Founders Imperial Stout | Founders Brewing Company

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Founders Imperial StoutFounders Imperial Stout

Brewed by:
Founders Brewing Company
Michigan, United States

Style: Russian Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.50%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
75 IBU

Added by mjohn27603 on 01-13-2003

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Reviews: 1,879 | Ratings: 7,813
Photo of Tenor
5/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured from a bottle to a pint glass. Pardon my limited vocabulary!

A- Voluptuously thick, viscous, syrupy, lacing that does not stay around too long...

S- Toasty, medium roasted coffee, just a faint astringency

T- Russian Imperial Stouts have a common character that causes my senses to have to re-calibrate! There is coffee, chocolate, and some hops but the balance is done so well that I have a hard time differentiating much.

M- Chewy, quite a bite at the end

O- I don;t think this is a beginner's beer! Definitely one to aspire to, however. So much is going on here, I can't wait to enjoy another one.

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Photo of 29mikoyan
5/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

One of the best beers I ever had. The taste of fine Nicaraguan cigars, sweet molasses, sweet malt, rich sweet Belgian chocolate, and a beautiful fruit bouquet. Truely a beer to pair with a fine cigar.

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Photo of rsyberg01
5/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

S - Grey Label bottle, no purple except on the 4 pack holdster. Limited Edition printed on top of body label. According to BA notes, this means the beer I am drinking is from 2004 or earlier which is certainly a pleasant surprise considering I almost soiled myself with joy when I saw it sitting top shelf.

A - BLACK. I hope that my coffin is this black inside when I die, if so I will never wake up and even if I do I wont be able to get out because it is so damn black. You know with other Imperial stouts how you can kind of see a little light get through around the edges, well with this there is just black. Head pours to about an inch and 1/2 then to a tight bubble blanket of light brown tightly joined foam. Jiminy Flip Flappin Christmas this stuff is like syrup when it pours, extraordinary is the only word to describe this.

S - Chocolate hits first and hard, then follows through with a very nicely balanced roastiness and dark fruity vapors, I think its cherry and . Caramel and creaminess also make their way through too. A delicate hit of alcohol spices the nostrils up a bit. A sweet note comes through along with the caramel and chocolate and lingrs through the whole quaff. A seriously complex beer, such a perfect example of art in a bottle.

T - Fruitiness hits accompanied by chocolate and coffee. Creamy and roasty go hand in hand, the whole sip just blends so well together, one sip seems like 20. You just get to the whole taste over and over again in a single drink. A warming character hits you in your chest quite gently and pleasant. Little touch of bitter at the end to finish it until the next drink, Wow.

M - Just covers your whole mouth from tongue to tooth. Not slick or unpleasant at all, it holds on only as long as it needs to and then some just to tickle your mouth that much more. Not overwhelming at all. Perfect, period.

D - If I could have this beer in my fridge all the time, I would be a spoiled little bastard. This beer is a perfect Imp. Stout. When I say perfect I really mean it. My first overall 5.

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Photo of DesertRat
5/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

the fist imperial stout I enjoyed was Old Rasputin, I actually like this beer better than Old Rasputin. The only other imperial stout that competes is the seasonal Sierra Nevada Narwal. I really enjoy this beer any time.

What I like most about this beer is how fresh it always tastes. It has a distinct flavor amongst a long list of high caliber imperial stouts.

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Photo of yuenglingfan101
5/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Black beer all the way with a little tan head. Smells of malts and chocolate. The taste is the same as the smell. Mouthful goes pretty much the same smooth and chocolatly and very strong like chocolate liquor. Drinkabilty. This one had me buzzing after 1 beer do to its abv, but its worth the money for this beer. Why pay for chocolate liquor when you can have founders imperial stout for a reasonable price!!!

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Photo of TheKlevin
5/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Textbook definition of an imperial stout. Amazing beer fresh or aged, I have bottles going back to 2011 and they all taste amazing. Extremely under hyped beer, and my favorite non adjunct non barrel aged stout.

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Photo of martyl1000
5/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

With 14 months of aging, the aroma on this blows my doors. It's Nesquik powder, with a tinge of soy sauce. I know that sounds horrible. It's not.

