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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.

5,507 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 5,507
Reviews: 1,583
rAvg: 4.37
pDev: 8.7%
Wants: 492
Gots: 1,318 | 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: 5,507 | Reviews: 1,583 | Display Reviews Only:
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
Photo of Tallboy


4.25/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours: Dark like midnight black with almost no head. a few bubbles around the rim and slight carbonation. but still lacking lacing on the glass however.

Scent: Rosated grains and nutty goodness with chocolate and distinct coffe aroma mixed in with the alcohol.

Taste: Ritch and malty flavor at first with with sweet chocolate and coffee, then came the everlasting hop bitterness. followed by the warm alcohol at the end.

Mouthfeel : Full bodied but a tad too bitter

Overall: Another great beer from Founders .

Serving type: bottle

02-28-2006 16:20:25 | More by Tallboy
Photo of UncleFlip


4.7/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

OK, I love this beer even before trying it. It's mainly because of the label. During a visit to Russia (my first overseas trip, no less), I became quite enamoured of the double headed eagle, complete with St. George on the shield. It's a nicely rendered version on this bottle.

Now...on to the brew itself.... :)

Appearance takes a hit because of the head- or lack thereof. A nice, deep, rich black liquid hits the glass- but only the scantest of brown heads froms. Let's hold this up tot he light. Erm....no light. Yow. None coming through the glass at all. I can't even see coloured fringes around the edges. That's a good sign, to me!

The smell is lovely, deep and pungent- velvety with qualities of black licorice, ancho chilis, raisins, and coffee.

The flavour is roasty-sweet up front, morphing into more bitter roastiness. Along the way, the flavour has some of the same qualities in the aroma. Just past the midway point, som snice hop bitterness creeps in...no, runs in. I like this one. I like this one a lot.

Nice and thinck- the mouthfeel only takes a half-point hit because the carbonation (which is low and very tight) burns a little more than I like in a stout.

Very drinkable to me- but very intense. It only misses the mark in drinkability in that it's so intense, it may put some people off.

Be well

Serving type: bottle

02-23-2006 08:49:38 | More by UncleFlip
Photo of scruffwhor


4.45/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle. The bottle said 10%abv. Let this beauty sit in the fridge for a few months before cracking open

Appearance- The color was squid ink black with a milk chocolate head of about one finger. To butcher a somewhat vague memory of a Garret Oliver comment , "this stuff absorbs the sunlight."

Smell- Imagine smelling a root beer float with some espresso and heavy cream mixed into everything else. Sweet and bitter mixed very well together.

Taste- The start is a hevay cream malt. This develops into a better defined vanilla ice cream mixed with some fresh coffee grounds. The bitterness mixes with the heavy sweetness so well, that it almost seems to make this beer taste even sweeter. The best imperial stout I've tasted so far.

Mouthfeel- Just liquid velvet, with a little carbonation to remind the palate you are drinking beer.

Serving type: bottle

02-23-2006 05:23:48 | More by scruffwhor
Photo of Golden2wenty1


4.68/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Picked up a single at Riley's here in Madison. After running errands in ridiculous -5 degree wind chills, I needed a little something to get the blood flowing again.

Black hole pour with one of the darkest espresso heads I've ever seen and great lacing. Nose is strong black coffee and cocoa powder with a hint of hops. Taste is big and chocolately, cafe mocha, and a bit of minty hops to give it some bite. Mouthfeel is perfectly smooth and creamy with micro-carbonation that tickles the mouth. This stuff is dangerously drinkable at 12% abv, I could see myself 3 deep in this stuff and getting caught up with. A delicious Impy stout here, even when lacking in the characteristic dark fruits. A choco/coffee masterpiece.

Serving type: bottle

02-18-2006 04:05:01 | More by Golden2wenty1
Photo of dirtylou


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

12oz single, Riley's...have never tried this one though i remember seeing it last winter in south bend

appearance: pours dark as night, mysterious black appearance...head is not vigorous but more a gentle rush of creamy chocolate brown...lacing is around the rim only. pours thick as motor oil

smell: a rich and creamy, yet subtle, aroma...creamy dark chocolate, licorice, raisin, a tad nutty, very roasty and robust, a touch of alcohol sneaking through...mostly roasted malt, hop presence blocked out almost completely

taste: bittersweet immediately, heavy raisin and alcohol soaked plum/cherry flavours hit right away...alcohol warming taste throughout...rich and robust dark chocolate, heavily roasted malt, light char/smoke, there is a little hop bite not detected on the nose

