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Founders Imperial Stout - Founders Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Founders Imperial StoutFounders Imperial Stout

Educational use only; do not reuse.

6,326 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 6,326
Reviews: 1,647
rAvg: 4.36
pDev: 8.72%
Wants: 592
Gots: 1,626 | FT: 123
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: 6,326 | Reviews: 1,647 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of theminutemen
3.25/5  rDev -25.5%

Photo of johnyb
4/5  rDev -8.3%

Photo of Devman171
4.25/5  rDev -2.5%

Photo of rdooley
4.25/5  rDev -2.5%

Photo of craftbeerasian
4.25/5  rDev -2.5%

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

From the moment I started to pour this one, "Ho-leee shiiitt" came out of my mouth. People often describe bigger stouts as having a motor oil consistency. This clears that hurdle. This is nearing maple syrup thickness. By far, the thickest, most pitch black beer I've ever seen. Nothing I can think of really comes close. Carbonation is minimal, as expected from a brew this thick and alcoholic. That said, I've read some reviews that this beer isn't for some beer drinkers due to its thickness and lack of carbonation. And make no mistake, these characteristics are all accurate. But this beer, flavor monster on sensory overload that it is, is the beer for me.

Sweet cherry pie topping, plums, licorice and toasted burnt malts, leafy hops and chocolate in the nose. Holy goats, that's THICK! Flavor is dripping with smoky chocolate flavors, coffee, a mild dark fruit candy sweetness, and underneath it all a subtle hop bitterness lingers throughout. Carbonation is barely there, just tingling the throat in the finish. This is a friggin' meal. Chewy and thick can't even begin to describe. As far as Imperials go, I can't say this is my all-time favorite (I need more of it for that to happen...Founders, come to PA!!) but it ranks up there. Thickest, to date? Easily. Do I wish I had more than a little 12oz bottle? Oh yes, though I probably wouldn't have to eat for another day or so if I had a bomber. This beer is the cat's pajamas, get some if it's available.

Photo of drseamus
4.2/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

A: This beer is jet black and looks awesome. The dark mocha head was pretty thin and fell so that is was only a rim around the edge in well under a minute.

S: The aroma is powerful. There is a very sweet initial blast followed by chocolate, toffee, coffee, and a bit of roasted malt. There might be some maple syrup or brown sugar in there also...I can't quite place that sweet aroma.

T: This is a very sweet beer initially, but finishes with a good roasty bang. There is also a bunch of dark chocolate in the middle. There is a bit of bitterness right in the middle that fades pretty quickly. I'm not sure if it's from hops or the roasted malt.

M: This has a great body for the beer. It is very full bodied and very smooth. It has the consistency of motor oil which suits it nicely.

D: This is a bit sweet, but still a good beer. The ABV is a bit high, but I could knock back a couple or six before I had to pass out. The sweetness would get to me before the alcohol. However, it is still a good beer. Why does it have to be so hard to get?

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 Denzo
4.5/5  rDev +3.2%

Photo of leroybrown10
4/5  rDev -8.3%

Photo of Reaper16
4.38/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz. bottle served into a Gulden Draak tulip

Pours a super-dark brown. You can tell that it isn't quite black when you look down into the glass; the edges are clearly a lighter shade of brown than the middle of the body. You can see the edges when looking straight down into the glass because there is nearly no head on this pour. It spiked at half a finger and then leveled off to the tracest of rings. The foam is an interesting color though. It's one of the darkest heads I've ever seen; the caramelized color of it as as dark as some malty beer styles' non-foam bodies! As I drink I notice that there is actual lacing going on, which is always a plus.

Right up front you get the chocolate. I am reminded of the cocoa nibs used in Breakfast Stout only strengthened in intensity. There is a small amount of generic coffee coming off of the roasted malts. Delicately rising up out of the glass is a black currant aroma. I was expecting more of a dark fruits kind of thing, but am pleasantly surprised with this black currant/wild berries thing it has going on. I'm kind of getting oats too; I don't know if any oats were used in the malt profile but it smells like it.

The most noticeable aspect of this imperial stout is its remarkable fruit character. The flavors of black currant and boysenberry are so powerful yet well-crafted. Their sweetness melds wonderfully with the flavors of 60% cacao dark chocolate and toasted pecan. As the beer warms I can make out the restrained presence of leafy bittering hops.

The mouthfeel is insane on this beer! Its sort of medium-thick, by which I mean that it gives you the pleasure of a thickness in the mouth but at the same time it isn't so thick as to prohibit extended drinking. To the beer's credit, this is comes in 12oz. bottles. Founders Imperial Stout is absolutely good enough of to have two bottles of in a sitting (which would only be two more ounces than the standard 22oz. bomber). Given that the style is limited in drinkability I feel comfortable giving this one a 4.5 when rating to style. This is pretty damn drinkable, 10.5% ABV or no.

