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Founders Bolt Cutter | Founders Brewing Company

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Founders Bolt CutterFounders Bolt Cutter

Brewed by:
Founders Brewing Company
Michigan, United States

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.

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Reviews: 234 | Ratings: 1,330
Photo of BEERchitect
3.95/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

When turning fifteen years old, you either go big or go home. Founders charges into triple nickle territory with this massive American barleywine with a balanced, complex, and strong palate throughout.

Much like brandy, the tawny caramel beer shows good clarity with amber and orange highlights. A swirl of the glass shows as much brandy legging as it does beery froth. Carbonation patiently layers the surface with off white creme and never brings lacing into the conversation.

A strong whiff of bourbon and caramel gather in the nose, along side of hearty-sweet notes of brown sugar, pecans, toasted almonds, and maple. Fruit character accompanies the sweet scent with cherries, apricots, grapefruit, and oranges. Pine and vegetal hop notes allow for an earthen balance to the fruit and sweetness. My mind keeps returning to notions of peanut brittle, fruitcake, and bourbon.

Equally strong, a thin syrup and honey taste satisfies the sweet tooth while a quick rebuttal of citrusy hops rise to nearly balance the sweet. Sharp hop bitterness grows alongside of the emerging alcohol to eventually control the finish over that of malt and fruit. Marmalade, peppery alcohol and cherries are the lingering taste even as the beer turns to resinous pine-like bitterness to finish.

Full bodied, however the beer shows incredible dryness, for both the good and bad. There's enough sweetness to become a carriage for carbonation that provides creamy textures early on. But the malty-dry middle palate allows the immense alcohols to dominate the finish, making the hops seem harsh and the esters tasting like children's cough syrups. Moderately fusal, you must live the sheer taste of ethanol to fully appreciate this barleywine.

With it's overall hot temperament, the beer seems "green" or under-matured. And like many other strong beers of Founders, I'm sure this anniversary ale is destined for greatness with proper cellar conditions. But right now the malt richness doesn't properly balance the fifteen percent strength, the hops are raw- as if it's trying too much to garner imperial IPA-type taste.

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Photo of Optifron
3.95/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Enjoyed 11/18/2012 on-tap during Founders say at Crane Alley in Urbana, IL

Appearance: Dark reddish brown. Thin lingering white head.

Aroma: Malty. A bit boozy, but definitely less so than expected. Sweet malty aroma.

Taste: Really mellow for 15% ABV. Pretty balanced sweetness with some nice hop finish. Definitely on the hop end of balance.

Mouthfeel: Smooth. Residual mouth watery sweetness. Have had smoother beers.

Overall: Delicious barleywine, albeit less than I hoped for Founder’s anniversary. Hides the booze well. Would certainly drink it throughout winter if it was moderately priced, but passed up my chance to buy it at $21/750mL bottle.

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Photo of jjanega08
3.95/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

15th Anniversary Ale- 2012

A= Pours a nice deep hazy amber color with a thin off white head that holds some pretty steady retention and lacing for such a large beer.

S= The smell has a nice big hop bite to it as well as a big caramel sweetness to it. The alcohol does make itself present but barely in the nose. Smells like a big syrupy barleywine for sure. The hop malt balance gives it a caramel sort of aroma.

T= The taste is about where I was expecting from the nose. It starts with a big hop bite that is different because of the quick following of the big caramel sweetness in it. Tons of sweetness in the middle with a boozy finish. The hops are not as potent as that in an IIPA but they are still there in force.

M= Big and syrupy

O= This is a powerful beer. I'm a few sips in and it's really getting me toasty. A great beer for this time of year. This beer is a little boozy now and becomes a little much after a while right now. With some time I can see this being very smooth and sweet. This beer works but it's not the crazy good barleywine that one would expect Founders to make. Not all of them can be homeruns but this one is a nice double.

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Photo of DrewV
3.95/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Had this on tap at Pizza Plant here in Buffalo, NY.

A: Clear amber-orange with a fairly thin 1-finger head.

S: Smells of Juicyfruit, very sweet and slightly boozy. On-tap, this was a bit overly cold. As it warmed, the booze came through much more pronounced.

