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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: 7,094
Avg: 4.33
pDev: 17.32%
Wants: 688
Gots: 2,090 | 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: 7,094
Photo of wschmit
4.41/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz. bottle into a Duvel tulip.

A: Wow. Even as it poured, it was like draining oil--pitch black and viscous. A gorgeous thick head, almost a deeper brown than any I've seen, tops the opaque body and lingers. Fantastic.

S: Lots of toast, black patent, a sort of Platonic imperial stout. Good, somewhat grassy hop notes, too, but nothing overwhelming. Quintessential, if not very strong, nose.

T: Starts off with just a touch of chocolate sweetness, followed by good bitter malt and hops towards the finish. A little bit of acidity in there--not sure if it's a lemony hop note or something else. Rich and full and spot-on.

M: Thick but not too thick, and with pretty good carbonation for the style. Not sweet or underattenuated. As with other aspects of this beer, quintessential.

O: Hard to feel bad drinking this. Founders really nails most of their beers, melding quality and finesse in all sorts of styles. This is no exception.

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Photo of JCaweinstein
4.65/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Reviewed on 10/10/11 bottle dated 2/9/11
Pours the consistency of milk, jet black with a brown head that is thick and very creamy, nice lacing
Sweet chocolate and caramel invites the nose followed by a hint of alcohol, smells just like dessert. The aromas are very easy to pick up an so pleasant
Chocolate, malty sweetness followed by a crisp hop bitterness to remind me that this is a beer
Full bodied, coates with the sweetness then finishes with a little hop aftertaste and a hint of warmness from from the alcohol
This is a great beer, must be consumed slowly and enjoy all night, can't wait for next years version!

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Photo of fitrock2112
3.99/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Poured Imperial Stout into a Belgian Tulip.

A - The brew pours nice and thick and black as midnight. It has just about a finger of dark mocha head with a aggressive pour.

S - Dark roasted malts, bitter coffee. It has faint smell of Baker's chocolate.

T - On first taste getting heavy roasted malts, bitter coffee. Mid palate getting some smooth Baker's chocolate. On the aftertaste getting more alcohol than I would like.

M - Heavy mouthfeel, with medium to low carbonation.

O - I've been wanting to review this one for awhile now. I let it age for almost a year and the alcohol is still on the taste. Not a bad beer; however, there are many good Imperial Stouts out there that outshine this one. Cheers!

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Photo of DrewskiWhit
4.45/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A super dark viscous black as i poured. Deep brown head with tints of amber. Looks good. Head hung around

S a little muted but mostly dark chocolate and imperial stout.

T decadent. Dark dark chocolate and imperial stout. For a non BA stout this is about as good as it gets. Bitter chocolate aftertaste.

M thick and full bodied. Viscous. Minimal if any carb.

O I had never had this beer prior and I blind tasted it against a ten fidy which was my favorite non B.A.I.S. The more I drank this the more I liked it and preferred it over the ten fidy. This was so much bigger and more decadent. By comparison the ten fidy seemed much more mild. This is an excellent example of the style

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Photo of MaineBrewing
4.92/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

A - poured a thick silky pitch black with a thick brown head, around one finger. Reduced quickly but left a nice frothy cap, with some good lacing for such a high abv beer, does appear very viscous and thick when swirled.

S - big malt aromas, chocolate first, coffee, roasted malt, smokey. Hints of hop spicyness. Alcohol comes out as it warms, bringing with it some fruitiness.

T - taste is phenomenal, simply put. Big malt taste that is very chocolate forward, reminiscent of eating some dark chocolate. Lots of roastedness, a bit smokey, Some coffee notes. Finishes very bitter, and has a lingering roasted flavor that sticks to the palate. Best tasting RIS I've had.

M - Very very thick with smooth carbonation. I'm glad this finishes bitter and seems well attenuated, making the mouth feel very enjoyable.

