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Founders Imperial Stout - Founders Brewing Company

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Founders Imperial StoutFounders Imperial Stout

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

5,775 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 5,775
Reviews: 1,594
rAvg: 4.36
pDev: 8.72%
Wants: 515
Gots: 1,398 | FT: 119
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: 5,775 | Reviews: 1,594 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Zorro
4.58/5  rDev +5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This bottle is sampled due to the efforts of tsmthrs and Christmas in July Secret Santa BIF 2006.

Poured in the glass this beer is simply BLACK in colored with a DARK brown head. So dark you can't see the sun through the glass and it is incredibly clear and hot here today. Massive head formation, it was a good thing I poured this in to my Duvel glass so I didn't lose any beer. In appearance this beer is really more of a 5.5.

Smell is strong chocolate aroma with some strong citrus hop aroma. Lively hop aroma here that is rather minty and spicy to the nose. Roasted and coffee aromas are in this but they are most hidden by the hops and chocolate.

Taste is deeply of unsweetened dark chocolate, almost like melted bakers chocolate in a glass. Not really bitter just semi dry in the mouth in a good way. Roasted malt and coffee flavors are in this but chocolate has driven them to the edges of my senses. Basically this is like drinking dark chocolate.

Mouthfeel is melted dark chocolate candy bars. REALLY it is that thick!

Drinkability is always subjective. Ask yourself would you like drinking liquid dark chocolate candy bars in a glass? If yes then this beer is a 5.0 drinker, if not it will be a 3.0 for you.

Zorro, Jul 22, 2006
Photo of samie85
4.58/5  rDev +5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A-Pours an engine oil black with a two finger, dark mocha head.

S-Huge roasted and dark chocolate notes with a cocoa and vanilla .

T-Roast and dark chocolate with a light, clean bitterness and more roast on the finish.

M-Frothy and full-bodied with a mouth-coating milkshake like feel and low to moderate carbonation.

D-Very easy drinking, yet complex and interesting beer. The feel here is just extraordinary mouth-coating and full-bodied without being overwhelmingly so.

samie85, Jan 16, 2012
Photo of unibrew
4.58/5  rDev +5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Finally, a beer getting excited about! This brew has it all, and I give it high marks on all aspects for the style. It's thick, nearly chewy, black as night, roasty, coffee in nose, bit-o-licorice in the taste to go along with the nose. I could honestly live without the licorice, but, I'm sure it's there for some reason. Not much in the chocolate, but, not overwhelming in the coffee either. However, there is a lot of flavor! When finished, there is sediment in the glass. There's just too much stuff in the beer to be absorbed! I love a nice RIS, and I would have to say this is my new favorite! Better than Old Rasputin, Brooklyn Chocolate, and even Chocolate Yeti. (High praise from me indeed!) Seek this one out, and hopefully, you'll find a 4-pack for $11 or $12.

unibrew, Feb 18, 2011
Photo of titty_mcbitty
4.58/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

A: Dark dark black. More black than other doubles. Awesome color but not much head.

S: Good god. Chocolate, vodka or bourbon, cherries, malt.

T: Similar to the nose. Chocolate (dark), booze soaked cherries, raisins, cognac, cinnamon, syrup, toasty malt, bread crust, and butter. This is superb.

M: Damn near perfect. Thick and viscous. Creamy with some good carb as well. Has that booze burn to it, and it's not a bad one!

O: This beer is truly amazing. It reminds me a bit of Ten Fidy but less 'oily', if that makes sense. This brew has got a huge punch of flavors all at once, which makes it very complex.

titty_mcbitty, Feb 14, 2014
Photo of Barleythenred
4.58/5  rDev +5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: minimal brown head with engine oil color and texture that could run a jet

Smell: Nutty with bountiful malt notes

Taste: lite hops on the front end with a powerful finish of malts and nuts

MouthFeel: like olive oil even almost chewy

Drinkability: repetitiously returnable

one of the best stouts out there a in a close race with the goose island night stalker

Barleythenred, Feb 26, 2011
Photo of sweemzander
4.58/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz. bottle poured into a snifter. No bottle date present, but I know it was bottled sometime in January of 2009 considering its a specialty brew Founders bottles.

