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 ZebraCakez
4.23/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

This is fantastic. Pours a dark brown/black with a burnt caramel colored head. Smells of coffee and chocolate. Taste of coffee and chocolate, roasted malt, dried figs/raisins, finishes with a smoked beef (jerkey) note. Smooth, creamy feel, super enjoyable.

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Photo of HopHead84
4.23/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into my snifter, the beer is black with a small, dark brown head. The creamy head quickly recedes and the lacing is scattered on my glass.

The aroma is of sweet roasted malt, dark chocolate, cocoa, anise, freshly roasted coffee. Some citrus hops linger in the background. The flavor has just the right amount of coffee and roastiness. There's some dark chocolate present and a medium level of earthy hop bitterness balancing out the sweet malt. The alcohol is most noticeable in the finish, which has a nice level of bitterness to it.

Full bodied with medium carbonation and a sticky, viscous, and chewy mouthfeel.

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Photo of BeardedBoffin
4.23/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer pours a black elixir with a beautiful mocha head that left plenty of lacing down the class. A nice coffee, mocha aroma wafts above this brew with just a hint of deep dark ripe fruit. A hint of alcohol is lurking behind all of this.

Fairly thick, but not in a bad way. A powdery bittersweet cocoa flavor is the main event here. Coffee does bandy about a bit, but it is the chocolate that dominates. The beer finishes with a long lasting dry bitterness.

The alcohol is not that noticeable in the flavor profile, which is nice considering the 10.5% ABV. Drink after dinner, you will enjoy it.

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Photo of AgentMunky
4.23/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 ounce bottle into an Allagash cervoise glass. Bottled 22 December 2011.

A: The finger of head that forms is almost red clay in colour, with a creamy consistency. The beer pours viscous and black. Utterly opaque. Great lacing.

S: Deep, bitter, and alluring. Coffee beans, bittersweet chocolate, roasted barley...all the hallmarks of a great imperial stout. Maybe even some fruit.

T/M: Tasty, but not phenomenally so. Bittersweet, with a surprising creamy fruitiness. Smoothness is belied by the complex and august flavours within. Prominent black licorice lingers for ages on the aftertaste, along with a slightly chalky mocha. The flavours are delivered with a light touch, perhaps a tad too much so?

O: A great beer, but not close to being my favourite imperial stout. It's a little too...straightforward? Definitely recommended for all fans of Founders/stouts, but a beer I probably won't revisit if I can find, for instance, Expedition Stout, Yeti, FBS, etc.

27 Nov 2014 EDIT: No head, but otherwise smell and appearance are the same. Flavor is light, brief, and lackluster. Mouthfeel-- sticky. A couple of years later, I pretty much concur with my original assessment.

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Photo of kylelenk
4.23/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A - One of the darkest beers I've ever seen. Once again, a complete absence of light here. Produces a Founders muddy head that dissipates and leaves little lacing around the edges of the glass. If you enjoy this over a period of time, the lacing leaves sticky residue stains on the walls of the glassware behind.

S - Smokey malts mix with bitter, melted dark chocolate a just a tiny hint of espresso. Fans of Founders Breakfast Stout will no doubt find familiar things here. Very mellow presence of alcohol in the scent that is largely masked by the grain here.

T - I can't say much more than unbelievably balance. You can look for almost anything here and undoubtably will find it. There is the huge dark chocolate/espresso profile you'd normally find from the category but it is also surprisingly hopped. It has just enough smoke that makes drinking it incredibly easy.

M - Founders Imperial Stout has quite a chewy and viscous profile. Light/med carbonated body hides the alcohol quite well.

O - Solid offering in any format (tap or bottle). Have had it with a few years on it and the beer will continue to develop if you lay it down.

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Photo of guzzle211
4.23/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Received 12 oz bottle in JBIF from nlmartin - thanks!
A: deep dark cosmic black. no perceivable light penetration. pours thick and syrupy, almost chunky. thin glaze of dark tan bubbles rises, although no visible carbonation. the very few faint random lace bubbles dissipate quickly.
S: alcohol sweet perfectly balanced by dark malt, layered deeply
T: a classic example. subtly layered dark hints of everything dark and sweet
M: full and expanding. a small sip quickly blooms into a swallow
D: although there is a discernable alcohol presence, its hard to believe the 10% abv. even though this is very filling and obviously meant to be a slow sipper, it is deceivingly and enjoyably easy to drink.

