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Founders Imperial Stout - Founders Brewing Company

Founders Imperial StoutFounders Imperial Stout

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

4,946 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 4946
Reviews: 1548
rAvg: 4.37
pDev: 8.47%

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: 4,946 | Reviews: 1,548 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of challenja


4.4/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Served on tap at the Black Squirrel in ADMO, DC.

A: Pours charcoal black with a two finger dark chocolate mocha head. The head disappears quick.. good beer, good beer.
S: Straight up dark vanilla malts, dark burnt bourbon barrel. Dark black cherry mild Costa Rican roast with caramel and green banana peel.
T: The alcohol and in stringent black burnt coffee starts it off strong and lingers on for a long time on the palate. Charcoal black cherries. 90 percent dark African cocoa. Very strong malt backbone that smacks you is thorough throughout.
M: This is a high carbo swisher that mellows on the tongue.
The tingle is immense. Not for the faint of heart. Nice bourbon barrel heat burn.
O: A really strong punch in the mouth imperial stout that is dead serious in character and appearance. A slow sipper that could be a two and out.

Serving type: on-tap

02-12-2012 04:14:05 | More by challenja
Photo of ScreamForMe


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

Received from Educator BIF - darkerthebetter (thanks Ed!)

Minimal head. 90 IBU on the bottle concerned me a bit. I shouldn't of worried. Beautifully balanced imperial stout.

A bit of different take on the style. Very much a sipper. Improves as you drink it. Glad I just received another bottle!

Serving type: bottle

03-20-2009 04:01:13 | More by ScreamForMe
Photo of EnJeiBee


4.9/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A - This brew is one of the best looking imperial stouts I've ever seen. It pours obsidian black with a deep, dark 2-finger chocolate head. After gradually falling into the beer, a thin and pleasant dark tan head is left, leaving solid lacing in it's wake.

S - A sharp bitterness hits you first, a mix of hops, dark bittersweet chocolate and espresso.

T - Mildly sweet chocolate flavors dominate before being taken over by bitter expresso and deep bittersweet chocolate notes.

M - Extremely smooth and silkly at first with quite a dry finish.

O - This is the epitome of the style. It stands out as an amazing example of a great beer that is great simply because it is perfectly to style. If you ever get the chance to dry this do not pass it up!

Serving type: bottle

01-11-2012 03:50:48 | More by EnJeiBee
Photo of MBrausen


4/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a CSB snifter.

A. Pours a dark chocolate black, 1 finder of dark mocha head, quickly drops to a thin layer and rest at a ring of foam with some bubbles.

S. Smells of dark chocolate, strong toffeee and sweet hops

T. Tastes of very strong toffee, dark burned chocolates, slight hops and candi sugar.

M. Medium heavy body, very chewy, medium carbonation, seems like high carbonation for a IS, has a wet finish.

O. A very good beer. Have had it many times, but this is the first time reviewing. Thick and delicious, with lots of bold flavors. Well worth searching out and try.

Serving type: bottle

01-31-2012 21:32:09 | More by MBrausen
Photo of itsscience


4.21/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

It was presented to me black with about a finger of brown head. Smelling it, I get a lot of roasted grains with chocolate, charred wood with a hint of smoke, some coffee, and a slight hop aroma. The taste is much more chocolate-forward. It has a dark chocolate and cocoa powder profile carrying a vein of caramel, with a creamy, full mouthfeel throughout. It finishes with a roasty burnt oat taste with a manageable level of astringency.

Serving type: on-tap

04-23-2014 05:24:00 | More by itsscience
Photo of da_beers


4.45/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Got this for my wife for mother's day (her favorite beers are Stouts and Porters) and I had to get one for myself.

A - Poured a gorgeous dark black with a beautiful tan head of about a finger. Poured thick like a syrup almost (exaggerated), was beautiful in the snifter.

S - Smelled of molasses, dark chocolate, and a nice smokey/roasted malt.

