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Founders Imperial Stout - Founders Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Founders Imperial StoutFounders Imperial Stout

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

5,520 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 5,520
Reviews: 1,583
rAvg: 4.37
pDev: 8.7%
Wants: 494
Gots: 1,319 | FT: 113
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: 5,520 | Reviews: 1,583 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of BigPlay1824

New York

4.6/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Enjoyed in a snifter

A: pours a deep impenetrable black with a single finger of deep mocha head which i really had to work at with a very aggressive pour. the head dissipates rapidly and leaves a minimal amount of lacing
S: a nice warm and inviting scent of sweet chocolate malts and a nice depth
T: drinks quite beautifully as i have come to expect from these folks and this style, begins with a bit of the tobacco flavor i have come to expect which then moves into the nicely roasted malt character which has wonderful depth, the sweet chocolate malts kick in soon afterwards and are then backed out by a nice deep malt character and slight hop presence which leaves the mouth with a roasty and yet bitter taste
M: gentle carbonation, but it is there, a nice thick creamy texture hits the palate and then gives way to a feeling after the sip that is both dry and bitter, makes you really want to drink it again
O: this is one hell of a representation of the style, incredibly complex and deep, truly delicious and of the highest quality as i have come to expect from founders. another flawlessly done brew

Serving type: bottle

05-10-2012 02:03:58 | More by BigPlay1824
Photo of CoolJosh


4.6/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A. Black as hell. Very silky in appearance, with a beautiful smoky. Light brown head that doesn't last long enough. Slight lacing.

S. Fresh hops which give off a green grassy scent that blend well with rich coffee and tons of roasted malts. Bitter chocolate top it off. Oats are present provide a milky scent. Small bits of caramel. Alcohol is present but. Has to be looked for.

T. Everything mentioned above is present in the taste. Notable roasted malts and stringent bitter coffee flavors give this stout a bite. Ultra bitter chocolate stands big and bold as well. Unbelievably creamy and smooth from start to finish. No harshness. Really great bitter and salty finish with some plum after tones that leads to a fantastic imperial stout.

Serving type: bottle

01-04-2009 18:50:26 | More by CoolJosh
Photo of droomyster


4.6/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

This is as close to the be-all-end-all of its style as it gets. Ticks off every box in but does so with finesse. Pours an utterly impenetrable inky black, the pours barely rising above a whisper as it motor oil-like stream penetrates its small, creamy wisp of dark brown foam. Aromas are immediately reminiscent of the times that I've entered the doors of an artisanal chocolatier. If that chocolatier had coffee breath and was charring marshmallows over a fire, this is what his shop would smell like. The taste is as rich as it gets, with lots of very dark chocolate on the front palate, followed by mocha then espresso on the mid palate as the sweetness dims, and finishes with a taste of burnt chocolate and day-old coffee grounds that lingers long. Super high viscosity meets uber-silky feel. An amazing sipping experience.

Serving type: bottle

01-30-2013 06:14:51 | More by droomyster
Photo of backfat


4.6/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

pours dark, rich mahogany. leather bound books. Dark head with good lace. why did i always ignore this beer? i feel foolish, perhaps because breakfast stout is so good. smells of roasted malt, toffee, and a beautiful chocolate syrup like quality. made my buddy say 'oh jenny' in a forest gump voice, sums that up. alcohol is present, but welcomed. Thick as molasses, but i can't get over that smell! can't get any better. heavy and harsh. the taste lingers and lasts in memory, like the first time i saw the mighty ducks. what a movie. what a beer.

Serving type: bottle

02-11-2010 21:16:31 | More by backfat
Photo of rodlavers


4.6/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a Founders snifter. Beautiful dark/mocha head, about a finger deep, some retention/lacing. Head recedes relatively quickly, leaving a very thin ring inside the glass. Completely black in color, looks like an absolutely delicious Imperial Stout. Roasty, malty aromas blend really nicely with coffee and chocolate notes. There is a small hint of heat, too, which at 10.5% is not all that surprising. Hints of molasses as well. Taste is really similar, and improves as beer warms in the glass. Alcohol "taste" is less present here, with roasted malt and coffee coming through most, with black strap molasses. Mouthfeel is great: super smooth and drinkable, slight carbonation and bitterness on the end. Overall this is an amazing beer, not sure whether it's better fresh or what, but this one is about a year old and is drinking really really well right now. It's my last one, so hopefully I can replenish with a case when it's brewed again (hoping January?). Founders Imperial Stout is really balanced. It's a must-try. Cheers.

