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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.
BA SCORE
97
world-class

5,515 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 5,515
Reviews: 1,583
rAvg: 4.37
pDev: 8.7%
Wants: 494
Gots: 1,317 | 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: 5,515 | Reviews: 1,583 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of soupyman10
soupyman10

District of Columbia

4.6/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Finally in Michigan at the right time to grab this one. Pitch black beer with a small head that doesn't do much in the way of lacing. Really a huge flavor and aroma. When it's chilly, it's strong and straightforward on the roasted malt. As it warms up though, you get all kinds of other flavors - sweet dried fruit and raisins in particular, some cherries. Big chocolate, roasted malt. Monster hoppy presence as well, especially in the back of the mouth. Going to drink another and then put a couple down.

Serving type: bottle

12-28-2009 19:33:10 | More by soupyman10
Photo of yelterdow
yelterdow

New Jersey

4.05/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

From the fridge at Andy's Corner in Bogota, this has been aged a year since I took possession. 12 oz. bottle served at cellar temperature on my birthday in an oversize snifter.

Appearance- The blackest of beers, this ale glugs like motor oil from the bottle... the head coats the surface, gleaning a hint of red atop its cocoa brown color.

Smell- The aroma is dark roasted, almost burnt coffee grounds combined with dark fruits. A smoky character burns in the background, reinforcing the milieu of a spent French press.

Taste- As with some of the boldest, most dense and concentrated RIS I have encountered, this example leans heavily on the roasted malts and seared espresso beans while finishing with a wet, freshly harvested hop bitterness.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability- Right from the start, this beer's texture in the mouth goes from excellent to superb... whether it's a few seconds or a full minute, the slickness and overall mouthfeel just keeps improving. Not my favorite example of the style, but a worthy competitor.

Serving type: bottle

12-28-2009 05:23:05 | More by yelterdow
Photo of Kelp
Kelp

New Hampshire

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

Poured into my glass in an inky black stream with a nice dark tan head that lasted a bit. First smell is coffee followed by chocolate and toasted malts. Nice big malty taste, a bit of chocolate and finished with a coffee undertone. The alcohol isn't exactly up front but it is definitely there. Nice and thick almost velvety to the tongue. I could definitely finish a few of these in a night but it would be a pretty long and enjoyable night.

Serving type: bottle

12-28-2009 04:45:53 | More by Kelp
Photo of KeefD
KeefD

Minnesota

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

Had this on tap at Stub n Herb's. Dark brown/black in the glass, left fabulous lacing all the way down the goblet. Nice warms, roasty aroma, some caramel, chocolate and light booze. Flavor is nice balance between sweet caramel and bitter roastiness. Full bodied, viscous. Yum. This went wonderfully with Stub's Blue Balls (mini cheeseburgers stuffed with blue cheese and topped with grilled onions). Excellent beer, and surprised it took me this long to try it.

Serving type: on-tap

12-28-2009 00:24:03 | More by KeefD
Photo of bsp77
bsp77

Minnesota

4.2/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Serving glass: Poured from bottle into Snifter.

Appearance: Pure black and opaque with dark brown head that leaves light lacing behind. By the way, I love the English-like crest on the label.

Smell: Burnt molasses, licorice, dark chocolate, roasted barley and nose-burning alcohol.

Taste: Burnt molasses, heavily roasted barley, dark chocolate, licorice and strong coffee. Decent level of bitterness at the end, with a long roasted aftertaste. Slightly too much burnt molasses for my liking, but that is a minor gripe.

Feel: Low carbonation, smooth body, exceedingly thick and creamy (almost as much as the Egg Nog I had earlier), dry finish.

Drinkability: Another great beer from Founders, although not one of my favorites by them since so many of their beers are just exceptional. Not one of my absolute favorite RIS either (Yeti, Darkness, Storm King, Old Rasputin), but still very, very good.

