Founders Imperial Stout - Founders Brewing Company

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Founders Imperial StoutFounders Imperial Stout

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BA SCORE
96
world-class

1,711 Reviews
THE BROS
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no score

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Reviews: 1,711
Hads: 6,942
rAvg: 4.32
pDev: 7.18%
Wants: 660
Gots: 1,985 | 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: 6,942
Photo of lipster
4.83/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Poured into a tulip glass, short-lived espresso-like foam head. Visibly thick and viscous while being poured. Smells like dark roasted coffee and red wine. Tastes like a deep mocha with notes of tobacco and smoke, nice delicate balance of bitter and sweet, clean finish. Silky and decadent mouthfeel. Fantastic imperial stout. (326 characters)

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

2013 bottle poured into a snifter at cellar temp. Very dark, one-finger head that dissipates fairly quickly but leaves beautiful lacing. Outstanding body for a non-BA stout. Thick and chewy, as it should be. I absolutely love this stout and the only thing holding it back for me is the slight smokiness that I would happily trade in for a touch more sweetness. I prefer this to the Breakfast Stout and am glad to see that the cellar is treating it well. (453 characters)

Photo of Spinaltapped
4.43/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottled 1/6/14.

Look: Pitch black with a small dark khaki head.

Smell: Not my strong suit as a reviewer. I get a lot of roast, a bit of dark fruit, and toffee. Alcohol is present as well.

Taste: Initially some burnt roast bitterness that quickly gives way to dark fruit and a bit of alcohol sweetness and coffee.

Feel: Silky, creamy, but just a bit too thin to be a 5/5 in my book. It does have a nice viscous feel on the tongue and goes down nicely.

So yeah, my first BA review. A 4.4/5 for me. I think with another few months, this will be INCREDIBLE. I'm not a big super roast guy, and that flavor seems to be on the out in favor of dark fruit, coffee, and toffee. Luckily, I have another few bottles in the cellar. (725 characters)

Photo of LagerCognoscenti
4.48/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Jet black with thin head.

Rich aroma of coffee, bitter roasted malt, dark chocolate and booze.

Taste is bitter dark chocolate, treacle, marmite, dark cherries, tobacco, charcoal and goodness knows what else. Its very complex and very flavourful but very well rounded and a pleasure taste.

Overall, a fantastic Russian Imperial stout.Hard to find and slighly pricey in the UK but well worth seeking out. Right up there with Founders Breakfast Stout and Yeti Imperial Stout as a world class beer of this style from our American friends.

94/100 (546 characters)

Photo of mchegash
3.94/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance - 4/5
A small amount of chocolate-tan head which dissipates down to a ring around the edge of the glass. An extremely dark shade of purple when held up to bright light.--as dark as purple can be without being black. When held up to bright light, can also see a lot of large chunks floating around in the brew. Not sure if this is because my pour was off or what. Overall a good look, but not sure about the chunks of stuff in the beer. I don't mind drinking a beer with particles, but I think it lowers the aesthetic of the beer. I really like the color of the head.

Smell - 3.75/5
Very chocolately, slightly sweet, slightly alcoholic. Upon second sniff I get some slight fruit and hops flavors, along with a slightly strong alcoholic smell. The smell is okay, perhaps a little too alcoholic for my liking thought.

Taste - 4/5
Very roasty and smoky. Slightly sweet. Some chocolate and a fairly prominent alcohol taste. I like smoky beers, but I have to be in the mood. I'm sure totally sure if I'm in that mood right now, but I think the smokiness balances out with the sweetness and the alcohol flavor, such that none of these overall, but all work together in harmony. In other words, the taste is complex, which is good.

Mouthfeel - 4/5
Medium body. Smooth, yet slightly bitter (90 IBUs). A light amount of medium-light intensity carbonation. I think the feel works well with the rest of the beer, and I wouldn't change anything about it.