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Photo of brewcrew76
4.23/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This one is about 1-2 years old.

A - Solid black wit ha small creamy mocha head. Spotty lacing left behind.

S - Dark roasted malts, milk chocolate, espresso. Some soy sauce notes present from the age but in a good way.

T - Roasted malt, espresso, dark chocolate, slight hoppy bitterness. Hints of tobacco and leather.

M - Full body, slick, a bit oily. A nice sipper.

D - Tasty

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Photo of kawilliams81
4.23/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- pours like motor oil, black with 2 finger brown head and thin blotches remain on the glass.

S- lots of coffee and roasted malts and pine hops.

T- bitter chocolate, coffee, smoke and bitter pine hops.

M- full body and creamy, low carbonation.

O- amazing RIS! Similar to breakfast stout but fuller with some smoke/char to it.

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Photo of MattSweatshirt
4.23/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Coming out of the bottle it is almost black. A finger of thick dark brown head forms in my snifter atop a body of total blackness. Thick lacing sticks behind.

Roasted coffee and brownies lead with some more caramel mixing with the chocolate giving some more sweetness to the aroma, and a touch of cherry.

It says 90 ibu's, but doesn't come off as a bitter monster. Slight hop flavor is still intact with some earth and grass. Big roasted malt envelops and doesn't allow for much sweetness. Served room temp there is a slight alcohol warmth present throughout the taste. Chocolate is there but not like in the aroma.

Drinks so smooth and viscous. It's a big beer. Finishes dry and gets sticky on the lips.

Home run stout here as the grade and amount of reviews indicates.

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Photo of grayburn
4.23/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours an expected midnight black with just a hint of brown around the edges. The head laces and lasts, I would like it to be just a bit bigger.

The smell and taste are both filled with the usual RIS characters, chocolate, some roastiness, a little coffee in the background...but nothing really stands out, it just seems a bit too boring for such a big beer. Not quite what I was expecting considering the quality of the Breakfast and Kentucky Breakfast stouts.

The mouthfeel makes up for any other shortcomings, perfectly smooth and creamy, delicious.

The drinkability is pretty strong as well, easy drinking...not my favorite, but definitely worth trying.

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Photo of IPAdams
4.23/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Appearance- Pours thick and pitch black with a small tan head that recedes quickly and leaves minimal lacing.

Smell- I get some vanilla and coffee with a background of milk chocolate and caramel. Very sweet smell, almost like French vanilla coffee with a bit of espresso in the back, very nice.

Taste-Can definitely taste the 90 IBU's. First sip is burnt toast and espresso. As it warms the bitterness subsides a little and gives way to notes of chocolate, licorice and some flavors of burnt caramel. I like the flavor but the bitterness and burnt toast take away from the other characteristics

Mouthfeel- Very full bodied and creamy. I like the mouthfeel but again the bitterness is quite drying on the back end.

Overall- Pretty good Imperial stout. Nice flavors, smell and body. I definitely recommend letting it warm up to help diminish some of the bitterness.

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Photo of TheMultiYeast
4.23/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

Bottled 12/18/13

This Imperial Stout forms a viscous ribbon from the bottle to the glass. Pitch black with about a finger of chocolate milk colored head.

Huge roasted character in the nose. Roasted barley, semisweet chocolate, smoke, piney hop notes, and some booze.

Roasted grain is more prevalent in flavor, chocolate flavors have subsided into bitterness, smokey, dark ripe berry flavors, pungent pine flavor and bit hit of bitterness.

Feel is nearly perfect. Big, chewy, sticky.

Pretty good fresh but I'll look forward to this beer with some age on it.

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Photo of coldmeat23
4.23/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

GLASS: Snifter Glass
TEMP: Cellared @ approx 45 degrees
Thanks to MasterSki for this one! Sweet!

This pours like motor oil. Thick, black and viscous. I like. Thin, dark chocolate colored head of foam, which dissipates quickly. Lacing is spotty, but good.

Smells of big, dark roasted malts. Fair amount of dark roasted coffee notes and light scents of dark chocolate. Slight hint of booziness. Slight sweetness.
Smells warm and inviting.

