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: 1,888 | Ratings: 7,829
Photo of ISmith87
4.47/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - 4 - I give it a 4 because I was drinking out of the bottle. Who really cares what it looks like anyway. A beer can look great and still taste like shit. I imagine it's dark brown/black with a nice mocha head that leaves good lacing...
S - 4.5 - cofee, vanilla, chocolate, caramel, roasted malts
T - 4.5 - coffee, chocolate, roasted malts, like a balance between FBS and espedition stout
M - 4.5 - heavy, alc covered, aftertaste is roasty coffee, burnt marshmallows, roasted malts
O - 4.5 - Great beer, on par with Bell's expedition stout. Wish I could get it back home.

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Photo of Sideswipe
4.47/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle poured into my New Belgium snifter. Courtesy of DFH. Thanks Dan!

Founders Imperial Stout pours an inky black. No light penetrates it. A quarter inch of light brown foam covers the beer and then recedes leaving an appealing ring around the outside of the glass. The beer is incredibly thick. It has legs more than lacing. The nose is sweet roasted malt and dark fruit. Taste follows the nose with flavors of char, raisins and figs. Bitter hops in the finish catch me off guard. This is a very complex brew. Feel is thick and chewy with enough CO2 to keep things interesting. Overall this is a very nice Impy Stout. ABV is hardly noticable and the thick, rich texture make this a joy to imbibe. Recommended!

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Photo of NHbeerguy
4.47/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

2013 bottle poured into a snifter

Pours a super black. A nice 1 inch mocha head when poured. Dissapears to a nice ring around the glass. Leaves great lacing.

Smell is slight coffee with roasted malts. slight smokieness. A great beer I am gathering.

Taste is amazing. Coffee, chocolate, raosted malts maybe even dark fruits. This beer is awesome for the price. Nice taste from start to finish.

Feel is what you would expect from a RIS. Thick with a smooth texture.

Overall this is a great all around beer. Glad I have many more to enjoy over the next several months/years.

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Photo of wordemupg
4.47/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle poured into tulip 24/6/11

A black out of the bottle and blacker in the glass, thick two finger mocha head has great retention but only leaves a few patches of lace

S mostly dark coco powder with some molasses, licorice, a little smoke and some faint citric hops just come through all the dark roast

T the roast is even darker in the mouth with lots of bakers chocolate and plenty of coffee I couldn't smell, and some char, I get a little booze but pretty well concealed for 10.5%

M thick and creamy from the bubbles and long lasting flavors just keep going well after this one's in your belly

O near perfection in many areas but I just couldn't drop the perfect score, close for smell, taste, and feel but not quite perfect in my eyes

This ones worth looking for and I only wish I could find it in my part of the world, thick, dark and rich this ones a winner from a world class brewer
Thanks Matt and Doug for hooking me up

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Photo of Hypersomnia
4.47/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Very little carbonation, looks like motor oil, very dark and thick.

The smell just from the bottle was amazing, very obvious chocolate, pretty "yummy" aroma. The aroma on this is amazing, just excellent.

Woah.... mouthfeel is great, flavor is coffee and chocolate. Melds together very well. There is a nice creaminess in this which effects the taste and mouthfeel, very nice.

Finish is nice, lasts a pretty good amount of time and is quite tasty.

If you like Russian Imperial Stouts you will not be disappointed with this.

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Photo of hawks10
4.47/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle - Purchased January 2009 - Two years old as I pour it into a snifter...

Pours thick and viscous, black. The extreme edges show a tiny bit of dark red/brown when held to the light, otherwise, this is an opaque beer. A very thin cap of dark tan head forms and quickly recedes, leaving a ring of haze behind...

Very rich smelling, sweet chocolate with hints of vanilla as well. Slightly roasted with faint hints of brewed coffee. Smell remains sweet overall, finishing with a warm booziness...

Slightly sweet, powerful dark chocolate dominates the flavor. Becomes slightly roasted in the middle, but the sweetness comes back out with loads of molasses and touches of vanilla. Finish has a strong alcohol bite while also being strongly bitter, aftertaste rivals the strongest west coast IPA's, hops definitely play a role here...

Full bodied, not quite as heavy as expected, but still a thick, creamy beer. Low carbonation makes this beer slick. A lingering bitterness and moderate alcohol heat in the aftertaste...

