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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

For Trade:
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Reviews: 1,843 | Ratings: 7,682
Photo of THORN
4.48/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

11.2 Fl. Oz. bottle poured into pint glass. Served 55-50 F.
A: Dark dark brown. Reddish brown frothy head. Head is quarter inch high.
S: Chocolate, toasted bread, and brown sugar.
T: Wow. Dark chocolate and dark toasted malt. Slight alcohol is noticeable, but finishes with a strong hoppy bitterness.
M: Medium on tongue and slightly syrupy. Warmth sweeps across mouth.
D: Big beer. Heavy malts character well balanced by hops, chocolate, and alcohol. The beer doesn't cover the alcohol, but it makes it taste delightful.

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

Well this is it [insert a Huey Lewis and The News "doo-wap"] Founders Imperial Stout (or FIS for short) finally on the drinking block or chopping block however you view my reviews. I wanted to buy some more Founders Breakfast Stout at Plonk! However it has now become so popular I had to put my name on a list of people who want to buy the next shipment. I blame myself. My review for FBS declared it "the best Stout ever". Now everyone in Australia wants it. Oh well, I have some FIS now to console me.

Poured from a 355ml bottle into a Chimay chalice.

A: "I've never before seen head this brown" I thought to myself, which could of course be misconstrued in a variety of ways. With a jet black, impenetrable murky body and a chocolate brown head that soon reduces to a faint ring around the glass this is one damn imposing Ale. An Everest of Ale in fact.

S: Whereas FBS was all about espresso coffee, FIS is all about dark chocolate. In fact it draws a favourable comparison to Amager & Cigar City's Xiquic: A mighty powerhouse of dark chocolate, vanilla, roasted cacao (minus the tobacco leaf). Every breath you take [every move you make?] gives another hint of the chocolate that awaits.

T: Smoke notes precede a dark chocolate, vanilla, earth and roasted cacao feast. There is a slight unwarranted metal twang as well, most unusual for Founders to have made a rookie mistake like that. Finishes with a dark herbal bitter character. This is a mammoth Ale that hides the booze like the always-tipsy-when-you-visit-her grandmother - and at 10.5% I've got to know how they've done it.

M: That classic heavy "founders body" rich with some creamy carbonation. These guys must use oats in all their brews. Damn I have big respect for that (using oats in the mash is quite a laborious task).

D: Not quite as good as the Xiquic I must say up front... it is a very close contest though, and this is a well-crafted antithesis to Founders Breakfast Stout (coffee vs chocolate) - they really know how to cover their bases Founders - not a single brew I've tried of theirs tastes like any other. They really put care into the way they brew and for that there can be no higher praise.

Food match: Founders Breakfast Stout, cigars and foul language.

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Photo of eternaljester81
4.48/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A - Pours nearly pitch-black, with some some brownish-red hints at the edges when held to light. The head, while thin, is also a brownish red, but dissipates quickly. Lacing is minor.

S - Dark-roast coffee is the first part of the nose, followed with some bitter dark chocolate scents. The back-end is full of alcohol, which had me a little nervous for the taste.

T - Pretty amazing...I could leave it at that. I was surprised after the smell just how well hidden the alcohol is. Actual, this is quite similar to Founders Breakfast Stout (one of my favorite beers ever), only with more bite. This brew just tastes explosive with bittersweet chocolate and espresso notes, and just enough hop bitterness to balance out the impressive malt presence. All in all, this is the smoothest Imperial Stout I've ever tasted.

M - This feels incredibly smooth in the mouth, with a decent tingling from the alcohol. Maybe not quite as thick as I expected, but by no means watery. In fact, I'm most reminded of those bottled/canned cappuccino drinks you can find at most gas stations, which is in no-way meant as a slight.

D - At 10.5%, this is deceptively drinkable. While the flavors are huge, this is also an impressively smooth beer, which could easily get away from anyone.

