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 Pintofbrown
4.45/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

This was a vintage from early 2012.

The beer is black in the glass and has only a slight, froth-ring the color of molasses.

It is almost a dead ringer for dark chocolate, with a little bit of brown sugar mixed in. This is not boozy at all, only a very subtle tobacco scent.

This beer has a huge dark chocolate flavor that suits it nicely. The mid-palate introduces a wave of brown sugar and molasses, with some roast and tobacco in the finish. The age has really brought the chocolatiness and brown sugar forward, and made the tobacco and leather notes an artistic stroke of subtlety.

The feel is pretty good indeed. It does not have a truly long finish, and it is a bit dry. This could also be creamier and more hefty, even though it is already a big beer.

The flavors with two years of age are really coming together, the dark chocolate and slightly sweet and roasty flavors are fantastic. I bet you could set this aside for another year or two and still see that roastiness get even more whispy. It will never be a truly sweet stout, but it is hearty; and it is great.

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Photo of dank203
4.45/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

tulip: black, completely opaque. coffee+cream colored head. rich aroma of chocolate. hint of booze. faint. more chocolate. one of the richest and smoothest feel I've had in a while. the chocolate is so present. very roasty on the back end and a lingering alcohol taste but it is warming and pleasant

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Photo of majorbase2
4.45/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Pours a very very dark brown, nearly black color. Appears very syrupy and thick as it is poured. Small brown head, decent retention. No lacing.

Aroma is of nuts and roasted coffee, with a little bit of booze. Dark chocolate and roasted malts as well.

Lots of fantastic roasted malts up front. Roasted nuttiness, as well. A little bit of alcohol warmth, but overall it is masked pretty well. Surprisingly refreshing for such a heavy stout. Coffee isn't as present as expected, but it's there. That's my only complaint with this one. Just want to reiterate how perfect the use of the malts are in this one.

Full bodied. A little bit more carbonation than you'll see from most Stouts.

Overall, this is a great beer. One of the best Stouts I've had, right up there with Ten FIDY. I prefer this to KBS. Wonderfully roasted malts, perfectly balanced with the coffee and nuttiness. There may be stronger Stouts out there, but you won't find many as balanced as this one.

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Photo of BEERMILER12
4.45/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Bottled 12/20/12

A: Pours a viscous pitch black with a very small dark brown head

S: Very malty and roasty, with some notes of dark chocolate and a hint of coffee

T: Follows the nose. Again, very malty and roasty, with notes of dark chocolate, anise, bitter coffee, and even a very light fruitiness (or maybe that's just more anise). Finishes bitter and ashy, with a hint of astringency. Very little alcohol presence

M: Full bodied with low-moderate carbonation. Near motor oil consistency

O: Not the most complex RIS, but damn good. Surprisingly easy to drink for a 10.5% imperial stout, and the price is also very good ($11.29/4-pack). Definitely wish this was available for more than 2 months (if it even lasts that long on shelves, which it almost definitely won't). Founders just doesn't disappoint

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Photo of MuddyFeet
4.45/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pe-recipe change for this bottle thanks to dhchatfield. Damn, this is good.

Pours midnight black chocolate. after pouring a slow head formed on top that was slightle tanned brown. Receded to one small island in the center of the glass and a ringaround the edge of the glass. Nose is dark, dark dark. All dark chocolate, dark coffee and dark embers.

Flavor is just the same as the aroma--but better. The embers are of a fire that is still lit rather than put out, doused and smokey. The coffee is freshly roasting. The dark chocolate is sitting in the fondue pot. Very full body and just pushes the cheeks out. Smooth and soft. Like feeling my wife's wedding dress during our first dance. One more bottle of this beer.

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Photo of GCBrewingCo
4.45/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

The beer poured into the glass black and thick with a very low yet quick to grown brownish black head which stuck around and coated the glass.

The aroma was fruity with a strong coffee and chocolate aroma. The aroma was deeply malty with a huge roastiness with expresso. The aroma contained dark fruits, some raisins, some prunes and some cherries. Chocolate and roast played off each other to entice one to consume the brew.

The flavor was chocolate with a strong coffee presence. The beer was chewy and malty but with a substantial bittering from hops and from dark grains. The flavor was grassy with hops, but overpowered by expresso and chocolate. Some caramel was present, but never at a level at which the beer could have been considered sweet. Dark fruits, again raisins and prunes, were present in the flavor.

The finish was dry with a lasting presence of chocolate, coffee and dark fruits well into the aftertaste. In the final drying the grassy hop character stuck around. The body was full and viscous and chewy with a fairly low carbonation. Some alcohol was present just at the end of the flavor, but most of the alcohol was restrained and was only apparent in the warming which occurred after consumption. The low apparent alcohol level really assisted with the drinkability.

