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: 6,947
rAvg: 4.32
pDev: 7.18%
Wants: 660
Gots: 1,990 | 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: 6,947
Photo of BeerDawgs
4.52/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A 12oz bottle with a bottled on date of 12.22.15

L - Pitch black motor oil. Thick and creamy! 1/2 a finger of tan head. No lace sickness

S - Dark chocolate and roasted malts

T - Roasted malts and dark chocolate. Not overly sweet. ABV is hidden. Dried fruits and well balanced.

F - Thick bodied and medium carbonation.

O - An amazing Imperial stout. Get it if you can! (381 characters)

Photo of ThomasMetal75
4.2/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

A- Looked like motor oil! Not even a red tinge could be detected. The head was a deep, dark, brown color. It died to a fine 1 finger that suck around. Not a large amount of lacing, but it was there. The beer has great looking alcohol legs that cling to the glass.

S- Lactic sweetness, but its light. Overall the beer smells on the drier side for an imperial stout. Dark, semisweet, baker's type chocolate is there. Rich coffee notes as well. Some dark fruits. Deep, roasted, maltiness. Smells excellent.

T- WOW! The nose and taste are the same. Very malty, with deep roasted notes to it. Sweetness is there, but it's not like a candied sugar flavor like some of these imperial stouts have. It's more on the drier, roasted coffee side of the flavor. I'm also getting a powdery quality to the dark chocolate flavor. I don't get much of the 90 IBUs at all. The bitterness was masked very well. And so was the alcohol for the most part. The beer has a very nice warming quality to the alcohol. It doesn't burn whatsoever. It finishes somewhat sweet and chocolatey and warming.

M- This is how a good imperial stout should feel. It's a full bodied beer, as one would expect. But in saying that, this was not harsh or hard to drink at all! It coated your mouth and the back of the throat nicely, and some of the flavors did stick around for awhile.

Overall, you need to get this. This is the perfect beer during the messy 2015 snow, cold, and ice we've been experiencing. I used it as dessert, and it worked out fantastically. It got loads of flavor and complexity without the harshness or burn you sometimes get from the style. And it's not overly sweet. Go get yourself a 4pk, try 1, and cellar the rest. A rated beer all day long son! (1,734 characters)

Photo of sharkfin_24
4.38/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours black as night, friends compared it to oil. The taste definitely makes it worth the cost. The only bad thing is the guts the day after. Comes out looking like it went in, kind of scary lol. (198 characters)

Photo of maedhros09
3.93/5  rDev -9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Look: Pours petroleum black, with a couple fingers of brown head.

Smell: chocolate, roasted coffee beans, and dark fruit

Taste: Starts with sweet chocolate bread, roasted malt, and dark fruit, finishing with a lingering herbal hops bitterness. Some tingling sensation towards the end which I assume is the alcohol.

Feel: Thick body and fairly smooth

Overall: If your taste buds are severely dulled and you want to experience an imperial stout, I would recommend Founder's. It could almost be described as a distilled imperial stout, with all the flavors magnified beyond the usual imperial intensity. The hops definitely make a very strong appearance at the end - this more than anything else spoils the experience a bit for me. I wonder if it would mellow out a bit if you cellared it for a few months. Also, the malt end definitely falls on the sweet side even for the style. Overall I prefer a little more subtlety and balance in an imperial stout (both the Old Rasputin and the Narwhal accomplish this), but it's worth it to experience Founder's version. (1,065 characters)

Photo of TKaten
3.83/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Beautiful thick pour, looks like shiny motor oil streaming out of the bottle. Nice feel, creamy and viscous like a good stout should be. Only complaint is that it's a bit too sweet on the palate for my taste. But overall a very enjoyable experience. (251 characters)

Photo of Catracho5
4.6/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 ounce bottle poured into a Belgian style tulip glass bottle 12/01/2014

A: Pitch black with a brown creamy head that dissipated after about 7-8 minutes, not a whole lot of lacing, very little carbonation, looks pretty viscous as I swish the beer around in the glass, very nice.

A: Big roasted malt, coffee like aromas, chocolate, picking up a slight hint of that soy sauce smell, very slight, picking up some slight alcohol aromas, very nice aroma.

