Beer Review 0374: Founders Doom Imperial IPA
Here we are with another one of those hard to find beers from Founders Brewing Company (Grand Rapids, Michigan). Part of the “Backstage Series,” the latest release is Doom, an Imperial IPA aged in bourbon barrels.
The beers in the Backstage Series are generally top notch, as my previous reviews will indicate:
Without question, Founders Backstage Series are the hardest beers for me to obtain. Demand and hype are through the roof. Most shops only get one case, which in terms of the 750 ml servings these beers are doled out it, equals just twelve bottles per store. To make matters worse, these beers typically see release on a Monday, during what would traditionally be considered normal working hours. I struggled to get just one bottle of Doom, and it was looking iffy about even getting that. One of those “right place at the right time” sort of things…
Along with the difficulty of finding the beer, cost comes into play. Typically, Backstage Series beers sell for a whopping $14.99 per bottle, and you’re left wrestling with the lingering question “is this really worth it?” With Doom, there’s a small price break; this bottle comes in at $12.99.
Previously known as “Hand of Doom” when brewed exclusively for the Founders taproom, the beer is a bourbon barrel aged version of Double Trouble (rating: 93 points). Time spent in the barrel is four months; as far as I know, this is the first wide release of a barrel aged beer from Founders that hasn’t been an Imperial Stout or Scotch Ale. ABV (alcohol by volume) comes in at 10%.
The pour issued an average size, soapy head, bright white in color, which hung around for a while. The beer was a hazy golden-orange color and was free of particles and sediment. I could easily see through it, even though it was hazy. Lacing was fair, only leaving behind a couple patches of stringy sudsy foam, which was to be expected for a high alcohol brew.
The nose jumps out right away with plenty of pineapple and coconut; Doom smells very sweet, especially with the juicy tropical fruit, which plays off the coconut from the barrel like a champion. At first, this reminded me of butterscotch pudding…and we know butterscotch is often an off-flavor in beer, but trust me, this isn’t off. The butterscotch went away as it warmed and more of the hoppy pineapple came out, mingling with a hint of dry pine, some caramel, subtle vanilla, bourbon, lemons, and lime. Yep, lots going on here. This is candy-like, inviting and very pleasant… and unexpected.
On the palate, Doom brings forth sweet pineapple and mango, which team up with coconut and vanilla. Ever had a Dum Dum pineapple-coconut lollipop? That flavor comes in an out of retirement from the candy company; if you can find it, that’s the exact opening flavor of this beer. Add in some pine hops — the middle opens up with a malty hit, some caramel and lots of bourbon. The vanilla amps up some, leading to a finish of drying grapefruit, pine, pineapple, and a dash of hot bourbon. The alcohol is here, but you don’t taste it; instead, you feel it, which shows me the quality of this brew. Doom is medium-bodied, with a medium, creamy texture, leaving the palate dry.
Speaking as someone who hasn’t had many barrel aged IPAs that were enjoyable …this absolutely was. Would I want to drink this all the time? Certainly not — but Doom is insanely drinkable and has a ton going on that will hold your attention all the way through the bottle. Founders have done it again — Doom is worth the hype and the price tag. Find it if you can, it’s a great drink.
Founders Doom Imperial IPA, 94 points. Price: $12.99 US for one 750 ml bottle.