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Founders Imperial Stout - Founders Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Founders Imperial StoutFounders Imperial Stout

Educational use only; do not reuse.

1,733 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 1,733
Hads: 7,095
Avg: 4.33
pDev: 17.32%
Wants: 688
Gots: 2,091 | 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
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 1,733 | Hads: 7,095
Photo of Vierenner
4.53/5  rDev +4.6%
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.

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Photo of tedpeer
4.15/5  rDev -4.2%
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.

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Photo of ThomasMetal75
4.2/5  rDev -3%
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!

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Photo of scifan
4.23/5  rDev -2.3%
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

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Photo of dismal
4.47/5  rDev +3.2%
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.

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Photo of mikul93
4.38/5  rDev +1.2%
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!

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Photo of srrn
4.7/5  rDev +8.5%
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.

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Photo of Chizoad
4.38/5  rDev +1.2%
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.

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Photo of beesy
4.3/5  rDev -0.7%
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.

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Photo of brstls4drmrs
4.08/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2012 review---a little more detailed than my 2011 review....

A - Pours of a thick viscosity like motor oil but in a dark coffee/black color. Hardly a layer of foam on top whatsoever. Just a thin piece of brown like snowflake almost appearing like a layer of sugar on top.

S - Heavy on the coffee with some very nice dark fruits and a splash of licorice. Some faint dark chocolate in there with some smaller doses of booze as well.

T - Like dark chocolate, coffee beans. There's also a slight buttery tone as it goes down.

M - This brew is silky smooth with a buttery texture on the finish. Very interesting and quite enjoyable. Light carbonation.

O - A great stout. Highly recommend this one. Still as good as ever!

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Photo of Gryphon69
4.36/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle

A- Thick, black, oily with no light coming thru. Very dark mocha 1 finger high head, after a few minutes its still completely covers the top, thick sticky lacing on the sides. Very nice

S- chocolate, vanilla, coffee, some light burnt sugar. some slight alcohol in the nose, but nice mixture overall.

T- Wow, thick, roasted malts, chocolate, slight coffee, a certain sweetness but not quite sure what it is. Finishs with a certain piney bitterness.

M- Beautiful, thick, syrupy, smooth and slick. This beer sticks to everything in you mouth that it touchs. Slight fizziness but nothing to complain about.

O- Ive been waiting for awhile to try this and its lived up to all the expectations and surpassed them. Right from the pour you can see the beauty in it. Thick, full, smells wonderfull and tastes better. Going to get some for the shelf for sure, Highly recommend this to anyone that likes Good Stouts.

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Photo of mjn5036
4.35/5  rDev +0.5%
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!

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Photo of Freethyhops
4.06/5  rDev -6.2%
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.

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Photo of smcnulty1981
4.18/5  rDev -3.5%
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

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Photo of SeanRedd
3.88/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark raw cocoa at its unprocessed best. Light scent, pitch black still oil with thinnist beige lacing. Light scent of cocoa and expresso. Bit of a bitter chocolate tang that lingers. The ABV is hidden well, though it's definitely present. A dry tannin appears for a moment, but not disturbing the melody. Thick and slick, the mouthfeel is velvety bliss. Reminiscent of RISs that recreate the ancestors of the style. A real treat.

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Photo of PostRockandCats
4.44/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a heavy, black liquid with a creamy, dark khaki head and a thick layer of lacing on the sides of the glass. It really is pitch black; you can almost feel the light being sucked into it. It smells of dark, toasty malts and mocha with a lovely burnt note at the end.

It tastes like a good Imperial Stout should: dark, smokey, slightly bitter, a bit creamy and rich. No dark fruits as some IS's have. Nice hit of umami unctuousness.

The feel is rich, thick and heavy; my mouth was coated thoroughly.

Overall, this is a wonderful beer that's a prime example of the style. I'll look forward to it coming out next winter as well!

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Photo of backfat
4.62/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

pours dark, rich mahogany. leather bound books. Dark head with good lace. why did i always ignore this beer? i feel foolish, perhaps because breakfast stout is so good. smells of roasted malt, toffee, and a beautiful chocolate syrup like quality. made my buddy say 'oh jenny' in a forest gump voice, sums that up. alcohol is present, but welcomed. Thick as molasses, but i can't get over that smell! can't get any better. heavy and harsh. the taste lingers and lasts in memory, like the first time i saw the mighty ducks. what a movie. what a beer.

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Photo of legalpete19340
4.53/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Poured super thick black and oily into the glass. The head grew and grew from nothing until i blew over the rim of the glass. It stuck to everything and never left. Insane.

S: Deep dark malt everywhere. Dark chocolate, leather, campfire.

T: Huge dark malt blowing up. Tons of smoke, burn coffee, and dark chocolate. The middle smacks of those Harry and David chocolate cherries with hints of lemon. Nice grassy flavor as well. But this is all dark and it ends on dark hoppy malty note.

M: Velvety, thick but not too chewy. Just smooth.

O: Like Megan Fox. What more can I say. This is a dark beautiful masterpiece.

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Photo of abents
4.08/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours out a pitch dark black with a minimal brown head that laces like a milkshake. Chocolate odors emit along with roasted malts. The aroma is not severely overwhelming, in fact more underwhelming than anything. Has a nice rounded taste however, smooth sweet chocolaty malts balanced with a nice hoppy bitterness that leads to a balance often lacked in RIS. Very drinkable RIS, alcohol is warming and inviting, this ones on the drier side as well with a nice burnt malt that is warming and pleasant. Moderate carbonation as well makes this a very drinkable stout.

