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Founders Imperial Stout - Founders Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Founders Imperial StoutFounders Imperial Stout

Educational use only; do not reuse.

1,733 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 1,733
Hads: 7,094
Avg: 4.33
pDev: 17.32%
Wants: 688
Gots: 2,090 | FT: 151
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: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 1,733 | Hads: 7,094
Photo of xav33
4.18/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Founders Imperial Stout
12 oz bottle
Brewed 04, pondered over 10/06
Aggressive pour in an English pint.

Pouret jet black with a massive brown rocky mostly lasting head with excellent lacing.

Smelt of moderate mocha vanilla coffee, toffee, and licorice.

Taste was upfront moderate vanilla licorice sweetness and light chocolate followed by a harsh earthy burnt taste accompanied by a light creamy coffee sweetness on a long strongly bitter burnt molasses finish that turns to coffee. Mouthfeel was medium bodied, oily, softly carbonated, strongly astringent and light cozzy alcoholic warmth.

Overall, the beer starts off excellent in appearance and aroma, and at first sip it delivers, but the follow through taste and palate finish just assault and erases the pleasantness in this beer. A two faced beer, sweet and inviting at first, agressive and misanthropic later on. Intensely intriguing.

Side note: drink this beer warm!

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Photo of akorsak
4.17/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

From a trade with meathookjones. This is a 2006 bottle.

A: The stout is an oily black color with some dark browrn hints. The head is a mocha brown color that does not retain for very long.

S: The aroma is a toasted grain and chocolate, alcohol strength.

T: The ale has a deep roasted taste flavor with a stronger malt flavor that has comes through like a red wine with many layers of taste. The malts are big and bold, roasted, chocolatey and full of warming alcohol.

M: The mouthfeel is dry, with a little bit of hop kick and a lot of roasted malts. Very nice mouthfeel with a good balance of flavors.

D: The abv is a bit high, but the roasted malts are great. A good night-cap.

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Photo of jmalex
4.17/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Nice to finally get a hold of this one. If Founders' other stouts are any indication, this one should be awesome.

APPEARANCE: Pours pitch black into my Delirium tulip. There's almost no carbonation, and only a small brown head even initially forms. It settles immediately to a thin brown collar ringing a still black surface.

SMELL: Major amounts of roastiness and fruitiness at the same time. A little chocolate backs it up along with some toffee, but the aroma of this beer is all about the darkest malts in existence.

TASTE: It begins with an intense chocolaty roastiness with tons of caramels and other dessert-type flavors completely dominating. But then it undergoes one of the most drastic transformations I've ever experienced in a beer. A huge bitterness comes on in the form of both hops and black malt. As the sweetness drops out, the bitterness intensifies and continues on well through the finish. Very unique.

MOUTHFEEL: Full bodied with a very low carbonation that works really well here.

DRINKABILITY: The bitterness is a bit much but still really nice. No sign of the alcohol which is always a plus.

Another winner from Founders. Maybe not up to quality of the Breakfast Stouts, but that's a hard perch to achieve. This is worth seeking out.

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Photo of Thorpe429
4.17/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

G: 18-ounce glass snifter.

A: Pours a thick, dark, opaque liquid, reminiscent of Hershey's syrup in color. Starts off with about a finger-and-a-half of head that is nutty in color. There are a decent amount of carbonation bubbles visible on the top of the head, and the head recedes quickly to about half a finger. Decent amount of lacing as it goes down.

S: Very smeet malt smell from the start, fading into a calming alcohol presence. Hints of dark, unsweetened chocolate and a subtle whiff of coffee. Little to no hop presence, although I cannot be sure how old this beer is, as I don't believe it has any sort of bottled-on date.

T: The initial taste first brings a sweetness that hits the back corners of the mouth--reminds me of the feel of green apple Jolly Ranchers in the mouth, though with much less pungency. A mild caramel biscuit flavor underneath the sweetness.

M: Medium-bodied and crisp. Mild carbonation on the tongue and crisp as it goes down. Maybe just a little bit hot in the mouth--I'd bet the mouthfeel would be sublime with a year or two on it.

