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Founders Imperial Stout - Founders Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Founders Imperial StoutFounders Imperial Stout

Educational use only; do not reuse.

1,773 Reviews
no score

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Reviews: 1,773
Hads: 7,288
Avg: 4.33
pDev: 17.32%
Wants: 711
Gots: 2,206 | 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: 1,773 | Hads: 7,288
Photo of ccg
4.11/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottled 2015-12-02. Opened 2016-01-14.
Wow, this beer looks amazing. It has the thick, motor oil look you'd expect from a top-tier stout, but I can't remember the last time I've seen this kind of head on a beer. It's at least a full inch of foam, thick with tiny bubbles, and it's dark brown. As it settles, it leaves a ton of lacing on the glass and lightens in color, settling into a thin, tan-colored layer with some larges bubbles around the edge. If you swirl it around, you can see a million tiny bubbles marching through the legs.
The smell is initially all roasted malt with some coffee and cocoa notes. Unfortunately, if the beer is served too cold (straight out of a standard refrigerator), the smell fades quickly.
The flavor is coffee, dark chocolate, milk chocolate, and smoke, all under a layer of slight hoppy bitterness. As it warms, the finish seems to become lighter and less bitter.
It's smooth and somewhat chewy, but it does not have the viscosity I expected from the way it looked when poured.
A beautifully well-made imperial stout.

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Photo of gwguest
4.7/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Founders Imperial Stout hits all of the points for me when I think of "Imperial Stout" without going completely out of bounds on any one area or being a gimmick beer.

Look - Pours a deep dark brown with a caramel mocha colored foam. The pour gives you an accurate impression of the beer you're about to drink.

Smell - Bittersweet Chocolate with coffee and vanilla notes. Deep roasted malts.

Taste - Deep and complex layers of roast of the chocolate and coffee notes with definite charred notes all blend together to be nearly indistinguishable unless tasting it for a review purpose. There is just enough caramel sweetness to balance the roast and the hops do there job to add enough bitterness to check the caramel. There is a very slight hint of alcohol heat in the finish, but I'm being very, very picky on this. Your average BA won't notice it.

What I love most about this beer is that it's not a roast bomb, a hop bomb or a cloying mess. It dials up all of those attributes in just the right level to create a harmonious, delicious beer.

Feel - Lucious and creamy matching and enhancing everything that the beer has offered to this point.

I don't review many beers, but this beer simply deserves it. A fantastic beer that I will buy every time that I see it.

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

From a 12 oz bottle marked 12/15, consumed on 1/15. Into my Sam Adams glass (thanks, guys!) this one redefines “engine oil black.” Gorgeous, glossy black color with a thick, 1-2 finger head of dark brown and tan head of fine bubbles. Great retention with a thick cap and collar and plenty of gooey lacing all the way down. Nose is complex with sweet toasted malt with vanilla notes up front, boozy alcohol, powdered cocoa, roasted coffee and perhaps licorice. On the tongue it’s a perfect balance of heavy body and bubbly effervescence. Milky, creamy, but with enough carbonation to give some bite. Flavor is big dark chocolate up front tempered by charred coffee and backed by a heavy boozy note. Wraps up on a nice bitter burn; my only real complaint is that the bitter aftertaste hangs around long enough to make this a one-beer trip.

Overall a really solid RIS. Is this top tier? Maybe. I’m really partial to huge Belgian beers like quads, but this offering is very solid for style. Detract points for a slight lack of drinkability.

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Photo of Fatehunter
4.12/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Pours a thin tan head on a black body.
The aroma is milk, rich chocolate and roasted malt.
The taste has depth with roasted malt, coffee, chocolate and wood, with a lingering burnt malt flavor.
The texture is exceptionally smooth.

