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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.

6,011 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 6,011
Reviews: 1,606
rAvg: 4.36
pDev: 8.72%
Wants: 554
Gots: 1,444 | 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
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Ratings: 6,011 | Reviews: 1,606 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Bendurgin
4.35/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Another beer from Grant. Thanks! Poured into a tulip. First off, this is the darkest beer I've ever seen. If there is a such thing as dark black this is it. It pours looking thick and oily with about a finger of dark mocha head. It dissolves almost right away leaving a shimmering black mass sitting in my glass.

Starts of with a faint chocolate aroma with toasted malts and a nice oat presence. Simple yet affective aroma. Roasted barley is huge on the pallet with a bit of char to it. A little bit of vanilla is noticable with a bit of a boozey presence.

This is a big full chewy feel to it. Really soft carbonation to it. I feel like I should reiderrate, this is a huge beer. Overall, this is the real deal. This is a no nonsense straight up RIS. May as well be the poster child for the style.

Bendurgin, Mar 24, 2011
Photo of dmfrench
4.88/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Sweet, inky, creamy, hoppy, frutiy, cocoa... epitome of RIS

A: Flawlessly opaque black with a two finger dark khaki head that soon diminished to a thin film, but regenerated with every sip, never exposing the body. A beautiful, slow, and subtle cascade effect entertains as the head stabilizes. Not a whole lot of lacing, but everything else is in perfect order.

S: Balanced presentation of heavily roasted maul, spicy hops, cocoa, dark fruit, and coffee, in that order. A mouth watering aroma, if not overtly powerful.

T: Sweet inky creamy fills every corner of your palate, carrying embittering burnt malt, drying hops, cocoa, fruit, and coffee. Finish is forever long on drying hops and cocoa. Just delicious. Compared to Bell's Expedition, it's heavier on burnt flavors and lighter on fruit, but they have a similar vibe, with Founders Imperial being the classic Stout that I would come back to more often.

M: Biggest, creamiest mouthfeel possible.

O: What can I say but classic... perfection.

dmfrench, Mar 23, 2011
Photo of wethorseblanket
4.25/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Reviewed from notes:
Shared by John (MaxStout) - thanks

A: Pours straight black with orangish edges and a decent mocha head fading to the edge. Minimal lace.

S: Roasty oat grains, floral hops, faint dark chocolate and coffee.

T: Roasted malts, dark chocolates, oats are well balanced.

M: Thick and smooth, slick and tongue coating. Somewhat dry and bitter on the finish.

O: Very good and enjoyable. Would seek this out.

wethorseblanket, Mar 21, 2011
Photo of AdamBear
4.5/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A-very dark brown with a thing tan head

S-smells like a dark chocolate bar. almost like if you filled the glass with hershey's dark chocolate syrup. has a decent strength

T-oh wow its like taking a shot of pure ground coffee...yes the solid form. it just sticks to your tongue as if it were a powder. it has quite a good matching after-taste. this is a really impressive russian imperial stout. i didn't expect it to be so smooth. there's also a large lack of alcohol note which i find impressive for this one.

M-very thick and full. medium carbonation with a chalky finish

D-well, its not the easiest drinking stout. it definitely took me awhile to finish but it was enjoyable all the way through. this is highly impressive for this style.

AdamBear, Mar 21, 2011
Photo of madvermin
4.25/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to ChadQuest for this beer, just one of many awesome brews Chad sent me as part of a trade.

Pours a very, very viscous oily black. I'll bust out the over-used motor oil comparison for this only because it is exactly what it looks like. No head generated at all, and only slight bubbling even with aggressive pouring. You can already tell this is a big boy stout. Leaves spotty lace somehow despite having not more than a sliver of head at any point in time. I know the style usually entails not much head, but others have at least offered a tiny glimpse of what could be, and this one doesn't even do that.

Aroma is very deep with tons of quality semi-sweet chocolate, a slight tropical hoppiness and roasted malts including coffee offering further complexity. I'm impressed by the chocolate as it has a nice milkiness to it that makes this beer smell a bit like Whoppers and a lot like a tasty dark chocolate milkshake (what up Steak & Shake). Could use some more strength though.

