Founders Imperial Stout - Founders Brewing Company
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Ratings: 5,661 | Reviews: 1,588 | Display Reviews Only:
4.22/5 rDev -3.2%
Fresh 2009 vintage from a stubby brown twist-off bottle.
Pours black as black as black. Totally opaque, no highlights or edges. Creamy 1" khaki head. Ominous and unmoving. Small dots of lace.
Smells of cocoa powder, malted milk (actually similar to Whoppers candy) a touch of vanilla and dark roasted malts galore. After a few swirls of my glass, a faint alcohol whiff is detected. The roasted malts and deeeep chocolate permeate my nostrils.
Whoa...intense roasted malts coupled with a nice hoppy counterbalance give this stout some major traction. The malted milk & chocolate I detected in the smell translate into dark bitter, chalky baker's chocolate of the 80% cocoa variety. The hops play a big party in the chalky dry element to this stout. The neck label reads 90 IBU's - so there's some major hop action happening to keep this massive stout from becoming too sweet and cloying. The alcohol is pretty well masked as well.
Mouthfeel is not as thick & oily as I would have guessed. It's a touch thin as the carbonation is fine but fleeting. Heavy-full bodied for sure but not a lot of finesse on the tongue.
Drinkability is good because of the slightly 'watery' mouthfeel, meaning it doesn't seem to engulf your entire palate because there's a bit of ease in the swallow.
Overall a very well made and hugely flavorful RIS. The dry/chalky elements of this highly hopped stout really make it stand out. Too many huge RIS' are too sweet, but this one manages to get the malt barrage in tact while giving the hops some of the spotlight also. Very, very flavorful and surprisingly easy to drink.
02-01-2009 14:52:14 | More by malty
4.47/5 rDev +2.5%
Much like the review below this is the 2009, 10.5% brew...Poured solid black with a slight dark caramel colored head which significantly disappeared during my taste...The foam held to the pint glass and left laces after each drink...Getting cocoa bean, licorice, and toasted malts...Bold, sweet, and bitterness explodes in the taste which are the highlight of this beer...highly recommend this stout for those just getting into stouts and want to experience the 10+% qualities...
bourbon lovers (like myself) will thoroughly enjoy this beer...
02-01-2009 04:17:52 | More by cnjohn19
4.22/5 rDev -3.2%
This is the 2009 release - the recipe must be slightly different, as it lists 10.5% ABV and 90 IBUs. Served in a pint glass.
A - Looks like a good stout should. One finger of mocha foam that dissipates and leaves a ton of lacing. It's pitch black (not even brown at the edges), and there's a bunch of bubbles at the bottom of the glass.
S - Coffee, bittersweet chocolate, roast malt, some dark fruit sweetness as well - plums, currants, etc. There's some hop flavor as well, in a similar vein as fresh Darkness. It's really delicious, but not huge.
T - There's a lot of bitterness in this one - coming from the coffee, bitter chocolate, and even the hops. There is some residual sweetness on the edges of my tongue, but the taste is pretty consistent. Even the aftertaste is kind of bitter. I'm curious to see if this mellows out and sweetens up as it ages.
M - Medium-bodied, with a surprising amount of carbonation tingle to it. Leaves a sticky coating on the inside of my mouth.
D - The surprisingly refreshing mouthfeel and well-hidden ABV make this a very (and dangerously drinkable) stout. I should probably be sipping it, but instead I'm hitting it like an IPA. I'd definitely bring a 4-pack to a party.
It'd be nice if this was made more often than every three years, although it's not like Founder's has any bad brews to displace (they seem to have given up on that quad they made).
01-31-2009 21:54:45 | More by MasterSki
4.4/5 rDev +0.9%
12 oz bottle. Black pour with dark brown and ruby accents around the edges. A small light brown head arose and disappated, but left a ring around the glass. Real thick with nice sticky lacing on the glass. Founders does an excellent job with obtaining that small sized carbonation that leads to smooth creamy mouthfeel. Smells of roast/burnt malt, coffee and chocolate. Taste is full of nearly burnt tones accented by chocolates and some dark fruits/port. I detect/wonder if they use some oats in this one? Finishes clean but a little warming. No real alcohol presence anywhere in this one other than the slight warming quality.
