Founders: DKML (USA: Malt Liquor: 14.2% ABV)

Visual: Pale brown to apricot. Large creamy bubbled white to beige head.

Nose; Vanilla. Bourbon. Condensed cream. Toffee. Crushed Blackpool rock. Raspberry yogurt.

Body: Vanilla. Fudge. Cream. Rye biscuits. Grapes. Brown bread. Peppery. Cardboard. Cherries. Brown sugar. Liquorice.

Finish: Pepper. Rye crackers. Fudge. Cream. Brown bread. Rough alcohol edge – cheap spirit. Vanilla. Slight dried apricot. Unflavoured puff crisps.

Conclusion: I am fairly sure that this is leaning very, very heavily on the bourbon ageing to make it manageable. Now, for all that, I will admit the bourbon ageing does do its job well – lots of vanilla, toffee, cream and fudges notes. That part is very well done.

The base finds it hard to peak through all that bourbon, but when it does, it does seem like more of a mixed bag. There are cherry notes, grapes and even occasion apricot elements which are good, though none are too formidable, they are all lighter, harder to find elements. On the bad side of things, well there is an unfinished alcohol sheen, a kind of rough pepper to rye crackers thing, and even the dreaded cardboard notes. Some of these are elements that can be used well, but are just a tad rough here, some is just rough alcohol notes.

Taken in small amounts it is quite appealing and better than most examples of the… style that I have encountered; There has been a lot done to make the top half of the beer quite appealing. Unfortunately in the latter half of drinking this the body starts pushing the rough edges and unfinished alcohol style into a more unenjoyable look.

An interesting experiment and half a good beer, but also half a massive failure of a beer, and together not one I would say to grab.

Background: Malt Liquor? Something I’ve pretty much only ever encountered in the USA, and, frankly, tends to be more than a tad grebby. Thus I was intrigued by this – a malt liquor by the respected Founders brewery, aged in bourbon barrels, and one that actually has a decent reputation on review aggregation sites. So, ok, I thought – let’s do the first malt liquor review of the site and hope for the best. Yet again, one grabbed from Independent Spirit. Put on Miracle Of Sound’s Level 8 collection of film and video game inspired music while drinking this – the guy is a genuine music maestro.