I must confess that, typically, I am not a fan of brown ales. There are a few that I like, to be sure, but on the whole I find them to be too cloyingly sweet for me. I have similar issues with Scotch Ales (also called Wee Heavies), but Founders’ Dirty Bastard Scotch Ale is one of the few examples of that style which I enjoy. So, I had hopes that Founders’ Frangelic Mountain Brown would be another offering that rose above its mold. Frangelic Mountain Brown is Founders’ fourth entry in its Backstage Series, following on the heels of Blushing Monk, Canadian Breakfast Stout and Curmudgeon’s Better Half. In such illustrious company, one can’t help but hope for the best out of this beer.
Immediately, it’s darker than any Brown Ale I’ve encountered and appears quite robust. It’s not quite black, and brown hues can be seen when the beer is held up to the light. The head is off white, and not large, sitting on the surface of the beer.
The head smells overwhelmingly of hazelnuts of coffee. It’s clear why this is called Frangelic, I may as well be sniffing the hazelnut liqueur Frangelico. It’s almost as if Founders has discovered a method of liquefying Nutella. The coffee is a bit subtler, but it’s the only scent I can identify besides the hazelnuts.
The beer tastes like it smells, with hazelnuts washing over the palate like a wave. It’s not nearly as sweet as I was expecting, and the simple Brown Ale backbone really allows the hazelnuts to shine. The coffee comes through with more strongly on the back of the palate, bringing some bitterness to bear. It finishes off-dry.
All in all, probably the best Brown Ale I’ve had the pleasure of trying. This one will be a bit hard to find, given the limited amount of it produced, but I encourage you to grab a bottle if you happen to come across it.
The Beer Buyer Overall Rating: 4.0 out of 5 Pints
If You Liked This, Try: Samuel Smith Nut Brown Ale, Brooklyn Brown Ale, Founders Porter
Please check with your local Bottle King store for current inventory.