12 ounce bottle. Thanks AKSmokedPorter!

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Photo of DrewskiWhit
4.45/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A super dark viscous black as i poured. Deep brown head with tints of amber. Looks good. Head hung around

S a little muted but mostly dark chocolate and imperial stout.

T decadent. Dark dark chocolate and imperial stout. For a non BA stout this is about as good as it gets. Bitter chocolate aftertaste.

M thick and full bodied. Viscous. Minimal if any carb.

O I had never had this beer prior and I blind tasted it against a ten fidy which was my favorite non B.A.I.S. The more I drank this the more I liked it and preferred it over the ten fidy. This was so much bigger and more decadent. By comparison the ten fidy seemed much more mild. This is an excellent example of the style

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Photo of BeerMaverick
4.45/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had this on tap at the Dirty Truth in Northampton, MA. Poured into a Southern Tier tulip glass.

A - A beautiful dark brown (almost black) with about 1 inch of tan head. Some lacing deposits on the glass, but nothing to brag about. If hot chocolate was carbonated...

S - Pure chocolate and coffee...thanks roasted malts! The perfect head thickness captures the aroma very well, so once the head dissipates a little, the smell is in your face.

T - The best part. Milk chocolate with some coffee notes. The alcohol is there, but the overpowering roasted character defends its territory. Quite the feat at 10.5%.

M - Viscous and syrupy to the perfect degree. Not chocolate milk consistency, but almost that of hot chocolate. Coats the tongue in a layer of clouds...probably the numbing feeling from the high alcohol content.

O - Overall a great beer. Not as amazing as KBS, but hey, what is? I like this a little better than the Breakfast Stout because of its predominant smokey character.

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Photo of farrago
4.45/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Heavyset one finger head of dark brown froth, very integrated, like a tarp over the surface, plenty of sticky lacing left behind. The liquid is pure jet black, nary a hint of color to be seen. Brawny nose, hurls roasted coffee, black licorice, mint, bittersweet chocolate, not a lot of milkiness or creamy accents, dry and dense like cooking batter, waft of maraschino cherry and raspberry fruit scents, hops muffled if even there. Full-bodied, Very chewy yet with a subtle carbonation which prods the whole forward when it starts to get lazy. Pure coffee, dark chocolate, toffee flavors, spoonful of freshly whipped cream on top. Gentle roast, never that aggressive of a toastiness, much in keeping with a bigger isn't always better approach. Pine and anise seed brighten the mid-palate and add lift. Dense soda bread doughiness. Subtle white grapefruit tang through the finish. For a beer of its size never comes close to wearing you down.

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Photo of scotorum
4.45/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Bought two bottles in Traverse City Michigan in June while on vacation/business. Saved them to age for cooler Fall weather.

Poured from the 12 oz. bottle into a plain tumbler.

a: Pitch black with a half finger tan head which receded quickly to even surface foam and some peripheral lacing.

s; Dark malt.

t: Very dark espresso strength malt with hop balance lending a bitter bottom line which is not bothersome in the least because the malt flavor is so dominant. Very high ABV is exceptionally well hidden.

m: Medium, silky smooth.

o: Excellent stout, not quite as impressive-looking as the Old Rasputin I had last night, but heavier yet smoother tasting and with even more flavor. Not quite as easy drinking as a result, but a wonderful sipper that won't quit delivering great imperial stout flavor.

UPDATE 1/3/14: Had the other bottle tonight and differences noted:

Bottled 12/20/12, so this has a year on it.

Poured into a Samuel Smith English tulip pint.

a: Opaque black with an inch and a half brown head which receded slowly to heavy surface foam and dense patterned lacing.

m: Medium to heavy, silky smooth. Now this is what I had hoped the Harviestoun's Old Engine Oil that I had recently would be like.

The rest of my earlier review was fully reconfirmed.

Anxiously awaiting the release of the 2014 model.

UPDATE 4/24/14: New fourpack bought a few months ago and saved for later. This is still great but the bitterness stands out more, the flavor a bit less. Lowering ratings accordingly: a: 4.5-4.25; s:4.5-4.25; t: 4.75-4.5; overall 4.75-4.5.

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Photo of Bighuge
4.45/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This pours with some viscosity. Ink black. Big creamy brown head is generated slowly but surely and then dissipates quite quickly. Thin coating of brown lace forms on the glass as I drink. Nice nose of mocha, coffee bean, dark chocolate, vanilla and roasted malts. Flavor is a blast of bitter hops, bitter roasted malt tones, chocolate, anise, tart currants and black berries. The bitterness is almost over-riding, but not quite. Mouthfeel is creamy and smooth. Body is almost full. Not quite. Overall, very solid.

Thanks for another beaut from Founders cokes.

