Imperial Stout
Founders Brewing Company

Imperial StoutImperial Stout
Write a Review
Beer Geek Stats: | Print Shelf Talker
Style:
Stout - Russian Imperial
Ranked #21
ABV:
10.5%
Score:
97
Ranked #400
Avg:
4.38 | pDev: 8.22%
Reviews:
1,960
Ratings:
8,034
From:
Founders Brewing Company
 
Michigan, United States
Avail:
Rotating/Seasonal
Wants
  801
Gots
  2,481
SCORE
97
World-Class
Imperial StoutImperial Stout
Notes: Brewed with an abundance of malts, this stout is smooth as silk, yet complex and rich in body. Best enjoyed at cellar temperature to allow the notes of chocolate, dark fruit and caramel to soar. Put another log on the fire, sit back and enjoy the moment with this full-bodied and utterly delicious cold weather companion.

75 IBU
Reviews: 1,960 | Ratings: 8,034 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of Peach63
Peach63 from New York

4.61/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

Pours black with a 2 inch thick, foamy head. Heavy lacing to the end.

Aroma of chocolate, molasses, coffee.

Taste is coffee, molasses, cocoa, oak. A bit astringent.

Full bodied, thick and syrupy. Light carbonation. Dry finish.

Another winner from Founders.

Jun 27, 2020
Photo of Emichaelbray
Emichaelbray from Pennsylvania

4.37/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Just a fantastic RIS I love to return to. Dark and malty, chocolate, coffee... it’s all there on the nose and on the tongue. The 75 IBU rating must be a mistake. So smooth but not too sweet.
World class indeed.

Jun 20, 2020
Photo of just1cho
just1cho from California

4.79/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

*Poured into a Teku glass from a 12oz bottle*

*Bottled on: 11/05/19*

*Drank on: 05/15/20*

The look of this beer is a very dark brown to black. It had an attractive two finger thick dark brown head with great retention. It was very nice, decadent looking, and satisfying to look at. No complaints here!

The aroma immediately hit me when I removed the bottle cap. Rich and decadent, I found that when nosing the glass the aroma brought a nice balance between milk chocolate and roasted sweet malts. This eventually evolved into mellow notes of caramel with a hint of vanilla.

For the most part, the taste follows the nose. Upfront, I got a rich taste of milk chocolate which developed into the notes of roasted barley in the middle. There was also a coffee-like bitterness in the end coupled with a a char taste. Even with 75 IBUs, I found that this beer found a harmonious balance between sweet and bitterness.

The feel of this beer was also phenomenal! It was full bodied, smooth, silky and velvety making this feel like I was drinking liquid chocolate. There was a long lingering bitter aftertaste to it, but I generally didn't mind too much. The alcohol in this was hidden very well making this really dangerously drinkable for its ABV.

Yeah, I really enjoyed this beer. Balanced, rich and smooth, I really didn't find a whole lot of things in this beer that would stop me from drinking this every week. It was sweet without being too cloyingly so, bitter without feeling like I was coating my mouth with cigarette ashes, and rich without feeling too heavy.

May 19, 2020
Photo of Guaro
Guaro from Italy

4.1/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Hazelnut head with large and irregular texture with sufficient hold, black body. Scent of smoked wood, chocolate, caramel, toasted malt and coffee, hazelnut, fruit in alcohol. On the palate, caramel, chocolate, dark fruit, lots of toasted notes, hints of licorice, tobacco and a decidedly hoppy earthy and slightly dusty finish. Bitter aftertaste and with nice alcoholic warmth. Full body not too round, medium carbonation.

May 01, 2020
Photo of dd53grif
dd53grif from Michigan

4.27/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours a dark brown color with a foamy tan head that lasts quite a while. Aroma is caramel malts and chocolate. Tastes of chocolate and coffee. Finishes with a hoppy bitterness.

Apr 16, 2020
Photo of firesidewithphil
firesidewithphil from Illinois

4/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This imperial is a straight four-seam fastball. It is the definition of an imperial stout and I like how they named it such. The beer is bitter, dark, and bold, like a Viking. It does not mess around.

I feel like if a stout was brewed in medieval times, this is what it would taste like.

@firesidewithphil

Apr 05, 2020
Photo of frbnsn
frbnsn

4.44/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Oh this beer looks and feel very nice.
The smell is not bad, but nothing to jump through hoops about.
The taste is great, but I am still waiting on the Dark Lord to compare.
Overall, 4.5.