(A)- Pours a thick opaque black color. 1 finger head dissipated down to a layer of light brown bubbles. Some lacing present.

(S)- Rich, roasted coffee malts with dark chocolate and molasses. Kinda has a cola smell to it. And call me crazy, but I also smell hickory smoke amidst the roasted malts.

(T)- Tons of roasted coffee and dark chocolate (Mocha anybody?) Its got a serious bitter hop finish (90 IBUs !)

(M)- Its thick, rich, sweet, bitter, and dry all at the same time. There is plenty of carbonation. The 10.5% abv is integrated very well. The strength of this brew is really potent! Considering it was bottled about 6 months ago!

(D)- A classic RIS in my opinion. Definitely a sipper to be savored and enjoyed, then agian, show me a RIS that isnt a sipper!
Plain and simple; buy a bunch of these, drink one or two now and save the rest for 2+ years. By then, this will rock your socks off!

sweemzander, Jul 12, 2009
Photo of justintcoons
4.58/5  rDev +5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a snifter.

A: Pours as black as the depths of Hell with 1 finger of deep brown head that dissipates quickly. Has fine webbed lacing and a good film that clings to the glass.

N: Highly aromatic. Roasted barley, dark fruits, caramel, bittersweet chocolate, espresso, molasses and black licorice.

T: Bittersweet chocolate, black licorice, roasted barley and espresso upfront. Mid-palate has rich caramel, espresso, figs, overripe plums and I’m even picking up some faint citrus and floral hops. Finishes with truffle, dark chocolate, dark fruits and some pine & citrus hops.

M: Full bodied, silky, chewy, sticky, dry and bitter.

O: I haven’t had this beer in two years and I’m glad that it still lived up to my expectations. Excellent roasty chocolate, espresso and dark fruits are all over this one. Overly impressive appearance and mouthfeel. Just phenomenal all around! Founders is the king of Stouts.

justintcoons, Jan 27, 2012
Photo of gcamparone
4.58/5  rDev +5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into an oversize wine glass. Purchased in Wakefield, RI.

A- Pours a jet-black, oily opaque body with a generous fluffy dark mocha head that sticks around for a while and leaves some heavy chocolate lacing. Perfect!

S- Intense fresh coffee beans, cappuccino , milk chocolate, vanilla, mocha, toasted malt. Upfront and inviting.

T- Hugely bold roasted coffee, semisweet chocolate, heavily toasted, nearly burnt malt. These flavors are not subtle in the least bit, they shine through this beer and mesh together perfectly. Leaves a bitter roasty note on the tongue.

M- Medium-heavy body, medium low carbonation.

An outstanding interpretation of the russian imperial. It hits all the high points of they style. Another impressive stout from founders.

I personally like it better than breakfast stout. Recommendable.

gcamparone, Feb 03, 2013
Photo of Fermenticusrex
4.58/5  rDev +5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Tasting note founders imperial stout

12 oz bottle poured into mad elf tulip

Aroma strong bitter coffee, bakers chocolate, roasted barley

Appearance black,black, and more black.  Mocha head lacing that lines whole glass

Flavor coffee, bittersweet chocolate, rum, toast, raisins

Mouthfeel/Drinkability nice level of carbonation, not as smooth as breakfast stout but not bad.  Might be able to drink two at a sitting

Overall once again founders doesn't disappoint.  Can't wait till febuary for kbs!!!