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Photo of kmpitz2
4.45/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This beer pours a jet black color with a ring of head around the top. The nose is roasty and dark, with big bits of chocolate and slight dark figgy sweetness. The flavor is mocha, starting more coffee bitter and moving towards the chocolate sweetness. Very nice. I like it. The feel is thick and syrupy, but not big thick like the breakfast stout. For a big beer, the alcohol is only present when the glass is swirled. There is a nice warming after a few sips. Very nice. I like it.

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Photo of Greencoat
4.45/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2012 batch

A: Pitch black with a deep, dark brown 3/4 inch head. Slow, but steady stream of bubbles scale the glass.

S: Roasted grains and coffee with a huge, sweet molasses background, nothing is fighting for precedence - very balanced.

T: Borderline perfection. Extremely well balanced while remaining complex. Tons of roast, coffee, molasses, currants, maybe some earthy hop flavors. This is divine.

M: Thick and viscous, medium-low carbonation with a very assertive bitterness.

O: I'd argue that this beer is currently at it's peak. When it was forst released, I thought it fell a little thin, but this is absolutely gorgeous.

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Photo of BeerTruth
4.45/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

I had this one on my 'wants' list for a pretty long time and SPLITGRIN was nice enough to hook me up. Thanks man!

12 oz. stubby bottle poured into a nonic. Not sure about the year, I'm still clueless on how to use the Founders notches on the label.

Pours a complete jet black with a generous two finger dark tan colored head that slowly creeps down the sides of the glass. Stickiness is crazy good, lots of thick webbing left behind. Smell is pretty sweet for a RIS with lots of dark fruits; cherry, dates, and plums. A good amount of robust french roast and espresso in the nose as well. Toasated barley and dark chocolate aromas are detected too. A lot for the nose to discover. This one sure has that "Founders" taste to it, but that's a good thing. Blaack coffee with a hint of cane sugar. Not as sweet as the nose, but there is some cherry notes on the tongue. Smokey wood flavors with a bit of an earthy hop bite to it. Aftertaste is dry with hints of vanilla and cocoa. Thick, creamy, and smooth mouthfeel with a subtle but fitting carbonation. Perect texture for the style. I let this one warm up pretty good before tasting and I'm glad I did. What an amazing RIS, one of the best for sure. I'm surprised there isn't more talk about this beer, but maybe I'm just not paying enough attention. Do what you can to get your hands on this one.

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Photo of Bierlerner
4.45/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

A- As it pours, it looks like used motor oil....dark, inky, blacker than black, thick. Nice and tight one finger head. Looks fantastic!

S- hints of coffee, lots of wood, vanilla, hops, sweetness, etc. Very in your face and love it.

T- chocolate, coffee, vanilla, molasses, dark fruits, heavy roast, etc. This has it all. Well balanced.

M- feels like it looks. Thick and creamy. A bit sticky and a bit chewy. It's perfect.

O- founders stout line has got to be one of the best in the country. All their stouts are just amazing.

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Photo of da_beers
4.45/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Got this for my wife for mother's day (her favorite beers are Stouts and Porters) and I had to get one for myself.

A - Poured a gorgeous dark black with a beautiful tan head of about a finger. Poured thick like a syrup almost (exaggerated), was beautiful in the snifter.

S - Smelled of molasses, dark chocolate, and a nice smokey/roasted malt.

T - Exceptional. Warmed the body on its way down. Had obvious chocolate and malt flavors through and through, as well as that molasses again. Was pleasantly surprised at the hop bitterness with this stout coming it at 90 IBUs.

M - Was definitely full bodied and a meal. Every glass has a sandwich in it! Very full flavored and buttery, coating the palate with its components.

O - Overall a great stout, Founders nailed this one. One of my top stouts for sure.

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Photo of RonfromJersey
4.45/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Body is total blackness. No ruby highlights here, a total black hole. Topped by a thumb width of very dark tan foam, which soon resembles a table top with a slightly raised collar.

Threatening nose, full of dark fruits soaking in booze. Wisps of coffee and chocolate breeze along the edges.

Taste is a wonderous surprise. While the dark fruits still abound, the alcohol soak they lounge in is far off. It's more a sweet mocha blend that the dark fruits - plums and raisins and maybe a little prune - are swimming in, with a shot of booze mixed in. Nice mild hop bite at the finish, which lingers and mingles with a late warming glow.

Mouthfeel is fairly light for an imperial, not too light, but not the motor oil feel of many. In turn, the drinkability is increased, and it would be high anyway.

A mighty fine nightcapper. A mighty fine dessert beer. A mighty fine beer. Glad I found this in a trade box.

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Photo of blackenmn
4.45/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a snifter:

Appearance and Smell:Poured a nice opaque black similar to ten fidy. Left a nice thick, extremely dark brown creamy head which left nice layers of lacing down the glass. Smelled of very rich chocolate. Quite a bit of roastiness present, with a bit of caramel malt which compliments its nicely and helps hide the mild warmth on the nose from this one.

