1. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  2. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

Founders Imperial Stout - Founders Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Founders Imperial StoutFounders Imperial Stout

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

5,748 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 5,748
Reviews: 1,594
rAvg: 4.36
pDev: 8.72%
Wants: 514
Gots: 1,393 | FT: 118
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
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 5,748 | Reviews: 1,594 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of THORN
4.5/5  rDev +3.2%

11.2 Fl. Oz. bottle poured into pint glass. Served 55-50 F.
A: Dark dark brown. Reddish brown frothy head. Head is quarter inch high.
S: Chocolate, toasted bread, and brown sugar.
T: Wow. Dark chocolate and dark toasted malt. Slight alcohol is noticeable, but finishes with a strong hoppy bitterness.
M: Medium on tongue and slightly syrupy. Warmth sweeps across mouth.
D: Big beer. Heavy malts character well balanced by hops, chocolate, and alcohol. The beer doesn't cover the alcohol, but it makes it taste delightful.

THORN, Mar 03, 2010
Photo of DrDemento456
5/5  rDev +14.7%

A - Man I can honestly say this is motor oil in color. I have never been so certain in my life. Little head.
S - I can pick up malts of chocolate and molasses.
T - What a smooth chocolate taste! Very minimal coffee.
M - Creamy. Loved how sipping smooth this beer was.
D - I would drink this again and again. Can't wait to see it cheaper like the rest of the world since it's 4.25 a bottle here. I would gladly pay 10 dollar for a four pack and have no problems saving a couple.

DrDemento456, Mar 03, 2010
Photo of Brent
4.35/5  rDev -0.2%

When it comes to stouts, Founders seems to have the magic touch. Big and bold, as one would expect, with well-moderated roasted malt flavor and a nice hoppy punch at the end. ETOH lends a touch of pepper at the finish. Stays true to the style while at the same time offering some of the complexity that is customary for Founders.

Brent, Mar 01, 2010
Photo of Huhzubendah
4.53/5  rDev +3.9%

A: Deep black with a nice beige head and moderate lacing

S: Great aroma of roasted malt, very slight alcohol

T: Absolutely delicious. well balanced. 10.5% masked very well. One of the better imperial stouts I have had. Founders has this whole stout brewing endeavor down pat. This is such good beer.

M: Wonderful balance of carbonation and smooth, easy going beer, especially for 10.5%

D: One of the easiest drinking 10+ % beers out there. Highly recommended.

Huhzubendah, Feb 28, 2010
Photo of cosmicevan
4.35/5  rDev -0.2%

Poured from 12oz bottle into glass.

A - Poured a thick oil black with a thin tan head with nice sticky lacing.

S - Chocolate, roasted, malty goodness.

T - The alcohol is very upfront. Has an oaty burnt taste.

M - Silky and smooth. Leaves a bready aftertaste.

D - Dangerously easy to drink. Clocking in at 10.5% you could easily find yourself a bit tipsy while enjoying this one.

cosmicevan, Feb 28, 2010
Photo of stakem
4.13/5  rDev -5.3%

Pours black in color with more than a finger of severely dark tan head. You can fire up the high beams on this guy and no light is shining through. Fair retension and a decent amount of lace clings to the glassware. Aroma includes hops, coffee, chocolate and alcohol. Taste is bitter upfront from a combo of hops and burnt grain. Body of the beer includes the taste of burnt grains, bitter chocolate, strong black coffee and alcohol. The alcohol plays an interesting role with balancing out the different tastes this beer has to offer and strangely enough doesnt have much "warming" factor. Feel of this beer is thick with moderate carb. Overall quite good.

stakem, Feb 26, 2010
Photo of Lunch
4.78/5  rDev +9.6%

Served from a 12oz. bottle purchased from Julio's Liquors in Westboro, MA into my Brooklyn Brewery snifter at the appropriate temperature (02/25/10).

A: Pours dark black capped off with a tan head that rises about two fingers. Good retention and lacing.

S: Rich bouquet of milk chocolate, espresso, coffee, roasted malt, and dark chocolate.

T: Truly and exceptional flavor profile that is incredibly rich and well balanced. Decadent milk chocolate and cocoa start things off and the are followed by some roasted malt and some espresso. Some slight bitterness from the dark chocolate is apparent in the finish.

M: Great amount of creaminess and fullness with appropriately low carbonation. Silky, smooth and heavy.

D: This is a beer I could drink all day but unfortunately it is not available in my area. The 10.5% is hidden completely.

Overall I this is yet another wonderful and well-crafted Imperial Stout from Founders. Great depth of flavor and perfectly thick and creamy. Highly Recommended.

