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Founders Imperial Stout - Founders Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Founders Imperial StoutFounders Imperial Stout

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1,728 Reviews
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Reviews: 1,728
Hads: 7,037
Avg: 4.33
pDev: 17.32%
Wants: 677
Gots: 2,063 | FT: 150
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: 1,728 | Hads: 7,037
Photo of HopsAreDaMan
4.29/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

12oz, bottled 12/2/2014, snifter used. Pours dark like any other stout, with a small but robust light-chocolate colored head, nice lacing, and good body when swirled. Aroma is strong on the booze but complex with chocolate and some port wine notes. I taste LOTS of chocolate, some burnt/roasted notes, and again, booze, although it is quite smooth on the finish.

I started writing this review when I first tried this beer, and finished the review as I sipped on the last of it (hours later). I expected a lot out of the beer, and it delivered: it is one of the best RIS I have had, with plenty of complexity. I hope to buy some to lay down and see how it fares with a couple of years age on it.

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Photo of drpimento
4.77/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Poured at cellar temp with a small, long lasting brown head and some lace. Aroma is cocoa, coffee, anise, leather, old furniture. Flavor's like nose, with bitter dominating sweet and tang. Finishes with cocoa. Very smooth palate. Too easy drinking for its strength.

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Photo of geodonnokepyo
4.14/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottled 12/15/14 Enjoyed on 9/29/15

Pours a dark like purple/black color with brown head. Head did not retain well. The smell is very complex; cacao, stone fruits, and some coffee notes. Graham cracker aromas shows up as the beer warms. The flavor is very heavy on dark chocolate and roast. This is a very viscous and full bodied beer. Still a little boozy too. Overall, this is a great RIS. I would like to revisit this one with some more age on it.

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Photo of sjdevel
4.94/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Pours like motor oil (thick and syrupy). Pitch black with no light shining through. A bit low on carbonation (only about a 1 finger head).

Smells of chocolate and caramel with slight smokey coffee scent. Smells like a decadent dessert!

There is a huge bitter bite of hops at first, but is quickly diminished by strong smoked malt, chocolate, caramel, and coffee. There is a slight sourness at the beginning, but then the sweet syrupy flavors quickly flow in. As the flavors start to fade, smokiness remains and the beer finishes a bit dry.

Very thick and full bodied. Feels quite thick and oily/syrupy. Slight dry feel at finish.

This is an awesome brew. I am impressed with how flavorful and full the beer is. It also packs quite a punch at 10.5%. I would highly recommend this one, but don't down one of these on a full stomach as it is almost a meal on its own.

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Photo of JJKBeerLvr
4.93/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured from a bottle into pint glass in September 2015.

Appearance: Dark black with a thick tan/brown head. Head is thick, and sticks to the glass.

Smell: Strong aroma of roasted coffee and malts. There is some hoppiness and a hint of sweetness like chocolate as well, but overall the roasted coffee dominate the others.

Taste: There is a nice balance between the malts and roasted coffee flavors. There is some chocolate and hop flavors to enhance the taste and add some complexity. There is a strong alcohol presence as with other RISs.

Mouth-feel: Very thick, but with a smooth creamy bodied. Not as biting as some other RISes.

This is a typically strong RIS, but it has a variety of flavors that adds a nice complexity to the beer. Although this is a big beer, it is smooth and really enjoyable to drink. Overall one of my favorite RIS, and another beer from Founders that it on the top of my list of favorites.

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Photo of BuccoFan
4.64/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

As I score this, I'm realizing that I'm giving this a higher score than Expedition stout, which I've generally labeled my favorite non-BA stout. Well, so be it.

Bottling date is 12-22-14. Aged eight-plus months in my basement. Pour is of a serious motor oil quality. I mean that. That character seems to too frequently get thrown around for RISs, but it's not always true. This is a thick pour, period. Body matches. Taste is roast, malt, with chocolate undertones.

Ultimately, I think this is far superior to the KBS and is very underrated. This is a beer that needs several months of aging though, so one should give this time when it is attained. It is everything an RIS should be.

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Photo of manfromanotherplace
4.37/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Another surprise from Founders as i expected this to be more bitter than it was. The slight sweetness to balance it out at the end was a masterstroke....great body, look and feel,this is another excellent stout from founders.possibly the best imperial stout ive tried.

