Founders Imperial Stout - Founders Brewing Company

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Founders Imperial StoutFounders Imperial Stout

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6,896 Ratings
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Ratings: 6,896
Reviews: 1,780
rAvg: 4.37
pDev: 8.47%
Wants: 659
Gots: 1,960 | FT: 148
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: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 6,896 | Reviews: 1,780
Photo of ffejherb
4.25/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On tap at UJ's on the Manatawny on 5/17/09. Served in a snifter.

A - Deep black body with slim tan head that reduced to a patchy film but left a pretty thick coating of lace around the glass.

S - Bitter chocolate and cocoa notes with a slight burnt caramel aspect. Hops display an earthy, somewhat woody character.

T - Rich chocolate notes with a heavy nutty astringency that lasts well into the finish. Concludes with an earthy hop bitterness. Alcohol presence is quite tame overall for an Imperial Stout.

M - Warm and softly carbonated, Founders Imperial Stout is full bodied with a rich, fairly chewy texture. Finishes with moderate bitterness and quite a bit of astringency on the palate.

D - Even though I nursed this bad boy for about an hour, this remained quite drinkable throughout. While I prefer Breakfast Stout, this is certainly no slouch.

Photo of Pencible
3.85/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This poured a nearly opaque dark mahogany with a bit of dark tan head. It smelled like burnt coffee and brown sugar, with a bit of smokiness and alcohol. It tasted like bitter coffee and burnt dark chocolate, with molasses and charred oak and alcohol. It was fairly thick with some carbonation, and had a strong bitter aftertaste. Overall this had a very strong bitter, and dry flavor, but was still enjoyable. It had good body too. Definitely better for sipping, as the alcohol was definitely hot. It would probably mellow out and improve with age. This wasn't as good as the Breakfast stout, and not even close to KBS, but that still leaves it better than average.

Photo of MDekker
4.8/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A: Pours out solid black. A layer of light brown head oozes to the top and then recedes, leaving a rim of head around the edge. Basically, it looks like it should.

S: Rich, of dark coffee, dark chocolate and other dark roasty things. The alcohol is there too. This comes the night after I had Sam Adams Imperial Stout, and this one is winning so far.

T: All the roasted flavors are there, but some rich fruit notes come out as well, and then the hops kick in to finish it off, with their own sizable punch, which makes for a really nice balance. The alcohol is there too. I'm just so pleased, that I'm going to go and give it a 5 on taste, which is rare for me. It's...really good.

M: This is good too. I could ask for a smidge more carbonation, but then I'm just being fussy.

D: The serious alcohol and hops were wear me out, but this sure is good. So, screw it, this gets a 5 too.

Photo of Onenote81
3.96/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This beer pours so thick and syrupy and black, I thought I was changing my oil. I thought I would find chunks in this thing, it was so thick. Decent tawny brown head on top. Excellent sip rings stick to the glass as well. Smells of deep chocolate tones and heavy coffee. Some sweet creamy bready scent in there as well.

Mouthfeel is very thick and creamy. This thing leaves a film on the tongue. I felt like I could chew this. Flavor is of wine, grape juice, alcohol, and finishes like bitter black coffee. This is crazy good. Very impressive stout. I've been hanging on to this for a few months and it did not disappoint.

Photo of gameface23
4.3/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

A: It looked like I poured motor oil into my glass - it "glugged" from the bottle in a similar manner. Completely opaque black. Not much of a head, but what is there is as dark as any head I've ever seen.

S: Chocolate, slight hops, dark fruit, and must.

T: Roasted malts, chocolate, dark fruits, and a slight alcohol burn.

M: "Viscous as shit" comes to mind. I seriously think if one of the trucks that are used to distribute this ever broke down on the highway, they could pour a bottle of this into it instead of oil and be on their merry way. I had to look in the mirror to see if it was still coating my teeth.

D: For a 10.5% beer, this thing is a champ.

Photo of srrn
4.7/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

What a great beer. Pours the deepest brown/black with a deep brown head. Smell of chocolate and faint hops. Taste is sweet chocolate, followed by dark fruit and a nice bitter coffee finish. This is a great RIS I will seek out often. A nice complex sipper.

Photo of JonMich13
4.58/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A= Pure oily black like a good stout should. Even a hard pour produced a minor brown head. It thinned quickly and left only a little lacing on the glass.

S = Not a huge aroma here. Actually I'm getting more of a hoppy waft than anything else. Roasted malts there as well. Strangely smell hints of Belgian yeast. Interesting.

