Mothership Series #2: Sleeper Cell
Founders Brewing Company

Rate It
Beer Geek Stats | Print Shelf Talker
IPA - Imperial
Ranked #370
Ranked #2,495
4.22 | pDev: 7.82%
Founders Brewing Company
Michigan, United States
Notes: This West Coast-style double IPA has been lying in wait having only been featured on draft… until now. A cult-favorite, Sleeper Cell features an intense dose of five hop varieties. The aggressive hop presence lingers on the palate finishing sharp, dry and utterly memorable. Our roots may be Midwestern, but here’s proof that we can delight hopheads seeking a West Coast-inspired flavor.
Reviews: 18 | Ratings: 155 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of BEERchitect
BEERchitect from Kentucky

4.25/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Selective, and for good reason, the ration of imperial west coast styled IPA simply can't be dolled out to every random hop head who's proud to know what IBU stands for. But those select few who are privy enough to have Founders Mother Ship series imperial IPA in front of them are instantly and handsomely rewarded.

Rich golden hues teem from the onset of the pour. Lightly hazy and floating a creamy, rich and cottony head, Sleeper Cell brings a strong floral presence with citrus, pine and peppery booze resonating soundly on the nose. Sweet and caramelized, its taste comes with a granola medley of nuttiness, toastiness and succulent honey taste.

But then the hops come out to dominate the middle palate. Bursting with citrus, a strong taste of citronella bring and orange oil, pink grapefruit and lemon begin to pang away at the tastebuds while the malt balance begins to fade. Trending through tropical apricot and mango and headed toward a bitter spice of curacao liquor, pine and a piquant grassiness on the late palate.

Medium bodied but dangerously drinkable, the bitter sweet ale certainly favors the bitterness deeper and deeper into the taste, the beer trends spicy, peppery and warm with strong suggestions of citrus bitters and macerated citrus with pine. A long and bitter aftertaste applies a resinous grip deep into the next sip.

Jul 27, 2018
Photo of beersampler6
beersampler6 from Michigan

3.85/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Very lucky to have found this beer on sale at the Founders Brewery. Nice amber-golden color with small amount of head and some nice lingering lacing. Smells of some fruity and floral hops. Tastes of both citrus and floral hops with some less pronounced herbal hops, mixed with some corn, biscuit and malt flavors. Nice smooth finish, slightly creamy mouthfeel with some mild carbonation. Can definitely taste some of the alcohol presence but it's actually surprisingly muted considering the high ABV.

Jun 16, 2018
Photo of kevanb
kevanb from Illinois

4.05/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

64oz growler, filled on 8.11.16, enjoyed on 8.13.16, poured into a Founders "2014" KBS snifter glass. Reviewed from Tasting Journal.

The beer pours a bright copper color, light chill haze with some gold hues when struck by the light. A soapy finger of white head rises from the beer, low retention with spotted lace. The aroma is pleasant, tops of sappy pine, grapefruit zest, hop spice, grassiness, very earthy, very bitter, sticky and sweet amber malt lingers well with some alcohol warmth. The flavors are good, really west coast in style! Tons of pine, really bitter, juicy citrus and some tropical fruit but earthy rind, grassiness, resinous and super dry, some sticky malt does come across with some sharp alcohol, but boy is this big and bitter. The mouthfeel is really thick, heavy full body, lower carbonation and juicy at times but with a big, bold, bitter punishing finish, warmth from the alcohol and a big dry kick.

Verdict: A great IPA from Founders, perhaps my new favorite hoppy beer from them. Really "West Coast" in nature, which is right up my alley, tons of hoppy goodness and despite the high ABV, this totally works for me, not too boozy at all, though the alcohol does make a presence. Definitely worth seeking out!

