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Founders Imperial Stout - Founders Brewing Company

Founders Imperial StoutFounders Imperial Stout

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

4,939 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 4939
Reviews: 1548
rAvg: 4.37
pDev: 8.47%

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: 4,939 | Reviews: 1,548 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of fitrock2112


3.96/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Poured Imperial Stout into a Belgian Tulip.

A - The brew pours nice and thick and black as midnight. It has just about a finger of dark mocha head with a aggressive pour.

S - Dark roasted malts, bitter coffee. It has faint smell of Baker's chocolate.

T - On first taste getting heavy roasted malts, bitter coffee. Mid palate getting some smooth Baker's chocolate. On the aftertaste getting more alcohol than I would like.

M - Heavy mouthfeel, with medium to low carbonation.

O - I've been wanting to review this one for awhile now. I let it age for almost a year and the alcohol is still on the taste. Not a bad beer; however, there are many good Imperial Stouts out there that outshine this one. Cheers!

Serving type: bottle

01-11-2013 00:11:53 | More by fitrock2112
Photo of Axnjxn

North Carolina

3.96/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

draft at beer study in chapel hill. FW tulip.

pours a pitch black with a very slight head. smell is quite big on roasted malts..slight chocolate. the taste is very big on roasted malts too..slight chocolate. not typical for a RIS honestly. flavors are there but the body is not creamy whatsoever. medium bodied, mild carbonation.

overall not my favorite RIS, but good.

Serving type: on-tap

01-16-2013 23:08:43 | More by Axnjxn
Photo of rhoadsrage


3.95/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

(Served in a medium snifter)
A- This beer pours an inky black with a thin wisp of dark chocolate head that quickly fades to a few bubbles.

S- smells of sweet graham crackers and roasted malt. There is also a faint bit of floral hops in the background.

T- Nice dark bitter grains with a bit of prunes or other dark fruit notes. A roasted graham cracker flavor is embedded in the taste, and light hints of sweetness from the malt and a nice hop bitterness at the finish.

M-A medium mouthfeel with a slight astringency from the malt and no alcohol warmth.

D-This is a nice imperial stout that has some pleasant complexity but not overly complex. It blends well in flavor and the hops are a nice taste.

Serving type: bottle

06-02-2005 02:16:17 | More by rhoadsrage
Photo of RedDiamond


3.95/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Dense black body – and I mean really black – with an exceptionally dark brown head, and a big plump mouthfeel full of dextrins. Strong alcohol and coffee aroma with a few stray phenols. Bitter coffee flavor with a bit of molasses and alcohol. Not bottle conditioned. Regal emblematic label depicting St. George and Germanic eagles.

Nice stuff. Really hit the spot. Special thanks to cmaruschak.

Serving type: bottle

06-02-2005 23:58:24 | More by RedDiamond
Photo of Bitterbill


3.95/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from 12oz bottle(room temp) a pitch black with a tiny head of foam that dissipated quickly but still left a ring around the edge of the glass.

The smell is really nice...all roasty with notes of coffee and chocolate.

The taste is huge! Roasted malt with chocolate and coffee and...a heaping helping of oatmeal. Dang, it's 12%abv and to say it isn't noticebale to me would be stretching the truth but it doesn't detract from the taste at all. Only negative thing I can say is that it is a bit harsh on the tongue. Still..I'd (and will) drink this one again.

Bottom line: This is an RIS with huge flavour!!! and....I can recommend it.

Serving type: bottle

04-20-2006 01:02:16 | More by Bitterbill
Photo of Proteus93


3.95/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Blackity black. Light tan head, not huge, but creamy and retention is good.

S: Roasted malts, smokiness, with that smoked scent going so far as to give it a bit of a meaty scent. It compliments a light anise and very soft chocolate aromas.

T: A hoppiness I don't usually pick up from the style... it adds a nice bitterness and a little touch of spiciness. Maltiness, unsweetened chocolate.

M + D: Medium heavy, but got a bit hot as it warmed and rightly so, I suppose Good beer certainly... but a bit too intense.