Lunch, Feb 26, 2010
Photo of donkeyrunner
4.28/5  rDev -1.8%

Sipped fireside with John L. Parker's "Once a Runner." How's that for classy?

Pours oily black and gives rise to a 2 finger mud brown head. Horseshoe collar surrounds a pool of skim retention. Leaves lacey plaster at regular intervals like lines on a page.

Rich and sugary aroma: robust espresso, chocolate syrup, dark fruit, brown sugar and molasses. A rich and sugary aroma deserves a rich and sugary aroma and FIS did not disappoint. Dark milk chocolate, sugar cane, and molasses messengers all sent forth upon a vessel of warming alcohol...ah l'amour. Roast fade. Mouthfeel is...I can actually feel it caressing my mouth.

Gets kinda blah and monotonal as it warms which is a bummer because this is definitely a sipper.

via duffextracold

donkeyrunner, Feb 24, 2010
Photo of BehindtheFinBrew
4.5/5  rDev +3.2%

12 oz bottle to tulip
No freshness date

A: Pours like a cold coffee. Thin carbonation with a milk chocolate head that dissipated quickly. Some lace clung to the glass.

S: Bittersweet chocolate and roasted malt dominate the smell. Alcohol twinge is there as well but not with an astringent character.

T: A beautiful smooth alcohol warming on the finish. Sweet raisins and roasted malt with the overlying bittersweet chocolate flavors. There is a lot of residual hop and malt bitterness. The flavor is clean, bold and sweet.

M: Low carbonation. Thick and slick yet crisp on the finish. Often Imperials can be overly thick with a syrup texture, but this one did not go that way.

D: Definitely a short session beer. It was a meal and a dessert in one ha! Not to mention the 10.50% ABV. A great treat though.

BehindtheFinBrew, Feb 24, 2010
Photo of WesWes
4.33/5  rDev -0.7%

The beer pours a big time black color with a 1/4" brown head that fades to lacing. The aroma is great! It has a killer black malt bitterness up front as well as some warmth and a bit of chocolate malt sweetness. The taste is great also. It has a rich, earthy, black malt flavor that goes down extremely smooth with a bit of warmth in the finish. It is bitter with a ton of roasted barley. Wow, this is a smooth beer. The mouthfeel is fine. It is a full bodied beer with adequate carbonation. This is a very well brewed IS. It's simplistic, but full flavored and damn enjoyable.

WesWes, Feb 23, 2010
Photo of WeimtimeBier
4.88/5  rDev +11.9%

A- Thin dense mocha-brown head. This guy was creamy looking and smooth from the start of the pour. A pitch black motor oil body.

S- Dark rich chocolate and sweet alcohol notes. Behind that was a coffee and tobacco smell and maybe some black licorice.

T- Best tasting Imperial I have had. Dark cocoa and sweet creamy malt. Also some coffee in back and a slight wooded aftertaste (although it was not oak barrel aged). A balanced hop bitterness. Smoothest stout I have ever tasted. The alcohol was so sweet and subtle it was astounding.

M- Thick and creamy with moderate carbonation. The beer is like the best dessert in your mouth without leaving the sugary candy feeling where you just need to go brush your teeth after.

D- Being so smooth and creamy, this high gravity stout is very drinkable dispite having complex and robust flavors.

A beer you will remember

WeimtimeBier, Feb 23, 2010
Photo of AdamGarcia
4.13/5  rDev -5.3%

A: pours absolute black. Motor oil. Small dark khaki head makes a brief appearance and quickly retreats to leave just a ring of froth.

S: I noticed the high ABV with my first sniff. Hints of cola. Over-ripe dark fruit. Alcohol is quite noticeable.

T: Big and delicious. Near perfect balance of huge malt and big hops. Wonderful deep, dark, almost charred flavors. Just a faint indication of nuttiness. Bitter chocolate & just a hint of black coffee in the finish.

M: Carbonation is just about right for the style. Full and slick. Lingering finish.

D: Dangerous. I notice heat in the smell but alcohol is not as present in the flavor of this beer as I would have expected. Isn't overly filling or heavy.

I've always liked Founders and the Imperial Stout certainly hasn't changed that. The breakfast stouts get all of the hype, but this is the real deal. Grab one if you get the opportunity.

AdamGarcia, Feb 21, 2010
Photo of BigMike
4.33/5  rDev -0.7%

Poured into a tulip glass.

Pure blackness. So black it looks like you could stick a pen in it and write a love letter. No light coming through this badboy at all. Head is about one finger. Its espresso tan with a reddish tinit. Fades quickly leaving spotty lacing.

Ok, so i get lot's of bittersweet chocolate on the nose. A touch of alcohol. A little bit of vanilla and some black licorice. Way in the back i get a faint smell of coffee.

