Founders Imperial Stout - Founders Brewing Company

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Founders Imperial StoutFounders Imperial Stout

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6,128 Ratings
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Ratings: 6,128
Reviews: 1,614
rAvg: 4.36
pDev: 8.72%
Wants: 572
Gots: 1,490 | FT: 117
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: 6,128 | Reviews: 1,614 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Franz4
4.15/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle, 2011 version, pulled from the fridge and let warm for ~15 minutes.

A- pours dark, with a 1 finger dark brown, slick, creamy head that settles to just a thin cap quickly. Lacing is present, but not sticky, slides back to the cap quickly.

S- roastiness, slight peat scent, a dark chocolate/cocoa bean is there with just a slight bitterness, no coffee present.

T- 1st impression is dark chocolate with some dark fruit. Roasted malts become dominant quickly, come through with peat and smokiness. As I drink more I notice less of the dark fruit and more malt. There's a sweetness present that balances the dark chocolate nicely

M- slight carbonation on the tongue, just enough to bring out the flavors, feels very slick, satin-like going down. Oh-so-slight warming in the back of the mouth/throat.

D- Highly drinkable, I keep going back to the glass faster than I intend to. Lots of good roasty flavors make this a joy to drink and keep it interesting throughout the glass. I'm glad I was able to grab one of these, and I look forward to enjoying them in the future.

Photo of TheManiacalOne
4.05/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Acquired from fogdog courtesy of the Secret Bunny 2009 BIF, so a big "Thank You" goes out to him. Poured from a 12oz bottle into a tulip glass.

A: The beer is a deep dark brown color, with a thin light brown head that fades quickly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is of rich roasted malts, chocolate, some dark fruit, some coffee and a touch of hops.

T: The taste starts out with a very hearty roasted malt character and bitter-sweet flavors of rich creamy chocolate and some coffee and dark fruit. The hops presence is mild but where it should be for the style and brings a good balance. The after-taste is bitter-sweet.

M: Smooth and a little crisp, medium-to-heavy body, light-to-medium carbonation, finish is slightly sticky.

D: Tasty, goes down easily, slightly filling, strong but well-disguised kick, good representation of style, I have a feeling I might have let this one sit a little too long (at least two years, possibly longer) but it's still a good big stout worth drinking for a long time.

Photo of Stinkypuss
4.25/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appears dark blackish black. Nice head full brown and lacing. Aroma is strong of roasted malt, double strength coffee, chocolate and alcohol. In the taste, deep roasted flavors. Black coffee, charred malts and some booze as it warms. Clean alcohol. Dark chocolate. Very tasty. Mouthfeel is full bodied and fairly smooth. Medium carbonation. A big beautiful beer and Im glad I have a few more to set aside for a while. Im sure the booze will mellow out alot but it was not distracting here. Certainly worth the purchase, but damn the 4-pack I could have went with 6 for sure.

Photo of Double06
4.18/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Serving: 12oz bottle into DFH Signature Glass
Drank: Reasonably Fresh - recent release in Atlanta
Price: $9 / 4 pack

A: Black as black can be; Virtually impenetrable by light; Very small amount of dark tan head that left a small cap in the glass. 2nd bottle that seemed to be a little under carbonated

S: Dark, roasty malt; Bitter chocolate and espresso

T: Very complex - start with the hop bitterness which quickly fades to the bitter chocolate and espresso that was in the nose. Hints of leather and tobacco as well

M: Again, felt this bottle was under carbonated so that left it a little underperforming compared to the rest of the elements

D: Very nicely done by Founders. A nice imperial with good complexity. Definitely seek it out.

Photo of BB1313
4.3/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

2011 vintage. 12oz bottle poured into a standard pint glass. Pours a vicious black with a brown head and sticky lacing. Really nice looking beer. Lots of chocolate up front with some smoke. This definitely seemed like a chocolate bomb, strong hints of coffee and vanilla as well; pretty roasty. Tastes very good, but it didn't differentiate itself from its' peers. Pretty bitter stout. Mouthfeel is thick, "milkshake" type RIS.. kind of like motor oil. Chewy brew! Drinkability is alright, one's good for me.. it's an extremely heavy beer. It definitely makes a great sipper and gets better as it warms up.

Great stout from Founders, some age on this beer will take it to another planet.. it needs to mellow out. Recommended if you can get it.

Photo of Jesse13713
4.65/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to AwYeh for splitting one of his 4-packs with me. Poured into a Samuel Smith tulip pint glass.

Appearance - THE absolute darkest beer I have ever seen. Pitch black and entirely solid. Oil looking with less than a quarter of an inch of head. The head that is present is a rich chocolaty brown. An impressive smooth-running lacing.