Serving type: bottle

12-01-2012 23:30:24 | More by rodlavers
Photo of DaftCaskBC

British Columbia (Canada)

4.6/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to ncmussell for this one.

A: Slight amount of tan coloured head over black liquid.

S: Alcohol, molasses, toasted malt, coffee.

T: Toasted malt, coffee and molasses with the taste of alcohol in the finish. Quite bitter.

M: Medium to thick viscosity with a low level of carbonation.

O: One of the more bitter Russian Imperial Stouts I have had, even with the alcohol taste it is quite drinkable.

Serving type: bottle

12-31-2011 06:19:24 | More by DaftCaskBC
Photo of fastsrt

New York

4.6/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

poured 12 ounce bottle in a snifter.

A: tried to entice a head, but it came out like oil and left a thin deep brown head that lasted for a few minutes.

S: roasted malts, alcohol, citrus, mellow.

T: russian imperial stout at its best.

M: smooth creamy, rich, lingering.

D: this beer leaves an impression, it is perfect. this is a must try for people who somewhat like this style beer, I had this one draft as well the head was better, and had more carbonation. The bottle is better.

This beer is an A+ but, it didn't look as sexy as others.

Serving type: bottle

02-25-2011 18:21:57 | More by fastsrt
Photo of SolomonGrundy


4.6/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Off to see Death Angel - FUKK YEAH!!!

This beer, thanks to excellent trader Brian44556, I have no idea on price, but it's 10.5% ABV...Hell YEAH!

All I can say is: if you can possibly track this beer down, you should. It's hands down the best straight up Imperial Stout I've ever had...yes, that includes Old Rasputin...The folks at Founders may have well converted me to a disciple....Their beer is incredible...

What I like most: everything...

What I like least: Nothing...

Verdict: Find it at all costs, folks, it's worth every penny...NO I GOTTA GO THRASH!!!

Serving type: bottle

04-09-2011 02:07:54 | More by SolomonGrundy
Photo of wvsabbath

West Virginia

4.6/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Serving Type - Bottle

Appearance - Black as night, thick as oil, no head.

Smell - Hops, malts, smoke, barley, sugars, chocolate, coffee.

Taste - Wow, 90 ibu's! This is one hoppy stout. Crazy hop kick mixed with coffee and chocolate. Has the trademark founders yeast and spice taste i love. The hops bitterness mixed with the sweet malts and chocolate give it a perfect one two punch.

Mouthfeel - Insane workout. First the toungey gets the hop bite, the coated with the malts and coffee stoutness. Aftertaste is bitter and yet chocolate sweet. Very thick, and lasts a long time.

Drinkabilty - Only reason this aint higher is this monster is 10.5% This really is special. Amazing how hoppy it is for a stout and yet works so well . Beyond great, i cant believe this beer is not in the top 50 list, This stout crushes 99% of the stouts out there with taste, balance and uniquness. A must try from possible thee best craft brewery going today.

Serving type: bottle

02-26-2011 09:56:45 | More by wvsabbath
Photo of BeerSnobsUnited


4.59/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Appearance: Dark as night. No light was able to penetrate this abyssal blackness. To dark to see carbonation streams or yeast chunks. Head poured a two finger dark mocha cap, smooth at first and slowly becoming more rocky as it settled. A fine cap retains the entire time. Lacing had thick streamers and dissipated into dalmatian like dots.

Smell: Aggressive chocolate and coffee clash instead of blending. Both try to take the spotlight, while subtle caramel and hints of vanilla sit in the back ground. The roasted notes add more complexity and depth instead of a in your face style trait.

Taste: OMFG this is good. Huge coffee taste, huge bitter chocolate. Caramel and other sweet malt brings up the backbone. The 10.5% ABV is just ever so lightly noticed in the after taste. Roasted and earthy tones mix in to create a wonderfully complex experience.

Mouthfeel: Thick and heavy. Motor Oil like, with an aggressive nip of carbonation on the tip of the tongue. Very dry but somehow keeps your mouth watering. Carbonation keeps the palate stimulated until your next decadent sip.

Overall: If only it was legal to marry a beer...

