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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:
68
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 233 | Ratings: 1,328
Photo of mjtiernan
3.48/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

750ml bottle poured into an oversized snifter.

A: Ruby red with some shades of brown haze. Small cap of foam that disappeared quickly leaving just a ring around the edge. Significant alcohol legs.

S: Big aroma! Malty sweetness, some boozy alcohol, and a solid dose of pine/citrus hops.

T: Big flavor too! Super sweet, lots of oak, pretty boozy and a high dose of hop bitterness for a BA barleywine.

M: Thick and syrupy. Too sweet and boozy to be drinkable. Some alcohol burn in the finish.

O: Not enjoying this. The hops characteristics remind me of FFF Behemoth but overall it’s not nearly as good.

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Photo of JohnGalt1
3.49/5  rDev -13%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours with a short lived off white head even with a fairly aggressive pour... the brew is clear dark orange... only random dots of lacing... I keep looking for legs in the glass.

The nose is nostril coating malty with thick vanilla and maple essence... the bourbon is more than present and the malty sweetness is only balanced by a decent piney hoppiness.

Flavor mirrors the aroma and shows brown sugar and something that I associate with candied pecans... bitterness is thankfully still fairly present after all this time so is a piney/grapefruit zest hoppiness... could use more hops though.

Medium/big bodied with a light carbonation that only accentuates the thickness on the palate... pretty damn hot even after at least 10 months in the bottle.

A bit of a mess at this point, but a bit more refined than when it was first released... I have a couple more but would like to get some to put away for the long haul... I think this one is going to be muddy for quite a while and then emerge a better beer.

3.25/3.5/3.5/3.5/3.5

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Photo of DocJitsu
3.52/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a vibrant, clear, golden amber color, with a small, short-lived light tan colored head. Aromas consist of sorghum and boiling barley wort. There's a candied presence on the nose as well. A bit of alcohol wafts off the top of the glass. The mouthfeel is chewy, a bit oily, and has a slight carbonation scrub on the back of the tongue. The carbonation burns a little more when the alcohol emerges. Sorghum and toffee flavors up front, but the alcohol bitters the flavor too quickly and continues to invade the palate after the finish. The alcohol is just too much. I'm really quite disappointed.

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Photo of Etan
3.53/5  rDev -12%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

750ml into a snifter.

A: Nice bright amber with a decent off-white head.

S: Smells of slightly aged hops, caramel, a bit herbal, strong alcohol.

T: Bitter citrus and pine, dank earthiness, mild cidery sweetness, faint maple, palpable booze.

M: Medium-bodied, moderate carbonation.

O: Honestly, this tastes like an overly bitter, overly boozy American barleywine to me. Not much barrel character to speak of, and the hops and alcohol together give the beer a slightly astringent feel. I don't think aging this will improve it, but who knows.

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Photo of brentk56
3.53/5  rDev -12%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pours a clear amber with a very modest head that quickly fritters away; many leggy strands of lacing, however

Smell: Boozy maple pecan, with caramel and pine undertones

Taste: Maple, pecan and caramel flavors, up front, with the ABV powerfully introducing itself in the middle; piney hops remain, to some extent (despite the age on the bottle), but the finish is much like the start

Mouthfeel: Full bodied with hardly any carbonation

Overall: Interesting concept but it just didn't pull through; there are lots of better barleywines out there

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Photo of dbc5
3.53/5  rDev -12%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

750 ml poured into Duchesse De Bourgogne wine glass. I had this beer on tap at the Founders 15th Anniversary party, but this is my first serving from a bottle. Thought the serving temperature at Founders was a bit too low, so I'm interested to see what I pick up with this tasting.

A: Pours an attractive amber with a 1.5 finger, off white head off a moderately aggressive pour. The head slowly recedes, but leaves a nicely, off white coating across the top of the beer.

