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
foundersbrewing.com

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
Ratings:
1,340
Reviews:
236
Avg:
4.01
pDev:
12.22%
 
 
Wants:
213
Gots:
680
For Trade:
66
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,340 |  Reviews: 236
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 Cynic-ale
3.94/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of IPAchris
4/5  rDev -0.2%

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.

 545 characters

Photo of smartassboiler
4/5  rDev -0.2%

Photo of sendbeer
4.43/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of Gonzoillini
3.75/5  rDev -6.5%

Photo of IrishColonial
3.17/5  rDev -20.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.25

Photo of drabmuh
4.07/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On tap at Churchkey DC's Founders Anniversary party with a few other founders offerings. Served in a snifter. 10 ounce pour. Beer is clear and orange-ish with a soft white head with low retention, no lacing and low carbonation. Looks fine.

Aroma is nice. Bourbon, sweet, malt. Aggressive. A little heat as well.

Beer is dry on the finish, light on the body but maintains the sweetness upfront. The bourbon and oak are lost in the palate, maybe the ABV is thinning the beer too much. Overall it is a good beer but from Founders I was expecting an amazing barrel aged experience. One of the poorer showings from their BA beers honestly. I might have it again.

 661 characters

Photo of beernads
4.25/5  rDev +6%

Photo of Sweffin
4/5  rDev -0.2%

Photo of ShanePB
3.75/5  rDev -6.5%

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

 843 characters

Photo of liamt07
4.15/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at the Founders 15th Anniversary Party, into a snifter.

Redder brown, with a very small offwhite head that only leaves some whisps of retention. Nose of bourbon, maple, sweet caramel and malts. Some peripheral citrus, alcohol and cotton candy even perhaps. Taste has some maple, bourbon, white raisin, alcohol, sticky caramel and bitter citrus. Alcohol is well hidden but not completely disguised. A tasty American Barleywine, but not mind-blowingly awesome.

 466 characters

Photo of afsdan
4.25/5  rDev +6%

Photo of TheSevenDuffs
4.43/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured in to CBS Snifter.

A - Dark amber; slightly translucent. Half a finger of tan coloured head.

S - A big sweetness up front with caramel and toffee aromas coming through. Some citrus and a bitter hop presence also come through. No oak is detectable in the nose.

T - Big sweetness from the malt base up front that adds caramel, toffee and brown sugar flavours is balanced out by a massive hop bitterness and a touch of citrus. A warming alcohol presence also helps to balance out the massive sweetness. The oak is present but is very much secondary in this beer. Although a warming alcohol presence is noticeable, the alcohol is very well hidden overall considering the 15% ABV.

M - Full body; thick and chewy. Light carbonation. Full of sticky hop oils.

 763 characters

Photo of brandoman63
3.5/5  rDev -12.7%

Photo of outoffocus
4.5/5  rDev +12.2%

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

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

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

 670 characters

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.

 783 characters

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

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

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

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

 863 characters

Photo of enelson
4.25/5  rDev +6%

Photo of eawolff99
3.5/5  rDev -12.7%

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.

 1,369 characters

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

 1,033 characters

Founders Bolt Cutter from Founders Brewing Company
4.01 out of 5 based on 1,340 ratings.
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