T: Much like the nose, Juicyfruit was in the forefront, followed immediately by the booze. Very sweet, not much balance from the hops. Nothing offensive, this is a quality brew. But a bit one-note-ish.

M: A bit thinner than I would expect. By contrast, Sierra Nevada Bigfoot is a "big" beer, while this is more like a fine wine.

O: A quality brew, but a bit too fruity for my tastes. I prefer bigger beers, and I was a bit disappointed by this one. Bolt Cutter reminds me strongly of Middle Ages Druid Fluid, except at a higher ABV. I guess for the price I paid it was a decent deal on tap, but the bombers at $23 are outrageous. Way too steep for a 15% ABV beer -- I'll settle for Bigfoot, which is a bigger, more balanced beer, at 10% for 1/4 the cost. [Lest anyone think I'm biased, let it be known that I'm a HUGE fan of Founders. Their Porter and Imperial Stout are to die for. But this one didn't quite strike me as a winner.]

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Photo of jisom123
3.96/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

We have to stop comparing the backstage series beers to each other.

Smells like cotton candy, maple syrup and an enjoyable booziness.

Very limited barrel flavor, and limited maple.

Great mouthfeel.

Hint of Belgian trip yeast flavors. Doesn't mesh well.

Not worth the price. Too much going on in the wrong departments, too little going on in the right departments. Still a good beer. not great.

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Photo of BlurryVisi0n
3.96/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Served in a 50cl (17oz.) snifter glass.

Appearance: Right off the bat it pours your simple amber but you look at it has more of a cinnamon-rust color that is somewhat hazy. Head not so thick orange tinted just about 1/3" off the body.

Smell: Light alcohol scent, not crazy over it but it has a barley feel to it which is impossible to dislike.

Taste: The strong alcohol is very evident, you drink you feel. It has almost like a scotch feel to it combined with what real beer is. Barley so strong and a taste that lingers in your mouth.

Mouth: With a sweet after-taste, you feel what quality is. Not exactly smooth but just right texture combined with medium carbonation.

Overall: Made this my first beer for the year 2013 and I have to admit that I think I made the right choice on how to start the year. I lately have been taking a liking to barleywines and this one is on top of it's game. Grab a glass and lust it, Salud!

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Photo of portia99
3.97/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

750ml bottle received in trade with Speedwayjim poured into a Founders CBS snifter.

A - Pours a glowing, brilliant amber orange color with medium clarity and a finger of frothy tan head that dies slowly over a minute or so leaving rings of lacing on the glass.

S - Bourbon, butter, vanilla, toffee, sweet malt, mild citrus hop presence. The buttery and toffee aromas blossom as the beer warms and take over.

T - Alcohol/boozy up front, some citrusy hops, mild/mid hop bitterness. Caramel and some sugary malt flavors, some brown sugar. Touch of astringency, some fruity esters. A dry, biscuity, maybe a touch nutty finish with hints of roasty malts.

M - This gives a huge tingle on the lips and tongue from the healthy dose of bourbony booze found in here. From beginning to end it is there reminding me that this is indeed a 15% beer. Body is quite full and a bit sticky. Carbonation is low/medium and fits well here. Bourbon gives a bit of a warmth on each sip.

O - Balanced and more bitter/hoppy than many/most barleywines. Not as hop forward as Big Foot, but it is missing a lot of the rich malty depth typically found in the style. Rather boozy all around...keeps this towards the sipper side of the scale...tingly and warming on each sip.

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Photo of johnnnniee
3.97/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a slightly hazy burnished copper with a huge frothy whit head that persists forever. Aromas of sweet sugary malt, brown sugar, pine and earthy hops with a touch of alcohol and a hint of dried fruit. The flavor is sweet rocket fuel. Sweet sugar, molasses, prunes and cherries with a solid shot of earthy pine hops. The alcohol is present enough to remind you that this is a big beer, but I've had more obtrusive alcohol presence in smaller beers before. There's a solid shot of hop bitterness I would assume to counter the huge malt bill that this must have. Medium to thick body with a moderate level of carbonation, and a sweet syrupy resinous lightly hot mouthfeel. I enjoyed sipping on this for most of the night. It is a touch hot, maybe that will mellow with time, but I enjoyed it.

