Founders Bolt Cutter | Founders Brewing Company

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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 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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Photo of JohnnyHopps
3.78/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Bolt Cutter is an attractive copper color in appearance and produced a slight white head. It showed appropriate retention and lacing for the style. As far as aroma goes, this certainly smells like a barley wine with wheat-like notes and hops grabbing for attention. In the initial taste, one great sweet toffee, alcohol, a measure of pineapple, and various mild citrus hops. The hops were not prominent for an American barley wine. Yet when I think of a barleywine, I anticipate a beer that is bursting with taste. The warm of the alcohol is the most apparent aspect of the aftertaste. It does not go far enough to be a burning sensation, and is actually quite pleasant. The thick texture allow the burn to linger for a few extra moments, making this a great cold winter night drink.

This is not my favorite Backstage Pass beer; In fact, it may be my least favorite. I have another Bolt Cutter than I am going to age a few years. I will be interested to see how it matures.

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Photo of BeerImmediately
3.79/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

750ml into bubble snifter at about 45 degrees.

Pours with a very short, soap-bubble head over a chill-hazed amber body. Decent lacing. Appears still.

Aromas are quite sweet. Lots of maple syrup and bread - adult french toast. Mostly malts, but there seem to be some sharp hops still trying hard to power through. Vanilla and bourbon also show.

Taste is full of sweet - the vanilla and syrup nearly drown out everything else. Touch of rye-like spice. Hop bitterness still lingers, much as with the aroma. Altogether, seemed like a coffee which had too much artificial sweetener syrup mixed in.

Mouthfeel is thick and sticky - as expected with a 15% BW. Really lingers on the palate.

All that said, I'm a sweet-tooth, so this beer did not offend me... I enjoyed it. Not your prototypical Barleywine, but that's OK with me. Glad I cellared it for 18 mo's - may have taken the initial edge off of it.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.8/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to LaChupacabra for sharing this one at drewone's tasting.

Pours a hazy dark orange with a foamy khaki head that settles to a film on top of the beer. Small dots form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of malt, brown sugar, and citrus zest. Taste is much the same with a very sweet flavor and a mild hop bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp and medium bodied mouthfeel. Overall, this is a good beer but I think it tastes better than it smells.

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Photo of Bendurgin
3.8/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Poured into a tulip. This one pours a slightly muddy copper rust color with some golden hues and a nice cap of beige head.

The aroma has a nice grassy hop blanket with some boozy caramel notes and dark fruits like raisins. The pallet is a bit of the sweet side. Vanilla and raisins with brown sugar and some notes of grassy hops on the background.

The body is full and with good carbonation. Overall this one is enjoyable but a bit pricey. I just assume grab Bigfoot or something to that nature.

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Photo of oberon
3.81/5  rDev -5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.75

Great to get this beer,one of my favorite breweries from the home state.Poured into an imperial nonic a deep burnt orange with a thinner but tightley formed off white head atop.A mix of alcohol dipped dark fruits and cake in the nose,not much hop presence,almost like a CHRISTmas fruit cake to me.Sweet with alot of fruitiness on the palate,raisin/prue to go along with alcohol dipped cherries with a decent earthy dryness and leafy hops in the finish.It's big and chewey and the drying hops seem to come more into play as I drink more,this is all of the 15% it says it is.Iam going to bed early tonight.

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Photo of standardcherry
3.81/5  rDev -5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

22oz bottle.

A: Pours a slightly hazy dark orange/golden color with a big, creamy looking tan head.
S: Hoppy citrus aroma, sweet malts, caramel, brown sugar, woody scent. There's a sweet, almost bubblegum-like aroma at the end. Strange, but not bad.
T: Smooth malty flavor, followed by maple and a ton of citrusy/earthy hops bitterness. Fruity flavors (pineapple and citrus) mixed with caramel, maple, oak and booze. A hint of vanilla as well, but the hoppy bitterness dominates. It's ok, but I'd definitely let it mellow a bit if I had another bottle.
M: Surprisingly drinkable for a barleywine this huge. Full bodied with a sticky mouthfeel. Great carbonation for the style.
O: Glad I got to try this beer but I wouldn't buy it again. If I had another bottle I'd let it hang out for another year or two to let the hops mellow more.

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Photo of dogfishandi
3.81/5  rDev -5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

750ml bottle at about fridge temp poured into a snifter. only a few months old.

pours out a nice, fairly clear, deep orange/ light copper color with a wonderful off white, tight head with great head retention. lots of sticky lacing and a good bit of legs are left on the glass. i maybe expected just a slightly darker color, but it still looks pretty nice.

initially i get some earthy, somewhat floral hops and lots of caramel malt sweetness. as it warms, the hops and malt are still there, but lots of booze seems to take center stage. not as complex of an aroma as i thought it would be.

tastes like a DIPA, and almost like SN- bigfoot a little bit. earthy, floral hops with enough bitterness to support an IPA. fairly thick deep caramel malt sweetness. lots of warming booze, but no real evidence that this was at all barrel aged. hints of toffee slightly charred sugars. finishes warming with lots of hop bitterness.

big, fairly heavy bodied, good carb for the style.

pretty much what it is, an american BW. but for such i highly anticipated anniversary beer from my favorite brewery, i expected a bit more. i was really hoping for more of the barrel aging to show through, which it hardly did at all. not really worth the price tag. hopefully some age can turn this beer around in the future.

