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Founders Imperial Stout - Founders Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Founders Imperial StoutFounders Imperial Stout

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

5,474 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 5,474
Reviews: 1,579
rAvg: 4.37
pDev: 8.7%
Wants: 491
Gots: 1,310 | FT: 112
Brewed by:
Founders Brewing Company visit their website
Michigan, United States

Style | ABV
Russian Imperial Stout |  10.50% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes/Commercial Description:
90 IBU

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 02-12-2005)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 5,474 | Reviews: 1,579 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of peensteen

Ontario (Canada)

4.43/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Nearly jet black, deep tan head that recedes to the edges of the glass, almost no lace on the glass. Coffee, chocolate, roasted malt and nice bittersweet notes round out the nose. Taste is of coffee, chocolate, nice firm bitterness, mildly hoppy, brownie like taste, rich dark malt, nice chocolaty finish. The taste of this is out of this world. Full body, creamy and almost milkshake like, decent carbonation and overall very nice. Drinks well, great imperial stout, sweet and bitter, very complex and wholly satisfying.

Serving type: bottle

03-06-2011 18:04:35 | More by peensteen
Photo of JoeBloe

New York

4.47/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

reviewing the last bottle of a 4pk -
pours opaque brown/black into a pint glass and puts up a 1/2 finger of rich brown head - leaves rings of lacing from top to bottom - i can smell roasted barley, coffee and and a slight wiff of alcohol - bitter and prickly on the tip of the tongue - tastes of roasted grains and coffee, bitter chocolate and then some vanilla - I don't really taste the alcohol - this is a good beer to end the night with - tastier as it warms -
the bitter chocolate taste lingers on nicely in the finish - mouthfeel is thick at the beginning and soon thins to a nice creaminess - goes down easy -
really good stuff !

Serving type: bottle

03-06-2011 15:41:33 | More by JoeBloe
Photo of Chriscrundwell12


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

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a 22 oz snifter

A- Motor oil, very dark. Minimal lacing with a ½ inch head that fades fast.

S- Sweet chocolate notes right away. Roasted malts and hints of coffee and vanilla linger out. Hints of fruit are apparent as it warms up. Alcohol aroma becomes more evident as well.

T- Earthy taste to it, similar to Breakfast Stout but not as big. Sweet oaky taste as well. Well balanced with the bitterness and the sweetness. Taste the chocolate, with some molasses as well, truly delicious.

M- Heavy beer, bitter upfront but leaves a sweet chocolate oaky after taste, sticky as well.

D- Very delicious, heavy complex brew, well balanced with all the ingredients (bitterness, sweetness, earthiness) equals amazing beer.

Serving type: bottle

03-06-2011 04:19:50 | More by Chriscrundwell12
Photo of CurtisLoew


4.4/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

2011 batch. Overpriced single bought at Discount Liquors.

A - Pours black. Very dark tan head. Looks creamy, and awesome when swirled around the glass. This is my first beer out of my new Lost Abbey Tulip, and the beer and the glass look amazing.

S - Good smell. coffee, chocolate, alcohol. Pretty standard smell for a good imperial stout.

T - Very good taste. Follows from the smell. Chocolate, coffee. Incredibly flavorful beer. The chocolate and coffee flavors really punch you in the mouth, and taste great. I also get a nice hop bite in the distant background of the beer.

M - This is what really sets this beer apart for me. Incredibly creamy and thick mouth feel. Like a nice chocolate/coffee milkshake.

D - Very good. Could drink multiple of these, no problem finishing the bottle, wished I had more.

Serving type: bottle

03-06-2011 03:34:32 | More by CurtisLoew
Photo of WanderingFool


3.98/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Founders Imperial Stout pours a flat black into the glass with a small tan head on top. The foam dissolves quickly to a thin ring on the surface leaving behind only a few spots of lace on the glass.

The aroma is sweet with lots of chocolate notes. A little bit of toffee and roasted malt is also present. Slightly earthy too.

Each sip of this medium/full bodied beer is soft and creamy on the palate. Slightly oily with a mild carbonated fizz. The flavor is sweet with chocolate, coffee and roasted malt dominating. Towards the end some dark fruit (cherry?) and an earthy nuttiness present themselves. It finishes moderately bitter with some grassy hop notes and a little bit of medicinal alcohol. Once gone the chocolate and coffee lingers on the palate.

