Founders Imperial Stout - Founders Brewing Company

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Founders Imperial StoutFounders Imperial Stout

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1,711 Reviews
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Reviews: 1,711
Hads: 6,941
rAvg: 4.32
pDev: 3.7%
Wants: 659
Gots: 1,984 | 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: 6,941
Photo of gr0g
4.5/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A viscous pour yielding a jet black brew with about one and a half fingers of head. The rich, khaki-colored head fades to a glass-clinging ring with some spotty lacing. Aroma features a good amount of "char" - roast malt astringent notes. Plenty of rich, dark chocolate and just a bit of espresso. Some grassy hop aroma is there but well hidden under the immense malt character. Detracting just a bit is a weak but noticeable solvent note.

Most apparent on the palate is a near perfect balance between sweet and bitter. Founders has found a very happy middle ground between sugar bomb and hoppy stout. Tons of chocolate and roasted malt yield notes of cocoa and bittersweet chocolate. Balancing hop bitterness on the finish. Alcohol is very stealthy, hiding in the shadows without any boozy flavor notes. Mouthfeel fits the bill perfectly for an imperial stout: chewy, a but syrupy, well carbonated but not prickly. Carbonation has good longevity, so you can sip leisurely without it winding up flat.

Being available in 4-packs, and at a very reasonable price to boot (only $12 for me), this is an outstanding imperial that's also a great value. For now, Founders Imperial Stout has jumped to the top of my non-barrel-aged stout list. (1,236 characters)

Photo of francisweizen
4.5/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On-Tap at the brewpub in Grand Rapids. Dark opaque bloody black with a big head of moch foam that lasts with superb lacing. Aromas of everything. Deep dark bakers chocolate comes to mind, than cocoa powder. Perhaps some vanilla, caramel, roasted malts, and green leafy hops as well. Taste is hoppy even at the start but roasted and powerful as well. Not very alcoholic, though, which is a plus in my eyes. Chocolate and coffee round out the middle and the finish is raw, green, leafy hops with an almost medicinal quality to it. Mouthfeel is thick, but not cloying or overly sweet or bitter, drinkability remains high, especially for a 12%impy. They serve this and the breakfast stout too cold at the brewpub though. This one really needs to warm up before all of it's complex flavor notes become apparant... (808 characters)

Photo of siege06nd
4.5/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2011 vintage poured into a British pint...

A: Pitch black with a finger of rich brown head. Excellent lacing and legs.

S: Chocolate, vanilla, mocha, brownie batter. Quite a decadent but mellow nose on this. Big rich chocolate notes, maybe even some molasses, and faint traces of coffee.

T: Chocolate, vanilla bean, faint coffee, some leather, very subtle traces of brown sugar and molasses. Very sweet and cloying...delicious.

M: Full bodied and light carbonation. A kiss of alcohol heat on the finish, but this is drinking like chocolate milk with a year on it. Flavor balance is excellent.

O: One of the best Imperial Stouts I have had. You probably assume this drinks like non-barreled KBS, but this is a unique beer in its own right. Rich, decadent fudge notes blend perfectly with vanilla and bready malt to create a truly special impy stout. Another proven winner from one of the best breweries in the country. (922 characters)

Photo of drxandy
4.5/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Tried this on tap april 30th '08, poured into a nonic pint

apperance was dark and thick, standard imperial stout

smell of chocolate, dark malts, hot alchohol

tasting was a bit thinner than i expected, i was surprised that i could feel the kentucky breakfast influence, maybe it's a founders stout thing, but definitely not a bad thing.

hops were certainly more present than the KBS and quite nicely added for the style.

wish this was bottled this year, i tried to get a growler but they weren't pouring it in them :( (522 characters)

Photo of dukedevil0
4.5/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Picked up a 4-pack from Sam's Lincoln Park in Chicago, IL.

A: Pours a syrupy, dark black with very little, if any, dark khaki/copper head.

