same notes from the smell. The malt sweetness is the strongest with a molasses taste as well. Light pine hops to balance out the sweetness. The mouthfeel is heavy bodied with low carbonation. The beer is also a bit thick going down but feels pretty good. Overall, a fairly good beer.

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Photo of Hopswagger
4.24/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

P: Pours a beautiful clear ruby red copper body with a bubbly off white head that fizzles to wet bubbly lacing.

S: Rich roasted caramel malt, loads of barley, peppermint candy, caramelized sugar, and astringent booze becomes full force once warm.

T/M: Rich roasted malts and spicy barley continue in the flavor. Spicy bourbon booze that covers the palate with apple peel in the dry finish. Once warmed the sweet maltiness fades to the upstaging spicy barley and heavy booze profile. The finish is much dryer and leaves a resinous pine film behind with butterscotch and faint coffee on the end. Full sticky body with moderate carbonation.

O: Wow this is big time. Booze, spice, barley and great sweet melts. Complexity that changes with different temps and becomes a powerhouse once warmed. Even though the booze erupts in the warmth it's still smooth and refined.

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Photo of Cylinsier
4.24/5  rDev +5.7%
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.

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Photo of brewandbbq
4.24/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

7oz pour for $8.00 at Cask and Vine in Derry, NH.

Presented with a quarter inch of bone head atop a light mahogany body with a haze. A partial skim coat and zero lacing for the duration of the glass.

After the beer warms up the aromatics reveal plenty of alcoholic heft, raisins, toffee, figs, caramel, bourbon, oak, and vanilla.

On the thicker side of medium bodied with a creamy mouthfeel.

Chewy malt, boozy bourbon, and vanilla lead off the palate. A mild bitterness runs underneath the sweet malt and chipped toffee. A warmth on the throat carries form one sip to the next.

Finishes with lingering malt, bourbon, and vanilla.

This is one big Barleywine and the bourbon barrel finish is nicely balanced. Quite a treat to sample on tap in NH.

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Photo of ppoitras
4.23/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

750ml bottle received via Growling at the Moon. Thanks for the brew, Dan!

Poured into a DFH snifter, formed a 1/2" tan head over the clear reddish coppper brew. Head lasts tremendously for such an abv brew, with leggy, going-nowhere lacing. Aroma is fruity, sweet, and boozy.

Taste starts syrupy sweet, a quick fruitiness in the middle, then a strong slap of hops bitterness followed quickly by alcohol. Slight numbness lingers after the swallow. Even so, not as forward with the EtOH as some less abv brews I have had. Mouthfeel is slickery smooth, and drinkability is good. I was fearing a Beast-like affront, but I actually enjoyed this brew, as substantial as it is.

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Photo of maximum12
4.23/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Funny story, & you have to listen, because it's my damn review. We were at a release party & they had trivia contest. We won, but the host had one of the answers wrong. So up my ten-year old girl went to tell the host he was wrong. The guy was big about it & went out to grab a second bottle of Bolt Cutter from his car & gave it to her (well, us!). So, my first thank you ever to my baby girl for a beer! 22 oz. bottle & I loved the story behind the name of this one...one more bonus point.

The pour is a moist, dripping rust. Nose is tame to the point of being lost in the maze: caramel is the one strong component. Vanilla, booze, bourbon emerge as the beer warms past freezing (which we're calling 'summer' in Minnesota right now).

Bolt Cutter has improved immensely with age; it actually tastes like something now, & fresh, it was like drinking high-alcohol air. Booze commits a misdemeanor against my palate & I'm grateful the fireplace is across the room. I'm not saying it's too hot, I like it, but alcohol slam is the first thing I notice. Less a few hundred brain cells, I note the huge chunk of melted caramel, enough vanilla & bourbon to numb what the booziness missed, a sweetness of Belgian candy sugar. Touch of spice. Mouthfeel is thick, & pine comes in with a sappy treacle. Drinkable? Sheeeet. I could drink this like water, you know, if water could kill you in large quantities.

No kidding, this has turned from ho-hum to excellent since the release. Some beers just need some time in the corner to think about what they've done before they behave themselves. This is one. Damn good.

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Photo of jjveverka
4.21/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Out of the bottle, into a goblet glass.
The first thing I notice in the color is a light caramel hue with a small quickly fading head.
The aroma is sweet and inviting with hints of honey and syrup.
The taste starts out light and caramelized but then ends with light hoppiness and pronounced syrup and bourbon nodes.
This beer is high in alcohol but surprisingly sweet and medium bodied. Very drinkable for the barrel aging that it has gone thru.
Overall this beer is excellent, with a great amount of favor. This beer is very complex with lots of different flavors coming at you, caramel, bourbon, syrup, alcohol, and even some dark fruits. I got this beer as a gift but if I can find this brew again I will definitively be making a purchase.