S: Picking up a ton of caramel and toffee, as well as a present booziness. There is apparent sweetness in the nose as well. Maybe some vanilla. Hop spiciness is noticeable. Not picking up much bourbon presence.

T: Buttery caramel, booze, and a pretty strong hop presence. The alcohol is fairly present, although the sweetness offsets it somewhat. A slow sipper; I imagine it will take me awhile to work through the bottle. Some vanilla notes in the back end. As the beer warms, I'm getting some faint character from the bourbon maple barrels. Its far more muted than in CBS, but I am tasting a similar character. It definitely isn't a major player in this one, more a minor, background presence.

M: Thick and sticky. Almost an oily character after swallowing, which I attribute to the strong alcohol presence. Fairly low carbonation.

O: Being honest, this one is a bit of a letdown, as I had extremely high expectations when it was announced. I hoped the maple bourbon barrels would have a strong presence and contribute a unique character to the beer. In the end, the barrel plays a minor role in the overall drinking experience. The beer ends up primarily being a big, boozy, hoppy American barleywine. While that isn't necessarily a bad thing, it leaves me wanting a bit more. Will be interesting to see what some time in the cellar does to my remaining 2 bottles.

I do think this is one of the beers that needs to be drank at room temperature. Because some of the unique aspects of the beer are fairly subtle, they get somewhat lost when it is served too cold.

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Photo of axeman9182
3.54/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

10 oz pour in a wine glass at Barcade for their Founders blowout.

Bolt Cutter pours a murky amber, with no visibility through to the other side of the glass. What flimsy bits of foam that are actually present disappear quickly. The nose has some mice malt and barrel components, with aromas of caramel, maple, and brown sugar all commingling. A little bit of a pine hop note shines through as well. While the bourbon is a little more present in the flavor profile, I have to say it's still remarkably smooth for being a 15% beer. Besides, the maple, caramel, and brown sugar all still trump the booziness in terms of intensity. Right at the end though a brash bitterness and a flash of piney hops crash the party. It just doesn't fit, it's akin to a harsh, jangling chord ringing out against an otherwise nice piece of music. The carbonation is nicely muted, but the body is noticeably syrupy, just a bit too much. As is, Bolt Cutter is an alright beer (though not up to Founders' usual standards). I think some time to let the out of place dry hop portion that was shoehorned into the blend mellow will do it some good though.

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Photo of HuskyinPDX
3.55/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.25

Bottle opened on 6.2.13

A - Pours a dark orange-light brown, clear, with a small light tan head with good retention.

S - Caramel, booze, oranges.

T - Caramel, bitter orange, lots of booze heat.

D - Good carbonaiton with a medium body. Good heat and bitterness.

O - Caramel is nice, but he thin and hotness with a bit to much bitter orange.

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Photo of GreesyFizeek
3.56/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On tap at MacGregor's Grill and Tap Room in Henrietta, NY.

Pours a hazy dark orange, with no head or lacing at all.

Aromas include bourbon, brown sugar, citrus, and molasses.

The taste is similar. The flavors are weirdly muted all around. There's a little bit of maple syrup flavor, with more brown sugar, honey, and molasses, and a medium to high bourbon presence. Still boozy at this point.

Medium bodied, a little thin for a BA barleywine. Sticky mouthfeel.

A bit of a disappointment, really. I've had much better BA beers from Founders.

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Photo of DubbelTrubbel
3.56/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Poured into small tulip glass

A- Clear ruby red body, poured a creamy white-tan head

S-earthy hops, toasted malt, hints of chocolate, brown sugar, spices. Strong, varied aroma

T- Quite bitter, weighing up to an intense toasty, only slightly sweet maltiness. alcohol. Only some faint barrel characteristics, these are probably gone for good

M- Slick, leaves a pleasant oiliness in the mouth

O- I think this beer could age just about forever. Quite strong and bitter still, could use some mellowing

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Photo of tut2528
3.58/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

thanks to sleuthdog for opening this at the tasting!

