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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.

5,763 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 5,763
Reviews: 1,594
rAvg: 4.36
pDev: 8.72%
Wants: 514
Gots: 1,392 | FT: 120
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: 5,763 | Reviews: 1,594 | Display Reviews Only:
4.22/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz. Bottle poured into a small snifter

Appearance : inky black in color. Small brown head froms with vigorous pour that dissipates quite quickly.

Smell : strong roasted aromas. Lots of coffee and bitter sweet coco

Taste: strong roasted taste with some smoky flavors. Hoppy bitterness comes though on the finish. Lots of coffee and bitter sweet coco. very well balanced beer that hides the alcohol well.

Mouthfeel : full body with little carbonation

Overall : great beer very well done exactly what I would expect coming Founders. This beer is definitely a beer I'll be having again and would recommend to anyone looking for a imperial stout.

BUNZILLA, Jul 19, 2011
Photo of Pete27lax
4.45/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Had this beer on 6/11/11

Poured BLACK like motor oil. Loved the appearance, nice dark head with decent retention and very good lacing.

Strong roasted characters in the aroma. Coffee and chocolate malts dominate the smell of this beer, not much else present though.

Taste in awesome! Coffee is present right off the bat and chocolate malts come in right after. Alcohol is slightly noticeable in this beer but nothing uncomfortable. The sweet chocolate malts and balance of coffee is what really gives this beer an excellence taste. Also a slight taste of bitterness at the end of this beer. Great taste overall.

The highlight of this beer was definitely the mouthfeel. Smooth, thick and rich. Just how I like my russian imperial stouts. That with the combination of just the right amount of carbonation gives mouthfeel a perfect 5 here.

Overall this is on of the better russian imperial stouts I've had, in the same class as Ten fidy and Stout Trooper in my opinion. Looking forward to have some more in the future.

Pete27lax, Jul 18, 2011
Photo of jmvecchio1
4/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Imperial Stout pours out a dark black off the pour - no light is getting through this beer. A chocolate colored head develops and sits on top like a cap until it eventually fades out into some lacing. A mixture of bitter chocolate and roasted coffee greet you on the aroma with some sweetness on the finish. Alcohol takes the front seat on the first few sips, but fades out and allows the beer’s complex flavors to shine through. Hops hit up front, but are balanced nicely with roasted malts that are truly the backbone holding each flavor together. Chocolate and coffee notes are present, but not overwhelming. The alcohol slowly warms with each sip you take.

jmvecchio1, Jul 16, 2011
Photo of Brez07
4.2/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Reviewing from notes. 12oz bottle served in a snifter

A: Rather dark pour, but not without a fair share of brown highlight. Leaves a 1 finger expresso colored head which presents as a ring around the glass

S: Very inviting. Lots of roasted malt mixed with bitter chocolate. Some charcoal/smoke and anise

T: Starts off with a bitter roasted malt flavor. There is a chocolate sweetness in the middle (think brownies). Finishes with the charcoal/smoke combo along with some alcohol. Roastiness is the biggest flavor here, but the others compliment it well

M: Full bodied. Creamy. Good amount of lingering bitterness. High carbonation although still seems fairly smooth

D: An excellent imperial stout. Reminds me a lot of Imperial Stout Trooper. Would like to pick some up to age

Brez07, Jul 05, 2011
Photo of Beerenauslese
4.45/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Body is very dark brown, with a tan head that dissipates to a ring.

Smells rich, with lots of charred malt, dark fruit, coffee, and chocolate.

Taste follows the nose: first, strong chocolate milk, then coffee, and a bit of tongue tingling charred malt astringency, finishing dry and somewhat hoppy.

Body is medium and carbonation is subdued. Creamy at first, but gets flatter as it warms.

Overall, a very good IS/RIS. Very rich, the 10.5% ABV is well hidden.