Sep 14, 2016
Photo of ONUMello
ONUMello from Ohio

4/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a growler into a tulip
A: Pure orange with a 1/2-finger head
S: Tropical fruit, pine, orange
T: Pine up front followed by orange, orange peel and mango
M: Overall medium-bodied but the alcohol (which is a bit noticeable but fairly well hidden) gives it a full mouthfeel
O: Tasty but I think it would be moreso if the abv were a touch tamer

Sep 12, 2016
Photo of BB1313
BB1313 from Ohio

3.88/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

On-tap at Heinen's in Mentor, Ohio

Pours golden with a subtle haze; fluffy white head that sticks around leaving thick retention and sticky lacing. The aromas have a nice amount of citrus. Lots of grapefruit. Some bread and malt notes. The flavors are bold and bittersweet, but not too sweet at all. Solid malt backbone. Nice hop flavor and hop bitterness. Very earthy and slightly woodsy. It's slightly spicy as well. Lots of pine and grapefruit. Alcohol is well hidden for being such a big brew. Mouthfeel is very nice. It's full-bodied with moderate carbonation. Very creamy and fluffy. Smooth and dangerously drinkable.

This is a very nice DIPA. It might not be flashy, but it's a classic example of the style. Well crafted. I like it.

Sep 10, 2016
Photo of CaptCleveland
CaptCleveland from Ohio

3.72/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

32oz growler pour from local grocery for $8.

Clear, straw-yellow liquid poured into SA glass. Huge 3-finger head, crisp, white bubbles retained throughout the tasting. Thick lacing from top to bottom.

Nice dank hops and subtle citrus aromas. Not a knock you out fragrance.

The hops are here in spades with a smooth, bitter hammer throughout. Kind of a one trick brew with the citrus notes overwhelmed by the spicy, sticky hops which create a resinous, earthy back end.

Sticky, medium to full mouthfeel, thick hop cone sticks to the roof of the palate. A bit boozy on the end.

The Chinook hops predominate here providing that bitter, spicy, herbal resin.

Sep 03, 2016
Photo of Stevem68
Stevem68 from Ohio

3.94/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Drank on tap and pours a nice golden color. Aroma is light with some citrus. Flavor is citrusy up front with a crisp pine finish. Body is nice and overall a very nice beer.

Sep 03, 2016
Photo of Lucular
Lucular from Maryland

3.6/5  rDev -14.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Some nice citrusy and dank piney flavors, but overall this is too boozy. At 10.7% ABV that's not a huge surprise but for me it detracts from my overall enjoyment.

Aug 31, 2016
Photo of cbutova
cbutova from Massachusetts

4.24/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Brewer's Fork, Charlestown MA.

A- Taps to a tulip with a clear golden body and a centimeter high frothy cap. Falls to a small belt that overcompensates dropping huge sheets of lace.

S- A mix of dank, citrus juice and pine. Reminds me of the great hop balanced DIPAs of 2011 era. A mix of mango, tangerine, orange and floral hops off the top. A touch of pale grains.

T- Mango, orange and grapefruit combine in the forefront which is almost all about the hops sans pale barley, bread and lighy sweets. Pine rounds things out with hints of herbal, floral and spicy hops.

MF- Medium bodied with a texture of chewy creaminess. High end puff carbonation and a bitter grapefruit pith ending.

Bringing me back to my roots in craft beer with the trinity balance of stone fruits, pine and citrus.

Aug 30, 2016
Photo of GreesyFizeek
GreesyFizeek from New York

4.25/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

On tap at The Beer Market in Henrietta, NY.

This pours a slightly orange but mostly straw yellow, clear, no haze, with a small wispy head and a ton of lacing, in sheets.

Smells like booze soaked pine, grapefruit rind, and a vague sweetness.

This is better than expected- thought it would be a sweet caramel mess. It's not, and I'm happy for it. It's got a bit of booziness to it, and lots of pine bitterness, with an equally dominant grapefruit character, and some orange zest too. There's actually surprisingly not much malt here, in the taste at least- just a bit of bready to hold it up.

This is medium bodied, pretty rich, with a good level of carbonation.

Another surprisingly good beer from Founders- can't say I always enjoy their hoppy beers.

Aug 28, 2016
Photo of mklmcgrew
mklmcgrew from California

4.31/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

On draft - 4 oz taster in a snifter at the Ale Arsenal in San Carlos

L: Pours a clear, deep gold with a thin head that dissipates quickly. Minimal lacing.

S: Strong nose, with a lot of citrus hops and some pine and hops resin.

