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Founders Imperial Stout - Founders Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Founders Imperial StoutFounders Imperial Stout

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BA SCORE
97
world-class

6,544 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 6,544
Reviews: 1,706
rAvg: 4.36
pDev: 8.49%
Wants: 616
Gots: 1,772 | FT: 138
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: 6,544 | Reviews: 1,706 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of russpowell
4.41/5  rDev +1.1%
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 MarkyMOD
4.25/5  rDev -2.5%

Photo of DrunkinYogi
4.25/5  rDev -2.5%

Photo of MasterSki
4.25/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This is the 2009 release - the recipe must be slightly different, as it lists 10.5% ABV and 90 IBUs. Served in a pint glass.

A - Looks like a good stout should. One finger of mocha foam that dissipates and leaves a ton of lacing. It's pitch black (not even brown at the edges), and there's a bunch of bubbles at the bottom of the glass.

S - Coffee, bittersweet chocolate, roast malt, some dark fruit sweetness as well - plums, currants, etc. There's some hop flavor as well, in a similar vein as fresh Darkness. It's really delicious, but not huge.

T - There's a lot of bitterness in this one - coming from the coffee, bitter chocolate, and even the hops. There is some residual sweetness on the edges of my tongue, but the taste is pretty consistent. Even the aftertaste is kind of bitter. I'm curious to see if this mellows out and sweetens up as it ages.

M - Medium-bodied, with a surprising amount of carbonation tingle to it. Leaves a sticky coating on the inside of my mouth.

D - The surprisingly refreshing mouthfeel and well-hidden ABV make this a very (and dangerously drinkable) stout. I should probably be sipping it, but instead I'm hitting it like an IPA. I'd definitely bring a 4-pack to a party.

It'd be nice if this was made more often than every three years, although it's not like Founder's has any bad brews to displace (they seem to have given up on that quad they made).

Photo of Rifugium
4/5  rDev -8.3%
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.

Photo of drabmuh
4.35/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

An awesome unexpected extra sent by JohnQVegas, one of my all time favorite RIS, Founders. You are the man.

Beer is black and has a brown head with tiny bubbles that disappears quickly. Minimal lacing on the glass.

Beer is roasty and sweet in the aroma, inviting me to drink.

Beer is sweet and mildly roasty without an aftertaste. Lots of coffee flavors, no ash. Medium body, easy drinking, beautiful. Mildly sweet in the front overall very nice. So drinkable, great feeling in the mouth too. I love this beer. Next opportunity I'm buying a case of this.

Photo of feloniousmonk
4.52/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Terminal blackness describes the appearance, full-on ebony, covered by a toasted brown cap.
Aroma is all things you want in an Imperial Stout, mollases, carob, anise, mostly chocolate, with undertones of coffee, rich, complex and deeply dark....a tickler for the nostrils, there's a fullness of flavor in the smell of this, that simply must be savored at length. I want to stave off the sipping, just to bask in this olfactory delight.
On the lips and off the tongue, it's a thick, rich sensation...a fullness in the mouth, comes in grand force and takes over the cavernous reaches of the mouth...sits in command on the palate, as excess dark deliciousness drips over...a kingpin of the Imperial Stout variety, though certainly no Dark Lord...I don't taste any 12%, but it's making it's way assuredly onto my system, I can nice drinkability on it, too, despite the high octane booziness...it doesn't feel too bad on me, at least, not until I try to stand up...whoop=wha---whoa!!

much thanks to Chaz for the bottle...a happier day will fall when Founders is available locally!

Photo of wethorseblanket
4.27/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Reviewed from notes:
Shared by John (MaxStout) - thanks

A: Pours straight black with orangish edges and a decent mocha head fading to the edge. Minimal lace.

S: Roasty oat grains, floral hops, faint dark chocolate and coffee.

T: Roasted malts, dark chocolates, oats are well balanced.

M: Thick and smooth, slick and tongue coating. Somewhat dry and bitter on the finish.

O: Very good and enjoyable. Would seek this out.

