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Founders Bolt Cutter | Founders Brewing Company

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Founders Bolt CutterFounders Bolt Cutter
BA SCORE
4.05/5
Exceptional
1,345 Ratings
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
Ranking:
-
Reviews:
237
Ratings:
1,345
pDev:
12.1%
Bros Score:
0
 
 
Wants:
214
Gots:
678
Trade:
64
HISTOGRAM
 
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 1,345 |  Reviews: 237
Photo of mjtiernan
3.48/5  rDev -14.1%
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.

 607 characters

Photo of Tittles
4/5  rDev -1.2%

Photo of TCgoalie
4.25/5  rDev +4.9%

Photo of largadeer
3.5/5  rDev -13.6%

Photo of Arbitrator
2.73/5  rDev -32.6%
look: 3.25 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3

My allergies were acting up last night; my eyes felt inflamed and itchy, my vision blurred. From across the room, I spotted what appeared to be Goatse on a bottle label. Goatse?!?! Did White Birch make a non-ironic beer for once? I listened to the weirdos watching the Niners game and sidled over to the bottle. Oh... huh. My vision really is bad today. It's a bolt cutter. FOUNDERS!? Sweet. I love Founders. Thanks, Jason.

A: Pours a crystal clear copper-orange body with a half-pinky finger of tan head. Seems nice.

S: Boozy, raisiny caramel, brown sugar. Oxidized hops and vanilla. Not much in the way of bourbon or oak.

T: Bolt Cutter? More like Sweet Fucker. Brown sugar, caramel, toffee, even a touch of maple. Vanilla -- and there's the bourbon, a little more present on the taste than in the nose. Oak presents a light astringency in the finish. It's not enough to cut the sweetness. Nor are the hops; they have a stale, oxidized earthiness and melon flavor. Really... odd.

M: It's harsh; the one-two combination of booze and slight sugary burn are irritating to the palate. It's not super-syrupy, but it's on the sweet end and is cloying in some sips. The carbonation doesn't offset said sweetness enough.

O: I might be a little more lenient on this one considering it's Founders... Or maybe I'm being harsher because I initially thought it was a Goatse beer. Whatever the case, I'm glad I don't have a bottle.

 1,429 characters

Photo of Jwale73
4.06/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On-tap at Track 84. Served in an SN Beercamp taster. Pours the color of maple syrup with a slightly hazy clarity and a loose, off-white head. Nose expresses raisins, prunes, a medium malt profile and candied demerara sugar. Taste follows nose with a slight residual alcohol bite at the finish. Mouthfeel is medium-light in body with a slightly oily texture and an even carbonation. Overall, a good American Barleywine, but not worthy of the hype and the price point. I'd like to see what 3-5 years in the cellar does to this beer. That said, this brew does not drink like a 15% abv beer.

 587 characters

Photo of powz87
4.25/5  rDev +4.9%

Photo of schmityl
3.75/5  rDev -7.4%

Photo of hopswap1
4.25/5  rDev +4.9%

Photo of DocJitsu
3.52/5  rDev -13.1%
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.

 599 characters

Photo of MordorMongo
2.75/5  rDev -32.1%

Photo of ROBSTARR
4.75/5  rDev +17.3%

Photo of megamass
4.25/5  rDev +4.9%

Photo of outoffocus
4.5/5  rDev +11.1%

Photo of CheapBeerBuzz
4/5  rDev -1.2%

Photo of westcoastbeerlvr
2.75/5  rDev -32.1%

Photo of Bendurgin
3.8/5  rDev -6.2%
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.

 498 characters

Photo of andrewinski1
3.75/5  rDev -7.4%
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.

 434 characters

Photo of sabitu
4.25/5  rDev +4.9%

Photo of thagr81us
3.76/5  rDev -7.2%
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.

 1,043 characters

Photo of jegross2
2.3/5  rDev -43.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.25

Reviewing the Bolt Cutter from Founders Brewing Company out of Grand Rapids, Michigan. This American-style barleywine was brewed in honor of Founders' 15th anniversary, and is a blend of the base beer unaged, aged in maple syrup barrels and aged in bourbon barrels.
Score: 40

November 2012 vintage bottle served in a Surly Darkness snifter and enjoyed on 01/11/13.

