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Founders Imperial Stout - Founders Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Founders Imperial StoutFounders Imperial Stout

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

6,025 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 6,025
Reviews: 1,606
rAvg: 4.36
pDev: 8.72%
Wants: 556
Gots: 1,447 | FT: 120
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: 6,025 | Reviews: 1,606 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of JCaweinstein
4.63/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Reviewed on 10/10/11 bottle dated 2/9/11
Pours the consistency of milk, jet black with a brown head that is thick and very creamy, nice lacing
Sweet chocolate and caramel invites the nose followed by a hint of alcohol, smells just like dessert. The aromas are very easy to pick up an so pleasant
Chocolate, malty sweetness followed by a crisp hop bitterness to remind me that this is a beer
Full bodied, coates with the sweetness then finishes with a little hop aftertaste and a hint of warmness from from the alcohol
This is a great beer, must be consumed slowly and enjoy all night, can't wait for next years version!

JCaweinstein, Oct 14, 2011
Photo of claytong
4.63/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

mhm good. founders is not overrated. hopefully they wont sell out to bud.

Appearance - oil, i dont fuck around. it has the appearance of some non-sludge, pretty oil. dark as hell. probably one of the darkest ive had. no head on controlled pour, got rough and got a small mm.

Smell - chocolate, some oak bourbon wood, coffee, bit of smoke

Taste - the same, delicious. not any bourbon here though. maybe just smelling oak and the alcohol. bit of cream and vanilla.

Mouthfeel - carbonation is dead on, creamy, just dead on here.

claytong, Jun 10, 2011
Photo of clvand0
4.63/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

From notes. Pours a very dark color with a small head that falls fast but leaves a lot of lacing on the sides of the glass. The aroma has a lot of roasted malts with a slight bit of chocolate and some dark fruits. The flavor is a very nice blend of the coffee and the chocolate with a hint of the dark fruits. Very little hopping. The mouthfeel is very thick but the alcohol is slightly found in the finish. Extremely drinkable for 12%. Founders doesn't disappoint.

clvand0, May 04, 2005
Photo of erz316
4.63/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pretty much the same as the bottled version. If anything I notice a much larger hoppy presence in the general flavour, but this is almost evened out by the added chocolate flavour. body isnt as thick as I remember it, but the presentation and look of the brew is exceptional; the head is incredibly thick and lovely.

erz316, Dec 18, 2009
Photo of hops202
4.63/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Poured into a Stone Snifter.

Initial appearence looks great. Nice thick chocolate moch head. Aroma has roast, espresso, booziness, cocoa, dark-bitter chocolate. Taste is very complex with dark chocolate, molasses, espresso, with a dry and burnt bitter ending - as to be expected at 90 IBU. Quite unique and definitely one of the best RIS out there.

hops202, Mar 14, 2014
Photo of Avantyawn
4.63/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Served at cellar temperature as suggested by Founder's. Last 4 pack at Whole Foods. I was excited to see a Founder's offering I have never seen on the shelves. While Imperial Stout is not my everyday beer style, I jumped on the chance to try a new Founder's brew.

A: I don't know how I couldn't give this a 5 for appearance. Dark as dark can be, no light makes it through this. Thick luscious chocolate dark brown foam head. Amazing in appearance.

S: Bright and lively alcohol, thick coffee aroma , bittersweet chocolate syrup and sour plum, soy sauce. Toasted grains and tea. The smell opens up as it warms up. Amazing

T: Tastes like grainy sweet chocolate desert syrup. This is an amazing tasting beer. With all of the robust sweetness present, it still has a cloaked bitter vibrant finish. I am close to giving it a 5. A beer genius must have come up with the recipe for this. Bravo.

M: Creamy and delicious. Gentle, bold, intense, and satisfying!

D: This is a sipper, but its so good that it doesn't have to be if you catch my drift. Dangerous beer alert, man this is good!

