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Founders Imperial Stout - Founders Brewing Company

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Founders Imperial StoutFounders Imperial Stout

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6,357 Ratings
no score

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Ratings: 6,357
Reviews: 1,653
rAvg: 4.36
pDev: 8.49%
Wants: 594
Gots: 1,648 | FT: 125
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: BeerAdvocate on 02-12-2005

90 IBU
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 6,357 | Reviews: 1,653 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Hophead717
4.5/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottled dated 12/15/11 poured into a snifter.

A: As dark and thick as motor oil, with a half inch mocha head. Beautiful beer.

S: Big notes of chocolate and burnt chocolate malts. Coffee is very lightly present in with the bitter notes. There's a definite bitterness coming in the nose.

T: Lots of roasted malt upfront with tons of chocolate mid-sip. The finish is very bitter for a stout, most certainly a combination of the lots of hops and burnt malt. I remember this being less bitter on tap, though.

M: Medium-to-full bodied with a good/slightly low level of carbonation. Works very well.

O: A really good imperial stout from Founders! It definitely compares favorably to Ten Fidy and GLBC Blackout, two of my favorites!

Photo of mscudder
4.49/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - This is the darkest black I can imagine. Pours with the consistency of oil leaving nice lacing and a minimal head.

S - I get notes of cocoa and chocolate accompanied by aroma of roasted malts. The scent is controlled and executed brilliantly.

T - As far an imperial stout goes, this brew is perfection. The only stout that I have that surpasses it is the Founders CBS. Amazing mix of complexity with an initial taste of roasted barley and malts which is followed by sweeter notes. This is a great warmer and at 10.5% ABV, all I can say is damn... well done Founders.

M - Perhaps a bit "hot" for a stout, this is thick and dense, yet recedes beautifully.

O - A fantastic brew from Founders. To be concise, get this beer if you ever have the chance.

Photo of cnbrown313
4.25/5  rDev -2.5%

Photo of mrcraft
4.5/5  rDev +3.2%

Photo of jroberts8811
4.75/5  rDev +8.9%

Photo of Wobbly
4.75/5  rDev +8.9%

Photo of moarmare
4.5/5  rDev +3.2%

Photo of SkiBum22
4.5/5  rDev +3.2%

Photo of Rihup
4.25/5  rDev -2.5%

Photo of Ncpogs
4.25/5  rDev -2.5%

Photo of dalepryor
4.75/5  rDev +8.9%

Photo of Pahn
4.34/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle into Duvel tulip. No bottled on info, but I bought it recently (and Founders beers don't usually stay in Boston stores for very long after release).

Appearance: Free pour yields a one inch, dark brown head that dissipates somewhat quickly and lacelessly. Looks very viscous and not very carbonated while being poured. Solid black. Some random, short lived swatches of lacing.

Smell: The look was underwhelming, but the smell was not. Coffee, cocoa, dark chocolate, lots of malt. Sugary. Some very interesting and hard to pin down notes--strong and multidimensional, like a great Russian Imperial Stout should be.

There's molasses, a little brown sugar, and a growing symphony of pastry like malt aromas. The whole here is greater than the sum of its parts. Close to perfection.

Taste: First sip follows the nose, with lots of dark chocolate, caramel, and some mild coffee liqueur flavors (I love these rum-like or liqueur-like flavors in stouts), with a roasted malt finish. Undercarbonation hindering my enjoyment.

Second sip still flattened by too little carbonation, but bringing a new surge of dark fruit and anise, with a big, almost nutty roasted malt character at the end. High bitterness perfectly offsets the numerous rich and sweet flavors. Confused by this beer... the carbonation level is really hurting it, but the flavors are so numerous, so well done, and so harmonious.

In the end, I'm won over. This beer is as generous and complex as Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout, but less hot and considerably more restrained and balanced. It could be more carbonated, but the good aspects are soaringly good.

Mouthfeel: Full bodied, but not as thick as it looks. Low carbonation (would definitely be better with more). Great roasted malt and hop bitterness at the end, though not very dry. While the alcohol is well masked in the main flavor, there's a building heat in the aftertaste.

Overall: Great beer, like a better Old Rasputin or a grown up Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout (like BCS spends its youth rampaging around, sowing its wild oats, then after it gets wiser and more skillful, becomes Founders Imperial Stout). What you'd expect from a brewery like Founders; lots of flavor, lots of balance.

Photo of Stevie_Janowski
4.75/5  rDev +8.9%

Photo of scotorum
4.45/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Bought two bottles in Traverse City Michigan in June while on vacation/business. Saved them to age for cooler Fall weather.

Poured from the 12 oz. bottle into a plain tumbler.

a: Pitch black with a half finger tan head which receded quickly to even surface foam and some peripheral lacing.

s; Dark malt.

t: Very dark espresso strength malt with hop balance lending a bitter bottom line which is not bothersome in the least because the malt flavor is so dominant. Very high ABV is exceptionally well hidden.

m: Medium, silky smooth.

o: Excellent stout, not quite as impressive-looking as the Old Rasputin I had last night, but heavier yet smoother tasting and with even more flavor. Not quite as easy drinking as a result, but a wonderful sipper that won't quit delivering great imperial stout flavor.

