Saturday, October 18, 2014

Founders Bolt Cutter

This barleywine with a whopping 15% ABV was brewed for the 2012 fifteenth anniversary of Founders Brewing of Grand Rapids, Michigan. It is a blend of barleywines, unaged, aged in bourbon barrels, and aged in maple syrup bourbon barrels.

The beer pours a hazy amber and burnt orange in color. There is a relatively host off-white head, bubbly. The aroma is full of orange, candied orange, over-ripe orange, lightly burnt sugar, light molasses, and booze. Fruity tart meets sweet along with vaporous alcohol sting. The taste follows the aromas, but is more mellow, more blended, more in balance, and less harsh than the aromas, a tangle of fruity tart and sweet, with some darkened to burnt sugar tones. The beer drinks with a warming effect, but not boozy. The beer drinks surprisingly easy for its high ABV, it is not syrupy at all, but has enough body to hold up all the flavors. The finish is dry and mildly bitter, with an aftertaste that lingers, but stays true to the original flavors. As it warms, some oak becomes apparent.

This is a really  nice big barleywine, but I would never have guessed from the aroma or taste that it had been aged in bourbon barrels.  Anyone try this when it was new, was the bourbon ever more pronounced? 

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