A: pours more like an Irish Red Ale, with a deep red-orange color with about a 1/2 fingers worth of head formation that is slight beige in color. This looks like an IPA. There is even some transparency.

S:There is a huge hop note, strong sweet fruit punch, bread, biscuit, alcohol burn, grass. This really isn't what i was expecting...

T: This is such a weird tasting brew, and the complexity is very straightforward. Its got a sweet caramel, with big grassy hop note, some orange-peel with a ass load of creaminess in the finish.

M: medium bodied, alcohol definitely felt on the lips along with the creaminess

O: very nice brew, and definitely grassy hop forward. definitely would be interesting to see how this develops. the most intriguing part is the huge creaminess in the the finish which allows to mask the 15%. overall, a solid brew, but not the best of the style. I honestly feel this falls in between an American BW and a English BW.

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Photo of rodbeermunch
3.59/5  rDev -10.5%
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.

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Photo of thecheapies
3.62/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.75

Pours a warm red-orange color with a thin collar of manila foam. Looks quaint in the Church Brew Works taster tulip.

Weird soapy yeasty aroma that caught me by surprise. Light caramel, hint of woodiness, and citrusy hops. Very mellow. Not a good start.

Woah. Grapefruit hops, barrel wood, whiskey notes, and the mildest of caramel notes. Of course, I forgot a big solvent-y booze note that I'm not fond of. Not very sweet, but it is decently medicinal. Hints of stone fruits, but I think that's hop-related, too.

Tuned-up way too high. Booze-forward, majorly. Body is pretty thin for the style, too. Not a good feel.

What a disappointing beer! I'm never this harsh on Founders, but c'mon! A slightly above-average American Barleywine, at best.

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Photo of Gobzilla
3.63/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: poured a pale amber brown in color with pale yellow highlights and a thin head that left very little lacing sticking to the glass.

S: lots of malty sweetness upfront in the aroma with grassy earthy notes, booze heat, plenty of hop character and mild caramel but with slight brown sugar presence.

T: caramel sweetness was more noticeable on the palate with a good hoppy profile that was accompanied by grassy earthiness, plenty of bready malts, the booze was all up in your grill with a touch of underlying brown sugar.

M: the brew was medium in body with a moderate amount of carbonation which had a sweet, malty, hoppy, boozy and crisp finish.

O: I honestly was a little let down from all the hype but then again it's just hype after all. It can be that I've had some AMAZING barelywines lately too. I was just decent and nothing more

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Photo of JamesMN
3.64/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Blood orange color and almost translucent. A vigorous pour resulted in a small soapy off-white head.

Aroma: Orange citrus hop character and thick caramel/amber malt. Not really getting any alcohol which is surprising.

Taste: Starts with a slow building of bitterness that results in a fruity gummy candy hop character. Not sure if the fruit flavors are coming from the hops, malt, yeast, or barrel aging but they are numerous and very present in the flavor. Peach, grapefruit, and caramel coated apricot. Almost a Scotch Ale quality at times but definitely more in the Barleywine category. The malt bill is a tad unassuming with hints of caramel and amber malt. There is a hint of alcohol but overall none of the 15% ABV is present. Very smooth finish. Not super complex or outstanding but decent.

Mouthfeel: Feels like medium in body which is pretty thin for what I was expecting but makes it less of a meal to drink. Average carbonation and pretty good drinkability.

Final Thoughts: I wasn't expecting to be blown away by Bolt Cutter and it basically met my expectations. The hop character and flavor is interesting but a little too sweet at times. Would I drink it again? Probably not, but obviously it was just a one time release.

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Photo of DrinkSlurm
3.67/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Poured from tap into snifter at flying saucer Kansas city. Poured a seethrough amber brown with chewey head and lacing. Huge hop aromas...way to much for me...mixed with big sweetness. Taste is sweet caramel toffee malts and lots of hops. Its a bit hot and sharp. I am so glad I didn't buy a bottle. ..its just way to hoppy. Maybe some age would mellow this out a bit but id never get again unless it was aged...