Appearance: Pours a bourbon color with a finger and a half of seafoam colored seafoam-like head that slowly settles to a thin layer. Awesome lacing ad retention. 4.5/5

Smell: Boozy caramel, an earthy spiciness, stale hops and tons of sweet, bready malt. Brown sugar, maple and light lemon too. 2/5

Taste: Tastes like a boozy, bready malt-forward stale IPA with a maple character and light spiciness. Another reviewer likened this to barrel aged Devil Dancer -- spot on! There is some caramel too. This beer is almost undrinkable, and this is only 2 months old. This beer was much tastier, albeit still disappointing, fresh, but even then it was nothing special. It has since fallen off entirely, and collapsed into a sweet malt bomb of a mess. 2/5

Mouthfeel: Full bodied, minimal carbonation. Malty sweet and juicy. 3/5

Overall: Founders beers are very rarely duds, but this one is an imperial stinker. When I had this beer fresh the night before FOBAB, it reminded me of a less-hoppy New Glarus Thumbprint Barleywine with a little maple mixed in. Tasty, but certainly not worth the hype. Just under two months later, it's fallen off a cliff, the hops have become completely stale, and the boozy malt has taken over entirely. Considering that this bottle sat in my fridge for the duration of its "shelf life," and considering it was not even "stored" for two months, I doubt my experience had anything to do with storage conditions (though if Founders' maple aging program has taught us anything, this may be the byproduct of bottle variation). If you have not opened your bottles yet, I advise you sit on them longer -- this beer cannot get much worse and time can only serve to mellow out the booziness.

Recommendation: Avoid this one, though I presume this advice comes too little too late.

Pairings: The sink drain.

Cost: $25 for a 750 ml bottle.

 2,225 characters

Photo of bobhits
3.2/5  rDev -21%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Pours a dense protein and yeast infused body with dark ruby and orange coloring. Given a good forced pour it produces a nice inch or so of head in my founder snifter, but it doesn't last or provide lacing. There are some huge alcohol legs that show what is left of the carbonation. Given the alcohol none of this is surprising.

Given the size of this beer the aroma is a bit subtle. There's a tone of caramel sugars with nice American hop aromas (I get a stone like centennial (SP?) hope aroma though there's something else that leads me to believe I might be off on this or there's another hop I should be picking up). Finishing out there's a good bit of sweet sugars with vanilla notes that are coming from the oak aging. I don't get straight bourbon here, but the oak and vanilla are there.

Deep caramel malt is accented by vanilla notes from oak aging. Bolt Cutter mixes the sugary flavor with a nice bit of a bittering hops and a hint of an alcohol finish. Given the 15% abv. there is far less of a bite from alcohol than I had expected. Founders has for some reason decided that anything in a 750 ml should be as sweet and sugary as possible. This one is a lot less over the top than their others (fake sugar infused hazel nut coffee, maple syrup mixed in coffee and bourbon, over the top sugary barely wine aged in sugar infused maple barrels, or a super sugary fruit beer), but make no mistake this is a sugary sweet beer. While there is a good effort to balance the beer with hops it doesn't make it there. This beer is much like their standard barley wine with oak and vanilla added in.

I'm not sure how to score this. 15% is rather subtle. The carbonation is very good for the alcohol levels and there's still a bit of an alcohol bite left here. This beer is not overly dense or thick so don't expect the thick syrupy smooth mouth feel of some of the great English Barely Wines (JW Lee I'm talking about you). The final verdict is this is good, but not great in this regard.

Bolt Cutter comes in at nearly 23 a bottle here in Kentucky after tax. I have a bottle to age and see if this one ages well (what 3-5 years? Really let me know how long I should age this one, PM me darn it!). Ultimately this is very good beer, but it is sold in the wrong format (nobody needs 750 ml of this and it is hard to review with company) and it never really mixes into a full beer. There's too much sugar to go with the bite. It isn't clean flavored and it is so freaking big. This beer just doesn't come together in the end. Don't get me wrong, this isn't bad, it isn't something to be insulted, but it isn't worth the money and if I didn't have another bottle I'd not even consider buying it again.

 2,702 characters

Photo of kevflaherty
4.25/5  rDev +4.9%

Photo of aorloski
4/5  rDev -1.2%

Photo of doc17325
4.25/5  rDev +4.9%

Founders Bolt Cutter from Founders Brewing Company
Beer rating: 4.05 out of 5 with 1,345 ratings
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