Founders Imperial Stout | Founders Brewing Company

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Founders Imperial StoutFounders Imperial Stout
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Founders Brewing Company
Michigan, United States | website

Style: Russian Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.50%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
75 IBU

Added by mjohn27603 on 01-13-2003

BEER STATS
Reviews:
1,834
Ratings:
7,628
Avg:
4.33
pDev:
17.32%
 
 
Wants:
723
Gots:
2,376
For Trade:
153
User Reviews
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Reviews: 1,834 | Ratings: 7,628
Photo of MarkBlackout
4.88/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I wasn't aware that Founders beers were available here in Indianapolis until today. I promptly picked up a 4-pack of their Imperial Stout.

Pours up beautifully with an agressive pour, a three-finger head which recedes with nice lacing to about a centimeter or so. Totally opaque. Smells roasty, alcoholic, rich. Foreboding!

The taste is sweeter than I expected, but at least as rich as the aroma. Some raisins on the side offset the sweetness a bit and allowed me to explore the bitter (more enjoyable, for me, as usual) aspects of this beer more closely. This palate adjustment increased my enjoyment of Founders Imperial Stout: I was less distracted, put off by the sweetness. Good brew.

===
original review (above) 5/22/05: new review 1/16/12

Scores were lower on original review. I wouldn't be shocked if they upped the ante on this and made it into an even better brew. This stuff is amazing; thick, and rich, and very drinkable. abv has a presence but not much, other than of course your brain's level of intoxication. This is my favorite IS and one of my favorite beers. Founders is the shit!

Addendum to new review: after reading other reviews: I was going to leave it to others to describe flavors, but I will say that tobacco, coffee, and cacao are all over this. Wars were fought for this stuff! With a four-pack you have enough to share. ;)

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Photo of Aircow86
4.88/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured just a tad colder than room temperature into an oversized wine glass.

Appearance: Black as hell, gentle pour still gave way to a towering chocolate colored head. Not even a sliver of light comes through this beer.

Smell: Chocolate, anise, a touch of liquor

Taste: Very complex. Nice hop flavor for an Imperial Stout, bottle says 90 IBUs. Coffee flavor in the aftertaste, nice warming liquor feel.

Mouthfeel: Creamy, just the right amount of carbonation for the style.

Overall: A delicious beer. One of the top Imperial Stouts for sure. A few days later, I paired this with a slice of mocha chocolate cake - incredible, this beer goes great with chocolate desserts.

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Photo of sendsilk
4.88/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This beer is freaking awesome. No, they don't have a special release for this beer like Dark Lord or Darkness or Hunahpu. But if they did this beer would be completely sought after and considered rare.

Awesome mouthfeel, delicious chocolate flavor assault the palate and nostrils upon first sip. There's nothing that can be done to improve on this beer. On of my top 5 favorite stouts of all time.

Thanks Founders, for making this accessible to people without having us have wait in a line at 8am for a 1 day only release.

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Photo of EnJeiBee
4.88/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A - This brew is one of the best looking imperial stouts I've ever seen. It pours obsidian black with a deep, dark 2-finger chocolate head. After gradually falling into the beer, a thin and pleasant dark tan head is left, leaving solid lacing in it's wake.

S - A sharp bitterness hits you first, a mix of hops, dark bittersweet chocolate and espresso.

T - Mildly sweet chocolate flavors dominate before being taken over by bitter expresso and deep bittersweet chocolate notes.

M - Extremely smooth and silkly at first with quite a dry finish.

O - This is the epitome of the style. It stands out as an amazing example of a great beer that is great simply because it is perfectly to style. If you ever get the chance to dry this do not pass it up!