Serving type: bottle

02-14-2009 07:56:50 | More by Proteus93
Photo of TheDoorman

New York

3.95/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a thick black with a thin coffee head, evincing minimal carbonation. Aroma is big roasted malt flavors, roasted coffee beans. Taste follows the nose. Roastyness galore. Not oversweet like some RIS can sometimes be. I'd actually say this could use a touch more sweetness, which is out of character for me to say. The flavors are big and roasted, but not sugary. Hops are present to cut the big roasted flavors and provide a nice bitter finish. Definitely very hoppy for the style. A touch short of thick and creamy, but still a very nice smooth mouthfeel, with carbonation kept to a minimum. It could use a touch more body though. Alcohol is barely perceptible. A very nice RIS overall.

Serving type: bottle

03-02-2009 01:25:53 | More by TheDoorman
Photo of homebrewhawk


3.95/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12oz. bottle served in a snifter. Bottle conditioned. Poured a deep brown/black with a finger of tan head that quickly dissipates. Roasted barley, hops and a bit of alcohol in the aroma. More roasty barley in the flavor. The alcohol in the aroma doesn't come through in the flavor. Big rich body. Fair amount of hop bitterness. Long dry finish of chocolate malt. Solid beer.

Serving type: bottle

01-30-2010 13:45:49 | More by homebrewhawk
Photo of Crittervision

North Carolina

3.95/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

reviewed on 3-14-10

browner-than-average thin head composed of tiny bubbles, sitting atop an impenetrable, oily black body.

smells of semi-sweet chocolate. incredibly inviting. roasty with a hint of coffee. just a bit of bitter/alcohol sting evident. powdery chocolate.

taste is a bit tart, that smooths out. bitter chocolate, stings a bit in the finish. roasty. strangely seems to offer more when its colder. a hint of smoke that borders on acrid, but isnt quite. smell offers more than the taste. taste is a bit lacking, not really diluted, just not as full as the smell.

mouthfeel is creamy, and would be near perfect sans bite.

on a stout kind of day, one bottle might not be enough.

Serving type: bottle

10-05-2010 03:28:02 | More by Crittervision
Photo of Phelps


3.95/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2009 bottle, received in a BIF box from callmemickey.

Appearance: pours a syrupy molasses-brown. A tiny head of cinnamon is a very late arrival, rising from the depths lazily. The top layer quickly fades to an almost unnoticeable ring.

Smell: sweet figs, sugary molasses, bitter espresso. A lovely balance between acrid roasted malt and dark fruits. Earthy, soil-like hops.

Taste: begins with a quick blast of sweet figs and plums that is very quickly replaced by tons of roasty-toasty malt. Lots of great, charred flavor here: heavily toasted bread, smoked wood, espresso. The sweetness rises again at the finish before leaving a nice bitterness lingering at the back of the mouth.

Feel: light, massaging, slightly fuzzy carbonation amidst a body that's medium-light, but nicely velvety. The alcohol content is only noticeable as a mild burn in the throat, which is pretty damn impressive for a beer that's essentially 20-proof.

Drink: for a 10-percent-plus ABV stout, this is obscenely smooth and drinkable. Great flavor and great balance. Founders knows their way around roasted malt.

Serving type: bottle

10-17-2010 07:06:32 | More by Phelps
Photo of Pellinore1


3.95/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

The bottle pours deep black into a pint glass, producing about a finger of persistent brown head. This eventually fades, leaving some nice lacing.

Smells of roasted malts and chocolate. Just a bit boozy in the nose, as well.

The flavors are deep, dark, and very roasty. Rich, smoky malts dominate, with bitter chocolate notes and a hint of coffee.

This beer is smooth and thick. The high ABV is detectable, but not overwhelming.

Serving type: bottle

12-14-2010 06:24:15 | More by Pellinore1
Photo of OakedCanuck


3.95/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle into cervoise

A - Pitch black. Small tan head that didn't stick around long. Very little lacing.

