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Founders Imperial Stout - Founders Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Founders Imperial StoutFounders Imperial Stout

Educational use only; do not reuse.

1,733 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 1,733
Hads: 7,094
Avg: 4.33
pDev: 17.32%
Wants: 688
Gots: 2,091 | FT: 151
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: mjohn27603 on 01-13-2003

90 IBU
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 1,733 | Hads: 7,094
Photo of DougT
4.88/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Poured into a stout glass. Deep, dark, like the abyss. Nice 2 finger head of dark brown. Took off a couple for a few too many large bubbles. Great lacing and leaves a thick layer of creamy froth as you drink. Smell is roast, malt, coffee, chocolate and dark candi. Just what a stout should be. Could be a hint stronger, otherwise steller. Taste is ambrosia. Sweat chocolate, coffee, hints of dark fruits, with roast and malt bitters and some earthy hops. Feel is spot on. Creamy, full bodied, effervescent. You can't ask for better. So this is almost the perfect stout. As an Imperial it could use a hint more hop bitters, the head could be just a touch creamier, which might happen with age, and the smell could be subtly more intense, which would happen with the extra hops. This is a really really good beer.

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Photo of CowsandBeer
3.69/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 ounce bottle poured into a Bruery tulip glass. Bottled on 12/02/2014.
Appearance: Pours a half finger of dark brown head with a reddish tint. Body is completely black as expected with nice creamy lacing on the sides. Not unlike Yeti.
Aroma: Lots of burnt black malts, brown sugar, super dark chocolate, some roasted coffee and cream, and a slight vinous note.
Taste: Burnt black malts, bitter coffee and cream, and a warming spike of booze in the middle with a bitter green finish.
Mf: Starts with a creamy and heavy mouthfeel and ends on a dry and chalky note.
Overall: A big hefty American stout that I struggle to drink. It’s got nice notes of dark roasted coffee and cream but these are overtaken by lots of burnt black malts and a bitter finish. As it warms it does mellow out a bit and becomes more enjoyable. Imagine chocolate covered espresso beans, awesome for some, too much for others.

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Photo of Oldejoe
4.31/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Looks dark, rich, mild frothy
Smell alcohol dominated, spicey, touch of tar
Taste heavier on bitters and toasted oats than the malts
Mouth rich, dense, chewy
Overall really good but my own preference is for maltier

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Photo of ZebraCakez
4.23/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

This is fantastic. Pours a dark brown/black with a burnt caramel colored head. Smells of coffee and chocolate. Taste of coffee and chocolate, roasted malt, dried figs/raisins, finishes with a smoked beef (jerkey) note. Smooth, creamy feel, super enjoyable.

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Photo of RonaldTheriot
4.95/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Founders Imperial Stout has a medium, tan head, lots of lacing rings left on the glass, and a black appearance. Some slight brown does show up on the edges, under direct sunlight. The aroma is of sweet, sharp, intensely dark-roasted malt. Taste is of charred malt, sweetness, some cream, a bit of coffee, possibly chocolate and dark fruits, a shade of licorice, and high bitterness, seemingly from the burnt effects. Mouthfeel is heavy and slick, and Founders Imperial Stout finishes rich and impactful. The alcohol provides warmth, as the beer is consumed.


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Photo of martyl1000
5/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

With 14 months of aging, the aroma on this blows my doors. It's Nesquik powder, with a tinge of soy sauce. I know that sounds horrible. It's not.

Flavor in the mouth is phenomenal: a roasty, dried beef, the sweet, tinny brightness of lychee, plus bakers cocoa and spent coffee grounds, of course. Hershey's syrup is totally palpable. It's double chocolaty goodness -- chocolate (flavored!) syrup over chocolate gelatto. Very sweet, now that the hops have been knocked way back. Finally, behind the symphony of imperial stout classics, there's a minor key of . . . of . . . dang, what is it? It's a proto-tart-fruit, like a prehistoric cherry that's more of a wild berry.

Hear that sound? That's me shaking my head at the thought that, earlier this year, I served this to eight friends, only half of whom have decent craft beer experience. This is simply too atomic for the uninitiated, to gargantuan.

