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: 1,870 | Ratings: 7,791
Photo of lllarzzz
4.27/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours with viscosity... thick and oily. Leaves a small light-brown head.

Very light but sweet aroma... no hint of the 10+ abv.

Wonderful taste. Compared to some of the highly complex beers I've tried from Founders, the Imperial Stout is fairly subdued. The start and finish is quite smooth, with a more intense and sweet middle. I keep thinking of really nice European dark chocolate when I sip.

The thick and slightly granular feel is tremendous.

Overall, this is a really, really nice imperial stout. What it lacks in complexity it makes up for with wonderful smoothness and flavor. Another great creation from Founders.

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Photo of xanok
4.27/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The last of a 4 pack that I bought in January. Sad day. This beer is not talked about at all because of their amazing breakfast stouts.
12oz bottle poured into a tulip.

A-Black as anything. Duh its a stout. Not much head here, but that's likely because I left it in the fridge too long. Bout a half a finger of brown head. Still leaves respectable lacing despite it being too cold.
In the past, I remember it pouring a much larger head.

S-Fair amounts of chocolate, malts, caramel, and a bit of an alcohol kick.

T-Pretty close to the nose here. Some burnt and roasted tastes. Some bittersweet chocolate as well.

M-I found the carb to pretty a bit heavier than I remember. Thick and full bodied. Leaves a nice aftertaste as well. Nice, warming feeling.

D-Very smooth overall. Has a bit of an alcohol kick so you'll get your buzz goin.

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Photo of kirkpjr
4.26/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a tulip.

A: Pours an oily thick black with a nice 1 finger head. Very viscous looking stout. Brown head leaves lacing all over the glass. The legs on this one are thick!

S: Roasted malts upfront, with a rich coffee and chocolate scent on the back. Also hints of oatmeal play into the nose. Not overwhelming, but very hearty smelling.

T: Tastes like it smells, but much more complex. The beer also gets noticeable better as it warms. Strong roasted malts with a touch of chocolate. A nice sweetness is here that becomes more apparent with warmth. I'm getting no heat at all with this big of ABV.

M: Rich in flavor and body. Moderate carbonation. Not as creamy as I might expect.

D: Great RIS. I will have to stock up on this one when I get the chance.

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Photo of JayS2629
4.26/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a rich, thick, velvety, chewy, oily dark black with a mahogany one finger head that fades slowly into a chocolatey ring. Leaves seafoam walls of lace.

The aroma is of dark chocolate and licorice, roasted coffee, molasis, caramel and hints of dark fruit, plums and raisin with a touch of vanilla.

Dark chocolate on the front quickly interrupted with major roasty, dominant coffee with burnt toffee edges. Pipe tobbacco, dark fruit, licorice and a touch of vanilla. Finishes with a big bitter, chalky, herbal/grassy chord that balances out the malty, fruity middle.

Definitely above average. Thick, not quite chewy, rich, smooth, and creamy.

Overall, it is a nicely balanced, semi-complex, enjoyable sipper.

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Photo of rodbeermunch
4.26/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Wow, I don't think you can make a better looking stout, this dare I say might be perfect. Deep as 3am black, giant brown head on it, 1". Aroma hits all those familiar chocolate and coffee malt notes, with a decent hit of alcohol.

Taste reveals a decadent amount of rich chocolate, coffee, smoke and hops, the latter two in a much more restrained amount compared to the first two. Very smooth, makes you think there is oats in here, but manages to still bring the hop presence and bitterness around at the same time. Very restrained in the alcohol's pronouncement.

Great format, great consistency, great price. Elite 1st tier world class stuff.

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Photo of brewdlyhooked13
4.26/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This was poured into a Maudite Belgian (trying/hoping to amplify the aroma), quite the apropos sight, that little orange devil with a backdrop of infinite darkness. Attractive mocha latte colored head, simmers down to a thin covering of varied bubble sizes on the surface. Light brown crystalline lace left behind from the head, but not much sticks to the glass below that due to the heaviness of the beer washing it away.

The aroma is of sweet espresso and smokiness. Some alcohol presence too at some extended sniffing and more easily picked up towards the end of the sampling as it warms.

Initially the taste comes across as just a good solid Imperial. Very dark, nearly burnt, roasted malts, some nice balancing sweetness up front (briefly), fine so far. But the real deal to this beer is the finish and the aftertaste. The sweetness gets a bit vinous, then a respectable hop bite appears rather suddenly. The aftertaste develops as smoky, chalky, slightly medicinal but not at all unpleasant, ending with a dry charcoal residue. The intensity builds all the way as each swallow is engaged.

