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Founders Imperial Stout - Founders Brewing Company

Founders Imperial StoutFounders Imperial Stout

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

4,911 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 4911
Reviews: 1545
rAvg: 4.37
pDev: 8.47%

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: 4,911 | Reviews: 1,545 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of reebtaerG


4.63/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Poured into 10oz. tulip glass at Rustico

A-pours a jet black with a beige half finger head

S-wonderful aromas of chocolate, roasted coffee, and smoke

T-taste is sweet, chocolate, roasty, with smokey bitters on the finish. I do taste the alcohol but not as strong as the ABV indicates.

M- velvety full body with perfect carbonation flavor, very good beer.

O- great imperial russian stout by founders. Hides the high ABV well

Serving type: on-tap

01-13-2014 02:52:34 | More by reebtaerG
Photo of Pintofbrown


4.45/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

This was a vintage from early 2012.

The beer is black in the glass and has only a slight, froth-ring the color of molasses.

It is almost a dead ringer for dark chocolate, with a little bit of brown sugar mixed in. This is not boozy at all, only a very subtle tobacco scent.

This beer has a huge dark chocolate flavor that suits it nicely. The mid-palate introduces a wave of brown sugar and molasses, with some roast and tobacco in the finish. The age has really brought the chocolatiness and brown sugar forward, and made the tobacco and leather notes an artistic stroke of subtlety.

The feel is pretty good indeed. It does not have a truly long finish, and it is a bit dry. This could also be creamier and more hefty, even though it is already a big beer.

The flavors with two years of age are really coming together, the dark chocolate and slightly sweet and roasty flavors are fantastic. I bet you could set this aside for another year or two and still see that roastiness get even more whispy. It will never be a truly sweet stout, but it is hearty; and it is great.

Serving type: on-tap

11-25-2013 10:33:12 | More by Pintofbrown
Photo of Omnium


3.91/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Reviewed from notes
Served on tap at House of 1000 Beers
A - Pours black as black can get, has a very minimal brown colored head, minimal lacing
S - Lots of roasted chocolate malts, sweet alcohol aroma, and what seems to be a little bit of peanut butter.
T - Dark malts, underlying alcohol, but no burn, sweet smoked malts, roasted chocolates and vanilla.
M - The roasted sweet flavor hangs on, but not super thick.
O - This is a powerful beer, decent flavors and aroma, but I couldnt finish one whole glass of this, its wayyy too much at once. Good stout, but I'd rather split one as a finisher next time.

Serving type: on-tap

03-12-2013 22:51:30 | More by Omnium
Photo of MadScientist

New York

4.38/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A: Pours black with a persistent sticky, dark brown head made of cream, mousse-like bubbles.

S: Strong roast aroma and a good amount of coffee with a depth dark roasted grain aromas. Prunes and moderate citrus hops with the fresh hopped grassy note. There is some licorice and a moderate alcohol aroma.

T:Again lots of roast with some molasses and licorice. Firm hops bitterness with a good bit of roast bitterness and a moderately-light citrus hops flavor. There is a light malt sweetness but the balance is fairly bitter with a medium dry finish.

M: full bodied with moderate carbonation.

O: A thick, rich imperial stout that has a huge amount of flavor and complexity. I'm usually unhappy with licorice and molasses in beers because they usually seem to dominate but here there a part of the rich tapestry of flavors

Serving type: on-tap

01-29-2013 02:06:22 | More by MadScientist
Photo of Axnjxn

North Carolina

3.96/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

draft at beer study in chapel hill. FW tulip.

pours a pitch black with a very slight head. smell is quite big on roasted malts..slight chocolate. the taste is very big on roasted malts too..slight chocolate. not typical for a RIS honestly. flavors are there but the body is not creamy whatsoever. medium bodied, mild carbonation.

overall not my favorite RIS, but good.

Serving type: on-tap

01-16-2013 23:08:43 | More by Axnjxn
Photo of socon67

New York

4.58/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had on Tap at the Founder's Tap takeover at the Double Windsor, Brooklyn NY

A - Pours midnight black with almost no foam retention. Mild lacing. Visible coates the glass with a slick layer like cough syrup.

