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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.

5,502 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 5,502
Reviews: 1,583
rAvg: 4.37
pDev: 8.7%
Wants: 492
Gots: 1,319 | 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: 5,502 | Reviews: 1,583 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of grayburn

South Carolina

4.22/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours an expected midnight black with just a hint of brown around the edges. The head laces and lasts, I would like it to be just a bit bigger.

The smell and taste are both filled with the usual RIS characters, chocolate, some roastiness, a little coffee in the background...but nothing really stands out, it just seems a bit too boring for such a big beer. Not quite what I was expecting considering the quality of the Breakfast and Kentucky Breakfast stouts.

The mouthfeel makes up for any other shortcomings, perfectly smooth and creamy, delicious.

The drinkability is pretty strong as well, easy drinking...not my favorite, but definitely worth trying.

Serving type: bottle

11-02-2009 03:01:08 | More by grayburn
Photo of CoalCellar


4.22/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12-oz bottle into my church brewworks sifter.

A: Pours midnight black like used motor oil, builds a thin brown head which quickly dissipates.

S: Smells like burnt coffee.

T: Rich, bittersweet chocolate. A slight touch of hops on the back. Practically burns the tongue, burnt...ground....everything....

M: Thick and chewy like a RIS outta be.

D: Very rich, hides the alcohol well. I could put a few of these away in a sitting.

Another OUTSTANDING offering by founders. These guys can do no wrong.

Serving type: bottle

06-01-2009 23:08:27 | More by CoalCellar
Photo of HimerMan

New Jersey

4.22/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle, served in Murphy's pint glass.

Pour - black, with a 1 finger head, gone fast but strong smell of chocolate. Smell - nice chocolate, burnt alcohol and nice smoke.

Taste - Very chewy, smoky, creamy - yet heavy/solid taste of chocolate with a medium to dark chocolate with alcohol evident in the immeidate warming. Excellent stout.

Overall - strong smoke as it warms, thick and chewy. Excellent taste - you should drink this stout if you want to try a real imperial stout with nice smoke and alcohol.


Serving type: bottle

06-28-2006 01:32:13 | More by HimerMan
Photo of MasterSki


4.22/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This is the 2009 release - the recipe must be slightly different, as it lists 10.5% ABV and 90 IBUs. Served in a pint glass.

A - Looks like a good stout should. One finger of mocha foam that dissipates and leaves a ton of lacing. It's pitch black (not even brown at the edges), and there's a bunch of bubbles at the bottom of the glass.

S - Coffee, bittersweet chocolate, roast malt, some dark fruit sweetness as well - plums, currants, etc. There's some hop flavor as well, in a similar vein as fresh Darkness. It's really delicious, but not huge.

T - There's a lot of bitterness in this one - coming from the coffee, bitter chocolate, and even the hops. There is some residual sweetness on the edges of my tongue, but the taste is pretty consistent. Even the aftertaste is kind of bitter. I'm curious to see if this mellows out and sweetens up as it ages.

M - Medium-bodied, with a surprising amount of carbonation tingle to it. Leaves a sticky coating on the inside of my mouth.

D - The surprisingly refreshing mouthfeel and well-hidden ABV make this a very (and dangerously drinkable) stout. I should probably be sipping it, but instead I'm hitting it like an IPA. I'd definitely bring a 4-pack to a party.

It'd be nice if this was made more often than every three years, although it's not like Founder's has any bad brews to displace (they seem to have given up on that quad they made).

Serving type: bottle

01-31-2009 21:54:45 | More by MasterSki
Photo of Westsidethreat


4.22/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Perhaps the darkest beer I've ever seen? Poured like black thick ink. The dark tannish brown has crumbled to a faint memory of what once was...wisps and the foam o-ring remain.

S: Black patent and roasted malt aroma. Thoughts of fresh ground espresso, anise and bourbon come to mind.

T: Roasted malts make an immediate impact. Creme brulee vanilla tastes mix with oatmeal brown sugar flavors quickly give way to the massive milk chocolate and coffee aftertaste that stays with the palate for quite some time.