Serving type: bottle

06-28-2014 07:04:17 | More by BeerSnobsUnited
Photo of Elprico


4.59/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

A-Jet black appearance with a thin, tan head that leaves some nice lacing.

S-Bitter, dark chocolate and toasted malt, wood, and finally coffee and slight hops.

T-Starts off with a deep roasted malt flavor that moves into a nicely bitter aftertaste of coffee. I can see how some would see the flavor as too roasted, but it becomes more pleasant as it warms up. About half way through I began to pick up more of a raisin and plum like sweetness. This is meant to be sipped very slowly.

M-Pretty thick, but given the huge taste I thought it might be thicker. It's really creamy and easy on the palate, and for being over 10%, the alcohol is masked like no other.

O-It's hard to complain about this fantastic example of an Imperial Stout. It's almost like drinking a hot chocolate. Bitter and roasted and perfect for cold weather.

Serving type: bottle

01-29-2014 05:36:11 | More by Elprico
Photo of joe1510


4.59/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

12oz Bottle
$10.99 4-Pack
Liquor World - Kankakee, IL

Bottled 1/7/13

Founder's Imperial Stout is black as the ace of spades. There's no seeing any light through this body. A milk chocolate head rises easily to two fingers while staying dense the whole time. It finally settles to a finger+ while leaving chunky intricate lace down the glass. Not often do you run across a stout this big that shows retention like Founder's version. Bueno.

Baker's chocolate and ripe, dark berries draw me in immediately. Heavily roasted coffee and heavily roasted malt keep my sniffer in the glass. There's even a nice touch of that mild lactic vanilla that sets it all off. Chocolate? Oh, yeah. Fudge, of course. This beer is packed to the gills with everything a big stout should be.

Everything I mentioned in paragraph up are involved here. Bittersweet chocolate wraps itself around a gangload of dark berries. Coffee, light on the cream flow through the middle. Rich, dense fudge brings up the rear. This stout is so perfectly balanced I have no idea how it's even possible. Nearly perfect.

The mouthfeel is out of this world good. It's soft but there's still a perfectly velvety feel to a body that's big and bold. The roastiness adds enough bitter to fall in the moderate+ range and the finish is surprisingly dry. There's no sweet stick going on here.

For years now this has been my favorite imperial stout on the market. Better than most limited releases that people praise. Founder's version is all at once bold, rich, dry, and fucking awesome. Oh, it's available too, 48oz for $11. Show me something better, I'm all ears.

Serving type: bottle

11-18-2013 08:24:33 | More by joe1510
Photo of timc100


4.58/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

2012 bottle

Pours an incredibly rich dark brown/black and leaves a dark, burnt mocha head - incredibly creamy, fantastic thick retention and lacing - incredibly beautiful looking beer. Aroma is huge! Sticky browny batter, burnt caramel and toffee notes with the chocolate. Big boozy dark fruits - raisin, fig, dark cherry. Heavily roasted acidic espresso and light sweet notes of vanilla. Taste is just as vibrant and rich. Dark bitter chocolate and espresso collision with bold notes of dark fruit, espresso bitterness and some remnant ash. Incredibly smooth - full body, soft carbonation, velvety mouthfeel. A little alcohol warmth at the finish.

Absolutely incredible beer. Would love to try a straight bourbon barrel aging of this. With age the vanilla and milk chocolate pop.

Serving type: bottle

02-26-2013 22:54:22 | More by timc100
Photo of Metalmonk

North Carolina

4.58/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Poured out like black ink and oil, with an totally brown head. The head doesn't last long, thinning to a skim then a crown within a minute. Utterly jet black in appearance.

Burnt marshmallow, dark fruit, chocolate, coffee and hops mingle nicely in the nose. Hardly a trace of that 10.5% alcohol at first, but with a little warming and settling it does start to make itself known.

Flavor is big and bold, but not brash. The hops definitely make their mark, but at 90 IBUs, that's expected. They're on the citrus rind-y side, exerting a grapefruit-like essence, but that's carefully balanced and offset by healthy dark roast coffee bitterness, charred grain, more burnt marshmallow, graham cracker, big gooey milk chocolate (I'm getting that s'mores thing here)...and traces of dark fruit (fig, grape). Alcohol underlines all of that, and gives it a nice warm edge. Fantastic. The finish features the coffee and hops, mostly.

As fantastic as it tastes, it feels even better. Can I give it a 6 out of 5? Rounded, ultra-creamy, thick, gooey...oh yeah.

