Founders Imperial Stout - Founders Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Founders Imperial StoutFounders Imperial Stout

Educational use only; do not reuse.

1,711 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 1,711
Hads: 6,941
rAvg: 4.32
pDev: 3.7%
Wants: 659
Gots: 1,984 | 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: 1,711 | Hads: 6,941
Photo of Gavage
4.37/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: black in color with a short 1/2" head that falls to a thick surface foam. Some mild lacing develops.

Smell: chocolate, roasted malts, and espresso comes from the glass easily into the nose.

Taste: roasted malt profile is big along with dark chocolates, espresso, and hints of alcohol. Bitterness is perfect in balancing out the sweetness here. There are also some prunes and red grapes here too.

Mouthfeel: lightly crisp to start, smooth and a bit dry at the finish. Aftertaste is long as the flavors seem to stick to the tongue. Heavy in body.

Drinkability: very nice flavor profile screams for you to have a few of these, but the alcohol level and heaviness knocks it down a notch. Great beer overall. (719 characters)

Photo of tdm168
4.49/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - pitch black with a thin, dark brown head that has little retention

S - chocolate, anise, black licorice, roasted malts, coffee

T - coffee, roasted malts, chocolate, coffee-like bitter finish

M - full bodied, smooth, well carbonated

This is a really complex, intricate, and delicious beer. Each sip showcases its depth. You can taste each flavor distinctly in each sip, but they also come together in a great balanced flavor. This is definitely one of the more complete Imperial Stouts on the market. This is most certainly worth a try. (543 characters)

Photo of Billolick
4.67/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 ouncer sampled w/o any freshness dating. Founders continues to blow me away, when will these fine brews be available in the northeast??
Pours Jet black, stately mocha head, leaving fine lacing. Nose is big and loaded with chocolate, smoke and coffee grinds. Full bodied brew, alcohol present. Complex flavor profile, including lots of expresso coffee, dark chocolate, smoke, alcohol, rum soaked brownies, yum yum ...big bold, full bodied sipper. Seek---age/enjoy (466 characters)

Photo of billab914
4.35/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into my Bruery tulip. Poured a thick black color with a moderate dark tan head on it. The head all but faded away after a few minutes, but left some very good spider web lacing.

The aroma really has a lot of dark chocolate flavors coming through. A little coffee along with some roasted malts also play a pretty big role. A little malty, chocolaty, sweetness helps balance it out a bit. Very pleasant aroma.

The taste shows a lot of dark, bitter, chocolate to it with some coffee and roasted, slightly burnt malts coming through. It has just a hint of chocolaty sweetness to it as well. The chocolate flavors are excellent for a beer without actual chocolate added, that I know of at least.

The mouthfeel is on the thicker side and moderately creamy. Carbonation is moderate. Drinkability is very good, it was a great beer to sip on this evening. The chocolate, bitter flavors were particularly nice. Excellent beer overall. (955 characters)

Photo of yourefragile
3.89/5  rDev -10%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 oz 2009 bottle poured into a snifter.

Pours a very dark brown, near black liquid with slight reddish tints against light, nearly opaque. Large dense deep brown head, it almost looks like it has reddish tints as well. Great retention and clumpy streaks of lacing all over the glass. Very strong, potent aroma, that leans a little heavily on a hop like bitterness, slightly astringent, almost like a house hold cleaner. Behind that, some malt and coffee like presence and dark fruit sweetness, but the astringency is a turn off. Body is very thick and creamy, but very low carbonation reminding me of Expedition (looking at other reviews, starting to wonder if I have an off bottle). Primary flavor starts with dark fruit, berries, etc transitioning to a light coffee/chocolate flavor before a dry light hop finish. Very little alcohol presence. A nice RIS, and great representation of the style, but nothing remarkable and in my opinion I prefer something cheaper like Old Rasputin or Storm King. (1,000 characters)

Photo of smakawhat
4.15/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Happy to at once get my hands on this. Poured from the bottle into a pint glass.

Pours like oil out of the bottle... borderline black. No head to speak of but perhaps 2 millimeters of dark mahogany bubbles. Slowly falls. Body is dark as night.

A good solid nose of faint chocolate with malt character. Simple roast too. Slight sweetness, cloyingly feels deceptive. Unfortunately there isn't much else to it than that. Strangely a smell of a hard boiled egg.

Taste is just a solid malt, with a simple good tobacco. Some carbonation though but a huge aerated mouthfeel of tobacco and whisps of dark bitter chocolate. Has borderline milk/cream stout fizzyness on the end but dark chocolate comes out in the swallow. Mouthfeel has lots of silk, but would be silkier if it wasn't so carbonated. Carbonation tingles on roof mouth long after beer has been consumed also. ABV is also very well hidden and masked.