It's been a while since I've had a fresh Founders Imperial Stout, but I don't remember liking it near this much. 2 years seems like a great time to drink this beer...

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Photo of ckeegan04
4.47/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2009 Vintage

A - Motor oil black with very little carbonation on the pour. A thin brown cap of foam forms and quickly fades to a thin ring.

S - Aroma of roasted grain, bitter chocolate and just a hint of spent coffee grounds. As the beer warms the chocolate becomes more pronouned and a bit sweeter but he roasted grain aroma remains the dominant smell.

T - Lots of roasted grain up front with a light hint of roasted coffee as well. Bittersweet chocolate sneaks in mid-drink and provides just a touch of balancing sweetness. Mild alochol notes on the back end.

M - Medium to full boided and a very light carbonation. Flavors coat the mouth and linger for quite a while.

O - Another excellent beer from Founders. I think I enjoyed it more when it was a touch fresher, but this is certainly one that can age with no problem.

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Photo of Wadsey
4.47/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Founders Imperial Stout

Served in New Belgium tulip

A: Pours black with a thin but dense chocolate mousse head. Swirling the beer in the glass reveals an oily appearance on glass. It also resuscitates head and deposits some suds on sides of glass. 

S: Cocoa nibs, ash, chocolate milk, and earth.  Nothing fruity or hoppy on the nose. At subthreshhold of smell, soy and smoke play, adding complexity to the beer.  

T: Chocolate milk was a more apt descriptor than I anticipated. Roast and bitterness step in and rise in intensity, summoning dark chocolate truffles and coffee liqueur on to palate.  Finish is long, bitter and roasted. No/little alcohol is detected. 

M: Medium-heavy body and medium-light carbonation. Mouthcoating, creamy and full. 

O: Such a wonderful interpretation of the style. I don't think Founders could possibly improve this beer. And it is drinking marvelously at 4 months. 

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Photo of ixodus
4.47/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours motor oil black in color with a chocolate color head. Head retention is moderate with decent lacing.

S: Ground coffee, burnt malt, sweet vanilla, dark chocolate, caramelized raisins. Aroma is strong and a little bitter.

T: Dark coffee, rich dark chocolate, sweet vanilla, roasted malts, slight hop bitterness, it has an interesting burnt/smoke taste to it. The beer is bit hot.

M: Thick, viscous, rich, and creamy, carbonation is on the soft side.

O: Overall an excellent RIS, one of my favorites. I definitely recommend.

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Photo of cquinn17
4.47/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz poured into a snifter, bottled 12/22/11, tasted 1/23/12

A- The darkest brown possible, almost black. Very little head but its a great dark brown color. Leaves a little lacing on the glass.

S- Dark roasted malts up front, bitter chocolate and coffee notes with some sweeter vanilla-esque notes towards the end.

T- Really rich roasted chocolate malts with some great coffee bean flavors. A little sweeter chocolate towards the end and finishes with some nice bittering hops. The 10.5% is hidden extremely well.

M- Very thick slick mouthfeel the whole way through. Very lightly carbonated. Feels like a RIS should feel.

O- One of my top 3 favorite readily accesible Imperial Stouts. Founders does stouts as well as anyone IMO. Can't wait till next years batch.

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Photo of ThaBobfather
4.47/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a solid black, opaque color with a very small rim of chocolate brown head.
Smell is plentiful of roasted and toasted malts with a lot of coffee bean and some cocoa.
Taste is richly complex. I am hammered with toasted coffee beans followed by roasted dark chocolate.
Finish is super strong. I taste bitter coffee for a long time after my last sip, it is fantastic.
Drinks great here. Very smooth, little booze, and high ABV, just what I like.

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Photo of dtivp
4.47/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured a deep dark black with a half finger very dark brown head that faded slowly into a thick collar with moderate lacing.

Aroma of strong dark roasted coffee, sweet dark fruit and dark chocolate.

Taste of dark roasted ( burnt) malt with dark roasted coffee the bitterness is balanced with a slight dark fruit sweetness with a slight hint of alcohol.

Mouth Feel is medium leaning full body, very light carbonation, dry with the right amount of bitterness, a touch of sweetness and very little alcohol for a 10.5% ABV beer.

Overall this is what a RIS is all about, great job Founders.

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Photo of Tilley4
4.47/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A great extra from a recent trade...

Pours beautifully into the Lost Abbey chalice... A foamy brown head sits atop a thick black still liquid... Swirls coat the glass with the concoction...

