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: 7,811
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.

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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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Photo of dleigh
4.97/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This is the platonic ideal of an imperial stout. Jet black with dark brown head. Waves of chocolaty, roasty, molasses creamy malt. Some anisy hops. A little sweet but not too much. Rich on the tongue.

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Photo of TheHopfather
4.97/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

bottled 12/09/10
poured into snifter

A- jet black.. very very minimal head. Looks like engine oil. Would like a little more head, but i love thick thick stouts so this excites me.

S- Absolutely amazing. I would swear this is barrel aged. Heavy heavy oak smell.. perplexing to say the least. I smell oak, heavy chocolate and vanilla, coffee and burnt wood. This smells better than any "un-barrel aged" stout I've ever had.

T- in one word.. "complex". I get tons of chocolate and oak. A bit of coffee and decent vanilla. Alcohol is an afterthought at 10.5%. Hard to beat even in competition with harder to get stouts.

M- Big bodied stout we have here. Exactly what i want in a stout.. thick and syrupy that coats the tongue. Perfect

D- This is a sipper as expected. With that in mind, the alcohol is extremely well hidden and this one drinks unbelievably smooth.

O- This one was about a year old and held up amazingly. The smoothness of this one is almost unreal. I recommend to buy this one up on sight and at the price point it may be hard to beat.

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Photo of boralyl
4.97/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

2010 vintage. Served at 50F in a tulip glass.

A - Produces a 1/4 inch of dark brown head that fades pretty quickly but leaves a thick ring of lace. The beer is black and completely opaque.

S - The aroma of this beer is off the charts. I can smell it from a mile away. There is sweet chocolate paired with roasted malts. It's all melded together very well. No hint of the 10.5% alcohol contained within.

M - Full in body with light carbonation. Extremely creamy and silky smooth, coats the inside of your mouth.

T - Molasses and dark chocolate make their appearance first followed by a warming alcohol flavor that grows before being overtaken by a roasty, coffee like bitterness that lasts into the aftertaste.

An absolutely outstanding imperial stout. There are so many other imperial stouts that get hyped up that fall below the level of this beer. I wish I would have found out about this one sooner, will definitely be re-visiting it again.

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Photo of RonaldTheriot
4.95/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Founders Imperial Stout has a medium, tan head, lots of lacing rings left on the glass, and a black appearance. Some slight brown does show up on the edges, under direct sunlight. The aroma is of sweet, sharp, intensely dark-roasted malt. Taste is of charred malt, sweetness, some cream, a bit of coffee, possibly chocolate and dark fruits, a shade of licorice, and high bitterness, seemingly from the burnt effects. Mouthfeel is heavy and slick, and Founders Imperial Stout finishes rich and impactful. The alcohol provides warmth, as the beer is consumed.


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Photo of Whiskey_Kid
4.95/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Huge dark fruit, big roasted malt aroma leads right into an almost sweet rich, dark chocolate and caramel nose- A pallet of intense, complex sweet malt with a slightly alcoholic and thready hop mid-palate finishes clean smooth, though ever so slightly boozy.
I wish I could swim in it.

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Photo of gangstafaceclay
4.94/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Appearance is pitch black with no visibility through it and a thin tan head.

Smell is chocolate, coffee, a little bit of booze and roasted malts.

Taste is fantastic. Creamy chocolate, coffee, hints of Carmel, molasses, vanilla, smokey-wood, roasted malts, and a bit of saltiness! It's great. The high ABV is pretty well hidden. Very complex and balanced!

Mouthfeel is very thick full bodied, creamy and smooth.

Overall, another nearly perfect stout by founders. They seem like they can do no wrong.

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Photo of erialbill
4.94/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Never considered myself a stout man but this beer changed my opinion of stout's. Was like drinking an extremely smooth dark chocolate/espresso milkshake. What a beer... maybe the best I have ever had. Poured thick with no immediate head but a nice 3/4 inch amber head formed at the top. Nice lacing on the glass. Honestly was sad to finish the glass now I am on a crazy search to find more. Great job Founders!

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Photo of mjshearer1
4.94/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A: Pitch, oily black with a thin, dark brown head.

S: Lots of roasted malts with a hint of booze.

T: Huge roasted character, almost coffee-like. Subtle hops at the end.

M: Thick and rich, low carbonation.

O: One of my all time favorite beers. Imperial Stouts rarely get better than this.

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Photo of BreakfastStout
4.94/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

So excited when the local store called to let me know the 2014 FIS was delivered today. Ran down there to pick up my 4 packs when they called. Pours black as oil from the bottle into my Founders Snifter. Excellent dark blackish brown head the subsides ever so slowly. Coffee, raisin, roasty, caramel notes dominate the nose. The first sip tells me I'm in for a treat. There's a lot of stuff going on here. This beer is incredible. Fantastic finish, with an incredible chewy mouth feel. I can't wait to see how this beer tastes with some age on it.