Taste follows the nose. Big, dark roasted malts are, once again, out in front. Nice chocolate and dark coffee presence. Nice, light, hops kiss on the end. Lighter hops presence than expected, thankfully, at 90 IBU's.
At a time where Stouts are all going 'over the top', this one is refreshingly well-balanced. Not that I'm against 'over the top', mind you. It's just nice to have a good, solid, well-balanced stout, every now and then.

Nice medium body. Actually would expect, and like, this to be a little thicker in body. Smooth and creamy, with a touch of slick oiliness. Would love for this to be a bit on the 'chewey' side.

With the excellent balance this beer offers, I find it to be very drinkable. The 10%ABV will keep you from downing multiples, in a single session. The ones that you do get down, though, will be thoroughly enjoyed.

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Photo of readbaron
4.23/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Purs thick and dark, dark, dark brown, with a bit of mocha head that quickly thins to a tiny ring with a bit of lacing.

Smells like big burnt roasted malts. A hint of leather, and maybe a tiny bit of chocolate/sweetness.

Taste is quite good - more complex than the nose would lead you to think. Roasted, almost bitter malt is the dominant flavor, then it mellow into a bit of sweetness before finishing with a smooth burnt bitter flavor.

Mouthfeel is perfection. Thick and viscous, nicely carbonated, creamy, but not sticky. Delightful.

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Photo of silverblaze540
4.23/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

A - Very dark black, with very thin brown head. Head disperses quickly.

S - Chocolate, with hints of coffee and malt. Smell is nice, but not very strong.

T - Sweet at the front, chocolately taste. Quickly switches to mildly bitter at the end with coffee aftertaste. Nice balance. Alcohol taste is prominent but balanced by other flavors.

M - Very thick, creamy, and silky.

O - Very nice and balanced beer. Heavy, with a sweet smell and initial taste. The bitterness lingers for a while. Enjoyable.

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Photo of olmatty
4.23/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance- Wow! This beer pours like very used motor oil with a low light brown head. Good lacing and decent retention.

Smell- Roasty malts, dark coffee and a bit creamy

Taste- rich,thick coffee, sweet molasses, raisins, a bit of dark chocolate, some bitter hops

Mouthfeel- Thick as the aforementioned 10 w 40.

Drinkability- High ABV and huge flavor and still pretty smooth and drinkable. But if you try to knock down a bunch of these you'll end up crocked.

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Photo of beerman207
4.23/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Had this excellent brew a year or so ago but never reviewed it. Excited to find one on the shelf.

A: Pours very dark - about dark as oil. Dark brown head that lingers a while and leaves some nice skim. Doesn't get much better than this.

S: Roasted malt, caramel, booze, raisin, smoke,

T: Well....the first thing I detect is booze so aging is necessary here - not sure it was this hot last time I had it. Taste is cocoa, malt, smoke, coffee is strong, very good but the booze is a factor.

M: Nice balance - thick, even a bit chewy.

D: Unfortunately, this one isn't ready yet. I'm going to sip on it and I'm sure my night will be good after I'm done with it.

Overall great offering from Founders - in all honesty - I don't think it needs to be this big though. 9% would be probably perfect.

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Photo of bsp77
4.22/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Serving glass: Poured from bottle into Snifter.

Appearance: Pure black and opaque with dark brown head that leaves light lacing behind. By the way, I love the English-like crest on the label.

Smell: Burnt molasses, licorice, dark chocolate, roasted barley and nose-burning alcohol.

Taste: Burnt molasses, heavily roasted barley, dark chocolate, licorice and strong coffee. Decent level of bitterness at the end, with a long roasted aftertaste. Slightly too much burnt molasses for my liking, but that is a minor gripe.

Feel: Low carbonation, smooth body, exceedingly thick and creamy (almost as much as the Egg Nog I had earlier), dry finish.

Drinkability: Another great beer from Founders, although not one of my favorites by them since so many of their beers are just exceptional. Not one of my absolute favorite RIS either (Yeti, Darkness, Storm King, Old Rasputin), but still very, very good.

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

12oz bottle poured into an oversized snifter at cellar temp. Pretty sure this is from 2011...hope I’m not drinking it too early.