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Photo of StayWounded
4.21/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Found this at a local bottle shop the day after I got engaged. Split with a friend.

A: Not exactly what I was expecting, but nice, definitely much lighter than I expected.

S: Lot's of malt and dark fruit and caramel. Some hoppiness. Already can smell the heat.

T: Reminds me almost more of a spirit than a beer. Lots of caramel and other maltiness, very sweet. Some dryness from the hops towards the back. Alcohol is very evident.

M: Quite a bit of heat, but nice and smooth for what a heavy hitter it is.

O: A good experience. I don't know that I could afford or find this again, but I'm glad I did.

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Photo of superspak
4.2/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750 ml bottle into snifter, bottled in July 2012. Pours slightly hazy deep orange copper color with a 1-2 finger dense light khaki head with good retention, that reduces to a thin cap that lingers. Light spotty soapy lacing clings on the glass, with some light streaming carbonation. Aromas of big caramel, toast, toffee, biscuit, brown sugar, molasses, raisin, plum, fig, orange peel, light pine, clove, oak, light bourbon, light vanilla, floral, grass, herbal, and oak/yeast earthiness. Very nice aromas with good balance and complexity of deep malt, fruity yeast ester, and moderate oak barrel presence; with great strength. Taste of big caramel, toast, toffee, maple, brown sugar, biscuit, molasses, raisin, plum, fig, orange peel, light pine, oak, clove, light vanilla, light bourbon, herbal, floral, grass, and oak/yeast earthiness. Some minimal earthy floral/pine bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of caramel, toast, toffee, maple, brown sugar, biscuit, molasses, raisin, plum, fig, orange peel, light pine, oak, clove, light vanilla, light bourbon, herbal, floral, grass, and oak/yeast earthiness on the finish for a while. Fantastic complexity, robustness, and balance of deep malt, fruity yeast ester, and moderate oak barrel flavors; with zero cloying sweetness or booziness on the finish. Light-medium carbonation and very full bodied; with a very creamy, slick, and lightly syrupy mouthfeel that is nice. Alcohol is well hidden with only a light-moderate warming present after the finish. Overall this is an awesome barelywine. All around great balance and complexity of deep malt, fruity yeast ester, and moderate oak barrel flavors; and very smooth to sip on for the big ABV. A highly enjoyable offering.

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Photo of chugalug06
4.2/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Amazing 1/2 finger, vanilla colored, foamy, frothy head on top of a clouded ruby red brew.

Coconut, roasty, caramel, vanilla, very strong and pleasant. Slight hint of heat.

Whoa, @ 15% I was expecting a ridiculous amount of heat and sugar, that's not the case. Smooth, a bit watery, easy drinking, slight burn on the late after taste, mild carbonation. Strong Iced Tea flavors are rampant, missing much of the tropical barrel flavors found in other BA B-wines. Lots of caramel and toasted malts.

A very nice way to celebrate an anniversary... Highly recommended, it's up with some of the best. Thanks!

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Photo of corby112
4.2/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Pours a slightly hazy golden amber color with tangerine hues and a two finger frothy off-wife head that quickly settles into a thick, lasting cap.  Streaks of soapy lacing left behind.  

Sweet, slightly leathery malt aroma with a complex hop profile balancing out the boozy sweetness.  Citrus/tropical notes of pineapple, tangerine and grapefruit followed by resinous pine, grass, leathery malt, caramel, toffee and biscuit.  There's a touch of alcohol in the nose but more subtle than expected.

Full chewy body with a huge blast of bitter, earthy hops that linger over the sweet and earthy/leathery malts. Dank, bitter and resinous with an earthy/grassy hop bite followed by sweet caramel malt backbone and subtle heat.  Sticky pine needle flavor along with grapefruit and orange peel sweetness countered by caramel malt and toffee toward the finish.  Really well balanced and smooth with the high abv excellently masked.  Would never have guessed that  it was 15%.  Another solid entry in the backstage series but not worth the exorbitant price.

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Photo of inlimbo77
4.2/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750ml, November 2012
The Bruery tulip

A: Pours a slightly cloudy deep orange/amber color. Initially about a full finger of slightly off white head. Actually sticks around a while. Some lacing bits. Seeing some alcohol feet.

S: Getting big hop notes. Big citrus and some piney hints. Then big caramel and toffee underneath that. No bourbon at all unless it comes up later. It does smell sweet on the nose.

T: Up front, you do get some hop bitterness. Some of that orange marmalade, other citrus, etc. Getting nice bready malts. Some slim caramel and toffee. I get that maple sweetness....which I guess is from the barrels. Lots of booze does so its face later as you start.