S - Roasted grains, chocolate, molasses and dark fruits. Very little hoppiness

T - Typical stout, coffee, chocolate, roast, some smoke and molasses. Some plums and currants are present too as well as just a touch of grass. I did pick up a slight metallic taste

M - Light heavy, slightly dry and that metallic taste, odd

O - Great to drink and enjoy. I wouldn't say it is the best RIS out there but it is a damn good one.

Serving type: bottle

04-15-2011 16:51:42 | More by OakedCanuck
Photo of Sam21


3.94/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

12oz bottle. Bottled on 12/07/12. 

A- Dark black oily body with a fluffy and be to creamy brown cap. Solid staying power. I could eat the foam with a spoon. 

S- Strong aroma. Rich quality single origin chocolate. Deeply sweet malt with fruit that cut through the wall of chocolate and thick sweetness. Light note of char and a touch of anise. 

T- Huge. Huge. Huge. Thick waves of roasty malt sweetness. This sweetness is deep and enveloping. There are balancing notes of char that add an edge to the sweetness. The beer transitions into a very long, pungent, and bitter finish. Resinous hops seem to just pour out of the bittersweet chocolate flavor of the malt, which cut through and compliment the roast character. The finish clings to the palate and simply does not let go. It's a symphony of bittersweet dark chocolate, cocoa nibs, and dark chocolate dipped fruit. The 90IBUs show. As the beer warms, the hops begin to dominate the malt a bit too much. This beer is trying to be a hop forward stout and they have done a great job with that. That said, I prefer more malt centered stouts. 

MF- Thick and full. Oily even. Really filling and sticky as you let it roll around. Finishes dry as the hops dominate. 

O- This is a big stout with a huge hop presence. I can see it doing really well with age. A big stout with a lot to say. 12oz is plenty for me!

Serving type: bottle

01-22-2013 02:07:20 | More by Sam21
Photo of DrinkSlurm


3.94/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Poured from bottle into tulip. Ive bee mnemonic looking forward to this brew for a while.
Pours an oily jet black with tan lacing. Its so thick and actually feels heavier than a typical beer.
Big roasted chocolate malt aroma and a big hop presence.
Taste is bitter roasted malts with some chocolate and again huge hop flavor. Its very hoppy bitter. Its a huge stout and you deff notice it.
Its a great brew but I guess I had higher hopes on this. Still worthy of praise...

Serving type: bottle

01-26-2013 23:37:57 | More by DrinkSlurm
Photo of elmore


3.94/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a snifter. Bought at Woodmans on the West Side in Madison, WI.

A - Thick and viscous. Completely opaque. Very thin dark tan head that recedes to nothing quickly.

S - Hops come through more than most stouts. Balanced with a good amount of sweet malts. Hints of coffee and dark chocolate.

T - Typical tastes of an imperial stout, but hoppier than most. Espresso, dark chocolate. Some sweet malts lend balance. Alcohol not apparent for such a substantial beer.

M - Somewhat thin for such a substantial beer. Wish it had a bit more of a head. Carbonation is low.

Overall, I think average to slightly above for an imperial stout. Prefer KBS.

Serving type: bottle

01-23-2014 20:40:48 | More by elmore
Photo of Ellbert


3.93/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Wow, this was a very decieving beer. I was not smart and ordered it without knowing the alcohol content. The alcohol was very discriminate in this brew. I could not even tell that it was 10%. It did me in for the night though. A very rounded Imperial Stout. It was nice and thick and looked great with a nice head. A great flavor followed the head. Exceptionally drinkable considering the alcohol content.

Serving type: bottle

11-02-2003 05:48:01 | More by Ellbert
Photo of treyrab


3.93/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to jac5084 and beachbum1975 for this brew. Reviews are from jac5084's fresh bottle, and Shane's will be stored for some nice aging. Poured into my snifter.

A: The pour is just fantastic. Pours a deep, rich black with only slight brown when held up to my halogen. Great, creamy, sticky, frothy mocha brown head that leaves great lacing down the glass.

