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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.

5,882 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 5,882
Reviews: 1,600
rAvg: 4.36
pDev: 8.72%
Wants: 536
Gots: 1,419 | FT: 122
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: 5,882 | Reviews: 1,600 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Agold
5/5  rDev +14.7%

Agold, Nov 14, 2011
Photo of bombadil
5/5  rDev +14.7%

bombadil, Nov 14, 2011
Photo of klipper
4.5/5  rDev +3.2%

klipper, Nov 14, 2011
Photo of tbeq00
5/5  rDev +14.7%

tbeq00, Nov 14, 2011
Photo of Mposha
4.33/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: dark black nice tan lingering head.
S: deep dark coffee flavors and a nice light maltiness with some chocolate.
T: Big coffee notes with hints of molasses and chocolate. Very sweet with little licorice notes.
M: nice medium bodied, very drinkable stout. Taste lingers but not super wet. Very good, very solid, comparable to w'n'b, but more coffee and fresher in this instance.

Mposha, Nov 12, 2011
Photo of baldiegooner
4.38/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours really thick, syrup thick. Overwhelming (in a good way) flavors. Satisfying mouthfeel. Could wax lyrical about all the flavors, etc. but will just report that when presented to my brother-in-law, he tried it.. paused... and then said with a far-off look in his eyes: "it's.. it's just so... complex". I thought he was going to cry. Advice - skip desert, have one of these tonight instead.

baldiegooner, Nov 09, 2011
Photo of JackieTH
4.28/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to Rob for the share!

Poured oily black with a thin skein of dark tan foam. Smell was roasted malts and semi-sweet baker's chocolate. Taste is all about heavily roasted malt, more semi-sweet chocolates, and a mild espresso. Bitterness is apparent within the heavy roast. I get no impression of the 10.5% ABV. Mouthfeel is medium-heavy with a nice texture due to lower carbonation.

Note that this sample had been cellared for 1 year.

Its very good quite roasty.

JackieTH, Nov 07, 2011
Photo of stabzmcgee
4.18/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance is intimidating as it poured a dark viscous black with no head. Smells of dark chocolate and black coffee. Tastes of unsweetened chocolate and roasted malts. Pallate is oily slick and full bodied. Overall Very ominous. Thanks katje111 for the extra!

stabzmcgee, Nov 03, 2011
Photo of coreyfmcdonald
4.45/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle poured into a Founders tulip glass

A: Absolute pitch black with a finger of dark brown head. This is so dark it pours opaque black. The head retention is unbelievably good. It stays around forever.

S: A mixture of dark chocolate and hoppy bitterness. Very roasty with light licorice in the background.

T: Very similar to smell, but with more dark chocolate. This tastes like hoppy liquid dark chocolate. Quite tasty. Though you can taste the booze a bit, it certainly doesn't taste 10.5%.

M: Extremely thick - like chocolate syrup (in a good way). Exactly how I want my imperial stouts.

O: The more I drink this beer the more I like it. It's a bit hoppy at first, but the roastiness and dark chocolate flavors are really quite amazing. I wish Founders used this beer as a base beer for more beers.

coreyfmcdonald, Oct 25, 2011
Photo of heysuz
4.1/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Intro: 12 oz. bottle in a tulip glass. Shared with a friend.

Appearance: Film of foam on the top, not really enough to be considered a head, it will swirl up with slightly more head than KBS, kind of a chocolate pudding head. The lacing reduces quicker but small amounts cling to the sides throughout the drink. The head retention around the edges lasts longer Darker than the KBS, and looks more oily.

Smell: The prominent smell is a coffee with hints of chocolate, a mocha smell.

Taste: Harsher and not as smooth as the KBS, much more prevalent burnt coffee flavor with a lingering alcohol taste. Not nearly as strong chocolate as KBS and much more coffee with a bittersweet ending and strong carbonation.

Mouthfeel: Dryness and a roasted coffee aftertaste and alcohol which seems more acidic. Caulk coating in the mouth from the burnt coffee taste.