Still another great beer from Founders what can I say, I get more and more impressed with these guys every time. (1,021 characters)

Photo of Stinkypuss
4.23/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appears dark blackish black. Nice head full brown and lacing. Aroma is strong of roasted malt, double strength coffee, chocolate and alcohol. In the taste, deep roasted flavors. Black coffee, charred malts and some booze as it warms. Clean alcohol. Dark chocolate. Very tasty. Mouthfeel is full bodied and fairly smooth. Medium carbonation. A big beautiful beer and Im glad I have a few more to set aside for a while. Im sure the booze will mellow out alot but it was not distracting here. Certainly worth the purchase, but damn the 4-pack I could have went with 6 for sure. (574 characters)

Photo of tempest
4.05/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Picked up a single at Abe's Cold Beer for $3 a couple months back. Poured pitch black with a tall light brown head. Man, this is pretty bitter. It's also a little more drinkable, which I also like from the big stouts. The beer tastes like extra thick dark chocolate cake, like flourless cake. There's a also a slightly tangy citrus bitterness, that while you can feel, struggles to overcome the massive dark malts on your tongue. Overall a fine RIS and certainly worth my three buck. (483 characters)

Photo of Alieniloquium
4.25/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 2 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz. bottle poured into a goblet.

Appearance - Jet black, even pouring out of the bottle, with no head at all. No lacing. Hardly a wisp of chocolate lacing atop of the body. It stains the glass as I swirl it around.

Smell - Strong coffee aromas with chocolate, roasted malts, and a dark fruit background. Great aromas. All the different aromas you'd look for in a big stout like this.

Taste - Big chocolate and coffee flavors immediately, followed by a slightly sweet flavor of dark fruits. The finish is all stout, though. Bitter coffee and hops drown out everything in the finish.

Mouthfeel - Creamy body with some alcohol burn in the finish. The bitterness is very strong. Combined with the alcohol and low carbonation, this one is definitely a sipper. Slow drinking.

Overall - The flavors are huge at the expense of aesthetics and drinkability. Wonderful flavors that require my full attention over the course of an hour or so. I am consistently wowed by the flavors, though. (986 characters)

Photo of Georgiabeer
4.52/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

pours absolutely black with a tan head, but even with a jhard pour i can only generate about a 1/2 inch of head. Some lacing as well. The aroma has lots of licorice, some chocolate, and a touch of espresso. Rich flavors that are seemlessly integrated and very smooth and silky in the mouth. Nice flavors of licorice, chocolate, fresh cream, and some lovely roastiness. I love the superb silky, creamy mouthfeel. This one is a winner. Maybe the creamiest of all the RIS. (469 characters)

Photo of Kelp
4.4/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured into my glass in an inky black stream with a nice dark tan head that lasted a bit. First smell is coffee followed by chocolate and toasted malts. Nice big malty taste, a bit of chocolate and finished with a coffee undertone. The alcohol isn't exactly up front but it is definitely there. Nice and thick almost velvety to the tongue. I could definitely finish a few of these in a night but it would be a pretty long and enjoyable night. (442 characters)

Photo of corby112
4.55/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

From notes:

Pours pitch black and completely opaque without even the slightest trace of lighter color when held to a light source and a 1.5 finger frothy mocha colored head. Decent retention, quickly fading to a lasting ring that leaves spots of lacing behind.

Dark roasted aroma with lots of silky dark chocolate character as well as hints of roasted coffee/espresso bean, oatmeal, nut, toffee burnt toast and alcohol sweetness.

Chewy full body with a deep roasted malt flavor. There is a huge silky chocolate and roasted coffee bean presence that is balanced vry nicely by a lactic cream character. I'm also picking up hints of toast, toffee, hazelnut, oatmeal and slight dark fruit. This beer is very comlex and the well masked ABV makes this dangerously drinkable. Slightly bittertowars the end of the palate with a bone dry finish and slight alcohol warmth. Excellent! (876 characters)

Photo of weeare138
4.45/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appears a dense, rich black with nary an ounce of light penetrating the viscous, used motor oil looking brew. A thick, 2 finger foamy, dark tan head slowly fades out. Tons of scattered lacing sticks to the glass. In fact, I'm looking at the film and there are just tiny holes left around the thick lacing. Very nice.
Smell is of roasted nuts, heavy whipping cream, cocoa, vanilla, rich fudge, ripe black grapes, and mild booziness.
Taste is of the mentioned aromas, along with a sweet fruit, cream, and mollasses flavor. Well done.
Mouthfeel is heavy, viscous, sweet up front, creamy smooth, mildly bitter with a distinctively rich, chewiness that is like biting into a spoon full of ripe cherimoya. (702 characters)

Photo of johnnnniee
4.28/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Received in trade from TexIndy, Thanks for the opportunity.