S: Smell is rich, roasted coffee up front. Smells like Imperial Breakfast Stout right now. Some rich chocolate and dry cocoa comes through as well. Slight alcohol is peeking through.

T: Taste is very rich and creamy with tons of coffee and dry cocoa powder. There are so many flavors going on, but they are not blended too well together yet. I think age will fix that. Some chocolate covered cherries and caramel also come through. Alcohol is slightly apparent.

I think this needs some time to mellow. The coffee is way too prevalent for me and the flavors are not completely balanced yet.

Serving type: bottle

02-21-2009 18:16:34 | More by treyrab
Photo of domtronzero


3.93/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Very dark brown, almost opaque with a short lived mocha head that quickly dissipates into a thin ring around the glass. Lots of lacing. Very enticing.

S - Chocolate, coffee, big roasted aromas. Light dark fruits (prunes) and nice light alcohol notes.

F/M - Chocolate and dark roasty malts. Little bit of coffee. Earthy and spicy hops. Nice caramel and sweet toasty malts. Moderately high bitterness, accentuated by the dark roasted malts. Full bodied, oily and slick. Moderate carbonation. Dry finish with a lingering chocolaty aftertaste.

D - Full, sweet, thick and oily. This is a sipper for sure, and more than a full bottle would be hard to put down.

Serving type: bottle

09-27-2010 02:32:42 | More by domtronzero
Photo of CooperEllis

New York

3.93/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

12oz into the DFH snifter.

Pour is deep and dark brown, with a rich chocolate head that leaves a mess of lacing across the brew and sides of the glass.

Very strong licorice aroma; some malt at the back but simply overpowered by the licorice.

Full rich flavor. I had this paired with dutch gouda and the flavors balanced nicely, the mouthfeel comes into play a good deal with the thickness of the stout allowing more of the complexity to be revealed as it takes longer for the liquid to clear the palate. Roast, licorice, coffee and malt.

Very thick but not syrupy. Good carbonation. Really spot on mouthfeel.

Aside from the abv being masked in the flavor and the nose by the stong licorice notes this is quite an easy (perhaps too easy) a drink.


Serving type: bottle

02-18-2011 22:15:55 | More by CooperEllis
Photo of CharlieMurphy

New York

3.93/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Split 2 ways

A: Pours like clingy motor oil. You can tell it has a certain viscosity to it yet it is silky and thin on the pour. In the half pint it fills and sits like a double dutch chocolate muffin frosted with a caramel mocha brown from the head. There's a fucking muffin in my glass.

S: This smells like a double dutch chocolate muffin frosted with caramel mocha espresso coffee. Significant alcohol underlies this in a way that almost makes you think there's the faintest hint of oak. Tremendous aroma. Some words spoke: "it smells like dessert!... and vagina!" Faintest whisper of hops.

T: Just incredible. First taste echos the smells. I fear as though I was overzealous and shouldn't have double gulped this though, for after the first big taste each subsequent one is a shadow of the fleeting ecstasy I experienced initially. The latter tastes are muffled by the slightly excessive burnt notes of the roasted malts. The whisper of hops briefly amplify this at the end of the taste.

M: Not too drying for being so burnt tarnishing. Tastes light for being up there in ABV and having a hefty dose of dark specialty malts. Low on carbonation.

O: Was giddy at the beginning of this tasting experience, but it slipped away. Will definitely revisit and re-review, slightly colder

Serving type: bottle

08-06-2011 04:29:39 | More by CharlieMurphy
Photo of BMBeerhead


3.93/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured out of a bottle into a pint-style glass.

A - Pitch Black. Beautiful Black. Small head, which too is dark. A nice, dark brown head. The head stays for a while but then mostly disappears. The Appearance is without a doubt my favorite part of this beer, and is fantastic...

S - Very roasty, dark chocolate Smell. Overbearing almost, exactly what one would expect with this style.