S: Smells like a roast coffee bomb, scents of chocolate...and i actually pick up some hop earthiness too

T: roast, coffee, lots of bitterness, slight dark chocolate...a little alcohol in the finish

M: Very creamy and thick with not a lot of carbonation

D: very drinkable for what it is...however, the roast coffee can be little overpowering

the more i've drank of this, the more impressed I am with it (546 characters)

Photo of EMV
4.5/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Served from bottle, poured into a tulip glass.

L: Pours an inky black, thick with very minimal/bubbly tan head. No significant lacing.

S: Whoa... big time aroma on this one, roasted malts, dark chocolates, and toffee. Hints of espresso.

T/F: It tastes like it smells, big time roasted malts, very smooth with minimal carbonation. A bit chewy with a dark chocolate sweetness at the finish which is well balanced by the roasted malts.

O: A very fine Imperial Stout, and yet another great Founders beer. At 10.5% this one packs too big a punch for a session drink, but is perfect for dessert or a special treat. Best at cellar temperature. May be even better with a little age! (692 characters)

Photo of JWD
4.5/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to jcb890 for 4 of these badboys,

A- This looks great, Black with a dark brown head, look like an Abyss!!

S- Very heavy chocolate, coffee, and even some sweetness coming through. Once again very similar to the Abyss here IMO.

T- Great, tons of flavors and tons of it. I will say for the 3rd time this is very close to a muted version of the Abyss, This is a great beer!!

M- Great, on par with all but the best RIS out there. thick but not syrupy or chewy, medium carb.

D- Great, You can drink cold or warm and i would advise you to take you time and taste the changes as it warms.

Another great offering from founders, I would say this is the best value in the RIS catagory right there with Old rasputin. I liked this better though. (747 characters)

Photo of CaptCleveland
4.5/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle from 4-pack, dated 12/22/2011, poured into snifter.

Black, opaque liquid, 1/2 inch tan foam, copious tan lacing coats the sides.

Aromas of chocolate, coffee, caramel and roasted malts.

An initial hop bitterness then a wonderful blend of chocolate and coffee flavors, with the malt bill nicely balanced by the hops. Alcohol well hidden.

Initial carbonation gives way to a smooth, silky texture.

Another outstanding offering from Founders. (454 characters)

Photo of Hopfenpeter
4.5/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The beer poured a dark, almost black and produced a reddish brown creamy head, which leaves nice lacing after dissipating.
The smell is chocolate, coffee and plum.
Tasting the beer, chocolate ad coffee notes are certainly dominant up front. than the roasted malt flavors give the beer a smokey feel in the middle. In the end some hop character is noticable.
The almost syrup like beer is extremely drinkable. What a great brew this is. The ABV of 10.5 is well hidden. Certainly one of my favorite Stouts. (504 characters)

Photo of Sephiroth
4.5/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours innocently enough, average head, some momentary lacing. As thick and black as any imperial stout. As it warms, the aroma really shows well. Chocolate, coffee, and roasty burnt malt are all there.

Taste is awesome, chocolate, both milk and the dark kind, coffee, roasted, then burnt malt, and a dry, bitter finish. Mouthfeel is thick and viscous, low carbonation. Insanely drinkable right now, it will be a struggle to cellar this. (440 characters)

Photo of hardy008
4.5/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark black color with a one finger tan foamy head. Smells of chocolate, coffee, and molasses. The taste is just like the smell. Chocolate, coffee ,and molasses.

This is a chewy stout, full bodied, and perfectly carbonated. Silky and smooth. A pleasure to drink. If I had to make one criticism, it would be that this beer should be available year round. (362 characters)

Photo of ribby
4.5/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The beer poured into a standard pint glass with a modest dark brown head. The beer is impenetrably black. Hard to ask for a better lokoing stout.

The beer has an intense aroma of roasted malt. The IBUs on this are not what you think, the role of the hops in this brew is to balance the incredibly intense malt, both in aroma and flavor. After the malt, the alcohol is noticeable on the palate.