Mar 30, 2020
Photo of Snowcrash000
Snowcrash000 from Germany

4.34/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pours a pitch-black coloration with a medium, creamy, dark-brown head. Smells of caramel, roasted, almost smoked malt, chocolate and coffee and just a hint of peat and earthy/herbal hops. Taste is a great balance between caramel, roasted, and slightly smoky, almost peaty malt, with some dark, bitter chocolate and coffee as well as lighter notes of toffee and dark fruit: plum, raisin and just a hint of licorice, tobacco and earthy/herbal hops. Finishes with a medium bitterness and some roasted malt, peat, chocolate and coffee lingering in the aftertaste. Full mouthfeel with a medium/rich body and medium carbonation.

A very nice Imperial Stout that features some not too heavy, yet distinct, peat smoke notes along with the roasted, caramel malts and dark, bitter chocolate and coffee, but balanced nicely by some sweeter toffee and dark fruits, as well as bitter, earthy/herbal hop accents. Perhaps not quite what I expected from this, but still quite impressive in its own right, with a perhaps slightly unusual flavor profile and great balance of sweet, roasted, smoky and bitter notes. Quite complex, yet very well-balanced, as I would expect from Founders, with all of the different notes standing on their own without overpowering each other. Mouthfeel is nice and full, but could still be richer and creamier in my personal opinion.

Mar 30, 2020
Photo of HoppingMadMonk
HoppingMadMonk from New Jersey

4.41/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.5

Medium light carbonation with a just above average body. Overall a decent feel but felt the carbonation was a little high
Aroma is roasted malt, dark roasted black coffee, earthy, peat, leather dark bitter chocolate.
Taste is almost dry,, leather, earthy roasted malt, leather , dark bitter chocolate. Leaves a coffee grind taste in the mouth that lingers.

Mar 26, 2020
Photo of DokiDokiLitFam
DokiDokiLitFam from New Jersey

4.36/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The last bottle of my four pack. I waited to the very end to really decide on how I felt about this one.

Pours a deep brown with a good two fingers of some of the darkest brown head I've ever seen. A creamy head with fine tightly packed bubbles. Strong lacing. A damn good looking brew.

Nose is malt, dark fruit, bittersweet chocolate, roasty, smoky char. A rich, robust layering of scents. This stout is on overdrive. Dark fruit comes in strong enough to remind me a little of jam. Chocolate hanging towads the bottom.

Taste follows. Malt, dark fruit, dark chocolate. The fruit brings a brief flash of brightness. The mildly bitter chocolate and smoky char from the malt come in afterwards.

Mouthfeel is full bodied and smooth. Just short of being dense. Mild to medium carbonation. Very drinkable and incredibly smooth.

This is just how you make a stout. No hype, no nonsense, no adjuncts to hide behind. This brew should be a lesson to all who want to dabble in this realm. Every aspect of this brew succeeds. Founders knows their craft and it's no surprise that this is amazing. Well done.

Mar 17, 2020
Photo of CaptainHate
CaptainHate from Ohio

4.43/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Had this after a BCBS. 11/05/2019 12 ounce bottle poured into a DFH tulip. Huge fluffy dark tan head over dark brown body. Smell is very malty with a tinge of chocolate, coffee and char. Taste is deceivingly creamy with the chocolate and coffee making their presence felt. Mouthfeel is nicely full.

I planned on aging the remaining three. This should work very well.

Mar 08, 2020
Photo of twage04
twage04 from North Carolina

4.59/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Pours a dark black with tan head, normal carbonation and mouthfeel. Aroma is booze, molasses, roast. Not sweet, nice and balanced with a subtle roast. Very fun to sip through, nice and simple and thoroughly enjoyable.

Feb 02, 2020
Photo of Wolvmar
Wolvmar from Michigan

4.17/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

Jan 2020 Review
12oz bottle date 11-5-19. Served in a tulip glass.

Pour: dark brown with a two finger dark tan head. Ends with a thick ring, clouds and lots of lacing. 4.75

Nose: dark chocolate, coffee, sweet malt. 4.0

Taste: dark, bitter chocolate, coffee, dark stone fruit, hints of vanilla, whisky. Had a pour of Jameson’s Cold Brew whisky earlier today and, surprisingly, FIS reminded me very much of it. The coffee/bitterness was a bit overwhelming relative to the last time. 4.0

Mouthfeel: thick, rich, pillowy soft. 4.75

Overall: other than the overdone bitterness, this is really good. I tend to think it will get better if, as seemed the last bottle, time mellows some of the sharp edges. 4.25

Dec 2015 vintage served at 52 degrees in a tulip glass on New Years Eve 2017. Happy 2018!

