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Founders Imperial Stout - Founders Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Founders Imperial StoutFounders Imperial Stout

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BA SCORE
97
world-class

5,880 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 5,880
Reviews: 1,599
rAvg: 4.36
pDev: 8.72%
Wants: 535
Gots: 1,416 | FT: 121
Brewed by:
Founders Brewing Company visit their website
Michigan, United States

Style | ABV
Russian Imperial Stout |  10.50% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes/Commercial Description:
90 IBU

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 02-12-2005)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 5,880 | Reviews: 1,599 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Sammy
4/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A bit sour Balkan, but that sourness was moderated. Smooth and rich to sip. Good appearance and chocolate roast aroma. Whisper of smoke. Medium to full mouthfeel. Good lunch accompaniment. I think you brought it in Wohlfs, so thank you. Second bottle sent by Dr. Jay and not sourness.

Sammy, Jul 24, 2005
Photo of t0rin0
4.25/5  rDev -2.5%

t0rin0, Sep 29, 2012
Photo of UCLABrewN84
4.43/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Kelly88/Exiled for each sending me a bottle of this.

Pours a super thick super black color with a very small 1/2 dark chocolate colored head that fades to nothing. Little lacing here and there on the glass. Smells very nice with coffee/espresso, bittersweet chocolate, alcohol, and slight soy sauce. Oddly, I also get a distinct aroma of onion dip. Taste is very rich with strong brewed coffee, bittersweet chocolate, and slight licorice. Slight coffee bitterness after each sip. There is a tiny bit of alcohol burn in the throat. Low carbonation makes this a very thick and creamy beer that coats the mouth. Overall, a great RIS that I am very happy I got to try.

UCLABrewN84, Apr 10, 2011
Photo of djrn2
4/5  rDev -8.3%

djrn2, Nov 22, 2011
Photo of zestar
4.25/5  rDev -2.5%

zestar, May 08, 2013
Photo of spycow
4/5  rDev -8.3%

spycow, Jan 10, 2013
Photo of Thorpe429
4.15/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

G: 18-ounce glass snifter.

A: Pours a thick, dark, opaque liquid, reminiscent of Hershey's syrup in color. Starts off with about a finger-and-a-half of head that is nutty in color. There are a decent amount of carbonation bubbles visible on the top of the head, and the head recedes quickly to about half a finger. Decent amount of lacing as it goes down.

S: Very smeet malt smell from the start, fading into a calming alcohol presence. Hints of dark, unsweetened chocolate and a subtle whiff of coffee. Little to no hop presence, although I cannot be sure how old this beer is, as I don't believe it has any sort of bottled-on date.

T: The initial taste first brings a sweetness that hits the back corners of the mouth--reminds me of the feel of green apple Jolly Ranchers in the mouth, though with much less pungency. A mild caramel biscuit flavor underneath the sweetness.

M: Medium-bodied and crisp. Mild carbonation on the tongue and crisp as it goes down. Maybe just a little bit hot in the mouth--I'd bet the mouthfeel would be sublime with a year or two on it.

D: Quite savory. Not quite as complex as Expedition, although it'll definitely factor into the rotation. I'll definitely lay a couple of these down to see how the flavor profile develops over time.

Thorpe429, Mar 03, 2009
Photo of acurtis
3.5/5  rDev -19.7%

acurtis, Nov 20, 2011
Photo of nmann08
4.75/5  rDev +8.9%

nmann08, Jan 08, 2013
Photo of metter98
3.85/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

A: The beer is absolutely jet black in color. It poured like motor oil with a thin mocha head that quickly vanished, leaving only a think ring of bubbles on the surface around the edge of the glass.
S: There are light aromas of roasted malts in the nose.
T: The beer has flavors of dark roasted malts and a light amount of bitterness.
M: It feels full-bodied on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation and some dryness in the finish.
O: The beer itself can be overwhelming, but it pairs well with cookies.

metter98, Jan 24, 2012
Photo of Texasfan549
4.5/5  rDev +3.2%

Texasfan549, Dec 01, 2011
Photo of brentk56
4.05/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This is the pre-2005 recipe as the bottle clearly states "Limited Edition on the top of the label."

Appearance: Pours a jet black inky color with a light brown head that hangs around for a good while and leaves some dots of lacing around the glass

Smell: Dark fruit, chocolate molasses, coffee and alcohol

Taste: Starts out with a chocolate and dark fruit mouthful that changes, after the swallow to some bitter tobacco flavors; slightly phenolic on the finish, which may be the result of age

Mouthfeel: Thick and chewy; modest carbonation

Drinkability: A decent Impy Stout but I was expecting a bit more; may be because of the age, however - tasted again on 10/12/09 and drinks almost identically; just a touch less warmth from the alcohol and less phenolics - tasted in 2014 and has a lot more chocolate, no dark fruit and quite a bit of hops

brentk56, Jul 31, 2006
Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.83/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pennzoil 10W-40 black. Does motor oil have highlights? I didn't think so. The fudge colored cap is one of the darkest that I've ever seen and is an imposing three fingers immediately after the pour. It looks as though I'll have to time its descent with a calendar, so my lace assessment will have to wait. I'm being so impatient because the glass is more than a foot from my nose and the beer smells absolutely wonderful.

