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Founders Imperial Stout - Founders Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Founders Imperial StoutFounders Imperial Stout

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
97
world-class

5,690 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 5,690
Reviews: 1,590
rAvg: 4.36
pDev: 8.72%
Wants: 511
Gots: 1,372 | FT: 120
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
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Ratings: 5,690 | Reviews: 1,590 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of kylehay2004
kylehay2004

Florida

4.33/5  rDev -0.7%

Half finger dark tan head on a jet black body, some lacing. Aroma of dark chocolate, banana bread, coffee, vinegar, roasted malts and soap. Not very sweet smelling, mostly bitterness. Flavor is much better with a nice balance between confectioners semisweet dark chocolate and espresso beans, coffee bitterness on a roasted malt background. Thick body with carbonation a little greater than I want fore the style. I like the degree of earthiness and bitterness. Some of these has too much vanilla sweetness.

12-25-2013 03:52:59 | More by kylehay2004
Photo of ChainGangGuy
ChainGangGuy

Georgia

4.28/5  rDev -1.8%

Passed along to me via kp. Thanks, kp! The age of the bottle is unknown to me.

Appearance: Pours a deep, heavy, black body with a thin, brief, dark tan head.

Smell: Bold, assertive roasted malt aroma layered with rich, yet slightly sweet-smelling notes along with a particularly fruit background scent of plums and prunes.

Taste: Why, it's a whole myriad of malt flavors: bittersweet chocolate, dark caramel, blackened grains, espresso-flavored oatmeal, licorice, and molasses. Again, there's a big pop of fruitiness, now followed by a drizzle of sherry. Slight roasty, earthy bitterness midway. Pinch of Latakia pipe tobacco. Minor hints of peppery alcohol. There's a pleasant interplay of concentrated fruit and roasted malt flavors prior to the drying, roasty finish. A taste of charred sugars lasts into the aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: Medium-full body. Medium-low carbonation. Smooth, tongue-battering mouthfeel.

Drinkability: Dense, succulent malt flavors and pleasantly warming throughout, though, for the most part, the alcohol content remains rather well-hidden. It would not be advantageous at all for you to pass up this one.

04-10-2009 22:51:46 | More by ChainGangGuy
Photo of jaydoc
jaydoc

Kansas

4/5  rDev -8.3%

08-20-2013 04:20:56 | More by jaydoc
Photo of Knapp85
Knapp85

Pennsylvania

3.9/5  rDev -10.6%

This brew poured out as a black thick looking liquid. The head was brown in color with a light lacing. The smell of the beer was heavily roasted with some burnt wood aromas in there too. The taste of the beer was good, it was roasted and bitter with a light sweetness in there too. The mouthfeel had a good oily thickness to it which was nice. It left a good coating in the mouth too. Overall this beer is pretty good.

12-03-2011 03:43:46 | More by Knapp85
Photo of oberon
oberon

North Carolina

4.55/5  rDev +4.4%

Pours an ink black color with deep mocha colored head that leaves a nice sheet of lace behind,aromas of rum and butter dominate but there is a slight presence of grassy hop that adds to the aroma complexities.Think and full mouthfeel with rich buttery flavors with a rum/alcohol finish that really warms the inside and is very sustaining.Wow a big badass impy stout with tons of complexities Iam glad I have more to say the least.

05-21-2005 00:55:27 | More by oberon
Photo of TMoney2591
TMoney2591

Illinois

4.15/5  rDev -4.8%

Served in a Dogfish Head snifter.

Strangely, it took the BS and KBS to lead me to the IS, rather than the other way 'round (I assume that's the more conventional route, anyway). Finally. The pour results in a black soup usually reserved for coating pelicans and other wildlife during ecological disasters, topped by about a finger of burnt sienna froth. I miss crayons... The nose comprises roasted and toasted malts, molasses, chocolate, maple syrup, and a nice hint of vanilla. Yum so far. The taste holds notes of dark, smokey, roasted malts; dark chocolate; a tiny bit o' vanilla; and a slightly surprising hint of bourbon. The body is Kingpin heavy and coats the mouth with thick, chewy goodness. As much as I want to guzzle this beast, the thickness, richness, and relatively high ABV make this an impossible dream (though, like Quixote, that hasn't stopped me yet). Another fine example of tasty darkness from the boyz in Grand Rapids.