I have to add that I'm a bit of a Founders fan-boy, as they are without-a-doubt my favorite brewery. Regardless, I feel they've earned my love by producing some of the finest beers in the world. The Imperial Stout is absolutely no exception.

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Photo of LI_PO12
4.48/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Bottle into snifter

Appearance- Jet black small tan head

Aroma- Deep roasted malts, coffee, chocolate, some dark fruit, a piney hop, licorice, alcohol present

Flavor, big roasted malt and coffee, chocolate, up front bitter but a sweetness comes in at the end. finishes dry. slight piney hops, alcohol warmth

Mouthfeel- Full and thick medium carbonation

Overall- Wow very good, one of my favorites of the style. This is a pretty fresh bottle, I have had a 1 year old bottle and the pine fades as the roast and dark fruit deepen.

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Photo of Shroud0fdoom
4.48/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

*12 oz. Bottle*

Look: Black body, 1 1/2 finger deep mocha frothy head.

Smell: Huge roasted barley, nice toffee sweetness, espresso hints of oats.

Taste: Burnt coffee, sweet roasted malts, smooth chocolate, bittersweet finish, alcohol is not present in the flavor but you can feel the heat.

Feel: Almost syrupy smooth body, soft carbonation.

Overall: For this being at 10.5%, it is incredibly drinkable to the point that it should be illegal. Smooth body, balanced between bitter and sweet that aches for constant gulps. This is a prime example of what a great Imperial Stout should be. Highly recommended.

* Originally Reviewed on 7-11-2013

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

Picked thisone up at the brewery as I heard it was available bottled again. Its been awhile since i've seen it.

Pours very dark, motor oil thick, full bodied. The head is awesome. Milk chocolate color of thick. pillow-like foam that maintains well. Lace is brief but web like.

Aroma is dark bakers chocolate, coffee bean and a smokey char of alcohol.

Taste carries those same qualities but with a dark fruit hint of overall intense flavor.

The mouthfeel does it for this beer. Very smooth with enough carbonation to soften the strength of this beer making very pleaseing to drink. No strong bitter over the top dry bean aftertaste. Just good stout imperial goodness.

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

A- Pours very dark brown and settles pitch black. Less than one finger worth of dark mocha colored head fades fast.

S- Big time chocolate notes up front followed by some caramel/roasty malt.

T- Scent amplified x 10. Cocoa up front with very roasty but sweet malts. The 10.5% is a bit noticeable at the finish but doesn't turn me off at all.

M- Thick, full bodied and rich....Filthy rich to say the least. This brew coats the palate. Yum. I'll swirl this around throughout my mouth all day long.

D- The ABV is very well hidden behind the delicious complexity of dessert style malt.

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Photo of Mr1derfulComic
4.48/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2 Complaints - Only served in 12 ounce glass. Availability. Founders has yet to disappoint me. With ABV this high one might expect this might not be smooth, aou contraire (probably spelled wrong) Yummy and very drinkable! Car service should be included with purchase of 3 or more.

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

Pours a most viscous and opaque black color. This stuff is thick and no light is going to penetrate this beer. A respectable, for imperial standards, dark brown head forms. Smells very burnt and full of flavor. Some chocolate enters the nostrils followed by a showing of undeterminable hops. Taste is of burnt malts. Sweet, yet harsh. Coffee, espresso, chocolate are all here and rolled up into one big stout. The hop bitterness doesnt shy away at all either. It hits you nicely, with a grassy hop flavor that rounds out the profile. The alcohol is there, but well hidden for being a supposed 12%. This stuff is thick and literally coats the mouth. This is how an imperial should be as far as mouthfeel. This one is top notch. Another winner from Founders. More and more each day these guys are proving to me that they are one of the best in the country.