T: Big chocolate, coffee, roasted malt aromas, right up front, slight soy sauce, some bitterness, slight alcohol on the finish as well as a dry finish. Very smooth drinking for 10.5% ABV.

M: Motor oil, dry, has that smooth creamy imperial stout mouthfeel, really nice, very thick.

O: Definitely world class, big chocolate coffee roasted malts, easy drinking and smooth, wonderful mouthfeel, has that slight Expedition Stout soy sauce like flavor, world class, can't until Founders is available in CA, really good. (969 characters)

Photo of E-McFarden
4.61/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Black as night, but with a taste that cannot be ignored. Apparent but not overbearing in the toasted flavor, and a pleasant undertone of cherry and chocolate. What a good beer. (176 characters)

Photo of dmgeng
4.93/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

One of Founders seasonal offerings that I try to get every year.

A - Dark black with some burgundy while being poured. It pours thick with dark brown rocky head and strong lacing.

S - Tons of of sweet malt smell with roasted, coffee, chocolate, caramel, and some toffee notes radiating out. There is great balance from this imperial stout.

T - Initially the rich character of malt, roast, chocolate, coffee, and some toffee/caramel taste. There is a great battle between the rich sweetness of the malt and chocolate and the bitter roastiness. Big flavors that make you beg for more.

M - Very high mouth-feel with moderate carbonation. Very balanced between the sweet and bitter and the big mouth feel make it stick to your palate but with a medium carbonation makes it not too cloying.

Overall, this is one of the best examples of an Imperial Stout you can find. Tons of flavor, great balance, and low cost make this one a great get. I know that there are some people out there that would have a hard time dealing with the thickness of this stout and the punch but I love it.

Glass- Snifter (1,096 characters)

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

The beer poured into a standard pint glass with a modest dark brown head. The beer is impenetrably black. Hard to ask for a better lokoing stout.

The beer has an intense aroma of roasted malt. The IBUs on this are not what you think, the role of the hops in this brew is to balance the incredibly intense malt, both in aroma and flavor. After the malt, the alcohol is noticeable on the palate.

Overall, amazing intensity, and an incredible demonstration of the brewer's skill of showing off the intense malt with perfect balance, just enough hops to balance the sweetness of the malt. (And with all that roasted malt, not a hint of any burnt malt harshness.) (660 characters)

Photo of Hesscabob
4.5/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Finally was able to have a snifter full.

A - Impenetrable dark beer with a dark mocha/tan head.
S - Smell of chocolate, fuge, brownies, rocky road ice cream.
M - Creamier than I anticipated, perfect carbonation, no lingering sweetness such as other base stouts. The use of Oats is noted and well taken.
T - Delicious, roasted malts, marshmallow.
O - Great Imperial, much anticipated and it delivered. (401 characters)

Photo of DaBrewski
5/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This is a great Imperial Stout. Extremely smooth with a nice touch of heat at the end to let you know this is the real thing. Good malts and chocolate flavors. Highly recommended! (183 characters)

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

Poured from the bottle into a snifter. (The bottle has about a year on it).
Pours a deep, opaque darkest brown with a dark tan head.
A rich chocolate and roasty aroma with a hint of fresh coffee and a bit of toffee.
This is a great-tasting beer. Lots of dark chocolate and some roast coffee as well as dark dried fruits.
The mouthfeel is smooth and really creamy.
An excellent stout. (385 characters)

Photo of tedvr
4.25/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours really dark with a large chocolate head. Smells of burnt coffee and burnt caramel. Tastes are complex, burnt coffee and caramel. Almost has a tobacco or licorice aftertaste. Little syrupy with some carbonation. Overall a great stout! (244 characters)

Photo of ajm5108
4.83/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Everything you would expect from a great all-around stout. Smooth, even flavor of delicately toasted malt with hints of dark cocoa and a little punch at the end with some coffee. Finishes very easy, great mouthfeel. One of the standards when it comes to the style, nothing flashy or gimmicky, it is what you expect it to be & executes magnificently. (352 characters)