mouthfeel: full bodied, dare i say a little thinner than most

drinkability: its robust and powerful, a 12oz serving should suffice

Serving type: bottle

02-13-2006 03:01:32 | More by dirtylou
Photo of bigbubba


4.28/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

This beer poured black as tar and thick as oil. The brown head barely showed up. It smells great. There is a strong roasted coffee smell, and some chocolate as well. The taste is great as well. It starts out sweet and chocolaty and finishes dry and bitter. More of a coffee and cocoa bitter as opposed to a real hoppy bitterness. The mouthfeel is extremely thick which makes it great for sipping slowly, and at 10% that is a good idea. The first one is very drinkable but it's not something I'd drink more than one of at a sitting.

Serving type: bottle

02-08-2006 23:26:59 | More by bigbubba
Photo of Fugazme


4.55/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Dark, dark black, thick liquid.

Pours out with no head until the very end when a smallish, beige head forms and dissipates leaving a nice cap of tiny bubbles.

Extremely large nose on this one. Complex dark chocolates with a French roasted coffee-bean quality. Alcohol is present as are figs, sherry and roasted malts.

Milky smooth on the palate. Absolutely brilliant mouthfeel as always from Founders. A nice chalky finish. Chocolately sweet up front on the tongue. Bourbon features in the middle and a touch of coffee bitter on the back end.

This is stout truly IS brilliant!

Serving type: bottle

01-25-2006 20:55:33 | More by Fugazme
Photo of MaltyGoodness


3.83/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz. bottle provided by Frozensoul327

Pours a used motor oil black with almost no head. Just the slightest mocha ring around the glass to let you know it's carbonated. Decent lacing on the glass.

Nice rich aroma of rosated grains with some coffee and chocolate woven in. The alcohol begins to show itself as it warms.

Big sweet and rich rosted malty flavor upfront with hints of chocolate and coffee. Followed by a rush of hop bitterness, and finishes rather sweet although the hops linger a bit. Becomes quite boozy as it warms.

Body is extremely full, but quite slick.

This is a sipper, make no mistake. It's a meal in a bottle, and the ABV will do a job on you if you try to rush it. I rather enjoy it, but would only look to drink one when I plan to be completely stationary for a while.

Serving type: bottle

01-08-2006 21:30:02 | More by MaltyGoodness
Photo of pentathlete


3.63/5  rDev -16.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Dark dark black/brown with a thin ring and some stray bubbles, like oil floating in water. Burnt caramel, dark roasted malt, some molasses soaked dark fruits in the nose. Astringent backed sweetness, the hop bite is subdued by the charcoaled grains. Plenty of flavors, but are they enjoyable? The mouthfeel is medium, the finish is astringent. High ABV and the lack of any overarching pleasant flavors make the drinkability on this one suffer. Not bad, not great.

Serving type: bottle

01-03-2006 00:50:49 | More by pentathlete
Photo of lou91


4.43/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

All imperial stout lovers should witness this pour – dark as night and even though it looked like it was going to pour still, a thick dark creamy head came throught and it was there to stay. The nose also makes you say God Damn! It smells like you walked into a chocolate coffee factory. Wow this is a damn good IS. It is so good that it took me an hour to drink 12oz. Thick, bittersweet and with enough alcohol to remind you that beer is good. Today I am an initiate and my mug is back. Thank you founders and buckeye nation.

Serving type: bottle

12-11-2005 07:29:39 | More by lou91
Photo of Phyl21ca

Quebec (Canada)

3.73/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle: Poured a pitch-black color ale with a medium dark brown foamy head with better then average retention. Aroma of deep black chocolate with slight roasted malt without any discernable hops. Taste is also dominated by the sweet black chocolate with some roasted malt. The taste is really sweeter then expected and I can’t seem to notice any hops or bitterness which kind of seems to be missing. Body is above average with a full creamy texture. Alcohol is very well hidden which is another plus. Nice and enjoyable but would have appreciated a higher hops profile.

Serving type: bottle

12-09-2005 20:13:36 | More by Phyl21ca
Photo of Gueuzedude


4.65/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours with a frothy, dense, creamy, one-finger thick brown colored head. The beer is an opaque black color that shows a full, clear, dark chocolate color around the edges when held up to the light. The aroma is intensely roasted with a back drop of burnt raisin that peeks through in the finish. Notes of dark chocolate and coffee liquor comes to the fore as I take my second draught of the nose. The alcohol really becomes prominent as time goes on and my nose gets use to the other aromatic notes. The burn, roasted malt notes remain full strength throughout though. The aroma is quite nice, it is only if I smell too long that the alcohol becomes noticeable; so don't linger to on to the drinken.