Flavor in the mouth is phenomenal: a roasty, dried beef, the sweet, tinny brightness of lychee, plus bakers cocoa and spent coffee grounds, of course. Hershey's syrup is totally palpable. It's double chocolaty goodness -- chocolate (flavored!) syrup over chocolate gelatto. Very sweet, now that the hops have been knocked way back. Finally, behind the symphony of imperial stout classics, there's a minor key of . . . of . . . dang, what is it? It's a proto-tart-fruit, like a prehistoric cherry that's more of a wild berry.

Hear that sound? That's me shaking my head at the thought that, earlier this year, I served this to eight friends, only half of whom have decent craft beer experience. This is simply too atomic for the uninitiated, to gargantuan.

Pro tip: serve it very cold, and only 4 - 5 ounces at a time. It's a total sipper, so, by the time you get to the bottom of your five ounces, you'll have had a chance to sample it at several different temperatures, which is a total treat.
Man, flavorful, or what? Now twelve months of aging.

Absolute motor oil, with zero, less than zero, head. Another BA'er points out the soundlessness of the pour; it's a real phenomenon. Aroma of soy sauce and bakers cocoa, which, in the abstract, sounds horrible. It's not.

Flavors in the mouth just keep going and going. The one flavor I'll mention because it's so awesome: ketjap manis (also spelled catsup manis), which is not ketchup, at all, but Indonesian sweet soy sauce. Wife says it would, thus, go well with Indonesian food.

Great mouthfeel, with a lively fizz, despite the syrup viscosity.
I come to this beer today with doubts, as I'd been sorely disappointed with it a month ago. That time, I spent $10 on a 10 oz. pour of it at Coopers Tavern (Madison). I don't know how to account for that discouraging experience. Was it something I ate? Was it emotion: was it my reluctance to support businesses that overcharge for beer?

Whatever. This brew today renews my faith in my taste buds. I'm thrilled to have brought home two four-packs just now. It's freaking awesome. One 4-pk. is going in the cellar. The other down my gullet.

I'm making special note that this four-pack is 11 months old, as the Founder's release schedule for Imperial Stout is January.

This one has tipped the scales. It has cracked my Top-5 list of all-time favorites. (Actually, I don't know how I can talk in such hyperbole, when only two weeks ago I declared the same about Mikkeller Black Hole. But that was $14 for an 11-oz. bottle, so I'm sure I NEEDED to like that one a lot.)

Second-blackest beer I've seen this year (after Dark Horse Reserve Special Black). Pours into a tulip glass with a chocolate meringue-like brown head that leaves lacing plastered on the glass.

Dark chocolate and burnt coffee in the nose, first. Then a cascade of stone fruit, especially overripe cherry and black plum. Boozy vapor cuts the sweet.

I just the other day had their Founders Porter on tap, and am now struck by the particular roasted coffee flavor in the mouth, here. Except of course this comes with an undergirding of sweetness to replace the bright/tart hop bitterness in the porter. The massive corn-syrupy, fruit-cake and pecan flavors remind me of Southern Tier Mokha, another of my favorite double stouts. The alcohol politely makes itself known on the backend.

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Photo of EyeOfBuck
5/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Thick toasted Carmel, almost like the best toasted marshmallow you have ever had in your life. The sweetness of the beer disguises the alcohol you will soon be filling. I have drank a lot of imperial stouts and this is in my top three! I suggest you shares four pack with someone who likes good ale at a time when you can truly enjoy this great beer!

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Photo of Karnivool1
5/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Perfect beer, everything I feel a RIS should be. Thick, dark, complex. I much prefer this over the Breakfast Stout. Founders has on tap already, can't wait for the bottles to start selling in Janauary!

 204 characters

Photo of Reema
5/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Serving type: 12 oz bottle into a snifter glass

Pours deep mahogany brown (essentially black). Smell is of intense dark chocolate, roasted coffee, slightly sweet plum scent, with a small amount of hoppiness. Taste reflects the smell beautifully. Initial dark chocolate and toasted flavors lead into a prune/plum like flavor that finishes with a lingering roasty bitterness. Mouthfeel is thick, viscous, and carbonated just right. Overall this is a very good beer with great tastes and scents. An exemplary Russian imperial.

 524 characters

Photo of cyguyjg
5/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Look: midnight obsidian. Pours to a dark, thick, dense head that lasts and nicely laces about one inch of the top of a pint glass. Smell: sweet malt. Taste: first comes the chocolate then the roasted malt and finally the slight bitterness of 75 IBUs. Feel: smooth, full-bodied; 10.5% alcohol apparent but no alcohol burn; very well-balanced. When you quaff this, you know you have a world class Ale! Hard to say which is better -- this or their Breakfast Stout.