Mouthfeel is solid and oily, like an Imperial should be. Substantial coating in the mouth, carbonation is right where it should be.

Drinkability? I'll say this - you're gonna get your money's worth taste-wise. But this stuff is 10%. Very well hidden alcohol presence all the way through. Founders Imperial is by far the most drinkable 10%-er I've had to date. I would do a 2nd, maybe a 3rd at home, but it will sneak up on ya', so be careful out there... :-)

Very enjoyable.

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Photo of unclejazz
4.26/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

bottled on 12/15/11

This beer is dark, darkest head I have seen. Well carbonated for an imperial stout. Dark malt, coffee, and is in the nose and all come thru in the taste. Not sweet, rich with a decent mouthfeel. I am curious to see how this ages, because I could see it getting better.
This does not have the heat that I experienced in the CBS I had on tap las week, so that is a good thing. I wonder if they gaed this one in maple bourbon barrels if it would knock CBS snd KBS out of the water.

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Photo of SykDoc
4.26/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a snifter. This beer pours like a thick black motor oil. It is opaque with almost no color at the edges. A 1/2 inch mocha colored head forms and leaves a pleasant lacing around the edge.

The aroma at cooler temperatures seems to be dominated by chocolate and coffee and warms to include a healthy dose of alcohol. The malty goodness definitely comes through. The could have been more strength in the aroma.

The taste includes large notes of coffee with a good under-belly of dark chocolate. A nice level of hops sits in the background. The bitter coffee lingers on the tongue nicely. As with the smell, the alcohol becomes slightly more prominent.

The mouthfeel at cooler temperatures was a bit creamier than my preference although it did improve nicely. It is fairly full bodied with a mild stickiness left on the lips. The hops/coffee combo leaves a nice sensation on your tongue.

Overall, this is a very drinkable beer. The primary issue I had was the feel because I think the aroma, taste, and appearance are great. I will look forward to enjoying more and seeing how it gets better with age.

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Photo of flipper2gv
4.26/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks a lot to BEERchitect for this one!

A: Pours really really black, totally opaque. Half a finger worth of a straight brown head. Half creamy looking. Retention is ok and lacing is bad.

S: First thing to hit me is the smoke. More than expected. Lots of semi sweet chocolate that is laced with coffee. Lots of molasses, brown sugar, vanilla, coconut toffee. Some fruits: dried bananas, dried pineapples and figs.

T: This is really good. Just the correct balance of smoke, burnt malts and sweetness. I thought this would have been sweeter but I stand corrected. This has lots of powdery cocoa and semi sweet chocolate. Good amount of coffee and vanilla too. Molasses, toffee, brown sugar are there too. The fruits are there with the dried bananas, dried pineapples and figs. Medium alcohol

M: So thick! Man, those american Imperial stouts are thick! Low carbonation and silky smooth.

O: Very good beer overall. A tad too much alcohol on the tongue but still a fantastic brew. Great balance!

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Photo of brian44556
4.26/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

2011 vintage poured into Stone tulip at 55 degrees.

The appearance of this beer was great. Poured a small foam head, jet black in color, and left a nice chocolate lacing around the glass. The smell the first 10-20 minutes was very metallic in nature. Still had hints of coffee, but I didn't smell the chocolate until it warmed up. Halfway through the glass the smell was great. Same result with the taste. The first 20 minutes the taste was just OK. Not until it warmed up did it have the very bitter chocolate taste with a coffee backbone that I look for in a RIS. The mouthful was great, carbonation was noticeable, but I didn't pick up on any notes of alcohol once it warmed up. Overall an another exceptional beer from Founder's. I could easily drink a 4 pack, but with the hefty ABV, 2 may be my limit.

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Photo of budgood1
4.26/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

pours out like motor oil, completely opaque with a rich, dense dark tan head with some real staying power. plenty of sticky, clinging lace. huge dark roasted malt aroma...molasses, dates, figs, raisins wrapped in some dark chocolate and caramel nougat goodness. the flavour profile pretty much backs up what i smelled...large amounts of sweet blackened maltiness, malted milk balls, chocolate syrup, chocolate covered cherries, yeast and bright floral hoppiness. sort of boozy but not hot. alcohol well integrated. for such a massive RIS the balance is really incredible. there is quite a bit of back end bitterness but really has a hard time asseerting itself due to the sweetness. of course the body is soft, supple and well rounded; huge and full. mouthfeel is velvety and luscious for a 90 IBU RIS. damn perfect. amazing drinkability...this is a sipper for sure and i'm trying to control myself from drinking it too fast.

overall this is a definite winner. my first founders stout and i will be looking forward to more in the future. delicious!

