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Founders Imperial Stout - Founders Brewing Company

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Founders Imperial StoutFounders Imperial Stout

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BA SCORE
96
world-class

1,719 Reviews
THE BROS
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no score

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Reviews: 1,719
Hads: 6,989
rAvg: 4.32
pDev: 7.18%
Wants: 665
Gots: 2,034 | FT: 152
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: 1,719 | Hads: 6,989
Photo of squaremile
4.72/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

HOLY SMOKES! Winter 09-10 vintage. This beer is insane! Pours straight up motor oil black. Some brown bubbles around the edges of the glass. The nose is decadent! Cocoa, espresso, molasses, licorice, vanilla, and booze. Taste is amazing. All of the above as flavors with a touch of hop bitterness to keep it from being too sweet. Flavor is HUGE. Mouthfeel is medium heavy, very smooth. Drinkability is pretty great considering the intensity of the flavors and the abv. This is one of my fav stouts ever. Maybe 6 more months and this would be at it's peak with the alcohol, which has the tiniest harshness left, which is the only ding for me. Amazing surprise considering how unassuming the bottle is and how under-hyped this is. (728 characters)

Photo of brydeen
4.44/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle Date 12/15/11 poured into a Snifter

A: Pours a jet black, like motor oil. A very thin but creamy chocolate colored head forms, and stays put for the most part. Sticky lacing throughout the glass.

S: Huge hits of chocolate in the nose, almost like cocoa powder. Smells candy sweet, with a faint roasted malt backbone.

T: Huge roast flavor with loads of bittersweet chocolate, and toffee. The sweetness in the nose is nowhere to be found in the taste. Not even a faint hint of the 10.5% alcohol.

M: Creamy, luxurious full-bodied stout. Subtle carbonation.

O: This is simply fantastic. You'd be hard pressed to find a better non-barrel-aged Imperial Stout. There's nothing lacking here at all, just a pleasurable drinking experience. (742 characters)

Photo of Steamer
4.84/5  rDev +12%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Appearance: Ink black with very dark beige, one finger head that quickly disappears leaving a rim of froth around the glass edge.
Smell: Rich, strong, and sweet mocha coffee; the high alcohol content hits the nose also.
Taste: Burnt toast with a bitter-sweet chocolate after taste. Remind me of a strong coffee with a healthy dose of kalua added. Heaven.
Mouthfeel: Thick, chewy and sticky; like an imperail stout should be.
Overall: An amzing beer and a must try for every stout lover! It's right up there at the top of my list. (531 characters)

Photo of itsscience
4.21/5  rDev -2.5%
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. (437 characters)

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

On tap at Local Option

Black with nice carmel colored thin foam head that clears quickly and sticks to the sides of the glass

Thin chocolate aroma. Almost bitter sweat and you can smell the alcohol.

Very thick and full bodied. Starts out as a very nice smooth chocolate and finishes with a slightly bitter chocolate aftertaste.

Taste lingers and stays with you.

Nice overall beer with def drinkability. The alcohol is present and accounted for with this big guy. (473 characters)

Photo of Justin_Neff
4.36/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottled: 12/20/12 - poured into a CCB Snifter

A: Thick and dark - looks like motor oil. Aggressively poured with what looks like no head, until it quickly develops into thick, dark brown, fluffy, 2 finger foam. Remains for several minutes and leaves a perfect, thick lace on the glass.

S: Roasted chocolate malt and barley smells, with piney hops. Smells toasty and bready. Expected a little more chocolate and was taken back a little by the hop presence. Not bad by any means, just a little surprised.

T: Wow. Roasted, toasty, chocolate in the beginning - almost a hint of some smoke. Mid drink is when the hops arrive. Finishes with some more chocolate and almost a hint of hazelnut with some booze and bitterness that survive in the after taste. This is extremely balanced and works well.

M: Very thick, full, sticky body - which one would expect from a 10.5% ABV RIS. Pretty amazing how easy it went down though.

