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Founders Imperial Stout - Founders Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Founders Imperial StoutFounders Imperial Stout

Educational use only; do not reuse.

6,665 Ratings
no score

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Ratings: 6,665
Reviews: 1,735
rAvg: 4.36
pDev: 8.49%
Wants: 637
Gots: 1,833 | FT: 146
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: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 6,665 | Reviews: 1,735
Photo of SawDog505
4.76/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured into a 20 oz Duvel giant tulip, bottle dated 12/22/11 thanks Founders. Pours pitch black with and amazing 3 inch dark mocha head, beautiful lace that settles into a half inch foam. Smell is dark chocolate, coffee, molasses, bread, and a hint of liquorice. Wow the smell good, but the taste is among the best. Dark chocolate and roasted coffee are the main draw, with a very strong hoppyness. Mouth feel is big, drinkability is high, great amount of life for a large ABV, and not crazy dry. Founders please distribute to N.H. some day. Every thing you do is so consistently good and often GREAT. A treat for RIS fans.

Photo of deadonhisfeet
4.74/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Poured from a bottle into a Brooklyn snifter at precisely 55 degrees F. Absolutely, positively black as black can be with a beautiful 2-finger chunky brown head that is shockingly dark in color. Nose gives toasted malt and char like a RIS, but also some chocolate and coffee tones and some faint hop notes as well.

Big, smooth, complex flavors of bakers chocolate and espresso hit you first. The mouthfeel is thick and creamy and there is no excessive booziness at all. Then, just when you think you're drinking a big creamy American Double Stout, at mid-palate the traditional rummy RIS flavors of toffee and burnt fruit kick in and remind you that this is definitely a RIS. The coffee and chocolate flavors return a bit on the finish, which leaves dried figs and currants. A perfect sipper on a chilly winter night.

This is a beautiful beer from an outstanding brewer. So far, it is easily the best RIS I've had. Somehow, this beer from Founders flies a bit under the radar. It's hard to believe that this December/January release isn't as sought after as some other RISs (There was some still on the shelf in MARCH for crying out loud!). It deserves to be on every beer-lovers ``had'' list. I've stored some in my basement and I'm going to crack one open every few months. I look forward to seeing how it develops. Thank you Founders!

Photo of krl2112
3.5/5  rDev -19.7%

Photo of BillHilly
4/5  rDev -8.3%

Photo of justinm4bama
5/5  rDev +14.7%

Photo of johnyb
4/5  rDev -8.3%

Photo of SportsandJorts
4.39/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: pours like motor oil. black and opaque with a super tan head of two plus fingers that fades pretty quickly and leaves a spotty lacing

Smell: chocolate with some slight roastiness and some hops and definitely some expresso.

Taste: sweet chocolate. lots of roastiness and dark malt character. end finishes up with extreme bitterness of hops and expresso.

Mouthfeel: very creamy mouthfeel. pretty heavy and very bitter at the end. lingering bitterness

Overall: great russian imperial stout. nice combination of bitterness and creaminess

Photo of whitenads
4/5  rDev -8.3%

Photo of funkyaudio
3.75/5  rDev -14%

Photo of ItsBeer4Me
4.5/5  rDev +3.2%

Photo of ChugginOil
4.48/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A- Pours very dark brown and settles pitch black. Less than one finger worth of dark mocha colored head fades fast.

S- Big time chocolate notes up front followed by some caramel/roasty malt.

T- Scent amplified x 10. Cocoa up front with very roasty but sweet malts. The 10.5% is a bit noticeable at the finish but doesn't turn me off at all.

M- Thick, full bodied and rich....Filthy rich to say the least. This brew coats the palate. Yum. I'll swirl this around throughout my mouth all day long.

D- The ABV is very well hidden behind the delicious complexity of dessert style malt.

Photo of zac16125
4.1/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Founders Imperial Stout
12 oz bottle poured into a snifter
bottled on 12/22/2011

A: Pours a viscous opaque jet black, that even with a very aggressive pour still only yields but a sliver of very dark mocha colored head, which quickly dissipates to leave only an outer ring. What little head that is present does leave a little bit of patchy lacing, but not much.

S: Heavy roasted aroma, a good amount of black licorice, an astringent/medicinal quality as well, some coffee characters and a bit of dark chocolate, an alcohol presence and there’s no hiding that. Good aromas, but you really have to work for them, otherwise you would likely just get roasted malt and alcohol.

T: Straight up roasted malt, with a grassy character, an ill defined nutty flavor, and some bakers chocolate on the backend that lingers for quite some time after each sip. Not terribly complex but enjoyable.

M/D: Very smooth, I love a smooth IS. Full bodied, coats the palate nicey with an oily mouthfeel, appropriately low carbonation, excellent job of masking the double digit ABV, and surprisingly good drinkability. Doesn’t get much better than this.

O: Overall this is a damn good beer. I’ve been really spoiled in that I’ve had the pleasure of drinking some of the finest Imperial Stouts on the planet over the last couple of months. This certainly doesn’t live up to the best of them (which to date I would claim to be The Abyss and Alesmith Speedway), but it’s a fine beer nonetheless and certainly worth a drink if you can find it.

Photo of chcfan
5/5  rDev +14.7%

Photo of ChrisPro
3/5  rDev -31.2%

Photo of Booner818
4.5/5  rDev +3.2%

Photo of ScaryEd
4.75/5  rDev +8.9%

Photo of cnbrown313
4.25/5  rDev -2.5%

Photo of ArchEnemyBrew
4.25/5  rDev -2.5%

Photo of Ncpogs
4.25/5  rDev -2.5%

Photo of Petegrieco
4.25/5  rDev -2.5%

Photo of brewskifan55
4.25/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured into a snifter. Thanks, cvm4

A: The darkest brown imaginable. Slightly lighter ring around the glass. A tan, half finger head that left in the blink of an eye. Thick lacing.

S: Licorice, burnt malts, dark chocolate. Figs.

T: Very light coffee that morphs into toffee. More chocolate as it warms. Rich, robust, smooth. Heavy coffee finish.

M: Thick, chewy. Medium carbonation.

O: One of the smoothest stouts I've tried. Even better towards room temperature. Perfect with Monterey Jack cheese. Very nice with spicy chicken tenders.

Photo of Troville1990
4.5/5  rDev +3.2%

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 BlurryVisi0n
4.31/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a flute.

Appearance: Superior jet black, head was literally almost none. 1/10 of an inch (dark tan). Not really bubbly lack of carbonation is pretty evident.

Smell: Dark chocolate, and coffee bean. You put the glass down and you can still smell it.

Taste: Tastes like it smells, f'n good. Why it is hard to rate it a notch more is maybe the lack of carbonation but really mouth and taste sometimes go hand in hand.

Mouth: This beer is lightly carbonated, doesn't mean it is bad. It is not that hard to swallow and crisp taste just really sticks to you.

Overall: Put on your seatbelts and grab yourself your favorite beer glass and indulge in one of the finest beers period. Not full of bubble but full of crisp fresh and might I add incredible flavor. If there is one not I would do is maybe slightly more carbonated....screw it, it tastes excellent. Cheers to all!

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Founders Imperial Stout from Founders Brewing Company
97 out of 100 based on 6,665 ratings.