1. Extreme Beer Fest. March 20 & 21, 2015 in Boston, Mass. Join us!
  2. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  3. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

Founders Imperial Stout - Founders Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Founders Imperial StoutFounders Imperial Stout

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

5,880 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 5,880
Reviews: 1,599
rAvg: 4.36
pDev: 8.72%
Wants: 535
Gots: 1,417 | FT: 121
Brewed by:
Founders Brewing Company visit their website
Michigan, United States

Style | ABV
Russian Imperial Stout |  10.50% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes/Commercial Description:
90 IBU

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 02-12-2005)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 5,880 | Reviews: 1,599 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of juliusseizure
4/5  rDev -8.3%

juliusseizure, Jan 21, 2013
Photo of PGVG
4.75/5  rDev +8.9%

PGVG, Apr 07, 2014
Photo of ncvbc
4.5/5  rDev +3.2%

ncvbc, Jul 27, 2014
Photo of jeonseh
4.48/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

From a bottle

A - Deep, chocolate brown. Almost black. A small, mocha colored head sits on the edges. Looks like it has a medium body with a slight stickiness to it that coats the glass.

S - Dark chocolate, hints of coffee, smoked malts with a slight caramel sweetness to it. The nose is very fragrant and great smelling.

T - Dark, bitter chocolate with a nice roasted malt aspect to it. There is vanilla and caramel sweetness to it that keeps it well balanced. The finish is dry and slight espresso flavor to it.

MF - Nice, thick mouthfeel with slight carbonation to it. It has a slight stickiness to it that goes well with the sweeter flavors. It manages to be a big, thick beer without being too overpowering.

O - Another great beer from Founders that is a great representation of the style. Definitely of the best, easily available RISs around

jeonseh, Jul 02, 2012
Photo of mattparsons
4.75/5  rDev +8.9%

mattparsons, Dec 29, 2012
Photo of SaxmanRick
4.75/5  rDev +8.9%

SaxmanRick, Mar 17, 2013
Photo of scxcrunner
4.5/5  rDev +3.2%

scxcrunner, Aug 25, 2013
Photo of LightnerLiquorKS
4.75/5  rDev +8.9%

LightnerLiquorKS, Jul 22, 2014
Photo of warriorsoul
4.2/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

A huge thankyou to kmpitz2 for this bonus.
I can locate quite a number of their brews in my area...unfortunately, this one did not make the shelves.
Pours like molasses...black as night w/ just a thin layer of cocoa colored head. Lacing is thin, but has nice cling.
Aroma is filled w/ chocolate malt, coffee, rum raisins.
Taste is just what I expect from Founder's...a style pushed to the extreme.
Filled w/ coffee (no Breakfast Stout mind you), semi-sweet cocoa, with a nice balance of hops to finish off. Alcohol is so well hidden until it works its way to room temperature. Smokiness flavor works its way out after warming up as well.
Mouthfeel is a thick, but refreshing feel...a little bitter, but finished slick and sweet.
Can't say drinkability is up there as this baby is 12%, but I would enjoy a couple in an evening. Thanks again kmpitz2...giving me a chance to try this one.

Edit: Had one of these with a year on it and it would score just shy of a perfect 5!!

warriorsoul, Apr 04, 2005
Photo of scottyshades
3.9/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Had on-tap at Barley's Taproom in Greenville, SC for $4.25

A: Pours a very syrupy pitch black color that produces a tiny, basically non-existent head that disappears almost immediately.

S: Initial nose is pure coffee/espresso, followed by a massive burnt malt note, finally bitter hops. Caramel, molasses, and some dark fruit comprise most of the flavors I pick up. The brew smells very sour and bitter. Slightly smokey as well.

T: The flavor was a little sour in my book. The hops really create a distinct bitter flavor that really doesn't sit well with the burnt notes, sour notes, or the smoke. Not exactly my cup...I'll stick with the Breakfast Stout.

MF/D: Very very viscous, long sour coffee finish, creamy body...Not exactly all too drinkable due to the ABV and some things about this that I really didn't like.

There seemed like something was missing...Perhaps it was the 90IBUs that overdid it...Will try again, but this one was a little disappointing

scottyshades, Oct 09, 2009
Photo of JustinMatthew
4.25/5  rDev -2.5%

JustinMatthew, Apr 01, 2012
Photo of M_C_Hampton
4.74/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

A: poured from a 12 oz bottle (dated 12/7/12) into a pint glass, used motor oil black with a short thick dark tan head that lingers leaving some lacing, clear

S: big nose of chocolate, dark chocolate, sweet, coffee, molasses, dark brown sugar, cinnamon rolls, vanilla

T: bitter sweet chocolate and coffee mingle with vanilla, middle sweetens with molasses syrup flavor, cane sugar, finish dries with a tangy hop bitterness, flavor lingers for some time

M: thick and oily, the alcohol is barely detectable, carbonation is on the lower side

O: I opened this to celebrate some special news. This beer has aged beautifully. Flavors abound as it warms gaining sweetness. Aged this is arguably as good or slightly better than FBS. Buy it if you find it.