Overall - 4/5
Overall this was a good brew, one I'm glad I tried. I'm not sure I would get it again, as there are a lot of other good Russian Imperials out there, and I don't think this one is my favorite. Still, worth a try. Quality Stuff (1,696 characters)

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

12 oz. bottle into a snifter. Pitch black appearance with a 1/2 finger head of dense, brown foam. Smells beautiful; chocolate, syrup, roasted malt, sugar, sasafrass, and smokey wood. Heavy weight, as expected of an imperial stout. Taste is pretty much on par with the smell; chocolate, coffee, roasted malt, sugar, and smokey wood. Oily mouthfeel with lingering hops and alcohol on the aftertaste.

This beer honestly reminds me a lot of FBS, only with a sharper alcohol bite on the back end. It's just as good, in my opinion. This one reminded me why imperial stouts are my favorite beers. (590 characters)

Photo of HorseheadsHopHead
4.99/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a wine glass

LOOK: Pours a midnight black with a small brown head that leaves some scattered bits of lacing. It looks majestic. You can tell immediately that this is going to be an experience.

SMELL: Lots of strong chocolate upfront, followed by charcoal, coffee, roasted barley, burnt sugar, and a smattering of vanilla, soy sauce, and tobacco smoke. This beer smells so complex!

TASTE: A truckload of bittersweet chocolate up front; sweet dark chocolate and a dusting of more bitter baking cocoa. Burnt sugar, toast, caramel, and a bit of coffee and vanilla. It's very savory, with an umami aspect that merits a soy sauce comparison. It's slightly warming on the swallow, but the alcohol is very well hidden for being 10.5% abv. Finishes fairly dry with another wave of dark chocolate.

FEEL: Full-bodied. Thick, rich, and creamy. Like chocolate syrup but not at all cloying. Perfectly balanced. A light carbonation just tingles the palate.

OVERALL: This beer blew my mind the first time I had it, and it continues to do. This is everything you could want in an imperial stout. In my opinion, this is a world-class beer. (1,171 characters)

Photo of Jwburns75
4.62/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottled 12/22, snifter pour. Deep dark black, one finger head. Rich roasty nose. Taste is rich, subtle chocolate. Right on par with Expedition and Ten Fidy. One of the very best Imperial stouts out there. (209 characters)

Photo of hoagzzz
3.9/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I am an IPA / pale ale guy but want to develop a taste for stouts. Lots of people like them so they must be good right? Sipped this over the course of an hr and it was pretty good. Nice alcohol burn on the back end. This was bottled dec 14 gonna cellar two from the four pack I got. (282 characters)

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

Pours an exceedingly dark brown with a 3/4" high, dark brown head of fluffiness. Retention for the style is amazing, dropping to a thickish film and just staying there. Some minimal lace is left behind.
Smell is toasted malt, dark chocolate, rum, light wood, and some dark fruit notes. Great balance here.
Taste is rich and delicious with brandy, toasty malt, dark chocolate, undecipherable dark fruits but with a slightly bitter note. Balance is good.
Full bodied, light effervescence, nearly cloying. A bit of ash in the aftertaste but not offputting. Dry finish and bit cleaner than I prefer but still a truly great beer. (627 characters)

Photo of CAC329
4.38/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Only my 2nd taste test this week but definitely a winner. I very much enjoyed this stout.
Its taste was kind of coffee yet sweet, even the aftertaste was pleasant.
I would not know it drinking it but it was thick and syrupy in the glass, with a medium to dark foam.
This is a keeper! (286 characters)

Photo of elektrikjester
4.48/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

2015 Founders Imperial Stout (bottling date of 12/15/2014) consumed on 3/16/2015. Served in small snifter over two pours at 50-55 degrees F.

Appearance - Pours almost pitch black with a thick, dark tan head about two fingers thick. Settles to a thin cap that remains throughout. When held to the light, beer remains practically opaque.

Aroma - Initial suggestion of licorice that gives way to roasted malts. As one inhales more deeply, roasted malts become more prominent. There is a hint of dark chocolate, but only a hint. Slight woody smokiness.

Taste - Mildly sweet. Despite first impressions of licorice and chocolate, roasted malts really do emerge to the fore and drive the flavor. Smoky notes of oak and char linger in the background and add a briny note that seems to complement the sweetness. Alcohol is well hidden but not completely gone. Some hop bitterness at the end to provide balance.