Serving type: bottle

12-25-2009 17:26:22 | More by bsp77
Photo of Mcculler
Mcculler

Ohio

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

Poured vigorously into a pint glass, might be the best looking Imp. Stout I've come across. Huge, lasting, tan head, leaving sea foam traces on side. Good smell - coffee, toasted malts, dark fruit - but not amazing. Interesting taste - not overpowering, perhaps unique, but overly focused - coffee, bitter walnut, chocolate, vanilla. Beautiful creamy mouthfeel. This and a restrained use of hops leads to a solid drinkability for the style. Overall a unique American Imperial Stout - especially for the feel and appearance and the really interesting nutty quality in the taste.

Serving type: bottle

12-25-2009 03:57:11 | More by Mcculler
Photo of BarrelO
BarrelO

Virginia

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

12oz bottle poured into a goblet.

A: Blacker than black body. Giant brown head that fades to a minimum but leaves plenty of lacing.

S: Roasted malts, licorice, and alcohol.

T: Lots of roastiness, some bittersweet chocolate, a bit of dark fruitiness, and licorice. Alcohol is just slightly detectable.

M: Rather substantial with good carbonation.

D: Another winner from Founders. I think I might like it a bit better with some age on it, though.

Serving type: bottle

12-25-2009 03:08:34 | More by BarrelO
Photo of degerbah
degerbah

Ohio

3.83/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours an opaque blackwith very little milkshake colored head.Smell is slightly of coffee with a lot of malt and a hint of something botanical. Perhaps hops. The taste is initially less complex with the smell. Primarily tasting of coffee, with a heavy licorice after taste. Not nearly as sweet as I'd hoped and very very boozy towards the end. Perhaps should be left to cellar for some time as it tastes a little raw, like it needs to mellow a bit. For my money I'd rather have KBS, Breakfast Stout, Backwoods Bastard, or really most of their other beers. Too much licorice for me.

Serving type: bottle

12-24-2009 23:53:41 | More by degerbah
Photo of BeerLover99
BeerLover99

Illinois

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

A: Deep onyx, giant 2 finger oatmeal head, amazing lacing

S: chocolate, vanilla, licorice, roasted nuts, coffee, and malt.

T: Big malt, roasted nuts, licorice, bit boozy, dark chocolate, hint of coffee. mild bitter finish.

M: Heavy, smooth/thick, solid amount of carbonation.

D: This MONSTER is to be treasured and respected! Sip this beast with love and care. Another delicious offering from Founders, wonderful Imperial Stout; if you love Imperial Stouts this is a must!

Serving type: bottle

12-24-2009 21:55:39 | More by BeerLover99
Photo of sjccmd
sjccmd

Minnesota

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

Poured at essentially "cellar" temperature which turned out to be pretty perfect. Pours oily black with amber highlights. 1 finger dark tan head similar to espresso creme. One of the darkest heads I've seen. Head retention is fairly good considering the ABV. It has a good amount of legs and a super sticky lacing.

Smells of rich dark chocolate and dark roasted coffee. Tobacco, dark fruits, and raspberries come out but are more subtle. Subtle warmth from the alcohol. Molasses and syrupy sweetness.

Deep roasted malts and burnt sugar in the taste. Lots of coffee...reminds me of french pressed coffee that has steeped for a tad too long. Raspberries come in both at the beginning and finish, but the finish is mostly dominated by bitter roasted malts and molasses.

The mouthfeel is thick and silky, but there's a surprising amount of carbonation. It's not an interference, but it's a little different for the style and ABV.

I'm surprised to see how quickly this beer is going down. It has such a massive flavor and body, but I can't stop drinking it. But, not being too heavy of a drinker, I believe one 12oz is all I'll need.

Another very pleasant offerring from Founders. Can they do no wrong?

Serving type: bottle

12-23-2009 01:53:14 | More by sjccmd
Photo of Beejay
Beejay

Virginia

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

A: Very Dark, black, with a giant head. Very dark tannish head. Looks nice.

S: Dark chocolate, and some coffee, and malt. Possibly a little black licorice.

T: Big malt taste, a good bit of booze, chocolate through-out. Very dark, and quite delicious. My friend Alanna says 'very heavy coffee'

M: Thick, with appropriate carbonation.

D: Definitely something I would buy again. Nice tasting and appropriate for the style. And Alanna says: 'Very good for me, and I don't really do stouts' So I guess that sums it up from me, and my guest reviewer: Alanna.