Fermenticusrex, Jan 26, 2012
Photo of jmdrpi
4.58/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle, 2011 vintage.

opaque black, with just a thin whisp of mocha colored head. strong aroma of espresso and bitter cocoa. taste is also big bold flavors. bitter coffee, roasty malt, a bit of smoke. body is thick, a bit sticky. low carbonation.

overall, a great imperial stout.

jmdrpi, Jun 07, 2011
Photo of bjohnson
4.58/5  rDev +5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

hoppymeal gets two big thumbs up for including this in a trade. Pulled from the cellar and served at temp.

A: Pours an absolute black a night. Eight ball black if you will. Head is a weird coca reddish color--melikes!
S: Big nestle cocoa notes with infusions of dark fruit of fig with chocolate covered cherries. Slight necco wafer chalky notes also.
T/M: Dark chocolate notes with a slight sweetness that like hot chocolate syrup. Bitter coffee flavors of expresso and extra bold coffee--these are also present in the finish. Sweet caramel notes round out other two. Milkyness is present for a second before the bitterness develops. Robust with a big body. Warming in the chest with the high abv and slightly boozy, but it's really masked by the larger than life flavors of this beer.
D: Yum. Only word I can come up with right now. It's thick and bold, warming but not overly boozy. Nice balance and easy sipping. Seek it out if you can as it's worth the quest.

bjohnson, Dec 20, 2006
Photo of Source
4.58/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into a 12oz snifter.

Appearance: Jet black with a 1mm caramel tan head which settled quickly to a slight cream on top.

Smell: Overwhelming coffe / java/ joe and cocoa with a hint of sweetness. A lovely aroma.

Taste: Much like the smell, only more intense. Great cocoa and coffee flavors ring through. The caramel and malt background really balance it out. While the the big nature of this stout was pleasantly warming, the 10.5 abv was hard to detect.

Mouthfeel: Thick and smooth. Not a beer you quaff, but instead enjoy in small sips. From pour to finish I clocked 75 enjoyable minutes.

Drinkability: With the high abv and great dessert flavors, I can really see this as a nice after dinner treat. Truly a fine stout.

Source, Feb 19, 2009
Photo of Genghis22
4.58/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Special thanks to trading partner extraordinaire, stoufiend27. Thanks Stephen!

A - Pours a thick, oily pitch black. Nicw finger of mocha colored head. Looks absolutely stunning in my Deschutes Tulip.

S - Sweet malt, coffee, coca, vanilla, toffee and a touch of alcohol. This smells absolutely awesome.

T - Much like the nose. Complex flavors, all come together in harmony. There are plenty of hops, my god, there is quite a bit of hops. This is a good thing. It provides balance to a very sweet, rich, beer. Wonderful flavors of coffee, cocoa, toffee. The last taste is wonderful vanilla and the aftertaste is dry hoppy, alcoholic perfection.

M - Textbook RIS. Thick, chewy, wonderfully full bodied. Moderate carbonation. The high amount of alcohol in this brew really helps dry the tongue out at the finish.

D - As much as I would like to drink this all night, it packs quite a punch at 10.5%. The flavors are awesome, and the mouthfeel is perfect. An absolutely great stout.

Genghis22, Mar 17, 2010
Photo of frazbri
4.58/5  rDev +5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Founders Imperial Stout poured jet black with a creamy, mocha head. Chocolate, coffee, and slight floral scent were present in the nose. Espresso, charcoal and pepper flavors were accompanied by a solid bitterness. The body was thick and viscous with a moderate level of carbonation and a warm finish, but not a burn.

Oh mama! This a great beer to drink by the fireplace. I will definitely buy this again. It's also a good canidate for the cellar, if you have the patience.

frazbri, Apr 25, 2006
Photo of stewart124
4.58/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This imperial stout pours jet black with a thin tan white lace for a head.

The smell is quite robust and a very potent roasted nose. Lots of roasted barley and black patent but nothing acrid.

Taste is so smooth and easy drinking that it's hard to believe this cup of motor oil is 10% abv. Lots of roasted barley in the taste with a spicy hop character that blends very well. Bits of oak and a toasted note really bring out this imperial stout. I am having a hard time picking out any flaws.