Mouthfeel - Thick mouthfeel that borders on oily. Creamy yet just enough carbonation. Despite well-hidden ABV, alcohol does burn a bit.

Overall (1,050 characters)

Photo of Duhast500
4.71/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Poured from a 12oz. bottle into a tulip glass.
The color is a dark black with some slight maroon highlights. There is a finger of foamy brownish head that began out of nowhere then leaves a thin layer of webbing on the glass.
The smell is dark malts with some chocolate and black licorice aroma in the nose. There is a nice sweetness here that is a little bready and has a slight hazelnut aroma.
The taste is sweet with a butter finger-like flavor. There is a toffee flavor that comes in just for a bit and leads into a kind of nutty flavor. Caramel flavor makes an appearance then we get a little bolder with a bourbon flavor that has a nice oaky flavor.
The feel of this beer is medium bodied which comes as a slight surprise being a beer that weights in at the heavier ABV. There doesn’t seem to be a hint of boozieness here and it hides the alcohol well. This is just a smooth Imperial stout without the edges that can really effect the enjoyment of a beer like this. (973 characters)

Photo of BrownAleBollocks
4.63/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours like motor oil, with a two finger chocolate mouse head. Aroma is dark fruit, chocolate. Taste is chocolate, light roast, and light dark fruit on the back end. Mouthfeel is creamy and heavy, but smooth. Overall a great imperial stout, one of the best I've had. (269 characters)

Photo of REGreenBTRB
4.52/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: 5 - Menacing. Pitch black with this mean-looking cinnamon head than thins out.

Smell: 4.25 - Malt and a super dark chocolate; like one of those 85% dark chocolate bars or something. Smells nice.

Taste: 4.5 - Holy smokes! This beer is absolutely loaded with flavor. That super dark chocolate on the nose is there on the taste and stays there. BIG beer. Not overpowering with alcohol like a 10.5% could be, but this is obviously a sipper. There are some coffee notes on the back end, and a mild smokiness to it as well.

Mouthfeel: 5 - This things is the creamiest beer I've had yet. Silky smooth, creamy, thick, AHH! This beer reminds me of a Rolls-Royce Phantom. You see one of those things "driving," i.e, sailing on the road, and you just know that it's the smoothest ride of your life. Well, yeah. This.

Overall: 4.65 - A solid A beer. This isn't something I would drink but maybe once a month. It's so good, but so massive I feel like I'd overwhelm myself with more frequent consumption. Badass brew. (1,022 characters)

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

Probably the best Imperial Stout (non-barrel aged) that I have had. Nice bouquet of coffee and some vanilla. Texture is thick, creamy, and silky with a nice level of carbonation. Taste is so well balanced. Lots of coffee flavors and a little bit of sweetness, but not too much. I have found several stouts to be overly sweet and it just gets to be too much by the end of the beer. That was the thing I like best about this is the level of sweetness was dialed in perfectly. There is a light level of bitterness that lingers on the finish. Also this does not have any harshness like some of the other Imperial Stouts. The 10.5% abv is well hidden and it is easy to drink fresh and doesn't need age, although I do wonder if it would get even better with some age. I would rank this above the top competition like Expedition and Speedway (both of which I thought were very impressive) and the price is fair too as it is half the price of Speedway. This will be my go to non-barrel aged Stout. (999 characters)

Photo of MacMalt
4.78/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

This is a superior RIS! While the taste is outstanding with abundant chocolate, coffee, and dark fruit, I think its most amazing attribute is its mouth feel: very viscous and creamy. It's almost as though you can chew it. I never tire of drinking this beer. (262 characters)

Photo of TBoneJones
4.33/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

I thought I reviewed this before. I've had it before, and recall it being outstanding. I just saw and bought a single, and it's still terrific. I recommend it to any RIS fan. Robust, chocolatey, dark fruit, bitter roast, thick, chewy. Solid. (241 characters)

Photo of WhiteHillsStore
4.51/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Pours a pitch black color with a coffee colored head. The smell is full of roasted malts that give the beer a nice coffee scent to it. The taste was great with coffee and dark chocolate flavors mixing well with a bit of hops here and there. Hides the ABV well and I thought this was an amazing beer. Definitely worth picking up. (328 characters)

Photo of predikit
3.96/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours thick, and deep brown, settles in the glass black. Leaves brown head that leaves plenty of lacing.