Pours a solid black with a smallish tan head that doesn't visit for very long. Smells of chocolate syrup and roast, slight perfume aroma and a bit of alcohol as it warms. Taste is roasty and filled with chocolates. Hop presence is felt mid to finish as well as a bit of alcohol bite, which then gives way to a roast bitterness. Body is thick, mouthfeel is smooth and creamy, carbonation is low but adequate. Its a good Imp Stout, hoppier than I like. I wish I had more so I could lay some down.

Revisited this today as I lucked into a four pack of this in VT. Solid black with a thin tan head that subsides but never really disappears. Smells is heavy on the milk and dark chocolate with some roast and earthy hops. Taste is about the same. Hugely smooth silky creamy mouthfeel with a light level of carbonation and a medium to thick body. I don't recall liking this one as much the first time I had it, but I really enjoyed this today. My review reflects this sampling. (1,043 characters)

Photo of Zorro
4.56/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This bottle is sampled due to the efforts of tsmthrs and Christmas in July Secret Santa BIF 2006.

Poured in the glass this beer is simply BLACK in colored with a DARK brown head. So dark you can't see the sun through the glass and it is incredibly clear and hot here today. Massive head formation, it was a good thing I poured this in to my Duvel glass so I didn't lose any beer. In appearance this beer is really more of a 5.5.

Smell is strong chocolate aroma with some strong citrus hop aroma. Lively hop aroma here that is rather minty and spicy to the nose. Roasted and coffee aromas are in this but they are most hidden by the hops and chocolate.

Taste is deeply of unsweetened dark chocolate, almost like melted bakers chocolate in a glass. Not really bitter just semi dry in the mouth in a good way. Roasted malt and coffee flavors are in this but chocolate has driven them to the edges of my senses. Basically this is like drinking dark chocolate.

Mouthfeel is melted dark chocolate candy bars. REALLY it is that thick!

Drinkability is always subjective. Ask yourself would you like drinking liquid dark chocolate candy bars in a glass? If yes then this beer is a 5.0 drinker, if not it will be a 3.0 for you. (1,232 characters)

Photo of HopHead84
4.23/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into my snifter, the beer is black with a small, dark brown head. The creamy head quickly recedes and the lacing is scattered on my glass.

The aroma is of sweet roasted malt, dark chocolate, cocoa, anise, freshly roasted coffee. Some citrus hops linger in the background. The flavor has just the right amount of coffee and roastiness. There's some dark chocolate present and a medium level of earthy hop bitterness balancing out the sweet malt. The alcohol is most noticeable in the finish, which has a nice level of bitterness to it.

Full bodied with medium carbonation and a sticky, viscous, and chewy mouthfeel. (624 characters)

Photo of barleywinefiend
5/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A: Poured a nice rich deep brown/black with good carbonation leaving a nce brown, frothy cap

S: Dark chocolate, milk chocoate and a nice roaste dmalt with a light hint of coffee and oatmeal

T: Wow. Nice rich milk chocolate upfront with some dark chocolate, a bit of booze mixed with roasted malts, oatmeal and some light pine resin. Delicously decadent, a FBS minus the big coffee. The finish is so smooth and easy to down.

M: Big, rich full bodied and down right fantastic. Loads of flavor, booze is well hidden behind the massive flavor

O: Outstanding in every aspect! (574 characters)

Photo of GarthDanielson
4.41/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured on-tap and served in a snifter, the beer is jet black, with a great looking consistency, and a thick, foamy, dense, creamy, milk chocolate colored head. Aromas are rich and deep, with a good blending of chocolate and coffee, as well as some roasted qualities and a slight boozey kick. Flavors are robust and full, with a heavy roasting, almost to the point of char, carrying a solid dark coffee backbone, with some bitter cocoa nib and sweet molasses and vanilla highlights. Very well blended, and extremely smooth despite the bitter coffee and chocolate notes. The aftertaste is more of the smokey/roasted character, with a touch of the bitter chocolate and coffee once again. This full bodied brew leaves a trail of rings around the glass, and is insanely smooth leading to a velvety soft, creamy finish, with a touch of drying bitter left behind for just a moment. Tremendous beer! (891 characters)

Photo of John_M
4.4/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Very pleasantly surprised to see this on tap at Al's of Hampden yesterday.

The beer pours a dark, almost vicuous brownish black color with very good head retention and considerable sticky lacing. The nose is all RIS goodness, consisting of considerable coffee, vanilla and dark chocolate. The flavor profile replicates the nose pretty closely in this moderately sweet stout, but with enough underlying bitterness to buoy that sweetness very nicely. Mouthfeel is smooth and very long, and I get a hint of licorise in the finish that is attractive. Drinkability is pretty good, though you can certainly tell the abv. is up there a bit.