For nearly 11% abv this is a very easy to drink beer. It's sweeter than I expected. The flavor really comes alive as the beer warms in the glass.

Serving type: bottle

03-05-2011 22:15:30 | More by WanderingFool
Photo of ChugginOil


4.5/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A- Pours very dark brown and settles pitch black. Less than one finger worth of dark mocha colored head fades fast.

S- Big time chocolate notes up front followed by some caramel/roasty malt.

T- Scent amplified x 10. Cocoa up front with very roasty but sweet malts. The 10.5% is a bit noticeable at the finish but doesn't turn me off at all.

M- Thick, full bodied and rich....Filthy rich to say the least. This brew coats the palate. Yum. I'll swirl this around throughout my mouth all day long.

D- The ABV is very well hidden behind the delicious complexity of dessert style malt.

Serving type: bottle

03-05-2011 07:39:10 | More by ChugginOil
Photo of OldIronLungs


4.4/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Really excited to finally get my hands on these this year.

Pours midnight black into a Duvel snifter - what seems like lack of head turns into a half finger of dark dark brown head with nice clingy lacing. So far so good.

The taste? The taste. Warm coffee, chocolate, dark malts and some fruit, some molasses and vanilla. Beautiful mouth feel - thick and smooth and just the right kind of slick with the carbonation only present at the end. Virtually no unpleasant bitterness to speak of, just creamy deliciousness.

This is exactly what I expected from Founders and I'm again staggered by how on point their brews are. I'm happy I have a few bottles so I can let one mellow out a bit; I can only anticipate this beer getting better with time.

Serving type: bottle

03-05-2011 04:24:51 | More by OldIronLungs
Photo of SkunkWorks

New York

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

I can't find a date anywhere on the bottle, but I know its fresh since my distributor just got it in the day before my girlfriend picked it up. 12 oz bottle poured into a Southampton IRS release snifter. Served at cellar temperature.

Look: solid, black body with no highlights. The head is the darkest I have ever seen before. I gave it an aggressive pour to get the most head I could and ended up with two fingers of the darkest brown head I've seen to date. The head simmers down after a few minutes, ending up as a thin layer of bubbles floating on top of the beer. There's no real lacing but the black liquid stains the sides of the glass. Great lookin' beer. I really loved the color of the head.

Smell: big smell of chocolate, roasted malt, some smoke, hints of coffee, some hops, and a bit of alcohol. Very big Imperial stout aromas, loaded with my favorite smells, is very inviting. Can't wait to try this...

Taste: Founders, you are incredible. Dark chocolate, coffee, espsresso, molasses, roast, black patent malt, hints of vanilla, and even some spice. There's a lot going on here and it hits all my favorite, Russian Imperial stout flavors right in the face. There is a bit of alcohol but it is very well hidden, even when its warm. Exceptional taste.

Feel: perhaps my favorite part of this beer. This is very full bodied and is perhaps the creamiest beer I've ever had. It feels almost like melted whipped cream. There's some alcohol burn but not very much so I wouldn't call this one boozy.

Drink: this is very drinkable for the style. I had no issue drinking my glass.

Overall, another excellent beer from Founders. This is only my third beer from them and so far, by far my favorite. This is a very exceptional Imperial stout... and you don't even have to go to a release or trade your cellar for it. This makes me quite glad that Founders has come to New York. I would wholeheartedly recommend this one. Cheers!

Serving type: bottle

03-04-2011 13:43:26 | More by SkunkWorks
Photo of nova009


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

Poured from a bottle into a snifter

A- pours black as night with a nice finger and a half dark tan fluffy head that sticks around for a long time, lacing is pretty nice, spotty in some areas but all around pretty solid

S- dark roasted coffee hits your nose immediately, bitter dark chocolate follows, dark roasted malt, slight hint of alcohol as well

T- roasted malt hits first, dark chocolate follows with hints of dark fruits like raisins mixed in, the finish is dry and bitter like you just shot down an espresso, i think i pick up a faint trace of vanilla as well

M- definitely full bodied, smooth and creamy, coats the entire palate nicely, good balance of carbonationFull bodied...creamy and smooth...bitter chocolate