Had this after an Oskar Blues Ten Fidy. Real similar, but what seperated this was the carbonation and had a little more roasting/burnt malt and coffee. Deserving of a top ten stardard imperial. Overshadowed by Founder's breakfast stouts in aclaim, but this is very worthy.
01-31-2009 05:09:09 | More by Bung
4.4/5 rDev +0.9%
Pours black in color, maybe some hints of burnt brown coloration in the right light. Pours a rocky two-finger thick, brown colored head that is very creamy with great retention leaving traces of creamy goodness all the way down.
The aroma consists of a heavy roasted malt profile up front with little hints of smokiness as well, followed up by some coffee beans. Followed admirably by a sweet, not-quite-vanilla aroma and just a hint of caramel.
Quite a complex flavor to this beer, roasted malts, coffee, bourbon, chocolate, sweet malts and a vanilla-like (some might say marshmallows) flavors all come through. Leaves a nice, dry coffee bitterness on the tongue. Amazingly well balanced, not too sweet not too bitter. I love it!
Quite an impressive RIS, as a big fan of Founder's Breakfast Stout I couldn't pass this beer up and it proved to live up to my expectations. Rich, complex, balanced and filling. Borderline perfect.
01-31-2009 03:25:28 | More by Soneast
4.4/5 rDev +0.9%
A- pours a black body with a finger of beige colored head. The head sticks around for the entire beer and leaves its mark along the sides of my glass.
S- the nose is full of coffee and roasted malts. Some chocolate is detected.
T- very dark and roasted tasting. Lots of coffee and chocolate also. Nice blast of hops at the end.
M- full bodied and rather thick. No trace of the alcohol in this one. Very smooth.
D- a solid RIS that goes down pretty quickly. A few of these in an evening would be a treat. Glad they brought this one back.
01-30-2009 15:14:06 | More by jwinship83
4.28/5 rDev -1.8%
A. Pours black and thick - the high viscosity actually muffles the sound as it is poured into my glass. A firm pour produced about one finger of dark tan head.
S. Rich roasted malts, creamy vanilla, a hint of booze, coffee and herbal hops.
T. A nice blast of roasted malts and coffee (much like the aroma) starts things off. Then a big hit of piney hops takes over and just expands across your palate. The bitterness here is nicely done. I really like the dryness of this beer - it offers a nice change of pace over many of the sweeter style RIS's on the market.
M. Full bodied and very smooth. Low carbonation.
D. I really struggled with the bitterness of 2008 Breakfast Stout. This is much more to my liking - the high ABV (though well hidden) and overall heaviness keeps this to a "one-and-done" sipper category but it is very tasty none the less. Another 4-pack is definitely in order.
01-30-2009 02:34:02 | More by bound4er
4.5/5 rDev +3.2%
10w-30 viscosity thick. Pours like a thick black syrup into the glass. Scant tan head with some spotty lacing.
Deep rich roasted malts fill the nose with some coffee aromas and faint citrus fruits.
Wow what a powerful flavor. I am floored by the roasted flavors of this beer. It also taste like you just bit into an espresso bean. Rich bitter dark chocolate and some of the most intense hoppiness I've tasted in an RIS. Citrus and piney hops. The piney hop flavors really come through in the finish. How this beer pulls all of this off while maintaining exceptional balance is mind boggling.
Mouthfeel is icecream smoothie thick. Wonderfully low carbonaton makes the beer just linger on the tongue and attack the tastebuds.
Way to drinkable for such a big beer.
01-29-2009 06:05:06 | More by wcudwight
4.28/5 rDev -1.8%
Pours a dark black with a thin tan head. Leaves a residue down the side of the glass. This stuff pours thick as oil.
Smells of an above average RIS, chocolate, toffee, roasted coffee, you name it, it's here.
Tastes very good and not very overpowering. The tastes from the scent are here and very balanced. This is a slightly less sweet FBS, and it is very good.
Mouth is thick and low/med carbonation. Works well.
If I could pick one company to be distributed here that isn't already, I would likely pick Founders. They have yet to disappoint.
