Imperial Stout
Founders Brewing Company

Imperial StoutImperial Stout
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Russian Imperial Stout
Ranked #21
Ranked #388
4.38 | pDev: 8.45%
Founders Brewing Company
Michigan, United States
Imperial StoutImperial Stout
Notes: 75 IBU
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Reviews: 1,930 | Ratings: 7,953
Photo of npolachek
4.25/5  rDev -3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

We aged this for a few years, and it was still pretty bitter. Pours black with tastes of stone fruits including plums. Some taste of caramel and bread.

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Photo of Bluerabbitbell
4.35/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Wow! Wouldn't want too much. A four oz pour was just enough! Industry Public House for our little get away whole Beth watches the kids.

Molasses, coffee and nice alcohol bite all in one!

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

Bottled 12/15/14; drank 7/11/15 @ the Yarchives.

Inky black appearance.

A rough pour yielded a dark khaki head; minimal lace.

Plum, raspberry, fresh earth & candle wax notes in the nose; wow!

Thick, sticky mouthfeel.

Red wine, bakers chocolate & plum flavors up front; a slightly chalky, dry finish. Faint booze heat emerged as this warmed.

A robust RIS; the nose points to a transcendent future.

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Photo of MonDak_Joe1953
4.45/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle. Bottling date on label is '12/12/16'.
Opaque, black colored body. Two fingers of dark tan/light brown colored head settles back to bubbly, creamy cap. Leaves behind scattered shapes of lacing.
Aroma is dark roasted malts, with lots of the chocolate spectrum. Alcohol in the nostrils.
Taste is dark roasted malts, with flavors of dark chocolate and dark roasted coffee. Provides hints of char, vanilla, anise, and dark fruit (cherry and raisin). Alcohol is expressed but only adds to the experience (very positive).
Fuller mouth feel, with a very smooth texture. Good carbonation.
A tremendously flavorful straight ahead RIS, with a soft, smooth mouth texture that calls for long savoring of each sip.

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Photo of jimmyd3
4.71/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

had a 2 year old version on tap at Horrocks. Best beer to ever cross my lips. Was there every day until it was gone. The look, smell and mouth feel were all top notch but the age really perfected the taste!

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Photo of MercInc
4.64/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

My last bottle. Today.
After living over seas in Scotland for 4 years, traveling a bit in the British Isles, Germany and Spain. I have developed a passion for strong ales, Porters and Stouts. No more tasteless, discolored, "Rocky-Mountain spring water" or beers that advertise: "less taste-less filling" (I'm sure I got that correct). Anyway, after letting this warm to about 50 to 55 Degrees, I poured this into a "Stout goblet" Very dark, the light from my "Surefire" 500 lumen E2D would not pass through, Tan colored head, of about a inch and a quarter, that took a few minutes to dissipate to a thin ring around the glass. By allowing it to warm to a proper drinking temp, I was able to savor the roasty malt aroma. Smooth mouth feel. With the high ABV, there is some boozy flavor, but that's expected here and in no way takes a way from the enjoyment of this great Russian Imperial Stout. I only hope I'll be able to again acquire this brew, so a s to keep at least a few bottles in the beer fridge.

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Photo of Moohing
4.79/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Was lucky enough to find a cellared 2014 bottle at my favorite bottle shop. The time did this beer such a huge service. Poured thick and drank creamy, just as I hoped. Huge chocolate sweetness without being overdone. No heat whatsoever. So smooth.

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Photo of beersampler6
4.32/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Outstanding stout that I finally got to try on tap at Founders (since it was recently retired). Thankfully they brought it back, I think, to commemorate the introduction of their new barrel-aged version. This was the 2017 version - likely smoother and more mellow now that it’s aged, although I really have no point of comparison. Pours a deep, dark, rich black opaque color with some great thin tan head and some sheets of lingering lacing. Smells mainly of dark roast coffee, dark chocolate, nuttiness and malt. Tastes of deep rich dark roast coffee, dark chocolate, roasted nuttiness, malt, vanilla, caramel and biscuit. Smooth, amazingly full, rich mouthfeel that’s a little creamy and flats the palate well. Good amount of carbonation, just enough. An amazingly delicious beer that’s very easy to drink and well worth all the hype.

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

Does Founders even make a bad beer? I haven’t had one yet. Found a small stash of these 2016 bad boys just sitting on a big retail bar/restaurant chain’s shelf, evidently for years. The barkeep didn’t even know they had them, despite being prominently displayed. That’s ok...I bought all seven to take home. Poured assertively, cellar temp to a tulip glass. Huge dark brown, three finger head. Lots of carbonation, fizzling down to moderate lacing. Nose is dark chocolate, roasted malts, light vanilla. First sips are ridiculous. Bursting with malty goodness, dark, sinister roasted. After a few seconds, you get a heavy hit of bakers chocolate. Entirely balanced. Alcohol bite is nonexistent, just all smooth flavor. Mouthfeel is creamy, heavy, full bodied. What a delicious treat as I sit on my back deck, listening to the wind in the trees, snapping branches, enjoying my good fortune to have found these and to be in a content point in life. It would be nice to see a reprise of this!

