Dismiss Notice
Hello, is it beer you're looking for?

Learn more about beer. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for as low as 68% off the single issue price.

Subscribe now →

Founders Imperial Stout - Founders Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Founders Imperial StoutFounders Imperial Stout

Educational use only; do not reuse.

1,728 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 1,728
Hads: 7,037
Avg: 4.33
pDev: 17.32%
Wants: 677
Gots: 2,063 | FT: 150
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: 1,728 | Hads: 7,037
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.

 1,232 characters

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.

 566 characters

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.

 736 characters

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.

 801 characters

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.

 1,109 characters

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!

 1,193 characters

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.

 1,125 characters

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

 437 characters

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.

 816 characters

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.

 654 characters

Photo of Bierman9
4.16/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

I bought a 4-pack of this today ($12.49) at the Co-op in Brattleboro VT.... back home, watching some Olympics, and laxin'...

Poured into a small tulip, it is a North Sea crude black, with a creamy, mocha head topping it off. Nice lacing is present, but no chance at seeing any carbo... Aroma is actually not too strong, but some coffee and choco are noticeable here. It is satiny smooth going down, and the body is medium-full, almost bordering on being chewy.

It starts semi-sweet, with some dark choco, bitter, roasty coffee, and a smidge of dry cocoa and Ovaltine. Almost has a smoky edge to it, as well. This action doesn't last long before the hoppiness makes itself known. It is quite floral, with a hint of rindyness, and lingers well in the finish. Quite nice, and warming too!! Prosit!!

4.18/5 rDev -4.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25


 889 characters

Photo of snaotheus
4.16/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

12oz bottle split between two pint glasses. I can't find any codes or dates.

Pours black, with a medium-small brown head. Completely opaque, with a little bit of visible carbonation along the sides of the glass. Smell is chocolate, roasted coffee, black licorice, and alcohol.

Taste is black licorice, surprisingly sweet, some of the roastiness, very little of the chocolate or coffee. Bitterness that I can only attribute to hops (which is probably explained by the intriguing "90 IBUs" printed on the label).

Mouthfeel is surprisingly thin, but not watery. Still has some nice fluffy characteristic.

Overall, this is a very nice beer, and I'm not at all sad that I got a four pack.

 687 characters

Photo of wmtxbb
4.15/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle poured into pint glass

Appearance: Coal black with a dark head that shifts to lacing.

Smell: Dark chocolate, dark sweet malts, coffee, bit of a burnt character.

Taste: Smooth thick black malts, cream, whiskey, oak, and milk. Bitterness hovers of the tasting, but does not overwhelm the other flavors. Ends smooth with a backlash from the alcohol.

Drinkability: I hate the limited availability of this beer. Goes down smooth and warms the soul.

 456 characters

Photo of AnPiobaire
4.15/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The Founders Imperial Stout initially pours a rich inky brownish black with no hue coming through when held up to light. The head was a very thin, fine reddish brown head that quickly dissipates to a caramel ring with some minor lacing.

The nose is rich and complex with some chocolate and dark dried fruits. The alcohol makes its presence known as well.

The taste is rich and creamy and hits all the taste buds. It is not too boozy with a hint of tobacco and finishes with a nice pleasant bittersweet chocolate finish.

Mouthfeel as I said above is rich, creamy, and warms your chest as it settles in. A very nice imperial stout worth the taste.

Overall I would say that I have become a fan of Founders and am trying to neep myself from opening the bottle of KBS I have waiting til next winter. DO yourself a favor and make sure you try this Imperial Stout.

 867 characters

Photo of mikey711
4.15/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle as an extra from 321jeff. Thanks jeff

A: Black as black can get which a very big mocha colored frothy esspresso style head that leaves plenty of webs behind as it fades.

S: Roasty and smokey are very prevalent but that is exactly what I want in a stout. The smokiness has a peet like quality to it and he roastiness hs some coffee like qualities. Also some bitter chocolate notes in there and a mild hint of caramel sweetness

T: Milk and bitter chocolate upfront before finishing before transitiing to a roasty and smokey finish. The roastiness is very much of that burnt old coffee taste and the smokiness reminds me slight of a campfire

M: thick and creamy. No alcohol heat present but definitely can tell it is a fairly big beer.

D: Goes down pretty smooth and a whole bottle is no problem.

 805 characters

Photo of Double06
4.15/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Serving: 12oz bottle into DFH Signature Glass
Drank: Reasonably Fresh - recent release in Atlanta
Price: $9 / 4 pack

A: Black as black can be; Virtually impenetrable by light; Very small amount of dark tan head that left a small cap in the glass. 2nd bottle that seemed to be a little under carbonated

S: Dark, roasty malt; Bitter chocolate and espresso

T: Very complex - start with the hop bitterness which quickly fades to the bitter chocolate and espresso that was in the nose. Hints of leather and tobacco as well

M: Again, felt this bottle was under carbonated so that left it a little underperforming compared to the rest of the elements

D: Very nicely done by Founders. A nice imperial with good complexity. Definitely seek it out.

 743 characters

Photo of smakawhat
4.15/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Happy to at once get my hands on this. Poured from the bottle into a pint glass.

Pours like oil out of the bottle... borderline black. No head to speak of but perhaps 2 millimeters of dark mahogany bubbles. Slowly falls. Body is dark as night.