01-29-2009 04:18:38 | More by sonicdescent
3.85/5 rDev -11.7%
Single, twelve-ounce bottle...
Appearance: Deep, dark, opaque, ebony hue... Minimal tan, frothy, creamy, head...
Smell: Not as pungent or assertive as I had anticipated for such a weighty imperial stout...
Taste: Rich, creamy, powerful, heady stuff... Mocha, espresso, marshmallows, deep, dark chocolate with a bitter aftertaste... Definitely a high-class RIS...
Mouthfeel: Creamy, rich, thick...
Obviously the overall drinkability took a hit due to the hefty 10% ABV
01-29-2009 01:35:30 | More by dsa7783
4.38/5 rDev +0.5%
2008 version...90 IBU's & 10.5% ABV listed on neck of bottle.
Darker than black pour with a striking sandy brown bubbly head. Slick filmy with a few different shapes of bubbles. Boozyness stinging the nostrils with vanilla and hop rounding out the aroma.
Creamy velvet on the lips, with a huge bitter chocolate & hop flavor. Nice yet rigid contrast of flavor. Velvet stout funk felt on the roof of mouth. Really good...really hoppy.
01-28-2009 22:36:10 | More by RustyDiamond
4.38/5 rDev +0.5%
Picked up a four pack of this stuff from Binny's in Buffalo Grove. If this is half as good at other Founders beers I'm in for a real treat. Drank from my Darkness snifter.
Appearance- Pours a super solid black with a small quarter finger dark tan head that recedes fairly quickly. No cap and fairly thin collar leave a drooping bit of thin lacing.
Smell- Very smooth nose with some light milk chocolate and some vanilla cream. A bit of charred roast that gives almost a light nutty like smell. Not as much coffee as I was expecting after reading some of the other reviews. A bit of caramel and light citric kick hides in there somewhere.
Taste- Starts with a bitter chocolate taste that is like biting into a 100% cacao. Roasted malts and diluted coffee are semi acidic and quite tasty. The flavor is somewhat intense yet remains pretty balanced, even minus really any sweetness to counteract the bitterness of the roast. A bit of alcohol shows towards the end but instead of interfering it seems to really add to the beer (if that makes sense). A soft caramel and vanilla aftertaste lingers on and on...
Mouthfeel- Nice solid body with a silky, velvety feel. The carbonation is very light and refined.
Drinkability- After my first sip I felt like the alcohol was a bit much in this. After it warmed a bit the alcohol becomes more of a welcomed part of the mouthfeel and flavor than I've ever experienced in a beer. The body is terrific and this beer goes down WAY to easy. Great stuff, find it!
01-28-2009 21:38:14 | More by younger35
4.35/5 rDev -0.2%
Poured from the bottle a deep, dark opaque black with a thin, creamy mocha head.
Aroma of dark roasted malts, coffee, caramel, dark chocolate, nuts, vanilla, and bourbon. Very nice.
The taste matches the aroma perfectly. Dark roasted malts, coffee, dark chocolate, nuts, vanilla. Plus add some dark ripe fruits and booze to top it off. A hoppy bitterness is found in the finish.
Full bodied, rich and smooth, and moderately carbonated.
This one is so easy to enjoy. A must try RIS from Founders.
01-28-2009 20:40:57 | More by Monkeyknife
4.25/5 rDev -2.5%
GLASS: Snifter Glass
TEMP: Cellared @ approx 45 degrees
Thanks to MasterSki for this one! Sweet!
This pours like motor oil. Thick, black and viscous. I like. Thin, dark chocolate colored head of foam, which dissipates quickly. Lacing is spotty, but good.
Smells of big, dark roasted malts. Fair amount of dark roasted coffee notes and light scents of dark chocolate. Slight hint of booziness. Slight sweetness.
Smells warm and inviting.
Taste follows the nose. Big, dark roasted malts are, once again, out in front. Nice chocolate and dark coffee presence. Nice, light, hops kiss on the end. Lighter hops presence than expected, thankfully, at 90 IBU's.
At a time where Stouts are all going 'over the top', this one is refreshingly well-balanced. Not that I'm against 'over the top', mind you. It's just nice to have a good, solid, well-balanced stout, every now and then.
