Founders Imperial Stout - Founders Brewing Company

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Founders Imperial StoutFounders Imperial Stout

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1,711 Reviews
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Reviews: 1,711
Hads: 6,944
rAvg: 4.32
pDev: 7.18%
Wants: 660
Gots: 1,988 | 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
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Reviews: 1,711 | Hads: 6,944
Photo of schroederm
3.88/5  rDev -10.2%
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. (472 characters)

Photo of brian44556
4.26/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

2011 vintage poured into Stone tulip at 55 degrees.

The appearance of this beer was great. Poured a small foam head, jet black in color, and left a nice chocolate lacing around the glass. The smell the first 10-20 minutes was very metallic in nature. Still had hints of coffee, but I didn't smell the chocolate until it warmed up. Halfway through the glass the smell was great. Same result with the taste. The first 20 minutes the taste was just OK. Not until it warmed up did it have the very bitter chocolate taste with a coffee backbone that I look for in a RIS. The mouthful was great, carbonation was noticeable, but I didn't pick up on any notes of alcohol once it warmed up. Overall an another exceptional beer from Founder's. I could easily drink a 4 pack, but with the hefty ABV, 2 may be my limit. (809 characters)

Photo of Roke87
4.35/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a snifter at cellar temperature

Appearance - Pours a pitch black with no light penetrating this brew, very little head that quickly dissipates to a thin lacing.

Smell - Right of the bat you get the usual stout smells of the roasted malts, chocolate, and a hint of coffee, definitely smells very sweet.

Taste - You definitely taste the chocolate and coffee a little bit throughout, and it finishes with the roasted malts, At cellar temp I could also taste the alcohol content in this stout.

Mouthfeel - Definitely a very smooth stout for the ABV, goes down good and is a very good representation of a perfect stout, but again I could absolutely taste the alcohol in this one.

Overall - A great stout, I'm not sure if it's the best I've ever tasted but it is at the top of that list for sure, a little strong on the alcohol taste and a little muted on the others. All in all if you get that chance to taste this bad boy, it is really worth it, I would definitely drink this again! (995 characters)

Photo of Avantyawn
4.65/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Served at cellar temperature as suggested by Founder's. Last 4 pack at Whole Foods. I was excited to see a Founder's offering I have never seen on the shelves. While Imperial Stout is not my everyday beer style, I jumped on the chance to try a new Founder's brew.

A: I don't know how I couldn't give this a 5 for appearance. Dark as dark can be, no light makes it through this. Thick luscious chocolate dark brown foam head. Amazing in appearance.

S: Bright and lively alcohol, thick coffee aroma , bittersweet chocolate syrup and sour plum, soy sauce. Toasted grains and tea. The smell opens up as it warms up. Amazing

T: Tastes like grainy sweet chocolate desert syrup. This is an amazing tasting beer. With all of the robust sweetness present, it still has a cloaked bitter vibrant finish. I am close to giving it a 5. A beer genius must have come up with the recipe for this. Bravo.

M: Creamy and delicious. Gentle, bold, intense, and satisfying!

D: This is a sipper, but its so good that it doesn't have to be if you catch my drift. Dangerous beer alert, man this is good! (1,082 characters)

Photo of beersgud
3.55/5  rDev -17.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into stem stout glass, appearance was little to no head. Head that was apparent was beautiful tan cream. Opaque color (black/brown). Smell had chocolate and coffee notes. Taste was much smokier than I had anticipated. Very boozy as well. Sifts in mouth extremely well, despite overwhelming character. Overall an above average beer that I see aging well. (360 characters)

Photo of Jables
4.21/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours dark as midnight with a slight brown head. Fantastic roasted smell with accompanying initial flavor. The roasted malt flavor gives way to notes of coffee and mocha. Slight hints of alcohol start to nudge in but are quickly pushed aside by a delicious smoked finish. The drinkability is exceptional for a beer this big. Very enjoyable and you definitely get your money's worth. (382 characters)

Photo of TK5150
4.41/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I should really be studying for my International Business Law final I have tomorrow (considering I haven't read any of the chapters yet), but I'm an outlaw. I'm going to drink a beer instead.