O - overall would have to be the most enjoyable RIS experience I have had as of yet. To me this embodies the style and would be my benchmark for future examples of the style. This is just so smooth and well crafted, does not have a weak spot. Only smell got knocked from 5 for a slight sharpness due to the alcohol aroma and mouthfeel as well due to it being a little overly thick. I think with some age these attributes would each score a 5 for me if it becomes a tad less hot and the body thins slightly.

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Photo of ThePaintedGrey
4.67/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

12oz. bottle poured into imperial pint glass. *bottled 12/13/13*

A: Is this motor oil? Can someone hook me up with a number to Founders' customer service? I think I've mistakenly purchased a 12 ounce bottle of motor oil. In all seriousness, this brew is abysmally dark. Diabolically mean looking in the glass. Starts out looking much like a nitro tap pour, with a gargantuan peanut butter fudge colored head that fills the glass before taking calendar months to manifest into this abyss black sludge-like liquid. No color. No highlights. After nearly 15 minutes of waiting for the liquid to manifest and the head to settle, my entire imperial pint glass is painted in burnt caramel lacing. 1/4 inch head is dense and of a milkshake like thickness. Is it possible to score these aesthetics higher than a 5?

S: An almost absurd amount of barley that's roasted to utter blackness and exudes the aroma of pure bittersweet chocolate bliss. The aroma never really delves into truly roasted or bitter. The aforementioned chocolate is the dominant, followed by a sweeter coffee scent, maybe more along the lines of a cappuccino. A little bit of dark fruit underneath, perhaps some black cherries, figs, and blackcurrant provide an interesting touch, but can't really be considered a dominant component of the aroma. It's overall a bit sweet on the nose, but the sheer complexity of this aroma simply can not be insulted by docking a point fraction due to trivial preferences.

T: After sitting with this for so long to appreciate the aesthetics and then again to try and pinpoint to nuances of the aroma, it's already at the perfect drinking temperature. The aromas link flawlessly into the flavors. Rich chocolate fudge, dark chocolate cake batter, generously creamed medium roast coffee. The middle allows for an entirely new nuance that was only half-detected in the nose. Wood smoke infused with the blackcurrants. The fruitiness of the black cherries and figs never show up and are replaced with a lingering hop bitterness. Long after the beer has gone down, the wood smoke and blackcurrant flavor remains and BEGS for another sip.

M: Huge. Gargantuan. Enormous. Mammoth. Elephantine. Monolithic. Numerous other SAT-level synonyms for huge. It goes without saying that this is full-bodied. The carbonation is perfectly toned down to just above flat and just below noticeable. It adds just enough to springboard the creaminess that envelopes every single inch of your mouth and leaves nothing untouched. Even with as wonderful as this beer feels, part of my soul is left longing for a bit more, because I noticed that this beer didn't reach the chewiness that I desired until the last few sips, nearly an hour into the experience.

O: What can I say about this that I haven't already said or hundreds of folks before me haven't said? Founders glances over at other brewers and says, "Oh? You guys have a RIS? That's cute, but ours is better." The fact of the matter here, for me, is that this might be the most divine RIS I've ever had the pleasure to consume, and without a doubt one of the finest beers I've ever had the privilege to consume. If I could have one materialistic dying wish... Making this year-round would definitely be a consideration.

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Photo of kennylopez
4.42/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured a fresh 12/22/11 bottle into a snifter.

Appearance: a thick black color with a film of tan head that leaves spots of lacing.

Smells: a heavy roasted malt and bitter chocolate come to me at first then fades into a slight milky coffee.

Tastes: a lot like the nose insisted. I love the bitter sweet chocolate blended with a generous amount of roasted malt and it balances great with a significant hop character.

Mouthfeel: this is ten and a half percent with no burning whatsoever. There is little carbonation yet has a lingering bitter bakers chocolate taste that has a beautiful fade with the roasted barley in the finish.

Overall: I was excited to try this Stout out. I enjoyed every last sip and I am happy I picked up a few packs because when I went back a day later it was all gone. And for $11 a four pack, I wish it was common, so I could constantly keep some in my fridge. Great Job again Founders.

