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Founders Bolt Cutter | Founders Brewing Company

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BA SCORE
90
outstanding
234 Reviews
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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
Reviews:
234
Ratings:
1,331
Avg:
4.01
pDev:
29.43%
 
 
Wants:
212
Gots:
688
For Trade:
68
User Reviews
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Reviews: 234 | Ratings: 1,331
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 SerialTicker
3.44/5  rDev -14.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

To my surprise, I saw this at the World Expo of Beer in Frankenmuth, Michigan and decided to try it out. I hope you're all ready to roll your eyes at this review and spit on your screen!

Appearance: A nice ruby-like color. No head to speak of, and no lacing either .... which I guess is to be expected.

Smell: Honestly smelled like a chlorine pool to me, for the most part ... after awhile that note seemed to fade and I just got a really odd mix of super sweet malt with hops. Unusual.

Taste: It's a barleywine. It's 15%. In the words of Ralph Wiggum, "It tastes like burning." The beer isn't overly bitter, but it burns quite a lot with a lot of alcohol in the flavor. I found that I was mainly concentrating on getting all of it down, rather than trying to pick up on flavors. I could finish my 4oz sample, but I'm not convinced I could have much more.

It's too big for me. Sweet, heavy, and copious amounts of alcohol in the flavor. Could definitely benefit by mellowing out over the course of a year or so.

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Photo of CraftFan5
2.86/5  rDev -28.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 5 | overall: 3

Not sure why this one has such high ratings. The nose was meh, and the flavor was sickeningly sweet. It almost tasted artificial. So glad I didn't drop $28 for a bottle a few months ago.

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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 zac16125
4.09/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4

750mL bottle into a small snifter

This beer hit the market and was hot shit, 2 months later its getting killed on reviews and the BA forums. I was excited to get a hold of a bottle to try for myself.

A: Pours a very dark amber with some reddish hues when held to light. One fingers width of very light tan colored head dissipates down at a fairly quick rate. Leaves a good amount of spotty lacing.

S: Smells sweet, but like a hoppy citrus sweetness. There is a rather non-descript sugary sweetness, a melon character that is rather unique to the barleywine style, some faint hints of bourbon and vanilla-oak from the barrel, and some booze. Its unique, but I like.

T: Hops and burnt sugary sweetness are the first tastes I notice. Initially it is very reminiscent of DFH 120 Minute. Then some other notes come out including caramel and toffee, with bourbon and booze on the finish. There is some hop bitterness on the finish too. Im not sure where all the cloying sweetness comments are coming from, this beer isnt even on the higher end of the sweet spectrum in my opinion. It actually reminds me a lot of DFH 120 (although I may be biased as this was suggested to me by someone before I even tried it) with the addition of bourbon barrel notes. I love 120min, but I dont particularly like how the bourbon characters mesh with the flavor profile of the base beer here. I like the taste a lot, but Im deducting points for the aftertaste which is a bit odd at times.

M/D: This beer has an absolutely delightful mouthfeel. Full bodied, manages to stay away from becoming syrupy, a decently heavy carbonation, and a very smooth mouthfeel. The drinkability on this thing is dangerous. Great in this aspect. 4

O: Overall, this one kind of put me through a roller coaster of beer-motions. Im a whore for big boozy beers, and this is certainly one of those. I also think it has a great mouthfeel and drinkability, and I appreciate the unique qualities... BUT I just dont think barrel aging did this one much good. I love BBA beers, but barrel aging doesnt go with everything. I would be interested to try this just as a base beer. Either way, I did thoroughly enough this and highly recommend it to anyone who loves big boozy beers. This certainly isnt for everyone though.

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Photo of Massbmx
4.61/5  rDev +15%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Thought it was good fresh but 3 years later its very good. No more hop bite, delicious caramel and malt, nice thick mouth feel that coats your mouth, alcohol seems to have smoothed. I think founders knew what they were doing with this one, certainly meant to be aged.

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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 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 SomethingClever
4.38/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

3 year old bottle.

Surprisingly still amazingly hoppy reminded you of Double bastard and boozy as well. This beer was intends can not imagine what it was like fresh it still seemed to go down smooth for being 15% ABV.

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Photo of lovindahops
4.33/5  rDev +8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

After being the dd for the wine and chocolate festival at the fair, I definitely deserved to open one of my two bolt cutters.

