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Founders Imperial Stout - Founders Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Founders Imperial StoutFounders Imperial Stout

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BA SCORE
97
world-class

5,690 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 5,690
Reviews: 1,590
rAvg: 4.36
pDev: 8.72%
Wants: 511
Gots: 1,372 | FT: 120
Brewed by:
Founders Brewing Company visit their website
Michigan, United States

Style | ABV
Russian Imperial Stout |  10.50% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes/Commercial Description:
90 IBU

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 02-12-2005)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 5,690 | Reviews: 1,590 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by BuckeyeNation:
Photo of BuckeyeNation
BuckeyeNation

Iowa

4.83/5  rDev +10.8%

Pennzoil 10W-40 black. Does motor oil have highlights? I didn't think so. The fudge colored cap is one of the darkest that I've ever seen and is an imposing three fingers immediately after the pour. It looks as though I'll have to time its descent with a calendar, so my lace assessment will have to wait. I'm being so impatient because the glass is more than a foot from my nose and the beer smells absolutely wonderful.

It smells fantastic up close too. Founders says that they use 10 varieties of malt in Imperial Stout. That may be true, but the lion's share of the total just has to be chocolate and black because the nose is as dark and as aggressive as the color. Most of each noseful is made up of ridiculously roasted barley that oozes aromas of bittersweet chocolate, blackstrap molasses and ground espresso beans. Incredibly, I can also appreciate a whiff of tangy citric hops.

There's no letdown on the palate. In fact, it's even better in the mouth than it was in the nose, something that I didn't think was possible. This is one of the most shockingly flavorful Imperial stouts in existence. Screw Spinal Tap's amps, this sucker goes to 12! Take no chances, drink this beer at or near room temperature for maximum taste bud slappage.

The best part about the flavor profile (other than the fact that it's as deep as the Marianas Trench) is the concentrated, almost liqueur-like flavor and the fact that anise is so prominent. I don't remember a beer that showcases that particular flavor to this degree. American-grown hops play a major role as well; a stunning achievement in a beer that, by my best guess, is about 16 months old.

I was going to say (prior to popping the cap at least) that I'm glad that some brewers are releasing their high-ABV beer in 12 ounce bottles since an entire bomber is tough to get through on occasion, depending on the time of day, circumstances, etc. When the beer is this mind-blowingly delicious though, I'll take the biggest bottle the brewery can muster and let the chips (and me) fall where they (I) may.

Beer this big deserves a body to match. Thankfully, one has been provided. It's been a while since I drank a stout with this much chewy malt. It's almost milkshake-like! Crack open a thesaurus, look up the word creamy and insert what you see in the following sentence: Founders Imperial Stout's mouthfeel is incredibly <insert>. Thanks, you've just saved me a little time and effort.

I continue to be floored by Founders Brewing Company. As long as they continue to brew beer like Imperial Stout (and so many others), they'll have a perennial spot in my top-10 breweries in America. This is a stunning beer that caught me a little off-guard with just how good it is. There are scores of great RISs out there. Founder's version can hang with the best of them and then some.

08-29-2006 22:43:02 | More by BuckeyeNation
More User Reviews:
Photo of oberon
oberon

North Carolina

4.55/5  rDev +4.4%

Pours an ink black color with deep mocha colored head that leaves a nice sheet of lace behind,aromas of rum and butter dominate but there is a slight presence of grassy hop that adds to the aroma complexities.Think and full mouthfeel with rich buttery flavors with a rum/alcohol finish that really warms the inside and is very sustaining.Wow a big badass impy stout with tons of complexities Iam glad I have more to say the least.

05-21-2005 00:55:27 | More by oberon
Photo of don1481
don1481

Wisconsin

4.21/5  rDev -3.4%

12oz bottle poured into Ol' Trusty Pint Glass.

Appearance: Holy blackness. I hold this up to the light and NOTHING gets through. And with a chocolate-colored head. Wow. This clearly means business.

Smell: Lots of coffee here. Some hints of chocolate, smokiness. I don't really smell alcohol here.

Taste: Tastes like coffee with hints of chocolate coming through. I'm not really tasting any of the alcohol, which is surprising. None of the flavors are particularly overpowering - it's a little more... subdued... than what I expected from other reviews. I expected to have to sip this one a little more, but it's going down MUCH more quickly.

