Founders Imperial Stout - Founders Brewing Company

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Founders Imperial StoutFounders Imperial Stout

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BA SCORE
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world-class

1,711 Reviews
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Reviews: 1,711
Hads: 6,941
rAvg: 4.32
pDev: 3.7%
Wants: 660
Gots: 1,984 | 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: 6,941
Photo of largadeer
4.12/5  rDev -4.6%
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. (799 characters)

Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.8/5  rDev +11.1%
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. (2,852 characters)

Photo of emerge077
4.36/5  rDev +0.9%
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. (1,605 characters)

Photo of mikesgroove
3.88/5  rDev -10.2%
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. (963 characters)

Photo of zeff80
4.29/5  rDev -0.7%
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. (551 characters)

Photo of oberon
4.55/5  rDev +5.3%
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. (430 characters)

Photo of womencantsail
4.5/5  rDev +4.2%
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. (572 characters)

Photo of ChainGangGuy
4.25/5  rDev -1.6%
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. (1,136 characters)

Photo of wethorseblanket
4.27/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Reviewed from notes:
Shared by John (MaxStout) - thanks

A: Pours straight black with orangish edges and a decent mocha head fading to the edge. Minimal lace.

S: Roasty oat grains, floral hops, faint dark chocolate and coffee.

T: Roasted malts, dark chocolates, oats are well balanced.

M: Thick and smooth, slick and tongue coating. Somewhat dry and bitter on the finish.

O: Very good and enjoyable. Would seek this out. (424 characters)

Photo of TMoney2591
4.13/5  rDev -4.4%
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. (943 characters)

Photo of NeroFiddled
4.5/5  rDev +4.2%
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. (1,815 characters)

Photo of Kegatron
4.4/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On tap at Founders.

Pours black as night with a thin head of a burnt mocha colored tan creamy foam. Retention is very nice and wouldn't quit, leaving behind some spotty lacing and brown oily residue down the sides of the glass. The aroma is a tingling mix of roasted bitterness and heat, chocolate sweetness, zippy coffee character, and dark fruit tartness.

The taste is rich, roasted bitterness right off the bat that melds into chocolate and molasses sweetness, additional bitter coffee notes, and a dark fruit tang in the backend. Finishes with a combo of bitter notes and warm, tart sweetness. The mouthfeel is full, rich and creamy with the alcohol presence adding beefiness and warmth to the overall feel.

Wow, this is pretty much the definition of a RIS. Founders leaves nothing out with a complex taste and aroma that is held up by a muscular yet approachable body. I'm definitely getting a case of this next time it's released. Great stuff! (954 characters)

Photo of TheManiacalOne
4.07/5  rDev -5.8%
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. (1,028 characters)

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

A: A super dark thick frothy head rises up 1 finger and slowly fades over pitch black and super thick beer.

N: Lots of roast, chocolate, hops, dark malts, with some bittering hops. Mostly dark malts, crystal, roasted, chocolate, etc. That adds some sweet aromas and syrupy too. THen come bitter hops with some earthy and spicy hop aromas. A little coffee too.

T: Pretty rich, lots of malts again, with lots of roast, a little chocolate, crystal, etc. This time some smoked malts too with some smoked flavor and even smoked gouda cheese or smoked cured meats. Chewy malts with all that. Touch of chocolate, some good roast and coffee. Some bitterness as well, some from roasted malts but quite a bit of hops too. Hops come in the earthy spicy variety. Semi smooth and a little creamy, but thick and chewy at the same time.

M: very thick and chewy, somewhat smooth and a little syrupy with decent carbonation.

F: Bitter! It has quite a bit of bitterness, mostly from the charred malts. WIth that is a touch of minerality and little soy sauce but not much. THere are also some hops that come in the finish adding more bitterness and earthy flavors. Lingering roast and some coffee, as well as perhaps black patent malt dark flavors. A little stickiness, but not as much as I expected for how thick and chewy it is. It also hides the booze well and drinks more like a 7-8% rather than 10.5%.