Avantyawn, Feb 24, 2011
Photo of Dennoman
4.63/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2011 bottle, courtesy of forgetfu. Been dying to try this ever since I first heard of it. Finally cracked this at a two-man tasting shindig last night.

A: Stout brewers, please take notes. This is how an impy should look. Pitch black, dark brown foamy head that disappates fairly quickly.

S: Crazy complex. Deep coffee roast and somehow mineral salty notes. Almost seemed like someone poured a splash of sea water into my glass of imperial stout. Incredibly strange, but somehow very enticing. Couldn't wait to tuck in.

T: Wave after wave of flavor sensations here. My notes include: coffee, malts, chicory, slightly hoppy onset with mild booze finish, salt, shrimps, potato. Everything together sounds silly beyond belief, but it hit my palate just right. Loved, loved, LOVED!

M: Stout. Nuff said. Thick, rich and warm.

O: I'm going to go out on a limb and say this is probably one of the best non-BA imperial stouts I've ever had. I hear this is a fairly cheap offering, so if you can get your hands on a four-pack of this, or hell, even a case, there's no good reason not to buy this stuff. It's complex and maybe a little weird for people who don't like mineral saltiness in their beer, but for me it was a marriage made in heaven. Extreme in its subtleties. So weird. So good.

Dennoman, Dec 25, 2012
Photo of association330
4.63/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle featuring a royal crest, "90 IBUs" bitterness statement, and "10.5% ABV" marking.

A - Pours like motor oil - jet black with a creamy pinky of milky coffee-colored head. This drops to a thin film with a modest ring of bubbly foam. There is some lacing, and the liquid itself has enough weight to cling to the glass in tantalizing fashion.

S - The usual burnt malts going on. Good quality French roast coffee, toffee, hints of dark fruit and bitter chocolate. Some clean hoppiness and just a touch of alcohol. Intense, smoky, rich, and mouthwatering. I spent five minutes just inhaling this brew - it practically begs to be consumed.

T - It's all here. The dark roasted coffee dominates, but you've also got the desired bitter chocolate and dark fruit characters (dark fruit comes out more as the brew warms up). An appropriate toffee sweetness balances the coffee/chocolate bitterness. Hop spice and bitterness hit on the swallow, while a delicious smoky, slightly sweet, burnt malt aftertaste finishes out the experience.

M - Mouthfeel is rich. Superb smoothness, with soft carbonation, especially as the beer approaches room temp (alcohol tingle becomes more noticeable as well). Alcohol warms the back of the throat.

D - Founders hits a home run with this one. If it wasn't 10.5%, I'd session it again and again. A perfect "one and done" nightcap brew, since your tastebuds will be done after a bottle of this.

association330, Jul 20, 2009
Photo of reebtaerG
4.63/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Poured into 10oz. tulip glass at Rustico

A-pours a jet black with a beige half finger head

S-wonderful aromas of chocolate, roasted coffee, and smoke

T-taste is sweet, chocolate, roasty, with smokey bitters on the finish. I do taste the alcohol but not as strong as the ABV indicates.

M- velvety full body with perfect carbonation flavor, very good beer.

O- great imperial russian stout by founders. Hides the high ABV well

reebtaerG, Jan 13, 2014
Photo of WMEugene
4.63/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours a thick, dark black with a brown head and excellent lacing.

S - Rich and strong smell of roasted malts. Coffee and chocolate apparent. Amazing.

T - Nice blend of roasted flavors, coffee and chocolate. Slightly bitter - a little more so than this type of beer usually is.

M - Full-bodied, nice carbonation level. Pretty smooth and drinkable. Alcohol heat is not an issue, though the bitterness serves a similar function. Well rounded though.

O - Founders Imperial Stout is a great RIS, no doubt about it. It's rich, dark and strong. The only thing I would do would be to dial back the bitterness just a tiny bit, but as is, it is still world class.