D: Quite savory. Not quite as complex as Expedition, although it'll definitely factor into the rotation. I'll definitely lay a couple of these down to see how the flavor profile develops over time.

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Photo of kbeals
4.17/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle poured into a snifter. Pours out an inky jet black. A bit of tan, creamy head sits atop it, leaving behind a decent amount of lacing. Smells are of roasted coffee, and I mean a lot of roasted coffee, a bit of sweet malts in the background along with some alcohol. Taste is of bitter, roasted coffee, and alcohol. Has just a bit of sweetness which helps to balance it out. Very smooth and thick, very little carbonation. Pretty drinkable despite the high alcohol content. Overall, a very good beer and a recommendation for any fan of RIS's.

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Photo of donniecuffs
4.17/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Update, 3/31/2011...tried this for the first time on draft at the Mohawk House, Sparta, NJ. Appearance same as before, possibly a little more lacing. The smell was a much bigger bouquet of cocoa powder, milk chocolate, and a bit of anise. The taste mirrored the nose, with a huge midpalate presence of velvety chocolate flavor, progressing to a dry cocoa powder and licorice finish. Alcohol definitely evident in the finish as well. Great, smooth slightly thick feel. This beer was much, much better on draft; my only criticism would be just a little too much alcohol and licorice on the finish. Otherwise an excellent imperial stout.

Poured black into a stemmed Brooklyn glass, with a thin tan head, no carbonation, and average lacing. Smelled of bittersweet chocolate, raisins, soap, and a big alcohol presence. The taste revealed roasted coffee bean with some dark chocolate, and finishing on a dry coffee note punctuated by the strong alcohol content, which was evident throughout. Not much evident of the dark fruit in the flavor as was detected in the aroma. Very thick, non-carbonated, slick mouthfeel as well. The all-around harshness of the alcohol flavor suggested that this beer warranted a healthy amount of time in the cellar. As such, I'd like to buy another and give it a second chance, but throw it in the basement for three years before drinking it.

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Photo of TenHornsProud
4.17/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a thick black with a big tan head that lingers and laces.

Smells sweet, nutty, coffee, roasty, some dark fig notes with alcohol. Really nice nose.

Up front roast, fruity/spicy hop character that fades into a more astringent roasted character with notes of chocolate and coffee in the finish...lots of dark chocolate lingers. Big flavors with subtle hop character.

Creamy, full body with lower carbonation and alcohol warming. Everything is nicely balanced, and the thicker body is particularly pleasing.

This is a great RIS that is perfectly balanced and complex enough to make it worth your time.

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Photo of tarheels86
4.17/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

355mL into a snifter. Pours a used motor oil pitch black with a micro dark tan head that settles quickly to nothing. Crazy aroma of oak, bourbon, vanilla, dark chocolate, molasses, and almost overpowering spicy white alcohol. For 90 IBUs and 10%, the taste is incredibly smooth with some oak, espresso, roasted malt, and vanilla moving to piney hops with warming alcohol like whiskey. Velvety mouthfeel. Full-bodied. Crazy and insane. A lot better than KBS dumping the green coffee and tomato-ey bourbon stickiness.

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Photo of TrappistJohnMD
4.17/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours black with thin tan head in Stone IRS tulip. Lots of lacing considering such a small head.

Smell is heavy with dark chocolate and coffee.

Taste is nice toasted malt and dark chocolate. Good coffee flavor in aftertaste. A little smokey but not as much as I had expected.

Mouthfeel is very rich and creamy. Full bodied. Not a lot of carbonation.

Overall this is a pleasant sipper.

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Photo of goalie33
4.17/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from 12oz bottle into snifter. No 'best by' date.
A) Pitch black beer. Bits of a brown head form, but quickly disappear leaving just a ring around the edge. Doesn't leave much lacing, but leaves lots of alcohol feet.
S) Deep, rich espresso and chocolate notes, hints of dark fruit and licorice. Alcohol is noticeable in the nose.
T) Chocolate with a slightly chalky coffee bitterness underneath. Alcohol is there, but doesn't detract from the taste. Very rich finish, bit of a lingering bitterness afterwards.
M) Very nice mouthfeel. Full body, thick, smooth, creamy feel, coats the mouth. Virtually no carbonation on the tongue.