06-23-2010 14:51:54 | More by TMoney2591
Photo of westcoastbeerlvr
westcoastbeerlvr

California

4/5  rDev -8.3%

11-14-2011 19:30:05 | More by westcoastbeerlvr
Photo of emerge077
emerge077

Illinois

4.38/5  rDev +0.5%

Grey label, bottle is notched on the top left, 4-pack is dated on the inside "Sep 30, 2004". From Orbitalr0x's blog, the 2005 has the purple trim label, therefore this is the 2004 edition. Also, no ABV listed on the bottle.

Served at 55-60º.
Pours into an Oerbier tulip an impenetrable black, like an espresso brownie. Head is a mocha creme, cascading with tiny bubbles. Irregular spotty lacing with the occassional patchwork of lace. Zero light gets through this one...

Rich milk chocolate aroma, with earthy malt in the background.

Huge chocolate and charred malts, espresso bean, lactic acid. Bitterness of baker's chocolate, long smoky char in the finish. Sweet and sticky on the lips. This stuff is pretty decadent. The full, impossibly smooth feel is akin to it's cousins KBS and Breakfast Stout. Milky texture. Every bit as smooth and delectable as KBS, but without the bourbon barrel influence.

Mellowed enough with time to diminish the alcohol burn of a fresh bottle. My first sample of this was a fresh one about 2 years ago, and I thought it was a monster. This aged bottle proves that it's possible to tame the boozy beast...

Notes: 3-year vertical '04-'06
2004: Mildly sweet chocolate, some oxidation/papery, chewy feel, slight tea-like aftertaste, possibly from age/oxidation.
2005: Slightly peppery, grapey, chocolate is more in the back, very long in the finish, bitterness has begun to fade.
2006: Peppery, licorice smell, definitely a greater hop presence, dryer & more alcoholic, some phenols and heat.

Thanks to Jay23 for upping the ante that made this vertical possible.

09-05-2007 01:16:25 | More by emerge077
Photo of zeff80
zeff80

Missouri

4.3/5  rDev -1.4%

A - Poured out an opaque, black as oil color with no head to speak of at all. It left soapy residue on the glass.

S - It smelled of coffee, chocolate and roasty malts. There were some vanilla notes.

T - It tasted of dark chocolate and roasted malt with some bitter, sharp hop presence. There were touches of vanilla and boozy alcohol flavors.

M - It was soft, smooth and somewhat creamy. A medium to full-bodied beer with a warm alcohol presence.

D - This is a pretty good RIS. No surprise that Founders has yet another great beer in their lineup.

01-11-2010 01:32:34 | More by zeff80
Photo of largadeer
largadeer

California

4.1/5  rDev -6%

Got this one from WeisGuy. Thank you, Shane.

2010 batch. The body is black as pitch, the head a deep brown that quickly recedes to a thick collar.

Delicious oatmeal raisin cookie aroma. Dark chocolate and black licorice are equally prevalent. Alcohol is barely noticed.

The palate, like the aroma, is much like an oatmeal cookie. Rich, but not terribly sweet - there's a good balance of charred malt, black licorice and bittersweet chocolate. Full bodied, a little ashy and tar-y mid-palate. The finish is sticky, bittersweet, deceptively smooth for a 10.5% beer. There's no trace of alcohol, no harshness; it's a very mellow beer, though drinkability is hampered by the sheer richness of it.

On the whole, I don't enjoy this as much as Breakfast Stout or KBS, but it's a great beer nonetheless.

