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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: 7,102
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: 7,102
Photo of Jwburns75
4.62/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottled 12/22, snifter pour. Deep dark black, one finger head. Rich roasty nose. Taste is rich, subtle chocolate. Right on par with Expedition and Ten Fidy. One of the very best Imperial stouts out there.

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Photo of hoagzzz
3.9/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I am an IPA / pale ale guy but want to develop a taste for stouts. Lots of people like them so they must be good right? Sipped this over the course of an hr and it was pretty good. Nice alcohol burn on the back end. This was bottled dec 14 gonna cellar two from the four pack I got.

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Photo of PorterLambic
4.49/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Pours an exceedingly dark brown with a 3/4" high, dark brown head of fluffiness. Retention for the style is amazing, dropping to a thickish film and just staying there. Some minimal lace is left behind.
Smell is toasted malt, dark chocolate, rum, light wood, and some dark fruit notes. Great balance here.
Taste is rich and delicious with brandy, toasty malt, dark chocolate, undecipherable dark fruits but with a slightly bitter note. Balance is good.
Full bodied, light effervescence, nearly cloying. A bit of ash in the aftertaste but not offputting. Dry finish and bit cleaner than I prefer but still a truly great beer.

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Photo of CAC329
4.38/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Only my 2nd taste test this week but definitely a winner. I very much enjoyed this stout.
Its taste was kind of coffee yet sweet, even the aftertaste was pleasant.
I would not know it drinking it but it was thick and syrupy in the glass, with a medium to dark foam.
This is a keeper!

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

2015 Founders Imperial Stout (bottling date of 12/15/2014) consumed on 3/16/2015. Served in small snifter over two pours at 50-55 degrees F.

Appearance - Pours almost pitch black with a thick, dark tan head about two fingers thick. Settles to a thin cap that remains throughout. When held to the light, beer remains practically opaque.

Aroma - Initial suggestion of licorice that gives way to roasted malts. As one inhales more deeply, roasted malts become more prominent. There is a hint of dark chocolate, but only a hint. Slight woody smokiness.

Taste - Mildly sweet. Despite first impressions of licorice and chocolate, roasted malts really do emerge to the fore and drive the flavor. Smoky notes of oak and char linger in the background and add a briny note that seems to complement the sweetness. Alcohol is well hidden but not completely gone. Some hop bitterness at the end to provide balance.

Mouthfeel - Thick mouthfeel that borders on oily. Creamy yet just enough carbonation. Despite well-hidden ABV, alcohol does burn a bit.


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Photo of Duhast500
4.71/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Poured from a 12oz. bottle into a tulip glass.
The color is a dark black with some slight maroon highlights. There is a finger of foamy brownish head that began out of nowhere then leaves a thin layer of webbing on the glass.
The smell is dark malts with some chocolate and black licorice aroma in the nose. There is a nice sweetness here that is a little bready and has a slight hazelnut aroma.
The taste is sweet with a butter finger-like flavor. There is a toffee flavor that comes in just for a bit and leads into a kind of nutty flavor. Caramel flavor makes an appearance then we get a little bolder with a bourbon flavor that has a nice oaky flavor.
The feel of this beer is medium bodied which comes as a slight surprise being a beer that weights in at the heavier ABV. There doesn’t seem to be a hint of boozieness here and it hides the alcohol well. This is just a smooth Imperial stout without the edges that can really effect the enjoyment of a beer like this.

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Photo of BrownAleBollocks
4.63/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours like motor oil, with a two finger chocolate mouse head. Aroma is dark fruit, chocolate. Taste is chocolate, light roast, and light dark fruit on the back end. Mouthfeel is creamy and heavy, but smooth. Overall a great imperial stout, one of the best I've had.

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Photo of REGreenBTRB
4.52/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: 5 - Menacing. Pitch black with this mean-looking cinnamon head than thins out.

Smell: 4.25 - Malt and a super dark chocolate; like one of those 85% dark chocolate bars or something. Smells nice.

Taste: 4.5 - Holy smokes! This beer is absolutely loaded with flavor. That super dark chocolate on the nose is there on the taste and stays there. BIG beer. Not overpowering with alcohol like a 10.5% could be, but this is obviously a sipper. There are some coffee notes on the back end, and a mild smokiness to it as well.

Mouthfeel: 5 - This things is the creamiest beer I've had yet. Silky smooth, creamy, thick, AHH! This beer reminds me of a Rolls-Royce Phantom. You see one of those things "driving," i.e, sailing on the road, and you just know that it's the smoothest ride of your life. Well, yeah. This.

Overall: 4.65 - A solid A beer. This isn't something I would drink but maybe once a month. It's so good, but so massive I feel like I'd overwhelm myself with more frequent consumption. Badass brew.