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Photo of LagerCognoscenti
4.48/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Jet black with thin head.

Rich aroma of coffee, bitter roasted malt, dark chocolate and booze.

Taste is bitter dark chocolate, treacle, marmite, dark cherries, tobacco, charcoal and goodness knows what else. Its very complex and very flavourful but very well rounded and a pleasure taste.

Overall, a fantastic Russian Imperial stout.Hard to find and slighly pricey in the UK but well worth seeking out. Right up there with Founders Breakfast Stout and Yeti Imperial Stout as a world class beer of this style from our American friends.


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Photo of manfromanotherplace
4.37/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Another surprise from Founders as i expected this to be more bitter than it was. The slight sweetness to balance it out at the end was a masterstroke....great body, look and feel,this is another excellent stout from founders.possibly the best imperial stout ive tried.

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Photo of d0ggnate
4.3/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Poured deep black with a near single finger dark tan head layer. Frothy head fades to a bubbly ring around my glass in just minutes.
S: Bitter chocolate, faint coffee, metallic hints
T: Still bitter, but chocolate flavor is more milk, than bitter dark.
M: Very smooth and soft flavors.
D: Easy drinking. A clean imperial stout.

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Photo of wmtxbb
4.15/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle poured into pint glass

Appearance: Coal black with a dark head that shifts to lacing.

Smell: Dark chocolate, dark sweet malts, coffee, bit of a burnt character.

Taste: Smooth thick black malts, cream, whiskey, oak, and milk. Bitterness hovers of the tasting, but does not overwhelm the other flavors. Ends smooth with a backlash from the alcohol.

Drinkability: I hate the limited availability of this beer. Goes down smooth and warms the soul.

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Photo of MrStark
4.28/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a snifter glass.

Appearance is a very dark black that pours like motor oil. A very small head that is rich and brown but unfortunately disappears quickly.

Smell is somewhat rich with an aroma of all the things you'd expect from this style, coffee, chocolate and roasted malts. There is also a hint of the alcohol.

Taste is rich and bitter. The hops seam to stand out quite a bit. Lots of nice coffee and dark chocolate as well. Pretty rich and complex. Very nice.

Mouthfeel is very full bodied and thick. Nice, creamy and smooth. A nice mild amount of carbonation. It leaves a little bit of a bitter finish.

Drinkability is great for the amount of alcohol. All in all it goes down smooth and is quite enjoyable. I probably wouldn't want more than one at a time however as I feel it would better be enjoyed in moderation. Something you sip and savor.

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Photo of hail_seitan
4.67/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Poured from 12 oz. bottle into a tulip glass

A - Pitch black. The viscous way the beer pours is a sight to behold. A roasty umber head forms on top.

S - Dark cherry, pipe tobacco, espresso, and a hint of grapefruit invite you in for a sip.

T - Much like the nose, but amplified tenfold. Perfectly roasty and boozy. The finish is sweet with a slight alcohol burn to let you know this beer means business.

M - Velvety and heavy.

O - One of the best Russian Imperials out there. This beer is meant for enjoying during some fireside reading on a cold winter's eve. The four pack lends itself perfectly to enjoying two now and cellaring away two for later.

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Photo of templar316
4.79/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Spectacular! I've had a number of imperial stouts this winter that do not measure up to this. Pour's thick, black, viscious with a rich mocha head. It's obviously coated the sides of the glass and informs that the is not for the meek or mild mannered. The noses is all dark fruits and alcohol; raison's first, blending into cinnamon and vanilla, the alcohol is faint but warning, burnt toast around the edges. The flavor picks up all the best of heavy dark roast, creamy bready malts; blackened barely (x3), bitter wheat, bouyant cinnamon. The double headed griffen is a rightous crest as this is thick, powerful and unforgetable.

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Photo of 2Cents
4.94/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured in a tulip.