Nice medium body. Actually would expect, and like, this to be a little thicker in body. Smooth and creamy, with a touch of slick oiliness. Would love for this to be a bit on the 'chewey' side.
With the excellent balance this beer offers, I find it to be very drinkable. The 10%ABV will keep you from downing multiples, in a single session. The ones that you do get down, though, will be thoroughly enjoyed.
01-27-2009 20:12:25 | More by coldmeat23
4.08/5 rDev -6.4%
Poured from a 12 ounce short brown bottle into a pint glass. The bottle says 10.5% abv and 90 ibu's.
Appearance: Thick black body with a nice brown head. Good head retention.
Smell: The smell is disappointingly light. Roasted and burnt malts.
Taste: Roasted and burnt malts with a nice bitterness.
Mouthfeel: Very smooth and velvety.
Not the best imperial stout I've had but it's still better than most.
01-27-2009 04:41:41 | More by BierFan
4.08/5 rDev -6.4%
Pitch black with a 1.5 cm coffee foam tan head.
Tons of coffee on the aroma. Some other roasted flavors. Sweet. An inviting smell, though it makes me wonder if this one might be a bit too one dimensional.
Mmmm - roasty and delicious. Very warm. There's a ton of coffee in the middle and coffee bitterness in the finish, but the start is malty sweet with a little nuttiness. This flavor is carried through with the roasted coffee flavors into the finish. There is tons of bitterness in the finish - which actually dominates a little too much for my taste, but enforces the bittersweet chocolate flavor. Ahh, just noticed the 90 IBU's slapped on the neck label.
The first impression even before the flavor on the tongue was the feel past the lips - this beer is viscous - smooth, but thick.
The heat and bitterness limit the drinkability of this beer. This is an extreme sipper.
A good imperial stout, and one which begs for me to open a Péché Mortel for comparison. I love the mouthfeel on this, but the hop bitterness is a little too dominant for me. Perhaps with some age, this beer could be among the better stouts, but fresh it's just a touch abrasive. Still a good IS.
01-26-2009 02:01:11 | More by jpiper
3.9/5 rDev -10.6%
12oz bottle into a regular snifter. 08-09 winter release. 10.5 %, 90 IBU's. I've been waiting for this for two years & it's finally here, I'm in heaven.
A- Founders IS comes out black from the bottle and is even blacker when condensed in the glass. A very thick looking brew with some tannish bubbles trying to form a head but fail. Just traces of foam here and there condensing towards the middle. Some dots of lace are seen on the glass. Again this is very dark and deep, no getting around it. If i wanted to get even with somebody i would pour this on their favorite garmet.
S- Wow at the malts giving off a creamy vibe with some coffee/chocolate mix following. A lot of roast coming from the malt and coffee as well. Was not expecting any hops but are noted in the smell. Out of all the dark brews founders releases this imperial stout takes a backseat in terms of over-exposure & a nice change. Very mellow nose for such a number of ingredients & IBU range.
T- The roasted and charred character is ever present with the coffee and malt mix. This is evened out with the chocolate malts & others while the hops come through leaving some bitterness taste. Some oatmeal as well. Seeing this is at 90 IBU's i can understand. Some woody character and slight dark fruits on the end. This stout also is on the hot side initially but it adds to the appeal. I know the alcohol is there but I cant pick it up at all giving IS more pluses.
M- Coats the mouth is an understatement, as this glides throughout leaving a slickness & some hottness which i'm diggin at the moment and that's unusual.. Leaving this around for a while is no problem to absorb all th flavors. I'm liking the slight tingle the hops give off. Medium to full bodied for sure, i drank this one way to quick as it's not to sweet or overbearing amazingly. Alcohol does not get in the way although it's felt.
D- With all the complex flavors and a 10.5 ABV this is will be an occasional rarity for me as one was enough. Don't get me wrong as I could drink 2 or 3 but I would rather savor it as this is quite limited. I could see FIS aging nicer than it's family members Breakfast & Kentucky as it's brewed with more of the conventional ingredients without the coffee or bourbon profiles to keep up.
