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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.

5,483 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 5,483
Reviews: 1,580
rAvg: 4.37
pDev: 8.7%
Wants: 492
Gots: 1,316 | FT: 112
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: 5,483 | Reviews: 1,580 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of TenHornsProud


4.15/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a thick black with a big tan head that lingers and laces.

Smells sweet, nutty, coffee, roasty, some dark fig notes with alcohol. Really nice nose.

Up front roast, fruity/spicy hop character that fades into a more astringent roasted character with notes of chocolate and coffee in the finish...lots of dark chocolate lingers. Big flavors with subtle hop character.

Creamy, full body with lower carbonation and alcohol warming. Everything is nicely balanced, and the thicker body is particularly pleasing.

This is a great RIS that is perfectly balanced and complex enough to make it worth your time.

Serving type: bottle

01-31-2012 22:15:20 | More by TenHornsProud
Photo of aorloski


4.15/5  rDev -5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance - WOW one of the darkest and viscous beers i have ever seen. To call this motor oil is an understatement. Nice chocolate fluffy head.

Smell - Awesome bitter dark chocolate, roasted malts, hints of vanilla and coffee

Taste - Chocolate, big time. Right up front you get hit with the bitterness which leaves room for the roasted malts and subtle notes of coffee and vanilla to come afterwards. What i like the best is the lingering flavor of melted dark chocolate in your mouth from this.

Mouthfeel - Awesome, coats the mouth and leaves an amazing taste for you to long for more.

Overall - Another fucking amazing Founders stout.

Serving type: bottle

01-07-2012 01:53:32 | More by aorloski
Photo of Andrewtherooster


4.15/5  rDev -5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz. bottle into a mug.

A - Thick, beautiful, dark dark brown with a small light brown head.

S - Immediately I notice a dark cocoa scent, followed by what smells like black cherries.

T - This brew packs a wallop in each sip. Straight on I get what tastes like a mouthful of black cherries and blackberries, followed by a milk chocolate that transitions into dark chocolate and eventually a roasted, coffee flavor. The malts are present and heavy throughout each drink, but there's this nice, earthy hop flourish toward the end.

M - At first, while drinking this, it seemed to taste over-carbonated, but perhaps it was too cold. As it warmed up it settled down a little and got creamy like butter.

Overall I'd say this is great stout that I'll return to. It's definitely drinkable, only getting better as it warms up a tad. This is the perfect brew for a quiet winter night, to sit and sip while reading and trying to keep warm.

Serving type: bottle

02-17-2009 23:11:16 | More by Andrewtherooster
Photo of foogerd

New York

4.15/5  rDev -5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- Pours like an oil spill, slick and slippery out of the bottle. Black as night, a head is produced that has this gorgeous deep dark coffee color, sexiest head I've ever seen. A real looker of a brew.

S- Smoked anise, lots of roast character, dark cacao chocolate, a creamy lactose aroma wafts over. A bit of sharp bitter booze.

T- Totally an anise/black licorice bomb, with dark chocolate and burnt bitter coffee taste at the finish, packaged in a tasty very drinkable format.

M- Very smooth slick body, low carbonation but very appropiate.

D- A foward in your face Russian Imperial Stout that goes down with ease. Whats unique here is that this brew is big all around, in flavor and abv, yet its drinkability gives you the ability to enjoy all its robustness. Would pair excellently with a creamy rich desert.

Serving type: bottle

02-24-2011 03:14:47 | More by foogerd
Photo of david131


4.15/5  rDev -5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Absolutely pitch black with just the slightest bit of light getting through around the edges. The brown head is very slow to rise, very creamy looking, and settles to a thin covering over the entire surface. Not too shabby.

S- A very sweet, roasty aroma with anise, dark fruits, and a nice smoky aspect. Some cocoa is noticeable in there in well. Pretty fragrant and enjoyable, but it's just not knocking my socks off.

T- Very sweet and smoky at first with lots of anise and bitter black chocolate moving in at the end. Surprisingly sweet and bitter. Very good, but maybe a bit too sweet for me.

M- Bitter on the tail end, and a little dry that I attribute to the alcohol content.