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Photo of dar482
3.97/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

The beer comes in an amber, deep dark orange color with a thin head.

The aroma has tons of pine and citrus, a bit of sweet caramel and toffee notes. Tons of hops, with a tinge of barrel in there.

The flavor follows with just massive hops. There's grapefruit, mostly pine and resin, some floral, and then there's lots of brown sugar, caramel, molasses. On the end, there's again a punch of spice from the hops along with pine and offensive bitter notes.

The body is surprisingly light at a medium instead of a big sticky sweet barleywine. At 15%, this is really hides the alcohol.

It's great to have tried this at a tap takeover. I wouldn't pay the huge price for the bottle. It's a very good beer, but still a bit offensive on the bitterness without enough sweetness on the back.

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Photo of JamesShoemaker
3.98/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

750 ml split with my Mom, reviewed from notes. I felt very privileged to have access to this beer, some skillful convincing of the distributors on the part of my local store.

A - great looking beer, beautiful reds and oranges, much lighter than I expected it to be. Translucent. Pours a finger of foam that recedes fairly quickly, lacing up the sides, and some carbonation bubbles.

S - lots of hops, very floral. It smells like it's going to taste like a big, sweet, sticky bomb. The hops hide the alcohol deceptively.

T - hoppy at the beginning, receding into some bitterness at the end of the initial hop note. It moves into sweetness, caramel, licorice, the barleywine flavors. It's not nearly as strong as I expect, but I don't care for how heavy it is. It's still very drinkable though.

M - very syrupy. The alcohol remains hidden behind the hops and sweetness. The beer isn't quite as "hot" as I've read some people on BA describe it, but it's clear that the beer would benefit from some years in my cellar.

O - a good offering, the Backstage Series continues to impress. I prefer Old Numbskull (because I like my BWs hoppy), but Bolt Cutter is still delicious.

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Photo of Axnjxn
3.98/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

750 ml capped bottle into a tulip.

pours a dark hazy Orange with a slight head. smell is huge on booze and raisins. taste is very sweet and boozy. lots of dark fruits in this one...raisins, figs. full bodied for sure. sipper. low carbonation. ABV apparent.

overall good barleywine. would have benefited from barrel aging.

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Photo of srandycarter
3.99/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Murky dark apricot.

S - Sweet, sweet, sweet. Boozy, hoppy, yummy.

T - Same as mouth, more hops in there.

M - Heavy body, good carb, pretty good balance.

D - I like this one! Took me a long time to pull the trigger, as it is so big, but it was worth it.

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Photo of rhoadsrage
4/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

(Served in a tulip glass)

A- This beer pours a slightly dense but clear aged copper brown body with a bubbly light tan head that sticks to the glass and sluggishly slides back into the beer.

S- the nice sweet caramel malt aroma has some candy sugar notes that come through as the beer warms and a slight spicy character with some ether hints in the finish.

T- The smooth sweet caramel malt grows as the beer warms and takes on a brassy wheat malt flavor. The finish of pungent hops and alcohol gently round out each sip.

M- The medium mouthfeel has a thick texture in the finish that is thinned by an alcohol warmth that hangs in the mouth.

O- This is a big monster barleywine with a gentle alcohol heat for 15% ABV and I was surprised at how much hops presence was in there aswell. It was a nice beer to taste but I would have preferred it without as much alcohol. This beer was a night starter and night ender in one bottle.

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Photo of Phyl21ca
4/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle: Poured a clear light copper color ale with a medium size foamy head with good retention and some lacing. Aroma of residual sugar notes with light toffee and caramel notes is very nice. Taste is also dominated by residual sugar notes, with some light toffee notes and light caramel notes. Body is about average with good carbonation and light warming alcohol. I was expecting sugar bomb but while this is still a sweet beer I thought it had enough attenuation for the style.

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Photo of BarryMFBurton
4/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A week after this beer was released, I was still kicking myself for not seeking it out. But by a stroke of blind luck, I came across a bottle, and I’m still not sure how. Thank you, oh sweet and merciful beer gods.

