Mothership Series #5: Barrel-Aged Imperial Stout | Founders Brewing Company

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Mothership Series #5: Barrel-Aged Imperial StoutMothership Series #5: Barrel-Aged Imperial Stout
75 Ratings
Mothership Series #5: Barrel-Aged Imperial StoutMothership Series #5: Barrel-Aged Imperial Stout

Brewed by:
Founders Brewing Company
Michigan, United States

Style: Russian Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 12.80%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
It’s hard to imagine our Imperial Stout getting any more complex than it already is. Well, until you introduce it to a bourbon barrel. We did just that and out emerged a gorgeous sipper featuring all the warm and roasted characteristics you love in a thick stout with the added richness of oak and vanilla notes from the barrel-aging. A beautiful beast of a beer.

User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 75 |  Reviews: 35
Reviews by jkrug5:
Photo of jkrug5
4.75/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

More User Reviews:
Photo of boatshoes
4.77/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Found this much to my surprise on tap at Brews Cafe in Granville. Couldn't wait to give it a shot.

Appearance- Comes off the tap the usual opaque black with a thin sheet of dark brown head across the top. This sheet sticks around for the entire drink too. Not bad.

Smell- Wow, really rich. Lots of strong chocolate comes of this one. Complemented with lots of vanilla, deep roast, and perhaps the slightest bit of coffee.

Taste- Huge notes of cocoa powder, rich bitter chocolate, and fudge really strike me. Incredible chocolate flavors that come out unlike most other barrel-aged beers that I've had. On top of the chocolate, there is more vanilla and bourbon, a little bit of tobacco, and again the slightest bit of burnt coffee. Absolutely no trace of alcohol either. Amazing and in the league of the best bourbon barrel imperial stouts that I've had to this date.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability- Mouthfeel is rich and silky with enough carbonation to keep it moving. Really easy to drink. Though this was a heavy beer it went down absolutely fantastic and for the ABV, the alcohol was completely undetectable.

Overall, one of the best barrel-aged stouts I've had. And for the record, I had this against a bottle of KBS and hands down preferred this beer. Absolutely try this if you get the chance.

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Photo of RedHaze
4.6/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

From notes 17Aug09. On tap at Founders.

Pours was extremely dark, nearly pitch black, with thin tan head that faded quickly to a thin film. Lacing was minimal, leaving some thin wisps behind.

Smell; oak and bourbon hit me as it was set in front of me. I knew it would have a good bourbon presence but wow. Vanilla and some faint dark fruits come through once I get used to the bourbon.

Taste; the bourbon is definitely a dominant feature to this beer, but it's not as overpowering as the aroma led me to believe. Bourbon, toffee, chocolate, vanilla and dates. Just layer after layer of flavors. I could drink this all night I think, and still pick out something new I think. I ordered this hoping the barrel aging would not destroy a great Imperial Stout, but this one surpassed my hopes.

Mouthfeel/drinkability; mouthfeel is full bodied and luxuriously smooth, and the drinkability is deceptively good, as this disappeared all to quickly from my glass.

I had a couple other barrel aged beers, including KBS earlier in the week while visiting, and I thought this was best of them all.

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Photo of kevanb
4.72/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

32oz howler, filled on 1.25.18, poured into a stemless wine glass. Enjoyed on 3.1.18, reviewed from Tasting Journal.

The beer pours a jet black color, incredibly thick and viscous with a thick brown head that has excellent retention and wonderful lace. The aroma is fantastic, tons of roasted grain, super smooth barrel, tons of charred oak, light spice, huge burst of bakers chocolate, light vanilla and caramel with a nice smokey finish. The flavors are impeccable, super rich, bursting with bittersweet chocolate, rich and decadent with an incredible amount of barrel, smooth bourbon, charred wood, light smoke with dark roasted grains, light stone fruits, vanilla and caramel and a light heat lingers. The mouthfeel is perfect, coating, sludge like heft, thick heavy body that is so smooth and viscous yet with a delicate finish that is lightly warming.

Verdict: An incredible barrel aged stout from Founders. The balance is amazing, it's rich, it's decadent, it's one hell of a sipper that is so complex and offers so much character. One of the best barrel aged stouts on the planet for sure.

 1,099 characters

Photo of coldmeat23
4.57/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

GLASS: Snifter
TEMP: Approx 50 degrees
Had on-tap @ Founder's on 4-22-2009

Pours a deep, dark black, like oil. Almost two-finger head of dark brown foam, which reminds me of burnt coffee, somehow. Retention is quite nice and the lacing is very good.

