Founders Imperial Stout - Founders Brewing Company

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Founders Imperial StoutFounders Imperial Stout

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BA SCORE
96
world-class

1,711 Reviews
THE BROS
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Reviews: 1,711
Hads: 6,942
rAvg: 4.32
pDev: 7.18%
Wants: 660
Gots: 1,985 | FT: 151
Brewed by:
Founders Brewing Company visit their website
Michigan, United States

Style | ABV
Russian Imperial Stout |  10.50% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: mjohn27603 on 01-13-2003

90 IBU
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 1,711 | Hads: 6,942
Photo of TheHopfather
4.97/5  rDev +15%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

bottled 12/09/10
poured into snifter

A- jet black.. very very minimal head. Looks like engine oil. Would like a little more head, but i love thick thick stouts so this excites me.

S- Absolutely amazing. I would swear this is barrel aged. Heavy heavy oak smell.. perplexing to say the least. I smell oak, heavy chocolate and vanilla, coffee and burnt wood. This smells better than any "un-barrel aged" stout I've ever had.

T- in one word.. "complex". I get tons of chocolate and oak. A bit of coffee and decent vanilla. Alcohol is an afterthought at 10.5%. Hard to beat even in competition with harder to get stouts.

M- Big bodied stout we have here. Exactly what i want in a stout.. thick and syrupy that coats the tongue. Perfect

D- This is a sipper as expected. With that in mind, the alcohol is extremely well hidden and this one drinks unbelievably smooth.

O- This one was about a year old and held up amazingly. The smoothness of this one is almost unreal. I recommend to buy this one up on sight and at the price point it may be hard to beat. (1,054 characters)

Photo of boralyl
4.97/5  rDev +15%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

2010 vintage. Served at 50F in a tulip glass.

A - Produces a 1/4 inch of dark brown head that fades pretty quickly but leaves a thick ring of lace. The beer is black and completely opaque.

S - The aroma of this beer is off the charts. I can smell it from a mile away. There is sweet chocolate paired with roasted malts. It's all melded together very well. No hint of the 10.5% alcohol contained within.

M - Full in body with light carbonation. Extremely creamy and silky smooth, coats the inside of your mouth.

T - Molasses and dark chocolate make their appearance first followed by a warming alcohol flavor that grows before being overtaken by a roasty, coffee like bitterness that lasts into the aftertaste.

An absolutely outstanding imperial stout. There are so many other imperial stouts that get hyped up that fall below the level of this beer. I wish I would have found out about this one sooner, will definitely be re-visiting it again. (948 characters)

Photo of RonaldTheriot
4.95/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Founders Imperial Stout has a medium, tan head, lots of lacing rings left on the glass, and a black appearance. Some slight brown does show up on the edges, under direct sunlight. The aroma is of sweet, sharp, intensely dark-roasted malt. Taste is of charred malt, sweetness, some cream, a bit of coffee, possibly chocolate and dark fruits, a shade of licorice, and high bitterness, seemingly from the burnt effects. Mouthfeel is heavy and slick, and Founders Imperial Stout finishes rich and impactful. The alcohol provides warmth, as the beer is consumed.

RJT (563 characters)

Photo of dpgoblejr
4.95/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Poured the beer, thick like molasses and oh so dark black in color, into a snifter around 55-60 degrees. Everything quickly got better as the beer approached room temperature. Beautiful mocha colored 1/2inch thick head that did quickly retreat with some lacing. The aroma was quite alluring with hints of chocolate, toffee, maybe roast, and some hints of vanilla. Taste was to die for; coffee, fudge, bittersweet chocolate, and fruits. Thick and smooth with a velvet creamy mouthfeel on the palate. Founders, again, has impressed me with one of their brews. Truly one of the best imperial stouts out there; in my opinion. Highly recommend this one! (648 characters)

Photo of gangstafaceclay
4.94/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Appearance is pitch black with no visibility through it and a thin tan head.

Smell is chocolate, coffee, a little bit of booze and roasted malts.