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Photo of emerge077
3.81/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

In a highball glass, this beer pours a tawny brown, frothy foam around the edges and a decent skim across the surface that lasts for awhile.

Sticky sweet, heavily malty aroma with a significant dose of dried fruit. Pretty average for the style, nothing out of the ordinary.

Flavors are smooth and malt driven, plenty of dried fruit, some apricot and sultana. Sticky sweet though not cloying. Smooth feel with a fairly well disguised abv. Medium to full body, with a light level of carbonation. Fairly straightforward barley wine, enjoyable enough, though glad I was able to pay less than retail. Happy 14th to Four Moon... here's to many more.

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Photo of jmarsh123
3.81/5  rDev -5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Pours muddy reddish brown with a thin ring of foam. Little lacing.

Fresh out of the fridge the aroma consists of heavy aggressive hops however, as the bee warms a lot of oak, and booze come out. Lot sof sweet caramel notes kind of contrast the hops.

Lots of hops up front. Good aggressive assault of pine and some citrus and age has tamed this one a bit. Not longer overly hoppy. As it warms more oak and booze comes through. Hops fades near the end as the strength of this beer is felt.

Medium bodied, but quite thin from what I would expect from an ABV this high. A bit too boozy at times as this alcohol is not concealed well.

Not too bad, but nowhere near the level of hype when it first came out. I absolutely HATED this fresh, but time has mellowed the hops and brought it together into a drinkable, but still not great beer.

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Photo of wordemupg
3.81/5  rDev -5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

750ml bottle poured into balloon snifter 14/6/14

A clear amber liquid, a couple bubbles, thin film leaves a few polka dots, wide legs down the side

S still lots of pine and citrus, this would've been a palate wrecker fresh, faint bourbon, pancake syrup, orange peel, hard toffee, lots of booze

T more booze, heaps of brown sugar and caramel, faint wood, sweet bourbon, more citrus then the nose, a little sweet and boozy but enjoyable

M thank and syrupy, my lips are stuck together, heat hits the chest and throat, rind and brown sugar on the finish

O I liked it but I didn't love it, still hoppy, very sweet and boozy, I'm glad I didn't try to take this one down solo

Fruet was a hard act to follow and perhaps didn't help this ones cause, its good beer with a little barrel, lots of sugar and booze, one of those beers I want to try fresh and with 5+ years on it

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Photo of gcamparone
3.84/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a 22 oz bottle into a Founders KBS goblet. Bought this in November 2012, been stored at cellar temp. since then.

Appearance - Pours a hazy nectarine-colored body with a 1 finger off-white head that reduces slowly and leaves spotty lacing.

Smell - Reminiscent of an aged DIPA - piney, heavy malt, caramel, citrus rind, and bready/grainy. Some booze on the nose, but for 15% it's not too strong.

Taste - Sweet with heavy malt upfront - molasses, honey, caramel, spices. The follow through is piney, resinous, muted, and astringent with a boozy burn. The finish is slightly roasty.. burnt toffee, sugar, char.

Mouthfeel - For 15% alcohol, it's actually kind of watery. Low carbonation.

This was my first bolt cutter.. when it first came out people complained of an unbalance, hot mess. It's not quite at that level, but it's definitely not amazing either. An average high ABV barleywine at best.

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Photo of KFBR392
3.84/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Appearance: Bright red color with brown accents. Thin head on the pour with maintained slightly throughout, very pleasant lacing on glass as beer was drank. I would describe the look of this beer as aggressive, violent in a very wonderful way.

Smell: A crazy bright sweetness going on here. A potent combination of malt and toffee/caramel. Makes your mouth water in anticipation for what this beer could bring. The high alcohol content plays a role here but it is more of an undertone during the aroma.

Taste: The front of this beer is a very strong start. A pleasant sweetness hits right away and got me excited for what else was coming. But unfortunately, the malty sweetness gets overrun by the high booze content in this beer. Where an elite barley wine would take off, this beer lacks a solid body. Needs more of a hop, caramel, malt, molasses attack in the body. Instead the body thins out and slowly fades away into a alcohol sting. There is some hop presence in the finish but bring a sourness more then anything else.

Mouthfeel: A pleasant smoothness for how high the alcohol content is. The active presence of the malt is here, a high lacing covers the palette. A little thin but overall pretty good.

Overall: I had huge expectations for this beer. I love Founders and barley wine ales, so naturally I fell in love with the idea of this beer. I waited and waited and it didn't live up to the hype I created for it. You have to give credit for Founders going for it all here though. 15% ABV is high even for a barley wine. I appreciate what they were able to do here with their 15th Anniversary beer but overall I was a little disappointed.