A-Pours black with a one finger dark brown head. No light penetrates even when held up to the light.

S- Lots of malty sweetness. Caramel, molasses, barbecue smokiness, licorice, roasted malt.

T- Big caramel, tons of molasses, cocoa, chocolate cake, and lots of licorice. Lingering bitterness from the roasted malt/90 IBU's. The only drawback is the finish is a bit acrid.

M- Full bodied and smooth. Coats the mouth very well.

D- I'm drinking this bottle too fast. Hope is slowly fading away on the studying front.

I love this stuff; you people that get this easily are lucky. A tremendous go-to Imperial stout. Maine has awful beer for the most part...I wish breweries like Founders would distribute here. One of the best imperial stouts for sure. (946 characters)

Photo of SirWalkAbout
4/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This one pours thick. Definitely one of the 'motor oil' types. It's basically a black hole. The head was a great dark brown coffee color, but disappeared quickly. Would have liked for it to stick around.

It smells very malty, smoky, and chocolaty. The alcohol smell is present.

Very nice flavor. Very smoky, a little bitter, but overall it's pretty smooth, especially considering it's 10.5%.

Overall, this one is damn good. On my pallet, it's better than the breakfast stout. Worth seeking this one out. (507 characters)

Photo of sarahspat
4.05/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A hard pour into a tulip glass resulted in about 3/4 an inch of beautiful chocolate brown head, with a middling amount of spiderweb lacing. The beer is midnight black, with no sign of any highlights.

The nose contains mostly cocoa/chocolate fudge brownie (very chocolatey!), caramel, some hazelnut and coffee notes. The smell might be my favorite aspect of this beer.

At first, it tastes very sweet and very bitter at the same time. Chocolate and earthy notes occupy the center of the flavor profile, with the focus turning toward espresso towards the finish. Also has a subtle black olive flavor. Bitter coffee grounds linger on the palate long after the swallow. Chewy mouthfeel, like you would expect for the style, with light carbonation. The alcohol is noticeable on the palate, which hurts drinkability.

This style is still not one of my favorites (not a huge fan of the coffee flavor), but I'm glad that I can at least appreciate the quality of this brew now. This beer has definitely helped my beer education, too. (1,026 characters)

Photo of mjwellman
4.68/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Pours dark with wonderful brown creamy head. Smell is chocolate and coffee. The taste is wonderfully smooth. Sweet, but I cant ID what that is. Definetly a coffee and chocolate taste. no bitterness. I could drink this all night. (234 characters)

Photo of bjoyce12
3.98/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Founders does some things exceeding well(Breakfast Stout) and some not so much(Red Rye, Old Curmudgeon). Their Imperial Stout belongs in the former class of brews. Pours a dark black as expected. Foam dark-brown colored. Nose of rye bread and burnt molasses. Tastes like a Russian Imperial should; dark, heavy, full of body, although with a little alcohol burn at the end. Not the best ever Russian Imperial(Old Rasputin has that), but still a very, very good issue. (466 characters)

Photo of TMB0424
4.3/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a pitch black body with very slight deep brown edges when held to the light. A thin, coffee bean colored head rises and falls very quickly into a ring. Good lacing throughout.

Smell is of roasted malts, sweet roasted coffee and barley. Slight wisps of chocolate here and there. Not much alcohol in the nose, but it's there.

Roasted barley and sweet malts are in the forefront, with espresso and bitter chocolate backing it up. Good hop character in the finish, perfectly balancing out all of the sweet elements. It's rich and creamy, full bodied. Alcohol adds a nice kick towards the finish but it's not overpowering - doesn't drink like a 10 percenter. (661 characters)

Photo of PreacherBrewer
4.75/5  rDev +10%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A - Pours dirty motor-oil black with a pinky sized head that quickly dissipates. As I swirl the beer around in my guinness pint glass, it leaves a syrupy layering on the sides. Never seen that before!