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Photo of HopHunter19
4.54/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

A - nice dark brown/black opaque beer with big mocha head that leaves nice lacing
S - big mocha, dark chocolate, vanilla, Umami, cocoa
T - dark chocolate, cocoa, mocha, coffee, Umami, vanilla
M - thick, alcohol is hot, aftertaste toasty dark malts, cocoa
O- big beer, more time would do this one some good, bottled mid December 2015 drank 1/8/2015

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Photo of DevWand
4.27/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Looking forward to this for quite some time...Another solid beer from the company!

Pours a midnight black, bitter sweet malty nose.
Tastes of bittersweet chocolate, and malts. Mouthfeel is rich and decadent... Stellar beer!!

I have to say, I do prefer the Breakfast Stout, but that's only because I love coffee notes in my porters/stouts.

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Photo of DaddyFist
4.59/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

The beer known as Founders Imperial Stout, pours thicker than an Olympic weight lifters thigh. The sheer mass of this beer pouring into the snifter comes down harder than John Cena's fist on The Big Shows skull at a Texas monster truck rally in July. The color of this beer is darker than the farthest depths of the bayou during the witching hour.

It is by the good grace of the Lord that I survived the interaction between this beer and myself.

While pouring this beer, the aromas spill into the air like the Exxon Mobile Oil spill back in March of '89. The abrupt force of raisins, and dark matter explodes like an atomic bomb and wipe everything out in its path. My humble abode, now turned into ruins. Ashes scatter, teeth chatter, children yelping, ears ringing. Slowly going in and out of consciousness. Instant headache, and incredible pains pulsing through my bones. The Apocalypse has finally arrived. "DEAR GOD! SAVE THE WOMEN AND CHILDREN!"

It was as if I had been taken back in time and placed right in the heart of the eruption of Mount Vesuvius. I had been dropped in at peak action in the destruction of Pompeii. History is always doomed to repeat itself, but who knew that it would be brought on by this almighty beer? Not I! For only an evil, wicked mind, could conjure such a concoction, and have the meat to release it!

I search for direction but the mighty ash has blocked out the sunlight. I look to my left, and far in the distance I see the chalice of beer that single handedly brought forward this madness! There is only one way to stop this. I must consume it.

Forward I run! "Faster! FASTER!!!" I scold myself to get ever nearer towards this drink. 78 paces I glide! Weaving through the chaos of falling structures I reach the vessel. I aggressively grab the glass. Splashes of the unholy liquid fall to the ground, poisoning the Earth for eternity. With the most stoic of hearts, I take one for the universe. The fate of all mankind grasps me by the shoulders and performs a death roll, taught by the ancient crocodiles from the times of old. Ripping me limb from limb I continue to drink this beer. Like the heart of Jeffery Dahmer, this beer begins to consume me!

Gasping for air I know it is too late to quit. I reluctantly tip the chalice ever so slightly to finish the last soul devouring drop! Instantly I collapse. Begging for the Lord to save me, a silence falls over the town. The ash begins to settle. The cries of children deplete. Now laying face down, dirt begins to cling on to my stout thickened lips.

Just then, THE ALMIGHTY LORD SWOOPS DOWN playing a drum set made of FIRE that burns from the evil souls of those he has conquered! Neal Peart stands behind the Lord coaching him in his drum solo techniques. Landing next to me like the Apollo 11 from 1969, God, and Mr. Peart wave their drums sticks around creating a tornado of dust, ash, and flame around us. With one gentle tap of the drum sticks to my lips, I am born again. I have a new lease on life!

I am carried skywards towards the heavens! Forgiven and thanked for taking on this mighty task, the lord, Neil Peart and I perform a trifecta of a High-Five! The shock wave from this, spreads throughout the land and wipes away all wreckage, and destruction from the Earth's crust.

That. That right there. Is what it is like to consume this beer.

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Photo of The-Adjunct-Hippie
4.12/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours motor oil black. Just black. Black. An angry reddish brown head forms and sticks around for a great while, and lace is everywhere. Hilly and beautiful.

Smells like a Russian Imperial Stout should. Heavy booze, chocolate, charred malts, hop bittering, and coffee at the end of the nose, followed by more booze.