D- very nice imperial stout, this is my first time trying it and im sad its taken me this long, although this is a seasonal i would drink this year round if i could, props to founders for another great brew

Serving type: bottle

03-04-2011 04:31:36 | More by nova009
Photo of BarrytheBear


4.13/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle vigorously meets anticipatory snifter

Black with a short lived cinnamon colored head that pools in clumpy soapy islands along the edges and leaves a sticky spattering all along its voyage

Smells of iced coffee, cinnamon, tree bark, bitter roast, dark chocolate, and leafy hops

Hops, char, and fudge

A bit rough around the edges but just oozes promise and potential. Certainly can feel the makings of KBS here as well. A very nice beer and one that should mellow and smooth into something quite special.

Serving type: bottle

03-04-2011 02:12:50 | More by BarrytheBear
Photo of bootlegger1929


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

Served from bottle. 2011 vintage. I can tell you up front that I love this beer. I've already bought a case to go with my four pack. The case has gone straight to the cellar. Can't wait to revisit this in about a year.

Pours very very dark into my tulip glass. About a one finger head forms with a dark tan color. Recedes to a thin film and leaves a bit of lacing on the sides of the glass. Looks great.

Smells inviting. Chocolate. Dark roast. Coffee. A bit of earthy hops. Slight heat from alcohol, but that's to be expected with the high ABV.

Tastes like awesome. Bits of coffee and chocolate dance on the tongue. This was served warmed up a bit so all the molasses and dark roasty flavors are coming out to play. At the end of the sip a bit of bitterness comes out and lets the chocolate hang around. This is just so full of flavor. I absolutely love this beer.

Mouthfeel is pretty thick. Not the thickest thing I've drank but still in the grand scheme of things is pretty full bodied. Nice.

Drinkability, especially considering it's an Imperial Stout, is high. I could drink these all night if it weren't for the fact I wouldn't be able to stand after only a few. Very well balanced and awesome. Doesn't get much better IMO.

Serving type: bottle

03-04-2011 01:59:40 | More by bootlegger1929
Photo of brew3crew


3.73/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle dated 2/9/11

A- dark black with a nice tan head
S- coffee smell with some roastiness. Not as thick as I was hoping. Maybe some smookiness
T-smoky and roast. Better out of the bottle than on tap but not the standard I was expecting from founders.
M-full bodied and smootj. Nice coffee after taste
D-drinkable but not the best

Serving type: bottle

03-04-2011 01:15:27 | More by brew3crew
Photo of Urbancaver


4.1/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2011 vintage bottled 3 weeks ago

Pours dark dark brown. Almost black. A full finger of brown frothy head that disipates quickly leaving a thin layer of brown bubbly goodness across the surface. Smells very roasty and malty. Very sweet on the nose and tongue. On the tongue there is a lot of tange and sharp bitterness from the roast and light hops but there is a smooth full bodied malt profile. Very solid brew and a great mouthfeel to boot. Very drinkable as well

Serving type: bottle

03-04-2011 01:12:16 | More by Urbancaver
Photo of ColdPoncho


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

Bottled 02/09/11

A - Hooo boy! This is a dark f'in beer. You can't even see through it when you pour it. It gives a dense dark brown head and just has an impressive look to it.

S - Definitely get some hot chocolate and coffee bitter notes. touch of vegetal notes. Some hoppy and smoky notes. Nice complexity.

T - Bitter smoked dry woody flavors. Chocolate and coffee. Good stuff.

M - Very smooth and robust, fairly viscous. Great mouthfeel.

D - I like it. It's interesting, tasty and not excessively big. Good beer overall.

Serving type: bottle

03-04-2011 01:11:37 | More by ColdPoncho
Photo of zoolzoo


3.55/5  rDev -18.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2010 vintage

A: Inky black, coffee bean head.

S: Roasted malt, coffee, smoke, dark chocolate.

T: Dark chocolate and charred flavors at play with a little hop zing. Pure cocoa and black coffee in the finish with woody tannins, very bitter, a notable lack of sweetness. Mostly roasted characteristics.

M: Creamy, well carbed but not over carbed. The flavor profile does not call for "motor oil" as a descriptor, not enough residual sugars.

D: Good beer, but one and done.