A: As close to black as brown gets. It has a mocha colored head that doesn't stick around long, there''s some lacing and alcohol legs that throughout the trip.

S: Coco, dark chocolate, honey and nugget.

T: Like it smells with a little coffee. What ever bittering hop they're using in this, it doesn't clash with the malts, unlike quite a few American Imperial Stouts.

M. Thick and silky. Not to much of an alcohol sting, for a 10.5 % er.

O: I have been waiting along time for this brew to come town. And now it's here and at a beer-store 3 blocks away, a slippery slope if I ever saw one. This is probably the best Imperial stout, that hasn't been barrel aged, that I have tried, and that's a lot of them. Right now, if I had to choose one beer to drink for the rest of my life, it would be this one.

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Photo of UpToMeBeer
4.92/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured from a 12oz. bottle. (Aged approximately one year).

Appearance: Black and thick, with a really dark brown head (about 1 finger that dissipated rapidly). A beautiful pour.

Smell: Chocolate, molasses, and coffee. A wondrous balance of aromas.

Taste: Dark fruit, chocolate, raisins, and coffee on the finish. Alcohol is present but not dominant.

Mouthfeel: Viscous with subtle bitterness. Coats the tongue and goes down smoothly.

Overall: Just heavenly. The best Imperial Stout I have yet found. No doubt the year of aging this bottle helped. First time I've ever tried this beer and would seek it out again.

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Photo of JulioH
4.76/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

This beer is so smooth and silky, it is almost unbelievable it is widely available.

Pours a black beer. Very little foam forms, almost typical of imperial stouts. Smells like roasts, chocolate, coffee. No trace of alcohol. Taste is "silky smooth" to quote the Zohan. Mouthfeel is amazing. This beer feels like chocolate milk. Great consistency. Not heady.

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Photo of Ohiolager
4.6/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Founder's Imperial stout 4pk bottles $13.99(OH)

12 fl oz brown bottle poured into a stemless white wine glass. Bottled date marked in yellow just below neck. (bottled 12-14-13) So this is real fresh by stouts standards. Properly stored they can sit for over a year. (I am going to keep a few in my dark fridge for a while to age.)

Pours pitch black, with a dark tan almost brown head standing three finger tall. The thick brown head lasts forever! It finally gives way to amazing lacing. Almost two inch's of the glass is covered in a connecting design of lacing. A little less than a one finger head remains covering the surface.

The aroma is bittersweet malts, a smokey black olive smell. A hint of chocolate or cocoa, and a nutty caramel note towards the end. The smell is very smooth and inviting, one smell and you know it's an imperial.

Taste follows the nose but so much more powerful and robust. A smokey malty coffee taste hits you in the taste buds, followed by a bittersweet caramel chocolate flavor. The end is dry, bitter and kind of floral with a subtle hop taste. The 10.5 % ABV is super well hidden. If I did not see the bottle I would guess this was about 7.5 to 8.5 % ABV.

the mouth feel is very nice. A medium-heavy bodied brew. Carbonation is minimal which is just right for a quality imperial. That sweet powerful stout feel and taste clings to your mouth and wont let go. A carmel, coppery, bittersweet feeling that is robust and powerful.

Overall. WOW! I am impressed. and this stout is not even aged. Its jet black, amazing appearance, smells like an Imperial should, and tastes even better than i thought. It is a little pricey for a 4pk but, well worth it. Best imperial I have had to date. One to remember that's for sure. Exceeded my expectations, and then some.

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Photo of StoutElk_92
4.4/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Pours black with a brown head. Smells of deep roasty chocolate, with hints of dark fruit. The taste is full, with chocolate, slight coffee, and subtle dark stone fruits coming through. It's like a liquid bittersweet dark chocolate bar with dried pieces of plum throughout it. It feels great. Smooth and creamy, thick body with light carbonation. This is a great tasting, super chocolatey imperial stout. Just strong enough without being boozy. Overall, a must try and an annual buy.

