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Founders Imperial Stout - Founders Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Founders Imperial StoutFounders Imperial Stout

Educational use only; do not reuse.

1,733 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 1,733
Hads: 7,096
Avg: 4.33
pDev: 17.32%
Wants: 689
Gots: 2,091 | 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
Reviews: 1,733 | Hads: 7,096
Photo of MA_hops
4.42/5  rDev +2.1%
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!

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Photo of Arnar_Hallsson
4.34/5  rDev +0.2%
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.

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Photo of infinitebruner
4.2/5  rDev -3%
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.

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Photo of StoneTSR
4.4/5  rDev +1.6%
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.

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Photo of heygeebee
3.6/5  rDev -16.9%
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. !!!

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Photo of MisSigsFan
4.31/5  rDev -0.5%
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.

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Photo of Nickwierda
4.76/5  rDev +9.9%
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.

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Photo of ARoman
4.19/5  rDev -3.2%
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.

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Photo of Jon_Hendricks
5/5  rDev +15.5%
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!!

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Photo of EMV
4.5/5  rDev +3.9%
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!

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Photo of Plower
4.61/5  rDev +6.5%
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.

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Photo of bgold86
5/5  rDev +15.5%
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!

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Photo of moonboogie_n8
4.79/5  rDev +10.6%
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.

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Photo of DarraghKS
4.6/5  rDev +6.2%
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

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Photo of Brutaltruth
4.6/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The legend. Thoroughly enjoyed from the 12 oz bottle in a snifter. This FINE imperial pours black as sin with a medium brown head of dissipating foam that forms into a thick ring and oily thick lacing. Nose of bakers chocolate, cream, heavily roasted coffee, sweet toffee, dark fruits, and deeply roasted malts. Flavors are a symposium of chocolate and coffee flavors awash in layers of cream, dark brown sugars, and deep roasting on all sides. Very coating mouth feel with light carbonation. Near perfect....not sure there is much more of a perfect imperial stout out there. Finish is lightly bitter from the roast and sweet at the same time with a light hop bitterness coming through as it warms. Deep character, rich and delicious. One of the best produced. Awesome as always!


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Photo of aleigator
4.31/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Pours a pitch black color, with a small, bubbly head.

Smells of creamy coffee, roasted malts, hints of toffee and molasses. The aromas are very well put together, with rich, slightly smoked, milk chocolate, tying all aromas together. Well balanced between coffee and malts, coated up by slightly earthy chocolate.

Has a supersmooth mouthfeel, with a lower, fitting carbonation, revealing a medium bodied beer.

Tastes of dough milk chocolate among earthy malts, wrapped up by whipped cream. A gentle coffee bitterness acts as a convincing counterpart to the malty chocolate, revealing a decent dryness, which got a sour coffee whiff to it. Coffee bitterness changes the chocolate appearance into a bitter chocolate direction. Finishes with lots of cream and an intriguing interplay between crushed coffee beans and slightly slick, bitter chocolate.

All in all this beer convinces by its perfect composition, decent depth of different flavors with prominent chocolate and coffee, resulting in a great imperial stout. Both, coffee and chocolate, are on par, leaving a lot of space on the palate for a smooth, creamy mouthfeel.

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Photo of Aliiyoob
4.98/5  rDev +15%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Can not say enough good things about this beer. So dark you can't see through it, and smelled so rich coming out of the bottle. Overall, an amazing beer and one of the best stouts Ive ever tried.

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Photo of 29mikoyan
5/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

One of the best beers I ever had. The taste of fine Nicaraguan cigars, sweet molasses, sweet malt, rich sweet Belgian chocolate, and a beautiful fruit bouquet. Truely a beer to pair with a fine cigar.

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Photo of lipster
4.83/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Poured into a tulip glass, short-lived espresso-like foam head. Visibly thick and viscous while being poured. Smells like dark roasted coffee and red wine. Tastes like a deep mocha with notes of tobacco and smoke, nice delicate balance of bitter and sweet, clean finish. Silky and decadent mouthfeel. Fantastic imperial stout.

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Photo of HowardTheDuck
4.38/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2013 bottle poured into a snifter at cellar temp. Very dark, one-finger head that dissipates fairly quickly but leaves beautiful lacing. Outstanding body for a non-BA stout. Thick and chewy, as it should be. I absolutely love this stout and the only thing holding it back for me is the slight smokiness that I would happily trade in for a touch more sweetness. I prefer this to the Breakfast Stout and am glad to see that the cellar is treating it well.

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Photo of Spinaltapped
4.43/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottled 1/6/14.

Look: Pitch black with a small dark khaki head.