T- Roast hits you up front, followed by the some chocolate like tastes. Very strong tastes. Even though my first few sips are fairly cold (around 45ish F) the alcohol warms quickly. It has an odd aftertaste, almost a hop flavor but I'm not entirely sure. As it warms up, I taste more flavors and complexity. But they are all mixed together well and I am not entirely sure what I am tasting. Bitterness comes from the roasted malts and from hops, and is not at all aggressive on the hops.

M - Thick. So thick I feel like I'm drinking malt syrup. i don't feel much carbonation, but its so thick I can't really tell. This is not that pleasant to me, but I understand its a product of style. But I would have preferred just a little lighter thickness in order to better taste the beer; I felt that the thickness took away some of the qualities of this beer.

O - Amazingly full-bodied, dark, well tasting beer. One of the better Imperial Stouts I have had.

Serving type: bottle

01-16-2012 16:05:33 | More by BMBeerhead
Photo of Ozzylizard


3.93/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Bottled 12/18/13 at 40 Degrees into imperial pint glass
Aroma – toasted malt with coffee, slight alcohol fumes
Head small (1.5 cm), tan, creamy, fully diminishing to an incomplete 1 mm layer
Lacing OK
Body dark brown/opaque
Flavor begins with toasted malt bitterness, no fruitiness, no hops, no diacetyl, no alcohol. Ends quickly with a light bitterness as alcohol burn begins in the stomach
Palate full, oily, soft carbonation

A not particularly flavorful example of the style

Serving type: bottle

02-23-2014 12:58:38 | More by Ozzylizard
Photo of BigCheese


3.91/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4

A: Ink black, small dark cardboard head. head dissipates quick but it leaves some nice patches of lacing.

S: Deep Roasted Espresso, and super dark chocolate, I get some dark fruits and vanilla too. some molasses and maybe toasted marshmellow.

t: has a very roasted smoky taste to it. dark coffee. tastes like coffee grounds. some tobacco spice to it. burnt bread, some toasted marshmellow. very charcoal/smokey. Rather bitter, not overtly sweet. some earthy/spicey hops in the finish. Very unique stout, much more bitter/dry than I'm used too. the hops definitely come through. Its interesting but not for me, not sweet enough, tastes too much like burnt coffee.

M: Very thick/velvety soft. High carbonation for style, very creamy. ABV is insanely well hidden.

O: Flavor profile just isnt for me, I like my big stouts a bit sweeter, no off notes, and very complex flavors so i cant hate. seems like a polarizing stout.

Serving type: bottle

01-27-2013 02:47:55 | More by BigCheese
Photo of Omnium


3.91/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Reviewed from notes
Served on tap at House of 1000 Beers
A - Pours black as black can get, has a very minimal brown colored head, minimal lacing
S - Lots of roasted chocolate malts, sweet alcohol aroma, and what seems to be a little bit of peanut butter.
T - Dark malts, underlying alcohol, but no burn, sweet smoked malts, roasted chocolates and vanilla.
M - The roasted sweet flavor hangs on, but not super thick.
O - This is a powerful beer, decent flavors and aroma, but I couldnt finish one whole glass of this, its wayyy too much at once. Good stout, but I'd rather split one as a finisher next time.

Serving type: on-tap

03-12-2013 22:51:30 | More by Omnium
Photo of AtLagerHeads


3.9/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A very good Imperial Stout that seems fairly close to the style with just a bit of the American over-topping. Great dark body that is light resistant. A small one-finger head of thick, creamy beige-colored head fading too soon to a residual layer of nice lacing foam. The nose is moderate and thoroughly of chocolate and roasted malts.

The flavor is chocolate with a bit of licorice in the finish, with a thick and oily feel that thoroughly coats the glass and mouth. A long and lingering aftertaste that is nicely bitter and bitey - perhaps just a bit strong, but not unpleasant. Except for the alcohol rating this is a drinkable sipping beer, and the alcohol is not noticeable in the taste making this a very dangerous brew. Very warming on a cold winter's night. Nice.

Serving type: bottle

12-17-2003 02:00:32 | More by AtLagerHeads
Founders Imperial Stout from Founders Brewing Company
97 out of 100 based on 4,939 ratings.