M: Big medium bodied here. Not as thick as i thought it would be. Some booze.

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Photo of Pencible
4.2/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: This poured a clear gold with moderate off white head.
S: It smelled like strong sugary citrus and candied apricot, with some fresh grapefruit and pine.
T: It tasted like bittersweet citrus and sugar, with some grapefruit and light chocolate and pine. It had a clean and bittersweet aftertaste with alcohol warming.
M: It was fairly thick with moderate carbonation. Nice full body.
D: This was reminiscent of Flying Mouflan, but a little less malt balance. It had a wonderful hop profile in the scent and taste, with a solid body. The alcohol was definitely noticeable, so it needed to be sipped. Age might help mellow, but it would also totally change the character of the brew. I thoroughly enjoyed this beer, and was happy to get to try the rare brew.

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Photo of beerdrifter
4.19/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Picked this up in a great trade with Evan! Crystal clear copper-mahogany pour with a one finger creamy off-white head with decent retention and crazy lacing. Deliciously sweet malty nose with hints of resiny, citrusy hops, pine, butterscotch, wood, and booze. The taste is rich and complex with a strong, boozy, malt forward sweetness with hints of vanilla, tobacco, maple, caramel, dark fruit, tea, oak, and butterscotch. The mouthfeel was really boozy up front, but as it came to temp, it became almost creamy. Still thick and syrupy, but really smooth with a nice warming, bitter finish. Overall, this is one complex and flavorful beer. Would love to see what cellaring does for this one.

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Photo of PieOhMy
4.19/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

A. Oakish amber. Not transparent. Half inch head fades away.

S. Caremel. Burnt sugar. Toffee. Rich roasted malt.

T. Sweet. Malty. Caremel. Honey. Has an earthy resinous flavor. Ends with a big sweet/bitter punch.

M. Full. It's very rich. A honey milkshake!

O. What really stands out is how little booze is present in the flavor of this big bastard. Sugars and malt is what you get here. Very nice.

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Photo of SportsandJorts
4.18/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Appearance: deep reddish orange color. a finger or so of a tannish head that leaves a strong lacing on the sides. opaque but with a slight glow to it with the light

Smell: dark crystal malts, sweet dark fruits, some alcohol, lots of caramel and toffee. fairly light on the bourbon, noticeable maple

Taste: opens with dark fruits and a slightly sweet dark crystal roastiness. transitions to toffee and caramel, maybe some molasses, certainly some maple. Backend is full of hot booze. just a touch of oaky bourbon.

Mouthfeel: sticky and chewy, lots of hot alcohol.

Overall: at a year and a half old, I don't see too much age on this beer. Maybe some dry hopping and such are gone but its not too different then when it came out. still lots of hot booze in it. I think this beer is still not hitting its stride. If i get another I may have to wait till its 5+ years old. Another great founders backstage series.

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Photo of 4DAloveofSTOUT
4.18/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

reviewed from notes taken on 11/30/2012.

poured into boltcutter tulip glass.

Appearance: Copper orange bodied beer with a huge 2 fingers of thick and fluffy white head. Thick lacing coats all over the glass.

Smell: Pine hops. Really sweet pinaapple upside down cake with cherries. Almost a sherry or brandy sweetness in the nose of this beer.

Taste: Pineapple hops start this beer off. Tropical fruits, candied sugar, butterscotch. This beer is really sweet, but it got a bigger hop profile than I would like in an English Barleywine that adds balance. Maybe a little maple and bourbon, you really gotta work to find it though. Its got a bit of a booze kick that you can taste as a touch of astrigency.

Mouthfeel: medium bodied beer with moderate carbonation. Well carbonated beer, but its surprisingly still a little syrupy. Warming booze that slides down you throat.

Overall: I think the is a really good Barleywine. Its leaning more towards an American Barleywine, too much hop presence to be an English Barleywine. Its a really aggressive beer that a little rough around the edges right now. I do feel that this is going to be great with a few years on it. Age this beer and I think this will become alot closer to an English Barleywine in a few years. I wish the barrels had more presence that was the biggest dissapointment from this beer.

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Photo of haazer
4.18/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pretty much the first beer ordered by everyone at the Capones black friday event. Served in a minature 5.5 ounce snifter.

A- The beer is quite a beautiful maroon/amber color. Lots of dark red accents throughout but when put to light this thing glows. The head was a light tan, and suprisingly some lace did appear for this big abv bad boy.

S- The nose presents toffee, caramel malts, and some bourbon highlights that you would expect from this barleywine. There is also some sweet fruits in here which I'm betting come from the cascade hops used.

T- Sweet hard candy, jolly rancher flavor. Not cloying though, but sweet enough. Theres some tofee flavors mixed in. There may actually be more heat from the hops in here than the booze. Booze is felt but its not overbearing. The fruity flavor is there too with a big bitter bite.