Pro tip: serve it very cold, and only 4 - 5 ounces at a time. It's a total sipper, so, by the time you get to the bottom of your five ounces, you'll have had a chance to sample it at several different temperatures, which is a total treat.
Man, flavorful, or what? Now twelve months of aging.

Absolute motor oil, with zero, less than zero, head. Another BA'er points out the soundlessness of the pour; it's a real phenomenon. Aroma of soy sauce and bakers cocoa, which, in the abstract, sounds horrible. It's not.

Flavors in the mouth just keep going and going. The one flavor I'll mention because it's so awesome: ketjap manis (also spelled catsup manis), which is not ketchup, at all, but Indonesian sweet soy sauce. Wife says it would, thus, go well with Indonesian food.

Great mouthfeel, with a lively fizz, despite the syrup viscosity.
I come to this beer today with doubts, as I'd been sorely disappointed with it a month ago. That time, I spent $10 on a 10 oz. pour of it at Coopers Tavern (Madison). I don't know how to account for that discouraging experience. Was it something I ate? Was it emotion: was it my reluctance to support businesses that overcharge for beer?

Whatever. This brew today renews my faith in my taste buds. I'm thrilled to have brought home two four-packs just now. It's freaking awesome. One 4-pk. is going in the cellar. The other down my gullet.

I'm making special note that this four-pack is 11 months old, as the Founder's release schedule for Imperial Stout is January.

This one has tipped the scales. It has cracked my Top-5 list of all-time favorites. (Actually, I don't know how I can talk in such hyperbole, when only two weeks ago I declared the same about Mikkeller Black Hole. But that was $14 for an 11-oz. bottle, so I'm sure I NEEDED to like that one a lot.)

Second-blackest beer I've seen this year (after Dark Horse Reserve Special Black). Pours into a tulip glass with a chocolate meringue-like brown head that leaves lacing plastered on the glass.

Dark chocolate and burnt coffee in the nose, first. Then a cascade of stone fruit, especially overripe cherry and black plum. Boozy vapor cuts the sweet.

I just the other day had their Founders Porter on tap, and am now struck by the particular roasted coffee flavor in the mouth, here. Except of course this comes with an undergirding of sweetness to replace the bright/tart hop bitterness in the porter. The massive corn-syrupy, fruit-cake and pecan flavors remind me of Southern Tier Mokha, another of my favorite double stouts. The alcohol politely makes itself known on the backend.

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Photo of tekstr1der
4.37/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pitch black pour with almost no head, and very little lacing - it was slightly disappointing. If cold, you can see the syrupy thickness of this liquid, though it really comes into its own a little warmer. Aroma is mostly of coffee, some malt and medicine. Amazingly smooth, slightly viscous mouth-feel, with flavors of coffee. Almost no alcohol flavor. Remarkable.

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Photo of bassboneman
4.4/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is like a sweeter - silkier - Founders porter.
I love the roasted malty coffee taste this stout has. The finish is superb with the right balance of sweet and bitter.
The overall complexity of the beer changes as it warms so the angles and flavor notes are always on the move...

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Photo of CIBoy10
4.6/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Look - pours a velvet black with a thin dark brown head that yields quickly to lacing.

Smell - chocolate, Irish car bomb, tobacco, black pepper, coffee liqueur.

Taste - chocolate, coffee, earthy, beef jerky and tobacco on the finish. Very complex.

Feel - silky smooth, creamy, heavy. Smoother as it warms up.

Overall - top notch imperial stout especially when it warms up a little.

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Photo of Antg8989
4.54/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Pours a VERY dark brown, pretty much black. Head is mocha colored, about a finger. Aroma is coffee with hints of chocolate. Sweet and malty. Dark chocolate taste, very creamy and smooth going down. Lightly carbonated. Very, very good.

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Photo of SweetChicken
4.44/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Look - Fantastic. Awesome caramel head rentention. Great lacing. Deep black oil in color. 4.5

Smell - The initial nose is strange. Mildly off-putting. Once adjusted, the nose mellows to brown bread, sweet molasses. 4.25

Taste - So nice. certainly hides the sweet booziness that a 10.5% imperial stout normally carries. A nice toasted almond (amaretto) balanced with a bittersweet chocolate. 4.5

Feel - Can't find much fault here. Smooth and slick with a hint of tingle from the carbonation. 4.5

Overall - Such a great imperial stout and a much welcomed break and taste from barrel-aged stouts. Can stand up to any in my opinion. 4.5!!