A good solid nose of faint chocolate with malt character. Simple roast too. Slight sweetness, cloyingly feels deceptive. Unfortunately there isn't much else to it than that. Strangely a smell of a hard boiled egg.

Taste is just a solid malt, with a simple good tobacco. Some carbonation though but a huge aerated mouthfeel of tobacco and whisps of dark bitter chocolate. Has borderline milk/cream stout fizzyness on the end but dark chocolate comes out in the swallow. Mouthfeel has lots of silk, but would be silkier if it wasn't so carbonated. Carbonation tingles on roof mouth long after beer has been consumed also. ABV is also very well hidden and masked.

Still another great beer from Founders what can I say, I get more and more impressed with these guys every time.

 1,021 characters

Photo of HoboAGoGo
4.15/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pre-Recipe change, gray bottle with Limited Edition printed on it.
Poured out of the bottle into a snifter, agitated it slightly by pouring high to get an extremely thin head on it. Initial nose is of alcohol, roasty goodness, some chocolate, a deep red preserved fruit flavor and some coffee. Extremely easy on the tongue, deep roasted flavor, alcohol soaked plum flavor. An extremely drinkable Imp., not the most complex, but fairly enjoyable and I will open another in a while to see how it fares.

 501 characters

Photo of ppoitras
4.15/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle from, well, I don't know where. Oh well.

Poured into an imperial pint glass, formed a tight 1/4" dark brown head over the opaque dark brown/black brew. Head slowly fades down to an even film of tiny bubbles, and lacing consists of very slow moving foam that wants to rejoin the liquid but hardly has the strength to fall. Aroma is hearty dark malts, coupled with vinous dark fruits and alcohol. Taste is extremely rich dark chocolate and coffee flavors upfront, with the fruit and alcohol coming in on the middle, and closing with an increasingly bitter coffee flavor, and definite warmth. Mouthfeel is velvety smooth, although a bit more carbonation wouldn't hurt in my eyes, and drinkability is high in that you want to come back for more, even if the abv means that you come back for more tomorrow. Nice representative of the style.

 850 characters

Photo of tedpeer
4.15/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 ounce poured into a pint glass.

A - Pours an opaque black, with an inch+ tan head that quickly subsides to 1/8. Nice lacing.

S - Roasted malts, hints of coffee and chocolate.

T - Roasted, almost burnt. Bitter finish with alcohol warmth.

M - Thick and creamy with medium carbonation.

D - This is a sipper.

 312 characters

Photo of GRPunk
4.15/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On-tap, served in a nonic pint glass.

A- It poured a near-black body with hints of dark brown at the edges. The 1-finger, brown head that left beautiful lacing and sticky spots all down the glass.

S- The aroma was full of roasty notes with a raisn-like sweetness.

T- The flavor was just a touch on the sweet side. It had a lot of roasty flavor and roasty notes. There was a lighter chocolate accent.

M- It was quite smooth, outside of a slight alcohol twinge.

D- It's a definite sipper, but so good that I'd love to drink it again.

 536 characters

Photo of BarrytheBear
4.15/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle vigorously meets anticipatory snifter

Black with a short lived cinnamon colored head that pools in clumpy soapy islands along the edges and leaves a sticky spattering all along its voyage

Smells of iced coffee, cinnamon, tree bark, bitter roast, dark chocolate, and leafy hops

Hops, char, and fudge

A bit rough around the edges but just oozes promise and potential. Certainly can feel the makings of KBS here as well. A very nice beer and one that should mellow and smooth into something quite special.

 519 characters

Photo of lilbigbudy
4.15/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured very dark, slow moving-thick, no head out of poor.

Smelled very robust, sweet and chocolaty.

Taste...wow, wonderful...that is a good beer. Very rich, sweet...but yet smooth and very refreshing. Burnt overtones, wonderful taste. Yummy.

Thick feel, almost syrupy, but not the bad-sort.

I'd drink this until I was full (maybe after 3, but who cares...very good.)

 370 characters

Photo of stakem
4.15/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours black in color with more than a finger of severely dark tan head. You can fire up the high beams on this guy and no light is shining through. Fair retension and a decent amount of lace clings to the glassware. Aroma includes hops, coffee, chocolate and alcohol. Taste is bitter upfront from a combo of hops and burnt grain. Body of the beer includes the taste of burnt grains, bitter chocolate, strong black coffee and alcohol. The alcohol plays an interesting role with balancing out the different tastes this beer has to offer and strangely enough doesnt have much "warming" factor. Feel of this beer is thick with moderate carb. Overall quite good.

 657 characters

Photo of MrDanno96
4.15/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours really thick and pitch black. A thin ring of tan head keeps mainly to the rim of the glass. A thin film of lace coats most of the inside of the glass.

S: Really wonderful aromas of coffee and dark roasted malt. Dark chocolate and some spicy alcohol are also apparent. Nice!

T: Espresso and burnt coffee really dominate right off the bat. Notes of dark chocolate and coco powder come through in the middle palate and well. Nice coffee bitterness comes through in the finish. Dark malts really shine here, especially black patent. Some bitterness lingers just a little too long, but it's not a big deal.

M: Nice full body and a good bite of carbonation. You can feel the alcohol as you swallow.

D: Another great beer from Founders. Not quite an elite Imperial Stout, but still a really good one.

 809 characters

Founders Imperial Stout from Founders Brewing Company
96 out of 100 based on 1,728 ratings.