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Founders Imperial Stout - Founders Brewing Company

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Founders Imperial StoutFounders Imperial Stout

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1,717 Reviews
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Reviews: 1,717
Hads: 6,982
rAvg: 4.32
pDev: 7.18%
Wants: 664
Gots: 2,025 | 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: 1,717 | Hads: 6,982
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)

Photo of sdeese21
4.62/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Look: Jet black with almost no head but a rich brown foam develops upon swirling.
Smell: I can definitely pick up the bitterness in this beer (90 IBU's) as well as the usual RIS notes.
Taste: Very, Very good beer. I'm really not sure how they hid the booze so well as I'm only getting a minimal amount of warmth at the end.
Feel: Velvety, with a nice, thick mouth feel that I enjoy in RIS's.
Overall: Very enjoyable beer but the bitterness was a little high for me. I have a few to age and will try them intermittently over the next few years. Founders has been putting out some absolute quality stuff! (609 characters)

4.52/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Well god damn, this is a fine beer. Thanks to Jammyman for the trade. Dark as sin with a bold toasty roasted tasty feel and vibe. Not too showy on any level, just a solid imp stout. Dig. (190 characters)

Photo of Samuel906
4.52/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Really excited to try this. I have heard no end of great things about Founders stouts an d this certainly did not disappoint. Pours absolutely sheer jet black with one of the darkest brown heads Ive ever seen. head dissipates quickly leaving behind the viscous, oily brew. Rich creamy mocha greets you on the nose complemented by toasted malt, and chocolate covered cherries. Taste is a tidal wave of bittersweet chocolate up front with a mellow finish of earthy tobacco, and roasted coffee. Feel is thick and oily, coats every inch of your mouth. A bit sticky. but it comes with the territory. Definitely a slow sipper. Overall, one of the kings of the heavy stouts. Great in all aspects. (689 characters)

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

2013 edition, 12 oz bottle, poured into a goblet.

Appearance: Pours a beautiful, completely opaque, pitch-black color with absolutely no head what-so-ever, except an extremely thin halo of foam that gripped the sides of the glass.

Aroma: Massive aroma of roasted malt up front! Some notes of roasted coffee, a touch of smoke, and tons of brown sugar!

Taste: Wow!! Tons of roasted malt up front, imparting strong notes of roasted coffee beans, a touch of smoke and tons of dark chocolate. The beer is beautifully balanced with tons of brown sugar-like sweetness and finishes with a touch of dark chocolate-like bitterness! Absolutely delicious!

Mouthfeel: Very chewy and smooth as silk, as there is no carbonation what-so-ever. With an ABV of 10%, there’s a very pleasant alcohol warmth on the palate.

Overall: Jesus, what a beer! Big, bold, beautiful flavors of roasted malt, coffee, dark chocolate all wrapped up in a silky smooth beer! Outstanding! (969 characters)

Photo of TheJollyHop
4.18/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

12/15/2014 poured into a TeKu glass:

L: Foam consists of a chocolate brown roux-like hue on top of an opaque, black body. Benchmark appearance that maintains a head that's indicative of the gravity of this brew.
S: Whiffs of plastic along with grass clippings (both usual indications in my experience of a beer that will benefit from extended bottle cellaring), earthy chocolate, and alcohol,
T: Grassy hop notes upfront, long cooking chocolate/bitter finish with notes of dried tobacco leaves and smoke. Alcohol warmth attacks mid sip and doesn't let go. Balance slanting towards bitterness at this time, which is to be expected with little more than a month in the bottle.
F: Velvety texture and full body that leaves a slick coating on the tongue.
O: On my top five list of non-barrel aged, commercially available, imperial stouts. (836 characters)

Photo of deltatauhobbit
4.21/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

Bottled 12/10/14

Pours a wicked black color, perfect two finger sized head with a brownish tan color, fades at a slow rate but only leaves a small bit of lacing on the glass and no lasting cap.

Smell is very heavy on coffee aromas along with a roasted/burnt malt presence, slight metallic tinge to the nose, not really picking up much hop balance even though it was only bottled a little over a month ago.

Taste starts out with a hint of warming alcohol, doesn't get too strong to be overwhelming or distracting fortunately, strong roasted malt with a burnt bitterness in the aftertaste, coffee presence throughout the entire drink but don't expect any cream or excessive sugar to accompany it, very thick and chewy body with long lasting stickiness, avoids being cloying though.