Lovely dark chocolate and coffee aromas waft off of this... Very rich and indulgent smelling... Very similar in quality to the Breakfast Stout and I think this might be better... The roastiness of the malts seems more prevalent and the coffee isn't as forward...

Bitter dark chocolate, vanilla beans, roasted coffee, smooth roasted malts... It's all here and done superbly... Man, Founders does everything well, it seems. This is no exception. A delicious brew... It's rich and creamy yet doesn't feel too heavy while sipping. No booze whatsoever that I can detect. Amazing.

One of the better RIS that's I've had... A well-crafted beer that I will try to acquire some more of. I liked this a lot.

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Photo of 4ster
4.47/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Bottled date of January, 2013.... poured into a large wine glass @ 12 C (55F)

A: Dark dark brown to black, nice 1 to 2 finger mocha head, frothy, nice lacing,

S: Rich chocolate, dark, but not overly sweet or bitter.... bit of black licorice, lots of roasted malts, some coffee and hint of booze.

T: Roasted, dark coffee, french roast burnt style, bitter, again, that slightly sour black licorice flavour, maybe some molasses, then moves more into the dark chocolate milkshake, bittersweet, and finishes with more roasted, smokey, alcoholic aftertaste, almost like a scotch undertone.

M: Full and rich, but silky and smooth. Not overly dry or syrupy, and only slightly sticky. Bit of alcoholic bite but nicely balanced with just the right amount of carbonation... like drinking a chocolate milkshake.

O: While Founders rarely disappoints, there is something to be said about their stouts and this does not deviate from the rest. Silky smooth, not sweet at all, like a espresso chocolate milkshake or frap, with a slight alcoholic tinge, it is beautiful drinkable, complex enough to keep you interested with it's array of smoked, burnt, roasted malts... just a extremely well made stout that doesn't really put a foot wrong.

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Photo of DrewV
4.47/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Overall, this is an outstanding stout from a great brewery. This reviewer has already duplicated my thoughts on the beer, so I'll simply link to it:

Founders is one of my favorite breweries, and their stout follows their porter in many ways. Just a superior brew, covering all of the "should haves" of this style completely. Top-notch all the way.

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Photo of CHADMC3
4.47/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours black as night with only a thin, brown head that hangs around for the majority of the beer.

Mammoth roasted malt aromas with coffee and chocolate, perhaps a little bit milky, and also a bit toasty. As the beer warms a bit, the hops come forth as well.

Absolutely delicious. Great palate of big roasted/coffee malt, big barley, deep earthy hops, and the sweet chocolate and vanilla show up later.

Medium to full in body with medium carbonation, and just a touch chewy. The mouthfeel is not quite as big as the appearance would suggest, but it certainly enhances drinkability.

This is a great RIS. Tons of big, traditional style flavors and aromas, easy to drink, no unappealing alcohol bite, excellent all around.

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Photo of blitz134
4.48/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Received from hoppymeal...much obliged...been wanting to try this since a friend of mine from Ohio raved about it...

What can I say really...its black, no edge highlights...all black. Small head came up, about a quarter inch but reduced to a chocolate milk colored ring around the edge.

Chocolate, toffee and Tootsie Rolls (tm) fill my nostrils. Some dark fruity hints come forth as well. Sweet alcohol wafts forth to draw it all together.

Dark chocolate and expresso notes start the flavor out. Then the transition to coffee comes in. Some pepper starts out the final transition to a bit of alcohol to finish it out. The alcohol is there, but it isn't overbearing. I really like this flavor, its super smooth and comes together perfectly. None of the flavors seem out of place.

Mouthfeel is the best I've seen in an RIS. Usually I find this style a bit thinner than its American Double Stout counterpart but this one is just a bit fuller. It poured oily and its silky smooth and slick on the tongue. A bit of residual stickiness lets it linger on the inside of the cheeks.

This beer is dangerous. Probably the easiest drinking over 10% beer I've had yet. Smooth and agreeable taste profile and no stomach burning alcohol feeling makes me want several of these. I'd pick this up often when I had the chance.

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Photo of alarmclock314
4.48/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle, dated 12/2/15. Pours jet black with a above average sized dark brown head; some lacing. Smells of complex roasted malt, earthy hops, and some char. The taste follows closely with roasted malt, char, hops, and cocoa; good intensity and no dark fruit flavor. Moderate bitterness and light dryness. Above average body and carbonation. Overall, this is a straightforward and well done RIS; very fitting of the style.

