I got this beer as part of a Christmas haul selected by my brother-in-law (who knows his craft beers). Why I chose to try it on a hot and hazy summer night I’m not sure. Anything from Founders I treat with respect, so I’ve been saving it.
It pours a dark, translucent brown with a minimal head. Aged in bourbon barrels…yes it is. Sticking your nose gives the impression of a glass of bourbon with some wood and vanilla notes; boozy but not overpowering.
The taste is sweet and mellow. Medium body with barely detectable carbonation. In addition to the mellow bourbon flavors you get molasses, wood, brown sugar and maybe caramel. Molasses and bourbon linger in the aftertaste, maybe a bit sweeter than I’d like. Slight warming effect (this is a big boy at 10.2 ABV, but they’ve done a very good job suppressing that aspect in the taste). Basically this tastes like the bastard child of bourbon and scotch ale. Which is presumably what they were going for.
This is somewhat of a niche beer, and I’m maybe not the best person to review it as I’m not really a fan of bourbon or scotch ales. Still, a nicely balanced beer, Founders should be proud. This is without question one of THE top craft breweries in the country. Their quality control is nothing short of amazing. I have never had an offering of theirs which has disappointed. In discussing our favorite breweries among the CBS contributors, Founders is in just about everyone’s top 5. They deserve to be.
Vital Stats: Served at 48F a pint glass. 10.2% ABV.
Taste: A-. This is an A- for the style, trying to remain objective. It’s not my favorite style, but within the genre this is an exceptionally crafted ale. Another feather in the cap of Founders.
Drinkability: C- High ABV and sweet, I don’t see anyone doing more than one of these in a session. A nice after-dinner beer, but you’re not having a second.
Packaging: B- I give them an A for keeping true to their brand (looking at any of Founders’ labels, I get the impression these beers were brewed by a renaissance painter and a 19th century blacksmith), but it is devoid of any description/story/info etc. Full marks for keeping true to the brand mystique, but I’d love some more exposition on the labels.