WMEugene, Feb 01, 2012
Photo of JonMich13
4.63/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A= Pure oily black like a good stout should. Even a hard pour produced a minor brown head. It thinned quickly and left only a little lacing on the glass.

S = Not a huge aroma here. Actually I'm getting more of a hoppy waft than anything else. Roasted malts there as well. Strangely smell hints of Belgian yeast. Interesting.

T = Taste is huge up front with big thick roasted malts. Almost a rum taste in there with some super dark fruits. Bitter dark chocolate is also present. A bit of hop bitterness kicks in with some boozy alcohol and the rum presence lingers in the aftertaste. An exceptional tasting RIS.

M = Just about perfect. Thick, coating and viscous in the mouth. With each sip you do not get cheated. Not quite as creamy as the Breakfast Stout, which I consider my perfect beer. But this is darn close.

D = For a RIS, this is extremely drinkable.

Wow, Founders is definitely becoming my go-to for stouts. These guys know what they're doing.

JonMich13, May 07, 2009
Photo of rkarimi
4.62/5  rDev +6%

rkarimi, Feb 24, 2014
Photo of AdamF625
4.61/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Bottle Date 12/20/12 Poured into a tulip

A- Pitch black pour with a thick brown head

S- Roasted malt, dark cocoa

T- Toasted bitter cocoa nibs. The bitterness lingers from the hops. You can taste the alcohol on the back end but it's not overwhelming.

M- A nice thick creamy mouthfeel, just what I want out of a stout. Minimal carbonation. Warming from the alcohol on the back end.

O- Great imperial stout. Well balanced and I would like to sit on it to hopefully phase out some of the alcohol burn on the finish.

AdamF625, Feb 14, 2013
Photo of Ohiolager
4.61/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Founder's Imperial stout 4pk bottles $13.99(OH)

12 fl oz brown bottle poured into a stemless white wine glass. Bottled date marked in yellow just below neck. (bottled 12-14-13) So this is real fresh by stouts standards. Properly stored they can sit for over a year. (I am going to keep a few in my dark fridge for a while to age.)

Pours pitch black, with a dark tan almost brown head standing three finger tall. The thick brown head lasts forever! It finally gives way to amazing lacing. Almost two inch's of the glass is covered in a connecting design of lacing. A little less than a one finger head remains covering the surface.

The aroma is bittersweet malts, a smokey black olive smell. A hint of chocolate or cocoa, and a nutty caramel note towards the end. The smell is very smooth and inviting, one smell and you know it's an imperial.

Taste follows the nose but so much more powerful and robust. A smokey malty coffee taste hits you in the taste buds, followed by a bittersweet caramel chocolate flavor. The end is dry, bitter and kind of floral with a subtle hop taste. The 10.5 % ABV is super well hidden. If I did not see the bottle I would guess this was about 7.5 to 8.5 % ABV.

the mouth feel is very nice. A medium-heavy bodied brew. Carbonation is minimal which is just right for a quality imperial. That sweet powerful stout feel and taste clings to your mouth and wont let go. A carmel, coppery, bittersweet feeling that is robust and powerful.

Overall. WOW! I am impressed. and this stout is not even aged. Its jet black, amazing appearance, smells like an Imperial should, and tastes even better than i thought. It is a little pricey for a 4pk but, well worth it. Best imperial I have had to date. One to remember that's for sure. Exceeded my expectations, and then some.

Ohiolager, Apr 17, 2014
Photo of Ieatlambfries
4.61/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured a viscous opaque black. Thick dense head of dark brown bubbles. Small islands of lace left after each sip.

Smells of dark chocolate, fresh ground coffee beans, and dried figs. Very slight hint of alcohol on the nose.

Big flavors of baking coco, yoo-hoo, espresso, and roasted malts. Dried fruits such as figs and dates. Thick sweet malt backbone. Hop presence melds perfectly with the bitter dark chocolate flavors. Alcohol is dangerously well hidden.