Taste is a rich, decadent chocolate treat with hops and coffee offering contrast in the best of ways. The hops are very much present here, and the 90 IBUs the bottle claims this beer has is just enough to cut through the massive amount of malt up front. Excellent mango/pineapple flavors combine with the chocolate and roasted coffee and char to form a brilliant beer with a pleasant smoky finish. I'd like it if the coffee was a bit stronger, but that's definitely nitpicking. Alcohol offers a tiny spice at the end which is pleasant too. I'd say I'd also like this to be a bit sweeter, but that's a matter of personal taste - the beer is ridiculously good as is.

Mouthfeel is thick, creamy, viscous and heavy. This is the opposite of watery in every sense of the word. Chewy and full, the finish is sticky and mouth-smackingly good. Drinkability is as good as it gets for a beer like this, as the abv of 10.5% is noticeable only beneficially in the taste, and doesn't affect the ability to take swig after swig. You could sip this or chug this and it would be awesome either way. Great, great beer, and once again Founder's fulfills expectations.

madvermin, Mar 21, 2011
Photo of MrTopher
4.03/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thank you Jim (RatedZ) for this gem.

A: This is a BLACK beer; there is no other way to describe the color other than BLACK! Absolutely zero head, maybe just the smallest amount of foam that disappears immediately. The lack of carbonation doesn't bother me, I know some need it, but I think with a thick I. Stout like this and others (Ten-Fidy, Old Raspy) I don't mind.

S: A lot of roast smell, but a welcoming new sent to a big beer like this. Some faint chocolate sent, but for the most part is a roast, maybe a little coffee.

T: This beer is remarkable, it's almost like a blend of an Old Raspy and a Ten-Fidy, and this is just over the top. It's very soft on the sweet department, very chocolate, a little coffee, and a lot of roast. There is no hop bite to this, its just all roast and malt. When it reaches the back of the tough there is some bitterness, but not a hop bitterness.

M: Little to no carbonation, this is a pretty thick beer, but fantastic. There is a little residual flavor left on the tongue.

D: This is an easy drink, a great end of the night beer or for a cold day. And as for the abv% it doesn't taste as strong as it looks.

MrTopher, Mar 20, 2011
Photo of codsmith
4.38/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On tap at Local Option

Black with nice carmel colored thin foam head that clears quickly and sticks to the sides of the glass

Thin chocolate aroma. Almost bitter sweat and you can smell the alcohol.

Very thick and full bodied. Starts out as a very nice smooth chocolate and finishes with a slightly bitter chocolate aftertaste.

Taste lingers and stays with you.

Nice overall beer with def drinkability. The alcohol is present and accounted for with this big guy.

codsmith, Mar 20, 2011
Photo of wmtxbb
4.2/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle poured into pint glass

Appearance: Coal black with a dark head that shifts to lacing.

Smell: Dark chocolate, dark sweet malts, coffee, bit of a burnt character.

Taste: Smooth thick black malts, cream, whiskey, oak, and milk. Bitterness hovers of the tasting, but does not overwhelm the other flavors. Ends smooth with a backlash from the alcohol.

Drinkability: I hate the limited availability of this beer. Goes down smooth and warms the soul.

wmtxbb, Mar 19, 2011
Photo of katan
4.18/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz into a goblet

A - Pours black as night - thick like motor oil. Head formation is somewhat strong, mocha in color. Well retained at 1mm. Some floating yeast suspended in the beer.

S - Very chocolately, bittersweet. Roast is present but overall muted. Some yeast breadiness and almost no hopping.

T - Starts off lightly sweet, chocolate, some toffee and coffee - perhaps a hint of vanilla. Brings in some light hopping and a more roasted barley character. Finishes with the most bitterness, with a burnt note sticking to the tongue. Overall a malt forward beer.

M - Moderate body, moderate to light carbonation. Comes off very thick and cloying. Finishes with a burnt substance sticking to the tongue.

D - Moderate to good drinkability. Flavors are not overwhelming and palette abusing, while the roast does get a little bit tiresome.

A very good imperial stout.

katan, Mar 19, 2011
Photo of MbpBugeye
4.47/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Finally got my hands on a bottle of this. I've been wanting to try it for about 2 years now. Its always been tough to find in Columbus.