Overall, amazing intensity, and an incredible demonstration of the brewer's skill of showing off the intense malt with perfect balance, just enough hops to balance the sweetness of the malt. (And with all that roasted malt, not a hint of any burnt malt harshness.) (660 characters)

Photo of Gwalchgwynn67
4.5/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle into a pint glass. This is black, very black. Like staring into an abyss ... only darker. Head, what little there is, is classic stout - cafe au lait brown. It's like espresso froth. Smell is mocha, nibs of dark chocolate with hints of coffee and orange. Taste is sweet toasty malt, balanced by dark cacao bitterness. Thick and chewy, creamy and yet with dark cocoa chalkiness. (390 characters)

Photo of FanofHefe
4.5/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Served on-tap in a pint glass. Deep dark, black body with a small dark tan head. The head dissipates quickly but leaves nice rings of lace all down the top half of the glass.

Aroma - nearly perfect. Rich chocolate up front, followed by dark fruit, roasted malt and a just a touch of tart hops at the back end. Every other whiff I get a hint of alcohol, but not much.

The taste is amazing. The chocolate, toffee and roasted malt flavors blend effortlessly and are not harsh in any way. I detect nearly no alcohol.

This is the best non-barrel aged stout I've ever had. Delicious. (581 characters)

Photo of tsauce2
4.5/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

P: 12 fl oz bottle in to a New Belgium snifter.

A: SRM is black/dark brown. Opaque. Head is dark chocolate, 1 in, velvety, dissipates to cover the top of the beer. Medium/light carbonation. Heavy lacing.

S: Huge dark roast malt, chocolate, and alcohol. Light hop additions.

T: Big dark roast malt, followed immediately by bittered chocolate malt, then alcohol and light hops on the end. Aftertaste is bittered malt and a light chocolatey sweetness.

M: Full body. Viscous. Malt lays heavy on the palate, but bittered chocolate and alcohol help to cut this. Finished wet down the middle of the palate, but very dry on the edges of the palate.

O: One of the best RIS's out there. This beer is so good fresh, but gets better with age. Great balance, complexity, and flavor. Alcohol is noticable, but nowhere close to being overpowering and is cut nicely by the bittered chocolate, which is in turn cut nicely by the light sweetness. Will buy as much as possible given this is a once a year thing. (997 characters)

Photo of elephantrider
4.5/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Thick and oily pour. Faint head that disappears pretty quick.

S: Molasses, dark fruit and chocolate and roasted malts.

T: Can definitely tell this is a high abv beer. A hint of coffee in the flavor but the chocolate prevails over that and the dark fruit flavor. Little hop bite in the end.

M: Not as heavy as it looks and there is some alcohol warmth that I enojoy.

O: I like this stout alot and if I could do two reviews of one beer I would do a aged one these also. (474 characters)

Photo of EigenBeer
4.51/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

A - The beer pours pitch black and develops a brown tiny head that goes away quickly

S - The smell doesn't jump out at me, smells like any typical RIS with some roastiness.

T - There is a very rich amount of malt that comes through with an incredible blending of chocolate and coffee.

M - The body is big and bold with a very chewy texture. It makes the beer melt in your mouth.

O - One of the better easily available imperial stouts on the market. (455 characters)

Photo of merryjoulton
4.51/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours a thick deep dark black with a thin film of brown that sticks around til the bitter end. Smell is very malty, roasty, toasty, hint of coffee and chocolate, vanilla and smoked bacon. Taste is clean, crisp, malty and dark--much cleaner than I expected as this style tends to be a bit rough around the edges. Mouthfeel is thick and juicy, drinkability is great. (364 characters)

Photo of y2jrock60
4.51/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

A- Looks like motor oil while it's poured into a glass. Completely opaque dark black. Brown head that dissipates quickly, very little lacing.

S- Very rich, smooth coffee and dark chocolate aromas. Hints of mild sweetness and a slight presences of alcohol.

T- Creamy, mild chocolate, vanilla, dark fruit, and premium coffee flavors. There is a linger hop bitterness at the end. The flavors stay on the tongue long after each sip.

M- Extremely thick, one of the thickest beers I've had. There is a creamy quality and an alcohol presence. Low carbonation.

O- One of the greatest examples of the style. (604 characters)

Photo of WhiteHillsStore
4.51/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Pours a pitch black color with a coffee colored head. The smell is full of roasted malts that give the beer a nice coffee scent to it. The taste was great with coffee and dark chocolate flavors mixing well with a bit of hops here and there. Hides the ABV well and I thought this was an amazing beer. Definitely worth picking up. (328 characters)

Photo of Jacurdy60
4.51/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from the bottle into a snifter.

