Imperial Stout is alive and well in Michigan. The Beer Judge Certification Program (BJCP) lists two Michigan products as their classic commercial examples. These two products are Bell’s Expedition Stout and Founder’s Imperial Stout. The BJCP guidelines also suggest an alcohol content of 8-12%, bitterness levels of 50-90 International Bitterness Units (IBU), and dark brown to black in color. Bell’s (Kalamazoo) Expedition Stout may be the oldest example brewed in Michigan and weighs in at 10.5% alcohol. Bell’s website claims this liquid to have an unlimited shelf life and this beer can be found aging in many cellars through out the Midwest. Founder’s (Grand Rapids) Imperial Stout also weighs in at 10.5% and has 90 IBU to add balance. Also from the west side of the State, Arcadia (Battle Creek) has been making their Imperial Stout and vintage dating each bottle for many years. New Holland (Holland) produces Night Tripper at 10.8% version that is released each year on Fat Tuesday. Moving to the east side of the State, Big Rock Chophouse (Birmingham) produces Flying Buffalo Imperial Stout which weighs in at a hefty 11.5%. Kuhnhenn Brewing Company (Warren) makes Solar Eclipse and Tri City Brewing (Bay City) brews Giant Slayer. Both the Kuhnhenn and the Tri City product are available in barrel aged versions.
That is just a sampling of the Great Beer State’s offerings. Get out and try one or more of Michigan’s Imperial Stouts and experience the original extreme.