M: A very sticky beer. Not necessarily creamy, but very thick.

D: This beer is GINORMOUS. Very rich, very complex. Bit too sweet for my tastes but still wonderful.

Serving type: bottle

05-21-2006 04:44:00 | More by Westsidethreat
Photo of TurdFurgison


4.22/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I tried this based on good experience with other Founders beers. This one doesn't disappoint either. I poured it into a pint glass, and it had a good stouty appearance. Dark black liquid with very thin tan foam on top. The head dissipated quickly so that it looked like I was drinking cola.

This actually smelled like Founders Breakfast Stout, but with less coffee. It was also a little heavier feeling than the Breakfast Stout. A lot of alcohol is apparent in the initial sips, and you can taste the hops bitterness in the after-taste. Very strong flavor, almost too rich.

A really good imperial stout, but I probably won't drink it too often.

Serving type: bottle

03-26-2006 03:34:56 | More by TurdFurgison
Photo of ShadesOfGray


4.22/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz short bottle into my Portsmouth snifter/tulip. Pours a dark and thick black with a very slight reddish tinge. Fills the glass extrememly dark black with absolutely no light through. Head is a very late arrival...even with an aggressive pour. No head at all upon final pour...but alas! It starts a late arrival but remains very small, less than a finger in size and very deep tan, close to brown. Leaves very spotty lacing, not much to get excited over though.

Aroma has a slight bitterness to it, loads of coffee notes, and not much booze to speak of. Smells thick and malty(yes I said it, smells thick!).

This is a very good and solid stout! How does Founders keep making great beers-and stouts for that matter. All taste different, yet similar at the same time. This one is huge with the coffee notes. Very smooth and thick, malty mouthfeel. Not a great fridge temp beer...definitely let this one get a little warmer. Wow...as I continue to drink, velvety smooth. As the temp goes up on this beer...so does the booze in the mouthfeel. In the end...very good stout from Founders!

Serving type: bottle

04-16-2010 02:45:32 | More by ShadesOfGray
Photo of readbaron


4.22/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Purs thick and dark, dark, dark brown, with a bit of mocha head that quickly thins to a tiny ring with a bit of lacing.

Smells like big burnt roasted malts. A hint of leather, and maybe a tiny bit of chocolate/sweetness.

Taste is quite good - more complex than the nose would lead you to think. Roasted, almost bitter malt is the dominant flavor, then it mellow into a bit of sweetness before finishing with a smooth burnt bitter flavor.

Mouthfeel is perfection. Thick and viscous, nicely carbonated, creamy, but not sticky. Delightful.

Serving type: bottle

02-08-2011 03:04:16 | More by readbaron


4.22/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz. Bottle poured into a small snifter

Appearance : inky black in color. Small brown head froms with vigorous pour that dissipates quite quickly.

Smell : strong roasted aromas. Lots of coffee and bitter sweet coco

Taste: strong roasted taste with some smoky flavors. Hoppy bitterness comes though on the finish. Lots of coffee and bitter sweet coco. very well balanced beer that hides the alcohol well.

Mouthfeel : full body with little carbonation

Overall : great beer very well done exactly what I would expect coming Founders. This beer is definitely a beer I'll be having again and would recommend to anyone looking for a imperial stout.

Serving type: bottle

07-19-2011 03:20:28 | More by BUNZILLA
Photo of babaracas


4.22/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours pitch black with one finger creamy, medium brown head, fades in a minute to a thin ring, leaving a few blobs of lace behind. Smell: molasses, dark chocolate, earthy, with notes of smoke, anise, and faint alcohol. Taste: roasted grain, a little char and caramelized sugar, lots of dark chocolate, black plum skin, a little anise at the end of the sip. Hopping is earthy and sweetened grapefruit. Medium-to-full bodied, nice middle ground between syrupy and creamy. Nice RIS with alcohol pretty well hidden and the considerable sweetness is kinda balanced by the hop flavors. Year not noted on bottle, but from the store I'd guess 2011 but possibly 2010.