A-Pitch black like almost every imp. stout. Deep brown, toffee colored half finger head with good retention. Leaves lacing on the sides of the glass and looks thick as hell.

S-Bitter baker's chocolate, figs, raisins, clove?, burnt oak, burnt sweet bread

T-Front of the palate is hit by the bitter chocolate and is phased out quickly by the sweet, dark fruits. That fades nicely into the burnt oaky taste and finishes again with a semi-sweet and burnt flavor with a spiced bite from the alcohol that lingers for a while and fades back into the overpowering oaky flavor. A heck of a lot of depth

MF-Creamy like syrup. Probably the best mouthfeel on a beer I've ever had. Absolute perfection.

O-It's Founders and the beer is heralded. What is there to say? My expectations were high and they were met. (843 characters)

Photo of shangwang
4.51/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Bottle dated 12/07/12. Poured into a Dogfish snifter.

The first characteristic of this beer that really stood out was how viscous the body was as I poured it. Initially I was left with a full thick finger of cocoa head, which reduced to a thin layer leaving scant lacing after a few minutes. The smell was fantastic and rich; baker's chocolate, vanilla, and charred wood stood out with hints of anise. Lots of dark, roasty malt in the taste with a very subtly sweet finish. Very bold, like cold French roast coffee. Mouthfeel is on the heavy side, and very smooth. Fits the beer well.
Great beer to sip at, although it's so good you'll want to have a few. Very satisfying. (673 characters)

Photo of StonedTrippin
4.51/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

truly exceptional stout right here. I love the fact that it isn't sweet at all, and it doesn't try to hide what it is. very straightforward stuff. the pours is almost jet black, just the darkest shade of brown in there, with a patient but excited mocha colored head that swirls right back up as soon as it settles. the nose is very alcoholic, but its not aggressive or cheap vodka style, its there as a reminder, or maybe a warning. I pick up some good wood in this too, maybe birch or maple, something lighter than oak for sure, more fresh. there is a cocoa bitterness throughout the flavor, that climaxes toward the finish. lots of dark dark roasted barley here, and a certain earthen quality that fills in for the usual residual sugar. it makes the beer more drinkable than it should be. I love the mouthfeel, soft as crushed velvet, but with enough carbonation for its huge body not to get filling. it also finishes fairly clean for a style that usually clings to the teeth for ages. alcohol is warming but not offensive, and the absence of sweetness is astounding and really quite unique in the big stout world. I can finally see for myself what all they hype is about, and this is a beer for the ages. hard to imagine kbs and cbs being even better, but I will find that out for myself as well... (1,301 characters)

Photo of TastyTaste
4.52/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Thanks to ThomasHardy for the bottle, with the very cool upside-down label.

Appearance: Pours without much head of any kind, just a thin tan collar, and a skin across the top of the beer. A little lace above a jet black body.

Smell: All the trais of a good RIS are there. Strong black coffee, rich dark chocolate, alcohol vapors, above average hops. Very nice rich roasted smell.

Taste: Smooth yet strong, coffe flavors are enhanced by the alcohol, which leads into the hops, which ends smokey and satisfying. Another winner from Founder.

Drinkability: I could actually line up a couple empties of these, it is a well balanced, yes asertive RIS. (657 characters)

Photo of Samuel906
4.52/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Really excited to try this. I have heard no end of great things about Founders stouts an d this certainly did not disappoint. Pours absolutely sheer jet black with one of the darkest brown heads Ive ever seen. head dissipates quickly leaving behind the viscous, oily brew. Rich creamy mocha greets you on the nose complemented by toasted malt, and chocolate covered cherries. Taste is a tidal wave of bittersweet chocolate up front with a mellow finish of earthy tobacco, and roasted coffee. Feel is thick and oily, coats every inch of your mouth. A bit sticky. but it comes with the territory. Definitely a slow sipper. Overall, one of the kings of the heavy stouts. Great in all aspects. (689 characters)

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