M_C_Hampton, Mar 04, 2014
Photo of benloho
4.5/5  rDev +3.2%

benloho, May 24, 2014
Photo of wyatt13
4.25/5  rDev -2.5%

wyatt13, Mar 31, 2013
Photo of moarmare
4.5/5  rDev +3.2%

moarmare, Jan 16, 2014
Photo of Gtg642
4.5/5  rDev +3.2%

Gtg642, Nov 16, 2011
Photo of Beerenauslese
4.45/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Body is very dark brown, with a tan head that dissipates to a ring.

Smells rich, with lots of charred malt, dark fruit, coffee, and chocolate.

Taste follows the nose: first, strong chocolate milk, then coffee, and a bit of tongue tingling charred malt astringency, finishing dry and somewhat hoppy.

Body is medium and carbonation is subdued. Creamy at first, but gets flatter as it warms.

Overall, a very good IS/RIS. Very rich, the 10.5% ABV is well hidden.

Beerenauslese, Jul 05, 2011
Photo of seaoflament
4.35/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to SPLITGRIN for the trade!

Must be an 06’ bottle.

Pours very dark with a quarter of an inch of light chocolate foam.

Aroma is of roasted barley, chocolate malts, bitter chocolate, anise, cocoa, a bit of dark fruits, alcohol, and a touch of wood notes.

The taste follows the aromas very well; very good roasted profile with some coffee, chocolate, anise and wood (maybe hints of oak?). Carbonation is still very lively in the mouth.

A very good RIS, and one I am looking forward to trying again with some more age on it. I think this will easily join the list of my favorite russian imperial stouts.

seaoflament, Nov 12, 2007
Photo of aorloski
4.15/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance - WOW one of the darkest and viscous beers i have ever seen. To call this motor oil is an understatement. Nice chocolate fluffy head.

Smell - Awesome bitter dark chocolate, roasted malts, hints of vanilla and coffee

Taste - Chocolate, big time. Right up front you get hit with the bitterness which leaves room for the roasted malts and subtle notes of coffee and vanilla to come afterwards. What i like the best is the lingering flavor of melted dark chocolate in your mouth from this.

Mouthfeel - Awesome, coats the mouth and leaves an amazing taste for you to long for more.

Overall - Another fucking amazing Founders stout.

aorloski, Jan 07, 2012
Photo of RoamingGnome
4.1/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Poured from 12 oz bottle into CBS snifter.

A) Black... No light getting through this one. Really not much head, maybe half a finger. The head was dark, basically brown. It dissipated quickly, just a little lacing.

S) Lots of roast aroma, chocolate, kind of milky, hint of espresso and a touch of alcohol.

T) Sipped on this for a bit, and the flavors pickup nicely as it warms. Nice chocolate flavors, more like a milk chocolate than a dark. There was a hint of vanilla too. A touch of coffee, deep roast, little hops coming through, slightly burnt. A bit of alcohol on the finish and then some roast aftertaste.

M) This was thick, like a melting shake. Full bodied for sure, not much carbonation. This was very smooth and creamy. Top notch...

O) Founders clearly knows how to brew world class stouts. I personally prefer the CBS, KBS and FBS over this offering, but it is still highly recommended by this beer enthusiast.

RoamingGnome, Jan 23, 2012
Photo of Birdlegs
4.25/5  rDev -2.5%

Birdlegs, Jan 27, 2013
Photo of atpca
3.5/5  rDev -19.7%

atpca, Oct 11, 2014
Photo of JohnnyMc
4.75/5  rDev +8.9%

JohnnyMc, May 14, 2012
Photo of jim_carignan
3.5/5  rDev -19.7%

jim_carignan, Mar 25, 2014
Photo of azdback
3.88/5  rDev -11%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a brandy snifter. Deep, dark black. No light getting through this one at all, even at the edges. The head came and went before I could even snap off a couple of pictures. While it was there it was a tad smaller than a finger and molasses caramel color. The beer sits in front of me now with no head or lace to be seen. It does leave a weird oily resin on the glass.

Smell is of deep roasted malts that almost smell of a doused campfire. Some booze in the nose with a bit of coffee and vanilla. Very nice!!

The first thing I get is almost a smoky dark chocolate. Some French Roast coffee, vanilla and some sweetness, caramel comes to mind.

The mouth is not even average. This beer isn't completely flat, but it's carbonation is almost non existent. There is pretty much no body nothing to really grade on.

Overall I must say that this beer was pretty tasty and smelled great, but I was really disappointed in the other two categories. The head, lace and carbonation never even said, "here!", when called on. ("9 TIMES!") If I were Ferris I would show up to school.

azdback, May 01, 2011
Founders Imperial Stout from Founders Brewing Company
97 out of 100 based on 5,880 ratings.