Founders Imperial Stout - Founders Brewing Company

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Founders Imperial StoutFounders Imperial Stout

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1,711 Reviews
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Reviews: 1,711
Hads: 6,944
rAvg: 4.32
pDev: 7.18%
Wants: 660
Gots: 1,987 | 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
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Reviews: 1,711 | Hads: 6,944
Photo of magpieken
4.62/5  rDev +6.9%
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. (485 characters)

Photo of StJamesGate
4.17/5  rDev -3.5%
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 (531 characters)

Photo of Furlinator
4.11/5  rDev -4.9%

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. (586 characters)

Photo of rooskey379
4.5/5  rDev +4.2%

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. (207 characters)

Photo of Young_John
4.44/5  rDev +2.8%
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. (236 characters)

Photo of craftbeersweden
4.62/5  rDev +6.9%
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.

A MASTERPIECE!! (544 characters)

Photo of barnzy78
4.6/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

12oz, bottled 12/14/13
A - thick and black pour with a thin light brown head
S - bakers chocolate and roasted barley fill the nose, fruity esters in the background, especially as it warms
T - bold and rich with dark chocolate slathering the palate; roasted barley and dark fruit in there as well excellently balanced.
M - full bodied and thick, velvety smooth, finishes with bittersweet cocoa hanging around on the palate
O - one of my favorite Russian Imperial Stouts. It's been awhile since I had one of these, but it was even better than I remembered it being. I'll have to get some more if I see it. (603 characters)

Photo of Malt_Man
4.25/5  rDev -1.6%

Served slightly cool of room temperature from 355ml bottle into saison glass.

A) Ink black, slight reddish tinge. No head or film. Light carbonation.

S) Rich aromatic dried fruit. Alcohol!

T) Rich fruity malt. The bitterness hits first, balanced by rich fruit that follows. Chocolate hovers around the middle but is soon blanked out by the roast coffee bitterness. You can have five sips of this and pick up on different flavour combinations each time, so very rewarding in that respect.

M) Not overly heavy for the ABV, the slight fizz gives it another pleasing aspect.

O) Awesome strong stout; for me Founders Breakfast Stout just edges it as the chocolate brings better balance, but this is still one of the best. (731 characters)

Photo of SomethingClever
4.67/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle poured into snifter

A: Dark as the soul of a serial killer, beautiful tight Hershey colored head that is gone in a flash

S: deep fig, chocolate, nice roast and licorice smell too

T: chocolate charr as it pushes a roast coffee with a sweet licorice taste and a slight metallic on the end

M: this beer you have to chew and it just envelops and coats your tongue and clings on after you have finished

O: one of the best overall Imperial Stouts. It has a deep thick texture and a great deep chocolate roast taste. This beer is a little better without the age but it's still pretty great right now. (612 characters)

Photo of Bshaw22
4.75/5  rDev +10%

Drank this with about 11 months on it. I like this beer fresh but it is soooo smith with a little bit of age.
Chocolate on the nose with some burnt malt.
Followed suite with taste
Appearance is beautiful. Brown thick lacing.
Perfect version of the style. (258 characters)

Photo of flyingpig
4.4/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.25

355ml Bottle from Good Spirits Co., Glasgow (£4.00):

Pitch, opaque black with a still body & topped with a chocolate coloured head that's creamy & bigger than expected given the abv.

Strong with lots of coffee & roasted notes, strong chocolate too with some sweetness & a little alcohol. A big beer but the alcohol isn't overpowering & some dark fruits, smoky notes & sugars come through as well.

Strong again with big chocolate flavours & a smokey taste with some coffee. Touches of alcohol come through as well & a milky chocolate taste. Darker fruits appears towards the end with some strong malts & roasted flavours with some sweetness at the end.

Huge at 10.5% but incredibly easy to drink with most of the alcohol hidden. Silky smooth & full bodied with tonnes of flavour & almost no carbonation making it seem quite ceamy & boozy. A warming finish that is quite sweet too.