A total knockout from the one the finest breweries in the world. Seriously good stuff.

Serving type: bottle

04-01-2010 23:47:21 | More by Metalmonk
Photo of BillyB

New Jersey

4.58/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I thought this was an outstanding example of the style! Founders certainly knows it's stouts.

Poured a beautiful black/opaque color with a very thin, whispy brown layer of foam.

Aromas of chocolate, vanilla, coffee, mollasses, wood and whiskey dominate this very complex aroma profile.

The taste is just as complex. For a beer to be this BIG and complex at the same time is impressive. Same tastes as aromas as well as some toffee, treacle a subtle hint of caramel. Big alcohol taste but not offensive.

Mouthfeel is very pleasant alcohol warmth and a big, full bodied, oily, slick, chewiness.
Just a fantastic beer!

Serving type: bottle

03-10-2008 16:20:18 | More by BillyB
Photo of socon67

New York

4.58/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had on Tap at the Founder's Tap takeover at the Double Windsor, Brooklyn NY

A - Pours midnight black with almost no foam retention. Mild lacing. Visible coates the glass with a slick layer like cough syrup.

S - Impressive. Chocolate is coming right from the glass. Almost has the smell of a candy cordial. Brown sugar is evident. Did Willy Wonka brew this?

T - Robust and filled with rich malt flavor. Chocolate flavor is consistent throughout, and possibly stronger as the beer warmed up. Has a subtle brandy-like sweetness at the end.

M - Thick, heavy, and clearly a stout for lovers of big beers. Flavors stayed on the tongue long after the beer was gone.

O - I loved it, and maybe as much as the more acclaimed breakfast stouts. This is as good as a Russian Imp Stout can get.

Serving type: on-tap

05-17-2012 15:21:25 | More by socon67
Photo of BigIrishman

New Jersey

4.58/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured into pint glass

Appearance: Thick black with cappuccino colored head, not much retention.

Smell: Coffee and chocolate overload the nose, very malty base to it as well.

Taste: Huge coffee/espresso base, similar to the breakfast stout but not quite as much as the BS. Absolutely wonderful finish.

Mouthfeel: Thick and heavy, just the way I like my RIS's.

Drinkability: The 10.5% alcohol is completely unnoticeable, I could pound these down all day.

Notes: Founder's never disappoints, this beer fits perfectly into my RIS gap right now, absolutley wonderful.

Serving type: bottle

03-03-2009 02:50:06 | More by BigIrishman
Photo of Cee-Poe


4.58/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Bottle date 11/2011

A -- Pours deep black with little head

S -- Rich hints of chocolate and roasted malts

T -- Amazing. The 10.5% is not at all recognized. Rather, the bitter roasted malts give way to semi-sweet chocolate on the back end. One of the best tasting beers I've had.

M -- Wonderful. Not too viscus but not too thin... just right.

O -- One of my favorite beers. Happy to find some 2011 on the shelf a couple of weeks ago. That will allow me to hold off on drinking the 2012 too soon.

Serving type: bottle

02-12-2013 17:52:50 | More by Cee-Poe
Photo of waldowin


4.58/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Pours a thick black, like used motor oil, with a nice brown head that fades to a very thin ring.

Smells of figs, raisins, coffee, and chocolate. Thick, sweet, smoky, and heavy.

Tastes of dark chocolate, espresso, and a hint of figs and roast. Definitely let this warm up a bit from the fridge. A very smooth and tasty beer.

Mouthfeel is creamy, smooth, and wonderful. Massive but not harsh.

Drinkability is insanely good for a 12% beer. You can't see that there's any alcohol in here. That said, one of these will definitely be enough for me, I have to be conscious tomorrow.

Serving type: bottle

03-24-2006 07:55:53 | More by waldowin
Photo of 2378GCGTG


4.58/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Apperance: True deep black body under a 1 inch copper/brown head which retains well and clings to the glass for what seems like eternity.

Nose: Chocolate, coffee, black toast and burnt roasted malt.

Taste: Roasted and burnt malts with an excellent chocolate support and a slightly bitter coffee taste all of which fade into a smokey finish

Mouthfeel: Flows like molasses in winter time, it's thick and extremely present, almost heavy, on the palate as it rolls around. This is a truely excellent body.