Lot's of bitter chocolate. Also, there's more coffee then on the nose but not near as much as the Breakfast stout. Very bitter finish. The IBU's are 90 so this is pretty bitter for an Imperial stout. I also get a nice hop presence.

Pretty thick mouthfeel. It is 10.5% abv after all. Nice warming effect on the swallow but other then that, the alcohol isn't over powering.

This is a very underrated stout. Pretty much everything Founders brews is wonderful. They do stouts as good if not better, then practically anyone. Go out and buy some of these if you can.

BigMike, Feb 19, 2010
Photo of MrIncognito
3.9/5  rDev -10.6%

A - This is the closest thing to motor oil I've ever poured into a glass. Such a thick black liquid, no light coming through this one. 1/4-inch tan head after a vigorous pour that subsides rather quickly to spotty lacing. Average lacing on the glass.

S - Bitter chocolate with a spicy alocohol presence. Quite sweet in the nose but smoothed out with a roasted malt character.

T&M - Nice thick mouthfeel. This is what I like in an RIS. Big sweet caramel and bitter chocolate. Nice roasted malts form the backbone. Spicy and warming alcohol really come through in the end. Much sweeter than I anticipated but there are some earthy hops burried in their to add a touch of bitterness.

D - Really sweet with high alocohol. Would be really difficult for me to have more than one. I would've liked to have a bit more roasted malt prominence and a bit more earthy hop. Still very good.

MrIncognito, Feb 18, 2010
Photo of BetterDarker
4.47/5  rDev +2.5%

12 ounce bottle poured into snifter

A- Jet black, motor oil-like pour with a surprisingly fluffy tan head.

S- Wonderfully inviting, there's a lot going on here. Bitter chocolate with hints of coffee and roasted malts.

T- The first sip actually put a smile on my face. This simply tastes great with roasted malts, bitter chocolate, and earthy hops.

M- Nice and thick, good carbonation.

D- Highly drinkable, despite the 10% ABV, looking forward to my next go at this.

BetterDarker, Feb 16, 2010
Photo of digita7693
4.4/5  rDev +0.9%

A dark dark dark, nice dark brown head
pours thick like molasses

S bitter chocolate, coffee, malt

T delicious, like a nice stout on steroids... slight bitter chocolate, coffee, but nothing overwhelming, in a good way,

D carbonation could be a little higher, but this is a very smooth, very tasty imperial stout

Pretty much my go to IS when it is around, I really do not think it gets much better than this, so balanced and delicious.

digita7693, Feb 15, 2010
Photo of Pabs311
4.65/5  rDev +6.7%

for 10+% this beer was very smooth, especially after only being in the bottle for a couple months.Not to many imperial stouts out there can boast the same!

A- dark as night in appearance with a nice coffee colored head with good retention and lacing.

S- coffee, chocolate and a hint of dried fruit or molasses is also apparent in the nose. good malty backbone as well.

T- well balanced with the nose. same characteristics come through on the palate. very smooth. Any bitterness from this beer is from roasted malts rather than hops. the bitterness comes through as black coffee and bittersweet chocolate. slight alcohol, but not nearly as overwhelming as other 10+% imperials i've had.

M/D- Full bodied with a great moutfeel, silky smooth. finish lingers for a while. (could prolly drink a whole bud light and still taste this stout!). Very drinkable which is dangerous with the ABV, def one to share with a few friends.

Pabs311, Feb 15, 2010
Photo of cdpike
4.65/5  rDev +6.7%

Bottle poured into snifter.

Pours a jet black with tight tan foam that leaves a good bit of creamy lace. Lots of big strong aromas of espresso and dark chocolate with some alcohol sweetness. Huge rich flavors rush in from every angle. The is silky smooth and slighty slick body with gentle carbonation usher in tons of chocolate covered espresso beans in the flavor. There's also a soft warming from the alcohol and a subtle fruitiness that round out the complex combination of flavors. The finish is a lasting bitterness much like a piece of ultra-dark chocolate. At 90 IBUs, I thought there might be a bit more hop character, but the bitterness is manifested in the roasty espresso and dark chocolate notes. This beer is incredibly delicious and every sip shows me something new with this one. Really quite outstanding. Bravo!