D- A very solid Russian Imperial Stout. A very good example of the style. I would definitely get this again, even though it is not my favorite.

I don't really know how this will age, but I don't anticipate this getting much better considering Founders track record with aged stouts. Also, it is drinking pretty good right now with balanced flavors and a very reasonable alcohol presence.

Serving type: bottle

02-19-2009 05:31:27 | More by david131
Photo of goalie33

New York

4.15/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from 12oz bottle into snifter. No 'best by' date.
A) Pitch black beer. Bits of a brown head form, but quickly disappear leaving just a ring around the edge. Doesn't leave much lacing, but leaves lots of alcohol feet.
S) Deep, rich espresso and chocolate notes, hints of dark fruit and licorice. Alcohol is noticeable in the nose.
T) Chocolate with a slightly chalky coffee bitterness underneath. Alcohol is there, but doesn't detract from the taste. Very rich finish, bit of a lingering bitterness afterwards.
M) Very nice mouthfeel. Full body, thick, smooth, creamy feel, coats the mouth. Virtually no carbonation on the tongue.

Another great release from Founders. Great flavors, smell and mouthfeel in this beer. Can't ask for much more out of an Imperial Stout.

Serving type: bottle

03-25-2011 04:02:13 | More by goalie33
Photo of AwYeh


4.15/5  rDev -5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz, presumably very fresh bottle poured into snifter

A: The first beer I've had that can genuinely claim to look like motor oil; this is black, and viscous- any shaking or movement leads to a persistent rippling wavy effect across the top of the glass. Thin but resilient dark brown head, with quite a bit of (also dark) lacing as the beer goes down.

S: Bittersweet chocolate and roasted black malts dominate the flavor here, alongside a mesh of caramel and dark fruit sweetness, with hints of coffee and vanilla. Strong bitter hop presence too.

T/M: This is one rich and complex beer- bitter hops and sweet dark fruits lead the taste in, but quickly make way for the bittersweet chocolate and roasted malts picked up on in the nose. Long, lingering sticky finish- a palate-burning bitter with the flavor of chocolate. Ethanol does make its presence known just a bit, and lends a nice warming effect to compliment the sticky mouth coat left after the finish. Thick-bodied with almost no carbonation, but quite smooth for the style and ABV.

D: The glass was fully enjoyable, and the beer evolved quite a bit as it warmed up, which definitely kept my interest (and even if it hadn't, the flavors were great all around and could have kept me nearly as satisfied). Not in a great hurry to have another right away, but definitely looking forward to seeing how this beer cellars.

Serving type: bottle

02-27-2011 03:36:21 | More by AwYeh
Photo of thain709


4.15/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - The body is black as night and has a head that is pretty much non exsistant...there is a dark brown, wispy cap that formed and became a bead...spotty lacing

S - A lot of roasted malt with dark chocolate and roasted espresso beans mixed in...there is a trace of alcohol on the nose

T - Again, the roasted malt is there and it's the first thing you pick up...it gives way to bitter, dark chocolate and a dark fruit flavor...I'm getting dates and raisins...the ending turns into bitter, roasted coffee/espresso beans...the coffee flavor isn't as pronounced as the chocolate

M - Full bodied...creamy and smooth...bitter chocolate

D - A very nice Imperial Stout that has a great mouthfeel...had it beside a Green Flash Double Stout and this one was my clear favorite...the flavors were full and rich...watch the ABV though because you can't taste it

Serving type: nitro-tap

03-03-2011 20:51:43 | More by thain709
Photo of kegger22


4.15/5  rDev -5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Founders RIS is dark brown, almost black, with a modest brown head that fades to a skin. The aroma is alcohol first and coffee second. The taste of this stout reminds me a lot of Bell's Expedition (with I admit, I've underrated), strong coffee, bitter chocolate and boozy. Feel is extremely viscous, heavily bodied, oily and with low carbonation. It would be tough to claim this is highly drinkable with the high ABV and a heavy as it is.

An excellent stout, it has it all.

I'm not really big on combining beers, but somehow, I feel compelled to mix this half and half with Bigfoot barleywine. Unfortunately, I don't have any Bigfoot around or I'd do it tonight. I will let you know how it was when I do.