Beerenauslese, Jul 05, 2011
Photo of hosehead83
4.38/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12oz. "stubby" bottle into a wine goblet. Inky black, almost purple in color, with a short head of tan foam.
Aroma-Dark roasted coffee, dark chocolate
Taste-Dark roasted coffee,anise, smooth tobacco and hop leaf. Very well-balanced and full of character. Super-smooth for "high caliber" (10.5)ABV. A definite slow sipper. Take your time and enjoy.

hosehead83, Jul 04, 2011
Photo of thedoubler55
4.35/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a pitch black with a bit of tan head that is almost barely there, just a tad bit of lacing.

S: Very strong chocolate smell up front, lingering dark roasted malts with a bit of dark fruits

T: The taste up front is all roasted malts, and lots of chocolate, at the tailend seems like taste of some coffee.

M: Almost no carbonation at all, very creamy and filling

D: Great stout from Founders once again, never let down with this brewing company, this brew was great, perfect balance of a stout!

thedoubler55, Jun 28, 2011
Photo of Armand
4.9/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Have had this one several times. Had one that was full of life and chocolatey. Got a flat bunk one that was a drainer. Overall I am going to give this a good review without having a flaw ruin my first experience.

A: Pours an inky black color with a very minimal dark brown head.

S: The smell has a strong chocolate and roasted presence to it.

T: There is a massive roasted flavor upfront with subtle notes of chocolate following but quickly overshadowed by the roasted flavor.

M: Thick and chewy with minimal carbonation. The feel is creamy and roasted.

D: This is a very good RIS and I wouldn't expect anything less from Founders.
Serving type: bottle

Armand, Jun 28, 2011
Photo of wordemupg
4.47/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle poured into tulip 24/6/11

A black out of the bottle and blacker in the glass, thick two finger mocha head has great retention but only leaves a few patches of lace

S mostly dark coco powder with some molasses, licorice, a little smoke and some faint citric hops just come through all the dark roast

T the roast is even darker in the mouth with lots of bakers chocolate and plenty of coffee I couldn't smell, and some char, I get a little booze but pretty well concealed for 10.5%

M thick and creamy from the bubbles and long lasting flavors just keep going well after this one's in your belly

O near perfection in many areas but I just couldn't drop the perfect score, close for smell, taste, and feel but not quite perfect in my eyes

This ones worth looking for and I only wish I could find it in my part of the world, thick, dark and rich this ones a winner from a world class brewer
Thanks Matt and Doug for hooking me up

wordemupg, Jun 24, 2011
Photo of Pahn
4.35/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle into Duvel tulip. No bottled on info, but I bought it recently (and Founders beers don't usually stay in Boston stores for very long after release).

Appearance: Free pour yields a one inch, dark brown head that dissipates somewhat quickly and lacelessly. Looks very viscous and not very carbonated while being poured. Solid black. Some random, short lived swatches of lacing.

Smell: The look was underwhelming, but the smell was not. Coffee, cocoa, dark chocolate, lots of malt. Sugary. Some very interesting and hard to pin down notes--strong and multidimensional, like a great Russian Imperial Stout should be.

There's molasses, a little brown sugar, and a growing symphony of pastry like malt aromas. The whole here is greater than the sum of its parts. Close to perfection.

Taste: First sip follows the nose, with lots of dark chocolate, caramel, and some mild coffee liqueur flavors (I love these rum-like or liqueur-like flavors in stouts), with a roasted malt finish. Undercarbonation hindering my enjoyment.

Second sip still flattened by too little carbonation, but bringing a new surge of dark fruit and anise, with a big, almost nutty roasted malt character at the end. High bitterness perfectly offsets the numerous rich and sweet flavors. Confused by this beer... the carbonation level is really hurting it, but the flavors are so numerous, so well done, and so harmonious.

In the end, I'm won over. This beer is as generous and complex as Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout, but less hot and considerably more restrained and balanced. It could be more carbonated, but the good aspects are soaringly good.

Mouthfeel: Full bodied, but not as thick as it looks. Low carbonation (would definitely be better with more). Great roasted malt and hop bitterness at the end, though not very dry. While the alcohol is well masked in the main flavor, there's a building heat in the aftertaste.