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Photo of WillCarrera
3.7/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On-tap at Churchkey in DC, poured into a snifter.

A- Pours a dark amber color with a finger of khaki head, leaves some nice lacing.

S- Big aroma of toffee, vanilla and bourbon, as well as some pineapple and juicy hops. Very boozy.

T- The flavor is very sweet at first with lots of toffee, vanilla, bourbon and maple syrup. Towards the finish some juicy, tropical hops produce a moderate bitterness. Lots of booze, which lend a lot of fruitiness but also just a lot of heat. Barrel notes are difficult to detect besides mild hints of vanilla and bourbon, not as much in that department as I would have hoped.

M- Medium-bodied, has a thick, slightly sticky feel. Considerable amount of alcoholic warmth on the end.

O- This is a solid barleywine, but I think Founders could have done better, it's pretty boozy and fruity without a really interesting barrel quality to keep it interesting, it's just a bit disjointed, I understand the whole 15% for their 15th anniversary idea, but it wasn't necessary.

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Photo of MusicaleMike
3.7/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Served in a snifter glass. Brilliant copper color with a ruby red tinge and wonderful clarity throughout. Shows of some lazy carbonation in the beer. Topped by a sticky, sea foam like head, cream colored. Lacing on the glass too.

Smells heavily of citrus, specifically tangelos, or others that are rich and ripe, with lots of sweetness. Sweet malts are laying underneath, with a rock candy quality. As it warms, the alcohol can be smelled throughout. Sherry notes linger.

This is a massive barley wine. Full bodied, rich, and soft on the palate. On the front end, citrus hop bitterness prevails, and it is quite clear after that point that the massive malt quantity takes over. Fusel alcohol is easily detected on the exhale and swallow. In the aftertaste on can pick out the sweet caramel malts. It's nothing too complex, but a simple American Barleywine that has a good flavor, and represents the style well. Residual heat.

I'm finding this to be a good, not great beer for its style. I think the beer could use more age, but I wouldn't be willing to shell out $40 for this beer. Nor if it was $20.

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Photo of DavoleBomb
3.71/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a pint glass.

5.0 A: Nearly clear dark orange color. Two and a half fingers of beige, frothy creamy head. Retention is insanely good for a beer this big and lacing covers the whole glass. Really impressed here.

4.0 S: Quite fruity with a lot of citrusy hops. Tangy fruitiness is what I'd call it as it meshes with the caramel and toffee backbone. Toasted malts with some strength. The hops also give a lot of floral aroma and perhaps a touch of herbalness as well. Peach, plum, and apple fruits from the malts. Booze is exceptionally well hidden as I can't smell any of it. It's good, but really isn't all that special. Solid hoppy BW nose.

3.5 T: Taste is good too, but it's surprisingly simple for a beer this big. A lot less citrus than in the nose with a lot more of the peach, plum, melon, and apple components. Lots of sweet neutral maltiness with lots of caramel and toffee. Again a heavy toastiness, which I like. Mild to moderate bitterness from the hops along with floral and herbal notes. Booze is much more noticeable in the taste, but it still doesn't seem like 15%.

3.5 M: Heavy body. Good moderate carbonation. Slightly chewy. Not a lot of creaminess. Light warming on finish. Not bad.

3.5 D: It's decent, but I probably wouldn't trade for it again as there are much better options out there.

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Photo of mrfrancis
3.73/5  rDev -7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

A: Pours a dark gold with a thin, creamy white head. Head retention is surprisingly good, though only a minimal amount of lace is present in the glass.

S: Aromas of almonds, nougat, herbs, grass, pine, juniper, toffee, caramel, vanilla, biscuits, and peppery, prickly alcohol are present on the nose.

