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Founders Imperial Stout | Founders Brewing Company

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Founders Imperial StoutFounders Imperial Stout

Brewed by:
Founders Brewing Company
Michigan, United States | website

Style: Russian Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.50%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
75 IBU

Added by mjohn27603 on 01-13-2003

User Reviews
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Reviews: 1,829 | Ratings: 7,587
Photo of The-Adjunct-Hippie
4.12/5  rDev -5.1%
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 +5.1%
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 +11.3%
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 +1.6%
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 -7.8%
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 -18%
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 -12.9%
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 -6.2%
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 +0.2%
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 +7.4%
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 q33jeff
4.01/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

samsmith33 (768) - - MAR 9, 2014
Thick Thick oil black pour. Dark tan head, but faded fast. Aroma Is alcohol, toasted malt, coffee. Taste is more of the same. Alcohol is strong. Flat and thick feel. A nice beer, tasting side by side with founders breakfast stout. The breakfast is much better, but that doesn’t mean this isn’t good too."

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Photo of Dustin_Sallitt
4.29/5  rDev -1.2%
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 -0.5%
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
4.5/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

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

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Photo of wdberkley
4.61/5  rDev +6.2%
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 -2.3%
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
4.49/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Edit 2/26/2016: Incredible! I am increasing taste, feel & overall.

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 +9.9%
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 -4.6%
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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Photo of sjdevel
4.94/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Pours like motor oil (thick and syrupy). Pitch black with no light shining through. A bit low on carbonation (only about a 1 finger head).

Smells of chocolate and caramel with slight smokey coffee scent. Smells like a decadent dessert!

There is a huge bitter bite of hops at first, but is quickly diminished by strong smoked malt, chocolate, caramel, and coffee. There is a slight sourness at the beginning, but then the sweet syrupy flavors quickly flow in. As the flavors start to fade, smokiness remains and the beer finishes a bit dry.

Very thick and full bodied. Feels quite thick and oily/syrupy. Slight dry feel at finish.

This is an awesome brew. I am impressed with how flavorful and full the beer is. It also packs quite a punch at 10.5%. I would highly recommend this one, but don't down one of these on a full stomach as it is almost a meal on its own.

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Photo of PBRmeasap1980
4.44/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

A- Jet black with milk chocolate looking head. I give all appearance a 4 because it IMO it shouldn't count, but his is beautiful. It looks like dessert
S- Semi sweet bakers chocolate, roasty malts
T- Coco, malty, semi sweet but not overwhelming
F- Like a creamy milk shake... this one has about 2 years on it which may help
O- Awesome stout

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Photo of JJKBeerLvr
4.78/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Poured from a bottle into pint glass in September 2015.

Appearance: Dark black with a thick tan/brown head. Head is thick, and sticks to the glass.

Smell: Strong aroma of roasted coffee and malts. There is some hoppiness and a hint of sweetness like chocolate as well, but overall the roasted coffee dominate the others.

Taste: There is a nice balance between the malts and roasted coffee flavors. There is some chocolate and hop flavors to enhance the taste and add some complexity. There is a strong alcohol presence as with other RISs.

Mouth-feel: Very thick, but with a smooth creamy bodied. Not as biting as some other RISes.

This is a typically strong RIS, but it has a variety of flavors that adds a nice complexity to the beer. Although this is a big beer, it is smooth and really enjoyable to drink. Overall one of my favorite RIS, and another beer from Founders that it on the top of my list of favorites.

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Photo of BuccoFan
4.64/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

As I score this, I'm realizing that I'm giving this a higher score than Expedition stout, which I've generally labeled my favorite non-BA stout. Well, so be it.

Bottling date is 12-22-14. Aged eight-plus months in my basement. Pour is of a serious motor oil quality. I mean that. That character seems to too frequently get thrown around for RISs, but it's not always true. This is a thick pour, period. Body matches. Taste is roast, malt, with chocolate undertones.

Ultimately, I think this is far superior to the KBS and is very underrated. This is a beer that needs several months of aging though, so one should give this time when it is attained. It is everything an RIS should be.

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Photo of manfromanotherplace
4.37/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Another surprise from Founders as i expected this to be more bitter than it was. The slight sweetness to balance it out at the end was a masterstroke....great body, look and feel,this is another excellent stout from founders.possibly the best imperial stout ive tried.

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Photo of Tilly
4.1/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

P: Black, opaque, slight root beer head that dissipates quickly
A: Great coffee, chocolate, caramel, smoke.
T: Follows the aroma. Great bitter coffee/chocolate smoke. Alcohol in the back.
M: Syupy, chewy, balanced.
O: Another superior IPA. From Founders!

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Founders Imperial Stout from Founders Brewing Company
96 out of 100 based on 1,829 ratings.