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

Poured into a tulip glass

Founders has become known for delivering knockout stouts, from KBS to CBS and everything beneath. This is no exception. Delivers an obsidian black color, with a chocolatey, quickly dissipating head. The aroma is powerful, including dark-roasted coffee, chocolate and molasses scent. This is reflected in the taste, which starts heavily roasty and finishes like a mocha with strong espresso and sweet dark chocolate notes. Leaves a long-lasting imprint of dark chocolate on the palate. Overall, a fantastic stout that delivers a smooth 10% ABV amidst dark, sweet flavors. (597 characters)

Photo of mjwellman
4.68/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Pours dark with wonderful brown creamy head. Smell is chocolate and coffee. The taste is wonderfully smooth. Sweet, but I cant ID what that is. Definetly a coffee and chocolate taste. no bitterness. I could drink this all night. (234 characters)

Photo of clay_i
4.25/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Superb. There are few examples of a simple, non-coffee, non-pepper, non-BA stouts out there that are at the level of this. Definitely going to pick it up whenever I see it. (172 characters)

Photo of TheCraftBrewReview
4.85/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Appearance – 97: Generally speaking with a stout, the darker the color, the happier I am. And with a Russian Stout? That sucker better be black as night, wielding a sickle and hammer and whistling Tchaikovsky. To that end – Well done, Founders. My initial pour created a quarter-inch thick head which slowly dissipated over a minute’s timeframe, leaving behind a caramel outside ring with bubbles on top that oddly resembled the Kremlin. Go figure.

Aroma – 96: Roasted malts dominate the smell of this beer, with a hint of coffee, chocolate, molasses and bread. The faintness of alcohol is also readily apparent, which isn’t a surprise given the ABV.

Body and Texture – 97: After the first sip I was ready to start singing “The Hunt for the Red October” theme. Wow. This beer dominates your mouth from the start, sitting incredibly heavy from the outset. After a moment my palate developed a very malted, dark tinge to it, which is perfect. A slight bitterness remained, but only lingered until the next sip.

Taste – 96: As the beer is brewed with 10 varieties of malted barley, that is the first (and last) taste that was readily apparent upon drinking this beer. There is an initial sweetness that I found to be quite pleasant – almost as if black cherries were dipped in dark chocolate. Perhaps the best thing about this beer was the rich aftertaste. Similar to a dish that has few ingredients but is immaculately executed – every note on this beer rings true to form. The ABV is hardly noticeable given how everything sits on your tongue.

Overall – 96.2 (World-Class): Before I forget, I did want to give Danny Gallina (the manager over at Legacy Beverage) a shoutout – This beer surpassed my expectations and then some. Not to say that I would ever have low expectations from Founders (as they happen to be one of my favorite breweries) – but I’ve found Russian Imperials to be very hit or miss with the malts. Occasionally malted beers can sit for too long and become bitter and unpleasant – luckily for me this was the complete opposite. Everything about this beer is dead on, from the beautiful artwork depicting the Russian coat of arms, the initial pour, look and taste – all hit the mark. In a stout world currently dominated by bourbon-barrels, this Russian version stands out. I’m very sad to say dosvedanya.

Purchase Value (A) – Given the beer’s national recognition, I was surprised to pay only 11.99 for a four pack, and would gladly do so again. The folks over at Legacy Beverage were very easy to work with, and Danny’s recommendation was spot on and well appreciated. (2,633 characters)

Photo of Tuck_leepulin
4.72/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

12oz bottle poured into a snifter bottled on 12/02/2014

Appearance: Black as midnight with a dark tan head

Smell: Dark roasted coffee and chocolate

Taste: Bold and complex with tons of roasted malt flavors along with chocolate and coffee-like bitterness

Mouthfeel: Thick and chewy, just what I desire from an imperial stout

Overall: This is one hell of an RIS. Complex malt flavors and probably the best mouthfeel of any stout I have had thus far. (454 characters)

Photo of rand
4.32/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

From 12 oz bottle to snifter

A: Appropriate jet-black color, what little head that forms collapses under its own weight and viscosity.

S: The nose is sweet and boozy, with notes of cocoa, molasses, mint and oaky astringency. Plenty of alcohol volatiles carry the nose.

T/M: Big malty sweetness and the front of the sip, along with booze. Huge, sticky complexion takes a minute to parse the nuances. Unsweetened chocolate and licorice are distinct, along with suggestions of carob, mint and husky grains. Bittering hops lend a woody, oaky astringency that centers the flavors and keeps things quaffable.

