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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.

5,478 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 5,478
Reviews: 1,580
rAvg: 4.37
pDev: 8.7%
Wants: 492
Gots: 1,311 | 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: 5,478 | Reviews: 1,580 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of TastyTaste


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

Thanks to ThomasHardy for the bottle, with the very cool upside-down label.

Appearance: Pours without much head of any kind, just a thin tan collar, and a skin across the top of the beer. A little lace above a jet black body.

Smell: All the trais of a good RIS are there. Strong black coffee, rich dark chocolate, alcohol vapors, above average hops. Very nice rich roasted smell.

Taste: Smooth yet strong, coffe flavors are enhanced by the alcohol, which leads into the hops, which ends smokey and satisfying. Another winner from Founder.

Drinkability: I could actually line up a couple empties of these, it is a well balanced, yes asertive RIS.

Serving type: bottle

05-14-2006 02:49:37 | More by TastyTaste
Photo of EvilKeith


3.6/5  rDev -17.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours thick and viscous, black as night. Starts with a finger of light foam sandstone in color, fades to a cap. Lace is thick and sticky.

Smell is smoky, chocolaty, notes of dark fruit, pine and citrusy grapefruit. Just a hint of coffee bean. Alcohol is well hidden.

Taste is charred, smoky malt, chocolate, and alcohol shows itself.
Aftertaste is burnt or charred, light hop finish.

Full bodied. Oil coated mouthfeel. Minimal carbonation.

A little too thick to be very drinkable. Might work well after dinner or as a nightcap.

Serving type: bottle

05-12-2006 19:49:24 | More by EvilKeith
Photo of kdmorse


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

A: Black. One finger of milk chocolate head. Head fades and leaves a film of foam. Lacing a-go-go.

S: Coffee and chocolate. Background of sweet-fruit alcohol.

T: Once again, coffee and chocolate. Sweet chocolate, not the dark, bitter chocolate I'm used to with a RIS. Not much alcohol, but it can be sensed. Bitter hops merge with the bitter coffee to finish the beer well.

M: Thick and chewy.

D: 10% ABV is there. Can't hide that. I love drinking it, but the alcohol scares me after a little while.

Notes: Founders makes some kick-ass stouts. The Midwest makes some kick-ass stouts. Why am I leaving the Midwest? Oh yeah, the f-ing beach!

Serving type: bottle

05-09-2006 23:57:51 | More by kdmorse
Photo of Brian700


4.5/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

ABV is listed as 10%

This one pours thick and black with a brown head that slowly simmers down to a ring around my glass. There is some good lacing going on.

The aroma has some mild blueberry, chocolate, roasted malt aroma.

The flavor is amazing. Heavy chocolate, roasted malt, dark fruit, coffee. Great balance with the malt and hops. The flavor just lingers in your mouth. I want to pour this beer in a skillet and make some imperial pancakes with it.

The mouthfeel is full bodied with low/medium carbonation. Very creamy and chewy.

This is a good drinker for a 10% ABV beer. I'm going to go back and buy the rest of these 4 packs tomorrow. The store I bought these from charge 7.49 for a 4 pack of these, has to be a mistake. This beer is just as good as Breakfast Stout or KY Breakfast stout and you pay about $18.00 a 4 pack for those.

Serving type: bottle

05-04-2006 05:02:56 | More by Brian700
Photo of Derek

British Columbia (Canada)

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

Labels says 10% ABV.

A: Pours a thick, dark, black syrup; a little tan head, not much retention, but it leaves a little lace.

S: Dark roasted malt (dark chocolate and mocha).

T: Assertive bitterness with a good hop flavour that isn't over-powering. Dark bitter chocolate... not a lot of depth, but it's very pleasant. Alcohol is remarkably well hidden, though it does become more perceptable as it warms. Slight hint of fruity esters. Very nice.

M: Thick, syrupy body is a little chalky, oily & acidic. Carbonation is moderate.

D: Very nice. Impressive for its strength.

Serving type: bottle

05-02-2006 01:27:19 | More by Derek
Photo of blitz134


4.5/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Received from hoppymeal...much obliged...been wanting to try this since a friend of mine from Ohio raved about it...