The oak and bourbon notes come through, in the nose, right away. They mingle with some nicely pronounced roasted malt notes. The coffee and chocolate notes, from the Impy Stout, are still here, they are just balanced by a butterey, vanilla sweetness.

Once again, the oaky bourbon presence is the first thing you find, tastewise. Nice vanilla notes come out. Roasted chocolate malts and smooth coffee notes follow along.
The Impy Stout, on it's own, impresses me as a very well-balanced beer. This version is just wonderfully smooth and balanced. There is a slight boozy warmth to it, more so than KBS, I'd say, but it is in a beautifully tasty way.

This is what I wanted the Impy Stout to feel like. Nice, full body. Thick and almost to the 'chewey' side. Oily and viscous.

This is a very drinkable brew. Despite the warming effect and bourbon notes, it's 10%ABV is still well-hidden. I think that if they'd bottle this one it would give KBS a run for it's money.

 1,220 characters

Photo of ROBORB
4.82/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at the brewery. It was served in a snifter with a nice 1 inch beige head. The smell was fantastic! I could pick up vanilla, espresso, bourbon and heavy malts. It was served a little too cold at first and the bourbon dominated the taste. As the beer warmed up the complexities came through with vanilla, bourbon, and chocolate. It went down easy and had was very easy on the palate. Man, I hope they bottle this sometime as it is a fantastic brew.

 453 characters

Photo of Wolvmar
4.03/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Crowler purchased at detroit taproom by Alan. Thanks! Poured in highball glass.

Pour: dark brown, no head. Minimal lacing.

Nose: nothing distinct. Some chocolate, coffee, sweet malt/bourbon.

Taste: dark, semi-sweet chocolate. Bourbon, sweet malt, dark fruit.

Mouthfeel: pretty thick but mild carbonation keeps it feeling less than expected.

Overall: really good but slightly lacking relative to others like BA Expedition Stout. But enjoyable and definitely worth trying.

 481 characters

Photo of Magpie14
4.7/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: very rich black color, very wonderful apperance in the brandy snifter. The head is a hearty light copper/tan color and graced my snifter for a good while. No lace, no biggie at 11% ABV I found myself treasuring every sip

Smell: bourbon, coffee, bitter chocolates, and chunks of roasted malts. Topping this off is a hint of sweet coconut. Very addicting

Taste: an excellent combination. Bourbon flavors mingle with crushed vanilla beans and accentuate the bitter chocolate taste. Flavors start with roasted malts and java mixed in with delicate caramel filled chocolate squares with a good dose of bourbon floating underneath, flavors are perfect. Bourbon is not to strong and not to weak. Sits perfectly in your mouth. Slight bitter hopped aftertaste is the final touch to this great stout!

Mouthfeel: another one of the smoothest beers I have had to date. Creamy, smooth and a distinct softness to it. It goes down way to smooth with a peppery bite at the back
It is a bit strong alcohol wise...just one makes the knees weak!

Drink: a great quality beer! enough said!

 1,085 characters

Photo of Sammy
3.8/5  rDev -16.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Enjoyed on tap at the brewpub. Served too cold I thought, particularly as I was getting condensation on glass. Very Dark brown, with some lacing. Full mouthfeel. Chocolate stout,coffee secondary, barreling gave it wood notes. A sipper, above average .mouthfeel.
had again almost 20 years later. really a different beer. big bitterness.

 335 characters

Photo of beersampler6
4.34/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Wow this is a hell of a beer. Big, bold, complex, heavy, fairly boozy. A great modification and aging of the original Imperial Stout. Tried this one on tap at Founders. Pours a deep, rich opaque black with a little nice tan head and smaller sheets of lingering lacing. Smells of bourbon, oak, dark roast coffee, dark chocolate, vanilla, nuttiness and caramel. Taste follows the nose, along with some malt, roasted nuttiness, brown sugar and some raisin and molasses. Smooth, rich, thick, almost syrupy, moderately creamy, decadent, coats the palate. Good amount of carbonation. An outstanding beer and although the high ABV is fairly well hidden, you’ll definitely want to slowly sip and savor this one.

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Photo of fthegiants
4.56/5  rDev +0.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of Kegatron
4.23/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap @ Founders Brewing Company on 4/23/09. 8 oz pour served in a snifter.

Pours a dense pitch black with a thinnish head at first, that then whips up violently when swirled into an evil looking massive foamy layer of angry reddish and burnt head that just COATS the sides of the glass. This is just great looking. The aroma is nice mellow smelling blend of bourbon and oaky tannins that are evident right away. A strong backing of roasted chocolate malts and coffee from the RIS more than hold their own though. Overall, the bourbon warmth dominates but doesn't overrun the nose.