Overall: Great beer, like a better Old Rasputin or a grown up Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout (like BCS spends its youth rampaging around, sowing its wild oats, then after it gets wiser and more skillful, becomes Founders Imperial Stout). What you'd expect from a brewery like Founders; lots of flavor, lots of balance.

Pahn, Jun 23, 2011
Photo of ngeunit1
4.35/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Served a jet black color with a finger of frothy tan-brown head atop. The head hangs around for a while before leaving behind lots of lacing.

S - Rich deep roasted caramel and chocolate malts. There is also a touch of sweet milk and roasted coffee as well.

T - Starts off with lots of deep roasted caramel flavor and some coffee. Though the middle some more roasted flavors and a bit of milk sweetness and some chocolate flavor comes thorough. The finish is a mix of roasted caramel and coffee with a touch of booze that lingers.

M - Full bodied with moderate carbonation. The beer feels smooth and a touch creamy. he finish is sweet with some roasted and chocolate flavors and a bit of warming from the alcohol.

D - Very drinkable. Very nice balance of roasted, sweet, and chocolate flavors throughout. The beer is also really rich and complex.

ngeunit1, Jun 14, 2011
Photo of haddon
4.05/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

have really big looking forward to this beer. thanks to kaips1 for this one.

pours opaque with a tan head that doesn't hang around too long. good lacing down the tulip.

wow, this has some amazing notes going on. very well balanced with semi-sweet chocolate, roasted coffee beans & a sweet boozy note on the back end

bitter chocolate, cocoa powder and coffee bean. there are some bitter hop notes in the middle with a strong alcohol heat that lingers on the aftertaste. the beer is hot and burns a bit.

medium body that is a little dry and chalky. you would expect a bit more creamy feel with full body on a beer this big but its just not there.

highly anticipated this beer and it is a good but not great imperial stout. don't get me wrong, I will drink it again but it has a lot of hype and I was expecting more.

haddon, Jun 14, 2011
Photo of Wadsey
4.47/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Founders Imperial Stout

Served in New Belgium tulip

A: Pours black with a thin but dense chocolate mousse head. Swirling the beer in the glass reveals an oily appearance on glass. It also resuscitates head and deposits some suds on sides of glass. 

S: Cocoa nibs, ash, chocolate milk, and earth.  Nothing fruity or hoppy on the nose. At subthreshhold of smell, soy and smoke play, adding complexity to the beer.  

T: Chocolate milk was a more apt descriptor than I anticipated. Roast and bitterness step in and rise in intensity, summoning dark chocolate truffles and coffee liqueur on to palate.  Finish is long, bitter and roasted. No/little alcohol is detected. 

M: Medium-heavy body and medium-light carbonation. Mouthcoating, creamy and full. 

O: Such a wonderful interpretation of the style. I don't think Founders could possibly improve this beer. And it is drinking marvelously at 4 months. 

Wadsey, Jun 13, 2011
Photo of mdaschaf
4.35/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Jparkanzky for this beer, been wanting to try it for a long time!

A: Pours an inky black, extremely dark, like oil, no light passes through it at all. A one finger brown head forms upon pouring, but reduces to a thin layer of bubbles on top rather quickly.

S: Loads of dark and bakers chocolate, some roasted barley, molasses, and a slight touch of coffee.

M: Flavor explosion! Roasted malt, tons of dark chocolate, hints of coffee/espresso, and a touch of alcohol - buy very faint. There is a little bit of dark fruit in the middle with a bitter finish.

M: Medium to full bodied, but not overly heavy. Smooth and creamy, somewhat dry with a nice lingering finish.

O: A great beer, lives up to its reputation. Incredibly drinkable with a great flavor profile.

mdaschaf, Jun 12, 2011
Photo of claytong
4.63/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

mhm good. founders is not overrated. hopefully they wont sell out to bud.

Appearance - oil, i dont fuck around. it has the appearance of some non-sludge, pretty oil. dark as hell. probably one of the darkest ive had. no head on controlled pour, got rough and got a small mm.

Smell - chocolate, some oak bourbon wood, coffee, bit of smoke

Taste - the same, delicious. not any bourbon here though. maybe just smelling oak and the alcohol. bit of cream and vanilla.

