Jul 10, 2017

Founders DKML

I can’t tell you the last time I unscrewed the cap off a 40 oz of Mickey’s or St. Ides — I’m going to guess an evening of bad ideas many moons ago in college. Well, Founders Brewing has just released a bourbon barrel aged take on the style and there’s no need for Billy Dee Williams to convince you to keep your fridge stocked with the 14.2% ABV DKML.

This imperial malt liquor, a first for the company, is the fourth release in the brewery’s “Barrel-Aged Series” in 2017. Founders wasn’t the only party working on DKML either — minority owner Mahou San Miguel cultivated lager yeast for the endeavor. The brew then rested in bourbon barrels for a lenghty of time before being a healthy amount of dry-hopping was applied. The result is a beer that is surprisingly smooth for its potency and one that goes down dangerously easy.

Corn and grain, woody notes, vanilla, a distant fruitiness and soft bourbon all play a role in varying degrees as the beer glides over the tongue. A solid sweetness and decent bit of hop bitterness do battle to balance one another out nicely. For the size of DKML, it’s not nearly as warming or boozy as I was expecting — there are many smaller brews that drink hotter than this one. It presents itself quite well.

I don’t believe that you’ll be seeing any bottles of DKML duct taped to college kids’ hands any time soon nor will it appear in even the most discerning frat house. This is a beer that may have started out as a malt liquor, but that barrel aging has made it something worth so much more. It’s fine to drink fresh, right now (my sample was bottled a couple of weeks ago) or set in the cellar a bit. I wonder if Billy Dee would aged this one…

This is a review of a promotional sample.