A: Black as night and sludgy. A dusting of a head quickly disappeared leaving a thin ring around the glass. Not much lacing to speak of.

S: Strong coffee and chocolate. I can feel the alcohol tickle my nostrils. Yikes!

T: Not as hot as anticipated. Really nice actually. Lots of coffee and chocolate. A touch of floral hops leads you to a pleasant finish of balanced roasted dark malt. It's impressive how delicate this is while still delivering tons of full flavor.

M: Pretty full bodied and chewy, but not off the charts. A good amount of hop/alcohol tickle. Drinkability is on the low to chill with this one for awhile.

O: I don’t know for a fact but, relying on my tastebuds, I’m going to assume that this is the base for two of my favorite beers...FBS and KBS. While I miss those additional dimensions, this is an top notch stout in its own right. Glad I have another bottle to rest.

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

Thanks ShogoKawada for the bottle(s)! Poured from a 12oz bottle into my Portsmouth tulip.

Motor oil brown liquid, thoroughly opaque with a slow building slick and lasting collar of fallow foam. Viscous legs, and thin sandy, glistening lacing.

Rich roast coffee, cocoa nibs, molasses, aged rum, and fruit pits in the nose along with a touch of grain.

The aromas all come through on the palate but in magnified form with additional licorice and dark brown sugar. A nearly savor flavor suggests marjoram (perhaps from hops?) and even bacon at times. Rum, vanilla custard, and brandy soaked bread crusts in the finish - which is sweet but decently attenuated.

Velvety, slightly oily, full bodied mouthfeel - warming, though the ABV is somewhat concealed.

Lush and deeply satisfying stout - the perfect night-cap.

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

from 12 oz bottle

A-pours a thick black color with a small tan head with a good amount of lacing on glass

S- was semi -sweet chocolate,cocoa, coffee, roasted malts

T- a superb taste of bittersweet chocolate,coffee, roasted malts, with a good amount of hops

M- nice mouthfeel that coastes the taste buds with the above but still had a smooth texture alcohol well hidden

O- a great imperial stout thick and robust but enjoyable to drink

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

Appearance: Pours thick and syrupy out of the bottle. Pitch black with a coffee-brown head that develops for a few seconds before receding into a thin ring around the glass. Minimal signs of carbonation.

Smell: Boozy; dark molasses with freshly-ground coffee with bittersweet chocolate mixed in. Roasted malts evntually come through against strong alcohol aromas.

Taste: Lactic-sweet with notes of milk chocolate and coffee. Moderate bitterness in the finish.

Mouthfeel: Full-bodied to say the least. Smooth and thick on the tongue with little carbonation noticeable.

Drinkability: Typically bitterness + high ABV = sipper, but it's not the case with this brew. The delicious sweetness up front affords some great drinkability, but you'd be wise to enjoy this one slowly. Finishes a little too syrupy for my liking - the last few sips are tough to get through.

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

A nice Impy stout from Founders. Pours thick and viscous, like Motor Oil. Minimal head and lacing. Dark as night. Smells collide of sweet yet roasted malts and alcohol. Taste and mouthfeel come together. This is tastes as thick as it pours. The Alcohol is present in the taste, and there's not a ton extra, other than the roasted malts playing along. It's a solid example of the style, but not quite nailing it for me.

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

Bottle into a nonic pint glass, this was bottled on 2/9/2011...

Pours 10w30 thick and darker than a black steers tuckus on a moonless prairie night. Brown head that dissipates into a ring of foam.

Intense roast and earthiness on the nose, with some alcohol peaking it's head in that is comparable to rum. Waves of cocoa and black coffee behind that. Fantastic aroma, and dead on for an imperial stout.

Opens with a bitter, strongly roasted coffee flavor that transitions into earthy hops. Bakers chocolate and espresso notes, with minimal amounts of sweetness behind that.

Mouthfeel is an oil slick, and on the lighter end of heavy in body. Low carbonation and a little alcohol tingle there too. The hops dry it out a bit as well.

Overall, a great beer. One that can compete with any imperial stout out there. Tons of rich roasted flavor and earthy hops up front, with a savory coffee and cocoa bean notes that round out the flavor. Pretty available given the time of year, and some what cheap when compared to other imperial stouts of similar quality.

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