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Photo of walleye
4.26/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

from the bottle poured black with a brown head and a lot of lacing. aroma, chocolate, molasses, cherries, coffee, coco, cola,plums, roasted malts, alcohol. flavor bitter sweet chocolate, coffee, malts, alcohol, some smoke, a nice bitterness, and smooth mouth feel. like this one

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Photo of tmm313
4.26/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

A- Black. Poured a 1 finger, creamy, dark tan head with pretty aggressive pour. Awesome lacing and trailing.

S- Milk chocolate, a touch of baker's chocolate, oats, light dark fruits, some spicy hops, and slight booze.

T- It all mixes together so fast, its hard to tell things apart. Dark chocolate, roasted malts, dark fruits, piney and spicy hop bitterness. Big dark chocolate on the finish. Roasty, dry aftertaste. Grapefruit shows up a few minutes later.

M- It literally took me a few drinks to get used to it. I usually give a big "swoosh" over my tongue right after I take a sip, but the swoosh took more power than I was used to. Heavy, viscous, creamy, drying.

O- This was a pretty good Imperial Stout. The next step is to age one for a a year or three to see what happens.

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Photo of Sludgeman
4.26/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A healthy pour into a nonic pint. Served a little cold, but allowed the beer to warm.

A - Pours a viscous black liquid. A finger of head. Dark reddish brown head. Some lacing.

S - Lots of coffee at first, then some sweet roastiness.

T - Burnt coffee, sweet, resiny. Hops up front, in the middle and in the finish. Reflective of the 90 IBU. A hoppy beer but the dark malts do a good job balancing things off. Some alcohol in the finish.

MF - Creamy with bitterness lasting on the roof of my mouth. A tingily finish.

O - Drinkable. I like it. An imperial stout I would want to have around all the time.

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Photo of tewaris
4.26/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

90 IBUs
Bottled 11/27/2009; Sampled 12/28/2010; 12 oz bottle poured into a 25 oz snifter.

Pours thick and tar black with an excellently formed very very dark brown head. The head retention is great and the lacing is fantastic too. Looks just as good as any other, or better!

Molasses, sweet alcohol, roast, and massive coffee notes stand out; it should be noted that the coffee, although strong, is nowhere as strong as in the Breakfast series.

Coffee forward taste with a very bright & coffee-like acidity. Bitter on the palate, and with good amount of roast too.

Silky mouthfeel. Carbonation is appropriately low; full of roast but still not harsh; finishes sweet but can't be called cloying over a reasonable serving size; and warming.

In my memory, fresh Founders Imperial is more coffee forward and in that sense it has aged for worse.

Overall, an excellent stout and it's tough to choose any other over this, within the same style.

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Photo of dc55110
4.25/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to wkcyr4 for including this awesome extra!

2008 Vintage

Pours thick! Nice dark mahogany head, dissipates as expected. Small amount of lacing.

Smell at first was a bit off, hard to place the source, just something not right. As it came up to room temperature the aroma be came quite pleasant with hints of malt, raisin, tobacco, slight booze.

Age as done quite well for this beer. Fresh Imperial Stout is very good, but the years have added a bit more complexity to the flavors. It starts out slightly sweet with hints of raisin, fig and malt. The finish has as slight bitter chocolate/molasses taste.

It coats the mouth nicely, without being to thick. Very good sipper, but that doesn't mean I couldn't see myself having two or three in a sitting.

Overall this another wonderful stout from a brewery that knows what they are doing when it comes to stouts... and just about any style they choose to brew.

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Photo of Alieniloquium
4.25/5  rDev -2.1%
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.

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

Superb. There are few examples of a simple, non-coffee, non-pepper, non-BA stouts out there that are at the level of this. Definitely going to pick it up whenever I see it.

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

Pours out dark as midnight, but no head left mere moments after the pour and has a sweet aroma with a tad of hops, quite unusual for a stout, much less an imperial.

Taste is distinctive, and different than other imperials as well, licorice is there, and I'm definitely getting some prunes to go along with it and the sweetness from the aroma is in evidence as well and it has a good bitter finish. Unique, different, tasty.

Consistency is nice and chewy, just like I like my beer while the drinkability is fine on this if you're a regular stout drinker.