Photo of beernads
4.25/5  rDev -2.5%

Photo of drewone
4.25/5  rDev -2.5%

Photo of mdfb79
4.37/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into my Duvel tulip. Received as part of my Secret Santa box thanks to pwoods; thanks Patrick! Bottle in from January 2009.

a - Pours a jet black color with two inches of tan head and moderate carbonation evident. Tiny bit of lacing on the glass.

s - Smells of cocoa, sweet chocolate, caramel malts, roasted malts, sweet fruit, and some sugar or molasses. A lot sweeter than I was expecting but I really like it a lot.

t - Tastes of milk chocolate, cocoa, roasted malts, vanilla, dark fruits, molasses again, and very very light alcohol. Again, very good.

m - Full body and low carbonation, very smooth and creamy. Great mouthfeel.

d - A really great RIS; I loved this beer. I thought the nose was amazing and the taste was almost as good. It also had a great body. Would love to have this again.

Photo of oriolesfan4
4.25/5  rDev -2.5%

Photo of jwc215
4.05/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours opaque black with a brown head that becomes a wisp. Some dots of lacing, along with "legs" stick.

The smell is of dark chocolate, coffee, some molasses and some licorice blend, with a whiff of alcohol.

The taste is of coffee and chocolate, some licorice. Roasted malt is balanced by earthy, slightly citric, bitterness. It's a bitter interpretation of the style, though some sweetened dried fruits (plum-like) come through well into the progression/warming. Finishes very dry.

It is full-bodied and creamy/velvety. It has a stickiness, though not cloying.

Drinks very well despite obvious intensity and alcohol. A very nice brew that makes for a tasty, strong sipper. A powerful, bitter/dry, yet drinkable, version of the style. I have to say that this was enjoyable, but I enjoyed the complexities and overall taste of the Breakfast Stout more (though I do understand that it is a different, though related, style).

Photo of kojevergas
3.56/5  rDev -18.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Founders Imperial Stout 2011 Vintage (bottled 12/22/11). Acquired from the very generous Duff27 in a trade. Thanks again, buddy! 10.50% ABV confirmed. I love Founders, so I have high hopes for this one. I haven't had it before, but I loved KBS and FBS. 90 IBUs. Label art is okay. 12 fl oz/355ml brown glass bottle with standard pressure cap served into a conical Samuel Smith's pint glass in me gaff in low altitude Los Feliz, Los Angeles, California. Reviewed live. Expectations are sky high given the brewery and style (which they seem to be adept at).

Served straight from the fridge and allowed to warm considerably over the course of consumption. Side-poured with standard vigor as no carbonation issues are anticipated.

A: Pours a one finger rich vibrant hold-tan head of fantastic cream and thickness, and pretty good (3 minute) retention for the high ABV. I love that gilded tan appearance; few imperial stouts can really pull that off. Body colour is a solid nontransparent opaque jet black. No yeast particles are visible. No bubble show. Nice lacing as the head recedes. That's exactly how an imperial stout should look.

Sm: Burnt malt, light fennel/licorice, creamy roasted barley, dark malts, chocolate, chocolate malt, and hints of light buried stonefruit. Light molasses. Malty sweetness. I can detect some light alcohol, but it's not a hot or boozy aroma; I can tell age may have done this one well. Coffee roast when I look for it. A surprisingly timid aroma of mere average strength. Understated, but I'd stop short of calling the aroma subtle per se. The fennel/licorice has me worried; I have a personal aversion to that flavour.