Mouthfeel is thick and full bodied. Although the head was dense, it doesn't come off as very heavily carbonated.

Overall an excellent RIS. One of the best I've personally had.

Ieatlambfries, Jan 25, 2014
Photo of halo3one
4.61/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Dark, minimal head

S - Rich, complex, cocoa beans, mild coffee

T - Amazing, straight forward, mocha, malty

M - Very smooth, thick

O - Great basic Imperial Stout, makes a great benchmark and go-to when it's in season. Buy in bulk when you can find it!

halo3one, Jun 11, 2014
Photo of barnzy78
4.61/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

12oz, bottled 12/14/13
A - thick and black pour with a thin light brown head
S - bakers chocolate and roasted barley fill the nose, fruity esters in the background, especially as it warms
T - bold and rich with dark chocolate slathering the palate; roasted barley and dark fruit in there as well excellently balanced.
M - full bodied and thick, velvety smooth, finishes with bittersweet cocoa hanging around on the palate
O - one of my favorite Russian Imperial Stouts. It's been awhile since I had one of these, but it was even better than I remembered it being. I'll have to get some more if I see it.

barnzy78, Monday at 07:07 PM
Photo of prototypic
4.6/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: This one's a very dark, chocolate brown color. Not an ounce of light is slicing through. It's nearly black. The head is a very attractive dark mocha color. It only reached a finger or so deep and didn't last very long. Lacing was on the lighter side. Not a huge surprise given the high abv.

Smell: The nose is extremely impressive. Chocolate malts are at the forefront and have a very sweet, fudge-like quality to them. Roasted malts aren't too far behind and only add to the brilliant malty aroma. Roasted coffee/espresso aromas follow and are enough to entice any coffee fan. There's a bit of a barley aroma that gives it a nice earthy vibe. Alcohol is surprisingly faint.

Taste: The flavor profile is even more impressive than the nose. Founders has crafted one delicious beer here. It's very malty. Chocolate malts are the primary variety and have more of a bitter chocolate flavor than I anticipated from the nose. Not as sweet as I was expecting. Fear not, it's not at all disappointing. Roasted malts and barley complement the chocolate flavor very well. The coffee/espresso flavor is really what drives this one home for me. It's stronger than I expected. Much to my surprise (and delight), there's a nice little hop surge to this one. Oh yeah, that is in addition to a spicy element I also didn't see coming. Alcohol is noted, but it doesn't present itself as a 10.5% abv beer. Finishes a little spicy and bitter.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability: As expected, this is a very thick, lush beer. It's smooth as silk. Carbonation is light enough to give it a nice creamy feel. Drinkability is good. Surprisingly good for the size. But, I can't get that 10.5% number out of my head. It goes down easy. Nice sipping beer. But, respect the strength.

There's no question that Founders makes excellent, world class beer. Imperial Stout is one fine example that stands near the front of their lineup. I can't constructively criticize this beer in any way. It's just too damn good. I hate that this beer isn't more widely available. It was extremely tough to come by this year. Hopefully Founders will ramp up the production on this more in the future. Highly, Highly recommended.

prototypic, Mar 05, 2009
Photo of TheSevenDuffs
4.6/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A - Poured jet black with one finger of foamy coffee-coloured head that stuck around for a while.

S - The nose is full of chocolate and coffee with roasted malts and a hint of licorice.

T - The palate is bitter chocolate with some coffee and an overall roasted malt flavour. The hops are apparent here in the bitter finish and they act as a great compliment to the chocolate turning it in to a bitter dark chocolate palate. There is also a sweetness - maybe some molasses and caramel that compliments the bitter chocolate malts. This is an incredibly complex stout. The alcohol is somewhat present but not overwhelmingly so - after all it is 10.5% ABV.

M - Medium body with some chew. Smooth and silky.

D - This is the best imperial stout I have had. It is incredibly complex and perfect for a cold winter night.