Pour: dark, dark brown with a beautiful full tan head that dissipates into a nice collar with some lacing throughout. Really pretty and inviting. 4.5

Nose: sweet malts, molasses, maybe some vanilla. Good but not outstanding.
4.0
Taste: first impression is molasses, caramel, some dark fruit, even a little whipped cream (maybe that’s the mouthfeel!). Sweet on the front end with some burnt toast and slight bitterness to finish. Even got a little black pepper late. Not much aftertaste, it’s surprisingly clean on the finish. Really, really good. Tastes like a barrel aged without the booze. 4.5

Mouthfeel: this is a milkshake with whipped cream on top. One of the best I’ve had. Can’t recall if it was this good fresh but, after two years in the cellar, it’s outstanding. 4.5

Overall: rating is probably positively influenced by the vintage. But, as I recall, this was a great beer even fresh. I look forward to Founders bringing this back. It’s definitely worth trying fresh and aging. 4.25

Jan 26, 2020
Photo of MackT
MackT from Florida

4.42/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Aggressively poured from a 12oz bottle.
Bottled 10 weeks prior. Head was incredibly thick, dark tan, ample lacing. Look was very dark brown, close to black. Aroma of coffee, chocolate, plums, raisins, cherry. Taste of aforementioned attributes. Mouthfeel is smooth with a slightly astringent aftertaste.
This is a good representation of RIS, would get again. Thank you Founders.

Jan 24, 2020
Photo of Msp004
Msp004 from New York

4.18/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pours black with a nice full brown head which dissipates quickly.

Nose is dark bitter sweet chocolate, dark roast coffee and roasted malts.

Mouth is bitter sweet dark chocolate, dark roated malts, earth and dark fruit.
Smooth thin mouthfeel that slightly thickens as it warms.

Really well but together Imperial that can be consumed as a session ale if one has the constitution.

Jan 15, 2020
Photo of Anders91
Anders91 from California

4.89/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Look: thick tar black with a thick dark chocolate colored head

Smell: chocolate, malt, coffee

Taste: chocolate, coffee, malt, some plum, heavy alcohol. Really delicious

Feel: smooth and heavy

Jan 11, 2020
Photo of VolatileAgent7744
VolatileAgent7744 from Kentucky

4.4/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Wonderful stout. So close to being as good as 2018 KBS. I wouldn't kick either out of bed. So malty...such a nice coffee flavor on the tongue. I had never seen this until this year (early 2020), and now I've got to go stock the cellar with it for the winter. Great beer. Keep it up, Founders.

Jan 06, 2020
Photo of tp1962
tp1962 from Illinois

5/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

12-28-19
Had this in a flight
Pours jet black with a dark tan head
Notes of coffee and molasses
Slight sweetness and full bodied flavor
The 10.5% abv well hidden in the robust flavors . Excellent

Dec 29, 2019
Photo of hoptheology
hoptheology from South Dakota

4.08/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Re-review 2019 :

Deep inky black, a nice head for the ABV - a 1 finger head of beige/off white and skirted lacing up the sides.

Aromas of slight smokey malt, milk chocolate, peat, ash, caramel, grape candy, and campfire.

Flavors are surprisingly smokey, very rauchbier-like, with smoked meats and peat and smoked wood, with some very bitter dark chocolate underneath and fainter tones of sheet metal, toffee, and suggestions of dark fruit. Finish of smoke and metal.

Feel is thick and viscous, good alcohol burn, lots of acidity, nice roast.

Overall, I remember liking this beer but not being infatuated with it, however I decided to give it another shot and it's not bad but it's kinda weird. I never got the level of smokiness before that this year's batch brings.

-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*
Original Scores from Jan 6th, 2016 (2015 batch) : 5, 4.25, 3.5, 4, 3.75, total of 3.87
Pours motor oil black. Just black. Black. An angry reddish brown head forms and sticks around for a great while, and lace is everywhere. Hilly and beautiful.

Smells like a Russian Imperial Stout should. Heavy booze, chocolate, charred malts, hop bittering, and coffee at the end of the nose, followed by more booze.

Heavy chocolate notes, with boozy plum and black licorice, raisins, followed with coffee. The booze cuts straight through the flavor though, and burns the profile a bit too much. Some nail polish. Breaths are boozy raisins/grapes and coffee bean.

Feel is huge, dry, and has a sandpaper roughness. None of this is bad, just objective.