S - Impressive. Chocolate is coming right from the glass. Almost has the smell of a candy cordial. Brown sugar is evident. Did Willy Wonka brew this?

T - Robust and filled with rich malt flavor. Chocolate flavor is consistent throughout, and possibly stronger as the beer warmed up. Has a subtle brandy-like sweetness at the end.

M - Thick, heavy, and clearly a stout for lovers of big beers. Flavors stayed on the tongue long after the beer was gone.

O - I loved it, and maybe as much as the more acclaimed breakfast stouts. This is as good as a Russian Imp Stout can get.

Serving type: on-tap

05-17-2012 15:21:25 | More by socon67
Photo of nobeer4u


4.4/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I went into this draft hoping that this RIS could live up to the Stone and Old Rasputins of the world, and I was not disappointed.

It poured jet black with a half an inch creamy head. Smell was toasted malt with just the slightest whisper of licorice. The first sip said it all, smooth as silk with a mouthfeel that other stouts dream of. Each subsequent sip seemed to trump the previous one.

I've previously had Founders breakfast stout and although a great stout, I was not a huge fan of the overwhelming chocolate and coffee in FBS. For a stout purist like me, this RIS is far superior and is worth a try if you can get your hands on some. It's very tempting to order a second one, but at 10.5% you have to be cautious.

Serving type: on-tap

03-25-2012 21:19:52 | More by nobeer4u
Photo of Jamesthebrit


4.48/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: In a tulip glass this bad boy was pitch black. The most stunning feature was the head which looked just like a chocolate muffin. It was certainly dark unlike any stout I've ever had. (or any beer for that matter)

S: Rich and chocolaty. Also creamy. Like creamy chocolate ice cream. Mmmmm...

T: Tastes like you're drinking creme. Super thick and smooth. Tastes of chocolate and coffee.

M: Sits heavy and nice. My problem here was I could really feel the bite of the alcohol. It didn't seem to fit in well with the rest of the flavors. I had a second go at it in the bottle and for some odd reason it actually came out better. The alcohol was still present but it didn't overpower the other flavors.

Overall an exceptional beer. When it came out I just about lost it because it looked like liquid chocolate cake (although I don't like chocolate or cake...) It smelled wonderful and the first many sips were mind blowing. However as time when on the alcohol reared it's ugly head and that's what really brought this brew down in my book.

On a second go (this time a bottled version) I thought my original review was spot on other than I had to bump up the mouth feel. The alcohol was present but it was more complementary this time. A great brew.

Serving type: on-tap

02-17-2012 15:04:49 | More by Jamesthebrit
Photo of challenja


4.4/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Served on tap at the Black Squirrel in ADMO, DC.

A: Pours charcoal black with a two finger dark chocolate mocha head. The head disappears quick.. good beer, good beer.
S: Straight up dark vanilla malts, dark burnt bourbon barrel. Dark black cherry mild Costa Rican roast with caramel and green banana peel.
T: The alcohol and in stringent black burnt coffee starts it off strong and lingers on for a long time on the palate. Charcoal black cherries. 90 percent dark African cocoa. Very strong malt backbone that smacks you is thorough throughout.
M: This is a high carbo swisher that mellows on the tongue.
The tingle is immense. Not for the faint of heart. Nice bourbon barrel heat burn.
O: A really strong punch in the mouth imperial stout that is dead serious in character and appearance. A slow sipper that could be a two and out.

Serving type: on-tap

02-12-2012 04:14:05 | More by challenja
Photo of BrokenStones

New Jersey

3.55/5  rDev -18.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours black with thin tan head in Stone IRS tulip. Lots of lacing considering such a small head.

Smell is heavy with dark chocolate and coffee.

Taste is nice toasted malt and dark chocolate. Good coffee flavor in aftertaste. Much better than Breakfast Stout.
Mouthfeel is very rich and creamy. Full bodied. Not a lot of carbonation.

Overall this is a pleasant sipper.