S - Malty-Caramel, hot cocoa, chocolate, and fresh brewed coffee, light alcohol.

T - Dark Chocolate, Caramel, truffle, fresh ground coffee beans, woody character from hops, warming alcohol.

M - Maximum Full-Bodiedness. Syrupy in a good way. Carbonation is just enough but not too much. It's a slow drinker, as it should be. Very filling and satisfying. leaves a coating of syrupy malty goodness on your palette.

O - This is a big ass stout that demands respect from the moment you pour, to the last bit of thick syrupy malt that is left on sides and bottom of your glass. A maximum bodied malt-bomb. A newfound legend. (823 characters)

Photo of dougofthefuture
4.33/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Poured at cellar temp into a tulip. This bottle is fresh.

A - Motor oil black with a thick dark chocolate two finger head.

S - Hops hide behind the sweet roasted malts. A bit of booze is in there too.

T & M - There is an impressive balance here. At such a high IBU, the bitterness is present, but it plays second fiddle to the coffee and chocolate malt flavors. The intense chewy body brings it together very well, and defines this beer. If I had a complaint, it would be that the finish is a bit hot right now on this fresh bottle.

D - A very nice winter sipper. I'll be buying more so that a couple bottles actually stand a chance to be left alone in the cellar. (668 characters)

Photo of ZebraCakez
4.23/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

This is fantastic. Pours a dark brown/black with a burnt caramel colored head. Smells of coffee and chocolate. Taste of coffee and chocolate, roasted malt, dried figs/raisins, finishes with a smoked beef (jerkey) note. Smooth, creamy feel, super enjoyable. (257 characters)

Photo of Jerzdevil1116
4.7/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle purchased at Joe Canal's Liquors in Egg Harbor Twp., NJ. Poured into a pint glass.

A: Opaque black body. Film of brown bubbles on top.

S: Full of roasted malt. Notes of coffee, dark chocolate, molasses and dark fruits.

T: Slightly sweet, malty beginning quickly gave way to the coffee and dark chocolate presence. A fairly dry finish with a slight alcohol presence.

M: Medium to full body. Creamy smootheness.

D: An awesome beer. Very nicely balanced for a RIS. Never too sweet or bitter. I can go through a few of these in a sitting and eventually the 10.5 % alcohol does makes its presence known. (615 characters)

Photo of StLThrash
4/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle poured into my Schlafly snifter.

A - Thick and black, poured with just a hint of a tan head, left a small ring.

S - Rich, dark, chocolate, hints of espresso, with some alcohol in the nose. Lots of toasted malts.

T & M - Similar to nose. Starts with the chocolate sweetness, toasted malts, and finishes with the coffee bitterness and some alcohol. You can taste the alcohol, but it doesn't hide the other flavors. Not much hop bitterness, but wasn't expecting much.

Overall - a really good imperial stout. A definite sipper, the alcohol creeps up as it warms a bit. Another great Founders beer. (614 characters)

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

Bottled on 12/29/11. I'm specifically reviewing this beer at the 1 year mark (or a little past). To be honest, I remember liking it better a year ago at purchase but it is still fantastic. I can't wait to try this year's beer.

A: Same as last year. Looks like motor oil, but don't let that deceive you.

S: Smells great but a little on the black licorice side. I can't remember if it had this a year ago, but I want to try this year's beer now.

T: Definitely follows the smell. Initially black licorice, then the bitter hops. Stronger alcohol than I remember tasting last year after purchase.

M: Great... Thick and creamy. Need to sip this one.