T/F: Classic DIPA taste, with the citrus flavors upfront, balanced with a little malt, and some good hop bitterness at the end. Medium-heavy body.

O: Good example of the DIPA style. Not quite as complex as some, but still a good pick. Although at 10.7% ABV, you might want to go slow.

Aug 25, 2016
Photo of RyanK252
RyanK252 from California

4.1/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Kuni Sama

A: Pours golden amber with a frothy off white head that settles to a thin layer and leaves a little light lacing.

S: Citrus, tropical fruit, maybe a little berry, pine,dank herbal notes, and just a touch of crackery malt and caramel sweetness.

T: Citrus, grapefruit, lemon, orange, dank herbal notes, pine, fruity notes come out more as it warms, passion fruit, mango, a hint of berry, a little biscuity malt, and touch of caramel sweetness.

M: A bit on the heavier end of medium body, moderate carbonation.

O: Solid west coast DIPA, but didn't blow me away.

Aug 11, 2016
Photo of BFCarr
BFCarr from New Jersey

4.51/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Pours amber with a thin white head. Much lacing. Hop resin taste are big but the mouthfeel keeps up. Noticeable carbonation at the end. Big beer with the feel to match.

Aug 07, 2016
Photo of HattedClassic
HattedClassic from Virginia

4.5/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Beer is a solid deep gold. Looks beautiful. I see it the same way Trump sees himself in the mirror. It's beautiful.

Smell is really good. Nice resin notes with a light dry hopped pine. Bit of alcohol but not overwhelming. Corn adds a nice spiced sweetness to it.

Taste is good. Light caramel notes with resin and slight alcohol sweetness.

Heavy body but smooth and thick like a slicker honey. Tingly carbonation.

Pretty good. Go for it.

Aug 04, 2016
Photo of archiebunkerjr
archiebunkerjr from Michigan

4.72/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Appearance - this is Founders Sleeper Cell. An imperial IPA weighing in at a hefty 11.3%. One look at this beer and you know you are looking at a prized stallion. Slight copper color. Nice head forms when poured vigourously but quickly dissipates.

Smell - imagine what your ideal IPA smells like. This is it. Sleeper Cell has it all. Very citrusy and floral with just a hint of spice. At least that's my ideal IPA.

Taste - I taste what I smell. The citrus notes are wonderful. That unmistakable Founders hops taste lingers for a considerable time like a fine bourbon.

Mouthfeel - all of the best parts of the hops just stay in my mouth long after I drink this beer. There is barely any bitterness to Sleeper Cell.

Overall - this beer needs to be bottled. Founders, if you do bottle Sleeper Cell, please do not dilute it like you did with Azacca IPA (they took a great Azacca at 8.4% abv and turned it into a good Azacca at 7.0%). This imperial IPA is second to none.

Feb 13, 2016
Photo of NateDyk47
NateDyk47 from Michigan

4.02/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

L: medium golden color, thin white head,
S: not much there, but what I did smell was citrussy
T: deep hop taste, pretty bitter, lemon/orange flavor
F: medium body & carbonation

Pretty good overall. Nothing memorable though.

Jan 29, 2016
Photo of blankenhoney
blankenhoney from Ohio

3.99/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

On tap at Founders:

A: Pours a darker, bronzy shade of orange

S: Thick, concentrated aromas of mango and guava, as well as dank, resiny pine

T: Heavy, heavy pine and resin sits on top sweet, caramely tropical fruit. Strong and bitter.

M: Ridiculously sticky and resiny. Thick, vinous, and boozy. Leaves a thin, dry film on the tongue.

O: Pretty solid West Coast DIPA, but I don't think I could handle more than 1 in a sitting.

Oct 13, 2014
Photo of kdmcguire10
kdmcguire10 from Michigan

4.5/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

West Coast style DIPA from Founders. Super dank, citrusy and just delicious. Aroma is west coast ipa right from the moment it's poured.

Best overall IPA I've had from Founders, and I love Double Trouble and Harvest Ale. This just takes things to a new level. If you love the "Best By" series, give this a shot. Excellent stuff

May 25, 2013
Mothership Series #2: Sleeper Cell from Founders Brewing Company
Beer rating: 93 out of 100 with 155 ratings