Smell - Very dark chocolate presents itself in the nose immediately. I also get a strong hint of oats. This definitely smells like an imperial stout. A strong espresso note in the nose as well, with hints of dark fruits.

Taste - One of few beers I have ever said "wow" too as I finished my first drink. Initially, I get a slight alcohol kick. But dark fruits are quick to accompany this taste and then smooth out into an extraordinarily rich chocolate and coffee taste. The taste is delicious from start to finish.

Mouthfeel / Drinkability - The smoothest and richest stout I have ever tasted. This is just fantastic. I could sip this all day and night. Medium bodied. I can't stop checking out the lacing on the glass as I let the taste settle in my mouth.

Photo of MadCat
4.35/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Jet black with a small muddy brown head, some lacing.

Smell: Dark roast coffee, dark chocolate, roasted malt with some sweetness

Taste: Dark roast coffee, roasted malt, some sweetness, dark chocolate, only some bitterness

Mouthfeel: Thick with light carbonation. Perfect for this style

Drinkability: This is something to drink slow, but doesn't discourage you from drinking more.

Overall, this is excellent. Its unfortunate that it is a seasonal, because I would love to be able to find it easier.

Photo of EricCioe
4.38/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This pours jet black with a dark brown head, probably the darkest head I've seen, that has varied for me between two fingers and almost nothing. It leaves a bit of lacing, especially if the head starts out big. On the nose it's a huge hit of bitter chocolate, sweet malts, and some espresso underneath. In the mouth it's a huge, thick body, tons of bittersweet chocolate, some hop and chocolate bitterness at the back of the tongue, some prickly carbonation that lingers forever and ever, amen. It starts out quite sweet but finishes nice and bitter, maybe just a touch of pleasant heat, totally fantastic. It's thick and huge, more of an end-of-session or with-dinner beer for me, but plenty good. One of my favorites, rivaling FBS in my book. I'd love to do a side by side.

Photo of brendanbeer
4.3/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

a. super dark, barely a tinge of orangy brown along the edge of the glass when held up to light. a beatifully thick and rich dark brown espresso head. caremelly laces along around the glass.

s. deep dark chocolate, sweet and bitter. espresso and roasted malt. very strong. slight alchohol tease.

t. big chocolate and malt presence. a real depth and complexity of malt mixed with the bitterness, which embodies itself as a bittersweet chocolate. espresso is there, as is a hearty bready presence in the aftertaste. its amazingly fulfilling. i stop short of giving it a 5 because although it is amazing, ideally i would like a more complex experience, it almost hits the same note each time i drink it - but that note is great.

m. thick, leaves a dry bittersweet chocolate afterward, full bodied and perfectly carbonated for a strong imperial stout.

d. i want to finish this review so i can continue drinking it! only kidding, it is a beatifully crafted beer, and really delightful to drink. im glad i have more!


Photo of Someguy1989
4.63/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz. bottle poured into a snifter.

A: Motor oil, with an almost insignificant amount of brown carbonation. The only thing I've ever seen darker was ten fidy.

S: Sweet roasty chocolate, a tad bit of dark fruit. Smells very flavorful and delicious. One of the best aromas of any beer.

T: Starts very sweet, chocolaty malt, a tad bit of dark fruit that I noticed halfway into the drink. Finishing roasty, a bit of coffee but toned down compared to the Breakfast stout. A tinge of alcohol in the finish. It was a symphony of flavors that was really really nice.

M/D: Really full bodied, very thick and carbonation is only slighty noticeable. It is a very drinkable beer but the slight tinge of alcohol at the end knocks this category down a notch. It doesn't make it a sipper though.

An absolutely amazing beer, I like this better than Breakfast stout. Can't wait for their Bourbon cousin in March.

Photo of pmlondrigan
4.05/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Jet black in color. Reddish tan thin, thin head. Some Belgian lace clings to my glass. The nose is roasty chocolate, coffee and some licorice. Flavor is what is expected from a RIS. Rich roasty, cacao, coffee, and a bit of hops. Smooth and unctuous. Some alcohol heat at the end. Amazing full body.

Photo of mondegreen
4.45/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

12oz into a Founders Tulip. Bottled 11/20/09.

Pours dark as night with a half finger mocha head. Looks decadent.

Big and roasty nose. Lots of dark chocolate. Smells delicious.

Taste is just as big as the nose. Huge dark chocolate notes take center stage. A touch of heat on the finish.

Rich and velvety. Dead on.

This is a wonderful RIS. It fits right in with Founders stellar stout lineup.

