Founders Imperial Stout - Founders Brewing Company

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Founders Imperial StoutFounders Imperial Stout

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6,129 Ratings
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Ratings: 6,129
Reviews: 1,614
rAvg: 4.36
pDev: 8.72%
Wants: 572
Gots: 1,490 | FT: 117
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: 6,129 | Reviews: 1,614 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of rdilauro
4.64/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Its Late December 2012 and each week I've been enjoying another stout. I dont think I could ever get tired of tasting stouts.
This one was Jet black and poured slowly down my beer tasting glass and slowly came up with a chocolate/amber small head. And that did not last very long., I wasn't totally sure of the nose, but I was getting some caramel, butterscotch laced with a touch of nutmeg. My second scent and I picked up a cross between a ripe pear and banana. Sounds strange, but the aromas seem to blend together.

The first sip was full, probably would have been fuller if it wasnt for the amount of carbonation. I prefer my stouts to be almost flat, with very little carbonation.
I was thinking chocolate at first, but there was a degree of bitterness that I came away with coffee beans. Now I am not sure if it is within forum rules for me to make a single comparison with another Founder's brew, The Breakfast Oatmeal Stout. The Oatmeal stout was fuller, richer, and had a more distinct sense of coffee, really espresso. This Imperial Stout wasn't as full , the coffee was there, but more American coffee in style then a Mediterranean espresso bean.

I think that some of the bitterness came from the IBUs for this one.... That I always like

The finish of this stout was a little rougher then I anticipated. Still a very nice finish, but I guess I am getting really tight on what I am looking for.

All said and done, this Imperial Stout still ranks in the 10 Ten of my Best stout list.
Another good job by Founders

Snowy night in the Northeast. You can see by my updated reviews that after snow blowing, I went into my stouts. This type around, the Founder Imperial poured much darker and thicker than I remember the first time. Plus the head was a dirty cooper by wonderful head. Five minutes into my glass and there is still some signs of the head. Putting my nose into the tall glass to me is just about the same as putting your nose into a coffee grinder, but a beautiful coffee!. Loving it. The higher alcohol or perhaps the higher IBUs in this one made it quicker to drink. The coffee overtones stayed right with me until the end. Even 10" away from my glass, all I call smell and think right now is COFFEE, COFFEE, COFFEE... Now that is being said with a New York accent from a person who now lives in Connecticut

Photo of TheSixthRing
4.64/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Bottled on date of 12/13/13

Appearance - Pours black and thick with a cocoa colored finger-width head. Fair retention, leading to a thin layer of suds across the surface. Nice lacing around the glass, with good stick.

Smell - Hits you with a thick burst of fudge across the nose, then underlying coffee ground notes peek through. Faint hints of raisin.

Taste - Coffee and chocolate bliss upfront and throughout. Fudge, milk chocolate and mocha, obviously. An undertone of earthier coffee grounds and baker's chocolate bitterness rides beneath and adds immeasurable depth. Finishes a little more bitter than sweet, but it's almost a see-saw affair between the two.

Mouthfeel - Full-bodied with low levels of carbonation that manage a light tingle on the lips. Nice creaminess, and wow(!) does it go down smooth as hell.

Overall - Glad I got two bottles of this brew in a trade, because it's a monster. It's the big brother to FBS that all the other kids wished was their own. Reminds me a bit of the Drake's Drakonic, but with a thicker body and a deeper coffee undertone. Why isnt this sold in California?!? I NEED IT!!!

Photo of screamking
4.64/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

12oz bottle poured into snifter.

Appearance-black with small chocolate head. 4.5

Aroma-dark roasted coffee, lots of coffee, roasted malts, dark chocolate, burnt licorice, hint of black cherry. 4.25

Taste-wow what a flavor, mocha, coffee, roasted malts, smokey, roasted flavors come through perfectly. 4.75

Feel-smooth, little carbonation, thick but not syrupy,alcohol is nowhere to be found, after taste lingers well. 4.75

Overall-this beer caught me off guard, then knocked me on my ass. Easy to drink, not terribly expensive, only problem is its available 2 months of the year. But I'm sure if you can stockpile it would improve with some time on it. This is the easiest to drink RIS that I've had. 4.75

Photo of EliRix
4.64/5  rDev +6.4%

Photo of prokopt2
4.64/5  rDev +6.4%

Photo of HopSavant
4.64/5  rDev +6.4%

Photo of Seanniek91
4.64/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Served from a 12oz bottle into a Newport Storm glass.

Appearance- Probably the blackest beer I've ever seen. Poured straight down into the glass which resulted in no head.

Smell- Roasted coffee. Chocolate malts. No ABV present. Some mild hop aromas.

Taste- Chocolate malts, coffee, slight alcohol tinge. Nice amount of hop bitterness. Very well balanced.

Mouthfeel- Smooth and creamy. Viscous with light carbonation.

Overall- This is a great RIS. Of course Founders wins again.

