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Founders Imperial Stout - Founders Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Founders Imperial StoutFounders Imperial Stout

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
96
world-class

1,779 Reviews
THE BROS
-
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 1,779
Hads: 7,309
Avg: 4.33
pDev: 17.32%
Wants: 714
Gots: 2,217 | FT: 154
Brewed by:
Founders Brewing Company
Michigan, United States | website

Style | ABV
Russian Imperial Stout | 10.50% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: mjohn27603 on 01-13-2003

75 IBU
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 1,779 | Hads: 7,309
Photo of Buebie
4.5/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I've been sitting on this gem for almost a month, time to drink it already.

Picked up a single bottle from a mix and match. Poured into an oversized snifter. Producing just less thenn an inch of very dark brown head, very dark brown. Color on the beer is pitch black. Middle bubble islands of retention and spotty lace.

Aroma is huge with malted milk balls, bitter chocolate, coffee and an oaty dried milk kind of protein meets dairy aroma.

Taste is much more sweet then the dry bitter chocolate aromamay have lead me to belive. Some mild warming as I swallow.
Chocolate is great, not too bitter, not too sweet, some cocoa powder flavors. Bittering grains midway through with some bittering hops as well.
More protein like oat flavors, and coffee lingers.

Mouthfeel is thick and creamy with just a touch of syrup heavyness to the feel. Carbonation is moderate keeping any flat syrupy feel from overloading the senses.

Perfect beer, highly recommend.

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Photo of jsh420
4.63/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

bottled 11/27/09

pours pitch black with a huge 2+ finger ta head that has great retention and covered the glass with lacing

smell - the first thing i pick up on is some bitter sweet chocolate and licorice - roasted malts

taste - bitter bitter bitter - bitter chocolate bitter licorice bitter dark fruit - roasted burnt malts - this is one hell of a RIS - also pick up on the hops little grapefruit but the burnt malts and chocolate mask most of the citrus and leave the bitterness of the hops

mouthfeel full body very smooth and creamy

drinkability is good - this is a beer i could only drink one of in a session though

this beer might not have the drinkability of FBS or KBS but this is a much better stout then those 2

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Photo of mothman
4.2/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at stubs. Served in a goblet.

Small tan head, good because I got more beer. Fades down after a bit but leaves splattered lace. Color is a dark black.

Aroma: lots of roasted malts and chocolate. Nice toffee and caramel flavors with tons of dark dried fruits. Cherries, raisin, and plums. Very rich. Reminds me of expedition.

Taste: big malty profile. Some roasted flavors and coffee flavors. Nice blend of cherries and raisins. Lots of chocolate malt and some grassy hops. Well done.

Mouthfeel: a little syrupy, but smooth. Medium amount of carbonation with a pretty full body. Ends sweet and malty.

Overall, a pretty solid beer and it reminded me a lot of expedition. Very solid and I can't wait to age my bottles. A very well done imp stout. Worth a try.

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Photo of Pedro07
3.99/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Haven't had this one from the bottle for over a year so I decided to pick a fresh one up today. I've always enjoyed it, so let's see how this one stacks up.

A- Pours a thick, oily, viscous black from the bottle. Dark as night, no light whatsoever. No head...at all. This is usually not a good sign in my book, but it could be the pour or the glass. I definitly prefer head on my stouts.

S- I smell more cocoa than coffee, but it is there. Black licorice, roasted earthiness with an oily-resin scent in the back. Mmmmm...

T- Very thick, for sure. Again I taste dark, bitter chocolate, raw cocoa bean? There is some coffee on the back. Man the malts come through on this one and hang around on your tounge for a while. I can taste the alcohol in the middle. In-between sips I can taste the alcohol in my mouth. Not unpleasant, but it reminds you it's 10.5%. There might be a dark-bready rye kick in there too. Maybe I need to let this one warm a bit.

M- Very thick and coating. Quite what an imperial stout ought to be.

D- This one is great as a winter sipper. One could last you a good part of the evening. I do enjoy them this part of the year for sure.

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Photo of soupyman10
4.57/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Finally in Michigan at the right time to grab this one. Pitch black beer with a small head that doesn't do much in the way of lacing. Really a huge flavor and aroma. When it's chilly, it's strong and straightforward on the roasted malt. As it warms up though, you get all kinds of other flavors - sweet dried fruit and raisins in particular, some cherries. Big chocolate, roasted malt. Monster hoppy presence as well, especially in the back of the mouth. Going to drink another and then put a couple down.

