Originally introduced in 2005, Founders Brewing Co. Rübæus Raspberry Ale is made by adding fresh raspberries at five separate stages in the brewing process. While the resulting brew is tart and sweet with fruit flavors, it is also quite expensive to produce, and the blend was discontinued in 2008 in favor of Cerise, which uses more economical — and easier to acquire — cherries.1
All of that changed in 2013, when Cerise got the ax thanks to weak cherry harvests in Michigan in 2012, and Rübæus was brought in to take the place of its former replacement.2 Thanks to an extensive realignment of the brand mix, Founders found they could mitigate the cost of raspberries and brewing Rübæus by grouping it with its other specialty beers under one common SKU and price point.3
The Founders Rübæus pours an almost shockingly dark ruby red color, with very little carbonation or head. Aroma coming from the glass is a combination of strong raspberries, along with cherries, jam, and a bit of oak.4
The almost overwhelming taste of fresh raspberries hits you immediately on your first sip, extremely sweet and actually a bit more tart then I expected. However, there are other flavors underneath the dominant note, including apples and even a bit of lemon. The amount of carbonation is fairly low, although it works well with this blend.5 There is a fairly strong vegetable aftertaste that is almost tarter than the flavor of the beer which I find a bit disconcerting, but not in a negative way. The sharp vegetable aftertaste on the finish is an interesting thing, as it reminds me of the taste you get after biting into a fruit seed. Not horrible by any means, but not exactly pleasant, and it lingers on the palate for a while after you take a pull. 6
As it warms up, the fruit note changes, becoming a bit less overwhelming, although it is still easily the dominate flavor.7 With the change, I can now taste apples a little more clearly, as well as some of the malt in the blend. However, one big change is the carbonation, which seems to disappear in a direct correlation with how warm the beer gets.8 By the time I finish the beer, there is no sign of carbonation at all.