What can I say really...its black, no edge highlights...all black. Small head came up, about a quarter inch but reduced to a chocolate milk colored ring around the edge.

Chocolate, toffee and Tootsie Rolls (tm) fill my nostrils. Some dark fruity hints come forth as well. Sweet alcohol wafts forth to draw it all together.

Dark chocolate and expresso notes start the flavor out. Then the transition to coffee comes in. Some pepper starts out the final transition to a bit of alcohol to finish it out. The alcohol is there, but it isn't overbearing. I really like this flavor, its super smooth and comes together perfectly. None of the flavors seem out of place.

Mouthfeel is the best I've seen in an RIS. Usually I find this style a bit thinner than its American Double Stout counterpart but this one is just a bit fuller. It poured oily and its silky smooth and slick on the tongue. A bit of residual stickiness lets it linger on the inside of the cheeks.

This beer is dangerous. Probably the easiest drinking over 10% beer I've had yet. Smooth and agreeable taste profile and no stomach burning alcohol feeling makes me want several of these. I'd pick this up often when I had the chance.

Serving type: bottle

05-01-2006 00:55:58 | More by blitz134
Photo of frazbri


4.58/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Founders Imperial Stout poured jet black with a creamy, mocha head. Chocolate, coffee, and slight floral scent were present in the nose. Espresso, charcoal and pepper flavors were accompanied by a solid bitterness. The body was thick and viscous with a moderate level of carbonation and a warm finish, but not a burn.

Oh mama! This a great beer to drink by the fireplace. I will definitely buy this again. It's also a good canidate for the cellar, if you have the patience.

Serving type: bottle

04-25-2006 00:21:58 | More by frazbri
Photo of nmyers


4.28/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This was one of the last beers I have on my visit to Founders so I hope I get this right.

I remember this beer being black like almost like night and it had an aroma of chocolate.

The taste of this beer was a combination of chocolate, coffee, and a small amount of hops.

This was a very thick beer full bodied beer and I really enjoyed it.

Serving type: on-tap

04-23-2006 22:20:42 | More by nmyers
Photo of grub

Ontario (Canada)

4.83/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2005 vintage, sampled april 2006 (along with a 2003, so i'll compare the two here)

pours a deep inky black with a nearly no head.

the aroma is great. chocolate, slight oaky/vanilla aroma, roasty, malty, bit of smokeyness. some hop mild aroma, and a bit of alcohol in the smell.

the tast is excellent. tastes of dark chocolate, coffee, bit of raisin. there's a nice level of bitterness, and a bit of warmth from alcohol. it does hide the alcohol well, feeling more like 7-8% than over 10%.

to compare it with the 2003, it's like that brew but with everything turned up a notch. the bitterness, alcohol, and roastiness are all a bit stronger than the 2003. the flavours on the 2005 have not mellowed and gelled together quite as much as the 2003, but it's still very good. it has a nice full body, and seems "beefier" than the 2003 does. it's an exceptional beer on its own, but when compared with the 2003 that one is the clear winner. i look forward to trying more vintages of this one in the future.

Serving type: bottle

04-21-2006 13:28:41 | More by grub
Photo of montageman


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

Wow. I just poured this into a pint glass about 10 minutes ago and I feel as though I've been missing something all my life. This is an exceptional beer.

Pours like thin motor oil with no head and a bit of lacing. Smells like a chocolate bar or brownies - very inviting. Taste is chocolatey with some coffee notes. Very creamy and full bodied - I could drink this all night. A super dessert beer - would probably be great with some ice cream...

Serving type: bottle

04-21-2006 03:34:02 | More by montageman
Photo of Bitterbill


3.95/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from 12oz bottle(room temp) a pitch black with a tiny head of foam that dissipated quickly but still left a ring around the edge of the glass.

The smell is really nice...all roasty with notes of coffee and chocolate.

The taste is huge! Roasted malt with chocolate and coffee and...a heaping helping of oatmeal. Dang, it's 12%abv and to say it isn't noticebale to me would be stretching the truth but it doesn't detract from the taste at all. Only negative thing I can say is that it is a bit harsh on the tongue. Still..I'd (and will) drink this one again.

