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Founders Imperial Stout - Founders Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Founders Imperial StoutFounders Imperial Stout

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
97
world-class

5,474 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 5,474
Reviews: 1,579
rAvg: 4.37
pDev: 8.7%
Wants: 491
Gots: 1,310 | FT: 112
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: 5,474 | Reviews: 1,579 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Phyl21ca
Phyl21ca

Quebec (Canada)

3.73/5  rDev -14.6%
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.

Serving type: bottle

12-09-2005 20:13:36 | More by Phyl21ca
Photo of BEERchitect
BEERchitect

Kentucky

4.5/5  rDev +3%
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!

Serving type: bottle

03-21-2006 18:08:52 | More by BEERchitect
Photo of womencantsail
womencantsail

California

4.5/5  rDev +3%
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.

Serving type: bottle

01-07-2010 04:07:55 | More by womencantsail
Photo of acurtis
acurtis

New Jersey

3.5/5  rDev -19.9%

11-20-2011 21:54:42 | More by acurtis
Photo of kjkinsey
kjkinsey

Texas

4.5/5  rDev +3%

01-29-2012 17:21:22 | More by kjkinsey
Photo of ChainGangGuy
ChainGangGuy

Georgia

4.28/5  rDev -2.1%
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.

Serving type: bottle

04-10-2009 22:51:46 | More by ChainGangGuy
Photo of ygtbsm94
ygtbsm94

Virginia

4/5  rDev -8.5%

01-10-2012 08:04:46 | More by ygtbsm94
Photo of jaydoc
jaydoc

Kansas

4/5  rDev -8.5%

08-20-2013 04:20:56 | More by jaydoc
Photo of Texasfan549
Texasfan549

Texas

4.5/5  rDev +3%

12-01-2011 03:31:23 | More by Texasfan549
Photo of spycow
spycow

Illinois

4/5  rDev -8.5%

01-10-2013 01:55:53 | More by spycow
Photo of kylehay2004
kylehay2004

Florida

4.33/5  rDev -0.9%
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.

Serving type: bottle

12-25-2013 03:52:59 | More by kylehay2004
Photo of oberon
oberon

North Carolina

4.55/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours an ink black color with deep mocha colored head that leaves a nice sheet of lace behind,aromas of rum and butter dominate but there is a slight presence of grassy hop that adds to the aroma complexities.Think and full mouthfeel with rich buttery flavors with a rum/alcohol finish that really warms the inside and is very sustaining.Wow a big badass impy stout with tons of complexities Iam glad I have more to say the least.

Serving type: bottle

05-21-2005 00:55:27 | More by oberon
Photo of GRG1313
GRG1313

California

5/5  rDev +14.4%

11-27-2011 02:14:07 | More by GRG1313
Photo of Knapp85
Knapp85

Pennsylvania

3.9/5  rDev -10.8%
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.

Serving type: bottle

12-03-2011 03:43:46 | More by Knapp85
Photo of TMoney2591
TMoney2591

Illinois

4.15/5  rDev -5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Served in a Dogfish Head snifter.

Strangely, it took the BS and KBS to lead me to the IS, rather than the other way 'round (I assume that's the more conventional route, anyway). Finally. The pour results in a black soup usually reserved for coating pelicans and other wildlife during ecological disasters, topped by about a finger of burnt sienna froth. I miss crayons... The nose comprises roasted and toasted malts, molasses, chocolate, maple syrup, and a nice hint of vanilla. Yum so far. The taste holds notes of dark, smokey, roasted malts; dark chocolate; a tiny bit o' vanilla; and a slightly surprising hint of bourbon. The body is Kingpin heavy and coats the mouth with thick, chewy goodness. As much as I want to guzzle this beast, the thickness, richness, and relatively high ABV make this an impossible dream (though, like Quixote, that hasn't stopped me yet). Another fine example of tasty darkness from the boyz in Grand Rapids.

Serving type: bottle

06-23-2010 14:51:54 | More by TMoney2591
Photo of emerge077
emerge077

Illinois

4.38/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Grey label, bottle is notched on the top left, 4-pack is dated on the inside "Sep 30, 2004". From Orbitalr0x's blog, the 2005 has the purple trim label, therefore this is the 2004 edition. Also, no ABV listed on the bottle.