A: Pours a rusty-bolt red, slight hazy but with deep color to it. Surprisingly big head for such a hefty, alcoholic beer, too, rising to a full inch of eggshell-colored cream at a slow, determined pace. Eventually the foam falls to nothing more than a few bubbles, leaving little specks of lacing everywhere as it does.

S: Typical barleywine scents, but a twist – no, really, it smells like someone squeezed some lemon juice in here. It’s a tangy hop kick, almost acrid, wafting up effortlessly through the malts. Not a bad effect, actually: lemon and sour grape candy notes are causing some interesting interplay with the fig, caramel, molasses, and black licorice that run deep through the nose. Woody tones pick up on the back end, as well.

T: Holy hell, now I where this stuff got its name – pour some of this on a chain and you’ll cut right through it. Power in a bottle, but slow to deliver, the palate starts with a peaty, leathery earthiness and caramel nougat character. It’s all malt, but no sugar; how did they do that? Maybe it’s just that the other flavors are intense enough to push the residual sugars into the background. The hops come off in a stinging, astringent way, prickling with pine needles, blood orange, peach, and a touch of flowery hibiscus, and the booze isn’t far behind: its warmth grows to vodka-and-water solvent proportions before dying down to a more pleasing (though just as strong) taste of roasty Scotch. Yep, I’d say that’s enough to draw my attention away from any other flavor this beer can conjure up. Aftertaste is astonishingly light, leaving just a small taste of sherry and fruity candy on the tongue.

M: Fiery as all hell, but I’ve had IPAs feel thicker than this – sure, this is a sipper, but that’s really only because chugging it would be the liquid equivalent of the Cinnamon Challenge. Take heed: this beer is dangerously drinkable, as far as 10%+ beers go.

O: What the hell is going on in my glass? I think I like it, but that might just be the power of the Bolt Cutter luring me into its grasp. Give this one a year – no, two. Trust me, open it up next year to celebrate Founders’ 16th anniversary and you’ll be much happier. I mean, you’ll probably be just as happy, but at least it will stop your taste buds from burning off. Seriously, I think my hair is falling out…

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Photo of Powderhornphil
4/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a hazy rich amber orange. Pretty appealing looking.

Smells of Citrus, earthy hops when cool. As it warms, and it seems that sound be recommended, scents of warm, buttery toffee start to come forward.

Let this beer warm up. It really lets the sweet malty toffee out. For me, the booze is more palatable as it warms. Some oakiness starts to come through. Generally, the barrel and bourbon are gentle influences.

Mouthfeel is full but not as thick as you might think for a 15 % BW.

Overall a nice beer. I can see the letdown if you expect something like a top 50 beer. But you enjoy for what is is, you will get a nice BW.

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Photo of deadonhisfeet
4.01/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served on-tap. The pour is a slightly hazy reddish-amber, rather dark, and sports a thin head that quickly dies (not surprising given the high alcohol content). The nose is rather faint, but does boast some nice aromas of fruit, toffee, and hops as well as a hint of alcohol.

The beer is very full bodied and has an intense bittersweet flavor. It is very sweet up front, with big bready malt, vanilla, and cherry flavors. The alcohol seems to creep in very quickly on this one, beating the hops to the punch. By the time the hops arrive the sweet notes from the malt and alcohol have already had their way with you and warmed you up for a dry, lingering finish. I don't get any bourbon notes at all, but I do get some of the sweet oaky notes up front.

This is the second time I've had this beer on tap. Last time (about 4 months ago), it seemed a bit overpowering. This time, I knew what to expect and was able to meet it more on its own terms. I find it to be an intensely-flavored barleywine that is in sort of a transitional period right now. The hops are faded a bit, but the alcohol hasn't really mellowed out yet. I'd love to know what this tastes like in another 18 months.

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Photo of CHickman
4.01/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Pours a very hazy copper amber color with a 1 finger foamy beige/sand tan head that was full of little bubbles and faded slowly, leaving very good mostly spotty foamy lacing as well as rings clinging to the sides.