Serving type: bottle

Serving type: on-tap

02-11-2012 01:52:44 | More by BrokenStones
Photo of GarthDanielson

North Carolina

4.43/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured on-tap and served in a snifter, the beer is jet black, with a great looking consistency, and a thick, foamy, dense, creamy, milk chocolate colored head. Aromas are rich and deep, with a good blending of chocolate and coffee, as well as some roasted qualities and a slight boozey kick. Flavors are robust and full, with a heavy roasting, almost to the point of char, carrying a solid dark coffee backbone, with some bitter cocoa nib and sweet molasses and vanilla highlights. Very well blended, and extremely smooth despite the bitter coffee and chocolate notes. The aftertaste is more of the smokey/roasted character, with a touch of the bitter chocolate and coffee once again. This full bodied brew leaves a trail of rings around the glass, and is insanely smooth leading to a velvety soft, creamy finish, with a touch of drying bitter left behind for just a moment. Tremendous beer!

Serving type: on-tap

02-07-2012 18:27:11 | More by GarthDanielson
Photo of Darkmagus82


4.08/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On tap Zeno's and served in a snifter type glass

Appearance – Deep black with a dark brown head of about 1 inch. The head was fairly persistent, but faded slowly giving some nice lacing. Swirling the beer in the glass gave indications of its wonderful thick body, as it seemed to cling to the side of the glass and slowly creep back to its resting home in the bottom of the vessel.

Smell – Strong roasted coffee mixed with a more bitter chocolate are up front and fairly persistent throughout the nose. A very smoky aroma then mixes in along with a bit of a sweet backbone of toasted barley.

Taste – Smooth. There is a roasted coffee flavor that meets the tongue with warmth. A sweet and smooth chocolate flavor then works its way into the profile and starts to take over the coffee flavor. Toward the end however, the roastiness of the brew comes back to take over the sweet, this time with an bitter chocolate and smoky flavor.

Mouthfeel – As anticipated from how the brew seemed to grasp the glass when swirled, the body is hearty and thick. It coats the mouth and tongue like a blanket; warm and comforting. The carbonation is lower, which suits the body quite well. Very nice.

Overall – Quite a great beer. It has it all; flavor, aroma, look and feel. One great brew to sit back and savor if you have the chance.

Serving type: on-tap

02-07-2012 01:06:11 | More by Darkmagus82
Photo of Rifugium


4/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

First had: on tap at Capone's, Norristown, PA

Poured a thick, opaque black with a small mocha head; minimal retention and lacing. Aroma is pretty typical of the style: dark malts, roasty coffee, cocoa, some noticeable alcohol. Sweet taste, caramel, dark malts, chocolate, pumpernickel, some bitterness coming in from the coffee, and a slight alcohol burn. Heavy-medium body, not overly extraordinary or unique, but obviously still a fine brew overall.

Serving type: on-tap

01-29-2012 22:54:22 | More by Rifugium
Photo of UDbeernut

New York

4.35/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap at rattle n hum in NYC. Nice silky tan head capping a appealing oily black hue. Nose is full of bitter chocolate, coffee, and light citrus hop. Mouth is complex with the same but addition of light caramel. Smooth and creamy this one hides the alchohol well. Warming and a treat on this snowy day in the city.

Serving type: on-tap

01-21-2012 18:15:13 | More by UDbeernut
Photo of sommersb


4.05/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Tasted On: 01-18-2012
Freshness: Unknown
Packaging: Draft
Glassware: Shaker pint
Purchased: On tap at Wino's Depot, Bowling Green KY

Served on draft into a shaker glass, there was almost no room for a head. Color is black as night and seemed opaque. Aromas are of chocolate, coffee and dark, roasted malts.

Taste is of strong roasted coffee malts, with the bitterness of unsweetened chocolate. Full bodied with low carbonation. A slow sipper due to the intense roasted character. The alcohol is hidden well.

Overall a solid imperial stout.

Serving type: on-tap

01-19-2012 05:18:18 | More by sommersb
Photo of Tucquan


4.39/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Had this on 2012-01-14 in Lancaster, PA at The Fridge, again on 2012-01-21 in Enola, PA at Al's of Hampden, on 2013-01-16 and again on 2013-10-15 in Columbia, PA.