Another one out of the ball park for Founders as they keep it coming with stellar releases. I suggest if you have the access to this seek it out immediately. Now Black Rye is the only release i need before I complete their bottled line up, here's to hoping.
01-25-2009 08:02:56 | More by BARFLYB
4.15/5 rDev -4.8%
A - Pours an impenetrable black/brown with a quick-receding tan head. Teeny tiny bits of lacing. No crazy legs. Boring.
S - Booze, sweetness, chocolate, mocha, fresh ground coffee, molasses. Hops on top of all that.
T - Extremely hoppy, but it's great. Basically starts with a sweet, boozy, malt presence, and finishes dry, hoppy, and bitter. Lots of chocolate, lots of coffee. Normal Imperial Stout affects and thensome... the huge hops remind me of fresh Expedition. Love it. Only thing that slightly detracts is the booze, but it pretty much adds another level of complexity.
M - Slightly thinner and a little more carbonated than I prefer my stouts, normally.
D - Do you like hoppy stouts? If so, it's extremely drinkable.
Notes: This is a beer I've been waiting a while to try, and it's with great pleasure I'm able to find this in stores, finally.
01-23-2009 22:25:07 | More by SaucyA
4.38/5 rDev +0.5%
I got to try this tonight and was very pleased.
A: It poured oil black, with a nice tan head
S: Got a little coffee, and chocolate but not much else.
T: I loved it, with the trend seemingly going over the top, this one is very nice. The chocolate and burnt coffee was right up front and damn tasty! The lingering taste was an oak flavor on the back of my tongue, although it doesn't seem to be aged in oak barrels. Very slight hint of the alcohol content!
M: Very smooth, velvety on the back of the tongue with almost no hint of the alcohol content.
D: I love this because I could sit down and have a few of these, without that one and done feeling of some of the Imperial Stouts these days!
01-20-2009 03:52:02 | More by madtowndmb1
4.03/5 rDev -7.6%
12 oz bottle poured into a pint glass, purchased at Belmont Party Source in Dayton, OH
A - Pours black with a ¾ inch tan head. A good amount of light brown lacing, sticking to the edge of the glass. By the end of the glass, a very small amount of lacing remains
S - Rich, roasted malt aroma with coffee and chocolate under tones detected.
T - Initial sweet malt taste followed by the sting of alcohol. Medium body feel, even though it poured thick. I didn't feel like I had to chew through it. This beer is young, but very drinkable. Smoky, burnt coffee after taste. The alcohol can be a tad over powering in the after taste, yet it does not leave your pallet dried out. I think it could use some time to mellow and balance out a little.
MF- Thick and syrupy on the tongue, almost biting a little from the carbonation.
D - With its medium body feel and acceptable APV (10.5%), I think I could drink a couple of these in a siting. The after taste is not over powering and all in all, it has a very smooth, rich flavor.
I enjoyed trying this Founder's Stout for the first time and look forward to drinking my others in a year to compare.
01-20-2009 00:58:21 | More by DrewOSU
3.3/5 rDev -24.3%
12 oz bottle poured into a nonic 2008 vintage
A - the usual RIS color with a 2.5cm tan/brown head that would have been larger had the glass been taller.
S - chocolate, cocoa. not much else going on, the smell did not impress me.
T - chocolate, malty sweetness, alcohol provides an astringency that leads into the slight hop touch at the end. As it warms, a coffee flavor develops in the middle
M - textbook RIS mouthfeel. creamy, not over carbonated, chewy, just all-around great.
D - The beer itself looked beautiful, but its flavor and aroma were really weak. I've had much better imperial stouts for much cheaper, but I enjoyed the opportunity to try it. The flavor (or its lack of) made me not really want to continue drinking it. ( don't worry, I didn't drain pour it. I would never do that to an RIS.)
01-18-2009 04:46:01 | More by bowersdm
4.43/5 rDev +1.6%
Appearance: Pours a deep opaque umbral black with a dark chocolate brown thin head. This reduces to a very fine off white lacing on the edge of the glass.
Smell: There is a delicious chocolate and roasty armoa. There is a rich nutty sweetness in the background along with fresh baked bread pudding. There is a nice depth in the smell and even a woody like character.
