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: 1,840 | Ratings: 7,660
Photo of Brez07
4.22/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Reviewing from notes. 12oz bottle served in a snifter

A: Rather dark pour, but not without a fair share of brown highlight. Leaves a 1 finger expresso colored head which presents as a ring around the glass

S: Very inviting. Lots of roasted malt mixed with bitter chocolate. Some charcoal/smoke and anise

T: Starts off with a bitter roasted malt flavor. There is a chocolate sweetness in the middle (think brownies). Finishes with the charcoal/smoke combo along with some alcohol. Roastiness is the biggest flavor here, but the others compliment it well

M: Full bodied. Creamy. Good amount of lingering bitterness. High carbonation although still seems fairly smooth

D: An excellent imperial stout. Reminds me a lot of Imperial Stout Trooper. Would like to pick some up to age

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Photo of mrfrancis
4.22/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Pours an opaque black with a thin tan mousse.

S: Aromas of black cherry, black currant, dark chocolate, roasted grain, coffee, and alcohol assault the nose. Very intense.

T: Notes of black cherry, black currant, prune, dark chocolate, roasted grain, coffee, heavy cream, vanilla bean, alcohol, spiced apple, and herbal, slightly resinous hops wash across the palate. The finish is bitter and long with chocolate, coffee, and herbal hop flavors underscored by alcohol.

M: This ale is full-bodied, smooth, and velvety. Carbonation is delicate, expressive, and unobtrusive. Alcohol presence is pronounced, but not overpowering.

O: This is a fantastic imperial stout, one that deftly balances heavy hopping with gorgeous dark malt flavors. Compared to many other hoppy stouts, this effort from Founders is much more elegant, balanced, and sophisticated. If you're a fan of imperial stouts, this is one not to miss.

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Photo of Westsidethreat
4.22/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Perhaps the darkest beer I've ever seen? Poured like black thick ink. The dark tannish brown has crumbled to a faint memory of what once was...wisps and the foam o-ring remain.

S: Black patent and roasted malt aroma. Thoughts of fresh ground espresso, anise and bourbon come to mind.

T: Roasted malts make an immediate impact. Creme brulee vanilla tastes mix with oatmeal brown sugar flavors quickly give way to the massive milk chocolate and coffee aftertaste that stays with the palate for quite some time.

M: A very sticky beer. Not necessarily creamy, but very thick.

D: This beer is GINORMOUS. Very rich, very complex. Bit too sweet for my tastes but still wonderful.

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Photo of TurdFurgison
4.22/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I tried this based on good experience with other Founders beers. This one doesn't disappoint either. I poured it into a pint glass, and it had a good stouty appearance. Dark black liquid with very thin tan foam on top. The head dissipated quickly so that it looked like I was drinking cola.

This actually smelled like Founders Breakfast Stout, but with less coffee. It was also a little heavier feeling than the Breakfast Stout. A lot of alcohol is apparent in the initial sips, and you can taste the hops bitterness in the after-taste. Very strong flavor, almost too rich.

A really good imperial stout, but I probably won't drink it too often.

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Photo of Truh
4.22/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The court jester made me laugh with this one on 7/12/2006. 12-oz. bottle poured judiciously in to a Dogfish shaker. Once more, thanks to friend and BA Warriorsoul for this one.

Tiny, almost imperceptible crown of head dies to a tiara of almost red-tinged mocha at the sides, as if seeking to escape from the terrible center. Very little lacing; just a dusting of splattered wax as the pour drops. Dark as a moonless night; make sure you've got a flashlight in case the lights go out with this one. Licorice, pine essence, tar, root beer barrels, and a suggestion of smoked cedar announce themselves on the nasal cavity. Chalky treacle is the first thing noted on the mouth, followed by a syrupy brown sugar sweetness that sticks and coats down to the adam's apple. With warming, black pepper spice, caramel apple, and a kind of tinny character start to show. Body is not overly thick, which is nice considering its style and abv.

Another hit for me, just short of a home run.

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Photo of drseamus
4.22/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

A: This beer is jet black and looks awesome. The dark mocha head was pretty thin and fell so that is was only a rim around the edge in well under a minute.

S: The aroma is powerful. There is a very sweet initial blast followed by chocolate, toffee, coffee, and a bit of roasted malt. There might be some maple syrup or brown sugar in there also...I can't quite place that sweet aroma.