O: I continue to be impressed with Founders, and this one is right at the top with a couple other seasonals they do. Throughout the drink I kept thinking "this is really good, but also really thick". Then all of a sudden it was gone and I realized it was going down much easier than I thought it was. The balance of the hops, and sweet roastiness is incredible. Can't wait to do a taste of one of these vintage '12 bottles next January with a year of age vs a fresh bottle of Vintage '13. (1,411 characters)

Photo of righthereisay
3.39/5  rDev -21.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Got this is Swansboro, NC at Harrika's Brew Haus. I was looking for some stouts to try. Didn't particularly like the 10.5% ABV on this one.

Poured into a glass, it looked great. Near black. I'm not into labels, but I personally thought the lablel made it look like a cheap beer.

Anyways, it does smell like coffee, maybe some chocolate, but mostly alcohol.

The taste was rather good. Nice blend of flavors. I thought that there may be a little too much carbonation, but that could be a result of the alcohol. I personally didn't appreciate the bitterness at the end, or the lack of a body. (593 characters)

Photo of BigIrishman
4.57/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured into pint glass

Appearance: Thick black with cappuccino colored head, not much retention.

Smell: Coffee and chocolate overload the nose, very malty base to it as well.

Taste: Huge coffee/espresso base, similar to the breakfast stout but not quite as much as the BS. Absolutely wonderful finish.

Mouthfeel: Thick and heavy, just the way I like my RIS's.

Drinkability: The 10.5% alcohol is completely unnoticeable, I could pound these down all day.

Notes: Founder's never disappoints, this beer fits perfectly into my RIS gap right now, absolutley wonderful. (569 characters)

Photo of rabidawg
4.55/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a pure black with an espresso-colored head. Sheets of lacing coat the inside of the glass. Magnificent.

Smell: Bittersweet dark chocolate and french roast coffee aromas. Toasty bread crust and a slight burnt aroma. Rum-like at times, and earthy.

Taste: Soft in the mouth from the low carbonation. Spicy holiday fruitcake flavors initially. Ginger and cinnamon. Rich scorched chocolate and dark-roasted coffee. Slightly slick and buttery near the end, with leafy green hops washing away the residual sugars after the swallow. Alcohol is well hidden, but a slight numbing is present after the swallow.

Kick-ass imperial stout! Thanks to cmaruschak for this midwestern gem! (697 characters)

Photo of Fermenticusrex
4.58/5  rDev +6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Tasting note founders imperial stout

12 oz bottle poured into mad elf tulip

Aroma strong bitter coffee, bakers chocolate, roasted barley

Appearance black,black, and more black.  Mocha head lacing that lines whole glass

Flavor coffee, bittersweet chocolate, rum, toast, raisins

Mouthfeel/Drinkability nice level of carbonation, not as smooth as breakfast stout but not bad.  Might be able to drink two at a sitting

Overall once again founders doesn't disappoint.  Can't wait till febuary for kbs!!! (506 characters)

Photo of TheElectricOne
4.63/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Poured into a tulip glass

Founders has become known for delivering knockout stouts, from KBS to CBS and everything beneath. This is no exception. Delivers an obsidian black color, with a chocolatey, quickly dissipating head. The aroma is powerful, including dark-roasted coffee, chocolate and molasses scent. This is reflected in the taste, which starts heavily roasty and finishes like a mocha with strong espresso and sweet dark chocolate notes. Leaves a long-lasting imprint of dark chocolate on the palate. Overall, a fantastic stout that delivers a smooth 10% ABV amidst dark, sweet flavors. (597 characters)

Photo of Tripphop
4.38/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a deep blackish brown, no light shines through. The head is generous and has a very fine carbonation, a burnt caramel color. Smells of big roast, very bold and intense. Flavor is rich and full, lots of roasted malt and chocolate, big finish, alcohol is warming. Overall a solid imp stout, wish it was year 'round, this puppy has some bite. (345 characters)

Photo of tedpeer
4.15/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 ounce poured into a pint glass.

A - Pours an opaque black, with an inch+ tan head that quickly subsides to 1/8. Nice lacing.

S - Roasted malts, hints of coffee and chocolate.

T - Roasted, almost burnt. Bitter finish with alcohol warmth.