T - Exceptional. Warmed the body on its way down. Had obvious chocolate and malt flavors through and through, as well as that molasses again. Was pleasantly surprised at the hop bitterness with this stout coming it at 90 IBUs.

M - Was definitely full bodied and a meal. Every glass has a sandwich in it! Very full flavored and buttery, coating the palate with its components.

O - Overall a great stout, Founders nailed this one. One of my top stouts for sure.

Serving type: bottle

05-15-2013 01:38:12 | More by da_beers
Photo of hops202

District of Columbia

4.63/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Poured into a Stone Snifter.

Initial appearence looks great. Nice thick chocolate moch head. Aroma has roast, espresso, booziness, cocoa, dark-bitter chocolate. Taste is very complex with dark chocolate, molasses, espresso, with a dry and burnt bitter ending - as to be expected at 90 IBU. Quite unique and definitely one of the best RIS out there.

Serving type: bottle

03-14-2014 23:23:52 | More by hops202
Photo of Lothar666

Rhode Island

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

Poured into a snifter from a 12 oz bottle that I picked up in a mixed six at Nikki's Liquors.

Appearance - Poured a delightfully opaque, jet black body with a thick creamy head the color of day old coffee with just a tiny bit of cream in it. Lacing on the sides of the glass was thick and muddy.

Smell- Burnt coffee, dark chocolate, roasted malts and just a little dark fruit. Spectacular.

Taste- Oh. My. God. More delicious burnt coffee, dark bakers chocolate and roasted malts balanced by a brutal dose of hops and an aftertaste like black licorice. The taste lingers in the mouth and numbs all other sensations like something akin to the way your tongue feels after you burn it eating food just out of the oven, only it is much more pleasant.

Mouthfeel - Heavy, bready, chewy, oily, and amazing. The consistency is like spent motor oil, it coats the tongue and lingers. This beer is a dessert all in itself.

Overall - This is a phenomenal example of the style, and exactly what I have come to expect from Founders. The strong malt characteristics and heavy consistency mask the 10.5% ABV extremely well, while simultaneously making it a slow sipper in order to appreciate its complexity.

Serving type: bottle

01-05-2013 02:24:05 | More by Lothar666
Photo of TVolt1


4.18/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Very thick dark brown beer with a small amount of caramel colored head. While pouring, appeared to be very thick.

S: Smells of chocolate and has a hint of alcohol smell to it. Not super roasty but just a little. Mainly can smell cocoa beans.

T: Tastes very much like the cocoa beans I smelt. I little too much alcohol taste but I do like that it bordered on the chocolate taste versus the coffee bean taste like most imperial stouts. Has a strong kick to it at the end. Maybe I need to age it a little more...

M: Great thick mouthfeel which goes well with this style of beer.

O: Overall, this is a good beer. I like the taste and smell but disliked the alcohol burn at the end of it.

Serving type: bottle

01-08-2012 02:42:55 | More by TVolt1
Photo of vobr0002


4.08/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A- dark black, caramel color head.

S- burnt roasty malt. Some chocolate hiding in the backgrou nd and maybe a bit of coffee.

T- roasty, chocolate, coffee, and alcohol burn in the finish.

M- thick and creamy. Covers your mouth and higher carbonation level to enhance mouth feel.

O- This is a good stout. I think with some time down in my cellar this beer could become fantastic. Just needs to mellow out a bit for my taste.

Serving type: bottle

01-08-2012 02:52:33 | More by vobr0002
Photo of isubsmith


4.72/5  rDev +8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Incredibly dark and dense black. Small brown head quickly dissipates but leaves lacing around the glass

Nose: Roasty, Chocolaty. Some sweeter caramel notes. Coffee and chocolate dominate as the beer warms up

Taste and mouthfeel: Lots bitter/dark chocolate. Hop bitterness as well. Quite strong bitterness right before the finish. Plenty of roast. Big mouthfeel. Sweet malty residue clings to the lips. The alcohol was hidden behind the bitter taste until the beer warmed up.