Photo of ne0m00re
4.05/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Live review of a 12 oz bottle dated 02/09/11.
A: Oqaque black with a two-finger caramel sticky head that stays with a solid lacing.
S: Milk chocolate, nice light-roast coffee, a certain sense of acidity from the roast with a slight campfire smokiness. It is simple, but good.
T: Thick milk chocolate melted ice cream, the roast lingering through the end with the hops that are somewhat resinous (pine needle or rosemary) and slightly citric. The alcohol character is almost gin-like and is noticeable, developing further after a few sips. African coffee beans settle on the finish.
M: Thick and syrupy quickly cut by the combination of the alcohol, hops, and almost astringent roast. The cut is almost a little fast and the difference exaggerated, but it is still good.
D: Not the easiest-drinking stout, but still good. I might have a couple glasses.

Photo of TCgoalie
4.38/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Notes from 2/2/11 on tap at Founders. This review may be higher than normal due to the fact that it was newly fresh and delicious.

As it arrives on the bar in front of me, it is black as night with a sustaining mocha head. The lacing is out of this world creating a wall down the non drinking side of the glass.

The smell is a combination of burnt coffee grounds, dark chocolate, brown sugar, and oats. There is a definite malt character to it as well.

It has a smooth taste up front featuring dark chocolate and oatmeal moving to a large dose of roasted barley. The flavor gets more intense in the end with burnt nuts, coffee, and a chalky bitter hop presence. There is an element of acidity along with a touch of heat.

With a chocolate milk like feel in the mouth, this has to be the best feature of the beer. It is very comforting and full in the mouth.

This is a good balance of intense flavor and drinkability. This may be better fresh and on tap opposed to bottle aged.

Photo of AwYeh
4.15/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz, presumably very fresh bottle poured into snifter

A: The first beer I've had that can genuinely claim to look like motor oil; this is black, and viscous- any shaking or movement leads to a persistent rippling wavy effect across the top of the glass. Thin but resilient dark brown head, with quite a bit of (also dark) lacing as the beer goes down.

S: Bittersweet chocolate and roasted black malts dominate the flavor here, alongside a mesh of caramel and dark fruit sweetness, with hints of coffee and vanilla. Strong bitter hop presence too.

T/M: This is one rich and complex beer- bitter hops and sweet dark fruits lead the taste in, but quickly make way for the bittersweet chocolate and roasted malts picked up on in the nose. Long, lingering sticky finish- a palate-burning bitter with the flavor of chocolate. Ethanol does make its presence known just a bit, and lends a nice warming effect to compliment the sticky mouth coat left after the finish. Thick-bodied with almost no carbonation, but quite smooth for the style and ABV.

D: The glass was fully enjoyable, and the beer evolved quite a bit as it warmed up, which definitely kept my interest (and even if it hadn't, the flavors were great all around and could have kept me nearly as satisfied). Not in a great hurry to have another right away, but definitely looking forward to seeing how this beer cellars.

Photo of brstls4drmrs
4.08/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2012 review---a little more detailed than my 2011 review....

A - Pours of a thick viscosity like motor oil but in a dark coffee/black color. Hardly a layer of foam on top whatsoever. Just a thin piece of brown like snowflake almost appearing like a layer of sugar on top.

S - Heavy on the coffee with some very nice dark fruits and a splash of licorice. Some faint dark chocolate in there with some smaller doses of booze as well.

T - Like dark chocolate, coffee beans. There's also a slight buttery tone as it goes down.

M - This brew is silky smooth with a buttery texture on the finish. Very interesting and quite enjoyable. Light carbonation.

O - A great stout. Highly recommend this one. Still as good as ever!

Photo of Dan3279
4.58/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked up a couple bottles tonight and I was really impressed. I poured this into a snifter glass to find a nice dark black liquid.

There is a solid coffee, espresso, & chocolate aroma. The taste is exceptional and outstanding.

The beer was think & heavy but at the same time was very easy to drink.

Photo of modernartblues
4.53/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

on-tap at the ridiculously awesome Birdsall House

A: blacker than black. 1/2 inch tan mocha head. Some lacing not that significant. this is pretty but not the most awe inspiring appearance

N: chocolate, coffee, molasses, sweet roasty nose, really nice incredible nose, not wafting across the room, but really good

T: excellent, world class, dark bitter chocolate with notes of espresso-mocha, medium roast with a faint note of hop presence in the background

M: lighter than norm for stout, this wasn't quite viscously chewy, but instead smooth

D: high high, for the abv, I could drink this all night

Photo of ryan1788a5
4.65/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle poured into a snifter.

A: Black as night. A one-inch brown head settles rather quickly and leaves patchy lacing in its wake.

S: Layers of chocolate: milk chocolate, dark chocolate, chocolate cake. Freshly roasted coffee. Caramel and vanilla. Slight smokiness. A few vague fruity notes. Very assertive and very complex. One can smell it from across the room.