Smells of booze like rum and sweet malt up front, with caramel, molasses, brown sugar, syrup, cinnamon, orange peel, citrus hops, dark fruit like cherry and plum, apple skins, raisin, biscuit, grains, bread pudding, pear, light spices and fruity candy; the booze is heavy and the sweetness intense, but this beer manages to stay complex and fruity with what seems like some hop balance even though it’s quite strong in every way. Bold and sweet may describe it best, but it was still enjoyable to inhale and relatively tame considering 15% ABV.

Tastes like it smells with booze and sweet malt up front, followed by caramel, molasses, brown sugar, dark rum or bourbon, syrup, cinnamon, orange peel, mango, citrus hops, dark fruit like cherry plum and raisin, buttery biscuit, wet grains, bread pudding (seriously, it tastes like bread pudding drizzled with hot caramel), pear, fruity candy like Skittles or Razzles, red wine, toffee, yeast and floral hops or mild spices; there is no hiding or denying the alcohol as it is present in every moment of every sip, but it is complementary to the rest of the flavors and works well in this brew. This is like belly warming booze meant for slow sipping, but it is not so offensive that it ruins the beer and remains very sweet in every sip.

Mouthfeel is thick and chewy, with a bisque like consistency that is thick and boozy, and meant really to sip and savor. There is light carbonation, a heavy body and an ever present alcohol bite that is a cross between a merlot and a dark rum which keeps your blood flowing and the heat churning like internal combustion; halfway through this bomber I feel flush and quite buzzed as the ABV kicks the door down and says hello, then kicks you around like a soccer ball. This is not a session beer, and most certainly one that should be shared among friends, so please avoid drinking the bomber alone like I did. Glad I drank this at home so I didn’t have to drive afterwards.

Overall I thought that this was good, but a little bit over the top; it was really strong, really sweet and really malty, but I still tasted the hops and caramel sweetness that was part of the complexity and balancing act (if you will…). This was very powerful and very strong, yet for those who like a Barley Wine Ale it may have been perfect. I’m glad I tried it and would have it again if I were sharing/splitting the bomber as it did cover up most of the ABV quite well with nice flavor so that was nice. Congrats Founders on 15 years of making great beer.

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Photo of smcolw
4.01/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Nearly no head, and it settles to rim bubbles. Nearly no spots for lace. The color is deep amber.

Warm and semisweet malty. Very rich.

Starts subtly, but the strong malt base provides lots of alcohol warmth. There's a bitter presence that provides balance. The mouthfeel is super rich but the carbonation is not lost. Very warming.

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Photo of Slatetank
4.01/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This was on tap a while back at Holy Hound in York, PA enjoyed chilled in a snifter.

The color and clarity are both great a brilliant copper/bronze shade with visible carbonation and thick cream cap of light beige with tight bead and nice lace formation. The smell is very good, but comes off very hop forward and high alcohol in the nose which is appropos to the style but not especially complex so just above average accept it has some nice hop pine scents. The feel is good well above average in that it is 15% and feels like 10% tops it has hop oiliness and high bitterness level but it is relatively dry for the style making it taste similar to a Double IPA with asservtive bite and pretty hard not to have alcohol effect the palate at the abv listed but it does a decent job of concealing with some moderate carbonation.

This tastes intense! as the name implies it does not tread lightly and it means business -lots of sharp hops with piney, peppery bite and slight caramel and nutty dry malt to underscore with lots of alcohol with some fruitiness on the palate. I really dug this and it is so fresh you can't help but wonder if the intense octane of a 15% can mellow with cellaring, but the hops are very tasty so I would not hold on to this. I enjoyed how smooth it was for there aren't many 15% beers I have liked as much as this, A great tribute to 15 years in business -keep up the good work Founders!

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Photo of millertime416
4.01/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

To start off, this is a very very good American barleywine, maybe even great. The aroma is almost all hops: pineapple, citrus, even a little bit of pine. But still has a very strong malt presence. Flavor is along these lines, nice balance between hops and malt with a good level of bitterness. The alcohol is well hidden, maybe too well. Founders was right, this is definitely ready to drink now; though, I don't think age will hurt it at all.