Mouthfeel: Pretty clean. Taste doesn't linger at all. Not sticky afterwards.

Overall: Ohhh boy. This is dangerous - I can drink this MUCH faster than the other stouts I've recently reviewed. I'd say that this goes down almost too easy, but since when is that a bad thing when in the confines of one's own home and not driving back from a bar?

01-16-2014 04:32:58 | More by don1481
Photo of davemarc87
davemarc87

Indiana

4.25/5  rDev -2.5%

04-06-2014 13:26:12 | More by davemarc87
Photo of RoyalT
RoyalT

Ohio

4.38/5  rDev +0.5%

Appearance – This is dark brown in color with a straight brown head. You don’t see that very often.

Smell – The booze here is prominent at the nose. The malts are very dark without being roasty and the sugar is sweet but slightly burnt as well, like a good raw sugar.

Taste – The alcohol is still here but eases a bit at the taste, giving this a well-balanced flavor profile. The sugars smooth out as well. Of course the highlight is the wonderfully big and rich malt base. It is like a cross between liquid malt and nicely-toasted barley.

Mouthfeel – This is medium in the body and expertly balanced. The balance really made this RIS for me.

Drinkability – This is a terrific-drinking ale that has just enough booze at the taste to keep the drinker honest.

Comments – Thanks to skyhand for busting this one out at her Semi-Annual Sewage Sale.

06-10-2006 02:05:00 | More by RoyalT
Photo of aszatk01
aszatk01

Pennsylvania

4.5/5  rDev +3.2%

02-01-2014 02:17:21 | More by aszatk01
Photo of DaPeculierDane
DaPeculierDane

Wisconsin

4.22/5  rDev -3.2%

Picked up a bottle at C’est le Vin. Pours like hot tar into an imperial pint glass. ¼ in head quickly dissipates to a thin film. The film nevers quite goes away, sticking with the beer as long as it lasts, clinging beautifully rich and brown to the sides of the glass. Seems to be almost no carbonation.

Tastes wonderfully nutty, then dark chocolate and burnt coffee flavors creep up on you, before a warming alcohol and bitter coffee finish takes you home. Somewhere in there you also get sideswiped by dark, vinous fruits.

Smells like alcohol, cherries, and charcoal.

Mouth feel is pure velvet but perhaps a bit undercarbonated. A bit too bitter for my tastes too.

Drinkability. I couldn’t down more than one or maybe two of these in a sitting, iot’s too bitter and the alcohol shows through a bit too much, however, this beer leaves me quite happy and I would certainly enjoy another tomorrow, and the next day, and the next…

10-23-2005 23:02:32 | More by DaPeculierDane
Photo of DanGeo
DanGeo

Michigan

4.25/5  rDev -2.5%

04-11-2013 01:40:41 | More by DanGeo
Photo of tectactoe
tectactoe

Michigan

4.88/5  rDev +11.9%

As I was pouring this beer, I thought to myself - "what beer is more black than this one?" ...and the answer is none. None more black. Not only is it black as can be, it's thicker than you can imagine. It plops into the glass without making a sound. Then, to top it all off, the head is the darkest MF'ing head I've ever seen. This head is darker than most brown ales. Huge, foamy, frothy, two and a half finger head that lasts for a long, long time. I've never been so aroused by just looking at a beer.

The smell is incredible and it hits your nose while you're pouring the beer, well before you bring it to your face. An abundance of roasted malts and barley washes over your senses like nothing else; deep, dark, bittersweet cocoa beans, espresso, molasses, char-broiled smoke, and a wave of leafy hops. The nose is as powerful as this beer is dark, and the only thing left to do is taste it.

FIS hits your palate like a semi-melted milkshake or warm syrup - this stuff is thick, bold, and robust beyond belief. So many traditional RIS flavors clashing, yet executed so elegantly well. Deeply roasted malts, hot molasses, dark, thick espresso - it's all there. Some light hints of sweetness come through; licorice, old figs, anise, dark fudge - but the sweetness is balanced extremely well by a huge wave of hops. At 90 IBUs, this RIS packs a punch in the hop department - slightly floral, leafy, ashy, dry, and a touch spicy, the hop bitterness plays well with the malt bomb and makes this 10.5% stout incredibly drinkable.