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Photo of Buck1
4.4/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Sorry to see it retired. Once of the better impy stouts that did not overdue the hops and let the roasted grain do the work. From bottle dated Nov 2016. Smell is roasted malt, soy, dark fruits.
Color black as midnight with a dark creamy head. Mouth feel is right on, smooth and thick,
Taste is dark chocolate , dark fruits, dates , raisins. A bit of char on the back end. More chocolate as it warms but with maybe a bit of licorice.
Just a classic imperial stout . Still have some 2015 and 2016 cellered to enjoy

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Photo of Nass
4.64/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I am getting some rich roasted malts, slight dark fruit, slight caramel. but mostly what I am getting is big dark chocolate notes. I am somewhat perplexed by this because I don't think they use any chocolate in this beer. Very smooth finish. Wow! this is one of the best non adjunct RIS that I ever had. I am glad that I decided to pick up 2 bottles of this. This beer has World Class written all over it. If you want to avoid a beer that has actual chocolate in it because you have type 2 diabetes then this is the beer for you. Cheers! A

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Photo of Tony210
4.51/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Pours midnight black, minimal head. Great chocolate and vanilla aroma. Great chocolate malt flavor, notes of vanilla, dark roast coffee, mocha. Velvety smooth and creamy. Overall I loved this beer - the bar aged this keg for 3 years before tapping it.

Draft at "The Yard" PGH. 2014 Vintage.
4.5 rating

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Photo of AllOfTheCats
4.4/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

My favorite widely-available imperial stout, although it was not released in 2018. Great mouthfeel; smooth, yet hefty. Really looking forward to seeing this barrel aged sometime in the future :)

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Photo of RacerX5k
4.76/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Best brewery in the world, by far. Had a whole book typed out, hit some stupid fucking key and lost my entire review. Possible improvement to website, auto save your work? Don't know if that's possible but now I'm fucking tired. Great beer, 2016 version obviously has gotten (much) better with age as, years ago, I had this beer 1 years old then fresh the next year and hated both. So there are some examples of (highly hopped) beer improving with age by mellowing a bit. Please don't get me started that, sorry guys, your beer did not get better with age, just older.

Founders had the two best beers of 2017 that would be DKML and Doom, now the two best beers of 2018 KBS and Barrel Runner. And, again, don't get me started on the recent mediocre Barrel Runner reviews. My gosh people, if you don't like big boozy (but not harsh) rum barrel beers then don't drink them. Probably the same idiots who love Sunday Morning Stout (that is a horrible beer and I'm a local). Now this masterpiece, tried on draft last week at the bar, thought it was my hot wings but the beer tasted so good I seeked out a 4 pak. And now I'll get the other 4 sitting there wasting away on the shelf.

Masterpiece at 18 months of age the bitterness has faded into a perfect non barrel aged imperial stout. One of the thickest, most flavorful regular beers I've ever had with no bitterness or off flavors. Flavor profile includes chocolate, vanilla, heavy malts, molasses, pine, and a tiny bit of black licorice which is ok. Really very complex, which I'm sure I'll get more into over the next 3 nights while this 4 pak dissapears like my business.

And this beer was retired? Could've scored this one easy 5's across the board. Wow.

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Photo of stevoj
4.09/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle from Boise Co-op. Silky black pour, minimal head, but skin lasts. Big, full roast grain aroma, coffee, cocoa. Taste adds more of the chocolate, and ramps up the bitterness. Smooth, yet has a nice bite. Velvety texture. Dark and roasty.

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Photo of Thomas_Wikman
4.28/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

I just drank Founders Imperial Stout, ABV 10.50%, not at Founders, but at Prairie Artisan Ales in Tulsa Oklahoma. The funny thing is that it says it is "retired" here, but the Prairie Artisan Ales staff insisted that it had just been freshly brewed and shipped to them. Perhaps we should ask Founders? Anyway, freshly brewed or not it was a great stout.

Look: black with a thin mocca head

Aroma: chocolate, vanilla and coffee

Taste: The flavor is caramel, chocolate, vanilla cream, and a coffee like hop kick.