The problem with this beer is that it purports to be a partially "maple syrup bourbon barrel aged" barleywine, and yet the barrel is completely absent. I detect almost no bourbon, barrel nor maple syrup of any sort in this beer. I drank this through many temperatures (fridge to room temp), and still cannot find any barrel. Maybe I drink too many bourbon barrel aged beers to detect it, but this does not at all drink like a barrel aged beer. If you were looking for a bourbon barrel aged barleywine along the lines of King Henry or Abacus, look again. While I acknowledge that I might be giving this a lower rating because it was marketed as a barrel aged barleywine, I would probably consider this to be better than most, if not all, the other non-barrel-aged american barleywines I have had.

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Photo of PsilohsaiBiN
4.02/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Appearance: Cloudy amber with a small white head.

Smell: Maple, strawberry hard candy, figs, caramel, coconut, toffee.

Taste: Now that this has some age, the maple backbone is much more apparent. The hops have also receded from when I had first tasted it, as expected. At first, it was like a 3x IPA masquerading as a Barleywine; now it's coming into its own. I see great things happening to this thing down the road as the hops continue to recede and the malt sweetness/complexity becomes more apparent.

Mouthfeel: Not thin by any means, but on the medium side for the style.

Overall: I find it a bit odd to rate something 8/10 and call it OUTSTANDING, but this beer to me is at least/around an 8, despite all the criticism. It's just getting better, and will continue to do so with age. The hops are receding, and this is getting better every day.

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Photo of JoEBoBpr
4.03/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Founders Bolt Cutter

Poured into a 4oz tasting glass from the tap at iTap (Soulard).

Pours a copper color with some nice amber hues. Nice and clear. Light cream head rises up about half an inch. The beer is very nice looking. The amber and copper colors are bright and lively. The head recedes slowly and definitely leaves some sticky lacing. (4.5)

Starts off with some aroma of vanilla with some intense hop juice sweetness that comes up quick and fierce. Nice caramel and citrus notes mix in well. These notes are followed by some more vanilla and butterscotch and very nice bourbon notes. There is some nice piney and grapefruit notes as well. (4.0)

Flavor is intense. Tons of resinous hop notes! Very piney and slightly sweet with some good citrus notes and grassy hop notes. Sweetness is very present and intense but its not overwhelming at all. Caramel notes mix in with the barrel and the intense hop notes. As it warns the hop notes are much more intense and there is some nice syrupy notes mixed in there as well. The finish is quite dank but mixed in with some awesome barrel notes. Oily and slick with an intense finish that is sticky but at the same time dry because of the hops. (4.0)(4.0)

Overall. This brew got a lot of hype. And even though it’s not all undeserved because it’s a good brew it might have been a bit overblown. Very flavorful and well done mix of intense malt sweetness, caramel, toffee and vanilla notes. There is some nice dank pine as well as grassy and herbal hop notes that are also complimented by some citrus notes. (4.0)

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Photo of mcintire78
4.04/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

a: A beautiful deep gold to pale amber color, with a bit of carbonation and a substantial, finger high head that dissipates slowly.

s: Boozy and sweet (honey? sugar?)!

t: Sweet taste up front (toffee?) with a strong bourbon taste kicking in at the end.

m: Gentle up front, not much carbonation, but the alcohol burn catches up with you.

d: This is a sipper for sure. A beer for dark winter nights holed up in a cabin with a blanket pulled around you.

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Photo of StonedTrippin
4.04/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

one of the best barleywines of the year. not cheap, but damn good. it pours a sticky honey color with just a finger or two of white lace on top. the nose is crazy, sweet and strong, like a homemade spirit or something, its got notes of scotch, toffee, brown sugar, and orange peel. that first thing I think of when I taste this is, wow, if gummy bears were liquid, this is what it would taste like. its sort of got that artificial fruit flavor sweetness from all the malt, but it works here, and the alcohol is just ridiculous, especially when this gets up to room temperature, its downright hot. not much hops in here that I can pick out, but a lot of big flavors competing for attention, so its probably just as well. mouthfeel is thick and gooey, not much carbonation, which makes this a slow sipper. the alcohol content makes sharing the bottle must, as does the sugar, which gets tiring. still, this is what a barleywine should be, and founders has pulled this off wonderfully.

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Founders Bolt Cutter from Founders Brewing Company
4.01 out of 5 based on 1,330 ratings.
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