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

Probably the best Imperial Stout (non-barrel aged) that I have had. Nice bouquet of coffee and some vanilla. Texture is thick, creamy, and silky with a nice level of carbonation. Taste is so well balanced. Lots of coffee flavors and a little bit of sweetness, but not too much. I have found several stouts to be overly sweet and it just gets to be too much by the end of the beer. That was the thing I like best about this is the level of sweetness was dialed in perfectly. There is a light level of bitterness that lingers on the finish. Also this does not have any harshness like some of the other Imperial Stouts. The 10.5% abv is well hidden and it is easy to drink fresh and doesn't need age, although I do wonder if it would get even better with some age. I would rank this above the top competition like Expedition and Speedway (both of which I thought were very impressive) and the price is fair too as it is half the price of Speedway. This will be my go to non-barrel aged Stout.

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Photo of MacMalt
4.55/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

This is a superior RIS! While the taste is outstanding with abundant chocolate, coffee, and dark fruit, I think its most amazing attribute is its mouth feel: very viscous and creamy. It's almost as though you can chew it. I never tire of drinking this beer.

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Photo of TBoneJones
4.33/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

I thought I reviewed this before. I've had it before, and recall it being outstanding. I just saw and bought a single, and it's still terrific. I recommend it to any RIS fan. Robust, chocolatey, dark fruit, bitter roast, thick, chewy. Solid.

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Photo of WhiteHillsStore
4.51/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Pours a pitch black color with a coffee colored head. The smell is full of roasted malts that give the beer a nice coffee scent to it. The taste was great with coffee and dark chocolate flavors mixing well with a bit of hops here and there. Hides the ABV well and I thought this was an amazing beer. Definitely worth picking up.

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Photo of predikit
3.96/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours thick, and deep brown, settles in the glass black. Leaves brown head that leaves plenty of lacing.

Smell is rather muted, some notes of molasses, slightly fruity.

Taste has some dark fruit notes, before quickly sliding into molasses and bitter coffee and chocolate, which take the finish and the aftertaste. Alcohol is well hidden, though I noticed when drinking along side a meal, the alcohol will come out more.

Full bodied, syrupy thick, extremely smooth and creamy.

A very good stout.

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Photo of Jacobob10
3.65/5  rDev -15.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottled on 12/12/2014.

Poured into a snifter. Black as midnight with one of the darkest brown heads I have ever seen. The head is small but leaves some nice lacing on the glass as it goes down. Legs on the glass as well when you swirl it around. Nose is filled with chocolate, vanilla, port, coffee, and booze, although the sum is not great as its parts. It falls apart a bit upon tasting. Way too heavy on the burnt malt. Big espresso notes as well as bitter dark chocolate. Very bitter in fact. Full bodied with a chewy texture. Booze remains prevalent throughout the beer. I put one of these bad boys in the cellar to revisit in a year. Hoping some of the burnt flavor will mellow out. Hate to say it but I don't get all the Founders love. I've been generally disappointed with most of what I've tried.

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Photo of uvachief
4.5/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Draft from a 32 oz grunt. Pours dark black with 2 fingers of tan mocha colored head. Significant lacing throughout the drink. Aromas of coffee and chocolate with a hint of dark fruit. Nice heavy body in the mouth with a rush of chocolate, vanilla, roasted malts and coffee (not espresso). Extremely smooth and well balanced. Aftertaste is much the same on the back end with maybe more coffee. Extremely smooth and drinkable. 32oz gone in a flash. Well hidden abv. This was 2013 so aged at least a year. Very smooth.

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

LET THIS THING AGE! It is leaps and bounds better after about a year or two of cellaring. The intense dark fruit notes fade a little bit and it turns into a delicious, chocolatey, fudgey brownie.

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Photo of SierraFlight
4.15/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

12oz bottle poured into stout goblet. Very dark brown to black liquid with light brown head that stands two fingers tall before settling to a sheen and leaving some patches of lace. Aroma is very roasty malts, unsweetened chocolate, espresso, dark fruit, molasses, and alcohol. Taste is initially sweet roasted malts, with cocoa and dark fruit followed by coffee (and maybe some hop) bitterness and fruity esters on the finish. Medium-full body, creamy and thick texture, soft carbonation, long bitter finish and warming alcohol sensation.

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Photo of BucannonXC5
4.42/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Type: 12-oz. bottle
Glass: Karl Strauss snifter glass
From: Beer Advocate’s SteveB24
Price: N/A
Purchased: N/A; Received on Feb. 7, 2015
Consumed: Feb. 21, 2015
Misc.: Bottled on Dec. 22, 2014

Thanks Steve!