cdpike, Feb 15, 2010
Photo of garymuchow
4.63/5  rDev +6.2%

Such an unassuming label, but with closer inspection quite fascinating.
Rich roast aroma with notable coffee, spicy hops and soft alcohol. Very nice.
Pours with a smallish dark head that never really terminates. Rich and thick lacing, and always my favorite it leaves ring after each drink. Black as coal with only the slightest hints of red on the edges of the bottom.
Wow, what a nice drink. Full with the mildest softest carbonation that enhances the rich flavors. This beer pushes intensity of alcohol, bitterness and roast to the edge without falling off into excess. Incredibly smooth. Even holds dark fruit in small waves.
Besides the wonderful balance (considering the style) of this beer the drinkability is the standout quality. It's rare to have a beer this big and full and yet so easy to put down and yet want and expect another. It comes from just a slight lightness of body. Big, full, rich, yet somehow light enough to want another.
Well done and my compliments to the brewers.

garymuchow, Feb 14, 2010
Photo of biglite351
3.98/5  rDev -8.7%

A - nice and dark bit I could not get a head to form.

S - very nice and full but not overwhelming.

T - very flavorful and complex

M - no bitterness or tingling. Slight burn in the throat as a late after taste.

D - this could be an all-nighter. I would buy a case.

biglite351, Feb 13, 2010
Photo of backfat
4.6/5  rDev +5.5%

pours dark, rich mahogany. leather bound books. Dark head with good lace. why did i always ignore this beer? i feel foolish, perhaps because breakfast stout is so good. smells of roasted malt, toffee, and a beautiful chocolate syrup like quality. made my buddy say 'oh jenny' in a forest gump voice, sums that up. alcohol is present, but welcomed. Thick as molasses, but i can't get over that smell! can't get any better. heavy and harsh. the taste lingers and lasts in memory, like the first time i saw the mighty ducks. what a movie. what a beer.

backfat, Feb 11, 2010
Photo of biggred1
4.4/5  rDev +0.9%

Poured from the bottle like used motor oil, thick, viscous and shiny black. A coffee colored head of dense foam emerges after the pour and leaves fine brown sugar lace on the glass. The nose is dark fudge and anise with a whiff of alcohol. The flavors of chocolate malt and coffee hit up front and are followed with a big hit of anise and charred sugar. Hop bitterness finishes the ride nicely. The flavors of this beer are truly appreciated and grow more intense and complex as it warms up with black strap molasses and fruity hop bittering becoming more prevalent. Full bodied and silky smooth. One great RIS that isn't $10+ a bomber.

biggred1, Feb 11, 2010
Photo of Freethyhops
4.08/5  rDev -6.4%

12oz bottle served in a pint.

A- pours pitch black. a little over a finger of creamy brown head. nice head retention for 10.5% and nice lacing.

S- light roast and chocolate. not a huge aroma. smells like possibly some molasses or licorice in there. not bad but not as nice on the nose as most Founders stouts.

T- again. chocolate is the main character with some light roasty coffee like flavors mixing in with it. some caramel/molasses/licorice sweetness in the backround. the high bitterness helps the coffee stand out as it warms. the booze does come out to play a little bit but barely

M- so thick and creamy. carbonation is low/medium and fitting for the style. hits in both departments here

D- some tasty stuff that is well worth the price I paid. I'd definitely pick up another 4pk if I see it again. I could certainly have another but this is one to save and keep around as long as possible.

Freethyhops, Feb 10, 2010
Photo of DavoleBomb
4/5  rDev -8.3%

Poured into a snifter.

4.0 A: Insanely aggressive pour gave two fingers of thick, but frothy dark brown head. Retention was average, but it left lots of creamy lacing behind.

4.0 S: Lots of roasted barley with a touch of sweet caramel. Dark chocolate and molasses are also big. Good, but nothing to write home about.

4.0 T: Lots of roasted flavors again to the point of having a slight burntness. Earthy bitter hops blend well with a subtle sweetness from the malts. Dark chocolate again with a touch of black licorice. This beer definitely goes for a flavor explosion instead of elegant meshings of intrices.

4.0 M: Lighter heavy body. Smooth carbonation. Aside from the burntness, the beer itself is quite smooth. Alcohol warms, but does not dominate.

4.0 D: Pretty good, but one glass is enough.

DavoleBomb, Feb 09, 2010
Photo of beerbully
4.22/5  rDev -3.2%

Poured into a pint glass

A-Black as oil. 1/4 inch head that is tan.. Good lacing

S-Roasty, some chocolate, coffee, caramel, toffee, a bit of chocolately sweetness that lingers in the aftertaste

T-Roasty, Black Licorice, Dark chocolate, Alcohol is somewhat hidden.

M-Some carbonation. slick and oily

D-given the style and the high ABV this brew goes down well. Certainly not a session beer but it wasn't intended to be one. I could drink more than 1.

beerbully, Feb 07, 2010
Founders Imperial Stout from Founders Brewing Company
97 out of 100 based on 5,748 ratings.