Founders Imperial Stout - Founders Brewing Company

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Founders Imperial StoutFounders Imperial Stout

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6,893 Ratings
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Ratings: 6,893
Reviews: 1,779
rAvg: 4.37
pDev: 8.47%
Wants: 658
Gots: 1,959 | FT: 148
Brewed by:
Founders Brewing Company visit their website
Michigan, United States

Style | ABV
Russian Imperial Stout |  10.50% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: mjohn27603 on 01-13-2003

90 IBU
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 6,893 | Reviews: 1,779
Photo of silverblaze540
4.23/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

A - Very dark black, with very thin brown head. Head disperses quickly.

S - Chocolate, with hints of coffee and malt. Smell is nice, but not very strong.

T - Sweet at the front, chocolately taste. Quickly switches to mildly bitter at the end with coffee aftertaste. Nice balance. Alcohol taste is prominent but balanced by other flavors.

M - Very thick, creamy, and silky.

O - Very nice and balanced beer. Heavy, with a sweet smell and initial taste. The bitterness lingers for a while. Enjoyable.

Photo of olmatty
4.23/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance- Wow! This beer pours like very used motor oil with a low light brown head. Good lacing and decent retention.

Smell- Roasty malts, dark coffee and a bit creamy

Taste- rich,thick coffee, sweet molasses, raisins, a bit of dark chocolate, some bitter hops

Mouthfeel- Thick as the aforementioned 10 w 40.

Drinkability- High ABV and huge flavor and still pretty smooth and drinkable. But if you try to knock down a bunch of these you'll end up crocked.

Photo of beerman207
4.23/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Had this excellent brew a year or so ago but never reviewed it. Excited to find one on the shelf.

A: Pours very dark - about dark as oil. Dark brown head that lingers a while and leaves some nice skim. Doesn't get much better than this.

S: Roasted malt, caramel, booze, raisin, smoke,

T: Well....the first thing I detect is booze so aging is necessary here - not sure it was this hot last time I had it. Taste is cocoa, malt, smoke, coffee is strong, very good but the booze is a factor.

M: Nice balance - thick, even a bit chewy.

D: Unfortunately, this one isn't ready yet. I'm going to sip on it and I'm sure my night will be good after I'm done with it.

Overall great offering from Founders - in all honesty - I don't think it needs to be this big though. 9% would be probably perfect.

Photo of bsp77
4.22/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Serving glass: Poured from bottle into Snifter.

Appearance: Pure black and opaque with dark brown head that leaves light lacing behind. By the way, I love the English-like crest on the label.

Smell: Burnt molasses, licorice, dark chocolate, roasted barley and nose-burning alcohol.

Taste: Burnt molasses, heavily roasted barley, dark chocolate, licorice and strong coffee. Decent level of bitterness at the end, with a long roasted aftertaste. Slightly too much burnt molasses for my liking, but that is a minor gripe.

Feel: Low carbonation, smooth body, exceedingly thick and creamy (almost as much as the Egg Nog I had earlier), dry finish.

Drinkability: Another great beer from Founders, although not one of my favorites by them since so many of their beers are just exceptional. Not one of my absolute favorite RIS either (Yeti, Darkness, Storm King, Old Rasputin), but still very, very good.

Photo of mjtiernan
4.22/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into an oversized snifter at cellar temp. Pretty sure this is from 2011...hope I’m not drinking it too early.

A: Black as night and sludgy. A dusting of a head quickly disappeared leaving a thin ring around the glass. Not much lacing to speak of.

S: Strong coffee and chocolate. I can feel the alcohol tickle my nostrils. Yikes!

T: Not as hot as anticipated. Really nice actually. Lots of coffee and chocolate. A touch of floral hops leads you to a pleasant finish of balanced roasted dark malt. It's impressive how delicate this is while still delivering tons of full flavor.

M: Pretty full bodied and chewy, but not off the charts. A good amount of hop/alcohol tickle. Drinkability is on the low to chill with this one for awhile.

O: I don’t know for a fact but, relying on my tastebuds, I’m going to assume that this is the base for two of my favorite beers...FBS and KBS. While I miss those additional dimensions, this is an top notch stout in its own right. Glad I have another bottle to rest.

Photo of augustgarage
4.22/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks ShogoKawada for the bottle(s)! Poured from a 12oz bottle into my Portsmouth tulip.