Serving type: bottle

12-21-2009 03:12:30 | More by Beejay
Photo of WYVYRN527
WYVYRN527

Minnesota

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

A: Pours jet black with a thick tan head, that settles to a small film on the surface. Lacing is minimal.

S: Very roasty, with notes of chocolate, espresso, and burnt toast. The booziness comes through on the nose as well.

T: Taste is very much like the smell. Chocolate, coffee, and toast are most apparent up front. The alcohol is also present. It is rather hoppy on the finish, drying and pleasant.

M: Full-bodied and very viscous, along with a warming booziness.

D: This brew is quite drinkable, but one that I would consume as a nightcap on a cold evening like this one.

Serving type: bottle

12-20-2009 06:36:17 | More by WYVYRN527
Photo of steve8robin
steve8robin

Massachusetts

3.9/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Found this one at Julios. That time of the year...

A: Awesome. Very dark with an awesome dark brown head about an inch thick that quickly dissipates to a ring around the top of the glass.

S: Kind of just smells like a standard breakfast stout. Nothing special on the smell.

T: Very boozy upfront. This might have a much better taste after aged for several years. I will definitely have to pick one up to age. Not bad, but the boozy taste heavily overrides most of the other flavors.

M: Very good amount of carbonation. A little heavy, but not too light.

D: Goes down a little hard because of the heavy booziness and hoppy taste up front.

All in all, this is a great brew if you like it very boozy and hoppy. If that's you, you would love this one. Otherwise, age befoe you try this.

Serving type: bottle

12-20-2009 04:56:56 | More by steve8robin
Photo of sidetracked
sidetracked

Illinois

4.45/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours black with a thin brown head.

Smells sweetly of roasted malts, a bit of roasted coffee beans, and a hint of raisin.

Upfront the taste is strongly sweet with a molasses/brown sugar flavor. There's a little dark chocolate bitterness at the end that lingers for a bit, but the rich taste upfront really dominates.

The mouthfeel is very smooth, yet thick and chewy. It's carbonated enough to feel lively on your taste buds without being overly bubbly.

Although the flavor is very rich, drinkability is great. I'll definitely be picking up some more of these this winter.

Serving type: bottle

12-19-2009 03:43:31 | More by sidetracked
Photo of erz316
erz316

Indiana

4.63/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pretty much the same as the bottled version. If anything I notice a much larger hoppy presence in the general flavour, but this is almost evened out by the added chocolate flavour. body isnt as thick as I remember it, but the presentation and look of the brew is exceptional; the head is incredibly thick and lovely.

Serving type: on-tap

12-18-2009 03:23:31 | More by erz316
Photo of kegger22
kegger22

Michigan

4.15/5  rDev -5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Founders RIS is dark brown, almost black, with a modest brown head that fades to a skin. The aroma is alcohol first and coffee second. The taste of this stout reminds me a lot of Bell's Expedition (with I admit, I've underrated), strong coffee, bitter chocolate and boozy. Feel is extremely viscous, heavily bodied, oily and with low carbonation. It would be tough to claim this is highly drinkable with the high ABV and a heavy as it is.

An excellent stout, it has it all.

I'm not really big on combining beers, but somehow, I feel compelled to mix this half and half with Bigfoot barleywine. Unfortunately, I don't have any Bigfoot around or I'd do it tonight. I will let you know how it was when I do.

Serving type: bottle

12-15-2009 05:26:33 | More by kegger22
Photo of Vonerichs
Vonerichs

Illinois

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

This is a great looking stout. Opaque and black with three fingers worth of cinnamon colored head, even leaving a generous amount of lacing for a high abv RIS.

A strong and robust mix of dark roast espresso, dark chocolate, and a hint of root beer.

The taste is very deep and while there's nothing out of the ordinary for an RIS, everything is extremely well pronounced and distinct. Both the coffee and chocolate are dark, the former heavily roasted. The finish is bitter coffee.

Thick and chewy mouthfeel, dry towards the end. I needed a glass of water to restore moisture to my mouth afterwards. The alcohol is not well hidden, but for 10.5% abv isn't overbearing.

