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Founders Imperial Stout - Founders Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Founders Imperial StoutFounders Imperial Stout

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6,331 Ratings
no score

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Ratings: 6,331
Reviews: 1,648
rAvg: 4.36
pDev: 8.49%
Wants: 592
Gots: 1,627 | FT: 123
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: BeerAdvocate on 02-12-2005

90 IBU
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 6,331 | Reviews: 1,648 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of TallDrinkOfLager
4.01/5  rDev -8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Picked up a bottle of this lovely stuff at my local co-op, which is rolling out the dark beers as the real cold part of winter sets in.

Pours like a slightly watered-down version of the stuff you see running out of your car's oil pan during a long-overdue oil change. Almost no head formed on a careful pour, so I poured a little more briskly to agitate things. About a 1/2 inch head the color of chocolate mousse resulted. The beer itself is completely opaque: I even held it directly up to a light bulb, and not a hint of light made it through.

The smell was more subdued than I expected (especially after trying Founders Breakfast Stout a week or so ago). Very sweet, dark chocolate with an underlying haze of alcohol -- maybe just the slightest hint of mocha. I was hoping for a bit more or an enticing aroma, but this beer is a teaser in that regard.

This stuff reminds me of the Breakfast Stout, but on steroids. An intense combination of dark chocolate maltiness and bitter coffee up front; the former subsides to let the coffee flavor take over, which does so with an increasing bitterness. What amazes me about the taste the most is how well the very high alcohol content is masked. I get almost no booze in the front; it appears as a gradually increasing heat as the coffee aftertaste kicks in, but never gets to the point of overwhelming.

In terms of the feel, this is a thick beer. There's a decent amount of carbonation that sort of transports the viscous stuff around the inside of your mouth. Even after you finish one sip, there's enough clinging to your tongue that you'll need to swallow again!

Overall, this is a very good beer. I felt like I wanted a little more in terms of smell, and the intense coffee bitterness made me think they could have branded it as an Espresso Stout or something along those lines -- perhaps the coffee thing in dark beers is a Founders trademark? I'm glad I bought it, and would definitely recommend it to anyone who enjoys a good stout, but not the time-honored classic that, say, Sam Smith's Imperial is.

Photo of Stumpy29er
4.25/5  rDev -2.5%

Photo of Goobastic
4.75/5  rDev +8.9%

Photo of ADTaber
4/5  rDev -8.3%

Photo of AshleyMiller
4.5/5  rDev +3.2%

Photo of Idesofmarch89
4.5/5  rDev +3.2%

Photo of tsauce2
4.5/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

P: 12 fl oz bottle in to a New Belgium snifter.

A: SRM is black/dark brown. Opaque. Head is dark chocolate, 1 in, velvety, dissipates to cover the top of the beer. Medium/light carbonation. Heavy lacing.

S: Huge dark roast malt, chocolate, and alcohol. Light hop additions.

T: Big dark roast malt, followed immediately by bittered chocolate malt, then alcohol and light hops on the end. Aftertaste is bittered malt and a light chocolatey sweetness.

M: Full body. Viscous. Malt lays heavy on the palate, but bittered chocolate and alcohol help to cut this. Finished wet down the middle of the palate, but very dry on the edges of the palate.

O: One of the best RIS's out there. This beer is so good fresh, but gets better with age. Great balance, complexity, and flavor. Alcohol is noticable, but nowhere close to being overpowering and is cut nicely by the bittered chocolate, which is in turn cut nicely by the light sweetness. Will buy as much as possible given this is a once a year thing.

Photo of travMI13
3.99/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

First review for a long-time lurker. Let's give this a go.

From notes on 1/6/12. 12 oz bottle poured into a Founders snifter. Bottled 12/22/11.

A: Pours thick and black as night with a quarter inch of tan head. The head slowly dissipates into a gentle, lingering, tan froth. Nice tan lacing up the glass with each swirl and sip. This is what an imperial stout should look like.

S: Straight up booze and roasted malts. A stuffy nose is obviously impacting my olfactory, but I am not getting the alluring smell that I expected. I'm not sure I would be thrilled with the nose, regardless. However, this is not unlike other classic imperial stouts that I have had.

T: The booze and roasted malts hit first, and they hit hard, with the roastiness dominating. The chocolate comes next, maybe a little caramel mixed in. There is a lingering bitterness, which I would expect from a stout with a whopping 90 ibu. The aftertaste of this is really nice with the hops and the chocolate playing off each other.

M: Thick, viscous, oily. Coats the mouth nicely. The thick, chocolate aftertaste may be my favorite thing about this beer. It keeps pulling me in for more

O: Founders absolutely nails the classic imperial stout style here. Glad that I have another bottle to cellar and revisit in a year. Great beer for a cold winter night.

Photo of mmmaaattt
4.75/5  rDev +8.9%

Photo of vobr0002
4.08/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A- dark black, caramel color head.

S- burnt roasty malt. Some chocolate hiding in the backgrou nd and maybe a bit of coffee.

T- roasty, chocolate, coffee, and alcohol burn in the finish.

M- thick and creamy. Covers your mouth and higher carbonation level to enhance mouth feel.

O- This is a good stout. I think with some time down in my cellar this beer could become fantastic. Just needs to mellow out a bit for my taste.

Photo of TVolt1
4.2/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Very thick dark brown beer with a small amount of caramel colored head. While pouring, appeared to be very thick.

S: Smells of chocolate and has a hint of alcohol smell to it. Not super roasty but just a little. Mainly can smell cocoa beans.

T: Tastes very much like the cocoa beans I smelt. I little too much alcohol taste but I do like that it bordered on the chocolate taste versus the coffee bean taste like most imperial stouts. Has a strong kick to it at the end. Maybe I need to age it a little more...