I will definitely buy this stout over and over again. incredible!

TheSevenDuffs, Apr 07, 2010
Photo of EgadBananas
4.6/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Inky black crude pours to a small brown head. Alcohol feet are kicking.

Smells is roasted malts, a bit of dark chocolate, dark fruits and espresso. There may be a hint of alcohol, but it's just a hint if at all.

This is pretty much an taste-gasm. Bitter, dark chocolate covered, alcohol soaked raisins. Roasted, smoky malts. It's bitter. Sort of a coffee/chocolate bitter, but mostly I'm getting a lot of them 90 IBUs.

Full bodied, chewy, no carbonation. This thing is thick, but not quite Ten Fidy thick.

I would drink multiples of this, despite not being in my best interest.

EgadBananas, Nov 11, 2010
Photo of soupyman10
4.6/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Finally in Michigan at the right time to grab this one. Pitch black beer with a small head that doesn't do much in the way of lacing. Really a huge flavor and aroma. When it's chilly, it's strong and straightforward on the roasted malt. As it warms up though, you get all kinds of other flavors - sweet dried fruit and raisins in particular, some cherries. Big chocolate, roasted malt. Monster hoppy presence as well, especially in the back of the mouth. Going to drink another and then put a couple down.

soupyman10, Dec 28, 2009
Photo of OWSLEY069
4.6/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours jet black with a small tan head. In the aroma, coffee and a small roast. In the taste, big coffee and a nice roasted malt, sweet to dry. A smooth and a medium bodied mouthfeel, with a semi dry coffee coffee aftertaste. Big coffee, hides the alcohol, and quite fantastic.

OWSLEY069, Apr 05, 2011
Photo of cvstrickland
4.6/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The stubby twist-top bottle unloads a glossy used motor oil-black elixir capped with a thick two finger-deep layer of melted fudge milkshake foam. Bumping around inside a dimpled seidel, the sturdy chunk resists deflation and sticks an oily film of fine lacing onto the glass.

The smell is rich and roasty with loads of potent dark chocolate and zippy, citrusy American hops. Notions of choclate-covered candied lime zest swirled with sticky pine resin and savory espresso-- all infused with lemon juice, spruce needles, and licorice-- swirl with notes of hot chocolate made with French roast above the inky blackness lurking in the glass.

The taste is big and boldly dark-chocolatey sweet with creamy toffee and potent citrus hops. Strong, smooth black coffee brings excellent balancing bitterness, and is complemented by plenty of belly-warming that completes a dank-ass mocha tour-de-force. Cocoa-dusted caramels linger in the finish.

"Imperial" is the only way to describe the feel of this magnificent drink. Huge, silky, soft and mellow-- but also potent and kickass-- Founders Imperial Stout is a benchmark brew. As quaffable as a gigantic, full-bodied monster like this can be.

cvstrickland, Feb 04, 2009
Photo of champ103
4.6/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A big thanks to Onslow for sharing a bottle with me and some other BA friends.

A: Pours a nearly opaque brown color. A minimal beige head rises to a half finger. The foam recedes in a second with little lace.
S: Lots of roasted malt. Chocolate, coffee, toffee, and sweet vanilla. Doughy and biscuit. Chocolate brownie's and fudge. Excellent.
T: Follows the nose. Lightly roasted malt, but it is not the dominate flavor. Mostly chocolate brownies and fudge. Toffee and sweet vanilla. Light coffee.
M/D: A full body that is low on carbonation. Velvety smooth and creamy. Very easy and smooth to drink. I cannot detect any alcohol.

This is an excellent RIS. One of the best I remember tasting since Old Rasputin. Highly recommended.

champ103, Mar 08, 2010
Photo of chamawaiian
4.6/5  rDev +5.5%

chamawaiian, Nov 09, 2014
Founders Imperial Stout from Founders Brewing Company
97 out of 100 based on 6,025 ratings.