As far as readily-available seasonal Impy Stouts go, Founders Imperial Stout is every bit the beer that Bell's Expedition Stout is. Do yourself the favor of buying a four-pack of this while you still can. I was expecting a solid stout but I didn't expect something as delicious as this. A treat.

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

dark brown color, chocolate head. nice head and very strong lacing. smell and taste are very similar, with a big chocolate profile. Almost no bitterness whatsoever. A hint of coffee as well though not very pronounced. slightly sweet, almost of cherries. mouthfeel is on the medium side and creamy. very drinkable, it has a lighter feel for an RIS, almost like a milk stout. given the ABV this could be a little dangerous as I defintely feel I can have 2-3 of these.

Photo of fishguyac
2.86/5  rDev -34.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.75

I am sure it is an excellent stout, but the high bitterness turned me off some.

Photo of tclipse
4.25/5  rDev -2.5%

Photo of Kevinpitts
4.15/5  rDev -4.8%

Photo of ELECTRONICAnonymous
4.5/5  rDev +3.2%

Photo of e30todamax
5/5  rDev +14.7%

Photo of Walkerjgt
3.5/5  rDev -19.7%

Photo of JackieTH
4.28/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to Rob for the share!

Poured oily black with a thin skein of dark tan foam. Smell was roasted malts and semi-sweet baker's chocolate. Taste is all about heavily roasted malt, more semi-sweet chocolates, and a mild espresso. Bitterness is apparent within the heavy roast. I get no impression of the 10.5% ABV. Mouthfeel is medium-heavy with a nice texture due to lower carbonation.

Note that this sample had been cellared for 1 year.

Its very good quite roasty.

Photo of RMoeNay
4.25/5  rDev -2.5%

Photo of VncentLIFE
4.78/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Fresh shipment. Poured into my new DFH goblet looking thing.

My god its thick. Reminds me of Marshal Zhukov. Very little carbonation produces no head. Initially there was about 1/8th of an inch of caramel colored head, but that faded rather quickly.

I smell loads of roasted grains, chocolate malt to be exact. Hops are surprisingly absent, which is odd for an IRS. The grains smell dry, and theres hints of coffee as well.

The thick body stands out immediately. I almost had to forcefully swallow it The roasted malts (and they had to use a ton of them) coat your mouth. They almost smell charred and burnt. Hints of smoke swirl around with soy sauce, leather, beef jerky, and oak. Odd, but I get a saltiness as well, like the husks of sunflower seeds.

Like I already said, its insanely thick with a full body. Definitely my favorite RIS.

Photo of Shandycan
4.5/5  rDev +3.2%

Photo of MrHungryMonkey
4.3/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Nose is very dark, rich, chocolaty, malty, and coffee-like. Some sour, fruity, hoppy secondary aromas. Very soft alcohol and citric aromas. Smells like it will have a significant dry, roasted, and woody character. Smells quite nice.

Pours black with very mild dark brown head. Looks good.

Flavor starts out very black coffee-like with dry woody roast and progresses to be floral, leafy, and hoppy in midpalate before settling down to be dry, powdery, and slightly alcoholic in the finish. Soft carbonation pairs with roasted woody bite and alcohol to create a punchy mouthfeel. Lots of chocolate and coffee, some burnt character. Mild sweetness is creamy and milk-like. Smooth creamy body - the soft carbonation creams it up nicely in the mouth. Tastes good. Feels fantastic. Good drinkability.

Photo of yamar68
3.89/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

A regular old imperial stout from Founders? Who would've thunk it... fresh bottle:

Looks nice in the glass - virtually zero clarity even as I hold my glass up to the light. A silky finger or two of dark chocolate head. Tremendous amount of lacing draped over some thick legs. Some creamy beading comes below the cap with a swirl of the glass.

Dark chocolate and bitter coffee grounds, the booze character is pretty sizable but the massive roasted malt qualities manage to match its contribution to the overall aroma profile of the beer. Some soft red fruits come with a sharp snort... is this the base for KBS?

The alcohol sting is a bit sharper on the tongue. Bitter dark chocolate and fudge with smooth caramel, vanilla syrup and fig notes. This seems like a great candidate for the beer cellar to me. I'd love to see booze settle down, even if it costs some chocolatey malt flavors.

Good stuff.

Photo of Mikeluzzjr
3.25/5  rDev -25.5%

Founders Imperial Stout from Founders Brewing Company
97 out of 100 based on 6,326 ratings.