Mouthfeel - carbonation is dead on, creamy, just dead on here.

claytong, Jun 10, 2011
Photo of Gushue3
4.5/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- pours midnight black and sits the same in my snifter. One finger brown mocha head that has medium retention and lighter lacing. if the retention and lacing was more prominent could be a 5

S- BIG chocolate, malt and hop notes with a slighter coffee and boozy note. Big and exciting impy.

T- big on the chocolate and coffee woh a hoppy-ness that is more prominent toward the middle. The finish is sweet that turns slightly bitter. Awesome AWESOME beer. Glad i picked this one.

O- excelent impy. Everything im looking for. Great look, pitch black, smell and taste are top notch and mouthfeel matches everything else.

Gushue3, Jun 09, 2011
Photo of jmdrpi
4.58/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle, 2011 vintage.

opaque black, with just a thin whisp of mocha colored head. strong aroma of espresso and bitter cocoa. taste is also big bold flavors. bitter coffee, roasty malt, a bit of smoke. body is thick, a bit sticky. low carbonation.

overall, a great imperial stout.

jmdrpi, Jun 07, 2011
Photo of sendsilk
4.9/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This beer is freaking awesome. No, they don't have a special release for this beer like Dark Lord or Darkness or Hunahpu. But if they did this beer would be completely sought after and considered rare.

Awesome mouthfeel, delicious chocolate flavor assault the palate and nostrils upon first sip. There's nothing that can be done to improve on this beer. On of my top 5 favorite stouts of all time.

Thanks Founders, for making this accessible to people without having us have wait in a line at 8am for a 1 day only release.

sendsilk, Jun 03, 2011
Photo of flipper2gv
4.3/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks a lot to BEERchitect for this one!

A: Pours really really black, totally opaque. Half a finger worth of a straight brown head. Half creamy looking. Retention is ok and lacing is bad.

S: First thing to hit me is the smoke. More than expected. Lots of semi sweet chocolate that is laced with coffee. Lots of molasses, brown sugar, vanilla, coconut toffee. Some fruits: dried bananas, dried pineapples and figs.

T: This is really good. Just the correct balance of smoke, burnt malts and sweetness. I thought this would have been sweeter but I stand corrected. This has lots of powdery cocoa and semi sweet chocolate. Good amount of coffee and vanilla too. Molasses, toffee, brown sugar are there too. The fruits are there with the dried bananas, dried pineapples and figs. Medium alcohol

M: So thick! Man, those american Imperial stouts are thick! Low carbonation and silky smooth.

O: Very good beer overall. A tad too much alcohol on the tongue but still a fantastic brew. Great balance!

flipper2gv, Jun 01, 2011
Photo of Treebs
4.14/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Poured from 12oz. bottle into pint glass.

A: Pours very thick and viscous with a deep brown head that quickly faded to nothing.

S: Smells of roasted malts with a bitter coffee backdrop. A little vanilla and sweet chocolates fill out the edges in this brew.

T:. Bitter dark chocolate with some roasted malts and some bitter hops. A little coffee, but very mild. A little burn on the back end but it mellows out the bitterness nicely and is very enjoyable.

M: Heavy bodied with a nice medium carbonation. Smooth on the way down while leaving an oily, bitter film on the tongue.

O: I enjoyed this but the Some of the flavors fell flat compared to other RIS's. Still a good brew though.

Treebs, May 31, 2011
Photo of AndyAvalanche
4.53/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz. bottle poured into a Duvel Tulip Glass. This beer comes out a dense black color, with basically no highlights at all, it's pretty impressive. The color of the head is chocolate milk with extra syrup. Some pretty decent lacing.

When I cracked this open, I held it six inches or so from my nose and I could start to pick up the aroma and I knew it was going to be good. Smells like there is a good combination of malts, but the strongest is certainly chocolate, a semi-sweet dark chocolate. There are also strong notes of a natural roasted barley. Hint of smokiness and a touch of alcohol that warms your nose.