A very drinkable beer, but the alcohol might eventually catch up after a few. Definately recommended.

Serving type: bottle

11-18-2005 23:55:06 | More by isubsmith
Photo of bigman147

New Hampshire

4.18/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Apperance: Opaque black motor oil. Thick and syrupy. Foam is several inches thick and very dense. It lingers like a frothy cappuccino with a dark tan/khaki cap.

Aroma: Dark malt with a slight fruity (cherry) note. Alcohol shows a heavy presence.

Taste and Mouthfeel: Creamy, rich with a nice toasted malt and sweet cream. Full bodied with a slight cloying mouthcoat. Roasted malt prevails although there is a strong bitterness which I am sure if a balance of hops and Black malt bitter. Carbonation is very good and helps give this beer a nice texture.

Drinkability: This is a very taste brew. Excellent malt / hop balance. High alcohol makes this slightly less drinkable and being an Imperial Stout tends to just limit the potential drinking occasions. Perfect for a nice relaxing evening by the fire. This would be excellent with smoked meats and cheeses.

Serving type: bottle

07-14-2007 00:09:54 | More by bigman147
Photo of Tallboy


4.25/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours: Dark like midnight black with almost no head. a few bubbles around the rim and slight carbonation. but still lacking lacing on the glass however.

Scent: Rosated grains and nutty goodness with chocolate and distinct coffe aroma mixed in with the alcohol.

Taste: Ritch and malty flavor at first with with sweet chocolate and coffee, then came the everlasting hop bitterness. followed by the warm alcohol at the end.

Mouthfeel : Full bodied but a tad too bitter

Overall: Another great beer from Founders .

Serving type: bottle

02-28-2006 16:20:25 | More by Tallboy
Photo of FrognutUnl


3.8/5  rDev -13%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Thick and viscous, it pours deep cola in color with chocolate highlights at the edge of the glass. There was almost no head to speak of and what little there was quickly faded to an oily smear on top.

S - Strong aromas of roasted malts, chocolate and anise with slight bit of dark roast coffee beans.

T - Deep roasted malt with a fair amount of coffee and an almost astringent hop bitterness. The alcohol barely comes through in the dry finish. Not a whole lot in terms of complexity, but certainly enjoyable.

M - Full bodied and velvety.

D - While I certainly enjoy this beer, I had hoped that there would be a bit more complexity considering some of founders other seasonal offerings.

Serving type: bottle

11-12-2009 04:20:06 | More by FrognutUnl
Photo of TheStove


4.4/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a snifter.

Pours like a damn oil change! Dark thick blackness poured into a 12 oz snifter. Leaves a fat finger of head that quickly dissipates into a light lace sitting on top of the beer.

First smells note some booziness and light coffee wood notes

Sips well and proves to be a deep complex stout. I want to say I'm tasting tobacco or cigar in this but I'm probably wrong. Drinks deep and rich with toasted malts and coffee and towards the end of the sip it feels like someone sunk a fat piece of darl chocolate in my beer. Bitter chocolate gives way to a light hop snap at the very end of the sip. An excellent stout. I would love a fat 22 oz mug full of this next to a fire on a cold day. In my opinion this is one you want to take your time with as the malt, coffee and chocolate jump out at random times.

Founders, you have mastered stout.

Serving type: bottle

09-13-2010 07:05:54 | More by TheStove
Photo of Docrock


4.4/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a Snifter at 53F

A- pours a very thick jet black, looks like crude oil, with a solid mocha color head and nice sticky lacing.

S- aroma is predominantly dark roasted coffee with a bit of wood ash and burnt malt. as i pull away from the glass i picked up waft of bittersweet chocolate and brown sugar?

T- really dense chocolate and dark roasted coffee, a touch of toffee. it is almost syrupy in its viscosity and i quickly sensed the alcohol content.

M- i was surprised how little carbonation there was after looking at the beautiful head for several minutes. its thick, creamy and as i said above seems like a syrupy thickness but it goes down very smooth.