M: Great thick mouthfeel which goes well with this style of beer.

O: Overall, this is a good beer. I like the taste and smell but disliked the alcohol burn at the end of it.

Photo of cindyjeffsmith
4.46/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Finally getting to try this. Bottled 12/29/11.
Appearance: oh so black and perfect. Messy and decadent mocha topping.
Smell: lots happening. Subdued Ris Burnt malt, hints of chocolate, a mellow balance to it all.
Taste: very balanced, mellow, creamy adult milkshake. Mostly dry, chocolate, with a slight bitterness in the finish.
Mouthfeel: tick, creamy goodness.
Overall: a different beast from the fabled coffee stouts, and stands as a great beer. Wondering what some age will do to this bad boy.

Photo of brydeen
4.44/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle Date 12/15/11 poured into a Snifter

A: Pours a jet black, like motor oil. A very thin but creamy chocolate colored head forms, and stays put for the most part. Sticky lacing throughout the glass.

S: Huge hits of chocolate in the nose, almost like cocoa powder. Smells candy sweet, with a faint roasted malt backbone.

T: Huge roast flavor with loads of bittersweet chocolate, and toffee. The sweetness in the nose is nowhere to be found in the taste. Not even a faint hint of the 10.5% alcohol.

M: Creamy, luxurious full-bodied stout. Subtle carbonation.

O: This is simply fantastic. You'd be hard pressed to find a better non-barrel-aged Imperial Stout. There's nothing lacking here at all, just a pleasurable drinking experience.

Photo of coz
4.5/5  rDev +3.2%

Photo of captainbearcat
4.5/5  rDev +3.2%

Photo of dejrrma
4.7/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

4pack, 9.49 @aleyeah. Bottled 12/29/11. Poured into a snifter.

a- pours pitch black. a rich, creamy tan head of about 1.5 inches sits on top, then settles out to a half inch head that maintains through out. Impressive lacing that coats the walls of the glass.

s- cocoa powder, lots of roasted malts, milk chocolate and sweetness

t- malty bitter chocolate. it tastes like if you turned chocolate covered espresso beans into a delicious ris. definite bitterness with some vanilla hints.

m- Thick and full-bodied. It's a creamy perfection of an imperial stout. Seriously it's like coffee/chocolate whipped cream.

o- I wish this was available year-round. I just wanna drink this all the time.

Photo of BeRanger
4.03/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle poured into a tulip.

A - Pours jet black with a dark brown, rich head about a finger. Leaves plenty of lacing throughout my drinking of it.

S - Dark Chocolate, Roasted Malts are bold. Hints of coffee, hops and sugary notes.

T - Dark Chocolate hits first with a roasted malts/oak undertone. You get a little bit of the sweet sugary/camamel taste as well. The beer finishes with the hoppy after-taste, alcohol is hidden pretty well.

M - Heavy and rich, good medium carbonation. The alcohol is hidden pretty well, hoppy finish.

O - This was the first time I've had the FIS. It was a pretty nice surprise, very well done and complex flavors that melded together quite nicely for a regular run of the mill imperial stout from them. Makes me look forward to KBS!

Photo of TheMonk41
4/5  rDev -8.3%

Photo of KarlSpackler
5/5  rDev +14.7%

Photo of mobius387
3.61/5  rDev -17.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

poured into a founders pint glass

appearance: jet black, no head

aroma: not much nose some burnt notes with a malty background

palate: very smooth yet a full bodied beer. feels warm in the mouth actually

taste: the burnt flavors come out strongest, and if this was a blind tasting id say this was a smoked beer. some chocolate undertones, but the taste isn't balanced enough

overall: a good stout, but im not that impressed. founders is my favorite brewery, but this one doesn't live up to the hype and isnt worth the $4 per bottle i paid. dont get me wrong, this is a very good beer and im enjoying it right now, theres just better stouts out there for cheaper (looking at you obsidian).

Photo of nsmartell
4/5  rDev -8.3%

Photo of enelson
4.5/5  rDev +3.2%

Photo of aorloski
4.18/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance - WOW one of the darkest and viscous beers i have ever seen. To call this motor oil is an understatement. Nice chocolate fluffy head.

Smell - Awesome bitter dark chocolate, roasted malts, hints of vanilla and coffee

Taste - Chocolate, big time. Right up front you get hit with the bitterness which leaves room for the roasted malts and subtle notes of coffee and vanilla to come afterwards. What i like the best is the lingering flavor of melted dark chocolate in your mouth from this.

Mouthfeel - Awesome, coats the mouth and leaves an amazing taste for you to long for more.

Overall - Another fucking amazing Founders stout.

Photo of jayhawk73
3.3/5  rDev -24.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Pours a ink black, with only a sliver of a chocolate head evident. Minimal lacing on my CBS snifter. Truly one of the darkest looking beers I've seen. The nose is mainly coffee, bitter chocolate, malt, and that's really about it. Not quite as good as Breakfast Stout's nose. The taste is... interesting. Not sure whether I love it or hate it. There are a bunch of malts, anise, burned biscuit, coffee, and some hops. After half a bottle... I don't think I'm a fan. The taste just doesn't taste.... well... good. None of the 10.5% ABV is evident. Feel is smooth, creamy, and goes down like butter. The feel is definitely the best part of this brew for me. Overall, I have to say- I'm not a fan of the taste of this beer. I probably will gift the other three bottles away to friends. This is like a Breakfast Stout gone awry... and I love just about everything Founders does. I won't buy this again though. Cheers.

Photo of stbo101
3.5/5  rDev -19.7%

Founders Imperial Stout from Founders Brewing Company
97 out of 100 based on 6,331 ratings.