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Photo of kevinlater
4.88/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

12oz bottle into snifter

a: pitch black and looks thick as hell going into the glass. just under a finger of gorgeous, rich brown head. best looking head i've seen from a beer thus far. swirling it around shows that the liquid just sticks to the glass, leaving brown hues on it

s: mostly dark chocolate, fudge and roasted malts. some spicy, earthy aromas. cocoa and coffee are there too, but less dominant. slight alcohol. this aroma could be stronger, but it does smell really good.

t: chocolate chocolate chocolate! rich dark chocolate up front, as well as raisins, licorice, and hints of cherries. roasted/burnt/charred malt flavours and a strong piney, earthy hop bitterness (akin to a dark chocolate- or coffee-like bitterness) enter mid-palate. doesn't feel like 90 IBUs to me, but it certainly is prominent. finishes with roasty, coffee, smoky/woody tastes. the alcohol taste is well-masked for the most part, but it does provide a warming burn going down the throat. a somewhat complex flavour profile here, and it's awesome

m: ridiculously viscous and creamy. mild albeit appropriate carbonation. so good!

o: an absolutely fantastic brew. get your hands on this

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Photo of Avagadro
4.88/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A: pours jet black and thick. It sits opaque in its goblet, with a mocha colored head.

S: bitter chocolate dominates the aroma. I would have liked to have seen a little more power in the bouquet, but it is still very satisfying.

T: dark chocolate, prunes, and coffe make up the majority of this rich brew. What is best is its savory aftertaste that last long after it leaves the mouth.

M: thick as hell and equally creamy.

D: one of the best RISs out there. This is a must have for any fan of the style, and is worth seeking out.

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Photo of howard12
4.88/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

bottled 12.29.11, poured into founders snifter

A -- motor oil; dark, dark chocolate almost black, but lacing leaves hint of brown.

S -- sweet chocolate coffee malt, and something else i cant quite put my finger on it.

T -- bitter chocolate coffee malt; but coffee and malt dominate with bitter choc. aftertaste. delicious but boozy.

M -- full-bodied, carbonation is not too high, milky-smooth (but thick), melted dark chocolate bar, slight bite

O -- delicious. can't tell as of now whether i like this or the breakfast stout more; will have to compare at some point, not now. i highly recommend this beer

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Photo of MichPaul
4.88/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

OK, I'm somewhat new to the "Craft beer" world, and sometimes the "Appearance" category strikes me as funny. I guess I don't see how the appearance effects a beer all that much. I haven't really seen a beer where the appearance has made me stand off a bit. If a stout is black, how can you give it anything less than a 5?
At any rate, with this stout, black is beautiful! This thing pours so think also!
Really not that strong of a smell, but wonderful none the less.
The taste and mouthfeel go hand in hand here to a spectacular finish. Right up there with Founders Breakfast Stout for me. I LOVE this beer!

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Photo of WeimtimeBier
4.87/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A- Thin dense mocha-brown head. This guy was creamy looking and smooth from the start of the pour. A pitch black motor oil body.

S- Dark rich chocolate and sweet alcohol notes. Behind that was a coffee and tobacco smell and maybe some black licorice.

T- Best tasting Imperial I have had. Dark cocoa and sweet creamy malt. Also some coffee in back and a slight wooded aftertaste (although it was not oak barrel aged). A balanced hop bitterness. Smoothest stout I have ever tasted. The alcohol was so sweet and subtle it was astounding.

M- Thick and creamy with moderate carbonation. The beer is like the best dessert in your mouth without leaving the sugary candy feeling where you just need to go brush your teeth after.

D- Being so smooth and creamy, this high gravity stout is very drinkable dispite having complex and robust flavors.

A beer you will remember

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Photo of sevenarts
4.87/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A: Dark brownish black, with a modest head that nevertheless leaves nice lacing behind.

S: Molasses, fruits, burnt roasted aromas.

T/M: Rich, layered flavors, the sweet of the molasses and fruit notes blended seamlessly with bitter, toasted flavors, some coffee, subtle nutty accents, so much going on here. And yet it all goes down really smooth.

O: This is just amazing and delicious.

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Photo of Gehrig
4.87/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Black ink body with a thin finger of lush dark tan-ruby foam--yes, it's as if the foam has highlights, since the beer is so dark that none are noticeable; decent duration and lacing--no sin for RIS.

Fantastic smell--just incredible, complex aromas. There is plenty of dark chocolate, some vanilla, coffee, and loads of molasses with a hint of maraschino cherry.

The taste? Jeeez. Molasses, coffee, and chocolate dominate, but some citrus hops peek through for a touch of sweetness amidst this barrage of heavy malt flavor. It is even better as it warms, releasing some of that hop goodness and becoming a bit sweeter in the second half. Very oily and gritty, chewy like a DIPA, very much the antithesis of Samuel Smith's wonderfully smooth Imperial Stout. Dry finish; splendid.