Ah, this has the proper mouth coating, palate consuming heft to it that I crave in a proper winter whether Imperial Stout. ON top of this the beer is the most well balanced and flavorful big beer I have had from Founders; and by flavor I mean ones of the good tasting variety. The alcohol, while here, is quite subtle and relegated to being noticed only in the finish underneath a roast espresso acidity that lingers along with he creamy, mouth coating dark chocolate notes. I really like the balance between rich dark chocolate flavors, smooth coffee cream, and roasted espresso notes. The roast character is restrained enough that it is not harsh and acrid.

As the beer warms up it even becomes more balanced and rich, with the roast burnt notes balancing even a step more. It still finishes with that bit of roast acidity, which helps to balance the mouth coating thickness; making you to want to take another sip that much sooner.

Serving type: bottle

12-02-2005 20:06:40 | More by Gueuzedude
Photo of isubsmith


4.72/5  rDev +8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Incredibly dark and dense black. Small brown head quickly dissipates but leaves lacing around the glass

Nose: Roasty, Chocolaty. Some sweeter caramel notes. Coffee and chocolate dominate as the beer warms up

Taste and mouthfeel: Lots bitter/dark chocolate. Hop bitterness as well. Quite strong bitterness right before the finish. Plenty of roast. Big mouthfeel. Sweet malty residue clings to the lips. The alcohol was hidden behind the bitter taste until the beer warmed up.

A very drinkable beer, but the alcohol might eventually catch up after a few. Definately recommended.

Serving type: bottle

11-18-2005 23:55:06 | More by isubsmith
Photo of merlin48


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

12 oz bottle courtesy of mntlover, pours a thick and dense, dirty motor oil body into a pint glass. Very opaque, with a small light brown head that is highlighted by hues of orange on the edges. The head slowly falls into a lasting cap and collar and leaves some spotty lacing around the glass.

Aroma is awash with huge, roasty, dark maltiness. Dark chocolate, espresso, day old coffee, some red berries, leather, and a suggestion of charcoal. Just a hint of the big alcohol.

Mouthfeel is full bodied, thick and rich. Mild alcohol warming, low carbonation, and a vinous grapeskin feel. Very appropriate feel for an excellent, impy stout.

Taste mirrors the nose, with lots of dark and bitter chocolate, old coffee, plums, prunes, leather, and some red berries. Alcohol presence is certainly present, but is largely obscured by the enormous dark roasty malt character. Earthy hop bitterness adds a subtle complexity. Finishes long and bitter, with a burnt coffee aftertaste. Very nice for style.

This one belongs in the elite ranks of American brewed, imperial stouts. An excellent sipper at room temperature, or just slightly chilled. Body is a bit heavy and challenging to have more than one at a sitting, but this is another superlative offering from Founders. Very well crafted, and teasingly complex.

Serving type: bottle

11-15-2005 12:11:18 | More by merlin48
Photo of IrishRedRock


4.43/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

From the moment I started to pour this one, "Ho-leee shiiitt" came out of my mouth. People often describe bigger stouts as having a motor oil consistency. This clears that hurdle. This is nearing maple syrup thickness. By far, the thickest, most pitch black beer I've ever seen. Nothing I can think of really comes close. Carbonation is minimal, as expected from a brew this thick and alcoholic. That said, I've read some reviews that this beer isn't for some beer drinkers due to its thickness and lack of carbonation. And make no mistake, these characteristics are all accurate. But this beer, flavor monster on sensory overload that it is, is the beer for me.

Sweet cherry pie topping, plums, licorice and toasted burnt malts, leafy hops and chocolate in the nose. Holy goats, that's THICK! Flavor is dripping with smoky chocolate flavors, coffee, a mild dark fruit candy sweetness, and underneath it all a subtle hop bitterness lingers throughout. Carbonation is barely there, just tingling the throat in the finish. This is a friggin' meal. Chewy and thick can't even begin to describe. As far as Imperials go, I can't say this is my all-time favorite (I need more of it for that to happen...Founders, come to PA!!) but it ranks up there. Thickest, to date? Easily. Do I wish I had more than a little 12oz bottle? Oh yes, though I probably wouldn't have to eat for another day or so if I had a bomber. This beer is the cat's pajamas, get some if it's available.