UPDATE 1/3/14: Had the other bottle tonight and differences noted:

Bottled 12/20/12, so this has a year on it.

Poured into a Samuel Smith English tulip pint.

a: Opaque black with an inch and a half brown head which receded slowly to heavy surface foam and dense patterned lacing.

m: Medium to heavy, silky smooth. Now this is what I had hoped the Harviestoun's Old Engine Oil that I had recently would be like.

The rest of my earlier review was fully reconfirmed.

Anxiously awaiting the release of the 2014 model.

UPDATE 4/24/14: New fourpack bought a few months ago and saved for later. This is still great but the bitterness stands out more, the flavor a bit less. Lowering ratings accordingly: a: 4.5-4.25; s:4.5-4.25; t: 4.75-4.5; overall 4.75-4.5.

Photo of marine1975
4.25/5  rDev -2.5%

Photo of ItsBeer4Me
4.5/5  rDev +3.2%

Photo of devilfluff
4/5  rDev -8.3%

Photo of BeerImmediately
4.43/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle poured into Chimay gobblet.

Pitch black, with a decadently brown, 1/2F head fading slowly to skim w/out much lacing.

Smell is rich and inviting. Bitter bark, english toffee, and milk chocolate.

Taste is fantastic. Sweeter than the aroma - leading with concentrated cocoa, half & half, followed by black licorice, molasses, and espresso.

Mouthfeel is the real winner here - creamy and smooth up front, but finishing with a tight, dry bite that keeps it from being too rich.

For a RIS over 10%, this is among the best in terms of drinkability. Highly recommended.

Photo of Anonymous1
4.5/5  rDev +3.2%

Photo of TKEbeerman
4.35/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Poured into my pint glass, this RIS pours as dark as any with a thin dark tan head that would be much more impressive if it just was a little thicker and held on for a little bit more.

S: The aroma is heavy in roasted malt, some black molasses, and notes of chocolate.

T: The flavor is excellent. Don't know the difference between and RIS and an American Imperial Stout? Try this brew and a Founders Breakfast Stout side by side. Heavy amount of roasted malt backed up by a hop bitterness, molasses piled on top of notes of chocolate and maybe some liquorish.

MF: Mouthfeel is rich and creamy, full and almost perfect.

D: Drinkability at 10.5% is almost perfect.

Overall, this is the definition of what a RIS should be. Brews take notes, Founders is where it's at.

Photo of dcloeren
4.55/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks Jaime for this amazing stout

Poured motor oil black with 2 fingers of creamy milk chocolate colored head. Decent retention... eventually faded into a thin ring. It produced some pretty solid rings down my tulip.

Great notes of roasted malt, a little bit of smoke, alcohol soaked dark chocolate, molasses, cocoa and a touch of coffee to top it all off.

Taste follows the nose. Rich dark chocolate, perfectly roasted malt, a touch of smoke, a little bit of molasses sweetens it up, cocoa, and just a little bit of perfectly roasted coffee rounds it off. Once it has a chance to warm up the hop presence comes out to give it a nice bitter finish. It really compliments the dark chocolate quite nicely.

Full body, thick, creamy, luscious, smooth, chewy... the list goes on. Just enough carbonation to make an impact. This beer absolutely covers every inch of my mouth, daring me to take another sip to add another coat. Drying semi bitter dark chocolate aftertaste.

Overall, this was an amazing stout. Extremely happy I received a 4 pack of this beer. I'm definitely going to save the others for whenever we get some more cold weather. Founders just knows how to make amazing beer and they hit another homerun with this one.

Photo of Celtics76
4.75/5  rDev +8.9%

Photo of dsshuck
4.5/5  rDev +3.2%

Photo of Cloaked_Phantom
4.75/5  rDev +8.9%

Photo of Gosox8787
4.5/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Presentation: 12 oz. stubby bottle poured into my Cigar City tulip glass. I believe this is the latest vintage, but there is no marking on the bottle. Big thanks to slentz for adding this to our trade.

Appearance: Absolutely pitch black in color. Not much head on the pour and it quickly disappears into black. Not surprising considering the hefty alcohol content on this.

Aroma: Cocoa nibs, molasses, raisins, espresso and a touch of smoke all in harmony here. Really impressively balanced and aromatic. A touch of herbal hops in there as well. Nice balance of sweet and roasted notes.

Taste: Deep dark chocolate, dark fruit sweetness, brown sugar, and smoke notes are all front and center here. Leather, tobacco, and a touch of oak all complement this perfectly and round out the flavor. Not a bad thing to say here. Near perfect.

Mouthfeel: Full bodied and creamy. Coats the mouth incredibly well.

Overall, I was floored by this stout. Incredible balance and depth of flavor. As complex as almost any stout out there. Just delicious and absolutely spot on for the style. My only complaint is that I don;t have it available locally. Honestly, this is almost in the same league as the Kate I had the other day (And that's my favorite non barrel aged stout). My highest recommendation.

Founders Imperial Stout from Founders Brewing Company
97 out of 100 based on 6,357 ratings.