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Founders Imperial Stout | Founders Brewing Company

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Founders Imperial StoutFounders Imperial Stout

Brewed by:
Founders Brewing Company
Michigan, United States | website

Style: Russian Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.50%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
75 IBU

Added by mjohn27603 on 01-13-2003

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Reviews: 1,824 | Ratings: 7,543
Photo of OrangeMen
4.21/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

2016 vintage (bottled 11/24/15)
~6 months since bottling

Appearance- Pours oily and viscous, black color, completely opaque. Half finger thick, dark tan colored head, creamy thick. Alcohol legs cling to glass, some spotty head lacing.

Aroma- Rich roast, deep roasted charred malts. Bittersweet dark chocolates, dry cocoa, and smoke. Mild sweet chocolate aromas, caramel. Touch of coffee and hops.

Taste- Charred malt bitterness, roast, smoke. Dark chocolates, earthy hops, cocoa, coffee. Velvety milk chocolates towards the finish, touch of caramel sweetness.

Feel- Medium to full, bitter and drying. Sticky creaminess to the body. Moderate to lower carbonation.

Overall- A really great age for this beer. Roasty / bitter profile is still in the forefront, but sweetness is coming through more. Robust, rich, sweet.

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Photo of Absumaster
4.21/5  rDev -2.8%
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!

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Photo of lochef81
4.21/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Having a four way tasting tonight between Plead the 5th, Old Rasputin, Ten fiddy, and this. It's my second of the four pours. The appearance of this stout is simply overwhelming. It pours a very near jet black with just a slight amount if light escaping through around the edges. The head is a large but short lasting beautiful dark brown color (one of the darkest, most handsome heads I have ever seen). It leaves a substantial film and lots of silky lacing. The nose is rather boozy and bitter. Notes of burnt coffee, bitter dark chocolate, and vanilla abound. The mouthfeel is viscous and coats every inch of the palate as it slowly slides down the throat. The flavor is over the top rich and decadent. A very bitter blend of vanilla, chocolate, and a lasting finish of dark roasted coffee. It is a very bold beer. At only a few months old, this stout is near obscenely in your face but I'm quite sure it will smooth with age. Good thing I've got three more in the cellar.

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Photo of crossovert
4.21/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle.

It pours a thick, viscous black with a creamy and foamy dark tan head. Quintessential look.

The smell is pretty good. Nice raw barley character with some caramel, coffee, and cocoa. That typical "imperial stout" scent is there which I equate to herbal alcoholic root beer in a good way.

The mouthfeel is thick and viscous and the flavor is dead on for what an Imperial Stout should be. It is bitter, roasty, not too sweet. A gem

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Photo of Zdrummer15
4.21/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Bottle poured into snifter

Appearance: pitch black with no transparency whatsoever, thin mocha colored head that dissapates quickly leaving only a ring with spotty lacing

Smell: very roasty. chocolate, caramel, hints of coffee and dark fruits

Taste: largely matches the nose. Some hop bitterness right off the bat followed by the dark chocolate. Finishes with a bit of coffee and then some alcohol warmth, as expected being a big, fresh RIS

Mouth feel: thick, full-bodied, light carbonation

Overall: very solid stout from Founders. I've come to expect nothing less from them. It doesn't blow me away like their American style offerings, but that's not to take anything away from it as American Imperial Stouts are one of my two favorite styles. As far as Russian Imperial Stouts go, this is probably the second best I've had the pleasure of enjoying, right behind Ten Tidy, and just ahead of Old Rasputin

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Photo of dqderrick
4.21/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours thick with a nice 1/4" chocolate milk colored head. Dark as motor oil. Swirling leaves a nice trail of carbonation bubbles.

I smell chocolate and sweet roasted malt. The aroma isn't overwhelming... I need to let it warm a bit. I mistakenly served it at about 35 degrees. After warming, I pick up a little vanilla.

I get a nice roasted taste. Very strong roasting really. Its not as sweet as I anticipated. The slight chocolate undertones are just what the doctor ordered.

Mouthfeel - slightly more carbonation that I expected but I don't mind it. In fact I'd say it complements the beer very well.