M - Thick and creamy with medium carbonation.

D - This is a sipper. (312 characters)

Photo of Vierenner
4.53/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a tulip for complete enjoyment. A mildly agressive pour yields a gorgeous, frothy head. The overall consumption experience is top-notch. My only critique is the bitterness ... would prefer if that was scaled back a bit. A little too much burnt taste too. Other than those minor nits, it's a great beer. (314 characters)

Photo of scifan
4.23/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a thick midnight black with a creamy mocha head that quickly fades into a thin wispy ring.
Smells good lots of big roasted malts, lots of expresso, some sweet chocolate and a hint of alcohol.
Taste heavenly. Lovley roasted barley flavors, coffee on the front and then some nice reisdual sweetness on the end.
Very smooth with a slightly bitter finish
Alcohol is well hidden wouldn't have a problem finishing a four pack.
Another awesome offering from Founders (467 characters)

Photo of dismal
4.47/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This particular bottle is a few months shy of being one year old. I've had this one fresh and enjoyed a lot but I'm going to review this one. Pours pitch black with a small dark brown head. Don't know if the pour was off or not but even with the small head it looks good. The smell right off is chocolate. That's really all I get out of it other than some roasted malt. Even though there isn't a lot going on in the smell what is there smells very nice. Like the smell the taste is very chocolatey. Kind of surprising since when I had it fresh it wasn't like this and there was some coffee in both the smell and taste. The mouthfeel is very thick and perfect for the RIS style. No alcohol present which is very nice making this very drinkable with the chocolate taste that is coming out. Overall fresh this one is great but with some time this one gets even better. I'm going to pick more up the next time it comes out, drink a couple fresh and age all the rest. (962 characters)

Photo of mikul93
4.38/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A Pours thick and black. Dark mocha colored 1 finger head. Nice lacing

S Chocolate,Roasted Malt maybe a hint of caramel and vanilla

T Sweet roasted malt, Chocolate, some vanilla, slight bit of coffee. Alcohol is not as "in your face" for 10.5 %

M This is some sexy beer. It's thick, but it's smooth and creamy. One of the most creamy beers that I have had.

O Delicious. Lots of roast, chocolate and hints of other flavors. Just great! (439 characters)

Photo of tekstr1der
4.37/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pitch black pour with almost no head, and very little lacing - it was slightly disappointing. If cold, you can see the syrupy thickness of this liquid, though it really comes into its own a little warmer. Aroma is mostly of coffee, some malt and medicine. Amazingly smooth, slightly viscous mouth-feel, with flavors of coffee. Almost no alcohol flavor. Remarkable. (364 characters)

Photo of srrn
4.7/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

What a great beer. Pours the deepest brown/black with a deep brown head. Smell of chocolate and faint hops. Taste is sweet chocolate, followed by dark fruit and a nice bitter coffee finish. This is a great RIS I will seek out often. A nice complex sipper. (255 characters)

Photo of Chizoad
4.38/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

First beer I've had from Founders. I wish we could get this stuff here in CA.

Inky black/brown, caramel colored head. The head was the most impressive part. Amazingly deep color.

Maybe too cold, but the aroma was typical deep roasted malts and little else.

Excellent flavor of mostly roasted malts with some coffee... although not too much. Toffee, sweetness, finished up with strong bitterness that nails the equilibrium.

Heavy body for sure, good carbonation. I should probably give all good RIS's 5s for this category since the mouthfeel isn't really going to get any better. I just don't prefer heavier beers.

Top notch. (629 characters)

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

Poured from a 12oz bottle dated 12/22/2011 into a standard Founders pint glass.

A - pours a dark, inky black with a half finger of dark brown head.

S - lots of roast character. Dark bitter chocolate notes also present

T - Taste bud overload - such a nice beer. Tons of roast from the beginning to the end. Chocolate up front with toffee in the middle and just a touch of caramel on the end. A very firm hop bitterness that lingers slightly on the palate. Slightly warming. Slightly chalky or minerally

M - full bodied with just a slight slickness. A touch of chewiness.