I love this stout, lots of dark malts, chewy, bitter, hoppy, and overall pretty drinkable. A nice roast, coffee, and chocolate addition as well but not over the top in any. Best of all is the price landing this at about $4 for a 12oz which is much more affordable than most great RIS beers. (1,685 characters)

Photo of RblWthACoz
4.16/5  rDev -3.7%
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. (654 characters)

Photo of Slatetank
4.13/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I picked this up at Brass Rail in Campbelltown.
Poured from the stubby 12oz into a snifer and an 1/2 pint

A - Almost pitch black like oozing slimy railroad tie pitch w/ a molasses type reddish hue. The cap is a honey shade of brown w/ rocky foam froma vigorous pour. The head settles slowly to a ring around the glass. The opacity is pretty impressive while there are random streams of tan lace splattered like silly string. I am piqued by the beauty of this stout

S - cookies, lots of cocoa and chocolate malt w/ a dark chocolate and mild pine hop aroma. The nose has a caramel/vanilla note and mellow fig w/ toffee accent. Touches of cooking herbs and spicy hop tinges round out the fragrant odor

M - Rich and spicy w/ mucho maltiness-the feel is full. The level of carbonation is moderate which pleases my palate. There is a warmth of alcohol as it finishes w/ bitter hop spice and sweet stickiness of dark malts

T - A rich dark chocolate flavor begins the Founders Imperial Stout experience w/ mild buttery toffee that fades into a bitter citrus hop taste which brings out more caramel and roasted barley flavor in contrast. The spice plays well w/ the dark toasted an chocolate malts. The plum notes come forward gently as it warms w/ an herbal hop taste. The taste of green pepper is noted and seems to overshadow the malty cocoa taste at the end. There is bitter flavors in the residual taste and alchol giving a green impression. The taste of sweetened espresso also unfolds as the final sips reveal more vanilla bean taste in the spice flavor.

D - The taste of this Imperial stout is very layered yet a bit 'angular', slightly on the edgier side w/ more of a malt + hop interplay w/ 90 ibus almost apparent in flavor and the 10% is not very hidden, but it more than makes up for it in the flavor - a highly drinkable impy on the hoppy side. I can't wait to taste this again (1,892 characters)

Photo of russpowell
4.41/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Got this one from joe1510, cheers Joe!

Pours ebony with a pinky of chocolate head. Nice oily sheen, above average lacing & below averagehead retention

S: Bourbon, vanilla, oak & toffee, plus some hazel nut??

T: Dryness, roasty malt, dark fruit, leafy & herbal hops up front. Some booze warmth is coming through as this warms, along with plummyness, charred grain, coffee & oaky dryness. Finishes dry, with juicy charred grain & some dark fruit, plus some smokeyness & sourmash aftertaste

MF: Slick, pretty rich & chewy with great balance

Drinks easy for the style & ABV, not my favorite, but not far from it (612 characters)

Photo of Rifugium
4/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

First had: on tap at Capone's, Norristown, PA

Poured a thick, opaque black with a small mocha head; minimal retention and lacing. Aroma is pretty typical of the style: dark malts, roasty coffee, cocoa, some noticeable alcohol. Sweet taste, caramel, dark malts, chocolate, pumpernickel, some bitterness coming in from the coffee, and a slight alcohol burn. Heavy-medium body, not overly extraordinary or unique, but obviously still a fine brew overall. (452 characters)

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

This has been an elusive beer for me I've had many of Founders specialties and rarer brews but I have had trouble tracking down the Imperial Stout until I stopped in at D's this past week. I love anything dark they make especially their porter I wish they would make a standard stout as well because their porter is world class.

Appears a deep dark black hue with a big mocha tan head forming thick in my Sierra Nevada chalice. Fine even seckled lacing all around this black beauty.

Aroma has big dark chocolate and espresso bean freshly roasted tones with big vanilla and slight anise edges to it. Dark fruit hidden in the dark roasted malt character, almost a wine like nose in the finish.

Flavor is creamy roasted malt ridden with bitter dark chocolate and heavy espresso notes. Heavy hops hit the palate with a sharp creamy milk chocolate syrup finish this stuff is classic and should be a friend of any craft beer fiend.

Mouthfeel is full bodied coats the palate from the front to the back, I can't get enough of this style of big beer from Founders just tell them as they get it it's okay to send it to the Pittsburgh market.