Another amazing Fonders beer, I'm disappointed I didn't grab more when I had the chance. Maybe not as good as their Breakfast Stout but still an excellent beer & a must try. (1,060 characters)

Photo of ONovoMexicano
4.38/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

From a 12 ounce bottle into a snifter. December 2013 bottle.

There's not a whole lot of head on this beer, just a light, fizzy, dark-khaki-colored foam that quickly dissipates. But damn if this beer isn't pure black gold. It's thick, viscous and creamy out of the bottle and sits in the glass looking like Texas Tea. It's quite lovely. 4.5

My mind says dark cherries with the first whiff. There's certainly a dark fruit element to this aroma. Deep dark malts have become sort of raisin-like and have an aroma that almost suggests oak. It's just a pungent, thick aroma. Dark chocolate shows up too. 4

Dark fruit and dark chocolate collide on the tongue with some caramelly notes and faded hops. I taste some vanilla but it's followed almost immediately by a bit of boozy heat. It's not offensive but it's there. Baker's chocolate lingers on the finish and leaves a great aftertaste. I couldn't quite describe it at first, but I there's a little bit of faint port flavor throughout as well. Damn good. 4.5

FIS feels exactly like the appearance suggested it would. It's smooth, creamy, and viscous. There's a slight alcohol heat and some bitterness on the finish and all this combination does is turn this into a great sipper. Excellent damn beer. 4.5

Did I say it enough, excellent damn beer? I'll say it again. Excellent damn beer. (1,336 characters)

Photo of denver10
3.6/5  rDev -16.7%

Pours black with a chocolate head. Aroma has some roast mixed with molasses, bakers chocolate, bread and a touch of anise. Flavor begins roasty with some molasses, mocha latte comes in towards the middle in transitions into a bakers chocolate with some char. A fuller, heavy mouthfeel. Overall, good beer but I wanted to like this more than I actually did. In the future, I will stick with Tenfidy when in the mood for a big RIS. (430 characters)

Photo of NHbeerguy
4.47/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

2013 bottle poured into a snifter

Pours a super black. A nice 1 inch mocha head when poured. Dissapears to a nice ring around the glass. Leaves great lacing.

Smell is slight coffee with roasted malts. slight smokieness. A great beer I am gathering.

Taste is amazing. Coffee, chocolate, raosted malts maybe even dark fruits. This beer is awesome for the price. Nice taste from start to finish.

Feel is what you would expect from a RIS. Thick with a smooth texture.

Overall this is a great all around beer. Glad I have many more to enjoy over the next several months/years. (577 characters)

Photo of Auraan
4.5/5  rDev +4.2%

Poured a pitch black body letting no light through with a one finger, thick tan head. A wonderful looking Russian Imperial Stout, one of the best. Scents of rich roasted malt, dark chocolate, a light milk chocolate, coffee with cream, and a bit of rich caramel. Overall impression of aroma is of a rich, deep, complex Imperial stout aroma that is wonderfully balanced and true to style. Very chocolate-forward and roasty and pleasant. Flavor begins rich and full, with notes of roast malt, a bit of a smokey flavor, sweet chocolate and bittersweet chocolate, light notes of alcohol and caramel. Middle opens with more moderate alcohol, continues with more roast malt, smokiness, rich cocoa powder and bittersweet chocolate. Caramel drops off. Finish is medium-sweet with a high presence of alcohol, moderate roast malt and smokiness, medium-light bittersweet chocolate and coffee with cream. Aftertaste is dark roasted black coffee, rich cocoa powder and bitter roast malt with a light alcohol presence. Overall impression of flavor is of a bold, roasty, smokey, boozy Imperial stout that is still balanced by a nice sweetness that switches between caramel and chocolate and a wonderfully roasty and coffee-like aftertaste. A very robust flavor profile and nice, though intense. Mouthfeel is full bodied medium-light carbonation and a smooth, creamy feel. Alcohol burn is not present, despite the booziness of the flavor. Overall impression of flavor is of a full bodied and smooth Imperial stout that is very nice and true to style. Overall this is a good Imperial stout. It has a wonderful aroma profile that is very pleasing and a nicely robust, rich and deep flavor profile that is pleasantly boozy. Mouthfeel is true to form and quite smooth. A very good Imperial stout, well worth trying thought not quite as good as FBS and KBS. (1,835 characters)