This is phenomenal, truly a great beer. I just can't sing Founders' praises enough for, every time I boast to friends that Founders is in my top five favorite breweries, I try something of theirs to easily solidify that personal ranking. Imperial Stout is right there on my list of the very best RIS with Great Divide (another in my personal top five) Yeti and Oak Aged Yeti.

Best in Show stuff. Brilliant.

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Photo of NCBeernut
4.87/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Really really black with a big ass creamy 3 finger head - this is the darkest brown head I have ever seen on any beer. It falls to a nice thick layer of foam.

Espresso and cream with a heavy dusting of hop oils turns to a rich chocolate aroma with hints of vanilla and anise. Enough alcohol in the nose to let you know its there. I hope this tastes as good as it smells.

Oaky earthiness - very woody. Plenty of resinous hop oils similar to Storm King only more subdued - not overpowering. Nice roasted barley flavors meld with hints of chocolaty espresso. Words don't do it justice. Ultra smooth and creamy - so chewy and desert-like. Alcohol is dangerously hidden, but still leaves a nice warm feeling.

Just about a perfect RIS. Best I have ever had.

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Photo of tectactoe
4.86/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

As I was pouring this beer, I thought to myself - "what beer is more black than this one?" ...and the answer is none. None more black. Not only is it black as can be, it's thicker than you can imagine. It plops into the glass without making a sound. Then, to top it all off, the head is the darkest MF'ing head I've ever seen. This head is darker than most brown ales. Huge, foamy, frothy, two and a half finger head that lasts for a long, long time. I've never been so aroused by just looking at a beer.

The smell is incredible and it hits your nose while you're pouring the beer, well before you bring it to your face. An abundance of roasted malts and barley washes over your senses like nothing else; deep, dark, bittersweet cocoa beans, espresso, molasses, char-broiled smoke, and a wave of leafy hops. The nose is as powerful as this beer is dark, and the only thing left to do is taste it.

FIS hits your palate like a semi-melted milkshake or warm syrup - this stuff is thick, bold, and robust beyond belief. So many traditional RIS flavors clashing, yet executed so elegantly well. Deeply roasted malts, hot molasses, dark, thick espresso - it's all there. Some light hints of sweetness come through; licorice, old figs, anise, dark fudge - but the sweetness is balanced extremely well by a huge wave of hops. At 90 IBUs, this RIS packs a punch in the hop department - slightly floral, leafy, ashy, dry, and a touch spicy, the hop bitterness plays well with the malt bomb and makes this 10.5% stout incredibly drinkable.

The alcohol is present, warming, and adds a bold character without being abrasive or off-putting. A nice smokey and campfire-roasted element can be found in FIS; almost similar to Founder's Porter, only amped up about ten times. A nice woody, charred, and smoked flavor in the aftertaste really adds a great deal to the already massive flavor profile. Coupled with the huge, creamy, and thick body, this beer is one of the most bad-ass things I've ever had the pleasure of drinking. Carbonation was just right, enough to make the body silky and bring out the flavors.

Good god, Founder's knows what the hell they're doing over there in Grand Rapids. For the longest time, I used to rave about FBS, but the FIS takes things to a whole new level. I know they are slightly different styles, but this is a pinnacle in Founders' line-up and really, a pinnacle in RIS's altogether if you ask me. Kind of hard to find, even in season, but worth taking the time to seek out a few 4-packs. This beer is goddamn delicious.

EDIT: recently had a bottle aged two years (bottled Jan 2011, enjoyed Jan 2013). The alcohol was still bold, still assertive, and still mild enough to enjoy perfectly. The smokey, campfire aspect was a little toned down, but this allowed for the chocolate to really jump out. Mouth feel was still silky smooth, and though the carbonation had lost some of its bang, it was still enough to produce that gorgeous, dark tan head. I think I prefer this one fresh, but it's amazing either way.

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Photo of BradenMK
4.86/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Served from a 12oz bottle into a 12oz coke glass (seriously, I have not yet found a better beer drinking glass; it doesn't matter what style, this glass always delivers).