T = Taste is huge up front with big thick roasted malts. Almost a rum taste in there with some super dark fruits. Bitter dark chocolate is also present. A bit of hop bitterness kicks in with some boozy alcohol and the rum presence lingers in the aftertaste. An exceptional tasting RIS.

M = Just about perfect. Thick, coating and viscous in the mouth. With each sip you do not get cheated. Not quite as creamy as the Breakfast Stout, which I consider my perfect beer. But this is darn close.

D = For a RIS, this is extremely drinkable.

Wow, Founders is definitely becoming my go-to for stouts. These guys know what they're doing.

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

Thanks to leftmindedrighty for hooking this up in a BIF box.

Pours a thick impenetrable black with a very nice tan ice cream head that retains forever and leaves very nice lacing.

Nose is full of roasted malt and a bit of a chocolate profile. Mild alcohol, but roasted malt defenitely dominates.

Big and thick. Roasted malt jumps out of the gate. Some deep chocolate appears in the beginning as well. As a minimal coffee presence peaks out a touch, the roasted malt really amps up and some bitterness/slight hoppy flavor accentuates a fairly dry finish. Aftertaste is lingering roasted malt and a bit of an alcohol heat.

Mouthfeel is right where you want it. I think this one could just a tiny touch more viscous, but the carbonation is fine.

Drinkability is quite good for the style, but nothing particularly mindblowing. Certainly not a hot beer though.

Overall a very nice and well made imperial stout. With a few minor improvements, this one could be one of the best out there. A great beer.

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

Picked up a single at Abe's Cold Beer for $3 a couple months back. Poured pitch black with a tall light brown head. Man, this is pretty bitter. It's also a little more drinkable, which I also like from the big stouts. The beer tastes like extra thick dark chocolate cake, like flourless cake. There's a also a slightly tangy citrus bitterness, that while you can feel, struggles to overcome the massive dark malts on your tongue. Overall a fine RIS and certainly worth my three buck.

Photo of sulldaddy
4.68/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Sampling a 12 oz stubbie bottle at cellar temp poured into a snifter.
The beer pours a thick dark cola brown color with tan to brown creamy head of 3 cm foaming up even with a gentle pour. The head fades slowly leaving tight clingy lattice on the sides of the glass.
The aroma is dark roast malt, almost smokey and heavy cacao chocolate, some molassess and a bit of prune or plum as well. No hop presence that I can detect.
First sip reveals a thick body and very minimal fine carbonation. The texture is viscous as the pours hinted at.
Flavor is heavy roasted malt and dark chocolate, mixing with a bit of brown sugar and just a little booze on the finish. Again no hops make an appearance.
The beer is extremely tasty and rich and easy to drink for 10.5%.
I will definitely be buying this beer again if/when I see it on the shelves.

Photo of hsway
4.65/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a pilsner glass. Pours very, very viscous.

a: Deep, deep brown, almost black. Settles with a thin layer of medium brown head. Some lacing.

s + t: Very rich with chocolate, coffee, and a hint of dark fruitiness, plummy.

m: Truly awesome - coats the tongue and palette without being syrupy or overbearing.

Photo of ndm502
4.45/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

A: The stout pours thick and viscous, like motor oil. A dark cream-colored head builds and slowly dissipates to leave a persistent, thin layer and good lacing. The beer is pitch black without the slightest highlight.

S: Plums, darkly roasted coffee beans, bittersweet chocolate, espresso, roasted grains, with some hops floating around the edges.

T: Thick, creamy, like a rich turkish coffee accompanied by flavors of molasses, anise, deep chocolate flavors, bitter roasted grains, and a mouth-coating malty sweetness. The incredibly long finish starts off with bitter roasted grains and espresso, giving way to unsweetened bakers chocolate and and chocolate-covered raisins.

M: The texture is incredibly rich and velvety, with a layer of warming alcohol. Very viscous and smooth. An amazing mouthfeel.

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

A - Pours a nice thick black with a mocha head that fades into a lacing around the glass.

S - Mostly malty chocolate. Slight hint of caramel.

T - Big roasted malt with bitter chocolate. Again a hint of caramel. A bit of warmth in the aftertaste. Complex and rich. I love the creaminess.

M - Nice and thick. Just the way I love it.

D - A bit warm but not overly so considering the ABV. Smooth going down. I could have a couple of these.

This is a pretty good Imperial Stout. I feel like one lucky little boy right now.

Photo of Wetpaperbag
3.75/5  rDev -14.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A- Very dark black with a good milk chocolate tan head. The head is creamy and chick fluffyness.

S- Chocolaty goodness comes though, with a touch of vanilla and a good burnt roasty malt smell too.

T- The roasted coffee malt taste is very up front. The chocolate is very much there, but not too overwhelming. The finish is dry, and kind of chalky.