Serving type: bottle

12-15-2009 05:26:33 | More by kegger22
Photo of Franz4


4.15/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle, 2011 version, pulled from the fridge and let warm for ~15 minutes.

A- pours dark, with a 1 finger dark brown, slick, creamy head that settles to just a thin cap quickly. Lacing is present, but not sticky, slides back to the cap quickly.

S- roastiness, slight peat scent, a dark chocolate/cocoa bean is there with just a slight bitterness, no coffee present.

T- 1st impression is dark chocolate with some dark fruit. Roasted malts become dominant quickly, come through with peat and smokiness. As I drink more I notice less of the dark fruit and more malt. There's a sweetness present that balances the dark chocolate nicely

M- slight carbonation on the tongue, just enough to bring out the flavors, feels very slick, satin-like going down. Oh-so-slight warming in the back of the mouth/throat.

D- Highly drinkable, I keep going back to the glass faster than I intend to. Lots of good roasty flavors make this a joy to drink and keep it interesting throughout the glass. I'm glad I was able to grab one of these, and I look forward to enjoying them in the future.

Serving type: bottle

03-02-2011 01:09:03 | More by Franz4
Photo of xnicknj


4.15/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle poured into snifter glass

Pours a pitch black, inky color with a bubbled dark brown head. Fades into swirled, patchy film while leaving spotty lacing on the glass.

Strong scents of roasted malts with a flair of hops. Dark chocolate with hints of coffee and caramel.

Slightly bitter up front with a dash of dark chocolate and cocoa. Roasted malts create warmth with slight booziness. Caramel with molasses, very slight suggestion of licorice. Warm and hoppy towards the finish with slight sweetness.

Full smooth body with decent carbonation, a little chewy. Drinks really slick and easy, pleasant on the palate, solid flavor and the alcohol is in check considering its over 10%. Another great beer from Founders.

Serving type: bottle

02-11-2011 03:37:51 | More by xnicknj
Photo of Holland


4.15/5  rDev -5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a growler into a pint glass. Got the growler from Founders, and it traveled thousands of miles in a cooler. I taped the top with packing tape, so it had a better seal. Left it in the refrigerator for a month, had some one day and some the next. This review is from the growler, though I tried it on tap too.

A: beautifully syrupy and thick. Looked like used engine oil as the cliche goes, except it didn't have nasty sediment. The head was small, about a half inch at first, but as it warmed the lacing was nice and left bits of head on top with each sip. Not as sticky as I thought.

S: smells of wood, earthiness, roasted malts. This is certainly a malt bomb, and I love it.

T: yes, it's still a malt bomb. Here I get some chocolate and coffee, but not much. The heft of the beer taste and smell are the malts, but you can even detect some of the hop bitterness. Beautiful.

M: thick, coats your mouth nicely, and has a crisp hop to it that is almost drowned out by the roasted malts.

O: a pint is a lot to have of this, but it was worth it. It was only slightly better on tap - the growler keeps forever!

Serving type: growler

08-09-2011 16:27:33 | More by Holland
Photo of thetomG


4.15/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Inky oil-slick jet black in color. Solid layer of tan foamy head that leaves behind spotty lacing.

Aroma has a very pleasant mild chocolate aspect alongside the more standard roasted malt & bitter coffee elements of a stout.

Flavor follows along the same lines as the aroma, but the roasty aspects really dominate here. The beer finishes with a nice bitter coffee flavor.

Mouthfeel is excellent - super silky smooth and oily. The high abv is almost totally hidden making this one dangerously drinkable.

Another top quality beer from Founders. Highly recommended.

Serving type: bottle

02-06-2011 01:38:05 | More by thetomG
Photo of bbothen


4.15/5  rDev -5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz bootle into Sam Adams beer glass.

Pours a deep & dark black with a small less than one finger deep tan colored head. The slight head quickly turns into a small bubbly ring around glass.

Smells of roasted malts, malted milk, cocoa, faint roasted coffee & slight booze.