Photo of DubbelTrubbel
4.64/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Bottle into fat tulip glass. Served slightly cool

A- Jet black, brown and mocha mottled head

S- Milk chocolate. coffee, some sweetness

T- Intense, smooth, noticeable bitterness, lots of roast

M- thick, but pleasant, low carbonation

O- Thick, tons of flavor, but still drinkable

Photo of ddeeds14811
4.64/5  rDev +6.4%

Photo of Lodisgrisen
4.64/5  rDev +6.4%

Photo of Alan_Z
4.64/5  rDev +6.4%

Photo of Rshersnow
4.64/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Photo of Someguy1989
4.63/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz. bottle poured into a snifter.

A: Motor oil, with an almost insignificant amount of brown carbonation. The only thing I've ever seen darker was ten fidy.

S: Sweet roasty chocolate, a tad bit of dark fruit. Smells very flavorful and delicious. One of the best aromas of any beer.

T: Starts very sweet, chocolaty malt, a tad bit of dark fruit that I noticed halfway into the drink. Finishing roasty, a bit of coffee but toned down compared to the Breakfast stout. A tinge of alcohol in the finish. It was a symphony of flavors that was really really nice.

M/D: Really full bodied, very thick and carbonation is only slighty noticeable. It is a very drinkable beer but the slight tinge of alcohol at the end knocks this category down a notch. It doesn't make it a sipper though.

An absolutely amazing beer, I like this better than Breakfast stout. Can't wait for their Bourbon cousin in March.

Photo of phillybeer7779
4.63/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured from a bottle into an oversized Duvel tulip.

Appearance- pure black, with an inch of slowly developing head. I will never drink this beer in a different glass again! Beautiful stout!

Smell- Lots of chocolate, roast, and coffee with a hint of alcohol, very inviting.

Taste- Very true to the aroma, though the alcohol is very well hidden.

Mouthfeel- Thick mouthfeel, I am aware that I'm drinking a big beer, but my palate can handle at least another beer after this one.

Overall- Excellent beer. If Founders made this a brewery only release with a gimmicky name, it would be among the most discussed beers on this site. However, I am much happier knowing that I can grab this bad boy off the shelf for 3 months of the year. If you like stouts, you will like this one!

Photo of larryarms847
4.63/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours incredibly thick, as in makes a "plop" sound when being poured. It's a thick, tar black beast. Leave gentle lacing all the way down.

Very nice blend of coffee, caramel malts, roasted nuts, and some chocolate.

This is a very nice balance of sweet/bitter coffee, sweet roasted malts, and some bitter dark chocolate.

Mouthfeel is thick, but doesn't quite have what I am looking for.

Overall, this is an absolutely beauty from Founders, something I'd definitely pick up every year.

Photo of kbuzz
4.63/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.75

Poured from a 12oz glass into my trusty snifter. Bottled on 12/22/11.

A: Beautiful looking beer. Pours almost jet black with a thin head that’s as dark tan/mocha as you’ve ever seen. Fades but surprisingly leaves a bit of lacing.

S: Sweet chocolate and singed malts. Dark espresso notes. Charred pipe tobacco and leather. A bit of a floral hop aroma is noticeable and gives the nose a softness as it wafts from the glass.

T/M: Every bit as complex as the nose. First you’re hit with a nice dose of bitterness from the hops. They compliment notes of bittersweet baker’s chocolate, espresso, char. The heat isn’t all that noticeable…nor is the carbonation. Smooth oily slickness on the palate. Coats the mouth perfectly.

O: Very comparable to their Breakfast Stout, but a little less chocolate and more of a hop presence. I definitely prefer these Founder's stouts that don't have the overwhelming bourbon flavor from barrel aging. Allows the rest of the ingredients to shine. Another neer perfect stout from Founders.

Photo of Rob315
4.63/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Look: Pitch as night, viscous looking as it flows into the glass. ! finger coffee colored head, light film swirls on top of brew, gorgeous.

Smell: Huge roasted coffee notes, chocolate, smokiness, oak, vanilla.

Taste: Super chewy, smooth, bitter dark chocolates, coffee notes left in the after taste.

Overall: Incredible. I enjoyed this one over the course of about 40 minutes, aroma and flavors really opened up as it neared room temp. I will be seeking plenty of these out.

Photo of mechamifune
4.63/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured into a sifter, it has a jet black, almost oily appearance. Very slight brown head dissapears almost immediately. Decent lacing. Looks the part of a big ass IS, I just wish it retained a little bit of the head though.

Smell is a lot of sweet malt up front. Comes through a lot better for me than in a lot of other examples of the style. Coffee/Chocolate is there, but relatively muted... overall probably one of the more pleasant "sweet" smells i've found in a beer.

Taste is subtly sweet upfront, slightly bitter chocolate/coffee in the middle, and finishes with a little hop bite in the end to offset the sweetness (make no mistake though, this is not a "hoppy" stout). A wonderfully blended taste where it really feels like all the flavors have come together. No "off" flavors at all, and none of the slight lactic/sour finish I get in some Imp. Stouts.