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Photo of yelterdow
4.04/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

From the fridge at Andy's Corner in Bogota, this has been aged a year since I took possession. 12 oz. bottle served at cellar temperature on my birthday in an oversize snifter.

Appearance- The blackest of beers, this ale glugs like motor oil from the bottle... the head coats the surface, gleaning a hint of red atop its cocoa brown color.

Smell- The aroma is dark roasted, almost burnt coffee grounds combined with dark fruits. A smoky character burns in the background, reinforcing the milieu of a spent French press.

Taste- As with some of the boldest, most dense and concentrated RIS I have encountered, this example leans heavily on the roasted malts and seared espresso beans while finishing with a wet, freshly harvested hop bitterness.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability- Right from the start, this beer's texture in the mouth goes from excellent to superb... whether it's a few seconds or a full minute, the slickness and overall mouthfeel just keeps improving. Not my favorite example of the style, but a worthy competitor.

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Photo of Kelp
4.4/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured into my glass in an inky black stream with a nice dark tan head that lasted a bit. First smell is coffee followed by chocolate and toasted malts. Nice big malty taste, a bit of chocolate and finished with a coffee undertone. The alcohol isn't exactly up front but it is definitely there. Nice and thick almost velvety to the tongue. I could definitely finish a few of these in a night but it would be a pretty long and enjoyable night.

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Photo of KeefD
4.4/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Had this on tap at Stub n Herb's. Dark brown/black in the glass, left fabulous lacing all the way down the goblet. Nice warms, roasty aroma, some caramel, chocolate and light booze. Flavor is nice balance between sweet caramel and bitter roastiness. Full bodied, viscous. Yum. This went wonderfully with Stub's Blue Balls (mini cheeseburgers stuffed with blue cheese and topped with grilled onions). Excellent beer, and surprised it took me this long to try it.

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Photo of bsp77
4.22/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Serving glass: Poured from bottle into Snifter.

Appearance: Pure black and opaque with dark brown head that leaves light lacing behind. By the way, I love the English-like crest on the label.

Smell: Burnt molasses, licorice, dark chocolate, roasted barley and nose-burning alcohol.

Taste: Burnt molasses, heavily roasted barley, dark chocolate, licorice and strong coffee. Decent level of bitterness at the end, with a long roasted aftertaste. Slightly too much burnt molasses for my liking, but that is a minor gripe.

Feel: Low carbonation, smooth body, exceedingly thick and creamy (almost as much as the Egg Nog I had earlier), dry finish.

Drinkability: Another great beer from Founders, although not one of my favorites by them since so many of their beers are just exceptional. Not one of my absolute favorite RIS either (Yeti, Darkness, Storm King, Old Rasputin), but still very, very good.

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Photo of Mcculler
4.11/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured vigorously into a pint glass, might be the best looking Imp. Stout I've come across. Huge, lasting, tan head, leaving sea foam traces on side. Good smell - coffee, toasted malts, dark fruit - but not amazing. Interesting taste - not overpowering, perhaps unique, but overly focused - coffee, bitter walnut, chocolate, vanilla. Beautiful creamy mouthfeel. This and a restrained use of hops leads to a solid drinkability for the style. Overall a unique American Imperial Stout - especially for the feel and appearance and the really interesting nutty quality in the taste.

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Photo of BarrelO
4.13/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle poured into a goblet.

A: Blacker than black body. Giant brown head that fades to a minimum but leaves plenty of lacing.

S: Roasted malts, licorice, and alcohol.

T: Lots of roastiness, some bittersweet chocolate, a bit of dark fruitiness, and licorice. Alcohol is just slightly detectable.

M: Rather substantial with good carbonation.

D: Another winner from Founders. I think I might like it a bit better with some age on it, though.

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Photo of degerbah
3.81/5  rDev -12%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours an opaque blackwith very little milkshake colored head.Smell is slightly of coffee with a lot of malt and a hint of something botanical. Perhaps hops. The taste is initially less complex with the smell. Primarily tasting of coffee, with a heavy licorice after taste. Not nearly as sweet as I'd hoped and very very boozy towards the end. Perhaps should be left to cellar for some time as it tastes a little raw, like it needs to mellow a bit. For my money I'd rather have KBS, Breakfast Stout, Backwoods Bastard, or really most of their other beers. Too much licorice for me.

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Photo of BeerLover99
4.65/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

A: Deep onyx, giant 2 finger oatmeal head, amazing lacing

S: chocolate, vanilla, licorice, roasted nuts, coffee, and malt.

T: Big malt, roasted nuts, licorice, bit boozy, dark chocolate, hint of coffee. mild bitter finish.