04-18-2011 05:35:53 | More by largadeer
Photo of JAHMUR
JAHMUR

Connecticut

4.25/5  rDev -2.5%

03-29-2012 15:10:17 | More by JAHMUR
Photo of NeroFiddled
NeroFiddled

Pennsylvania

4.5/5  rDev +3.2%

From a fairly fresh bottle, packaged in March and consumed in June. Beautiful label. Standard cap on a screw-top Heritage bottle.

This extremely dark stout is completely opaque without even the slightest, darkest mahogany edge. The tight, creamy, dark tan head has a fire-like orange tint to it; but unfortunately thins in short time to an average collar. It initially leaves some short walls of lace, but after several sips all that are left are transient spots and splashes.

The nose is surprisingly restrained given its intense hue. Still, delicate notes of vinous fruit (plums/prune) combine with a touch of scortched caramel and cold espresso to leave it enticing.

The body is full, and although it's initially somewhat zesty, it does settle to become creamy once it warms.

The flavor is almost too intense to take in at once, and that's OK because as it warms more and more becomes revealed to you. Initially, it's dark roastiness dominates, allowing some espresso-like notes and the occassional flash of almost-burnt caramelized sugar to come through. As it warms, however, it opens up to reveal much more fruitiness including the traditional "burnt currant"; more dark fruits (plum, raisin, date); and some citrus/tropical character (pineapple, sweet grapefruit, melon). The coffee-like flavors increase as well, and in addition to a note of rich, dark chocolate toffee there's a full note of mocha java (sweet and bitter - perfectly balanced). Some piney hops emerge towards the finish, and they certainly come through in the burp! It finishes with a spritz of alcohol; some of the 'juicy' dark fruit (with some burnt raisin thrown in as well); and a fog of dark roasted notes that linger in the mouth and down the throat in an amazingly long lasting finish.

Full Throttle!!! Worth seeking.

06-24-2005 20:57:52 | More by NeroFiddled
Photo of SocalKicks
SocalKicks

California

4.25/5  rDev -2.5%

05-10-2013 07:04:39 | More by SocalKicks
Photo of RblWthACoz
RblWthACoz

Pennsylvania

4.2/5  rDev -3.7%

Pours black with a brownish head. Nose is boozy with touches of molasses. Flavor is intense coffee off the first hit. Lots of roasted malts. Just a punch in the mouth nearly. Mellows out and gives a lot of molasses too fairly quickly. Thick and robust. Seems a bit too boisterous to be bringing the subtleties that you might be able to draw off the other "biggies." Either way, who cares. It's still hearty and robust and carries a great flavor profile. Thick molasses and quite malty. (But mostly, it's bringing the molasses.) Feel is thick and smooth on liquid. Carbonation is low. A pretty intense and hearty RIS. Another Founders beer I have enjoyed.

04-16-2009 00:52:16 | More by RblWthACoz
Photo of TheManiacalOne
TheManiacalOne

Rhode Island

4.05/5  rDev -7.1%

Acquired from fogdog courtesy of the Secret Bunny 2009 BIF, so a big "Thank You" goes out to him. Poured from a 12oz bottle into a tulip glass.

A: The beer is a deep dark brown color, with a thin light brown head that fades quickly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is of rich roasted malts, chocolate, some dark fruit, some coffee and a touch of hops.

T: The taste starts out with a very hearty roasted malt character and bitter-sweet flavors of rich creamy chocolate and some coffee and dark fruit. The hops presence is mild but where it should be for the style and brings a good balance. The after-taste is bitter-sweet.

M: Smooth and a little crisp, medium-to-heavy body, light-to-medium carbonation, finish is slightly sticky.

D: Tasty, goes down easily, slightly filling, strong but well-disguised kick, good representation of style, I have a feeling I might have let this one sit a little too long (at least two years, possibly longer) but it's still a good big stout worth drinking for a long time.

03-01-2011 04:40:48 | More by TheManiacalOne
Photo of nickfl
nickfl

Florida

4/5  rDev -8.3%

02-28-2014 03:30:35 | More by nickfl
Photo of WVbeergeek
WVbeergeek

West Virginia

4.5/5  rDev +3.2%

This has been an elusive beer for me I've had many of Founders specialties and rarer brews but I have had trouble tracking down the Imperial Stout until I stopped in at D's this past week. I love anything dark they make especially their porter I wish they would make a standard stout as well because their porter is world class.

