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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

User Reviews
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Reviews: 1,825 | Ratings: 7,546
Photo of Jonada
4.21/5  rDev -3%
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 -3%
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 -3.2%
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 -3.2%
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 -3.2%
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 -3.2%
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 -3.2%
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 -3.2%
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 -3.2%
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 -3.2%
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 -3.2%
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 -3.2%
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 -3.2%
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 -3.2%
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 -3.2%
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 -3.2%
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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Photo of
4.2/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12oz. bottle.

A hard pour yields an opaque black fluid, even with light behind it -- damn! that's dark. The head was larger than I expected (2-3 fingers), creamy, and brown. Pretty good lacing as I drank.

Smell was pretty sweet - dark fruits (figs, raisins, cherries) and molasses. Coffee was present, but rather mild. Chocolate came through as well. Coffee flavor picked up as it warmed. Alcohol.

Taste was more sweet than bitter overall. Initial impression was of coffee and roast notes - pretty heavy in fact. The dark fruits were back, right behind the roast notes. Fruit flavors, plus some chocolate, maybe toffee as well, drove my impression of more sweet than bitter. Nice lingering bitterness at finish, composed of the roast notes and some herbal flavors.

Full bodied. Low perceived carbonation. Rather dry. Alcohol warming comes on quick. Coating and smooth.

Quite a nice stout. Not as tasty or complex as some of the others I've tried (Peche, Stone, Bells, Founders BS/KBS), but still very good.

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Photo of Bigstein09
4.2/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

A: poured thick motor oil like opaque black. finger of beautiful dark tan head.

S: This smells absolutely amazing. roasted malt, chocolate, coffee, and booze.

T: Doesn't taste as sweet as the smell. Roasted malt/roasted coffee are the Can taste the bitterness of the hops that didn't come through in the aroma. definitely a little bite of alcohol at the end.

M: mouth coating thick with a bit of carbonation, certainly more than you would think by looking at it.

O: no question the most complex beer I've tasted so far (only my 2nd RIS). This was bottled less than a month ago...can't wait to try the rest of these with some age on them.

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Photo of joepais
4.2/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks Dim I had to crack one tonight.(The label design is awesome ) A fresh Bottle poured into a snifter produced a short lived tan head that settled to a thin ring around the glass. The body of the brew was a typical tar black.

Aromas are nice malty bourbon nose with some alcohol detected. You also get some coffee and chocolate as normal in an IMP stout

Bitter coffee flavor with some vanilla sweetness a little alcohol heat is on the tongue as well. You can tell there is some hops in here as well with a nice hoppy bitter as it finished nice medium feel in the mouth with little carbonation just the way a stout should be.

I had the bottle sitting next to me and figured what the hell so I cracked it open. I was rewarded with a good drinking experience. I think it is a good RIS and worth your while to try

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Photo of BirdFlu
4.2/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

The people at Founders know something about stouts that the rest of us dont... This one pours a viscous brown/black, only brown when light passes through it, with a very thing dark brown head which settles quickly. Beautiful. Smells quite chocolaty but with no espresso presence really like breakfast stout, a bit of hop is in there for blance. The taste is very dark chocolaty, especially in the aftertaste.. A bit of burnt bread in there as well.. Some caramel-like cola flavor. Its very smooth and has a really good amount of balance (though certainly not hoppy) and it gets AMAZING once it settles around cellar to room temp. The mouth is viscous and thick, coating the mouth with a sweet, dark taste AND feeling which is close to perfect. Carbonation is subtle but present, more noticeable immediately on the tip of the tongue then fades.
Its very smooth and just great.. I really had to search for reasons NOT to give it an A+ (as amazing as it is, Ive had Canadian breakfast stout and that is certainly their crown jewel.

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Photo of Jawn
4.2/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

opening this bottle with very high expectations. So damn thick and dark, but that is a recurring theme in every beer I've enjoyed lately so.. whatever. There is as much head as you can get from a 10.5ABV stout, and its a nice dark orange color leaving behind thin lacing. Sniffed out some bitter acidic hops and burnt espresso in front of a faint berry smell. The taste confirms that super dark coffee smell and comes at me even more with bittersweet chocolate. My mouth is dry after every sip. I prefer low levels of carbonation so this is nice for me. Overall this beer met my expectations pretty evenly. I can't wait to share the other three with people who I know will love it. derp.

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Photo of dedrinker
4.2/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The smell has my absolutely required notes of dark chocolate, coffee, and alcohol threat.

The flavor does not disappoint in bringing the aroma to life in the mouth. There is a good burnt malt tannic acidity, if I'm saying it right. I want a bacon blue cheese burger with this and vanilla ice cream covered in hot fudge and cherry syrup.

Full bodied, bitter roasted malt finish. I like it. I like this uber imperial stout flavor without all the flavor additions of their other imperial stouts. You kids are on crack.

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Photo of TVolt1
4.2/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Very thick dark brown beer with a small amount of caramel colored head. While pouring, appeared to be very thick.

S: Smells of chocolate and has a hint of alcohol smell to it. Not super roasty but just a little. Mainly can smell cocoa beans.

T: Tastes very much like the cocoa beans I smelt. I little too much alcohol taste but I do like that it bordered on the chocolate taste versus the coffee bean taste like most imperial stouts. Has a strong kick to it at the end. Maybe I need to age it a little more...

M: Great thick mouthfeel which goes well with this style of beer.

O: Overall, this is a good beer. I like the taste and smell but disliked the alcohol burn at the end of it.

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Photo of FoundersFanatic
4.2/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- dark black motor oil with a dark copper head

S- bitter coffee, chocolate, and a bit of anise

T- kind of confused by the label on the bottle, I thought this said Imperial Stout, and yet when I drink it, it tastes 95% identical to another Founders beer... Breakfast Stout. The only difference between the two is that the Breakfast Stout definitely has a stronger coffee flavor than this one. It is SO identical to Breakfast stout though, it's bizarre. This is also a bit smoother and more balanced in flavor then Breakfast Stout. No one taste stands out way more than another.

M- thick, creamy, and smooth

O- this beer to me is almost exactly like Breakfast Stout but slightly more balanced. Great beer.

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Photo of keithmurray
4.2/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottled on 12/22/2011

Appearance - jet black inky color with tan head

Smell - roasted coffee, expresso, roasted malts, dark chocolate

Taste - Espresso, roasted coffee, cream, roasted malts, dark chocolate

Mouthfeel - Full bodied, low carbonation, creamy, slightly sweet, bitterness of the coffee comes thru in the finish, slightly boozy, to be expected at this ABV, finish is a bit unbalanced, though

Overall - this is a good stout, my only gripe is the finish may be a bit unrefined

Price Point - $12.99/4pk 12 oz bottles

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Founders Imperial Stout from Founders Brewing Company
96 out of 100 based on 1,825 ratings.