A- With an aggressive pour, bolt cutter pours a reddish amber body with a solid head of tan foam that rises to the top of my surly tulip. As the head recides, remnants of the foam drift to the edges of the glass. Strong carbonation rips through the glass

S- sweet caramel and earthy tones lead off a richened fruit presence. Some vanilla oak and slighlty sweet syrup are present in this bold barleywine

T- Very strong surge of butterscotch and fruit like candy is galvanized as the predominant characteristics from the get go. An earthy presence flows through with an extreme presence of hoppiness characterized by piney flavors. Certainly bold but masking the alcohol well throughout the tasting. Really a big sweet barleywine flavor as was hoping for

M- A little thin but still sweet and clinging to the pallet

O- I really enjoyed this as an all out flavor assault for a barleywine. I wish I could sense the bourbon that everyone mentioned but nevertheless this is a wild brew that some aging will do well. I'm looking for a few more of these. Thanks founders!

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Photo of SportsandJorts
4.18/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Appearance: deep reddish orange color. a finger or so of a tannish head that leaves a strong lacing on the sides. opaque but with a slight glow to it with the light

Smell: dark crystal malts, sweet dark fruits, some alcohol, lots of caramel and toffee. fairly light on the bourbon, noticeable maple

Taste: opens with dark fruits and a slightly sweet dark crystal roastiness. transitions to toffee and caramel, maybe some molasses, certainly some maple. Backend is full of hot booze. just a touch of oaky bourbon.

Mouthfeel: sticky and chewy, lots of hot alcohol.

Overall: at a year and a half old, I don't see too much age on this beer. Maybe some dry hopping and such are gone but its not too different then when it came out. still lots of hot booze in it. I think this beer is still not hitting its stride. If i get another I may have to wait till its 5+ years old. Another great founders backstage series.

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Photo of Gatch
4.65/5  rDev +16%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Been sittin' on this for a loooong time! 15th Anniversary Ale - 2012.

A: Beautiful, slightly hazy, bright rose color with shades of pink. Frothy but fairly thin/light off-white head that builds steadily and fades in a similar manner leaving behind some great lacing and retention. Simply stunning!

S: Where to begin...seriously massive malt character. Bread, sugar, booze, barrel, yeast. Aroma is intimidating but also inviting and exciting at the same time. A sign of things to come...

T: Extremely happy that I waited so long to drink this judging by what others have said. While it's still incredibly sweet, boozy, and heavy, I can only imagine how much more amplified these qualities would have been for the first several months after bottling. Having said that...the flavors are massive and truly delicious. Tons of sweet, sugary booze...woody, earthy barrel & bourbon...bready, roasted malt...sugary, dark fruits. This is a true "barleywine." Almost qualifies as a spirit.

M: Viscous with plenty of carbonation to go around. Held up very well. Such a serious beer with serious flavor. For what it is, this is amazing.

O: The definition of "treat." A very special beer. Should I feel selfish drinking the entire 750ml bottle by myself? Nah. It's my sincere hope that Founders can have another 15+ years of success!

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Photo of cfrances33
4.27/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle thanks to scud, poured into a Founders snifter.

Pour: Slightly hazy deep orange, with a finger and a half of cream colored, almost tannish head. Leaves some pretty surprising lacing for a 15% monster, and the head hangs around and eventually recedes to a rim.

Smell: Wow. This is super complex. Pineapple and booze up front, that breaks away into a deep bourbon toffee. A yeasty aspect comes in, and is overwhelmed by tons of caramel and butterscotch.

Taste: At first... lots of booze and a significant pineapple and citrus hop presence. Quickly gives way to some toffee and bourbon. As it warms, toffee becomes more pronounced, and a light maple syrup presence. Pretty sweet, but not too much. Barrel comes out towards the end of the glass at its warmest.

Mouthfeel: Quite boozy, but not because of the barrel presence. Bourbon is only present in some light flavors. Very syrupy, and a glass is an hour long process.

Overall: Good beer. Not astounding, but good. I definitely think this has some incredible aging potential.

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Photo of Treebs
3.01/5  rDev -24.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

750 ml bottle served in a Hofbrau tulip.

A: Semi hazy dark cherry color. A light tan head forms on the pour with great retention. Sticky webbings of lace are left down the glass. Looks a lot like Devil Dancer.