Overall: A truly excellent RIS, and amazing for the price, not truly perfect because I would like to see a bit more sweetness and a bit less smoke in the taste.

Serving type: bottle

02-28-2012 15:08:37 | More by 2378GCGTG
Photo of Erdinger2003


4.58/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a Chimay Goblet.

The pour finds a pillowy brown to dark brown head that leaves a strong lacing and doesn't fall very fast into nothing. Once it falls the head is thin, but still doesn't break. Lacing is still very nice and strong.

The smell has plum, dark chocolate, coffee a slight smokiness, hops of some sort (slight hops).

Taste has strawbery, bitter hops, coffee, slight chocolate and smokiness to it. Very fruity and hoppy at the same time, but the hops are not overpowering. It's at first like chocolate covered strawberrys.

Mouthfeel is creamy and carbonated, smooth and then a little harsh, but as you drink it gets smoother.

I would enjoy one of these every few months, definetly not my kind of session beer.

Serving type: bottle

06-10-2006 05:30:37 | More by Erdinger2003
Photo of HattedClassic


4.58/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a very dark chocolate color that is almost black. Pours very little head that is a dark brown and leaves a bit of lacing on the glass.

Dark chocolate mixed with roasted malts and cocoa. A small and barely noticeable hint of alcohol with a bit of hops.

Sweet dark chocolate and a cocoa taste mix and dominate the palate. The under and after taste mainly consists of hops with some roasted malts.

Very little carbonation. The beer is a little thick but goes down smoothly.

An excellent stout if you can get your hands on it.

Serving type: bottle

01-29-2012 06:24:06 | More by HattedClassic
Photo of Zorro


4.58/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This bottle is sampled due to the efforts of tsmthrs and Christmas in July Secret Santa BIF 2006.

Poured in the glass this beer is simply BLACK in colored with a DARK brown head. So dark you can't see the sun through the glass and it is incredibly clear and hot here today. Massive head formation, it was a good thing I poured this in to my Duvel glass so I didn't lose any beer. In appearance this beer is really more of a 5.5.

Smell is strong chocolate aroma with some strong citrus hop aroma. Lively hop aroma here that is rather minty and spicy to the nose. Roasted and coffee aromas are in this but they are most hidden by the hops and chocolate.

Taste is deeply of unsweetened dark chocolate, almost like melted bakers chocolate in a glass. Not really bitter just semi dry in the mouth in a good way. Roasted malt and coffee flavors are in this but chocolate has driven them to the edges of my senses. Basically this is like drinking dark chocolate.

Mouthfeel is melted dark chocolate candy bars. REALLY it is that thick!

Drinkability is always subjective. Ask yourself would you like drinking liquid dark chocolate candy bars in a glass? If yes then this beer is a 5.0 drinker, if not it will be a 3.0 for you.

Serving type: bottle

07-22-2006 01:50:57 | More by Zorro
Photo of samie85


4.58/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A-Pours an engine oil black with a two finger, dark mocha head.

S-Huge roasted and dark chocolate notes with a cocoa and vanilla .

T-Roast and dark chocolate with a light, clean bitterness and more roast on the finish.

M-Frothy and full-bodied with a mouth-coating milkshake like feel and low to moderate carbonation.

D-Very easy drinking, yet complex and interesting beer. The feel here is just extraordinary mouth-coating and full-bodied without being overwhelmingly so.

Serving type: bottle

01-16-2012 04:10:20 | More by samie85
Photo of unibrew

New Hampshire

4.58/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Finally, a beer getting excited about! This brew has it all, and I give it high marks on all aspects for the style. It's thick, nearly chewy, black as night, roasty, coffee in nose, bit-o-licorice in the taste to go along with the nose. I could honestly live without the licorice, but, I'm sure it's there for some reason. Not much in the chocolate, but, not overwhelming in the coffee either. However, there is a lot of flavor! When finished, there is sediment in the glass. There's just too much stuff in the beer to be absorbed! I love a nice RIS, and I would have to say this is my new favorite! Better than Old Rasputin, Brooklyn Chocolate, and even Chocolate Yeti. (High praise from me indeed!) Seek this one out, and hopefully, you'll find a 4-pack for $11 or $12.

Serving type: bottle

02-18-2011 22:51:25 | More by unibrew
Founders Imperial Stout from Founders Brewing Company
97 out of 100 based on 5,520 ratings.