The alcohol is present, warming, and adds a bold character without being abrasive or off-putting. A nice smokey and campfire-roasted element can be found in FIS; almost similar to Founder's Porter, only amped up about ten times. A nice woody, charred, and smoked flavor in the aftertaste really adds a great deal to the already massive flavor profile. Coupled with the huge, creamy, and thick body, this beer is one of the most bad-ass things I've ever had the pleasure of drinking. Carbonation was just right, enough to make the body silky and bring out the flavors.

Good god, Founder's knows what the hell they're doing over there in Grand Rapids. For the longest time, I used to rave about FBS, but the FIS takes things to a whole new level. I know they are slightly different styles, but this is a pinnacle in Founders' line-up and really, a pinnacle in RIS's altogether if you ask me. Kind of hard to find, even in season, but worth taking the time to seek out a few 4-packs. This beer is goddamn delicious.

EDIT: recently had a bottle aged two years (bottled Jan 2011, enjoyed Jan 2013). The alcohol was still bold, still assertive, and still mild enough to enjoy perfectly. The smokey, campfire aspect was a little toned down, but this allowed for the chocolate to really jump out. Mouth feel was still silky smooth, and though the carbonation had lost some of its bang, it was still enough to produce that gorgeous, dark tan head. I think I prefer this one fresh, but it's amazing either way.

01-08-2013 05:45:35 | More by tectactoe
Photo of Max3
Max3

New York

5/5  rDev +14.7%

05-17-2014 18:26:51 | More by Max3
Photo of TCHopCraver
TCHopCraver

Michigan

4.35/5  rDev -0.2%

Reviewed from notes made on 1/9/11. This was bottled in 11/09 and I had to hold the bottle right up to a light because the date had become so faded.

Whoa, this beer is so dark. This is right up there with the blackest stouts I've seen, if not the blackest. After a medium-hard pour into a snifter, a one and a half finger dark mocha head rests on top. There is some deep red color at the edges, but the body is quite opaque. Thick clumps of froth drip down the glass post-sip and leave small dots and swirly streaks of vertical lacing.

Roasted malts, espresso, bitter cocoa, molasses, vanilla - every aroma you could possibly want from a Russian Imperial Stout exists in the bouquet. When swirled, roasted malts and nuttiness take over the profile. Conversely, when at rest the coffee and chocolate aromas dominate. Way back in the bouquet are some dark fruit scents.

The flavor brings big time roast notes at first, with anise and molasses supporting. As the beer mellows over my tongue, bitter chocolate, espresso, and creamy vanilla coat, followed by a roasty malt and earthy hop finish. Throughout the sip, there is certain acidity that complements the roasted flavors.

The mouthfeel is rather forward and biting at times. The acidity makes for a puckering feel for the whole sip, while a creamy medium to full body takes the reins in the middle. The finish is quite dry and does a nice job of cleaning my palate.

Founders IS is a delicious slow-sipper and is a damn fine interpretation of the style. The taste is maybe just a tad bitter and acidic, but is also big, bold, and flavorful. This is one of which I will always pick up a four pack each year it comes out and enjoy the bottles over the course of time.

01-11-2011 17:09:43 | More by TCHopCraver
Photo of OhioBobcat
OhioBobcat

Ohio

4.5/5  rDev +3.2%

08-05-2013 00:43:04 | More by OhioBobcat
Photo of BUD
BUD

Michigan

4/5  rDev -8.3%

A - Poured 12oz bottle into a pint glass. Dark black opaque color with a dark tan head that retained fairly well but not that great. 75% of the way through the beer it was gone. Large carbonation bubbles in the head.

S - Smelled of dark chocolates..burnt coffee...maltiness...minimal alchohol.

T - Relates with smell....but not in that order...burnt coffee in the taste department sticks out most...notes of dark chocolates and a warming alchohol sensation. Very robust.

M - Smooth, low carbonation feel (if any) warm towards the end mostly (10% alchohol).

D - Very drinkable. Liked it alot. I dont think I'd do more than 2 or 3 in a session though.