Overall impressions : It's not the best RIS I've had, because the booze cuts a bit too much and burns out some of the flavors. Still, it won't keep me from buying a 4-pack in the future. A solid RIS, but maybe a little less enjoyable than Old Rasputin, Expedition, and Plead the 5th.

Dec 24, 2019
Photo of Freonicus
Freonicus from Tennessee

5/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

One of the best stouts out there. Founders is a stout master brewery. Chocolatey, coffee goodness without the slightest hint of alcohol. Breakfast stout is great, but this one really is their best effort.

Dec 24, 2019
Photo of EnderFett11
EnderFett11 from Virginia

4.25/5  rDev -3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured moderately hard from a bottle into a snifter glass. Color is a deep brown, borderline black, and a couple fingers of brown head that faded to some lacing. Smell is a strong malt with hints of something else. Taste is similar to the smell, with an intense malt flavor that is followed by a bitter flavor with notes of cocoa and licorice. Bitterness gets stronger as it warms, so I prefer this one colder. Body is medium/thick with light carbonation. A very solid stout that is uncomplicated.

Dec 24, 2019
Photo of klarcbarr3
klarcbarr3

4.54/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Founders Imperial Stout pours a deep, dark brown, with a gorgeous tannin 1" head that leaves luscious lacing after every sip. A mild coffee nose does not reveal the taste explosion, once the brew hits your tongue. An explosion of fine malt flavors dance across your mouth. It is loving, luscious, and warm.. just what the doctor ordered! There are natural notes of coffee and chocolate, but no infusions, no flavorizing goals here. Founders Imperial Stout tastes wholesome and vibrant and just as a finely crafted Imperial Porter should, untampered, and uncompromised. This is craft brewing at a very high level. Enjoy!

Dec 21, 2019
Photo of pianoguy
pianoguy from Washington

4.54/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

12 Oz bottle. Bottling date 11/06/19

Pours a solid black body with a dark tan head. Good retention. Great multiple layers of lacing.

Cocoa forward scent is prominent. I'm also getting a little bit of an astringent alcohol scent.

Taste features the cocoa notes of the scent along with a hefty addition of plums. Some booze on the back end of the taste.

A nice full feel with a slightly dry finish. Very nice !!

A solid stout. Really enjoyed the feel.

Dec 20, 2019
Photo of mikeinportc
mikeinportc from New York

4.65/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

From a bottle dated 11/21/19.

Deep cola-brown with 1.5 finger viscous deep tan head. Long-lasting head, with equally persistent 3/4" lacing. When I tilted it back & forth under a light, to get a better look at the color, more head developed, & the lacing grew, rather than dissipated. Phenomenal head & lacing, considering the 10.5% abv, especially as I just took this out of the fridge. (1st time having this - just couldn't wait for it to warm up. :) )

Smell is cocoa powder , chocolate liqueur, (very dense) brownie/cake batter, and peat,roasted malt, & charred wood as it warms a bit. Delicious aroma(s), all-in-all, that just shouts "Drink me!".

Taste is a deep, rounded roasty malt flavor, with a little bit of peat and decayed/charred wood .(Think tree that was hit by lightning 5-10 years ago. ;) ) Some dark, semi-sweet....no ....semi-bitter, chocolate notes flitting and dancing through it all. Light pleasant bitterness, that prevents it from becoming sweet. A faint here-&-there tang , as if some sour cream was mixed in the brownie batter. (It's a thing, & it's good.Mom used to make 'em that way, occasionally. :) ) No noticeable alcohol.

Feel is moderately syrupy, initially, then finely creamy as the carbonation kicks in, then finishing with some carbonation tingle on the terminal third of the tongue. That last bit is slightly drying, and prevents too much sweetness. Just the right amount and timing for my taste. +++++ No noticeable alcohol warming, 'til long after it's gone. Then just a vague warm-fuzzy feeling in the chest. +++++

Overall...just fantastic. This is the first time I've had this, and see why it is so sought-after (such that I have never been able to get there in time ;) ) and highly regarded. Call me weird, but some straight imperial stouts, such as this one, are much more satisfying than most of the barrel-aged adjunct/additive-laden ones. Don't try this one....PLEASE!!! - leave more for me! :P

Dec 16, 2019
Photo of mgundy32
mgundy32 from Wisconsin

4.17/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a bottle into stemmed tulip. Pours a dark black with a thick creamy brown head that hangs around for awhile. Roasty chocolate on the nose. More roasty chocolate on the flavor. Medium bodied.

Dec 14, 2019
Imperial Stout from Founders Brewing Company
Beer rating: 97 out of 100 with 8034 ratings