Taste is fantastic. Creamy chocolate, coffee, hints of Carmel, molasses, vanilla, smokey-wood, roasted malts, and a bit of saltiness! It's great. The high ABV is pretty well hidden. Very complex and balanced!

Mouthfeel is very thick full bodied, creamy and smooth.

Overall, another nearly perfect stout by founders. They seem like they can do no wrong. (503 characters)

Photo of erialbill
4.94/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Never considered myself a stout man but this beer changed my opinion of stout's. Was like drinking an extremely smooth dark chocolate/espresso milkshake. What a beer... maybe the best I have ever had. Poured thick with no immediate head but a nice 3/4 inch amber head formed at the top. Nice lacing on the glass. Honestly was sad to finish the glass now I am on a crazy search to find more. Great job Founders! (410 characters)

Photo of mjshearer1
4.94/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A: Pitch, oily black with a thin, dark brown head.

S: Lots of roasted malts with a hint of booze.

T: Huge roasted character, almost coffee-like. Subtle hops at the end.

M: Thick and rich, low carbonation.

O: One of my all time favorite beers. Imperial Stouts rarely get better than this. (291 characters)

Photo of BreakfastStout
4.94/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

So excited when the local store called to let me know the 2014 FIS was delivered today. Ran down there to pick up my 4 packs when they called. Pours black as oil from the bottle into my Founders Snifter. Excellent dark blackish brown head the subsides ever so slowly. Coffee, raisin, roasty, caramel notes dominate the nose. The first sip tells me I'm in for a treat. There's a lot of stuff going on here. This beer is incredible. Fantastic finish, with an incredible chewy mouth feel. I can't wait to see how this beer tastes with some age on it. (547 characters)

Photo of 2Cents
4.94/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured in a tulip.

A: As close to black as brown gets. It has a mocha colored head that doesn't stick around long, there''s some lacing and alcohol legs that throughout the trip.

S: Coco, dark chocolate, honey and nugget.

T: Like it smells with a little coffee. What ever bittering hop they're using in this, it doesn't clash with the malts, unlike quite a few American Imperial Stouts.

M. Thick and silky. Not to much of an alcohol sting, for a 10.5 % er.

O: I have been waiting along time for this brew to come town. And now it's here and at a beer-store 3 blocks away, a slippery slope if I ever saw one. This is probably the best Imperial stout, that hasn't been barrel aged, that I have tried, and that's a lot of them. Right now, if I had to choose one beer to drink for the rest of my life, it would be this one. (824 characters)

Photo of nickapalooza86
4.94/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours.... Motor Oil, nuff said, finger of toffee colored head.

Smell is chocolate, coffee, roasted malt, cappuchino, caramel and a bit of dark fruit!

Taste is just as an incredible, bitter chocolate, smokiness, caramel, sweet and bitter coffee both appear, finishes with a earthy hot bite and a wee bit of dark fruit in the back end.\

Mouthfeel is second to none for the style, full as full can be... Silky, mouth coating, with a soft carbonation. Really nice.

Well here it is, My favorite Founders Stout I have had... (yes I have had KBS and FBS).... But this reigns supreme.... What they do here with the mouthfeel makes it truely world class... If you have a chance to buy or trade for this, certainly do so! (715 characters)

Photo of dmgeng
4.93/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

One of Founders seasonal offerings that I try to get every year.

A - Dark black with some burgundy while being poured. It pours thick with dark brown rocky head and strong lacing.

S - Tons of of sweet malt smell with roasted, coffee, chocolate, caramel, and some toffee notes radiating out. There is great balance from this imperial stout.

T - Initially the rich character of malt, roast, chocolate, coffee, and some toffee/caramel taste. There is a great battle between the rich sweetness of the malt and chocolate and the bitter roastiness. Big flavors that make you beg for more.

M - Very high mouth-feel with moderate carbonation. Very balanced between the sweet and bitter and the big mouth feel make it stick to your palate but with a medium carbonation makes it not too cloying.

