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Founders Imperial Stout - Founders Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Founders Imperial StoutFounders Imperial Stout

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6,340 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 6,340
Reviews: 1,650
rAvg: 4.36
pDev: 8.49%
Wants: 591
Gots: 1,632 | FT: 124
Brewed by:
Founders Brewing Company visit their website
Michigan, United States

Style | ABV
Russian Imperial Stout |  10.50% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 02-12-2005

90 IBU
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 6,340 | Reviews: 1,650 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of KevSal
4.13/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Been wanting to try this guy for some time, got this guy thanks to AleLovinRuskie and his generous LIF

dont know the year, but i imagine this years. room temperature 22 oz bottle into a tulip (awesome label btw)

A- Looks great, dark brown black with a deep brown 1 inch head. dissapears after a minute or 2

S- Yum this guy smells like its going ot be delicious, the smell reminds me a lot of Abyss with a bit more coffee maybe? a slight bitter coffee. some chocolate in the back after a nice swirl of the glass.

T- Yes this guy is good, follows very close to the nose and taste similar to abyss with a bit more bitterness to it. lots of coffee and chocolates, with some nuttiness as well.

M- great, meduim to heavy bodied that leaves a chocolate bitterness behind, wish it was a tad thicker, and a bit creamier

o- i really liked this guy, i found the alch to be spot on as well.
it reminds me a lot of Abyss and in all honestly i like this guy a tad more.

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

Pours a deep blackish brown, no light shines through. The head is generous and has a very fine carbonation, a burnt caramel color. Smells of big roast, very bold and intense. Flavor is rich and full, lots of roasted malt and chocolate, big finish, alcohol is warming. Overall a solid imp stout, wish it was year 'round, this puppy has some bite.

Photo of HuskyinPDX
4.48/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12oz. 2008 bottle.

A- Motor oil black, 1 finger tan head.

S- Chocolate and coffee

T- Very similar to the smell. Chocolate and coffee. Not bitter chocolate, but more sweet.

D- oily and slick in the mouth. Still a thick mouth full. I love this 2008. I will be looking for some more of the recent release.

Photo of Jparkanzky
3.95/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a pint glass.

A) Dark black, thick with no real head or lacing.

S) Slight vanilla and caramel scents linger.

T) The alcohol flavors overpower the otherwise wonderful deep caramel and vanilla flavors that beg to come to the forefront of this beer.

M) silky smooth and very heavy on tongue. very rich and a great blend of carbonation and substance.

O) The amount of alcohol bit and flavor take over what would otherwise be a perfect stout. This one needs far more time than the current off-the-shelf presentation I am sampling.

Photo of deebo
3.2/5  rDev -26.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

2011 keg

A-Very heavy brown head that will be with you for the duration. Black as night.

S-Smoked roasted malt, charred wood are strongest aromas present.

T-Strong burnt oak wood taste, that turns to a bitter aftertaste.

M-Creamy, bitterness lingers.

D-Definitely a sipper.

Photo of Kelly88
4.18/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had on tap at Fries Cafe. Served in a regular pint glass.

A- ugliest brown bordering on black. Decent tan head that is relinquished to a mocha ring with Ruby highlights.

S- huge HUGE buttered rum cake with toasty roasty chocolate coffee on the backend.

T- now I know what people mean when they say taste follows the nose. Along with the aforementioned flavors there is an alcoholic cherry flavor mixing with some very light juicy citrus hops.

M- silky smooth. Rich decadent and then a nice carbonation kicks in. I wish more stouts and brewers could match this feel.

Overall one of the best imperial stouts I've had. Really bold flavors paired with a good feel makes beer magic for me.

Photo of output01x
4.46/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle (Bottled On 02/09/11) into a pint glass.

A vigorous pour yields a slow rising 1/2-finger mocha-colored head that quickly recedes within a minute to a thin dusting and light foam ring. The body is pure black with no traces of color when held to light. No lacing is seen during consumption.

A delicious mix of dark malts, milk chocolate, and roasted coffee beans entices and excites the nostrils. Decadent and alluring, the smell alone is more than enough to make you want to drink this beer.

Dark roasted malt flavors combine with notes of milk and dark chocolate and burnt coffee beans. A nice alcohol warmth creeps in after each sip. The flavors are bold and pronounced, with perhaps just a tad too much sweetness.

Full bodied with decent carbonation, this beer is thick, coats your mouth well, and leaves a nearly syrupy stickiness. The thick mouthfeel helps to remind you how intense this beer is. However, I would have preferred a little more carbonation to increase the drinkability.