I could drink a lot of of this Impy Stout. Too bad I can't get my hands on Founders here in SoCal.

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Photo of chugalug06
4.21/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A - Brew pours like Oil and leaves nice lacing… One of the darkest brews I've ever had.

S - Very tobacco. You can tell this brew has some oak in it… Smells like a very sweet Stout. Hints of chocolate, vanilla, and molasses too.

T - You can feel the heat in this one… You're also able to pick out the many different flavors hidden deep within. Orange, tobacco, chocolate, vanilla, raspy malted goodness….

M - Very think and robust. Very chewy, evenly distributes. Carbonation is as close to perfect as to be expected.

O - Great brew, slightly on the over kill side of things, but stays away from becoming a hot mess… A great brew in a great trade! Thank you dsglovin!

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Photo of Jables
4.21/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours dark as midnight with a slight brown head. Fantastic roasted smell with accompanying initial flavor. The roasted malt flavor gives way to notes of coffee and mocha. Slight hints of alcohol start to nudge in but are quickly pushed aside by a delicious smoked finish. The drinkability is exceptional for a beer this big. Very enjoyable and you definitely get your money's worth.

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Photo of itsscience
4.21/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

It was presented to me black with about a finger of brown head. Smelling it, I get a lot of roasted grains with chocolate, charred wood with a hint of smoke, some coffee, and a slight hop aroma. The taste is much more chocolate-forward. It has a dark chocolate and cocoa powder profile carrying a vein of caramel, with a creamy, full mouthfeel throughout. It finishes with a roasty burnt oat taste with a manageable level of astringency.

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Photo of Jonada
4.21/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

12oz bottled 11/28/2012. Served in a Teku

Appearance: Pours pitch black with less than a finger of a mocha colored head that dissipates to a thin ring. Body is completely opaque.

Smell: Roasted malt, bakers chocolate, coffee, black licorice, earthy.

Taste: Follows the nose closely. Roasted malt, dark fruit, coffee, booze and a slight smokiness. Really well balanced.

Mouthfeel: Full bodied, viscous mouthfeel. Medium carbonation. Still a sipper, but goes down relatively smooth.

Overall: Another winner from Founders. Super flavorful and pretty drinkable considering what a big beer this is. One of the best non barrel aged stouts out there.

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Photo of Stev0supreemo
4.21/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

appearance: oh man. jet black. nice dark brown head. really nice looking stout. plenty of lacing.

aroma: coffee, chocolate

taste: coffee, fruit, chocolate, low alcohol, light hops

mouthfeel: creamy, very nice

if only this was a year-round release...

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Photo of DaPeculierDane
4.2/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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…

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Photo of cjacobsen
4.2/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Vintage 2009 poured into a snifter. Thanks to sweemzander for thinning his supply and cellar cleaning and tossing one of these my way.

(A) Pours black and opaque. Sits pretty thick in the glass. Some brown head upon pouring but it quickly diminishes to just a light ring around the edge of the glass.

(S) There is a decent amount of dark fruits and black cherry. Biscuit. Some decent coffee aromas and some cocoa.

(T) Cocoa and coffee are quite pronounced. Dark and chocolate malts mix with a roasted character to blend in with the dark fruits and sweetness you get in the end of the taste and into the aftertaste. Some licorice.

(M) Somewhat dry. Full body. Smooth. Really fills the mouth and sits with substance on the palate. Coats your throat.

(O) Good solid stout. Seems like this would be the base beer for the KBS, CBS, and FBS. Has a lot of the same qualities with the exception of the added flavors in the other blends.

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Photo of StoutItOutLoud
4.2/5  rDev -3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

2012 vintage. 12-oz bottle poured to tulip. Consumed 8-1-2013.

This pours thick and viscous. Opaque black, dark chocolate brown at the edges. 1/2-finger tan head. Great alcohol legs coating the glass. Almost no lacing once the head recedes.

I know this is not the base beer for kbs, but there are similar aromas at work - dark chocolate raisins, roasted malts. I dig the fruit aroma.

I do not pick up a distinct flavor. Malt sweetness with the bitterness of the 90 ibus appearing quickly. Very sweet red wine perhaps. With warmth, the sweetness becomes overbearing, akin to Dark Lord or Darkness, with minimal bitterness. Surprised by that.

