Founders Nemesis 2010: We All Scream for Ice Cream

As many of you know, I’m a fan of most everything Founders brews. You might also be aware that I’m a sucker for any beer that swings for the fences or draws outside the lines.

So you can imagine how much I enjoy Founder’s Nemesis. Each year it’s a different beer bearing the Nemesis name. For 2009, it was a maple bourbon barrel aged wheat wine that had an ABV of 12% and flavor that was really special. Here’s my review of that beer if you’re interested.

For 2010, it’s something completely different. Here’s how the folks at Founders describe their latest creation:

The 2010 release of Nemesis is best described by our brewing team as “a dark barley wine that pours black with a subtle mahogany hue. Brewed with 5 malts and no shortage of hops for a pleasantly bitter booming flavor. Roasty and toasty with a multitude of tastes that melts on your tongue.”

That description is quite apt.  There’s a huge sweetly roasted flavor to this puppy, with hints of cocoa, brown sugar, a little coffee, maybe some roasted nuts in there.  There’s a hop finish, too, with notes of pine and a bit of citrus, but you wouldn’t guess this beer has 100 IBU’s.  Anyway, it’s (as usual) a marvelous beer.

But the thing that really set it off for me was a flavor memory this beer triggered – ice cream. 

More particular, vanilla bean ice cream swimming in Hershey’s chocolate syrup.  Once I detected the flavor it was impossible to taste it any other way.  I’m sure the ice cream vibe wasn’t intentional, but it’s delightful nonetheless.

I gave my glass to my wife who sipped it and thought the Nemesis was very good, noting mostly the cocoa and the sweetness.  I then said “try it again and think ‘ice cream.'” She did and her eyes lit up.  She described it as “mocha ice cream” which I think nails it as well.  She took another sip, closed her eyes and said “nummy!”  Always the hardened critic, that one! 🙂

Certainly as the beer warmed, a coffee note worked its way into the middle of the flavor and blended seamlessly with the ice cream goodness, so her mocha description makes sense.

So there you have it.  2010 Nemesis is another great effort by Founders to craft a beer that’s original, unusual and very tasty.  I have a couple of these babies left and can’t wait to try them after a bit of a pause to see if the ice cream flavor is for real, or if I’m just an idiot with a crappy palate.

I’m sure Don will have an opinion here…

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Categories: Beer, review


Craft beer nerd, frequent beer blogger and occasional home brewer.

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6 Comments on “Founders Nemesis 2010: We All Scream for Ice Cream”

  1. Don
    September 15, 2010 at 11:42 am #

    Well Jim, you are correct I have an opinion. You are and Idiot, but your palate is no slouch. So I’d say you probably did get an ice cream flavor. I wonder if you could make your own ice cream pops out of this brew. that might be amazing, kind of like Rick at Brewforia did with the Coconut Porter. So one question, should this be served cold? Or do you still get that ice cream flavor after it warms up a bit?

    • September 15, 2010 at 11:44 am #

      Like any beer, the warmer it gets, the creamier, but the ice cream vibe is there while it’s still plenty cold.

      In general, I’d serve it ever so slightly chilled so you get the full array of earthy flavors, which tend to get crowded out by the cold.

  2. Bill Bennett
    September 15, 2010 at 1:49 pm #

    Would you… gulp… serve it with ice cream, ala Nemesis Float?

    • September 15, 2010 at 1:52 pm #

      I don’t think I could bring myself to do that, but I bet it’d be pretty good. I have two bottles left. Hmm…

  3. September 15, 2010 at 11:02 pm #

    I consider it a crime against liberty and justice that I can’t get Founders beers in Mississippi, or Louisiana for that matter.

    • September 16, 2010 at 10:40 am #

      I think you have a strong case, Andrew. Is there a Mississippi Civil Liberties Union you can contact to rectify the situation?

      While you’re at it, have bring down some Bell’s if their importing stuff from Michigan!

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