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

12 oz. bottle that I nitrogenated with the NitroBrew I got as an Xmas present and poured into a snifter. First thing I noted was how viscous this monster of a stout is! Poured a thick, deep, dark brown with a 1-2 finger dark tan head. Smells of roasted malts (duh). Thick and creamy on the palate. Took my time drinking this one as it is VERY filling. Felt pretty good once the 10.5% ABV kicked in. A good brew to enjoy on a cold winter's eve. Thanks Founders!!

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

Poured from 12oz bottle into Tulip.

A. Pours thick out of the bottle. Got about 3 fingers of very dark tan colored head. One of the best heads I have seen on a stout. Retention is prety much forever. Thick chalky milk shake lacing. Color is pure black. Great appearance on this beer.

S. Roasted malt, coffee, dark chocolate, milk chocolate. Really nice smelling Imperial Stout. Nice balance, between roastiness, coffee, and sweet malty chcolate aromas. Just a hint of alcohol. Its no secret Founder's can make an Imperial Stout.

T. Coffee, dark chocolate, roasted malt, a little bitterness from the coffee. Finishes with some pretty smooth milk chocolate flavor. No trace of alcohol. Very smooth and easy to drink.

M. Medium full. Could be a little chewier for me. Medium carbonation. Finishes with bitter sweet coffee and chocolate flavor. You would have no idea it was 10.5% if it wasnt printed on the bottle.

O. Very good RIS. Super smooth. Incredibly easy to drink. Might be a strong contender for the basis of the style.

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

12 oz dated bottle into a tulip.

pours black as night and forms a thick, chocolate brown head that hangs around. nice chunky lacing too.

smells of molasses, raisin, alcohol and roasted deliciousness. taste is similar but much more complex. i'm picking up mostly roasted malts, but also some coffee, dark chocolate, molasses, raisin and apple. a dry, bittersweet hop finish gives this one great balance. alcohol content is noticeable, but not overpowering.

mouthfeel is heavy, but also incredibly smooth and creamy with a little bit of alcohol warming.

this beer is quite drinkable for being so strong and rich, bit i couldn't see anyone having more than 2 of these at any given time. fits the style perfectly, and is yet another star in the founders lineup.

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Photo of mjw1200
4.48/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Lots of different aromas. some espresso and chocolate. Its a roasted smell.

Flavor is what separates this beer. Impressive hop flavor in an RIS. Love that it takes more than one drink to take in the different flavors. love the dark chocolate and roasted coffee.

The end leaves a good flavor, the beer is so smooth it does not hang around as long as some. Also a good pucker at the end, almost too much sourness.

great beer. glad I found it. Excited to see how it develops with time.

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

Pours a luscious opaque sable, just a hair above jet black, with a thick and fine-bubbled tan head. Rich aroma is strongly of fine coffee with hints of cocoa and molasses. Flavor is like a good mocha, quality coffee with an undertone of dusty cocoa, a little oily, slightly bitter and just a bit sweet. Texture is smooth and just a little tingly, and has a good bite to it. Recommended to all stouties.

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

Wow. I just poured this into a pint glass about 10 minutes ago and I feel as though I've been missing something all my life. This is an exceptional beer.

Pours like thin motor oil with no head and a bit of lacing. Smells like a chocolate bar or brownies - very inviting. Taste is chocolatey with some coffee notes. Very creamy and full bodied - I could drink this all night. A super dessert beer - would probably be great with some ice cream...

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

One of, if not, the best beers I have ever had the chance to drink. Pours out slow and thick. Very black. The smell is of a strong molasses and chocolate mixture. The taste is a three parter. 1 - Heavy coffee flavor 2 - Nice rich malt with hints of coffee and chocolate 3 - Finishes with an awesome blend of chocolate, molasses and java. This is just one of the greatest beers ever!

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

A: In a tulip glass this bad boy was pitch black. The most stunning feature was the head which looked just like a chocolate muffin. It was certainly dark unlike any stout I've ever had. (or any beer for that matter)

S: Rich and chocolaty. Also creamy. Like creamy chocolate ice cream. Mmmmm...