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Photo of Tilly
4.1/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

P: Black, opaque, slight root beer head that dissipates quickly
A: Great coffee, chocolate, caramel, smoke.
T: Follows the aroma. Great bitter coffee/chocolate smoke. Alcohol in the back.
M: Syupy, chewy, balanced.
O: Another superior IPA. From Founders!

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Photo of brother_rebus
4.28/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.25

jet black.
Few bubbles.
Smells like chocolate.
Flavored like bacon.
Feels like engine oil.
Overall very delish.
Would certainly buy more later.

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Photo of VikingBeer
4.46/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Nice, black color, with an attractive brown head that lasts not nearly as long as I would expect. Decent lacing retention, though. Smell is dominated by as slightly spicy, roasted-malt aroma, with notes of chocolate, coffee, and hints of molasses and hoppy spiciness. Flavors are roasty and fairly dry: bittersweet chocolate, African dark-roast coffee, black-strap molasses, and hints of bourbon, berries, plums, raisins, carob, and even more chocolate and coffee on the fairly dry finish. Nice balance of carbonation level and rich, full body. Excellent, and a great value; please keep it up, Founders!

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Photo of polloenfuego
4.44/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Appearance is midnight black with a thin brown head that left rather quickly leaving very little behind.

S: Roasty, malts, caramel, some molasses and coffee. A nice nose.

T: The taste is where it is at with this one. There is a lovely blend of coffee, chocolate and roasts right up front, with a sweet molasses/treacle and vanilla middle and a good bitter finish.

M: Remarkably smooth with a full body and moderate carbonation.

O: Founders doesn't disappoint on this one, its reputation is well earned. A fine example of a RIS that is easy to sip and enjoy. The flavors just bounce around in your mouth making this one you want to sip slowly to enjoy a little longer.

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Photo of cjohns73
4.39/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a bottle dated 12/2/2014 on 8/19/2015. Color is like a starless night. Very minimal head that just fizzled right out. Head color is very dark, looks like burnt butter in a skillet. Smell is like chocolate and vanilla soft-serve with a kahlua chaser. Sits in your mouth like double fudge cookies dunked in coffee. The finale is alcohol and vanilla and the contemplation of whether drinking straight maple syrup would be as thick as this.

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Photo of justinp444
4.44/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottled 01/03/15 (Date 8/14/2015) Poured into a tulip glass this beer has a 2 inch thick beige head with a black body. Smell of coffee, vanilla, a bit of caramel, some roasted malt, and a tiny bit of chocolate. Taste is coffee, chocolate, heavy roasted malt, very bitter, and a bit of caramel and vanilla on the end. It has a full mouth feel and body with a nice bit of carbonation.

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Photo of stompilator
4.7/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Poured from a 12oz. bottle, into a snifter. Bottled 12/2/2014.

A - Poured completely jet black, milk-chocolate-brown head.

S - Chocolate, burnt sugar, toffee, booze.

T - Big explosion of baker's chocolate and toffee. Immensely sweet, with an incredibly elusive, complex malt profile. A very subtle roastiness hangs out simmering underneath this, meshing with the hop bitterness that comes out a bit near the end. Booze and dry chocolate hang out in the aftertaste.

M - Hugely full body, incredibly silky smooth, with a little dryness.

O - It's not often an imperial stout hits this level of excellence without any adjuncts. A gargantuan, wildly complex brew.

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Photo of GrinkoN
4.4/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

L: Black, little head quickly fades

S: dark chocolate, some vanilla, little caramel, roasted coffee bean

T/F: chocolate, light vanilla, some caramel. Light hops yet bitter on the back end. Light carbonation, Full bodied. Fairly balanced.

O: a balanced and flavorful imperial stout. Would definitely buy again though I'd like to try more stouts to see how it holds up against others.

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Photo of lakemarkham
4.32/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.5

Looks great. Dark looking beer with a fat, tan head. Lingers for a good while.

Smell is about what you'd expect from a beer of this sort: big and roasty, great malt scent, with just a little bit of molasses. Taste is similar, but with some coffee in there, and a big alcohol bite on it. The alcohol and espresso almost lend themselves to a Kahluha taste.