Motor oil brown liquid, thoroughly opaque with a slow building slick and lasting collar of fallow foam. Viscous legs, and thin sandy, glistening lacing.

Rich roast coffee, cocoa nibs, molasses, aged rum, and fruit pits in the nose along with a touch of grain.

The aromas all come through on the palate but in magnified form with additional licorice and dark brown sugar. A nearly savor flavor suggests marjoram (perhaps from hops?) and even bacon at times. Rum, vanilla custard, and brandy soaked bread crusts in the finish - which is sweet but decently attenuated.

Velvety, slightly oily, full bodied mouthfeel - warming, though the ABV is somewhat concealed.

Lush and deeply satisfying stout - the perfect night-cap.

Photo of gatornation
4.22/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

from 12 oz bottle

A-pours a thick black color with a small tan head with a good amount of lacing on glass

S- was semi -sweet chocolate,cocoa, coffee, roasted malts

T- a superb taste of bittersweet chocolate,coffee, roasted malts, with a good amount of hops

M- nice mouthfeel that coastes the taste buds with the above but still had a smooth texture alcohol well hidden

O- a great imperial stout thick and robust but enjoyable to drink

Photo of turnstile
4.22/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pours thick and syrupy out of the bottle. Pitch black with a coffee-brown head that develops for a few seconds before receding into a thin ring around the glass. Minimal signs of carbonation.

Smell: Boozy; dark molasses with freshly-ground coffee with bittersweet chocolate mixed in. Roasted malts evntually come through against strong alcohol aromas.

Taste: Lactic-sweet with notes of milk chocolate and coffee. Moderate bitterness in the finish.

Mouthfeel: Full-bodied to say the least. Smooth and thick on the tongue with little carbonation noticeable.

Drinkability: Typically bitterness + high ABV = sipper, but it's not the case with this brew. The delicious sweetness up front affords some great drinkability, but you'd be wise to enjoy this one slowly. Finishes a little too syrupy for my liking - the last few sips are tough to get through.

Photo of deejaydan
4.22/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A nice Impy stout from Founders. Pours thick and viscous, like Motor Oil. Minimal head and lacing. Dark as night. Smells collide of sweet yet roasted malts and alcohol. Taste and mouthfeel come together. This is tastes as thick as it pours. The Alcohol is present in the taste, and there's not a ton extra, other than the roasted malts playing along. It's a solid example of the style, but not quite nailing it for me.

Photo of auroracrisis
4.22/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle into a nonic pint glass, this was bottled on 2/9/2011...

Pours 10w30 thick and darker than a black steers tuckus on a moonless prairie night. Brown head that dissipates into a ring of foam.

Intense roast and earthiness on the nose, with some alcohol peaking it's head in that is comparable to rum. Waves of cocoa and black coffee behind that. Fantastic aroma, and dead on for an imperial stout.

Opens with a bitter, strongly roasted coffee flavor that transitions into earthy hops. Bakers chocolate and espresso notes, with minimal amounts of sweetness behind that.

Mouthfeel is an oil slick, and on the lighter end of heavy in body. Low carbonation and a little alcohol tingle there too. The hops dry it out a bit as well.

Overall, a great beer. One that can compete with any imperial stout out there. Tons of rich roasted flavor and earthy hops up front, with a savory coffee and cocoa bean notes that round out the flavor. Pretty available given the time of year, and some what cheap when compared to other imperial stouts of similar quality.

Photo of Brez07
4.22/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Reviewing from notes. 12oz bottle served in a snifter

A: Rather dark pour, but not without a fair share of brown highlight. Leaves a 1 finger expresso colored head which presents as a ring around the glass

S: Very inviting. Lots of roasted malt mixed with bitter chocolate. Some charcoal/smoke and anise

T: Starts off with a bitter roasted malt flavor. There is a chocolate sweetness in the middle (think brownies). Finishes with the charcoal/smoke combo along with some alcohol. Roastiness is the biggest flavor here, but the others compliment it well

M: Full bodied. Creamy. Good amount of lingering bitterness. High carbonation although still seems fairly smooth

D: An excellent imperial stout. Reminds me a lot of Imperial Stout Trooper. Would like to pick some up to age

Photo of mrfrancis
4.22/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Pours an opaque black with a thin tan mousse.