I am not associated in any way with Founders Brewing Company nor am I a professional writer/reviewer.

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Photo of DaBrewski
5/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This is a great Imperial Stout. Extremely smooth with a nice touch of heat at the end to let you know this is the real thing. Good malts and chocolate flavors. Highly recommended!

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Photo of 1fastz28
5/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

black as midnight with a big brown head that surpsingly laces quite well. the smell is very chocolately, lots of malt and especiallyi coffee dominate the nose. the taste is just incredible, one of the best stouts i've ever had, even has a slight sweet flavor to it, just an all around incredible beer. one of the few 5.0's i've given

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Photo of Vader444
5/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Bottle pour into tulip.

My first full house! This is simply incredible stuff. Easily the most flavoursome luxurious tasting stout that I have ever encountered. Trying hard to find a reason to take off a mark or two as I don't really believe in perfection but this really does tick every box for me. A regular buy for sure.


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Photo of Jon_Hendricks
5/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Appearance: Pours a pitch black color.

Overall: It has a thick feel and sweet after taste, with lots chocolate and roasted malt taste. A very fine Imperial Stout, Highly Recommend!!

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Photo of Deltrus
5/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Serving Type: 12 oz. bottle poured into a Founders Brewing Company Snifter, all 12 oz.

Appearance: Perhaps the darkest of dark black beers, this was a phenomenal sight, there was no blacker abyss I've ever had. The head was a lovely dark dark tan, leaving superb lacing, and lasting the majority of the hour I spent drinking this.

Smell: Lots of malt and barley with a little alcohol, what I've come to expect from Imperial stouts, especially of the Russian variation. Absolutely superb to smell, could sit there just smelling it for ages. Very pleasant, the snifter most certainly did its job to bring the smell to the front!

Taste: Absolutely wonderful! I've had a few other Russian Imperial Stouts before, but this one tasted the most refined. The flavor was very malty and barley with alcohol not being so prominent, which I really respected, the flavor and smell went together perfectly. The smell did not leave anything being wanted and the taste didn't shock me with anything I didn't expect, it was an extremely comfortable beer to drink, and not too strong in any sense. Loved this one.

Mouthfeel: Silk. Absolute silk. This was so smooth I just couldn't help but metaphorically swoon for this beer. Drinking this was truly, a pleasure.

Overall: Absolutely superb beer. Easily among my very very top beers. Out of nearly 100 beers tried, this is definitely somewhere within my top 10, likely top 5 for being so perfect in every respect. DEFINITELY worth every penny and I hope to get more sometime!

 1,556 characters

Photo of BeerdedEric
5/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

One of the employees, Zack, at Boonton Wine and Liquor Outlet got this brew from the back room for me. Let's see if it's worth it.

As I poured it into my snifter, it looked like engine oil. Creamy dark brown head fades slightly into a creamy ring around the glass. While sitting for about five minutes the creamy mocha-like head formed and came back leaving excellent lacing on the glass.

Roasted coffee, caramel, big time milk and dark chocolate, sweet smelling and charred sugar. Dark fruits and some alcohol become noticeable as it warms.

Wow! Roasted coffee, dark fruits, caramel, chocolate both sweet and bitter, brown sugar, slight alcohol detection and smoke. This is absolutely incredible.

Medium to thick body, silky smooth, leaves the lips sticky, dry at the end, slight alcohol warmth going down and light carbonation. This is definitely a sipper and the body changes as it warms.

This is honestly the first stout, or any beer I have rated perfectly. Simply incredible. I can't imagine how this would taste on tap. Thanks Zack!

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Photo of barleywinefiend
5/5  rDev +15.2%
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!

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Photo of Duff_Light
5/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A liquor store by my house had a few 4-packs of this on sale for 5 dollars each. I bought them all. I mention this because the bottled date is 11/24/15 so they were trying to move older stock. This stout still tastes incredibly young and will age extremely well. Much like everyone else has said:
Jet black in color with an awesome chocolate colored head
Aromas of chocolate and coffee, creamy, rich, thick and I'd even say decadent mouth feel.
Wonderful finish that lingers
You can tell some of the alcohol is taming down and the malts are blending together nicely.