T: This is a very sweet beer initially, but finishes with a good roasty bang. There is also a bunch of dark chocolate in the middle. There is a bit of bitterness right in the middle that fades pretty quickly. I'm not sure if it's from hops or the roasted malt.

M: This has a great body for the beer. It is very full bodied and very smooth. It has the consistency of motor oil which suits it nicely.

D: This is a bit sweet, but still a good beer. The ABV is a bit high, but I could knock back a couple or six before I had to pass out. The sweetness would get to me before the alcohol. However, it is still a good beer. Why does it have to be so hard to get?

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Photo of tmoneyba
4.22/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured a black color with large rocky brown head that lasted with excellent lacing. Aroma was medium malt and coffe that lasted the whole brew. Flavor was rich and smooth malt and chocolate with a long finish.

Another very solid brew from this house.

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Photo of target88
4.22/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Wonderful coffee aroma beautiful black and color has an absolutely outstanding sick mouth feel good deal of hops and very stiff coffee backbone. This beer is full-bodied and demand your full attention although this is usually my type of beer the flavor color and Romar absolutely fantastic and I would highly recommend it to any stout drinker

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Photo of don1481
4.21/5  rDev -3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

12oz bottle poured into Ol' Trusty Pint Glass.

Appearance: Holy blackness. I hold this up to the light and NOTHING gets through. And with a chocolate-colored head. Wow. This clearly means business.

Smell: Lots of coffee here. Some hints of chocolate, smokiness. I don't really smell alcohol here.

Taste: Tastes like coffee with hints of chocolate coming through. I'm not really tasting any of the alcohol, which is surprising. None of the flavors are particularly overpowering - it's a little more... subdued... than what I expected from other reviews. I expected to have to sip this one a little more, but it's going down MUCH more quickly.

Mouthfeel: Pretty clean. Taste doesn't linger at all. Not sticky afterwards.

Overall: Ohhh boy. This is dangerous - I can drink this MUCH faster than the other stouts I've recently reviewed. I'd say that this goes down almost too easy, but since when is that a bad thing when in the confines of one's own home and not driving back from a bar?

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Photo of Hamburgers
4.21/5  rDev -3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours motor oil black with a one finger light brown head. Aroma of coffee and chocolate. Flavor is rich chocolate and dark roasted coffee. Thick, creamy mouthfeel with light carbonation. 10.5% ABV very well hidden. Extremely long and bitter finish. Complex stout. Perfectly balanced.

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Photo of deltatauhobbit
4.21/5  rDev -3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

Bottled 12/10/14

Pours a wicked black color, perfect two finger sized head with a brownish tan color, fades at a slow rate but only leaves a small bit of lacing on the glass and no lasting cap.

Smell is very heavy on coffee aromas along with a roasted/burnt malt presence, slight metallic tinge to the nose, not really picking up much hop balance even though it was only bottled a little over a month ago.

Taste starts out with a hint of warming alcohol, doesn't get too strong to be overwhelming or distracting fortunately, strong roasted malt with a burnt bitterness in the aftertaste, coffee presence throughout the entire drink but don't expect any cream or excessive sugar to accompany it, very thick and chewy body with long lasting stickiness, avoids being cloying though.

Could use a few more unique traits to separate it from the pack but what it does it does very well. I'm glad I've got a few more bottles to see how it changes with some age on it.

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Photo of coachdonovan
4.21/5  rDev -3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a snifter from a 12/22/11 bottle, it's obviously pure black. One of the darker heads I've seen in a while too; it starts out about an inch thick and fades to a thin layer of mocha foam, solid lacing. This is the picture you find in the dictionary next to "Imperial Stout."

Nose is equal parts coffee and unsweetened chocolate. A little tingle of alcohol is there, but just barely. The malt brings to mind the aroma of roasted chestnuts on a New York City autumn afternoon.

First pull from the glass is smooth and viscous. The aroma themes are still there - roasted coffee and bitter chocolate - but this flavor profile goes much deeper. There is a juicy fruitiness that balances all that darkness, and now I find the 90 IBUs referenced on the label. The roasty notes come through again in the finish.

I'm taking my time with this one because I want to enjoy all the flavors, not because the 10.5% abv is obvious. This is simply really really good. If the coffee flavor was dialed back just a bit, it might be perfect.