Appears a deep dark black hue with a big mocha tan head forming thick in my Sierra Nevada chalice. Fine even seckled lacing all around this black beauty.

Aroma has big dark chocolate and espresso bean freshly roasted tones with big vanilla and slight anise edges to it. Dark fruit hidden in the dark roasted malt character, almost a wine like nose in the finish.

Flavor is creamy roasted malt ridden with bitter dark chocolate and heavy espresso notes. Heavy hops hit the palate with a sharp creamy milk chocolate syrup finish this stuff is classic and should be a friend of any craft beer fiend.

Mouthfeel is full bodied coats the palate from the front to the back, I can't get enough of this style of big beer from Founders just tell them as they get it it's okay to send it to the Pittsburgh market.

Drinkability overall is incredible the best heavy dark beer I've had whilst living in te ohio valley for quite sometime.

Update version bottled on 12-15-11

Appears so dark that it absolutely absorbs all degrees of the visible light spectrum, big dark tan head almost a leathery brown thick soft textured head creamy billowing just outright beautiful. Fine speckled lacing dances around the sides of my Samuel Smith imperial pint glass. Aroma has earthy herbal hops big loads of dark chocolate notes, something soy sauce about this batch that works into an imperial stout profile, dark fruit hints of anise black licorice. Flavor is full of dark fruit big blast of coffee dark espresso grade strength, creamy dark chocolate bitterness just an aboslute excellent interpretation of an imperial sout. Full bodied stout that coats the palate from every angle the most filling beer around, even smooth carbonation not a cloying bone in this beers body. Supreme being of imperial stout in the world there's really not a better beer out there even compared to KBS, CBS, or Breakfast Stout this beer is the base example of all of those beers.

07-10-2010 11:23:29 | More by WVbeergeek
Photo of Kegatron
Kegatron

Pennsylvania

4.4/5  rDev +0.9%

On tap at Founders.

Pours black as night with a thin head of a burnt mocha colored tan creamy foam. Retention is very nice and wouldn't quit, leaving behind some spotty lacing and brown oily residue down the sides of the glass. The aroma is a tingling mix of roasted bitterness and heat, chocolate sweetness, zippy coffee character, and dark fruit tartness.

The taste is rich, roasted bitterness right off the bat that melds into chocolate and molasses sweetness, additional bitter coffee notes, and a dark fruit tang in the backend. Finishes with a combo of bitter notes and warm, tart sweetness. The mouthfeel is full, rich and creamy with the alcohol presence adding beefiness and warmth to the overall feel.

Wow, this is pretty much the definition of a RIS. Founders leaves nothing out with a complex taste and aroma that is held up by a muscular yet approachable body. I'm definitely getting a case of this next time it's released. Great stuff!

05-11-2008 22:04:10 | More by Kegatron
Photo of russpowell
russpowell

Oklahoma

4.43/5  rDev +1.6%

Got this one from joe1510, cheers Joe!

Pours ebony with a pinky of chocolate head. Nice oily sheen, above average lacing & below averagehead retention

S: Bourbon, vanilla, oak & toffee, plus some hazel nut??

T: Dryness, roasty malt, dark fruit, leafy & herbal hops up front. Some booze warmth is coming through as this warms, along with plummyness, charred grain, coffee & oaky dryness. Finishes dry, with juicy charred grain & some dark fruit, plus some smokeyness & sourmash aftertaste

MF: Slick, pretty rich & chewy with great balance

Drinks easy for the style & ABV, not my favorite, but not far from it

05-01-2009 04:09:26 | More by russpowell
Photo of MasterSki
MasterSki

Ontario (Canada)

4.22/5  rDev -3.2%

This is the 2009 release - the recipe must be slightly different, as it lists 10.5% ABV and 90 IBUs. Served in a pint glass.