Serving type: bottle

03-27-2011 06:01:54 | More by babaracas
Photo of Kinsman


4.23/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a viscous black body with a dark tan head making a nice appearance on top, albeit not quite as sticky as some.

Rich bittersweet chocolate and strong espresso notes great the nose. Alcohol presence is detected but not overpowering. Faint hints of tobacco and maybe some licorice mixed in as well.

Bold and complex on the palate full of roasty-toasty goodness and a nice bit of chocolate and brown sugary sweetness. Notes of licorice add a bitter touch to it and a light hint of alcohol rounds it all out.

Mouthfeel is a real winner with an incredibly creamy and smooth full-bodied texture. Overall, Founders knows how to make great beer, no doubt about that and Imperial Stout is only further proof of that.

Serving type: bottle

04-17-2012 23:51:12 | More by Kinsman
Photo of superspak


4.23/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle into snifter, bottled on 12/29/2011. Pours thick pitch black color with a small dense dark tan head with good retention, that reduces to a thin lace that lingers. Spotty soapy lacing clings to the glass. Aromas of big dark chocolate, coffee, roasted malt, char, smoke, toast, cocoa, light dark fruit, and earthy hops; a bit of alcohol as it warms up. Damn nice aromas with good balance, strength, and complexity. Taste of huge espresso, dark chocolate, roasted malt, char, smoke, toast, cocoa, and earthy hops. Good amount of roasted coffee bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of espresso, dark chocolate, roasted malt, char, smoke, toast, and cocoa on the finish for a good bit. Fantastic balance and complexity of roasted flavors; with a great hop/roast balance; and some slight cloying bitterness after the finish. Light-medium carbonation and full bodied; with a very creamy, slick, and lightly sticky mouthfeel that is very nice. Alcohol is very well hidden with only a slight warming noticed after the finish. Overall this is a highly excellent Russian imperial stout as expected. Great balance, robustness, and complexity of roasted flavors; and very smooth to slowly sip on. A highly enjoyable offering.

Serving type: bottle

12-17-2012 04:14:57 | More by superspak
Photo of keithmurray

New York

4.23/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottled on 12/22/2011

Appearance - jet black inky color with tan head

Smell - roasted coffee, expresso, roasted malts, dark chocolate

Taste - Expresso, roasted coffee, cream, roasted malts, dark chocolate

Mouthfeel - Full bodied, low carbonation, creamy, slightly sweet, bitterness of the coffee comes thru in the finish, slightly boozy, to be expected at this ABV, finish is a bit unbalanced, though

Overall - this is a good stout, my only gripe is the finish may be a bit unrefined

Price Point - $12.99/4pk 12 oz bottles

Serving type: bottle

11-16-2012 22:57:07 | More by keithmurray
Photo of kylelenk


4.23/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A - One of the darkest beers I've ever seen. Once again, a complete absence of light here. Produces a Founders muddy head that dissipates and leaves little lacing around the edges of the glass. If you enjoy this over a period of time, the lacing leaves sticky residue stains on the walls of the glassware behind.

S - Smokey malts mix with bitter, melted dark chocolate a just a tiny hint of espresso. Fans of Founders Breakfast Stout will no doubt find familiar things here. Very mellow presence of alcohol in the scent that is largely masked by the grain here.

T - I can't say much more than unbelievably balance. You can look for almost anything here and undoubtably will find it. There is the huge dark chocolate/espresso profile you'd normally find from the category but it is also surprisingly hopped. It has just enough smoke that makes drinking it incredibly easy.

M - Founders Imperial Stout has quite a chewy and viscous profile. Light/med carbonated body hides the alcohol quite well.

O - Solid offering in any format (tap or bottle). Have had it with a few years on it and the beer will continue to develop if you lay it down.

Serving type: bottle

01-09-2014 05:52:23 | More by kylelenk
Photo of brewskifan55


4.23/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a snifter. Thanks, cvm4

A: The darkest brown imaginable. Slightly lighter ring around the glass. A tan, half finger head that left in the blink of an eye. Thick lacing.

S: Licorice, burnt malts, dark chocolate. Figs.

T: Very light coffee that morphs into toffee. More chocolate as it warms. Rich, robust, smooth. Heavy coffee finish.