Drinkability overall is incredible the best heavy dark beer I've had whilst living in te ohio valley for quite sometime.

Update version bottled on 12-15-11

Appears so dark that it absolutely absorbs all degrees of the visible light spectrum, big dark tan head almost a leathery brown thick soft textured head creamy billowing just outright beautiful. Fine speckled lacing dances around the sides of my Samuel Smith imperial pint glass. Aroma has earthy herbal hops big loads of dark chocolate notes, something soy sauce about this batch that works into an imperial stout profile, dark fruit hints of anise black licorice. Flavor is full of dark fruit big blast of coffee dark espresso grade strength, creamy dark chocolate bitterness just an aboslute excellent interpretation of an imperial sout. Full bodied stout that coats the palate from every angle the most filling beer around, even smooth carbonation not a cloying bone in this beers body. Supreme being of imperial stout in the world there's really not a better beer out there even compared to KBS, CBS, or Breakfast Stout this beer is the base example of all of those beers. (2,277 characters)

Photo of kojevergas
3.56/5  rDev -17.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Founders Imperial Stout 2011 Vintage (bottled 12/22/11). Acquired from the very generous Duff27 in a trade. Thanks again, buddy! 10.50% ABV confirmed. I love Founders, so I have high hopes for this one. I haven't had it before, but I loved KBS and FBS. 90 IBUs. Label art is okay. 12 fl oz/355ml brown glass bottle with standard pressure cap served into a conical Samuel Smith's pint glass in me gaff in low altitude Los Feliz, Los Angeles, California. Reviewed live. Expectations are sky high given the brewery and style (which they seem to be adept at).

Served straight from the fridge and allowed to warm considerably over the course of consumption. Side-poured with standard vigor as no carbonation issues are anticipated.

A: Pours a one finger rich vibrant hold-tan head of fantastic cream and thickness, and pretty good (3 minute) retention for the high ABV. I love that gilded tan appearance; few imperial stouts can really pull that off. Body colour is a solid nontransparent opaque jet black. No yeast particles are visible. No bubble show. Nice lacing as the head recedes. That's exactly how an imperial stout should look.

Sm: Burnt malt, light fennel/licorice, creamy roasted barley, dark malts, chocolate, chocolate malt, and hints of light buried stonefruit. Light molasses. Malty sweetness. I can detect some light alcohol, but it's not a hot or boozy aroma; I can tell age may have done this one well. Coffee roast when I look for it. A surprisingly timid aroma of mere average strength. Understated, but I'd stop short of calling the aroma subtle per se. The fennel/licorice has me worried; I have a personal aversion to that flavour.

T: The first thing I notice is the black coffee bitterness and chocolate bitterness on the climax - which is more pronounced than expected, but welcome. It's more sweet in the first and early second acts. Chocolatey throughout - dark chocolate, not milk chocolate, though there is some cream up front. Little alcohol comes through at all; this isn't boozy or hot in any way. Maybe a twinge of licorice, but it doesn't bother me. I could use more roast - both in terms of barley and coffee, but there is some here. Burnt malt is prominent and works well. Dark malts abound. It's well put together and cohesive. A balanced Russian Imperial Stout, if a timid one. I want more depth of flavour than I'm getting, and each note doesn't ring distinct. Good amplitude, to be sure, but because the execution of the amplitude is so high, I have trouble really enjoying each distinct flavour. Any hop character is generic floral and functions here purely as a preservative. It's a rich flavour, but not overly so. The bitterness keeps the richness in check. Low acidity. Not at all a harsh flavour profile; it's quite mellow. Good body and build for the style. It's complex and well done, but I want bolder flavours. I quite like it and it's a tasty brew, but it's not perfect.

Mf: Warm and lightly creamy. Excellent carbonation. Not at all astringent. Good body here. It's smooth and wet. Thick and a bit chewy. Maybe a touch oily. Good presence on the palate. Complements the flavour profile well, even feeling a bit custom-tailored towards it. A bit smacky (if you will). I could use a touch more coarseness and dryness.

