Thursday, September 20, 2012

Frangelic Mountain Brown – Founders Brewery

                So, a while back I did a review on a cellared bottle of Founders Cerise and looking back I realized that I didn’t have any background on the brewery in my post, so before diving into a review of Frangelic Mountain Brown, how about a little back tracking.

                Back in 1997, having recently graduated from college and already holding good jobs, Mike Stevens and Dave Engbers did what every home brewer wishes they could do.  They quit their jobs and followed their passion, opening Founders Brewing.  They took out loans to help with the initial capital investment and got to work.  Unfortunately, and by their own account the first beers were in their own words “unremarkable” and led them to almost declare bankruptcy.  It’s certainly good for the craft beer industry that they didn’t, because they would go on to produce some of the best beer in the country.

                After coming close to bankruptcy, Mike and Dave realized they had to make a change.  If they wanted their brewery to be successful they would have to develop complex, more flavorful beers to help them stand out.  The new strategy worked with Founders being ranked the 4th best brewery in the world in 2010, the second best in 2011, and in the fall of 2011 they moved into a very cool new brew house capable of producing 50,000-barrels a year.  Check out the nifty youtube video below.

                The year round offerings from Founders are very good beers, but the seasonal and specialty beers  are the real treat, and are often hard to find.

                Well, on to the review:

                On Beeradvocate, Frangelic Mountain Brown has a score of 88. Over at ratebeer it has a 99 overall and a 96 for style.

They say:

                Frangelic Mountain Brown is the quintessential taproom “one-off” beer: Founders’ brewers created the Mountain Brown series for their taproom in Grand Rapids in 2007. Frangelic Mountain Brown is the 16th iteration in the series of popular brown ales—and it likely won’t be the last. The singular characteristic of this beer comes from the use of hazelnut coffees in the brewing process. The beer has distinct aromatics with sweet and nutty flavors beautifully balanced. Founders is known for its beers made with coffee (i.e., the Breakfast Stout series), but this is both the brewery’s first brown ale and its first beer brewed with hazelnut coffees to be bottled. It clocks in at 9% ABV.


I say:

                Frangelic Mountain Brown pours mahogany with an excellent kahki head that holds great retention and provides good lacing in the glass. It is a very nice looking beer. The aroma is dominated by medium roast coffee, with vanilla, caramel and hazelnut notes, if you have ever gotten a whiff of Hazelnut coffee; you have a good idea of what Frangelic Mountain Brown smells like.

                The flavor has an upfront dark, malty sweetness with smooth coffee and hazelnut notes throughout and a hint of cream. The aftertaste is more of the same and the coffee flavor intensifies as the beer warms. It tastes very much like a cup of high end hazelnut coffee. Frangelic Mountain Brown is medium-bodied with a moderate to low level of carbonation.

                Frangelic Mountain Brown was a very good beer. Heading into it I knew that it was a hazelnut coffee brown ale, but I was not prepared for the complete dominance of the coffee. There were hints of the base style, with the caramel notes but they remained very much in the background. Don’t get me wrong, I love hazelnut coffee and have it almost every morning with breakfast, but in a beer… A more toned back coffee flavor would have taken this beer from very good to excellent.

                That’s all for tonight! Check back in again soon for another review. Have a great night!

                Happy Drinking!

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