Taste: This beer has a rich coffee flavor and bitterness that is paired by a savory bread crust sweetness. The roasty bitternesss transitions through the entire pallet and lingers on nicely after the swallow. The taste is extremely well balanced and provides a nice element of both sweetness and roasty bitterness. There is a slight alcohol warming sensation in the swallow
Mouthfeel: This beer is thick and coating but with a finish that does not linger or make your pallet feel overworked or unrefreshed. It actually finishes quite clean leaving you with the desire for another drink.
Drinkability: This is a sipper as like any good imperial stout. That being said, I could easily sit back and drink three or possibly four of these throughout the evening and enjoy every minute of the experience.
OVERALL IMPRESSION: Founders makes some very impressive stouts. I would easily buy this beer again and would love to try it on tap. If you've had Founders Breakfast its very similar in the malt profile and every bit as enjoyable.
01-18-2009 04:35:49 | More by Jekster
4.43/5 rDev +1.6%
From 12 oz. into a Duvel tulip...
Pours so dark there's actually a purplish-black currant hue to what otherwise looks split down the middle between a triple espresso shot and spent 40 weight. Cinnamon-brown sugar head is about 1/2 finger and goes rather quickly with moderate lacing.
Carbonation provides sweet alcohol burn at first. Then the incredibly huge chocolate (and many others, apparently) malts take over. Big coffee and dark chocolate tones with woody, piney hop presence and slight sweetness. Oooh, the complexity of it all.
This has a great balance between the huge dryness of all this roasted malt, a decent alcohol wallop (sweet but clean) and the stealth grass and pine hoppiness. I'd be interested to see how it mellows with age. Give this one some warmth to calm down the slight alcohol burn.
If the alcohol hits anywhere it's on the palate feel. The slight burn is mitigated by huge malt and hop presence. Finish is long and full.
This is best enjoyed at cellar/room temperative and by sipping and savoring. Having said that, it drinks very easily for its weight class.
01-16-2009 12:13:26 | More by IBUnit63
4.13/5 rDev -5.3%
Brought back from my Xmas trip to Indy. Poured from a 12oz bottle into a pint glass. The front label had a unacknowledged notch so no way to tell freshness except the manager brought it out from back and said they'd just gotten it in today (spent about $250 on my beer Xmas trip so he brought out several that hadn't even hit the shelves yet - hell yeah. Highly recommend The Hop Shop in Indy). It was a solid dark black even against the light. Poured thick like syrup. It had a smallish dark brown head that slowly settled into a collar. Not much carbonation and the lacing was barely there which was surprising considering the thickness of the beer.
The aroma was heavy on the espresso and chocolate malt. Was a bit more subtle than you'd expect. It was good but faded too quickly. Also was just a tad heavy on the espresso. Could have used a little more balance. The same could be said for the flavor. It was good but had more coffee bitterness than I like at the end. Needed something to offset it a bit. This is a top tier RIS but the overly bitter end keeps it down a bit for me. The Abyss still reigns! Mouthfeel was solid and creamy.
Overall, a really good beer that just misses out on greatness due to the overly bitter aroma and aftertaste. So glad that I got to try it and now I only regret that I totally f'ed up and didn't get any to cellar. I bet the bitterness would tone down and this would improve greatly. Gonna have to score some more to cellar. Still, I highly recommend as it is still pretty damn good and it's only an occasional release so get it while it's out there.
01-15-2009 02:42:15 | More by TexIndy
4.5/5 rDev +3.2%
Picked up a 4-pack from Sam's Lincoln Park in Chicago, IL.
A: Pours a syrupy, dark black with very little, if any, dark khaki/copper head.
S: Smells like a roast coffee bomb, scents of chocolate...and i actually pick up some hop earthiness too
T: roast, coffee, lots of bitterness, slight dark chocolate...a little alcohol in the finish
M: Very creamy and thick with not a lot of carbonation
D: very drinkable for what it is...however, the roast coffee can be little overpowering
the more i've drank of this, the more impressed I am with it
01-12-2009 01:50:38 | More by dukedevil0
Founders Imperial Stout from Founders Brewing Company
97 out of 100 based on 5,661 ratings.