Bottom line: This is an RIS with huge flavour!!! and....I can recommend it.

Serving type: bottle

04-20-2006 01:02:16 | More by Bitterbill
Photo of murphysbleachers


4/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle into an American style tumbler pint...

Appearance: Thick, thick black. Impervious to light. Brown head.

Smell: Licorice at first. Chocolate and alcohol as it warms.

Taste: Alcohol with roasty malt in the front. Hint of chocolate in the finish

Mouthfeel: Viscous. Almost oily (like used engine oil....mmmm).

Drinkability: Smooth and warming. I could drink a few at 10% which is dangerous.

Overall a very good beer. I'd pick up an Old Rasputin from Trader Joe's rather than go out of my way for this one, but this is definately worth trying if you come across it.

Serving type: bottle

04-18-2006 20:58:14 | More by murphysbleachers
Photo of mcallister


3.88/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Black gold or tar pours from this bottle. With a quarter inch milk choclate head. Very dense and impenetratable color. Delicious!!!

Over the top dark choclate aromas, a touch of vanilla, mocha latte, cassis and more decadent choclate permeating from this concoction.

A very bold, masculine statement of an Imperial Stout. Dark rich choclates, black currant, unsweetened cocoa, mocha espresso, hidden vanilla, and a slight toffee.

Somewhat tannic, and bitter, with a finish that falls somewhat short in my opinion.

Serving type: bottle

04-17-2006 23:25:43 | More by mcallister
Photo of wingman14


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

Pours a thick black tar with a very small chocolate colored head. Smells sweet and strong with mocha and chocolate tones. Very inviting. A very strong taste with immediate flavors of mocha, and roasted malts. A strong aftertaste that is bitter and leaves you wanting another sip. A smooth mouthfeel, you can tell this beer packs a punch with its ABV. This is a beer that I can't see anyone drinking in mass quantities considering its thick character and ABV. Considering the price I don't think anyone would want to drink many of these in one sitting. A good offering from founders, but not as good as their breakfast stout, but still very enjoyable. They consistantly produce great beer that is head and shoulders above many breweries. This beer is definitely worth a try! Enjoy!

Serving type: bottle

04-15-2006 03:08:52 | More by wingman14
Photo of neonbrown82


3.9/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 3

This isn't one of my favorite imperial stouts, but it's still good. Pours to an absolute black, thick as spent motor oil. Very little mocha colored head that dissolves to a film in a matter of seconds. Lacing is not great, but leaves a sticky film.

The smell is very sweet with a rich chocolate malt with undertones of coffee. Some hops lie beneath all of that, along with a bit of a brinyness.

The taste is good. Sweet and chocolatey as hell, fairly roasty with hints of coffee. Hints of hops shining through. Starting to get the briny soy sauce flavor, but it is tolerable. Some alcohol brushes the palate in the finish as it begins to dry out.

The body is absolutely huge. One of the most full bodied beers I've encountered. Not one of the more drinkable ones though. Too rich and bold, too dry. Not exactly a refreshing summer beverage, but it's good.

Serving type: bottle

04-13-2006 05:43:05 | More by neonbrown82
Photo of orbitalr0x


4.33/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2005 vintage. 10% abv. The Founders Imperial Stout pours from the stubby 12oz bottle a thick, syrupy charcoal black into my tulip glass with a small dark tan head that falls to a ring around the glass. Spotty lacing left on the glass. Good deal! Aromas of dark vinous chocolate, raisins, big roasty sweetness and some caramel. Subtle burnt coffee and dark fruits.

First sip brings a dense dark roasty maltiness that weighs down the tongue. A big mix of vinous and milk chocolate flavors collide along with some mellow coffee flavors. Rich and a bit smoky with dark fruits throughout. Finishes with a touch of hops and a lingering burnt flavor. A tasty impy stout.

Mouthfeel is big, thick and a touch syrupy. Really mellow carbonation on this one works quite nicely. Goes down smooth with no trace of alcohol. I could sit down to a couple bottles and have a good evening. Yet another tasty stout from the guys up in Michigan. Keep 'em coming!