Poured a black color with 1-to-2 fingers of dark tan, rocky head. Great layered, spiderweb foamy lacing on the sides of the glass. Average-to-above average retention. (Sight - 4.50)

Smelled toffee, caramel, roasted coffee malts, dark chocolate and roasted nuts. (Smell - 4.00)

Tasted caramel, toffee, metallic notes, roasted coffee malts, rich dark chocolate, chocolate milkshake, roasty nuts, some smoky fire and sweet sugary notes. (Taste - 4.25)

Full body. Sticky texture. Average carbonation. Long, smooth finish. Alcohol is well hidden. (Feel - 4.75)

This was just a really good RIS, definitely in the my top three without looking back. So smooth for 10.5 pct. (Overall - 4.50)

4.31 | 96 | A

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Photo of BeerDawgs
4.52/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A 12oz bottle with a bottled on date of 12.22.15

L - Pitch black motor oil. Thick and creamy! 1/2 a finger of tan head. No lace sickness

S - Dark chocolate and roasted malts

T - Roasted malts and dark chocolate. Not overly sweet. ABV is hidden. Dried fruits and well balanced.

F - Thick bodied and medium carbonation.

O - An amazing Imperial stout. Get it if you can!

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Photo of ThomasMetal75
4.2/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

A- Looked like motor oil! Not even a red tinge could be detected. The head was a deep, dark, brown color. It died to a fine 1 finger that suck around. Not a large amount of lacing, but it was there. The beer has great looking alcohol legs that cling to the glass.

S- Lactic sweetness, but its light. Overall the beer smells on the drier side for an imperial stout. Dark, semisweet, baker's type chocolate is there. Rich coffee notes as well. Some dark fruits. Deep, roasted, maltiness. Smells excellent.

T- WOW! The nose and taste are the same. Very malty, with deep roasted notes to it. Sweetness is there, but it's not like a candied sugar flavor like some of these imperial stouts have. It's more on the drier, roasted coffee side of the flavor. I'm also getting a powdery quality to the dark chocolate flavor. I don't get much of the 90 IBUs at all. The bitterness was masked very well. And so was the alcohol for the most part. The beer has a very nice warming quality to the alcohol. It doesn't burn whatsoever. It finishes somewhat sweet and chocolatey and warming.

M- This is how a good imperial stout should feel. It's a full bodied beer, as one would expect. But in saying that, this was not harsh or hard to drink at all! It coated your mouth and the back of the throat nicely, and some of the flavors did stick around for awhile.

Overall, you need to get this. This is the perfect beer during the messy 2015 snow, cold, and ice we've been experiencing. I used it as dessert, and it worked out fantastically. It got loads of flavor and complexity without the harshness or burn you sometimes get from the style. And it's not overly sweet. Go get yourself a 4pk, try 1, and cellar the rest. A rated beer all day long son!

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Photo of sharkfin_24
4.38/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours black as night, friends compared it to oil. The taste definitely makes it worth the cost. The only bad thing is the guts the day after. Comes out looking like it went in, kind of scary lol.

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Photo of maedhros09
3.93/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Look: Pours petroleum black, with a couple fingers of brown head.

Smell: chocolate, roasted coffee beans, and dark fruit

Taste: Starts with sweet chocolate bread, roasted malt, and dark fruit, finishing with a lingering herbal hops bitterness. Some tingling sensation towards the end which I assume is the alcohol.

Feel: Thick body and fairly smooth

Overall: If your taste buds are severely dulled and you want to experience an imperial stout, I would recommend Founder's. It could almost be described as a distilled imperial stout, with all the flavors magnified beyond the usual imperial intensity. The hops definitely make a very strong appearance at the end - this more than anything else spoils the experience a bit for me. I wonder if it would mellow out a bit if you cellared it for a few months. Also, the malt end definitely falls on the sweet side even for the style. Overall I prefer a little more subtlety and balance in an imperial stout (both the Old Rasputin and the Narwhal accomplish this), but it's worth it to experience Founder's version.

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Photo of TKaten
3.83/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Beautiful thick pour, looks like shiny motor oil streaming out of the bottle. Nice feel, creamy and viscous like a good stout should be. Only complaint is that it's a bit too sweet on the palate for my taste. But overall a very enjoyable experience.

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Photo of Catracho5
4.6/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 ounce bottle poured into a Belgian style tulip glass bottle 12/01/2014

A: Pitch black with a brown creamy head that dissipated after about 7-8 minutes, not a whole lot of lacing, very little carbonation, looks pretty viscous as I swish the beer around in the glass, very nice.

A: Big roasted malt, coffee like aromas, chocolate, picking up a slight hint of that soy sauce smell, very slight, picking up some slight alcohol aromas, very nice aroma.

T: Big chocolate, coffee, roasted malt aromas, right up front, slight soy sauce, some bitterness, slight alcohol on the finish as well as a dry finish. Very smooth drinking for 10.5% ABV.

M: Motor oil, dry, has that smooth creamy imperial stout mouthfeel, really nice, very thick.

O: Definitely world class, big chocolate coffee roasted malts, easy drinking and smooth, wonderful mouthfeel, has that slight Expedition Stout soy sauce like flavor, world class, can't until Founders is available in CA, really good.

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Photo of E-McFarden
4.61/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Black as night, but with a taste that cannot be ignored. Apparent but not overbearing in the toasted flavor, and a pleasant undertone of cherry and chocolate. What a good beer.

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