imperial stout

First Mothership Release of 2019


imperial stout

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.  Founders Brewing Co. has announced the first release of the 2019 Mothership Series. Barrel-Aged Imperial Stout (12.8% ABV) is a complex bourbon barrel-aged stout featuring the warm and roasted characteristics of a thick stout, with the added richness of oak and vanilla notes from the barrel-aging. This beautiful beast of a beer is the fifth release of the Mothership Series and will debut as a Founders taproom-exclusive on January 23.

“This is the biggest, boldest taproom Mothership Series release yet,” said Brewmaster Jeremy Kosmicki. “We took what’s already a huge beer, Imperial Stout, and aged it in bourbon barrels for not one, but two years. The oak from the barrel complements the cocoa and licorice notes perfectly. This one should go quick!”

The taproom Mothership Series is an ultra-limited, brew team favorite beer series only available at the Founders Grand Rapids and Detroit taprooms. Whether it is an old standby brought out of retirement or an experimental new style, it’s sure to go quickly. The previous Mothership beers have included: Panther Cub, MF Donkey Stout, Sleeper Cell and Red’s Rye IPA. The release of Mothership Series Barrel-Aged Imperial Stout coincides with the first day of Cellar Raid on Wednesday, January 23, five days of taproom exclusive, small batch, barrel-aged and never-before-tapped beers at the Grand Rapids taproom.

Barrel-Aged Imperial Stout will have a retail price of $15.00/6-pack.


About Founders Brewing Co.

Established in 1997 by two craft beer enthusiasts—Dave Engbers and Mike Stevens—with day jobs and a dream, Founders Brewing Co. brews complex, in-your-face ales, with huge aromatics and tons of flavor. Founders ranks among the top 10 largest craft breweries in the U.S. and is one of the fastest growing. The brewery has received numerous awards from the World Beer Cup and the Great American Beer Festival and RateBeer and BeerAdvocate users often rate its beers among the best in the world. A proud sponsor of chasing the American dream, Founders launched the Chase Your What If campaign in January 2019 to inspire all beer fans to live life to its fullest. Located in downtown Grand Rapids, Michigan, Founders is a member of the Michigan Brewers Guild.

11% ABV, Bottle

Appearance: Dark brown — almost black — with a small head.
Aroma: Chocolate, coffee and some roast-like qualities.
Taste: Roasted malt and coffee beans overwhelm this beer, with some moderate chocolate tones that hep balance it out.
Mouthfeel: Strong bodied.

Dark Horse’s infamous imperial stout — Plead the 5th — is a dark, rich brew that’s perfect on a spring night. While it doesn’t quite live up to the bourbon barrel aged version, chocolate, coffee and roasted malt make this brew very satisfying, and ultimately, is one of the better imperial stouts on the market today.

12% ABV, Bottle

Appearance: Black with virtually no head.
Aroma: Bourbon and vanilla.
Taste: Matches the aroma perfectly; bourbon and vanilla definitely take center stage here.
Mouthfeel: Strong bodied.

Arcadia’s bourbon version of its Imperial Stout is certainly one brew I won’t forget. With a bourbon booziness and overall vanilla flavor, this beer screams greatness on a cold winter night. There’s also a hint of chocolate and caramel present, making for a rich, yet very smooth brew.

9.1% ABV, Draft

Appearance: Black with a small tan head.
Aroma: Very slight chocolate and vanilla.
Taste: Chocolate, vanilla and coffee, with a surprising maple sweetness throughout.
Mouthfeel: Strong bodied.

I’ve always been a big fan of those special, limited release dark beers. Founders’ KBS and CBS are amongst my all-time favorites. So when I had the chance to try Oil Rigger on tap at HopCat, I jumped at the opportunity. I had heard great things about it,  but had never managed to have it until recently.

And boy was it a treat. With the chocolate, vanilla and coffee flavors I’ve come to love, along with an interesting sweetness throughout, this brew is by far one of my favorite HopCat beers ever. It’s smooth, relaxing, and the perfect drink for a snowy winter’s night.

8% ABV, Draft

Appearance: Dark brown, almost black, with a medium head.
Aroma: Sweet coffee.
Taste: Caramel and maple, but dominantly creme brulee with some coffee. Almost a bit like tiramisu.
Mouthfeel: Medium to strong bodied.

Kuhnhenn’s Imperial Creme Brulee Java Stout is a sweet mix between coffee and the luscious dessert. This wasn’t overpoweringly sweet though — it was well balanced between the two dominant flavors, and a good warm up to the fall season.

10.5% ABV, Bottle

Appearance: Dark brown, semi-transparent, medium off-white head that quickly dissipates.
Aroma: Bourbon with undertones of wood and vanilla.
Taste: Sweet bourbon forward, followed by an oaky, dry, slightly “hot” finish.
Mouthfeel: Surprisingly light bodied and smooth, hotter on the tongue the warmer it gets.

Aging ales in bourbon barrels has been all the rage these past several years, but to my knowledge this is the first lager ever put in old whiskey casks, and it yields a surprisingly different beer than we’ve become accustomed to. Gone is the heavy, syrupy experience that comes from the typical barrel-aged stouts and porters; instead, Massacre is a surprisingly delicate, light and smooth beer that packs a distinct but tempered bourbon flavor balanced over its American dark lager base. It also delivers the expected high-ABV kick, although it hides its 10.5% well (at least until it approaches room temperature). A nice change of pace from many of the overly sweet and boozy bourbon brews that have become all too common these days.

8.0% ABV, Draft

Appearance: Black with a medium frothy tan head.
Aroma: Chocolate and coffee.
Taste: Earthy with a bit of chocolate and coffee. Some vanilla.
Mouthfeel: Medium to strong bodied; very smooth.

Perrin Brewing Company, which opened in Comstock Park earlier this month, delighted with its Imperial Stout. This 8.0% brew is smooth and contains rich chocolate, coffee and vanilla flavors. Its minor earthy bitterness takes away some of the sweetness, making for a very impressive brew that’s pretty drinkable.

9.5% ABV, Bottle

Appearance: Black with a thin, tan head and a bit of lacing.
Aroma: Coffee and cherry, with a bit of a booze smell.
Taste: Some bitter coffee and chocolate is immediately evident; not as sweet as I expected. Some roasted malts, black licorice and vanilla linger on the finish.
Mouthfeel: Strong bodied with some hops. Definitely a sipper.

Arcadia’s vintage 2010 Imperial Stout is a thick, sweet and bitter offering that’s as good of any imperial stout I’ve had. Its roasted malts on the finish give a perfect cap to some bitter coffee and sweet chocolate that’s present at the front. The addition of hops adds somewhat to the bitterness, but it’s welcomed, as it lightens up the brew.

Note: Arcadia recommends this brew be aged, for no longer than four years.