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Photo of 2Cents
4.94/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured in a tulip.

A: As close to black as brown gets. It has a mocha colored head that doesn't stick around long, there''s some lacing and alcohol legs that throughout the trip.

S: Coco, dark chocolate, honey and nugget.

T: Like it smells with a little coffee. What ever bittering hop they're using in this, it doesn't clash with the malts, unlike quite a few American Imperial Stouts.

M. Thick and silky. Not to much of an alcohol sting, for a 10.5 % er.

O: I have been waiting along time for this brew to come town. And now it's here and at a beer-store 3 blocks away, a slippery slope if I ever saw one. This is probably the best Imperial stout, that hasn't been barrel aged, that I have tried, and that's a lot of them. Right now, if I had to choose one beer to drink for the rest of my life, it would be this one.

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Photo of nickapalooza86
4.94/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours.... Motor Oil, nuff said, finger of toffee colored head.

Smell is chocolate, coffee, roasted malt, cappuchino, caramel and a bit of dark fruit!

Taste is just as an incredible, bitter chocolate, smokiness, caramel, sweet and bitter coffee both appear, finishes with a earthy hot bite and a wee bit of dark fruit in the back end.\

Mouthfeel is second to none for the style, full as full can be... Silky, mouth coating, with a soft carbonation. Really nice.

Well here it is, My favorite Founders Stout I have had... (yes I have had KBS and FBS).... But this reigns supreme.... What they do here with the mouthfeel makes it truely world class... If you have a chance to buy or trade for this, certainly do so!

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Photo of sjdevel
4.94/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Pours like motor oil (thick and syrupy). Pitch black with no light shining through. A bit low on carbonation (only about a 1 finger head).

Smells of chocolate and caramel with slight smokey coffee scent. Smells like a decadent dessert!

There is a huge bitter bite of hops at first, but is quickly diminished by strong smoked malt, chocolate, caramel, and coffee. There is a slight sourness at the beginning, but then the sweet syrupy flavors quickly flow in. As the flavors start to fade, smokiness remains and the beer finishes a bit dry.

Very thick and full bodied. Feels quite thick and oily/syrupy. Slight dry feel at finish.

This is an awesome brew. I am impressed with how flavorful and full the beer is. It also packs quite a punch at 10.5%. I would highly recommend this one, but don't down one of these on a full stomach as it is almost a meal on its own.

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Photo of dpgoblejr
4.94/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured the beer, thick like molasses and oh so dark black in color, into a snifter around 55-60 degrees. Everything quickly got better as the beer approached room temperature. Beautiful mocha colored 1/2inch thick head that did quickly retreat with some lacing. The aroma was quite alluring with hints of chocolate, toffee, maybe roast, and some hints of vanilla. Taste was to die for; coffee, fudge, bittersweet chocolate, and fruits. Thick and smooth with a velvet creamy mouthfeel on the palate. Founders, again, has impressed me with one of their brews. Truly one of the best imperial stouts out there; in my opinion. Highly recommend this one!

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Photo of dmgeng
4.93/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

One of Founders seasonal offerings that I try to get every year.

A - Dark black with some burgundy while being poured. It pours thick with dark brown rocky head and strong lacing.

S - Tons of of sweet malt smell with roasted, coffee, chocolate, caramel, and some toffee notes radiating out. There is great balance from this imperial stout.

T - Initially the rich character of malt, roast, chocolate, coffee, and some toffee/caramel taste. There is a great battle between the rich sweetness of the malt and chocolate and the bitter roastiness. Big flavors that make you beg for more.

M - Very high mouth-feel with moderate carbonation. Very balanced between the sweet and bitter and the big mouth feel make it stick to your palate but with a medium carbonation makes it not too cloying.

Overall, this is one of the best examples of an Imperial Stout you can find. Tons of flavor, great balance, and low cost make this one a great get. I know that there are some people out there that would have a hard time dealing with the thickness of this stout and the punch but I love it.

Glass- Snifter

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Photo of UpToMeBeer
4.92/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured from a 12oz. bottle. (Aged approximately one year).

Appearance: Black and thick, with a really dark brown head (about 1 finger that dissipated rapidly). A beautiful pour.

Smell: Chocolate, molasses, and coffee. A wondrous balance of aromas.

Taste: Dark fruit, chocolate, raisins, and coffee on the finish. Alcohol is present but not dominant.

Mouthfeel: Viscous with subtle bitterness. Coats the tongue and goes down smoothly.