O- after scoring a 4 pack and drinking for the first time i would be glad to share this with friends. It was a bit heavier on the coffee flavor than other Russian Imperials i have had, however this was an impressive beer and well worth the price.

Serving type: bottle

02-05-2013 01:48:11 | More by Docrock
Photo of TheDoorman

New York

3.95/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a thick black with a thin coffee head, evincing minimal carbonation. Aroma is big roasted malt flavors, roasted coffee beans. Taste follows the nose. Roastyness galore. Not oversweet like some RIS can sometimes be. I'd actually say this could use a touch more sweetness, which is out of character for me to say. The flavors are big and roasted, but not sugary. Hops are present to cut the big roasted flavors and provide a nice bitter finish. Definitely very hoppy for the style. A touch short of thick and creamy, but still a very nice smooth mouthfeel, with carbonation kept to a minimum. It could use a touch more body though. Alcohol is barely perceptible. A very nice RIS overall.

Serving type: bottle

03-02-2009 01:25:53 | More by TheDoorman
Photo of mikem0487


4.08/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle, bottled on 12/07/12

A-Poured a thick jet black. Surprised to have no head what so ever in the poor. A incremental sized brown head formed for a moment than receded to the edges. Had this on draft a couple weeks ago and poured a nice foamy head. Complete opposite of what it is now. Hope that does not carry over to the smell and taste.

S-Smells like a great imperial. Roasted dark chocolate malts, mild smoked tobacco in their with prunes, raisins. Minimal hop presence in the nose which does not diminish at all the great aroma this beer has.

T-Roasted malts, dark chocolate, tobacco, dark fruit on the palate. This is defiantly a malt driven beer with the hops for balance. Finish's mildly bitter on the end and leaves a chocolate burnt aftertaste. Very enjoyable brew. Taste great throughout than leaves with that burnt after taste which is not my favorite.

M-Medium bodied beer. Low carbonation. Finishes on the dry side. Great for this style.

O-A great beer overall. I enjoyed it much better on draft than I did in bottle however. The appearance did not resemble the first time I had it on draft and the tobacco burnt taste is more heavy on my bottled beer tasting. This is still a great beer overall but if I had reviewed it when I had it on draft this would have gotten a much higher score. Goes to show you that everything in the brewing process down to the packaging of the beer can take away from such a stellar beer.

Serving type: bottle

02-02-2013 00:59:33 | More by mikem0487
Photo of CH3CH2OH

New Jersey

4.33/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Pours a midnight black with a finger of brown foam that quickly dissipates. Aroma of dark chocolate and sweet malt. Taste of sweet chocolate and coffee; very faint bitterness - tastes more like roasted malt bitterness than hop bitterness. Thick chewy mouthfeel with fine carbonation. Drinkable for a beer of this kind. A very simple stout with roasted malt up front and hops and alcohol playing a secondary role. Might show more depth if aged.

Serving type: bottle

12-19-2006 00:26:23 | More by CH3CH2OH
Photo of Kelp

New Hampshire

4.4/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured into my glass in an inky black stream with a nice dark tan head that lasted a bit. First smell is coffee followed by chocolate and toasted malts. Nice big malty taste, a bit of chocolate and finished with a coffee undertone. The alcohol isn't exactly up front but it is definitely there. Nice and thick almost velvety to the tongue. I could definitely finish a few of these in a night but it would be a pretty long and enjoyable night.

Serving type: bottle

12-28-2009 04:45:53 | More by Kelp
Photo of beerbully

New Jersey

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

Poured into a pint glass

A-Black as oil. 1/4 inch head that is tan.. Good lacing

S-Roasty, some chocolate, coffee, caramel, toffee, a bit of chocolately sweetness that lingers in the aftertaste

T-Roasty, Black Licorice, Dark chocolate, Alcohol is somewhat hidden.