Another great release from Founders. Great flavors, smell and mouthfeel in this beer. Can't ask for much more out of an Imperial Stout.

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Photo of orangesol
4.17/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served on nitro-tap at Al's of Hampden into a nonic pint.

A - Pours used motor oil black with a small film of khaki colored head, dissipating down to a spotty film, leaving thin rings of lacing down the glass.

S - Lots of flavor going on in this one but mostly coffee, chocolate, dark roasted malt, booze, and a tiny bit of vanilla. Not too over the top like others, just a solid Imperial Stout.

T - Lots of rich dark roasted coffee mixes well with the dark roasted malt and dulled chocolaty sweetness. The booze comes thru more and more as it begins to come to room temperature. Finish is very roasty with tons of it lingering long after the finish. Not too bad.

M - Heavy body and flavor with moderate carbonation. Lots of heavy roast in both the feel and the finish. Good overall balance but the booze crept in toward the end.

D - Pretty good. I enjoyed this one but the roast began to wear me down over the course of the glass. Still a very nice beer. Glad I finally got to try it.

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Photo of thain709
4.17/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - The body is black as night and has a head that is pretty much non exsistant...there is a dark brown, wispy cap that formed and became a bead...spotty lacing

S - A lot of roasted malt with dark chocolate and roasted espresso beans mixed in...there is a trace of alcohol on the nose

T - Again, the roasted malt is there and it's the first thing you pick up...it gives way to bitter, dark chocolate and a dark fruit flavor...I'm getting dates and raisins...the ending turns into bitter, roasted coffee/espresso beans...the coffee flavor isn't as pronounced as the chocolate

M - Full bodied...creamy and smooth...bitter chocolate

D - A very nice Imperial Stout that has a great mouthfeel...had it beside a Green Flash Double Stout and this one was my clear favorite...the flavors were full and rich...watch the ABV though because you can't taste it

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Photo of StJamesGate
4.17/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Gloopily viscous tar black with violet-amber film. 4.25
Soy, licorice, and wet ashes on the nose - tart. 4
80% chocolate, marmite, black currant Fruit Pastille, some char, black grape, fig and an earthy, peppery hops kick. 4.25
Pine tar finish and endless char linger with a hint of orange.
Heavy, silky-creamy, chewy. 4

-- Thickest pouring stout ever. More umami, less roast/coffee and more hops than expected. Definitely at one end of the scale; almost a bookend to fun-and-accessible Founders Breakfast that way. Massive. 4.25

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Photo of Apellonious
4.17/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

12 oz from 4 pack from FMcDs poured into a tulip glass

A - Pours dark as night. Half finger dark tan head. Brown notes.

S - Strong chocolate followed by some roasted malt

T - Chocolate, coffee, roasted malt. I am sensing a theme here. This is tasty.

M - Low carb, things get sticky as it warms.

O - Excellent stout, a slow sipper, perfect for cold nights weathering whatever silly named (or, more correctly, silly being the fact that they are now giving them names) winter storm we encounter over the next few months.

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Photo of blakesell
4.17/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Enjoyed from the tap at Gravity Head '08 in New Albany, IN. Poured into a 10oz glass. At this point of the night my notes started to get a bit.. Scrawling. So hopefully this review makes more sense than I did at the time.

Appearance- Totally opaque. Dark as night. No viability whatsoever. Head is thin and brown. Carbonation clings to the glass and leaves no legs on the sides.

Smell- Prune and raisin with a hint of grape. Big thick dark malts. Plum lingers on the finish. Great finishing hops leaving a nice hoppy scent on the nose. Chocolate on the finish as well.

Taste- Raisin and prune with much hop and malt backbone to balance it all out. Black patent and chocolate malt. Hoppy but still malted enough to remind us that it's still an imperial stout. Creamy and luscious with a hint of brown sugar.

Mouthfeel- Warming, well carbonated, full bodied and even. Sticky on the lips.

Drinkability- Excellent drinkability with well disguised alcohol content. Oh, Founders, why do you treat me so great?

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Photo of NoLeafClover44
4.17/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle poured into a standard pint. Bottling date has faded, but it is from this past year's batch, so January-ish.