Notes - The label appears to give an idea of the date of the beer...probably prior to 2005, according to the description on the front page for this beer, Founders made an ingredient change 2005 and beyond..this is November 2006, beer still was good, can't wait to try one fresher.

11-08-2006 02:47:13 | More by BUD
Photo of MadScientist
MadScientist

New York

4.38/5  rDev +0.5%

A: Pours black with a persistent sticky, dark brown head made of cream, mousse-like bubbles.

S: Strong roast aroma and a good amount of coffee with a depth dark roasted grain aromas. Prunes and moderate citrus hops with the fresh hopped grassy note. There is some licorice and a moderate alcohol aroma.

T:Again lots of roast with some molasses and licorice. Firm hops bitterness with a good bit of roast bitterness and a moderately-light citrus hops flavor. There is a light malt sweetness but the balance is fairly bitter with a medium dry finish.

M: full bodied with moderate carbonation.

O: A thick, rich imperial stout that has a huge amount of flavor and complexity. I'm usually unhappy with licorice and molasses in beers because they usually seem to dominate but here there a part of the rich tapestry of flavors

01-29-2013 02:06:22 | More by MadScientist
Photo of jono0101
jono0101

Missouri

4.75/5  rDev +8.9%

12-24-2013 17:28:08 | More by jono0101
Photo of brownbeer
brownbeer

Missouri

4.38/5  rDev +0.5%

2009 vintage

Oily, black pour with a big, pillowy abyss of very dark brown head that's gonna leave some lacing. Very nice.

Hefty nose of hops, bitter coffee, oak, dark chocolate, sawdust?, maybe leather. Alot going on here for sure.

This one is not for the faint of heart. Thick and milky in the mouth, coating all surfaces with intense dark chocolate, alot of hop flavor for the style,an earthy dustiness, and a nice little alcohol burn to warm ya up to go with the long, dry finish.

This is a hoss and a sipper for sure. I'll be putting a 4-pack of it in my cellar shortly.

01-07-2010 00:56:10 | More by brownbeer
Photo of npala86
npala86

Florida

4.75/5  rDev +8.9%

02-19-2014 15:05:26 | More by npala86
Photo of Schlais
Schlais

Minnesota

4/5  rDev -8.3%

03-07-2014 05:52:34 | More by Schlais
Photo of Tiernan
Tiernan

Texas

5/5  rDev +14.7%

01-13-2014 06:01:57 | More by Tiernan
Photo of Spaten454
Spaten454

Louisiana

5/5  rDev +14.7%

06-14-2014 21:01:26 | More by Spaten454
Photo of GameOfBeers
GameOfBeers

Pennsylvania

4.76/5  rDev +9.2%

08-18-2014 18:03:27 | More by GameOfBeers
Photo of Someguy1989
Someguy1989

Massachusetts

4.63/5  rDev +6.2%

12 oz. bottle poured into a snifter.

A: Motor oil, with an almost insignificant amount of brown carbonation. The only thing I've ever seen darker was ten fidy.

S: Sweet roasty chocolate, a tad bit of dark fruit. Smells very flavorful and delicious. One of the best aromas of any beer.

T: Starts very sweet, chocolaty malt, a tad bit of dark fruit that I noticed halfway into the drink. Finishing roasty, a bit of coffee but toned down compared to the Breakfast stout. A tinge of alcohol in the finish. It was a symphony of flavors that was really really nice.

M/D: Really full bodied, very thick and carbonation is only slighty noticeable. It is a very drinkable beer but the slight tinge of alcohol at the end knocks this category down a notch. It doesn't make it a sipper though.

An absolutely amazing beer, I like this better than Breakfast stout. Can't wait for their Bourbon cousin in March.

02-28-2011 01:29:42 | More by Someguy1989
Photo of SanFranJake
SanFranJake

California

4.75/5  rDev +8.9%

01-13-2013 02:10:10 | More by SanFranJake
Photo of delaced21
delaced21

Illinois

4.25/5  rDev -2.5%

03-03-2014 20:38:08 | More by delaced21
Photo of Krafty34
Krafty34

Florida

4.75/5  rDev +8.9%

02-07-2014 11:01:47 | More by Krafty34
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Founders Imperial Stout from Founders Brewing Company
97 out of 100 based on 5,690 ratings.