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Photo of RickyS
4.48/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

I think I never saw a thicker and creamier head, of pure chocolate brown, on top of a darker liquid. The smell is fantastic: chocolate, vanilla, hints of peat, espresso. Kind of a drying aroma. The taste diverges heavily toward tobacco and cocoa powder. A hint of licorice in the long finish. Very thick, oily and heavy but no alcohol around. One of the best imperial stout I have ever had.

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Photo of wingman14
4.48/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a thick black tar with a very small chocolate colored head. Smells sweet and strong with mocha and chocolate tones. Very inviting. A very strong taste with immediate flavors of mocha, and roasted malts. A strong aftertaste that is bitter and leaves you wanting another sip. A smooth mouthfeel, you can tell this beer packs a punch with its ABV. This is a beer that I can't see anyone drinking in mass quantities considering its thick character and ABV. Considering the price I don't think anyone would want to drink many of these in one sitting. A good offering from founders, but not as good as their breakfast stout, but still very enjoyable. They consistantly produce great beer that is head and shoulders above many breweries. This beer is definitely worth a try! Enjoy!

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Photo of mikedashg
4.48/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - Pours a rich thick black with a bubbly, moderately sized, dark tan head. Good sized lacing on the glass.

S - Rich chocolate smell with sweet roasted malts and coffee

T - Wow, again with the rich big chocolate, like a bittersweet cocoa powder. Sweet roasted malts and roasted coffee. This time, the taste really hits you. Very powerful stuff. Nothing subtle about this one, a lot more defined then the smell.

M - Moderate carbonation, nice and smooth, creamy, velvety. But also. quite thick!

D - Quite an exceptional example of style with in your face flavors. This one was almost a year old I think, so hopefully it's as good as this one was when it's fresh.

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Photo of CraigP83
4.48/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Black, huge 2 finger mocha colored head. Smells like nesquik chocolate milk. Hops come through on the flavor, mouthfeel is silky smooth for the style but finishes dry.

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Photo of jtingue
4.48/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2012 Release. Poured into a snifter.

Appearance. So dark that when you pour it it looks as if it were solid. Pours with a finger of dense light brown head, which slowly dissipates to a nice think layer on top of the beer. Lacing is simply amazing, leaving a mosaic of clusters of tiny bubbles permanently on the side of the glass.

Smell. Huge smells of dark roasted fresh coffee beans. There is a definite presence of some sort or dark berry or even raisin scent. Also some nice hearty rye or wheat bread notes in there as well.

Taste. Hits the palate with a quick burst of roasted malts, again with the flavor of hearty rye or wheat bread. The berry and coffee notes detected in the nose come next to do a beautiful dance on your palate. Some bitterness comes in along with they roasted character noted before. Chocolatey sweetness leads into a wonderfully fruity and roasty finish.

Mouthfeel. Heavy body with just enough carbonation to give it a bit of creaminess.

Ho-ly shit. This beer simply blew me away. It is hard to say a bad thing about it. Up until now, this is the best imperial stout I have ever tasted. So much complexity already. I can't wait to age the rest and enjoy at a later date. Highly recommended.

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Photo of bubseymour
4.48/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Appearance - Black. It's Black. With a brown head. Nice to look at.

Smell - Chocolate and smokey. Quite smokey.

Taste - Dark chocolate up front followed by smoke followed by bitter hop finish. As the beer warms the bitterness fades giving a much better flavor profile of dark chocolate and smoke.
Minimal booziness and its well disguised for a beer at 10.5%. I'd have thought it was 8%.

Mouthfeel - Rich but actually for the style and alcohol level its a tad thin. I'd expect this one to be a little more creamy and sticky.

Overall - A very fine Russian Imperial sampling. Got to let this one warm up to balance and remove the bitterness from the hops, then it really dials in nicely. If you like RIS's like Old Raspy, you'll very much appreciate what Founders has made with this version.

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Photo of obrike
4.48/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

A gem of a Russian Stout...and to think I had this in Puerto Rico on a business trip. God bless beer. Now that I see it in Texas all the time, it's become a staple. I like this one better than the breakfast stout, and that's saying a lot.

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Founders Imperial Stout from Founders Brewing Company
4.34 out of 5 based on 7,829 ratings.
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