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Photo of gibgink
4.42/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A great outing from Founders! Bottled on 12-2-14. From the first pour, I am impressed. The 1-2 dark brown finger head is a little surprising, coming from such an oily, viscous liquid, with good, foamy legs leaving a tell tale mark. Roasted malts shine through, with just a hint of the alcohol. A very nice rich roasted quality absolutely coats the mouth with a velvelty smoothness, and just a touch of sweetness at the very end. A definite go to for me.

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Photo of Beer-Revelry
4.82/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A - Pours an oily jet black, no light shining through. Forms a finger and a half of thick, dense and creamy, super dark brown head, almost the color of burnt caramel and rust. Nice creamy lacing.
S - Malts, alcohol, bitter chocolate and coffee.
T - Sweet alcoholic dark fruits up front such a black cherries, plums, figs, raisins, dates and prunes upfront, followed by bitter dark chocolate, black coffee in the development. Lots of warming boozy alcohol. Ends on a malty, almost oak wood bitter note, Absolutely fantastic.
O - A perfect imperial stout and a shining example of the style. If you are a fan of stouts, this is a must try!
V - Good value, four pack of bottles.

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Photo of docoman
4.58/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

I really enjoyed this imp stout from founders, put it comparable to narwhal in overall rating of a non-BBa stout. As much as I like BA stouts it's good to have regular stouts since sometimes the bourbon takes over too much to taste the beer itself, this one doesn't disappoint.

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Photo of zoober911
4.54/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

L - Pours black as night. Looks smooth and thick. Half a finger of brown head. Nice lacing when swirled. Coats the glass not quite like cough syrup, but any more and you would think it was. Head falls back into the glass and leaves a ring of tiny bubbles dancing the edge of the glass.

S - Smells of chocolate. Roasted coffee. And more chocolate, caramel. Some alcohol but barely discernible.

T - Taste is on the same field as the nose. Chocolate, caramel, roasted coffee. Very delightful.

F - Smooooth. Silky. Creamy. Thicker feel that coats your mouth nicely. Very desirable.

O - Overall this is one of the better stouts available on the shelf that isn't limited release or difficult to find. A great representation of the style and a must have for the uninitiated. Easily a go-to stout for anyone.

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Photo of clayrock81
4.15/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured a black body with two finger khaki head that dies slow. Slight coffee aroma with some cocoa and roasted malts. Thick, sticky, heavy body that has an even balance between roasted, coffee malts and chocolate sweetness with touch of vanilla and woodiness. Well-crafted RIS that has a little more sweetness than usual in style and suits me well.

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Photo of teromous
3.41/5  rDev -21.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

From the bottle: Bottled 12/15/2014 so it is less than a month old

Appearance: Oily black body. When pouring it came out as a viscous oily substance that I had to adjust my "pour stream" to prevent it from falling out of the glass. It's not necessarily good or bad, just noteworthy. There is a thin dark brown head that fades out rather quickly.

Aroma: The aroma is almost non-present. I pick up the scent of pure alcohol mixed with what smells like chocolate brownies. It probably sounds great, and it does smell good, but it's like smelling the pan that brownies were cooked in rather than the brownies themselves. It is the whisper of a ghost.

Taste: Fortunately that chocolate brownie aroma made it into the flavor. It is here and it is nice, but it is very faint. It tastes as if this beer has been aged for a very long time despite how young the "bottled on" date is. If you've ever aged a truly fresh beer you will know what I mean when I say that the flavors have melded and faded away from the foreground. The alcohol presence is gone which is fantastic. Nothing stands out in this, however in its subdued splendor it is enjoyable.

Mouthfeel: it is thick and coating like brownie batter. Lovely presence on the palate. It could not be better. It has very low carbonation and it works nicely with the nice thick body.