Bottled on 02/09/11

The head is super nice. Its a very dark tan with rusty shades of red thrown in. Very large and has an extreme penchant for lacing. The glass is completely coated in dark foam. The beer looks black as black can be. When the beer is swirled it moves slowly, like crude oil.

The aroma is this beer's weakest part. Its just nothing special. Lots of charred and roasted grains, some coffee and dark cocoa. A little bit of dark fruit helps to sweeten things up.

This is a very well crafted beer. We need more straight forward RISs that are this good. Things start off smooth and creamy with a nice dark chocolate and coffee bean combination. Dark fruits come in towards the middle as licorice rope is ushered in. A little bit of vanilla is seen. The finish holds charred malts and dark fruits, with some faint acidity and a nice, even alcohol flavor of rum soaked fruits.

Woah, this stuff is great as it rolls around the mouth. Low carbonation with a super full body. Some light alcohol warmth is felt in the chest and tip of the tongue. The beer is a little sticky, leaving residual charcoal flavors behind on the teeth.

This drinks very smoothly. Each sip leaves you wanting another. A very well crafted RIS. No frills, no gourmet chocolate, no espresso beans, no barrels, no weasel shit, just good brewing.

MbpBugeye, Mar 18, 2011
Photo of jayt206
4.85/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A: Pitch black with a 2+ finger dark mocha head. Super sticky and thick lacing. Best looking RIS I've had.

S: Coffee, dark chocolate, and an ever so subtle hint of roasted peanuts.

T: Sweet. Milk and Baker's chocolate up front, followed by dark roast coffee, and a bit of molasses. Finishes with a solid amount of bitter hops to balance out the sweetness.

M: Thick and creamy, med-low carbonation.

O: By far my favorite RIS. Complex and well balanced, with no sense of the ABV.

jayt206, Mar 18, 2011
Photo of Morey
4.35/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Pours pitch black in color with a golden-brown head that stood at least 3 fingers tall following my fairly aggressive pour. Head is still holding strong at one finger after at least 10 minutes or so, and there is lacing all over the place! Very nice.

Smell is of roasted malts with subtle notes of coffee and figs.

Taste is smooth and creamy up front followed up shortly by a nice combination of roasted barley and some hop bitterness. Slightly sweet, but not overly sweet. Finishes just like it started out...creamy and smooth.

Full bodied mouthfeel. Extremely silky with a low carbonation level.

I could drink a couple of these, but I would imagine that I'd start to feel full after that. The alcohol is almost unnoticeable underneath a blanket of flavor.

Morey's Bottom Line: This is one thick and rich stout. Reminds me a bit of Ten Fidy. A good beer to have on this fine St. Patrick's day morn. Cheers!

Morey, Mar 17, 2011
Photo of BeerBuckeye
4.3/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours a dark, Texas-oil black with a very small tan head.

S - Lots going on here. First is the roasted malts, a bit nutty, baker's chocolate, coffee, raisins and other dark fruits.

T - Good amounts of chocolate and roasted coffee up front. A bit of maple/molasses. Aged liquor. Fades into dark fruits with just a bit of bitterness from the hops. Very, very complex taste, and also very good.

M - Full bodied and thick, fills the whole mouth, permeates into every corner. Just a bit of burn from the alcohol, ever so slight. I can feel the beer on my lips.

Overall - I was very impressed. A delicious RIS. Very complex tastes and smells here, excellent mouthfeel, very filling. Just a solid beer.

BeerBuckeye, Mar 16, 2011
Photo of generalnotsew
4.47/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pour is deep space black with a nice chocolate head. Not much else you can say about a stout really. Smell is sticky sweet molasses and bitter coffee with hints of dark chocolate. Very fine smelling stout and quite strong too. Taste is sublime! Nice hop/coffee bitterness upfront with sticky sweet dark chocolate with an almost cloying sugar sweetness. I love by bitter IPA's but when it comes to stouts this is what I like to see. Drinkability does suffer a bit due to sweetness though. Otherwise this is top of the line and one of my absolute favorites!

generalnotsew, Mar 16, 2011
Photo of larryi86
4.65/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Thank you betsona for this one
12 oz bottle poured into a snifter

A- Black with a small dark tan head that stays around

S- Roasted malts, chocolate, dark fruits, hint of hops.