Well-carbonated. Thick mouthfeel. This leaves a burn in my chest.

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Photo of nickd717
4.2/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle via trade from rtravers, back in my first trade ever in early 2009. Transcribing my review from notes. 12oz bottle.

Pours black and thick with a tan head.

Aroma of roast, coffee, chocolate, and slight hops.

Flavor is coffee, roast, chocolate, earth, molasses, and slight hop bitterness.

Full and smooth and rather creamy on the palate. Soft carbonation.

A very good and underappreciated RIS overall. Should get more hype.

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Photo of ThomasMetal75
4.2/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

A- Looked like motor oil! Not even a red tinge could be detected. The head was a deep, dark, brown color. It died to a fine 1 finger that suck around. Not a large amount of lacing, but it was there. The beer has great looking alcohol legs that cling to the glass.

S- Lactic sweetness, but its light. Overall the beer smells on the drier side for an imperial stout. Dark, semisweet, baker's type chocolate is there. Rich coffee notes as well. Some dark fruits. Deep, roasted, maltiness. Smells excellent.

T- WOW! The nose and taste are the same. Very malty, with deep roasted notes to it. Sweetness is there, but it's not like a candied sugar flavor like some of these imperial stouts have. It's more on the drier, roasted coffee side of the flavor. I'm also getting a powdery quality to the dark chocolate flavor. I don't get much of the 90 IBUs at all. The bitterness was masked very well. And so was the alcohol for the most part. The beer has a very nice warming quality to the alcohol. It doesn't burn whatsoever. It finishes somewhat sweet and chocolatey and warming.

M- This is how a good imperial stout should feel. It's a full bodied beer, as one would expect. But in saying that, this was not harsh or hard to drink at all! It coated your mouth and the back of the throat nicely, and some of the flavors did stick around for awhile.

Overall, you need to get this. This is the perfect beer during the messy 2015 snow, cold, and ice we've been experiencing. I used it as dessert, and it worked out fantastically. It got loads of flavor and complexity without the harshness or burn you sometimes get from the style. And it's not overly sweet. Go get yourself a 4pk, try 1, and cellar the rest. A rated beer all day long son!

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Photo of tzieser
4.2/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

a: poured from a 12oz bottle into a tulip glass. pitch black in color with a very small brown head that receeds slowly.

s: deep roasted/burnt chocolate malt character, with subtle notes of booze. decently complex, but nothing over-the-top either. fits the style perfectly.

t: the taste was much smoother and more complex than i expected. dark chocolate flavor up front, followed by notes of roasted coffee and a subtle hop backbone. alcohol is barely noticeable. an excellent true-to-style imperial stout.

m&d: smooth and creamy mouthfeel. drinkability is good.

a great RIS. definitely worth picking up. i'll definitely be putting two of these away for a year or two.

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Photo of Tyrawlings
4.2/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz. Bottle poured into a pint glass.

A: Dark as the blackest night. Absolutely no light penetrating the glass. Pours a fluffy cloud of tan head that is two fingers thick and stays for most of the serving. Incredible sticky lacing crawls all over the glass.

S: Roasted coffee. Chocolate. Toffee. Anise. Dark fruit and yeast. Alcohol.

T: Deep roasted coffee and rich dark chocolate is followed by a slight citrus hop bite. Dark fruit chimes in with a great balancing roasted caramel malt wave. Sweet molasses and a very earthy flavor. Coffee shows up again with a heavy licorice taste and warming alcohol.

M: Silky smooth. Rich and creamy. Minimal carbonation. Warm and dry finish.

D: Rich and luxurious. A great example of the style. Incredibly drinkable for the high alcohol content. A great brew to finish off a cold winter's evening. Highly recommended.

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Photo of infinitebruner
4.2/5  rDev -3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

May 13, 2015

12 oz bottle, snifter

A – Pours inky, oily black, and very viscous. A half-inch of rich chocolate brown foam, sudsy-bubbly, with very short retention.

S – Rich, dark chocolate, vanilla, some caramel, and boozy alcohol esters/fruitiness. Some pine and/or resin present. A touch of roasted coffee bean and brown sugar.