Overall, this is one of the best examples of an Imperial Stout you can find. Tons of flavor, great balance, and low cost make this one a great get. I know that there are some people out there that would have a hard time dealing with the thickness of this stout and the punch but I love it.

Glass- Snifter (1,096 characters)

Photo of UpToMeBeer
4.92/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured from a 12oz. bottle. (Aged approximately one year).

Appearance: Black and thick, with a really dark brown head (about 1 finger that dissipated rapidly). A beautiful pour.

Smell: Chocolate, molasses, and coffee. A wondrous balance of aromas.

Taste: Dark fruit, chocolate, raisins, and coffee on the finish. Alcohol is present but not dominant.

Mouthfeel: Viscous with subtle bitterness. Coats the tongue and goes down smoothly.

Overall: Just heavenly. The best Imperial Stout I have yet found. No doubt the year of aging this bottle helped. First time I've ever tried this beer and would seek it out again. (621 characters)

Photo of dafla67
4.92/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

snifter.

A: deep dark black; dark brown head.

S: roasted malts; chocolate and coffee.

T: oustanding. begin with the roasted malts and chocolate. Sweet throughout with almost no hint of alcohol.

M: very balance -- not one overpowering flavor; smooth and full-bodies.

O: one of my favorite RISs. (298 characters)

Photo of MaineBrewing
4.92/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

A - poured a thick silky pitch black with a thick brown head, around one finger. Reduced quickly but left a nice frothy cap, with some good lacing for such a high abv beer, does appear very viscous and thick when swirled.

S - big malt aromas, chocolate first, coffee, roasted malt, smokey. Hints of hop spicyness. Alcohol comes out as it warms, bringing with it some fruitiness.

T - taste is phenomenal, simply put. Big malt taste that is very chocolate forward, reminiscent of eating some dark chocolate. Lots of roastedness, a bit smokey, Some coffee notes. Finishes very bitter, and has a lingering roasted flavor that sticks to the palate. Best tasting RIS I've had.

M - Very very thick with smooth carbonation. I'm glad this finishes bitter and seems well attenuated, making the mouth feel very enjoyable.

O - overall would have to be the most enjoyable RIS experience I have had as of yet. To me this embodies the style and would be my benchmark for future examples of the style. This is just so smooth and well crafted, does not have a weak spot. Only smell got knocked from 5 for a slight sharpness due to the alcohol aroma and mouthfeel as well due to it being a little overly thick. I think with some age these attributes would each score a 5 for me if it becomes a tad less hot and the body thins slightly. (1,325 characters)

Photo of Armand
4.9/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Have had this one several times. Had one that was full of life and chocolatey. Got a flat bunk one that was a drainer. Overall I am going to give this a good review without having a flaw ruin my first experience.

A: Pours an inky black color with a very minimal dark brown head.

S: The smell has a strong chocolate and roasted presence to it.

T: There is a massive roasted flavor upfront with subtle notes of chocolate following but quickly overshadowed by the roasted flavor.

M: Thick and chewy with minimal carbonation. The feel is creamy and roasted.

D: This is a very good RIS and I wouldn't expect anything less from Founders.
Serving type: bottle (658 characters)

Photo of brobeerbot
4.9/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured vigorously into nonic pint.

A- Poured a beautiful pitch black and was able to get a good two finger tan colored head. Nice lacing throughout drink

S- Coffee, malt, and smoke. One of the better smelling stouts I have had.

T- This one drinks like a dream. Strong taste of malty and smoke. Some hints of bitter chocolate with a small coffee finish.

M- Thick and chewy. You know your drinking a quality stout. Sticks to your mouth and allows flavor to stay in the mouth fo quite a while.

D- This is a fairly strong drink. With the high ABV and the heartiness of this stout it is for sure a one or maybe two during the night.