Serving type: bottle

03-03-2011 22:22:41 | More by zoolzoo
Photo of thain709


4.15/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - The body is black as night and has a head that is pretty much non exsistant...there is a dark brown, wispy cap that formed and became a bead...spotty lacing

S - A lot of roasted malt with dark chocolate and roasted espresso beans mixed in...there is a trace of alcohol on the nose

T - Again, the roasted malt is there and it's the first thing you pick up...it gives way to bitter, dark chocolate and a dark fruit flavor...I'm getting dates and raisins...the ending turns into bitter, roasted coffee/espresso beans...the coffee flavor isn't as pronounced as the chocolate

M - Full bodied...creamy and smooth...bitter chocolate

D - A very nice Imperial Stout that has a great mouthfeel...had it beside a Green Flash Double Stout and this one was my clear favorite...the flavors were full and rich...watch the ABV though because you can't taste it

Serving type: nitro-tap

03-03-2011 20:51:43 | More by thain709
Photo of zeledonia


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

2010 vintage.

A: Pours black and thick, like molasses, with a minimal coffee-brown head that quickly dissipates.

S: Smell is of strong dark roasted malts, mostly coffee, with some chocolate, and a pronounced bitter overtone.

T: Taste is fantastic - rich dark malts, notes of coffee and chocolate, with some residual malt sweetness and a very nice bit of bitter hops. The strong flavors are amazingly well balanced. The level of sweet and bitter are perfect, where lots of other imperial stouts are dominated by one of the two. Nice dry finish. Only thing lacking is the level of complexity of some other IMPs.

M: Mouthfeel is great - thick and syrupy, as it appears, with just enough carbonation to lighten it up a bit.

D: This is a great, straightforward imperial stout. The flavors and feel are so pure and balanced. Wow.

Serving type: bottle

03-03-2011 05:11:59 | More by zeledonia
Photo of DaveHS


4.35/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A-Dark, dark brown, almost black, with thin mocha colored bubbles.

S-Roasty, some dry hoppiness. A touch of toffee sweetness.

T/M-Oh yeah. Dark bitter chocolate, charcoal bitterness, cocoa powder. The bitterness is read as hops in the nose are probably more attributable to roasted malts. The finish is dry and chocolatey.Full bodied with low carbonation.

D-Another standout beer from Founder's.

Serving type: bottle

03-03-2011 01:47:45 | More by DaveHS
Photo of GoGriz


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

Picked up a 4pk at Wine and Spirits Depot, Pembroke...Chris is the man!

When I think of what an Imperial Stout should look like, I envision this exact look. Super inky black with a dark mocha head. Creamy and thick. This is it. End of story.

Smells of pungent roasty malt and freshly ground coffee. Hint of chocolate. Delightful but not too strong. Not sure why I can't give this a 5 as well but my gut tells me no.

Flavor is remarkable too. I generally like a touch more sweet chocolate in a beer like this but the mix of roast, hop, chocolate and coffee are quite nice. Maybe too much hop bitterness for me or it would get a 5.0.

Mouthfeel is close to perfect. It looks oily in the glass but doesn't quite drink that way. Still good but not as creamy as others have mentioned imho.

I could drink this one often but not in a row only due to the alcohol showing its teeth a bit and the hops being a bit too present for me. Really though, I'm nitpicking more than I should. This beer is an exceptional example of a RIS and at this price I need more!

Serving type: bottle

03-02-2011 23:59:04 | More by GoGriz
Photo of cpmichael


4.38/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2011 Imperial Stout

A: Pours a very dark brown, but not quite black. Had a tiny ring of mocha foam that dissipated right after the pour was finished.

S: Maybe my sniffer is off, but I am not getting as much aroma as I remember this beer having, especially for an imperial stout. I get a hint of espresso, but that's it.

T: The taste is right as I remember. Sweet roasted malts that give way to bakers chocolate and some espresso. Not too hot either.

M/D: This beer had very low carbonation, but it allowed the creamy characteristics to come out. I think this is beers is one of the easiest imperial stouts to go down. smooth, rich, yet complex.

Serving type: bottle

03-02-2011 02:43:25 | More by cpmichael
Photo of Franz4


4.15/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle, 2011 version, pulled from the fridge and let warm for ~15 minutes.

A- pours dark, with a 1 finger dark brown, slick, creamy head that settles to just a thin cap quickly. Lacing is present, but not sticky, slides back to the cap quickly.