T: The first thing I notice is the black coffee bitterness and chocolate bitterness on the climax - which is more pronounced than expected, but welcome. It's more sweet in the first and early second acts. Chocolatey throughout - dark chocolate, not milk chocolate, though there is some cream up front. Little alcohol comes through at all; this isn't boozy or hot in any way. Maybe a twinge of licorice, but it doesn't bother me. I could use more roast - both in terms of barley and coffee, but there is some here. Burnt malt is prominent and works well. Dark malts abound. It's well put together and cohesive. A balanced Russian Imperial Stout, if a timid one. I want more depth of flavour than I'm getting, and each note doesn't ring distinct. Good amplitude, to be sure, but because the execution of the amplitude is so high, I have trouble really enjoying each distinct flavour. Any hop character is generic floral and functions here purely as a preservative. It's a rich flavour, but not overly so. The bitterness keeps the richness in check. Low acidity. Not at all a harsh flavour profile; it's quite mellow. Good body and build for the style. It's complex and well done, but I want bolder flavours. I quite like it and it's a tasty brew, but it's not perfect.

Mf: Warm and lightly creamy. Excellent carbonation. Not at all astringent. Good body here. It's smooth and wet. Thick and a bit chewy. Maybe a touch oily. Good presence on the palate. Complements the flavour profile well, even feeling a bit custom-tailored towards it. A bit smacky (if you will). I could use a touch more coarseness and dryness.

Dr: Drinkable for the style, but you wouldn't down it by the glass. It hides its ABV well and is an enjoyable sipper. It's a solid brew from Founders, but it's not quite on the level of KBS or even FBS, styles taken into consideration and all. I'd get it again and it's quite tasty, but it's not exemplary. A good Russian Imperial Stout that fans of the style will be pleased with, but it's not amongst the best out there. I'd recommend it to friends, but Founders does make better beers. I'll have little trouble finishing my bottle, but I do wish I had someone to split it with. Thanks again for the opportunity to try this, Duff27!

Low B

Probably best aged for 1-3 years.

Would pair well with chocolate or truffle.

Photo of smcolw
4.3/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Her's my second review:

Pours like motor oil--thick and dark. Great beige head. Only spotty lace remains on the glass. Very dark brown where no light shines through.

Chocolatey with a touch of coffee. Strong chalkiness to the nose.

Strong French Roast coffee smell. No chocolate in the taste. Very bitter from the burnt malt. The aftertaste goes for a long time...almost chewy. The body is rich, but the alcohol is well hidden. Thick but with a good level of carbonation.

---
First review:

Dark beige head--perhaps the darkest one I've ever seen. Very thick. Leaves a coating of lace like a blanket on the glass. The liquor is nearly black.

Lots of chalky cocoa to the nose.

Dry, coffee flavors up front. Although it is potent at 10.5% abv, the alcohol warmth is missing--very deceptive. There's a touch of cream to this beer. The body is extremely rich, like light cream. The carbonation is low so it is exaggerated.

It's too dry to be a dessert beer; it's too rich to be a regular brew. But it is a special beer, worth seeking out.

Photo of WesWes
4.32/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer pours a big time black color with a 1/4" brown head that fades to lacing. The aroma is great! It has a killer black malt bitterness up front as well as some warmth and a bit of chocolate malt sweetness. The taste is great also. It has a rich, earthy, black malt flavor that goes down extremely smooth with a bit of warmth in the finish. It is bitter with a ton of roasted barley. Wow, this is a smooth beer. The mouthfeel is fine. It is a full bodied beer with adequate carbonation. This is a very well brewed IS. It's simplistic, but full flavored and damn enjoyable.

Photo of InspectorBob
4.25/5  rDev -2.5%

Photo of Rochefort10nh
5/5  rDev +14.7%

Photo of Mora2000
4.05/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to slasher007 for sharing this bottle.

Pours black with a brown head. The aroma is a mix of smoke and roasted malt. The flavor is more of the same with smoke and malt as well as some coffee and possibly some vanilla. Thicker mouthfeel and lower carbonation. A very good imperial stout but in my opinion not as good as some of the top level beers in this category.

Photo of DrBier
4.25/5  rDev -2.5%

Photo of Gueuzedude
4.6/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours with a frothy, dense, creamy, one-finger thick brown colored head. The beer is an opaque black color that shows a full, clear, dark chocolate color around the edges when held up to the light. The aroma is intensely roasted with a back drop of burnt raisin that peeks through in the finish. Notes of dark chocolate and coffee liquor comes to the fore as I take my second draught of the nose. The alcohol really becomes prominent as time goes on and my nose gets use to the other aromatic notes. The burn, roasted malt notes remain full strength throughout though. The aroma is quite nice, it is only if I smell too long that the alcohol becomes noticeable; so don't linger to on to the drinken.