S: Aromas of black cherry, black currant, dark chocolate, roasted grain, coffee, and alcohol assault the nose. Very intense.

T: Notes of black cherry, black currant, prune, dark chocolate, roasted grain, coffee, heavy cream, vanilla bean, alcohol, spiced apple, and herbal, slightly resinous hops wash across the palate. The finish is bitter and long with chocolate, coffee, and herbal hop flavors underscored by alcohol.

M: This ale is full-bodied, smooth, and velvety. Carbonation is delicate, expressive, and unobtrusive. Alcohol presence is pronounced, but not overpowering.

O: This is a fantastic imperial stout, one that deftly balances heavy hopping with gorgeous dark malt flavors. Compared to many other hoppy stouts, this effort from Founders is much more elegant, balanced, and sophisticated. If you're a fan of imperial stouts, this is one not to miss.

Photo of Westsidethreat
4.22/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Perhaps the darkest beer I've ever seen? Poured like black thick ink. The dark tannish brown has crumbled to a faint memory of what once was...wisps and the foam o-ring remain.

S: Black patent and roasted malt aroma. Thoughts of fresh ground espresso, anise and bourbon come to mind.

T: Roasted malts make an immediate impact. Creme brulee vanilla tastes mix with oatmeal brown sugar flavors quickly give way to the massive milk chocolate and coffee aftertaste that stays with the palate for quite some time.

M: A very sticky beer. Not necessarily creamy, but very thick.

D: This beer is GINORMOUS. Very rich, very complex. Bit too sweet for my tastes but still wonderful.

Photo of TurdFurgison
4.22/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I tried this based on good experience with other Founders beers. This one doesn't disappoint either. I poured it into a pint glass, and it had a good stouty appearance. Dark black liquid with very thin tan foam on top. The head dissipated quickly so that it looked like I was drinking cola.

This actually smelled like Founders Breakfast Stout, but with less coffee. It was also a little heavier feeling than the Breakfast Stout. A lot of alcohol is apparent in the initial sips, and you can taste the hops bitterness in the after-taste. Very strong flavor, almost too rich.

A really good imperial stout, but I probably won't drink it too often.

Photo of Truh
4.22/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The court jester made me laugh with this one on 7/12/2006. 12-oz. bottle poured judiciously in to a Dogfish shaker. Once more, thanks to friend and BA Warriorsoul for this one.

Tiny, almost imperceptible crown of head dies to a tiara of almost red-tinged mocha at the sides, as if seeking to escape from the terrible center. Very little lacing; just a dusting of splattered wax as the pour drops. Dark as a moonless night; make sure you've got a flashlight in case the lights go out with this one. Licorice, pine essence, tar, root beer barrels, and a suggestion of smoked cedar announce themselves on the nasal cavity. Chalky treacle is the first thing noted on the mouth, followed by a syrupy brown sugar sweetness that sticks and coats down to the adam's apple. With warming, black pepper spice, caramel apple, and a kind of tinny character start to show. Body is not overly thick, which is nice considering its style and abv.

Another hit for me, just short of a home run.

Photo of drseamus
4.22/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

A: This beer is jet black and looks awesome. The dark mocha head was pretty thin and fell so that is was only a rim around the edge in well under a minute.

S: The aroma is powerful. There is a very sweet initial blast followed by chocolate, toffee, coffee, and a bit of roasted malt. There might be some maple syrup or brown sugar in there also...I can't quite place that sweet aroma.

T: This is a very sweet beer initially, but finishes with a good roasty bang. There is also a bunch of dark chocolate in the middle. There is a bit of bitterness right in the middle that fades pretty quickly. I'm not sure if it's from hops or the roasted malt.

M: This has a great body for the beer. It is very full bodied and very smooth. It has the consistency of motor oil which suits it nicely.

D: This is a bit sweet, but still a good beer. The ABV is a bit high, but I could knock back a couple or six before I had to pass out. The sweetness would get to me before the alcohol. However, it is still a good beer. Why does it have to be so hard to get?

Photo of tmoneyba
4.22/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured a black color with large rocky brown head that lasted with excellent lacing. Aroma was medium malt and coffe that lasted the whole brew. Flavor was rich and smooth malt and chocolate with a long finish.

Another very solid brew from this house.

