Total Score: 87.5
For the next few reviews I’m digging in to my “cellar” for some big vintage brews. Today I’m tasting a 2010 Founders Nemesis, and in the coming days I’ll have a 2010 Founders Breakfast Stout, 2009 Goose Island Pere Jacque, and a 2009 Hoppin’ Frog Barrel Aged BORIS. Unfortunately I don’t have reviews from my fresh tastings of any of these, but I think it should still be interesting.
Founders Brewing Company is without question one of my favorite breweries, primarily because everything they do is uncompromisingly interesting and intense. This, in fact, is what they credit for saving their brewery from bankruptcy in the early days, when they were initially brewing “well balanced but unremarkable beers.” Since opening in 1997, Founders has not stopped growing and improving. They currently have a brewing capacity of 50,000 barrels with room to expand in the future. They’ve also been consistently voted as one of the top breweries in the world by ratebeer.com users, including #4 in the world in 2010 and #2 in the world in 2011. As if that’s not enough, they host several popular events each year, including Founders Fest, a block party held every June featuring music and of course lots of beer.
As for Nemesis, this beer has some of the nastier stats you’ll ever find, bringing a full 100 IBUs and 12% ABV. While this is the kind of beer that would be said to transcend style guidelines, it’s classified as an American Barleywine on BeerAdvocate.com, so look for loads of hops, malt, and booze. I’ve been waiting over a year for this one, so let’s get to it.
Very dark brown, with spectacular ruby hues when held to the light. Tan head is small but persistent, and features large soapy bubbles. Weird spotty and almost particulate lace. Huge spicy and piney hops and tart cherries dominate the smell. Some black licorice as well. Unabashedly boozy. Hints of sweet chocolate waaay in the back. Super smooth taste. Definitely more restrained than the smell, but the same traits. Super sweet dark fruit malts with booze, booze, and more booze. Prominent alcohol is usually not my thing, but the smoothness is remarkable and makes it at least tolerable here. Hops are spicy just as would be expected with the age on this. Could have used more malt and hop flavors and less booze. Body is massive and creamy. Carbonation is all but gone. Aftertaste is very sweet, not especially bitter, and only mildly dry.
This was good, but quite honestly I prefer it fresh. If you want to get drunk on one beer, this is a good bet. Just a bit too much booze for me, even after a year. Would recommend, but even more so fresh.
Look: 9/10 Smell: 9/10 Taste: 8.5/10 All-Around: 9/10