The feel's not as creamy as I would like, but I may just be spoiled by milk and oatmeal stouts. All in all, this is just a well-done stout. It's not one of those specialty beers that's going to have a whole lot going on, but I would probably fight over the last one in the fridge.

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Photo of BSiegs
4.73/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Black with a beautiful tan head. Hard to imagine a better looking pour. Great tasting, get a lot of roast, nice bitterness. Supremely full bodied mouthfeel. Fantastic beer.

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Photo of Edman5P
4.19/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Bottled on 12/22/2014
Poured out like heavily used motor oil with no head although it tasted quite nice. Sweet dark chocolate and coffee on the nose and a very heavy taste of dark coffee and chocolate on the palate. Very nice imperial stout

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Photo of classixIII
4.54/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Great RIS! Thick, black pour, short deep brown head that didn't stay very long. Chocolate, coffee aroma. Big taste, anise, more chocolate and coffee, a tad on the sweet side but the bitterness kicks in with some alcohol at the end. Get some!

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Photo of brap
4.59/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.75

A lot going on with this one. Smokey overtones with other flavors of chocolate, fruit, and sugars that seem to reveal themselves as you drink on. Really fantastic. Very impressed by this and a lot of the beers that Founder's has put out.

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Photo of MA_hops
4.42/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Hard hitting Russian imperial!!
A: Midnight black with a thick, mocha head that dissipates into a thin lacing.
S: Roasted malt, raisins, candied fruits, mixed nuts.
T: Superbly balanced between the roastedness character and the slight bitterness. Tastes similar to the aroma.
M: Big beer, thick mouthfeel. Goes down smooth and with a punch!
O: One of the better RIS's out there!

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Photo of Arnar_Hallsson
4.34/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Very complex taste, creamy and smooth, rich in flavor. Slightly nutty aftertaste where you can really taste the "strength" (alcohol) but in a nice way.

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Photo of infinitebruner
4.2/5  rDev -3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

May 13, 2015

12 oz bottle, snifter

A – Pours inky, oily black, and very viscous. A half-inch of rich chocolate brown foam, sudsy-bubbly, with very short retention.

S – Rich, dark chocolate, vanilla, some caramel, and boozy alcohol esters/fruitiness. Some pine and/or resin present. A touch of roasted coffee bean and brown sugar.

T – Dark, unsweetened chocolate with very light vanilla and caramel. Treacle and brown sugar, a faint impression of crème brulee. Hop flavor is minimal, but hop bitterness is very high, strong on the finish and lingering long after.

M – Carbonation is low but very much present. Body is full, but not as thick as I expected based on the pour. Sweetness and bitterness are very well balanced. Juicy to start and finishes moderately dry.

O – A well-constructed, balanced, aromatic, and flavorful imperial stout. Intense but still very drinkable… slowly.

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Photo of StoneTSR
4.4/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

APPEARANCE: Motor oil in a glass, and this one is particularly motor oil-ish as it pours, just the way I like my stouts. A thin, but well-organized cap of mocha colored foam appears for a moment or two before it dissolves into a lattice work of hubs and connections on the surface of the beer. What little lacing there is is very similar.

SMELL: The roastiness seems smooth and mellow due to the intense chocolate smells. It could be a touch stronger, but pretty good. Despite the 90 IBUs I do not detect any hop aroma.

TASTE: The milk chocolate in here is amazing. It provides a solid backdrop for a host of other flavors, the biggest of which is a big, strong, coffee finish. A hint of grassy hoppiness sneaks in mid-sip (revealing a few of those IBUs), along with some mild citrus.

MOUTHFEEL: This beer is gigantic. Semi-sweet and very full-bodied. Velvety smooth, but with a touch of sparkle. Beautiful feel.

OVERALL: Founders Imperial Stout is an excellent dessert beer. It's also an excellent beer without dessert. Although I love Founders, I did not expect to enjoy this one as much as I did. Founders comes through with another winner.

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Photo of heygeebee
3.6/5  rDev -16.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Hmmmm... Can't believe (1) I haven't rated this and (2) it's such a bland experience for an RIS. Done get it. Moderate roast moderate coffee, little choc, and all this at 10% + ?????
Don't think I have stored badly but tastes past it which is a no-go at this ABV. !!!

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Founders Imperial Stout from Founders Brewing Company
96 out of 100 based on 1,728 ratings.