Smell is rather muted, some notes of molasses, slightly fruity.

Taste has some dark fruit notes, before quickly sliding into molasses and bitter coffee and chocolate, which take the finish and the aftertaste. Alcohol is well hidden, though I noticed when drinking along side a meal, the alcohol will come out more.

Full bodied, syrupy thick, extremely smooth and creamy.

A very good stout. (499 characters)

Photo of Jacobob10
3.65/5  rDev -15.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottled on 12/12/2014.

Poured into a snifter. Black as midnight with one of the darkest brown heads I have ever seen. The head is small but leaves some nice lacing on the glass as it goes down. Legs on the glass as well when you swirl it around. Nose is filled with chocolate, vanilla, port, coffee, and booze, although the sum is not great as its parts. It falls apart a bit upon tasting. Way too heavy on the burnt malt. Big espresso notes as well as bitter dark chocolate. Very bitter in fact. Full bodied with a chewy texture. Booze remains prevalent throughout the beer. I put one of these bad boys in the cellar to revisit in a year. Hoping some of the burnt flavor will mellow out. Hate to say it but I don't get all the Founders love. I've been generally disappointed with most of what I've tried. (813 characters)

Photo of uvachief
4.5/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Draft from a 32 oz grunt. Pours dark black with 2 fingers of tan mocha colored head. Significant lacing throughout the drink. Aromas of coffee and chocolate with a hint of dark fruit. Nice heavy body in the mouth with a rush of chocolate, vanilla, roasted malts and coffee (not espresso). Extremely smooth and well balanced. Aftertaste is much the same on the back end with maybe more coffee. Extremely smooth and drinkable. 32oz gone in a flash. Well hidden abv. This was 2013 so aged at least a year. Very smooth. (526 characters)

Photo of ryanmextorf
4.46/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

LET THIS THING AGE! It is leaps and bounds better after about a year or two of cellaring. The intense dark fruit notes fade a little bit and it turns into a delicious, chocolatey, fudgey brownie. (195 characters)

Photo of SierraFlight
4.15/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

12oz bottle poured into stout goblet. Very dark brown to black liquid with light brown head that stands two fingers tall before settling to a sheen and leaving some patches of lace. Aroma is very roasty malts, unsweetened chocolate, espresso, dark fruit, molasses, and alcohol. Taste is initially sweet roasted malts, with cocoa and dark fruit followed by coffee (and maybe some hop) bitterness and fruity esters on the finish. Medium-full body, creamy and thick texture, soft carbonation, long bitter finish and warming alcohol sensation. (539 characters)

Photo of BucannonXC5
4.42/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Ratings are correct below, but I changed some marks above to make the final rating as correct as possible with Beer Advocate's "revamped" system. The 4.42 overall rating is correct.

Type: 12-oz. bottle
Glass: Karl Strauss snifter glass
From: Beer Advocate’s SteveB24
Price: N/A
Purchased: N/A; Received on Feb. 7, 2015
Consumed: Feb. 21, 2015
Misc.: Bottled on Dec. 22, 2014

Thanks Steve!

Poured a black color with 1-to-2 fingers of dark tan, rocky head. Great layered, spiderweb foamy lacing on the sides of the glass. Average-to-above average retention. (Sight - 4.63)

Smelled toffee, caramel, roasted coffee malts, dark chocolate and roasted nuts. (Smell - 4.13)

Tasted caramel, toffee, metallic notes, roasted coffee malts, rich dark chocolate, chocolate milkshake, roasty nuts, some smoky fire and sweet sugary notes. (Taste - 4.38)

Full body. Sticky texture. Average carbonation. Long, smooth finish. Alcohol is well hidden. (Feel - 4.88)

This was just a really good RIS, definitely in the my top three without looking back. So smooth for 10.5 pct. (Overall - 4.50)

4.42 | 98 | A (1,095 characters)

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