Feel: full bodied, thick creamy but silky

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Photo of Claude-Irishman
4.51/5  rDev +3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Looks about a 44 on the SRM color index. 2 1/2 year old bottle. NIce mocha colored head with nice lacing. Smells earthy,figs,toffee,fresh tobacco. Tastes like stone fruits,caramel malts,whipped cream. Feel is moderately thick with ample carbonation. Feels smooth and fluffy. I remember when this was fresh and it was a bit rough. I am a advocate for fresh beer,(Lager must be fresh), but high ABV stouts and such are an exception. Overall I think this now extinct brew is world class.

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Photo of Premo88
4.4/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

12 oz. bottle poured into snifter
("14213399131226B" printed on bottle; courtesy of @cavedave)

L: classic black-and-tan look with a thick head of beige/tan foam about 1/2- to 3/4-inch thick; no major lacing/sticking; keeps a soapy bubbled collar of foam, the bubbles big and loose in cool patterns

S: chocolate, milk chocolate, very sweet but with a background floral note ... perhaps a hint of the load of hops in there? vanilla extract, sharp ... as it warms the floral note grows

T: chocolate, red wine and an earthy/woody almost bitter flavor that bites midswallow and hangs on through the aftertaste, the bitterness smoothing out and the wood flavor taking over ... can you rate *just* the aftertaste? It'd be a 5 ... the hops truly are kicking and at times produce a bitter floral bite right up front, then linger as the malt flavor takes over; the wood flavor midswallow ranges from almost raw oak to full-on charred BBQ wood, almost carbon

F: up front it's big and bad, heavy, thick, almost milk stout lumpy, but it smooths nicely into a silky finish; the beer is at least a couple years old but hasn't lost much carbonation, perhaps a little ... there's enough to offer a light tickle that lightens it into that silky feel

O: the load of malt and hops in this sucker is formidable; at times it's as sweet as a stout with chocolate added, other times it tastes like a fresh West Coast style RIS with hops nipping and bitting and generally causing a ruckus; I get why so many pledged allegiance to this brew ... it's as good as any raw RIS I've tried if not better; if Founders brings it back, I'll be first in line to get some ... until then I got two more bottles and will enjoy each and every sip (thanks, Dave!)

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Photo of Wolvmar
4.36/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

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.

Nose: sweet malts, molasses, maybe some vanilla. Good but not outstanding.

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.

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.

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 dreads and aging.

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Photo of Chris1907
4.51/5  rDev +3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Sorry to hear that this is being retired very good imperial stout. I would love to see this recipe be brought back to be bourbon barrel-aged. Do it Founders, please!

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Photo of Craig-er
4.13/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Look- Poured into a tulip glass. Kicked up some nice rich colored foam.
Smell- Lovely chocolate malty.
Taste - Some bitter hops, chocolate and malt.
Feel- full bodied, the taste lingers in your mouth for a long time.

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Photo of Jtryon11
4.83/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This is one of my favorite beers. Black appearance with dark tan head. Nice alcohol taste with bitter chocolate and smoky taste. I’ve not had a bad beer by the founders brewing company. They’re doing it right!

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Photo of NathanBeets
4.86/5  rDev +11%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Smell of alcohol, chocolate, roasted barley, and dark fruits. Taste follows the smell, also a little nutty. The mouth feel of this beer is velvety smooth. An excellent pairing is buttermilk chocolate brownies.

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Photo of ASoftMachineMan
4.5/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Look: Pours pitch black with visible viscosity. Forms completely opaque black body with a half-finger, dark-brown head which dissipates to thin lacing.

Smell: Typical imp. stout nose of damp earth, smoke, and coffee.

Taste: An outstandingly well-balanced tongue with damp earth, sweet roast malt, and cafe mocha all forward. Back of the tongue has a lingering black coffee bitterness with a tiny hint of vanilla and honey.

Feel: Heavy body with light carbonation, lingering syrup on the tongue. A very weighty beer that definitely leaves you full.

Overall: Founders never fails to deliver great brews, and their imp. stout hits all the notes the style should while minimizing the weaknesses.

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Photo of Holderness
4.29/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Tasted with ~6 years of age on this one

L -- Pours a motor oil black body with a small brown head produced with well-aerated pour. Minimal retention and good lacing
S -- Molasses, caramel, toffee, bittersweet chocolate, smoke, well-roasted malts, walnuts, and a touch of booze
T -- Largely follows the nose. Practically no bitterness. Tastes like a cup of dense hot chocolate beside a campfire
F -- Nice, velvety mouthfeel without being super boisterous. Medium- carb. Restrained, semi-sweet finish
O -- Fabulous candidate for aging. Six years old and still no sign of oxidation. Up there with Trillium's Affogato for the most drinkable >10%ABV brew I've had


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Imperial Stout from Founders Brewing Company
Beer rating: 97 out of 100 with 7953 ratings