Overall: A quality offering by Founders, but not as good as KBS (or HopSlam). It could be more personal preference, but I seem to gravitate towards the chocolate stouts more than the coffee stouts. I taste the chocolate, but it is second seat to the coffee taste.

heysuz, Oct 20, 2011
Photo of Sean9689
4.25/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle opened with BS, CBS, and KBS. 2009 Vintage, poured into Bell's tulip.

A - Pours black, mocha/tan head, thin collar, spotty lace.

S - Chocolate, oak, roast, toffee, smooth booze. Really well-balanced and just spot-on for the style and just how I like my RIS. Chocolate, smooth booze, and a nice level of roast...yum!

T - Chocolate, toffee, roast, light char. The finish is dark chocolate bitter notes with some roast. Again, just excellent and really hard to find many faults with this one.

M - Full, rich and smooth, good carbonation, creamy finish.

O - Founders really know how to brew beer...ya think? Just another example of a close-to-perfect beer for the style that's easily accessible. Right up there with the other variants...excellent.

Sean9689, Oct 16, 2011
Photo of JCaweinstein
4.63/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Reviewed on 10/10/11 bottle dated 2/9/11
Pours the consistency of milk, jet black with a brown head that is thick and very creamy, nice lacing
Sweet chocolate and caramel invites the nose followed by a hint of alcohol, smells just like dessert. The aromas are very easy to pick up an so pleasant
Chocolate, malty sweetness followed by a crisp hop bitterness to remind me that this is a beer
Full bodied, coates with the sweetness then finishes with a little hop aftertaste and a hint of warmness from from the alcohol
This is a great beer, must be consumed slowly and enjoy all night, can't wait for next years version!

JCaweinstein, Oct 14, 2011
Photo of AgentZero
4.22/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Drank this with the rest of the Founders Imperial Stouts.

A - Pours black with a nice, fine brown head that left a decent amount of lace on the sides of the glass.

S - Sweet malts, some chocolate, touch of coffee, toffee. Alcohol is slightly present, but considering ABV, it's nice.

T - Very good, slightly sweet, with some decent roast. Moderate chocolate and toffee with a splash of coffee in there. Very easy to drink with a full taste.

M - Medium bodied, pretty solid carbonation.

D - Found this to be a very good beer that I could drink regularly.

AgentZero, Oct 13, 2011
Photo of ehammond1
4.5/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5


Thanks for sharing, Kgristoff!
Thanks for sharing, NoSignsOfPain!

Thick, oily, heavy, and black as can be. This was a stunning beer to marvel at as it oozed from the bottle. Thin light brown head with low carbonation. Spots and specks of lacing down the glass.

Marvelous aroma of melting, bittersweet, decadent chocolate and roasty, woody, and rich coffees. The two combine marvelously.

The flavor doesn't disappoint and continues right where the aroma left off. The flavor is a marvelous combination of roast, bitterness, coffee, and chocolate.

Thick mouthfeel with low carbonation.

A divine imperial stout.

ehammond1, Oct 11, 2011
Photo of shoky01
3.65/5  rDev -16.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Serving type, 12 oz poured into stemless red wine glasses.

A: Dark brown almost black. Brown head if there is any at all. Light carbonation with tiny bubbles.

S: Chocolate and molasses are strongest. Some spice and alcohol.

T: Strong sour and bitter. Don't know if its gone bad or not. The chocolate is more cocoa and there's alcohol behind the bitter. Its very much like a strong coffee or espresso.

MF: a bit sticky and a little foamy.

OA: Caught me off guard. Gotten used to chocolatey stout and sweeter stuff. This reminds me how the world of stouts still varies.

shoky01, Oct 09, 2011
Photo of Alieniloquium
4.28/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 2 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz. bottle poured into a goblet.

Appearance - Jet black, even pouring out of the bottle, with no head at all. No lacing. Hardly a wisp of chocolate lacing atop of the body. It stains the glass as I swirl it around.

