Founders Imperial Stout - Founders Brewing Company
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Ratings: 5,677 | Reviews: 1,589 | Display Reviews Only:
4.73/5 rDev +8.5%
Enjoyed out of a 12 oz brown bottle with a bottling date of 12/8/13. Poured into a large 22 oz brandy snifter.
Appearance - As I begin to pour it, I'm struck by just how inky and black this beer looks, as close to used motor oil as I've ever seen in a beer. I finish the pour a little aggressively to coax a bit more head out of the beer and am rewarded with a one-finger head the color of rich, decadent brownies. The foam fades after a few minutes, leaving a sudsy rim and mottled film of dark sepia and bits of sticky lacing along the sides of the glass, like mini chocolate chips.
Smell - This is probably the best-smelling non-BA imperial stout I've ever inhaled. Heck, it's up there amongst all stouts, period. A decadent layering of rich roasted barley, charred toast, baker's chocolate, fresh french roast grounds, molasses, burnt caramel, and even some faint hints of smokiness. The depth and complexity of this beer just continues to amaze, and I'm all the more impressed at the fact that it accomplishes such complexity without the aid of the boozy notes that will often accompany stouts that sit in liquor barrels.
Taste - Honestly, I'm so blown away by the smell that it's all but impossible that I wouldn't be let down by the taste. That being said, saying I'm let down isn't fair to the beer. Many of the same rich notes that are present in the aroma represent themselves well in the taste. Roasted barley and bittersweet chocolate, along with more subtle (but noticeable all the same) notes of espresso beans. Where I did not pick up the heat in the smell, I'm now able to detect the high ABV, but without the esters that can sometimes make a beer seem out of balance. There is a faint bitterness, but it works well with the sweetness of the malt, like a how good counterpoint will make two separate melodies sound as if they are part of the same harmonic expression.
Mouthfeel - About the heaviest-bodied beer I've ever had, and moderate-to-low carbonation, which is admittedly surprising for the style. Perhaps the pure chewy viscosity of the body has impeded the ability for the lacing to get any purchase on the side of the glass--it's just too heavy.
Overall, this is one of the best beers I've had in awhile. It's a take that doesn't rely on any crazy components like additives or barrel-aging, but instead is just a perfect example on how the art of brewing can create a wonderfully delicious beverage. It was good by itself, but could be easily paired with food. Sweet and big enough to be a "dessert beer", but with enough balance to drink just anytime. Right about now I'm wishing I had picked up more than a 4-pack.
02-18-2014 06:17:40 | More by LambicPentameter
4.78/5 rDev +9.6%
Pitch black color. Thick brown head, looks very creamy.
Fudge, brownies, some dark fruit, a little expresso.
Very rich, deep roasted malts, bitter dark chocolate, woody, coffee, burnt toast, with some black cherries. Finish is bitter and dry. Body is full, syrupy, dry, smooth, warmth.
It's a world class beer.
02-17-2014 00:29:19 | More by mjurney
4.44/5 rDev +1.8%
The most immediate visual feature of this beer is a massive, chocolatey dark brown head. It pours motor oil opaque black, as expected. The head has excellent retention and leaves nice thick lacing early on.
The aroma is initially dominated by cocoa and chocolate malt, grape-tinged booze, barley, and cream. As it warms, the significant hop presence comes through in earthy, citrus, and resin tones, taking on a slight black IPA aspect.
Smooth flavor: the major bitterness and roasted flavors come through on the back-end and are well-balanced. Up front, there's chocolate malt, cream, barley, and dry cocoa.
Smooth and full mouthfeel, although it's not so much chewy as it is slick. Coats the mouth for quite a while, with the hoppy bitterness shining through. Excellent balance, with a huge back-end bite and dry, earthy hoppiness.
This beer carries a significant back-end bite, but it never unbalances the flavor.
Considering I just had a Narwhal last night, I can certainly put this beer in context of great (non-BA) imperial stouts. My senses' consensus is that, yes: this is a great, great stout, worthy of enjoying along with any of the big boys out there. It's not a coffee stout, and it's not excessively chocolate-focused; it's just a solid, basic, but exceptionally well-crafted imperial stout. No more, but certainly not less.
02-16-2014 19:43:09 | More by Roguer
Founders Imperial Stout from Founders Brewing Company
97 out of 100 based on 5,677 ratings.