Overall: Just heavenly. The best Imperial Stout I have yet found. No doubt the year of aging this bottle helped. First time I've ever tried this beer and would seek it out again.

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Photo of dafla67
4.92/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5


A: deep dark black; dark brown head.

S: roasted malts; chocolate and coffee.

T: oustanding. begin with the roasted malts and chocolate. Sweet throughout with almost no hint of alcohol.

M: very balance -- not one overpowering flavor; smooth and full-bodies.

O: one of my favorite RISs.

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Photo of MaineBrewing
4.92/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

A - poured a thick silky pitch black with a thick brown head, around one finger. Reduced quickly but left a nice frothy cap, with some good lacing for such a high abv beer, does appear very viscous and thick when swirled.

S - big malt aromas, chocolate first, coffee, roasted malt, smokey. Hints of hop spicyness. Alcohol comes out as it warms, bringing with it some fruitiness.

T - taste is phenomenal, simply put. Big malt taste that is very chocolate forward, reminiscent of eating some dark chocolate. Lots of roastedness, a bit smokey, Some coffee notes. Finishes very bitter, and has a lingering roasted flavor that sticks to the palate. Best tasting RIS I've had.

M - Very very thick with smooth carbonation. I'm glad this finishes bitter and seems well attenuated, making the mouth feel very enjoyable.

O - overall would have to be the most enjoyable RIS experience I have had as of yet. To me this embodies the style and would be my benchmark for future examples of the style. This is just so smooth and well crafted, does not have a weak spot. Only smell got knocked from 5 for a slight sharpness due to the alcohol aroma and mouthfeel as well due to it being a little overly thick. I think with some age these attributes would each score a 5 for me if it becomes a tad less hot and the body thins slightly.

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Photo of Armand
4.9/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Have had this one several times. Had one that was full of life and chocolatey. Got a flat bunk one that was a drainer. Overall I am going to give this a good review without having a flaw ruin my first experience.

A: Pours an inky black color with a very minimal dark brown head.

S: The smell has a strong chocolate and roasted presence to it.

T: There is a massive roasted flavor upfront with subtle notes of chocolate following but quickly overshadowed by the roasted flavor.

M: Thick and chewy with minimal carbonation. The feel is creamy and roasted.

D: This is a very good RIS and I wouldn't expect anything less from Founders.
Serving type: bottle

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Photo of brobeerbot
4.9/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured vigorously into nonic pint.

A- Poured a beautiful pitch black and was able to get a good two finger tan colored head. Nice lacing throughout drink

S- Coffee, malt, and smoke. One of the better smelling stouts I have had.

T- This one drinks like a dream. Strong taste of malty and smoke. Some hints of bitter chocolate with a small coffee finish.

M- Thick and chewy. You know your drinking a quality stout. Sticks to your mouth and allows flavor to stay in the mouth fo quite a while.

D- This is a fairly strong drink. With the high ABV and the heartiness of this stout it is for sure a one or maybe two during the night.

Overall this is a very very good stout. Has become one of may favorite imperial stouts on the market. Have one in the cellar and will see what we have in a year or so.

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Photo of AlexJ
4.9/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Another mind-blowing product from a very respectable brewer. This beer pours like a madman. Deepest nightmare black, with a small, dense head of mocha froth that remains as a thin ring. Terrifyingly black, this is one of the thickest, viscous, quagmires of a beer that I have ever had the delight of laying my eyes upon.

Aroma is a sweet lullaby of smooth, roasty malts, melted milk chocolate, dark fermenting fruit, plums, dried mission figs, black Sambuca, well aged Port, and coffee liquor. BIG nose, very intense and complex. I'm IN!

A highly anticipated sip reveals a truley precious nectar. A creamy mudslide of amazing flavors tears across my tongue. Complex malt entry of scorched caramel, milk chocolate pudding, malted milk balls, and mocha. There's tons of sticky, booze-soaked dark fruit; plum, fig, bitter black cherry, and candied citron. It rounds out with a perfectly delicate hop finish with nuances of crushed Douglas Fir pine needles and dark, bitter herbal notes. There's a perfect distribution of charred malt and fragrant hop bitterness. 12% abv, really? This is UNbelievably smooth!

Body is quite possibly the biggest I've ever a melted hot fudge sundae. It just glides across your mouth a creamy, buttery texture and a mouthfeel like liquified silk. So creamy and sinfully rich. There's no way that this 12 oz. bottle is less than 500 calories. Worth every one too! Killer delicious, but definately a one-beer-per-session type of beer. Unless you want to go into diabetic shock that is. I couldn't imagine a finer way to go.

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Founders Imperial Stout from Founders Brewing Company
4.34 out of 5 based on 7,811 ratings.
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