Bitter chocolate, charred malts, roasted coffee beans, over ripe fruit, vanilla, warming alcohol, hoppy bitter finish. I love the bitterness here.

Smooth, creamy, full bodied, low carbonation, lingering bitterness.

Drinks well. The 10.5% makes itself known, but still drinks easy.

A fine example of a RIS. And a great beer. Kudos.

Serving type: bottle

03-25-2009 00:45:20 | More by bbothen
Photo of murrayswine


4.15/5  rDev -5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is a re-review.
I have layed this beer down for 9 months, and am trying it again.

Poured absolutely gorgeous, a viscous black with sturdy lacing and a paper thin head.

The smell is divine, big dark fruits, prunes, baltic malts, and a little coffee.

Taste is coffee, caramel, english bitter toffee, prunes, and brandy, absolutely delightful, and true to it's style.

The mouthfeel is creamy, and smooth with a hefty body to feel right.

Lay this beer down. Young it was too unbalanced, but aged a bit, it becomes more than fantastic.

Serving type: bottle

09-03-2006 07:44:51 | More by murrayswine
Photo of SaucyA


4.15/5  rDev -5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Pours an impenetrable black/brown with a quick-receding tan head. Teeny tiny bits of lacing. No crazy legs. Boring.

S - Booze, sweetness, chocolate, mocha, fresh ground coffee, molasses. Hops on top of all that.

T - Extremely hoppy, but it's great. Basically starts with a sweet, boozy, malt presence, and finishes dry, hoppy, and bitter. Lots of chocolate, lots of coffee. Normal Imperial Stout affects and thensome... the huge hops remind me of fresh Expedition. Love it. Only thing that slightly detracts is the booze, but it pretty much adds another level of complexity.

M - Slightly thinner and a little more carbonated than I prefer my stouts, normally.

D - Do you like hoppy stouts? If so, it's extremely drinkable.

Notes: This is a beer I've been waiting a while to try, and it's with great pleasure I'm able to find this in stores, finally.

Serving type: bottle

01-23-2009 22:25:07 | More by SaucyA
Photo of hoppymeal


4.15/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours black and thick with a almost non-existent red-brown head that quickly fades. There are roasted malt and smoky aromas at first and as it warms a sweeter chocolate smell along with a nice boozy-bourbony alcohol presence in the aroma. Taste is roast and smokiness up front, the sweet malts are apparent after this as it rolls on and coats the tongue. A dry slightly coffee bitterness finishes along with a nice warm alcohol twang. Good body for the style, not crazy heavy but nice and thick and chewy. I like my ris to have a little more of that vinuous and ripe fruitiness mixed with the bourbony-boozyness, but whether this is classified as double stout or ris, it is a top notch beer.

Serving type: bottle

08-03-2006 02:30:04 | More by hoppymeal
Photo of xav33


4.15/5  rDev -5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Founders Imperial Stout
12 oz bottle
Brewed 04, pondered over 10/06
Aggressive pour in an English pint.

Pouret jet black with a massive brown rocky mostly lasting head with excellent lacing.

Smelt of moderate mocha vanilla coffee, toffee, and licorice.

Taste was upfront moderate vanilla licorice sweetness and light chocolate followed by a harsh earthy burnt taste accompanied by a light creamy coffee sweetness on a long strongly bitter burnt molasses finish that turns to coffee. Mouthfeel was medium bodied, oily, softly carbonated, strongly astringent and light cozzy alcoholic warmth.

Overall, the beer starts off excellent in appearance and aroma, and at first sip it delivers, but the follow through taste and palate finish just assault and erases the pleasantness in this beer. A two faced beer, sweet and inviting at first, agressive and misanthropic later on. Intensely intriguing.

Side note: drink this beer warm!

Serving type: bottle

10-18-2006 05:21:55 | More by xav33
Photo of Franziskaner


4.16/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Deep dark black in color and will not yield to any light. A minimal showing of dark brown head covers about half of the top of the beer. Brussels lacing. Aroma of fig and roasted malt. I later smelled fig and alcohol. The taste is initially a sharp burst of bitter roasted malt and then an does an abrupt about face to an intense plum,fig,and alcoholic sweetness that stays with you after the fade. Mouth is thick,sticky,and very dry.