It smells fantastic up close too. Founders says that they use 10 varieties of malt in Imperial Stout. That may be true, but the lion's share of the total just has to be chocolate and black because the nose is as dark and as aggressive as the color. Most of each noseful is made up of ridiculously roasted barley that oozes aromas of bittersweet chocolate, blackstrap molasses and ground espresso beans. Incredibly, I can also appreciate a whiff of tangy citric hops.

There's no letdown on the palate. In fact, it's even better in the mouth than it was in the nose, something that I didn't think was possible. This is one of the most shockingly flavorful Imperial stouts in existence. Screw Spinal Tap's amps, this sucker goes to 12! Take no chances, drink this beer at or near room temperature for maximum taste bud slappage.

The best part about the flavor profile (other than the fact that it's as deep as the Marianas Trench) is the concentrated, almost liqueur-like flavor and the fact that anise is so prominent. I don't remember a beer that showcases that particular flavor to this degree. American-grown hops play a major role as well; a stunning achievement in a beer that, by my best guess, is about 16 months old.

I was going to say (prior to popping the cap at least) that I'm glad that some brewers are releasing their high-ABV beer in 12 ounce bottles since an entire bomber is tough to get through on occasion, depending on the time of day, circumstances, etc. When the beer is this mind-blowingly delicious though, I'll take the biggest bottle the brewery can muster and let the chips (and me) fall where they (I) may.

Beer this big deserves a body to match. Thankfully, one has been provided. It's been a while since I drank a stout with this much chewy malt. It's almost milkshake-like! Crack open a thesaurus, look up the word creamy and insert what you see in the following sentence: Founders Imperial Stout's mouthfeel is incredibly <insert>. Thanks, you've just saved me a little time and effort.

I continue to be floored by Founders Brewing Company. As long as they continue to brew beer like Imperial Stout (and so many others), they'll have a perennial spot in my top-10 breweries in America. This is a stunning beer that caught me a little off-guard with just how good it is. There are scores of great RISs out there. Founder's version can hang with the best of them and then some.

BuckeyeNation, Aug 29, 2006
Photo of BEERchitect
4.5/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Founders simply kill it with all of their larger-than-life stouts. Although for some, their standard Imperial Stout seeps through the cracks because it's readily available when in season, for me its in the upper echelon of stouts anywhere, hands down.

As black, and nearly as thick, as 30 weight motor oil, the beer has an ultra inky appearance that reads like onyx to the eye and with absolute opaqueness. Terse on head character, the beer releases a tiny sheet of sand-stained foam before dissolving to a translucent film that evenly coats the surface midway through the session. Although retention gives way a little too soon and the lacing succumbs to the alcohol and viscosity, the beer still gives a time honored appearance of well crafted stouts.

Espresso, brownie batter, milk chocolate, cognac-like alcohols, and fudge aromas mingle about the nose with sultry and savory scents. These seduce the olfactory senses in ways that few beers can. Background notes of burnt fruit, such as cherries, red grapes, and currants inform the roasted malts but are careful to never rival the sweeter toasted scent.

Delicious chocolaty fudge and brownie flavors become a bridge from aroma to taste in effortless fashion. Backed with the firm bitterness of espresso roast, charred grain, and near-smoky woods, the beer becomes more than malty sweetness and balances the beer to near perfection. Those esters of charbroiled fruits accent the almost smoky elements and gives the nearly abrasive ten percent alcohols something to hide behind.

Without saying, the beer is certainly full bodied and then some. It's oily coat is awash in the mouth and saturates the membranes with full effect. The low-lying alcohols allow the beer to rest weightedly on the mouth and seeps into the tissues with a mesmerizing mouthfeel. The beer retains its structure well past where the finish is expected, even as the bitterness from hops and the alcohol warmth wants closure. It's indefinate linger blends seamlessly into the next sip even if minutes away. This is a dessert beer for sure!

BEERchitect, Mar 21, 2006
Photo of Phyl21ca
3.73/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle: Poured a pitch-black color ale with a medium dark brown foamy head with better then average retention. Aroma of deep black chocolate with slight roasted malt without any discernable hops. Taste is also dominated by the sweet black chocolate with some roasted malt. The taste is really sweeter then expected and I can’t seem to notice any hops or bitterness which kind of seems to be missing. Body is above average with a full creamy texture. Alcohol is very well hidden which is another plus. Nice and enjoyable but would have appreciated a higher hops profile.