T: Complex notes of fresh bread, caramel, biscuit, toffee, maple syrup, brown sugar, toasted almonds, nougat, vanilla bean, and butterscotch are balanced by intense flavors of lemon, lime, herbs, grass, juniper berry, pine, and pepper. The finish is fiery and intense with resinous hop and bready malt notes overwhelmed by a pungent surge of alcohol.

M: Full-bodied and sticky. Carbonation is delicate and restrained. Alcohol presence is incredibly intense. This beer must be sipped very slowly.

O: This is a solid barleywine, but it is a bit harsh and over-the-top. If the alcohol presence were reigned in a bit, this would be much more likable and easier to drink, but as is, it's a bit rough around the edges. Not a bad example of the style by any stretch, but also not Founders' most refined effort either. Worth trying at least once.

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Photo of chinchill
3.74/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Shared bottle. Very high ABV cannot be hidden. While I'm not hit in the face with the full 15%, this is, nonetheless, a bit too boozy for me. The high ABV comes in a very flavorful brew, which suggests various fruits and fruit brandy. Excellent hop/malt balance.

M: Rather full bodied, with excellent (low) carbonation.

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Photo of Beerandraiderfan
3.75/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Came out much lighter than expected at 15% non barrel aged, it was an amber color, even light amber for that matter with just hints of red throughout it. Thin off white head, 1/2" in size. Pretty impressive appearance.

Aroma was a little bit of honey, substantial carapils type of malt, light melon and hop aromas.

Taste, plenty hoppy, lots of caramel, slight honey sweetness. Of course the booziness is there, this is a big ass beer. The hops seem to have more of a bittering/balancing effect moreso than flavoring hops. Sticky, but not syrupy. Can see why they call it Bolt Cutter, this definitely cuts through plenty of previously consumed beers during the Round of 32 during March Madness. The body always seems lighter than the flavor. That is impressive, even if this is not the greatest barleywine in the world. Some woody flavors in the mouthfeel downbottle. The biggest disappointment has to be that the alcohol is the most noticeable aspect tastewise. Not terrible, but it definitely stands out a little much for me. Wishing I sat on this another year or two. Sometimes drinking fresh isn't always best.

We drank this over at Layne & Courtney's because of the tactics of one David Hurley, beverage nerd at El Dorado Casino, who shut down our previously approved bottle share, because of the hurt feelings of the BMC distributor and special events area at the sports book bar. Pretty lame and disingenuous, we won't be taking our money, vacations or bottles to the El Dorado anymore.

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Photo of mjpolzin
3.75/5  rDev -6.5%
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.

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Photo of andrewinski1
3.75/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to Bendurgin for sharing this deliciousness! Poured into a tulip. The color is dark straw with a bit of haze. There is a nice half inch fluffy head.

The aroma is hoppy, with fruity notes of pineapple. There is a nice dose of vanilla here also.

The taste starts out mildly malty with some wood notes and vanilla. There is a fruity hoppy finish with notes of mint.

This is full bodied, with a fluffy white head. This is tasty.

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Photo of thagr81us
3.76/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Big thanks goes out to beeruser and funkydelic for sharing this one at a recent Random Sunday Tasting! Served from bottle into a Mikkeller taster flute. Poured red-orange with a minimal off-white head. Maintained decent lacing throughout the glass. The aroma was comprised of sweet malt, caramel, caramel hop, wood, sweet alcohol, and fruit. The flavor was of sweet malt, caramel, sweet alcohol, wood, and dark fruit. It had a light feel on the palate with medium-high carbonation. Overall this was a pretty good brew. I went into this one after hearing all of the hype and was really hoping that it would knock my socks off as far as the style goes. However, I found most aspects of this one to only be decent throughout. The flavor did bring a little more to the party as it was rather smooth and well balanced, but did leave something to be desired. Just a little more going on in this one would have really done it some good based on my opinion of the style. Definitely worth your time to try to get this one if you have the ammo to do so.

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