Appearance (5) - Sweet Christmas, it pours like a jet black motor oil. I was cautious on my first beer of the night. The head rose, slowly, to about a finger's width. On my second beer I was sure to be a bit more aggressive, conjuring up another slowly expanding two and a half fingers of fudge-colored head. So nice. There's even some great lacing left down the glass as I drink.

Smell (4.5) - In the past I have found this beer to smell much more chocolatey and smokey. This year, I thought the smell was barely there. This may be because my nose has taken a beating this winter from extreme dryness, but, objectively, I do think the aroma is somewhat lacking this year.

Taste (5) - Luckily the taste does not disappoint. This is even better than I remember, and I am so glad. I have been waiting for this beer's release for MONTHS, and for it to deliver so magically, I am very pleased. Deep, unabated malt nectar, with hints of either some smoked malt or some peat in there, I can't be sure. A chocolate BOMB (as of 2013 anyway). So roasty, yet balanced with sweetness from residual sugars, this monster has tons of flavor with lots of complicated nuances to pick up on. This is a malt-head's dream come true. Simply sublime.

Feel (4.75) - Thick, wet, oily, with just enough carbonation to give it the creamy texture. This is basically everything I want in a stout. I only wish it were ever-so-slightly thicker. I mean, this is a beast, don't get me wrong, but I want a stout milkshake, let's be real. Get this guy any thicker and it'd reach a 5 rating here.

Overall (5) - Well worth the wait. I think I enjoy this EVEN MORE than I did last year, which is saying an awful lot. It isn't all too often that I try something a year later and am as fond of it as I was the year before, my palate is just too capricious, but this damn beer is a masterpiece and I am so glad to be able to enjoy it with such easy access. Cheers!

EDIT (4/9/14) - Had one today. Just as good as ever. Superb beer. I have a 2012 sitting in the fridge (don't worry it was cellared for a year), and I can't wait to crack it open. In comparison with a 2014 KBS that Core42, a fellow BA, was kind enough to send me free of charge, I find FIS to be slightly, slightly superior. Of course, I don't actually care as much for bourbon stouts. It was still delicious, and if you do like bourbon stouts, then I imagine you'll like it more, but FIS is just that good. A high caliber stout that is a well-accessible. Well done, Founders!

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Photo of DanielMB
4.85/5  rDev +12%

This is a tremendous RIS. It pours pitch black with little to no head to speak of. It has a nice smell, with chocolate and coffee notes underneath a layer of alcohol. The taste is similar, like dark chocolate, with strong hops and some alcohol showing through. This beer strikes a particularly good balance between hops and chocolaty sweetness for an RIS. The mouthfeel is a little bit sticky with a thick feeling. An excellent RIS that I would highly recommend to anyone.

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Photo of TheSarge
4.85/5  rDev +12%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Umm, yep... This beer pours very rich and dark like used motor oil. Surprisingly a decent head does come about. The cranium is about a finger thick, and dissipates into a nice milk chocolate looking layer.

In the aroma, there are characteristics of dark chocolate, coffee, and a slight metallic hops presence. The taste is rich with the same aroma characteristics, minus the metallic hops presence.

Feel wise, this is thick and smooth with mild carbonation and a finish with alcohol warmth.

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Photo of jdg204
4.85/5  rDev +12%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

After two very successful Founders offerings in the past few months (B-Stout and Porter), I had to made the call to get a 4pk of Impy Stout as my next acquisition.

A: Extremely black in color and thick in texture with a dark mocha head which is a bit thin. So dark you can't see light through the glass, an impressive sight.

S: Strong roasted coffee and dark chocolate aroma dominates with some strong citrus hop in the background.

T: Taste is deeply of Dove dark chocolate and dark roasted coffee malts. Evern as the impressive hops kick in as backbone this isn't that bitter as the malts really stabilized the product. Has an amazing aftertaste that makes you save the moment.

M: Incredible thickness and gravity to this product make it easy on the palate and the savory sensation is impressive.