Serving type: bottle

04-26-2014 03:11:44 | More by Franziskaner
Photo of snaotheus


4.16/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

12oz bottle split between two pint glasses. I can't find any codes or dates.

Pours black, with a medium-small brown head. Completely opaque, with a little bit of visible carbonation along the sides of the glass. Smell is chocolate, roasted coffee, black licorice, and alcohol.

Taste is black licorice, surprisingly sweet, some of the roastiness, very little of the chocolate or coffee. Bitterness that I can only attribute to hops (which is probably explained by the intriguing "90 IBUs" printed on the label).

Mouthfeel is surprisingly thin, but not watery. Still has some nice fluffy characteristic.

Overall, this is a very nice beer, and I'm not at all sad that I got a four pack.

Serving type: bottle

09-18-2013 01:46:17 | More by snaotheus
Photo of StoutItOutLoud


4.18/5  rDev -4.3%
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.

Serving type: bottle

08-09-2013 22:54:08 | More by StoutItOutLoud
Photo of Double06


4.18/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Serving: 12oz bottle into DFH Signature Glass
Drank: Reasonably Fresh - recent release in Atlanta
Price: $9 / 4 pack

A: Black as black can be; Virtually impenetrable by light; Very small amount of dark tan head that left a small cap in the glass. 2nd bottle that seemed to be a little under carbonated

S: Dark, roasty malt; Bitter chocolate and espresso

T: Very complex - start with the hop bitterness which quickly fades to the bitter chocolate and espresso that was in the nose. Hints of leather and tobacco as well

M: Again, felt this bottle was under carbonated so that left it a little underperforming compared to the rest of the elements

D: Very nicely done by Founders. A nice imperial with good complexity. Definitely seek it out.

Serving type: bottle

02-28-2011 20:59:19 | More by Double06
Photo of shbobdb


4.18/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 3

Wow. This is a freakin' good beer. It pours a dark mahogany, with an ominous, dark, yet friendly fluffy head. What an inviting beer!

How does it taste? How does it feel? Well, like a homebrew I recently did, but good. In the homebrew, I threw in 2 pre-made edme stout kits and balanced it out with 3lbs of the neigh unfermentable Laaglander amber. This beer tastes like that, in so far as it has a lot of nice roasted barley flavours. They really steal the show, but they balance it out with a thick, full mouthfeel and just enough hops to make their presence known and clean the palate out. Mmmm. The warming alcohol finishes off the experience, bringing it to a wonderfully warm close.

Would have loved it in the winter. I love it now, but definately a cold-weather beer. This is MY kinda RIS.

Serving type: bottle

03-03-2006 23:40:11 | More by shbobdb
Photo of buschbeer


4.18/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I poured into my glass to a finger of brown head. This beer is black. The head looks pretty thick. This is one sexy looking beer. The aroma is just about every dark scent you can imagine: chocolate, coffee, molasses, licorice, and some alcohol. The taste is alcohol forward at first. As the offering warms up it recedes with the bakers cocoa and coffee coming to the forefront. The taste is slightly bitter, but not too much. The mouthfeel is nice and viscous. This is a beer that I have been eying in the fridge for several months now. It was well worth the wait.

Serving type: bottle

07-30-2010 01:17:29 | More by buschbeer
Photo of Amesjeep


4.18/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A- Pours black like used motor oil. Dark caramel head when poured into the middle of the glass. No light escapes this beer.

S- Smells of caramel and roasted coffee. There are some hop notes at the end.

T- this one tastes as mild as a breakfast stout and balanced with dark malts and hope to finish. Hard to tell this is 10+% very smooth and drinkable.

M- I love this beer for how it drinks, hits every part of your tongue. Finishes with an alcohol warming late.

O- wonderful stout I highly enjoyed this one. Not what I was expecting from a big stout like this. Can't wait to try this again.

Serving type: bottle

02-09-2012 05:35:02 | More by Amesjeep
Founders Imperial Stout from Founders Brewing Company
97 out of 100 based on 5,483 ratings.