Friday, September 10, 2010

OMFG - Beer Review Series - Founders Nemesis 2010

Once again, the Founders Nemesis came to Atlanta and is gone. If you are not on the up and up with your beer nerdness you may have missed the boat with this beer. Founders crafts a special, once a year, brew called the Nemesis, and it’s a one-off super limited if you don’t get it its gone kind of thing.

Last year was the first Nemesis, and it was an amazing Bourbon aged wheatwine that clocked in at throat burning 12% ABV. Everyone, with whom I shared this beer, loved it. It was sweet, smooth, maple, sticky, boozy, woody, sipping brew amazingness. I loved it so much one was cellared for a future tasting or just a perfect fall day with my family and friends. 

This year is another story. This year, Founders produced what seemed to be an even more limited brew of a completely different style as promised. It is a “Black” Barleywine, i.e. one of the booziest beers available. The “Black” is an American twist on the English Barleywine that highlights fruity, sweet and sometimes bittersweet, but always alcoholic characteristics. With the American version brewers add hops to balance and mask some of the overwhelming attributes of the style. 

The 2010 Nemesis is a superhero’s worst nightmare. This brew inflicts retribution or vengeance on the palette. At first glance the Nemesis is black and dense; when I held it to the light I noticed a dark reddish hue on the edge of my glass revealing the Nemesis’s true color. The head is a thick foam; russet in color that retreats quickly to the outer edges of the glass and dissipates, lacing the goblet with a round ring. 

I took a big whiff of this Juggernaut. Then, plotted my next move like Dr. Doom. Another mighty sniff revealed a perfume of hops, chocolate, floral, pineapple and booze. The nose was so amazing I knew this brew would surely offer frenzy of flavors in the first sip. 

Grabbing the goblet, with nearly Magneto like powers, I thrust the glass high into the air. The first sip was smooth; very similar to the nose but with subtle pine and citrus to compliment the malt and chocolate notes. Then the enormous hop bitterness was like venom to my mouth. It delightfully burned and spiked my tongue with a tingle of orange, citrus and pine followed closely by the onslaught of burn from the alcohol. 

Mouth feel is medium with a sticky back end, woody and acidic on the swallow. This 100 IBU 12% ABV brew does not disappoint but in large doses, like any super villain, could decimate all. I did finish all 12 ounces but realize afterwards that an 8 ounce pour would be plenty for this slow sipper. After finishing one glass I couldn’t help but think: this beer will age beautifully. 

The Nemesis is going to be hard to find in the city if at all. Your best bet to catch up with this elusive foe is to check out the Ratebeer app for iphone or android and make some calls to ensure you are not going out of your way to find empty shelves. Currently, I find the following stores did have this beer: Greens, HopCity, Bullocks, Jax and Tower. Additional work will be needed to verify that they still have it in stock. Next review is a reader’s choice. I want to do a bourbon barrel aged beer and I will let you decide. Submit your choice in the comments below and I will review the one with the largest votes in the upcoming week. These are the choices from my cellar: Founders - Backwoods Bastard 09, Founders - Kentucky Breakfast Stout 09, Founders - Nemesis 09, Allagash - Curieux, and Rogue - John John Dead guy ale in whiskey barrels.

Guest Contributor: Ryan


  1. I vote for the Rogue- never had it, and I haven't paid enough attention to that brewery lately. Great blog!