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Photo of camil1mj
4.21/5  rDev -3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2011 vintage poured at cellar temp into my Founders snifter.

A: Deep, dark brown. Wonderful 2 finger mocha colored head. Great lacing. Loons perfect.

S: Roasty, chocolate. Great smell.

T: Immediate roasted malt tast. Great tastes of chocolate and toffee.

M: Thick, full bodied and well carbonated.

O: Great imperial stout. One of my favorites.

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Photo of ritzkiss
4.21/5  rDev -3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Goblet on tap at Coles in Buffalo. Arrives a deep black with a thin, creamy mocha head which leaves sheets down the glass. It also arrives far too cold.

After sitting a bit, the nose reveals some rich roasty malts, bitter dark chocolate and a hint of coffee. Pretty straightforward.

This is nothing fancy, just an honest-to-God, straightforward, well-made imperial stout. Textbook really. Rich roasted malts, chocolate, just a hint of caramel sweetness, coffee, a hint of vanilla, a touch of leafy hops in the finish which, along with the hefty roast, add a nice light drying to complement the creamy, rich mouthfeel. Hides the ABV well, just superbly creamy, rich body.

Paired nicely with my chocolate dessert, would gladly drink this again!

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Photo of OrangeMen
4.21/5  rDev -3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

2016 vintage (bottled 11/24/15)
~6 months since bottling

Appearance- Pours oily and viscous, black color, completely opaque. Half finger thick, dark tan colored head, creamy thick. Alcohol legs cling to glass, some spotty head lacing.

Aroma- Rich roast, deep roasted charred malts. Bittersweet dark chocolates, dry cocoa, and smoke. Mild sweet chocolate aromas, caramel. Touch of coffee and hops.

Taste- Charred malt bitterness, roast, smoke. Dark chocolates, earthy hops, cocoa, coffee. Velvety milk chocolates towards the finish, touch of caramel sweetness.

Feel- Medium to full, bitter and drying. Sticky creaminess to the body. Moderate to lower carbonation.

Overall- A really great age for this beer. Roasty / bitter profile is still in the forefront, but sweetness is coming through more. Robust, rich, sweet.

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Photo of Absumaster
4.21/5  rDev -3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A viscous pour and a deep black color, on top a beige head which collapses almost instantly. One of the most beautiful beers I came across.

Smell is roasted malts with a molasses and rather oily smell, like a lot of flaked barley has been used. A good bitterness complements the maltbitter smell. Also some earthy hops, but this could be me, making the link between burned/roasted notes.

Taste is rather (too) sweet and mildly burned/roasted. The molasses comes in second. A sticky feeling on the lips and a warming alcohol sensation at the back of my throat. This is a complex beer with enough going on to compete with a good whiskey. Body is full and drinkability is not high, but really fits the style and makes the beer a sipper.

Thanks to plucier for this beer!

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Photo of lochef81
4.21/5  rDev -3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Having a four way tasting tonight between Plead the 5th, Old Rasputin, Ten fiddy, and this. It's my second of the four pours. The appearance of this stout is simply overwhelming. It pours a very near jet black with just a slight amount if light escaping through around the edges. The head is a large but short lasting beautiful dark brown color (one of the darkest, most handsome heads I have ever seen). It leaves a substantial film and lots of silky lacing. The nose is rather boozy and bitter. Notes of burnt coffee, bitter dark chocolate, and vanilla abound. The mouthfeel is viscous and coats every inch of the palate as it slowly slides down the throat. The flavor is over the top rich and decadent. A very bitter blend of vanilla, chocolate, and a lasting finish of dark roasted coffee. It is a very bold beer. At only a few months old, this stout is near obscenely in your face but I'm quite sure it will smooth with age. Good thing I've got three more in the cellar.

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Photo of crossovert
4.21/5  rDev -3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle.

It pours a thick, viscous black with a creamy and foamy dark tan head. Quintessential look.

The smell is pretty good. Nice raw barley character with some caramel, coffee, and cocoa. That typical "imperial stout" scent is there which I equate to herbal alcoholic root beer in a good way.