I'm drinking this side-by-side with Breakfast Stout, I'm not sure which is better. B Stout is a little smoother, but not necessarily better - and this has a higher ABV. Incredible brew nonetheless. (814 characters)

Photo of DoctorZombies
4.28/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Thick blood-black pour into SAPP with creamy dark brown foam;
Rich chocolate aroma;
Chocolate malt and stone fruit flavors/alcohol well hidden in rich malt and hop bite on the finish;
Heavy/full mouthfeel with luxurious tongue coating;
Overall a quite tasty imperial stout. (273 characters)

Photo of TheItalianStallion
4.42/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Bottled on 12-02-2014 and poured into a tulip

A: Pour is black as night with a head of brown foam that is 1 finger in size. The head quickly disappears into a thin collar that leaves a few streaks of lacing behind.

S: Right up front you get heavy aromas of roasted malts and dark chocolate. There is also a good amount of espresso and anise coming out as the beer warms. A faint smell of molasses as well. No hops detectable whatsoever.

T: Robust flavors of dark chocolate and roasted malts with a smokiness to it. Coffee not as strong as it is on the nose but it is definitely present, along with a bit of sweet licorice.

M: Full bodied with low carbonation, leading to a silky smooth mouthfeel that seems to coat your tongue. Finish is somewhat dry with a good amount of bitterness.

O: Founders Imperial Stout is a solid beer with a big roasted malt profile that seems to have a smokiness to it. The mouthfeel is smooth and the alcohol is masked very well. I would highly recommend this beer and I will be drinking it again for sure. I would love to try this with some age on it! (1,087 characters)

Photo of OrangeMen
4.37/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Appearance- Black, opaque. Pours a finger thick cinnamon, deep mocha color head, frothy and thick, dissipates into thin layer. Excellent lacing on sides of glass, coats like a layer of film.
Aroma- Rich dark chocolates and roasted/charred malts, bitter. Certain graniness, w/ some slightly sweeter creamy aromas underneath, milk chocolates, caramel. Slight pungnant alcohol notes.
Taste- Bitter charred malt, rich decadent chocolates follow, bitter dark chocolates. Creamy sweetness pokes through w/ notes of caramel, finishes bitter w/ lingering hops, alcohol, and roastiness.
Mouthfeel- Medium mouthfeel, fairly creamy and sticky, moderate carbonation.
Overall- An excellently crafted imperial stout, predominantly bitter but does have just enough sweetness to balance. Can definetly get some of the hops for how young the beer is, and just adds to the bitter profile. The sweet characteristics are wonderful and decadent. Very enjoyable. (940 characters)

Photo of PostRockandCats
4.44/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a heavy, black liquid with a creamy, dark khaki head and a thick layer of lacing on the sides of the glass. It really is pitch black; you can almost feel the light being sucked into it. It smells of dark, toasty malts and mocha with a lovely burnt note at the end.

It tastes like a good Imperial Stout should: dark, smokey, slightly bitter, a bit creamy and rich. No dark fruits as some IS's have. Nice hit of umami unctuousness.

The feel is rich, thick and heavy; my mouth was coated thoroughly.

Overall, this is a wonderful beer that's a prime example of the style. I'll look forward to it coming out next winter as well! (632 characters)

Photo of leantom
4.59/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Well, this is a beer that I've been waiting to try for a while. Founders has been disappointing me lately, but I still haven't lost hope. Here goes:

A: Beautiful. Motor-oil black, one-inch black head that leaves a ton of lacing. Simply beautiful.

S: Exquisite. Lots of roasted malt impart smells of coffee and dark chocolate. The coffee isn't bitter, however; in fact it's quite rich and creamy smelling, almost as if there's a bit of lactose in here as well. Very fulfilling.

T: Follows the nose, with a faint hint of dark fruit at the back of the palate. Initial taste is one of rich coffee and decadent chocolate - perfect. This is followed by some dark fruit (e.g., raisins, figs, plum), but this taste is rather subtle compared to the dark chocolate and coffee. Lingering bitter coffee taste.

F: Thick and creamy. Great.

O: Great beer. Dark fruit detracts from the taste somewhat, but the coffee and chocolate simply overpower this minor inconvenience. (979 characters)

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