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

09 vintage. Poured into a snifter, revealing rich black body under a thin finger of tanned head. Decent looking, thick looking. Smells rich and roasty with a slight, bitter-metallic charredness, cherries and dates. Some vanilla.

Tastes smooth, a little sweet and with a bitter slightly ashy finish. Some vanilla and a charred wood presence that neither makes nor breaks the flavor. Mouthfeel is creamy, a light-heavy thickness with tiny, barely volume-adding carbonation to move it off your tongue. Decently drinkable, neither cloying nor abrasive.

Overall it's a decent representation of the style. I may have liked it when it was a little more fresh.

Photo of sisuspeed
4.03/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottled 11/27/09

Poured into a Cigar City snifter. Deep black body with a decently sized dark-tan head. Leaves elegant lacing on the glass.

Dark malts, slightly charred wood, dark chocolate and a hint of anise on the nose. Nice balance of sweet and bitter malts. Faint dark fruit in the background.

Creamy dark chocolate, bitter dark malts, faint ripe fruit and a touch caramel on the tongue. Some alcohol on the finish, but not too much. Fairly smooth. Bitter roastiness on the finish.

Mouthfeel is smooth and creamy. Feels fairly thick, but then watery for the style at other times. Hard to describe. Almost like the alcohol on the finish makes it feel thinner. Still quite good though. Warming alcohol on the finish.

Overall, I like this brew quite a bit. Another solid offering from Founders and a solid RIS. Not one of my favorites for the style, but still well done. Worth picking up a bottle or two.

Photo of Gosox8787
4.5/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Presentation: 12 oz. stubby bottle poured into my Cigar City tulip glass. I believe this is the latest vintage, but there is no marking on the bottle. Big thanks to slentz for adding this to our trade.

Appearance: Absolutely pitch black in color. Not much head on the pour and it quickly disappears into black. Not surprising considering the hefty alcohol content on this.

Aroma: Cocoa nibs, molasses, raisins, espresso and a touch of smoke all in harmony here. Really impressively balanced and aromatic. A touch of herbal hops in there as well. Nice balance of sweet and roasted notes.

Taste: Deep dark chocolate, dark fruit sweetness, brown sugar, and smoke notes are all front and center here. Leather, tobacco, and a touch of oak all complement this perfectly and round out the flavor. Not a bad thing to say here. Near perfect.

Mouthfeel: Full bodied and creamy. Coats the mouth incredibly well.

Overall, I was floored by this stout. Incredible balance and depth of flavor. As complex as almost any stout out there. Just delicious and absolutely spot on for the style. My only complaint is that I don;t have it available locally. Honestly, this is almost in the same league as the Kate I had the other day (And that's my favorite non barrel aged stout). My highest recommendation.

Photo of largadeer
4.12/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Got this one from WeisGuy. Thank you, Shane.

2010 batch. The body is black as pitch, the head a deep brown that quickly recedes to a thick collar.

Delicious oatmeal raisin cookie aroma. Dark chocolate and black licorice are equally prevalent. Alcohol is barely noticed.

The palate, like the aroma, is much like an oatmeal cookie. Rich, but not terribly sweet - there's a good balance of charred malt, black licorice and bittersweet chocolate. Full bodied, a little ashy and tar-y mid-palate. The finish is sticky, bittersweet, deceptively smooth for a 10.5% beer. There's no trace of alcohol, no harshness; it's a very mellow beer, though drinkability is hampered by the sheer richness of it.

On the whole, I don't enjoy this as much as Breakfast Stout or KBS, but it's a great beer nonetheless.

Photo of Satchboogie
4.42/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Reviewed from notes 4/16/11:

A: Black with an 1 inch of mocha brown head that fairly quickly dissipates.

S: Chocolate with more chocolate. A little coffee, touch of dark fruit, alcohol just noticeable.

T: As with the nose, this is a chocolate bomb. Chocolate explodes on the palate with licorice and little coffee. The middle brings a heavy dose of roasted malts and again, more chocolate. A touch of dark fruit comes up in leading to the finish, giving a slight port quality. Hops are also present, providing some balance and a touch of citrus, mostly up front and then again in the finish. A balanced chocolate bomb with just the perfect amount of sweetness.

M: Thick and viscous with a hint of being oily. Chewy, fairly smooth with just a tiny kick of alcohol burn on the finish.