D: This was quite a beer and may be the best RIS I've had to date (and I've had quite a few of the best: Storm King, Stone, BBCS, Yeti). Once again I'm humbled by the guys at Founders, they've clearly found a niche in dark beers and they're not 3 or 3 with 4.2+ beers in my book. I'm excited to see what their non-Dark offerings are now. Go to any lengths to try this beer, I'm guessing it's gotten lost in the Breakfast Stout hype at Founders but this is just as deserving of great praise!!

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Photo of orfeu
4.85/5  rDev +12%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Vintage bottle (different label than pictured above, stating "Limited Edition") courtesy of czoch75 -- many thanks, Clint! Poured into a wine goblet, this is a very black stout, allowing no light to pass through. A crusty ring of scorched sienna froth rings the glass and stays the entire time. Aromas are both expectedly characteristic of the style (vinous dark fruits, molasses, dark roasted coffee, chocolate) and surprisingly exceptional in the way they blend to form a cohesive, unified olfactory experience. The taste is above and beyond any I could reasonably expect from an imperial stout: intense chocolate flavors deftly weave in and out of a smooth blackberry vinousness and a dark roasted grain foundation, with sweeter malted barley syrup and earthy hop and mineral attributes punctuating throughout. All these flavors have mellowed with age, it's not hard to tell. The result is stupefyingly delicious. Combined with an incredibly silky mouthfeel that never seems the least bit heavy, despite the 10% alcohol content, this is one of the most drinkable imperial stouts I've ever had the privilege to try. In a word, outstanding.

[Note: I put this up against Bell's Expedition Stout in a blind tasting, and it thoroughly slayed the latter, which is by any standard an incredible feat.]

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Photo of Thingus
4.85/5  rDev +12%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Live tasting 12 oz. bottle into small Delerium tulip...

Appearance; pours an incredibly thick, oily, inky black color... Solid in the glass, and I only managed to get a third of a finger of lush brown head with a fairly vigorous pour. Retention is basically nil, with what little head there is falling in about a minute... Lacing is really good with a lot of sticky light khaki head...

Smell; Cofffee and chocolate jump right out at me, hints of alcohol and roasted malts...

Taste; definitely in line with the smell, an ever so slight warming sensation from the alcohol, but the ABV is very well hidden!

Mouthfeel; velvety and lush, thick and viscous, undoubtedly full bodied, a stout you can really sink your teeth into... Beautiful.

Overall; this is yet another incredible beer in the Founders portfolio... Absolutely fantastic and worth seeking out

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Photo of mwa423
4.85/5  rDev +12%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A - Pours jet black, thick and slow as motor oil. There is a small but thick tan head that sticks to the glass like glue.

S - Alcohol fills the nose, along with dark rich roasted malt. A bit of hops around the edges to tempt the tongue.

T - Lots of taste, strong heavy malty flavors backed up by some alcohol on the tongue, aftertaste of roasted malt and a bit of hop bitterness. Every second you swirl this around the tongue you get something new.

M/D - Mouthfeel is like a thin chocolate milkshake, coats the mouth and goes down smooth. This is as drinkable as an imperial stout gets, but certainly a one sip at a time beer.

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Photo of dmfrench
4.85/5  rDev +12%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Sweet, inky, creamy, hoppy, frutiy, cocoa... epitome of RIS

A: Flawlessly opaque black with a two finger dark khaki head that soon diminished to a thin film, but regenerated with every sip, never exposing the body. A beautiful, slow, and subtle cascade effect entertains as the head stabilizes. Not a whole lot of lacing, but everything else is in perfect order.

S: Balanced presentation of heavily roasted maul, spicy hops, cocoa, dark fruit, and coffee, in that order. A mouth watering aroma, if not overtly powerful.

T: Sweet inky creamy fills every corner of your palate, carrying embittering burnt malt, drying hops, cocoa, fruit, and coffee. Finish is forever long on drying hops and cocoa. Just delicious. Compared to Bell's Expedition, it's heavier on burnt flavors and lighter on fruit, but they have a similar vibe, with Founders Imperial being the classic Stout that I would come back to more often.

M: Biggest, creamiest mouthfeel possible.

O: What can I say but classic... perfection.