Mouthfeel is the real standout here. Incredibly smooth and creamy without feeling too heavy. For the size of this beer, it is very easy to drink, and in that sense i think it is really the benchmark for the style. Never feels boozy or hot.

As a whole, this might be my favorite "normal" Imp. Stout. It drinks incredibly smooth, is sweet without being sticky, is creamy without being overly heavy, and blends together the traditional Imp. Stout flavors as well as any other example of the style I can think of. I was quite happy to be able to buy this beer for 10 a 4pack, I just wish there was more of it to buy. Drink this beer!!

Photo of MCain04
4.63/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

10 month old bottle poured into a Half Acre snifter.

Pours a pitch black body with a mocha head of 1 finger depth, great retention and lacing.

Immensely chocolately and roasty aroma. Also notes of coffee and some bitter hops. Dark fruits are subdued but present.

Taste is on par with the smell, more sweetness than expected, but still a nice chocoalte, coffee, and roast presence in the taste. High hop bitterness as well.

Mouthfeel is thick, creamy, appropriately carbonated, coats the tongue, a touch dry on the finish but very sticky throughout.

Overall, one of the, if not the singular, best non-barrel aged non-additive imperial stouts in the world. An absolute staple every time it is in season.

Photo of cassanoj
4.63/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a pint glass. Beautiful incredibly dark brown, with a small brown head. Not much lacing at all.

Wow! This thing smells good. Barley, alcohol and chocolate flare the nostrils. Cherry, oak, maple, molasses. I can only describe the smell as...luscious.

The nose did not do this beer justice. This stout has so much going on. Where to begin! Dark, roasty and chewy. Chocolate and hoppy. Dark fruits, citrus. As the beer warms, I can place each part of this beer's dense character and it all makes for one hell of a brew.

The mouth feel is chewy and smooth. A little bit of carbonation rounds it off.

I don't know what to say about this beer. I thought Founders had exhausted all of their stout powers with the Breakfast lineup...I was gladly mistaken!

Photo of Rtapler
4.63/5  rDev +6.2%

Photo of nlmartin
4.63/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 ounce bottle into a pub glass.

Appearance: Pours a great coffee black coloration with an equally great inch and half or maybe two inch carmel colored head. The head resolved shortly into a film at the top of the beer. Very nice lacing evident on the emptying glass.

Smell: A pleasing mixture of licorice and coffee. Very nice spicyness.

Taste: A very creamy combination of coffee, malty sweetness, with very good spicy backbite.

Mouthfeel: Very creamy with good after taste good carbonation evident.

Drinkability: Man I wish I had more!... This is a very drinkable big beer.

Photo of garymuchow
4.63/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Such an unassuming label, but with closer inspection quite fascinating.
Rich roast aroma with notable coffee, spicy hops and soft alcohol. Very nice.
Pours with a smallish dark head that never really terminates. Rich and thick lacing, and always my favorite it leaves ring after each drink. Black as coal with only the slightest hints of red on the edges of the bottom.
Wow, what a nice drink. Full with the mildest softest carbonation that enhances the rich flavors. This beer pushes intensity of alcohol, bitterness and roast to the edge without falling off into excess. Incredibly smooth. Even holds dark fruit in small waves.
Besides the wonderful balance (considering the style) of this beer the drinkability is the standout quality. It's rare to have a beer this big and full and yet so easy to put down and yet want and expect another. It comes from just a slight lightness of body. Big, full, rich, yet somehow light enough to want another.
Well done and my compliments to the brewers.

Photo of Matthew
4.63/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This is from 2004 vintage bottle.
As it poured down the side of my glass it was clear that this beer is opaque inky black and very viscous.
Immediately there are big notes of dark chocolate, hints of ripe currants, a big sweetness and very light hints of dark roasted coffee. The aromas in this beer are very perceivable and fill the area around the glass.
Big flavors of dark chocolate and currant up front complimented with a slight sweetness. There is a bit of bitterness followed by alcohol in the end. This beer has aged very well, very smooth and incredibly drinkable. The mouthfeel is exceptional. Big rich, smooth and velvety over the palate. Very thick and promotes the richness of the deep chocolate and sweet notes. For a 10% abv imperial stout, this is so incredibly drinkable its scary. A truly exceptional beer that has aged very nicely for me.

Photo of Spiekerbox
4.63/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A- Black as night with a thin dark brown head.

S- Dark roasted malts with a coffee/chocolate background....i have a bad sense of smell and this is a pretty strong aroma beer

T- Strong roasted malt is the backbone of this. There is a nice chocolaty flavor in this beer with a touch of that "dark dry fruit" flavor. A bit of a hoppy bitterness and alcohol warming comes out as you drink more of it and it warms up.

M- Thick and creamy with carbonation that you notice as you move it in your mouth. Nice alcohol warming that sticks around during the finish.

O- This is GOOD, by far my favorite RIS that I have ever had, not much else to say about it!

Founders Imperial Stout from Founders Brewing Company
97 out of 100 based on 6,129 ratings.