M: Heavy, smooth/thick, solid amount of carbonation.

D: This MONSTER is to be treasured and respected! Sip this beast with love and care. Another delicious offering from Founders, wonderful Imperial Stout; if you love Imperial Stouts this is a must!

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Photo of sjccmd
4.48/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured at essentially "cellar" temperature which turned out to be pretty perfect. Pours oily black with amber highlights. 1 finger dark tan head similar to espresso creme. One of the darkest heads I've seen. Head retention is fairly good considering the ABV. It has a good amount of legs and a super sticky lacing.

Smells of rich dark chocolate and dark roasted coffee. Tobacco, dark fruits, and raspberries come out but are more subtle. Subtle warmth from the alcohol. Molasses and syrupy sweetness.

Deep roasted malts and burnt sugar in the taste. Lots of coffee...reminds me of french pressed coffee that has steeped for a tad too long. Raspberries come in both at the beginning and finish, but the finish is mostly dominated by bitter roasted malts and molasses.

The mouthfeel is thick and silky, but there's a surprising amount of carbonation. It's not an interference, but it's a little different for the style and ABV.

I'm surprised to see how quickly this beer is going down. It has such a massive flavor and body, but I can't stop drinking it. But, not being too heavy of a drinker, I believe one 12oz is all I'll need.

Another very pleasant offerring from Founders. Can they do no wrong?

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Photo of Beejay
4.41/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Very Dark, black, with a giant head. Very dark tannish head. Looks nice.

S: Dark chocolate, and some coffee, and malt. Possibly a little black licorice.

T: Big malt taste, a good bit of booze, chocolate through-out. Very dark, and quite delicious. My friend Alanna says 'very heavy coffee'

M: Thick, with appropriate carbonation.

D: Definitely something I would buy again. Nice tasting and appropriate for the style. And Alanna says: 'Very good for me, and I don't really do stouts' So I guess that sums it up from me, and my guest reviewer: Alanna.

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Photo of WYVYRN527
4.08/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Pours jet black with a thick tan head, that settles to a small film on the surface. Lacing is minimal.

S: Very roasty, with notes of chocolate, espresso, and burnt toast. The booziness comes through on the nose as well.

T: Taste is very much like the smell. Chocolate, coffee, and toast are most apparent up front. The alcohol is also present. It is rather hoppy on the finish, drying and pleasant.

M: Full-bodied and very viscous, along with a warming booziness.

D: This brew is quite drinkable, but one that I would consume as a nightcap on a cold evening like this one.

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Photo of steve8robin
3.89/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Found this one at Julios. That time of the year...

A: Awesome. Very dark with an awesome dark brown head about an inch thick that quickly dissipates to a ring around the top of the glass.

S: Kind of just smells like a standard breakfast stout. Nothing special on the smell.

T: Very boozy upfront. This might have a much better taste after aged for several years. I will definitely have to pick one up to age. Not bad, but the boozy taste heavily overrides most of the other flavors.

M: Very good amount of carbonation. A little heavy, but not too light.

D: Goes down a little hard because of the heavy booziness and hoppy taste up front.

All in all, this is a great brew if you like it very boozy and hoppy. If that's you, you would love this one. Otherwise, age befoe you try this.

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Photo of sidetracked
4.43/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours black with a thin brown head.

Smells sweetly of roasted malts, a bit of roasted coffee beans, and a hint of raisin.

Upfront the taste is strongly sweet with a molasses/brown sugar flavor. There's a little dark chocolate bitterness at the end that lingers for a bit, but the rich taste upfront really dominates.

The mouthfeel is very smooth, yet thick and chewy. It's carbonated enough to feel lively on your taste buds without being overly bubbly.

Although the flavor is very rich, drinkability is great. I'll definitely be picking up some more of these this winter.

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Photo of erz316
4.63/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pretty much the same as the bottled version. If anything I notice a much larger hoppy presence in the general flavour, but this is almost evened out by the added chocolate flavour. body isnt as thick as I remember it, but the presentation and look of the brew is exceptional; the head is incredibly thick and lovely.

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Photo of kegger22
4.13/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Founders RIS is dark brown, almost black, with a modest brown head that fades to a skin. The aroma is alcohol first and coffee second. The taste of this stout reminds me a lot of Bell's Expedition (with I admit, I've underrated), strong coffee, bitter chocolate and boozy. Feel is extremely viscous, heavily bodied, oily and with low carbonation. It would be tough to claim this is highly drinkable with the high ABV and a heavy as it is.

An excellent stout, it has it all.