Photo of SitkaSteve
4.49/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Free beer at a friend's house, I believe he got in a trade.
He and I shared in sample glasses.
The appearance was a pure dark brown mostly closer to black in color. The head in my glass was a dark tan quarter finger head. No lacing was left.
The smell had a really nice roasted coffee coated chocolate. I did get some light licorice in there as well.
The taste was roasty, sweet and bitter. It leaves a nice sticky sweet roastiness in the aftertaste and finish.
The mouthfeel was smooth and bitter, slightly sticky and sweet rolled into one and then it rolls eloquently along my tastebuds in a really exceptional manner.
Overall, another stellar Founders brew. Though at the moment, this is only my second beer ever by them, this was quite an awesome brew. Makes me want to move to Michigan. (791 characters)

Photo of stephens101
4.28/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

A dark tan head falls quickly off a black body. Has a pleasant and nuanced, milk chocolate, black licorice, and damp wood aroma. Taste is equally pleasant until bold woody, hoppy notes kick in-vigorating. Some prune, black licorice and chocolate cake feels it's way through. Yin up front and yang in the back and finishes perfectly balanced as one. (352 characters)

Photo of Bouleboubier
4.56/5  rDev +5.6%

(bottle of unknown age, purchased cold, poured once at cellar temp into a balloon)

A: impenetrably black and thick as hell when pouring out, it erects a dense, almost mousse-y dark tan foam that holds like a fleece blanket for a long while, gradually sinking down, but leaving extra beer in its place

S: pretty much like a triple fudge chocolate layer cake... wisps of soft booze climbing up through the denseness, but also very much crushed underneath it

T: rich, bittersweet, dark chocolate up front hard-shfiting to a forceful flare of roasted barley in the follow through... a variety of charred sugars linger in the aftertaste while pungent, bitter herbal tones from the hops combine with the red flame of medicinal booze lifting off the palate to create an overall drugstore tonic essence that won't subside... dark roast coffee and an almost baked black cherry fruity ester also play into the dynamic residual taste

M: certainly has a thick and slick constitution, however, the raw, high octane of the booze tears through and fans out the flow, though it surprisingly doesn't leave much in the way of chest warmth... I would venture to suggest the feeling left after each sip is not too unlike that of a port wine(?)

O: just a superb American-style strong stout... packed with aggressive flavor, but well-crafted as to come across fantastically, drinkably light and enjoyable in numbers... definitely will hit this again when the pang aches (1,452 characters)

Photo of kkleu357
4/5  rDev -7.4%

From notes on 1/3/14

Wow is this black. Even the head is a major shade of blackish brown. Had to pour very hard to get the head. Smells like cocoa pebbles. Minimal roast smell, lots of chocolate. Flavor is all chocolate. Not any alcohol taste, even though it is 10.5%. This is easily the thickest beer I've ever felt. Even thicker than Bourbon County. There is some peaty roast flavors as well now that I've gotten used to the chocolate. I’m sure as I drink more, I’ll taste more. (485 characters)

Photo of gillagorilla
4.5/5  rDev +4.2%

12 oz. bottle poured into a Burley Oak snifter

A: It's like a black hole, so dark that it absorbs the light around it. The pour releases a nice deep brown mocha head that is minimal and leaves rapidly with only a collar left behind.

S: Sweet with that characteristic RIS smell that immediately tips you off to know that it is world class.