While no KBS or CBS, this is still a very solid, very enjoyable RIS from Founders. When it comes to imperial stouts, I think it's readily apparent that the folks at Founders know what they're doing. (835 characters)

Photo of biegaman
4.55/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Founders Imperial Stout has a head darker than coffee - heck, most chocolate isn't this deep, dark brown in colour. And though it's hard to imagine, the liquid is even deeper and darker yet; I doubt even the most powerful bleach would be enough to get a stain this inky and black out of a shirt. And while the foam may disappear like dandelion spores in the wind, the opacity is steadfast.

This is an aroma that will be savored by coffee aficionados, chocoholics, cigar expects, sommeliers, and stout fanatics alike. It is at once rich, roasty, and lush, brimming with cocoa, coffee, and smoke flavours. There's enough character for 3 stouts in this glass - even someone with half a nostril could appreciate its power and profundity.

Founders Imperial Stout tastes like a coffee liqueur-filled dark chocolate truffle made by an incredibly master artisan chocolatier. In fact, it's like a sample of said chocolatier's entire lineup, combining hints of biscuits, mocha, hazelnut ganache, nuts, caramel, candied citrus, and baking spices, all dusted in pure, unrefined cocoa powder.

Though richly flavoured like a cheesecake, the mouthfeel is oily and roasty in the middle and dry with lingering coffee-like bitterness on the finish. There's also a trace of herbal hoppiness sprinkled throughout. It's also ultra-smooth for something this strength; it has an opulent, velvety texture normally equated with a priced Bordeaux. Put another way: it can't get much better.

Founders Imperial Stout is a beer that reminds me of why I got into craft beer in the first place and of just what makes these offerings so special; this is a world-class beer that will impress even the most skeptical drinker whether he even actually likes it or not. Its rich but soft profile balances intensity and refinement in an undeniably impressive manner. Right up there with the bests. (1,865 characters)

Photo of rhoadsrage
3.95/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

(Served in a medium snifter)
A- This beer pours an inky black with a thin wisp of dark chocolate head that quickly fades to a few bubbles.

S- smells of sweet graham crackers and roasted malt. There is also a faint bit of floral hops in the background.

T- Nice dark bitter grains with a bit of prunes or other dark fruit notes. A roasted graham cracker flavor is embedded in the taste, and light hints of sweetness from the malt and a nice hop bitterness at the finish.

M-A medium mouthfeel with a slight astringency from the malt and no alcohol warmth.

D-This is a nice imperial stout that has some pleasant complexity but not overly complex. It blends well in flavor and the hops are a nice taste. (714 characters)

Photo of jdhilt
4.38/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours like oil and a three finger brown head that fades slowly leaving some lace. Pure black color no highlights. Light-medium carbonation and heavy bodied. Almost a caramel nose. Flavor is smokey caramel. Mild bitter aftertaste. High ABV totally hidden. Nice IS. $3.50 for a 12oz bottle from Colonial Spirits Acton, Ma. (320 characters)

Photo of akorsak
4.17/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

From a trade with meathookjones. This is a 2006 bottle.

A: The stout is an oily black color with some dark browrn hints. The head is a mocha brown color that does not retain for very long.

S: The aroma is a toasted grain and chocolate, alcohol strength.

T: The ale has a deep roasted taste flavor with a stronger malt flavor that has comes through like a red wine with many layers of taste. The malts are big and bold, roasted, chocolatey and full of warming alcohol.

M: The mouthfeel is dry, with a little bit of hop kick and a lot of roasted malts. Very nice mouthfeel with a good balance of flavors.

D: The abv is a bit high, but the roasted malts are great. A good night-cap. (695 characters)

Photo of Wasatch
4.5/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Glad to have a couple of bottles of this from BitterBill. Pours a black color, nice carbonation, nice creamy tan head, lots of lacing afterwards. Scents of roasted malts, toffee/caramel, slight spices. The taste is awesome of sweet roasted malts, and a deep toffee/caramel flavor. Medium body well balanced brew. Very drinkable, no hint what so ever of being a 10% ABV brew. What a delicious beer. (397 characters)

Photo of Axnjxn
3.96/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

draft at beer study in chapel hill. FW tulip.

pours a pitch black with a very slight head. smell is quite big on roasted malts..slight chocolate. the taste is very big on roasted malts too..slight chocolate. not typical for a RIS honestly. flavors are there but the body is not creamy whatsoever. medium bodied, mild carbonation.

overall not my favorite RIS, but good. (370 characters)

Founders Imperial Stout from Founders Brewing Company
96 out of 100 based on 1,711 ratings.