Black Rye is apparently an older recipe in the days before “Black IPAs”
were en vogue. Drinking it today it seems exactly like a beer of that
style rather than the supposedly unclassifiable brew it purports to be.
The rye is subtle here; subtle to the point that it’s an afterthought
rather than one of the central flavor characteristics. Though, it’s a
beer like this that goes to show that styles really don’t mean jack, and
an excellent beer should be appreciated for its excellence.
I poured a 12oz bottle into a goblet. It was bottled on 12/12/14 and cost $4.95 ($0.41 per ounce).
Appearance: Ink black color with blood red highlights. Pours to a small, tan, foamy head which retains and laces fairly well.
Smell: Strong dank/piney hops plus dark malt character.
Taste: There’s a certain flavor combination of hops and dark malt that
works so well. That synergy of dank, resiny, piney hop bitterness and
bitter, roasted malt just work wonders together. Both are present
immediately on the palette here. Up front there’s dank bitterness
followed by bittersweet dark chocolate flavor with a hint of espresso
through the middle. As good as the first half is, the second half is
even better with strong bitterness and an almost luscious piney/sappy
taste. The label indicates the beer is 78 IBUs and it’s quite clear
that’s no exaggeration. The hops certainly are the focal point, though
the malt base is strong enough to keep the palette balanced. Oddly
enough, there isn’t much distinct rye character except for some
spiciness on the finish. It’s a good way to end this delectable palette,
though I’d like to see it used more prominently (especially considering
the name of the beer).
Drinkability: This is probably the kind of beer most people would
consider to be on the bigger side. At 7.5% ABV, Founders Black Rye isn’t
exactly a session brew. That being said, it’s not gentle sipper,
either. It’s full-bodied for sure, but the mouthfeel is a bit crisper
and cleaner than you’d expect. No sticky, syrupy texture to speak of,
and a good amount of carbonation to scrub itself clean. Works great as a
nightcap, though I could see it pairing well with a savory dinner.