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Photo of TheCraftBrewReview
4.85/5  rDev +12%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Appearance – 97: Generally speaking with a stout, the darker the color, the happier I am. And with a Russian Stout? That sucker better be black as night, wielding a sickle and hammer and whistling Tchaikovsky. To that end – Well done, Founders. My initial pour created a quarter-inch thick head which slowly dissipated over a minute’s timeframe, leaving behind a caramel outside ring with bubbles on top that oddly resembled the Kremlin. Go figure.

Aroma – 96: Roasted malts dominate the smell of this beer, with a hint of coffee, chocolate, molasses and bread. The faintness of alcohol is also readily apparent, which isn’t a surprise given the ABV.

Body and Texture – 97: After the first sip I was ready to start singing “The Hunt for the Red October” theme. Wow. This beer dominates your mouth from the start, sitting incredibly heavy from the outset. After a moment my palate developed a very malted, dark tinge to it, which is perfect. A slight bitterness remained, but only lingered until the next sip.

Taste – 96: As the beer is brewed with 10 varieties of malted barley, that is the first (and last) taste that was readily apparent upon drinking this beer. There is an initial sweetness that I found to be quite pleasant – almost as if black cherries were dipped in dark chocolate. Perhaps the best thing about this beer was the rich aftertaste. Similar to a dish that has few ingredients but is immaculately executed – every note on this beer rings true to form. The ABV is hardly noticeable given how everything sits on your tongue.

Overall – 96.2 (World-Class): Before I forget, I did want to give Danny Gallina (the manager over at Legacy Beverage) a shoutout – This beer surpassed my expectations and then some. Not to say that I would ever have low expectations from Founders (as they happen to be one of my favorite breweries) – but I’ve found Russian Imperials to be very hit or miss with the malts. Occasionally malted beers can sit for too long and become bitter and unpleasant – luckily for me this was the complete opposite. Everything about this beer is dead on, from the beautiful artwork depicting the Russian coat of arms, the initial pour, look and taste – all hit the mark. In a stout world currently dominated by bourbon-barrels, this Russian version stands out. I’m very sad to say dosvedanya.

Purchase Value (A) – Given the beer’s national recognition, I was surprised to pay only 11.99 for a four pack, and would gladly do so again. The folks over at Legacy Beverage were very easy to work with, and Danny’s recommendation was spot on and well appreciated.

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Photo of rdilauro
4.84/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

January 2015
Having my first Imperial Stout of the season. Just had it after having Founders Breakfast Stout. Doing a side by side comparison. The imperial pours a beautiful jet black liquid with a amber dark head. There is a good aroma of alcohol in this, not chocolate or coffee. The first sip was so very bold. The hop forward of this stout left a really nice dryness on my tongue. Too bad this was not available year round.... great one




Its Late December 2012 and each week I've been enjoying another stout. I dont think I could ever get tired of tasting stouts.
This one was Jet black and poured slowly down my beer tasting glass and slowly came up with a chocolate/amber small head. And that did not last very long., I wasn't totally sure of the nose, but I was getting some caramel, butterscotch laced with a touch of nutmeg. My second scent and I picked up a cross between a ripe pear and banana. Sounds strange, but the aromas seem to blend together.

The first sip was full, probably would have been fuller if it wasnt for the amount of carbonation. I prefer my stouts to be almost flat, with very little carbonation.
I was thinking chocolate at first, but there was a degree of bitterness that I came away with coffee beans. Now I am not sure if it is within forum rules for me to make a single comparison with another Founder's brew, The Breakfast Oatmeal Stout. The Oatmeal stout was fuller, richer, and had a more distinct sense of coffee, really espresso. This Imperial Stout wasn't as full , the coffee was there, but more American coffee in style then a Mediterranean espresso bean.

I think that some of the bitterness came from the IBUs for this one.... That I always like

The finish of this stout was a little rougher then I anticipated. Still a very nice finish, but I guess I am getting really tight on what I am looking for.

