Imperial Stout
Founders Brewing Company

Imperial StoutImperial Stout
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Stout - Russian Imperial
Ranked #20
Ranked #421
4.38 | pDev: 8.22%
Founders Brewing Company
Michigan, United States
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: 1,971 | Ratings: 8,056 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
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jimmah120 from Minnesota

4.16/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle. This thing has been aged in the mini-fridge for 5+ years (!) and now is the time to crack this sucker (review from notes)

5 years and it still has a decent amount of carbonation and a nice little ring of foam. It was meant to age, this is telling me. Smells like coffee, alcohol, chocolate, and hops. Prominent alcohol flavor, even at chilled temps and with the age on it. This was a bad boy back in the day, I bet. Tons of cocoa powder and a honey malt backing that compliments and stands up to the choco malt and alcohol flavors that come close to dominating

This is impressive, to be this awesome after 5 years. In my mind this was developed specifically to age, and I wouldn't be surprised if that wasn't literally true

May 06, 2021
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Sigmund from Norway

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

355 ml bottle, from the Norwegian importer. ABV is 10.5%, 90 IBU. Pitch black colour, impressive brown head. Roasty aroma, roast malts, strong coffee, dark chocolate, liquorice, tar, wood and a hint of smoke. Rich mouthfeel. Medium sweet and rich flavour, roast malts, liquorice and strong coffee galore, bitter hops in the finish. High "Wow!" factor.

Mar 18, 2021
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backblast from Alaska

4.68/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

11-2019 vintage

Let it warm to at least 55F to really enjoy and it cellared nicely - 1yr 4mos (going to revisit at 2 yrs). Very viscous, creamy mouthfeel was what I noticed first, then a rush of roasted dark malts, dark chocolate and coffee took over. A mild bitterness is mixed in and keeps it from being too sweet. Wonderful finish and aftertaste that holds on. This one handles cellaring very nicely.

Mar 11, 2021
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WunderLlama from Massachusetts

4.48/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Bottle received from @whyteboar in Bif12.5

Poured into a snifter , pitch black 10w40 motor oil that has been ridden hard and put away wet. Capped by a dense creamy one finger brown foamy layer, good retention, good lacings, settles to a ring with islands

Aroma of roast malts, roasted coffee, dark chocolate

Roasted malts, char

Good sudsing, Very smooth, slight acrid char finish on the back of the tongue

Good stout, thanks @whyteboar

Feb 07, 2021
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JohnFred4 from New York

4.19/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

Look: black

Smell: boozy plums, grapes

Taste: dark and sweet

Feel: syrup. Where it shines.

Overall: I remember this being way too hot but I now actually prefer it to the breakfast stout

Jan 08, 2021
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NCSapiens from Indiana

4.18/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

Classic and iconic Russian Imperial Stout. Pours black with a thin mocha head. The aroma is malt and booze. The taste is dominated by a powerful roasted maltiness with undertones of dark fruit and hops, and a hint of chocolate. Quite aggressive and dry. Savory and not sweet. A bit too much booziness and alcohol warming. Full mouthfeel.

One drawback is the price. If it were less expensive and more widely available I would have it all the time.

Nov 29, 2020
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Whyteboar from Michigan

4.53/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

One of the benchmark RIS that I can reliably calibrate my palate with or just enjoy on its own merit.
Consistently good and balanced with the malts dominating and the hops support the depth of flavor. Really good stuff!

Nov 15, 2020
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Roy_Hobbs from Connecticut

4.14/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottled 11/6/19 and poured into a tulip. Very dark with a faint redish hue around the edges as it poured. One finger of tan colored head that left behind some nice lacing. Aroma didn't waft out of the glass, but once I get close to get a whiff, it's a really nice maltly smell with distinct chocolate notes. Taste is roasty malts, chocolate and coffee. Medium bodied, and actually a hair thinner than I was expecting based on the ABV. Good beer.

Nov 14, 2020
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bret27 from California

4.3/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Bottle from cask n flask San Jose.
~1yr old.
L: black with mocha head.
S: molasses, licorice, caramel, roasty.
T: roasted malt dominates, notes of chocolate, coffee, licorice, caramel. Burnt bitter finish.
F: perfect to style.
Overall: unsurprisingly a great stout from Founders.

Nov 07, 2020
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BubbleBobble from New York

4.47/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Pours jet black with a one-inch ruddy brown head, nice lacing left throughout. At first, nose is brownie batter, freshly ground coffee, cinnamon. Taste begins up front rather bitter - dark chocolate, cocoa, chocolate covered coffee beans, with a strongly bitter, warming finish. As it warms, the alcohol gets more pronounced on the finish (obviously), but never becomes overwhelming. The bitterness recedes just a touch as well, with a bit more malty/chocolatey sweetness emerging. Mouthfeel is moderately thick, but there is noticeable carbonation. Really pleased to get a bottle (for whatever reason, I never see this around me).

Oct 05, 2020
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WoodBrew from Ohio

4.63/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

I got a bottle of this beer off the single shelf from a beer store in LaCrosse, WI. It poured an opaque dark with tan head that is leaving some lace. The scent had a mix of vanilla, molasses, cocoa and roast. The taste was nicely balanced and easy to sip with molasses, cocoa and hints of cinnamon flare. The mouthfeel was fuller in body with smooth carbonation. Overall it is an excellent beer.

Sep 27, 2020
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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.


Apr 05, 2020
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frbnsn from Illinois

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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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.
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
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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
Imperial Stout from Founders Brewing Company
Beer rating: 97 out of 100 with 8056 ratings