The aftertaste is to no suprise a huge amount of roasted character and this finishes dry with a very subtle sweetness.

stewart124, Apr 16, 2009
Photo of ncaudle
4.58/5  rDev +5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

poured from 2011 bottle into snifter.

pours a gorgeous black with thick fluffy brown head. after a few minutes it settled down leaving no square cm of glass without lacing.

chocolate, roasted malts and maybe even some cherry hit the nose. the high bitterness balances out the sweetness exceptionally. the alcohol is there but blends nicely. it never slaps you in the face like many high abv brews.

nice and creamy with a thick body. in my opinion, simply perfect.

easily my favorite Founders Stout.

ncaudle, Feb 13, 2011
Photo of Bobheed
4.58/5  rDev +5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A: Viscous black with almost no light even coming through the edges. Pours the consistency of cough syrup and has about a two finger dark tan head

S: Very, very roasty. I'm getting a bit of caramel and burnt hazelnuts. Also getting a little bit of coffee and dark chocolate

T: Very chocolatey, very rich and full of roasty nuttiness. I also got a bit of a hop bitterness right at the back and the aftertaste leaves you feeling like you just had a triple shot of espresso straight

M: Ultra smooth and creamy, super full body and is almost close to being a solid. Just a super, super thick beer

Overall this was excellent. Very aggressive in some aspects, but well balanced overall. Awesome stuff, Founders!

Bobheed, Apr 11, 2012
Photo of Dan3279
4.58/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked up a couple bottles tonight and I was really impressed. I poured this into a snifter glass to find a nice dark black liquid.

There is a solid coffee, espresso, & chocolate aroma. The taste is exceptional and outstanding.

The beer was think & heavy but at the same time was very easy to drink.

Dan3279, Feb 27, 2011
Photo of Spica66
4.58/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Received as an extra from either DavidEddie or Lunch (both have sent them!)

Poured into tulip with Fr. Ian at the end of the night of brewing batch #9.

A: Dark and oily with good head formation and retention.

S: This beer knocks your socks off with an explosion of dark, sharp roast aroma. Really, really makes you want to drink it.

T: No gimmick RIS. Dark roast and dark fruits. Hops are there, but not a major presence. This is definitely one of the better RIS I have had.

M: No stickiness. Well rounded and smooth. Very nice.

D: It was a pleasure to drink. There is no way you know this is 10.5% until later.

Spica66, Sep 29, 2010
Photo of wagenvolks
4.58/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle into a Duvel tulip. No age date, but the beer is reportedly 1-2 years old according to hopsleeroy (oh, and thanks for the hook-up, Lee!)

Pours a murky, seal brown body with burnt sepia edges. Resinous-looking, and almost entirely opaque. A thin cap of dusty ochre foam recedes to a wispy patch of bubbles surrounded by a ring at the glass' edge. Exceptional aroma of burnt Earth, Baker's chocolate, coffee liqueur, toasted caramel malts, and hop brownies.

Lots of roast in this one: dark chocolate-covered coffee beans and caramel malts slowly burnt to a delicious crisp. Mocha-rich booze and black patent malts square off with some earthy hops on the finish, although I do remember the hops being much more prominent in a fresher bottle I had a while back. Raisin and candied fig show up as the beer warms, and I can still taste the coffee and cocoa minutes after each sip. Medium-thick, luxurious mouthfeel with a sticky, boozy finish...could stand to be a bit creamier, but that's a minor knock. Besides, the lowered viscosity provides a boost in the drinkability. All in all, a superb Russian Imperial by the abnormally consistent Founders Brewing team. Cheers!

wagenvolks, Aug 09, 2009
Photo of muletrane
4.58/5  rDev +5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

2011 Vintage

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a Bruery tulip.

A: Pours jet black with no light coming through. Two fingers thick creamy dark tan head. Tight bubbles with good retention and lacing.