The taste has even more balance to it. Smooth barrel notes of bourbon, oak, and a touch of vanilla up front, before blending into silky notes of chocolate sweetness, zippy coffee, and dark roast. Bourbon strikes back in the finish with a warm boozy dry feel that lingers. The mouthfeel is full and creamy feeling with an underlying oily slickness. The bourbon notes combine with the ABV to impart a light sting but it only keeps the drinkibility down a bit.

Well balanced but a little too warm yet, this was a very nicely done barrel-aged version of their already great Imperial Stout. This was a welcome treat to find on tap at the brewery.

 1,230 characters

Photo of beergorrilla
4.62/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Photo of Bunuelian
4.5/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of Danielr26
4.5/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of GRG1313
5/5  rDev +10.1%

Photo of CortexBomb
4.2/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2005 brewing, consumed in fall of 2006.

Founders usually has interesting beers on tap at their tasting room, and this was the special treat of the day when I visited last.

Bourbon Stout was poured out into a snifter. The colour was blackish in tone, with heavy lacing. The smell was a stouty roast mixed with alcohol notes from the cask and a definite bourbon edge.

The flavour essentially revolved around two things; the bourbon/oak aspect from the cask, and the rich chocolatey flavour from the stout itself. A nice combination...not an oak bomb like Old Curmudgeon though, the alcohol and cask are definitely present, but don't dominate the flavour as much here. The stout aspect of the flavour is front and centre. Nice, enjoyable flavour.

Mouthfeel was good, definitely full and sticky. Drinkability, also good, but I'm used to drinking these heavier stout offerings.

Overall: if you're up at Founders anytime soon, this is definitely worth giving a whirl, another very solid beer by my favourite Michigan brewery!

 1,034 characters

Photo of Bung
4.6/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On tap at Founders. Black pour with a dark tan head. Lots of lacing. Lots of bourbon and molasses in the aroma. Lots of oak, bourbon, vanilla, caramel, dark chocolate and espresso in the taste. Full bodied, almost creamy mouthfeel, they really have the body of their double stouts consistent throughout the different varieties. Lots of lingering vanilla, barrel, toffee. Alcohol nearly non-existant, but this brew is definetely warming. This might be the best stout I've tasted from them, this could be better than the KBS, better than the CBS, but that is a slightly different beast.
In summary, lots of goodness. Not as bourbon-y as the Bourbon County, with all the benefits of the slightly overshadowed Founders Imperial.

 724 characters

Photo of akorsak
4.17/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Served on-tap at Founders. Shared with FTB and others.

A: The stout is black, a dark morass of a void. Atop said void is a tan-colored head.

S: The nose is bourbon, with vanilla and coffee and chocolate driving the nose.

T: The stout is formidable, a bourbon beast that has a lot to back it up. Vanilla drives the flavor with a boozy afterthought. Coffee and chocolate are strong with cocoa powder evident in the finish. Bourbon ties everything together.

M: A bold stout. This one is a wonder coming out of the barrel.

D: Over 10%? I'll settle for a shared glass. Founders knows their way around stouts.

 608 characters

Photo of BeerFMAndy
4.37/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

8 oz tap pour into a snifter and shared with Sweemzander at Founder's Black Party 2010.

A - The tap pour comes out completely black with a low dark tan head with fairly low retention. A thin coating of foam and small spots of lace coat the glass.

S - Huge bold aroma of dark roasted malts and wood barrel with almost zero hop scent. The aroma is incredibly sweet and not too heavily boozy but has a far amount of bourbon going on.

T - Bold roasted malts with hints of coffee and molasses that hide behind the powerful bourbon barrel flavor. It's not an overpowering bourbon flavor though, its actually well-balanced with a good flavor of the wood, not just the bourbon.

M - Full-bodied and smooth with a rich mouthfeel and creamy, smooth finish. Low bitterness from the roasted malts is set back from a warm, boozy sensation.

D - Boozy but not overwhelming, its a nice sipping RIS with a kick. The flavor blends well and results in one hell of a tasty treat.

 964 characters

Photo of CaptainNomihodai
5/5  rDev +10.1%

Photo of HungarianCount
4.5/5  rDev -0.9%

Photo of JoshVandy
5/5  rDev +10.1%

Photo of Buck_Jones
4.5/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of Zaphog
4.69/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

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Mothership Series #5: Barrel-Aged Imperial Stout from Founders Brewing Company
Beer rating: 4.54 out of 5 with 75 ratings