S: A little pine with some citrus zest. Some candied sugar with a hefty dose of bready malts. I'm not picking up any barrel notes and it doesn't smell anything like a barleywine. More like a big and boozy DIPA.

T: A little melon up front with some candy sugar and a ton of alcohol. A little maple with some citrus and bitter pine. Bready malts with a hot and boozy finish.

M: Medium bodied with a medium carbonation. Pretty hot with a ton of booze on the finish.

O: This isn't close to a barleywine. Too big and boozy and not really well made. The barrel is non-existent. A bigger let down than Frangelic Mountain Brown.

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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 chugalug06
4.2/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Amazing 1/2 finger, vanilla colored, foamy, frothy head on top of a clouded ruby red brew.

Coconut, roasty, caramel, vanilla, very strong and pleasant. Slight hint of heat.

Whoa, @ 15% I was expecting a ridiculous amount of heat and sugar, that's not the case. Smooth, a bit watery, easy drinking, slight burn on the late after taste, mild carbonation. Strong Iced Tea flavors are rampant, missing much of the tropical barrel flavors found in other BA B-wines. Lots of caramel and toasted malts.

A very nice way to celebrate an anniversary... Highly recommended, it's up with some of the best. Thanks!

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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 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 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 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 alpinebryant
4.4/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a hazy light orange caramel with a powdered dusting, and large bubbles mixed in.

S: Aroma of cotton candy , caramelized sugars, sweet oranges, light oak aromas and sweetness comes on strong.

T: Lots of Sugary cotton candy flavors, caramel along with fruity tastes and berry flavors. I am reminded of Fruit Stripe gum. Tons of red ale flavor and crystal malt flavors. Excellent balance with not an overabundance of hops but great flavor. This beer clearly shines with the fruity esters from the yeast and a refreshing flavor overall rather than a tannic overhopped and overboiled mess. I pick up light melon as some other reviews have picked up as well. This really blends well with the overall amount of bitterness in this beer and I wish more beers would follow this suit.

M: Thick body with a low level of carbonation. just right

O: Overall this is a great beer and glad to have tried this but with the outrageous price, I would never buy again.

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Photo of cvm4
4.05/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

L - Pours a red mahogany body with a one finger light tan head.

S - Malty aroma with caramel, toffee and candied sugars.

T - Rich malts along with brown sugar and maple syrup. I can definitely pick up some of the bourbon barreling on the back of the taste. Just straight forward and a delight to drink.

F - Full bodied, low carbonation. Smooth body with low abv heat.

O - A very unique barleywine to drink that has held its own overtime. I think this one still has some legs on it.

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Photo of TwelveOunces
4.46/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

750 ML poured into a snifter

A- Pours very syrupy . A half a finger of a dense off white head. A ton of alcohol legs. A hazy copper color. A menace of a looking beer.

S- There is a lot of hops on the nose. A slight sharp pine, some overly ripened grapefruit. Caramel and toffee. A slight vanilla and a nice oak character.

T- A crisp bitterness up front. Followed up by an obvious alcohol presence. It sweeps over with a bit of the oak flavor and dry feel. There is a very slight touch of bourbon and vanilla. The malt profile of this beer is very caramel and toffee forward which is accented nicely by the vanilla. Hop flavors are more dominant on the nose. The hops are slightly citrus and overly ripened fruits, flavors of an aged IPA.

M- Thick and syrupy. I wouldn't call it hot but it is without a doubt a very warming beer. More drinkable then I was expecting. Good carbonation and a bitter palate.

O- This is a beast of a beer. Approach only if your ready to embrace some intense flavors. I like fresh barley wines, barrel aged barley wines and barley wines aged at least a year. I like the fresh ones because they have an intense hop profile, and aged ones because the hop profile has died and allowed the malts to take over. This beer is sort of stuck in limbo between the three, partially aged in barrels for about 5 months total. Its good now but I see it as a beer that will improve incredibly with age.

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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 webmanspidey
4.1/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This is a golden amber color with a light head. Smells are very sweet honey and malt with some crisp hoppiness. Taste is a mix between a sweet bold malt and crisp hops. The alcohol blends in pretty well for being this heavy. There are also some nice hints of vanilla and oak.

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Founders Bolt Cutter from Founders Brewing Company
4.01 out of 5 based on 1,331 ratings.
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