Serving type: bottle

03-31-2006 03:53:18 | More by orbitalr0x
Photo of GeoffFromSJ

New Jersey

3.43/5  rDev -21.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Pours murky black with no head and then, a head appears. Some lacing throughout.

All the taste elements are here, but it seems disjointed and not in proportion. The boozy and vinous character stand out but they are too dominant. Hops seems to be in their as well. Again, everything is there, but it doesn't mix well.

Smells real good though.

Serving type: bottle

03-26-2006 19:05:36 | More by GeoffFromSJ
Photo of TurdFurgison


4.22/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I tried this based on good experience with other Founders beers. This one doesn't disappoint either. I poured it into a pint glass, and it had a good stouty appearance. Dark black liquid with very thin tan foam on top. The head dissipated quickly so that it looked like I was drinking cola.

This actually smelled like Founders Breakfast Stout, but with less coffee. It was also a little heavier feeling than the Breakfast Stout. A lot of alcohol is apparent in the initial sips, and you can taste the hops bitterness in the after-taste. Very strong flavor, almost too rich.

A really good imperial stout, but I probably won't drink it too often.

Serving type: bottle

03-26-2006 03:34:56 | More by TurdFurgison
Photo of Sephiroth


4.5/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours innocently enough, average head, some momentary lacing. As thick and black as any imperial stout. As it warms, the aroma really shows well. Chocolate, coffee, and roasty burnt malt are all there.

Taste is awesome, chocolate, both milk and the dark kind, coffee, roasted, then burnt malt, and a dry, bitter finish. Mouthfeel is thick and viscous, low carbonation. Insanely drinkable right now, it will be a struggle to cellar this.

Serving type: bottle

03-24-2006 08:36:37 | More by Sephiroth
Photo of waldowin


4.58/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Pours a thick black, like used motor oil, with a nice brown head that fades to a very thin ring.

Smells of figs, raisins, coffee, and chocolate. Thick, sweet, smoky, and heavy.

Tastes of dark chocolate, espresso, and a hint of figs and roast. Definitely let this warm up a bit from the fridge. A very smooth and tasty beer.

Mouthfeel is creamy, smooth, and wonderful. Massive but not harsh.

Drinkability is insanely good for a 12% beer. You can't see that there's any alcohol in here. That said, one of these will definitely be enough for me, I have to be conscious tomorrow.

Serving type: bottle

03-24-2006 07:55:53 | More by waldowin
Photo of BEERchitect


4.5/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Founders simply kill it with all of their larger-than-life stouts. Although for some, their standard Imperial Stout seeps through the cracks because it's readily available when in season, for me its in the upper echelon of stouts anywhere, hands down.

As black, and nearly as thick, as 30 weight motor oil, the beer has an ultra inky appearance that reads like onyx to the eye and with absolute opaqueness. Terse on head character, the beer releases a tiny sheet of sand-stained foam before dissolving to a translucent film that evenly coats the surface midway through the session. Although retention gives way a little too soon and the lacing succumbs to the alcohol and viscosity, the beer still gives a time honored appearance of well crafted stouts.

Espresso, brownie batter, milk chocolate, cognac-like alcohols, and fudge aromas mingle about the nose with sultry and savory scents. These seduce the olfactory senses in ways that few beers can. Background notes of burnt fruit, such as cherries, red grapes, and currants inform the roasted malts but are careful to never rival the sweeter toasted scent.

Delicious chocolaty fudge and brownie flavors become a bridge from aroma to taste in effortless fashion. Backed with the firm bitterness of espresso roast, charred grain, and near-smoky woods, the beer becomes more than malty sweetness and balances the beer to near perfection. Those esters of charbroiled fruits accent the almost smoky elements and gives the nearly abrasive ten percent alcohols something to hide behind.

Without saying, the beer is certainly full bodied and then some. It's oily coat is awash in the mouth and saturates the membranes with full effect. The low-lying alcohols allow the beer to rest weightedly on the mouth and seeps into the tissues with a mesmerizing mouthfeel. The beer retains its structure well past where the finish is expected, even as the bitterness from hops and the alcohol warmth wants closure. It's indefinate linger blends seamlessly into the next sip even if minutes away. This is a dessert beer for sure!