A- Deep, dark brown with a 3/4-finger tan head and great lacing.

S - Dark fruit, dark chocolate, dark roasted grain, coffee.

T - Much like you'd expect from the smell except for a strong charred grain.; certainly more than the FBS. This char character melds well with the dark fruit, chocolate and coffee. It's a bold flavor that is acrid and astringent and delicious.

M - Thick body with light-medium carbonation. Full, smooth and creamy.

O - I enjoy this quite a bit and rate it quite highly; a bit below the CBS, about the same as the FBS and KBS. Of all the tastings, I'd say the one I had on 2013-01-16 (bottled Dec 2012) is the best. It's funny how tastes change. The Dec 2012 bottle I had on 2013-10-15 caused me to drop my taste rating by .25 because the char was just a touch too much and I found myself wanting it a little sweeter. Regardless; it's a great beer.

Serving type: on-tap

01-15-2012 13:30:54 | More by Tucquan
Photo of brewmudgeon


3.08/5  rDev -29.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

founders FIS, fresh

a 3.5 tiny cocoa colored head above a very dark body. transient grainy lace.

s 3.5 char, dark chocolate, hops, some alc. almost smells like a black ipa.

t 3 the hops are clearly there, flavor and bitterness-wise, much more so than in the 11-month cellared bottle i tried before. this makes the beer a very different beast than even the slightly aged version. the finish is still predominated by a dry char that i do not find nearly as charasmatic as that in tres. can't say i'm loving this, but it is certainly bolder and more interesting than the cellared bottle.

m 3.5 medium to full body, a bit more viscous than at 11 months. the harsh finish is still bugging me.

o 2.5 a beer that i have tried to like now in two forms. still not succeeding. does not seem to come together at all and adds up to less than the sum of its parts.

Serving type: on-tap

01-15-2012 05:51:12 | More by brewmudgeon
Photo of Mposha


4.33/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: dark black nice tan lingering head.
S: deep dark coffee flavors and a nice light maltiness with some chocolate.
T: Big coffee notes with hints of molasses and chocolate. Very sweet with little licorice notes.
M: nice medium bodied, very drinkable stout. Taste lingers but not super wet. Very good, very solid, comparable to w'n'b, but more coffee and fresher in this instance.

Serving type: on-tap

11-12-2011 04:13:41 | More by Mposha
Photo of jsprain1


4.08/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A- Pours quite close to black. I think can call it black. Head is thin but lasts well with a good bit of sticky lacing.
S- Not as vibrant as I expected. There is molasses, dark chocolate, and fig. Complex but restrained.
T- More coffee like than the nose indicated. Quite espresso-like. There is a dark fruit flavor and a slight prune quality. There is a bit of hoppiness in the finish.
M- Medium bodied for an imperial stout. Carbonation is low, but the body comes across as rich and creamy.
O- It's a quite good Imperial Stout. There are some out there I like a little more, but this one is quite good.

Serving type: on-tap

10-02-2011 06:45:03 | More by jsprain1
Photo of vandemonian


4.35/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Founders Imperial Stout is a tasty RIS with some smokey character.

A: Black with good 15 mm head. 4.5

S: Smells malty with some roasty/smokey character. 4.5

T: Roasty malt and coffee and into a smokey aftertaste. 4.5

M: Thick and good. 4

O: Yum. Not as good as the KBS I just had though. 4

Serving type: on-tap

08-24-2011 02:56:56 | More by vandemonian
Photo of woosterbill


4.08/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On-tap at the Brewster DeCicco's, with CBS on deck.

A: Deep black body with just a wisp of swirling dark brown bubbles that just won't go away. A swirl creates a half-inch head that's as dark as just about anything out there (Hunahpu's excepted, of course). Lots of lace. Intimidating and beautiful.

S: Pleasantly boozy, with coffee, dark chocolate, and intense dark fruit - prune overload. Impressive, but a bit overboard with the fruit if you ask me.