Good drinkability but as usual with a stout, heavy in the stomach like eating a loaf of bread.

This ranks up there with the best of them in this category.

Serving type: bottle

12-15-2009 03:40:20 | More by Vonerichs
Photo of Lolli1315
Lolli1315

Illinois

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

A- Pours and opaque black, can't get any darker than this. About a finger of head, maybe a little more that is dark brown. Nice lacing as this is sticking to the entire glass.

S- Roasted malts slightly overpowered by the smell of alcohol, certainly not unappetizing though. A dark chocolate aroma tends to sneak through before being squashed out by the malt and alcohol.

T- The roasted malts jump around for around a couple of seconds before a dark chocolate bitterness kicks it of the way. The alcohol taste is hidden initially, but towards the end of the beer it leaps out almost unexpectedly and sticks to the palate for quite a long time.

M- Very chewy and thick with a smooth carbonation that makes this a smooth the entire way down.

D- The lingering taste of alcohol in this beer is the only real thing detracting from the drinkability. If you look past that and understand it is something to be expected out of a bigger beer, then this beer will be one you keep reaching for.

Serving type: bottle

12-14-2009 00:38:10 | More by Lolli1315
Photo of bamadog
bamadog

Kentucky

4.08/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

This one bad-ass stout, and yet another great offering from Founders. Pour is from the bottle to a pint glass.

Appearance: Pour is thick and viscous and looks like motor oil; starts with a one finger dark brown head that fades to a thin skim with a thicker ring around the surface; body is entirely opaque and black; thick portions of lacing hold on to the sides.

Smell: Quite smokey and "thick" smelling; deep dark roasty malts; slight chocolate and a slight whiff of alcohol. The smell is very strong and just pouring out of the glass.

Taste: Huge mouthful of robust flavors -- very smokey; deep bitter-sweet chocolatey aspect; definite roastiness and coffe-esque flavors; there's a definite presence of alcohol in it and it comes across a bit like bourbon and a little warm.

Mouthfeel: Thick and viscous, very much as it should be; a little gritty; a little sticky on the roof of the mouth; mouth, throat and belly are left quite warm.

Drinkability: Moderate - love the strong and robust flavors and the smells to match; like a meal unto itself; too heavy and the ABV is too high for too much of it; I think this would have to be amazing with some age on it and I'm considering starting a vertical.

Serving type: bottle

12-13-2009 07:50:11 | More by bamadog
Photo of jdoncbus
jdoncbus

Ohio

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

Pours a deep black into a snifter. Thin, mocha colored head that clings to the glass when swirled; oily residue & dot effect.

Creamy aroma of dark roasted malt, kaluha, & pine. The booze dances around the nostrils along with coffee.

Smooth and silky on the tongue leads to woody, dark coffee, molasses malt, and an avalanche of piney-acidic hops & alcohol. The mouth feels dry and I sm left with a boozy burn.

This thing is a sipper from start to finish. A very tasty and complex beer that really packs a punch. I plan to age a couple bottles and see what happens when the hops mellow out.

Serving type: bottle

12-13-2009 00:22:53 | More by jdoncbus
Photo of mdcrouser
mdcrouser

Missouri

4.2/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I'm reviewing beer number two of the four pack - poured from the bottle to a standard pint.

Brown on the pour, deep black in the glass, with a half-fingers' worth of foam - not as heady as I might hope. Delicate lacing follows each drink.

Big malts, like a melting pot of chocolate, some coffee, dark toffee, and a bit of smoke - that's a great smell this time of year. ("These are a few of my favorite things.")

Crisp and dark roast coffee-like bitter, this is truly one-of-a-kind. Just a bit of alcohol peeks through toward the end, but hardly noticable.

Wet and a bit sticky, it settles in at the back of the mouth, taking up office for many minutes. Recycling the taste in the mouth is as simple as inhaling and exhaling through the nose. Enjoyable to just sit back and circulate.

Easily drinkable, but I'd suggest doing so at a relatively slow pace, given that there's nothing small about this beer, especially if you're working on a bomber.