T: Smooth, sweet malts with a bit of roast. This is just super easy to drink with only a slight bit of warming from the elevated ABV, but that is a part of the RIS and it isn't a burn.

M: Velvety smooth and just a bit viscous.

O: Reminds me a lot of Bell's Expedition Stout. This is delicious and I would gladly take this over KBS and FBS for sure. (701 characters)

Photo of CrazyDavros
4/5  rDev -7.4%

Pours black with the darkest head I've ever seen.
Nose shows rich chocolate/cocoa and roasted malt with a hint of booze and smoke alongside a sweet chocolate liqueur note.
More dark chocolate as a flavour before transitioning to heavy dry roast and cocoa alongside some solvent-like booze.
Nice creamy carbonation. (314 characters)

Photo of DanielMB
4.85/5  rDev +12.3%

This is a tremendous RIS. It pours pitch black with little to no head to speak of. It has a nice smell, with chocolate and coffee notes underneath a layer of alcohol. The taste is similar, like dark chocolate, with strong hops and some alcohol showing through. This beer strikes a particularly good balance between hops and chocolaty sweetness for an RIS. The mouthfeel is a little bit sticky with a thick feeling. An excellent RIS that I would highly recommend to anyone. (472 characters)

Photo of StaveHooks
4.64/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours as black as a witches soul with a dark frappa head that holds very well as it clings to the glass. A dark espresso ring forms with lots of dark lacing.

S - Smells like a glass of crushed whoppers and the strongest chocolate milk in existence, very bready, vanilla, full on leather, the most leather I've ever smelled in a beer. Earthy, doughy yeast, maraschino cherry juice, chocolate cake batter.

T - Chocolate cake batter, undercooked fudge brownies, charred cherries, roasted nuts(covered in chocolate of course), very yeasty, coffee comes through on the back end with some rounding bitterness. Finishes is dry with some acidity mixed in.

M - Thick and viscous to the max, full creamy body, a flood of silk, dry roasted finish.

This is one of the best Imperial Stouts I've had the opportunity to drink. Every time I drink, I like it better. Its a bold yeasty chocolate bomb in your face. There are so many layers to this beer. Do not pass this up! (964 characters)

Photo of JulioH
4.76/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

This beer is so smooth and silky, it is almost unbelievable it is widely available.

Pours a black beer. Very little foam forms, almost typical of imperial stouts. Smells like roasts, chocolate, coffee. No trace of alcohol. Taste is "silky smooth" to quote the Zohan. Mouthfeel is amazing. This beer feels like chocolate milk. Great consistency. Not heady. (356 characters)

Photo of mabermud
4.56/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This handsome looking beer was systematically poured into a brandy snifter. The almost non-existent, beige, and wispy head quickly retreated to the boundaries of it's temporary confinement. With a twirl of the glass I can see the minimal head leave fine, smooth, slick, and slippery legs. They make the side of the glass melt. The body of this manly looking stout is solid black. When held up to the sun, no light can penetrate the dense, thick liquid.

The aroma is rich and creamy. The smell of the roasted malted barly, vanilla, and lactose, make me wish this beer would warm up more quickly. After a few more deep inhalations, I can faintly smell some background alcohol.

For me, the taste is rich and complex. It makes a very deep run at your tastebuds. There is quite a bit of rich, roasted flavor up front. In this stout you also get a brown sugar, molasses, vanilla, and bitter + sweet flavor. The taste is intense on my palate and the alcohol is disguised very well. There is a barely noticeable amount of heat.

Mouthfeel is velvety and smooth. There is medium carbonation and some viscosity. The medium and dense carb is chewy.

For me this stout is robust and savory. This reminds me of Ten Fidy. I do not think I would be able to tell you which is better. I probably wouldn't be able to tell them apart in a blind taste test. I really like this stout. Good stuff and highly recommended. (1,401 characters)

Founders Imperial Stout from Founders Brewing Company
96 out of 100 based on 1,711 ratings.