Served at 55-60º.
Pours into an Oerbier tulip an impenetrable black, like an espresso brownie. Head is a mocha creme, cascading with tiny bubbles. Irregular spotty lacing with the occassional patchwork of lace. Zero light gets through this one...

Rich milk chocolate aroma, with earthy malt in the background.

Huge chocolate and charred malts, espresso bean, lactic acid. Bitterness of baker's chocolate, long smoky char in the finish. Sweet and sticky on the lips. This stuff is pretty decadent. The full, impossibly smooth feel is akin to it's cousins KBS and Breakfast Stout. Milky texture. Every bit as smooth and delectable as KBS, but without the bourbon barrel influence.

Mellowed enough with time to diminish the alcohol burn of a fresh bottle. My first sample of this was a fresh one about 2 years ago, and I thought it was a monster. This aged bottle proves that it's possible to tame the boozy beast...

Notes: 3-year vertical '04-'06
2004: Mildly sweet chocolate, some oxidation/papery, chewy feel, slight tea-like aftertaste, possibly from age/oxidation.
2005: Slightly peppery, grapey, chocolate is more in the back, very long in the finish, bitterness has begun to fade.
2006: Peppery, licorice smell, definitely a greater hop presence, dryer & more alcoholic, some phenols and heat.

Thanks to Jay23 for upping the ante that made this vertical possible.

Serving type: bottle

09-05-2007 01:16:25 | More by emerge077
Photo of zeff80
zeff80

Missouri

4.3/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Poured out an opaque, black as oil color with no head to speak of at all. It left soapy residue on the glass.

S - It smelled of coffee, chocolate and roasty malts. There were some vanilla notes.

T - It tasted of dark chocolate and roasted malt with some bitter, sharp hop presence. There were touches of vanilla and boozy alcohol flavors.

M - It was soft, smooth and somewhat creamy. A medium to full-bodied beer with a warm alcohol presence.

D - This is a pretty good RIS. No surprise that Founders has yet another great beer in their lineup.

Serving type: bottle

01-11-2010 01:32:34 | More by zeff80
Photo of JAHMUR
JAHMUR

Connecticut

4.25/5  rDev -2.7%

03-29-2012 15:10:17 | More by JAHMUR
Photo of largadeer
largadeer

California

4.1/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Got this one from WeisGuy. Thank you, Shane.

2010 batch. The body is black as pitch, the head a deep brown that quickly recedes to a thick collar.

Delicious oatmeal raisin cookie aroma. Dark chocolate and black licorice are equally prevalent. Alcohol is barely noticed.

The palate, like the aroma, is much like an oatmeal cookie. Rich, but not terribly sweet - there's a good balance of charred malt, black licorice and bittersweet chocolate. Full bodied, a little ashy and tar-y mid-palate. The finish is sticky, bittersweet, deceptively smooth for a 10.5% beer. There's no trace of alcohol, no harshness; it's a very mellow beer, though drinkability is hampered by the sheer richness of it.

On the whole, I don't enjoy this as much as Breakfast Stout or KBS, but it's a great beer nonetheless.

Serving type: bottle

04-18-2011 05:35:53 | More by largadeer
Photo of NeroFiddled
NeroFiddled

Pennsylvania

4.5/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

From a fairly fresh bottle, packaged in March and consumed in June. Beautiful label. Standard cap on a screw-top Heritage bottle.

This extremely dark stout is completely opaque without even the slightest, darkest mahogany edge. The tight, creamy, dark tan head has a fire-like orange tint to it; but unfortunately thins in short time to an average collar. It initially leaves some short walls of lace, but after several sips all that are left are transient spots and splashes.

The nose is surprisingly restrained given its intense hue. Still, delicate notes of vinous fruit (plums/prune) combine with a touch of scortched caramel and cold espresso to leave it enticing.

The body is full, and although it's initially somewhat zesty, it does settle to become creamy once it warms.