Photo of target88
4.22/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Wonderful coffee aroma beautiful black and color has an absolutely outstanding sick mouth feel good deal of hops and very stiff coffee backbone. This beer is full-bodied and demand your full attention although this is usually my type of beer the flavor color and Romar absolutely fantastic and I would highly recommend it to any stout drinker

Photo of don1481
4.21/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

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?

Photo of Hamburgers
4.21/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours motor oil black with a one finger light brown head. Aroma of coffee and chocolate. Flavor is rich chocolate and dark roasted coffee. Thick, creamy mouthfeel with light carbonation. 10.5% ABV very well hidden. Extremely long and bitter finish. Complex stout. Perfectly balanced.

Photo of deltatauhobbit
4.21/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

Bottled 12/10/14

Pours a wicked black color, perfect two finger sized head with a brownish tan color, fades at a slow rate but only leaves a small bit of lacing on the glass and no lasting cap.

Smell is very heavy on coffee aromas along with a roasted/burnt malt presence, slight metallic tinge to the nose, not really picking up much hop balance even though it was only bottled a little over a month ago.

Taste starts out with a hint of warming alcohol, doesn't get too strong to be overwhelming or distracting fortunately, strong roasted malt with a burnt bitterness in the aftertaste, coffee presence throughout the entire drink but don't expect any cream or excessive sugar to accompany it, very thick and chewy body with long lasting stickiness, avoids being cloying though.

Could use a few more unique traits to separate it from the pack but what it does it does very well. I'm glad I've got a few more bottles to see how it changes with some age on it.

Photo of coachdonovan
4.21/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a snifter from a 12/22/11 bottle, it's obviously pure black. One of the darker heads I've seen in a while too; it starts out about an inch thick and fades to a thin layer of mocha foam, solid lacing. This is the picture you find in the dictionary next to "Imperial Stout."

Nose is equal parts coffee and unsweetened chocolate. A little tingle of alcohol is there, but just barely. The malt brings to mind the aroma of roasted chestnuts on a New York City autumn afternoon.

First pull from the glass is smooth and viscous. The aroma themes are still there - roasted coffee and bitter chocolate - but this flavor profile goes much deeper. There is a juicy fruitiness that balances all that darkness, and now I find the 90 IBUs referenced on the label. The roasty notes come through again in the finish.

I'm taking my time with this one because I want to enjoy all the flavors, not because the 10.5% abv is obvious. This is simply really really good. If the coffee flavor was dialed back just a bit, it might be perfect.

Photo of camil1mj
4.21/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2011 vintage poured at cellar temp into my Founders snifter.

A: Deep, dark brown. Wonderful 2 finger mocha colored head. Great lacing. Loons perfect.

S: Roasty, chocolate. Great smell.

T: Immediate roasted malt tast. Great tastes of chocolate and toffee.

M: Thick, full bodied and well carbonated.

O: Great imperial stout. One of my favorites.

Photo of ritzkiss
4.21/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Goblet on tap at Coles in Buffalo. Arrives a deep black with a thin, creamy mocha head which leaves sheets down the glass. It also arrives far too cold.

After sitting a bit, the nose reveals some rich roasty malts, bitter dark chocolate and a hint of coffee. Pretty straightforward.

This is nothing fancy, just an honest-to-God, straightforward, well-made imperial stout. Textbook really. Rich roasted malts, chocolate, just a hint of caramel sweetness, coffee, a hint of vanilla, a touch of leafy hops in the finish which, along with the hefty roast, add a nice light drying to complement the creamy, rich mouthfeel. Hides the ABV well, just superbly creamy, rich body.

Paired nicely with my chocolate dessert, would gladly drink this again!

Photo of Absumaster
4.21/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A viscous pour and a deep black color, on top a beige head which collapses almost instantly. One of the most beautiful beers I came across.

Smell is roasted malts with a molasses and rather oily smell, like a lot of flaked barley has been used. A good bitterness complements the maltbitter smell. Also some earthy hops, but this could be me, making the link between burned/roasted notes.

Taste is rather (too) sweet and mildly burned/roasted. The molasses comes in second. A sticky feeling on the lips and a warming alcohol sensation at the back of my throat. This is a complex beer with enough going on to compete with a good whiskey. Body is full and drinkability is not high, but really fits the style and makes the beer a sipper.

Thanks to plucier for this beer!

Founders Imperial Stout from Founders Brewing Company
97 out of 100 based on 6,893 ratings.