T: Grapes, prunes, raisins, and rich coffee. Chocolate on the finishs, as well as some serious boozy burn. Tasty, but a bit harsh.

M: Highly carbonated, very creamy, and rich. I like it.

O: This is quite the beer, but just a trifle boozy and unbalanced to be truly great. I've got a couple bottles, and I'll definitely be sitting on them for a while longer. I bet they'll be great at room temp on a cold winter's evening.


Serving type: on-tap

08-18-2011 03:03:35 | More by woosterbill
Photo of AleWatcher


4.55/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Ontap at FFF.
Reviewed from notes.
Served in a snifter.

Very dark and thick, like a soy sauce milkshake... Viscous and gorgeous, like an oil slick on foreign shores... The head reminds my of ground cinnamon flowing through an hour glass with perhaps some tan wet sand colors allowed as the shimmering light playfully caresses the bubbles whilst they tumble and fall all around. From the depths of this blackness I cry out to thee, "come drink this with me!"

This beer feels as thick as it looks. This is one of the thickest and heaviest imperial stouts available-- it is the inspiration for "cement mixer" shots. This beer is so big I have to call it "Mr Beer" in front of company.

Some kid in my 3 year old's preschool apparently used to say "holy guacamole" enough that my kid started saying it... Only, in a fit of "telephone operator"-like mishearing, my kid started saying "holy godamole." Personally, I like this better, and it has in fact become one of my go-to phrases. So here I sit, sipping this beer, saying softly aloud to myself, "anything you can assert without evidence I can dismiss without evidence. Holy godamoles this is a good fucking beer."

The nose hits with giant notes of chocolate malts... A big roasty flavor kills me here. I could drink this all night. The flavor is lots of bitter chocolate with a nice dry bitterness in the finish. I like this beer mucho.

Overall, I could rock this all the time. This is absolutely a fantastic imperial stout. Tons of flavor, and quite enjoyable. Very excellent.

Serving type: on-tap

07-27-2011 03:51:57 | More by AleWatcher
Photo of jmvecchio1


4/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Imperial Stout pours out a dark black off the pour - no light is getting through this beer. A chocolate colored head develops and sits on top like a cap until it eventually fades out into some lacing. A mixture of bitter chocolate and roasted coffee greet you on the aroma with some sweetness on the finish. Alcohol takes the front seat on the first few sips, but fades out and allows the beer’s complex flavors to shine through. Hops hit up front, but are balanced nicely with roasted malts that are truly the backbone holding each flavor together. Chocolate and coffee notes are present, but not overwhelming. The alcohol slowly warms with each sip you take.

Serving type: on-tap

07-16-2011 20:47:26 | More by jmvecchio1
Photo of ngeunit1


4.35/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Served a jet black color with a finger of frothy tan-brown head atop. The head hangs around for a while before leaving behind lots of lacing.

S - Rich deep roasted caramel and chocolate malts. There is also a touch of sweet milk and roasted coffee as well.

T - Starts off with lots of deep roasted caramel flavor and some coffee. Though the middle some more roasted flavors and a bit of milk sweetness and some chocolate flavor comes thorough. The finish is a mix of roasted caramel and coffee with a touch of booze that lingers.

M - Full bodied with moderate carbonation. The beer feels smooth and a touch creamy. he finish is sweet with some roasted and chocolate flavors and a bit of warming from the alcohol.

D - Very drinkable. Very nice balance of roasted, sweet, and chocolate flavors throughout. The beer is also really rich and complex.

Serving type: on-tap

06-14-2011 02:56:26 | More by ngeunit1
Photo of mizzouguy


4.35/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured deep dark black with a very small tan dead. The first smell from this is very boozy, then roasted malts with some chocolate coffee scent in the end. Taste is the roasted malt up from with a little bitter hops in the back. It ends with some warming alcohol flavor. The mothfeel is thick and chewy like any good stout should be. Overall this is an outstanding stout which I hope will continue to improve with some age.

Serving type: on-tap

05-14-2011 00:48:45 | More by mizzouguy
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Founders Imperial Stout from Founders Brewing Company
97 out of 100 based on 4,911 ratings.