Overall: My overall experience with this beer is that I like it a lot and I would drink it again. Although it is fresh it tastes faded, but somehow it works. Was the beer aged extensively prior to bottling? I don't know. I would recommend drinking it "as is" and not aging it further. I would drink another bottle of it, but I probably wouldn't keep a sixer around.

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Photo of Karnivool1
5/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Perfect beer, everything I feel a RIS should be. Thick, dark, complex. I much prefer this over the Breakfast Stout. Founders has on tap already, can't wait for the bottles to start selling in Janauary!

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Photo of arizcards
4.49/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Picked up a four pack in mid-November from GCM Liquor in Gilbert, AZ for $12.00. It did not have the conventional bottling date on the neck but it looks like there is a December 2013 Julian date for the bottling date below the label. I believe the next allocation is due in January 2015.

Beer poured black as night with a beautiful tan head that has dissipated pretty quickly.

Nose is wonderful - mocha, roasted malts, and chocolate.

Taste is dark chocolate and hints of coffee melded nicely into a roasted malt backbone. Hopping is very strong as there is no hint of sweetness outside the chocolate.

Mouthfeel is what i expect from an impy stout - full and very smooth.

Overall this is an excellent brew, very like Bell's Expedition Stout in terms of the heft and smoothness - wonder if it ages as well as Expy? Definitely looking forward to snagging a four pack next month!

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Photo of magpieken
4.62/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

355ml bottle. Pours black with a low, dense, deep tan head which settled to a light covering but left some nice lacing. Aroma of chicory, roasted malt, burnt wood, liquorice, prunes, soy sauce, dark chocolate and caramel. Medium sweetness and quite high bitterness. Full bodied, chewy but with a silky smooth, luscious texture. Low carbonation and a very long, burnt tar finish. Gentle warmth from the alcohol. A wonderfully complex drop and an excellent example of an imperial stout.

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Photo of StJamesGate
4.17/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Gloopily viscous tar black with violet-amber film. 4.25
Soy, licorice, and wet ashes on the nose - tart. 4
80% chocolate, marmite, black currant Fruit Pastille, some char, black grape, fig and an earthy, peppery hops kick. 4.25
Pine tar finish and endless char linger with a hint of orange.
Heavy, silky-creamy, chewy. 4

-- Thickest pouring stout ever. More umami, less roast/coffee and more hops than expected. Definitely at one end of the scale; almost a bookend to fun-and-accessible Founders Breakfast that way. Massive. 4.25

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Photo of Furlinator
4.11/5  rDev -5.1%

2014 vintage.

Pours opaque pitch black. The minimal tan head quickly fades to a thin ring on top and leaves shimmering spots of lace.

The smell is of dark chocolate, ripe dark fruit, a vague herbal presence and a hint of booze.

The taste is of dark chocolate, bitter black coffee, dark fruit sweetness and a light hop finish.

The texture is heavy bodied, thick and viscous. You can hear a distinct "glug" sound as this sludge oozes from the bottle. Low carbonation.

Despite being more hop forward than your average imperial stout, all the components blend together seamlessly.

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Photo of rooskey379
4.5/5  rDev +3.9%

On tap at One Under Bar in Livonia, MI in Nov, 2014. Heavy, chocolate, coffee, complexity, decadence. A must have for any enthusiast. I encourage you to seek this out in your local beverage depot in January.

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Photo of Young_John
4.44/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Just an outstanding imperial stout. High marks in all the boxes as far as I'm concerned. A must, to be experienced. Don't take my word for it, at ~$3 a bottle, live a little and try one. You won't regret it. I buy this by the case.

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Photo of craftbeersweden
4.62/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

Pich black with a one finger high, beigebrown head. A lot of lacing on the glass.

Nose: Roasted caramel malt, dark chocolate, soy sauce, dried fruit, red berries, vanilla, cream, brown sugar, syrup, raisin, roasted malt, espresso and a little smoke.
Taste: This is so good! Vanilla ice-cream, chocolate, dark roasted malt, cocoa, molasses, dark syrup, brown sugar and pumpernickel.
Body: Full body with a complex texture and little, smooth carbonation. Smooth, creamy feeling and great bitterness that kicks in at the end.


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Founders Imperial Stout from Founders Brewing Company
96 out of 100 based on 1,733 ratings.