T- Roasted coffee and rich dark chocolate, nice bitterness, touch of caramel, 10.5% ABV is well hidden.

M- Smooth, thick, creamy, just amazing.

D- Super easy to drink for 10.5% ABV. Solid RIS, if I could get it near me I would pick this up a lot.

larryi86, Mar 15, 2011
Photo of brian44556
4.25/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

2011 vintage poured into Stone tulip at 55 degrees.

The appearance of this beer was great. Poured a small foam head, jet black in color, and left a nice chocolate lacing around the glass. The smell the first 10-20 minutes was very metallic in nature. Still had hints of coffee, but I didn't smell the chocolate until it warmed up. Halfway through the glass the smell was great. Same result with the taste. The first 20 minutes the taste was just OK. Not until it warmed up did it have the very bitter chocolate taste with a coffee backbone that I look for in a RIS. The mouthful was great, carbonation was noticeable, but I didn't pick up on any notes of alcohol once it warmed up. Overall an another exceptional beer from Founder's. I could easily drink a 4 pack, but with the hefty ABV, 2 may be my limit.

brian44556, Mar 14, 2011
Photo of JLeege
4.5/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2011, poured into a snifter

Appearance- Pours jet black with a small tan head. Good retention and impressive lacing.

Smell- Chocolate, coffee and roasted malts up front, with a bit of piney hops lying underneath.

Taste- Again, chocolate and coffee lead things off. Mixed in with some caramel, licorice, and subtle dark fruits. Cocoa and a very slight smokiness. A semi bitter pine pops up towards the finish. Lingering dark chocolate on the palate, slightly boozy as well.

Mouthfeel- Full body, ample carbonation. ABV is noticeable, but hid well overall. Very smooth.

Overall- What more can you say, another excellent stout from Founders, they flavors stay with you long after the drink.

JLeege, Mar 14, 2011
Photo of augustgarage
4.25/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks ShogoKawada for the bottle(s)! Poured from a 12oz bottle into my Portsmouth tulip.

Motor oil brown liquid, thoroughly opaque with a slow building slick and lasting collar of fallow foam. Viscous legs, and thin sandy, glistening lacing.

Rich roast coffee, cocoa nibs, molasses, aged rum, and fruit pits in the nose along with a touch of grain.

The aromas all come through on the palate but in magnified form with additional licorice and dark brown sugar. A nearly savor flavor suggests marjoram (perhaps from hops?) and even bacon at times. Rum, vanilla custard, and brandy soaked bread crusts in the finish - which is sweet but decently attenuated.

Velvety, slightly oily, full bodied mouthfeel - warming, though the ABV is somewhat concealed.

Lush and deeply satisfying stout - the perfect night-cap.

augustgarage, Mar 14, 2011
Photo of Katulus7
4.18/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Beautiful thick and dark with a bit of tightly laced head.

Dewy deep coffee scent with overtones of strawberry.

Surprising crisp taste, sweet with increasing espresso notes that increase steadily as the aftertaste fades into moderate bitterness.

Tremendous satisfyingly thick feel with low-moderate carbonation.

Katulus7, Mar 14, 2011
Photo of digr
4.7/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

A - Pours a Deep Dark thick liquid with an initial almost black 1 cm head with small bubbles. Over time the foam slowly fades as the bubbles expand and the color lightens to a mild tan. Very cool indeed.

S - Nice! Subtle but definite dark malts and a very mild vanilla like essence. Literally mouth watering.

T - Thick and smooth and yummy. Definitely an american stout, but so smooth with just a touch black roasted bite. good balance with a slight residual sweetness tempered by just enough bitteing hops to balance. This is really good. Nope, can't tell it is 10% ABV other than the viscosity. no alcohol bite. A great winter sipper by the fire! The long term finish is that wonderful dark roast malt aftertaste that lingers between the teeth.

M - yeah really awesome. Did I say smooth? Despite being 10%ABV and thick as treacle, still slides down easily.