Serving type: bottle

03-21-2006 18:08:52 | More by BEERchitect
Photo of Crosling


4.13/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Rich opaque black color, with a small filmy head of light tan. Aromatics are very roasty, burnt, malt accented with a touch of chocolate and fruit, along with the aroma hops, which are fortunately very mellow and only provide a slight hint of apricot and citrus fruits. Flavor begins with a plethora of sharp anise notes, which leads into a light array of currant and charred fruits. Chocolate covered truffles finish things out, underneath a rich roastyness and an easily perceptible hop flavor and bitterness on the finish. A bit hoppy, especially in the flavor...compared to what I generally enjoy in the style. But the malt flavor is still phenomenal and the texture and body remains very rich throughout.

Serving type: bottle

03-19-2006 01:43:37 | More by Crosling
Photo of aforbes10


4.33/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours black and syrupy, almost lumpy. cocoa colored head. beer is all about roasted malt and chocolate flavors. no dark fruit flavors like in other imperial russian stouts ive had. Roasted flavor is not harsh but very up front and taste defining. some hop flavor on the finish. Might cellar one to see how the taste changes. alcohol hits fast and hard as i drink it at 3:30 in the afternoon during a departmental seminar on squirrels. very full and syrupy mouthfeel. not a top of the line impy, but i'm left wanting more nonetheless.

Serving type: bottle

03-14-2006 20:19:17 | More by aforbes10
Photo of AlexJ

North Carolina

4.9/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Another mind-blowing product from a very respectable brewer. This beer pours like a madman. Deepest nightmare black, with a small, dense head of mocha froth that remains as a thin ring. Terrifyingly black, this is one of the thickest, viscous, quagmires of a beer that I have ever had the delight of laying my eyes upon.

Aroma is a sweet lullaby of smooth, roasty malts, melted milk chocolate, dark fermenting fruit, plums, dried mission figs, black Sambuca, well aged Port, and coffee liquor. BIG nose, very intense and complex. I'm IN!

A highly anticipated sip reveals a truley precious nectar. A creamy mudslide of amazing flavors tears across my tongue. Complex malt entry of scorched caramel, milk chocolate pudding, malted milk balls, and mocha. There's tons of sticky, booze-soaked dark fruit; plum, fig, bitter black cherry, and candied citron. It rounds out with a perfectly delicate hop finish with nuances of crushed Douglas Fir pine needles and dark, bitter herbal notes. There's a perfect distribution of charred malt and fragrant hop bitterness. 12% abv, really? This is UNbelievably smooth!

Body is quite possibly the biggest I've ever had...like a melted hot fudge sundae. It just glides across your mouth a creamy, buttery texture and a mouthfeel like liquified silk. So creamy and sinfully rich. There's no way that this 12 oz. bottle is less than 500 calories. Worth every one too! Killer delicious, but definately a one-beer-per-session type of beer. Unless you want to go into diabetic shock that is. I couldn't imagine a finer way to go.

Serving type: bottle

03-11-2006 02:17:27 | More by AlexJ
Photo of shbobdb


4.18/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 3

Wow. This is a freakin' good beer. It pours a dark mahogany, with an ominous, dark, yet friendly fluffy head. What an inviting beer!

How does it taste? How does it feel? Well, like a homebrew I recently did, but good. In the homebrew, I threw in 2 pre-made edme stout kits and balanced it out with 3lbs of the neigh unfermentable Laaglander amber. This beer tastes like that, in so far as it has a lot of nice roasted barley flavours. They really steal the show, but they balance it out with a thick, full mouthfeel and just enough hops to make their presence known and clean the palate out. Mmmm. The warming alcohol finishes off the experience, bringing it to a wonderfully warm close.

Would have loved it in the winter. I love it now, but definately a cold-weather beer. This is MY kinda RIS.

Serving type: bottle

03-03-2006 23:40:11 | More by shbobdb
Founders Imperial Stout from Founders Brewing Company
97 out of 100 based on 5,478 ratings.