This is my first beer from Founders, a Grand Rapids, Michigan brewery started in 1997 by homebrewers Mike Stevens and Dave Engbers. Today, the brewery cranks out about four thousand barrels, and offers a pale ale, an IPA, an imperial stout, and a host of other specialty beers, including two rye beers I'm eager to try.
Brewery: Founders Brewing Company
Brewery Location: Western Michigan
Beer: Dirty Bastard Scotch Style Ale
BJCP Style: 9E. Scottish Strong Ale (Wee Heavy)
A: Mahogany in the glass; red when light shines through. Low head crouches atop my full pint, then rings the glass as I drink.
S: Mild roastiness, hints of molasses cookies. Low hops.
T: Strong flavor up front, with a grainy astringency. Some roast, but not much. A splash of chocolate in the finish, but also a licorice and a syrupy medicinal quality. None of the peat flavor I had wished would be present. Not balanced, as I had hoped--too medicinal, too syrupy, too much licorice.
M: Full mouthfeel, but harsh.
D: I only bought a single, and I'm glad I did. The flavors are all over the place, and the ones that predominate aren't pleasant. I detected slight hints of chocolate and toffee, but was overwhelmed by the harshness of it. If it weren't for the rave reviews on BeerAdvocate and the fact that this beer is named as an exemplar for the style by the BJCP, I'd content myself to have tried just this one bottle. I'll probably try it again at some point, to assure myself that I didn't just get a bad batch. I suspect this beer, at 8.5% ABV, will mellow well with age.
01/26/07 UPDATE: I tried this beer on tap at a Founders tasting at Jungle Jim's and the beer couldn't have been more different than the bottle I reviewed here. Smooth and sweet, without a hint of the alcohol harshness I noted above. Looks like I'll have to pick up another bottle soon.