S: Lots of chocolate and nutty roastiness. Some dark fruits as well.

T: A nice wave of sweet chocolate up front. Lots of roasty notes in the middle. Coffee bitterness comes out in the finish and lingers.

M: Incredibly smooth brew! Moderate to heavy body with light carbonation. Coats the mouth just right. Not too much and not too little.

One the smoothest RIS's I've ever had. Very tasty and easy to drink. A top notch representation of the style.

muletrane, Mar 09, 2012
Photo of JizackFH
4.58/5  rDev +5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A - This beer pours jet black in color. It has a beautiful 2-finger frothy head, that is a perfect milk chocolate color. The head has nice retention, and leaves some nice sticky lacing on the glass. This just looks awesome.

S - This smells of dark roasted malt and lots of chocolate. There are also notes of coffee, caramel, molasses, toffee, a touch of hops, and some booziness.

T - The taste is dark and roasty. There are strong bitter dark-chocolate flavors present. Also, I am getting notes of coffee, molasses, toffee, caramel, some hop bitterness, and some booziness. The finish has a great smooth chocolate flavor, and there is also a hint of booziness throughout.

M - It has a nice full body and low-medium carbonation. It goes down very smooth, and in my opinion has the perfect body for this style of beer. There is some lingering bitterness, as well as a boozy warmth in the finish.

D - This has excellent drinkability. I have a hard time putting this one down, even though I'm trying to pace myself. This beer looks, smells, and tastes great. I really like this beer, and I will definitely be having more. I highly recommend this. Awesome job Founders. Cheers.

JizackFH, Mar 07, 2011
Photo of mlhyatt
4.56/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bottle into a tulip glass.

A- jet black. Motor oil. Not an ounce of light gets through.

S- chocolate. Dark chocolate comes through so well and melds greatly with the malt. On the back end there is hints of coffee and roastiness but its mainly chocolate.

T- chocolate comes through up front and then turns into some coffee roastness that hits pretty hard after the chocolate. It ends with more dark chocolat.

M- thick and creamy. Barely any carbonation. Just the way i like it.

O- a very very delicious beer. The smell matches the taste perfectly and the balance between coffee malt and chocolate is amazing. Personally i prefer this to the breakfaat stout.

mlhyatt, Feb 22, 2014
Photo of beerdrifter
4.56/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Picked this up from a great trade with RepMichigan! Bottled 12/22/11. An aggressive pour yielded a beautiful , albeit small, caramel colored head that sat atop an absolutely pitch black body. The tiny head quickly faded and there was very little lacing. Huge roasty, cocoa nose with hints of black coffee, mocha, and dark chocolate. The taste is nothing short of heaven. Complex and extremely rich. Huge dark chocolate and cocoa up front with hints of burnt espresso, licorice, booze, and some subtle raisin, fig, and soy sauce on the finish. The mouthfeel is like velvet. Thick, creamy, and smooth as silk with just a touch of oiliness. Scary drinkability for such a big beer. Yes, it's a sipper, but I could probably sip several of these in a sitting. Overall this is probably my favorite non-barrel aged Imperial Stout. Founders can do no wrong!

beerdrifter, Jan 14, 2013
Photo of --Dom--
4.56/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a tulip. Pours like motor oil, nuff said. Not much of a nose on this actually.

The taste? Exquisite. Starts with deep roasted coffee and dark chocolate, It's dense and the flavor continues to unfold. There is a strong hop presence as well, but not how you would think. The taste goes on for miles. I can't even imagine how much dark malt they use making this. The booze is definitely present at 10.5. The mouthfeel is slightly harsh actually, but it's not bad.

Overall, it's amazing. It's definitely in my top 5 RIS's I've had. It does seem somewhat hard to get a hold of. In my opinion, ten fidy is better.

--Dom--, Mar 15, 2013
Founders Imperial Stout from Founders Brewing Company
97 out of 100 based on 5,775 ratings.