The flavor is almost too intense to take in at once, and that's OK because as it warms more and more becomes revealed to you. Initially, it's dark roastiness dominates, allowing some espresso-like notes and the occassional flash of almost-burnt caramelized sugar to come through. As it warms, however, it opens up to reveal much more fruitiness including the traditional "burnt currant"; more dark fruits (plum, raisin, date); and some citrus/tropical character (pineapple, sweet grapefruit, melon). The coffee-like flavors increase as well, and in addition to a note of rich, dark chocolate toffee there's a full note of mocha java (sweet and bitter - perfectly balanced). Some piney hops emerge towards the finish, and they certainly come through in the burp! It finishes with a spritz of alcohol; some of the 'juicy' dark fruit (with some burnt raisin thrown in as well); and a fog of dark roasted notes that linger in the mouth and down the throat in an amazingly long lasting finish.

Full Throttle!!! Worth seeking.

Serving type: bottle

06-24-2005 20:57:52 | More by NeroFiddled
Photo of westcoastbeerlvr
westcoastbeerlvr

California

4/5  rDev -8.5%

11-14-2011 19:30:05 | More by westcoastbeerlvr
Photo of nickfl
nickfl

Florida

4/5  rDev -8.5%

02-28-2014 03:30:35 | More by nickfl
Photo of TheManiacalOne
TheManiacalOne

Rhode Island

4.05/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Acquired from fogdog courtesy of the Secret Bunny 2009 BIF, so a big "Thank You" goes out to him. Poured from a 12oz bottle into a tulip glass.

A: The beer is a deep dark brown color, with a thin light brown head that fades quickly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is of rich roasted malts, chocolate, some dark fruit, some coffee and a touch of hops.

T: The taste starts out with a very hearty roasted malt character and bitter-sweet flavors of rich creamy chocolate and some coffee and dark fruit. The hops presence is mild but where it should be for the style and brings a good balance. The after-taste is bitter-sweet.

M: Smooth and a little crisp, medium-to-heavy body, light-to-medium carbonation, finish is slightly sticky.

D: Tasty, goes down easily, slightly filling, strong but well-disguised kick, good representation of style, I have a feeling I might have let this one sit a little too long (at least two years, possibly longer) but it's still a good big stout worth drinking for a long time.

Serving type: bottle

03-01-2011 04:40:48 | More by TheManiacalOne
Photo of RblWthACoz
RblWthACoz

Pennsylvania

4.2/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours black with a brownish head. Nose is boozy with touches of molasses. Flavor is intense coffee off the first hit. Lots of roasted malts. Just a punch in the mouth nearly. Mellows out and gives a lot of molasses too fairly quickly. Thick and robust. Seems a bit too boisterous to be bringing the subtleties that you might be able to draw off the other "biggies." Either way, who cares. It's still hearty and robust and carries a great flavor profile. Thick molasses and quite malty. (But mostly, it's bringing the molasses.) Feel is thick and smooth on liquid. Carbonation is low. A pretty intense and hearty RIS. Another Founders beer I have enjoyed.

Serving type: bottle

04-16-2009 00:52:16 | More by RblWthACoz
Photo of MasterSki
MasterSki

Illinois

4.22/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This is the 2009 release - the recipe must be slightly different, as it lists 10.5% ABV and 90 IBUs. Served in a pint glass.

A - Looks like a good stout should. One finger of mocha foam that dissipates and leaves a ton of lacing. It's pitch black (not even brown at the edges), and there's a bunch of bubbles at the bottom of the glass.

S - Coffee, bittersweet chocolate, roast malt, some dark fruit sweetness as well - plums, currants, etc. There's some hop flavor as well, in a similar vein as fresh Darkness. It's really delicious, but not huge.

T - There's a lot of bitterness in this one - coming from the coffee, bitter chocolate, and even the hops. There is some residual sweetness on the edges of my tongue, but the taste is pretty consistent. Even the aftertaste is kind of bitter. I'm curious to see if this mellows out and sweetens up as it ages.

M - Medium-bodied, with a surprising amount of carbonation tingle to it. Leaves a sticky coating on the inside of my mouth.

D - The surprisingly refreshing mouthfeel and well-hidden ABV make this a very (and dangerously drinkable) stout. I should probably be sipping it, but instead I'm hitting it like an IPA. I'd definitely bring a 4-pack to a party.

It'd be nice if this was made more often than every three years, although it's not like Founder's has any bad brews to displace (they seem to have given up on that quad they made).

Serving type: bottle

01-31-2009 21:54:45 | More by MasterSki
Founders Imperial Stout from Founders Brewing Company
97 out of 100 based on 5,474 ratings.