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

Sipped fireside with John L. Parker's "Once a Runner." How's that for classy?

Pours oily black and gives rise to a 2 finger mud brown head. Horseshoe collar surrounds a pool of skim retention. Leaves lacey plaster at regular intervals like lines on a page.

Rich and sugary aroma: robust espresso, chocolate syrup, dark fruit, brown sugar and molasses. A rich and sugary aroma deserves a rich and sugary aroma and FIS did not disappoint. Dark milk chocolate, sugar cane, and molasses messengers all sent forth upon a vessel of warming alcohol...ah l'amour. Roast fade. Mouthfeel is...I can actually feel it caressing my mouth.

Gets kinda blah and monotonal as it warms which is a bummer because this is definitely a sipper.

via duffextracold

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

Another pitch black impy from MI- Dark, dark opaque black, with a good initial froth of mocha head, receeding down to a thin ring, lots of lacing too. Bloody insane aroma, like, it’s really huge. Anise, dark rum, dark chocolate, bourbon, raisins, burnt molasses, tobacco. It goes on and on. And the body is big too. A punch of roasted coffee beans, with huge boozey dark chocolate. Burnt brown sugars, and throw in a touch of hops bitterness. Though it’s big, it’s 10% seems closer to maybe 8%. It’s still a sipper, and one of the best I’ve ever had. A ramped up version of the breakfast stout, minus the crazy booze of the Kentucky Bourbon. Incredible. Thanks so much Chris for another "stylin" brew!

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

2008 Vintage... Pours like motor oil, jet black body with touches of brown around its edges. Minimal head to speak of, but leaves some little lacing from bubbles on the side. Scent brings strong roast qualities with notes of plum and raisin, chocolate comes through with a whiff of cherry cordrial, coffee present as well as some vinous notes and alcohol is definitely present. Taste manages to duplicate the components of scent very well with the added pinch of spice on the back end. Velvety and creamy body, minimal carbonation, mouth coating but no lingering aftertaste. A top notch RIS that doesnt overpower with boozyness or lack chocolate/coffee notes like others do.

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Photo of PicoPapa
4.25/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

12oz bottle with Bottled 12/20/12. Pours a viscous black color with a 1/4 inch of brown head. Lots of lacing. The aroma is of chocolate, black licorice, earth and roasted malts. The taste is smokey chocolate and earth upfront followed by bittersweet dark chocolate. Warming alcohol presence. Chocolatey, malty, and earthy with a nice amount of smoke. Heavy mouthfeel. This beer reminds me of Ten Fidy. Overall, a boozey rich Stout with a lot of flavor that is worth seeking out.

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Photo of portia99
4.25/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle ('09) received as an extra in trade from homebrew311. Thanks. Poured into a Dogfish Head signature glass.

A - Pours a thick and syrupy totally opaque pitch black color...not a hint of light can get thru this one. A few clumps of yeast rushed out of the bottle during the pour and is a slight detractor from the overall experience of this beer. A thin, dark brown pseudo head forms and drops immediately to a thin collar around the glass.

S - Complex array of aromas: a fair amount of sweetness, fresh brewed coffee, alcohol, licorice and bakers chocolate.

T - Mirrors the aroma pretty closely with some additional nuances thrown in for good measure. Lots of dark roasty flavors - heavy in coffee and dark bittersweet chocolate...some slightly burnt, smokey, woody flavors here too. Nicely bitter - like the strong hop presence in this Imperial. Smooth and very tasty.

M - Very smooth mouthfeel...body is quite full - thick, oily and viscous. Carbonation is low giving a very smooth and slick feel over the tongue.

D - Very enjoyable imperial stout. Hoppier than most other examples (which is a strong positive for me), plenty of dark and roasty flavors and an incredible smoothness to it. The 10.5% alcohol is more noticeable in the nose than the taste. Doesn't seem that strong. Will definitely be grabbing more of this before its gone for the season.

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

Thanks to Rob for the share!

Poured oily black with a thin skein of dark tan foam. Smell was roasted malts and semi-sweet baker's chocolate. Taste is all about heavily roasted malt, more semi-sweet chocolates, and a mild espresso. Bitterness is apparent within the heavy roast. I get no impression of the 10.5% ABV. Mouthfeel is medium-heavy with a nice texture due to lower carbonation.

Note that this sample had been cellared for 1 year.

Its very good quite roasty.

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Founders Imperial Stout from Founders Brewing Company
4.34 out of 5 based on 7,791 ratings.
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