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Photo of daledeee
3.85/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This beer was hyped up well. Had it on tap at $8 for an 8 ounce glass.

A very dark clear burnt orange with no head.

Nose was pancake syrup and hints of spice.

Taste is heavy sweetness, malty and spices. also plenty of apricots and spicy orange. I am glad l only had the small glass. This is one rich beer.

I didn't notice much carbonation but this is incredibly boozy. It was actually hard to drink. A very over the top beer.

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Photo of RandomBattle
3.88/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle to Founders tulip, perfect!

Appearance - pours a darkish amber and produces a nice 1 finger white soapy head. Very well carbonated.

Smell - the first of the varying aromas I got from this beer was just straight up alcohol, which is understandable given the ABV, but not exactly inviting. That asides I got a lot of hops and some sweet, malty caramel.

Taste - this is a big beer and the tastes are very evident of that. Strong hops, sweet, sticky malt, sugary caramel, and a slight alcohol burn. At the current moment in time this seems more like an American barleywine then an English style, primarily due to the strong hop presence.

Mouthfeel - for a big beer the mouthfeel was pretty much on point, asides the alcoholic twang it went down fairly easy.

Overall - I agree with everyone that said age will do this one well, I plan on sitting on the rest of my bottles for a while. Given the hype and average retail price I don't think I will be buying anymore though.

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Photo of clayrock81
3.9/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a reddish body with large head that goes away real quick and leaves a little bit of lace. Aroma is boozy at first and then there are sweet malts like caramel/toffee/sugar that hit me with minimal hops. Sticky, full-bodied, the booze is prevalent with a little bit of woodiness to help it smoothly finish. There are some dark fruit flavors and a sugary, vanilla like boozy sweetness but the alcohol in this is just a little too much and overpowers the other characteristics of the beer.

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Photo of MDDMD
3.9/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A-brown orange color with a decent light tan head and little lacing

S-toffee, bourbon, oak, brown sugar, vanilla, nutty, light pine

T-toffee, caramel, nutty, bourbon, oak, little dark fruit, malty

F-medium body with light carbonation, smooth and a little boozy

O-decent Barleywine and not as much booze as I expected, but wouldn't put this in my upper echelon of Barleywines

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Photo of rlee1390
3.91/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A-Clear ruby red, one finger head with not much carbonation.

S-Maple, hops, bourbon, some caramel and molasses.

T-Maple, bourbon, hops. Not really balanced. Slight bitterness.

M-Lighter than I was expecting, not much carbonation and some alcohol heat.

O-Needs some time to age, the beer isn't all there yet. The flavors have potential but right now the balance isn't where it should be.

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Photo of n2185
3.92/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: pours a clear copper with a finger of beige head that fades into a frothy ring with little lacing.

S: super citrusy at first with orange and pineapple aromas followed by caramel notes. The barrel aromas bring up the finish with maple and slight bourbon aromas.

T: grapefruit and pineapple up front with sticky caramel, vanilla, and maple. The bourbon and oak bring up the finish with a moderate alcohol burn and slight yeast notes.

M: medium-thick body with lowish carbonation, this beer is super sticky-sweet.

O: a good barleywine overall, with lots of complexity and depth. It's a bit boozy now, but I think it will improve with age. Thankfully I got a couple of bottles so I can see just how it ages.

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Photo of brystmar
3.92/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On tap at Blind Tiger for VSK.

Lots of sweetness as caramely booze dominates the nose and seeps onto palate as well. Tastes like they liquified those little rectangular caramels you see wrapped in clear plastic at the grocery store. Pretty boozy from start to finish, even for a barleywine.

I liked this more than some of my peers did, but even still, my 4oz pour was more than enough. This has potential to shine very brightly in few years, hope to try it again with some age on it.

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Photo of BARFLYB
3.92/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On tap at Capone's in SEPA.

Bolt Cutter comes in a goblet with a small trim of off white bubbles up top leaving a skim of foam for a bit before fading off, no lace but some swirls bring it back. The body is a deep amber golden color that is on the bright side, not much activity after a bit.

Smell is big on caramel and toffee with some toasted malt characteristic. Bourbon and maple in the scent. Sweet and alcoholic, I can sniff it from the glass cold and warm. Not a distraction. Not well integrated yet, I can see this blooming later on becoming a sweeter scent as a nice hop presence is noted.

For 15% this can be a lot hotter than it is, the alcohol is masked but not fully so it seeps out in the taste all over. The hops come forefront bringing out some sharp pine, with a mix of bourbon and slight maple tones leading to some more sweet caramel. English in nature that will mature when the hops drop.

Body is above medium with a harshness from the hops and alcohol mix, that is not all that scorching. A hoppy barleywine now, that probably will tone down with time. Carbonation is muted but there and keeping the beer from being dead.

A pretty good barleywine that has both English and American characteristics with the Founders touch. If I find a bottle I'll see where it takes me. Right now, I could not see drinking more than 8oz's though as it's ripe.

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