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Photo of drgonzo3705
4.06/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Very nice deep black with a prominent mocha colored head. Sticky lacing left behind with good head retention. It settles to a nice film and perks back up with a quick swirl of the glass.

S: Bitter chocolate and coffee dominate the nose that's followed by a soft undertone of sweet molasses.

T: Big roasted coffee with a touch of chocolate and a pleasant bitterness.

M: Full bodied, barely adequate carbonation, and a nice slickness left behind.

D: A very easy drinking RIS. The ABV dampens the sessionability of the brew but a couple glasses wouldn't be a chore.

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Photo of bowersdm
3.3/5  rDev -23.8%
look: 5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle poured into a nonic 2008 vintage

A - the usual RIS color with a 2.5cm tan/brown head that would have been larger had the glass been taller.

S - chocolate, cocoa. not much else going on, the smell did not impress me.

T - chocolate, malty sweetness, alcohol provides an astringency that leads into the slight hop touch at the end. As it warms, a coffee flavor develops in the middle

M - textbook RIS mouthfeel. creamy, not over carbonated, chewy, just all-around great.

D - The beer itself looked beautiful, but its flavor and aroma were really weak. I've had much better imperial stouts for much cheaper, but I enjoyed the opportunity to try it. The flavor (or its lack of) made me not really want to continue drinking it. ( don't worry, I didn't drain pour it. I would never do that to an RIS.)

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Photo of Jparkanzky
3.95/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a pint glass.

A) Dark black, thick with no real head or lacing.

S) Slight vanilla and caramel scents linger.

T) The alcohol flavors overpower the otherwise wonderful deep caramel and vanilla flavors that beg to come to the forefront of this beer.

M) silky smooth and very heavy on tongue. very rich and a great blend of carbonation and substance.

O) The amount of alcohol bit and flavor take over what would otherwise be a perfect stout. This one needs far more time than the current off-the-shelf presentation I am sampling.

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Photo of RedBaron
4.43/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Tasty imperial stout; good for those cold late winter/early spring grey, still-chilly days. Got chocolate?

Appearance: Jet black, with a nice, dense brown head. Carbo sustained nicely. This is the look I expect from an imperial stout, and it didn't disappoint.
Smell: Nice chocolate and alcohol aroma. However, together they seem to produce an almost 'windex' aroma. Almost. Unique, not necessarily bad but different, just not my fav.
Taste: Heavy chocolate and roasted malts up throughout, but a nice suprising hoppy, dry finish. Way to go! Good marriage of malt and hops here.
Mouthfeel: A warming, big-body friendly alcohol presence is what the palette is left with. That, and a nice thick coating of baker's chocolate!
Drinkability: Try this beer with a rich chocolate mousse, or perhaps a great piece of a dark, boutique Mexican chocolate candy. I think the Aztecs would recognize this beer as a direct malty descendant of their ancient cococa drinks.

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Photo of bigbubba
4.27/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

This beer poured black as tar and thick as oil. The brown head barely showed up. It smells great. There is a strong roasted coffee smell, and some chocolate as well. The taste is great as well. It starts out sweet and chocolaty and finishes dry and bitter. More of a coffee and cocoa bitter as opposed to a real hoppy bitterness. The mouthfeel is extremely thick which makes it great for sipping slowly, and at 10% that is a good idea. The first one is very drinkable but it's not something I'd drink more than one of at a sitting.

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Photo of kasper
4/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours an oily, viscous black with a dull, grayish-brown colored watery head that leaves dotted lacing all over the glass.

S: Aromas are sweet: rich milky malts, chocolate covered espresso beans, maybe a bit of dry burnt bark. It's interesting and rather inviting.

T: Fairly tasty stuff. Lots of malt and milky chocolate up front, dry espresso flavors quickly follow, finishing super dry and unmistakably bitter.

M: Feel is consistent with your average imperial stout. Fairly heavy, low carbonation, and noticeably slippery.

D: Solid beer. Good tasting imperial stout. Nothing to go jumping out of windows for, but still a winner.

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