Overall this is a very very good stout. Has become one of may favorite imperial stouts on the market. Have one in the cellar and will see what we have in a year or so. (801 characters)

Photo of AlexJ
4.9/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Another mind-blowing product from a very respectable brewer. This beer pours like a madman. Deepest nightmare black, with a small, dense head of mocha froth that remains as a thin ring. Terrifyingly black, this is one of the thickest, viscous, quagmires of a beer that I have ever had the delight of laying my eyes upon.

Aroma is a sweet lullaby of smooth, roasty malts, melted milk chocolate, dark fermenting fruit, plums, dried mission figs, black Sambuca, well aged Port, and coffee liquor. BIG nose, very intense and complex. I'm IN!

A highly anticipated sip reveals a truley precious nectar. A creamy mudslide of amazing flavors tears across my tongue. Complex malt entry of scorched caramel, milk chocolate pudding, malted milk balls, and mocha. There's tons of sticky, booze-soaked dark fruit; plum, fig, bitter black cherry, and candied citron. It rounds out with a perfectly delicate hop finish with nuances of crushed Douglas Fir pine needles and dark, bitter herbal notes. There's a perfect distribution of charred malt and fragrant hop bitterness. 12% abv, really? This is UNbelievably smooth!

Body is quite possibly the biggest I've ever had...like a melted hot fudge sundae. It just glides across your mouth a creamy, buttery texture and a mouthfeel like liquified silk. So creamy and sinfully rich. There's no way that this 12 oz. bottle is less than 500 calories. Worth every one too! Killer delicious, but definately a one-beer-per-session type of beer. Unless you want to go into diabetic shock that is. I couldn't imagine a finer way to go. (1,568 characters)

Photo of brandoncox
4.89/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Jet black. Amazing rusted reddish brown colored head.

Sweet dark chocolate notes, the usual. I can also detect hops! For 10.5% the alcohol is barely noticeable.

Dark and sweet with a behind the curtain fruity appearance on the finish while the chocolate forefront settles.

A silky smooth burst onto the palate and a lingering bitterness.

Great one to sip on. All stout lovers rejoice! (391 characters)

Photo of IntriqKen
4.88/5  rDev +13%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Oh, yum!
Pours pitch black with a half finger of very thick dark tan foam that melts pretty slowly in my glass.
Aromas are thickly coffee and dark chocolate.
Flavor is fantastic. Dark sweet chocolate moves to dark cream and coffee then back to dark sweet chocolate and melting towards some dark candied fruits then alcohol.
Mouthfeel is wonderfully creamy., full,..and smooth.
Aftertaste is chocolate and dark fruit with the alcohol warming your chest.
Love this Imperial Stout. (484 characters)

Photo of DougT
4.88/5  rDev +13%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Poured into a stout glass. Deep, dark, like the abyss. Nice 2 finger head of dark brown. Took off a couple for a few too many large bubbles. Great lacing and leaves a thick layer of creamy froth as you drink. Smell is roast, malt, coffee, chocolate and dark candi. Just what a stout should be. Could be a hint stronger, otherwise steller. Taste is ambrosia. Sweat chocolate, coffee, hints of dark fruits, with roast and malt bitters and some earthy hops. Feel is spot on. Creamy, full bodied, effervescent. You can't ask for better. So this is almost the perfect stout. As an Imperial it could use a hint more hop bitters, the head could be just a touch creamier, which might happen with age, and the smell could be subtly more intense, which would happen with the extra hops. This is a really really good beer. (827 characters)

Photo of MarkBlackout
4.88/5  rDev +13%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I wasn't aware that Founders beers were available here in Indianapolis until today. I promptly picked up a 4-pack of their Imperial Stout.

Pours up beautifully with an agressive pour, a three-finger head which recedes with nice lacing to about a centimeter or so. Totally opaque. Smells roasty, alcoholic, rich. Foreboding!

The taste is sweeter than I expected, but at least as rich as the aroma. Some raisins on the side offset the sweetness a bit and allowed me to explore the bitter (more enjoyable, for me, as usual) aspects of this beer more closely. This palate adjustment increased my enjoyment of Founders Imperial Stout: I was less distracted, put off by the sweetness. Good brew.