O: One of the best imperial stout's I've tried and unfortunately for me, something that is hard to find in the area in it's seasonal release. It's definitely chocolate forward, but it's a classic RIS that has great balance and a pleasant hop profile (more citrus than leaf).

Photo of brandoncox
4.89/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Jet black. Amazing rusted reddish brown colored head.

Sweet dark chocolate notes, the usual. I can also detect hops! For 10.5% the alcohol is barely noticeable.

Dark and sweet with a behind the curtain fruity appearance on the finish while the chocolate forefront settles.

A silky smooth burst onto the palate and a lingering bitterness.

Great one to sip on. All stout lovers rejoice!

Photo of AJacob81
4.55/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

This made my winter. Poured into a snifter on 2-16-11. From notes.

A - Jet-black, hint of deep mahogany. Dark mocha head of 2 tightly-packed fingers forms, recedes to a tobacco-stain ring and leaves generous lacing that coats the glass. Fantastic.

S - Aromas of fudge cake, fresh-ground coffee, and soft dark fruits overwhelm, aromatic spicy hops, caramel malt, and English toffee pitch in, and an incredible bouquet is released. Great nose on this beer.

T - Deep, roasted grain, brownies, port wine present up front, strong coffee, caramel and anise in the middle, hops and dark chocolate and pleasantly warming alcohol lingers in the finish. This tastes absolutely incredible.

M and D - Thick, viscuous, chewy, moderate carbonation in support. Drier than expected after the swallow, which actually helps keep this compulsively drinkable. Dark Lord-levels of palate-coating going on here. Gorgeous.

This is a rich, complex, decadent RIS. This will be a must for me every winter from now on.

Photo of Preismj
4.03/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

a: heavy dark black with a sticky tan head at about an inch. beautiful looking stout and its all the head on this one which is thick and fluffy like whipped cream on top.

s: cocoa, toffee, coffee and a touch of hoppy aroma in the distance that gives a whiff of heat from the abv.

t: delicious profile of flavors here, and it follows the nose. Tastes just like the breakfast stout but with higher alcohol content and slight hop profile...but a light hop presence. delicious. getting some oat or barley...definitely grainy in the back end of this with a malty finish. bitter chocolate to start, sweet malt toffee to end.

m: Thick, slight fizz. coats extremely well.

o: very good. I give it a 2 out of 10 for originality as it is really just a base breakfast stout with a higher abv. however, a 9 out of 10 for pulling off a delicious brew that hides the abv pretty well behind delicious flavors.
will try to track this down in bottles to save for sure.

Photo of OakedCanuck
3.95/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle into cervoise

A - Pitch black. Small tan head that didn't stick around long. Very little lacing.

S - Roasted grains, chocolate, molasses and dark fruits. Very little hoppiness

T - Typical stout, coffee, chocolate, roast, some smoke and molasses. Some plums and currants are present too as well as just a touch of grass. I did pick up a slight metallic taste

M - Light heavy, slightly dry and that metallic taste, odd

O - Great to drink and enjoy. I wouldn't say it is the best RIS out there but it is a damn good one.

Photo of brewdenver
4/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz poured into a pint.

A: Very dark beer, dark brown head. Strong lacing with good fingers.

S: Roasty, alcoholic, semi sweet.

T: Roasty, chocolate, coffee and slightly sour.

M: Good carbonation, solid malt feel. This is almost chewy.

O: A really good stout.

Photo of comfortablynumb1
4.05/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Received this one as an extra from bulletburke. Thanks again Andrew...

Poured from a 12oz bottle into an Old Raspy pint glass...

A - Pours black with a two finger dark brown head on a fairly aggressive pour. Love the color of the head. Head retention is decent and there is some slippery lacing to be had.

S - Pick up coffee, chocolate and some sweet caramel. Scent is very inviting...

T - Coffee and dark roasted malts assault your palate up front followed by the sweeter tastes of molasses, caramel, various dark fruits, and chocolate. A little hop presence makes it appearence in the finish. I usually don't like a noticeable hop presence in my RIS's; however, it works really well here. The hops are not overdone, but are just enough to give you a taste. No heat comes through in the finish. Smooth and tasty...

M - A good creamy viscous brew with a moderate amount of carbonation...

O - Alot more complex than I was expecting this one to be. Definitely something I would recommend to someone that is into the style, or is interested about the style. Founders brewed a solid brew here.

Photo of camp0474
4.8/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A: Pours pitch black with a chocolate colored head. Good retention and some lacing.

S: Bitter chocolate, coffee, faint sweet dark fruits and molasses. Raisins and prunes. Hints of alcohol.