Could use a few more unique traits to separate it from the pack but what it does it does very well. I'm glad I've got a few more bottles to see how it changes with some age on it. (964 characters)

Photo of DougT
4.88/5  rDev +13%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Poured into a stout glass. Deep, dark, like the abyss. Nice 2 finger head of dark brown. Took off a couple for a few too many large bubbles. Great lacing and leaves a thick layer of creamy froth as you drink. Smell is roast, malt, coffee, chocolate and dark candi. Just what a stout should be. Could be a hint stronger, otherwise steller. Taste is ambrosia. Sweat chocolate, coffee, hints of dark fruits, with roast and malt bitters and some earthy hops. Feel is spot on. Creamy, full bodied, effervescent. You can't ask for better. So this is almost the perfect stout. As an Imperial it could use a hint more hop bitters, the head could be just a touch creamier, which might happen with age, and the smell could be subtly more intense, which would happen with the extra hops. This is a really really good beer. (827 characters)

Photo of CowsandBeer
3.69/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 ounce bottle poured into a Bruery tulip glass. Bottled on 12/02/2014.
Appearance: Pours a half finger of dark brown head with a reddish tint. Body is completely black as expected with nice creamy lacing on the sides. Not unlike Yeti.
Aroma: Lots of burnt black malts, brown sugar, super dark chocolate, some roasted coffee and cream, and a slight vinous note.
Taste: Burnt black malts, bitter coffee and cream, and a warming spike of booze in the middle with a bitter green finish.
Mf: Starts with a creamy and heavy mouthfeel and ends on a dry and chalky note.
Overall: A big hefty American stout that I struggle to drink. It’s got nice notes of dark roasted coffee and cream but these are overtaken by lots of burnt black malts and a bitter finish. As it warms it does mellow out a bit and becomes more enjoyable. Imagine chocolate covered espresso beans, awesome for some, too much for others. (916 characters)

Photo of Oldejoe
4.31/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Looks dark, rich, mild frothy
Smell alcohol dominated, spicey, touch of tar
Taste heavier on bitters and toasted oats than the malts
Mouth rich, dense, chewy
Overall really good but my own preference is for maltier (214 characters)

Photo of ZebraCakez
4.23/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

This is fantastic. Pours a dark brown/black with a burnt caramel colored head. Smells of coffee and chocolate. Taste of coffee and chocolate, roasted malt, dried figs/raisins, finishes with a smoked beef (jerkey) note. Smooth, creamy feel, super enjoyable. (257 characters)

Photo of RonaldTheriot
4.95/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Founders Imperial Stout has a medium, tan head, lots of lacing rings left on the glass, and a black appearance. Some slight brown does show up on the edges, under direct sunlight. The aroma is of sweet, sharp, intensely dark-roasted malt. Taste is of charred malt, sweetness, some cream, a bit of coffee, possibly chocolate and dark fruits, a shade of licorice, and high bitterness, seemingly from the burnt effects. Mouthfeel is heavy and slick, and Founders Imperial Stout finishes rich and impactful. The alcohol provides warmth, as the beer is consumed.

RJT (563 characters)

Photo of martyl1000
5/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

With 14 months of aging, the aroma on this blows my doors. It's Nesquik powder, with a tinge of soy sauce. I know that sounds horrible. It's not.

Flavor in the mouth is phenomenal: a roasty, dried beef, the sweet, tinny brightness of lychee, plus bakers cocoa and spent coffee grounds, of course. Hershey's syrup is totally palpable. It's double chocolaty goodness -- chocolate (flavored!) syrup over chocolate gelatto. Very sweet, now that the hops have been knocked way back. Finally, behind the symphony of imperial stout classics, there's a minor key of . . . of . . . dang, what is it? It's a proto-tart-fruit, like a prehistoric cherry that's more of a wild berry.

Hear that sound? That's me shaking my head at the thought that, earlier this year, I served this to eight friends, only half of whom have decent craft beer experience. This is simply too atomic for the uninitiated, to gargantuan.

Pro tip: serve it very cold, and only 4 - 5 ounces at a time. It's a total sipper, so, by the time you get to the bottom of your five ounces, you'll have had a chance to sample it at several different temperatures, which is a total treat.
Man, flavorful, or what? Now twelve months of aging.

Absolute motor oil, with zero, less than zero, head. Another BA'er points out the soundlessness of the pour; it's a real phenomenon. Aroma of soy sauce and bakers cocoa, which, in the abstract, sounds horrible. It's not.

Flavors in the mouth just keep going and going. The one flavor I'll mention because it's so awesome: ketjap manis (also spelled catsup manis), which is not ketchup, at all, but Indonesian sweet soy sauce. Wife says it would, thus, go well with Indonesian food.

Great mouthfeel, with a lively fizz, despite the syrup viscosity.
I come to this beer today with doubts, as I'd been sorely disappointed with it a month ago. That time, I spent $10 on a 10 oz. pour of it at Coopers Tavern (Madison). I don't know how to account for that discouraging experience. Was it something I ate? Was it emotion: was it my reluctance to support businesses that overcharge for beer?

Whatever. This brew today renews my faith in my taste buds. I'm thrilled to have brought home two four-packs just now. It's freaking awesome. One 4-pk. is going in the cellar. The other down my gullet.

I'm making special note that this four-pack is 11 months old, as the Founder's release schedule for Imperial Stout is January.

This one has tipped the scales. It has cracked my Top-5 list of all-time favorites. (Actually, I don't know how I can talk in such hyperbole, when only two weeks ago I declared the same about Mikkeller Black Hole. But that was $14 for an 11-oz. bottle, so I'm sure I NEEDED to like that one a lot.)