M-Some carbonation. slick and oily

D-given the style and the high ABV this brew goes down well. Certainly not a session beer but it wasn't intended to be one. I could drink more than 1.

Serving type: bottle

02-07-2010 20:37:00 | More by beerbully
Photo of Drazzamatazz


3.65/5  rDev -16.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours oily and a deep dark black. Even going straight down the middle foam barely raised only to quickly fade away.

S: Chocolate, dark fruit, sherry, molasses like roasted malts. Slight hop ting.

T: Hello hops! Hello ABV! There's a little bit of coffee picked up here that wasn't in the nose, but the chocolate really comes out along side even more of that dried dark fruit flavor.

M: Its not really as oily as it looks, just a big full mouthfeel with a surprisingly level of carbonation considering the somewhat lame appearance. Lots of alcohol warmth here, certainly not the thing for everyone.

O: I wish I had more of these to age. Its showing a lot of potential but its still quite rough around the edges, I'll have to try and track some more down to see what it becomes as it mellows out. Pretty balanced for what it is though.

Serving type: bottle

04-05-2011 01:18:24 | More by Drazzamatazz
Photo of camp0474


4.83/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A: Pours pitch black with a chocolate colored head. Good retention and some lacing.

S: Bitter chocolate, coffee, faint sweet dark fruits and molasses. Raisins and prunes. Hints of alcohol.

T: Sweet molasses and dark fruits lead the way, bitter chocolate and roasted coffee support the middle, and nice bitter hops appear in the finish. Raisins and prunes. Faint detectable alcohol, but not much for the 10.5% abv. Sweeter than I expected from the nose. Good display of complex and balanced flavors; showing roasty, sweet, and bitter.

M: Thicker syrupy body with medium carbonation. Perfect for this beer. Has a nice warming from the abv that goes great with this beer. Surprisingly great finish, not overly dry like some imperials.

D: Very drinkable and well balanced. Easily rose to the ranks of one of my favorite imperial stouts that I have tried. Great beer at at a reasonable price, hopefully they don't start wax dipping these bad boys. Great cool weather beer.

Serving type: bottle

04-15-2011 01:35:36 | More by camp0474
Photo of kaips1


4.4/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

on tap into a snifter

a-dark as night, dark brown right under the 1 finger head that didnt stay long but left slight lacing
s-lots of malt, lots of coffee, lots of chocolate, amazing
t-exactly as the smell except the chocolate was much more pronounced good malt blend
d-a sipper for me but a drinker for some, could get used to this if it last longer

Serving type: on-tap

03-09-2011 07:43:42 | More by kaips1
Photo of MaineBrewing


4.93/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

A - poured a thick silky pitch black with a thick brown head, around one finger. Reduced quickly but left a nice frothy cap, with some good lacing for such a high abv beer, does appear very viscous and thick when swirled.

S - big malt aromas, chocolate first, coffee, roasted malt, smokey. Hints of hop spicyness. Alcohol comes out as it warms, bringing with it some fruitiness.

T - taste is phenomenal, simply put. Big malt taste that is very chocolate forward, reminiscent of eating some dark chocolate. Lots of roastedness, a bit smokey, Some coffee notes. Finishes very bitter, and has a lingering roasted flavor that sticks to the palate. Best tasting RIS I've had.

M - Very very thick with smooth carbonation. I'm glad this finishes bitter and seems well attenuated, making the mouth feel very enjoyable.

O - overall would have to be the most enjoyable RIS experience I have had as of yet. To me this embodies the style and would be my benchmark for future examples of the style. This is just so smooth and well crafted, does not have a weak spot. Only smell got knocked from 5 for a slight sharpness due to the alcohol aroma and mouthfeel as well due to it being a little overly thick. I think with some age these attributes would each score a 5 for me if it becomes a tad less hot and the body thins slightly.

Serving type: bottle

02-20-2013 02:33:39 | More by MaineBrewing
Founders Imperial Stout from Founders Brewing Company
97 out of 100 based on 4,946 ratings.