A - Pours a shade of black with no head at all. A thin layer of mocha head appears after the pour is complete. This is quickly minimized to a halo. Leaves a sporadic lacing.

S - Rich roasty character with some dark chocolate, plum, and cocoa/coffee beans.

T - Follows the nose for the most part, with some huge toasty notes. Smooth flavors of coffee, vanilla, and oak with a strong grassy hop bitterness. The aftertaste is of coffee and campfire charred oak. The flavors sweeten and mellow as it warms and some dark fruits emerge. No noticeable alcohol. Very enjoyable beer.

M - The body is full enough for the style and the carbonation is good.

O - I had big expectations for this beer because of how impressive Founders' other imperial stouts are. This one distinguished itself from its "breakfast brothers" with the toasty, almost smokey, character indicative of a full flavored RIS. I was impressed with the complexity and the balance that the high IBU offered. I will put a few away to see what happens with this beer with age, as I believe it will be a whole different animal. Highly recommended.

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Photo of thetomG
4.17/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Inky oil-slick jet black in color. Solid layer of tan foamy head that leaves behind spotty lacing.

Aroma has a very pleasant mild chocolate aspect alongside the more standard roasted malt & bitter coffee elements of a stout.

Flavor follows along the same lines as the aroma, but the roasty aspects really dominate here. The beer finishes with a nice bitter coffee flavor.

Mouthfeel is excellent - super silky smooth and oily. The high abv is almost totally hidden making this one dangerously drinkable.

Another top quality beer from Founders. Highly recommended.

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Photo of abrand
4.17/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle with bottled on date of 10/2/09 poured into a Founders pint glass.

The Founders Imperial Stout pours a deep chocolate color with a tan head that only pops up after an aggressive pour. Not much lacing or retention to note. Aromas are mostly burnt coffee with a subtle chocolate presence. I'm not picking up any of the 10% abv in the nose. Quaff is sweet licorice with a bitter chocolate finish. Odd that I am not getting consistency with the nose and quaff as I do not notice any espresso or coffee beans in the quaff, or at least nothing like the nose. Mouthfeel is nice and thick like a stout should be. Drinkability is solid for this style mostly in comparison to the high price tag that comes with an Imperial stout.

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Photo of shbobdb
4.16/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 3

Wow. This is a freakin' good beer. It pours a dark mahogany, with an ominous, dark, yet friendly fluffy head. What an inviting beer!

How does it taste? How does it feel? Well, like a homebrew I recently did, but good. In the homebrew, I threw in 2 pre-made edme stout kits and balanced it out with 3lbs of the neigh unfermentable Laaglander amber. This beer tastes like that, in so far as it has a lot of nice roasted barley flavours. They really steal the show, but they balance it out with a thick, full mouthfeel and just enough hops to make their presence known and clean the palate out. Mmmm. The warming alcohol finishes off the experience, bringing it to a wonderfully warm close.

Would have loved it in the winter. I love it now, but definately a cold-weather beer. This is MY kinda RIS.

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Photo of nataku00
4.16/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Bottle (2011 release) poured into a tulip glass. Beer pours a dark opaque brown, bordering on black, with two fingers of chocolate brown colored creamy head. Head stuck around a decent while before receding to a half a finger leaving thick lacing along the insides of the glass. A decadent and rich looking stout.

Nose is greeted by roasted malt and coffee, dark but not burnt with some mild fruitiness. A light citrus hop note in there, as well as some caramel.

First flavors to hit the tongue is the roasted malt, roasted coffee flavors, more darkly roasted than in the aroma, with a slight astringency. Milder coffee and malt, breadiness, caramel, and milk chocolate follow mid tongue. Medium finish is a combination of dark roast and hop bitterness that lingers on your tongue for a while after each swallow.

Full body and very creamy, perfectly carbonated. Silky smooth on the tongue, coating it with the beer flavor. Alcohol is completely hidden, with no alcohol burn or heat. I would have liked a slight bit more sweetness to balance out the roasted flavors on this though. Otherwise, a nice beer.

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Photo of Nugganooch
4.16/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Founders Impy
Received in trade from the Midster. Cheers Allen!