A - Looks like a good stout should. One finger of mocha foam that dissipates and leaves a ton of lacing. It's pitch black (not even brown at the edges), and there's a bunch of bubbles at the bottom of the glass.

S - Coffee, bittersweet chocolate, roast malt, some dark fruit sweetness as well - plums, currants, etc. There's some hop flavor as well, in a similar vein as fresh Darkness. It's really delicious, but not huge.

T - There's a lot of bitterness in this one - coming from the coffee, bitter chocolate, and even the hops. There is some residual sweetness on the edges of my tongue, but the taste is pretty consistent. Even the aftertaste is kind of bitter. I'm curious to see if this mellows out and sweetens up as it ages.

M - Medium-bodied, with a surprising amount of carbonation tingle to it. Leaves a sticky coating on the inside of my mouth.

D - The surprisingly refreshing mouthfeel and well-hidden ABV make this a very (and dangerously drinkable) stout. I should probably be sipping it, but instead I'm hitting it like an IPA. I'd definitely bring a 4-pack to a party.

It'd be nice if this was made more often than every three years, although it's not like Founder's has any bad brews to displace (they seem to have given up on that quad they made).

01-31-2009 21:54:45 | More by MasterSki
Photo of feloniousmonk
feloniousmonk

Minnesota

4.5/5  rDev +3.2%

Terminal blackness describes the appearance, full-on ebony, covered by a toasted brown cap.
Aroma is all things you want in an Imperial Stout, mollases, carob, anise, mostly chocolate, with undertones of coffee, rich, complex and deeply dark....a tickler for the nostrils, there's a fullness of flavor in the smell of this, that simply must be savored at length. I want to stave off the sipping, just to bask in this olfactory delight.
On the lips and off the tongue, it's a thick, rich sensation...a fullness in the mouth, comes in grand force and takes over the cavernous reaches of the mouth...sits in command on the palate, as excess dark deliciousness drips over...a kingpin of the Imperial Stout variety, though certainly no Dark Lord...I don't taste any 12%, but it's making it's way assuredly onto my system, I can nice drinkability on it, too, despite the high octane booziness...it doesn't feel too bad on me, at least, not until I try to stand up...whoop=wha---whoa!!

much thanks to Chaz for the bottle...a happier day will fall when Founders is available locally!

05-06-2005 00:10:43 | More by feloniousmonk
Photo of drabmuh
drabmuh

Maryland

4.38/5  rDev +0.5%

An awesome unexpected extra sent by JohnQVegas, one of my all time favorite RIS, Founders. You are the man.

Beer is black and has a brown head with tiny bubbles that disappears quickly. Minimal lacing on the glass.

Beer is roasty and sweet in the aroma, inviting me to drink.

Beer is sweet and mildly roasty without an aftertaste. Lots of coffee flavors, no ash. Medium body, easy drinking, beautiful. Mildly sweet in the front overall very nice. So drinkable, great feeling in the mouth too. I love this beer. Next opportunity I'm buying a case of this.

09-03-2010 03:01:28 | More by drabmuh
Photo of Slatetank
Slatetank

Pennsylvania

4.13/5  rDev -5.3%

I picked this up at Brass Rail in Campbelltown.
Poured from the stubby 12oz into a snifer and an 1/2 pint

A - Almost pitch black like oozing slimy railroad tie pitch w/ a molasses type reddish hue. The cap is a honey shade of brown w/ rocky foam froma vigorous pour. The head settles slowly to a ring around the glass. The opacity is pretty impressive while there are random streams of tan lace splattered like silly string. I am piqued by the beauty of this stout

S - cookies, lots of cocoa and chocolate malt w/ a dark chocolate and mild pine hop aroma. The nose has a caramel/vanilla note and mellow fig w/ toffee accent. Touches of cooking herbs and spicy hop tinges round out the fragrant odor

M - Rich and spicy w/ mucho maltiness-the feel is full. The level of carbonation is moderate which pleases my palate. There is a warmth of alcohol as it finishes w/ bitter hop spice and sweet stickiness of dark malts