Heavy chocolate notes, with boozy plum and black licorice, raisins, followed with coffee. The booze cuts straight through the flavor though, and burns the profile a bit too much. Breaths are boozy raisins/grapes and coffee bean.

Feel is huge, dry, and has a sandpaper roughness. None of this is bad, just objective.

Overall impressions : It's not the best RIS I've had, because the booze cuts a bit too much and burns out some of the flavors. Still, it won't keep me from buying a 4-pack in the future. A solid RIS, but maybe a little less enjoyable than Old Rasputin, Expedition, and Plead the 5th.

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Photo of yankeepride
4.56/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Just had a 2012, and it holds up so well. I love the pour, the color, the smell, and the non-barrel-flavor of this one. It's just an ultimate imperial stout, and something I have enjoyed from the first time I had it to the present day. Even as my palate evolves, my love of this beer never changes.

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Photo of wuthrichj15
4.83/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

A fantastic beer. Pours like motor oil that is about 5,000 miles overdue for a change. Does not taste overly boozy. Nice chocolate notes with some coffee flavor as well. Just a great beer. Founders never disappoints.

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

This is an excellent imperial stout. I found a single bottle of this at a little specialty shop, I guess it's not on shelves at my WF yet. Anyway, this is a stellar offering. Pours super dark black. Smell is bitter, sweet, roasty malt. Taste is decadent chocolate, bittersweet cocoa, caramel, malt. Feel is super rich. Overall: i dunno why people go nuts over Breakfast Stout....this right here is the real McCoy

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Photo of ljdrinksbeer
4/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Dark, Dark, Dark,. Poured half into snifter. Coco colored head dissipates quickly. Aroma faint. Thick syrupy mouth feel. Hints of bittersweet chocolate coffee but overall quite sweet. Very Good one year old. Bottled 12/10/2014.

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Photo of 98green
3.56/5  rDev -17.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On tap at the brewery. Maybe this is where imperial stouts used to be, but these days I want more/different from these. Look smell and taste are all solid for a RIS, but nothing new or unique. Overall solid and the rating reflects it

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Photo of yesterdayfaraway
3.78/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Bottled 12-2-2014
L: black as night, poured thick into the glass with no head
S: dark roasty notes, bittering chocolate and alcohol, tobacco
T: more fruity than expected. Starts sweet, ends bitter and dry. Some alcohol in between
F: not as thick as the pour looked, coats well. Too much alcohol to be easy drinking.
O: not a fan, breakfast stout is better.

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Photo of Chandango
4.07/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Poured into a snifter at a bit below room temp. pours thick and viscous, with a dark brown half inch head developing and lingering. Looks jet black and delicious. The nose is full of roasted malts and chocolate, a bit of burnt brown sugar, and even a hint of dark fruit. The taste hits hard with those roasted malts, a bit of the chocolate comes through. It finishes with a slight bitterness that rounds out the overall taste very well. Mouthfeel is thick, carbonated and milky. I paired this banana bread and went bananas (sorry about that). A delightful pairing for a fantastic beer.

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Photo of Sandalwood
4.35/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

2013 version, aged two years. Pours black with a small brownish head, somewhat of a thick viscosity. The head quickly disappears and leaves a little soapy lacing. The odor for me is powerful, rich, chocolate, creamy, vanilla, slight coffee, roasted notes, cocoa, slight dry wood note. The taste for me is velvety, creamy, bitter chocolate, coffee bean, nutty, vanilla, dry, slightly metallic, woods. Slight bitterness, but mostly dry finish.

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Photo of Onemoresolo
4.66/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Bottled in Dec '14, opened Dec '15, let's see what a year has done:

Look: Holy viscosity, this looks like motor oil from a car that went waaaaay past 3,000. Not much head, just a dark tan film and ring around the rim. Blacker than black body, no light coming through. Mmmm.

Smell: Lots and lots of rich dark chocolate, roast malt, yum.