M- Full bodied and highly carbed. Very warming body.

O- This is a very good barrel aged barlewine. Definitely let this thing warm up or else you'll taste booze. Founders had this kegged and bottled for about 3 months before releasing, but I'm real curious to see what a year or more would do, as this probably has infinite shelf life.

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Photo of hardy008
4.18/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark amber with a one finger off white head which has very good retention and lacing, especially for such a high abv beer. Smells like toffee, caramel, vanilla, alcohol, and citrus. Smells like this will be very sweet.

Tastes just like it smells. It is sweet with toffee, caramel, alcohol, citrus, and a little vanilla. There is enough hop bitterness to keep this beer from becoming too sweet. The alcohol is noticeable and warming, but there is no alcohol burn. Has very nice flavor, and is just about perfect for a cold winter night.

Full bodied with low carbonation, and a sweet aftertaste. Leaves the mouth feeling sticky. A nice big Barleywine from Founders.

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Photo of Kinsman
4.17/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

First review in a few months and not a bad beer to start back up with. Fills the glass with a beautiful coppery red color and a nice tan head on top.

Beautiful vanilla and oak notes up front with a caramel/toffee undertone. Notable alcohol aroma and even a bit of spice in there to round things out. First sip builds on the nose with a wave of sweet and heat. Bourbon and vanilla along side a healthy kick from the 15% makes for one hell of a barleywine. Definitely a slow sipper. Heavy mouthfeel as expected. Wish I had more to cellar as it's a bit too boozy right now but the price tag will keep me from doing that.

Overall, one can pretty much expect greatness from anything Founders puts out and Bolt Cutter is no different. Not a bad way to spend a quiet Friday evening.

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Photo of PicoPapa
4.17/5  rDev +4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750mL bottle. Pours a slightly hazy medium brown with an inch of frothy head. Lots of lacing. Aromas of booze, citrus hops, raisins, caramel and earth. The taste is malty but with a surprising amount of hops. Bitter with some caramel, dark fruits, and booze. Heavier mouthfeel. This is one of the hoppier barleywines I have had, almost like a boozier Bigfoot. Slow drinker but with over 25oz of this 15% ABV beer that's a good thing. Drinks fairly well for being so high in alcohol. Overall, well made delicious barleywine. Hope I get to have another one.

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Photo of MasterSki
4.17/5  rDev +4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle shared by someone at Zwanze Day. Chris I think? Served in a Zwanze glass.

A - Light off-white foam settles to wisps, a thin collar, and minimal lace. Mostly transparent amber body.

S - Maple, caramel, light vanilla, a hint of bourbon, brown sugar, some nutty notes. There's perhaps a touch of alcohol as this warms up. For an 'American' barleywine there's fairly low hop presence; there's perhaps a bit of pine mingling with the booze.

T - The taste is similar, with notes of rum cake, caramel, maple, honey-drizzled bread, and bit of oaky vanilla. Not a ton of bourbon flavor here; just nice sweet barleywine flavors that manage to avoid getting overly cloying thanks to a low but sufficient amount of hop bitterness. Alcohol is better hidden as well.

M - Some definite alcohol heat at this stage, but nothing overwhelming for 15%. Smooth texture, medium-full body, lower carbonation, and a mildly tannic finish. Perhaps a bit undersized for 15%, but still fairly big.

D - I was skeptical this would be good, but I ended up really enjoying this beer; enough so that I went out and bought a bottle. I suspect it will be excellent in 6-12 months, but it's enjoyable in small quantities right out of the gate. Congrats to Founders on 15 years!

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Photo of russpowell
4.15/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours crimson/chestnut with 3 fingers of fluffy tan head. Insane lacing & above average head retention

S: Some pine & citrus, some boozey cakeyness as it warms

T: Brown sugar, pine in spades, a touch warming booze & woody hops up front along with dryness. Pineapple & grapefruit as this warms with a touch of cakeyness & more pine, just a hint of fruit cake there as well. Finishes with pineyness, backed up by treacle, dryness & pineapple upside down cake (like the kind they had in MREs) , plus a little booze sting

MF: Much chewyness, fairly firm carbonation, skews very hoppy

I liked this, would love to age some, but I suspect all the hoppyness would fade quickly. A sipper. Pricey, but I didn't feel cheated

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Photo of KYGunner
4.15/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Considered honey golden I saw more amber hues under a stiff off white head.

The aroma is more coconut and vanilla with a malty, alcohol or pine backdrop.

Catch a lot of coconut in this with some malty pecan. Mid palate caught creamy marshmallow and whipped cream, It ends with piney hops and a little tinge of booze.

Overall it's a solid and tasty barley wine.

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