Smell - Strong coffee aromas with chocolate, roasted malts, and a dark fruit background. Great aromas. All the different aromas you'd look for in a big stout like this.

Taste - Big chocolate and coffee flavors immediately, followed by a slightly sweet flavor of dark fruits. The finish is all stout, though. Bitter coffee and hops drown out everything in the finish.

Mouthfeel - Creamy body with some alcohol burn in the finish. The bitterness is very strong. Combined with the alcohol and low carbonation, this one is definitely a sipper. Slow drinking.

Overall - The flavors are huge at the expense of aesthetics and drinkability. Wonderful flavors that require my full attention over the course of an hour or so. I am consistently wowed by the flavors, though.

Alieniloquium, Oct 05, 2011
Photo of jsprain1
4.08/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A- Pours quite close to black. I think can call it black. Head is thin but lasts well with a good bit of sticky lacing.
S- Not as vibrant as I expected. There is molasses, dark chocolate, and fig. Complex but restrained.
T- More coffee like than the nose indicated. Quite espresso-like. There is a dark fruit flavor and a slight prune quality. There is a bit of hoppiness in the finish.
M- Medium bodied for an imperial stout. Carbonation is low, but the body comes across as rich and creamy.
O- It's a quite good Imperial Stout. There are some out there I like a little more, but this one is quite good.

jsprain1, Oct 02, 2011
Photo of JackRose
4.13/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Ridiculously good - big, dark, and brooding. One of the best Russian Imperial Stouts that I have tried in a long time. Quite oaky from barrel aging and a good amount of hop background balance it nicely. One slight criticism is a somewhat lighter mouthfeel - thinner than I would expect. Founder's makes great beer overall and I wish that we can get more here in Georgia

JackRose, Oct 02, 2011
Photo of Goblinmunkey7
3.75/5  rDev -14%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Black, with deep brown/dark red edges. Head is tan and runs on the small side. Pours thick and dark. Head also has a reddish tint. No visible carbonation.

Smell: Cocoa, booze, and tons of roasted malts. Nice compliment of toasted malts to keep things interesting. Coffee, oak, vanilla. I swear it tastes barrel aged. Loads of sweet malts. Plums. A touch of burnt malts.

Taste: Oak and tons of it. Big hit of sweet fruit, plums, followed quickly by vanilla and cocoa. Lots of tobacco once it warms up a little bit. Roasted malt profile is crazy. Lots of complexity going on here.

Mouthfeel: Thin, dry, and very little carbonation. I like the carbonation as it smooth things out a little, but the thin body is a big let down. With all the flavor, a fuller body would have helped elevate it.

Overall: Solid, but a bit of a letdown overall. Complex malt profile is weakened by the overly thin mouthfeel. Still, it's worth drinking and hunting down every year when it comes around.

Goblinmunkey7, Sep 24, 2011
Photo of zhanson88
4.1/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours pitch black, no way any light is getting through. About 1" of dark khaki head forms, which has pretty nice retention and just a touch of lacing. Legs are okay, but nothing great. Pretty nice looking imp. stout.

Smell: Scents of deep roasted malts and coffee are dominant here. Maybe a bit of bittersweet chocolate as well, and some dark fruit sweetness to offset all the bitterness.

Taste: Roasted malts and coffee bitterness assail the palate initially, followed by some dark fruit sweetness (namely fig, date) in the middle to back end. A pretty decent kick of alcohol forms on the back end, or else I would rate even higher.

Mouthfeel/Overall: Mouthfeel is awesome. Full bodied, with mild, low carbonation the produces a lush, velvety mouthfeel. Overall, a very solid imperial stout. Founders impresses me again.

zhanson88, Sep 19, 2011
Photo of mdvatab
4.13/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Found a remaining bottle at Crown Liquors on 116th St. in Fishers, IN.

Aroma: Dark, malty, milk chocolate with a vinous fruity character.

Appearance: Black as ink. 2-finger brown head falls quickly, but leaves a ring of dark foam to collect around the inside of the glass.