D - low

Overall, a fantastic beer I enjoy immensely. A lot of imperial stouts seem to shy away from being overly roasty - this one delivers in the roast level. Just another kick ass beer from Founders. (780 characters)

Photo of mjn5036
4.35/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Twelve ounce bottle poured into a snifter. Pours pitch black. Beautiful...about as dark as you can get. Pour gave way to a small coffee colored head that quickly dissipates. This beer has a wonderful nose to it. Smells of roasted malts and coffee beans. Chocolate as well. Burnt sugar. Alcohol is there as well. The taste is not a letdown. Tastes just as good as it smells, maybe ever better. Tastes of roasted malts and espresso. Black coffee. Caramel and some kind of sugary sweetness. Vanilla extract maybe? The flavor really starts to come out as the beer warms. Slight hops at the end give the beer a nice balance. This is a very bold beer with intense aromas and flavors. The body is there to match both, very heavy and creamy with low carbonation. The alcohol is present but not overbearing. This would go very nicely with a decadent dessert. Very glad to have had the opportunity to try this one, so thanks Ed! (918 characters)

Photo of Freethyhops
4.06/5  rDev -6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle served in a pint.

A- pours pitch black. a little over a finger of creamy brown head. nice head retention for 10.5% and nice lacing.

S- light roast and chocolate. not a huge aroma. smells like possibly some molasses or licorice in there. not bad but not as nice on the nose as most Founders stouts.

T- again. chocolate is the main character with some light roasty coffee like flavors mixing in with it. some caramel/molasses/licorice sweetness in the backround. the high bitterness helps the coffee stand out as it warms. the booze does come out to play a little bit but barely

M- so thick and creamy. carbonation is low/medium and fitting for the style. hits in both departments here

D- some tasty stuff that is well worth the price I paid. I'd definitely pick up another 4pk if I see it again. I could certainly have another but this is one to save and keep around as long as possible. (903 characters)

Photo of ThomasMetal75
4.2/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

A- Looked like motor oil! Not even a red tinge could be detected. The head was a deep, dark, brown color. It died to a fine 1 finger that suck around. Not a large amount of lacing, but it was there. The beer has great looking alcohol legs that cling to the glass.

S- Lactic sweetness, but its light. Overall the beer smells on the drier side for an imperial stout. Dark, semisweet, baker's type chocolate is there. Rich coffee notes as well. Some dark fruits. Deep, roasted, maltiness. Smells excellent.

T- WOW! The nose and taste are the same. Very malty, with deep roasted notes to it. Sweetness is there, but it's not like a candied sugar flavor like some of these imperial stouts have. It's more on the drier, roasted coffee side of the flavor. I'm also getting a powdery quality to the dark chocolate flavor. I don't get much of the 90 IBUs at all. The bitterness was masked very well. And so was the alcohol for the most part. The beer has a very nice warming quality to the alcohol. It doesn't burn whatsoever. It finishes somewhat sweet and chocolatey and warming.

M- This is how a good imperial stout should feel. It's a full bodied beer, as one would expect. But in saying that, this was not harsh or hard to drink at all! It coated your mouth and the back of the throat nicely, and some of the flavors did stick around for awhile.

Overall, you need to get this. This is the perfect beer during the messy 2015 snow, cold, and ice we've been experiencing. I used it as dessert, and it worked out fantastically. It got loads of flavor and complexity without the harshness or burn you sometimes get from the style. And it's not overly sweet. Go get yourself a 4pk, try 1, and cellar the rest. A rated beer all day long son! (1,734 characters)

Photo of smcnulty1981
4.18/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.25

A: pours a fairly viscous pitch black color with some dark brown hues almost no head at all good amount of lacing and some alcohol legs

S: lots roasted chocolate and coffee on the nose with a hint of earthy hops there is bit of alcohol on the nose

T: chocolate and coffee taste and finishes with a bit of smoke flavor there is bit of alcohol

M: extremely full mouthfeel a tad sticky and lingers for a long time

O: great flavor and mouthfeel great example of a standard imperial stout (490 characters)

Founders Imperial Stout from Founders Brewing Company
96 out of 100 based on 1,719 ratings.