Smell: Not my strong suit as a reviewer. I get a lot of roast, a bit of dark fruit, and toffee. Alcohol is present as well.

Taste: Initially some burnt roast bitterness that quickly gives way to dark fruit and a bit of alcohol sweetness and coffee.

Feel: Silky, creamy, but just a bit too thin to be a 5/5 in my book. It does have a nice viscous feel on the tongue and goes down nicely.

So yeah, my first BA review. A 4.4/5 for me. I think with another few months, this will be INCREDIBLE. I'm not a big super roast guy, and that flavor seems to be on the out in favor of dark fruit, coffee, and toffee. Luckily, I have another few bottles in the cellar.

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Photo of LagerCognoscenti
4.48/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Jet black with thin head.

Rich aroma of coffee, bitter roasted malt, dark chocolate and booze.

Taste is bitter dark chocolate, treacle, marmite, dark cherries, tobacco, charcoal and goodness knows what else. Its very complex and very flavourful but very well rounded and a pleasure taste.

Overall, a fantastic Russian Imperial stout.Hard to find and slighly pricey in the UK but well worth seeking out. Right up there with Founders Breakfast Stout and Yeti Imperial Stout as a world class beer of this style from our American friends.


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Photo of mchegash
3.94/5  rDev -9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance - 4/5
A small amount of chocolate-tan head which dissipates down to a ring around the edge of the glass. An extremely dark shade of purple when held up to bright light.--as dark as purple can be without being black. When held up to bright light, can also see a lot of large chunks floating around in the brew. Not sure if this is because my pour was off or what. Overall a good look, but not sure about the chunks of stuff in the beer. I don't mind drinking a beer with particles, but I think it lowers the aesthetic of the beer. I really like the color of the head.

Smell - 3.75/5
Very chocolately, slightly sweet, slightly alcoholic. Upon second sniff I get some slight fruit and hops flavors, along with a slightly strong alcoholic smell. The smell is okay, perhaps a little too alcoholic for my liking thought.

Taste - 4/5
Very roasty and smoky. Slightly sweet. Some chocolate and a fairly prominent alcohol taste. I like smoky beers, but I have to be in the mood. I'm sure totally sure if I'm in that mood right now, but I think the smokiness balances out with the sweetness and the alcohol flavor, such that none of these overall, but all work together in harmony. In other words, the taste is complex, which is good.

Mouthfeel - 4/5
Medium body. Smooth, yet slightly bitter (90 IBUs). A light amount of medium-light intensity carbonation. I think the feel works well with the rest of the beer, and I wouldn't change anything about it.

Overall - 4/5
Overall this was a good brew, one I'm glad I tried. I'm not sure I would get it again, as there are a lot of other good Russian Imperials out there, and I don't think this one is my favorite. Still, worth a try. Quality Stuff

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Photo of do_ob
4.46/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz. bottle into a snifter. Pitch black appearance with a 1/2 finger head of dense, brown foam. Smells beautiful; chocolate, syrup, roasted malt, sugar, sasafrass, and smokey wood. Heavy weight, as expected of an imperial stout. Taste is pretty much on par with the smell; chocolate, coffee, roasted malt, sugar, and smokey wood. Oily mouthfeel with lingering hops and alcohol on the aftertaste.

This beer honestly reminds me a lot of FBS, only with a sharper alcohol bite & bitterness on the back end. It's just as good, in my opinion. This one reminded me why imperial stouts are my favorite beers.

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Photo of HorseheadsHopHead
4.99/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a wine glass

LOOK: Pours a midnight black with a small brown head that leaves some scattered bits of lacing. It looks majestic. You can tell immediately that this is going to be an experience.

SMELL: Lots of strong chocolate upfront, followed by charcoal, coffee, roasted barley, burnt sugar, and a smattering of vanilla, soy sauce, and tobacco smoke. This beer smells so complex!

TASTE: A truckload of bittersweet chocolate up front; sweet dark chocolate and a dusting of more bitter baking cocoa. Burnt sugar, toast, caramel, and a bit of coffee and vanilla. It's very savory, with an umami aspect that merits a soy sauce comparison. It's slightly warming on the swallow, but the alcohol is very well hidden for being 10.5% abv. Finishes fairly dry with another wave of dark chocolate.

FEEL: Full-bodied. Thick, rich, and creamy. Like chocolate syrup but not at all cloying. Perfectly balanced. A light carbonation just tingles the palate.

OVERALL: This beer blew my mind the first time I had it, and it continues to do. This is everything you could want in an imperial stout. In my opinion, this is a world-class beer.

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Founders Imperial Stout from Founders Brewing Company
96 out of 100 based on 1,733 ratings.