Notes from 02-17-12
12oz bottle with a 10oz taster nonic

A: Pours a super dark black licorice color and even has that sort of sheen to it. Looks slightly viscous in the pour and yields a two finger thick dark mocha head. Some really tight bubbles. Lace coats the glass with each sip.

S: Smells of deep roast grains and chocolate syrup. Has a little bit of an earthy waft to it. Some alcohol vapors. But the roast and chocolates are nice here. I can smell the aroma from across the table.

T: Tastes has a real dark earthy roast to it reminiscent of coffee bean. A bit of sweetness with a deep rich dark chocolate character. Some char and a moderately high prickly hop bitterness. ABV’s are suggestive but not over the top in any way. Really fantastic stuff. What a great Impy.

M: Really nice balance between a frothy texture and slightly thicker viscosity. Mid-Higher body. Touch syrupy at times. Overall still creamy with a somewhat dry finish.

D: Such a nice big beer in a tiny bottle. Great roast character and chocolate flavors. Nice balance all around. Really great stuff.

Would be happy to receive this one again!

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Photo of muskabeatz
4.16/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Just picked this up today. Fresh batch.

A- This seriously looks like motor oil as I pour it into my glass. Super thick, black as black gets, light brown head. Wish that head was just a little darker, then it would be perfect.

S- ROAST. Wow, huge roast presence up front, followed by subtle milk chocolate, and just a hint of alcohol. Not overly complex.

T- Here's where it all comes together. Much more milk chocolate than in the aroma, which couples itself well with the roasted malt. The finish shows off bitter baker's chocolate, and a nice hop bitterness as well.

M- Thick, slick, and oily. Alcohol is detectable, but not overwhelming. I do wish it left a bit more of a mark on my palate. It's almost a little to easy drinking, but only slightly. I want my imperial stouts to be uncompromising, and forceful.

O- I feel glad to say that this beer has left a better impression on me than it did in previous years. With so many people claiming that X beer isn't as good as it was last year, I can certainly say that is not the case from this beer. Excellent offering from Founder's, and one that should cellar well too.

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Photo of maxcoinage
4.16/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Bottle (12/14/13) into DFH signature glass with an agressive pour

a- huge 3 finger light brown head, beer is pitch black, left some great lacing on glass
s- roasted malt dominates,chocolate
t- dark chocolate, roasty, a bit of sweetness, some hop bitterness on the finish and booziness in the back of the mouth
m- quite heavy, decent carbonation, a bit creamy
o- seems a bit harsh, to be honest, maybe will smooth out with some age on it

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Photo of foogerd
4.16/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- Pours like an oil spill, slick and slippery out of the bottle. Black as night, a head is produced that has this gorgeous deep dark coffee color, sexiest head I've ever seen. A real looker of a brew.

S- Smoked anise, lots of roast character, dark cacao chocolate, a creamy lactose aroma wafts over. A bit of sharp bitter booze.

T- Totally an anise/black licorice bomb, with dark chocolate and burnt bitter coffee taste at the finish, packaged in a tasty very drinkable format.

M- Very smooth slick body, low carbonation but very appropiate.

D- A foward in your face Russian Imperial Stout that goes down with ease. Whats unique here is that this brew is big all around, in flavor and abv, yet its drinkability gives you the ability to enjoy all its robustness. Would pair excellently with a creamy rich desert.

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Photo of RblWthACoz
4.16/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours black with a brownish head. Nose is boozy with touches of molasses. Flavor is intense coffee off the first hit. Lots of roasted malts. Just a punch in the mouth nearly. Mellows out and gives a lot of molasses too fairly quickly. Thick and robust. Seems a bit too boisterous to be bringing the subtleties that you might be able to draw off the other "biggies." Either way, who cares. It's still hearty and robust and carries a great flavor profile. Thick molasses and quite malty. (But mostly, it's bringing the molasses.) Feel is thick and smooth on liquid. Carbonation is low. A pretty intense and hearty RIS. Another Founders beer I have enjoyed.

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Founders Imperial Stout from Founders Brewing Company
96 out of 100 based on 1,733 ratings.