Phyl21ca, Dec 09, 2005
Photo of kjkinsey
4.5/5  rDev +3.2%

kjkinsey, Jan 29, 2012
Photo of GRG1313
5/5  rDev +14.7%

GRG1313, Nov 27, 2011
Photo of mikesgroove
3.83/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 3 | smell: 5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

This was the thickest looking beer I have ever poured. It was like oil or molasses. Thick with no head, none at all, nadda, not even a bubble. No lace ethier, very odd for an RIS. Smell was very nice. Deep dark chocolate and roasted coffee mixed in with hints of vanilla and sugar. Very sweet, and damn near perfect smell on this, fine job, very rich and desert like. The taste was strong, and definatly packed a punch. Very sweet, with the biggest flavor here being roasted coffee and chocolate. Definate alcohol presence here whci at 10% is not shock. Again the feel was very thick, but the lack of carbonation hurt it, as it did not feel as creamy as it could have been. This left the mouthfeel a bit dull and flat. The finish was nice, dry and somewhat hoppy. This one needs more carbonation. The flatness in the mouthfeel takes away from the great aromas and flavors it possess. Maybe/hopefully it was just a bad bottle, will have to seek this one out again.

mikesgroove, Mar 19, 2007
Photo of ygtbsm94
4/5  rDev -8.3%

ygtbsm94, Jan 10, 2012
Photo of jaydoc
4/5  rDev -8.3%

jaydoc, Aug 20, 2013
Photo of womencantsail
4.5/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: The pour is viscous and black with a finger or so off mocha colored foam that dissipates somewhat quickly, but leaves a nice bit of lacing.

S: Loads of coffee, chocolate, roasted malt, a bit of dark fruit, and a touch of alcohol.

T: The amount of chocolate in this beer is amazing. A very smooth chocolate and coffee taste with a nice hint of bitterness on the finish.

M: Very smooth, rich, and creamy.

D: An awesome RIS, one of the better ones I've had, actually. The alcohol is pretty much non-existent and the flavors are absolutely amazing and epitomize an RIS.

womencantsail, Jan 07, 2010
Photo of kylehay2004
4.33/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Half finger dark tan head on a jet black body, some lacing. Aroma of dark chocolate, banana bread, coffee, vinegar, roasted malts and soap. Not very sweet smelling, mostly bitterness. Flavor is much better with a nice balance between confectioners semisweet dark chocolate and espresso beans, coffee bitterness on a roasted malt background. Thick body with carbonation a little greater than I want fore the style. I like the degree of earthiness and bitterness. Some of these has too much vanilla sweetness.

kylehay2004, Dec 25, 2013
Photo of Knapp85
3.9/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This brew poured out as a black thick looking liquid. The head was brown in color with a light lacing. The smell of the beer was heavily roasted with some burnt wood aromas in there too. The taste of the beer was good, it was roasted and bitter with a light sweetness in there too. The mouthfeel had a good oily thickness to it which was nice. It left a good coating in the mouth too. Overall this beer is pretty good.

Knapp85, Dec 03, 2011
Photo of ChainGangGuy
4.28/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Passed along to me via kp. Thanks, kp! The age of the bottle is unknown to me.

Appearance: Pours a deep, heavy, black body with a thin, brief, dark tan head.

Smell: Bold, assertive roasted malt aroma layered with rich, yet slightly sweet-smelling notes along with a particularly fruit background scent of plums and prunes.

Taste: Why, it's a whole myriad of malt flavors: bittersweet chocolate, dark caramel, blackened grains, espresso-flavored oatmeal, licorice, and molasses. Again, there's a big pop of fruitiness, now followed by a drizzle of sherry. Slight roasty, earthy bitterness midway. Pinch of Latakia pipe tobacco. Minor hints of peppery alcohol. There's a pleasant interplay of concentrated fruit and roasted malt flavors prior to the drying, roasty finish. A taste of charred sugars lasts into the aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: Medium-full body. Medium-low carbonation. Smooth, tongue-battering mouthfeel.

Drinkability: Dense, succulent malt flavors and pleasantly warming throughout, though, for the most part, the alcohol content remains rather well-hidden. It would not be advantageous at all for you to pass up this one.

ChainGangGuy, Apr 10, 2009
Photo of westcoastbeerlvr
4/5  rDev -8.3%

westcoastbeerlvr, Nov 14, 2011
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Founders Imperial Stout from Founders Brewing Company
97 out of 100 based on 5,880 ratings.