Somehow this is the first review of a Founders brew I have gotten around to writing about but rest assured it will be a worthy post. Founders who brews out of Grand Rapids, Michigan started distributing to our fine state of Minnesota a number of months back and since then I have sincerely enjoyed a good number of their brews particularly their Centennial IPA and Dirty Bastard Scotch Ale. Recently bottles of their Devil Dancer which they are calling a Triple IPA showed up on the shelves and upon glancing at it I immediately had sticker shock as it runs close to $20 for a four pack of this industrious brew. After reading the bottle I was almost intrigued enough to purchase some but after being graciously offered a sample at The Four Firkins I had no choice but to acquire some of this delightful ale. Brewed with 10 varieties of hops creating 112 IBU and coming in at 12% ABV this is one serious Imperial IPA.Â This beer pours an attractive deep red hue that brightens when brought to light but is not translucent at all. Head is a clean white color with just under a finger being produced when lightly poured down the center of my glass. Though there isn’t a ton of carbonation the head retention was very nice leaving me with a small ring around the surface of the brew after many minutes. I find the aroma of this brew marvelous, so much that I had a hard time drinking the sample I was offered because I didn’t want the aroma to go away. The aroma is so full of hops it is difficult to isolate them but I notice grapefruit and passion fruit aromas most strongly as well as some pitted fruit notes and a bit of malty sweetness on top of a subtle pine note and very little alcohol considering its 12% ABV. This is one complexly delicious ale. The wonderfully robust malt profile provides dark pitted fruit flavors such as date to contrast with with the serious hoppyness of this brew. Again in the flavor grapefruit and passion fruit notes are most noticeable to me but are interestingly dulled by the massive malt profile though are by no means discrete. On the other hand the way the malt profile contrasts with the bitter notes of the hops is quite marvelous as the dark fruit flavors in the malt contrast wonderfully with the bitter hoppy tones. Body is medium and the mouthfeel is quite clean for this strong of a brew. To simplify a brew that is anything but; this is one intensely flavored hoppy strong ale with a wonderful malt base to support it’s massive hop profile. One thing that I have noticed from enjoying this bottle and my previous sample is that this beer (like many) is very subject to temperature. When I initially tried this brew straight from a fridge I didn’t notice the strong pitted fruit notes nearly as much but it was the first thing I noticed when consuming this bottle that I left sitting out for about 20 minutes. Further when colder it seemed the hops were more noticeable but I think that is largely because the malty flavors are more noticeable then when warmer. To confuse things further as I allowed this brew to warm even further in my glass during this review the hops slowly became more and more prevalent. This probably doesn’t help any of you but I found it interesting and will have to do some experimentation with the three bottles I have remaining to further my conclusion. Regardless of what temperature you serve this beer at it is unquestionably an awesome beer to share with any of your hop head friends and though it is unfortunate that commodities are continually increasing in price this is certainly a delicious brew that I doubt you will be disappointed in. Give it a shot and ride your bike.
Update: After consuming another bottle of this brew straight out of the fridge later in the evening I have yet to decide which I prefer as they both offer unique and delicious flavors. Although I will say when served colder the malty flavors present are much sweeter and do not forwardly present the dark pitted fruit flavors I noticed before until warming for about 10 minutes and even then they are much less dominate. Additionally the hop notes seem to be a bit more forward though equally complex during that time. Cheers!