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Founders Imperial Stout - Founders Brewing Company

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Founders Imperial StoutFounders Imperial Stout

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

5,637 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 5,637
Reviews: 1,587
rAvg: 4.37
pDev: 8.7%
Wants: 506
Gots: 1,357 | FT: 117
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: 5,637 | Reviews: 1,587 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Rizalini


3.75/5  rDev -14.2%

Recieved in a trade from StlThrash, and shared with Nikkibrews13. Thanks for the brew!

A - Pours black with a very minimal brown head leaving almost no lacing.

S - Big roasty aroma and sweet smells.

T - Roastyness and licorice on the forefront, but at 90 IBUs, I can taste the hops in the background.

M - Medium mouthfeel, but kinda lacking on the carbonation.

D - This is a good stout, but a little 'hoppier' than I would prefer my Russian Imperial Stouts to be.

03-09-2011 03:30:46 | More by Rizalini
Photo of Nikkibrews13


4.13/5  rDev -5.5%

A: Founders Imperial Stout comes rich and dark in color. Deep brown head.

S: The aroma is sweet and roasted. A fruity chocolate comes off with a slight boozy after.

T: Nice sweetness in the malts. roasty. with notes of chocolate.

M: Medium mouthfeel, smooth.

D: Very good very drinkable stout.

I think founders imperial is awesome, nice sweetness complimented by a great roasted flavor. if this beer were available in Nevada i would drink it again and again, and enjoy it every time.

03-09-2011 03:27:22 | More by Nikkibrews13
Photo of Spider889


4.34/5  rDev -0.7%

On tap at Bodega.

A true classic example of the style.

Black, really small but tight dark toffee colored head. Very thick and dense. Left a thin honeycomb of lace on the glass.

I found the aroma lacking, but the malt-driven beer is very roasty, with hints of sweet chocolate syrup wafting in and out.

The flavor is everything a RIS should be, but then again, it wasn't anything overly unique either. Well roasted, high degree of char and ash is present. Bitter hops and smooth oats on the finish.

Medium bodied, lower carbonation as it should be, not too heavy despite the thickness of the beer. Somewhat sticky.

The abv felt less than 10% while I was drinking it, but it wasn't unnoticeable either. I was definitely feeling this beer afterward though. A wonderful RIS, worth seeking out.

03-08-2011 09:20:56 | More by Spider889
Photo of ommegangpbr

New York

4/5  rDev -8.5%

Motor oil on the pour with a thin bodied but deep deep colored head.
Smells of wood smoke and strong brewed coffee.
Flavors are of great, bitter chocolate, like, 85% cacao chocolate. The ten percent or so of booze vaporizes those chocolate notes.
Rich, deep and pretty straightforward. I'd be happy to have this again.

03-08-2011 07:27:04 | More by ommegangpbr
Photo of ms11781


4.45/5  rDev +1.8%

Bottled 02/09/2011. 12oz bottle poured into a snifter.

Pours a solid black, dark as night, with a minimal dark brown head. The head eventually becomes a very thin, lighter brown ring of foam around the glass. Small wisps of lacing left on the glass, just enough to note.

The nose is full of dark and roasted aromas. Dark chocolate is present along with a ton of roasted malt character. There is a lesser amount of coffee here but still enough to note. There is also a hint of molasses and a sort of underlying sweetness.

Tons of flavor in the taste. Dark chocolate, coffee, some caramel sweetness, brown sugar, molasses. There is a huge roasted character in the taste that is stronger than the nose and seems even a bit smoky at times. There is also a nice bitterness towards the finish. It seems like it from either some bitter chocolate or some burnt coffee flavor.

A thick body with low carbonation gives this beer a very heavy mouthfeel. It's thick and viscous and rich and creamy all at the same time. Finishes very smooth and leaves a bit of a lingering bitterness.

Drinkability is great with this one. Very thick and heavy, definitely a one and done, but very enjoyable. A good beer to sit and sip over a few hours over a winter evening while fresh and also one that might improve with some age.

03-08-2011 04:42:54 | More by ms11781
Photo of JKIRBY


4.35/5  rDev -0.5%

2011 poured into my snifter.

Poured thick and black and beautiful. Very thin dark brown head, never even enough to cover the surface. Retreats quickly to a ring. Each drink leaves a nice ring around the glass. Nice retention on the lacing.

Nose is roasty, full.

Taste is exceptional. Dark roast coffee, dark chocolate bitter. Bitter, but not in a bad way. Flavor remains, but not like a bad aftertaste, just lingering goodness. Masks the 10.2 ABV quite well. Expected it to be hot being so fresh, but only a tiny bit boozy, nothing out of line for the style.

Mouthfeel is very pleasant, little carbonation, but enough. Coats the tongue nicely.

I could enjoy a couple of these.

Another +1 for Founders in my book.