Flavor: Dark chocolate, dark malty sweetness, and some smoke. Dark choc. bitterness hangs on at the end.

Mouthfeel: Mouthfeel of chocolate milk: smooth and dextrinous. Thick body with medium-low carbonation.

Overall: Top notch, well-balanced, and well-brewed, imperial stout. Aroma and flavor have some fantastic things going on, and the mouthfeel is wonderful as well. Hope to get one again next time it's sold!

mdvatab, Sep 15, 2011
Photo of dtivp
4.47/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured a deep dark black with a half finger very dark brown head that faded slowly into a thick collar with moderate lacing.

Aroma of strong dark roasted coffee, sweet dark fruit and dark chocolate.

Taste of dark roasted ( burnt) malt with dark roasted coffee the bitterness is balanced with a slight dark fruit sweetness with a slight hint of alcohol.

Mouth Feel is medium leaning full body, very light carbonation, dry with the right amount of bitterness, a touch of sweetness and very little alcohol for a 10.5% ABV beer.

Overall this is what a RIS is all about, great job Founders.

dtivp, Sep 13, 2011
Photo of Evil_Pidde
4.7/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: This one is pitch black and kind of oily. A small chocolate-brown head sinks quickly, and leaves nice lacings.

S: Dark bitter chocolate and strong black coffee, together with loads of dark dried fruits. Complex. Even bitter hops. This is great.

T: Not at all far from what the nose led me to anticipate. Everything from the smell is here, but the bitterness is a bit stronger. There is also a roasted almost burnt taste in the malt. I can sence vanilla; oak-barrel-aging? Where is the alcohol?

M: Full, thick body, moderate carbonation and a lovely bitter, chocolate aftertaste that stays for a little while.

O: A very complex and well crafted beer. Surprisingly the alcohol was only on the label, and perhaps in my legs afterwards...

Evil_Pidde, Sep 12, 2011
Photo of ThePorterSorter
4.4/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks Spartan98 for the bonus! I have been looking forward to this beer.

Sweet jesus this beer is dark. This may be one of the darkest beers I've ever drank, jet black with a dark brown head. The head disappeared fast, but it's generally expected with a good RIS. Wow, this beer looks very rich and inviting. It leaves an oily orange glow, coating the inside of the glass with its potent flavors.

There isn't a ton of strong stout aroma, but I catch strong whiffs of alcohol, vanilla, and roasted sugars. This is definitely a beer that should be consumed at a fairly warm temperature, but already is starting to remind me of a ten fiddy.

Boldly burnt toast with a strong, lingering bitterness. This is a beer that will put hair on your chest, but is strangely reminiscent of an oskar blues ten fiddy. The aftertaste is creamy and sweet at first, but quickly bitter and burnt. This beer embodies the RIS and is definitely worth the hype.

Strong, light carbonation, and bitter. There is no wussing with a beer like this, and it likely wouldn't pair with any meal. The sweetness is majorly driven off by the beer's high abv and roasted black coffee-like bitterness. It's as rich as it appears, probably a medium-full body that's as thick as the midnight sky.

This was a hard beer to acquire, one which I gained through trade. However, I'm glad I finally got to try it. The great attributes of this beer are its rich malts and strong flavors. Sometimes it's nice to be reminded why you're drinking a beer. I would like to try more products from this brewery.


ThePorterSorter, Sep 03, 2011
Photo of elephantrider
4.5/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Thick and oily pour. Faint head that disappears pretty quick.

S: Molasses, dark fruit and chocolate and roasted malts.

T: Can definitely tell this is a high abv beer. A hint of coffee in the flavor but the chocolate prevails over that and the dark fruit flavor. Little hop bite in the end.

M: Not as heavy as it looks and there is some alcohol warmth that I enojoy.

O: I like this stout alot and if I could do two reviews of one beer I would do a aged one these also.

elephantrider, Aug 30, 2011
Founders Imperial Stout from Founders Brewing Company
97 out of 100 based on 5,882 ratings.