T: Sweet molasses and dark fruits lead the way, bitter chocolate and roasted coffee support the middle, and nice bitter hops appear in the finish. Raisins and prunes. Faint detectable alcohol, but not much for the 10.5% abv. Sweeter than I expected from the nose. Good display of complex and balanced flavors; showing roasty, sweet, and bitter.

M: Thicker syrupy body with medium carbonation. Perfect for this beer. Has a nice warming from the abv that goes great with this beer. Surprisingly great finish, not overly dry like some imperials.

D: Very drinkable and well balanced. Easily rose to the ranks of one of my favorite imperial stouts that I have tried. Great beer at at a reasonable price, hopefully they don't start wax dipping these bad boys. Great cool weather beer.

Photo of mdogg
4.4/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

a beer i've always enjoyed over the years, but only truly appreciated recently....

look: dark as midnight, with a tan head that sticks around as lacing.

smell: coffee dominates, with chocolate bringing up the rear, and a faint whiff of booze

taste: sweet malts and coffee, with faint hints of chocolate. a little booze in the finish, but not much.

feel: Perfect. creamy throughout, without being too thick

One of the better ris's ive had. You would do well to pick this up.

Photo of UCLABrewN84
4.42/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Kelly88/Exiled for each sending me a bottle of this.

Pours a super thick super black color with a very small 1/2 dark chocolate colored head that fades to nothing. Little lacing here and there on the glass. Smells very nice with coffee/espresso, bittersweet chocolate, alcohol, and slight soy sauce. Oddly, I also get a distinct aroma of onion dip. Taste is very rich with strong brewed coffee, bittersweet chocolate, and slight licorice. Slight coffee bitterness after each sip. There is a tiny bit of alcohol burn in the throat. Low carbonation makes this a very thick and creamy beer that coats the mouth. Overall, a great RIS that I am very happy I got to try.

Photo of Roke87
4.35/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a snifter at cellar temperature

Appearance - Pours a pitch black with no light penetrating this brew, very little head that quickly dissipates to a thin lacing.

Smell - Right of the bat you get the usual stout smells of the roasted malts, chocolate, and a hint of coffee, definitely smells very sweet.

Taste - You definitely taste the chocolate and coffee a little bit throughout, and it finishes with the roasted malts, At cellar temp I could also taste the alcohol content in this stout.

Mouthfeel - Definitely a very smooth stout for the ABV, goes down good and is a very good representation of a perfect stout, but again I could absolutely taste the alcohol in this one.

Overall - A great stout, I'm not sure if it's the best I've ever tasted but it is at the top of that list for sure, a little strong on the alcohol taste and a little muted on the others. All in all if you get that chance to taste this bad boy, it is really worth it, I would definitely drink this again!

Photo of SolomonGrundy
4.55/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Off to see Death Angel - FUKK YEAH!!!

This beer, thanks to excellent trader Brian44556, I have no idea on price, but it's 10.5% ABV...Hell YEAH!

All I can say is: if you can possibly track this beer down, you should. It's hands down the best straight up Imperial Stout I've ever had...yes, that includes Old Rasputin...The folks at Founders may have well converted me to a disciple....Their beer is incredible...

What I like most: everything...

What I like least: Nothing...

Verdict: Find it at all costs, folks, it's worth every penny...NO I GOTTA GO THRASH!!!

Photo of DannyDan
4.09/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours out black with a thin tan head that has light, but decent lacing, very little retention and moderate carbonation. This brew has a very strong chocolate aroma along with some coffee, dark fruits and sweet malts. The first thing I taste is some coffee followed by some dark fruits (raisins, and plums come to mind), and the taste finishes off with some bitter chocolate. The dark fruits add some sweetness that balances well with the chocolate. I can taste a little bit of alcohol near the end, but not real strong for a beer having 10.5% ABV. The mouthfeel is a nice creamy, but sticky brew that is lip smacking good. I enjoyed this one and will drink it again. This in my opinion is not as good as Old Rasputin or Thirsty Dog's Siberian Nights, but still worth getting.

Photo of gskitt
4.03/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a ink black with a very dark brown head. Scent is not overpowering, but the roasted malts, chocolate and coffee notes are there. Taste is a deep, rich balance of those roasted malts and bitter chocolate. Very little carbonation, thick and creamy mouthfeel. This a really nice RIS. Founders rarely disappoints.

Founders Imperial Stout from Founders Brewing Company
97 out of 100 based on 6,340 ratings.