03-08-2011 02:10:50 | More by JKIRBY
Photo of dbossman


4.08/5  rDev -6.6%

A: Black and thick with a thin dark brown head that dissipates quickly; lacing is good

S: Lots of dark roasted malts and coffee; some toasty bready quality; the alcohol aromas and burnt grains peak through as well; a little bit of burnt rubber but it is pleasant enough

T: Burnt and roasted malts up front with some coffee; a touch of medicinal quality there as well

F: Sticky and viscous with great overall mouth feel

D: A great beer but the burnt roasted malts are a bit over the top; this is a good sipper and not too boozy but it's still not one you could drink all night

03-08-2011 00:23:49 | More by dbossman
Photo of orangesol


4.2/5  rDev -3.9%

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.

03-07-2011 19:11:27 | More by orangesol
Photo of TheDTrain


4.08/5  rDev -6.6%

Finally an Imperial Stout fit for an Imperial Storm Trooper after a long day chasing down rebels on Hoth.

Pours like motor oil. Thick is an understatement. This is a meal in a glass...heavy, rich, gritty, and harsh. Powered by heavy roast malt, coco, molasses, brown sugar, boozy undertones throughout, & a strong hop bite.

Put on your big boy pants for this one. A good Imperial stout without the pleasantries of the Founders Breakfast Stout or KBS.

03-07-2011 18:47:20 | More by TheDTrain
Photo of JizackFH

New York

4.58/5  rDev +4.8%

A - This beer pours jet black in color. It has a beautiful 2-finger frothy head, that is a perfect milk chocolate color. The head has nice retention, and leaves some nice sticky lacing on the glass. This just looks awesome.

S - This smells of dark roasted malt and lots of chocolate. There are also notes of coffee, caramel, molasses, toffee, a touch of hops, and some booziness.

T - The taste is dark and roasty. There are strong bitter dark-chocolate flavors present. Also, I am getting notes of coffee, molasses, toffee, caramel, some hop bitterness, and some booziness. The finish has a great smooth chocolate flavor, and there is also a hint of booziness throughout.

M - It has a nice full body and low-medium carbonation. It goes down very smooth, and in my opinion has the perfect body for this style of beer. There is some lingering bitterness, as well as a boozy warmth in the finish.

D - This has excellent drinkability. I have a hard time putting this one down, even though I'm trying to pace myself. This beer looks, smells, and tastes great. I really like this beer, and I will definitely be having more. I highly recommend this. Awesome job Founders. Cheers.

03-07-2011 10:09:19 | More by JizackFH
Photo of FosterJM


4.33/5  rDev -0.9%

296th review on BA
bottle to NB globe
12 oz bottle

App- A very dark brown. Almost black. A one finger head with a dark tan color. Scattered lacing.

Smell- Chocolate, Malt, Booze, Caramel.

Taste- A big chocolate taste with sweet malt and a hint of booze. A very good RIS. Nice creamy aftertaste.

Mouth- Medium bodied with a medium carb level. A nice blend of creamy, lush, velvet. All those adjectives. A nice dessert stout.

Drink- Why did I only ask for one of these. Damn this was tasty. Big flavors again out of a small bottle. I like that analogy

03-07-2011 04:36:43 | More by FosterJM
Photo of mistakebythelake


3.9/5  rDev -10.8%

12 oz bottle into a snifter.

Pours a dark pitch black with a red amber tine. Los of bubbles and lacing with a lot of foam. Smelled of coffee, chocolate and toffee with some roasted flavors too. Tasted of coffee, roasted alts and cocoa. Thick, creamy, rich and heavy on the mouthfeel. Went down pretty smooth but alcohol% is sneaky especially as it warmed up.

03-07-2011 04:06:54 | More by mistakebythelake
Photo of garbercury


4/5  rDev -8.5%

A--Deep dark mahogany with killer amber red head and tons of lacing, beautiful, scores a perfect 5.

S--Coffee is strong on this one, bit of licorice.

T--This is a strong beer taste wise, coffee and hoppy finish dominate. Flavor is heavy duty, dark malts with a hoppy back end that really hits hard.

M--Fantastic, smooth and silky, milkshake like.

D--Heavy and hot, needs time. This is a beer that will benefit greatly by aging...

03-07-2011 03:06:59 | More by garbercury
Photo of peensteen

Ontario (Canada)

4.43/5  rDev +1.4%

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.

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

New York

4.47/5  rDev +2.3%

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 !

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


4.43/5  rDev +1.4%

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.

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


4.4/5  rDev +0.7%

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.

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


3.98/5  rDev -8.9%

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.

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


4.5/5  rDev +3%

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.

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


4.4/5  rDev +0.7%

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.

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

New York

4.68/5  rDev +7.1%

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!

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


4.08/5  rDev -6.6%

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

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


4.13/5  rDev -5.5%

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.

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


4.33/5  rDev -0.9%

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.

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


3.73/5  rDev -14.6%

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

03-04-2011 01:15:27 | More by brew3crew
Founders Imperial Stout from Founders Brewing Company
97 out of 100 based on 5,637 ratings.