T: Tastes like you're drinking creme. Super thick and smooth. Tastes of chocolate and coffee.

M: Sits heavy and nice. My problem here was I could really feel the bite of the alcohol. It didn't seem to fit in well with the rest of the flavors. I had a second go at it in the bottle and for some odd reason it actually came out better. The alcohol was still present but it didn't overpower the other flavors.

Overall an exceptional beer. When it came out I just about lost it because it looked like liquid chocolate cake (although I don't like chocolate or cake...) It smelled wonderful and the first many sips were mind blowing. However as time when on the alcohol reared it's ugly head and that's what really brought this brew down in my book.

On a second go (this time a bottled version) I thought my original review was spot on other than I had to bump up the mouth feel. The alcohol was present but it was more complementary this time. A great brew.

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Photo of tdm168
4.49/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - pitch black with a thin, dark brown head that has little retention

S - chocolate, anise, black licorice, roasted malts, coffee

T - coffee, roasted malts, chocolate, coffee-like bitter finish

M - full bodied, smooth, well carbonated

This is a really complex, intricate, and delicious beer. Each sip showcases its depth. You can taste each flavor distinctly in each sip, but they also come together in a great balanced flavor. This is definitely one of the more complete Imperial Stouts on the market. This is most certainly worth a try.

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Photo of mscudder
4.49/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - This is the darkest black I can imagine. Pours with the consistency of oil leaving nice lacing and a minimal head.

S - I get notes of cocoa and chocolate accompanied by aroma of roasted malts. The scent is controlled and executed brilliantly.

T - As far an imperial stout goes, this brew is perfection. The only stout that I have that surpasses it is the Founders CBS. Amazing mix of complexity with an initial taste of roasted barley and malts which is followed by sweeter notes. This is a great warmer and at 10.5% ABV, all I can say is damn... well done Founders.

M - Perhaps a bit "hot" for a stout, this is thick and dense, yet recedes beautifully.

O - A fantastic brew from Founders. To be concise, get this beer if you ever have the chance.

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Photo of HopsAreDaMan
4.49/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Edit 2/26/2016: Incredible! I am increasing taste, feel & overall.

12oz, bottled 12/2/2014, snifter used. Pours dark like any other stout, with a small but robust light-chocolate colored head, nice lacing, and good body when swirled. Aroma is strong on the booze but complex with chocolate and some port wine notes. I taste LOTS of chocolate, some burnt/roasted notes, and again, booze, although it is quite smooth on the finish.

I started writing this review when I first tried this beer, and finished the review as I sipped on the last of it (hours later). I expected a lot out of the beer, and it delivered: it is one of the best RIS I have had, with plenty of complexity. I hope to buy some to lay down and see how it fares with a couple of years age on it.

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Photo of projectflam86
4.49/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Brewed on date - 02/09/11

A- Pours an engine oil black color with a thin brown head that leaves really nice lacing.

S- Woah, this packs a punch! Huge roasted nose with full dark chocolate scents. Really strong aroma that smells just like a RIS should.

T- Strong roasted flavor with dark chocolate and dark malt flavors dominating the profile. Cocoa nibs, molasses, and anise all come through as well with a big helping of alcohol in the finish.

M- Full bodied with nice carbonation. Smooth and creamy feel.

D- Really great brew. The 10.5% ABV makes this a sipper.

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Photo of MarcatGSB
4.49/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Vintage 2013 poured into Founders snifter.

A: This puppy has an amazing appearance. Deep, rich black with a very frothy brown head. The head seems to hang around for ever, and the lacing is amazingly thick. Sticks to the side of the glass and almost appears to not move at all. Very, very impressive.

N: The nose is chalf full of dark, almost burnt malt with a touch of smoke and hops. Very dark chocolate followed by a wonderful balance of vanilla and cream.