The taste is truly excellent. The large amounts of malts are even more detected in the flavor profile. It tastes like a blend of bittersweet, semi-sweet, dark, and milk chocolate all blended together if that makes sense. Big flavor, slight smokiness again, but not as much as the smell. A natural sweet roasty flavor. This is truly a tasty beer, like chocolate milk for adults.

The mouthfeel is pretty much perfect. It's certainly full bodied, and super smooth. Actually, smooth is an understatement, this sets a new standard for me, silky smooth sweetness. Excellent carbonation level and really not a bite from the alcohol which stands at 10.5%; it's barely detectable. Very easy drinking beer, anybody could polish this one off with ease.

Founders does it again, I have 2 left that I'd like to put a little age on to see how they do. Its the end of May right now, I'd love to see how an aged one taste in the winter, who know's maybe I'll edit this and give it another 5 or two.

*Still good after a year in the cellar, but probably a little better fresh*

AndyAvalanche, May 31, 2011
Photo of InebriatedJoker
4.38/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Got this from a in person trade from schwaeh -Thanks man awesome brew.

Poured from 12oz bottle into pint goblet -

A: Poured midnight black with half finger head that dissipated into a thin off white laceing,decent carbonation.

S: Deep roasted malts ,slight anise, chocolate,coffee.

T: Deep roasted malts with slight hops, bitter dark coffee,slight anise hints, dark chocolate.

O: Overall this was a very good Imperial stout, from the fist sip to the last drop.
extremely well blended and balanced,
will seek out again.

InebriatedJoker, May 30, 2011
Photo of Scotchboy
3.85/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle, extra from schwaeh, poured into a New Belgium globe.

A: Pours viscous, thick and dark, one of the thickest darkest stouts I've seen. Not much head, about a fingers worth after a fairly vigorous pour, and its dark brown. Head and lacing are pretty viscous and sticky.

S: Darkest malts with touches of sweetness (the hops I'm guessing), chocolate and just hints of coffee. There is a slight funk/sourness, very slight though, as is the alcohol presence. Still a good smell.

T: The dark malts are the star here, its rich and viscous with a touch of heat. There is some chocolate buried in there, and I think some of the sweetness is coming from the hops even thought there is very little bitterness at 90 IBU's. Molasses, brown sugar, and licorice are all apparent on the tongue.

MF: Chewy and silky smooth at the same time, full bodied, viscous, low-medium carbonation. Finishes a touch dry from the hops.

O: Good, but the interesting sweetness and unconventional characteristics keep it from being great. Floats back and forth from a traditional American IS to a Russian IS with the hops and dryness.

I'd recommend it. Thanks Steve.

Scotchboy, May 29, 2011
Photo of Vdubb86
4.3/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Served in a mug

Thanks to The Stretch for sharing the growler I got for him at the brewery with me.

This is my second review of this beer, because IT GOT BETTER. This has the blackness of the abyss of space with a brown foam that is amazing. The smell is rather vacant, but has hints of coffee and molasses. The taste is a combination of lots of molasses, some star anise, coffee and lots of cocoa powder. This is really smooth going down. I can't believe it lasted this long in the growler (4 months). It's really really tasty. Overall this is one of the better imperial stouts that I have had the good fortune to have. It goes to show that at the right temperature Imperial stouts can be one of the best styles around. I love this thing.

Vdubb86, May 28, 2011
Photo of chugalug06
4.21/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A - Brew pours like Oil and leaves nice lacing… One of the darkest brews I've ever had.

S - Very tobacco. You can tell this brew has some oak in it… Smells like a very sweet Stout. Hints of chocolate, vanilla, and molasses too.

T - You can feel the heat in this one… You're also able to pick out the many different flavors hidden deep within. Orange, tobacco, chocolate, vanilla, raspy malted goodness….

M - Very think and robust. Very chewy, evenly distributes. Carbonation is as close to perfect as to be expected.

O - Great brew, slightly on the over kill side of things, but stays away from becoming a hot mess… A great brew in a great trade! Thank you dsglovin!

chugalug06, May 27, 2011
Founders Imperial Stout from Founders Brewing Company
97 out of 100 based on 5,763 ratings.