Serving type: bottle

12-12-2009 04:45:49 | More by mdcrouser
Photo of jera1350
jera1350

Minnesota

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

Pours into a Darkness snifter a thick and jet black color with one-finger brown head that leave a fair amount of lace.

Tons of coffee, subtle hops and some banana. Bitter chocolate as well.

Rich as expected with lots of chocolate malt, hints of coffee, nice hop bittering.

Full bodied, silky smooth with some creaminess to it.

This is just a straight forward, nothing fancy RIS and it's done to near perfection. For the price, I can't think of a RIS that is of higher quality. Not real shocking from the same brewery as KBS and Breakfast Stout. Great RIS.

Serving type: bottle

12-12-2009 03:20:48 | More by jera1350
Photo of ma121606
ma121606

North Carolina

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

I am on drinking my second now, YES

Appearance - very dark brown, very thick

Smell - Smells like sweet coffee and some type of christmas candy in a glass

Taste - I expected it to be bitter, but it is smooth.

Mouth-feel - smooth and creamy

Drink ability - too easy to drink, but watch it I'm on number 2 and I'm feeling it.

Serving type: bottle

12-11-2009 07:51:49 | More by ma121606
Photo of Reaper16
Reaper16

Alabama

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

12oz. bottle served into a Gulden Draak tulip

Pours a super-dark brown. You can tell that it isn't quite black when you look down into the glass; the edges are clearly a lighter shade of brown than the middle of the body. You can see the edges when looking straight down into the glass because there is nearly no head on this pour. It spiked at half a finger and then leveled off to the tracest of rings. The foam is an interesting color though. It's one of the darkest heads I've ever seen; the caramelized color of it as as dark as some malty beer styles' non-foam bodies! As I drink I notice that there is actual lacing going on, which is always a plus.

Right up front you get the chocolate. I am reminded of the cocoa nibs used in Breakfast Stout only strengthened in intensity. There is a small amount of generic coffee coming off of the roasted malts. Delicately rising up out of the glass is a black currant aroma. I was expecting more of a dark fruits kind of thing, but am pleasantly surprised with this black currant/wild berries thing it has going on. I'm kind of getting oats too; I don't know if any oats were used in the malt profile but it smells like it.

The most noticeable aspect of this imperial stout is its remarkable fruit character. The flavors of black currant and boysenberry are so powerful yet well-crafted. Their sweetness melds wonderfully with the flavors of 60% cacao dark chocolate and toasted pecan. As the beer warms I can make out the restrained presence of leafy bittering hops.

The mouthfeel is insane on this beer! Its sort of medium-thick, by which I mean that it gives you the pleasure of a thickness in the mouth but at the same time it isn't so thick as to prohibit extended drinking. To the beer's credit, this is comes in 12oz. bottles. Founders Imperial Stout is absolutely good enough of to have two bottles of in a sitting (which would only be two more ounces than the standard 22oz. bomber). Given that the style is limited in drinkability I feel comfortable giving this one a 4.5 when rating to style. This is pretty damn drinkable, 10.5% ABV or no.

As far as readily-available seasonal Impy Stouts go, Founders Imperial Stout is every bit the beer that Bell's Expedition Stout is. Do yourself the favor of buying a four-pack of this while you still can. I was expecting a solid stout but I didn't expect something as delicious as this. A treat.

Serving type: bottle

12-11-2009 04:56:55 | More by Reaper16
Photo of mikedashg
mikedashg

California

4.53/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - Pours a rich thick black with a bubbly, moderately sized, dark tan head. Good sized lacing on the glass.

S - Rich chocolate smell with sweet roasted malts and coffee

T - Wow, again with the rich big chocolate, like a bittersweet cocoa powder. Sweet roasted malts and roasted coffee. This time, the taste really hits you. Very powerful stuff. Nothing subtle about this one, a lot more defined then the smell.

M - Moderate carbonation, nice and smooth, creamy, velvety. But also. quite thick!

D - Quite an exceptional example of style with in your face flavors. This one was almost a year old I think, so hopefully it's as good as this one was when it's fresh.

Serving type: bottle

12-09-2009 05:33:18 | More by mikedashg
Founders Imperial Stout from Founders Brewing Company
97 out of 100 based on 5,515 ratings.