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Photo of JonathanL7890
4.4/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Got in a local trade with zymrgy - Thanks Bob.
A very thick pour with a 1 finger beautiful brown head. Viscous oily consistency. Lacing encrusts the glass. This glass will need soaking!!!
Aroma: A good hop presence here. Melds with the roastiness dying to come out.
Taste: MMM. pleasant bitterness offset by roastiness, some raisin, dried fruit.
Mouthfeel: silky smooth. Carbonation battles through the viscosity of the liquid , blurb , blurb.
Drinkability: Good, Need to alternate pints of this with a glass of water.

Overall: delicious. I've yet to be disappointed by founders yet. I must seek out more of this stuff.

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Photo of don1481
4.21/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

12oz bottle poured into Ol' Trusty Pint Glass.

Appearance: Holy blackness. I hold this up to the light and NOTHING gets through. And with a chocolate-colored head. Wow. This clearly means business.

Smell: Lots of coffee here. Some hints of chocolate, smokiness. I don't really smell alcohol here.

Taste: Tastes like coffee with hints of chocolate coming through. I'm not really tasting any of the alcohol, which is surprising. None of the flavors are particularly overpowering - it's a little more... subdued... than what I expected from other reviews. I expected to have to sip this one a little more, but it's going down MUCH more quickly.

Mouthfeel: Pretty clean. Taste doesn't linger at all. Not sticky afterwards.

Overall: Ohhh boy. This is dangerous - I can drink this MUCH faster than the other stouts I've recently reviewed. I'd say that this goes down almost too easy, but since when is that a bad thing when in the confines of one's own home and not driving back from a bar?

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Photo of rsyberg01
5/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

S - Grey Label bottle, no purple except on the 4 pack holdster. Limited Edition printed on top of body label. According to BA notes, this means the beer I am drinking is from 2004 or earlier which is certainly a pleasant surprise considering I almost soiled myself with joy when I saw it sitting top shelf.

A - BLACK. I hope that my coffin is this black inside when I die, if so I will never wake up and even if I do I wont be able to get out because it is so damn black. You know with other Imperial stouts how you can kind of see a little light get through around the edges, well with this there is just black. Head pours to about an inch and 1/2 then to a tight bubble blanket of light brown tightly joined foam. Jiminy Flip Flappin Christmas this stuff is like syrup when it pours, extraordinary is the only word to describe this.

S - Chocolate hits first and hard, then follows through with a very nicely balanced roastiness and dark fruity vapors, I think its cherry and . Caramel and creaminess also make their way through too. A delicate hit of alcohol spices the nostrils up a bit. A sweet note comes through along with the caramel and chocolate and lingrs through the whole quaff. A seriously complex beer, such a perfect example of art in a bottle.

T - Fruitiness hits accompanied by chocolate and coffee. Creamy and roasty go hand in hand, the whole sip just blends so well together, one sip seems like 20. You just get to the whole taste over and over again in a single drink. A warming character hits you in your chest quite gently and pleasant. Little touch of bitter at the end to finish it until the next drink, Wow.

M - Just covers your whole mouth from tongue to tooth. Not slick or unpleasant at all, it holds on only as long as it needs to and then some just to tickle your mouth that much more. Not overwhelming at all. Perfect, period.

D - If I could have this beer in my fridge all the time, I would be a spoiled little bastard. This beer is a perfect Imp. Stout. When I say perfect I really mean it. My first overall 5.

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Photo of tarheels86
4.17/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

355mL into a snifter. Pours a used motor oil pitch black with a micro dark tan head that settles quickly to nothing. Crazy aroma of oak, bourbon, vanilla, dark chocolate, molasses, and almost overpowering spicy white alcohol. For 90 IBUs and 10%, the taste is incredibly smooth with some oak, espresso, roasted malt, and vanilla moving to piney hops with warming alcohol like whiskey. Velvety mouthfeel. Full-bodied. Crazy and insane. A lot better than KBS dumping the green coffee and tomato-ey bourbon stickiness.

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Photo of LiquidCucumber
4.31/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Tastes and smells of sweet, fruity malts. The aroma and flavor melt together in the glass in a symphony of richness. However, it's not the flavor or aroma that bring me back to this beer. Much like their porter, this brew has superior mouthfeel. A must try for any true stout fan (if you are lucky enough to be able to get it!).

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Photo of association330
4.6/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle featuring a royal crest, "90 IBUs" bitterness statement, and "10.5% ABV" marking.

A - Pours like motor oil - jet black with a creamy pinky of milky coffee-colored head. This drops to a thin film with a modest ring of bubbly foam. There is some lacing, and the liquid itself has enough weight to cling to the glass in tantalizing fashion.

S - The usual burnt malts going on. Good quality French roast coffee, toffee, hints of dark fruit and bitter chocolate. Some clean hoppiness and just a touch of alcohol. Intense, smoky, rich, and mouthwatering. I spent five minutes just inhaling this brew - it practically begs to be consumed.

T - It's all here. The dark roasted coffee dominates, but you've also got the desired bitter chocolate and dark fruit characters (dark fruit comes out more as the brew warms up). An appropriate toffee sweetness balances the coffee/chocolate bitterness. Hop spice and bitterness hit on the swallow, while a delicious smoky, slightly sweet, burnt malt aftertaste finishes out the experience.

M - Mouthfeel is rich. Superb smoothness, with soft carbonation, especially as the beer approaches room temp (alcohol tingle becomes more noticeable as well). Alcohol warms the back of the throat.

D - Founders hits a home run with this one. If it wasn't 10.5%, I'd session it again and again. A perfect "one and done" nightcap brew, since your tastebuds will be done after a bottle of this.

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Founders Imperial Stout from Founders Brewing Company
96 out of 100 based on 1,733 ratings.