Best Imperial Stout I've had.

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Photo of gnxr27
5/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This was a phenomenal beer. Especially having vintage years made it even more enjoyable. The 2013 vintage had a nice flavor of dark chocolate and vanilla while the more recent years start to lose that distinct taste.

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Photo of BloodSoakedAleMug
5/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Look: Pours a pitch black color with a dark tan two finger head. Laces the glass very well.

Aroma: Dark chocolate, espresso, rich tobacco, biscotti, mild notions of smoke, caramel and butterscotch.

Taste: I'm getting cherries, dark chocolate, creme de cocao, vanilla, coffee, espresso, charcoal, black licorice, hazelnut, caramel and even gentle hints of resinous piney hops.

Feel: Mouthfeel is full bodied and creamy. Low carbonation. Sweet and dry throughout.

Overall: Top shelf stuff. Really complex but effortless and harmonious flavor profile. A must try if you're a fan of Russian Imperials.

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Photo of Jeffreysan
4.99/5  rDev +15%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

2013 edition, 12 oz bottle, poured into a goblet.

Appearance: Pours a beautiful, completely opaque, pitch-black color with absolutely no head what-so-ever, except an extremely thin halo of foam that gripped the sides of the glass.

Aroma: Massive aroma of roasted malt up front! Some notes of roasted coffee, a touch of smoke, and tons of brown sugar!

Taste: Wow!! Tons of roasted malt up front, imparting strong notes of roasted coffee beans, a touch of smoke and tons of dark chocolate. The beer is beautifully balanced with tons of brown sugar-like sweetness and finishes with a touch of dark chocolate-like bitterness! Absolutely delicious!

Mouthfeel: Very chewy and smooth as silk, as there is no carbonation what-so-ever. With an ABV of 10%, there’s a very pleasant alcohol warmth on the palate.

Overall: Jesus, what a beer! Big, bold, beautiful flavors of roasted malt, coffee, dark chocolate all wrapped up in a silky smooth beer! Outstanding!

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Photo of HorseheadsHopHead
4.99/5  rDev +15%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a wine glass

LOOK: Pours a midnight black with a small brown head that leaves some scattered bits of lacing. It looks majestic. You can tell immediately that this is going to be an experience.

SMELL: Lots of strong chocolate upfront, followed by charcoal, coffee, roasted barley, burnt sugar, and a smattering of vanilla, soy sauce, and tobacco smoke. This beer smells so complex!

TASTE: A truckload of bittersweet chocolate up front; sweet dark chocolate and a dusting of more bitter baking cocoa. Burnt sugar, toast, caramel, and a bit of coffee and vanilla. It's very savory, with an umami aspect that merits a soy sauce comparison. It's slightly warming on the swallow, but the alcohol is very well hidden for being 10.5% abv. Finishes fairly dry with another wave of dark chocolate.

FEEL: Full-bodied. Thick, rich, and creamy. Like chocolate syrup but not at all cloying. Perfectly balanced. A light carbonation just tingles the palate.

OVERALL: This beer blew my mind the first time I had it, and it continues to do. This is everything you could want in an imperial stout. In my opinion, this is a world-class beer.

 1,171 characters

Photo of Gear54
4.99/5  rDev +15%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

From a bottle into a pint glass. Had this one about a month. I wanted to wait until I could enjoy it for a while after the kids went to bed. Here goes

A: absolutely pitch black. A thin layer if dark brown head that sticks around for a while. Thin lace as the foam recedes.

S. An absolutely mouth watering combo of dark chocolate, malts, and raisins. I could literally smell this beer all day. I can't wait to get that first sip.

T: I had this beer at 59 degrees out of my beer cellar. The tast follows the smell exactly. The best I can say is Hershey's dark chocolate and an oatmeal raisin cookie all in one!

M: full flavor coats the mouth completely but still really easy drinking!

O: the only markdown I gave this beer was in appearance because I like I bit more head on my beer. Honestly after drinking it I feel guilty for even that small markdown! Bottom this beer!

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Photo of Aliiyoob
4.98/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Can not say enough good things about this beer. So dark you can't see through it, and smelled so rich coming out of the bottle. Overall, an amazing beer and one of the best stouts Ive ever tried.

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Founders Imperial Stout from Founders Brewing Company
4.34 out of 5 based on 7,813 ratings.
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