Taste and Mouthfeel:I really enjoy the flavor of this brew. Quite a bit of milky chocolate and molasses. Very rich decadant brew with some feint bitterness on the tail which really makes this brew. Pretty medium to heavy bodied brew which was slick and creamy on the tongue. Just enough bitterness to keep any of the sweetness from being too much. The last few sips of this were nothing far from delicious.

Drinkability:Very drinkable considering the style, and ABV of this brew. The very mild warmth and creamy body make this thing just slide down. Enough complexity to keep me sipping. I highly recommend trying this one.

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Photo of sculls65
4.46/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a lovely thick black with a rust colored head that fades yet coats the tip of my tulip glass. Roasty malts, chocolate, molasses, maybe some vanilla and alcohol hit the nose. Tastes as rich as it smells, gives some warmth without being boozy. Mouthfeel is so wonderful its like breastfeeding. Wish it was more available like I do all Founders stouts.

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Photo of KingEdward
4.46/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Wow! This beer pours black as night. There was a mocha colored 2 finger head with an aggressive pour that lasted quite a while. A thin layer of head lasted for the entire time i spent drinking this, which was about 45 minutes. There was also alot of lacing that stayed the entire time. The smell is super malty and roasted with notes of bitter chocolate and molasses. The taste is very malty, roasted, and sweet on the front end. On the back end it is hoppy with notes of bitter chocolate. HUGE rich roasted flavors. The beer is full bodied and thick. The mouthfeel is silky and creamy with perfect carbonation for this style. You would never know this was 10.5 percent abv if it din't say so on the bottle. The alcohol did come out a little more as it warmed up. This is a excellent beer;)

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Photo of SaulFox
4.46/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Deep black with dark mocha head. Elegant lacing.
Dark chocolate, roasty malt, very light espresso.
Roasted espresso bitterness, rich chocolate.
Rich heavy mouthfeel.
Very nice winter brew....glad us Californians are included in Founder's distribution.

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Photo of output01x
4.46/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle (Bottled On 02/09/11) into a pint glass.

A vigorous pour yields a slow rising 1/2-finger mocha-colored head that quickly recedes within a minute to a thin dusting and light foam ring. The body is pure black with no traces of color when held to light. No lacing is seen during consumption.

A delicious mix of dark malts, milk chocolate, and roasted coffee beans entices and excites the nostrils. Decadent and alluring, the smell alone is more than enough to make you want to drink this beer.

Dark roasted malt flavors combine with notes of milk and dark chocolate and burnt coffee beans. A nice alcohol warmth creeps in after each sip. The flavors are bold and pronounced, with perhaps just a tad too much sweetness.

Full bodied with decent carbonation, this beer is thick, coats your mouth well, and leaves a nearly syrupy stickiness. The thick mouthfeel helps to remind you how intense this beer is. However, I would have preferred a little more carbonation to increase the drinkability.

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Photo of Flopjack
4.46/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Bottle into tulip

Appearance - Black with a half finger mocha colored head.

Smell - Dark roast coffee, subtle sweet chocolate, biscuit, slight alcohol.

Taste - Dark rich roasty flavors. Dark malts give a variety of flavors such as coffee, dark chocolate, sweet milk chocolate, bread, and biscuit. The end flavor and after taste are slightly smoky, and medium alcohol.

Mouthfeel - Full bodied, mellow carbonation.

Overall - Good beer. This beer moves across a nice combination of characteristics both in the smell and taste. As it warms it also brings out more chocolate notes, slightly more alcohol, and also a bit more smokiness especially in the smell.

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Photo of cindyjeffsmith
4.46/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Finally getting to try this. Bottled 12/29/11.
Appearance: oh so black and perfect. Messy and decadent mocha topping.
Smell: lots happening. Subdued Ris Burnt malt, hints of chocolate, a mellow balance to it all.
Taste: very balanced, mellow, creamy adult milkshake. Mostly dry, chocolate, with a slight bitterness in the finish.
Mouthfeel: tick, creamy goodness.
Overall: a different beast from the fabled coffee stouts, and stands as a great beer. Wondering what some age will do to this bad boy.

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Photo of zshaft
4.46/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

this stuff is black as black can be. nice one finger head that dissipates rather quickly. smells like some chocholate and licorace with some burnt malt notes. mouthfeel is nice and silky with medium body. taste is up front burnt charcoal with nice roasty flavors giving way to a surprising hop bitterness at the end with alcohol noted and very end palate dark malt and chocolate subtilities. this beer is a great russian stout and delivers in spades. I get some nice fruity end palate that makes this beer so great and I get some every year. a must buy for any beer lover. fOunders rules!

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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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