Serving type: bottle

11-12-2005 03:06:35 | More by IrishRedRock
Photo of Frozensoul327


2.98/5  rDev -31.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

I was really let down by this brew. All hyped up and took me nowhere. Poured out to a pitch black color with only notes of a head. Nearly no carbonation at all, not to mention that any lace was a long shot. Aromas of coffee, chocolate and dark rotted fruit. Nothing amazing so far. Flavor was abrasive and acidic, with strong indications of alcohol and burnt malts. Mouthfeel was good and thick, but wasn't enough to save this beer from being a disappointment. I'd probably pass on this if offered again. I may re-review again, but as for now, this brew was a course in undesireable beerdom. Pass on it.

Serving type: bottle

11-03-2005 02:14:13 | More by Frozensoul327
Photo of silenius


4.47/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

I purchased this as a six pack, just a week or so ago. I think they stopped making six packs of this beer a year or so ago, so it must have aged a bit in the store.

Some of the bottles from this six pack had good head, others were pretty flat. All were very dark and poured a very brown/red head.

Smell was of dark chocolate and a hint of alcohol.

Tastes like dark chocolate and espresso with a nice hop bittering in the back of my throat. Nice and deep and rich!

Mouthfeel was good in some and a bit thin in others.

Very drinkable.

Serving type: bottle

10-26-2005 01:55:34 | More by silenius
Photo of sopor


3.3/5  rDev -24.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Holy hell this is black. And obviously thick just by how it pours. A finger of copper coffee colored creamy head sticks to the side of the glass. If you look closely at a large bubble, it has the look of oil slicked on water. Smells strongly of roast coffee bitterness with a hint of plumby sweetness.

Complex is an understatement, I can taste butterscotch, burnt maltlike coffee, that plumby syrupy sweetness and a bit of hop bittering. The alcohol is hidden. Feels thick and oily, slick and chewy in the mouth.

This beer is too big and thick for me, so it lost big onthe drinkability.

Serving type: bottle

10-24-2005 20:35:57 | More by sopor
Photo of DaPeculierDane


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

Picked up a bottle at C’est le Vin. Pours like hot tar into an imperial pint glass. ¼ in head quickly dissipates to a thin film. The film nevers quite goes away, sticking with the beer as long as it lasts, clinging beautifully rich and brown to the sides of the glass. Seems to be almost no carbonation.

Tastes wonderfully nutty, then dark chocolate and burnt coffee flavors creep up on you, before a warming alcohol and bitter coffee finish takes you home. Somewhere in there you also get sideswiped by dark, vinous fruits.

Smells like alcohol, cherries, and charcoal.

Mouth feel is pure velvet but perhaps a bit undercarbonated. A bit too bitter for my tastes too.

Drinkability. I couldn’t down more than one or maybe two of these in a sitting, iot’s too bitter and the alcohol shows through a bit too much, however, this beer leaves me quite happy and I would certainly enjoy another tomorrow, and the next day, and the next…

Serving type: bottle

10-23-2005 23:02:32 | More by DaPeculierDane
Photo of Viggo

Ontario (Canada)

4.55/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a deep dark black, very opaque, small but thick tan head forms and laces all over the glass. Smell is very roast, coffee, floral hops, some alcohol and vanilla. Taste is coffee and chocolate, caramel, and a bitter roastiness. Mouthfeel is full bodied, low carbonation and silky smooth, amazing stout! Thanks DrJay.

Serving type: bottle

10-18-2005 15:26:12 | More by Viggo
Photo of ppoitras


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

12oz bottle from, well, I don't know where. Oh well.

Poured into an imperial pint glass, formed a tight 1/4" dark brown head over the opaque dark brown/black brew. Head slowly fades down to an even film of tiny bubbles, and lacing consists of very slow moving foam that wants to rejoin the liquid but hardly has the strength to fall. Aroma is hearty dark malts, coupled with vinous dark fruits and alcohol. Taste is extremely rich dark chocolate and coffee flavors upfront, with the fruit and alcohol coming in on the middle, and closing with an increasingly bitter coffee flavor, and definite warmth. Mouthfeel is velvety smooth, although a bit more carbonation wouldn't hurt in my eyes, and drinkability is high in that you want to come back for more, even if the abv means that you come back for more tomorrow. Nice representative of the style.

Serving type: bottle

10-18-2005 00:23:20 | More by ppoitras
Founders Imperial Stout from Founders Brewing Company
97 out of 100 based on 5,507 ratings.