T - A rich dark chocolate flavor begins the Founders Imperial Stout experience w/ mild buttery toffee that fades into a bitter citrus hop taste which brings out more caramel and roasted barley flavor in contrast. The spice plays well w/ the dark toasted an chocolate malts. The plum notes come forward gently as it warms w/ an herbal hop taste. The taste of green pepper is noted and seems to overshadow the malty cocoa taste at the end. There is bitter flavors in the residual taste and alchol giving a green impression. The taste of sweetened espresso also unfolds as the final sips reveal more vanilla bean taste in the spice flavor.

D - The taste of this Imperial stout is very layered yet a bit 'angular', slightly on the edgier side w/ more of a malt + hop interplay w/ 90 ibus almost apparent in flavor and the 10% is not very hidden, but it more than makes up for it in the flavor - a highly drinkable impy on the hoppy side. I can't wait to taste this again

04-15-2009 16:57:26 | More by Slatetank
Photo of jlindros
jlindros

Massachusetts

4.3/5  rDev -1.4%

A: A super dark thick frothy head rises up 1 finger and slowly fades over pitch black and super thick beer.

N: Lots of roast, chocolate, hops, dark malts, with some bittering hops. Mostly dark malts, crystal, roasted, chocolate, etc. That adds some sweet aromas and syrupy too. THen come bitter hops with some earthy and spicy hop aromas. A little coffee too.

T: Pretty rich, lots of malts again, with lots of roast, a little chocolate, crystal, etc. This time some smoked malts too with some smoked flavor and even smoked gouda cheese or smoked cured meats. Chewy malts with all that. Touch of chocolate, some good roast and coffee. Some bitterness as well, some from roasted malts but quite a bit of hops too. Hops come in the earthy spicy variety. Semi smooth and a little creamy, but thick and chewy at the same time.

M: very thick and chewy, somewhat smooth and a little syrupy with decent carbonation.

F: Bitter! It has quite a bit of bitterness, mostly from the charred malts. WIth that is a touch of minerality and little soy sauce but not much. THere are also some hops that come in the finish adding more bitterness and earthy flavors. Lingering roast and some coffee, as well as perhaps black patent malt dark flavors. A little stickiness, but not as much as I expected for how thick and chewy it is. It also hides the booze well and drinks more like a 7-8% rather than 10.5%.

I love this stout, lots of dark malts, chewy, bitter, hoppy, and overall pretty drinkable. A nice roast, coffee, and chocolate addition as well but not over the top in any. Best of all is the price landing this at about $4 for a 12oz which is much more affordable than most great RIS beers.

05-08-2010 03:12:01 | More by jlindros
Photo of StonedTrippin
StonedTrippin

Colorado

4.51/5  rDev +3.4%

truly exceptional stout right here. I love the fact that it isn't sweet at all, and it doesn't try to hide what it is. very straightforward stuff. the pours is almost jet black, just the darkest shade of brown in there, with a patient but excited mocha colored head that swirls right back up as soon as it settles. the nose is very alcoholic, but its not aggressive or cheap vodka style, its there as a reminder, or maybe a warning. I pick up some good wood in this too, maybe birch or maple, something lighter than oak for sure, more fresh. there is a cocoa bitterness throughout the flavor, that climaxes toward the finish. lots of dark dark roasted barley here, and a certain earthen quality that fills in for the usual residual sugar. it makes the beer more drinkable than it should be. I love the mouthfeel, soft as crushed velvet, but with enough carbonation for its huge body not to get filling. it also finishes fairly clean for a style that usually clings to the teeth for ages. alcohol is warming but not offensive, and the absence of sweetness is astounding and really quite unique in the big stout world. I can finally see for myself what all they hype is about, and this is a beer for the ages. hard to imagine kbs and cbs being even better, but I will find that out for myself as well...

05-09-2013 20:06:34 | More by StonedTrippin
Founders Imperial Stout from Founders Brewing Company
97 out of 100 based on 5,690 ratings.