D - yeah, same a Mouthfeel in that it is remarkably easy to drink despite its Imperial nature. But I am putting this sway much faster than expected, so the proof here is in the almost empty glass...

Overall I REALLY liked this beer. I think it is just as good as the famous KBS, and much easier to drink and actual pint.

Thanks go out to Joe at Gordon's for the recommendation.,

digr, Mar 12, 2011
Photo of projectflam86
4.47/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Brewed on date - 02/09/11

A- Pours an engine oil black color with a thin brown head that leaves really nice lacing.

S- Woah, this packs a punch! Huge roasted nose with full dark chocolate scents. Really strong aroma that smells just like a RIS should.

T- Strong roasted flavor with dark chocolate and dark malt flavors dominating the profile. Cocoa nibs, molasses, and anise all come through as well with a big helping of alcohol in the finish.

M- Full bodied with nice carbonation. Smooth and creamy feel.

D- Really great brew. The 10.5% ABV makes this a sipper.

projectflam86, Mar 11, 2011
Photo of JoEBoBpr
4.65/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured into a tulip glass from a 12oz bottle.

A - Pours a thick and oily viscous fluid that is ink blot black. There is a very thin head at less than 0.25 inch tall. It is nice and dark tan and for such a small head has some nice retention. A nice swirl raises a nice thick 1 inch head that is dark dark tan almost coffee colored brown and quite dense. Very nice.

S - Starts of with nice dark malt hints. Roasted coffee notes. Espresso hints mixed in with some nice dark chocolate sweetness and bitterness and some slight dark fruit notes. Overall quite a chocolaty beer in terms of aroma with some nice dark and roasted grain notes.

T & M - Taste starts off with some nice sweetness followed by some delicious roasted espresso coffee. There is also some slight bonfire smoke notes in the beer. Very delicious and creamy with a silky smooth mouthfeel. There is some slight dark fruit sweetness but the beer is mostly roasty. There is also some slight boozy notes but nothing too crazy for such a high ABV (10%). To be honest this reminds me of amore robust and hotter Founder's Porter. It has a similar grain profile/ There is some nice hop bitterness that comes in on the back end and balances the finish between dry and sticky.

D - Delicious brew. I wouldn't mind this once per night. Great liquid desert. Founders does it again in my book. This is definitely a 5 even with the higher ABV.

JoEBoBpr, Mar 10, 2011
Photo of bobhits
4.38/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Imperial Stout

Dark chocolate body, with a deep dark milk chocolate colored head. Huge thickness and creamy looking as hell. Simply amazing looking.

Light chocolate, coffee, sweet malt notes, with a mix of hops. Certainly a dark chocolate dominated beer with a nice hop floral finish. This beer doesn't jump out in flavors but I feel there's just something so flawless in how everything fits together.

Burn dark chocolate up front. Then it rolls down the tongue sweetening, with slight hop and alcohol burn. Mixed in is a bit of coffee, caramel, and toffee.

This is some of the smoothest most "pillowy" oatmeal like stout I've ever had that could still call itself imperial.

Like expedition stout this drinks like a milk shake, but damn this first beer of the night is going down like water.

bobhits, Mar 09, 2011
Photo of kaips1
4.4/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

on tap into a snifter

a-dark as night, dark brown right under the 1 finger head that didnt stay long but left slight lacing
s-lots of malt, lots of coffee, lots of chocolate, amazing
t-exactly as the smell except the chocolate was much more pronounced good malt blend
d-a sipper for me but a drinker for some, could get used to this if it last longer

kaips1, Mar 09, 2011
Photo of Rizalini
3.75/5  rDev -14%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Recieved in a trade from StlThrash, and shared with Nikkibrews13. Thanks for the brew!

A - Pours black with a very minimal brown head leaving almost no lacing.

S - Big roasty aroma and sweet smells.

T - Roastyness and licorice on the forefront, but at 90 IBUs, I can taste the hops in the background.

M - Medium mouthfeel, but kinda lacking on the carbonation.

D - This is a good stout, but a little 'hoppier' than I would prefer my Russian Imperial Stouts to be.

Rizalini, Mar 09, 2011
Founders Imperial Stout from Founders Brewing Company
97 out of 100 based on 6,011 ratings.