M- Thick, and yet works well. The dry finish is not my thing though.

D- Easy to drink, alcohol was well hidden.

Photo of russpowell
4.41/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Got this one from joe1510, cheers Joe!

Pours ebony with a pinky of chocolate head. Nice oily sheen, above average lacing & below averagehead retention

S: Bourbon, vanilla, oak & toffee, plus some hazel nut??

T: Dryness, roasty malt, dark fruit, leafy & herbal hops up front. Some booze warmth is coming through as this warms, along with plummyness, charred grain, coffee & oaky dryness. Finishes dry, with juicy charred grain & some dark fruit, plus some smokeyness & sourmash aftertaste

MF: Slick, pretty rich & chewy with great balance

Drinks easy for the style & ABV, not my favorite, but not far from it

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

12 oz bottle from by secret bunny poured into a snifter.

A-Body is a thick, viscous, opaque dark brown hue. Pours with a small medium brown foamy head that quickly fades to a very thin collar. Some traces of lacing remain at the top of the glass.

S-Potent. Phenols come through over a deep, complex RIS nose. I pick up anise, raisins, dark chocolate malt, and a touch of roastiness. All well balanced but the phenols are very much upfront and the highlight of the nose.

T-Upfront is a mix of dark fruit and anise upfront with a thick roasted dark malt backbone. The flavor gets slightly bitter for the finish as the roasted component of the malt comes through more but all the complexity remains all the way through. A big warm alcohol blanket lingers and wraps the initial flavors.

M-Medium to high prickly carbonation and smooth, thick viscous body underneath.

D- This brew certainly lines up with RIS and is a good example of the style. Exactly what I think when I think of RIS's. IMO, its also a step up from the other Founders stouts. This is good, but a pretty typical example of the style. ABV is high and somewhat prominent. Good beer overall that I would not hesitate to have again.

Photo of tigg924
4.3/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: black, next to no head

Smell:sweet cream, expresso, roasted malt, chocolate

Taste: sweet creamy start, followed by a more harsh burnt malt and expresso finish. Somewhat complex.

Mouthfeel: heavy, thick, and creamy

Drinkability: I like this RIS a lot. It hides the alcohol really well. Founders makes a lot of good beer and I think this is one of their best. I would get this again in a heart beat.

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

Nabbed this bottle from DLD and am ready to indulge, thanks to ThomasHardy.

A: Pours nice and silky. An aggressive pour yielded a small 0.5cm head. Nice coffee saliva-like froth. Lacing persists through what I have drank so far.

S: Coffee, molasses, malts, chocolate, and love.

T: Much better than anticipated, like the breakfast stout with less coffee like bitterness. Up front coffee and malts, followed by sweetness, and a dry mildly bitter finish with chocolate goodness left on the tongue. ABV becomes hidden in this guy or maybe I have just been drinking too many big beers?

M: Silky smooth, vicious, perhaps the beers best quality.

D: Regret that I only traded for one bottle, but it's a great single taste. Will have to search out when more trading or when founders is available in Minneapolis.

Photo of mhatters
4.38/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured on-tap at TJs

Jet black pour, with a chocolate colored head that bubbled and hung about - small amounts of lace formed in a ring around the glass

Nose is powerful, lots of malt and roast, coffee comes fast and hard, than disapates some when allowed to open a bit. The alcohol is present, as is chocolate and more malt. A molasses like sugar aroma hints about.

Rich, robust and deep flavor - well roasted malts are apparent right off the mark, coffee, chocolate, and some raisin and plum at the back.

Bitter finish, with oak, roasted coffee, and bitter chocolate

This is a huge beer, super rich and chewy, mild carbonation, creamy with a wonderful roasted malt persistence. A great representative of the style and as a stand-alone beer.

Photo of callmemickey
3.89/5  rDev -11%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pitch black body, with a thin tan head... very little lacing

S: Rich roasted coffee and chocolate.. bold and assertive...

T: Dulled down version of the nose... the flavors are still there, they are just lacking the pronounced "pop" the nose had... slight alcohol coming through.

M: Smooth medium body... nice carbonation leaves a slight carbonation tingle on the finish

D: Solid... but not my top choice for the style

Photo of schroederm
3.88/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

In a tulip:

One finger of yellow brown head that falls into a blanket. Stains the glass. Lacing isn't thick but is sticky. Smell has tons of coffee and chocolate. Oak, plum and fig. Smells sweet, bit of alcohol. Taste is very coffee bitter, with a bit of very dark chocolate. A bit out of balance. Thick and creamy. Very good carbonation. Not very easy on the palate and a bit out of balance for my ideal RIS, but I could see why that might be what a good thing for some.