T – Dark, unsweetened chocolate with very light vanilla and caramel. Treacle and brown sugar, a faint impression of crème brulee. Hop flavor is minimal, but hop bitterness is very high, strong on the finish and lingering long after.

M – Carbonation is low but very much present. Body is full, but not as thick as I expected based on the pour. Sweetness and bitterness are very well balanced. Juicy to start and finishes moderately dry.

O – A well-constructed, balanced, aromatic, and flavorful imperial stout. Intense but still very drinkable… slowly.

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Photo of shroompod
4.2/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours with a slim head , a little lacing. Pretty dark with the color hugging the glass.

Aroma of faint dark chocolate , light on alcohol.

Tasting bittersweet bakers chocolate , espresso , mixed in with modest hopping to keep it well balanced. Dark malts linger with bitterness.

Mouthfeel is thick , carbonation is good.

Another winner from Founders.

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Photo of bunnyhustle
4.2/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from glass into a snifter. Dark as night with a mocha colored head. Good head and some retention and lacing. Looks like a good stout. Smell is rich of chocolate (not too sweet), coffee, and burnt grain. A touch of alcohol as well. Taste is similar. A very creamy dark chocolate with a little coffee and toasted grain tastes as well. Alcohol is suprisingly well hidden. Mouthfeel is thick and full, but very smooth. A great beer. One of the smoother RIS's I've had in a while. Enjoy warmer and slowyly, the ABV is well hidden and can catch up with you.

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Photo of AgentZero
4.2/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Drank this with the rest of the Founders Imperial Stouts.

A - Pours black with a nice, fine brown head that left a decent amount of lace on the sides of the glass.

S - Sweet malts, some chocolate, touch of coffee, toffee. Alcohol is slightly present, but considering ABV, it's nice.

T - Very good, slightly sweet, with some decent roast. Moderate chocolate and toffee with a splash of coffee in there. Very easy to drink with a full taste.

M - Medium bodied, pretty solid carbonation.

D - Found this to be a very good beer that I could drink regularly.

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Photo of stabzmcgee
4.2/5  rDev -3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance is intimidating as it poured a dark viscous black with no head. Smells of dark chocolate and black coffee. Tastes of unsweetened chocolate and roasted malts. Pallate is oily slick and full bodied. Overall Very ominous. Thanks katje111 for the extra!

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Photo of Tallboy
4.2/5  rDev -3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours: Dark like midnight black with almost no head. a few bubbles around the rim and slight carbonation. but still lacking lacing on the glass however.

Scent: Rosated grains and nutty goodness with chocolate and distinct coffe aroma mixed in with the alcohol.

Taste: Ritch and malty flavor at first with with sweet chocolate and coffee, then came the everlasting hop bitterness. followed by the warm alcohol at the end.

Mouthfeel : Full bodied but a tad too bitter

Overall: Another great beer from Founders .

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Photo of superspak
4.2/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle into snifter, bottled on 12/29/2011. Pours thick pitch black color with a small dense dark tan head with good retention, that reduces to a thin lace that lingers. Spotty soapy lacing clings to the glass. Aromas of big dark chocolate, coffee, roasted malt, char, smoke, toast, cocoa, light dark fruit, and earthy hops; a bit of alcohol as it warms up. Damn nice aromas with good balance, strength, and complexity. Taste of huge espresso, dark chocolate, roasted malt, char, smoke, toast, cocoa, and earthy hops. Good amount of roasted coffee bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of espresso, dark chocolate, roasted malt, char, smoke, toast, and cocoa on the finish for a good bit. Fantastic balance and complexity of roasted flavors; with a great hop/roast balance; and some slight cloying bitterness after the finish. Light-medium carbonation and full bodied; with a very creamy, slick, and lightly sticky mouthfeel that is very nice. Alcohol is very well hidden with only a slight warming noticed after the finish. Overall this is a highly excellent Russian imperial stout as expected. Great balance, robustness, and complexity of roasted flavors; and very smooth to slowly sip on. A highly enjoyable offering.

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Founders Imperial Stout from Founders Brewing Company
96 out of 100 based on 1,824 ratings.