Dr: Drinkable for the style, but you wouldn't down it by the glass. It hides its ABV well and is an enjoyable sipper. It's a solid brew from Founders, but it's not quite on the level of KBS or even FBS, styles taken into consideration and all. I'd get it again and it's quite tasty, but it's not exemplary. A good Russian Imperial Stout that fans of the style will be pleased with, but it's not amongst the best out there. I'd recommend it to friends, but Founders does make better beers. I'll have little trouble finishing my bottle, but I do wish I had someone to split it with. Thanks again for the opportunity to try this, Duff27!

Low B

Probably best aged for 1-3 years.

Would pair well with chocolate or truffle. (3,997 characters)

Photo of MasterSki
4.25/5  rDev -1.6%
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). (1,397 characters)

Photo of smcolw
4.3/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Her's my second review:

Pours like motor oil--thick and dark. Great beige head. Only spotty lace remains on the glass. Very dark brown where no light shines through.

Chocolatey with a touch of coffee. Strong chalkiness to the nose.

Strong French Roast coffee smell. No chocolate in the taste. Very bitter from the burnt malt. The aftertaste goes for a long time...almost chewy. The body is rich, but the alcohol is well hidden. Thick but with a good level of carbonation.

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First review:

Dark beige head--perhaps the darkest one I've ever seen. Very thick. Leaves a coating of lace like a blanket on the glass. The liquor is nearly black.

Lots of chalky cocoa to the nose.

Dry, coffee flavors up front. Although it is potent at 10.5% abv, the alcohol warmth is missing--very deceptive. There's a touch of cream to this beer. The body is extremely rich, like light cream. The carbonation is low so it is exaggerated.

It's too dry to be a dessert beer; it's too rich to be a regular brew. But it is a special beer, worth seeking out. (1,046 characters)

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

Terminal blackness describes the appearance, full-on ebony, covered by a toasted brown cap.
Aroma is all things you want in an Imperial Stout, mollases, carob, anise, mostly chocolate, with undertones of coffee, rich, complex and deeply dark....a tickler for the nostrils, there's a fullness of flavor in the smell of this, that simply must be savored at length. I want to stave off the sipping, just to bask in this olfactory delight.
On the lips and off the tongue, it's a thick, rich sensation...a fullness in the mouth, comes in grand force and takes over the cavernous reaches of the mouth...sits in command on the palate, as excess dark deliciousness drips over...a kingpin of the Imperial Stout variety, though certainly no Dark Lord...I don't taste any 12%, but it's making it's way assuredly onto my system, I can nice drinkability on it, too, despite the high octane booziness...it doesn't feel too bad on me, at least, not until I try to stand up...whoop=wha---whoa!!

much thanks to Chaz for the bottle...a happier day will fall when Founders is available locally! (1,080 characters)

Photo of mdfb79
4.37/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into my Duvel tulip. Received as part of my Secret Santa box thanks to pwoods; thanks Patrick! Bottle in from January 2009.

a - Pours a jet black color with two inches of tan head and moderate carbonation evident. Tiny bit of lacing on the glass.

s - Smells of cocoa, sweet chocolate, caramel malts, roasted malts, sweet fruit, and some sugar or molasses. A lot sweeter than I was expecting but I really like it a lot.

t - Tastes of milk chocolate, cocoa, roasted malts, vanilla, dark fruits, molasses again, and very very light alcohol. Again, very good.

m - Full body and low carbonation, very smooth and creamy. Great mouthfeel.

d - A really great RIS; I loved this beer. I thought the nose was amazing and the taste was almost as good. It also had a great body. Would love to have this again. (829 characters)

Photo of drabmuh
4.35/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

An awesome unexpected extra sent by JohnQVegas, one of my all time favorite RIS, Founders. You are the man.

Beer is black and has a brown head with tiny bubbles that disappears quickly. Minimal lacing on the glass.

Beer is roasty and sweet in the aroma, inviting me to drink.

Beer is sweet and mildly roasty without an aftertaste. Lots of coffee flavors, no ash. Medium body, easy drinking, beautiful. Mildly sweet in the front overall very nice. So drinkable, great feeling in the mouth too. I love this beer. Next opportunity I'm buying a case of this. (557 characters)

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