I'm not really big on combining beers, but somehow, I feel compelled to mix this half and half with Bigfoot barleywine. Unfortunately, I don't have any Bigfoot around or I'd do it tonight. I will let you know how it was when I do.

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Photo of Vonerichs
4.23/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is a great looking stout. Opaque and black with three fingers worth of cinnamon colored head, even leaving a generous amount of lacing for a high abv RIS.

A strong and robust mix of dark roast espresso, dark chocolate, and a hint of root beer.

The taste is very deep and while there's nothing out of the ordinary for an RIS, everything is extremely well pronounced and distinct. Both the coffee and chocolate are dark, the former heavily roasted. The finish is bitter coffee.

Thick and chewy mouthfeel, dry towards the end. I needed a glass of water to restore moisture to my mouth afterwards. The alcohol is not well hidden, but for 10.5% abv isn't overbearing.

Good drinkability but as usual with a stout, heavy in the stomach like eating a loaf of bread.

This ranks up there with the best of them in this category.

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Photo of Lolli1315
4.08/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A- Pours and opaque black, can't get any darker than this. About a finger of head, maybe a little more that is dark brown. Nice lacing as this is sticking to the entire glass.

S- Roasted malts slightly overpowered by the smell of alcohol, certainly not unappetizing though. A dark chocolate aroma tends to sneak through before being squashed out by the malt and alcohol.

T- The roasted malts jump around for around a couple of seconds before a dark chocolate bitterness kicks it of the way. The alcohol taste is hidden initially, but towards the end of the beer it leaps out almost unexpectedly and sticks to the palate for quite a long time.

M- Very chewy and thick with a smooth carbonation that makes this a smooth the entire way down.

D- The lingering taste of alcohol in this beer is the only real thing detracting from the drinkability. If you look past that and understand it is something to be expected out of a bigger beer, then this beer will be one you keep reaching for.

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Photo of bamadog
4.05/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

This one bad-ass stout, and yet another great offering from Founders. Pour is from the bottle to a pint glass.

Appearance: Pour is thick and viscous and looks like motor oil; starts with a one finger dark brown head that fades to a thin skim with a thicker ring around the surface; body is entirely opaque and black; thick portions of lacing hold on to the sides.

Smell: Quite smokey and "thick" smelling; deep dark roasty malts; slight chocolate and a slight whiff of alcohol. The smell is very strong and just pouring out of the glass.

Taste: Huge mouthful of robust flavors -- very smokey; deep bitter-sweet chocolatey aspect; definite roastiness and coffe-esque flavors; there's a definite presence of alcohol in it and it comes across a bit like bourbon and a little warm.

Mouthfeel: Thick and viscous, very much as it should be; a little gritty; a little sticky on the roof of the mouth; mouth, throat and belly are left quite warm.

Drinkability: Moderate - love the strong and robust flavors and the smells to match; like a meal unto itself; too heavy and the ABV is too high for too much of it; I think this would have to be amazing with some age on it and I'm considering starting a vertical.

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Photo of jdoncbus
4.42/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a deep black into a snifter. Thin, mocha colored head that clings to the glass when swirled; oily residue & dot effect.

Creamy aroma of dark roasted malt, kaluha, & pine. The booze dances around the nostrils along with coffee.

Smooth and silky on the tongue leads to woody, dark coffee, molasses malt, and an avalanche of piney-acidic hops & alcohol. The mouth feels dry and I sm left with a boozy burn.

This thing is a sipper from start to finish. A very tasty and complex beer that really packs a punch. I plan to age a couple bottles and see what happens when the hops mellow out.

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Photo of mdcrouser
4.24/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I'm reviewing beer number two of the four pack - poured from the bottle to a standard pint.

Brown on the pour, deep black in the glass, with a half-fingers' worth of foam - not as heady as I might hope. Delicate lacing follows each drink.

Big malts, like a melting pot of chocolate, some coffee, dark toffee, and a bit of smoke - that's a great smell this time of year. ("These are a few of my favorite things.")

Crisp and dark roast coffee-like bitter, this is truly one-of-a-kind. Just a bit of alcohol peeks through toward the end, but hardly noticable.

Wet and a bit sticky, it settles in at the back of the mouth, taking up office for many minutes. Recycling the taste in the mouth is as simple as inhaling and exhaling through the nose. Enjoyable to just sit back and circulate.

Easily drinkable, but I'd suggest doing so at a relatively slow pace, given that there's nothing small about this beer, especially if you're working on a bomber.

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Founders Imperial Stout from Founders Brewing Company
96 out of 100 based on 1,779 ratings.