T: Woody and smokey all the way through. Black coffee and bitter dark chocolate are right there alongside the smokiness. Roasted grain. Quick flash of dark berry esters. Vanilla comes out intermittently. Finishes with chocolate cake, bitter dark chocolate, woody notes, and smoke.

M: Full, creamy, velvety, and very smooth. One of the best mouthfeels in all beerdom. Some prickly carbonation holds it all together. Warming alcohol is tame enough so as not to offend, and very pleasing on a cold night.

D: One of the most drinkable Imperial Stouts out there.

Notes: It's on another level. Truly one of the best on the market. There isn't a bad thing to be said about it. I can't believe there isn't more hype surrounding this beer.

Photo of wvsabbath
4.6/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Serving Type - Bottle

Appearance - Black as night, thick as oil, no head.

Smell - Hops, malts, smoke, barley, sugars, chocolate, coffee.

Taste - Wow, 90 ibu's! This is one hoppy stout. Crazy hop kick mixed with coffee and chocolate. Has the trademark founders yeast and spice taste i love. The hops bitterness mixed with the sweet malts and chocolate give it a perfect one two punch.

Mouthfeel - Insane workout. First the toungey gets the hop bite, the coated with the malts and coffee stoutness. Aftertaste is bitter and yet chocolate sweet. Very thick, and lasts a long time.

Drinkabilty - Only reason this aint higher is this monster is 10.5% This really is special. Amazing how hoppy it is for a stout and yet works so well . Beyond great, i cant believe this beer is not in the top 50 list, This stout crushes 99% of the stouts out there with taste, balance and uniquness. A must try from possible thee best craft brewery going today.

Photo of VelvetExtract
4.38/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

A-Pours absolutely pitch black. No highlights whatsoever. A thin bubbly dark brown heads rises and falls leaving lacing akin to wet brown sugar.

S-Pungent, dark and robust. The super sweet and rich chocolate and coffee notes are clearly evident from a distance. This beer smells big and serious. The 90 IBUs are somewhat prominent in the nose. This beer simply smells intimidating.

T-Such a forceful yet luscious taste. Bitter, bitter Dutch chocolate and charred coffee grounds. Those 90 IBUs really show their muscle again. Super malty yet still able to encompass some serious bitterness. This beer goes big and delivers.

M-Incredibly thick and viscous. Like engine oil. thick and sludgy. What a bigtime Stout should feel like.

D-this one is a beast so proceed with caution, but it still has some scary drinkability.

Often overshadowed by Breakfast Stout and Kentucky Breakfast Stout, this one definitely has the ability to stand on it's own.

Photo of Barleythenred
4.58/5  rDev +5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: minimal brown head with engine oil color and texture that could run a jet

Smell: Nutty with bountiful malt notes

Taste: lite hops on the front end with a powerful finish of malts and nuts

MouthFeel: like olive oil even almost chewy

Drinkability: repetitiously returnable

one of the best stouts out there a in a close race with the goose island night stalker

Photo of beerman207
4.2/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Had this excellent brew a year or so ago but never reviewed it. Excited to find one on the shelf.

A: Pours very dark - about dark as oil. Dark brown head that lingers a while and leaves some nice skim. Doesn't get much better than this.

S: Roasted malt, caramel, booze, raisin, smoke,

T: Well....the first thing I detect is booze so aging is necessary here - not sure it was this hot last time I had it. Taste is cocoa, malt, smoke, coffee is strong, very good but the booze is a factor.

M: Nice balance - thick, even a bit chewy.

D: Unfortunately, this one isn't ready yet. I'm going to sip on it and I'm sure my night will be good after I'm done with it.

Overall great offering from Founders - in all honesty - I don't think it needs to be this big though. 9% would be probably perfect.

Photo of endincolorado
4.33/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A- Pours viscous and black, with a nice, thick dark tan head that settles slowly and leaves behind tons of lace.

S- Pleasant aromas of toasted malt, and a nice booziness in back.

T- Flavors are heavy on roasty malt, some black coffee, dark chocolate and a nice, dry finish.

M- As syrupy and viscous as it looks, this beer has an extremely satisfying texture and a complementary amount of carbonation.

D- Delicious, though a bit rich, high on ABV and, a bit steep for a four pack.

Photo of fastsrt
4.6/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

poured 12 ounce bottle in a snifter.

A: tried to entice a head, but it came out like oil and left a thin deep brown head that lasted for a few minutes.

S: roasted malts, alcohol, citrus, mellow.

T: russian imperial stout at its best.

M: smooth creamy, rich, lingering.

D: this beer leaves an impression, it is perfect. this is a must try for people who somewhat like this style beer, I had this one draft as well the head was better, and had more carbonation. The bottle is better.

This beer is an A+ but, it didn't look as sexy as others.

Founders Imperial Stout from Founders Brewing Company
97 out of 100 based on 6,128 ratings.