Dismiss Notice
Subscribe to BeerAdvocate magazine and get 12 issues / year of fresh beer content delivered to your door each month.

Already subscribe? to manage your subscription.

Founders Imperial Stout - Founders Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Founders Imperial StoutFounders Imperial Stout

Educational use only; do not reuse.

1,717 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 1,717
Hads: 6,982
rAvg: 4.32
pDev: 7.18%
Wants: 664
Gots: 2,026 | FT: 151
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
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Reviews: 1,717 | Hads: 6,982
Photo of VikingBeer
4.46/5  rDev +3.2%
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! (603 characters)

Photo of polloenfuego
4.44/5  rDev +2.8%
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. (679 characters)

Photo of cjohns73
4.39/5  rDev +1.6%
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. (448 characters)

Photo of justinp444
4.44/5  rDev +2.8%
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. (382 characters)

Photo of stompilator
4.64/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | 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. (663 characters)

Photo of GrinkoN
4.4/5  rDev +1.9%
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. (386 characters)

Photo of lakemarkham
4.32/5  rDev 0%
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. (638 characters)

Photo of BSiegs
4.73/5  rDev +9.5%
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. (172 characters)

Photo of Edman5P
4.19/5  rDev -3%
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 (241 characters)

Photo of classixIII
4.54/5  rDev +5.1%
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! (241 characters)

Photo of brap
4.59/5  rDev +6.2%
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. (240 characters)

Photo of MA_hops
4.42/5  rDev +2.3%
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! (378 characters)

Photo of Arnar_Hallsson
4.34/5  rDev +0.5%
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. (152 characters)

Photo of infinitebruner
4.2/5  rDev -2.8%
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. (907 characters)

Photo of StoneTSR
4.4/5  rDev +1.9%
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. (1,164 characters)

Photo of heygeebee
3.6/5  rDev -16.7%
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. !!! (267 characters)

Photo of MisSigsFan
4.31/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours jet black with a thin brown head that doesn't leave much lacing. Smell is coffee and dark chocolate with some dark fruit. Taste is strong, bitter dark chocolate and coffee with just a little sweetness. Alcohol is hidden well and really creeps up on you. Mouthfeel is slick and oily which clues you in to how strong this beer is. Overall a very good RIS. Nothing spectacular here but a solid beer. (402 characters)

Photo of Nickwierda
4.76/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours like ink, black and opaque - zero light getting through this one. Dark brown head, darker than most stouts - intimidating.

S: Smells great, like chocolate, a tad bit of vinousness (vinosity?) and dark fruit, but the smell is the "worst" aspect of this beer, which shines in the flavor, where it counts.

T: Holy crap this beer is delicious. The flavor just doesn't stop. Starts out with chocolate and dark fruit - kind of tastes a bit like bbq sauce when it's cold - then transitions to roasted malt, then charred malt, and then some plain ol hop bitterness at the very end. And the flavor lingers forever. Can't taste the alcohol, but after a few minutes you feel it - a sipper for sure.

M: Viscous.

O: God damn I love this beer. Could be my favorite of all time. Definitely the best Founders beer, and I love pretty much everything they make. This beer beats out KBS and Breakfast Stout by a mile. Perfection in stout form. (949 characters)

Photo of ARoman
4.19/5  rDev -3%
look: 2.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

*transferred from previous notes 1/21/2014*
On tap into a tulip glass. A dark fruit and sweet chocolate aroma with a background ashy trace greet the nose. As it warms, the chocolate smell turns to caramel and a light cookie dough smell appears. There might also be an earthy and/or barnyard note in there, but I couldn’t lock onto it. There’s a very thin mocha brown head that dissipates quickly and leaves nearly no lacing. The beer itself is a very dark, near opaque black-brown. It’s mostly chocolate syrup sweet with some minor smokey/oaky bitterness. A resin (grainy) and ashy coffee and chocolate flavor hit the tongue first for this medium-full bodied beer. The sticky and oily texture doesn’t have much carbonation to it (mainly flat) and it leaves behind a mild ashy smokey finish although pretty clean for the most part. (838 characters)

Photo of Jon_Hendricks
5/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Appearance: Pours a pitch black color.

Overall: It has a thick feel and sweet after taste, with lots chocolate and roasted malt taste. A very fine Imperial Stout, Highly Recommend!! (182 characters)

Photo of EMV
4.5/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Served from bottle, poured into a tulip glass.

L: Pours an inky black, thick with very minimal/bubbly tan head. No significant lacing.

S: Whoa... big time aroma on this one, roasted malts, dark chocolates, and toffee. Hints of espresso.

T/F: It tastes like it smells, big time roasted malts, very smooth with minimal carbonation. A bit chewy with a dark chocolate sweetness at the finish which is well balanced by the roasted malts.

O: A very fine Imperial Stout, and yet another great Founders beer. At 10.5% this one packs too big a punch for a session drink, but is perfect for dessert or a special treat. Best at cellar temperature. May be even better with a little age! (692 characters)

Photo of Plower
4.61/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Very good stout, up there with the best of easier to obtain ones. I mean, it's not like a legendary beer and its not hard to get, but its damn good. Solid 4.5+ for anyone who likes stouts. People just underrating because its common. (232 characters)

Photo of bgold86
5/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Amazing that a stout could bring up so many different notes (coffee, chocolate, vanilla), without actually having any of those ingredients!

Absolute world class, drink fresh, cellar, doesn't matter .

A perfect 10/10! (219 characters)

Photo of moonboogie_n8
4.79/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

by close call my favorite Imp stout to date. looks a superb deep black froth when poured, with dark mocha highlighting the edges and head.... smooth drink, roasted chocolate malts and bitters on the tongue, and boozy smokey coffee beans on the exhale. do i detect a hint of vanilla throughout? I think so. another founders gem. (330 characters)

Photo of DarraghKS
4.6/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Cappuccino head, almost crema effect with a wonderful rich nose of complex malts and alcohol. Taste is wonderfully rich. Slight smokey taste. Heavy roasting with coffee, chocolate and happy bitterness. Fantastic brew (216 characters)

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Founders Imperial Stout from Founders Brewing Company
96 out of 100 based on 1,717 ratings.