===
original review (above) 5/22/05: new review 1/16/12

Scores were lower on original review. I wouldn't be shocked if they upped the ante on this and made it into an even better brew. This stuff is amazing; thick, and rich, and very drinkable. abv has a presence but not much, other than of course your brain's level of intoxication. This is my favorite IS and one of my favorite beers. Founders is the shit!

Addendum to new review: after reading other reviews: I was going to leave it to others to describe flavors, but I will say that tobacco, coffee, and cacao are all over this. Wars were fought for this stuff! With a four-pack you have enough to share. ;) (1,358 characters)

Photo of Aircow86
4.88/5  rDev +13%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured just a tad colder than room temperature into an oversized wine glass.

Appearance: Black as hell, gentle pour still gave way to a towering chocolate colored head. Not even a sliver of light comes through this beer.

Smell: Chocolate, anise, a touch of liquor

Taste: Very complex. Nice hop flavor for an Imperial Stout, bottle says 90 IBUs. Coffee flavor in the aftertaste, nice warming liquor feel.

Mouthfeel: Creamy, just the right amount of carbonation for the style.

Overall: A delicious beer. One of the top Imperial Stouts for sure. A few days later, I paired this with a slice of mocha chocolate cake - incredible, this beer goes great with chocolate desserts. (677 characters)

Photo of sendsilk
4.88/5  rDev +13%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This beer is freaking awesome. No, they don't have a special release for this beer like Dark Lord or Darkness or Hunahpu. But if they did this beer would be completely sought after and considered rare.

Awesome mouthfeel, delicious chocolate flavor assault the palate and nostrils upon first sip. There's nothing that can be done to improve on this beer. On of my top 5 favorite stouts of all time.

Thanks Founders, for making this accessible to people without having us have wait in a line at 8am for a 1 day only release. (526 characters)

Photo of EnJeiBee
4.88/5  rDev +13%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A - This brew is one of the best looking imperial stouts I've ever seen. It pours obsidian black with a deep, dark 2-finger chocolate head. After gradually falling into the beer, a thin and pleasant dark tan head is left, leaving solid lacing in it's wake.

S - A sharp bitterness hits you first, a mix of hops, dark bittersweet chocolate and espresso.

T - Mildly sweet chocolate flavors dominate before being taken over by bitter expresso and deep bittersweet chocolate notes.

M - Extremely smooth and silkly at first with quite a dry finish.

O - This is the epitome of the style. It stands out as an amazing example of a great beer that is great simply because it is perfectly to style. If you ever get the chance to dry this do not pass it up! (749 characters)

Photo of kevinlater
4.88/5  rDev +13%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

12oz bottle into snifter

a: pitch black and looks thick as hell going into the glass. just under a finger of gorgeous, rich brown head. best looking head i've seen from a beer thus far. swirling it around shows that the liquid just sticks to the glass, leaving brown hues on it

s: mostly dark chocolate, fudge and roasted malts. some spicy, earthy aromas. cocoa and coffee are there too, but less dominant. slight alcohol. this aroma could be stronger, but it does smell really good.

t: chocolate chocolate chocolate! rich dark chocolate up front, as well as raisins, licorice, and hints of cherries. roasted/burnt/charred malt flavours and a strong piney, earthy hop bitterness (akin to a dark chocolate- or coffee-like bitterness) enter mid-palate. doesn't feel like 90 IBUs to me, but it certainly is prominent. finishes with roasty, coffee, smoky/woody tastes. the alcohol taste is well-masked for the most part, but it does provide a warming burn going down the throat. a somewhat complex flavour profile here, and it's awesome

m: ridiculously viscous and creamy. mild albeit appropriate carbonation. so good!

o: an absolutely fantastic brew. get your hands on this (1,176 characters)

Founders Imperial Stout from Founders Brewing Company
96 out of 100 based on 1,711 ratings.