Ah, this has the proper mouth coating, palate consuming heft to it that I crave in a proper winter whether Imperial Stout. ON top of this the beer is the most well balanced and flavorful big beer I have had from Founders; and by flavor I mean ones of the good tasting variety. The alcohol, while here, is quite subtle and relegated to being noticed only in the finish underneath a roast espresso acidity that lingers along with he creamy, mouth coating dark chocolate notes. I really like the balance between rich dark chocolate flavors, smooth coffee cream, and roasted espresso notes. The roast character is restrained enough that it is not harsh and acrid.

As the beer warms up it even becomes more balanced and rich, with the roast burnt notes balancing even a step more. It still finishes with that bit of roast acidity, which helps to balance the mouth coating thickness; making you to want to take another sip that much sooner.

Photo of GClarkage
4.71/5  rDev +8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

07/19/06- Aquired via trade with Irishsnake.

Presentation- 12oz bottle with no freshness info listed. Poured into my Stone RIS tulip.

Appearance- Black as motor oil. Very slight head, almost non existant. Dirty brown light rim of a head that erodes quickly. Some, but light whisps of lace left behind.

Smell- Wonderful scent of roasted coffee beans and quality dark chocolate.

Taste- Tastes just as good as any other RIS I have tasted. Dark chocolate flavors mixed with a heavily roasted malt base. Coffee flavors come in hard in the beginning and make way for the chocolate as the beer warms. Incredible meld of flavors.

Mouthfeel- Light carbonation (just the way I like an RIS), creamy, thick, viscous and gooey.

Drinkability- The abv comes into play quickly. This one is so thick and chewy that it becomes a chore (a good chore) to finish if it's room temp. Becomes super sweet...almost like drinking a melted candy bar that's been left in the sun. Overall though, it's probably the best tasting stout of any kind I have tasted...better than Stone and better than Speedway...super quality brew here....high recommendation! Thanks much John!

Photo of duceswild
4.25/5  rDev -2.5%

Photo of orangesol
4.17/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served on nitro-tap at Al's of Hampden into a nonic pint.

A - Pours used motor oil black with a small film of khaki colored head, dissipating down to a spotty film, leaving thin rings of lacing down the glass.

S - Lots of flavor going on in this one but mostly coffee, chocolate, dark roasted malt, booze, and a tiny bit of vanilla. Not too over the top like others, just a solid Imperial Stout.

T - Lots of rich dark roasted coffee mixes well with the dark roasted malt and dulled chocolaty sweetness. The booze comes thru more and more as it begins to come to room temperature. Finish is very roasty with tons of it lingering long after the finish. Not too bad.

M - Heavy body and flavor with moderate carbonation. Lots of heavy roast in both the feel and the finish. Good overall balance but the booze crept in toward the end.

D - Pretty good. I enjoyed this one but the roast began to wear me down over the course of the glass. Still a very nice beer. Glad I finally got to try it.

Photo of Gavage
4.37/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: black in color with a short 1/2" head that falls to a thick surface foam. Some mild lacing develops.

Smell: chocolate, roasted malts, and espresso comes from the glass easily into the nose.

Taste: roasted malt profile is big along with dark chocolates, espresso, and hints of alcohol. Bitterness is perfect in balancing out the sweetness here. There are also some prunes and red grapes here too.

Mouthfeel: lightly crisp to start, smooth and a bit dry at the finish. Aftertaste is long as the flavors seem to stick to the tongue. Heavy in body.

Drinkability: very nice flavor profile screams for you to have a few of these, but the alcohol level and heaviness knocks it down a notch. Great beer overall.

Founders Imperial Stout from Founders Brewing Company
97 out of 100 based on 6,544 ratings.