T: Roasted malt are ever prominent on the tongue, followed by rich chocolate, bitter molasses and marsh mellow sweetness. There is a touch of alcohol on the back of the tongue, but is well hidden by the complex layers.

M: Inky, squidy, oily texture, that coats the mouth, yet washes away clean. It's actually a bit "thin", but doesn't lack by any means. The carbonation is right on, and is lively in the mouth.

D and O: Founders Imperial Stout fresh, Expedition Stout with a year on it. That's how I feel. This beer is the definition of the style, IMO. It's absolutely fantastic, and does not disappoint on any front.

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Photo of Gajo74
4.49/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

After a session of drinking an American Blond Ale and then half of an IPA, this was the perfect choice for dessert. I'm surprised I have yet to try this one and will surely come back for more.
It poured a pitch black viscous liquid with a nice tan head that appeared suddenly. It soon dissipated into a thin ring of lace and eventually disappeared entirely. Nevertheless, a good looking drink.
Very complex in both the aroma and taste. In the nose I first detected alcohol, followed by milk chocolate, creamy coffee, roasted malt, dark fruit, and even hops. These flavors were mostly evident in the taste, especially the chocolate, coffee and roasted malt, except that the hops flavors were even more dominant. They provided a moderate bitterness that provided quite a kick; they added balance, an element of spice and a dry finish. The alcohol was well masked.
The body was robust, rich, viscus and full. Very smooth to drink.
This was a fantastic Russian Imperial Stout that had a nice hops kick and was not overly sweet or boozy. I rank it up there amongst the best of the style.

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Photo of kemoarps
4.49/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

For some reason I held back from picking this up initially. I can already see that this was a mistake. Dark as sin and thick as motor oil... I thought I was going to have to thwack the bottom of the bottle just to get all of it out, ala ketchup or molasses. Minimal deep brown head fades to leave nothing but a cylindrical obelisk. This beer teaches monkeys to use tools and visits astronauts in their bedrooms. It is one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen.

You may have gathered that this beer looks like I love my beer to look. Unfortunately, the aroma is coming up a bit short. It's not that it's unpleasant, it's just... lacking. Absent. Not as pungent as I hoped. What IS there, is enticing: this thing SMELLS thick. I love it. Dark roasty malts, smoothe chocolate, a hint of coffee, maybe some vanilla...

YUP. Follow through on the promise and then some. Sweet to start, as chocolate notes dominate the front. Both creamy milk chocolate and the stiffer dryer bakers cocoa come forward, with the thickfreakness of chewy fudge. Coffee again provides flavour and a bit of bitterness, some roast, almost a touch smokey, but like a well vented fireplace, not like a bonfire or smokehouse. Damn, this beer is amazing. It is a thick bodied, chewy delight which hides it's 10.5% expertly. The finish couples the coffee bitterness with a dry bitter aftertaste that almost veers into smoothed out pith. What won't they think of next?

To think I almost passed this bad boy up. This is phenomenal. I cannot be effusive enough in my praise. Seriously good work there, Founders.

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Photo of Dools9
4.49/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle dated 12/20/12 poured into a snifter.

A: Pure black body, no light getting through with a finger of thick, dense creamy milk chocolate colored head. Huge lacing and legs on this one.

S: Heavy, heavy dark roasted malt, dark bittersweet chocolate and a bit of burnt black coffee. Also getting some mild dark fruit, slight booze.

T: Huge burnt, smoky roasted component upfront, big dark chocolate and espresso coffee presence, definitely getting some smoke and some raisin and fig, black/espresso coffee bitterness on the finish. Slight alcohol taste as well. So complex.

M: Full bodied, creamy, smooth, lush and soft as velvet.

O: Absolutely outstanding RIS. This is a gigantic monster of a beer, its big and complex, worthy of your attention.

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Founders Imperial Stout from Founders Brewing Company
4.34 out of 5 based on 7,682 ratings.
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