M: Thick, chewy. Medium carbonation.

O: One of the smoothest stouts I've tried. Even better towards room temperature. Perfect with Monterey Jack cheese. Very nice with spicy chicken tenders.

Serving type: bottle

06-03-2012 01:26:21 | More by brewskifan55
Photo of t_carterb


4.23/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I've finally started reviewing beers after many years of simply reading the reviews online. This is my first BA review.

Poured into tulip glass:

A- Thick, black body with a one-finger, frothy, head.

S- Malt, dark chocolate, and a little coffee. Smells like a classic RIS.

T- The first thing I noticed was a strong roasted and smoky malt followed by dark chocolate and a little coffee that comes through at the end. Seems like the malt dominates. A little bitterness, but not at all over the top. Less boozy than expected considering it's abv and the fact that it's from Founders and an RIS.

M- Big thick heavy body with an oily feel that coats the mouth. Great beer with plenty of body.

O- This is an excellent RIS and one of my favorites. I
love breakfast stout, but it seems like I've enjoyed drinking this more so this year than FBS.

Serving type: bottle

02-19-2012 14:25:24 | More by t_carterb
Photo of ummswimmin

New Jersey

4.23/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I received this bottle from a friend at work. I kept missing it every time it would show up in the store.

I poured the Stout into a snifter to best hold in the aroma coming off this beer. I received no foam over a very dark beer.

I really enjoy the richness coming off this beer. I definitely pick up coffee and a ton of roast. At the edges I feel like I smell a little bourbon.

The flavor is equally rich. This is a very tasty, challenging stout.

More props to Founders... this is another great stout among many I've had by them.

Serving type: bottle

01-03-2013 00:15:29 | More by ummswimmin
Photo of MattSweatshirt


4.24/5  rDev -3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Coming out of the bottle it is almost black. A finger of thick dark brown head forms in my snifter atop a body of total blackness. Thick lacing sticks behind.

Roasted coffee and brownies lead with some more caramel mixing with the chocolate giving some more sweetness to the aroma, and a touch of cherry.

It says 90 ibu's, but doesn't come off as a bitter monster. Slight hop flavor is still intact with some earth and grass. Big roasted malt envelops and doesn't allow for much sweetness. Served room temp there is a slight alcohol warmth present throughout the taste. Chocolate is there but not like in the aroma.

Drinks so smooth and viscous. It's a big beer. Finishes dry and gets sticky on the lips.

Home run stout here as the grade and amount of reviews indicates.

Serving type: bottle

01-23-2014 16:55:55 | More by MattSweatshirt
Photo of silverblaze540


4.24/5  rDev -3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

A - Very dark black, with very thin brown head. Head disperses quickly.

S - Chocolate, with hints of coffee and malt. Smell is nice, but not very strong.

T - Sweet at the front, chocolately taste. Quickly switches to mildly bitter at the end with coffee aftertaste. Nice balance. Alcohol taste is prominent but balanced by other flavors.

M - Very thick, creamy, and silky.

O - Very nice and balanced beer. Heavy, with a sweet smell and initial taste. The bitterness lingers for a while. Enjoyable.

Serving type: bottle

02-08-2014 04:00:49 | More by silverblaze540
Photo of davemarc87


4.25/5  rDev -2.7%

04-06-2014 13:26:12 | More by davemarc87
Photo of DanGeo


4.25/5  rDev -2.7%

04-11-2013 01:40:41 | More by DanGeo
Photo of delaced21


4.25/5  rDev -2.7%

03-03-2014 20:38:08 | More by delaced21
Photo of Ben7773


4.25/5  rDev -2.7%

01-01-2014 22:07:09 | More by Ben7773
Photo of oteixeira

North Carolina

4.25/5  rDev -2.7%

11-29-2012 22:23:39 | More by oteixeira
Photo of Sam_Gladieux


4.25/5  rDev -2.7%

03-29-2014 12:43:27 | More by Sam_Gladieux
Founders Imperial Stout from Founders Brewing Company
97 out of 100 based on 5,502 ratings.