Taste: Oh wow! There's still a good amount of bitterness here that carries the smooth chocolatey caramel flavors nicely. Dark chocolate, milk chocolate, caramel, toffee, some dark roast coffee on the finish. There's no hint of alcohol, this is like a chocolate milkshake.

Feel: I think this might be thicker than Ten Fidy. Great full-bodied beer, but the lively bitterness and rich flavors really come together perfectly here.

Overall: Bummed that this is my last '14 bottle, but very pleased that I got to enjoy it. One of the best stouts out there, BA or otherwise.

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Photo of Dustin_Sallitt
4.29/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Really good Russian imperial stout. Awesome roasted chocolate nose. First sip has tons of roast and chewy chocolate, nice body as well. My biggest complaint is the finish has a bit of a metallic taste in the finish before it warms up fully.

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Photo of Czarkazm
4.32/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Date on the bottle is smudged but this ones at least 2 years old. The color is the epitome of black and looks incredibly thick and chewy, topped with a rocky, dark brown head. The aroma is very roasty, charred dark malts, earthy hops, unsweetened chocolate, some dark fruits, black coffee roast, burnt caramel, and a little vanilla. Mouth feel is thick and creamy with a touch of chalkiness, luscious is a word that comes to mind. Flavor is full of bittersweet chocolate, burnt coffee, stale hops, dark caramel, oak. More of the bitter roast bomb than a sticky sugary mess.

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Photo of StoutElk_92
4.43/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours black with a creamy brown head. Smells like deep roasty chocolate, coffee, with hints of dark fruit. The taste is full, with dark chocolate, smoky dark roast coffee, and subtle dark stone fruits. It's like a liquid bittersweet dark chocolate bar with dried plum throughout. Feels smooth and creamy, thick bodied with light carbonation. This is a great tasting, super chocolatey imperial stout. Just strong enough without being boozy. Overall, a really great imperial stout.

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Photo of wdberkley
4.61/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

This is one of the Perfect Imperial Stouts today that's accessible. Black, thick, chocolaty, malty, boozy - just another spot on beer from the boys at Founders.

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Photo of oldn00b
4.24/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Ours near black, thin bubbly dark tan head forms then quickly recedes.

Very typical Imperial stout nose, hints of chocolate come through but toasty malt bill is big with bit of alcohol coming through.

Flavor is deep, bittersweet - typical but nicely rounded stout flavor.

Finish is drying and sweet with the chocolate notes lingering.

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Photo of HopsAreDaMan
4.29/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

12oz, bottled 12/2/2014, snifter used. Pours dark like any other stout, with a small but robust light-chocolate colored head, nice lacing, and good body when swirled. Aroma is strong on the booze but complex with chocolate and some port wine notes. I taste LOTS of chocolate, some burnt/roasted notes, and again, booze, although it is quite smooth on the finish.

I started writing this review when I first tried this beer, and finished the review as I sipped on the last of it (hours later). I expected a lot out of the beer, and it delivered: it is one of the best RIS I have had, with plenty of complexity. I hope to buy some to lay down and see how it fares with a couple of years age on it.

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Photo of drpimento
4.77/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Poured at cellar temp with a small, long lasting brown head and some lace. Aroma is cocoa, coffee, anise, leather, old furniture. Flavor's like nose, with bitter dominating sweet and tang. Finishes with cocoa. Very smooth palate. Too easy drinking for its strength.

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Photo of geodonnokepyo
4.14/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottled 12/15/14 Enjoyed on 9/29/15

Pours a dark like purple/black color with brown head. Head did not retain well. The smell is very complex; cacao, stone fruits, and some coffee notes. Graham cracker aromas shows up as the beer warms. The flavor is very heavy on dark chocolate and roast. This is a very viscous and full bodied beer. Still a little boozy too. Overall, this is a great RIS. I would like to revisit this one with some more age on it.

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Founders Imperial Stout from Founders Brewing Company
96 out of 100 based on 1,773 ratings.