O: I think it's exceptional. If you're a fan of this type of beer, definitely age one a year to try it. (752 characters)

Photo of Tonerelia
4.46/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

A: Dark with appearance of motor oil, very very thin line of chocolate colored head

S: immediately chocolate, as it warms up though more smells permeate, I get a bit of licorice, small hit of coffee,

T: licorice with a decent kick of alcohol behind it. The hop character is very prevalent especially after swallowing along with a strong hint of maltyness which helps bring this beer to a well rounded finish.

M: Has a decent consistency a bit thicker and creamier than say and IPA but definitely not as thick as some other RIS.

O: Thank The Lord I bought a four pack of this because I would love to taste this beer over different periods of aging. Magnificent character and a much have for any RIS enthusiast. (715 characters)

Photo of rustymoore
4.32/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours an uber dark brown thick with a robust tan head that leaves a medium amount of lacing as it warms to room temperature. Definitely looks the part as far as elite imperial stouts.

S: Smell is dominated by coffee and chocolate notes. You can sense the sweet yet alcahol laced notes.

T: Tastes exceptional...not among the top 5 of imperial stouts that I have enjoyed however this is very close. Coffee flavor is strong however the alcahol does tend to creep in where I would like there to be more complexity. You can hint the dark fruit notes with a bit of chocolate and cherry.

M: An astrigent and warming effect as this brew touches your mouth and tongue. As it warms to room temperature it actually becomes better as most imp stouts do in my opinion.

D: Along with other stouts or high gravity beers in general, this brew isn't among the elite however for an imp stout this is a good one to have a handful in a sitting. (932 characters)

Photo of rpardon7
4.13/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poure from a 12 oz bottle a jet black almost oil appearance with a tight thin tan head. Smells of chocolate cofee and roasted grain. The taste is just what you would expect from an impy stout. Roasted malt bitter up front with a bite of coffee and a smoother roasted malt and chocolate and an alchohol burn to finish. This beer is super smooth and creamy not overly biting and a very balanced carbonation. Drinkability is higher than you would imagine for a 10 percent beer that being said more than a few and you would be swimming. (532 characters)

Photo of bierbrauer
4.25/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle purchased locally, ($12.00/4). Bottled on 12/15/11, 21 days ago. Poured into a tulip glass.

A: Very dense, dark brown with 3/4" dense, light brown head that settles slowly and leave irregular lacing. No visible effervescence.

S: Roasted coffee and malts, with bittersweet chocolate; some earthiness and licorice.

T: Chocolate, caramel/toffee and coffee; molasses; some alcohol and lingering bitterness.

M: Low carbonation and heavy body; very rich, smooth and creamy; somewhat viscous; dry finish; slight alcohol heat.

O: Another delicious, amazing stout from Founders. Right up there with their other offerings. (631 characters)

Photo of thirtysixbelow
4/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

a - opaque black color with a dark chocolate colored head. Reduced to a ring fairly quickly. Slight lacing.

s - chocolate, caramel, spice, alcohol

t - chocolate malts with an alcohol presence, finishes with a bitter bite. long lingering aftertaste.

m - very thick with some slight carbonation

d - a strong beer that needs to be sipped and enjoyed. There is a lot to offer here. A bit much for me by itself, but goes well with some spicy food. (449 characters)

Photo of mikedashg
4.48/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - Pours a rich thick black with a bubbly, moderately sized, dark tan head. Good sized lacing on the glass.

S - Rich chocolate smell with sweet roasted malts and coffee

T - Wow, again with the rich big chocolate, like a bittersweet cocoa powder. Sweet roasted malts and roasted coffee. This time, the taste really hits you. Very powerful stuff. Nothing subtle about this one, a lot more defined then the smell.

M - Moderate carbonation, nice and smooth, creamy, velvety. But also. quite thick!

D - Quite an exceptional example of style with in your face flavors. This one was almost a year old I think, so hopefully it's as good as this one was when it's fresh. (667 characters)

Photo of thirdeye11
3.23/5  rDev -25.2%
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. (1,492 characters)

Founders Imperial Stout from Founders Brewing Company
96 out of 100 based on 1,711 ratings.