Photo of charlesw
3.08/5  rDev -29.5%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Odd or interesting or whatever that Founders would have so many different imperial stouts. So close to one another and yet so different... This time it's their IS - an RIS. Deep and black, totally opaque. Very small head despite a vigorous pour.

Smells of smoke and sour apricots.

OK. Tastes like an RIS, mostly. Smoke, coffee, licorice, milk chocolate, citrus peel bitterness. Well. Citrus pips, anyway.

In the style it's a bit more reserved than many. Why, I can see how this might be drinkable and good at that with only a year in the cellar. As it is, it's over the top on the smoke and bitterness.

Photo of Damian
4.57/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Drank from a 12 fl. oz./355 ml bottle purchased at Liquor World, Cambridge, MA
Served in a snifter

The beer poured an oily, absolute pitch black with a small, bubbly, coffee-colored head that quickly faded to a thick ring. Spotty drops of lacing trickled down the glass.

The aroma was intense. Sweet, rich and creamy. Coffee notes dominated (freshly brewed coffee, to be precise). Deep roasted malts came through strong as well, along with some baker's chocolate. Slightly boozy/bourbony. Overall, quite robust and complex. As the beer warmed, the nose became much sweeter and more complex. A distinct, oat-like quality was noticeable. Brown sugar came through as well. Dark chocolate notes became much more pronounced.

Like the aroma, the taste was rich and full. Super deep, dark, roasted malts were immediately apparent. Some brown sugar too. Bitter coffee (possibly coffee grounds) came through as well. Baker's chocolate was noticeable in the center, along with some sweet raisiny and dark fruit notes. The finish was uber bitter with a charred, espresso-like flavor. Dry, woody and slightly tannic. A subtle leafy hop presence was also detectable.

The mouthfeel was one of the biggest I can remember for a Russian imperial stout. My glass felt like a lead weight. Super thick, heavy and rich with a very fine and mild carbonation. Oily and chewy. Outrageously creamy on the palate.

Drinkability was very good for the style. Although this beer was was quite "big" in all aspects, the flavor profile was rather well balanced. Furthermore, the 10.5% ABV was remarkably well hidden.

This is a huge Russian imperial stout that competes with (and beats) many of the "bigger boys." If the folks at Founders know what's best for them (and for us), they will add this beer to their regular rotation.

Photo of ndekke39
4.1/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Judging by the notch, this was bottled on June 2008. Decanted into a pint glass. Completely opaque black with a thin tan head. Okay on the retention. Aromas are pretty light: the expected bitter chocolate and dark roasted coffee. Maybe some raisins and charred wood. Tastes of the dark chocolate and coffee. Decidedly burnt finish, although it's not bad - the bitterness off-sets the dark sweetness. Decent amount of carbonation - actually a little lighter-bodied that most other imperial stouts, but all of this makes it a very drinkable stout. The higher ABV is hidden, so take care, but otherwise this is a great example of a standard imperial stout. Nothing crazy like barrel-aging or whatnot, but if you're the mood for a good stout, this is a sure bet.

Photo of thirdeye11
3.23/5  rDev -26.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 2.5

Thanks to Ktown67 for bringing this one to me from Wisconsin!

Let me first state I am not a stout drinker in general. I have had some I really liked recently so I am really excited to try some Founders.

Presentation: Poured from 12oz bottle into my Duvel tulip glass.

A: Pours a 1/2 finger of dark tan head resting atop a pure plack beer. The head takes a minute to form, and sticks around for only a couple of minutes. Lacing on the glass is excellent. Coats quite nicely.

S: Smelling some woody notes here, some roasted barley or oats, and smoke. The alcohol is REALLY obvious in this one, maybe more so than any beer I've had. Despite that it has some nice characteristics and I enjoy smelling it.

T: Taste is nice and creamy smooth, black coffee is prominent but the most outstanding taste is pure dark 100% cacao chocolate. Since I'm not a fan of dark chocolate this isn't exactly my favorite beer. The creaminess helps balance it though.

M: Really amazing. Nice and creamy, perfectly carbonated for the style, and coats my mouth about as well as any beer.

D: It took me over an hour to finish a 12oz sample, and I couldn't have more than one due to the bitter finish of this one.

I think I will revisit this beer in a few years as I develop more of a taste for stouts. The alcohol, dark chocolate and coffee notes contribute to an overwhelming bitterness for me. I rated it higher than I probably wanted to, but I know it's a good stout. Still not the best I have had, but good.

Founders Imperial Stout from Founders Brewing Company
97 out of 100 based on 6,896 ratings.