Second-blackest beer I've seen this year (after Dark Horse Reserve Special Black). Pours into a tulip glass with a chocolate meringue-like brown head that leaves lacing plastered on the glass.

Dark chocolate and burnt coffee in the nose, first. Then a cascade of stone fruit, especially overripe cherry and black plum. Boozy vapor cuts the sweet.

I just the other day had their Founders Porter on tap, and am now struck by the particular roasted coffee flavor in the mouth, here. Except of course this comes with an undergirding of sweetness to replace the bright/tart hop bitterness in the porter. The massive corn-syrupy, fruit-cake and pecan flavors remind me of Southern Tier Mokha, another of my favorite double stouts. The alcohol politely makes itself known on the backend. (3,586 characters)

Photo of tekstr1der
4.37/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pitch black pour with almost no head, and very little lacing - it was slightly disappointing. If cold, you can see the syrupy thickness of this liquid, though it really comes into its own a little warmer. Aroma is mostly of coffee, some malt and medicine. Amazingly smooth, slightly viscous mouth-feel, with flavors of coffee. Almost no alcohol flavor. Remarkable. (364 characters)

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

This is like a sweeter - silkier - Founders porter.
I love the roasted malty coffee taste this stout has. The finish is superb with the right balance of sweet and bitter.
The overall complexity of the beer changes as it warms so the angles and flavor notes are always on the move... (282 characters)

Photo of CIBoy10
4.6/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Look - pours a velvet black with a thin dark brown head that yields quickly to lacing.

Smell - chocolate, Irish car bomb, tobacco, black pepper, coffee liqueur.

Taste - chocolate, coffee, earthy, beef jerky and tobacco on the finish. Very complex.

Feel - silky smooth, creamy, heavy. Smoother as it warms up.

Overall - top notch imperial stout especially when it warms up a little. (390 characters)

Photo of Antg8989
4.54/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Pours a VERY dark brown, pretty much black. Head is mocha colored, about a finger. Aroma is coffee with hints of chocolate. Sweet and malty. Dark chocolate taste, very creamy and smooth going down. Lightly carbonated. Very, very good. (234 characters)

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

Look - Fantastic. Awesome caramel head rentention. Great lacing. Deep black oil in color. 4.5

Smell - The initial nose is strange. Mildly off-putting. Once adjusted, the nose mellows to brown bread, sweet molasses. 4.25

Taste - So nice. certainly hides the sweet booziness that a 10.5% imperial stout normally carries. A nice toasted almond (amaretto) balanced with a bittersweet chocolate. 4.5

Feel - Can't find much fault here. Smooth and slick with a hint of tingle from the carbonation. 4.5

Overall - Such a great imperial stout and a much welcomed break and taste from barrel-aged stouts. Can stand up to any in my opinion. 4.5!! (649 characters)

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

A great outing from Founders! Bottled on 12-2-14. From the first pour, I am impressed. The 1-2 dark brown finger head is a little surprising, coming from such an oily, viscous liquid, with good, foamy legs leaving a tell tale mark. Roasted malts shine through, with just a hint of the alcohol. A very nice rich roasted quality absolutely coats the mouth with a velvelty smoothness, and just a touch of sweetness at the very end. A definite go to for me. (459 characters)

Photo of Beer-Revelry
4.82/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A - Pours an oily jet black, no light shining through. Forms a finger and a half of thick, dense and creamy, super dark brown head, almost the color of burnt caramel and rust. Nice creamy lacing.
S - Malts, alcohol, bitter chocolate and coffee.
T - Sweet alcoholic dark fruits up front such a black cherries, plums, figs, raisins, dates and prunes upfront, followed by bitter dark chocolate, black coffee in the development. Lots of warming boozy alcohol. Ends on a malty, almost oak wood bitter note, Absolutely fantastic.
O - A perfect imperial stout and a shining example of the style. If you are a fan of stouts, this is a must try!
V - Good value, four pack of bottles. (678 characters)

Photo of docoman
4.58/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

I really enjoyed this imp stout from founders, put it comparable to narwhal in overall rating of a non-BBa stout. As much as I like BA stouts it's good to have regular stouts since sometimes the bourbon takes over too much to taste the beer itself, this one doesn't disappoint. (278 characters)

Photo of zoober911
4.54/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

L - Pours black as night. Looks smooth and thick. Half a finger of brown head. Nice lacing when swirled. Coats the glass not quite like cough syrup, but any more and you would think it was. Head falls back into the glass and leaves a ring of tiny bubbles dancing the edge of the glass.

S - Smells of chocolate. Roasted coffee. And more chocolate, caramel. Some alcohol but barely discernible.

T - Taste is on the same field as the nose. Chocolate, caramel, roasted coffee. Very delightful.

F - Smooooth. Silky. Creamy. Thicker feel that coats your mouth nicely. Very desirable.

O - Overall this is one of the better stouts available on the shelf that isn't limited release or difficult to find. A great representation of the style and a must have for the uninitiated. Easily a go-to stout for anyone. (807 characters)

Founders Imperial Stout from Founders Brewing Company
96 out of 100 based on 1,717 ratings.