S- roastiness, slight peat scent, a dark chocolate/cocoa bean is there with just a slight bitterness, no coffee present.

T- 1st impression is dark chocolate with some dark fruit. Roasted malts become dominant quickly, come through with peat and smokiness. As I drink more I notice less of the dark fruit and more malt. There's a sweetness present that balances the dark chocolate nicely

M- slight carbonation on the tongue, just enough to bring out the flavors, feels very slick, satin-like going down. Oh-so-slight warming in the back of the mouth/throat.

D- Highly drinkable, I keep going back to the glass faster than I intend to. Lots of good roasty flavors make this a joy to drink and keep it interesting throughout the glass. I'm glad I was able to grab one of these, and I look forward to enjoying them in the future.

Serving type: bottle

03-02-2011 01:09:03 | More by Franz4
Photo of TheManiacalOne

Rhode Island

4.05/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Acquired from fogdog courtesy of the Secret Bunny 2009 BIF, so a big "Thank You" goes out to him. Poured from a 12oz bottle into a tulip glass.

A: The beer is a deep dark brown color, with a thin light brown head that fades quickly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is of rich roasted malts, chocolate, some dark fruit, some coffee and a touch of hops.

T: The taste starts out with a very hearty roasted malt character and bitter-sweet flavors of rich creamy chocolate and some coffee and dark fruit. The hops presence is mild but where it should be for the style and brings a good balance. The after-taste is bitter-sweet.

M: Smooth and a little crisp, medium-to-heavy body, light-to-medium carbonation, finish is slightly sticky.

D: Tasty, goes down easily, slightly filling, strong but well-disguised kick, good representation of style, I have a feeling I might have let this one sit a little too long (at least two years, possibly longer) but it's still a good big stout worth drinking for a long time.

Serving type: bottle

03-01-2011 04:40:48 | More by TheManiacalOne
Photo of Stinkypuss


4.25/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appears dark blackish black. Nice head full brown and lacing. Aroma is strong of roasted malt, double strength coffee, chocolate and alcohol. In the taste, deep roasted flavors. Black coffee, charred malts and some booze as it warms. Clean alcohol. Dark chocolate. Very tasty. Mouthfeel is full bodied and fairly smooth. Medium carbonation. A big beautiful beer and Im glad I have a few more to set aside for a while. Im sure the booze will mellow out alot but it was not distracting here. Certainly worth the purchase, but damn the 4-pack I could have went with 6 for sure.

Serving type: bottle

03-01-2011 02:53:56 | More by Stinkypuss
Photo of Double06


4.18/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Serving: 12oz bottle into DFH Signature Glass
Drank: Reasonably Fresh - recent release in Atlanta
Price: $9 / 4 pack

A: Black as black can be; Virtually impenetrable by light; Very small amount of dark tan head that left a small cap in the glass. 2nd bottle that seemed to be a little under carbonated

S: Dark, roasty malt; Bitter chocolate and espresso

T: Very complex - start with the hop bitterness which quickly fades to the bitter chocolate and espresso that was in the nose. Hints of leather and tobacco as well

M: Again, felt this bottle was under carbonated so that left it a little underperforming compared to the rest of the elements

D: Very nicely done by Founders. A nice imperial with good complexity. Definitely seek it out.

Serving type: bottle

02-28-2011 20:59:19 | More by Double06
Photo of BB1313


4.28/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

2011 vintage. 12oz bottle poured into a standard pint glass. Pours a vicious black with a brown head and sticky lacing. Really nice looking beer. Lots of chocolate up front with some smoke. This definitely seemed like a chocolate bomb, strong hints of coffee and vanilla as well; pretty roasty. Tastes very good, but it didn't differentiate itself from its' peers. Pretty bitter stout. Mouthfeel is thick, "milkshake" type RIS.. kind of like motor oil. Chewy brew! Drinkability is alright, one's good for me.. it's an extremely heavy beer. It definitely makes a great sipper and gets better as it warms up.

Great stout from Founders, some age on this beer will take it to another planet.. it needs to mellow out. Recommended if you can get it.

Serving type: bottle

02-28-2011 17:47:57 | More by BB1313
Founders Imperial Stout from Founders Brewing Company
97 out of 100 based on 5,474 ratings.