A tropical IPA from Founders, Azacca has notes of lemon and mango and a buttery finish.
I give it a 3.8 out of 5.
The Oracle is a big American Double India Pale Ale from Bell’s Brewery of Comstock, Michigan. The nose has lemon and caramel. The middle is loaded with caramel, orange, lemon, and a bit of pine. The pine starts to come forward and assert itself in the finish, but the citrus remains. This is a fairly simple, iconic DIPA. All of what one might expect, and not a lot else. It’s tasty and well executed, and a great example of the style. The body is medium to heavy and the alcohol is a stout 10% ABV.
I give this a 4.5 out of 5.
Founders, of Grand Rapids, Michigan, calls this Imperial Brown Ale “decadent” and that is the perfect way to describe this outstanding beer. The head is thick and creamy. The nose is roasty, with tons of chocolate and coffee. The middle is milky, smooth and sweet with mocha and espresso. The finish is bittering slightly, with the coffee and toasted grain coming to the fore. The body is medium to heavy, the alcohol is an imperial 9.0% ABV. This is the perfect coffee lover’s brew, and every bit as good as Founders’ classic Breakfast Stout.
I give it a 4.8 out of 5.
Dark Penance is a big 100 IBU Imperial Black IPA from Grand Rapids, MI based Founders Brewing Company. It’s certainly hoppy, but it has a solid malt backbone that balances it out, making it fully worthy of that Imperial classification. The nose is spicy with prunes, caramel, and earth. The middle has sweet dark fruit and brown sugar, balanced by bitter coffee notes. More earth and spice and tart cherries are waiting in the finish with a slight metallic bitterness right at the end. The body is medium to heavy and the alcohol is a stout 8.9% ABC. This makes for an excellent fall or winter evening beverage.
I give it a 4.6 out of 5.
Bell’s Porter is interesting in that it isn’t as heavy as a typical porter. They describe is as being somewhere in between a brown ale and a stout, and I’d agree that this is the target they’ve hit. The body is medium weight, and the flavors are not overly strong, but the profile is definitely in-line with a porter or stout. The nose has chocolate and toast. The middle is roasty had has a bit more chocolate at the end, and the finish is slightly metallic with some savory grain notes. It’s on the lighter side alcoholically as well at 5.6% ABV. A very pleasant interpretation of a porter.
I give it a 4.2 out of 5.
I don’t know what it is about Founders, but this Michigan brewery knows how to do big heavy beers like few others. Today I’m having an Imperial Stout, which is one of their specialty beers, with availability from January through March. Which, again, makes this a winter seasonal. It’s brewed with ten different varieties of malted barley for a rich, complex flavor. It pours a dark inky black-brown. The nose has chocolate and unique woodiness that reminds me of the smoke from a mesquite fire, and a bit of hickory and toast. The head is thick and the texture of light whipped cream. The middle explodes with different flavors including chocolate, molasses, brown sugar, raisins, and coffee. The finish settles down and is sweet, heavy, and milky with a little well-balanced maple syrup and coffee lingering on the back of the tongue right at the end. The body on this beer is well and truly heavy. This is a stout’s stout. The alcohol is high at 10.5% ABV, but very well hidden. This is one of the finest example of a stout that I’ve had.
I give it a 4.7 out of 5.
Porter is a classic ale style that brings to mind visions of heavy, dark, malty beer; beer that could serve as meal replacement. Founders Brewing Company’s version of Porter, named simply “Porter” doesn’t disappoint. Founders has become one of my all time favorite brewers as they churn out good beer after good beer, and this is no exception. The appearance is perfect, an oily black with no hint of transparency, and a thick mocha brown head. The nose has notes of coffee, cocoa and wood. The body is heavy, and the middle has flavors of well roasted coffee, brown sugar, and a bit of chocolate. The finish has a tiny bit of alcohol and a little of that brown sugar sweetness left over. The alcohol level is a moderate 6.5% ABV. Now, I’m a hop-head, and there isn’t anywhere in this beer that the hops come forward, but I still appreciate this beer for what it is, and that’s a classically heavy, malty, rich porter.
I give it a 4.7 out of 5.