All said and done, this Imperial Stout still ranks in the 10 Ten of my Best stout list.
Another good job by Founders

02/08/13:
Snowy night in the Northeast. You can see by my updated reviews that after snow blowing, I went into my stouts. This type around, the Founder Imperial poured much darker and thicker than I remember the first time. Plus the head was a dirty cooper by wonderful head. Five minutes into my glass and there is still some signs of the head. Putting my nose into the tall glass to me is just about the same as putting your nose into a coffee grinder, but a beautiful coffee!. Loving it. The higher alcohol or perhaps the higher IBUs in this one made it quicker to drink. The coffee overtones stayed right with me until the end. Even 10" away from my glass, all I call smell and think right now is COFFEE, COFFEE, COFFEE... Now that is being said with a New York accent from a person who now lives in Connecticut

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Photo of WiscoBrewsco
4.84/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Appearance - Poured dark black, little to no carbonation, slight tan head that didn't linger long

Smell - Rich malts and chocolate. A slight booziness but so many different malts its hard to pin them all down

Taste - Amazing complex malt bill here. Sweet, toasted malts dominate the pallet with a nice backbone of chocolate flavor as well. This is a true highlight of malts as the star and is done impeccably well

Mouthfeel - This is the best mouthfeel of any beer I have ever had. With the 10 malt varieties I'm not surprised that it was thick but boy was this a treat on the tongue. Hats off indeed

Overall - This is a fantastic and world class stout from a brewery that really knows what they are doing with stouts. This has to be the second best stout I have ever had (behind only Bourbon County Brand Coffee Stout) and my personal favorite from Founders, yes even over KBS and Breakfast stout. Where this stout has less flavors, perhaps than the previous two, it makes up for it with the astounding mouthfeel and malt bill. If you are a stout fan then you must try this beer.

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Photo of weizenbob
4.84/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Today I'm whetting my whistle with a Founders Imperial Stout and Breakfast Stout whilst I wait patiently for next month's KBS release. This 12 ounce bottle of Imperial Stout was purchased at Pere Marquette Expeditions in Ludington, MI. Founders bottle dates in black ink which is literally impossible to locate on a stout, yet alone read. After the pour, the empty bottle revealed the date to be unintelligible as the ink had been smeared. No worries; I know it's this year's batch.

I poured this into a wine goblet. An aggressive pour yields about half a finger of straight up brown head. The pour is thick and nearly resembles chocolate syrup coming out of the bottle. Head retention is poor but at 10.5% abv I'm not surprised. As far as the color, it is expected that an imperial stout would be near-black, but nary have I seen as dark a stout as this. If I were to christen this shade of black, I would call it "Smell the Glove".

Speaking of the smell, it is pretty awesome, and not the least bit glove-like. Chocolate is huge in the nose. Alcohol is not far behind. The aroma is akin to a chocolate liqueur. There is no subtle this or hint of that. It's just chocolate cranked to 11.

This is smokin' hot on the tongue. The chocolate strikes first, and it is very sweet and syrupy; but its reign is brief. The alcohol smashes its way to the surface like the Incredible Hulk; and this beer is angry! After the alcohol kicks me in the teeth I start to notice the chocolate syrup again, as well as a hint of coffee. There's a nice bite of bitter hops on the finish, which although noticeable, pales in comparison to the chocolaty sweetness and alcohol. How this doesn't come off as boozy is far beyond my comprehension.

This stout is heavy duty in the mouth. It is thick and syrupy and basically everything that you dream a stout should feel like. The carbonation feels mild though I can see small patches of active bubbling on the surface. It's just a heavy beer. The thickness coats the throat on the way down the hatch, leaving surprisingly little alcohol burn in its wake. This is awesome.

The drinkability is superb. As hard hitting as the alcohol is, this is very thick, very smooth and very sweet. The mildly bitter finish reminds you that it's a beer, and if it weren't for the prominent alcohol bite this would receive a perfect drinkability score. It is an amazing sipper of a brew, and if there was ever a candidate for some cellaring experimentation it's this beast. Per usual with Founder's stouts, I will take this four-pack, drink a couple now and stash a couple away for next year. After this alcohol cools off I'm expecting the most velvety chocolaty treat that you can find in bottled form.

For what it's worth, I prefer this to Breakfast Stout. Bring on the KBS!

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The Two-Schlitz Scale™: (see my profile for an explanation)
Puny lager cannot hurt Imperial Stout! Imperial Stout smash!

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Founders Imperial Stout from Founders Brewing Company
96 out of 100 based on 1,834 ratings.
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