The mouthfeel is thick and viscous and the flavor is dead on for what an Imperial Stout should be. It is bitter, roasty, not too sweet. A gem

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Photo of Zdrummer15
4.21/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Bottle poured into snifter

Appearance: pitch black with no transparency whatsoever, thin mocha colored head that dissapates quickly leaving only a ring with spotty lacing

Smell: very roasty. chocolate, caramel, hints of coffee and dark fruits

Taste: largely matches the nose. Some hop bitterness right off the bat followed by the dark chocolate. Finishes with a bit of coffee and then some alcohol warmth, as expected being a big, fresh RIS

Mouth feel: thick, full-bodied, light carbonation

Overall: very solid stout from Founders. I've come to expect nothing less from them. It doesn't blow me away like their American style offerings, but that's not to take anything away from it as American Imperial Stouts are one of my two favorite styles. As far as Russian Imperial Stouts go, this is probably the second best I've had the pleasure of enjoying, right behind Ten Tidy, and just ahead of Old Rasputin

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Photo of dqderrick
4.21/5  rDev -3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours thick with a nice 1/4" chocolate milk colored head. Dark as motor oil. Swirling leaves a nice trail of carbonation bubbles.

I smell chocolate and sweet roasted malt. The aroma isn't overwhelming... I need to let it warm a bit. I mistakenly served it at about 35 degrees. After warming, I pick up a little vanilla.

I get a nice roasted taste. Very strong roasting really. Its not as sweet as I anticipated. The slight chocolate undertones are just what the doctor ordered.

Mouthfeel - slightly more carbonation that I expected but I don't mind it. In fact I'd say it complements the beer very well.

I could drink a lot of of this Impy Stout. Too bad I can't get my hands on Founders here in SoCal.

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Photo of chugalug06
4.21/5  rDev -3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A - Brew pours like Oil and leaves nice lacing… One of the darkest brews I've ever had.

S - Very tobacco. You can tell this brew has some oak in it… Smells like a very sweet Stout. Hints of chocolate, vanilla, and molasses too.

T - You can feel the heat in this one… You're also able to pick out the many different flavors hidden deep within. Orange, tobacco, chocolate, vanilla, raspy malted goodness….

M - Very think and robust. Very chewy, evenly distributes. Carbonation is as close to perfect as to be expected.

O - Great brew, slightly on the over kill side of things, but stays away from becoming a hot mess… A great brew in a great trade! Thank you dsglovin!

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Photo of Jables
4.21/5  rDev -3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours dark as midnight with a slight brown head. Fantastic roasted smell with accompanying initial flavor. The roasted malt flavor gives way to notes of coffee and mocha. Slight hints of alcohol start to nudge in but are quickly pushed aside by a delicious smoked finish. The drinkability is exceptional for a beer this big. Very enjoyable and you definitely get your money's worth.

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Photo of itsscience
4.21/5  rDev -3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

It was presented to me black with about a finger of brown head. Smelling it, I get a lot of roasted grains with chocolate, charred wood with a hint of smoke, some coffee, and a slight hop aroma. The taste is much more chocolate-forward. It has a dark chocolate and cocoa powder profile carrying a vein of caramel, with a creamy, full mouthfeel throughout. It finishes with a roasty burnt oat taste with a manageable level of astringency.

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Photo of Jonada
4.21/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

12oz bottled 11/28/2012. Served in a Teku

Appearance: Pours pitch black with less than a finger of a mocha colored head that dissipates to a thin ring. Body is completely opaque.

Smell: Roasted malt, bakers chocolate, coffee, black licorice, earthy.

Taste: Follows the nose closely. Roasted malt, dark fruit, coffee, booze and a slight smokiness. Really well balanced.

Mouthfeel: Full bodied, viscous mouthfeel. Medium carbonation. Still a sipper, but goes down relatively smooth.

Overall: Another winner from Founders. Super flavorful and pretty drinkable considering what a big beer this is. One of the best non barrel aged stouts out there.

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Photo of Stev0supreemo
4.21/5  rDev -3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

appearance: oh man. jet black. nice dark brown head. really nice looking stout. plenty of lacing.

aroma: coffee, chocolate

taste: coffee, fruit, chocolate, low alcohol, light hops

mouthfeel: creamy, very nice

if only this was a year-round release...

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Founders Imperial Stout from Founders Brewing Company
4.34 out of 5 based on 7,660 ratings.
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